Cover Reveal: After Us (Before & After series, #2) by Amber Hart

I'm bringing you an awesome cover reveal today. After Us by Amber Hart is the second book in her Before & After Series. I'm really excited about this new series and I can't wait to read it.

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Expected publication: December 30th 2014 by K-Teen

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Sometimes secrets kill. Maybe slowly, maybe painfully. Maybe all at once.

Melissa smiles. She flirts. She jokes. But she never shows her scars. Eight months after tragedy ripped her from her closest friend, Melissa is broken. Plagued by grief, rage, and the painful memory of a single forbidden kiss.

Javier has scars of his own. Life in the States was supposed to be a new beginning, but a boy obsessed by vengeance has no time for the American dream. To honor his familia, Javier joins the gang who set up his cousin, Diego. The entrance price is blood. Death is the only escape.

Two broken souls could make each other whole again—or be shattered forever.

Our time will come. And we’ll be ready.

About The Author:

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, UNTIL YOU FIND ME, and sequel to UNTIL YOU FIND ME (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House.

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Book #1 in the Before & After Series:
Expected publication: July 29th 2014 by Kensington
Synopsis:

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.

Also recently announced is the third book in this edgy series, Maybe Me (Before & After series, #3) by Amber Hart, coming Fall 2015.
Synopsis for Maybe Me:

A sliver of a second is all it takes.

Maria Reyes knows what it means to come from nothing. Escaping Cuba, the States have given Maria new dreams. Like graduating high school. Going to college. Making something of herself. Forgetting a past that always seems to creep up on her family. But mostly, staying out of trouble. Which is why falling for Hale is out of the question.

An unguarded moment, a simple mistake.

Hale Watson is a flash of a second away from being locked up for good. With a rap sheet longer than the list of homes he comes from, Hale has one more shot at making things right. Graduate senior year. Don’t mess up. Don’t get caught. That’s the plan. Until he meets Maria.

And everything changes
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Book Blitz: More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs



More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Chasing the Dream #1
Release date: June 17th 2014
Purchase: Amazon | iBooks

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Music major Maddie Taylor seems to have her life all figured out. She’s just finished her junior year of college, has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, and plans to go to grad school to write movie scores. Only her roommates know she practices guitar every night and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars.

Tattooed singer Jared Cross has a new girl every week, but when he catches Maddie playing one of his songs, she attracts his attention in an unexpected way. His band needs a fourth member for The Sound, a reality TV show competition—and he wants her. Though Maddie refuses to be another notch on Jared’s bedpost, she agrees to risk everything for the chance to be a rock star.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared behind his flirty smile, and with each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore. When the show pressures Jared to flaunt his player image, they’re forced to keep their relationship secret, but Maddie can’t help but want something real.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

More than Music – Elizabeth Briggs
Guest Post:

With a book called More Than Music, it’s obvious that music will be pretty important to the story – and not just because the characters play songs on a reality TV show. Maddie and Jared bond over their shared love of rock music, and at one point Maddie realizes: “Jared was the first guy who truly got me, who understood that music coursed through my blood and crept into every single thought – because he was exactly the same way.”

In More Than Music, Maddie and Jared go on a show called The Sound, which is a lot like The Voice but with bands instead of individual singers. Two of the songs they perform on the show are "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers and "Uprising" by Muse. I love the guitar in both these songs and thought they would be fun for Maddie to play, plus they have great vocals I can imagine Jared belting out.

When not on the show, Maddie and Jared also play songs for fun in their spare time. One of these is "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones, which they practice together in his hotel room, while he's trying to show her how to loosen up on stage. I chose this song because it's a punk classic that is easy to play but also really fun. In fact, I like to use it as a warm-up when I play guitar. Hey! Ho! Let's Go!

Jared also likes to sing to Maddie, and at one point sings "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" by My Chemical Romance to cheer her up before their audition on The Sound. This song then becomes a running theme for them throughout the entire book.

Another song that Jared sings to Maddie is “Stay” by Rihanna, which leads to things getting a bit steamy...because what girl wouldn't melt hearing a guy sing this to her? I was actually inspired by the cover of “Stay” by Thirty Seconds To Mars, along with their version of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance.” That song starts out as something that Jared and Maddie sing together for fun and later becomes pretty important in the book. I knew I had to use this song after hearing Jared Leto sing, "I don't want to be friends."

So now when you read certain scenes in the book you can also listen to those songs and watch those videos for the full experience!



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I like that this book has a lot of music in it, and I just love this playlist. Muse and Thirty Seconds to Mars are my favorites. I could listen to Jared Leto singing all night long. That boy is yummy and has a killer voice. (And I don't feel weird calling him yummy because he's only 3 years younger than me.)

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Waiting On Wednesday (136) Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday is my absolute favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: September 9th 2014 by Harper Teen

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

I first saw this book when it popped up on Edelweiss. Katie McGarry and Trish Doller both approve this book, so I'm hoping it will be awesome. Summer of 2012 had a lot of military theme books that I enjoyed, so of course I added this to my tbr.

What are you waiting on this week?
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Review: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Fan ArtFan Art by Sarah Tregay

Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Page Count: 368
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When the picture tells the story…

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.

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I loved this book so much that I don't even know what to talk about first. Have you ever read a book that was so enjoyable that you didn't want it to end? That's how I felt about Fan Art. It was such an ADORABLE story that was thoroughly entertaining.

I loved everything about Jamie. He was beyond cute and adorable, and just so confused. Jamie is gay and is out at home, but not at school, and definitely not to his best friend, Mason. Jamie had to hide the huge crush that he was developing on Mason because he was terrified what the truth will do to their friendship. Jamie was a little clueless and quite naive at times, and he really tried my patience more than once because I wanted him to have the confidence to admit how he was feeling. But I still found myself laughing and groaning and tearing up just a bit as Jamie struggled with coming out to Mason.

Jamie had the best parents ever! They were so supportive and encouraged him to be himself. His step father even threw him a coming out party! How cool and utterly awkward is that? And just wait until you read about how he acted around his 2 little sisters. The cuteness might just make you swoon! Jamie also had the best guy and girl friends that anyone could ask for. They were always ready to lend an ear and offer advice, even if Jamie wasn't ready to hear what they had to say. You could tell they really just wanted him to be happy. Of course, what would high school be without a bully? Jamie attracted the attention of one of the meanest homophobes in school who finds joy in going out of his way to make Jamie's life hell.

One aspect that I really liked was Jamie working on the school's literary magazine. Because he had a hand in choosing the content, we got to see the students' poems that were submitted, which I especially enjoyed. I also really liked the short story fan art that turned out to be so controversial and spurred Jamie into wanting to take action.

I thought the romance was so worth waiting for. Jamie and Mason had been friends for years. They were so comfortable with each other and it was nice to see how well they got along. I could never tell if Mason somehow knew Jamie's secret all along, so it kept me guessing as to how and when things would progress between them.

My goodness, the cuteness factor in this book is off the charts! I adored Jamie and Mason because they were SO easy to like. I loved the complexity of their relationship, and how the underlying tension between them made things so awkward at times. Their story was light and heartwarming, a bit cliché at times, but still very entertaining. I was satisfied with the way the story played out, and even though it was a bit predictable at times, I still loved every second of it! No doubt this book will leave you all warm and fuzzy inside with a big smile on your face. At least it did me!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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Review: Love Me Back by Michelle Lynn

Love Me BackLove Me Back by Michelle Lynn

Publication Date: July 8, 2013
Page Count: 362
Source: purchased from Amazon
Genre: New Adult
18+ due to adult language and situations

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Growing up in small-town Belcrest, Maddy Jennings always thought she was destined to be with her childhood sweetheart, Trent Basso. Throughout the complicated road she has traveled with Trent, someone else has had a strong presence in Maddy's life. Trent’s older brother Gabe has always been someone she could count on, therefore neither of them can be blamed when lines blur from friendship to something more. However, promises made between brothers threaten to ensure that neither of them will have a permanent place in her life.

When Maddy returns to her hometown for her brother’s wedding, she is forced to face both Trent and Gabe for the first time in two years. While the two Basso brothers fight to win her heart, she is busy struggling with a past that won't seem to let her go. Whether she wants to or not, Maddy must decide to either forfeit her own happiness or forever tear a family apart.

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Love Me Back was just an alright read for me. I didn't love it, but I didn't completely hate it either. While reading, I was all over the place with my emotions. Now I'm somewhere in the middle and feeling a bit 'meh' about it. There were some aspects that I enjoyed, and some things that drove me absolutely nuts.

Maddy was such a weak character. She LET things happen to her rather than take charge of her own life. Gabe and Trent had so much influence over every aspect of her life. I just wanted her to stand up for herself and stop having her life dictated by these 2 men. They weren't all that great, and neither deserved to be put up on a pedestal by her. Trent was so familiar to her that it was difficult for her to break ties with him, even though he treated her badly. Gabe was her rock when things went south with Trent, and she grew to depend on him.

Trent and Gabe were both very possessive of Maddy. The little pissing contests between the brothers grew extremely tiresome. I also had my fill of the brothers wanting Maddy to choose one of them. Like that was the only viable option for her. I really wanted Maddy to pull a Kelly from 90210 and say 'I choose ME!" That would have pleased me immensely. Especially because she was causing so much turmoil between the brothers. Aren't there any other men out there in the world that she could have been with? Just sayin'.

Trent had absolutely no redeeming qualities. I honestly don't know how his own mother could stand up for him after some of the things he did.

I thought Gabe was an alright character. I didn't like that he was a bit overbearing at times, and he had a sense of entitlement that I didn't understand.

I loved the friendship between Maddy and Trent when they were younger. Maddy's home life wasn't the greatest, and Trent's entire family was quick to take her in and treat Maddy like one of their own. Maddy and Trent progressed to girlfriend / boyfriend, and both thought they would be together forever. But when Trent breaks up with her before leaving for college, everyone knows he just wants to sleep around guilt free. Trent takes advantage of the fact that Maddy is loyal to him, even though they aren't together anymore. He knows she isn't the type to sleep around, and she always ends up taking him back. But time and distance take their toll on their relationship, and they are no longer as close as they once were. Maddy can (finally!) see Trent's flaws and see that Gabe is always there to pick her up. She and Gabe didn't mean to be attracted to each other, but when Trent finds out about them, Gabe promises that he will stay away from Maddy as long as Trent promises to do the same. Cue lots of drama and angst. Insert eye roll.

The timeline switched from past to present with each new chapter, which became a bit confusing. Maddy and Trent's relationship was so on-again, off-again that I had a difficult time remembering if they were together or apart with every chapter. I wish this aspect of the story had been more streamlined because it took until the end of the book for the full picture to come together.

Last, but certainly not the least, is my problem with the writing. It didn't have good flow at all. Every spoken word is grammatically correct without any slang, or even any contractions. AT ALL. It was almost painful at times, and it pulled me right out of the story so many freaking times.

Overall, this turned out to be just an okay read. It was overloaded with angst and drama. I liked the premise of this book, and it had a lot of potential, but I thought the execution was lacking.

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
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Review: Nantucket Red (Nantucket #2) by Leila Howland

Nantucket Red (Nantucket, #2)Nantucket Red (Nantucket #2) by Leila Howland

Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Page Count: 288
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cricket Thompson's lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she's headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years.

When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated. It's hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy.

But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn't just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she's been trying to ignore-her own heart.

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Nantucket Red picked right up where Nantucket Blue left off. The storyline progressed through Cricket's entire senior year at a rapid pace to get to the events that lead up to another summer spent on Nantucket. I knew from the synopsis that things were going to change for Cricket and Zack. After all of the upheaval and turmoil of the previous summer, I thought things were looking up for them. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about their breakup, but I was ready to roll with the changes and see how the summer went.

Cricket returns to Nantucket for the summer to make money to help pay for college. She immediately gets back together with her friend Liz, a character who's honesty and personality I really enjoy. Jules was there too, of course, and she and Cricket were still working on mending their friendship. Cricket and Jules often ended up running into and/or hanging out with Zack and his new girlfriend. It hurt Cricket to think that Zack moved on from her so easily, and she tried to be understanding, but it was hard when Zack's new girlfriend is Cricket's enemy. I didn't like the way things went bad between Cricket and Zack. A lot of it had to do with immaturity, but it was still so hard to read about.

Believing that she was getting over Zack, Cricket started hanging out with Ben, the bartender at the restaurant where she works. Ben was older and had also been through a bad breakup recently. Even though Cricket and Ben really hit it off, Cricket came to realize that she wasn't as over Zack as she thought. Cricket did a lot of growing up over the summer, and she learned a lot about herself. She also came to understand that she needed to do what was right for her, and not have to live up to everyone else's expectations.

I found Nantucket Red to be just as entertaining as the first book. Cricket's entire future was up in the air for most of the summer, but I like how the story eventually played out. The focus wasn't entirely on romance - friendship played an important part in the story, as did the beginning of Cricket's transition into adulthood.

Overall, Nantucket Red was a really great read. I loved the characters, the plot, and especially the setting. I also enjoyed the author's descriptive writing style. If you read and enjoyed Nantucket Blue, then you should definitely pick up Nantucket Red. I think you'll like it just as much as I did.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Waiting On Wednesday (135) Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday is my absolute favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: November 4th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

I loved the first book in this series, The Naturals. I'm so excited because I just got approved for this on Net Galley. I can't wait to read it!

What are you waiting on this week?
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Top Ten Tuesday (22) Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List


Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

I just realized I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday since my Summer TBR last year! That's crazy. I have soooo many books that I want to read, I could go on for days about them. So this is my attempt at narrowing it down to just 10 books (or 9 books and 1 novella!) Okay, here we go.

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List:

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A tomboy and the boy next door. This just sounds too adorable to pass up. I added this as soon as I finished reading The Distance Between Us, which was totally awesome by the way.

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This author's books are sort of a hit or miss for me. I'm still willing to give this one a chance because it sounds good.

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Ryder and Jemma. Romeo and Juliet. Except the families love each other, and Ryder and Jemma can't stand each other. I can't wait to read this!

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Another author that I always read.

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Summertime in the Hamptons and a case of mistaken identity. Sounds like a great summer read.

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I love this series! I hope the mystery surrounding the visions is cleared up.

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I added this book to my Goodreads tbr list on February 18, 2011. Seriously. That's a long wait! Come on already. Sheesh.

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Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5) by Maggie Stiefvater
I have to admit that I hated the way the original The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy ended (cop out!) but I am still interested in reading this.

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I've been dying to read this, but I haven't yet because I'm afraid I'll be disappointed! But now that I have Just One Night to read also, maybe it won't be so bad.

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Review: Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives, #1)Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols

Publication Date: May 20, 2014
Page Count: 336
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

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This was another really cute and enjoyable book by Jennifer Echols. It was quick and easy to read, with entertaining characters and a realistic plot.

It took me a while to warm up to Tia. She was a chronic underachiever and definitely not your average protagonist. I really didn't like her at first, but I was interested in finding out why she acted the way she did. Also, she reminded me of another of Echols' characters, Meg from Going Too Far. (If you haven't read Going Too Far yet, you should just so you can experience John After, who I think is totally adorable and awesome!) Tia was leery of relationships and opening herself up to heartbreak and disappointment after seeing what love did to her 3 older sisters. She made really bad decisions based on what she believed was right, even though she was wrong most of the time. I could totally see where she was coming from and why she did the things she did, even if I didn't always agree with her.

Will was a complete doll. Who wouldn't fall in love with him? Gah. He and Tia seemed like complete opposites - he thrived on responsibility and commitment while she avoided it at all costs. He seemed a little uptight and straightlaced at first, but he quickly drew me in. As the new guy in school, he was definitely out of his element, but I liked how hard he tried to adjust to his new life. He seemed like the typical teenage boy, and he had his own set of problems, but he wasn't afraid to put himself out there. He came off as genuine, and he had a big heart and was easy to be around. He's not 'perfect', but he IS realistic, and I liked him so much because of it.

Tia and Will had undeniable chemistry from their very first meeting. I thought they were really cute together and I loved their witty banter and deep conversations. Their relationship could totally work if Tia could get over her fears, and Will could get over his expectations. Better communication between them would have caused fewer problems and less disappointment.

As much as I adored Will, I must admit to having a huge (HUGE!) crush on Sawyer. Oh my, that boy was just too much. Wannabe bad boy, but underneath he had fears of being rejected. He made some really bad choices and had questionable behavior at times, but I think he was just trying to cope with his crappy home life the only way he knew how. I'm super duper excited and I can't wait to read more about him in book 3!!!!!!!!

Biggest Flirts has the typical drama and angst that goes along with teenagers and relationships, but it does manage to go deeper by addressing the characters' family issues. Overall, this was an awesome read that is just perfect for summer! I definitely recommend for older teens due to language, sex, and drug use. Jennifer Echols is a favorite of mine, and I can't wait to read the rest of this series.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Waiting On Wednesday (134) No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown @JayeRobinBrown

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday is my absolute favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: December 9th 2014 by Harper Teen

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

A contemporary about love, relationships, and music? Count me in! Aaaaand, on a shallow note, I love the cover. This one doesn't come out until December, but you know I have an arc that I'm dying to read!

What are you waiting on this week? PLEASE pretty please leave a link to your WoW post so I can return the visit.
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Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

The Last Best KissThe Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Page Count: 384
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Jane Austen comes to modern-day Los Angeles in Claire LaZebnik's imaginative take on Persuasion, where seventeen-year-old Anna Eliot finds out whether there's such a thing as a second chance when it comes to first love. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, Elizabeth Eulberg, Stephanie Perkins, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic contemporary tale.

Anna is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook. Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life—and he wants nothing to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn't care about Finn either, but even though they've both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he's the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too . .

 photo picadillypink.png So you may be able to tell by my blog name, but Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel. I love the idea of couples reconnecting and getting a second chance, especially after misunderstanding and miscommunication occurs to drive them apart. So The Last Best Kiss was an automatic read for me. I thought it was really sweet, easy to read, and I definitely enjoyed it.

I really liked Anna. She didn't handle things with Finn very well when she was younger, but she realized what a huge mistake she made and how she hurt Finn's feelings when she rejected him. Anna regretted treating Finn so badly, and she wanted to make it up to him. When Finn moved back to town Anna thought she would have a chance to make up with him, but he was distant and cold. I could really feel for Anna every time Finn ignored her or flirted with someone else. But at the same time, I could understand why Finn was hesitant to give Anna a second chance. Anna wants forgiveness from Finn, but she also wants him to be happy - even if it's not with her. I loved the growth and maturity that Anna showed throughout this book. Now Anna wonders if Finn does forgive her, will things ever be the same between them? Or are they destined to remain apart and divided by time and circumstance?

Finn was such a likable character. He had a great combination of nerdy and swoony that made him so enjoyable. The older Finn is much improved, he has confidence now that he didn't have before. He's cuter than ever and the girls take notice! Finn sees no reason to pick things back up with Anna, and instead moves on to a ridiculous relationship with Anna's friend, Lily. He acted indifferent towards Anna because of his anger, and I'm glad he made Anna work for his forgiveness instead of giving in to her like you know he wanted to do.

The plot of The Last Best Kiss follows along the same basic lines as Persuasion. Anna's family was every bit as self-centered and selfish as they were in Persuasion. Annoying to the point that they weren't likable at all! I did really enjoy the way Anna's art was involved in the storyline, and I liked that Finn was able to 'see' Anna in her art.

With many modern day retellings, some aspects work with the current times, and some don't. This book was no exception, but most of the themes translated very well. Overall, this was a very cute book and definitely worth reading if you enjoy romantic contemporaries, and especially for fans of Persuasion.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Excerpt and Giveaway - My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter



My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter
Release date: June 3rd 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Colette has been bored and lonely ever since her best friend, Sadie, dumped her the summer before they stared high school. She tries to be perfect for everyone left in her life: her parents, her younger brothers, her church youth group, even her boyfriend, Mark. But Colette is restless. And she misses Sadie.

When Sadie tells Colette that she needs her old friend to join her on a family vacation to the Greek Islands, one that leaves in only a few days, Colette is shocked to hear their old magic word: need. And she finds herself agreeing.

Colette tries to relax and enjoy her Grecian surroundings but it’s not easy to go on vacation with the person who hurt you most in the world. When the reason for the trip finally surfaces, Colette finds out this is not only a fun vacation. Sadie has kept an enormous secret from Colette for years...forever. It’s a summer full of surprises, but that might be what Colette needs.

Excerpt:

   Dad pulls up to the curb outside the international terminal.
   When he looks at me, his eyes aren’t so wild anymore. They almost look sad. “You ready?”
   “What’s going on, Dad?” I ask. It hits me that he somehow snuck me out of the house and now he’s ready to push me onto an airplane to some distant island, but he still hasn’t said anything real.
   He shrugs. “Mom’s not always right,” he says.
   But she is.
   His eyes fall to his lap. “Neither am I,” he says. “Call your mother. Say good-bye.”
   My hands shake as I finally turn on my phone.
   She answers before the first ring. “Don’t get on that airplane, Colette,” she says, “Know that I don’t approve of this.”
   “You know?” I ask.
   “Your father left a note. Colette...” She trials off. “You heard me tell you not to go, right?”
   “Yes,” I say.
   “Well if you go anyway, be safe. Protect your body and your soul. I changed your phone plan so you can only call home, okay? It’s too expensive for you to call Louisa and Mark willy-nilly.” Mark. “But call when you arrive, okay? So we don’t have to worry.”
   “Okay,” I say.
   My hands aren’t shaking anymore. I’m relieved to hear her sound like any-old-mom.
   “And, honey?” she says. She says it so softly I think she’s going to tell me to have a nice time. Or that she loves me.
   “Yeah?”
   “I hope you understand what a terrible choice you’re making.”
   She hangs up.
   I stare at the phone in my palm.
   “She okay?” Dad says finally.
   I shrug.
   We get out of the car and I spot Sadie and her family climbing out of a limo curbed fifty feet away. She jumps up and down as soon as she sees me, her now purple-and-blond hair waving across her face. I can’t help smiling. I can see her mouth moving even from here. “You came! You came!”
   I give my dad a quick hug, pull out my suitcase, yank up the handle of my rolly bag, and take my first step as the new, imperfect Coley.
   “Colette?” Dad says.
   I turn around, ready for him to sit me back in the car, to tell me this was all a test that I failed. Instead he holds out his hand and shoves a stack of bills into my fist. “For whatever you need, little lady. Have fun. I—we. We love you.”
   Then he’s gone.
   “Coley!” Sadie is running toward me so quickly that I only have a second to open my phone and click on my good-morning text from Mark.
   “One more day! I love you!” the message says.
   My heart beats faster and salt water threatens to escape from behind my eyeballs and I know he deserves so much better than this, so much more explanation, so much more of me. And me, too. I know I deserve a better good-bye than I’m going to be able to give him. But I only have ten seconds before she reaches me, before it’s time, before the bell rings on my perfect life and I dive into the drama with Sadie.
   I type the seven letters i-m s-o-r-r-y. Then I press Send.
   Here we go.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Caela Carter grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ and Baltimore, MD. She's been writing since she learned how to pick up a pen but before the writing thing got serious she spent six years teaching English to middle and high school students in Jacksonville, FL and Chicago, IL. Her debut novel, ME, HIM, THEM AND IT was published in 2013 by Bloomsbury. When she's not writing, Caela is a teacher of some awesome teens in Brooklyn, a Notre Dame football enthusiast, and a happy explorer in New York City.

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Waiting On Wednesday (133) Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday is my absolute favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: October 14th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back-but that's assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane's arrival was far from accidental, and she's pulled into the heart of a war she's risked everything to avoid.

In her enthralling debut, R.C. Lewis weaves the tale of a princess on the run from painful secrets . . . and a poisonous queen. With the galaxy's future-and her own-in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

A retelling of the Snow White fairytale? Count me in! I just got approved for this on NetGalley, so I can't wait to read it!

What are you waiting on this week? PLEASE be sure to leave a link to your WoW post so I can return the visit. This means YOU!
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Happy Release Day - 21 Days (Time for Love #2) by Bethany Lopez

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Title: 21 Days
Series: Time for Love #2
Author: Bethany Lopez
Publication Date: June 2, 2014


Synopsis:

Sasha and TJ are no strangers to enjoying sex with no strings attached, so when they decide to act on their mutual attraction, there should be no reason why they can’t apply that same philosophy to each other.

Money has never been an issue for Sasha, which made proving herself as a real estate dynamo a personal challenge she was determined to conquer. Raised in a gilded world masking neglect and disappointment, she learned not to depend on anyone, especially when it comes to love and relationships. Men are great for companionship, but she isn’t looking for anything serious.

Used to going without, TJ has worked hard to be able to support himself. When he loses his job and his home in one fell swoop, he faces relying on others for the first time in his adult life. Then Sasha steps in, offering him a place to stay until he’s back on his feet. He grudgingly agrees, but vows to be out of her guest room within 21 days.

They'll discover that a lot can change in 21 days, especially when they decide to give the idea of "friends with benefits" a try. As each day passes, Sasha and TJ become closer than they’ve ever been. Will they be able to go back to being just friends when their days together are up, or will they allow their personal hang-ups to get in the way of what they really cherish most?

About Bethany Lopez: Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. Since then she has published various YA and NA books. She is a lover of romance, family, and friends, and enjoys incorporating those things in what she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible.

First Book in the Series:


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May Recap and June TBR

I had a very good month of May and read some really great books. As usual though, I am terrible at keeping track of my challenges! Except for my Goodreads challenge which is so easy! And I'm 3 books ahead for the year. Yay me! I have another month of books lined up that I can't wait to read.

Read in May:

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 photo BiggestFlirts_zps9f735403.jpg photo TheRulesForBreaking_zps46bc06dd.jpg photo FFcover3_zpsd601a427.jpg

 photo Blindness_zps964fab62.jpg photo Collaboration_zps4426e01e.jpg



Total Pages Read: 2340

June TBR:

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