She Was Nearly RUINED–A Review

Hi all! Today I’m sharing a contemporary re-telling of Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. RUINED by Marian Cheatham is a fast-paced YA romance which is more about break-ups than make-ups, but it’s an HEA. Quick disclosure, Marian’s a friend. I’ve known her for years via SCBWI and just love her work. You can find my review of EASTLAND, Marian’s historical romance, here.

RuinedAbout 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, Paolo and Cory, don’t believe him. At the awards banquet for the team, Bonni and Cory meet and fall instantly in love. The happy new couple annoys Paolo’s younger half-brother, Jon, who devises a diabolical plan to break up Bonni and Cory, and bring down his popular brother, Paolo.

Jon’s evil plot goes off without a hitch, or so he thinks. His scandalous photos of Bonni and Paolo are texted around Stratford, and Bonni’s virtuous reputation is ruined. Hurt and humiliated, Cory dumps Bonni. Paolo and Bonni deny any involvement with each other, but no one believes them. No one, except Blythe and DB, who come together to uncover the truth. But, is their new alliance enough to keep them together?

My Review:
Blythe and Bonni Messina are two cousins with different opinions about boys. Blythe wants to stay away from her once-BF lacrosse wingman DB. DB thought he and Blythe were on the right track, but she jumped cars a year ago and stayed away from him, and all other boys, for all that time.

Meanwhile, Bonni longs for a deep emotional (innocent) connection to a boy–and thinks she’s found her match in Cory.

Unfortunately, some serious mischief is underway. Bonni plots with DB’s buddy Paolo to reconnect DB and Blythe. And Paolo’s half-brother, Jon, wants to embarrass Paolo in order to gain their father’s favor.  The best way Jon can make this happen is to create a scandal surrounding Bonni, the leader of the Pro-Abstinence Club at school, and Paolo–a known player. This will humiliate Paolo and alienate him from his best friend, Cory.

Jon orchestrates not one, but two assaults on the Bonni-Cory pairing. First is a simple rumor, the second is much more malevolent (and results in some criminal charges!) The long and the short of the scheme sends Bonni running from school, sans Cory, who is sure she has been intimate with Paolo. Paolo is mortified, and mystified, how and when he could have been linked to Bonni, but DB trusts that his pal didn’t take advantage of her.

DB enlists Blythe’s help to discover the root source of Bonni’s humiliation, resorting to their own rumors to flush out the perpetrator. This also puts DB and Blythe in close proximity–fostering the reconnection their friends and family had envisioned.

As in Shakespearean comedy, it’s All’s Well That Ends Well, but the ride to the finish is breakneck. The good guys prevail and the bad guys are captured, and we can all learn a good lesson about those we trust, and why. In this case it wasn’t blood that was thicker than water, and DB’s level head was instrumental in clearing Paolo and Bonni of committing any shenanigans.

The plain and frank talk is sure to appeal to readers of YA fiction, and the touch of romance was innocent through and through, so it’s cool for younger teens.

Interested? You can find RUINED 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, twitter and Facebook.

 

Cover Reveal! RUINED by Marian Cheatham

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

image

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!

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:
WOULD YOU RISK YOUR LIFE FOR JUST ONE DAY OF FREEDOM?

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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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

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Cover Reveal! EASTLAND by Marian Cheatham

Eastland

by Marian Cheatham

Coming 2/14/14

Would you risk your life for just one day of freedom?

Book 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 PhotoAbout 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.

Catch up with Marian on her blog, Goodreads and Facebook.

I’ll be blogging a review for this book later in the month, so stay tuned! And, as always, keep reading my friends!