Guest Post: Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle

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Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver’s fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She’s his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.

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I am not a runner. At all. I have stopped and started Couch to 5K several times. I’ve deleted it and reinstalled it on my phone at least twice. This is a place where my main character, Elena, and I differ.

But one way we’re the same, is that we both love the Scissor Sisters, and I’m guessing other music that gets us moving. Here’s the playlist I, old Aunt Julie, would make for her.

“I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” by the Scissor Sisters. Nothing makes me want to dance more than this song.

“Try Everything” by Shakira. I know I’m supposed to loathe this song because the lyrics are kind of silly and it’s from an animated film (Zootopia, which is amazing), but this song pumps me up because it’s all about perseverance. And it’s just stinking catchy.

“Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior. Because it’s illegal not to move during this song. I will never not love this song.

“Technologic” by Daft Punk. Same with this song. Never gets old.

“Bling (Confessions of a King)” by The Killers. Or this one. Evergreen workout songs.

“Workout Plan” by Kanye West. This song always makes me smile through my workout. Yes, Kanye, I’d like to be able to impress “at least a dude with a car.” Please help me.

The Creed soundtrack. Rocky music with a more modern beat. It’ll have you saving America through boxing in no time.

“Shame on You” by the Indigo Girls. I saw them perform last summer for the first time in, like, eighteen years, and it put me on a real Amy and Emily kick. This song rocks AND it fits our current political climate.

“Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins. I’m on a real Phil Collins kick right now. I can’t explain it. Must be something in the air tonight.

“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth” by REM. I’m also on an REM kick.

“Shiny” from the Moana soundtrack (performed by Jemaine Clement): This is a good cool down son. Really, I just wanted to include it on the list because it’s my favorite right now. “Fish are dumb, dumb, dumb.”

Happy reading,

Jordan

Cover Reveal: Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon

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Release Date: March 6, 2017

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Bryn McKenna has it all, including her smoking-hot knight turned live-in boyfriend, Valmont. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting into the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparents want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire.

If she doesn’t say, “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Goodbye flying. Goodbye best friends. Goodbye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon, she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.

author2085c-chris

Connect with Chris

Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures and snarky contemporary romance.

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz: Carlos’ Peace by Melissa Haag

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Carlos has spent his entire life avoiding attachments to individuals and has devoted his time to protecting his race. His childhood taught him that something is out there, threatening the existence of werewolves, and he will let nothing interfere with his vendetta to stop the threat.
Physical attachment and vendetta collide when he sees Isabelle. She’s meant to be his Mate and instinct demands that he protect her above all else. However, letting go of his past is as impossible as embracing a future filled with love. Isabelle wants nothing to do with him, except fight with him. Carlos must find a way through her emotional armor and hope, together, they can heal and face the threat.
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author

Melissa Haag currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband and three children. Touch is her first published novel. She is currently working on book three of a separate five book series.
Enticing reading, 
Jordan

ARC Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

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Release Date: Feb 14, 2017

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Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

review

3.5/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Del Rey

PROS: 

That first chapter. Holy on the edge of your seat foreboding, anxiety, and all around fascination. Three hot brothers, a mysterious woman with a baby, magic…it’s compelling, gripping, you won’t want to put it down. And the personality. Each character is strong in tone and development. They almost feel like dark fae princes. If you’ve read Holly Black or Julie Kagawa, you’ll get some serious vibes here. Gavar, Jenner, and Silyen. The whole Jardine clan of men. The layers and layers of questionable morals and cold snark. The darkness within. It’s addictive. They’re the most interesting characters, no matter how intriguing Luke’s work as a rebel is. Gavar alone is like this grumbly Phantom of the Opera character meets Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Jenner is a sort of Darcy. Silyen, you want to hate him, but his story is the most versatile, interesting, and he’s so unreliable as a narrator that you’re unsure whether to trust him. He’s your epic love-hate male interest. 

Luke’s story is almost on Les Mis level. Tossed into the heart of the rebellion and amongst a clandestine group of people within the working class. My Russian heart swelled at this revolutionary vibe. Luke is bumbling, he doesn’t know who he is, what he wants to be, he’s a little baby-ish and resentful as the story starts-he just wants to hang with his friends, play some football and chill, but no. Luke makes the biggest transformation in the story. His heart is full of justice and yearning, of that desperation to do right, even if it results in death. He becomes the cause and OMG does he get slaughtered for it-figuratively (no spoilers). You know in Les Mis when they sing “Red and Black” or “Do You Hear the People Sing?” That is the soundtrack to Luke’s chapters. He’s a supplanted Marius. 

OMG that cliffhanger. The last few chapters of the book are jam-packed with twists that will stun and shock and turn you inside out. The predictable ones were made unpredictable because they had another level of deceit. I’ve never seen anything like it. Just when you’re nodding your head along, satisfied and sure that you had everything figured out, boom, epic level twist tacked right on. Mind blown. The ending. I can’t get over everything that happened. All the lies, the evil, the morals are tossed to the wind (not that they weren’t throughout, but these are particularly sinister and vile). 

Love is everywhere. Sibling, friendship, romantic. All forms. Sometimes it’s twisted, others it’s pure and builds. There’s so much of it. Romance is subtle, but grows. The one Romeo and Juliet style romance…oh my poor little heart-obliterated. Cruel cruel story. 

CONS:

Some of the POVs thrown in were questionable and didn’t really seem to have a function. More than that, they threw off the whole feeling of the book. As a reader, you pause and question why these new characters are suddenly there and whether we should care or not. For the most part, it was random and jarring. These POVs that shifted from the main characters detracted from the overall tone.

This book was highly political. At its heart, it’s a story of repression, rebellion, and challenging the system through planned and exhilarating vigilante justice. Sometimes the politics were unclear, especially in terms of history, why the world is structured the way it is, and it doesn’t explain as much as it should until late in the book and from there it’s a whirlwind of explosive reveals and insanity-utter chaos to the extreme, which leads me to my next point…

Pacing. The book starts out interesting enough. It pulls you in, it keeps you going, and then there’s a major lag, which is infuriating because it should not be happening at all. There’s all sorts of crazy stuff happening-plans for fighting oppression, protests, escapes, all high adrenaline stuff, but the constant swapping POVs dimmed the tension. There’s also a lot going on, inside the magical “palace” and in the slums. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

 Lovely reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: Omega by Jus Accardo

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Release date: August 1, 2017

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One mistake can change everything. Ashlyn Calvert finds that out the hard way when a bad decision leads to the death of her best friend, Noah Anderson.

Only Noah isn’t really gone. Thanks to his parents’ company, the Infinity Division, there is a version of him skipping from one dimension to another, set on revenge for the death of his sister, Kori. When a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Ash, he’s determined to resist the magnetic pull he’s felt for her time and time again. Because falling for Ash puts his mission—and their lives—in danger.

authorjus-accardoWebsite/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Goodreads

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.

Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Epic reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz: The Lilac Sky by Diana Gardin

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“Do you hear me, Isla? Survive.”

Those are the last words seventeen-year-old Isla hears from her parents. She’s placed into a cylinder craft and catapulted through space, saying goodbye to them and her precious, dying Earth.

Crash-landing on a foreign planet, Isla stumbles into a striking Troman warrior, Rygen. He is shocked to discover a human deep in the jungles of his planet but with his home in political turmoil, he has no desire to assist the weak creature.

Knowing that she’ll never survive without them, Isla convinces Rygen and his comrades to escort her, but she has no time to catch her breath. The dangerous journey navigating the rugged, lush terrain of Troma with the strong and brooding Rygen is only the beginning of Isla’s battle.

Isla never dreamed her very existence would threaten to throw the foreign planet into a gruesome revolution. Hunted by radicals as she discovers her dormant powerful Gift, Isla fights not only for survival but also for the her heart’s true desire. But only time will tell if she can truly endure on a hostile planet where her kind just doesn’t fit.

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Excerpt“Where are we?” Curiosity coats my tone as I glance at Ebin.

He’s staring at the doors. “This is my family’s apartment.”

Surprise causes me to reel back a step. “And why are we here?”

His eyes narrow as he scans my face. “I am not sure.”

Placing my hands on the doors, I trace the ornate markings with my fingers. The doors capture me, pulling me toward them with the force of their very being. I move closer as I feel vibrations beneath my fingertips, a song that only the bronze metal knows.

I lean my cheek against the cool metallic covering, feeling the rhythms under my skin.
Inside my soul.

My lips part and I whisper a song I never even knew I had inside me.

The words flow seamlessly from my lips to the doors, as if I’d known the lyrics all my life. And when I’m done, the door disappears, giving me entrance into Ebin’s apartment.

I step back, astonishment filling me up until I’m in danger of bursting.
“What the heck did I just do?” My whisper drifts around in the fog of my unexpected accomplishment.

Ebin steps up beside me. When I look at him, the expression on his face is one of wonder. Of shock. Of awe.

“You just gained un-permitted entry into my home. With your voice.”

authorDiana GardinFACEBOOK/TWITTER/GOODREADS/WEBSITE

Diana Gardin is the author of Romance in a multitude of age ranges and genres. Her works include the Ashes Series, the Nelson Island Series, and the Battle Scars series. Upcoming works include the Rescue Ops Series (Battle Scars spinoff coming in June 2017) and The Lilac Sky (The Troma Chronicles Book 1).

Diana loved writing at a young age, but decided to try and make a career out of it in 2012 while staying home with her first child. When she’s not writing, you can usually find Diana watching one of her Netflix Obsessions, spending time with her family, or drinking wine with friends.

Magical reading, 

Jordan

Review: After the Fall by Kate Hart

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synA YA debut about a teen girl who wrestles with rumors, reputation, and her relationships with two brothers.

Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing.

But Raychel doesn’t want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother.

The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.

review2.5/5 Stars 

+++Potential triggers for sexual assault, tragic loss

***Contains mature content

After the Fall feels like a draft. It takes several directions and doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. The story is split into two parts, the before and the after-though the before is such a short duration that it’s like an underdeveloped Polaroid, a glimpse with huge, life-altering emotional development that there is no time to explore. And while that may be the point of the plot, a little more would have made the loss more potent. 

There are so many important discussions in this story-discussions that so many teens and adults could benefit from in regard to sexual assault and how it’s defined. Like the fact that if at any point during a sexual encounter you change your mind and the yes is now a no, you can take away your consent and the other individual should respect that. That’s not leading someone on, you have control of your body, you have agency, and you are the ONLY one who can give and take away permission to access what is yours. This includes ALL forms of sex. These discussions are between teenagers in the book and wise adults who approach the subject with respect, compassion, and righteous anger. Having these talks between adults and teens and with variety through the story was both thought-provoking and comforting. Sometimes knowing whether an encounter is assault or not can be hazy because of popular perceptions and how we view sex as a society. This book does a fantastic job both bringing up the subject and the commentary that follows. There is also commentary on prejudice and racial jokes, derogatory remarks, and gender roles. 

All of the characters were flawed and complex. While I normally enjoy the broken, confused, and wayward because generally these are coming of age stories and characters are going through a ton of stuff, these characters weren’t exactly likeable. They were self-righteous, blinded by their ideas, bull-headed, self-absorbed, and for the most part, didn’t have much of any redeeming qualities. Matt was a “poor me” character and some of the stuff he said was chauvinistic and demeaning and so near-sighted. How he could be a potential love interest was perplexing. Raychel is a mess. While it’s cool that she makes mistakes and embraces her sexuality, she’s not exactly a role model and doesn’t really learn anything. There’s no big resolution, it’s a cut off, hopefully things will be better in college situation. Does there necessarily have to be a moral to every story? No. But should the characters grow? Yes. 

The romance itself was short, fast, and development could have been stronger to build up to the tragedy. I would have liked to have seen more of them together, rather than the reference back to a time they had that the reader never saw. It felt like a summary and I wanted imagery. The emotions, the romantic ones at least, were muted because there weren’t enough scenes to reinforce the feelings. 

Secondary characters were in and out and there were so many of them that they didn’t make much of an impression, even if they were diverse and interesting, they didn’t have enough space. The book could have been longer, definitely, just to build on these smaller relationships. So much of the focus is one Matt and Raychel, that when anything happens to any of the other characters, it feels miniscule by comparison. 

The book was enjoyable to read because in some weird way, you wanted to see who Raychel ended up with. 

Side note: I also went on a tangent recently about this misleading synopsis.The way it’s initially worded makes you think this will be a romance or even a comedy. There’s a serious suggestion of dating two brothers, but this is not a romance, not really. This is a full-fledged drama and exploration of loss. I was thrown. After reading the synopsis, you go into the book with expectations and what the book really was felt like a stretch. 

If you like any of the following, you might enjoy this:

Introspective reading, 

Jordan