REVIEW: Pucked by Rachel Walter

Pucked Book Cover Pucked
Rachel Walter
Contemporary YA Romance / Sports Romance
February 10, 2015
Kindle
328
The Author
Beat The Backlist
August 15, 2017

Does life get in the way of love or does love get in the way of life?

Riley Silk, captain of the Warriors Ice Hockey team at Dalesburg High, doesn’t think life can be lived if love is present. If there’s two things in life he knows to be true, it’s that love causes pain and hockey is his ticket to a better life. He’s worked hard to maintain his Frozen Silk reputation in order to stay focused on his duties and goals.

Audrey Jacobs, the Warriors’ number one fan, believes life can’t be lived without love. She can find love and beauty in the muddiest of situations. Her best friend, Riley, is under a lot of stress at home, so she does her best to brighten his mood whenever she can.

When lines cross and blur, they struggle to keep control of the simplicity their friendship once held. With Audrey’s outlook on life usually surrounded by light, the growing darkness of her doubts and insecurities threaten to deflect her toward the wrong path.

Can she find her true self before her world burns around her? When truths become lies, can Riley find the strength to fight his way through his own personal darkness that clings to his mind and soul? Can he win this face-off that life has dropped in his zone, or will fate take him out of the game completely?

Who keeps the puck?

**Warning- Several abuse topics are discussed in this story, which includes parental alienation, physical abuse, alcohol abuse, and mild drug abuse.**

Review

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Let me start by saying I hate sports. I don’t “get” them and don’t follow them. I always work during the Superbowl because I could care less about the game. That said, I loved this YA sports romance! This book made me want to be a hockey fan. I mean, sports still bore me, but Rachel Walter made me feel like maybe I’m missing out on something.

This book is very deep, especially for a YA novel. Riley has a very shitty home life. His mom is a real piece of work and he has basically raised his little sister since his dad left 5 years ago. When his dad left he shut down. He turned to hockey as his only outlet, his way of making something of himself and getting out of his crappy situation.

Audrey is his best friend. She’s the only one who really gets him. She’s the only one he doesn’t ice out. Their friendship is perfect. And then he kisses her and things get weird.

Told in dual POV (Riley and Audrey) this book takes place over a long period of time. It’s not a quick romance, and I loved it that way. So much happens over a long period of time that I really got to know these characters. I was rooting for them. When Riley proclaimed time and time again that love gets in the way, my heart broke. I kept waiting for Audrey to fix him. But his issues ran so deep it wasn’t a quick fix and I think the author did the subject matter justice by not making it seem like one girl could fix a boy so broken. All she could do was help.

So yeah, I loved this story. I loved these characters. And this book made me want to love hockey as much as the Mighty Ducks movies did when I was 12! A+

So, should you read it? YA contemporary fans will eat this one up. And I can attest to the fact that you can hate sports and still love this story!


Quotes

The pissed off, Frozen Silk look comes back. The look that turns his iceberg blue eyes into sheets of steel. The same look that my dad says is rage turned to stone. But it doesn’t scare me on Riley.


I can’t hear anymore. Not everyone has a happily ever after. And not every couple stays together.


“Why do you keep apologizing?”
I sit back on my knees and help her up.
“Lots of reasons. First, I just pucked you.”


He doesn’t get to kiss me and then give me away to his best friend. Not me. Not him. I turn away from my locker, fully preparing to lay into Riley.


“I was beginning to think you wanted me to be the next crazy, cat lady.”
He smiles gently. “Never, you deserve more than cats. Maybe a ferret, they’d keep you on your toes by hiding your keys.”


Love gets in the way of everything. If I could kick my heart to the curb, I bet I could get through life easy.


“Wear the yellow dress, and he’ll do anything you say.”
“You’re trying to thaw him out, not heat him to a boil. Do not ever wear that dress around Riley again!” Candy argues.


Love is pain.
Love is empty.
Love hurts.
Love isn’t in my house. My house is a hellhole.


In my head, this is a play. It’s a one on one with interference, I feel like the puck. I’m passed, I’m sliced, I’m shot, I’m backhanded, and I’m blocked from both nets. The net minders are in control.


Ice is relatable. It’s unforgiving but freeing.


“I wasn’t sure if we would ever give our relationship a name-,”
“A name? It’s not a pet, Audrey.”


There’s ice in my head, ice in my lungs, and ice in my heart.


“Louise was right about you,” he says softly. “You’re too young to be this old.”


My (Writing) Life

I just got done with the loooongest weekend in a while. 7 hour shift on Friday, 12 on Saturday, and 8 on Sunday. Whew! It feels good to just stay home today!

Of course, my work at home is never one either. I’ve spent my morning so far setting up Amazon ads for some the books at my pub house. I’ve still got a few more to set up, not to mention covers to design, files to format, and so on.

I got word this weekend that the Peace group is planning some fun writing projects for October. So stay tuned and I’ll post more details about that soon. (Or you can just follow our Facebook page!) All I know for sure is that I’ll be writing a short flash fiction Halloween tale involving JoJo (Summer of Peace – Feb 2018) and Valerie (Peace in Flames – April 2018) which takes place before the events of both novellas. It should be fun!

I finished my proof reading job last night (woohoo!) and will have a review for that book in the future. Seriously, getting paid to read is the best. And now that I’m done with that project I can really focus on finishing the editing on Peace in Flames and the re-writing of Summer of Peace. THEN I can dive into my YA contemporary romance series, hopefully just in time for NaNoWriMo!

But enough about this. I’ve got work to do!

Did you have a long, busy weekend like I did? Or were you able to sit back and relax?

Deja Revu: September 25, 2017

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
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Original

Meme

Boho Book Club:

Reading Challenge:

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Contemporary

Fantasy

Paranormal

Romance

Picture

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Fantasy

Romance

Science Fiction

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Contemporary

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Historical

Mystery

Non-Fiction

Paranormal

Romance

Science Fiction

Suspense/Thriller

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Romance

REVIEW: Live Fast, Die Young by Vanessa Barneveld

Live Fast, Die Young Book Cover Live Fast, Die Young
Vanessa Barneveld
Contemporary YA Romance
September 27, 2016
Kindle
118
Amazon
Beat The Backlist
August 5, 2017

Molly Corbett can’t stand seeing her childhood pal Alex Gibson destroy himself. He’s gone from straight-A student to rebel without a cause. With so much at stake, some serious interference is called for—or at least Micromanaging Molly thinks so. Alex needs to get back on the path to the Ivy League. But the harder Molly pushes Alex, the harder he pushes back.

Alex has a secret. Well, two secrets. Number one: He has terminal melanoma. With six months to live, Alex hasn’t got a second to waste. And hanging around hospitals when his friends think he’s cutting school definitely counts as wasted time. Instead, he’s going to drop out, surf, drive fast cars…and finally put secret number two out there. He’s in love with Molly and he’s going to tell her before it’s too late.

My Review

If ever there was a book that made me think twice about skipping the sunscreen, it was this one.

I’ve been downloading a lot of free books lately from all those newsletter full of book deals. So many that I started to feel guilty. So, I took a break from my ARC reading and chose a book at random from my Kindle backlog. I chose this one because I liked the title and the cover looked fun. Perfect for a summer read. Bonus it was a novella!

Then I started and oh boy…

Live Fast, Die Young is an emotionally turbulent novella. Alex has terminal cancer (melanoma) and doesn’t want anyone to know. Not even his best friend, Molly, the girl he’s also in love with. He doesn’t want people to look at him differently. So, he keeps his cancer a secret and vows to live what’s left of his life to the fullest.

This story is tragic and beautiful. It can be hard to connect to characters in novellas sometimes because of the limited number of pages you have to get to know them. Vanessa Barneveld portrayed these characters seamlessly. I got to know them and grew to care for them.

The only disappointment I had was that this book, which I got as an Amazon freebie, wasn’t a prequel! I was really hoping to go buy the next book, in which Alex and Molly work to complete Alex’s bucket list before his time runs out. Or to watch Molly learn to love again after Alex’s death. I’m uber bummed that this wasn’t the case. I will however be on the lookout for more from his author.

So, should you read the book? If you want a short, well-written, tragically beautiful story look no further. If books about cancer trigger you, maybe leave this one alone.


QUOTES

Kip’s tongue flicks out and laps sauce off the corner of his lips. Could this guy be any more reptilian? I shudder.


“…But right now? I’m thinking I want to be like James Dean. You know, live fast, die young. Do things at full speed and go out with a spectacular crash.”


This is what dying feels like. When your heart pounds hard enough to crack a rib. When loud, squealing noises echo from an unseen source. When you look around and the world distorts, fades to black. When the last thing your brain registers is the thud of your head hitting the linoleum.


I don’t even remember the exact moment I fell in love with her, but I can’t imagine being out of love with her. Yet I don’t want Molly to fall in love with me. Not when I’ve got a death sentence.


My (Writing) Life

I’m a terrible, horrible person. Instead of doing real work a couple nights ago, or going to bed like I should have, I stayed up late mocking up two book covers. For myself. For books that don’t exist yet. Except very loosely in my head. To go along with another book cover I mocked up for myself. So.. yeah. I’ve pretty much got myself committed to at least a three book YA contemporary romance series, each book a standalone. Hopefully I’ll get started on that by early 2018, if not sooner.

In other news, edits on Peace in Flames are going well. And re-writes on Summer of Peace are moving along nicely as well. A new plot twist popped into my head, so hopefully that works out. I’m very excited to share these novellas with you all.

Here’s a little teaser from Peace in Flames.
(Peace in Flames is Valerie and Liam’s story. Summer of Peace is JoJo and Matt’s story.)

REVIEW: The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen

The Secret of the India Orchid Book Cover The Secret of the India Orchid
Nancy Campbell Allen
Historical Romance
Shadow Mountain
August 1, 2017
E-ARC
320
NetGalley
August 28 - September 4, 2017

Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?

My Review

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had just read another historical novel before I started this one, so I wasn’t really in the mood for another historical romance. My NetGally backlog was glaring at me from my Kindle though, and I knew I did have to read this sooner rather than later. All that said, I did still enjoy this story.

The first chapter was a little boring for me, but completely necessary for the plot. I enjoyed the story quite a bit actually. I was expecting a little more James Bond or Jason Bourne with the spy stuff, but it was (thankfully) not like that at all.

Both the hero (Lord Anthony Wilshire) and heroine (Sophia) are well thought-out and interesting. I especially enjoyed how strong-willed Sophia was, especially in a time where women were expected to be the opposite. The chemistry between them was also quite fun, especially as he had to watch her be admired by other men, while secretly still in love with her.

What I loved most about this book, however, is that while it is most certainly a romance, I think it was more of a mystery. Both Anthony and Sophia are trying to solve the disappearance/possible murder of… well, they actually don’t know who at first! I always find it fun to try and guess whodunnit in mystery novels and this was no different. In this book there are a number of suspects and though I wasn’t ENTIRELY surprised by the answer, I also didn’t exactly see it coming, so that’s a good thing! Additionally there were a couple other subplots that tied in with the murder plot, adding more interest and intrigue.

Should you read it? Overall this was a solid historical mystery romance. I haven’t read a lot of historical romance to compare this to, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and think it’s worth taking a chance on.


QUOTES

 

Braxton’s very presence now in his home engendered emotions that had no place in his current life, a new life he’d planned to begin that very evening by announcing his intentions to court a beautiful woman who had become his dearest friend.

She narrowed her eyes, her nostrils flaring slightly, much preferring anger to heartache. Perhaps it was time to petition God again about striking him dead. That thought cheered her immeasurably, and she looked forward to the coastline with a smile.

The familiar sound of his voice had washed over her like warm rain, and it had taken true restraint to keep from launching herself at him.

“You frighten me, Rachael Scarsdale. What will you do? Make sure of medieval torture devices?”
“Oh, Sophia, what nonsense.” They reached the drawing room and Rachael smiled. “I don’t have access to any of those.”

“Oh, it is no impertinence on my part, I assure you! Lord Wilshire and I are the dearest of friends, you see. He is rather like my own brother. We are truly family.” Sophia thought she heard Anthony grinding his teeth, but she wasn’t certain.

Anthony’s eyes narrowed fractionally. She felt a thrill course through her limbs and caught her breath. He was irritated. Well, let him be. He made this friendship bed, and now he could lie down in it.

“You never even kissed me! I had no desire to be publicly ruined, but gentleman steal kisses from ladies frequently. I heard all sorts of gossip in the retiring rooms. Do you have any ida how long I was waiting for you to snatch a momenta t a party, perhaps two seconds in the shadows of the balcony—” He tilted her face up with both hands and cut off her sentence.

“Are you well?” he asked Sophia quietly.
She nodded, but swayed on her feet.
“Shall I carry you to your bedchamber?” His lips twitched, and she smiled.
“Yes, please, my lord. Perhaps if I should faint, you would be obliged.”
He leaned close to her ear, taking advantage of the distraction now spilling through the house. “And then I should be obliged to loosen your stays so you might regain your breath. Strictly for your well-being of course.”

And by all that was holy, if Braxton did not stop leering at Sophia, Anthony was prepared to put his fist in the man’s throat.

“My petticoat is exposed, but not my ankles. My modesty is preserved.”


My (Writing) Life

Ahhh……

It’s been a long weekend. After a busy Friday evening at the hotel, I spent all of Saturday doing party prep. Cleaning, assisting with removing branches from trees (this is normal party prep, right???), and baking. Plus birthday dinner at Culvers. Today, on my daughter’s 6th birthday, we had family over to celebrate. It went off without a hitch. And for the first time in I don’t know how long, I’ve come out of hosting a party not utterly exhausted. It does feel nice to just relax though after all that!

This week is an exciting one. I’m off work (at the hotel) until Thursday evening, which means I’ll be dedicating a lot of time to working and setting myself a schedule for my days offincluding a house cleaning schedule. I’m also going to make sure I get at least a couple hundred words written each day.

And speaking of writing, I received the first round of edits on Peace in Flames back on Friday. I skimmed through the edits/comments from my phone and there isn’t a whole lot to address aside from accepting some punctuation changes. Yay! I do need to add a bit more with my villain but she already warned me about that.

So, yeah. That’s what’s up.

 

Did you have a busy weekend? Or were you able to just relax?

REVIEW: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Windwitch Book Cover Windwitch
The Witchlands #2
Susan Dennard
YA Fantasy
Tor Teen
January 10, 2017
Hardcover
384
Target
Flights of Fantasy
May 4-20, 2017

Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

My Review

When I finished the first book in this series, Truthwitch, I knew I had to get my hands on Windwitch ASAP. And I did. Except then I didn’t read it. For almost 6 months. And I’m kind of glad I did wait, because it means there is less time to wait for the third book in this series!

What I love about this series is that it reeled me in slowly. I wasn’t instantly in love with the story from page 1, it was a subtle building of affection, but before I knew it, I had to know what happened next. Like, I can’t even pinpoint the moment.

I also love how real all of the characters are. Vivia, who we are led to hate in Truthwitch soon became a real three-dimensional character in Windwitch and I most looked forward to her story. Same with Aeuduan. He was the ultimate villain in book 1, but I need more of him after reading book 2.

The world and magic system are very interesting, and though I was left a little confused about the different witch types at the end of Truthwitch, I really didn’t feel that this time around. As the story progressed, we’re given a clearer picture of the different witcheries in a natural non-info-dumpy sort of way. Which is perfect.

This book is so full of action, even when nothing super exciting was happening, I was completely engaged with the characters and each of their journeys. I normally prefer books that follow just one or two characters, but like with Game of Thrones, I really enjoy all of the different characters and their stories, and love watching them entwine.

This is absolutely a series I recommend to readers of fantasy who enjoy epic tales of adventure. I can’t wait to read book 3, Bloodwitch!

(Update to review: Apparently Bloodwitch won’t be the next book released! There is a prequel called Sightwitch releasing January 2018.)


QUOTES

Vivia Nihar was a Tidewitch, and a blighted powerful one at that. She could drown them all with a though, so let Serrit Linday and the rest of the High Counsil try to cross her again.

“Oh, I know!” Safi clapped her hands, delighted by her own genius. “I shall call you the Un-empressed.”
“Please,” Vaness said coldly, “stop this immediately.”
Safi absolutely did not.


A new cold—one from within—struck Merik in the chest. He was
that broken. That unrecognizable. And though he tried to tell himself she was nearsighted, she couldn’t possibly recognize his face unless he was inches from her . . . He knew the truth. He was a horror to behold. He was the Fury.

Her lips curved a bit highter.
The Hell-Bard noticed. “Don’t look so smug, Heretic. You’re the one tied to a tree.”

“You really should be dead, sir, but you’ve the blessing of Lady Baile on your side.”
“That,” Merik croaked, his throat more wasted and sore than it had been in days, “or the Hagfishes think I taste bad.”

He looked, as he always did, unimpressed. Or Un-empressed, she thought, doubting he would appreciate the joke any more than Vaness had.

But for once in her life—for one single day—she felt as if she’d made the right choice. As if she could forge on, knowing she truly had no regrets.


My (Writing) Life

Peace in Flames, my novella due for release in February, is with my editor as of last night. I heard back this morning that she’s already halfway done. Heck, by this time of the day she might be completely done! I already know she wants me to expand upon my villain’s character, to make him more three dimensional. As much as I dread the thought of more re-writes on this story, I can’t disagree. I want it to be strong. So, next week I’ll probably dive back into that one.

In the meantime I’m up to my eyeballs in formatting and book covers for my work with Melange Books. On top of that, I have about 4/5 of an 80k novel to finish reading and send back to the author before the end of September. Eep! It’s a very light proofing/line edit suggestions so I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish sooner rather than later.

In other news, we hired a new girl at my hotel job. She’s full time! That means less shifts for me. Woohooo! After my shift tonight I’m off until next Thursday. I’m going to make great use of this time off to get this proofing job done, work on those edits on Peace in Flames, and hopefully make some progress with Summer of Peace. Not to mention allllll the formatting and covers I have to complete for Melange! I can do it though. I have faith in me. I think? Heck, maybe I’ll even find the time to post a couple more book reviews! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this book was read in May. And the last few were all July or earlier. I’m woefully behind.

Anyone else drowning in work and/or reviews to post?

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Revenge of the Nerd by Curtis Armstrong

Revenge of the Nerd: Or . . . The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger Book Cover Revenge of the Nerd: Or . . . The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger
Curtis Armstrong
Biography
Thomas Dunne Books
July 11, 2017
Digital ARC
336
NetGalley

Risky Business. Revenge of the Nerds. Better Off Dead. Moonlighting. Supernatural. American Dad. New Girl. What do all of these movies and television shows have in common?

Curtis Armstrong.

A legendary comedic second banana to a litany of major stars, Curtis is forever cemented in the public imagination as Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. A classically trained actor, Curtis began his incredible 40-year career on stage but progressed rapidly to film and television. He was typecast early and it proved to be the best thing that could have happened.

But there’s more to Curtis’ story than that.

Born and bred a nerd, he spent his early years between Detroit, a city so nerdy that the word was coined there in 1951, and, improbably, Geneva, Switzerland. His adolescence and early adulthood was spent primarily between the covers of a book and indulging his nerdy obsessions. It was only when he found his true calling, as an actor and unintentional nerd icon, that he found true happiness. With whip-smart, self-effacing humor, Armstrong takes us on a most unlikely journey―one nerd’s hilarious, often touching rise to the middle. He started his life as an outcast and matured into…well, an older, slightly paunchier, hopefully wiser outcast.

In Hollywood, as in life, that counts as winning the game.

My Review

I was browsing the selection on NetGalley and thought it might be fun to see what was available in the non-fiction section, specifically memoirs. When I came across Curtis Armstrong’s memoir, titled Revenge of the Nerd, I knew I had to request it.

Now, I’ve never seen Revenge of the Nerds, or if I did I was very young and it was on cable TV and I wasn’t paying much attention. It’s a movie a little before my time. However, I recognized Mr. Armstrong as Metatron from the fabulous CW TV show Supernatural.

I haven’t read many memoirs (Um…. I think this is my 2nd ever!) but this makes me want to read more! It was so much fun reading about his offbeat early life in Switzerland and subsequent return to Detroit. It was awesome to read all the candid behind the scenes stories from the making of all of the movies and TV shows he was on. It was a little heartbreaking to hear about how he left the cast of Supernatural and how the crazed fans at the conventions didn’t like him much just because he played a villain. (I loved you as Metatron, Curtis! I’d stand in line for your autograph!)!

There were a lot of stories about actors I’ve heard of (Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, etc.) as well as many I haven’t. If this book has done nothing else for me, it has encouraged me to seek out old movies I’ve never seen before, like Risky Business and Revenge of the Nerds, just so that I can have a fuller sense of the stories I read.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Fans of Curtis Armstrong and those who have never seen his work alike will get a kick out of his fabulous stories and (often self-deprecating) humor. A+ Curtis. Thanks for the ride!

 


Quotes

What’s a nerd? For forty years I’ve been a professional actor, practicing my craft onstage, screen and television, building a career that many young actors have told me they envy, and that is the question along with “Was that really you belching” and “Did Bruce and Cybil really hate each other?” I am most frequently asked these days. (The answers are no and yes, respectively.)

 

If that sounds like a joke, it wasn’t meant to be. Unless you thought it was funny, in which case it was.

 

Actors spend a lot of time not acting, which is why so many of us take up hobbies, like drinking.

 

The headmaster was eventually let go due to some kind of arcane contractual dispute and not as you might think for the German-death-gas incident.

 

I had, by a rough estimation, dozens of girlfriends between the end of middle school and high school graduation. The catch was, none of these young women actually knew she was my girlfriend.

 

When Metatron, the Scribe of God, a hermit armed with a shotgun and surrounded by hundreds of thousands of books, made his first appearance, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Given everything I had seen on the page, I could see this fallen angel eccentric, violent, articulate, unpredictable and hilarious as being an unexpected gift to any lucky actor, even if he only lasted three episodes, which it turned out was the intention of the show’s writers at the time.

 

Jared and Jensen brought to playing brothers Sam and Dean Winchester extended to their real life as well. I would say they are as close as brothers but I understand from people who have brothers, like my sister, that you really want to kill your brothers most of the time.

 

One of the true signs of maturity is realizing that not gracefully surrendering the things of youth actually makes us better grownups. If more people embraced their inner nerd, the better off everyone would be.

 

My eventual proposal of marriage very eventual, to hear Elaine tell it; to me it seemed a little rushed was kind of like Revenge of the Nerd itself: mixed reviews at the time, but now generally regarded as a classic.

 


My (Writing) Life

SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION!

This is my first school year with both of my kids out of the house ALL DAY LONG for school. I’ll admit it, I teared up a little on day one because both of my babies are growing up, they no longer spend the majority of their time with me. I quickly got over it though and relished the peace and quiet. Even Henry (my devil-spawn cat) seems happier and less inclined to attack and bite!

So, what am I doing with my time? Sitting on the couch all day eating bon-bons of course! Just kidding, I’ve been diving head first into work! I’m catching up where I’d fallen behind with my work with the pub house I work for. Now that I’m not so deep in the hole I’ve also started work on my own projects again.

Tonight I finished my last pass through on PEACE IN FLAMES before I send it off to my editor. Yay! That means I need to get my butt moving on the overhaul of SUMMER OF PEACE. The sooner I pound that novella out, the sooner I can get started on my next project. For which I’ve already made a cover.

I’m also hoping, with the kids in school, to carve out time more often to post my reviews. I swear, my backlog of reviews is growing faster than I can post them! I hate having such a long delay between posts, so I’m really going to work on this guys. I hope!

Anyone else back to school or sent kids back to school? Are you as amped for the new school year as I am?

Deja Revu – August 27, 2017

Picture
Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
Picture

Original

Meme

Response

Interview

Picture
Picture

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Fantasy

Romance

Picture

Contemporary

Romance

Picture

Classic

Contemporary

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Graphic Novel

Historical

Horror

Mystery

Non-Fiction

Romance

Science Fiction

Suspense/Thriller

Women’s Fiction

Picture

Paranormal

REVIEW: Paper Hearts by Ali Novak

Paper Hearts Book Cover Paper Hearts
The Heartbreakers Chronicles #2
Ali Novak
YA Romance
Sourcebooks Fire
July 4, 2017 (Originally published 2014)
E-ARC
384
NetGalley
Beat The Backlist
June 1-3, 2017

"I'm sorry," he said, slowly untying the ribbon that held his mask in place. "It's just-I didn't want you to think of me any differently."

Somehow I kept my mouth from falling open. I knew his face, but my mind couldn't accept that he was the person looking down at me.

"My real name is Alec."

Felicity has her entire future planned. Ever since her older sister ran away, she's had the full weight of her mother's expectations on her shoulders. So she works hard to get straight As and save for college.

Except sometimes the best things in life are unplanned-like when Felicity meets a handsome, masked stranger while she is volunteering at a charity masquerade ball. She never thought he'd flirt with her. And she certainly never thought he'd turn out to be a member of the world-famous Heartbreakers band, Alec.

Then Felicity uncovers a shocking family secret. Suddenly, she, Alec, and her two best friends are off on a road trip to find Felicity's missing sister. And she's about to discover that unexpected turns have a peculiar way of landing her right where she needs to be...

My Review

This book sounded way too cute to resist requesting from NetGalley. Lucky for me, I was approved, and shortly thereafter dove in. Let me tell you, the story is as cute as the cover!

I was once a fangirl who dreamed of falling in love with the cute boys in the boybands I obsessed over. Lucky Felicity in this story actually gets the chance! When Alec Williams, lead singer for The Heartbreakers accidentally spills his drink on her during a charity ball, an unlikely romance and adventure begins.

Felicity likes Alec, but more important than starting a relationship, she wants to find her sister who disappeared three years ago. When she gets a lead on her sisters whereabouts, it’s Alec to the rescue, driving her and her two best friends across 3 states.

I loved the characters in this book. Felicity is very smart and driven, she doesn’t think twice about Alec’s fame and fortune. That means nothing to her. Alec is shy and quiet, nothing like she imagined from his public persona. Asha, Fel’s best friend, is the ultimate fan girl. She makes questionable choices, but her heart is in the right place. Boomer, her other bestie, is great comedic relief as well. Each character was utterly their own person and I loved them all in their own ways.

This is just an utterly feel good kinda book. The ending was very nicely done and everything came full circle.

The only negative thing I can say is that there was a portion of the book that took place with the rest of Alec’s band members and it just seemed to drag on and not move the story forward. Aside from that single scene, I loved this story and would love to read more from this series and this author!


Quotes

Aaron instantly backtracked, waving his hands in defense, “Crap. I didn’t mean it like that. You have a lovely face…er…I mean, you’re really pretty.”

 

His eyes were breathtaking, really, and I decided that gray was my new favorite color.

 

Every few pages were dogeared. It drove my mom crazy when I did that. She likes to keep her novels in top condition, as if they’d never been opened, but I was of the opinion that books were made to be loved and worn.

 

A magnetic energy of sorts swelled between us. It was charged and electric and impossible to ignore.

 

It was possibly the most romantic thing a guy had ever said to me, that he wanted to read the book because it was my favorite.

 

“Basically you need someone to suffer alongside you?” I asked, and satisfaction shot through my chest at my witty, almost flirty response.
His mouth quirked into a crooked grin. “Exactly. It will be terrible, I promise.”

 

“Can you give us a moment?” Then she pulled me out of earshot and hissed, “Did someone hit you over the head? There’s a fin-ass boy offering to take you on a road trip, and you can’t say no fast enough. What is wrong with you?”

 

“Alec, I can’t not go to Harvard.”
“Sure you can,” he replied. “Your problem isn’t that you have to go. It’s that you’re afraid of not knowing what you’ll do if you don’t.”

 

What in the world was a Poseidon? Clearly he wasn’t talking about the Greek god, which made me wonder if Oliver’s uncle kept some sort of finicky sea monster in a backyard pond.

 

“Hatred takes up more space in your heart that you realize, and it doesn’t leave room for things like love and joy. Trust me.”

 

“Don’t worry about me,” I replied. “Never been much of a frosting fan anyway.”
JJ gasped. “Told you she has no soul.”


My (Writing) Life

I’m very excited to announce that I’m THIS close to sending Peace in Flames, my YA contemporary romance, to my editor. I’m currently going through all of the feedback provided by my beta readers and cleaning things up and clarifying things I didn’t get across properly the first time.

The release isn’t until February (I’ll post the OFFICIAL date when it gets closer!) but I’m eager to finish this one so that I can move on and do the re-writes for Summer of Peace, my new adult contemporary romance in the Peace Novella Series. Then I can move on to the many OTHER projects I have planned!

Things would probably go faster if I quit getting distracted. Like that time I stopped mid-chapter to make the following teaser. haha

I (and the other Peace Series) authors would LOVE it if you’d be willing to support our Thunderclap here.

Oh, and we’ve launched a website for the series (I designed it!) that you can check out here: www.peacenovellaseries.com

 

REVIEW: Richelle Mead’s The Dark Swan: Storm Born

Richelle Mead's The Dark Swan: Storm Born Book Cover Richelle Mead's The Dark Swan: Storm Born
Dark Swan Comic
Richelle Mead
Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Sea Lion Books
October 2011
Hardcover
120
Blog Giveaway Win
Grant Alter
Dave Haman, Adam Markiewicz
Beat The Backlist, Flights of Fantasy
April 9-12, 2017

Eugenie Markham never asked for any of this. Until now, she's been content with her job as a freelance shaman, battling and banishing Otherworldly creatures. When a prophecy suddenly makes her the Otherworld's most popular bachelorette, Eugenie finds herself fighting off unwanted supernatural suitors, as well as the evils that begin emerging from her past...

My Review

It’s no secret that I don’t care much for comic books or graphic novels. Some people love them, I don’t. For me, they’re graphically over stimulating and lack the details of a novel. They’re just too quick. You don’t get to really experience the depth of the characters emotions like you do in a full novel.

That said, while all of the above is true, Dark Swan was a good “cliff notes” introduction to the Dark Swan series by my favorite author, Richelle Mead. I’ve read 99% of her teen books, but I’m slowly working my way through her backlist.

The dialogue in this graphic novel was funny, and while the illustrations are mostly overstimulating for me, they were nicely done. The sex scene was tasteful and not pornographic, which was good, since I was reading it at work!

I think people who LIKE paranormal romance novels AND graphic novels might enjoy this graphic novel. I mean, the main character is a shaman. She has to travel to the Otherworld to rescue a girl who was kidnapped by faeries. It has a lot going for it. I actually bought the full series “box set” on my Kindle a month or so ago when it went on sale, so I’ll hopefully be reading and reviewing that soon. You know, if I can get through my NetGalley backlist. (Seriously, someone needs to take the mouse away from me when I get to that site! Do NOT let me request any more books!)

So, yeah. Graphic novel and PNR fans, check this out. If you prefer more depth to your stories like I do, check out the full novel series.

 

REVIEW: Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Watch Me Disappear Book Cover Watch Me Disappear
Janelle Brown
Mystery
Spiegel & Grau
July 11, 2017
E-ARC
368
NetGalley
July 3-10, 2017

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a beautiful, charismatic Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. No body—only a hiking boot—has ever been found. Billie’s husband and teenage daughter cope with her death the best they can: Jonathan drinks, Olive grows remote.

But then Olive starts having waking dreams—or are they hallucinations?—that her mother is still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he knew about his wife. Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, their family, and the stories we tell ourselves about the people we love.

My Review

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I started this book I thought I would hate it. I didn’t care for the narration style. But as I continued to read I found myself growing more and more invested in the mystery. Was Olive really psychic and seeing real visions of her mother? Did Billie fake her death? Was she kidnapped? Murdered? Did she really just fall into a ravine or something equally as tragic and awful while off hiking alone in the woods?

The theories were circling through my head the entire time I read this story. By the time I got to the epilogue, I had to pull my jaw off the ground. Janelle Brown really hit the nail on the head with this amazing ending.

The real central theme of this book is, can you really know someone? Really truly know the real them, not just the mask they wear for the people around them? As Jonathan and Olive dig into Billie’s life and her past, that question begins to really take over Jonathan’s thought process. As he attempts to write the love story he shared with his wife, before her death a year earlier. As he attempts to have her officially, legally, declared dead so he and his daughter can move on. As he begins to dig up more and more of Billie’s secrets…

I really don’t even know what to say in this review because everything I want to gush about will ruin everything for anyone who hasn’t read this book.

I haven’t read a lot of mysteries, but this is one of the better ones I have read and I’d rank Watch Me Disappear one almost as high as Gone Girl.

Should you read it? If you like book that keeps you guessing until the last page, THIS is the book for you!!!


Quotes

You don’t realize how much you’ll miss the asphyxiating intimacy of early parenthood until you can finally breathe again.

 

“Stop it, Olive. This isn’t healthy. Your mother is gone. Dead,” he snaps before he can stop himself. Immediately, he is stricken with remorse.

 

He used to feel like there was something of the sea hidden inside her; something wild and unfathomable.

 

She would soak up her mother’s stories about her own Lost Years—the decade during which Billie, a teenage runaway, had roamed around the Pacific Northwest and then travelled the world, hanging out with artists and activists and drug dealers—and would sense that she was failing her mother in some way. “Anyway, you didn’t want to do what I did,” Billie would say, abruptly cutting herself off, but somehow Olive knew she meant the exact opposite.

 

…the world is so vast and so beautiful and so forever—and then she remembers that she is supposed to be sad, too. How can she feel both of these things at once? The loveliness of being alive and the knowledge that it can never last?

 

There’s no rational explanation for his wife being alive that doesn’t point to her being some kind of monster. And he’s not ready to change the point of view of his entire life’s story.

 

And yet how can you ever really know the truth about another person? We all write our own narratives about the people we know and love, he realizes. We choose the story that is easiest to tell, the one that best fits our own vision for our lives. We define them in the way that’s most convenient for our own sense of self-aggrandizement. Glossing over anything that doesn’t fit into the neat little narrative because we don’t want the whole fiction to fall apart.

 

Only someone fearful of his own ordinariness would buy, so unquestioningly, someone else’s extraordinariness.

 

If I dig back far enough in Billie’s history, will I finally find someone who knows what was really going on inside her?

 

You believe what you think you believe, until suddenly, you realize that you don’t anymore. Or maybe you do believe, but it’s no longer convenient to do so, so you decide to forget. You decide to find other beliefs, ones that more comfortably fit the constant evolving puzzle of your life.