Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Under Different StarsFrom Goodreads: All she wants is a home, but can she find one…UNDER DIFFERENT STARS

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

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There really are no word to convey just how much this amazing novel means to me. I am in awe of Bartol’s sheet writing capabilities; her story is so intricately woven and beautiful, drawing me in from the very first page, wrapping me up tight, and transporting me into Bartol’s amazing world of Etharians. So much love.

The characterization in Under Different Stars is amazing. Kricket is a spunky, no-nonsense, strong, capable young woman, and I loved her from the get go. Her response to her situations were amazing and plausible, and I hold her in esteem… where I would have fallen to pieces and given up, she holds fast and does everything in her power to make her own choices and follow her heart. I want to be her when I grow up.

And let’s not forget about Trey. My dear, dear Trey, who is my newest book boyfriend. Swoon. I actually hated him in the beginning; he, Jax, and Wayra were obnoxious and I was angry at them for abducting Kricket, but their humor and true, caring nature came forth as the novel unfolded, and as I got to really see their hearts and understand their purpose, as infuriating as it was, I fell hard for Trey, and his sidekicks are just the best.

This novel gave me ALL the feels. Crying, screaming, swooning, hating, loving. The entire gamut, and I connected with the characters on such a deep, beautiful level. Yes, I hate Kyon and the Etharian ruler, but even so, Bartol did such an amazing job making them real scum—and I just loved to hate them.

And I’m so glad this novel is clean. It’s actually HOTTER because it is clean, and Kricket’s virtue stays intact throughout it all, which made me such a happy girl, because I was ready to ugly cry again a few times when I thought terrible things were going to happen to her…

Speaking of which, I nearly died at 80% in the novel when Bartol wrote in a scene that had me screaming aloud (seriously, my cat was startled and ran out of the room after scratching me); my heart was in my throat and I was so very upset. Thankfully, Bartol isn’t as mean as I thought in that brief by never ending scene that scarred me.

Where is book two? It needs to be in my fat little hands right now. Right. Now.  Thankfully, it’s coming out SOON.

This is definitely a must read novel—scoop it up now, you won’t be disappointed. Five amazing stars.

5 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

 

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Two Little LiesFrom Goodreads: Lies can be very dangerous and deadly little things.

Almost four years after Laney Matthews survived a brush with death at the hands of Robbie Jameson, she has finally picked up the pieces of her life and started over. She’s made new friends, began dating again, attended countless therapy sessions, and is about to graduate in the spring from Blackburn University. Ever since that fateful night, Laney has tried to surround herself with positivity, and so far it’s been successful … but that’s all about to come crashing down.

When Laney receives news of Robbie’s release from prison, her bubble of security bursts and she begins to withdraw from everyday life. Her friends come to the rescue with a fun winter break getaway in order to clear their heads and shake off the end of semester finals. It’s here that Laney comes face to face again with Brent Lyles, the one true love that got away, and she begins to realize maybe he’s the exact thing that’s been missing in her crazy life.

Something’s amiss at the sprawling rental property though, and when things take a deadly turn, Laney and her friends are forced to fight for their lives. Has Robbie returned to finish what he started years ago? And is Laney prepared to stand up to her past demons once and for all?

The key to her survival this time though will be trust—a feeling she hasn’t embraced in quite some time.

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Two Little Lies is a heartpounding psychological thriller by the ever talented T.A. Kunz; one you seriously don’t want to miss. This novel pulled me in from the very first page and left me breathless at the end. Juxtaposing lighthearted banter with deadly intent, this mystery novel will leave you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the shoe to drop as Laney and her friends seclude themselves on a rental property in the dead of winter. Not all are going to survive the weekend…

I really enjoyed this novel! Kunz’s characterization was spot on, and I found myself seeing a bit of myself in Laney. Although I’ve never experienced anything to the extent that she has, the connection was there as I read of her insecurities and fear that the past might come back to haunt her. A survivor by nature, Laney is a strong-willed character that is forced to face her demons head on in a game of cat and mouse as the weekend unfolds, and as she learns through the many harrowing trials and tribulations, not everyone is who they profess to be.

I loved the characters, and the climax of the story really did have me on the edge of my seat, fretting about the characters and what would happen next. Kunz has created an extremely realistic and, therefore, scary world where evil pursues good, and I loved not knowing who to trust and waiting on pins and needles for the climax and the revelation that I never saw coming. This is a must read for sure. Five stars.

5 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Close Your Eyes Hold HandsFrom Goodreads: A heartbreaking, wildly inventive, and moving novel narrated by a teenage runaway, from the bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless girl living in an igloo made of garbage bags in Burlington. Nearly a year ago, a power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a meltdown, and both of Emily’s parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault—was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to leave their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer’s house, inventing a new identity for herself, and befriending a young homeless kid named Cameron. But Emily can’t outrun her past, can’t escape her grief, can’t hide forever-and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.

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This is an amazing, poignant story that delves deep into the world of teen homelessness. Emily Shepherd promises to tell the whole truth; she doesn’t sugarcoat it for readers, and she sometimes strays from the topic of hand, but the novel flows beautifully and I was enamored from the very beginning.

Life hasn’t been easy for Emily, and as the final remnants of her world fall apart with the meltdown of the nuclear power plant her parents run, disappearing becomes her only option. Scared of those around her and their reception of her family name, Emily takes on a different persona and hits the streets. This gritty depiction of her life as she recalls it isn’t overly graphic, but gets the point across just the same as it comes to drugs, stealing, shelter survival, lies, and meaningless sex.

I love Emily’s voice, and I’m in awe of Bohjalian’s ability to capture the essence of a teenaged girl as she hits rock bottom, attempts to care for a young runaway she meets on the street, and ultimately giving up. Where do you go when you have absolutely no one? As Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands unfolds, readers become one with Emily as she spirals down, reminiscing about her parents and her experiences along the way.

The title has a rather profound meaning that is explained near the very end—to close your eyes to the bad all around you and walk away from the bad, holding hands with another who will help keep you grounded, but in Emily’s case, there is no one to hold hands with, and as she stumbles blindly through life, ready for death, she becomes a resilient, strong young woman who beats the odds. Five stars.

5 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  This title releases today (and you really MUST read it!).

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Just-Couldn't-Put-It-Down-July - Copy

For my stop on the Just Couldn’t Put it Down Giveaway Hop, I’m giving away a signed paperback of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay as well as lots of signed swag and goodies.  Why?  Because I just couldn’t put this book down, and swag is awesome, right?

Synopsis of The Sea of Tranquility by Kayja Millay:

Sea of TranquilityI live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

This book is AMAZING, and I was lucky enough to meet Katja Millay at Book Bash a few weeks ago, where I picked up two copies of The Sea of Tranquility, one for me, and one for giveaway, because I am always looking to give back to my faithful readers, and what better to do so than with a signed giveaway of one of my favorite books?

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Check out everything you can win:

  • UntitledSigned Paperback of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
  • Sticker of Jordyn by Tiffany King
  • FREE Ebook Code for Soul Survivor by Michelle N. Files
  • Zipper Charm of Rout of the Dem-Shyr by Raine Thomas
  • Guitar Pick for “Post Modern Love” from the Fighting Fate Series by Paulina Ulrich

Signed Bookmarks from:

  • Bella Roccaforte—The Ink Series
  • Michelle N. Files—Soul Survivor
  • Katja Millay—The Sea of Tranquility
  • Dani Hart—A Firefighter’s Flame
  • Kristie Cook—Power
  • Tiffany King—The Saving Angels Series
  • Hollie Westring—Whispers and Wishes

Bookmarks from:

  • Angie Stanton
  • M.R. Merrick

Magnets from:

  • Elizabeth Kirke—Semester Aboard
  • Michelle N. Files
  • Shana—A Book Vacation Reviews

Cards from:

  • Tamara Rose Blodgett—The Reflective
  • Cambria Herbert—Before
  • Kelly Lynne—Celestina Silvenfare
  • Tiffany King—The Ascendant

Temporary Tattoos:

  • Angelfall
  • Alien

Buttons:

  • “SPQR—HeroesofOlympus”
  • “Flying Horse—HeroesofOlympus”

 

Excited?

To enter you must:

-Be 18 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

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

Click here to go to the Rafflecopter Entry Form!

This contest is open internationally and will end at 12:01am EST on August 17th. The winner will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!

To enter even more giveaway hops, jump on over to Stuck in Books to see them all, or click this linky to view all the blogs that are part of this hop.

PLEASE NOTE–This hop stop is NOT ending on July 20th like all the others.  It is going until August 17th.

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And don’t forget to enter my other epic giveaways:

 

Win a signed hardcover of Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, an exclusive book wrapper of Sinner, and tons of signed swag–ENDS August 10

What You Win

 Win a Signed Paperback of The Mechanic by Tim O’Rourke–ENDS August 20

The Mechanic

 



StrongerFrom Goodreads: Two men are vying for a place in Lydia Strong’s life. Desmond has solid ties from her distant past, while Aiden is only concerned about being her future. But right now, party-girl Lydia has lost herself in a shot glass and dozens of one night stands. She’s forgotten her own worth and she’s plummeting toward the rock bottom of her life. While Des and Aiden compete to create her future, Lydia realizes she’s got to be stronger than she’s ever been, to fight her addictions and choose the life she wants now. She must find herself again, before the wrong man walks away.

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Welcome to the riveting world of Lydia Strong, a woman spiraling down the wells of addiction. A novel completely unique and jarring, in amazing ways, Stronger pulls readers in, making Provencher’s tantalizing story the readers’ own addiction. Definitely one of my top ten reads of the year, Stronger is an extremely real, well written story that is not to be missed. Intense, passionate, real; this novel will leave readers breathless as it unfolds.

Certainly a read for the more mature crowds, this NA novel tackles topics such as abuse, self-worth, alcoholism, theft, and manipulation. It’s intense, but it’s Oh. So. Good. I was wrapped up in the story and truly felt like I was a part of it as I watched Lydia slowly fall to pieces, searching out one night stands (not too graphic on the sexual escapades) and alcohol to try and put the truth of her heartbreaking, loveless life behind her. Manipulated and at rock bottom, Lydia has much to overcome in order to begin building up her world once more, and that includes separating herself from the worst sort of abuser and allowing herself to love, live, and take control. But in order to do that, she’s got to love herself, first.

This is an amazingly intense novel that I absolutely adore. Provencher has done a fantastic job creating vivid, real characters and situations, and I highly suggest giving this one a read. I was a little concerned it might not be my cup of tea going in, but Provencher soon quelled my fears as this utterly fantastic novel unfolded. Be prepared for a slew of feels as this novel takes you on an amazing journey. It’s so perfectly written that you will fall deeply in love, just as I did. Five epic stars.

5 stars

I received this novel as a gift from my friend Lisa M. Ammari and was lucky enough to meet Misty Provencher this past weekend and purchase a signed copy for my reading shelf.

Amazon | Kindle (only $3.99) | Barnes and Noble



Perfect kind of TroubleFrom Goodreads: Sometimes when perfect falls apart, a little trouble fixes everything . . .

Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. After spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So when her late father-a man she barely knew-leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief . . . until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father’s protégé. To see any of her inheritance, she’s forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla’s seen his type before. But Daren isn’t who he seems to be . . .

Struggling to make amends for his family’s mistakes, Daren has a life more Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He’s beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner’s princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she’s just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla begin to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla’s dad could have left them . . . was each other.

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If you’re looking for the perfect summer read, then you’re in luck! Chelsea Fine’s The Perfect Kind of Trouble has just released, and with its sexy bad boy hero, the hilarious undertakings that include handcuffs, and a treasure hunt that truly means finding yourself, it’s a sure winner for readers looking for a light, sweet, romance. I gobbled it up, and I loved every minute of it.

From the characterization of Kayle and Daren (mmm, Daren) to the plotline itself, this novel had me captivated from the very beginning. Fine truly is a master storyteller; I’ve loved every single one of her novels to date, and I am excited about the third installment in the Finding Fates series—a series of stand alones that revolve around the same town, featuring different characters. This light read is 100% fun and a quick read because it’s that enticing.  Take a break and read The Perfect Kind of Trouble.  You won’t be disappointed.  Five stars.

5 stars

I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

Kobo

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Excerpt:

“So this is where you work?” She gestures at the closed kitchen door behind me as she approaches.

I step back so she can enter the courtyard then glance over my shoulder. “It’s more like the place where I help out in the kitchen, occasionally,” I say. “I like to cook so sometimes the owner, Jake, let’s me jump on the line.”

She tilts her head. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as the cooking type.”

“No?” I arch a brow. “What type am I?”

“Well the professional lover type, obviously.”

I grin. “That too.”

The teasing in her eyes along with the lightness of her smile does something soft to my insides. This is a different Kayla than the one I was sitting next to at the bar. That girl was stressed and burdened, but this girl… this girl is hopeful and happy.

The only reason I can think of for the change in her tone is the inheritance. Does the idea of getting money please her so much that she’s suddenly this cheerful person? Does it please me that much?

I remember Jake’s comment earlier, about my being happy, and realize with a sinking feeling that yes, the idea of an inheritance has made me happy. Money would alleviate some of my problems and, therefore, it gives me a security in my future that pleases me.

I’m not sure how I feel about money having so much control over my contentment. It makes me sound an awful lot like my dad.

“So what is this place?” she asks, nodding to the courtyard around us.

I look up at the small twinkle lights strung above the area. “Right now it’s just storage space. But Jake wants to make it into a dining patio. You know, so people can rent it out for private parties or whatever.”

“It’s cute.” She walks around, checking out the rose bushes that line the fence and the Tuscany-inspired mural painted against the back wall.

“So where you off to?” I step closer so we’re both beside the painted wall. “Back to your humble abode at the Quickie Stop?”

She scoffs. “Humble indeed. But yeah.”

I glance at the dark parking lot beyond the fence and the even darker streets that lead to the edge of town, and frown. “By yourself?”

She faces me with a cocked eyebrow. “Yeah. I’ve got my own driver’s license and everything.”

I smile at the ground. “Okay, that’s fair.” I glance at the dark streets again. “I’m just a concerned citizen that wanted to make sure you got home safely. That’s all.”

She nods. “How very kind of you, citizen. Would you rather I be going back to the Quickie Stop with someone?”

The idea of Kayla going home with someone—anyone, other than me—rakes down my spine like nails on a chalkboard. I don’t know when I got so possessive of this girl but holy hell. My veins are on fire.

How very unexpected. And somewhat annoying.

I don’t get possessive of women. Ever. Sure, I care about Amber and Pixie but that’s different. I care about them like sisters. I’m protective of them. I couldn’t really give a damn who they, or any other female in this town, go to bed with.

But Kayla?

Hot jealousy darts through my veins.

How very annoyingly unexpected.

I set my shoulders back in a casual manner. “Not particularly,” I say coolly. “I just wasn’t sure if you had a ride or not.”

“Oh.” She runs a finger over her lips. “And what, you were going to offer me a ride?”

I watch the tip of her finger skim over the pink fullness of her bottom lip and my breath hitches. She can’t say things like “give me a ride” and touch her mouth at the same time. That’s just not fair.

“Well I might have offered you a ride,” I say, inwardly cursing as I remember sweet, precious Monique, “except I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to take rides from strangers. And since that’s what you and I are…” I sigh dramatically. “It would have just been a waste of time to ask you.”

She smiles behind her moving fingers and I start to wonder if she’d let me kiss her. My guess is, yes. Maybe.

I want to kiss Kayla. Badly. But the idea of kissing her, of touching her at all, also makes me a little nervous. And I’m never nervous when it comes to women.

Goddammit. Everything about this girl is unexpected.

“You’re so obsessed with us not being strangers,” she says, and her eyes shine. “That can’t be healthy.”

I probably shouldn’t kiss her. We have an inheritance to claim tomorrow. We have shit to follow through with. Kissing her is a bad idea. A very bad idea.

“No. Probably not.” I step closer so we’re only inches apart. “But I can’t seem to let it go.”

She doesn’t move away. She doesn’t break eye contact.

Yes. She’d definitely let me kiss her. I’m sure of it.

My heart pounds and it’s all I can do to keep my nonchalant demeanor in place.

“Is that what we are, Kayla?” I lower my voice with a crooked grin. “Strangers?”

She meets my crooked grin and raises me a tipped chin. Her eyes are steel and sure, not giving anything away, and I suddenly feel unsure.

I lean in.

She doesn’t react. But she also doesn’t back away.

Kissing her is a bad idea.

Her lips part, ever so slightly, a thin seam of wet flesh forming between the soft skin of her pretty lips, and all my reservations vanish.AddtoGoodreads

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 And don’t miss Book 1 in the Finding Fate Series…

BEST KIND OF BROKEN! (only 99 cents!)

See my 5 star review here:

Best Kind of Broken

Finding Fates

And be sure to pre-order Right Kind of Wrong, book three in the amazing finding fates series!

Right Kind of Wrong: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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 Author PhotoABOUT CHELSEA FINE:

Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

 

LINKS:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Instagram

Goodreads

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 Giveaway!

 

Win one of 10 digital copies of The Perfect Kind of Trouble.

 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway Here!

 



It’s time for some awesome double cover reveals!!!

Titles: Rout of the Dem-Shyr and Rise of the Faire-Amanti by Raine Thomas

Series: The Ascendant Series, Books 2 and 3

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Rout of the Dem-Shyr (Ascendant Series, Book 2)

Rout of the Dem-Shyr

Rise of the Faire-Amanti (Ascendant Series, Book 3)

Rise of the Faire-Amanti

Publisher: Iambe Books, LLC

Cover Designer: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design

Genre: New Adult Sci-Fi Romance

Recommended Audience: Readers 17+

Projected Release Dates: Rout of the Dem-Shyr (July 2014) and Rise of the Faire-Amanti (Nov 2014)

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Check out the covers all together. Don’t they look amazing??

The Ascendant Series

Did you miss the first book in the series, Return of the Ascendant? Grab your copy today!

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iBooks ~ Kobo

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And now, it’s Trailer Reveal Time! Turn those speakers up!!!

Trailer created by Flatline Films

And Check out my 5 star review of Return of the Ascendant HERE!



See MeFrom Goodreads: While most seventeen-year-old American girls would refuse to let their parents marry them off to a stranger, Robyn Mason dreams of the mysterious McKale in Ireland, wondering how he’ll look and imagining his cute Irish accent. Prearranged bindings are common for magical families like her own, however when she travels to the whimsical Emerald Isle she discovers there’s more to her betrothal and McKale’s clan than she was led to believe.

What starts as an obligatory pairing between Robyn and McKale morphs over time into something they both need. But one giant obstacle stands in the way of their budding romance: a seductive and deadly Fae princess accustomed to getting what she wants—and what she wants is McKale as her plaything. Love, desire, and jealousies collide as Robyn’s family and McKale’s clan must work together to outsmart the powerful Faeries and preserve the only hope left for their people.

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It’s not every day that you hear someone say that Leprechauns are sexy, but if anyone can make them so, it’s Wendy Higgins. And sexy they are in Higgin’s latest release, See Me. Going into this story, I already knew Higgins was an amazing writer, having read her Sweet Trilogy, and I expected nothing less from See Me, but I do have to admit—I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with a Leprechaun.

I absolutely gobbled up this story, reading it in one sitting as Higgins entices the readers through two main, down-to-earth characters, McKale and Robyn. Perhaps what I loved most about this novel is that it is a true romance. While both Robyn and McKale are betrothed from birth, having never met, it’s not an insta-love story. While there is instant attraction, Higgins allows time of the two to really fall for each other, spending the entire summer together, wooing and dating–amidst the impending threat of the Fae.

True to the faedom, the Summer Court is full to treachery and trickery, and McKale and Robyn find themselves in the thick of it as this novel unfolds. The faerie princess Khalistah was a character I loved to hate, and I was thankful that both McKale and Robyn turned to one another and others for help, depending on their parents and those much older than themselves in their greatest time of need. It was great to see young adults actually rely on parents for a change, and though swoonworthy, this novel is definitely a clean read, which I feel is few and far between nowadays.

It isn’t a heavy read by any means, and I highly suggest it if you’re looking for something completely different. Five amazing stars.

5 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



After the EndFrom Goodreads: She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

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I didn’t have access to the internet when I started reading this novel on my Kindle, so I couldn’t refresh my memory about the synopsis before I plunged in. But truth be told, I actually think not knowing the synopsis made After the End even more interesting for me because early on, when the truth hit about WWIII for Juneau and Miles, I was shocked and totally riveted to the spot. It’s always fun to go into a book without knowing the premise, and generally I am always surprised by what I learn along the way, having no expectations going in, and so I feel like I should do it more often, especially after absolutely falling in love with this novel.
I will admit that the first chapter didn’t reel me in right away. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and this is why people write a synopsis for books in the first place—to give a little background. Juneau’s story was a bit interesting, but not riveting, and I was definitely thinking Hunger Games throughout that first chapter, but then Miles came on the scene and changed everything for me. I can’t express how exciting it is to figure something out before a character does; to have an “aha” moment before the entire picture becomes clear, but as Miles’ story began to evolve, I definitely had a moment where everything suddenly clicked and I was hooked, line and sinker.

If you haven’t read the synopsis above as of yet, well, I’m about to ruin it for you. The whole idea of a society gone into hiding after WWIII, only for the truth to come out that there never was a WWIII, well… genius. Just. Genius.

Can you imagine finding out that the entire world you know and understand, or thought you knew and understood, was a lie? That everyone, mentors and parents included, have lied to you since birth? It’s mind boggling, yet this is exactly what Juneau experiences as her world deteriorates around her. Thrust into the unknown, a world she was taught to fear, she must trust the most unlikely allies in order to find her family, and it’s definitely a bumpy and intense ride the entire way.

Filled with elements of the paranormal, Plum’s latest novel is epically fun. I especially love that it’s told from two different viewpoints, allowing readers inside the minds of both Juneau and Miles as they make decisions and choices that could ultimately end with their death if they aren’t careful—but to not take risks means ultimate failure and the death of others. Locked between a rock and a hard place, unsure just how much trust to put in the other, both Juneau and Miles have many choices to make, and lots of growing up to do. Five amazing stars.

5 stars

In exchange for an honest review, has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on May 6, 2014.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Ascendant Banner for Raine Available Now

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Return of the Ascendant

 

From Goodreads: Expecting to enjoy another typical college night at a frat party with friends, Kyra Vaughn’s plans derail when she’s almost killed…twice. Her savior, a tall, sexy stranger who calls himself TaeDane, claims that he’s the personal bodyguard for the Ascendant of Alametria. She’s convinced he’s crazy.

Especially when he insists that she’s the Ascendant.

With dark enemies hunting her down, Kyra has no choice but to trust her supposed bodyguard. Ty vows to help her remember her past and return her safely to Alametria, but someone seems intent on interfering, challenging his abilities at every turn.

As Kyra’s memories emerge, she remembers that Ty is more to her than he’s let on…much more than he’s allowed to be. She’ll also discover that there are many things about her planet and herself that she’d rather forget. In the end, she’ll have to make a choice: cling to the life she knows, or risk it all to become the person she’s destined to be.
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Fast-paced and full of heart-pounding adventure, Thomas takes readers on a ride they won’t soon forget as Kyra learns the truth of her heritage in Return of the Ascendant. I am in awe of Thomas’ sheer writing ability, in love with Ty, and dying to know what happens next. Thankfully, Thomas does not make it a habit of leaving her readers on a cliffhanger, and while this novel is the first in a series, it does have an epic conclusion that helps tide readers over as we await the next installment of this amazing alien series.

Currently residing on earth, the only planet Kyra consciously knows she’s ever lived upon, her world comes crashing down as a handsome and mysterious stranger enters her life, carrying her away as the shadows creep down upon her and her friends. Complete with romance, epic battles, and a plot that thickens at every turn, Kyra’s story is sure to entice readers from the very beginning, drawing them in and not releasing until the very last page.

As Kyra slowly begins to remember her past and accept her future as the Ascendant, the ruler of worlds, she must battle the rigid and unforgiving etiquette of a society she wants nothing to do with, and a group intent on stopping her from accepting her right as the Ascendant. It’s heart-pounding fun, and I will admit that there were multiple times that my entire body tensed as Kyra and Ty found themselves up against the odds, facing difficult, dangers, and even heinous situations.

This one is a MUST read; I highly recommend it to all NA lovers 18+–reader beware, there are a few hot hot scenes, hence the age warning.

There is also a short novelette prequel to this novel called” The Ascendant,” which focuses on the memory Kyra shares with Ty concerning a car accident. While explained well enough in Return of the Ascendant, this short novelette is well worth the read as it is more specific and sheds light on the story. I read the novellete first and was dying to read The Return of the Ascendant by the end–“The Ascendant,” too, is indeed a must read. Find it in the Take Me To Your Reader Anthology.  Five stars all around.

5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

AVAILABLE NOW for just 99 cents!!!

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Raine ThomasAbout Raine Thomas:

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of a series of YA fantasy/romance novels about the Estilorian plane, including the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy and the Firstborn trilogy. She is also the author of the bestselling New Adult Contemporary Romance, For Everly, and the much-anticipated spin-off, Meant for Her.

She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer’s Voice. When she isn’t planning weddings, writing, or glued to social media, she can usually be found on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Ways readers can connect with Raine:
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River in the SeaFrom Goodreads: At fifteen, Leen De Graaf likes everything she shouldn’t: smoking cigarettes, wearing red lipstick, driving illegally, and working in the fields. It seems the only thing she shares with her fellow Dutchmen is a fear of the German soldiers stationed nearby and a frantic wish for the war to end.

When a soldier’s dog runs in front of Leen’s truck, her split-second reaction sets off a storm of events that pitches her family against the German forces when they are most desperate – and fierce. Leen tries to hold her family together, but despite her efforts, bit by bit everything falls apart, and just when Leen experiences a horrific loss, she must make a decision that could forever brand her a traitor, yet finally allows her to live as her heart desires.

Inspired by events experienced by the author’s mother, River in the Sea is a powerfully moving account of one girl reaching adulthood when everything she believes about family, friendship, and loyalty is questioned by war.

Readers who want to immerse themselves in a story with both a plot and characters that keep the pages turning will love River in the Sea.  For fans of The Book Thief, Those Who Save Us, and Sarah’s Key.
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This is an absolutely stunning, captivating read that held me in its grip from the very beginning. I started it late at night, yet stayed up well into the wee hours of the morning to finish this gem–and it absolutely blew me away.

We hear much about the Holocaust and WWII, but I feel that we don’t hear as much about the other countries and people groups who were affected by Hitler’s regime outside of Germany and Poland, and this novel, River in the Sea, focuses on the German occupation of one small town and its people in the Netherlands in late 1944.

Leen De Graaf is just a young teen, but she knows the taste of fear and death; she knows to keep her head down and not draw attention to herself, but in one sweep of panic, upsets all the rules and barely escapes with her innocence intact.  And with this simple misstep comes a series of events that create a domino effect, leaving none untouched.

As the underground resistance works to thwart the German army and save the innocent, intense fear, a lack of food, disunity among families, and immense feelings of sorrow and guilt splash across the pages and evolve in such a way that it makes for a truly superb, poignant, and beautiful read. Make sure you have a box of tissues nearby as the novel definitely tugs at the heartstrings.  Five amazing stars.

5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review and I highly recommend it (especially at just 99 cents on Kindle!!)

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Wendy Higgins, the author of the amazing Sweet Evil Trilogy, just released her latest novel, See Me, in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day!  See Me is a YA Urban Fantasy, Romance, Magical Realism, Irish Folklore, and it’s on sale today for just $1.99!!

See MeWhile most seventeen-year-old American girls would refuse to let their parents marry them off to a stranger, Robyn Mason dreams of the mysterious McKale in Ireland, wondering how he’ll look and imagining his cute Irish accent. Prearranged bindings are common for magical families like her own, however when she travels to the whimsical Emerald Isle she discovers there’s more to her betrothal and McKale’s clan than she was led to believe.

What starts as an obligatory pairing between Robyn and McKale morphs over time into something they both need. But one giant obstacle stands in the way of their budding romance: a seductive and deadly Fae princess accustomed to getting what she wants—and what she wants is McKale as her plaything. Love, desire, and jealousies collide as Robyn’s family and McKale’s clan must work together to outsmart the powerful Faeries and preserve the only hope left for their people.

Scoop it up today for just $1.99!!

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Best Kind of BrokenFrom Goodreads: Pixie and Levi haven’t spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are… awkward.

All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they’re forced to share a bathroom, and therefore a shower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.

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Chelsea Fine has written many amazing YA novels, and I’ve read and loved Every. Single. One. Now, Fine is stepping into the world of New Adult with her debut novel and upcoming release, Best Kind of Broken, that’s about to his shelves, and of course, it is just as amazing as her YA work, if not better.  Having read this amazing novel in one sitting, I can’t help but state that it is a masterpiece full of raw emotion, snarky retorts, and steamy tension that will leave readers in love with both Pixie and Levi, and wanting much more.

Readers instantly fall in love with Pixie’s spunk from the get go; her fiery attitude and indignation at having to live and work at the inn with dreamy Levi instantly brought a smile to my face, and the tension between the two is definitely palpable. Levi and Pixie are two amazing characters, full of gumption, yet bogged down with feelings of guilt.  Each is struggling to come back from a heartbreaking experience that has sent them on a downward spiral, unable to find peace or joy in the simple things of life and leaving them incapable of civilly interacting with one another. For much of the first half of the novel, the reader is kept in the dark concerning the rift that now plagues Levi and Pixie as they attempt to live and skirt around one another, though it becomes apparent early on that they used to be the best of friends.  As the novel unfolds, though, readers slowly begin to piece together the circumstances of their relations, both past and present, and it is indeed one of heartbreak, yet it’s so beautifully crafted.  I absolutely adored the first person narration that altered between both Levi and Pixie, giving me a window to their souls as the truth comes out.

This is ultimately a story of healing–from the ashes of their past comes a new dawn, and as Pixie and Levi continuously fight, if only to push the sadness from their minds, Chelsea brings this intense, sassy, and emotional novel to the perfect, albeit emotional, end. Reader beware, however, that Best Kind of Broken does leave readers emotionally raw, and a box of tissues is definitely a recommendation, especially as the conclusion comes in sight.

I highly recommend this beautiful novel for mature 18+ readers due to two graphic sexual scenes.  Five stars.

5 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Forever (Grand Central Publishing) has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 4, 2014.

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Pre-order this gem NOW for less than $5!!!

BEST KIND OF BROKEN GRAPHIC

AND you can PRE-ORDER books two and three now, too!!

Perfect Kind of Trouble: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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Finding FatesLevi Red



White Hot KissFrom Goodreads: One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

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This was an absolutely brilliant novel by the ever talented Jennifer Armentrout.  I was wrapped up tightly in the story from the very beginning, and I just love the world that Armentrout has created.  Imagine finding out that Wardens, gargoyle like creates, really walk the earth.  They say that they are here to protect mankind, but their aloofness, hard exterior (no pun intended), and their ability to take human form, make them an entity to be feared among the human race.  But what humans don’t know is that the Wardens are really here to fight the demons—and their secret weapon?  Layla, a half-demon, half gargoyle, whose touch creates a beacon on any demon she comes in contact with, allows the Wardens to easily remove the threat of demons without the humans evening knowing it exists…

Welcome to Layla’s life.  She’s a kick-butt heroine who lives with the Wardens, having embraced her Warden side and despising all things demon (including her own self)—partially because it’s been drilled into her for so long—ever since she was brought to the Warden complex as a child—and partially because she knows it means she’ll never know love.  Layla has a decent life, though she’s never been kissed, and the love of her life, Zayne, a full-blooded Warden, can never be hers—mainly because Layla’s kiss can suck the life right out of whoever, or whatever, it is she’s kissing.  Unless it’s a demon… but that would be going against every mantra engrained in her head since she can remember.  But is it truly wrong?  Are all demons evil, like Layla’s been led to believe?

Armentrout takes readers on a whirlwind, fast paced adventure in her latest novel, White Hot Kiss, and I loved every minute of it, from the heart pounding action and soft budding romance to the betrayals and final revelation, this novel is perfect in every sense of the word… and I can’t wait for more.  I loved Zayne, but Roth is my true love.  A demon, a bad boy, and ever so right for Layla, he proves himself time and time again, and thus readers can’t help but wonder, who is telling the truth?  The Wardens or the demons?  You’ll have to read this enticing story to find out.  Five amazing stars.

5 stars

 Harlequin Teen has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on February 25, 2014.

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You need to pre-order this one–Amazon has it for less than 6 bucks!!

AND–the PREQUEL, Bitter Sweet Love, is currently FREE on Amazon (at time of this post)!  SCOOP IT UP STAT!



Ten Things We DidOne of my favorite novels, Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski, is on SALE–paperback sale–for just $3.60 from Amazon!

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From Goodreads: 2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn’t have.

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe “opportunity” isn’t the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: “Lied to Our Parents”). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up “Skipping School” (#3), “Throwing a Crazy Party” (#8), “Buying a Hot Tub” (#4), and, um, “Harboring a Fugitive” (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn’t-have-done at a time.

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To see my 5 Star Review of this awesome novel, click HERE!

Hurry and scoop up your paperback NOW before Amazon runs out!!!

AMAZON



The Tyrant's DaughterFrom Amazon: THERE: In an unnamed Middle Eastern country, fifteen-year-old Laila has always lived like royalty. Her father is a dictator of sorts, though she knows him as King—just as his father was, and just as her little brother Bastien will be one day. Then everything changes: Laila’s father is killed in a coup.

HERE: As war surges, Laila flees to a life of exile in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Overnight she becomes a nobody. Even as she adjusts to a new school and new friends, she is haunted by the past. Was her father really a dictator like the American newspapers say? What was the cost of her family’s privilege?

Far from feeling guilty, her mother is determined to regain their position of power. So she’s engineering a power play—conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to gain a foothold to the throne. Laila can’t bear to stand still as yet another international crisis takes shape around her. But how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

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Throughout history, there have been many dictators and tyrants leading their countries into war, be it with other countries, or within the boundaries of their own. Civil wars and bloodshed have been on the rise throughout the world, especially within recent years, and J.C. Carleson’s novel, The Tyrant’s Daughter comes at such a time when the world’s eyes are glued to the events currently unfolding in Syria, while also reminding us of the civil unrest that is still occurring in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the list goes on.

While I have read many novels about genocides, civil war, and the memoirs of those affected by civil unrest, Carelson’s novel is the first I’ve come across focusing on the life of a dictator’s wife and children.  And though fictional, Carleson gives readers a glimpse into the family life that we rarely hear about, but have always questioned.  I remember a few years back, I was flipping through the TV Guide channel and saw that a station, perhaps the history channel, was going to run a special about Hitler’s children, a “where are they now” kind of documentary, but didn’t watch it because it was scheduled to run in the dead of night.  I’d forgotten about it until now.  I wish I had watched it.

The Tyrant’s Daughter focuses on the life of Laila as she acclimates to her new life in the U.S.  A place of immense freedom, where she doesn’t have to cover herself and she can interact with the opposite sex without being shunned or beaten.  It’s a brand new world for her, and as she soon finds out, a safe-haven from the worn-torn country she left when her father, a tyrant by every definition, was murdered. Having been subjected to limited access to the internet within her country, Laila now sees the truths about her father and her family as the news reports flood in concerning the uprisings, death toll, and the new tyrant (her uncle) running her country.

Carelson’s novel is extremely powerful and I was glued to the pages as I read.  Laila’s story is poignant and believable, and as she attempts to understand the new knowledge she gains about her father’s actions, everything in her life is upended.  Believed by some to have inner knowledge of her father’s actions, she is shunned by refugees from her country, while her mother refuses to back down from her queen status and moves invisible pawns in order to grant her 7 year old son, Bastien, Laila’s brother, the right be rule his country.  It’s an intense read, and really made me stop and think; just how much do the children of dictators know?  And while society has a tendency to lump a family in with the sins of the father, wondering how they couldn’t know the reality, is there more truth in the fact that children, and sometimes even wives, have limited or no knowledge of the extent of the atrocities their fathers/husbands/parents commit?

This is a fictional tale, as I’ve said, but derives itself from the many true events that surround dictators, both past and present, and it’s a must read.  Although slated as a YA book, this novel is riveting and one I highly recommend for adults as well.  Five stars.

5 stars

Random House Children’s and Alfred A. Knopf BFYR have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on February 11, 2014, in exchange for an honest review.

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The LureFrom Goodreads: From the bestselling author of the Daughters of the Moon series comes a gritty, sexy novel about a teen who is forced to become a “lure”-a beautiful girl who is used to lure victims of gang violence.

Fifteen-year-old Blaise Montgomery lives in the gritty outskirts of Washington, DC, where a stray bullet can steal a life on the way to school. Drugs and violence are the only ways to survive, so Blaise and her friends turn to gangs for safety, money, and love. When Blaise is invited to join Core 9, one of the most infamous crews, she jumps at the chance. Though her best guy friends, Rico and Satch, warn her about the danger, she agrees to be beaten for a minute straight as part of the gang’s initiation ritual.

Now Blaise is finally part of a crew. A family.

But things get only more dangerous when she becomes a member of Core 9 and tensions with a rival gang heat up. Trek, the head of Core 9, asks Blaise to be his “lure,” the sexy bait he’ll use to track down enemy gang members and exact revenge. Rico and Satch tell her it’s a death sentence, but Blaise can’t resist the money and unparalleled power. As Trek puts Blaise in increasingly dangerous situations, she begins to see that there’s more to lose than she ever realized-including Satch, the one person who has the power to get under her skin. With death lurking around every corner, should Blaise continue to follow the only path she’s ever known, or cut and run?

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I have been extremely fortunate in life having grown up in a safe neighborhood with two loving parents that supported me in everything.  I never had to worry for my safety when walking out the door, didn’t need to look over my shoulder at school, never had to know alternate routes to get home, worry about gunshots at all hours of the day, or whether there would be enough money coming in for my parents to pay the bills.  I knew where my next meal was coming from, what colleges I wanted to go to, how I would pay for my education after high school, and that I could obtain my goals in life without much standing in my way.

Blaise Montgomery doesn’t live in a safe neighborhood.  Her mother is a drug addict, her father is dead, and her grandmother works late hours and brings home little money.  Leaving her house is a risky choice, day in and day out.  In order to stay alive, Blaise has to know multiple ways around her community in case the ever present dangers of gang violence close off a route, or two.  She has to know what hallways she can walk down and what stairwells to avoid in school if she wants to get home in one piece, with her virginity still intact.  She worries about her grandmother who works too hard and doesn’t have enough money to feed Blaise, let alone herself.  Blaise would love to go to college, but can barely scrape by in school because survival is on her mind 24/7.  The present is all that matters, and she knows, just like everyone else in her neighborhood, that life ends all too soon.  She’s seen people try to better themselves, try to get out, but most of them end up in body bags.  So what’s the point?

While I have never experienced any of what Blaise experiences, the cold hard truth is that many, many children grow up in this exact environment, and as a high school teacher working on the cusp of the city, I’ve taught many of students in a similar situation.  I didn’t used to know these places really existed, not until I became a teacher.  If you don’t experience it, or you don’t know someone who has, it’s very easy to live in a bubble that just understand that there are many struggling to survive. And it’s a heartbreaking experience to realize that yes, this is real.  Just because I haven’t lived it doesn’t mean it’s not.  And while it’s easy to look down on people in these situations, saying they need to get an education, that they need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, that’s not a reality.  What’s more important?  Education or food? Education or life? Education or belonging?

If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you’ll note that physiological needs come first, and then that of safety.  People need to have their basic needs met—food, water, excretion, sleep— before they can move up the scale.  If these needs are met, then safety takes over. Those who don’t feel safe on a regular basis are, therefore, unable to move up the scale.  They’re unable to have true friendships, or focus on family, because the very real fear for their safety controls everything they do and think.  This explains exactly what Blaise is dealing with on a very real level.  She barely has any food—she’s hungry a lot of the time, and she’s scared for her safety.  Her need level has plateaued between Physiological and Safety.  But once she’s part of a gang, once she’s found her “family,” she’s able to move up to the Love and Belonging stage—a stage she’s been yearning to grasp for some time.  So it’s no surprise that she joins a gang in her neighborhood—a gang that literally beats her into it as their hazing ritual to see if she’s tough enough to stand within their ranks.  And it makes me sick, but I’ve found that this hazing experience is another truth in terms of gang life—one I first heard about when discussing life with my students over the past few years.

Within Core 9, Blaise fits in, and now she can begin to work towards self-esteem, confidence, achievement… except being in the gang doesn’t guarantee extreme safety, and as Blaise realizes fairly quickly, there is just as much to fear inside a gang than there is outside of it.  So, she finds herself hovering between the Safety and Love/Belonging stage in the Hierarchy of Needs.  Is it any wonder, then, that Blaise can’t focus on school?  That she can’t foresee herself ever getting out of her ghetto alive, let alone bettering herself and going to college?  While we may want to judge her, especially as the media likes to focus on the few amazing stories of those who “got out,” who “pulled themselves up by their boot straps,” this isn’t that story.  This is the story of the many who are left behind.  This is the story of those who can’t get out.

Of course, Blaise makes decisions that I hat—and so do her friends.  Of course, I wanted to knock “some sense” into them as I read, to scream at them to call the cops, to run away, to do something… but in all truth, why call the cops when you know they can’t help you?  Why run when it will only show your weakness and land you a bullet in your back?  Blaise has more sense than I ever would have in her shoes, and though the going is tough and she’s finds herself in a very precarious situation, she continues on as best as she can.  And that is pure courage.

Originally I didn’t want to pick up this novel.  I was afraid it would focus on servitude sex and the downtrodden woman.  But it doesn’t—Blaise isn’t raped and any mention of sex is more so glossed over.  Instead, what this novel does do is show the very real truth about gang violence and the people who grow up surrounded by it.  It shows the many dangers in life that a lot of us don’t even realize exist.  And it breaks my heart, but this is one intense, powerful read if you really understand the truths behind it.  Five amazing stars.

5 starsHarperCollins Publishers and Balzer + Bray have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this powerful novel, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review prior to its release on February 11, 2014.

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SecretFrom Goodreads: Nowhere is safe. Not even home…

Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point.

Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown.
Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.
Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—-or he’ll lose his family.

Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner.

Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers.

There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.

Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?

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This fourth full installment in the five part Elemental series is finally here, and it’s just what we’ve come to expect from the talented Brigid Kemmerer!  Intense, sensual, fast-paced, and heart-wrenching, it’s an unputdownable read, keeping readers up late into the night until the very last sentence leaps off the page.

It’s a beautiful story following the life of Nick—the only Merrick brother who, as of yet, has not been the full center of his own book.  Whereas Michael has Elemental, Chris has Storm, Gabriel has Spark, and even Hunter, an outsider to the family, has Spirit, Nick has, until this moment, been more so on the sidelines.  In other words, Kemmerer was saving the best for last. Granted Michael has not had a full novel all to himself yet either, but he has appeared more so as a central character within all the books.  And though we get a small taste of Nick in his novella Breathless, this is the first time we really, really see him front and center in a full length novel.

Nick has always been a quiet, level headed soul.  He’s the brother everyone can count on, and in so being, he has internalized much of his emotions.  Convinced his family wouldn’t understand his wants and needs, he keeps his desires to himself, bottled up from the whole world, refusing to face his inner being.  Yearning to run away from it all and attend college out of state, he also struggles with admitting his newfound attraction to Adam, a beautiful soul that really helps make this story.

The threat of the Guides, the lack of income, and the pressure of school steadily overcomes Nick as he attempts to keep his life together. But as tensions rise, his outlets begin to diminish while his ever present fear for those around him continues to mount, causing Nick to begin to fall in more ways than one.

This is a beautiful story of acceptance, focusing not only the choices at hand, but also on the past.  It is a story of forgiveness, of finding one’s way in the world and picking up the pieces when it all falls apart.  And ultimately, it is a story of love—through friendship, family, and romance.

This novel is by far the best of the series, though I’ve loved every single book, and I cannot wait for the final installment, that of Michael Merrick, to bring the series full circle.  It begins with Michael, and so it will end with Michael, and I just know Kemmerer has some amazing things in store for her readers.  Five amazing stars.

5 starsKensington Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this beautiful novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on January 28, 2014.

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Elemental Kindle | Nook
Storm Kindle | Paperback | Nook
Fearless Kindle | Nook
Spark Kindle | Paperback | Nook
Breathless Kindle | Nook
Spirit Kindle | Paperback | Nook
Secret Kindle | Paperback | Nook

Sacrifice Kindle | Paperback

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Book Depository | iBooks | IndieBound

Read the full series!

Elemental (#0.5)

Storm (#1)

Fearless (#1.5)

Spark (#2)

Breathless (#2.5)

Spirit (#3)

Secret (#4)



Have I told you lately how much I adore Tiffany King?  She’s a phenomenal author, and just because I enjoy gifting great books to awesome readers, I’ve decided to do an ebook giveaway of No Attachments for two lucky winnersThis is an amazing novel–read my 5 star review here!

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No AttachmentsSynopsis:

Ashton Garrison walked away from her current life to escape the one thing she’s unwilling to face. She knows her decision may be selfish, but in the end, leaving will be far less painful for everyone. Now she has one goal: live life to the fullest with no regrets and no attachments. What Ashton doesn’t count on is how fate always seems to find a way to screw up any good plan.

Nathan Lockton specializes in locating a mark. He’s done it over and over again—no attachments and no emotion necessary. What he thought was a routine lost-and-found job has forced Nathan to deal with something he has always ignored—his feelings. He’s never fallen for a target, yet he’s never met anyone like Ashton. Now deep in a dilemma, Nathan must decide to follow his heart, or complete the job he was hired to do.

Love can come when you least expect it. The question is: If the odds are stacked against you, how far are you willing to go for the one you love?

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To enter this giveaway, you must:

-Be 18 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

Must PROMISE to HONESTLY review the novel within a timely manner online (such as on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Personal Blog, etc.)

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

Click this Rafflecopter Link to Enter!

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY (please make sure you can accept the ebook gift from Amazon/Barnes and Noble in) and will end at 12:01am EST on January 9th. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced later on January 9th, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!



Vampire ShiftFrom Goodreads: When twenty-year-old police recruit Kiera Hudson is posted to the remote town of The Ragged Cove, her life is changed forever. Investigating a series of horrific murders, grave desecrations and missing persons, with her unique ability of ‘seeing’, Kiera soon realizes her life is in danger.

But when Kiera falls in love with Police officer Luke Bishop, not only is her mind and her heart opened to a terrifying new world, she comes to suspect that Luke might be involved in the killings. In a race against time to unearth the truth, Kiera must discover the identity of who or what is behind the gruesome deaths on the ‘Vampire Shift’.

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This holiday season, I am re-reading two of my favorite series by author Tim O’Rourke: Kiera Hudson Series One and Two.  As the second series is nearly at its end, and the third series is about to begin, I thought to myself that it was high time I re-read, especially since the Kiera Hudson series was originally only going to be a one series, three book deal.  Sixteen books later, O’Rourke still has my attention, and the world he’s built is so intricate and captivating that Kiera Hudson and her friends have become to me what Harry Potter and his friends are to many the world over: a special part of my life.

A completely original masterpiece, unlike any other vampire novel I’ve ever read, O’Rourke combines his knowledge of the police force alongside vampire lore to create a riveting new series starring Kiera Hudson, an intelligent, alert, strong, aspiring young policewoman fresh out of the academy. And while you may know all about vampires, they’ve got nothing on O’Rourke’s creation, the Vampyrus.   Complete with suspense, mystery, intrigue, and horror, Vampire Shift takes readers on a journey into the depths of The Ragged Cove, a place where many have ventured, but few have survived.  And it’s an amazing rollercoaster of a ride, even the second time around.  Knowing what I do now about the characters, the winged Vampyrus, and the world in which it all takes place, re-reading this series is actually even more fun than the first as I’m able to piece it all together and see how all the books and different series that O’Rourke has written are actually all intertwined. Noting the small but important missteps of the characters, knowing who is ultimately good and who is bad, and falling in love all over again is just a bonus as I go through my re-reading.  I’m seeing it all in a new light, but that really doesn’t change my perspective at all–this novel is still a 5 star in my book.

I love that Kiera is a strong female lead, possessing the gift of sight when so many others miss vital clues.  She sees what others miss, like a stain on a tie or a slight favoring of a leg, and she’s able to assess the person, quite quickly might I add, based on her multiple observations that seem to happen in the blink of an eye.  Of course, though an asset to any police force, Kiera comes on the scene in The Ragged Cove only to be met with disdain by the current police force. There are many sinister plots at work here, and nothing is indeed what it seems.  But, the fact that Kiera does not crumple and stays true to herself, trusting her instincts, makes her an outstanding, strong character that readers will quickly come to love.  If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, then you’ll love Kiera, though she thankfully lacks the haughty and sometimes infuriating attitude of Mr. Holmes.

In truth, O’Rourke weaves together a seamless story of horror and romance in this first book of the series, and it will captivate both new and old readers alike. I highly recommend this new adult novel to all readers, both young and old alike. Five stars to this magnificent novel.

Vampire Shift is FREE on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo at the time of this post, so do make sure you scoop it up and join the world of Kiera Hudson.

5 stars

I own multiple copies of this novel in both paperback and ebook format.

Check out the book trailer to further whet your appetite for this amazing novel:

Check out O’Rourke’s other novels (they are indeed all amazing):

Kiera Hudson Series 1

Vampire Shift (#1)

Vampire Wake (#2)

Vampire Hunt (#3)

Vampire Breed (#4)

Wolf House (#4.5)

Vampire Hollows (#5)

Kiera Hudson Series 2

Dead Flesh (#1)

Dead Night: Potter’s Secrets (#1.5)

Dead Angels (#2)

Dead Statues (#3)

Dead Seth (#4)

Dead Wolf (#5)

Dead Water (#6)

Dead Push  (#7)

Dead Lost (#8)

Dead End (#9)–Coming Soon

Kiera Hudson Series 3

Lethal Infected (1)–Coming Soon

Jack Seth Novellas

Hollow Pit (#1)

Vampire Shift Graphic Novels

Vampire Shift Volume 1

Black Hill Farm Series

Black Hill Farm (#1)

Black Hill Farm Andy’s Diary (#2)

Return to Black Hill Farm (#3)–Coming Soon

Doorways Series

Doorways (#1)

The League of Doorways (#2)

The Queen of the Doorways (#3)–Coming Soon

Samantha Carter Series

Vampire Seeker (#1)

(Formerly known as Cowgirls and Vampires)

The Moon Trilogy

Moonlight (#1)

Moonbeam (#2)

Moonshine (3)–Coming Soon

Sidney Hart Series

Witch (#1)

Yellow (#2)

Raven (#3)–Coming Soon

Unscathed Series(?)

Unscathed

Stilts Series

Stilts (#1)

Eat Me Series

Eat Me (#1)–Coming Soon

Pick Series

Pick (#1)–Coming Soon

Flashes Series

Flashes (#1)–Coming 2013

Tim O'Rourke Covers



et cetera
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