Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review: THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN by Ellen Hopkins

by Ellen Hopkins
Publication Date: January 23, 3017
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 608
Purchase Amazon | B&N


How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

My Thoughts

At this point, it's pretty much a given that I will read any book by Ellen Hopkins. She writes the kind of books that speak to me. She shares truths with honesty and thoughtfulness. Hopkins has crafted a stellar story in THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN. 

What I liked:
  • The verse narrative and the prose to establish each of the the girls' stories. The transition from reading Ariel's story to Maya's story wasn't distracting. That can happen sometimes when the styles of writing change.
  • The parallel's in Ariel's and Maya's stories and how their paths cross.
  • The friendships - Ariel had people come into her life who were important to her and who cared for her in just the right moment when she needed them. They helped who to realize who she was and showed her the true meaning of friendship and love. 

Favorite Quote:
(from the second poem, "Home", in THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN)

"Home   is someone
              or two who accepts you
              for the person you believe 
              you are, and if that happens
              to change, embraces the person
              you ultimately find yourself to be."

That quote right there let me know that this was going to be a powerful story.

What draws me to Ellen's books - exposing ugly truths, leads me to why I continue to read them - the possibility of hope. Reading THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN is an experience in itself. I loved it!

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC as part of the Irish Banana Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of CrankBurnedImpulseGlassIdenticalTricksFalloutPerfectTrianglesTilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin's Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the "only one who understands me", and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com

Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Tumblr

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:


3 Finished Copies of THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN (US Only)

It's Release Day! THE BACHELOR AUCTION by Rachel Van Dyken

The Bachelors of Arizona Book 1
by Rachel Van Dyken 
January 31, 2017; Published by Forever 


The first book in an all-new contemporary romance series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken.          

Cinderella never had to deal with this crap.

Jane isn't entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start, but didn't she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. Until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes---or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire---maybe do exist.

Except Brock Wellington isn't anyone's dream guy. Hell, a prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk---even if it was just a façade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it's karmic retribution that he's tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can't have. But while they can't have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy . . .

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2gMQMVY

About the Author
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult, 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, son, and their snoring boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!
Social Media Links
Add The Bachelor Auction to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2gMQNsP


Enter to win 1 of 10 free copies of The Bachelor Auction!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Now on Netflix: COIN HEIST based on the YA novel by Elisa Ludwig

It’s finally here! COIN HEIST, based on the YA novel by Elisa Ludwig, is now available to watch on Netflix!

Coin Heist

COIN HEIST by Elisa Ludwig
Published by: Adaptive Books
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Edition description: Movie Tie-in
Pages: 304
Age Range: 12 - 17 Year

The last place you'd expect to find a team of criminals is at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school. But on a class trip to the U.S. Mint - which prints a million new coins every 30 minutes - an overlooked security flaw becomes far too tempting for a small group of students to ignore. 

United by dire circumstances, these unlikely allies - the nerd, the slacker, the athlete, and the perfect student - band together to attempt the impossible: rob the U.S. Mint. This diverse crew is forced to confront their true beliefs about each other and themselves as they do the wrong thing for the right reasons. 

Elisa Ludwig's COIN HEIST is a fun, suspenseful and compelling thriller, told from the revolving perspectives of four teens, each with their own motive for committing a crime that will change all of their lives - if they can pull it off.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: HOME RUN by Heidi McLaughlin

The Boys of Summer #2
by Heidi McLaughlin
Publication Date: January 17, 2017
Published by Forever
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase Amazon | B&N


The second novel in New York Times bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin's Boys of Summer baseball series.

Cooper Bailey finally has a shot at being a major league ballplayer, but it will take all his focus and energy during spring training to make it happen. Complicating things is his instantaneous connection with Ainsley Burke. He can't get enough of her, and before he knows it, they're spending every night together. But as happy as he is off the field, his focus on it is suffering, and he isn't willing to risk his lifelong dream over a girl.

But without Ainsley, Cooper's miserable, and his game is still off. No matter what he tries, he can't get her out of his head, and he's starting to realize that maybe he doesn't want to. Baseball is just a game, but Ainsley might be the real thing. Now he just has to convince her of that.

My Thoughts

Heidi McLaughlin writes the type of books that keep me coming back for more. HOME RUN, the newest book of the Boys of Summer series, is a real page-turner. You don't have to be a baseball fan to be a fan of this story. I loved it.

It was fun to read Cooper's efforts to woo Ainsley. It all happened at a friendly pace that she didn't even know it was happening and it made it easy to fall for his character too. He is attentive and considerate - just the kind of good guy that I like to read. But, of course, not everything can be perfect. The pressures of baseball and Ainsley's own real-life pressures make their connection difficult to keep intact.  But it is the ups and downs, the angst and the struggles, and then the LOVE that brings them back together that makes HOME RUN an enjoyable read.

I loved the return of the alternating perspectives and knowing the thoughts of Cooper and Ainsley. I just adored Ainsley and her interactions with her best friend Stella. I enjoy reading the scenes between the best friends just as much as the scenes between of the romantic characters because I get to see more of Ainsley's personality.

I loved the return of the BoRe Blogger and getting a recap of the players, the game, and all of the dirty details told through the Gossip Wire. It was a fun way to transition the chapters and move the story along all while letting us know what is going on with the minor characters.

I was happy to read more about Ethan and Daisy from THIRD BASE and it made me miss them enough that I may even go back and read their story. And then there is Travis Kidd, this guy needs his own comedy show, or his own book, at least. 

HOME RUN is a wonderful continuation of the Boys of Summer Series and I'm excited to read more books about the men of the Boston Renegades.

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from the publisher 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.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: LUCIAN DIVINE by Renee Carlino

by Renee Carlino
Publication Date: January 9, 2017
Pages: 260
Source: InkSlingerPR


“My guardian angel is a drunk.”
Evelyn Casey's life is at a standstill. She's in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It's absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.
And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he's a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he's brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he's brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as ----. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.
For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God.

Yes, God as in God.

My Thoughts

LUCIAN DIVINE is only the second book that I've read by Renee Carlino, SWEAR ON THIS LIFE being the first, but I already know that I will read all of them. I love her style of writing and the wit and humor and enjoy her stories of connection. 

What I liked:

  • The interactions between Lucian and the other guardian angels. They had lives of their own.
  • The Star Wars bar. It sounded like a fun place to have a drink.
  • And this quote: "In the Bay Area, everything is expensive, especially being young." It made me laugh out loud.

There were a few instances when Lucian gave off the creepy vibe for always watching over Evey, but I had to remember that he was her guardian angel, that is exactly what he was supposed to be doing. And some of the ways he helped her were endearing. His love was evident.

It wasn't always fun and games between Evey and Lucian and they were crossing a very distinct line by being together. And even though they weren't always sure of the consequences of their actions, they were willing to take this life-altering chance. Their love was worth the risk.

LUCIAN DIVINE was extremely enjoyable. Sometimes it was a little "out there", but it certainly was a page-turner. I'd never really thought much about guardian angels. But after reading all of the little ways Lucian helped Evey throughout her life, and then thinking of ways things could have gone differently in my own life, it nice to imagine that I could have had someone watching out for me too. 

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from InkSlingerPR.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She 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 project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: DEAR LIFE by Meghan Quinn

by Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: January 5, 2017
Pages: 353
Purchase Amazon


Four lives. Four stories. Four sets of letters. Four brave souls in need of guidance while facing life's greatest challenges.

The anonymously published Dear Life program is designed to help them step outside of their comfort zones, face their obstacles, and relinquish their demons...and prove their existence.

With their lives teetering between wanting more and losing it all, all four souls dive into the program as a New Year’s resolution, sending them on a crazy, life-altering journey. 

Dear Life, 

Please be kind. 

Yours truly, Hollyn, Jace, Daisy, and Carter.

My Thoughts

When I read the description of DEAR LIFE, I was instantly intrigued. I'd never read a book by Meghan Quinn, but this seemed like the perfect book to discover this author. Plus I thought the book would be told in a series of letters and that was very appealing to me. While it isn't written only in sets of letters, DEAR LIFE is a wonderfully crafted story that I really enjoyed reading.

Each character is going through their own tough challenges - may it be losing a loved one, letting go of someone they love, learning about the world around them, and deciding to REALLY live in it.

There are things to love about each character, but I was drawn to Carter. It might be because he was the most closed off and I wanted to know how deep he would dive in the Dear Life program - oh, and I have a thing for chefs.

I liked reading each character's perspective, but I especially loved the letters that they wrote to themselves during each phase of the Dear Life process. I was able to see their own understanding of the process (or lack of understanding).

Favorite Quotes:

"Prove your existence. That's your new motto to live by. What did you do today to prove your existence, what are you doing tomorrow to prove your existence in this world?"

And later: "Be kind, be courageous, and keep moving forward. Keep proving your existence, day by day. Prove it."

What I loved most about this book were all of the different emotions felt by the characters and their need to connect with each other and depend on each other, and the desire for honesty and taking chances. DEAR LIFE is such a wonderful book and I'm glad that I was open to reading a new-to-me author. I'm looking forward to reading more of her writing.

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from WORDSMITH PUBLICITY. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Quotes taken from this e-ARC may differ from the final published version. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if "It's Raining Men" starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing... enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

Find me on Goodreads:

Visit my website: http://authormeghanquinn.com/


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