Monday, November 3, 2014

Learning to Spy (Behind the Stars) #2 by Leigh Talbert Moore


Photo by Goodreads

Learning to Spy by Leigh Talbert Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Summary: Book #2 in a new mini-series by Amazon Bestselling Author Leigh Talbert Moore.

Alone in her mission, Prentiss has to figure out a new approach if she plans to escape the prison camp alive. She does not expect to find an ally among her captors.

Strategies change and secrets are revealed in "Learning to Spy," Book #2 in the Behind the Stars series.

Red Dawn meets LOST in this New Adult action-adventure romance.
   

Now I am getting the hang of the whole mini-series thing! It didn't hurt either that I was able to read "Captive" first, then jump right into "Learning to Spy". And I mean it flowed right into each other as if it were the ending of an episode from a t.v. show into the next weeks episode, without missing a beat.

As for the memories Prentiss keeps having, I'm beginning to see what kind of world she lived in before her kidnapping and what the social ladder was like. She is also establishing the relationships she has with others who are in the camp with her but also with others who are not there but yet an important part of the story. I do feel like this slows down the flow, but being a mini-series, it allows more time to be spent there.

I saw more predictability in this installment, but I was not disappointed in the way things went for Prentiss. There were some twists and turns that caught me off guard, but not as intense as the first installment. Overall I am enjoying this new way of reading, and with each part I am drawn further and further into this world and wanting more and more of Prentiss and her life.

Thanks to E-books for Review by Inspired Kathy for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review!



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Captive (Behind the Stars) #1 by Leigh Talbert Moore


Photo by Goodreads

Captive by Leigh Talbert Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:

Prentiss Puckett is certain of three things:

-Graduation is two weeks away.
-Summer only gets hotter in south Mississippi.
-She’s getting a job with air-conditioning.

She did not expect to be kidnapped walking to work.
And she never expected to become a hero.

Red Dawn meets L O S T in this new action-adventure romance from Amazon bestselling author Leigh Talbert Moore.


The cover was what talked me into reading this. To be honest, the description or summary I was given was so vague, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I just figured it would be a great thriller/mystery so I was in!

Captive.. was nothing like I thought it would be. At first I was confused about what exactly was going on. I knew she was kidnapped, but I had a hard time deciphering which was dreaming or which was real until I caught on. It took me a while to really get into it because of the memories she kept having. I struggled at first because I just wanted on with the story (I am not the most patient person) but after a few chapters I realized how important these memories were in the larger picture.

This is my first mini-series so I didn't know what to expect. I read it all in one sitting only because it was a short quick read, which was good because I was able to jump right into the next part of the series.

Like a few of Moore's other books I have read, Captive's characters were memorable and kept me curious to each of their fates. As this first part in this new mini-series ends, I ended up with so many questions! I look forward to the next installment to fill my need to know the answers and to see what will happen to these characters I have grown found of.

Thanks to E-Books for Review by Inspired Kathy for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review!

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

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Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:  It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancĂ©e—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.


It starts out like this: 

"The Problem with Fairy tales is that most of them begin with a tragedy. I understand the reasoning behind it. No one likes a pampered heroine."

It is 3:00 in the morning and I just finished reading Cinder & Ella. I just had to come post my review before I exploded with no one else to tell about this book! I have to admit this is my first Kelly Oram book and I was a little skeptical about it at first. But I was offered the chance to read it for review so I jumped on it!

This is NOTHING I thought it would be... Not even close. I kinda thought it would be a cheesy adaptation of Cinderella. But I was completely wrong! Sure the story of Cinderella was mentioned, but believe me, this was far more than a fairytale.

I fell in love with the Characters immediately with Cinder as my favorite (of course). A part of me is fascinated with young Hollywood and the lives they must lead, so Cinder was intriguing and his personality fit so perfectly with someone who was Hollywood. I'm not sure what kind of research Oram must have done on burn victims, but she did a great job bringing in Ella's life. Ella was a very believable character, with what life had thrown at her, she was all too human. That is a very important element for me in my reading. I need Characters who I can relate to and bring in not only emotions, but realistic elements to the story. The other, secondary characters, were fantastic! They all left enough of an impression that I will be thinking of them long from now as well as Cinder and Ella.

Of course I am a sucker for "fairytale endings" so this one worked out wonderfully. I didn't know how it would get to that point, but I knew there had to be that ending which I loved and wished for more!

Thanks to E-books for Review for the opportunity to get read this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This was a clean read and I recommend to anyone over 14.


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Friday, October 17, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary:  

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I had heard so many things praising this book before it was even published. I am now beginning to rethink the general public's view of what is good. Is it the ending? The middle? Or is it how traumatic we can feel about a book?

As for this one, I would tell you that I enjoyed the writing. It was beautifully put together with words, but I also felt something very "off" about the story from the beginning. Things just didn't feel O.K. and as I went on through the book, I ended up putting it down and waiting a few days to keep reading because of those feelings that would come from my gut. I could never put my finger on it, or figure out what was really going on. So the breaks gave my brain time to recover and try to figure out what was so eery about it.

The ending was a gobsmack across the face! I wanted to throw it across the room and maybe even burn it. I am sure that is what the writer was looking for, but not me! I don't like books that leave me feeling kicked in the stomach or thrown off a bridge. Maybe it's just where I am in my life, but gut-wrenching trauma is not what I want to escape to. I have lived enough of that in my personal life, I would rather read something less emotional. So, if you enjoy the kind of book that throws you completely over an emotional cliff.... this one is for you!!!

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The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

The Best of MeThe Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Summary: 

"Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She'd believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen."


In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.

Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew -- about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear -- was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?


I keep thinking that I will like something else from Nicholas Sparks. But this is NOT it. I guess I am just not the "martyr" type. All his books involves death, illness (usually cancer) and a sad ending. I guess I am just tired of his typical endings. I appreciated the first book of his that I read, Dear John, mainly because life doesn't always work out the way we plan. But for Sparks to keep focusing on this... ugh! .... Plus, I am very sensitive to the cancer subject, especially Pediatric Brain Cancer which this really didn't do anything but use it as another part of a "sad sob story". I found myself rolling my eyes and wondering why people keep buying into this kind of self-sacrificing, self-pittying, Lets-see-what-else-I-can-add-to-make-more-money.... OH lets add Childhood cancer as well!!! I'm sorry this is a pretty nasty review, but I just can't help it. Cancer is real and I am tired of people making money off of "romanticizing" it. Can an Author like this change up his writing? I guess if people are buying it and it sells.... then keep on writing!

Enough said.

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Trailer for Black Ice from Becca Fitzpatrick.





This looks spectacular!! I can't wait to get my hands... (or ears) on it!  If you have read it, I would love to hear what you have to say!!



Look for a review!!! I WILL READ THIS!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ever had a "Book Hangover"?




Right after I finished reading the whole Twilight series, I had all these strange feelings:   A huge let-down, a void, depression (well not quite), just missing something in my world.  So, what did I do?  I read them again!  As many of you know, I am not your typical reader type.  I wasn't born with a book in hand, quite the contrary actually.  I was a child born pre-ADHD.  Meaning, I lived a life thinking I was dumb, slow, different, because ADHD wasn't even known back then.  And I was definitely someone who HATED reading!  I couldn't keep my focus and I could never remember what I read.  People made fun of me, teachers/parents lost patience with me, I felt like I was UNTEACHABLE!  When a teacher of mine (who will remain anonymous) told me I should go to beauty school because I would never make it in college,  I believed it! So I never... EVER tried reading for fun. Besides, what genre would I read?  I don't know what I liked.  So when a few friends mentioned reading Twilight... VAMPIRES!! pftt... I just about didn't do it.  But when we took our son on his Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii, I figured I could read it on the plane and the beach, right?  Little did I know what a comfort and distraction this book would be while we had to deal with a recurrence of his brain tumor while there.  I grabbed on to EVERY feeling I could get from that book.  It was like my minds vacation.  It kept me feeling something other than anxiety, pain, and heartache for just a few minutes a day.  It became an addiction!!!  So for me the word "Hangover" would be more like a "Withdraw"!

I have a confession to make... There are some books that I just haven't been able to read because they are the last book of the series.  Namely... Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  I heard a spoiler about it and I just can't bring myself to read it.  I know everyone has told me it is really good besides that one part... BUT... I just don't want it to be over or to end that way.  So MAYBE I will get the courage to read it and put it behind me?


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Just One Day by Gayle Forman



Just One Day by Gayle Forman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:  

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of
If I Stay


When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.
So I have readers guilt! I have avoided reading this book for two reasons. 1. I heard this book was mostly about the time after that "one day affair"... 2. I also heard there was a HUGE cliffhanger! So.... I waited until I could use my audible credit plus I waited until the sequel was out so I didn't have to wait so long. Kinda cheesy, right?


Well, my thoughts about this book were all over the place. Willem, a character who, I thought, represented the European playboy to a tee. Not that I have ever known one myself, but if I imagined a young, sexy, smooth, international traveler, Willem would be him. Add Shakespeare to it and viola instant romance! It was exciting to read at first, while on their One day affair, then tragic and heartbreaking. But the depression that Alison felt when returning back to the US just dragged and dragged. I guess if I had "given myself" to someone after one day, that would have brought on all kinds of regrets, heartache and depression, but really... I wanted to slap her out of it!

When it comes to young adult reads, I really get into the growing of the characters. It seems Alison really turned a 180, from being the quiet, timid, rule-follower, to a more adventurous and free-spirited girl. Standing up to her parents and pushing for what she wanted was a huge leap from who she was before.

For me, like in the book, I do not believe in coincidences... I trust fate or "accidents" as Willem put it.

As for the cliff-hanger... UUUGGHHH! Really? That has to be one of the biggest ones I have come across!! Thanks for that, Gayle Forman!! I love this kind of torture!!

There was some bad language, and a sex scene but not very detailed. Not something a young teen should read.






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Monday, May 26, 2014

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins


Goodreads photo

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:  

It’s time.


Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.

In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.


What a perfect ending for such a phenomenal series! I felt every emotion while wrapped up in this whirl-wind ending; Anxiety, hope, sadness, longing, desperation, grief, and lots of love.

Kudos to Wendy Higgins and her brilliant writing! The world she created felt so real and true to life, and who says they aren't? The evil in this world comes from somewhere, but the righteousness prevails.

Kaiden... Oh Kaiden. Wendy Higgins, if I could award you with the sexiest, dreamy-ist, hero bad boy in the teen book history, I would. He won my heart from the first book, the first meeting, but THIS...this puts him on a whole other pedal-stool! My heart broke for him in so many ways.. especially for his self-loathing that he tried so hard to cover up. But the very end... OH.MY.GOSH!! I had tears streaming down my face from the beauty of his soul he was finally allowed to show. I honestly don't know how you could bring so much power into one character, but I am just so undone over Kaiden!!

Most importantly, Higgins stuck to so many wonderful values that are now lost in this world. Especially with Anna's character. If we all could learn that we all have the same kind of power that Anna wielded with her sword of righteousness, the world would be a better place.
This quote explained it all...

"As I acquanted myself with all of him for the first time, I learned the power of being a woman - the weakness in his eyes brought on by my touch - and the underlying trust and love I saw there."

This is the kind of romance we need to see more of. There is so much more to this than all sex-scenes I have read in a long time.



Most would consider the others in the series to be secondary characters, but for me they were so much a part of the whole. Nothing would have been as complete without them and their distinctive personalities.

Wendy Higgins has become one of my top favorite writers! The Sweet Trilogy will be a series I will re-read over and over again!!



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John Dreamer by Elise Celine


Goodreads photo

John Dreamer by Elise Celine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:  

Andy wasn’t usually sure about much, but she was absolutely certain this was the weirdest day of her life as she stood stranded in the middle of a great white room with six strangers. Well, they were mostly strangers. She could have sworn she’d seen the guy with the green eyes before, and maybe that was why he kept staring at her.


When a man calling himself the Guardian appeared and said they had come to make their deepest dreams come true, they embark on an adventure none of them ever imagined, and the consequences of their actions would change them forever.

"John Dreamer" is the first in a series of books set in the confines of the Great White Room


Waking up in a great white room not remembering anything, was how this book began. It caught my interest right away. The chairs are what spoke to me the most, even before the others began to arrive. To me it represented the personalities of those to come and exemplified our own uniqueness in the world. I am a person who likes to see beyond the outward appearance of things, places, and people. To me, this white room represented of where we started out in life; An empty slate, a beginning, a place to start. The Guardian who explained that this is where our dreams will come true, meant this is who you become or who you want to be. Only life experiences can make us who we are. In my opinion, this would represent why we are here on earth and how it all plays out. We are here with family, friends and loved ones. As life happens we move forward, we step up or we don't. We help others in their life's struggles and help them become who they are supposed to be, just as others help us in our own times of need. We all grow, become stronger and develop who we want to be, or we fail in certain areas. We never know when these challenges are for our benefit or that of others and we never know when they are going to hit. So to me, symbolism is all over this book. Very Alice in Wonderland-ish, but yet a deep way of thinking of our own lives.

Elise Celine did a great job bringing the characters to life and creating this wonder-land. A very thought-provoking read.

Thanks to Net-Galley for the ARC and the opportunity to read this and I look forward to book #2 in the John Dreamer series!

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Tyrants Daughter by J.C. Carleson


Goodreads Photo

The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: 

From a former CIA officer comes the riveting account of a royal Middle Eastern family exiled to the American suburbs.


When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?


J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics.*Bonus Backmatter includes a note about the author's CIA past, and a commentary by RAND researcher and president of ARCH International, Dr. Cheryl Benard. Recommendations for further reading are also included.
J.C. Carlson brought a young adult novel and made it into a educational read for all ages. Bringing this into high schools around the country would open up doors and windows into the world of the middle east. Our children would be discussing cultural and political differences, which are HUGE! It would bring a little more understanding and empathy to those who live here in the US as well. Ignorance is what brings hate and fear. Sharing things like this book with our children would educate as well as entertain, but most importantly get them interested in our political world.

Some parts of this book were difficult to read just because of the violence toward women and the reality of the world they live in daily. The main character, Laila, won my heart immediately. Manipulation, bribery, and betrayal were a heartbreaking world to wake up to... being so young and sheltered, then given the freedom to explore and learn truths about her father and mother.

One thing that I admired about Carleson, was she didn't pinpoint a country, or last name to the characters. She made it a generalization yet making it a real place.

I would highly recommend this book to everyone over the age of 14 due to the violence and politics.

Please read this and pass it on! It is a subject that needs to be brought to light, especially to our youth!

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for the ARC of  this book.

Excerpt:

Pretending

My brother is the king of Nowhere.

This fact doesn't matter to anyone except my family- a rapidly shrinking circle of  Used to Be.  And, even for us, there are surprisingly few perks.  And now we sit in our airless apartment, curtains closed against the outside world, pretending.

My Mother pretends that nothing has changed.

She is good at this charade.  Her every gesture oozes money and power now long gone.  They wouldn't let her take her closets full of  designer clothes when we left our country, but she still spends hours on her appearance- pretending that photographers might still want to take pictures of her every outing, even dressed as she is now in J.C. Penny sale-rack clothes and drugstore lipstick.  Pretending her old life didn't die along with my father.


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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Podium Finish Blog Tour!


Podium Finish 


PodiumFinish Podium Finish With six months until the Olympic Games, seventeen-year-old Harper's life is pretty much perfect. She's fighting for the starting spot on Team USA Women's Hockey, and for the first time ever, she has a crush on a guy who likes her back. She feels like the luckiest girl in the world, until she runs a risky play at practice and breaks her knee, thereby sentencing herself to six weeks in a cast and possibly ending her Olympic dream before it even starts. For seventeen-year-old Alex, being anything less than the best is unacceptable. That's why, after a miserable debut season at the senior level, the former junior national singles champion switches to ice dance. Her skating partner, Ace, is an "all skating all the time" type of guy, which would be fine, if he'd stop keeping secrets about the real reason he and his former partner broke up. Now is not the time for second thoughts, but how can Alex skate her best if she can’t trust her partner…or herself? As the pressure to make the Olympic team builds, the girls must rely on each other, because if there’s one thing they both know, it's that the only thing harder than skating to the top is staying there.
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

My Review


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me just say.. Podium Finish was unlike any other book I have read. Pond touched on a subject most YA and teens love, the Olympics. I think every young girl out there has a dream or two of being the beautiful girl in the showy costumes, twirling on the ice. I know I did. Pond caught my interest immediately with the title and the cover! 

Switching point of views between two girls who are roommates, but are in different sports gives this a fun way to see such opposite personalities, but yet both with the same goal... The podium. 

Being a sports fan and having been on a sports team myself, I can relate a little to the competitiveness that comes with a sport like hockey. There were many times when my heart got to pumping while reading about these young girls, Alex and Harper, in action. But the Olympics is so much more than sports. It is years and years of training, sacrifices, determination.... So much determination and hard work to just get to the team itself. The pressure these young teens are put under not only by themselves, but parents, friends and coaches is immense. I was so lost in this, I felt those pressures too. I just wanted to hug and love these roommates who were alone, away from family, having to deal with the pressures of it all.

This was such a great clean read with a little romance. It is so different from most of the YA I have read, it was a breath of fresh air. I am going to get this for my teen boys to read. Especially with the winter Olympics coming up, this will be the icing on the cake!

Check out the Excerpts below the rafflecopter!


  Beth Pond author picAuthor Beth Pond Beth Pond graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Hendrix College in 2012. In 2013, she taught in South Africa for 9 months as part of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant. Pond is currently completing her coursework at the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing MFA program. Her debut novel, Podium Finish, was released from Astraea Press in November 2013. When she’s not writing, Pond enjoys martial arts (she’s a black belt) and serving as a volunteer coach for her brother’s special needs baseball team.  
  Praise for Podium Finish Podium Finish is unlike any other book I have read, period. It is amazing that Ms. Pond could take two very different characters who are pursuing two completely different sports and tie them together as roommates at the Olympic Training Center. ~Crystal, Books are Sanity This is a great, fun book! This story is really 2 stories in one - bonus! ~Shelley Walker, Goodreads This book was truly enjoyable to read. ~Michele, Amazon Review Podium Finish is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it. ~Ana, Amazon Reviewer  

Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/9/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway



Excerpt


Alex

Ace knocks a couple minutes later.


"He-ll-o, Juliet," he says.


"Wrong routine, Genius."


"Oh, that's right. We already kicked butt at that one."


Ace and I are sitting in fifth place, by the narrowest of narrow margins. Lindsay and Cory are behind us in sixth, 1.22 points back.


"Have you ever seen such a narrow margin in the Olympics?"


"No," he says. "That's crazy close, eh?" He sits down on my bed. This is the first time he's been in my room here.


"How'd you know that was my bed?"


"All the pink." He tosses a pillow at me. I brought two of my pillows with me to make this place feel a little more like home — my OTC home, not my Connecticut home. That place hasn't felt like home since I left, maybe even before that.


"Well, make yourself comfortable because we need to talk strategy."


"World domination strategy?"


"Would you stop joking? And yes, if we win the Olympics that would sort of be like world domination."


"Sorry. Jokes are just how I deal with the stress," he says. "I don't know what you want to strategize about. We need to skate as well as we can. Hopefully as well as we did at Nationals. Obviously this is a much bigger competition."


"Okay, what score do you think we'll need to make the podium?"


"At least tie our PB from Nationals to have a chance, but ideally higher. It's gonna be tough, Alex."


"No one ever said winning an Olympic medal would be easy."


"Look, I know you like to de-stress by crunching numbers, but if you try to predict everyone's scores, you're going to drive yourself crazy, lose sleep, and it will all be for nothing, so how about another kind of crunching numbers?"


"Like what?"


He shifts his weight to his side, digging his elbow into the mattress and pulls a deck of cards out of the back pocket of his jeans.


"Poker. If you win, we do a spy routine next year. If I win, it's a western theme."


"Western? What am I going to wear? Daisy Dukes?"


"You better win then."



Harper


We finish a slow lap around the rink then I tell Rye I want to see him speed skate.


"It's more impressive when I'm actually racing people."


"That's okay," I say.


"You just want an excuse to look at my butt."


"No. I'll just race you then if you're going to be like that."


"You'll still have a nice view of my butt."


If I were in 100 percent health, I would have punched him in the arm and bolted off, not caring that his skates are better designed for racing, not to mention the years of experience he has, and I would have raced my heart out, but I'm not in 100 percent health. A dull ache crept its way into my knee on the second turn of our slow lap together. It's not painful. It's the weakness Tyler was talking about, but nevertheless, that ache is a reminder that comebacks are a multistep process.


Rye takes off, crossing his right leg over his left leg to turn the corner of the rink, picking up speed on the straights. When he passes me, a rush of wind follows him. He rounds the first turn again, fingertips brushing the surface of the ice, body at a 45-degree angle, so low to the ice that if it weren't for his speed, he'd fall over, too much speed and he'd fall as well. I stand by the rink wall, and Rye whips by again, purposely getting close to me even though speed skaters normally try to stay as close to the inside of the track as possible.


"Show off!" I call, but he's already coming out of the turn and probably can't hear me.











 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Shadow Allegiance by Lacy Yager



Shadow Allegiance by Lacy Yager
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary A vampire hunter-turned-vampire seeks to destroy her enemies. Until she falls for one of them.

A Chaser born to kill vampires, sixteen-year-old Rachel Campton has grown up in her older brother's shadow. Until she wakes up a vampire, her own mortal foe. She's stronger, faster than her human self, but haunted by bloodlust and the loss of her beloved younger sister. Friendless and lost in enemy territory, Rachel must rely on Alex Wellington, a former nemesis and centuries old vampire who looks like a college football player.

As Rachel goes deep into vamp territory, she learns there is more to the vampire life than killing humans. She also discovers another side to Alex. He is more than a murderer, he is someone that she starts to fall for. Rachel faces the ultimate choice--her new life and unexpected love or the family she left behind, the family that may now want her dead




First off, when I grabbed this off of NetGalley, I didn't realize it was the second book in a series. I was curious enough to find the first book and read it in order for Shadow Allegiance to make sense. So, my first complaint was that it was not evident enough (to me anyway) from the cover or the description to indicate it was a sequel.

Other than being a little frustrated having to find the first book, I enjoyed them both. They both were a quick enough read that I was able to plow right through both of them in no time. That being said, I think I would have liked a little more to each book. Especially the endings. It seemed things just came together too quickly and the romances were too quick to be believable.

The writing was done well, and the action was great! I immediately fell into the plot and picked my favorites quickly. I am all for books with different POV. Especially between heroine and hero, but in this book, there were too many to keep track. Trying to keep up with 3 of 4 became a chore when jumping between 3 different scenes that never seemed to come together completely. I realize that they all will come together eventually, in a different book in the series, but I still felt cheated out of one of the scenes.

This was a great clean read with no foul language and no sex scenes. Just some kissing. I would say it would be a great read for anyone over the age of 12.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the chance to review this book.

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