Thursday, December 7, 2017

Have you had a chance to read DARKNESS MATTERS by Jay McLean?

Jay McLean released this book as a surprise for readers back in June, so you may not have heard about it. Let me tell you, you DO NOT want to miss out. "The writing is exquisite. The tone, the pacing, and her ability to add humor when the story has made my heart and jumbled up mess, made this a book I craved to savor, but was desperate to finish."

Make sure to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a signed paperback or an Amazon gift card.



Darkness Matter by Jay McLean
Released: June 26, 2017

PURCHASE LINKS




BLURB
It’s the same old story, really.
Good versus evil.
Heroes versus villains.
Light versus dark.
For two years, college freshman Noah Morgan lived his life somewhere in the middle, fighting darkness and light, always searching for answers to a single question:
Why, Noah, why?
The same three words keep him up at night, struggling for air while gripping a plastic cylinder containing white pills to match the white label with his name printed in ink as deep and dark as his memories—memories that turned him into a recluse.
A shut-in.
An introvert.
Luckily for him, that’s not how the girl next door sees him.


Find Darkness Matters on GoodReads: 
 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35439835-darkness-matters




GIVEAWAY
Enter to win a signed paperback of Darkness Matters, a $20 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


AUTHOR BIO
Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New Adult Romance, and most of all, procrastinator. When she's not doing any of those things, she can be found running after her two little boys, playing house and binge watching Netflix.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make her hurt and make her feel.
Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in a forever half-done home where music is loud and laughter is louder.

Monday, December 4, 2017

THE UPSIDE OF FALLING DOWN by Rebekah Crane: Excerpt and Giveaway

I was introduced to Rebekah Crane's books when a friend recommended that I read ASPEN three years ago. Since then I've read THE ODDS OF LOVING GLOVER CLEVELAND (a few times) and if you haven't read it yet, I HIGHLY recommended it!

I'm thrilled to share her newest book with my blog readers -  THE UPSIDE OF FALLING DOWN. It releases January 30, 2018. You can read an excerpt below and if this young adult contemporary is a book you would like to read, enter the giveaway below for a chance to win one of 10 copies.




The Upside of Falling Down 
Rebekah Crane
(Skyscape)
Publication date: January 30th 2018

Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult 
 About the book:
For Clementine Haas, finding herself is more than a nice idea. Ever since she woke up in an Irish hospital with complete amnesia, self-discovery has become her mission.
They tell her she’s the lone survivor of a plane crash. They tell her she’s lucky to be alive. But she doesn’t feel lucky. She feels…lost.
With the relentless Irish press bearing down on her, and a father she may not even recognize on his way from America to take her home, Clementine assumes a new identity and enlists a blue-eyed Irish stranger, Kieran O’Connell, to help her escape her forgotten life…and start a new one.
Hiding out in the sleepy town of Waterville, Ireland, Clementine discovers there’s an upside to a life that’s fallen apart. But as her lies grow, so does her affection for Kieran, and the truth about her identity becomes harder and harder to reveal, forcing Clementine to decide: Can she leave her past behind for a new love she’ll never forget?

Read an EXCERPT:
     My composure cracks when I’m safely tucked in a stall in the bathroom. Everything shifts, my real need coming into focus, like a caged bird that knows it doesn’t want to live behind bars anymore.
     I need to get out of here.
     How can I see my dad and not love him? What is wrong with me? Everything I thought would happen hasn’t.
     I press my sweaty head against the cool stall door. I wish I could be who Stephen wants me to be, a fearless girl willing to fight through this. More importantly, I wish I could be who my dad wants me to be. Clementine Haas. But I can’t. To go home with him like this would mean that every day he’ll wake up and want Clementine there, and instead, every day it will be me—whoever I am. We’ll both live in a constant state of disappointment.
     I can save him from that.
     I come out of the stall, focusing on myself in the mirror.
     “Jane,” I say to my reflection. “I’m Jane.”
     Stephen surely won’t help me get out of here. He wants to keep me safe in the hospital, which is still surrounded by camera crews and reporters. But there’s another way.
     The hallway is clear of my dad and Stephen when I poke my head out from the bathroom. My heart races as I walk swiftly away from my room and toward the staircase at the other end of the hall. Once the door closes behind me, and I’m safely tucked out of sight in the stairwell, a moment of relief comes, but it’s brief.
     The railing keeps me steady as I make my way down the steps and onto the first floor. My legs are weak, slow, but it’s not an option to stop at this point. Stop and I get caught. Move and I might find freedom.
     In the courtyard, Kieran sits at the table where I left him, his feet up on the bench, a book in his hands. I check out the cover. It’s clearly a romance novel.
     “You like romance novels, too,” I say. “We have something in common. Though I wouldn’t peg you as a romantic.”
     “I’m full of surprises.” He squints in the sunlight. “I’ve never understood why guys go for fast cars and guns when these books have fast women and sex.”
     “Honesty again. That’s a good thing.”
     Kieran dog-ears the page he’s on and closes the book, setting it down on the table. “You ran away from the dare.”
     “I didn’t run away.” I take back my seat. “I had to do something.”
     “What was that?”
     “It doesn’t matter. I’m ready now.”
     “Are you sure, Jane?”
     Kieran is just full of good questions, but debating the answer with myself would take too much time.
     “Jane Middleton,” I say, holding out my hand. “That’s my last name.”
     “Very royal sounding.” He places his warm hand in mine and says, “Kieran O’Connell. It’s nice to meet you.”
     “Very Irish sounding, Kieran O’Connell.”
     “Half-Irish, on my mother’s side.”
     “And your dad?” I ask.
     “Technically, he’s British, but he’s more asshole than anything.”
     “Honesty again.” I reach for the last container of Jell-O on his tray. “I’m ready for my dare. Spoon, please.”
     Kieran holds one up but doesn’t hand it over. “Are you sure you want to do this, Jane? It’s pig and cow parts.”
     This is so much more than Jell-O. This is my life he’s holding in front of me.
     “Where’s Waterville?” I ask, pointing to his hat.
     “South of here a few hours.”
     “Is it by Cork?” I ask, remembering the map and trying to sound like I know a thing or two.
     “Not exactly. A bit more west.”
     “Is that where you live?”
     “For the summer months.”
     I point to his T-shirt. “Then you go back to Trinity College?”
     “Yep.”
     “And where is that?”
     “It’s in Dublin.” Kieran looks at me oddly. “Have you not heard of Trinity College?”
     “Of course, I have. I just forgot for a second. It’s in Dublin. Right.”
     “What about you?” he asks. “Are you on break from college as well?”
     The question throws me. I have no idea if Clementine is in college. But I’m also not sure it matters. The part of me that keeps searching for Clementine needs a break. Jane can be whoever she wants. “Yeah, sure,” I say.
     “What are you studying?”
     “Undecided,” I say quickly. “You?”
     Kieran rolls his eyes. “Business.”
     “You don’t sound happy about that.”
     “Not everything in life can be happy, Jane.”
     The spoon rests in Kieran’s hand. No, sometimes life beats you down. Sometimes life deserts you, and your only choice is to find another path. “Are you going to give me that spoon or what?”
     “You know, you don’t have to do this,” he says. His blue eyes hold mine. He knows this is more than just Jell-O, too. That’s what a dare does. It taunts you to take a different direction, to do something you never thought you could do, to jump, knowing that a million consequences could be on the other side of that dare, but that if you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder. And sometimes wondering is worse than consequences.
     “I’m doing it,” I say. And I shovel a spoonful of pig and cow parts into my mouth.
     Kieran sits back, a broad grin growing on his face. When I’ve eaten the container clean, he claps.
     “I wasn’t sure you had it in you.”
     I have to choke down the last bits of Jell-O, then I put my empty container on the tray   with his, only partly satisfied.
     “Why are you here?” I ask. “It can’t possibly be for pig and cow parts.”
     “I come up to volunteer. Help out my fellow man and all. The food is just an added bonus.”
     “That’s nice of you.”
     “People need help,” Kieran says coolly. “It’s the least I can do.”
     “People do need help,” I agree. “And now it’s my turn.”
     “For what?”
     “Truth or dare?” I say.
     A glimmer comes to Kieran’s eyes. “That’s my line of questioning.”
     “It’s not fair that I answer the question and you don’t.”
     “Life isn’t fair, Jane. It’s all Jell-O, remember.”
     I lean across the table. “Are you chicken or something?”
     My confidence is surprising. Kieran seems to bring out something natural in me, or maybe he brings out more faith that the girl I was is still with me, just waiting to come out. Our eyes are fixed on each other’s. Kieran crosses his arms over his chest.
     The clucking starts first. Then I start to flap my arms like chicken wings. Kieran glances around at all the other tables, and then he starts to laugh.
     “OK. OK.” He holds up his hands in surrender.
     But as soon as the clucking stops, someone drops an entire tray of dishes onto the concrete sidewalk. They break with a loud crash. I startle, freezing in my seat. It chokes the breath right out of me. A head rush comes on so suddenly that I’m worried I’ll faint right in front of him. Blood sinks to my feet. My hands go clammy. I start to sweat.
     “Are you OK, Jane?”
     Kieran talks, but I can’t see him. My head rests in my hands. Sound reverberates through me, and an intense pain creeps up behind my eyes. For a second, I swear I feel someone grab my hand. I expect to see fingers intertwined with mine, but they’re gone, and I’m left with a horrible empty feeling inside my chest.
     “Are you OK?” Kieran asks again.
     “I’m fine.” If I faint, this is over. With ragged breath and shaking hands that he can’t see under the table, I say, “Truth or dare, Kieran?”
     “We don’t have to do this.”
     “Truth or dare?” I say again more forcefully.
     Kieran shakes his head. “It’s a Catch-22. Neither is easy. They both have consequences.”
     “Do I have to start clucking again?”
     He pauses for too long, and then he says, “Fine. Dare.”
     The blood returns to my hands and head. The sweat dries on my forehead. This time, my voice doesn’t shake as I speak.
     “I dare you to get me the hell out of here.”


Author Bio:
Rebekah Crane is the author of three young-adult novels—Playing Nice, Aspen, and The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland. She found a passion for young-adult literature while studying secondary English education at Ohio University. After having two kids and living and teaching in six different cities, Rebekah finally settled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to write novels and work on screenplays. She now spends her day carpooling kids or tucked behind a laptop at 7,500 feet, where the altitude only enhances the writing experience.



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Friday, December 1, 2017

DARKNESS MATTERS by Jay McLean - Review and Giveaway




DARKNESS MATTERS
by Jay McLean
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Pages: 200
Source: Author
Purchase 







BLURB
It’s the same old story, really.
Good versus evil.
Heroes versus villains.
Light versus dark.
For two years, college freshman Noah Morgan lived his life somewhere in the middle, fighting darkness and light, always searching for answers to a single question:
Why, Noah, why?
The same three words keep him up at night, struggling for air while gripping a plastic cylinder containing white pills to match the white label with his name printed in ink as deep and dark as his memories—memories that turned him into a recluse.
A shut-in.
An introvert.
Luckily for him, that’s not how the girl next door sees him.

My Thoughts 


Even before I read DARKNESS MATTERS, Jay McLean was quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books have so much heart and depth and leave me thinking about them long after I finish them. Now after reading DARKNESS MATTERS, she's a definite go-to author. The writing is exquisite. The tone, the pacing, and her ability to add humor when the story has made my heart and jumbled up mess, made this a book I craved to savor, but was desperate to finish.

I love stories about relationships - not just romantic relationships, but relationships between best friends and siblings. And I especially enjoy stories about male friendships, it's important to express those too when it's not just male bonding, but care giving and compassion and loyalty. DARKNESS MATTERS gives readers all of this.

I liked the quiet way Noah and Andie develop a friendship. She's hesitant, he's observant - and they discover a way to just be, and they quickly become important to each other when neither of them is sure that is what they need or even what they want.

I enjoyed the dual point-of-views, and when the third POV snuck in there, it was unexpected, but I'm glad that we were given that perspective.


Favorite Quotes:
"I see beauty in you, Noah. In how you've dealt with your past. In the way you act, the way you protect, the way you love."

"Say something beautiful."

DARKNESS MATTERS is filled with characters who do a lot of hurting and healing - there are no perfect answers.

I've written this a few times lately that I seriously need to give my heart some rest. Give it time to heal from the books that capture my heart, the books that bring me to tears. They really do take an emotional toll. But they are the books that I'm drawn to. They are the books I WANT to read. We don't always get only the good. We get everything. We get the light and we get the dark. And it all matters. Darkness Matters.

 








GIVEAWAY
Enter to win a signed paperback of Darkness Matters, a $20 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


AUTHOR BIO
Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New Adult Romance, and most of all, procrastinator. When she's not doing any of those things, she can be found running after her two little boys, playing house and binge watching Netflix.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make her hurt and make her feel.
Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in a forever half-done home where music is loud and laughter is louder.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Review: ON THE LINE by Jen McLaughlin





ON THE LINE
An Out of Line Novel
by Jen McLaughlin
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Pages: 200
Source: Author
Purchase Amazon | B&N






Synopsis

Coming home…
I’ve hated Ben Rollins ever since he broke my heart in high school. I’ve never fully recovered from it…even though I ran away as far as I could. Now I’ve returned home, fleeing something worse than I could have ever imagined. When our Captain partners us up together, I’m forced to realize that what I feel for him isn’t hate at all. It’s far worse.

Second chances…
Sarah’s the one who got away. She never really explained her abrupt departure from my life, but to be honest, I no longer give a damn. What we’d once had was dead, and now I’m stuck with her at my side permanently, no matter how I feel about it. But when the truth comes out, and old secrets are unburied, being thrown together becomes so much more than a second chance…it becomes life or death.

And we have no intention of losing.

My Thoughts

I keep coming back to books by Jen McLaughlin and there definitely is a reason why. I love the chemistry between her characters. It is easy to root for them no matter how much they want to torture each other with denying their love. But there isn't much denial in ON THE LINE. It's there initially, but they get over that really fast! (Thank goodness!) The love between these characters and the heat is off the charts!  I'm so glad that they don't fight it and even joke about their inability to "keep it professional".

Sarah returns to town with secrets that are deep and painful. Her history and the life she had after she left Ben drive the main storyline, but it was her relationship with her mother really touched home. It's something that my family is dealing with now with my grandmother. 

And Ben - his protective instinct was made him most desirable and his constant love for Sarah. He exudes it. I love this side of his character.

I wouldn't have minded to know more about their relationship as teenagers. Sarah carelessly threw what they had away. Some flashbacks to who they were and what they had would have helped develop more of that part of the story.

Favorite Quote:

"What we have between us . . . it's real. This isn't just me f**king around, or having a fling. For me? It's you. It's always been you."  - Just another reason to love Ben.

I really liked ON THE LINE. Like any good book, I wish it was longer. Or maybe I just read it too fast. It's a book that I'll most definitely read again, share with my friends, and recommend to readers who like drama and intense passion. Like really intense. 😉



Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from the author in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

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