Saturday, June 30, 2012

Event Recap: Hilary Graham book signing

Hi everyone!! So on Thursday evening I went to a fabulous event with my friend Lauren from Slaying Books. What event you ask? Okay, so you didn't since it's in the title of the blog post, but anyways... We went to meet Hilary Graham, the author of Reunited. It was really fun. It was her first book signing event, and it was really great. It's so much more fun with a friend. We got there a little early, and I was super excited that Hilary actually knew who I was!! I mean obviously she checked out my nails to be sure since I had them painted to match the book for the event, but I felt super cool anyways. I mean how cool is it when an author knows who you are? I'm just an itty bitty book blogger so that was an awesome moment for sure. (I'm glad I changed my twitter AVI back to my face too, that probably helped in recognizing me too.) I am totally babbling here. Sorry. She was super nice and friendly. She's really funny too. It was great getting to know the process in how her book came about and how she got into writing. Did you know she was on a reality TV show too? How cool is that. I have a few pictures from the event that I will show you.

I painted my nails to go with the book. Hilary actually posted this pic to her blog when I tweeted it. I may have died a little!!

Hilary reading a chapter from her book Reunited

Another pic of Hilary reading, this one taken by Lauren

My nook cover and back of my nook signed by Hilary!! (In green)

Lauren and Hilary. 

And me and Hilary.

Holding my copy of Reunited

Woohoo!! Signed!! And we got cool bookmarks and a magnet. 

In the car, tweeting the pics before leaving the parking lot. Taken by Lauren.

And another of me tweeting. I am making a silly face lol! Thanks Lauren, nice pic! 

Lauren and I had a really great time. It was fun, and of course it's always nice hanging out with friends. One of the best things happened on the way home. She had come over my house early and was playing with my daughter with some books and stickers, and apparently she had missed one when she removed them. We were about halfway home when I noticed she had a little fish sticker stuck under her arm almost in her armpit. We pretty much died laughing at that. She also just about ripped her skin off trying to pull it off, and although not funny she hurt herself, we couldn't stop laughing about it. 

So that was our night, and it was really fun. Reunited sounds so awesome and I can't wait to read it. Hilary was amazing and I am so glad to have met her. And OMG doesn't she have the best hair ever?! My hair is naturally curly, but not pretty curls like that, mine is monstrous. If you are looking for a really cool author to get to know, Hilary is it. She was so down to earth and it was like a nice comfortable friendly get together. Thanks for stopping by my blog and if you want to buy a signed copy of Reunited from Odyssey Bookshop just click here. All you have to do is put it in the notes that you want a signed one. Or you can see all of their autographed books and it should be in that list too. Click here to see all of them.

Find Hilary on the web (you totally want to, she is really great):

Blog Tour: Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Today on the blog I am taking part in the Burn Mark blog tour thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing. To be taken to the Burn Mark Facebook page, click on the animated banner above. To see the full blog tour schedule click here. On my stop I have my review of the book. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Source: eARC provided by publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository


In a modern world where witches are hunted down and burned at the stake, two lives intersect. Glory is from a family of witches, and is desperate to develop her 'Fae' powers and become a witch herself, though witch-activity carries a threat of being burned at the stake. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition with a privileged life very different from the witches he is being trained to prosecute.

And then one day, both Glory and Lucas develop the Fae. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together. . . .

My Thoughts

I like books about witches, so this book caught my interest. It was an interesting book, but for some reason, I just found it really hard to get into. I liked it, but it wasn't a book that really sucked me in and held me there. The characters are okay, but I never felt really connected to them. The descriptions of the setting were very in depth, so it was easy to imagine the places they are. The pace is a bit slow, but there is a lot of information that you get, so it's not like the slow pace is boring. I found the idea of the fae being their witch power quite interesting and as with "faeries" iron inhibits their powers. The book goes back and forth between Glory and Lucas's POV and on occasion their were brief moments of another one in there.

Glory is from a family of witches. She is expected to get her Fae, and they think she will get it early. Most don't get it until their 20's, but they younger you are when you do, the more powerful you are. I don't really know what to say about her character. She pretty much just wants to get her Fae, it's what she lives for. She is also a little on the prissy side, at least that is how she came across to me. She has grown up with her witch coven and they have mostly avoided being detected as having the Fae. If you are discovered to be a witch they make you wear iron bracelets to contain your magic. They still burn witches for "witch crimes" so it's best to go undetected. Her mother disappeared when she was just a child. She lives with her father, but her great aunt is more like her parent figure. 

Lucas lives with his father, step mother, and step sister. His father is the High Inquisitor as was his father, and his grandfather, and so on back for generations. Lucas has always thought that he would one day be High Inquisitor too, but when he gets the Fae all that changes. He will no longer be able to and even his father will have to resign since his son is now a witch. Lucas is shocked to find out he is a witch. His father traced his wife's history to make sure there were no witches in the family. It's not common for people with "pure" bloodlines to get the Fae. Lucas ends up working an inside the coven to try to get information about a certain case. He is undercover though, so they don't know that he is the Inquisitors son. They are trying to keep that a secret until after the case is over. Things get a bit complicated of course, because nothing can be easy. 

Lucas and Glory have to somewhat work together, but no one except her aunt knows she has gotten her Fae yet, so she is limited to what she can do to help. The Wednesday coven will want her the second they find out she has her Fae because they know she will be powerful. Lucas is also very powerful. Them both being 15 and getting their Fae, they are young for it. Glory works her magic to get through Lucas's disguise and figures out who he really is. That isn't the only secret though. There are plenty of others we discover as this story progresses. Since I didn't really have a connection with the characters, the secrets didn't have much of an impact on me. 

Overall I think this was a good book. I had a bit of a hard time with it, but I think perhaps at a different time I may have enjoyed it more. I found some things to be a bit over described, and then other things not quite explained enough. I also think it was a pretty long, and a lot of it wasn't necessary to the overall story and could have been left out. This was an interesting take on witchcraft and how it plays out in the world when they are allowed to live amongst non-witches. They are registered as a witch and have certain rules they must follow. It all seems rather political too, besides with the Inquisitors and such, with the covens. I know I haven't really gone into much about the book, but I honestly don't know what to say.  I was expecting more out of this and it just left me feeling a little meh about it. I do think that is a book that a lot of other people would enjoy, but to me it just didn't hit the mark. 3 out of 5 stars. 

Find Laura Powell around the web:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cover Reveal : Fae by Emily White

Hi everyone!! Another day, another awesome cover reveal!! Today I am pleased to take part in the cover reveal for Spencer Hill Press for Fae the sequel to Elemental by Emily White. I know that most of you don't really read all of this intro stuff so I will just show you the cover.


Not all fae'ri tales come with a happy ending.

     Ella thought taking care of the ego-bloated Mamood god would be a sure way to bring peace to the galaxy and satisfy her taste for revenge.

     But she was wrong.

     Despite the fact their god is gone, the Mamood refuse to abandon their attack on the planet Soltak and Ella's own so-called friends start to turn against her. And with Soltak dying--its oceans drying up and its plants withering in the ground--Ella and Cailen suspect there's a new enemy at work. As more people die and more water is leached from the planet, they both prepare for something straight from a nightmare.

     The fae are coming.

Title: Fae
Series: Auri #2
Author: Emily White
ISBN: 978-1-937053-26-0 
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Formats: paper, e-book
Cover Design: Vic Caswell of Sketcher Girl

Add to Goodreads

So what do you guys think? I like all the colors. I haven't read the first one, but this cover seems to go really well with it.

Thank you to Spencer Hill Press for letting me be part of this great cover reveal!!

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

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  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Source: eARC provided by NetGalley/Harlequin for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository


"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.  

"An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!"-Gena Showalter,  New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series 

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.  Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

My Thoughts

This book was so good. The intense emotions, the story flow, the characters, I loved every second of it. The romance aspect of this story is great and I absolutely fell in love with Echo and Noah as individuals and together. They seem like totally different people, but it's amazing how much two people from completely different situations can actually have in common. They are both so broken, just empty shells of who they were before. It is heartbreaking to see what they are going though, to watch them fight for what they need. In Echo's case it is trying to remember what happened the day she got all of her scars, and in Noah's case it is trying to do right by his brothers.

I don't normally put quotes in my reviews, but this one is just so beautiful I need to:

"The worst kind of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see - the wailing on street corners, tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it."

I really liked Echo. My heart totally broke for her within pages into the book. We start off with her getting to know the new councilor at school Mrs. Collins. She is actually a civil social worker and it's a new program at the school. We meet her father and step mother. Her step mother is pregnant and is an attention whore, and her dad wants nothing but perfection from her. Above average scores on ACT and SAT aren't good enough, he wants her to aim higher. He also won't let her take any elective classes like art even though she is an amazing artist. Only business classes for her. We discover that her brother died in Afghanistan. He was a Marine. We also find out that she is allowed no contact with her mother due to the restraining order on her. Echo used to be popular and have a lot of friends too, but after the accident gossip started and mostly everyone abandoned her. She feels so alone. Her BFF Lily sticks by her no matter what though. Is your heart breaking for her yet?

Noah Hutchins, what can I say about him besides that he really is amazing. No he's not perfect, he makes mistakes, says stupid things, but his heart is in the right place!! This boy has a heart made of gold. He doesn't have the greatest reputation, but he really does redeem himself. He's in foster care, has been in several different foster homes in the past couple years since his parents died. His files say he has violent tendencies, but things aren't always what they seem. He cares about his brothers more than anything in the world. He works hard to try to make enough money to be able to support him and his two younger brothers once he is eighteen. He will do anything for them.

The romance was so perfect. It developed slowly and pretty unsteady, but that makes sense. Neither one of them would have ever thought the other was someone they would want to be with. They go from being at each others throats, to working nicely together, to a super sweet and touching romance. It's not without difficulty though. A lot of it. They are constantly doubting themselves and each other, but never actually say any of it. They both think they aren't what the other needs. They go through many ups and downs and it was tearing me apart.

There was a whole bunch of other great characters in this too. Lily, who is Echo's best friend is just awesome. She is bubbly and happy and will stand up for Echo and be there for her no matter what. Isiah is Noah's foster brother and he is really great too. He is smart and sweet and really has some pretty good advice. Beth is like Noah's sister, she is the niece of the family he lives with and is always around. She comes across a bit harsh, but it's just because she cares about Noah and thinks that Echo is crazy and is going to break his heart. I loved her by the end of the book. Luke is a total douche who I really didn't like. He is Echo's ex, and I can see why she broke up with him. Then there is Grace, who I really didn't like either. She is Echo's on again, off again friend depending on whether Echo is socially acceptable at the time. They all play a major role in the story.

Once I started reading this book it was almost impossible to put down. My mind was so wrapped up in it and I didn't want to come out. I felt like I needed to know what would happen with Noah and Echo. Would they manage to be together and accomplish their own personal goals? Would they ever really be more than two broken teenagers? My whole heart was so invested in this story. Once I finished I was still thinking about them along with a few of the other characters too. I want to know what happens with them too. Luckily Beth's story will be out in 2013. Overall this book was just totally amazing! For anyone who loves a darker more emotional contemporary, this is the perfect book to read. 5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cover reveal: Uriel (Airel #3) by Aaron Patterson & Chris White

You guys!!! Thanks to BB Book Tours, I am taking part of a super awesome cover reveal today. It is super gorgeous!! The third book in the Airel Saga, Uriel by Aaron Patterson and Chris White!! When I got the email with the cover, I kinda just stared at it for a while. The cover was designed by Claudia @ PhatPuppy Art so you know it's amazing. So here it is!!




All she wanted was to live her own life…

When heroes start to tell lies, even to themselves: Uriel. She’s spent thousands of years fighting against her destiny, fighting against her bereaved father, against El Himself.

“It’s just one letter, but it’s my letter, father…”

Once more, we see how the evil deeds of the past play out in the following generations, and with grave consequences—and startling revelations.

Betrayal, deceit, and murder are unavoidable in Uriel, Book 3 of the Airel saga.

OMG!! Right?!! Look at that cover! It is just amazingly gorgeous! I love all the covers in the series, but I think this is my favorite! There is no set publish date for the book yet.

Want to find Aaron other places? Here's the links:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

How beautiful are all the covers together right?!! Love them so much!! Thanks for stopping by to see the awesome covers, and big thanks to BB Book Tours for letting me be a part of it!

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Source: ARC provided by publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository


Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

My Thoughts

I love fairy tales and I love re-tellings so this was an absolute must read for me. Not to mention I loved Peter Pan as a child. This book is about Tiger Lily, but is told in Tinkerbell's POV which was very interesting. We get to know people from how Tink see's them and what is going on that she knows about. I liked getting to be in her head. It was a great way to tell the story. This had a lot of darker moments to it, it is not the fluffy fairy tale you think of. It really gets into how the tribe is, how the lost boys really go about things, and what is going on with Captain Hook.

Tiger Lily is much different from the rest of the women in the tribe. People think her to be cursed. She has also been helping a human who came from a ship and the village fears that she has caught aging from him and they are afraid they may catch it too. She ends up stumbling upon Peter Pan and starts to get to know him and the lost boys. I love how the story unfolds. It's great to see how she starts to fall for him and can't resist going to him. She knows that she is set to marry one of the tribe members, but she wonders if she could really run away and be with Peter. She not only enjoys being with him, but she likes the other Lost Boys too. They are fun to be around. When a ship comes to find the human she has helped, things get a bit more complicated.

Peter is great to get to know. He is a bit rough around the edges, but he really does care about Tiger Lily. He seems a bit crazy at times, but I can see why he acts that way. He is always trying to keep the Lost Boys safe and he really does care about them all. He acts like nothing bothers him, but inside he is scared. He wants to be with Tiger Lily so much, but things keep getting in the way. When Wendy comes on the ship to find Phillip, the man Tiger Lily helped she somehow finds The Lost Boys. She is sweet and beautiful, and Tiger Lily has not been to see him in  a while when she had promised to. He starts to take a liking to Wendy and when she is going to leave, she wants him to go with her. He is torn and doesn't know what to do.

Tink is so awesome. I really loved seeing everything happen through her. She isn't sure if anyone is aware she is around, and she knows that she should go home, but she feels the need to stay with Tiger Lily. Then when they meet Peter Pan, she falls in love with him. You would think that she would be jealous of how close Tiger Lily and him become, but she is actually not. She is more envious than jealous. She of course is just a tiny fairy who can't talk to them, so she is happy to see them happy. She wants them be happy together and she does what she can to protect them. I loved her determination. She was a really great voice to this story. I am glad it was told from her perspective.

With everything that goes on, we have a lot of very tense situations, some sad ones, and some happy ones. The flow of the story was great. I really liked getting to know the different people in the tribe and seeing the things that were happening that we wouldn't had it been told by Tiger Lily. I think this was a very well written and creative re-telling of a story I have loved since I was a child. It wasn't perfect, but I still really enjoyed it. I recommend this to anyone who loves fairy tale re-tellings. 4 out of 5 stars.

If you are interested you can view the book trailer below:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 6-27-12 HarperCollins Edition

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine  to share what book you are highly anticipating the release of.

This week I have three. I know, right?!! Not that I don't have like a million each week, but I usually contain myself. Well, not this week. Prompted by all of the cover gorgeousness, I totally can't help myself. I chose Boundless by Cynthia Hand (book 3 in the Unearthly series), Everbound by Brodi Ashton (book 2 of the Everneath series), and Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (book 2 of the Shatter Me series). I am having some major cover love for these and besides that I totally loved the first book in each series!! (and second since Boundless is the 3rd in that series)

*Please note that since it is a sequel, the synopsis for Everbound will be spoilery if you have not read Everneath. The other two books do not have a synopsis yet.

Add to Goodreads

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/22/2013
  • Pages: 320
There is no synopsis for this book yet, but if you have read the first two books you don't need the synopsis to be totally pining for this one.

Add to Goodreads

  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • Publication date: 1/22/2013
  • Pages: 384

Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.

Add to Goodreads

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Pages: 480

This one doesn't have a synopsis yet either, but I loved Shatter Me, I am excited for the Novella Destroy Me, and I am dying to read this one!! At least on October 2nd we get Destroy me to hold us over until February.

So that is what I have this week. What can I say, HarperCollins just puts out amazing books!! I would love to see what you are waiting for this Wednesday. Link me and I will be happy to stop by your blog. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

UtopYA Con: Where all the cool kids go to meet their favorite female authors

Today on my blog I am taking the time to help promote UtopYA Con. I totally wish I could go, it sounds awesome. Anyways, a bunch of us volunteered to post about it to spread the word. I want to thank Brina Courtney for making it nice and easy for us. (She sent the entire post all done) You are probably wondering what this is, so I will get on with it and post what I was sent. :)

It’s time to get excited and to get to Nashville for the first ever UtopYA Con, which is the convention for female, paranormal/fantasy young adult authors and readers who love them.  It will be held at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, TN on July 6-8, 2012. Would you like to come? You’re already excited I know, but wait until I tell you who’s coming (and this is just a few)… Myra McEntire (Hourglass and Timepiece), Angeline Kace (Descended by Blood), Amy Bartol (The Premonition Series), Tammy Blackwell (Timber Wolves), Tiffany King (Saving Angels), Abbi Glines (The Vincent Boys), Ella James (Stained), Jessica Sorenson (Fallen Star), and so many more! You can find the full list at the UtopYA Con website.

Here’s what a few of them are saying about going to UtopYA Con:

Raine Thomas (Daughters of Saraquel)-  “"The world's been waiting for a conference like UtopYA. It's unique and in a class of its own. If you enjoy YA fantasy and paranormal stories, you can't miss this event!”

Chelsea Fine (Sophie and Carter)- “"Don't miss out on UtopYa Con 2012: Bringing your YA books to life!"

Brina Courtney (Cryptid Tales)- “If you’re a true YA fan, you’ll be there,  mixing it up with all of us.”

But it’s not just for fans, it’s for authors too. Learn the tricks of the trade from people who are there, doing it successfully already. There are sessions and panels for both readers and writers alike.

So how about it? You wanna go? Well obviously you do, but here’s the question… ARE YOU GOING?
Here’s where you can find out more about tickets.

Now, so maybe you’re awesome, but you can’t go, and you’re bummed obviously. Well you still want to participate right? Here’s your chance, from now until June 29th, 2012 you can vote for your favorite books to win UtopYA Con awards, hosted by CMT’s Katie Cook. Pretty sweet right? I know, I think so too.

Anyway because we had so many blogs help us to promote this unique event we decided to do some fun giveaways provided by some of our authors at UtopYA Con and some other authors.

Good luck and we’ll see you at UtopYA Con! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to visit other sites in this hop? (You know you do, they are all awesome blogs) Just follow the great linky below. 

Teaser Tuesday (30)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! You should too, it's really fun and a great way to find out about other awesome books, and blogs. Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I haven't done one of these in a few weeks, so I figured I was overdue for one. I like both the top ten and the teaser so I switch back and forth. Anyways, enough rambling...I will get on with this. :) My Teaser this week is from Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry  It was an amazing book and you should really check it out.

Add to Goodreads
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 416

My teasers:

He leaned toward me and my heart shifted into a gear I didn't know existed. His warm breath caressed my neck, melting my frozen skin. -pg 56 of 409 eARC

Her nails tickled my chest, driving me insane. Kissing her became my single reason for breathing.
- pg 140 of 409 eARC 

There are so many more awesome quotes I could have chosen, but to be honest I was so hung up with reading that I didn't feel like stopping to write them down. I would love to see what you have posted this Tuesday. Leave me a link and I will check it out.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

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  • Publisher: Fiction Std
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Pages: 328
  • Source: Copy sent from author for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository


Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. It’s 1985 and her mom has passed away, her evil stepmother is pregnant, and her best friend has traded her in for a newer model. Fortunately, she’s about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ, Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike (no one should look that much like Jesus unless they can perform a miracle or two), but suddenly he’s everywhere. Until one day, she’s stuck in church with him—of all places. And then something happens; Apron’s broken teenage heart blinks on for the first time since she’s been adrift.

Mike and his grumpy boyfriend, Chad, offer her a summer job in their flower store and Apron’s world seems to calm. But when she uncovers Chad’s secret, coming of age becomes almost too much bear. She’s forced to see things the adults around her fail to—like what love really means and who is paying too much for it.

My Thoughts 

This book is not a book that I would have picked up on my own I don't think. The overview sounds good and it has a pretty cover, but it's nothing that really would grab my attention. That being said, I LOVED this book. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. It has some very serious issues in it, and a really great message. A few actually. I was immediately immersed in Apron's life and hoped needed to know that things would work out for her. This thirteen year old girl goes through so much in a few months and she still manages to hold it together. She is a very strong character, but she is also still just a young girl. This book made my heart ache. 

Apron is such a great character. She is missing her mother who died, dealing with her new step mother who happens to be pregnant, and pretty much hates Apron and her father doesn't really help matters. He is forever siding with M as Apron calls her. She has lost her best friend to the popular girl and in general just feels so alone and sad. She ends up befriending Mike who owns a flower shop with his boyfriend Chad and after a while ends up helping them out there. This isn't without other complications though. Things at home aren't great, and the secret that Chad has is making things difficult at the flower shop too. If I was in Apron's situation there is no way I could have handled myself the way she does.

Apron's father is a Latin professor and tends to be really busy with school stuff even at home so he is more of an absent parent. It's not that he's not around, but he isn't there for Apron when she needs him mentally. He fails to see how horrible M is to her. He doesn't see how much Apron needs to know that he loves her and will be there for her. That he hasn't forgotten her for M and the new sibling that will be coming.

Mike and Chad are really great. I couldn't help but feel that if I were Apron's parent I wouldn't really feel comfortable with her hanging out with two grown men, gay or not, but I am really glad that she became friends with them and they became such a big part of her life. I loved how they were with her. They didn't treat her like a little girl. They would mention how she was a kid, but they respected her. Chad and Apron got a long great. They would spend hours together reading or telling jokes. Mike is a bit more serious, but he was still really great and if Apron needed something he was there for her. 

Aside from them there are other really great characters and them some that I didn't care for much. I loved her grandmother. She was a riot. I didn't really like Rennie, Apron's ex BFF, but at that age that's just the way girls are. It was sad that Apron didn't really have any other friends, but if she did, I don't think that things would have developed the way the did with Mike and Chad. I also liked that the neighbors were brought into the story too.  

This story was so touching and also heart shattering. As much as I knew what was coming it didn't stop me from bawling my eyes out. I literally had to put down the book and compose myself before I continued, only to start crying pages later. It was very emotional because of how invested I was in the story. I tend to be a very emotional reader so I expected that. What I didn't expect was that days later, even now, these characters are in my head. I just really loved this book. It is a beautiful and touching story that will stay with you. 5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekly Recap/Stacking the Shelves (9)

*Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Hey everyone!! Welcome to another Stacking the Shelves and Weekly Recap. Man, I feel like this month has like disappeared. It's crazy how fast it is going by. This week I got no physical books so I am not doing a vlog. (I know you will all totally miss my face, so sorry. I promise a vlog next weekend though.) I actually only got a few ebooks, so it was a nice small week. I am doing pretty good at sticking to my book buying ban. So onto the books. 


I bought:
I know, I know, I bought 2 books, but they were like $0.99 so really, it doesn't count. lol!!

For review:

Thank you so much to Ashley, Bonnie and Courtney!! You girls totally rock!! Much love to all of you.

Weekly Recap

This week on the blog I had four reviews. The Mayfair Moon by J.A. Remerski, Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn, On the Day I Died by Candace Fleming, and The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater. (Which is also a tour stop and has a great guest post from Rhiannon) I had a cover reveal for Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller and a few other great covers from this week. You can read the first chapter of Dante's Girl by Courtney Cole. I also had a few weekly memes. Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday.

That was my week. I would love to see your recap and/or what books you got. Leave me a link to your post and I will stop by as soon as I can.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dante's Girl by Courtney Cole Excerpt (Chapter 1)

Today on the blog I have an awesome excerpt from Courtney Cole's upcoming book, Dante's Girl. I will show you the cover and the synopsis first so you will be super excited about it, and then you can get even more excited when you read the first chapter!!!

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Purchase: Amazon | B&N


I have spent every summer since I was ten years old with my father in London. Every summer, since I was ten years old, has been uneventful and boring.
Until this year.

And this year, after a freak volcanic eruption strands me far from home, I have learned these things:

1. I can make do with one outfit for three days before I buy new clothes.
2. If I hear the phrase, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” even one more time, I might become a homicidal maniac.
3. I am horribly and embarrassingly allergic to jellyfish.
4. I am in love with Dante Giliberti, who just happens to be the beautiful, sophisticated son of the Prime Minister of a Mediterranean paradise.
5. See number four above. Because it brings with it a whole slew of problems and I’ve learned something from every one of them.

Let’s start with the fact that Dante’s world is five light-years away from mine. He goes to black-tie functions and knows the Prime Minister of England on a first name basis. I was born and raised on a farm in Kansas and wear cut-off jeans paired with cowboy boots. See the difference?

But hearts don’t care about differences. Hearts want what they want. And mine just wants to be Dante’s girl.

My heart just might be crazy.

How great does this book sound!! I will be reading and reviewing it soon. :) Now, if you weren't already interested after synopsis, you just wait until after you read the first chapter, which you will find below.  

Dante’s Girl by Courtney Cole
Chapter One

It is impossible to look hot in the dingy fluorescent light of an airport bathroom. Or as my best friend Becca would say, hawt.
At this particular moment, I’m not hot or hawt.  I make this revelation as I vigorously scrub at my arms and face and then use a wet paper towel under my pits.  
And what is it about peeing in an airport toilet ten times in a day that makes you feel so completely scummy?  I glance around at the crumpled tissues strewn about on the scuffed floor and the dirty toilets peeking from behind half-closed doors and cringe.  That answer is clearly ‘because of the germs’. Ack.  
Trying not to think about it, I clean up the best I can.  After running a brush through my hair, I stick a piece of gum in my mouth, apply a thin layer of lip gloss and call it good.  I glance into the mirror and cringe.  It isn’t good enough, but it will have to do.  Very soon, I’ll put this dreadful four hour layover in Amsterdam behind me and before I even know it, I’ll be in London.
With my father.
For the summer.
It would be torture.
Just shoot me now.
And it’s not because I don’t love him, because I do.  My reluctance doesn’t stem from lack of love.  It comes from the deep-seeded fact that Alexander Ellis doesn’t understand me.  He never has and he never will. It’s something that I’ve made my peace with and I’m not angry about it.
I’m his only child and he works his life away as some top-secret agent for the NSA.  His job is so secret that I don’t even know what he does. In my head, I imagine him jumping from helicopters and saving starving children in war torn areas.  But in reality, I know he probably sits behind a desk and analyzes information from a satellite stream or a taped telephone conversation. I’m pretty sure that’s what the NSA does, anyway.  They aren’t the cool kind of spies.
Also, he isn’t exactly sure what to do with a daughter.  I was supposed to have been a boy. Seventeen years ago, sonograms apparently weren’t as absolute as they are today, because the technician told my parents that she was 99.9% sure that I was a boy.  They painted my nursery blue and picked out my name and everything.  I can only imagine the shocked horror on my father’s face when I was born with lady parts.
Regardless, I know he loves me.  Even though he had willingly given my mother full custody when they divorced years ago, I know he only did it because he works overseas so much and he isn’t exactly sure how to raise a girl.  He does okay.  But then again, I do have some reason to believe that he still pretends that I’m a boy, just to make it easier on himself.  It’s fairly easy to do since I still have the boy name that they originally picked out.  
With my head down, I trudge back out into the congested halls of Schiphol airport.  Weary travelers bustle around me and I shift my bags so that I can pull the stubborn strap of my tank top back over my shoulder where it belongs.  As I do, I crash into someone with enough force that my bags go flying out of my hands and scatter onto the ground under people’s feet.
“Son of a –“ I blurt before I even think.
“Buck?” a male voice offers helpfully.  
Looking up, I stare into the most unique and beautiful shade of blue that a pair of eyes has ever possessed. Of that I am certain.  Blue just shouldn’t be that multi-faceted and twinkling.  There should be a law or something.  
Or at least a warning label:  
Caution, these eyes may cause female knees to tremble.
Before I can help it, I scan the rest of him.  Sweet Mary.  This guy had lucked out in the gene department.  Tall, slender, beautiful.  Honey colored hair that had natural highlights that could even catch the crappy airport light, broad shoulders, slim hips, long legs.  He is tan and golden with a bright, white smile.  
I am surely staring at Apollo, the god of the sun.  Probably with my mouth hanging open, which makes me realize that I must look like an idiot- the personification of what foreigners think Americans to be.  I snap my mouth closed.
“I’m sorry,” I say quickly, trying to still my racing heart.  “Did I run into you?”
“Only a bit,” Apollo says gentlemanly, with a shrug of his strong shoulders.  I can tell he is strong even through his shirt sleeves, which are snug across his toned biceps.  Sweet baby monkeys.  
“How can someone run into someone else only by a bit?” I ask with a nervous smile as I kneel to retrieve my stuff.  
Please don’t let him smell me right now, I silently pray to any god who cares to listen. I am sure that at this point in my travels, I probably smell like soiled hamster bedding.  
He bends next to me and picks up the contents of my spilled purse. He smells like sunshine.  And rain.  And everything beautiful that I can think of.  I try not to cringe as his fingers grasp a tampon and slide it back inside my bag.  He doesn’t even flinch, he just casually continues to pick up my things like he’s used to handling feminine hygiene products.
“Oh, it’s fairly easy, really,” he answers.  He has an exotic sounding accent that I can’t place.  “At least, when you’re not looking where you’re going.”  My head snaps up and he laughs.  
“I’m kidding,” he assures me as he extends an arm to me. Even his hand is graceful.  I gulp as his fingers curl around mine.  “You can bump into me any time you’d like.”
“Thanks,” I mumble.  “I think.”
“I’m Dante,” he tells me, his impossibly blue eyes still twinkling.  
“I’m Reece,” I answer with a sigh, already anticipating his reaction. “Yes, I know it’s a boy’s name.”
“You’re not a boy,” Dante observes.  “Most definitely not a boy.”
Is that a note of appreciation in his voice?  Surely not. I look like a bedraggled Shih Tzu.  
“No, I’m not,” I agree.  “I just don’t know that my dad ever got that memo.”  
I look past Dante and find that he is alone.  He seems to be about my age so that’s a little unusual in these circumstances.  My parents had flown me as an ‘unaccompanied minor’ across the ocean for years, but other people’s parents are usually a little squeamish about that.  
“I’m sure that fact hasn’t escaped him,” Dante tells me in amusement.  Why do his eyes have to sparkle so much?   I usually go for brown-eyed guys.  But this boy is most certainly making me re-think that stance.
“That’s debatable,” I sigh.  Realizing that we are impeding the busy pedestrian traffic like a dam in a rushing river, I smile.
“Thank you very much for helping me pick up my things.  Safe travels!”
I turn on my heel and pivot, walking quickly and what I hope is confidently in the other direction.  Hitching my heavy purse up on my shoulder, I fight the urge to turn and look at him.  Something about him is practically mesmerizing.
But I don’t look.  I keep walking, one foot in front of the other.  When I reach the moving walkway, I hop on and focus ahead of me, eyes straight forward.
Don’t look back.
Don’t look back.
Don’t look back.
Regardless of my silent chanting, when I step from the walkway I discreetly check behind me.  Apollo is nowhere to be seen.  With a sigh, I continue on to the British Airways terminal.  Only three short hours left until take-off.  Plugging my earbuds into my ears, I settle into a seat and close my eyes.

* * *

“Excuse me, Reece?”
Before I even open my eyes, I know the sexy accent is coming from Apollo.  I can feel his epic hotness emanating through my eyelids.  I only hope that I haven’t been drooling in my sleep.
“Yes?” I ask as nonchalantly as I can while my eyes pop open.  I try to discreetly smooth my hair down. In my head, I envision myself as Chewbacca from Star Wars and wince.
Dante hands me my phone, which must’ve fallen from my lap as I napped.  
“Are you on the flight to London?” he grins.  “They’re boarding priority travelers now.  I just thought you should know.”
Yikes. I had slept for three hours?  In a noisy airport?  I must have been super tired.
“Thank you,” I reply quickly, gathering my things in a rush. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep.  I’m not a priority traveler, but I probably would have slept through general boarding.  Thank you for waking me.”
I glance at him as I stand up and can’t help but do a double take.  It isn’t easy to get used to his particular brand of sexy.  He is laid-back, handsome and casual, which is a formula for utter female devastation.  The impossible thing is that he doesn’t seem to realize it. He’s effortlessly sophisticated and chic.
“Well, you’re awake now and that’s the important thing. Have a nice trip, Reece,” Dante grins once more before he joins a group of men who are apparently waiting for him.  I was wrong, I guess.  He isn’t alone after all.  The men close around him in a tight circle and they board the plane with the other passengers with first class tickets.  
He’s on my flight.
I gulp and find a place in line with the other travelers flying coach.  
As the richer, better-dressed passengers file past us, I feel a little like a bumpkin in rumpled clothing.  Even though I travel to London every summer to visit my dad, I live in rural America the rest of the year. And all of a sudden, I feel like I am wearing a blinking neon sign proclaiming that very fact.  The clothing that had seemed sophisticated to travel in this morning now seems like it was hand-made in someone’s backwoods shed.  
And it so makes sense that Apollo is in first class.  He smells like a beautiful sunrise in a wooded meadow. Oh, my gosh.  What is wrong with me? Where did that come from?  I am totally being as corny as an erectile dysfunction commercial.  
I roll my eyes at my own absurdity and hand my ticket to the heavily made-up flight attendant who is waiting to take it.  She glances at it and then at me before she stamps my passport and hands it back.
“Have a nice flight, Miss Ellis,” she tells me before turning her attention to the passenger behind me.
Yeah, right.  
I like flying almost as much as I like having dental work.  Or having my fingernails pulled out one by one.  Or having paper cuts sliced onto my legs and then lemon juice poured onto them.  Just about that much.
Filing down the narrow aisle through first class, I can’t help but search out Apollo.  It doesn’t take long to find him.  He is situated by the window in a wide, leather first-class seat.  He’s already covered in a warm blanket and looks like he is settling in for the hour long flight.  As I move closer to him, his eyes pop open and meet mine, the electric blue of his almost causing me to gasp aloud.  
He smiles slightly as I pass and his gaze doesn’t waver from mine.  
I find myself wishing that I could sit next to him.  Not only because of the lavish first class seats, although those would be nice too.  
But rather, there is something in the air between Dante and me.  I can feel it, an instant connection.  I can practically reach out and touch it. I’ve never experienced chemistry like this in my life. It’s the kind that seems corny when you read about it in books, but in real life, it is anything but. It is simply electrifying.  Ripping my eyes from his, I continue down the aisle and find my seat.
Taking a deep breath, I stash my carry-on in the overhead bin and slump into the window seat, trying not to hyperventilate as my fear of flying suddenly overwhelms me while the cramped airplane closes in around me.
Deep breath in.
Deep breath out.
I watch the flight crew below me loading the bags into the belly of the plane.  What if they dislodge the landing gear while they are messing around down there?  What if they don’t check the systems well enough and we die in a fiery crash?  What if the metal holding the plane together rips off in the air and peels away like tissue paper?
Deep breath in.
Deep breath out.
I might die.  
I listen impatiently as the flight attendants give their safety spiel and motion toward the exits like they are NFL referees with dumb tiny scarves around their necks.  I just need for them to get on with it.  Just let us taxi out and take-off and then I will be perfectly fine once we are in the air.  My hands get clammy and my ears start to roar.  Why am I such a freak?
Deep breath in.
Deep breath out.
You freaking flight attendants.
I’m just getting ready to shove my earbuds back in to distract myself when Dante appears next to me like a savior or an angel or something of equal beauty and importance.
“Is this seat taken?” he smiles and I notice a dimple in his right cheek that I hadn’t noticed before.  How had I missed a dimple?
“Um, not that I know of,” I answer weakly, trying not to die from heart palpations.  “But the seat belt sign is on. You’re not supposed to be out of your seat.”  
Fabulous. Now I sound like a hall monitor with a heart problem.
Dante shrugs without seeming worried.  
“I think it will be okay,” he answers.  “We’re not even on the runway yet.”
“Good point.”
“Can I sit here?  I’m bored up front.”
I nod, my palms instantly clammier.  “I hope you brought your blanket.  You won’t get much back here except for a bag of peanuts.”
And now I sound like a cheap hall monitor with a heart problem. I’m presenting myself better and better by the moment.
Dante smiles yet again and sits next to me.  He brings his charming accent with him and the scent of his amazing cologne.  I take a deep breath.  He smells far better than the stale airplane air.  Far better.  I fight the urge to jump into his lap and inhale his neck, a maneuver that just might make me appear slightly insane.
“You look pretty pale,” he observes as he buckles up. “Are you afraid to fly?”
“Is it that obvious?” I ask quietly.  “As much as I’ve flown in my lifetime, I should be used to it.  But I’m afraid that’s never going to happen.  Once I’m in the air for awhile, I’ll be fine, but until then… well, I’m terrified. I admit it.”
“Don’t worry,” Dante tells me quietly, his voice calm and reassuring.  “There’s nothing to be afraid of.  You’re more likely to get into a--”
“Car crash rather than die in a plane crash,” I interrupt.  “Yes, I know. I’ve heard.  Where are you from?” I ask curiously, half out of genuine curiosity and half out of the need to distract myself.  “You have the most interesting accent.”
He smiles, his teeth brilliantly white.  I decide on the spot that I could watch him smile all day long.
“Caberra,” he answers, reminding me that I had asked a question.  “It’s an island near Greece.  And you?”
“Like you don’t know that I’m American,” I chuckle.  “I know it’s written all over me.  I’m sure you’re a fan, right?”
“Of Americans?” he raises a golden eyebrow.  “Of course. I love them.  I have no reason not to.  They bring a lot of tourist dollars to Caberra.”
“Well, we are a land of excess,” I admit.  “But that’s usually what foreigners seem to hate about us.”
Dante stares at me for a moment and then smiles.  “Well, I can’t speak for all foreigners, but I don’t hate Americans.  And you’re not in America right now, are you?”
I shake my head.  “No, I am most certainly not.”
“Well, then.  You’re the foreigner now.”  He grins and I can’t help but smile back.  He has a point.
The pilot gets on the intercom and his nasally voice drones on and on, but I am able to tune it out as I engage in conversation with a boy who is surely a direct descendent of the gods.  There is no other plausible explanation for his good looks or charm. I barely even hear the words that come out of Dante’s mouth, because I am so mesmerized by the shape of his lips as he moves them.  Pathetic, I know, but true.  
One thing about me:  I don’t lie to myself.  I might stretch the truth for my parents from time to time when necessary, but never to myself. And I’m pathetically fascinated by this boy.
Finally, the aircraft shudders a bit and noses forward and I startle, gripping the arms of my seat. My fingers turn white and I am certain that I am leaving permanent indentions in the cracked vinyl arm-rests.
“Don’t worry,” Dante says quietly, unpeeling one of my hands and grasping it within his own.  “It will be fine.”
The feel of his hand distracts me.  Strong and warm, it cups my own carefully, like he is holding something very fragile.  I close my eyes and enjoy the feeling. I only have a couple of minutes to soak it in, however.
As the plane moves down the runway in preparation for take-off, something happens.  Something isn’t right.  
Our plane rocks a little, then quivers, like it is being moved by a strong gust of wind.  I feel it a brief moment before Dante tightens his grip on my hand, a split second before light explodes from outside of my eyelids.  I open them to discover fire tearing down the runway past my window.  Before I can react or even scream, all hell breaks loose. 

I am totally excited to read this one. It sounds fabulous, and besides, Autumn from The Autumn Review assures me that it is really great so it must be. I love her to death and she hasn't given me a bad recommendation.