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Monday, August 3, 2015

Top 12 List: July 2015 / Month in Review

Posted by Irish in Month in Review, Top 12 List2 Comments


Hello Internet!

By now you know the drill with this post. I list out the top books that I read and loved this past month and from them I choose the best of the best. This book then gets listed in my Top 12 List (check out my sidebar) and at the end of the year those 12 books are pitted against each other and my top book for the year is chosen.


The Contenders – 5 Star Reads

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, Book 1) by Jay Kristoff and Aime Kaufman


This book….oh my stars this book!! I wasn’t sure what to expect from it but I totally fell head over heels in love with this story and DEVOURED it. If this one isn’t on your radar you need to change that. ASAP

What about you? What was your favorite book read this month? Let me know in the comments below. =)


Month in review – Here’s the other books I read this month:

(most books read during this month will be reviewed next month)


4 Star Reads

Come Back to Me (Come Back to Me, Book 1) by Mila Gray
First & Then by Emma Mills
The Fixer (The Fixer, Book 1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Play On (Lewis Creek, Book 1) by Michelle Smith

3 Star Reads

Higher, Further, Faster, More (Captain Marvel, Volume 1) via Kelly Sue DeConnick (3.5 stars)
Body Check by Elle Kennedy
The Boyfriend Project by Rachel Hawthorne
Chase Me (Broke & Beautiful, Book 1) by Tessa Bailey
Divinity Volume 1 by Matt Kindt
George by Alex Gino
The Life After Volume 1 by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Make It Count (Bowler University, Book 1) by Megan Erickson
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio (Audio)
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, Book 2) by Marissa Meyer
Stay Fly (Captain Marvel, Volume 2) by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Welcome to Gotham Academy (Gotham Academy, Volume 1) by Becky Cloonan



2 Star Reads

Going For It by Elle Kennedy
Kicked in the Teeth (Suicide Squad, Volume 1) by Adam Glass

1 Star Reads


DNF Reads – maybe I’ll try these again at some point, but for now they don’t resonate with me



Books read in cover form:


Book reviews:

Miscellaneous Posts:

Places “Traveled” to this month:

See my “travel” index for a complete list of all the places I’ve been through books. (This is list currently out of date, my apologies for that! So check out my Month in Review posts in the interim.)  

  • Afghanistan: Kabul via COME BACK TO ME
  • Canada: Ontario: Toronto via HIM
  • The Commonwealth: New Beijing via SCARLET
  • Guam: Unknown via COME BACK TO ME
  • France: Paris via SCARLET
  • France: Rieux via SCARLET
  • United States: California: Oceanside via COME BACK TO ME
  • United States: California: San Diego via BODY CHECK and COME BACK TO ME
  • United States: California: San Rafeal via HIM
  • United States: Florida: Temple Sterling via FIRST & THEN
  • United States: Illinois: Chicago via BODY CHECK and GOING FOR IT
  • United States: Maryland: Bowler via MAKE IT COUNT
  • United States: Maryland: Cross Keyes via MAKE IT COUNT
  • United States: Massachusetts: Boston via THE FIXER and HIM
  • United States: Montana: Unknown via THE FIXER
  • United States: New York: Lake Placid via HIM
  • United States: New York: New York via GOING FOR IT and CHASE ME
  • United States: New York: Utica via NONE OF THE ABOVE
  • United States: South Carolina: Beaufort via PLAY ON
  • United States: South Carolina: Lewis Creek via PLAY ON
  • Unites States: South Carolina: Reeding via FIRST & THEN
  • United States: Texas: Unknown via THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT
  • United States: Unknown via GEORGE
  • United States: Virginia: Unknown via THE FIXER
  • United States: Washington DC via THE FIXER

Random Moments from July 2015:

Celebrating the Fourth of July with family and friends.  


After four years I said goodbye to one job and prepared to start a new one.

Last day lunch – hibatchi & beer

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on


I found out who my OTSP Secret Sister was! I’m sad this round is over as I had fun picking out gifts for my sister but I am looking forward to the new round that starts this month.


I helped give a Jurassic Park themed baby shower for two of my very good friends. I’m so excited for them and can’t wait to meet their little monkey.


Currently on repeat:

I love music and if I’m not listening to an audio book then you can be sure my trusty old iPod is getting a major workout. Despite this though I didn’t really to any one song on repeat this month. When I wasn’t listening to my audiobook I just allowed my iPod to randomly shuffle through my songs. 

What song(s) did you have on repeat in July 2015?    

Monthly Contest

***Be sure to read the terms and conditions before entering. ***       .

Enter to win a copy of my top pick of the month (or other book if in a series) and a $10 amazon gift card (or a gift voucher equivalent to 10 US Dollars). This contest is open internationally (as long as The Book Depository ships your country) but If you live outside the US and you win then then the GC will be the equivalent to $10 US dollars.   .  

The winner of last months contest is: Word Lily!     .

Congratulations! And thanks to everyone else for entering!!      

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, August 3, 2015

Science Geek Appreciation Week – Day 1

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt0 Comments

Welcome to Day 1 of Science Geek Appreciation Week with author Kelly Oram–a fun-filled week of teasers, interviews, games, giveaways, and lots and lost of science! We’re going to kick off the week by introducing you to the stars of the Spanish Fork High Science Squad–Club President Avery Shaw and her newest recruit, Grayson Kennedy–in their debut novel The Avery Shaw Experiment.

Title: The Avery Shaw Experiment
Author: Kelly Oram
Publisher: Blufields
Pages: 221
Available: AmazoniBooksB&NKobo

Summary: When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically. 

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart. 

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.


I was so out of it that I’d slipped into the bathroom while Grayson was in the shower, and I didn’t even notice until he poked his head out from behind the curtain with a surprised look on his face. “Aves, babe, I’m a little busy here.” He cocked an eyebrow and gave me a crooked smile. “Unless you’re planning to join me…?”

Just then there was a loud knock on the door, and my mother’s worried voice called out to me. I looked up at Grayson and in a moment of sheer panic didn’t think twice before jumping behind the curtain with him.

“Whoa! Avery! I was only teasing!”

I could hear Grayson, but I couldn’t really respond. I leaned my back against the cold tile wall and closed my eyes, letting the hot water rain down on me.

There was another knock, louder this time, and then the door opened. “Avery? That you in here, sweetie?”

I frantically shook my head, praying that Grayson would do the right thing. 

“Sorry, Kaitlin. It’s just me.”

“Oh. Sorry, Grayson. I thought maybe you were Avery.” 

“Yeah, I get that a lot,” he teased.

My mom laughed and then sighed heavily. “If you see her after you’re done, tell her I’m looking for her.”

“Will do.”

The door clicked shut and things got quiet. I stood there for so long that my head started to hurt and I got really dizzy. My knees buckled.

Grayson quickly caught me under the arms. “Avery, breathe,” he commanded.

I took a breath. As oxygen flooded my lungs, I realized it was probably the first breath I’d taken in minutes. Literally.

“Aves,” a low steady voice said. I felt hands on either side of my face. I opened my eyes, and Grayson’s beautiful piercing blue ones were staring down at me from just inches away, taking up my entire field of vision. “You good now?” he asked.

I may have been breathing, but I would never be “good” again. I flung my arms around him and began to release gut-wrenching sobs into his chest. 

I always looked at her as sort of a pesky little sister, but that all changed the day my brother dumped her. Why, you ask? Let me put it this way: When a girl lets you be the one to hold her as her entire world falls apart, even though you’re ass naked, it changes the way you see her. The soaking-wet, see-through t-shirt didn’t hurt, either.

“You look really nice,” I blurted, unable to hide my surprise.

The compliment startled her. She blushed and looked at her feet as she mumbled, “I need to blow my hair dry.”

I grinned. “Don’t want to have to explain to anyone how it got wet, eh?”

She turned even brighter red but then glared at me. “I just don’t want my hair to freeze.”

I laughed as I threw my hands up in surrender and then laughed even harder when she stalked past me into the bathroom.

I leaned against the door and watched, curiously, as she dried her hair. There was something oddly fascinating about watching Little Avery Shaw primp. She’d never seemed like such a real girl to me before. She wasn’t so little anymore, either.

She caught me staring at her in the mirror, so I quickly said, “I thought dorks were supposed to have bad hair and horrible, frumpy fashion senses.”

“Just because I enjoy learning doesn’t mean I’m a dork,” she said, insulted.

“Two words for you Aves: science club.” 

This week only, The Avery Shaw Experiment is on sale for just $0.99! Make sure to snag a copy while it’s cheap! 

Amazon * iBooks * B&N * Kobo

For more bonus material, teasers, games, and chances to win things like signed books and swag stop by the Facebook event, happening now through Friday.
Kelly wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy. 

Connect with Kelly                

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mini Review: The Fairy Tale Bride by Scarlett Wilson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: The Fairy Tale Bride by Scarlett WilsonThe Fairy Tale Bride by Scarlet Wilson
Series: Montana Born Brides, Book 1
Published by Tule Publishing on 04 May 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Friendship, Love & Romance, Short Story / Novella
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 112
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

Place(s) Traveled To: Marietta, Montana

First Line(s): Lisa Renee pushed her last dress into place.

The Fairy Tale Bride is the start of a series of connecting stories that surround the upcoming wedding of a local girl turned celebrity. This book, written by Scarlett Wilson, tells the story of Lisa Renee and the new doctor in town Adam Brady. Lisa runs the towns wedding shop and is recovering from the heartache of being a jilted bride and Adam has a secret of his own. The Fairy Tale Bride is a very short story and as such everything felt very rushed. The couple went on just a few dates and then they are declaring their undying love for each other. It just felt like so much had been skipped and information missing from the story. It was hard to connect with the characters because there was very little development of them. I’ve read other novelettes that felt like full stories and so I know that its possible and this one just never reached its mark.

Lisa and Adam were also two frustrating characters who were deliberately obtuse at times. There were also things that happened that just didn’t real for a small town. Not to mention all the cheezy, eye-roll inducing moments. The Fairy Tale Bride is a book that held promise but it just never lived up to it. The writing was ok but nothing spectacular and the only thing it really had going for it was that it was a quick read.


Fairy Tale Bride Quote


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Audio Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Cinder by Marissa MeyerCinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles, Book 1
Published by Macmillian Audio on 03 Jan 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Futuristic Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 10 Hours 6 minutes
Format: Audiobook
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads

Place(s) Traveled To: New Beijing, The Commonwealth (Future)

First Line(s): The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.

Small fact about me. I have issues reading the last book in a series so there are times when I’ll wait to read a series until all the books are out (and yes, this totally is a trait of my mother but we won’t share that with her, right friends?). Another small fact, hyped up books and I don’t always get along. So its because of those two small facts that I waited until now to give CINDER by Marissa Meyer’s a shot. Because even though I know that hyped books and I are like oil and water I still get pulled into the buzz around them and right now everyone seems to be all aglow over the upcoming release of WINTER (Goodreads) which is the final book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I thought to myself, if I start CINDER now and liked it I can then bounce from book to book and get to WINTER around publication and therefore not end up with yet another unfinished series on my plate. For I do hate to say goodbye to a beloved story.

Unfortunately, CINDER and I didn’t really get along as well as I would have hoped. First, there were just too many things that happened for convince. Like Cinder’s net-link in her brain so that she can easily look up anything that she could ever possibly think of so it makes getting out of tight situations so much easier. CINDER was also highly predictable. I pretty much knew very early on just how this whole book was going to go and not just the book but the rest of the series too. This is not something that a reader should be able to guess at only 20% into a story. Friends on Twitter tried to feed me red herrings but seriously folks that just frustrates me more than the predictability of a story. If I’m right just say I’m right and no cryptic bullshit…because I am not a fan of the cryptic. I was also bored throughout most of the story because once again in a YA fantasy/sci-fi book nothing happens until the tale end of the story. I get that CINDER is the first in a series and since its a futuristic world that there is more setup and world building involved than your typical contemporary read.

Cinder Quote

I get it I do and if the world building was there I may have enjoyed things more as I unearthed the treasures of this futuristic Earth. But the world building was just not there. There was very little detail given other than the very basic of things. We’re in the future…ok so flying cars! And internet everywhere. Hmm…what else can we toss in robots? OK! Oh and aliens who aren’t really aliens but lets give these former humans POWERS because why not?  Yup…OK we now have a futuristic world no more details. Oh wait…in the future things must get worse before they can get better so lets give this one lots of dystopian qualities because dystopia is HOT HOT HOT now. It was just all so very generic and as such made it hard to visualize this world that Cinder lives in. And then we get to my other least favorite part of CINDER. This is probably the part that I disliked the most in the book and turned me off the story more than anything else. The virus that was quickly spreading and killing off the world’s populace. The virus that seemed to change from person to person in the blink of an eye. The virus that had no clear means of how it was spread. That no one could figure anything about despite being so technologically advanced.

Another small fact about me. I am a science nerd and at one time thought about becoming a Virologist. So if there is one thing I know about its viruses and this book just things wrong on so many levels. But the most basic of which was how throughout the book they were all looking for an antidote. It was said over and over and it just made the science nerd in me cringe each and every time. Why you might ask? Well, I’m glad you did. Let’s do a quick google search on the word and see how antidote is defined.

ANTIDOTE: an·ti·dote / ˈan(t)iˌdōt/ noun

1.  a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison.

Do you see the world virus in there at all? No? Now lets do another quick google search:

VACCINE: vac·cine / vakˈsēn/ noun 
  1. a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease

Now of these two words which is the most likely to use to combat a deadly virus? If you said vaccine then you get a gold star. I could have forgiven and overlooked so much on CINDER and how terrible its plague was written if Meyer had just gotten this one small word right. Ok, maybe not but this incorrect use of the word antidote really made my eye twitch and just grated on my nerves in its wrongness. And because I listened to CINDER on audio I wasn’t able to change the word in my head everytime it came up because someone else was reading the story to me. Which just made it all the more pronounced.

Even though there was much about this book that annoyed me, I did enjoy Rebecca Soler’s narration of it. I liked how she breathed a little bit of life into a dull story because this is one that I’d tried in print several times over the last few years but I kept putting it aside as it never grabbed my attention. Soler was Cinder and I liked what she did with the story. However, CINDER is a book that often jumps POVs and in that head-jumping way that I dislike so much and so there are several times when we are in a male POV and as such I would have preferred a male narrator. Granted since CINDER is filled with head-jumping this wouldn’t be an easy thing to do but Soler didn’t do the best with male voices and it was often hard to tell who was supposed to be speaking since they all sounded alike.

In the end I was left with a feeling a disappointment there was nothing about this book that had me dying to move on to the next book in the series SCARLET (goodreads). Other than the fact that my Lunar Chronicles obsessed friends on Twitter say that SCARLET is their favorite and its better than CINDER. I just wish that I felt the love of CINDER that they did because the premise was interesting it just fell apart throughout its execution.



IR - Cinder


Add Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn, Book 1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 12 May 2015
Genres: Adaptation, Arabian, Assassins, Death & Dying, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, People of Color, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 388
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads

Place(s) Traveled to: Khorasan – Rey // Taleqan

First Line(s): It would not be a welcome dawn.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is the debut novel of Renne Ahdieh and is a retelling of the 1001 Nights fairy tale. The main character and POV of the story is Shahrzad, called Shazi by friends, which occasional head jumps in Khalid, and who ever else is convenient to get a point across. I do not mind dual or even multiple POV stories but when you jump into someones perspective only once and for a paragraph or two before jumping back into someone else just to get a quick point across? Well, that annoys me. To me that’s lazy story telling as the author couldn’t figure out to get that one little snippet out so (s)he cheats a little with a quick head jump. I know that for most this is a non-issue but its something that has always bothered me in books and makes my eye a little twitchy.

Overall, I mostly liked how THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was written although towards the end the prose and the drawn out story was getting to me. There were also times when it felt like important scenes had been cut from the plot narrative. Where important keys to the overall story arc were discussed. Then later on we’d be dropped in the middle of the woods without a way to read the map. Leaving a trail of cryptic notes on the path. But being cryptic does not make for a good mystery…it only creates a frustrated reader. And I was very very frustrated by the end of this book. The plot and the characters just really got under my skin and not in a good way.

The Wrath & The Dawn Quote

Shazi was a spoiled brat and I have no idea when two guys were in love with her. This aspect of the story was also way to love triangly for me. I get that she was mostly insta-lusting for Khalid, a man she’s supposed to hate but falls for in a blink, but she does waffle a little when her childhood love Tariq shows up on the scene. I do admire that she stays true to her but as a result this sends Tariq into a spurned lover fit that sets of a chain of events that is just…not good. All in the name of the so called love his holds for Shazi. Oh what fools these mortals be an all that. Then you have Despira, who was just crass and inconsistent in character although I did like how she’d call Shazi on her bratty ways. What I didn’t like was that while the 1001 Nights tale seemed to fairly well researched Despira got basic things about Ancient Greece and its beliefs wrong. Using the word Hades to refer to a Hell and reference a heaven. If you know anything about Greek Mythology then you know that Hades is a person, Elysium would be the equivalent to heaven, and Tartarus the equivalent of hell.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was also a pretty slow read for me as nothing happens in this book until about 70% into the story. I get that THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is the first book in a series and that there is some set up involved but this was just overly drawn out. Only to lead to a quick flash in the pan climatic moment and then curtains closed with a cliff hanger. And not a very good one as the story is quickly fading from my mind. This does not bode well for me when it comes to picking up the second book in this series. Also, I just don’t care very much about these characters at all, with the exception of Khlaid, but there were times when I wanted to shake him as well. So much of this book hinges on people keeping secrets and not communication anything to anyone. This leads to miscommunications and rash decisions and a frustrated reader. The plot was a bit of muddled mess and just too much of the story was missing for it to be a cohesive story.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is just another YA Fantasy that I am the odd man out on. For despite its billing, I just don’t get much of a fantasy vibe off this one at all. Yes there is a curse but its only alluded to in cryptic ways and you really don’t learn much about it at all. I love a good fantasy but its just so hard to find that in YA today. At least it is for me as everyone seems to love this story and they fall into the hype of it. But as of writing this I think I’m done with this series and will wait until Renee Ahdieh writes something new. Perhaps I’ll like her next series better than this one as there are some strong solid lines within this book. Just not enough of them to keep me from banging my head against the wall in frustration.

See my Goodreads updates here.



People who liked this book better than I did:

Love is Not a Triangle – “I felt Shazi’s determination at the start of the book, and then her confusion as her heart begins to change and she is torn between two very different ideals. But even that struggle Shazi faces straight on with determination and without unnecessary angst.”

Effortlessly Reading – “The Wrath and the Dawn has this deep addictive quality to it. Right after I finished The Wrath and the Dawn, I immediately wanted to reread it again, to enjoy Renee’s writing and characters all over again, and promptly did just that.”

The Eater of Books – “The fantasy is stunning, and the world-building is so well-written. There is magic and lore and curses and swords and assassins and basically my favorite kind of fantasy.”


IR - Wrath and the Dawn


Add Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)


Friday, July 24, 2015

Cover Reveal: Game On by Michelle Smith

Posted by Irish in Cover Reveal0 Comments

Game On Cover Tease


Greetings Internet!

Today I’m really excited to be a part of the cover and synopsis reveal of GAME ON by Michelle Smith. I recently read PLAY ON (review coming soon) and just fell in love with her characters and the story that she told. One character that really intrigued me in that story was Eric, the bad boy of the baseball team that Austin is on and I just wanted to know more about him. Michelle Smith must of listened to my silent prayers because in GAME ON we are getting his story! And it sounds like its going to be a good one! Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself:

Release Date: January 2016
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

Synopsis: Eric Perry is Lewis Creek’s resident bad boy. When he’s named the new starting pitcher in a town that thinks baseball is everything and he is nothing but trouble, Eric knows he has to clean up his act. Lay low, his coach tells him—at least long enough to actually pitch a game. But when a fight with his teammate lands him in jail yet again, his season may be over before it starts…until his next door neighbor, Bri, comes to the rescue. Making a deal with Eric’s coach, she offers him one final chance at redemption: community service.

Bri Johnson hadn’t talked to Eric in months. Her boyfriend Matt, Eric’s teammate and the school’s golden boy, didn’t like her to be around Eric. Matt didn’t like a lot of things Bri did or said or wore, which is why she ends it with him the same night he and Eric get into a fight—a fight over her. That night is the reason Bri offers to take Eric with her to the community center each week, so he can keep his spot on the team. But spending time with Eric only makes her life worse, as scandalous rumors start flying and Matt refuses to let her move on.

While Eric and Bri work closely together at the center, old stories of stargazing, first kisses, and a time when they were friends start to re-connect them. As they open up their secrets and their hearts to each other, they start to see that they are more than what other people think they are—and even more than what they think about themselves.


See? Didn’t I tell you that it sounded good? I really like the cover too. I like its simplicity and I just adore the color that the Spencer Hill design team chose and I can’t wait to add this one onto my bookshelf.





Author Bio:

Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Tumblr

Michelle Smith Author Photo copy


No links are available yet to add this one to Goodreads, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble but once they are available I’ll try to come back and update this post. And if you haven’t looked at Play On yet then you should really do so because it was a really cute story and lived up to the hype behind it.



Friday, July 24, 2015

Event Recap: BEA 2015

Posted by Irish in Book Event2 Comments


Wow….this post is a long time in coming and I’m very sorry for taking so long to write up my Book Expo America recap. My only excuse is that life has been very busy and its been hard to find the time to sit down and write about this awesome event. As a veteran BEA goer I didn’t have as big of a plan as some of the people I traveled with. At this point in the game I like to take things pretty easy and just go with the flow and I care more about the people that I see than I do about the books I can pick up. That said though there were a couple of books I knew I had to have and so I made sure that they found their way to me. =)

BEA Day 1

The day started in the wee hours of the morning and so my first stop was visiting my friends at Dunkin Donuts in order to grab some much needed coffee. I then put on my trusty GPS and headed out to pick up Sarah from What Sarah Read at her house. I got there a little early but it was all good as this cute little guy came out to keep me company.


Sarah and I then arrived at the train station where we not so patiently awaited the arrival of the train where we met up with Andi from AndiABCs and Lauren from Love is Not a Triangle. That’s when my coffee really kicked in and the four of us chatted like magpies the entire way down to the city. Including talking about what book we planned to read on the way down and even though we took them out we just had more fun talking and planning out BEA schedules to set aside the time to read. There was one hiccup though when a girl sitting behind us tapped me on the shoulder as I was mid-sentence to tell me to be quiet. I think I just blinked at her a moment in disbelief before calmly telling her that we weren’t in the quiet car. To which she was all ‘but no one else is talking so you really should stop.’ I just rolled my eyes at her and then turned back to Sarah and Lauren and with a big ANYWAY jumped back into my story. I wasn’t even being that loud! Ugh. People. lol


Once we arrived in New York we all trudged up the several blocks to our hotels, we parted with Lauren here, and then waited for Kristina (Kiki) from Gone Pecan to arrive. After Kristina settled in we did a roommate gift exchange before heading out to grab a drink and just chat and have some fun before the craziness of BEA fully began.

BEA Day 1 Collage

I had to leave the girls early as I was meeting my friend Tiffany Schmidt at Penn Station where we decided to walk down to the Jefferson Market Library where she was on a panel that evening. We had a great time talking books and catching up that it seemed like no time at all had passed before we’d reached our destination. We then had a lovely dinner at a cute Italian restaurant where I was able to give her a bracelet that I had designed for her. Despite all the many issues I had with getting it made and sent to me all the struggles just melted away since Tiffany loved it and at the end of the day that is all that matters.


After saying farewell to Tiffany I walked over to Union Square where I just wanted to sit and read for a bit before meeting up with Sarah, Kiki, and Heather Demetrios for drinks but alas I am a magnet of weird. And that magnet is amplified when I am alone and I was quickly driven out of the park as a result. The drinks and the chat at the Coffee Shop was a great way to end my first evening in New York.


BEA Day 2

Our second day in NYC was actually the first official day of BEA and it was a bit of a weird start with the doors opening at 1 pm. Since there was no rush to get to the Javits Center, Andi and I decided to grab breakfast at a place called Patzeria Family and Friends which was right next to our hotel. We then walked down to the Javits and even though I’ve been to several BEAs in this building there is always something so exciting about seeing the Crystal Palace for the first time. Not to mention the stairs that are near the registration booths because they are always amazingly decorated. This time around the stairs featured Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Aime Kaufman (which is amazing by the way so be sure to add it to your wishlists!)

BEA DAY 2 Collage

After picking up our badges, Andi and I stopped at the Starbucks for some coffee where she loaned me a drink koozie because she is just awesome like that. We then met up with Sarah, Kiki, Danielle at Love at First Page, Asheley from Into the Hall of Books, Jess from Gone with the Words, Lauren and a few others. We had a lot of fun just sitting around talking while we waited for the doors to open. Well, most of us chatted, Danielle was busy trying to finish up Lion Heart by AC Gaughen and we all just loved her dedication despite all the chaos that was going on around her. After the doors opened most of our group went off in search of a coveted BEA ARC and Andi and I decided to wander around and get a lay of the land. We picked up some galleys before parting ways for a bit to go to a couple of signings.

Eight Hundred Grapes Collage

After what seemed like moments on the BEA floor, Andi and I met up with Tiffany at Mostly YA Lit and some of her friends where we all grabbed an Uber to attend our first BEA Publisher event for Laura Dave author of Eight Hundred Grapes hosted by Simon & Schuster. None of us were sure what to expect but we all had a great time at the wine tasting and talking with Laura about her book. There was also some great food and even better conversations. The location, The Park NYC, was gorgeous and while the sweltering humidity kept us from enjoying the outdoor space the inside was cool and inviting. The Park NYC is definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in NYC.


Photo Credit: Tiffany of Mostly YA Lit

Following the Eight Hundred Grapes wine tasting Andi and I grabbed a cab and headed back uptown where we met a friend of ours, Sarah, for a late dinner, some drinks and good conversation at Southern Hospitality.

BEA Day 3

Day 3 of BEA was the first full day of the show and I was filled with excitement because it was also Armada day! But before I could get in line for that book Sarah and I headed over to the Javits early for the Harlequin Teen Author Breakfast. The HQT breakfast is always a fun even and is a round robin affair where the authors, editors, and publicists hop between the tables to chat about books. What can be better than that? It is limiting though as you really don’t have a ton of time to talk with any one person but its always fun to see how excited everyone is for their books.

HQT Breakfast

While I loved chatting with all the authors and publicists at the breakfast, Eleanor Herman (Legacy of Kings), really stood out and not just because of her outfit. She was just really fun and passionate about history. Other featured authors included Katie McGarry (Nowhere But Here) who actually spent time hanging out with a motorcycle club for book research, Adi Alsaid (Never Always Sometimes), and Jennifer Armentrout (Stone Cold Touch).

After the breakfast, I headed up to the show floor and got in line for Ernest Cline’s Armada. I *LOVED* Ready Player One (my review) and so was very excited to get my hands on this book. Though also torn since I learned that Wil Wheaton was going to be narrating the audio. On the way to the signing I ran into my friend Farin and we got to catch up for a quick bit but it definitely wasn’t long enough!

Ernest Cline Collage

That night Andi, Sarah, Kiki and I got all dolled up to head to the Fierce Reads party which was held in the The Strand’s rare book room. We arrived early so we could browse a bit beforehand and were met with an entrance that was blocked. There were hot firemand and camera crews and we were all just…what? Turns out there was a fire in the grates and so they blocked things off for safety but there was a side entrance so we were able to wander the miles and miles of books! We ran into a ton of other bloggers doing the same thing and it was fun running into everyone. Despite all my visits to The Strand I’ve never gone up to the rare books room before and it was such an amazing setting for a book event. The food was plentiful and good and while the drink selection was small it was also well worth waiting in the line in front of the bar.

Macmillian really knows how to host an event that was fun and casual and just let everyone mingle and chat. They featured several authors, Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows), Leila Sales (Tonight the Streets Are Ours), Josephine Angelini (Firewalker), Marissa Meyer (Fairest), and Sandy Hall (Signs Point to Yes). All the authors were really fun and were willing to do impromptu signings of their featured titles. There was also a photo booth which was super fun and where Andi, Marissa and I learned why people no longer wear feather boas. They are hot! I think Andi, Sarah, and I will have to remember this come winter when we are buried under 1000 feet of snow this winter! Of all the events that I attended this BEA, this one was my favorite.

Fierce Reads Collage

As we were all leaving the Fierce Reads event we had the happy surprise of running into Holly Black. I’ve known Holly for several years now and try to attend all of her events in the MA area since she’s local and because she’s just plain fun.

After the Fierce Reads party, Andi and I stopped in for drinks at Patzeria Family and Friends and Sarah joined us a little later. It was great to sit out side and drink some beers while munching on several appetizers.

BEA Day 4

This was the last full day of BEA and I didn’t have much planned other than to grab a signed Blue Labyrinth by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston and  for my mom and Soundless by Richelle Mead for myself. The day started by getting up early and going to the Scholastic breakfast which was held in their meeting room at the Javits Center (and where I forgot to take any photos). They had smoothies which were wonderful but best of all I got to meet R.L. Stine! I loved reading his books when I was in Junior High and High School and he was a total gateway author to get many of my friends into reading. It was a definite highlight of the day for sure!

After the breakfast I got in line for Blue Labyrinth and had fun chatting with them both. My sister got my mom and I into this series back in High School so it was fun to tell them that. I even got my mom scolded a bit by telling them how she’d hide Relic from me so I’d do things like homework and eat dinner (the nerve of her! lol)

Day 4 Collage

After the Blue Labyrinth signing I wandered the floor for a bit before heading over to where the Soundless signing was going to be. I was tired and there wasn’t much I wanted to see so it was good to just sit. I have to say though, in all the years at BEA my feet are usually a hot mess by this point in the show but the New Balance shoes I was wearing were the best things ever! They were so comfortable and my feet didn’t hurt AT ALL! Soundless was one of the more populated signings I attended and it was made worse when a good 30 people showed up right before it started with jump the line passes. This meant that people who had waited for hours wouldn’t get the book and I wish that BEA moderated the use of them better. I know that people pay A LOT for the privilege but there should be more ground rules.

I ended up leaving show early but on my way out I ran into Andi, Estelle, Brittany from Book Addict’s Guide, and Ksenia in her new home at Simon & Schuster. It was great to see everyone and chat about BEA and books but as always it wasn’t long enough and I had to leave in order to meet Cindy Pon at her hotel. I was very upset that I wasn’t going to be able to attend her signing at BookCon so it was great that she was able to carve some time out of her schedule to meet for coffee. Cindy is seriously one of the sweetest people ever and I love her books. I’m so grateful for Twitter that allowed us to meet and become friends and to just gush about books.

After hanging out with Cindy I walked over to Bryant Park in order to meet up with Andi, Kiki, Lauren, Brittany, Alyssa from Books Take You Places, Amy from Tripping Over Books, and so many others. It was a gorgeous evening and it was so wonderful to just sit around and talk to everyone. BEA is always such a crazy hectic time that there is never time to real see anyone while in the Javits so I loved this moment of being about to relax and just hang out.


Andi, our friend Sarah (@palmys05), and I headed up to Harlem to this great pizza place called Bad Horse Pizza. It was so quaint inside and I loved how they kept the music on low which allowed for easy conversation. After dinner we stopped at another local place in Harlem for more drinks and to watch some hockey and mostly just hanging out. It was a great evening out and was so glad to be able to see Sarah twice in one trip to the city.

BEA Day 5

This was our last day in NYC and our last official BEA event was the Bloomsbury breakfast. They had donuts, mimosas, books, and a make your own tote bag station. It was great hanging out with the Bloomsbury publicity team and all the bloggers that were able to attend. Though my shoulder was offering my some mad pain for a good portion of the event so I felt like an anti-social zombie much of the time. But thankfully Courtney had some pain meds so I was able to get that under control and feel human again! One thing that I love to do when in the Bloomsbury office to to browse their shelves. They are filled with some amazing titles but mixed in you’ll find foreign editions of books and manuscript drafts. Its just a fun look at some of the behind the scenes of publishing and I was glad to be a part of this event.

Bloomsbury Collage

After the Bloomsbury breakfast, Andi and I said goodbye to Sarah and Kiki as they headed off to the train station and airport to start their journeys home. While they grabbed a cab Andi and I trudged up to a nearby post office to mail our books. This was one of the oddest post offices ever and they totally lied to Andi and I on a few occasions but we got our books posted and that’s what mattered most. After that we met up with Estelle and Sarah (@palmys05) for lunch and drinks and good conversation. This was the first real chance I got to hang out with Estelle and it was great to be able to sit down and hang out. After lunch, we all went to Baked by Melissa to grab some mini cupcakes. Andi and I had been trying to get there all week but time was just never in our favor.

Day 5 Collage

After we grabbed out cupcakes, Andi and I said our final goodbyes to Estelle and Sarah and headed to the train station. While there we were both amused by all the ads for Massachusetts. This year we had much better luck with the train and it arrived on time (mostly) and we were on our way home. We just sort of collapsed into our seats and zoned most of the trip home as we were bone tired from a long week in NYC. It was such a fun week and it was over much too soon. I know that there is so much that happened and people I saw that I forgot to mention in this recap. If you are feeling really adventurous you can always read through my twitter hashtag #GailandtheBEATrip and see my updates as they happened.

In all I brought home 33 books from BEA and the picture below shows all but Blue Labyrinth, which I’d already dropped off with my mom, and Illuminae which I have loaned out to a friend. All in all more books then I was planning on picking up but not a bad BEA haul. Next year BEA will be held in Chicago and I am currently debating on if I’ll make the trip or not. Will you be at BEA16? If so, LMK in the comments as that might make my decision a little easier to make!


To learn more about these titles the click here to see my Goodreads BEA15 shelf.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Hard to Let Go by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Hard to Let Go by Laura KayeHard to Let Go by Laura Kaye
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Hard Ink, Book 4
Also in this series: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to be Good
Published by Avon on 30 June 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, War & Military
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland

First Line(s): The warehouse was an abandoned shell.

Hard to Let Go by Laura Kaye is the final book in her crazy pants Hard Ink series and features Beckett Murda and Kat Rixey who we first meet briefly in the previous book, Hard to Come By (my review). As with the previous full length novel, Hard to Let Go takes place in about a weeks time and so there is a lot of suspension of belief to the story given that the whole series ARC takes place in around a months time. Add to these complexities the fact that Kat is the sister of Murda’s very good friend and commander who is fighting some demons of her own because crazy motorcycle gang bangers were not enough to this whole storyline. Not to mention the set up for Kaye’s next series which will feature the good motorcycle gang, the Raven Riders (Goodreads link). Which I will probably read because sometimes you just need a little crazy pants action in the books you read.

As with most of the couples, Kat and Beckett have an instant attraction but they try to hide it by being all gruff and standoffish with each other. Partly because of Kat’s brother and partly because they are dealing with gangs that shoot rocket launchers at them. (Rocket launchers!! Seriously, I can’t get over that from Hard to Come By). There is also continuing investigation into the overall story ARC which just never really held up in this final installment in the series. The previous books were all leading up to this big crazy reveal but in the end it just sort of lost steam and fizzled out. I expected something more, something flashier and so was disappointed in the end. Not to mention that Hard to Let Go seemed to be more hurry up and wait than any of the previous books so it was a slower read than the others.

Baltimore, MD -- The glow of the city lights begin to equalize after the sun sets in a view from the top of the Domino Sugars refinery, above the inner harbor Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) [] (_1D34072.JPG)] COPYBLOCK: I had no time to waste. Knowing how fast the sun actually sets, I quickly assessed what angles might reveal good moments in time lapse, bearing in mind to also look for telling images of the skyline from the unusual perspective of being at the base of the Domino Sugars sign.  With two Nikon cameras, one GoPro, and a Lumix FZ200 in tow, I set three of the cameras to capture by intervalometer, at 2-3 seconds per frame. The FZ200 churned out HD video clips, but the files were later compressed in post at about 1000x live speed. In all, there were 13 different angles captured, with cameras being moved about on the roof an behind the steel frame of the neon sign, with little time to enjoy being in a place where few people gain access. My iPhone 4s recorded panoramic images, capturing a 180-degree image from the glowing neon icon to the inner harbor skyline, and then back from the cityscape to the sign as the exposure balanced between light source and sky at dusk. Using the two images created an almost seamless turn-around to show how the scene looked if spinning clockwise, capping off the shoot.

Hard to Let Go also added all these extra complexities to the who reason behind the units framing and dishonorable discharge that even with all the belief suspension that I’d done previously (I mean rocket launchers…in Baltimore!!) was just sort of tossed out the window. I rolled my eyes a lot in this book, not that I didn’t with the others, but there was a lot more of me mumbling “seriously?!” as I turned the pages in the story. Then there was the whole subplot of Kat’s that was just a distraction and diverted much needed words and attention for the big bad rocket launcher using baddies. Which made for a rushed and unsatisfying ending.

Hard to Let Go isn’t a book that I’d recommend to everyone as its not really a great story. Its rushed and unrealistic but there is something addictive about it all the same. The sex scenes are hot, though not as numerous as in some romance books, but the akward dialogue moments often ruin the moment. With Hard to Let Go I found it hard to connect with Kat and Murda and didn’t really care either way if they got together in the end out not. It just seemed a bit like more of the same rushed romance that we’d seen in the three other books of this novel. All the love interests all met and fell head over heels in a matter of days all while under intense outside pressures that its hard to imagine them lasting for any length of time. I definitely prefer the slow build romance over what Kaye brought to the table with her Hard Ink series and yet I was compelled to read every book. This series will never be a favorite and I will probably never re-read it but the thought of rocket launchers going off in Baltimore will always make me giggle. And sometimes that’s all you need in a book.




IR - Hard as it Gets


Add Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Celebrate LGBTQIA Characters

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday4 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is about the books that celebrate diversity. I’ve been reading a lot of LGBTQIA books recently and so I decided to focus on list on that that topic. I included seven books that I have read and enjoyed as well as three titles of books that I hope to read in the near future. Have any really good LGBTQIA titles not mentioned here that you think I should check out then leave me a comment below!


Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters (example: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC, neurotypical character, LGBTQ etc etc.)

Simon Vs Quote


1. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Goodreads // My Review)

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Aristotle and Dante Quote


2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Goodreads // My Review)

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Trust the Focus Quote


3. Focus on Me by Megan Erickson (Goodreads // My Review)

Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…

Understatement of the Year Quote


4. The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen (Goodreads // My Review)

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.


Him Quote


5. Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy (Goodreads // My Review)

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

There You Stand Quote


6. There You Stand by Christina Lee (Goodreads // My Review)

From the author of All of You and Before You Break comes a new Between Breaths male/male standalone romance about the silent, inked up skateboarder and the tattoo artist who unravels him piece by piece…

Tattoo artist Cory Easton has worked long enough at Raw Ink to know, just by looking at a dude, what his body art reveals, what makes him tick, what even makes him scared. Until he meets the quiet and remote Jude York—so unreadable, so unreachable, and so unlike anyone else, he can’t help but arouse Cory’s curiosity.

As captivating and complex as his ink, Jude is a mystery—and Cory’s falling fast and hard under his spell. Against his better judgment to steer clear.

The rumors of Jude’s past overshadow him—whispers of prison and an unmentionable secret that’s kept him in the protective shadows of a local motorcycle club. As Cory probes deeper, he wonders how much he really wants to know. Especially since Jude has awakened something inside him that has been buried too long—and has him feeling completely alive for the first time in forever…

None of the Above Quote


7. None of the Above by I.W. Gregario (Goodreads // Review to Come)

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Want to Read


8. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler (Goodreads)

Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls … opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight—on everyone’s terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the one thing she’s always loved … and the person she never imagined she could.


9. Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian (Goodreads)

Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

five stages of andrew brawley


10. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson (Goodreads)

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.

Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.

Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.

But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.



11) George by Alex Gino (Goodreads)


When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyHim by Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen
Published by Self-Published on 28 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sports & Athletics
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 268
Format: eARC
Source: Author
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

Place(s) Traveled To: Boston, Massachusetts // San Radael, California // Lake Placid, New York // Toronto, Ontario, Canada

First Line(s): The coffee shop line is a little long, but I know I’ll make it to the rink on time. Some weeks just click.

Over the last year or so I’ve discovered and become a fan of Sarina Bowen’s writing. More recently I discovered Elle Kennedy and then to learn that the two were collaborating on a book together? Well, I knew that was a book that I needed to read. The moment the egalley of HIM arrived in my inbox I knew I had to start it and that is exactly what I did and I didn’t stop reading until I’d finished the book and the clock was ticking into the single digits. But the loss of sleep was worth it because HIM was everything that I was expecting and maybe even a little bit more. Yes, there were things that I had issues with (hello awkward and pointless breakup) but overall I loved the vibe of this story and the connection that existed between Wes and Jamie.

From the very beginning HIM had my heart aching as both these characters struggled with events that had happened four years prior and wondering if there was a way to move forward. These two didn’t always make the right choices but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, you just can’t see clearly and its easier to ignore an issue than to face it. And boy did I love how Wes and Jamie faced their past issues. I loved their journey throughout this book and though there were times when I wanted to shake them both and make them talk it out I get where they were coming from. Falling for your best friend, be it male or female, is never any easy thing to do and Bowen and Kennedy handle all the complexities of it so well.

Him Quote

HIM is filled with many a hot and steamy moment so its definitely not for everyone but if you like kissing in the rain and all that comes after well, then you’ll want to have this book on your shelves. HIM manages to hit all the right notes in what I like in a story and even with the weird, awkward breakup moment I still loved the overall story. The epilogue was a little too cutesy but I LOVED…like LOVED LOVED LOVED seeing Jamie’s family and it made me wish that they all had a more active roll in the book. They were just so much fun and with their short stint on the page they provided so much entertainment. There were also times when HIM reminded me of Sarina Bowen’s other books, especially The Understatement of the Year (my review) but I am ok with that because its another story that I adored.

HIM was total book crack for me and I am not ashamed of it. Bowen and Kennedy created a wonderful story and I hope to see them collaborate again at some point in the future. They are a solid writing team and as a reader you wouldn’t know that this story had two authors if it weren’t for the two names on the cover. This book felt like a Sarina Bowen novel and it felt just as strongly as an Elle Kennedy one. This book was just pure fun and as I said above once I started reading it I just couldn’t put it down. Seriously folks, this is one you are going to want on your shelves so go forth and get it now because it was just one deliciously, hot and steamy and heart achy read.



IR - Him

Add The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Come Back to Me by Mila Gray to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)