2016 Goals and Challenges

It’s my favorite time of the year when the weather cools down and as it winds down I slowly start to think what the new year will bring. In doing so I’m here to set my goals and challenges for 2016. This past year I was blessed to read some amazing books and I exceeded my goals that I set but I thought I would do things a little different next year. In the past I’ve always done 3-4 challenges plus the Goodreads one as well and while I love doing them I recently just noticed all the great books I have in my Kindle and on my bookshelves that I’ve never got to. So here is what I’m planning on doing.

*Scaling back the blog to 4 days a week.
*This year I’m pulling back, no challenges except the Goodreads one [it counts my progress]
*My main focus is reading the great books I have and never got to.
*Limiting my NetGalley/Edelweiss requests to only two books a month.
*Start and finish at least 4 series I’ve been dying to get to.
*Do more audiobooks- I LOVE them!
*Read some bios and music related books - these are some of my favorites.
*Read at least 4 classics this time around.
*Don’t waste time on books that I’m not into. Time is a precious thing!
*Scale back my reading goal. I read over 80 this year but I’m aiming for 50 GREAT reads this year!

Relax and enjoy reading again! I'm going back to reading what I love and not just focusing on new releases. Simply devouring a good book with no pressures at all.

That’s just a small outline on what I want to do. I’m hoping to come up with a list of books I’m aiming to get to and will be posting it before the new year. Have any one you thought of your goals yet? If so please share I’d love to hear what you all have come up with.

Book Blast: Seaside Christmas by Stacy Claflin

  seaside christmas
Seaside Christmas by Stacy Claflin He can’t stand her. She thinks he’s crazy. Will their feelings stay etched in permanent ink? Cruz Hunter has always stuck out in his small hometown. Now that he’s covered in tattoos, the residents peg him as even more of an outcast. It seems like the whole world is against his dream of opening a local tattoo parlor. When he finally finds the perfect place for his new business, Cruz discovers a pastor and his daughter have already bought it. The only thing more irritating than the change in his plan is Talia, a beautiful and feisty argument in a dress. Cruz would like nothing more than to have her out of his life and his mind, but for some reason, she’s the only thing he can think about. If Cruz and Talia can stop arguing long enough, opposites may do much more than attract. 
  add to goodreads amazon 
Meet the Hunter brothers of Kittle Falls… The Seaside Hunters novels are a series of contemporary sweet romances. They’re set in the beach town of Kittle Falls, following the Hunter brothers as they make their way back to their hometown and find the loves they couldn’t elsewhere. Each book is a standalone. 

Author Stacy Claflin
Stacy I don’t stick to a single genre in my writing, reading, or viewing. My favorite shows include Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, Lost Girl, Vampire Diaries, and Once Upon a Time. I've been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. As a kid, my story telling would get me into trouble because I would try to convince others that my stories were real. When I'm not busy writing, I like spending time with my family and friends. I also educate my kids from home.

$50 Book Blast Giveaway Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/20/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by readinglight.com. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 


Black Friday Book Blast: Once Upon a December by Sydney Logan

It’s Black Friday and Sydney Logan is celebrating by putting her collection of short stories on sale!! Grab Once Upon a December for .99 now!! And check out the excerpts from each short story! 
Once Upon A December Synopsis
Christmas is in the air, and best selling author Sydney Logan is gifting readers with a short story collection, just in time for the holidays. Once Upon a December features Sydney’s latest story, “What Child Is This,” along with her previously published holiday stories in one complete collection. Available for the first time in both paperback and ebook, these heartwarming and romantic tales are sure to bring you joy this holiday season.   What Child Is This? Estranged from his family and the love of his life, Thomas Fisher finds himself stranded in an airport on Christmas Eve. Imagine his surprise when a young boy takes him by the hand and shows him the way home.   Mistletoe Magic Melanie Taylor is on a mission to find the perfect Christmas gift for her husband. Something special. Something expensive. Something that will save her marriage. Can a chance encounter on an elevator make her Christmas wish come true?   The Little Drummer Boy It’s Christmas Eve, and Justin Banks is on the hunt for a last-minute gift for his wife, Megan. With the help of a homeless man and the beat of a drum, Justin stumbles upon the one thing Megan has always wanted. The one thing money can’t buy. It's amazing what we can hear if we just take a moment and really listen. 

Buy Links: Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo   

Exclusive Excerpt: Excerpt from “What Child Is This?”   Please come home for Christmas this year? I don’t bother replying to my sister’s text. She knows I’m not coming home. I just power off my phone and stuff it back into my jacket. With a tired sigh, I lean back, close my eyes, and find myself doing the one thing I try never to do. I think about the mess I’ve made of my life. Ten years ago, I’d been an eighteen-year-old living in Paisley Springs, Tennessee—a tiny, rural town about two hours north of Nashville. Ten years ago, I’d been a popular athlete with dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. Ten years ago, I’d been the golden child of Dr. Benjamin and Olivia Fisher. Ten years ago, I’d been a boy in love. I still am. Life is full of highways, and some are just too long when you’re trying to find your way home. In my case, some forgotten roads completely disappear. Time erases them, to the point that you begin to wonder if they ever really existed in the first place. But they did. I know they did. I close my eyes and try to ignore the image that flickers behind my eyelids. In my mind, Emma Hayes is still eighteen years old. With her long red hair and deep green eyes, she’d always looked at me as if I was her dream come true. And I was, until I ripped those dreams away. We were together for more than a year, and it had been the happiest time of my life. But being crazy in love makes you do stupid things. Careless things. And then things happen that you never imagined would happen to you.   

Excerpt from “Mistletoe Magic”   “Doing some last-minute shopping?” Ethan asked. Melanie blinked rapidly before nodding. “I am,” she replied stiffly. “You?” He lifted the gold bag, giving it a little shake. She nodded. “For someone special?” “For my wife. You?” “My husb—” Her reply was cut short when the lights dimmed, and the elevator lurched to a stop. “Fantastic,” Melanie mumbled. The emergency lights flickered on, and Ethan pushed the alarm button before grabbing the elevator’s phone. Melanie listened intently as he barked orders to someone before slamming down the receiver. “The entire block is in the dark,” Ethan grumbled. He removed his jacket before settling himself on the floor. “What are you doing?” “Getting comfortable,” Ethan said. “The guy said it might be a while.” Melanie glanced down at her silk dress. “I’m not sitting on this dirty floor.” Ethan shrugged. “Suit yourself.” Melanie eyed his jacket. “Speaking of suits, isn’t that Armani?” “I have no idea which expensive name is stitched on the label.” She smirked. “But you know it’s expensive.” “There isn’t a suit in my closet that didn’t cost a fortune. My wife insists upon it.” “Maybe that’s because your wife has good taste.” “Maybe that’s because my wife is too hung-up on labels.” Ethan loosened his tie and sighed tiredly. “Just sit down. I hate enclosed spaces, and you’re making me nervous.” A stubborn Melanie remained on her feet, but the four-inch heels of her favorite boots weren’t the most comfortable, and after a few minutes, she finally relented and removed her coat. It was far less expensive than the dress, after all. She placed it on the floor before slowly sitting down. “See? Isn’t that better?” Melanie sighed loudly. “One of us should probably conserve our cell battery,” Ethan suggested, pulling his phone out of his pocket. “My Blackberry has a full charge, so I don’t mind keeping mine on if you’d like to save yours.” With a nod, Melanie reached into her bag and turned off her iPhone. “You don’t want to text someone first?” Ethan asked. “Your husband might worry if you come home late.” Melanie somehow resisted the urge to laugh. “No one worries about me,” she said. A brief look passed between them before they both quickly looked away.     

Excerpt from “The Little Drummer Boy”   Rum pum pum pum. It’s faint, but it’s there. A quiet, rhythmic beat that blends into the night. How this old man heard the sound is beyond me. “You hear it, don’t you?” With a nod, I look around, hoping to find the source of the sound. The man points toward the coffee shop’s covered alleyway. “Back there,” he says. The carolers begin their rendition of “O Holy Night,” and once again, I hear the “rum pum pum pum” coming from the darkness. Intrigued, I step away from the old man and walk slowly toward the alley. Each step brings me closer to the beat, until finally, I see a little boy, nestled in the corner. His only light comes from a lantern, and a snare drum rests in his lap. The drum is scarred and the strap is frayed, but it’s obviously his most prized possession. Probably his only possession. Does he live here? In this filthy alley? And where are his parents? “Shall I play for you?” His voice is just a whisper. His clothes are dirty and ragged, and the faded blue jacket he wears is about three sizes too big. “I heard you playing,” I tell him, keeping my voice soft and light. The last thing I want to do is scare the kid. “You’re very good. Are you alone?” He nods. “Where are your parents?” His face contorts in pain, and my stomach lurches. He can’t be more than five years old. Maybe six. “Shall I play for you?” he asks again. A little stronger this time. A little more determined. Because I don’t know what else to do, I nod. The covered alleyway has thankfully kept most of the snow away, so I find a flattened section of shredded cardboard and sit down. I don’t think about the fact that I’m probably ruining my thousand-dollar suit. I just sit and listen. The boy’s sticks pound the head of the drum. Rum pum pum pum. Rum pum pum pum. Each rhythmic thump pierces my soul, and when he comes to the end of his song, I reach inside my jacket for my wallet. “No, sir,” he says softly. “I don't need your money.” It’s hard not to laugh. The kid is surrounded by dumpsters and living in a cardboard box. If anyone needs my money, it’s this child. “What do you need?” “Just food.” “I can pay you with food?” The boy nods vigorously, and I notice his eyes are suddenly a little brighter. The poor guy is probably starving and could definitely use a bath. Dirt cakes his face, but he has the biggest, bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. “Why don't you come home with me?” I hear myself say. “My wife loves to cook.” He shakes his head. “I can't leave. My mom told me to stay here. I have to stay here.” “How old are you?” “I'm six, sir.” “Do you have a name?” “My name’s Luke.” “Well, Luke, my name is Justin Banks, and it's cold out here. It's going to keep snowing.” “Yes, sir,” he whispers, his voice trembling. “I could take you home with me for a little while. You could take a bath and eat some dinner with us.” At the mention of a bath, he smiles. “And then we can try to find your mom and dad.” The little boy bows his head, and when he looks up at me again, the light in his eyes is long gone. “My mom told me to stay here.” I close my eyes in frustration. I can talk a judge and jury into almost anything. Have I really met my match in a six-year-old living in a cardboard box? Maybe so. But I have a secret weapon. 
Sydney Logan Bio: Amazon best-selling author Sydney Logan holds a Master's degree in Elementary Education. She is the author of five novels - Lessons Learned, Mountain Charm, Soldier On, Once Upon a December, and Pros & Cons. Sydney has also penned several short stories and is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. A native of East Tennessee, Sydney enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat. Visit her website at www.sydneylogan.com.    

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads    

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Kids Corner [5] The Roll Away Pumpkin by Junia Wonders

The Roll-Away Pumpkin by Junia Wonders, Daniela Volpari [Illustrator]
Published: October 1, 2014
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 4/5

On a windy autumn day, Marla Little comes running down the hill yelling, “Help! My giant pumpkin is rolling away! Onward it goes, rolling and turning, with no sign of stopping! Diddle-dee-doo! Oh, what shall I do?”

A little girl chases her giant pumpkin all over town with some help along the way. It's the perfect autumn bedtime story to read with your little pumpkin.

The author uses repeating sentence structures to capture young listeners’ attention and give early readers confidence.

The book is exquisitely illustrated by award-winning Italian illustrator, Daniela Volpari. Every page is a beautiful work of art and is one of those picture books whose images will linger long after you've turned the page.

My Thoughts
I came across this book one day and thought it would be perfect to review before Thanksgiving. I really enjoyed this story of the roll away pumpkin and the whole town that stops everything to try to catch it.This is the great book to read to the kiddos, the story is cute and funny and the illustrations are breath taking! It’s makes a wonderful bedtime story one that’s perfect for these chilly autumn nights.


WoW [146]

Waiting on Wednesday [Wow] is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross
Expected Publication: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books

Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades—from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.

When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.

Author Helen Klein Ross, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia’s birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. What Was Mine is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and the life-shattering effects of a single, irrevocable moment.

Why I Can’t Wait
Why haven’t I heard of this book until now?? I love everything about this book I know it will put me through the emotional ringer and I can’t wait to take that ride.


Blog Tour: Edge of Something More by Andi Loveall

Edge Of Something More by Andi Loveall
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Add to Goodreads
Buy: Amazon

After a nasty breakup, twenty-two-year-old Devin Ashford is on a mission to travel the world one random excursion at a time. He wants to forget his ex, discover new experiences and end up with some awesome stories to tell. If it takes spending all of his savings to do it, he is ready.
His first stop is a communal homestead in the Appalachians of North Carolina, which turns out to be a bohemian paradise. The weed is plentiful, the owners adore him, and the very sight of Cora, their nineteen-year-old goddaughter, makes him want to set up a permanent camp.
Cora warns that she isn’t ready for a serious relationship, but Devin is falling hard. Playful kisses turn into passionate sex, and each day is spent connecting and enjoying the mind-numbing awesomeness—until he makes the mistake of saying “I love you.” Discussing the future kills the good vibes, and Cora pushes him away.
Pissed off and rejected, Devin begins preparing for his next excursion: backpacking India. But just when it’s time to go, the death of one of the homestead’s beloved animals leaves Cora upset and in need of a friend. Devin’s kindness wins him another shot at romance.
With a plane ticket in hand and his pride on the line, Devin and Cora find themselves teetering on the edge of something more.

Andi Loveall grew up in the blistering heat of California’s Central Valley and has since traveled far and wide in search of adventure and romance. From the steamy streets of Bangkok to the dancing fireflies of the Appalachians, the places, people and things she has seen have convinced her of two things: Life hurts no matter where you go, and the world is a crazy-beautiful place.

A freelance writer by day and storyteller by night, Andi is on a mission to create characters that come alive in worlds she can’t quite reach. When she’s not writing, she’s usually hula hooping, dying her hair bright colors or making delicious home-cooked meals for herself and the people that she loves.

Author links

Click HERE to Enter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon GC and copy of The Edge of Something More [eCopy]

Guest Post
My Letter to Devin Ashford
Dear Devin,
Now that your story is about to be revealed to the world, I thought you might like to hear from me. I don’t care if it’s creepy that I’ve been watching your life, or if receiving this message from across the universe will make you uncomfortably aware of every move you make from this point on. I have to tell you what you’ve done for me.  
You Taught Me
I made you a promise you didn’t realize you heard, and I remained committed to it, for hours and days and years. Every time I got an idea for a new story, I noted it down and went back to you. I have back problems, wrist pain, and strained eyes, mostly because of my obsession with you. Throughout my relationships, you have been there. I’ve spent time with you in different states and thought about you from the opposite side of the planet. You were the one guy that I could truly devote to, and even though you’re not for me, your existence taught me a lot about love.
You Inspired Me
You really did. Because of or at least partially due to wanting to be like you, I left my home to go traveling and ended up on a WWOOF farm. I went backpacking overseas. I tried to do and be as you did and were, and there were so many moments when I couldn’t tell whether I was writing your story or you were writing mine.
Even weirder, the situation between you and Cora began to manifest in my own love life in various ways. This makes me a little nervous about all the horror stories I plan to write, but that’s a topic for another blog.
You Showed Me
The way you treated Cora showed me that it was possible, if only in another dimension, for people to show each other respect. I of course know that, but I was stuck in a toxic relationship at the time, and you were my escape. You always wanted to do something cool and different with your life. You’ve done a lot for yourself, but it doesn’t even compare to what you’ve done for me. Thank you for existing. I hope others are inspired by you as well.
Thanks everyone for checking out EDGE OF SOMETHING MORE, and thanks for having me at A Southern Girl’s Bookshelf!


DNF: Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts

Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts
Published: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux [BYR]
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: DNF

First came love, then came marriage, and then...

For seventeen-year-old Tam, running off to marry her musician boyfriend is the ideal escape from her claustrophobic high-school life on the island, and the ultimate rebellion against her father and stepmother. But when Tam becomes a widow just weeks later, the shell-shocked teen is forced to find her way forward by going back to the life she thought she’d moved beyond—even as her struggle to deal with her grief is forcing her to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined.

My Thoughts

Oh I hate doing this but this is a DNF for me. I was intrigued by the synopsis but as I got into it I didn’t so much. The story of Tam who wed young then to have her husband die had potential but sadly I didn’t really like or connect with Tam. She had problems of her own after her mother died she left home and met her soon to be husband and connected with his family. I thought Tam was immature granted she is only 17 but given her life circumstances you think she would’ve grown up a lot but she wasn’t a likeable character to me. So I gave up less than half way not knowing or caring what happened next.


Mini Review: Untamed Hearts by Melody Grace

Untamed Hearts [Beachwood Bay # 1.5] by Melody Grace
Published: September 11, 2013
                                                       Format: Kindle read                                                     
Rating: 4/5

It's the last night of summer in Beachwood Bay, but for Brit and Hunter, it's only the beginning …

She is: rebellious, wounded, free.
He is: handsome, searching, enchanted.
One night. Two restless hearts. But what happens when morning comes?

My Thoughts
In Untamed Hearts we meet Brit who is the sister of Emerson from the previous books Untouched and Unbroken. Brit acts like a tough girl who cant love since she feels she was never shown love at least from her parents. She doesn’t have any real guidance only that from Emerson but even that isn't much since he is trying to figure out his own life. Hunter comes from a family of privilege and he is expected to do certain things that come with the family name but all he wants is a simple life managing the family ranch.

He has always loved Brit from afar but thinks she would never give him the time of day much less even know who he is. While it isn't a secret what kind of girl Brit is Hunter knows she is more than just a girl who likes to have fun. He knows beneath it all lies a girl who has dreams and all she needs is a good guy to show her she is worth more than this little town gives her credit for.

Untamed Hearts is the beginning of a young love story and while nothing comes easy when it comes to love the budding romance between these two is so sweet. You want this to blossom and even though Brit and Hunter come from different worlds each offer something that the other is in desperate need of. I can’t wait to see what lays in store for these two.


Mini Review: Unbroken by Melody Grace

Unbroken [Beachwood Bay #1] by Melody Grace
Published: March 10, 2013
Format: Kindle read
Rating: 4/5

Juliet McKenzie was an innocent eighteen-year old when she spent the summer in Cedar Cove—and fell head over heels in love with Emerson. Complicated, intense Emerson, the local bad boy. His blue eyes hid dark secrets, and just one touch could set Juliet ablaze. Their love was demanding and all-consuming, but when summer ended, tragedy tore them apart. Juliet swore she’d never go back, and she’s kept that promise… Until now.

Four years later, Juliet’s done her best to rebuild the wreckage of her shattered life. She’s got a great boyfriend, and a steady job planned after she graduates. Returning to Cedar Cove to pack up her family’s beach house to prepare it for sale, Juliet is determined that nothing will stand in the way of her future. But one look from Emerson, and all her old desire comes flooding back. He let her go once, but this time, he’s not giving up without a fight. And Emerson fights dirty.

A heartbreaking history. An unstoppable passion. Torn between her past and future, Juliet struggles to separate love from desire. But will they find a way to overcome their tragic secrets—together? And after so much damage has been done, can a love remain unbroken?

My Thoughts
We flash forward four years after that faithful summer and how the lives of Juliet and Emerson have changed. We see Juliet has moved on and is in college with a new life and boyfriend. As much as she has moved on Emerson is always somewhere in the back of her mind, but since that day years ago she has never returned to Beachwood Bay until recently when she has to. After the death of her mother her father is determined to sell the beach house and it’s up to Juliet to go back and tie up loose ends, when she goes back she doesn’t want to see Emerson but of course their paths are bound to pass. One night it happens and just like she hope wouldn’t happen those feels came back in full force and she knew right there she was a goner. And as much as she still loves him she won’t let him break her heart again but she does want to know what happen all those years ago that he left her without any answers to why.

Emerson has always had a chip on his shoulder, always a tough guy who had to grow up too soon. His mom was a drunk and it was up to him to take care of his siblings and the family. He never knew love until he meet Juliet she made him want more out of life and she made me believe he deserved it. He was already to start a life with Juliet when something made him put her needs over his and he never looked back. So when he left Juliet that day years ago he vowed to leave her alone…until that day when she came back. Now he is heartbroken when he sees her again and finds out she has the life she always wanted and also a new boyfriend, but as much as he tries to respect her life now he knows deep in his soul that he never should’ve let her go. Emerson is determined to get Juliet back at any cost even if that means letting Juliet think it was his fault that he left her instead of letting her find out the truth.

This is a story of true love and heartache. Sometimes love can be ugly and hurtful and not a fairytale like we wish it is. Sometime we have to go through struggles in order to find that true love but those obstacles make us stronger and then we can appreciate what we have when we get it. Timing is everything and maybe Emerson and Juliet weren’t meant to be together in the beginning they had to go through things in their lives and once they did now they truly know what they want in life and love. The passion between these two is undeniable and that’s what makes their story one to root for.

WoW [145]

Waiting on Wednesday [Wow] is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand
Expected Publication: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown and Company

An emotional, heartwarming story from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand about a grieving family that finds solace where they least expect it.
Celebrity chef Deacon Rowe is struggling with addiction, depression and not one, but two scandals. As summer nears, he travels to the idyllic Eastern bluff of Nantucket, where he takes his own life. In the shocking wake of Deacon's suicide, his first wife and childhood sweetheart, Laurel Rowe, sets out to gather Deacon's far-flung family--including Deacon and Laurel's son, and Deacon's other ex-wives and children--on the island. HERE'S TO US brings together three very different, resilient women and their children, who start out not only as strangers, but as bitter rivals, each wanting to claim the prime place in Deacon's life. Secrets are revealed, confidences are shared, and improbable bonds are formed as this unlikely family says goodbye to the man they loved.

Why I Can’t Wait
Summer isn’t complete without a Elin Hilderbrand book! This one sounds really good and I cant wait to read this with a tall glass of iced tea!


Mini Review: Untouched by Melody Grace

Untouched [Beachwood Bay 0.5] by Melody Grace
Published: May 12, 2013
Rating: 4/5

Welcome to Beachwood Bay: the small town where passion and romance are making waves…

Emerson Ray is trouble. Juliet knows it the minute she lays eyes on Beachwood Bay's resident bad boy. Forced to spend her summer before college in the sleepy beach town, she never expected to crash into the most devastating guy she's ever met--or for Emerson's blue eyes to strip through her dark secrets, and make her feel a desire she's never known. Their connection is undeniable, but Juliet is torn. She knows, once she gives him everything, there'll be no turning back.

Juliet McKenzie is dangerous. Emerson can tell from the way she blows through all his defenses, laying bare the demons he's carried alone all his life. He's left a trail of broken hearts and empty beds in his wake, but Juliet is different. Her innocence is intoxicating--and the passion she keeps hidden, just below the surface. He wants to be the only one to set it free, but with every kiss, he's closer to losing control and doing the one thing he swore he never would: fall in love.

One summer. Two damaged hearts. Their story is only just beginning...

My Thoughts
I’ve had this series sitting in my Kindle for over a year now so I thought why not start it, I’m so glad I did this is one series that I’ve got hooked on and I can’t wait to see how everything turns out.

Untouched is a novella, a little of what’s to come in the Beachwood Bay series. This is where we met and where we find out how Emerson and Juliet come together. We find out Emerson is a bad boy of sorts who loves the ladies and uses that to mask the life he has at home. Juliet has come to Beachwood Bay with her family to try to reconnect and have a summer like they use to when she was younger, however little does she know her family has more troubles and heartache to come. Emerson doesn’t believe in love, he doesn’t have the time or actually believes he deserves forever with someone until he meets Juliet who is different from any girl from his past. They fit together like no one has before but as much as they do forces beyond them will try and keep them apart. Will it be the trouble in their lives that keep them apart or will it be them and their hang ups that cost the most damage?

I love this intro into their lives; it didn’t give away too much but just enough to make you want more of Emerson and Juliet. I loved how we get the romance but their individual stories of their families and backgrounds are just as intriguing and gives us a glimpse of what’s in store. This is how an intro to a new series should be done.


Book Blitz: The Secrets We Keep by Lily Velez

The Secrets We Kept by Lily Velez
Publication date: November 8th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

One year. That’s how long it’s been since childhood sweethearts Sully Graham and Cadence Gilbertson broke up, since one adoption and one out-of-state move turned their worlds upside down.
Suddenly, Cadence is back in New York City, but something’s different about her. The light in her eyes, the music in her laughter, the warmth in her smile—all of those things have entirely vanished. In their place stand the makings of a girl Sully can’t even begin to recognize, much less understand.
Still, despite the collective history of heartbreak between them, he’s convinced he can win her trust again, and he’s committed to proving the invincibility of their love no matter what it takes.
But Cadence is quietly harboring secrets of her own. Dark secrets. Ugly secrets. Secrets that could break a person. And though broken herself and unbearably lonely, she’s determined to protect Sully from her terrible, biting truths. Even if it means locking him out of her life forever.
The only problem is it seems her heart hasn’t quite received the memo. One glimpse of him is all it takes for her to trip into familiar (and, she’ll admit, addictive) feelings that threaten to all but consume her. Now her biggest fear is that her secrets will begin to slowly unravel one by one…long before Sully’s resolve ever does.
The Secrets We Kept is a moving story about first love, friendship, and forgiveness, and the enduring bonds that forever connect us and give us our strength.

Sully still remembered the first time that he saw Cadence. It was a sweltering summer that year. Push-cart ice cream vendors roamed the neighborhood blocks like soldiers on patrol, circling playgrounds and community swimming pools. It was common to see people pop open fire hydrants like champagne bottles, children dancing in the shoots of water as miniature rainbows reflected off the asphalt.
Sully and his brother, twelve and ten years old at the time, were living with the Petersons back then along with a tribe of foster siblings. Ol’ Man Peterson was a Vietnam vet with PTSD and a short-fuse temper that exploded so quickly, it was like his personality had a gas leak. Usually, maintaining a thirty-foot distance from the man at all times was insurance against his drunken rampages. His military pedigree had bred in him a no-nonsense adherence to hard work and, where appropriate, hard discipline—both of which were far less easy to escape.
The hard work in particular manifested in the Peterson prison as an endless checklist of chores (otherwise known as “slave labor” in the Spencer Graham lexicon), the completion or lack thereof of which determined whether or not you ate dinner that night. Additionally, each child had to fulfill their assigned task in accordance with certain standards, and as Ol’ Man Peterson was an uncompromising perfectionist, one chore could go through three to five rounds before the man extended a grunt of approval.
The afternoon Cadence arrived, Sully and Spencer were attached to yard work. While the Peterson walk-up sat only a few yards from the curb, which meant there barely existed a lawn between the chain-link fence and the front door, Ol’ Man Peterson preferred his grass cut to an exact height. It was taking painstaking precision to perfect his science.
Spencer lay on his stomach with a see-through ruler to measure the blades of grass. “I think you cut this side of the walkway too short.”
Sully rested a broom atop his shoulders, arms draping over it like a scarecrow. “It’s way too hot to even care, dude.”
“I care because I want to see the new Adam Sandler, movie and I’m not about to get grounded for another weekend.”
“How many times have I been grounded because of you?”
Spencer stood. “Whatever. I’m taking over sweeping duty.” He stretched out a hand to receive the broom, but Sully’s gaze had already shifted to a royal blue SUV parking alongside the curb. A woman emerged from the driver’s side. She came around to open the backseat door closest to the Peterson home. Two ballet flats appeared from under the door, reaching for the street. When the woman closed the door, a girl who looked to be Sully’s age or slightly younger stood with her, hands bracketed to the straps of her backpack and her bottom lip caught softly under her front teeth.
Spencer snapped in Sully’s face. “Hellooo? Earth to Sully.” Sully nodded toward the two, and when Spencer turned and saw them, he said, “Uh oh. Another casualty.”
The woman, clearly the girl’s caseworker, greeted the boys with a cheery “working hard?” before continuing up the walkway with her charge. Sully waited for the girl to look his way, and when she finally did, he offered her a soft, barely-there smile by way of hello. Part greeting, part commiseration. She instantly looked away.
They discovered her name only because she was sharing a bunk-bed with their friend Novah. “Cadence Livingston,” she told them. “She’s been in the system for a few years. She doesn’t talk much. Or at all. Those are the only things I was able to get from her. She’s probably halfway to being a mute.”
“I wish Spencer was a mute,” Sully muttered.
“Ha ha,” Spencer said. “You’re so funny. Absolutely hilarious. How did I get so lucky to have a brother like you?” Then he excused himself to see about fixing the eyesore Sully had made of the front lawn and left Sully fixated on the enigma of the quiet and elusive Cadence Livingston.

     Author Bio
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping.  Lily’s debut novel, The Secrets We Kept, comes out November 8, 2015.

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Mini Review: The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey
Published: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: NetGalley
Rating: 3/5

A suicide pact was supposed to keep them together, but a broken promise tore them apart. Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide - and not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they'd always be together, in life, and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why. Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief. But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie's not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister's death or facing her new reality without her,

My Thoughts
Oh how I wanted to really like this book but sadly it just didn’t meet my expectations. We met the Allie and Leah two sisters who are going through a lot emotionally with their parents and one day decide they will make a suicide pact. Allie always thought her sister was just being dramatic and wasn’t really serious about going through with it until one day she finds out she was serious. Allie is devastated and is suffering in silence, her mother is too hooked on prescriptions meds to notice anything and her dad was checked out of the family. We see Allie trying to cope with everyday life and trying to function with her friends but while she clearly can't we see her slowly self destruct. While I felt sorry for her at the same time there were times I didn't know if I want to hug her or shake her in order to get her to see what she is doing to herself.

While reading this book I felt this big secret or some sort of build-up coming but it never did. I wanted more from this story line, I just felt that we could’ve gotten a greater story of Leah’s troubles than we were given. I felt for Allie having to go through this all alone but at times I felt like she was just a spoiled brat and didn’t care about anything or anyone especially herself. This just fell a little flat for me it had great potential but left me wanting more. 


WoW [144]

Waiting on Wednesday [WoW] is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Expected Publication: May 3, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Simon

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing - if everything's planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

Why I Can’t Wait
I’ve become a huge Morgan Matson fan her books are amazing and fun and this one looks equally as good!


October Monthly Wrap Up

Yes November is finally here! This is the start to the holidays and my favorite time of the year. October was a sad one for me personally we had a loss in the family but I will always remember my uncle and the love of books we shared. We talked mainly of John Grisham since he was a fan so I'm glad we had that in common. So with the holidays coming up it will be sad but its a time to reflect on what's important that being family. On the bookish note I'm in my holiday reading mode ,getting reading for my 25 Days for Christmas reviews and I read a TON this month, I also completed my Goodreads challenge so that was exciting. So here is what my bookish month looked like.

Read this month
*84. Santa Maybe by Mazy Morris
*83. A Family for Christmas by Helen Scott Taylor
*82. Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
81. The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson
80. Makeshift Angel by Jean Louise
79. Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh
*78. Wrapped Up in Christmas by Ali Stetson
*77. Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson
76. Tinsel Terror by Mazy Morris
75. This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup
74. A Very Grey Christmas by T.A. Foster
73. Hot Toy by Jennifer Cruise
72. The Roll Away Pumpkin by Junia Wonders
71. A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson
70. Dancing with Mistletoe by Leslie Wells
* my faves!

Received from publishers [physical books]…
Defending Hearts by Shannon Stacey
Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
Not That Easy by Radhika Sanghani
The Beach Boys: America's Band by Johnny Morgan
A Very Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer
The Hundred Gifts by Jennifer Scott

Thanks so much Jove, Putnam, Berkely, Sterling, Ballantine and NAL!

Received via NetGalley/Edelweiss
Nowhere Girl by Susan Strecker
Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
The Widow by Fiona Barton
In Real Life by Jessica Love
Winter's Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand
See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Thanks Hachette Audio

Kindle Purchase
Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

Free Kindle Reads
The Day We Met by Cheryl Adnams

Non Bookish
 2016 Planner hopefully to keep all my blogging organized!

That’s my month in a nutshell please feel free to link me up to yours.