When Terror Comes Home: I AM THE MISSION–A Review

Hi there! Couple of weeks ago I crushed hard for a teenaged assassin who had five days to kill the mayor of New York. Well, Zach’s back in Allen Zadoff’s sequel–I AM THE MISSION–and this time he’s meant to kill the head of a ultra-conservative running a military training camp for teens. Yikes!

I Am the Mission (The Unknown Assassin, #2)About the book:

He was the perfect assassin. No name. No past. No remorse. Perfect, that is, until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders. Now The Program is worried that their valuable soldier has become a liability.

And so Boy Nobody is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to prove his loyalty.

His objective: Take out Eugene Moore, the owner of an extremist military training camp for teenagers. It sounds like a simple task, but a previous operative couldn’t do it. He lost the mission and is presumed dead. Now Boy Nobody is confident he can finish the job. Quickly.

But when things go awry, Boy Nobody finds himself lost in a mission where nothing is as it seems: not The Program, his allegiances, nor the truth.

The riveting second book in Allen Zadoff’s Boy Nobody series delivers heart-pounding action and a shocking new twist that makes Boy Nobody question everything he has believed.

My Review:
Sometimes sequels disappoint. Not this time.

Zach is emotionally scrambled after his last mission. Being an isolated human isn’t as fulfilling as it had been, and his doubt draws him to get close to others–to their detriment. His brief “lose himself in humanity” experiment nearly backfires when Father–his male contact and advisor with The Program–tracks him to a boys camp in the northeast. Tense doesn’t begin to describe the confrontation.

Zach’s loyalty to The Program is being tested. If he accepts the mission, he’ll have one chance to neutralize the threat–a single meeting with Eugene Moore at a recruitment event for Moore’s Camp Liberty. Under no circumstances is Zach supposed to enter Camp Liberty–a place where all communication is monitored and where a previous Program operative disappeared four months prior.

Posing as disaffected teen “Daniel”, our determined assassin watches as his one chance to prove himself to The Program slips away before he can get within striking distance. Then, he’s given the opportunity to spend the night at the camp and check it out for himself. Against his mission directive, Daniel does.

Having made it past the first levels of security, Daniel scopes chances to hit his target–they aren’t great, but Daniel has infiltrated the inner sanctum by befriending Moore’s teen children: Lee and Miranda. Moore’s bodyguard, Francisco, isn’t letting Daniel close, however.

Drawn in, Daniel goes on a couple of practice missions for Liberty–and he sees how very dangerous the man, and his camp of paramilitary teens, can be up-close and very personal. Trouble is, Daniel can’t reach his “parents”. Every chance he tries to make contact with The Program is a failure. Cut loose, Daniel reaches out to the one and only real friend he’s made in four years, a teen hacker named Howard.

This pair makes sense of the chaos the mission has become. Especially when hitting the target only escalates the danger.

I thoroughly enjoyed Zach/Daniel and his handling of the mission. He was constantly compromised, and didn’t waver for a second. His loyalties were tested completely–Francisco nearly killed him, not to mention all the snipers and “clean up” teams dispatched, and yet Zach/Daniel kept his cover and his focus. Sure, he had to call in Howard, but that (for me) signaled a level of maturity in his development. The cracks exist, however. Zach isn’t the killing machine The Program intended. Well, perhaps he is, but he’s not a mindless killing machine who simply follows orders.

Sure, he’s got skills, but he’s not prepared when he meets another operative in the field. Particularly, when Zach learns Moore knew he was an operative and accepted him into Camp Liberty in order to convert him to their cause. We see Zach’s thought processes clearly: he’ll soon be too old to be a teen assassin, and then what? What will The Program do with him? Disposal? Because it seems likely considering how efficiently they have wiped his access and left him to fend for himself. Camp Liberty holds Zach’s skills in high regard–he’d have a place of honor, and the companionship he now desires. Lee could be a real friend, and Miranda’s interested in more than that….

And, what is Mike doing? The guy kills Zach’s family and recruits him into The Program, but it seems Mike works off the grid just as much as on. He was The Program’s first operative, yet, Mike’s presence is that of an ally in a way Zach hadn’t expected and isn’t sure he can trust. Especially when Howard’s life is on the line.

Oh, and domestic terrorism, Boston bombings, and Taser-torture. So, yeah–super intense. Bit of a YA Bourne series, which is a bit of alright, in my book.

Interested? You can find I AM THE MISSION on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and probably six dozen other outlets. Even your library. I read an advance review copy via NetGalley. This is my honest review.

Allen ZadoffAbout the Author:

Allen Zadoff is the author of the new thriller series, The Unknown Assassin which earned starred reviews and has been optioned for a feature film by Sony Pictures and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment. His YA novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and was a YALSA selection for Most Popular Paperbacks of 2012. His second novel was My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies, the story of a techie hiding from life after a family tragedy. His third novel Since You Left Me is set in Los Angeles and tells the story of a religious school student who doesn’t believe. He also wrote the memoir for adults, Hungry:Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin.

Allen is a graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theatre Training. Visit him on his website, Goodreads and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends! 🙂

Cephalopod Coffeehouse June 2014–THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! 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 chose a YA Romance–because, basically, I had THE WORST book hangover after reading it. THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E Stein carved my heart into mincemeat, no joke.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightAbout the Book:

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

My Review:

To get right down to it: Hadley’s family was unexpectedly torn apart by love. That’s right. Her dad went on a four-month sabbatical to London and he didn’t return. He’s alive, and well, and currently completely divorced from Hadley’s mother. In fact, he’s marrying the woman who stole her father away. And Hadley’s a bridesmaid. She’s never met his bride, and she hasn’t seen her dad in more than a year. In fact, Hadley wouldn’t be staring at her plane pushing back from the jetway right now if her mother hadn’t pushed her into accepting the wedding invitation.

So, Hadley’s not keen on love. She thought her parents had it–everyone seemed so happy–but love pretty much sucks if it rips your dad away to a new country and life. At least, it does in Hadley’s opinion. She gets rescheduled to the next flight, and encounters Oliver in the terminal. He’s a quiet, unassuming young English man–he’s nearly 19 and a college student returning home for a family event. They strike up a conversation that spans the flight. It’s a purge. All the misery Hadley had bottled up in the past year and half since her dad took his trip to London is spent out.

Oliver is an excellent sounding board–and distraction. Especially when he kisses her and the seeds of attraction blossomed into a budding love.

Then he’s gone–and Hadley’s still got to face her father and the wedding she wishes wasn’t occurring. It is a twisted experience, to see one’s parent so happy–knowing the misery this happiness created for one’s self and one’s loved ones. Having rid herself of her anger, Hadley is able to experience her father’s abounding joy in a way she hadn’t predicted. And, she’s able to give the one thing she never fathomed:  forgiveness.

That isn’t the end of the story however, and Hadley learns that Oliver had kept a pretty large secret to himself aboard that long flight. Can they find the common ground they had in transit or is the L-word a statistical impossibility?

Normally, I’m no huge fan of instalove, but this book–while the time frame is two days–unfolds so seamlessly it feels genuine. I was wrung out in Hadley’s point of view. What an overwhelming experience she’s had with the devastation of her parent’s marriage. Often kids know there are problems–but in this case, there hadn’t been any warning signs. Her parents were happy. Fun. Planned big vacations touring the US. Hadley and her mother were going to visit London at the end of the sabbatical. And then everything changed.

Hadley’s abandonment is a palpable presence in her life. She develops panic attacks, and spends months caretaking for her shell-shocked mother. She never has a chance to breathe, to grieve the loss of her previous life before it’s all gone. Wracked by anger, Hadley plans to cut her dad out of her new life–and had been rather successful at it–until the wedding. Understandably, Hadley wants nothing to do with the woman who caused so much heartache–who, by the by is not a step-monster. Still, after over a year’s separation seeing her dad is a knife wound to the chest. She has missed him terribly. And she comes to realize that having a relationship with him means accepting terms she couldn’t have previously considered.

See, there is no cliche here. There is pain. There is love. There is loss. There is gain. There is human life unfolding in a way that voids all plans and cancels all debts. I seriously ached for Hadley–over and over again. Her mom has moved on–met a man who adores her, yet the child in Hadley holds a serious grudge. I would have, too. Watching her let go of that pain, however, was excruciating. My heart had to stop feeling in order to not be overwhelmed. Oliver was a spectacular love interest. And the promise that these two might find love, together, was the jump start I needed to get past the strong emotions I’d suffered in the course of reading. (Disclaimer: I didn’t even hate Hadley’s dad when all was said and done–which is saying quite a lot about how well this story was told.)

Interested? You can find TSPoLaFS at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and likely in your neighborhood library. I picked up a reviewer’s copy from NetGalley.

Jennifer E. SmithAbout the author:

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into 28 languages.

You can find her on Goodreads and twitter.

Thanks for popping by my friends. Don’t forget to hit the rest of the blogs on the Coffeehouse. I know I find some great suggestions this way! 🙂

1. The Armchair Squid 2. mainewords
3. I Think; Therefore, I Yam 4. Words Incorporated
5. StrangePegs — Up So Down 6. The Writing Sisterhood
7. BOOK NOOK 8. Hungry Enough To Eat Six
9. StrangePegs — Lost and Found 10. Cherdo on the Flipside
11. My Creatively Random Life 12. StrangePegs — The Faerie Guardian
13. StrangePegs — The Ghost Brigades 14. Adornments looks at books
15. V’sReads

Cover Reveal! RUINED by Marian Cheatham

Hi there! Today I’m sharing the cover for RUINED, a contemporary retelling of a Shakespearean classic.

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Coming July 2014

About the book:
When your life has been ruined by lies, do you seek justice … or revenge?

Blythe Messina spends her senior year focused on her studies and college, and not on her ex, Stratford High’s lacrosse star, DB Whitmore. At least, that’s what Blythe keeps telling herself. But her younger cousin, Bonni, knows otherwise. Same goes for DB, who professes to be over Blythe and their breakup, but his teammates aren’t fooled.

When scandalous photos of Bonni and the lacrosse captain are texted around Stratford, Bonni’s virtuous reputation is ruined. She pleads innocence, but no one believes her. No one, except Blythe and DB, who come together to uncover the truth. But, will they stay together?

Ruined is a modern twist on a classic Shakespearean romance.

“Deceit, loyalty, honor, and romance–Ruined has it all! A teen version of Much Ado About Nothing that Shakespeare aficionados are sure to savor!”
Kym Brunner, Author of Wanted: Dead or in Love & One Smart Cookie.

Click here to add RUINED to your Goodreads TBR!

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.

Thanks for popping by and keep reading my friends!

Changing THE RIVER LEITH–A Review

Hi there! Today’s book is a contemporary M/M romance from Leta Blake. I just adored TRAINING SEASON and jumped at the chance to read more of her work. THE RIVER LEITH is a mind-bender. Mostly because Leith has retrograde amnesia and can’t remember the past three years of his life….

The River LeithAbout the book:

Memory is everything.

After an injury in the ring, amateur boxer Leith Wenz wakes to discover his most recent memories are three years out of date. Unmoored and struggling to face his new reality, Leith must cope anew with painful revelations about his family. His brother is there to support him, but it’s the unfamiliar face of Zach, a man introduced as his best friend, that provides the calm he craves. Until Zach’s presence begins to stir up feelings Leith can’t explain.

For Zach, being forgotten by his lover is excruciating. He carefully hides the truth from Leith to protect them both from additional pain. His bottled-up turmoil finds release through vlogging, where he confesses his fears and grief to the faceless Internet. But after Leith begins to open up to him, Zach’s choices may come back to haunt him.

Ultimately, Leith must ask his heart the questions memory can no longer answer.

My Review:
One month ago Leith was hit by an illegal blow in the ring causing a traumatic brain injury. When he wakes from his coma, memories of the past three years of his life are gone. He thinks he’s still in prison, that his father is still alive, that he’s a straight man. None of these are true. Or, are they?

Leith latches on to his brother, Arthur, adrift in loss. Arthur tries to help, but the advice is to reveal little in terms of the lost years, to wait until Leith recovers the memories–if Leith does. See, they don’t want to upset Leith with too many uncertainties–he’s a bit unmoored emotionally, and strong. When he first saw Arthur and learned all he had lost, Leith struck out and clocked his brother in the jaw. Control of his life, and his temper, is hard for the new Leith.

“Friends” visit the hospital to help his transition, but Leith doesn’t remember any of them–not even Zach. Zach is introduced as his “best friend”, but the reader knows more than Leith. He and Zach had been lovers for a year, and totally committed. Zach’s heartbroken, and trying to maintain a brave face, but his video blogs show the gaping cracks in the facade.

Throughout, Leith agonizes to regain his foothold in his new reality. The only thing he knows for sure is the calmness he feels when Zach visits. He longs for more time with his “best friend” and is confused by the sexual arousal he feels in Zach’s presence. Zach’s nearness yet seeming indifference leads Leith to believe his attraction to Zach was one-sided before the injury, and he’s conflicted about revealing his “new” feelings. Meanwhile Zach is falling apart thinking Leith will never love him again. It sparks a one-night stand that comes back to haunt Zach. Big time.

In some ways, Leith died in the ring. The post-injury Leith is a different man in so many aspects, but it may be that this man is a better man, a more stable partner, than the man Zach first loved.

As time moves on, Leith is better able to control his temper–revealing his feelings for Zach helped immensely–but there are still struggles. Leith wants to box again. It was a major way he coped throughout his life, and the absence of that physicality brings its own strain. And Zach is terrified that one bad hit will kill the man he has had to woo, and come to love, twice over.

While this book centered on amnesia, there are lots of people who endure other neurological injuries and have personality changes. The hardest thing for their loved ones to reconcile is the change–Zach is a good partner, but a confused man in his own right, understandably so. His love has suddenly and without question forgotten him completely. He could walk away, but he doesn’t. His struggle is no less hard than Leith’s–overcoming his own memories to make a totally new life with a Leith is a decision. I was glad he made the right one.

The book is brutal in its emotional landscape. Highs and lows. Confusion and resolution. Anger and peace. And, love. At the center, love shines. Zach’s patient acceptance, bringing all Leith’s fave foods to the hospital. Moving out so Leith can have his own space to reconnect. Coming back after Leith clobbers him in a blind rage. All of these are acts of love. Leith working to regain his memories, his sense of self, so he can recover the good times of his life with Zach is an act of love. Even more so, Leith abandoning this effort and committing to simply making new memories is the biggest show of his love.

At times I just wanted to reach into my iPad and grab these two into a group hug and whisper that it was all going to work out. To that end, I kinda felt the resolution was a teeny bit rushed. That said, I loved the book. The smexytimes were predictably hot and fantastic, so thanks for that. I had to chuckle when Leith’s doctor said it was time to leave the hospital because all the nurses were distracted trying to get a peek of Zach and Leith together….LOL, for real. The book steams, so not safe for the youngin’s.

Interested? You can find THE RIVER LEITH on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I snatched a copy from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

About the author:

While Leta Blake would love to tell you that writing transports her to worlds of magic and wonder and then safely returns her to a home of sparkling cleanliness and carefully folded laundry, the reality is a bit different. For as long as Leta can recall, stories have hijacked her mind, abducting her to other lands, and forcing her to bend to the will of imaginary people. This absence from reality results in piles of laundry and forgotten appointments. In between abductions, Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can catch up with Leta on her website, Goodreads, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends! 🙂

 

Get Caught in THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m featuring a contemporary romance set in my hometown: Chicago! THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR, third in the Love in the Balance series by Jessica Lemmon, is a fun steamy read with a feel-good ending.

The Millionaire Affair (Love in the Balance, #3)About the book:

LOVE IS A DEAL BREAKER . . .

Millionaire ad executive Landon Downey has a policy: no romantic relationships allowed. So when he’s saddled with his six-year-old nephew for a week, he doesn’t think twice about asking Kimber Reynolds to act as live-in nanny. What he doesn’t expect is the undeniable attraction to the woman he hasn’t seen since they were kids. And not only does she like him back-she suggests they work their way down a list of extracurricular activities in the bedroom. How can he resist?

Kimber wants to prove once and for all that she can love ’em and leave ’em with the best of them. All she has to do is keep her sixteen-year crush on Landon out of the equation. No problem . . . until she realizes she may not be the only one whose heart has gotten completely tangled up in their no-strings agreement.

My Review:
Landon is in a fix–he’s a perfectionist business owner AND he’s a doting uncle. But, he’s not a care giver. Scheduled to watch his nephew while his widower brother is having a retreat is more of a challenge than Landon can meet. Plus, he’s got a HUGE contract int he bablance at his ad agency and needs to micromanage his office. So he calls in the Big Guns:  his sister. Unfortunately, she just took off the previous week to watch Lyon and her boss (Landon!) is a slavedriver…

She does, however, recommend her childhood friend Kimber to work as a nanny.

See, Kimber lives in Chicago–not far from Landon’s Magnificent Mile penthouse condo. Kimber owns a boutique selling upscale resale clothes and her own designs. While she’s making money, she hasn’t earned enough to buy out her business partner-slash-ex-boyfriend. With the money Landon’s offering she could get her business going exactly right. If only she doesn’t fall into a puddle of admiration when she crosses the threshold–Landon’s always caught Kimber’s eye…and heart…and quivery girly-bits.

Living in close quarters with the grown woman Landon only remembered as his sister’s frizzy-haired-brace-faced friend proves to be a difficult proposition. Kimber is stunning, and friendly, and engaging. She dotes on Lyon as if he were her own son, and Landon is considering some very wanton thoughts when she’s in the room. Or, on the phone. Or, anywhere.

In fact, they fairly steam around each other. Kimber cannot believe the wealthy man who usually dates willowy models could be interested in her bootylicious self, but then, she’s NOT going to get serious.

That’s always Kimber’s downfall–taking the relationship to Seriousville when her beaux are more interested in Good Time Town. Instead, she and Landon strike a tantalizing bargain–they each write a list of TEN EROTIC EXPERIENCES and vow that once they check off their Sex Bucket List, they will walk away without a string. Funny thing, strings seem to catch even the most tenacious.

Kimber and Landon are really a cute couple. They have some D-Lish smexytimes unencumbered by the risk of their hearts. They share affection, and lust, but soon they share a whole lot more. Kimber is torn–she wants more with Landon, but doesn’t want him controlling her life. Landon wants into Kimber’s world–in whatever capacity Kimber will have him–but his desire to help sometimes comes off as HOLY FREAKING COW TOO MUCH. Still, I adore main characters who take time to figure things out, as Landon and Kimber do.

Oh, and it looks like Landon’s revised list–featuring Number 11–is just the start of their very naughty future.

Interested? You can find THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley. This is my honest review.

Jessica LemmonAbout the Author:

Jessica Lemmon writes sexy contemporary romances with a squeeze of humor for Grand Central (Tempting the Billionaire, Hard to Handle) and Entangled (If You Dare).

She is an artist, dreamer, former meateater, fun-loving, fast-talking wife, and a den mother to two dogs. She loves to hear from her fans.

You can also find her on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Pinterest.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

She Finds Her HEART SHAPED ROCK–Review and Giveaway

Heart-Shaped-Rock-Tour-Banner

Hi there and welcome to my stop on the HEART SHAPED ROCK blog tour sponsored by YA Bound Blog Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. This YA Romance is the debut novel from Laura Roppe–and it’s a heartbreaker.

5ea0a-heart_shaped_rock_ebook_cover_finalSummary from Goodreads:

“If you liked the music collaboration of Maybe Someday, you’ve got to check out Heart Shaped Rock.” — New York Times best-selling author of Maybe Someday, Colleen Hoover

“Laura Roppé has written a moving and emotional novel of first love, accurately capturing the voice and mind of a dramatic and emotional sixteen year old girl caught in a maelstrom of grief and loss, love and heartbreak. And then there’s Dean…you’ll just have to read the book, ‘cause I can’t do him justice in a few short sentences.” –Jasinda Wilder, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Falling into You

Sometimes a shattered heart needs to sing to love again . . . Sixteen year old singer-songwriter Shaynee Sullivan hasn’t so much as touched her guitar since her mom died six months ago. In fact, Shaynee hasn’t felt like doing much of anything lately, except maybe playing Whack-a-Mole on her “emotionally intelligent” brother’s head. But when she meets a gorgeous and surprising rocker named Dean, her shattered heart begins to mend . . . and then burst at the seams. Heart-wrenching, heart-warming, and sometimes even heart-racing, Heart Shaped Rock will leave you laughing through tears and rooting for love in all its forms.

My Review:

My heart absolutely broke for Shaynee! Six months ago her mom died of cancer. Her mother was one of those magical people–the kind who can coax a smile out of a sulky teen. She was a vibrant woman–a singer and songwriter. In death she is mourned steadfastly. Shaynee’s father grieves terribly–working too much and enlisting Shaynee to care for herself and her younger brother, Lennox. Lennox is 11, and vastly better at coping with his mother’s death. He delights in listening to her recordings and openly discusses their mother–as if she’s keeping watch over the family.

Shaynee, on the other hand, can’t bear to even speak of her mother. She’s so angry–she lashes out at Lennox, her dad and even her BFF Tiffany.  Nor can she pick up her guitar. Shaynee’s always been into music. Has written countless songs and performed since she was little, but the music died with her mom, and so did Shaynee’s social life. Tiffany has tried to be there, but Shaynee won’t let her in. So, Tiff tricks Shaynee into getting a job at the coffeehouse where she works.

The freedom of finding new social connections–people who know nothing about about her personal tragedy–liberates Shaynee’s spirit for the first time in months. Meeting first surfer Jared, and then singer Dean, sparks the long-dead beat of Shaynee’s heart. She falls for Dean hard–but Dean has secrets that shatter the tenuous peace Shaynee had established. Jared alternates between confidante and c*ckblock. He’s every bit as smitten with Shaynee as Dean is–and thinks his affection is returned. Well, not so much, but Shaynee is quick to tell Jared she’s mean. So, when she acts mean, he’s been properly warned.

Truthfully, Shaynee knows that Dean is her better match. He’s a singer and plays three instruments. Oh, and he’s kind and understanding. If only he’d been honest from the start. Then again, Shaynee hasn’t been honest much, either. In fact, her denial is crippling her. It’s a long road to acceptance–but it’s great to see Shaynee walk it under her own power.

Shaynee could clearly play the grieving child card to win Dean’s forgiveness–but she wises up, and ‘fesses up, too. I was grateful. In lots of parts of the book, Shaynee’s struggles are so suffocating, she falls into panic attacks. By the end this girl walks tall and strums a bold tune. Lennox (and her mom) would have been proud to see it. I liked it. You might too.

Interested? You can find HEART SHAPED ROCK on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. Hear the original music performed in Heart Shaped Rock at http://www.LauraRoppe.com. All music available on iTunes.

d8910-lauraroppeAbout the Author

Laura Roppé is an award-winning singer/songwriter, author, audio book narrator, speaker, and former attorney from San Diego, California. In 2011, Billboard Magazine ranked her as Number Three on its chart of the Top 50 “uncharted” artists in the world. In May 2013, Laura began hosting Amazon’s weekly podcast, “Kindle Love Stories,” for people who love hearing about love stories, romance, and happily ever afters.
Her first book is the non-fiction memoir, Rocking the Pink. Her latest is a YA-teen romance novel entitled Heart Shaped Rock, featuring a soundtrack.

You can find Laura on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

***Giveaway***
Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
1 $50 Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (INT)
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

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Time to get SYNCHRONIC–A Review

Hi there! Not sure how clear I have been about my love for time travel romance–I discovered Diana Gabaldon, wow, must be seven years ago–yes it’s not that long considering she’d been published for more than twenty–and her Outlander series pretty much changed my life, at the time. I’d been depressed and isolated in a community far from my family due to work. My childhood love of fiction was supplanted by work and mothering constraints. In those days, reading fiction had become only what I did with my kids. I truly hadn’t read an adult novel in years.

Then Outlander smashed me over the head and I could breathe in a way I hadn’t since, probably, motherhood. I devoured the series, among other time-travel based stories and came alive within my own skin. So, I continue to explore the genre of time travel fiction–even if romance isn’t always part of the story.

Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time TravelToday’s book has a bit of everything, because it’s a time travel anthology. Thirteen (short) stories written by amazing authors in their own right–all working time travel into their stories. Some are longer–nearing novella length–others not quite so long.

Some are written in colloquial speech, others are futuristic. The variety is refreshing, and the science-y aspect varies as well.

This is what I love about anthologies: a quick read. If I don’t like one story I can get through it quick, or breeze over it for another. I haven’t had the need to breeze while reading this one, however.

I’m going to give some highlights of the first few stories, just to give you a “taste” of what you will find if you dive in. Rest assured that the book is excellently crafted throughout. The stories stand on their own, and are perfect for a “snack” or lunchtime read. Not sure how all of you fare in the summer, but my kids are sometimes even more active–what with camps and sleepovers and extra activities, so I have to squeeze in my reads around that kooky schedule. Reading short works gets me my fiction fix.

My Review:

I’m not a huge sci-fi reader, but I love a well-told story. In this short-story collection I found a huge spread from heavy sci-fi to quirky romance.

Bunker’s THE SANTA ANNA GOLD just sucked me in. The funniest thing is, I usually hate tales when I can’t trust the narrator, and yet, I was completely entranced.

Quinn’s CORRECTIONS, featuring a time-traveling therapist for death row convicts, had great twists. I almost felt like I was watching an episode of Quantum Leap.

Peralta’s HEREAFTER honestly brought tears to my eyes. Such a tender, heartbreakingly romantic story of a love that transcends time.

Tozzi’s REENTRY WINDOW was a chilling sci-fi adventure of Mars exploration. Ugh! I just wanted to scream, wishing I could change astronaut Brett Lockwood’s fate.

Cole’s SWIMMING POOL OF THE UNIVERSE dealt with PTSD in a future world where life goes on. I think we all got a bit of Sgt. Collins in us.

I could go on, but I’m going to go back to reading instead. Catch you on the flip-side….

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!