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!

 

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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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Blog Tour organized by:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

 

we were liars

 

Mark my words… this will be the next YA title to take the world by storm, like The Fault In Our Stars did last year. I so hope they make a movie out of this.

All I can really say about this without giving anything away is that it was really, really beautifully written and masterfully crafted. I started this thinking I was getting into a typical summery beach YA title, but what I found was something that consumed my entire Sunday because I just could not put it down. This is the first E. Lockhart title I’ve read, and it has single-handedly turned me into a fan.

The characters are intriguing, and the style with which Lockhart builds this story is effortlessly suspenseful and mysterious.

I can’t even tell you what it reminds me of without getting into spoilers, so I won’t. But you should definitely read it when it comes out next week! Preorder, reserve, send to kindle… whatever. Get it.

With a twist I didn’t see coming, Liars shocked me in the most delightful way… but the best part about that was I could go back and see the clues Lockhart left along the way, and though I never would have seen the end coming, it made perfect sense once I got there.

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

A fun new YA romantic comedy

I’ve been a fan of Cassie Mae for a while. She writes fun romantic young adult and new adult titles, which I’ve reviewed here before… Friday Night Alibi, Reasons I Fell for the Fat Funny Friend, and Switched. She’s back again, writing under the pen name of Becca Ann, and this time it’s a joint novel with her writing partner, Tessa Marie.

In King Sized Beds and Happy Trails, best friends since forever Ryan and Lexie are going on their senior class trip to a ski resort, and through a series of events (all of which make me shudder as a teacher of teenagers who takes students on overnight trips, because if this happened on one of my trips, OMG), they end up sharing a cabin. Just the two of them and one king sized bed.

For Lexie, this is no big deal. She’s sharing a cabin with her best friend, which doesn’t matter much since she’s there to finally catch the eye of one of their classmates who she’s been obsessing over. For Ryan, though, this is a very big deal… his feelings for Lexie went from friend to much-more-than-friend a while back, and watching her pursue another guy is horrible. Thankfully, it’s not long before Lexi realizes the other guy is kind of douchey when she has Ryan so close to her and, well, then things get interesting.

I really love Lexie and Ryan in this. Their story in told in an alternating POV between the two of them which was really well done.  The overall story was cute, funny, and sweet. I recommend this to upper high school and college – though it’s technically Young Adult, it feels more like New Adult to me. I know I’m definitely looking forward to another Lexi and Ryan story already!

Want to join in some fun? Becca Ann and Tessa Marie are hosting a release party today with giveaways on Facebook. It’s a public event, so stop by, join, and enter to win prizes all day long!

king sized beds

In Bloom by Katie Delahanty

in bloom

It seems like, in general, the New Adult genre has slipped into a pattern of beginning with a character deeply affected by some horrible tragedy who finds another character deeply affected by some horrible tragedy and they cling tightly to each other and can’t survive life without the hope of their love. Aside from a few authors keeping it fun, like Cassie Mae for example, New Adult authors are giving off this impression that adulthood has to begin with depression or something. It’s annoying.

In Bloom is a breath of fresh air for the New Adult genre. Delahanty has written characters that are realistically flawed, but who do not let the circumstances of life become these huge depressing things that dictate whether or not they survive. If you’re looking for depressing New Adult, this is not it. In Bloom felt to me like a slightly older version of Jen E. Smith’s This Is What Happy Looks Like: charming, romantic, fun, and smartly-written. Delahanty has been shaping these characters for years through her blog, and you can totally tell. They feel like real people.

I loved Olivia as a protagonist. She handles the pressures of moving to LA to pursue her dreams wonderfully, making great friends and ignoring her crazy mom along the way. She gets a fun job and breaks into the Hollywood scene, meeting the front man of her favorite band, Berkeley. She is accident prone and witty and smart, and several times throughout her story I laughed out loud at her antics.

Then there’s Berkeley. He’s sweet and romantic and down-to-earth despite the fact that he’s a world famous rock star, and his pursuit of Olivia is the cutest thing. I developed a total crush on him as I read, and I can only hope he shows up again and again and again in future Delahanty books.

Until there are more books in this series, though, there’s always twitter… The characters in the book tweet at each other at the start of each chapter, but it never occurred to me that there would be actual twitter accounts I could follow. But then I found them, and it was magical. I mean, you usually finish a book and have to say goodbye to the characters, right? Not this time, though… find them on twitter, follow them, and let them interact with you. I hope it makes your day and much as it made mine.

In Bloom twitter

One more thing I loved about this – Delahanty didn’t feel the need to make it sound like a “grown up book” by having her characters cuss all the time. I appreciated that. Like I said, In Bloom is a breath of fresh air. That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the graphic nature of the love scenes. It surprised me because the language was so clean, and I was thinking I could really recommend this to teenagers and students getting out there and making life decisions, but I can’t do that now. Plus, I think the love scenes would have flowed better with the overall tone of the rest of the book if they’d been more modestly written.

In Bloom releases today! Click here to find it on Amazon.

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.

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