Book Review: The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson

A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest.
All collide at night’s darkest hour.
Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.
When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she's drawn to him. But Violet isn't Thomas's only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn't been out of compassion.
Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.

Release Date: March 11, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed by: Madi B

If this book was a movie on Netflix, it would be a drama. I’ve never seen a soap opera, (At least I don’t think so) but I feel like this is pretty dang close. And I loved it.  I generally hate war books but this Civil war love story??? AWWW HECK YES! (Southern girl + wounded Union soldier= a happy Madi B) And some beautiful cover art as well…(Go ahead, scroll up to get a better look) But I do have some small things that bugged me…

1.      I felt like it took too long to find Thomas. (Page 150 to be exact. I had it bookmarked.) I would have liked it a tad sped up

2.      I thought there were too many under-developed characters at the end. I was all “Wait who is this???”

3.      Some parts (ok only like two parts at the end) were a tad rushed. I was thinking “Whoa what just happened?” and had to backtrack. (This may be due to my tendency to speed through books)

But some elements I LOVED were…

1.     The love story. It makes me want to wander in the woods just in case there’s another Thomas hiding…
2.  The voodoo. I liked the mysterious element it added to the story.
3.     Seeley. He was so adorable! I just wanted to pinch his little cheeks off!!!
4.    I liked how Violet wasn’t a pushover. She’s witty, quick on her feet, and still down-to-earth.
5.    I liked watching her relationship with her stepsister and her stepmother. I’m not elaborating because I MUST NOT SPOIL!
This was such a good book! It sucked me in and it make me want to go back to the olden days. (That’s saying a lot because leaving behind present day would require leaving behind wifi…) The atmosphere of the setting was so much better than the atmosphere of most books set in the south. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read! I have about a zillion (Yes. Zillion. That’s the technical term) pages bookmarked. (pssst that’s a REALLY good sign) I Can’t wait to read more from this author!!!

Book Review: Just Destiny by Theresa Rizzo

What would you do if your whole world fell apart?

Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins.

Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny, but he has reservations and secrets of his own.

When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?
Release Date: March 31, 2014
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kelli
I loved Theresa Rizzo's first book, He Belongs to Me, and really didn't think I could love Just Destiny any more, but I did.  I found this book completely impossible to put down.

What I love about Rizzo's writing is that her premises are so believable.  While reading Just Destiny, I kept having the feeling that Jenny's tragedy could happen to me, or anyone else I know.  Only a great writer can make you put yourself in a character's shoes, and Rizzo does that for me every time. 

Jenny was an easy character to relate to.  I really felt for her: first she loses her husband, then her entire life is made public through a legal battle.  Jenny desires nothing more than to have Gabe's child and keep a piece of him with her always.  However, Gabe's uncle (who raised him) is adamantly opposed and takes Jenny to court over the issue.   

Jenny is not alone in her battle: she has a supportive attorney but most of all she has Steve, her neighbor and best friend.  Steve was best friends with both Jenny and Gabe and therefore is personally invested in Jenny's case.  I liked watching their relationship grow throughout the story. 

The legal battle was interesting and added another layer of intensity to the story, while continuing the heartfelt premise of Jenny's struggle to cope with her husband's sudden death.  Rizzo threw me for a loop with the ending, and at first I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but upon further reflection, I think it was perfectly suited to this story and the characters.  My one wish is that she would have included an epilogue because I wanted to read more about Jenny's happiness. 

Just Destiny was so many things, but at its heart it was about personal growth and I loved that.  I love Rizzo's intense, all-consuming writing style.  Her second novel is even better than the first, and I can't wait to read what she comes up with next!
Thank you so much to the author, Theresa Rizzo, for allowing us to give away a copy of this great book!  Anyone can enter to win an e-copy of Just Destiny.  Fill out the form below to enter.  The winner will be chosen in on 4/7/14." rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country. Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards!  Her second book, Just Destiny, will be released March 31, 2014.
Find Theresa on the web at, or connect with her on Facebook, twitter or Goodreads
Purchase Just Destiny at Amazon,  Barnes, Noble, iBookstore & Smashwords.

Book Review: Shattered Veil/Rebel Wing (The Diatous Wars #1) by Tracy E. Banghart

When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?
War has come to Atalanta, infecting its quiet villages and lush woodlands, igniting whispered worries in its glittering capitol.
All across the dominion, young men are being Selected for Military and sent to the front lines…and eighteen-year-old Aris Haan’s childhood sweetheart is one of them.

Pyralis Nekkos, Atalanta’s leader, has kept the truth from his people, that their dominion will fall…and much sooner than anyone could guess.
Galena Vadim, his reluctant ally, wishes she could forget their shared past...until her future seems to depend on it.

And for the boy she loves, Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, will give up everything - her home, her name, even her face...
...only to become the key to her dominion's survival.

Release Date: February 28, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli

Shattered Veil was such a neat book!  I loved the world Banghart has created.  The city on stilts, the way the world is divided into dominions, the technology, it was all so unique and well-done.  The actual veil used to change a person's appearance was the coolest part of the book.  I loved it!  There was just enough of a technological explanation to make the veil seem plausible and make sense, without overwhelming me with scientific information.

Shattered Veil was a little slow to start, but once the world was established and the characters were introduced, along with their histories, the book really took off.  Once Aris made her big decision about her career, the plot started moving quickly and the book got really exciting.

There was a big cast of characters in this story, which I enjoyed.  All of the characters were well-developed and they all contributed to the story in essential ways.  No one was superfluous and I enjoyed that aspect of Shattered Veil.  I especially liked that Banghart's characters didn't always behave how I expected them to: the story was full of surprises, which made it even more fun.

For a YA book, Shattered Veil was deep and introspective.  There was so much personal growth, in several of the main characters.  The fact that much of the story centers on the military and government during wartime made this book such an intelligent read.  
I really loved Shattered Veil.  The plot was intricate, the emotions were intense, and the book was exciting to read.  I highly recommend it!  

Update 7/29/14:
Shattered Veil has been re-released and titled Rebel Wing.  The updated cover is below.  What do you think of the new cover and title?  I like it and think it reflects the book very well!

Book Review: A Bride's Guide to Getting Married by Jasmine Clara

IT’S NOT EASY LIVING A LIE...BUT DOING IT IN DESIGNER CLOTHING AND TIFFANY’S JEWELRY SOMEHOW MAKES IT MORE BEARABLE! Crushed by a sudden break up with her slick advertising executive boyfriend, real estate journalist Emily Novat feels like she is the only single girl in a world of happy couples.
At 32, Emily wonders if she will ever get her own happy ending.
Things start looking up however, when a tipsy Emily unwittingly enters and wins the prestigious Glam Bride magazine Dream Wedding Contest.
The only catch is, Emily must blog about her experiences in the lead up to her ”wedding day.”
With prizes including a Tiffany’s Bridal Shower, a High Tea Party - plus presents - at a posh hotel, and a wild Bachelorette party, Emily won’t let a little matter such as not having a groom stand in the way of enjoying the high life for a just little while.
After all the heartbreak she been through, Emily deserves a little fun. And it’s bonus if it makes her ex-boyfriend jealous.
As the popularity of her blog - A Bride’s Guide to Getting Married - sky-rockets, Emily finds herself becoming the IT girl about town,
A blossoming friendship with Glam Bride’s gorgeous nice-guy photographer Luke, assigned to capture the lead up to her big day makes it all the more fun.
As the big day draws nearer though, the guilt starts eating at Emily, who starts to finds extracting herself from her Dream Wedding is not as easy as she first thought it would be...
Release Date: January 8, 2014 
Age Group: Adult
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
A Bride's Guide to Getting Married was such a light, fun read.  I couldn't help but smile as I read this story.  The subject matter and general feel of the book reminded me of the Shopaholic series---which is not a bad thing.  I love the Shopaholic books and loved A Bride's Guide to Getting Married too!  

Emily's situation is so easy to relate to.  Who hasn't been dumped?  Who hasn't felt "behind" her peers in some way---whether it's about marriage, having a baby, or your career path.  I completely understood why she reacted the way she did and even why she entered the contest, knowing she wasn't engaged or even in a relationship. 

Once Emily started reaping the benefits of winning the contest, the story became even more fun to read.  It was neat to live vicariously through her, with the attention, clothes, jewelry, and hair and make-up team at her beck and call.  A Bride's Guide to Getting Married was very glam in that way, and very girly.

Despite the superficial aspects to the story, there was a surprising amount of character growth throughout the storyline.  I loved that and was happy that Clara made this book a little deeper by having her characters adapt to their circumstances and come out as stronger, more self-aware people.

The one thing that I wasn't sure about with this story is that the book appeared to be set in England (for the life of me I can't remember if Clara named the city the book's set it), using some terms unique to the UK, but then all of the currency was listed as American dollars, not pounds.  I was a little confused, because with the exception of the currency I was sure that A Bride's Guide to Getting Married was set in the UK. 

With that said, I loved the ending and finished this book with a smile.  I had a good time reading A Bride's Guide to Getting Married and look forward to reading more from Jasmine Clara. 

Book Review: Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

Release Date: March 11, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed by: Madi B

This, my friends, is what I like to call kick-butt-awesome-sauce. I loved this book, I love this book, and I will continue to love this book. Let’s go through a checklist.
Funny? Check.
Great plot? Check
Great characters? Check.
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! It simultaneously fulfilled my need of an awesome plot and (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) gossip. (Don’t deny it, you like it too) At first the point of view (More like points of view) confused me. But once you got the hang of it, you’re all in. Because of the many POV’s, the names and life stories had me a little mixed up. But OH THE HILARIOUS-NESS!!! (Not hysterical funny like Paper Towns or Bossypants but hilarious funny) Gosh I loved it.
There was a comment on the back that says “Finally, someone understands that if you develop powers as a teenager, it’s no the government you have to watch out for- it’s your best friends.” (Thank you Ned Vizzini for articulating my thoughts) And the best part was, it was a GROUP of teens! Soooo much more fun! I liked watching their relationships change (You can’t lie to someone who can read your mind) and watching THEM react to the powers! Telepathy is now my number one on my superpower want list. I liked how truthful and blunt the book was. Reading the dialogue was truly entertaining. 5 stars for this one.


Book Review: Sometimes Never (Sometimes Never #1) by Cheryl McIntyre

Hope didn't have the best role model when it came to relationships. She’s content with her current no-strings-attached extracurricular activity with the lead singer of her band. She’s never believed in love and commitment.

Mason starts his eighth school in five years anticipating nothing more than the usual—boring classes, fighting more than making friends, and girls happily willing to succumb to his easy smile. He’s never put much stock into love at first sight—until he sees her.

Regardless of their painful pasts, Hope and Mason discover that sometimes never can become forever.

Release Date: December 19, 2012
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Purchased

I really enjoyed this new adult novel.  It was everything I like about contemporary fiction: a good love story, well-developed minor characters, main characters with issues of their own which they are working through, and an ending full of closure.  

I really liked the story, although it was your typical new-adult love story at times, it had some parts that made it unique.  I really felt for Hope, being an orphan and being afraid of love.  I didn't love Mason right away, but he really grew on me.  The love story was well-done and full of chemistry, without being too explicit. 

I liked the alternating POV's: I think that style of writing lends itself well to contemporary fiction.  I love getting in both main characters' heads, and really knowing exactly what they are thinking.

My one complaint about Sometimes Never is that the writing style didn't flow well.  There was a sort-of stream-of-consciousness feel to the writing (and I'm not a fan of that style) and I found myself re-reading certain sections because some parts didn't always make sense to me right away.  There were a lot of contrasting internal statements that sometimes confused me.

The epilogue was my favorite part of the book.  I loved that there was a firm conclusion to the story, and it looks like book two in the series will feature another character.  I love it when contemporary series do that: feature one character per book.  It keeps me interested in the series without the dreaded cliffhanger endings from book to book.  I also liked that Hope and Mason work through their issues in healthy ways.

I love contemporary fiction, because I can jump right into the story, and I don't have to work at reading the book.  By that I mean that with paranormal or fantasy novels, I have to actively work to remember the "rules" of the world the author has created, so the books are not as easy to read.  When I'm not really wanting to read much, or read anything too heavy, I pick up a contemporary novel and it always leaves me satisfied and happy.  

Book Review: Inhale, Exhale by Sarah M. Ross

Jillian had a plan: celebrate the end of her first year of college with an amazing summer full of beaches, barbeques, and bonfires. When her mom insists she needs a summer job, and her boyfriend spends more time with his band than with her, Jillian’s plans go down the drain. 

Grant had a plan: finish his Masters, get a great job at Google, and get the hell out of Georgia. He might be giving up some of the fun of his youth, but he knows his all work and no play method would be worth it when his dreams came true.

But things never go according to plan. 

When temptation brings them together and tragedy tears them apart, Jillian and Grant will be forced to choose: fight for their dreams, or fight for each other.

Release Date: May 4, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli

I love the new adult genre, especially NA contemporary fiction.  These books are fun, easy reads and Inhale, Exhale was no exception.  I love escaping into the pages of a good love story, and Jillian and Grant's story was definitely intriguing. 

I liked Jillian from the start.  She's smart, and knows herself and what she wants.  I love that in a lead character.  Grant was handsome, hard-working, and driven.  He wants nothing more than to move away from Georgia and work for Google.  I liked that he had a life plan and wasn't going to let anything deter him from his dreams.

But, love happens and Jillian and Grant find themselves fighting a growing attraction to each other.  I liked that Ross uses the alternating first-person narrative because I got to know both Jillian and Grant really well.  It's so nice knowing what both characters are thinking, especially their thoughts on each other!

I didn't like the fact that there was an insta-love aspect to this story.  That never sits well with me...I just don't think it's realistic.  I also thought the love story was a little too effusive.  By that, I mean there were a lot of declarations between the characters and that also felt forced to me.

Other than that, I did enjoy Inhale, Exhale and would recommend it to fans of new adult contemporary fiction. 


Book Review: Never Ending by Martyn Bedford

When a family holiday ends in tragedy, the grieving parents’ marriage is left in ruins and, Shiv, their 15-year-old daughter, is tormented by what happened … and her part in it. Off the rails and unable to live with her guilt, Shiv is sent away to an exclusive clinic that claims to “cure” people like her.

But this is no ordinary psychiatric institution and Shiv discovers that her release – from her demons, and from the clinic itself – will come, if it comes at all, at a bizarre and terrible price

Release Date: January 16, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed by: Madi B

This is not a light read. In fact it’s a flippin' heavy one. But it’s beautifully written and I think this book impacts a person. I personally couldn’t relate to it much, but even so, I couldn’t put it down. Even though the plot itself isn’t the least bit funny, I would still burst out laughing because of the dialogue sometimes. (In the middle of a quiet class. Yeah, not so funny.)
The writing style is beautiful, alternating between flashbacks and present day creating this balance between light and heavy. There’s some MAJOR character development in this and it was a new experience for me to read from Shiv’s perspective. Never Ending has this continuing mystery: “What did she do to her brother?” And I found myself continuing to read even though there wasn’t any paranormal love triangle or lighthearted romance.
It brings a lot of things into perspective and I think this book could really help some people. I loved watching Shiv at the clinic and I really felt for her. I really don’t have much else to say besides the fact the this is a really good book. The beginning is a touch slow (not that much but still a touch) but you need some background for the story. Everyone should read this book. Even if it’s just to understand some people, it’s worth it.

Giveaway: Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 
We're happy to be part of the annual Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer, and Books Complete Me. 
Our giveaway for this hop is:

Interested?  Here's the book's summary:

This richly-detailed historical novel from master storyteller Nicholas Christopher features an unforgettable hero: Nicolo Zen is all alone in 1700s Venice, save for his clarinet, which a mysterious magician had enchanted, allowing its first player to perform expertly. Soon Nicolo is a famous virtuoso, wealthy beyond his dreams, but he can't stop wondering if he earned the success himself -- or what might happen if the spell were removed. And throughout it all, he continues to think about the girl he met in Venice, what she might be doing and if she's safe from harm.

With a guest appearance by composer Vivaldi, and brimming with fascinating period details, this is a compelling coming-of-age story full of universal themes and a love story that will conjure memories of Romeo and Juliet, perfect for teens who love stories set in other times, but without a paranormal storyline (as long as you don't count a magician who dresses all in white and can be in two places on once . . . ).
Giveaway Rules:
1.  Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter.
2.  Anyone in the US/Canada can enter to win.
3.  Winner will be notified via email, and will have 72 hours to respond to our email and claim their prize." rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Horde (Razorland #3) by Ann Aguirre

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they're not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn't run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade's love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn't been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

Release Date: October 29, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli
I've had Horde sitting on my "to read" book shelf for months now, and after finally reading it, all I can think is "Why did I wait so long to read this awesome book?"  Horde was definitely the best book of the Razorland trilogy; and also an all-time favorite read for me.

I love the world Aguirre has created.  It's unique, terrifying and exciting.  She ended Outpost with a promise to explain how the Freaks came to be and to finally give us some answers about their existence.  I've been wondering for years about the Freaks: are they vampires?  Animals?  Mutations of humans?  Some kind of zombies?  I'm so pleased to say that Aguirre delivered on her promise and every question I had about the Freaks was answered to perfection!

Horde is still Deuce's story; however, she's not the same girl who grew up underground.  She's grown and changed so much throughout the series, softening up in many ways, getting tougher in others.  I've loved watching her growth as a character, and seeing her become a more well-rounded character has been very gratifying.

Aguirre's pacing is just right in Horde.  There's a lot of action, but not so much that the book feels too focused on fighting.  I'm not a lover of fight scenes, but they could not be avoided with this story, and Aguirre spreads them out to make the story feel balanced. 

I'm not going to include spoilers in this review, but I will say that Horde went in a direction I was completely not expecting.  At first, I was put off by how the story was wrapping up; but I soon came to understand it really was the perfect conclusion to the story, with an emphasis on kindness and humility, and the general goodness of human nature. 

I finished this book with a smile on my face.  It's going to be hard to let go of the characters I've come to love throughout the Razorland series; but at the same time, I'm thrilled to see what Aguirre comes up with next! 

Book Review: Twisted (Torn #2) by K.A. Robinson

Chloe and Drake have found their happily ever after... Almost.

When Chloe's mother comes back into her life with a bang, it sets off a chain of events no one could have ever expected.

Everyone has their demons, and Chloe and Drake's hit them with a vengence.

Sex, drugs, money, a crazy ex, and Rock n Roll.... Can they survive it all?

Things are beginning to feel a bit... Twisted.

Release Date: May 7, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
I enjoyed Torn (read my review here), but didn't like the way Chloe went back and forth between Logan and Drake.  I hate games between characters, and there were a lot of games and also indecision on Chloe's part in Torn

Twisted starts off right where Torn ends.  I love it when authors do that with series novels: I don't like a long period of time elapsing between books, especially when the first book ends on an exciting note.  I like getting a bird's eye view to the action.  So, Twisted starts with Chloe's mom showing up at Chloe and Drake's house with some jaw-dropping news.

I liked that Twisted was about Chloe and Drake's relationship, and the focus was on how their relationship stood up during times of great stress and separation.  Robinson does a great job with the character development in this series.  I loved getting to know the members of the band better, and also the emphasis on Chloe's family. 

There were a few good surprises throughout the story, the main one coming towards the end of the book.  I was shocked at some of the characters' decisions, and enjoyed that they didn't act the way I expected them to.  The conflict resolution was just right for the story, and very realistic, which I loved.

The Torn series is great escapism fiction for me, and Twisted was a much stronger book than Torn.  I really enjoyed Twisted and look forward to reading more from K.A. Robinson!

Author Interview: Claudia Gray

We are so thrilled to host author Claudia Gray today!  Claudia is here to talk about her new series, Spellcaster, with the latest release, Steadfast, out 3/4/14. 

1.  What inspired you to write the Spellcaster series?
Basically, as much as I loved Harry Potter, I always wondered what the books would've been like if Hermione were the hero. Although Nadia didn't wind up being that much like Hermione, they're both very bright, very competent, a little prideful, a little bossy, but determined to do the right thing. (And heaven help you if you get in her way.) I've written, read and enjoyed books in which the protagonist has just discovered the supernatural world and some raw power she has that plays a role in it. But in the SPELLCASTER trilogy I wanted to create a heroine who understood her role in the supernatural and had worked hard for all the power she possesses. 

2.  The Evernight books were some of my favorite in the YA vampire genre.  Did you feel as though you were stepping out of your comfort zone to write a series about witchcraft?
As much as I love vampires -- no, it didn't feel like less comfortable or natural to write about witches. I've always been interested in pretty much anything paranormal, so I've been soaking up witchcraft legend and lore just about as long as I've been reading about vampires. Basically, if it's a fantasy element that makes events that much scarier and more fascinating? I like that. 

3.  Are you a reader?  If so, what are some of your favorite genres?
Of course I'm a reader! Honestly, it would be easier to say what genres I don't read (westerns, hard SF). I'm always reading -- usually more than one book at time -- and the books can be YA paranormal, YA contemporary, women's fiction, literary, science fantasy, biographies, histories, mysteries, you name it. Although I don't know that I can choose one absolute favorite, I can say that while I'm writing, I tend to read more nonfiction; it keeps me more fully immersed in my own novel. So the past few years, I've been reading a lot of histories, particularly of the Roman Empire and Victorian England. 

4.  What's next for you?
Next is my fall book, the beginning of the FIREBIRD trilogy -- my first science fiction! A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is about Marguerite, the daughter of two famous scientists, who is chasing her father's killer through multiple dimensions. Each time, she appears in another version of herself and has to figure out this new world and what her life is like there. Some of the worlds aren't much changed from her own, but some of them are radically different - like the one where she lives in a futuristic London, or the one that takes place in a Russia where the czars never fell from power. She also encounters other versions of the people she knows best, like her parents, her sister, the guy on this journey with her, and even the man she's hunting. As she does so -- and comes to understand all the different people they (and she) have the potential to be, Marguerite begins to realize the truth about what happened to her father is more complex and sinister than she'd ever dreamed. 

I LOVE this book, and hope you guys will too. 


Book Review: Call Me Clumsy by Matthew Weinrich

You are about to embark on a truly weird, interesting, and entertaining experience...

So begins the "odyssey of awkwardness" that is
Call Me Clumsy, the my-life-so-far memoir of Matthew Weinrich. Through utterly humbling experiences that span the decades of his life, Weinrich provides anecdotes that are equally cringe-inducing and laugh-out-loud funny. From his experience as a consummate slacker to his marriage proposal gone horribly awry to an unfortunate run-in with the fine men and women of the TSA, Weinrich brings you along as he strolls down memory lane, for better or for worse.

Ultimately, Weinrich gives us a heart-warming picture of the humility of a child of God who knows, without a doubt, that the old adage applies to him:

God is God, and I am not...

...not even close.

Release Date: February 7, 2014
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kelli

Call Me Clumsy was a fun, fast read full of laughs.  I really enjoyed it!  I love funny non-fiction, especially collections of essays.  I needed a light-hearted read and Call Me Clumsy was the perfect solution.

As someone who was also clumsy and awkward during my teenage years (and beyond, to be honest), I really identified with Weinrich.  I loved his self-effacing humor, the conversational writing style, and of course, the humor.  I found myself laughing out loud several times and smiling throughout the entire book. 

What I thought made Call Me Clumsy special is that Weinrich manages to keep the book free of profanity and it's a book that anyone of any age could safely read.  I admire that in an author, especially in a humor book! 

If you're looking for a fun read, I'd definitely recommend Call Me Clumsy.  I look forward to reading more from Matthew Weinrich! 


Book Review: Kissing in Italian by Lauren Henderson

In addition to her studies, Violet loves the arts, the shopping, and the friendships she's found in Italy. But secretly, her main objective is to learn about her true identity and family history. She never imagined she would fall in love with handsome Italian Luca. And he feels the same about her. But there are certain rumors circulating, that if proven to be true will forbid that they end up together. They need answers, but are they prepared for the truth?

Release Date: March 11, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Madi B

My initial reaction to this book (Ok fine, to the title) was “Why hello there I will read YOU first!” (I’m sorry mom, I just can’t fight the teenager) Summer romances in Italy??? Me gusta! (I know that’s Spanish but I don’t know any Italian!!! Just work with me here!!)
I was a tad skeptic because I read it was a companion novel to a different book and my over-analyzing self said, “Well technically it’s not the sequel!” It was totally a sequel. (Whyyyy must this happen to meeeeee!!!!!) I wasn’t lost or anything, I could follow the storyline just fine. But the emotionally charged scenes were WAY less emotionally charged for me because I didn’t read the first one!!! MAJOR bummer!
But my gut instincts were right, I loved this book anyway. (What can I say?? I’m a sucker for a good romance!) And good romance it was! I really like this book with its AMAZING setting, awesome characters, lovely mystery, and romance. (Have I mentioned romance yet??) I’m sorry, did you say elaborate?? LIST TIME!

Absolute Loves:

1.      Storyline. It was so entertaining and constantly moving! There was never a dull moment and never a completely overwhelming moment either. Well-done Mrs. Author.

2.      Setting. I’ve never wanted to go to Italy so much in my entire life! The cities the character visited were so beautiful!!! (Cities. Yeah that’s right PLURAL)

3.      Characters. The variety of personalities was refreshing and VERY entertaining!

4.      Mystery. I didn’t immediately figure it all out!!! YAY! I didn’t understand the full depth of it because, well, I READ THE FREAKIN SEQUEL FIRST! (Gahhhh I hate it when I do this) But although it wasn’t the most prominent part of the book, it was still there

5.      ROMANCE. Naturally, I mean the whole book takes place in Italy! What can you can expect! The summary promised it and gosh dang it Lauren Henderson you delivered. I really liked how there weren’t any dirty parts either!

Overall, I don’t have any complaints! The book was a nice, lighter read that I’m DEFINITELY recommending. A round of applause for the author.