Review: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Book Title: Where The Stars Still Shine
Author: Trish Doller
Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: YA/ Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my birthday money.

Review:
Oh my goodness, this story was beautiful and full of those all important feels. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed by this book and I wasn’t. It was beautifully written from start to finish. This was the first Trish Doller book that I have ever read but it absolutely will not be my last.

Callie has been on the run with her mother since she was little, so the only loyalty she feels is to her mother. Yet when her mother is finally arrested for kidnapping, Callie is forced to go live with a father she doesn’t remember and her two half brothers and stepmom, Phoebe.In Florida she also meets her cousin Kat, who is part of this huge Greek family that Callie doesn’t remember.

She isn’t ready to just abandon all thoughts of her mother and change her loyalties to her father and stepmom. Yet she cannot deny that it feels good to belong somewhere. It feels good knowing that people care about her and don’t want her running around by herself. It isn’t until she meets Phoebe’s brother, Alex, that she begins to realize that all guys aren’t like the ones she knew before.

Alex isn’t the guy who stole her innocence at 8 years old. It takes Callie awhile to believe that there are good guys out there and that every guy isn’t just after one thing. I know a lot pf people had issues with both her attitude and how she kinda just slept with any guy who wanted her.She had very little experience with guys. After all the only guys she would meet were the middle-aged pervs that leered at her.

Her attitude towards sex was pretty cavalier but I think the experience with her mother’s boyfriend had really screwed up her self esteem. Being with Alex actually raised her self esteem. By the end of the book, she knew that she deserved better. She knew that she was worth something.Watching that transformation in Callie was something really special.

I loved Alex. I mean he was wonderful and sweet and kind to Callie. My favorite part between them was near the end when she told him exactly what had happened to her. He didn’t look at her any differently. He didn’t view her as “trash” or “dirty” or “sick” He saw the same girl. He saw Callie exactly as she deserved to be seen. What he did for his mother in the end was beautiful and I cried. He had his own demons but he was able to put them aside for his mother. A guy who is devoted to his mother is something special.

While this book was pretty damn near perfection, there were lulls in the book. Parts that didn’t exactly bore me but were on the slow side. I guess that was a good thing as it gave me time to dry the tears that showed up.I really enjoyed this book and it’s seriously on the cusp of love for me. So it’s getting 4.5 stars. A near PERFECT read for me. I would absolutely recommend it to pretty much anyone.

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Book Title: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
Release Date: January 10th, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my birthday money.

Review:
I have read a lot of cancer books before, but I had never read one that was both heartbreaking and hysterically funny at the same time.There were times where I was reading this book where I’d be laughing so hard I was crying and then a mere two minutes later I was crying hysterically at a heartbreaking part.

Hazel is blunt, honest and witty. All of those things I love in characters. She knows that her time is dwindling but she is trying to live whatever life she has left. She knows that her amazing parents have done everything in their power for her. Her mom has made a career out of taking care of her and her father is always there for her. Supporting her & loving her. 

She’s not a huge fan of Cancer Kid Support Group, but she goes. She goes for her parents mostly. Support group has a revolving door of attendants. Sometimes someone comes repeatedly and then they suddenly stop coming. There is only one real reason that people stop coming and that’s because they have died.

Hazel has one “normal” friend by the name of Kaitlyn, but it’s very hard to relate to Kaitlyn anymore. Kaitlyn doesn’t carry around an oxygen tank. Kaitlyn doesn’t have to be hooked up to oxygen around the clock. She has no idea of the hell that Hazel has been through. Nor would Hazel want her to know what it’s like. Hazel wouldn’t wish having shitty lungs on her worst enemy.

Never in her life, did Hazel expect to meet one-legged Augustus “Gus” Waters. Yet she does and there’s like an instant connection. I wouldn’t call this insta love. Mostly because it takes Hazel a bit longer to warm up to him than vice versa. Relating to Gus is easy for Hazel. While they don’t have the same type of cancer, Hazel still feels like she can relate to him. 

Watching them bond over a book was awesome.It was like a book within a book which I thought was really unique.Watching their relationship develop slowly was a treat. They knew that they were living on borrowed time but that didn’t mean that they had to rush the relationship.

I had cried in the first 75% of the book but that was nothing compared to the last quarter of the book. I full on ugly cried during that last 25% Did I expect something like that to happen? Yes I sort of did, but expecting it and seeing it in print was a totally different ball of wax. By the time the book was over,I had used a quarter of my brand new kleenex box.

“You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” Hazel

Issac was an awesome secondary character. He was from Support Group and he went through a lot in this book. He always seemed to have something hysterically funny to say, even if the situation didn’t necessarily call for it.Despite everything he went through during this book, he was a great friend to Hazel & to Gus. 

For all the love I could give this book, I could also admit that it wasn’t perfect. There were lulls in the story that bored me for a little while. The lulls didn’t last long but they were there. The lulls are the reason that this book is getting 4 stars. I loved everything else about this book but the lulls were a bit too frequent for me to give this book a full five stars.

Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Book Title: Maybe One Day
Author: Melissa Kantor
Publish Date: February 18th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend’s life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:
Bare with me here as there’s bound to be a lot of tears that I will disguise as allergies while I write this review.This book was pretty much near perfection for me. As a child I gravitated towards the fictional works of Lurlene McDaniel and Melissa Kantor’s Maybe One Day is right in that very same vein. Actually I would argue that they are extremely similar in a lot of ways. The way Maybe One Day sounded was not at all unlike Lurlene McDaniel’s work fifteen or so years ago.

Zoe and Olivia were more than just best friends. They were sisters, not bound by blood,but by love and friendship.Their friendship made me jealous. I wished so badly that I could have had a friend like that at their age.They were there for each other in way that their parents and families couldn’t understand. Olivia’s mother had the most problems with the friendship. It was implied that Adriana Greco didn’t believe that Zoe was a good influence on her daughter.

Once Olivia starts treatment, it becomes very clear how Mrs. Greco sees Zoe. She sees her daughter’s best friend as “just a visitor” That was heartbreaking. No one wants to think that their best friend’s mom doesn’t like them. It becomes clear what Mrs. Greco’s motive is. She’s gone into protective mama bear mode. Her entire existence has turned into keeping her immuno-compromised daughter as healthy and germ free as possible.

Back to Zoe and Olivia though, Zoe is the perfect friend. She’s unbelievably supportive and she spends hours upon hours visiting Olivia in the hospital.Hospital visits are something no teenager should have to do.Yet Zoe does it.She stays unfailingly loyal to Olivia despite the fact that they are living two different lives.

That loyalty is tested when Zoe finds herself dancing and kissing the boy who Olivia has been crushing on. Zoe takes it a step further by not telling Olivia about it until later, a lot later.I am really, really glad that the inkling of romance was just that, an inkling. I think any more romance would have taken away from the beautiful story of friendship that Melissa Kantor had so carefully crafted.  

I loved, LOVED that both girls had family units that were fully immeshed in the book. That’s a new YA trend that I am loving. In the past, the families of YA characters have been difficult to spot in a book. I really liked Olivia’s brother Jake.He was an amazing brother to Olivia and friend to Zoe. Sometimes the friendship between brother and sister’s best friend seems forced,but not in this case.

This book was a very emotional read and by the end of it I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. I was sobbing pretty loudly and violently. Yes apparently there is a way to sob violently.All the feels in this book were intense and amazing. This book will definitely be on my list of my favorite books of 2014. It should come as no surprise that I’m giving this book, the full 5 stars.If I could give it six stars, I would.Everyone should go pre-order this book now.I plan on pre-ordering a finished copy for myself.

Meet My Furbabies

Hello everyone, nope no review today but after reading Molli’s post about her furbabies as well as Kara and Lynn’s post on their rescue animals, I decided to take some time to talk about my own furbabies. First of all,I want to introduce you to a very special cat who is no longer with us.

Here I am at five years old with a teeny tiny kitten that I named Molly. She was a present given to me by my grandmother’s 2nd husband who was more like a grandfather to me than my actual grandfather. I had just had serious, life-saving surgery and he got me this kitten as a present while I recovered.We lost her to Lymphoma shortly before my 18th birthday. Nine years later, I still miss her.

I have had cats in my home pretty much all of my life. I remember some of their names and what they looked like.

  • Tiger-Tiger striped female. She ran away to die at 19.
  • Pee-head- Gray fat cat who we found dead under the house.We believe she died of kidney failure.
  • Molly- Siamese female who we lost to Lymphoma.
  • Angel- All white cat except for a gray spot (or halo) between her ears and with one green eye and one blue eye.She died last October at age 19.
  • Eclipse- All black female cat who died 4 years ago due to her being overweight.She was 14.
  • Stevie-All gray female who we believe was carried off by a coyote 3.5 years ago.She was 13.
  • Fuzzy- Himylan female who died in her sleep.She was 12 years old.
Those are all the cats who have crossed over to the rainbow bridge in my life. They all meant something to me. But enough sadness. Let’s meet the 2 newest additions to my life. Prince and Tiffany.
Prince
Here he is on the very day we got him. Now the circumstances are definitely not ideal but I am so grateful we were able to give him a home. First of all the lady we got him from assured us up and down that she was a rescuer and that she just wanted to find a good home for him. She assured us that he was in perfect health and that he was 11 weeks old.
Now does he look like he’s 11 weeks old?
Yeah…No. However we were worried about what she’d do to him if we didn’t take him and so we did.We made an immediate appointment with the vet and was told that not only was he not 11 weeks old, the vet estimated he was 8 weeks old. The vet tech we had that day said he looked more like six weeks old. Then we were told he had yeast in his ears along with ear mites, worms in his stomach and worst of all,he tested weak positive for Feline Lukemia.
   
I was heartbroken.He was such a sweet baby and I hated the idea of him suffering.We decided to nurse him back to health and then retest him. When we retested him he still was showing a weak positive. The vet then said, we’d test him a 3rd time and if that test was also positive we’d treat him as if he had Feline Lukemia. Well as luck would have it,January 6th, 2012 we got the third and final test results back…
It was negative.
That was the best news we had ever heard.I just remember crying and cuddling him pretty much the entire day.Plans were then made to neuter him.He did wonderfully with that surgery and it really mellowed him out.Before then he would attack us for no reason…a lot.He still did it after he was fixed but it was no where near at the level it used to be.
Oh and one day I was sifting through the stuff that the lady we bought him from, gave us and I found a blue TICA slip which told me that she was not a “Bengal rescuer” but a backyard breeder as she had known EXACTLY who Prince’s parents were.
Right around Christmas of 2012, we started talking about getting another cat.We had gotten the approval from the landlord so we began looking.This time we went through a reputable breeder.I had lost the fight with my mom to get a shelter cat.Shortly after a cardiac procedure I had in February, we found the kitten we wanted.
Tiffany
When she came to live with us, she was pretty shy initially and she still is shy with those she doesn’t know really well. She is such a sweetheart and really the complete opposite of Prince.She is so healthy which is a great thing. She has bonded with me as I was the main person who was with her when she first came to live with us.
Yet she and Prince get along great. I was worried about how Prince would do with a new cat as he is pretty protective of the three of us who live in this house.
Clearly I didn’t need to worry. They get along just fine.
The naming of the cats was tough, both times. We picked names out of a hat for both cats. Prince was named after the musician and Tiffany was named after Jennifer Lawrence’s character in Silver Linings Playbook.
So tell me about your pets!

Review: If You Leave (Beautifully Broken #2) by Courtney Cole

Book Title: If You Leave
Author: Courtney Cole
Published Date: August 6th, 2013
Publisher: Forever
Genre: NA/Romance
Series: Book 2 in the Beautifully Broken series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:
26-year old Gabriel Vincent is a badass hero. Or he used to be, anyway. As an ex-Army Ranger, Gabe never thought he needed anyone. But after one horrible night in Afghanistan scars him in a way that he can’t get past, he needs someone who can help him heal…even if he doesn’t realize it.

25-year old Madison Hill doesn’t need anybody…or so she thinks. She grew up watching her parents’ messed-up abusive relationship and she knows there’s no way in hell that she’s ever letting that happen to her.

They don’t know it in the beginning, but Gabriel and Madison will soon develop a weakness: Each other.

But Gabriel’s got a secret, a hidden monster that he’s afraid Maddy could never overcome… And Maddy’s got issues that she’s afraid Gabe will never understand. They quickly realize that they need each other to be whole, but at the same time they know that they’ve got demons to fight.

And the problem with demons is that they never die quietly.
Disclaimer: This e-book was a personal purchase.
Review:
I read If You Stay at the very beginning of my blogging endeavor and I had absolutely loved it. I wasn’t sure if If You Leave would have the same special-ness that book one had had. I needn’t have worried. If possible I loved If You Leave even more than the first book.
We had gotten snapshots of Madison in the first book but I had no idea how much alike we were until this book. Like Madison, I had to deal with my mother’s marriage to an abusive man right in my teenage years. The very time that I was starting to notice boys was the very time my mother was married for the second time. I knew that the way he was treating my mother was not okay and I got angry with her for not leaving sooner. It took her 12 years to leave the marriage, something Madison’s mother was not brave enough to do. 
Because of having to watch my mom get treated in such a terrible way, I built up walls. Walls the size of The Great Wall of China. I was not going to put myself in a position to get hurt like my mother had. So I resonated big time with Madison. I knew what it felt like to have those walls up.It’s never really said outright but I am guessing that Madison had friends that told her that she could overcome this if she really wanted to and that she was not her mother. Trust me, I had friends tell me the exact same thing. But it’s not easy. It’s not easy to let your guard down if you’ve been a witness to some truly shitty things.
“It’s because of my parents that I’m afraid to get involved with anyone.It’s because of them that I am afraid any relationship I get into will hurt me.Just like my dad hurt my mom.” -Madison
Oh sure Madison dates, like the guy Ethan who she has known since kindergarten and who had puked up chocolate milk all over her.Too bad he’s vanilla and Madison isn’t interested in him at all.
“Oh yeah,that’s just what I want. The guy who vomited up his chocolate milk on me in kindergarten doing my pap smear.” -Madison
In comes sexy as hell Gabriel Vincent.Oh man he was cocky and arrogant from the beginning but I suspected that was a facade for the demons that were buried inside of him. He definitely did not make the best of impressions the first night they met,but over time he softened up and in turn so did Madison. She got to see his softer side and his protective side as he dealt with his sister Jacey and her crazy as hell boyfriend. Gabriel began to make Madison feel safe. 
When crap goes down,Gabriel begins to realize that he cannot just push his issues aside. He’s got to deal with them. If he doesn’t he could lose Madison…forever. 
Watching Madison’s walls slowly inch down was awesome. It was inspiring and it gave me a lot of hope. Watching her let Gabe in, in every way was heartwarming and it made me cry on multiple times. Gabe’s decision to get help for his issues was awesome too. I liked that he realized that he couldn’t deal with it on his own and that it wasn’t a crime or a mark against his manhood to need and therefore get help. 
Getting to see Mila and Pax was an awesome surprise. I loved how they were still so close as they were in the first book.
This book gets 5 stars from me. If at all possible, I loved this book more than If I Stay mostly because of how well I related to Madison and how she was feeling. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.
“Love is deathless.”

Friday Musings #7

This week I decided to focus on my top five favorite quotes in books.I have a lot so for me it was really hard to narrow it down to 5 but I did the best I could. So here are my top five favorite book quotes.

#1
“After all this time?” Albus Dumbledore
“Always” Severus Snape
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-
Yes I am well aware that it’s two quotes but I couldn’t do one without the other. I won’t spoil anything about this quote but I will tell you that is smack dab in the middle of one of the most emotional chapters in the Harry Potter series.

#2
“Albus Severus,you were named for two headmasters at Hogwarts.One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.” Harry Potter
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-

This quote was yet again another extremely emotional quote for me and probably for many other people as well.Six years later I still get choked up when reading this part.

#3
“I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. No matter how many times you break my heart, you’re still my girl, for as long as you want to be.” Paul
-314-

This quote speaks to me for a million different reasons. Paul and Alma’s on again off again relationship reminds me so much of my on again off again relationship with a guy.I could see my on again off again guy saying these exact words to me so reading it in a book is very emotional.

#4
“President Snow used to…sell me…my body, that is…I wasn’t the only one.If a victor is considered desirable,the president gives them as a reward or allows people to buy them for an exorbitant amount of money.If you refuse,he kills someone you love. So you do it.” Finnick Odair
-The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-

This was a significant point in the book. Up until this time,Katniss saw him as a “pretty boy” who was in love with a mad girl from his district. Up until now,she never realized that Finnick was multi-layered and a much more complicated person. As a reader,things fell into place for me. Finnick’s actions of bedding many women made sense to me. He was simply trying to keep Annie safe.

#5
“No you’re my father.I have a dad and right now Benji needs his. Not a lecture.Not fixing because he is not broken. Just your attention and your patience and your time.Just you.” Emaline

-The Moon & More-
This was another one that struck me on a personal level. Emaline does not have a great relationship with her father but she is pushing him to be a better father to her half brother than he ever was to her. That was gutsy of her. She was also super protective of her ten year old brother.She didn’t want her brother to have the same lousy relationship with their dad, that she had.

Cover Reveal: Crossing Paths by Melanie Stinnett

Cover Reveal
for
Crossing Paths by Melanie Stinnett

Design by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations.
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Synopsis:
The crossing paths of friendship, family, love, and loss are often complicated.

June Deckert and Caroline Smith sparked a friendship in college that carried them through graduation. Although they are complete opposites in every way, they have spent the last four years inseparable.

That is, until now.

June finds herself falling for a man who seems unattainable. As she works side by side with him on a new media campaign, their feelings for each other come alive. But when his actions start to speak louder than words, she wonders if she’s missing something.

Meanwhile, Caroline is fighting against her feelings for a recent acquaintance, and she decides to keep her new love interest a secret from June. Overwhelmed by these new emotions, her moods change swiftly, swinging up and down like a yo-yo.

While June and Caroline try to maneuver their way through new relationships, Caroline starts lying to June to protect her from a truth that threatens to break her heart and tear them apart. 

In the end, Caroline’s deceit will test their friendship, and June will have to decide if her chance at love is worth putting her heart on the line.

Excerpt 1:
As I push open the door, he is leaning against the counter, just finishing off a glass of water. His head is tilted back slightly, getting the last drop, before he swallows. I never knew drinking water while covered in sweat could look sexy. I close my eyes to limit the visual stimulation as I try to ward off the blush I feel creeping into my cheeks.
“You took your sweet time getting in here,” he states.
When I open my eyes, he is standing closer to me with his hip resting against the kitchen island.
I walk toward the door that leads to the backyard and pause briefly to face him. “Um, well, I had to traverse the mountain of holiday decorations in the entryway.”
Laughing, he steps toward me and places one of his hands against the door just above my shoulder as his opposite hand takes hold of my hip. Before I know what’s happening, my back is pressed tightly against the door.
“I was hoping we could talk tonight,” he says softly.
My heart begins beating quickly, and it feels like it’s in my throat. “Really?”
He nods and leans in closer to me, his nose brushing against the skin just below my ear. “Have you told June?” he whispers, touching his lips to my neckline.
Goose bumps rise all over my body, and I feel certain that I might faint at any moment. “No,” I respond in a voice so hushed that even I have trouble hearing it.
His lips trace the line of my jaw. Each time he moves to another place on my skin, the prior space feels numb and neglected. When I feel his hand tighten on my hip, my body tenses in response. Just as he is about to reach the corner of my lips, the doorknob turns, and the door jolts against my back. My eyes widen in concern, and Liam hangs his head, sighing in what seems like frustration.
He looks into my eyes as the door continues to shake, and then he nods his head toward the other door. Continuing to hold his weight against the door, he releases his body’s pressure from mine, and I walk slowly backward through the opposite doorway.
I hear a loud thud as the door closes behind me. As June begins yelling something unintelligible, I hold my hands over my mouth, attempting to stifle a laugh. Liam runs through the door at lightning speed, closely followed by June.
Although she stops when she sees me, she’s still yelling loudly. “One day you’re going to regret playing all these nasty jokes on me. I could have gotten a concussion!  You are such a buffoon!” She clenches her teeth and stomps her foot like a small child. “Hey, Caroline. I didn’t know you were here.”
“Just got here a few minutes ago,” I say, trying to act nonchalant. Glancing up the stairway to the wooden railing across the upstairs loft, I catch a glimpse of Liam smiling.
“I’m thirsty. Let’s get a drink,” I say, giving Liam a small smile in return before I walk out of sight.
Excerpt 2:
When I was ten years old, I got a trampoline. My first thought wasn’t about how it would impact my life. I thought about the special tricks I could learn, like bouncing my friends higher than any sane adult would allow. The moment I ripped through that wrapping paper, I was ecstatic as I stared at the picture of three happy kids jumping with their limbs flailing through the air. The box was gigantic, but I found a way to hug that box with more emotion than any other hug I had ever given.
Of course, my dad had to put it together right away. We sat in the backyard with metal pieces and tools surrounding us. The large round fabric was spread out, obscuring the grass from the sun.
Two weeks later, when I was happily jumping up and down, the unimaginable happened. One moment, I was free as a bird, flying through the air, and then falling, bending the fabric toward the ground. As I took my next flight, I could have never predicted what occurred next. When my feet left the trampoline, I raised my hands out from my sides with a huge grin across my face. While my body was in the air, I glanced toward the front of the empty house next door, and suddenly, my world changed.
A petite young girl with blonde hair flowing around her shoulders slid off the seat of a moving van. She was smiling and laughing as she ran up the sidewalk. My body descended, but my heart was still floating above. Then, it came crashing down moments after my eyes lost sight of her.
My young mind had no words for the emotion that planted its seed that day. I should have known then that I would fall in love with her. Instead, with everything in my being, I fought against loving her for the next three years.
About the Author:

I have enjoyed reading and writing since I was very young. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of spending time with my mom or grandma reading a good book. Over the years, it never crossed my mind that writing my own novel would be an attainable goal. After reading several independently published novels by Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover and others, I decided I needed to give that dream a chance.

When I’m not reading and writing, I enjoy spending time with my three favorite guys: my husband and my two little boys.

In addition to being an author, I work as a Speech Language Pathologist to provide therapy to adults who are dealing with speech, language, cognition or voice deficits. My day job is rewarding in many different ways and I love having the opportunity to help others in a time of need.

Giveaway!

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Friday Musings #5

Okay so I was booked on Tuesday so I couldn’t do my Top Ten Things That Make Me Shun A Book like so many others in the blogging community. I needed a topic for today SO I decided to do my Top Ten Things That Make Me Shun A Book today. Hope you enjoy!

~God/Religion~
This is my number one thing. I am an atheist so it would make no sense for me to read a book about a God that I don’t believe in. I am also not religious at all so anything that so much as HINTS at being religious in any capacity does not get a home on my bookshelf.
~Politics~
This one’s easy. I find politics to be boring and I will not read a book that so much as HINTS at it.
~Insta-love/lust~
First of all I am not into that cheesy & corny crap. There is no such thing as insta love. There is such a thing as insta-lust and I wish people would call it that rather than calling it love. You cannot love someone you don’t know and may have never met.
~Bad Author Behavior~
If I hear a story about an author behaving badly to either another author or a blogger like myself,I will NOT pick up their book.To me it would be like rewarding them for behaving badly. No just no.
~Using Sex As The Only Plot Point~
If I have to hear someone say “Well Sex Sells” one more time, I may put my fist through a wall. Yes sex does amp up the book sales but for me if there is nothing else to the story I am going to throw it as far away from my body as possible.Even erotica has to have SOME sort of plot in order for me to read it. If it doesn’t,then I don’t read it. Simple as that.
~Steampunk~

If someone could just explain to me WHAT it is,I’d be greatful. As it is,I don’t get it and don’t understand the appeal.
~Aliens/Zombies/Werewolves & Vampires~
I threw all four of these together because I just don’t get the appeal of any of them. I like a good SciFi book as much as the next person but Aliens? No thank you. I think I’ve seen enough Vampire crap to last me a lifetime. Zombies,um no thank you. There was only one series that I loved a werewolf character and if you are as much of a geek as I am,then you’ll know what I’m talking about.
~Abuse~
Sometimes these stories are done beautifully and they tell the tale of a battered woman escaping from a violent man. But I rarely read them and that’s because usually we are forced to read about the abuse in graphic detail. I will not be okay with that. It’s like abuse is being glorified which makes me sick.
~Cheating~
This is something I don’t accept in my real life.Why should my reading choices be any different.It’s rude,disrespectful and like abuse,it glorifies the act.
~Historical Books~
I hated history in high school,hated it in college so why would I want to read anything with a historical theme? Answer is,I wouldn’t. Historical books of any kind bore the heck outta me and you won’t catch me reading them.Ever.
So what was on your TT list this week? Share your TT link with me so I can stop by if I haven’t already.

Book Tour: Romancing the Bookworm by Kate Evangelista


Title: Romancing the Bookworm 
Author: Kate Evangelista     
Release date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Genre: New Adult Contemporary romance
Book Information: GoodreadsBook Trailer
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis:
Sometimes, even the best-laid plans can unravel.
It’s spring break, and Tamara Winters would rather stay on campus and read romance novels than flaunt her size-fourteen body on a beach. But her best friend, Roni, has other ideas. Against her wishes, Tamara is whisked away to picturesque Maverick Bay, where she’s wrangled into waiting tables with Roni at the Shore Shack for its busy week leading to Maverick’s Surf Invitational. There she meets fellow schoolmate Xavier Solomon, the Invitational’s organizer and campus womanizer by reputation. From the moment Tamara sees him emerging from the waves like a hero in of one of her romance novels, all she wants to do is run away from the feelings he inspires in her.
Little does she know Xavier has been watching her for weeks now. In fact, after failed attempts at asking her out on campus, he’s concocted a crazy plan: fabricating romantic situations straight out of her favorite books. Xavier quickly realizes that if Tamara gets a whiff of his designs, he might as well spell CREEPER across his forehead. Yet as they grow closer, he’s convinced it’s a risk worth taking. What he hasn’t planned on, of course, is his drug-addicted, alcoholic stepbrother, who decides to join the fun and put a wrench in Xavier’s scheme.
Spring break is proving hotter than Tamara expected. Will her romance novels be able to compete?

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my participation in a blog tour.


Review: I was excited to read this book from the minute I saw the synopsis and I was hopeful that the book itself wouldn’t disappoint me. It didn’t disappoint me at all. In fact It felt as though the book was written FOR me in so many ways. I have always preferred the company of books to the company of actual people. I have very little experience with romance much like Tamara.

I fell head over heels for Xavier from the beginning. He was a very dreamy guy. Not just in looks but in personality too. However I knew pretty quickly that he was hiding something and I was hoping that it wasn’t anything too serious like all of his stepbrother’s issues.

Roni was an awesome best friend. Best friends are supposed to be there for you. They are supposed to apologize when they wronged you and Roni did that. Not only that,but she pushed Tamara OUT of her comfort zone. That I loved.She didn’t do it maliciously. She did it out of love for Tamara. I wish we had seen more of Hudson,Roni’s brother. I really liked him.He was a loyal guy to both his best friend Xavier and to Roni.

I know I wasn’t supposed to,but I fell for Zander. Yes he had problems but at the root of it he was a good guy. I truly believe that. No he didn’t handle things well with Roni, or with Xavier for that matter,but underneath all the drugs & alcohol I truly believe he was a good person. He had gone through so much hell and now he was feeling unloved by his family,pushed out by Xavier. Like Xavier admitted near the end,I do believe Zander loved Roni. I am SO hoping the author does another book,this one with Zander & Roni as the focal points.

Xavier and Tamara were so flipping CUTE! Gah I was so hoping that Tamara would cash in her v-card with this guy. I think cashing it in with some guy who she doesn’t know would have really upset her. I also like that they didn’t rush into it and that Xavier allowed her to set the pace. That showed so much respect for her.

I really liked how there were so few characters.It allowed for better character development and it allowed me to care about the five main characters.Sometimes a book can have too many secondary characters that it gets confusing and I get frustrated.

This book really spoke to me and I really adored the entire thing. I am giving it five stars because this book was perfection. From the plot to the characters to the backdrop.

About the Author:

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.




You can follow the tour to see reviews, guest posts, and excerpts by clicking the link below.

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Author: Kasie West
Publish Date: February 12th,2013
Published by: Harper Teen
Genre: YA/Paranormal
Standalone
Synopsis: Addison “Addie” Coleman lives in constant what if’s.As a Searcher,Addie can look into the future whenever she has to make a choice about something,anything.A very important choice hits her out of nowhere when her parents announce that they are divorcing. Now Addie has to choose who she wants to live with (a rough decision for most kids in this situation) However Addie can look into the future and see what life she likes best. Her father will be leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms” while her mother will stay put.
In one future,Addie is adjusting to life outside the compound,meeting new faces like Trevor. He’s sweet and kind to her. In the other future Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in their high school. Things kind of turn on their head when Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the compound.It will eventually come down to,who can Addie not afford to lose.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book off of Amazon.

Review: I must admit that I had heard so many great things about this book but I was worried that I wouldn’t like it. While the beginning was a tiny bit on the slow side,it really picked up quickly and I was drawn into such an interesting world.
I know it sounds crazy but for the longest time I was drawn to Duke. Yes he was an arrogant ass in the beginning. Yes he had the typical quarterback’s attitude but I was drawn to him. Trevor on the other hand was kind of boring. I know he was sweet and Addie liked how he understood her but I really thought he was boring.In terms of character development,both love interests definitely had distinct personalities that authors tend not to showcase enough for me.
Addie was awesome. She was the kind of character that I would want as a best friend.She was funny, loyal & kind. Laila was awesome too. She definitely had spunk just like Addie did but again they weren’t like two peas in a pod or anything. They had their own distinct likes & personalities. Bobby was a class A jerk and I wanting nothing more than for him to get what was coming to him. 
From a writing standpoint,it was perfection. Great pacing & the editing was perfection. No issues at all. At first going back and forth between the possible futures was a bit confusing but I caught on quickly.
It really made me think though. All I could think when I was reading this (outside of what future will Addie pick) was my future. If I was a Searcher would I Search frequently to make choices or would I just let life happen until I had to make a significant choice like Addie did. I found myself wondering what my future held and I even wished that the ability to know my future was a real thing.
It was an amazing book that I would happily and enthusiastically recommend to all of my friends. Five stars to this book that made me think about my own life.