Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Shady BayFrom Goodreads: Sometimes the hardest thing for a proud person to do is lean on others.

Since her father went to prison, Mercy Taylor’s life has been crap. With forty dollars in her pocket, and a determined look on her face, Mercy decides to do something about it. She hitch-hikes her way to Myrtle Beach to start fresh.

Never say it can’t get worse, because for Mercy, it does. For her, rock bottom consists of eating out of a trash can. But, once you’ve hit bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Jaxon Harrison left Devil Creek, West Virginia for a new start. He’d fallen in love and had given his heart to a woman who had chewed it up and spit it out. He doesn’t need that kind of heartache again. The problem is, there’s a sweet, stubborn girl who refuses to get out of his head.

The moment when you get your feet firmly set on the ground, life tends to throw something else your way. What will the future hold for Mercy and Jaxon?

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Casey L. Bond’s spring release, Shady Bay, is a sweet summer read that I really enjoyed. Full of shocking twists, tender heartaches, and a swoon-worthy romance, Mercy and Jaxon’s story is sure to captivate readers as it unfolds.

Mercy is an absolutely amazing character, strong willed in nature and set on taking care of herself. As the story progresses and her bad experiences are offset by good, readers can’t help but root for Mercy, a heroine who’s circumstances continue to undermine her, both in wealth and health. She must deal with a lot, from a drug crazed mother to a health concern that will have readers biting their nails, but Mercy does not give up; the kindness of others keeps her going, and I admire her will to survive, even when survival seems dim at best.

And Jaxon? Wow! He is a heartthrob, and I absolutely loved his adoration of Mercy. He is forced to make hard choices, many of which are selfless, and his persona was expertly crafted. I am sure that readers will love him just as much as I did, especially as we learn the lengths he’s willing to go to protect the people he loves.

This novel is full of passion; passion for life, love, happiness… and while Mercy and Jaxon definitely have a bumpy ride along the way, I really enjoyed this sweet NA novel, and I think lovers of NA novels will definitely share the sentiment. Four lovely stars.

4 stars

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

Amazon | Kindle $1.99 | Barnes and Noble



The Break Up ArtistFrom Goodreads: Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 



After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

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Admit it. There has always been that one relationship (or two) that you were dying to break-up. Whether it was because your best friend turned into someone different, or the couple was in so deep they couldn’t see how wrong they were for each other, or perhaps just because you were jealous—you’ve wished that someone would come along and break them up. Meet Becca. She’s your person.

I have to admit that I nearly didn’t pick up this novel. Readers just know going in that Becca is going to get caught, that the people in her school are going to make an example of her, and that it’s just not going to end well for her. And because that sounds very much like a bunch of teen movies I’ve seen, I nearly stopped myself before I even began reading. And I’m so glad that I didn’t listen to my inner monologue. The Break-Up Artist is actually a hilarious tale and, though we know how it’s going to end from the very beginning, Siegel makes this novel stand apart from all the teen angst movies and books out there, and I highly enjoyed nearly every minute of it.

Becca has seen how relationships can ruin a person, so she’s made it her job to break up relationships before they get to the stage where they ruin lives. Amazingly enough, well, perhaps not knowing human nature, there are tons of clients willing to pay the masked break-up artist if she can successfully break up the couple in question. And in the beginning, it seems harmless enough. She really is doing some people a favor by breaking them up, as seen by how self-absorbed and forgetful they become around their significant other. It’s true, people change around their beau, especially teens in relationships, and so it makes sense that Becca has found a calling in “helping” her peers return to their right sense of mind.

When Becca is asked to break up Huxley and Steve, she takes on the challenge, and hilarity ensues along the way, but so do some very real life lessons, like fate, friendship, and right from wrong. Becca has a lot to learn in the love department, and at one point even she is duped into the “relationship” throng, going against everything she’s ever preached, and learning that perhaps what she’s doing isn’t right at all. Constantly battling against herself and her desire for friendship, especially as she see’s her true friend, Huxley, return to her, Becca has a lot of growing up to do, and this is the perfect tale to tell it all. Though I didn’t agree with her when it came to her best-friend’s boyfriend—in fact I found her to be quite silly in her antics here—I get what she’s going through, and I just adored how the entire story unfolded. And there’s going to be a sequel of sorts—I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for Becca! Four stars.

4 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Harlequin Teen has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release today!

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



13617804From Goodreads: Dane Washington is one suspension away from expulsion. In a high school full of “haves,” being a “have not” makes Dane feel like life is hurtling toward one big dead end. Billy D. spends his high school days in Special Ed and he’s not exactly a “have” himself. The biggest thing Billy’s missing? His dad. Billy is sure the riddles his father left in an atlas are really clues to finding him again and through a bizarre turn of events, he talks Dane into joining him on the search.

A bully and a boy with Down syndrome makes for an unlikely friendship, but together, they work through the clues, leading to unmarked towns and secrets of the past. But they’re all dead ends. Until the final clue . . . and a secret Billy shouldn’t have been keeping.

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This is the story of an unlikely relationship that blooms from a bargain.  Dane is a hothead loner from the wrong side of the tracks that hates the world. Billy has down syndrome and just wants to find his father and learn to protect himself. Together, through clues left in an atlas, they begin to decipher the mystery that is Billy’s world, and they end up on some wild adventures, some of which seemed a little far-fetched to me, but then again, I was never the adventurous rebellious type, so I have limited experience when it comes to the run ins these two find themselves in. Honestly, this is a very intriguing story, but I never really connected with either of the characters.

I have to admit I was very intrigued by Billy’s cunning, though. I liked that very much and I feel that Lange works to dispel a lot of stereotypical thoughts through his character, which is great. I also liked the mystery surrounding the atlas, though the final revelation was somewhat disheartening. Of course, novels with their happy endings aren’t the norm in real life, as it were, and I feel like Lange is actually presenting a very real look at life in presenting the truth about Billy’s father.  It’s a little jarring, but one that many readers will probably figure out relatively quickly based on the foreshadowing, but it’s not real for the reader until the final blowout and Billy’s admittance.

Overall, this is a coming of age story, though, in the end, nothing is really resolved, leaving readers with just a small glimmer of hope. I was also left with some questions concerning legalities within the novel, but overall it was a good, clean read. Three stars.

3 stars

Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 3, 2013.



et cetera
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