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REVIEW: Meet Me There by Judy Corry

Meet Me There Book Cover Meet Me There
Ridgewater High Romance #1
Judy Corry
YA Contemporary Romance
March 6, 2018
Kindle
266
Amazon
April 12-13, 2018

A dark Chemistry lab. A fake British accent. It's all fun and games until somebody falls in love.

When sixteen-year-old, Ashlyn Brooks, runs into a sweet British guy in the dark Chemistry lab, she has no idea she's actually sitting in the pitch black room with her longtime rival, Luke Davenport. She also doesn't know that she's stepped into another one of the football captain's pranks. It isn't long before she's sharing things she's never told anyone, and starting to fall for the mysterious guy with a sexy accent who seems to understand her in a way no one ever has before.

When Luke's mom dies the summer before his senior year, he turns to pranking Ashlyn to keep his mind off his loss. But the more he gets to know her, the more he regrets using his fake British accent in the first place. Soon Luke is walking the thin line of keeping his lies a secret and wishing he could tell her that the boy she's falling for is really him.

Meet Me There is a standalone novel in The Ridgewater High series, a collection of simmering YA contemporary romances. If you like sweet romance with ballad-worthy chemistry, swoony kisses and endearing characters then you'll love Judy Corry's latest book.

Current Books in the series:
Meet Me There (Ashlyn and Luke's story)
Don't Forget Me (Eliana and Jess's story)

My Review

I’m pretty sure this is my first book by Judy Corry, and I don’t think it will be my last. This is also the first book I’ve read in a while that I bought on a whim. I think I saw the cover or a teaser or something on Twitter, clicked the link for Amazon, skimmed the preview, and the next thing I know I’d one clicked.

I’m sure glad I did, too, because Meet Me There was an absolute treat! My Kindle read this to me over the course of two days (probably 6.5 hours?) at work. (Yeah, I know, my job is amazing.)

I bought the book because the concept reeled me in. A couple of teens who have had a prank rivalry going on? Sound awesome! A British accent? Like 99% of all American girls, I swooned a little.

So yeah, you’ve got Ashlyn the dancer who’s falling for this mystery British boy, and you’ve got Luke, the cute football player who’s always pranking her and also pretending to be said British boy. As they’re falling for each other with his pretend identity, she’s enlisted to teach him to dance for a fundraiser event. Obviously hijinks and swoon-worthy moments are going to ensure.

Seriously though, scroll up and read the blurb if you skipped it. This book is absolutely adorable and is pretty much guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face. I wish I had written this book. Wait, no, I don’t. Because then I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of reading this book. But really, if you love sweet romance stories featuring realistic characters with steamy chemistry, give this book a try.

Once I’m caught up on my backlist a little more I’m sure I’ll somehow find my way back to Amazon to pick up the second book in this series, Don’t Forget Me.


Quotes

(Confession – I was SO into this book as I was listening at work that for the first half I forgot to highlight good quotes! Oops!)

British Boy’s kiss wasn’t hurried and rushed like the other guys I’d kissed in the past. His hands didn’t try wandering to places I didn’t want them to go. Instead, he made me feel like I was special, like we had all the time in the world to get to know each other better. Like we had more than just today to kiss. And suddenly, I knew these few minutes wouldn’t be nearly long enough.


Dang. I bit my lip. His arms were definitely not made of air. They were made from heaven itself.


“You seem cheerful. Something good happen this morning at drill practice?” Her smile made me uneasy. Had she figured out the truth somehow and was just being really sweet before she smacked me?

“Not unless you call being chewed out by your coach for dancing too sloppily good.” She sighed.

“Nope, not my kind of fun. I’m pretty sure I know what you’re talking about. Just last week, my dance coach told me my muscles were made of air and that I couldn’t dance to save my life.”


My (Writing) Life

I’m still slowly but surely writing my new YA contemporary romance, code name SIGA. It’s coming along, but I’m having this problem where I’m having all these ideas for the second book…. #WriterProblems

In other news, I was feeling super stressed with too much on my plate, but I’m suddenly feeling lighter. I think I was stressing, without realizing it, about being a guest presenter at an RWA meeting yesterday. Now that I’m done with that I’m feeling better. And before that I was stressing about getting my house ready for my daughter’s birthday party. Then we got hit with a blizzard. In April. (Someone PLEASE remind me why I live in this frozen wasteland??? Oh, right… family… and amazing summers!) Anyway, that’s postponed for end of May. So that stress will return in a couple weeks!

I’ve also been keeping busy beta reading for the amazing Rachel Walter. I envy her ability to create such flawed and awesome characters.

In case you’re not counting down the days as I am, FIVE MORE DAYS until the release of Summer of Peace! I’m more than a little excited you guys. I’ve got a blog tour starting Friday (I still open slots if any of you are bloggers and interested – shoot me a message!) JoJo is my favorite character I’ve published to date. (My hero from SIGA is my all time favorite character, sorry JoJo.) And Matt is pretty swoon-worthy IMO. I can’t wait for everyone to read their story.

I’m setting a goal for myself to post a review once a week, on my one day off work. (Yeah, the crappy thing about working two jobs is that I only have one day off each week now! That’ll change come summer though, I’m cutting back my hours at the hotel!)

So, hopefully you’ll see me again next Saturday on my day off! (Although I’m out of town most of the day, so we’ll see if it happens!)

 

REVIEW: Breaking The Ice by Julie Cross

Breaking the Ice Book Cover Breaking the Ice
Juniper Falls #2
Julie Cross
YA Contemporary Romance
Entangled Teen
December 26, 2017
E-ARC
341
NetGalley
Beat The Backlist 2018
January 21-23, 2018

The second book in the Juniper Falls series from NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Cross, perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Abbi Glines.

Haley Stevenson seems like she’s got it all together: cheer captain, “Princess” of Juniper Falls, and voted Most Likely to Get Things Done. But below the surface, she’s struggling with a less-than-stellar GPA and still reeling from the loss of her first love. Repeating her Civics class during summer school is her chance to Get Things Done, not angst over boys. In fact, she’s sworn them off completely until college.

Fletcher Scott is happy to keep a low profile around Juniper Falls. He’s always been the invisible guy, warming the bench on the hockey team and moonlighting at a job that would make his grandma blush. Suddenly, though, he’s finding he wants more: more time on the ice, and more time with his infuriatingly perfect summer-school study partner.

But leave it to a girl who requires perfection to shake up a boy who’s ready to break all the rules.

My Review

This is my third YA hockey book, though the content of this one feels more like a NA book. I don’t even like hockey, but all of these fabulous hockey themed books make me wish I did!

This is very much a hate to love romance. Fletcher just wants to be left alone and Haley just wants to pass her summer school class. Haley wants to use Fletcher for his smarts, while Fletcher resigns himself to trying to help his cousin, who’s got a huge crush on Haley, get some face time with her. Somehow this unlikely couple falls in love.

Haley is a pretty straight forward character. You love her or you hate her. Fletcher is frustrating because he’s very secretive and harbors animosity toward his town due to rumors about both his parents and grandparents. He has a top secret job, which will keep you guessing the entire time until the job is revealed.

Overall this was an incredibly fun, sweet, and sexy book which I devoured. I will absolutely be looking for more books from Julie Cross in the future.

Due to some of the sexual content in this book I would recommend this one for upper-teen and adult readers.


Quotes

What do I know about Haley Stevenson? Probably not nearly as much as she assumes. First off, she really did shove Cheerios up my nose when we were three.

 

So Fletcher Scott is nice to look at. Big deal. Pull yourself together, Haley.

“We’re corrupting a fifteen-year-old. Maybe we should go to church.”

I’ve only practiced with varsity for a total of eight days now, but I’ve already figured out that Coach is hardest on the most talented players. I’m not on his hate list. And I need to be. Somehow.

Before I have a chance to absorb the fact that I’ve just signed up to spend extra time with the world’s most infuriating girl, I focus on a plan of action—two birds with one stone and all that shit.

“I’m gonna go in there…” I point a finger at the door. “And I’m going to talk to your cousin because you’re right, I do like helping people. But as far as the project goes, you don’t get to do it by yourself. You’re stuck with me. Consider it your punishment for being an asshole.”

I fight the urge to throw my phone across the playground. He’s got the brooding-asshole act down a little too well. And yet, part of me wants to prod him some more, if only to get another glimpse of Other Fletcher—the one without so many walls.
How can someone be so infuriating and interesting at the same time?

Jamie skids to a stop and takes in both of us. “What the hell is going on?”
“Fletcher’s pregnant,” Haley says, straight-faced.
I nod. “I am.”

Falling for Haley? How is that possible? We haven’t done anything except make out. Twice. Of course, there’re all the times I wished we were kissing, wished we were doing more than kissing. And right now, we’ve been apart for twenty minutes and I already want to see her again.
Jesus Christ, I’m screwed.


My (Writing) Life

It’s been a crazy month you guys. If you read my previews review you may remember that I was hired for a new job. This is on top of my work for indie press Melange Books, and my job as a hotel front desk agent. So basically I have three jobs now. If you count being a mom, that’s four. And keeping my house from falling apart, that’s five. So yeah, I have like 8,000 jobs right now. Life is crazy.

To add to all the stress of too many jobs, the day I STARTED my new job, I had to bring my van in because it was misbehaving. The next day I got word that my transmission is shot. So yeah, I started a new job and basically the same day learned that my mode of transportation was gone. My parents are amazing though, so I was able to borrow my dad’s car for two full weeks. That’s how long it took me to find a replacement vehicle (because there’s zero sense in putting a new transmission in a 2004 minivan!) So yeah, I have a new (used) car and I’m sort of in love. It’s a 2012 Kia Sorento. The color is “White Sand Beige”, which I hated in the pictures… hated a little less when we test drove it… and now that it’s mine the color is growing on me. Now I have my first ever car payment. ((sobs))

In the writing world I’m trying to get back into writing (almost) daily. Now that Peace in Flames is out for public consumption, and Summer of Peace is up for preorder, all of my writing energy is going into Something I’m Good At. This YA romance is so much fun. When it’s ready (summer? I hope?) I hope everyone loves my hero, Kane, as much as I do. (It’s totally normal to a little crush on your own character, right? …RIGHT???)

So, in short, my schedule is jam packed. And because I now have a car payment, I can’t exactly quit my hotel job yet. (Plus I like the discounted hotel rooms!) I have a ton of reviews to post and write. My reading has slowed down a little, but not horribly so. Hopefully I can get into the swing of carving time to post at least weekly if not more often. Anything’s better than this once a month crap, right????

So if you made it through all that, you should go buy/preorder my Peace Novellas. ((wink))

 

REVIEW: Hello Again by Brenda Novak

Hello Again Book Cover Hello Again
The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #2
Brenda Novak
Romantic Thriller
St. Martin's Press
October 3, 2017
E-ARC
384
NetGalley
October 13 - 22, 2017

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.
Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world's worst serial killers. But she's about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered--or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?
When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except...Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends--and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . . .

My Review

I think Hello Again might be even better than the first book in the Evelyn Talbot series. Seriously, I thought the stakes were great in that book, but it had nothing on this one!

I think you could jump into this book without reading the previous, but I do recommend reading the first. Because it was amazing. And you’ll better understand the characters and their motives.

So in Hello Again, Evelyn and Amarok are still together, and things start out the same as the previous book, with Evelyn still not ready to fully commit. Their relationship does start to change though, but I won’t spoil how.

Meanwhile, Amarok has been watching for any signs that Jasper, the man who brutally tortured and left Evelyn for dead when she was 16, is still killing. When he thinks he might have found him, he sets off for the Southwest USA, leaving Evelyn alone in Alaska, dealing with her latest psychopath who has you questioning his innocence the whole time…

What’s really cool about this book is that we get a bigger peek into Jasper’s head, and let me tell you, he is a twisted mofo! (Just see the quote below!)

This is a page turner, just like the first book. I had a hard time putting it down. And just like the first book, each chapter starts with a quotation from a real serial killer, some more known than other, all equally crazed.

If you like romantic thrillers – or just thrillers in general – read this series!!!


Quotes

“Let’s talk about something else,” she said. “I can tell this is upsetting you.”
“I would upset anybody!” He snapped. “Which is why I worry about you, being constantly immersed in details of the worst of human behavior.”

He shoved a hand through his hair. “I hope this goes my way.”
“Or…”
“I’ll find out what it feels like to have my heart broken, something I’ve managed to avoid for thirty years.”

Some people—most of Alaska—loved San Diego. But he wasn’t overly impressed. He preferred Alaska.

Amarok seemed determined. He’d made a bold move, flying all the way to San Diego to approach Stanley and Maureen. One that required nerve. And one for which Jasper was determined to make him pay dearly.

Everything they had should belong to him someday and would have if only Evelyn had died in that shack like she was supposed to. She’d ruined his life—and deserved what she was going to get.

“There are too many people in the world. I actually perform a vital function. As far as I’m concerned, there needs to be more killers like me.”


My (Writing) Life

Wow, I’m literally the worst.

It’s been over a MONTH since I last posted! It’s been a crazy few weeks, so I’m going to use that as my excuse! ((wink))

So, what’s new? PEACE IN FLAMES WENT LIVE!!! You can snag your very own copy from Amazon HERE! If you’re in Kindle Unlimited you can save yourself the 99c and read for free. If you don’t know what the book is about I’ll give you the short explanation: High School + Boy Obsessed With Girl + Arson = Peace in Flames.

In other news I’m making my way through the FINAL draft of SUMMER OF PEACE, my New Adult Romance (stand alone) follow up to PEACE IN FLAMES. I’ve had so many drafts of this book it’s not even funny. Something was always missing or a little off, but I think I’m finally almost there and happy with the end result!

Once I finish this draft and send it off to my editor, I’m going to re-read the 16k words I have written for my full length YA romance Something I’m Good At and get back to work on that story. I think you guys are going to love these characters. My hero, Kane, is absolutely hilarious.

As for my LIFE, we’re painfully short staffed at my hotel job which means everything is a thousand times more stressful. I’ve been working every weekend, usually around 30 hours in those three days, and then spending all my “free” time working on my publishing job and trying to find time to write. I’m pretty sure I still have a husband and two kids, I just rarely see them! Actually, The Husband and I had a date night last Thursday which was much needed, but sent me even further behind with my at home work. Ugh.

As of yesterday I accepted a NEW JOB ((HAPPY DANCE)) for a local company. Minimal customer interaction. Four hours per day. Five days per week. Much better money than I’m making at my hotel job. So… I cut back my hours at the hotel and I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a better work/life balance with this new position.

I’ll try not to stay away for so long next time. I’m not reading as much as I’d like to, since I’m really focusing on writing more, but I’ve got a back log of reviews to get posted. Like this one I’m posting today. That I read in last few months of 2017….

So, go grab yourself a copy of PEACE IN FLAMES, leave a review whether you loved it, hated it, or just thought it was meh, and I’ll see ya next time!

REVIEW: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride Book Cover Along for the Ride
Sarah Dessen
YA Contemporary Romance
Viking Books for Young Readers
June 16, 2009
Hardcover
383
Half Price Books
Beat The Backlist 2018
January 1 - 12, 2018

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.

Review

This was a challenging book to get into. All of the characters were pretty awful and it was hard to care about them. But then something magical happened. Somewhere at around the halfway point this book became difficult to put down. Suddenly I started to see little changes in the heroine, Auden, and I started to care what happened.

On the surface this is a book about a girl who spends the summer between high school and college with her dad and step-mom at their house in a little beach town. She finds friends and romance. But it’s actually much deeper.

Let’s talk about Auden. She’s the youngest of two children and because her parents “needed” her to be quiet and good as a child, she was. She never had a real childhood. She never had close friends, the color pink was frowned upon, and boys were a distraction to her studies — useless.

So when Auden moves in with her dad and step-mother, Heidi, for the summer, she’s dreading having to be around her perky pink-clad step-mother, Heidi. Not to mention the fact that her new baby half-sister NEVER. STOPS. CRYING.

When her parents were fighting, before the divorce, Auden stopped sleeping at night, instead she spent her nights hanging out at an all night diner. Now in the new beach town, she must find new ways to fill her nights. Soon after her arrival, she connects with the mysterious Eli. A friendship blossoms and, upon learning of Auden’s lack of a childhood, he’s determined to give her as many of those experiences as he can before she starts college in the fall.

On the surface, this is a book where not a lot happens. There’s a lot of repetition with the nightly activities between Auden and Eli, plus her job at Heidi’s store, but as Eli takes her on her quest, and things at home become shaky, Auden begins to change.

Let’s talk about the side characters for a second. They were great and awful and a big part of what makes Auden who she is. Her mother is a strong, independent, and powerful woman — very women’s rights and down with the patriarchy. Her dad is a failed writer. Her brother is a free spirit who has spent the last two years mooching off their parents backpacking through Europe.

Her mom comes across as cold-hearted and just mean. She seems to expect Auden to be a carbon copy of herself. Her dad is awful. He’s so selfish and ignorant.

But the people Auden meets in the beach town are amazing.

My main takeaway themes from this book are:

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover — there is far more to a person than what you see on the surface.

People can change — Every person close to Auden in this book showed signs of changing for the better. Even the most unredeemable characters take steps toward redemption.

Coming of Age — A huge theme in this book was Auden realizing who she is without her parents. When she separates herself from them and follows what feels is right in her own heart, who is she really? Is she a carbon copy of her mother? Or as selfish as her dad?

This review is getting WAY too long. For a book I really could have cared less about in the beginning, I’m shocked at how much I enjoyed this.

So, I’ll say my tiny bit of negatives and end this.

  1. The beginning dragged and a critical scene that was referenced multiple times later is glossed over so quickly that it either should have been cut or described.
  1. Very early on her dad and step-mom’s baby is called her stepsister. Grr! She’s her half-sister! Half and Step are VERY different things!!!
  2. I’d liked to have seen more romantic bits with Eli. Personal preference.

Even with those couple negatives, this is still a solid 4 star book for me. The second half was so enjoyable I nearly forgot how bored I was during the first half. I’ll definitely be reading more Sarah Dessen in the future.


Quotes

I was such a smart kid, I should have figured out that the only way to really get my parents’ attention was to disappoint them or fail. But by the time I realized that, succeeding was already a habit too ingrained to break.

There is really nothing more intimidating than approaching a group of girls who have already made up their minds about you. It’s like walking a plank, no way to go but down.

Since I had no rain jacket, I had to borrow one from Heidi, who offered me three colors: bright pink, light pink, and, in her words, “dusty pink,” whatever that meant. I picked the light one, yet still felt positively radioactive as I walked down the gray, wet sidewalk, boldly contrasting with everything about me.

“Who says you have to be either smart or pretty, into girly stuff or sports? Life shouldn’t be about the either/or. We are capable of more than that, you know?”

“Look. I just…”
But no words followed. I just let this hang there, open-ended, waiting for him to jump in, finish it, do the hard part for me. It was my dad’s signature trick, and now I understood why. It was so much easier than having to say what you didn’t want to aloud.

I’d thought I knew so much when I’d arrived here, the smartest girl in the room. But I’d been wrong.


My (Writing) Life

I was going to be GOOD this week and post LOTS of my outstanding reviews. But then I didn’t. I did however get a LOT of my reviews posted at vendors, reviews that are already on the blog and Goodreads, and also submitted to NetGalley. There’s still a ways to go before I’m caught up, but I feel less stressed.

What else… I’m still slogging through reading Animal Farm, but I’m motivated to finish now because next up is going to be The Mummy by Anne Rice. I’ve got the sequel on my old phone from Penguin First Reads to read and I want to refresh my memory by re-reading The Mummy. It’s been a good decade since I first read it!

I’m making slow progress on SOMETHING I’M GOOD AT but that’s mostly right now because I decided to change the book from past tense to present. I usually hate present tense, but it’s starting to grow on me and I think it’ll really help with this particular series of books. (Three books planned at the moment, but I may expand. Who knows!)

I’m 100% certain I will not be posting any other reviews this weekend. It’s the Super Bowl weekend, which I could care less about, but the Super Bowl happens to be in my city this year and I happen to work at a hotel. It’s going to be a full house folks! (Best part of the Super Bowl being in town? One of my good friends demanding that anyone with any info on Justin Timberlake’s whereabouts contact her IMMEDIATELY!) But yeah, I’m working crazy long hours (just like last weekend!) and will be basically dead come Sunday night.

(Psst! Still looking for people who may be interested in reading and reviewing – or even doing a release day blast for – PEACE IN FLAMES my upper YA contemporary romance! Shoot me a message or leave a comment on the post.)

 

 

REVIEW: The Royal Deal by D. G. Driver

The Royal Deal Book Cover The Royal Deal
Chasing the Romantics #1
D. G. Driver
Fairy Tale
January 16, 2018
E-ARC
63
The Author
January 18 - 21, 2018

A pampered princess is told she must marry a prince she doesn't like, let alone love, on her nineteenth birthday. Desperate to find a way to stop this arranged marriage, she makes a bargain with her father. If she can survive for three months in the forest with no help of any kind and return healthy and unharmed, then she can choose the man she will marry. The King accepts the wager, knowing he can't possibly lose. Princess Faith knows she must win this deal, but once she ventures into the forest, she has no idea how she can possibly succeed.

Review

I’m a huge fan of D. G. Driver’s, so when she asked me to read and review her latest release, The Royal Deal, I gladly accepted.

This book isn’t quite like her others. For one, it’s a short novella. And secondly, it’s written as a traditional fairy tale, similar in style to Gail Carson Levine’s The Princess Tales.

I loved the concept of this fairy tale. Pampered princess doesn’t want to marry the prince she sees as irresponsible. She wants to marry his older brother, the prince who is responsible and devoted to his people. The prince who has also been missing since the last battle he fought in.

So Princess Faith makes a deal with her father to let her stay in the woods for three months, if she survives on her own she’ll get to marry whomever she desires. Should she return home, having failed, before the end of the three months, she will marry the young prince.

I loved that Princess Faith believes so highly of herself as an independent and self-sufficient person, but as soon as she enters the woods she learns she’s actually entirely unprepared. Even when a hermit living in the woods comes to her aid, she runs away, refusing to back down and accept help, thus negating the deal.

Faith’s stubbornness and belief in good were a delight. Even though she basically had zero chance of surviving on her own in the woods, she still made the deal to get out of the marriage she didn’t want.

The hermit was an interesting character as well. I don’t want to spoil his story, so I wont say much, just that as a reader I understood the moral/lesson the author meant for me to takeaway right away and liked it.

Unfortunately, I can’t give this 5 stars because there were so many more details I wanted to know! Novella’s are often tough for me, especially in fantasy (as fairy tales are) because they don’t give the details I crave. Everything moves so fast. BUT – this is my personal preference. If you shoved this story into a book of classic fairy tales I wouldn’t question it being there. Not for a second.

So ultimately, if you enjoy classic style fairy tales this could be a winner for you.


Quotes

Prince Jaeger of Aronsite had asked Faith’s father for her hand in marriage. Her father, the King of Devonedge, accepted. When he joyously told Faith the news the night before in front of a banquet full of people, Faith very calmly stood and replied, “I would rather be boiled alive in a vat of lava than marry that sniveling rodent that calls himself a man.”

“You haven’t any skills to survive. This is a wager you can’t possibly win.”
“Still,” she came back, “I’m willing to make it. I’m that against marrying Jaeger and ever hopeful that those three months will bring Mikhail home.”

Failure. Hopeless. Pathetic. Fool.
This mantra looped around and around Faith’s brain…

“Nothing in stories is ever completely accurate for everyone. Nor are stories ever entirely inaccurate about a great number of people.”

Yes, she could marry whomever she wished, but that didn’t mean she would. It didn’t mean she’d give up her nobility to be with a man who lived in the middle of the forest. Marrying for love was not how the world worked for princesses.

 


My (Writing) Life

Oh what to write, what to write!

I suppose, first of all I should apologize for going MIA for a while here. I’ll explain below.

But FIRST I should let everyone know that PEACE IN FLAMES is now available for preorder – WOOHOO!
If you’re in KU you’ll be able to read for FREE beginning Feb 16, 2018 OR you can preorder now and show your love.

In other news I’m nearing the end of my current draft of SUMMER OF PEACE. I anticipate getting this to my editor by early next week, then going through it again using text to speech. (Amazing what your eyes will skip over! Listening is key for proofing!)

If you’re a fellow reviewer and have any interest in reading/reviewing either/both PEACE IN FLAMES (YA Contemporary Romance) and/or SUMMER OF PEACE (NA – clean – Contemporary Romance) shoot me a message. I’d love help spreading the word about my book babies.

So to expand upon what I said above, I recently had about a week of deep depression and didn’t write or blog or really do anything. It was awful. Even reading brought me no joy and felt like a chore. Zero words were written and I second guessed everything I’d written to date. But I made it through to the other side and I’m looking forward to catching up posting my reviews here and diving back into my writing projects. My contemporary YA romance, tentatively titled SOMETHING I’M GOOD AT, is calling to me.

We also had a massive snowstorm four days ago. The roads were absolutely terrible and I was so grateful I didn’t have to leave the house. Unfortunately the schools did not let out early enough and I ended up with my kids school bus stuck in front of my driveway. It had spun around so it actually looked like it had pulled OUT of my driveway instead of like it had tried to drive past. But let me tell you, Minnesota Nice is a real thing because my feeble attempts to help dig the tires out with my snow shovel were met with the assistance of a neighbor across the street with his snowblower. When the bus got stuck again, he was right back out there helping the driver out by clearing more snow. It was a combination of awful/hilarious/amazing to see all of this happening.

And now I need to get ready for a busy night at work. #hotellife

Spotlight Tour: BUSTED by Gina Ciocca + GIVEAWAY

Busted Book Cover Busted
Gina Ciocca
YA Contemporary Romance
Sourcebooks Fire
January 2, 2018
E-ARC
352
NetGalley
December 13 - 16, 2017

Catching cheaters and liars is a lucrative hobby—until you fall for one of the suspects. Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this new novel from the author of Last Year’s Mistake will steal your heart!

Marisa never planned to be a snoop for hire. It wasn’t like she wanted to catch her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. But as her reputation for sniffing out cheaters spreads all over school, Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

And her next case? It’s for ex-frenemy Kendall. She’s convinced her boyfriend, TJ, has feelings for someone else and persuades Marissa to start spying on him. But the more Marisa gets to know sincere and artistic TJ, the more she starts to fall for him. Worse yet, the feelings seem to be mutual. Marisa knows she needs to give up her investigation—and the spoken-for guy who may just be the love of her life. Then she uncovers new secrets about Kendall and TJ, secrets that take “cheater” to a whole new level…

Review

I loved this book! It’s been far too many books since I’ve had a YA in front of my eyes, and I’m so glad this was the one I picked up at this time.

Marisa, Charlie, TJ and even Nick were all great characters to read about. They all had their negative character traits and their positives, which made them feel very real. By the time I finished the book I was glad to have gone on this journey with them, but also sad to be saying goodbye. I want a sequel to read more about Marisa, but I don’t want any more bad to come to her, so… I guess I don’t want a sequel?

I loved how there were so many layers in this book. Anything could be a clue as to what the hell is ACTUALLY going on, and you just don’t know until you get to the end and realize the significance something you read earlier has.

I even loved Marisa’s parents. They were very cool and trusting parents.

It’s been… a few years… since I was in high school, and I just hope that not all high schools are full of such shitty boys like the two schools in this book! The good guys in this book certainly seemed to be the exception to the rule.

I would absolutely recommend this to teens and adults alike who are looking for a fun contemporary with a touch of romance and mystery. Nice work Ms. Ciocca, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!


Quotes

If I hadn’t been in line behind—what the hell was his name? Greg? George?—my double order of Sexual Chocolate (yes, really) and I would be on our way to Charlie’s house for a Saturday movie, gossip, and anti-nutrition night like so many other Saturday’s before.

 

Outing a scumbag felt more badass than anything I’d ever done—especially when I told her how I’d gotten the picture, and she looked at me like I’d parted the Red Sea.

 

And that’s when the bubble of positivity I’d been floating in since reconnecting with Kendall Keene in the parking lot bust like a microwaved marshmallow all over the room.

 

“I don’t know, Kendall,” I sighed into my cell phone. “This is different from what I’ve done before. You’re not asking me to follow him for a night or two. You’re basically asking me to stalk him. This feels… sneaky.”

“How is it any sneakier than trespassing on private property and aiming a camera inside someone’s living room?”

She had a point.

 

The word okay came out of my mouth, but in my mind it sounded a hell of a lot more like oh shit.

 

“When you care about someone, you don’t sneak around and do things that would hurt her if you did them o her face. You care about how your actions affect her.” I took a step toward him. “You don’t worry that the grass is greener in every goddamn yard but our own. You put her first once in a while instead of think about yourself all. The. Fucking. Time.”

 

He’d been rubbing his chin—which he still hadn’t shaved, and I wondered if i was specifically to drive me crazy.


Marisa’s Top 5 Tips For Sleuthing:

Hey there. Marisa Palmera, Private Eye here. Okay, so I don’t actually call myself that, and neither does anyone else. In fact, I never meant to become a sleuth-for-hire. But spend one night scaling your best-friend’s boyfriend’s house to take incriminating pictures, and suddenly everyone wants you to be something you’re not…and when they’re willing to line your sadly lacking pockets for it, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

So, should you find yourself an unwitting Girl Friday (or even a witting one… Is “witting” a thing?) like I did, here are some tips that just may save your butt:

  1. Always have a camera handy. Whether it’s your cell phone, or the fancy camera you borrowed from your school’s yearbook club, you never know when you’ll need to snap an evidence shot. Just, um, make sure you turn off the flash if said camera is aimed through a window into a dark living room. I may have learned this the hard way.
  2. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Sounds ominous and dramatic, I know. But if someone gives you the vibe that they shouldn’t be let out of your sight? GO WITH IT.
  3. Think fast. Suck at lying? Me too. Get over it, because you’ll be fudging the truth a lot.
  4. But know when to say no. Weave enough white lies, and suddenly they’re a sticky, tangled web with you trapped inside. Know when it’s time to run, and do it like the flames of hell are licking your feet.
  5. Don’t fall for the person you’re investigating. You’re just gonna have to do as I say and not as I do on this one. Oops.

Excerpt

My eyes darted from TJ’s dark, furrowed eyebrows to the logo on the left breast of his shirt and I sat up straighter.

“Um, where’d you get the Maple Acres shirt?”

His expression didn’t change. “Maple Acres.”

I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “Right. I meant, do you work there?”

“Yup.” He sat back in his chair and pulled at the logo, stretching the white cotton away from his chest before turning his attention back to the computer screen. “Long time now.”

As soon as he said it, my memory was triggered. I’d always thought he looked familiar but could never quite place where I’d seen him. As I thought back to every trip I’d taken to Maple Acres, twice a year since I was two years old, the image of a boy with dark curls stuffed beneath a knit cap and a heavy flannel coat that made him look like Paul Bunyan clicked into place. The farm stretched over two hundred and fifty acres, selling pumpkins and cider and offering hayrides and a corn maze in a fall, then Christmas trees that you cut down yourself in the winter. The place had a storybook quality to it that I loved, and I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure out TJ was a part of it.

“We go there for our tree every year. I think I’ve seen you.”

TJ kept his eyes on the screen. “Probably. I’m usually bundling the trees or in the checkout area. Sometimes I drive the tractor for the hayrides.” He glanced over long enough to shoot me a half smile. “Maybe you’ve seen the back of my head.”

That would’ve been an occasion I definitely hadn’t noticed him. The one and only time I’d taken a hayride had been the lone trip I’d made without Charlie or my dad, both of whom are allergic to hay. I’d gone with Jordan. Superman himself could’ve been driving the tractor and I would’ve been too busy drooling over Jordan in his plaid button-down with the sleeves rolled up around his gorgeous forearms to notice.

Vom, vom, vom. I pushed the chunks down and forged ahead. “So, that thing you didn’t want to do the last time we talked, is that… still an issue?”

“Uh, no. That fell through, so my article should be good to go on Monday.”

He’s not making this easy for me, that’s for sure.

“Take your time, really. I hope you didn’t cancel your plans because of me.”

He glanced over and gave me a wry smile. “No.”

“So, um, the tree farm. I go all the time.” I mentally slapped myself. Twice a year is all the time? “Do you live nearby?”

“You know the green colonial across the street behind the barn?”

“Uh huh.”

He smiled again. “That’s my house.”

“Wait, I thought the owners lived there.”

“They do. We have for my whole life.”

“Your family owns Maple Acres?” I blinked a few times, dumbfounded by my own dumbness.

“Well, co-owns. Have you seen the guy with the white hair who sneaks free gourds to all the little kids at Halloween? That’s my Uncle Roger. He’s there all the time, but my dad does more of the financial stuff.”

My face lit up. “That’s awesome! I love that place! I took a picture of the white barn from the top of the hill once and tried to sketch it. All the trees had snow on them, the sky was this amazing gray color and the pond was reflecting it” – I remembered mid-babble that I’d veered off course and reigned myself back in – “anyway, let’s just say it was magical, but drawing isn’t my strong suit. So, um, if you didn’t move, then why did you switch schools?”

TJ’s eyes slid back to the computer screen and his shoulder tensed ever so slightly, as if I’d brought up something he didn’t really want to talk about. Now I was getting somewhere.

“Our property is right at the intersection of three town lines. Technically, I could’ve gone to any one of the high schools.” He stabbed a few keys with his pointer finger, eliciting three clipped clicks. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, but I swore his jaw tightened. “I left Templeton because it was time for a change of scenery.”

“It must’ve been hard, though, transferring for your senior year.” And pretty odd, in my opinion. “I’m sure you had a lot of ties there.”

TJ’s fingers paused in mid-air over the keyboard and he looked at me. “Not that many.”

This time when he turned his attention back to the screen, I knew our conversation had ended. He ran a hand through his hair in a gesture that had a definite undertone of irritation. Whether it related to my question or some memory pertaining to the school, I couldn’t tell. But when I caught sight of the leather bracelet on his wrist, my desire to exclaim OMG THAT’S GORGEOUS WHERE DID YOU GET IT almost overruled my desire to ask what the hell his comment was supposed to mean. I’d been baiting him to say, “Yeah, my girlfriend goes there.” He hadn’t. What did that mean?

Maybe nothing.

But damn it all to hell, I suddenly had to know for sure.


The Author

Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English, but in her mind, she never left high school. She relocated from Connecticut to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and son. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her taking long walks around the lake in her neighborhood. Gina can also be found online at writersblog-gina.blogspot.com, on Instagram as gmciocca, and Twitter as gmc511.


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


My (Writing) Life

First things first….. PEACE IN FLAMES is available for preorder! I’m totally psyched about this because it’s my first solo release and the first completed project I’ve been proud of! Now I just need to finish my read through of the follow up novella, SUMMER OF PEACE, and send it off to my editor. That one will be available for public consumption in April.

Otherwise I’m working on a NA PNR, but I’ve hit a bit of a wall, so I may flip over to my YA contemporary romance instead. We’ll see. I’ve got a lot to ponder plot wise on both. (I’m still working on mastering that whole “outlining” thing. LOL)

In other news, I’m working on catching up on writing my last couple reviews from 2017. I’m hoping to post them ALL before the months end. I’m also at least halfway through two separate backlist titles for 2018 and the #BeatTheBacklist reading challenge, then I’ll jump into my NetGalley pile.

Until next time, happy reading!

 

REVIEW: Princess of Draga by Emma Dean

Princess of Draga Book Cover Princess of Draga
Draga Court #1
Amma Dean
Sci-Fi Romance
October 17, 2017
E-ARC
276
The Author
Jillian Ashe
October 2017

In the first book of the Draga Court series, Princess Adelina's coming-of-age party will declare to the worlds she is finally eligible to wed. All she wants is to serve her people and the crown with honor, but when a dangerously attractive prince from another galaxy - one who they all thought was dead - arrives with warnings of monstrosities and war, will her feelings put her in a position where she has to choose between her people and love?

The Draga Court series is a beautiful combination of fantasy and space opera set in a faraway future where humans have altered their genetics to save their species from their destructive natures. Dominance and rank weave a complicated dance among the galaxy's society where a true submissive has to find her place, and learn the true meaning of power and love.

Review

First – let’s take a moment to swoon over this gorgeous cover. Emma Dean’s covers are legitimately top notch.

Now, I don’t normally read steamy books, but Emma Dean asked me to, so I did. And I don’t regret it.

Warning: Have a fan ready because this one is HOT!

This is a new epic sci-fi romance series by a veteran author (Jillian Ashe) using a pen name for her steamier writing. The sci-fi is light, but the world building is not. It’s an Earth-like feeling, but definitely not the Earth we know and love. In this world, humans have been genetically altered with a dominance gene. This ensures that peace is kept.

The main character is the youngest Princess, Adelina. She’s a submissive, which is odd for a royal, but everyone loves her. She’s a bit annoying for me at first because of her submissive trait, but I promise she does grow as a character and I came to like her more before the end.

There are a number of side plots going on as well (think Game of Thrones style) and I had so many favorites in those subplots it was hard to choose one! The main story though follows Adelina and her family. Her father has fallen ill with one of the VERY FEW illnesses that don’t have a cure. The eldest Princess, Raena, is preparing to step in as queen early. A nearby galaxy has been attacked and overthrown by a mysterious enemy and it’s feared that their Draga Galaxy is next.

The best way to describe this series is probably Game of Thrones in space in the future. Except I’m hoping not everybody will die. 😉


Quotes

“Sometimes the submissives are the ones with the most power. They draw strong dominants to them, incite the age-old instinct to protect and defend. You do not have to be the strongest or the most dominant to wield those who are.”

 

She arched a brow at him and he awkwardly cleared his throat. “I apologize,” he said again. What the gods had this woman done to him? He didn’t normally act like such a fool.

 

Adelina was a master at dissembling. The princess made herself into what she thought those around her wanted or needed. Masks came and went until even Nadyah was unsure of who the female truly was underneath them all.

 

Varan leaned against the guard station and gave her a cocky smile. “I set up my scanner to recognize your retina whenever you’re within a two block radius of my court.”

She narrowed her eyes at him and ground her teeth, not sure whether to be flattered or irritated. “Why in the gods’ name would you do that, simply to annoy me?”

 

Sirus rubbed a hand over his face and shook his head. “No, this is simply moving very fast. I wanted to speak with you, not defile you.”

She smiled at his choice of words, as if she were somehow the innocent and naïve one. “I believe I was the one doing the defiling.” 

 

“I would wait until the stars changed if you asked it of me.”

 


My (Writing) Life

OMG YOU GUYS! PEACE IN FLAMES is going up for preorder next week! If I were a good little girl I’d have already had it up and running, but…. this week got away from me. (Any fellow book bloggers interested in a YA contemporary romance novella, hit me up! I’d love to send you a review copy! Those who already asked will be getting theirs next week.)

This is also my first post since the new year – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’m hoping to post next week (on my birthday!) declaring my goals for the new year. I find goals to be easier to meet than resolutions.

SUMMER OF PEACE is coming along. My editor went through it once, even though it’s not done yet. I’m hoping to finish the draft by the end of next week, then go through again before sending back to my editor.

I’ve also started work on my vampire/witch PNR. I’m very excited to see how this goes. If I keep on schedule, the first draft of book one should be finished around the end of February. Ideally I’ll be publishing by early summer. (I want the first draft of book 2 ready before I hit publish on book 1.)

So that’s about it. I’ve got to head to work in less than an hour, so I’m off to get ready!

Catch ya later, happy reading!

 

REVIEW: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken Girls Book Cover The Broken Girls
Simone St. James
Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal
Berkley
March 20, 2018
E-ARC
336
Penguin First Reads
November 12 - 23, 2017

A breakout suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare.

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . .

Review

BE STILL MY HEART!!!
If you read just ONE book in 2018, let it be THIS book!

I don’t even know where to begin with this. I finished reading just before Thanksgiving and I tried to tell my family how amazing this book was but I simply could NOT put all my feels into words to describe them! I’ll try my best here.

The Broken Girls is part ghost story, part mystery. It’s a dual timeline, which I loved, because every time we jumped to the other time period, I wanted to keep reading the timeline we had just left. Both story lines were equally compelling.

In 1950 we follow four boarding school girls, we know from the start of the book that one is murdered. Why we don’t know is which girl it is, why, and who did it. Was it the ghost? Was it one or all of the other girls? Another human? You’re literally guessing until almost the end.

Meanwhile, in 2014 we follow Fiona, a 30-something year old woman who’s life was torn asunder years ago when her sister was murdered and her body dumped on the property of the creepy boarding school. With the boarding school property purchased by a mysterious millionaire, Fiona—a journalist—sets out to write a story about the restoration… and maybe find a way to find closure with her own sisters murder.

This is a story filled to the brim with secrets. Every thread of this story is woven so intricately together that if you don’t read closely, you may miss a clue.

Seriously you guys, I can’t even. This book is everything. Upon finishing it, all I could think was, “Damn. I need to read EVERYTHING Simone St. James has ever written.”

Seriously. This is a must read. Though I received a digital ARC for free for review purposes, at some point I will probably go buy the actual book for my bookshelf to reread in the future.

 

I received a copy of this book from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

* Note: Whittling down the number of passages I highlighted to feature here was HARD. I had so many markups on my digital edition!
Also note these quotes were taken from an advanced copy and
may differ in the final book.

 

She’d always known the monsters were real.
And they were here.

 

“Fee, Fee.” He was clearly laughing at her now. “You’ve spent too long with that policeman of yours. The police don’t have all the answers, and neither does the government. The people are where you find things. Like those records you just found. The people are the ones who keep the memories and the records the powers that be would rather erase.

 

Why do I have the feeling you’re not home in bed right now? Fiona stopped, staring down at the words. How the hell did he know? She wiped tears of cold from her eyes and typed a reply. Wrong. I’m snug under my covers, asleep. His reply was immediate. Oh shit. Where are you?

 

“Anthony,” Fiona managed as they crossed the field. “I think I saw—”

But he tugged her, nearly unbalancing her, and suddenly she was so close her shoulder touched his. “Shh,” he said, his voice lowered. “Please don’t say it. I think she listens.”

 

Deb had been three years older, and Fiona had followed everything she did— she’d worn Deb’s hand‑me‑down clothes, her old shoes, her old winter jackets. She was quieter and more introverted than her outgoing sister, but she’d tried her best not to be. Deb had been a road map of what to be, and when she’d died, that road map had vanished, leaving Fiona adrift. For twenty years and counting.

 

Unable to help herself, she tugged on the first box sitting at eye level and hauled it out, placing it on the cold ground and popping the lid off. Inside were textbooks, old and yellowed. The top was titled Latin Grammar for Girls .

Jamie read the title over her shoulder. “The good old days,” he commented, “when apparently Latin was different if you were a girl.”

 

Sonia laughed, though it was a painful story. She knew that laughing at it was one of Katie’s weapons, a way for her to make the experience smaller, easier to manage.

 

Mary knew everything. Mary saw everything. Everything. Even the things you didn’t say to yourself, deep in your own mind, ever.


My (Writing) Life

We survived Christmas!

Well, mostly. The family spoils my kids so much that it looks like a toy store blew up in my living room and kitchen. I’ve got them doing some organizing their toys right now, but they’re mostly whining and throwing fits. Is it time for them to go back to school yet??? (Parents who homeschool must have infinite patience!)

I had a wonderful holiday, spent lots of time with all of my family, and gave and received all sorts of wonderful gifts. Some highlights: My kids are beyond thrilled to finally own Minecraft, no longer limited to the hour long demo that doesn’t save their progress. Hubby received some delicious Pecan Canadian Whisky and a heater for the garage. And I received a beautiful tea box for all my tea bags, season 2 of Outlander, and a design tablet for my computer. I spent four hours yesterday evening putzing around on the computer and training myself to use the stylus instead of the mouse. I’m far from a professional with the stylus, but I’m getting better. Plus, last night I created a layer mask on a book cover I’m designing in Photoshop and it was the easiest – and quickest! – layer mask today. Also the most accurate. I think I’m in love.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well.

Now though, I’m ready for life to go back to normal. However if there’s one really good thing that came from the holiday season it was that it forced me to post a whole bunch of reviews (for the 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge) and now I’m sort of in the habit of posting a review a day. I MIGHT CATCH UP ON MY BOOK REVIEW POSTINGS BEFORE JANUARY!!!

Alright, I’ve got kids to wrangle, a house to clean up, laundry to wash, and a headache to boot.

Until next time! (When maybe I’ll even have some writing updates???)

 

REVIEW: The Bookworm and the Beast by Charlee James

The Bookworm and the Beast Book Cover The Bookworm and the Beast
Charlee James
Entangled Publishing (Bliss)
December 4, 2017
E-ARC
140
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
November 13, 2017

When quiet, bookish Izzy Simon accepts a two-week assignment as an assistant for an author of children’s books, it seems like the perfect way for her to make some much-needed extra money, but the grumpy author claims he doesn’t want or need her services. He might be as handsome as a storybook prince, but his prickly personality and resistance to all things Christmas are sure to make for a chilly holiday season.

Derek Croft never agreed to the cheery temp his staff arranges for him while they’re on vacation. Izzy is his polar opposite, but Derek soon realizes she could be the perfect solution to his interfering family…if he can get her to agree to pretend to be his live-in girlfriend. Before long Izzy’s sweet disposition and unflappable optimism has him decorating a tree and looking forward to late night hot cocoa, but he’s all too aware their time together can’t last.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my TWELFTH contribution and… I miscounted, so watch for a BONUS Christmas book review TOMORROW!

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

Hands down, this is my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling. Okay, I think I’ve only read one other, but this one was a total winner in my book.

You have Izzy, the very determined woman who accepts a job through a temp agency working for Derek. Then you have Derek, the man who never wanted a temp, but thanks to his meddling staff (whom he’d given the holidays off) he now has.

Derek was dark and brooding, full of backstory. Izzy was bright and optimistic, with her own sad backstory as well. They were fleshed out enough that they weren’t JUST characters in the book, they had layers and personality.

You know how in the original Disney version of Beauty and the Beast where suddenly he starts to warm up to her and if you blink you miss that moment where annoyance turns to admiration? I saw that little spark in this book.

This book adds and extra layer with a little plot twist in which Izzy is asked by Derek to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to get his stepmother to stop trying to set him up with every girl she can think of. It was great!

For me, this was the perfect holiday romance slash (modern) fairy tale adaptation.

 

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


Quotes

Why couldn’t the client have been a sweet old man, or bald and frumpy? Instead, she had to trail a dark featured version of Thor, who had the disposition of a porcupine, around the endless mansion while tying to avert her eyes from his backside.

 

He’d tried to get rid of her less than an hour ago, and now he was asking her to stay as his mock girlfriend? There was no way she’d add another layer of frosting to the towering cake of implication currently baking inside the castle’s curved walls.

 

Gosh he was good-looking. And salty—he looked very, very salty.

 

It was the ugliest sandwich she’d ever seen, and it made her grin ear to ear. Maybe part of Derek did care, after all.

 

The castle, the dashing good looks, the spirit of the holidays swarming in the air, those kisses that lit her soul on fire. It wasn’t so cut and dry for her. When she was committed to something, it was one hundred percent. Had she found the one shed dreamed of her entire life in Derek? Or was it just that—a dream that would evaporate in less than two days, no matter how hard she fought to hold on to the edges of it?


My (Writing) Life

I’m writing this in the past (last night) and scheduling this to post in the future (right now!).

I just survived hosting Christmas for my family. It was a lot of fun, a lot of food, and plenty of presents for my parents seven grandchildren.

Tomorrow…er, today… is Christmas Eve and I’m at work. If you’re reading this the day it posts, I’m probably currently folding laundry. Or maybe eating left over pork loin covered in bacon (because how else would you eat pork loin???) Tomorrow is Christmas and I fortunately do not have to work! I get to spend the day with family, enjoying more food and cookies and gift giving.

And then life returns to morning, just with more clutter in the house.

I don’t really have a point to any of this. I’m exhausted and rambling. So I’m going to end this now so that I can play a bit of Long Live the Queen before I crash for the night.

Merry Christmas, everyone! (And if you don’t celebrate, happy Sunday!)

REVIEW: Fallen Crest Christmas by Tijan

Fallen Crest Christmas Book Cover Fallen Crest Christmas
Fallen Crest High #5.25
Tijan
Contemporary, New Adult
Self
December 15, 2015
Kindle
32
Amazon
12 Books of Christmas
December 18 - 20, 2017

This is a very very short novella consisting of one scene that has three parts, and an additional bonus scene. This was written to be a FREE gift to any Fallen Crest readers! And with that said, Happy Holidays from Tijan. (If it is not free, please refrain from purchasing. I am working on making it free.)

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my ELEVENTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final review tomorrow!

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

This was actually the last book I started for my 12 Books of Christmas (but not the last review I’m posting). A couple that I’d started were DNF’s for me, so I didn’t want to count them for this challenge. That left me with less than a week to grab another book and finish it. As luck would have it, I found this one on my Kindle!

So, this is actually a book meant for fans of this series. I’ve never read the series, so this is a review from an outsider’s perspective.

It wasn’t a bad story, and though it was a little confusing at times, it was not enough to pull me out of the story.

Short stories can suffer from lacking plots due to not enough time to build them up, but this wasn’t the case. I was able to dive right in and the author did a wonderful job showing me that Sam’s mom has been….. awful. I’m guessing some kind of abuse, if not physical than emotional, but they don’t really say. I was definitely intrigued and this short story left me wanting to know what happened in the previous book(s) in the series.

Most Christmas stories are happy, or at least have a happy ending, but this one, being more bonus content than a story on its own, left things up in the air. There was no happy ending, but there was a resolution of sorts.

I did notice a few editing things that turned me off toward the writing, but nothing to pull me out of the story. Just enough to bother this reader, but possibly others won’t even notice or care. It also wasn’t enough to make me NOT consider reading this author in the future.

All that said, I think this series might be a bit too gritty for me. I think readers who want to sample this authors reading style and who prefer grittier stories would enjoy this read and might go on to read the previous book(s). There might be spoilers in this to the previous book(s) but I really couldn’t say. You know, because I haven’t read them myself!


Quotes

“You’re going to have to leash the asshole and you’re going to go somewhere else because this is my home. If, and that’s only if, Sam needs someone to step up for her, I’ll get the pleasure of kicking someone out of my home.” She emphasized the ‘my’ before walking away with Logan. Before they were out of earshot, Sam heard Malinda say, “You just got here and I already feel like another drink.”

 

Samantha stared at her mom for a moment. She looked different this night compared to the other times Analise stopped by the house. There’d been a desperation clinging to her mother, but this mother, she looked composed. Calm. Almost serene, in a small way.

 

“…There’s a vast difference between peace and having a relationship. You cannot ask for a relationship. Not with your daughter. Not with your fiance’s sons. You cannot force something we will not give.”

“So what am I supposed to do?”

“Nothing.”

 

All three were silent for a moment, and in that shared quiet, it was three of them versus Analise. But it was more. It went deeper. It was them versus anyone who tired to hurt one of them. It was like this before. It was like this now, and it would be forever.


My (Writing) Life

Literally NO time for an update.

Family will be here for a party in less than 4 hours.

So much to do!!!

Catch ya later!