Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Uninvited by Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers Review

Hi Everyone!

Today I am happily participating in the book tour for Uninvited by Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers. Gosh, this book is completely hilarious! The blog tour is ran by Xpresso Book Tours.

Uninvited by Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers 
Publication Date: February 11th, 2012
Source: Electronic Review Copy

Book Synopsis:

When Alley started her senior year at Upper East High in the South Hills area, it was supposed to be the usual drag of hanging out with people who spent more on one outfit than Alley did on her entire wardrobe. That was until Kirsten, a girl in their clique, suddenly goes missing and the only people who seem to care are her friends. All evidence leads to the new comer Shane, a cocky and self-pretentious person in Alley’s opinion, but the police seem uninterested so she and the rest of the girls start a little investigation of their own. But they are nowhere closer to finding Kirsten than when they started and now they had the police’s attention; just not in the way they expected. The girls have to start over and discover that maybe it wasn’t an outsider who took Kirsten, but someone within their own clique who has something to hide; a secret that just might have gotten Kirsten killed.
About the authors:

Although we moved down to North Carolina several years ago, we’re originally from the Pittsburgh area. (That’s why a lot of our characters either live in the Burgh or reference our hometown football team, The Pittsburgh Steelers.) And yes, we even have the Southern accents to show for it now. Although Megan’s is considerable thicker, Leah still can’t understand the locals.
We are known as ‘the sisters’ among our neighborhood; when actually we’re probably really known as ‘the sisters with the Yorkies’. Our pups, Skippy Jon Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow, were given long names to compensate for their small size but not their large personalities.
If Leah’s not glued to her electronic devices, AKA her Kindle Fire and various laptops, you can find her training ‘the attack dogs’, running on the treadmill while conceiving the next great book idea with the Dave Matthews Band, Muse, Florence and the Machine, The Lumineers, and Pink (just to name a few) blaring out of her earphones.
If Megan’s not glued to her electronic devices AKA her iPad and Nook Color, you can find her teaching fourth graders, swimming marathon style at the pool, or cuddling with ‘the attack dogs’ as she watches Duck Dynasty, Gold Rush, Scandal, Person of Interest, Morning Joe, etc.
Leah graduated from Edinboro University with a BA in Art Education. Megan received her teaching degree from Edinboro University and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Technology from Grand Canyon University.  

My review:

“Honestly, I didn’t know what we were doing here as I jerked the jeep into the first available space next to the stadium. What did they expect to find at a soccer game; Kirsten tied up in the locker room?” pg. 176

Uninvited by Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers is the first of a trilogy. In this book, the protagonist Alley, her best friend Val and her friends Kayla and Libby search for their missing friend Kirsten. First suspect? Shane. The mysterious new student who Libby saw having a mysterious conversation with Kirsten. The new kid the police just do not both to consider as a suspect at all. 

The antics these four amateur investigators encounter on their search for their friend’s whereabouts are wonderful. At first, I did not like how Alley was so cynical that she viewed her friends as Val friends and her own. But then, I realize she was feeing like she did not belong, a feeling I sometimes felt as a teenager. And as the book strolled along, Alley never was close to Kayla or Libby, but they did have a good time.

I liked how all four were fantastic people. Val is a cheerful klutz who is smart and tenacious. Libby is a bit insecure in regards to her relationship with her boyfriend and reluctant to independently search for Kristen kidnapper. Kayla is funny and caring as she encourages Libby to help with the search. Alley may be fashionably challenged and cynical at times, but she stays true to finding the truth as she does anything for a girl she found unlikeable. All four of them are brave.

Shane. Boy, he was clever. I give him lots of love. 

Shane and Alley’s interactions were delightful making their “not-a-romance-yet” the best relationship in the book. I love how Shane’s feelings toward Alley transformed from amused to annoyed to spiteful to caring to all those feelings at the same time. And how Alley’s feelings towards Shane were annoyed to annoyed to spiteful to liking to crushing all these feelings at the same time.

However, what causes this book to rock is the humorous exchanges. The writers have a knack on writing comedic lines. I tried to eat some raspberries while reading and ended up giving up on ever eating (till the book was over). I just could not stop laughing. What type of laughter did I own? The type where I laughed so hard it hurts. The humor reigns in banter that is silly and loveable.

A Humorous Clip:

“Ah,” he added happily from somewhere in the living room, probably on the leather couch if I had to guess. “This is cozy,” he said, causing me to narrow my eyes suspiciously. Either he was nuts and liked to talk to himself, or he was enjoying himself way, way too much.
“I think I’ll just watch some baseball. Yep.” He took a sip of his drink. “Sounds like an plan.” pg 136

I had no trouble discovering why the police ignored the Shane posibility. They mystery to who took Kirsten had the surprising results. I mean I did suspect the culprit, but I also suspect many other characters. I am glad the mystery diverges from the typical murder mystery.

This book is wonderful. A delightful experience I relived yesterday. Yes, this is a rare mystery that can be re-read because the resolution is not what caused me to love this book. Instead it was the humor, the writing and the characters.

I am eager to see what Alley, Val, Kayla, Libby and Shane do next in the second two books of the trilogy.

To conclude is a terrific exchange between Alley and my favorite boisterous cop.  

“I’m doing surveillance,” he cleared his throat and explained.
“Of my house?” I tilted my head a fraction as if to say, why?
“No.” He pointed four houses down. “Of that house.”
Turning to look at a brick house with white shutters, I asked, “Mrs. Ollis’s house?”
“The kindergarten teacher?”
“No...umm,” he continued, “the next house down.”
“Mr. Rodgers, the preacher?” “
No,” he said with an edge. “The next one.”
“Mrs. Herman, the elderly lady?”
“What do you live on, freaking fairy lane?” he grumbled and then typed something on his laptop nearby. “Sorry, I mean the next house.”
“Mr. Nadler, the firefighter?”
“Yep, Mr. Nadler.” He suddenly grinned.
Crossing my arms over my chest, I asked, “And why would you be watching his house?”
“Just to make sure little boys aren’t going in and out,” he said with a wink.
“Oh my god, he’s a perp?” Pg. 239-240

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Reality Ends Here by Alison Gaylin Review

Hi Everyone!

Today I am reviewing...

Reality Ends Here by Alison Gaylin
Publication Date: June 10th, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Star
Source: E-ARC from Netgalley
Rating: 2.5/5 ALLRIGHT STARS

My Review:

Well, I find Reality End Here by Alison Gayin divides into two parts. One part wanders about a reality show family hysteria and the second part beats a thriller mystery.

I found the first part the better of the two sections. The distance and struggle for reconciliation between Estella and her mother. Estella’s adorable younger siblings that each had their own issues that I wish they did not have to experience yet. The story relates the scrutiny Estella has to deal with as a reality star.

The mystery runs in absurdity. I believed the story was exciting and entertaining. I wished I everything came together though in a sense of more related cause and effects.  Basically, the mystery exploration existing in a less jumpy manner.

Estella is not among my list of touching characters. Her circumstances are what interested me. But she never goes beyond her circumstances to become a person I would root for or want to meet in reality.

This is an interesting story. The plot is imperfect yet I found it amusing. The beginning’s is wonderful as it portrays of adorable young children in a genuine manner. The mystery's results were a mixture of bothersome stretches and surprising movements. 

It is just not a story that lingers. I hardly remember many of the characters of reaching beyond the surface. 
Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Blog Tour: Awakenings by J.E. Shannon- Review, Excerpt

Hi Everyone!

Today I am participating in the blog tour for Awakenings by J.E. Shannon organized by Emily Marquart of Entranced Publishing. 

Awakenings by J.E Shannon
Publication Date: July 29th 2013
Publisher: Entranced Publishing


Evie Shepard awakens to a nightmare. She's been buried alive and has no idea how or why. As she struggles to remember what happened, she begins to notice changes -- heightened senses, as well as increased speed, agility, and strength. And her heart no longer beats. She soon makes a disturbing discovery: she wasn't buried alive; she was murdered. Somehow, she has come back...and she wants revenge.

About the Author:

J. E. Shannon currently lives in Florida, but is a Missouri native. She spends most of her time reading, writing, and taking care of her small child and two crazy dogs. Visit her at

My Review:

My greatest fear is being buried alive. Actually, anything dealing with dirt over my face irks me. My face twitches base on smell of dirt. And dirt is itch enough when its on my skin.

When it comes to buried alive, I’m fear losing the ability to breath and becoming stuck in the narrow and tight space that is underground.

In Awakenings by J.E. Simmon, the protagonist Evie finds herself buried. But she neither is alive nor remains trapped. She is, in frank, a dead being bent on vengeance. Revenge for her killer and the awful people who enslaved her sister and many more people. These people had separated her family and many more families. Evie’s realistic struggle she had against her new supernatural urges was cleverly portrayed.

The dark subject matter explores a dangerous area of human nature filled with frightening descriptions. I enjoyed this story that highlights dangers of the world around us, but also the strength of good people, dead or alive.

This story has humor and good characters. It leans away from absolute happiness. Hope remains while Evie and her companions go through a story of great sorrow mixed with heroic action. The back-stories to ruthless Aime and determined Ethan were wonderful surprises that helped me completely care for them as I did for Evie.  

All in all, I found Awakenings well worth reading.


Lightning strikes the ground, leaving behind a thick, black scorch mark. Within seconds, it strikes a second time, pausing briefly before giving a third earth-shattering blow. I don’t see the actual bolts — all I see is a flash of light, followed by my sister and me running, out of breath and terrified. Another flash, and we are huddled together in a rusted, abandoned car. Another burst of light, and the car door screeches open and we are being ripped away from each other by unfamiliar hands. It’s with that final memory that I open my eyes. As soon as I do, something grainy flows into them, so I shut them again.
I can’t see, I can’t hear; but I can feel that I’m lying on cold earth. The longer I’m awake, the more I become aware of an unbelievable pressure on my chest. Slowly, I realize that it’s not just my chest — my face and body also feel as if I’m being crushed. Oily nausea roils through me, but I clench my teeth to stop myself from panicking. Where am I? I try to move my hands and find they’re pinned to my side. I try to open my eyes again and instantly get something in them. I flex my fingers, and the grittiness that slips through them makes me aware of the awful truth — I have been buried alive.
 I let out a shriek, but have to close my mouth as dirt begins to slip past my lips. Struggling frantically, I feel the earth move under my hands. I realize I can’t be buried very deep, or the pressure of the dirt would surely have suffocated me by now. I’m astounded it hasn’t already, though I have no way of knowing how long I’ve been underground. I force myself to be still, to stop and think about what I have to do. I need to be very careful getting out, making sure not to cause a cave-in and possibly crush myself. I need to remember to breathe shallowly or I will run out of oxy— And that’s when I realize that I’m not breathing. Not at all.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ARC Review: A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris

Hi Everyone!

Today I am reviewing:

A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris
Publication Date: August 6th, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing 
Source- E-ARC sent by Heather Riccio 

My Review:

This magnificent story leaves me metaphorically with a delighted smile and eyes that are shaped like hearts. These hearts relate my love for this beautiful story.

Less was my favorite character from the first book and remains so. I enjoyed seeing her grow, not just in confidence, but also in knowing what she really wants and becoming fully proud of her identity. I love our connection becoming joyful and separate from the world while acting.

“You will always have me. [ … ] It matters not whether I’m here in body or merely in your heart. We are family, Cat.” Pg. 111 of my ARC.

My favorite relationship is the caring one between Less and Cat. A friendship strong and true bonded by more then sharing time-travel magic. Bonded by understanding and determination.

The story was an exciting one. I never read a book featuring a historical person visiting modern day before. Everyone I could hope for resided in this book. There were relatable awkward experiences and enjoyable water activities. The story graces two sweet growing love relationships.

The writing is smooth. I relish every word and moment. I holler with love this story where Less experiences a world anew. Really, her ways of describing the contemporary world were genuine to what I believe would be the view of a 1500’s girl.  

In the end, I say thank you Rachel Harris for writing this unforgettable story. I am anticipating the next. Could, maybe, Less’s brother Cipanio appear?

Flirt Squad Challenge: Reasons Austin Makes Me Blush:
  1. Firm determination. "One way or another, Alessandra, I'm Yours until your get rid of me." pg. 284 of my E-ARC. 
  2. Appreciates another. "And being with you this week, watching you and seeing how trusting and honest you are, how much you care about everyone ... Alessandra, it changed something in me." pg. 242 of my E-ARC
  3. Winks!
  4. Adventurous and has great ideas like Jet-Sking.
  5. His powerful hug. "Gathering me to his chest, he curls his shoulders around me as if he can protect me" pg. 282 of my E-ARC 
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Release Day Launch: A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris- Excerpt, Deleted Scene and Giveaway!

Hi Everyone! 

Today I am a glad to be a participant of the Release Day Launch for A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris. The launch is ran by Kelly Simmon of InkSlingerPR.

The sweet Rachel Harris has a treat for anyone who has ordered this book this week or before. All you have to do is send your order receipt to and you will receive an exclusive Austin trading card, a ticket to Less's play and a signed bookplate!

A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris
Publication Date: August 6th, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing 
Source- E-ARC sent by Heather Riccio 


Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?

ATOTC Excerpt:
Without stopping or even slowing his stride, he grabs a map from a vendor and flips it open. “So Lethal Xperienceis at the back of the park. We’ll hit that first and then make our way up to the front.”

He seems unaware that the length of his legs far exceeds my own. As I frantically attempt to match his stride, I must pant or wheeze because he finally looks down at me, no doubt pink-faced and wide-eyed both from the sensory overload surrounding us and my huffing at a near jog to stay beside him. He grins. “Try to keep up, Short Stuff.”

I grit my teeth with determination and somehow keep myself from muttering, Yes, Master. But the thought still makes me smile. Cat must be rubbing off.

We pass a circular ride filled with fake horses going up and down. Giggling and drooling children clap their adorable hands from their belted saddles while a spirited tune blares overhead. Just past that is a miniature roller coaster made to look like a giant, happy centipede. The child in the front seat waves to his mother as the cart dips, and his squeal of joy tails behind him. It’s too bad that not all roller coasters can be five feet tall.

Then I get a wicked idea.

Austin believes I am a child, naive and boring, and, it would seem, without any humor. This second challenge is supposed to be about fun, and nothing—not even the lead role in a prestigious play with a crowd of a thousand—will give me more joy than turning the tables on him, even if only for a moment.

Looking back at the children’s ride, I grab Austin’s elbow and say innocently, “Is this not the roller coaster you are looking for?”

He stops rather abruptly and peers at me through squinted eyes. “You know, it’s like you look normal…” He trails off and shakes his head. He points a long tan finger at the centipede ride and in a tone dripping with condescension explains, “Less, Arthropod Picnic is a kiddie ride. It’s made for pint-size ankle-biters ages three and under.”

I try my best to look disappointed. I do everything I can to contain my mounting delight. But after no more than a few brief moments, I let forth a victorious giggle.

Realization dawns on his face. “You think you’re funny, huh?”

When I nod, he chuckles. He leans back on his heels and lets his gaze travel over my body. Humor dissipates as my skin prickles to life. On Austin’s slow ascent back up, he pauses to look me in the eye and an emotion crosses his face. It’s so fleeting—gone and there in an instant—that I cannot catch it.

“So, you think you’re ready to play at the big girl table now.” The left side of his mouth kicks up in a grin. “We’ll just have to see about that.”

The apparent taunt and Austin’s added wink spur me on.

This is my chance to prove to him that I’m not the timid girl I once was. To prove to myself that I’m no longer the child of my youth but a woman ready for the future.

I sashay toward a person dressed as a shiny nugget of gold posing for pictures with children, feeling Austin watching me, his gaze on my every step like a physical touch. My legs feel wobbly under my skirt, but an energizing spark ignites in my blood. I glance over my shoulder, confirming I have his complete attention, and then with an outward shrug (and an inner dance), I reply with every ounce of confidence I can muster, “Yes. We will.”

Austin’s smile widens. The sounds and patrons of the park fade away, and it is as if we are the only two around. I don’t know what is happening…I scarcely even recognize myself in this moment. Being with Austin does that. It turns me into someone else.

And I like who I become.

I watch his slow saunter, my body poised with tension. I don’t know what is going to happen next, but I wouldn’t trade the delicious expectation for anything. Austin doesn’t stop until he is right in front of me, close enough that I have to look up to meet his demanding blue gaze, and so close that warmth fans across my face as he says in a low voice, “Careful, girl. You’re playing with fire.”

“I’ve been careful my whole life,” I tell him, surprising myself with the resentment ringing in my tone. But it’s the truth. “And you know, I think it’s about time for me to be a little…” I bite the corner of my bottom lip, searching for exactly the right word to describe the emotions and thoughts that have surfaced the last few days. When I find it, I smile and wiggle my eyebrows suggestively “Wild.”

Austin sucks in a breath. He searches my eyes and I boldly stare back, praying that he cannot see my knees shaking. Then, obviously concluding that I meant every word, he flashes his devilish grin. “I can work with that.”

Flirt Squad Exclusive - A Splendid Deleted Scene! 

“Anything with you is exciting, Princess.” He moves his hand beneath my thick hair and plays with the wisps at the nape of my neck. Brushing his lips against mine, just a tease, he then lifts his head and grins. “And, it just so happens I like pizza”—another light brush—“and movies.” His mouth presses more firmly this time for a prolonged, lingering touch, and then he shrugs. “And I guess the company is decent enough.”
“Oh, is that right?” I ask, trying to feign insult, but mostly succeeding in sounding breathless. “Only decent?”
He glides the tip of his nose against mine. “Mmm hmm.”
I pinch the taut skin at his waist and he chuckles. The sound does glorious things to my insides. Then, finally, Austin strengthens his hold around me, crushing me to his chest, and tilts his head, capturing my lips in a long, searing kiss that has me clinging to his shoulders.
“Oh yuck,” a disgusted voice says a little later. “No offense, Alessandra, but I really don’t want to see my brother doing that.”
With an abrupt laugh of embarrassment, I pull away and bury my head in the crook between Austin’s neck and shoulder.
He sighs. “Jamie, your timing is excellent as always.”
“Hey, it’s a gift.” At the spirited tone in her voice, I look up. Jamie scrunches her nose. “But seriously, it should be illegal for big brothers to make out in public. It’s traumatizing.”
A ghost of a smile plays on Austin’s slightly kiss-swollen lips. “Well, you know, next time you could just walk away and not interrupt.”
“But where’s the fun in that?” she asks with a mock-frown. Then she grabs my hand and tugs me away from Austin’s arms and into her own—the enthusiasm of her hug nearly knocking me over. “And dude, why didn’t you tell me the two of you were hooking up? You do realize we’re practically sisters now. Sisters spill the deets.”
“Uh,” I say intelligently, more than a little confused on how to proceed. I lean back and look at Austin. “Well—”
“Because maybe some people have class?” Austin softens his words by rubbing the top of his sister’s head. Jamie rolls her eyes and slaps his hand away, but the apparent affection between them makes me smile despite my previous mortification.
“Whatever,” she says. “For real, I’m just glad you finally wised up. You’re lucky my girl put up with you until you did. Are you done with rehearsal?” This last part she directs at me, swinging her eyes back to me as swiftly as the topic change.
“Just finished,” I confirm. Though my head still spins from her chaotic way of speaking, I can’t help feeling proud of my ability to keep up. If I can navigate the muddy waters of Jamie’s conversation with ease, there’s no doubt I’ve become fully acclimated to this world. “And my driver is waiting outside, or else I’d stay for yours. I am sure you’ll be wonderful.”
She licks her finger and makes a sizzling noise as she touches her shoulder. “You know it.” She laughs again and gently shoves my shoulder toward Austin. “I’m gonna let you two say your mushy good-byes in private, ’cause seeing that once in a lifetime is more than enough.” Wiggling her fingers in a wave she says, “Laters, bro.”
I watch Jamie walk away and turn to find Austin doing the same with a tender smile on his face. Something in my chest squeezes and I fall for him all the more.
When the stage door closes shut behind her, he turns and locks his hands around my waist. “My sister’s nuts, but she was right about one thing.”
“And what is that?”
His forehead dips down to mine. “I am lucky you hung around until I wised up.”
“Well, it certainly took you long enough.”
I loop my arms around his neck with a grin, and Austin laughs. “What can I say? Guys aren’t exactly known for being quick on the uptake.” On the stage behind us, the shuffling sounds of the crew laying out another scene hints at the busyness to come and I exhale a frustrated breath, knowing it’s time to go. Austin rubs his hands up and down my arms, almost as if he’s hesitant to let me. “I have to stay and bring Jamie home after her scene, but I’ll come by your house after.” His eyes grow serious. “And you better save me some pizza, woman.”
I shrug. “I shall try. But I am feeling awfully hungry. Rehearsals take a lot out of a girl.”
He gives me one of his devilish grins and kisses me again, and a minute later I walk away with my own wide smile, backside tingling from the playful swat he gave it for daring to tease him about something as important as food. As my driver closes the door behind me and takes off for home, I watch the theatre grow smaller through my back window and decide that Jamie was wrong. I am the one who is lucky. Thanks to Signore and a little gypsy magic, I’m experiencing an opportunity of a lifetime. I have a cousin who is more like a sister to share it with, a handful of caring friends, and a boy who makes me feel more special and loved than I ever have before.
Regardless of what the future holds for me, Fate has been unbelievably kind.

Rachel Harris's Bio:

Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, where she watched soap operas with her grandmother and stayed up late sneak reading her mama’s favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, she still stays up way too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.

When not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, she homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches reality television with her amazing husband. Taste The Heat is her adult romance debut. She’s the author of MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY and A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES. She loves hearing from readers! Find her at

Thanks for reading!
I hope you return tomorrow to learn the top five reason's Austin makes me blush and to read my review!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Piece of my Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna Mini-Review

Hi Everyone!

Today I am reviewing ...

Piece of my Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna
Publication Date: June 18th, 2013
Publisher: Merit Books 
Source- E-ARC from Netgalley
Rating: 3.5/5 AWED STARS

My review:

Peace of my Heart by Lynn Maddelena Mena is a wonderful surprise. I never expected to relish this novel. I like how the dramatic and expressive writing style compares well with Marisol’s personality. When she sings, the writing breezes with enthusiasm.  

Marisol lives in a world vastly different from my own in a Latino community in New York. She is proud to be blessed with an amazing signing voice. She is not the easiest character to love. But I grew to love her. I liked her ambition, although it causes her to be brisk towards the people who truly cared about her. She was running towards fame, living for herself and not for others. Still she learns. And her actions lead her in becoming an impressive human being.  

The ending contains a jewel that lies by lyrical emotion.

Thanks for reading!