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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – WAYPOINT (Waypoint) by Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins

WAYPOINT Blog Tour

WAYPOINT (Waypoint #1) by Deborah Adams and Kimberly Perkins

WAYPOINT (Waypoint #1) by Deborah Adams and Kimberly Perkins

Synopsis
How far will they go to restore the power?

It’s been lights-out for three months and society is already falling into chaos.

Teenage tech-genius Simon Harper and his team of fellow gamers have been searching for the cause of the outage since it went down. Simon and his twin brother West are often at odds, but when the key to restoring power drops into their hands, they’ll risk everything and join forces to bring it back.

Descend into an epic, young adult adventure, featuring family and friendship with a heart-skipping side of romance by debut authors Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins.

Mysterious deaths and disappearances are piling up, and unknown enemies are everywhere. As the brothers make their 500-mile journey to Waypoint they’ll have to decide who they can trust, and which secrets can be told.

“Thanks to its tantalizing pace, well-established consequences, and complicated character development, this novel is worth writing home about. I didn’t feel ready for it to end.” -Independent Book Review

 

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My Review
I need to start off by saying this is the first book in a series. It wasn’t obvious from the description, so I wasn’t expecting the ending, but now that I know, I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment. Told from four third-person points of view, this is a little different than most young adult dystopians. Instead of a single protagonist, we have four, although Simon seems to be the main character. Twin brothers Simon and West inhabit a world without power, similar to the TV show Revolution from a few years back. West is a classic player with good looks and swagger to match. Simon is a nerd among nerds, living inside a role-playing game he accesses through power he generates with solar panels, something that must remain a secret. When a mysterious man is killed in front of Simon, he’s given information that may allow him to turn the power back on. He and West embark on a journey to Washington DC, only to be separated almost immediately. While West is at home in the wilderness, Simon is out of his element. Each winds up with a traveling companion, Riya for Simon and Alex for West. Both girls provide a romantic element as well as the foil that each boy needs. Along the way, all four encounter danger and learn a lot about each other and themselves.

Plot
The plot centers around Simon and West meeting up in DC to turn the power back on. Several subplots feed the main plot, but they’re minor. With four points of view, we get a lot of insight into their journeys. The authors throw everything at them, one setback after another, at a pulse-pounding pace that kept me turning the pages long past when I should have been doing something else. While this is primarily a plot-driven tale, the authors do a good job with character development which feeds into the story well.

The Characters
The characters are where this story really shines. All four main characters are deeply-drawn and complex in ways that enhance the plot. I loved all four of them, and even though at times their goals conflicted with one another, I never stopped rooting for all of them. West and Simon couldn’t be more different as twins, and yet that bond is strong, making them realize how important they are to one another. Alex and Riya were as different from one another as Simon and West, but they each bring something to the relationship that the brothers desperately lack, rounding out this foursome to perfection.

Top Five Things I Loved About WAYPOINT
1. The plot. Young adult dystopian is my favorite genre. I love dark worlds that are recognizable, peppered with characters who are still trying to figure out themselves much less the world around them.

2. Angsty love. Not one, but two romances with enough angst to satisfy even me.

3. The characters. I can’t pick a favorite; I love them all. Like two sides of a coin squared, they balance each other out.

4. Action. There’s plenty of action, adventure, and suspense to keep me riveted to the pages.

5. The ending. Normally I’m not a fan of cliffhanger endings, but the authors crafted a satisfying conclusion to this portion of the story while leaving me on the edge of my seat for more

Bottom Line
A wonderful young adult contemporary romance that examines how social anxiety can transform someone from the inside out.

Disclaimer
A pulse-pounding young adult dystopian page-turner!

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About the Book
Title: WAYPOINT
Series: Waypoint #1
Author: Deborah Adams and Kimberly Perkins
Publisher: Rocket City Publishing
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Pages: 296
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUBarnes & Noble | Kobo

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Authors Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins

Authors Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins

About the Author
DEBORAH ADAMS and KIMBERLEY PERKINS are friends and coworkers. They share a love of coffee, literature, and teenagers saving the world. By day, they work for a defense contractor in Huntsville, Alabama as the HR Director and an Excel-wielding Analyst, respectively. By night, they build worlds with words and devour stories. For more information about Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins and their foray into writing, check them out on social media.

 

 

 

 

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Where to Find Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins
Deborah Goodreads | Kimberley GoodreadsWebsite | Kimberley Twitter | Deborah Twitter

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Giveaway

WAYPOINT Giveaway

 

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – PAPER GIRL by Cindy R. Wilson

PAPER GIRL Blog Tour

PAPER GIRL by Cindy R. Wilson

PAPER GIRL by Cindy R. Wilson

Synopsis
I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.

Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PAPER GIRL Teaser

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My Review
I have a very good friend who suffers from agoraphobia and a daughter with social anxiety. I’ll admit I never really understood these feelings. I’m the opposite, a consummate extrovert who loves the hub of urban life and exploring everything the world has to offer. But PAPER GIRL takes me inside the life of Zoe, an agoraphobic who hasn’t left her home in over a year. Zoe was always more shy and reserved than her outgoing older sister, Mae, but before a series of events pushed her into seclusion, she lived a fairly normal life, attending Mae’s games and flirting with Mae’s friend, Jackson. After retreating into her home, she creates a haven of paper art that soothes her as well as occupies her time. Zoe is determined to return to some sort of a normal life, starting with attending her sister’s high school graduation. With the help of her therapist, she sets small goals for herself, including allowing herself to be tutored by Jackson, who has troubles of his own. Small victories and big steps backward combine to make Zoe’s journey one that is both realistic and relatable.

Plot
Told from dual points of view, there is one main plot, the romance between Zoe and Jackson, and two major subplots involving Zoe’s goal to re-enter life outside her home and Jackson’s relationship with his estranged father. The author throws enough roadblocks into both of their paths to keep things from ever getting too easy. The only thing I really wanted more of was uncertainty in their romance. There wasn’t any angst or doubt, nothing to really keep me turning the pages to make sure these two would end up together.

The Characters
I absolutely loved Zoe. She’s complex, smart, creative, funny, and just neurotic enough to be the perfect character to root for. I could feel her shame and horror when life infringed on her safe space. Watching her stretch the boundaries of that safety zone had me cheering for her every step of the way. Jackson was a little more pulled together, even though he’s homeless. His circumstances are as outside his control as Zoe’s are, but they’re environmental rather than emotional and mental. These two both overcome their own circumstances and situations to grow in believable ways.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About PAPER GIRL
1. Paper art. Colorful origami in three-dimensional space creates a solar system and galaxy that fills Zoe’s room and life. I would love to see it, because I’m not sure my imagination does it justice.

2. Mae. She is sympathetic as the older sister who loves Zoe and struggles with supporting her sister and longing for the life they used to have together outside their home.

3. Zoe’s mom. The Instagram and YouTube star who documents all the craftiness that is her life is both a supportive and understanding parent with some of the best lines in the book.

4. Jackson. He’s sweet, patient, and brilliant. He creates the perfect balance between supporting Zoe without being a crutch.

5. Zoe. She is fascinating, at times sarcastic, terrified, artistic, smart, and more all rolled into a tiny ball of determination.

Bottom Line
A wonderful young adult contemporary romance that examines how social anxiety can transform someone from the inside out.

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: PAPER GIRL
Author: Cindy R. Wilson
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUBarnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

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PAPER GIRL Teaser

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Author Cindy R. Wilson

Author Cindy R. Wilson

About the Author
Cindy lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and loves using Colorado towns and cities as inspiration for settings in her stories. She’s the mother of three girls, who provide plenty of fodder for her YA novels. Cindy writes speculative fiction and YA fiction, filled with a healthy dose of romance. You’ll often find her hiking or listening to any number of playlists while she comes up with her next story idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where to Find Cindy R. Wilson
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Book Review + Giveaway – STAR-CROSSED by Pintip Dunn

STAR-CROSSED Blog Tour

STAR-CROSSED by Pintip Dunn

STAR-CROSSED by Pintip Dunn

Synopsis
Princess Vela’s people are starving.

Stranded on a planet that lacks food, Vela makes the ultimate sacrifice and becomes an Aegis for her people. Accepting a genetic modification that takes sixty years off her life, she can feed her colony via nutrition pills. But her best friend is still getting worse. And she’s not the only one.

Now the king is dying, too.

When the boy she’s had a crush on since childhood volunteers to give his life for her father’s, Vela realizes her people need more than pills to survive. As tensions rise between Aegis and colonists, secrets and sabotage begin to threaten the future of the colony itself.

Unless Vela is brave enough to save them all…

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
An intense young adult dystopian romance filled with impossible choices, longing, loyalty, and above all, love. When seventeen year old Princess Vela is caught sneaking food to her best friend, her entire future is jeopardized. But the leadership sees something in her and offers her an opportunity to prove herself worthy of taking over her father’s position of Ruler when he passes. Vela and her sister, Blanca, are each challenged to show they have what it takes to lead their people, despite their weaknesses. Vela is compassionate to a fault and Blanca is logical and analytical at the expense of compassion. Each princess is forced into a situation that tests their limits in ways neither is prepared for.

Plot
The plot is intricately woven with subplotting that made this a “can’t put down” book for me. While I found some of it predictable, the author’s writing and the characters she created made me need to know what happened next. Dunn drew me into her world, which is richly built, and made me care about fictional people in a way I haven’t in a long time. I wanted a different ending, but the one I got was both gut-wrenching and satisfying.

The Characters
Well-developed and incredibly real, Carr, Vela, and the rest of the cast were real to me, and I loved them wholly, never wanting to the story to end. Carr is what every book boyfriend should be with a deep sense of family loyalty and strength, with a poetic side that made me swoon. Vela was everything I want in a young adult heroine. Her compassion for others and sense of doing the right thing at any cost made her one of my favorite young adult protagonists of all time.

Top Five Things I Loved About STAR-CROSSED
1. Vela. She was by far my favorite character of 2018 and in my top five young adult protagonists of all time. She’s warm, loyal, loving, and compassionate with a strong sense of doing the right thing. Her love for her family, her best friend, and Carr made her utterly relatable.

2. Carr. Ahh, what can I say about the dreamy boy who would give his life to save his sister? There is so much to him, but the way he cares not only about his sister but Vela, too, makes him worthy of Vela’s love.

3. Impossible choices. Vela is put in charge of choosing the boy who will die to save her father’s life, but when the only boy she’s ever loved, Carr, puts himself in the running, she finds herself in a situation with no good outcomes. This is the type of situation that makes for page-turning conflict.

4. Dystopian worlds. My favorite genre because anything can happen and nothing is ever as it seems.

5. The ending. Oh my God that ending. It gutted me but it made me FEEL.

Bottom Line
An outstanding young adult dystopian tale that will reside among my favorites for years to come.

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: STAR-CROSSED
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Science Fiction Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

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Author Pintip Dunn

Author Pintip Dunn

About the Author
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, and the upcoming STAR-CROSSED and

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Where to Find Pintip Dunn
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Entangled

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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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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – THE SPONSORED by Caroline T. Patti

THE SPONSORED Blog Tour

THE SPONSORED by Caroline T. Patti

THE SPONSORED by Caroline T. Patti

Synopsis
Don’t break the rules…

Max Winter is a janitor at a ritzy boarding school. He’s supposed to keep to himself, mind his business, stay quiet about the things he sees, sweep the floors, and under no circumstances is he to have any contact with the residents. Now, Max will break every last one of those rules when he meets Ace Valentine.

Don’t follow your heart…

Ace Sloane finds out she’s on the wrong side of a war she no longer believes in fighting. Now, she’ll risk everything to get her life back from the people who stole it, including getting too close to exactly the wrong boy.

Don’t get caught…

Grey Winter lost both parents in a fire that should’ve killed her as well. A “miracle baby,” Grey is sent to live with her Nana who should have told her the truth about who and what she really is. Now she’s at the forefront of a cover-up, all-out manhunt, and the object of one boy’s interest she doesn’t want or need. It’s up to Grey to connect the dots and bring an end to the secrets and lies that have caused so much pain and suffering for so long.

 

 

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My Review
This is a great scifi/dystopian told from two points of view, a generation apart. First person present is Grey Winter, a teen girl with the ability to self heal. Through a series of flashbacks, we get the third-person point of view of Max Winter, Grey’s father. The two stories run in parallel through most of the book, but it’s clear they will end up converging. This is a unique twist on young adult romance. Both characters are teens at the time their stories are told and both include romances, making this a two for one if teen romance is your thing. But it’s so much more than that. There’s plenty of action, a huge mystery, and enough secrets and revelations to keep me turning the pages. The story starts off with a bang as Grey intervenes in a robbery, putting herself between a bullet and the owner of the bodega. Unfortunately, this also exposes  her ability to the boy at her school she likes the least. But there is so much more to Grey and Julian than one unfortunate incident.

Max Winter is the janitor at a prestigious school for The Sponsored, a group of kids who get the best education available in exchange for giving up their life choices to the government. Lowly janitors and Sponsored are not allowed to mingle, but with any good dystopian romance, rules are made to be broken. As both stories unfold, we learn everything is both more and less than it seems and secrets and lies run deep.

Plot
A two-forked tale, the plotting of both are expertly intertwined. As Grey attempts to keep her abilities a secret, live her life, and fight a budding, but dangerous, attraction to Julian, we see Max and Grey’s mom meet and fall in love. It’s more than just a romantic backstory, though. We learn all the secrets of The Sponsored through his eyes. A captivating storytelling approach that I absolutely loved!

The Characters
While it took me a bit to warm up to Grey, I loved her. Her penchant for keeping everyone at arms’ length initially seemed to include the reader as well, but over the course of the book, she lets us in. She’s wounded, damaged, and so incredibly easy to root for. The rest of the characters, Nana, Max, Ace, and Julian are well-developed.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE SPONSORED
1. The plot. Well told and kept me engaged from the opening scene.

2. Grey. She is a complex heroine with so much heart, I just adored her.

3. Dystopia. One of my favorite genres and the author’s take on a near-future society was utterly plausible, making it all the more terrifying.

4. Action. From the opening pages, there is just the right amount of action to keep the story moving.

5. Romance. Two separate romances means twice the angsty love!

Bottom Line
Wonderful dystopian romance with a storytelling twist.

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 SPONSORED
Author: Caroline T. Patti
Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: September 12, 2018
Pages: 330
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian SciFi Adventure
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | GooglePlay | BAM! | IndieBound | !ndigo | The Book Depository

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Author Caroline T. Patti

Author Caroline T. Patti

About the Author
Caroline T Patti is the author of The World Spins Madly On and Too Late To Apologize. When she’s not writing, she’s a school librarian, mother of two, wife, avid reader and Green Bay Packer fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to find Caroline T. Patti
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – OUT OF SIGHT (Progenitor) by Matthew S. Cox

OUT OF SIGHT Blog Tour

OUT OF SIGHT (Progenitor #1) by Matthew S. Cox

OUT OF SIGHT (Progenitor #1) by Matthew S. Cox

Synopsis
Most Citizens hold Outcasts in dim regard, but Sima never expected they’d throw her off the planet.

In 2411, overpopulation has spread a plaque of filthy, congested city to the corners of the Earth. Government has raised corruption to an art form, and no one hears the cries of those left to die in the dark passageways of civilization. Following the End of Nations, people cling to the only division left: social status.

Since running away from home four years ago, she’s managed to stay a step ahead of death―or worse. At sixteen, she’s getting too old to survive from begging, despite her best effort to pretend she’s younger. Worse, the sidewalks teem with little kids edging in on her turf, monopolizing Citizens’ charity with their wide, pleading eyes and genuine innocence.

A chance meeting with suspiciously nice cops leaves her more confused than ever. Between deadly gangs, unforgiving security forces, and a terrifying madam eager to exploit a girl her age, merely getting older is the biggest threat to her life. With no good choice to make, she risks the least of three evils.

Sima thought her life on Earth had been dangerous…

She hasn’t seen anything yet..

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My Review
Traces of DIVERGENT blend with PASSENGERS and LOST for a dark, action-packed scifi dystopian adventure. Sixteen-year-old Sima is an Outcast on future Earth where Citizens live an easy life and Outcasts struggle for daily survival. Sima begs for enough food to be able to live another day, but at sixteen, she’s no longer a cute waif, and is envious of the younger kids who still tug at the heartstrings of the more fortunate. The first third of the book is devoted to her day-to-day survival, until she’s wrongly associated with anti-government forces and arrested. Instead of prison time, she’s offered a chance to participate in the Progenitor program, although the details of what that means to her are a bit murky. With more trepidation than excitement, she agrees, which thrusts her into another world, where survival means something else entirely.

The writing is fantastic. Cox’s descriptive style conjures vivid imagery that stimulates the imagination. The world’s he conjures are fully developed and filled with environments and characters that bring the reader deep into the story. The technology and world building is superb and kept me rooted in Sima’s story.

Plot
The story takes a while to get going. However, there is enough action to keep the reader invested. We’re nearly 30% in when the inciting incident takes Sima from her “normal” life and thrusts her on her journey. She spends an inordinate amount of time musing over her choices for survival. Over and over again like a merry-go-round of the same three options, until finally a fourth option is presented to her. But instead of making a decision for herself, the choice is made for her, so she enters her new life kicking and screaming (and sobbing and whimpering).

The Characters
The story is about Sima. We spend the majority of the book inside her head. As a street rat, she pushes others away, preferring to go it alone. A whole host of minor characters interact with her, some superficial, but most with as much depth as Sima herself. Sima has a rich backstory and complex character. She annoyed me at times with her constant whimpering and sobbing. I can certainly understand her emotions, but I was hoping for more of a Katniss or Tris type character. She does transform, but it’s definitely a three steps forward, two steps back type of journey.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About OUT OF SIGHT
1. The writing. Vivid and unique, peppered with analogies that create stunning mental images.

2. Dystopia. I love a good story about a fallen civilization, and the dark future Cox envisions is layered and intense.

3. SciFi. While not strictly a science fiction, there is so much futuristic technology that it transcends genres.

4. Character development. Yes, it’s slow to come about, but Sima evolves into a young woman who learns what it means to care for someone other than herself.

5. Action. There’s no shortage of action and adventure throughout the story.

Bottom Line
A dystopian adventure with science fiction elements packed with action.

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: OUT OF SIGHT
Series: Progenitor #1
Author: Matthew S. Cox
Publisher: Division Zero Press
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Pages: 395
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian SciFi Adventure
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Matthew S. Cox

Author Matthew S. Cox

About the Author
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats. Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future.

Where to find Matthew S. Cox
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN by Jessica Redmerski

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN Blog Tour

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN by Jessica Redmerski

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN by Jessica Redmerski

Synopsis
Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?

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My Review
Set after an illness and the events that followed wiped out half the country’s population and civilization as we know it, Thais and her family manage to survive in a rural town in what used to be Kentucky. But lawlessness and greed are everywhere and soon raiders upend an already upended life and send Thais and her sister into the wilderness. They’re soon caught by raiders and taken to Lexington City where women are more prized than gold. They are ranked according to looks and worth and sorted for a life as workers, wives, or whores. There is no equality and no freedom. Thais is desperate to get her sister out, although to where is still huge unknown. But remaining in Lexington City will be a hell all its own.

Atticus is a soldier in Lexington City responsible for sorting Thais and her sister. He’s filled with self-loathing and a desire to change things for the better. His views on the new fallen world are best summed up in his inner thoughts.

But in every good person there is something dark waiting to take the reins. Now here we were, Evelyn and Atticus, a whore and a murderer, succumbing to that dark part of us, because that’s how life was.

Something about Thais sparks a desire in Atticus to battle back against that darkness and maybe redeem his soul. If he can protect her and her sister, maybe he’s not the animal he believes himself to be. When things spiral out of his control, he has no choice but to get Thais out of the city where survival is even more precarious and betrayal is everywhere. Somehow these two find mutual respect in one another that gives way to something more.

Plot
The plot moves at a fast pace from the opening chapter. Scenes are short, and alternating points of view keep suspense high and prevents the story from stalling. However, starting in Chapter 24, the author throws in the alternate point of view in bold parenthesis. This practice is jarring, ripping me from the story each time. These points of view are completely unnecessary to the flow of story, so I began to ignore them when I came across them.

The Characters
While I’m sure this was written as a plot-driven story, the characters steal the show. Atticus is a fascinating, intense character who I felt the author was much more comfortable writing than Thais. Thais is also well-developed, but she comes across as almost two people as the story develops. She’s tough and determined early on, but slowly becomes dependent upon Atticus for her survival, losing some of that grit that made me love her in the beginning.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
1. Atticus. He’s brilliantly crafted.

2. Dystopian. I do love a good fallen civilization.

3. Unhurried love. I love how the author doesn’t rush anything between Thais and Atticus.

4. Character development. Both Thais and Atticus undergo tremendous development throughout the story that is a direct reflection of the circumstances they’ve been put in, making it very organic.

5. Realism. While this is a young adult novel, the author doesn’t sugar coat the realities of life in a post-apocalyptic world, from rape, cannibalism, violence, and prostitution, a dark world is not made less dark just because the characters are young.

Bottom Line
A character-driven dystopian in the best sense of the word with remarkable characters and a solid plot.

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: EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
Author: Jessica Redmerski
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Pages: 657
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble

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Author Jessica Redmerski

Author Jessica Redmerski

About the Author
Jessica Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and award winner who juggles several genres of fiction.

She also writes as J.A. Redmerski.

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Find Jessica Redmerski
Goodreads | Website | FacebookTwitter

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – THE DEVIL’S REVOLVER (The Devil’s Revolver) by V. S. McGrath

THE DEVIL'S REVOLVER (The Devil's Revolver #1) by V. S. McGrath

THE DEVIL’S REVOLVER (The Devil’s Revolver #1) by V. S. McGrath

Synopsis
She is Hettie Alabama — unlikely, scarred, single-minded, and blood bound to a revolver forged by a demon.

The first book in an epic, magic-clad series featuring the Wild West reimagined as a crosscultural stereoscope of interdimensional magic and hardship, The Devil’s Revolver opens with a shooting competition and takes off across the landscape after a brutal double murder and kidnapping — to which revenge is the only answer. Hettie Alabama, only seventeen years old, leads her crew of underdogs with her father’s cursed revolver, magicked to take a year off her life each time she fires it. It’s no way for a ranch girl to grow up, but grow up she does, her scars and determination to rescue her vulnerable younger sister deepening with every year of life she loses.

A sweeping and high-stakes saga that gilds familiar Western adventure with powerful magic and panoramic fantasy, The Devil’s Revolver is the last word and the blackest hat in the Weird West.

 

 

 

 

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My Review
I’m a huge fan of the SyFy show Wynonna Earp, so fresh off of a trip to Comic-Con this seemed like something right up my alley. I was not disappointed. This is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. Set more than a hundred years ago in the old west, it follows the story of seventeen-year-old Hettie Alabama as first tragedy befalls her family, then she begins to discover dark secrets about them and herself. With her young sister missing, Hettie is convinced she’s alive and will do anything to get her back. Anything includes imprinting on the Devil’s Revolver, known as Diablo, a gun with an endless supply of ammunition, never needs to be reloaded, and oh yeah, every time Hettie kills someone with it, she grows another year older. Surrounded by a colorful cast of characters, Hettie attempts to stay one step ahead of those who want Diablo and remain alive long enough to find her younger sister, Abby. Beyond that, she has no plan, so when everything starts to fall apart, Hettie lurches one from ill-conceived idea to the next. Filled with magic, history, and a mix of cultures, this is one of my all-time favorite reads.

Plot
The plot centers around Hettie’s search for her missing sister, Abby. But there’s so much more going on. Dark family secrets, a band of ruthless gangsters hellbent on getting their hands on Diablo, Hettie’s recurrent sudden aging, the fight for survival, and more. The author does a masterful job of taking us into a can’t-win situation, only to find a way to just barely survive, then knock us back yet again. Every time I thought Hettie was finally close to getting what she wanted, V.S. McGrath would tear it away from her again.

The Characters
The characters are nearly as fascinating as the plot. Each one is unique, with complex backstories, vivid characterization, and fully-developed goals and motivations. Hettie is by far the star of the story, and she’s so thoroughly developed, she could carry the story on her own. But the people who surround her bring more than just support to their roles. Even those who only show up in a handful of scenes are just as detailed and vivid as the characters who accompany Hettie throughout her journey.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE DEVIL’S REVOLVER
1. Expert plotting. One of only a handful of books I’ve read this year that I couldn’t put down.

2. Magical elements. I’m not usually one for fantasy or paranormal, but the way the author wove these aspects into the story felt natural. Although the magical elements are a big  part of the story, I was still rooted in the natural world in a way a lot of fantasy doesn’t allow me to be.

3. Hettie. One of the all-time best fictional characters.

4. Diablo. The gun is nearly a character all its own and its powers drive some of the best plot points.

5. Scene setting. The author creates such vivid scenes, bringing the reader in with all five senses, I’ve no doubt this story will stick with me for a long time.

Bottom Line
One of my favorite books of 2018 with amazing characters, an exhilarating plot, and unique aspects that make it unlike anything I’ve read.

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About the Book
Title: THE DEVIL’S REVOLVER
Series: The Devil’s Revolver #1
Author: V.S. McGrath
Publisher: Brain Mill Press LLC
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Pages: 323
Genre: Young Adult Historical Western Dark Fantasy/Paranormal
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo

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Author V. S. McGrath

Author V. S. McGrath

About the Author
Vicki So, writing as V. S. McGrath, is a published romance author (as Vicki Essex) and has six books with Harlequin Superromance: Her Son’s Hero (July 2011); Back to the Good Fortune Diner (January 2013), which was picked for the Smart Bitches Trashy Books Sizzling Book Club; In Her Corner (March 2014); A Recipe for Reunion (March 2015); Red Carpet Arrangement (January 2016); and Matinees with Miriam (November 2016). She lives in Toronto, Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Find V.S. McGrath
Goodreads | Website | FacebookTwitter

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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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Young Adult Book Review – THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME (Morriston Superheroes) by Danielle Banas

THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME Blog Tour

THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME (Morriston Superheroes #1) by Danielle Banas

THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME (Morriston Superheroes #1) by Danielle Banas

Synopsis
As witty as it is heartpounding, this fresh take on the beloved superhero genre is all about finding your own way to shine even when it seems everyone else around you is, well… super.

Never trust a guy in spandex.

In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees―they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.

That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.

After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Supervillain and Me is a hilarious, sweet, and action-packed novel by debut author Danielle Banas that proves no one is perfect, not even superheroes..

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My Review
I absolutely loved THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME! What a great twist on the teenage superhero genre. Seventeen-year-old Abby is the daughter of the town mayor and sister of Morriston’s superstar superhero, Red Comet. Still reeling from the death of her mother three years ago, she struggles with life in general, but also keeping her brother’s secret and accepting that her father has withdrawn himself over the death of his wife. Morriston is a crime-ridden town that even Red Comet can’t clean up. At least not on his own. With the help of Fish Boy, he does what he can. However, a new super has arrived, known as Iron Phantom. He’s captured on video destroying City Hall, and the level of crime only escalates from that point, making him the city’s first supervillain. But everything is not as it seems. After Iron Phantom saves Abby from a mugger, he visits her regularly and the two build a tenuous friendship at first, before sparks ignite. Seeking Abby’s help, he hopes to figure out who is framing him for the crime wave and what those funny little chips are he found in the mayor’s office.

Plot
The plot centers around the mysterious chips, but there’s a strong romance subplot between Abby and the Iron Phantom as well as the real identity of Iron Phantom. All three are incredibly well done. I waffled a lot on  Iron Phantom’s alter ego, going back and forth between a couple of characters, before wondering if it was someone else entirely. The romance was cute and I was rooting for these two the entire time. There weren’t any major plot twists and nothing that really made me go, “no way,” but it was a fun story that moves at a solid pace.

The Characters
The characters are the star of this story. Abby is infinitely likeable as is Iron Phantom. Both have solid backstories that bring their characters to life in colorful ways. Connor is the perfect older brother/foil to his sister, and the rest of the cast is a mix that seemed almost stereotypical at first, only to surprise me a little more every time they showed up on the page.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME
1. Iron Phantom. He’s witty, charming, and oh yeah, he has super powers!

2. Abby. She’s fiercely loyal, deeply wounded, and brave as hell.

3. Superheroes. What can I say — when you mix super powers with hormones, things are bound to go just about anywhere.

4. SciFi Lite. I love the use of science fiction throughout the book without it consuming the story. I was able to appreciate the technology and science without leaving Earth.

5. Humor. While there were no laugh-out-loud moments, humor was woven throughout the story, which kept what could have been a dark tale, much lighter.

Bottom Line
A wonderful debut by Danielle Banas! I’ll be reading more by this author.

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 SUPERVILLAIN AND ME
Series: Morriston Superheroes #1
Author: Danielle Banas
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | AmazonAmazon UKAmazon CABarnes & NobleiTunesKobo

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Author Danielle Banas

Author Danielle Banas

About the Author
Danielle Banas, a Pittsburgh native, earned a degree in communication from Robert Morris University. After years spent dreaming up characters instead of paying attention in class, Danielle joined the storytelling platform Wattpad, where her work has received millions of views online. When she isn’t writing, she can be found loudly singing show tunes, spouting off Walt Disney World trivia, and snuggling with her puppy. THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME is her debut novel.

Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @daniellebanas

 

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Where to find Danielle Banas
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 – NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN by Peter Golden

NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN by Peter Golden

NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN by Peter Golden

Synopsis
From the beloved author of Comeback Love and Wherever There Is Light, comes a novel about the life-changing journey of a young man who travels from New Jersey to Khrushchev’s Russia and the beaches of Southern France as he finds love and discovers the long-hidden secrets about his heritage.

In 1950s New Jersey, Michael Daniels launches a radio show in the storage room of his Russian-Jewish grandmother’s candy store. Not only does the show become a local hit because of his running satires of USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev, but half a world away, it picks up listeners in a small Soviet city.

There, with rock and roll leaking in through bootlegged airwaves, Yulianna Kosoy—a war orphan in her mid-twenties—is sneaking American goods into the country with her boss, Der Schmuggler.

But just as Michael’s radio show is taking off, his grandmother is murdered in the candy store. Why anyone would commit such an atrocity against such a warm, affable woman is anyone’s guess. But she had always been secretive about her past and, as Michael discovers, guarded a shadowy ancestral history. In order to solve the mystery of who killed her, Michael sets out to Europe to learn where he—and his grandmother—really came from.

Featuring Peter Golden’s signature “vivid characters and strong storytelling” (The Washington Post), Nothing Is Forgotten changes our understanding of the impact of World War II on its survivors and their descendants, and will appeal to fans of novels by Anita Diamant and Kristin Hannah..

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My Review
NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN is currently in my top five favorite books of all time, joining A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, SHE’S COME UNDONE, GONE WITH THE WIND, and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. At times, the book is a thriller, others a mystery, and still others, a romance, but at all times, it’s captivating, emotional, and incredibly well told. The story opens in Michael’s childhood and reads like a memoir until his grandmother is killed, and then it takes off like a thriller wrapped in a mystery as Michael tries to figure out who killed his grandmother and why. His search for the truth takes him to Europe and Russia where he meets and falls for Yuli, a smuggler and defacto spy. Together they seek clues about the death of Emma, which only raises more questions and puts them both in danger.

Plot
Impeccably  researched, there is as much history as there is storytelling going on between the pages. The story is expertly plotted and moves along at a steady rate. The pace picks up speed at the climax and keeps it up until the very end. And that ending…wow. For me, it’s perfect. Yes, I want to know what happens next, but I don’t need to know. It’s such a satisfying conclusion with just the right amount of uncertainty to allow me to imagine what comes after without feeling frustrated.

The Characters
The characters are a masterpiece. Michael, Yuli, Der Schmuggler…they’re deep, nuanced, and intriguing. Throughout the story, Emma goes from being an enigma to someone fully fleshed out as the reader learns through Micheal’s research who Emma really was. The characters seem so much a part of the era (late 1950s to 1960s), that I never once questioned the setting.

Top Five Things I Loved About NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN
1. Yuli. She was by far my favorite character. She’s so complex, strong and vulnerable, proud with fits of guilt, having lived through the horrors of the second World War, she’s hard to identify with, but so easy to root for.

2. Michael. His optimistic Americanism is the polar opposite of Yuli’s Eastern European post-war hopelessness. His quest to uncover the truth is both reckless and admirable, making him an absolutely fascinating protagonist.

3. History. I love history, but even more when it serves as a backdrop to a compelling story. The author’s meticulous attention to detail made history come alive, leaving me wanting to learn more about the events of that time.

4. The ending. One of the best endings ever.

5. Storytelling. The way the story unfolds kept me glued to the pages, but the characters made me care about what happened.

Bottom Line
One of my all-time favorite novels. I will be reading more by Peter Golden.

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: NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN
Author: Peter Golden
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Pages: 352
Genre: New Adult Historical Mystery/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

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Author Peter Golden

Author Peter Golden

About the Author
Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, historian, and novelist who has written nine books and interviewed Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush (41); Secretaries of State Kissinger, Haig, Shultz, and Eagleburger; Israeli Prime Ministers Rabin, Peres, and Shamir; and Soviet President Gorbachev. His first novel, Comeback Love, was praised by the novelist and reviewer Caroline Leavitt as an “extraordinary debut.” Wherever There Is Light, his second novel, was featured in New York Magazine’s Fall Preview issue, widely reviewed, and selected by the New Jersey Star-Ledger as one of the best books of 2016. His third novel, Nothing Is Forgotten, which explores the connection between the Holocaust and the Cold War, will be published on April 10, 2018.

 

Where to Find Peter Golden
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

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