Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2015

Is it seriously going to be July tomorrow already?! When the heck did that happen... But anyways, back to June. This was a hectic month for me! I decided to take 2 summer classes (6 weeks long) this year which overlapped with my spring classes so I haven't had any vacation time yet! They're both sociology and I'm really enjoying them so that's made it easier. I usually spend my summers in Portugal visiting family so I've been down about not going this year, but I have been trying to keep busy doing a bunch of different things that I haven't necessarily done before (if work allows me to miss a day or two). I took a trip to San Francisco (which I haven't done in a while), went to my first Giants game (we lost), and went hiking at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park (so pretty). Other than that, it's been a pretty uneventful summer so far. One of my best friends comes home from school on July 23 so I have that to look forward to this month!

Books Reviewed This Month:

  1. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
  2. Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
  3. Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross
  4. Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy

Books Read This Month:
  1. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  2. Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy
  3. Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom
  4. Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegardner
  5. Along the Way by Jacqueline Kolosov
My reviews will be up in the next few weeks so keep a look out for those!

July TBR List:
  1. Paper Towns by John Green
  2. Half-Life by Tina Ferraro
  3. Dismissed by Kristy McManus
  4. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
  5. Learning to Fall by Jillian Eaton
This is a tentative list that might change, but for now these are the next books I plan on reading and reviewing. Let me know if you've read some of these and what you thought!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Blogger Hop (20)

Book Blogger Hop is a meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every Friday-Thursday. It's a great opportunity to network and visit other blogs and meet new bloggers. 

This weeks question is: 
Do others come to you for book recommendations?

I answered: 
My friends aren't huge readers so they don't usually ask me for recommendations, but I have had a few come over and borrow some books since I have like a bajillion. My brother used to ask me but his tastes have shifted to non-fiction which I don't tend to read. Other than that, I guess the only people that come to me for recommendations are the people that read my reviews and other blog posts?

What about you? Leave your answer to this weeks question in the comments below.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Interview with Tish Thawer, Author of The Witches of BlackBrook (& Giveaway!)

Title: The Witches of BlackBrook 
(The Witches of BlackBrook, #1)
Author: Tish Thawer
Publisher: Amber Leaf Publishing
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Genre: NA, Paranormal Romance

Through space and time, sisters entwined. Lost then found, souls remain bound.

Three sisters escape the Salem witch trials when the eldest casts a spell that hurdles their souls forward through time. After centuries separated, fate has finally reunited them in the present day.

One the healer, one the teacher, and one the deceiver.

Will their reunion return their full powers, or end their souls journey forever?

A Witches of BlackBrook novel.
Hi Tish, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions with us today! 
When and why did you begin writing?
In 2010 I woke up from a dream and had the title of my first book running through my head. Minutes later, I knew the other two titles, and had the entire story-line of The Rose Trilogy all worked out. 

Who encouraged you or what made you decide to write a novel and seek publication?
I’ve been a member of Shelfari since 2007, and was asked to become a Librarian for them after putting in countless hours of editing. Being so emerged in books and seeing all the wonderful series on a daily basis while working in the backend of the site, to say that books had become my life, was an understatement. I’m now one of 13 Librarians for the hundreds of thousands of members, as well as one of it’s top 50 editors. 

What drew you to write Paranormal Romance?
I always go back to the phrase, “Write what you know.” And while my genre is considered paranormal for the unrealistic and fantastical elements, it’s what I know. It’s what I prefer to read and what I’ve studied in my actual life. (Psstt...in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m a witch.)

Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
Raven. She’s tough but sensitive, sexy but tom-boyish, and has a wicked sense of humor and a sharp tongue. 

What would you love to write someday but haven’t yet?
I started a contemporary romance trilogy that I’d love to return to. I just have to figure out how to write it without someone getting bitten and turning into a vampire or werewolf. LOL

Were books a big part of your life growing up? If so, what books would you say influenced you most as a child?
Actually...no. My mother was the reader in the family and to this day, she teases me about how it took thirty some years for me to finally catch on.

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
I’m 44, have 16 tattoos, and cuss like a sailor. (Sorry, Grandma.)
I started teaching dance when I was 15 years old.

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Watching TV and movies, and playing games with my family.

Three things always found in your refrigerator:
Stuffed olives, Soda, Cheese

Writing is often a sedentary profession. Is there anything you do to beat stress and keep in shape? 
I hike and exercise in my home, and dance as often as possible.

You’re in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering? 
Java Chip Frap with Whip or a Caramel Apple Spice

Where do you go when you need to recharge?
Sedona, AZ or back home to Colorado.

Once again, thank you for sitting down with us & good luck with your next novel! 

About the Author:
Tish Thawer writes paranormal romances for all ages. Her magickal elements and detailed world-building are a welcome constant in every novel.

Before becoming a writer she worked as a computer consultant, a photographer and a graphic designer. She also operates a custom glass etching business, in addition to being a wife and the mother of three wonderful children.

She's been a fan of the paranormal for as long as she can remember. Anything to do with superpowers, myth and magic has always held a special place in her heart. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the phenomenon that is Twilight, this genre has always been a part of her life.

You can find Tish on Facebook.

A common FAQ: "How do you pronounce her last name?"
Answer: Think "Bower" or "Thow-er". It's Persian!
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday (37) / Friday 56 (6)

Feature & Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkiee's View & Alison Can Read. Check out their blogs and the two Featured Bloggers of the week! This is great for finding amazing new blogs to follow and for gaining followers yourself!

This weeks question is: 
Is there a book you were required to read in high school that you actually loved?

I answered: 
First off, I'm so excited to be one of this weeks featured bloggers!! So thanks to Parajunkiee's View for picking me!! 

As for this weeks question: I've actually never had issues reading the required books for school. I was usually one of the few people that actually read the entire book instead of Sparknoting most of it; I just hated having to analyze every single word and symbol afterward. I took Brit Lit instead of Am Lit in high school and really liked almost everything we read--especially Pride and Prejudice and Hamlet. In middle school we read  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and The Giver by Lois Lowry and I really enjoyed those as well!

What about you? Leave your answer to this weeks question in the comments below.

The Boundless Book List

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice. Basically you flip to page 56 (or 56% in your eReader) of any book and post a sentence or two (more if you want) from that page without being too spoiler-y. This gives us a glimpse into what you are reading or have read, and may even prompt us to add your book to our TBR piles!

My teaser:
Neither Piper nor Dirk seemed to have showered. Squeezing in next to Piper, I thought twice about the wisdom of this. With so many people staying here, there was bound to be no hot water left in a hour. Maybe there was none left now. As for showering in the morning--well, we'd planned a dawn start. What would they smell like by the time we reached Roncesvalles tomorrow? Sheep's cheese?
Excerpt From: Jacqueline Kolosov. “Along the Way.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway: Spectacle by S.J. Pierce

Title: Spectacle
Author: S.J. Pierce
Genre: YA, Sci Fi

Fear can make you a target…

Two hundred years after the Great Disaster, the day earthquakes ravaged Earth’s landscapes, humanity has finally regrouped and is working toward a better future. But in New America – one of three small, remaining landmasses – the threat of overpopulation makes a better future seem bleaker by the year.

Mira (Mirabella) Foster and her parents are citizens of New America, and with the threat of starvation and disease looming on the horizon, a new discovery threatens to push everyone to the brink of chaos: blue markings develop on people’s skin. Markings that are distinctive of a humanoid alien race named Changers that secretly sought refuge on Earth years ago. Markings that allow them to camouflage their skin, but also make them feared, and eventually, targets of violence.

Mira’s dad is one of them.

Anger can make you a spectacle…

Banished to a treacherous, uninhabited island, a newly orphaned Mira and her kind struggle to survive and settle into a new way of life. Her main priority becomes seeing to Jackson’s care, her friend with Muscular Dystrophy, and tending to her garden as a way of distracting herself from the pain of losing everything she loved. But just as she’s adapting to this new life, their Elders approach her with a plan to insert themselves back into New America to uncover a conspiracy. A conspiracy, they believe, that includes the presidency and landed them on the island, costing many Changers their lives, including her parents’.

In a world where staying on the island means a possible untimely death, as does risking her life to uncover a horrible secret that might one day set them all free, which one will she choose? And if she chooses to help, can she tame her anger over their mistreatment long enough to make sure their plan goes off without a hitch? Because, after all, the last thing her kind needs is to make spectacles of themselves, and as she knows all too well, both anger and fear have a perilous knack for destruction.

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | iBooks | Kobo |

***This is currently a web series!!! A chapter at a time is being released on Susan James Pierce's website. You can read there or go to Scribd, download their app, and read there.***


Chapter Two

Following the scent of cheese toast and eggs, I stop short when I see my mom standing in the kitchen doorway, her hands fidgeting with the frayed hem of her apron, a tight smile on her face. I don’t like the way she looks at me – worried and afraid and about to cry all at the same time. “Mirabella, dear,” she says, almost whimpers. “Daddy and I need to talk to you.”

Heat crawls over my skin, flushing my cheeks and leaving gooseflesh on my arms. Dread squeezes my lungs. “Okay,” I manage, but it takes me a minute to remember how to walk. Mom doesn’t move out of my way.

I notice the radio isn’t on again. Dad usually listens to it for his morning news.

She kneels to look me at me on my level, and I know now something really bad must have happened… or is happening. Yet again, the rings around the moon were right.

“Everything’s okay,” she lies, reading my worried expression, “But I want to warn you about your father before you see him.”

My eyebrows draw together. Warn me?

I hear dad shifting in his chair, and he grunts nervously. My chest clenches tighter. All I want is to see him. To know what’s going on. I can’t fathom what she would have to warn me about.

“His skin is… different than before.”


“Yes, baby,” she soothes. “And whatever you do, please don’t scream. You know how thin these walls are.”

I muster a nod.

“Okay,” she says, clasping my hand and straightening, “It’s time.”

She leads me into the kitchen, my heart racing, eyes snapping right to my father. He’s sitting with his face behind his hands, his elbows resting against the tabletop. The skin on his arms and hands look the same to me – smooth and the color of coffee with milk. Still normal. I breathe a sigh of relief.

“Is she looking?” he asks through his hands.

I answer for her. “Yes, daddy.”

He lets out a long slow breath – a brooding sigh.

“Show her, Grant,” mom pleads.

Moments pass. He sighs again and slowly moves his hands away. Behind them, blue marks, starting at the corners of his eyes, branch out in a rough, jagged pattern - like webs of blood vessels, but more defined - over his cheekbones and stopping along his jawline. Smaller patches curl around his temples. It almost looks like a butterfly, almost beautiful, like these odd markings are meant to be there. Like someone had painted them for fun. I would assume this is all a joke had my mom not been acting so weird.

I look up to her questioningly. Why would this have made me scream?

Her hand meets her chest, and I can tell she’s relieved I didn’t freak out, but not all the concern is gone from her eyes. At least she’s smiling normally now.

“So you aren’t afraid?” she asks.

“Why would I be?”

Her lips press tight. She throws a nervous glance at my father.

“Because these are permanent,” he says. “And they’ll get worse.”


About the Author:
Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare time to writing Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-fi novels. 

Please visit www.sjpiercebooks.blogspot.com and sign up for her mailing list or subscribe to her blog if you'd like to hear when new books come out! Coming soon:

Iris (Novella: The Captivated Series) Available now!!!

Fight for Me (Book Two: The Captivated Series)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Guest Post: The Story Behind The Water Crisis Chronicles by Amber Garr (& Giveaway!)

 Title: Waterfall 
(The Water Crisis Chronicles, #1)
Author: Amber Garr
Release Date: June 2015
Genre: NA, Dystopia

The water is gone. The wars have begun.

Clean water is a luxury most can no longer afford. Climate change, industrial sabotage, and greed have turned country against country as each one tries to provide for its citizens. Terrorist groups target desalinization plants and frustrated governments hunt those who work against them. Rationing, sequestering, and patrolling have become routine at a time when there are too many people and not enough resources.

While the world around them disintegrates into chaos, Zach and Vivienne hope that their life in a government-run complex will retain some semblance of normalcy. But when attacks on their water supplies bring war to their sheltered community, they must accept their new fate. Stay and fight or flee and endure—it’s a difficult decision with lasting consequences.

Will they choose what’s safe? Or will they choose to survive?
The Story Behind The Water Crisis Chronicles

As you probably already know, I work as a scientist in my other life. Over the years, my research has often focused on the conservation and restoration of aquatic species. And a lot of that time, their issues have stemmed from contaminated water or excess pollution in the environment.

For several years, I’ve wanted to write a book about what would happen to the world when humans began fighting over drinking water. And I say began, but really, it has already begun. Do you know you have to purchase water rights in some states out west when you buy property?

Have you ever experienced water restrictions in your neighborhood? Or did you know that several countries are already considered water-stressed? It’s happening, and just to show you how scary it is, here are some facts to consider: 

1)      1 billion people currently don’t have access to clean drinking water.

2)      3.4 million people die from water related diseases each year.

3)      By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in a water-stressed county.

4)      An American taking a 5 minute shower uses more water than the average person living in a developing country uses in an entire day.

5)      Over 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries without adequate legal or institutional arrangements regarding water utilization.

6)      By 2020, California will face a water shortage as great as the amount they consume today.

Worried yet? I know I am. So anyway…back to Waterproof.  What will happen when the water disappears? How will society react? What unique science may evolve out of this type of tragedy? All questions I’ve asked myself for years and then had a chance to answer (or hint at) in this book.

I also wanted to highlight the idea of friendship and romance rising up out of the chaos. At a time when the survivors have to fight for every second of their life, I thought it would be nice for them to find some type of comfort in their closest friends. No time for love triangles or petty games when you’re being hunted!

So as you read this book and start thinking more about the water shortages (as I did!), check out these sites to see what little things you can do so that some day we aren’t deserters running for our lives!

*Sources: www.water.org; www.worldwatercouncil.org; www.fao.org

About the Author:
Amber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of the bestselling novels The Syrenka Series, the award-winning Water Crisis Chronicles, The Leila Marx Novels, and the Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. Find out more at www.ambergarr.com.
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Waiting on Wednesday (39)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can not wait to read! This meme is the perfect way to add books to your TBR list. Along with upcoming releases, I sometimes include books that I have not had the chance to read or buy even if they have already come out. 

by Meg Haston
Release Date: July 7, 2015

From Barnes & Noble:
In the vein of Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls, this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss.

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert. Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at meal time, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she's worked so hard to avoid. Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh's death--the dead she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she, too, will end her life.

Paperweight follows Stevie's journey as she struggles not only with this life-threatening eating disorder, but with the question of whether she can ever find absolution for the mistakes of her past...and whether she truly deserves to.

Although I'm excited for this one, I'm a little apprehensive too. Books that deal with these types of issues can be either a hit or a miss; a lot of the time the disorders and depressions are misrepresented. I'm hoping that this isn't the case though because this sounds really good. And it's a debut which is another bonus, I love new authors!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review (53): Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy

Daisy and the Front Man
Rebekah L. Purdy

Series: Backstage Pass, #3
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 232
Format: eARC 
Source: Netgalley

My Thoughts: 
Seconds to Juliet is the hottest boyband around and, after winning a concert, Daisy Morris just so happened to snag their front man, Trevin Jacobs, to be her Homecoming date. Too bad he stood her up. Now, almost a year later, she is given the perfect opportunity for revenge: she is spending the summer with her father who happens to be on tour with the band as their bodyguard. She plans on humiliating Trevin just like he humiliated her. As for Trevin, when he meets the gorgeous redhead, he has no idea who she is. But he is intrigued by her icy personality and so when one of his bandmates proposes a bet—one that involves him getting Daisy to fall in love with him by the end of summer—he can’t resist. (Although this is the third book in the Backstage Pass series, they are all written by different authors and do not need to be read in order).

I was excited to read this because this type of story is right up my alley, but unfortunately I did not enjoy the writing style and could not fully immerse myself into it—there was just too much telling and not enough showing. I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue and the plot was too predictable and cliché (and this is coming from someone who loves clichés).

The characters also missed the mark for me. I didn’t find myself liking either Daisy or Trevin. I think the reason is that by the end, I still didn’t feel like I knew them. Yeah, Daisy has trust issues because of her parents divorce and is still mourning her grandfather, and yes, Trevin is dealing with the fact that he seems to be a disappointment to his father even though he is hugely successful. But these are all things that are told to us, almost just so we will feel sympathetic towards them. Both were just a bit too dramatic for my taste and didn’t feel natural or believable to me.

I did like how Daisy’s relationship with her father progresses throughout the story (but I wish more time could have been spent on this part of the plot). He has been a huge disappointment in her life ever since her parents’ divorce which she has always blamed on him. Throughout the summer she learns some things that change her perspective and it was nice seeing them forming a better, stronger relationship.

Although this wasn’t my cup of tea, I know that my 13 year old self would have enjoyed it. I think this could have been great if it was longer and the proper time had been spent on the development of the characters and plot. Maybe there was just too much trying to happen in a short amount of time? I will definitely be picking up the first 2 books in the series as well just to see how they differ and how the stories fit together.

| Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Entangled |

* Thank you to the author and publisher for an eARC in return for my honest review *

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cover Reveal: Sun-Kissed Summer by Marta Brown

Title: Sun-Kissed Summer
Author: Marta Brown
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemp.
Release Date: July 2015

Summer can change everything.

For shy, bookish Katie Quinn, it just might after an accidental mix-up at the airport on the way to visit her grandparents for the summer leaves her stuck with the wrong suitcase. One full of short shorts, high heels, and absolutely nothing she would normally dare to wear. Until she realizes her newfound look has garnered the attention of Key West's biggest hottie, Brad-freaking-Garrison, and might just give her the one thing she's always dreamed of--an epic summer romance.

A romance her summertime best friend only wishes he could give her. But for Oliver, getting Katie to see him as more than just some dumb jock isn't going to be easy after he agrees to compete against Brad in a kite-surfing competition. And if Brad has any say in it, the prize is Katie herself.

With more than just a contest on the line and a friendship at stake, will this be the summer Katie finds her footing, even if it is in someone else's shoes? Will Oliver finally get the courage to tell Katie how he really feels and get out of the friend-zone for good? Or, like a kite in a hurricane, will everything they've ever hoped for be lost in the storm?


About the Author:
Marta Brown grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was a teenager when Doc Martens, Pearl Jam and flannel were the norm, and Dylan loved Kelly forever. (Beverly Hills, 90210 shout out!)

She still lives just outside Seattle, now with her husband and cat, and loves the rain.

When she’s not writing about cute boys, first kisses and the magic and wonder of being seventeen, she’s watching The CW. And she sleeps in. Late.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Book Blogger Hop (19)

Book Blogger Hop is a meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every Friday-Thursday. It's a great opportunity to network and visit other blogs and meet new bloggers. 

This weeks question is: 
"How many posts do you publish per week? And how many of them are reviews?"

I answered: 
I try to post on a daily basis. Sometimes I post twice in one day. Other days (mostly Sundays) I might not post at all. I participate in a lot of memes and book tours so those are the majority of my posts, however, I try to post about 1 review a week. I don't have too much free time (I'm in college and working full-time) so I don't have time to write multiple reviews a week because I don't read multiple books a week. I wish I had more time to read because there are so many books on my TBR list!

What about you? Leave your answer to this weeks question in the comments below.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cover Reveal (& Giveaway): Scandal by Alison Foster

Title: Scandal
Author: Alison Foster
Genre: NA, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: July 14, 2015

Ella Wade knew working at a website called the Daily Scandal might lead to an interesting summer job after graduating college. She did not know that one big mistake would pull her into the heart of a sleazy world of publicity where truths are worse than lies and murderer is on the loose.

When Ells gives into temptation and sleeps with her stepsister Isabella's ex, her world flips upside down. It doesn't matter that Isabella is dead and that Jaxson Cole wasn't, in fact, her boyfriend but a publicist's stunt to link two of the hottest catwalk models romantically in order to feed tabloid curiosity. The damage is done and with deadly consequences.

Even worse, jax definitely knows things he won't say. Falling for his epic hotness could mean one good screw will screw Ella for a lifetime.

This book contains explicit language and sex.


About the Author:
Alison Foster loves reading a good love story almost as much as she loves writing one. She spends her time dreaming up strong heroes and even stronger heroines and she enjoys finding unexpected strengths within her characters when they are in the most unexpected places.

She believes that passion makes the world go round and that a sexy grin is as sweet as candy. She loves interacting with readers, so feel free to drop her a line.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday (36) / Friday 56 (5)

Feature & Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkiee's View & Alison Can Read. Check out their blogs and the two Featured Bloggers of the week! This is great for finding amazing new blogs to follow and for gaining followers yourself!

This weeks question is: 
If you were to get a tattoo, what would it say or what would the graphic be? Or if you have a tattoo, share a picture and its meaning.

  I answered: 
I love these non-book related questions. So this is something that I was supposed to get a year ago, but the timing was wrong so I have yet to get it done. If I'm being completely honest with myself though, I'm stalling because I'm really nervous. The location I want (the side of my ribcage right under the bra strap, does that makes sense? Like where your arm rests) is supposed to be one of the worst places to get a tattoo. But I plan on getting this done because not only is it cute, but it has meaning.

It literally means "sincerity (or candor) gives wings to strength". I think this can be interpreted in a variety of ways. For me it means that believing in yourself (and being true to who you are) can give you strength. I also think that being sincere and honest in anything you do will just make you a stronger person.

Maybe I should make it my goal this summer? All I really have planned for the summer is school and blogging so it can definitely use some excitement. 

What about you? Leave your answer to this weeks question in the comments below.

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice. Basically you flip to page 56 (or 56% in your eReader) of any book and post a sentence or two (more if you want) from that page without being too spoiler-y. This gives us a glimpse into what you are reading or have read, and may even prompt us to add your book to our TBR piles!

My teaser:
She sat up without saying anything. His eyes followed her as she stood, hesitating for a moment as if her body was complaining about being away from his, then she placed one hand on his shoulder and deliberately placed one knee on either side of his lap. His thighs were as hard as his chest. Heat pumped through her again. She took a deep breath. "It seems...all I can think about is kissing you."
Excerpt From: Suze Winegardner. “Anya and the Shy Guy.”

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway: Falling Fast by Tina Wainscott

Title: Falling Fast 
(Falling Fast #1)
Author: Tina Wainscott
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
Genres: NA, Contemporary, Romance

Fans of Jasinda Wilder and Colleen Hoover will adore this emotional new small-town romance--a smoldering tale of first love and long-awaited redemption from USA Today bestselling author Tina Wainscott.

Raleigh West works in an auto shop day and night, trying to put his broken past out of mind. It's been seven years since the fiery crash that landed his teenage sweetheart in the hospital...and him in jail. In an instant, he lost everything: his passion for racing, his hope of escaping his father's shameful legacy, and the only girl he ever loved. Raleigh hasn't seen her since that awful night. Never got a chance to apologize. And never forgave himself, either.

When brave, beautiful Mia Wentworth returns to the Florida coast for the first time in what seems like forever, it's not to see Raleigh. Even so, the moment she arrives she can feel his presence like a gust of wind that gives her goose bumps, Mia's never been the kind of woman to take the easy way out.


Seven years ago

Dear Journal,

Here I am again in this nothing little coastal town, not even a Starbucks or a decent Wi-Fi. We usually spend a week visiting Grandma, but this year it’s the whole summer while Dad consults on a dredging project.

If I were like normal seventeen-year-olds, I’d be missing my friends. Only it’s hard to have friends when you’ve spent half your life in and out of the hospital, having to explain why you’re bald and why you’ve been out of school for chunks of time. They either feel sorry for you or drift away because they don’t know how to relate to you anymore. I understand, because I can’t relate to them, either. It’s hard to sympathize with someone over a bad hair day or getting grounded when you see how insignificant it is in the big scheme of life. Besides, who wants to be friends with someone who might die, right? I should know. I’ve lost a few friends I met at the hospital, and it’s heartbreaking.

So, yeah, I’m not normal. But I just passed the two-year mark after my last chemo, so I am officially cured!

As long as it doesn’t come back. Damn, I hate how that phrase rolls right into my mind. But I still have nightmares about Dr. Cane walking in with that somber expression, and me with that  sinking feeling while all I can think is NO, NO, NOT AGAIN!

Okay, so forget that. I’m cured. PERIOD. I feel like I should be celebrating. There’s this pressure to squeeze every ounce of life from every minute, but the super-secret truth is, I just want to stay in my cocoon and be safe and comfortable.

Being in Chambliss is both, but I’m totally bored. Most of the beaches are really small and covered in environmentally protected sea grasses or mangrove forests, so the area isn’t developed or touristy. Grandma’s neighborhood is a bunch of scrubland lots, with a scattering of older cottages on the Gulf. I don’t know anyone, and I’m not good at striking up conversations. It’s easier in the hospital, because you have something in common: “What d’ya got?” Then you trade initials, like my ARMS, or AML or Wilms’ tumor, and then comes the long words the letters stand for. And the war stories. Chemo, throwing up, the way the foods you love smell horrible. Yeah, fun stuff, but it bonds you.

Today Mom’s dropping me off at the garage so I can pick up the Lexus that was getting fixed. I finally garnered enough pity for her to let me drive the car to the public beach, where I might actually meet kids my own age. Alone. So excited!! I’ve resolved that I will initiate a conversation with at least one person today. So nervous!!

OMG. So Mom drops me off, right? I make her leave instead of going in with me. It’s Saturday, so the garage isn’t officially open. But the owner assured her that the mechanic who uses the shop in the off hours will give me the keys and the paperwork. When I walk to the open bays, I see muscular legs coming from beneath a supremely hot, souped-up car. I should have noticed the car first, though I’m not really a car girl. I’ve never considered myself to be boy crazy, either. But those legs, bouncing to the beat of the rock song blaring on the radio, are what snagged my attention.

What the heck? I enjoy the view, lightly dusted legs with fair hair. Runner’s legs. Finally, I feel guilty and a bit voyeuristic, so I try to get his attention. Clearing my throat doesn’t do a bit of good over the music. I think about touching that thigh, where the muscles tighten with his movements. Stroking my fingers down the hairs that look silky soft. But, of course, I don’t! I’ve never even kissed a guy. I could tap his beat-up sneakers, I suppose, but even that’s more touching than I can consider.

Finally, I kneel down and catch his profile. Strong nose and chin. Nice mouth, pursed as he jerks on a wrench that’s clearly not moving a bolt. Eyebrows furrowed in complete concentration. Yeah, I could stay there forever, too. But he must catch my movement, because he looks over and says,“Oh. Hey,” then pushes out on one of those mechanic’s skateboard-like things.

My heart does this crazy bumping thing. He’s probably just a little older than me, by the six o’clock shadow along his jawline and chin. And tall, over six feet, wearing a tight black T-shirt that shows off broad shoulders. And gorgeous. Eyes as blue as the afternoon sky, you know, when there’s a storm that makes it dark and scary. And light brown hair with just a hint of red that’s a few months overdue for a haircut. For a second, or however many I’m standing there taking him in, I swear he’s doing the same to me as he wipes his hands. He cracks a smile, and OMG . . . just OMG.

“You must be Mia Wentworth,” he says. “Here for the Lexus, right?”

I actually cannot talk for a second. So embarrassing. I do nod, so I’m not a total loser. But I don’t want him to just hand me the key and shoo me off. He’s the conversation I’m going to initiate today. I look at the car. It’s a Camaro, with a big spoiler and red paint that glitters when the light hits it a certain way. So I chat him up on the car. It’s his. He tells me he’s doing this and that, things I have no idea about but sound fast. Then, with this secret smile, he admits he races it. There’s a group of teens who race on weekend nights. Different places every time, so the cops don’t catch on. He does this kind of work for them, too, whenever they can scrape up the dough. That’s how he said it: “dough.” So sexy, with his deep, husky voice. He’s not nervous or trying to impress me, just casual and . . . cool.

Oh, and his name is Raleigh. Like the city in North Carolina, he says, adding that he doesn’t know why his mom chose it, since she died when he was five. His dad’s killed too many brain cells to remember the inspiration. Raleigh tells me this like it’s no big deal, yet I have a feeling he doesn’t just tell everyone.

Raleigh. I love that name, but I simply say that I like it. It’s different. Staying cool, right? Then he invites me to watch a race sometime. He winks and suggests that I can be his pit crew, cheer him on. Like he probably doesn’t have a dozen girls who happily do that already.

I know I can’t possibly watch an illegal race at midnight. Not with my parents’ permission, anyway. But I say, “Sure, I’d love to,” because my heart is racing, for sure, at the thought. He smiles like he’s looking forward to it. And I know he’s trouble. Big, crazy, scary trouble. And for the first time I want—no, CRAVE—that trouble. I crave the way he’s taking me in—a quick sweep of my body in my tank top and shorts, flip-flops with the plastic gems encrusted on the straps. and the toenails I’ve taken great pains to paint. He meets my eyes and smiles in a soft, intimate way. Yep, biiiig trouble.

He doesn’t know I’ve spent seven years of my life fighting cancer. That my short hair is not a fashion statement. Or a choice. The way he looks at me, as though I’m beautiful and healthy, makes me feel like I’ve never been sick a day in my life. He’s trouble, all right. And I don’t give a damn.

About the Author:
Tina Wainscott has always loved the combination of suspenseful chills and romantic thrills. She's published fifteen romantic suspense novels, as well as ten paranormal romances as Jaime Rush. Losing her nephew, a Marine, in the war made her realize that our military men are really the perfect heroes. Not only during the war but afterward as they try to stitch their lives and souls together once they're home. And so was born The Justiss Alliance, an agency where these men can find purpose, honor, and love outside the war zone.

For contests, sneak peeks, and more, click here. For more on her paranormal romances, go here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can not wait to read! This meme is the perfect way to add books to your TBR list. Along with upcoming releases, I sometimes include books that I have not had the chance to read or buy even if they have already come out. 

Emmy & Oliver
by Robin Benway
Release Date: June 23, 2015

From Goodreads:
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles--impossible to fit together?

Emmy juts wants to be in charge of her own life... She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach--go anywhere without her parents' relentless worrying. But Emmy's parents can't seem to let her grow up--not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart... He's thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who had kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, at all once, has his heart racing, and his thoughts swirling.

| Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon |

This sounds really good! This reminds me a lot of Finding Carter, the MTV show where one of the main characters--Carter--is kidnapped when she is a toddler by a woman who raises her to think that she is her mother. I can not even imagine what Oliver must be going through and it will be interesting to see how him and Emmy deal with this. Hopefully their love really is written in the stars.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Guest Post from Rebekah L. Purdy, Author of Daisy and the Front Man (& Giveaway!)

Title: Daisy and the Front Man
Author: Rebekah L. Purdy
Release Date: June 16, 2015

Hell hath no fury like a fangirl scorned...

When Daisy Morris finds out she's spending the summer with her dad, bodyguard for Seconds to Juliet--the hottest boy band around--she knows it couldn't be more perfect. But not because she's a fan. Oh, no. Because ever since front man Trevin Jacobs completely humiliated her by standing her up for homecoming, Daisy is out for a little revenge. Yup, Trevin Jacobs is goin' down...

When one of his bandmates bets Trevin he can't make Daisy--the gorgeous but surprisingly ice-cold daughter of their bodyguard--fall in love with him, it's a bet he can't resist. Sure, Daisy won't give him the time of day for reasons he can't understand, and her dad's hell-bent against his little girl spending time with a superstar. But the terms are set, and Trevin is determined to make Daisy fall...hard.

But every front man should know never to trust a girl with a pretty face...

This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, sexual situations, and seriously hot boys. It may cause swoony daydreams involving a certain super-cute front man.

How to Prepare to Write a Book About Boy Bands:

Okay, so this whole book series started out as an idea on twitter. Basically throw in a few authors talking about their love for boy bands on the net and BOOM, a book series proposal is born. But before we could start writing our books, we had to discuss, how many guys we wanted in the band and who wanted to write what guy/girl combo. 

And once we had a general idea of what kinds of storylines/tropes we each wanted to write, we had to pitch it to an editor. Which, lucky for us Stacy Abrams at Entangled Publishing loved our idea to take 5 authors and each write about a guy in this super famous (made up) boy band.

To prepare ourselves to write this series, we created a google group/google docs page where we had to update information on where we wanted our tours to be (dates/venues etc). But this was a place to also list our characters and their information (descriptions/likes-dislikes/friends/what part of the tour we wanted to write/names of fake songs/also backstories for some of our people).

We also had to depend on pictures of insides of tour buses, photos of famous people who reminded us of our characters to post and give everyone kind of a visual of how we saw our guys/girls. We shared playlists and numerous emails back and forth asking one another stuff like “Hey would your guy do something like this?” And sometimes we wouldn’t all agree on one thing, like our band name (LOL). We were glad to have some help naming our band from readers and our editor. 

But for me, I started to watch a lot of boy band videos—as in the behind the scenes type stuff. Like what certain bands did while out on tour, backstage stuff (and yes I bought some 1D DVDs and also brought out some of my old New Kids on the Block VHS tapes I still had). I took lots of notes and I read online columns and such regarding tours etc. I tuned into TV shows/specials that had to do with boy bands. I wanted to know everything there was to know about how the different groups ticked and what some of their downfalls were. I wanted to make things realistic, even though this book is about a fictional band.

One of the most fun parts of writing this series with other authors was the emails back and forth, with hot guy pics and links to boy band music videos. And since my character, Trevin, who is Korean American is kind of based off some of the KPOP bands I discovered through my niece and daughter, it was awesome sharing some of those videos with the others. If I got the chance to work with these ladies again, I’d jump on it.

The only sad thing about this series is that this band doesn’t exist in real life (LOL). I LOVE Seconds to Juliet and all our fabulous guys we created: Miles, Ryder, Trevin, Will, and Nathan. 

About the Author:
Rebekah was born and raised in Michigan where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. She's lived in Michigan most of her life other than the few years she spent in the U.S. Army. At which time she got a chance to experience Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, and California. Rebekah has a business degree from University of Pheonix and currently works full time for the court system. In her free time she writes YA stories, anything from YA Fantasy to YA Contemporary Romance. Rebekah also has a big family (6 kids). She likes to consider her family as the modern Brady Bunch complete with crazy road trips and game nights. When not hiding at her computer, Rebekah enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing vidwo games, traveling, and hanging out with her family and gazillion pets.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review (52): Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

Whatever Life Throws at You
by Julie Cross

Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 373
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Author Website 

My Thoughts: 
Annie Lucas’ father has just been offered an amazing opportunity as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals which is how she ends up in Missouri at an all girls private school. There she focuses on track: winning meets, breaking records, and getting noticed by college scouts. Jason Brody, the new Royals’ rookie pitcher, somewhat blindsides her when she realizes that she has actual feelings for him. But he has a sketchy past, a playboy image, and is obviously off limits—because he’s a major league baseball player and all. As their friendship turns into something more, the two of them try to find a way to make things work despite all that keeps getting in their way. 

I honestly finished this in about two days. I loved so many things about this book: the plot, the characters, the writing. Just everything! The relationship that Annie has with her father is something I’ve always craved with my own. They are just so sweet, caring and protective of each other. Annie’s relationship with Brody is also well written. Their relationship slowly progressives from a very close friendship which I liked. It was a gradual shift and there were a lot of scenes where they take the time to actually get to know each other; they share secrets and pretty much talk about anything and everything. I hate when romance is one of the biggest aspects of the plot yet it is rushed and ends up being lackluster. Luckily this was not the case because their love seems very genuine.

I loved Annie and Brody together, but individually they are also great characters. Annie is driven and sassy. I felt that she was pretty mature despite that being one of her biggest insecurities. And despite his sordid past, Brody is hardworking, patient, and loving. He has completely changed his life around in such a short amount of time which is admirable. I felt sorry for him at times because of how young and alone he seems; he just wants someone to acknowledge that he isn’t a terrible person and be accepted by his teammates. 

There is a bit of sexual content, so be aware if that is something you are not comfortable with.  (I would definitely categorize this as more NA than YA.) I found it particularly refreshing because it was not super graphic, but it added to their relationship and made it that much more real. Those scenes honestly made me love Brody that much more. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Book Blogger Hop (18)

Book Blogger Hop is a meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every Friday-Thursday. It's a great opportunity to network and visit other blogs and meet new bloggers. 

This weeks question is: 
"Do you pre-schedule your posts?"

I answered:
Oh yes I do; it is currently May 22nd and I am already writing this out lol. I have like 2 months worth of planned posts and start writing/creating them as soon as I have the content. Although I already know what I'm going to be posting on what day, I don't usually have more than a full week actually scheduled. My goal is to post daily so having them scheduled and ready to go helps me achieve this. Plus, with all the homework I have and my work schedule, sometimes I forget or don't have the time so this way I don't have to scramble to post something. I make changes here and there, but for the most part once I've scheduled something I don't really touch it unless I want to move it to a different date. 

What about you? Leave your answer to this weeks question in the comments below.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Cover Reveal: Break Free & Break Through by Amber Garza

Title: Break Free
Author: Amber Garza
Genre: NA, Contemp, Romance
Release Date: April 30, 2014

Jade Mathews is on the run. Running from an addiction that almost destroyed her, and a man who wants her dead.

Kyler James is a writer, a recluse locked in a prison of his own making.

When Jade and Kyler meet they find solace in one another and start to heal. Until Jade stumbles upon Kyler's latest manuscript and is shocked to find that it is her story. One he couldn't know. Jade fears she's trusted the wrong person once again, and this time it may be her undoing.

Is the past destined to destroy them, or will they finally break free?

| Goodreads |

Title: Break Through
Author: Amber Garze
Genre: NA, Contemp, Romance
Release Date: June 26, 2014

At the age of eight, Aspen Fairchild is kidnapped. Taken hostage by a man she trusts. Five years later she escapes, vowing never to trust another man. Now she's an adult and she's kept the promise she made to herself as a child, keeping men at a distance.

Carter Johnston is talented and charming. A photographer well known for his ability to capture the true essence of his subjects.

When Carter is assigned to photograph Aspen for an article in a prominent magazine, the connection between them is undeniable.

Aspen is drawn to Carter's charm and artistic ability. As they grow closer, the walls Aspen has built around her heart for years begin to crumble. Until she finds a photograph in Carter's house which catapults her back to her time in captivity. A photograph Carter shouldn't have.

Will the truth cause her to shut down or will he finally break through?

| Goodreads |

* Both covers have been redesigned by Cover Lure *

About the Author:
Amber Garza lives in California with her amazing husband and two hilarious children who provide her with material to keep her writing for years.