Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

A Risk Worth Taking, my (Heather Hildenbrand’s) new NA contemporary, is set on a crop farm in the mountains of southeastern Virginia. The male characters are alpha and sexy and country. I couldn’t help myself. These are my favorite characters in a guy! And I made a list of what a guy needs to qualify.

Top 10 Things That Make a Sexy/Sweet Country Boy:

  1. A Risk Worth TakingA Truck. This is such a pre-req that if he doesn’t have that, I don’t care HOW many other items he has on this list, he’s not a country boy. Sorry. It doesn’t need a gun rack on the back and a dead animal in the truck bed to qualify and it doesn’t need mud splatters all up the side and along the tailgate—although you get points for that—it just needs four wheels, a cab, and a bed. Oh and that bench seat can’t be overlooked. I think it is the most adorable thing in the world when a girl can scoot and cuddle next to her country boy while he drives.
  2. A love for fried chicken and beer. If you go to the bar and order a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, we’re in a fight.
  3. Respect for Women. He better kiss his mama every Sunday and call every woman older than him ma’am.
  4. A know-how either under the hood or with a hammer. Somehow, I can’t conjure an image of a country boy who doesn’t know how to either fix his own truck OR build his own house. Or both. Mmm, yeah swing that hammer with a grease-stained hand…  and when you’re done, I need an oil change. Thanks, baby.
  5. Slightly-snug jeans that hug all the right places. OHMYGOD I am a sucker for slightly-tight (NOT skinny-fit) jeans on a man. Snug at the hips and ass with boots at the bottom and a slight swagger…. *swoon* Country boys Do NOT wear suits to work. Your business attire is jeans and a button-down with the sleeves rolled to ¾ length—or you’re a poser.
  6. A love for sunsets and the woods at twilight. Country boys do not stay inside all day. They don’t have to hunt and fish every weekend, in fact that’s not preferred because I’m not into that and … well, ain’t nobody got time for that. But enjoy a bonfire or take me four-wheeling and we’re in business.
  7. The body of a country boy. Big arms, toned abs. Prove you’re not a stranger to manual labor. Mmm, yeah, throw that haybale while I watch your back and shoulders flex from the strain…
  8. Smarts. Do NOT succumb to the stereotype that “country” means “backwoods” or ignorant or less brain cells. Country boys are smart. Entrepreneurial. Educated. With deep thoughts and perceptive minds. And they even read for fun once in a while! Show me a girl that doesn’t think this is hot and I’ll show you a LIAR, LIAR, Pants on FIRE!
  9. Love. Maybe at first, he’s tough and rough at the edges—or all the way through. But by the end of the story (yours or the one you’re reading), this boy is sweet and loving and caring all the way through. And he says thinks like, “your eyes are unending depths, an ocean of love, and I want to drown in them forever.” Or something.
  10. Loyal. Once he’s met you and seen your “awesome” he knows no other girl will do. Ever. He’s so stuck on you he can’t see straight, let alone see other women. Except his mama, he will always love and appreciate his mama and shower her with gifts and kisses on Sundays.

What did I miss? Any other requirements for being a sexy/sweet country boy?



Enter to win a signed paperback of A Risk Worth Taking, an ebook of Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon, an ebook of Wicked Thing by Angeline Kace, and a coca snowman jar by clicking this Rafflecopter Link.


Character & Disney Love Song Match-Up:

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

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

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
My, oh, my
Look at the boy too shy
He ain’t gonna kiss the girl
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

Don’t be scared
You got the mood prepared
Go on and kiss the girl
Don’t stop now
Don’t try to hide it how
You wanna kiss the girl
Float along
Listen to the song
The song say kiss the girl
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?



Blood Rule LargeFrom Goodreads:


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. 


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.


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.


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:




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



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

coverFrom Goodreads: AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.

She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.

Or so she thinks.

That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued.

But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.

…Which means digging deeper.

When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.


If you love dystopian, elemental, or steampunk reads, then this is definitely the book for you.  Combining all these genres into one, Megan Curd has created a masterpiece that glues readers to the pages from the very beginning, taking them on a whirlwind journey full of adventure, deceit, mystery, mayhem, and of course, a little swoon-worthy romance as well.

Avery Pike doesn’t know how she got her power to control water.  She doesn’t know what happened to her parents, either.  What she does know is that the government needs her, and they’ve given her a flea infested bed in a run down apartment and an education, which might not sound great, but it’s better than what most of the population gets.  In return, she needs to create steam in order to keep Dome 4 alive.  Fair trade?  Maybe not.  Because Avery’s been kept in the dark for much too long.

Curd drops her readers into the world of Dome 4, populating the pages with riveting descriptions and situations that help make Avery’s world tangible and real.  The corrupt government, the dire living situations, and the intense rules and regulations make the story come alive as readers watch in horror as the powerful abuse the weak.  Thus, it is with open arms that the reader welcomes the appearance of Riggs, a strange man offering Avery a chance for escape and, like Avery, the reader is baited into believing her luck is about to change.  But trading one prison for another isn’t what she expected.  And as it turns out… nothing is as it seems in this novel.

Enter Jaxon, dear, sweet, Jaxon.  It took me a little while to warm up to his pompous nature in the beginning, although his wit and clever banter made me snicker and fall for him quite quickly.  It is also because Curd expertly unveils his true inner soul as we get to know him, and it becomes clear that his hard external self-important demeanor is actually only a cover for a much deeper scar that lies beneath his put-together frame.  The fact that his father, Riggs, has never treated him with any amount of dignity is part of the problem.  The vast tests, pricks, and prods he endured as a child makes up the other part.  And yet, he is truly a loving young man who, though suffering through multiple ordeals as a child, has turned out to be one fine young gentleman. And a swoon-worthy one at that.

Honestly, all the characters in this novel are exceptionally well developed, and I loved that Avery is a strong willed female lead who doesn’t need a man to take care of her.  Her loyalty to her friends, Alice and Legs, also makes her an exceptional and likable character, and her sheer will power makes her a force to be reckoned with.  Though both Alice and Legs struggle a bit in the story, especially with coming to terms with some rather disheartening events, their struggles show their depth, and Curd has done a phenomenal job fleshing out these side characters.  What I love the most is that there are absolutely no flat characters in this novel—everyone changes, in some way, and that takes talent.

Curd also keeps this novel relatively clean, making it the perfect recommendation to give to readers of all ages, but especially YA and, in my case, my students.  With both a strong female and male lead, this book isn’t just for girls, and with it’s unbiased, yet beautiful cover, I expect to see this one eaten up by readers male and female alike.  Five stars.

5 starsI received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


chair hdr2_______________________________________________________________________________


JaxonA hand grasped my shoulder.


“Nope, Jaxon. Although, I can understand why you’d confuse the two of us.”

I clutched my chest and felt my heart threatening to pound its way out.

He didn’t show his usual conceited visage. His cheeks were flushed, giving him a much younger appearance. His head was turned downward, but his eyes held mine. “Can I borrow you?”

“I have people in line before you. I can pencil you in around midnight.”

He didn’t flinch. “Then midnight it is.”

“Are you kidding?”

“I never joke about midnight rendezvouses with fiery beauties.”

“You’re a torrent of sarcasm.”

“That’s vastly different than kidding. Kidding is frivolity, and I am not frivol. Is that even a word? If it isn’t, insert something else—serious…brooding, perhaps?” He turned to the side and stroked his chin. “Does this look brooding to you? Wait, don’t look. You’re over your five minute ogling allotment.”

“You do know that sarcasm is the refuge for a shallow mind, right?”

“Depth is irrelevant when you can’t find the lake, my dear.”

I opened and closed my mouth, unable to think of a comeback. He always one-upped me. One day I’d come up with something. I’d start writing comebacks down to practice for when the occasion arose.  Because that’s not lame at all.

Book Links

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Author’s Amazon:


Guest Post: This or ThatFrom Jaxon’s POV

Vanilla or chocolate? ::grins:: well, you know you could have both if you go with me. Why choose one or the other when you can have both?

Edward or Jacob? Say what? Who? How about Jaxon? I’m right here, and they don’t have dreads. Or, can I pick from girls? ::dodges Avery’s death stare:: Okay. I pick Avery. I mean, it’s not like Katniss’s deadly aim with a bow and arrow is all that appealing…I’ll take death by Elementalist any day. ::Pats Avery’s leg::

Hockey or soccer? Football. I’m making my own option. Don’t worry, I do it all the time. ::smiles::

Ebook or paper? Paper. I love the feel of a book in my hands. Plus, without much power, the eBook wouldn’t last that long, now would it?

Salty or sweet? Salty. I’m the sweets anyone needs. ::winks::

Beach or mountains? Mountains. I want to camp and see wildlife. I want to see trees and wake up to a real sunrise. Someday, maybe that can happen.

Phone call or email? Neither. I want to see people in person!

Early bird or night owl? Night owl. I do some of my best work at night. ::looks over and winks at Avery:: Get your mind out of the gutter. I meant real work!

Dog or cat? Cat. They’ve got minds of their own, and I can respect that.

Messy or neat? ::points to dreads and shakes head:: Do these look neat to you? I like a bit of disorder in my life. Makes more sense to me.

Ninjas or pirates? Well ninjas, obviously. I have my own ninja! ::nudges Avery::


meganAbout the Author:

Megan Curd is a graduate of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. While having always enjoyed reading any books she could get her hands on, Megan didn’t begin writing until a friend encouraged her to do so while in college.

When not writing, Megan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves to snowboard and travel to new places, and doesn’t turn down the opportunity to play xBox with her brother and friends when it presents itself.

Megan currently resides in Stanton, Kentucky with her husband, son, and Great Dane named Dozer.

Top Ten Books on TBR

1.)  Prodigy by Marie Lu

2.)  Allegiant by Veronica Roth

3.)  This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink

4.)  Raksha by Frankie Rose

5.)  Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

6.)  Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

7.)  Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

8.)  Splintered by A.G. Howard

9.)  Enemy Within by Angeline Kace

10.) The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black




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Little Bookworm Reviews-Excerpt

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