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Invaded – Melissa Landers

Invaded cover Invaded
By: Melissa Landers
Alienated – Book 2
Available Feb 2015

Description:
The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe…until a threat to both their worlds reunites them.

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

This Blonde’s Review:
I really liked getting to know Cara and Aelyx in the first book so I was looking forward to finding out what happened in the second book.

Cara is on L’eihr trying to figure out how to get by as a human on a new planet. Except she thought when it happened she’d be doing it with Aelyx by her side to help her figure it all out. Instead he is on Earth doing his part to make the alliance successful. She doesn’t know what’s going on half the time, but she does know that there is definitely someone trying to sabotage her. She also knows that something doesn’t seem right on L’eihr, besides their inability to understand basic freedoms or humankind’s desire to choose. With so many against her, even going so far as to attempt to get her punished for serious crimes, it’s only natural for her to wonder if it is worth it.

Aelyx is trying to figure out how to get by and hoping that no one tries to kill him. Not just because he doesn’t want to die, but because his leaders claim they’ll end the alliance if they’re harmed. When serious attempts on their life start to occur and they find the attempts being downplayed and the alliance isn’t severed, Aelyx starts to get suspicious. It looks like The Way will do anything to make the alliance happen, but he doesn’t know why.

Cara and Aelyx spend so much time trying not to worry the other that they don’t share all of the important information that they should. And when Cara does share information that Aelyx doesn’t find possible he dismisses it much quicker than he should because of his own stress and distractions. If they can work together and find their way back to that connection they had in the first book they’ll have everything figured out, though they may not figure everything out on time.

I enjoyed getting to see more of Cara and Aelyx’s story. It wasn’t perfect or easy, but there’s no way it could be. They’ve come from different planets and cultures, and now they’re swapped and living in one they don’t fully understand. But they’re determined to do what they have to. Luckily neither of them are alone. Though they can’t always trust the people around them, they are smart and determined, which are some of the things I loved best about them.

And of course the end was sweet and in some ways exactly what you’d expect. There were a few things I hadn’t anticipated, which was good. There were a few things left up in the air so I’d be interested to see if the author writes another book with any of the other characters. I don’t really see that happening since the way it was left sounded pretty final to me, even without having all of the answers.

I liked finding out more about what happened with Cara and Aelyx, as well as knowing that some of the relationships that were lacking in the first book became something bigger in the second, like Cara’s relationship with her brother. I also really liked that we got to find out more about The Way as individuals rather than an idea.

If you enjoyed the first book you’ll want to find out the rest of their story. If you haven’t read the first book but like reading about a girl who is trying to make a relationship and life work even if it means moving to another planet, all while helping prevent disaster, sounds interesting then you’ll enjoy this one.

 
 

Cinder & Ella Blog Tour – Why Cinderella

Cinder & Ella blog tour banner

Today I’m taking part in the Cinder & Ella Blog Tour to promote the release of Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram. My review will follow in another post so that you can instead concentrate on reading this wonderful guest post by Kelly talking about why she decided to write a Cinderella Story. I was excited to be included since I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Kelly Oram so far, including Cinder & Ella. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy getting to know more about it as well.

So keep reading for her guest post on Why Cinderella followed by information on the book. You can also find out about a giveaway if you keep reading.

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Why write a Cinderella story? It’s been done a hundred times. Why create one more retelling that will just get lost in the shuffle and have to work hard to compete with the dozens of brilliant adaptations already out there? The answer is easy: because I wanted to. The market, and my audience may influence my decisions on what to write a little bit, (they have to if I want to be successful) but, ultimately, when I write, I write for myself. And I wanted to write a Cinderella story. I’ve always loved Cinderella. It’s been my favorite fairy tale since I was a little girl. Once I started writing, I always knew that someday I would take my own spin on the story; it was just a matter of how I wanted to do it.

Cinderella doesn’t have to be just a story about a poor, down-on-her-luck girl who gets rescued by an amazing, perfect prince. Don’t get me wrong, that’s my favorite part of the story no matter how you retell it, but when it’s done right, it can be so much more than that. If you can dig deeper than the “she’s hot” and “he’s rich and can get me away from my stepfamily” angles, you have the potential to create a very powerful and emotional romance from the “Cinderella” and “Prince” characters. Cinderella is a story about two people from completely different worlds who, from all outward appearances, have nothing in common, and yet they find solace in one another. At least, that’s how I’ve always seen it, and that’s what I tried to accomplish with my version of it.

Cinder & Ella is a contemporary retelling of the classic fairy tale, about two people who escape the pressures of their vastly different realities through an anonymous online friendship. Ella is a girl who was left scarred and handicapped after a terrible car accident, while Brian is the hottest up and coming Hollywood actor. One seemingly has nothing, and the other everything. Both are always being judged and treated by their peers based on their circumstances rather than who they are as people. They build such a strong relationship with one another because online, with the anonymity, they can finally be themselves without the stigmas that constantly plague them in their everyday lives.

Cinderella is such an epic romance, and I really wanted to do it justice. I’m usually a little “fluffier” with my books—and, don’t worry, Cinder & Ella still has plenty of fluffy parts to it—but I wanted more from this book than the cute, fun stories I normally write. I wanted it to be deeper. I really wanted people to feel it. I think that’s why I chose to make my characters a little older than most of my other books, and why I chose to add a little more drama and depth to it. I didn’t want to give people just another fun Cinderella story. I wanted to write something that would stand out. A story that, if you took the Cinderella element away from it, could still stand on its own.

I put my whole heart into this book, and I really feel that I’ve written the best possible Cinderella story I was capable of. I honestly love it and think it might be my favorite of all the books I’ve written so far. I’m proud of it, and proud to join the ranks of all the other Cinderella retellings out there. Hopefully people will love it as much as I do!

———-

Kelly Oram author photo

About Kelly Oram:
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen—a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat named Mr. Darcy.

Author Links:
Facebook Goodreads
Twitter and My Website

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Cinder & Ella cover
It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

Buy Link
Available Now

 

To find the other stops on the tour and to enter to win the signed Kelly Oram contemporary collection be sure to head over to Kelly’s website here.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Book Review

 

Love and Other Theories – Alexis Bass

Love and Other Theories cover Love and Other Theories
By: Alexis Bass
Available 31 Dec 2014

Description:
If you want more, you have to give less.

That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.

So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.

This Blonde’s Review:
Aubrey is not going to repeat the mistakes millions of other high school girls do. They care too much, they want boyfriends, and they expect the boys to stick around. Aubrey and her friends don’t commit and don’t fall for anyone. They play the scene just like the guys do and that’s exactly how they will have the best experience.

Except as we get to know Aubrey we learn that things are really that simple. Despite hooking up with the new guy like it doesn’t matter, she isn’t usually that quick to jump. And she seems more interested in keeping him around and to herself than what their rules would stipulate. As we learn about the other girls in their group and the people around them it also becomes painfully clear that their experience isn’t as pain free as they’d like to pretend it is. They’ve lost friendships over guys, and continue to test and push friendships over them. And sometimes the people who seem the least like they care are really the ones who care the most.

Watching Aubrey go along with what her friends expected, while telling herself it was what she wanted, made me want to shake her. There’s this great guy who cares about her and she’s too scare to grab it. She never even considered any alternatives between being in a serious clingy relationship where they’d get broken or remaining uncommitted. Instead she takes a great guy who wants to be with her and brings him into this life they’ve created and doesn’t expect it to change them.

I was really torn by a lot of what happened in this book. Some things I knew needed to happen, if they didn’t there was no point to writing the book. The changes in Aubrey and the things she learned are what this book was really about, more than the guy. And that’s the best part about this book.

This is really about a girl who is struggling to figure out how to avoid the pain that she’s seen others experience. One who has to learn that sometimes all you do is open yourself up to a different kind of pain. If that sounds interesting to you then you’ll enjoy this one.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Book Review

 

Killer Instinct – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct cover Killer Instinct
By: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals – Book 2
Available Nov 2014

Description:
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

This Blonde’s Review:
Cassie is a natural profiler and able to get into the mind of killers. She still struggles after what happened with her last run-in with a serial killer but she doesn’t want it the program to end. When another murder victim shows up looking like Dean’s father’s victims, even though he’s still in prison, they know that something is up.

This one was great. I can generally figure out the whodunit pretty quickly but this one threw a few surprises at me that weren’t expected but also weren’t so far off base as to make the story too unlikely for me. And the way this book gave us more of the history on the mysterious Dean was great too. It gave us so much more on both of the guys in Cassie’s life since getting to know Dean gave us a way to know to know all of the characters and helped us love them even more.

I couldn’t help but love this one and the way it all turned out. I would love to find out that there is another book since I’d love to get to know more about the others on the team but I don’t think that there is with the way it ended.

If you enjoyed the first book in this series you will not be disappointed with this one.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Around The World Tours, Book Review

 

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless – Liz Czukas

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless cover Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
By: Liz Czukas
Available Dec 2014

Description:
Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

This Blonde’s Review:
Chloe is a list maker. She used to share lists with a friend, but that was before she moved and the friend stopped talking to her. Now she makes lists for her own comfort and peace of mind. It’s not like there is anyone else to really notice anyway since she doesn’t exactly have any friends where she lives. But maybe she can use her lists to help her get to know her coworkers. Just a few things here or there to get her started on the right foot. Or keep her from starting on the wrong foot.

I really enjoyed Chloe. She is awkward, a good girl at heart, and genuine. She may not tell everyone at work about her diabetes but she wants to do the right thing. When money turns up missing she doesn’t shrug her shoulders, she can’t help but try to solve the mystery. Even before the teenage employees are accused of being the culprits she felt compelled to try to figure it out.

When the teens are locked in the GoodFoods Market together waiting for police to arrive, essentially unsupervised, of course they are going to get up to some mischief, but mostly they talk. There is bickering but what I loved most was when it got serious. Hearing them discuss some of the bigger things and comparing their lives in ways that most kids don’t talk about was really great. The differences that kept them apart at the beginning of the book made the discussion broad and worth having.

The impressions they have of each other will change throughout the night. Some of them will become friends. While they will learn that some people aren’t who they started the night thinking they were.

If reading about a group of teens stuck in a store mostly unsupervised, accused of something they all claim not to have done sounds interesting to you then you should give this book a try.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Around The World Tours, Book Review

 

Chasing Power – Sarah Beth Durst

Chasing Power cover Chasing Power
By: Sarah Beth Durst
Available Oct 2014

Description:
Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla’s life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.

This Blonde’s Review:
Kayla isn’t your typical teenager. She’s a thief, she lies to her mother, and she can move things with her mind. Her mother knows about the last part, but she doesn’t know about the first. Kayla needs to have an escape plan at all times, and that escape plan includes having some cash put to the side in case of emergency.

When a guy named Daniel shows up that she doesn’t know but claims to know her name and what she can do. Rather than asking for help Daniel jumps straight to blackmail, trying to force her to do what he wants. Kayla isn’t interested in that and doesn’t trust him. But when he teleports her from one place to another she knows that he doesn’t have the same power she does but Daniel isn’t exactly your normal teenage kid either.

Tere was quite a bit left unanswered for me that I would have wanted to know more about. I didn’t get to see what happens when people come back over here to Canada. There was no real explanation for why Kayla was told what she was for most of her life (GAH spoilers means I can’t tell you!!) if it isn’t true. But there as people who do that to each other all the kind. it is ridiculous.

Overall I did enjoy the book. If you like the idea of a girl who can move things with her mind and a guy who can teleport teaming up then you’ll want to read this one.

 
 

Not in the Script – Amy Finnegan

Not in the Script cover Not in the Script
By: Amy Finnegan
If Only… – Book 3
Available Oct 2014

Description:
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

This Blonde’s Review:
Emma is the kind of famous person we want to believe in. She’s famous but still manages to be down to earth. She isn’t really interested in all of the crazy fame and gossip side of things. She just wants to act because she loves it. Her best friend still seems to get caught up in people’s images and Emma does her best to steer her away from the impossible dreams

When Emma gets a role on a new show playing a part that is unlike her real personality she knows that it could be difficult and fun. What she doesn’t expect is the complications that can happen when her costars are the hot guy she had a crush on for years before she became a star and the hot guy from magazines that her best friend drools over and tapes to her wall.

Emma tries so hard to navigate what is right for her without upsetting the people who matter to her, like her best friend and her mother. Obviously you can’t make everyone happy at the same time, especially when those people are more interested in leading your life for you than letting you figure out what works for you.

Jake’s character was fantastic. He was a good guy who wanted to take care of his family, who wanted more for his life and was interseted in sales more than acting or modeling. He wants his brain to count for something.

Of course it wouldn’t be worth writing about if it all didn’t almost fall apart on Emma. Baggage from a past relationship, the old crush somehow becoming public knowledge despite being over it, her costars’ bickering, and knowing that her best friend wants Jake for his looks are all enough to make Emma think that the best thing would be to stay single nad not get involved. Of course that is easier said than done.

I really enjoyed this. If you like books about girls who fall for the nice guy even when they do their best not to, then screw it all up, then you’ll enjoy this one. Because Emma does so much to keep this romance from happening, both on purpose and through no fault of her own, that you know it’ll take a strong and awesome guy to stick around through all of that.

 
 
 
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