Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (52)

"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. 

Romancing the Dark
in the City of Light

by Ann Jacobus
Release Date: October 6, 2015

From Goodreads:
A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can't shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer's behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she's forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that'll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon |

I've actually already read this, but I wanted to include it anyways since I had my eyes on it for a while before I was lucky enough to receive an ARC. The review will be up next week!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (51)

"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. 

It's a Wonderful Death
by Sarah J. Schmitt
Release Date: October 6, 2015

From B&N:
Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon |

This sounds strange and I am all for the weird and strange. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Excerpt: Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey (w/ Giveaway!)

Title: Picture Imperfect
Author: Jelsa Mepsey
Published by: Swoon Romance

Release Date: Sept 22, 2015
Genres: YA, Romance

Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it.

So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her.

Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time.

Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worst than the truth is, the facade that surrounds them.

Goodreads | Amazon |

Chapter 1 
I prop myself up on my elbows and peer into the toilet bowl. Bloodshot brown eyes glare back at me between chunks of floating vomit, light glinting off the metal toilet seat. Bile runs down my chin, stuck in my stubble. When I reach for the toilet paper roll, I find it empty. I wipe my face on my crusty sleeve. Flies guard the toilet, flanked by a million tiny ants. So much for using the park bathroom to puke and take a piss. I don’t need anything on my dick or up my ass.

Last night’s chunky dinner rises up my sore throat. The chunks stick, choking me. I cough and cough, but only greasy spit dribbles out. I grip the empty toilet paper holder for support, accidentally yanking it out of the wall. When I uncurl my fingers, it drops into the toilet, splashing water onto my shirt. I stagger into the sink and twist the rusty faucet. Nothing comes out. Of course. A place to shit would be a shitty place.

The pressure in my bladder increases. Flies buzz around the toilet. Screw them. I unzip, only for them to fly closer. Little fuckers! I zip back up and shove the door open, stumbling into some bushes. I unzip again and piss on them. Once I finish, I zip my pants up, my teeth chattering. Goosebumps pop up on my skin, and I rub my arms.

Click! A flash blinds me, and I shield my eyes. Someone’s walking closer to me. After heavy blinking, I’m able to see the culprit’s wide gray eyes. Brown-haired ponytail swishing and lips twitching in amusement, she pockets her bright orange digital camera. I don’t know her. Why is she taking a picture of me?

“What was that?” I step out from behind the bush.

The girl blinks twice. “I was getting blackmail.”

Blackmail? She doesn’t even know me! “Delete that. Now!” My stomach riots, my vision still blinded from the flash. Who takes pictures of random strangers? Who takes pictures of random strangers peeing?

The girl ignores me and hops in place, her smile so wide it should fall off her face. “This is perfect!”

“I told you to delete it!” I reach out and try to snatch the camera from her, but she lowers her arm at the last second. My arm drops as she finally looks up.

“Calm down, Max.” She smiles and pockets her camera in her coat. “What’s up?”

Did she just say my name? “Do I know you?”

She frowns. “Yeah. We’re in the same chemistry class.”

Chemistry. Cassy’s in my chemistry class. I’d nudge her with my knee under the table while the teacher droned on. But I can’t do that anymore. She belongs to him now. Asshole girlfriend stealer.

The girl’s stare is still on me.

“I’m Melly.” She holds her hand out. I don’t shake it. She lowers her hand, continuing to stare. This is really awkward. A quick glance is normal. Staring is just creepy.

I narrow my eyes. “Do you need something from me?”

“Actually, yes.” She grins, revealing braces. What’s a high school sophomore doing still wearing those? Braces are so middle school. “I need you to be my photo model for the next three hundred and sixty-five days. Well, three hundred and sixty-four now, since I’ve already taken a picture of you today.”

I stare back at her. When the smile doesn’t fall from her face, I laugh, breaking the silence. “Model? For you? For an entire year?”

“I’m serious!” She looks at the ground. “Your hair is really awesome, since you change it so much. That’s why I’d like to photograph you.”

My hair definitely isn’t “awesome” today. It’s still oily because I didn’t take a shower this morning and the wind’s blowing it everywhere. Sometimes, girls pet my hair after I changed it even though it pissed Cassy off.

Is that why Cassy broke up with me? Or is it just because Jaxon is so much better for her?

She looks up. I shake my head. “No.”

“Aw, come on.” She frowns. “It’s not like you have to do a lot of work.”

“Maybe, maybe not. But we’re not friends.” I shrug. “I don’t see why I should do this for you.”

Melly rolls her eyes. “This is why I didn’t ask for permission before taking your picture. I expected this from you.”

“Then why’d you take it anyway?” And how does she know so much about me?

The smile never leaves her face. “Here’s the deal. I’ll pay you. That photo is for a scholarship. I have to photograph something that’ll change over the course of a year.”

I scoff. “And you thought of me?”

“Well, no.” She scratches her head. “I mean, I was wandering around the park trying to come up with some ideas, and then I saw you.” She exhales. “So … yeah! Come on, Max! Please? I’ll pay you! Even if I don’t win, it’ll be a fun project.”

“Fun?” I groan. “Maybe for you.”

She steps a little closer. “Don’t you want to know how much I’ll pay you?”

A little money never hurt. “Hmm. How much?”

“A dollar a day.”

I snort. “Two.”

She grins. “Sure. So, you’ll do it?”

Way to jump to conclusions. “I never agreed to anything.”

“True.” She raises an eyebrow. “Still. Seven hundred and thirty dollars. Not bad, if you ask me.”

“I guess not.” She must be hoping for a lot of money if she’s willing to pay me so much. “What do you get if you win the scholarship?”

She scoffs. “Like you care. Focus on what you’re going to get. Seriously. It’s not bad.”

“I guess it’s not.” Just one more thing. “What about the picture?”

“Oh, right.” She adjusts the camera around her neck. “I won’t show it to anyone but the scholarship people.”

“And if I say no?”

“Then I guess your lovely ex-girlfriend Cassy Carlson would love to see it.”

How does she know about me and Cassy already? “You can’t be serious.”

“I am.” She folds her arms across her chest. “So? Will you do it?”

If she puts it that way, I really don’t have a choice. Besides, money is nice. “This isn’t gonna take a lot of time, is it?”

She shakes her head. “It shouldn’t. So, it’s a deal, right?”

I hesitate; the frogs in my stomach seem to have died for now. My throat, however, continues torturing me. I cough. “Seven hundred thirty dollars?”

She shrugs. “If you want. I think it’s worth it. I’d do it if I were you.”

“Mm-hmm.” Should I? It’s not like I have anything better to do. But do I really want some chick taking pictures of me every day? I should tell her to get lost and suck a dick. That might knock the smile off her face. But if I take her up on it, I’ll have some money for a drum set.

“Max?” She waves a hand in front of my face. “Yes or no?”

This is gonna be a long year. “Fine. I’ll do it. But only because you’re paying me.” And Cassy doesn’t need to see a picture of me hung-over and pissing in bushes.

Her forehead creases. “Are you sure? Don’t commit if you’re not going to cooperate.”

“I said yes, okay?” Great. I’m already regretting this. “Just stop bothering me.”

Melly grins as if she’s just been declared homecoming queen. “Awesome! Thanks, Max!”

“Yeah, whatever.” I stand. The frogs resurrect their leaping contest, and I steady myself on a nearby bench. Cassy and I used to come here and make out a lot: a private world in a public place. “Have fun with your project. Use me as little as possible.”

“Of course.” She twirls some hair around her finger. “So, when are we meeting tomorrow?”

She can’t be serious. “Huh?”

“Well, I need a picture for every day of the year. That means I need you tomorrow too.”

What have I gotten myself into? “Can we just come here tomorrow?”

She nods. “Sounds good to me. I’ll see you here at ten. Don’t forget to come.”

Hmph. “And if I do?”

“Your loss.” She shoves her hands into her pockets. “I’m not paying you until this time next year.”

“Fine.” This has been enough perkiness for a day. She smiles enough for both of us. “Well, I’m gonna go now. Guess I’ll see you here tomorrow.”

She smirks. “You better.” She steps even closer, smile widening. “Try to be a little nicer though, okay? Also, I’d appreciate it if you were sober tomorrow. Just saying.” She tilts her head and narrows her eyes. “Looks like you had fun last night. Nice shirt.”

“Fun?” I chuckle without humor. “Sure, if that’s what you want to think.”

She frowns. “What happened last night?”

What did happen? “Shit.”

“Oh.” She raises an eyebrow. “What kind?”

“Nothing.” Who cares that my girlfriend dumped me less than a day before our anniversary? Who cares that I caught her making out with my supposed best friend only five minutes later? No one. No one’s ever cared. And no one ever will.

“Fine. Don’t tell me. See you tomorrow.”

With that, she walks away. Finally. I shake my head and check my phone. It’s about noon. Time to go home. I don’t want to be there either. But it beats being photographed by random strangers, even if I’m getting paid.

I still need a drink. There’s a fountain across the street. Even from here, it looks rusty. I’m about halfway across when a horn blares and brakes screech. I dive forward, glancing behind me to see a car’s bumper. One of the front wheels is inches from my shoe, another almost planting into a tree. I crawl across the street, peering at the window. A middle-aged driver flips me off. The horn’s blare is like a dozen hammers slamming into my skull. I laugh, almost wishing he’d hit me. Almost. He shakes his head and drives off. My stomach churns again. For a moment, I think vomit will burst out of my throat, but I force it back. I pant as I glance around me, then brace my hands on the ground and stand slowly.

Blood roars in my ears as my heart pounds. That was close. Okay. It’s official. My New Year’s resolution is to not let that happen a second time. For now, I’m getting my ass home.

About the Author:
Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance fiction, drawing inspiration from daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-American in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Interview: Jillian Eaton, Author of Learning to Fall

Title: Learning to Fall
Author: Jillian Eaton
Release Date: June 8, 2015

There are some lines that should never be crossed...
...and some desires that cannot be ignored. 

Driven, meticulous, and a bit of a control freak, Imogen Finley is elated when her hard work and dedication culminates in a teaching position at Stonewall, a prestigious liberal arts college on the coast of Maine. Everything in her life is going exactly as she planned it… until she meets Daniel Logan. 

Charming, mysterious, and wickedly handsome, Daniel is not the kind of man Imogen ever planned on falling for, but after a chance meeting at a bar that’s exactly what she finds herself doing and he quickly becomes the one thing in her life she can’t control. The one thing in her life she doesn’t want to control.

But as their passion escalates, so does the dangerous situation they find themselves in. Because Daniel isn’t just the man Imogen's falling in love with… he's also her student. 

| Goodreads | Amazon |

Hi Jillian! Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! 
Describe Learning to Fall in 3 words. 
romantic, funny, emotional

What inspired you to write Learning to Fall?
I've been wanting to write a contemporary romance novel for a while. I don't know exactly where the idea came from, but I do know I wanted to try something different (IE a female professor having a relationship with a male student) and something realistic. Love triangles are fun, but I know I could hardly manage to get one hot guy to look in my direction, let alone two! I think everyone (male, female, single, married) will find something to relate to in Learning to Fall, and that was ultimately my inspiration: to write a novel that will make you think about, feel for, and ultimately fall in love with the main characters.     

Which scene was most difficult to write? Which was your favorite?
A scene in the middle where Daniel reveals something very heart wrenching about his family to Imogen was incredibly difficult for me to write. Any scene between Imogen and Whitney, her roommate, was always fun, particularly when Whitney talks Imogen into having a huge party at their house... 

What are your thoughts on the cover? Did you have any input in the design?
Since I designed the cover, I had all of the input. :) I wanted something a little different from all the other contemporary/NA covers out there. This cover is particularly meaningful to me because I'm terrified of heights (which means Ferris wheels are basically deathtraps) and a strong theme throughout the novel is Imogen's struggle to overcome her own insecurities and fears. 

Are you working on anything new at the moment? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
Right now I'm in the middle of a historical romance novella. All my books before Learning to Fall (with the exception of one YA) have been historical romance, and this one in particular (Lady Harper) is the final entry in my London Ladies series. After it's finished, I'm looking forward to starting another contemporary. 

Is there a specific place you like to write?
Last September my boyfriend and I bought a 100 year old house in Bethlehem, PA. It's bungalow style, with big (drafty) windows and tons of character (aka: things we will need to fix). Somehow I managed to talk him into converting the second biggest bedroom into an office, so I love to write there. And on the front porch. And in the little breakfast nook off the kitchen. And at Panera, because their breakfast sandwiches are awesome.  

What do you think is more important: characters or plot?
Oh, good question! Ultimately, I think the characters are more important. You can have the best plot in the world, but if the reader doesn't care a fig for your characters they're not going to be emotionally involved in their outcome. 

Books you currently have on your TBR list?
I just started True North by Liora Blake and love it already. On my short list I have The Liar by Nora Roberts,  Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. 

This or That:
Fantasy or Reality?
Comedy or Horror?
Pancake or Waffles?
Baked or Fried?
TV shows or Movies?
Pen or Pencil?
Chocolate or Vanilla?

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

About the Author:
Jillian is twenty-eight-years old and grew up in Maine. She now resides in Pennsylvania. When she isn't writing Jillian is doing her best to keep up with her three very mischievous dogs. 

She loves ducks, coffee, horses, hearing from her readers, that awful (but delicious) fake butter they put on popcorn at the movie theaters, anything sci-fi related, and staying up late finishing a good book.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review (64): Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between
by Jennifer E. Smith

Series: N/A
Other Reviewed Titles: N/A
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for YR/Poppy
Pages: 256
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Author Website
Book Website

My Thoughts: 
Claire and Aidan have been avoiding this moment for months, but the time has finally come. They only have 12 hours left before both leave for college and have yet to decide what to do—stay together or break up. They believe that revisiting the places that brought them together will help make the decision easier. Morning comes all too quickly and they must decide if this is a temporary goodbye or if it’s goodbye forever. 

This was such a cute and romantic read which is common of Jennifer E. Smith’s books. I think this is a great end of summer book especially for those also about to leave for college. The entire story takes place within just 12 hours but so much occurs that it does not feel like such a short amount of time. I really love one night or one day stories when they are done right. Everything that happens is important to the story and I didn’t feel like there was a lot of filler which was great. Nothing particularly exciting happens, but that’s okay because this is a story about rediscovering--and possibly letting go of--young love. 

Claire and Aidan are a great couple who have an envious relationship. They are complete opposites but I think that’s why they work so well--Claire is the level-headed bookworm while Aidan is the risk taking jock. You would think these would be qualities that would not attract each other or work well together, but they seem to bring these things out in each other. I felt that they balanced each other out very well and that they were needed influences on each other; Claire is more outgoing and spontaneous with Aidan by her side and Aidan is grounded with Claire. 

What I particularly liked about this book is that both Claire and Aidan (no matter how much they love each other) choose their dream schools over schools that would allow them to be closer to each other. I thought this was a very admirable decision. To me it seems like most other books with this exact premise always have couples where one of the individuals decides to follow the other to college--as if that person's dreams are more important than their own. I never understood this so I’m glad it was a focal point of Aidan and Claire’s story.

Lastly, I just have to say that I LOVE all of Jennifer E. Smith’s book covers. I think it’s super cute that they all have a similar theme despite the fact that they are not directly connected to each other through a series, etc. This makes them very recognizable and uniquely hers. 

| Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon |

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (50)

"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 Scott Westerfeld
Release Date: September 29, 2015

From Goodreads:
Ethan, aka "Scam," has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn't just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn't consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts - like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him - his former group of friends, the self-named "zeros" who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam's latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Excerpt of Em and Em by Linda Budzinski (w/ Giveaway!)

Title: Em and Em
Author: Linda Budzinski
Release Date: Sept 15, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA

The last thing sixteen-year-old Emily Slovkowski wants is to move away from her home at the Jersey shore, gorgeous surfer boyfriend Zach, and her entire identity. But that’s kind of how Witness Protection works, and Em must prepare herself for an epic do-over as she starts a new life in the Midwest.

Even as she pines for sandy beaches and the night life of the shore, the newly-named Ember O’Malley finds herself making new friends, taking photos for the high school newspaper, and thinking an awful lot about the paper’s editor, an oddly cute cowboy named Charles.

When Em stumbles upon a shady beneath-the-bleachers exchange between one of the school’s football coaches and a student, she refuses to get involved. The last thing she needs is to be witness to another crime or call attention to herself. Besides, she finally has some real friends – well, real except for the fact that they don’t know a single thing about her – and she prefers to keep it that way until the trial.

But as her day in court approaches, Em begins piecing together what she saw that day beneath the bleachers. And, as her own past secrets start to catch up with her, Em needs to figure out who she really is – Em or Em.

Charles leaned toward her. “Come on, tell me. What kind of photographer do you want to be?”

Ember pulled the sleeves of her sweater down over her hands. She drew up her knees and hugged them into her chest. She’d never talked about this to anyone. What if it sounded stupid? “I want to be a portrait photographer, but not the kind that takes pictures in the studio; the kind that takes pictures of people out in the real world, being who they are and doing the things they love to do.” 

She glanced at him. He didn’t look as though he thought she was stupid. He looked… interested. “You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, I want to tell stories about people. True stories. Stories of who they are deep down.” Like that picture of Trina. The one that proved she wasn’t too old or too cool to love the thrill of the wind tugging a kite up, up, up into the sky. “I want to take pictures that push past people’s images and uncovers something real.”

Charles whistled. “Now that’s a dream.”

“Sorry. It’s silly, right?”

“No, not at all.” Charles leaned in even closer, his face just a few inches from hers. His voice was barely a whisper. “I didn’t mean it’s an impossible dream. I meant it’s the kind of dream worth dreaming.”

About the Author:
I live in Northern Virginia with my husband, Joe, and our feisty chihuahua, Demitria (also known as Dee Dee, The Puppy, and Killer). I'm a sucker for romance and reality TV and have been known to turn off my phone's ringer when watching "The Bachelor." My favorite flower is the daisy, my favorite food is chocolate, and my favorite song is "Amazing Grace."

I write young adult romance. My novels, both published by Swoon Romance YA, are EM & EM and THE FUNERAL SINGER. I am represented by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Guest Post: The Songs of Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley

Title: Finding Perfect
Author: Kendra C. Highley
Genre: Contemporary YA 
Release Date: Sept 14, 2015

How far will you go for perfection?

For “Perfect Paige” Westfield, today is “D” Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents’ expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she’s worked for goes up in flames.
Ben Franklin (yes, he’s related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he’ll be happy to tutor Paige—if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.

It’s the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient—and utterly imperfect—attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it…

Amazon |  Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble |  iTunes |

The Songs of Finding Perfect

I’m one of those writers who has to have music in order to write. But it’s more than that—I have to have a playlist, specific to each book, complete with songs that the major characters. The playlist for this book was really important: Paige is all about her music, and Ben loves it, too. I needed songs that pointed to who they were, inside and out. So what did I listen to? Here’s fifteen songs from the list:
  1. “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
  2. “Radioactive” cover (Imagine Dragons) by William Joseph
  3.  “Here With Me” by Susie Suh and Robert Koch
  4. “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay
  5. “Oblivion” by Bastille
  6. “I Lived” by One Republic
  7. “Stolen Dance” by Milky Chance
  8. “Love Love Love” by Of Monsters and Men
  9. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” by The Police
  10. “Every Breaking Wave” by U2
  11. “Heartlines” by Florence + Machine
  12. “Iridescent” by Linkin Park
  13. “Stay” by Rihanna (feat. Mikky Ekko)
  14. “Fix You” by Coldplay
  15. “With or Without You” by U2

About the Author:
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most critical job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Excerpt of The 52nd by Dela

Title: The 52nd
Author: Dela
Release Date: October 27, 2014
Genres: YA, Paranormal

Not one of the sacrifices chosen over the long history had survived–until now.

On the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, the immortal Castillo family gathers in Tulum. Weary and haunted, they receive the names of fifty-two human sacrifices chosen once every fifty-two years for the Underworld, a tradition thought to have disappeared with the fall of the Aztec and Mayan empires.

Driving home one night, college freshman Zara Moss swerves to avoid hitting a ghastly figure in the road. Lucas Castillo witnesses the car crash, but when it comes time to supervise her abduction from the wreckage, he intervenes. Something is different about Zara: Lucas has been having dreams of her arrival for five hundred years.

As Lucas and Zara come together to put an end to the bloody sacrifices, they discover that the ancient tradition isn’t so easily broken. The gods are angry, and they have until the Winter Solstice to drag Zara to the Underworld.

“LOOK OUT!” she screamed, pointing to the front window.

A black figure stood in the beam of our headlights. I slammed my foot on the brakes, but they locked and the car began to skid. The smell of burning rubber filled the car as we screeched across the asphalt. The man didn’t move, and as we neared him, I cranked the wheel to the right as fast as possible to avoid him. We screamed as the car spun out of control.

As we skidded closer to the unmoving figure, I thought he was done for. I expected him to bounce up onto the windshield and shatter the window into thousands of tiny pieces. But the briefest second before impact, my door rushing directly at him, I saw

It was not a man.

About the Author:

Dela is the debut author of THE 52ND saga, a multicultural paranormal for young adults. Before tracing the minds of Aztec gods, Dela worked as a paralegal and could be found snowboarding at Brianhead, Utah. She currently lives in Las Vegas with her husband, three kids, and two exceptionally fat Chihuahuas. Her website is

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (49)

"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 Julie Murphy
Release Date: September 15, 2015

From Goodreads:
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review (63): The Wanderers by Kate Ormand (w/ Giveaway!)

The Wanderers
by Kate Ormand

Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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My Thoughts: 
Sixteen year-old Flo’s life is anything but ordinary--she is just one of many performers in a traveling circus. On the outside, this seems like any normal animal circus, but the secret lies in the fact that there aren’t any actual animals in tow. Instead, the humans shape-shift into their animal forms when it is time to perform. Shifters are unknown to the human world, so when a human spots Flo practicing her routine, panic seizes the circus and anxiety causes Flo to accidentally shift from horse to human in front of an unsuspecting audience. Her mistake unleashes the fury of the hunters (a government run group titled EOS whose purpose is to eradicate the shifters and make sure the humans never find out about them). Luckily Flo and a few others are able to flee in time. Together they embark on a journey that reveals secrets they never thought possible and causes them to question everything they’ve been taught and, worst of all, who they can trust. 

I thought the entire book was very well written and well-thought out. I really liked the premise of this and the fact that the characters shape-shifted into many different types of animals because the only other books I’ve read about shape-shifters seem to focus solely on werewolves. The beginning is pretty slow, but then everything picks up and doesn’t really slow down until the very last page (it was a bit rushed in my opinion). For anyone that likes a lot of action, this is the book for you. As soon as things go wrong during Flo’s performance the fighting and killing is almost constant (some of it is kind of graphic so be aware of that if it is something you are not comfortable with). There was a lot of death which I thought was kind of excessive, but at the same time believable since it was trained hunters against a bunch of scared kids--in their animal form or not, they still weren’t warriors. The only thing I would have liked to see was a greater emphasis on the circus itself because that was something I was pretty excited about.

Flo isn’t my favorite character, but she does a lot of growing throughout the story which I admired. She starts off terrified of just performing her short act in front of complete strangers, but by the end she is completely willing to put her life on the line for all of her friends. This is stemmed from the fact that she feels responsible that everyone is running for their lives and wants to help make it as right as possible, but I don’t think everyone would step up to the plate that way. She refuses to run when offered the chance mutiple times and fights until the very end. 

I’m not sure if this will have a sequel or not (the ending seems to be open for one), but I will most likely pick it up because I am intrigued by this shifter world and how Flo and Jett’s story continues. 

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

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