/Jaime Reviews ~ The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth

By Jennifer Bosworth
Published on January 12, 2016
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Source: Publisher
“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret. 

She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance. 

On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…

The Killing Jar...

 I am going to be honest here. It took me about 4 tries to really get started with this book. I would make it a chapter or so, then put it down. Again and again. But one day, I sat down and it finally clicked. The Killing Jar ended up being a really good story, and I am glad that I (finally) read it!
 The first 5 chapters or so were definitely slow. The set-up of the story was necessary, but not exactly exciting. We read about Kenna's first experience with her powers, and the lasting affects that it had on her. We learn a little about her mother and her twin sister, who is very sick, and her best friend. And we learn that Kenna is a gifted musician. It is after a music festival when the story gets going. And once it starts, it becomes a truly interesting and unique story. 

 Kenna is unique. She has an unusual power, one that she hates. And she feels like she is alone in the world. She has her mom and her sister, but she is always apart. Blake, her best friend, is the only person who makes her feel... like she might deserve a chance at happiness. Just when they make a step towards a different relationship, a horrendous event occurs and Kenna's whole world changes. She learns that she is not alone after all. There is a community of people, hidden, that are all just like her. After the event, her mother drops her off with these people, alone. At first she is resentful, but then she starts to finally feel like she belongs. She has a family. She has friends. But once she is told she has to make a decision, she decides that she needs to know the truth about her new family. What Kenna learns will change everything for her, for the rest of her life.

 Kenna was a really well-written and relate-able character. I felt for her, and I rooted for her. There were times I wanted to kick her butt. Every character in the book plays a unique and crucial part to the story, and for Kenna. I was impressed with Jennifer Bosworths characterization with not only Kenna, but also with the secondary characters. She spent time with them, and truly paid attention to their roles in the story. 

 The world-building, as well as the details of this new ability, were done very well. There was a lot to this story to keep my interest, once I got past the initial bumps in the road. There were some hiccups here and there, mostly in the pacing, but I can honestly say that I did enjoy The Killing Jar. I would recommend it to pretty much anyone who enjoys stories with special powers!

 Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of The Killing Jar for me to review. This in no way had any bearing on my opinions. 

Jaime Reviews ~ The Witch Hunter (The Witch Hunter #1) by Virginia Boecker

By Virginia Boecker
Published on June 2 ,2015
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

The Witch Hunter...

   I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. I am pretty much a fan of anything witchy. And it says, right there in the title, "witch". You would think, being a fan and all, that I would have jumped this book immediately. But for some reason, I waited. Turns out, that may not be the worst thing. The King Slayer is out June 14, so waiting to read The Witch Hunter means I don't have too long to wait for the sure-to-be awesome sequel! 

 Elizabeth Grey is a Witch Hunter. When she was just a little girl, her best friend (and secret crush) Caleb happened upon her, dirty and skinny, scrounging for food. Her parents had died from the plague that was ripping through the country. Together, she and Caleb worked in the kitchens until Caleb was recruited to be a Witch Hunter, and convinced the boss that she would make a great recruit, too. And she was. She was one of the best Witch Hunters in the country, until one night everything went horribly wrong. Falsely accused, and thrown into jail, Elizabeth is rescued... but not by Caleb, who swore he would see her freed. Her rescuer is none other than Nicholas Perevil, the most wanted witch in the kingdom... and her parents murderer.

 The Witch Hunter is a story full of adventure. There is witchery, fighting, thievery, chases and hunts. Everything you could hope for in an awesome story. There is also betrayal, hurt, anger, regret, hope and love. Every emotion that you hope for in a story. From the first few pages, Virginia Boecker had captured my attention with her wonderful world-building, and characters so beautifully created. 

 Each character in the story is so well-written. They each play a huge part in the events of the story. When new characters are introduced, you know immediately that they are there for a reason, not just for distraction. I loved all of them, for different reasons. Even the villains, were so wonderfully villain-y!

 If you love witches, like myself, or just love a great adventure, The Witch Hunter is a book that I would happily recommend. If characters are your biggest draw, I don't think you will be disappointed. If world-building is your gig, you will be pleased. If you need to feel all of the feels, they are right here, within these pages. And if you love  little romance, the romances in this story are sure to make you smile. 

 I am looking forward to the sequel of The Witch Hunter in a big way. And I am most definitely a fan of Virginia Boecker and her beautiful writing. 

Jaime Lynn

Jaime Reviews ~ Remembrance (The Mediator #7) by Meg Cabot ~ Blog Tour & Giveaway!

By Meg Cabot
Published on February 2, 2016
Published by: William Morrow
Source: MMSaI Tours
In REMEMBRANCE, the seventh installment of the Mediator series, all Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva).

But when she stumbles across an ancient murder, old ghosts—and ex-boyfriends—aren’t all that come back to haunt her.

REMEMBRANCE will be the first ever adult installment of the Mediator, published by William Morrow, the adult division of HarperCollins, the company that brought you the YA books in the series.

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 


 I remember when I picked up a little book called Shadowland a few years ago, on a whim. This whim turned out to be a wonderful one. I fell in love with this fabulous series that Meg Cabot created, and it was an absolute pleasure to jump back into the Mediator world! 

 Suze is all grown up now. She is working at her old school, engaged to Jesse... When she gets a random email from Paul saying that he is tearing down the house that her mother and stepfather restored, Suze gets dragged into another mystery, with a little blackmail on the side. Ghosts, adventure, fun... another book made of Cabot awesome! 

 Remembrance is definitely what I would call a grown-up version of the Mediator series. We still have the same characters that we loved, or loved to hate, but more grown up and in different phases of their lives. Suze and Jessie are still together and in love, engaged to be married. Suze still sees ghosts, and Jessie is studying to be a doctor. Paul is a successful businessman, and just as big of a jerk. Suzes brothers are grown up, one in school and the other a dad. It was strange reading about these characters that I know and love, but seeing them in another light. Meg Cabot still managed to bring her "something special" to this book that made the Mediator series so special.

 I loved this book. Suze and Jessie are still two of my favorite characters, and one of my favorite ships. I love how much they love each other, and how far Suze will go to protect Jessie. I love the ghosts that pop up, the adventure, the humor. I love grown-up Paul. Remembrance was a great story and I am so glad that we get the chance to jump back in to this world again!

 Meg Cabot is just... good! She was made to write stories, to entertain. Even with 12 years between Twilight and Remembrance, she has managed to keep the spark alive. I was so easily drawn back into this world. There are a lot of words that I could use to describe this, but I think I might just stick with she has the Cabot effect! I loved Remembrance! I can't wait to go back to the library and bring the whole series home again. I think its about time for a refresher!  

About the Author...

Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to her adult contemporary fiction she is the author of the bestselling young adult fiction series, The Princess Diaries. Over 25 million copies of her novels for children and adults have sold worldwide. Meg lives in Key West, FL, with her husband.


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Jaime Lynn

Month9Books & Tantrum Books Friday Reveal ~ There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane ~ Plus a Giveaway (or two!)

Today Melanie McFarlane and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for THERE ONCE WERE STARS, which releases April 26, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!

A quick note from the author:

I have anticipated this moment for months—the moment I would be able to share my cover with all of you! When I first laid eyes on the cover for THERE ONCE WERE STARS I was immediately drawn to the stars and how they are escaping their glass prison. In my novel, the main character, Natalia Greyes, is also locked in a glass prison: her home, Dome 1618. During Nat’s childhood the stars became more visible in the sky, after being blocked by darkness for decades after the Cleansing Wars. Like the stars, Nat is a symbol of change as she transforms from a na├»ve youth into a strong teen, who searches for her place in her tiny world of Dome 1618, and dreams of escaping to the outside one day. But my favorite detail of all is the grass and how cool and inviting it is in contrast to the hard sheen of the glass jar. It can be seen as a symbol of how mankind can never capture or truly duplicate the beauty of nature, or the wonder of life itself.

Don’t forget to check out my trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuTOuBPX11k

On to the reveal! 

Author: Melanie McFarlane
Pub. Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it:  Goodreads

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

Exclusive Excerpt
Chapter One
I stretch my arms across my bed, running my fingers along the same sheets I’ve had since I was a child. The stiffness was beaten out of them long ago, but they still carry the memory of my mother carefully stitching the first tear back together when I was seven. The tiny x’s remind me of her long fingers, moving the needle back and forth with the same care as when she worked with samples in her laboratory.
I trace the row stitches, squeezing my eyes shut as I make a wish; it is my eighteenth birthday, after all. But when I open them, the same scene shows from my bedroom window that always does—the grid of our dome. Nothing changes. It doesn’t matter how many birthday wishes are made; I always wake up trapped inside the dome. The grid of thick glass and steel arcs far above our apartment, stretching to where the great Axis, a tower of government offices, meets the peak of our home—Dome 1618.
I crawl out of bed and let my gaze trail down the Axis to the rooftops of the other apartment buildings, row upon row of housing for blue-collar workers. Closer to the Axis are townhouses of the business owners, hidden from the rest of us, but that’s not where I long to be. My eyes drift to the base of the dome, far away from my window where the Outer Forest lies, my only saving grace. It’s forbidden to hike among the trees, but sometimes rules need to be broken.
“Natalia!” Grandmother’s piercing voice comes from the other side of my bedroom door. “Get up. You’re wasting the day away.”
The clock on my dresser reads eight o’clock in the morning. Seriously? It’s been nine years since I moved in with my grandparents, and saying Grandmother and I have differing opinions barely touches the surface. Her rules are sometimes worse than those of the Order, who police the dome. With any luck, I’ll be assigned my own apartment soon and can finally restart my life, again.
I run my brush through my long brown hair, although by the time I go outside it will look unruly once again. It’s my curse; I have thick hair like my mother, with waves that look more like oddly-placed kinks, unlike the smooth-flowing locks worn by some of the other girls at my school. But I won’t have to go back to the Learning Institute again. Today I’m an adult.
My jeans are on the floor where I left them last night, and I manage to find a clean T-shirt in my drawer. Both have the same tiny stitches as my sheets, covering up the wear and tear over the years, but I sewed these back together myself. Grandmother is firm on the fact that if I don’t take care of what I have, I don’t get a replacement. There’s no point in arguing when her opinions are as deep as the wrinkles on her face, and honestly, it’s hard to tell which she has more of. Before I leave my room, I grab my mother’s notebook. It’s filled with her sketches and work notes on different projects she was involved in. But my favorites are the tiny notes, squeezed in the margins, excerpt of her personal thoughts, hopes, and dreams. The biggest of these was to move her family outside the dome.
“I know you were out last night,” Grandmother says, eyeing me suspiciously between the milk and dry toast as I slip into my seat at the table.
“Must we have this conversation every morning?” Grandfather speaks up.
“You know the ramifications!” Grandmother shrills, and he shrinks in his chair. “Do you want to let her stroll around at night past curfew? One day she won’t come home, and then we will be questioned.” Grandmother redirects her attention to me. “What are you doing out there that’s important enough to risk everything? Haven’t I warned you? If the Order catches you, you will wish you had listened to me.”
“That’s my problem.” I fold my arms across my chest. She always makes me back down with her words. If I’m going to be an adult, I need to learn how to take a stand.
“If your parents could only see you now,” she says unsympathetically. “They would wonder how they got a daughter so determined to get herself detained. You know what they do with little girls who don’t follow the rules.”
“Yes,” I say through gritted teeth. She’s given these lectures many times. Girls who don’t follow the rules are sent back to the Learning Institute for retraining, where they come out all prim and proper, ready to take their place as functional citizens of the dome. I’m not going back there; I know how to stay under the radar.
“Come on, now.” Grandfather finally steps in. “It’s Nat’s birthday.”
“Yes.” Her tone softens. “You’re eighteen now. Hurry and eat; we got you a little something.”
I gobble down the toast, stale as it is, but fresh food is not something that our dome has had in a long time. Since the accident that caused my parents’ death, the Order stopped all excursions for scientific research, completely cutting off the outside world. Prior to this, there were plenty of rations from the farms due to uncontaminated seeds the expedition teams found, along with new plant life for supplementing the crops. But those stockpiles have slowly depleted.
When I finish breakfast, I look at my grandparents in anticipation. Grandfather’s face is beaming, and though Grandmother looks like she is trying to be serious, I can see a small sparkle in her eyes as she hands me a tiny green box with a little purple bow. The bow is smooth, made from fabric nicer than anything I own. I gently untie it, and put the silky strand safely in my pocket, before opening the box to see what is inside.
A silver, heart-shaped locket sits on top of fine tissue paper, so delicate I don’t dare touch it in case it rips. An image of two hands holding a smaller heart is engraved into the center of the locket. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen—I’ve never owned jewelry of my own. My hands are shaking so bad I almost drop the box.
“Careful!” Grandmother’s voice snaps me from my awe. She grabs the box from me, and it takes all my inner strength to let it go.
She removes the necklace from the box and opens the locket, holding it out to me. Inside, is a photo of my parents on their wedding day. Photos are luxuries. I only own one other— a photo of me with my parents when I turned three—and it stays safe on my nightstand. But this locket—I can take it with me anywhere. I hold up my hair, allowing Grandmother to secure it around my neck, then grasp the tiny keepsake in my hand. I will cherish it forever.
“I’m going to show this to Jak and Xara,” I say, leaving the table.
“Don’t forget, you have to report to work today.” Grandmother reminds me.
“But it’s Saturday.” I groan.
“You’re eighteen now,” she says, her eyes vacant of the compassion they held only seconds ago. “Your time to contribute to the dome begins today. Plus, any experience is good to have if you want to be a scientist one day, like your parents.”
“I don’t see how cleaning toilets at the Axis will do me any good in the future,” I complain. “And I never said I want to be a scientist.”
“You’ll find where you’re meant to be.” Grandfather smiles. “Understanding everything from the bottom-up will help you make a better decision about what you want to do to make your contribution.”
I sigh as I lace up my sneakers, now feeling the pressure of the future. I have no idea what I want to do today, let alone the rest of my life. But it definitely does not involve cleaning up after those in the Axis. I wave good-bye as I leave the apartment, but only Grandfather waves back. My number one fan; he always tries to keep the peace between Grandmother and I. But no matter how close we are, I still have to lie about where I’m really going. No one can know about my secret place.
Outside, I stretch my arms up toward the top of the dome. The sun shines through the dust covered glass of the dome, with sections of blue sky showing here and there. I sneak around the back of our apartment building, and begin my stealthy weave through alleyways. I have hours before my first shift starts at the Axis. Hours to spend somewhere the Order can’t find me.
When I reach the Outer Forest, I sneak in a break in the fence and move between the trunks of trees, inhaling the last of the old world. The rich combination of musk and earth fills my lungs as I run as fast as I can from the fence. Running is one of the few things that make me feel free. When I reach my destination, I’m out of breath, but exactly where I belong—a hidden clearing at the edge of the dome.
I crawl inside a hollowed-out tree I’ve claimed as my own. How did the Order miss this lone tree, dying amidst the perfection of the Outer Forest? It should have been torn down long ago, to make room for larger, healthier, oxygen bearing trees. Decay doesn’t coincide with the Order’s pursuit for perfection and efficiency, but it’s ideal for me: hidden, empty, and alone. I accept this tree’s imperfections and it offers me solace.
I clutch my locket again, this time removing it from my neck so I can look inside. A twinge of pain prickles my throat as my parents’ faces stare back at me. They look so happy and in love. I remember that about them. The in love part. I haven’t thought about people in love for so long.
I lean back, holding the locket against my chest, intent on enjoying the morning sun. Unfortunately, the heat of the sun doesn’t penetrate the cold glass of the dome, but something about that glowing orb in those blue skies makes me feel better. Mom wrote in her notebook about the first time she felt the sun on her skin: warm and, bright, as if it gave her a new life with its rays, just like it did to the world, after the Cleansing Wars. I close my eyes, imagining myself bathed in sunlight, and finally give in to the peace of the forest.
I wake up, feeling something sharp poking my side. I can’t believe I drifted off. My hand shoots behind me, to find the source of the pain. My mother’s notebook is jutting awkwardly from my back pocket. I stand up to tuck it back in, and my gaze slips above a line of bushes growing wildly along the base of the dome. At the same time, something flashes above them, and my breath catches in my throat. My reflection stares back at me from the glass, revealing my locket shining in the sunlight. Relax, Dacie, it’s only you. A nervous laugh escapes my throat, as I finish putting the notebook away.
Another light flashes, but this time it’s in the distance, on the other side of the glass. I lean forward, focusing on the light, and see a shadow move on the other side. My entire body goes rigid, and my heart beat thunders in my ears. No one could be out there—unless—could it be an Infected? No, that’s impossible. They were all killed by the Cleansing War—everything was. If the nukes didn’t kill them, the nuclear fallout afterward would have.
Something moves again—closer this time. A gasp escapes my lips, as a shudder rips through my body. That’s when I see it—the faint outline of a person standing in the open. He’s camouflaged by a layer of dust, blending him into the barren landscape that surrounds the dome. The figure’s shadow stretches across the ground, reaching toward me.
I rub my eyes, as if something in them could be making me see the figure, but when I open them I’m startled to see the figure again, only now there are two. One stays farther back, toward the rockier land, silhouetted against the foothills in the distance. The other stands a short distance from the dome. My heart skips a beat—they’re both human, and they’re both staring in my direction.

About Melanie: 

Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie McFarlane jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Thought she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her two upcoming YA novels: THERE ONCE WERE STARS and SUMMONER RISING.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive the FIRST eGalley of THERE ONCE WERE STARS. International.

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Also Melanie is giving away swag enter that giveaway too!

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Jaime Reviews ~ In the After by Elisa Dane ~ Blog Tour and Giveaway

By Elisa Dane
Published on February 2, 2016
Published by: Swoon Romance
Source: Chapter by Chapter

Ian and his only friend are the object of Sadie’s friends’ ridicule, ire, and entertainment. The AE rule the school with intimidation and retribution against anyone who would dare question their supremacy.

Sadie steers clear of most of it, terrified someone will find out her secret. She isn’t the least bit perfect. In fact, she suffers from PTSD stemming from the murder of her mother right before her eyes when she was a child. She can barely cope from day-to-day, hiding her truth and trying to fit in. But she knows it’s only a matter of time.

Hayden is a “Waverly,” a kid with the misfortune of living in the small farming town of Waverly that borders the very affluent Lexington Parrish. The AE doesn’t mix with “Waverlies.” Ever.

Desperate to get away from her oppressive friends, Sadie crashes into Hayden at a bonfire and the attraction that sparks between them is nothing short of electric. But Hayden’s an outsider and when things heat up, Sadie will be forced to choose between her friends and her new boyfriend.

Only Queen Bee Britt isn’t having it. She will not allow Sadie to cross her. Sadie can either do what Britt wants her to do or she will reveal Sadie for the PTSD freak that she is.

Sadie does some soul searching about who she is and who she wants to be. She can’t live her life like this. Not any more. One fateful night will help her see how much things have to change.

She’s determined to no longer allow the AE to rule her life. She will be strong, stand up for Ian and love who she wants in Hayden. Determined and invigorated, Sadie goes to school feeling hopeful for the first time in forever.

But, the unthinkable happens.

Shooters attack dozens of students before the two eventually take their own lives, leaving the school a decimated shadow of what it once was.

Suddenly who lives where, wears what or loves whom seems like the least of Lexington Parish’s problems as everyone and everything changes forever in the after.

IN THE AFTER by Elisa Dane is a hard-hitting and heart-warming story of tragedy, love, loss and redemption. It is recommended for readers 14+.

In the After...

  This was most definitely a "hard-hitting and heart-warming" story. Elisa Dane is a heavy-weight when it comes to emotions. I felt everything while reading this book. Hate, anger, frustration, fear, love and heartbreak. I may not have been acquainted with Ms, Dane prior to In the After, but now I am very interested in seeing what else she has to offer.

 In the After is one of those books that you just need to read. The details, the descriptions, the relationships, how everything plays out, it is all part of a journey and I don't want to ruin it for you. So instead of facts about the story, I will just stick to feelings about this story and it's players. 

The AE rule the school, and they are good at it. In the worst way. These were truly terrible people. They are where my anger was directed, for the most part. The way Ian was treated just made me so angry. And while I know I should have been angry with Sadie, and at first I truly was, as the story progressed I started to understand. My heart hurt for her. I could imagine the fear she felt, as a teenager who is surrounded by these types of people. Hayden, thank goodness for Hayden. He was precious. He was a light in the darkness....

 And there was a lot of darkness. When I was in high school, almost fifteen years ago now, we didn't think about shooters coming in to our school. That wasn't something that happened, at least not like it does now. But now, I can only imagine that this is a real fear that students face. For this to actually play out, man. I was thoroughly absorbed in the story while at the same time my mind was revolting against what was happening.

 I love the fact that YA authors today aren't shying away from writing about tough subjects, because the world that we live in today is full of these things. They happen, regularly. Teenagers need a way to think about them, a platform that gives voice to the fears that they face, and books are a great platform. They make way for discussions, they bring issues to life. I admire authors, like Elisa Dane, who are willing to write about things that for so long just weren't talked about. 

 In the After is a great story. In the end, the book may not be perfect, but the story is so good and that is what matters. To this day, I am not sure what made me request to be a part of this tour. But I am so glad that I did. Thanks Elisa Dane, for a wonderful story!

About the Author...

Elisa Dane loves books, chocolate, reality television, her family, and All Star Cheerleading. Not necessarily in that order! She writes contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. She writes what she knows, and it’s her hope that her stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you’ll find a new respect for the sport of All Star Cheerleading you may not have had before. She’s represented by Brittany Booker of the Booker/Albert Agency, and has published a NA paranormal series under her real name, Lisa Sanchez.


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Jaime Lynn

Jaime Reviews ~ The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin ~ Blog Tour and Giveaway

The Year We Fell Apart
by Emily Martin
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Rate: 4 Stars


In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.

  The Year We Fell Apart landed on my radar because of it's beautiful cover art. After seeing it, I had to know what the book was about. Though these types of books, the realistic/contemporary fiction type reads, aren't my go-to's, there are certain ones that intrigue me. This is definitely one of the ones that captured my interest. After all, I know all about making epic mistakes. 

  There is a lot to this story; love and heartbreak, death and life, addiction and freedom. There are some truly great themes in this book that I feel are necessary in the world of teens today. One being just how easy it is to fall into an addiction, and how hard it can be to overcome it. Another, that you can't always run from the bad things that happen in life, or try to drown them. Harper, our main character does both. She makes some really horrible choices during this story. But in the end, she starts to overcome!

 Harper, Declan and Cory have been the best of friends for a long time. Eventually, after Declan's heartbreaking loss of his mom, they became something more. After Declan's dad sent him away to school, they started losing that connection a little at a time. Harper did something horrible to ease her pain and then ended things with Declan. Since then, she has continued to make horrible decisions and now that her own mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer, those decisions become even worse. And now, Declan is back in town and Harper feels overwhelmed with guilt and remorse and she is full of anger and fear over her mom's sickness. This is the story of Harper's road to redemption and her and Declan's chance to make it work.

 I really did enjoy the book, but there were several things that bugged me. The good things first, though! Emily Martin handles emotion and feeling like a heavyweight champ. She gets so many things right. The desperation, the fear, the anger, the feeling of unworthiness and "why the heck shouldn't I?". I love how true-to-life these things were. The other best thing was the friendships that Harper made. Her friendship with Cory was wonderful. He was always there for her, even when he was angry at her. He also didn't let things slide. He told her how he felt about her actions and choices. Harper's new friendships with a couple of the girls from her summer photography class were also a highlight. Love these girls! Finally, Martin's depiction of a negative friendship is so on par with Harper and Sophie's relationship. It was toxic but it was also a part of true life. There are people who just are not good for you.

 My one issue with the story was, unfortunately, Harper herself. Yes, Sophie was terrible, BUT she was meant to be terrible. Harper on the other hand made a couple of decisions that just did not sit well with me. I won't go into them because I don't want to give any spoilers, but if you read the book maybe you can guess?! Hint: Harp's mom  Hint: End of the book! GAH, I want to talk about it so badly. Maybe in the comments we can talk! 

 All in all, The Year We Fell Apart was a really realistic, true to life story. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I am looking forward to hearing about what's next from the brilliant mind of Emily Martin. Finally, thanks for letting me be a part of this tour!

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Follow the The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Emily Martin lives and writes in the Greater Boston area, though she will always call Michigan home. She has a penchant for impromptu dance parties, vintage clothing, and traveling to new places. When not writing, she can be found hiking New England’s peaks, searching for the perfect cup of hot chocolate, or baking something pumpkin-flavored.

Emily’s debut young adult novel, THE YEAR WE FELL APART, comes out January 26, 2016 from Simon Pulse.

Her work is represented by Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary.

Jaime Reviews ~ It's All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick ~ Blog Tour and Giveaway

By Paul Rudnick
Published on January 26, 2016
Published by: Scholastic Press
Source: Scholastic Press
One last chance. One wild weekend. Flat out the funniest book of the year.

My name is Caitlin and up until forty-eight hours ago I had never:

Tasted alcohol, kissed a boy, sang in public at the top of my lungs, kidnapped anyone or--WHAT? STOLEN A CONVERTIBLE?

Now I'm in jail and I have no idea what I'm going to tell:

The police, my parents, the mayor, all of those camera crews and everyone on Twitter.

I have just noticed that:

My nose is pierced and I have-WAIT? IS THAT A TATTOO?

I blame one person for this entire insane weekend:

My famous cousin.

Who is also my former best friend.

Who I have HATED for the past four years.

Who I miss like crazy. NO I DON'T!!!!


 Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks

It's All Your Fault...

 If Paul Rudnick knows one thing, it is humor. He knows how to draw a laugh out of you without you even realizing it is coming. His story is laugh out loud funny and he has no problem pushing some limits to get those laughs. This was a refreshing young adult comedy and I am really looking forward to seeing what this author comes up with next! 

 Caitlin Mary Prudence Rectitude Singleberry is a good Christian girl. She and all of her brothers and sisters sing with their parents in a traveling group called The Singing Singleberry's. She was home-schooled! She wears kneesocks!  But now, after a single weekend, she finds herself sitting in a jail cell with only one kneesock on, a bandage covering what might be a tattoo and her hair cut short and dyed like a rainbow. Caitlin knows exactly who is responsible for her fall from grace. Her cousin, Heller Harrigan. It is ALL HELLER'S FAULT!

 Heller Harrigan is Caitlin's cousin. Four years ago, they were the best of friends. Until Caitlin almost dies and everyone blames Heller. Now Heller is a star! Finally out of her Anna Banana shadow, she is the biggest star in the upcoming movie Angel Wars, a wildly popular YA book series. But Heller is spinning out of control. Drugs and alcohol, clubs and boys... The stories are endless. There is more to Heller than just those things though. It just might take someone special to get through to Heller, so she can truly become the star she was meant to be.

 Caitlin and Heller's moms concoct a plan. They want Caitlin to head to New York to stay with Heller for a weekend. Caitlin is supposed to keep Heller under control, get her through all of the interviews for the movie, keep her from drinking. Caitlin reluctantly agrees. Hostility ensues between the two at first, but slowly they start to laugh with each other. Then, things get a little wild and a little weird! And oh. so. funny!

 There are only about thirty scenes from It's All Your Fault that I want to talk about. But I can't! All that I can say is that you need to grab a copy of this book and get ready to laugh and cry with Caitlin and Heller. And just wait to Sophie, the little girl with cancer, shows up! This book is a riot! It is also heartwarming, with some really great themes for young girls sprinkled throughout. Paul Rudnick, admittedly, wasn't on my radar before I read this one, but I can promise that from now on he is on my radar in a big way! 

What (other) people are saying...

“Paul Rudnick is one of the funniest people out there and he’s on fire with It’s All Your Faul. This book is as fun and crazy as a wild night out. I had to know what happened next.” — Andy Cohen, host of Watch What Happen Live

“Paul Rudnick makes me screech with laughter and sob with fury that I can’t write the way he does.” – E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars

“Caution: Do not read in public. Will cause you to laugh (and possibly cry) out loud, sometimes at the same time. Screamingly funny and yet warmly touching. Buy multiple copies: You’ll want to share this one with friends.” – Meg Cabot, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries and Mediator series

«“Hilarious, irresistible, and oh so timely.” — Kirkus, starred review https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/paul-rudnick/its-all-your-fault/

“Eschewing common sense and exhibiting a great deal of heart, this is one riotously good read.”

“[A] whirlwind, laugh-a-minute escapade about a girl swept far outside her comfort zone,

with real heart beneath the acid humor.” — Publishers Weekly http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-545-46428-4

About the Author...

Paul Rudnick is a critically acclaimed novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. His screenplays include In&Out and Addams Family Values, and he’s written for VogueEntertainment WeeklyVanity Fair, and the New Yorker. His plays, including I Hate Hamlet and Jeffrey, have been produced both on and off Broadway and around the world. His first young adult novel, Gorgeous, was called a “wicked good time” by the New York Times Book Review. Under the pen name Libby Gelman-Waxner, he is also the world’s most beloved and irresponsible film critic. Paul lives in New York City. Find him online at http://paulrudnick.com/ and on Twitter @PaulRudnickNY.


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Tour Schedule...

Week One:
1/18/2016- The Cover ContessaInterview
1/19/2016- Zach's YA ReviewsReview
1/20/2016- Swoony Boys PodcastGuest Post
1/21/2016- Book BriefsReview
1/22/2016- In WonderlandInterview

Week Two:
1/25/2016- The Best Books Ever - Review
1/26/2016- Avid Reader - Guest Post
1/27/2016- Eli to the nthReview
1/28/2016- BookHounds YAInterview
1/29/2016- A Dream Within A DreamReview