Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater



SINNER
by Maggie Stiefvater

Release date: July 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 357
Source: ARC


A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?


Fictitious Delicious Rating: 5+




Have you ever read a book that you didn't even know you needed to make your life a better place to live in? That's what SINNER was for me. Don't get me wrong, I was super excited to hear that we were getting a book about Cole and Isabel, but I didn't realize just how much I needed it.  I was completely content with the way The Wolves of Mercy series ended with FOREVER and it wasn't until I finished this book that I realized I really needed more Cole in my life.  And not just because he's hot.  Because his story was unfinished.

Cole is one of those characters that is difficult to classify into one category.  He's a garden-fresh yellow onion with lots of layers.  Taking off the skin is easy, but you'll be in tears once you start peeling back the layers under the skin that isn't as thick as it appears.  I envy readers who can't relate to at least one of the parts of Cole St. Clair that have shaped his public persona.  I have empathy for those who can relate to way he has chosen to cope with those parts of him that eat away at him every. single. day. Cole St. Clair owns a pretty big portion of my heart.  The prose Stiefvater uses to tell his story is genius. GENIUS.

And Isabel Culpeper? I love her almost as much as I love Cole. It's easy to see why Cole is so drawn to her. She, too, has issues that could fill up thirteen 150 page journals written in small, cursive letters. There is certainly an element of dysfunction in their relationship, but you know what it ISN'T? Co-dependent. Isabel calls Cole out on his shit and he does the same with her. Oh, the angst! The delicious kind that make you go back for seconds.

Wanna know how much I loved this book? I drove 409.3 miles to Naperville, IL, to get my hands on a signed copy of this book and one of those fancypants book covers that Stiefvater created. THAT'S how much I loved this book. (OK, fine. I went to a One Direction concert while I was there, too.) 

The other thing this book did was ignite a fire under my Maggie-crush. I fell in love with her all over again. I'll be picking up the entire Wolves of Mercy Falls series in December as a part of my annual "Reading Rewind" feature.  Hey! You should consider joining me! Da.





Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Blast: IN HER WAKE by K.A. Tucker

IHW RDL Banner   

It's here! It's here! Today is the release day for K.A. Tucker's IN HER WAKE! IN HER WAKE is a new adult contemporary romance and a prequel novella in the Ten Tiny Breaths Series, published by Atria Press (an imprint of Simon & Schuster). This is the series that made me realize that I could love New Adult books. I recommend them to everyone I can! (Psst! YOU. Read these books.)



THE BOOK





Before you knew him as Trent in Ten Tiny Breaths, he was Cole Reynolds—and he had it all. Until one night when he makes a fatal, wrong decision…and loses everything.

When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he’d be able to lean on his best friends—the ones who have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they’re gone. Worse, there’s the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys.

Everyone assures him that they know it wasn’t intentional, and yet he can’t ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. Nor can he shake the all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won’t so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip on what once was important—college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It’s not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness.

And there’s only one person who can give that to him…











THE EXCERPT

That’s how I spot her. 

There’s no doubt that it’s her; I’ve memorized her face. 

Leaning against a wall on the opposite side, her lips wrapped around a clear bottle filled with clear liquor, her fiery red hair a wild mane against the stark white wall, a tight black T-shirt showing off toned arms. She’s in no rush to part with that bottle, guzzling back a good portion before she hands it off to someone, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. 

Her eyes at half-mast. 

She’s wasted. 

My heart starts racing. What the hell is Kacey Cleary doing here? By my calculation, she’s probably finishing her last year of high school, having lost at least half a year while recovering. 

I tug my cap down even farther, though I doubt she can see two feet in front of her.
  1. What if she does recognize me? How would she react? Does she know my real name? What I look like? I can’t say for sure that my face wasn’t printed in a newspaper somewhere. She could have Googled my name and found a dozen game shots with me in them. I have my helmet on in most of them, but you can find a profile picture of me easily enough if you’re looking.
I don’t know that she was, though. I wonder if Kacey Cleary gives a fuck about anything anymore. Her Facebook account is inactive. She hasn’t posted a single word and the well-wishes have dwindled, as everyone moves on. 

I do know that she shouldn’t be at a party in this state. I’ve heard of bad things happening when girls get that drunk. Especially when they don’t care. 

But what do I do? 

A blonde stumbles into my chest with two beers in hand. “Hey, do you go here? What’s your name?” She’s tipping her head back way farther than necessary to look up at me, telling me she’s trying to flirt but is too drunk to do it right. 

I smile down at her anyway. She’s a good cover. I can stand right here and watch Kacey. “I’m Trent, and I used to go here.” 

“Really? When’d you graduate?” 

From the corner of my eye, I see Kacey shift from the wall and begin climbing the stairs, her arm hooked around the railing to help her. Two guys following her.






BUY IN HER WAKE



 TenTinyBreathsSeries

And don’t miss the previous titles in the Ten Tiny Breaths Series!

TEN TINY BREATHS
ONE TINY LIE
FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE
FIVE WAYS TO FALL




THE AUTHOR


Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.







Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Blast: GUARDIAN by Courtney Cole



It's a great day to be Courtney Cole, yo!  Not only is today the release day for GUARDIAN, it's also her birthday! *throws confetti* GUARDIAN is a YA Paranormal Romance, and a book close to Courtney’s heart.  I've recently fallen madly in love with her Beautifully Broken series and am anxious to start this one this weekend!



THE BOOK











Sometimes, things that go bump in the night are real.

My name is Whitney Lane. I’m sixteen years old and at first, I thought I was crazy.

I kept seeing shadows move along walls, and hearing whispers around corners, but whenever I looked, there was never anything there.

Until one day, there was.

Our world isn’t what we think. There are things around us, good things, bad things, scary things.

Things that we tell ourselves aren’t real, but they are.

They’re very real, and they’re terrifying.

I’ve been swept up now, in a battle of good and evil, confused about love and what is supposed to be love, but isn’t. I don’t know what to think anymore. I can’t trust my emotions and I don’t know what is true.

There’s only one thing I know for sure.

Nothing is what it seems.







THE EXCERPT

Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real.

Happy birthday to me. 

I close my eyes and burrow into my pillow as I try to sleep, as I try to escape this life. 

It’s a life I never thought I’d have, a life I most certainly don’t want. 

I’m still feeling sorry for myself as the blackness of sleep finally overtakes me.

I don’t know what time it is when I shoot straight upward like a rocket. Something had yanked me from the oblivion of sleep, something loud and shrill scraping my window. 

My room is completely dark and I glanceat my clock in confusion. 

3:00 a.m. 

As my heart pounds hard against my ribcage, I quickly scan every corner of the room.

In the last few hours, dark shadows had migrated onto my pink walls, but they’re familiar, nothing out of the ordinary, although in the night, they seem twisted and scary. 

I remain motionless as I allow the sleep-induced fog to clear from my brain. 

As I sit, I feel common sense and logic slowly returning. 

Of course nothing had touched my window because my bedroom is on the second floor. Nothing can reach it. And there are no trees near enough to brush against it. It was just a dream.

It was only a dream.

I chant it silently to myself like a mantra as I consciously slow my breathing down, hoping that my racing pulse will soon follow. It was only a dream.

But just as I’m calming down, I hear it again. 

A high-pitched shrill shriek, reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard, scraping down my window. I gasp and pull my feet up to my chest, which is when I notice the temperature. 

I notice because I can see my breath. 

Timidly, I blow a puff out again, watching the way my breath turns white in the air. 

Holy crap. Oh my God. 

What the hell? 

The sound stops and stillness surrounds me once again, the silence so loud that it echoes in my ear. 

Nothing moves around me, the shadows are perfectly still as they twist across my wall. They look like mangled fingers and arms and legs, but they don’t move. 

My legs are weak and shaking, but I know I have to move. I have to move off my bed because it feels like something is under it. Something terrifying. 

With a leap, I bound across the room, my feet hitting the floor several feet away from the edge of my bed.

The floor is ice cold, as though it had been covered in a blanket of snow. 

I’m trembling as I race to the far wall and check the thermostat. Because that’s the only explanation. I must’ve bumped it earlier, I must’ve turned the AC way down.

But the luminous numbers stare at me in contradiction. 

74 degrees. 

It must be broken. It has to be broken. 

My breath is coming in pants now, terrified, anxious pants. 

My fear isn’t logical. I know there’s nothing here. I’m the only one in this room. 

Or am I? 

The air seems to push at me from all around, something dark, something heavy, something real. Something unseen. 

My fingers shake, my legs tremble, and then all of a sudden, they can no longer support my weight. I go down like a pile of bricks, collapsing onto the floor. I lie still because I can’t move, because something seems to sit on my chest, holding me down. 

The shadows start to move, to slither across the walls, to reach and pull and dance. 

I struggle to focus, to see what it is.

But all I can see are the numbers on the thermostat suddenly moving, rapidly counting down from 74 to 20.

Twenty degrees? 

The air is frigid as I suck it in, as I try to pull the ice crystals into my mouth so I can breathe. 

All of a sudden, there’s a blackness in front of me. It hovers over me, a shapeless mass, sucking in the cells of the air, the atoms and the molecules. It’s darker than the blackness of my room, blacker than the blackest black. 

Something is here.

With me. 

“Dad?” I whisper in a white puff. Because what else could it be? 

I reach out a finger to touch it, and then I can’t see anything else, because the darkness of it surrounds me, bleeding into everything else, even my vision. The shriek is back, screaming into my ears, bleeding into my brain. 

Then there’s nothing.
  




BUY THE GUARDIAN







THE AUTHOR


Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.


Find Courtney: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter Pinterest




THE GIVEAWAY

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Blast: I WANT IT THAT WAY by Ann Aguirre


We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for Ann Aguirre's I WANT IT THAT WAY! I WANT IT THAT WAY is a New Adult contemporary romance and is the first book in the 2B Trilogy Series, published by Harlequin HQN. I'm about 60% done with this one right now and am carrying my Kindle around everywhere so I can sneak a read whenever I can.  It's SO GOOD! Read the excerpt, then go grab your copy today!!



THE BOOK







Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.


"A tender, sweet, and sexy story about how life—and falling in love—can never be planned." —Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You










THE EXCERPT

“Where are you from?” 

 Ah, an actual question. That means I can ask one back. 

“Nebraska, toward the South Dakota and Wyoming side, if that helps.” 

“I’ve never met anyone from there.” 

Michigan was a long way from home. “I usually get ‘not in Nebraska anymore’ jokes, and then I have to decide if I’m going to remind them that’s Kansas or play along.” 

“What do you usually do?” 

“Play along.” 

“You don’t like conflict, huh?” He sounded normal tonight, as if talking to me wasn’t an unpleasant chore anymore. 

That was a relief since I’d come to look forward to these moments with him so much. More, maybe, than I’d like to admit.Right. Friends. I distracted myself by considering his question. “Not if it can be avoided. I’m not what you’d call pugnacious, no. But I like to think I don’t back off important issues. What about you?” 

“No.” His voice was bleak and quiet. “I don’t. Even when I should.” 

Wow, that took a dark turn. 

If I could’ve jumped onto his patio without breaking an ankle or waking Sam, I’d have been down there like a shot. The distance between us seemed intolerable, and from the knot in my throat, I didn’t see how I could live another second without touching him, finding out if his hair was as soft as it looked or what he smelled like. I wanted him in a way I never had before.

In high school, I had a boyfriend who played basketball, and we broke up when I left the state. It was a rational decision, and I didn’t miss him that much once I was gone. My freshman year, I went out with a lot of different guys, one date here, two dates there, but I never clicked with anyone enough to focus on them. Sometimes there were hookups with no strings, no expectations. Classes, friends and work seemed a lot more important. The intensity of this attraction was foreign and frightening, if exhilarating. I might already be backing off if I had the faintest sense that Ty was jerking me around on purpose. 

Wish he didn’t make me feel this way. It’d be so much simpler if I could friend-zone him. 

I realized I still hadn’t touched his verbal grenade. “We all have things we’d do differently in hindsight.”

“What is it about you?” he asked in a wondering tone. 

“Huh?” 

“You make me…better. Calmer.” 

“Like a sedative?” I snickered. It was the least sexy thing a guy had ever said to me, including a junior high squeeze who said my face wasn’t actually that bad. 

He laughed, too, a sheepish sound. “I didn’t mean it like that. Just…I’m worried pretty much all the time that I’m dropping the ball somewhere, about to face-plant, but when I come out here and hear your voice, everything backs off like ten steps. I can breathe again.”  


  IWITW Available now



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THE AUTHOR

Author Photo
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.  


Find Ann: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr




THE GIVEAWAY

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review: NANTUCKET RED by Leila Howland



NANTUCKET RED
by Leila Howland

Release date: May 13, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 288
Source: ARC



Cricket Thompson's lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she's headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years.

When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated. It's hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy.

But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn't just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she's been trying to ignore-her own heart.




Fictitious Delicious Rating: 5

Can someone please tell me why everyone in the world isn't going crazy over this series? I freaking LOVED this book AND it's predecessor, NANTUCKET BLUE.  As a matter of fact, Zack Clayton made my list of top book boyfriends of 2013.  That's not an easy feat, yo.  I love a LOT of boys.  His all around good-guy qualities make him highly desirable.

So, imagine my surprise when he does something VERY un-good guy like in the opening chapters of NANTUCKET RED.  Pretty sure the entire county heard my heart break when I read this. But sometimes.  SOMETIMES, heart break has to happen before a person can experience the growth they need to turn them into the adult they are to become.  That's just what Cricket needed.  And as much as I love me some Zack Clayton, I love me some Cricket Thompson even more.

Cricket blossoms in this installment of the duology and her transformation is one that hit me right in the spot that makes me go crazy over a book. I love her and I can't wait to share her story with my own teenagers.  She's the kind of heroine that you want to hold up and say "See! It's okay to make mistakes and not always choose the easiest path."  Being true to yourself is more important than, well, anything. 

My policy of keeping reviews spoiler-free means that I can't share with you my favorite part of this book. I'll be cryptic and say that relationships with boys aren't always the most important part of a girls life.  Sometimes it's her friends that matter most. <3

You know, there's just enough time left of this summer to pick up this series.  I encourage you, no wait. I INSIST that end your summer on a high note and read this series today.  It's a series that deserves so much more attention that it's getting.






Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog Tour: CAN'T LOOK AWAY by Donna Cooner




Welcome to our stop on the CAN'T LOOK AWAY blog tour! We're very excited to introduce you to a story that documents one girls life--both on and off camera--as she deals with a heavy grief.

Be sure to check out the other stops on this tour sponsored by the dynamic duo behind Rockstar Book Tours!



     8/18/2014- Such a Novel IdeaInterview
     8/19/2014- A Book and a LatteGuest Post
     8/20/2014- The Book BellesReview
     8/21/2014- BookHounds YA- Interview
     8/22/2014- Fictitious Delicious- Spotlight
     8/25/2014- Shayna Varadeaux Books & ReviewsReview
     8/26/2014- The Cover Contessa - Guest Post
     8/27/2014- Katie's Book BlogReview
     8/28/2014- Swoony Boys PodcastReview
     8/29/2014- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview
       


THE BOOK


CAN'T LOOK AWAY
by Donna Cooner
Release date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Point
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 272

Donna Cooner establishes herself as our own Jodi Picoult in this timely tale of sisters, loss, and redemption.

Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey's sister is killed in an accident -- maybe because of Torrey and her videos -- Torrey's perfect world implodes.

Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn't know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey's internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there's Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?








ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Donna Cooner was born and raised in Texas. She is a three time graduate of Texas A&M University. A former teacher and school administrator, she now teaches teachers and principals at Colorado State University where she is the director of the School of Teacher Education and Principal Preparation. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her two labs and a cat named Stu. She's a big fan of chocolate and laughing (not necessarily in that order).

Donna is the author of over twenty picture books and was a founding member of the Brazos Valley Society of Children's Bookwriters and Illustrators. She has also written children's television shows for PBS and textbooks for future teachers. SKINNY is her debut novel for young adults.


Find Donna:  Website Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads





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THE GIVEAWAY






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