Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cover Reveal: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

May 6, 2014 from Bloomsbury

Pippa always wanted to go to Italy, but not by herself. And not to sit in a classroom the summer before senior year learning about paintings by dead guys. Tempted by the romance of Rome and the chance to photograph ancient ruins, Pippa ditches the program and sets her own list of goals—get my picture taken at the Colosseum; get a makeover; fall in love with an Italian.
She befriends a local girl whose gorgeous cousin may be just the Italian Pippa’s looking for, but the road to amore gets detoured when she keeps running into a cute American student. And she can’t forget that her summer abroad is only temporary. As she explores the famous cities of Rome and Pompeii, Pippa must sort out her feelings before her parents figure out where she really is.

They say it helps to write what you know, so I gave Pippa the same love of photography that I have. When I traveled to Italy in 2009, I took pictures of even the most obscure details, knowing I’d want to set a story there one day. I’m thankful I was so thorough because once this story idea came to me in April 2011, my memory of the trip wasn’t as fresh. I was able to sift through my photos and build Pippa’s summer with them, tossing in some of my own experiences. I’m actually jealous that Pippa spent so much more time in Italy than I did. She got to take so many more pictures!

It’s a dream come true for Pippa to photograph ancient ruins and historic monuments like the Colosseum, but quite a lot of the story takes place in a coastal region called Cinque Terre (“five lands” – pronounced CHING-kway TAY-ray). The views have to be seen to be believed, the food is the best I’ve ever eaten (it’s the birthplace of pesto!), and it’s ROMANTIC! You can even walk on a path between all five villages along the coast, shopping and sampling food in each. I think about going back there EVERY DAY.

Gelato plays a big part in Pippa’s story, but I won’t give anything away! There’s really nothing quite like authentic Italian gelato. It was actually hard for me to eat ice cream once we came back home after our trip to Italy. I think it’s the texture and unique flavors that sets it apart. My favorites were mint and stracciatella, though, like Pippa does, I had to at least TASTE the pistachio! I don’t know how they get a nut to taste good as ice cream, but they do!

Pippa’s from Chicago, so she’s had her fair share of deep-dish pizzas! But she’s quickly won over by the simplicity of Italian pizzas and the papery thin crusts. She makes it one of her summer goals to eat entire pizza by herself. If I get a chance to visit Italy again one day, I think this will be a goal of mine too! DELIZIOSO!

About the Author:

Kristin Rae was born and raised in Texas though her accent would suggest otherwise. She’s addicted to books, music, movies, crafty things, and chocolate. A former figure skating coach, LEGO merchandiser, and photographer, she’s now happy to create stories while pretending to ignore the carton of gelato in the freezer. Kristin lives in Houston with her husband and their two boxers. 



“With Italy's brilliant landscapes, a main character you'll love from the first line and a new dreamy book boyfriend (he's mine!), WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN is a charming and addictive read. Devour this delicious treat like a double scoop of gelato.” —Lindsey Leavitt, author of Going Vintage and Sean Griswold’s Head.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Giveaway: K.A. Tucker's Four Seconds to Lose

FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE by K.A. Tucker is right around the corner so we thought we should celebrate with a giveaway of some fantastic, mind-blowing prizes! We have the FIRST print of a FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE Dooodles by Christina (which won't be available for purchase until late December), as well as signed copies of TEN TINY BREATHS and ONE TINY LIE, and swag bags filled with FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE posters and goodies from K.A. Tucker and Atria! There will be 5 winners of signed copies and swag bags, and one Grand Prize winner for the Dooodles by Christina, signed copies and a swag bag. You don’t want to miss this! So, go ahead… Enter to win! Help us celebrate Cain and Charlie’s release into the world! Entering will just take a matter of…Seconds!

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Review: Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Man Made Boy
By: Jon Skovron
Pub. Date: October 3, 2013
Publisher: Viking Publishing
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Imagine a group of monsters who pose as a Circ de Soleil style Broadway show, passing their magical abilities off as special effects. Vampires, werewolves, fairies, sirens, medusas, minotaurs…the works. Who might be a good bouncer for such a dangerous menagerie? Well, Frankenstein’s Monster of course. Then, what if the Monster and the Bride got together and created a child of their own named…well, Boy, of course, because that’s what he is. And what if Boy grew up to be a bright, sensitive, and rebellious teenage hacker who was tired of living his whole life inside the confines of a Broadway theater? How far will he go to prove to them all, including the lead dancer girl he’s always pined for, that he’s going to be somebody important and not just the Son of Frankenstein’s Monster?
When you are the son of Frankenstein and his Bride, it's hard to get close to anyone. So he doesn't. He lives under Times Square in a world hidden from the rest of us. He never leaves, and he never gets to meet anybody. But he wants too. So, so badly. Boy is bright and sensitive, and tired of living a lonely life with just his computer as his companion. Boy is a computer genius. He is able to hack into everything and hide who he really is. While this worked for a while, it isn't going to work anymore, so Boy decides to leave the security of his hidden world and see what the real world has to offer.

Boy may be me a monster, but he is as human as the rest of us. He wants to meet people, he wants to form attachments. He even wants to be in a relationship. But like every other shy, awkward teenage boy at there, he never knows the right thing to say to a girl. I found this adorable! It's definitely something that middle grade boys and girls can understand.

While I loved the characters, and found them to be very realistic, especially for being monsters, I had some issues with the plot and pacing. Some things went so quick for me, while other scenes dragged on. I would have liked more of a balance.

I really enjoyed this coming of age story and watching Boy go through this life changing event. It's a perfect story for middle graders and high school students alike.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Playing Dirty by Jennifer Echols

Playing Dirty
(Stargazer # 2)
By: Jennifer Echols
Pub. Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 448
Source: Edelweiss

A public relations expert tries to prevent the breakup of a raucous country band and corral their wild—and very sexy—lead singer in book 2 of the Stargazer Series.

As an expert in public relations crisis management—that is, babysitter to the stars—Sarah Seville just spent nine months in Rio trying to keep rock singer Nine Lives out of jail long enough to record his new album…and barely succeeded. Now she needs a triumphant success so she can keep the Manhattan-based job she loves. Trouble is, her new assignment is to travel to Alabama to prevent the breakup of the raucous country band The Cheatin’ Hearts, headed by sexy Quentin Cox. As she edges closer to Quentin, she discovers layers of secrets. It seems Quentin is taking the spin doctor for a spin.

The Cheatin’ Hearts have stayed on top of the charts two years following three rules. Rule One, no drugs. Rule Two, no sex with other band members. Rule Three, no sex with record company spies. Quentin figures he’d better follow the rules, because he made them. And because if you break a rule, you’re out of the band. But he can’t resist the record company’s beautiful PR agent, and inevitably he breaks Rule Three with hot Sarah Seville. As he falls for her, he finds out that she has plenty of secrets of her own, and one of them comes knocking on her door: what really happened to her in Rio.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Lately I haven't been reading as much as I used to. It takes me a week to read a book, instead of a day or two liked it used too. But then I read Playing Dirty and I read it in a night. I couldn't put it down! I was so intrigued with Sarah and Quentin and their story!

Sarah's PR job takes her down to Alabama and into the lives of country band superstars The Cheatin' Hearts. The band comes off as slutty, stupid, drug addicts. But in reality, they are smart, sweet and caring. Sarah was pretty upfront with why she was there and what her plan was. But I hated all of the secrets that The Cheatin' Hearts were keeping! It definitely got to be too much as certain points.

I loved Sarah! She was smart and could definitely hold her own! You knew something happened to her while she was on her last job, but you don't know what it is. Being the only thing she was keeping hidden, I think Echols did a wonderful job keeping it from the reader, but also providing hints. The secret never felt rushed or forced out. Then there is Quentin. He definitely moved to the top of my favorite lists! The lead singer, Quentin acts as though as is the dumbest one in the group and that all he cares about is drinking, girls and his cocaine. But in reality he got into medical school and his dream is to cure asthma and allergies, which is two things he suffers deeply from, not a cocaine addiction. He was so cute and sweet!

The connection between Sarah and Quentin can be felt right away and it is hot! When these two were together, there scenes just jumped from the page. I absolutely loved these two together!

I really enjoyed Playing Dirty and while it is the second book in the series, it can read as a stand alone. I have not read the first book, Star Crossed but I was never lost or confused. This is a story that is definitely not to be missed!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Crash Into You
(Pushing the Limits # 3)
By: Katie McGarry
Pub. Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 474
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

Katie McGarry is one of my favorite authors. The way she can take these sad and broken characters, who definitely aren’t perfect, and make the reader care so much about them truly shows how talented she is! Crash into You is no different and has easily become my favorite in the series.

Crash into You follows Isaiah Walker, a 17 year old foster kid and Noah’s best friend from Pushing the Limits and Dare You To. He loves his friends and will be loyal to them no matter what. His other love is cars. We also get introduced to Rachel Young, a rich girl who would much rather be drag racing and fixing cars then putting on a dress and going to the country club. These two are not as opposite as one might think! 

After I met Noah in Pushing the Limits, I didn’t think it was possible for me to love a McGarry character more, but then I met Isaiah! People stay away from him because he is a poor, foster kid with tattoos. But those people are missing out on an extraordinary young man. He’s loyal, sweet and caring. He’s also extremely vulnerable, which is a side that no one ever gets to see.

Rachel was a very interesting character. She is the youngest and only girl in her family. She has three older brothers who protect her maybe a little too much. Her mother always compares her to her dead older sister, someone that Rachel will never be. The pressure is too much sometimes and she can only be herself when she is racing. It is there where she meets Isaiah, a guy she knows she should stay away from, but just can’t.

I always have the same issue when I read a McGarry book. I want to read it slow to savor every word, but I also want to read it fast to find out what is going to happen to the characters. Her writing is unbelievable and I never can get enough of it! I am so excited to read Take Me On, the next story in the Pushing the Limits series!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sale: Escaping Me by Elizabeth Lee

In July, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Escaping Me by Elizabeth Lee. For a limited time, Escaping Me is on sale for .99 cents! Go pick up your copy before the price goes back up. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Traitor
(The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten # 2)
Pub. Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. 

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.
I'll be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to continue with the Call of the Forgotten series after The Lost Prince, but I am so glad that I decided to read The Iron Traitor. It was so, so good and I can not wait until next year when the next book comes out.

Poor Ethan. Always trying to be good and always trying to stay away from Them. But as usual, he keeps getting dragged into fairy world problems. This time around it has to do with his nephew, Keirran. Nobody can find him and they are all afraid for his safety. Ethan, being the good person that he is wants to help his nephew no matter what the consequences may be.

One of the problems I had with The Lost Prince was I wanted Meghan to talk to Ethan about why she stayed away. While that conversation hasn't happened you start to figure out why and you understand why Meghan did what she did.

Ethan and Kenzie are so sweet and cute together. Especially in school where he doesn't show how truly wonderful he is and acts like the tough guy he pretends to be, while she is bubbly and popular. So cute! I really love the two of them together.

The Iron Traitor ends on the worst cliffhanger known to man and I am so interested and excited to see how Julie Kagawa is going to get everyone out of this one! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Anywhere But Here by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Anywhere But Here
By: Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Pub. Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 320
Source: Edelweiss

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Ever since his mom died, Cole feels stuck. He just wants to graduate and leave his small, suffocating town. And everything is going according to plan--until Cole discovers the one secret that could keep him there...forever.
I had high hopes for this one, but sadly I was disappointed. There was nothing about it that made it stand out. I feel like I've read this story before. Cole's mother recently died and all Cole wants to do is get out of this small town. It isn't until talking to the guidance counselor that Cole realizes he can use his love of filming to get into college.

Anywhere But Here follows Cole as he goes through senior year. He misses his mom and really has no desire to do anything. He breaks up with his girlfriend Lauren for no real good reason and he doesn't realize how great his friends are. As he films his town and the people in it, he starts to learn that there is a lot more to living in a small town then he thought.

I might not have been a huge fan of this story, but I thought Cole was written very well. His pain was real and raw and I felt everything he was going through. While Anywhere But Here lacked originality for me, it's definitely an honest portrayal of a young man trying to find himself.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins

Stir Me Up
By: Sabrina Elkins
Pub. Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 268
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She'll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father's French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami's family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Julian's all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami's starting to feel. And Cami can't stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He's got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated. 
Stir Me Up seemed like a sweet love story and I was excited to read it, but it ending up being so much more than that! Cami is just a normal teenager who wants to be a chef. Everything changes when her stepmom’s nephew, Julian comes to live with them. He just came back from Afghanistan where he watched his friends die and where he lost his leg. He’s only 21 and his life is changed forever.

When the two of them meet, Cami tried to be nice to him, but he acted absolutely horrible to her! I loved that Cami didn’t take it, and despite his injuries, she would give it right back to him. The banter between them was hysterical! I almost died when she threw the muffin at him! I was laughing so hard!

It’s very rare to find two characters with this much connection in a book. Cami and Julian were on fire! From the minute they met, and they were acting like jerks to each other, you could feel the electricity between them. I loved watching them go from enemies to friends to eventually falling in love.

Stir Me Up is Sabrina Elkins first book. It’s written so perfectly, you would think she is a seasoned writer! I am so excited to read what she writes for us next. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year
(Just One Day # 2)
By: Gayle Forman
Pub. Date: October 10, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Books
Pages: 336
Source: Penguin Books First To Read program

The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day.

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.
I've waited a year to read Willem's POV and I was so excited to learn I scored an early copy. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I enjoyed the first hundred pages or so but then I started to get bored. It was the same thing over and over again. I loved what we saw of Willem in Just One Day but in Just One Year he came across as a winey and dramatic in certain situations.

The story starts off with Willem in the hospital where we learn within the first few pages that he never meant to leave Allyson, he just didn't know how to find her. What I enjoyed most was learning about Willem's past and family. Willem is a free spirit, and I loved that about him, but it was interesting to find out the hows and whys surrounding the reasons he is the man he is today.

I also enjoyed the mentions of double happiness again. I absolutely loved the concept of double happiness and I plan on getting a tattoo of it on my wrist!

Just One Day and Just One Year are definitely character driven, and in that respect Gayle Forman did a wonderful job writing Willem. His thoughts and emotions are honest and real. He has a lot of healing to do regarding his parents and that aspect was just so raw. I felt his pain right along with him. Forman definitely knows how to get the reader 100% invested.

Just One Year might not have been as amazing as I was hoping it would be, but it was still a good read and a wonderful conclusion to Allyson's and Willem's story.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Teaser Tour: Before We Fall by Courtney Cole

Today on the blog I am excited to share some teasers from Courtney Cole's new book, Before We Fall!

Sometimes, one dark moment is all it takes to turn your world black...

For 24-year old Dominic Kinkaide, that moment took place on the night of his high school graduation. One dark incident changed him forever. He's a hardened actor now, famous in the eyes of the world, but tortured in his own. He doesn't care about much of anything, except for losing himself in the roles that he plays.

23-year old Jacey Vincent doesn't realize how much her father's indifference has affected her. She is proof that sometimes it isn't one specific moment that wrecks a person, but rather it's an absence of moments. She's like a bird with a broken wing-strong yet fragile, as she tries to float through life, finding acceptance in the arms of random guys, one after the other... to fill the void that her father left in her.

Until she meets Dominic.

After jaded Dominic and strong-willed Jacey are thrown together, his secret and her issues create a dark and damaged energy that will soon turn their attraction to each other into an explosive storm.

Even though when the clouds have cleared and the dust has settled, both of them are almost obliterated... they've learned a priceless lesson.

Sometimes, before we fall... we fly.

About the Author:

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

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


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review: My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron

My Favorite Mistake
By: Chelsea M. Cameron
Pub. Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin HGN
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Two secrets. One bet. Who will break first?

Taylor Caldwell can't decide if she wants to kiss her new college roommate or punch him.

On the one hand, Hunter Zaccadelli is a handsome blue-eyed bundle of charm. On the other, he's a tattooed, guitar-playing bad boy. Maybe that's why Taylor's afraid of falling in love with him, or anyone else. She doesn't want to get burned, so she needs him gone before it's too late.

Hunter himself has been burned before, but Taylor's sexy laugh and refusal to let him get away with anything make her irresistible. Determined not to be kicked out of her life without a fight, Hunter proposes a bet: if she can convince him she either truly loves or hates him, he'll leave the apartment; and leave her alone.

But when the man behind Taylor's fear of giving up her heart resurfaces, she has to decide: trust Hunter with her greatest secret, or do everything in her power to win that bet and drive him away forever.

I’ve decided to stop reading New Adult books because there is just too many of them, and they all sound the same. But there are a select few that I am/was looking forward to, and My Favorite Mistake is one of them! I am so glad that I decided to read it. It definitely became a favorite of mine!

The story starts with Taylor and her two friends waiting for their fourth roommate at college. Expecting a girl, Taylor is very surprised, and angry to see tattoo bad boy Hunter. Right off the bat, Taylor is not welcoming of him, and wants him gone.

Both Taylor and Hunter are holding in secrets about their past, and the author made a much bigger deal about Taylors. But I felt that her secret wasn’t as bad as Hunters. What Taylor went through and how she deals with it now, is nothing compared to what Hunter experienced as a child. He has a much bigger reason to be an emotional wreck as an adult, but he handles his life and what happened much better then Taylor does. I feel she is even being a little bit dramatic. That is just my opinion, please don’t hate me!

I have read other books by Chelsea M. Cameron, and she is definitely a great writer! I have enjoyed every book I have read from her, and My Favorite Mistake is my favorite so far! I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review: Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time After Time
(Time Between Us # 2)
By: Tamara Ireland Stone
Pub. Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Calling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn't. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.

It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work...until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn't want?

Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us' Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.
I loved last years Time Between Us. I loved it so much that I even chased down the author in Austin to tell her how much I loved it! I was so excited to snag a copy of Time After Time from netgalley and it was just as good as the first one!

What I hate most about series is that I am always confused when I read the second or third books. Its been so long since I read the book before it that I forget everything. Tamara Ireland Stone did a wonderful job weaving in the facts from the first book without giving us information overload. I was able to read Time After Time with ease. The writing is beautiful and Stone makes you feel so much for her characters. Every word is written with the utmost care and thoughtfulness.

Bennett and Anna take long distance relationships to a whole new level. She lives in 1995 and he lives in the present day. They can only see each other after he lies to everyone he loves and goes to visit her. But the time traveling is starting to get to him physically and he's starting to think that this relationship isn't going to work out. All you want is for Anna and Bennett to get through the tough time and to stay together, but that whole, "we live in different times" makes it difficult!

The ending was so sweet and I am excited to see if there is going to be a third book!

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