Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











riskFrom Goodreads: When 22-year-old Summer Stafford’s parents split halfway through her senior year at college, Summer’s world is rocked. Everything she thought she knew—heck, everything she thought she wanted for her own life—feels like a lie. The truth is love is a risk. And the true kind, the kind that lasts, might even be a fairy tale.

Reeling from the divorce, Summer derails her own future by breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend and giving up her lifelong plans for a big-city career. She moves back home, business degree in hand. Dad needs her to fill the gaps her mother left behind; Summer needs to find who she is outside of the cookie-cutter life that failed so miserably for her parents.

Ford O’Neal’s future involves one person: himself. He doesn’t have a permanent address and he definitely doesn’t commit. To a place or a person. Raised by hippies, he plans just far enough ahead to secure his next stop, this one landing him at a work-study program at Heritage Plantation where he can grow his own herbal and medicinal creations.

Summer is gorgeous and smart and fun to be with, the perfect way to pass five months. It won’t be love—Ford’s got too many things to accomplish, too many places to go, before he settles down. Yet Summer pulls him in, challenging him to rethink his own philosophy.

When Ford’s five months are up, each of them must decide if love is really worth the risk.

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Meet Summer, a young woman who has sworn off love after witnessing her parents beautiful marriage end in divorce—her mother moving out and leaving her father to tend to the farm.  And, what Summer can’t understand is why her father doesn’t seem to hold any animosity for the woman who left him, and Summer, behind.

Ford isn’t so different.  Though his parents are still happily married, he’s learned that there can be regret in love and settling down too soon, before he’s seen and done everything he wants to do without a family of his own to hold him back.  So, he’s sworn off love as well.

This makes for the perfect relationship, two people looking for companionship without love, but what neither of them realize is that you can’t control your feelings, and just because you don’t want to fall in love doesn’t mean you won’t.

This is a wonderful feel good read that will leave readers swooning over Ford and feeling like best friends with Summer, especially with its back and forth nature of narration.  Perhaps my favorite style of storytelling, Hildenbrand allows readers to feel alongside her true-to-life characters as they attempt to make sense of their lives and, ultimately, love, through their first person point of view. And, though the going isn’t always easy, this cute and enchanting story is the perfect read for the holidays; it’s gripping and delightful, one that I highly recommend, especially if you’ve read any of Hildenbrand’s young adult novels as you already know she’s a very talented and engaging writer.  Now that I’ve met Summer and Ford, I cannot get wait for more. Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

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17596261From Goodreads: Clicks are the sounds the universe makes when it stops to tell you what’s going to happen next. Truths you hear in your heart that you can’t explain.

For sixteen year old Cami, the clicks won’t stop. They’re telling her to fall in love with the wrong twin, that her family is hiding something, and that Pinhold, her pristine Island home, is in danger.

Born and bred to win, Cami’s family expects her to join a secret society called The Guard, marry one of the two identical twin boys next door, and stay on Pinhold Island for the rest of her life. Home to perfect waves, black sand beaches, and the world-famous Surf Carnival, Pinhold seems deceptively perfect. While visitors are jealous of the few hundred people who get to live there, Cami feels stifled. Thanks to the intense link she shares with her own twin, Mica, she can’t even be alone with her thoughts. While Cami’s more than happy to be a lifeguard, a lifelong commitment to the endless summer feels like a trap.

It should have been a fun summer of surf competitions and beach patrol. But dolphins are washing up on shore and the best swimmers are drowning. Then her twin brother Mica goes down too.

The only thing that can save her brother is the truth that only Cami can learn. But can she trust the clicks?

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This is the first YA novel I’ve seen that’s been classified as environmental fiction, and I was so intrigued by that classification that I knew I had to read it, especially because my county is adding an entire unit to the end of 10th grade year in which students study their role in the world and environment.  And, what a great story it is!  Filled with mystery and intrigue, as well as homage to the ocean and dolphins, in particular, Clicks takes a look at the world and what could happen if the environment went out of kilter.  But it’s not just an environmental fiction novel, and it certainly isn’t preachy; it makes you think, and there is romance, adventure, experiments, and cover-ups… all of which Cami must uncover in order to save her friends and family.

This novel takes place on an island off the coast of California where the relationship between mankind and dolphin pods is extremely sacred and revered.  Natives of the island, Cami, her twin, and her group of twin friends understand and acknowledge the rituals and bonds of The Guard, but it isn’t until Cami experiences calling and swimming with the pods that she begins to understand her real connection to them.  But all too soon the bliss of the summer, tourist season, and the Surf Carnival is brought to a halt as people begin drowning and dolphins begin dying.  Shrouded in mystery, Cami must use her wits and her connection to the environment to figure out what is happening to her island, and the secrets Evans weaves into her tale are epic.

I really liked Cami’s character; she’s a self-assured young woman who wants to excel in all, and finding her white dolphin is like a gift come true.  She values and respects the ocean, understanding its power, and her relationship with her dolphin allows her to connect with the environment in a way that she previously was unable to.  Watching her interact with her dolphin was extremely cool to watch, and Evans has a way with writing that puts readers right there with the characters, as if we’re swimming alongside through the pages.  And I loved that the entire novel is cloaked in mystery.  As the plot unfolds, more events happen that send the island off-balance, and healthy young teens lose consciousness without medical reason, spurring the reader on as Cami and her friends attempt to find the reason behind the sudden changes; to find the cure.

While I’ll admit that I figured out the secret behind it all much sooner than the reveal within the novel due to foreshadowing, I still really enjoyed the aspect of the mystery as it lined up and each characters’ involvement was laid bare. As we learn about the island and the plague that tormented the residents of both land and sea in the not so distant past, everything really begins to click (no pun intended), and I really enjoyed Evans’ execution of this entire story.  The sorrow, fear, and resolve was extremely strong throughout the novel, and the added romance made for some swoon-worthy escapades that brought a smile to my face.  Young love can be so beautiful. I highly recommend this to any readers out there curious about dolphins, the ocean, or who are looking for an overall good, clean read.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

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And now for the giveaway!!!

I’m offering up an ebook of Clicks to one reader!!!

To enter this giveaway, you must:

-Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Agree to HONESTLY REVIEW the novel via a blog (if you have one), or Goodreads, or any other media format you use for book reviews (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)

-Fill in the mandatory questions on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)

Click this Rafflecopter Link to Enter!

This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY and will end at 12:01am EST on September 15th at 12:01am. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced later on September 15th, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!



Character & Disney Love Song Match-Up:

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by Heather Hildenbrand

Because I’m a mom and watch a ton of Disney stuff, I put together a list of songs from Disney movies that match each of these couples from my Dirty Blood series. (For those that haven’t read all 4 books yet, this doesn’t mean each of them are a “boyfriend-girlfriend couple” So, #TeamAlex and #TeamWes … calm down!)

Here’s the match-up:

Tara  & Wes – Beauty & The Beast theme

*Wes and the Beast have many similarities. Also, Wes and Tara sort of developed by accident or almost grudgingly, which reminds me of this love story. Very cute!

Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends
Unexpectedly

Just a little change
Small, to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared
Beauty and the Beast

Ever just the same
Ever a surprise
Ever as before
Ever just as sure
As the sun will rise

Tale as old as time
Tune as old as song
Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong

Certain as the sun
Rising in the east
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the beast.

Tara & Alex – Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (Lion King)

***In the movie, it’s Timon and Pumba singing the beginning to each other. I picture Cambria singing this to Logan about Tara and Alex in Cold Blood:

I can see what’s happening. And they don’t have a clue
They’ll fall in love and here’s the bottom line
Our trio’s down to two.
Ze sweet caress of twilight.

There’s magic everywhere
And with all this romantic atmosphere
Disaster’s in the air
Can you feel the love tonight?
The peace the evening brings
The world, for once, in perfect harmony
With all its living things
[Simba… aka ALEX]
So many things to tell her
But how to make her see
The truth about my past? Impossible!
She’d turn away from me
[Nala: aka Tara]
He’s holding back, he’s hiding
But what, I can’t decide
Why won’t he be the king I know he is
The king I see inside?

 

George & Tara – You’ll Be in My Heart (Tarzan)

*Weirdly enough, George reminds me a lot of Tarzan. Haha. And the “Always” at the end reminds me of the Bon Jovi song that is in Cold Blood. It’s their song. So this is perfect!

For one so small, you seem so strong
My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm
This bond between us can’t be broken
I will be here. Don’t you cry

‘Cause you’ll be in my heart. Yes, you’ll be in my heart
From this day on. Now and forever more
You’ll be in my heart. No matter what they say
You’ll be here in my heart always
Always

Jack & Fee – Candle on the Water (Pete’s Dragon)

*Jack and Fee are so steady and soul-deep in their commitment. Not just to love but to nurture and protect each other. Think: hippie love. With violence on the side. That’s Jack and Fee.

I’ll be your candle on the water
My love for you will always burn
I know you’re lost and drifting
But the clouds are lifting
Don’t give up you’ll have somewhere to turn

I’ll be your candle on the water
‘Till ev’ry wave is warm and bright
My soul is there beside you
Let this candle guide you
Soon you’ll see a golden stream of light

Derek & Cambria – Kiss the Girl (The Little Mermaid)

Derek and Cambria’s relationship has such a playful, fun side. This song seemed perfect! It started out very simple and physical but what they have goes very deep. You’ll see… ;)

There you see her
Sitting there across the way
She don’t got a lot to say
But there’s something about her
And you don’t know why
But you’re dying to try
You wanna kiss the girl

Yes, you want her
Look at her, you know you do
It’s possible she wants you, too
There is one way to ask her
It don’t take a word
Not a single word
Go on and kiss the girl

Sing with me now
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
My, oh, my
Look at the boy too shy
He ain’t gonna kiss the girl
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Ain’t that sad
Ain’t it shame, too bad
You gonna miss the girl

Now’s your moment
Floating in a blue lagoon
Boy, you better do it soon
No time will be better
She don’t say a word
And she won’t say a word
Until you kiss the girl

Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Don’t be scared
You got the mood prepared
Go on and kiss the girl
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Don’t stop now
Don’t try to hide it how
You wanna kiss the girl
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Float along
Listen to the song
The song say kiss the girl
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
Music play
Do what the music say
You wanna kiss the girl

Whisper & Dylan – If I Never Knew You (Pocahontas)

*It makes the song choice even better to know it’s from Pocahontas!!

In this world so full of fear, full of rage and lies
I can see the truth so clear, in your eyes, so dry your eyes
And I’m so grateful to you, I’d have lived my whole life through
Lost forever, if I never knew you.

If I never knew you, I’d be safe but half as real
Never knowing I could feel a love so strong and true
I’m so grateful to you, I’d have lived my whole life through
Lost forever, if I never knew you.

I thought our love would be so beautiful
Somehow we make the whole world right

I never knew that fear and hate could be so strong
All they leave are worthless whispers in the night
But still my heart is saying we were right.

What do you guys think? Are there any Disney songs that would fit better for these couples?

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REVIEW:

Blood Rule LargeFrom Goodreads:

Forty-six.

That’s how many hybrids survived the Hunter attack in the woods after I revived them with an injection of my blood. That’s how many followed me home to Frederick Falls. And that’s how many were now mentally linked to me through a blood bond.

Two days. Three valium. Fourteen hours of sleep.

That’s what it took to realize I wasn’t losing my mind as a result of the noise in my own head. 

Sixteen.

That’s how many days have passed since I almost killed Alex. That’s how many days I’ve sat by his bedside, waiting for him to wake up. To ease the guilt, to understand his betrayal, to remember the exact shade of brown in his eyes.

Zero.

That’s my chances of skating by with Gordon Steppe and the Hunter Council. They want me for questioning. I’m afraid what’ll happen if I give them answers.

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Heather Hildenbrand’s Dirty Blood series is one I’ve been fascinated with for the past few years.  Her debut novel, Dirty Blood, was my first taste of Hildenbrand’s writing, and I must admit, she’s held my attention ever since, and I’ve read and enjoyed all her novels, including those separate from this specific series.  But, the werewolves started my love for Hildenbrand’s books, and I hold a special place in my heart for these novels, so it is no surprise that I become extremely ecstatic whenever a new one releases, and I’m so happy to say that Hildenbrand has, once again, written an intriguing gem of a story.

So much has happened and changed for Tara as the novels have progressed, and Blood Rule finds our heroine once again in a predicament as she tries to not only keep her pack of hybrids safe from the Hunters who would destroy them, but also protect them from themselves, all while attempting to keep her feelings in check.  Taking on a much darker feel than her previous novels, Hildenbrand shows the depth of pain and hurt that Tara undergoes as she adjusts to her pack and her position as leader; it is a bit of a depressing tale.  She must do things she never dreamed of in order to keep the peace, and this includes quelling fights and, if need be, putting one out of his/her misery.  And as if this isn’t a difficult enough task, her feelings and self-loathing concerning Alex further muddle and complicate her life at a time that everything, and I do mean everything, has gone through upheval.

Though darker and ending with a cliffhanger that has me biting my nails in worry for Tara and her entire pack, I found this novel to be one that really takes a look at the characters’ inner being, showing their growth and making them even more real.  Though I’m not a werewolf (I wish), I can identify with Tara as she is forced to make difficult decision after difficult decision, and I love that she never gives up, even when adversity is staring her in the face.  I am equally impressed with the characters of Wes, George, Fee, and Alex, though we do see too little of Alex, in my humble opinion.  These characters have come very far from the beginning novel that started it all, and faced with complications, heartbreak, and danger behind every tree, I’m very much impressed with their growth and how Hildenbrand handles them throughout the story.

Filled with tragedy, fighting, angst, and heartbreak, this novel has few uplifting scenes, but those that accompany it do shine through, and as this is book number four in the series, a very difficult book to write, I’m sure, I believe that it can only get better for our characters.  After all, one can only fall so far before they must be lifted up.  Four stars.*

4 stars

Buy the Book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ECL1OZS/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_pZyasb1V8KETS

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-rule-book-4-dirty-blood-series-heather-hildenbrand/1116310366?ean=2940148570240

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Heather HildenbrandAuthor Information

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she’s not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she’s lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.

Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she’d grab is her DVR player.

Heather is a co-founder of Accendo Press, a publishing group she operates with fellow authors: Angeline Kace and Jennifer Sommersby. Accendo (a-CH-endo), A Latin word, means “to kindle, illuminate, inflame, or set fire.” This is something Accendo strives to do inside a reader’s imagination with every title released. For a complete list of titles and author bios, visit http://www.accendopress.com

Website: www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Heather.L.Hildenbrand

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherHildenbrandsFanPage

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherHildenbr

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4607856.Heather_Hildenbrand

Newsletter:  http://blogspot.us4.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=77abacb38959bc9c0f7b4e81b&id=739fdcef83

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Click the gif below to go to Heather’s AWESOME giveaway!

bloodrulegiveaway

For more tour stops and information:
http://heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com/2013/08/blood-rule-release-day-blitz-blog-tour.html

*A Book Vacation received the novel from the author in exchange for an HONEST review for this blog tour.



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