Road to Somewhere by Kelley Lynn & Jenny S. Morris

road to somewhere

 

I really enjoyed this story of Charlie and Lucy. Told in alternating POV between the two sisters: Charlie is the older sister in reckless pursuit of her musical career, and Lucy is the quiet, cautious younger sister just trying not to rock the boat. They don’t really get along, mostly because they don’t understand each other.

When Charlie and her friends have a chance to participate in an exclusive music competition with a recording contract prize for the winner, they decide to go for it… but then Charlie’s parents make her take Lucy with them, and they have to stop in Texas and visit their grandparents along the way.

Enter hot cowboys and more sister drama, misunderstandings and country home cooking, and the story heats up and settles in for what ultimately is a story of sisterhood more than a quick little romance.

I really enjoyed Road to Somewhere, and I hope you’ll check it out, too. Click here to find it on Amazon!

 

Advertisements

Nantucket Red by Leila Howland

nantucket red

As we already know, I’m a sucker for a good YA story with a beautiful, beachy, romantic cover. So, when I saw this cover in NetGalley’s YA section, I just knew I had to get it.

What I didn’t know when I started reading is that it’s actually the second book in Howland’s Nantucket series, the first of which is Nantucket Blue (the cover of which is equally as beachy and romantic and gorgeous, as seen below). Sometimes you just can’t pick up a sequel and have any idea what’s going on, but that wasn’t the case here. Howland does a great job of providing enough back story that someone like me can know what’s happening without having read the first book, but I don’t think there was so much backstory that it would have bored me if I’d read the first book.

In Nantucket Red, the protagonist is Cricket Thompson, a senior in high school who works her butt off to get what she’s always dreamed of – a spot on the lacrosse team at Brown University. She succeeds, and in the summer between her high school graduation and freshman year of college, she spends a few months on Nantucket, earning money for her freshman year at Brown. Of course beach-filled fun and romance ensue as Cricket tries to salvage her best-friendship, considers the new available (or is he?) guy she works with, and tries to get over her first love (who just happens to be her best friend’s brother, which is why she’s trying to salvage that best-friendship). Along the way, though, Cricket does something far more important – she begins to think about what she really wants to do with her life, and whether or not jumping into her freshman year at Brown is really the right answer.

Overall, I liked Cricket a lot. She was realistically flawed as a human being and she struggled with decisions in a way typical of older teens, but she was able to resolve her problems and set herself off in a positive direction for beginning adulthood. If more books follow in this Nantucket series, I’ll definitely be checking them out.

Nantucket Red will be out next week on May 13th, which gives you time to read Nantucket Blue before then! Check them out here on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller.

nantucket blue

 

nantucket blue

Another Little Piece of My Heart – blog tour, giveaway, and deleted scene!

A couple of weeks ago, I told you all about Tracey Martin’s new release, Another Little Piece of My Heart. I loved it. Click the book cover (which is super cute, by the way) to learn more bout it.

Another Little Piece of My Heart

Today, I’m excited to be a part of her book release blog tour and share with a deleted scene with you AND a chance to win a gift card, a signed copy of the book, and some book swag. Yay!

First, the deleted scene from Jared’s POV:

“Dude, I can’t believe you’re doing this.”

Mike’s shaking his head at me from the doorway. Ignoring the disbelief in his voice, I toss my empty Coke can in his recycle bin and grab my guitar. “You’ve said that like five times now. I’m doing this. Let’s go.”

Let’s go before the event is over. Let’s go before Mike’s asshole roommate, Zach, shows up. Let’s go before I decide trying to win my ex-girlfriend back using the very same method that made her hate me is not the best decision I ever made.

Let’s fucking go.

Mike unlocks his car, and I carefully strap in my guitar case on the back seat. Smacking a mosquito, I climb in the front. Let’s go before I contract Lyme Disease or Triple E.

Neither of us say much on the drive to Eliot Beach. I don’t know what Mike’s thinking as he plays with the radio, but my mind is so far away I can barely hear the music. Connecticut, New Hampshire, Connecticut… My memories ping pong back and forth until I’m dizzy with them.

For the past two years, my last memory of Claire was the way her lip trembled that day in the mall, her brown eyes wide and almost eerily unseeing. Her face vacant and distressed. It didn’t make for a good last memory, not for a girl whose smile used to make my heart stop, and whose one-liners used to make me wonder how I’d duped her into thinking I was smart enough to hang out with her, and whose lips on my skin…

I should stop there. She’s not mine to kiss anymore, and if I follow that line of thought, I’ll just get depressed.

Point is, that scene didn’t make for a good last memory, but I’m the one who made it my last memory. Until a few weeks ago, that is, when I ran into her in the strangest, most unlikely place in the entire country. How does that happen? What kind of twisted deity arranged for that?

I hadn’t wanted a second chance. I’d told myself I’d moved on. But her constant presence was too much.

I didn’t deserve a second chance. So I told myself she was better off. But the way she played that day in the park was too irresistible. I knew then I had to have her back anyway. She’s either my muse or some demon sent to torment me.

So here I am, either about to do something really romantic or something incredibly stupid. With my luck, probably stupid. If I hadn’t been an idiot two years ago, I might not have lost all that time.

My stomach twists thinking about it, and I consider that downing that Coke so fast was not a good move. I close my eyes, concentrating on my new song and playing air guitar with my seatbelt. It helps relax me, but it’s not performing the song tonight that’s making my insides roll like the waves.

Finally, Mike parks under a streetlamp by the house where Claire’s family is staying. I force myself to breathe. I inhale the scent of the beach through the open car window and realize I’m about to spin my thumb ring off.

Mike realizes it too. “You sure you—”

“Yes, damn it.” I pry my fingers away from the ring and open the door. “Don’t ask me that again.”

But he asks me that again when we reach the coffee shop, too.

I shoot him a nasty look, and he laughs, and now I know he’s just trying to bug me. “Come on.” I push him into the crowd.

The shop is packed, laughing and whispering people spilling onto the boardwalk. Over the ocean, the sky is already turning dark and the temperature is dropping as fast as the light is fading. But inside the store, it’s barely brighter.

The show’s begun and the lights have been dimmed. I follow Mike to the counter, grateful that no one’s paying any attention to the guy the with the guitar case for a change. That’s because some other guy with a guitar is already performing, regaling everybody with my least favorite Dylan song. I tune him out, just like I always try to tune out Dylan whenever anyone puts on his music.

After signing some paper and buying some over-priced coffee, I worm my way to the back. Mike’s head is swiveling around, searching for Claire and company, I guess. I let him look out for friends. I have to look out for my guitar. There’s not enough room for all of us.

“Found them,” he whispers at last, just as the guy on the makeshift stage finishes. Mike motions with his cup to the other side of the room, and I push hair out of my eyes, squinting through the mass of bodies that block my view.

It’s Claire that I find first. Of course. It could be that crazy orange hair—what the hell was she thinking dyeing it orange of all colors?—but I think it’s just that my gaze will hone in on her no matter what. Especially with that hair, she’s like a flame. I can’t not stare.

But she doesn’t seem to notice me. She’s not noticing much if I had to guess. Her face is strained. She looks nervous. I can’t tell from here, but I’d bet she’s gripping her case strap with white knuckles.

Poor Claire. I used to tell her all the time she shouldn’t be nervous about performing because damn, she’s good. But I don’t think she ever believed me.

If she’d let me, I’d make her believe it. But I’m not sure she will.

My hand runs to the Buddha charm hanging around my neck, a tiny silver thing that she once gave me for my birthday. Although I’d stopped wearing it because it was too painful after we split, I kept the charm in my guitar case this whole time. When I finally put it back on tonight, I was thinking I needed the Zen. From the looks of it, though, Claire might need it more than me.

That’s it. I have to go to her now. I have to say something.

I pick up my case, ready to risk clocking a bunch of innocent people with it in order to cross the shop, but then the guy at the mic calls out her name. Too late.

As usual for me.

I settle back against the counter instead, drinking coffee I don’t really want.

“You coming?” Mike asks while Claire gets settled up front.

There’s only one seat open at the table since she got up, so I shrug. Not worth assaulting people to get to it. “I’m good.”

As soon as Mike moves away, I return my attention to Claire. She’s tuning her guitar and saying something to the owner. Even from this distance, I can feel the spark in her—the heat and the life—and I wonder if other people can too. It’s this crazy way she lights up a room that make my lips dry, as though needing her to wet them for me. Her wide nervous eyes and that smile filled with self-doubt only add to her presence. It makes her charming too. And it’s making me crazy.

Some girls think they’re the hottest things on the planet, and I’ve met way more than my share of them. But they have no idea.

She is, without question, the hottest thing on the planet, and she doesn’t even know it. And if she did, she wouldn’t care. That’s part of what makes it so true.

Claire’s talking, and I have to refocus to hear her. “But I did have an ex who wrote more than one unflattering song about me. So this is the song I wrote about the experience.”

I cringe and drink more. If that’s the worst she has to say about that whole ordeal, she’s being too nice. I’m guessing “Romeo Must Die” is one of the least angry songs she wrote in retaliation. Not sure I want to hear the others.

Then she starts to play, and even though I’ve watched videos of her performing this song online, watching her live is amazing. She’s changed so much. Gotten so much better.

And right there I decide she’s the hottest, most talented girl on the planet, too. I might be a bit biased, but screw it. I’m allowed to be. She sounds damn good. Someone else can play critic.

I can’t drag my gaze away until she finishes, and then I assess the audience. They’re smiling and staring at her like I was. That’s my girl, I start to think, except she’s not.

“Um, yeah. New song,” Claire’s saying. “Let’s hope I don’t forget it like I’m forgetting what I’m saying, you know? It’s called ‘That Girl.’”

I lean forward with interest until I hear her lyrics. The words wrap around my chest like a rope, pulling me toward her and crushing the life from me at the same time. I’m not sure what to think, what to make of this plea that she’s singing. But it’s directed at me. I can sense that through and through.

At one point I almost catch her eye but she quickly looks away, and for a half beat, she fumbles. I hear the rhythm crash like the breakers on the rocks. Then she recovers, almost seamlessly.

I don’t, and I close my eyes.

“So why can’t I make you see?

That girl is gone

This girl is here

That girl’s a ghost

This girl is near

That girl hurt you

This girl hurts too

This girl’s sorry for what she did to you”

As her clear, silky voice fades, the room bursts into applause, but I can’t move. Why is she apologizing? I’m the one who’s supposed to apologize. She did that years ago. I’m the one who refused to listen.

I’m the one. And she’s the one. It’s my job to make her see, not the other way around.

For the first time tonight, I feel a little less crazy about what I’m going to do. Not any less nervous because there’s probably never a time when telling the girl you love that you need her in your life is not going to be vomit-inducing, but less crazy. Hopeful even.

I remain by the counter, finishing my coffee for several more performers, but I don’t hear a damn thing until my name. When the owner calls out “Jared Steele,” sounding hilariously confused, I’m ready. Inside, I know I’ve been ready for longer than I care to admit. Claire’s been stuck in my head and heart like the catchiest damn tune ever, so it’s time to make good on this unexpected second chance.

What music hurt, it must also be able to heal.

——————————————————————————————

Now, check out the rafflecopter giveaway for the prizes! I hope you win!

 

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

roomies sara zarr tara altebrando This book made me want to go back to college. Not like now, as an adult, adding college classes to the insane list of everything else I already do, but like be 17 and about to start college for the first time again. (No, I’m not saying I’d wish away my family or anything crazy like that. Calm down.)

Roomies does a great job of capturing two girls’ emotions as they transition from high school at home to living on the campus of UC Berkley. Elizabeth (known as EB) is an East Coast only child living with her single mom of questionable morals. Lauren is a native San Franciscan living with her parents and seemingly dozens of siblings as one big happy family. When they find out they’re going to be roommates, EB starts off an e-mail chain of correspondence spanning the remainder of their summer as they wrestle through the important things leading up to college:

  • Who brings what stuff?
  • What happens to my high school friendships?
  • Long distance romances… yes or no?
  • How can I leave my family?
  • How can I NOT leave my family?
  • Am I really ready to grow up?
  • Will we get along and be able to live with each other?
  • Can even I do this?

On top of all of that, which was fun to watch as EB and Lauren grew up over the course of the summer and developed a great foundation of a relationship to start their college experiences off with, the story is told in alternating points of view, which I love. I’m a sucker for a well written story with multiple points of view. I find it fascinating. And in this case, with Zarr and Altebrando both writing (I assume they each wrote one of the girls), they really FELT like two completely different people instead of one person writing two characters. It was cool.

I’d recommend this for girls in high school, probably tenth grade and up, and for college/adult women as well. There’s a lot here to make you reflect on your own college experience. It made me wonder how my college years could have been different if I’d had a chance to get to know a roommate before moving in. Or what I would have done differently that summer before college knowing how those high school relationships would fade away so quickly once I moved across the country.

Anyway, I really enjoyed these two characters and seeing how their final summers at home played out. I’d also really like to see a follow-up of their first year in college or something. While the story ended well and I felt satisfied that it was sufficiently finished, I also wanted to know more about them.

Make sure you check it out! Roomies releases on December 24 and can be ordered here on Amazon.

A great New Adult resource!

So I like New Adult. A lot. I think about college and how many HUGE life decisions you make during those four years, and I’m really a fan of any books specifically targeted to that age group to help college aged people (and those of us permanently stuck there mentally – I’m still hemming and hawing about a Master’s degree) through all of that stuff.

What I’m not a fan of, though, is the New Adult books that make it seem like college is all about running around sleeping with as many people as possible. That’s gross. It IS possible to successfully make it through college without being skanky.

I saw this link posted in twitter and Facebook, so I had to check it out. I like several of these titles, some of which you can find review for in the archives of this blog. So go check it out! Find some new NA reads that are not all about sex. :)

Nice Guys in NA: New Adult Worth Reading

Switched by Cassie Mae ~ Blog Hop and Giveaway!

At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve read everything Cassie Mae has published. And I’ll continue to read everything she publishes.

In Switched, we start with a complicated love square comprised of Kayla, the protagonist, her best friend, Reagan, Reagan’s boyfriend, Talon, and Talon’s best friend, Wesley. So Reagan and Talon are dating and have been for a year. But Kayla is in love with Talon, and Wesley is in love with Reagan. It’s a mess.

As Kayla and Wesley team up to get Reagan and Talon to break up and date them instead (which, let’s be honest, is a reprehensible thing to do to your best friends and begs the question, is all REALLY fair in love and war?) they get closer and closer and feelings start to get confused as to who really loves who (or whom – whatever).

So I spent a fair chunk of this book really frustrated with Kayla for wanting a guy that belonged to her best friend, with Reagan for seeming like an honeslty crappy best friend, and with Talon for seeming entirely clueless. But then there was Wesley. He’s really a GREAT guy character. Total book crush.

Without giving anything away, I’ll say that Cassie turned my frustration right back around on me and, in a well-orchestrated “switch” that I didn’t see coming at all, redeemed the book and more than made up for the time I spent wanting to strangle everybody but Wesley.

Overall, highly recommended for girls in at least their junior/senior years. Some of the language and sexual content was a little much, but the story behind it is good.

You can find Switched here on Amazon, and if you COMMENT below on this post through midnight (PST) on Sunday, Dec. 8, you’ll be entered to win a FREE DIGITAL COPY of Switched! Yay!

Click here to visit Romance @ Random, and make sure you check out a Rafflecopter giveaway for awesome prize packs!

Don’t forget to connect with Cassie on Facebook and Twitter!

Image