Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

A Secret lifeFrom Goodreads: “I think you and I were meant to meet. I think all of this was supposed to happen. You are my destiny.”

She never thought that her life would be this complicated. Or this dangerous. Running from her past, Kat and her mom end up in a small Colorado town when Kat run’s directly into her future. She changes everything about herself to try and blend into the background, to go unnoticed. She pushes everyone away and erects walls around herself and her heart. As hard as she tries, though, Kat can’t seem to escape the pull that Cam has on her.

Cam has never been so intrigued by anyone. Not only is Kat the most gorgeous girl he’s ever seen but also the most mysterious. She’s hiding something and he’s hell-bent on finding out what it is. The only problem is that she’s trying to shut him out which only furthers his determination to get close to her.

When Kat learns that her past is catching up with her again she has to run, leaving Cam, and her broken heart, behind.


I read this novel a few weeks back, and it’s stuck with me ever since. While I did find the insta-attraction portion of the novel just a tad cheesy in the beginning, as the novel progressed and the characters grew up, going from high school to college, I found myself rooting for the lovebirds, Cam and Kat, enjoying their antics and so happy that their attraction to one another lead to a much deeper relationship. Brownell tells their story in two parts, glossing over a few years in between in order to take her YA novel into the NA world while keeping it clean, and it works very well.

This novel has many different layers; many stories to tell. It’s about a mother and daughter in witness protection. It’s about first love. About danger. Crime. Grief. Protection. The FBI. Doing what’s right. Outrunning your past, and looking to the future. And I enjoyed this aspect of the novel very much. There is so much going on and Brownell slowly peels back the layers, providing a fun, easy, engaging read, though I will admit that I have many more questions than I have answers, and I think that’s one of the reasons this novel has stuck with me long after I finished it. I find myself trying to figure it out at random times during my days, and that’s a rarity for me as I read so many books and move from one to the next quite rapidly.

I am intrigued by Cam and his love for Kat. I love Kat’s tenacity and her yearning for a simple life. Together, they are perfect, insta-love aside, and I’m glad they found one another. What I don’t necessarily get is what happened during the climax of the novel–we’re led up to it, but as we’re looking through Kat’s eyes, and she’s not watching events unfold, we seem to miss everything as it unfolds, and as no one clarifies the event for Kat, we are left in the dark. All we know is that some very bad things went down, and I’m dying to know what happened to everyone. I need to know. And I also need to know how some of the people mixed up in it all got mixed up in it all. I’m not giving names nor explanations, because that’d be a spoiler, but I keep wracking my brain trying to figure it out. I need to know, and Brownell’s next novel in the series, Secrets and Lies, releases tomorrow… so here’s hoping for more. Four stars.

4 stars

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

Amazon | Kindle (only $1.99) | Barnes and Noble


Magic HighFrom Goodreads: Welcome to Andrew High, a school for mages…

That is, until its doors are opened to the non-magical, or “normie,” population. That means no more magic allowed on school property. For Tabetha Long, whose powers are directly related to emotions, hiding her magic is difficult. When her mother is hired as the new gym teacher, and her father comes back to town with is reality television show, difficult becomes impossible.

Now her every move is being caught on video and everyone else at school wants in too. All Tabetha wants is to become invisible.

But then the mysterious and cute new guy, Eric wouldn’t be able to see her either…


High school is never easy, but imagine going to an all magic school and suddenly finding out that “normies,” non magic folk, will be populating the school soon due to an unforeseen shut down of their own facility? Imagine being forced to hide who you are after not having to do so for years? Now wrap that up into your worst year of high school, and you’ve got Magic High.

With a little bit of romance, some botched up spells, and lots of humorous situations, Magic High is a cute and enjoyable read complete with magic and ghosts.  I absolutely loved Tabetha’s voice and the way she carries herself throughout the entire novel. She’s just a little bit quirky and snarky, and the perfect narrator for this fun read, especially when it comes to the drama of high school.

I really enjoyed this, especially the ghost aspect. I had an inkling from the get-go, but until it was 100% revealed, I wasn’t sure. Gaudet does a great job foreshadowing by not overdoing it, leaving enough mystery and anticipation there for readers to enjoy while creating an intriguing read that will bring a smile to your face long after it’s done.  I really enjoyed this novel and highly suggest both MG and YA readers scoop it up.  Four stars.

4 stars

Amazon | Kindle

Dont Even Think About ItFrom Goodreads: We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.

So stop obsessing about your ex. We’re always listening.

Contemporary teen fiction with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP from the author of Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have).


This was a cute telepathy story–just think, if your entire homeroom class could communicate with one another without words, how would that change you as a person and your outlook on life? I can tell you that as a teacher, that would be my worst nightmare come true—however, I’d also probably never know about it, since they would never admit it… If only vaccines could grant us “superpowers” though…

I really liked getting into the brains of all the students in homeroom 10B. They were funny, and while I felt bad for some of them as they found out truths they never wanted to know, I also feel like this is spot on in terms of what would happen to a group of friends if they could hear everything their friends were thinking, all the time.  It’s told in a sort of collective manner, with “we” being used constantly throughout, and while it focuses on the past: a “this happened but we all know now…” type of deal, it was a refreshing style and I enjoyed being in all their heads.   Incredibly insightful and humorous at times, Mlynowski presents a sweet story that many will enjoy, especially those who enjoy the paranormal. Four stars.

4 stars

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

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble

Donna of the DeadFrom Goodreads: Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Probably.

The voices do serve their purpose, though—whenever Donna hears them, she knows she’s in danger. So when they start yelling at the top of their proverbial lungs, it’s no surprise she and her best friend, Deke, end up narrowly escaping a zombie horde. Alone without their families, they take refuge at their high school with the super-helpful nerds, the bossy class president, and—best of all?—Liam, hottie extraordinaire and Donna’s long-time crush. When Liam is around, it’s easy to forget about the moaning zombies, her dad’s plight to reach them, and how weird Deke is suddenly acting toward her.

But as the teens’ numbers dwindle and their escape plans fall apart, Donna has to listen to the secrets those voices in her head have been hiding. It seems not all the zombies are shuffling idiots, and the half-undead aren’t really down with kids like Donna…


Donna of the Dead is a fast-paced, humorous, and intricate zombie novel for lovers of all things zombie.  I love that Donna hears voices, and while they aren’t always specific about what she needs to do, they are definitely the voice of reason, and I just love her inner-monologue.  Donna states at one point, “Hollow-eyed zombies trail behind me like I’m the pied piper of the undead,” a statement and situation that made me snicker as I imagined it, as did much of Kemper’s entire novel as she sets the stage for zombie world domination.

Beginning on a cruise ship, a setting that is sure to capture readers’ attention, as it did mine—can you imagine a zombie outbreak on a ship?  Oh my—Kemper moves her stage to an abandoned high school and its band of misfits as they attempt to ward off the strange zombie horde… and try to figure out just what, exactly, they really are.  I have to admit that I was not anticipating the reveal that Kemper unleashes on readers, but that’s part of it’s allure—I was always guessing what would happen next because this novel really isn’t your typical zombie apocalypse.  It’s a fun ride that begins much like many stories that come before it, but ends on a completely different note—and I highly suggest you pick it up if you’re in the mood for something entertaining and different. Four stars.

4 stars

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

Kindle | Nook

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