Weekly Workout: Week of May 24 - May 31

This week was full of staggard on my results.  The entire week was sort of crazy at work.  It wasn't a bad week, just a busy one; the kind of weeks that leave you mentally drained. It's funny how your daily life effects your work out, and for some people working is a stress reliever, and I believe this to be true all around after the work out is completed, but for me having a long day means a sluggish workout.  So here are the highlights of my workouts:

Tuesday:  Squats are tough on a normal day on a normal day, but Tuesday they were just not happening for me.  So I didn't even go up in weight at all.  My goal this week was to be doing 125 all week.  125x5 is my current personal best so far, an I'm looking to get to 135 already so I can put the "big girl" weights on the bar (the 45lb'ders).  That did not happen!  However, my benchpress is really starting move up. 85lbs is pretty good number for me right now, and I fully expect to be able to get 85x5 ths week.  My Deadlift was not good, but that makes sense because my squats were off as well.

Thursday:  Squats felt better!  I should have went ahead and moved up to 125, but I had it in my mind to stay with the 120, but given the number of backoff sets I completed, 125 was not out of the question.  I broke the barrior on Strict Press (Military Press is what it's called in that Fitlist App), and finally got 65x5.  Here's hoping to get to pushing 70lbs this week. 

Saturday:  Saturday the squats went excellently, and I got my 125 x 5 goal...though it felt like it was going to kill me (Have I mentioned I'm not a huge fan of squats?)  Push press is moving on up as well, but my deadlifts.  I'm so dissapointed about those deadlifts, but I couldn't get 195 off the ground on Saturday, and when I dropped the weight to 185, either my confidence was down or I was just so tired that I couldn't budge it either.

This week's Goals:  I will likely keep squatting up to 125, and hope I can add more volume to my backoff sets after hitting it.  I want to see my bench move up to 85x5, and my presses move up to the next 5lbs.  And I REALLY, REALLY want to see my Deadlift back at 195x5.  I'm really disappointed with my results on the deadlift this week!


Book Review: Just My City Boy - V. L. Holt

Author: V.L. Holt
Genre: New Adult - Romance

**I received this book from the author for review. Other than the joy of reading, I received no compensation for this review.**

Synopsis from Goodreads:  
Two New Adults Weren’t Looking for Romance, But They Found it on the Midnight Train

Boy Mugs Girl, Girl Outsmarts Boy, Boy and Girl Go Out for Coffee?

In this sweet frolicking romp, two unlikely friends meet under crazy and heart-pounding circumstances. Zack Daniels is a 20 something trouble-maker trying to find his place in the world. When he mugs Lauren in a last ditch effort to get a ticket out of town, he gets more than he bargained for. He takes a midnight train going anywhere...but home.

Lauren Beckers is a 22 year old Southern girl trying to make a go of it in the big city. She's never met a stranger, but she's also a magnet for trouble. Thank goodness for her fast-talking smooth tongue and her trusty "insurance". She takes a midnight train going anywhere...but home.

When the two meet as a result of a crime gone bad, they discover a kinship that goes beyond the normal trappings of the Millennial generation. They discover friendship, trust and something even more unbelievable to find in the dirty underbelly of a broken-down city: love.

My Review:
Just My City Boy reminded me of an old fashion classic movie in the way that the story read. I even imagined the it in black and white in the beginning; the story was melancholy until Lauren and Zack managed to come together as a couple, and then color started seeping through the cracks.

What I Loved:  Lauren was incredibly outgoing, chatty and most of the time just a riot.  I loved how she talked herself out of bad situations.  Her confidence was refreshing as it's not a character trait often used for women in many books.  Zack was a sweet sensitive guy with that military exterior and some bad boy tendencies, it is difficult not to like him.

 I also enjoyed the "song theme" of the book, I find myself frequently matching up a song to characters in a book, but in this case the work was done for me.  If you didn't immediately know which song I'm talking about, I challenge you to take a trip to google-land and see if you can't figure it out....then listen to it!

Not So Much:  The characters seems to be either all "good" or "bad," with Zack being a sort of exception.  In that way, the story felt a little bit off.  For example, Peter, Zack's roommate, was completely on board with forgiveness without even understanding what really was going on with Zack.  That is wonderful, and I wish people were more like that - but it just doesn't usually happen that way.

Rated:  PG-13, for mild language and mild violence
Rating: 4 Stars

~*Books by V.L. Holt*~

Friday Favorites - 5 Books I Frequently Re-Read

Favorite Fridays is something new I'm going to try and start doing.  I'm loosely basing it off of Creative House Blog's own Friday Favorites blog and link-up.  This is my first go at it, so hopefully I'll just get better as time goes.

For my first Favorites I'm going with an obvious (considering my blog), 5 Books I Frequently Re-Read, which would make them favorites, right?  So here we go.

1.  Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
I love this entire series to pieces.  The bond between Will and Jem is so wonderful, and then there is Tessa who makes the whole thing complete.  I typically hate any kind of "Love Triangle" situation, I think it is so over done that I cringe every single time it comes up.  However, this book is a little unusual in it's love triangle; it has so many moving parts and different elements that it just doesn't feel the same.  Add in snarky, sarcastic comments, self deprecation (in the best possible way) and demon fighting, and it's just a winner.  If I'm just looking for something to put in my earbuds while I work, Clockwork Angel is usually my first stop.

2.  Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
Oh man, Anna and Etienne.  I just love them.  Their friendship/courtship/flirtation, whatever it is you want to call it is just so fun, and wonderful.  I feel it in my toes when they are in the movie theater touching, but not touching.  Yiee!  I revisit this one frequently as well.  Sometimes I read it, sometimes I listen to it on audiobook, all the time I can't wait until they finally kiss.  Its just one of those perfect, fun YA romance novels.

3.  The Rules of Regret - Megan Squires
I've already read this a few times, and it's in my head to go back and re-read it again.  Usually that's a sign of a book that has just stuck with me.  I'm not sure that it's the book as a whole as much as it is Torin, and his honesty and his nearly naked emotions.  He has a personality that would be easy for me to fall in love with in real life.  He's insightful and peaceful, and playful and he's been through a bunch of crap but it didn't turn him into an emo crybaby.  I love him - and this book.

4.  How to Date a Nerd - Cassie Mae
I think of this book almost like watching the old movie Say Anything - I'm in it for the ending.  The anthem, the part where one party risks full on embarrassment, and possible let down to win the other's love.  This book is fun, and has so many nerdy references that it just begs to be re-read now and again.

5.  Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austin
Of course I have to throw a classic in there.  Pride and Prejudice!!! SIGH - I love the confused mixed up way Darcy and Elizabeth find each other.  This book gets re-read at least once a year.  Followed up pretty quickly with watching the movie, of course.

Buy Links to my Favorites:


KidzKorner: Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess - Rachel Renee Russell

Kidz Korner are book reviews by my children; Elijah, Azalyah, or Abigail.  They love to read almost as much as I do, and I thought it would be fun for them to do reviews as well!

Reviewer:  Azalyah

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In the fourth book of the New York Times bestselling series that's as popular as it is dorky, Nikki Maxwell is determined to help out her crush!

Nikki Maxwell isn't at all surprised to find out that her crush Brandon volunteers at a local animal shelter. He's such a sweet guy of course he wants to help those adorable puppies! Then Brandon tells her that the shelter is in danger of closing, and Nikki knows she can't let that happen. Especially when she discovers a shocking secret about Brandon that makes keeping that shelter open more important than ever. So Nikki and her friends Chloe and Zoey enter an ice skating competition to help raise money for the shelter, but (big surprise) Mackenzie has to stick her nose in and cause trouble so that she can be the one to swoop in and save the day. No way will Nikki let that happen: She'll just have to come up with some extra creative ideas this time!

Azalyah's Review:
What did you think about the book? 
It was pretty good.

What was your favorite part, and why?
Mostly when Nikki's sister popped out of a box on the ice, because it was funny.  It made me laugh out loud a little.

Do you think other Kids would like this book?
I know that they already do, a lot of my friends read these books.

Do you think that Adults would like this book?
I think they would think it's funny, I don't know if they would like it though.

~*More from the Dork Diaries Series*~


Book Review: Jesse's Girl - Miranda Kenneally

Title:  Jesse's Girl
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Genre: mYA (m = Mature)

**I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley.com. Other than the joy of reading, I received no compensation for this review.**

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Practice Makes Perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol. 
But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?

My Review: 
This is one of those books you pick up and just devour, if you have time, in one sitting. Jesse's Girl is a perfect summer reads; one that will make you wear the big goofy grin for a good portion of the book.

What I loved: While reading, within the first chapter or two I made a note that I love Maya's relationship with her family. This rang true through the entire book. They weren't perfect, but they were supportive and loving.  They had their quirks, and dysfunctions, yet they are down to earth good people, and I loved them all. I also loved that the dynamic between Jesse and Maya was toe curling-ly cute, but they also helped each other grow as people throughout the book.

More things that I loved...each chapter was a title to a song, that was awesome! In fact, the reason I selected this book on NetGalley was because the title is the name of a song, and I just had to know what it was about. Also, the mention of Ferris Bueller's Day Off....bonus points!

Not so much: I'm not a fan of sex in a Young Adult novel, even if it's not detail by detail, you're left with a good idea of specific actions. I know what is realistic, and what teenagers are like, it's not that. I guess I'm just a prude (or you'll think I am anyway), but I do prefer the old fashioned "wait until you're married" option. But if this is the only thing I can list under this section, that's doing pretty well.

Rated: R - For Sex and Cussing
Rating: 5 Stars - Beautifully written love story with life lessons and laugh-out-loud moments.

~*Books by Miranda Kenneally*~


Insecurities, Week 1: Confessions of the Wallflower

This is a new series on insecurities.  This idea was born out of some observations I've made of myself and the ladies around me, when it comes to who we are and how we feel about ourselves and how we feel others see us. 

When I was in High School I was kind of a wallflower.  I was in Marching Band and that in itself is a unit, so it wasn't like I didn't have friends, or hang out with people, I just always felt a bit on the outside of everything. I was friendly, and I'd like to think I was kind to everyone, I was just quiet and kept to myself.  In fact, I have had people who have seen me in recent years who say, "I remember you from school," and it shocks me to realize they knew I even existed.

When I had my first real boyfriend (not just the kind in name only, but the kind where we spent quality time together, got to know each other; the relationship had a foundation), I was extremely self conscious. I was a senior, and I had very little "good" relationship practice (divorced family with a father who was living in another state doing his own thing). I felt like if he wasn't spending every moment with me or thinking about me then the whole relationship would crumble.  I would find myself in distress and crying a lot - all of my distress was mental, nothing he was actually doing to me.  His friends thought I was pathetic and had taken to cyber-bullying me (before cyber-bullying was really a thing). I had this feeling that even though I professed to love him, that the entire thing was just going to fall apart.  And it did.  But mostly because I couldn't let him be HIM, or let him breath a little, so he became bitter toward me, and I imagine at some point everything about me had him internally cringing.  I was THAT girlfriend.

I met my now husband, Justin, pretty soon after my ex and I broke up.  To be completely honest, even though I was very attracted to him, I was not ready for another relationship after the epic fail of the last...but there was just something about him.  We hung out with mutual friends for about three months before we officially started dating.  The difference between Justin and my ex was this:  my husband thought I was beautiful, and told me frequently.  He was patient with me when I went psyco-girlfriend on him, and took time to reassure me and explain to me plainly that I was being unreasonable (as oppose to the eye-rolls and scoffing I got before).  He genuinely loved me, and that brought out a self confidence in me that I didn't know I was capable of.

Justin and I at his Prom 1999

Still yet, for many years I had a hard time dealing with people I didn't know one-on-one.  I suck at carrying on a conversation with someone I just met (yet, if you don't figure it out, then how do you get beyond that 'just met' stage?).  At some point someone told me they thought I was kind of a snob because I didn't really talk to people, when reality is that I just had no idea what to say.  I talked to Justin about this, and we discussed the bible verse: A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭18‬:‭24‬ NKJV) 

I have now read this verse in a few different versions and contexts, and while I'm not sure that the above is the most accurate of translations, at the time it rang true for me worded just as it was.  It was convicting to me to know that if I was having trouble connecting with people, it was because I wasn't being friendly.  Not that this was news, I KNEW I was bad at it, but the verse convicted me in a way that caused me to desire to change for the better.  I wanted to be friendly, so I had to get out of my comfort zone and learn to connect.

A few things that I learned along the way that helped:
1.  While there are many types of people/personalities, we all have similar insecurities.  Rejection is always one of them.  There will always be people who reject you, but usually this isn't personal, and it really could be that said person needs/is learning the same lesson I had to.

2.  People want you to be genuine.  If you ask them about their day, listen to them talk about their day.  (And if they didn't have a good day, they probably aren't really looking for advice).  If someone asks you about your day, tell them.  Not every detail, and this isn't a chance for you to complain about everything, but if it sucked, it's okay to say so.

3.  You have to truly want to connect with someone in order to do it.  I had to overcome this obstacle.  I was afraid of letting people in because in the past I had been betrayed (father left, and years of broken promises), I had been bullied (Cyber-bullied, and to my face), I've had people be overly honest about my appearance (we couldn't afford the hippest of clothes, and I had no idea how to 'girl,' make up, and doing my hair was completely foreign to me).  Regardless of all these things, I was shielding myself from future hurts by not letting new people in thus pre-judging them based on my past.

4.  The bible says that we are to "Love your neighbor as yourself..."  which implies, if we love our neighbor, we must first love ourselves.   - I will be touching more on this in future weeks!

I took a long time to get to the point where I felt like I could walk up to someone and be able to carry on a conversation that didn't make me seem weird or awkward, and to be honest it still causes anxiety in me.  It is only because of some of my closer friends telling me that I don't seem awkward or as nervous as I feel at all to realize that I had truly gotten better.  But the rewards of my effort far outweigh me being nervous or feeling like a conversation did not go very well; I have had moments where people have told me that having me walk up to with a smile and a friendly word encouraged them, or made them feel more comfortable.  I have also made several lifelong friends, while historically I would have one really good friend in my life and several acquaintances that I never got close with.  I'm introverted, I like to be alone at times, I find large crowds overstimulating; but my life is more enriched, fuller, and happier with more friends in it as well.


Weight Lifting: Challenges and Goals

So a couple of weeks ago I started a YouTube channel to talk about my weight lifting and throw in some book reviews, that sort of thing...but I've discovered something; I don't think I have the  kind of personality it takes to run a YouTube Channel.  But instead of just calling the whole thing a bust, I'm just going to move the weight lifting part of my life over here to my blog.  I'll post short videos via Instagram, and if I can figure out how to post them to my blog, I'll do that as well.

The goal:  I want to participate in a Strongman Competition sometime in 2016 with my husband.  Justin is a Strongman Competitor as well as a Powerlifter.  I believe I've mentioned this before, but he's getting ready to compete in Austin, TX with the PlantBuilt Team.  So for now I'm just working on lifting and increasing my weight, but in the near future I'll be going to a local Stongman gym to learn how to do the kinds of lifts and carries they usually do, because that in itself is a learning experience.  Anyhow, so here are my numbers for this last week.  This past Tuesday, well, I just had a bad day.  I didn't eat right and I was tired, and that just messes things all up.  For that reason, I did take it easy on squats on Thursday as well.

The Challenge:  Well, as an extra incentive, I am going to be setting goals to reach for in my lifting.  When I meet the goals, I plan on rewarding myself by purchasing a book themed/nerdy racerback tanktop, (and in the winter I may move to t-shirts).  I've already purchased my first one. 

So my next goal is to get my deadlift up to #225 (two 45lb plates!), and I can get a new tank.  I've been pinning tanktops to a pinterest board.  I'd love to see any you all might come across!

So some questions for you:  what would you like to see in regards to this?  Any information you'd like me to share about my program, diet, etc?  Any other questions?  I want to make a record of this part of my life, but I want it to be interesting too!!


Bloglovin Post

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Book Review: Lion Heart - A.C. Gaughen

Author:  A.C. Gaughen

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.
Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?
My Review:
There is no possible way to express my utter joy and love for this series.  I will be hunting down and collecting these books in hard copy for my personal library for sure!

I probably am a little bias because since a child I have always loved the story of Robin Hood, and outside of Beauty and the Beast, finding re-tellings of Robin Hood is one of my favorite hunts.  This series was just as beautiful and action packed as one could have hoped for, and I will not be able to recommend it enough.

"For the longest time, no one really knew about me.  I were Rob's secret, his informant, his shadow in dark places.  They didn't see me, and I didn't mind that they didn't see."

In this conclusion to the series, Scarlet has changed, she is no longer hiding, but she is fighting for what she believes in; but first she had to realize that when she spoke, people stopped and listened.  Lion Heart was so perfect in its conclusion, with plenty of Rob and Scar moments that made my heart so happy, but the action was not ignored either.  Truly my favorite parts were of Rob and Scarlet though, Robin was written so perfectly with just the right amount of arrogance and humility, and their banter had me laughing out loud at times.  The politics and action keep the story moving forward, and I found myself growing to like and get attached to new characters.  I kind of didn't want this story to end.  While reading, more than once I was afraid of the turn the book was making, but A.C. Gaughen does not disappoint!

I'm trying to think of a part of the book that maybe I wasn't thrilled with; a small point of criticism, but this is me honestly and truly gushing over a book.  I just absolutely loved it.

Rated:  PG-13, there's cussing, fighting, blood..typical Robin Hood stuff
Genre: Young Adult - Fairy tale retell, Romance, Historical
Rating: 5 Beautiful and wonderful stars.  Can I give it 6?

~* Books by A.C. Gaughen *~


New Book Release: Smother - Lindy Zart

Author: Lindy Zart
Title: Smother
Genre: Romantic Suspense
goodreads-cover Blurb: You won't like me. I am not the nice girl. I am not your friend. I don't care about you, but most of all, I don't care about me. Go ahead, hate me. We all have secrets. I have them as well—dark, terrible secrets. The only time I can breathe is when I forget. I need to be numb. You don't want to know how. But as long as I can breathe, the past cannot smother me.


When she reached the door at the back of the shop, Reese tried the doorknob, not really sure if she would find it locked or unlocked because she'd never tried it before. It wasn't locked. She blinked, surprised that her confrontation wouldn’t be delayed. Then she pounded up the steep carpet of stairs and stared at the white door at the top of them. 

Out of breath and heart pounding so hard she felt it through her chest, she raised a fist to the door and went to town, banging all of her frustration into the woodwork. It flew open and the air was knocked from her lungs for another reason entirely. Her mouth went dry and she swayed backward, Leo's quick grab saving her from a fall down the stairs. 

He yanked her into the apartment by the front of her shirt and kicked the door shut behind her. Then he crossed his arms and stared. She was staring as well. Reese had never seen him without his shirt on. She couldn’t pretend it wasn’t a notable sight, or that her body didn’t respond to it. His shoulder muscles alone were impressive, but then there were the cuts to his biceps, the chiseled pecs and abs, all covered in black ink. 

Reese tried to swallow and couldn't. She stared intently at the artwork, wanting to decipher it. She decided she'd need her brain functioning better than it presently was to attempt such a thing. Big muscles were not her thing—she was prone to go for lanky, lean frames. That tidbit was forgotten as her eyes went up and down the tattooed body before her. It was impossible not to appreciate the beauty of it. 

Leo was the equivalent of a dark warrior on an unending, unknown quest, regardless that other than the ink that stained his upper body, there was nothing dark about his looks. From his light brown hair to his gray eyes to his pale skin, he should be forgettable, but there was more to him, something that made him stand out. It was an inconsistency, like all of him, and all of her. And the two of them. 

“Better be good,” he growled. “Not even eight in the morning.” 

“Funny, I pictured you as a person who got up at the first sign of dawn to not be wasteful of any second of daylight.” 

“Thought wrong.” 

She forced her eyes from his body and up to his light gray eyes instead—the eyes that judged her from the recesses of her mind when she least wanted. She went on the defensive as she remembered why she was here. “I don't appreciate you having people check up on me. It's none of your business what I do or don’t do.” 

One pale brown eyebrow lifted. “No smoking in the building.” 

She sputtered for a bit before she could get words out. “I wasn't smoking in the stupid building! And if that isn't the most lame ass answer I've ever heard of for trying to justify having me hauled from a party! I was drinking. I'm twenty-four. I can drink. Unless there's a rule against that too?”

 Reese poked a finger against his hard chest and tried not to get distracted by the smoothness of it. “You may own the apartment building I live in, but you don't own me. Don't do that again.” 

She spun away from him and reached for the doorknob when he said quietly, “If you can't be responsible for yourself, then you have no right to be upset when others are.” 

Stiffening, Reese digested the fact that he'd spoken a full sentence to her for maybe the first time, and then she mulled his words over. It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him he could shove his apartment and this job right up his ass, but then what? Then she would be jobless and homeless once more. Whether she liked it or not, he did have power over her. 

Reese’s lips were trembling, but she somehow managed to keep her voice steady as she said, “I'm not your responsibility.” “Sure about that? Seems like you are.” In this moment, Reese hated Leo Chavez. 

  smother14.jpg smother6   full-for-cover-reveal (1) 
About the author: Lindy Zart is the USA Today bestselling author of Roomies. She has been writing since she was a child. Luckily for readers, her writing has improved since then. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two sons, and one cat. Lindy loves hearing from people who enjoy her work. She also has a completely healthy obsession with the following: coffee, wine, Bloody Marys, and pizza. 

You can connect with Lindy at: 
Listen to the playlists for Lindy’s books on Spotify.com 
Get an eBook autograph from Lindy at Authorgraph.com

~* More Books by Lindy Zart *~


Release Day Blitz: One Chance Night - Eliza Boyd

Once Chance Night by Eliza Boyd
Series: Make a Change #1
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Pages: 188 
Published: May 15, 2015 by Patchwork Press

Book Description:
On the surface, Chelsea Greer has it all: A loving husband. A nice house. A good job.
In reality, she works hard to maintain the illusion that is her life. She's also missing the most important thing:
One night could change her life. One night could give her the strength to rediscover what's important. In one night, she could find love when she most needs it and least expects it. 
All Chelsea has to do is follow her heart after One Chance Night.

Eliza Boyd's Once Chance Night is out today! This is one New Adult romance that you will not want to miss and will make for a great summer read. The BLOG TOUR is currently taking sign- ups; it will run from June 15th to June 26th and Eliza would love for you to participate!

Purchase Links: 
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple | Scribd

About Eliza Boyd:
Eliza Boyd is a contemporary women’s fiction and romance author. Also an avid reader, she writes novels, short stories, poetry, and whatever else strikes her fancy. Born and raised in Northern Illinois, she now lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and her plethora of animals. When she’s not reading, writing, or working, she can be found walking around her neighborhood (for exercise, not for stalking), taking photos of her pets, or catching up on her favorite shows. Catching up really means binge- watching.

This Release Day Blitz was organized by Patchwork Press.

Cover Reveal: Catalyst - Casey L. Bond

By- Casey L. Bond
Genre- YA Dystopian
Expected Publication Date- June 3rd, 2015

The city of Confidence is surrounded by a thick, concrete wall. These walls are built to protect those within and to keep dangers outside. What happens when the only danger to the citizens within is its leadership?

When a young man on a suicide mission meets a young woman with a terminal illness, both of them use one another as a means to their own ends. They never expect to become friends. They never expect to become so much more to each other. Their backgrounds and the secrets they uncover are more dangerous than any plans they could make together or separately.

Revolution begins with a spark.


Book Review: The Sin Eater's Daughter - Melinda Salisbury

Title: The Sin Eater's Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.
Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it's price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.
Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girls she truly is.
Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen's, some truths should not be told...

My Review:

W-O-W. I just finished listening to The Sin Eater’s Daughter, and that is the first word that comes to mind. On average it takes me 2 days to listen to an audio book, and yesterday I was thinking, 'yes I love these characters and the world that Melinda Salisbury has created, but while we're getting a lot of background, world building and learning about the legends and where Twylla comes from and who she is now, there’s just not a lot of action.' Today, however, as I was listening there was a bit more drama, a bit more action, and loads and loads of revelation. I’m a lover of fairy tales, I absolutely adore reading new adaptations to old stories and how the authors begin to make an old world new or completely different. I had never heard the story of The Sleeping Prince prior to listening to this book, but I can tell you I’m completely engrossed now. This book (fairy tale) of legends, gods, and betrayal was wonderfully written, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

Rated:  PG-13 - Book has 'fade to black' sex.  No cussing.
Genre: If I go by my normal standards, I'd have to put this as a New Adult, although it's pegged as Young Adult in stores.
Rating: 5 Stars

~* Books by Melinda Salisbury *~


Book Review: Etherworld - Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

Authors:  Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam

Synopsis from Goodreads:  
In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist. 
Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion's firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan's father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world alive.
Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. 
It's dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?
My Review:
Etherworld was satisfying in that this was not book two of a three book series, and this made me so happy, mostly because as the story was unfolding I couldn't figure out how it would possibly end in a way to need an additional novel. I love the virtual reality/Matrix like feel of the entire series. Etherworld picked up practically where Elusion left off, and moves pretty quickly through the story; at no point did I feel like it was just dragging on. This book is even less focused on the romance than Elusion was, and the main focus was mostly about getting everyone to safety and bringing the truth to light, but that doesn't mean that Regan and Josh don’t get a few precious moments together. My only problem with Etherworld was that as facts unfolded I was a little lost as to the motives behind some of the decisions the characters were making (I’m purposefully being vague to avoid spoilers), and because of that the story did feel a little bit forced. Otherwise, this is a great scifi/dystopian-like series.

Rated: PG-13; because of eluded to Sex
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars

~* Books by Claudia Gabel *~


Cover Reveal: Red Nights - Shari J. Ryan

I’m Felicity Stone, a twenty-five-year-old with my whole life ahead of me. Well, until recently.

I didn’t do it. Why would they think I did? Why would I want my twin brother dead? Why is everyone looking at me like I’m a criminal?

Well, everyone except him… Hayes Peyton, the charmingly beautiful stranger I met in the park at midnight—a totally legitimate place to meet the man of my dreams. Plus, he knows I’m innocent.

Believing him is easy. So very easy. Maybe too easy?

But when you hear things like: ‘All good is laced with some bad, and everything you think is the truth—is nothing more than a blatant lie,’ it makes you question reality.

In Shari J. Ryan’s latest Romantic Suspense, Red Nights, you wonder how dark your world can get before all you see is red.

Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author. She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates. When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.

To learn more, visit her at, www.sharijryan.com.

Book Tour & Review: Lonesome Beds & Bumpy Roads - Becca Ann & Tessa Marie


Lexie Boggs has dealt with enough drama for one teenage girl, and just when she thinks it's about over, the father who abandoned her a decade ago shows up looking for redemption. At least... that’s what he says. Ryan Parker thinks his future is set. He’s got a sweet job set up, graduation on the horizon, and a lifetime of dreams he’s planned with his girlfriend, Lexie—including a king-sized bed for their soon-to-be apartment. Only a slight snag tugs at the fantasy when Lexie starts putting aside all she’s worked hard on for her deadbeat dad and his “sickness.” Suddenly school is the only time spent together, and as Ryan expresses his suspicions about why Daddy Boggs is really back, Lexie pulls away, hoping Ryan is wrong but fearing he’s right. And as graduation approaches, Ryan and Lexie struggle to keep the futures they thought they had firmly intact from crumbling all over their now lonely king-sized bed.

My Review:

Typically Alexis and Ryan's story is the exact kind of romance novel where I would quote my mantra, "sometimes more of a good thing is too much," because so often with books that aren't something outside of fiction/romance (ie dystopian, fantasy, mystery, etc) we DO want to know what happens next, and then when an author delivers this on this desire the next book is just not as good or disappointing in some way (this has been my personal experience anyway.)  With The Beds Series this has not been the case, in fact I think that I liked this book, Lonesome Beds & Bumpy Roads, the most out of all three because while Alexis and Ryan still have issues and things to work through they have grown so much as individuals.  I felt that while things were hit and miss between the two of them through the whole book, they were communicating instead of shutting each other out.  They weren't being very understanding of each other's feelings the entire time - but they did come to realize that eventually.

I actually started out this series with the prequel novella, True Love and Magic Tricks, so I am always happy for scenes with  Kaylee and Nate as well; the four of them are a unit, and even though the series is over, in my mind I can envision their lives, marriages, and future kids (who will also be best friends,) - it's like the ultimate big bow.  My favorite part of the Lex/Ryan relationship; the two of them are so sweet, funny and the biggest goofballs; the relationship between the two of them lack some of the extreme seriousness that is so popular lately, and was a breath of fresh air.  I relished their tickles, and teasing; the relationship felt so genuine and happy - and honestly, I had the "big goofy grin" throughout most of this series.  ( I LOVED the covers and all the teasers that reflected this part of them, they were simply the perfect representation). 

Rated:  PG-13 - Cussing, and sexual situations (No descriptions of the actual act)
Genre: (m)YA - Fiction: Romance  (M = Mature, I kind of feel this series is pushing into the realm of NA in a lot of ways.)

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy Links 

About the Authors

 Cassie Mae (AKA Becca Ann) is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. Her angel children and perfect husband fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.
Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her long time boyfriend and their fish. Her debut novel (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, released in Fall 2013 with Berkley (Penguin). (ONCE) AGAIN will release this summer. She is also the coauthor of the Amazon bestseller KING SIZED BEDS AND HAPPY TRAILS and BEACH SIDE BEDS AND SANDY PATHS, a YA contemporary series, under her pen name Tessa Marie. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty, and uses her characters to relive the best and worst years of her life. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera, reading, or can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.