Blog Tour + Book Review + Book Playlist + Giveaway: Only The Good Die Young by KK Hendin

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Only The Good Die YoungTitle: Only The Good Die Young

Author: KK Hendin

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Source: I received this e-book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review as part of this blog tour

The first year of college is supposed to be about parties, parties, and getting the hell out of Texas. Instead, Milcah Daniels is spending her eighteenth year in and out of Houston’s hospitals. Her hair is falling out, they’ve cut off her boobs, and if she makes it to nineteen, she’ll consider it a personal miracle.

Breast cancer really has a way of messing with a girl’s social calendar.

When Milcah’s temporarily discharged from the hospital, she’s determined to get a tattoo for every medical procedure she’s had. Her quest leads her to Skin Stories, a new tattoo parlor a block from her apartment. And to it’s infuriatingly sexy artist, Callum Scott.

Callum is everything Milcah wants, and everything she shouldn’t have now. A new relationship when the official prognosis is one to five years is a terrible idea. But Callum doesn’t know about the breast cancer, and Milcah’s not running to tell him.

But when the doctor says things are actually looking positive, her entire life turns upside down. How is she supposed to start living again when she’s finally learned to accept her death?

Where do I even begin with this story? I don’t think I have ever been as torn apart as I was while reading through Milcah’s story. It was one of those stories that had happy moments, heart breaking moments and then moments that hit me so strongly that I had to stop in the middle of a scene to just let it all soak in.

Milcah is by far one of the most realistic and complex characters I have ever read. I would say that my heart went out to her during this story but I sort of have a feeling that would end with me getting a lifetime supply of glares from Milcah. Her story was as tough as she was. I wanted so badly for her to just be alright. For the cancer to be gone, for her boobs to still be there, for her to feel no more fear. But that is not the way life goes and I applaud KK Hendin for not sugar-coating a single second of it. Through the endless doctor appointments, through getting her boobs cut off, through leaving her life behind and trying to start all over by herself, Milcah was a fierce fighter whether she realized it or not. I loved this strength she had about her but at the same time, I also loved her fear. I know that may sound kind of weird but it made her even more real to me. Milcah’s fear of death, of being sick, of loving and living was what a lot of this story was about and it was these little messages that KK wrote so beautifully that had me turning page after page.

While I loved the deeper, heart-felt, thought-provoking moments in this book to absolute pieces, I also loved the fact that the story was enriched with fun, light-hearted moments brought on by Milcah’s sassiness and Callum’s general awesomeness. I loved that through the pain and sickness Milcah was able to hold true to who she was which was this feisty, say-it-how-she-means-it type of girl. But a certain boy makes Milcah second guess everything she believed before. I loved that Callum was this walking, talking, extremely good-looking mass of sweetness, surprise, and compassion. He was there for Milcah, supported her, pushed her beyond her comfort zone, and taught her what it meant to really live. I loved that while he looked like a total bad-ass, he was this super sweet man who would do anything for Milcah.

While I loved just about everything this truly beautiful story had to offer, I couldn’t help but wish that it were longer. I wanted to know more about Milcah, more about her family, and more about her relationship with Callum. To me it felt like it ended way too early but I can certainly see why KK ended it the way she did. It wrapped up nicely but not perfect, on a happy not but not on a for-sure one. In a way, I couldn’t see this story ending differently.

Only The Good Die Young isn’t a story you take lightly. It will break your heart, multiple times actually, it will make you swoon, make you happy, make you cry, and even make you think about life, death, and everything else in between. It isn’t an easy story to read for those reasons but despite how hard it is the brutally, beautifully honest way it is written makes it all worth it in the end.

BOOK PLAYLIST:

KK has put together an awesome playlist to go along with Only The Good Die Young. After reading the book and now listening through the songs, I could so see where they play a part in this story. I hope you all enjoy listening to it!

I spent a lot of time simultaneously attempting to draft this book and g-chatting one of my dear friends, Alex Brown. Somehow, our conversations ended up with us trading songs that made us cry. To get us in the mood of writing sad things, I guess :) Or because we’re both twisted souls. Both of these are entirely possible.

Some songs that were on repeat while I was drafting:

Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

Fix You by Coldplay (or this version from the Sing-Off)

Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron & Wine

Let Love In by Goo Goo Dolls

For Good from Wicked (Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel)

Falling Slowly from Once (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)

Leave from Once (Glen Hansard)

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

Bright Lights and Cityscapes by Sara Bareilles

Hero by Family of the Year (recommended to me by the lovely Tabitha Martin)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

KK Hendin’s real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she’ll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate. She’s the author of the NA contemporaries HEART BREATHS and ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG.

She spends way too much time on Twitter, where she can be found at @kkhendin, and rambles on occasion over at www.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com.

Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes and Noble

GIVEAWAY:

Click here to enter the giveaway!

FOLLOW THE TOUR:

Click here for the full tour schedule!

HOSTED BY:

Inkslinger Button

Book Review + Book Playlist: Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine

Best Kind of Broken

Title: Best Kind of Broken (Finding Fate #1)

Author: Chelsea Fine

Publisher: Forever, and imprint of Grand Central Publishing

Release Date: TOMORROW!!! (March 4th, 2014)

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Source: I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

Pixie and Levi haven’t spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are… awkward.

All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they’re forced to share a bathroom, and therefore a shower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.

Goodness gracious you guys, I freaking loved the guts out of this book. Chelsea Fine has a way of crafting a story that is as honest as it is beautiful, as heartbreaking as it is hopeful, and as snort-inducing as it is tear-creating. In the pages of this book I fell in love with the characters, their past, their present, and everything else in between

When it comes to main characters, Pixie was as perfectly imperfect as they come. Her personality was so freaking realistic that I kept hoping she were a real person so I could be best friends with her. It was easy to see from the first few chapters that Pixie had faced something tragic making her a little more closed off than normal. Her heartbreak was evident for sure but what I loved most is that Chelsea made her a fun and enjoyable character despite all the sadness that surrounds Pixie and her past. She would go off on these long and rambly tangents when she was stressed or embarrassed, the little quirks she thought to herself or even spoke out loud were hilarious, her way of interacting with Levi (i.e. blowing the fuse while he was doing something) had me laughing the whole time, and the way she carries herself was just so very enjoyable and made her one of my all-time favorite female MC’s.

When it comes to Levi, I loved him just as much as Pixie but for different reasons. While Pixie has this hilarious, quirky personality that helps to hide the pain she carries, Levi wears his pain and guilt like someone would wear their clothes. My heart went out to this guy because I could tell just how broken he was over what happened between him and Pixie in the past. Like Pixie though, Chelsea wrote Levi has an incredibly enjoyable character despite the darkness and sadness that surrounds him. I love that he was such a guy in this book. He was territorial and protective of Pixie but not in a creepy way, more of a “I really, really, REALLY care about you” way. He was also very sweet and caring even if it didn’t always come across that way. Seeing the way he took care of Pixie in the past and the subtle ways he tries to do the same for her in the present made me realize just how great of a guy he truly was.

The book would be pretty great if it was ONLY about Pixie and Levi but Chelsea added in characters like Jenna, Pixie’s best friend, Zack, Levi’s best friend, and Ellen, Pixie’s aunt who happens to be hers and Levi’s boss, and this book went from pretty great, to absolutely, positively AMAZING. If you know anything at all about me, you know I lurrrve me some fantastically written secondary characters who could pretty much have a book written all about them. Well it is my pleasure to tell you that Best Kind of Broken is chop-full of them. Jenna is this feisty, hard-ass, but also super supportive best friend and I absolutely love the fact that she is there for Pixie but also doesn’t push Pixie to share about her past until she’s ready. And then there’s Zack who I absolutely ADORED. Chelsea, if you are reading this, could you please make a book, a novella, even just a teaser devoted entirely to him? Zack was really freaking hilarious but not in a in-your-face-cracking-jokes-non-stop way but more in a wacky-and-quirky-where-does-he-come-up-with-this-shizz way. He is definitely the humor that Levi needs in his life and I loved that he pushed him to be more than his past. And then we get to Ellen who, you guessed it, I LOVED. Pixie and Levi are each lost after the tragedy that occurred in their past but Ellen and her Inn soon become their safe haven, their new home, the place they reconnect. I love Ellen for her constant strength and the support she offers each character. For different reasons, Levi and Pixie are missing a mother figure in their lives at the moment and Ellen fills that void for them.

So what’s better than a book full of ah-freaking-mazing characters? A book that has great writing to connect all of these characters. You guys, if these characters don’t draw you in (which they undoubtedly will, BTW), then Chelsea’s writing will do the trick. It was flawless, beautiful, hilarious, heartbreaking, and genuine. I felt like the characters were real-life people dealing with real-life situations. I felt like the past these characters had together and the way Chelsea wove it with the things that are happening during the present was done seamlessly. And finally, Pixie and Levi’s story while it has it moments of tragedy and heartbreak, definitely left me with a happy, tingly, gushy, I-want-to-hug-the-guts-out-of-both-of-them feeling.

If you read any NA book this year, do yourself a favor and make sure it’s Best Kind of Broken.

BOOK PLAYLIST:

I was really excited to make up a playlist for this book. Sometimes I am just struck with inspiration and I certainly got that for Best Kind of Broken. I have the playlist below and I would love it if you checked it out! Each song is on there for different reasons; either they remind me of a certain character, a scene in the book, or the story in general. Take a listen and let me know what you think of it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chelsea Fine

Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

Website // Facebook // Twitter // YouTube // Instagram // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Blog Tour + Book Playlist + Giveaway: Embrace February Titles

Entangled Tour Banner

I am so excited to be bringing you lots of Embrace fun today! In Bloom by Katie Delahanty and Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros are two of the newest releases from the Entangled imprint and they are certainly ones I am super pumped to read! I am going to be sharing all about both books today AND a super special book playlist from Full Measures. There also happens to be an incredible giveaway at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoy!

IN BLOOM

In Bloom

Title: In Bloom (The Brightside #1)

Author: Katie Delahanty

Publisher: Entangled Embrace

My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.

I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me.

How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it’s all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katie Delahanty

Katie Delahanty is a fashion designer turned novelist. She holds a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Professional Designation in Fashion Design from FIDM. It never occurred to her that she was a writer until an economic-crisis-induced career shift from lingerie designer to e-commerce webmistress led her to start the company blog. Not being an expert in lingerie, she decided to write the blog as a fictional serial starring a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked for the lingerie line. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. She hasn’t looked back since. Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

FULL MEASURES

Full Measures

Title: Full Measures

Author: Rebecca Yarros

Publisher: Entangled Embrace

Three knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

BOOK PLAYLIST:

Rebecca has put together and awesome book playlist/mini guest post for all of you today! Sit back, take a listen, and bask in the musical awesomeness!

I’m so excited to share the playlist for IN BLOOM! Back when In Bloom was being told in blog format I tried to include music as often as possible to showcase bands I loved and the music that was inspiring the story. In the final novel all of Berkeley & the Brightside’s lyrics are taken from songs by the Remainers (to listen to the music in the story check them out on iTunes!), but the original playlist was:

1. “Gonna Get Over You” by Sara Bareilles

” And I’m not the girl that I intend to be, I dare you darling, just you wait and see, But this time not for you but just for me, And I say, Ooh, how’m I gonna get over you? I’ll be alright, just not tonight…”

2. “Come Back Home” by Two Door Cinema Club

“So now you’re on your own….won’t you come back home…..to see you’re not that kind… and find the strength to find another way.”

3. “Rich Girl” performed by The Bird and the Bee

“So far gone, on your own, but you can get along if you try to be strong, but you’ll never be strong…Oh you’re a rich girl, and you’ve gone too far, but you know it doesn’t matter anyway, Cause there’s too much to give, cause you’d rather live for the thrill of it all…”

4. “When You Need Me” by The Remainers

“You’ve got to give me a break, I’ve got my own smile to fake, Got enough on my plate, Without the lines you want to feed me”

5. “Fader” by The Temper Trap

“And the sweet, sweet sun’s comin’ down, Hard, the sun’s comin’ down, Hard, it burns the bones, So hold a hand for cover, Hold a hand for cover, Hold a hand for cover from harm…”

6. “House” by The Remainers

“I don’t know how else to tell you, there ain’t no other way ‘round, only one road I’ll be driving down, If you want you can come, I don’t know if you’ll have much fun, but at least you’ll get yourself out of the house.”

7. “Delta Boy Blues” by Badly Drawn Boy

(instrumental)

8. “Impossible” by Anberlin

“You make my teeth clinch and my hands shake, do you ever see what you do to me? You’re wearing me out, just wearing me out…”

9. “How” by Maroon 5

“I’m asking for your help, I am going through hell, afraid nothing can save me but the sound of your voice, you cut out all the noise, and now that I can see mistakes so clearly now, I’d kill if I could take you back…”

10. “If You Go” by Javier Dunn

“I said goodbye to your face, knowing I could never really feel that way… If you go, please don’t write, please don’t call ‘cause your voice will make me cry, nothing good in this goodbye, so let me go on without you…”

11. “Not So California” by Dawn McCoy & Chris Richards

“All of these dreams beneath the stars—I guess they never needed us—Maybe we’re not so California, after all”

12. “Houdini” by Foster the People

“Got shackles on my wings on tight, Beggin’ makin compromise, Fast enough it’s hard to hide, Sometimes I want to disappear”

13. “Magic” by B.O.B feat. Rivers Cuomo

“I’ve got the magic in me

Everytime I touch that track it turns into gold

Everybody knows I’ve got the magic in me…”

14. “Only the Young” by Brandon Flowers

“Look back in silence

The cradle of your whole life

There in the distance

Losing its greatest pride

Nothing is easy, nothing is sacred, why?

Tonight, baby, you can start again

Laughing in the open air

Have yourself another dream

Tonight, baby, we can start again”

15. “Skip the Charades” by The Cold War Kids

“Drinks after dinner—your friends will get you to unwind—let’s skip the charades—can’t we just speak plain? You’re seeing right through me anyway…”

16. “Howlin For You” by The Black Keys

“I must admit, I can’t explain, any of these thoughts racing through my brain, it’s true, but baby I’m howlin’ for you…”

17. “Puzzle Pieces” by Saint Motel

“(I gotta say) Honestly, when you look at me, it’s like a gun goes off, deep inside of me. I can hardly move, I can barely breathe, near your features.”

18. “Under Cover of Darkness” by The Strokes

“Get dressed, jump out of bed, you do it best, are you OK?—I’ve been all around this town, everyone’s singing the same song for ten years—I’ll wait for you, will you wait for me too?…so long my friend”

19. “Tighter” by Fitz and the Tantrums

“Cause I was blind, I let you drift away. I didn’t give you enough to stay, so you made up my mind, and you walked away. And why didn’t I, hold you tighter and tighter, when I could do no wrong…”

20. “Holding Out” by The Remainers

“No one knows you like I know you now, No one needs you like I need you now, and no one loves you like I love you now…but I’m holding out…”

21. “Don’t Say Oh Well” by Grouplove

“So do you got that sweet devotion?  Oh, will you follow your heart’s plan?…’Aint it enough to find the truth, the pain again then say oh well, don’t say oh well, don’t say oh well…”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rebecca Yarros

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY:

From Katie Delahanty, author of In Bloom:

One gift basket with the following in it (US and Canada only):

$75 gift certificate to www.InBloomIntimates.com

$25 Amazon gift card

The Remainers Formal Fridays CD

Pink Champagne Cupcake Bath Bomb from www.soapybliss.com

Peach & Coconut Milk Push Up Lotion Pop from www.soapybliss.com

Berry Buttercream Soy Candle from www.JaquaBathandBody.com

Sees milk chocolate foil hearts

Autographed copies of STARSTRUCK and LOVE ME from author Rachel Shukert

Plus, $25 international gift certificate to either Amazon or B&N

From Rebecca Yarros, author of Full Measures

US and Canada only- A Kindle e-reader

Plus, $25 international gift certificate to either Amazon or B&N

Click here to enter the giveaway!

HOSTED BY:

Inkslinger Button

Book Playlist + Sneak Peek: Fix You by Carrie Elks

Fix You

Title: Fix You

Author: Carrie Elks

“Richard, we had a baby.”

31st December 1999. Seventeen-year-old Brit, Hanna Vincent, meets New Yorker, Richard Larsen; a Columbia student and step-son of scion Leon Maxwell. Divided by wealth, distance and a common language, an unconventional friendship grows between the two.

From London to New York, from 1999 to 2012, Fix You follows the story of quirky, music-loving Hanna and handsome, driven Richard as they fall in love and are torn apart. Their tempestuous relationship leads to an explosive revelation that threatens to destroy them both.

Emotional and touching, this is a story of second chances. Is their love shattered beyond repair?

I am so happy to be bringing you a fun post featuring Carrie Elks’ new release, Fix You! Carrie has put together a great book playlist and she is even sharing a sneak peek of the book! I have links to Carrie’s links down below along with where you can find the book. I hope you all enjoy & Happy Valentine’s Day!

BOOK PLAYLIST:

SNEAK PEEK:

Richard couldn’t decide where to put his hands. Her waist seemed too familiar, too sexual. If he held on to her hips and felt her ass against him, he was pretty sure he would lose his mind. He settled on the relative safety of her upper arms, trying to keep the fabric of her t-shirt between his hands and her skin. But she was moving too much, grinding her body to the beat of the music. He took a half step backwards, removing his crotch from the danger zone. He didn’t want to be accused of liking the band that much.

Hanna turned her head and tried to shout something to him. The noise of the band, and the calls of the crowd, drowned her words out.

“What?” Two small lines formed between his eyebrows as he tried to concentrate on her mouth.

“I said this is my favorite song.”

“What’s it called?” They were still mouthing words at each other. To try and actually vocalize would have been futile.

“Last Nite.” She whipped her head around as the guitarists played the instrumental bridge, the discordant sound of the bassist’s chords jarring against the melodic notes of the lead guitar. The lead singer opened his mouth, his voice a deep echo as his lips moved closely against the microphone, his eyes closed as he sang the words.

The crowd was going absolutely wild, the fast tempo of the track leading them to jump up and down as one. Those unfortunate enough not to join in were starting to panic, feeling themselves being dragged under. Richard moved his arms until they were tightly clutching Hanna’s waist. He didn’t care about his reaction to her body, he just wanted to keep her safe.

Leaning back into him, her hands clutched his arms as they moved together, submitting themselves to the will of the crowd.

It was electrifying.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carrie Elks

Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. At the age of twenty-one she left college with a political science degree, a healthy overdraft and a soon-to-be husband. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.

Website // Goodreads // Twitter // Facebook

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon

Blog Tour: Book Playlist + Sneak Peek + Giveaway: Emily’s Heart by Natalie Wright

Emily's Heart

Title: Emily’s Heart (Akasha Chronicles #3)

Author: Natalie Wright

Seventeen-year-old Emily Adams unintentionally unleashed a shadow god’s dark energy power into the world and started an Apocalypse. But Emily is also the only one that can end the dark god’s reign. Though the powerful faerie magic of the golden torc is still coiled around her arm, self-doubt threatens to undo her. Emily wants nothing more than to feel the soft kiss of her one true love, but he won’t even speak to her. Her first crush is still quite dead and her best friend remains a prisoner in the dark god’s house of nightmares. A growing legion of black-eyed shadow people, devoid of conscience, roam the streets. Emily needs help now more than ever, but redemption seems far off indeed as she faces the expanding darkness alone.

Emily will need an army of her own if she is to save the world from being taken over by pure evil. But will a small band of Lucent geeks and freaks be enough to send the dark god packing?

Amidst chaos and ruin, will love blossom in Emily’s Heart?

I am very excited to be sharing all sorts of fun stuff with you today regarding Natalie Wright’s YA series, The Akasha Chronicles, and it’s most recent release, Emily’s Heart! This post is filled with a book playlist, a sneak peek, and even a giveaway! Sounds like fun right? If the answer to that question was yes (which it definitely should have been!), sit back, relax, and enjoy!

BOOK PLAYLIST:

Natalie has put together her musical inspiration behind Emily’s Heart! There is a great mix of songs on this playlist!

SNEAK PEEK:

We had a few minutes until class – or longer if our prof never showed up. We were shootin’ the shit about sports when I felt my phone, tucked inside my bag, wedged between the pages of my notebook, vibrate.

I dug the phone out and checked the caller ID. ‘Gabriella Hoffman.’ I didn’t know any Gabriella. But Hoffman. Could it be?

“You going to answer that?” Tristan asked.

“I’m not sure who it is.”

“They can’t beat you up over the phone, man. Answer it.”

I hesitated another second, but when it rang again, I hit the answer button.

“Hello?”

“Jake?”

“Yeah. Who’s this?”

“It’s Greta.”

Silence.

“Greta Hoffman.”

Hearing that name was like a punch in my gut. I was suddenly clammy, and my stomach seized into a knot.

“Jake, are you there?”

I tried to respond, to tell her ‘yeah, I’m here’, but my mouth was full of cotton. I hadn’t seen Greta for almost a year. The last time I saw her, she was walking down that hill in the cemetery, going her way, and I went mine. None of what happened was Greta’s fault, but she’d been there. She was a part of the nightmare I’d tried so hard to forget. When I heard her voice, it was like a rush of horrific images flooded my mind. It made me want to puke out my French toast.

“Jake?”

I finally managed to squeak out, “I’m here.”

“Phew, I thought you’d fainted or something for a minute there. I’m glad you picked up. I need to talk to you.”

“Why? You haven’t ever needed to talk to me, Greta. Not BA, and not for the past year.”

“I think it’s pretty obvious why.”

“No. No, it’s not obvious.”

“Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there’s a friggin’ Apocalypse going on out there. That’s why.”

“Yeah, I noticed.” I touched my still-sore ribs, all the reminder I needed. I doubted perfect, pretty, rich and mighty Greta Hoffman had a set of broken bones or bruises to match mine.

“Well? Don’t you want to do something about it?”

“I’m pretty busy trying to stay alive. Besides, why are you calling me? I’d suggest you contact the redhead with the magic arm bracelet.”

“I have talked to her.”

She had talked to Emily? Greta Hoffman had voluntarily talked to Emily Adams? That was even more improbable than the God of Dark Energy taking over our planet. It made me instantly nervous.

“And?”

“And she has agreed to join with me to recruit people to fight the Dark Energy followers.”

Silence.

“Jake? You still there?”

“Yup. Let me get this straight. You and the witch want to create some little band of light knights or something?”

“Ooh, I like that. Light Knights! Or maybe Lucent Knights. What do you think?”

“I think you’re nuts.”

I looked over at Tristan and mimed a ‘she’s crazy’ motion with my hand around my head. He smiled at me and went back to whatever it was he was doing with his phone.

“Why am I nuts for wanting to fight back?”

“Haven’t you noticed that you can’t fight against this darkness? Oh, you probably haven’t noticed anything. Your daddy probably has a driver take you to school and pick you up and shelter you from all the shit going down.”

“How dare you! You don’t know anything about what I’ve gone through. I was there, or have you forgotten that?”

“I’ve tried to forget it all, but so far haven’t been able to expunge you and her and the whole damned circus from my mind. Well, Miss Hoffman, because you were there, you’ll remember that Ciardha single-handedly took down a Goddess with nearly infinite power. So I’m thinking you, me and the redheaded witch don’t stand much of a chance.”

“So you’ve given up? I always thought you were a nerd, but I never thought you were a loser.”

“Loser. That the best you can come up with?”

That one did sort of sting, though. Was Greta right? Had I become a loser?

“Childish.”

“Whatever. Look, class is getting ready to start, so I’ve gotta go. So fabulous catching up with you Miss Hoffman. Take care of yourself.”

“Jake – wait! Don’t hang up yet.”

Desperation in her voice. Interesting.

“What, Greta?”

“Before you say no, just come meet with me. One time. Meet with me and hear me out, then you can say no and good-bye and never have to see me or talk to me again. I swear if you meet with me one time and say no, I’ll never hound you again.”

“And if I don’t meet with you?”

“I’ll be like wet toilet paper stuck to your shoe.”

Lovely thought. I knew Greta. She was totally capable of being wet toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

“Okay, fine. I’ll see you. Once.”

“Great. You name the time and place.”

“My last class is over at 3:00, and I have to be at work by six. So meet me here, Wheaton Community College, room 21-A at 3:15. I don’t have much time, so don’t be late.”

“I’ll be there.”

I pushed the red ‘End Call’ button with relief that it was over. For now.

“What was that all about?” Tristan asked.

“Old business.”

He raised his eyebrows at me. “You need my help?”

“Nah, not yet anyway.”

“You need me, holler.”

“Thanks, man,” I said. He put his hand out, and we fist bumped.

It was just a meeting with Greta. I was pretty sure I could handle that. I’d meet with her, tell her to hit the pavement, then get back to my routine of avoiding human contact like it was the plague, ’cause it pretty much was.

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky person will have the chance to win Emily’s Trial, the 2nd book in the series! If the winner is inside the US, they will receive a signed copy and if the winner is outside of the US, they will receive a digital copy!

Click here to enter the giveaway!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natalie Wright

Natalie is the author of The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult paranormal fantasy trilogy. When not writing, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Wattpadding or eating chocolate, Natalie nurtures her young daughter, plays with her two young cats, and feeds her dog too many treats.

Natalie enjoys walking in the high desert, snorkeling in warm waters, travel, and excellent food shared with family and friends. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, now lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a big city high rise.

Natalie enjoys chatting with readers, so stop by and say hi:

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WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

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*Please use discount code WX85L on Smashwords for 25% off Cover Price!

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You save 30% off the cover price when you purchase the boxed set!

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Blog Tour + Book Review + Sneak Peek + Book Playlist: Wolves At The Door by Veronica Blade

Crush Publishing Blog Tour

Wolves At The Door

Title: Wolves At The Door (Shapes of Autumn #2)

Author: Veronica Blade

Publisher: Crush Publishing, Inc.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Source: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

Their forbidden love could cost them their lives…

Autumn’s just learned she’s a shape-shifter — something her parents should’ve told her long ago. Unless they adopted her and didn’t know she wasn’t human. Either way, learning the truth has the same outcome: her parents lied. Zack is the only one she can count on, but he’s a werewolf and the king’s decree forbids contact between the species, let alone love. Zack’s planning to leave after graduation, but letting him go isn’t an option. He’s becoming more a part of her every day, a part she would fight for, give up everything for — even kill for. If she’s not killed first.

If Zack’s experience with his own kind has taught him anything, it’s that werewolves can’t be trusted. He’d rather die free than live in a pack under the rule of the werewolf king. So, instead of preparing for college like any other senior, he’s planning to go on the run after graduation. Escaping won’t be easy with the werewolves guarding him. But until that day comes, Zack knows he’s endangering Autumn every moment he’s around her. If it’s this difficult staying away from her now, how hard will it be to leave her behind in just a few weeks?

I am so happy to report that Wolves At The Door, the second book in the Shapes of Autumn series is just as, if not more, exciting as the first book, My Wolf’s Bane. I loved the first book because it was paranormal mixed with thrilling mixed with romance. I enjoy all three separately but I adore when all three are found together in one book.  When it comes to Wolves At The Door though, there was even more paranormal, even more thrilling moments, and even more romance which made me over-the-moon ecstatic.

I was a bit worried going into this that I wouldn’t remember all of the details from the first book considering it has been nearly a year since I read it. I was only a few pages into this story when I realized I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only does Veronica do a pretty great job of catching people up on the story, but she does it in a way that doesn’t make it seem like a history lesson. I loved reading certain passages and being like, “Yes! I remember that from My Wolf’s Bane!”

One of my favorite parts about this story and probably part of the reason I was able to catch up on the story so fast, is that it picked up almost exactly where it left off. Like mere seconds, minutes, perhaps hours, after the last book ended. It caused for a seamless flow between one story and another and I really appreciated that. There were no black holes in the story of these characters!

Since the story started from where the last one left off, that meant for the first time I got to experience Zack and Autumn together. As an actual couple! I absolutely adore these two characters separately AND together. They are both so realistic despite their werewolf/shape-shifting tendencies and I couldn’t help but get sucked right back into their relationship. Autumn is this strong, opinionated girl but at the same time she had moments she is scared and insecure (I mean hello I would be too if I found out I was a shape-shifter and my boyfriend was a werewolf!). This made her seem that much more real to me. As for Zack, he is about as swoon-worthy as they come. He is just as scared and confused as Autumn, considering their relationship is wrong on so many levels in the shape-shifting community and he is also dealing with an ailing mother, but despite all of that, he is Autumn’s rock. He stays strong when she begins to crumble and he pushes her to be her best. Like I said, totally swoon-worthy.

Now I can’t say much as far as plot is concerned because I just don’t want to give too much away, but it is so full of twists and turns that all left me flipping through the pages. In a manner much like the previous book, as soon as it answered one question (or I think it answered one question), ten more would pop up. I felt like I learned a lot more or at least thought of a number of theories concerning the many mysteries surrounding Zack, Autumn, their relationship, and the Werewolf & Shape-Shifting community, but as this series as taught me so far, what I think to be true is not always the case.

This story left me smiling. Confused and perhaps a bit too concerned with the fate of the Shape-shifting & Werewolf world as well as two awesome main characters, but definitely still smiling. Like I said, I love Autumn, I love Zack, I love their family and friends, I love the world Veronica has created, I love it all. This series has it all for me; a romance that makes me grin and melts my heart at the same time, an interesting and refreshing paranormal world (which can get really hard to find as far as werewolves are concerned!), and a whole lot of tension and mystery to keep me flipping the pages. If you are looking for a book that has all of this, I definitely suggest picking up this series!

BOOK PLAYLIST:

SNEAK PEEK:

“You can’t take him early!” I shouted. “It’s not fair. You made the mistake. You fix it!”

Slowly, Charles pivoted, eyes spearing mine. “And how is it possible for a human to hear our conversation?”

My stomach knotted as terror gripped me. I’d just given myself away to a werewolf. Worse, we’d been making out and breaking a law that carried the death penalty.

Dead girl walking. And since Zack was consorting with a shape-shifter, he wouldn’t fare any better.

Zack squeezed my hand. “She’s human, but she reads minds.”

“A witch?” The scout tilted his head, narrowing his eyes. “Or she’s something else… like a shape-shifter. Maybe you were really coming here to morph.” He took a step toward me, but I couldn’t back up since I was already against the car.

Zack moved in front of me. “She’s human.”

Charles smiled. “If that’s the case, allow me to confirm it.”

“Suit yourself.” Zack moved aside and waved a hand toward me. He appeared unruffled, but I sensed an undercurrent. I could also hear his heart pounding wildly. I’d bet anything that Charles could hear it too. He’d know Zack was scared… and lying.

“Thank you. I will.” Charles reached out and brushed my hair away, exposing my neck. He leaned in and inched toward me. As he inhaled deeply, the amusement faded from his eyes and they darkened.

Busted.

Zack doesn’t know, I told Charles silently, hoping if he thought I was to blame, it would keep Zack safe and give him time to run. Two fledglings could never take down a mature werewolf who was possibly hundreds of years older. He hasn’t learned about shapeshifters or their scent. He thinks I’m human which is perfectly legal. Punish me, not him.

Charles returned his attention to his recruit. “Your girlfriend just informed me that you’re ignorant of the fact that she’s a shape-shifter. And that she is the one who should be punished, not you.”

Zack’s eyes grew wide as he stared at me. What the hell are you doing?

I opened my mouth to keep him from spilling the truth to Charles. Either way, I was toast. At least this way, one of us might live.

Charles shot us both a crooked smile. “It’s unfortunate both of you will need to be eliminated.”

“Why? Zack didn’t know about me until you told him!” I hissed.

“If he’s too weak and stupid to detect a shifter, he has no value to the king. No point in keeping him alive.”

I didn’t think. All I knew was that Zack’s life was in danger. Adrenaline roared through my body like water through a fire hose and an instant later, I exploded into a grizzly bear. The force of my morph spiraled Charles backward and he crashed into the thick tree trunk. Before he had a chance to reorient himself, I was on top of him, my paws on his chest and my teeth at his throat.

He morphed into a brown wolf and his ancient-strong jaws slashed my flank and side. Despite catching him by surprise, I was no match for him. Pain burned through my middle and my power waned.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Veronica Blade

Veronica Blade lives in Southern California with her husband and children. By day she runs the family business, but each night she slips away to spin her tales. She writes stories about young adults to relive her own childhood and to live vicariously through her characters. Except her heroes and heroines lead far more interesting lives — and they are always way hotter.

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WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

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Book Playlist + Guest Post + Sneak Peek: The Fine Line by Alicia Kobishop

The Fine Line

Title: The Fine Line

Author: Alicia Kobishop

High school senior Liv Evans has one rule: No attachments. She’s lost enough in her life and has vowed to do whatever it takes to make sure she never again feels the emptiness of losing someone she loves. Boys are a fun distraction, but a serious relationship is something she’d rather live without. Her determination for a future free of pain and heartbreak is put to the test when she meets–and quickly forms an unexpected bond–with Logan Tanner.

Logan has always been a free spirit, but ever since a life-changing event took place, which left him doubting the integrity of those who are closest to him, he’s taken that term to a whole new dangerous level. Learning the hard way that life is too short for worries or work–and that women can’t be trusted–Logan has exchanged steady work for street racing. When Liv walks into his world, everything he thought he knew about life and women is challenged.

In The Fine Line, Liv and Logan will discover if it’s possible for true love to have a future, or if history is destined to repeat itself.

I am so, so, so excited to be featuring Alicia and her book on the blog here today! The Fine Line sounds EXACTLY like the type of book I would like and I am sure you all will enjoy it too. It makes me beyond happy that I’m able to share an awesome book playlist and sneak peek with you all today. Be sure to check both out below and of course, let us know what you think in the comment section!

BOOK PLAYLIST + GUEST POST:

Below is the amazing playlist that Alicia created to go along with The Fine Line. Alicia also wrote up a mini guest post talking about her top three songs for this book!

 Between the Raindrops by Lifehouse (feat. Natasha Bedingfield)

If The Fine Line had a theme song…this would be it.  I hadn’t heard this song until I was close to finishing the book and everything about this song perfectly describes Liv and Logan’s relationship…from the way they deal with the challenges they face, to the way they can’t give up on each other.  There’s even a line in the song that says, “crossing the fine lines we knew.”

Little Wing by Stevie Ray Vaughan

We all know that Jimmi Hendrix gave the world some phenomenal music, with Little Wing topping many charts.  But have you ever heard Stevie Ray Vaughan’s version of Little Wing?  Holy cow, it’s sexy!  No vocals…All instrumental.  Logan played this song for Liv just before their first kiss.  She did a pretty good job of resisting his charm before this point in the book, but mix this song with Logan, and how could she resist?

Beautiful Day by Saving Abel

There is a scene in the book, which I call “the sunrise scene,” that is completely inspired by this song.  And by a beautiful sunrise that my son pointed out to me one morning.  :)  It’s at a point in the book where Logan lays all his cards out on the table.  He’s vulnerable, and so is Liv.  Neither one of them are sure how to move forward in their relationship.  Oh hell, here’s an excerpt from that part:

“Liv, wake up,” Logan whispered softly. A hum came out of my throat as I shifted off his shoulder and turned away from him, burrowing my face in the cool pillow beside us. The soft fabric smelled like Logan. I took one more deep, heavenly breath in. How long had I been asleep? Based on my current comatose state, not long. His hand casually brushed up and down my arm. “You’ve got to see this.”

Intrigued, my eyes cracked open, just enough to see the blurry orange and purple hues reflect on the bare walls of Logan’s bedroom. His fingers brushed my hair off my face and behind my ear.

“Open your eyes, baby. It’s beautiful.”

He called me baby.

I turned to face him as I opened my eyes, confused and unexpectedly delighted by his term of endearment. When my eyes finally focused and saw his beautiful face lit up by the colors of the sunrise, my bewilderment grew incredibly. His eyes glowed as he studied me. I had never seen him look this peaceful and content. He smiled at my expression then huffed out a single laugh.

“It slipped,” he said as if he read my mind. “Get over it.”

He moved off the bed and leisurely walked to the window, placing his wrist on the window frame above his head and his other hand on his hip, as he gazed out with a more contemplative expression. Then he turned to face me and the corners of his mouth turned up slightly.  He extended his hand, motioning for me to join him.

SNEAK PEEK:

And just to make this post extra special today, I have not one but TWO teasers for you as well!

The Fine Line Teaser

The Fine Line Teaser

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alicia Kobishop

Alicia Kobishop, who was born, raised, and currently resides in the greater Milwaukee, WI area, is a happily married mother of 2 young children. “The Fine Line,” a new adult contemporary romance, is her debut novel.

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WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

For a limited time only you can pick up The Fine Line on Amazon for only .99! You better make sure you pick it up while it’s at this amazing price (I know I will be!)

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