Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cover Reveal: Smash into You by Shelly Crane

Smash into You
by Shelly Crane

 Expected Publication: Summer 2013
Jude has spent the whole twenty one years of his life running. From what, he wasn't quite sure. His mother tried to keep him safe; a low profile, a constant move on the horizon, a week's pay always stashed away. She tried to instill in him that he was special somehow, though would never elaborate. He never felt different. He was so completely normal and vanilla that he wondered if it had all been in her head. But then she was murdered and all he saw was a running silhouette of a man as his mother said three final words to him. Three words that changed his whole being.
          Never stop running…
          Now he's semi-settled into a big town. The college is huge and easy to blend into. It's been three months since he had to move because 'Biloxi', as he calls the man who killed his mother, found him once more.
          Then Marley, an eighteen year old girl who is as infuriating as she is blissfully ignorant of her gorgeousness, smashes into his car with hers. Then smashes into his life as he realizes that whatever it is he has that Biloxi wants, she has it, too. And now, they're after them both. 

       And now, as I stared out into the dark rain to see a POS car sideways in the road, I knew the world hated me, had to, because someone had just smashed her car into my truck.

         I got out and braced myself. It wasn't easy to pay cash for new cars every time I needed to skip town. It was hard living when you couldn't be who you really were. Finding people to pay you under the table was almost impossible these days.

         I groaned and glared at the beauty standing at the end of my truck. "Look at that!"

         "I'm so sorry," she began. I could tell she really was, but I was beyond pissed. "I'll call my insurance company right now."

         That stopped me. "No!" I shouted and she jolted at the verbal assault. "No insurance."

         "Well," she pondered, "what do you mean? I have good insurance."

         "But I don't."

         She turned her head a bit in thought and then her mouth fell open as she realized what I was saying. "You don’t have any insurance, do you?"

         "No," I answered. "Look. Whatever, we'll just call this even-steven, because you did hit me."

         "Even-steven my butt!" she yelled and scurried to jump in front of me, blocking my way.

         "And what a cute butt it is."

         Even through the noise of water hitting metal, I heard her intake of breath. The rain pelted us in the dark. I hoped no one came around the corner. It would be hard for them to see us here in the middle of the road. She might get hurt. Then I wondered why I cared.

         "Look, buddy," she replied and crossed her arms. It drew my eyes to her shirt. My eyes bulged 'cause that shirt…well, it was see-through now. She caught on and jerked her crossed arms higher. "How dare you! You're on a roll in the jerkface department, you know that!"

         "My specialty," I said and saluted as I climbed in my truck. "Get your pretty butt in your car and let's pretend this never happened, shall we?"

         Because if cops and insurance were brought into this, I'd be on the run sooner than I thought.

         She huffed. "Excuse me-"

         "Darling. Car. Now." She glared. "Like right now."

         She threw her hands up in the air and yelled, "I knew chivalry was dead!" before climbing in her car and driving away. She didn't know it, but I was being as chivalrous as they come. I made sure she got out of the rain and back into her car, even though she didn't like the way I did it, and I got her as far away from me as I could.

         In my book, I deserved a freaking medal for being so chivalrous. Because people that stuck with me didn't live long.

         Just ask my mom.
         Oh, wait, you can't. She died long, long years ago saving my life. I refused to bring anyone onto this sinking ship with me. If it finally did go down, I was going down alone.

About the Author
     Shelly is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author from a small town in Georgia and loves everything about the south. She is wife to a fantastical husband and stay at home mom to two boisterous and mischievous boys who keep her on her toes. They currently reside in everywhere USA as they happily travel all over with her husband's job. She loves to spend time with her family, binge on candy corn, go out to eat at new restaurants, buy paperbacks at little bookstores, site see in the new areas they travel to, listen to music everywhere and also LOVES to read.
     Her own books happen by accident and she revels in the writing and imagination process. She doesn't go anywhere without her notepad for fear of an idea creeping up and not being able to write it down immediately, even in the middle of the night, where her best ideas are born.

 Website  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  Amazon  Barnes & Noble

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Blog Tour: Storm by Evan Angler ~ Review

I am so excited to be part of the Storm by Evan Angler Bog Tour. Click the tour banner to check out other stops along the tour.

by Evan Angler
Published: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Available: Amazon, B&N

In a future United States under the power of a charismatic leader, everyone gets the Mark at age thirteen. The Mark allows citizen to shop, go to school, and even get medical care--without it, you are on your own. Few refuse to get the Mark. Those who do . . . disappear.

Logan Langly went in to get his Mark, but he backed out at the last minute. Ever since, he's been on the run from government agents and on a quest to find his sister Lily, who disappeared when she went to get her Mark five years earlier. His journey leads him to befriend the Dust, a vast network of Markless individuals who dissent against the iron-grip rule of the government. Along the way to the capital to find Lily, the Dust receive some startling information from the Markless community, opening their eyes to the message of Christianity and warning that humanity is now entering the End of Days.

In "Storm," Logan and his friends are the leaders of the Markless revolution. But while some Markless are fighting Chancellor Cylis' army, the Dust is busy trying to find a cure for a horrible epidemic sweeping through the Marked. And it's difficult for them to know who to trust, especially when they aren't sure if Logan's sister Lily, one of the commanders in Cylis' army, is on their side or not. And all across the nation--and the world--the weather is become less stable, and a storm is brewing that bigger than any of them could have ever imagined....

When I first learned about the release of Storm I was so excited. I've been lucky enough to be a part of all three tours in the series and have enjoyed each one. But there is something about Storm that had me enjoying it even more.

Storm is the third installment in Evan Angler's Swiped series. So be forewarned - read the first two books first (they're great) and be prepared to read the fourth when it comes out (you'll want to).

I loved how the we jump right back into the action. Angler manages to give us a break down of what's happened so far in the series and even though it's a lot of information, I didn't feel like it was an info dump.Since it had been a while since reading the previous books it was nice to be reminded about where things stood. The action continues as we jump between story lines and groups of characters. Angler doesn't waste time on plot lines that are not integral to the main plot, and there is no way to skip or start skimming pages. If he writes it, it is important to the story. I love this type of writing as it weaves the story together in a tighter pattern. There's no way to not see the connections he's making.

The characters were the other stand out for me. Although Logan was the main character in Swipe and in Sneak, here he becomes the more of a center character among a larger cast. The group of characters has certainly grown since the first book, and at first I thought it would be a little much, but Angler spends enough time with each group of characters and manages to connect them to each other in a way that eventually made me forget how many there were.

There is definitely a religious undertone to this series and subtle references to stories from the Bible. I don't think that should distract anyone from reading Storm or any of the books in the series. This is an awesome continuation to this series and I can't wait to see where Angler takes it next.

About the Author

Evan lives without the Mark, evading DOME and writing in the shadows of Beacon.
Swipe is his first book. But if anyone asks, you know nothing about it, and you didn't hear anything from him. Don't make eye contact if you see him. Don't call his name out loud. He's in enough trouble already.
And so are you, if you've read his book.


Print books 1-3 in the Swipe series, US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys
by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Published: January 15, 2013
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Available: Amazon

Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical,  Uses for Boys  is a story of breaking down and growing up.

**Warning - This review will contain spoilers**

I really wanted to love this book. The cover and the blurb appealed to the romantic in me. Even after I started reading, I thought there was such an opportunity to develop a story of personal redemption, to show how a girl can make the choices that Anna does earlier in the story and still learn to value herself.

The first few chapters do an amazing job of setting up how the abandonment by her father and the emotional distance from her mother has effected her. She watches her mother go from man to man, constantly in search for someone who will 'love' her. It's an example Anna begins to follow. It's sad at first and while I didn't really like Anna, I could pity her. Then she's raped and I think okay, here's a turning point. Instead, she mopes around wondering why her rapist didn't kiss her?!?! Uh, what? I could have understood her feeling anger, hurt, fear, even misplaced guilt, but curiosity about why he didn't kiss her?? This is when I realized that Anna didn't mind having sex with different guys. She didn't mind being used by the guys. She was using them as much as they were using her. And that is where my sympathy for her ended. There's a lot of narrative about her being alone, and how her mom just doesn't care, but ultimately she makes the same choices as her mom, and then still whines about her. 

The boys in the book are set up to be villains, but honestly, apart from the one who rapes her (although her thought process doesn't even suggest that she would have said no) they are simply doing what typical teenage boys do. If a girl has no respect for herself, then they're not going to respect her. Should they? Yes, but if you're willing to sit on school bus and jerk one of them off while his buddies and everyone else on the bus watches then that's on you. Especially when you keep doing it. I thought this would be the lesson Anna learns. That she has value and should expect to be valued by boys. But even at the end she is driven by the physical side.

Sam is set up as her savior, but he's not. He is simply a boy whose parents taught him to be respectful of everyone regardless of their actions. The blurb on the book suggests that he teaches Anna that she has a value beyond sex, but he doesn't (consider the fact that she cheats on him twice with a one night stand). Sam's a virgin, all the way up until Anna manages to pressure him into having sex. Then she gets him to lie to his parents about it. When they get caught by his mom, Anna suddenly feels embarrassed. 

Then book is pretty much over. She never changes her actions. She never stops complaining about the way her mom is always on the hunt for a new man. She never tries to help her friend Toy deal with the problems she obviously has. She simply keeps going.

I've read a few reviews and many say there was no point to this book. That it ends before we see Anna come to any realizations. And while I agree that we don't see that, I wonder if that isn't the point. Could it be that the blurb is misleading? Maybe this is really a story about a girl who never has and never will place any value on herself beyond what she can give to boys. Maybe it is a hard look at how some people never change, no matter how many times they get hurt.

This is not a book for everyone and my recommendations would be limited to much older teens. The sex is graphic for YA and there is no lesson to learn from the mistakes she makes.In the end I just liked it and blame myself for judging a book by its cover.