Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff

* * * 1/2

A girl’s quest for perfection results in dangerous consequences in this layered, suspenseful YA novel by the author of Playlist for the Dead.

How far would you go to be perfect?

Kara has the perfect life. She gets perfect grades. She never messes up. Until now. Because perfection is an illusion, and Kara has been struggling to maintain it for as long as she can remember. With so much pressure to succeed, it’s hard not to do whatever it takes. 

But when Kara takes a new underground drug to help her ace the SATs, she doesn’t expect to get a text from a blocked sender, telling her to follow a set of mysterious instructions—or risk her dark secret getting out. Soon she finds herself part of a group of teens with secrets of their own, who are all under the thumb of the same anonymous texter. And if they don’t find a way to stop the blackmailer, their perfect futures will go up in flames.

This dark, emotionally resonant contemporary YA novel is perfect for fans of We Were Liars and The Secret History.

Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Expectations are hard to live up to. Whether they come from our parents, our teachers, friends or worse yet, ourselves, the pressure can feel insurmountable. The expectation to live up to some ideal that has been built up over the years can break any person leading them to make some ill-fated decisions. In Pushing Perfect, "Perfect Kara" who has always been an overachiever, succumbs to the pressure to remain on top.

As the blurb explains, Kara takes a drug that's supposed to help her stay focused during her SATs. Attaining a perfect score is the only option she can see that ensures her future. It's at this point as the stress builds that she starts to question her motives, sifting through which ambitions truly belong to her and which of those belong to her parents. Things take an alarming turn when she is contacted by a stranger who knows her dirty little secret, and who threatens to expose her if she doesn't follow through with their instructions. This is definitely something she ever expected and now she's caught up in some intricate blackmailing scheme that is bigger than just her. Getting out if this is going to be tricky but Kara who is tired of being manipulated has had enough. Time to turn the tables and bring down the bad guy.

Falkoff has included several layers to Kara's narrative going years back to when she first developed insecurities about her looks. She also explores how the penchant for secrecy can influence behaviour, even drastically changing the nature of friendships. If anything, perfection becomes an ugly, almost suffocating entity for Kara and her friends. 

I liked Pushing Perfect a lot. I sympathized with Kara and understood where her insecurities stemmed from. It's sadly apparent how isolated she had become until she starts befriending new people. It was also interesting to see how everyone else gets caught up in projecting that perfect image; even more interesting to see how they respond once their ruses are revealed. 

Once again, Falkoff brings to the pages a glimpse of the teenage life from different angles. The premise at first seems simple but the more you let the storyline sink in, the more you understand the disturbing reality that exists. It has made me wonder about my own dynamics with my kids, especially my freshman, as they work studiously to excel at school. Falkoff amazed me with her debut, Playlist for the Dead and with Pushing Perfect, I feel more of a personal connection as she has given me plenty of food for thought.  

~ Bel

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Blow by Heidi McLaughlin Excerpt Reveal

And it was lust at first sight for me too. I’m not gonna lie. Bodhi is walking, talking sex, and I let that get to me. I couldn’t resist him, even though I tried. I let my body dictate how I was going to react, my job be damned.

“Oh yeah? What’s that?” Her tone is playful and gives me hope. And I need hope. Not to score with her, but to get through my days.
“You should join me in the shower.” I waggle my eyebrows at her and rub my hand over my abs, pushing up my shirt a little so she can see what’s underneath.

Kim shakes her head, but her smile tells me that she likes the idea. She covers her mouth to stifle a laugh, and I chuckle.

In Blow, the start of an emotionally charged series from bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, an insatiable heartthrob gets blinded by the spotlight—and learns to fight for love.

Meet the complicated men behind the sexiest boy band in America!  Releasing November 8th!

Pre-Order NOW!

Amazon US     I     Amazon UK     I     iBooks     I     Nook     I     Kobo     

Bodhi McKnight has always had everything handed to him on a silver platter: fame, success, money, girls. The raven-haired, blue-eyed hottie is the son of Hollywood A-listers, and when he’s asked to join the boy band Virtuous Paradox, his star shoots even higher. But so do expectations, leading Bodhi down a destructive path of addiction—until a drop-dead gorgeous guardian angel shows him her sizzling brand of tough love.

When Bodhi ends up in rehab, he doesn’t expect to meet someone as cool and down-to-earth as Kimberly Gordon. Although he’s enjoyed the company of beautiful, charming women before, none of them have tried to get to know the “real” Bodhi. But Kimberly isn’t fazed by his stardom. She’d rather go horseback riding, teach Bodhi to play guitar, or ask him about his feelings. Soon Bodhi realizes he’s fallen head over heels for her. He just hopes that he’s strong enough to protect what they have from all the pressures and temptations of the outside world.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

About Heidi McLaughlin

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, JiLL and her brother, Racicot.

When she isn't writing one of the many stories planned for release, you'll find her sitting court-side during either daughter's basketball games

Heidi's first novel, Forever My Girl, is currently in production to be a major motion picture.
NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

St. Martin's Press Holiday Romance Blitz

Like it or not, winter is coming.  While I hate shivering through a Chicago winter, I LOVE holiday romance.  I adore all the sappy holiday movies - Hallmark, Lifetime, ABCFamily - I will watch them all.  And the books, oh, the holiday romance books!  Don't get me started!  Those who know me find this especially hilarious - I'm not exactly prone to emotions and drama, but I love them in the holiday books and movies.  

This is why I am so excited about the St. Martin's Press holiday line-up all!  Check out the lovely, lovely books (and seriously, who doesn't want to read Big Package?)!  If you're a big holiday romance sap like me, check out the fantastic offerings SMP has in store for us!

I'm also thrilled that we got the SMP authors to give us a little Q&A about their favorite things, holiday style, combining three of the BiblioJunkies' favorite things!  There's a lot of info coming at you, but it will be worth it!  


Our first question for the SMP authors - what is your favorite holiday book?  

Ruth Logan Herne
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (I cry every time!!!)

Donna Alward
Twas the Night Before Christmas, because we still read it every year even though the kids are grown!

Laura Trentham
I've read Pete the Cat Saves Christmas about a hundred times since last Christmas to my daughter. I can recite the book, and I've even dreamed about it.

Nancy Naigle
I love all of those specialty shape hard cover Christmas books. I reread them every year. My favorite? Debbie Macomber's "There's Something About Christmas"

Margaret Brownley
The Night Before Christmas brings back happy memories of when the children were young and my husband read the story to us on Christmas Eve.

Tara Wyatt
The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone. Emotional, moving story, beautiful setting, steamy sex, all set against the perfect Christmas backdrop.
Opal Carew
Can I say my own? Big Package, although the title is tongue in cheek, is funny and heart-warming, and a very poignant love story, as well as being sizzling hot! The fact that it takes place in a Canadian blizzard while the hero and heroine are driving to Ottawa (my city!) makes it all that much more special to me.
Emily March
'Twas the Night Before Christmas was magical to me as a child. It still is.

Melissa Cutler
Impossible to pick just one

Next up - what is your favorite holiday movie?  

Ruth Logan Herne
It's a Wonderful Life

Donna Alward
White Christmas

Laura Trentham
I love Elf. It's hilarious and heartwarming. But the season can't pass with at least one family viewing of Christmas Vacation. Cousin Eddie is the best! Sometimes I'm in the mood for a classic like Miracle on 34th Street (with Maureen O'Hara, of course!) or It's a Wonderful Life.

Nancy Naigle
Oh gosh! My favorite Holiday Movie is pretty much the last Hallmark movie I just finished watching. I'm a Hallmark Movie junkie, and I'm proud of it! My favorite holiday show not including Hallmark is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. When the Abominable Snowman knocks poor Rudolph on the head and his eyes going rolling around .... you know the scene...I still cry. Poor Clarice.

Margaret Brownley
This is a hard one since there are so many good ones.  The movie I wasn't prepared to like as much as I did was Elf.

Tara Wyatt
A Christmas Story. I'd never seen it growing up, and the first Christmas we were dating, my now husband introduced me to it. It had always been one of his favorites, and he was excited to watch it with me. We have a tradition of watching it together at least once in the days leading up to Christmas now.

Opal Carew
It's a tie between White Christmas and Holiday Inn. I know they’re really old, but I used to watch them with my mum when we wrapped Christmas presents together, so it keeps those wonderful childhood memories with me, which is so nice since neither of my parents are with us anymore.
Emily March
It's a toss-up between It's a Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation.

Melissa Cutler
Die Hard (hehe)

Mandy Baxter
The Holiday. I watch it whenever it's on. I'm obsessed with Jude Law in that movie!

And rounding out our BiblioJunkies obsessions - what is your favorite holiday food?  

Ruth Logan Herne
We've got a great eggnog pie recipe, it's positively decadent! Here's the link to our cooking with the authors website "The Yankee Belle Cafe". pie

Donna Alward
Savory or sweet? There's a Chocolate Chip Cheeseball recipe I got from Debbie Macomber's site that I've modified that I love (plus: cookies!), and for savory, I make sausage-stuffed mushrooms that are easy and so tasty!

Laura Trentham
Broccoli Salad
My go-to potluck I make it every holiday. Basically whenever I can get away with it, because it is SO good.

2 bunches of broccoli, chopped
1/2 lbs cooked bacon, crumbled (I use the pouches of bacon bit to avoid the mess of cooking bacon)
1/2 med red onion, diced
1/2 cup golden or brown raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup Mayo (Duke's, of course:)
2T white vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup white sugar

Mix together broccoli, onion, raisins, sunflower seeds. In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, vinegar, and sugar and pour over salad. Mix gently. Chill for several hours or overnight to blend flavors. (This isn't mandatory, but does improve the taste). Just before serving, add bacon and cheese.

Nancy Naigle
I did these videos last year while watching the Hallmark Movie~THE NOTE. Kelsey Browning and I co-author a fun southern cozy series called The Granny Series.   There is a clip of her and then one of me in each of these fine uncut - unedited raw videos.  The recipe for FaLaLa-LaLa-La Bon Bons is available as a PDF on my website  I also have two recipe cards printed up for cookies from my book, CHRISTMAS JOY.  I can send those to you if you'd like! I'll be posting them on my website as a free download after the book releases.

Margaret Brownley
Our Christmas dinner is five star dining at its best. That's because my son-in-law is an executive chef and he treats us every year to prime rib with all the trimmings.  I never ask for recipes because then I might be tempted to try them. 

Tara Wyatt
My mom's shortbread. Hands down. It tastes like Christmas and home the way nothing else does.

Opal Carew
Turkey (dark meat) and stuffing. Mmm. Unfortunately, now that I’m following the Paleo diet, making a stuffing I can eat is a challenge!
Emily March
I find a new favorite every year in the recipe exchange cookbook I put together from recipes sent in by my readers. Watch my Facebook page or join my mailing list for info on how to get your copy!

Melissa Cutler
My grandmother makes the best fruit cake from scratch, and that's no joke. I would share the recipe, but when I make it, it never turns out like Grandma's, because she must put some secret ingredients in hers.

Mandy Baxter
My all time favorite holiday food is stuffing at Thanksgiving. Carbs be damned!

Nancy Naigle – Christmas Joy
USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Her books include Sweet Tea and SecretsMint Juleps and Justice, and Christmas Joy.
Twitter: @nancynaigle

Laura Trentham – Candy Cane Christmas
LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance including Caught Up in the Touch, Kiss Me That Way, and others. She is a member of RWA, and has finaled multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.
Twitter: @LauraTrentham

Margaret Brownley – Do You Hear What I Hear?
MARGARET BROWNLEY is a New York Times bestselling author and past Romance Writers of America RITA finalist with more than 30 novels to her credit. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence. Margaret and her husband have three grown children and live in Southern California.
Twitter: @margaretbrownly

Melissa Cutler – If Santa Were a Cowboy
Melissa Cutler is the author of The Mistletoe Effect and the One and Only Texas series. She knows she has the best job in the world writing sexy contemporary romances and romantic suspense. She was struck at an early age for an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she's not globetrotting, she's enjoying Southern California's flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.
Twitter: @m_cutler

Mandy Baxter – It Must Be Christmas
MANDY BAXTER lives in rural Idaho. She's a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshiper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. In the summer, she can be found sitting by the lake, enjoying the view from her dock.
Twitter: @MandyJBaxter

Donna Alward – It Must Be Christmas
While bestselling author DONNA ALWARD was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!

Emily March – Christmas in Eternity Springs
EMILY MARCH is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a "master of delightful banter," and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeƱo relish has made her a tailgating legend.
Twitter: @emilymarchbooks

Tara Wyatt – When Snowflakes Fall & Like Fresh Fallen Snow
TARA WYATT is a contemporary romance and romantic suspense author. Known for her humor and steamy love scenes, Tara’s writing has won several awards, including the Unpublished Winter Rose, the Linda Howard Award of Excellence, and the Heart of the West. A librarian by day and romance writer by night, Tara lives in Hamilton, Ontario with the world's cutest dog and a husband who makes all of her heroes look like chumps. Find her on Twitter @taradwyatt. She'd love to hear from you!
Twitter: @taradwyatt

Mary Connealy – Room at the Inn for Christmas
MARY CONNEALY writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is also a bestselling author of full-length book series including: Wild at Heart, Trouble in Texas, Kincaid Brides, Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters. Mary is a Rita and Christy Award finalist and a two time winner of the Carol Award. Mary is the author of 17 novellas besides her 28 trade fiction books.
Twitter: @MaryConnealy

Ruth Logan Herne – Silent Night, Star-Lit Night
Multi-published, best-selling author RUTH LOGAN HERNE likes nothing better than writing stories that warm the heart and ease the troubled soul. The author of more than fifteen Love Inspired contemporary novels, the “Double S Ranch” trilogy with PRH/Waterbrook and inspiring women’s fiction for Franciscan Media, Ruth has also become proficient in writing successful novellas for Zondervan, Summerside Press and several highly acclaimed novellas for the independent ebook market. Equally at home writing about small town folks or delving into the heart of big city neighborhoods, Ruthy lives on a farm in upstate New York, one of the snow-belt capitals of the world with her family, farm animals and pets.
Twitter: @RuthLoganHerne

For more info, check out SMP's website @

I don't know about you, but my holiday TBR just got a whole lot bigger!  Happy reading!

~ Shel

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Peek In The BiblioBin #221

Photo source: Bel/Bibliojunkies

Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the folks at Tynga's ReviewsIt's a way for bloggers to share what books they've won, received for review, purchased, borrowed from the library or friend, received as a gift, grabbed off the bookshelf, etc.

What's in your bin?

+  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +
For Review:

Tru Smoke (Ember Peak #1) by Edie Danford

Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) by Annabeth Albert


Three Simple Words (Kingston Ale House #3) by A.J. Pine

Brave (And Other Things I'll Never Be) by Seth King

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hold My Breath by Ginger Scott Cover Reveal

Is it hot in here??? Check out the cover of HOLD MY BREATH by Ginger Scott!

NA Contemporary Romance-Stand Alone
Scheduled to release: November 18, 2016


iBook     I     Kobo     I     BN 


Fractions of seconds can do lots of damage. One decision can ruin lives. A blink can be tragic. And loving a Hollister…can hurt like hell.

I would know.

They say the average person can hold their breath under water for two full minutes when pushed to the extremes. Will Hollister has been holding his for years. The oldest of two elite swimming brothers, Will was always a dominant force in the water. But in life, he preferred to let his younger
brother Evan be the one to shine.

Evan got the girl, and Will…he got to bury all of the secrets. A brother’s burden, the weight of it all nearly left him to drown.

The daughter of two Olympians, my path was set the day my fingertips first touched water. My future was as crystal clear as the lane I dominated in the pool—swim hard, win big, love a Hollister.

My life with Evan burned bright. He gave me arms to come home to, and a smile that fooled the world into believing everything was perfect. But it was Will who pushed me. Will…who really knew me.

And when all of the pieces fell, it was Will who started to pick them up.

In the end, the only thing that matters are those few precious seconds—and what we decide to do while we still have them in our grasp.


The song breaks for a guitar solo, and I count the seconds, knowing that she’s going to slip away the moment everyone in here begins to clap. I won’t ask her to dance again. I won’t torture myself or push my luck. But I’ll remember this. As bad of an idea as it is, I’m glad I did it. So many painful memories woven into this place, I needed this one good one. 
It might just be the best memory I have out of everything in my life. I feel her shift in my arms, and when I pull away slightly, Maddy’s chin pushes into the center of my chest, her eyes blinking slowly while she looks up at me. Two shots and a beer are about to talk to me right now. I smile softly and nod.
“That was a much better dance,” she says.
I chuckle, tilting my head back to laugh before bringing it forward slowly, resting my brow against hers. My eyes look down at the curve of her lips, lower at the line of her jaw, and even lower at the swell of her breast under the soft black cotton of her dress. A heavy breath escapes me.
“I make you nervous?” she asks.
I don’t answer right away, instead closing my eyes and swallowing again.
I don’t even care if she can feel it. I drag my hands up her body to her neck until I’m cradling her head in my palms, my fingertips flirting with her hair along her neck and my thumbs caressing her jawline. 
“That’s what you said…before. You said you didn’t dance well because I make you nervous,” she says, her words coming out slow and sleepy.
My mouth smiles against the top of her head, and I give in, opening it enough to press a kiss against her, hoping only the strangers are our witness.
“Yes, Maddy. That’s right,” I say. “You make me incredibly nervous.”

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams and The Hard Count.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Social Media Links:

Facebook Page     I     Twitter     I     Pinterest     I     YouTube

Google     I     Goodreads     I     Website 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Honor by Jay Crownover Release Week Blitz


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jay Crownover returns with her most complicated hero yet, in the first book in the romantic suspense series The Breaking Point.


Don’t be fooled.

Don’t make excuses for me.

I am not a good man.

I’ve seen things no one should, done things no one should talk about. Honor and conscience have no place in my life. But I’ve fought and I’ve survived. I’ve had to.

The first time I saw her dancing on that seedy stage in that second rate club, I felt my heart pulse for the first time. Keelyn Foster was too young, too vibrant for this place, and I knew in an instant that I would make her mine. But first I had to climb my way to the top. I had to have something more to offer her.

I’m here now, money is no object and I have no equal. Except for her. She’s disappeared. But don’t worry, I will find her and claim her. She will be mine.

Like I said, don’t be fooled. I am not the devil in disguise… I’m the one standing front and center.

Order HONOR in ebook or paperback, releasing 10/18/16

Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon Australia

Add to your Goodreads


About Jay Crownover: Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point,and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.      

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Monday, October 17, 2016

More than Friends by Monica Murphy Cover Reveal

More Than Friends FOR WEB.jpg

More than Friends by Monica Murphy

Release Date: November 14th, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Romance Cover Designer: Hang Le


He's not perfect, but he's all I want... I’m your average girl at your average high school, trying to figure out my place in life. After catching my now ex-boyfriend messing around with my now ex-best friend, I’ve made some big changes. No more band, no more backstabbing friends and no more boring old life. Now I have new friends, a new job and new interests. But there’s a certain someone who’s interested in me, and I don’t get it. Jordan Tuttle could have anyone he wants. He’s the most popular boy in school. Rich, gorgeous, smart and the star quarterback, he’s perfect. Yet he acts like he wants no one else but…me. So despite my fears and doubt, I let him get close. Probably too close. I discover that he’s not so perfect after all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m falling for him, even though he runs so hot and cold. I know someday he’s going to break my heart. And I’m going to let him. More-Than-Friends-PRINT-FOR-WEB.jpg

Add to Goodreads

Preorder exclusively on iBooks

Read the prologue, One Night Free on All platforms or on Wattpad:

About the Author:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she's not writing, she's reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She's a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Connect with Monica: