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Blog Tour – Review + Giveaway – ACROSS THE HORIZON by Aly Martinez

ACROSS THE HORIZON Blog Tour

ACROSS THE HORIZON by Aly Martinez

ACROSS THE HORIZON by Aly Martinez

Synopsis
“Sometimes love happens when you least expect it.” That was what my husband’s mistress told me the day I found out about their affair. 

I didn’t believe it until five minutes later when mouth-watering celebrity chef Tanner Reese walked up, tossed his arm around my shoulders, and told my cheating husband to take a hike. 

Tanner and I couldn’t have been more different. He spent his weekends at clubs, rubbing elbows with fellow A-listers. I spent mine in yoga pants with cheese boards and a glass of wine—or six.

Our relationship shouldn’t have worked, but it did. That is until Tanner proved to me that even though love happens when you least expect it… 

So does heartbreak.

 

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ACROSS THE HORIZON Teaser

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My Review
ACROSS THE HORIZON is a fun, flirty, well-written contemporary romance. Tanner Reese is, as Rita calls him, a two-name celebrity. He’s always Tanner Reese and never just Tanner. Rita is just Rita, a woman reeling from her husband of seven years’ affair with a coworker. When celebrity chef, Tanner, and his brother Porter cater a charity event for the medical practice Rita, her husband, and “the other woman” all work for, hilarity ensues in the cutest of meet-cutes. Not recognizing the hot chef, Rita latches onto him in an attempt to make her soon-to-be-ex jealous. It works, but ignites a spark that soon becomes a raging inferno that will not be contained.

Plot
A straight-up romance, the plot is all about Tanner and Rita with excellent subplotting involving Greg, the douchebag husband, and Tanner’s slightly crazy ex-girlfriend. Aly Martinez does a great job of building tension, setting expectations that are then drawn out into excruciating lengths that keeps the anticipation as high for the reader as it is for the characters.

The Characters
Oh my gosh! How MUCH do I love the characters?! They are so much fun. From Tanner’s inappropriate mom to Rita’s BFF, Charlotte, the supporting cast is just as delicious as Tanner and Rita. And what can I say about Tanner and Rita? The self-described mama’s boy and trophy wife are as funny as they are endearing. Tanner is your typical cocky playboy who doesn’t date women who play hard to get. Until he meets Rita. And while I’m not a huge fan of the whole “I was a player until I met the right woman” trope, there is far more to Tanner than just a man needing to be tamed by Ms. Right. He’s profoundly patient, willing to play the long game in order to be with Rita. She is fresh out of her marriage and in no place to be in a relationship when they meet, but she can’t deny the attraction between them, either. Rita is anything but a wallflower who needs a strong man to protect her. I love these two alpha characters dancing around each other.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About ACROSS THE HORIZON
1. Mama Reese. She might be my favorite supporting character in any book I’ve ever read.

2. Strong protagonists. Both Tanner and Rita are strong and independent. Rita could have easily become this injured being that needed saving by a strong man, but I love that she never succumbed to the stereotype.

3. Sweet revenge. They say the best revenge is living a good life and Rita excels at this.

4. Flirtatious dialogue. The dialogue is rich and charming and defines who these characters are.

5. Light romance. Even though there are darker themes, the author keeps the story lighthearted, making it a perfect holiday read.

Bottom Line
A fun and flirty contemporary romance with lots of heart and humor.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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ACROSS THE HORIZON Teaser

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About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: ACROSS THE HORIZON
Author: Aly Martinez
Release Date: December 3, 2018
Pages: 248
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Aly Martinez

Author Aly Martinez

About the Author
Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

 

 

 

 

Where to Find Aly Martinez
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon

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ACROSS THE HORIZON Teaser

 

Book Review + Giveaway – FRAGMENTS OF ASH (Modern Fairy Tales) by Katy Regnery

FRAGMENTS OF ASH Blog Tour

FRAGMENTS OF ASH (Modern Fairy Tales #7) by Katy Regnery

FRAGMENTS OF ASH (Modern Fairy Tales #7) by Katy Regnery

Synopsis
From New York Times bestselling author Katy Regnery comes a dark and twisted retelling of the beloved fairytale, Cinderella!

My name is Ashley Ellis…

I was thirteen years old when my mother – retired supermodel, Tig – married Mosier Răumann, who was twice her age and the head of the Răumann crime family.

When I turned eighteen, my mother mysteriously died. Only then did I discover the dark plans my stepfather had in store for me all along; the debauched “work” he expected me to do.

With the help of my godfather, Gus, I have escaped from Mosier’s clutches, but his twin sons and henchmen have been tasked with hunting me down. And they will stop at nothing to return my virgin body to their father

…dead or alive.

** Contemporary Romance. Due to profanity and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.**

 

 

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My Review
A modern retelling of Cinderella, Ashley is a pawn in an evil game put into place by her stepfather, Mosier. After her mother’s death, Mosier has plans for Ash of the worst imaginable. With the help of Godfather, Gus,, she manages to disappear to a quiet countryside home where she can grieve for the mother she lost who she never really understood and stay off of Mosier’s radar. She meets damaged glass artist, Julian, with his own secrets and troubled past. Julian wants nothing to do with Ash and is even cruel to her in order to force her to keep her distance. But with the help of Julian’s sister Noelle, each breaks down their own barriers enough for a tentative friendship to form that blossoms into something more.

Plot
This is more than a fairytale romance. There is a thriller element to it as well with Mosier hellbent on getting back what he believes is something he owns–Ash. And while this is loosely based on Cinderella, there is shades of Beauty and the Beast in here, too, as an isolated Julian slowly warms to the sweet nature of a beautiful girl. The story is told in alternating points of view with a glimpse into Ash’s mother’s life through her journal. Ash learns the horrific nature of her stepfather as well as her mother’s own character as the five years they spent with Mosier unfold in her mother’s handwriting. She discovers who her mother was and comes to understand her in a way she never dreamed possible.

The Characters
Both Ash and Julian are well-developed with intriguing backstories. They sort of fall into familiar and stereotypical patterns, though, which given the nature of the story, isn’t horrible, but I would have loved for Ash to have been stronger and less in need of being rescued. Ash and Julian are likeable and easy to root for.

Top Five Things I Loved About FRAGMENTS OF ASH
1. Horror. The evil nature of Mosier brings a level of horror to the underlying plot. I knew from the beginning he’d never just let Ash go, so I was on the edge of my seat the whole time wondering when he’d make a reappearance.

2. Julian. He’s dark, wounded, artistic, and loyal. The perfect alpha male.

3. Tig. Ash’s mother had some serious issues and she’ll never win any mother-of-the-year awards, but she did the right thing when it counted and proved she was worthy.

4. Gus. The fairy godfather had some of the best lines in the book and the way he’d do anything for Ash made him lovable.

5. Ash. While I had my issues with her, I certainly understood why she was the way she was. So many times I wanted to take that young woman into my arms and hug her, tell her everything would be okay.

Bottom Line
An gripping retelling of Cinderella with intensity and heat.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: FRAGMENTS OF ASH
Series: Modern Fairy Tales #7
Author: Katy Regnery
Release Date: October 1, 2018
Pages: 282
Genre: New Adult Contemporary/Fairytale Retelling
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

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Fragments of Ash is part of the ~a modern fairytale~ collection: contemporary, standalone romances inspired by beloved fairy tales.

The Vixen and the Vet (Beauty & the Beast) – available now
Never Let You Go (Hansel & Gretel) – available now
Ginger’s Heart (Little Red Riding Hood) – available now
Dark Sexy Knight (Camelot) – available now
Don’t Speak (The Little Mermaid) – available now
Sheer Heaven (Rapunzel) – available now
Fragments of Ash (Cinderella) – available now
Swan Song (The Ugly Duckling) – coming soon

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Author Katy Regnery

Author Katy Regnery

About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.

Twenty-five books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled, New York Times and USA Today Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other standalone novels and novellas.

Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1-4, became a New York Times E-book bestseller.

In 2016, Katy signed a print-only agreement with Spencerhill Press. As a result, her Blueberry Lane paperback books will now be distributed to brick and mortar bookstores all over the United States.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home..

Where to Find Katy Regnery
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – MEDALLION OF MURDER (Nefertari Hughes Mysteries) by B.R. Myers

MEDALLION OF MURDER Blog Tour

MEDALLION OF MURDER (Nefertari Hughes Mysteries) by B.R. Myers

MEDALLION OF MURDER (Nefertari Hughes Mysteries) by B.R. Myers

Synopsis
Still struggling with nightmares from the past summer, Terry tries to bury her secret guilt and enjoy her family’s first Christmas in Devonshire. But when a murdered man is found with a postcard addressed to her, Terry fears the repercussions from that fateful night in Egypt are becoming a reality.

After she receives a coded message from Awad, Terry and her best friend Maude are thrown into the hunt for a lost medallion, an artifact that possesses a great power—and a gruesome destiny. As each clue leads to more disturbing truths (and bodies), Terry begins to suspect she’s the real target of the search. When Awad goes missing, she becomes certain the Illuminati are involved, and has no choice but to risk losing the thing she cherishes the most to get him back.

But Terry will soon discover the secrets of the tomb cannot be erased by distance or power, because the ghosts of her past are closing in quickly… and this time, they refuse to stay buried.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
While I realized this was the third book in a series, its a mystery and in most cases, you can pick up any book in a mystery series and read it as a stand-alone. That is not the case with MEDALLION OF MURDER. This book builds on the events of the previous two books in the series. While it’s easy enough to follow the plot, a lot of the surprises and twists would no doubt have more impact if I’d read the other books first. With that said, I enjoyed this one enough that I will go back and read the other two books. I recommend reading them in order.

Nefertari (Terry) Hughes is the daughter of a noted archeologist who wants her to follow in his footsteps, but her recent adventures have her longing for a future in law enforcement. She’s haunted by past events and struggling with her role in them. On Christmas Eve, out with her best friend Maude, they run into a situation tied to what happened in Egypt, that launches Terry and her friends into their latest mystery. With a coded message from her friend Awad and a mystery gift, they spend their winter holidays attempting to solve another puzzle with dangerous consequences.

Plot
The plot centers around the mystery, but with several subplots involving Terry’s life choices and her relationships with her friends. The events that unfold are masterfully crafted to keep the story moving at the perfect pace. The clues gave me just enough information to make me think I knew what was going on. With the history of the other two books, I may have figured things out sooner, but I love that I didn’t; it was more of a true mystery this way. There is some paranormal/urban fantasy elements, but otherwise feels more like a contemporary mystery. But those elements add interest and surprising ways for events to unfold. Lots of action and adventure, puzzles to solve, and a bit of romance round out a really nice young adult mystery.

The Characters
Told in third-person, single-point-of-view, I felt at a distance from the characters. I got a better sense of who Terry was, but for the most part, the rest of them didn’t resonate deeply with me. They’re all likable enough, but this is a plot-driven story rather than character-driven so the characters aren’t crucial to me being able to enjoy the tale.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About MEDALLION OF MURDER
1. Imperfections. I loved the diversity of the cast. With Terry’s prosthesis and Jackson’s blindness, the characters’ imperfections made them easier to root for.

2. Mystery. I love a good mystery and this had all of the elements to keep me invested to the very end.

3. History. The way the author weaves in historical figures and events into the story brought a young Indiana Jones feel.

4. Action. Plenty of action and adventure kept the plot from stalling.

5. Zach. As the love interest, Zach was the perfect romantic partner for Terry, making me want to read the first two books in the series so I can see how their romance evolved.

Bottom Line
A young adult whodunit with paranormal and historical elements making this not your average mystery.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: MEDALLION OF MURDER
Series: Nefertari Hughes Mysteries #3
Author: B.R. Myers
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Pages: 282
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Paranormal
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

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Author B.R. Myers

Author B.R. Myers

About the Author
Always in the mood for a good scare, B.R. Myers spent most of her teen years behind the covers of Lois Duncan, Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King. Her YA contemporary coming of age novel, GIRL ON THE RUN, was chosen by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre as a BEST BOOK for TEENS for 2016.

When she’s not putting her characters in awkward situations, she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Halifax with her husband and two children—and there is still a stack of books on her bedside table..

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Where to Find B.R. Myers
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebookTwitter

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Book Review + Giveaway – HOT PURSUIT (To Catch a Thief) by Kay Marie

HOT PURSUIT Blog Tour

HOT PURSUIT (To Catch a Thief #1) by Kay Marie

HOT PURSUIT (To Catch a Thief #1) by Kay Marie

Synopsis
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days meets White Collar in this sassy and sweet romantic comedy, new from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis, writing as Kay Marie.

All Jolene Carter has ever wanted is to own a bakery of her own. There’s only one problem. Her father, Robert Carter, is a world-renowned art thief and she’s, well, sort of his protégé. But he’s promised her that this next job in New York will be their last, and she won’t let anyone get in the way of her dreams…especially not the distractingly delicious FBI agent hot on her tail.

Agent Nate Parker has been on the Robert Carter case for years, and if the rumors of the aging criminal’s retirement are true, this might be his last chance to nail him. With the legacy of his late father in the back of his mind, the stakes are more personal than anyone realizes. He won’t let anything stand in the way of justice…especially not the red-headed vixen who keeps giving him the slip.

He’s a cop who’d never bend. She’s a con who’ll never break. But all’s fair in love and larceny…

 

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My Review
I love a good romantic suspense with a healthy dose of humor which is exactly what HOT PURSUIT delivers. Jolene Carter is the daughter of a notorious art thief being hunted by the FBI. All she wants is open her own bakery where she can make her coopies–cookies wrapped in pie dough. FBI agent Nate Parker just wants to nail Robert Carter. Too bad Carter’s sexy, flirty, bad ass daughter is hell-bent on making his life difficult. The two begin a game of cat and mouse that is as much fun as it is frustrating, until things shift and feelings get in the way of what both of them want. Responsibilities, desires, loyalties, and wits tangle within both Nate and Jo. Both will be forced to choose between what they want most and what they must do, with no easy out for either of them, and nothing but heartache on the horizon.

HOT PURSUIT Teaser 1Plot
The plot centers around the heist that Jo is helping her dad and her best friend, Thad, pull off, and the FBI’s attempts to catch them in the act. Central to that plot is the budding romance between Jo and Nate. The two plots are so intertwined they’re nearly one in the same. The romance drives conflict in the heist and Jo’s criminal family and her role in all of it drives conflict in their relationship.

The Characters
The characters are what sold this book for me. Not that it wasn’t a fun story, but the author made me care about the characters so much, that I wanted everything for both of them. Each has deep motivations and rich back stories that drive everything they do. At no point did I question their actions, because they remain true to themselves throughout. Jo is funny, irreverent, smart, and lonely. Nate is all about the rules and he hates everything Jo stands for, but that doesn’t stop him from falling for her after finding out what makes her do the things she does. Each wants to save the other from themselves.

HOT PURSUIT Teaser 2

Top Five Things I Loved About HOT PURSUIT
1. Jolene Carter. She’s adorably spunky, unpredictable, and just the type of person I’d love to have for a BFF.

2. Nate Parker. Sexy. FBI. Enough said.

3. Non-graphic heat. Don’t get me wrong, I love graphic sex scenes as much as the next reader, but the way the author creates sexual tension is straight out of Gypsy Rose Lee’s playbook. Always leave them wanting more!

4. Thievery. I’m not promoting lawbreaking, but I love a good heist story, along the lines of Oceans Eleven or Now You See Me. HOT PURSUIT is in the same vein, and it was pure fun.

5. Doing the right thing for the right reason. Both main characters try to walk a fine line, but in the end, they do what’s right for all the right reasons.

Bottom Line
A fun, witty, romantic comedy/adventure with lots of playful banter.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: HOT PURSUIT
Series: To Catch a Thief #1
Author: Kaitlyn Davis writing as Kay Marie
Release Date: August 27, 2018
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages: 324
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Kay Marie

Author Kay Marie

About the Author
Kaitlyn Davis, a bestselling author with over a quarter of a million books sold, writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie. Publishers Weekly has said, “Davis writes with confidence and poise,” while USA Today has recommended her work as “must-read romance.”

Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she’s not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found playing fetch with her puppy, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her–about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general–you may contact her at: KaitlynDavisBooks@gmail.com

Sign up for Kaitlyn’s newsletter to stay up-to-date with all of her new releases, to receive exclusive subscriber bonus content, and more! bit.ly/KaitlynDavisNewsletter

 

 

Where to Find Kaitlyn Davis
Goodreads │ Website | Twitter │ Facebook | Amazon | Pinterest | YouTube | Wattpad

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER by Vicky Skinner

HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER Blog Tour

HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER by Vicky Skinner

HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER by Vicky Skinner

Synopsis
Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down, and Kate is forced to leave home and the swim team she’s been a part of her whole life.

Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, Kate isn’t so sure that swimming is what she wants anymore. But when she decides to quit, her whole world seems to fall apart. But when Kate gets to know Michael, the cute boy that lives across the hall, she starts to think that starting over might not be so bad. There’s only one problem: Michael has a girlfriend.

As the pressures of love, family, and success press down on her, can Kate keep her head above water?

 

 

 

 

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My Review
Kate’s life is turned upside down in an instant when her dad/swimming coach is caught in the act of snogging the parent of teammate in front of the entire swim team. Humiliated, disgusted, and deeply hurt, she struggles to find meaning in her life outside the pool. After being kicked out of her own home by her cheating dad, she and her mom move to Portland to start a new life. She immediately meets adorable neighbor, Michael, who appears to have his own family problems in spades. The two forge a friendship that blossoms into something more. Kate tries and fails to find a balance between friendship, loyalty, honesty, and her own path for the future before discovering who she is without competitive swimming.

Plot
The main plot is the romance between Michael and Kate, but there are numerous subplots involving Kate’s friendships with the girls at her new school, her post-cheating scandal relationship with her dad, her friendship with childhood best friend, Harris, her sister’s relationship with a fiance, and Kate’s relationship with the pool itself. It’s a lot at times, but all of it ties back to the main themes of finding yourself and learning to navigate life when sudden changes are thrust upon you. I was hoping to get more of the competitive swimming angle in this book, though, wishing it was more of a sports romance, but it’s a solid character-driven book.

The Characters
This story centers on the characters and they are well-developed and go through a ton of transformations. Kate was someone I initially rooted for, then became someone I didn’t much care for, ultimately redeeming herself by the end. All of the main and secondary characters have their own arc, which was refreshing. I love it when characters are so much more than props.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER
1. Swimming. I enjoyed the scenes where swimming was the focus most of all.

2. Angst. Lots of teen angst, which is my favorite kind of young adult romance.

3. Marisol and Patrice. These two BFFs who took Kate under their wing on the first day are what loyal friends are all about.

4. Harris. Kate’s childhood best friend had some of the best character development in the book.

5. Small moments. The book is littered with little moments that count. The author creates these amazing vignettes that are vivid and memorable.

Bottom Line
A character-driven contemporary young adult romance with complex plotting and solid characters.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER
Author: Vicky Skinner
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo

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Author Vicky Skinner

Author Vicky Skinner

About the Author
Born and raised in Texas, I don’t act like much of a Texan. I like cold weather and hate country music. I have a gorgeous husband, two dogs, and a Literature degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. If I’m not at home reading a book or doing laundry, I’m probably at the bookstore, nannying three rambunctious boys, or stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. I’m a reader, a writer, and a bit of a crazy person.

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Find Vicky Skinner
Goodreads | Twitter

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – ECHOES by Alice Reeds

ECHOES Blog Tour

ECHOES by Alice Reeds

ECHOES by Alice Reeds

Synopsis
“Fast-paced and thrilling. ECHOES is a heart-pounding and addictive love story.” —Mia Siegert, author of Jerkbait

They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.

Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.

Something that won’t let them leave alive.

Echoes is a thrilling adventure about confronting the impossible, discovering love in the most unexpected places, and, above all, finding hope in the face of the unknown.

 

 

 

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My Review
Two parts LOST, one part THE HUNGER GAMES, ECHOES is intriguing, complex, at times confusing, but a fast, fun, satisfying read. The story opens with a plane crash on a deserted island before flashing back to a trip to Germany seventeen hours earlier. At first, it seems like two separate storylines, and I wasn’t sure which one was real, but it ultimately resolves clearly, so stick with it. High school students Fiona and Miles are recipients of a swanky internship for tech-giant, Briola, in Germany. They’re flown on a private jet and set up in an expensive hotel, but it all falls apart when they take a cab to Briola only to find an empty warehouse with every physical and online trace of Briola wiped from existence.

On the island, Fiona and Miles struggle to survive. Their own relationship is fraught with distrust and animosity. Miles is a trust-fund kid and Fiona is a scholarship recipient at his private academy. They have nothing in common except this internship, which doesn’t make sense to Fiona since she doesn’t see herself as being nearly as qualified as Miles. While the two of them work to remain alive, they have to first learn to trust each other. Surprises and mysteries lurk around every corner, and the more they learn, the more dire their situation becomes.

Plot
The plotting is flawless, with heart-pounding tension, plenty of twists and turns, and unexpected surprises. The relationship development between the two characters is woven through the story so that it’s an extension of the plot rather than the main focus. The author kept me guessing until just the right moment.

The Characters
Both Fiona and Miles are complex characters. Told only from Fiona’s point of view, we see Miles evolve through her eyes. Their assumptions about each other fall away as they’re forced to work together to live another day and get off the island. Fiona is a tough-as-nails kickboxer with a string of trophies to show for it. Miles is a spoiled rich boy with far more to him than just that. Both will learn there is more to themselves and each other than what’s on the surface.

Top Five Things I Loved About ECHOES
1. Twists and turns. I love when I reach the end of a chapter and NEED to turn the page to find out what happens next. Alice Reeds ended nearly every chapter with something that made me not only want, but need, to read on.

2. LOST-ness. The similarities to LOST were an homage to the groundbreaking television show. It both grounded me in the story as well as intrigued me. The parallels begin and end at the setting, though. ECHOES is very much its own story.

3. Fiona. She’s determined and brave, but with a believable vulnerability that suits her character.

4. Miles. He defies stereotype and is a swoonworthy romantic lead.

5. The writing. Author Alice Reeds does  phenomenal job of pulling the reader into the world she’s created so you can breathe in the humid ar, taste the salty air, feel the grit of sand on your skin.

Bottom Line
A perfect blend of terrifyingly thriller elements mixed with a swoony teen romance.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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ECHOES Teaser

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About the Book
Title: ECHOES
Author: Alice Reeds
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo | Entangled

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Author Alice Reeds

Author Alice Reeds

About the Author
Alice Reeds was born in a small town in Germany but spent her first eight years in Florida, USA. Later on, she moved back to Europe, where her family moved around a lot. She was raised trilingual and has a basic understanding of Russian, read and spoken. After getting her International Baccalaureate Diploma, Alice is studying English Language and Literature at University. In her free time Alice mostly writes, reads, figure and/or roller skates, or watches countless let’s plays and figure skating videos.

 

 

 

Where to Find Alice Reeds
Goodreads | WebsiteTwitter | Instagram | Amazon | Entangled

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US by Katy Upperman

THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US Blog Tour

THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US by Katy Upperman

THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US by Katy Upperman

Synopsis
The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.

When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.

But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.

Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?

 

 

 

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My Review
There is so much to love about THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US. A slow-burning teen romance with enough angst to choke a horse, this story ripped my heart out and pieced it back together again. When Elise and her mother move to a small beachside town south of her beloved San Francisco to be closer to Elise’s brother’s widow and daughter, she’s resentful. Not that she doesn’t love her sister-in-law and niece and want to spend more time with them, but it’s the summer before her senior year of high school, and she adores the city. An avid photographer, Elise finds San Francisco a better muse for her art than some sleepy seaside town. To make matters worse, they’re in a touristy area with almost no kids her age to befriend. Her days are spent walking the beach with her new puppy, Bambi, and her family. Still grieving her brother’s death three years before, Elise is slow to warm up to her new home and surroundings. But a fateful walk on the beach sends shy, soulful Mati into her path, changing everything she’s ever known about life, love, and what it means to be accepted for who you are.

Plot
Author Katy Upperman does a great job of keeping the story moving along. The tug and pull of Mati and Elise on each other is palpable, and the drama surrounding their families’ objections to them being together is straight up Romeo and Juliet territory. While primarily told from Elise’s point of view, we get glimpses of Mati through his writing which is both poetic and raw. With a due date on their relationship looming, the two only grow closer together and closer to certain heartache. The author portrays the intense emotions of first love and heartbreak with authenticity.

The Characters
The character development was the best part of the story. Elise, Mati, and their families were all well developed and deeply drawn. Even though there were times I disagreed vehemently with what some of the characters said or did, it was always clear what their motivations were. The characters remained true to themselves even as they grew throughout the summer.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US
1. Angst. It’s the primary reason I love reading teen fiction. There is something so deeply moving about it.

2. Photography. Reading about Elise’s art inspired me to pick up my own, neglected camera again.

3. Mati. Passionate, soulful, loyal, romantic. Sigh…

4. Elise. Her ability to see the best in everyone made her easy to root for.

5. Bambi. The big lug of a labradoodle completely stole the show.

Bottom Line
An intense young adult contemporary romance with passion and heart.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US
Author: Katy Upperman
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | AmazonAmazon UKAmazon CABarnes & NobleiBooksKobo

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Author Katy Upperman

Author Katy Upperman

About the Author
Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. KISSING MAX HOLDEN is her debut novel; her sophomore novel, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US, will be available summer, 2018.

 

 

 

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Where to find Katy Upperman
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter

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Blog Tour – Book Review + Giveaway – WATCHING YOU by Shannon Greenland

WATCHING YOU Blog Tour

WATCHING YOU by Shannon Greenland

WATCHING YOU by Shannon Greenland

Synopsis
Viola’s always been that girl from that family, so a scholarship to a prestigious private school in Florida was supposed to be her ticket out of poverty and into a brand-new life. But Viola’s secrets have followed her. Her relationship with the intelligent and gorgeous Riel should have been the salvation she needed—he understands her troubled past better than anyone. But then weird things start to happen.

Frightening messages.

Missing personal items.

The unsettling feeling that she’s being watched.

Viola’s never been one to give her trust easily, but she’ll need to trust in Riel if she’s going to survive her stalker. Because she’s not fighting for a new life anymore—she’s fighting to stay alive.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
I love a good romantic thriller, and so much the better if it’s also young adult. WATCHING YOU has everything I love — a tortured love interest, angsty romance, a deplorable antagonist, and buckets of suspense. Seventeen-year-old Viola lies on her application to get a scholarship at a prestigious prep school on her ultimate path to MIT. Or so she hopes. The problem is, her winning the scholarship means someone else lost out. That someone is uber hot, brooding Riel, the recipient the previous three years. Guilt and undeniable attraction wage a war within her as she wonders how Riel can continue to attend without the scholarship, and the more she learns about his situation, the guiltier she feels. When the inevitable romance heats up between these two, Viola knows her secrets will be her undoing, but she never counts on a stalker making her life dangerous as well as complicated.

Plot
This is probably more of a romance than a thriller, but the suspense is tightly woven throughout the romantic elements, creating a gripping story that moves from the opening scene to the intense climax and satisfying conclusion. The attraction between Viola and Riel is palpable from their first interaction, and while they may not know if or how to act on that attraction, it drives some of the best conflict throughout the book. The mystery of who is watching Viola is well-done, with lots of red herrings to choose from. I never did figure out who it was.

The Characters
At times, I found Viola to be a little too much. A little too good, a little too perfect. Other than lying on her application, which she had perfectly good reasons for, she has no real flaws, but her genuine friendship with Mar helped me overlook this aspect of her character. Riel, on the other hand, was a fascinating character. He was perfectly flawed in all the right ways and totally swoon-worthy.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About WATCHING YOU
1. Riel. Having married my own hot latin guy, I totally appreciate the appeal that is Riel.

2. Mar. Both spunky and adorable, Riel’s younger sister is easily my favorite character.

3. Angsty romance. My favorite kind.

4. Suspense. While more of a subplot, it had a way of driving the main plot forward and kept me turning pages.

5. Surprises. I love when an author can surprise me. I never did figure out who the stalker was until it was revealed in the closing chapters.

Bottom Line
Angsty teen romance meets suspense.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: WATCHING YOU
Author: Shannon Greenland
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: June 2, 2018
Pages: 280
Genre: Young Adult Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

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Author S.E. Green

Author S.E. Green

About the Author
Shannon Greenland is the award winning author of the teen thriller, Killer Instinct, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers; the teen spy series, The Specialists, an ALA Popular Paperback and a National Reader’s Choice recipient; and the YA romance, The Summer My Life Began, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award.

Her books have been translated into several languages and are currently on numerous state reading lists. Vanquished is her debut novel for adults.

Shannon grew up in Tennessee where she dreaded all things reading and writing. She didn’t even read her first book for enjoyment until she was twenty-five. After that she was hooked! When she’s not writing, she works as an adjunct math professor and lives on the coast in Florida with her very grouchy dog..

Where to find Shannon Greenland
Goodreads | Website | Newsletter | FacebookTwitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Wattpad

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Blog Tour – Book Review + Giveaway – LOVE SCENE, TAKE TWO by Alex Evansley

LOVE SCENE, TAKE TWO Blog Tour

LOVE SCENE, TAKE TWO by Alex Evansley

LOVE SCENE, TAKE TWO by Alex Evansley

Synopsis
Debut author Alex Evansley delivers a sweet summer romance in this inventive novel about a young heartthrob and teen author falling in love.

Teddy Sharpe is kind of famous. He might actually be on his way to being really famous, especially if he’d nailed an audition for the lead role in the movie adaption of the newest bestselling young adult book series. There’s just one problem: He totally blew the audition. And he’s stuck in a tiny North Carolina airport. And his maybe-ex-girlfriend kind of just broke up with him.

The weekend isn’t exactly looking good until Bennett Caldwell, author of the very book series he just auditioned for, takes pity on him and invites him to her family’s lake house. Away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood for a few days, Teddy starts to relax . . . and somehow he and Bennett just click. But dating is hard enough when you aren’t the subject of several dozen fan blogs, and the Internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy and Bennett . . . gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Alex Evansley’s debut novel, written from both Bennett and Teddy’s perspectives, will have teens laughing, swooning, and falling in love along with these fantastically relatable characters.

 

 

 

 

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My Review
LOVE SCENE, TAKE TWO is a super cute upper young adult/new adult romance. Sort of famous actor, Teddy Sharpe, is trying out for the lead in the latest young adult book-to-movie adaptation. Bennett Caldwell is a young adult author whose book has been optioned for a movie. Bennett and Teddy end up on the same flight to North Carolina and immediately hit it off, launching a 72-hour romance that ends with hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and maybe a little something more.

When these two inevitably meet again on the set of the movie, things are bound to be awkward. Throw in an overzealous producer, a meddling cousin, and a rabid fan base, and things are going to get all kinds of interesting.

Plot
This is a straight-up contemporary romance with little to no subplotting, but because the plot works so well, that’s easy to overlook. The story follows a fairly predictable path of the ups and downs of a young romance, with lots of angsty emotion. But while the formula may be familiar, the execution is not. The author’s clever dialogue, unique settings, and vivid characters make this more than your average romance.

The Characters
The characters are delightful. Teddy is sweet, loyal, and funny, although he lacks a backbone in the beginning, he more than makes up for it later. Bennett, nearly three years younger, showed a lack of maturity that was frustrating at times, but her wittiness and vulnerability won me over.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About LOVE SCENE, TAKE TWO
1. Book Adaptations. Any author who tells you they don’t dream about seeing their book made into a movie some day is lying to you!

2. Teddy. All kinds of adorable.

3. Family Drama. I’m not big on my own family drama, but reading other people’s is always entertaining.

4. Olivia. As the female lead in the movie, she could easily have turned into a romantic rival, but instead, as Bennett puts it, she’s effing amazing.

5. Bennett. She ran hot and cold so much, it was hard to keep up with her feelings for Teddy, but her sense of humor and snark made her easy to love.

Bottom Line
Fun contemporary romance with a Hollywood twist.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: LOVE SCENE, TAKE TWO
Author: Alex Evansley
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Pages: 368
Genre: Upper Young Adult/New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

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Author Alex Evansley

Author Alex Evansley

About the Author
Alex Evansley is a twenty-something-year-old writer from North Carolina. Her specialized talents include putting on workout clothes and not working out, sleeping during the day, losing socks, and procrastinating stories she’d like to write. Love Scene, Take Two is her debut novel.

 

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Where to find Alex Evansley
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

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Blog Tour – Review + Giveaway – JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS (The Chicago Falcons) by Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper

JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS Blog Tour

JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS (The Chicago Falcons#2) by Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper

JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS (The Chicago Falcons#2) by Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper

Synopsis
Star hockey player Daniel Sacachelli wants only two things: 1) for the Falcons to win next season, and 2) for his secret — the fact he’s actually the prince of Eldonia — to never make its way to Chicago. But if Daniel keeps avoiding his crown, their family will lose their kingdom forever.

Madison Myong can’t believe that her will-they-or-won’t-they best friend Daniel is really a prince! He’s always seemed more rebel than royal. But now, he needs to clean up his image, fast. Posing as his long-time girlfriend, Madison accompanies him back to Eldonia, intending to give Daniel a makeover fit for a king.

Only, the more royal Daniel becomes, the more Madison misses her best friend. And if she does her job right, she’ll lose him forever…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
An adorable story about friends to more, with hockey, and oh yeah, royalty! Daniel “Sacs” Sacachelli has a big secret, one he hopes will never catch up with him in Chicago. Madison has her own secrets, like a crush on BFF, Daniel. She comes from a family who doesn’t believe in pie-in-the-sky dreams, like becoming an actress. She wants nothing more than to go to Julliard, but her parents shoot her down before she even has a chance to tell them her plan. When she discovers Daniel is the heir to the throne of a small European country, she sees her chance to get everything she’s always wanted. She proposes helping him prepare for the throne by posing as his girlfriend and showing his evil step-queen-mother that he’s more than the illegitimate son of her late husband; that he’s every bit a royal ready to assume the role he was born to play.

Whenever there are secrets this big, things are bound to go wrong, and JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS is no exception. Everything comes crashing down on Daniel and Madison in spectacular fashion, forcing both of them to examine what really matters in life.

Plot
The plot centers on Madison and Daniel’s relationship. Both have feelings for the other that each is afraid to verbally express for different reasons. Whether or not Daniel will be the next king is a solid subplot. Much of the story is relatively predicable, but in a feel-good sort of way.

The Characters
Daniel is absolutely fascinating as the royal bastard with serious daddy issues. It took me a long time to warm up to Madison, though. She came across as shallow for much of the early part of the book. She probably has more growing up to do than Daniel, though, and she does eventually redeem herself. I love Alice and Trembley, but some of the other characters, including the Dowager Queen and Daniel’s rival for the throne, came across as stereotypical and it was hard to take them serious at times.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS
1. Daniel. He’s a royal like no other. A force to be reckoned with on the ice, he’s as unsure as they come when it comes to his birthright.

2. Alice. As one of Daniel’s hockey teammates, she spent the previous season pretending to be a guy so she could play on the team. She’s a spunky ball of determination.

3. Hockey. Fast becoming one of my favorite sports romance genres.

4. Angst. There’s not nearly enough of this, but what there is was my favorite part.

5. Reluctant royals. With so many people wishing they could be king or queen, it was refreshing to read about a teen who wanted no part of that life.

Bottom Line
The Princess Diaries meets The Mighty Ducks.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS
Series: The Chicago Falcons #2
Author: Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Release Date: June 4, 2018
Pages: 197
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Sports Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Authors Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper

Authors Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper

About the Author
Leah and Kate Rooper are sisters from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Growing up beside the Pacific Ocean and inside a temperate rainforest fed their sense of adventure as children, and nourished a curiosity for strange and distant lands. They fed this curiosity with books – lots and lots of books. After experiencing the magic of Middle-earth, they began creating their own worlds. When they’re not writing, Leah and Kate spend their time blogging and vlogging about their travel adventures and their writing journey.

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Where to find Leah and Kate Rooper
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Pinterest

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Blog Tour – Book Review + Giveaway – REALITY GOLD (Shifting Reality Collection) by Tiffany Brooks

REALITY GOLD Blog Tour

REALITY GOLD (Shifting Reality Collection #1) by Tiffany Brooks

REALITY GOLD (Shifting Reality Collection #1) by Tiffany Brooks

Synopsis
High school senior Riley Ozaki is desperate to change her reality after an avalanche of Internet shaming ruined her life. With her reputation and self-esteem at rock bottom thanks to cyberbullying, Riley needs to do something drastic to repair her social standing—which is why she decided to try out for a reality TV show. Suddenly, she’s dropping onto a deserted tropical island with nineteen other teens for a Survivor-style competition that she hopes will be her redemption.

With a cast of vivid characters who will stop at nothing to win the show, a cursed island setting, and a priceless treasure waiting to be discovered, Reality Gold pitches readers right into scheming web of lies, love, and betrayal. This novel is a fast-paced journey where allies may not be who they say they are, and legends abound. Riley must embrace all of life’s realities, including loss and deceit, in order to discover who she truly is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
Wow, wow, wow! What a ride!! REALITY GOLD is a non-stop young adult adventure with fascinating characters, intrigue, secrets, lies, and plot twist after plot twist that made it impossible to put down. Riley Ozaki is a down-on-her-luck teen, whose misfortune is of her own making. When she has the opportunity to rebrand herself after internet infamy, she jumps at it. The opportunity is in the form of a reality TV show, called Reality Gold — a Survivor-style teen-centered show set on a South American island that just happens to be the rumored home to a long-ago buried treasure. Riley has roots on the island; her own godfather, Miles, was killed while searching for the treasure recently and Riley herself accompanied him on one of his expeditions just two years prior.

But being one of twenty kids on an island, surrounded by cameras, may not be what Riley needs. Forging friendships under constant surveillance is tough for a girl who currently has no friends. With everyone competing for the same prize and the chance to maybe hunt for the treasure while they’re there, trust is a valuable commodity that is as hard to come by as the elusive buried gold. When one mishap follows another, cast and crew alike begin to wonder if the rumored island curse is true.

Plot
Outstandingly plotted, this story moves. I loved the attention to detail throughout the story and not just with settings; everything from their surroundings, to the clothes they wear, to micro expressions bring the reader deep into the story. But they also serve as expert foreshadowing of every devious twist and turn the author throws at us.

The Characters
LOVE the characters. I was up and down on Riley throughout. She’d win my loyalty, then do something stupid and make me wonder about her. At least up until the end when she redeems herself as only Riley can. The rest of the cast is wonderful. Perfect. Seen from Riley’s perspective, the reader doesn’t know who to trust either. I had all of my ideas about what was really going on turned upside down so many times, I gave up trying to figure it all out.

Top Five Things I Loved About REALITY GOLD
1. Reality TV. While not one of my favorite things to watch, although I did watch several seasons of Survivor when it first came out, it may be one of my favorite things to read. The behind-the-scenes wrangling is so much more interesting that what shows up on screen.

2. Riley. She was both annoyingly inconsistent and lovably confused about who she was and who she wanted to be.

3. Treasure hunting. Maps, and ciphers, and markers, oh my!

4. Plot twists. So many twists I nearly got dizzy, but each one was perfectly timed, completely unpredictable, and hella fun!

5. Maren. Riley’s teammate and frenemy was one of the most complex characters and I still don’t know enough about her. I hope we get more of her in the next book in the trilogy.

Bottom Line
A rollercoaster ride of action with a mystery tied up with a simple romantic bow. Highly recommend!

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: REALITY GOLD
Series: Shifting Reality Collection #1
Author: Tiffany Brooks
Publisher: Dunemere Books
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Pages: 391
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Adventure
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble

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Author Tiffany Brooks

Author Tiffany Brooks

About the Author
Tiffany Brooks lives in San Francisco with her family and a bunch of pets, who luckily don’t object to being featured on her Instagram. The best thing about living on the west coast is she can find out what happens on Game of Thrones three hours ahead of air time. That, plus not having winter weather, means she’ll never move back east, although that doesn’t stop her New England family from asking when she’ll be moving “back home” to NYC or Connecticut. Reality Gold, her debut novel, kicks off the Shifting Reality Collection, a YA trilogy..

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Where to find Tiffany Brooks
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

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Blog Tour – Book Review + Giveaway – THE GAME CAN’T LOVE YOU BACK by Karole Cozzo

THE GAME CAN'T LOVE YOU BACK Blog Tour

THE GAME CAN'T LOVE YOU BACK by Karole Cozzo

THE GAME CAN’T LOVE YOU BACK by Karole Cozzo

Synopsis
Eve is used to being the odd woman out. As the only girl on her school’s baseball team, she knows exactly how to put sweaty, macho baseball players in their place, and she’s focused on one thing and one thing only—being the best pitcher she can be.

But when a freak accident forces her high school to be absorbed by the neighboring town, Eve has to contend with a new group of guys who aren’t used to having a woman on their team. And the new team’s star pitcher, Jamie, has no interest in being ousted from his throne. He cant afford to give up his starting slot to a new pitcher—even worse, to a girl.

As the competition between Jamie and Eve starts to heat up, so does their attraction to each other. Can they keep their heads in the game, or will they end up getting played?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
My favorite Karole Cozzo book to date, and the title, THE GAME CAN’T LOVE YOU BACK, might be the most perfect title ever — it perfectly sums up the themes of the story. When Eve’s high school suffers a freak accident, she and the rest of her Bulldogs are forced across town to attend school with the rival Pirates. And the school rivalry is only the beginning of her issues. As the only girl in a family of boys, Eve’s mom told her if she wanted to play sports, she’d play with her brothers, because she didn’t have time to start carting a child off to girls’ sports as well. So Eve plays baseball, not softball. Problem is, the boys’ baseball team at her new school doesn’t want her anymore than she wants to be there, particularly rival pitcher, Jamie. Jamie is all smooth lines and cocky smiles, everything Eve despises. Eve glares far more than she smiles and has an attitude to match, everything Jamie despises. So of course these two enemies are fated to become something more.

Plot
The story is about Eve and Jamie on and off the mound. Their romance is the main focus, but with both of them vying for the Cy Young award at the end of the season, there’s no way things in the primary plot are going to go smoothly. With Eve’s stubborn need to prove she’s one of the boys and Jamie quiet determination to prove she’s more than that means there’s plenty of conflict. There’s also Jamie’s history as a player, Eve’s inexperience in that area, jealous girls who see Eve as a rival, and an unwillingness to allow their relationship to come under the scrutiny of their teammates, meaning their tender relationship is clandestine at best. Cozzo executes all of this with moments of laugh-out-loud humor and even a few that made me tear up.

The Characters
I absolutely adore Eve. She’s a refreshing departure from many female protagonists I’ve read lately. She’s complex and relateable, tough, determined, but with a vulnerable streak she wishes she didn’t have. I love her naivete with a solid streak of street smarts that makes her anything but typical. Jamie has a lot more baggage that drives him, but his walls crumble around Eve, making him vulnerable in his own ways. Eve is ultimately torn between what she wants on and off the field, and her growth comes when she figures out what matters most in life. The other characters are mostly minor players, a supporting cast that basically exist to prop up the main characters. They do their job without coming across as too flat.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE GAME CAN’T LOVE YOU BACK
1. First kisses. One of the all-time best first kisses in the history of young adult fiction.

2. Eve. I loved her stubborn streak, her need to win, the way she doesn’t care about dresses or makeup. She was so easy to relate to.

3. Baseball. I’m a big fan of the game and the way it was woven into the story got me even more fired up to watch my sad Padres this season.

4. Witty banter. Eve and Jamie had some of the best lines in the book when they were baiting each other. The dialogue was one of my favorite parts of the book.

5. Jamie. He was perfectly flawed in all the best ways to make him a natural fit for Eve.

Bottom Line
A fantastic young adult sports romance with fabulous characters and sizzling dialogue.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: THE GAME CAN’T LOVE YOU BACK
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Pages: 315
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Sports Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

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Author Karole Cozzo

Author Karole Cozzo

About the Author
Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.

 

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Where to find Karole Cozzo
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

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Book Review + Giveaway – THE DYLAN DILEMMA by Patricia B. Tighe

THE DYLAN DILEMMA Blog Tour

THE DYLAN DILEMMA by Patricia B. Tighe

THE DYLAN DILEMMA by Patricia B. Tighe

Synopsis
High school senior Kenzie Harper-Shea has no time for dating, especially after the arrival of the basketball coach from hell. Now Kenzie has lost her confidence, is in a slump, and in danger of losing out on a scholarship to play college ball. The last thing she needs is her “vacation boyfriend,” Dylan McCoy, distracting her with warm smiles, inside jokes, and swoony kisses.

Dylan, however, is totally ready to date. He finally lives in the same town as Kenzie and is not about to lose the chance to let their relationship grow into something more. But for now, he’ll stay in the friend zone because he’s determined to find out what has her running scared. It can’t be just about basketball.

As Kenzie spends more time around Dylan, her feelings become a jumbled-up mess. It’s obvious they’re into each other. So, why does she panic whenever she thinks about dating him? Is it connected to basketball or to something deeper? She’s not sure. Does she have the courage to examine her heart, even if it means breaking Dylan’s?

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
I’m a big fan of Patricia B. Tighe’s fun and flirty young adult contemporary romances, so I jumped at a chance to read and review this book based on the name alone. Seriously, THE DYLAN DILEMMA is the perfect title for a wonderful romance that blends light-hearted comedy with deeper issues. Mackenzie, AKA Kenzie, and Dylan have had an on-again-off-again relationship since first hooking up on a summer trip years ago. Kenzie lives her life according to plans. She’s not good with the unknown and especially surprises. So when her basketball coach surprisingly has to leave for a family emergency, the new coach rocks Kenzie’s world. And not in a good way. With Dylan a freshman in college now, surrounded by hot co-eds, and Kenzie’s status as a starter on her high school basketball team in question, Kenzie feels as if now is a good time to be in the “off-again” status. Dylan begs to differ, so when he makes a plan to get Kenzie to change her mind  things are only going to go from complicated to tangled and messy.

Plot
Alternating points of view give us insight into both Kenzie’s and Dylan’s motives. Dylan is calm and logical to Kenzie’s more scattered approach to the situation. Kenzie has a lot going on with her family and school without trying to bring a romance into the picture that she’s sure will only end in heartbreak for her. She has some serious trust issues that drive most of the conflict in a believable way. Dylan has a few things in his own life, but none as serious as what Kenzie is dealing with, but everything ties together to pull the main plot into a tight knot filled with plenty of drama mixed with some sweeter moments and even some pretty hot kissing!

The Characters
It took me a few chapters to warm up to Kenzie, but once I understood her, I couldn’t help but love her. Dylan, on the other hand, had me from the start. Kenzie is intense and needs to analyze everything. This perfectly fits with her need to know what’s going to happen. Dylan is the perfect foil with his easy-going, let’s see what happens style. These two seem like they should never work, except for that undeniable spark each of them feels in the other’s presence. Kenzie’s and Dylan’s families provide just enough of a hint at why each is the way they are, and friends on both sides round out a great cast of characters.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE DYLAN DILEMMA
1. Comedy. The author’s way of weaving lighter moments throughout made this a fun, fast read I was able to complete in one sitting.

2. Dylan. His go-with-the-flow style really resonated with me and I found myself instantly connecting with him.

3. Steamy kisses. From their first kiss to an emotion-filled teeth clashing snogfest, Patricia B. Tighe creates heat at levels not normally seen by fully-clothed characters.

4. The ending. I love how the author wrapped everything up, tying everything together, without being too neat and tidy.

5. Teen angst. My favorite kind of romance.

Bottom Line
THE DYLAN DILEMMA is an adorable contemporary teen romance with heat, heart, and humor.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: THE DYLAN DILEMMA
Author: Patricia B. Tighe
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Pages: 339
Genre:
 Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Patricia B. Tighe

Author Patricia B. Tighe

About the Author
The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in West Texas with her husband and two dogs. Her love of the written word caused her to get a journalism degree from Texas A&M University in 1980 and an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2008. When not writing or reading, she can be found walking the dogs or yelling at the TV during an NFL game. She’s also a fan of British TV shows. Downton Abbey, anyone?

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Where to find Patricia B. Tighe
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Young Adult Book Review – SPIES, LIES, AND ALLIES by Lisa Brown Roberts

SPIES, LIES, AND ALLIES by Lisa Brown Roberts

SPIES, LIES, AND ALLIES by Lisa Brown Roberts

Synopsis
Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.

There’s a crazy guy running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting – in a good way. But I can’t even think about him that way because Crazy Guy says any fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.

As if that’s not enough, an anonymous weirdo with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media…and I’m afraid it’s working.

Much as I’d love to quit, I can’t. Kristoffs Never Quit is our family motto. I just hope there’s more than one survivor by the end of this summer..

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My Review
I love this book! Seriously, freaking LOVE! I’m a huge Lisa Brown Roberts fan and had the distinct pleasure of being her “seat filler” for all of five minutes at the RWA conference in San Diego a few years back; coincidentally, just a few days before San Diego Comic-Con. And though I’m sure she’s quite a bit younger than me, I still say I want to be LBR when I grow up. And SPIES, LIES, AND ALLIES is the reason why. The banter, the characters, the pop culture tie-ins. This story is pretty much everything I love: young adult romance, teen angst, Star Wars, nerd geekery, pop-culture references, Comic-Con… Yeah, if I was a teen in 2018, this would pretty much be my life.

The summer before her senior year of high school, Laurel convinces her dad to allow her to work at his public relations and marketing firm so she can spend more time with him. She calls him Dad Vader, and at first I was worried this was due to a fractured relationship. But other than her father working a lot, the reference is to a mutual love of Star Wars and a time he dressed as Darth Vader to her Princess Leia. Initially excited, Laurel soon realizes this may not be the summer she was hoping for. Instead of sharing leisurely lunches with her dad, she barely sees him other than the commutes to and from work. And on top of that, she’s expected to report back on a group of interns who are all vying for a $100,000 college scholarship in a reality-TV-show inspired competition. Not only does she not want to spy on her contemporaries, but one of whom just happens to be Josh, the dreamy high school quarterback she’s been pining for since middle school.

It isn’t Jason, though, who gets her worked up. Instead Carlos, the boy with the Hershey Kiss colored eyes sets her pulse zinging. The “no-fraternizing with the interns” rule makes both boys completely off limits for Laurel, who soon finds her attention focused on discovering the culprit using social media to sabotage her father’s company. Before summer is over, Laurel will learn a lot about first impressions, what it means to really trust someone, and the power of persuasion.

Plot
The main plot is definitely the romance, but there are a lot of great subplots involving Laurel’s relationship with her father, her friendships with the other interns, and the mystery of who is trying to hurt the company. All are woven expertly together. The constant sprinkling of pop-culture references also played into the plot, including a Breakfast Club-esque scene in the building’s basement. My only real complaint with the story, and it’s not even so much of a complaint, is that the mystery was introduced with only one likely culprit. Even though the story isn’t primarily, or even secondarily, a mystery, once that element was introduced, I would have liked a little more to it.

The Characters
The characters are the best! Laurel is fantastic as the adorable teen nerd who loves Star Wars and refers to her dad’s right-hand-man, Mr. Mantoni, as “the Manicotti.” She’s confident, but with a reasonable number of insecurities which keep her grounded and utterly relatable.

Top Five Things I Loved About SPIES, LIES AND ALLIES
1. Laurel. She’s adorable, funny, and just neurotic enough to make her the perfect heroine.

2. Carlos. He’s witty and loyal and easy to love. Being insanely attractive doesn’t hurt either.

3. Star Wars. I’m a full on Star Wars geek, and like Laurel, I believe any movies with Jar-Jar Binks don’t really count. I like to pretend those were never even made. I adore the way the author wove in so many Star Wars references and compared their mission to blowing up the Death Star.

4. New friends. I love the whole Breakfast Club feel of the interns’ relationships with one another and how they evolve over the summer.

5. Standing up for what’s right. Laurel repeatedly risks her job and her relationship with her dad to do what she feels is the right thing; consequences be damned.

Bottom Line
Another fantastic LBR book that I couldn’t put down!

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: SPIES, LIES, AND ALLIES
Author: Lisa Brown Roberts
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | AmazonAmazon UKAmazon CABarnes & NobleiTunesKoboBookDepositoryBAM

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Author Lisa Brown Roberts

Author Lisa Brown Roberts

About the Author
Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage trauma of nearly tweezing off both eyebrows and having to pencil them in for an entire school year.

This and other angst-filled memories inspire her to write YA books about navigating life’s painful and funny dramas, and falling in love along the way.

Her almost forever home is Colorado, though she occasionally pines for the days when she lived within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Her house is full of books, boys, several fourlegged prima donnas, and lots of laughter.

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Where to find Lisa Brown Roberts
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter

Young Adult Book Review – HIDING LIES (Eleanor Ames) by Julie Cross

HIDING LIES (Eleanor Ames #2) by Julie Cross

HIDING LIES (Eleanor Ames #2) by Julie Cross

Synopsis
At Holden Prep, dirty little secrets always have a way of coming to the surface.

Eleanor Ames has never been what she seems. Average high school student on the outside, but reformed con artist trying to break free of her past on the inside. When Eleanor receives startling news about someone from her previous criminal life, plans for a new operation coinciding with her school’s upcoming field trip quickly consume her.

But operations rarely go according to plan. And this is one her irresistible teen FBI agent boyfriend, Miles, would never approve of.

Now, more than just Ellie’s reputation is at stake. If she fails, it could be her life.

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My Review
WARNING – Spoilers Ahead for Book 1
It’s been over 18 months since I read CHASING TRUTH by Julie Cross, yet the characters and story were still so vivid in my memory, I didn’t need any refreshers. HIDING LIES picks up where CHASING TRUTH left off, with life returning to relative normal, considering Ellie’s past and Mile’s future. With Miles returning to his military academy after spending the holidays with his family abroad, Ellie fills her time with her sister, Harper, Harper’s former Secret Service boyfriend, Aidan, and her classmates from Holden Academy.

When Miles fails to meet her as planned after returning from overseas, and Miles’s CIA Agent father makes an unusual request of Ellie, she can’t help but worry about Miles. Things get more interesting when Ellie’s past confronts her in her present, setting up an opportunity to undo the damage from one of the biggest regrets in her short life. With one twist after another, this was the first page-turner I’ve read in a while. I’m a huge fan of Julie Cross, and HIDING LIES reminds me why.

Plot
The plot is flawless. Everything flows with important information is sprinkled throughout so when something unexpected happens, you realize the hints were there all along. This is a “stay up late and read until your eyes blur” kind of story. While some of it on the surface seems implausible for teens, the author always explains it in a believable fashion. And if if she didn’t, I wouldn’t care, because it’s just that good.

The Characters
I have so much love already for former con-girl, Ellie, straight-laced Miles, flakey Harper, and G-man Aidan, but in HIDING LIES, Ellie spends more time with Dominic, the moody secret love interest of Ellie’s tragic friend, Simon. Dominic and Ellie forge an almost friendship and I grew to love him in this book. A number of new characters are also introduced who add a lot to the story, and I also got to know and respect Justice just a little bit more. All the characters are deeply drawn and realistic.

Top Five Things I Loved About HIDING LIES
1. Miles. He drove me nuts with his conflicted feelings, but he totally redeems himself in the best possible way.

2. Ellie. She’s changed by the events in the first book and is less confident, leading her to make choices I might not have expected before, but given everything she’s been through, they are completely within character. I loved seeing a more vulnerable side of her.

3. Surprises. There were so many unexpected twists, I couldn’t put this book down.

4. The ending. Well done and even more exciting and satisfying than the first book.

5. Teen angst. While different this time around, there is no less drama surrounding Ellie and Miles’ romance.

Bottom Line
Julie Cross upped her game and wrote one of my favorite young adult novels ever!

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: HIDING LIES
Series: Eleanor Ames #2
Author: Julie Cross
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon  | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay | !ndigo | BAM! | Book Depository | Entangled

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Author Julie Cross

Author Julie Cross

About the Author
Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press). She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing credibility’s, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

Where to Find Julie Cross
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF FABULOUS (School Dayz) by Jennifer DiGiovanni

MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF FABULOUS Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF FABULOUS, the fourth book in the young adult contemporary romance series, School Dayz, by Jennifer DiGiovanni. See below for information on the book, buy links, my review, and details on her giveaway.

MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF FABULOUS (School Dayz #4) by Jennifer DiGiovanni

MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF FABULOUS (School Dayz #4) by Jennifer DiGiovanni

Synopsis
INCLUDES a FREE BONUS novella called MY SUPER IMPORTANT INTERNSHIP

When Avery Thornton needs to escape a first day of school disaster, she ducks into an equipment room to hide and meets someone else who’s also having a really bad day. Eli Fields just got demoted to third string on the football team, a sport he doesn’t even really want to play.

On the hunt for a dance partner before her competition season begins, Avery discovers Eli’s secret, non-football life outside of school. She thinks he could be the dance partner she’s dreamed about. But Eli wants no part of dancing with Avery. When someone else steps in as Avery’s partner for competitions, she and Eli begin practicing steps “just for fun.”

But, is that really all that Eli wants?

And although Avery has found a perfect partner, she’s learning that perfection doesn’t necessarily equal happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
Becca’s younger sister, Avery, has long been my favorite Jennifer DiGiovanni character, so I was thrilled to see this book is Avery’s story. The little Nutcracker dancer is now a high school freshman with her sights set on competitive ballroom dancing, if only she could find a willing partner. When she meets sophomore, Eli, on her first day of school, she decides he’s the one. Except Eli has no interest in dancing. A third-string member of the school’s football team, he has dreams of the musical kind that involve playing guitar, not dancing. However, in order to pay for a new guitar, he needs to win the Dance Off competition, a video dance game with a grand prize of $1,000.

Plot
The plot focuses on Avery’s dance goals as well as her budding relationship with Eli. And while this is Avery’s story, Eli’s goals are as much a part of the story as Avery’s. The story flows well from one signature Jennifer DiGiovanni cute moment to the next. There are even a few fun twists thrown in that I never saw coming, making this more than just a typical teen romance.

Characters
Avery has grown up from the quirky younger sister to a force of her own. She’s always come across as the more confident of the two sisters, but there’s a lot of self-doubt simmering just below the surface. Anyone who has gone to high school understands the fear of not knowing anyone, but Avery’s outgoing personality quickly lands her a posse of new friends who are exactly the kind of girls you want to hang out with. I loved seeing so many of my favorite characters from other stories in this series, including Becca and Travis, Colette and Will, and Melinda and Conner.

Top things I LOVED About MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF FABULOUS
1. The Fab Five. Avery’s BFF from middles school is joined by three new girls who become fast friends. The constant renaming of their chat group based on current events in their lives is one of my favorite things in the book.

2. Eli. From the moment we meet Eli in the equipment room, he was a fascinating character with an intriguing backstory. The way he steps up for Avery throughout, earns him her loyalty.

3. Avery. Long my favorite Jen DiGiovanni character, getting to run around inside Avery’s head for 200+ pages made me all kinds of happy.

4. Dancing. Dirty Dancing remains one of my favorite movies of all time. I loved the modern take on ballroom dancing. It was easy to picture the moves as depicted in the book based on endless viewings of DD.

5. Gran. Avery and Becca’s guardian is as lovable and spunky as ever.

Bottom Line
This is a delightful, fun, fast read. I was able to complete it in one sitting.

About the Book
Title: MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF FABULOUS
Series: School Dayz #4
Author: Jennifer DiGiovanni
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: March 30, 2018
Pages: 353
Category:
Young Adult Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Get caught up on the series:

Book 1: MY SENIOR YEAR OF AWESOME
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Book 2: MY JUNIOR YEAR OF LOATHING
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Book 3: MY SOPHOMORE YEAR OF RULES
Book 3 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Jennifer DiGiovanni

Author Jennifer DiGiovanni

About the Author
Jennifer DiGiovanni is the author of the School Dayz Series. When she’s not writing or reading, she likes to try new sports and activities from archery to ballroom dancing, with varying degrees of success.

 

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Where to find Jennifer DiGiovanni
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

YA Book Review – SUGAR LUMP by Megan Gaudino

SUGAR LUMP by Megan Gaudino

SUGAR LUMP by Megan Gaudino

Synopsis
Seventeen-year-old travel blogger CC is stuck on a never-ending road trip with her wanderlust-addicted father. When her dad lands the job of his dreams in Sugar Lump—wedding capital of the world—CC finally finds a place to call home. Complete with two quirky best friends and a quixotic guy to crush on, Sugar Lump is more shades of perfect than she can possibly count.

But when CC accidentally overhears the mayor complaining that she has to “take out” a rogue employee for not fulfilling the terms of his contract, the idyllic town’s facade crumbles. Devastated by the possibility of having to move yet again, CC discovers everyone has been keeping a massive secret from her—including her own father.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
CC, a successful teenage travel blogger with a desire to put down roots, is delighted when her father, a renowned pastry chef, takes a job in Sugar Lump, the self-appointed wedding capital of the world. Everything about this magical midwestern town feels like a fairytale, right down to the gingerbread trim on the homes, lushly manicured lawns, and perfect marriage record. No one living in Sugar Lump gets a divorce. Since CC’s mom left them before CC’s first memory set like frosting on a cake, Sugar Lump seems the perfect place to settle down and never leave. So she doesn’t understand why her normally wanderlust father is determined to live in Sugar Lump the rest of his life, while trying to convince CC to go away to college when she graduates at the end of the school year.

The town’s perfection extends beyond the buildings and marital status of its residents. The other “bakery kids” welcome CC with open arms, making her one of their posse from the moment they meet. While CC has experiences to rival almost anyone her age, what she hasn’t had are a group of good friends. Because they move so frequently, she found it difficult to establish close relationships with anyone; never knowing when they’d be moving yet again. And not only are the locals welcoming and kind, but magazine-cover attractive, including super-hot Thorn, who dyes the tips of his jet-black hair grey, just to annoy his mother, who also happens to be the town’s mayor.

But the more time CC spends in Sugar Lump, the more she realizes things aren’t necessarily as they seem. When she overhears something she shouldn’t, she’s determined to get at the truth, no matter the price.

Plot
This was such a great story. The unique plot was fun and fresh, and moved at a perfect pace. The author throws in several twists that send the story racing in a new direction. More than once she caught me off guard, surprising me in the best possible ways, making this one of my favorite books of 2018.

The Characters
CC is delightful as the traveling teen with her heart set on finding a place to call home. Her father is just mysterious enough to keep us guessing, but it’s CC’s friends who steal the show. From the enigmatic Thorn, to gender-fluid best friend Henry, and the picture-perfect Luna, the people CC meets in Sugar Lump are as beautiful and perplexing as the town they inhabit.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About SUGAR LUMP
1. Premise. The concept of a perfect town, even if it might not be as perfect as first believed, is a nice change from all the dystopian I’ve read over the years.

2. CC. Her eternal optimism is such a refreshing quality that I’d like to find more of in young adult protagonists.

3. Sugar Lump. Everything about this town makes me wish it were real so I could visit.

4. Thorn. Jaded with a streak of vulnerability, Thorn is a quintessential teen love interest, but his quirky nature gives him that little bit of extra that sets him apart.

5. Twists. Excellent plotting and unexpected twists, kept this story from being anything but typical.

Bottom Line
One of my favorite young adult books of 2018 and easily my favorite new author discovery.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt
He moved a little closer, his jeans gliding easily over the leather, and put his right arm on the back of the seat too. Despite looking like he rolled out of a dumpster, he didn’t smell like it. He smelled like Irish Spring soap.

“When did you move to town?”He wasn’t looking at me, or anything in particular for that matter, but I could only assume the question was for me.

“Yesterday.”

“Will you be at school Monday?”

“Yeah.” I wasn’t playing his game. If he wanted to have a conversation with me, he was going to have to look in my eyes and address me like a human being.

“Are you a senior?”

“Junior.” I flashed him a fake smile he didn’t see.

Thorn raked his hands through his thick, gray-tipped hair, then clasped them behind his head. That position only lasted for a few seconds then he lurched forward, resting his elbows on his knees. I couldn’t tell if he didn’t want to be near me or if he just couldn’t keep still. I slid away from him either way.

“Is she always like this? Really, Henry. I know you haven’t known her long but she can speak in sentences, right?”

“Clearly CC has good taste and knows not to even bother talking to you.” Luna’s dislike for him made me think my snap judgement was sound. He was probably some kind of hot, crazy-haired womanizer.

The easy balance of our trio had turned into a volatile quartet. I pulled a curl though my fingers to keep my hands busy.

“Thorn, don’t. Be nice.” Henry said it in a genial way, but Thorn seemed to take it as law. He sat back, flung his knee up, rested his left elbow on the back of the seat, and unleashed the full force of his wide-set, honey-brown eyes on me. They were so clear and so deep it made me wonder if he hadn’t been looking at me on purpose to save me from how cosmic they were.

“CC, it’s nice to meet you. I’m sorry if I scared you or made a bad first impression, but as I’m sure you could sense, my situation was dire. My situation is dire.” His tone changed from confident and clipped to languid and loose, but I couldn’t tell if it was sincere.

“I accept your apology.”

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About the Book
Title: SUGAR LUMP
Author: Megan Gaudino
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Release Date: January 10, 2018
Pages: 226
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Author Megan Gaudino

Author Megan Gaudino

About the Author
Megan Gaudino works in a high school library by day and on her own books by night. She’s made up of a mixture of black clothing, iced coffee, and a desire to go adventuring. Those things sort of come together naturally to form a writer. She lives in Pittsburgh where you can find her reading, writing, and Instagraming.

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Where to Find Megan Gaudino
Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

 

Book Release + Review and Giveaway – DATING IN THE DARK (Dating Trilogy) by Alexandria Bishop

DATING IN THE DARK Release Day

Today is release day for DATING IN THE DARK, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Dating Trilogy, by Alexandria Bishop. See below for information on the book, buy links, and my review. Be sure to scroll all the way down for details on her giveaway.

DATING IN THE DARK (Dating Trilogy #1) by Alexandria Bishop

DATING IN THE DARK (Dating Trilogy #1) by Alexandria Bishop

Synopsis
Speed dating. With a stranger. In the dark. As if dating isn’t hard enough already, why not add in a whole new challenge.

According to Tinley’s very pregnant sister, and best friend, binging on Netflix, wine, and cupcakes won’t lead to her happily ever after. What do they know?

Four courses. Four dates. Four very unwelcome, and unwanted courses. An appetizer, salad, dinner, and dessert. Every last one ends in disaster.

Except date number four. Dessert has always been Tinley’s favorite.

He’s a complete mystery, and she can’t seem to stop thinking about him. Whoever he is.

Falling in love wasn’t on her radar but that might be what’s happening between her and mystery date number four.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
This was such a great concept and a fun twist on the whole “text dating” trope. When travel tour call center operator, Tinley, is coerced into attending a speed-dating event by her roommate and sister, she decides to at least see where it goes. The setup is simple, speed dating in the dark. Four courses and four “dates”. But as each of the men is worse than the last, she’s sure she can’t get out of there fast enough. Until mystery date number four arrives just in time for dessert. He has a sexy voice and, well, he’s not crazy, unlike her three previous companions. But when date number four turns out to be someone she knows, things go from fun and flirty to complicated as heck.

Plot
The story got off a little slow, but picked up at about the 25% mark. It really took off in about the last quarter, but it ends on a cliffhanger. I personally don’t mind cliffhangers, but if you do, please be warned. The second book comes out in May, so it’s not a long wait. There are a few mysteries involving date number four and her roommate, but overall, it felt fairly predictable throughout. At least until the end. The cliffhanger isn’t jaw dropping, but it is a much needed twist to shake things up in what had been a fairly straightforward plot. What the story really lacked for me was some serious conflict to drive the plot.

The Characters
I wasn’t sure what to make of Tinley at first. After a ten minute “date” with a guy she never saw, she’s ready to pledge her undying love and make babies with him. I couldn’t decide if she was just that desperate or if she had some serious underlying flaws. She definitely has some issues, and she bounces all over the place with what she wants. Toward the end of this first installment, it becomes clear Tinley’s self doubt stems from the fact that she’s only ever had one job and she doesn’t even like it. She doesn’t know what she wants from life and she and her sister, Tara, had less than stellar parentening. This epiphany should have been the moment that sets Tinley on a path to becomes a different, more enlightened person, but she backslides to her former self more often than not. So I’m back to not being sure what to make of her.

Her roommate and best friends is a bit of an enigma. She’s got some sort of secret life happening, but I didn’t get much of a sense of who she is. The same holds true for the sister. Tara seems to only exist as a prop. I’m hoping to get a lot more of these two in the next installment. My other problem with the characters is the stereotypical nature of far too many of them. The horrible three dates were over the top out there, making them hard to believe. A few other characters were equally underdeveloped, even though they aren’t critical to the plot. At least not yet, anyway. I’ll have to wait and see where the author takes them in the final two books.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About DATING IN THE DARK
1. The concept. Cool idea, I’m still on the fence about the execution.

2. Smoldering heat. The author does a fabulous job of creating sexual tension.

3. Tara. Even though I don’t really have a strong sense of who she is, she has some of the best lines in the book.

4. Bars with secret passwords. Coolest bar on the planet.

5. Ending. It’s not really an ending so much as a promise of more to come that could really up the stakes.

Bottom Line
An interesting start to a trilogy. I’m interested in seeing where this goes.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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DATING IN THE DARK Teaser

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About the Book
Title: DATING IN THE DARK
Series: Dating Trilogy #1
Author: Alexandria Bishop
Release Date: March 19, 2018
Pages: 165
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

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DATING IN THE DARK Now Live

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Author Alexandria Bishop

Author Alexandria Bishop

About the Author
Born on a small southeastern island in Alaska and raised in southern Oregon, Alexandria Bishop is a PNW girl at heart. By day, she goes to battle with a tiny dictator aka her toddler and by night, she can be found typing ALL the words of her contemporary romance novels accompanied by a glass of wine or two 😉

When she’s not in mommy or author mode, she can be found drinking copious amounts of cold brew coffee, bingeing her latest obsession on Netflix, or attending concerts of her favorite pop-punk bands.

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Where to find Alexandria Bishop
Goodreads Website | Facebook | Reader GroupTwitter | Instagram | BookBub

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour – Review + Giveaway – THE DATING DEBATE (Dating Dilemma) by Chris Cannon

THE DATING DEBATE Blog Tour

THE DATING DEBATE (Dating Dilemmas #1) by Chris Cannon

THE DATING DEBATE (Dating Dilemmas #1) by Chris Cannon

Synopsis
Nina Barnes thinks Valentine’s Day should be optional. That way single people like her wouldn’t be subjected to kissy Cupids all over the place. That is, until her mom moves them next door to the brooding hottie of Greenbrier High, West Smith. He’s funny, looks amazing in a black leather jacket, and he’s fluent in Harry Potter, but she’s not sure he’s boyfriend material.

West isn’t sure what to make of Nina. She’s cute and loves to read as much as he does, but she seems to need to debate everything and she has a pathological insistence on telling the truth. And West doesn’t exactly know how to handle that, since his entire life is a carefully constructed secret. Dating the girl next door could be a ton of fun, but only if Nina never finds out the truth about his home life. It’s one secret that could bring them together or rip them apart.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is not for anyone who has to get in the last word, but it is for all book nerds, especially those who live next door to so called unapproachable gorgeous guys. There’s no debating the chemistry.

 

 

 

 

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My Review
Nina, a self-described hippy-chick book nerd, and her newly single mom move in next door to brooding hottie, West. They share a backyard and a driveway, but on the surface, not much else. When an upcoming Valentines Day dance forces Nina to dodge her brother’s friend and West to evade his ex-girlfriend, they tell their prospective dates they’re going with each other. This launches a tentative friendship that becomes something more. Nina and West both have troubled pasts that interfere with their ability to be completely open with each other. But instead of this turning into one of those, “I wish they would just talk to each other,” stories, their secrets and half truths are plausible and heart wrenching.

Plot
The plotting is well done with just the right amount of drama and angst. Nina and West navigate what it means to be in a romantic relationship while their respective family issues play out around them. Both feel helpless about their situations, which leads them to make choices they may not otherwise make.

The Characters
I absolutely adored both Nina and West. Nina’s constant need to debate everything and her brutal honesty made her lovable instead of annoying. She sees the world in a positive light, a “glass is half full” type. West’s need to move far away from home as soon as possible is utterly relatable. Both characters experienced growth through the book, but West, more so, although I would argue he had more to overcome. Their relationship felt so authentically teen, without a lot of unnecessary drama.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About THE DATING DEBATE
1. Playful banter. Rather than the debates causing endless fights, the arguments between West and Nina were more flirtatious than not.

2. Honesty. This concept seems simple enough — always tell the truth — and yet it is fairly foreign in most contemporary romances. The heart of most conflict is the inability of the protagonists to tell the truth. But complete honesty brings its own conflicts that was a refreshing change from the usual.

3. West. So wonderfully complex and authentic in his teen boyness.

4. West. What’s not to adore about a book-loving hippie chick?

5. Gidget. Nina’s overly-shedding lab provided some fantastic moments of comedy.

Bottom Line
Delightful young adult contemporary romance that reads like a lighthearted comedy, but with more serious elements that keeps it from being fluff.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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THE DATING DEBATE Teaser

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About the Book
Title: THE DATING DEBATE
Series: Dating Dilemmas #1
Author: Chris Cannon
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 5, 2018
Pages: 242
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo | Entangled

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Author Chris Cannon

Author Chris Cannon

About the Author
Chris Cannon is the award-winning author of the Going Down In Flames series and the Boyfriend Chronicles. She lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and several furry beasts.

She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or romantic comedies. You can find her online at www.chriscannonauthor.com.

 

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Where to find Chris Cannon
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour – Review – RIGHT KISS WRONG GUY (Offsides) by Natalie Decker

RIGHT KISS WRONG GUY Blog Tour

RIGHT KISS WRONG GUY (Offsides #2) by Natalie Decker

RIGHT KISS WRONG GUY (Offsides #2) by Natalie Decker

Synopsis
You’d think a girl with the most romantic name in the world would have her pick of boyfriends.

But Valentine’s Day sucks when you’re single. Just ask Juliet Valentine, whose last name happens to also be the name of the most dreaded made-up holiday ever.

A romantic at heart, this year is especially hard on Juliet. Her sister, Layla, is in a new relationship, her mom’s match-making business is doing great, and her school’s new fundraiser is “Love-Grams.”

Juliet’s miserable, a little jealous, and lonely.

Quarterback Jared Black is the most popular guy in school. A star athlete, Jared tops the most-eligible bachelor list year after year. But to Juliet Valentine, he’s all but invisible. She isn’t impressed.

Jared’s never had to work hard to get the attention of a girl before. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and he’s determined to ask Juliet out. After all, if Tyler can win over Layla, Jared ought to have a shot with Layla’s sister.

Unlike Tyler and Layla, charm, flattery and good looks won’t work on Juliet. So with the V-Day dance coming up, Jared uses the school’s Love-Grams to let Juliet know how he feels. Should be simple enough, right?

Wrong. Each attempt ends up either in the trash or thrown in someone’s face. Juliet won’t play his game.

Now, without a date to the dance Jared realizes it’s going to take a Hail Mary to win the girl of his dreams..

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My Review
Layla’s twin sister Juliet had her heart broken by boyfriend Mark at the end of RIGHT TEXT WRONG GUY, and now we get her story. Jared Black has been pining after Juliet for as long as he can remember, but he’s too afraid of rejection to ask her out. The fact that he and Mark are football teammates only makes it worse because Juliet has sworn she’ll never date a football player again. Add to that Jared’s overbearing father and high school football coach, and Jared doesn’t really have much time for dating anyway. That doesn’t stop him from doing everything he can to get on Juliet’ good side, though.

Juliet is angry at all boys. And love. And Valentine’s day. So when a bunch of love grams suddenly begin showing up for her, she assumes it’s Mark, still trying to apologize and win her back. Watching the push and pull of these two is cute and fun, but Juliet’s anger is palpable and there were times I honestly wondered why Jared didn’t give up. He goes all-in though, upping his game with each day that passes, until Juliet’s icy exterior begins to melt.

Plot
This is your basic teen romance. There’s not a heck of a lot more going on. It’s about Jared winning Juliet’s heart and Juliet doing everything she can to keep that from happening with Jared or anyone else. Some of it is predictable, but Natalie Decker’s style of writing is always entertaining. There were more than a few laugh-out-loud moments

The Characters
Jared definitely has a lot going on at home with his dad insisting he run drills in the backyard every night, lift weights three nights a week, and never, ever, stop working toward an NFL career, even though that’s the last thing Jared wants. Even though Juliet’s home life is a bit more settled, she actually goes through more growth than Jared does, coming to terms with the fact that she doesn’t really hate all boys and that Mark is not the poster child for the gender.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About RIGHT KISS WRONG GUY
1. Chase. I love straight guy best friends and Chase is a great one, with his eyes and heart set on Adeline.

2. Perseverance. In this world of #metoo, there is a fine line between determination and stalking, but Jared goes right up to that line without stepping over. His dedication to winning Juliet’s heart is sweet rather than creepy.

3. Jared. He’s a good guy, which is a refreshing change from most romantic alpha males.

4. Juliet. I loved her in the first book, but it took me a while to warm up to her in her own story. Her anger was over the top at times. Not that it wasn’t understandable, I mean anyone who had their heart ripped out during the teen years knows how all-consuming that can be, but I hated that she took it out on everyone around her. It was hard to sympathize with her at first. However, by about the 33% mark, I remembered what I loved about her.

5. Love. As much as Juliet claims to hate love (often broadcasting it with her choice of wardrobe), it wins out in the end.

Bottom Line
This is a sweet young adult romance with plenty of laughs.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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RIGHT KISS WRONG GUY Teaser 2

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About the Book
Title: RIGHT KISS WRONG GUY
Series: Offsides #2
Author: Natalie Decker
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Pages: 313
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Natalie Decker

Author Natalie Decker

About the Author
Natalie Decker is the author of the bestselling YA series RIVAL LOVE and NA Scandalous Boys Series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Avid reader of everything. She’s a huge Denver Broncos fan, loves football, and fuzzy blankets. She’s a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and misses her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!.

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Where to find Natalie Decker
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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