Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – Ignite the Shadows by Ingrid Seymour

Ignite the Shadows Blog Tour

Ignite the Shadows (Ignite the Shadows #1) by Ingrid Seymour

Ignite the Shadows (Ignite the Shadows #1) by Ingrid Seymour

Synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy.

Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.

Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.

She’s infected.

.

.

.

.

.

—————————————————————————-

My Review
Ignite the Shadows is a dark story of brain parasites, survival, friendship, and loyalty. Marci has spent her entire life chasing the shadows inside her. They only seem to be getting worse as she gets older until she’s convinced she’s crazy.. Until she meets an unlikely group of people who show her the truth, which is far more terrifying than anything she could have imagined. She and her best friend, a non-infected, Xave, join forces with IgNiTe to do something before it’s too late. Add a long-lost twin brother and this book is rife with conflict, danger, and excitement.

Plot
Author, Ingrid Seymour’s, pacing is nearly perfect. From the opening pages we’re plunged into a world of danger that seems out of place for a sixteen-year-old girl. At least until we discover the horrifying details of her life, and soon we realize we’re not in Kansas anymore. Well, at least not present day Seattle anyway. This dystopian future is scary and nearly hopeless, yet the story isn’t one of hopelessness, but rather one of promise, if only we can just hang on.

The Writing
The writing is unique, adding to the themes of darkness and fear. I love the way she shows us what’s inside Marci’s head instead of telling.

The Characters
The characters are fantastic, deep, rounded, seriously wounded. Marci is amazing as the haunted heroine with the twin brother separated at birth. With demons running around in her head, a dead father she was close to, a mother who pines for the child she lost, there’s not much right going in Marci’s life and she’s sufficiently jaded. Xave, the best friend and potential love interest is also great, although not nearly as wounded. He has unrequited feelings for Marci. Or are they?

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Ignite the Shadows
1.The pacing. It starts off with a bang and never stops.

2. Marci. She’s tough, vulnerable, sharp-tongued, terrified, and brave all rolled into one.

3. Xave. I love him. His feelings for Marci are evident from the beginning. He’s a loyal friend, even if he’s setting himself up for heartbreak.

4. The science. The author does a great job of making her terrifying future plausible.

5. Elliott. Ingrid Seymour has created the perfect villain, the kind we love to hate.

Bottom Line
Ignite the Shadows is a terrifying thrill ride with a well-crafted plot and characters you can root for.

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

—————————————————————————-

About the Book
Title: Ignite the Shadows
Author: Ingrid Seymour
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: October 22, 2015
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay | !ndigo | BAM! | Book Depository

—————————————————————————-

Author Ingrid Seymour

Author Ingrid Seymour

About the Author
Ingrid Seymour is the author of IGNITE THE SHADOWS (Harper Voyager). When she’s not writing books, she spends her time working as a software engineer, cooking exotic recipes, hanging out with her family and working out. She writes young adult and new adult fiction in a variety of genres, including Sci-Fi, urban fantasy, romance, paranormal and horror.

Her favorite outings involve a trip to the library or bookstore where she immediately gravitates toward the YA section. She’s an avid reader and fangirl of many amazing books. She is a dreamer and a fighter who believes perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.

She lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, two kids and a cat named Mimi.
.

.

Where to Find Ingrid Seymour
Goodreads | Website  | FacebookTwitter | Instagram

—————————————————————————-

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Young Adult Book Review – Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

Synopsis
There’s just one semester left at the Briar School for Girls in Sonoma, CA. But it will take more than straight As for Lana Goodwin to survive . . .

Senior year is not going well for 17-year-old Lana Goodwin. Her father’s vintage car business is about to crash and burn, the nicest (and cutest) teacher at school was fired under a cloud of scandal, and her hot sort-of boyfriend may or may not have something big to hide.

She’s also totally over being the class pauper. It’s bad enough her dad was briefly married to the head of the board—the rich, cruel, impeccably groomed Ramona Crawford. What’s worse is going to school with her vindictive ex-stepsister, who never misses an opportunity to make her life hell. Not ever.

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Before Lana can escape to college, she finds herself in a life-or-death race to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

Can she claim her birthright before her future and her life are snatched away?

Valley of the Moon is a modern-day fairy tale with some intense themes.

A contemporary YA romantic mystery for ages 16 and up.

—————————————————————————-

My Review
Valley of the Moon is a young adult page-turning thriller/mystery with a healthy dose of romance and a huge twist I never saw coming. Author Bronwyn Archer creates a stunning tale of a girl caught in the middle of the Russian mafia and a mystery surrounding her mother. There is a thread of the supernatural, but it may not be supernatural at all, that’s part of the mystery. Lana lives with her father, the owner of an exotic car dealership with financial difficulties. She meets and begins dating a hot guy who seems almost too perfect to be true. When her ex-stepmother starts meddling in her life, Lana is sure she’s up to something, but even she couldn’t anticipate how bad that something is.

Plot
The story is well-plotted with lots of suspense. There’s a particularly dark event I never saw coming and couldn’t believe at first, but the more I examined the story in retrospect, the more I realize it’s part of the longer plot, as this is the first book in the series. The author weaves an intricate tale of loss, fear, longing, and revenge with fascinating characters and mind-numbing twists.

The Writing
The writing is fluid and poetic at times. The author does a great job of building tension and interspersing it with lighter moments, allowing the reader to breathe, before building back up again to a breathless conclusion.

The Characters
Lana is one of my favorite young adult heroines. She’s brash, tough, smart, but is still vulnerable enough to make her sympathetic. She’s got a smart mouth and sometimes overuses it, but that’s one of my favorite things about her. The other characters are equally interesting, especially because we never get to really know them except through Lana’s eyes, making them all enigmas that I can’t wait to find out more about in the next book.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. There’s only one thing that rubbed me the wrong way and that’s the ending. It wasn’t a cliffhanger, it just…ended. It was odd and it left me unsettled rather than satisfied or dying to read more. This was the only thing that kept this from being a perfect five stars for me.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Valley of the Moon
1. Lana. She’s an amazing heroine with just enough grit and softness to make her kickass and belivable.

2. Lana’s dad. He’s troubled, but I like him. He puts his daughter’s safety and interests first.

3. The mystery. Trying to figure out what’s going on is half the fun with this gripping tale.

4. The twists. So many things I didn’t see coming kept me turning the page to find out what the heck happened.

5. The cars. Lana has an amazing collection of awesome cars at her disposal. If only the Russian mafia weren’t trying to kill her, she could have really enjoyed them.

Bottom Line
Valley of the Moon is a fast-paced young adult mystery thriller with enough romance and suspense to please nearly any audience.

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

—————————————————————————-

About the Book
Title: Valley of the Moon
Author: Bronwyn Archer
Publisher: Bronarch Books
Release Date: April 13, 2016
Pages: 285
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance/Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

—————————————————————————-

Author Bronwyn Archer

Author Bronwyn Archer

About the Author
Bronwyn Archer is a young-adult author, digital media copywriter, and mother to several children, last time she counted.

At her all-girls high school, Bronwyn discovered a love of writing and the importance of a good fake ID. The only sport she was good at was boogie-boarding, but she decided to hang up her board after a terrifying close encounter with a seven-foot blue shark in the Santa Monica Bay.

She still gets nervous in black-bottomed swimming pools.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in English and Art History, she moved to Paris, where she edited a magazine for expatriates. After failing to become the next Hemingway—despite putting in many hours at the Ritz Hotel’s Hemingway Bar—she moved back to the States, where she developed a semi-successful career in New York and Los Angeles as a copywriter for ad agencies and companies like HBO and Disney.

Now Bronwyn writes fiction and raises children. She’s up to two rescue mutts and four kids, which makes her a semi-freak in this neck of the woods, but she’s learned that once you decide to live your life your way, everything else gets a little easier.

Besides writing and expertly avoiding baskets of laundry that need folding, Bronwyn loves movies from the 80s, comedy, Disneyland (sorry WDW), the paintings of Winslow Homer and Maxfield Parrish, coffee, Paris, Oscar Wilde, hot sauce, the Christmas season, Thai street food, making things with felt, and the smell of freshly printed books.

She is still searching for her own “signature fragrance,” which she’ll know when she finds it. .

Where to Find Bronwyn Archer
Goodreads | Website  | Twitter
.

Book Review –Live Wire (Titan Series) by Cristin Harber

Live Wire Blog Tour

Live Wire (Titan #7.5) by Cristin Harber

Live Wire (Titan #7.5) by Cristin Harber

Synopsis
Where Are They Now? on iBooks!

Titan Group is expanding! New recruits mean Jared Westin has potential new hires to scrutinize. What he didn’t expect was his very pregnant wife Sugar to finagle her way onto the surveillance team as the prospects were assessed.

Her involvement in the simple observation goes dangerously wrong. She and best friend Lexi Black stumble into a problem with Russian mobsters. Sugar is forced to draw on her old ATF tricks, but weeks from her due date, she has no choice but to team up with Bishop O’Kane, a potential-new recruit and Parker Black, Lexi’s hacker husband, who must go undercover.

This is special ops novella is packed with high-stakes crime and intrigue, a baby story for Boss Man, and two steamy romances for two of Titan’s favorite couples!

..

.

.

.

.

—————————————————————————-

My Review
As a dedicated member of #TeamTitan, I was excited to get my hands on the latest book in the series. My only disappointment is that it’s only a novella, which means I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time with my favorite badass characters as I wanted to. This installment brings us a very (very) pregnant Sugar, a nervous Jared, Lexie in her first field assignment, and an unsure Parker, who’s none too thrilled his wife is doing field work.

It was fun to see these four characters in a different situation than we’re used to. There’s plenty of suspense and romance, and because it’s a Titan novel, there’s some action. And if I have any complaints at all it’s that the action didn’t last long enough. The situation Sugar and Lexie get themselves into is over too fast for me and was wrapped up without enough butt kicking, shooting, and other action I’ve come to expect from a Cristin Harber novel. But, as I said, it’s a novella, so with limited pages, the author needed to reserve some room for the interpersonal stuff and boy does she deliver!

Plot
As her due date looms, Sugar is antsy to get out and do something and decides some reconnaissance of a potential new hire is something she can get Jared to agree to. She takes new BFF Lexie along for company and backup. Because they’re just doing surveillance. What could possible go wrong? But this is Titan, so of course it goes wrong in the worst possible way, showing us a side of Sugar we rarely see and a side of Jared we’ve never seen.

Characters
I love seeing Sugar and Jared out of their element. They stay true to character, but it’s more that we get to see some serious growth within both of them as they become parents for the second time and the first time to a newborn. Once again, Cristin Harber creates strong female characters that are easy to admire and tough male characters with a soft underbelly when it comes to the women they love.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Live Wire
1. Jared and Sugar. They’re one of the more intriguing couples in Titan, but we got to see a different side to them this time around, and I loved it.
2. Parker and Lexie. The two computer nerds are as cute as ever.
3. Bishop O’Kane. He’s awesome. I can’t wait to read his story next!
4. The romance. There were some pretty hot as well as sweet moments.
5. Pink camo. Because how is that not the cutest thing ever?

Bottom Line
Live Wire is fast-paced with lots of heat, action, and romance.

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

—————————————————————————-

About the Book
Title: Live Wire
Series: Titan #7.5
Author: Cristin Harber
Publisher: Mill Creek Press
Pages: 107
Category: Contemporary Romantic Suspense/Military Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | iBooks

—————————————————————————-

Author Cristin Harber

Author Cristin Harber

About the Author
Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

.

.

.

Where to Find Cristin Harber
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Titan Team
.

Book Review + Giveaway – Seared on My Soul by Cole Gibsen

Seared on My Soul Blog Tour

Seared on My Soul by Cole Gibsen

Seared on My Soul by Cole Gibsen

Synopsis
She’s so young, so full of life…

I couldn’t let her die…

Even if she made the world’s worst coffee.

Emily Garret never asked to be rescued, let alone by a walking JCrew ad whose idea of fun is probably managing his stock portfolio and watching the nightly news. Then again, she never thought she would wind upside-down in a ditch after a night having a little too much fun.

Reece Montgomery never planned on being anyone’s hero, especially the foul-mouthed, bleach-blonde barista from the local coffee shop. He thinks there’s more to Emily than her tattoos, and lip ring, but getting close means letting her into his past and meeting his ghosts.

And he’s not sure she’s ready for that battlefield.

.

.

—————————————————————————-

My Review
I thoroughly enjoyed Seared on My Soul. This is the story of Emily, the BFF of Ashlyn and sister of Lane, whom we met in Written on My Heart. The things I found lacking in Ashlyn and Lane’s story just weren’t a factor here. I fell in love with Emily in the previous book so there was no need for the author to endear her to me. But Reece was new and he took a little bit for me to warm up to, not much though. Straight-laced Reece clashes with Emily’s free-spiritedness, and should have made these two a match made in hell, but instead opposites attract and sparks fly.

Plot
Emily is a party girl with an attitude. Reece is a teacher with PTSD. Emily is tattoos and bandanas, Reece is elbow patches and button-ups. These two have nothing in common except the coffee shop where Emily works and Reece buys his morning cup of joe. Neither is what the other normally considers date material, but when they fake a date to get Lane off of Emily’s back, they end up with far more than they bargained for. Both have a lot to overcome before they can find their HEA and character development is what Cole Gibsen does best.

Characters
Emily and Reece are both deeply wounded, but by very different events — Reece by war, Emily by the loss of a beloved parent when she was still young. These events have shaped them in ways they’ll need to conquer if they have any hope at happiness, much less a future together. The author excels at this area of her writing, creating complex, well-developed characters who grow and change with the story, and Reece and Emily are no exception.

The Writing
I love Gibsen’s writing and her edgy, compelling voice. She brings a grittiness to both characters that is believable, but also unique to each one of them.

The Ending
The ending was a satisfying conclusion that wrapped things up nicely. I love the way the author set up the ending without needlessly dragging it out.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Seared on My Soul:
1. Emily. I fell in love with her in the first book and love her even more now that I understand her. She’s a well-crafted character with lots of sharp edges, but a surprisingly soft underbelly.

2. Reece. A reluctant hero, he’s everything you want in your male lead.

3. Lane. I still love his devotion to his family.

4. Honesty. Tough issues of substance abuse and PTSD are at play and are neither sugar-coated nor overly-dramatized. They are a part of the story, honestly portrayed, rather than being the story.

5. Baked goods. Who doesn’t love a good bacon bun?

Bottom Line
Seared on my Soul is a dark, edgy romance with lots of heat and heart.

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

—————————————————————————-

About the Book
Title: Seared on <y Soul
Author: Cole Gibsen
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Pages: 230
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CABarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

—————————————————————————-

Author Cole Gibsen

Author Cole Gibsen

About the Author
At seventeen Cole found herself homeless with only a beat-up Volkswagen Jetta and a bag of Goodwill clothing to her name. The only things that got her through the nights she spent parked in truck stops and cornfields were the stacks of books she checked out from the library along with her trusty flashlight. Because of the reprieve these books gave her from her troubles, Cole vowed to become a writer so she could provide the same escape to readers who needed a break the reality of their own lives.

.

.

.

Where to Find Cole Gibsen
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter.

—————————————————————————-

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review – Lexington and 42nd (Off Field Series) by Kim Carmody

Lexington and 42nd (Off Field #1) by Kim Carmody

Lexington and 42nd (Off Field #1) by Kim Carmody

Synopsis
It was meant to be the job opportunity of a lifetime.

It turned out to be so much more…

At the age of twenty five, Emma Lexington takes off to New York on a once in a life time twelve-month job exchange with the New York Warriors. Determined to make the most of the opportunity, she prepares herself for life in the big apple—fast paced, exciting and a whole lot of fun. What she hasn’t prepared for though, is meeting him.

The charming Will Jensen is in the prime of his playing career. As the star quarterback for the Warriors, his carefree, football centric life is thrown into disarray when he meets Emma, the beautiful, easy going Australian girl who joins the Warriors staff.

Unwilling to throw her professional reputation away on a fling with the playboy quarterback, Emma turns down Will’s advances, even though she can’t deny the attraction she feels for him. Their pull toward one another grows, but it takes a near disaster for Emma to finally give Will a chance.

Getting together might have been hard, but figuring out how to stay together will prove even more challenging as Emma must decide between conflicting loyalties.

Lexington and 42nd is a fun, sexy romance, set in the exciting world of the NFL in the fabulous city of New York..

——————————————————————

My Review
Lexington and 42nd is an engaging contemporary romance with likeable characters and a believable plot. The heroine is a strong, independent female, and her hero is an alpha male at the height of his NFL career. It has all of the elements for the genre: the meet, the instant attraction, the slow and steady build to acting on that attraction, the inevitable break-up, and the ultimate HEA. There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking here, but if you want a sexy, fun read, pick this one up.

Plot
Emma Lexington is on loan to the New York Warriors NFL team for the season as part of a program involving her organization in Australia. Will Jensen is the Warriors’ star quarterback and completely off limits to Emma. And Emma is off limits to Will, which of course makes both of them irresistible to each other. There’s so much room for conflict with this tale of forbidden romance and the author does a compelling job with it.

Characters
Both Emma and Will are very endearing and it’s clear early on they belong together. They’re both fairly well-developed, but lack extreme depth. Neither has any life-altering backstories. They’re both pretty emotionally healthy and just have different priorities and communication issues they need to overcome in order to get that HEA.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. The story took a little while to develop. At 444 pages, it’s on the longish side for a contemporary romance, and some of it could have been cut early on to keep the story moving at a faster pace.
2. This is just a personal thing, but Will’s number is 42. Quarterbacks in the NFL are usually under number 20 with running backs and D-backs in the 40s. Now Will could have had a reason for having that number, and teams are pretty accommodating when it comes to their star players, but without an explanation on why he had that number, it bugged me throughout the book.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Lexington and 42nd
1. Emma’s Australia-ness. After hosting two Aussie exchange students, there is just something so charming about an Aussie and it came across in Emma’s personality in spades.
2. Football. I’m an 18-year season-ticket holder with the San Diego Chargers and we almost never miss a home game. I loved reading about the football side of things. Other than Will’s jersey number, it came across as spot on.
3. Angsty romance. The angst didn’t really kick in until near the end, but that’s my favorite kind of romance and it made up for the slow start.
4. New York City. One of my favorite places to visit. Don’t think I could live there, but I never get tired of visiting.
5. The ending. Nice wrap up.

Bottom Line
An engaging contemporary romance with adorable characters in a big city setting with NFL players.

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

——————————————————————

About the Book
Title: Lexington and 42nd
Series: Off the Field #1
Author: Kim Carmody
Pages: 444
Category: Contemporary Sports Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | !ndigo | Powell’s | BAM!

——————————————————————

Author Kim Carmody

Author Kim Carmody

About the Author
Kim Carmody lives in a beach side suburb of Melbourne, Australia. She trained as a classical dancer, yet somehow ended up working in the sports industry, where she met her now husband.

Lexington and 42nd is her first novel.

.

.

.

.

Where to find Kim Carmody
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook
.

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – Legacy (Legacy Series) by Ellery A. Kane

Legacy Blog Tour

Legacy (Legacy #1) by Ellery A. Kane

Legacy (Legacy #1) by Ellery A. Kane

Synopsis
How do you want to feel today?

In 2041, the choice is yours.

San Francisco is deserted, the Bay Bridge bombed, and the BART subway trains grounded. The Guardians, members of an elite and mysterious government-appointed military police force, are maintaining order at all costs—thanks to emotion-altering drugs like Emovere that suppress fear and anxiety. Lex Knightley, daughter of a prominent forensic psychiatrist, risks entering the devastated city to partner with the Resistance, a group of rebels intent upon exposing the dangers of Emovere. Lex discovers an ally in Quin McAllister, a magnetic Guardian Force recruit with a haunting past that binds them together. As she uncovers the secrets of the Guardian Force and confronts the truth about her family, Lex begins to realize that even those closest to her are not quite who they seem.

Legacy is the first book in the Legacy trilogy but can also be enjoyed as a standalone..

..

.

.

.

——————————————————————

My Review
Legacy has all the elements of a good young adult dystopian — a believable premise, an oppressive government, a heart wrenching romance, and lots of action. When sixteen-year-old Lex is sent by her mother into the city of San Francisco to infiltrate the Resistance, she’s not even sure she’ll survive. After she’s forced to kill a member of the Guardian Force, she becomes someone she never wanted to be. Distrustful of everyone and everything, she finds herself reluctantly attracted to Resistance member, Quin, a former member of the Guardian Force. The two begin a fragile friendship that blossoms into more as the foundation crumbles beneath their feet. They flee back to the suburbs to find answers from Lex’s mom and discover the fate of the world as they know it may rest upon them.

Plot
The plot was equal parts action/adventure and romance and both were well done. The chemistry between Lex and Quin is immediate, but the relationship develops slowly. Quin has his secrets which force him to keep Lex at arms’ length at first. But everyone has secrets and they’re revealed one by one, adding twists and turns to the adventure half of the story.

Characters
The characters were really well developed, including secondary and even tertiary characters. They all had a depth that brought them to life. I liked all of the characters well enough, but there was no single character that I loved, and that may be what has kept me from rating this book higher than four stars.

Writing
The writing was great. The author’s voice is fresh and youthful and her writing is fluid. It may have been one of my favorite aspects of the story.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. I couldn’t really embrace a single character. I liked them all and rooted for them, but there was no single character, not even Lex, that I was pulling for over all the others.
2. The early pacing. It got off to a slow start, but once it found it’s footing, it took off.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Legacy
1. The romance. It’s angsty and intense, just the way I like my teen romances.
2. The danger. The author does an excellent job of seamlessly weaving danger into the conflict and romance.
3. The science. Kane’s dystopian future relies heavily on science and she does a good job of presenting a believable future where science is our downfall.
4. The writing. I love the use of metaphors and the fluid writing style that remains youthful as well as dark, appropriate to the subject matter.
5. The ending. The book wraps up the main story questions while leaving the door wide open for a sequel.

Bottom Line
Legacy is a solid young adult dystopian with the right mix of action and romance. I’ve already bought the next two books in the series!

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

——————————————————————

About the Book
Title: Legacy
Series: Legacy #1
Author: Ellery A. Kane
Publisher: Balboa Press
Pages: 258
Category: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

——————————————————————

Author Ellery A. Kane

Author Ellery A. Kane

About the Author
Forensic psychologist by day, young-adult novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing—professionally and creatively—for as long as she can remember. Just like her main character, Lex, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. An avid short story writer as a teenager, Ellery recently began writing for enjoyment again, and the Legacy series was born.

Ellery’s debut novel, Legacy, has received several awards, including winning the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, young adult, e-book category. Ellery was recently selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition..

.

Where to find Ellery A. Kane
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

——————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Book Review + Giveaway – Delta Revenge (Delta Series) by Cristin Harber

Delta Revenge Blog Tour

Revenge (Delta Series #2) by Cristin Harber

Revenge (Delta Series #2) by Cristin Harber

Synopsis
A Tortured Hero with a Heart of Gold

Growing up on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Javier Almeida has only his older sister to protect him. When she’s sold to a human-trafficker, he vows to hunt down those responsible. Years later, Titan Group’s Delta team finds him, tattooed and brawling, a vigilante protector with information they want. They take him in and train him, working him harder than a man should be driven, until he’s a soldier harboring an obsession. Ready for revenge, Javier ghosts his way across the globe, tracking the men who took his sister and working elite private security jobs.

Meets Sweet and Sassy

Jilted at the altar, Sophia Cole turns the reception into a one-woman party. She’s intent on devouring all the cake and champagne, so she can bask in the calories she’s been avoiding. In the midst of the revelry, he walks in, the one man she can never ignore. Javier is her older brother’s black ops teammate—an automatic Do Not Go There. But if there’s one thing better than fondant and a buzz to ease the wounds of a cheating fiancé, it might be a one-night stand with a South American military man.

Game Changer

Javier didn’t expect to see Sophia again. He never thought he would even want to see her again. He shouldn’t have touched her, but his mind won’t stay away from her. Now, Sophia Cole is thousands of miles away from the safety of her parents’ lavish estate and working alongside him in hell. She’s a staffer at an Embassy, and he’s there to keep them alive. There are bombs and bullets and blood-hungry enemies. And then she’s taken. Gone. Just like his sister. But so much worse.

——————————————————————

My Review
I’m a huge fan of Cristin Harber (I think I say this every time I review one of her books) and an enormous fan of her characters. She writes the ultimate alpha male and tough as nails female protagonists that are easy to root for. This time is no exception, with a small caveat that Sophia grated on my nerves more often than she should have. I love that she works for the State Department and puts her life on the line for a cause she believes in. It’s a cause I believe in, too, so I immediately liked her. The way she handled her failed wedding was pure perfection. But she lost me when she wanted a white knight to save her. She didn’t seem the type. It was so out of character that I had to really stop and think about the circumstances she was in that made her suddenly feel this way. She’s still tough, and I still love her, but a little bit less than I wanted to.

Plot
Overall the plot is good, but it got repetitive when Sophia was put in danger not once, not twice, but three times. I would have liked to see more plot devices than the the same damsel in distress over and over again. There is a lot going on in the story, and it’s very edge-of-your-seat stuff as you expect from Ms. Harber, so there are any number of other nail-biting scenes she could have chosen for the first two plot points and save the big rescue for the climax. However, there’s a great little plot-twist at the end that saves it all for me.

Characters
Aside from the things I complained about above for Sophia, the characters are rock-solid Titan quality. Javier is fully developed, flawed, and easy to love. Sophia is also complex and interesting, I just wanted her to be tougher. And the rest of the Delta team is exactly as I want them to be.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. The three rescues of Sophia – just felt like one too many.
2. Sophia’s need for a knight in shining armour. In my opinion, it made her come across weaker than she needed to be.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Delta: Revenge
1. Team Delta. They’re as hot and tough as ever.
2. Sophia’s mission. I love that she works helping women and children around the world.
3. Javier’s obsession. Needing to avenge his sister who was a victim of human trafficking is a great motivation that drives so much conflict within him.
4. The pacing. Excellent, as always! The story moves and never slows down.
5. Sophia’s botched wedding. The way she handles it made me instantly love her.

Bottom Line
Delta: Revenge is fast paced, steamy and #TeamTitan all the way!

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

——————————————————————

About the Book
Title: Delta: Revenge
Series: Delta #2
Author: Cristin Harber
Publisher: Mill Creek Press
Pages: 250
Category: Contemporary Romantic Suspense/Military Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo

——————————————————————

Author Cristin Harber

Author Cristin Harber

About the Author
Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

.

.

.

Where to Find Cristin Harber
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Titan Team

——————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

There Once Were Stars Blog Tour

There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

Synopsis
Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations.

Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

——————————————————————

My Review
I love the concept of this book — young adult dystopian meets The Walking Dead with a twist of Stephen King’s Under the Dome and a dash of Wall-E — and it delivers. After a virus turns people into flesh-eating monsters, the earth’s population builds protective domes and nukes the outside to kill the zombies and the virus. They live inside their protective bubbles until the outside is safe enough to inhabit again. Four generations later, a new breed of pioneers search the great outdoors for evidence of sustainability outside the dome. When Natalia is just nine, her parents are killed on an expedition due to radiation exposure and the expeditions cease. Orphaned Nat is sent to live with her grandparents until she is eighteen.

After graduating from the Institute, Nat needs to figure out what to do with her life, but she’s uninspired until she sees two people outside the dome — alive and well. Suddenly Nat wants answers and her reckless pursuit of those answers lands her in trouble with her dome’s leadership, her grandparents, and even her best friend, Jak, who has also been harboring romantic feelings for Nat for a long time. When Nat is forced to work with Evan, one of the Outsiders she saw, she discovers the dome is hiding a lot from its citizens. Evan and Nat work together to expose the secrets and seek the freedom the both so desperately want.

Plot
The plot was interesting. There was definitely a lot of intrigue over what the Dome government was hiding. The pacing was perfect. Never once did I feel as if anything stalled, although there was some repetitiveness, but it was easy to overlook. I didn’t much care for the love triangle, though. Nat was too back and forth with her feelings. And I don’t mean over the span of days or weeks, I mean in the span of minutes. One minute she’s pushing a guy away, the next minute she’s mad that he’s ignoring her. Once or twice would have been just flakey teenage behavior, but it happened too many times and far too often to not roll my eyes.

Characters
Most of the characters were interesting and developed, but this is a plot-driven story so there isn’t a lot of growth in any of the characters during the story with the exception of maybe Jak. Some of the more villainous characters were cliche, but I think that works in a story like this. Sometimes you just need  your bad guys to be bad, and their sad backstory isn’t necessary.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. Nat’s waffling on her feelings. It was too much too often.
2. Lack of character growth. Even though the story was plot-driven, I would have liked a little more growth to really suck me into the story.
3. The writing. It was a little clunky at times which pulled me out of the story. It may just have been my version, since it was an ARC and those sentences might be smoothed over and refined in the final, released version.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About There Once Were Stars
1. The world building. The author did a fantastic job of creating a believable dystopian future, with enough backstory without going overboard.
2. Evan. The moody/brooding Outsider was just the right amount of light and dark to carry one third of the romance.
3. The ending. There were a few really good twists and all loose ends were wrapped up nicely.
4. The pacing. The story pacing was superbly done.
5. The characters. Sometimes authors include too many characters or they’re not utilized enough, but McFarlane created only those necessary to tell the story, and incorporated them throughout, so we never forget who they were or why they were in the story.

Bottom Line
There Once Were Stars is a great plot-driven young adult dystopian with a nice balance of action and romance.

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

——————————————————————

About the Book
Title: There Once Were stars
Author: Melanie McFarlane
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Pages: 331
Category: Young Adult Dystopian/Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlus | BAM! | Book Depository

——————————————————————

Author Melanie McFarlane

Author Melanie McFarlane

About the Author
Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie McFarlane jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her upcoming YA trilogy: THERE ONCE WERE STARS and her YA urban fantasy series: SUMMONER RISING..

.

.

..

Where to find Melanie McFarlane
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitte
rYouTube | Pinterest

——————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Book Review – New Blue (Blue Series) by Jules Barnard

New Blue (Blue Series #5) by Jules Barnard

New Blue (Blue Series #5) by Jules Barnard

Synopsis
The survivor of a high school sabotage that made her flee her hometown at sixteen, Hayden Tate is no stranger to bullying. Now she has returned to Lake Tahoe to take on her dream job with a degree and a backbone. But her newfound strength is pushed to the limit as she fights to hold her own against the old boys club of Blue Casino.

Adam Cade is the prince of Lake Tahoe, born into one of the wealthiest families in the area. He’s used to doing what he wants when he wants. So when his powerful father threatens to cut him off without a dime unless he uses his Ivy League degree for a job his father got him at Blue Casino, Adam capitulates.

Hayden, the head of HR, hates Adam on the spot, finding every way possible to put him in his place—and suddenly the lackey job his father found him gets interesting. Adam’s life of leisure lacks substance, and even though he’s not willing to give it up, he wouldn’t mind the distraction Hayden presents. But when the casino’s sinister inner workings begin to reveal themselves and Adam is caught between the powerful executives he works for and the lovely Hayden, his loyalties are divided.

Blue Casino offers Adam a lucrative career where he wouldn’t need his father’s money for the lifestyle he’s accustomed to, but at what cost? Hayden’s silly side shines through when Adam least expects it, charming his jaded heart, and forcing him to face a morality he never knew he had. For the first time in Adam’s life he finds himself yearning for something real, but will he risk losing everything to have it?.

.

——————————————————————

My Review
I’m a huge fan of Jules and her Blue Series, but for whatever reason, New Blue didn’t click with me like the rest of the series. Not that I didn’t like it, because I did, I just didn’t love it. After finishing and decompressing for a few days, I think my issues have to do with the characters themselves. They’re not the same dynamic, intense characters I’ve come to know and love in the Blue series. And it wasn’t that they weren’t interesting and dynamic, it’s that I didn’t feel like they were that way TOGETHER. God, I hate myself for saying that (Jules don’t hate me, too), but for me, something, some spark, was missing with these two that I felt immediately with Cali and Jaeg, Mira and Tyler (especially), and Gen and Lewis. Even Nessa and Zach in their novella had that instant spark. Okay, now that I’ve gone on and on about what I don’t like, let me tell you all the things I loved about it.

Plot
The plot was outstanding. The push and pull of the romance was well done (even without the chemistry), and the mystery of the Bliss suites was incredibly fun to watch unfold. Just when I thought the whole thing couldn’t get any more repugnant, it did, making Blue’s CEO among the worst villains since maybe President Snow himself.

Characters
Once again, the characters all have fascinating backstories that make them well rounded and intriguing. I love that we got to spend so much time with the crew from Lake Tahoe again, since this is the last in that series. I’m still hoping for cameos in the next series. Everyone from Hayden and Adam to Adam’s smarmy co-workers and their stupid blue rings added tension and intrigue to the story.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About New Blue
1. Hayden’s house. It sounds exactly like the kind of place I’d like to live.
2. Shoe closets. Who doesn’t secretly (or not so secretly) want one?
3. Lake Tahoe. The setting remains one of my favorite places in California and it was nice to visit in warm weather for a change.
4. Karma. What goes around comes around!
5. The ending. Perfect. Blue fans will know what I’m talking about 🙂

Bottom Line
New Blue is a new adult romance that has many of Blue’s recurring cast, along with a couple of newbies who shake things up at the office and at home.

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

——————————————————————

About the Book
Title: New Blue
Series: Blue Series #5
Author: Jules Barnard
Pages: 303
Category: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

——————————————————————

Author Jules Barnard

Author Jules Barnard

About the Author
Before turning to storytelling, Jules earned a master’s degree in public health and spent many an hour running statistical analysis–until she realized her favorite part of the job was writing reports. She decided to cut out the math and add in some hot guys, and so began her career as a novelist.

Jules is a Northern California native living on the coast with her husband and two children. She has no impulse control around cupcakes and credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.

.

Where to Find Jules Barnard
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest
.

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – Love Me Never (The Lovely Vicious) by Sara Wolf

Love Me Never Blog Tour

Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious #1) by Sara Wolf

Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious #1) by Sara Wolf

Synopsis
Previously published as Lovely Vicious, this fully revised and updated edition is full of romance, intrigue, and laugh-out-loud moments.

Don’t love your enemy. Declare war on him.

Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.
The game board: East Summit High.
The reward: Something neither of them expected.

.

——————————————————————

Love Me Never Teaser 1

——————————————————————

My Review
This young adult romance was anything but lighthearted, flirty fun, but it’s one heck of a story. What makes this work is fully-developed, deep, flawed characters with rich backstories, even as repugnant as they might be. Isis Blake has recently relocated to East Summit High to escape her past and a vicious bully who scarred her in more ways than one. Jack Hunter is an enigma, although Isis is pretty sure she has his pretty-boy self all figured out in the first five minutes. Jack seems to enjoy putting people down and making girls cry, particularly Wren, the only girl who’s even been even a little nice to Isis at East Summit High.

Plot
Wren is deeply in love with Jack and has been for most of her life. Jack is a total tool and Isis declares war on him until he apologizes to Wren for his behavior. What ensues is a snarky, witty, back-and-forth with more than a few laugh-out-loud moments as Jack and Isis give their battle their all. Both have deep, dark secrets, and how they come to light provide some of the best moments in the book.

Love Me Never Teaser 2

Characters
It’s all about the characters. All of them. Jack and Isis are so completely three-dimensional, it’d be okay if some of the supporting cast wasn’t so in-depth, but they all are, and that brings a different level of investment to the story. Because the characters come across as living, breathing human beings, it’s really hard not to root for them at the same time you’d like to bitch slap them for a) being total douchebags, b) doing something idiotic, again, and c) cutting to the bone just because they can.

Love Me Never Teaser 3

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. The principal. Even after his motivations were revealed, he still came across as a cardboard Scooby-Doo villain who would have gotten away with it if not for those meddling kids.
2. The ending. And I’m not talking about the cliffhanger. The implausibility of how things went down at the end ripped me out of the story and made me scratch my head until the very last page.
3. The cliffhanger. Not a huge fan unless done well. In this case, I still can’t wrap my head around it.

Love Me Never Teaser 4

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Love me Never
1. The dialogue. It flows, is natural, witty, and just plain fun.
2. Loyalty. I love how loyal Isis is to Wren, though she barely knows her, simply because she’s the first person to be nice to Isis.
3. Loyalty. Isis’s loyalty to her mother continues that theme in the way only a needy mother and strong daughter can, further developing Isis’s complex character.
4. Friendship. This is more a book about friendship than romance. There is definitely romance, but it buds from a blossoming friendship that neither Jack nor Isis saw coming.
5. Angst. Oh how I love angsty teens and Love Me Never overflows with them, like a bathtub with the plug in someone forgot about.

Bottom Line
Love Me Never is an engaging read with deeply developed, yet flawed characters, page-turning angst, and some of the best dialogue I’ve read this year.

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

——————————————————————

About the Book
Title: Love Me Never
Series: The Lovely Vicious #1
Author: Sara Wolf
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 304
Category: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

——————————————————————

Author Sara Wolf

Author Sara Wolf

About the Author
Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things.

When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as the Lovely Vicious series.

She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.

.

Where to Find Sara Wolf
Goodreads Website | Facebook | Twitter

——————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Young Adult Book Review – Playing Defense (Corrigan Falls Raiders) by Cate Cameron

Playing Defense Blog Tour

Playing Defense (Corrigan Falls Raiders #2) by Cate Cameron

Playing Defense (Corrigan Falls Raiders #2) by Cate Cameron

Synopsis
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, swoon-worthy kisses, and sexy hockey players. It may cause you to watch a hockey game…or ten.

Sixteen-year-old Claudia Waring has never kissed a boy. Never been popular. Never been to a hockey game. All that’s about to change. Assigned to tutor Chris Winslow, a prank-loving, gorgeous hockey player, Claudia’s perfectly planned life immediately veers off course. And she kind of likes it. But as fun as Chris is, she knows she’ll never fit in his world.

After his latest prank lands him in hot water, Chris has to get serious about school or lose hockey. Not an easy thing for someone as carefree as the defenseman. The biggest problem, though, is how much he wants to help his cute, buttoned-up tutor loosen up a little. But while confidence has never been a problem for him, around Claudia, Chris is all nerves. Why would a girl as smart as her ever fall for a jock like him?

Corrigan Falls Raiders Book 1: Center Ice (Can be read out of order)

Corrigan Falls Raiders Book 2: Playing Defense (Can be read out of order)

.

.

——————————————————————

My Review
Claudia is shy, reserved, and doesn’t have time for rowdy hockey teams and their obnoxious groupies. Loud prankster, Chris, doesn’t have time for school. It only gets in the way of hockey, and in this small Canadian town, everyone knows hockey is Chris’s future. Or is it? With his grades struggling, he doesn’t really have a plan B and doesn’t give his all to the game the way he knows he should. He flounders until his counselor suggests tutoring, something Chris sees as a waste of his time, but feels he owes it to his mother to at least try.

Chris and his new tutor, Claudia, embark on a fragile friendship that soon blossoms into something more. When Claudia’s poetry teachers suggests that poems are more than just words on a page, Claudia and a few friends take that suggestion to heart and create a secret sisterhood of awesomeness where each member encourages the others to do random acts of awesome. For Claudia, it’s attending her first ever hockey game and attempting to enjoy herself. For Chris, it’s studying for himself rather than for others. But when tragedy strikes, Claudia and Chris will have to find a way forward in the manner that means the most to them.

Plot
This is essentially a teenage romance, but I love the awesome challenges that are woven through it, making it feel like something a little bit more than just a standard romance. The push-and-pull of the two romantic leads’ very different backgrounds provides the conflict necessary to drive the love story, but it’s the secret club that brings them and other unlikely characters together, giving them a purpose bigger than themselves.

Characters
I found both Chris and Claudia to be likeable and I rooted for them, but the rest of the characters fell flat for me, with the exception of the teacher. Both Claudia’s and Chris’s friends, other students, even parents were mostly props, Claudia’s mom was a bit stereotypical, but she served a purpose to drive conflict, which she did quite well.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Playing Defense
1. The hockey. I thoroughly enjoy sports romances and the hockey was a nice change from the football and baseball I’ve been reading lately.
2. The characters. Claudia and Chris came across as real, flawed, and easy to relate to.
3. The sisterhood. I loved the idea the kids (both boys and girls) came up with to challenge and support one another.
4. The romance. It was refreshing to read a sweet romance with an alpha male.
5. The lessons. It might not be cool to say it, but hard work pays off!

Bottom Line
A fun teen romance wrapped in hockey, with complex contemporary characters.

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

——————————————————————

About the Book
Title: Playing Defense
Series: Corrigan Falls Raiders #2
Author: Cate Cameron
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Pages: 178
Category: Young Adult Contemporary/Sports Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo | Entangled

——————————————————————

About the Author
Cate Cameron grew up in the city but moved to the country in her mid-twenties and isn’t looking back. Most of her writing deals with people living and loving in small towns or right out in the sticks—when there aren’t entertainment options on every corner, other people get a lot more  interesting!

She likes to write stories about real people struggling with real issues. YA, NA, or contemporary  romance, her books are connected by their emphasis on subtle humor and characters who are trying to do the right thing, even when it would be a lot easier to do something wrong.

Where to find Cate Cameron
Goodreads | Website | BlogFacebook Twitter
.

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – Bryce (Scandalous Boys Series) by Natalie Decker

Bryce Blog Tour

Bryce (Scandalous Boys #1) by Natalie Decker

Bryce (Scandalous Boys #1) by Natalie Decker

Synopsis
Bryce Matthews doesn’t do the whole nice boyfriend thing. Chocolates and flowers—girls can forget all that. And he certainly doesn’t care about the gossip and rumors that follow him at school and around town. If anything, the talk amuses him. Bryce isn’t lacking in confidence. He knows himself and he knows his limits.

One of those hard limits is Madison Issac. Bryce can never have her, and he’s perfectly fine with that. Sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality anyway.

Madison Issac thought she was a pretty good judge of character. But she’s surprised at how gentle and comforting resident bad-boy and next-door neighbor Bryce Matthews is when we finds her crying in the park.

Maybe there’s more to Bryce than people think? So Madison begins to wonder. Can a guy like Bryce ever change his ways? Can a girl like Madison really be into a guy like Bryce?

With hearts and reputations on the line, this kind of love can be scandalous.

———————————————————————–

My Review
On the surface this is a bad boy redeemed story, which is right up my alley, but deeper down, it’s more than that. Bryce isn’t your typical bad boy. He attracts trouble like nobody else, but he’s not the usual manwhore with the swagger and devil-may-care attitude. Bryce has lived next to Madison since they were kids and he despises her uptightness. Madison thinks Bryce is a little full of himself, but otherwise, has eyes only for his best friend, Graham. When Madison’s cousin comes to live with her after some family drama, Madison’s life gets turned upside down, and Bryce is the only one who seems to be able to see Sarah for who she really is.

Plot
For the most part, this is a straight-up teen romance, but there are a few fun subplots involving cousin Sarah, a love-triangle with Graham, and the inevitable trouble Bryce seems to keep getting into. The book is a fast read, with moments of humor and charm.

Characters
Madison and Bryce are great. They’re both easy to like with well-rounded backstories. I didn’t get much of a sense of any of the other characters though. Some were two-dimensional and others just weren’t fully fleshed out. But the story is about Madison and Bryce and they are both well done.

What Didn’t Work for Me:
1. Inconsistencies. There were a few that I found more annoying than unable to overlook. Because we get dual points of view, we know what both main characters are thinking. In particular, Bryce makes one particular revelation that doesn’t sync with his earlier thoughts.

2. Emotional avoidance. There’s a pretty big twist in the middle that I didn’t see coming, but rather than show us the events as they unfolded, allowed us to feel the reaction of the affected character, it’s glossed over the event in retrospect. I felt it was a huge squandered opportunity.

3. Weak secondary characters. While the story is really about Madison and Bryce, the supporting characters weren’t fully developed. It wasn’t a huge problem for me, but I’ve read more books lately with really well-developed supporting roles that made the story more vivid.

What I Really Liked:
1. Chemistry. The chemistry between Bryce and Madison is evident pretty early on. They have a love/hate relationship, but the book is titled, Bryce, so you know these two will end up together. I love my teen romances with lots of angst and these two had that to balance out all that lovely chemistry.

2. Madison. I love strong female leads and she is fantastic. She’s witty, smart, and doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap.

3. Bryce. He’s got a bad reputation and a big heart. It’s a fantastic combination. The dreamy eyes don’t hurt either.

4. Angst. There’s a boatload of angst in here, from the way Sarah is treated by Madison’s parents and even Graham, to the whole dramatic build up to the end. I love me some angst!

5. Family drama. Natalie Decker excels at weaving stories that involve good old fashioned family drama, and Bryce is no exception!

Bottom Line
Bryce is a light, fast read filled with teen drama, quirky moments, and delightful lead characters.

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

——————————————————–

About the Book
Title: Bryce
Series: Scandalous Boys #1
Author: Natalie Decker
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Pages: 235
Genre:
 Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

————————————————————

Author Natalie Decker

Author Natalie Decker

About the Author
Natalie Decker is the Author of Rival Love. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort.

She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity.

If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!

Where to find Natalie Decker
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter

————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Book Review + Giveaway – Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill

Call Me, Maybe By Ellie Cahill

Call Me, Maybe By Ellie Cahill

Synopsis
“Ellie Cahill is definitely one to watch!” raves bestselling author Cora Carmack, and this steamy, upbeat modern romance about connecting in all the best ways proves it once again.

Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t an option. Of course, the last thing she does before boarding the plane is to grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.

Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go. The only problem? It turns out that Clementine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.

My Review
This was a sweet, adorable new adult romance. When Clementine, the black sheep of the Daly family (think Rockefellers) accidentally switches phones at the airport with the hottest guy she’s ever seen, the two begin a long-distance flirtation until they can meet back up and return their respective phones to their rightful owners. When they meet, sparks fly, but Clementine is hiding more than her true identity from Justin and things go off-course when those secrets come to light.

Plot
Things start off a little slow and I took awhile to get sucked in, but Clementine is delightfully flustered making her instantly likeable. Justin comes off as refined and charming, so these two are the perfect match. Other than the early pacing, the story moves well, but is devoid of almost any real conflict until the end. When the conflict comes, though, it’s angsty and well done.

Characters
Only Clementine and Justin were really all that fleshed out, although Clem’s younger brother, Honor, had a little more weight to him. Still Clementine is so incredibly fun, that I didn’t really care about the lack of character development with the others.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. Pacing.
 It started off slow and took awhile to build, but the last half moved well enough that I can overlook it..
2. Lack of conflict. There isn’t a lot of conflict until the end. Clementine and Justin hit it off right away. There is minimal conflict between Clementine and her grandparents, but that’s about it until the big blow up toward the end.

What I Enjoyed About Call Me, Maybe
1. Clementine.
 She was spirited, quirky and just plain adorable. She’s exactly the kind of girl I’d love to hang out with.
2. Justin. He’s as sweet as he is good looking — a great combination.
3. The big blowup. It took awhile to reach the conflict, but once I got there, I was engrossed. It was a natural occurrence of the events and I could feel so much for both of them.
4. Finding your calling. I think a lot of young/new adults can relate to Clementine’s lack of direction in life. I love that she didn’t let anyone push her into doing something she didn’t feel passionate about.
5. Happily ever afters. The ones you have to fight the hardest for are the most treasured.

Bottom Line
Call Me, Maybe is a fun, quirky contemporary romance with characters you can’t help rooting for.

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

——————————————————–

About the Book
Title: 
Call Me, Maybe
Author: Ellie Cahill
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Pages: 242
Genre: 
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

——————————————————————

Author Ellie Cahill

Author Ellie Cahill

About the Author
Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas.

She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat.

.

Where to Find Ellie Cahill
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

——————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Review + Giveaway – To The Stars (Thatch) by Molly McAdams

To The Stars (Thatch Series #2) by Molly McAdams

To The Stars (Thatch Series #2) by Molly McAdams

Synopsis
In the second standalone book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams’ Thatch series, Knox Alexander must convince his long-time love Harlow Evans that they’re meant to be together.

He promised to wait for her. She told him he was wasting his time. Not waiting for him ended up being the biggest mistake of her life.

When they were younger, Knox Alexander swore to Harlow Evans that he would wait for her to turn eighteen so they could be together. But that was two and a half years away, and Harlow couldn’t ask him to give up all the fun and thrills of going away to college for her. As the years passed, Knox remained a constant in her life but when her eighteenth birthday came around, Harlow’s heart belonged to someone else.

Every day for the last four years, Harlow has been haunted by that fateful choice. And though he may appear unaffected by what happened in their past, Knox has always tried to fill the void Harlow left. But when he comes stumbling back into her life and refuses to leave, will Harlow finally let him into her heart…?

My Review
To the Stars is intense, romantic, and nearly impossible to put down. Harlow and Knox meet when Harlow is far too young — jailbait young — but Knox swears he’ll wait. Harlow counts down the days until she turns 18 and can be with Knox forever. But three years is a long time for teens to wait, and life sometimes intervenes unexpected and unintended ways. Harlow ends up married to a man she thought was perfect, but turns out he’s a perfect monster. The physical and emotional abuse is hard to read at times, but it is such a driving force in the story, and Molly McAdams never sugar coats it.

Plot
The pacing is fantastic, never dragging. I’m usually not a big fan of flashbacks, but they worked in this case. The author introduces us to the characters, then shows us how they became the people they are. The backstories unfold slowly, piecing their puzzles together until we can see it clearly. There were some unexpected twists and the climax was a thrill-ride.

Characters
The characters are exceedingly well-developed. Not all of them are likeable, even Harlow had her moments, but they are incredibly whole and believable. Through the story, both Knox and Harlow grew in organic ways that fit the story and their characters.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. The abuse.
 It’s not that it didn’t work for me, but it was just really, really hard to read. It was necessary for the story, though.

What I Enjoyed About To the Stars
1. The pacing.
 The story moved at a solid pace, never slowing down.
2. The character development. The characters were deep and fascinating, even the unlikeable ones.
3. Devotion. Harlow’s and Knox’s devotion to one another was sweet, but Knox’s friends devotion to him was a bromance worth reading.
4. Enduring love. Knox and Harlow may have taken different routes in life, but their love for one another was the tether connecting them across seven years.
5. Grey. As the sister of Knox’s roommate, she has her own story, which is book 1 of the series, and I can’t wait to dive into it.

Bottom Line
To the Stars is an honest portrayal of abuse, love, and breaking free.

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

——————————————————–

About the Book
Title: To the Stars
Series: Thatch #2
Author: Mollyl McAdams
Publisher: WilliamMorrow
Release Date: February 10, 2016
Pages: 387
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

——————————————————————

Author Molly McAdams

Author Molly McAdams

About the Author
Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies.

When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes.

She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornadoes. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

Where to Find Molly McAdams
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

——————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway


.

Book Review + Giveaway – Dog Collar Knockoff (Lucie Rizzo Mystery) by Adrienne Giordano

Dog Collar Knockoff (Lucie Rizzo Mystery #2) by Adrienne Giordano

Dog Collar Knockoff (Lucie Rizzo Mystery #2) by Adrienne Giordano

Synopsis
Catering to the pampered paws set took Lucie Rizzo from unemployed to entrepreneur. With her dog walking/chic pet accessory business on the verge of success, Lucie’s ready to make a name for herself. One not tarnished by her dad’s mobster rep.

When an art deal she brokered between clients turns suspicious, it’s up to Lucie to sniff out the truth. She might not know the difference between Monet and Manet, but Rizzos are no strangers to jail time—and Lucie refuses to be someone’s prison bitch.

Unless that someone is a tall, blond and Irish cop. Detective Tim O’Brien certainly knows how to get Lucie hot under the rhinestone collar. And with her on-again-off-again relationship with Frankie Falcone currently off, O’Brien isn’t shy about making her feel wanted, mafia ties and all. Even joining her crack—or crackpot—team on the trail of two paintings with equally shady origins.

———————————————————————–

My Review
The second book in the Lucie Rizzo mystery series picks up not long after the end of the first one, but a lot has happened in that time. Lucie and Frankie are broken up, this time at Frankie’s insistence. Lucie’s budding business of dog walking and high-end pet accessories is taking off, so much so, she’s hired an assistant. Her young apprentice is an art major and notices some famous paintings hanging in the homes of Lucie’s clients, raising concerns about their authenticity. Most of the book centers around this mystery, especially with her on-again-off-again relationship with Frankie in the off position. But the young, hot detective who helped her out in the first book is still hanging around, and his interest in Lucie might not be one-sided.

Plot
The mystery is the main plot and it moves much faster than in the first novel. And while the author lets on pretty early what’s going on, there were a couple of really good unexpected twists. Lucie’s love triangle is a strong subplot and particularly well done. I neither love nor hate love triangles as a whole, but I do loathe poorly executed ones. Luckily that’s not the case here. Both guys have merit and both are easy to love. Lucie’s conundrum is wholly believable.

Characters
I love that both Lucie and Frankie went through some character development in this book. In a lot of mystery series’ the characters are stagnant, but not with this series. The cast is still a lovable bunch of colorful goofballs, but they’re more meaty than stereotypical. Lucie is introspective and knows she has a bunch of stuff to figure out, and it’s great that she doesn’t take the easy way out. Of anything.

Ending
I didn’t seen the ending coming and I’m happy with the way this chapter of Lucie’s life is wrapped up. I’m fully onboard with the Lucie Rizzo Mysteries now and looking forward to the next one.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. Lack of grippiness.
 If that’s even a word. I never really felt like Lucie was ever in any danger. It’s a fun read, but a little more edge-of-your-seat moments would have made this a real page-turner.

What I Enjoyed About Dog Collar Knockoff
1. The pacing.
 This second book in the series moved at a faster clip than the first, which made it a fun, fast read.
2. Chemistry. As much as I loved the Lucie/Frankie chemistry in the first book, I can’t deny she and Tim have their own sizzle. Adrienne Giordano writes a really believable love triangle.
3. The dogs. In the first book, I almost thought there were too many dogs. I mean, she’s a dog walker, but I still felt like I spent an inordinate amount of time reading about dogs taking a dump. This time, I actually looked forward to Lucie’s time with them. They’ve grown on me the way my own four-legged friend has. The one we got for the kids who has decided I’m his person and I’ve reluctantly accepted that.
4. Ro and Joey. These two will either kill each other or wind up together. If Joey was taking bets on his own life, the odds would be 50/50.
5. The mystery. The mystery was very different than the first one, and was well executed, which isn’t always easy to do.

Bottom Line
The second book in the series is even better than the first and I’m looking forward to the release of the third.

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

————————————————————

About the Book
Title: Dog Collar Knockoff
Series: Lucie Rizzo Mystery #2
Author: Adrienne Giordano
Publisher: SilverHart Publishing
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Pages: 221
Genre: Cozy Mystery/New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

————————————————————

Author Adrienne Giordano

Author Adrienne Giordano

About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. 

She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier).

She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction. 

.

Where to Find Adrienne Giordano
Goodreads | Website | Newsletter | Street TeamFacebook | Twitter

————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Audiobook Review – The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Story:
Audiobook: 

Synopsis
An enchanting first novel about love, madness, and Kenny G.

The Silver Linings Playbook is the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with the magnitude of his wife’s betrayal.

During the years he spends in a neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: he believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki.

When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends are saddled with families; the Philadelphia Eagles keep losing, making his father moody; and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.

When Pat meets the tragically widowed and clinically depressed Tiffany, she offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife, if only he will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their “contract.” All the while, Pat keeps searching for his silver lining.

In this brilliantly written debut novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. The result is a touching and funny story that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.

—————————————————————–

My Review
After the movie got such rave reviews, I knew I needed to read, or in this case listen to, the book before seeing the movie. I’ll admit, I had a tough time picture Bradley Cooper in the role of Pat Peoples, but I’m anxious to see him portray the troubled character. I had no trouble at all picturing Jennifer Lawrence as the dark and foul-mouthed Tiffany though. I didn’t want to have an expectations going into this story, so I never read the synopsis. I had no idea what the story was about. From the opening lines, I was sucked into Pat’s story. I had no idea what happened to him, why he was in “the bad place”, or even who Nikki was at first.

I never doubted that narrator, Ray Porter, was Pat. He so thoroughly became the character, realistically portraying emotions, doing amazing accents and voicing other characters, I became lost in the story and forgot I was listening to someone read a book rather than watching a movie. Matthew Quick’s debut novel is impressive, filled with well-developed characters, rich descriptions, and intense emotions that kept me riveted.

Plot
This is primarily a story about a man struggling with mental health. His overarching goal is to end “apart time” with his wife, Nikki, and show her how he’s become a better man. He knows she likes strong men, so he works out to the extreme, running, weight lifting, and doing sit-ups until he’s massively bulked-up and fit. It’s clear from the beginning that in addition to emotional issues, he’s got some mental problems. After being released from “the bad place”, he moves in with his parents and slowly pieces his life back together. He resumes relationships with his brother, his best childhood friend, and his mother, although his father is aloof. Through his friend, Ronny, he meets Tiffany, Ronny’s sister-in-law, and the two strike up an odd relationship that transforms both of them in unexpected ways. All of this unfolds against the backdrop of the Philadelphia Eagles football season, with the events ebbing and flowing with the wins and losses of the Eagles.

Characters
The characters are simply amazing. Every single character, no matter how unimportant their role, comes across as three-dimensional, nuanced, and deep. Pat is exceptionally well done as is Tiffany. Pat’s parents, his therapist, even his friends. This is primarily a character-driven story, which is great, because the characters are living, breathing entities.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. The pacing. At times, the pacing was too slow. Many events seemed to happen over and over and didn’t feel as if they were moving the story forward, but I was engaged enough, I was easily able to overlook them.

2. The ending. It felt rushed and almost incomplete. Although it wrapped up all the loose ends, I wanted just a little more.

What I Enjoyed About The Silver Linings Playbook
1. The characters. They are so thoroughly well developed, they easily carried the story through some of the slower sections.

2. Tiffany. I instantly loved her. Maybe it’s because she and I share the same vocabulary, but something about her just really struck a chord with me, and I was rooting for her right along with Pat.

3. Football. As an 18-year season ticket holder with the San Diego Chargers, I could really relate so much to the excitement of the games, rooting for your team, having a favorite player, and how a good or bad game can make or break your mood for days.

4. The narration. Narrator, Ray Porter, was phenomenal, bringing the characters to life. I’d listen to anything he narrates.

5. The themes. I love the idea of finding your own silver lining in any situation. Recently diagnosed with breast cancer, I’m constantly looking for silver linings every day. And finding them.

Bottom Line
The Silver Linings Playbook is the story of mental illness, but also about hope and finding your own silver linings.

—————————————————————–

About the Audiobook
Title:
 The Silver Linings Playbook
Author: Matthew Quick
Release Date: October 9th 2008
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Narrators: Ray Porter
Length: 7 Hours 22 Minutes
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Mental Health
Story Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Audio Production Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | AudibleAmazon | Barnes & Noble

—————————————————————–

Author Matthew Quick

Author Matthew Quick

About the Author
Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Oscar-winning film; THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW; LOVE MAY FAIL; and three young adult novels: SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR; BOY21; and FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention, was an LA Times Book Prize finalist, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a #1 bestseller in Brazil, and selected by Nancy Pearl as one of Summer’s Best Books for NPR. EVERY EXQUISITE THING will be published in 2016. All of his books have been optioned for film.

Matthew spent the first few years of his life in Philadelphia before being raised just across the Delaware River in Oaklyn, New Jersey. He graduated from Collingswood High School (class of 1992) and La Salle University (class of 1996), where he double-majored in English and secondary education. He taught high school literature and film in southern New Jersey for several years, during which he coached soccer and basketball, chaperoned trips to Peru and Ecuador, initiated a pen-pal exchange with students in Namibia, and counseled troubled teens.

In 2004 Matthew made the difficult decision to leave teaching and write full time. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2007 and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from La Salle University in 2013. He lives with his wife, novelist/pianist Alicia Bessette, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Where to Find Matthew Quick
GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter

.

Blog Tour – Review + Giveaway – Mirror X (The Van Winkle Project) by Karri Thompson

Ascendency Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Ascendancy, the second book in the young adult science fiction/dystopian romance series, The Van Winkle Project, by Karri Thompson. See below for my review of Mirror X, the first book in the series as well as details on her giveaway, and be sure to check back later in the week for my review of Ascendancy.

Mirror X (The Van Winkle Project #1) by Karri Thompson

Mirror X (The Van Winkle Project #1) by Karri Thompson

Synopsis
I was born more than a thousand years ago. Put into a cryogenic tube at age seventeen, forgotten during a holocaust that decimated the world, I’ve finally been awakened to a more serene and peaceful future.

But things at the hospital are new and strange. And it’s starting to scare me.

Everyone is young. Everyone is banded and tracked. And everyone is keeping secrets.

The cute geneticist Michael Bennett might be the only good thing in this crazy new world where “life is precious” but no one seems free to live it. The problem is, I don’t think he’s being totally honest with me, either.

When I’m told only I can save the human race from extinction, it’s clear my freeze didn’t avoid a dreadful fate. It only delayed the horror…

———————————————————————–

My Review
Fellow young adult dystopian and San Diego author, Karri Thompson’s, novel intrigued me. The concept of a young woman frozen for more than 1,000 years, waking to a new world order is such a fascinating idea, I couldn’t wait to dig into it. The story weaves, bends, and twists through more than 350 pages of surprises, danger, and righteous indignation.

I thought it took a little long to really get going, but there are a lot of changes in the world Cassie wakes up in. Cassie, along with the reader, are slowly introduced to these changes, each new piece of information building upon the previous pieces. Just when we think we finally have a grasp of the situation, the author gives us a little more information, challenging everything we thought we knew. One of my favorite parts of the writing is the way Karri Thompson continually changes the playing field, keeping her characters and readers guessing.

Plot
The plot revolves around Cassie’s unique role in the world, and whether she’ll willingly embrace it, or succumb to it kicking and screaming. She vacillates a lot on exactly how she feels about what’s going on. Sometimes, I feel as if she’s too quick to give these people a pass and reason away their behavior. Other times, she’s the scared seventeen-year-old I expect her to be. There’s also a strong romantic plot that weaves through the story and drives many of her decisions.

Characters
I straight up didn’t care at all for Michael, the young doctor Cassie is instantly attracted to. He rubbed me the wrong way from the start and never redeemed himself in my eyes. Cassie is pretty believable as the conflicted teen in a Buck Rogers situation, but there were times I thought she didn’t seem as overwhelmed by her situation as I thought she should have been. The supporting characters are really my favorites. They’re all fascinating and easy to love or hate, depending on their role in the story.

Ending
The ending was yet another twist I never saw coming, but wrapped up the main story of Mirror X well, leaving plenty open for a sequel, without being a cliffhanger. That can be tough to do, but I feel as if the author pulled it off well.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. The romance.
It felt forced from the very beginning. When Cassie wakes up more than a thousand years in the future, her immediate attraction to her young doctor seems to overshadow what should be grief over the loss of her family, friends, and way of life. Michael’s obsession with Cassie always came across as kind of creepy to me. There wasn’t any chemistry between the two of them. And the way Michael continually lied to her makes him completely unredeemable as boyfriend material in my eyes. I kept hoping for something romantic to develop between Cassie and Magnum, though, but their relationship is more like siblings. Too bad, because they have a truckload of chemistry.
2. 31st century Earth. I never fully was able to wrap my head around what the world looked like, particularly the buildings. All I really know is there’s not much vegetation, but I had a hard time picturing what this world looked like through the descriptions provided.
3. Cassie’s introduction into the new world. As I stated above, she put her attraction to Michael front and center. I would have liked her to struggle more with the new world she’s found herself in. I never got a sense of the utter devastation and hopelessness over her situation I was expecting. She’s experienced something no one can really relate to, so I would have liked the deeper psychological aspects to have been more thoroughly explored.

What I Enjoyed about Mirror X
1. The surprises.
There were so many twists and turns, I never knew what was coming next and that was so much fun to read.
2. The emotions. Where I felt the story was lacking when it came to Cassie’s response to the new world she finds herself in, the writing shines when Cassie is dealing with the emotions surrounding her role in the 31st century. Not only is she unique in that she was born in the early 2000s, but she possess an ability no one else in the future has. This ability drives the plot and her reactions to her expected role are raw and palpable.
3. Technology. There is some fascinating technology in Mirror X and Karri Thompson does a great job of helping us understand the role of this technology in the world she’s created.
4. The secondary characters. Magnum, Travel, and a whole host of other characters are intriguing and colorful and really brought the story to life.
5. Magnum. The technology whiz kid was easily my favorite character in the book. He’s a breath of 31st century fresh air!

Bottom Line
Mirror X is an interesting scifi/dystopian adventure with some unique aspects. I’m interested to see where this series goes.

——————————————————–

About the Book
Title: 
Mirror X
Series: The Van Winkle Project #1
Author: 
Kerri Thompson
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: June 30, 2014
Pages: 360
Genre: 
Young Adult SciFi/Dystopian Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

————————————————————

Author Karri Thompson

Author Karri Thompson

About the Author
Growing up in San Diego, California, Karri Thompson spent much of her years at the beach, reading novels, tanning, and listening to music.

At SDSU, she earned a BA in English, MA in education, and her teaching credential. As a wife, mother, and high-school English teacher, she began writing novels, giving all of the compelling plots and unique characters in her head a home.

Victorian literature rocks her socks, and when she’s not writing, jogging, going to concerts, or watching her son play football, she’s reading Dickens.

Where to find Karri Thompson
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest

————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – Not Okay Cupid (High School Heartbreakers) by Heidi R. Kling

Not Okay Cupid (High School Heartbreakers #1) by Heidi R. Kling

Not Okay Cupid (High School Heartbreakers #1) by Heidi R. Kling

Synopsis
Her wicked revenge, or his wicked heart…

Hazel McCallister loves her life. Perfect grades. Perfect best friend. Perfect boyfriend. Until her perfect boyfriend cheats on her with her perfect best friend. Now Hazel’s in free fall—until her best friend’s brother, Felix, gives her the perfect idea. Reclaim her power by taking revenge on her cheating ex.

Felix James loves his life. Casual relationships. Loads of surfing. He’s as drama-free as they come. But he can’t stand by when his sister steals her best friend’s boyfriend, and the dude insists it was Hazel’s fault. So Felix vows to help turn Hazel into a girl her ex can’t resist—so then she can break his heart.

With an alliance in place, Hazel’s revenge is all but assured. But with each piece of payback, she feels a stronger attraction to Felix, even though revenge will turn her into a girl Felix could never be with. And soon Hazel has to make an impossible choice: revenge…or Felix, the boy who’s stolen her heart.

WARNING! This book contains betrayal, revenge, and that most tempting vice of all, the bad boy you know you can’t have.

My Review
This had teen angst written all over it, which is right up my alley, and I was not disappointed. Hazel is heartbroken when her boyfriend cheats on her with her best friend, Kimmy. When Kimmy’s older brother, Felix, comes up with a plan to get back at the two cheaters, Hazel’s heartbreak turns to anger and she’s ready for revenge. Things go from zero to awkward in under a minute when Hazel and Felix share a steamy kiss in the cafeteria to prove a point. Lifelong friends with a complicated relationship, each begin to see the other in a new light. But this is teen romance, so there is no easy path to happiness. Hazel thinks Felix is a player, and Felix thinks he’s not good enough for Hazel, regardless of their budding feelings for one another.

Plot
The plot centers around Felix and Hazel’s relationship and their revenge plot. Even though the reader is perfectly aware these two belong together, the assumptions and miscommunication drives conflict. It’s not especially groundbreaking and there’s no real plot twist, but it’s a satisfying fun, fast read.

Characters
I liked Felix and Hazel, and they were both well developed. At times, though, they sounded too much alike. Told from dual points of view, I found them thinking in similar patterns and using the same phrases far too often for such different people. On the other hand, best friend, Kimmy, and ex-boyfriend, Jay, were harder to believe. I know best friends steal boyfriends, but Kimmy never came across as developed enough for me to really understand what drove her to do that. And Jay never made sense to me. I never understood why Hazel would ever date him, much less want him back. He was pretty two-dimensional.

Ending
I liked the way the story wrapped up, that it wasn’t an easy path to get there, and that might have been the only real surprise for me.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. Hazel/Jay.
 I don’t see these two being together at all and Hazel seemed to get over him rather quickly.
2. Dueling POVs. As I mentioned above, the two characters sounded too much like each other, I often had to look back to see who it was.
3. Flat Supporting Characters. I never saw Kimmy and Jay as real people. They served a purpose in the story, but they didn’t get any real development.

What I Enjoyed About Not Okay Cupid
1. Felix/Hazel.
 These two had a ton of chemistry from the opening scene, even before the whole cheating thing teamed them up.
2. Angsty romance. My favorite kind and this one had it in spades.
3. Revenge. Although the main plot was about extracting revenge, it didn’t unfold as planned, and that made the ultimate revenge so much sweeter.
4. The locales. Living in So. Cal, even though the seaside town was fictional, I could totally picture as any of the beach communities near here, which added a sense of realism.
5. High school drama. It’s nice to know that some things never change, no matter how long it’s been since I graduated.

Bottom Line
Not Okay Cupid is a sweet romance that manages to contain a fair amount of heat. A fun, fast read.

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

——————————————————–

About the Book
Title: Not Okay Cupid
Series: High School Heartbreakers #1
Author: Heidi R. Kling
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Release Date: January 11, 2016
Pages: 234
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 
4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Entangled

——————————————————————

Author Heidi R. Kling

Author Heidi R. Kling

About the Author
Heidi Kling writes fantasy novels set in a contemporary world and contemporary novels about girls in fantastic situations. The bestselling Spellspinners series (Coliloquy/Vook), is nine-book series leading with Witch’s Brew. The Gleaning, Devil’s Frost and Beautiful Monster are out now with more adventures to follow. Her debut contemporary, Sea (Penguin), was an IndieNext Pick, Northern California Book of the Year nominee, Gateway Reader’s Award choice and Scholastic Readers Pick.

Her forthcoming contemporary novel, Paint My Body Red, launches with Entangled Teen Fall, 2015. Told in dual narratives, several more installments are planned in this “Romeo and Juliet with magic” series readers compare to stories by LJ Smith, Cassandra Clare and Melissa de la Cruz.

After earning her MFA in Writing for Children from the New School, she returned to her native California. She lives with her husband, two children and the cutest accidental puppy mix ever, Sailor Lily, just over the coastal mountains from the sea.

Where to Find Heidi R. Kling
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterTwitter | Tumblr

——————————————————————

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
.

Month in Review – December 2015

Two weeks late, but you know, the holidays… Also, some front yard landscaping, and Aussie exchange student for eleven days, and final edits and publishing of The Uprising (which comes out on Tuesday!). Better late than never. Here are the books I read and reviewed in December, 2015.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Story: 4 Stars
Audiobook: 5 Stars

Title: Gone Girl
Author: 
Gillian Flynn
Release Date: 
May 24, 2012
Publisher:
Random House Audible
Narrators:
Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne
Length:
19 Hours 11 Minutes
Genre:
 Contemporary Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Story Rating: 
4 out of 5 Stars
Audio Production Rating:
 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | AudibleAmazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.

Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Bottom Line
Gone Girl is a disturbing tale, beautifully written, and the audiobook version is one of the best produced I’ve ever listened to.

—————————————————————-

Bad Romance: A Stepbrother Novel by by Jen McLaughlin

Bad Romance A Stepbrother Novel by by Jen McLaughlin

Bad Romance A Stepbrother Novel by by Jen McLaughlin

4 Stars

Title: Bad Romance: A Stepbrother Novel
Author: 
Jen McLauchlin
Publisher: 
Loveswept
Release Date: 
September 15, 2015
Pages:
242
Genre: 
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 
4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis
In this explosive novel from New York Times bestselling author Jen McLaughlin, a good girl falls for the ultimate bad boy: her stepbrother. Perfect for fans of Sabrina Paige, Caitlin Daire, and Krista Lakes, Bad Romance proves that passion can be so wrong it’s right.

Seven years in the army will change a guy. But after a shoulder wound ends his career as a sniper, Jackson Worthington finds himself back home, fighting a battle that’s all too familiar: keeping his hands off Lily Hastings. She’s still her rich daddy’s little angel, innocent, impossibly lovely, as squeaky-clean as Jackson is dirty. And she’s still his stepsister—forbidden but not forgotten, not after the soul-melting kiss that got him kicked out of the house at eighteen. He couldn’t resist her then. How the hell can he resist her now?

Lily is about to marry a man she doesn’t love, and commit to a high-stress job she hates, all to please the father who controls every waking moment of her life. On top of everything, her teenage crush is back, with a sleek, chiseled body and a trace of the rebellious boy whose lips sealed her fate. Jackson’s timing couldn’t be worse . . . or better. Because Lily’s all grown up, too. She’s aching for another taste. And for the first time, she’s ready to be a bad girl.

Bottom Line
Bad Romance is a page-turning romance about forbidden love and learning to live your own life.

—————————————————————-

Royal Marriage Market by Heather Lyons

Royal Marriage Market by Heather Lyons

Royal Marriage Market by Heather Lyons

4.5 Stars

Title: Royal Marriage Market
Author: Heather Lyons
Publisher: Cerulean Books
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Pages: 335
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
Every decade, the world’s monarchs and their heirs secretly convene to discuss global politics and social issues—and arrange marriages between kingdoms. Elsa may be the Hereditary Princess of Vattenguldia, but she finds the entire situation archaic and unsavory. While she wants what’s best for her country, she isn’t about to jump into an unwanted relationship—let alone a marriage—with a virtual stranger. Of course, her feelings matter little to her parents, whose wheeling and dealings over trade pacts and alliances achieved at her expense begin the moment they set foot in California for the Summit. So when a blindingly handsome royal runs into her, she doesn’t hesitate to tell him there’s no way she’s marrying him.

Christian is all too happy to agree: no marriage. As the Hereditary Grand Duke of Aiboland, his main goal is to get through the summit without a bride being foisted on him. Which is why he suggests they help each other field potential intendeds. As Christian slowly gets to know Elsa, though, he realizes they have a lot more in common than just their feelings about the Royal Marriage Market. Only he can’t fall for her, because royal or not, they’re not meant for each other. Elsa and Christian will have to evaluate matters of the heart verses those of state and crown, and decide whether or not tradition trumps love.

Bottom Line
Royal Marriage Market is a fun twist on the contemporary romance genre with plenty of chemistry and more than a few laughs.

—————————————————————-

The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus by Fred White

The Writer's Idea Thesaurus by Fred White

The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus by Fred White

3.5 Stars

Title: The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus: An Interactive Guide for Developing Ideas for Novels and Short Stories
Author: Fred White
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Pages: 320
Category: Writing Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
Endless ideas at your fingertips, and at the turn of a page…

Need an idea for a short story or novel? Look no further than The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus. It’s far more than a collection of simple writing prompts. You’ll find a vast treasury of story ideas inside, organized by subject, theme, and situation categories, and listed alphabetically for easy reference. Author and award-winning writing instructor Fred White shows you how to build out and customize these ideas to create unique plots that reflect your personal storytelling sensibilities, making The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus an invaluable tool for generating creative ideas and vanquishing writer’s block—for good.

Inside you’ll find:
•2,000 unique and dynamic story ideas perfect for novels and short stories of any genre or writing style
•Twenty major idea categories, such as The Invasion of X, The Transformation of X into Y, Escape from X, The Curse of X, and more
•Multiple situations that further refine the major categories, such as The Creation of Artificial Life, The Descent Into Madness, Love in the Workplace, The Journey to a Forgotten Realm, and more
•Invaluable advice on how to customize each idea.

The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus is an interactive story generator that opens the door to thousands of new story arcs and plotlines.

 Bottom Line
The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus lives up to its name as a unique reference guide to aid writers in developing story ideas.

—————————————————————-

Next Door to a Star (Star Series) by Krysten Lindsay Hagar

Next Door to a Star by Krysten Lindsay Hagar

Next Door to a Star by Krysten Lindsay Hagar

4 Stars

Title: Next Door to a Star
Series: Star Series #1
Author:
Krysten Lindsay Hagar
Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Pages: 185
Genre: 
Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon InternationalBarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | BAM!

Synopsis
Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible. After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next door neighbor is none other than teen TV star Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be—pretty, popular, and famous—and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend. Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.

It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte. To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins… He’s sweet, good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.

So when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again. Cliques. Back-stabbing. Love gone bad. Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door To A Star?

Bottom Line
While Next Door to a Star moves slow at times, it’s filled with a colorful cast of young teens who think and act like the kids on the cusp of adulthood they are.
.

Book Review – Bad Romance: A Stepbrother Novel by by Jen McLaughlin

Bad Romance A Stepbrother Novel by by Jen McLaughlin

Bad Romance A Stepbrother Novel by by Jen McLaughlin

Synopsis
In this explosive novel from New York Times bestselling author Jen McLaughlin, a good girl falls for the ultimate bad boy: her stepbrother. Perfect for fans of Sabrina Paige, Caitlin Daire, and Krista Lakes, Bad Romance proves that passion can be so wrong it’s right.

Seven years in the army will change a guy. But after a shoulder wound ends his career as a sniper, Jackson Worthington finds himself back home, fighting a battle that’s all too familiar: keeping his hands off Lily Hastings. She’s still her rich daddy’s little angel, innocent, impossibly lovely, as squeaky-clean as Jackson is dirty. And she’s still his stepsister—forbidden but not forgotten, not after the soul-melting kiss that got him kicked out of the house at eighteen. He couldn’t resist her then. How the hell can he resist her now?

Lily is about to marry a man she doesn’t love, and commit to a high-stress job she hates, all to please the father who controls every waking moment of her life. On top of everything, her teenage crush is back, with a sleek, chiseled body and a trace of the rebellious boy whose lips sealed her fate. Jackson’s timing couldn’t be worse . . . or better. Because Lily’s all grown up, too. She’s aching for another taste. And for the first time, she’s ready to be a bad girl.

———————————————————————–

My Review
Anyone who follows my reviews knows I love a good angsty forbidden romance, and what’s more forbidden than a stepbrother? Granted, they don’t meet until they’re teens and aren’t really raised as siblings, but there is still something salacious about it.

Jackson and Lilly are both messed up in very different ways. Jackson was abandoned by his father at a young age and he’s always felt like a burden to his mother. Lilly has been the apple of daddy’s eye her entire life, which he’s scripted for her. Everything from her career to whom she’ll marry is out of her control.

Jackson acts out, and an off-limits Lilly is the perfect act of defiance. Lilly always behaves the way she’s expected, never making her own choices, until Jackson. She wants him. The story is filled with lies, a few surprises, and intense emotions. 

Plot
It’s a straight-up story of forbidden love. With so many things keeping these two apart, it seems at times like they’ll be insurmountable. Although the reader knows Jackson and Lilly belong together, Jackson’s self-loathing and Lilly’s sense of duty at times make us question if they really do. The plot moves at a steady pace and there aren’t a lot of twists, but there are a few surprises that keep it from being just another contemporary romance.

Characters
Jackson and Lilly are well-developed, complex characters. Lilly experiences more growth through the story than Jackson, and I would have liked a little more from him. Their parents, on the other hand, seem a bit cliche at times, which works well for the plot. For a story light on characters, it would have been nice to find out more about why their abominable parents are the way they are, but that didn’t detract in any way from my enjoyment of the romance.

Ending
I thought the ending was almost anticlimactic. There’s a big event that leads up to the end that was unexpectedly awesome. I’m not disappointed, but I thought the actual ending lacked the same punch the climax held. I will say the conclusion was more than satisfying, though, and that’s all I can ask for.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. Too much waffling.
 I found Lilly to annoying at times. I totally understood her motivation, but she seemed to waffle on it a lot. Like way more than necessary.
2. Repetition. There were times I felt like we revisited the same issues over and over again.

What I Enjoyed About Bad Romance
1. Loyalty.
 Jackson’s loyalty to his country, to Lilly. Lilly’s loyalty to Jackson, her father, the people who work for her father’s company. Both of them were good people which helped me overlook some of their annoyingness.
2. First loves. There’s a sweetness underlying the sexual chemistry of Jackson and Lilly that took their love story to another level for me.
3. Forbidden love. One of my favorite types of romances.
4. The angst. Another one of my favorite romantic elements.
5. Passion. There was so much passion between Jackson and Lilly it became almost its own character in the story.

Bottom Line
Bad Romance is a page-turning romance about forbidden love and learning to live your own life.

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

——————————————————–

About the Book
Title: Bad Romance: A Stepbrother Novel
Author: Jen McLauchlin
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Pages: 242
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

————————————————————

Author Jen McLaughlin

Author Jen McLaughlin

About the Author
Jen McLaughlin is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of sexy books with Penguin Random House. Under her pen name, Diane Alberts, she is also a USA TODAY bestselling author of Contemporary Romance with Entangled Publishing. Her first release as Jen McLaughlin, Out of Line, hit the New York TimesUSA TODAY and Wall Street Journal lists. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal-clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and four cats. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

Where to Find Jen McLaughlin
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter
.