The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler Blog Tour ~ #BookReview

Hey Donnie Darlings! I'm SUPER excited to host a stop on The Summer of Chasing Mermaids Blog Tour hosted by Diverse Book Tours. I've been dying to read this book and am thankful for the opportunity to do so!! Click here to follow along with all of the stops on this tour. 

Title- The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author- Sarah Ockler
Publisher- Simon Pulse
Pages- 403
Genre- YA, Contemporary Realistic, Romance,   Fairytale Retelling, Magic Realism
ISBN- 978-1481401272

Source- Copy for review  

Purchase- Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound


The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d'Abreau was destined for stardom - until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can't sing. She can't even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend's invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse's home in the Caribbean isn't: an ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry - except for one. 

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy - insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He's also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn't treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother, Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove's high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn't the only thing making waves, though - swept up in Christian's seductive tide and entranced by the Cove's charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn't what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who's best known for breaking them...   

I'm a bit ashamed to admit this is my first Sarah Ockler book. I own Twenty Boy Summer but just haven't had a chance to read it yet. I would have written that book off as a fluffy romance had I not read glowing reviews from other bloggers. And I'm so glad found those reviews because if I hadn't, then most likely I would have missed out on The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, and that would have been a travesty.

The cover as well as the author drew me to checking out the synopsis. That cover is so beautiful and fits with the story and atmosphere of the book. Ockler's writing is tremendous and gorgeous and just lyrical. I felt like I was reading a poem at times. 

I fell in love with Elyse's character right away. Though she can't speak, she stands out the most in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. Until meeting Elyse, I never would have thought about how much we allow our voices to define who we are. Though she sees herself as broken having lost her ability to speak, she was able to find out, albeit under tragic circumstances, that she's so much more than her voice. Her voice was just one part of her identity. It's sad when you realize something like that after you've lost something that was precious to you. 

But I didn't look at Elyse with pity - I looked at her with pure admiration. So far from home in a world so different from what she's used to, she does her best to survive day to day. She misses home terribly but also needed to get away from there at the same time. And Elyse is another character I'm drawn to because her mother died, too. She never got to know her, but I know the emptiness left behind from the loss all too well.    

I also must admit I had some trepidation about Christian because he's described as a "notorious playboy." I worried his character would end up being stereotypical, but he really surprised me in the best of ways, from the moment he said so calmly, "There's a girl writing on my boat." As if that's an everyday occurrence for him! It was then I knew I was going to like him.   

Elyse's "cousin" Kirby and "aunt" Lemon were good for Elyse to be around. I liked both of them, and though Kirby is the opposite of Elyse, I think it was good for Elyse to be around someone so positive and bouncy. 

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a YA contemporary you can't afford to miss. Perfect to read during summer (or any time of year!), if you've been shying away from contemporary novels, you really should read this one. This novel will change your mind about whether or not to read the genre. Definitely a game-changer. An emotional and often humorous read you'll remember for a long, long time.  

About the Author

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of six young adult novels: Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, Bittersweet, The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal, and The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, Amazon Top Movers and Shakers, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books. Her short work has appeared in the anthologies Dear Teen Me and Defy the Dark.

She’s a champion cupcake eater, tea drinker, tarot enthusiast, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in the Pacific northwest, Sarah enjoys hugging trees and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex. Fans can find her on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and at

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Scratched by Marie Long #BookBlitz ~ #GuestPost & #Giveaway

Welcome, Donnie Darlings, to the Scratched Blitz organized by Xpresso Book Tours! I have info on the book - which releases TODAY! - PLUS a guest post written by the author, Marie Long. And don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! xx

Series- The Anderson Brothers #2 
Author- Marie Long
Publication date- August 4th 2015
Genres- New Adult, Romance

Purchase- Amazon | B&N


Twenty-four year old Kevin Anderson lost the opportunity to end his senior year at the University of Washington as the Huskies' all-star point guard, and sought out one last opportunity to put his extraordinary basketball skills to use: by training for a chance at the pros. 

But when he's not on the court, Kevin has only two things in his life that gives him happiness: spinning records at the local clubs, and Trinity Brown. 

Trinity attends almost every one of Kevin's deejay gigs, but Kevin is uncertain if her love for him is genuine or a fangirl's simple admiration. Kevin takes that chance and hopes that she will see beyond the celebrity persona. But when fall classes start up again, their busy schedules press their relationship.

Kevin doesn't want to give up on her - on them. He hopes the happiness they had will rebound once more. 

But when he learns the truth about Trinity, Kevin must decide if it is worth everything - and everyone - he cares about to save her, or forfeit this exhausting game of love.

Guest Post by Marie Long

10 Things I Wish Every Aspiring Writer Would Know

I've been writing books for a while, and met some great people along the way who have helped me shape my journey into the publishing world. I'm all about paying it forward, and giving back to those who have helped me reach this point in my career. 

So here is a list of things I wish every aspiring writer would know. But as Levar Burton from Reading Rainbow says, "You don't have to take my word for it."      

1. Do more reading than writing.
No, seriously. This is especially true if you’re just starting out. Read lots of books in the genre that you want to write about. Learn about what works and what doesn’t. Dissect these stories until your eyes bleed and your brain explodes. What about the story held your interest? What’s a common pattern you’re seeing with the books you like?

Photo Credit: Maria de las Mercedes (creative commons by-nc-nd 2.0)  

2. You’re not going to get rich quick.
Those success stories you read online about authors quitting their day jobs because they earned millions from their writing account for only less than 1% of all the authors out there. Writing is a competitive game. Don’t chase the money. Write because you enjoy telling a story and the money will come. Most of all, your fans will appreciate you so much more.

3. Stay focused
With so many distractions in the world, it’s hard to stay focused on your work. But there is no greater feeling than that of accomplishment when you write ‘The End’ on the last page. Challenge yourself to stay motivated to finish what you start. Keep writing. A focused writer is a successful writer.

4. You’ll turn into a schedule freak
You will be surrounded by calendars, reminders, alerts, and other notifications for deadlines, book signings, critique group meetings, conferences, and other events related to writing, publishing, and marketing your book. It can be overwhelming at times.

5. You’ll need to do a lot of things yourself
Whether you’re self-published or published traditionally, you will need to know something about advertising yourself and your book. Unless you’re as prolific as J.K. Rowling you’re going to need to do most of this yourself. No one is going to do it for you. There’s a misconception that traditional publishers will do all the work for you and you can just sit back and reap the rewards. Think again! You’ll have to stand out among millions of other authors vying for the same attention as you. In addition to marketing your finished books, you have to continue writing your next one. That means organizing your time wisely (see #4). It’s an exhausting venture. Are you up for it?

6. Have a good support group
You’ll be overwhelmed and stressed out at times, but having a support group will help alleviate some of this. A support group can be anyone: your family, your friends, other writers. Not all of us are self-motivators. But having someone there to give us a good kick in the pants when things get rough is something every author needs in their corner.

7. Research the industry
The publishing industry is always changing. Successful authors make it a point to stay abreast on the latest happenings. For example, which publishers are engaging in shady practices? This is very important, and I’ve seen so many aspiring authors fallen prey to ‘vanity’ publishers and others who have engaged in unethical behavior at the authors’ expenses. It’s very easy to fall victim to these glamorous advertisements that promise your book on bookstore shelves. But the reality of it is, shelf space is limited, and if you’re not a prolific author like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, or Suzanne Collins, chances are, your book will not appear on those shelves.

8. Have patience
Writing the perfect story takes time, so don’t rush perfection. If you are an aspiring author, take the time to make your debut work the very best it can be. That means lots of editing, lots of rewriting, lots of everything. You want to make a good first impression, so don’t just rush a book to market. Reviewers will pick you apart.

9. Learn to network
Networking is one of the most important things authors need to engage in. The term “It’s about who you know” rings so true in this industry. Authors love to support and promote each other, and you’ll never know who may be looking at your book. Getting on good terms with people in the publishing industry can open up so many doors that you weren’t able to open by yourself.

Photo credit: Kevin Dooley (creative commons by 2.0)

10. You’ll need to have thick skin
I saved the best for last. I think this is the single most important thing every aspiring author needs to know. Not everyone is going to like what you write. You’ll get hecklers and snarky one-star reviews. You can’t take these reviews personally. All you can do is hold your head up high and keep writing. Check Amazon or Goodreads sometime and see how many people hated the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Divergent books. But those reviews hasn’t stopped the authors from writing more books, and it shouldn’t stop you, either.

Good luck and keep writing!

About the Author

Marie Long is a novelist who enjoys the snowy weather, the mountains, and a cup of hot white chocolate. She’s an avid supporter of literacy movements like We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Marie has shared a fondness and interest in the New Adult genre since its popularity boom in 2009. And now, as both a reader, and debut RWA author of New Adult fiction, Marie dreams to keep this fascinating genre going strong. 

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Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh Blog Tour ~ #BookReview & #Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Confessions of a Queen B* Blog Tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! Click here to follow along with the tour stops. 

Title- Confessions of a Queen B*
Series- Queen B* #1 
Author- Crista McHugh
Publication date- July 28th 2015
Genre- Young Adult, Contemporary
Source- Copy for review

Purchase a Copy- Amazon | B&N


Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B - the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she's carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check. 
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check. 
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan. 

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who's posting X-rated videos from the girls' locker room, she'll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she's never questioned - until now.  

Confessions of a Queen B* was a rollicking ride through high school with Alexis, the Queen Bitch, and I also named her the Queen of Snark. I loved this girl, but man, she had some majorly steep walls up all around her. I was glad to see she had at least two friends. Even if you are going after the popular kids, you still need friends! 

After being humiliated in front of the entire school (when you find out how, well, I think you'll agree it was a really messed up thing for someone to do), Alexis decides to get revenge by creating a gossip blog called The Eastline Spy where she outs people who do crappy things. To Alexis, anything and anyone are fair game, including the awful school lunches and one class everyone joked you only had to breathe to get an "A". That class changed after her post on it by the way.  

So everyone is terrified of Alexis. She uses that fear to help those who are bullied, which is cool, but she's also not friendly to the victims of bullying. When Alexis and the quarterback, Brett, must partner up in a school project, she's forced to look beyond her stereotypes when she slowly begins to realize Brett isn't the kind of person she thought he was. 

He's able to thaw her out a bit - she's pretty icy to him at first - and I loved them working together. Their back-and-forth banter was entertaining and had me laughing. Alexis is a sharp-witted girl, and while I hoped she would stop letting the popular kids get to her, I didn't want her to lose her wittiness. To me, they still must be getting under her skin because otherwise she'd stop her blog, right? Or maybe I'm wrong? 

Confessions of a Queen B* is a quick read, and I loved EVERY MOMENT. Alexis's friends reminded me of the friends Lindsay Lohan had in Mean Girls, and they were pretty awesome friends to have. I think Alexis is a tough girl to do what she does, but I also think she could soften up a bit. There are times it's good not to be a bitch, lol. Confessions of a Queen B* is a fun read, and I'm looking forward to grabbing the next book in the series!             

About the Author

Growing up in small town Alabama, Crista relied on story-telling as a natural way for her to pass the time and keep her two younger sisters entertained. 

She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends. 

Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she's had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant. 

And she's also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)

For the latest updates, deleted scenes, and answers to any burning questions you have, please check out her webpage,  

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Which ARC Am I Wishing For? ~ Feature & Follow #63

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read where two blogs are featured. Click the links above to follow the hosting bloggers and featured bloggers. Enter your own post's link in the linky, then hop around to as many blogs as you can - find new blogs to follow and gain new followers as well. :D 

Follow me any way you'd like 
as long as you keep coming back! 

Q: If you could get an ARC of any book, already published, or not yet, what would it be? - Suggested by Words I Write Crazy  

A: Ever since I read the synopsis for The Body Institute by Carol Riggs, I've been dying to read it! I love science fiction stories where society has found a supposed solution to a problem, but the solution actually ends up causing more problems and raises ethical questions that aren't easy to answer. I love books that make me think what would the world be like if this really did happen? The premise of this story sounds shiver-inducing, and I can't wait to see what problems arise from being a Reducer. 

Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

Are we our minds...or our bodies?

Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute. 

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl's body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body - leaving her client slimmer, more tones, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches...

For one, Morgan won't remember what happens in her "Loaner" body. Once she's done, she won't recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she's been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it's all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start...

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan's mind. She's feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti-Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she'll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul... 

What ARC are you wishing for? 

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The Legacy & The Missing by Necole Ryse ~ Blog Tour: #BookReview

Hello Donnie Darlings! Welcome to my stop on The Legacy & The Missing Blog Tour hosted by Diverse Book Tours. Click here to follow along with all of the tour stops.

Title- The Legacy
Series- Birthright Trilogy #1
Author- Necole Ryse
Release date- July 17th 2014
Publisher- Necole Ryse
Pages- 252
Genre- Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/YA
Source- Copy for review 

Purchase- Amazon


Nineteen-year-old Raevyn Jones has never worn a designer gown. She's never had access to unlimited champagne or chauffeured limo rides. But when she is dropped in the midst of the Black Ivy League - against her will - she has to pretend that everything is normal, as if she belongs. 

When her new friends start to question her sketchy past and her shaky legacy at Benjamin Wallace Fitzgerald University, the first Ivy League institution for African Americans, Raevyn realizes she will have to rely on her street smarts more than ever before. 

Raevyn starts to receive cryptic text messages and emails from an anonymous sender and she soon discovers that not only does someone want her to leave B.W. Fitz - someone also wants to end her life. 

The Legacy is a young adult mystery thriller sure to leave you on the edge of your seat!  

The Legacy is a quick story - you can read it in a couple sittings. I've been getting into YA mystery and thriller novels lately, and this series sounded interesting, and look at those covers! They're gorgeous and caught my eye right away. I'm also reading novels that tell a variety of stories about a variety of people. We need diverse reads! :D

When The Legacy begins, Raevyn is on her way to a prestigious Ivy League school for African Americans. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, the problem is she's being dragged against her will. Raevyn's dad pulled a lot of strings to get her enrolled, and she has to pretend to fit in because she's in some sort of trouble and there's nowhere else for her to go. She has to rely on her cleverness to make up for what she doesn't know. 

A really crappy situation all the way around. I think this book about gave me a heart attack - I was terrified Raevyn's secret would come out, that she isn't a legacy and had major strings pulled to get into the school. I kept waiting for her to be found out, and then I wasn't sure what would happen to her. As the plot unfolds, you find out more about Raevyn and why her dad forced her to go to B.W. Fitzgerald. 

Regina, Andrea, and Corrine are the three girls who taken Raevyn under their wing, yet she finds herself on shaky ground with them. There are moments where she truly has fun with them and they're like real friends to her, but then there's times where she feels out of her element around them. Think of Mean Girls. You never know where you stand with girls like those. Not really. 

Then there's the two guys at the university who both try to win Raevyn's affection - Andre from her French class and Jeffrey. Something about both of them seemed off to me, and I couldn't help wondering why Raevyn allowed herself to be romanced by them when she was still planning a future with the guy she was forced to leave behind - her boyfriend, Antoine, who's in prison and also part of the trouble she's in.

I was dying to find out why Raevyn's dad never mentioned he went to B.W. Fitzgerald, who wants Raevyn gone badly enough to threaten her, and what was going to happen next. What sort of trouble was she in with Antoine and could she really trust him? I wanted to uncover her family secrets as much as she did! All of these thoughts kept me turning the pages quickly, and the suspense ratcheted up several notches. The Legacy does end with a cliffhanger, and I'm looking forward to the next book.           

Title- The Missing
Series- Birthright Trilogy #2
Author- Necole Ryse
Release date- December 16th 2014
Publisher- Necole Ryse
Pages- 291
Genre- Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/YA
Source- Copy for review 

Purchase- Amazon


Reeling from her boyfriend's disappearance, Raevyn Jones is shocked to learn that she is considered suspect number one. To make matters worse, rumors are swirling that golden boy, Jeffrey Donnelly, isn't just missing...he may never be coming back.

And Raevyn is being framed. 

Her second semester at Benjamin Wallace Fitzgerald University, the nation's first Ivy League institution for African Americans, is full of twists and turns. With detectives closing in fast, soon Raevyn will learn not to trust anyone, not even the people she calls friend.

The Missing is the highly anticipated young adult mystery/thriller sequel to The Legacy!


About the Author

Necole Ryse graduated from Towson University with Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications. Bored with life as an adult, Necole decided to follow her dreams to write fiction and she hasn't looked back. She enjoys chocolate covered pretzels, Criminal Minds marathons, and all things Harry Potter. 

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