For readers around the globe. :)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Where the Dogs Go

Calling all dog lovers!
I have been so lucky with my dog that I haven't had to experience one of my beloved pets crossing the rainbow bridge, but that is what this book is about.
I was nervous to start this book because it's written through a dogs point of view, because the last one I read (Downward Dog) didn't capture a dogs voice the way I wanted it to. But this one did! Lucky, who we soon learn to love as Monk, is thrown into this world by his birth momma with one other brother. But for some reason, only Lucky has to go away to be adopted. He is fearful to be on his own so soon; he wanted to stay with his mom and brother, not sit in a cage with taunting pug Walter and wait to be adopted.
But that's how he met her.
His Luv.
His one true human love.
He had never experienced love the way he got to with Beth. She picked him out, took him home, and gave him a life that he wasn't ready to give up. He got to stay through happiness, sadness, relationships, and babies. He had the life every dog dreams of having..
 Until one day, he realized he needed to sleep cuddled up to his Luv. He needed to be near her, but he wasn't sure why.
That night, he had a very vivid dream where his birth momma was in Luv's house telling him to come along, he had something new to experience...Eternity.
Eternity was great! He got to become a part of the Group of Six, pups who lived together and worked to make a life for themselves in Eternity. Thanks to Monk, the little group of six become rather famous. He had finally found another home, a home without his Luv. But he thought of her every day, painted pictures of her, told everyone about her, but still cried himself to sleep because he would never see his Luv again.
 Now that he was situated in his new life, his dear friend Mollie went missing.
He couldn't imagine she would leave without saying goodbye....
But soon he knew, that wasn't the case.
Can't say much more without ruining the book but it is fantastic!
If you love dogs and worry about life without them, this book is definitely the book for you.
It pulls together love and loss.
It makes you realize that the universe has a plan.
You just have to trust it.
Huge thank you to NetGalley and Dog Ear Publishing for sending me an advanced copy!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Scrappy Little Nobody

I LOVE THIS BOOK.
Anna Kendrick may be most relatable celebrity in the world.
She knows how to be confident, how to be herself, how to poke fun at herself.
But most importantly, she knows how to throw a solo party in her sweatpants with netflix and take out. I mean really, what could get more relatable than that? 
Obviously, we should be friends. 
So Anna, if you stumble upon this, holla at me!
 
Really, this book was fantastic.
There were adventures, life lessons, and pictures.
I found myself laughing out loud, in public, more often than not while I was reading this.
All of her stories were perfectly placed and described so well it was almost like I was on set with her throughout the whole thing.
 
She found herself in sticky situations, especially in her 20s.
But lets be real, we've all been there and we're glad it's over 
(even if I'm only 22 I'm ready for this to end). 

My point is, Anna Kendrick is probably one of my favorite celebs and reading her book just made me realize it even more. I mean, she was on Broadway at age 12 for crying out loud! Who wouldn't want to know her?! Not to mention avoiding people is one of my favorite activities and cynicism is almost second nature (again, Anna, lets be friends).
 
So go get this book!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Book of (Holiday) Awesome

Holidays got you down?
Need a pick-me-up?
Grab the Book of (Holiday) Awesome and flip to whatever holiday has gotten you frazzled.

I read The Book of Awesome and The Book of (Even More) Awesome many years ago, but just now got my hands on a copy of this one and I LOVE IT.

The Book of (Holiday) Awesome includes:
Post Thanksgiving naps
Real bearded Santas
Drinking with Grandma
  Halloween candy trading

It hits on all the important traditions and all the holidays you love.
It really is a pick-me-up to remember the greatest part of the holidays.
Maybe it's spending time with family or chilling by yourself, I promise you'll relate to something in this book and that will be
AWESOME!

Looking for other awesome books?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Dog Lover Unit

Love dogs?
Support the police?
Combine the two and you get The Dog Lover Unit.

This book was so good!
The Dog Lover Unit revolves around our K9 Police Force.
Rachel Rose traveled around the world for five years to learn about police dogs and the units they are apart of. She got up close and personal with these dogs; I'm talking she put on the bite suits and let them attack her, just to know exactly how it feels to be on the opposing side.
She learned about the officer/dog relationship and how intense their training was. She spent time getting to know these officers and their dogs and saw the grueling days they spent training. 
Most police K9's begin their training as puppies. They going through training courses with their handlers and are evaluated on how tough they are. By the time these dogs get matched to their officers, they are ready to hit the ground running, whether it be tracking a suspect, sniffing for drugs, or even searching for bombs, they are ready.
The police dog handlers have to trust and understand their dog because their dog is more or less their partner. They have to be willing to understand the risks that come with tracking a suspect with their dog. They have to understand that sometimes their dogs get hurt. Sometimes their dog is wrong (very rarely), but it happens. But not surprisingly, these officers are willing to lay their lives on the time to protect their dog, their partner, their child. 
Many of these officers go through months of training to join a K9 force and be matched with a pup. Many of those officers only serve with one dog and then move on to a different force. The bond between dog and officer is so strong, honestly it may be stronger than a regular pup/parent relationship. 
I also found myself incredibly happy to hear that some of the police forces are beginning to steer away from police dog breeds and instead have began adopting end of the line dogs that are on the verge of euthanasia. They have began adopting these dogs and training them to do the impossible. It was so heartwarming to see the success stories of these neglected and forgotten pups.
I want to send a huge thank you to NetGalley for sending me a copy of The Dog Lover Unit!

Looking for other books on service dogs?
Try:
Have Dog, Will Travel

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Blast! A Mother's Lie

Thanks to PICT Book Tours for another exclusive first look into A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow!

Chapter One
Dense red clay was pushing between the teeth. Pond mist drifted across the manicured lawns, wisping through the dark eye sockets. Parts of the cranium were shaded a vile yellow-brown where the decomposing leaves clung to its surface like bile expressed from a liver. The jawbone was separated from the skull, its curved row of teeth pointing skyward to greet the rising sun.
Two feet away, closer to the oak tree, other bones were piled haphazardly: a pelvis, high iliac crests and subpubic angle. A femur, caked with dirt, jammed into his empty skull. Sunlight decorated the brittle bones in long, lazy strips and darkened hairline fractures till they blended with the shed behind them.
It was peaceful here, mostly. The pond no longer bubbled, its aerator decayed by time; weed-clogged flowerbeds no longer bloomed- hands that once worked the land long ago dismissed. For blanketed the area, as if drawn by silence. Once, a started shriek woke the morning doves and set them all into flight.
It was the first time in ten years the mammoth magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains had scrutinized these bones; the first song in a decade that morning doves chorused to them from their high perch.
A clatter split apart the dawn; the skull toppled over as it was struck with another bone.
In a clearing, tucked safely behind the McNair estate, someone was whistling as they worked at the earth. The notes were disjointed and haphazard, like they were an afterthought. The pierced the stillness and, overhead, one of the morning doves spooked and took flight, rusling leaves as it rose through the mist.
A shovel struck the wet ground, digging up clay and mulch, tossing it onto the growing mound to their left. The whistling stopped, mid note, and a contemplative hum to its place.
Light glinted on the silvery band in the exposed clay- the digger pocketed it- the shovel struck the ground again, this time, it clinked as it hit something solid. 
Bone.
A hand dusted off decayed vegetative matter and wrested the bone from its tomb. Launching it into the air, it flew in a smooth arc, and crashed into the skull like a bowling pin, scattering the remains across the grass. With a grunt of satisfaction, the digger rose and started to refill the hole from the clay mound.
When it was filled and smoothed, and the sod was replaced over the disrupted ground, the digger lifted a shovel and strolled into the woods, one hand tucked in a pocket as they whistled a cheery tune lost to the morning fog.
***
For two days the bones rested on the grass by the shed, until they were placed carefully into forensic evidence bags in a flurry of urgent activity: flashing police cameras, and gawking, small-town rookie officers who'd never seen their like before.
***
Silence blanketed the McNair estate once more, and the looking, distant mountains stood watch over a town that had seen too little so long ago, and now knew too much.
I also have chapter two of A Mother's Lie if anyone would like to read it, shoot me a message and I'll send it your way!

Exclusive! The Body in the Casket

So, I've teamed up with PICT Book Tours to provide excerpts and other book news to all of you!
Here's is an exclusive first look of The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page!

Chapter One
"Have Faith in Your Kitchen," Faith Fairchild said, answering the phone at her catering firm. She'd been busy piping choux pastry for eclairs onto a baking sheet.
"Mrs. Fairchild?"
"Yes? This is Faith Fairchild. How may I help you?"
"Please hold for Max Dane." The voice had a plummy, slightly British tone, reminiscent of Jeeves, or Downtown Abbey's Carson. The only Max Dane Faith had heard of had been a fampous Broadway musical producer, but she was pretty sure he'd died years ago. This must be another Max Dane.
She was put through quickly and a new voice said, "Hi. I know this is short notice, but I am very much hoping you are available to handle a house party I'm throwing for about a dozen guests at the end of the month. A Friday to Sunday. Not just dinner, but all the meals."
Faith had never catered anything like this. A Friday to Sunday sounded like something out of a ritish pre- World War II country house novel- kippers for breakfast, Fortnum & Mason type hampers for the shoot, tea and scones, drinks and nibbles, then saddle of lamb or some other large haunch of meat for dinner with vintage clarets followed by port and Stilton- for the men only. She was intrigued. 
"The first thing I need to know is where you live, Mr. Dane. Also, is this a firm date? We've had a mild winter so far, but January may still deliver a wallop like last year."
A Manhattan native, Faith's marriage more than 20 years ago to the Reverend Thomas Fairchild meant a radical change of address- from the Big Apple to the orchards of Aleford, a small suburb west of Boston. Faith had never become used to boiled dinners, First Parish's rock hard pews and most of all, New England weather. By the end of the previous February there has been 75 inches of snow on the ground and you couldn't see through the historic parsonage's ground floor windows or open the front door. Teenage son Ben struggled valiantly to keep the back door clear, daily hewing the path to the garage. the resulting tunnel resembled a clip from Nanook of the North. 
"I'm afraid the date is firm. The thirtieth is my birthday. A milestone one, my seventieth." Unlike his butler or whoever had called Faith to the phone, Max Dane's voice indicted he'd started life in one of the five boroughs. Faith was guessing the Bronx. He sounded a bit sheepish when he said "my birthday," as if throwing a party for himself was out of character. "And I live in Havencrest. It's not far from Aleford, but I'd want you to be available at the house the whole time. Live in."
Leaving her family for three days was not something Faith did often, especially since Sunday was a workday for Tom and all too occasionally Saturday was as he "polished" his sermon. (His term, which she had noticed over the years, could mean writing the whole thing.)
Ben and Amy, two years younger, seemed old enough to be on their own, but Faith had found contrary to expectations, kids needed parents around more in adolescence than when they were toddlers. Every day brought the equivalent of scraped knees and they weren't the kind of hurts that could be soothed by Pat The Bunny and a chocolate chip cookie. She needed more time to think about taking the job. "I'm not sure I can leave my family..." was interrupted. "I quite understand that this would be difficult," Dane said and then he named a figure so far above anything she had ever been offered that she actually covered her mouth to keep from gasping out loud.
"Look," he continued. "Why don't you come by and we'll talk in person? You can see the place and decide then. I don't use it myself but the kitchen is well equipped- the rest of the house too. I'll email directions and you can shoot me some times that work. This week if possible. I want to send out the invited right away."
Well, it wouldn't hurt to talk, Faith thought. And she did like seeing other people's houses. She agreed, but before she hung up curiosity won out and she asked, "Are you related to the Max Dane who produced all those wonderful Broadway musicals?"
"Very closely. As in one and the same. See you soon."
Faith put the phone down and turned to Pix Miller, her closest friend and part-time Have Faith employee.
"That was someone wanting Have Faith to cater a weekend long birthday celebration- for an astonishing amount of money." She named the figure in a breathless whisper.

I have a few more pages of the first chapter if anyone would like to read them please just shoot me a comment and I'll send it your way. :) 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Downward Dog


This was a super, super cute read.
Downward Dog is a book of haiku's written from a dogs eye view, which is totally adorable.
Not to mention the little illustrations were precious!

But I didn't love it.
It was short, only 60ish pages.
But being so short it was hard to grasp the idea that it was written in a dogs voice.
I love, love, love my pup but I can't imagine her voice as the voice portrayed in the book.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Downward Dog!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale

Oh boy, I could not wait to get my hands on this book!!!

Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale picks up four years later with Tru running away from his New York Military School, back home to Alabama. He missed his family. He missed Big Boy. But really he missed Nelle. Obviously, that's who he decides to see before anyone else.
Once finally deciding to head to his old house, he slips into bed with is blankie and Sook.
But suddenly there was smoke and then the whole house was just....gone.
Christmas was obviously ruined at this point and Tru needed to fix it. After all, it's his fault that bad luck follows him everywhere.
So they set off to find the perfect Christmas tree, when they run into bully, Boss, son of the Klan's ex-Grand Dragon. They know they're in big trouble but don't really know what to do. Best to go talk to A.C. Lee, he'll know what to do.
Soon after, Nelle is on a crime scene with A.C. when she realizes there were actually TWO perpetrators, and he thinks that old, black man may have seen something. She soon learns that they're looking for two colored men, one who was injured in the robbery.
But in Monroeville, Alabama in the 1930's, that statement alone will bring some heat.
    When two colored men show up at Big Boy's house, one of them with a limp, Nelle knows it must have been them. They committed a crime....
But that wasn't the case. 
Two men hanged for a crime they didn't commit.
All because the jury was 12 white men, one of whom was the son of the victim.
Seems a little unjust to me, but again 1930's Alabama.

There's also a lot of references and scenes including the Klan which always throws me off because it's a kids book. But honestly, things like this did and do still happen. 

G. Neri is a fantastic storyteller.
I loved reading this, just as much as I loved the first Tru & Nelle novel. 
I love how he paints Tru's eccentric personality and Nelle's tomboy attitude. 
I love that he's from the Gulf Coast (just like me!).
I love that he got to spend time research two fantastic authors and decided to portray them as children with big, big imaginations.
Basically, I love everything about Tru & Nelle.

Looking for the rest of the series?
Tru & Nelle

Looking books by Truman Capote?
In Cold Blood
Other Voices, Other Rooms

Looking for other books featuring Truman Capote and Harper Lee?
No Saints in Kansas

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Turtles All The Way Down

John Green, I have waited 5 years for this masterpiece and finally I have it.
Turtles All The Way Down deals with a very serious topic, mental illness.
So Aza is 16 and struggles with anxiety.
She describes her anxiety as a thought spiral and I love that. In these thought spirals, she can't get out. Her thoughts keep spiraling and tightening and worrying her to the point where she becomes almost catatonic. But what I really love about it is that her best friend, Daisy, understands when she isn't talking. Aza at one point actually says, "Sorry, thought spiral" and Daisy is like 'Oh, girl. I get it." 
I feel like that relationship is really, really needed especially in a teen book. Many teens don't understand mental illness and the seriousness of it, but Daisy gets it. 
Now Aza, she's not the most relatable character because her issues are so specific. Her anxiety is strictly related to the human biome. She has an intense fear of germs and getting infected and being hospitalize, her irrational fear actually lands her in the hospital (in a round-a-bout way, but spoilers you know). 
But the issues she has are definitely something that people CAN relate to. Everyone has a little anxiety from time to time, but some people truly can't escape it and this gives an amazing insight to this illness. 
I am patiently waiting for my sister to finish the book because I want to see if her reaction was anything like mine. She also struggles with anxiety and I would love to know just how accurate and relatable it was to her. 

When TATWD was announced, I shared a video of John Green reading the first chapter:

Looking for other books by John Green?
 Try:

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Hellraisers

I am not a fan of heavy metal in any way (but why do I have heavy metal flags and band tshirts??)
Oh yeah, because my husband is a metalhead.
So I read Hellraisers for a few reasons:
  • I love music, any kind of music.
  • I love my husband
  • He wouldn't read the book so I had to summarize it to him
But it was actually really good. I was surprised at all of the different subgenres within the heavy metal genre. Some of them I don't 100% agree with because lets be real glam rock is NOT metal but it is definitely one of my favorites. Honestly, I learned a lot from this book. It kind of goes into the history of heavy metal and talks about bands who inspired other bands and how all the subgenres are connected to the main genre.
 
Now I will say, the last 100 pages or so were not really necessary.
Now I'm not an expert or anything, but grouping Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, and Linkin Park into the "nu-metal" genre seemed a bit off to me, but according to my husband that's exactly what the three of them are. So who knows.
 
Either way, I really enjoyed this book even though heavy metal is not quite my taste. 
If you enjoy this music, you'd definitely enjoy this book!
 
Huge thank you to NetGalley for providing me an advanced copy of Hellraisers!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Everything is Awful

 
If you don't know who Matt Bellassai is, you are missing out!

I first found Matt through Buzzfeed when he boss allowed him to get drunk at his desk and complain about whatever his little heart desires (children, holidays, foods). It's called Whine About It and it's HILARIOUS. So when Whine About It ended, he started To Be Honest, which is virtually the same thing with a different name. Then he started the Unhappy Hour podcast, which once again includes Matt getting drunk and complaining, but this time with other people!

Now that you know who he is, lets talk about Everything is Awful. 
Once you get his voice and mannerisms down, you can almost hear every word as if you were watching the video On Why Teenagers are the Worst (great chapter by the way, I was getting ugly stares on the bus because I couldn't stop laughing).  It's told through short chapters, each dealing with one annoying thing or the other. Mostly, it's just Matt rambling on like he does in his sensational videos, just with less alcohol (well that might be a lie, he could have drunk written this entire book, who knows). 

Basically I have three points to make with this review:
1) Go watch his videos (here's his youtube channel)
2) Go buy this book (here's the link to purchase)
3) Do these two things immediately

Monday, November 6, 2017

Are You There Alone? The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates

Oh boy, who doesn't know the name Andrea Yates?
If you haven't, here's a quick recap:
One morning in June 1999, Andrea Yates waited for her husband to leave for work before drowning their five children in the bathtub. She immediately called her husband, Rusty, saying he needed to come home. She then called 911 asking for police to be dispatched to her home....
 
I'm honestly not sure when I first heard of the Andrea Yates case (I was 4 when it happened) but I have done extensive research and written many, many papers on Post-Partum Depression (called Post Partum Psychosis in the book) and many papers on Infanticide (called Filicide in the book).
That being said, it is amazing to me how much has changed in 18 years in the psychology/psychiatry field. 

So here's the jist of the book.
Andrea Yates suffered from some unknown disorder for many, many years. She had an education, a career, and a life before she married Rusty and began barring his children. Soon after their son Noah was born, she began having delusions of hurting him. None of the other children, just Noah. When these delusions began coming more frequently, she started spiraling down an unknown road of mental illness. After their 4th child was born, they were advised to stop having children based on her unstable mental state. The baby blues are normal, but what she had was much stronger. Instead, they persisted that another baby was what they needed. So baby number 5 comes along, their first baby girl. Since Andrea was so unstable, she actually tried to commit suicide twice, in the hopes that she could save her children from Satan. In the end, she argued that killing her children was the only way she could save them from Satan and guarantee each of them a spot in Heaven.
 
Now, there is a large portion of this book that is 100% from the trial. Which is quite dry to read, but it definitely added to the story. Not to mention there are many interviews with Andrea trying to explain her reasoning through yes/no questions because of the catatonic state she was in through the extremely hard diagnosis. 
 
If you like true crime, get this book.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Meet Roni O'Connell!

Alright everyone! 
I would like you all to meet Roni O'Connell!
I got the great opportunity to do an exclusive interview with her and got details about a giveaway!!!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Many English teachers imagine at least one novel lurks within them. I started thinking about writing during my last years of teaching, and in fact, wrote Float while I was still teaching. Many of my students were Hispanic and bemoaned the fact that Hispanics in books were invariably poor, immigrants, or involved with drugs. They felt stereotyped. So, in Float, the main character is Hispanic from a well to do family and has two supportive and loving parents. Diversity in books is important but so is remembering not to stereotype ethnicities.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love books that are dark and edgy, obviously, as that is also what I write. Some of my favorite authors are Gillian Flynn, Holly Black, Melissa Marr, James Rollins, and John Grisham. Some of these authors write paranormal and some write contemporary fiction but all write about flawed characters, imperfect and damaged, who face terrible conflicts. The action is intense, as is the romance, and the pace is fast. The books are complex and beautifully written.

Where is your favorite place to write?
Ha! My favorite place to write is in the shade next to a swimming pool. My laptop propped up on my knees and my two Chihuahuas vying for position on my lap and next to me on the lounge chair. When I need a break, I jump in and swim for awhile, staring up at the palms and allowing the plot to percolate in my mind.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Kayaking out on any mountain lake is my favorite activity. Swimming in rivers or lakes runs a close second. My chocolate lab, Sadie, often comes out on the kayak with me.

Are you currently working on anything new?
Yes! I am working on the sequel to Chameleon's Spell, tentatively entitled Chameleon's War. It's about a young woman, Juliet Marchant, who has a secret- one that makes her hide from the world, until one day her friend, an Immortal shifter wolf, is slaughtered on her land. Juliet is forced to take her place in the world and deal with the effect her Chameleon blood produces on the majority of humans- an effect akin to taking aphrodisiacs or psychedelic drugs. If Juliet is to fulfill her destiny, she must unlock her Immortal powers, face her love of the human leader of Spectral Command, and fight for the rights of the exploited Immortals, desired for their hair, fur, feathers, and skins, and sold on the black market to unscrupulous humans. Chameleon's War continues Juliet's battle as Immortals face war and extinction and she must step up as leader of her Immortal kin.

So there you have it! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Allied Mage Autographed Poster Giveaway!!

Image may contain: text 
 So guys, I've been talking to author Janelle Peel and she was telling me about this AWESOME giveaway she's doing! But, it's all set up through her Facebook page Clutch Mistress, so head over there to check it out!

She is giving away ONE autographed poster of her book Allied Mage!

Here's how to win:

 Post the link to one of your favorite books by Janelle Peel to your Facebook wall
Then comment the word DONE on her post
 It's that simple!
She will draw a random winner on her Facebook page on November 6th at 3PM PST!!

Ready?!? Good luck and let's go!

If you've never read Janelle Peel's books it's your lucky day because Vampire Mage is FREE with Kindle Unlimited November 3rd and Allied Mage is FREE on November 2nd - 6th!!

I've included the links to access her books below!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Choose Your Own Autobiography

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS YOU ARE MY GOD.
Okay, that's a bit extreme but forreal I love him.
So I actually found out about this book by watching old interviews with NPH and found one of him discussing what inspired this lovely book, Choose Your Own Autobiography.
Going into this you have to know, it is not like a regular autobiography, it's based off of the Choose Your Own Adventure children's book (which were Neil's fav).
So this book is not meant to be read as a book, it's meant to be read as several different stories about Neil and his life, oftentimes ending in him just out of reach of survival.

However, I read this as a regular book because jumping from chapter to chapter, hundreds of pages apart, would drive me absolutely bonkers (but hey he knew we were out there and even left us a secret: Kungaloosh).
But honestly, I loved this book, even if I read it wrong!
It chronicles his life staring as a dog in a school play, to Broadway's Rent, not to mention full drag as Hedwig! It also talks about my fav show, How I Met Your Mother, Barney Stinson even makes an appearance. But his life isn't all tv, movies, and broadway. It's got some loooooove in it too, specifically David Burtka and their two freaking precious kids, Gideon and Harper.

So if you want an adventure full of drinks, food, magic tricks, and interviews, this is the book for you. 

P.S. NPH patiently waiting for an update with details on A Series of Unfortunate Events!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Remember Me Always Blurb

Check out this summary of Remember Me Always and try your hand at the giveaway listed below!

Shelby is nervous to start her senior year after spending the whole summer away from home. After all, it's hard to be carefree when you're trying to protect a secret.
Shelby was in a devastating car accident, and everyone in town thinks that she was undergoing more physical therapy in Denver. Instead, Shelby's mother enrolled her in a clinical program to stop the panic attacks that started after the crash. The treatment erased Shelby's memory of the accident, but she can't help feeling as if a piece of herself is missing, that the treatment took more than the doctors claimed.
So when Shelby starts hallucinating a boy with dark and mysterious eyes, she knows it must be a side-effect of the clinical program. Except, you can't kiss hallucinations. And this boy insists that they know each other and are in love...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Meet Cyndy Etler

I have the great pleasure to introduce you all to Cyndy Etler!
Thanks to Cyndy and Sourcebooks Fire for providing this awesome opportunity!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Hmm... can I flip that question, make it a shorter answer? Here, let's try this:
Did you ever not want to be a writer?
Nope. I've wanted to be a writer since I've had conscious thought. I think my becoming an author was some planned-before-the-womb stuff. I don't have many pictures of myself as a kid, but in one of the three, I'm sitting on the Macy's Santa's lap, clutching a book in my chubby toddler hand, grinning with all I got. I was using the book to show Santa what I meant when I said, "This, dude. See how there's a name on this here book cover? This is what I want." As I got older, the drive to write got fiercer.
Your newest book is We Can't Be Friends: A True Story. What's it about?
 Officially, it's about getting out after 16 months in super-abusive "teen treatment program" Straight Inc., and returning to my old high school. It's about trying to fit in, as a brainwashed cult-kid freakazoid. It's about the boys I found who would spend time with me, because I had big books and desperation. But more than all that, for me, it's about a teacher who recognized my talent as a writer. And let me know it, publicly. It's about finding that thing inside oneself, that tiny glint of diamond through the dark, compacted rock. It's about trusting that glint enough to chisel it out.
What inspires you to write?
 I have two answers for this question, an inside answer and an outside one. The inside: I'm driven to write by the stories that play in my head. Or maybe they're not called "stories," since they're things that have actually happened to me. Whatever the terminology, my whole life has been, and continues to be, a psychedelic rollercoaster ride. Stuff happens to me that just doesn't happen. It seems to run in my genes.
For example: my father was a famous composer. Leonard Bernstein directed his music for an opening concert at Lincoln Center. My mother, 32 years his junior, was his student at hoity-toity Smith College. Before my parents were wed, my father was married to the Tootsie Roll heiress; that was in between his first and second marriages to the same woman.
At age 13, I was homeless and alone, having run away from my mother's second husband, an alcoholic abuser. When I turned 14, I was locked up in that place Straight- which the ACLU described as "a concentration camp for throwaway teens"- when a distant relative saw it on the local news. The news cameras were there because First Lady Nancy Reagan and Princess Diana were visiting the program. 
Umm... what?
At age 16, I was morbidly depressed and suicidal, I was an early recipient of a newly, released wonder drug called Prozac. I needed a double-dosage to make me not off myself, but it worked. I'm here. And happy.
And that's just a smidgen of the first 16 years. I have a maybe-crazy belief that interesting stuff happens to me so I have stuff to write about. Because I have to write.
Which leads me to the outside answer: I'm inspired to write by all the kids who need to connect with other struggling kids through books. When I was young, I didn't fit in. I didn't make friends easy. At least, not with humans. But books! Books were my friends. In books, I found kids who were living like me, who understood me. I found hope that things would get better. I got my needs met. For 17 years I've taught these kids in alternative schools. I've taught with my books. Kids still desperately need books like mine, that tell the truth, that tell their stories. Their need inspires me to write, and to write honestly.
Where do you write?
 Talk about some crazy rollercoaster nonsensical stuff, the answer to this question is a perfect example. I'm a former street kid, right? I've been abused and arrested, kicked around and locked up. I've been poor, I've been broken, I've cleaned rich people's toilets to keep a roof over my head. And yet. Somehow. You know where I write? In my little custom writing room. With its tall, anrrow window and its plank-wood floor. Which I helped design. When I husband and I were planning our dream house. Which is no longer just a dream. Umm...how?
If you could have a date with any fictional character, who are you meeting tonight?
Toss up. Either Ben Zion, the brilliant, kind, homeless, Los Angeles reincarnation of Jesus in James Frey's The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, or I-Man, the brilliant, Rastafarian, Jamaican, school bus dwelling reincarnation of Jesus in Russell Banks' Rule of the Bone. Either way, I'm sure I'd get the real true story behind it all. Umm...yes.

So there you have it!

Footsteps

This book was not at all what I was expecting it to be.
Honestly, F. Scott Fitzgerald caught my eye and I picked it up on impulse. 
With that being said, I could have lived without it.

Footsteps is a collections of essays written and published in The New York Times.
Each essay is based on a literary pilgrimage, which let's be real that is an AWESOME concept. However, many of the authors discussed in this book were what I consider "classic" authors. Think Fitzgerald, Lovecraft, Hemingway, Twain, Kerouac, etc...
But in all honesty, I've never read many of these authors, making it hard for me to grasp the reality behind the pilgrimages. However, I was thoroughly impressed with the Brothers Grimm and Lewis Carol (both of which I have read). I didn't realize how much I didn't know about these authors, but this book has inspired me to go find some of these all time classics and broaden my literary horizon.

Huge shout out to Blogging For Books for providing me a copy for this review!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

We Can't Be Friends

Not gonna lie, I wasn't thrilled when I started reading this.
Now, that may just be because this is the companion book to The Dead Inside, which I actually have not read yet.

So Cyndy Etler just spent 16 months in Straight Inc., a tough love rehab center. (I don't know much about the center because it's mostly addressed in the first book) 
From what I gathered, Straight is a no bullshit center that mentally destroys the patients. They tear them down, calling them druggie. Including Cyndy who smoked pot once and had a sip of alcohol. They referred to her as a "dry druggie" meaning that she is addicted before she even had a choice. Which honestly I find ridiculous, but that's on the treatment center, not the author.

We Can't Be Friends picks up as Cyndy is getting out of Straight. She's still attending AA meetings, but how does a 15 year old make it through a meeting where she has no peers... She finds a young people addiction group which she begins attending and that starts her slippery slope with boys. These boys only want one thing, sex. Which she learns rather quickly that "no" meant virtually nothing to some of them, but it's okay because she felt loved for a few minutes. 

This book also deals with a lot of popularity issues. The cover itself even begs the questions "How far will you go to fit in?" I feel like that's something every teenager goes through, which is why it was so relatable. No one wants to be the odd one out, everyone has to have someone and honestly I feel like that was one of the biggest overall topics for the book. You can't let others love you before you love yourself. 

All in all, I think this was a testament to finding yourself, discovering who you want to be and how you want to get there.
Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for providing me with a copy!
If you want to learn more about the author check out my post Meet Cyndy Etler!
Mark your calendars, We Can't Be Friends hits shelves October 3rd!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rescued

Okay, so I was crying before I was 40 pages in.
By 200 pages in, I was sobbing.
I actually had to stop reading to get a grip on myself.

Okay, so let me start with a little background.
Featured in the picture above is my senior rescue dog, Sophie.
She came to me from a man that was only feeding her a few times a week.
He had shaved her, but only half of her in attempt to get rid of her fleas.
She had hardly any teeth.
She shakes, she doesn't like loud noises, hates thunderstorms, and has incredibly sensitive paws (I mean hardly walks on grass and ice in the winter is COMPLETELY out of the question).
But she is by far the best thing in my life and I am so glad she came to me when she did.
We've been together almost 2 years now and she's nearly 10 years old. 
She's the sweetest pup in the entire world and I love her to pieces.

Okay, so for the book.
Rescued is about second-chance dogs who are given a new life. 
Most of these dogs have never felt love.
Most of these dogs have never had a home to call their own.
Most of these dogs were abused, left in shelters, or even worse, left in the streets to die alone.
I honestly cannot wrap my head around people so heartless to abuse dogs.
This book was about second chances and giving those dogs a home that cherished them.
It's about showing these dogs love and compassion.
It's about giving them a life they never expected.
It's about coaxing them out from underneath the coffee table and giving them a warm, comfortable play to lay their heads.
It's about exploring new territory and learning how to live with a rescue.
It's about becoming a dog mom (or dog dad) who experiences a new kind of love, a love like no other.

The satisfaction you get from rescuing a dog from their previous life and showing them what it means to have a family is something I never expected to experience. It has changed my life.
My Sophie girl, has shown me so much love and has taught me how to take care of another living being. She has always been my number one priority and will be for many years to come. 
We have grown up together these last couple of years and I have cherished every second of it.

I would love to hear all of your adoption stories and see pics of your precious pups.
I am HIGHLY recommending this book to anyone and everyone.

Biggest thanks to Penguins First Reads Program for hooking me up with an advanced copy.

Mark your calendars, Rescued hits shelves October 3rd!

Looking for other books by Peter Zheutlin?
Rescue Road

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Berserker Street Team!

I am so happy to announce that I am a part of the Berserker Street Team!
I will be updating with new pics and details about the book until it releases in October! 
I was given this amazing poster, button, and chapter sampler!

So, now I want to take a moment to talk about the book.
Hanne Hemstad has a gift, a gift that her family believes is truly a curse. She knows how to keep it a secret, but she also knows how to use it.
The Hemstad family lives on a farm in Norway. Hanne had to drop out of school to help her drunken father with the farm. Luckily, her gift helps in that aspect. That is, until her father loses a few bets and she feels drawn to take matters into her own hands. She has an overwhelming desire to protect those close to her, those she loves. Even if it means hurting them in the process.
Hanne kills three men and finds herself on the run, hopefully to America.

The chapter sampler was very, very short but I definitely think I will enjoy this book! 
Stay tuned for more details on this awesome new series!!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

First Chapter of Turtles All the Way Down

So guys, this is a new thing I'm going to try out. 
I have never done this kind of post before, but I hope you all enjoy it!
 
I love, love, LOVE, that John Green reads us the first chapter of his new book Turtles All the Way Down! This book is his first book since The Fault in Our Stars (which I absolutely loved). I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.

Turtles All the Way Down hits shelves October 10th!

Looking for other books by John Green?
Try:

Author Message: The Long Ride Home

Tawni Waters has a message for you!

If you're reading The Long Ride Home, you're probably as weird as I am, which makes me love you already. I'm glad a kindred spirit picked it up, as this book is a huge piece of my heart. It translates many of my life's most important experiences and loves to fiction. I was pregnant at the age of 18, but I've never written about the subject until now. I don't know what took me so long, except maybe when I was younger, there was shame involved in being a pregnant teen, so I sort of buried the experience in the recesses of my psyche. I had my daughter when I was 19, and she was one-half of the best things that ever happened to me. (The other was her brother, who came along later.) Th relationship between Harley and her mother is largely based on my relationship with my daughter, so one of the greatest loves of my life is hidden in the pages of this book. And last but not least, my beloved dad died when I was Harley's age. I've never written about the death of a parent, but I think I took my feelings about losing him at such a young age and buried them in poor Harley's tormented little psyche. So go easy on her for being such a psycho. Oh, and did I mention that much of my adult life has been a road trip? I love travel. I always say my heaven will be an unending road trip. I think it's so cool the way that when you take a road trip, you take a spiritual and mental journey as well. I tried to bury that truth in this book. So love or hate the book, you can at least know that your author knows that about which she writes. Write to me on Facebook and tell me what you think. I love to hear from my readers!!

So about the book....
After the loss of her mother, Harley can barely handle her grief. And she can't shake the guilt that it was her fault. No matter how she tries to dull the pain, the memories of all she lost keep resurfacing. Her only distraction is Dean, her best friend (with benefits), but even their relationship has become an emotional mindefield since the night they spent together on the beach...
Harley's one true escape? The open road. So she sets out on a cross-country trip to scatter her mother's ashes. This is her chance to finally make peace with her mom's death, and with Dean by her side, it may be just what they need to get over the awkwardness between them.
Except, Harley has a secret, one that has the potential to change her life- and Dean's- forever. And no matter the distance they travel, there is no avoiding the truth.

Sourcebooks Fire is also giving away 5 copies of The Long Way Home!

If you want to connect with Tawni Waters on social media:
Twitter: @TawniWaters
Instagram: @TawniWaters

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Behind the Song

What a great anthology!! 

The idea behind this anthology was music. Do you ever hear a song and picture the story the music is telling? Well this is an entire book of just that, short stories describing the songs. It features many, many authors and just as many musicians. Some stories are personal experiences (looking at you G. Love) while some stories are purely fiction (looking at you Jonathan Maberry).  Each story was different and I honestly enjoyed most of them. I loved listening to the song before reading the story so I could get my mindset where the author is. 
Just a little biased here, but Ellen Hopkins wrote an amazing story inspired by The Eagles' Hotel California, even includes lyrics from the song (which is hilarious to me because I regularly slip song lyrics into every day conversations). The wonderful, Suzanne Young wrote a great story inspired by Jimmy Eat World's The Middle, which included lots of emotions you go through growing up and honestly may have been my favorite story in the anthology. 
Overall, it was a great read and I would definitely suggest it to music lovers everywhere.

K.M. Walton penned a special message about this book and what it means to her!

If you liked this but want a book that is more personal, check out my review of Party Of One by Dave Holmes!!

I'm so thankful that Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley provided me an advanced copy of Behind the Song, which is out now!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Author Message: Behind the Song

K.M. Walton has a message for you! Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for not only setting up this blog tour, but also for allowing me to giveaway ONE FREE COPY of Behind the Song to one of you all! Giveaway details will be below the author message. :)

BEHIND THE SONG is a YA anthology focused on music. Regardless of genre, everyone has a favorite song, a song that takes up residence in your soul. Music speaks to us all, it's a universal language that has the power to make us cry, take us to another time, break down barriers, open hearts and minds. It cements moments. It stirs the magic within.
I got the idea for the anthology while listening to Radiohead in my car, creating an entire backstory in my head, a short story that matched what Thom Yorke was singing about. I always do that, always have. I hit a red light and thought, what if I got YA authors and musicians to choose their favorite songs and use it as an inspiration for a short story of personal essay? My gut told me it would make an incredible anthology. I jotted down the idea on a post-it and emailed my agent as soon as I got home. Thankfully, he loved the idea and guided me on how to start the process of making the book a reality. 
I am still in shock that I managed to land my incredible list of contributors. To work with such talented writers and musicians was a thrill from start to finish. Everyone involved has worked so hard and put so much heart into their pieces. I can't wait for readers to experience each contribution- they're all amazing and unique- and then listen to the song that inspired it. It's quire an unforgettable experience, trust me.

Mark your calendars, Behind the Song hits shelves September 1st!
Check out more on Behind the Song!

I also snagged an advanced copy of this through NetGalley, so check out my review! :)

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Winner is Zoe!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Pier Falls and Other Stories

So over a year ago, I snagged an advanced copy of The Pier Falls, but just now found the time to read it. Mark Haddon, author of one of my all time favorite The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, released this collection of short stories and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it. However, the overall theme? Doom & gloom. There are nine stories in this book, but I've decided to pick my top three favorites and write about those in this review. So, here goes nothin'.

The Pier Falls:
(15 pages)
The title story and by far the best one in the collection. It starts on a crowded day with beach-goers milling about, enjoying the day. When the pier begins to collapse and fall and people are dying and running and searching for their loved ones. It only takes an hour and a half for this memory to be burned into the minds of those watching the horrific scene unfold. 64 people are dead and many more injured. Reading this story was almost as if I was there watching it. I could picture every last detail and could feel the pain and horror of those witnessing it. 

Bunny:
(27 pages)
This story was so grotesque, but incredibly well written. Bunny is an extremely overweight man who can no longer care for himself. His mother has been cooking, cleaning, and caring for him for the past few years. That is until Leah shows up and changes his life. This young nursing student begins caring for him, but more importantly begins spending quality time with him. She makes him feel like a human again, not just a large waste of space. She then asks to marry him and continue their lives together.... but with the dark theme hanging over this collection of stories, I'm sure you can imagine what happens.

The Woodpecker and the Wolf:
(40 pages)
This story was odd. I felt a strong connection to ABC's Lost and J.R. Stewart's Nirvana. A crew has been sent many light years away. When something malfunctions, some of the crew has to take one for the team. Becoming doctors, gravediggers, mothers, fathers, and corpses. Each malfunction causes another to die and the remaining crewmembers have to sanction off part of the ship. Waiting for help to come is becoming tiresome and seemingly useless. Will anyone survive? Will help ever come? No one knows what to expect, but what comes is revolutionary.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Killer Harvest

yes.
yas.
YASSSSSS.
So this was not quite the nail-biter as Trust No One.
Well, not until about 70% of the way through the book.
THEN BAM, EVERYTHING WAS HAPPENING AND I WAS SO EXCITED AND SO SCARED AND THIS IS THE DEFINITION OF THRILLER.
Joshua Logan is different. He is convinced there is a curse over his family. Maybe because he was born blind. Maybe because his birth parents died when he was young. Maybe because his new father is now dead too. But Mitchell Logan was on the police force and made sure Joshua was taken care of in the upmost way possible. He was going to give him the gift of sight.
After the surgery, Joshua only has one eye that truly works.
But for some reason, he's recognizing faces he has never seen before. He's not just recognizing voices or descriptions brought to life, he's seeing it with his NEW own two eyes. He's seeing visions and dreams so vivid, there's no way he could be imagining these things. 
Could cellular memory be the cause of this?
Do other people experience this after surgery?
It's like the race car driver effect. When you get a heart transplant from someone who use to be a race car driver, you suddenly feel a strong urge to start watching Nascar and feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins. 
I so wish I could get into the ending of the book, but there is no way I can talk about it without giving everything away. Just know, this book was fan-freaking-tastic.
Thank you NetGalley for hooking me up with another of Paul Cleave's book! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Poisonous

O.M.G.
Okay it's no secret that I love Allison Brennan.
It's really no secret that I love Maxine Revere.
So obviously, I loved Poisonous, it's actually my favorite in the series so far.
Poisonous revolved around internet drama, but not the bippity, boppity, teen bullshit that most people think of.
I mean yes, all of the characters were kids, but it was so much more than that. The story starts over 14 months ago, at least that's when cyberbully Ivy Lake was pronounced dead. It actually started much earlier than that. As a way to gain popularity, Ivy started a gossip blog that was all "true". It ruined many friendships and showed many people's true colors, Ivy included. The amount of attention her blog, Instagram, and Twitter got fueled her ego and gave her a sense of self-worth. A few months before Ivy died, Heather Brock committed suicide when Ivy leaked a pornographic video of Heather and her boyfriend. But for some reason, Ivy targeted one person at time, sometimes more, but continuously posted nasty and malicious things online so that people would know her name. 
Well, stepbrother Tommy was no longer allowed in the house because Ivy's mother thought he killed her. She thought he was strike again and target his younger half sister. But Tommy wasn't like that, he was a little kid in a grown man's body, a gentle giant, if you will. (Honestly, pictured Tommy as a modern day Lenny from Of Mice and Men). 
When Tommy penned a letter with help from Austin and Emma, it grabbed Maxine's attention and she knew she had to investigate.
Accident?
Murder?
Suicide?
Max knew who to call and who needed to be on her side for the case, but she never expected it to end the way it did. Not only did she begin to understand the amount of hostility this family had towards each other and will probably continue to have forever. 
This book is messy, energetic, intense, and amazing.
I loved every second of it and if you like investigative thrillers, you will too.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dear Fahrenheit 451

It's official, I love this book.
Dear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian's Love Letters and Break-Up Notes to the Books in Her Life is such a cute idea and Annie Spence definitely delivered!! This book consists of letters Annie has written to books, whether they be happy or sad letters, each book she picks up is getting one. Some of them are life long favorites but have to retire because their spine is obliterated. Some of them hadn't been checked out, or even picked up, in over five years. Some of them may help improve your life. Some books are instant hits and some are total flops. But one thing is certain, Annie knows what she's talking about. 
I loved that she has spent so much time around books and she understands working with books is HARD. Many people are only looking for the book because the movie trailer just came out, um newsflash THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER.
But honestly, I found myself laughing throughout this entire book.
Some of the funniest parts to me:
-One in three men will say their favorite book is Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
-Going to a party and making The Great Gatsby references to the bookshelf you're talking to
-Running to the kids section when life gets too real
Utmost respect from me to you Annie, you wrote a great great book and I will highly recommend this to everyone I know! Big shout out to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for granting my wish and providing me with this wonderful read!
Mark your calendars, Dear Fahrenheit 451 hits shelves September 26!

Monday, August 7, 2017

More Than This

I spent all week reading this book, only to be left with the same questions I had to start with! This book is definitely out of my normal genre, but it was WONDERFULLY written. However, I don't know that I liked it. Usually when a book pisses me off, I still love it. But for this one I was just confused the majority of the time.
In the beginning, Seth thought he has woken up in hell; his own private hell where he relives memories before his death. He knows he's dead, but why is he in his old house with no one but himself? So then, two others show up Tomasz and Regine. They had spotted him a few days earlier but didn't know what to make of him, that is until he started running their direction when The Driver was after them. The Driver needs them, he is supposed to be taking care of the bodies, but somehow these three have gotten out.
This is when Regine begins explaining what they know and what they think is happening. This revelation made me think, "Oh, okay. So they're in cyber limbo." You know, when you've died, but haven't quite died because you have some greater business to finish. So they're trapped between reality and online. Online being the finish line.... or so I thought.
Turns out, the whole world has gone online and the world they are currently living in, just the three of them, is reality. But reality was abandoned when life got too hard and people decided to alter their memories to a happier outcome. Which makes Seth wonder if he can alternate between the two lives. Maybe he can log in online and hangout with his real friends and Tomasz and Regine can pull him back out into reality.
But of course that's where the book ends.
Overall, I enjoyed More Than This more than I expected. 
Yet, it wasn't at all what I had expected.

Looking for other books by Patrick Ness?
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)