Monday, June 27, 2016

Thank God It's Monday | My Best and Worst Monday

Monday, June 27, 2016 with
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Hello everyone,
It's Monday again! Thank God it's Monday, right? Yeah, probably not.

As part of the Thank God It's Monday blog tour to celebrate the upcoming release of Jessica Brody's novel A Week of Mondays (out August 2nd), I am going to be sharing my best Monday and my worst Monday. If you missed my post last week in which Jessica herself introduced the novel and her heroine, Ellison Sparks, you can check it out here.

When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true...

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

******
On most Mondays, I'm like

but on the best Monday I'm

The best Monday I'd want to re-live for seven days straight (like Ellie in A Week of Mondays) would be one that is a holiday. A Monday that is a holiday means a 3-day weekend and I could stay up as late as I want the night before--a luxury when you need at least seven hours of sleep to function the next day on the job. A lazy Monday I can spend sleeping in, binge watching on Netflix, and most importantly, reading as much as I want to. Then, because a girl's gotta eat, I might bake some brownies or cupcakes if I feel up to it.


The worst Monday I would least want to re-live for seven days straight will go like this.

I get to work late because of traffic, and even before I get to my classroom, I can hear a bunch of kids screaming and shouting. A student runs up to me and tells me Jake and Sam were fighting. Sam had hit Jake, and Jake fell and landed on his face. Now, he has a scrape on his cheek and it's bleeding. His wiggling tooth fell out when he fell and his mouth is bleeding as well. He is crying and screaming, and snot/spit/blood are running down his chin and onto his shirt. The other students are all trying to tell me what happened at the same time, making a huge ruckus in the hallway. I'm trying to deal with Jake's injuries and trying to calm the students. I finally get all the students inside the classroom, write a health room pass for Jake and send him to the nurse, and I tell Sam to wait for me because I need to talk to him about what actually happened between him and Jake and that we never, ever hit other people.

I finally get the students calm enough that they are doing their morning work. I am quickly trying to get all the materials for my lesson for the reading block ready, which should have started ten minutes ago, until I hear a student say my name. I glance up and see the principal and two academic coaches, each with a clipboard in their hands, come into my classroom. It's a surprise teacher observation visit! 

Just then, Jake comes back with his mom who does not look very happy. She's taking him home, but first, she wants to know why Jake got hurt and why wasn't there any adult watching the students in the morning. At the same time, I hear, "Jane is copying me again!" and "I wasn't, you were copying me!" and an argument ensues.

The worst Monday, and it was only the 8:15 am.

As crazy as my Worst Monday would be, I'm pretty sure Ellie's is worst, and she actually had to re-live it seven days straight. Look for my review of A Week of Mondays closer to its release date (August 2nd).

Happy reading,
Michelle

Thursday, June 23, 2016

E-ARC: 348 pages
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Source of my copy: Nina Bocci
Series: True North #1
Synopsis
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.


Confession: Bittersweet is my first Sarina Bowen book. I have the entire Ivy Years series in my Kindle, but I just can't seem to find the time to pick them up. I'm definitely moving the Ivy Years books up on my TBR pile now because I need to read more books by Ms. Bowen. Bittersweet was fantastic! So entertaining and fun, sweetly romantic and steamy, but there were also moments that just tugged at my heart--it's the kind of new adult read I love.

First of all, I love Audrey. She's a character you can't help but love. She's full of energy, pluck, and determination--she has this bounce to her step and a vibrancy to her. But, Audrey, with all of her cheerfulness, had low self-esteem. She saw herself as a screw up who was only good at one thing, which was cooking. After getting kicked out of two universities and disappointing her wealthy mother who cut her off, she put herself through culinary school and is now interning for a restaurant company. Audrey's dream was to open her own restaurant, and she's hoping that her internship is her way to get her foot in the door. The company sent her to Vermont to convince local farmers to sell their produce to their restaurants. Griff, who was Audrey's former college hookup, was one of those farmers. 

Griff also had his own stuff to deal with. He became the patriarch of his family's farm after his father's untimely death. Running a farm is hard work and Griff has a lot on his plate. He doesn't need his former hookup poking around in his business. 

I just love Audrey and Griff together. Audrey is kind of the opposite of Griff, who is our grumpy, has-the-world-on-his-shoulders farmer, but they really balanced each other out and make each other better. They also have wonderful chemistry and when they finally come together **fans self** it was HOT! Like, get yourself some ice tea with extra ice cubes hot.

Another thing I really enjoyed about Bittersweet were the secondary characters, primarily Griff's family (his mom, siblings, and cousins) and Jude and Zach, who worked on farm. I love their big, crazy family and how they took Audrey in and made her feel so welcomed. Zach was this shy, sweet guy (hopefully he'll get his own book) and Jude was an ex-felon who's trying to make his life better (he's the hero in book 2 and I can't friggin' wait!). I also love getting an inside look on organic farming, cider making, and the all different types of apples--I even googled a few of the unusual apples that were mentioned just to see what they looked like. 

Bittersweet was just an awesome book and definitely worth picking up, especially if you like your romance on the lighter side but still want some steamy smexy times! The reason I didn't give it a full five star rating was because I thought there were some parts that dragged and others that felt too rushed. And even though I enjoyed it a whole, whole lot, it personally didn't quite blow me away like previous novels I've read of the same vein. However, Bittersweet is definitely a great introduction to Ms. Bowen. I am really excited to read her other published books now and I am definitely going to be picking up Steadfast, which is the second book (Jude's book) this series.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thank God It's Monday | Blog Tour

Monday, June 20, 2016 with

Hello everyone,
Thank God it's Monday! My favorite day of the week.

Or not.

But I am very excited to be part of the the Thank God It's Monday blog tour to celebrate the release of Jessica Brody's new novel A Week of Monday.

When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true...

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

Curious about the Thank God It's Monday blog tour? Jessica Brody is her to tell you more about it as well as her inspiration for A Week of Mondays.

Author Jessica Brody
ELLISON “ELLIE” SPARKS: An idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year- old junior with a lot on her plate.

Those were the first words I ever wrote about Ellie Sparks. They were written in a synopsis for my publisher when I was first trying to sell them on the idea for a book called A WEEK OF MONDAYS.

Of course, you can’t write an entire book about a one-sentence character. Just like you can’t live your entire life as a one-sentence person. But every character has to begin somewhere. And this is where Ellie began for me.

As an idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year- old junior with a lot on her plate.

In my mind, this is who she had to be. I thought, if you’re going to write about a girl who relives the same horrible Monday over and over again, trying to “get it right,” these are the adjectives that must describe her. She has to be idealistic enough to think she can fix everything in her life. Yet, she also has to be ambitious enough to try it. And how else are you going to fill seven Mondays with interesting storylines if the main character doesn’t have a lot on her plate.

So there was Ellie. And there was me, ready to write her, thinking I understood her. Thinking I knew everything I needed to know about her.

This is the writing process for me. I start with an idea of who someone is. I draw a box around them, like an identity fence. I stuff them inside and I lock the gate. I tell them, “This is who you are. Don’t try to change that. Don’t try to be or do anything else. I don’t have time for detours. I’m on a deadline.”

I never learn.

A WEEK OF MONDAYS is my tenth published novel and I’m still trying to lock characters inside fences. Eventually, though, they always break free. They always get bigger than their boxes. And even though I try to adjust, I keep drawing bigger and bigger boxes around them, trying to contain them to the world I built, the world I envisioned, they never quite want to stay inside. Just like people. You can try to identify them, label them, build a fence around them that makes you feel safe, and yet they’ll always surprise you. Because no character—no human being—fits inside a box.

One of my favorite reviews of A WEEK OF MONDAYS says, “Watching Ellie relive her horrible day is something like peeling an onion. Each Monday, a piece of her people-pleaser facade melts away, revealing more of her real self.”

I smiled when I read that because it wasn’t until then that I realized exactly what had happened in the writing of this book. I had done it again. I had tried to put yet another character in a box, and she had slowly, word by word, page by page, Monday by Monday broken free.

This book is ultimately a story of self-discovery.

Seven days. Seven chances to completely reinvent yourself. Wear different clothes, make different choices, explore different paths, say different things, be different people.

Author Bio
Jessica Brody is the author of several popular books for teens, including the Unremembered trilogy, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and The Karma Club, as well as two adult novels. She splits her time between California and Colorado. Find out more at jessicabrody.com.

A Week of Mondays sounds like such a fun, fluffy read--perfect for the summer! I'm going to be posting my Best/Worst Mondays list next week Monday, June 27th.

Happy reading,
Michelle

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven | #Giveaway

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 with
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Hello everyone,
Yesterday, I gave a little teaser on Twitter and Facebook that I am giving away an awesome book that may be of interest to fellow romance lovers and new adult readers.

I meant to post this giveaway earlier today, but I just had to finish my current read The Rose and the Dagger (which, btw, is just as amazing as The Wrath and the Dawn and everything I wanted in a sequel!) and I couldn't rush through that book. It's meant to be savored, you know? Anyway, better late than never, right?

The book I'm giving away (and you might have already guessed from the picture in my tweet/Facebook post if you had a chance to see it) is Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven. It is the companion novel to Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet.

The one guy she can’t have is the one she can’t forget.

Liam Quinn is one of the biggest movie stars in the world…and the only man Elissa Holt has ever truly loved.

After being out of her life for six years, he and his gorgeous fiancé are set to star in the new Broadway show Elissa is stage managing. The only trouble is, when late night rehearsals bring Elissa and Liam together, the line between what is and what could have been gets blurred. Now one moment of weakness is about to create a scandal that will echo around the world.

Elissa knows that falling for Liam again would be a tragedy in the making, but as any good romantic knows, love doesn’t always follow the script.


Wicked Heart can be read as a standalone since it follows different protagonists. Sadly, I haven't read Wicked Heart yet (along with Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet)--too many books, too little time and all that but I do own ALL the books--however, I have it on good authority from a group of romance/NA loving friends that Wicked Heart and the other two books by Leisa Rayven are FANTASTIC reads--perfect mix of humor, angst, and smexy good times!

Here's the actual copy you will win. It's US only (sorry, you guys, I can't afford international shipping right now, but if you have a friend with a US address who can ship you the book if you win, then feel free to enter) and ends July 2nd. And a huge thank you to St. Martin's Griffin for providing me a copy of the book to give away.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading,
Michelle

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

E-book: 128 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: June 13, 2016 (reissued)
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Rose Hill #3
Synopsis
First introduced in Julie Garwood's magnificent New York Times bestseller For the Roses, the Clayborne brothers of Blue Belle, Montana, have been embraced by millions more through this trio of #1 bestselling novels. Now collected in one volume for the first time, these stories tell of three spirited brothers -- once a mismatched gang of street urchins -- who learn that love flourishes in the most unexpected places.... 


One White Rose
Steady, quiet Douglas will do anything to protect a creature in need -- and that includes the strong-willed Isabel Grant.








One White Rose was my favorite of the three Clayborne Brides novellas. This one is about Douglas Clayborne and Isabel Grant. Douglas bought a horse from Isabel's husband, and he went to Isabel's ranch to collect the animal when he realized that Isabel was having pregnancy contractions. Douglas ended up playing midwife to Isabel, because Isabel was alone (her husband had passed away) and was being terrorized by Boyle, the richest man in town. Boyle wanted Isabel to marry him, but she refused so he's kept her a prisoner of her own home and threatened everyone who tried to help her. But, Douglas was able to somehow get past Boyle's men and get to Isabel just in time. Douglas knew that Isabel was in deep shit, and decided to stay on to help her and her baby son. 

Unlike One Pink Rose, which took place in about three days, One White Rose transpired through about eight week. And, despite this being a novella, Douglas and Isabel's relationship grew gradually over the weeks they spent together and got to know each other. I love that sort of slow burn feel to their romance. It was funny seeing the two of them get sexually frustrated because they're very attracted to each other but Isabel recently lost her husband and she just had a baby and Douglas didn't see himself getting attached to any woman even though he's getting attached to Isabel and her baby. They also acted like the adults they were, living in a dangerous Western territory, which was nice to see after Emily's naivetĂ© (as well as Genevieve's in One Red Rose) in One Pink Rose.

One White Rose was a gem of a novella and very much worth picking up.



Get ready for wedding season Clayborne style!

Pocket Star E-books will be releasing Julie Garwood's three stories of the Clayborne brothers a la carte as separate e-books. One Pink Rose will be out on May 9th and will cost $1.99. It will be followed by One White Rose on June 13th ($2.99) and One Red Rose on July 11th ($2.99).

Monday, June 13, 2016



Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Tundra Books
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: The Rephaim #4
Synopsis
Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything.

For a year she believe she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother. Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.

Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it’s all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell.

More importantly, she remembers why she’s spent the last ten years wanting to seriously damage Rafa.




After zooming through the third book Shimmer of the Rephaim series by Paula Weston, I was more than eager to get my hands on Burn, the final installment. I was finally going to get the answers to all of my burning questions to Gaby and her friends' world as well as get that awesome conclusion I've been waiting for since I started reading this series a couple of years ago. Although didn't Burn quite live up to my admittedly extremely high expectations, all the action, excitement, and suspense that characterizes this series were there, causing me to give it:

As my sister mentioned in her review of Shimmer (her review), its ending was one of those that put you at the very edge of your seat, making you immediately want more. So, when I finished Shimmer and began Burn, I had high expectations and held an assumption that they will be all met because this series has been amazing so far. In the end, they were more or less met. 

As it had been since the start of the series, the Rephaim storyline was full of twists and turns made entertaining with a ton of battles, banters, jests, and revelations in its final installment. I enjoyed learning more and more about the pasts of Gaby and her brother Jude and their relationships with the various characters. 

The Rephaim crew uncovered so much in this final book, the connecting of dots was overwhelming--in a good way. I loved every moment of it. However, the action and suspense in Burn didn't grab my attention as much as they did in Shimmer, which was a bit of a letdown. There were times in Burn when I would pause from reading and then be reluctant to pick the book back up again because I just wasn't feeling that attachment I had when I read Shimmer. Nonetheless, everything was there--the crazy climaxes, the shocking secrets, the angsty arguments, and the steamy smexy scenes--and Burn was a finale I couldn't pass up for anything. Despite my bit of disconnect from it (which may have to do with my mood while I was reading it), I really liked it and think it an overall good conclusion to the Rephaim series.

Speaking of a good conclusion, I thought the ending in Burn was befitting for the whole Rephaim series. Author Paula Weston didn't tie up everything in a pretty pink bow and instead insinuated there was much more ahead of all the characters now with their newfound knowledge. I liked how she left some things to readers' imagination, but still gave us a satisfying conclusion.

I was glad to see all of the characters get some form of closure at the end of Burn. Even though I had my own suspicions and feelings of distrust toward some of them, they each deserved some respite after all the violence and drama they went through against demons and with each other. There was even some ships coming together in the end, and I was so happy with each of them as they were couples I'd been rooting for since I began this series. I hope that, in that imaginary world where all fictional characters live well after a book has concluded, their relationships work out and they grow stronger together to become better individuals. However, I honestly don't want Paula Weston to pull a Cassandra Clare and continue with more books in the series with the same characters because I really think how things ended in Burn was enough. I'll miss Gaby and the gang and being in their world, but I was fine with where they were at in the end and I would prefer things to end there for these characters.

All in all, Burn was a great read. Although I didn't quite connect with it in comparison to the previous books in the series, it's still an excellent conclusion to a very entertaining, riveting and awesome series. If you're a fan of the Rephaim series, Burn is a must-read for you--you have to pick it up ASAP! If you love paranormal reads, what are you waiting for? PICK THIS SERIES UP!! If you're looking for a series to obsess over, this series is a good one to pick up. It's thrilling and exciting and you'll get hooked. And the best thing? All the books are out! 

Basically, I want everyone to pick this series up (there are four books: Shadows, Haze, Shimmer, and Burn, which you're gonna wanna binge read) because it's awesome and, trust me, you won't regret it.



**I kept things very vague on the specifics about Burn for readers who haven't read the novel or the series, but I'd LOVE to chat with you about all the things. Please comment below, but label any spoilers so other readers do not get spoiled. Happy reading! :)