Friday, February 28, 2014

Title: Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Series: n/a
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.



WARNING: Side Effects May Vary may cause severe emotional distress. While reading this novel, you may experience the temptation to throw the book in a fit of frustration. You may also suffer from extreme mood swings, sighing contentedly one moment while screaming your outrage the next. Please consult a physician if these symptoms persist after you turn the last page of the novel.

Julie Murphy isn't pulling any punches with her debut novel. If her intention was to make her readers feel all the things, then I say she has more than succeeded with Side Effects May Vary. Alice is diagnosed with leukemia and spends the next year wreaking havoc on the lives of those who've wronged her over the last few years as she waits for her time to run out. But miracle of miracles, she goes into remission...and then she has to answer for everything she's done over the last year: to those she's wounded but also to Harvey, the best friend who stood by her and helped her complete her bucket list of revenge.

Harvey's always been there for Alice, harboring a crush of epic proportions. She uses and abuses the poor guy, and for years, he's allowed it with little complaint, hoping that one day she might return his feelings. But when Al's diagnosed with cancer, everything changes between them. Told in alternating perspectives -- through her eyes and his -- during the year of her diagnosis and then after her remission, this story recounts the progression of Alice and Harvey's relationship and how it got to the point that it's at now. And if you're anything like me, it is going to drive you nuts, the back-and-forth between these two, but it is so worth the pain to see it through to the end.

It's not just about relationship drama, though that is a driving force in this novel. It's about having your life handed back to you -- after being told that you had an expiration date that was drawing nearer -- and the psychological toll that can have on a person. It's about revenge and making amends and taking risks. This story was as crushing as it was complicated, but it was also heartfelt and genuine. I tried to keep in mind what all Alice had been through and how that might change a person, and that helped me avoid writing her character off completely, even when she probably deserved it.

Harvey, though...Harvey was the saving grace of this novel. He started out as this lovelorn puppy dog when we first meet him, but everything that has happened to Alice has taken a toll on him, as well, and I'm glad that although he finally grew a pair and made some demands of his own, he still remained that sweet, hopeful boy. I loved the emotional impact of this novel as much as I did the romantic aspects.

I am so ecstatic to report that this book turned out even better than I'd hoped. It is rife with the feels, but don't expect a TFiOS meltdown. Many readers will find Alice completely unlikable, eliciting feelings of rage as opposed to the deep sadness that Hazel Graze evoked. But I think the unflappable Harvey will more than make up for it. And if you give Al a chance, you just might find yourself empathizing with her, too.

GIF it to me straight:




About the author:

Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie's debut novel.

Find Julie:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | YouTube | Tumblr


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

Thursday, February 27, 2014 with 6 comments

Title: A Little Too Far
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Series: A Little Too Far #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 17th, 2013
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years … and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.

But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt … and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon … only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way..
 A Little Too Far was just okay for me. I knew this was New Adult going into it. I’ve heard some good things, and since this was picked up by a publisher, I figured I’d give it a try. I’m always wary though, because that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be good these days.

Lexie and her step brother Trent are really close. He’s been her best friend for years, and though they’ve been brought up as brother and sister most their lives, there has always been an underlying sexual tension between them. Lexie is having a bad day, she’s on the rebound and happens to run into her scummy ex. This leads to confiding and crying on 

Trent’s shoulder over the worthless douche. What happens next? Boinking obviously!!
This is okay, they are not blood related, but it’s awkward. They are both confused about how to handle it all. They decide to sweep it under the rug for now, since college is about to start back up.

Lexie is going for a year abroad in Rome. This was my favorite thing. I loved the descriptions of the art and museums. After confessing to her sins at a nearby catholic church, she starts working with Deacon Moretti to educate local children. Deacon Moretti is a hottie and his name is Alessandro. If that doesn’t spell do me, I don’t know what does. lol Things get a little sticky from here.

The things I liked about A Little Too Far, was that it isn’t all sex. There are other things going on. She’s schooling in Rome because of the art, and that’s a decent part of the story. Both Alissandro and Trent are nice guys! Imagine that.

I would like to say there is a bit of a love triangle but honestly it’s no contest. You know straight away where her true feelings are. She knows too, but she chooses to ignore what is so obviously in front of her. I was not a fan of the games she played.

Also, all the religious stuff. I’m not religious at all so I find it hard to connect with characters who are. That’s just me. There was nothing preachy about this book though, so have no fear.

I think I may read the next one, just because I’m curious about the character it follows. 


Lisa DesrochersAbout the author:



Lisa Desrochers is the USA Today bestselling author of A LITTLE TOO FAR , courtesy of HarperCollins, and companions, A LITTLE TOO MUCH (Nov 12, 2013), and A LITTLE TOO HOT (Jan 21, 2014). Also in stores is her YA PERSONAL DEMONS trilogy (Macmillan).

She lives in central California with her husband and two very busy daughters. There is never a time that she can be found without a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise.

Find Lisa:

Website | TwitterFacebookGoodreads

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Authors Behaving Badly

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 with 44 comments
This is a topic that’s been on my mind for quite some time. Now I’m not singling out just authors behaving badly; bloggers do some of the same things, sometimes in the name of an author. None of it accomplishes anything except for bitter feelings.

You have the classic responses to bad reviews. That’s the big one that most people think of first when it comes to this subject. It happens and it sucks. I’ve recently dealt with it first hand, but that’s not the kind of behavior Jen and I wanted to discuss today.

As a reader, I enjoy following authors. I love to see what they're working on, and even talk with them on occasion. Sometimes though, I feel like authors get too comfortable. I’m not saying I’m out to get every author who posts something I don’t agree with. Every person is different. Today, we want to talk about some of the unprofessional things we've seen that have affected our book purchases.

Authors Bashing Other Authors

April:  I hate this. I hate it so much. Talking shit about another author's book will not get me to buy yours. I see it all the time and it’s appalling. I saw an author bashing E.L. James for being successful and now I refuse to buy her books. I didn’t like the 50 Shades books. I think they are horribly written. That still doesn’t make it okay for another author to bash her. Be jealous, fine, but don’t use her shitty books to bring attention to yourself.

Jen:  I feel like that, in much the same way that we bloggers like to build each other up, authors should use various platforms to do the same for each other. I haven't seen a lot of author-on-author attacks, but they're always cringe-inducing when they do occur. It's fine to have your own opinion -- and I do think everyone has the right to voice said opinion -- but I don't think it's right to verbally attack another person in a public forum. There's a fine line here between voicing an opinion and verbal sparring, and I think it's to everyone's benefit to tread carefully.

Mixing Personal with Business

April:  I love seeing little snippets of how an author is in real life. It reminds me that they are people, and that they have lives. They aren’t just words on paper. But sometimes too much is too much. I’m going to use an example here. I follow an author of YA and she has an instragram account that posts to all her public author profiles. That’s fine and dandy but most of the pictures shared are of her drinking and partying with friends. That’s cool! She’s young, pretty and having the time of her life. But does it belong on your author Facebook page for a bunch of young teens and tweens to see? Not in my opinion. I recently requested a galley of her new book. I was hesitant, I really was. My whole perception of her is based off the pictures I see her post now. I hate that I let these things determine what books I read, but in this case maybe I should have went with my gut. The book had no plot and was full of underage drinking and partying. Should I have been surprised?

Jen:  I agree...I love to see what an author is like outside of their writing, but at the same time, there's a point of no return, as evidenced by the example you provided, April. I don't think I could ever look at that author the same, either. I've not run into this problem with the authors I follow, not really, anyway, but I do think platforms like Twitter and Instagram make it easier for authors to be more personable and also to showcase their "other" life. Sometimes this makes me like an author even more, but there are cases where a little too much of their personal life is being exposed and it could be detrimental to their careers if it carries on that way.

Whining About Book Sales

April:  I’ve seen this from many authors, self-pubs and traditionally-published. Sometimes your book is going to take off and sometimes it won’t. Maybe work harder to promote it? No one likes a whiner; it’s unbecoming. I actually came across a post once by a self-published author insulting her readers, while complaining that she has minimal sales on a book. I wish I had screen shot of it, because it was hysterical. In a nutshell, she basically said that $2.99 was a great price, that it’s the cost of a coffee, and if we can buy coffee every morning we can buy her book. She said her readers are cheap and that she wasn’t dropping it to $0.99 because she needs to eat. Lol. I have yet to purchase anything from that author now and not because I’m cheap.

Jen:  "No one likes a whiner"...so true. I don't read a lot of self-published novels, but I have seen a similar complaint about dropping prices. I've also seen where an author wasn't so much complaining but simply explaining that another installment in her series might not be forthcoming because of lackluster sales on the previous books. And then the first installment in that series promptly went on sale. I think that's a much better approach to take to the sales issue than simply complaining about it or insulting one's readers.

Being Ungrateful

April:  I don’t see this very often, thank goodness, but I’ve seen it recently from one particular author. It makes me so sad. She started out self-publishing. She constantly complained about not having a publishing deal. She was relentless, and I overlooked it because you know what? Her books are good. I felt she deserved to be published. She did end up getting a deal on her last trilogy and it was awesome. I loved it so much and I was so happy for her. Lately though, I’ve seen her being very negative in her posts. Talking trash about her publisher, not on her author page mind you, just on her personal page. How do I know this? Well, I was friends with her on it along with hundreds of other bloggers. Recently, I saw her post complaining about how they sent her another round of edits to do on one of her books. She said that she was going to send it back to them and just say she looked through it. Um… really? I can’t help but wonder if other bloggers were as shocked as I was when reading this. That's not funny and no where near professional. I was so turned off by that, and I have since removed myself from her personal page. It’s a shame because I love her writing, but I just haven’t had the urge to read any of it lately because of her behavior.

Jen:  Yikes, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. To be given such an opportunity and then to essentially squander it because of your own pride, laziness, or what have you. Such a shame. I know several other indie authors who've received the same opportunity and really put it to work, so at least it's only a random occurrence. I lump authors who don't appreciate their fans in with this category, and I see that much more often than I'd like to admit. Granted, some fans expect too much from authors and can get greedy, but the same is true of authors. It's all give-and-take, and there's always one side that seems to take more from the relationship, unfortunately.

I also lump authors invading our review spaces into this category because I feel that as the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity. We're doing authors a favor by taking the time to review their books, whether favorably or not. Sometimes, those scathing reviews actually make me want to read a book, but when I see an author attacking another reviewer over their opinion, THEN I resolve not to pick up the book. I refuse to promote or purchase anything even remotely related to that author then.

I thought that maybe with 2013 being such a bad year for blogger/reviewer/author interactions, we'd all endeavor to try harder this year to be courteous and conflict-free, but this year's started out the same way as last. I know this wasn't the point of April's post, but sometimes this community just makes me sad instead of being the happy place it once was.



Those are just a few that have been nagging at us lately. I purposely didn’t mention names because that’s not what this post is supposed to be about. I’m not trying to call out authors and cause waves, I’m just really curious how much of this is just me or if there are others who feel the same? Are any of you turned off buying books based on an authors behavior? And not just when they invade our review spaces?


Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Title: The Secret Diamond Sisters
Author: Michelle Madow
Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.


I was really excited about The Secret Diamond Sisters, but it was a huge disappointment. I almost DNF'd this one. Nothing happens. NOTHING! Okay, some things happen, but nothing of interest. I was bored to freaking death! 

Boring me to death

Savannah, Courtney, and Peyton are three sisters living in a California Shit hole. Their mother is an alcoholic and is no longer fit to take care of them, and hasn't been for quite some time. Low and behold, they have a long lost Daddy who just so happens to be a billionaire. Shipped off to a new fancy life in Vegas you'd think fairy tale come true right? This was a the most interesting part of the story for me, but it all goes down hill pretty quickly.

The story is told from 4 POVs. It alternates between the three sisters and some snooty socialite who is "oh so jealous" that they are moving into her turf. Then there is the campus buzz, that's a rant for later in the review.


Savannah – She's the youngest of the group. Coming in at a whopping 15. She's excited at the prospect of moving in with their estranged father. She hardly seems to care that she won't see her mother, she only sees dollar signs. Oh and that bottle of champagne in the limo to the airport. She sees that too and helps herself. Did I mention she's 15 and her mother is in rehab, that's the reason she's being sent to live with her father? Yeah..


She's young and naïve' . She quickly falls prey to one of the socialite boy sluts who lives in the same hotel. First night in Vegas and she's already being pressured for sex, which thankfully she doesn't succumb to. Wish I could say the same for the oldest sister.

Courtney- She is the only sister I liked. She's smart and sweet. I really have no complaints about her, other than her shared genes with the other two. She gets involved in a little romance as well, but I was actually rooting for them. If not for Courteys chapters, I would have for sure put this one down indefinitely.

Peyton- She has some issues. She has horrible chip on her shoulder. I seriously disliked her the whole time. She's a bit loose I'd say. She seems to me the type who always has to be dangling a guy. She took the brunt of the abuse from her mother, so maybe that is the reason, but it still didn't make her a likable character. Ugh, and what she does to her boyfriend, just you wait.

Another thing that bugged me is there wasn't any closeness between these sisters. You would think they'd have a tight bond after all they've been through growing up, but I did not see it. 

Also, we get the lovely point of view from Madison. The reigning queen of whatever the F school they will be going to. All this girl does is lead her guy friends on. She's super pissed that her extremely hot male friends are all interested in those horrible Diamond sisters. They are ruining her life!!! (her words) While whining in her head about how bad she has it, she's also counting calories on all the booze she drinks. Because that's important. She's 16, and drinking every freaking night. That's much bigger problem than her dress size if you ask me.

Oh and the campus buzz. This is some weird crap thrown in that looks like a forum. Students from their school posting about all the Vegas parties and such. Then there are comments below. Comments like, "Those Diamond sisters are so hot." "This sluthoe kissed so and so" "Oliver bet that he can get with all three sisters by the end of the Summer" There really is no good way to describe or quote it, so take a look. Sorry for the picture glare, but you get the point. This is just one of the Campus Buzz entries, thankfully there are many more through-out the book. #sarcasm.



GARBAGE!!!! 

So the main plot in The Secret Diamond Sisters is..... Nothing! Just lots of Underage Drinking, Shopping and being excited about how much money they have now (this is all from Savanna), and boy drama / Jealousy. 

That part in the blurb that promises secrets and illusion, ha! Where was that? And the truth about their past? You find that out the first night they get to Vegas. So what was left to keep me reading?.... those three things listed above.

The ending wasn't even anything.  There was a little kerfluffle and then some campus buzz to lead you into the next book. No cliff hanger, just the promise of the same old crap. Did she actually want us to read the sequel? 


I'm still sitting here trying to figure out what this book was even supposed to be about. I will not be continuing this series. The first book was painful enough. 


image



About the author:

Michelle Madow wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college. Remembrance is the first book in the Transcend Time Saga, a three part series about
reincarnation and true love that Michelle successfully self-published. The series was inspired by Taylor Swift's "Love Story" music video. Michelle's upcoming YA trilogy, The Secret Diamond Sisters, about three sisters who discover they are the secret heirs to a Las Vegas billionaire casino owner will be published by Harlequin TEEN in Spring 2014.

Michelle graduated from Rollins College in 2010, cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta. She received the Charles Hyde Pratt Award for Excellence in Creative Writing in 2010.

She lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, sunshine, Disney fairy tales, Broadway musicals, and spends way too much time on Facebook and Twitter

Find Michelle:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Monday, February 24, 2014

Title: Something Real
Author: Heather Demetrios
Series: n/a
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show's cancellation, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it's about to fall apart . . . because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™'s mom and the show's producers won't let her quit and soon the life that she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

Heather Demetrios' Something Real is the winner of the Susan P. Bloom PEN New England Discovery Award.



What has happened to me that all -- well, most of -- the books that I adore lately have been contemporaries?!? I used to despise this genre, but now I can't even remember why. Because now, these are my go-to books. When I'm in a funk or a reading slump or whatever, I pick up a contemp and I'm happily entertained for hours.

With Something Real, I think I'll be entertained for eons. This is the kind of book I can read over and over again. This story garnered ALL THE FEELS from me. And so rather than splitting up my review based on characters and plotting, etc., like I usually would, I'm going to do this one a little differently. I'm going to separate my feelings and what triggered them.

Anger
“Even Mom doesn't understand how being in front of a camera all the time twists and warps you. How one second it makes you feel unbelievably alive and the next publicly strips you down until all that's left is one big question mark.”
First and foremost, my anger comes from being a mother. As a parent, I cannot fathom subjecting a child to being in the spotlight like this, let alone a family consisting of thirteen children. Times are going to be tough as it is, but how does any self-respecting mother do this to her children? Especially considering what one of the eldest has already suffered because of being on a show that is broadcast nationally. Beth Baker-Miller™ is one of the worst kinds of human beings...those who live for attention and don't care about the cost, even when it's their own family. There was not a single redeemable quality in this woman, and what she did or didn't do at the end of this novel made me question whether she even deserved to have the other children in her care.

Also, I have mad hate for the show's producer Chuck, who is the slimiest of all in this story. He manipulates, cajoles, coerces, and threatens, and he is beneath scum. I imagine a lot of reality TV show producers to be of his ilk, and for the sake of everyone who has to deal with swine like this, I am sorry. I'm not a big fan of reality shows, but I imagine it's not as fun to be the subject of them as it might appear or as others make it out to be. I'm rather intrigued by the leaps and bounds this book took to show the behind-the-scenes stuff. On one hand, I hope this is all entirely fictional, but on the other, I'm pretty sure it's not, and I feel awful for ever having watched a single minute of this kind of drivel, entertaining as it might be at times.

Sadness

The main character Bonnie™/Chloe hasn't had the easiest transition from reality TV stardom to normal girl. But she's relatively happy with her normal girl status now that she's starting her second year of public school as a high school senior. Until her mom and stepdad decide to start doing the show again, without consulting any of the rest of the family, that is. Chloe has suffered the most at the hands of the Baker's Dozen show, and you'd think her family would at least have the decency to forewarn her that the show was being picked back up, but aside from her brother Benton™, no one seems to care what this might do to Chloe's fragile state of mind.

Grief

What I hate most is that Bonnie™/Chloe's mother doesn't even notice the repercussions. She thinks her daughter is acting like a typical spoiled teenager who's not getting her way. I don't think Beth Baker-Miller™ realizes that it's taken Chloe four -- FOUR -- years to finally find some amount of normalcy in her life after what happened in the last season of Baker's Dozen. Which makes my heart hurt even more for Chloe. But worse than that, I wished physical violence on this mother and the stepfather she brought into these kids' life after the sh!t hit the fan in that last season. How could any mother be so oblivious, let her own desires outweigh those of her children, whether they come from her loins or not?

More Anger

Which brings me to my next point. The way that everyone allows Chloe to be portrayed on national television is an abomination. Seeing it from Chloe's eyes and then seeing how everything is edited to make it more dramatic, or to make it look as if Bonnie/Chloe™ really is the poster-child for Teenagers Gone Wild, I wanted to do more than cut cords or palm cameras out of Chloe's face. No one deserves to have their whole life on display for strangers like this. It more than borders on child abuse in my opinion. And I'm really glad to see that this aspect wasn't taken lightly in this story. There's even talk of getting the ACLU involved, so kudos.

Happiness

I am unbelievably grateful that Chloe had a sibling like Benny to help get her through all the drama. Beginning, middle, and end...he was there through it all. He pushed Chloe when she needed it, but he also gave her space to do what she needed to do when she wasn't being rational. Benny was her back-up and Chloe was his. I love how out of all the siblings, these two are the closest, have the best connection, and stand by each other, no matter what. I think the only times I laughed in this story with true frivolity -- because of all my fury at the other characters in the story --were when it was just Chloe and Benny hanging out, shootin' the sh!t. Also, Benny drunk is kinda priceless. I'm not condoning underage drinking, per se, but when the situation warrants...

Off-handed Humor

Okay, so I said that I didn't laugh all that much, but I did snicker a lot. Ugh, I hate that word, but it's the best description. Here's why:
"I'm surprised she doesn't get a sunburn from the rays of her own awesomeness," Benny says as she heads to the first floor.

***

There should be a class on what to do with your hands during awkward moments. Like, no other animal has to stand with these ridiculous appendages that make everything worse. Hands are awkward as hell. I watch Tessa disappear down the hall, belonging, being absorbed into the crowd.

***

"Did you apparate here or something? The bell rang two seconds ago."

***

"How was the salon?" Tessa asks, after we're through psychoanalyzing my date. "Did you get claw-the-rapist nails?"
Swoons
"When his lips finally leave mine, his fingertips stay on my cheeks, and he looks at me--really looks at me--for a long time. Five seconds? Minutes? Centuries? Maybe it's the feeling behind his eyes or the way the warmth of that kiss slowly slips back on the tide of our breath, but I suddenly feel like I need to leave. Now."
Benny may have been a great counterpart to Chloe's persistent pessimism, but Patrick brought the swoons and more. We talk about book boyfriends all the time, but usually as in "I would want this guy to be my boyfriend in real life". In this case, I don't think I've met a more perfect guy to be this character's boyfriend. He's patient, forgiving, caring, but he still manages to be a separate entity and not too clingy. A girl should be so lucky as to have a guy like Patrick in her life. He takes all of this reality TV stardom stuff in stride. Patrick does everything he can to make a relationship outside of that world a possibility for Chloe, and I think that without his soothing presence, Chloe might not have managed nearly as well as she did. Also, he gave her the strength to stand up for herself. I know the saying always goes "Behind every great man, there's a great woman", but I think the opposite holds true, as well, especially for this couple. It takes a solid partnership to make any relationship work, and that's what we have here.

Also, there's that scene in the janitorial closet. My god. =)
"Chlo, that boy has forever written all over his face when he looks at you. A cat lady you shall never be."
Another thing I really enjoyed about this novel was all of the extras included: press releases, twitter feeds, blog posts, interviews, etc. And, of course, those cute text messages between Patrick and Chloe on her secret phone. It really lent to the air that this was reality, that this is how life goes for someone in Chloe's position. It also made for an even more entertaining reading, especially how each piece was spun one way or another. This book really makes me sad for all of those kids who were on Jon & Kate Plus 8.
"I'm not Bonnie™ or Chloe. I'm the essence of her, the nontrademarked person the camera can never capture and my parents have no right to sign over. There is a sovereign nation encased in this skin that MetaReel can never trademark."
I am honestly surprised that this novel didn't receive any hype prior to its publication. It is so unbelievably genuine and completely from the heart, and it ranks up there with my favorite YA contemporary novels ever. I don't think I've ever read a novel that compelled me to be one with the narrator and simultaneously feel so much, and I'm really hoping this isn't a one-time deal. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what else Heather Demetrios brings to this genre, and I hope she continues writing with this outstanding voice of hers.

Wow, this review turned out to be way longer than I anticipated, and the sad thing is I haven't said all that I have to say about this lovely book. But you should read it. You should absolutely read it. :D

GIF it to me straight:
Why is no one talking about this book?!?


About the author:

Heather Demetrios, originally from Los Angeles, now lives in Brooklyn and various imaginary locales. She is the recipient of a PEN New England Discovery Award for her debut YA novel about reality TV stardom, SOMETHING REAL (Macmillan/Henry Holt), and is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN fantasy trilogy from HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray), both out in 2014. She is currently working on her second novel for Macmillan, a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. When she’s not hanging out with her characters, Heather is working on her MFA in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Find Heather:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | YouTube


For the Bright Before Sunrise Blog Tour, instead of providing interview questions and guest post ideas to Tiffany Schmidt, the creative team at Bloomsbury Children's Books/Walker BFYR decided that they'd turn this tour upside down and pose a question to all of the bloggers involved.  As part of this reverse tour, I'm to respond to the following prompt based on the story in Bright Before Sunrise:

 photo 089abfec-4e8a-49b7-b8b9-453da3490262_zpsdf656877.jpg


I've been asked to describe a single night that changed my life, much like the night that Jonah and Brighton have in the book.  Here goes:
I actually had a completely different night picked out to tell you about. I had the post written up and everything, cute GIFs and all. But the more I contemplated the "one night can change everything" mantra, the more I realized that the night I wanted to tell you about wouldn't have been possible at all if it hadn't been for another night a couple of months before that.

You see, I was 21 -- barely -- and I had been in a ridiculously bad relationship for the past two years. Turning the legal drinking age and finally becoming an "adult" made me reconsider a lot of things that year. I was living with a boy -- I refuse to call him a man because no real man would have treated me the way he did -- whose past meant that he was unable to even be listed on the lease on the apartment we shared. We fought all the time, had broken up and gotten back together more times than I could count, and he'd just treated me despicably that whole last year we were together.

I was ready for a change, but I was afraid to make a move on my own. Even my own family couldn't give this guy the benefit of the doubt, even though I supposedly loved him. (I say supposedly because I was young and I don't think I truly understood what it meant to love someone at that age.) On the night in question, my younger sister -- only by a year and a half -- invited me to go out to see a show with some of her friends. I had moved quite a distance away from all of my family and friends, and I didn't really feel up to making the drive into Dallas that night, especially since I knew nothing of the band we were supposed to see. But my sister is very convincing. She's also the baby of the family and gets her way more often than not.

Little did I know that her friend was also bringing her boyfriend. Cue the sad face, because me and my guy were on yet another break, as he'd just wrecked my car and our future together wasn't looking so bright. Sister was still single, though, so at least I wasn't the only one flying solo. And to help matters, sister's friend had a friend he was dragging along to the show, too. And said friend was mighty nice to look at. =)

I didn't expect much out of this night, to be honest. Some music, a good buzz -- though only me and the two guys on the outing were of age -- and a little distance to provide some perspective. Well, all that turned out better than expected. While my sister looked on miserably as her friend and her friend's boyfriend fought ALL night, me and the boyfriend's friend chatted. Turns out, he hadn't planned on going out at all that night either, but some force of nature made him say yes the bazillionth time his buddy asked.

We talked...and talked...and talked. About everything and nothing. It made me realize that I hadn't really talked to my own boyfriend in ages. That I hadn't really wanted to. It also made me realize that the first time me and my boyfriend had broken up should have been the first and ONLY time. (Sometimes it pays to listen to your wiser, older sister, but hindsight is 20/20. Also, don't tell her I said that.)

And the next weekend when my sister's friend asked if she could give my number to her boyfriend's friend because he'd asked about me, I said okay. The lease on the apartment I shared with my ex was up and I had a new lease on life. :D Sure, I moved back home for a couple of months, but you know what? I've been with that friend of a friend of a friend who I spent all night talking to for the last ten years, and I'll have been married to him for seven years in April.

One night really can make a world of difference. I can't even begin to imagine how different my life would be now if I hadn't made the decision to go out that night, against my better judgment.





Title: Bright Before Sunrise
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, "miserable" doesn't even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother's first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real... until she breaks up with him.

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she's really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She's determined to change his mind, and when they're stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.

Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.



Send Me a SignBright Before Sunrise

About the author:

Tiffany Schmidt lives in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. She's not at all superstitious... at least that's what she tells herself every Friday the thirteenth.

SEND ME A SIGN is her first novel. BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE will follow in Winter 2014. The ONCE UPON A CRIME FAMILY series begins with HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH in 2015.

Find Tiffany:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr

Do you guys have a night like that, one that changed everything?  Has anyone read Bright Before Sunrise yet?  I found it adorable but not saccharine, which was kind of perfect.  You can check out my review here and April's is here. Also, how jealous am I that April gets to meet the author at YA Fest in April?!?


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