Kissing Ted Callahan (and other guys) by Amy Spalding

kissing ted callahan

 

Kissing Ted Callahan is fun, quirky, sweet, and funny all at the same time. With a glowing compliment from on of my favorite YA authors, Stephanie Perkins, on the cover and a comparison to Easy A, I knew I had to read it. I’m glad I did, too!

In it, two L.A. teens, Riley and Reid, challenge each other to act on their crushes after finding their other two bandmates in a compromising position. They chronicle their adventures in a notebook that they trade back and forth, and what results is a story full of music and fun and the hope of romance, and it gets bonus points for making me laugh. I like Riley’s parts better, but it was all good stuff.

This book is out now, so check it out! You can find it here on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller.

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

geek girl

Ok, I’m a real fan of British things. Like, not in a creepy way… I just think British comedies and romances and TV (hello, IT Crowd and Sherlock) are fantastic. Geek Girl, the first in a series of books from acclaimed British author Holly Smale, is equally wonderful. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I enjoyed it as much as the first book in Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson series (the funniest books I’ve ever read).

Anyway, in Geek Girl we get to know Harriet Manners, a self-proclaimed geek and anti-fashionista, who sort of accidentally gets “discovered” as a model. And not just a little local ad company model, but an international supermodel… which makes you wonder how on earth she thought she could keep it a secret! Serious laugh out loud opportunities and swoony moments with a male model are all through this, along with a good, valuable message in the end.

Because this is the first in a series, I asked Holly Smale if the other books would be coming out quickly here (several are already out in the UK), and she said they’ll be following Geek Girl in the upcoming months. I know that I, for one, can’t wait!

Check out Geek Girl here on Amazon or find it at your favorite book store. It will be out on January 27th, so preorder!

How to Hook a Bookworm by Cassie Mae

bookworm

I’ve been a fan of Cassie’s since her very first release, but I think How to Hook a Bookworm has pretty solidly taken its place as my new favorite Cassie Mae book. The book is funny (I LOL’ed several times while reading it this morning – my kids thought I was crazy), it’s swoony (OMG with Jay and Adam), and it’s relevant (Brea is an impossible not to love, realistic, flawed teenager with problems that face many students today).

The whole “How To” series has been really great, and Bookworm is the perfect ending. While you could pick this up and read it as a standalone, you won’t get everything out of it that there is to get, so do yourself a favor and begin with How to Date a Nerd first. Or, be stubborn and start out with How to Hook a Bookworm. It’ll leave you wanting more and more of Cassie’s books!

Paper or Plastic by @ViviBarnes: Cover Reveal!

Paper or Plastic
Release Date: 2015
Entangled Teen
Summary from Goodreads:
Welcome
to SmartMart, where crime pays minimum wage…
Busted. Alexis Dubois just got caught shoplifting a cheap
tube of lipstick at the local SmartMart. She doesn’t know what’s
worse—disappointing her overbearing beauty-pageant-obsessed mother for the zillionth
time…or her punishment. Because Lex is forced to spend her summer working at
the store, where the only things stranger than the staff are the customers.
Now Lex is stuck in the bizarro world of big-box retail. Coupon cutters, jerk
customers, and learning exactly what a “Code B” really is (ew). And for
added awkwardness, her new supervisor is the totally cute—and adorably
geeky—Noah Grayson. Trying to balance her out-of-control mother, her pitching
position on the softball team, and her secret crush on the school geek makes
for one crazy summer. But ultimately, could the worst job in the world be the
best thing that ever happened to her?

Pre-Order Links:

About the Author

Originally from East Texas (the accent comes out
more often than not), I now live in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, FL with
my very understanding husband and three kids. I’m an extrovert with awkward
blogging tendencies. My debut novel, OLIVIA TWISTED, came out November 5,
2013 from Entangled Teen!

 

You can connect with me on Facebook,TwitterGoodreadsPinterest. Or visit the official Olivia
Twisted site atwww.oliviatwisted.com.

Author Links:

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Holly Hearts Hollywood Blog Tour: Excerpt and GIVEAWAY!

 

Holly-Hearts-Hollywood-tour final banner

Holly Hearts Hollywood

by Kenley Conrad

Release Date: 09/23/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Holly Hart wants to be a star. She moves to Los Angeles from the small town of Cedar Junction, only to hear she’s too fat and ugly to be a famous singer.

But when Shell Shocked Records looks past Holly’s plus-size and less-than-graceful-personality to offer her a recording contract, Holly cannot believe her good fortune. On closer inspection, however, the record execs want Holly to do all the singing, and a thinner and more beautiful girl, Lacey, would lip-sync and get all the credit. Holly goes for it because after all, she wanted to sing.

Contractually bound to secrecy, Holly is more than happy to sit backstage while Lacey shimmies in the limelight and basks in the fame. Before she knows it, Holly is friends with Serena, the pop-star daughter of a music-mogul, flirting with an intern, and developing a strange half-friendship with Lacey.

When Grayson Frost, the biggest country star in America, and coincidentally, a former school bully begins dating Lacey, Holly hopes that he won’t recognize or torment her.

Through a series of embarrassing and weird events, Holly gets to know Grayson and learns that he is much nicer and more mature than he was four years ago. Holly is horrified when she starts falling for him. When Grayson admits he fell for Lacey’s voice, what is a girl to do when she can’t legally tell the truth at the moment when the truth matters the most?

Add to Goodreads

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GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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EXCERPT from near the beginning of the story, as Holly first gets to Hollywood and visits the record label’s offices:

Later, 9:45pm—Pink Palm Motel

I’m in Los Angeles, I’m tired, and I’m in the tackiest motel on the West Coast. I’m also already dreading the trip back home since I’ve decided I hate planes. The motel we’re staying at is painted this weird shade of salmon pink. As far as I can tell, LA is pretty sweet. It’s so different than Cedar Junction. It’s so crowded, and the air is thick with smog, which is something I’ve only read about. I can’t even see the horizon in Los Angeles. There are buildings everywhere I look. I’m also very disappointed to learn that the palm trees here don’t grow coconuts.

Mom has already hung up her favorite dream catchers all throughout the motel room. I don’t know how she managed to do it, but she’s already filled this place with the smell of incense and dried lavender. It smells like home; it’s wonderful.

I don’t know what to wear tomorrow. What does one wear to a meeting with recording studio executives? I suppose my Sketchers won’t really cut it. But I know it won’t make a difference what I wear. I doubt some fancy name-brand clothing will distract people from my gargantuan girth. Ugh, I’ve got to be body positive! Amanda’s always telling me to embrace myself, but that’s easier said than done.

I’m bullied every single day at school in Cedar Junction; why would Los Angeles be any different?

February 3rd, 9:00am—On the way to the Studio

When they said they’d send a car to pick us up, I thought maybe it’d be a nice Volkswagen or a minivan, not a limo. This thing is so flashy—there’s even a little fridge in here with cherry Coke and Snickers! Plus, there’s a ton of room in here, so I can be comfortable without Mom’s hair beads and feathers in my face. Everyone keeps looking at us as we drive by, as if we’re celebrities. I’ve already seen about thirty tourists take pictures of the limo as we cruised past them. I may be an imposter, but it’s kind of fun!

I feel like I’ve been dropped into some alternate universe. I thought places that looked like this only existed in pictures; I’d forgotten that the places in the picture are real. Most of Iowa is pretty hilly, but the little piece of land Cedar Junction is on is so flat and plain. I know I complain about my town a lot, but Iowa really isn’t that bad. Every once in a while, Amanda’s mom drives Meredith, Amanda, and me forty-five minutes into Ankeny so we can see a movie, since Cedar Junction doesn’t have its own theater, and it’s super fun. Cedar Junction is so boring. I’m sure teenagers in other towns probably go to barn dances and party like those kids in Footloose. There are only seventy-five kids at Cedar Junction High, and none of them want to go dancing.

I often feel like my town is a parody of Iowa living. Anywhere else I go in Iowa people seem totally normal. I’d love to live in any other city. During the last presidential election, a teacher had a bumper sticker for the Democratic candidate, and the PTA actually rallied outside that teacher’s house to scare him away.

Meredith and Amanda seem to be the only normal people around. I’m sure many would argue against that theory—after all, they are the only lesbian couple in town, and they rescue stray cats. Oh well. The local animal shelter loves them, and the Baptist church next door doesn’t. You can’t please everyone.

Oh God, we’re here.

Later, 12:30pm—Pink Palm Motel

Oh my God. Oh my God. I can’t believe that just happened. This kind of thing only happens in movies, unless I’m in a movie and don’t know it, like that one movie with Jim Carrey where it turns out his life is actually a reality show, and he didn’t know it.

First, I made a huge mistake by wearing my Old Navy jeans and baby-pink shirt. I’ve never been more underdressed in my life, even more so than when I forgot to wear my cowboy boots to the 12th Annual Cedar Junction Hoedown.

Shell Shocked is a super cool place; everything is covered in stainless steel, even the ceiling! Everyone we saw looked like they’d walked right out of the pages of a magazine, and it made me really uncomfortable. And paranoid. I was certain that as soon as I stepped foot into the lobby, I’d run into him, even though he doesn’t live anywhere near here.

When my mom told the lady at the front desk we were there for our meeting with Mr. Salazar, she gave us a snooty look of the first order. I don’t really blame her; Mom was wearing her favorite pair of Birkenstocks and an orange peasant skirt with little bells. I’m sure the city-bus-sized pimple on my chin didn’t help anything either.

Snooty Secretary led us to this giant conference room that was, you guessed it, covered in stainless steel. I think this was the point where my heart went into overdrive, and my palms began to sweat. There were three men in the room. Two of them looked like twins, with navy blue suits and brown hair.

The man at the head of the table had deep brown skin, was wearing a crisp, expensive-looking suit, and was completely bald. Seriously, his head was even shiner than the stainless steel. He didn’t even have stubble, but his eyebrows made up for that. They were very voluminous.

“Mr. Salazar, Daisy and Holly Hart are here to see you,” the secretary said.

The man at the head of the table stood up and buttoned his suit jacket. “Ms. Hart, I’m glad to meet you. I’m Manuel Salazar, I’m the studio president,” he said. His voice was very gravelly, like Louis Armstrong’s.

Of course, the moment I needed to be cool and actually say the right thing for once, my words got tangled in my throat. I’m usually full of stupid things to say, but this time I couldn’t say anything at all. I was so mortified to be standing there in such a fancy building in a pair of stretched-out jeans and tennis shoes. Why didn’t I change into the polka-dot dress I got from Target last year? It’s my favorite. Luckily, Mom leapt to the rescue.

“Thank you for having us, Mr. Salazar,” she said. Mom shook his bear-paw of a hand.

Mr. Salazar gestured for us to sit down, which was a stressful decision of its own. There were at least eight empty chairs. I didn’t want to settle down right next to Mr. Salazar like we were best friends, but I didn’t want to sit on the far end like he carried the plague or something. I finally just sat down and fought the urge to spin around in circles until I was sick from dizziness. Mr. Salazar placed the tips of his fingers together in an arch, and my stomach churned.

“What song do you have prepared for us?” he asked.

Suddenly my stomach felt like it had turned inside out. “Song?” I repeated, my mouth dry.

Mr. Salazar’s caterpillar eyebrows knitted together. “Yes, you have to sing for us, of course. We need to make sure you’re who we’re looking for before we talk about your future at Shell Shocked.”

I thought I was going to vomit, and that’s not an exaggeration. I’d be more comfortable in a bikini than I would singing in front of strangers. Which of course made me seriously consider what I was doing there in the first place. If I couldn’t sing for those three men, how could I expect to have CDs and concerts?

“Go on, Holly,” Mom said gently. “It’ll be okay.”

I don’t know what came over me, but I must’ve gotten a sudden rush of adrenaline. Next thing I knew, I was standing up and singing “Jesus Take the Wheel” for the entire world to hear. And you know what? It felt great. I mean, I love to sing, I really do! I was so nervous to sing for these people, but once I started singing, I couldn’t stop. I felt unstoppable. I felt like I could take on the rest of high school, my first year of college, and maybe dismantle the patriarchy while I’m at it.

They actually clapped for me when I finished! I wasn’t sure what to do; no one had ever applauded me before. Well, at least applauded nicely. The cafeteria applauds every time I fall or spill something at lunch.

“That was wonderful,” Navy Suit #1 said.

“Amazing rendition,” Navy Suit #2 added.

“We were very lucky to find your videos on YouTube, Holly,” Mr. Salazar said sincerely.

“I’ll say; I think you might’ve been the only one to see my videos.” I wanted to kick myself as the words left my mouth. I sat back down in my chair and cringed when I heard it creak beneath me.

“I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that Country Pop music is on the rise.” He didn’t wait for my response and continued. “Well, unfortunately we aren’t a Nashville studio, and we don’t have a single country artist signed. We here at Shell Shocked really want a piece of the pie, but country artists aren’t exactly knocking down our door.”

“So, you want to give Holly a contract?” Mom suddenly butted in.

Mr. Salazar raised an eyebrow and continued. “Not exactly. In order to be a competitor, we need someone incredible on every level. With your amazing voice, we believe we can create the perfect country-pop artist.”

“Wait,” I said, my throat dry. “You want just my voice?”

Mr. Salazar dropped his hands on the table and leaned back in his chair. “There’s a very particular look we’re aiming for in the artist we sign, and your look isn’t exactly it. Your voice, however, is above and beyond what we’re looking for. We’ve found a girl signed with a local modeling agency, and she’s the perfect person to embody your voice.”

I wasn’t sure if I should be excited or offended. I mean, yeah, he complimented my voice, but in the same breath, he made every other part of me feel horrible.

“I think Holly and I are going to have to talk this over at home, Mr. Salazar,” my mom said, coming to my rescue again. “Is there a contract we can look over?”

“Yes, yes, of course. Check in with my secretary, and she’ll see that you get the right paperwork.”

There was the usual exchanging of nice to meet you and hope to hear from you soon, but I hightailed it out of there as quickly as I could. By the time we climbed back into the limo, I was shaking. I couldn’t even open a can of cherry Coke.

“Holly, are you okay?” Mom asked.

“I don’t know,” I blurted, tears welling in my eyes. I didn’t even know why I was crying; I couldn’t control it.

“Look, if you want to go home, that’s okay.” Mom leaned in close to me, overwhelming me with the smell of hemp, and gently scratched my back. That only made me cry more and not dainty, lady-like tears—these were ugly, heaving sobs.

“I wish Dad were here,” I said through a river of mucus. “He’d know what to do.”

“I wish he were here too. Honey, forget everything he said that hurt your feelings and remember the good things. He gave you a huge compliment; he wants your voice! Doesn’t that make you feel good?”

I wiped my nose. “Kind of. But what’s the point if I don’t get the credit?”

Mom sighed. The beads in her hair clinked with the motion. “But would you really want to put yourself in the public eye like that? If you didn’t like what Mr. Salazar had to say about you, can you imagine what the magazines would be like?”

“That’s true,” I agreed. “Mom, you kind of sound like you like the idea.”

“I do, a little bit.”

“But why? I’d be working for a big corporation and giving some girl all of the credit for something I did. We’d probably have to move out here, and you hate big cities. You’d have to leave the university and work out here.”

Mom slowed the scratching on my back. “Holly, you’ll be surprised to know that I don’t have the right answer to everything. If this is something you want to do, then we’ll do it. It’s a great opportunity for you.”

Now that I think about it, I don’t know why I started to freak out so much. It’s not like I’m some vocal protégée who has been preparing her whole life to step into the spotlight and become a star. I’m not using my voice for anything. Why not let this girl have it?

Mom gave me a tight hug. After she leaned away, she handed me a tissue. “Just think about it. Let’s go home, look through the contract, and talk, okay?”

Then Mom made the limo driver turn on the reggae station, and she lip-synched to every song. Sometimes I really love my mom.

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SONY DSC

 

About the Author

I’m the author of the upcoming YA series Holly Hearts Hollywood, coming September 2014 by Swoon Romance. I’m a twenty-something cat lady who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. When I’m not working my office day job or writing books, you can find me either singing and dancing or binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

YA Bounk Tour Button

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix… Get into the Halloween mood!

horrorstor

 

This is a fun, campy horror story made into something really special by the packaging, which is a work of genius, frankly. When my husband brought it home, I thought he’d gotten an Ikea catalog out of the mail. From an order form to the shopping process to pages out of the employee manual to product drawings, Horrorstor expertly mimics the feel of Ikea (though of course it’s Orsk, a cheaper version of Ikea, much like K-Mart is to Target).

I found the characters interesting, but not groundbreaking, and the plot intriguing, but not revolutionary. When put all together, though, with Orsk and employee loyalty and the packaging, it becomes a creepy, sometimes laugh out loud funny, gem of a way to spend a few hours on a fall day. This is too tongue in cheek, like Army of Darkness or something, to be taken too seriously. What it’s meant to be, I’m sure, is a good cheesy scare. Mission accomplished, Hendrix.

Also, because I read and review mostly YA titles, I have to say that while this is not a Young Adult book it is completely appropriate for that audience. I didn’t see anything that made me hesitate from recommending it to teenagers (there were a few expletives, but they were few, and they came at high-intensity moments when you’d wonder what was wrong with someone for NOT letting one fly). Content-wise, I was very pleasantly surprised!

To find it on Amazon, click here, or request it at your favorite local bookseller!

It’s a Cassie Mae takeover!

Today I’m happy to host a total makeover for my friend, Cassie Mae, and the third installment to her How To Date A Nerd series. Take it away, Cassie!

It’s a Bookworm makeover!

New cover!

(I have to give HUGE HUGS AND THANK YOUs to PepperJack Photography and Jolene Perry for my amazing design and pictures, and the FANTASTIC models, Dalton and Tanna.)

New blurb!

Getting kissed for a birthday present should not be a big deal. Especially for Brea Mason, who doesn’t think of her best friend, Adam Silver, in any way other than… well, a friend. But after the liplock she can’t seem to get him off her mind. And she has to, because Adam is a senior while she’s stuck in high school for another two years.
Then BAM, the perfect distraction comes along in the form of a new, hot sophomore who actually seems interested in Brea, despite her anti-social personality. And with the stress at home, stress at school, and ignoring the reality of all her friends leaving come June, Brea welcomes the distraction.
But when she sees four fat Fs on her report card, Brea needs a study buddy, and the best candidate is Adam, book nerd and math whiz. So she enlists his help, hoping the birthday kiss was just a fluke. After all, she has a boyfriend now. It should be easy to ignore the butterflies and fizzy feelings that arise with the bookworm… right?

And new release day!

A lot better than June, yes? Happy dance!
It will be up for pre-order shortly. :) But you can add it to your Goodreads HERE.

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

biggest flirts

 

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Jennifer Echols. She has a way of creating characters you’d want to hang out with in real life – they’re not perfect by any means – they’re full of flaws and rocky lives, which is probably part of their appeal. They’re realistic without being negative jerks. Anyway, Jennifer also has a way of writing a romance that makes it seem more real-life possible than most romance stories.

Biggest Flirts kicks off a new series for Echols, the Superlatives, which will go through other superlatives like perfect couple and more. I can’t say that Biggest Flirts was my favorite of Echols’ books (I think, for me, that will forever be Dirty Little Secret), but I did enjoy it thoroughly and look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Quick content reminder – Echols’ writing is definitely for the upper high school and beyond audience. I think she’s a great storyteller and I always find value in lessons taken from the lives of her characters, but I wouldn’t really want to see them in the hands of my middle school students.

Biggest Flirts came out last month, and the rest of the books in the series look like they’ll follow pretty quickly (January 2015 and August 2015 so far), so we won’t have to wait too long in-between books! Yay for that. :)

Another side note – if you’ve ever had to actually take superlatives pictures for the yearbook (I did my time as yearbook advisor for four years), you can truly appreciate these clovers. I absolutely love them!

Click here to find Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives) on Amazon

Cassie Mae’s Newest Book in her “How to” series!

I’ve been in contact with Cassie since last summer when I read Friday Night Alibi. She’s a great young author who has grown quickly in the publishing industry. She’s super sweet and writes great YA romances featuring smart girls and swoon-worthy, geeky guys. It’s an honor to turn this post over to her now to celebrate the release of her newest, How to Seduce a Band Geek!

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Big THANK YOU to Pimples, Popularity, and Protagonists for letting me crash for the HOW TO SEDUCE A BAND GEEK tour!

I’m lucky to have had several people make some adorable teasers for this book, so I’m just going to display some of the awesome art that was made. Details, links, etc. below!

By Lenore
By Lisa

 

By Lenore

 

By Lenore

 

By Tiffany
By Lenore

 

By Lisa

 

By Tiffany

 

By Tiffany

 

By Tiffany

 

Sierra Livingston’s got it bad for her sister’s best friend, Levi Mason—the boy who carries his drumsticks in his pocket, marches with the school’s band, and taps his feet to whatever beat runs through his head. Sierra racks her brain for ways to impress the sexy drummer, but the short skirts and bursting cleavage don’t seem to cut it.

When Sierra gets paired with Levi’s sister, Brea, for a mentorship program, they strike a deal. In exchange for Sierra keeping her mouth shut about Brea ditching the program, Brea lets Sierra dig for more info on Levi to help get the guy of her dreams.

But when Sierra discovers Levi no longer plays the drums, his family has moved into a trailer, and he’s traded in his Range Rover for a baby blue moped, Sierra’s not sure if she can go through with violating his privacy. She’ll have to find the courage to ask him straight out—if he’s willing to let her in—and explore other ways to seduce the school’s band geek.

Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. She’s the author of the Amazon Bestsellers REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND and HOW TO DATE A NERD, and is the debut author for the Random House FLIRT line with her New Adult novels FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI and SWITCHED. She spends time with her angel children and perfect husband who fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

 

Author Links:
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