Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: Cam Girl

Title Cam Girl

Author Leah Raeder

Release Date November 3, 2015

Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It’s an easy decision: she’s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:

Can we meet IRL?

Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that brings back a ghost from her past. Now Vada must confront the devastating secrets she's been running from—those of others, and those she's been keeping from herself...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23430483-cam-girl
Review

Maybe I cheated, but I read the acknowledgments first. I read them again at the end, too. Leah writes acknowledgments like no one else. Leah writes books like no one else, too, but those acknowledgments are important.

I could come up with so many words to describe Leah's writing. It's pretty, beautiful, lyrical, raw, real, colorful, perfection. Yeah, I kind of love her writing.

I loved the story. Overall, powerful message of accepting yourself and being supportive of those you love.

There are so many books that I want to read and because of that I rarely get a chance to reread books that I love (and I truly hate this sometimes). However, Leah writes the kind of books that you specifically make time to read and reread. Her books are that good, that powerful, that special. And I thank her a million times.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spotlight/Giveaway: The Sister Pact

Title: The Sister Pact
Author: Stacie Ramey
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 9781492620976

Who holds your secrets?

Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide- and it’s not just because she missed her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.

Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.

But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie’s not sur which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23510106-the-sister-pact?from_search=true&search_version=service

About the Author

Stacie Ramey learned to read at a very early age to escape the endless tormenting from her older siblings. She attended the University of Florida where she majored in communication sciences and Penn State where she received a Master of Science in Speech Pathology. When she’s not writing, she engages in Netflix wars with her children or beats her husband in Scrabble. She lives in Florida with her husband, three children, and two rescue dogs. 

Author Links

Website
Twitter

Excerpt


Liquid inspiration from the Nyquil bottle makes me feel like I should paint something for Leah. Let her know I get it now. Maybe I didn’t always when she was alive. Maybe I didn’t listen when she tried to tell me things.

I open the door and look out into the hallway. Lights off, TV on downstairs. Mom’s check-out gives me the clear shot I need. In the garage I find the white paint from the trim in my room and the tools and brushes. Everything seems really clear right now. And brilliant. I feel sort of brilliant. Like every part of my brain is working.

Back in my room I shake the can of paint and open it with a screwdriver and hammer, trying hard not to spill it on my hardwood floors. Too late.

My curtains are in the way, so I rip them off the rod. I have to stand on my window bench to reach as high as I need. I start to paint, not knowing what I’m doing until the image forms on the wall, like magic. By the time I’ve painted the point of convergence on my window where the pink diamond goes, I recognize it. I painted it like it was burned into my brain. But I guess I knew all the time even as it materialized. I’ve made Leah’s ring.

I sit back and admire my work. I hope wherever she is, she sees this and knows I’m sorry. A shooting pain goes through my head and my eyes try to adjust to the blinding light the sun throws as it sets. Spiky rays of light come from the sunburst that flashes through my painting, making it seem like it’s alive.

I blink away the brightness and try to let my eyes settle. When I open them again I’m confused. Because I see Leah standing there. Really standing there. I steady my gaze and look again. I’m not imagining it. She’s there, surrounded by light, kind of outlined in it. Like one of my rendering sketches.

I want to reach for her, ask her if she’s really here, but when I blink again, her image disappears and I know it’s just my guilt and my need that’s bringing her to me. Even if she can’t stay.

I close up the paint cans and take them and the medicine bottle downstairs. The paint and tools go back into the garage and the brush gets washed in the sink and left to dry on a bottom shelf of the garage. I turn the water on in the sink and run my hand over its stainless steel surface, careful to wash all the remnants of my painting party down the drain. Finally I wrap the medicine bottle in newspaper and push it to the bottom of the trashcan, making certain that it’s completely covered. One thing Leah taught me was how to hide your party.

When I’m done, I walk back up to my bathroom, and brush my teeth, trying not to look in the mirror too long. As if my crazy would show somehow. I crawl into bed, setting my alarm for the morning. First day of school. I put my hands together in the prayer position and put them under my cheek.

I think about what I just did and try not to worry about what it means. It’s too much allows the headache to creep back in, crouching and ready to spring. I’ll close my eyes and go to sleep, and hope that tomorrow will be okay. I know it’s not what I should be doing. I know I’m copping out, but I can’t help it.

I’m living my life in tiny squares. Checker board moves. I go forward. I go backward. I jump. Each play means something. Each turn matters. The most important thing is to keep moving. To not get jumped. Sometimes a little Nyquil helps that. They don’t call it medicine for nothing.

Buy Links


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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: Surviving Ice

Title Surviving Ice

Series Burying Water, book 4

Author K. A. Tucker

Release Date October 27, 2015

Ivy, a talented tattoo artist who spent the early part of her twenties on the move, is finally looking for a place to call home. She thinks she might have found it in San Francisco, but all that changes when she witnesses a terrible crime. She’s ready to pack up her things yet again, when a random encounter with a stranger keeps her in the city, giving her reason to stay after all.

That is, until Ivy discovers that their encounter wasn’t random. Not at all…
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25110836-surviving-ice
Review

This is the last book in the Burying Water series. It's also my favorite of the series.

I love Ivy. She's tough, fierce, and independent. She's sassy and funny. She makes no apologies about who she is. Underneath that hard exterior is still a girl that has feelings (even if she can't exactly express them). I love that Ivy's personality didn't change when she started falling for Sebastian. She didn't lose her fierceness and turn into a puddle of drippy love goo. It's fantastic to see a character stay true to herself while falling for her love interest.

Speaking of love interest, Sebastian is a pretty great one. He's sexy and mysterious. He's guarded just like Ivy is. He's used to be alone and independent. And just like Ivy, Sebastian doesn't turn into a puddle of drippy love goo. He's a perfect fit for her and I loved them together.

The story was interesting, but it did feel a little slow sometimes. The great characters are enough to carry it through the slower times, though, so I wasn't put off by the slight lulls.

K. A. Tucker's work is still some of my favorite reading. Even though this is the end of this series, I hope to read more from her in the future.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: My Secret to Tell

Title My Secret to Tell

Author Natalie D. Richards

Release Date October 6, 2015

His smile is a crime.

Emerson May is "the good girl." She's the perfect daughter, the caring friend, the animal shelter volunteer. But when her best friend's brother breaks into her room, his hands covered in blood, she doesn't scream or call the cops. Because when Deacon smiles at her, Emmie doesn't want to be good...

The whole town believes notorious troublemaker Deacon is guilty of assaulting his father. Only Emmie knows a secret that could set him free. But if she follows her heart, she could be trusting a killer...

You can't always trust the boy next door.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24827938-my-secret-to-tell
Review

My Secret to Tell was okay. It wasn't any less and it, unfortunately, wasn't any more.

Sadly, I never felt drawn into the story. I didn't feel like the book was hard to put down. I wasn't really interested in what was happening. The only reason I kept reading was because I wanted to know who assaulted Mr. Westfield (more on that later).

If I had to pinpoint my lack of interest in the story, I think it would have to do with the characters. I didn't find any of them to be unique or interesting. I felt like they could have been switched out with practically any other YA character and the story would be exactly the same. Some background, some depth, for these characters could have brought this book to another level.

The romance was boring. Yes, Deacon and Emmie had been friends for many years. Her crush wasn't anything new, but that doesn't really tell me why she liked him. I have no idea what drew her to him other than he was attractive. And, truthfully, other than Emmie being there for him, I don't really know why he wanted to be with her. "Oh, no one else is around? Guess I'll take you?" Yeah, that kind of sucks.

The mystery of the story wasn't exactly compelling either. I had a pretty solid idea of who was behind everything (and I was right) pretty early on in the story. It just felt a little too obvious, so when the big reveal happened it was pretty disappointing.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Release Day: Love Like We Do

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The wait is finally over! If you preordered Love Like We Do (Side A), it should be waiting for you on your Kindle or iPad right now! If not, it's available for sale on Amazon, iBooks or Nook. (If you read on the latter two platforms, you only have two days to buy the books! After that, they'll be going into the Kindle Select program for 90 days.)

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Haven't heard of the Love Like We Do series yet? It's a coming-of-age, coming-out story of two 16-year-old boys. Don't go labeling it right off the bat, though. This series isn't simply for teens, and it isn't only for LGBT readers. These books are for everyone. They're about confidence, self-awareness, acceptance, truth, misconceptions, bigotry, friendship, family, and–most importantly–love.

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Trey Holland has been friends with Max Rosser and Callen McNare for years. While Trey and Callen both date girls from their private school, Max always has known he was different; and last year at his public school, his teammates began suspecting he was, too. Even though Trey has always been the common link between Max and Callen, he's unaware that something more has been happening between his two best friends. When the news finally comes out, all of their relationships are tested.

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After their secret is exposed one night, Callen disappears. Max confides in his oldest brother that he suspects Callen ran away, unwilling or unable to accept the fact that he's gay. Jon Scott, Max's brother, helps to guide him through the most crucial time of his young life: coming out to their mother, to his father, and to his best friend of eight years. It has also become Jon's responsibility to ensure Max's safety in an environment that's still unwilling to fully accept Max for who he is.

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With the help of his brothers and friends, Max learns that he is much stronger than he once thought he was. Love Like We Do (Side A) is the first of two books in this series. This novel tells the story from Trey and Jon's points of view–the outsider's perspective.

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Tomorrow, Love Like We Do (Side B) will be released. It will give you Max and Callen's side of the story. The frustration of their hidden relationship burns steadily at the beginning. Once separated, the boys understand how their past way of doing things won't work in the future. Callen watches from a distance, admiring the courage that Max displays in dealing with the fallout back home. He wonders if he has the backbone to stand up to his parents and the confidence needed to move forward with a relationship with Max.

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To get your copies of Love Like We Do, click the links below!


Oh! One last thing! If you're a Choisie series fan, the ebook of Love Like We Do (Side A) has a 7500-word short story of the day that Isaiah learns the news that he has a daughter!! You won't want to miss that!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#8)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks.

Here's what I've added to my shelves since last time...

For Review - From Author

- Love Like We Do (Side A) by Lori L. Otto
- Love Like We Do (Side B) by Lori L. Otto
- The Thief and the Sacrifice by Kevin Bennett

For Review - Netgalley

- Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
- The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey
- Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

Purchased - Amazon Kindle

- Infinity + One by Amy Harmon
- Sincerely, Arizona by Whitney Gracia Williams
- Hope Over Fear by J. A. DeRouen
- Wings Over Poppies by J. A. DeRouen
- Death Wish by Megan Tayte
- Forget Me Not by Megan Tayte
- Wild Blue Yonder by Megan Tayte
- Deep Blue Secret by Christie Anderson
- Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown
- The Rush by Rachel Higginson
- Labeled Love by Danielle Rocco 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spotlight/Giveaway: My Secret to Tell

Title: My Secret to Tell
Author: Natalie D. Richards
Pubdate: October 6th, 2015
ISBN: 9781492615712

His smile is a crime.

Emerson May is “the good girl.” She’s the perfect daughter, the caring friend, the animal shelter volunteer. But when her best friend’s brother breaks into her room, his hands covered in blood, she doesn’t scream or call the cops. Because when Deacon smiles at her, Emmie doesn’t want to be good…

The whole town believes notorious troublemaker Deacon is guilty of assaulting his father. Only Emmie knows a secret that could set him free. But if she follows her heart, she could be trusting a killer…

You can’t always trust the boy next door.

After years as a professional paper-pusher, NATALIE D. RICHARDS decided to trade in reality for a life writing YA fiction. She lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her husband, three children, and a ridiculously furry dog named Yeti. This is her second novel. Visit her on Twitter @natdrichards or at nataliedrichards.com.

***

This October Natalie D. Richards releases her latest YA thriller, MY SECRET TO TELL. To celebrate, Natalie is here for a quick Q&A and has brought an excerpt to share!

Which of your books has been the most enjoyable to write?

Probably my fourth book, One Was Lost, which I just finished. But, I should definitely point out that One Was Lost isn’t fully edited yet, so that could DEFINITELY change.

 

An Excerpt:

 

“Emmie?”

My name lands somewhere between a hiccup and a sob, and my feet stall out on the sidewalk in front of my house. I adjust my grip on the phone, hoping I misheard her tone. This doesn’t sound like Chelsea. This voice is breathless.

Frightened.

“I’m here,” I say. “What’s up? You don’t sound right.”

“I’m not.” She takes a shuddery breath.

My shirt’s sticking to my back and cicadas are click-buzzing the end of another blistering day, but I go cold. Something’s wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

“It’s my dad, Emmie,” she says. I can tell she’s crying.

I grab my chest. It’s too tight. Burning. “What happened?”

Her words all tumble out on top of one another, interrupted by shaky breaths. I try to pick out pieces that make sense. “He’s hurt—bleeding—we’re behind the ambulance and I can’t—he’s not—someone attacked him.”

I start climbing the porch steps, because she’ll need me. I’m her best friend, so I should be there. I need to change clothes and go. “You’re on the way to the hospital, right? They’ll help him there.”

Another sharp breath. “I don’t know if they can. He’s so bad. So bad.”

My heart clenches. “Where are you?”

“We’re almost there. Joel’s with me.”

“Okay, good. I’m coming,” I say, crossing my porch and hauling my front door open. “Let me just call Mom. I’ll borrow the car.”

Chelsea’s still crying when I storm down the hallway toward my bedroom.

“Emmie, I can’t find Deacon…”

“Your brother never answers his phone,” I say, pushing open my door. “I’ll run by the docks first and—”

“No. No, he was there. He was at the house.”

Chelsea makes a strangled sound, and I notice the liquid-thick heat in my bedroom. The kind of heat that tells me the air conditioner is broken. Or my window is open.

My gaze drags to my fluttering white curtains, to the dark smudge on the windowsill.

Chelsea’s voice goes low and raspy. “He ran, Emmie. God, he was there with Dad. He was in the house, but he ran.”

I swivel with an invisible fist lodged in my throat. My bathroom door is open, a red-black smudge beneath the knob.

My mouth goes dry, my pulse thumping slower than it should. Then I see the blood on the floor by my sink, and my heart tumbles end over end.

“We’re here. I’ll call soon,” Chelsea says and hangs up.

I see him, his back to my tub and his dark head bowed on one bent knee. Oh God.

He’s covered in blood. It’s on his legs, his hands. Dripping onto my white tile floor. He looks up, and my heart goes strangely steady.

I take a breath that tastes like purpose. “Deacon?”


Buy Links:

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#7)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that's hosted by Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on...

Title Wink Poppy Midnight
Author April Genevieve Tucholke
Release Date March 22, 2016

The intrigue of The Virgin Suicides and the "supernatural or not" question of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime.

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.


For fans of Holly Black, We Were Liars, and The Raven Boys, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and a whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23203106-wink-poppy-midnight
I learned about Wink Poppy Midnight from someone else's Waiting on Wednesday. Firstly, that cover is awesome. I'm guilty of judging a book by its cover. No shame! I'm owning my bad habit today. Secondly, that blurb! If the cover didn't draw me in, the blurb definitely would have. I have no idea what to expect from this book and that makes me want it so much more.

What are *you* waiting on this week? Leave a link to your WoW and I’ll be sure to visit!