Thursday, July 31, 2014

After the Rain by Renee Carlino

I love the covers of Renee's books. Just seeing the cover, I want to read her books. I immediately want to know the story within the covers. After the Rain is no exception. It is gorgeous!!

by Renee Carlino
Atria Books Paperback 
 320 pages 
November 11, 2014


From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart. 

About the author:
Renée Carlino lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog, June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. To learn more, visit

Visit Renee online:

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AUS Links:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Gone by Anna Bloom

by Anna Bloom
Publication Date: July 28, 2014
Source: Good Choice Reading Blog Tours

from Goodreads

 Rebecca Walters harbours a dark secret, and as the fifty-three bangles she wears on her wrists as a self-imposed sentence of guilt remind her, she can’t even begin to consider moving on. Not after what happened on that night six months ago… a night which she can’t remember and yet managed to change her life forever.

When Rebecca comes across Joshua Adams, man equally haunted by past tragedies, on a moonlit beach, both of their lives are destined to change forever, and when the girl made out of the sun meets the boy made out of the moon and sea, anything can happen… but will the knowledge of their murky pasts bring them together or drive them apart?

Will Rebecca finally be able to claim her freedom? Will she stay and fight to be the girl she found on the sandy beaches of Cornwall or is she destined to keep running and hiding from a past that won’t stay Gone? One thing’s for certain: either way, nothing will ever be the same again.

My Thoughts

Gone is beautiful story through and through. Anna Bloom's writing grabbed a hold of me and made me believe in this story of two young people struggling to live in the present.

Both Rebecca and Joshua are holding on to major regrets and guilt from their pasts. They are both devastated in ways that they believe they are beyond repair. I'll admit that I had some reservations about both of these characters and their pasts that left them haunted and damaged. Would it be overly dramatic? I shouldn't have had any worries because it was perfectly balanced. I think that story being told in alternating perspectives helped with that. 

I loved the intensity between Joshua and Rebecca during the serious moments between them but also in playful moments too. It was easy to get caught up in what was going on between them and experience happiness when they did and sadness when that was what they were feeling. This can be attributed to Bloom's ability to capture authentic emotions. 

I liked the interactions between Rebecca and her family. Her parents are involved in her life regardless of how she tries to separate herself from them. They are observant and understanding and well -meaning and great examples that parents can be relied on and confided in. And because of them, Rebecca doesn't have to experience the pain of her past all alone. 

A friend had recommended to me other books by Anna Bloom, but I hadn't read any of them prior to reading Gone. Having read this beautiful and emotional story, now I understand why she was raving about the writing and the characters. I will definitely read Bloom's other books in the near future.

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from Good Choice Reading Book Tours  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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's Release Day!! Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown

It's Release Day!!!

 Swimming to Tokyo

 Swimming to Tokyo
by Brenda St. John Brown
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary
July 29, 2014
235 Pages

About Swimming to Tokyo

The rules for swimming are simple:
Rule #1: There is no lifeguard on duty.
Since her mom died three years ago, nineteen-year-old Zosia Easton’s been treading water. Living at home. Community college. Same old Saturday nights. So when her father breaks the news he’s taken a job transfer—and by the way, it means renting out the house that’s been her refuge—a summer in Tokyo feels like it just might be a chance to start swimming again.
Rule #2: Beware of unexpected currents.
Finn O’Leary has spent God knows how many years trying to drown out his past. Juvenile detention. Bad decisions. Worse choices. He’s managed to turn it around – MIT, Dean’s List, a sexier-than-thou body with a smile to match – at least on the surface. When his mom asks him to spend the summer with her, Tokyo seems as good a place as any to float through the summer.
Rule #3: Swim at your own risk.
Find Brenda online:


Author Bio: 

Brenda St John Brown is a displaced New Yorker living in the English countryside. She hasn't quite adapted to the idea of fireworks in November (despite now being a dual US/UK citizen), but she knows not to call trousers pants & often finds herself saying things are lovely...a word that never crossed her lips until she passed through UK immigration. She writes YA & NA fiction. When she's not writing, Brenda loves running, reading and traveling, & talking about Greek mythology with her son.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid - Book Blitz

Let's Get Lost
Release Date: 07/29/14
Harlequin Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Early Praise:
“Reminiscent of John Green’s Paper Towns and road trip novels that feature a teen paving the way to adulthood, Alsaid’s debut is a gem among contemporary YA novels.” – School Library Journal

“Five love stories, beautifully woven together by a special girl in search of adventure, hope, and full appreciation of life’s simple pleasures. A do-not-miss.  ” – Justine Magazine

“Moving and poignant.”  - Glitter Magazine

“An entertaining and romantic road-trip debut.” – Kirkus

"Leila's quest to find the Northern Lights takes readers on a captivating cross-country journey, where four strangers' adventures collide into one riveting tale of finding yourself." ―

“This will likely be a popular summer hit, especially for older teen about to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery.” –Booklist

Today Adi Alsaid shares his thoughts on 

Why Airports are Great for Writers

One of my ultimate go-tos for inspiration is people-watching, and there’s no greater place than an airport to people watch. The sheer mass and diversity of people, the potential for imagined stories. I could sit at an airport and watch for hours even if I didn’t have a flight. I have done that, actually. When I lived in Vegas, sometimes I’d go to the airport baggage claim with a friend and some coffee and we’d try to guess where everyone was coming from, try to decipher airport codes we weren’t familiar with.

 Airports offer the freedom to observe. You have a few hours before your flight boards to do nothing but see all sorts of people gathered together, to imagine whatever you want about them, even if you are wildly wrong. Grab some coffee and sit at your gate, take a seat at the overpriced bar or at a restaurant that faces out at the terminal, put a book in front of you in case traffic slows down, a notebook next to that, keep an ear perked for eavesdropping some conversation. Watch the material come to you.

And if you’re the type of writer that gets inspiration from other people’s lives, stealing away their details for later creative use (aren’t we all that kind of writer?), just start talking to someone. Even with the walking-on-eggshells feeling that airports sometimes have these days, where your bags must be with you at all times and suspicious behavior might be defined as not getting any cream cheese with your bagel, people are still extremely open to each other at airports. The fact that everyone is just passing through opens people up to conversation, I’ve found. Seatmates in particular, but at bookstores and restaurants and anywhere else you might find yourself sitting next to someone at an airport. If they find you annoying and don’t want to talk, they’ll let you know by answering only in grunts and continuing to read their magazine. But sometimes they’ll unload their stories on you, like the flight attendant for Air Force Two whom I met and had traveled the world (something like 87 countries?). Or the poor diplomat from Ecuador whose flight from New York to Mexico to Ecuador turned into a five-stop 24-hour+ nightmare.

Attractive people you’ll never see again, groups of teens dreaming of adventures, escapes, reunions, dreading the leaving of them. So many little scenes from daily life, on display for a much larger audience. Mothers trying to place a fast food order for a family of six, a couple already reminiscing about their trip, siblings ignoring each other with headphones. Businessmen on phone calls, working on their computers with a cup of coffee in hand, unwinding at the corner seat of the bar.

Where there are people there are stories, simply put.

About the Author

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let's Get Lost is his YA debut.  
Let's Get Lost Website!

Author Links:
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1 signed hard cover copy of Let’s Get Lost
1 Let’s Get Lost luggage tag
1 Harlequin TEEN notebook
1 Let’s Get Lost sachel
1 Harlequin TEEN tote bag
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me

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:

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me
by Meredith Zeitlin
Expected Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Published by Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 336
Add to Goodreads

from Goodreads

A laugh-out-loud high school adventure set in Greece, perfect for fans of Meg Cabot 

High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she's devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona's mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks... but no thanks.

In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary.

Why I'm Waiting

I have been waiting for this announcement - a new book by Meredith Zeitlin!!!

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters was "a good time", from my review:
"Let me just put it out there - this book was too much fun. It has been a long time since I've read a book that made me smile and laugh over and over and over again. From the very beginning of the book when Kelsey declares that it is going to be the best year ever - starting high school - staking her claim to fabulousness - you just know that it is going to be anything but that. Get ready for the ride."
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me is not a continuation of Kelsey's story, but that doesn't even matter, I just know this book will be "a good time" too.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Books For A Cause Readathon Recap

I signed up for the Books for a Cause Readathon hosted by Heather at Turning Pages and of course as soon as I did, life got busy it always happens. Luckily, this was more of read when you can, set your own pace readathon - a readathon to make a commitment and then fulfill it. 

I pledged to read 10 books and donate $1.00 per book to Stand Up to Cancer. A few friends and family members agreed to sponsor me and support my efforts.

Over the past few weeks, I read a variety of books.

Book 1
I love Lisa's books so much - a great way to start off the readathon.

Book 2
Another incredible book!

Books 3-5
 I went to my friends for Family Dinner Night and her son asked me to read some books to him. He would've made me read to him all night if I didn't have to go home.

Books 6-8

The Geography of Girlhood and Stop Pretending were rereads for me. Make Way for Ducklings was mentioned in Stop Pretending, so it made sense to me to read it for the readathon too.

Book 9
I got this for cute book for my niece who will be arriving ANY DAY NOW!! I am so excited!

Book 10
 I love Jessica Park's Flat-Out books and this one is a new favorite too! 

Now this readathon is over, but the fundraising for Books for A Cause is not. Turning Pages is hosting an on-line auction for some must-have reads. There are books of all genres, some signed and a few gift baskets too. Please take the time to check out the auction and make a bid should you wish to do so. 

Go to On-Line Auction

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Delicate by Steph Campbell: Anniversary Celebration

Title: Delicate
Author: Steph Campbell
Age: Mature YA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: July 2012

Sydney Pierce has just met the guy of her dreams…just don’t tell her psycho boyfriend, Trevor.

With a gorgeous boyfriend, a thriving gymnastics career and a stellar academic record, anyone would assume that Sydney has it all. That's precisely what the seventeen-year-old perfectionist wants you to believe, and she works hard to keep up the pretense. Especially now that there are cameras following her for a documentary on Olympic hopefuls.

When Grant, the charming new student, disrupts her carefully crafted routine, the cracks beneath her perfect façade begin to rise to the surface and despite Trevor's objections to their friendship, she can't stay away from him.

As her connection to Grant pulls her closer to him, the once lighthearted relationship with Trevor takes an intense and dark turn, forcing her into a position in which not only her happiness, but her safety is at stake. Can Sydney learn to let go of everything she is clinging to in order to gain everything she has ever wanted, or will she realize her breaking point too late?


“Sydney,” he says tightly.

“Grant,” I joke back, trying to mimic his serious tone.

Still, I refuse to look up. I can’t. I don’t want to look into those eyes.

“Syd, look at me,” he says. The way my name sounds coming from his lips is more than I can handle right now.

I give nothing in response. I am frozen.

He lets out an audible sigh and reaches out with a single finger and tilts my chin up so that he can see my face. I don’t flinch away, but I still avoid his eyes.

“What the hell happened to you?” Grant demands. His voice is thoughtful but firm.

“I tripped and fell down the stairs at my house,” I say with a light laugh. He’s quiet. Good. Let’s leave it at that.

“I don’t believe you,” he finally says.

“I tripped, drop it,” I say through my teeth. 

“Jesus Christ, just wait until I—“ his voice is protective and full of anger.

My eyes dart up at his threat. At the thought of him confronting Trevor. That would ruin everything. Forever.

“I fell down the stairs. That’s it,” I say firmly. Tears form in my eyes. My nose and chin burn as I fight them off. I can’t cry. I’m determined to make Grant believe me.

Grant stares back at me. I can tell by the look in his eyes that he still doesn’t buy it.

“Please,” I say quietly. “Please. Let it go, for me.” My voice has become a tortured beg.

He finally breaks our stare and looks down at his hands. He nods his head once, then turns toward the front of the classroom.

Not another word is spoken between Grant and me.

1 signed copy of Delicate and an audiobook of Grounding Quinn
Click link to Rafflecopter

About the Author:

Steph Campbell grew up in Southern California, but now calls Southwest Louisiana home. She has one husband, four children and a serious nail polish obsession.


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