Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Have you seen this amazing, limited edition tee?  I am so in love with this design!

The idea behind the tee stems from “Whit & Ware and Indie-Visible, [who] have teamed up to create a series of eleven limited edition T-shirts (one per month) honoring the amazing Janet Wallace, and her incredible gift to us all….the place we all call home once a year – Utopia!” But after July 22, this particular design will disappear forever, so act fast!!

Revolution Shirt

I’ll be posting each new design as it comes along–and if they’re anything like this months exclusive tee, then I just know they’re going to be amazing!  I can’t wait to collect them all!

The next design will arrive August 1, and in case you were wondering, the “goal with these Limited Edition shirts is to raise funds so that we can provide UtopiaCon with killer branding all over the hotel such as standing banners with panel schedules outside every conference room, welcome banners at the hotel entrance, etc. We’re also handling the signing posters, some fun stuff for the writing cave, and some extra awesome swag for attendees. Any money that is left over will go to Janet Wallace, which she can use as she sees fit to make the 2016 the best year yet! We know how hard Janet works to give our crazy tribe an inspiring home every June, and we wanted to take some of the weight off her shoulders by taking care of all these details so she can focus on the big picture!”

For more information, or to buy this amazing shirt and help support Utopia, click HERE!

And make sure you scoop up your Utopia tickets now while they’re on SALE! This 5 year anniversary con is gonna blow your mind!

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Unlikely FamilyFrom Goodreads: When Joshua Anthony finds himself homeless at fourteen, he is determined to survive on his own. With the help of motel owner Curt, Josh is doing just that when he encounters three other homeless teens; Charles, Elise and Leah. They decide to band together, pool their resources, and form their very own unlikely family. Along the way, they encounter Liz, a 27 year old woman who is down on her luck and needs a break. Will these teens be just what she needs to get her life back on track?

This is the story of four resilient teenagers, determined to thrive in spite of their circumstances. They encounter many hardships on their road to adulthood, but also learn to love, hope, and find success.

Join this unlikely family on their journey of discovery. Laugh with them, cry with them, fall in love with them as they do with each other.

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This story is indeed amazing. Told from five different first-person perspectives, readers get to know five homeless people, four teens and one adult, as they make an unlikely family. Though the story sometimes reads a bit clipped, it drew me in as a reader and captivated me. These kids are amazing, and as the story unfolded, I found myself drawn to them and their plight, rejoicing with their triumphs, and crying with their failures. Adams has written a clean read–though homeless, there is no sex or prostitution, an aspect that generally is prevalent in stories I’ve read about homeless teens. While not every situation in the novel struck home with me, I connected very much with the characters, and by the end Adams had me ugly crying so hard that I had to set the book aside–it tour my heart out, and yet it was a most beautiful scene… be ready to have your world rocked as you fall in love with the five main characters.

Honestly, this is a beautiful, poignant story that is definitely a must read. Yes, it made me cry, but overall it’s a story of triumphs, and there is a believable happy ending. In my opinion, the only aspect that needs work is the cover. Unfortunately, the cover is one I would definitely pass up in a bookstore or anywhere I saw it, truth be told, because it looks too fake and it just isn’t interesting to me. A new cover, sleek cover would grab readers’ attention, which needs to happen because this is an amazing, poignant read. And you really do need to read it. Five stars.

5 stars

I purchased this novel from the author at a book festival.

Amazon Paperback | Kindle



The Things You Kiss GoodbyeFrom Goodreads: Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.

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Connor captures the essence of a low self-esteemed, smitten teenaged girl traversing her first-ever relationship in this novel, and as we all know, love is “blind.” Thus, Bettina makes excuse after excuse for her abusive, sexually aggressive boyfriend, and she continually goes back to him time and time again, even after her hurts her in ways that no person should never allow. On the outside looking in, it’s easy to judge. I judged Bettina, and I’m sure any and all readers are going to do the same. We don’t understand her choices; we are screaming at her to wake up, to break up with Brady, to listen to Cowboy and pull it together. But sometimes it isn’t as easy for the person actually in the relationship to do that. If it were, I feel like there wouldn’t be as many domestic violence cases in the news—that no woman/man would allow it to happen to them, but think about it. There are many, many women in Bettina’s place right now. Why?

This novel is very realistic, and it’s not a happy story. There certainly is no happy ending, Bettina’s home life isn’t the best, her psyche is damaged, and she’s looking for love in all the wrong places. And though we may not want to acknowledge it, this is true for many teens out there in the world. It’s also true that there are teens out there with great families, great high schools, great relationships, and happy endings. This story isn’t one of them, though, and that’s okay. Even though it’s depressing and really not necessarily enjoyable for me as a reader, it’s real, and that’s why it’s so powerful. Perhaps that’s also why we don’t like it? No, I didn’t love this story. But I didn’t hate it, either. It’s somewhat eye opening for me as a reader, and makes me want to be even more vigilant and less condemning of others who are in situations that I just can’t understand. It also makes me want to help—to keep my eyes open and intervene when I can. Perhaps that’s the point of the story? Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

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

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