28 May 2015

Title: The Day of the Wave
Author: Becky Wicks
Publisher: 278 pages, (1st May 2015)
From: the Author
Format: e-ARC
Add to: Goodreads
Order a copy: AmazonAmazon UK

NOTE: This is a "New Adult" novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 17+

Synopsis: Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day tsunami tore through their beach resort in Thailand. Just days after forming a life-changing bond, both were missing and presumed dead. Unbeknown to each other and haunted by one of the biggest natural disasters in world history, Isla and Ben are living very different lives, until over a decade later when a chance encounter throws them back together.

Based on real life events, The Day of the Wave is a story of healing, learning to let go, and figuring out when to hold on with everything you have left.

Review: 5 stars - There is no way to put into words what happened on 26th December 2004. Lives were lost, futures destroyed, and people’s whole lives turned upside down. I still remember where I was when I heard the terrible news about the Boxing Day Tsunami.

Becky Wicks has done something brave in writing about such a sensitive subject. Focusing on the people involved their own battles against fears and unshared worries. Although there is a love story- which you think is all going to go well, emotions and fears limit what Ben and Isla ‘Izzy’ can become.

The Day of the Wave is a thought provoking story which was inspired by the real life events of 26th December 2004 and accounts from survivors and witnesses.

“Shark! Shark! Get out of the water!
My head sprang up in utter terror at the voice, I span three-sixty in fear, yanked off my mask and snorkel, looking for a fin. Then I came to my senses and swam as fast as I could back to the shore with my heart pounding and my arms flailing.

Shark! Shark! I screeched at full volume, trying to warn other people in the shallows. My Mom and Dad were there somewhere. I couldn’t see them. I couldn’t see anything much, I was so blinded by fear. Before I could raise any real alarm though, a hand clasped around my ankle and pulled me back. I screamed and lashed out, but two hands clamped on my shoulders and a grinning face forced me to stop in my tracks.”

That was the first time Izzy met Ben. Over the next week they became good friends with the promise of something more.

Ben went out on a diving trip with his Uncle and younger brother Toby; Izzy waved them off and stayed on the beach eagerly awaiting their return. Only, they never did.
The tsunami hit, and many lives were lost. Izzy and Ben searched for their families amongst the rescue mission- sadly with no success.

Izzy went back home to England to live with her Godmother and Ben to America with his Mum and Stepfather.

Years go by and while on a working trip to Thailand, Izzy finds herself face to face with the boy she thought she’d lost 10 years ago.

As with a lot of my reviews I could say more. But I want to let you- the reader experience the feelings yourself.

I think the reason this book made me feel so emotional (I did cry) is because although you know this book is fictional, it is based on an event that had such an impact on so many people’s lives and will do for years to come. You know real people have experienced what Ben, Izzy, Sonthi, Lawan and the other characters in the book did.

The characters grow and I feel in a way they evolve into “new” people during the course of the story.
Izzy is someone who has let the tsunami and what happened openly rule her life. Being back in Thailand and then finding Ben helps with her discover herself in a whole new way. She shows her bravery and courage confronting her fears head on.

Ben on the other hand has closeted away his feelings about the tsunami and the loss of his brother and Uncle. He has taught himself to hide away the bad thoughts and blames himself for what happened He seems to lead a normal life even continuing with his diving.

Only when the two reunite, do barriers come down and locked away secrets are revealed.
Add into the mix Sonthi and his cheekiness to lighten the mood and Mali as proof that there is a future for this once devastated country.

I haven’t read any other books fact or fiction about the tsunami, so I can’t compare The Day of the Wave to anything.

All I can say is prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster that will touch your heart, possibly even break it and then slowly put each piece back together.

*Tissues may be required*

Recommended for fans of Becky’s Starstruck series and Mila Gray’s Come Back to Me.


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Title: Getting Played (Jail Bait #2)
Author: Mia Storm
Publisher: Tempest Books, 352 Pages (May 28th, 2015)
Add to: Goodreads
No order links at the time of posting.

NOTE: This is a "New Adult" novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 17+


Rules of the game:
1) Never underestimate your opponent
2) Avoid personal fouls
3) Score early and often
4) Play or get played

Coach Marcus Leon has always played by the rules…until he meets Addaline Grace, the seventeen-year-old senior transfer on his Oak Crest High water polo team. Addie changes all the rules, mostly because she doesn’t play any games. But as off limits as she is, the more Marcus discovers about Addie, the more he finds himself…and the more he questions whether Addie might just be worth risking everything for.

For Addie, water polo is anger management. She’s driven and focused because it keeps her mind off other things…like the fact she destroyed her family. Her game plan is to keep her head down and graduate so she can leave her father and the crappy town he dragged her to in her wake. But when what starts as friendly completion with Marcus turns into more than a game, Addie has to decide if she’s willing to face down her demons…and possibly ruin the man she may or may not be falling in love with in the process.

What happens when the only thing you need is the one thing you can’t have?

** This is a standalone



Chapter 1
Marcus

I stare Caiden Brenner down over my younger sister Blaire’s shoulder. The beating early September sun in the courtyard of Town Hall is roasting me alive in this monkey suit, but I hardly notice. I’m too busy trying to get into my soon-to-be brother-in-law’s head.
“I do,” Blaire answers when the Justice of the Peace asks if she takes Caiden to be her husband.
I’ve decided Caiden isn’t the devil incarnate—that would be my ex-best friend, Nate—but I’m still struggling with what Caiden did to my sister four years ago, when he was twenty-five and she was barely seventeen.
But Blaire is shining in a way I’ve never seen her shine, and it’s more than the way she looks today—totally gorgeous in her bright blue sundress and black Converse, her long black hair tucked up in a bun on top of her head. It’s that, each time her eyes connect with Caiden’s, I see the visible change in her. All her sharp edges dull and something peaceful softens her face. Not only does she love him, she trusts him. For Blaire, that’s huge.
So maybe I need to trust him too.
I glance at Mom and Dad, seated in the short row of chairs under the small gazebo next to Caiden’s mother. Blaire and Caiden insisted on immediate family only at their civil service. They’re having a barbeque later at Graffiti Park for a few close friends and extended family.
I turn back in time to hear Caiden echo Blaire’s “I do,” then Blaire spins and look expectantly at me.
“What?” I ask.
Her expression turns decidedly more exasperated. “Jesus, Marcus.”
My eyes widen when it hits me what she’s waiting for. I pat my pocket and feel the ring there. I fish it out and hesitate.
Blaire’s glare could melt steel as she holds out her hand for it.
I swallow the acid rising up my throat and slip it into her palm. She’s really going through with this. She’s marrying the man who went to prison for statutory rape.
I’ve been hard on him. I know that. But all Blaire and I have ever had is each other. She’s always had my back, but I let her get hurt twice on my watch—once by Caiden, and then by Nate. It’s just been in the last few months that she’s seemed to find herself again after everything that happened. As much as I wish it were me that brought her back, I know it was Caiden. I need to cut him some slack.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath as they exchanging rings, and when I open them, they’re kissing.
When he finally lets her go, Blaire turns to me. She gives me a wary once over. “Just so you know, you suck as bro of honor.”
I duck my head and rub the sweat off the back of my neck. “You should have picked Zoey.”
Her eyes narrow. “I picked you, Marcus. I wanted you.”
Fuck. I really need to get over myself.
Just as I’m thinking this, Caiden slips to Blaire’s side and holds out his hand to me.
“Thanks for your support, Marcus.”
I split a glance between Caiden’s hand and my sister. Her gaze is unwavering, as usual, but under her hard exterior, I see a deep vulnerability in her eyes.
The moment of truth. Either I accept my new brother-in-law into the family, or break my sister’s heart.
I squeeze Caiden’s hand. Hard. “Welcome to the family. Just know this: You mess with Blaire, I will kill you.”
My compromise.
Blaire gives me her signature smirk, then tugs her groom closer and kisses him. “He messes with me, I’ll kill him.”
Caiden’s face beams as he looks at her. “Of that, I have no doubt.”
“You two are on grill duty at the reception,” she says, poking me in the chest. “And I expect you both to come away un-charred.”
I shake my head. “Can’t make any promises, sis.”
“That was lovely, Blaire,” Mom says, joining our small circle.
I glance around and find Dad already at the door. Social situations are his nightmare. This should be enough to drive him over the edge. But to his credit, he seems sober.
There’s an awkward moment where Blaire and our mother negotiate their way around a brief hug, then Mom backs away. “You said Zoey’s getting everything ready at the park?”
Blaire nods and pulls her phone out of her bra, glancing at the screen. “She says they’re ready anytime we are.”
Mom looks warily toward where Dad is shifting on his feet. “I might need to drop your father off at the house on the way. He’s not feeling well.”
Of course not. He’s already had to say hello to Caiden and his family. The thought of having to interact with more people at the reception is probably making him physically ill.
There’s a glint of disappointment in Blaire’s eyes, but it passes quickly as she thinks about it and comes to the same conclusion I have. “We’ll see you over there,” she says grasping Caiden’s hand and starting toward the parking lot.
#
Despite the “no gifts” decree, a handful of people wait near a pile of wrapped presents on one of the picnic tables under the small shelter when we arrive at Graffiti Park. The shelter has silver and blue streamers twisted around the poles and looped from the eaves, and the five picnic tables underneath are covered in blue paper table clothes with silver balloons tied to the benches. In the center of the middle table is a cake shaped like a penis in between two boobs. Blaire’s best friend Zoey’s contribution, no doubt.
Blaire leaves Caiden and I in the dust, where we’re carrying the gas grill from the back of my pickup truck across the grass to the shelter, and makes a beeline for Zoey. Her face is something between a scowl and a grin as she surveys the cake. “You know I’ll never be able to show my future children pictures of my wedding reception now.”
“But you’ll never forget it,” Zoey answers with a self-satisfied grin, wrapping Blaire in a hug. “Love you, girl.”
Next to me, Caiden’s feet stall and I yank the grill out of his hands when I keep walking. When I look back at him, he’s giving Blaire a stunned stare. But then a grin slowly spreads across his face.
“I guess this works,” I say, straightening out the grill next to the edge of the shelter.
His eyes snap to me as if he’s just remembering I exist. “Oh…sorry.”
I tug off my jacket. “So you guys are doing the whole kid thing?” I ask, tucking my tie inside the royal blue shirt I bought to match my sister’s wedding dress in a show of solidarity.
He glances at Blaire again and bobs a nod. “It appears that way.”
I crouch down to screw the gas line into the grill. “You haven’t talked about it?”
He shrugs as he pulls open a box of frozen Costco burgers. “Not specifically.”
“Kids makes it permanent,” I say in warning.
“Our marriage vows made it permanent,” he counters with more than a little irritation in his tone.
A hand brushes over my back. “Hey, good lookin’.”
I turn at the Texas drawl and find my date, Deanna, standing there in a tiny green dress and killer heels. She’s pretty in the Barbie sense: blond and blue with a heart-shaped face, copper skin, and an amazing body—long and lean with curves in all the right places.
I use the word “date” loosely. She’s the woman who stole my job at Oak Crest High. I know she was teaching in Texas for four years before coming here—the reason the school board cited for hiring her over me. Experience. Which means she’s at least three, maybe four years older than me. But what started as mindless frenemy sex a few weeks back has turned into a regular thing. When she invited herself to my sister’s wedding, it seemed a little heartless to tell her no.
She wraps her arms around my neck and sort of hangs off me. “How was the ceremony?”
I glance at Caiden, where he’s firing up the grill. “It was good.”
Deanna smiles at Caiden and holds out her hand. “I’m sure it was ten yards of romantic. Congratulation.”
He shakes her outstretched hand. “Thank you.”
I watch her walk over to Blaire and introduce herself. Maybe that’s something I should have done, but I feel like this thing is already taking on a life of its own, and her getting all chummy with my sister makes me a little nervous. I busy myself getting everything ready then take up my position next to my new brother-in-law when he starts throwing burgers on the grill.
“Listen, Marcus,” he says, tearing open a package of hot dogs. “I get that I’ve never been your favorite person and I can respect your reasons for that, but I need you to understand that Blaire is my life. I’ve given up everything for her and I’d do it all again if it meant the same result.”
“You can prove it by not fucking this up,” I say with a wave of the barbeque tongs between where Blaire is hugging some Berkeley friends who have just arrived and him.
“I can’t predict the future better than anyone else,” he answers, his eyes raising from the grill to his new bride, “but I can swear to you I’m going to do everything in my power not to.”
We cook and, at Zoey’s direction, people start filing past for burgers and dogs. Once most everyone is served, Caiden grabs a burger off the grill for Blaire and brings it to her. They sit across the picnic table from each other, and even though they’re talking to other people, their eyes keep straying to each other’s.
Deanna and Zoey seem to hit it off and are deep in conversation about shoes when I slip away from the shelter. On autopilot, my legs start up the hill toward the playground where Blaire, Nate, and I used to spend all our time as kids.
As I walk, I loosen my tie and flick open the top button. Near the top of the hill is a bench nestled into the shade of some big oaks. Nate and I carved it up pretty good back in the day. Which makes me wonder about him.
We haven’t spoken since I decked him after he cheated on Blaire. It’s been four years. He came back to town to live with his parents after we graduated college, and since it’s a small place, I saw him here and there, but it’s been a while. With any luck, he’s moved on.
I start toward the bench, but then see it’s occupied. A woman is laying on her back, her knees bent and her head propped on a backpack with a book in her hand.
I shove my hands in my pockets and look farther up the hill, toward the playground. There are a few benches up there, but they’re occupied by parents supervising their kids on the massive wooden play structure. The only free bench is facing into the afternoon sun, about twenty feet across the open, grassy area from the one the woman is occupying. I head over to it and plunk down on the end. I glare through the blinding sun at the woman on my bench before leaning onto my elbows and resting my face in my hands.
If you’d asked me five years ago where I thought I’d be right now, it wouldn’t have been here, coaching girls water polo at my old high school and working at the local gym. This is so not where I saw my life going. After living large for four years of high school and four more at college, I guess I started to feel charmed. But there’s nothing charming about crashing on a friend’s couch for the last six months because it’s all I can afford. I’ve only been out of UCLA for a year and I feel like I’ve already hit a total dead end, but I’ve got no one but myself to blame for that.
As the sun dips behind the tops of the trees surrounding the bench across the way, I sit up straight and look at the woman who stole it. There’s a second I wonder if she’s homeless, because her wardrobe has a definite secondhand vibe—a faded army-green tank with pale pink stripes under a baggy red cardigan, tattered jeans which are probably too short because they’re rolled halfway up her shins, and plaid Vans with no socks.
She rolls her head my direction and catches me staring.
I divert my eyes, but then blow out a disgusted laugh. I never would have done that back in college. She’s hot. I can see that from here. A hot girl makes eye contact, I would have held her gaze. I would have sent the message loud and clear with my eyes that I was interested.
When I glance up, she’s gone back to her book. I shove up off the bench and cram my hands into my pockets as I amble slowly toward her.
She lowers her book and sits up when she sees me, combing a hand through her thick strawberry blond corkscrew curls, and it strikes me that she looks vaguely familiar. Her face is thin and, at the bottom of a smallish nose that curls up slightly at the end are a pair of full, pink lips that tend to curl down. There’s the faintest hint of freckles smattering her cheeks and nose, and it’s kind of a turn-on that she’s comfortable enough in her own skin not to hide them behind layers of makeup. But it’s her charcoal gray eyes that snag all my attention. They’re large and round, but not innocent.
“Nice day,” I say, looking toward the shelter down the hill, wracking my brain trying to place how I know this woman. Maybe from the gym?
She closes her book and nods.
“Mind if I…?” I gesture at the now vacant end of the bench.
She gives me another wary nod.
I lower myself onto the spot her feet just occupied, and now I’ve got nothing else to say. I should have stayed on my own fucking bench. I give her a second to bail me out, and when she doesn’t, I gesture to the book. “Good book?”
She lifts the book and shows me the cover. The Metamorphosis. “It’s okay.”
I pull it from her hand and read the description on the back cover. “Pretty dark.”
She almost shrugs, more with her face than her body. “I found a list of the twenty-five most controversial books of all time. Making my way through the ones that interest me.” In the corner of my eye, I see her wave her hand at the book I’m thumbing through. “That’s number ten.”
I look up at her. “What are numbers one through nine?”
“Lolita is number one. I’d already read that, though, as well as number two, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, number four, The Grapes of Wrath, and number nine, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
“So, what new books have you picked up because of the list?” I lift The Metamorphosis. “Other than this?”
She looks at the book in my hand rather than me as she ticks off on her fingers. “I skipped American Psycho, which is number three, but I’ve read the rest: And Tango Makes Three, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Tropic of Cancer, and The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie…which I have to say was pretty dry.”
“That’s a pretty impressive reading list.” I set the book down on the bench between us. “So, you’re not a Rushdie fan. What did you think of the others?”
“And Tango Makes Three was cute. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was depressing, and The Tropic of Cancer was…” She trails off and gives me that face shrug again. But this time she’s blushing through her freckles.
It’s been a while since I read it, but my recollection is it’s full of graphic sex. She’s embarrassed to talk to me about it, and for some reason that sends a rush through insides that settles in my groin. My gaze trials over the lines of her face, down her long neck, then trickles over her body. She’s on the tall side and athletic, with breasts that are a perfect handful, a flat stomach, and long, toned legs that I’d suddenly kill to have wrapped around my head.
“And what’s the verdict on this one?” I ask, handing back The Metamorphosis.
A shadow passes over her face as she looks at the cover. “It’s…thought provoking.”
“What thoughts is it provoking?” I ask, laying the innuendo on thick and hoping I’m not the only one feeling the attraction.
The thought passes through the back of my mind that hitting on another woman while my date is just down the hill is a pretty skanky thing to do, but there’s something compelling about this girl. The idea that I might never see her again tugs hard at my gut. I can’t let this chance to find out who she is slip by.
“Have you read it?” she asks.
I lean in and shake my head. “Should I?”
“It’s a little out there,” she says with an unsure squint.
“Why don’t you save me the trouble and give me the SparkNotes,” I say, looping my arm behind her and resting it on the back of the bench.
She gives me a curious look, and I feel her body tense under my arm.
I give her my best cocky smile and arch an eyebrow. I intentionally let my fingers brush her shoulder and am rewarded with a shudder. “Unless you’d prefer I leave?”
A sly smile curves her pink lips as she lowers her lashes, and the rush in my groin intensifies.
“The SparkNotes…” she says, picking up the book between us. I take the opportunity to slide closer. “This guy Gregor wakes up one day to find he’s a giant bug…which I get is a little weird, and there’s no explanation as to why, but the upshot is that everyone is pretty grossed out by him and all his family seems to care about is that he can’t do his job anymore, so he can’t contribute to the finances. He can only speak bug, so because they can’t understand him, they assume he can’t understand them when they say they wish he’d just go away. But he can’t leave because he has nowhere to go, and also because his father threw an apple at him and injured him pretty badly, so he hides in his room and eventually just dies.”
“Seriously?” When I take the book back and turn it over to read the jacket copy again, I notice it came from the county library.
“Seriously,” she answers, earnestly.
I lift my eyes to hers. “So a happy ending, then,” I say, my voice full of sarcasm.
“Yeah, right.” Her eyes lower to the book in my hand. “I don’t really understand why it’s the tenth most controversial book of all time, but it’s a pretty true testament to human nature. Gregor is messed up, so instead of trying to help him, people just wish he’d go away.”
There’s no mistaking the mix of disdain and sadness in her tone. I only realize how intently I’m staring at her when she turns her face away. Does she feel that people wish she’d go away? And, if so, who is making her feel that way and why? Is she “messed up?”
The overpowering need to know sweeps through me in a rush that forces a shuddering breath from my lungs.
“So, what’s next on the list?” I ask, handing the book back.
“Brave New World,” she answers, her eyes lifting to mine again.
I cuff a laugh. “That one I have read. Another uplifting story.”
“So I hear.” She glances down the hill in the direction I came from. “So, what’s going on down there, anyway? Someone’s birthday?”
My gaze follows hers. “My sister’s wedding reception.”
“In a public park?” she asks, her eyebrows raising in surprise.
I nod. “Graffiti Park is special. We spent a lot of time here as kids.”
“Graffiti Park? That’s really the name of this place?” she asks, looking around.
“I have no clue what the real name is. That’s just what we’ve always called it.” My thumb brushes over where Nate carved my name into the back of bench we’re sitting on at least ten years ago.
She squints toward the shelter below and shades her eyes from the last of the afternoon sun. “I don’t see a bride.”
I point to Blaire. “The one in the bright blue dress.”
“That sort of flies in the face of tradition, doesn’t it?” she asks, still watching.
“That’s my sister. She’s never cared much about social conventions. If you search YouTube for her valedictory graduation speech from Oak Crest High four years ago, you’ll see what I mean.”
Her eyes snap to mine, wide and curious, and her gaze knocks the wind out of me. “What did she say?”
“She basically told the whole world off. But that was because her now husband,” I say with a jut of my chin at the gathering below, “had just been arrested for statutory rape.”
Her eyes widen even more. “Oh my God!”
“She’s always insisted they were in love, and the age difference shouldn’t matter. It was her giant ‘fuck you’ to society.”
Her head cocks to the side as she watches the party below. “I like her already.” She turns back to me. “Won’t they miss you?”
I press myself against her shoulder. “I’m disturbing you?”
A sardonic smile ghosts over her features as she lifts the book. “I was in the middle of reading the thoughts of a dying giant bug-person and not thinking that was at all weird, so I’m obviously already very disturbed.”
I can’t stop staring, because she’s suddenly stunningly beautiful. Her eyes flash, looking momentarily more black then gray, and there’s a long, deep dimple in her right cheek, which is the only one I can see because of the angle of her head. I’m dying to know if there’s a matching one on the other side.
The smile fades under my scrutiny and when she drops her gaze to the book between us, a cascade of strawberry corkscrews hide her face. “Sorry. Stupid joke.”
“No!” Damn. A little too eager there, tiger. I work to lower my voice. “I mean, it wasn’t stupid. It was funny.”
I just forgot to laugh because your smile knocked me senseless for a sec.
She lifts a knee to her chest, hooking the heel of her sneaker on the edge of the bench. Her knee pokes through the long crosswise tear in her jeans. “It’s okay, my sense of humor’s pretty dry. Not too many people get me.”
“Your sense of humor is refreshing,” I say. “And as for people getting you, most people don’t pay enough attention to anyone but themselves to ‘get’ much of anything.”
“Marcus!”
I look down the hill at Deanna’s voice. She’s at the shelter waving her hands over her head to get my attention. There’s a sudden cramp in my stomach at the thought of her coming up here.
“Looks like you have to go.” I’d swear a catch a hint of disappointment in her tone.
“Looks like.” I stand and shove my hands into my pockets. “My name is Marcus, by the way.”
She smiles and something roguish flashes in her eyes. “I know.”
Fuck. I do know her. Everything felt so relaxed and comfortable between us. I hate that I might have just fucked that up. Before it gets totally awkward, I blurt, “I’d be up for maybe getting a burger at Sam Hill sometime, if you’re into that.”
She nods, but that wary glint is back in her eyes. “Yeah…sure.”
I fish my phone from my pocket. “Can I get your number?”
She reels it off and I type it in. “Girl who stole my bench,” is say with a cocky grin as I type it in to contacts. I turn my amusement on her. “Or is there something else I should call you?”
He gives me a questioning tip of her head. “Addie.”
I know that name. Someone I went to high school with, maybe? My brain chugs harder trying to put the pieces together as I type it in. “Got it,” I say, holding up my phone. “I’ll give you a call.”
She squints at me. “Okay.”
I start backing down the path. “Enjoy my bench,” I say with a wink.
She lifts the book in a wave. “See you Monday, Coach.”
Suddenly I see her face under a navy blue swim cap with the Oak Crest Cougar on the side. The jolt of electric panic almost knocks my legs out from under me and I stumble, just catching myself before I go down.
Because she’s on my fucking team.
I ran tryouts Wednesday and Thursday. Practices just started yesterday. I’m still trying to get the new girls’ names. She said Addie, but my roster says Addaline, I think. All I can remember for sure is she’s a senior transfer and mostly keeps to herself.
“Fuck me,” I mutter, then hear myself. I hold up a hand. “I mean…” I trail off in a cringe. “Sorry for the language.” Because I’m not supposed to swear in front of a fucking student.
But fuck. My mind reels, replaying everything I said and did and trying to figure out how to backpedal out of this. “So, we’ll talk about a…team dinner…for bonding and whatever…at practice on Monday.”
Just shoot me now.
She tips her head and bites her lips, fighting a smile. “Sounds good, Coach.”
After what feels like a small eternity, I shake myself loose from her gaze and start down the hill without saying anything else. I can only dig myself deeper at this point. But the whole way, all I can think about is that, as shitty as my life is at the moment, it might have just gotten shittier



NOTE: This is a "New Adult" novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 17+


Dirty
A poem by Blaire Leon

If sex is dirty, why would I do it with someone I love?
If sex is dirty, then didn’t we all come from the dirt?
What if I like the dirt?
What if I want to get dirty?
What if I want to roll in the mud until I’m so fucking filthy that I’ll never be clean again?

When twenty-five-year-old graduate assistant Caiden Brenner asked Blaire Leon how old she was, she said she was a senior. He chose to believe she meant in college. They connect over Lord Byron’s Don Juan and, as their conversations become increasingly thicker with sexual innuendo, Caiden finds himself obsessing over a totally off-limits undergrad who’s bold, beautiful, brilliant, and one of the most passionate poets he’s ever met.

But it turns out Blaire hasn't been totally honest. She's the seventeen-year-old valedictorian of her high school class, taking courses at Sierra State while awaiting her acceptance to Stanford.

Will Caiden get too deeply into Blaire to back away before he finds out the truth? Or will their connection be enough to seduce him into risking his entire future on Jail Bait?



About the Author:

Mia Storm is a hopeless romantic who is always searching for her happy ending. Sometimes she’s forced to make one up. When that happens, she’s thrilled to be able to share those stories with her readers. She lives in California and spends much of her time in the sun with a book in one hand and a mug of black coffee in the other, or hiking the trails in Yosemite. Connect with her online at MiaStormAuthor.blogspot.com , on Twitter at @MiaStormAuthor, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiaStormAuthor

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26 May 2015

Nowhere But Here RDL Banner

Happy Release Day Launch to author Katie McGarry and her latest title - NOWHERE BUT HERE! NOWHERE BUT HERE is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance and is a part of Katie McGarry’sThunder Road Series, published by Harlequin Teen. Grab your copy today!! 

Nowhere But Here - cover Title: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, 496 Pages (May 26th, 2015)
Add to: Goodreads
Order here: Amazon ** Kobo ** BAM ** Barnes & Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound

Synopsis: An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Hand rider on handlebars, close-up

Excerpt:

From Oz's Point of View. Set up: Emily has been separated from her parents and after a long night of worrying, her emotions and exhaustion catch up to her and it causes Oz to have his first fluttering of emotion for Emily. 

WIND BLOWS IN FROM THE NORTH AND A FEW pieces of Emily’s dark hair sweep across her face. One min­ute Emily’s a bright flame, then a gust snuffs out her light. Her body sways like a top at the tail end of a spin and I lunge forward.

         Emily’s knees give out and her eyes roll back into her head. I catch her inches before she crashes onto the porch. She’s light as I swing her into my arms and her head circles onto my shoulder, reminding me of one of those rag dolls Violet used to play with when we were kids.

         “Emily!” Eli’s on top of me, attempting to yank her out of my arms. “Open your eyes.”

         Her eyelids flutter, but remain closed as her hand limply clutches my shirt. Eli rams his arms underneath mine and he makes Emily a rope in a tug-of-war. I should let her go. I should want to let her go, but then Emily goes and screws it up for me. “Oz.” 

         It was a damn whisper, but I heard my name on her lips and so did Eli. His eyes flash to mine and Cyrus’s words repeat in my mind. That girl trusts you. And screw us both for that.

         “She’s exhausted,” I say. “Hasn’t slept at all tonight.”

         Eli’s expression hardens as he glares at me. I’ve seen Eli throw a coma-inducing punch for less defiance and I readjust the sleeping girl in my arms. A reminder if he decks me now, he’ll be putting his daughter at risk.

         Temporarily surrendering, Eli cups Emily’s face in his hands and angles her toward him. “Emily, please open your eyes.”

         She does. It’s barely a crack and they’re completely glazed.

         “Everything’s going to be okay,” Eli affirms.

         “I want my mom and dad,” she mumbles.

         “You’ll see them tomorrow.” Eli pushes a strand of hair from her cheek. “You’re safe here. I promise.”

She rejects Eli by curling into me. Her head fits perfectly in the crook of my neck and I loathe the wave of protective­ness that rumbles through my body. Emily’s fingers tighten their grip near my shoulders and the impulse is to shield her from the guys gawking at this intimate scene. Yeah, this is club business, but Emily never asked for any of this.


Check out the Nowhere But Here Trailer:



Katie McGarry Author Photo
About Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.
Find Katie Online:

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Goodreads ** Pinterest ** Tumblr ** Instagram


Nowhere But Here - Teaser 1

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25 May 2015


Book Wars a weekly feature hosted between two book review blogs – A Life Bound By BooksMuch Loved Books!

It’s a fact that book lovers know all about the covers of the books they covet. Often when a title is released here in the UK, it’s sometimes vastly different across the pond in the US.  So, Michelle from Much Loved Books and I have come together to create Book Wars to talk about the difference in covers when it comes to the US vs. UK versions.

We hope from time to time authors will chime in with their thoughts as well. We welcome everyone to comment and share their thoughts too! The more the merrier!

Before we get to this weeks Book Wars, we have a winner to announce.The Book Wars winner for Out of Control by Sarah Alderson is...USA!!!!!! Thank you to everyone who voted for both books, and for picking a winner.

Also, there's a poll at the bottom of the post that we'd love to hear your input for the two covers! Tell us which one YOU love the most. 

Left: US - Right: UK
Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: US - Katherine Tegen Books, 336 Pages, (March 26th, 2015), UK - Simon & Schuster Children's Books , 336 Pages, (June 4th, 2015)
Add to Goodreads: USA Version | UK Version
Order online here: USA: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository UK: Amazon UKWaterstonesWHSmith, The Book Depository

Synopsis: A bitter-sweet, coming-of-age novel that's perfect for fans of John Green and Stephen Chbosky.

When he's sent to Latham House, a boarding school for sick teens, Lane thinks his life may as well be over. But when he meets Sadie and her friends - a group of eccentric troublemakers - he realises that maybe getting sick is just the beginning. That illness doesn't have to define you, and that falling in love is its own cure.

Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about true friendships, ill-fated love and the rare miracle of second chances


About the Author: Robyn Schneider is a writer, actor, and online personality who misspent her youth in a town coincidentally similar to Eastwood. Robyn is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She is also the author of the middle grade Knightley Academy books, written as Violet Haberdasher. She lives in Los Angeles, California, but also on the internet. You can watch her vlogs at youtube.com/robynisrarelyfunny and follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram.

Find Robyn Online: Website | TumblrTwitter

Let the Wars Begin: Its now time to make our decision, let's see what we think about the covers and pick our favorite cover.
Lisa It's so funny that Michelle has chosen this book for this weeks "Wars". I just received a finished copy and I can't wait to read it.

However when you look at each of these covers side by side I kind of love them both. And the US cover looks so much better in person than just in the graphic here. Yet that's almost always the case, right?

And while I love them both, there can only be one favorite, and I'm thinking it has go to the UK cover. I mean look at it! It's kind of stunning the way they've used the tree, branches and leaves to portray lungs. As I haven't read the book... YET, I can only imagine that this book just might hurt my heart a little and for some reason that makes this one a must read even more so.

So, this week I'm voting for the UK cover because it's stunning in it's own right and makes me want to put this one to the top of my reading list even more so.

Which is YOUR favorite? Click on graphic and tell us below!
Michelle This is such an easy choice for me. I think the USA cover is nice, but I don't get how it connects with the story. The UK cover though is a different matter. I love how the subject matter of the story has been portrayed into the cover of this book. I love how the inner workings of a lung have been used to make this upside down tree, its eye catching and makes you want to see what's inside the pages. If you visit the authors webpage, she has a different version of the UK cover up, her one has house along the top of the book, so if its turned upside down you see houses with leaves falling off the trees onto them. Anyway, back to my thoughts. It's a UK win for me this week, and I wan't wait to make a start on this one.
*please bear with us as we try out some new ways of collecting your votes*

VOTE for YOUR favorite cover of Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider Now!

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22 May 2015

Cover Reveal - Capture By: Rachel Van Dyken

Title: Capture
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publisher: (August 20, 2015)
Add to: Goodreads
No order links at the time of posting.

NOTE: This is a "New Adult" novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 17+

Synopsis: Losing your ability to speak at the age of seventeen; it’s not normal or fair.
But trauma, has a way of throwing normality out the window.

Dani lives anything but a normal life.
Her sister is married to one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Her best friends are rockstar duo AD2.
And she has more love around her than most people experience in a lifetime.
But that doesn't change the fact their parents are dead.
Or that it's her fault.

It seems her new normal is being a mute, living on the inside, unable to actually communicate on the outside.
That is until Hollywood’s newest heartthrob Lincoln Greene hires her as his assistant for the summer.
He's gorgeous, completely unavailable, and unobtainable.
But that doesn't stop her from wondering...if things were different...would he want her?
If she was whole, would he be the other half? 


About the Author:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com.

Find Rachel Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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20 May 2015

"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.


Title: Alive
Author: Chandler Baker
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, 368 Pages (June 9th, 2015)
Add to: Goodreads
Order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK

Synopsis: Stella Cross's heart is poisoned.

After years on the transplant waiting list, she's running out of hope that she'll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella receives the transplant she needs to survive.

Determined to embrace everything she came so close to losing, Stella throws herself into her new life. But her recovery is marred by strange side effects: Nightmares. Hallucinations. A recurring pain that flares every day at the exact same moment. Then Stella meets Levi Zin, the new boy on everyone's radar at her Seattle prep school. Stella has never felt more drawn to anyone in her life, and soon she and Levi are inseparable.

Stella is convinced that Levi is her soul mate. Why else would she literally ache for him when they are apart?

After all, the heart never lies...does it?

Title: Ruthless
Author: Carolyn Lee Adams
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 256 Pages (July 14th, 2015)
Add to: Goodreads
Order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK

Synopsis: A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.

Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

Title: Rook
Author: Sharon Cameron
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 464 Pages (April 28th, 2015)
Add to: Goodreads
Order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK

Synopsis: History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

*covers are always subject to change.

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18 May 2015


Book Wars a weekly feature hosted between two book review blogs – A Life Bound By Books & Much Loved Books!

It’s a fact that book lovers know all about the covers of the books they covet.  Often when a title is released here in the US, it’s sometimes vastly different across the pond in the US.  So, Michelle from Much Loved Books and I have come together to create Book Wars to talk about the difference in covers when it comes to the US vs. UK versions.

We hope from time to time authors will chime in with their thoughts as well. We welcome everyone to comment and share their thoughts too! The more the merrier!

Before we get to this weeks Book Wars, we have a winner to announce. The Book Wars winner for The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey is..... the US COVER!  Thank you to everyone who voted for both books, and for picking a winner.


Also, there's a poll at the bottom of the post that we'd love to hear your input for the two covers! Tell us which one YOU love the most.


Left: US - Right: UK

Title: Out of Control
Author: Sarah Alderson
Publisher: US - Simon Pulse, (May 12th 2015) UK - Simon & Schuster UK, 320 Pages (May 22nd, 2014)
Add to: Goodreads USA Version | Goodreads UK Version
Order online here: USA: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository UK: Amazon UK, Waterstones, W H Smith, The Book Depository

Synopsis: A girl looking to escape her past in New York City ends up on the run from a dangerous conspiracy in this sizzling, high-stakes novel.

When seventeen-year-old Liva came to New York City, all she wanted was to escape the painful memories of her past and finally find a fresh start. Her hopes for a new future were dashed the moment she became the sole witness to a brutal murder. When she’s taken into police custody—supposedly for her own protection—she realizes something isn’t right, but it’s too late. Soon, bullets start flying, and Liva realizes that she is not just a witness, but the target—and she needs to escape before it’s too late.

With the help of a sexy car thief that she met at the station, Liva manages to get away from the massacre unharmed, but now the two of them are alone in New York, trying to outrun and outwit the two killers who will stop at nothing to find them. Liva and Jay are living on the edge, but when you’re on the edge, there’s a long way to fall.



About the Author:

Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where Sarah now spends her days writing by the pool and trying to machete open coconuts without severing a limb.

She finished her first novel, Hunting Lila, just before they left the UK, wrote the sequel on the beach in India and had signed a two book deal with Simon & Schuster by the time they had reached Bali.

A third book, Fated, about a teenage demon slayer, was published in January 2012.

The Sound, a thriller romance set in Nantucket, was published in August 2013. She has a further three thrillers due for release in the next few years.
You can find Sarah on facebook and at www.sarahalderson.com or follow her blog at www.canwelivhere.com

Find Sarah Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Let the Wars Begin: Its now time to make our decision, let's see what we think about the covers and pick our favorite cover.

Lisa Somethings my love of a good book cover comes down to something as simple... or not as colors. And the US one does it, at least in my opnion so much better than the UK cover.

The UK cover feels off in some way. And since I haven't read the book yet if these two were side by side I'd pick up the US cover over the UK cover first to check out what the book's about.

Once you look a bit deeper than just the colors of these two there's a lot of other things I like in the US cover from the silhouette of the couple running hand in hand. I like that you can see it's a guy and a girl but other than that, they could be anyone. And I like the hint of the cityscape in the back ground. Also, it makes you wonder if they are running away from something or to something.

This week my vote goes to the US cover. Click and vote below to tell us which one you like best.
Michelle I own the UK copy of this book and I've never really liked the cover, the style just doesn't work for me at all. The USA cover is a different story, it's a lot more basic than the UK cover, but it feels more dramatic and more eye catching.

For me it's a USA win this week, don't forget to vote for your favourite below.

VOTE for YOUR favorite cover of Out of Control NOW!

What is YOUR favorite cover of Out of Control By: Sarah Alderson?


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14 May 2015

Title: The Phoenix Candidate (Grace Colton #1)
Author: Heidi Joy Tretheway
Publisher: Jasper Ridge Press, 250 Pages (January 12th 2015)
From: Amazon UK
Format: eBook
Add to: Goodreads
Order: AmazoniBooksBNKoboAmazon Print CopyAmazon UK

NOTE: This is a Adult novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 17+

Synopsis: Fans of Scandal, House of Cards, and The Good Wife will love Grace Colton...
U.S. Congresswoman Grace Colton is the most famous woman in politics—and the loneliest—until a drawling, sexy stranger offers her one night: no strings and no regrets. And it rocks her world.

 Grace wakes to an empty hotel room and a phone call. The dark horse for the 2016 presidential election, Senator Shep Conover, is considering her as his vice presidential running mate.

 Before she can be selected, Grace must be vetted and coached by Shep’s political consultant, Jared Rankin, who already knows too many intimate details about her. He’s Mr. One-Night Stand.

Grace is torn: play nice with Jared to join the senator’s ticket, or play hardball and back the slick frontrunner? As the Democratic National Convention approaches, Grace must decide where her loyalties lie and if she can trust Jared with her future—and her heart.

 The Phoenix Candidate is an adult erotic romance recommended for mature readers.
Review: 4 Stars - Warning this is an Adult content novel 18+

I will hold my hands up and say that I know nothing about politics neither US nor UK, so part of me was wondering about this book and whether there would be a lot of political terminology used. I was pleasantly surprised and thankfully I could understand most of it, Google helped me with any terms/phrases I didn’t know.

Grace Colton is a U.S. Congresswoman. She has had tragedy in her life; her husband and son were killed when a gunman went on the rampage through a busy shopping mall. Everything she has ever fought for has been for them, her policies reflecting her life and beliefs.

Grace is having a few drinks with friends when she is approached by a gentleman with a southern accent, crisp white shirt and dark belted jeans. Grace is drawn to him, although she initially tries to ignore him, she finds she’s suddenly flirting with him.

Jared offers Grace one night, with no stories, no strings and no regrets in the morning.
One thing as they say leads to another and Grace and Jared spend the night together.

When Grace wakes and Jared is gone she thinks it’s just as he said it would be. What she doesn’t know is it’s not the last she sees of Jared Rankin.

A telephone call from the office of Senator Conover is the last thing Grace expects to receive. He has no reason to request a meeting with her.

Another Senator also seems to suddenly be taking an interest in Grace. This is when things start getting interesting and political warfare starts in more ways than one.

The Phoenix Candidate brings to light a few of the underhand tactics some politicians may use to get where they want to be. It doesn’t matter to them whether they upset other people in the process, dishonour relationships and try to show people in a bad light.

Full of steamy scenes The Phoenix Candidate also has the suspense of a political race running in the background. Yes, I did say suspense; you never know what’s going to happen along the way.

I enjoyed reading The Phoenix Candidate, but I didn’t find myself bonding with the characters. I think this is down to me as a reader and not due to any fault within the writing of this book. I don’t seem to be able to read and connect with the characters in contemporary adult fiction as well as I do contemporary YA or NA fiction. And even then I’m new to the genre; I’m much more at home in a fantasy world.

Having said this, I found myself engrossed for hours reading it when I did pick up my kindle, and I will be reading the next book in the series when I can get my hands on it.






About The Author:

Heidi Joy is a sucker for campfires, craft cocktails, and steamy romance in books and real life. She sings along with musicals (badly), craves French carbs, and buys plane tickets the way some women buy shoes.

Her first career as a journalist took Heidi behind the scenes with politicians, rock stars, chefs, and detectives, all of whom inspire her stories. Heidi Joy is currently working on her eighth book from her home in Portland, Oregon. She adores hearing from readers at author.heidi@gmail.com.

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In accordance with FTC Guidelines, I have not received any monetary gain for any information posted within the pages of this website/blog. Any and all information has been provided by the publisher, author and or publicist for free. Content is also based on purchases made by myself or of my guest reviewer(s). Any and all opinions expressed within the pages of this website/blog are solely my own or those of the authors of any and all guest reviewers(s) or guest bloggers.



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About Me

Hi, I’m Lisa and I'm a proud bibliophile.

I enjoy reading and reviewing a variety of different books within the Young Adult, "New Adult" & Adult genres/categories. If you have any questions or if you are an author or publisher and would be interested in promoting a book, please feel free email. You can find my email under the "mail" button or under the contact link at the top of the page.

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When I review I rate from 1 to 5 stars, 5 being the highest rating. I review based on many different things from the writing, to the story - to the characters and how I can relate to them or how they are developed. I also review based on if an author has worked their magic and was able to draw me into a story so deeply that I don't want to put the book down. If you would like me to review a book, please contact me or view my Contact Information and Review Policy for further details.

5 Stars - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!
4 Stars - I Really liked/Loved it.
3 Stars - I liked it/Was pretty good.
2 Stars - It was, eh okay.
1 Star - It just wasn't for me.

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