Saturday, June 30, 2012


THE WEEKLY REWIND is a weekly post in which I recap the bookish awesomeness from the past week, and post a book haul. Warning: I tend to ramble in my vlogs. Sometimes I get excited about things and I flail. Enjoy.

Book Haul

Books Received:

Awesome People:

Search terms that led to this blog:
  • brian master sinclair olivia cunning a7x ~ You guys. You have NO IDEA how BAD ASS I feel right now.
  • blonde babes with big boobs ~ ROFLMAO
  • "beau vincent" ~ *dies from accomplishment*
  • "Allison Brie" and "Annie from Community" ~ I like her, too. I hope the visitor found what they were looking for. Probably not.
  • "tammara webber" and "tammara webber between the lines" ~ This makes me so happy!



Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment, and I'll come check out your blog. Have a great week!

Friday, June 29, 2012


Sexy Summer Saturdays is a weekly post that Hackaroos Reviews, Sims-Sational Books, The Autumn Review, and The Bookish Babe created for fun, to challenge one other to add a little spice to our reading and to spread the word about sizzling summer reads.

**The books featured on SEXY SUMMER SATURDAYS are for adults. If you are under 18 years of age, or do not like smexy books, please do not read this post. **
Try MeFor the five sexy rock gods of Sole Regret, finding love is easy, keeping it is hard. Melanie has no desire to meet the members of the rock band, Sole Regret, but her groupie of a best friend gets them both backstage and then rushes off with the band’s lead singer. Left alone at an after party with a bunch of scary tattooed and pierced metal-heads, sheltered Melanie is relieved when the only normal-looking guy in the room insists on keeping her company. By the time Melanie discovers that Gabe is the band’s drummer and not as normal as she assumed, she has already made a complete fool of herself. She can’t help but be interested in him, not as a rock star, but as the sexiest man she’s ever encountered. Strangely attracted to his hidden tattoos and body piercing, she wonders what it would be like to spend a night with a bad boy. Gabe is more than willing to show sweet Melanie there’s more to him than meets the eye. All she has to do is try him. Will they only share a single night of passion? Or will their hearts entangle as quickly as their bodies? Try Me is the first erotic novella in Olivia Cunning’s One Night with Sole Regret series. Contains explicit sex, graphic language, and a hot rock star with a naughty and inventive mind.~From GoodReads

"Finding Love Is Easy, Keeping It Is Hard."
(from Olivia

Yep, this makes three weeks in a row that I have reviewed an Olivia Cunning book for this feature. TRY ME is the first book in super-author Cunning's new series, ONE NIGHT WITH SOLE REGRET. If you've been following along on these Saturday posts, you'll know that I am addicted to anything she writes. I have been obsessing checking Amazon for the past few weeks, hoping TRY ME would be released. So when I got word that the book was up, I screamed, scurried to buy it, then blasted my joy on Twitter, complete with profanity. [Sidenote: After I dropped the f-bomb proclaiming my happiness, I was reprimanded by someone I don't follow, don't know. I politely told said person to unfollow me, then shouted again. Nothing was going to bring me off my anticipation-buzz.] My bestie Autumn at Autumn Review and I swore to read the book together, which basically means I had to hide my Kindle because the temptation was too much. When we both agreed the time was right, we happily dove into the story...

Which leaves me here, struggling to find the right words to properly express myself. This was a great novella. The story has quickly paced, but didn't feel too rushed. Gabe and Melanie were both likeable, fun, sexy characters. Their chemistry was instantaneous, realistic and smoldering hot. Melanie was a character with whom almost any woman can relate. I loved that she wasn't trying to hook up with a random rock star, but she doesn't fight what's bound to be a great thing. Gabe was a delectable treat. I love the guys Cunning writes. She always seems to give her guys a hidden trait that makes them slightly vulnerable and oh so sexy.

And the only thing I can think to say is "HOLY EFFITY SHIZZ!!" I'll be honest, I expected a good time from TRY ME. I know that; you know that. But I have to say, Cunning has possibly outdone herself when it comes to creativity. I mean, wha...? Only those of you who've read TRY ME can possibly understand what about the story left me an incoherent mess. And I mean that in the best possible way. And I'll go on record to say that engineering has never been so sexy.

I will say, don't expect a neatly wrapped-up story. With this being a novella, there's only so much that can be fit in without being rushing the plot. And with the small bit that showcased the other members of Sole Regret, there is so much to look forward to, including another Gabe (and Melanie?) story down the road. It would be an understatement to say I am already bouncing in my seat for TAKE ME. I will attempt to refrain from stalking for two one month. But I make no promises.

Favorite Quotes:

" 'What other secrets are you hiding, sweet Melanie? I want to discover them all.' " (ebook, 27%)

"Yes, he liked a woman who knew what she wanted. He also liked to leave a woman flustered and disoriented, craving his body the way an addict craves her next hit. He stole a glance at Melanie noting she was flushed, disheveled, and glowing with a delicate sheen of perspiration. Gabe ducked his head to hide a self-satisfied grin and focused his attention on his fingernails to curtail his urge to gloat. Yeah, mission accomplished." (ebook, 39%)

"She slid a hand up the soft strip of hair at the center of his head and tugged him closer, her throat closing off with unexpected emotion. Her sole regret was that her time with him would have to end far before she was ready to let him go." (ebook, 75%)

So. You know I couldn't do this post without some visual aids. This is Shannon Leto from 30 Seconds to Mars. He's not a perfect representation of Gabe Banner, but he's pretty darn yummy. He has the pretty face that I needed to fit Gabe.

taken from fanpop
taken from deviant art

Published June 2012

You can purchase TRY ME (ONE NIGHT WITH SOLE REGRET #1) at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Smashwords

Be sure to visit Olivia Cunning's website.

Source: Personal Purchase

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review ~ EVE (Eve #1) by Anna Carey

Eve (Eve, #1)The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her. Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life. ~From GoodReads

Unlike approximately seventy-five percent (I made this number up) of other readers, I am not a big fan of dystopian books. I often find the plots to be formulaic and predictable. And although EVE may be follow that path, to some extent, I found the story to be engaging and beautifully written.

After most of the population was demolished by a plague, the orphaned children have been separated by gender. Eve, and all the girls around her, have been taught to fear boys and men. The girls are raised in a strict school setting, and then will move on to another school to learn their trade. Eve believes that once her training begins, she will become a true artist. What will actually happen is more like a nightmare. Unwilling to succumb to that life, Eve runs away, unsure of where she is going, but determined to try. When she meets Caleb, her eyes are opened to the fact that the people she trusted, not men, are the enemy.

This story is led by a remarkable heroine, Eve. I found her to be admirable, and relateable. Eve was intelligent and thoughtful. She doesn't waste time in denial, or not seeing the truth for what it is. She is ever-evolving. Her reaction to the horror of her world was realistic. She doesn't react like a cyborg when something bad happens. She does what most of us would do: curl up in a ball and cry, get the emotional breakdown out of the system, wipe the tears away and move forward as best we can.

The relationship between Eve and Caleb undergoes a natural progression. Though she is taught to fear all males, she's not blind. Eve can quickly see that Caleb is not her enemy. That doesn't mean that she throws herself on him at the first chance she get. They move ahead with caution, yet trust. It was a nice-building relationship that felt true.

EVE was a briskly-paced story. Anna Carey doesn't waste time, but dives quickly into the plot. I felt like I could never let my guard down, the action was constant. I loved that the story progressed so quickly. And the ending? Broke my heart. But not in a bad way. It was just so emotional and unexpected. I'm so happy I had book two, ONCE, to begin immediately.

EVE felt similar to UNDER THE NEVER SKY to me. I think if you enjoyed that story, you would enjoy this as well.

Favorite Quote:

"Tomorrow, and the next day, and every day until we left I would send out more messages. My voice would echo in that cavern, the words wound together in coded sentences, recited over and over until they reached him, there in the night." (pg 251)

"In School, and out of School, I had believed that love was a liability - something that could be wielded against you. I began to weep, finally knowing the truth: love was death's only adversary, the only thing powerful enough to combat it's clawing, desperate grasp." (pg. 270)

Published October 4th 2011 by HarperTeen

You can purchase EVE at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository

Source: Personal Purchase.


Yay! It's time for another giveaway hop. The FREEDOM TO READ GIVEAWAY HOP is being hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Mundie Moms. There are over 200 blogs participating in bookish giveaways. You can find them here.

My Giveaway:

ONCE (EVE #2) by Anna Carey

Good Luck and Have Fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review ~ SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT,by Sarah Strohmeyer

Smart Girls Get What They WantGigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their "real" lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents) But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge--and they will totally "rock" it. Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking--and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes--until now. These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want--but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . ~From GoodReads

The first thing that comes to my mind after reading SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT is Girl Power. What a great example for the tween and teen girls out there!

Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are three besties with one common goal: to be at the top of their class, go to a prestigious school where they will live a scholarly existence among their own kind, complete with intellectual hotties. They are perfectly content to fly under the radar at their school until the day they realize that their dedication has also earned them invisibility among their classmates. The three then set out on a quest to challenge themselves, to step out of their comfort zone and really live the high school experience. Along the way, though, these girls learn a lot of lessons about life and love.

SMART GIRLS is entirely told from Gigi's view point. She was obviously a brainiac, but the girl had a great ironic sense of humor, and that made her so much fun to read. She is very matter-of-fact, isn't whiny or annoying, a really great narrator. Her friends, Bea and Neerja were similarly endearing. My favorite character, though, was definitely Mike. Mike seems to be the antithesis to Gigi. He's popular, athletic, and knows how to have fun. Gigi assumes that because of these qualities, Mike doesn't have a lot going on upstairs. When Mike and Gigi are forced to work together on a school project, Gigi will learn that as smart as she is, she still has a lot to learn about people and assumptions.

I found SMART GIRLS to be cute and engaging, though not overly exciting. I didn't become fully engaged in the story until approximately one hundred pages in, when I finally got a grasp on what the story "wanted" to be. Once I got into it, I did enjoy it a good bit. There were many times I found myself smiling and chuckling as I read. I liked the way SMART GIRLS turned out and I thought the lessons learned were terrific, my favorite being, friendship over boys. Even though Gigi, Bea, and Neerja were open to new experiences, they always had each others' back. And that alone makes it a great read.

Favorite Quote:

"To recap: I am the the product of two brilliant inert elements with negative bonding capabilities, one who was a Dr. Who fangirl, the other who consistently drove into fire hydrants." (pg 37, ARC)

 Expected publication: June 26th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository

Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selection is...

Dark CompanionWhen foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She's even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper's cottage in the center of the birch grove. Something's not quite right about the school -- or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She's also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother. The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member. Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school...and be bound to Birch Grove forever? ~From GoodReads

Why I'm Waiting ~

I love the premise and I absolutely adore the cover. I recently won this book and can't wait to get started.

Expected publication: July 3rd 2012 by Tor/Macmillan

Special Feature ~ DANTE'S GIRL (The Paradise Diaries #1) by Courtney Cole

I have a special, fun treat for you guys. Today, I have a special feature of DANTE'S GIRL, book one in THE PARADISE DIARIES series by Courtney Cole, along with all of Chapter One.  I haven't had a chance to start the book yet, but I have it on good authority that it is excellent!

Dante's Girl  (The Paradise Diaries, #1)

I have spent every summer since I was ten years old with my father in London. Every summer, since I was ten years old, has been uneventful and boring.
Until this year.

And this year, after a freak volcanic eruption strands me far from home, I have learned these things:

1. I can make do with one outfit for three days before I buy new clothes.
2. If I hear the phrase, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” even one more time, I might become a homicidal maniac.
3. I am horribly and embarrassingly allergic to jellyfish.
4. I am in love with Dante Giliberti, who just happens to be the beautiful, sophisticated son of the Prime Minister of a Mediterranean paradise.
5. See number four above. Because it brings with it a whole slew of problems and I’ve learned something from every one of them.

Let’s start with the fact that Dante’s world is five light-years away from mine. He goes to black-tie functions and knows the Prime Minister of England on a first name basis. I was born and raised on a farm in Kansas and wear cut-off jeans paired with cowboy boots. See the difference?

But hearts don’t care about differences. Hearts want what they want. And mine just wants to be Dante’s girl.

My heart just might be crazy.

Doesn't it sound like such a great story? As promised, here is Chapter One from DANTE'S GIRL.

Dante’s Girl by Courtney Cole

Chapter One

It is impossible to look hot in the dingy fluorescent light of an airport bathroom. Or as my best friend Becca would say, hawt.

At this particular moment, I’m not hot or hawt.  I make this revelation as I vigorously scrub at my arms and face and then use a wet paper towel under my pits. 

And what is it about peeing in an airport toilet ten times in a day that makes you feel so completely scummy?  I glance around at the crumpled tissues strewn about on the scuffed floor and the dirty toilets peeking from behind half-closed doors and cringe.  That answer is clearly ‘because of the germs’. Ack. 

Trying not to think about it, I clean up the best I can.  After running a brush through my hair, I stick a piece of gum in my mouth, apply a thin layer of lip gloss and call it good.  I glance into the mirror and cringe.  It isn’t good enough, but it will have to do.  Very soon, I’ll put this dreadful four hour layover in Amsterdam behind me and before I even know it, I’ll be in London.

With my father.

For the summer.

It would be torture.

Just shoot me now.

And it’s not because I don’t love him, because I do.  My reluctance doesn’t stem from lack of love.  It comes from the deep-seeded fact that Alexander Ellis doesn’t understand me.  He never has and he never will. It’s something that I’ve made my peace with and I’m not angry about it.

I’m his only child and he works his life away as some top-secret agent for the NSA.  His job is so secret that I don’t even know what he does. In my head, I imagine him jumping from helicopters and saving starving children in war torn areas.  But in reality, I know he probably sits behind a desk and analyzes information from a satellite stream or a taped telephone conversation. I’m pretty sure that’s what the NSA does, anyway.  They aren’t the cool kind of spies.

Also, he isn’t exactly sure what to do with a daughter.  I was supposed to have been a boy. Seventeen years ago, sonograms apparently weren’t as absolute as they are today, because the technician told my parents that she was 99.9% sure that I was a boy.  They painted my nursery blue and picked out my name and everything.  I can only imagine the shocked horror on my father’s face when I was born with lady parts.

Regardless, I know he loves me.  Even though he had willingly given my mother full custody when they divorced years ago, I know he only did it because he works overseas so much and he isn’t exactly sure how to raise a girl.  He does okay.  But then again, I do have some reason to believe that he still pretends that I’m a boy, just to make it easier on himself.  It’s fairly easy to do since I still have the boy name that they originally picked out. 

With my head down, I trudge back out into the congested halls of Schiphol airport.  Weary travelers bustle around me and I shift my bags so that I can pull the stubborn strap of my tank top back over my shoulder where it belongs.  As I do, I crash into someone with enough force that my bags go flying out of my hands and scatter onto the ground under people’s feet.

“Son of a –“ I blurt before I even think.

“Buck?” a male voice offers helpfully. 

Looking up, I stare into the most unique and beautiful shade of blue that a pair of eyes has ever possessed. Of that I am certain.  Blue just shouldn’t be that multi-faceted and twinkling.  There should be a law or something. 

Or at least a warning label: 

Caution, these eyes may cause female knees to tremble.

Before I can help it, I scan the rest of him.  Sweet Mary.  This guy had lucked out in the gene department.  Tall, slender, beautiful.  Honey colored hair that had natural highlights that could even catch the crappy airport light, broad shoulders, slim hips, long legs.  He is tan and golden with a bright, white smile. 

I am surely staring at Apollo, the god of the sun.  Probably with my mouth hanging open, which makes me realize that I must look like an idiot- the personification of what foreigners think Americans to be.  I snap my mouth closed.

“I’m sorry,” I say quickly, trying to still my racing heart.  “Did I run into you?”

“Only a bit,” Apollo says gentlemanly, with a shrug of his strong shoulders.  I can tell he is strong even through his shirt sleeves, which are snug across his toned biceps.  Sweet baby monkeys. 

“How can someone run into someone else only by a bit?” I ask with a nervous smile as I kneel to retrieve my stuff. 

Please don’t let him smell me right now, I silently pray to any god who cares to listen. I am sure that at this point in my travels, I probably smell like soiled hamster bedding. 

He bends next to me and picks up the contents of my spilled purse. He smells like sunshine.  And rain.  And everything beautiful that I can think of.  I try not to cringe as his fingers grasp a tampon and slide it back inside my bag.  He doesn’t even flinch, he just casually continues to pick up my things like he’s used to handling feminine hygiene products.

“Oh, it’s fairly easy, really,” he answers.  He has an exotic sounding accent that I can’t place.  “At least, when you’re not looking where you’re going.”  My head snaps up and he laughs. 

“I’m kidding,” he assures me as he extends an arm to me. Even his hand is graceful.  I gulp as his fingers curl around mine.  “You can bump into me any time you’d like.”

“Thanks,” I mumble.  “I think.”

“I’m Dante,” he tells me, his impossibly blue eyes still twinkling. 

“I’m Reece,” I answer with a sigh, already anticipating his reaction. “Yes, I know it’s a boy’s name.”

“You’re not a boy,” Dante observes.  “Most definitely not a boy.”

Is that a note of appreciation in his voice?  Surely not. I look like a bedraggled Shih Tzu. 

“No, I’m not,” I agree.  “I just don’t know that my dad ever got that memo.” 

I look past Dante and find that he is alone.  He seems to be about my age so that’s a little unusual in these circumstances.  My parents had flown me as an ‘unaccompanied minor’ across the ocean for years, but other people’s parents are usually a little squeamish about that. 

“I’m sure that fact hasn’t escaped him,” Dante tells me in amusement.  Why do his eyes have to sparkle so much?   I usually go for brown-eyed guys.  But this boy is most certainly making me re-think that stance.

“That’s debatable,” I sigh.  Realizing that we are impeding the busy pedestrian traffic like a dam in a rushing river, I smile.

“Thank you very much for helping me pick up my things.  Safe travels!”

I turn on my heel and pivot, walking quickly and what I hope is confidently in the other direction.  Hitching my heavy purse up on my shoulder, I fight the urge to turn and look at him.  Something about him is practically mesmerizing.

But I don’t look.  I keep walking, one foot in front of the other.  When I reach the moving walkway, I hop on and focus ahead of me, eyes straight forward.

Don’t look back.

Don’t look back.

Don’t look back.

Regardless of my silent chanting, when I step from the walkway I discreetly check behind me.  Apollo is nowhere to be seen.  With a sigh, I continue on to the British Airways terminal.  Only three short hours left until take-off.  Plugging my earbuds into my ears, I settle into a seat and close my eyes.

* * *

“Excuse me, Reece?”

Before I even open my eyes, I know the sexy accent is coming from Apollo.  I can feel his epic hotness emanating through my eyelids.  I only hope that I haven’t been drooling in my sleep.

“Yes?” I ask as nonchalantly as I can while my eyes pop open.  I try to discreetly smooth my hair down. In my head, I envision myself as Chewbacca from Star Wars and wince.

Dante hands me my phone, which must’ve fallen from my lap as I napped. 

“Are you on the flight to London?” he grins.  “They’re boarding priority travelers now.  I just thought you should know.”

Yikes. I had slept for three hours?  In a noisy airport?  I must have been super tired.

“Thank you,” I reply quickly, gathering my things in a rush. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep.  I’m not a priority traveler, but I probably would have slept through general boarding.  Thank you for waking me.”

I glance at him as I stand up and can’t help but do a double take.  It isn’t easy to get used to his particular brand of sexy.  He is laid-back, handsome and casual, which is a formula for utter female devastation.  The impossible thing is that he doesn’t seem to realize it. He’s effortlessly sophisticated and chic.

“Well, you’re awake now and that’s the important thing. Have a nice trip, Reece,” Dante grins once more before he joins a group of men who are apparently waiting for him.  I was wrong, I guess.  He isn’t alone after all.  The men close around him in a tight circle and they board the plane with the other passengers with first class tickets. 

He’s on my flight.

I gulp and find a place in line with the other travelers flying coach. 

As the richer, better-dressed passengers file past us, I feel a little like a bumpkin in rumpled clothing.  Even though I travel to London every summer to visit my dad, I live in rural America the rest of the year. And all of a sudden, I feel like I am wearing a blinking neon sign proclaiming that very fact.  The clothing that had seemed sophisticated to travel in this morning now seems like it was hand-made in someone’s backwoods shed. 

And it so makes sense that Apollo is in first class.  He smells like a beautiful sunrise in a wooded meadow. Oh, my gosh.  What is wrong with me? Where did that come from?  I am totally being as corny as an erectile dysfunction commercial. 

I roll my eyes at my own absurdity and hand my ticket to the heavily made-up flight attendant who is waiting to take it.  She glances at it and then at me before she stamps my passport and hands it back.

“Have a nice flight, Miss Ellis,” she tells me before turning her attention to the passenger behind me.

Yeah, right. 

I like flying almost as much as I like having dental work.  Or having my fingernails pulled out one by one.  Or having paper cuts sliced onto my legs and then lemon juice poured onto them.  Just about that much.

Filing down the narrow aisle through first class, I can’t help but search out Apollo.  It doesn’t take long to find him.  He is situated by the window in a wide, leather first-class seat.  He’s already covered in a warm blanket and looks like he is settling in for the hour long flight.  As I move closer to him, his eyes pop open and meet mine, the electric blue of his almost causing me to gasp aloud. 

He smiles slightly as I pass and his gaze doesn’t waver from mine. 

I find myself wishing that I could sit next to him.  Not only because of the lavish first class seats, although those would be nice too. 

But rather, there is something in the air between Dante and me.  I can feel it, an instant connection.  I can practically reach out and touch it.  I’ve never experienced chemistry like this in my life. It’s the kind that seems corny when you read about it in books, but in real life, it is anything but. It is simply electrifying.  Ripping my eyes from his, I continue down the aisle and find my seat.

Taking a deep breath, I stash my carry-on in the overhead bin and slump into the window seat, trying not to hyperventilate as my fear of flying suddenly overwhelms me while the cramped airplane closes in around me.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.


I watch the flight crew below me loading the bags into the belly of the plane.  What if they dislodge the landing gear while they are messing around down there?  What if they don’t check the systems well enough and we die in a fiery crash?  What if the metal holding the plane together rips off in the air and peels away like tissue paper?

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.


I might die. 


I listen impatiently as the flight attendants give their safety spiel and motion toward the exits like they are NFL referees with dumb tiny scarves around their necks.  I just need for them to get on with it.  Just let us taxi out and take-off and then I will be perfectly fine once we are in the air.  My hands get clammy and my ears start to roar.  Why am I such a freak?

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.


You freaking flight attendants.



I’m just getting ready to shove my earbuds back in to distract myself when Dante appears next to me like a savior or an angel or something of equal beauty and importance.

“Is this seat taken?” he smiles and I notice a dimple in his right cheek that I hadn’t noticed before.  How had I missed a dimple?

“Um, not that I know of,” I answer weakly, trying not to die from heart palpations.  “But the seat belt sign is on. You’re not supposed to be out of your seat.” 

Fabulous. Now I sound like a hall monitor with a heart problem.

Dante shrugs without seeming worried. 

“I think it will be okay,” he answers.  “We’re not even on the runway yet.”

“Good point.”

“Can I sit here?  I’m bored up front.”

I nod, my palms instantly clammier.  “I hope you brought your blanket.  You won’t get much back here except for a bag of peanuts.”

And now I sound like a cheap hall monitor with a heart problem. I’m presenting myself better and better by the moment.

Dante smiles yet again and sits next to me.  He brings his charming accent with him and the scent of his amazing cologne.  I take a deep breath.  He smells far better than the stale airplane air.  Far better.  I fight the urge to jump into his lap and inhale his neck, a maneuver that just might make me appear slightly insane.

“You look pretty pale,” he observes as he buckles up. “Are you afraid to fly?”

“Is it that obvious?” I ask quietly.  “As much as I’ve flown in my lifetime, I should be used to it.  But I’m afraid that’s never going to happen.  Once I’m in the air for awhile, I’ll be fine, but until then… well, I’m terrified. I admit it.”

“Don’t worry,” Dante tells me quietly, his voice calm and reassuring.  “There’s nothing to be afraid of.  You’re more likely to get into a--”

“Car crash rather than die in a plane crash,” I interrupt.  “Yes, I know. I’ve heard.  Where are you from?” I ask curiously, half out of genuine curiosity and half out of the need to distract myself.  “You have the most interesting accent.”

He smiles, his teeth brilliantly white.  I decide on the spot that I could watch him smile all day long.

“Caberra,” he answers, reminding me that I had asked a question.  “It’s an island near Greece.  And you?”

“Like you don’t know that I’m American,” I chuckle.  “I know it’s written all over me.  I’m sure you’re a fan, right?”

“Of Americans?” he raises a golden eyebrow.  “Of course. I love them.  I have no reason not to.  They bring a lot of tourist dollars to Caberra.”

“Well, we are a land of excess,” I admit.  “But that’s usually what foreigners seem to hate about us.”

Dante stares at me for a moment and then smiles.  “Well, I can’t speak for all foreigners, but I don’t hate Americans.  And you’re not in America right now, are you?”

I shake my head.  “No, I am most certainly not.”

“Well, then.  You’re the foreigner now.”  He grins and I can’t help but smile back.  He has a point.

The pilot gets on the intercom and his nasally voice drones on and on, but I am able to tune it out as I engage in conversation with a boy who is surely a direct descendent of the gods.  There is no other plausible explanation for his good looks or charm. I barely even hear the words that come out of Dante’s mouth, because I am so mesmerized by the shape of his lips as he moves them.  Pathetic, I know, but true. 

One thing about me:  I don’t lie to myself.  I might stretch the truth for my parents from time to time when necessary, but never to myself. And I’m pathetically fascinated by this boy.

Finally, the aircraft shudders a bit and noses forward and I startle, gripping the arms of my seat. My fingers turn white and I am certain that I am leaving permanent indentions in the cracked vinyl arm-rests.

“Don’t worry,” Dante says quietly, unpeeling one of my hands and grasping it within his own.  “It will be fine.”

The feel of his hand distracts me.  Strong and warm, it cups my own carefully, like he is holding something very fragile.  I close my eyes and enjoy the feeling. I only have a couple of minutes to soak it in, however.

As the plane moves down the runway in preparation for take-off, something happens.  Something isn’t right. 

Our plane rocks a little, then quivers, like it is being moved by a strong gust of wind.  I feel it a brief moment before Dante tightens his grip on my hand, a split second before light explodes from outside of my eyelids.  I open them to discover fire tearing down the runway past my window.  Before I can react or even scream, all hell breaks loose.

Okay, what are you waiting for? Go get DANTE'S GIRL at Amazon!
You can find the super fabulous Courtney Cole at:

website  Twitter  |  Facebook |   GoodreadsAmazon

Monday, June 25, 2012


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, just do as following:

·Grab your current read
·Open to a random page
·Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
·Be careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others.

Make sure to share the title and the author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR piles.

1 Concert 2000 Miles 3 Ex-Best Friends Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends. Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3. But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books. Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there. But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over? ~From GoodReads

My Teaser ~

"Then, he leaned in and kissed her - her cheek still in his hand as if he were holding on to something precious. Alice had kissed boys before, but never like this. Their kiss was a thing of their own invention - like a river flowing through every cell in her body, then out into the universe."
(pg 161, ARC)
You can find my full review of REUNITED here.

b Published June 12th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Review ~ REUNITED, by Hilary Weisman Graham

1 Concert 2000 Miles 3 Ex-Best Friends Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends. Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3. But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books. Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there. But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over? ~From GoodReads

Three high school graduates. One pea green VW bus. A roadtrip to Austin to see their favorite band, Level3, reunited. REUNITED had all the makings for the exact sort of Contemporary Young Adult story I love.

The girls who make up REUNITED are three very different, distinct girls. Alice is the organizer. She is a sweet, well-meaning but a bit exasperating control freak. Tiernan is the rebel. She's abrasive, infuriating, uses humor to mask emotion, and I completely adored her. Summer is the sweetheart. She's gorgeous and popular, but feels as if she doesn't have a voice. Jealousy, miscommunication and a lie tore their friendship apart. Will close quarters bring them back together, or tear them apart forever?

REUNITED was extremely well-written.  Hilary Wiseman Graham's writing was well-paced and very readable. The narrative was excellent. The changing point of view were easy to navigate. I never had to struggle to keep going.

As far as the story goes, I really enjoyed it. As an adult, I can look back and see so much of myself and my friends in these characters. I have to say, it made me nostalgic and more than a little sad. I appreciate the fact that while there are a couple of instances involving the three and the guys they meet along the way, this book isn't about a girl trying to get a guy. This book is about the Alice, Tiernan, and Summer. Plain and simple. I wish there were more stories like this, about friendship, out there. The only thing I didn't love about the story was the ending. Yes, it was cute and very neat. But after all the girls had been through, it felt like one too many obstacles and then an unrealistic turn of events. This could just be me, being nit picky, but it felt a tad too cutesy. But still, I did smile.

REUNITED is a sweet, endearing and thoughtful book about the struggles of self and friendship. I would enthusiastically recommend it to fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.

Favorite Quote:

"Alice didn't want to over sentimentalize it, but it did seem like a rather strange coincidence that the three of them had wound up at the edge of the very same soccer field where they'd first met and become friends back in the fourth grade. Even stranger was the fact that they'd now spent more time giving closure to a dead squirrel than they had to the death of their five-year friendship." (pg 45, ARC)

Published June 12th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

You can purchase REUNITED at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository

Source: Received as part of the SOUTHERN BOOK BLOGGERS ARC Tour.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review and Series Giveaway ~ THE DEPARTED (MacKinnon Curse #3) by by J.A. Templeton

The Departed (MacKinnon Curse, #3)Psychic? Check. Haunted by a malevolent spirit who is making life a living hell? Check. In love with a smoking hot Scot, who is the reincarnation of the man creepy malevolent ghost murdered two centuries before? Check. Friends and family think you’re losing your mind? Check. Welcome to the life of sixteen-year-old Riley Williams, whose life hasn’t been the same since she moved to Scotland and met the spirit of Ian MacKinnon, and Laria, the witch who murdered him. Since helping Ian cross over to the other side, Riley became Laria’s target, and now the witch has made it clear she wants her dead. Laria has already possessed Riley’s brother and friends, and Riley is starting to feel a little strange herself. She just hopes that she can stop Laria before the ghost takes everything from her. With her boyfriend Kade, her brother, and her buddies by her side, Riley is in for the fight of her life.~From GoodReads

* *There are some mild spoilers for books one and two in the series. You can check out my review of book one, THE DEEPEST CUT, and book two, THE HAUNTED. **

This review is so hard for me to write. I want to talk about everything that happened in the story, but I don't want to spoil it for future readers. So I must keep this short.

I will start, though, by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed THE DEPARTED. I flew through the story in only two, maybe three, hours. The plot picks up very soon after book two, THE HAUNTED, ends. Riley and her friends decide to consult a Ouija board, which if you've read this series you'll know is just asking for trouble. The creep factor is instantaneous in this book and hardly lets up throughout the story. I am so happy that I read this on a sunny summer day, or I would've been jumping out of my skin at every turn.

Author J.A. Templeton did an excellent job of writing realistic, thoroughly enjoyable characters. Riley and her friends Cass, Cait, and Megan were so funny. As were her brother Shane, boyfriend Kade, and the other guys in the story. As a couple, Kade and Riley are a great match. Their ability to see past the horror of their situation and realize that they had each other no matter what was endearing. They did not forsake their friendships for the relationship either, and I loved that about Kade and Riley. The dialogue between the teens had excellent tone and believability. I am really going to miss these kids.

I loved the way Templeton wrapped up the series. There were revelations and backstory that helped explain the mystery and tie the past to the present. I have found that I am not always happy with a lot of the Paranormal Young Adult stories I read these days. But I have loved every bit of The MacKinnon Curse series. If you are looking for a well-rounded, spooky, yet fun series, this one should hit the spot.

Favorite Quote:

"Those words meant everything. What I wouldn't give to tell him that he was Ian in a past life, but it was hard to wrap your brain around the fact thay you could be living at the same time your earthbound spirit was hanging out with your girlfriend." (ebook, 16%)

You can purchase THE DEPARTED at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 


Author J.A. Templeton is genereously offering one winner ALL THREE BOOKS of the MacKinnon Curse series.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Weekly Rewind, #8

THE WEEKLY REWIND is a weekly post in which I recap the bookish awesomeness from the past week, and post a book haul. Warning: I tend to ramble in my vlogs. Sometimes I get excited about things and I flail. Enjoy.

Book Haul

Books Received:

Awesome People:

Search terms that led to this blog:
  • Karina Halle ~ I love Karina Halle and her books. She is always the top search term.
  • Jacqueline Gardner murder ~ Eh...there was a her book.
  • Tammara Webber Between the Lines ~There were a couple of search terms for Tammara that led here. Yay! I love her books.
  • cousin sex camping gay ~ I...I'm pretty sure I know what you're looking for. Sorry I couldn't help.



Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment, and I'll come check out your blog. Have a great week!

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