Monday, May 22, 2017

5th Annual Mental Health Awareness Event (Book Fundraiser)


Welcome the 5th Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Book Fundraiser benefiting the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

For the 5th year, an amazing group of authors have generously agreed to donate a portion of their May sales for the books listed here.

Here is how you can help raise money and awareness for mental health:
  • You can purchase a book from the amazing books listed here! We hope you will #1click4charity a number of these amazing books! Please note that although the sheet has Amazon Kindle buy links, the portion of sales is from any platform: digital and print.
  • Help Raise Awareness by sharing a photo or short video of why this cause matters to you using #ShareYourWhy via Social Media.
  • Share the image below on social media to raise awareness and to show your support.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation directly to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at AFSP. You can do a direct donation at http://bit.ly/MilanoFund.
Thank you in advance for your support as we work to bring mental illness out of the darkness.

Fund Information:

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund was established to help raise awareness about the devastating and deadly disease that is mental illness. Keith’s spirit and laughter is kept alive through our efforts to increase awareness about mental illness and to raise money for education and imperative research. Keith often struggled with society’s perception of mental illness. Our hope is that by having the strength to say that Keith was “Bipolar” we can strip away the stigma and help others to be more open about their disease.

If you want to know more about Keith or why Denise does what she does, here is short video/interview that speaks to that! https://vimeo.com/148760740

Be on the lookout as she will also be posting her #ShareYourWhy this month.

Keith Milano Memorial Fund
140 Adams Ave Suite B-12
Hauppauge NY 11788
www.keithmilano.org
https://www.facebook.com/keithamilano
@MilanoFund
Direct Donation: http://bit.ly/MilanoFund

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) http://www.afsp.org/
At the end of the event, participating authors will pay AFSP directly.
AFSP is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.
AFSP is a fully accredited 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization incorporated in the state of Delaware with primary offices in New York City. Federal tax ID # is 13-3393329.
AFSP’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) number is 10545.
Donations to AFSP are tax deductible.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#26)

"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 Damaged Like Us
Series Like Us, book 1
Author Krista & Becca Ritchie
Release Date June 27, 2017

Don’t date your bodyguard.
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff's sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

The Like Us series is true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. Damaged Like Us can be read and enjoyed without reading any of Krista & Becca's other novels.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21427834-damaged-like-us

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Share your links in the comments below and I'll be sure to drop by!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (#14)


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.

Wow. It's been over six months since the last time I did a Stacking the Shelves post. Obviously I've added a bunch of new books to my shelves, so I won't be including them all here. Here are some of the books I've added to my Kindle recently...

For Review -- Netgalley


- The Party by Robyn Harding
- Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
- Until It Fades by K. A. Tucker

Purchased -- Amazon Kindle


- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Outside the Limelight by Terez Mertes Rose
- Love in Rewind by Tali Alexander
- Nowhere but Here by Renée Carlino

What have you added to your shelves recently? Leave your Stacking the Shelves link in the comments and I'll be sure to visit!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Review: The Black Wolf

Title The Black Wolf
Series In the Company of Killers, book 5
Author J. A. Redmerski
Release Date July 1, 2015

Since devastating secrets were uncovered by Nora Kessler, Niklas Fleischer and Victor Faust have been divided as business partners and brothers. But ultimately Niklas is persuaded to lead a mission to Italy, and he sees it as an opportunity to set in motion forgiveness—or retribution—for his brother’s betrayal.

The mission: play the role of a wealthy German investor and kidnap a beautiful, notorious madam named Francesca Moretti. No stranger to these types of roles, Niklas is the best man for the job, but this time the risks will be much greater as he will not be doing it alone. Izabel Seyfried, still fresh out of a life of imprisonment and sex slavery, could be negatively affected by the things she will see in Moretti’s mansion, and Niklas must keep her in line so she does not blow their cover and get them killed.

But Niklas isn’t the only one who must play a role—Nora takes on the humiliating task of playing Niklas’s slave, and Izabel must play the role of his lover.

On one hand, Niklas couldn’t be enjoying himself more. On the other hand, the emotions that continue to rage inside of him may be too much for him to control, and it may be Niklas—not Izabel—who needs to be kept in line. He cannot forget what Victor has done, and this mission may just be the beginning of his downward spiral.

Can the blood bond that Niklas and Victor share as brothers be stronger than resentment? Or will vengeance dig the blade so deep that their bond be eternally severed?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23551387-the-black-wolf
Review

Reviews for previous books: book one, book two, book three, and book four.

Where is this series going? Oh my goodness. The Black Wolf intrigued me in a way that I can't explain (mostly because I don't want to spoil anything, ha!). I have questions. I hope they're answered in Behind the Hands that Kill because I'm not sure how long I can wait.

Though this is the fifth book in the series, it's just as strong as the first. In the Company of Killers is such an awesome series in that each book is fresh and just as engaging as the books before it. I have yet to be disappointed by any of these books. Definitely pick up the first book, Killing Sarai, if you're looking for an awesome, dark, and suspenseful thriller with some romance sprinkled in.

I know this isn't much of a review, but I wanted to bring attention to this series (again) and share my love of it. Besides, anything I could say would be rife with spoilers.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 1, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Love and Vandalism

Title Love and Vandalism
Author Laurie Boyle Crompton
Release Date May 1, 2017
Publishers Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN 9781492636052

He calls it fate. She calls it blackmail.

Rory has a secret: she's the vandal who paints graffiti lions all over her small town. If her policeman dad knew, he'd probably disown her. So when Hayes, a former screw-up on the path to recovery, catches her in the act, Rory's sure she's busted. Instead, he makes her a deal. If Rory shows him around town, he won't turn her in. It might be coercion, but at least the boy is hot.
As they spend more time together, Rory worries she made the wrong choice. Hayes has a way of making her want things she shouldn't want and feel emotions she's tried to bury. Rory's going to have to distance herself from Hayes or confront a secret she can't bring herself to face...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25652437-love-and-vandalism
***

To celebrate the release of Love and Vandalism we have a quick Q&A with the author, Laurie Boyle Crompton!

Does reading help you become a better writer?


Reading is a huge part of my job as an author! Besides writing it’s the most important and certainly my second favorite part! If I wasn’t an author, I’d probably be an editor or agent because any time reading is part of the job description, I’m in! I read all the fiction and YA I can find time for, and on top of that I really enjoy reading books about the craft of writing. I’ve learned so much from authors like Stephen King and Anne Lamott who give us a peek behind their own creative curtains. In fact, Rory’s dreadlocks are a tribute to Anne Lamott and there is a secret dark and twisted backstory in one of my books that is a nod to my love of Stephen King. I’ll never tell what that is because it might ruin those characters for some people, but it is so much fun to put in little private nods to my heroes. In LOVE AND VANDALISM Hayes talks a lot about THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE which is the first book in the awesome series by C.S. Lewis. I love all of his books, particularly THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS which really impacted me and made me think. I love books that don’t shy away from hard truths! More recently I’ve been reading a lot about screenwriting and I think it’s important to constantly stretch our writing outside our comfort zone. Heck, it’s crucial to push ourselves out of our comfort zone – as the famous venn diagram depicts, that’s where all the magic happens!

***

Buy Links

About the Author

When she was 17, LAURIE BOYLE CROMPTON painted her first car hot pink using 40 cans of spray paint. This turned her into an overnight icon in Butler, PA. She now lives near NYC in Queens, but maintains a secret identity in New Paltz, NY where she and her family can often be found tromping through the forest. Visit www.lboylecrompton.com.

Giveaway

Open to US & Canada Residents Only!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review: The Perfect Stranger

Title The Perfect Stranger
Author Megan Miranda
Release Date April 11, 2017

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31443398-the-perfect-stranger
Review

Megan Miranda seemed to be everywhere last year with her bestselling novel, All the Missing Girls. While it originally didn't strike me as something I was too interested in reading, I picked it up to test the waters of Megan Miranda's writing. I gave All the Missing Girls four stars and I thoroughly enjoyed the story being told in reserve. While she pulled that off rather flawlessly, I was curious as to how she'd handle a story told "normally."

The Perfect Stranger was slightly better than All the Missing Girls. I feel like it was easier to fall into the story. It was suspenseful and kept me engaged the whole time. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I'd be hit with something new and thrown for a loop.

Megan Miranda is adept at writing suspense. I can't wait to read another novel from her in the future.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Simon & Schuster via Netalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: Seeds of Iniquity

Title Seeds of Iniquity
Series In the Company of Killers, book 4
Author J. A. Redmerski
Release Date September 29, 2014

Victor Faust’s new Order is growing. Business is good as there is no rest for the wicked in an underground world of hardcore criminals and contract killing. Relationships among the operatives have changed little over the past year—but things are about to change now, and all six high-ranking members of the new Order will be blindsided by an unlikely enemy.

Loved ones whose only ties to Victor’s organization are their relationships with its members, are abducted. The price to get them back safely—the six must confess their deepest, darkest secret to this mysterious young woman named Nora, who is as deadly as she is beautiful, and who seems to know more about each of them than they know about each other. And although no one has any clue about who Nora really is, it becomes clear that she also isn’t who she appears to be.

So much more is at stake than secrets and the lives of innocent loved ones; with each member that Nora forces to confess, the truth about their dark pasts and their present objectives will cast suspicion, pit some against each other, and may tear others apart.

Before the game is over everyone will know who this woman is and why she is here, but the damage she will leave in her wake could be the beginning of the new Order’s destruction.

Whose dark secret will be the darkest of all? And can Victor’s Order survive any of them?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23292460-seeds-of-iniquity
Review

Reviews for previous books: Killing Sarai, Reviving Izabel, and The Swan and the Jackal

I'm so disappointed in myself. It's been over two and a half years since I read The Swan and the Jackal. How did I let so much time pass between that book and this one? I've really enjoyed this series and I can't believe I waited so long to read Seeds of Iniquity. I'm definitely not letting that much time pass before I read The Black Wolf. Moving along...

After reading the last couple of chapters of The Swan and the Jackal again for a bit of a refresher, I dove right into book number four. Instantly I was back into the story as if no time at all had passed since the last book. I love that I was so easily sucked back into the story.

Thanks to the author's skillful writing, it's so easy to imagine the book playing out like a movie in my head. The story is so vivid and detailed. I was certainly reminded of my love for this series.

These characters come to life on each and every page. Nora is an interesting new character. I'm excited to see more of her in the future. Oh and that ending with Fredrik! I am definitely intrigued. Of course, he's one of my favorites, so I'm very curious to see how that story will turn out. I will admit, after this book, Niklas has piqued my interest. I think I want more of him, please.

I'm so glad I picked this book up when I did. I definitely needed something to get me out of my reading slump and this was it.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Quotables (#3)

Thursday Quotables is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week. Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, you’re invited to join in! This weekly feature is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.



A Psalm for Lost Girls
Katie Bayerl

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30763905-a-psalm-for-lost-girls
After the first round of prayers, my energy begins to lift. By the third round, my headache is gone and as we all murmur amen, I hear the voice for the first time in days: LOVE, it tells me. IN THE END IS LOVE.
I know somehow that this message isn’t for Mrs. Khoury or the others. This one’s for me. And I think I know what it means too: The voice is telling me not to be afraid, reminding me that even in the worst moments, when nothing makes sense and doubt and worry make everything bleak, there is still love in my life. Right here with this small group of believers. And inside with Callie and Ma.
I ask Mrs. Khoury & Co to give me their blessings before they go. Because today, the tables have turned. Today, their faith has healed me.

What were your favorite lines this week? Share your Thursday Quotables in the comments below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#25)

"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 Aftercare Instructions
Author Bonnie Pipkin
Release Date June 27, 2017

In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen's decision to end an unwanted pregnancy

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

This powerfully immersive and format-crushing debut follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30319089-aftercare-instructions

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Share your links in the comments below and I'll be sure to drop by!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: The Dead Inside

Title The Dead Inside
Author Cyndy Etler
Release Date April 4, 2017
ISBN 9781492635734
Publishers Sourcebooks Fire

For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler's gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious "tough love" program the ACLU called "a concentration camp for throwaway kids."

I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi's jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the professionals at Straight.

From the outside, Straight Inc. was a drug rehab. But on the inside it was...well, it was something else.

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a "drug rehabilitation" facility that changed her world.

To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to "treat" its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered "healing."
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28389304-the-dead-inside?

An Excerpt


NOTE TO READER
You’re not going to believe this. Seriously, nobody does. But this stuff happened, right here in America. In the warehouse down the street.
The warehouse had a name: Straight, Incorporated. Straight called itself a drug rehab for kids, but most of us had barely even smoked weed. Take me, for example. In September, at age thirteen, I smoked it for the first time. I tried smoking again in October. In November, I got locked up in Straight—for sixteen months. The second we entered the building, we all stopped being kids. We stopped being humans. Instead, we were Straightlings.
Other than my father and me, each person you read about here has a fake name. Many of the Straightlings are smooshed-together versions of different people, but everything happened exactly how I describe it. If you want proof, hit the epilogue. There you’ll find court records, canceled checks, newspaper reportage, and Straight, Inc. internal documents. Want more proof? Go online and read all of the survivor stories that are just like mine.
And to my fellow Straightlings? Put your armor on. You’re going back on front row.

CHAPTER 18: EVERYONE MUST WEAR SHOES AND SOCKS
Something weird is going on. Something even weirder than the regular daily freak show. I can feel it. I can hear it. I just can’t see it yet.
Other than Amanda showing up, it’s been a normal day—people singing stupid songs; kids sharing about their druggie pasts; the teen staff strutting to the barstools like they’re on the red carpet. But then the side doors open, and all these kids I’ve never seen before come flooding in. They stand around the edges of group, wedged tight at the shoulder in a human fortress. It’s creepy and just…wrong.
A half hour later, on some invisible cue, they swarm around us, claw us up from our seats, and carry us across the group room. The door goons are gone, so they march us right through the back doors and into this empty room. The walls are bare brick and the carpet is new-jeans blue. We’re tugged into rows, because with no talking allowed and no chairs, how do we know where we’re supposed to sit? We should know, though. I can tell by the way my carrier is yanking me around. She practically tears my belt loop off.
Once we’re all positioned and sitting cross-legged—with the boys’ side so close, if I whistled, I’d ruffle their bangs—the bad guys show up: Matt King and the mean blond smiler.
“Family rap!” Matt yells.
The people around me start motivating and I do it too, because I don’t want a fucking demon at my back. Without anyone telling me, I put my arms up and shake them around. And that’s what gets Matt’s attention. He’s scanning the tightly packed room, and his eyes sear into me. They look even darker than yesterday.
“Cyyyyndy,” he goes.
The blond staff snaps her head my way. Her smile blinks to life.
“Oh! Y-yeah?” I say back.
My fists are still up by my ears. This isn’t what I was motivating for. I didn’t actually want to be called on.
“Stand up!” he says, fake friendly.
Everyone’s palms do the upward air shove.
My rubbery legs make it hard to stand. It’s silent except for the rustle of my clothes.
“So…?” Matt says from his barstool.
“What?” I say back. But I say it confused, not snotty.
What? What. What is that this is family rap. You need to tell us about an incident from your past, an incident involving your family.”
Four hundred eyes and chins are leveled at me. They make it hard to think.
“Um…”
“Were you a good girl in your past, Cyndy? Were you nice and sweet to your family?”
“Well, they—”
“I’m not asking about them. Were you nice and sweet to your family?”
“Um, no?”
“That’s right, Cyndy! You’re doing great. Now tell us about an incident with your family where you acted like your druggie self.”
I just stand there. I don’t have a family. I have a mother and a sister and a stepthing who’s the devil, plus his kids. And “an incident”? I have no idea what I’m supposed to say.
“CYNDY ETLER!”
My whole name. He says my whole name. Like he has some…ownership of me.
“Yeah?”
“We’re waiting!”
“I—I don’t know.”
I might be starting to cry a little.
He’s still staring at me, his eyebrows pointed into sharp little horns.
“I thought I’d give you another chance, Cyndy. But you’ve wasted enough of this group’s time. Have a seat.”
I can’t sit down fast enough, so I fall instead. My hand catches a girl’s shoulder, but she jerks it off like she hates me. I feel it, like a heat.
The group starts to yell a “Love ya—” at me, but Matt cuts them off. “No!”
Next the girl who hates me stands up, to share how she made her father beat her. “I remember, this one time?” she starts out.
That’s Straight code for, Here’s why my parents hate me enough to leave me here.
“I remember saying to my dad, ‘Maybe if you didn’t drink so much, Mom wouldn’t need therapy.’ I said that to my dad. I ended up in the hospital with a broken arm after that sweet nothing. And I deserved it, one hundred percent. He fed me and clothed me and kept a roof over my head, and that’s the thanks I give him? I can’t believe he’ll even still look at me.”
Matt doesn’t just let the group tell her Love ya, he leads it. Before she even sits, he’s all, “Love ya, Sammie!” so loud it rattles the doorknobs.
At the end of family rap, Lucy tells us what song she wants to hear—one of those ones from Sunday school. It goes, “They will know we are Straightlings by our love, by our love. They will knoooow we are Straightlings by our love.”
The next slap of weird comes when they push us back into the never-ending beige of the group room. The linked chairs are still in rows, but they’ve been turned around to face an ocean of gray folding chairs. There’s enough seats for all of Communist China. It’s like a chair warehouse, which, ding! That’s what this place is! It’s a warehouse, literally. It’s a giant storage locker where, for a fee, parents can disappear their fuckups and rejects.
That’s another reason I’ll be outta here tomorrow. No way does my mother have the money for this place, when she can barely put five dollars of gas in her car. Twenty-four hours, and I’ll be on my way back to Jo’s; forty-eight and I’m in Steve’s room. How could their parents not let me stay with them, when they hear what I’ve been through?
I can feel my Levi’s on my thighs, my denim on my back. Just thinking about Levi’s feels so good, I barely notice that I’m picking up a dinner tray and getting pushed back to the chairs. In my mind I’m like, one hundred percent in Levi’s…until the hand in my pants lets go while I’m still standing.
“Uh?” I kind of grunt, turning my head to the demon behind me.
“Go down the row,” she says. “Sit in that first open seat.”
Feeling like the balloon some little kid let go of, I look down the row, and oh my God! It’s not the front row! I’m out of the bull’s-eye!
“Thanks,” I say.
I get a mean Shhh! for a reply, but it’s drowned out by this earsplitting SCREECH. Since I’m standing, I can see what’s going on. But, God. I wish I couldn’t.
It’s Amanda. She’s surrounded by demons, and she’s fighting them all at once. Crouched at her back is the biggest guy you’ve ever seen. He loops his arms around her from behind, linking his hands in a hate hug. But even worse is what they’re doing to her arms. Two guys are gripping her wrists, Jacque style. Matt King style. They’re spreading them like airplane wings, out and down and fast. Tomorrow she’ll have handcuff bruises. She’s telling them she hates them with animal sounds, not words. I don’t know if I’m more scared for her or for them.
A fist hits my spine, so I move down the row. I’m trying not to hear it all: the screams, the thwap of flesh on flesh, the shriek of metal as a kicked chair scrapes across the floor. When I get down to my seat, I can’t help it. I look back at Amanda right as the big guy snaps his hand over her mouth. He’s—he’s gagging her. Her face is red, and it’s getting redder. Her eyes bulge out, and she slams her head forward, then back.
There’s a χραχκ as her skull hits his, and a shree! as Amanda throws opens her throat. She head-cracked the gagger. She got his hand off her mouth.
“Gimme my fucking Doc!” she screams.
She rips her bare foot away from the guy who was pinning it; he lunges and tackles her shin. Other guys are running at her. That’s when I sit down. I sit and pray for somewhere to put my tray, so I can plug my ears. Amanda’s noises are shredding me. It’s like she knows what she’s doing, fighting off all these guys. This is why she needs armor clothes. I don’t want to see or hear or know that it’s happening again.
“Intake room! Sit on ’er!”
It’s our hero, Matt King. He’s striding across the room. He’s calm, he’s casual. He’s happy.
There’s more fleshy struggle sounds, more running feet.
“Group. Look,” Matt says, in a voice you don’t ignore. “This could be you, if you try to run.”
We spin around to watch Amanda, who’s being carried across the room by six guys. She’s a human casket. She’s got one boot on, and her body’s rippling, trying to shake the boys off her. And she’s howling.
“Gimme my Doc Marten, you cock-fucking bastards! I’ll kill you! I’ll—”
Another guy runs over and jams a hand over her mouth. His teeth glint through his smile.
In English class, one of Mrs. Skinner’s vocab words was “maxim,” which is a wise little phrase about life. She gave us this example they use in Japan, to make sure everybody acts the same as everybody else: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” Amanda is the sticking-up nail. But she’s not smooth and straight, like a regular nail. She’s all knotted up. They can’t hammer her flat, so they’re killing her instead.
The funeral procession ends as the boys carry Amanda through a door to the left of the kitchen. It’s a beige door, painted to match the walls, like they don’t want anyone to know it’s there. The door slams; the group room’s silent. It sounds like the end of the world.


About the Author

Cyndy Etler was homeless at fourteen, summa cum laude at thirty. In her current work as a teacher and teen life coach, Etler happily teaches teens that books work better than drugs. She lives with her husband and dogs in North Carolina. Find her at CyndyEtler.com.

Author Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Review: Perfect

Title Perfect
Series Flawed, book 2
Author Cecelia Ahern
Release Date April 4, 2017

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine's life has completely fractured--all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick--the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret--one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people.

And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28116714-perfect
Review

My review of the first book, Flawed, can be found here.

I thoroughly enjoyed Flawed, but Perfect left something to be desired. It just felt like, for much of the book, not a whole lot happened. It almost seems like it could have been one book instead of two. Just gut the majority of Perfect and attach it to the end of Flawed and it would have been a single strong book instead of a decent book followed up by a mediocre book.

I'm not sure that I enjoyed the relationship between Carrick and Celestine. It just didn't feel legitimate. I think there was too much insta-love between them with no real foundation for how far they'd go for one another.

Perfect wasn't a bad book. It just wasn't as good as Flawed. It did end the series rather well, wrapping everything up nicely.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cover Real: Crazy Little Spring Called Love

CRAZY LITTLE SPRING
CALLED LOVE
Eight Magical Stories of Fantasy Romance
Stars and Stone Books

Featuring: Heather
Bythesea, Elsa Carruthers, M.T. DeSantis, Traci Douglass, L.J. Longo, Cara
McKinnon, Sheri Queen, and Mary Rogers



Spring 07 Ebook Final 01

One night. Two star-crossed immortals. Will their vibrant connection
survive beyond sunrise?

A story of courage and sacrifice--and finding love where you never
thought to look.

Sometimes mortals need a little push from a god and goddess to fall in
love…

Can a djinn and a clueless guy beat the clock, avoid the curse, and
maybe even find true love?

A mermaid: hundreds of miles from her home on the ice, on a ship with a
troll, a goblin wizard, and a pack of wolves. What else can go wrong? Oh,
right. A flippin’ sea monster.

A druid’s bargain gives Carson revenge against his former lover
Carrie–at the price of her memories of them together. But did she truly steal
his magic all those years ago? Or was the real theft his heart?


STARS AND STONE BOOKS: http://starsandstonebooks.com/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34686292-crazy-little-spring-called-love
ANTHOLOGY WEBSITE: http://starsandstonebooks.com/crazy-little-spring-called
-love

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review: It Happens All the Time

Title It Happens All the Time
Author Amy Hatvany
Release Date March 28, 2017

From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times betselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30753856-it-happens-all-the-time
Review

This is, without a doubt, my favorite book by Amy Hatvany.

It Happens All the Time is a fantastically written book. It was written was such a raw and emotional honesty that's exactly what this kind of book needs. I think it's so important that the story was told from both Amber's and Tyler's points of view. In seeing the story from both of their perspectives, we see each of their struggles and how they dealt with the aftermath of what happened that night. As Amy says in the beginning of the book: "I wasn’t trying to create false empathy for rapists; rather, I wanted to help readers recognize rape culture as not just a woman’s problem but as a societal problem, and one that we each have a hand (and a stake) in solving." Our society focuses so much on teaching girls and women what to do (or not to do) to avoid getting sexually assaulted, and while that's helpful, perhaps we need to take time to teach our boys/men how to identify consent.

To say that this book is a must-read is an understatement. Please, read it.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Book Review: 10 Things I Can See from Here

Title 10 Things I Can See from Here
Author Carrie Mac
Release Date February 28, 2017

Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31019571-10-things-i-can-see-from-here
Review

This is a tough one for me to review/rate. Let me break it down a little.

Maeve has severe anxiety. The way her anxiety was portrayed was crazy accurate. This was both a positive and a negative. On one hand, seeing anxiety that realistic was astounding. I was seriously impressed. On the other hand, that kind of realism can be difficult to read. This is coming with someone that understands what it's like to have anxiety. It's exhausting. Reading about it, page after page after page, with that kind of intensity is almost too rough to get through.

Moving on to Maeve's parents... Good lord, these are some incredibly selfish people. It's so obvious that Maeve is struggling more than the average person. Her parents seem to be well informed, but medication? Nah. Let's let her struggle and be miserable. They've got other things to worry about. So frustrating. Luckily, though, we do see a relationship with a parental figure that's pretty healthy with Maeve's stepmother, Claire. I did enjoy that.

As far as the love interest goes, eh. There was too much insta-love going on for my tastes. Not to mention, Salix seemed like a very one dimensional character. Their relationship sort of fell flat for me. While their relationship didn't cure Maeve's anxiety, it did seem to lessen in a way that I've found predictable in books. Relationships aren't a cure for anxiety and this was disappointing.

Overall, I felt like 10 Things I Can See from Here was just too busy. There's a lot going on for Maeve and it felt rather messy. There's her anxiety, her selfish parents, her relationship with a new girl, her failing friendship with her best friend. Yeah, life is messy like this sometimes, but it didn't work as a book for me.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Review: The Otto Digmore Difference

Title The Otto Digmore Difference
Author Brent Hartinger
Release Date February 21, 2017

“Road trip!”

Otto Digmore is a 26-year-old gay guy with dreams of being a successful actor, and he’s finally getting some attention as a result of his supporting role on a struggling sitcom. But he’s also a burn survivor with scars on half his face, and all indications are that he’s just too different to ever find real Hollywood success.

Now he’s up for an amazing new role that could change everything. Problem is, he and his best friend Russel Middlebrook have to drive all the way across the country in order to get to the audition on time.

It’s hard to say which is worse: the fact that so many things go wrong, or that Russel, an aspiring screenwriter, keeps comparing their experiences to some kind of road trip movie.

There’s also the fact that Otto and Russel were once boyfriends, and Otto is starting to realize that he still might have romantic feelings for his best friend.

Just how far will Otto go to get the role, and maybe the guy, of his dreams?

Author Brent Hartinger first introduced the character of Otto Digmore in 2005, in his Lambda Award-winning books about Russel Middlebrook. Back then, Otto was something pretty unusual for YA literature: a disabled gay character.

Now, more than a decade later, Otto is grown up and finally stepping into the spotlight on his own. The Otto Digmore Difference, the first book in a new stand-alone series featuring Otto, is about much more than the challenges of being “different.” It’s also about the unexpected nature of all of life’s journeys, and the heavy price that must be paid for Hollywood fame.

But more than anything, it’s a different kind of love story, about the frustrating and fantastic power of the love between two friends.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34227774-the-otto-digmore-difference
Review

This is my first book by Brent Hartinger, so it's also my first book with Otto. I am definitely interested in reading more of Otto's series, though.

The Otto Digmore Difference really kept my attention throughout the entire book. While it's a shorter book than what I normally read, it didn't feel that way. Not to say that it felt overly long, because it didn't, but it was really perfect. It kept my attention, it was interesting, and a fully fleshed out story.

The only thing that felt a bit off (for lack of a better word) was the characters felt a bit younger than their age. I'm not sure if this is carried over from the Russel Middlebrook series as I haven't read it. Either way, though, it's not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book.

I'm so glad that I was contacted to read this book because it's not necessarily something that I would pick up on my own (which is a shame because I would be really missing out).

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review: Ultimatum

Title Ultimatum
Author K. M. Walton
Release Date March 7, 2017

From the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what’s more important: family or their differences.

It’s not Oscar’s fault he’s misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he’s been disrespected by his father and bullied by his self-absorbed older brother, so he withdraws from his fractured family, seeking refuge in his art.

Vance wishes his younger brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother’s death without Oscar getting all emotional. At least when Vance pushes himself in lacrosse and parties, he feels alive.

But when their father’s alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two brothers must come face-to-face with their demons--and each other--if they are going to survive a very uncertain future.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30095461-ultimatum
Review

I think the way the story was told was brilliant. You've got two different points of views telling two different parts of the story. Oscar leads us through present day events and Vance taking us from the past to the present. They work in perfect harmony, painting a full picture of what's happening to the brothers and how they got there.

Ultimatum tugs at your heartstrings throughout the entire book. Oscar and Vance are going through an incredibly difficult time, but the author doesn't sugarcoat it. The emotion feels real and believable.

Ultimatum is a heartbreaking story about grief and finding hope where you least expect it.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review: We Were Here

Title We Were Here
Series Modern Love Story, book 1
Author Daisy Prescott
Release Date February 22, 2016

In the 90s …

texting involved paper and a pen …

… our selfies were Polaroids ...

… our favorite music was on mix tapes.

Sex was dangerous, music was raw, and falling in love felt nostalgic.

We were friends and lovers.

We thought we knew everything.

We knew nothing.

We were here.

Set in the early 1990s, a time before the internet, social media, and smart phones, We Were Here is the prequel to Geoducks Are For Lovers. This book can be read as a standalone.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28426355-we-were-here
Review

I want to point out that this book is a prequel. Yes, it says it right there in the blurb, but I felt the need to say it again. I went into this knowing it was a prequel, but I didn't really know what it meant for this book. In We Were Here we're basically treated to seven novellas in one book. Each section focuses on one of the main characters in the story. It seems the other books in the series are also standalone books, but focus more on a single character (though I'm not 100% sure as I haven't read any of the others yet). Again, I just wanted to point all of this out as I didn't realize that's what was going on before I picked up this book. Anyway...

Some of the characters captured my attention more so than others. All of them were interesting, but it seemed like a few of the characters really stood out (Maggie, Quinn, Selah, and Lizzy). This book was such a tease in that regard, get me interested in a character's story before moving on to the next one.

At the current moment, I'm definitely interested in reading Geoducks Are for Lovers. Maggie's story is one that I'm really interested in. As for the other books, maybe. I enjoyed Daisy's writing enough to at least consider reading the other books.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Ultimatum

Title Ultimatum
Author K. M. Walton
Release Date March 7, 2017
ISBN 9781492635079
Publishers Sourcebooks Fire

From the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what’s more important: family or their differences.

It’s not Oscar’s fault he’s misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he’s been disrespected by his father and bullied by his self-absorbed older brother, so he withdraws from his fractured family, seeking refuge in his art.

Vance wishes his younger brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother’s death without Oscar getting all emotional. At least when Vance pushes himself in lacrosse and parties, he feels alive.

But when their father’s alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two brothers must come face-to-face with their demons--and each other--if they are going to survive a very uncertain future.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30095461-ultimatum

An Excerpt


I watch the nurse jab the needle into my father’s arm. He doesn’t make a move. He hasn’t made a move on his own in days. I look over at my brother, Vance, and his head is down, lost in his phone. I close my eyes and just focus on breathing.

I feel a gentle squeeze on my shoulder. “That should make him comfortable, Oscar. I’ll be right out in the hall if you need me,” the nurse says.

Vance told me that since Dad had this thing called a living will with a do-not-resuscitate order, there are no IVs or breathing tubes or anything else that will help to keep him alive longer. His liver is in failure, and he doesn’t have time to wait for a transplant. He will not be coming home from this place.

I nod. “Thank you,” I say to the nurse. Why can’t my brother put down his phone and be present?

“How long now?” I whisper. I read her name tag: Barbara.

She purses her lips into a tight smile. “I wish I could tell you. Definitely not today.”

“Tomorrow?” This is the end of day two here at the hospice, and I’ve been told multiple times that he’s not in pain, that they’re doing everything they can to make him comfortable. But I’m not convinced. How do they know he’s not in pain?

Barbara tilts her head and looks back at my comatose father. “Maybe, maybe not. He’ll leave when he’s ready.”

I want to jump up and shake her. She’s a damn hospice nurse! How can she not know? I want her to know.

I want her to tell me when he will die.

Sitting here watching him fail like this, so close, is harder than watching him live. I want it to just be over. I’m done.

“How many times does she have to tell you that she doesn’t know?” Vance asks after she leaves.
I turn away and ignore my brother.

“I know you hear me,” Vance says.

I lift my eyes and stare into his. To annoy him, I put in my earbuds and turn up the volume as loud as my phone allows. He shakes his head, indicating that he can hear the Mozart. Good.

My head fills with the layered richness of Symphony No. 29, and I let my eyes slide closed. While I’m into everything from baroque to classical to romantic, Mozart has always been my favorite. When I listen to his music, I’m taken out of my life.

My life right now consists of being trapped in this damn room with my brother and watching my father slip away one labored breath at a time. If I count the freckles on Dad’s arm one more time, I may start drooling.

I steal a peek at Vance, and he’s still glaring at me. When isn’t he? Having Mozart drown out him and his never-ending dickhead ways is helping right now. I turn and gaze out the window.

Vance has never understood me—and he never will. Even down to the music I listen to. When we were in middle school, he’d make fun of me because of it. I can still see him playing an imaginary violin with wild, insulting movements, doing everything in his power to look weird.

Were Vance and I ever close? I blink and realize the answer. No, we’ve never been close—despite only being ten months apart.

I scroll back as far as I can remember, and my hands tighten into fists.

I think it’s the classic “he took my place as the baby” situation. Vance resents me—like, my very existence. He couldn’t be any more unbrotherly. In fact, I’d say he stands firmly behind enemy lines. Let’s just say that if I needed saving on the battlefield, Vance would probably let me bleed out.

My brother is an attention junkie, and apparently I robbed him of having our parents’ complete and undivided focus. He has never verbalized this to me, of course—that would involve a deep conversation between us. This is all pure guesswork on my part. But I know I’m right.

Buy Links

 

About the Author

K.M. Walton is the author of Cracked and Empty. As a former middle-school teacher, she’s passionate about ending bullying, and her powerful presentations have made an impact on thousands. K.M. is a graduate of West Chester University. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, and cat. Visit her at kmwalton.com.

Author Links

Website
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram
Goodreads

Giveaway

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#24)

"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 Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Series To All the Boys I've Loved Before, book 3
Author Jenny Han
Release Date May 2, 2017

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30312860-always-and-forever-lara-jean

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Share your links in the comments below and I'll be sure to drop by!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Book Review: The Martian

Title The Martian
Author Andy Weir
Release Date February 11, 2014

A mission to Mars.

A freak accident.

One man's struggle to survive.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars' surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, Mark won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark's not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills—and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive.

But Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18007564-the-martian
Review

Before reading The Martian: Really? A book about a dude trapped on Mars... why would anyone want to read that? How did that get made into a movie anyway?

After reading The Martian: This book was totally awesome. No wonder it was made into a movie.



The Martian is a fantastic book! I'm so mad at myself for waiting so long to read it. I want to un-read it just so I can read it all over again. That's really how good it is. No joking whatsoever.

A survival story filled with humor, The Martian was pretty much a perfect sci-fi book for me. As someone that only dabbles in science fiction reading, I was worried this was going to be boring. Nope. Completely the opposite. I was captivated and immersed the the story from the very beginning.

There's tons of reviews out there for this book. There's probably just as many for the movie. I just wanted to throw my two cents into the mix. Read this book! It's so deserving of all the hype and love it gets.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Book Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez

Title The Education of Margot Sanchez
Author Lilliam Rivera
Release Date February 21, 2017

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26594801-the-education-of-margot-sanchez
Review

My biggest issue with this book was Margot herself. I get flawed and unlikable characters, but she was completely self-absorbed. It was hard to see past her selfishness. While there was some character growth (less than what I would have expected) for her at the end of the book, I feel like it came too late to change my opinion of her.

There's a lot going on throughout the book as far as the story goes. It's some pretty heavy stuff: family issues, growing up, fitting in, and gentrification to name a few. The book doesn't seem busy, though, because a lot of it isn't explored as fully as one might like (recalling what happened at the beach party here).

The Education of Margot Sanchez was a decent, but predictable, book.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (#14)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because everyone loves a good list, don't they? We love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Ten Books I Loved More/Less Than I Thought I Would

More

Looking back on these books, I realize that I enjoyed them so much more than I originally thought. I review/rate a book as soon as I'm finished with it, so sometimes after sitting for a while my opinions can change. With these books, I've come to realize they are much better than I originally gave them credit for.
  1. Bird Box by Josh Malerman - When I originally rated this book, I gave it 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it, but was left somewhat disappointed by the ending. However, looking back on it now, this is a solid 5 star read for me. Bird Box stuck with me long after I read it. I even had a dream (nightmare?) definitely influenced by something that happens in the book.
  2. The Children's Story by Robert A. Krueger - When I wrote my review, I gave this book 3 stars. I said it was a strange book. Thinking back on it, though, I lean more towards 4 stars. I think I'd like to revisit this book again. I feel like it would probably be much better on a second read through.
  3. Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton - Originally, I rated this book 3.5 stars and then rated it 4 stars. Thinking about it now, my opinion flips back and forth between 4 and 4.5. This is another book that was strange, but I feel like would be better on another read through. The author contacted me not too long ago with an updated version of the story. I'm hoping to get to it soon. I think it'll be worth another read.
  4. Unbreakables by Joe Pringle - This book wasn't something I'd normally pick up on my own. However, I decided to give it a shot whenever the author contacted me about reading it. It was such a surprise to me that I enjoyed it so much. I liked the sequel, 144, even more. I love when a book surprises you with how great it is.
  5. Clingstone by Marti Ziegler - When I first started this book, I had a bit of trouble getting into the story. I gave it a bit of time, though, and fell in love. This is another book that I was pleasantly surprised by.

Less

Sometimes, you can't help but get excited about a book. You just know, before you've read a single sentence, that you're going to love it. Whether it's the blurb or the numerous raving reviews, you've got high expectations going in. Only, sometimes, the books falls short. These books are the ones that let me down.
  1. I Am Her... by Sarah Ann Walker - When I decided to read this book, it was because of the numerous 5 star reviews. Yeah, there were a few one star reviews, but I saw more positive reviews than negative. After reading it, though, I'm almost convinced that the people that gave it 5 stars had a different book than I did. I always try to find some positive quality when I negatively review a book, but I failed here.
  2. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson - I almost can't believe I'm putting this book on this list. Especially since I rated it 4 stars. Hear me out, though. This was a fantastic book until the end. If it would have ended earlier, it would have been 5 stars and wouldn't have made this list. I probably wouldn't normally put it on a list of books that disappointed me because it was still a great read, but it's fresh in my mind and so it ended up here.
  3. After You by Jojo Moyes - An unneeded sequel to an amazing book. Skip this, but definitely don't skip Me Before You.
  4. Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones - An unrealistic, cliche book that leaves you with no answers, but plenty of sequels. No thanks. 
  5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - Though well researched, this book left me wanting. If the story would have focused on one or two characters/view points, instead of four, I feel like would have been a much better book. The short chapters and constantly switching view points made it harder to have an emotional connection to any characters (which is something I definitely need in a book of this nature).
Which books did you like more or less than you thought you would? Leave your Top Ten Tuesday link in the comments below and I'll be sure to stop by!