30 Mar 2019

Stacking the Shelves (11): March 30, 2019

30 March 3 Comments
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!
I need to get back on track in blogging. I know I have been posting on schedule, but it feels like I'm behind! I definitely need to get more reading done and try to sneak in more reading during my days instead of waiting until night time.

How has everyone's 2019 been going so far?

29 Mar 2019

ARC #Review: OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS by Justin A. Reynolds

29 March 2 Comments

OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS

Author: Justin A. Reynolds
Series: N/A
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:


Summary:
Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.


He almost made varsity.


He almost got the girl . . . 


When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.


But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves. 

Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

This was SUCH a cute contemporary novel. I loved the way it made me feel, the characters, and the rewind aspect. It was the perfect way to tell the story and there wasn't too much repetition that dragged it down. I am so excited that this will be a movie and I can't wait to watch Jack and Kate on the big screen!

27 Mar 2019

Subscription Box #Review: March #IndigoBookBox

27 March 2 Comments

I am reviewing the March Indigo Book Box for you today! While Indigo DOES send me their Staff Picks of the Month for review and promotion, they DO NOT send me these Teen Book Boxes for the same purpose. I purchase these myself.

They are a little difficult to find on the Indigo website because Indigo is (much) more than just a subscription box website as they are the only Canadian big box store for books, home goods, etc.


Past boxes (that are still available):

Today, I am reviewing the March box that featured BLOODLEAF by Crystal Smith and give you a full wrap-up of worth, value, etc. at the bottom for both.

March 2019: BLOODLEAF by Crystal Smith


Price: $29.99 (with free shipping)
Shipping Time: 3 days
Included inside...
  • A copy of Bloodleaf with a book plate signed by the author
  • A letter from Crystal Smith
  • An enamel Bloodleaf pin – to demonstrate your willingness to stand for what’s right
  • A set of three Dot-Or-Not Notebooks – perfect for keeping track of your spells, to-dos, and dreams
  • Map of Bloodleaf that was exclusive for the pre-order!

25 Mar 2019

ARC #Review: JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS by Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper

25 March 1 Comments

JUST ONE OF THE ROYALS

Author: Leah Rooper and Kate Rooper
Series: The Chicago Falcons #2
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Publication Date: June 4, 2018
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:


Summary:
Star hockey player Daniel Sacachelli wants only two things: 1) for the Falcons to win next season, and 2) for his secret — the fact he’s actually the prince of Eldonia — to never make its way to Chicago. But if Daniel keeps avoiding his crown, their family will lose their kingdom forever.

Madison Myong can’t believe that her will-they-or-won’t-they best friend Daniel is really a prince! He’s always seemed more rebel than royal. But now, he needs to clean up his image, fast. Posing as his long-time girlfriend, Madison accompanies him back to Eldonia, intending to give Daniel a makeover fit for a king.


Only, the more royal Daniel becomes, the more Madison misses her best friend. And if she does her job right, she’ll lose him forever...

Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

This was a cute contemporary novel that was a short, quick, and easy read at midnight when I couldn't sleep. I have a select few people I would recommend this to because of the story and the writing style, but it was cute! I have a weakness for secret princes, ballroom scenes, and fake relationships, and this had all three, so I was loving that! However, I felt like the writing was a bit choppy and could have used another round of edits before even getting to the ARC stage.

23 Mar 2019

Stacking the Shelves (10): March 23, 2019

23 March 3 Comments
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!
I am exhausted after this week and next week is going to be even busier! But I went to a book launch (I'll have a post up next week!) and I was able to do some more reading, so all-in-all, it wasn't too bad.

How has everyone's 2019 been going so far?

22 Mar 2019

ARC #Review: A BLADE SO BLACK by L.L. McKinney

22 March 2 Comments

A BLADE SO BLACK

Author: L.L. McKinney
Series: A Blade So Black #1
Source: ARC via Publisher
Publisher: Imprint
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:


Summary:
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.
Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

So I am really torn on this one. It had so much potential to be a great novel but all of those things fell short. There was no clarity in the direction of the story, it wasn't close to a "retelling" of Alice in Wonderland, I barely saw the connection to Buffy, and the timeline was wonky at BEST. But the character development was ready to rock and roll, I loved that Alice was a strong, black female character, and I really liked a lot of the discussion around race and racism.

20 Mar 2019

#Discussion: Hyping Up! BookExpo's 2019 Editors' Buzz Selections

20 March 1 Comments

Hyping Up! Book Expo's 2019 Editors' Buzz Selections

Today on the blog I'm sharing with you the 2019 Editors' Buzz Selections that will be showcased at this year's BookExpo! These selections are what the editors determine to be the breakout selections of the year. Over the past three years, 11 books selected by the program hit The New York Times Best Sellers lists. 

Last year’s selections included breakthrough books such as: Ohio: A Novel by Stephen Markley; There Will Be No Miracles Here by Casey Gerald; Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram; Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan; Sadie by Courtney Summers; and Sanity & Tallulah, Book 1 by Molly Brooks.

Check out the lists below and get ready for BookExpo 2019!

About the Show

Join us at the publishing industry's leading trade event, where Booksellers, Librarians, Publishers and Tastemakers gather to discover the latest titles, authors, distribution channels, technology and trends. At BookExpo you can get an edge in your business by attending cutting edge education sessions, and making new connections to help you grow your business.

BookExpo is taking place May 29-31, 2019 at the Javits Center in NYC.
  • Wednesday, May 29: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 30: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, May 31: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Adult Book Selections

  • The Adult Editors' Buzz Panel will take place on Wednesday, May 29 at 1:45 p.m. (Room 1E12)
  • The Meet the Adult Authors Buzz Presentation will take place on Thursday, May 30 at 11:00 a.m. (Room 1E10)

19 Mar 2019

#BlogTour: IN ANOTHER LIFE by C.C. Hunter // #Excerpt

19 March 1 Comments
Hello and welcome to my blog tour post for

IN ANOTHER LIFE by C.C. Hunter!

I have an excerpt from the book for you today! Be sure to check that out below. But first, let's learn more about the book...


IN ANOTHER LIFE

Author: C.C. Hunter
Series: N/A
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2019

Summary:
Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they're kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

Purchase:
C.C. HUNTER is a pseudonym for award-winning romance author Christie Craig. She is lives in Tomball, Texas, where she’s at work on her next novel. Christie's books include The Mortician's Daughter series, Shadow Fall Novels and This Heart of Mine.

Connect with the Author:
Website | Facebook | Twitter
“What are you doing?” I ask when Dad pulls over at a con­venience store only a mile from where Mom and I are now living. My voice sounds rusty after not talking during the five­ hour ride. But I was afraid that if I said anything, it would all spill out: My anger. My hurt. My disappointment in the man who used to be my superhero.

“I need gas and a bathroom,” he says.

“Bathroom? So you can’t even come in to see Mom when you drop me off?” My heart crinkles up like a used piece of aluminum foil.

He meets my eyes, ignores my questions, and says, “You want anything?”

“Yeah. My freaking life back!” I jump out of the car and slam the door so hard, the sound of the metal hitting metal cracks in the hot Texas air. I haul ass across the parking lot, watching my white sandals eat up the pavement, hiding the sheen of tears in my eyes.

“Chloe,” Dad calls out. I move faster.

Eyes still down, I yank open the door, bolt inside the store, and smack right into someone. Like, my boobs smash against someone’s chest.

“Crap,” a deep voice growls.

A Styrofoam cup hits the ground. Frozen red slushie ex­plodes all over my white sandals. The cup lands on its side, bleeding red on the white tile.

I swallow the lump in my throat and jerk back, remov­ing my B cup boobs from some guy’s chest.

“Sorry,” he mutters, even though it’s my fault.

I force myself to look up, seeing first his wide chest, then his eyes and the jet­black hair scattered across his brow. Great! Why couldn’t he be some old fart?

I return to his bright green eyes and watch as they shift from apologetic to shocked, then to angry.

I should say something—like, add my own apology—but the lump in my throat returns with a vengeance.

“Shit.” The word sneaks through his frown.

Yeah, all of this is shit! I hear Dad call my name again from outside.

My throat closes tighter and tears sting my eyes. Embar­rassed to cry in front of a stranger, I snatch off my sandals and dart to a cooler.

Opening the glass door, I stick my head in needing a cooldown. I swat a few stray tears off my cheeks. Then I feel someone next to me. Dad’s not letting this go.

“Just admit you screwed up!” I look over and am swal­lowed by those same angry light green eyes from a minute ago. “I thought you were . . . Sorry,” I say, knowing it’s late for an apology. His look is unsettling.

He continues to glare. An all­in­my­face kind of glare.

As if this is more than a spilled slushie to him.

“I’ll pay for it.” When he doesn’t even blink, I add an­other, “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you here?” His question seethes out.

“What? Do I know you?” I know I was rude, but—hotness aside—this guy is freaking me out.

His eyes flash anger. “What do you want?” His tone car­ries an accusation I don’t understand.

“What do you mean?” I counter.

“Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.”

He’s still staring me down. And I feel like I’m shrinking in his glare.

“I’m not . . . You must have me mixed up with someone else.” I shake my head, unsure if this guy’s as crazy as he is sexy. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. But I said I’m sorry.” I grab a canned drink and barefoot, carrying sticky sandals, hurry to the front of the store.

Dad walks in, scowling.

“Careful,” a cashier says to Dad while mopping up the slushie just inside the door.

“Sorry,” I mutter to the worker, then point to Dad. “He’s paying for my Dr Pepper! And for that slushie.”

I storm off to the car, get in, and hold the cold Diet Dr Pepper can to my forehead. The hair on the back of my neck starts dancing. I look around, and the weird hot guy is stand­ing outside the store, staring at me again.

Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.

Yup, crazy. I look away to escape his gaze. Dad climbs back in the car. He doesn’t start it, just sits there, eyeball­ing me. “You know this isn’t easy for me either.”

“Right.” So why did you leave?

He starts the car, but before we drive off, I look around again and see the dark­haired boy standing in the parking lot, writing on the palm of his hand.

Is he writing down Dad’s license plate number? He’s a freak. I almost say something to Dad but remember I’m pissed at him.

Dad pulls away. I focus on the rearview mirror. The hot guy stays there, eyes glued on Dad’s car, and I stay glued on him until he’s nothing but a speck in the mirror.

“I know this is hard,” Dad says. “I think about you every day.”

I nod, but don’t speak.

Minutes later, Dad pulls over in front of our mailbox. Or rather Mom’s and mine. Dad’s home isn’t with us anymore. “I’ll call you tomorrow to see how your first day of school was.”

My gut knots into a pretzel with the reminder that I’ll be starting as a senior at a new school. I stare out at the old house, in the old neighborhood. This house once belonged to my grandmother. Mom’s been renting it to an elderly couple for years. Now we live here. In a house that smells like old people . . . and sadness.

“Is she home?” Dad asks.

In the dusk of sunset, our house is dark. Gold light leaks out of next door, Lindsey’s house—she’s the one and only person I know my own age in town.

“Mom’s probably resting,” I answer. There’s a pause. “How’s she doing?”

You finally ask? I look at him gripping the wheel and star­ing at the house. “Fine.” I open the car door, not wanting to draw out the goodbye. It hurts too much.

“Hey.” He smiles. “At least give me a hug?”

I don’t want to, but for some reason—because under all this anger, I still love him—I lean over the console and hug him. He doesn’t even smell like my dad. He’s wearing co­logne that Darlene probably bought him. Tears sting my eyes.

“Bye.” I get one slushie­dyed foot out of the car.

Before my butt’s off the seat, he says, “Is she going back to work soon?”

I swing around. “Is that why you asked about her? Be­cause of money?”

“No.” But the lie is so clear in his voice, it hangs in the air.

Who is this man? He dyes the silver at his temples. He’s sporting a spiky haircut and wearing a T­shirt with the name of a band he didn’t even know existed until Darlene.

Before I can stop myself, the words trip off my tongue. “Why? Does your girlfriend need a new pair of Jimmy Choos?”

“Don’t, Chloe,” he says sternly. “You sound like your mom.” 

That hurt now knots in my throat. “Pleeease. If I sounded like my mom, I’d say, ‘Does the whore bitch need a new pair of Jimmy Choos!’” I swing back to the door.

He catches my arm. “Look, young lady, I can’t ask you to love her like I do, but I expect you to respect her.”

“Respect her? You have to earn respect, Dad! If I wore the clothes she wears, you’d ground me. In fact, I don’t even respect you anymore! You screwed up my life. You screwed up Mom’s life. And now you’re screwing someone eighteen years younger than yourself.” I bolt out and get halfway to the house when I hear his car door open and slam.

“Chloe. Your stuff.” He sounds angry, but he can just join the crowd, because I’m more than mad—I’m hurt.

If I weren’t afraid he’d follow me into the house all pissed off and start an argument with Mom, I’d just keep going. But I don’t have it in me to hear them fight again. And I’m not sure Mom’s up to it either. I don’t have an option but to do the right thing. It sucks when you’re the only person in the family acting like an adult.

I swing around, swat at my tears, and head back to the curb.

He’s standing beside his car, my backpack in one hand and a huge shopping bag with the new school clothes he bought me in the other. Great. Now I feel like an ungrate­ful bitch.

When I get to him, I mutter, “Thanks for the clothes.” He says, “Why are you so mad at me?”

So many reasons. Which one do I pick? “You let Dar­lene turn my room into a gym.”

He shakes his head. “We moved your stuff into the other bedroom.”

“But that was my room, Dad.”

“Is that really why you’re mad or . . . ? He pauses. “It’s not my fault that your mom got—”

“Keep thinking that,” I snap. “One of these days, you might even believe it!”

Hands full, chest heavy, I leave my onetime superhero and my broken heart scattered on the sidewalk. My tears are falling fast and hot by the time I shut the front door behind me.

Buttercup, a medium­sized yellow mutt of a dog, greets me with a wagging tail and a whimper. I ignore him. I drop my backpack, my shopping bag, and dart into the bathroom. Felix, my red tabby cat, darts in with me.

I attempt to shut the door in a normal way instead of an I’m­totally­pissed way. If Mom sees me like this, it’ll upset her. Even worse, it’ll fuel her anger.

“Chloe?” Mom calls. “Is that you?”

“Yeah. I’m in the bathroom.” I hope I don’t sound as emotionally ripped as I feel.

I drop down on the toilet seat, press the backs of my hands against my forehead, and try to breathe.

Mom’s steps creak across the old wood floors. Her voice sounds behind the door. “You okay, hon?”

Felix is purring, rubbing his face on my leg. “Yeah. My stomach’s . . . I think the meat loaf I had at Dad’s was bad.”

“Did Darlene fix it?” Her tone’s rolled and deep­fried in hate.

I grit my teeth. “Yeah.”

“Please tell me your dad ate a second helping.”

I close my eyes, when what I really want to do is scream, Stop it! I get why Mom’s so angry. I get that my dad’s a piece of shit. I get that he refuses to take any blame, and that makes it worse. I get what she’s been through. I get all of it. But does she have a clue how much it hurts me to listen to her take potshots at someone I still sort of love?

“I’m going to sit out on the patio,” she says. “When you’re out, join me.”

“Uh­huh,” I say.

Mom’s steps creak away.

I stay seated and try not to think about what all hurts, and instead I pet Felix. His eyes, so green, take me back to the boy in the store. Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.

What the heck did he mean?

18 Mar 2019

#Review: PHOENIX UNBOUND by Grace Draven

18 March 2 Comments

PHOENIX UNBOUND

Author: Grace Draven
Series: Fallen Empire #1
Source: Finished Copy via Publisher
Publisher: Ace Books
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:


Summary:
A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses. 

But this year is different. 

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.
Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

Please note: There is heavy and graphic content in this one, depictions of violence and rape, and multiple characters discuss rape. Please take caution before, during, and after reading this one if any of that triggers you.

There was a lot that I loved about this one but some parts that I didn't really enjoy at all, but overall I think it was a really good start to this series! I'll definitely be continuing on with it so I can see what happens next.

16 Mar 2019

Stacking the Shelves (9): March 16, 2019

16 March 3 Comments
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!
I got a bunch of books this week because I finally went to pick up my books in the US. The problem I have right now is I don't know where to put them! I hope I can get to all of them soon though.

How has everyone's 2019 been going so far?