Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Friday, June 22, 2018

"Love Me, Love Me Not" by S. M. Coz

Love Me, Love Me Not
by S. M. Coz

Love Me, Love Me Not by S. M. Coz

Love Me, Love Me Not by S. M. Coz is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Family, abandonment, and forbidden romance are at the core of S. M. Koz’s powerful and emotionally charged novel about a teen who falls for her foster brother.
When Hailey Brown is removed from her home and put into foster care, all she wants is a safe, comfortable place where she can finish school and move on with her life. It’s not easy adjusting to a new school and a new life, but Mr. and Mrs. Campbell and their teenage son, Brad, welcome Hailey with open arms.
As Hailey begins to adjust to her new life, she and Brad grow closer. For the first time, Hailey feels like she might have a real shot at a future. Soon, however, Hailey realizes her relationship with Brad has crossed the line from friendship into something more. But being with Brad would mean giving up the perfect life that Hailey has waited so long to have.
Can Hailey and Brad resist the feelings that are developing between them - or will they risk it all to be together?
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, S. M. Koz delivers a powerful debut about the ups and downs of being a foster child.

“Hailey Marie Brown, what am I going to do with you,” Sherry says, shaking her head. She’s my social worker and was not at all happy about being woken up in the middle of the night to remove me from another foster home.
I stare at the dotted yellow lines in the road as we travel through rural North Carolina, so I don’t have to see any more disappointment on her face. I’ve known Sherry for a couple years and we’ve grown fairly close in that time. She came out to visit me and my mom on her very first day on the job and has been checking up on us regularly. She’s also the one who finally removed me from that home three days ago. For that, I’ll be eternally grateful, which only worsens the guilt I feel for what I’m putting her through.
“Chase is a negative relationship. You need to start building positive relationships,” she says.
“He’s all I have.”
“You have me.”
“It’s not the same.” Chase made me feel loved when no one else did. He came into my life when I needed him most. He’s not perfect, but who is?
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“I loved this book! Growing up as a foster sibling, I understand how skeptical a family can be. Hailey's history is real and true.” ~ LydiaBeach, reader on
“I love how I could feel every emotion through the author’s words. I wouldn’t change anything about the book. It's an amazing book and I would recommend it to anyone!” ~ AnnaBanana, reader on
“I love this book! It was so cute yet full of suspense. There were many heated scenes and oh-my-gosh moment, too!” ~ Tay, reader on
“This book was amazing! I loved reading about Brad and Hailey, it's such a beautiful book with real life problems. I can't wait to read more about them two.” ~ WattPadBai, reader on
"Love this book! Gripping and pulls at the heart strings.” ~ R. Turner, reader on

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Hailey is sent to a new foster home and has to finish her senior year in a new high school and make new friends. Her new family seems perfect, and her foster brother Brad is hot. But her boyfriend is starting to show his true colors, and they’re not pretty. Will he ruin everything for her? Or will she ruin everything all by herself with the inappropriate feelings she has for Brad?
The story is told in the first person present tense from Hailey’s point-of-view. We get to experience all of the highs and lows of Hailey’s life. We root for her but cringe at some of the decisions she makes. Even though I love Brad, how can any seventeen-year-old be so perfect? The supporting characters are great, too, with Michelle playing the part of the typical mean girl.
A light romance with some serious issues thrown into the mix.
Warnings: coarse language, child abuse, drug references, sex scenes (not graphic).

About the Author
S. M. Koz
S. M. Koz is a medical writer from North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and numerous pets. She has a BS in Biology from Duke University and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, photographing nature and her family, gardening, travelling, and attempting, usually unsuccessfully, to decorate birthday cakes. Love Me, Love Me Not is her first traditionally published novel.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of Love Me, Love Me Not by S. M. Coz (US/Canada only).


Friday, June 15, 2018

"Love Scene, Take Two" by Alex Evansley

Love Scene, Take Two
by Alex Evansley

Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley

Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Debut author Alex Evansley delivers a sweet summer romance in this inventive novel about a young heartthrob and teen author falling in love.
Teddy Sharpe is kind of famous. He might actually be on his way to being really famous, especially if he’d nailed an audition for the lead role in the movie adaption of the newest bestselling young adult book series. There’s just one problem: He totally blew the audition. And he’s stuck in a tiny North Carolina airport. And his maybe-ex-girlfriend kind of just broke up with him.
The weekend isn’t exactly looking good until Bennett Caldwell, author of the very book series he just auditioned for, takes pity on him and invites him to her family’s lake house. Away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood for a few days, Teddy starts to relax ... and somehow he and Bennett just click. But dating is hard enough when you aren’t the subject of several dozen fanblogs, and the Internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy and Bennett ... gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Alex Evansley’s debut novel, written from both Bennett and Teddy’s perspectives, will have teens laughing, swooning, and falling in love along with these fantastically relatable characters.

Chapter One
There are few things in life of which Teddy Sharpe is absolutely certain, and he’s absolutely certain this audition is going to be a train wreck.
At least, that’s what’s running through his head when he bursts through the front doors of one of LA’s fanciest office buildings, scaring the receptionist and a security guard half to death along the way. Teddy’s had to run into last-minute auditions before, yeah, but never one he learned about an hour ahead of time. Never one he’s had to go into completely blind because he hasn’t seen the script yet. And certainly never one that could launch his acting career into the stratosphere. He’s a little on edge.
“You said you’re here for the Parachutes auditions?” the receptionist asks, pulling her hand away from the button that releases the lobby’s turnstile to smooth her hair. She looks unnervingly like Jennifer Coolidge. “Call times for those auditions started at seven a.m. I’m sorry, I can’t let you up if you missed—”
“I just got the call from the casting director an hour ago,” Teddy rushes out, a little out of breath and holding up his phone. It doesn’t help that he came straight here from an early morning shoot for his TV show. He’s been awake since midnight and probably looks as cracked out on caffeine as he sounds. “She said if I get here by nine, I can have the last slot of the day.”
The receptionist looks unconvinced. “That’s not how things are run—”
“I know,” Teddy cuts her off again, then tries to cushion it with a smile. He gives her both the casting director’s and the director’s names. “My booking agent’s been trying to schedule an audition time for me all week that works around my current film schedule. We just confirmed it this morning.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Sweet, intelligent, charming Teddy and accomplished, smart Bennett suffer all the drama and angst of young love, complicated by celebrity status and the power of social media. Romance lovers and readers fascinated with Hollywood life (on and off set) should enjoy this flirty, of-the-moment, tale.” ~ Publishers Weekly
“Bennett and Teddy’s romance is full of fun and flirty banter, chemistry, misunderstandings and miscommunications, and dealing with fame and gossip ... This new adult/older YA title is the perfect summer novel for fans of Jennifer E. Smith, Jenny Han, and Morgan Matson.” ~ School Library Journal
“A modern, cool, lovable story that easily makes you swoon.” ~ SofiaTypes, reader on
“From the awkward jokes and heartwarming scenes to the drama and the heartbreak this story had me laughing and crying.” ~ Basicgrill, reader on
“This book was utterly amazing. I've reread it multiple time at this point and to me it's almost a comfort. The writing is luscious, gripping and intriguing, the arc and plotting of the story is done beautifully and the characters were so real and honest. ... I cannot help but compare it to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, another one of my favorite books.” ~ PriyaWrites, reader on

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Teddy is a rising young star who has just auditioned for the movie role of his lifetime – and blown it. On his flight home, he meets Bennett, the young author of the book the movie is based on and somehow manages to get himself invited to stay at her lake house for a few days. While his manager thinks it’s a good opportunity for networking, Teddy finds himself thinking of other things entirely. Throw into the mix a jealous cousin and her star-struck brother, and it’s beginning to look like a fun weekend! Then, add one ex-not-ex-girlfriend, a shared movie set, and a publicity stunt, and things are starting to get even more complicated. Misunderstandings abound. Will this cute couple ever end up together - for real?
Even though Teddy and Bennett are both famous in their own right, they are really just people like us. I love Teddy’s humor and immaturity and Bennett’s vulnerability and insecurity. They are both extremely likable, cute, and funny. And they make the perfect couple. The author has a real talent for portraying the dialogue and behavior of these 18- to 20-year-olds, probably because she is one herself.
The first half of the story is told from Teddy’s point-of-view, followed by Bennett’s point-of-view during the filming of the movie. I enjoyed the first part so much more than the second. The author has chosen to use third person present tense, which feels a bit awkward. It would have been better written in the first person or third person past tense.
An impressive debut by a talented young author.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, underage drinking.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“That’s exactly what you are: a portable romantic comedy.”
“God, catching feelings for someone is a fucking nightmare.”
“Bennett’s entire train of thought derails.”
“I can literally hear your brain freaking out right now.”

About the Author
Alex Evansley
Alex Evansley is a twenty-something-year-old writer from North Carolina. Her specialized talents include putting on workout clothes and not working out, sleeping during the day, losing socks, and procrastinating stories she’d like to write. Love Scene, Take Two is her debut novel.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to a print copy of Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley (US/Canada only).


Saturday, June 9, 2018

"Nightmare’s Eve" by Stephen H. Provost

Nightmare’s Eve
by Stephen H. Provost

Nightmare’s Eve by Stephen H. Provost

Nightmare’s Eve by Stephen H. Provost is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

A collection of 16 short stories and 10 dark poems in the tradition of The Twilight Zone.
Trapped for eight centuries in a space no larger than a shoebox. What would you do to escape? How far would you go to rid yourself of that parasite in your brain that feeds off the worst of your nightmares? What if the person closest to you were fated to die – and you were powerless to stop it?
What if your savior were also your greatest fear? Would you trade years of your life for a chance at redemption? Would you slay or spare the dragon whose eyes gaze up at you pleadingly in the final moments of its life?
These are the questions that run through the mind when twilight fades and eyelids grow heavy. Fight the onset of sleep. Thrash beneath the covers in futile defiance of what lies beyond. This is the between-time of Nightmare’s Eve, those brief but lingering moments between the waking world and the abyss. It will have you. It’s only a matter of time.

Excerpt from “A Deal in the Dark”
Can you leave the light on, Andy?”
Andy poked his head back around the corner and shook it slightly. “The doc says that won’t help you sleep. You need your rest, Jen.”
“I know, but …”
“No buts.”
Jenny fixed her attention on the sliver of light that was bleeding into her room from out in the hallway. It seemed like a lifeline. This insomnia had been plaguing her for weeks now, and she did need her sleep. But she didn’t need the panic attacks that hit her whenever the room went pitch black. She hadn’t been afraid of the dark since she was a child, when her parents had bought that nightlight for her to reassure her there weren’t any monsters lurking in the blackness, waiting to emerge when it was safe. When she couldn’t see them. Couldn’t find them. Couldn’t catch them to put them back where they belonged in the part of her mind where they no longer existed.
Her parents had told her that’s where they really were.
“It’s all in your mind,” Mom had said. “There’s nothing here that can hurt you.”
She’d always remembered that. It had been reassuring at the time, but the more she thought about it, as she’d grown older, the more troubling it seemed. She could escape a monster that was
hiding in the closet; but if it had taken up residence in her mind …
how could she escape that?
Andy was a lot like her Mom that way. He had always been protective of his kid sister, always trying to reassure her that there was nothing wrong — make her think everything was going to be just fine.
Make. Her. Think.
Think the way he wanted her to think. It was just a trick, she thought to herself. She remembered Halloween night, when she was six years old. “Go to sleep, why don’t you?” he’d said, impatient and demanding. He was three years older than she was, so she’d closed her eyes. But she hadn’t gone to sleep right away. She’d heard someone rustling around in the plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy she’d left on the floor beside her bed, and in the morning, that candy had been gone.
“You sure you’ll be okay?” Andy said, lingering in the doorway.
What was he going to steal from her now?
“Please, just leave the light on, Andy. Or leave the door open, at least?”
He smiled that same smile he had always smiled at her. It magnified the mocking regret that leaked through his teeth in his too- apologetic tone. “I know what’s good for you better than you do,” it seemed to say. Why did he have to be so self-righteous?
“Sorry, Jenny Penny,” he said, using the nickname he’d had for her since they were kids. “Can’t do that. Doctor’s orders.”
I shouldn’t have come here, she told herself.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“The genres in this volume span horror, fantasy, and science-fiction, and each is handled deftly. ... Nightmare's Eve should be on your reading list. The stories are at the intersection of nightmare and lucid dreaming, up ahead a signpost ... next stop, your reading pile. Keep the nightlight on.” ~ R.B. Payne, Cemetery Dance
“Brace yourself. Your nightmares are about to get a whole lot darker. Stephen H. Provost pulls you into a place where reality, imagination, and fear play a brutal game of tug-of-war with your sanity. Keep the lights on, this book should come with a warning label to never read it in the dark.” ~ Vanta M. Black, author of Oubliette - A Forgotten Little Place
“Provost sticks mostly to the classics: vampires, ghosts, aliens, and even dragons. But trekking familiar terrain allows the author to subvert readers' expectations. ... Provost's poetry skillfully displays the same somber themes as the stories. ... Worthy tales that prove external forces are no more terrifying than what's inside people's heads.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“Stephen H. Provost has nightmares to sell. But be wary, this is no ordinary merchant of dark dreams. These are tales and poems of every sort from a writer to watch, from stories of redemption to those of love, vengeance, and damnation - or a frightful combination of all three. Sample his wares, but beware, many of these nightmares will stay with you long after the book is put aside.” ~ Mark Onspaugh, author of The Faceless One and Deadlight Jack
“Having thoroughly enjoyed Provost's debut novel, Memortality, I was quite eager to read his foray into short stories. Nightmare's Eve didn't disappoint. It's an enjoyably surreal, spooky peek into the things that keep us up at night, and it further solidifies the author's place among fiction's up-and-comers. Stephen Provost is the real deal.” ~ David McAfee, bestselling author of 33 A.D.

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
This is a collection of sixteen stories and ten poems centered mostly on the themes of nightmares and death. They cover various genres, including time travel, science fiction, paranormal, and fairy tales. Some are contemporary, while others are futuristic, historical, medieval, or gothic. So, something for everyone. Each piece is accompanied by a beautiful black and white illustration that gives the whole volume a vintage feel and makes me want to own the paperback version of this book. While some of the stories are a bit predictable, they are all well-written, although there are some editing errors and one major continuity issue (the armchair in “Virulent”).
In “A Deal in the Dark”, strange things happen to Jen in the dark. Is her brother behind it all or is it something more sinister?
In “Will to Live”, a man is stuck in a recurring nightmare.
“Just the Ticket” shows us that you should never make a bargain with the devil.
“Turn Left on Dover”: What would you do if you could go back in time?
In “Mama”, we are left to wonder if the pendulum’s predictions will come true.
“Breaking the Cycle”: How far would you go to end the nightmares?
In “Virulent”, there is a virus on Mars, but not the type you might expect.
In “Anatomy of a Vampire”, a group of anatomy students gets an unusual anatomy lesson.
“The Ends of the Earth”: What happens when you build a wall to keep someone out of your town?
“The Howl and the Purr”: How are cats and dogs involved in an alien invasion?
“Teeth”: What’s worse: the nightmares or the cure?
“The Faithful Dog” is a cautionary tale about seeing what you want to see, regardless of the truth.
“Lamp Unto My Fate”: What would you wish for if you freed a genie?
After reading “Nightmare’s Eve”, you’ll never look at Santa the same way again.
“Stranger Than Fiction”: What would happen if everything you wrote came true?
In “George & the Dragon: The Untold Story”, a young man uncovers his family history.
“Certitude”: Only one thing is certain in life: death.
“Lost Soliloquy”: What thoughts might run through the mind of a dead man?
“Unwound” is about hiding your true feelings.
“Upon Reflection” takes a look at the role of mirrors in fairy tales.
“Merlin’s Lament” is about the May Day massacre of Arthurian legend.
In “Bleed Not”, a woman murders her lover.
In “Lost at Sea”, a man is trapped alone on board his ship, a prison of his own making.
“Torrent of Tears” deals with the struggle with mental illness.
“A Never-Setting Sun”: Would the nightmares come to an end if the sun never set?
“This Vale of Dreams” takes a look at the world of dreams.
My favorites: “Will to Live”, “Mama”, “Nightmare’s Eve”, “George & the Dragon”.
Warnings: coarse language, horror, violence.

About the Author
Stephen H. Provost
Stephen H. Provost is a veteran editor, reporter, and columnist with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers in California. He’s currently the managing editor of The Cambrian on the Central Coast, as well as a columnist and assistant city editor for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.
As an author, he has written historical nonfiction (Fresno Growing Up and Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street), novels (Memortality and Identity Break), while also exploring the realms of mythology, fable, and ancient history.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Nightmare’s Eve by Stephen H. Provost (open internationally).