Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014


This is my yearly post listing the top ten books that I read for the year. Not books that were published this year, but ones that I read this year. They are in an order this time, even though it was very difficult to choose.  Enjoy!!

 

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6588662-the-help 

 

2. Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16069167-fire-flood 

 

3. The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10027388-the-twin-s-daughter

 

4. How To Be Alone poem by Tanya Davis, illustrations by Andrea Dorfman 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17331484-how-to-be-alone

 

5. 5 Centimeters per Second story by Makoto Shinka, art by Yukiko Seike 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13153400-5-centimeters-per-second

 

6. Flaw (Flaw Series #1) by Ryan Ringbloom
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20569731-flaw 

 

7. Panic (Flaw Series #2) by Ryan Ringbloom 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21942338-panic 

 

8. Wait (Fast Series #2) by Ryan Ringbloom
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18621146-wait 

 

9. Fast (Fast Series #1) by Ryan Ringbloom
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18404404-fast 

 

10. Beneath the Layers (Beneath the Layers #1) by Mia Rivers 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23365843-beneath-the-layers 
{Expected Publication February 2015} 

There is the list!! My top ten books of 2014. What were your top books of 2014? I'd love to know. Let me know in the comments!! And have a happy and safe new year's eve!! :) 

Three Year Blog Anniversary Giveaway Closed!!

Hi!! This is just a quick announcement that my giveaway is now closed and the winners will be chosen by midnight tonight (Eastern Standard Time) by Rafflecopter. Have fun and be safe tonight everyone!! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

I just want to drop in to do a quick Waiting on Wednesday post. There is not a cover yet or an official synopsis, but this book is coming out sometime in 2015 and I can't wait!! :) Merry Christmas Eve!! <3

 

Title: Bad Road (Living Heartwood #4)
Author: Trisha Wolfe
Release Date: 2015

GoodReads Blurb: Jesse's story. From Prospect to MC legend. When you ride hard, the bad road doesn't stand a chance. 

I can't wait for this one!! :) 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review ~ Panic (Flaw Series #2) by Ryan Ringbloom

 

Title: Panic (Flaw Series #2) 
Author: Ryan Ringbloom
Release Date: May 7th 2014
Published By: Ryan Ringbloom
Page Amount: 416 Pages, Paperback

GoodReads Blurb: 
There are always two stories.

Robin fell in love with Kent, the boy next door, a long time ago. Once their romance is rekindled, getting married and starting a family seems like the obvious next step. But fate throws a wrench in that plan. Now Robin is tempted to walk away from their relationship rather than settle for anything less than perfect with the man she loves. 

Bailey is certainly not the boy next door, yet Shayna fell for his well-played act. But real love only exists in the movies. When a chance encounter binds them together, Shayna finds herself relying on Bailey more than she could ever have expected. And while their resources are slim and their circumstances are far from perfect, she and Bailey slowly discover that they do have something special to give…. 

When things don’t go exactly as planned, it’s hard not to PANIC. 

MATURE CONTENT Strong Language/Sexual situation

Review:
I can't believe that I read this book in August. I am really behind on my reviews. 

I loved seeing all of the characters from Fast come back in the first half of this book. Especially after that ending in Fast. And from reading Fast I already knew the characters pretty well so it was like seeing old friends after a long time. I laughed aloud at some things that were just so "them", it was great. 

I feel as if this is the type of the story where I can't reveal very much of the plot to you. It's better to go into it not knowing. But I really enjoyed this book a lot. I liked all of the characters and could understand them all. I liked seeing the romances in the story. And the way that the two stories come together at the end was truly beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. This is definitely one not to be missed. 

4.5 stars! 



Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Blitz ~ Compulsion by Martina Boone

 

 

COMPULSION (HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND, BOOK 1) 
Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse 
Hardcover, 10/28/14 ISBN: 1481411225

Summary from Goodreads:
Three plantations. Two gifts. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who somehow seems to know what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.


Buy Compulsion
Compulsion is available anywhere books are sold. Signed copies are available from One More Page Books. You can also order with the special “I have a Compulsion for reading” bookplate from Eight Cousins.

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Walmart | Target | Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

 


About the Author
 
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a Tumblr site devoted to news, giveaways, and insider secrets of much-loved and up-and-coming YA series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.


GIVEAWAY:

Book Blitz Organized by:
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Three Year Blog Anniversary Giveaway!!

Woohoo!! Let's celebrate!! Today, which happens to be Thanksgiving in the US, I have had this blog for three years. I can not believe that I have successfully kept up a blog for three years. I have a confession to make, I had tried before this one, but those other blogs never took. No, you will never see them. Ever. Sorry. This blog, however, has been going strong for three years. Sometimes it was going stronger than other times, but I never gave up on it. And I'm so glad, because I love it. I love blogging and I love the community I ended up becoming a part of. I've made some great friends through blogging and author street teams, etc. Not too far away from now, I'm going to be getting this blog redone.... surprise!! I've already seen an initial design and really love it but it will be a little longer before the new design is up and running. For now, I am celebrating this. Three years of blogging. And to celebrate, I want to give things away to you!!

I got some good prizes gathered up for this giveaway thanks to some awesome friends. This giveaway is going to have four winners, so I'm really excited about that. I think that there are some great things in this giveaway so you should most definitely check it out. Not only are there e-books and Amazon gift cards, but there is a pack of notecards with my original photography on them + a swag pack and a handmade necklace and earring set (seen below). I thought that having an awesome giveaway for all of you was the perfect way to celebrate!! Plus, this giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!! This giveaway will run from today, November 27th 2014 to December 4th 2014, closing at 11:59 pm on that day. One more thing, the rafflecopter only gives the option to visit Facebook pages now, but we would all really, reallllly, appreciate it if you liked our pages. Thank you so much!! Okay, go forth and enter the three year blog anniversary giveaway!! :D



GIVEAWAY!!


Necklace & Earring Set from DottieJewelry:
 

Good luck, guys!! And if you celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving!! :) 

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Upcoming Book is Now on GoodReads!!

Hello all!! 

I just wanted to make a quick announcement. I've been talking about my upcoming book, My Heart is Yours, for a while now. It won't be releasing in February of next year like I was hoping but it will be releasing next year. When I know the date I will definitely announce it. 

But for now, I wanted to let you know that My Heart is Yours is now up on GoodReads for you to add to your To Read list if you are so inclined. ;) I don't have the final cover yet, but I'll also let you know when I have that. Okay, so here is the link: 


Thank you!! :) 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Three Year Blog Anniversary is Coming Up Next Week!!

On November 27th I will have had this blog for three years! I've been successfully keeping up a blog for three years, I can't believe it! So this year I'm deciding to do a giveaway. I've gotten some friends to donate prizes for this year. On the list is: 

Ryan Ringbloom - a $10 Amazon giftcard


Cindy Ray Hale - an e-copy of her book Destiny 


Theresa Troutman - an e-copy of her book Life's What You Make It 


Trisha Wolfe - e-copies of both books in her Living Heartwood Series, The Darkest Part and Losing Track 


Jennifer Weiser - to be determined 


DottieJewelry - an earring and pendant set (photo to come) 


Me, Amanda Leigh - a pack of notecards with my original photography on it and some other various swag items. 


I haven't decided yet if I'm giving away everything to one person or if I'm going to break up the prizes into smaller prize packs. The giveaway is on Wednesday the 27th so stay tuned for when it comes up!! :) 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Blitz & Giveaway ~ Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry

 

 

Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits #1.5)
Release Date: 12/08/14
Harlequin Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry.


For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so... different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.

But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.

Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn... seriously epic.


Pre-Order Links for Breaking the Rules:

Goodreads links for the series:


Excerpt from Echo’s Point of View
It’s like watching a horror film in slow motion. She tucks her hair behind her ears, gives Noah a hesitant smile and speaks. The girl is pretty—very pretty. I run my hand over the scars on my left arm. Sometimes I don’t understand why Noah’s with me. Especially when I’m so…
Noah answers the girl then motions at me with his chin. Both girls turn, and their faces fall. Noah waves. I wave back. Butterflies tumble in my stomach when he flashes his wicked grin.




About the Author:

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.

Author Links:

GIVEAWAY:

Book Blitz Organized by:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Blitz ~ Books, Blogs and Reality by Ryan Ringbloom!!



Books, Blogs, Reality by Ryan Ringbloom
New Adult Contemporary
Date Published: October 2014

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Life can suck…

When reality becomes overwhelming, seeking comfort in fictional fantasies keeps hope alive.  And while this escape may be a little delusional, it’s also therapeutic.

Sharing secrets is daunting, but virtual friends don’t often judge and they are always ready to share a glass of wine…or three…while typing out life’s latest endeavors.

Brooke believes obstacles only add to romance, not detract. Rachael longs for a more intense relationship, or so she thinks. Lizzie misses the excitement in her life, but sometimes new situations find you when you’re not even looking. And Jess believes a tiger can change his stripes. It can’t.

Bound by a shared passion for blogging about happily ever afters, these four young women use keyboard therapy to work through their expectations, anxieties, and inadequacies, all with the hopes of achieving the perfection found in romance novels.

Completely blinded by what they think life should be, they navigate their unique paths in search of what they envision is right. But when reality taunts them with persistent curve balls, will they be strong enough to choose wisely? Or will their happy endings escape them?


*Mature content 18+


EXCERPT


It’s not uncommon for people to have two sets of friends. The “real” friends; these are the ones who live nearby, the ones you see or talk with occasionally (less and less as time goes on). Then there are the “virtual” friends; these are the ones you talk to (well, type to) every day. The latter group comes from all over. You’ve never actually met any of them and yet you trust them with some of the deepest, most intimate thoughts and details of your life. You share way too much information and in return, they over-share way too much back.

On Brooke Bloomfield’s twenty-third birthday, she went to lunch with her real life best friend, Lauren. The two girls had a very nice time. They gossiped in between chews, catching up, because even though they lived only ten minutes away from each other, they still hadn’t seen each other in quite some time. When the bill came, Lauren grabbed it, insisting she treat Brooke on her special day. They hugged goodbye at their cars and promised to meet for lunch or a drink soon. 

Later that same night, Brooke let loose and celebrated her birthday in a much more exciting way, at a computer-generated party with her three online BF’s, Rachael-XXOO, Lizzie1214, and JessRomance93. In a relatively short time, all three of these girls had come to know more about Brooke than anyone else. 

Similar tastes in books kept connecting them through book tours and blitzes. Comments on posts and reviews turned into discussions over emails. Tweets bounced back and forth between the four of them endlessly, until one day they discovered a social website designed for readers, where they could all chat privately amongst themselves. Within no time, their virtual discussions went from benign topics such as books they all loved, hated and/or felt somewhere in between, to a hell of a lot more serious things.

It’s funny the things a person will share with people they don’t actually have to face. Like a diary into which they feed their emotions and it types back.

Brooke Bloomfield
ReaderGirlBrooke
NY  ~   Brookesbeenreading.blogspace.com
Blogger, dedicated romance reader, and reviewer. I spend a lot of time with my many fictional boyfriends. Addicted to cherry ice pops and cupcakes with pink frosting.
~
ReaderGirlBrooke: Hey guys!

Lizzie1214: Wine is open. Time to celebrate!! The big two-three!

JessRomance93: Hey, birthday girl! I just opened a beer. Does everyone have a drink now?

Rachael-XXOO: Got mine. Happy Birthday Brookey!!!  Did you get the pic of Preston’s package all wrapped up in a bow? 

ReaderGirlBrooke: Thanks guys. I just poured a glass of red. Yes, Rachael – great pic! *blushes

Rachael-XXOO: You’re not blushing. You love it. I’m sure you saved it with all the other dirty pics I send you.

Rachael-XXOO: By the way, did you guys finish Fix My Heart yet? I’m only 45% in.

ReaderGirlBrooke: Yes!! Loved! Five stars. A guy exactly like Grant is what I wished for when I blew out my birthday candles today at lunch.

Lizzie1214: I gave it five stars, too.

JessRomance93: It was good. Meh. Three stars.

ReaderGirlBrooke: Jess, are you serious? Only three stars? How did you not fall in love with Grant? He was perfect!

JessRomance93: Yeah, Grant was perfect. But a little too perfect, don’t ya think? Guys like that don’t exist.

ReaderGirlBrooke: Are you just saying that because of you-know-who?

JessRomance93: This has nothing to do with that asshole. I just thought the way Grant rescued Cassandra was a little over the top.

Rachael-XXOO: Um, hello. What part of “I haven’t finished yet” did you all not understand? Remember, we don’t discuss a book until everyone is done reading.

ReaderGirlBrooke: Sorry! We’ll stop. Just make sure to stay away from my blog until you’re done reading. My review is getting posted tonight.

Rachael-XXOO: I’m probably reading slower than usual because my own love life has been picking up lately.

JessRomance93: Nice, Rach! Do we get some dirty details later?

ReaderGirlBrooke: Wah! The only love life I have lately requires batteries.

Rachael-XXOO: Yes! I’ll give details later. And speaking of dirty details, did you get my special little birthday care package, Brooke?

ReaderGirlBrooke: Yes, but I haven’t opened it yet. I figured I’d wait till we were chatting.

Lizzie1214: Open it! Tell us what fun, twisted things Rachael sent you.

Rachael-XXOO: Yeah, go ahead and open it up, birthday girl!

ReaderGirlBrooke: HAAA! I didn’t know they made so many things in the shape of a penis. Lollipops, straws, a lipstick, pasta, and a toothbrush! OMG! Where did u find a penis toothbrush?

Rachael-XXOO: I ordered everything online. Do you like the theme??
 
ReaderGirlBrooke: I love it! Thank you!! I’m taking a pic of everything right now to send you guys.

Lizzie1214: Will you actually eat the pasta and the lollipops? I wonder what they taste like. 

JessRomance93: Ew, yuck. What do you think it tastes like? 

Rachael-XXOO: Go ahead, Brooke, try a lollipop and tell us if tastes like a pecker.

ReaderGirlBrooke: Yum. It does. ;)

About the Author
Ryan Ringbloom

Twitter: @ryanringbloom

Buy Link

GIVEAWAY
Amazon Gift Card


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review ~ Flaw (Flaw Series #1) by Ryan Ringbloom


Title: Flaw (Flaw Series #1)
Author: Ryan Ringbloom
Release Date: January 20th 2014
Published By: Ryan Ringbloom
Page Amount: 360 pages, Paperback

GoodReads Blurb:
What can be said about Josh Brewster? Nothing good, that's for sure. Just ask anyone. They'll be quick to tell you. Josh is a selfish, sweet-talking manipulator who will charm you in a minute, all the while planning his next move. He uses. He leaves. All Josh desires is things that come easy. Why actually work hard for something when you don't have to?

When Josh comes to face to face with a girl who’s doesn’t make anything easy, Josh begins questioning the game he's played so long. He’s suddenly eager to learn how to work for something he never imagined wanting. Can a player really change his ways? Better yet, will his past forgive?

Aidan Turner has had a rough life, a life that has only become harsher as he's gotten older. The scars across his face serve as a constant reminder of the haunting nightmares from his past life. Seeing himself as nothing but a monster, Aidan believes no one will ever be able to look past his flaws.
His reasoning is about to change when his very own beauty comes barreling in, sparking emotions he'd thought he'd never feel. Love sizzles between them, but his friendship with another girl complicates everything, especially after the nature of their friendship becomes confused. Will friendship overshadow his true feelings and ruin both couples’ chances at happiness?

Warning – Mature Content.

Fans of WAIT keep reading after the story ends for the bonus chapter: Tessa and Tucker – The Wait is Over.

Review:
It's a hard choice for what is my favorite in these two series of companion novels. The choice for me is between this book, Flaw, and the next book, Panic. But I think that this book has just a slight edge over Panic for me. 

I've always had this thing about understanding people; trying to figure out why they are they way that they are. In this book, I got to learn more about Josh. Who, up until now, was just the bad boy that always caused the problems. I liked that I got to know more about him, see more into his life. And yes, he ticked me off. But the thing is, he did have a lot of character development throughout the book. By the end, I even ended up liking him. 

I enjoyed the love stories in this book, as well. What was interesting about it to me, was that it was almost like a love...quandrangle, sort of. (haha). You would have to read it to understand, but I liked the dimension that it offered to the story. 

Oh and the bonus chapter was great, too. ;) 

So, I would say definitely check this one out. I gave this one 4.75 stars!! 

<3 Amanda Leigh

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cover Reveal ~ Shattered by Love (Book #3 in the Scarred by Love Series) by C.A. Harms

(Mature Content Implied)
Cover Reveal in

3


2


1

Shattered by Love
(Book #3 in the Scarred by Love Series)
by C.A. Harms


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: November 11th 2014

Synopsis:
He was the one.

The man she wanted with all her heart.

But it took years before Bree realized she deserved more than what Max was willing to give.

Max, was cocky and arrogant…

Too strong-headed to admit that he felt more for Bree than just lust.

Then it happened…

One devastating night, and it shook Max to his very core.

That’s when he began to see life in a whole new way.

Now he’s left to sort through the mess that he’s created.

Will he be able to rise above it all and make amends with those he needs the most?

Or will the damage be irreversible and leave him longing for what could have been?


Book 1 in the Series
Scarred by Love


CURRENTLY FREE ON


Book 2 in the Series
Broken by Love
 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book Review ~ Wait (Fast Series #2) by Ryan Ringbloom

 


Title: Wait (Fast Series #2)
Author: Ryan Rinbloom
Release Date: October 28th 2013
Published By: Ryan Rinbloom
Page Amount: 200 pages, e-book

GoodReads Blurb: 
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to wait. High school is over and Tessa is done with the drama. She wants to wait. So what? Does that mean she’s destined to never be with anyone? Probably.

Sometimes it’s possible to wait too long. Cassie’s best friend just tried to kiss her. He should have tried a year ago. Not now. Does that mean that they can’t still be friends? Maybe. 

Tessa Jameson is determined not to fall victim to the same mistakes of her past. And after meeting Tucker, she’s going to need all the help she can get.

Cassie DeMarco refuses to give her heart up to someone who is about to leave and start the next chapter in his life. So this summer it’s time to forget Mark, and focus on finding a fling instead. 


*Warning Mature Content*

Review:
I read the first book in this companion series and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed this one even more. 

I liked learning about Tessa, a character that made appearances in book one but who we did not learn much more about. She was basically the school b*$%t in high school, but in this book she is consciously trying to change that. We also have Cassie. Cassie and Tessa are counselors at a summer camp and are sharing a cabin together. Things absolutely do not get off on the right foot with these two. But over the course of the book the two of them grow to become friends. I really enjoyed reading about the friendship between these two. The two male characters were great "leads" as well. The dynamic with the girls and the issues the way that they dealt with the issues that they came upon felt very real for them. 


The story was of course very good and I loved the camp setting. But I think what really makes these books is the characters. I'm a really character driven reader and writer so when the characters feel real to me I get the most out of the story. I would definitely recommend this book for fans of young adult, new adult and romance. I gave it 4.5 stars! 

<3 Amanda Leigh

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cover Reveal ~ Shark Out of Water (Date Shark #2) by DelSheree Gladden

Shark Out of Water (Date Shark #2) 
by DelSheree Gladden

COVER HIGHLIGHT


Synopsis:
Guy Saint Laurent is too busy cursing his sister for roping him into taking over Eli's Date Shark business to prepare himself for the slew of bizarre women he's about to get involved with. This is the last venture he intended to take on, but somehow he's just become Chicago's newest, most reluctant Date Shark. 

On top of dealing with bug-toting, mothering, obsessive women, Guy faces personal tragedy that changes his outlook on life, whether he wants it to or not. He's not sure what it is about Charlotte Brooks that draws him in, but getting her off his mind after a brief encounter proves impossible. 

As Charlotte tries to help Guy deal with his loss, he begins to get the impression she's hiding something from him. He knows he could simply walk away, continue as he always has, but he suspects whatever she's hiding, she won't be able to face it alone. 
Charlotte is the one woman who can capture his attention, but she may also be the one woman capable of breaking him.

 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blog Tour ~ Louder Than Words by Iris St. Clair: Guest Post and GIVEAWAY!!

 

 

Louder Than Words
Release Date: 09/16/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson's life lately. Her dad's dead, her mom is numbing the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends are slowly abandoning her. Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe, shouldn't have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt, shouldn't have sent her running to the girls' bathroom for the final moments of her Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details of her life to herself.


Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky teen recently transplanted from New York and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she's not letting him get too close, not til she's sure she can trust him. By the time Rex's charming persistence wears down her resistance, it's too late. He's put Ellen on the perma-pal shelf and shifted his romantic attentions to her arch-rival. Even worse, the teacher who tried to seduce her is still misbehaving with impunity.

With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about her teacher and risk retribution, to tell Rex how she feels and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside, the only safe place she knows.


Ten Things I'd Like to Go Back In Time and Tell My Teenaged Self

Hey Iris,

I'm here to share some insight with you. Believe it or not, you're doing a few things right, more than a few. Most of your choices have held up well over time. Always begin on a positive note, they say, and there you have it. 

But let's chat about a few opportunities I missed--you'll miss--notions and attitudes I've reconsidered with some regret. 

1. Boys are just as scared of you as you are of them.
Okay maybe they aren't actually scared of you, but they are just as unsure of themselves as girls. They aren't great slobbering beasts bent on ruining every girl they see. Most are happy with a kind word, a compliment, a smile. Don't be stingy with these things.

2. A broken teenaged heart is not fatal.
Like bones, it is most malleable and resilient when young. Give it away more freely than I did, even if it's returned to you a little bruised. Sharing it makes it bigger and stronger. Hiding and protecting it keeps it weak and vulnerable.

3. Take more pictures of people, less of scenery.
Scenery is beautiful, but it's the people pictures you will return to again and again and cherish the most. 

4. You are not fat.
I'd kill to be your size again. Even though I'm okay with myself today, how did I ever think I was fat when I was forty pounds lighter? I wasn't. Don't be so hard on yourself. But remember point number three above? Yeah, take a lot of pictures of yourself in those size 3 jeans.

5. Be nicer to your sister. 
She gets better with age--trust me on this--but don't give her any more "you were so cruel" stories to whip out and embellish in the later years.

6. Be proud of your work and claim it with a loud, "I wrote this and I think it's good." 
You won't always be right, of course, but if you don't believe, why would anyone else? Sign your full name to that poem you'll write for your Senior yearbook, not "Anonymous".

7. Write, write and always write.
Don't wait until you're forty-eight to pick up a pen in earnest. Don't listen to that voice telling you you're a numbers girl and your brain is only wired to crank out algorithms and solve logic puzzles. Stories are logic puzzles and romance is basic math of one plus one. Statistics and probabilities are not absolutes when soaked in dreams.

8. Cut your dad a little more slack.
He won't be with you as long as you'd like, and believe it or not he'll one day be your biggest fan. Seriously. 

9. Never worry about being too silly.
The world needs more silliness. Give it up as often as you can and always make 'em smile.

10. Speak Up for those who can't or won't.
Be the voice of the underdog and make your kindness and compassion toward them your statement against bullying. Don't let your silence make you an accomplice. 

But of course, you already knew all this because you know everything, right?

Cheers!
Iris


P. S. Kristin shot J. R., buy stock in Microsoft and Apple, and Richard Chamberlain's gay, so go ahead and cross him off your bucket list.

About the Author:

Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that's another bio.)

No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.

In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.

Iris believes in the two-year "fish or cut bait" dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.

Author Links:

GIVEAWAY:
$10 Amazon gift card + ebook of Louder Than Words (INT)


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