Friday, 31 May 2013


I can blame the sun. I can blame the very small amount of Pina Colada I had. I can blame it on the deliriously    blissful feeling of not being at work. But in all honesty....

...there is just no way I can deny someone a book.

The goal of this giveaway was to have more people read these amazing books by +Jenn Cooksey , +Katja Millay, and Priscilla Glenn.

So if you named a book, you get that book. If you named a book and 'shared', you get all 5 (unless you've read one of them, in which case let me know which ones you still need). If you didn't name a book but 'shared', you get all 5.

If your name is on this list, please email me at and let me know which format you would like, and which of the 5 books you would like (only for those who specifically mentioned a book AND 'shared'). I'm on vacation right now, but I will get you your prizes as soon as I get your info.

  • i*Heart*BigBooks - The Sea of Tranquility + The Other Fish in the Sea - KINDLE or KOBO (need email)
  • Vanessa - All 5 KINDLE or KOBO (PG's only on KINDLE) (need email)
  • Jennifer Kilner - The Sea of Tranquility - KINDLE or KOBO  (need email)
  • Kimberly Perry - The Sea of Tranquility - KINDLE or KOBO  (need email)
  • teena3940 - Back to You - KINDLE (need email)
  • Jenny Dauksa Scheber - Emanciating Andie - KINDLE
  • Lagina Reese - Back to You - KINDLE 
  • OpinonatedReader - Shark Bait - KINDLE or KOBO (need email)
  • Jenny @ Book Sojourner - The Other Fish in the Sea - KINDLE or KOBO  (need email)
  • HMitch76 - The Other Fish in the Sea - KINDLE
  • Gudelia - Emanciapting Andie - KINDLE
  • Cristina A - Back to You -KINDLE (need email)
  • Zitarva - Back to You - KINDLE (need email)
  • Zombie Runner - The Sea of Tranquility - KINDLE or KOBO  (need email)
  • Stefany T - Shark Bait (need email) BUT SHARED
  • misshalim - The Sea of Tranquility  - KINDLE
  • Lei - The Sea of Tranquility - KINDLE (need email)
  • Nic - Emancipating Andie - KINDLE (need email)
  • Triin - Emancipating Andie - KINDLE (need email)
  • Olga - All 5 - KINDLE (need email)
  • Jenn F. - All 5 - KINDLE or KOBO  (need email)
  • Karen Hambly - The Sea of Tranquility -  KINDLE or KOBO (need email)

Thursday, 23 May 2013


These are some of my favourite books, and quite honestly, I don't think enough people have read them. So in hopes of making this world a better place and sharing the awesomeness that is these 3 authors, I'm giving away their books.

Winners will be picked at random on May 29th, so spread the word and good luck to everyone!

Up for Grabs:
3 ebook copies of Shark Bait (GYP #1) on either Kindle or Kobo
3 ebook copies of The Other Fish in the Sea (GYP #2) on either Kindle or Kobo
3 ebook copies of The Sea of Tranquility on either Kindle or Kobo
3 ebook copies of Back to You on Kindle
3 ebook copies of Emancipating Andie on Kindle
1 complete set of all 5 books

What you have to do:
- for a chance to win 1 of 3 copies of any of the above, just leave a comment with which book you'd like to have
- for a chance to win 1 set of all 5 books, just 'share' this GIVEAWAY on either Twitter or Facebook

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Other Fish in the Sea by Jenn Cooksey

Trying to write out cohesive thoughts about this book on a Saturday morning at 6:45am without coffee might be dicey. But it’s the book’s fault I’m not firing on all cylinders because I was up all night thinking about it.

It might be because Crazy Stupid Love is playing in the background, but the only thing I can really say that might give you an indication of how great this book is would be to compare it to falling in love (corny yes, but hear my argument before *ewwing* it).

If you read this book, you know it’s the follow-up to Shark Bait. That book was like love at first sight; one of those spectacular, yet rare things that people always talk about, but few actually experience. It's the moment when something so consuming takes your breath away and knocks you on your ass. You’re not the same after it and pray to the heavens that your soul doesn’t get crushed in the aftermath.

The Other Fish in the Sea is like discovering all the reasons that actually caused you to fall in love, and realizing that though not everything is rainbows and lollipops, what you left in that first instance is wholly substantiated.

I was so consumed by the stories of all the individual characters. Some of what I read only confirmed my earlier suspicions, while other parts made me want to shake some sense into a few kids.

As I was nearing the end, the stars weren’t lining up for me. It felt like a bomb had gone off and my entire reading world was in disarray. Staring at the second-last page on my ereader, I let out a long string of expletives, hoping they’d make their way to California.

You’re one French fry short of a Happy Meal if you don’t read this book! And two short of a Happy Meal if you don’t like it (I can’t take all the credit for this last part – I only built on the existing words of a genius).
I wrote this on Saturday morning without caffeine. I'm only posting it now because 1. I needed to read it with coffee pumping through my system and 2. I enjoyed the long-weekend (Victoria Day in Canada).

Unbeautifully by Madeline Sheehan

I started Unbeautifully while on a train to the city. At the end of Chapter One, I felt compelled to ask the author if her intention was to give people heart attacks. She LOL’d me. That’s the author for you, and in all honesty, I wouldn’t want it any differently.

I finally finished the book on Monday morning, and was left reeling for the rest of the day. Thank god for Canadian long-weekends, because I was not composed enough to deal with the after-effects of this book at work.

And here’s a spoiler...

Even though I was very happy with how the story concluded, getting there did a number on my psyche. There were many moments of ‘you have got to be shitting me!’ followed by tears. I also screamed ‘agh’ a lot. At one point my 4-year old asked me if he needed to go and get daddy.

Even though Frankie was no longer alive, his ghost continued to torment the people who were directly affected by all of his craziness. Ripper (both figuratively and literally) lost a part himself at the hands of the psycho, and Danny was living in the chaos between Deuce and Eva as a result of Frankie’s brutality.

This was not an easy book to read. It was absolutely raw with emotion, and even though there were some easy-going moments, the roller coaster ride that the book took me on was exhausting. I felt such sadness for everyone as they were coming to terms with what happened and how to keep going. Even though it ended the way it ended, the constant recollections of what a real bastard Frankie was drained me.

I decided that a good way to get my mind back to a happy place would be to watch an honest-to-goodness chick-flick. I was content watching my go-to movie when all of a sudden a song starts to play and WHAM! I’m back to being emotionally unstable. It took me a moment to realize that it was the song that was causing this madness.

If you’ve ever listened to Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars and have coincidentally read this book, I hope you understand me when I say that song is Ripper and Danny. Hell, it could even be Eva and Deuce. The sheer agony that translated through the eerie harmonies and the desolation of the lyrics are so beautiful that I actually pictured this as the anthem to the entire book series.

True to the author’s word, this was not just the story of Ripper and Danny. +Madeline Sheehan weaved the main characters from Undeniable into this story with such utter perfection, while still giving Ripper and Danny their own moment under the sun. I’m not sure that those two would have gotten together had all that was Undeniable not happened. There are several silver linings to the horror that everyone endured, and I think Ripper and Danny together is one of them.

This book (or Undeniable for that matter) is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s not cute little fuzzy kittens and it sure as shit isn’t sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s gut-wrenchingly honest, and all-consuming. There isn’t anything ‘un’ about how beautiful this story is.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Shark Bait by Jenn Cooksey

If this part actually ends up in the review, then it needs to be noted that it took 45 minutes to actually get to this point. I’m completely senseless over this book. I love this book like I love Cadbury Mini-eggs, a gift-card to Chapters, or even long-weekends. Shark Bait it better than snickerdoodles!

I had no idea that this book was going to be set in high school. For those of you who have already mentally ‘passed’ on this story because of the aforementioned, YOU SUCK!

Other then its setting, all you really need to know is that 1. There are two sisters who have been home schooled all their lives and are now going to public school for the first time; 2. Tristan is still technically jail bait in this novel (for the female readers who want to ‘swoon’ over him); and 3. Know your baseball rules.

Shark Bait is one of the funniest stories I’ve EVER read. All the characters are so lovable, even the ones you really want to hate. Combine that with dialogue that is sharp and comical, and you have a book that is PURE GENIUS.

I’ve read stories where the characters are in the same age group as those in Shark Bait. Some of them are really good, but then you get others where everything a character does manages to grate your last nerve because they are either whiny, dull, or shallow (even worse when it's all three). Not once during Shark Bait did I want to inflict bodily harm on this clever, intelligent bunch of kids. I was so impressed by the writing that I’d even read recipe cards by this author – and I don’t even cook!

Truth by Aleatha Romig

As I started reading the second book, my only thoughts were that Deuce (with his Horsemen) and Horse (with his Reapers) would be able to take care of Tony no problem. Seriously, why hasn’t anyone called them? I’m sure if they would have teamed up for that venture because this pretty-boy REALLY needed to be taken care of, if you get what I mean.

One of the first things that changed for me was that I almost instantly loved Claire. This ‘new’ version was (and I can only assume) what she was like BT (Before Tony). Though Tony tried his damnedest to extinguish that spark, it soon became evident that hell has no fury like Claire Nichols scorned. She had a good plan, had every intention to follow-through, and god knows she tried. Even though she came out fighting with everything she had, Tony was just that much better.

The moment I realized I didn’t want Tony buried in a concrete foundation or ‘accidentally’ shot to death, I began to question my sanity. I was seriously considering voluntarily checking myself into a psyche-ward. How in the name of all that is holy did I go from despising Anthony Rawlings (and all the associated lunacy that was Consequences) to actually liking him?

I hope I don’t get angry words sent my way, but I never saw Claire with Harry. In the beginning of their ‘relationship’, I had moments of “well, they would be nice together.” Those soon vanished and I realized that Claire only belonged with Tony – not to Tony, but with him; the 'new' Claire, who has the ability to bring the all-powerful Mr. Rawlings to his knees. Don’t get me wrong – I’d still like to put him in front of a firing squad for all the bull-s*** craziness he did, but the HEA-fiend in me would toss him a bullet-proof vest. If he survives, he’s managed to prove that he’s worthy of forgiveness.

Claire is definitely the heroine that I always believed her to be capable of being. Because a certain narcissistic, control freak a**hole (though he’s now trying to reform his ways so let’s give him some credit) forced her hand, Claire has now become vengeful, manipulative, and deceitful. It would almost be tragic that it appears as though she has moved onto the dark side if it didn’t play out with such hilarity. Watching her try to take down Tony and navigate through his minions at the same time is immensely comical.

Some readers might have seen what happened towards the end coming a mile away. I was blissfully unaware, and really enjoyed the build-up with the sneak peaks into the past.

While I really like Consequences, I LOVED Truth. It had the perfect mix of suspense, romance, and debauchery, that when brought together, made for a fantastic extension of the first book.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Consequences by Aleatha Romig

If you’ve read this book, you’ll probably wonder what the hell is wrong with me for thinking that this book was going to a run-of-the mill contemporary romance. Here are my excuses: I had no idea who the author was until I met her in March at the Boston Author Event (I'm fairly new to this indie-author scene); even after I purchased the book, I didn’t read the back, and I sure as hell didn’t read any reviews.

This book is a mind-f***, wrapped up in a shit-storm, sprinkled with a lot of crazy! And that’s the mildest term I could think of. It started out innocently enough. I even remember thinking ‘aww - it’s really sweet that he’s so persistent’. Right. Because I’m sure the argument can me made that even Hannibal Lecter had his decent moments in the beginning. Anthony Rawlings is the epitome of everything women are ever warned against, but he’s able to keep up appearances by maintaining a perfect facade.

There are moments when all seems better with their world, and I momentarily hoped that Tony would turn out to be some prince charming and his bat-shit-craziness would all be explained away by a debilitating medical condition. I would have even taken split-personalities. But no; just your everyday billionaire psychopath.

As much as I want to volunteer Tony as a target at a shooting-range, Claire had me wanting to claw my eyes out. In the beginning, she seemed like a strong, resilient individual. Even through everything she was enduring, the reader was able to see that the spark she was trying to contain was still there. My issue was that if you’re going to devote yourself to your captor, then don’t have moments of defiance that only end up detonating a cluster-f*** around you. I understand the first time, but there has to come a moment when you just have to survive, and not give the slightest bit of ammunition to someone who’s a loaded gun.

As I’m reading, my mind is screaming RUN! She never did. And then the internal battle would always begin:

first half of me: for the love of god woman, JUST RUN!
other half: you moron, she’s not going to run
first half: why the hell not?
other half: she’s probably afraid that if Tony finds her, he’ll chop her into pieces
first half: *sobbing*

Even just reading the words consequences, rules, and appearances has me trying to keep the bile from rising.

I’m reading on public transit as she’s grabbing the keys and in that moment, I pray I have a plastic bag in case I throw-up. The anxiety was all-consuming. I break out in a light sweat and the part of my brain that’s trying to salvage my sanity is telling me I need to stop. But I don’t. The way that Claire’s world began to fall apart during the joy-ride was nothing short of beautiful is the most perverse way (one would think that some sociopath SOB choreographed the entire thing...).

I wish I could say that the end was an absolute surprise, but I had a feeling it was heading in that direction. When all is said and done, I can’t decide who I hate more. Claire for not running, Anthony for scaring the bejeesus out of me with his incessant ways of controlling Claire, or Aleatha Romig for making me jump at the slightest beep. Pavlov would have a field day with how some readers still react to this book.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again - hating characters in a book is an absolute compliment to a writer. It mean that the reader connected to them on an emotional level. It means that the characters were written in such a way that the reader had no choice but to feel something. It’s far worse to be indifferent because then nothing about the story was worth remembering.

Case in point - some of the awful characters in this book are what make this a really good book.

Left Drowning (ARC) by Jessica Park

Received an ARC; gave my honest opinion.

If I wanted to become an author, this is the caliber of writing I would aspire to. As a reader, Left Drowning is the reason I read; the reason I neglect my housework, deprive myself of sleep, and buy a stupid number of the same paperbacks.

This review might contain some spoilers, but I tried to be as vague with the characters as possible. That was hard because this book had me laughing and crying. It's really hard to say "BELIEVE ALL THE HYPE" and not give the whole thing away. Through Ms. Park's ability to write an amazing and captivating story, it made me consider God, love, family, and hope.

The beginning of this beautiful story permeated desolation. I have no idea how this author has such an innate ability to write depression nor do I care. Knowing these trade-secrets would almost be blasphemous.

The reader is first introduced to the main character in what could later be described as the turning point of her emotional bottom. Though the character can very well use a therapist, a prescription of antidepressants, and normal social interactions, her self-awareness is uncanny and gives the reader hope that there is an end to her self-imposed social exile.

After meeting a coffee-thief, the clouds seem to dissipate a bit for the main character. Unfortunately, in this moment of just maybe also came my moment of despair. Even through all the coffee-thief’s bravado, I can sense that not all is as it seems and my heart breaks immediately. In the first instance of meeting this thief, I fell for him hook, line, and sinker. I have no idea who this person is, and my soul is already shattered for him.

In that moment the coffee-thief seems to provide possibility of ‘more’, but it still isn’t enough. I can sense that the frail threads that are the main character are still loosening themselves. And it takes a stone-thrower to pull the few loose ends.

The life-altering tragedy of what happened to the main character and the way she unravels is so poetic that I was actually expecting an iambic pentameter somewhere in the midst of all the emotional brutality. After the gut-wrenching beat-down, it’s evident that the threads were suffocating her to the brink of nonexistence. With the help of the stone-thrower, she’s able to breathe.

About half way through, my hands begin to shake. I notice that I’m sweating, and the part of my brain that’s trying to protect my heart is telling me to put the book down. PUT THE FUCKING BOOK DOWN! It’s like having the ability to see three seconds into the future; just enough time to know, but not enough time to do anything about it. The stone-thrower is tearing my mending heart into a gazillion pieces. By the next chapter, I’m fighting nausea, wiping my tears and my snotty nose with my sleeve. There is nothing I can do to stop the destruction that’s about to occur, and I know this will only get worse.

But eventually it does get better. The main character has the unconditional love of the soccer player she reconnected with, the waitress she adores, the devoted study partner, and the coffee-thief who is the platonic love of her life.

But my original distress comes back with a vengeance and incapacitates me like a bullet through my guts.

The world of the coffee-thief, the waitress, the study partner, and the stone-thrower has been so damaged that the main character’s tragedy for a moment pales in comparison. It makes one want to inflict pain on those who wronged them regardless of their fictional status. It makes one want to take a black Sharpie and remove any mention of them. The one who wronged them is also the one that keeps everyone together and that is their only saving grace.

This is a story about bearing crosses that are too big for any one to carry alone. It’s a story about believing in the ability to just believe. It’s about love, and knowing that no matter how it’s done, it’s all-consuming and unconditional. It’s about hope for one day....

Simply, it’s a magnificent piece of fiction - one that transcends all genres.