Monday, March 31, 2014

If Only by A.J. Pine - Blog Tour - Excerpt & Giveaway

We are thrilled to be part of the If Only Blog Tour!  How can the three of us resist a story about books, boys and Scotland?  That's right.  We CAN'T!

Keep reading for an EXCERPT from If Only as well as a chance to win an awesome If Only Swag Pack!

Title: IF ONLY
Author: A.J. Pine
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Pub. Date: March 24, 2014
Pages: 342
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.

It's been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it's been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.

Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.

Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.

About A.J.:
AJ writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend those hearts with a happily ever after…maybe. The first book she wrote was YA, but now she’s two-timing her first love Pine4BWwith NA. She’s always in the middle of reading two to three books, adores online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes), and she still loves vampires, whether it’s Eric Northman or the Salvatore brothers. When she’s not writing, AJ is sneaking off to her day job as a high school English teacher or hanging with her husband and kids in the Chicago burbs.

AJ’s debut NA novel, IF ONLY, releases with Entangled’s Embrace line on March 24!

Representation: Courtney Miller-Callihan at SJGA.



I grab Fitzgerald’s masterpiece from his hand and appraise its worn edges and spine. The pages are dog-eared and filled with highlighted lines and annotations. I read a few of his handwritten notes, which illustrate passionate understanding of the characters and an undisguised zeal for the work.

“This is not the work of a guy who is preparing, a year in advance I might say, to teach this book. You love this book.”

His grin widens, and I struggle for air at the sight of it, not just because of its beauty but because of what put it there in the first place—a book.

“You caught me.”

I do the only thing I can do and hop on the nerd train. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” British literature is my passion, but I’ll never forget reading The Great Gatsby, nor will I ever apologize for memorizing and reciting my favorite lines of books.

“Impressive,” he remarks, and all signs of Noah’s unease dissolve with that one word. He holds my gaze, and his smile meets his eyes. I want to look away now not because of our bumbling introduction but because it’s too much. But I can’t do it. I’m trapped.

“It’s the only book I remember from high school, the only one that moved me to tears. That last line? The futility of all Gatsby tried to do to prove himself to the woman he loved? He was never able to escape his past or the boy he was when he first met Daisy. What he tried to do, it was ridiculous, insane, and at the same time altogether lovely. But it was for nothing.”

My voice catches at the memory of finishing the book for the first time, of realizing that no matter how hard you try, life doesn’t always have a happy ending.

Something shifts in his gaze, and Noah pulls the book from my hand, laying it on the floor between us. His hand returns to rest on my cheek, and before I have time to process what he’s doing, his lips sweep against mine. For a few seconds I rationalize that I imagined it because things like this don’t happen to me. Guys don’t ask me to inscribe my number on their hands, and they certainly don’t kiss me minutes after we meet. But the train coasts smoothly on the tracks, so his palm on my face, drawing me to him, is no act of turbulence. I freeze, unable to kiss him back yet not daring to pull away. Thoughts of Griffin, of a fairy-tale year, disintegrate into this moment. For the first time I believe it. Now is all that matters. And right now, Noah’s lips cover mine again. The first kiss was a question, but now he possesses a sureness betraying his initial reticence. And that scent, the reason I could have stayed buried in his chest on our first meeting, intoxicates me. My shock quickly melts, and so do I, falling against him in a kiss so gentle, so delicious. This kiss is an answer. 


Visit these other stops on the tour for Interviews, Guest Posts and OTHER EXCERPTS! 

Week One:
3/24/2014- Auggie-TalkReview
3/24/2014- Ticket to AnywhereGuest Post
3/25/2014- Taking It One Book at a TimeReview
3/25/2014- Curling Up With A Good Book- Excerpt
3/26/2014- Kate's Tales of Books and BandsGuest Post
3/27/2014- Lovin' Los LibrosReview
3/27/2014- FicWishesGuest Post
3/28/2014- Reviews By MollyReview
3/28/2014- YA Story Teller- Interview

Week Two:
3/31/2014- BibliojunkiesExcerpt
4/1/2014- LeAnn's Book ReviewsReview
4/1/2014- Step Into FictionExcerpt
4/2/2014- The Phantom ParagrapherReview
4/3/2014- Books and SwoonsReview
4/3/2014- Creating SerenityGuest Post
4/4/2014- Kindle and MeReview
4/4/2014- Burning Impossibly BrightGuest Post

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Friday, March 28, 2014

The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg


Nicolas Fox is an international con man, famous for running elaborate scams on very rich and powerful people.  He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail for years - particularly FBI Special Agent Kate O'Hare.  But just when it seems that Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: He convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with O'Hare.  

Their first assignment takes them to the side streets of Berlin, the California desert, and remote Indonesian islands as they team up to catch Derek Griffin, a corrupt investment banker charged with stealing millions from his clients.  Finding Griffin on his private island is going to test O'Hare's patience and Fox's skill.  High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bare are all in a day's work... if O'Hare and Fox don't kill each other first.

Fans of Stephanie Plum may be in for a bit of a shock with this series.  It definitely has hints of Stephanie's ridiculous hilarity, but O'Hare and Fox are definitely more put together than Stephanie and Lula when they go to work.  There are plenty of laughs, imaginative cons, a fascinating story, but The Heist lacks the heat and romance of a Plum novel.  This is definitely more mystery than romance and it works.  It's sort of a more con-based White Collar.

For a fun mystery, I definitely recommend The Heist.  


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley Release Week Blitz

We are thrilled to help Kristen Ashley celebrate the release of Fire Inside!  Check out the excerpt below and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Hop came out of the bathroom to see Lanie on her feet on the other side of the bed, panties on, hands twisted behind her back putting her bra on. Again.

He didn’t say a word. He prowled to her, reached out an arm the second he was close, yanked her to him and fell to his back in the bed, taking her down with him.

“Hop—” she started, pushing her weight against his arms, but he slid her off him then wasted no time rolling over her and pinning her to his bed.

“Sleep,” he ordered when he caught her eyes in the weak dawn. “After rest, I’ll get coffee, we’ll juice up, then round four.”

She blinked and breathed, “Four?”

“Got lots more I want to do to you,” he informed her and watched her eyes go soft, sexier, then her teeth came out to graze her lush lower lip, also fucking sexy, and her arms slid around him.

But she asked, “What about Tack and Ty-Ty?”

“I’ll make sure the coast is clear,” he told her.

“But they’ll see my car,” she told him.

“I’ll move it,” he offered.

Her hand slid up his back, around his shoulder, and then to his neck where her thumb moved to stroke him.

Her touch was light but, fuck, it felt good. He’d never had a woman touch him in an unconscious way like that, just a touch, a stroke, giving something that meant nothing at the same time doing it without thinking about it meant everything.



“This is just supposed to be one night,” she reminded him quietly, but he saw it in her eyes. She didn’t even try to hide it. She’d bitten off more than she could chew.

He had too and he was nowhere near done eating.

She was cute. She was sweet. She was hot. She was better than he expected and he’d expected her to be pretty fucking good. All that wrapped in a package that gorgeous?


He was nowhere near done eating.

“Change of plans. A night and a morning and, maybe, an afternoon and, possibly, another night,” he amended, and her eyes got softer as her hand slid up to cup his jaw.

“I have to work,” she told him.

“Call off,” he told her.

“I can’t. I own the joint.” She explained something he knew, that she ran her own advertising agency. “And things are a bit crazy.”

Things were always crazy for Lanie. The woman lived crazy. She thrived on it. If there wasn’t crazy, she stirred it up because she couldn’t breathe without it.

“Babe,” he pressed his body into hers, “told you, got more I want to do to you.”


~Shel, Bel & Nat

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Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

* * *

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Despite the rather unbelievable premise, Being Sloane Jacobs was quite fun and I couldn't help but fall for it while reading it during the Winter Olympics.

It took a little bit to buy into them trading places and adapting easily to each other’s lives. They're from opposite backgrounds with contrary dispositions, there was no telling which way this would go. I think I spent half the time convincing myself to go with it and the other half worried about how and when their ruse would be discovered. At some point, I ended up being more concerned with what the two Sloanes were mentally working through than all the other stuff.

Essentially, they’re both overwhelmed and exhausted by their own lives. They’re expected to behave a certain way, deliver certain results and follow a pre-destined path towards glory. Seems impressive on paper but when real life intrudes and shakes their faith in themselves and their respective families, suddenly all that they’ve been working towards has become unbearable. So trading spots isn’t such a bad idea after all. It’s a mental vacation from their lives and a chance for some breathing space. This break is exactly what they need to get their heads sorted out. As the weeks go by, they meet new friends (and enemies), learn challenging new repertoires, engage in some out-of-character high jinx and of course, there are boys involved. They eventually have to return to reality but by then they come to terms with what they have and face head on their fears and anxieties over their futures.

All in all, Being Sloane Jacobs is cute with a side of mischief – just enough to sweeten your day!

~ Bel

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (97)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

Breakable (Contours of the Heart, #2)

By Tammara Webber
Publication Date: May 6, 2014

He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

After the End (After the End, #1)By Amy Plum
Publication Date: May 6, 2014

She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Second Chance Boyfriend by Monica Murphy

From Random House:

Lost.  Everything in my life can be summed up by that one sickening word.  My football coach blames me for our season-ending losses.  So does the rest of the team.  I wasted two whole months drowning in my own despair, like a complete loser.  And I lost my girlfriend - Fable Maguire, the only girl who ever mattered - because I was afraid that being with me would only hurt her.

But now I realize that I'm the one who's truly lost without her.  And even though she acts like she's moved on and everything's fine, I know she still thinks about me just as much as I think about her.  I know her too well.  She's so damn vulnerable, all I want to do is be there to help hold love her.

I just need her to give me one more chance.  We may be lost without each other, but together, we're destined to find a love that lasts forever.  

I was really happy that Fable and Drew got a second chance.  They are both such damaged characters, but they are good for one another.  One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend both deal with serious issues of sexual abuse, neglect, and people with a complete lack of self-esteem.  At times the books can be difficult to read because of the issues, but the overall story is one of survival, hope, acceptance and love.  

I enjoyed Second Chance Boyfriend and opportunity for Fable and Drew to get it right this time.  For a big, bad football star, Drew is remarkably romantic and sweet.  Fable is all sarcastic tough-girl.  The combination makes a good read.

The next in the series is Three Broken Promises.  Can't wait to share my thoughts with you all!


Hard to Handle by Jessica Lemmon Launch Day Blitz & Giveaway!

Jessica Lemmon has a new read for us!  Check out the info below and don't forget to enter the giveaway.

Once Burned

Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once - but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away.  Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart.  Yet suddenly she's bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body.  Now she can't resist finishing what they started - as long as she doesn't let herself fall in love...

Twice as Tempting

Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he's determined to win back the woman he's always wanted.  Sadie agrees to let him into her life - and her bed - as long as there are no strings attached.  But Aiden's not about to make the same mistake again.  Can he convince her to take a second change on a once-in-a-lifetime love?

About Jessica Lemmon:
Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer.  At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking childish, went out, and got herself a job... and then she got another one because that one was lousy.  And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another... and another.  Soon it became apparent she'd only be truly happy doing what she loved.  And since "eating potato chips" isn't a viable career, she opted to become a writer.  With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she'd started years prior, finished it, and submitted it.  It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn't stop her from writing another one.  Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch) and she couldn't be happier.  She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.  (While eating potato chips.)

Social Media:

And check out this excerpt - 

“Sadie!” He caught her easily, snagging her elbow and pulling her into the one of the open, unoccupied rooms along the hallway. The room was dark, the only light came from the hall and sliced across the floor at an arc. Aiden steered her behind the open door, out of sight from any passersby.

He released her arm. She wouldn’t look at him. “Sadie.”

It took every drop of her dwindling courage, but she finally lifted her eyes to his.

“That’s it?” he asked, his mouth a grim line.

She blinked at him, feeling a flash of fear and regret that soon morphed into anger. “You asked, I said no,” she said, her voice shaking.

“Actually, you said you were sorry.”

She sighed. “I am.” Because she couldn’t marry Aiden. She couldn’t marry anyone. She was a hopeless wreck where men were concerned and—

“So my only options are to take you to bed or lose you forever?”

She blinked at him. “Are you quoting Top Gun?”

“Maybe.” The corner of her lip tipped into a cautious smile. “Are those my only options?” he asked, his voice quiet.

“I can’t marry you, Aiden,” she whispered, closing her eyes so she wouldn’t have to look at the disappointment swimming in his.

She felt his hand caress her shoulder and a moment later was enveloped in heat as he stepped into her comfort zone. Only, when Aiden was in it, she felt more comfortable, not less.

“Okay,” he said, stroking her face.

She opened her eyes.

“You win.”

His eyes held no clue as to what he meant by that. “What?”

“Did you mean it when you asked me to take you to bed tonight?”

Her heart slammed into third gear. He wasn’t serious…was he? She made the mistake of challenging how serious he was moments ago. She’d been dead wrong. Now he was suggesting…oh. Wow. But that was before…before he’d proposed to her. Before he’d forced her into a tight, dark corner where she couldn’t breathe. “Aiden—”

“I want you to ask me again.” He walked her one step backward. Then two. She allowed him to advance until her butt bumped against the wall.

She shook her head, but there was no conviction in it.

“Ask me again,” he repeated, looking scarily serious. His hands were heating her hips through the material of her dress. He kept his stormy eyes on hers, refusing to allow her to escape. “But only if you still want me.”

Her breaths came in short pants. “I do.”

“Then ask.”

When he was this close, she couldn’t fight. But maybe…maybe she didn’t want to fight. Not about this. She wanted him; she hadn’t lied about that. And he’d be worth it, she knew. 

Being with Aiden here, or anywhere, would be better than going home alone and reliving the pain of turning him down. But Aiden wasn’t arguing about his proposal. Which made this decision that much easier.

Sadie licked her lips, took a breath, and asked the damn question. “Will you…take me to bed?”

His hold tightened on her hips. “Yes” came his gravelly response. “To bed.” He kissed her lips. “To your car.” He kissed her neck. “Up against this wall.” He leaned into her body, his erection pressing firmly against her belly.

Last but not least - enter the giveaway:

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The Shadow Prince Release Day Party

Today is release day for THE SHADOW PRINCE by Stacey O'Neale! Help us celebrate the release of this amazing novella and enter to win a 
$50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!

Available for FREE on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Also available in PRINT from Amazon

Every sacrifice has consequences.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Author Bio

Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.
Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.
Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Peek In The BiblioBin #95

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 lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Liberator (Dante Walker #2) by Victoria Scott

* * * *

Bad boy, meet bad girl.

Dante has a shiny new cuff wrapped around his ankle, and he doesn't like that mess one bit. His new accessory comes straight from Big Guy himself and marks the former demon as a liberator. Despite his gritty past and bad boy ways, Dante Walker has been granted a second chance.

When Dante is given his first mission as a liberator to save the soul of seventeen-year-old Aspen, he knows he’s got this. But Aspen reminds him of the rebellious life he used to live and is making it difficult to resist sinful temptations. Though Dante is committed to living clean for his girlfriend Charlie, this dude’s been a playboy for far too long…and old demons die hard.

With Charlie becoming the girl she was never able to be pre-makeover and Aspen showing him how delicious it feels to embrace his inner beast, Dante will have to go somewhere he never thought he’d return to in order to accomplish the impossible: save the girl he’s been assigned to, and keep the girl he loves.

Seriously, why do I love the bad boys so? And this bad boy in particular is such a prize, it’s remarkable I don’t want to punch him in the face. But it’s Dante, and Dante gets away with it because even though he’s a certifiable ego maniac, shallow and overbearing at times, he owns it and manages to surprise us at the same time. Yeah, he’s special.

Dante is now in the very unfamiliar and uncomfortable role as Liberator, working for the good guys now as opposed to being a Collector and working for the underworld camp. It’s like he’s entered bizzaro world and he can barely recognize himself. He’s constantly reminding himself that he IS one of the Good Guys and that he should shed his notorious past but he’s unable to let it go. He feels like a poser essentially. His new assignment to liberate a teenager in Colorado means taking him away from Charlie, the girl whose soul he was previously assigned to take. Who would have thought that Dante could be whipped? Charlie keeps him in check and encourages him to fulfill his assignment and return to her.

It’s not that easy of course. Aspen is rough, very rough around the edges and Dante’s usual charms don’t work on her. Still he manages to infiltrate her social circle and winds up caring about this lost girl. He has no clue as to her importance to the good guys or that somehow she and Charlie are connected. When the worlds collide and the Collectors send their minions after Dante and company, Dante takes a stand not just to protect the girl he loves but also for what’s right.

Dante has come a long way. This continues to be about his story and it's told in his singular voice. Because of this, Charlie feels a bit distant which is what I struggled with slightly with The Collector. However, this time around it didn’t bother me at all because I enjoyed being inside Dante’s head. He’s so full of bravado, incredibly amusing, even making his own eyes roll at his antics. He’s definitely no angel and he has no pretensions to that end.  But he’s evolving into a better man - that fact is alarming to him but endearing to the reader. Despite his deep love for Charlie and his belief in her purpose, there’s a small part of him that feels unworthy of her and of his own redemption. It’s only when he’s finally forced to confront his personal demon that he can be liberated. 

The Dante Walker series is simply fantastic. It has a different pulse that I just can’t get enough of. Just the very first sentence in The Liberator had me all giddy and excited again. It’s hard not to fall for Dante and his ridiculous persona. I think what draws me to the books and to him especially is that every thought in his head and everything he says is honest – even the cringe-worthy, socially incorrect remarks. He can’t help who he is and now that he has figured out who he is becoming, I am eager, no wait, chomping at the bit to read The Warrior that comes out this May.

~ Bel

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Winger (Winger #1) by Andrew Smith

* * * * *

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

I’ve seen this book around and was both intrigued and grossed out by the cover.  I mean who wants to stare at a bloody nose? But once again, if I’m at the library and it’s in front of me, I go for it. And boy, what a story this turned out to be!

It took me a couple of chapters to get into Winger and once I did, I just had a blast with his fourteen year-old sense of humor and wit. This kid is hilarious and smart! Every time he quipped about what a loser he was, I could honestly hear the disdain and resignation in his voice. He is such a hapless, awkward hero and it’s most glaringly apparent when he’s around his crush, Annie. His inner monologues are ridiculous. When he’s assigned to room with Chas, one of the meathead teammates from his rugby team, even he’s surprised that he hasn’t been beaten to a pulp yet. The two of them form a shaky and unlikely friendship based on poker, beer and taunts.

What makes Winger enjoyable is that Ryan Dean is essentially an "every kid" going through those rough and awkward stages of growing up: puberty, girls, being one of the guys. In his case, the horrors are magnified because he’s in 11th grade. Being the youngest gives him a slight disadvantage when it comes to his love life, but you’d never realize it seeing how his other friends treat him. Ryan Dean ends up bonding with his fellow teammates, guys he is either been intimidated by or thought would have no interest being friends with him. His confidence grows both on and off the field as does his own awareness of the people and relationships around him. His teammate Joey, who is becoming his best friend, happens to be gay, and many times Ryan Dean acknowledges that Joey’s “gayness” does not affect him. I fully appreciated his introspective observations about the relationships surrounding him, sorting out for himself how he feels about all his friends and all the changes they’re experiencing. As read it, I kept thinking how I hope when my son gets to that age, that he can be as bright and true to himself as Ryan Dean. I also kept thinking, wow, boys are such perverts. Yeah, I realize those two thoughts cancel each other out!

The unexpected and life-shattering event that occurs has a very somber affect throughout the remainder of the book.  I was too blindsided and stunned to even absorb the rest of what was happening. I had a restless night’s sleep after I’d read it and each time I tossed and turned I remember wondering if that really happened. Sure enough, it did. I re-read that brief chapter again, willing so desperately for it to be different. Once I accepted it (unwillingly), I went through the rest of the chapters a couple of times, but I could not escape that feeling of being punched in the gut.

I cannot express enough how much I love this book. Five stars is our highest rating and I wish I could give it an entire cluster. This is my favourite kind of discovery, where you grab a book without suspecting in the least that it will impact you significantly. Winger is a profound journey through the ups and downs of growing up, changing relationships, endless embarrassing moments (oh just wait til you get to the Spongebob bandaid story) and loyalty among friends, making it a strong contender for my Top 10 of 2014.

~ Bel

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (96)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

The Last Best KissBy Claire LaZebnik
Publication Date:  April 22, 2014

Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

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

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.

Don't Call Me BabyBy Gwendolyn Heasley
Publication Date:  April 22, 2014

All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.

Imogene's mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene's crush saw her "before and after" orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.

When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online...until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she's been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.

Don't Call Me Baby is a sharply observed and irrepressibly charming story about mothers and daughters, best friends and first crushes, and the surface-level identities we show the world online and the truth you can see only in real life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Darkside Sun Blog Tour, Guest Post & Giveaway

We are very excited to be included in the Darkside Sun Blog Tour! Darkside Sun is the first in the Mortal Machine Trilogy and we're looking forward to digging into this. Seriously, look at this cover - it's beautiful! 

The dead have been waiting for her…

Addison Beckett tries hard to pretend she’s normal, but she’s far from it. Since she was six years old, she’s seen the world around her unraveling, as if someone is pulling a thread from a sweater and it’s all slowly coming undone. When she ignores it, it goes away, so that’s what she does.

Enter her arrogant-but-hot professor Asher Green. He knows all about her special brand of crazy. In fact, he might be just as nuts as she is. Asher insists that the dead from a parallel dimension are trying to possess the living in this one. And since Addison seems to be the only one who can see these “wraiths,” she just might be the key to saving the world.

Addison wants nothing to do with Asher or his secret society, The Mortal Machine. But as their animosity grows, she finds it harder and harder to ignore the chemistry between them. And when she discovers that Machine laws forbid her from touching him, she realizes that’s all she wants to do.

Stop the wraiths. Break the rules. Save the world. All in a day’s work.

Normal was overrated, anyway. 

You know, it's always exciting to pick up a new book and just be transported to a new world. I'm always in awe of how an author can do that. What's the inspiration? When did that precise moment happen? What's their initial reaction when they happen upon an idea? I'm always looking for a backstory. So when I was reading up about Jocelyn Adams, I noticed how she writes paranormal romances and that intrigued me. And Jocelyn was kind enough to share with us what draws her to the paranormal. 

"My dreams, both the kind that make me sigh in the daytime, and the ones that haunt me at night, have always had dark undertones. I can’t really pinpoint why, because I had a peaceful childhood growing up a farmer’s daughter. Maybe my life lacked danger and adventure? I had my share of that as most farm kids do, but maybe it wasn’t the right kind of excitement for my colorful mind? Could be.
I didn’t grow up knowing I’d be a writer. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me to try until I picked up a certain book series a friend recommended to me a few years ago. Paranormal romance so hot I had to wipe the steam out of my glasses after every chapter. Dark and risky scenarios. Fantasy elements I hadn’t dared to dream up myself. Unusual characters who could do awesome things.
I was hooked, utterly and completely, to the point I felt withdrawal after I’d turned the last page of the series. I’d found my genre, and the passion those books stirred in me drove me to write my own, so the story would never have to end if I didn’t want it to.
Real life can be fantastic and unbelievable at times, but as an author, staying within the lines of reality comes with too many chains for me.
Writing fantasy has almost no limits. I can defy gravity, create buildings that live and breathe, make readers believe a bossy ancient vampire in a kilt could fall for a prim and proper earth elemental. Anything I can dream, I can form into a story in a world of my own design. It’s the ultimate freedom. I love what I do, and the best reward is taking readers along for the ride.
What’s your favorite paranormal romance series? I’m always looking for my next great read."

About Jocelyn:
Jocelyn Adams lives in the Muskoka region of Ontario with her high school sweetheart and young daughter.  She writes dark, romantic fantasy, is a wife, mother, blogger, carbaholic, and a former IT geek.

Find her Young Adult-friendly persona here.

Now everyone's favourite part -- the giveaway! Enter below for your chance to win 1 $25.00 gift card from Amazon or B & N (winner’s choice), Sun charm necklace, and a Signed bookmark. Sweet! 

Finally, a big shout out to Rockstar Book Tours for arranging this tour and inviting us for the ride. Check out the other stops on the tour listed below. Happy Reading folks!

~ Bel

3/17/2014- Shortie Says                
3/18/2014- Reese's Reviews
3/18/2014- BiblioJunkies
3/19/2014- Fade Into Fantasy
3/21/2014- The Cover Contessa

3/24/2014- Book Club Sisters
3/25/2014- Parajunkee's View
3/26/2014- As the page turns
3/27/2014- Wonderful Monster
3/28/2014- Talking Books Blog

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Peek In The BiblioBin #94

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 lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.