Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock

His Hometown Girl
by Karen Rock
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Published by Harlequin
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pre-order Amazon / B&N /Kobo

from Goodreads

He'd always managed to best her… 

Jodi Chapman will do whatever it takes to get top care for her autistic son. If that means going home and convincing local farmers to sell their land, so be it. Even if her biggest opponent, childhood rival Daniel Gleason, is equally determined to convince farmers to buy into his co-op plan. And he's not playing fair. 

Facing off against Daniel is the last thing Jodi wants. The attraction that's always fueled their competitiveness is as strong as ever and just as distracting. But with both their futures on the line, and years of distrust between them, how can they ever be on the same side?

My Thoughts

His Hometown Girl is a sweet romance and lives up to the Harlequin title - Heartwarming. 
What I liked most about this book it that it is filled with real-life concerns and not perceived melodramas. Jodi is a single (divorced) mother trying to take care of her son in the best way she knows how. Daniel is a farm owner trying to keep it successful and prevent a corporate buy-out. Even though they have a past together, it doesn't overshadow the present.

I loved reading about the community of Cedar Bay and the people who lived there. Coming from a small-town myself, I am drawn to stories set in them. It was easy to vision all of the community events and Fourth-of-July fireworks and all of the towns' people. 

I enjoyed the writing style and the alternating perspectives. Karen Rock did a great job of capturing Jodi's concerns and dilemmas without making them overwrought with angst. I liked reading Daniel's perspective because I could grasp his love for the land and the pride he felt in all that he did. I would have liked to read more romantic moments between Daniel and Jodi, but for the storyline and everything that was happening, the story had just the right amount.

This is one of the first books that I've read where autism was a focus of the story. I was enlightened from reading Jodi and Tyler's story and the various approaches to living with a child with autism. There were several moments in the book that highlighted the difficulties of dealing with other peoples' responses to autistic children. When Jodi was mad because of peoples' callousness, I was mad right along with her. 

I really liked His Hometown Girl and plan to continue to read more of Karen's books. Daniel's sister, Sue, plays a major role in this book and I wouldn't mind reading more about her story. Well hers and a certain guitar-playing farm hand's.

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Karen Rock has adored romance since receiving Harlequin Presents books from her grandmother each summer. She formed her Young Adult writing partnership, J.K. Rock- pseudonym for the CAMP BOYFRIEND series, with her sister-in-law and Blaze author, Joanne Rock in 2011. When Karen heard of a call for submissions to Heartwarming, Harlequin’s latest line, she was inspired by the possibilities of writing unforgettable, deeply romantic, tender love stories that mothers would feel comfortable sharing with their daughters. When she’s not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes, hiking the ‘high peaks’, and redesigning her gardens. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love.

For more information about Karen's upcoming books, check out her website at, Facebook page at or follow her on twitter at . She’d love to hear from you!
Tour-Wide Giveaway

-$50 Amazon Gift Card 
-SIGNED copy of HIS HOMETOWN GIRL by Karen Rock

2nd & 3rd PRIZE WINNERS 
-SIGNED copies of HIS HOMETOWN GIRL by Karen Rock

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cover Reveal: Finding My Way by Heidi McLaughlin

Cover Reveal

Finding My Way
by Heidi McLaughlin

Be there when Liam Westbury
becomes Liam Page.

Full Jacket Cover

 e-book cover

Available: April 2014
Preorder: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

About Finding My Way
Liam Westbury has the world at his feet. He’s the quintessential golden boy. He’s the superstar quarterback for Beaumont High. His girl, Josie, is head cheerleader. He has his choice of colleges just waiting for him.  Except he’s suffocating from all the pressure he’s under and no one understands.

Liam Page is the heartthrob he never wanted to be. He’s successful, smart and in demand by record companies and his adoring fans. Music is his passion, his love, but something’s missing. His nights are lonely and he longs for the girl he left behind. Seeing her in every face in the crowd haunts him with the knowledge that she hates him. Going home has never been an option until now.

Be there when Liam Westbury becomes Liam Page and follow the highs and lows of the Quarterback turned Rockstar as he finds a way back to Beaumont in this prequel to Forever My Girl.


 Follow Heidi McLaughlin


About Heidi: 
Heidi is the author of USA Today, Kobo, Digital Book World, Amazon and Barnes & Noble Bestselling series, The Beaumont Series.
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell and two Parakeets.
During the day Heidi is behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, she's writing one of the many stories planned for release or sitting courtside during either daughter's basketball games.


50 winners will receive a signed bookmark and card. International.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (9)

This week I'm joining Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews and sharing the books that I acquired throughout the week.

Be with Me by Jennifer Armentrout/J. Lynn (Purchased) I love J. Lynn's books! I usually get the e-books, but I wanted at least one paperback in my collection.

Disarm by June Gray (Purchased) I saw this one featured as someone's Waiting on Wednesday a few months back. This is the complete novel which was previously available in segments of e-books.

A Love Letter to the City by Stephen Powers (Accepted Review Request) From graffiti writer to street artist. I couldn't pass up the offer to review this collection of public art. I also received a collection of notecards too: Love in Letters.

Unplug and Play by Brad Berger (Accepted Review Request) - I accepted this request because I love playing games, hosting game nights, and it includes games for all ages. I'm hosting friends this week and hope to try a few of the games from the book.

Room for You by Beth Ehemann (e-book; Purchased) Beth is one of the authors who is attending the Cleveland Author Event I plan to go to in a couple of months. This book has been recommended to me a few times and I wanted to read it before meeting her!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Subway Love by Nora Raleigh Baskin

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Subway Love
by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Published by Candlewick Press
Expected Publication Date:  May 13, 2014
Add to Goodreads

(from Goodreads)

What if destiny leads you to your soul mate, but the laws of time conspire to keep you apart?

If her parents had never divorced, Laura wouldn’t have to live in the shadow of Bruce, her mom’s unpredictable boyfriend. Her mom wouldn’t say things like "Be groovy," and Laura wouldn’t panic every weekend on the way to Dad’s Manhattan apartment. But when Laura spots a boy on a facing platform, lifting a camera to his face, looking right at her, Laura feels anything but afraid, and she can’t forget him. Jonas, meanwhile, thinks nonstop about the pretty hippie girl he glimpsed on the platform — trying to comprehend how she vanished, but mostly wondering whether he will see her again in a city of millions — and whether if he searches, he would have any chance of finding her. In a lyrical meditation on love, Nora Raleigh Baskin explores the soul’s ability to connect, and heal, outside the bounds of time and reason.

Why I'm Waiting
  • That tag line. I'm hooked.  
  • I want to know what happened on the subway platform. I want to read "that moment" when they see each other.
  • I want to know if Jonas is from the present and Laura is from the past.
  •  I've read one other book by Nora Raleigh Baskin and I liked it a lot and I want to read more of her books. She has a backlist of titles that I haven't read yet, so there are plenty to keep me busy until this one comes out. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (8)

This week I'm joining Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews and sharing the books that I acquired throughout the week.

 This haul is from the past 2-3 weeks.

Not Pictured: E-books, links to Goodreads
Say When by Tara West (e-book; Free)
Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot (e-book; Purchased)
No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige (e-book; Purchased)
First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky (e-book; Purchased)
Nets and Lies by Katie Ashley (e-book; Purchased)
This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready - (e-ARC; Requested Review Copy)
Royally Lost by Angie Stanton (e-ARC; Requested Review Copy)
My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal (e-ARC; For review)
His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock (e-ARC; Requested Review Copy)
Returning to Shore by Corrine Demas (e-ARC; Accepted Review Request)
Midnight Meanders by Annika Jensen (e-ARC; Accepted Review Request)



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cover Reveal: FERAL by Holly Schindler

FERAL by Holly Schindler  
FERAL by Holly Schindler
Publication date: August 26, 2014
by HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult 
About Feral:

It’s too late for you. You’re dead.
Those words float through Claire Cain’s head as she lies broken and barely alive after a brutal beating. And the words continue to haunt her months later, in the relentless, terrifying nightmares that plague her sleep. So when her father is offered a teaching sabbatical in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out of Chicago, away from the things that remind her of what she went through, will offer a way to start anew.
But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire quickly realizes something is wrong—the town is brimming with hidden dangers and overrun by feral cats. And her fears are confirmed when a popular high school girl, Serena Sims, is suddenly found dead in the icy woods behind the school. While everyone is quick to say Serena died in an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it—for she was the one who found Serena, battered and most certainly dead, surrounded by the town’s feral cats.
Now Claire vows to learn the truth about what happened, but the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to discovering a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley. . . .
With an eerie setting and heart-stopping twists and turns, Holly Schindler weaves a gripping story that will make you question everything you think you know.

Find Holly Schindler online:
Goodreads / Author Website / Blog

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Everything Leads to You
by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Expected Publication Date:  May 15, 2014
Add to Goodreads

(from Goodreads)

A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

Why I'm Waiting
  • Nina made me a fan with her second novel, The Disenchantments and I swore I would read all of her books that she's written. It's funny that I write that because I still haven't read her debut novel Hold Still
  • Everything Leads to You sounds like just the type of book that I would love. Full of emotion, love, and self-discovery.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: Anything To Have You by Paige Harbison

Anything To Have You
by Paige Harbison
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Published by Harlequin Teen
Source: Harlequin Teen via Netgalley
Purchase Amazon / B&N / Book Depository

from Goodreads

Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.

Natalie and Brooke have had each other's backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.

Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can't remember and Brooke's boyfriend, Aiden, can't forget. Suddenly there's a question mark in Natalie and Brooke's friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.

My Thoughts 

A quick Q&A:
Did I like it reading it? Yes. Did it keep me interested throughout? Definitely. Did I see the twists coming? Yes. Some parts were predictable, but that didn't bother me. Do I think this book is for all readers? No. I think some readers will find the main characters unlikeable. Are likeable characters necessary for me to like a book? No.

It's really easy to pass judgement on the characters in Anything To Have You and find fault in many of the decisions that they make. But what needs to be asked is "what leads them to make these decisions in the first place?" I questioned the foundation of Natalie and Brooke's friendship from the very beginning - they've been friends since childhood, but by their actions, it was difficult to recognize a lifelong friendship. I saw this book as being more about their friendship growing apart which allowed both Natalie and Brooke to make the decisions that they did.

Brooke and Natalie both have damaged their relationship. Both are at fault. Both need to accept some of the blame. They both push limits to see: how far you can go without turning back and when can you admit when you are wrong. Anything To Have You isn't only about betrayal which does take up a major part of the book, but it is a story about forgiveness, not redemption, and moving forward and moving on.

I liked the alternating points of view because it allowed my to see both Natalie and Brooke's perspectives and motivations. However, the first part of the book seemed very one sided and to be more from Natalie's perspective. Readers who like to root for a character may lean toward rooting for Natalie more and that isn't fair to Brooke and everything that she goes through. 

This book isn't for all readers. If your books have to contain likeable characters, then you might have a hard time reading this book. But if you want to read a book about changing friendships, the inner workings of high school dynamics, and a forbidden and unexpected love story, then you should give Anything To Have You a chance. 

This is the first book that I've read by Paige Harbison, but it won't be the last.

About the Author

Paige Harbison recently graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts. She grew up on the outskirts of Washington D.C. She spends most of her time with friends--who give her constant inspiration for characters--and calls it research. The rest of her time is spent writing, painting, and following all of the worst TV shows.

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-RC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am providing this review as part of the Anything To Have You book tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. Go to YA Bound Book Tours for the complete tour schedule.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

My Last Kiss
by Bethany Neal
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Expected Publication Date:  June 10, 2014
Add to Goodreads

from Goodreads

What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made—good and bad—that led to her last kiss.

Why I'm Waiting

  • This sounds a little reminiscent of Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, which I liked, so why not give this one a shot
  • A mystery to be solved - what happened in the weeks leading up to Cassidy's death
  • This is a debut novel for Bethany Neal, I'm always on the lookout for new authors

Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High by Laurie Boyle Crompton

The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High
byLaurie Boyle Crompton
Publication Date: February 1, 2014
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher vie Netgalley
Add to Goodreads
Purchase Amazon / Indiebound

from Goodreads

Shannon’s ‘clique’ is just her and her best friend and she has a super-embarrassing nickname that won’t go away. It is no huge shock when her classmates vote her least likely to be crowned Prom Queen. What is shocking is the new hidden camera reality show she finds herself starring in, titled The Prom Queen Wannabes! Shannon and two other Wannabes must battle to be elected Prom Queen and snag the One! Million! Dollar! prize. After a summer of makeovers and training at Prom Queen Camp, the hidden cameras watch the three of them enter their senior year equipped with secret skills to help wage war on the popular set. Things at Westfield High are about to get ugly, and Shannon must decide how much she's willing to give up for a shot at winning that tiara.

My Thoughts

As a fan of reality TV and competition shows and a fan of Laurie's debut novel, Blaze, I knew that her new book was going to be one fun ride. I expected many laughs while reading The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High and that is exactly what I got. Laurie had me hooked from the very beginning, when Shannon unwittingly and naively agrees to participate in the hidden-camera reality TV show.

In The Real Prom Queens, Laurie takes bits and pieces of reality shows to create this outlandish reality show: The Prom Queen Wannabes! As I continued to read, it was one laughable disaster after another and build-up after build-up knowing that it wasn't going to end well. But for every moment that is meant to make the reader laugh, we also get to find out about the behind the scenes manipulations that all but destroy the participants of the reality show competition.

The wannabe characters Shannon, Amy, and Kelly were fun to read. They weren't so different from everyone that you would want to be friends with. They just weren't high on the Prom Queen social ladder. What I really liked about their interactions was that there was a level of comraderie in their status. They were competition with each-other for the title of Prom Queen and the "One! Million! Dollar!" prize, but real friendships were built out of their common experience. 

I loved the "supporting" cast/characters too. Josie, Shannon's popular younger sister, Marnie, the corporation and label-hating BFF, and the nerdy and cute, love interest, Rick, kept it interesting. Even the mean-girl competition, Grace, was run to read. She kept me guessing in how she was going to ruin Shannon next.

The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High was very entertaining and fun. It was easy to see that there isn't any reality in reality-tv. Even though this story isn't about a real person's experience with reality-tv competition, it still shows how easy it is to get swept up in the supposed glamour of being on television and the lengths a show's creator will go to create a story or create chaos for ratings and something that "makes good television."

Fans of Libba Bray's Beauty Queens should check this out.

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Reality TV Guilty Pleasure

Back in the day, I never missed an episode of The Real World - "when people stopped being polite . . . and start(ed) getting real." I watched Season 1 (New York) - Season 12 (Las Vegas) - and I never missed an episode. I prided myself that I could name every person who starred in all of these episodes. I am proud to say that I finally outgrew my obsession with that show (and I can hardly remember the cast members names). I stopped watching The Real World, because it became all about the hook-ups and the fighting and so beyond any reality that I could identify with, but I still love watching The Real World/Road Rules Challenges. It the competitions that keep me entertained and, I can't lie, it is the drama, and the hopes that some of the old-school cast members will show up!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (7)

This week I'm joining Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews and sharing the books that I acquired throughout the week.

Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins (Purchased) - Forever is the final book of the Temptation series. The Amish/Non-Amish (English) love story that took me completely by surprise. I received an e-ARC but wanted a copy of my own. You can read my review here.

Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison (Purchased) - I'm participating in a blog tour for Anything to Have You later this week. Instead of reading the e-ARC, I decided to buy a final copy. This is the first book that I'll have read by Paige Harbison.


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