Sunday, September 15, 2019

ARC Review: No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) by Meg Cabot

Book info:
TitleNo Judgments
Author:  Meg Cabot
SeriesLittle Bridge Island #1
Genre:  Adult contemporary romance
Release Date: September 24th, 2019
Publisher:  William Morrow Books
Source:  ARC acquired from Barnes and Noble where I work
My rating:  5 stars

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid CafĂ©’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

My Review:
I feel like it's been a long time since I've read Meg Cabot, because really I've mostly read her adult contemporary romance as opposed to her YA books. This book was exactly what I loved about her books back in the day when I first fell in love with her writing.  I loved the romance between Bree and Drew.  It was a perfect rom-com/chick flick type of story.  It was also fun to read this, well, not sure if fun is exactly the right word, but it seems as if it is the perfect time to read a love story set in a hurricane since it is right in the middle of hurricane season.  There was a lot of fun stuff about the little island preparing to either evacuate or hunkering down to ride out the storm.  All the quirky small town characters made for a great story as well.  There was definitely the sexy scenes, if not quite as many as some of the other authors I read today, definitely still enough steam and chemistry to make it a perfect fit for my favorite type of read.  Obviously it was a short time period that it took place since it was from a day or two before the hurricane until a day or two after, leading into an epilogue of several months after.   I also loved the whole bit about how the main character felt about something called the "Mean-World Syndrome".  Made a lot of sense to me.Highly recommend this one, and hope to see more of this type of read again from Meg Cabot in the future.  

Saturday, September 14, 2019

ARC Review: I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Book info:
TitleI'm Not Dying with You Tonight
Author:  Kimberly Jones, Gilly Segal
Genre:  YA contemporary
Release Date:  August 6th, 2019
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Physical ARC received from publisher which did not influence my opinion
My rating:  5 stars

Lena and Campbell aren't friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she's going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren't friends. They hardly understand the other's point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they're going to survive the night.

My Review:
I read this book in one day.  It was so good!  When I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.  The book goes back and forth between the viewpoints of the two characters.  Which I think was a great way to do it.  So you can see how each is feeling and reacting, and how each situation unfolds in their eyes.  While as an adult I had a bit of a time reading Lena's chapters with her major use of slang and the type of language that teens may be using right now, I was able to google what I needed and figure it out.  I feel like this is a much needed story for today for both sides of society represented in this to read.    To see first off their totally different reactions to the police showing up.  Campbell feeling that now things would be safe once they showed up, that she and Lena could go to them to be safe, to how Lena froze up at the sight of cops and wouldn't go near them.  To see the looting taking place and realizing that not everyone agreed with it, but many may just look the other way.  So much of the story was intense and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time wondering just what situation the two girls would find themselves in on the next block, or even the next house they reached.  In the end the girls probably were able to forge a friendship even if the ending leave it ambiguous and maybe up to our imagination.  A great read, one I immediately passed along to a student to read, although I will keep my copy on my own shelves, I will be sure to order several copies for my school library as well.

Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) - Down the TBR Hole #38

This meme was started by Lost in a Story.  Here is how it works:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
Because I have so many to do, I'm going to try to do this weekly, and do 10 at a time. 

1.   Breathe by Sarah Crossan:
The world has no air. If you want to survive, you pay to breathe. But what if you can't? And what if you think everything could be different? Three teens will leave everything they know behind in Sarah Crossan's gripping and original dystopian teen novel of danger, longing, and glimmering hope.

Ever since the Switch, when the oxygen levels plummeted and most of humanity died, the survivors have been protected in glass domes full of manufactured air. Protected . . . or trapped? Or controlled? Alina's a revolutionary who believes we can save the environment. Quinn's a Premium who's never had to worry about having enough air. His best friend, Bea, is an Auxiliary who's never worried about anything but having enough air. When the three cross paths, they will change everything.

My thoughts:
I still feel like this one sounds like a good story.  I feel like I need to keep it on my list just in case.

Verdict: Keep

2.  Banished by Sophie Littlefield:
There isn’t much worth living for in Gypsum, Missouri—or Trashtown, as the rich kids call the run-down neighborhood where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives. Hailey figures she’ll never belong—not with the popular kids at school, not with the rejects, not even with her cruel, sickly grandmother, who deals drugs out of their basement. Hailey never knew her dead mother, and she has no idea who her father was, but at least she has her four-year-old foster brother, Chub. Once she turns eighteen, Hailey plans to take Chub far from Gypsum and start a new life where no one can find them.

But when a classmate is injured in gym class, Hailey discovers a gift for healing that she never knew she possessed—and that she cannot ignore. Not only can she heal, she can bring the dying back to life. Confused by her powers, Hailey searches for answers but finds only more questions, until a mysterious visitor shows up at Gram’s house, claiming to be Hailey’s aunt Prairie.

There are people who will stop at nothing to keep Hailey in Trashtown, living out a legacy of despair and suffering. But when Prairie saves both Hailey and Chub from armed attackers who invade Gram’s house in the middle of the night, Hailey must decide where to place her trust. Will Prairie’s past, and the long-buried secret that caused her to leave Gypsum years earlier, ruin them all? Because as Hailey will soon find out, their power to heal is just the beginning.

This gripping novel from thriller writer Sophie Littlefield blazes a trail from small-town Missouri to the big city as Hailey battles an evil greater than she ever imagined, while discovering strengths she never knew she had.

My thoughts
I want to keep this one on my list because I like the author and it is set in Missouri, my home state. But, don't know that it sounds like one I really am interested in anymore.

Verdict: Toss 

3.  The Third Gate by Lincoln Child:
Under the direction of famed explorer Porter Stone, an archaeological team is secretly attempting to locate the tomb of an ancient pharaoh who was unlike any other in history. Stone believes he has found the burial chamber of King Narmer, the near mythical god- king who united upper and lower Egypt in 3200 B.C., and the archaeologist has reason to believe that the greatest prize of all—Narmer’s crown—might be buried with him. No crown of an Egyptian king has ever been discovered, and Narmer’s is the elusive “double” crown of the two Egypts, supposedly pos­sessed of awesome powers.

The dig itself is located in one of the most forbidding places on earth—the Sudd, a nearly  impassable swamp in north­ern Sudan. Amid the nightmarish, disorienting tangle of mud and dead vegetation, a series of harrowing and inexpli­cable occurrences are causing people on the expedition to fear a centuries- old curse. With a monumental discovery in reach, Professor Jeremy Logan is brought onto the project to investigate. What he finds will raise new questions . . . and alarm.

In the hands of master storyteller Lincoln Child, The Third Gate breaks new ground and introduces a fascinating new protagonist to the thriller world.
My thoughts:  
I've read the first two in the series, and if this was a final concluding book I might keep it, but it looks like this series goes on for several more books, and it's not something I'm really reading anymore.

Verdict: Toss

4.  Life Happens Next by Terry Trueman:
Stuck in Neutral, a Printz Honor Book, introduced the world to Shawn McDaniel, a fourteen-year-old kid with cerebral palsy. But what happens next?

Shawn's got a new perspective on life. But no one has a clue. That's because they can see only his wheelchair, his limp body, his drool. What they don't see? His brain, with perfect auditory memory. And his heart, which is in love with a girl. And his fierce belief that someday someone will realize there's way more to him than his appearance.

How do you connect with others when you can't talk, walk, or even wave hello? In the sequel to Stuck in Neutral, which ALA Booklist called "an intense reading experience," Shawn McDaniel discovers a new definition of "normal" and finds that life happens next for everyone.

My thoughts:  So, I really liked the first book, Stuck in Neutral, and I really think I need to read this one as well.

Verdict:  Keep

5.   The Turning by Francine Prose:
A dark house.
An isolated island.
Strange dreams
and even stranger
visions . . .

Jack is spending the summer on a private island far from modern conveniences. No Wi-Fi, no cell service, no one else on the island but a housekeeper and the two very peculiar children in his care. The first time Jack sees the huge black mansion atop a windswept hill, he senses something cold, something more sinister than even the dark house itself.

Soon, he feels terribly isolated and alone. Yet he is not alone. The house has visitors—peering in the windows, staring from across the shore. But why doesn't anyone else see them . . . and what do they want? As secrets are revealed and darker truths surface, Jack desperately struggles to maintain a grip on reality. He knows what he sees, and he isn't crazy. . . . Or is he?

From nationally acclaimed author Francine Prose comes a mind-bending story that will leave you realizing how subtle the lines that separate reality, imagination, and insanity really are.

My thoughts:
Sounds like a movie I've seen?  Don't know when I'll get to it though. 

Verdict:  Toss

6.  Cycles by Lois D. Brown:
When Renee discovers that her neighbor, Dr. Dawson, has bags of his dead daughter's frozen blood stored in his basement, she decides it's up to her to uncover the doctor's mysterious past. What she learns, however, is not what she expects. Now she and her friend Sam Miller are on the run, hiding from scientists who want to use what the two teenagers know to change human life forever.

My thoughts:
Sounds interesting, but probably not one I'm going to get to.

Verdict: Toss

7.  Bayou Myth by Mary Ann Loesch:
As a sixteen year old voodoo queen in the making, Joan Renault just wants to be like all the other girls in the small town of Monte Parish, Louisiana—obsessed with boys and swamped with social lives. If the other kids would quit calling her “hoodoo hag,” she might have a small shot at normality. It would also help if Joan’s weekend outings with her secret crush, Dave, weren’t always being interrupted by her dead Grandmere, the legendary Marie Laveau. After all, it’s hard to make out with your best friend when your grandmother is watching! But when you come from a long line of voodoo priestesses with dried gator heads decorating the wall of their huts, normal doesn’t come easily.

When Joan witnesses the brutal sacrifice of a child to a tree Druid, she learns her Grandmere’s scandalous past has come back to haunt those living in the present. Hera, a vengeful voodoo priestess is determined to use the residual energy of Pandora’s Box to revive a sleeping voodoo god and declare war on the descendants of Marie Laveau, especially Joan. Suddenly, Greek myths are being re-enacted all over town, and Joan has her hands full trying to sort it all out. With the approach of Samedi’s Day—the voodoo day of resurrection—Joan must learn to accept her destiny in order to stop the approaching threat to her family and friends.

My thoughts:  
I'm really, really intrigued by all things to do with voodoo, especially after having visited New Orleans several times.  So maybe I'll keep this one for a while?

Verdict:  Keep - for now

 8.  Dead Things by Matt Darst:
Nearly two decades have passed since the fall of the United States. And the rise of the church to fill the void. Nearly twenty years since Ian Sumner lost his father. And the dead took to the streets to dine on the living. Now Ian and a lost band of survivors are trapped in the wilderness, miles from safety. Pursued by madmen and monsters, they unravel the secrets of the plague ...and walk the line of heresy. Ian and this troop need to do more than just survive. More than ever, they must learn to live.

My thoughts:
Eh, kind of good, but not anything new really. 

Verdict:  Toss

9.  Science Ink:  Tattoos of the Science Obsessed by Carl Zimmer:
Body art meets popular science in this elegant, mind-blowing collection, written by renowned science writer Carl Zimmer. This fascinating book showcases hundreds of eye-catching tattoos that pay tribute to various scientific disciplines, from evolutionary biology and neuroscience to mathematics and astrophysics, and reveals the stories of the individuals who chose to inscribe their obsessions in their skin. Best of all, each tattoo provides a leaping-off point for bestselling essayist and lecturer Zimmer to reflect on the science in question, whether it's the importance of an image of Darwin's finches or the significance of the uranium atom inked into the chest of a young radiologist.
My thoughts:
As cool as this still sounds, I don't know that it's one I'll ever get around to reading or even just looking at the pictures.  Gah, the synopsis makes it sound so good though!

Verdict: Keep - for now

10.  The Big Bang Theory and Philosophy by Dean A. Kowalski:
A lighthearted meditation on the philosophical quandaries of the hit television show The Big Bang Theory

Ever wonder what Aristotle might say about the life Sheldon Cooper leads? Why Thomas Hobbes would applaud the roommate agreement? Who Immanuel Kant would treat with "haughty derision" for weaving "un-unravelable webs?" And—most importantly—whether Wil Wheaton is truly evil? Of course you have. Bazinga!

This book mines the deep thinking of some of history's most potent philosophical minds to explore your most pressing questions about The Big Bang Theory and its nerdy genius characters. You might find other philosophy books on science and cosmology, but only this one refers to Darth Vader Force-chokes, cloning Leonard Nimoy, and oompa-loompa-like engineers. Fo-shizzle.

Gives you irresistibly geek-worthy insights on your favorite Big Bang Theory characters, story lines, and ideas Examines important themes involving ethics and virtue, science, semiotics, religion, and the human condition Brings the thinking of some of the world's greatest philosophers to bear on The Big Bang Theory, from Aristotle and Plato to Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Simone de Beauvoir, and more Essential reading for every Big Bang Theory fan, this book explores whether comic-book-wielding geeks can lead the good life, and whether they can know enough science to "tear the mask off nature and stare at the face of God."

My thoughts:
As I've mentioned before, I love these things, but these days I just don't have the time to read them like I'd like to.

Verdict: Toss

Final Thoughts:
Not as good as last week, keeping four instead of three. 

Once again you can see that I may have dropped some, but you can also see how many I've added during the week as well because I'm also pointing out how many books are on my Want to Read list on Goodreads each week.  This week, after taking these 7 off, I have 3,149 books listed now, and last week I ended with 3,156.  So I improved!  A tiny bit.

Have you read any of these?  Would you suggest I keep any I'm tossing?  And if you're inspired to do this on your blog, please feel free to join in and share a link in the comments, since it will also get you an extra entry into my giveaway at the bottom of this post.      

Once again this is a US only giveaway, unless you are International and see a book here you really want and would be willing to pay for the difference in the shipping through Paypal or some other way.  You get to pick any two books from the pictures below, as long as they don't get traded away, or picked by last week's winner, and I will pick a surprise book from the piles to add to your choice.  As I mentioned above, unpacking is finding a lot of books to get rid of, so you have even more to pick from this week!  Here are your choices:   

2018 ARCs:

2017 ARCs:

I'm continuing to add in my early 2019 ARCs now.  You can pick one of your two choices from the picture below, the other book you pick needs to come from the pictures above.  

And here are the older ones I've cleaned out as I unpack:

2010-2013 ARCs:

2014 ARCs:

2015-2016 ARCs:

Once again I'm going to let you pick two, along with me throwing in a surprise third book!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below.   Disclaimer:  Unfortunately, while I've only had it happen once, I'm going to have to make a statement like other giveaways I've seen on blogs that I am not responsible for lost mail.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 13, 2019

Special Surprise Announcement: 425 Madison Avenue Season Two in 2020!

425 Madison Avenue Season Two Announcement

We're so excited to finally announce that 425 Madison Avenue is returning for a second season, beginning in early 2020!

This season will feature some new authors as well as some of season one's favs. Back for season two is Allie York, Leigh Lennon, MK Moore, Aubree Valentine, Lauren Helms, and Katy Ames. Plus a warm welcome to KC Enders, Jennifer Rebecca, and Marcie Shumway!

Not only do we have a sexy mix of new and returning authors, prepare for pages packed with new romances, characters, and tropes all from the same well-loved high-rise apartment building in NYC.

To celebrate we are giving away a complete season one set of signed books! One winner will win all nine books from season one, all signed by the authors who penned them.

Do you want this EXCLUSIVE set of books for your bookshelf?
Click here!

Make sure to follow the 425 Madison Avenue Facebook page for more on release dates, cover reveals and author spotlights over the coming weeks.
For exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and news subscribe to our 425 Madison newsletter!
Subscribe now!.

About the 425 Madison Series

Welcome to 425 Madison Ave the perfect place to fall in love. Delicious romances set in fast-paced and sexy NYC just waiting for you to read.

Season One features stories from some of your favorite romance authors: Leigh Lennon, MK Moore, Allie York, Aubree Valentine, Kay Gordon, Lauren Helms, Sylvia Kane, Katy Ames, and C. Lesbirel. Join these authors as they come together, each with a standalone romance for you to enjoy.

Covering all of your favorite tropes: second-chance romance, best friends sibling romance to a good ol' enemies to lovers romance. We've even got a sports romance, a fake relationship and an ugly duckling or two. Don't forget a brother's best friend and falling for your soul mate. Maybe a little love triangle as well. Each tale offers you something new, something different. After all, 425 Madison is the perfect place to fall in love!

For more information, visit the series website.

This series and all promotional events are brought to you by Forever Write PR - Forever your source for all your writing needs.

Blog Tour: Wishing in the Dark by Colbie Kay



Some wishes never come true.

As a young girl, Poppy Montgomery was told if she made a wish on fireflies, it would come true. She carried those words throughout her life, even when her battles were lost. When Poppy didn't have anyone else, the boy next door, Julien Pierce, vowed he would always be there for her...until he wasn't.

Julien's life has become too much for him to deal with. He wants a break from it all and to go back to his roots in Wishing, Kansas. He wants to remember the boy he once was, and there's no one better to give him the reality check he needs than Poppy Montgomery. The girl he loved and left, the girl he made a promise to and then broke it. How is he supposed to face her again even after all these year


Colbie Kay always had a love for reading and wanted to pursue writing. In 2015 she made that dream come true when she published her first book. Since then she has become a stay-at-home mom, writing full-time and bringing her passion to life through the words she creates.

The most fulfilling part of being an author for Colbie is to take readers into a fantasy world between the pages of her books. Becoming an author has also given her the opportunity to fill another passion of hers, which is traveling. She loves being able to attend book signings and meeting everyone that shares her love of books.

Colbie has many more stories to share with you, so be sure to connect with her and keep up with what is comin
g next.




Colbie Kay’s Rebel Readers: 






Thursday, September 12, 2019

Blog Tour Author Interview with Giveaway: Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2) by Mary Ting

Book info:
Title:  Helix
Author: Mary Ting
SeriesInternational Sensory Assassin Network #2
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 10th, 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Alliances are forming. The resistance is growing. Everything is about to change.
With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.
But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins—previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix—is growing in every territory.
The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels—if she isn’t killed first.

Author Interview:

1.   Do you edit as you go, or wait till you're finished before you edit?  How many times would you say you go over it yourself before having another set of eyes look it over? 

I get all my thoughts down first. Then I do the edits myself … revise description words and make sure I’m not repeating words too close together. My manuscript has to be in top shape before I send it to my editor.   

2.   Are you part of a writer’s group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?

No, I don’t belong to a group, but I do have author friends I reach out to if I have writer’s block, or if I need to brain storm a story idea.

3.   How important are names in your books?  Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds, or the meaning?  Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? 

I chose names based on their meaning especially for the main characters and sometimes I pick names depending how they sound. I don’t’ repeat names I have on my other books. I also don’t use a name that makes me picture my friend’s face. LOL.

4.   Do you always know how the story will end when you start?

I usually have a beginning, middle and an end, but sometimes they change as the story progresses.

5.   Where is your ideal place to write?  Do you have an office, or do you like to go sit in a coffee shop/library, etc.?

I have a space in my family room. I like to write there when everyone is out of the house. It’s near the window and I can hear the small waterfall from my pool. I also like to write when it’s quiet, so late at night in my bed is a good place for me as well.

6.  Some fun questions:
Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin? I took a test and it said … Gryffindor
Captain Kirk or Captain Picard? Captain Kirk
DC or Marvel?  I love Superman and Wonder Woman, but I’m a huge marvel fan.

Physical book, ebook, or audiobook? Audiobooks because I can listen to it while I’m cooking, doing house chores, and especially when l’m driving.

Author Bio:
International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.
Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.
Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry.