Tuesday, August 25, 2015

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Release date: January 12th 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

About the Author
Marisa Reichardt
Marisa Reichardt is a SoCal native and high school writing instructor. She has a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California and dual undergraduate degrees in literature and creative writing from UC San Diego. She spent her college years shucking oysters, waiting tables, and peddling swimwear. She has spent her post-grad years writing, tutoring, and teaching. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family, and can usually be found huddled over her laptop in coffeehouses or swimming in the ocean.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Becoming Rain (Burying Water #2) by K.A. Tucker

Release date: March 3rd 2015
Series: Burying Water #2
Publisher: Atria Books
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to.

*Received a physical copy from the publisher in exchange of a review

A world of luxury and danger becomes intriguing in this thrilling follow-up to Burying Water. While the latter provided an intense and dramatic look at the consequences of crossing a crime boss, Becoming Rain takes us much deeper. Thankfully, Clara managed to evade that world without a scratch, but finds romance amidst it all. 

I actually enjoyed this book more than the previous. The story moved along smoothly and it didn't feel as drawn out as the first. And while I didn't like Luke's character as much before, I liked what he did for Water and I really warmed up to him in Becoming Rain. It was great to get inside his head and establish an understanding of his loyalty to his uncle and family. Before, I was upset with him for wanting to continue working with his uncle, but I kind of understood his reasons and why such a lifestyle would fascinate him. It was also nice to see him unravel and finally fall for just one girl. I didn't realize how sweet and considerate he was. He made me melt with his charm and the wonderful way he treated Rain.

Clara AKA Rain came into the situation as an agent who not only wanted to succeed and boost her career, but she also wanted to help put an end to what those men were doing. Luke was her target. She studied him, lured him in, basically did what she had to in order to gain his trust. But soon, things started to get complicated. Her feelings for Luke and her position as an agent became an internal struggle. I knew that was bound to happen since I started reading, so from beginning I kept saying to myself, "this is going to be disastrous", because how on earth was their relationship going to work? I mean, after her cover was revealed to him, Luke felt deeply betrayed. And I could understand why. She was the first woman he'd trusted, so his reaction was expected. 

These two intriguing characters and their sexy and dangerous relationship kept me interested, and that has a lot to do with the terrific writing of Miss Tucker. She sure has a way with words and knowing how to pull you into a story. K.A. definitely gave me a vivid picture of this frightening world of wealth and power. The criminals were either mysterious or scary when need be. And while I didn't approve of what Luke's uncle was doing, the author managed to get me to still sympathize for him and Luke. That's a good thing.

It was also nice to revisit the characters from the previous book. Glad to know they're doing well and staying out of trouble. 
Overall, I truly enjoyed Becoming Rain. The characters were just great and the plot reminded me of one of those crime dramas on TV. And even though it would have been more exciting if a certain person showed up in the end and there was some kind of stand off between Clara and his guys, I still liked how things played out for her and Luke. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino

Release date: August 18th 2015
Publisher: Atria
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?


*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

Before We Were Strangers completely blew me away. I wasn't expecting what Renee had in store for me, and let me tell you, that blurb barely sums up how crazy this story is. Like I'm seriously struggling to put my thoughts together to explain just how much I enjoyed Matt and Grace's tumultuous journey--from their funny first encounter to the moment when they finally reunited. I connected right off with these two. I felt their joy, their sorrow, and their love. Every page felt real. The characters felt real, and their emotions felt real. I simply can't get enough of them and I'm beyond happy with the way things worked out, even if so much time had passed where they were separated. 

I loved going back to their time in college and learning about Matt and Grace. They were both from different backgrounds, but drawn together through art and something else. Something intense and true. They began as friends and that blossomed into so much more. It's funny how they were so in love with each other before even realizing it, and once their feelings were clear it was definitely hard to deny. 
I hated the circumstances and the misunderstandings that caused their separation, and at times I was mad at them too. There were moments where maybe they should have fought harder for each other and not just give in. I mean, their love was so strong that even after fifteen years, they still couldn't move on. I had predicted a little about what happened to Grace, and it sucks that Matt missed out on that and wasn't there for her during that particular time. And even though it's not their fault and someone horrible fueled the problem, I felt that Grace could've tried to speak to Matt face-to-face, regardless of what she was led to believe because she was following his career and had an idea of what he was doing, while Matt had no clue whatsoever as to how to find her. But hey, their love wasn't perfect and it didn't work out immediately for them. And it's sad that all that happened to a couple who wanted to be together so badly, but life is crazy and some things happen for reason, especially since both got to live out their dreams and experience a world apart for a while. No matter how long. 

Aside from the awesome characters and storytelling, Carlino did a great job bringing New York city to life in both time period. Her words sucked me in fast and I couldn't stop reading. I literally had to force myself to put down my kindle and go to sleep. The story is just that good. And like I said, the characters are fleshed out wonderfully. Everything about them felt real and their relationship was easy to root for. I also loved LOVED the ending. It had me smiling and tearing up with excitement. Gosh. I have to stop here before I give too much away. This is my second Carlino novel and I'm so happy to have discovered her because she's a terrific writer that knows how to tug at the heart. I highly recommend this one!

About the Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women's novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY~Confessions of a Fat Girl by Holly Dae

Check out the blog tour for Holly Dae's latest emotional new adult contemporary release. It has mild sexual situations but no graphic sex in it and deals heavily with eating disorders, depression, and some thoughts of self harm every now and then, but not constant or on every page. I guess that's to say that it might have a few triggers for some people but it's not too dark or edgy. Raw, might be the better word.

18215423Release date: August 4th 2015
Purchase: Amazon 

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Smart and ambitious Season Minett was homeschooled, got accepted into college at 16, graduated with a B.A. in English at 20, got a job at a prestigious magazine at 21, and isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. Twenty-two-year-old Season has it made and everyone knows it. Except Season herself.

People can gush over her all day long, but Season knows they’re just being nice. In reality, she’s accomplished nothing. She doesn’t work hard enough, can’t get her book published, and worst of all at 5’6, 180 pounds with a thirty-two inch waist, a forty-four inch hip, and arms too big for her body, she’s fat and ugly. She's such a disappointment that after her mother divorced Season's dad, she went to live with her new, younger boyfriend and left Season to mother the rest of her siblings. So Season is quite bewildered when the guy she sees every weekend at the bookstore shows serious interest in her. And she ends up liking him. A lot.

Season's not naive enough to think love will solve all her problems though. In fact, love seems to be making everything worse because her food obsession is growing more and more out of her control. But that's impossible. There's nothing wrong with counting calories and wanting to be thin. There's nothing wrong with trying to be as perfect as everyone thinks she is. A fat girl can't develop an eating disorder, let alone have one. Right?

Stuck in the transition between graduating from college and starting a life called no job, Holly Dae spends most of her free time writing raw and edgy Young Adult and New Adult contemporary novels that deal with rape, drugs, sex, and general psychological ills. When she isn't doing that, she's writing fanfiction for fun and obsessively playing Mario Kart Eight and Pokemon Games.

*NOTE: Please do not post any negative reviews that are hurtful to the author and affects the purpose of the tour. Post the book info and giveaway instead, or send me an email if you'd like to back out. Thank you for understanding.

August 24th -
Kindle and Me *Spotlight
The Tale Temptress *Spotlight

August 25th -
Desert Rose Reviews *Interview
Writer of Wrongs *Spotlight

August 26th -
Buried Under Books *Review 
Rockin' Book Review *Review 
Penny For Them... *Spotlight
Paperback Princess *Spotlight
Around the World in Books *Interview

August 27th -
deal sharing aunt *Spotlight
Lynn's Book Blog *Review
A Fold in the Spine *Review

August 28th -
Books Direct *Spotlight
Natural Bri - Pursuits of Life *Review & Favorite Quotes
Bitches n Prose *Review

Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Release date: June 30th 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
When 15-year-old Carolyn moves from New Jersey to Alabama with her mother, she rattles the status quo of the junior class at Adams High School. A good student and natural athlete, she’s immediately welcomed by the school’s cliques. She’s even nominated to the homecoming court and begins dating a senior, Shane, whose on again/off again girlfriend Brooke becomes Carolyn’s bitter romantic rival. 

When a video of Carolyn and Shane making out is sent to everyone, Carolyn goes from golden girl to slut, as Brooke and her best friend Gemma try to restore their popularity. Gossip and bullying hound Carolyn, who becomes increasingly private and isolated. When Shane and Brooke—now back together—confront Carolyn in the student parking lot, injuring her, it’s the last attack she can take.

Sarah Bannan's deft use of the first person plural gives Weightless an emotional intensity and remarkable power that will send you flying through the pages and leave you reeling.

*Received physical ARC from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

Weightless has some serious issues that can't be written about enough. I was literally sick to my stomach throughout the book with the way these kids, and the adults, acted. Not only with the bullying, but there was also racial discrimination among other things that made me cringe. The whole time I was reading I kept thinking how vain and ignorant these people were. How ridiculous it was that they valued materialistic things and in their twisted and oblivious minds believed that it was okay to treat people like that. There aren't enough words on the planet to describe their shameless behavior, and the sad thing about it is that this is reality. Horrible things like this happens everyday. 

For Carolyn, her level of emotional and mental torture heightened by the day. When they weren't slut shaming the poor girl, they were physically putting her through hell. I wanted so badly for someone to stand up for her, for someone to try and help. Carolyn needed it. She was screaming loud and clear but no one offered. Outsiders were too busy feeding into the gossip and turning a blind eye. Even the narrator, which was never named, was caught up in the nonsense and whenever they'd witness something happening to Carolyn they never did anything. Yet they claimed they liked her and wanted to be her friend. They even blamed her for what others were doing to her, basically saying she caused it on herself.

Again, there are many deplorable things that happened in the story and that makes Weightless worth the read. The writing is great and I like how the author painted a clear picture of this small town setting and how these people lived. But my biggest issue was with the wordiness and often times I felt disconnected and had to stop reading for a while. But aside from that, this book is the epitome of real. The emotions were definitely there. I mean, if I began to express how aggravated these characters left me I'd probably give too much of the story away. 

All I can say is that Weightless is an intense read, and you should go in knowing that you won't like the narrator because even after what happened to Carolyn, they never held themselves accountable and you just might barf at how they simply went on with their lives, which again is realistic because sadly, that sort of thing happens. And I'm afraid that no matter what, bullying is something that will continue to plague society. The question is, will you be like the people in this book and do nothing, pretend to be oblivious and go on with your life? Or will you stand up and make a difference?

Sarah BannanAbout the Author
Sarah Bannan was born in 1978 in upstate New York. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2000 and then moved to Ireland, where she has lived ever since. She is the Head of Literature at the Irish Arts Council and lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker

Release date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

His obsession.
Her fall.

In this dark kissing book, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.

Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

Shannon M. ParkerAbout the Author
Shannon M. Parker has written some short stories and they’ve earned some awards, but she's happiest when writing novels. The Girl Who Fell is her debut. 

Shannon hangs out with the ladies at Sixteen to Read and do stuff for the The Sweet Sixteens, which means she's surrounded by a lot of talent.

Shannon also has a few degrees. From Saint Michael’s College, University of Massachusetts at Boston and University of Southern Maine. When she's not possessed by her characters, she helps at-risk families gain literacy and citizenship skills.

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