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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #2: This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, spotlighting eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.

This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: November 15th, 2016

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them. 

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

Waiting on because...

I love a good mystery and this one sounds like it will offer all kinds secrets and thrills. I am definitely a fan of tenacious heroines just trying to do the right thing and making sure justice is served. I also love a good cover and boy does this one deliver. Love it!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

First & Then by Emma Mills

First & Then by Emma Mills
Release Date: October 13th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

First I just want to say how beautiful the covers for Emma Mills books are. I know this has no bearing on the quality of the story, but boy are they pretty up on the bookshelf. They are pretty naked, too!

I'm so late to the Emma Mills party. I bought this book all the way back in last October when it was released, then it proceeded to sit oh, so sadly on my bookshelf. Pretty, but sad. I was fortunate enough to acquire an ARC of her second book This Adventure Ends at ALA, but then my conscience got the better of me and I decided I had to read this one first. Order and all that. So here we are in early October and Hurricane Matthew is barreling down on us. With no power and piles of books, I decided that I needed something not about death and destruction, and this little gem is what I chose. And then I got mad at myself for not reading it sooner, followed closely with sadness, because I could never read it for the first time again. Ramble, ramble, ramble...let's get to the point of this thing, shall we?

I adored this novel. 

Oh, right, that's probably not sufficient enough for anyone to make an informed decision on whether or not this would be a story for them. 

Devon, our main character, has had quite the interesting summer. You see, she's quite good at being an only child, but her younger cousin has now come to live with them and it's a little like having a sibling. She likes her cousin, but she gets a little annoyed with him always being around. Foster is kind of an odd kid, and while sometimes Devon really just wants to get rid of him, she's never really outright cruel to him. I loved how we got to see their relationship evolve through the book and how they helped each other evolve.

There are boys in this book, of course. Boys that are not related to Devon. Boys that are cute, talented, and infuriating in their own ways. I don't really want to say too much about said boys, because I don't want to ruin the way the story unfolds in regards to them. I will say that things turned out differently than I expected them to, but definitely in a good way. 

Devon loves Jane Austen, and while Pride & Prejudice is the only Jane Austen book I've read, I thoroughly enjoyed the talk of her throughout the book. Devon speaks about her as if they are real life friends and I thought that was pretty cool, because I know we've all done that a time or two with an author or character we truly love. 

This was definitely a quick read, but an oh, so wonderful one. I highly recommend it to any contemporary fan and even those who may be a little hesitant to jump into the contemporary pool. Love, love love!

Cover photo and blurb from Goodreads

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #1: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, spotlighting eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Release Date: November 1st, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? 

Waiting on because...

I read, or rather, listened to Nicola Yoon's debut Everything, Everything earlier this year and I was so charmed. It was such a unique story and I absolutely adored the characters. So of course, when I found out that she had another book coming out this year I was absolutely on board.

I love that this new title not only promises another unique story, but it also promises some wonderful diversity and I cannot wait to dive right in!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Furious Rush Blog Tour! S.C. Stephens Top 5 List and Giveaway!

Author: S.C. Stephens
On Sale: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Format: Trade Paperback & eBook
Price: $12.99 USD (TP) / $4.99 USD (eBook)
The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!
Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle… 

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father's talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team's newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie's skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she's racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind...

For today's stop on the tour we have author S.C. Stephens list of Top 5 Favorite Songs or Artists!

  1) Imagine Dragons. I love all their songs, but when I saw them in concert, I was blown away. The lead singer performs exactly how I picture Kellan performing. It was a surreal experience.

  2) Linkin Park. The sound of this band (on a lot of their songs) is exactly how I imagine the D-Bags sounding. LP will always hold a special place in my heart. Plus their concerts are amazing! They sound just as good live.

  3) OneRepublic. These guys were on constant repeat while I was writing the Thoughtless trilogy. I love them with all my heart. And I got to stand thisclose to Ryan Tedder during a meet and greet. Awe-some.

 4) Old Dominion.  My honey-boo has been slowly getting me into country music. I just picked up their album, and I love every song! I also love the fact that the scratch and sniff bacon sticker on the cover smells like cotton candy (the album is called Meat and Candy—haha!).

  5) Every Avenue. I cried the day this band broke up, and I did an all-day Twitter celebration on the day of their last concert. A fan turned me on to the band after Thoughtless was released, and I was amazed by how well their lyrics fit the story—its uncanny! These guys are also the only band I have gotten autographs from. Thanks to a reader, I was able to get a copy of Effortless signed by every single member. Best. Gift. Ever.



S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.


It's a virtual-party!!! Please join S.C. Stephens (and some pretty awesome authors) on Facebook for a pre-release celebration of Furious Rush on August 22nd! There will be prizes! There will be fun!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pasadena by Sherri L. Smith

Pasadena by Sherri L. Smith
Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: Putnam

*ARC received by publisher for honest opinions*

Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.

When Jude's best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it is: murder. And someone has to pay.

Now everyone is a suspect--family and friends alike. And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave. Anything to get closer to the truth. But that's the thing about secrets. Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred. And Jude's got a few skeletons of her own.

I'm not really sure what to think about this one. I finished it, in one sitting, so I didn't hate it. It was actually a really quick read and I think it was well written, but I didn't have any "Whoa!"  moments while reading it. I guess it was just a quiet kind of story. I will say that I was a bit surprised by the end, which is definitely good in a mystery novel. 

The main character wasn't particularly likable, but I think that was kind of the point. It was more about how the best friend kept their group of friends together. They were just a bunch of teenagers who didn't really have anything in common, except Maggie, and once she was out of the picture all of the reasons they weren't really friends becomes obvious. Jude is certain that Maggie didn't kill herself, she is convinced she was murdered, and now that she realizes how little she knows about her other friends she is very suspicious of all of them.

Sometimes while I was reading I had to remind myself that these were high school students that I was reading about. So many of them acted more like adults. There was the main, over-arcing mystery about Maggie's death, but there was also a secondary "mystery" surrounding Jude. Right from the start you get a pretty good idea of what the secret she is hiding is, but it all stays pretty vague through the whole book. And once she finally revealed the full truth about it, it was slightly anti-climactic. I guess that is the theme for me with this book. It was all just very anti-climactic. I didn't love it, but I also didn't hate it. It was well written and I breezed through it, but all in all I don't feel like it was all that memorable. 

If you are in the mood for a quiet mystery that flies under the radar, this one just might be for you.

*Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads*

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Release Date: August 23rd
Publisher: Dutton
*ARC received by publisher for honest feedback*

Mara Carlyle’s senior year at Covington High in suburban New Jersey is going on as normally as could be expected, until the day—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to spontaneously combust without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason—Terrorism! Drugs! Homosexuality! Government conspiracy!—while the seniors continue to pop like balloons.

Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it with tell-it-like-it-is insight as she tries to make it to graduation in one piece through an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard the President of the United States use over Skype.

As soon as I was told that this book was about a high school where teens start spontaneously combusting, I knew I was going to read it. I didn't need to know anything else to be convinced this should be added to my TBR. I've never read a book about spontaneous combustion, but having some basic knowledge about what it is I figured this book could either be really great or really terrible. It definitely falls into the realm of great for me. 

Our narrator is Mara. Mara tells it like it is, or at least she tells it like she sees it. And Mara has seen things, a lot of them being her exploding classmates. Let me just say, there are a lot of exploding teens in this book. Of course, given the plot of this story, this isn't really all that shocking. I'll be honest, the exploding teens aren't even the most interesting part of this book. I'd even venture to say, they are the least interesting part. What I found most interesting, and what kept me turning pages, were the reactions to what was happening in this little New Jersey town. The reactions of the students, the parents, the government, our country, and even the world. The people outside of Covington, and even some of the people inside, had the strongest reactions. We all know that humanity as a whole doesn't really know how to handle it when something they don't understand happens. In this book, and I imagine if it started happening in real life, they ultimately react how you would expect. Keep them contained! Don't let it spread! Do whatever you must to figure out what is wrong with them!

I think what I liked most, though, was after all that initial panic and mayhem. Once the rest of the world started to forget about them, once other tragedies overshadowed this one and they were left to their own devices we got to see this kids trying to get their lives back. To make the most out of their new reality. And I think this is where the true message lies. We never know when our time is up, and while most of us probably won't meet our end by exploding, you have to take charge of your life and get as much out of it as you can while you can. Don't get me wrong, some of them went about it in all the wrong ways, but that seems pretty realistic to me. Mara was one of the worst offenders, hanging out near the rockiest of rock bottoms, but she gets her fight back and while the end is left pretty wide open, there is hope. And really isn't that all we need in life? Hope and a little perseverance?

*Image and synopsis provided by Goodreads


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