Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Grasping at Eternity (Kindrily #1) by Karen Amanda Hooper

Grasping at Eternity (Kindrily #1)
 
Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories.

Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she's supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah's memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.

While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.

Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Publication Date: May 25, 2012

Kat's Review

I was first drawn to this book because of the cover.  The colours caught my eye, and then the description of the story sucked me in.  I liked that I didn't have to wait long for the action to begin, even though I did find that at first it took a little bit to orient myself around the storyline.  Information about Maryah's past lives are revealed slowly throughout the book, but it takes a bit of a leap of faith at first to go with the flow and see where the story goes.

I see the potential for a great series here.  There is a pretty large and varied supporting cast, not to mention the engaging storyline between Maryah and Nathaniel.  Add some danger to keep things jumping, and this is one exciting read.  On top of everything is the largest mystery of all- Why did Maryah erase her memories after her last life?  This question is left unanswered in the first book, and I have the feeling that the answer has some pretty serious implications for everyone in Maryah's kindrily. 

There are a few spots in the book where I found some of Maryah's decisions to be frustrating, particularly regarding her relationship with River.  As their friendship progresses and River pressures Maryah to take their relationship to the next level, Maryah tries to continue as though nothing has changed.  She makes some poor decisions that are necessary in order to move the plot along, but that I wasn't convinced were completely realistic.  It's not enough of an issue to take away from my enjoyment of the book, however, and for the most part I really liked most of the supporting cast.  I have a soft spot for Carson in particular, with his sarcasm and willingness to say whatever's on his mind. 

Rating: A Good Read

This is a well written story with a fresh take on the paranormal/supernatural genre, with some romance thrown in.  I finished this book wanting more, and continued to think about it for a few days after I was done. 

I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review. 

Purchase:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: Skin in the Game by Jackie Barbosa

Skin in the Game (Play Action #1)
 
Angela Peterson was always the quiet, shy kid growing up in Harper Falls, crushing on the high school quarterback and honing her football strategy skills. Now grown up and coaching the high school team, she’s shocked when that same sexy quarterback returns to Harper Falls asks her back to his hotel room. And then tries to steal her job.

Injured NFL quarterback Cade Reynolds is in Harper Falls to take over as interim head coach, and he never thought the tall, blond bombshell he propositioned would offer up any resistance. Not to a repeat of the amazingly wild night they shared and certainly not to his coaching position.

But the Harper Falls High Eagles are Angie’s team, and even the hometown hero won’t take that away from her, no matter how hot he is. As the two engage in a battle of wits and wills, this is one game neither is prepared to lose.
Publisher: Brazen by Entangled
Publication Date: May 27, 2013
 
 
 
Kat's Review
 
I love a story that involves a female in sports, particularly in sports that are not traditionally considered "girl" sports.  This book takes that topic and adds a twist:  Angela Peterson is the female coach of a boys' football team.  And she's a great one.  Love it.  I also love that Angie's a down-to-earth woman, but not portrayed as unattractive, or overly masculine, or somehow "other" because of her love of football.  Breaking stereotypes in what is essentially a romance novel is never a bad thing. 
 
Skin in the Game is a love story, but it's also a story about finding the strength to stand up for what's right, to fight for what's important to you, and to go on pushing boundaries no matter how many obstacles stand in your way.  When Angie is faced with her high school crush turned NFL superstar trying to take her job, she doesn't back down.  Instead she fights for the job she knows she deserves to have.  In so many romance novels the female protagonist gives up too much for her love interest, sacrificing everything that's important to her for the love of a man.  Angie is the opposite.  She's prepared to give up the man she cares about if it means leaving behind everything she loves. 
 
This is a contemporary romance, with some steamy scenes and intense attraction between the love interests, but it's also a book about females breaking barriers and the obstacles they face.  Harassment, self-doubt, discrimination, the need to work twice as hard, all are portrayed here.  Cade Reynolds, Angie's love interest, is perhaps a bit too perfect at times, but I'll take a male character who supports and has faith in his love's ability to stand on her own two feet over the Alpha male Neanderthal who likes to swoop in and solve everything with his fists.  I'm just sayin'. 
 
Rating: A Good Read
 
This is a great book for portraying a woman in a non-traditional role as a thinking, feeling, sexual being and showing a strong, confident man who finds those traits sexy.  There's no trying to be less than she is, no stroking his ego because he may be intimidated by his strength.  Just two equals trying to navigate the difficulties their situation presents. 
 
I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from the Publisher & NetGalley in return for an honest review.
 
Purchase: AMAZON

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  It showcases the books we can't wait to read!  Link up, check out which books people are eagerly anticipating, follow some new blogs, and comment on their picks. 

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.


Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins




I know that October seems far away, but I'm still looking forward to it!  I often find myself most anxious for the final book in a series because I know everything is going to be wrapped up, and I'm impatient to know how everything works out. 

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Empty Net (Assassins Series #3) by Toni Aleo

Empty Net (Assassins #3)
 
Definition of an Empty Net: When a team pulls the goalie for an extra attacker, desperately seeking a goal.

Audrey Parker was in a horrible place.
She hated her job, her sister was getting married and moving out, but worst of all, she was in love with a total jerk. No matter what she did, every guy she met hurt her. All she wanted was her happily ever after. Her Prince Charming. Her Lucas Brooks! She didn’t know how to change her life but she knew she needed too.
Feeling like she was about to hit rock bottom, Audrey wakes up next to Tate Odder.

Tate Odder had lost everything.
After being brought up from the Assassins’ farm team, the Florida Rays to the Nashville Assassins, Tate hopes he’ll forget everything he has lost. He doesn’t. Each day gets harder to live in a place he doesn’t know. Even being the first rookie goalie to shut out an opposing team three times during the Lord Stanley Cup Finals, he still felt empty. With the loss of his parents and sister still heavy on his heart, Tate isn’t sure how to live like everything is okay.

But when he wakes up beside Audrey Parker, things start to change. She turns his life upside down with her kooky sense of humor and her bright clothing. She is intelligent and beautiful, and for once, he doesn’t feel empty.
Will Audrey be the person to fill the holes in Tate’s heart, making him whole again?
Or will another player ruin everything, leaving him feeling forever like an empty net?
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 13, 2013
 
 
 
Kat's Review
 
This is the third book in the Assassin's series, and it's the one I've liked the most.  The book surprised me because in book two, Audrey is seen as a secondary character in her sister's love story, but she comes across as a bit of an irresponsible, immature mess.  Instead, in Empty Net, Audrey becomes a loveable main character stuck in a cycle of bad relationships due to a secret she's keeping from everyone in her life.  As her personality begins to shine through as the book progresses, I really came to like her character. 
 
Tate was another character introduced in the second book, as the rookie goaltender who spoke little English.  Now he's on top of the world as one of the best goalies around, and months of language training has improved his English.  Still, he's living far from home and has lost everyone who ever meant anything to him.  When he meets Audrey he feels a connection that keeps him coming back for more, but he can't seem to crack her shell. 
 
What I liked about this book was the way it tackled real issues.  Audrey and Tate are several years apart in age, with Audrey being older.  Having the younger male be the one looking for a relationship that lasts was a refreshing twist on the older man/younger woman stereotype so often seen in romance novels.  There's loss, and abusive relationships (NOT between Audrey & Tate,) and family pressures, and a whole host of other obstacles that those in the real world have to face, in addition to a sweet romance that builds over time and provides the strength each needs to face their demons. 
 
Rating: A Good Read
 
This book is a romance, but also provides strong secondary storylines that make the series interesting.  Tate and Audrey are both sweet, complicated characters.  If you like your romance novels to have some depth, and also enjoy a good sports storyline, this series might be for you. 
 
I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.
 
 
 
 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Spirit (Elemental #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

Spirit (Elemental #3)
 
With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…
Publisher: K Teen
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
 
 
 
Kat's Review
 
You may already know of my love for this series, and this book doesn't disappoint.  Actually, this may be the darkest, most intense book yet.  Before reading Spirit, Hunter was my least favourite character.  There was something about him that annoyed me.  I can't exactly put my finger on it, but he was untrustworthy.  Kind of a weasel. 
 
Then I read Spirit.
 
Now I just want to take care of him.  Giving Hunter his own book gives the reader a closer look into the complicated existence that has led him to behave the way he does.  His trust issues are legend, and I felt that sometimes he could be his own worst enemy.  I liked the juxtaposition of Hunter and Kate because Kate essentially is what Hunter was supposed to become- a trained assassin with no room for pity or remorse.  At least she's those things on the surface.  It takes having the two of them thrown together to really help both of them begin to work through their individual issues and examine everything they've been taught was true.
 
This book was a nice break from seeing everything from the Merrick brothers' perspective.  It provided an inside view of what they're dealing with when it comes to the Guides, as well as how the pure elementals are viewed by outsiders.  There's also an interesting little bit about how having one of each elemental in a group completes the circle, providing the potential for an enormous amount of power.  I hope to see that potential explored in future books. 
 
While there is an element of romance in Spirit, there is also a lot of heartbreak.  Hunter has to figure out who he is, who he can rely on, and what side he's going to choose.  The Merrick brothers offer him their friendship and trust, and Hunter spends a lot of this book deciding what he's going to do with it.  It's a huge part of the series, because the decision he makes essentially determines his future path. 
 
Rating:  All Consuming
 
If you're into this series the way I am, this book isn't to be missed.  It will make you see Hunter in a whole new light, and broadens the horizons of the series by expanding the perspective beyond that of the Merrick brothers. 
 
I was provided a complimentary copy this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review. 
 
Want to know more about this series?  Read my reviews of earlier books:
 
STORM (#1)           SPARK (#2)          BREATHLESS (#2.5)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cover Reveal: Darker Days by Jus Accardo

Welcome to the cover reveal for Jus Accardo's newest novel, Darker Days!  The cover is sure to make fans happy, and the synopsis makes me impatient for the book's release.  Want to know more?  Keep reading below for an excerpt from the book!





Synopsis

Jessie Darker goes to high school during the day, but at night she helps with the family investigation business. Cheating husbands and stolen inheritances? They’re your girls—but their specialty is a bit darker. Zombie in your garage? Pesky Poltergeist living in your pool? They’ll have the problem solved in a magical minute. For a nominal fee, of course...
 
When gorgeous new client, Lukas Scott, saunters into the office requesting their help to find a stolen box, it sounds like a simple case—until the truth comes out. The box is full of Sin.
 
Seven deadly ones, in fact.
 
They’ve got five days to recapture the Sins before they're recalled by the box, taking seven hijacked human bodies with them. Easy peasy—except for one thing...

There’s a spell that will allow the Sins to remain free, causing chaos forever. When the key ingredient threatens the life of someone she knows, Jessie must make the ultimate choice between love and family—or lose everything.
Publisher: Entangled
 
 


Excerpt

 

“So not your biggest fan at the moment,” I said, closing the office door behind me. The runoff from my jeans had soaked my sneakers pretty good. With each step, I gave a slight squishing noise accompanied by an annoying squeak against the old tile floor.


From across the room, Mom stared. “What happened to you?”

            “It attacked me.” Tossing my bag on the couch, I sank into her chair and made sure to grind my butt into the cushion. Got it nice and wet. I was all about sharing the love—and right now, the love was soggy.

            She laughed, waving a folder in my direction. “Surely you’re overreacting. It was one little zombie. They don’t attack people.”

            “I’m serious, Ma. It tried to drown me. And the client assaulted me with ugly footwear. As far as punishments go, I’d say we’re probably square. I’ve learned my lesson.”

            “You’re serious?” Amused expression now replaced by concern, she crossed the room and leaned over her desk to get a better look at me.

            “As a coronary.” Once I was sure the chair had sponged up all it could, I stood and huffed past her. Pulling at my favorite T-shirt—the word Fate inside a blood red heart, is a four letter word on the back—I said, “Child welfare would not be happy to hear you tried to feed your only child to a walking corpse…”

“But why would it attack? Did you provoke it?” Folding her arms, she frowned. “Insult it, perhaps?”

            I winked at her. “Provoke it? Sure. I went and wiggled my ass in front of it yelling lunch just to see what’d happen.” I’d called it Stinky, but that didn’t count as an insult. Something couldn’t be considered an insult if it was true, right?

            Right eyebrow twitching, she fought against a smile. “But you’re okay, right? No bites, broken bones, head injuries, possessions…?”

I smiled and did a little twirl. “All in one piece and still me.”

Mom had a checklist she went through at the end of each job. I was known for taking almost as much damage as I inflicted.

“Oh, and you’re probably going to get a call from the client. I sorta smashed her fence in the process.”

            Mom groaned. “I told you to be more careful.”

            “It’s not like I tried to break anything.”

            “Something tells me you didn’t try hard enough not to break anything, either.”

            “In my defense, it wasn’t a simple trap and slap…”

            “We can’t afford this.” She reached down and pulled a white envelope out from under a stack of papers. “This is the bill for that Mercedes you smashed.”

            “Oh! So not my fault. How was I supposed to know that Spring Heel was gonna land on the car? If it makes you feel any better, I think he was aiming for my head…”

            “If you keep this up, we won’t even be able to afford the rent.”

            She was right, of course, and it made me feel horrible. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m a wrecking ball wrapped in blue jeans. Take my cut of this job and put it toward the repairs. Keep my paycheck for the next month, too.” A good start, but it didn’t feel like enough. Sure, it would cover the damages—I hoped—but I felt guilty about upsetting her. The bills that were piling up kept her awake at night. This was only going to make things worse. We got a fair amount of business, but the overhead in our line of work was sky high.

As much as I hated the idea, I knew what would cheer her up. “I’ll even throw in pet possessions for the next month.”

 

 
About Jus Accardo
JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her path lay with fiction, not food, and passed on the spot to pursue writing. Jus is the bestselling author the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing and is currently working on the first book in a new adult series due out summer 2013. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

 

Find Jus Accardo

                                                        Website         Blog         Twitter      Facebook

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Excerpt from The Liberator and a Giveaway

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you've likely heard about the hot new YA series featuring Dante Walker, soul collector extraordinaire.  Book One in the series, The Collector, is out now.  Haven't read it yet?  Keep reading for a chance to win a digital copy! 

Already read The Collector and are waiting with baited breath for The Liberator?  Today is your lucky day because I have a short excerpt from Book Two in the series below. 

The Liberator (Dante Walker #2)
 
Bad boy, meet bad girl.

Dante has a shiny new cuff wrapped around his ankle, and he doesn't like that mess one bit. His new accessory comes straight from Big Guy himself and marks the former demon as a liberator. Despite his gritty past and bad boy ways, Dante Walker has been granted a second chance.

When Dante is given his first mission as a liberator to save the soul of seventeen-year-old Aspen, he knows he’s got this. But Aspen reminds him of the rebellious life he used to live and is making it difficult to resist sinful temptations. Though Dante is committed to living clean for his girlfriend Charlie, this dude’s been a playboy for far too long…and old demons die hard.

With Charlie becoming the girl she was never able to be pre-makeover and Aspen showing him how delicious it feels to embrace his inner beast, Dante will have to go somewhere he never thought he’d return to in order to accomplish the impossible: save the girl he’s been assigned to, and keep the girl he loves.
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: August 27, 2013

 
 
Excerpt from THE LIBERATOR

By Victoria Scott

 

 

When I open my eyes, the sun is trying to murder me. It’s shining on my face and making my head pound. Or maybe it’s my hangover that’s giving me the headache, but nonetheless—me and the sun?—we’re not on friendly terms.

Charlie murmurs beside me. My arms are still wrapped around her waist, and I suddenly realize I must have crashed out in her bed last night. If Grams wakes up and finds me here, she’ll run me a bath…and toss in the toaster.

            “Morning, babe,” I whisper.

            “Morning, hot stuff,” a distinctly male voice responds.

            I whip around, my heart racing, and find Max sitting in a chair across the room.  “You look so hot when you first wake up,” he says. He raises a hand to his hair. “Got that whole sexy bed head thing going on.”

            Charlie doesn’t even move from her place, but I feel her laughing against me. “Your friend is kind of creepy, Dante,” she manages. 

            “Max, what the hell are you doing in here?” I ask, pulling the covers farther up even though I’m (regretfully) fully-clothed.

            “Real question is, why did I wait so long to join you guys?” Max stands from his chair and cocks his head. A mischievous smile crawls across his face.

            “No,” I say, trying to appear serious. “Don’t even think about it, dude.”

            Max starts running in place, his smile widening farther until he looks deranged. “Ready or not!” Before I can stop him, Max races toward the bed and dives on top of us. “Oh! Oh it feels even better than I imagined.” He rolls back and forth across our bodies as Charlie laughs and I wonder why I’m friends with such a raging idiot.

            With all my strength, I grab Max’s shirt and rotate him toward the edge. He falls off the side, his arms pin-wheeling. There’s a loud thud, and then nothing.

I wait for several seconds before leaning over to search for him. Max is lying face down on the floor, his arms and legs curled like a dead spider. “You’re not really hurt,” I say.

            “I think you gave me spinal bifida. You need to call someone.”

            “That’s a genetic disorder,” I respond with a sigh, collapsing back onto my pillow. A second later, he raises his head very, very slowly up from the side of the bed. It’s one of the more unsettling things he’s ever done.  “Max, is there a purpose to this visit?” I ask. I want so badly to act like he’s annoying me. But he knows, and I know, that we both love this game: the one where I pretend he’s a pain in my ass, and he acts like a damn circus clown.

            He stands up, crosses the room, and plops back down in the chair. “Valery sent me.”

            I throw an arm across my eyes. “Of course she did.” Beside me, Charlie moves to get up and I immediately reach for her. She squeals and wiggles out of my grasp.

            I watch as she walks around the bed and ruffles Max’s hair. The twenty-eight year old pants like a dog. It’s a bit disturbing considering Charlie’s seventeen. She eyes me with a grin. “I’ll make waffles.”

My face lights up.

“Yes,” she continues. “And bacon.”

I glance at Max and nod toward Charlie. “That’s my girl.”

“Damn straight,” he says.

“I’m still making breakfast for your birthday,” I call after Charlie. Then, looking at Max, I add, “My girl’s going to be legal soon.”

Max says, “Boom.”
 
 
Haven't read The Collector and would like to get in on the action?  Enter below to win a digital copy of The Collector!
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:



Vigilante Nights
 
A "good boy" will do anything for vengeance when a gang rite kills his twin sister. Will Lucas win, or follow his sister Silver into the darkness?

After a hideous car wreck, Lucas wakes from a coma to find that his world is gutted. Not only is his beloved twin sister, Silver, gone forever, but Lucas is broken in body and spirit. He will never be a college athlete, and is robbed of what he now realizes was the most important bond of his life. Although they weren't identical twins, Lucas and Silver shared a bond so fierce it defied reason, and was nearly supernatural.

After her death, that bond seems to endure when Lucas sees Silver everywhere he turns. Either he's crazy, or Silver is trying to tell him something about the California gang initiation they stumbled into that cost Silver her life. Lucas is bent on revenge, turning on Raymond, Silver's former boyfriend; the one Lucas never wanted her to date. He forms a posse of vigilantes to take out the gangsters responsible for Silver's death, but he risks not only his own life, but the love of the new girl on his block, who knows more about Lucas and Silver than can be accounted for by mere chance.
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: July 18, 2013
 
This book is a little different from what I usually read, but it sounds intriguing. 
 
What are you waiting on?  Let me know in the comments!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

The Summer I Became a Nerd
 
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
 
Kat's Review
 
I wanted to read this book from the second I saw the title.  I'll admit, I've never been into comics, or gaming, or live-action-role-playing, but I can identify with having nerd tendencies that not all my friends understood when I was in high school.  This book sounded like the perfect fun summer read, and it is. 
 
Maddie has spent years cultivating her reputation as pretty, popular cheerleader, but risks it all to purchase the latest comic book she's been waiting for when her delivery is on back order.  Despite her disguise, Logan, the boy behind the counter who also attends her high school, recognizes her.  As summer begins, Logan and Maddie begin spending time together participating in nerd-worthy pursuits.  Their feelings get stronger, but Maddie's fear of losing her friends and her status if she were to be exposed as a full-out nerd hold her back from moving forward with a relationship with Logan.  Drama ensues. 
 
This book was fun.  The writing is witty and Maddie's inner thoughts sometimes made me laugh out loud.  It may seem a bit ridiculous at times the lengths to which she tries to hide her true self, but having taught teenagers, it's spot on.  The pressure to conform is strong in high school, and it's a thin line between what's acceptable and what's not.  Maddie's middle school experience taught her that being different causes her to lose friends, so she cultivates the image she thinks will bring her the most popularity.  Dating a nerd boy, reading comics and role playing  as a warrior elf don't fit in with that image.
 
I'm sure there are things I could criticize, but I don't want to.  I enjoyed the whole book, even the predictable message about being yourself, and really liked Maddie and Logan.  Maddie could be immature at times, and was definitely insecure, but she owned up to her faults.  Perhaps the surprise character for me was Dan, nerd extraordinaire and Logan's best friend.  He had no filter and always spoke what was on his mind, but he was fiercely loyal, saw things the way they were, and wasn't afraid to call Maddie on her ridiculous behaviour.  He made me happier than any one foul-mouthed socially awkward teenage character should. 
 
Finally, there's Logan.  Cute, confident, sporty, but also unabashedly geeky, Logan is the good guy that every girl says they want, but then overlooks for the unattainable bad boy, and he knows it.  He treats Maddie well, is respectful, and never apologizes for being who he is, but gets frustrated when Maddie is reluctant to make things official.  When he finally has enough, Maddie has to decide if she's willing to lose him forever.
 
Rating: All Consuming
 
This is a feel good summer read that might just brighten the day of a nerdy chick looking for confirmation that it's okay to be yourself.  It's lighthearted with a good message behind it, and funny enough to make even decidedly non-nerds laugh and root for Maddie and Logan.
 
I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from Entangled Teen in return for an honest review.
 
Purchase:  AMAZON

Book Blitz: Inspire by Heather Buchine

Welcome to my spot on the Xpresso Tours Book Blitz for Inspire by Heather Buchine.  In addition to a very cool author interview, I'm hosting a giveaway for 1 ebook copy of the book.  Keep reading below for details!

Inspire
Heather Buchine
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

18-year old Paige Rice, an exquisite beauty from East Hampton, NY, has just celebrated her high school graduation and is expecting to spend her summer living it up with all her socialite friends. But her parents have a different idea – she is being hauled away-literally- to the mountains of Vermont for the entire summer- in an RV!

Assuming she will be an outcast amongst the other teens at the campground still does not prepare her for the treatment she receives, which is far worse than she imagined. She also isn’t prepared for Travis, the campground owner’s son and the “Sexiest” guy she has ever laid eyes on. Travis is the only one who shows any interest in getting to know Paige. The only problem is that they have to explore what lies between them in secret. But once all the secrets are stripped away, the truth may be crushing.

***Intended for mature audiences due to language and sexual content***

Publication Date: March 31, 2013

GOODREADS

PURCHASE:  AMAZON

Author Interview with Heather Buchine

1. Where did the idea for Inspire come from?

I was actually camping with my family when the idea for the story came to me.  We had just hiked through the woods down to a lake, and I was staring out at the boats when it hit me.  I spent the rest of the afternoon “daydreaming” away.

2. How did you come up with the name of the title?

My protagonist, Paige, has a tattoo that inspired the title “Inspire.” It’s also a key part of her character.

3.  What was the hardest part of writing Inspire? The easiest?

The hardest part of writing the book was writing the ending.  It took a couple of drafts before I was happy with the way I was leaving off.  (I’m trying not to give too much away, so I’ll leave it at that.) The easiest part was writing the dialogue between Paige and Travis, and the “LOVE” scenes. They were fun to write!! 

4. Are you working on any other projects?

Yes. At least two of the other characters from this book are getting their own stories, and then there are a couple other projects in the works.  

5. Do you have a specific writing process?

I really consider myself a mix between a panster and a plotter. The first part of my process is visualizing the characters and the main scenes of the book.  My mind starts playing them out like a movie, and so I write it down exactly how I see it.  Then, I go back and fill in the story around those scenes until I have a book that I would like to jump into.  Although I outline my book ahead of time, things always change along the way as I get to know my characters better.

6.  Do you have a certain time of day where you feel most creative?

Honestly, not really.  I usually always have a notebook nearby so that I can scribble down things as they come to me.  I could be in the shower, in the car, running through the check-out line, or making dinner and something may hit me.  

7. Do you have any favorite authors?

Yes, I have LOTS of favorite authors, but the two that stick out the most are: S.C. Stephens and Abbi Glines.  Their stories come to life for me, and I have a thing for their leading men!

8. What tips or advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

My first tip would be to write what you love! Second, edit, edit and edit some more. And third, if you’re a self-published author, let someone else do your formatting.  (Your time saved is so worth the money!) 

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review: Runes by Ednah Walters

Runes
 
Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
Publication Date: May 20, 2013
 
 
 
Kat's Review
 
I'm going to be honest.  I requested this book despite the cover, not because of it.  I've seen a lot of books lately with the same feel to their covers, so I know it's a popular look.  It's just not a look that draws me in.  I was intrigued by the description though, and requested it anyway.  I'm glad I did.
 
The paranormal genre doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and it is a very crowded place right now, so any book that falls within it will probably have some elements that sound familiar.  In this book, it's the runes that are used to mark skin and objects that are familiar.  The similarity of this book to another popular series ends there, though.  The mythology in Runes actually delves into some Norse mythology, which I found very cool and left me wanting to know more.
 
Raine is a typical teenage girl who is dealing with the disappearance of her dad in a plane crash.  She's an active member of the school's swim team, along with her two best friends, Cora and Eirik.  Raine and Eirik's relationship progresses through the first part of the novel, turning into something more, something Raine has been hoping for.  Enter Torin St. James and the mysterious newcomers that show up in his wake.  Mysterious, dangerous, and definitely Other, Raine soon learns that her fate is twisted up with theirs in ways she doesn't understand and no one wants to explain.  The closer Torin and Raine get, the more she starts questioning her relationship with Eirik.
 
This first book in the series gave enough away to keep me interested, but held enough back to keep me guessing throughout.  This is definitely one book that, aside from the romantic element, I honestly couldn't guess the plot elements before they happened.  There are several casualties and some tense action scenes that keep things exciting.  What really makes this book enjoyable is the writing.  It's good, strong, writing with realistic dialogue and well-drawn characters.  The plot is complex enough to sustain the series through more than one book, and the ending was unexpected and left me wanting more.
 
Rating: A Good Read
 
I've never read anything by this author before, but I'm glad I took a chance on this one.  I can't wait for the sequel, and am now going to go back and pick up the first book in one of her other series.  A good read.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.
 
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