Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's Ten: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Whose Lives Are Impacted by Mental Illness (their own/a family member/or friend's) (are musically inclined, have lost someone, have depression, who grow up poor, etc.)

Hold Still by Nina LaCour ~ Goodreads || Review
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler ~ Goodreads || Review
All the Bright Places by  Jennifer Niven ~ Goodreads
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand ~ Goodreads
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman ~ Goodreads || Review
Made You Up by  Francesca Zappia  ~ Goodreads
I Was Here by Gayle Forman ~ Goodreads
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios ~ Goodreads || Review
By the Time You Read This I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters ~ Goodreads
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeline Kuderick  ~ Goodreads || Review

I have read eight of these ten and have plans to read the other two soon. They're not particularly easy books to read but they're still so good. They are honest and emotional and unforgettable.

[You can reach the National Alliance on Mental Ilness (NAMI) Information HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI. The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) or texting to 828355.]

Please leave a comment, let me know if you've read any of these or if you have any other recommendations, I would love to hear about either/both!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Secrets We Keep ~ Trisha Leaver (earc) review [@tleaver @fsgbooks]

The Secrets We Keep
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
April 28, 2015
304 pages
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A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

Ella and Maddy are identical twins but Maddy is the popular, beautiful one with the long term, loving boyfriend. It's Maddy who has all of the friends. It even seems their parents prefer Maddy - or, at least, are more proud of her.

Then an argument between the girls is followed by a tragic accident leaving one of them dead. When Ella wakes up in the hostpial everyone thinks she's Maddy. Even if it doesn't feel correct, feeling guilty, she goes with it. After all, Maddy was the better sister, wasn't she?

It doesn't take Ella long to realize, though, that Maddy's seemingly perfect life may not have been quite so perfect. She soon finds out that Maddy was keeping more secrets from her than Ella knew.

As she discovers more about her sister, her life, Ella has to decide if she can - or should - continue Maddy's life.

The longer she pretends to be Maddy the more she discover not just about her sister and the secrets she was keeping, but about her own life, as well.

Was she really correct that Maddy was the more loved sister? Is everyone really happier Maddy survived? Can Ella take back her decision? Should she?

The Secrets We Keep dealt with some weighty issues without feeling too heavy or dark but also not being superficial, either. Ella's adjustment to Maddy's life, to her sister's death, is handled very well. It is a good mystery, both in whether Ella can be Maddy but also what all it was Maddy was hiding. Yet, it's Ella's character and her decisions and emotion that really made for a terrific read.

I liked that we got a small introduction to Ella and Maddy before the accident, that we saw who and how Ella was, as herself. At first I wished we had more of a chance to 'meet' Maddy but I changed my mind as the novel progressed. We only have Ella's (and later her boyfriend and classmates') view of Maddy. Maddy remains a bit of an unknown, a mystery to readers as well.

We discover who she was along with Ella.

For a very well done contemporary YA read, with a bit of mystery making it better, pick up Trisha Leaver's The Secrets We Keep.

Other books you may also enjoy: All We Know of Heaven by Jacquelyn Mitchard, Six Months Later by Natalie D Richards and The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

digital copy received for review, thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

Cover Characteristic [@sugar_and_snark]

This is a new meme hosted by Sugar & Snark. It came about when Sugar was wondering which cover to use for her #70 Cover of the Week post. Sugar kept on thinking of more than one, and they all seemed to have a theme/characteristic. So she decided to switch things up a bit!

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit).

You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

This week's Cover Characteristic: Yellow Covers
(covers linked to respective Goodreads pages)

(it has more of a yellow tint to the whole thing in person)

my favorite:

Why's Death by Bikini my favorite of the yellow covers? I think it's cute and fun, but also love that the bikini is a cut-out and the black and white print is a separate cover/page behind it.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite yellow book cover - and link me to your own Cover Characteristic post if you have one! 

Have you read any of these yellow covered books? Tell me what you thought.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Blitz: Shadow of a Doubt [@PADePaul @RockStarPRLLC]

Shadow of a Doubt (SBG #2)
April 21, 2015
Adult Romantic Suspense
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buy from B&N/iBooks/Google Play/Kobo/Amazon

When her secretly filmed tryst shows up on the internet, Michelle Alger goes on the run. She has no choice. Not only was her one-night stand the son of a US senator, but he’s been murdered—and she’s the number one suspect. With both the senator and an avenging drug lord on her trail, her life is in danger. There’s only man she can trust. He saved her once, but will he still be her hero six years later?

Captain Jeremy Malone and the rest of Delta Squad have the senator’s order: find the mystery woman who killed my son. But to Jeremy, she’s no mystery. Six years ago his team of Green Berets rescued her from the torturous clutches of a Colombian cartel, and he’s never forgotten her. His personal and covert mission: find Michelle before anyone else. When he and Michelle do meet again, the sparks are explosive and consuming. They’re also dangerous as hell.

Because with each new bit of evidence, Jeremy suspects that Michelle’s innocence may be a ruse—a beautiful trap set by a woman who has even more secrets yet to bare.

About the Author:

“I'm a multi-genre romance author including paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense.

“I originally hail from Carroll and Baltimore County, Maryland, but also lived in Macon and Warner Robins, Georgia. I currently reside in a beautiful community just outside Philadelphia.

“When my head is not completely absorbed with listening to very demanding characters, I can be found with my nose in a book—not only enjoying the story but studying what makes the novel work. I love action-adventure movies (if it blows up spectacularly, I'm there) and watching way too much TV. (Can everybody say “Procrastination?” To which I usually reply, “But it’s research!” Yeah, they don’t believe me either.). More times than not, my husband and Shi Tzu stand outside my closed office door wondering, “Is she still alive? Do we dare bother her? What if she’s on a roll?” Monty usually answers by scratching on the wood anyway. Gotta love a dog who doesn’t care about boundaries! Good thing he’s so cute!” (website)


Cappy could only murmur, “It’s okay,” over and over into the crown of her head. He shifted to relieve his crushed balls and sent up a small prayer for guidance.
He hated feeling so helpless.

He had seen good men, good soldiers, struggle with the horrors they faced in war. Whether the violence was by their own hands or what they watched their buddy go through didn’t seem to matter. They were crippled just the same. To witness this exquisite creature’s terror as she fought to stay out of Raul’s phantom hands left him feeling inadequate and guilty. He should have known about her capture sooner. Should have been able to save her from that hell.

Images of her tortured body rose in his mind. Christ, what those men had done to her. Rage curled in his gut as he gently stroked her arm. He wished he could kill them all over again and not just for what they subjected her to, but for the men he had lost that day. Friends who didn’t deserve to have their lives cut short because he had lost focus and allowed his emotions to lead.

Fewer tears soaked into his shirt and a soft snore filled his ears. He gently transferred her to the couch, replacing his arm with an ugly beige pillow.

After crossing the room, he motioned for Talon to lift the paper towels. His teammate tipped his head back and removed the wad. Bruising across the bridge of his nose had already started blossoming spectacularly. “You’re going to have a hell of a shiner just in time to replace the one that just healed.” Cappy peered closer. “You need to get that looked at.”

“I’ve had a broken nose before.” Talon pivoted and entered the kitchen. “This doesn’t feel like that. Any ice ready in the freezer?”

Cappy opened the appliance’s door but it was empty. A stack of plastic trays sat neatly on top of the refrigerator, waiting to be filled. “Nope. Go see a doctor anyway just to be safe. Call me when you’re released. I’ll give you the list of supplies we need from the store.” Cappy stepped out of the kitchen and glanced toward the couch. Michelle still slept in the same position he’d placed her in. Good. He motioned for Talon to follow him through the dining room and out the sliding glass door.

Once Talon crossed over the threshold, Cappy closed the door and angled his body so he could watch over Michelle.

Talon flicked a glance down Cappy’s sight line and snorted, then winced at the action. “You better get your head out of your dick and wake up.”

Cappy jerked at the attack and straightened to his full height. “Excuse me?”

“That girl murdered Colin Harris and you’re in there stroking her like a damn puppy.”

“We don’t know that for sure.” Even to his ears he sounded defensive. Shit.

“Spoken like a guy wanting to get laid.”

“Hey,” Cappy snapped. “I’m still your CO”

“Then act like a commanding officer,” Talon retorted, not getting the message to back down. “Find out what happened.”

Cappy gripped his hips to keep from encircling Talon’s throat. “What do you think I’m doing?”

Talon tried to snort again. “I don’t know, clearing the house so you can screw her.”

“Get real,” Cappy retorted. “She doesn’t really want me, just what I represent.”

“She’s suffering from hero worship and you have a rescue complex when it comes to her. You’re both screwed up but that still doesn’t mean you can’t fuck her.”

Cappy moved into Talon’s space and forced his clenched fists to stay at his sides. “Get out of my face and to the hospital before I break something for real. Capisce? Call me when you’re done. I’ll have a list for you by then.”

“Check, sir.”

Talon strode around Cappy, grazing his shoulder as he passed. It wasn’t a full-out challenge but a message. Cappy watched him disappear around the corner. If that man didn’t straighten up soon, he might just have to send a message of his own—one with no hint of subtlety.

He gazed up at the blazing pink and orange clouds as the sun disappeared from the sky. The taste of what her therapy sessions must have been like as she battled the PTSD soured in his mouth. Shit.
How could he have been so callous all these years and not even tried to find her, to check up on her even if it was from a distance? You know why, his mind answered, zeroing in on the instant connection he had felt the second he broke into that room. He wouldn’t’ve been able to keep himself on the perimeter. The temptation to touch her, talk to her, be with her would’ve been too much.
SBG operatives were not allowed to have personal lives.

About SBG Book 1 Exchange of Fire:

Faking her death was easy, living with her past is harder, but nothing is more dangerous than falling in love…

Sandra Walsh was a deadly sniper for the Sweet Briar Group, a covert agency with assassins for hire, until her last mission went horribly wrong, accidentally killing an innocent girl. Knowing she’s a danger to her team, Sandra goes off the grid, becoming a Shade—an agent declared dead but secretly hiding among the living. She intends to honor her vow never to pull another trigger or have contact with the spy world again. Until she meets Casper Grady…

Grady is a former Marine with a troubled past and a debt to pay. His life mission has gone from protecting the nation to helping local children and their families. The moment he meets Sandra, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye, but he can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious femme fatale. And when Sandra’s past suddenly catches up to her, Grady is determined to protect her at all costs, no matter how dark and dangerous her secrets are.

As the danger increases, so does their intense attraction. But when they’re forced to choose between each other and the people they’ve sworn to protect, their growing love might not be enough to keep them together—or alive…
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