For readers around the globe. :)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Spotlight: The Way It Hurts

Guess who teamed up with Sourcebooks Fire to do another giveaway! They have also graciously provided this exclusive excerpt of The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount! Read through it and the giveaway details will be listed below. :)

1. Ride Out was hard rock, not pop. So yeah, we didn't attract mainstream fans, but the fans we did have were vocal and loyal. I grinned when I saw the latest comment from some chick calling herself BroadwayBaby17. She hated our stuff. Said our sound was just noise and what words she could make out in our lyrics were misogynistic and disrespectful. Like we gave a fuck. I didn't know why she bothered to click any of it, but she did and then tried to give us shit about it that she claimed was feedback. I had to admit, she knew technique, but if her scene was Broadway, there was no way she'd ever get what Nick, Sam, and I were trying to do with Ride Out. I mean, anyone who went to a Metallica show expecting Michael Buble is bound to be disappointed, right?
And vice versa.

Sure enough, BroadwayBaby17 wiped the floor with our latest cover.
BroadwayBaby17: Someone explain to me why growling into a microphone is considered talent 'cause I'm just not seeing it. (Can't hear anything right now either. LOL.)
BroadwayBaby17: OMG, these lyrics are so incredibly sexist! Someone tell these guys girls aren't really impressed by your "pogo sticks" *barfs*
BroadwayBaby17: Boom, boom, boom. That's all this band does is play percussion like it's sex. *sighs* Sex and drums, drums and sex. BORING.
Another user named Ride_On747 crawled up BroadwayBaby17's ass: Beotch, go back to drama club and leave metal to the boyz! These guys rock!

Thank you, Ride_On747! He was a huge fan of ours. Neither user had a photograph in their profile, so I don't know if they were male or female. It was kind of obvious that BroadwayBaby17 was a girl because of the way she always harped on us. Our lyrics were sexist, our beat too primal, and our sound was too noisy.
Whatever.
But Ride_On747 was always there to take BroadwayBaby17 down a peg. I grinned and sent the brother a mental high five. Don't like us; don't listen. Easy.
I logged in using my personal account FretGuy99. This was mine; I didn't post band stuff from that account. The band's account was Ride_Out. I liked keeping them separate. We all had the password, but it was usually Sam or me doing most of the band's postings.
Looked like he'd just posted.

Ride_Out: Hey, BB! You ever shredded a guitar? You ever cut loose with a metal scream? You ever play any original stuff at all? Until you can say yes to any of those questions, you got no right telling us we suck so _|_.

Oh, crap! He'd given her the Internet version of the middle finger.

BroadwayBaby17: OMG, so mature. If you can't take criticism, get off the forums. This is a place for serious artists.

Okay, time for me to make an appearance.

FretGuy99: BroadwayBaby17, you only think people like you are artists. You're elitist. You can't respect anyone who takes a different view.
BroadwayBaby17: Not elitist. Just telling it like it is. Dude, don't suck up to Ride_Out. take my advice and study classical guitar before you ruin your chances of being original.

My phone buzzed. Dude, I am going to rip this chick a new one for the trash she's talking about us.
I texted back. Relax. Let her dig her own grave.

FretGuy99: I have studied classical guitar. I can play lead or rhythm. I can strum chords, and I'm hella good at fingerpicking. I can play it all, baby. Just because I want to play metal doesn't mean I have no talent. So shut up about shit you don't know anything about and go shopping or something.
BroadwayBaby17: And there's the sexism! I didn't say anything about you having no talent. I just don't like Ride Out.
FretGuy99: Then why the hell are you on a heavy metal forum? Go back to the show tunes forum!

My phone buzzed. The shopping bit was clutch dude. LMAO!
I shrugged. She had it coming.
Sam changed the subject. Nick wants us 2C North's play tonight. Said we'd B there. 7 PM.

Hell. I raked my hair off my face. Sitting through some boring school play for a school I didn't even attend was just about the worst way to spend a Friday night. But it was for Nick, so yeah - I'd go. Nick and Sam were more than just guys in the band. They were my brothers. Not a lot I wouldn't do for either of them.

OKAY GIVEAWAY TIME!
I have one copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!
To enter:
-Follow my instagram page: a_readers_diary
-Like the graphic and tag at least one friend who might be interested
-For a second entry, screenshot and share the photo of The Way It Hurts on your instagram page with a shout out to A Reader's Diary!

For those of you who don't have an IG, email me at jessicalynn1784@gmail.com saying that you would like to enter!

Giveaway is now closed!
Winner is Katherine (ig: bookish_kat)!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

These Heroic, Happy Dead

For some reason, I've been on a short story kick lately and this one did not disappoint.
These Heroic, Happy Dead is a collection of short stories of the war. Soldiers reminiscing about the old days, the days they had everything figured out, the days they can never forget. The feel of the book is that once you've fought for your country, it's hard to live a normal life. I don't want to say it's depressing, but it's a depressing book. It caught me off guard because many of these stories have open endings. For example, my favorite story was To the Lake. The ending leaves so much unanswered, but we can only assume what the ending actually was. 
Honestly, the title lets you know this book will be full of death, and it truly is. However, the short stories make death much easier to swallow. Another fun thing I noticed while reading, some of the short stories overlap. There are recurring characters that really helped with the understanding of the story. I highly recommend These Heroic, Happy Dead!

If you liked this and want to read something similar, check out The Things They Carried!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

So Bree Tanner made a brief appearance in Eclipse, book three of the Twilight Saga. We know her name, but why? Why do we know the name of a girl that appeared for less than 3 pages? Because Stephenie Meyer had something more for her in mind. 
In The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, we learn a little bit about the girl behind the vampire. We also learn a little bit more about the epic fight scene starting the Cullen Clan, Jacob's werewolf tribe, and the Volturi. But where does Bree fit into the big picture? She's part of Victoria's army of newborns. Their leader, Riley, has convinced them that they will do ANYTHING for her. They will fight the "yellow-eyed vampires" and they will know which ones when they see the pet human they keep. This book was basically a story of lies, deceit, and angry. But mostly, just death.
Now I may be a little biased because, lets be real, Twihard speaking. But I think this book really was a nice addition to the Twilight Saga. However, we didn't really need it. I think if this book would have come out as an Eclipse 3.5 and is read before Breaking Dawn, it may be of more use. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

One Death, Nine Stories

At age 19, Kevin Nicholas is found dead from an apparent suicide, just like his daddy.
His death affected family, friends, and classmates.
What could be so terrible that a 19 year old wants to take his own life?
His death, but more importantly, his life is told through the eyes of nine people. They considered him a friend, a lover, a brother. He was an alter boy. He was mischievous. He was Captain of the Cross-Country team. He was a boyfriend, not a good one but he was. He was a leader. He was a business major. He was full of secrets, darkness, but most of all he was damaged. 
Being a psychology student, reading about Kev and his life really made me angry. He needed help and no one noticed. They offered help after his dad died, but never when he had a bad day. No one could believe Kevin killed himself, but it was so obvious that he wanted to. When someone takes their own life it affects everyone around them, sometimes people they don't even know.
 That being said, suicide is a big deal and is making its way into the news more often, most recently Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. I bring that up because his death affected so many people. He felt alone in a world that adored him and that should be an eye opener to society. 
Reading through this book made me realize that unless you are directly affected by suicide, the topic is off the table. Most people don't want to talk about the issue because if they don't then maybe it's not as bad. I connected most with Candy. Not because she also referred to herself as damaged, but because her first love is now dead. If you have EVER been in love, you know your first love will always mean something to you. A few years ago, my very first boyfriend committed suicide as well, along with countless others from my high school. It's hard, especially when that boy isn't exactly embraced by their community. The point is, people are not going to get help. They are not going to reach out. They already feel alone. So make sure you hug your friends and let them know that you understand. Ask them how they're doing. I promise it will help them in the long run.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Before I Let Go

Let me start by saying this is not anything like This Is Where It Ends.
That being said, I still loved it. 
Before I Let Go hits on so many important issues, such as sexuality, suicide, and mental illness (bipolar disorder specifically). I love that Marieke Nijkamp doesn't shy away from topics like this and instead embraces them.

So I'm sure you want to hear about the book now.
Corey got a call that no one ever want to receive, her best friend is dead. Suicide. 
Kyra struggled with bipolar disorder and was often called "freak", "outsider", and was completely misunderstood. All of Lost Creek avoided her after her diagnosis. Everyone except for Corey, because they needed each other. Corey wanted her best friend to fit it and be accepted, but also relished during Kyra's episodes because it meant she got to be normal for a few days. 
Kyra's episodes were bad. The would go AWOL for days at a time. She would enter a trance where all she could do was paint. She used art as a coping mechanism on her bad days. 
Once Corey moved out of Lost, Kyra's bad days got worse. But the town didn't know that. They believed she was telling the future through her art work. They believed that they had finally found a place for Kyra and loved what she gave them. But they didn't love her, they didn't care about her... They cared about her art and what it did to bring the town the hope they so desperately needed.
So why was Corey so hellbent on finding out what really happened?
Because Kyra needed her to know. 
Kyra needed to show her the life she built.
Kyra needed her to know she was scared.
Kyra needed to get out of Lost Creek, and she knew this was the only way to do it.

It's a dark read with an almost cult like feel to it. I enjoyed every second of it, which was actually only a few hours of reading time. If you liked her first book, you will probably enjoy this one too! 
I cannot thank NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire enough for sending me this advanced readers copy!

Mark your calendars, Before I Let Go hits shelves January 2, 2018!

Looking for an excerpt?
Alaska Wake Up Call!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

American Girls/My Favourite Manson Girl

So I'm sure you're wondering why there are two different titles for this review. Well when I first heard of My Favourite Manson Girl I was beyond excited. But then I found American Girls, which is also about the Manson Girls AND it happens to be written by the same author! So here I was thinking this girl specializes in Charles Manson literature, but that is not the case. It's the same book just with different titles depending on location of publishing.
I read American Girls which leads us through Anna's life, starting with her stealing a credit card and flying to LA. She had no plan for when the plane landed, she just knew she needed out of Atlanta. Luckily, her sister Delia lives in LA and agrees to let her stay for the summer. Delia's ex-boyfriend is a producer of garbage movies. The one he's currently working on needs A LOT of help and he asked Anna to read for him. He hands her a copy of Helter Skelter and begs her to pick a favorite Manson Girl to relate to. The idea was that LA changes you whether you want to believe it or not. 
She agrees to read for $10 an hour. Which he then bumps to $15 and always adds in more. Most days she reads on the set of Chips Ahoy! The show Delia's boyfriend, Dex, is a writer for. No one really notices her reading about killers in the hall, until one day they do. She begins a crazy life that she never could have experienced at home. A life that no one will ever even believe happened. Sure her mom has cancer, but will Anna's presence make her stress levels rise? Sure her dad just got engaged in Mexico, but would he even notice a $500 charge on his credit card? Oh, and her best friend called her a selfish person for leaving her for the entire summer. But it's okay. She got to know her sister a little better and got a well deserved break from reality. 

Overall, great book. It is teen fiction but I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the downside of glamorous LA. You know, the nitty gritty, dirty underside where Charles Manson once lived.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spotlight: Paper Hearts

I've teamed up with Sourcebooks Fire to not only give you guys an exclusive excerpt of Paper Hearts, but I also have ONE PAPERBACK COPY to giveaway to one lucky reader!! 
Details below the excerpt, enjoy. :)

The ballroom was glittering. Five massive crystal chandeliers lit the space, their warm glow reflecting in the arched floor-to-ceiling mirrors that ran the length of the room. Music swept down from the mezzanine where an orchestra was playing, and the melody carried beautiful couples across the dance floor.
The amount of wealth packed into the room was staggering. When I first arrived, I saw a woman wearing a necklace that was set with an emerald the size of my fist. No joke. I felt out of place in my department store dress and fake jewels.
"Where the hell are you, Asha?" I muttered to myself as I glanced down at my wrist. But my watch wasn't there. I'd taken it off before the ball, replacing my favorite accessory with a sparkling pink bracelet I'd made to match my mask. Yesterday, I was proud of the jewelry I designed for tonight, but after seeing some of the pieces the guests were wearing, the faux crystals around my wrist didn't seem so special anymore.
Sighing, I turned back to the crowd. Asha has disappeared what felt like ages ago. She'd gone to order sodas from the bar since we couldn't have any of the champagne being passed around by the waitstaff, and I was starting to feel awkward standing by myself. 
Besides her, I didn't know anyone here except for the CCA staff members, but they were all too busy entertaining important guests to keep me company.
In Asha's absence, I'd claimed a deserted high-top cocktail table that was set beneath the balcony. My spot was out of the way, perfect for people watching. A sweet-looking elderly couple at the edge of the dance floor were moving slowly to their own tempo, and I easily spotted Ronald Gibbins, the CCA's executive director, who was wearing a ridiculous top hat. I continued to scan the crowd, hoping to catch sight of a celebrity, but it was hard to recognize anyone with all the masks.
That's when I noticed him.
Unlike the most of the colorful and ornately designed masks guests had donned at the beginning of the night, he'd chosen a simple but sleek black wolf that made his gray eyes pop. Even though he was standing a few yards away, I could see their startling shade as he stared at me without reservation.
He looked younger than most of the attendees. Maybe he was the son of a successful businessman or movie director? It was difficult to gauge how old he was with the upper half of his face covered. Eighteen or nineteen, if I had to guess. Possibly early twenties.
The only thing I knew for sure was that he was beautiful. Not hot like Eddie Marks, the captain of the soccer team who I'd had a crush on since middle school. Eddie knew how all the girls looked at him and used it to his advantage. This boy, whoever he was, didn't do that. I don't know how I knew this- maybe it was the way he held himself, tall but not cocky, or the look in his eyes, lonely yet hopeful- but I could tell he wasn't like the Eddies of the world.
We'd never met before, and yet... there was something about him I couldn't put my finger on. Just holding his gaze made me feel like all my insides had been sucked out, and after two more seconds of direct eye contact, I focused my attention on the floor.
Wanting to look busy, I pulled out my phone to see if Asha has texted me. Maybe Gabe Grant was here, and she was off flirting in some dark corner of the room with him. But when I checked, there were no new texts from anyone. I clicked on Asha's name and sent a quick message.
Felicity: You kidnapped or something?
I tucked my phone away and glanced up, hoping to see her heading toward me with two sodas in hand and a grin on her face. She wasn't, so I risked peeking at the guy with the piercing eyes. He'd turned back to the people standing around him: a tall man with a streak of silver in his dark hair, but the same gray eyes as the boy; a woman in a green, skintight dress that reminded me of alligator skin; and Judy Perkins, a CCA board member. Wolf Boy was listening to the conversation politely, but never once opened his mouth to comment while I was watching.
After a few more minutes of drumming my fingers on the cocktail table, there was still no sign of Asha. Even the boy, who I'd taken to glancing at occasionally, had vanished, swallowed by the ebb and flow of the crowd. If I didn't go look for Asha now, I would spend the rest of my night standing alone and looking foolish, so I snatched my clutch from the table and stepped out of the shadows.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!
Winner is Jenny IG(jenny_hite)!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spotlight: The Revenge

I have teamed up with Sourcebooks Fire to provide you all with an exclusive excerpt of The Revenge by Hannah Jayne! Not only have they given me this excerpt to share, but they are also asking for ONE LUCKY READER to receive a paperback copy of The Revenge!!
Hannah Jayne is also the author of Twisted, check out the excerpt for it! 
Details on the giveaway below. :)
Hope
Every step I took into the forest sent a new shiver down my spine. The temperature dropped, and another dark fingerprint of night clouded my vision. I tried to remember everything I had learned in self-defense classes, tried to recall everything I'd seen characters do in survival type situations. I cocked my head and listened for civilization: cars on a road, hikers calling out to each other, but there was only silence.
 The quiet was all encompassing. Deafening. Even the sounds of nature were mute. There was no breeze, nothing rustling leaves or crackling twigs. For that I should have been grateful but all I could think about was being alone- alone with Daniel somewhere out here. I tried to get my bearings, wracking my brain for any clue that would tell me in which direction I should be going, but there was nothing. To my left the trees were huge, heavy branches thick pine needles, some scraping the ground. The tree trunks were massive, some burned out, some so choked with thorny vines that I couldn't see where one ended and the other began but I knew I couldn't go through them. To my right, the tree trunks were thinner but the forest was denser, just inches between some trees with the occasional boulder interspersed, a thick blanket of moss covering everything. I shrunk into my tee shirt, wishing I still had my hoodie, my shoes, but the thought of Daniel, of going back to that house, to his weird plaintive eyes and flat mouth made my blood run cold. I had to keep going, to keep walking. I had to make a decision, to pick a direction and just go. But when I heard the twig breaking behind me, I was paralyzed.
I stopped, praying for that once-deafening silence but suddenly there was noise everywhere: blue jays cawing. Something small scrabbling through the pine needles and dry brush. The thud of my own heart. The rush of my own blood.
He'll hear me.
I didn't dare breathe, the sound a ragged tear through my lungs, but my lungs constricted and burned and I let out a half-groan, half-breath.
He's on to my for sure.
I dug my toes into the wet ground and pushed off, hands fisted, legs pumping, running again. Pine needles were slapping at my bare skin, felt like they were slicing across my arms.
There!
Through the trees. A snatch of color zipping by.
A car.
My heart swelled, slammed against my rib cage.
There was a road up ahead. 
I couldn't hear the motors, the tires on the road but I knew they were there, they had to be there. Up ahead, a little further. There was a clearing and I dropped to my knees, crouching down like an animal and looking wildly around. I paused, listening for Daniel. Leaves breaking, twigs crackling, footsteps across the soft, moss-covered earth?
Nothing.
 I pushed myself forward on hands and knees. I could feel twigs and tiny rocks pressing against my knees, cutting into my palms, but I didn't care. I left a trail of blood. I kept pressing on. It seemed to take forever, but finally I was at the edge of the road. I felt like I could breathe for the first time.
The first car whizzed by and I wasn't ready for it, but the breeze it created, a thick, hot wind twinged with cold from the night air slapped my face and I laughed.
I was saved. 
I pushed myself to standing, stumbled to the middle of the road. The blacktop was still vaguely warm on the bottoms of my feet and I waved my arms over my head in the darkness. My heart was still thundering. 
I kept waving.
No one was coming.
There were no streetlights and the dark that was just a mild smudge was closing in, was squeezing out every inch of daylight. I could feel my feet on the concrete. I could feel the cold settling into my fingertips. 
But I couldn't see anything.
I couldn't hear anything.
The air left my lungs. My entire body deflated and I crumbled to my knees, rolled to my side, trying to absorb every bit of the cement's heat into my body. I was shivering now, and crying.
No one was coming. I was all alone.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!
Winner is Sasha IG: (booksandreviewgalore)!!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hit #29: Based on the Killer's Own Account

NetGalley approved me for a copy of Hit #29 written by a supposed hit man.
Joey the Hit Man has killed 28 people, soon to be 29.
He liked doing the "heavyweight" work, just not too often. He was a numbers man, a controller. More or less, he was a bookie that took bets and was responsible for collecting losses and paying winners. He was guaranteed an upwards of $10,000 a week in bets and cigarettes. So why was he taking heavyweight work to kill people when he was earning the same amount from one hit? 
I think it was the adrenaline for him. He enjoyed taking the lives of other people because it put him in control. He was calling the shots. He was playing God. The rush he felt from the killing was far more ecstatic for him than just running numbers.
Now I had several problems with this book.
1) Since it is based on the killer's own account, I found some of it to be a tad far fetched. 
2) He speaks of the Bronx as his home, never leaving, always there.
3) In regards to the statement above, over halfway through the book he throws out that he was in the Army and served in the Korean War. But previously mentioned never leaving the Bronx?
4) He knew how to run numbers, bets were his specialty. Cigarettes were an added income. So why become a hitman?
5) He was so cautious but often let his ego shine through his words.
 
I do want to thank NetGalley for approving me for this book, but I would not recommend this to anyone that enjoys true crime books like me.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Seriously... I'm Kidding

Seriously... I'm Kidding was laugh out loud funny. 
Ellen has such a unique personality and it definitely shines through in this book. Reading the words was like sitting with Ellen and listening to her tell you stories about anything you could imagine. Want a new hobby? She has some ideas. Need medical advice? She's got you covered. Tips on gift giving? Not a problem. 
I will say, if you aren't listening to the audiobook (which apparently is phenomenal) you have to know Ellen's voice, mannerisms, and personality. Otherwise this book is going to be extremely painful to read. 
While reading this book (in a whopping three hours, may I add) each chapter was almost like watching a segment on the show. They were short stories that had little in common, but shared so much. Not to mention, she included every kind of reader in her book; women, men, grandparents, teens, even coloring pages for the kiddos. It was a precious touch that I am so thankful she added. 
She tries her hardest not to leave anyone out and I think that is important. Her character is so pure and delightful that I cannot wait to pick up her others books.
So, go grab a copy of the book or audiobook!
Sit down.
Read.
Laugh.
Love.
Imagine.
Enjoy.