Blog Tour, Teasers, Giveaway, and Review: One Broken Day

One Broken day tour banner
One-Broken-Day-coverOne Broken Day
by Melissa MacVicar
324 Pages
YA / Contemporary
Get a copy here!
After a notorious school shooting leaves her a shadow of the girl she once was, seventeen-year-old Lizzie Beringer moves to Nantucket Island. There, Lizzie is determined to keep her identity as the shooter’s sister a secret. All her efforts to fly under the radar, however, are complicated by her PTSD and her treatment at the hands of two very different boys. While fending off the unwanted advances of John Wickersham, she must also deal with her growing feelings for her brooding lab partner Gage Pike. Gage may act like he’s all wrong for her but the pull between them is undeniable.

Under the threat of discovery and the possibility of testifying in a televised trial, Lizzie attempts to pick up the broken pieces of her life.

One Broken Day is a brilliantly imagined story about the ways we are all broken and the miracle of second chances.

Teaser # 1 One Broken Day LaineyTeaser #2 MacVicar One Broken Day
About the Author:
MacVicar Author Photo Melissa was born and mostly raised on Nantucket Island, and she currently lives there with her husband and two teenage children. When not being a wife and mother and teaching writing to seventh graders, she enjoys binge watching shows like Big Little Lies, House of Cards, and Outlander.

Despite the rumors to the contrary, she does not actually wish she was a teenager again, nor does she see ghosts like the main character in her first novel, Ever Near. She does, however, love to hear from readers so send her a message on social media or at her email!

email: melissa.macvicar@gmail.com
Twitter: @MelissaMacVicar
Facebook: Melissa MacVicar
Instagram: melissa.macvicar

Quick Reasons: LIFE-RUINER ALERT!; this was an emotionally challenging read; I can understand the motivations behind the character choices; the upheaval in Lainey/Lizzie’s life is obvious from page one; I couldn’t put this down

Huge thanks to Melissa MacVicar and YA Bound Book Toursfor sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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This was SUCH an emotionally challenging, haunting read. I finished this several days ago and have been struggling to put my thoughts into coherent words, because OH MY PENGUINS, this read! I was drawn into the turmoil from page one, ensnared and enchanted by the tragedies of the situation–and the reactions of the world. Melissa MacVicar did a stupendous job thrusting readers straight into Lainey/Lizzie’s head, and I applaud her so much for it. Truly, I was captivated just as much as I was heartbroken. Coming out of this read, I can see the motivations behind certain decisions Melissa MacVicar made for her characters and their coping mechanisms. Having grown up in a household of addiction, it was even easier for me to see into the heart of the recreational drug use that occurs throughout this read. (Of course, this doesn’t mean I necessarily condone such coping mechanisms–just that I understand why the characters react the way they do)

I feel the strength of this novel lies in the characters–and the different ways they grow and shift throughout this journey. However, there’s a sense of mystery and suspense woven through every page–a motivation that kept me trapped, unable to put the book down. While we don’t necessarily get handed all the “answers,” I feel Melissa MacVicar did this with a purpose–life, after all, doesn’t always just hand us a reason or justification for why people do the things they do, or why things happen the way they do. So while a lot of other readers are calling for “more” depth to this read… I applaud Melissa MacVicar for not trying to force a solution where, sometimes, there just ISN’T one.

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This was a desperate, twisting path of emotions–and I cherished every moment for reminding me that the world isn’t always black and white. That there are grey areas where answers are elusive and human reactions don’t always make sense. I will, for sensitive or easily triggered readers, put a slight mature content warning out there–recreational drug use and sex, along with bullying and suicidal thoughts, are prevalent throughout and play a large role in this read. Please keep yourselves safe.

I am awed by how powerfully poignant and heart-wrenching this read from Melissa MacVicar is, and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her creatively. While there are some grammatical errors, there weren’t enough of them to break my concentration or bother me. The characters and their reactions are vividly painted and, at least in my opinion, realistically written. I definitely recommend to lovers of emotionally challenging reads, characters struggling to cope with heavy burdens, and twisting plot vines. Look deeper, Penguins; there’s more to these words than meets the eye.


Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Reviews: Phoebe Pope


The Year of Four
Nya Jade
(Phoebe Pope, #1)
Publication date: October 28th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.

The Blood of Kings
Nya Jade
(Phoebe Pope, #2)
Publication date: April 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

According to the press, Phoebe Pope and teen movie star Colten Chase are no longer an item—which is just how the happy new couple like it. And yet there’s trouble in paradise . . .

Phoebe is haunted by dreams that show her things she can’t possibly know about—including a pact between Colten and a wanted assassin. In the daylight, she struggles to keep a newly emerging power hidden, even as her hands itch to wield it.

Meanwhile, in the wake of their escape from a Vigo crèche, Phoebe and her fellow Hyphas study under lock and key at the Campus Below. As the foursome wait to see who among them will fulfill the prophecy, someone dear to Phoebe is kidnapped by a powerful Vigo determined to use her to spy on the Shaper royalty. When the Hyphas are called to the Royal Court, Phoebe refuses to heed warnings of imminent danger for she will do whatever it takes to rescue her loved one.

But once at court, nothing is as it first appears. A sinister force controls some royals, while others whisper behind closed doors about forbidden alliances. And as Phoebe draws on her courage to complete the task set by her enemy, she makes a startling discovery—one that upends her father’s memory.

With dangerous conspiracies surfacing, Phoebe must uncover what the Royal Shapers really want from her, and decide whether there’s room for Colten in her unraveling life.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble


Author Bio:

Nya Jade has enjoyed a fun career as a singer-songwriter. Her music videos have aired on the Vh1, BET and MTV networks and she’s opened for some of the biggest names in music. Nya’s music has also received recognition in major publications, including USA Today and the LA Times. She took a break from writing and performing music to write The Year of Four, her first YA novel. When she isn’t writing, Nya can be found hanging out with family and friends, reading or bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes. Nya lives with her family in California.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Quick Reasons: stellar, fast-paced action; one easy plot twist and one HUGE surprise; believable, slow-building, totally awkward romance; LOVELOVELOVE the paranormal/fantasy aspects; shape shifting for the total win!; awesome, entertaining read

Huge thanks to Nya Jade, Dreamwell Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.


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So, uh…. is my beak on straight, penguins?! Because I feel like it’s backward and upside down and maybe just a whole lot out of place after this wild, awesome read! The action is fast-paced and super intense; I was biting my nails and holding my breath through the majority of this read. Nya Jade breathed life into this world, and immersed me fully into it. For the hours I spent reading, I left reality and stood right beside these characters–basically experiencing the same things they did. It. Was. AWESOME, okay?! Pure reader ecstasy, promise.


These characters are well-rounded and complex, handling a bunch of different stuff that both individualizes them and brings them together. I had a ton of fun following each of them on their journeys–and was so caught up in the one plot twist I saw coming, I didn’t think there’d be a second, BIGGER one to come! So kudos to Nya Jade for catching me by surprise on that one; I definitely love when those unexpected roller coaster moments happen.


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I was a teensy bit disappointed to see the old “monster turned good” trope being played out in one of my favorite characters. I totally blameTwilight for this–that whole “survives on blood but doesn’t kill because special snowflake not a monster” trope. I wish that hadn’t been used in this read–it would have made things even MORE entertaining, and much less predictable, for me as a reader. I mean tell me, penguins–isn’t there a way that characters can remain monstrous while not being MONSTERS, per se?! Or is that asking for too much? Either way, it bothered me.


Still, this read was super entertaining! The action was fast-paced and intense, the characters are SO much fun to watch, and there was a wild roller coaster moment of a plot twist that caught even ME off guard. I definitely recommend this to lovers of paranormal/fantasy, shape shifters, and fantastic characters! The moonester has begun, Penguins; what are YOU studying?!




Quick Reasons: Nya Jade knows how to write a plot twist so it’s both seen, and unexpected; not nearly enough Colten in this book!; I want, I need, I must have more!; I love the way these relationships were both altered and strengthened; I’m not sure anymore who’s friend and who’s foe

HUGE thanks, again, to Nya Jade, Dreamwell Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for sending a free digital galley of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.


AND OH, MY, PENGUINS! What a book it is! Just as with the first book in this series, I was pulled straight into the action. From page one, I was enthralled–the action remains fast-paced and intense, and the mysteries/dramas surrounding our main characters and their emerging powers was only exacerbated by the political intrigue they find themselves thrust into. There are secrets layered upon secrets, there’s a TON of magic and conspiracy, and I just… gaaaaah, this series! While, like in the first book, I had my suspicions about a certain plot twist…I’m happy to say that Nya Jade paired it, once again, with a twist I HADN’T been expecting. This beautiful mastery of her world only makes me feel more awed by her talents.


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Once again, these characters took me along for the ride. Their journeys are both individualized and, at the same time, woven together. I really love the dynamics of the relationships we’re given a glimpse into here–while each is obviously struggling with their own secrets and dramas, they still manage to, at the most important moments, band together. Their growths–both as unique personalities and as a group–held me enthralled and taught me some things about human nature/myself along the way. I really adore the ways Nya Jade penned these relationships; it is obvious that they are awkward, and uncomfortable, and yet somehow still connected by the events happening around them. I really LOVE that their relationships, even in the most strained moments, never once came off as superficial or contrived.


This second book was just as entertaining, though a bit darker in tone overall, than the first–and I cannot wait to lay my hands on the third installment. I must know what happens next, Penguins! I MUST! I definitely recommend this series to lovers of paranormal/fantasy, magical political intrigue, and shape shifters. The plot is fast-paced and intense, the twists are both easy to see and super surprising, and the characters leap off their pages to dance before readers’ eyes. The conversion is approaching, Penguins; what shape will your second heart take?




Ensnared: Beware this AI’s Gears



A Near Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Watch the Book Trailer

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

[This novel contains adult situations and is only suitable for readers who are 18+]

New Adult / Romance / Science Fiction / Retellings
380 Pages
Expected Publication Date:  December 18th, 2017

Rita StradlingAbout the Author:
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

You can find and contact Rita here:

Quick Reasons: this is terrifyingly realistic; LOVELOVELOVE the small nods to the original, interspersed with new ideas from Rita Stradling; entertaining, heart-wrenching, and horrifying all at once; there are some very mature themes and situations found in these pages; believable, complex, well-rounded characters

Huge, HUGE thanks to Rita Stradling and Lola’s Blog Tours for granting me free early access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.


First off–LOOK at the gorgeousness that is this cover! I mean seriously, I could not have imagined a prettier, more perfect cover for this book. I LOVELOVELOVE the inspiration that is so obviously drawn from the read (the gears and bolts and whatnot behind the silhouette–there’s obviously a tone of science fiction set here!) So just… A++ and two penguin feet WAY up for cover design, it’s what initially drew me to this book.


AND THEN! I found out! this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and you all know I flipped my silly penguin beak totally upside down and jumped all over this opportunity. Because…ugh, my favorite fairy tale. My favorite Disney movie. I need more retellings like this one in my life, on top of this, because seriously, Rita Stradling did BEAUTIFULLY with drawing inspiration from the original story while maintaining her own sense of creativity and unique voice. Seriously, guys, I haven’t read a retelling quite as lovely and original as this in a LONG time–Rita Stradling wins, in my book.


The characters are complex, well-rounded, and so true to the “originals” while being uniquely written I can’t even. Also, I just realized who this book’s Gaston is and OH MY PENGUINS I can’t believe I didn’t put that connection together in the middle of reading. Holy beaks, penguins, it’s just so fitting and…GAH! I will break off my little love-fest for a second, though, because I have a bit of a trigger warning. There are mentions of: abuse, possible rape, assault, attempted murder, and murder. While the scenes are not in any way explicit or overly detailed, keep this in mind while reading please, and keep yourselves safe if you’re triggered by these things in any way!


Overall, I had a HUGELY awesome time reading this book, and cannot wait to get my hands on more of Rita Stradling’s writing in the future! The characters are realistic and well-rounded, the moral implications are terrifying and inspiring in turn, and the personalities are spot-on and still brilliantly unique. I need more Beauty and the Beast retellings in my life, penguins–if you know of any good ones, please send titles my way! For now, I’m going to go blow the dust off my shoulders and try not to fall into a reading slump!




November Snow: This Battle for Equality is Cold



November Snow (Bad Bloods, #2)

When Daniel and Serena unite, their accidental relationship becomes the catalyst for a twelve-year war to continue. Exposing the twisted past of a corrupt city, Daniel, Serena, and everyone they know will come together to fight. But Serena has another battle.

After a political rumor threatens their lives, Serena must leave her family and join the political front against her will. To survive apart, Daniel has to separate his love from his hatred and join forces with his worst memory to secure Vendona’s war. But very few of them will survive to see the last day. Bad blood or human, a city will burn, snow will fall, and all will be united by catastrophic secrets and irrevocable tragedy.

Bad Bloods #2
Dystopian/Fantasy/Science Fiction
275 Pages
Clean Teen Publishing
Publication Date: September 19th, 2016
Get a copy here!

See my review for November Rain (Bad Bloods #1) HERE!

Quick Reasons: strong characters; fast-paced, heart-stopping action; the ending resolution seemed very quick; lots of societal and moral lessons; I found myself racing through the pages; suspenseful, thought-provoking, and heart-wrenching; I’m only sad so many characters were lost

Huge thanks to Shannon A. Thompson and Clean Teen Publishing for sending me a copy of this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.


I finished this sequel last night and just… Oh, my penguins, guys. I think if my heart continues cracking, I will be starting the new year with a bunch of pieces and shards. These characters leaped off the page in book one….but stole my heart away in this second half. Every character is individualized, unique, and given their own quirks and voices. Shannon A. Thompson put a lot of time and effort into making this cast of personalities–and their reactions to the world around them–wholly realistic and believable.


The plot is fast-paced and full of action. We start off right in the thick of things, and aren’t allowed to relax until the very end. Shannon A. Thompson knows how to write a heart-stopping scene–and she proves it, with several of the most intense action scenes I’ve read in recent months. I found myself holding my breath, clenching my fists, and hoping for things to just work out for the characters–even though I knew at least a few of them would be inevitably lost.


I was a bit surprised at how quickly the resolution came, though. It seemed like a very large portion of this series was spent focusing on fighting back, taking a stand, and showing the world how wrong it was. For things to just magically, within a couple of pages, be “better” seemed a bit unbelievable for me as a reader. Sure, most of the people were probably hoping for just this resolution…but the resolution seemed TOO quick, TOO easy, for a book that was full of so much division and struggle.


Overall, this was a fast-paced, heart-wrenching, climactic read! The characters are realistic and believable in their actions/reactions, the plot is quick and full of action, and the ending is just a little bit on the “unbelievable” end for me personally. I definitely recommend this to lovers of dystopian fiction, strong characters, and a world filled with chaos and divisive thinking. I was swept right into the middle of this world–you should dive in, too!


The Boxer and the Butterfly: A Romance Full of Floats and Stings


The Boxer and the Butterfly

Autumn Chamberlain has everything: a rich family, connections and a perfect GPA. Autumn’s satisfied being the perfect daughter until she engages in a game of dare and loses.

Her punishment for destroying school property? Tell her parents and face the consequences or tutor bad boy, Mickey Costello. The problem? He’s the principal’s nephew and has more demons than Autumn could’ve ever imagined.

Living life on the edge, Mickey’s everything she isn’t. Once tutoring begins, he shows her a world where everything that glitters isn’t gold. As their attraction grows, long buried secrets resurface. Inside the ring Mickey’s never lost a fight, but when tragedies come back to haunt him, he’ll have to conquer past sins, guilt and a hate crime that pushes them both to the edge. Can Mickey fight his way through his troubled past to have a future with Autumn or will the truth shatter them both forever?

YA/Contemporary/Romance/Diverse Reads
353 Pages
Evernight Teen Publishing
Publication Date: October 21st, 2016
Get a copy here!

Quick Reasons: some mature themes and situations; these characters are endearing and easy to love; tons of character growth; intense scenes; some unexpected plot twists; just a small case of, “woah, slow down, you’re moving too fast!”; whirlwind romance; diverse loves/characters

Huge thanks to Sasha Hibbs and Evernight Teen Publishing for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.


Firstly, penguins–there are some mature themes and situations in this book. There is one scene, in particular, in which a hate crime takes place. There is also a mention of parental, physical abuse. The main male character, Mickey, is ALSO a fighter in an underground boxing ring–and several fights are detailed from the POV of our narrator. If you are a sensitive reader or are easily triggered by acts of violence or abuse, please make sure you keep yourself safe. This might not be the read for you.

That being said–there is SO MUCH character growth happening in these pages! I will be honest: at the start of this read, I really loathed Autumn. She was snooty; she was spoiled, even if she didn’t realize it. She came off as the kind of character I generally don’t like. BUT. I promise you, penguins, she changes–and quickly. Autumn shows so much growth throughout this journey, I was left with a cricked neck, so hard was I craning to keep up with her as she ran. Autumn’s parents also make quite a shift in their ways at the end of this book, and Mickey has a growth journey all his own. In all, this book most closely focused on growth…and the ways it can both drive us apart and bring us together. The many, MANY ways it can change us, touch us, push us.


This plot is FAST. In fact, I found myself doubting, at times, the romance aspect itself–I felt as if Autumn and Mickey weren’t so much falling in love, as throwing themselves off a cliff in hopes of flying. Of course, this doesn’t mean it was badly written–there was, it turns out, a reason for the set up. The rest of the events were well-paced and believable–and there were several moments I was sure my heart had stopped. This is a heart-wrenching, beautiful read with so many important subjects and morals; Sasha Hibbs did a great job crafting this to make exactly the points she wanted to.

Overall, this was a fluffy romance with just the right touches of danger and drama. I really enjoyed following Autumn and Mickey on their journeys–both together and apart. It seems every character featured had some small amount of growth, some tiny lesson to both learn themselves and share with readers. I will be seeking out more of Sasha Hibbs in the future. For now, I recommend THIS book to readers of contemporary romance, star-crossed loves, and journeys that pack an emotional punch. This read is a knock-out; why don’t you step into the ring and take it on?


Summerlypse: This Romance Felt a Bit like a Bad Lipsync

Summerlypse tour bannersummerlypse cover

After his crush rejects him, seventeen-year-old Colton catches a plane to Mexico, hoping to forget all about girls. But a night out at a dance club crowded with long legs in miniskirts doesn’t help, especially when he meets the club’s beautiful DJ, Alex.

In awe of her mixing skills, Colton finds it hard to believe Alex is deaf. As they bond, she asks him to help her win a DJ contest behind her rich, estranged father’s back.

Colton’s not a wimp or anything, but millionaires with armed bodyguards are not his ideal vacation buddies. The only problem—if he helps her, he may fly back home in a body bag.

Teaser 3

Teaser 2

Teaser 1 (with sale)

gerardo delgadillo

Gerardo Delgadillo lives in the Dallas metropolitan area with his wife and children and dogs and cats and the occasional rabbit. Originally from San Francisco and raised in Mexico, he loves to write about contemporary teens in distress in English and Español. So no magic, dragons, or unicorns.

Gerardo’s fun facts:
– At the tender age of sixteen, when giant lizards ruled the world, Gerardo was a DJ–turntables and all.
– Cloud computing is his area of expertise–just don’t ask him what cloud computing means.
– He loves football, the one played with the feet by footballers, La Liga from Spain being the best.
About his novels:
– His writing must be emotional, or else…
– He believes in the Oxford comma, but the Oxford comma doesn’t believe in him.
– Loves first person present tense POV.

Author Links:

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Quick Reasons: entertaining, though not always believable, plot; diverse characters; insta-love to the millionth degree; the romance didn’t feel completely realistic; interesting character growth; “stream-of-conscious” prose with a ton of personality/voice

Huge thank yous go out to Gerardo Delgadillo, Whole Enchilada Press Publishing, and Sara @ YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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This book was, overall, pretty entertaining. The plot was filled with action, drama, and angst–though also, at points, some pretty unbelievable situations. There were moments I found I couldn’t QUITE suspend my disbelief enough to get into the action–there were situations that, in the end, didn’t make much sense save as plot devices. These were, however, few and far-between.


A large part of this read, however, focused on Colton’s love life… or, rather, lack of one. It was insta-lovey. It was sort of obnoxious at some parts. It was, in the end, very unbelievable for me–I just didn’t connect Colton and Alex as a couple. I didn’t SEE it. I didn’t FEEL it. I wasn’t shipping them at all. Colton does, however, make quite the large amount of character growth. Alex, also, has a story arc and fair amount of growth. So while I wasn’t shipping them as a couple (their romance seemed contrived to me, I suppose–disappointing, not realistic), I WAS rooting for them both in vastly different ways.

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The prose in this book is…unique. Unique is the best way to describe it, I think. There’s a sort of “stream of conscious” feel to it that both put me into the mind/thoughts of Colton immediately…and also made bits of this read very awkward or confusing. I LOVE how much voice and personality this POV allowed the book–from page one, we knew everything going on in Colton’s head. There were no surprises. Gerardo Delgadillo really dove into his character, and achieved a sense of “closeness” for his readers that I wasn’t expecting going in. There are, however, some “broken” moments. Not every thought makes sense. Sometimes topics leap-frog. Sometimes, a sentence was put in such a way that I was confused, and had to go back over it three or four times to figure out what was being said.


I love how diverse this read is–and not just in the usual terms. These characters were written in such dynamic, unique ways–I could SEE each of them, they leapt to life for me during the reading, and they surprised me consistently. Colton, especially, was a delight in characterization–his personality, his general traits, all came together in an entertaining and satisfying way. The rest of the characters do not, in any way, fade into the background though–they all stood out and held their ground throughout this read, though a few were given much less emphasis than I’d have liked. Martin’s grandma, for instance, was a character I’d have LOVED to see more of. I get it, though–books are only SO big, and sometimes side stories exist that cannot be given a specific focus to. Still, I was intrigued by her, and sad to only get a few small scenes with her and the rest of the crew.

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Overall, this was a quirky and entertaining read, though I’m slightly disappointed with it in the end. The romance felt a bit stiff and contrived, though the plot was FULL of drama and danger. I definitely recommend this read to lovers of fast-paced contemporaries, diverse characters, and wide-arcing character growths. I had fun with this one–but now, it’s on to the next!



Game Review — Gone Home

Gone Home is a first-person adventure
exploration video game developed andpublished by The Fullbright Company. Wikipedia

Initial release date: August 15, 2013
Genre: Adventure game
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS

5PenguinsQuick Reasons: creepy and atmospheric backgrounds; pervasive sense of “racing time”; I jumped to several conclusions…which turned out to be all wrong; beautiful love story/coming-of-age journey; first person POV, which put me right in the action; tons of mystery and quiet drama
  • “But BETH!”  I hear you all shrieking.  “This is a GAME!  You don’t review GAMES!”


  • And you’d be right.  I usually don’t.  But I also don’t usually play THIS SORT of game–at least, I didn’t.  I think I might be branching out.  AGAIN.  And this sort of game?  First person POV, adventure/quiet drama, tells a story type?  Yeah, this is my JAM.


  • So this morning, the husband dropped by to see me at work.  “So…I finished that game I told you I downloaded on the PS4,” he said.  “Yeah.”  He nodded really hard for about five seconds.  “You should play it.  I think you should play it.  You really need to play it.”


  • Well, color me intrigued.  So tonight, when I was bored and seeking something to do…I decided to give it a whirl.  AND OH, MAH PENGUINS–best decision ever, guys.  And now I need more games like this.
  • So first things first:  this is, above all else, a story.  You play the whole game as Katie, freshly home from Europe and searching for her sister Sam, who has mysteriously disappeared.  The story is told BY Sam, through letters, through soundtracks, through photographs and clues… Seeing through Katie’s eyes, you follow where Sam leads, accessing hidden panels, secret doors, and other alcoves throughout the HUMONGOUS mansion they call their home.  There are mentions of ghosts.  There are creaking floorboards, a very angry thunderstorm, and other large-house noises to complete the experience (I listened to this through a headset.  If you can’t turn your volume up very loud on your TV, I recommend doing the same–you’ll miss things otherwise!)


  • And the story being told?  Is heartbreaking.  Sam is 17, and struggling to figure out high school and all the drama that comes with it.  She is also fighting to find acceptance–both within and outside of herself.  The notes are often heavy-handed, darkly humorous in places, and heart-wrenching.  Several times throughout the journey, I found myself questioning where the story was leading me–only to be very happily wrong at the end.
  • The attention to detail is also ASTOUNDING.  Just look at those pictures above–the designers left nothing out.  Every room has light switches or light strings to give better vantage to players; TVs and cassette players turn off and on at the click of a button…  And this house is HUGE, guys.  I sometimes felt, turning corners in hallways, as if it might just go on forever… which means there are a LOT of rooms, nooks, and crannies to cram with details and general stuff.


  • Overall, this was a highly enjoyable evening spent…and now I need more games like it in my world.  I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this journey earlier, but I am SO glad that I followed the husband’s orders and played this game!  It’s sort of like an “I Spy,” but for adults.  The moody atmosphere, the attention to detail, and the heart-wrenching story made for one HELL of a gaming experience; I can’t wait to see what else this (genre?) has to offer.

Loved and Loathed (December 2015)


December 2015

Yeesh, I haven’t done one of these in SO LONG!  I decided this morning that I should probably go ahead and do the thing, so here I am!

For those who don’t know, Loved and Loathed is my equivalent of a wrap-up and glimpse-ahead.

Loved (5 Stars):

The Art of Being Normal, by Lisa Williamson
Flawed, by Cecelia Ahern
Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll
Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Firsts, by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Loathed (1 Star):

None this month!

Other Reviews:

Girl of Myth and Legend, by Giselle Simlet (3 Stars)
Obsidian, by Jennifer Armentrout (3 Stars)
Slippery Things, by Lane Baker (3.5 Stars)
Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard (3.75 Stars)

The Fall Up, by Aly Martinez (4 Stars)
Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J. Maas (4 Stars)
Echoes, by Therin Knite (4.5 Stars)
#Nerd, by Cambria Herbert (4.5 Stars)

Anticipated January Releases

(click the covers to go to goodreads!)

Passenger (Passenger, #1)

This Is Where It Ends

The Love That Split the World

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

The Killing Jar


Teen Frankenstein


Yeah, that’s right–I totally owned my Goodreads Challenge this year!  I’m shooting for 100 in 2016… think I’ll make it?

Here are some reading challenges I used to help boost my book count:

Duration: January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

Read a book that contains a word in the title that fits each of the 25 categories below. If you’re having trouble with a particular category, ask other members what they are reading for it. You may also use the name of the series for up to three categories.

Here are the 25 categories with examples. The examples are just to get you started – any word that fits the category is fair game.

1. Color – red, crimson, indigo — The Golden Compass –Finished
2. Number – one, twice, third — Thirteen Reasons Why –Finished
3. Things That Grow – tree, rose, garden — Flowers for Algernon –Finished
4. Seasons – spring, fall, autumn — The Vanishing Season –Finished
5. First Name – Jacqueline, Robert, Ajax — Peter Pan –Finished
6. Places – country, empire, London — Locke & Key Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft –Finished
7. Body Part – hand, bone, mind — The Darkest Minds –Finished
8. Weapon – knife, poison, arrow — Horns –Finished
9. Body of Water – sea, river, pond — Sea of Shadows –Finished
10. Form of Water – ice, mist, rain– Water for Elephants –Finished
11. Product of Fire – heat, ash, flames — Daughter of Smoke & Bone –Finished
12. Celestial Body – sun, star, planet — Zodiac –Finished
13. Architecture – castle, bridge, house — Rooms –Finished
14. Senses – sight, touch, taste — Echoes –Finished
15. Royal Title – king, duke, emperor — The Iron King –Finished
16. Family Member – brother, aunt, parent — Sisters Red –Finished
17. Elements – fire, wind, air — The Fire Sermon –Finished
18. Time of Day – morning, dusk, evening — In the Afterlight –Finished
19. Metal – gold, bronze, steel — The Twistrose Key –Finished
20. Emotion/Feeling – love, fear, pride — The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender –Finished
21. Animal/Insect – dog, tiger, unicorn — Hawksong –Finished
22. Something to Read – book, story, newspaper — Clockwork Angel –Finished
23. Gender Identifier – wife, man, lady — The Raven Boys –Finished
24. Paranormal Being – vampire, angel, ghost — Phantom –Finished
25. Occupation – doctor, assassin, detective — The Dream Thieves –Finished


The Listopia Challenge (2015)

I’ll be attempting to work on the following:

Best Books Ever
1. The Lovely Bones –Finished
2. Water for Elephants –Finished
3. Flowers for Algernon –Finished
4. The Golden Compass –Finished
5. Clockwork Angel –Finished
6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time –Finished
7. Peter Pan –Finished
8. Thirteen Reasons Why –Finished
9. Delirium –Finished
10. Cinder –Finished
11. Throne of Glass –Finished
12. The Iron King –Finished
13. Eleanor & Park –Finished
14. Twilight –Finished


Goodreads Ultimate 2015 Reading Challenge

Here’s a tentative look at the books I plan to read for (most) of these:

1) A book with more than 500 pages— Eon –Finished
2) A classic romance— Pride and Prejudice
3) A book that became a movie— Peter Pan –Finished
4) A book published this year– Viper Game –Finished
5) A book with a number in the title— Thirteen Reasons Why –Finished
6) A book written by someone under 30— The Girl from the Well –Finished
7) A book with non human characters— The Twistrose Key –Finished
8) A funny book— Prom and Prejudice –Finished
9) A book by a female author— The Raven Boys –Finished
10) A mystery or thriller— The Hangman’s Daughter –Finished
11) A book with a one word title— Deathless –Finished
12) A book of short stories— Through the Woods — Finished
13) A book set in a different country — Clockwork Angel –Finished
14) A nonfiction book — Patchwork Poetry –Finished
15) A popular author’s first book— Everneath –Finished
16) A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet— Hawksong –Finished
17) A book a friend recommended— Valhalla –Finished
18) A Pulitzer Prize winning book
19) A book based on a true story— Memoirs of Cleopatra
20) A book at the bottom of your to-read list— Horns –Finished
21) A book your mom (or dad) loves— Swan Song
22) A book that scares you— White Space –Finished
23) A book more than 100 years old— Sense and Sensibility
24) A book chosen based entirely on it’s cover— The Predicteds –Finished
25) A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t— The Great Gatsby
26) A memoir
27) A book you can finish in a day– Goosebumps Most Wanted: Planet of the Lawn Gnomes –Finished
28) A book with antonyms in the title — The Ask and the Answer –Finished
29) A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit —Zodiac –Finished
30) A book that came out the year you were born– Wyrd Sisters or Silence of the Lambs
31) A book with bad reviews — The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time –Finished
32) A trilogy— The Darkest Minds Trilogy –Finished
33) A book from your childhood— Goosebumps: Revenge of the Living Dummy
34) A book with a love triangle— Volition –Finished
35) A book set in the future— Aberrant –Finished
36) A book set in high school— Beastly –Finished
37) A book with a color in the title— The Golden Compass –Finished
38) A book that made you cry– Water for Elephants –Finished
39) A book with magic— The Dream Thieves –Finished
40) A graphic novel– Locke & Key Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft –Finished
41) A book by an author you’ve never read before — The Ghosts of Heaven –Finished
42) A book you own but haven’t read yet— Something Wicked this Way Comes –Finished
43) A book that takes place in your hometown (or surrounding area)
44) A book that was originally written in a different language– Talisma –Finished
45) A book set during Christmas — The Golden Compass –Finished
46) A book by an author with your same initials— The Invasion of the Tearling
47) A play — Phantom –Finished
48) A banned book– Flowers for Algernon –Finished
49) A book based on or turned into a TV show — Beastly –Finished
50) A book you started but never finished — The Lovely Bones –Finished

So, what do you guys think?  What books did you love or loathe in December?  What are you most looking forward to being released in January?  Did you miss, reach, or overshoot your reading goal?

Feel free to leave me your thoughts, comments, whatever below–or to do your own Loved and Loathed post, if you’d like!

Until next time, happy book-ing!


A Review of The Martian, by Andy Weir


Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: awesome, easy-to-read science fiction; a unique, intriguing story; Castaway-esque plot (minus the Wilson; unfortunately, no volleyballs were maimed in the making of this novel); I held my breath through literally all of this read and I honestly think that says more about it than any words I could put here

Going in to this read, I heard our main protagonist–Mark Watney–was a whiny, petulant, self-involved character.  I heard a lot of people didn’t like him because of this.  I heard it made this a hard book to get into.

Having just finished, I feel I can officially say:  I don’t agree.  At all.

This is the first strictly sci fi novel I’ve read in…a LONG time.  Being an English major who was pretty terrible at anything science, I tend to not read books that are ONLY sci fi…because I’m afraid I won’t understand them.  I always forget, somehow, that sci fi doesn’t always MEAN only science.  Obviously, human nature plays a role (unless your characters are robots, in which case…well, you get the point).

The characters of this novel were a bit difficult to get a grasp on at first, I’ll admit it.  I’m pretty sure the reason for this is, obviously, we begin with Mark Watney stranded on Mars after a very complicated turn of events.  At first, we only really get Mark’s perspective…and to be honest, throughout the entirety of this novel, I feel as if I only really ever CONNECTED with Mark.  Because, obviously, HE’s the most important part of this story.  HE’s the one we stay with longest, see the most of, and take this journey with.  Now, I’m not saying the other characters are flat.  They’re very far from it.  Andy Weir managed, in short bursts and small sections, to give us insight into each and every character we’re introduced to.  But the deepest connection lies with Mark; I think that’s really the best way to have gone about a story like this, honestly.  I don’t think the story would be the same if it were written otherwise.

That being said… I don’t think I’ve EVER held my breath so much during ONE book in my life.  This was nerve-wracking from page one, jumping straight into the dire-straights and not letting up until the VERY last page.  There is no breathing room.  It’s as if Andy Weir took the lack of oxygen on Mars and wrapped it around each word, slowly incapacitating readers with fist-clenching, lip-biting fear.  And I did a lot of both those things during this read, so I would know.

The science aspect isn’t nearly as intimidating as it might seem, either.  Mark is a sarcastic, smart-ass, wise-cracking character…and he mixes his knowledge with so much sass, you’ll be learning even as you laugh.  I disagree with people who call him whiny; he’s not. He’s stranded, ALONE, on Mars…with very limited supplies and the very REAL chance that he could die at any second.  So if he does sometimes get a little dramatic, if he does sometimes start his entries talking about how he’s about to die only to turn around and let readers know everything’s A-okay…well, what would YOU do in that situation?  Probably the same thing.

This book is a beautiful exploration of the things one single person can accomplish under the most stressful, intense situations.  We are ALL capable of accomplishing impossible things if we need to; this novel helps readers to realize that.  I highly recommend this read to lovers of sci fi, speculative fiction, and space journeys.  Pick it up!  You won’t regret it.


A Review of Every Ugly Word, by Aimee L. Salter


When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: gut-churning, goosebump-inducing story; powerful and emotional scenes; characters you love, loathe, and loathe to love (yes, I said it this was for a reason); a haunting and unexpected plot twist

Wow. WOW. I just…I can’t quite wrap my head around what I finished reading about a minute ago! I will be thinking about this story, and the effect it’s had on me, for a long time to come. I’m sure this will be added to both my favorite reads AND my recommendations shelf. Just… WOW.

Let me try to get my head on a little straighter here. I picked this up relatively cheap from amazon for my Kindle; the blurb intrigued me, and I’ve been drawn more to contemporary than to other reads lately, and I just… Going in, I was pretty sure there was more to the story than what the “back of the book” (or, in this instance, the top of the goodreads page) led me to believe.

I wasn’t far from wrong about that…but I also wasn’t RIGHT about it, either. Because somewhere in the middle of this book (or maybe even before I went into it?) I started doubting the character and her clarity. I found myself wondering if, maybe, she wasn’t quite the reliable narrator she was being depicted as. I found myself doubting HER…and that was a big, big mistake—because that’s exactly what the point of this book was about.

There is a fine line between writing from the perspective of someone who dealt with the abuse and bullying of their peers for years on end…and writing it WELL. Aimee L. Salter took this—the emotional damage, the way such cruel words haunt and taunt, the pain and destruction living in such hostile environments for so long cause—and molded it into a heartbreaking, breath-stealing story about finding your way despite the obstacles. About finding…and OWNING…yourself.

The characters are realistic, endearing, and practically leap off the page at you as you read. You’ll find, early on, there are characters you absolutely cannot stand (even BEFORE you realize what the story’s about), characters you love or relate to…and characters you WANT to love, but loathe, because their actions are all tangled into a mess you can’t overlook or forgive them for.

The story is powerful, woven so beautifully. The climax is intricate, each small fracture (like glass, people!) crackling together into a crescendo I never saw coming. When I reached that page, I literally sat here for a few moments just drinking it all in, because… Well, I’ll be honest here: I’ve NEVER seen anything like it done in literature before. It was a literary thing I loved immediately, for being so unique. I had goosebumps. Thinking about it now, I’m getting them all over again.

The writing is gorgeous, as well—easy to follow, with only a few slight grammatical errors/missing words (it happens, though; we’re all human here). The character growth(s) are astounding and complex, clashing and embracing in ways you’ll kick yourself for not seeing before. And the moral… Goodness, the moral of this story is one I think we can ALL get behind.

I highly recommend this read, and have to admit to being a little more than a little disappointed about how few people seem to talk about this book. I found it purely by accident browsing amazon one day… I want that “accident” to become an “on purpose” for more people in the future! This book is definitely worth it; you won’t know what hit you!

–this has been cross-posted to goodreads and tumblr