She Learned to FIGHT FOR ME–Review and Giveaway


Hi there and welcome to my stop on the FIGHT FOR ME blog tour, sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. For other stops on the tour, click here. Today’s book is a contemporary New Adult romance from Bethany Bazile, and does it steam!

Fight for Me CoverAbout the Book:
I just needed someone to show me how to fight for me…

When tragedy hits Alexis Cole is shattered. She carries the blame on her shoulders after losing a big piece of herself. When Ryder Hayes sweeps back into her life, she has something to hold on to, but just as quickly as he appeared he was gone. When fate-or meddling parents-throw them back together they can no longer deny the heat that’s burned between them for years.

Ryder has always wanted Lexi, but he’s never fought so hard against something in his life. Saving Lexi from her past was never on his agenda, but he couldn’t bear letting her drown in it. With his UFC championship title on the line, the last thing he needs is to be distracted by Lexi. When she’s thrown back into his life he can no longer fight their attraction.

But once he claims her he knows he’ll never let go.

***Mature content warning***

This title is intended for Adults 18+ due to language and explicit sexual content.

* If you have an aversion to steamy scenes, you may not want to board this ride, because it will be a hot and sweaty one.*

My Review:

In one day Alexis Cole loses her love, and her twin. Destroyed emotionally, she wades out into the ocean for a terminal swim, only to be rescued by the last person she expected to see: Ryder Hayes–her step-brother, and captain of her every teenage fantasy.

See, when Lexi’s dad died years ago her mother reconnected with David Hayes–her former love. One bad thing? David was married, with a son: Ryder. Ryder was a champion Tae Kwon Do fighter, at 15, and was friendly with Lexi and her twin, Alec. They were great friends, actually, despite Lexi’s crush and Ryder’s stifled interest until the unthinkable happened. David left Ryder and his mother to marry Lexi’s mother. Ryder never forgave him.

Now, Lexi’s 23, and recovered enough from her suicidal depression to be (mostly) self-sufficient. Ryder’s 25, a two-time UFC Heavyweight champ, and he’s loving his bachelorhood. One snag:  His uncle has just died and left Ryder’s training gym to Ryder–and his dad, David. Ryder’s willing to buy out David–to escape any contact with him, but Daivd has another idea–if Ryder watches over Lexi while David and her mother travel, he’ll sign the deed over to Ryder.

Ryder refuses. He doesn’t want to spend any time with the girl who haunts his dreams–literally. He’s had recurrent nightmares since he pulled her from the ocean’s depths. Of course, as fate has it, Ryder encounters Lexi at a nightclub. She’s plastered, and a likely victim–his protective instincts kick in fierce and he brings her home.

Their attraction simmers and roils over the next several days. Some fits and starts, and some genital jewelry later, Ryder is on the verge of alienating his mother–I mean really! How could Ryder fall for the daughter of the strumpet who stole her husband? And Ryder’s scheming ex, Leah, is willing to pull out all the stops to lock Ryder into a relationship. She may be behind the vandalism of Lexi’s car and Ryder’s gym… And, we have some necessary separations–when Ryder enters his pre-fight training commune. They talk all the time, but is that enough for either of them?

But, seriously, the biggest issue at hand–to everyone but Lexi–is Lexi’s emotional stability. And, it’s clearly a super big issue when Lexi ends up shackled to a hospital bed.

If only Ryder would believe that she was fighting for him all the time…

The ride here is intense. Lot’s of emotional highs and lows. The one constant? Sex. Mmm-hmm, there’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. At times, I wondered when Ryder had time to train, because he seemed to have his hands, and mouth, and hands, quite well and full. He’s an uber-jealous dude, and has been a shadow-protector of Lexi since she put on her first bikini. Their match, as messy as it is, was made years ago, long before his dad’s betrayal. It was good to see Ryder come to terms with his feelings for Lexi, and David. I enjoyed seeing Lexi become assertive and confident again as she triumphed over her depression. I’m glad that she recognized casual hook-ups were not the answer she was seeking–and let Ryder love her with all the depths of his heart and strength of his body.

It’s a super-steamer. Looking for a star-crossed love story with crazy sex? Look no further. 😉

Interested? You can find FIGHT FOR ME at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author

Bethany Bazile reads, writes and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two amazing kids. Her passion for writing was born from a love affair between books and music.  She loves books that draw her in and won’t release her until she’s inhaled every word, panting with excitement. Then she realize the sun came up, but the lost of sleep was so worth it. When she isn’t reading, she’s conjuring up steamy love scenes, and hot romance stories to share with fellow romance lovers.

You can catch up with Bethany at her website, Facebook or Twitter.

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Cephalopod Coffeehouse March 2014–Featuring OPEN MINDS

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I want to share a great book I’ve loved for a bit, but revisited recently. It’s a dystopian YA, near-futuristic novel where everyone reads minds. Well, everyone except for Kira.

OPEN MINDS is a suspense-filled journey into science, prejudice, and morality from best-selling indie author Susan Kaye Quinn.

Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, #1)What’s goin’ on here:

In this world, all the drugs and chemicals that leeched into the water systems caused changes in neural development allowing for pubertal-onset telepathy. Years ago the first telepaths, called Readers, were ostracized, but now it’s so commonplace that big cities have been largely abandoned and houses must sit at a minimum distance so the neighbors can’t overhear what’s happening next door. At sixteen, Kira’s passed the point where she would transition into a Reader. Considered a Zero, Kira’s in the minority and destined for the menial jobs assigned to those with closed minds. Not the future she envisioned. And it troubles her would-be boyfriend Raf, as well.

But Kira soon learns that she isn’t a Zero after all. While her mind isn’t open, she has a different ability–the ability to “jack” into others’ minds and cause them to obey her commands. One can imagine the incredible potential of her power. In fact, one does, and he’s a gangster.

See, there are a fair amount of Jackers out there–hidden in plain sight–and they are being sought by two contingents: the Mafia, and the Government. While trying to save Raf from certain death, Kira blows her Jacker cover and is rounded up into an internment camp where government scientists study the “jacker problem”.  Much like the internment camps of World War II, Kira and her fellow refugees have no rights, no help, and no recourse against the potentially fatal ‘treatments’ they endure.

In order to survive, Kira must team with adversaries who would just as soon kill her. Good thing she’s a Super-Jacker, and her skills may be strong enough to free them all. But, even if she does escape where can she go? Her family will undoubtedly become targets. And, the agents running the camp will surely track her down. The resolution is a pell-mell race for Kira to save not only herself, but young Jackers in the government testing labs.

Kira is a strong MC, and her steadfast commitment to doing the right thing, even if it’s hard, gives readers a protag worthy of respect. It’s a super-fast read that tackles real societal problems with grace and confidence. I read this book in a day. Mostly because I couldn’t stop until I knew Kira was safe.

The great thing? OPEN MINDS is a FREE eBook on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. OPEN MINDS is the first in a trilogy, but has a satisfactory ending that resolves completely while leaving some room for the companion books.

Thanks for popping by! Please click the links below to catch up with my fellow Coffeehousers. And, as always, keep reading my friends!

1. The Armchair Squid 2. I Think: Therefore, I Yam
3. A Creatve Exercise 4. this and that…
5. The Random Book Review 6. The Writing Sisterhood
7. Read, Write, Review 8. StrangePegs — Dead and Moaning in Las Vegas
9. Quill or Pill 10. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
11. Huntress 12. MOCK!
13. Words Incorportated 14. Hungry Enough To Eat Six
15. Ed and Reub 16. V’s Reads
17. StrangePegs — The Sparrow

They Scored With THE ROMEO CLUB–Review and Giveaway

The Romeo Club banner copyHi there, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE ROMEO CLUB. For other stops on the tour, click here. Today, I’m featuring a spunky YA contemporary romance by Rebekah L. Purdy that will charm. Literally.

The Romeo Club 1600x2400About the book:

What happens when you agree to help your brother “de-nerdify” so he can catch the attention of the popular Chloe Anders, and to everyone’s surprise, he actually lands her?
And what if his equally geeky friends come running with girl wish lists of their own, offering money for your services?

Well, if you’re sixteen-year-old, Delyla Denson, then you start The Romeo Club. A secret club where she’ll teach these guys how talk, act, and be cool around girls. It’s a win-win situation.

She’ll get enough money for the awesome prom dress she’s had her eye on, and the guys, well, they’ll get dates and maybe learn how to do something other than beat the next level on their video games.

There are only two problems with this plan. One, her quarterback/track star boyfriend is getting jealous of how much time she’s spending away from him and decides to try and figure out what’s going on. And two, Delyla is kind of falling for her brother’s BFF, Trey who she’s been hanging out with a lot more. And who thanks to her help, has caught the attention of the beautiful, perfect, and popular, Portia Rickard. With Portia and Trey heating up, Delyla realizes that maybe the person she’s meant to be with has been in front of her all this time.

But falling for Trey means she’ll have to take drastic measures including sabotage, with a capital S.

 My Review:
Delyla is a soccer jock and closet nerd. She loves playing video games and is in National Honors Society, and she’s got a hot, rich boyfriend, Rex. She’s popular and seems to have everything going for her, except cash. She needs more of it if she wants to buy the prom dress of her dreams.

So, when her geeky brother Logan’s buddies see the results of his makeover–essentially having a girlfriend for the first time–they offer to pay her for advice on landing their own girls. It’s a no-brainer. At first.

See, these boys need a bunch of help. From shopping sprees to hair salons, Delyla jumps in and saves the ‘Nerd Herd’ from themselves. And, there are some promising results. Each of the three boys breaks out of his shell, bit by bit. Delyla gets the dirt on each of the boys’ targeted honey, and gives role-plays to help them practice talking to a girl. All that time spent with other dudes? Makes ol’ Rex a mite frustrated.

Of course, she and Logan’s BFF Trey have been friends for years. But, now that Trey’s landed the pretty girl he wanted, Portia, Delyla’s missing his companionship. And, it kinda hurts seeing him with someone else. Especially when he wants bonus lessons–in kissing.

Eep! Delyla’s got big, BIG, probs. She’s hot for a Trey, and realizes her relationship with Rex is lacking in the “connection” department. He’s great arm candy, but he’s no real companion. Desperate to get Trey’s attention, without revealing her feelings she breaks things off with Rex and begins to sabotage Trey’s forward motion with Portia. As expected, Backfire Central.

Delyla does do the right thing–eventually–not before ‘outing’ the Romeo Club to Trey’s squeeze, first, however. Now, Delyla has her pretty dress, and no prom date. Rex is furious, and Trey won’t speak to her. Popularity? POOF!

But the hard lessons are learned, and it’s a fun, flirty, innocent story. Lots of accessory characters and side plots keep the pace jumping forward. A solid contemporary YA romance read with characters that are well-drawn and make real–albeit silly at times–decisions. If I had one hang-up in this breezy book, it was character names. Cannot tell you how many times the oddly spelled names yanked me from the flow of the story. But, I’m a traditionalist in that regard and teens who’ve grown up hearing celebs curse their kids with appellations like Apple and North may have no qualms…

Interested? You can pre-order THE ROMEO CLUB at Amazon. It releases April 8th.

rebecca purdyAbout the Author

Rebekah Purdy grew up in Michigan, where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. When not hiding at her computer and getting lost in her stories, she enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games and hanging out with her kids. She loves the unexplainable like Bigfoot, the Dogman, and the Loch Ness Monster (lots of good story material)! She admits to still having all the books she bought throughout her childhood and teen years, and she may or may not have an obsession with anything chocolate…

You can find her hanging out on her website, Goodreads, and twitter.

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
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She got FRENCHED!–Review and Giveaway!

Frenched-Tour-BannerHi there, and welcome to my stop on the FRENCHED blog tour. For other stops on the tour, click here. This smoking hot contemporary romance, newly released by Melanie Harlow, is guaranteed to satisfy…

frenchedcover3About FRENCHED:

Mia Devine plans over-the-top weddings for a living. So when it comes to her own nuptials, she spares no expense—hand engraved invitations, Vera Wang gown, luxury honeymoon in France. And since her fiancé is Tucker Branch, playboy heir and notorious flirt, local media is obsessed with every little detail.

Which is why it really sucks when he jilts her a week before the wedding.

Mortified, Mia wants nothing more than to crawl under her newly monogrammed sheets and plan a funeral for her dignity, right after blabbing to the world how fitting it is that Tucker will inherit a bolt and screw company, because that’s all he wants to do—screw, and bolt. And he doesn’t do either with much finesse.

When her friends convince her that bitter tastes better when it’s drowned in Bordeaux, she grits her teeth and packs her bags, determined to make the best of a week in Paris alone.

She never planned on meeting Lucas Fournier.

The free-spirited musician’s scruffy good looks and less-than-sympathetic ear annoy her at first, but when she takes him up on his offer to show her around the city, she discovers that the romance of Paris isn’t just a myth.

Nor is the simultaneous O.

The last thing Mia needs is another doomed love affair, but since she only has a week, she figures she might as well enjoy La Vie en O with Lucas while she can. But each day—and night—with him is better than the last, and suddenly her heart is telling her this is more than a rebound fling.

Is it just the seduction of Paris…or could this be the real thing?

My Review:
Hot! Uber-hot! Melt your eReader hot! All when I hadn’t expected it! Kinda like Mia…

Wedding planner extraordinaire Mia has been jilted, poorly, by text message no less, and she’s wallowing. Her friends convince her to take the honeymoon trip to Paris, regardless. She puts up a fight, then settles for anger–vowing to enjoy the trip in a way she never would have with her ex, Tucker.

See, Tucker is one Grade A Jackass. In truth, I almost suspected he was a closet gay, the way he was so controlling about their sex life, and all. (That notion didn’t bear fruit, but it kept me guessing…)

Alone in Paris, Mia tries to find her groove. She visits some of her checklist of sights, but she’s overwhelmed with lovers. And, furiously jealous of them. She has decided Tucker was probably right about calling off the wedding–not that she excuses his manner of doing so–but it’s still hard to take all the romance when she feels so scorned. Deciding to return home early, Mia pops into a ‘Canadian-themed sports bar’ and attempts to drown her loneliness in a deep glass of Red on her first, and final night, in Paris.

The sexy bartender, Lucas, makes more than small talk, he cuts straight to the quick. She can’t possibly leave Paris after only one day! No! She must stay at least one more day and visit the attractions with a helpful guide–himself.

A bit tipsy, she agrees.

Their day on the town proves to be a whole different kind of experience for Mia. Not likely to find lovers smooching in a graveyard, is she? And, Lucas is delicious. He’s half-American/half-French, so they converse easily. He’s also smart–his career is in teaching, in New York. He’s on summer holiday and he was working the bar to assist his brother.

Did I perhaps mention the hotness of this book? Mia and Lucas do hop in the sack. And the shower. And the kitchen counter, floor, couch, vineyard, picnic blanket, tubs. For crying out loud, a wall, or three, may have been molested in the scripting of their smexytimes! What happens in Paris, folks, changes Mia. Opens her in a way that releases her inner sex demon (Er, figuratively. This isn’t paranormal…). Mia does stay on the duration of her trip, finding that Lucas is absolutely perfect in every way, save one. He never wants to marry.

Is that a deal-breaker for our jilted wedding-planner? Perhaps. Especially when Tucker tries to reconnect, promising Mia the happy marriage she had dreamed of, from half the world away.

FRENCHED is a fantastic, fun, sexy read. Mia, angry and dejected at first, grows into the sexy confident woman she never was with Tucker. Lucas is a total dreamboat. Both have real, honest, reservations against turning this fling into something…more. Problem is, they fit so well, it’s hard to abandon this new and thrilling connection. The writing style is playful and interesting. I flew through the book.

And then I went back for seconds… 😉

Interested? You can find FRENCHED at Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her lipstick red, and her history with the naughty bits left in. I write New Adult historical and contemporary stories.

Website | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads

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Get Caught in THE DARKNESS SERIES–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Celebrating the new release of BRAVING THE ELEMENTS and the upcoming release of ON A RAZOR’S EDGE, K.F. Breene is sharing an excerpt from the Darkness Novella Series, has a Kindle Fire HDX up for grabs, and INTO THE DARKNESS (Book #1) is FREE!

Into the Darkness coverINTO THE DARKNESS (Darkness #1)
I’d always been different. I saw objects in the night where others saw emptiness. Large, human shaped shadows, fierce yet beautiful, melting into the darkness. I collected secrets like other women collected bells; afraid to fully trust lest my oddities be exposed.

Until I saw him. He’d been gliding down the street, unshakable confidence in every step. It wasn’t just that he was breathtakingly handsome with perfect features. Something about him drew me. Sucked my focus to him and then tugged at my body. As his eyes met mine, I was entrapped.

No one had noticed him. He’d been right there, just beyond the light, but only I had perceived.

I had to know if he was real. Or maybe I really was crazy. And even when my secret box was blasted wide open, dangers hurled at me like throwing knives, I couldn’t stop until I unraveled his true identity.

I just had to know.

New Adult (18 +) due to sexual content and not for the faint of heart.

You can get INTO THE DARKNESS free on Amazon or Barnes and Noble so go on and clickity-click. What are you waiting for?

Oh, you’d like a little taste?

He stepped closer, not hearing me, or not caring that I spoke. His eyes looked at me like I was a life-sized riddle. They delved, searching. He took another step, forcing me to retreat two steps to keep distance between our bodies. Another step back had my back to the wall. 

A small smile curved his lips. “I exude pleasure, you run. I exude fear, you come calling. You want me, I can smell it. I can feel it, almost like a palpable thing. Give in to it. Yield to me.”

Oh God I wanted to. His body was mere inches from mine, his intense eyes looking down into my soul from a face out of a Renaissance painting. The power of him, the sheer strength, had strange, primal fantasies running amok through my head. My core tingled, my chest surged, and my nipples were so hard they could cut this stone wall. 

Why had I come here, again?

My Review:

Sasha has always seen figures in the shadows. One night she and her boyfriend, Jared, have a car wreck and are accosted by two of these shadow men. All of the shadow people are sexy to the nth degree. I’m not exactly sure what they ARE exactly, but their mind controlling pheromones generally have the humans tearing their clothes off. Exhibit A: Jared…a little startling for Sasha to observe two men sex up her boyfriend in the alley.

Sasha, however, is immune.

Sasha wakes up the next morning–fully-clothed–in bed with a naked, sexually-ravenous Jared. She knows something is very wrong, but her memories of the previous night are spotty and she doesn’t remember their actual encounter until the next day. At this point Sasha is on a mission to find the shadow people and figure out why she sees them.

The leader of these shadow people, Stephan, is a temptation Sasha can barely resist. Of course, the shadow people are embroiled in a war with Mage, and Sasha seems to have some magical ability to repel the forces attacking Stephan’s people.

Now, she’s an asset–and under the protection of Stephen’s minions, like Charles, one of the Jared-Bangers. Charles is a playful, amorous, dim-witted body-guard whom Sasha seems to have no trouble eluding. He provides some real humor into the dark mystery of the Shadow people.

Of course there’s a few harrowing twists that leave Sasha nearly dead–if only someone super strong and sexy had the cure? *narrows eyes on Stephen*

It’s an interesting, sensual start to a series and super quick read. Not for the prudish. Contains copious copulation, consensual, or not.

Braving the Elements coverBRAVING THE ELEMENTS (Darkness #2)
Sasha has always known she was different, but now she also knows that the shadow men she’s seen all her life, are real. With a life goal of fitting in, Sasha hopes her strange abilities will finally make true friendship a possibility. Unfortunately, her magic doesn’t function like everyone else’s. What she thought would make her belong, sets her apart now more than ever.

Stefan, all but promised to a different woman, has tried to keep his mind on his duties instead of the irresistible and free-spirited human. But when she is threatened, he can’t keep his distance anymore. He realizes he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe, and more importantly, make her his.

Just when one thing clicks into place, another spirals out of control. Stefan’s clan isn’t the only group that would benefit from an extremely rare type of magic. And their enemies will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Braving the Elements is the second novella in K.F.Breene’s long awaited Darkness series. Sasha’s story is one of discovery, awareness, and understanding, and is jam packed with action, humor, sexual tension, and an overwhelming desire for final acceptance.

You can find this newly released sequel on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00011]ON A RAZOR’S EDGE (Darkness #3) Releasing April 22, 2014

Life for Sasha isn’t getting easier. She has survived run-in’s with monstrous Dulcha, lived through an abduction, and even made it passed Charles’ constant badgering for sex. But if she thought the hurdles of this new life would simmer down, she was dead wrong.

When the Regional comes to visit Stefan’s clan, the pressure increases. Sasha finds herself on a giant scale, assessed for her magic and held in the balance. If she doesn’t have the magic Stefan hopes, she could find herself on the street while still in grave danger. Even with a favorable outcome, however, her inability to use her magic presents a road block not easily crossed.

No, life is not getting easier.

Stefan feels the heat, too. He must finally declare a mate, and admitting to desiring a human is the worst form of taboo. He could jeopardize not only his place as leader, but his and Sasha’s life. His decision is like walking on a razor’s edge.

About the Author

A wine country native, she moved to San Francisco for college just shy of a decade ago to pursue a lifelong interest in film. As she settled into the vibrant city, it quickly became apparent that, while she thought making films was great fun, she lacked cinematic genius. For that reason, her career path quickly changed direction. Her next goal was a strange childhood interest, conjured at the dining room table while filling out a form. For some reason, her young self wanted to be an accountant. Thinking on it now, she wonders how she had any friends. Regardless, it was the direction she finally took.

While she could wrangle numbers with the best of ’em, and even though she wore the crown as the most outspoken, belligerent accountant in the world, her mind got as stuffy as her daily routine. It was here that she dusted off her creative hat and began writing. Now she makes movies in her head, and then writes them down. Way easier than dealing with actors–she should know, she’s been one!

You can find find Ms. Breene in the usual places:  Website | Facebook | Twitter

KF Breene is offering up a KINDLE FIRE HDX (US only) in her super raffle. Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win.
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Thrilled by EASTLAND–Review and Giveaway

Eastland bannerHi there! And welcome to my stop on the EASTLAND Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. For other stops on the tour, click here. Today’s book is a Historical YA Romance, a fantastic read from my good friend, and fellow SCBWI critique partner, Marian Cheatam.

eastlandBook Summary:

For hardworking teen, Dee Pageau, the annual employee picnic will let her escape the drudgery of work and possibly find love with her best friend Mae’s older brother, Karel. But in 1915 Chicago, girls don’t go on picnics without their mother’s approval. 

Unfortunately for Dee, Mama has had a premonition of disaster and forbids Dee from going. Forced to watch as Mae and Karel leave without her, Dee defies Mama and rushes off to join her friends.

But Dee’s joy soon turns to terror when the ship ferrying them to the picnic capsizes. Rescued not once but twice-by Karel and a mysterious sailor-Dee finds herself tested in unimaginable ways. What happens next turns out to be worse … and better … than anything Dee ever expected.

My Review:
The SS Eastland capsized in the Chicago River at 7:30am on July 24, 1915 killing 844 passengers. This novel follows the horror of the event and its gruesome aftermath through the eyes of Dee Pageau, a seventeen year-old employee of the Western Electric Company who had hired the steamer to transport workers and their families to Michigan City, Indiana for the company’s annual picnic.

While many stories take the reader to new and exotic worlds, this captivating historical novel recounts the tragedy of the SS Eastland in a way that transports the reader to a world before house phones, a time when ice boxes, streetcars, and milk delivery was the norm.

Dee is aboard the Hurricane (top) Deck of the Eastland, chatting with her best friend Mae’s brother, Karel, when the ship lists, and then capsizes. Mae was trapped belowdecks, and Karel—after ensuring Dee is safely settled on the ship’s hull–dives into the putrid water to find his younger sister.

Hours later, having witnessed more dead bodies than survivors recovered, shock has set in for Dee. Desperate without her childhood friend, she nearly topples into the murky depths, but is rescued (again) by a crewman—Lars.

Dee is whisked off the boat and driven back to the grief-ravaged streets of suburban Cicero—home to Western Electric’s headquarters and many of its employees. Anxious families descend on Dee and her overwrought mother, fearing the worst. Throughout the day the bleak news pours in, household by household. When Karel returns alone, the long hunt begins to track down the missing Mae.

This meticulously researched work provides a rare glimpse into a tragedy that consumed Chicago. Dee and Karol search hospital after hospital only to be ushered ever closer to the makeshift morgue. Days of mourning and wakes, enormous funeral masses presided over by the Bishop soon follow. Through this melancholy, Dee realizes that she must remain strong. Stronger than she ever had to be, before. At times, she is bolstered by Karol and Lars—both men who survived the harrowing ordeal and recognize the need for moving on with life.

In the week following the tragedy, Dee returns to work—finding that only one other woman in her 30-person division had survived. The loss of so many workers propels Dee into a managerial position—but she struggles to get over the loss of so many of her friends.

The development of not one, but two, potential romantic entanglements allows Dee to grow further out of her meek shell. Being a survivor will do that, too.

Dee learns, like Karol and Lars, to appreciate the best things in life. Despite the gruesome event and realistic setting, the hopeful ending and clear promise of love will resonate for young and old alike. I loved this book and recommend it to all fans of romance, historical fiction and YA romance. It gave me chills, and I gasped aloud so many times I lost count. Throughout the read I was simply captivated.

Interested? You can find EASTLAND on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

b59e6About the Author:
Marian Cheatham lives in a suburb of Chicago with her family and their menagerie of pets. A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Marian taught Special Education for many years before becoming a full-time writer.

You can find her on her webpage, Goodreads, and Facebook.

On a personal note I have known Marian for four years–she’s a fellow member of my SCBWI Illinois chapter, a good friend, and a writing critique partner. I just love her historical YA. EASTLAND is a fantastic novelization of Chicago’s biggest loss-of-life tragedies.

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Living in THE HERE AND NOW Isn’t Easy–A Review

If you could change the future, would you?

The Here and NowThat’s the premise behind Best-Selling Ann Brashare’s up-coming contemporary YA release: THE HERE AND NOW.

Prenna James is a high school student in New York in 2014, but she was born in 2078. In her time, the Earth has suffered extreme shifts in climate due to global warming and melted polar ice. There are shortages of food and raw materials, and a mosquito-borne blood plague has devastated the world population. Prenna has traveled back in time with her mother and nearly 1000 other futurists in the hope of altering some aspects of the present to fix the future.

At least those were the initial goals. Now, Prenna is sure that the powers above aren’t doing anything but controlling the time travelers and murdering any of the group who don’t conform. See, all the travelers must adhere to a set of twelve rules to ensure that they do not alter time too much, or infect the ‘time natives’ with strange and foreign microbes that could trigger plagues in this time.

Ethan Jarvis is a math/physics whiz in Prenna’s classes. He’s also a time native, and with whom Prenna is forbidden to have any ‘physical or emotional intimacy’–according to the rules. She, and all her fellow travelers, are under surveillance by concealed devices, and when she steps out of line, Prenna is reprimanded by her ‘counselors’.

Prenna tries to adhere to the rules, but she desires Ethan. And, he is quite the dashing rescuer. Especially when Prenna is taken away for speaking to a homeless man who turns out to be a fellow traveler, an undocumented one, who has learned when the fork in time was created that brought about her dire future. Ethan saves Prenna from captivity and they follow the clues from the homeless man to discover the root cause of her future was the murder of a promising green energy scientist.

Now, Ethan and Prenna must stop the scientist from being killed–while also fighting the attraction between them. But, when Prenna finds evidence that Ethan is going to die in the process of saving the scientist she needs to choose between telling him his fate, and risking the fate of perhaps…the world.

No, it’s not as dire as all that, silly! But it is rather harrowing.

I enjoyed the writing. I enjoyed the story. I liked Ethan, (perhaps too much)…but Prenna makes some dumb choices that irked me. In the end, she makes the right choice, and as much as it broke my heart, I’m glad she did the right thing.

Note:  heart only broken because I wanted to see Ethan happy, and he wasn’t. But I expect he’ll get over it.

It’s an innocent tale suitable for YA readers. If nothing else, I hope it helps young readers to envision a hot climate future we can do more now to avoid…but I’m not gonna get all preachy ’bout it. There are some plot issues, but in all, it’s an enjoyable read. I think fans of YA romance will enjoy this one. It has an engaging plot and the pacing is pretty good. I received an advanced review copy via NetGalley.

Interested? THE HERE AND NOW releases April 8, but you can pre-order it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Ann Brashares grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with three brothers and attended a Quaker school in the D.C. area called Sidwell Friends. She studied Philosophy at Barnard College, part of Columbia University in New York City. Expecting to continue studying philosophy in graduate school, Ann took a year off after college to work as an editor, hoping to save money for school. Loving her job, she never went to graduate school, and instead, remained in New York City and worked as an editor for many years. Ann made the transition from editor to full-time writer with her first novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Ann and her husband live with their three children in New York.
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