Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: Blind Side by K.B. Nelson

Release date: May 23rd 2016
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
I accept the part I played in the demise of my marriage. 

I accept the things I cannot change. 

I’m a cheater. I’m a whore. I’m an outcast in that place I left behind the second the first embers fizzled against the cracks of the night sky. 

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Anyone with the faintest understanding of decency would know this to be true. But it did happen this way. It went exactly like this, because maybe that’s the way things had to go. 

There was no way out, and just when I thought of pulling the proverbial trigger, he appeared to me. 
He was the student.
And I was his teacher.
And he saved me in every way I imagine one could ever be saved.
So, he became my teacher and I became his student as he taught me how to love again…

*Author approved request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Whew! Where do I begin. Maybe I should start off this review by saying if you're easily offended by student-teacher involvement or anything having to do with affairs, then be warned, Blind Side has this and more. However, that aside, if you still decide to give this one a read then you probably won't cringe at the situation when you get to understand the main character in particular. 

Stassi is dealing with a lot. A tragedy in the past, along with her husband's behavior, has left her internally bruised and struggling to stay afloat. She's not the sweet and innocent main character we often read about in books, because this isn't a fluffy story and Stassi is pretty flawed. A lot of misunderstandings circulated following that same tragedy and she has become somewhat scorned in her suffocating small town, which is why her attitude isn't always the best. Add the fact that she also wants for nothing more than to be done with her husband and find some solace in life but that's proven to be harder and harder as time slips by. Then she encounters the mysterious and off-limits Kemper.

I had an idea of who Kemper really was from the get-go, but I just couldn't understand his intentions at first. As the story progressed, I grew happy that he came into Stassi's life and that their relationship--no matter how wrong it was in the sight of many--helped her believe in love and herself again. 

The intensity between Stassi and Kemper felt so strong and so real. Throughout the story my heart bled for them. Like I was honestly able to look past the student/teacher thing and open my mind up to the two. They both seemed like such tortured souls, just that details about Stassi's situation was given more than anything regarding Kemper's. And while I'm happy that Stassi was able to come to a resolution in the end, I honestly wanted more for her and Kemper and wouldn't even mind if she made a different decision. Still, it's great that she can start again and try to move forward on a clean slate. And I hope the author will give us more about Kemper in another book. 

Overall, a fast-paced read with wonderful writing and heart-wrenching moments. I honestly didn't know what to expect going into Blind Side, but I'm definitely pleased with this story and all the feels it left with me. 

About the Author
K.B. Nelson grew up on a farm in Ohio, but that's not very interesting, is it? When he's not writing you can find him doing one of two things; getting lost on highways or getting lost in the lives of fictional characters. If his heart had two feet, one foot would be in romance and the other solidly in geekdom. K.B. hopes you'll all follow him on his journey through this carnival they call life. He promises there will be a happy ending.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn

Release date: June 7th 2016
Publisher: Forever
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
What do you do when your soul mate marries your best friend?

If you're Kate Evans, you keep your friend Rachel, bond with her kids, and bury your feelings for her husband. The fact that Shane's in the military and away for long periods helps-but when tragedy strikes, everything changes.

After Rachel, pregnant with her fourth child, dies in a car accident and the baby miraculously survives, Kate upends her entire life to share parenting duties. Then on the first anniversary of Rachel's death, Kate and Shane take comfort in each other in a night that they both soon regret.

Shane's been angry for a year, and now he feels guilty too - for sleeping with his wife's best friend and liking it . . . liking her. Kate's ability to read him like a book may have once sent Shane running, but their lives are forever entwined and they are growing closer.

Now with Shane deployed for seven months, Kate is on her own and struggling with being a single parent. Shane is loving and supportive from thousands of miles away, but his homecoming brings a betrayal Kate never saw coming. So Kate's only choice is to fight for the future she deserves - with or without Shane. . .

About the Author
Nicole Jacquelyn
Nicole Jacquelyn is the mom of two little girls and a full time college student. She hasn’t watched television in well over a year, she still does things that drive her mother crazy, and she loves to read. At eight years old, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she told people she wanted to be a mom. When she was twelve her answer changed- to author. By the time she was eighteen, when people asked her what she wanted to do with her life, she told them she really wanted to be a writer- but the odds of that happening were so slim that she’d get her business degree “just to be safe”. Her dreams stayed constant. First she became a mom, then she went to college, and during her senior year- with one daughter in first grade and the other in preschool, she sat down and wrote a story.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

Release date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
“Just let it go.”

That’s what everyone keeps telling Hadley St. Clair after she learns that her father cheated on her mother. But Hadley doesn’t want to let it go. She wants to be angry and she wants everyone in her life—her dad most of all—to leave her alone.

Sam Bennett and his family have had their share of drama too. Still reeling from a move to a new town and his parents’ recent divorce, Sam is hoping that he can coast through senior year and then move on to hassle-free, parent-free life in college. He isn’t looking for a relationship…that is, until he sees Hadley for the first time.

Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret that could ruin everything. Should he follow his heart or tell the truth?

*Publisher approved request on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had featured Suffer Love a few weeks ago as a way to depict my excitement for its release. After reading the blurb, I became intrigued and wanted to understand what had happened to these characters and the state of their families. Ashley did not disappoint; from fluid and superb writing, to a story that is both relatable and likable, Suffer Love turned out to be just what I was looking for.

You might say "what a small world", with the way these characters ended up living in the same town. Both families are connected in a not so flattering way, and it may seem too coincidental to some that Hadley and Sam ended up falling for each other, but I felt like these things happen in real life and it didn't seem too far-fetched to me. 

I actually liked Hadley and Sam being together in spite of the situation. I always say you can't pick who to love, it just happens. And they were both dealing with the aftermath of adultery and had developed trust issues, but the fact that they were still capable of developing such strong feelings for each other was rather sweet and admirable, in my opinion. And I liked that their love had somewhat healed their hearts. 

In regards to the characters, I loved Sam. Didn't like that he behaved in that way to distract himself, of that he kept that significant detail from Hadley, but I understood his intentions and how protective he was of his little sister. He was a smart guy with a lot of hurt, and I wanted to shake his mom for not being there for him after what she put her family through. 
As for Hadley, I felt a little detached from her and wasn't a fan of how she'd act in various situations. Like she'd behave as if she was the only one in pain or dealt a horrible hand in life, when other people were suffering too. Some of the things she'd say turned me off at times too. But honestly, throughout the story, I grew more of a understanding of her character and why she was the way she was. 

Ajay and Livy were also great additions to the story. Ajay, Sam's best friend, was a breath of fresh air and humor relief when things got too serious. As for the parents, I would have liked to learn more about Sam's mom and Hadley's father, the two people who caused the issues to begin with. The story started with life after the cheating came to light, but I would have still liked to know about the parents and why or how they ended up in that predicament. 

Again, Suffer Love is an intriguing novel with interesting characters coping in a sad but realistic situation. Ashley is a great writer and she delivered a really good debut. I'm definitely a fan now, and I cannot wait to read her next release. 

Ashley Herring BlakeAbout the Author
Ashley Herring Blake is a poet, teacher, and YA novelist. Her debut novel, SUFFER LOVE, follows two teens as they attempt to wade through an intense relationship complicated by their parents' infidelities. Ashley lives in Nashville, TN.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Review: Claire (Hard University #2) by Abigail Strom

Series: Hart University #2
Release date: April 26th 2016
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodeads:
It’s sophomore year, and Claire Stone has sworn off romance. She’s just gone through a breakup and she wants some time to find out who she is on her own. The only flaw in her plan is her friend (and hot quarterback) Will McKenna, who’s a walking temptation to forget all about her singlehood pledge.

Will has had a thing for Claire since freshman year. Now that they’re both single, he wants more from her than friendship. But Claire doesn’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend right now, and with football season underway, Will’s got issues of his own to deal with.

When an injury on the field changes everything, Will and Claire are driven apart. But when the two of them end up trapped together in a snowstorm, they’re forced to deal with each other again. Can they confront their feelings without ruining their friendship? Or will their friendship turn into something more?

*Author provided ecopy in exchange for an honest review.

In spite of my frustration with the two characters in the first book, I truly loved Rikki (see review) and was super elated when Abigail Strom gifted me a copy of the sequel. I don't remember Claire or Will from the previous book, but I did end up finding their story just as interesting if not as FRUSTRATING as well, and it felt like I was just introduced to their characters so I was able to develop a fresh understanding of who they were.

Again, Claire is as infuriating as Rikki, it's pretty much just another set of two complicated individuals denying their strong feelings and trying hard to convince themselves that they should lay off relationships and focus on their future. That's good and all, but when you feel that intensely for each other, there should be no reason to wait. No time is better than the present. 

In regards to how I feel about the characters, I did like them, but wasn't as connected as I was with Rikki and Sam. Claire came off as a headstrong girl and I liked that about her, but often times she'd contradict herself. Like how she came up with this silly idea about not dating when she knew very well she wanted to be with Will. And she even asked for something ridiculous as wanting to meet any girl he decided to date. Like why put yourself through that torture? Another thing that frustrated me about her was a slight bit of selfishness on her part. For instance, when Will went through a difficult situation, she was all concerned about him not talking to her above anyone else, when the guy was already having a rough time trying to figure out his next step. It was still nice of her to take it upon herself to give him an "intervention" when times got tough, but sometimes I just couldn't figure her out.

As for Will, I liked him. But in a way I wanted more from his character. It's almost like there wasn't enough of him whenever it was his POV, like I wanted to be in his head space more and try to connect deeper. Still, he was a good guy that had dealt a terrible blow and I'l love to see what happens with his future, should he make a reappearance in the third book. 

Overall, an enjoyable story with complex characters that in a sense reflect new adults in college. I can relate to some things, and I'm sure other readers will if they give this series a chance. Looking forward to the next book, Abigail!

About the Author
Abigail Strom
Abigail Strom started writing stories at the age of seven and has never been able to stop. On her way to becoming a full-time writer she earned a BA in English from Cornell University as well as an MFA in Dance from the University of Hawaii, and held a wide variety of jobs from dance teacher and choreographer to human resource manager.

Now she works in her pajamas and lives in New England with her family, who are incredibly supportive of the hours she spends hunched over her computer. When she needs a break from writing she watches episodes of Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Monty Python with her husband and son, and talks to her cats in a British accent.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BLOG TOUR~Curse of the Moon by Beth Trissel

The blog tour for the second book in Beth Trissel's YA Fantasy series has ended.

Series: The Secret Warrior #2
Release date: May 4th 2016
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch--without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? 

But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch's bidding to save him. 

Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?

About the Author

Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles, and nonfiction about gardening, herbal lore, and country life.

NOTE: Please do not post negative reviews that are hurtful to the author and affects the tour. Post a spotlight instead, or send me an email if you'd like to withdraw from the tour. Thank you for understanding. 

May 16th -

May 17th -

May 18th -
feedmeinbooks *Review
Kindle and Me *Review
Kimber Leigh Writes *Guest Post
Natural Bri *Spotlight

May 19th -
Deal Sharing Aunt *Spotlight
YA Book Divas *Interview

May 20th -
Wishful Endings *Guest Post

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

Release date: June 7th 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world--letters he never intends to send--he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

Kenneth Logan
About the Author
Kenneth Logan would prefer to forget his own high school experiences, so it’s anyone’s guess why he chose to (1) teach high school English and (2) write a novel about seventeen-year-olds. He wrote his book at a colleague’s suggestion: “This is the book you should write.” He’s in a doctoral program at New York University, where he studies language and literacy development. He lives in Brooklyn but enjoys escaping on outdoor adventures, especially in Vermont.

Kenneth’s debut novel, TRUE LETTERS FROM A FICTIONAL LIFE (Harper-Collins, Spring 2016), is a Young Adult Contemporary. A seventeen-year-old boy meets and falls for his first boyfriend. As their relationship deepens, he must decide whether to stay in the closet and remain quiet, safe, and sad, or find the courage to admit who he truly is to his rural hometown and to himself.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Behind the Pages #24: Katherine Fleet's Secret to Letting Go

It's always a pleasure having authors on the blog to share not only about their novels and what brought about the stories, but also what led them on the path to becoming writers. 
Katherine Fleet is the latest in the Behind the Pages series, and I'm excited that she wanted to do an interview for IFB because I really liked her debut novel. Check out the interview below and enter to win awesome prizes!

What/who inspired you to become a writer?

This may sound odd, but love stories inspired me to write. When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, I was obsessed with love stories – romances, historical romances, teenage romances. I loved a good love story. Often when reading a book, I’d imagine my own versions, sequels or alternative endings. When I was in my early 30s, I finally realized that I just had to try writing my own story, instead of constantly trying to change someone else’s!

What was the transition like, moving to Curacao from Canada? 

Great question! I’d always wanted to live in a different country, but after we had kids, I thought that dream was over. I figured we were too “tied down”. Ironically, it was my kids that made the transition easier. They are so adaptable, especially when they’re young, and they make you join in the local community. They make friends, go to activities, and drag you along with them. They don’t give you time to sit in your house and feel homesick. Still, it wasn’t all easy. There were times in the beginning when we wondered what the heck we’d done, but I’m so glad we stuck it out. We’ve lived here almost nine years, and I’m so thankful for this experience. I love that my kids see the world as a much smaller place now and are so open to new and different experiences. 

How has life on the island impacted your writing?

The biggest impact is the time I have to write. Back in Canada, I had a demanding, full-time career. Since moving to Curacao, I have time to write, and believe me, I know how lucky I am in this respect. I’ve also had the time and resources to travel, which is amazing. Travelling inspires my creativity. The only downside is being so far removed from other writers. Fortunately, I have great online friends in the writing community.

Where did you get the idea for your debut novel, The Secret to Letting Go?

I know this sounds cliché, but I had a dream that became the first scene of the book. When I woke up, Clover’s character was so clear to me – an eccentric, innocent girl with quiet strength who’d clearly been through something traumatic. This dream was probably inspired by an interview I’d watched a few days earlier – an interview Diane Sawyer did with Jaycee Dugard, a young woman who’d been kidnapped at the age of 11 and held against her will for 18 years. I was so taken by her grace and positivity in the face of the unimaginable. I kept thinking about her, and she probably influenced the quiet strength I created in Clover.

Did you do any research on the situation that Clover was living in?

In a way, I’ve been researching it for years. I’ve always been drawn to survival stories. I’m not sure why, but I’m always reading and watching accounts from people who have survived various traumatic situations, and their stories normally stick with me. I try to put myself in their shoes and imagine how I would have handled their situations. My husband often asks me why I get so emotional over people I don’t even know, but I can’t help getting drawn in. While Clover’s situation is extreme, I felt like I drew from all of this when I was telling her story. 

How challenging was it to create a character like Clover, someone who has been through abuse and how it affected her life onward? 

As I mentioned above, Clover came to me fully formed, just begging to have her story told. The only thing I didn’t know was exactly what she’d run from. I played with several backstories for Clover before I found one that fit the plot I’d developed. Before the book released, I did wonder what my friends and family would think when they read it – would they wonder how I’d come up with her dark and violent past? When my mom and dad read it for the first time, they definitely wondered where their seemingly well-adjusted, happy daughter got her ideas from! 

How long did it take you to write the story?

This book had an unusually long time frame. Unfortunately, I’d just started writing when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because of chemotherapy, it took almost nine months before I was emotionally and physically ready to write again. So, the book took eighteen months in total to finish. 

What would you like for readers to take from these characters or even from the story?

First, I’d like to say that I didn’t write this novel with a particular message in mind. I wrote this book because I had these characters in my head and I needed to tell their story. Having said that, as much as this story is about surviving loss and still learning to live, I’d also like to think it’s about compassion, forgiveness, kindness and hope. I’ve been fortunate enough to have people who’ve reached out to me right when I needed it, just when things seemed bleak and overwhelming. They probably weren’t even aware of the impact they had on my life in that moment. So, I think we could all benefit from being a little more like Clover J

What are you working on next? Could you share a little?

I’ve just finished a YA set in South Carolina in 1962. It’s about a young New York socialite who falls in love with a boy from the wrong side of town and is struggling with family secrets and tragedy of her own. I’m hoping my agent will be going out on submission with it soon!

Thank you for taking the time. Please leave any tips you might have for aspiring writers.

Thanks, Shane. I’ve loved answering these questions and I do have a couple tips. First, don’t be disappointed if your first book is not published. Writing, like any other art form, gets better with practice. Take some writing classes, share your writing with critique partners, and your writing will keep improving. Also, for me, I only became serious about writing when I started to tell people I was a writer. Telling people made me accountable and helped motivate me during the tough times. Finally, find people who will support and encourage your writing goals. It may be your family, friends, a critique partner or an online writing community. You may need to put yourself out there to find them, but the reward will be worth it!

More About Katherine Fleet
Originally from Newfoundland, Katherine Fleet gave up the cold winters of Eastern Canada for the year round warmth of the Caribbean. The slower pace of island life has given her time to pursue a long-time goal—becoming an author. When she’s not writing, she spends her time baking, chauffeuring her three amazing, talented kids around, and having sun-filled adventures with her husband and wonderful friends in Curaçao. She is also a very thankful breast cancer survivor. In 2007, she joined RWA and has enjoyed the support and camaraderie of the YARWA and OIRWA writing communities. She’s participated in NaNoWriMo since 2012 and is an active supporter of the associated Young Writers Program. She is represented by super-agent Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency. The Secret to Letting Go is her debut novel. 

26877648The Secret to Letting Go is available now
Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she’s hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble.

Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life’s story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her parents, she must make a choice: go to jail or confess her secrets—even if they might destroy her chance at a happily-ever-after.

Open to US & Canada

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