Book Tour + Review: Just Friends

Welcome to the Just Friends Book Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Title: Just Friends
Author: Tiffany Pitcock
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

Buy Links:
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Review:

As a debut novel, it was pretty good. The subjects broached here are real and hard to deal with and I think Pitcock really treated them with respect and care.

The book starts off a little oddly. Immediately, we have a sense of who the characters are and we get a odd game of pretend. It’s weird. I can’t really see a “good girl” and a “bad boy” doing that together and doing it well. That being said, you immediately see some of the chemistry the characters have with each other. Broaching the subject of “bad boy” and “good girl”, I can’t say they needed the labels. Chance was kind of a player, but there was nothing really “bad” about him. This definitely wasn’t a Katie McGarry sitch where the he’s part of a gang or the wrong side of town, he was just hot and girls liked him. Back to their chemistry though, the characters played off each other well, and I felt like their relationship was really natural.

The story itself was good. Labels aside, the characters were pretty down to earth and seeing into their worlds really brought the story to life. My heart actually hurt for some of them, ’cause honestly life sucks, but they dealt with it well enough. To be honest though, a lot of the story and problems the characters had could have easily been solved with this magical thing called communication. It was all just assumptions, overheard conversations, and jealousy, though I guess that’s kind of what high school is anyway. I don’t know guys, was high school really like this for you guys??

One thing that always drives me bananas is when the protag ditches her best friend for a guy. I get that it was a little different here, but her best friend plays a very peripheral role in this book, and she even states that she never sees Jenny anymore.

After typing all that out, you wouldn’t know what’s good about that novel, but honestly, there was something in the writing that kept me reading. The chemistry between the characters is great and the banter is funny, and as a whole, this book made me feel for the characters and their experiences. Is it a little cliche, sure. Is it super deep, not really. But I think it’s a good book to keep you company because you can’t help but smile while reading it.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 3.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Pacing: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.76

eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Links:
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author:

23. Writer. Reader. Sarcastic.

I was born and raised in Arkansas, which isn’t terribly exciting. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I used to sit in class and write stories in my notebooks, thinking that everyone did. It turns out, everyone didn’t. I love writing because it means I’m putting my thoughts, feelings, and soul out there for someone else to read – for someone else to feel. The fact that someone can read my words, and empathize with my characters – characters that wouldn’t exist with out me, that I created from my mind – is such a wonderful concept to me. I could happily write for the rest of my life as long as there was one person out there who was affected by my words.

Author Links:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:

Enter to win a print copy of Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock! Open to US/CAN.

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Book Tour + Author Interview: Mind Virus

Welcome to the Mind Virus Book Tour, hosted by Roger Charlie!~

Title: Mind Virus
Author: Charles Kowalski
Publication Date: July 1, 2017
Genre: Mystery Thriller
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Robin Fox, peace-loving professor of world religions, wants only to leave his dark past as a military interrogator behind him. But when an unknown suspect tries to disperse a deadly virus in downtown Washington, Fox is unwillingly drawn back into the shadowy world of intelligence.

The FBI and CIA automatically suspect Islamic terrorists, but Fox digs deeper to discover the far more frightening truth: a global conspiracy to eradicate all religion from the face of the earth.

From Washington to Jerusalem, from Rome to London, Fox must use all his wits in a perilous race to stop a psychopathic mastermind from unleashing worldwide devastation.

Buy Links:
Publisher | Amazon

Interview:

What is the theme of Mind Virus?

Mainly, that the fanaticism that leads to violence can be found anywhere, whether among religious believers or nonbelievers, and the will to seek peace and understanding can also be found anywhere.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

Everything begins with “What if…?” In this case, the question was, “Everyone is always talking about terror in the name of religion; could there be terror in the name of atheism?” From this question flows the rest of the plot and the characters. It was easy to develop Robin Fox; he’s the person I might have been if my life had taken a slightly different turn. As for the other characters, they may be loosely patterned on a real person, or a composite of several. If a minor character doesn’t seem sufficiently well-developed, I ask myself: if I were an actor, how would I play this character? How would I see the story from his or her point of view, since in our own minds, we’re always the central character of any story we appear in?

Tell us about your background. What made you decide to pursue writing?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I learned to write, and finished my first (unpublished) novel at the age of 17. I write fiction because my mind naturally frames things in terms of stories; that’s how I try to make sense of complex issues. I also find that, especially on controversial and polarizing issues, the best way—perhaps the only way—of getting people to see an alternative point of view is through story.

Tell us about the challenges of getting your book published. How did it come about?

It was indeed a challenge. The manuscript won more than its fair share of awards and nominations, and agents and editors found the premise intriguing, but not enough to sign, possibly because they felt the story was too controversial to make it past a risk-averse editorial board. But after dissipating my savings in writers’ conferences, I finally met—on a Twitter pitch fest, of all places—an editor willing to take a leap of faith, Susan Brooks.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Forget what they say about “write what you know.” Write what excites your imagination, and the knowledge you need can be acquired. And if a story grabs hold of you and won’t let go . . . tell it! Pay no attention to the inner voices that say “this is no good” or “no one else will be interested in it.” Believe in yourself, even when it feels like no one else does. To paraphrase Florence Foster Jenkins, people may say you can’t write, but never let it be said that you didn’t write.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

I teach English at a university in Japan. Living abroad adds an extra layer of challenge to the writing process. I often feel somewhat out of touch with contemporary American culture, and research that for a U.S.-based writer would take only a simple trip to the local library, or a call to a local expert, for me requires careful planning and considerable expense. But on the other hand, field research in exotic locations is easier, and living at a distance from my native culture gives me a different perspective from writers who are immersed in it.

What are some of your favorite authors or books?

Of course, I took some inspiration from the big names in the genre, like Lee Child. Tana French showed me it’s possible to write genre fiction with a literary flair. Dan Brown, Daniel Silva, and Jeffrey Small paved the way for thrillers with religious themes. Barry Eisler and Barry Lancet showed me it’s possible for Japan-based authors to produce books with worldwide appeal; I’m hoping the same will prove true even for one who isn’t named Barry! And the list wouldn’t be complete without Leo J. Maloney, who ever since our chance meeting at Killer Nashville has been very generous with his time and expertise and always gave me a dose of encouragement at just the time I needed it.

Thanks so much for your time! We look forward to your upcoming projects!

About the Author:

 

Charles Kowalski is almost as much a citizen of the world as his fictional character, Robin Fox, having lived abroad for over 15 years, visited over 30 countries, and studied over 10 languages. His unpublished debut novel, Mind Virus, won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Award and was a finalist for the Adventure Writers’ Competition, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award, and the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association literary award.

Charles currently divides his time between Japan, where he teaches English at a university, and his family home in Maine.

Mind Virus is scheduled for publication by Literary Wanderlust on July 1, 2017.

Other novels and short stories by Charles Kowalski:

“Let This Cup Pass From Me”

“Arise, My Love”

“The Evil I Do Not Mean To Do”

Author Links:
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Official Website

Review + Book Tour: Internet Famous

Welcome to the Internet Famous Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Title: Internet Famous
Author: Danika Stone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 6th 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Can an online romance survive in real life?

Internet sensation Madison Nakama has it all! Her pop-culture rewatch site has a massive following, and fans across the world wait on her every post and tweet. Even Madi’s dismal romantic life seems ready to take off as Laurent, a fellow geek (and unfairly HOT French exchange student!) starts flirting with her in the comments section of her blog. But Laurent’s not the only one watching for Madi’s replies.

Internet fame has a price, and their online romance sparks the unwanted attention of a troll. When Madi’s “real life” hits a rough patch, she feels her whole world crumbling. With Laurent’s support, can Madi rally her friends across the globe to beat the troll, or will he succeed in driving her away from everything―and everyone―she loves?

Review:

First off, I loved that this book gave so much time to Madi actually writing her blog, and tweeting out to her followers. It gave a sense of realism to the book – she wasn’t famous just because, she was famous cause she actually put time and effort into her work. As a blogger, I was able to relate to her a lot. That being said, I can’t say that I’m as accustomed to so many (read: any) responses to my work. It was great seeing Madi interact with her fanbase and try to be neutral and kind in her posts.

I have to admit – the troll made me nervous. There’s something about a faceless villain that really gets to you. And the scary thing is that it can happen. This is the world that we live in, where people can ruin your safe space with a few simple clicks of a button. And it sucks. It sucked for Madi more than most <highlight for spoilers> because the troll actually affected her real life – her schooling, her grades – and I think the worst is that the school kept buying into anonymous tips about Madi’s work that never actually panned out.  My stomach kept knotting itself every time the troll struck, and that feeling is what fueled me through the book. I needed to know what the resolution was. I needed to know why this troll was after her.

Madi herself was well developed – I enjoyed her little quips and appreciated her introversion. Her motto was something along the lines of human interaction sucks, and I can definitely relate to that. We really got to see her step outside of her comfort zone and learn to take control of her own life. Madi’s sister, Sarah, added a lot of emotion to the book. I loved her and yet I also understood Madi’s own kind of resentment towards her parents, and kind of her sister. We learn early on that Sarah is someone with special needs, though her condition is never actually named. She is fun and lovable, and my heart hurts for her throughout the novel. Madi tries her best with her and I love the sisterly relationship that is a big part of this novel.

The romance itself is cute – it doesn’t actually steal the spotlight in the book, and I have to give the author credit for that. Some of the ideas lent to the whole long-distance relationship were fun and creative, too, and I enjoyed learning more about Laurent and the other NYC characters.

Random note: I would love to see/own a printed version of the book because some of the details would be cool to see off the screen.

As a whole, this book is probably one of my favourites this year. The resolution of the book was really well done, and I didn’t actually feel like the end was rushed. In fact, the epilogue was just what I needed to finish off the book (it’s something I kind of wanted to see at the end of books like Girl at Sea and other romantic contemporaries). Definitely would recommend!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Pacing: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.8

eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author:

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both adults (The Intaglio Series and Ctrl Z) and teens (Icarus and All the Feels). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

The first book in Danika’s upcoming Tathagata series (Edge of Wild) was selected as a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award (2013). Edge of Wild (Stonehouse CA) will be released March 2016. Danika’s YA novel, All the Feels (Macmillan US), will be released June 2016.

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

Author Links:
Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway | Open US/CAN

Enter to win a print copy of Internet Famous!

Review + Book Tour: Groupie

Welcome to the Groupie Book Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Title: Groupie [Rock-Hard Beautiful #1]
Author: C.M. Stunich
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
GoodReads

Synopsis:

“Can one of these five rockstars fill the hole in my heart? Or will I stay broken forever?”

Young, dumb, and broke.

That’s what started everything. With five dollars in her pocket, and everything she owns stuffed in the back of her car, Lilith Goode’s life is over. Done. Destroyed.

Ten words. One text. That’s what it took to change the whole world.

A crumpled concert ticket. A chance encounter. That’s what it takes to start all over again.

Five rockstars. One girl. Six dark hearts, six withered souls.

But can one broken person really put another back together again?

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo

Review:

First off, I should really start looking at the GoodReads synopsis too, ’cause it tells a VERY different story than the one here. This book is erotica, and I don’t know why I didn’t expect what I got based on the one given up there ^, but I didn’t… ’cause like “put another back together” usually indicates one person. No, she tries to fix all five.

Second, I really didn’t like the first half of this book. Lilith leads a sad life, as does every person in this band she encounters, and so they connect. But I mean, she does the didly-doo in the first 50 pages with like four guys, and it’s just like girl, what. And then she starts being sad again. LIKE ???

I mean, this girl’s world is crashing down, but it’s all seemingly fixed through sex – and it just baffles me. Sorry friends, but sex is definitely not the answer to your life problems.

However, I do love a book that has good character development, and I really saw that throughout the book – not really with Lilith to be honest (maybe that comes in the next book, I don’t know, but there wasn’t much here). I was really interested in the boys and I wish there was more focus on them (and Lilith) than all the sex. There’s a lot of heartbreak in each of their lives, and I feel like this book was really just skimming the surface of it all.

I liked that each boy had his own personality. I wouldn’t say there was much depth to them, but their habits made me curious about their lives, what got them there, what “messed” them up. I got a few answers, but it wasn’t satisfying enough. But I enjoyed reading about them and about their banter because their characters brought colour to the mess that was Lilith.

Lilith though was weird. Like I’ve lost family members before, but this girl is hella bipolar with her grief and it was simultaneously weird and annoying?? Like she’s screw everyone and then just be like wow, my grief busted open my lustful side! And then ten minutes later she’ll be curled up in a ball just like my dad is dead… -sobs-. LIKE okay… Aside from this though, Lilith was a strong, yet comforting female character, and her love for the band and the band’s love for her was healing in a way.

Last random fact – I found a few typos in this book, so I kind of wish it was given an extra edit or two.

As a whole, this book was way out of my comfort zone, but I think the characters made it for me – they really brought colour to the book (even if it was just dark colours).

Plot: 2.5/5
Characters: 4/5
World Buiding: 4/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.3/5

eBook obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo

About the Author:

C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

Author Links:
Facebook | Twitter | Website | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway | Open internationally | Ends June 1st

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card + a signed copy of Groupie.

Book Tour + Review: The Waterfall Traveler

Welcome to the The Waterfall Traveler Book Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Title: The Waterfall Traveler
Author: S.J. Lem
Publication Date: April 19th 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
GoodReads

Synopsis:

All eighteen-year-old Ri wants is to cure her adoptive father Samuel from his hallucination-inducing illness. Everyone in her village tells her it’s impossible. But when she meets two newcomers in the forest—a gruff rogue with a vendetta against the gods and a charming fugitive who saves her life—she’ll be torn away from Samuel and swept across the sea to an oppressive city governed by a ruthless tyrant. Once there, she’ll not only have to confront Samuel’s unlawful past, but a vicious evil that threatens all mankind.

In this tale of bravery, friendship, and unforeseen love, Ri risks it all to save those she cares for. But if she prevails, she’ll find the one thing she yearns for most—a cure for Samuel.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Review:

The Waterfall Traveler surprised me. I thought it’d be a little lighter, but this book was intense. There were a lot of dark scenes and a lot of death, and it was definitely an adventure/thrilling sort of read.

The book starts off running. We meet Ri and Samuel in the first few pages, and after the first couple chapters there’s an attack and then we’re off. It was fast-paced and intense, but not so much so that you didn’t have a chance to catch your breath.

I really like the intricacies of the book – a lot of the characters were connected to each other in unexpected ways and I was always surprised as to how. The development of the characters is pretty good too – each character has a chance at telling their story and what happened to them, and we as readers get to understand why they are how they are. I liked Ri’s independent and fighting spirit, even when it got them in trouble, and Bryce’s loyalty, and Carter’s sassiness, Katie’s sweet heart. That being said, I kind of really wanted to kick them all. Despite all their differences, every character was pretty self-sacrificing and overprotective. It was both admirable and irritating.

One thing that bothered me was that at the beginning there were a lot of “we’ll tell you later” sort of things. I get that they didn’t want to do an information dump, but there are less obvious ways to do that. I guess, in part, it was due to Ri’s bullheadedness, but it made the beginning kind of frustrating.

The end, however, was stellar. I was so surprised, I sped through the pages in excitement. There was a lot to digest, but it was worth it. I was really surprised, and kind of heart broken.

My next question would be whether this book has a sequel or not, as the end seems to hint at something of the sort!

Overall, an enjoyable read, but you really have to be willing to push through the first few chapters of the book!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Pacing: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.45/5

ebook obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

S.J. Lem is a digital art director gone writer in hopes of expanding her creative aspirations. Whether it’s introducing dimensional characters, crafting imaginative worlds, or transporting readers into high-stakes adventures, she strives to deliver an immersive experience.

She lives in Chicago with her husband and son. When not writing, she enjoys pottery, gardening, and volunteering. Connecting with readers and fellow writers is one of her greatest joys.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Open internationally! Enter to win:

  • A print copy of The Waterfall Traveler
  • $50 Amazon GC

Interview + Book Tour: Finding Paradise

findingparadisetourbanner-1

Welcome to the Finding Paradise Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

findingparadise

Title: Finding Paradise
Author: V.P. Ortiz
Publication Date: Sept 24, 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Mila Quinn is ready to finally move out of the college dorms into an apartment with her longtime boyfriend, Ethan Lowe. But when Ethan reveals a big secret, her world is suddenly turned upside down, stirring up old memories of love and loss. Completely torn apart, she boards a plane to Hawaii to escape for the summer.

Even though Mila wants to spend her time in paradise in isolation, fate has other plans when it drops sexy local Gage Madden in her lap. Hesitant at first, she agrees to let him take the reins on her island exploration. As Mila discovers the wonders of Oahu with Gage, it becomes harder for her to fight the budding attraction between them.

But behind the curtain of island adventures and undeniable chemistry, trouble is brewing where Mila least expects it. Secrets begin to bubble to the surface that could destroy her all over again. Will Mila find her paradise? Or will she leave Hawaii with another broken heart?

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Interview:

Hi! Welcome to Between Printed Pages, we’re so happy to have you here today.

Thank you so much for having me, Alicia! This is actually my first author interview, so I’m super excited that I can have it here at Between Printed Pages!

Before we start, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m a long-time reader, first-time author. I fell in love with reading at a very early age – say, around first grade or so. Unfortunately for me, writing novels isn’t my “day job.” I actually work in the legal field as part of a litigation support team. I’ve been asked why I write romance novels instead of crime or lawyer drama novels if I know the legal field so well. The answer is simple: to escape! Haha! Who wants to work all day, then come home and write for a few more hours about work? No, thank you!

Aside from being a reader and a writer, I’m a mother to two awesome kids and a wife to a very loving and supporting husband. They are really the reason why I feel so inspired to follow my dream of being an author and to never give up!

What was the inspiration for Finding Paradise and what about the story called to you?

My husband and I eloped on the island of Oahu in Hawaii over ten years ago. He had grown up on the island (his dad was in the Army and was stationed there for a few years) and we decided to have a wedding/honeymoon in one. The minute I stepped foot off the airplane, I fell in love with Hawaii! From the culture to the food to the scenery to the lifestyle, it was all so mesmerizing. Fast forward nine years, we went back to Oahu for a family vacation with our children and, as expected, I fell in love all over again. There is just something about Hawaii that is special and I wanted to share that with others so they can see and feel the same things about Hawaii that I do.

It’s interesting because a few months after we returned from our Oahu family vacation, I decided to write and publish my first novel. I wrote about six chapters worth of another story, but always had the Hawaiian islands in the back of my mind. They were haunting me in the most beautiful way. So I pushed that novel aside and mapped out a new idea that transformed into Finding Paradise. I wrote Finding Paradise in a way that the love story of Mila and Gage were almost secondary to Mila discovering Hawaii in the same awestruck way that I did so many years ago.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

JUST DO IT! No, I’m not plugging the Nike brand, though if they paid me to, I wouldn’t turn it down. My advice is to just do it! Go for it! I know it’s a scary concept – to open up your heart and your work to the world. And I will tell you right now: not everyone is going to love your novel. But that’s okay! You’re not writing for everyone else. Not for your significant other, not for your neighbor, not for your frenemies (though I get the innate urge to rub your accomplishments in their face). Write the novel because it’s your dream, not theirs.

Like Gage says in Finding Paradise, “You have to leap if you want to know how it feels to fly.” It’s so easy to find a million reasons why you can’t do it, but you will never know the amazing feeling of being a published author if you don’t try.

Finding Paradise is a self-published book, which is a whole new ballgame when it comes to writing novels. You are now not only the author, but you are also the publisher and the marketing team. I’ve started a blog on my website, www.vportiz.com/confessions, called Confessions of a New Author. This blog is a series of my adventures in writing that I hope can calm some fears and maybe even inspire some aspiring writers to take the next step and publish their novels. I’m hoping to put up some new content on the blog after my next novel is published this spring.

Within Finding Paradise, which character was your favourite to write and why?

Honestly, I would’ve thought it would be Mila because we share so many of the same personality traits. But it turns out that I loved writing Aunt Sophie and Baylee! Probably because I based those two characters on two people that I know personally. Aunt Sophie is based on my best friend’s mom, who is witty and sharp while having the gentlest heart I’ve ever known. And Baylee, oh Baylee, she is based on one of my work besties. A crazy, fun soul who is just as vulnerable as anyone, even though she tries to hide it. It’s so funny because the inspiration for Baylee was one of my beta readers and after she read Finding Paradise, she said she LOVED Baylee. I told her, “Well, of course, you did. You two are the same person!” Both Aunt Sophie and Baylee were such fun characters to write. I loved their dynamic together and separately with Mila. They were a big part of Mila’s journey.

And yes, readers, Baylee will have her own story coming soon! That will be a fun book to write!

What are three songs that describe Finding Paradise?

I have a Spotify playlist specifically for Finding Paradise at https://open.spotify.com/user/vportiz_books/playlist/3loOrvQKy3c6XXStWk4zVj. I listened to this playlist pretty much non-stop while I was writing Finding Paradise. Most of the songs are sung either by native Hawaiians or are sung in the Hawaiian language. Such beautiful melodies that take you to the islands and make you never want to leave!

I love all the songs on the playlist, but if I had to pick three, they would be:

  • Simple Love Song by Anuhea: This song is what I consider to be the anthem for Finding Paradise. The words accurately describe everything that Mila felt for Gage and I love Anuhea
  • Falling by Keahiwai: These Hawaiian singers capture what it feels like to fall in love in paradise in this song.
  • Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: This song is so important to me. Not only does it appear in a great scene in Finding Paradise, but it is also the wedding song that my husband and I chose. It’s a gorgeous rendition by a Hawaiian legend.

I heard that you have some ideas for your next book! Can you tell us anything about them?

YES! YES! YES! I am so excited to exclusively announce my next book on your blog!

Damaged Property is slated to be released this spring, though the exact date is currently tentative. It’s the story of a broken woman, Talia, and her chance meeting with a ridiculously hot Albuquerque Police Officer, Dante, who has demons of his own. Even though they fight it, fate throws them together and they learn to work together to fight their pasts before it catches up with them.

Where Finding Paradise was bright, fun, and sweet, in contrast, Damaged Property is much darker and sensual. The heat between Talia and Dante is unimaginable and you’ll find yourself caught up in their sexual tension, biting your nails and waiting for them to give into each other. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions with an ending that you’ll need to read to believe!

What are three books you believe everyone should take a chance on?

I read across all genres of novels, so my answer to this may seem a bit odd. But there’s something for everyone.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover: This book BLEW ME AWAY! I wasn’t so sure about it when I first cracked it open, but I was stuck on a six-hour flight home and that was the only book on my Kindle. By the time my final plane landed in my hometown, I was literally in tears. So perfectly written by my favorite author. My goal in life is to bring Colleen Hoover to tears with one of my books as she did to me with her book.

The Project Eden series by Brett Battles: The first novel in this series, Sick, captured my attention and refused to let it go until the conclusion of the series six books later (seven books total). I’ll admit, I’m a secret lover of doomsday and apocalyptic novels, but many books I’ve read fell short of what I was looking for. Project Eden was what I was looking for!

The Pact by Jodi Picoult: Oh my gosh, this book was incredible. It was the second book I ever read by Jodi Picoult and it was the one that turned me into a lifetime fan. I love that Jodi Picoult can make you question your own morals that you thought were set in stone before opening the book. What you thought, in the beginning, is never what you think about in the end.

Aside from reading and writing, what do you do in your spare time? Any unusual hobbies?

Most days, I share the same hobbies as my three fat cats: sleep, eat, and complain. But, when I can actually talk myself into it, I love to go running outside when the Colorado weather allows for it. I’ve run two half-marathons, a few 10K’s, and an obstacle course race.

But if we’re being honest here, I love to dance and lip sync. I’m not talking about professionally. I’m talking about acting out my own music video when no one is around. Sometimes in the mirror. Sometimes in the kitchen (best place to spin in my socks). Sometimes in my office at work when the door is closed and no one is watching. It’s weird, I know. But it’s fun. In my head, I’m a superstar!

Last, but not least, what is your favourite word?

Peculiar. I like the way it rolls off your tongue, especially if you have some sort of accent. Everyone says it just a little bit differently and I love that. Plus, I tend to describe myself as peculiar and whenever I do, no one ever disagrees with me. Sort of peculiar, isn’t it?

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Congratulations on your debut release! We’re extremely excited for Finding Paradise, and we’re looking forward to reading Damaged Goods!

About the Author:vp

V.P. Ortiz lives, works, and breathes in sunny/snowy/beautiful Colorado with her loving husband, their two beautiful children, and their three fat cats. While her home may be in the Rocky Mountains, she left her heart somewhere on the island of Oahu, where she plans to retire someday in a tiny house with an avocado tree and free-range chickens. Besides reading any book in sight, her hobbies also include eating, dancing, lip syncing, and occasionally running until her husband has to pick her up eight miles away because she got lost and has a leg cramp.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Book Tour + Review: A Mortal Song

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Welcome to the reveal for Megan Crewe’s new project – A Mortal Song, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

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Title: A Mortal Song
Author: Megan Crewe
Publication date: September 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.
Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess. As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

Buy Link:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Indigo

Review:

Okay, just to get it out of the way – there are characters named Haru and Jun – I actually grow to like Haru, and Jun is just a name mentioned in passing. That’s right, this is a book about Japan where the characters are Japanese (and Japanese spirits) AND they aren’t named Jun. Rare, right?

This story is about Japanese “spirits” called kami, who are trying to save their kind from an evil spirit. In order to do so, Sora and Takeo need to find the true heir to the kami throne to help defeat the evil spirit. On top of this, Sora needs to come to terms with the shocking news that she is in fact human, and what that means in terms of her relationship with Takeo, and her new band of human friends.

I found this to be a fantastic book about adventure, friendship, love, and self-discovery.

Although Sora has to learn how to cope with being a mere human, she doesn’t get too angsty about it – instead she is strong, resourceful, and open to seeing the world from a different point of view, a human point of view. An honestly, even without the powers, she is absolutely kickass throughout the novel.

To be honest, Takeo as a character was meh to me. He was like wallpaper, and I honestly didn’t see what Sora could be attracted to, save for their childhood history. His character could have also been like this because he was kami. Honestly, I loved Haru and Keiji so much more. As humans, they had more personality and more diversity in responses than Takeo, and they stole the show from him. I loved the characters, overall – they all really complimented each other well, both in skill and wit, and that really helped keep the story moving.

This book got a lot of things right – there was no instant love, but a beginning to something; there wasn’t a special snowflake, but an “oh-crap-I’m-not-actually-special-what-do-I-do-now!?” story line; and there was a lot of culture and time put into world building for the book. Granted, I found that the end was very abrupt and cheesy, the story itself is well worth the read.

The overall concept of the book was fascinating to me, as I’ve never heard of kami before. The concept was new to me, but I loved how it was executed and how it was brought back to the human level of understanding. There was a lot of introspection throughout this book, mainly done by Sora, and I found it to be pretty insightful.

Overall, definitely would recommend!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Link:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Indigo

About the Author:

Megan

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.

Join her newsletter for book news, recommended reads, and exclusive giveaways: http://eepurl.com/btE8mH

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • Japan Media & Treats Prize Pack

ENTER HERE!~

Blog Tour + Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame

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Welcome to The Way to Game the Walk of Shame book tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

GameShameTitle: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review:

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame is Jenn P. Nguyen’s debut novel, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. It’s a wonderful story about Taylor Simmons, the class nerd and “ice queen”, finding herself in a bed that’s not hers. To weasel her way out of the labels that often come with a perceived one-night-stand, she sets up a contract (signatures and all) with Evan, the school’s “play boy”, that would be in play until the dust and gossip settles and everyone believes they’re a real couple. But when all is quiet, the two realize that maybe they’re relationship goes beyond the contract.

I grinned like a dufus so much when reading this book. The two of them are so cute together. Though they’re quite different, they fit very well together, challenging one another to always be better. I think my favourite part about this book is that there are so many unique, romantic, and memorable moments that stand out to me. I want to blurt them all out, but that would ruin the fun. The Valentine’s day scene, and the few times he goes over to her house are probably my favourites. Though I read this book about a month ago, these scene still stay vivid in my head (which, to be honest, is pretty rare).

Something else I appreciated about the book was that they didn’t have to get hot and heavy to show their feelings, it was the little things that made a difference. This is actually a “hands-off” book. Maybe a couple kisses here and there, but the romance was purely in their everyday interactions. They didn’t need to go further to figure out that they had feelings for each other, and I really like that about this book.

While there were some areas of the plot that I questioned (particularly the antagonizing teacher, who seemed to have a little too much sway in the whole university acceptance process), as well as some areas that I personally didn’t like (slut-shaming), especially since that was why this whole story came to be in the first place, this book really won me over. While these parts stuck out to me, they didn’t really stay in my mind long, especially  since the rest of the book was quite the opposite (i.e. memorable and sweet), it kind of overpowered all the stuff that didn’t quite gel with me.

The only downside that I can see right now is that I can’t read any other books by her at the moment, because this is her first! Adorkable, sweet, and wonderfully crafted, I’d definitely recommend this book to all contemporary romance lovers out there. You won’t be disappointed!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.98/5

eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:JPN
Jenn Nguyen fell in love with books in third grade and spent the rest of her school years reading through lunchtime and giving up recess to organize the school library. She has a degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans and still lives in the city with her husband. Jenn spends her days reading, dreaming up YA romances, and binge watching Korean dramas all in the name of ‘research’. The Way to Game the Walk of Shame is her debut novel.
Author Links:

Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway for a print copy of The Way to Game the Walk of Shame. Open to the US only.

ENTER HERE!~

Tour and Review: The Lords of Valdeon

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Welcome to The Lords of Valdeon book tour, hosted by Roger Charlie!~

The Lords of ValdeonTitle: The Lords of Valdeon [Heart of the Warrior #1]
Author: C.R. Richards
Publication Date: January 7, 2016
GoodReads

Synopsis:

A new series from award winning Author, C.R. Richards: The epic tale of two men begins. The first – a man of honor trying desperately to turn his country from civil war. The other – a boy struggling to discover his destiny before agents of evil find him first.

Coveted by two ancient enemies of a long forgotten age, the continent of Andara holds the key to victory in an endless struggle for dominance. Eight hundred years have passed since the god-like Jalora struck a bargain with the first King of Valdeon. The Lion Ring, symbol of the covenant and conduit of power, gives its bearer incredible abilities. The ring’s borrowed magic protects the people of Andara from covetous evil, but there is a price. As with most predators, the Lion Ring must feed. Only the blood of the D’Antoiné family line will satisfy its hunger.

A rival for Andara’s treasures, the Sarcion has waited impatiently for its time upon the land. Whispers of treason in the right ear aid its treachery. The King of Valdeon mysteriously disappears, leaving his lands in danger of a civil war by the hand of a murderous usurper. His Lion Ring is lost and the covenant is broken. The Jalora’s power begins to seep away from the land.  Evil’s foothold grows stronger. Can the Lords of Valdeon, Sacred Guard of the covenant, stop the tides of war? Or will Andara fall into chaos? The future rests in the blood of a boy…

Review:

Overall, I thought this book was good. It wasn’t underwhelming or overwhelming, but it was good.

The prologue was not something I enjoyed reading. It was riddled with repetition and it tried too hard to sound fantastical. It also didn’t really gel with any of the voices in the book. As your first impression of the book, it isn’t a good one. Honestly, if I were you, I’d skim it and then try again after you’ve read at least five chapters of the book. Totally different voice from the rest of the novel, but it is necessary to get a gist of the story’s history.

This book is the first of a series and it was very much a book that sets that stage for something more. The Lords of Valdeon is packed with a lot of description and world/character building. Every chapter contains more and more chunks of the places these characters reside and their situations and it’s definitely interesting getting to know them. Something I really enjoyed was that each character had their own aspect of the world to talk about, and each one generally had their own voice and I also like the women in the story. All of them are quite fierce and strong characters, though I wish they had a larger role in the story itself. With that being said, I felt that within each chapter, the characters voices blurred. All the men and boys sound similar in Seth’s chapters, while all the Lords maintain a formal tone. While these help with world building, and allowing readers to get an idea of the pleasantries and conversations appropriate to each setting, I wish there was more to each character, and not just the plot propelling the story along.

On that note, the plot is quite intricate and interesting. These gods are supposedly cut and dry characters at the beginning, the Jalora seen as good, while the Sarcion is seen as evil. This pretense is tested throughout the novel as each reveals different facets of their own personalities and it really adds colour to the story. It’s interesting to watch each characters’ journey against each other and with one or the other godly being. I particularly like Seth’s thread within all of this, as his character is more exploratory and deals more with self discovery throughout the novel. Although it was slow going at first, the plot really makes the book addicting as the story moves forward and the action begins!

On writing, the author is quite skilled at creating worlds, but I found the most challenging part of this book was the writing. Many aspects just fall short for me. There’s a lot of repetition, and often a lot more telling than showing. Although I really enjoyed the novel as a whole, certain aspects just didn’t do it for me.

Overall, this book is like the Night Circus in its extensive descriptions, mixed with Star Wars’ family feud, with a hint of fantasy and mystery mixed in. I think this is an amazing start to the series, and my expectations are high for the next book!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.25/5

Ebook obtained via Roger Charlie in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

A huge lover of horror and dark fantasy stories.

C.R. Richards enjoys telling tales of intrigue and adventure. Having began writing as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper, Richards has worn several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. She has now published a handful of novels, including Phantom Harvest – book one in The Mutant Casebook Series – which took home the EPIC eBook Award for Fantasy in 2014. Richards beat out entries from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other English speaking countries.

The youngest of five army brats, Richards was born on a military base in Utah.  She spent much of her childhood in the back of her family’s sky blue station wagon on trips to see her grandmother – who would show her how to spot faeries in the backyard.  “Sometimes she’d put candy in small silk slippers and tell us the pixies had done it,” says Richards. “She’s the one who gave me my love of fantasy creatures.”

Her most recent literary projects include the horror short story, Lost Man’s Parish and the newly-released dark fantasy thriller, Pariah. She is an active member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Horror Writers Association.

In January, Richards releases her epic fantasy novel The Lords of Valdeon, the first installment in the Heart of the Warrior series.  Through her storytelling, Richards aims to reach lovers of fantasy who are exploring alternatives to the traditional status quo. Her message is simple: One person can be a catalyst for change.

Author Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Book Tour: Quarter Mile Hearts

Blog Tour Cover

 

Welcome to the Quarter Mile Hearts Tour, hosted by Jennifer Holter!~

QuarterMileHearts_ebook_REVEALFILE

Title: Quarter Mile Hearts [An American Muscle Novel]
Author: Jenny Siegel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Following an accident injuring her dad, twenty-four year old Leigh Storm returns home to the town she was once so desperate to escape.

It is only a matter of hours before she runs into Max ‘Manwhore‘ Morgan. Dark eyed and dangerous to her heart, he is the very last person she wants to see. It might have been four years since she saw him last, but there’s no denying the chemistry between them is as potent as ever. Max makes it clear he isn’t about to let her run again, even if he is the one thing Leigh vowed to herself she would never date: a street racer.

After racing tore apart her own family and left a path of destruction in its wake, Leigh decided long ago that it is not the life she wants for herself. But when a wager gone wrong threatens her dad’s livelihood, Leigh must go against everything she believes in.

This time there’s more at stake on the quarter mile that just the family business-She’s risking her heart as well.

A feeling of peace settle over me the

Buy Links:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1CesWKT
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1KHSHof
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1Refttp
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1dGgcB3 

-Some things never change.- I shake my

About the Author:

Jenny Siegel writes new adult romance. When she’s not writing (or entertaining two little terrors) Jenny is glued to her Kindle, or plotting (also known as daydreaming) about hot tattooed heroes that will sweep a girl off her feet.

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Author Links:

Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon

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So in love with this cover by the way. I need to put myself on a book ban. I don't have enough money for all these books... Either that or I need a job.
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#bookstagram #books #tbr #colours #blue #thestrangecaseofthealchemistsdaughter #ebook #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booknerd #bookishlove #booklover #bookblog #igbooks #tea Check out this awesome giveaway by @thecaffeinatedbook #thecaffeinatedgiveaway 😄 I just dropped a puddle of water on this book, so here it is when it was still pretty 😫
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Thanks everyone for entering my giveaway! It's closed now 😊 I'll tally up the entries and play the random number game. Good luck! 🍀
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#bookstagram #books #tbr #colours #blue #theboneseason #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booknerd #bookishlove #booklover #bookblog #igbooks #bookstack #pileofbooks #bookstairs Two more days! Check out my original post for details!
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#bookstagram #books #giveaway #bookishgiveaway #bookgiveaway #internationalgiveaway #withoutmerit #colleenhoover Our Dark Duet still remains on my TBR list. School makes reading for fun really hard...
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QOTD: What's your favourite time of day?
AOTD: 7AM, though I'm rarely conscious at that time, when I am the world is so beautiful 🌅
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#bookstagram #books #tbr #colours #blue #ya #youngadult #dystopian #paranormal #ourdarkduet #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booknerd #bookishlove #booklover #bookblog #igbooks #bookstack #pileofbooks #thissavagesong #veschwab #victoriaschwab #reddoorstudio It's a gloomy day today, but I need to get stuff done. There's something about cold weather and fog that just makes me want to curl up in bed and never leave!
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QOTD: What's your favourite bookstore?
AOTD: Mine is either Fanfare Books or BMV. I love Indigo too, but I enjoy supporting the smaller companies!
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#bookstagram #books #tbr #colours #blue #asteptowardsfalling #cammiemcgovern #youngadult #ya #contemporaryromance #romance #contemporary #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booknerd #bookishlove #booklover #bookblog #igbooks #openbook I've never read anything by Samantha Young, but this cover strong armed me into buying the book 😋. I'm excited to get started! 📖📚
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Also, happy Canadian Thanksgiving friends 😄🍁
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#bookstagram #books #tbr #playon #samanthayoung #candle #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booknerd #bookishlove #booklover #fan #bookblog #igbooks #bookstack #pileofbooks #bookstairs #ebook #jojomoyes #rosamundhodge #nakedbooks #thanksgiving I'm excited for the next book in @coracarmack's Stormheart series! And this cover is so beautiful 😍😍
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#bookstagram #books #tbr #colours #orange #rage #roar #stormheart #series #sequel #fall #giveaway #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booknerd #bookishlove #booklover #fan #bookblog #igbooks #ebook I finished Passenger this weekend and I have to say that it surprised me. I enjoyed the adventure a lot and there was an interesting narrative concerning social structure and propriety in our current day and age and throughout history that really gave me something to think about. Excited to dive into Wayfarer now!
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Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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