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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Brown Paper Packages aka Last Minute Gifting

If you're like me this year, with eight days to Christmas, you're still scrambling to finish gifting.
Here are some of the favorite books at our house to get your book giving spirit going and help you finish your list!

Board Books:
This is not your average alphabet book. This one tells a story in 26 words. Even our ten-year-old likes to read CAVEMAN and it's a hands down favorite for potty training our two-year-old.


Picture Books (Do you call these a series?):

Chapter Books:

Girl: Is your Fancy Nancy lover too old for picture books? Have no fear, Jane O'Connor saved the day with NANCY CLANCY chapter books.

Family Read Aloud:

Middle Grade:
THE EVER AFTERS, MAY B (perfect for Little House on the Prairie lovers), and RUMP

 Two series my ten-year-old absorbed this year: REDWALL and THE JANITORS

What books are you giving to the little people in your life? Any favorites my family missed?

Friday, December 6, 2013


****This copy was provided to me by Netgalley or an honest review****

From Goodreads:
Ever since high school, Kayla has been crazy for gorgeous football player Talon. But before she could muster the courage to tell him, he became a hot item with her beautiful BFF, Reagan. The only person who knows Kayla’s secret is Wesley, Talon’s best bud—and he’s got it bad for Reagan. Now they’re all in college together, hanging out 24/7. For Kayla, seeing the two lovebirds together is absolutely unbearable. So Kayla and Wesley hatch a plot to drive them apart before Talon has a chance to give Reagan the Christmas gift she’s been waiting for.

Soon enough, the once happy couple is fighting. Reagan suddenly can’t get enough of Wesley’s goofy sense of humor, and Talon seems to be paying more attention to Kayla than a guy who’s “only a friend” ever should. But just when everything seems to be falling into place, Kayla and Wesley accidentally spend a night together and discover a hitch in their plan they never considered: that switching partners may not lead to a perfect ending after all.

First line: I love my best friend’s boyfriend. But I swear I saw him first.

Note to anyone who decides they want their best friend’s significant: suck it up and deal, otherwise you end up like me – surrounded by your friends, but feeling 100% alone.

This is the second of Cassie Mae's books through Random House Flirt. Her first one, FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI, I reviewed (and adored) here. If you follow my blog you know I fell for Cassie Mae a few years back and read her entire blog, start to finish in two sittings. She is hilarious and not afraid to let it all hang out. I knew then that I'd read anything of hers and happily beta if she'd ever ask me. Yup, I was smitten. And I still am. She writes funny, sexy characters, awkward situations, and plenty of mishaps along the way.

SWITCHED was everything I'd come to expect from her, but it still read fresh, new, and holy cow the guys in this novel were hot. Wesley had my drooling. I kept thinking, come on Kayla, realize he's the one for you. Cassie managed to write two characters (Kayla and Wesley) I loved even when they were trying to break up their best friends and that (the likable characters) isn't not easy to pull off. Reagan I wanted to clobber more times than not, but she was great too. The condom war was hilarious!

I think of this story as a love square (do such things exist?). Some of my favorite scenes were Kayla biting Talon's nose, she and Wesley's snowball fight, when Talon helps her into the Open Mic night, and when Kayla eats Talon's mom's burnt cookies.

If you're looking for a fun, NA read, I hope you'll give this one a try.
You can find it on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

In addition to the giveaway below, I'm allowed to choose one person at random who comments on this blog between now and Dec. 8th at midnight to win their own NetGalley review copy of SWITCHED.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG Hard vs. Hard Core: In search of balance

In my writing I swing from two extremes:


Hard Core

I want to find a happy, healthy medium between I suck, my writing sucks, I have no good ideas, and I can't make dinner or listen to an entire sentence not coming out of my own head because I am on the rollingest roll in existence. This book baby won't even need to be edited.

Instead I want this

and this

so I can feel this

So tell me, dear readers, how do you find that beautiful balance? 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

THIRD LIE'S THE CHARM by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Happy Release Day!!!!!

I first found out about The Liar Society books through Janet Gurtler, another great YA contemporary author who publishes through Sourcebooks Fire. When she posted the covers on her blog I had to read the books. And then when I read the first one I immediately delved into the second one. So guys, this is a time I can shout from the rooftops that the books are as good as their covers.
Also, I'm always intrigued with people who can write collaborations and the idea of sisters working together on a book is rather intriguing for me. (Jolene Perry guest posted about it here.)
I couldn't wait for the final book in this thrilling saga to come out, so when I recieved a review copy from Netgalley I did some jumping and I little bit of dancing;)

Here's the cover, it's my least favorite of the three, but fitting for this final book.

From Goodreads:
New friend into old, the bond of the Sisterhood will never grow cold.

Life at Pemberly Brown is a whirlwind for Kate Lowry. Determined to finally destroy the secret society responsible for her best friend Grace’s death, Kate joins the Sisterhood hoping to go all Trojan Horse on their asses. But the night of her initiation another student at Pemberly Brown dies in what looks like tragic accident.

Kate knows better.

Kate and her faithful ginger, Seth Allen, immediately uncover a connection to the boy’s death and the secret societies that rule Pemberly Brown. But it’s not until Kate begins receiving pages from Grace’s old journal that she begins to piece together what really happened the night she died and how it connects to Pemberly Brown’s most recent tragedy.

Meanwhile, Kate’s ex-boyfriend Liam is following her around like an angry guard dog and she’s falling hard for the mysterious Bradley Farrow. Both boys are tied up in the mystery that surrounds Pemberly Brown, but only one of them can truly be trusted.

In this chilling conclusion to The Liar Society series Kate will fight to save her school from the evil that lurks beneath its hallowed halls. But will her quest destroy her or finally lead her to true love? She can only hope her third lie’s the charm.
As you guys know, I don't want to spoil the ending for everybody. But know I ached for Kate and the difficult decisions she had to make, in love, in friendship, and all in the name of bringing down the Sisterhood. There are twists, surprises, and a rather satisfying end. So great work L & L Roecker, for writing a great conclusion to a series I've thoroughly enjoyed. Read this book. But read THE LIAR SOCIETY and THE LIES THAT BIND first:)

Have you read this series? Are you as happy with the character development and humor sprinkled into this chilling ride? I reviewed another great book, RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kinneally out today over at Sporty Girl books if you'd like to check it out.
What's your most anticipated read for this month? Please share, because I don't want to miss it:)

Monday, December 2, 2013

MINE TO TARNISH by Janeal Falor

Janeal and I were twitter friends back when we were both querying. She took the self publishing route and her first book, YOU ARE MINE, become an Amazon Bestseller. I talked about that book here.

My favorite secondary character in YOU ARE MINE was Katherine, a Tarnished seamstress, so I was beyond thrilled when I learned Janeal's next book, MINE TO TARNISH (out yesterday!) would be Katherine's story. I just finished it this morning, listening to in on that funny text-to-speech my kindle has.

As always, her covers are breathtaking.

Katherine is a girl in an oppressive society where men completely rule and use magic to do so. Woman are valued based on the amount of magic in their blood, but they're not able/allowed to use it. (I'm wondering and hoping that will change with book three, MINE TO SPELL).
Katherine determines she'd rather join the Tarnished than become Nigel's wife, but she leaves behind as object that allows Nigel to track her and exposes the Tarnished hiding place. She and young, handsome Charles make a dangerous escape together. She's wholly unprepared to live any life but the one she was raised in.

While I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first, it was great to get a better look into the lives of the Tarnished and to watch Katherine fully change and realize everyone, no matter your sex or status, should be treated as a person.

You can find Janael here and MINE TO TARNISH here.

Congrats on your release!