Verb Vixen

I read. I listen. I watch. I write.
Thursday, April 17
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Georgetown Academy is a juicy series about the politics at D.C.’s most elite prep school. A cross between Scandal and Gossip Girl, it’s fans include Eva Longoria and nearly a million Wattpad fans.
To celebrate the series’ success, we’ve put together an amazing campaign that involves and benefits readers—the more participation, the more we’ll give. Here are the steps:
Book One is currently being featured on Wattpad. Add GTA to your public Wattpad reading list: http://www.wattpad.com/story/8095946-georgetown-academy-book-one
Share Book One’s Wattpad link via twitter (Using #GTScandal)

If GT fans hit 1k tweets by Wednesday, April 23, we will release Chapter 1 of Book 2 on Wattpad


if can hit 1.5k tweets by Sunday 4/27, we’ll release another Book 2 chapter (from the POV of a an unknown character) on Wattpad


If we hit 2k, the price of book 2, across all platforms will be dropped to $1.99

Join our Twitter Party! On Tuesday 4/22 @ 9 pm EST authors Jessica and Alyssa will answer all readers’ questions! Find out if Taryn will stand between Ellie and Gabe, and maybe their parents’ careers. Use the hashtag #GTScandal to participate. Follow us @GTownAcademy.
Other ways to participate in the campaign and spread the word:
Add the books on Goodreads! Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 
If you’ve already read and loved the books, consider posting your review on Amazon.
So will you be attending the chat? Let me know in the comments :)

[Insert Book Cover Here] About Georgetown Academy:
Synopsis:
It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.
While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.
For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?
Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.
Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.
New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.
With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.
In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.
Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.
What’s Cool from Coliloquy:
As the party scene at Georgetown Academy gets under way, authors Alyssa and Jessica let readers decide which of the main girls to follow. You’ll see scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals…all giving you a different perspective as events unfold.

Georgetown Academy is a juicy series about the politics at D.C.’s most elite prep school. A cross between Scandal and Gossip Girl, it’s fans include Eva Longoria and nearly a million Wattpad fans.

To celebrate the series’ success, we’ve put together an amazing campaign that involves and benefits readers—the more participation, the more we’ll give. Here are the steps:

Book One is currently being featured on Wattpad. Add GTA to your public Wattpad reading list: http://www.wattpad.com/story/8095946-georgetown-academy-book-one

Share Book One’s Wattpad link via twitter (Using #GTScandal)

  • If GT fans hit 1k tweets by Wednesday, April 23, we will release Chapter 1 of Book 2 on Wattpad

  • if can hit 1.5k tweets by Sunday 4/27, we’ll release another Book 2 chapter (from the POV of a an unknown character) on Wattpad

  • If we hit 2k, the price of book 2, across all platforms will be dropped to $1.99

Join our Twitter Party! On Tuesday 4/22 @ 9 pm EST authors Jessica and Alyssa will answer all readers’ questions! Find out if Taryn will stand between Ellie and Gabe, and maybe their parents’ careers. Use the hashtag #GTScandal to participate. Follow us @GTownAcademy.

Other ways to participate in the campaign and spread the word:

Add the books on Goodreads! Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 

If you’ve already read and loved the books, consider posting your review on Amazon.

So will you be attending the chat? Let me know in the comments :)

[Insert Book Cover Here] About Georgetown Academy:

Synopsis:

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

What’s Cool from Coliloquy:

As the party scene at Georgetown Academy gets under way, authors Alyssa and Jessica let readers decide which of the main girls to follow. You’ll see scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals…all giving you a different perspective as events unfold.

Tags:   #i read #books #ya #ya lit #young adult fiction #publishing #reading #coliloquy #georgetown academy #gta #GTScandal #politics #private school



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Tuesday, March 25
Permalink

I am extremely excited to say that Nichole Chase’s RECKLESSLY ROYAL is now available!! RECKLESSLY ROYAL is a New Adult contemporary romance novel being published by HarperCollins Avon imprint and is a part of Nichole Chase’s Suddenly Series.

Recklesly Royal

RECKLESSLY ROYAL Synopsis:

Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly—men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other …

When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue?

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Excerpt:

I was a bit sloshed, but I wasn’t going to tell Sam that. My legs slipped and I slid the rest of the way to the ground, my head stopping my fall. Maybe I was drunker than I thought. The doorbell rang as I scrambled up from my spot on the floor.

“I’ve got it!” Chadwick took off to the front door, his steps a little too loud.

Backing away from the pole, I took a running jump and grabbed directly in the middle. I used my momentum to swing my legs high in the air. Making sure I had a good grip on the pole, I spread my legs into a split.

“Wow.” A deep voice broke into my thoughts and I looked up. A man was standing next to Chadwick, wearing a backpack and carrying a large duffel bag. His dark eyes ran over my body and I shivered, which was a bad thing. My hands slipped and I fell, crashing to the floor with a loud oof.

“Are you okay?” Sam ran over and helped me stand up, but I wasn’t feeling any pain. In fact, I was feeling awesome. Looking past Sam’s shoulder, I smiled at the hottie and waved. He was perfection, from his messy dark hair down to his scuffed boots. And exactly what we needed to end the night with a bang.

“Heeeyyooou. I don’t remember hiring a stripper, but boy am I glad you showed up.” I let Sam help me up to my feet and wondered why she was making a choking sound. I slapped her on the back, worried. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Fine!” Sam barked a laugh. “That’s not—”

“Good! Because it looks like I outdid myself!” I turned her around with a flourish to look at the delicious man standing on the stairs. His shirt strained across his chest as he shifted his feet and I found myself thinking about tracing my fingers across those hard lines. I let my eyes run over him instead, taking in the tight plaid shirt, worn jeans, and work boots. There was nothing polished or metropolitan about him. Everything screamed outdoors. And I liked it.

“Cathy,” Sam tried to stop me, but I shrugged her off and skipped up the steps.

“What are you supposed to be? A lost lumberjack?” I pulled the heavy bag out of his hands and set it on the ground. “We’ll, c’mon! Someone start some music.” I gyrated my hips a little and wiggled my eyebrows. “Take it off, bab-ay!”

“If you insist, gorgeous.” His American accent gave me pause as a dim memory tried to fight through the fog in my brain, but it didn’t last long. His eyes stayed locked on mine as his calloused fingers worked the top couple of his buttons free. I wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol, or just his deep brown eyes, but I was entranced. I didn’t even notice when Sam climbed the stairs.

I couldn’t look away from him as he slowly unbuttoned his shirt and exposed the skin underneath. The need to touch that tantalizing bit of flesh raced through me and my fingers twitched. Hypnotized by eye the color of melted chocolate, I leaned forward. One corner of his mouth turned up into a smirk and it only added to his appeal. Where it might have been a turn off in another man, It simply added to this strippers appeal. I smiled in response, eager for him to continue.

“God, please don’t, David. I’ll never be able to look at you again.” She covered his hands with her own and laughed, her cheeks a bright red.

“David?” I looked at him, confused, before looking over my shoulder at Jess. She was nodding her head with wide eyes like I was supposed to remember something. “David?” I said the name again, mulling over what that could mean.

I looked down at the bag I had taken from him and my eyes landed on his boots. It was then that a moment of clarity surged through my mind like a stampede of wild horses and I covered my mouth.

“Oh God.” A wave of nausea hit me. “You’re Sam’s friend.”

I promptly turned around and threw up into a potted plant.

RecklesslyRoyal RDL Banner

Author Photo B&WNichole Chase Bio:

Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories. She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at the Romance Academy.

Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE! Website

Links:

Giveaways

Twitter

Facebook

Author Goodreads

RECKLESSLY ROYAL Goodreads

Tags:   #i read #books #ya #young adult #ya lit #young adult fiction #nichole chase #recklessly royal



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Tuesday, February 25
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Kiss and Sell by Brittany Geragotellis

I was in a bit of a reading slump. The kind of slump where you dont want to even pick up a book and try to read. Well I finally forced myself to start Kiss and Sell, and then here was this sweet little book reviving my love of reading again. The entire time I was reading this I saw a made-for-tv movie of it in my head and let me tell you it would be fabulous! It’s smart and sassy; the kind of story that leaves you with the warm and fuzzies and maybe, just maybe, a little nostalgic for your own first kiss. 

I loved Arielle Sawyer’s from the very beginning and watching her grow into self-confidence was a delight. While putting a first kiss up for sale on Ebay sounds odd and unsafe, if you suspend reality enough to get past that this book gives you so much more. Who doesn’t remember their first kiss or more appropriately the time before their first kiss when all you wanted to do was check that box off the bucket list? Also, Arielle has some kick ass friends and a disturbling cool and smart mother. There are mean girls, swoon worthy boys, and an empowering story of taking your life and fate into your own hands and growing into your confidence. Now that’s a story I can get behind. I highly recommend giving Kiss and Sell a try—-you just might fall in love all over again.

Overall: A

Kiss and Sell is out now, you can get yours here.

Synopsis: Arielle Sawyer is freaking out because she’s the last in her class to be kissed. Frustrated and wanting to get it over with, she and her friends decide to sell her first kiss on eBay! Suddenly, this former wallflower finds herself the focus of everyone’s attention. But as her popularity grows and her friendships start to weaken, Arielle begins to wonder why she put the post up in the first place. In the end there will be a winner, but will Arielle’s first kiss end up being everything she’s ever dreamed of?

About the Author: Brittany Geragotelis, a former Olympic-bound gymnast and magazine editor, is a self-professed pop culture junkie turned author. Her paranormal action book, LIFE’S A WITCH, received 19 million reads on the writing site Wattpad before being sold to Simon & Schuster in 2012. Both LIFE’S A WITCH and the prequel WHAT THE SPELL (which appeared in an episode of “Glee”) debuted in 2013. The third book in the series, THE WITCH IS BACK, will be published Jan 2014. Brittany recently moved to Los Angeles with her husband Matt, and her two cats, Murray and Cohen. Visit her at www.thebookslayer.com.

eBook provided gratis in exchange for a fair review

Kiss and Sell by Brittany Geragotellis

I was in a bit of a reading slump. The kind of slump where you dont want to even pick up a book and try to read. Well I finally forced myself to start Kiss and Sell, and then here was this sweet little book reviving my love of reading again. The entire time I was reading this I saw a made-for-tv movie of it in my head and let me tell you it would be fabulous! It’s smart and sassy; the kind of story that leaves you with the warm and fuzzies and maybe, just maybe, a little nostalgic for your own first kiss.

I loved Arielle Sawyer’s from the very beginning and watching her grow into self-confidence was a delight. While putting a first kiss up for sale on Ebay sounds odd and unsafe, if you suspend reality enough to get past that this book gives you so much more. Who doesn’t remember their first kiss or more appropriately the time before their first kiss when all you wanted to do was check that box off the bucket list? Also, Arielle has some kick ass friends and a disturbling cool and smart mother. There are mean girls, swoon worthy boys, and an empowering story of taking your life and fate into your own hands and growing into your confidence. Now that’s a story I can get behind. I highly recommend giving Kiss and Sell a try—-you just might fall in love all over again.

Overall: A

Kiss and Sell is out now, you can get yours here.

Synopsis: Arielle Sawyer is freaking out because she’s the last in her class to be kissed. Frustrated and wanting to get it over with, she and her friends decide to sell her first kiss on eBay! Suddenly, this former wallflower finds herself the focus of everyone’s attention. But as her popularity grows and her friendships start to weaken, Arielle begins to wonder why she put the post up in the first place. In the end there will be a winner, but will Arielle’s first kiss end up being everything she’s ever dreamed of?

About the Author: Brittany Geragotelis, a former Olympic-bound gymnast and magazine editor, is a self-professed pop culture junkie turned author. Her paranormal action book, LIFE’S A WITCH, received 19 million reads on the writing site Wattpad before being sold to Simon & Schuster in 2012. Both LIFE’S A WITCH and the prequel WHAT THE SPELL (which appeared in an episode of “Glee”) debuted in 2013. The third book in the series, THE WITCH IS BACK, will be published Jan 2014. Brittany recently moved to Los Angeles with her husband Matt, and her two cats, Murray and Cohen. Visit her at www.thebookslayer.com.

eBook provided gratis in exchange for a fair review

Tags:   #i read #books #ya #young adult #ya lit #young adult fiction #kiss and sell #contemporary #romance #brittany geragotellis #indie #self publishing #publishing #amazon



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Thursday, January 23
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Devil’s Frost (Book 3 of Spellspinners of Melas County) by Heidi R. Kling

If this series were a movie, Devil’s Frost would be the summer action blockbuster. It has everything you want—-deadly action, sizzling romance, and lots of plot twists. The Gleaning ended with a hell of a cliffhanger and Devil’s Frost picks up right where things start getting good left off. This book is very Lily-centric and so we hear her version of events first, followed by Logan’s account. Kling nails the emotions—-the betrayal, the loss, the fear, the love, and most of all the confusion that both Lily and Logan are grappling with. There’s also a hot morally ambiguous bad boy, Jude, a frenemy to end all frenemies in Orchid, a complex parental situation, a Jafar like warlock villain, this looming tyrranical council and a major prophesy to fulfill. Not enough for you? Let’s go back to the romance then because that’s where Kling shines. I will never tire of Lily and Logan, not in eucalpytus groves, not in caves and certainly not on questing adventures in the next book.

The plot in Devil’s Frost moves quickly, the fastest of all three books so far and it ends in an interesting place. You can see the reprecussions coming like a tidal wave that will crush everything and everyone in the way. Unfortunately we have to wait for the next book to see who will be swept away.

Overall: A
Devil’s Frost is out now from Coliloquy. Get your copy here or get Books 1-3 here!

eArc provided gratis via Coliloquy.

Devil’s Frost (Book 3 of Spellspinners of Melas County) by Heidi R. Kling

If this series were a movie, Devil’s Frost would be the summer action blockbuster. It has everything you want—-deadly action, sizzling romance, and lots of plot twists. The Gleaning ended with a hell of a cliffhanger and Devil’s Frost picks up right where things start getting good left off. This book is very Lily-centric and so we hear her version of events first, followed by Logan’s account. Kling nails the emotions—-the betrayal, the loss, the fear, the love, and most of all the confusion that both Lily and Logan are grappling with. There’s also a hot morally ambiguous bad boy, Jude, a frenemy to end all frenemies in Orchid, a complex parental situation, a Jafar like warlock villain, this looming tyrranical council and a major prophesy to fulfill. Not enough for you? Let’s go back to the romance then because that’s where Kling shines. I will never tire of Lily and Logan, not in eucalpytus groves, not in caves and certainly not on questing adventures in the next book.

The plot in Devil’s Frost moves quickly, the fastest of all three books so far and it ends in an interesting place. You can see the reprecussions coming like a tidal wave that will crush everything and everyone in the way. Unfortunately we have to wait for the next book to see who will be swept away.

Overall: A

Devil’s Frost is out now from Coliloquy. Get your copy here or get Books 1-3 here!

eArc provided gratis via Coliloquy.

Tags:   #i read #books #ya #young adult #ya lit #young adult fiction #publishing #coliloquy #kindle #witch's brew #the gleaning #heidi r kling #devil's frost #witches #warlocks #romeo and juliet



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Tuesday, December 31
Permalink
Guys. This Cover. I Die. 
1. I love the blue! It matches my summer hair.
2. There’s something sinister here, perhaps the evil red eye that whispers of the darkness that this book promises.
3. I mean, is there a better way to end a year then with a magical read? I think not.
4. Is there a better way to start a year then with a magical read? I think not.
5. I love how it’s sort of reflective of the current state of the world. When winter’s darkness descends, I want to see something reflect that desolation and despondency. I’m constantly thinking about Queen Mab and winter courts, but now perhaps I’ll think of witches who are being a bit wicked.
Anyway, this cover makes me super excited Devil’s Frost. Devil’s Frost is the third book in Heidi R. Kling’s #sexymagic series…The Spellspinners of Melas County. To celebrate the cover reveal, there’s a witchy giveaway you can enter via the rafflecopter here.
xoxo,
V.V.

Guys. This Cover. I Die. 

1. I love the blue! It matches my summer hair.

2. There’s something sinister here, perhaps the evil red eye that whispers of the darkness that this book promises.

3. I mean, is there a better way to end a year then with a magical read? I think not.

4. Is there a better way to start a year then with a magical read? I think not.

5. I love how it’s sort of reflective of the current state of the world. When winter’s darkness descends, I want to see something reflect that desolation and despondency. I’m constantly thinking about Queen Mab and winter courts, but now perhaps I’ll think of witches who are being a bit wicked.

Anyway, this cover makes me super excited Devil’s Frost. Devil’s Frost is the third book in Heidi R. Kling’s #sexymagic series…The Spellspinners of Melas County. To celebrate the cover reveal, there’s a witchy giveaway you can enter via the rafflecopter here.

xoxo,

V.V.

Tags:   #i read #books #reading #ya #young adult #ya lit #young adult fiction #coliloquy #devils frost #spellspinners of melas county #heidi r kling #sea #witch's brew #the gleaning #witches #warlocks #magic #cover reveal #giveaway



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Friday, December 20
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Sam Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen by Jordan Jacobs
Book 2 in the Samantha Sutton series is a brilliant blend of archeology, history, action, adventure, mystery, and fun. Jacobs writes compelling action, heart palpitating danger and an entwined history and present in a delightful way for any reader regardless of age. The Winter of the Warrior Queen is not merely a mystery or history, it’s a coming of age story as well, as much about a young girl finding herself and navigativing the shades of gray of life as anything else. With parents who don’t understand her, an uncle who can’t manage to keep her safe, and an archnemesis by the age of 12, Samantha has a lot to contend with.
Throughout the book there is a constant juxtaposition between civilization and nature and the interesting reversal of expectations that Jacobs presents with civilization often times being the more barberous setting. This juxtaposition is one of my favorite topics of thought so I really reveled in the experience of this book. 
And I haven’t even mentioned Boudica yet. I’m a medievalist (my masters is in medieval history and literature with an emphasis on gender) so when someone says Boudica, I practically become Pavlov’s dog hearing a bell. Immediately you have my attention. For Sam Sutton, Boudica becomes this icon —the very image of what women could be, both warrior and queen, leader and hero, rebel and last bastion of a way of life. Interestinly, she is contrasted with the masculine ways of Cambridge and it’s boy-centric anti-girl society as well as the mighty Rome (again can we talk about which is more barbaric?!). When I wrote history papers, I always used to dedicate the papers to my sisters, “that they may always have strong women to look up to.” Boudica is a strong woman and I’m glad to see her story being told to an audience who could use such an example. 
Lastly, there is this question of traditions not needing a reason. In the book, it’s an excuse for excluding women, but it poses an interesting question. What traditions, particularly at this time of year do we perform without a reason? 
I love books that make me think like this, that make me question civilization and nature and tradition. That being said, a younger me would have loved this book too. Sam Sutton is one part Nancy Drew, one part Bones, and one part Goosebumps, and I highly recommend it for readers of all ages!
Overall: A+
Get your copies of Samantha Sutton and the Labrynth of Lies and Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen today!
I’m also delighted that I got to have Jordan Jacobs on the blog to answer a quick Fast Five for us! He’s got some GREAT answers and one of my favorite christmas songs to boot!
FAST 5:

1. Favorite Word?
“Thicket.” (Could there be a more satisfying word to say?)

Least Favorite Word?
“Mealy.”  (Ugh.  It’s even unpleasant to type!)

2. Favorite Sound?
My toddler daughter’s wonderfully frequent belly laughs.

3. What profession other than author would you like to attempt?
Film director.

4.Favorite historical item?
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cuneiform tablets I saw on display at Istanbul’s Museum of the Ancient Orient. I’m a sucker for any ancient text—the more mundane the better.  What were people thinking about 3300 years ago?  Same things we do, it turns out. Taxes, petty disputes, love.  

5. If there was a theme song for Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen what would it be?

I tend to listen to music when I write – especially when I edit.  Movie soundtracks work well, and so does classical guitar.  But there are some times where I need a region-specific playlist to keep the spirit of the setting in mind.
For my first book, Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies, it was Andean folk music. My limited knowledge of the genre made song selection easy.  But for a book set in England, how to even begin?  Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen takes place in the present and explores events that occurred two thousand years ago, giving me centuries of British music to work with: from Handel to the Stones, from the Beatles to Purcell.
What worked was a little bit of everything.
Recent British music brings me back to my time in the UK– to the college bops, society swaps, cheesy nightclubs and fun, frenetic London. But, in writing, I leaned mostly on the Anglican choral tradition - the most English of English music, at least for me. I used to love attending Evensong services at Oxford and Cambridge, and hearing that music today puts me again in those hard-backed pews.  

And as for a specific song? Modern software makes this easy, tracking the number of plays.  The winner, it seems, was Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter—an English poem set to music by an English composer.  It’s haunting, it’s beautiful, and it’s sad—the perfect theme song for the Warrior Queen’s quieter moments.
Thanks so much Jordan for stopping by! Come back anytime you’d like!
To all my lovely V.V. readers, If you haven’t heard In the Bleak Midwinter before check it out here and be sure to pick up Samantha Sutton and the Labrynth of Lies and Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen for yourself or those young readers of yours for Christmas!

Sam Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen by Jordan Jacobs

Book 2 in the Samantha Sutton series is a brilliant blend of archeology, history, action, adventure, mystery, and fun. Jacobs writes compelling action, heart palpitating danger and an entwined history and present in a delightful way for any reader regardless of age. The Winter of the Warrior Queen is not merely a mystery or history, it’s a coming of age story as well, as much about a young girl finding herself and navigativing the shades of gray of life as anything else. With parents who don’t understand her, an uncle who can’t manage to keep her safe, and an archnemesis by the age of 12, Samantha has a lot to contend with.

Throughout the book there is a constant juxtaposition between civilization and nature and the interesting reversal of expectations that Jacobs presents with civilization often times being the more barberous setting. This juxtaposition is one of my favorite topics of thought so I really reveled in the experience of this book. 

And I haven’t even mentioned Boudica yet. I’m a medievalist (my masters is in medieval history and literature with an emphasis on gender) so when someone says Boudica, I practically become Pavlov’s dog hearing a bell. Immediately you have my attention. For Sam Sutton, Boudica becomes this icon —the very image of what women could be, both warrior and queen, leader and hero, rebel and last bastion of a way of life. Interestinly, she is contrasted with the masculine ways of Cambridge and it’s boy-centric anti-girl society as well as the mighty Rome (again can we talk about which is more barbaric?!). When I wrote history papers, I always used to dedicate the papers to my sisters, “that they may always have strong women to look up to.” Boudica is a strong woman and I’m glad to see her story being told to an audience who could use such an example. 

Lastly, there is this question of traditions not needing a reason. In the book, it’s an excuse for excluding women, but it poses an interesting question. What traditions, particularly at this time of year do we perform without a reason? 

I love books that make me think like this, that make me question civilization and nature and tradition. That being said, a younger me would have loved this book too. Sam Sutton is one part Nancy Drew, one part Bones, and one part Goosebumps, and I highly recommend it for readers of all ages!

Overall: A+

Get your copies of Samantha Sutton and the Labrynth of Lies and Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen today!

I’m also delighted that I got to have Jordan Jacobs on the blog to answer a quick Fast Five for us! He’s got some GREAT answers and one of my favorite christmas songs to boot!

FAST 5:

1. Favorite Word?

“Thicket.” (Could there be a more satisfying word to say?)

Least Favorite Word?

“Mealy.”  (Ugh.  It’s even unpleasant to type!)

2. Favorite Sound?

My toddler daughter’s wonderfully frequent belly laughs.

3. What profession other than author would you like to attempt?

Film director.

4.Favorite historical item?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cuneiform tablets I saw on display at Istanbul’s Museum of the Ancient Orient. I’m a sucker for any ancient text—the more mundane the better.  What were people thinking about 3300 years ago?  Same things we do, it turns out. Taxes, petty disputes, love.  

5. If there was a theme song for Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen what would it be?

I tend to listen to music when I write – especially when I edit.  Movie soundtracks work well, and so does classical guitar.  But there are some times where I need a region-specific playlist to keep the spirit of the setting in mind.

For my first book, Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies, it was Andean folk music. My limited knowledge of the genre made song selection easy.  But for a book set in England, how to even begin?  Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen takes place in the present and explores events that occurred two thousand years ago, giving me centuries of British music to work with: from Handel to the Stones, from the Beatles to Purcell.

What worked was a little bit of everything.

Recent British music brings me back to my time in the UK– to the college bops, society swaps, cheesy nightclubs and fun, frenetic London. But, in writing, I leaned mostly on the Anglican choral tradition - the most English of English music, at least for me. I used to love attending Evensong services at Oxford and Cambridge, and hearing that music today puts me again in those hard-backed pews.  

And as for a specific song? Modern software makes this easy, tracking the number of plays.  The winner, it seems, was Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter—an English poem set to music by an English composer.  It’s haunting, it’s beautiful, and it’s sad—the perfect theme song for the Warrior Queen’s quieter moments.

Thanks so much Jordan for stopping by! Come back anytime you’d like!

To all my lovely V.V. readers, If you haven’t heard In the Bleak Midwinter before check it out here and be sure to pick up Samantha Sutton and the Labrynth of Lies and Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen for yourself or those young readers of yours for Christmas!


Tags:   #i read #middle grade #young adult #ya #books #publishing #sourcebooks #samantha sutton #mystery #history #action #adventure #archeology #the winter of the warrior queen #labrynth of lies #jordan jacobs


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Thursday, December 19
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We are extremely excited to be able to share with you the cover for Heather Lyons’ THE DEEP END OF THE SEA!! The cover alone is giving us chills! You can buy THE DEEP END OF THE SEA February 13, 2014!!     

About THE DEEP END OF THE SEA:   What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong? Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age. But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.   
About Heather Lyons: Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.    
Links: Website: http://www.heatherlyons.net
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/heatherlyons
THE DEEP END OF THE SEA Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18844839-the-deep-end-of-the-sea?ac=1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hymheather
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherlyonsbooks?fref=ts  

We are extremely excited to be able to share with you the cover for Heather Lyons’ THE DEEP END OF THE SEA!! The cover alone is giving us chills! You can buy THE DEEP END OF THE SEA February 13, 2014!!   Deep End Of The Sea - Front Cover  


About THE DEEP END OF THE SEA:   What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong? Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age. But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.   

About Heather Lyons: Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.    

Links: Website: http://www.heatherlyons.net

Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/heatherlyons

THE DEEP END OF THE SEA Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18844839-the-deep-end-of-the-sea?ac=1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hymheather

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherlyonsbooks?fref=ts  

Tags:   #i read #books #cover reveal #inkslinger pr #the deep end of the sea #mythology #heather lyons #publishing #ya


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Thursday, December 5
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I’m so excited to bring you the cover and a sneak peek at Geoff Herbach’s new book, Fat Boys vs The Cheerleader! It’s not just a war against the “in-crowd,” it’s a revolution! It’s going to be an awesome read! Check out the exercept below and pre-order your copy here!xoxo
V.V.
Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders
by Geoff Herbach
Sourcebooks Fire
MEMORANDUM
From: Henry P. Rodriguez, Attorney at Law
Submitted To: Seventh District Court, Otter County
Re: Case No. 1745321—Gardener et al v. MLA Independent School District
SHORTLY BEFORE MIDNIGHT ON JUNE 15, GABRIEL JOHNSON, A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD FROM MINNEKOTA, MN, WAS APPREHENDED OUTSIDE CUB FOODS BY OFFICER REX McCOY. JOHNSON POSSESSED $17.75 IN SMALL BILLS AND CHANGE, WHICH HE CONFIRMED HAD BEEN REMOVED FROM THE VENDING MACHINE AT MINNEKOTA LAKE AREA HIGH SCHOOL.
POLICE SUGGESTED THE ALLEGED ROBBERY WAS RELATED TO A LARGER CONFLICT INVOLVING ASSAULT, VANDALISM, AND DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER THAT HAS COME TO BE KNOWN AS THE SPUNK RIVER WAR.
THE FOLLOWING TRANSCRIPT IS GABRIEL’S VERBATIM ACCOUNT, RECORDED IN A CONFERENCE ROOM AT THE MINNEKOTA POLICE DEPARTMENT BETWEEN 10 A.M. AND 5:40 P.M. ON JUNE 16.
WE SUBMIT THIS DOCUMENT AS CONTEXT FOR THE ABOVE NOTED CASE. THERE IS A SPECIFIC HUMAN COST WHEN THOSE IN POWER WIELD POWER ARROGANTLY. THIS CASE SUPPORTS A TEENAGER’S FIGHT FOR DIGNITY, OPPORTUNITY, AND FAIRNESS.
Chapter 1
Ripping off the pop machine last night wasn’t meant to be funny. It was my duty to all the geeks, burners and oddballs in school, because that machine sucks. Robbing it was serious business, okay?
Why are you laughing, Mr. Rodriguez?
I did it myself. I robbed the machine all by myself.
There were sheep in the school this morning? Real sheep?
How—? Oh, wait, I remember now. I must’ve let them in there by accident. Whoops. Like, left the door open after I robbed the machine and all those sheep wandered in by themselves.
No, it’s not funny, sir. Really.
I’m telling you, I’m the one who stole the money. It was eighteen dollars, but I lost a quarter when Officer McCoy roughed me up. Look at my chin! I have scrapes all over my stomach and knees, too.
That stupid pop machine. Stupid pop! It all started with that stupid…
Yeah I hate that machine! For so many reasons.
For instance, in May, me, Justin Cornell and Camille Gardener did this pop study for health class. The study was Camille’s idea, because she turned into a health nut when her dad started organic farming last year (they grew like two tomatoes and a one giant zucchini—they’re not the best farmers). Anyway, out of Camille’s concern for student health, she got us to study usage of the pop machine, her theory being that unhealthy kids would be the heaviest users.
Big, bad study, sir. Mr. Luken, our Health teacher, gave us passes to hang out in the cafeteria all day. We made a chart of jocks, brains, music geeks, gamers, burners, and “others” (sad sacks who are hard to categorize because they have no social connections to anyone) and we took note of who purchased a product from the pop machine and what specific product they purchased.
Almost nobody paid attention to us while we took notes. Only a couple said stuff like, “What are you staring at, dorks?” Seth Sellers, a jock, made fart sounds when he saw me.
This pop project was eye-opening, sir.
After school that day, me, Camille and Justin went to Bitterroot Coffee Shop down on Main Street to tally things up.
“Nick, Gamer, purchased three Pepsis in four hours,” Justin said.
“Kendra, Burner, four different pops in five hours,” Camille said.
“She’s pretty overweight,” Justin said.
“Not as big as Tiff, Other, who bought four bottles of Sierra Mist,” Camille said.
“Oh Lord Mother of all Balls,” I said.
Camille plugged the data into a spreadsheet, squinting.
Justin shook his head, sucked his latte and was all like, “Whoa.”
Then Camille sat back, sipped her green tea and was all like, “Just as I suspected.”
I smiled and said, “Holy Mother of all Balls, right?” I drank a mocha with whipped cream, which has a million calories, by the way.
Here’s the scoop, sir: Purchasers of pop at Minnekota Lake Area High School are fat asses, trailer park kids, addicted gamers, and burner chicks who eat cigarettes for breakfast. Dozens and dozens of these kids. Most of them went for second rounds later in the day. Some for thirds. A couple, fourths (me, for instance). Very few jocks purchased pop from the machine. (Seth Sellers bought one bottle of Pepsi late in the afternoon, so he was able to greet me with the aforementioned fart sounds.) Two cheerleaders purchased from the machine, but they both bought diet. That diet stuff will kill you, but not make you fat on the calories.
What does that tell you, Mr. Rodriguez?
I tried not to show my concern, but Justin and Camille were clearly concerned.
“You drink a lot of pop, Chunk,” Justin said. “Could be part of the problem,”
“Oh, is there a problem?” I said. “I wasn’t aware of a problem!” I smiled big and raised my fat mocha like I was making a toast.
“There’s a problem, Chunk,” Camille said. “A big problem.” She didn’t smile. She didn’t toast me.
“I’m just sayin’,” Justin said.
Yeah. Really. A problem. I drank a hell-ton of Code Red Mountain Dew every day—four bottles, five bottles—and the only pants that fit me were stretchy pants (elastic waistband, sir).
I knew it, too, knew pop was part of my issue. But, see, I also thought it was part of my success! I was winning by buying all that pop! All the vending machine money went to fund the band! I’m a trombone player, you know? That’s one badass, hilarious instrument, right? Trombone! Awesome instrument. I love band so much so I figured I was paying myself by drinking all that pop. Winning it huge.
No. Stupid.
The truth is, I’ve gained a load of weight in the last couple of years. Kids call me fat ass, sausages, fudge balls, butter balls, cake balls, lard ass, 8 Butt Johnson. All kinds of names. I laugh and go along with it, but those names hurt my feelings.
Even my stupid gym teacher calls me names!
The day after our pop study, I was depressed, so it took me a long time to get to school, so I was late to gym class, so Mr. McCartney ordered me to “orbit,” which means run laps. I didn’t want to get detention (McCartney had been threatening me with detention, because I make jokes and I’m quote unquote mouthy). So I did what I was told.
While I was jogging around the gym, Seth Sellers shouted, “Planet turd in orbit!”
I smiled. “Yeah, watch out, planet earth. This shit ball might crash out of the night sky!” I faked being out of control and weaved off course like I was crashing.
McCartney got pissed. “This isn’t a joke, Chunk,” he said. “This is a punishment.”
“Okay,” I said. “Sorry.” I jogged on, but when I got to the far end of the gym, Janessa Rogers, this nasty cheerleader, said, “Shake it, Chunk! Shake it!”
I puckered my lips duck-face style and started shaking my ass while I jogged.
Everybody laughed.
Everybody except McCartney. He freaked. Way out of control. His face turned dark red and sweat streamed down his forehead. He started yelling, “You wanna be a clown, Chunk? You wanna disrupt my class? Oh, you’re real hilarious!”
I stopped my ass shaking,
“God, I’m sick of it,” McCartney shouted.
I stopped jogging all together. Stared at him, because he was screaming. Everyone else stopped whacking their birds (we were in a badminton unit).
McCartney walked toward me fast. “I’m so sick of your baloney. Sick of your face.”
“My face?” I asked, because I was surprised, because I always thought McCartney sort of liked me, even if I annoyed him.
“Your fat face! Get out of my gym, you sack of shit. Get your fat ass out of here.”
Everybody stared. Everybody’s mouth hung open.
I swallowed hard. Stared at McCartney for a second. Then said, “Okay.” I put my head down and bumbled out of there as fast as my fat legs could carry me.
Terrible. Teacher verbally assaults you like that?
Hey. Why are we talking about this, Mr. Rodriguez? Shouldn’t we be talking about how…how you’re going to keep me from going to jail or something? I’m a little nervous about my crime.
The whole story, huh? Okay. You asked for it. I can talk forever.
Pop. The night after I was kicked out of gym, I pulled five empty bottles of Code Red Mountain Dew out of my backpack (there isn’t recycling at school, so I bring my empties home). One bottle didn’t have a cap on it. A little Code Red dribbled out onto my bedroom rug. It made a little stain. I squinted at it and my heart beat hard.
This stain reminded me of Doris our cleaning lady back when Dad was trying to pick up the pieces after Mom hit the road (Mom ran away to Japan while I was in eighth grade, by the way).
Doris was a tiny old lady. She spilled dirty mop water on the carpet. She said, “Better laugh than cry.” She broke a lamp when she whacked it off a side table with the duster. “Better laugh than cry.”
Poor Doris! She was terrible. She could barely lift a broom, she was so old. Dad had to fire her, which made him cry (serious sobbing breakdown, which he did a lot back then), but what was he going to do? She plugged the toilet with Clorox wipes. She broke a whole set of plates. She fell off a stool and ripped down our shower curtain. Dad had no choice. But when the taxi dropped her off at our place on the day he actually fired her, he broke down like a weak-ass baby. “I’m sorry,” he cried. “I’m so sorry, Doris.”
Doris shrugged and smiled and put her coat back on. I was so nervous about how she would react. What if Doris cried about getting fired? What would we do then? But she didn’t seem to care at all. “Better laugh than cry,” she said. Then Dad drove her home.
And I exhaled. I relaxed. And I thought: Doris has it right, right? Better laugh than cry. I don’t want to be a fool sobbing mess like my dumb dad, who can’t deal with his wife leaving him (my mom left me, too, and I wanted to cry, but seriously, better laugh than cry). That became my whole way of dealing.
A couple years later, there I was, ass dancing in the high school hallway while Seth Sellers mocked me with fart sounds. Laughing all the way, man.
But I stared at that Code Red stain on my rug and my heart beat and I thought, that’s not funny. For the first time, sir, it occurred to me that my total lack of dignity is not remotely funny.
That feeling continued into the night.
Grandpa, who you met this morning, moved in with me and Dad last summer to help us out. He cooks really well and sort of cleans—better than Doris, I guess. After he got too old to be a professional body builder, Grandpa ran a diner in town and the dude can make comfort food like nobody’s business.
Yes, you heard me right, body-builder.
Why are you laughing?
Everybody in town knows about Grandpa. He was Mr. Minnesota 1977, Mr. Rodriguez. I’m serious. The ladies loved him. Grandpa was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s main competition back in the day.
That’s what he told me and I believe him.
Long story short, sir, that night Grandpa cooked up some steaks and a bunch of mushrooms in butter sauce and mashed potatoes and green beans and fixed us salads. The deal is I never ate the green beans or the salad part. I doubled up on mashed potatoes, because oh balls, yes, do I love the awesome flavor of my grandpa’s cream cheese infused mashed potatoes.
While I was sucking down the potatoes, Grandpa stared at me. He said, “Boy, the lack of roughage in your diet accounts for that big gut of yours.”
I looked up, stared back at Grandpa’s pinched face. I remembered Mr. McCartney calling me a fat ass in gym. My heart sank. My chin quivered. “Big gut?” I asked.
"You heard me," he said.
I swallowed hard, thought I might cry, because all these names… But then my Doris philosophy kicked in. I said, “I’m out of here!” I put the rest of the potatoes in my mouth—a giant wad—jumped up from my chair and ass-danced out of the dining room.
“Sure love the spuds, don’t ya, ya Chunk,” Grandpa called after me.
“Ha ha ha!” my dad laughed.
Back downstairs in my room, I stared at the stain again. What the hell is so funny? Am I really just a joke? I pictured Doris’s quivery arms and unsteady gaze and her wrinkled old face.
Then it hit me! Oh man, I thought. Crap! You’re not Doris, you idiot. 
Total realization, sir. Doris couldn’t help it that she was so old. What was she going to do? Cry about living so long she no longer had control of her body? Better laugh than cry makes sense for her. I, on the other hand, have a choice. I’m a powerful young buck. Ass dancing isn’t the only option, right?
Don’t get me wrong, sir, I like being funny. But I don’t like…
You asked for it! The whole story! This totally has to do with the pop machine.
See, I was already pretty crabby that last week of school. Because I tried to limit my Code Red intake to three bottles a day, because I didn’t want to be a victim anymore, didn’t want to just laugh it all off. I wanted to do something for myself. I’d become dependent on the sugar and caffeine in the freaking pop, okay?
 Justin and Camille both commented on my bad mood.
“Why so sad?” Justin asked while driving me to school.
“Someone hit you with the sad stick?” Camille asked during chemistry.
“Bah,” I replied to both of them. “Screw everything.”
See? I was already evolving the attitude that caused me to become the criminal I am today.
Then, Wednesday that last week of school we had the first tiny event of what has since come to be known as the Spunk River War.
What a stupid name. Spunk. That’s a bonehead name.
Sure thing, sir. Go ahead and get coffee. I’ll be here when you get back. Not like I can go anywhere.

I’m so excited to bring you the cover and a sneak peek at Geoff Herbach’s new book, Fat Boys vs The Cheerleader! It’s not just a war against the “in-crowd,” it’s a revolution! It’s going to be an awesome read! Check out the exercept below and pre-order your copy here!
xoxo

V.V.

Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders

by Geoff Herbach

Sourcebooks Fire

MEMORANDUM

From: Henry P. Rodriguez, Attorney at Law

Submitted To: Seventh District Court, Otter County

Re: Case No. 1745321—Gardener et al v. MLA Independent School District

SHORTLY BEFORE MIDNIGHT ON JUNE 15, GABRIEL JOHNSON, A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD FROM MINNEKOTA, MN, WAS APPREHENDED OUTSIDE CUB FOODS BY OFFICER REX McCOY. JOHNSON POSSESSED $17.75 IN SMALL BILLS AND CHANGE, WHICH HE CONFIRMED HAD BEEN REMOVED FROM THE VENDING MACHINE AT MINNEKOTA LAKE AREA HIGH SCHOOL.

POLICE SUGGESTED THE ALLEGED ROBBERY WAS RELATED TO A LARGER CONFLICT INVOLVING ASSAULT, VANDALISM, AND DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER THAT HAS COME TO BE KNOWN AS THE SPUNK RIVER WAR.

THE FOLLOWING TRANSCRIPT IS GABRIEL’S VERBATIM ACCOUNT, RECORDED IN A CONFERENCE ROOM AT THE MINNEKOTA POLICE DEPARTMENT BETWEEN 10 A.M. AND 5:40 P.M. ON JUNE 16.

WE SUBMIT THIS DOCUMENT AS CONTEXT FOR THE ABOVE NOTED CASE. THERE IS A SPECIFIC HUMAN COST WHEN THOSE IN POWER WIELD POWER ARROGANTLY. THIS CASE SUPPORTS A TEENAGER’S FIGHT FOR DIGNITY, OPPORTUNITY, AND FAIRNESS.

Chapter 1

Ripping off the pop machine last night wasn’t meant to be funny. It was my duty to all the geeks, burners and oddballs in school, because that machine sucks. Robbing it was serious business, okay?

Why are you laughing, Mr. Rodriguez?

I did it myself. I robbed the machine all by myself.

There were sheep in the school this morning? Real sheep?

How—? Oh, wait, I remember now. I must’ve let them in there by accident. Whoops. Like, left the door open after I robbed the machine and all those sheep wandered in by themselves.

No, it’s not funny, sir. Really.

I’m telling you, I’m the one who stole the money. It was eighteen dollars, but I lost a quarter when Officer McCoy roughed me up. Look at my chin! I have scrapes all over my stomach and knees, too.

That stupid pop machine. Stupid pop! It all started with that stupid…

Yeah I hate that machine! For so many reasons.

For instance, in May, me, Justin Cornell and Camille Gardener did this pop study for health class. The study was Camille’s idea, because she turned into a health nut when her dad started organic farming last year (they grew like two tomatoes and a one giant zucchini—they’re not the best farmers). Anyway, out of Camille’s concern for student health, she got us to study usage of the pop machine, her theory being that unhealthy kids would be the heaviest users.

Big, bad study, sir. Mr. Luken, our Health teacher, gave us passes to hang out in the cafeteria all day. We made a chart of jocks, brains, music geeks, gamers, burners, and “others” (sad sacks who are hard to categorize because they have no social connections to anyone) and we took note of who purchased a product from the pop machine and what specific product they purchased.

Almost nobody paid attention to us while we took notes. Only a couple said stuff like, “What are you staring at, dorks?” Seth Sellers, a jock, made fart sounds when he saw me.

This pop project was eye-opening, sir.

After school that day, me, Camille and Justin went to Bitterroot Coffee Shop down on Main Street to tally things up.

“Nick, Gamer, purchased three Pepsis in four hours,” Justin said.

“Kendra, Burner, four different pops in five hours,” Camille said.

“She’s pretty overweight,” Justin said.

“Not as big as Tiff, Other, who bought four bottles of Sierra Mist,” Camille said.

“Oh Lord Mother of all Balls,” I said.

Camille plugged the data into a spreadsheet, squinting.

Justin shook his head, sucked his latte and was all like, “Whoa.”

Then Camille sat back, sipped her green tea and was all like, “Just as I suspected.”

I smiled and said, “Holy Mother of all Balls, right?” I drank a mocha with whipped cream, which has a million calories, by the way.

Here’s the scoop, sir: Purchasers of pop at Minnekota Lake Area High School are fat asses, trailer park kids, addicted gamers, and burner chicks who eat cigarettes for breakfast. Dozens and dozens of these kids. Most of them went for second rounds later in the day. Some for thirds. A couple, fourths (me, for instance). Very few jocks purchased pop from the machine. (Seth Sellers bought one bottle of Pepsi late in the afternoon, so he was able to greet me with the aforementioned fart sounds.) Two cheerleaders purchased from the machine, but they both bought diet. That diet stuff will kill you, but not make you fat on the calories.

What does that tell you, Mr. Rodriguez?

I tried not to show my concern, but Justin and Camille were clearly concerned.

“You drink a lot of pop, Chunk,” Justin said. “Could be part of the problem,”

“Oh, is there a problem?” I said. “I wasn’t aware of a problem!” I smiled big and raised my fat mocha like I was making a toast.

“There’s a problem, Chunk,” Camille said. “A big problem.” She didn’t smile. She didn’t toast me.

“I’m just sayin’,” Justin said.

Yeah. Really. A problem. I drank a hell-ton of Code Red Mountain Dew every day—four bottles, five bottles—and the only pants that fit me were stretchy pants (elastic waistband, sir).

I knew it, too, knew pop was part of my issue. But, see, I also thought it was part of my success! I was winning by buying all that pop! All the vending machine money went to fund the band! I’m a trombone player, you know? That’s one badass, hilarious instrument, right? Trombone! Awesome instrument. I love band so much so I figured I was paying myself by drinking all that pop. Winning it huge.

No. Stupid.

The truth is, I’ve gained a load of weight in the last couple of years. Kids call me fat ass, sausages, fudge balls, butter balls, cake balls, lard ass, 8 Butt Johnson. All kinds of names. I laugh and go along with it, but those names hurt my feelings.

Even my stupid gym teacher calls me names!

The day after our pop study, I was depressed, so it took me a long time to get to school, so I was late to gym class, so Mr. McCartney ordered me to “orbit,” which means run laps. I didn’t want to get detention (McCartney had been threatening me with detention, because I make jokes and I’m quote unquote mouthy). So I did what I was told.

While I was jogging around the gym, Seth Sellers shouted, “Planet turd in orbit!”

I smiled. “Yeah, watch out, planet earth. This shit ball might crash out of the night sky!” I faked being out of control and weaved off course like I was crashing.

McCartney got pissed. “This isn’t a joke, Chunk,” he said. “This is a punishment.”

“Okay,” I said. “Sorry.” I jogged on, but when I got to the far end of the gym, Janessa Rogers, this nasty cheerleader, said, “Shake it, Chunk! Shake it!”

I puckered my lips duck-face style and started shaking my ass while I jogged.

Everybody laughed.

Everybody except McCartney. He freaked. Way out of control. His face turned dark red and sweat streamed down his forehead. He started yelling, “You wanna be a clown, Chunk? You wanna disrupt my class? Oh, you’re real hilarious!”

I stopped my ass shaking,

“God, I’m sick of it,” McCartney shouted.

I stopped jogging all together. Stared at him, because he was screaming. Everyone else stopped whacking their birds (we were in a badminton unit).

McCartney walked toward me fast. “I’m so sick of your baloney. Sick of your face.”

“My face?” I asked, because I was surprised, because I always thought McCartney sort of liked me, even if I annoyed him.

“Your fat face! Get out of my gym, you sack of shit. Get your fat ass out of here.”

Everybody stared. Everybody’s mouth hung open.

I swallowed hard. Stared at McCartney for a second. Then said, “Okay.” I put my head down and bumbled out of there as fast as my fat legs could carry me.

Terrible. Teacher verbally assaults you like that?

Hey. Why are we talking about this, Mr. Rodriguez? Shouldn’t we be talking about how…how you’re going to keep me from going to jail or something? I’m a little nervous about my crime.

The whole story, huh? Okay. You asked for it. I can talk forever.

Pop. The night after I was kicked out of gym, I pulled five empty bottles of Code Red Mountain Dew out of my backpack (there isn’t recycling at school, so I bring my empties home). One bottle didn’t have a cap on it. A little Code Red dribbled out onto my bedroom rug. It made a little stain. I squinted at it and my heart beat hard.

This stain reminded me of Doris our cleaning lady back when Dad was trying to pick up the pieces after Mom hit the road (Mom ran away to Japan while I was in eighth grade, by the way).

Doris was a tiny old lady. She spilled dirty mop water on the carpet. She said, “Better laugh than cry.” She broke a lamp when she whacked it off a side table with the duster. “Better laugh than cry.”

Poor Doris! She was terrible. She could barely lift a broom, she was so old. Dad had to fire her, which made him cry (serious sobbing breakdown, which he did a lot back then), but what was he going to do? She plugged the toilet with Clorox wipes. She broke a whole set of plates. She fell off a stool and ripped down our shower curtain. Dad had no choice. But when the taxi dropped her off at our place on the day he actually fired her, he broke down like a weak-ass baby. “I’m sorry,” he cried. “I’m so sorry, Doris.”

Doris shrugged and smiled and put her coat back on. I was so nervous about how she would react. What if Doris cried about getting fired? What would we do then? But she didn’t seem to care at all. “Better laugh than cry,” she said. Then Dad drove her home.

And I exhaled. I relaxed. And I thought: Doris has it right, right? Better laugh than cry. I don’t want to be a fool sobbing mess like my dumb dad, who can’t deal with his wife leaving him (my mom left me, too, and I wanted to cry, but seriously, better laugh than cry). That became my whole way of dealing.

A couple years later, there I was, ass dancing in the high school hallway while Seth Sellers mocked me with fart sounds. Laughing all the way, man.

But I stared at that Code Red stain on my rug and my heart beat and I thought, that’s not funny. For the first time, sir, it occurred to me that my total lack of dignity is not remotely funny.

That feeling continued into the night.

Grandpa, who you met this morning, moved in with me and Dad last summer to help us out. He cooks really well and sort of cleans—better than Doris, I guess. After he got too old to be a professional body builder, Grandpa ran a diner in town and the dude can make comfort food like nobody’s business.

Yes, you heard me right, body-builder.

Why are you laughing?

Everybody in town knows about Grandpa. He was Mr. Minnesota 1977, Mr. Rodriguez. I’m serious. The ladies loved him. Grandpa was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s main competition back in the day.

That’s what he told me and I believe him.

Long story short, sir, that night Grandpa cooked up some steaks and a bunch of mushrooms in butter sauce and mashed potatoes and green beans and fixed us salads. The deal is I never ate the green beans or the salad part. I doubled up on mashed potatoes, because oh balls, yes, do I love the awesome flavor of my grandpa’s cream cheese infused mashed potatoes.

While I was sucking down the potatoes, Grandpa stared at me. He said, “Boy, the lack of roughage in your diet accounts for that big gut of yours.”

I looked up, stared back at Grandpa’s pinched face. I remembered Mr. McCartney calling me a fat ass in gym. My heart sank. My chin quivered. “Big gut?” I asked.

"You heard me," he said.

I swallowed hard, thought I might cry, because all these names… But then my Doris philosophy kicked in. I said, “I’m out of here!” I put the rest of the potatoes in my mouth—a giant wad—jumped up from my chair and ass-danced out of the dining room.

“Sure love the spuds, don’t ya, ya Chunk,” Grandpa called after me.

“Ha ha ha!” my dad laughed.

Back downstairs in my room, I stared at the stain again. What the hell is so funny? Am I really just a joke? I pictured Doris’s quivery arms and unsteady gaze and her wrinkled old face.

Then it hit me! Oh man, I thought. Crap! You’re not Doris, you idiot.

Total realization, sir. Doris couldn’t help it that she was so old. What was she going to do? Cry about living so long she no longer had control of her body? Better laugh than cry makes sense for her. I, on the other hand, have a choice. I’m a powerful young buck. Ass dancing isn’t the only option, right?

Don’t get me wrong, sir, I like being funny. But I don’t like…

You asked for it! The whole story! This totally has to do with the pop machine.

See, I was already pretty crabby that last week of school. Because I tried to limit my Code Red intake to three bottles a day, because I didn’t want to be a victim anymore, didn’t want to just laugh it all off. I wanted to do something for myself. I’d become dependent on the sugar and caffeine in the freaking pop, okay?

 Justin and Camille both commented on my bad mood.

“Why so sad?” Justin asked while driving me to school.

“Someone hit you with the sad stick?” Camille asked during chemistry.

“Bah,” I replied to both of them. “Screw everything.”

See? I was already evolving the attitude that caused me to become the criminal I am today.

Then, Wednesday that last week of school we had the first tiny event of what has since come to be known as the Spunk River War.

What a stupid name. Spunk. That’s a bonehead name.

Sure thing, sir. Go ahead and get coffee. I’ll be here when you get back. Not like I can go anywhere.

Tags:   #i read #books #ya #young adult #ya lit #young adult fiction #reading #publishing #sourcebooks #fat boy vs the cheerleaders #geoff herbach



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Thursday, November 28
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Season’s Greetings: A Parish Mail Short (Parish Mail 2.5) by Kira Snyder
Alternatively titled: Why this novella is like a hug plus my recipe for Peppermint Hot Cocoa
I love the holidays. I love everything about them. It’s the only time of year I turn into a sappy, cheesy Hallmark movie loving fiend. I also find myself reading a lot in December and I’m particularly fond of winter themed books—-does it have snow? hot chocolate? ice skating? Great, I’ll read it. That’s part of the reason I was so excited to get to read Season’s Greetings.
The Parish Mail books, Dead Letter Office and Post Mortem are a series of paranormal mysteries set in New Orleans. Now go back and read that last sentence and tell me how many of those things I love. Yep, all of them. That’s part of why I love the Parish Mail series so much! Then when you add Coliloquy’s active fiction aspect—Oh, you’re going to let me choose which boy she calls? Oh, you’re going to let me decide where she goes? It’s like a dream come true. Also if you’re like me you’ll go back and reread every option at every available choice point. 
Now combine all of my loves into one novella and you have Season’s Greetings. The story continues the Parish Mail world—this fight of good versus evil and of restoring balance through solving crimes both in the past and the present. There’s three smexy boys vying for Celia’s attention, an amazing witchy best friend and a great family support system too. The plot of Season’s Greetings feels less ominous and dangerous but has a wonderful holiday message at the core of which is love and family. At the end you feel warm, full of joy and somehow renewed which is why this novella is just like a hug.
In the spirit of the holidays, I recommend a warm delicious beverage to accompany this book: Peppermint Hot Cocoa. It’s simultaneously cool and warm. It’s like Icy Hot for your mouth if Icy Hot were delicious. To make: Add a packet of Swiss Miss with mini marshmellows to your mug. Add boiling water, a splash of milk and 1 capful of this peppermint syrup from Starbucks. Stir. Top with some more mini marshmallows and a cute little candy cane as a stirring utensil. BOOM! INSTANT HOLIDAY CHEER and a perfect accompaniment for Season’s Greetings!
Overall: A+
You can get a copy of Season’s Greetings here, as well as Dead Letter Office and Post Mortem.
eARC provided gratis by Coliloquy 

Season’s Greetings: A Parish Mail Short (Parish Mail 2.5) by Kira Snyder

Alternatively titled: Why this novella is like a hug plus my recipe for Peppermint Hot Cocoa

I love the holidays. I love everything about them. It’s the only time of year I turn into a sappy, cheesy Hallmark movie loving fiend. I also find myself reading a lot in December and I’m particularly fond of winter themed books—-does it have snow? hot chocolate? ice skating? Great, I’ll read it. That’s part of the reason I was so excited to get to read Season’s Greetings.

The Parish Mail books, Dead Letter Office and Post Mortem are a series of paranormal mysteries set in New Orleans. Now go back and read that last sentence and tell me how many of those things I love. Yep, all of them. That’s part of why I love the Parish Mail series so much! Then when you add Coliloquy’s active fiction aspect—Oh, you’re going to let me choose which boy she calls? Oh, you’re going to let me decide where she goes? It’s like a dream come true. Also if you’re like me you’ll go back and reread every option at every available choice point. 

Now combine all of my loves into one novella and you have Season’s Greetings. The story continues the Parish Mail world—this fight of good versus evil and of restoring balance through solving crimes both in the past and the present. There’s three smexy boys vying for Celia’s attention, an amazing witchy best friend and a great family support system too. The plot of Season’s Greetings feels less ominous and dangerous but has a wonderful holiday message at the core of which is love and family. At the end you feel warm, full of joy and somehow renewed which is why this novella is just like a hug.

In the spirit of the holidays, I recommend a warm delicious beverage to accompany this book: Peppermint Hot Cocoa. It’s simultaneously cool and warm. It’s like Icy Hot for your mouth if Icy Hot were delicious. To make: Add a packet of Swiss Miss with mini marshmellows to your mug. Add boiling water, a splash of milk and 1 capful of this peppermint syrup from Starbucks. Stir. Top with some more mini marshmallows and a cute little candy cane as a stirring utensil. BOOM! INSTANT HOLIDAY CHEER and a perfect accompaniment for Season’s Greetings!

Overall: A+

You can get a copy of Season’s Greetings here, as well as Dead Letter Office and Post Mortem.

eARC provided gratis by Coliloquy 

Tags:   #i read #books #reading #seasons greetings #holidays #christmas #parish mail #coliloquy #kira snyder #dead letter office #post mortem #mysteries #seasonal #publishing #ya #young adult #ya lit #young adult fiction #recipes #hot cocoa #peppermint



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Friday, November 22
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I’m delighted to bring you, my dear readers, a pre-order gift opportunity from Sourcebooks for Miranda Kenneally’s new YA Racing Savannah. Read on for more about the book and how you can score an exclusive horseshoe key chain for preordering!

xoxo

V.V.

From Sourcebooks….

They’re from two different worlds, but Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules… get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!

Right before her senior year, Savannah’s father whisks the family off to Tennessee to work as head groom at fancy Cedar Hill Farms. Savannah finally sees it as the perfect opportunity to earn extra money as an exercise rider—no matter how many others don’t want a girl around the barn.  But she’s also caught the eye of Jack Goodwin, the owner’s son. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries. With her dream of becoming a jockey, Savannah is not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack.

We’ve put together a fun campaign to thank readers for pre-ordering: send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you this fabulous horseshoe key chain!

A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally

We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out.

Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)

2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to teenfire@sourcebooks.com. Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!

3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out. 

4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!

Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.

Tags:   #i read #ya #miranda kenneally #racing savannah #sourcebooks #publishing #read #books #horseshoes #pre-order



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Tuesday, November 12
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 I’m happy to be part of the release day Blog Blitz for Cover Spell! Below you’ll find a synopsis of the book, some info about the author and an awesome giveaway to enter! For a limited time as well book 1 Time Spell will be only 99 cents!

xoxo,

V.V.

Book Summary:

Trying her best to mend a broken heart, Ivy Grace travels to hot and sultry New Orleans, the set of her latest novel turned movie. There, she does her best to focus on polishing up the screenplay when the film’s lead actress goes missing. Throw in a budding romance with the movie’s heartthrob and the reappearance of an old flame, and Ivy’s strength, resolve, and heart are put to the test as she works to solve the mysterious kidnapping.

The undercover witch, who craves a regular life, learns she will need more than her Time Spell to fight the evil plaguing New Orleans. New spells, new adventure, and new love take Ivy on a whirlwind journey of magic that unlocks more questions than answers.

Get Cover Spell here!


GIVEAWAY: 
GRAND PRIZE: Signed copy of TIME SPELL (book #1), 20 “edited” manuscript pages of COVER SPELL, and $25 Gift Cards to Amazon and Modcloth (US only). RUNNER UP: eBook copy of TIME SPELL (international). Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter here! 

About the Author:

 T.A. Foster is a Southern girl whose heart and spirit are connected to the beach. She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children and two canine kiddos.

Her long love affair with books started at an early age, and as soon as she was able, she transformed imaginative stories into words on paper. Time Spell is T.A.’s debut novel, and the first in a series about a very adventurous, clever, and magical girl named Ivy. 

T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing or planning her next beach trip. Follow T.A. at the following:

Blog: http://www.tafosterauthor.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/tafosterwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TAFosterauthor

Author Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7164289.T_A_Foster

Tags:   #i read #books #romance #movies #cover spell #time spell



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Thursday, November 7
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Season’s Greetings, a holiday short, comes out on 11/19! Here’s my review of Book 2 in the Parish Mail series. Get caught up now!
Post Mortem (Parish Mail Series #2)- Kira Snyder
I love the Parish Mail Series. Post Mortem sealed that deal, like one of those letter Celia Jane gets in the books. Okay that was a stretch, but in all seriousness, a good old fashioned ghost story and some sleuth work make for damn good winter reading. There is something classic about the Parish Mail series, something of Nancy Drew and Goosebumps, something in the pleasure of being a bit scared, a bit nervous and bit curious when reading these books that delights in the signature way. Post Mortem picks up where Dead Letter Office ends and extends our motley, meddling crew further into the worlds of historical and present day murder and mystery. Now they are a team with a mission and more is revealed regarding the evil loosed on Halloween and the paranormal misbalance that needs to be rectified. Trust me, Parish Mail isn’t a series to be missed, particularly for fans of things that go bump in the night.
Overall: A 
Post Mortem is out now from Coliloquy. Get your copy here.  

Season’s Greetings, a holiday short, comes out on 11/19! Here’s my review of Book 2 in the Parish Mail series. Get caught up now!

Post Mortem (Parish Mail Series #2)- Kira Snyder

I love the Parish Mail Series. Post Mortem sealed that deal, like one of those letter Celia Jane gets in the books. Okay that was a stretch, but in all seriousness, a good old fashioned ghost story and some sleuth work make for damn good winter reading. There is something classic about the Parish Mail series, something of Nancy Drew and Goosebumps, something in the pleasure of being a bit scared, a bit nervous and bit curious when reading these books that delights in the signature way. Post Mortem picks up where Dead Letter Office ends and extends our motley, meddling crew further into the worlds of historical and present day murder and mystery. Now they are a team with a mission and more is revealed regarding the evil loosed on Halloween and the paranormal misbalance that needs to be rectified. Trust me, Parish Mail isn’t a series to be missed, particularly for fans of things that go bump in the night.

Overall: A 

Post Mortem is out now from ColiloquyGet your copy here 

Tags:   #i read #books #ya #mystery #paranormal #kira snyder #coliloquy #parish mail #post mortem #dead letter office



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Tuesday, November 5
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Season’s Greetings! Here’s your first look at the cover for this new holiday short from Kira Snyder and Coliloquy due out 11/19!
Enter the Giveaway:  Enter the rafflecopter here. 

Season’s Greetings! Here’s your first look at the cover for this new holiday short from Kira Snyder and Coliloquy due out 11/19!


Enter the Giveaway:  Enter the rafflecopter here

Tags:   #i read #books #ya #mystery #seasons greetings #post mortem #dead letter office #parish mail #coliloquy #cover reveal


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Tuesday, October 29
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Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3)- Katie McGarry
McGarry is a genius when it comes to broken characters. An actual genius. Her characters are consistently believable walking the razor’s edge between dark and light, innocence and experience. Crash Into You’s Rachel and Isaiah find in each other both someone who understands, who loves with out conditions or constraints, and who reflects their own internal struggles. Point and counterpoint, a mix of other and same.  It’s mindboggling to me that each Pushing the Limits novel not only showcases compelling characters but does so with an authentic narrative which balances between   a harsh reality and hopeful optimistim. I loved this story just as I suspect I’ll love the next one too. Crash Into You is definitely worth the read and the emotional rollercoaster.
Overall: A
Crash Into You is out November 26th from Harlequin Teen. Pre-order your copy here!  Want to read the first two? Pushing the Limits and Dare You To are out now!
ARC provided gratis by Harlequin Teen

Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3)- Katie McGarry

McGarry is a genius when it comes to broken characters. An actual genius. Her characters are consistently believable walking the razor’s edge between dark and light, innocence and experience. Crash Into You’s Rachel and Isaiah find in each other both someone who understands, who loves with out conditions or constraints, and who reflects their own internal struggles. Point and counterpoint, a mix of other and same.  It’s mindboggling to me that each Pushing the Limits novel not only showcases compelling characters but does so with an authentic narrative which balances between   a harsh reality and hopeful optimistim. I loved this story just as I suspect I’ll love the next one too. Crash Into You is definitely worth the read and the emotional rollercoaster.

Overall: A

Crash Into You is out November 26th from Harlequin Teen. Pre-order your copy here!  Want to read the first two? Pushing the Limits and Dare You To are out now!

ARC provided gratis by Harlequin Teen

Tags:   #i read #books #publishing #ya #harlequin teen #katie mcgarry #pushing the limits #crash into you #romance #contemporary



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Sunday, October 20
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Character Profile or Why I love JJ Shultz from Tawna Fenske’s Getting Dumped and The Great Panty Caper

For me, JJ is a really interesting character. I love reading about her antics and to help you see why I like her, here’s a handy little list:

1. She sucks at picking men. First her ex is a douchecanoe. Then she’s torn between two guys. Either of them will work, just pick one! It makes me feel like I’m not an utter disaster by comparison.

2. She’s curious. She’s practically Nancy Drew. And while sometimes her utter disregard for her safety or ability to think through WHY investigating on her own isn’t a smart idea, her tenacity is impressive and endearing.

3. She’s flexible. She’s basically forced out of her job and into working at the dump and she finds joy in it. And she does so with a pink hard hat. Way to accessorize in the face of adversity! 

4. She loves to cook and to feed others in a way that reminds me of the Italian side of family. They are food pushers! Seriously you can’t walk in without being plied with food. JJ is the same.

5. She’s an amazing sister. Whether it’s being a shoulder for Lori to cry on, listening, advising, or just being together, it’s clear that JJ is always there for Lori and vice versa. Their relationship is heartwarming.

6. She’s snarky. Her banter and interactions with all the characters make me laugh, often times out loud. 

7. Two words. Blue Cat. She may be his owner but we all know who’s really the boss in this relationship. 

Overall, JJ is a really empathetic character and a delight to get to know in this series. If you haven’t read any of them yet, there’s a great bundle deal from Coliloquy where you can get them all for only $8.99! That’s a steal!

xoxo,
V.V. 

Tags:   #i read #books #mystery #coliloquy #publishing #tawna fenske #getting dumped #the great panty caper



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