Review: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano

holding smokeHolding Smoke
By: Elle Cosimano
Publisher: Hyperion
Published: May 3, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:
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Goodreads

John “Smoke” Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn’t the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke’s new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they’re asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn’t care that the “threads” that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink’s help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he’s willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

 

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Excerpt: Painting Sky by Rita Branches [Giveaway]

Painting skyPainting Sky
By: Rita Branches
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: April 25, 2016
Genre: New Adult Romance

Goodreads

Nobody ever said life was easy…

People pleaser, Jane Skylar wants nothing more than to earn her art degree, start her life, and bask in the bliss of living with her boyfriend.

But things don’t always go as planned…

Struggling with her creative side, Jane finds herself in turmoil, often confiding in her roommate – another, more talented art student, Keith Hale. Keith just so happens to be her boyfriend’s older, brooding brother. After a devastating breakup, Jane turns to Keith for comfort. But when the lines blur between roommate and lover, Jane’s life becomes more complicated than ever before.

When Keith’s past comes back to haunt him, their lives all get turned upside down, forcing the truth to surface. Now Jane must fight for what she wants–even if it hurts everyone she loves.

 

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Review: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

abyssThe Abyss Surrounds Us
By: Emily Skrutskie
Publisher: Flux
Published: Feb. 8, 2016
Genre: GLBT YA Fantasy
Rating:
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Goodreads

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop.

 

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My first RT Convention Experience

ramblings12

So, I’m back. Technically I’ve been back for almost a week but I sort of needed a little R&R after the convention. I knew it was going to be hectic and chaotic, I just had no idea how bad it truly was. First off, I want to give a huge shout out to my roommates Jen (Not Now, I’m Reading) and Brandy. They took me under their wing and helped me survive the craziness. If it weren’t for them, I’d have probably been in the fetal position in my hotel room after the first day. It took me a day to realize that what they said was true. That I couldn’t do everything I wanted and that I’d have to take “time off” from events in order to recharge and eat. It also helped that I ran into D.T. Dyllin on the first night and she took one look at me and dragged me out to eat. I was running on fumes at that point trying to chug along through my first day. >.< Big mistake. Needless to say, I felt like a helpless kitten living on the streets for the first time. I was so lost and overwhelmed. I had this idea that it would be easy and fun–like all the pictures you see on Twitter and blogs after the event–I had no idea that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. There were lines…

 

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Guest Post with T. L. Bainter, author of How I Ruined My Life

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author

TBainter-T. L. Bainter was born in 1994 and began writing short stories not long after that. Since the age of six, he has been churning out short story after short story. After receiving an award from the renowned Writers of the Future competition for his short story Edwin, T. L. Bainter found the confidence and encouragement that he needed to write and publish his first novel: How I Ruined My Life. Currently, he resides in Kansas City with his cat, Sooba.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

 

guest post

My Adolescence and (Probably) Yours

If I had to describe my adolescence in one word, it would be: “whoops”. I was reclusive, I was a loner, and I took too much for granted. When wisdom was given to me by those with more experience, I scoffed and dismissed it. In this way, I was very much like Kyle, the main character in How I Ruined My Life. He keeps to himself, he’s impulsive, and he doesn’t fully appreciate what he has until it’s too late.

I think that if we all take the time to look at our own adolescence, we’ll see a bit of Kyle in ourselves, as well. We thought we knew everything, we disregarded the wisdom of those who really did (by comparison) know everything, and by the time we made it out of high school, we’d virtually ruined our lives. We might think to ourselves “If only I’d studied harder”, “If only I hadn’t broken off that friendship”, or “If only I’d listened more”. You know what they say: hindsight is That’s what How I Ruined My Life is about. It’s about making mistakes, growing up, and maturing as a person. Throughout the story, Kyle and his best friend James experience a multitude of harsh realities, including heartbreak and death. Growing up is a difficult and often painful process wrought with circumstances that seem impossible to overcome.

There is so much that I would change about my young adult life. If I could go back and do things differently, my life would be on a much better track than it is now. I’d treat my friends with more kindness, I’d probably still have my “dream girl”, I’d be on a faster road to success – the list goes on. But in my mind, all of the pain, heartbreak, and perpetual failure was worth it in the end. Without all of the pain of my adolescence, I never would have written How I Ruined My Life. I hope that at least one reader is able to learn something from the lessons and experiences

 

 

 

about the book

28476477How I Ruined My Life
By: T. L. Bainter
Publisher: Self-Publised
Published: Feb. 12, 2016
Genre: YA Romance

Goodreads

Kyle has gone unnoticed for the vast majority of his life and he’s always preferred it that way. Homeschooled, shy, and only attending church because he’s forced to, there’s not really anything outstanding or interesting about him. That changes, however, when he meets James Porter. The two are fast friends, but Kyle isn’t sure if that’s a good thing or not. While some of the experiences resulting from their friendship are grand, many other experiences leave Kyle broken, angry, and depressed. Is Kyle’s friendship with James really such a good thing, or would he have been better off if he’d simply remained the quiet, lonely boy that no one seemed to notice?

 

 

 

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I’ll be at #RT16 next week!

ramblings12

Mostly everyone in the book blogging world—and also the reading world—has heard about the RT Booklovers Convention. The first time I’d heard about it was when I was stalking… er, I mean visiting one of my favorite author’s websites and saw that they were going to be in Los Angeles that weekend at this RT Convention. I got really excited, told the Mr he was driving the 4 hour trip with me so that I could meet her. Then I realized that I had no flipping idea what day it was and that the convention’s book fair was the previous weekend. Waaah waaaah. Yeeeah. That was a pretty low moment for me. There may have been a glass or two of wine that night. And the RT Convention hasn’t been my way since… until this year! :cue the Rocky theme song:

That’s right! Homegirl has put on her boxing gloves and is finally stepping into the ring to redeem herself. The moment I saw that RT was going to be in Las Vegas—a mere 6.5 hour drive for me—I immediately started pestering the Mister about it. Needless to say, even when I told him the cost to simply attend the event—not including travel/hotel/food expense— he didn’t even bat an eyelash at me. *God, I love that man* So, I’ve been sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for the event to finally come… and it has!

So, this is just a heads up that I will be “out of the office” until next week. 😉 Heck, some of you may have noticed that I’ve been MIA for the past week or two. That’s because I’ve been shopping and pretty much going nuts trying to get ready last minute for the convention. I didn’t actually procrastinate this time but my steampunk costume had to be ordered in pieces online and well nothing worked out for me. I didn’t even have boots for my outfit until two days ago. It has been a stressful to say the least.

Anyways, if you’re going to be at RT this year, be sure to send me a tweet. I don’t have a smart phone (yes, I’m totally old school) so I will only really have access to twitter on my tablet.

Review: White Tiger by Jennifer Ashley

White TigerWhite Tiger
(Shifters Unbound, #8)
By: Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Berkley
Published: April 5, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating:
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Goodreads

A woman is lured into the shadows of a dangerous manhunt…
Wanted and on the run…

For twenty years, Kendrick, a white tiger Shifter, has been the Guardian of un-Collared Shifters who spend their lives living in secret—and in fear of being shunted into Shiftertowns. When Kendrick’s group is discovered and forced to flee, Kendrick is more desperate than ever to protect them

His only salvation was in a beautiful stranger.

In a diner in the middle of nowhere, lonely waitress Addison Price has seen a lot of unusual drifters come and go, but none has ever captivated—and intimidated—her like the imposing fugitive who wields a broadsword with incredible skill. But when he risks all to protect her, Addison’s fear turns to empathy—and empathy to desire as she learns more about her savior. Soon she’s more than willing to help the crushingly sensual white tiger and his cubs in a passionate bid for freedom. Whatever the cost.

 

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Review: Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn, Jolene Perry

outofplayOut of Play
By: Nyrae Dawn, Jolene Perry
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Published: Aug. 6, 2013
Genre: New Adult Romance
Rating:
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Goodreads

Rock star drummer Bishop Riley just needs a few months to relax and detox before his band’s next tour. But the last place he expected to do it is in Seldon, Alaska. And the last person he wants to do it with is Penny Jones.

Fiery, headstrong Penny has zero in common with the cocky, too-hot-for-his-own-good Bishop, and she’d like to keep it that way. But the more Bishop gets under her skin, the more she wants to let him in. And the more Penny lets him see, the more Bishop wants to know this stubborn girl with the killer body and soulful eyes.

The simmering heat between them won’t go away, no matter how hard either of them tries. Their time together in Alaska may be running out—but so is their resolve for not taking a chance on love.

 

 

1thoughtsOut of Play is a book about Bishopa drummer for a well-known bandwho has a problem with pills. In order to get clean, he’s sent to a cabin in Alaska with his bodyguard. While there, he meets the cabin owner’s daughter, Penny. Penny is in her last year of high school and is looking to hopefully get a scholarship to play on a boys hockey team. There’s something about Penny that helps quiet the noise in his head and makes him realize that maybe he does have a problem with pills. However, nothing is as easy as that. Penny’s father was killed by someone who was high on pills and the fact that she has no idea who he is or why he’s really renting out their cabins has Bishop regretting his addiction and wanting to change for her.

Out of Play sounded like a really interesting story. I was ready to dive in and fall in love with these characters. However, while I enjoyed the story, there was just something holding me back from really enjoying it and I don’t know what that was.

What I liked:
Penny’s a female hokey player on an all-boy team.
Penny is by far the coolest chick ever and someone that I’d love to be friends with. She’s your typical tom-boy.
Gramps (Penny’s grandfather). That dude was pretty freaking cool and I loved every scene with him in it.
Bishop’s struggle with his drug addiction.
It’s written by two authors. So, you get two completely mindsets in the same story.

What didn’t work for me:
The story itself fell flat for me and I don’t know why.
I didn’t find anything original to set it apart from other new adult romances I’ve read.
You knew how everything was going to go down shortly after meeting the characters.

 

1favequote“I was a druggie and screwed-up. Screwed-up a lot, but it doesn’t define me, and I’m not the only one.”

 

 

Excerpt: Listen to Me by Kristen Proby [Giveaway]

Listen to MeListen to Me
(Fusion, #1)
By: Kristen Proby
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Genre: Romance

Goodreads

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy…exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

 

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Review: This Sky by Autumn Doughton

ThisSkyThis Sky
By: Autumn Doughton
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: Aug. 12, 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance
Rating:
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Goodreads

When he touches me, the sky and the earth switch places

Gemma Sayers has spent the last six days rotting in a hotel room, wallowing in a noxious combination of gin, junk food and self-pity. She’s no stranger to disappointment but nothing could have prepared her for the chaos that unfolded when her celebrity boyfriend publicly humiliated her. Now the fairytale is officially over and Gemma is determined to put the past behind her and strike out to find a new dream. Just a few teeny-tiny details to work out: she’s currently broke, homeless and unemployed.

Landon Young has his own worries. Surfer by day and bartender by night, he doesn’t have the interest or the time to be anyone’s happily-ever-after. Weighed down by the memory of what happened two years ago, Landon can barely keep his head above water.

 

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