Thursday, October 30, 2014

Love's Last Call Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Love's Last Call by Beth Matthews! Today I have a great excerpt from the book to share - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Love's Last Call (Ladies of Jezebel’s #1)
Author: Beth Matthews
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 20, 2014


Lucy York is an aspiring mechanical engineer working as a shot girl serving watered-down drinks to drunken frat boys at Jezebel’s Bar & Lounge. The job isn’t so bad—it pays her bills, and she’s managed to make a surrogate family for herself at the bar. But now she’s ready to spread her wings and fly north to attend a university and, maybe, distance herself a little from the all-consuming social scene at Jezebel’s.

Then her boss hires a new bouncer, Norm, a literature dork who seems like everything a bouncer shouldn’t be: tall, gangly, sweet (and, you know, named Norman). But as she gets to know him, ol’ Norm turns out to be everything Lucy never knew she wanted and the best friend she’s ever had. He’s not a bad bouncer either.

One obstacle to their happily ever after: the owner has a strict no-dating rule for employees. If anyone at Jezebel’s finds out she’s dating a bouncer, Lucy will lose her job, her surrogate family, and the money she needs to go to college.

But, if she loses Norm, is she losing her best chance at happiness?
"Hey, Norm, can I just ask: why Jezebel's?"

He blinked at the non-sequitor. "I was working at a bookstore, but the place went bankrupt and closed down. I have to eat and pay my half of the rent, so when I saw Hank's ad on craigslist I dragged myself down here. Me as a bouncer seemed a bit of a long shot, but I begged and Hank said yes."


Norm tipped his hand in a so-so gesture. "Asked nicely. I get the impression you guys go through a lot of bouncers?" Which is why a scrawny beanpole like me had a shot.

She rolled her big blue eyes heavenward. "God, yes. It's as bad as the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. Actually, most of the staff has a high turnover. Bouncers are just the worst. Working in a bar can be hard, you know? The hours interfere with the rest of your life. You're spilled on and stepped on and hit on and sometimes, if you're a bouncer, actually hit. It's not an easy job. But, for some reason, lately we keep hemorrhaging bouncers. They fall asleep half way through their shift and Hank fires them. They steal the good booze and Hank fires them. They get an acting gig and they quit. Their girlfriend visits the bar, takes one look at Ronnie and orders the guy to quit--"

"Won't be a problem for me. I'm footloose and fancy free."

Her eyes crinkled at the corners with pleasure. "Fancy free, huh?"

"Oh, yeah." He tweaked his shirt collar to demonstrate. "Fancy, right?"

Lucy laughed.

He loved making her laugh, and decided, whatever the risks, that he would try to make it happen as often as possible. "What about you? How long have you been working at the infamous house of fallen women and false prophets?"

"Since I turned twenty-one." She leaned forward, her face serious, her voice earnest. "It's a great place to work. As much as I bitch about Jezebel's, I make good money, and work doesn't interfere with school."

Norm craned around as a bustle of voices filled the bar. The main door opened and a crowd of employees shuffled in together, taking seats at the tables clustered before their boss and the stage.

"Better go down." Lucy flipped her textbook closed, sandwiching her notebook and pencil in between the book's pages. She stuffed everything into a black backpack spotted with rainbow colored polka dots. In the cluster of half dozen buttons on her backpack, there was a simple black one with "HAN SHOT FIRST" in bold white letters.

A woman after my own heart.

Norm, entranced and attracted by this tangible sign of geekery, realized he was helpless to resist her--whatever his financial difficulties. He followed her to the seating area for the meeting, feeling like one of the hypnotized rats trailing after the Pied Piper, doomed and elated all at once.
Beth Matthews is a California girl, born and raised. She’s a total geek, a movie buff, and a mediocre swing dancer. She lives in sunny SoCal with her boyfriend and two of the neediest housecats on the planet.
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Tour Wide Giveaway (US Only):
Black zip tote back from Romantic Times 2014 Convention in New Orleans
(6) Contemporary Romance Paperbacks:
Love’s Last Call by Beth Matthews 
A Midsummer Night’s Fling by Beth Matthews 
Fire Inside: A Chaos Novel by Kristen Ashley 
Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay 
Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis 
Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe


Cover Reveal: Eleventh Elementum by J.L. Bond & Val RIchards

Eleventh Elementum (The Primortus Chronicles #1)
Authors: J.L. Bond and Val Richards 

Summary from Goodreads:

It has begun! Fourteen years after a catastrophic disaster, the world has regained its balance with the help of the Primortus. They have secretly walked amongst us since the beginning of time, protecting the earth with the power of the elements. When a fourteen-year-old girl is given two mysterious gifts from a father she never knew, she is drawn into their dangerous world of magic.

She must learn to wield the power of the Eleventh Elementum to survive. With the help of Will (her best friend), his cousin and her new stepsister, she seeks out the evil that threatens New Zealand. But a black-eyed stranger is watching their every move. Now, two powerful beings will battle one another and the outcome will determine our way of life.
J.L. Bond and Val Richards met in college in Clarksville Tennessee, where Val excelled in Math and J.L excelled in creative ways to talk Val out of going to class. A few years later…okay, more than a few, they found themselves living about an hour away from one another in Florida and joined forces to write the Primortus Chronicles, YA fantasy- adventure series.  Nowadays, J.L. likes to remind Val that Math isn’t necessary for writing.

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Review: The Book of Revelation Made Clear by Tim F. LaHaye & Timothy E. Parker

The Book of Revelation Made Clear: A Down-To-Earth Guide to Understanding the Most Mysterious Book of the Bible 
Authors: Tim F. LaHaye & Timothy E. Parker
Genre: Nonfiction/Religious Reference
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Nelson


A fun and fascinating way to learn about the book of Revelation.

The Bible's final book, Revelation, can seem intimidating or downright impossible to comprehend, even for serious students of the Scriptures.

Filled with complex imagery, vivid depictions of violence, and challenging spiritual references, Revelation is often set aside by readers in favor of more straightforward, easier-to-digest biblical material. Yet the capstone of the canon need not remain a mystery.

In this refreshingly accessible book, Bible scholar and best-selling author Tim LaHaye (originator of the Left Behind series) and renowned puzzle master Timothy E. Parker (editor of the "USA Today" Crossword, and founder of "The Universal Crossword," King James Games, and Master Puzzles) demystify Revelation for your benefit. Absorb this book and discover afresh--or for the first time--the richness of Revelation and its God-breathed, life-changing power to deepen your walk of faith.
The book of Revelation in the Bible is usually seen as confusing at best. Some find it scary, others hopeful, and some even think it's just one large analogy instead of actual events. Wherever the reader finds themselves on the spectrum doesn't matter when reading this book. Because I had read other reviews on the book before starting, I was prepared for the setup and features of each chapter. The authors literally break down the entire book of Revelation by verse and then give their interpretations on what it means. Included throughout the book are pre-quizzes that open each chapter and the answers to the quiz can be found at the very end of each chapter. The quizzes weren't hard - they tested what you know (or thought you knew) about the verses that would be discussed in that chapter. It was interesting to see how wrong I was when I had finished reading the scripture and the interpretations. I think the quizzes helped to show misguided thoughts and information about the scripture while also making sure the reader knew the correct answers to each question. The interpretations given by the author were done in very easy terms - it wasn't like being preached at or attending a kind of lecture. They were brief but held a ton of information about the symbolism being used and the actual meaning behind the verses. I have struggled with reading the book of Revelation for several years, mostly because I didn't know what was symbolism and what was real - but this book broke it down into easy to digest pieces that left nothing to question. I know I'll be referring back to this book many times in the future as I re-read the final book of the Bible. Very highly recommended for those who have any sort of issue with the book of Revelation - be it confused, frightened, or just completely mind boggling - as well as for those who want a deeper look at the scripture and a better understanding of what is being said.

* I received a copy of the book from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.*


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Loop Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for LOOP by Karen Akins! Today I have my review of the book to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy!

Loop (Loop #1)
Author: Karen Akins
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Time Travel
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin


At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.
Loop is the exhilarating first book in a new young adult science fiction series. The series is set in the twenty-third century, where everything has advanced - medicine, technology, transportation - since our time in the twenty-first century. There are certain people who contain a specific gene that allows them to travel through time; and with the advanced technology of the future, scientists have created a microchip that will keep the Shifters (time travelers) safe and healthy, among other things. Our main character, Bree, is a Shifter. She attends the Institute, a school that specializes in time travel practice. Bree's life has gone downhill in the past few months, and when she makes a pretty big mistake on her midterm, she's all but certain that she'll lose her scholarship to the school. Things go from bad to even worse when Bree tries to go back in time to the place where her midterm problem happens so she can try to salvage the situation - but Bree ends up three years after her initial shift. Finn, the scrawny kid she met during her midterm shift, is now incredibly hot and just as annoying. He and his family seem to know a lot about what is going on in Bree's life - her future life. Finn refuses to give Bree any answers at the request of her future self - who just happens to be pretty close to him. The unthinkable happens when Bree is forced back to her present - and Finn goes with her. As if that isn't bad enough, things are getting downright strange at the Institute. Her friends are getting into accidents, things are coming up missing, and the culprit is attacking Shifters. After Bree and Finn put together the puzzle and realize who is behind everything, she realizes that only they hold the knowledge - except for her future self. Will Bree and Finn be able to stop the attacks before people she loves get hurt?

I have to admit that I don't often read time travel fiction, mostly owing to the fact that I get incredibly confused. I overthink every single part of the process and its effects - to the point where I'm totally lost and can't enjoy the book. I tried my hardest not to put too much extra thought into the inner workings of time travel when I read this book - and I have to admit that it did help, if just a little. The whole concept of time travel and different versions of yourself - it boggled my mind just like it always does. However, the other aspects of the book were so thrilling that I was able to focus on the story itself instead of all the tiny details that normally sidetrack me. The plot of the book was wholly original in itself, but the varying concepts along with the romance and the deeper layers of the story really made it stand out for me. Bree is a great main character - I liked her right from the start. She's a very realistic character considering the plot of the book. Bree's a typical teenage girl who has to deal with everyday problems just like regular teens. She has to keep her grades up in school so she doesn't lose her scholarship, her mother is in a coma and Bree tries everything she can think of to help figure out what exactly happened to her and how to bring her back, and that's before we get into the time traveling parts of her life. The story is told from Bree's point of view, so we get an inside look at the "real" her - sarcastic inner dialogue, unspoken fears and doubts, as well as her hopes and dreams. I loved getting to know Bree on such a personal level - I think it made her very easy to identify with. I don't really focus on the romance parts of books, but I have to point out that Bree and Finn were fun and fascinating to watch. I loved seeing them get to know each other and how their relationship grows (even if it is unconventional). Their romance gave an extra depth to the book that I believe makes it more appealing to a wider audience. Everything about the book is so well done that I can't begin to do it justice with a review. The writing was fast paced but flowed naturally. The setting was incredibly detailed and I loved learning all about the twenty-third century and their improvements on life. The entire story was told with vivid imagery and descriptions - to the point that I felt I was experiencing everything alongside Bree. There is so much happening in the book - the romance, the time traveling, and then the big mystery of the person they need to stop. I'm so excited that this is just the first book in what promises to be nothing short of an astounding and enchanting series! Fans of science fiction and time travel need to read this book. Don't miss out on it! I highly recommend it to fans of all genres and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment to see what happens next!

A New Favorite in Time Travel!

Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her.

Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player. 

Author Links:
(1) Winner will receive a finished copy of Loop. Open to US only!

* A HUGE thanks to St. Martin's Griffin for providing me with a review copy of the book and for sponsoring the giveaway!*  

In the Afterlight Blog Tour: Review

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken! Today I'm sharing my review of the book - enjoy!

In the Afterlight (Darkest Minds #3)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopia
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion


Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

In the Afterlight is the explosive final book in the young adult science fiction/dystopian Darkest Minds series. Usually I do a small recap of the general plot of the book at the beginning of my reviews, but I'm going to skip the pretense and get right down to it. To be honest, I have no idea how to write this review - let alone what to write. I have a love/hate relationship with series endings (I imagine most people do). I want to know want happens in the end - happily ever after or not? But then again, I don't want the series to end. Why can't it just keep going for a few more books? It's honestly the definition of bittersweet. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so it's going to be next to impossible to give many details without something slipping out. 
In order to talk about the final book in the trilogy, you have to go back to the beginning. In the first installment, we met our main character - Ruby - and learned about the deadly epidemic killing the majority of American kids and the "rehabilitation camps" where kids and teens with special abilities are sent. By the end of the first book, we're rooting our hearts out for Ruby and Liam and desperately waiting to see where things will go from there. I (like most other readers whose reviews I've read) was deep inside the story and totally vested in the characters. None of this changed in the second book - if anything, I was drawn even deeper into the story alongside the characters. Then the final book comes - and you know, logically, that it's the end and big things are probably going to happen. This knowledge, however, doesn't keep you from experiencing the intense emotional roller coaster that comes next. The writing was superb as always. Everything from the setting and the characters to the dialogue and the plot itself was done with such attention to detail and vivid descriptions and imagery that I easily fell right back into the story as if I had never left. And I stayed in there alongside Ruby until the very end - feeling everything she felt and then some. Let's just say it was intense (to put it mildly). I honestly don't know what else to say about this book that won't give anything away, and nothing else can come close to giving it the justice it deserves. I can honestly say that this book - this series - is unlike anything I've encountered before in the genre. I loved the psychic kids with their varying colors and abilities. I loved rooting for Ruby and the rest of them as they fought against the government to gain their freedom and reveal the truth. Heck, I even loved the tension in the story when things were going badly and I wasn't sure what was going to happen next. Everything about this trilogy is simply mesmerizing - I literally lost myself in the world the author created and didn't really come back out until the very end of the last book. I won't lie - I wish there were more books coming in the series. There's so much potential for the characters and different plots that could spin off. I'm sad to see it end, but I know I'll be re-reading these books over and over for years to come. That being said, I can't wait to see what the author will come out with next. I have no idea what it might be about, but I do know that with her incredible talent and ability, I will have to get my hands on it. I can't recommend this book - or series - enough. I think everyone who enjoys YA fiction - and even those who don't - should read these books. There's something for everyone and the writing alone will blow you away - not to mention the characters and the plot itself. Do yourself a favor if you haven't read these yet: Make sure the next book you pick up is The Darkest Minds and hold on for one amazing ride.
By far one of the most original and greatest series I've ever read!

I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and spent all of my life there up until college–I miss it all of the time, but primarily when I’m forced to deal with ice/snow/mass transit/or some combination of the three.  I’m a middle child, which supposedly means I’m full of angsty feelings of neglect, but, in reality, it just means I’m always sandwiched between my older sister and younger brother in Christmas pictures.  On a whole, I had a pretty typical childhood, with only one big exception: my dad was a big time Star Wars collector, which means I went to more antique shows, toy stores, and Star Wars conventions then you could ever imagine! No, really, I’m up to six conventions. I will now pause to let that soak in…
I recently graduated with a degree in History and English from The College of William & Mary in Virginia. (Four years in Colonial Williamsburg is enough to give anyone a sense of humor about life, trust me.) I began writing Brightly Woven there during my sophomore year as a birthday present to my dearest, darlingest friend Carlin… and finished six months AFTER that date. The number one question I get asked is how I wrote a novel while I was still in school. There are two answers to this: sacrificing a social life and a depressingly effective will to see even the most futile projects through.  I signed with my agent on my 21st birthday, and sold it later that year.  I spent a good portion of my senior year buried under edits, and the rest of that year trying to figure out what else I was going to do with my life.
After graduating, I left my colonial bonnets behind and moved to New York City, where I attended the Columbia Publishing Course and worked in publishing for five years. I now write full time.

Author Links: 

 * A HUGE thank you to the awesome people at Disney-Hyperion for giving me a copy of the book for review!!*

Book Blast + Giveaway: Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Adrenaline Crush
Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: October 1, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)


When a daredevil teen pushes herself too far, she must choose between two boys: the one who wants to keep her safe, and the one who dares her to return to her old self.

Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a family of risk takers and is an avid thrill-seeker herself, until the day she splinters her ankle in a terrible fall. Her whole life goes from mountain biking and rock climbing to sitting at home and attending group sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center that her hippie mother found. The boy who witnessed Dyna’s accident believes her injury is a wakeup call and he encourages her mild new lifestyle, but a young Afghanistan War veteran she meets at the healing center pushes her to start taking chances again. Forced to face the consequences of her daredevil impulses, Dyna finds herself in danger of risking the one thing she’s always treated with caution—her heart.

Laurie Boyle Crompton is the YA author of BLAZE (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) and THE REAL PROM QUEENS OF WESTFIELD HIGH (Sourcebooks, 2013 & 2014) as well as the upcoming ADRENALINE CRUSH from Farrar Straus Giroux. Laurie graduated first in her class from St. John’s University with a major in English and minor in Journalism. She’s written for national magazines like ALLURE as well as numerous trade publications and has appeared on Good Day New York several times as a Toy Expert. Yes, that is an actual thing that people sometimes get to be.

When she’s not writing Laurie enjoys hiking, cycling, reading, cross-country skiing, running, going to the movies and drinking tea by the gallon. She lives near NYC, but loves to escape to the mountains in New Paltz, NY where she and her family can often be found climbing over rocks or tromping through the forest. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Agency.

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You can purchase Adrenaline Crush at the following Retailers:

 (1) Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Adrenaline Crush, Carabiner Key Chains, Bookmarks and Pins by Laurie Boyle Crompton.

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter