Monthly Archives: June 2015

What We Saw – Aaron Hartzler

What We Saw
By: Aaron Hartzler
Available September 2015

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

This Blonde’s Review:
Kate doesn’t remember a lot from the party at Doone’s place. She knows that she had too much to drink, that there may have been a moment with her childhood best friend Ben, and that she went home early. As rumors start going around Kate starts to have a few more flashes of the night, including drinking with Stacey, a girl she used to be friends with when they were younger.

Since Stacey has a reputation around school people assume the worst about her when pictures start to circulate. When 4 popular boys are arrested at school for something that happened at the party no one can believe that they would have done anything wrong. The community sees Stacey’s accusations as a betrayal of the community, the school, and the sports team.

Watching the ways the girls deal with the information was so interesting to me. Some of the girls become fiercely loyal to the boys and refuse to hear any murmurs against them. Others believe that ‘boys will be boys’ is an unacceptable excuse to brush off things that shouldn’t be okay. As each new piece of information comes to light and more questions come up I liked seeing the way Kate works through everything. She questions things in way I feel that many people should. She asks what makes it okay for Stacey to be treated that way but not her. That night they were the same, except for the reputation that one had versus the other.

As terrible as this topic was, I liked the way things came together slowly. How sometimes the answer can be right in front of you and there could be so many signs you can’t see. The decisions that Kate had to make regarding what she believes and what she does about the things she discovers was important. It was important to see and important for her to do.

I couldn’t help but hate the way some things turned out, but I know there wasn’t a way to make things into a great happy ending when something so terrible is a key event in the book. I really do think that it turned out the only way it should have and was a book worth reading.

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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Book Review


Play On – Michelle Smith

Play On
By: Michelle Smith
Lewis Creek – Book 1
Available Now

In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek–he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything–maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.

This Blonde’s Review:
I don’t read many book where the main character is a guy, usually we get to see everything from the girl’s point of view. In this one we got to know Austin as he falls for Marisa. He has some baggage from the death of his father and only wants to get out of town.

Austin starts to get to know Marisa and she seems to be perfect for him. She isn’t ready to jump in to a relationship so they build their friendship first. Watching their relationship grow was so great. I enjoyed getting to know them both. Something I really loved is that everything with Austin and Marisa wasn’t as perfect as it seems at first glance. They each had baggage and things to learn from each other.

Marisa’s past was a surprise to me, I was expecting to find out that she had a serious disease like cancer. I’m so happy that it wasn’t that way since so I’ve read multiple books like that. This one tackles a very serious issue, depression. I felt there were several pieces of the book that portrayed depression in ways that I don’t usually see in the books I read. It was refreshing and I appreciated the way the author tried to show that a person can be happy about the things in their life and still suffer from depression, that they can still find themselves slipping.

I really enjoyed this one. I loved Austin and Marisa but I also loved the other characters we got to know. I’m looking forward to reading more about the other characters in the next books.

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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Book Review


Those Girls – Lauren Saft

Those Girls
By: Lauren Saft
Available Now

Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.

Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica are those girls: they’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them–and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band–without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved–literally, figuratively, physically….she’s not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever….or tears them apart for good? 

This Blonde’s Review:
Some books you keep reading hoping it’ll redeem itself. I hoped these ridiculous, unkind, and shallow girls would have a reckoning thar would bring it all around and I could find something to like. Sadly that was not the case and I found myself disappointed.

We aren’t supposed to love the things these girls represent. They’re supposed to be shallow, make bad choices, & not understand what true friendship is. It’s right there in the first line of the description. We can expect that. This was the kind of book where I loved some of the male secondary characters that we didn’t see enough of much more than I cared for any of our main characters. The girls had issues but anytime they got close to redeeming themselves they stepped back. And the big moment learning moment was diluted and turned into yet another bad choice.

In all honesty I’m rather upset with the way this one turned out. The things they did barely got a slap on the wrist, even from the one who was wronged. And the only one who sees how wrong it is and recognizes the need to take some time is one of the few characters I liked and didn’t need to learn that lesson.

If you want to read this book please know that these are flawed characters, but that these aren’t characters who feel the full brunt of their mistakes. It’s like watching a train wreck and knowing the ones who cause it don’t learn much from their mistakes. Most find that too frustrating to endure, but others like to see what happens anyway. I try hard to find positives but unfortunately my positives were the boys who were essentially collateral damage.

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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Book Review


The Heartbreakers – Ali Novak

The Heartbreakers
By: Ali Novak
The Heartbreakers Chronicles – Book 1
Available August 2015

“When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. Unbeknownst to him, I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Since Cara’s health has been deteriorating, all Stella Walter can think about is trying to cheer her sister up. Her life revolves around Cara to the point where Stella drops out of one of the country’s top photography programs so she can spend what little time she has left with her sick sister. 

With Cara’s birthday around the corner, Stella wants to get her the perfect gift. An autographed poster of her sister’s favorite boy band should do the trick. Sounds simple enough, right? But life isn’t always so easy. 

Not only does Stella hate The Heartbreakers because of their terrible music, but when she realizes that the cute boy she met at Starbucks is really Oliver Perry, the lead singer of the band, her life seems to spin out of control… 

Will Stella be able to swallow her pride and get the autograph that she so desperately needs to make Cara happy? And will Oliver be able to show Stella how to live her own life again? 

Meet… The Heartbreakers.

This Blonde’s Review:
Stella is the kind of character I couldn’t help but love. She meets a boy in a Starbucks and doesn’t know who he is. When she finds out he’s one of the members of her sister’s favorite band, a band that she stood in line for hours to see without getting an autograph. When they see each other again she doesn’t treat them like famous people, she treats them like the rude boys she thinks they are. From there surprising friendships form that lead to a photography job for Stella that also gives her the opportunity to spend more time with the guys. I couldn’t help but love her passion for photography and dedication to her family.

I also loved the boys in the band. Each of the guys had something to recommend them. From the fun pranks of some to the quiet support of others, they were all great characters that I lived getting to see. I hope to see these boys again and get to know them better. In this book we get to see Oliver, and we get to see how great he is for Stella.

Stella and Oliver each had things in their lives that seemed insurmountable. The thing they had to learn is something we can all relate to, when we discover our fear is what really holds us back. The things others demand of us & the obligations we commit to in others’ names are second to our own fears of loss of the things we hold as important. Encouraging each other past their fears was exactly what I like to see.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved Stella, her family, Oliver, and the rest of the Heartbreakers. The way every one of them built each other up was so great.

If you enjoy books about girls who fall for boys despite their fame not because of it you’ll enjoy this. If you enjoy boys who overcome their baggage thanks to a girl opening their eyes to all they’re missing, you’ll enjoy this.

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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Around The World Tours, Book Review


The One Thing – Marci Lyn Curtis

The One Thing
By: Marci Lyn Curtis
Available Sept 2015


Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met.Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

This Blonde’s Review:
I should start off by saying I really enjoyed this book, staying up way later than I should have to finish it. Maggie had her life changed forever when she lost her sight. She can no longer do the things that were most important to her so isn’t interested in trying to do any more than she has to. When she finds someone she can see the only thing that matters is trying to extend the sight past this one person.

I can sympathize with Maggie’s struggles and her unwillingness to let anyone else in. She shut her friends out and wasn’t looking for others. Ben didn’t just give her a limited range of sight, he also opened her eyes to other things.

Ben is amazing. He may only be 10, and Maggie may have started hanging out with him for the sake of her limited sight, but he’s the best character in the book. I loved him and admittedly wanted to cry a little over certain parts of the book. His brother Mason is the puzzle to figure out, the kind of guy you might not think was worth it except for how great he is to Ben. Of course he also happens to be the lead singer for Maggie’s favorite band. She has enough pride not to ask him to share anything about their shows, considering the way he acts with her.

We don’t come away from this book with all the answers. We don’t know why things happened the way they did, but I enjoyed the story enough that I don’t need all the answers. We rarely get them all in life, so why not leave a few unanswered. What I loved were the lessons Maggie learned and the ways her life grew when she gave herself the chance to see that there was life beyond sight.

If you enjoy books with characters who are learning how to live their life after something out of their control changes everything then you should give this one a chance.

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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Around The World Tours, Book Review