Friday, October 17, 2014

Following Zippy by C.B. Burdette ~ Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Following Zippy Blog Tour hosted by IFB Tours. Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule. 

Title: Following Zippy
Author: C.B. Burdette
Publication date: July 2014
Publisher: Flower Child Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult 
Source: Copy for review

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

At fifteen most kids only have to worry about their homework or the style of their shoes. Gabe Perkins isn't most kids. When diagnosed with a terminal illness, he begins to make friends with a girl so ethereal, he starts to question his own sanity.

"Look at those fish," she said, diverting her attention towards the creek. 

"What about them?" 

"They're just swimming along. Living and breathing. I wonder," she said as she nudged her shoulder against mine, "if they know what purpose they serve."

"Well, they probably don't." 

"Why's that?"

"Because, they're fish?"

"Don't think so low of the marine species."

"Zippy, they're little minnows. They're so little they probably only live a few months. Why worry about their place in life?"

"I don't know. Something of the simplicity of them is nice, though, you must admit." She gleamed ear to ear. "Imagine, if you were a little minnow, swimming down the creek." 

"Oh, crap."


"Do you really think there's something out there that really cares about those little fish? Or even, you know, if something out there is looking down at us, talking about us like we're little fish? As if we're just tiny little minnows swimming down a stream, unsure of what fate lies ahead of us?"

"I do." 

Most likely the shortest synopsis I've seen for a novel, Following Zippy only intrigued me even more because so little is given away. I didn't know what to expect, and it was exciting to walk into the unknown. I sensed the book's theme was life and death, and stories with that kind of theme always draw me into them.    

At only fifteen years old, Gabe finds out he has a terminal illness, and his reactions are realistic and heartbreaking. I can only imagine I'd deal with the diagnosis the same way he dealt with it. His wit and candor made me laugh at times and other times I wanted to slap him for hurting his mom's feelings. Around the same time he's diagnosed, he begins seeing a girl with wavy golden hair named Zippy and is the only one who can see her. People think he's hallucinating, and even he begins to think that himself due to the nature of his illness. 

It's hard to have hope while things look so bleak, but Zippy gives Gabe something no one else has - the insight that he could be spending what he has left of his life in a way that gives meaning to him and those around him. My favorite scene between the two of them is when they're talking about whether fish know what purpose they serve, and the conversation turns to whether human beings know their purpose. I thought it was a clever comparison - aren't we like those fish? Couldn't we be like them with someone we might not even be able to see wondering if we know our purpose?      

For me, Following Zippy is really easy to talk about and review, but I struggled with rating it. There are a lot of mistakes editing can fix - such as punctuation errors, you're versus your, and incorrect grammar - but the story was so compelling to me, I flew through the pages. I would have easily been able to give Following Zippy five stars had there not been the mistakes either missed by editing or if the book was edited at all. I wanted, no, I needed to know if Zippy was a hallucination and what was going to happen to Gabe. Just looking at the cover makes me happy knowing what story lies within its pages, and for that, I'm giving Following Zippy four stars.   

My Rating: 

I grew up a gypsy at my parents hands. With a dad in the Air Force, I got to experience life on the road, soaking up culture. After spending 6 years working as a model, I realized that the industry wasn't much of what I was looking for in life. More often than not I felt like Jo Stockton in Funny Face and escaped into the world of film, where your job is based on something more than beauty. Though I do love 12 hour days on set, there's nothing like snuggling up with a warm laptop and letting my fingers dance away to create a whole new world.

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Confessions of a Teenage Rape Survivor by Holly Dae ~ Blitz: Excerpt & Giveaway

Welcome to the promo event for Holly Dae's realistic YA fiction, hosted by IFB Tours! This book sounds intense, but I'm planning on reading it. I'm not afraid of intensity. I imagine the subject may not be for everyone as it could possibly be a trigger. This story, I believe, will bring up many of the issues we face in the society we live in. 

Check out the excerpt and giveaway below:

22754329Release date: October 16th 2014

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | IBooks | Kobo

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Before she was raped, almost sixteen-year-old Allison Sommer knew exactly what she wanted and was in total control of her life. Get through high school, go to college to appease her dad, somehow stay fit, lithe, and athletic through all the stress and become a professional cheerleader. Normal teenage stuff. Simple. At least it was simple before she was raped. 

Now Allison's whole life is out of her control. She can't trust in her own choices, can't rationalize anything anymore, so she just goes through the motions, hoping that eventually she'll go back to normal, can stop pretending. That doesn't happen, especially when she's forced to reveal what happened to her family and closest friends.

On the MTV commercials and reality shows that emphasize that she has nothing to be ashamed of and guide viewers to some website like don't-be-a-victim.comand a support hotline, no one warns her that the aftermath is more difficult than the rape itself, that her family's efforts to be supportive make her feel more alone and confused. 

And being raped has more devastating consequences than Allison ever imagined, forcing her to make one of the most difficult decisions she's ever had to make. It should be a no-brainer, everyone says, but being raped makes Allison question everything and everyone she thought she could trust.

Either way, Allison won't let anyone force her to do anything again, not like her rapists did, even if it makes her already difficult enough circumstance more difficult. Uncensored and unflinchingly honest, these are the confessions of a teenage rape survivor.


"Are those your brother's sleeping pills?" Gene asked.
Allison nodded. No use denying that.
Gene looked at her again, then at the pills, and then at Allison again. His eyes widened.
"Were you going to take all of those?" Gene asked in an incredulous tone. He didn't wait for an answer, already having assumed the worst. "How many have you taken already?"
Allison opened her mouth to reply, forgetting that one of the pills was sitting under her tongue. Gene saw it as she started to try to explain.
"Oh shit! Spit that out!"
Gene reached across the counter to squeeze her cheeks and force the pill out her mouth causing Allison to have two instantaneous reactions. First, she spit out the pill. Second, she punched Gene straight in the jaw, which caused Gene to let go of her and grab his face.
"What the—"
Allison gasped as she shook her hand out. She shouldn't have done that. She didn't mean to do that. Gene wasn't a rapist. Well, she hoped he wasn't. The guy who asked her for directions to distract her didn't look like a rapist either. Either way when Gene grabbed her so suddenly, she couldn't help it.
"I'm sorry," she said quickly.
"Are you insane? What is wrong with you?"
"I didn't mean to punch you. It was an accident. I swear."
Gene rolled his eyes, stilling rubbing his jaw. "Not the punch. I probably deserved that for scaring the hell out of you, grabbing you like that. I'm talking about those sleeping pills. That many of those things at once can kill you."
Allison blinked. He thought…
"I wasn't trying to commit suicide!"
"Could have fooled me," Gene said sliding the pills off the counter and into his hand. He threw them down the garbage disposer.
"But I wasn't," Allison said, heart racing in panic. If Gene thought she was trying to kill herself, he'd tell her brother, and her brother would tell their dad, and she'd never be left alone, and she'd have to tell the truth. Then they'd make a big deal out of it and want her to report it to the police, and the police would want a description and account of what happened, and then she'd never be able to forget. "I just wasn't thinking."
"The hell you weren't," Gene snapped as he snatched the bottle with the remaining pills off the counter and put them in his pocket.
"I was just so tired and the bottle said one pill was mild and good for four hours of sleep, so I decided to take enough to knock me out for a day," Allison tried to explain.
"Six pills would have knocked you out all right," Gene said as he began to dial a number into his phone.
"What are you doing?" she asked apprehensively.
"Calling your brother," Gene said and then cursed. "Damn it. I have his phone in my pocket. Do I have your dad's number in my phone?"
Allison lunged for the phone. In all likelihood, he probably didn't have her dad's number, but she didn't want to chance it.
"You can't call tell them," Allison said grabbing onto the phone.
Gene tried to pull it out her grasp as he said, "Sure. Not telling your brother and father that you're suicidal is a great idea."
"I'm not suicidal."
"Says the girl who was about to take six sleeping pills," Gene said getting the phone out of Allison's grip and holding it out of her reach.
Allison all but tackled him into the counter.
"I told you!" Allison screamed, exploding in anger. "I'm tired! I just wanted to go to sleep without the nightmares! You can't… You can't tell them," Allison finished, all her anger dissolving as a sob escaped her throat. She hadn't even noticed she started crying.
She stopped trying to get the phone then, falling onto the floor as her body shook with sobs of fear at what Gene would do and anger at herself. When did she get so weak?

About the Author
Holly Dae is a recent college grad with a B.A. in English who, instead of putting on a suit to work at a desk 9-5 for five figures and a lifetime of misery and crushed dreams, decided to write YA novels about the taboos concerning contemporary issues like rape, abortion, drugs, teen pregnancy, and sometimes sex with the hopes that someone will pat her on the back and say she touched their life.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Blitz organized by:

Hurricane Butterfly by MeChelle Vermeulen ~ Cover Reveal

Hey guys, thanks for stopping by this cover reveal for MeChelle Vermeulen's Hurricane Butterfly organized by Xpresso Book Tours.

The cover is gorgeous - I really love it. The book
sounds intriguing - I want to know how it ends already! I can be impatient sometimes. ;)


Title: Hurricane Butterfly
Author: MeChelle Vermeulen
Publication date: December 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance

Cover Designed by: Okay Creations  

Twenty-year-old Sophie Blake, is trying her best to get her life back after a horrific dog attack ten months ago. However, this proves to be more difficult than she anticipated. With the help of her best friend Ben Slone, it seems as if she's making progress, but the truth is that she can feel herself sinking deeper into a black hole...until a tall dark stranger comes knocking, looking for Ben.

Joshua Roxwell has been drowning his demons with Whiskey and woman in an attempt to deal with his guilt after the tragic death of his sister. When he finds an envelope addressed to Ben Slone, written by his sister before her death, he decides to track him down. Instead of resolving their differences, he meets the one girl who silences his demons...but redemption comes at a price. 

This is a story of heartache, friendship and love, with a wicked twist...

No author photo/bio available at the moment

Cover Reveal organized by:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables ~ Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Love and Other Unknown Variables Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule.


Title: Love and Other Unknown Variables
Publication date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary 
Source: Copy for review

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo  

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he'll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe's greatest unanswered questions. He's that smart. But Charlie's future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl's neck.

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she's counting on the present. She's not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop - until she learns he's a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy.

By the time he learns she's ill - and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte's illness - Charlotte's gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he's always relied on or the girl he's falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared). 

Let's get our pi on! Charlie and Charlotte were fun to read about, and I'm not gonna lie - there were some emotional moments in there as well. Love and Other Unknown Variables is the perfect title for not only this novel but also life (let me just get a bit sappy here for a moment, okay?) itself. Because let's face it, there are a LOT of things in life that come our way many times unexpectedly, and sometimes those things are happy and positive, other times they're sad.     

I adore Charlie - he's a math genius trying to solve Charlotte as though she's a math problem because he can't figure her out and can't resist solving a problem. At his age, girls are a mystery anyway, and when Charlotte comes into his life, her presence has him questioning everything he thought he knew. I love that his future suddenly doesn't seem so clear and that he's forced to think about things differently. Life isn't a straight path; we're thrown curves all the time. That he hasn't been thrown a curve in his path until now is amazing.  

Greta and her boyfriend James are great minor characters as Charlie's friends. James gets the ball rolling in messing with the new literature teacher, Ms. Finch, who also happens to be Charlotte's sister. Every year the students cause the literature teacher to quit because they don't believe the subject is as important as math and science. They've gotten away with it every year until now. Ms. Finch is determined to find a way in through the cracks in the wall they've built.   

Charlie's sister and Charlotte become close friends, and Charlotte ends up spending a lot of time at Charlie's house as a result. She surprises him at every turn. She breathes fresh air into his life, proving to him he doesn't know everything about people like he previously thought. I love it when characters' lives are turned upside down like this. Charlie was so cute wanting to kiss Charlotte and picturing it while missing what she was saying! 

I think if I were Charlotte, I would have kept my illness to myself, too. I wouldn't want the looks of sympathy or to be treated differently. It's understandable but also unfair to Charlie in a way since he grows close to her not knowing she has this huge secret. And when he finds out, it doesn't compute in his head. 

I just found out what it's like to have your heart in a blender while reading Love and Other Unknown Variables. It was terrible and wonderful all at once. Exactly the way real life is - terrible and wonderful at the same time.     

My Rating:


Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife, mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. Math makes her break out in a sweat. Love and Other Unknown Variables is her debut novel. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook     

Grand Prize (2): Signed book, bookmark, tissue holder, temporary tattoo, mathematical charm, science/math book page rose pin (made by Shannon), infinity charm bracelet (made by Shannon).

One 2nd place prize: Signed bookmark, tissues, temporary tattoo, mathematical charm, science/math book page rose pin (made by Shannon), infinity charm bracelet (made by Shannon).

3 Runners-up prizes: Signed bookmark, temporary tattoo, science/math book page rose ring (made by Shannon) 

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rock Out, Yo

I'm leaving in just a few hours for Austin to go to ACL! ������ Last year was a blast, and I'm so excited for this year! I've been looking forward to it for a year now, lol. �� Plus I get to spend time with my friends who moved down there! 

So this will be a much needed and fun break for me! I have a blog tour already scheduled for Friday, but other than that I'll be back next Wednesday. See you guys then! ❤️ ��

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Orenda by Ruth Silver ~ Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Orenda Blog Tour hosted by Girls Heart Books Tours. Click here to follow along with the tour schedule. 

Title: Orenda
Series: Orenda #1
Author: Ruth Silver
Publication date: April 13th 2014
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Genre: YA/MG Fantasy
Source: I purchased a copy that I'm reviewing for this blog tour 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N


Join forces with a parallel universe.

Dark forces, magical creatures, and the world Lil thought she knew collide when a dream transports her to the strange world of Orenda. Stunned and terrified, Lil comes face to face with her doppelganger, Willow, who possesses the ability to travel between the two worlds. Everything Lil knows logically says that Orenda can't exist, but a small clue may be proof that it was more than an ordinary dream. With the threat of her sister in danger, Lil crosses dimensions but it may cost her even more than she bargained for. 

A sword wielding girl, the eternal suit, and a parallel universe come together in this action-packed Young Adult fantasy adventure that will keep readers of all ages turning the pages. Orenda is the first novel in the Orenda series. 

Love fantasy? Love epicness? How about parallel worlds? Then Orenda will be right up your alley. One of my bookish goals is reading all of Ruth Silver's books, and this is my second one by her. I recently read Dead Girl Walking and loved it. I'm happy to find out Orenda is the first in a series - when I initially added it to my to-be-read list, I thought it was a standalone - and after reading it in one sitting, I need more of Lil and Willow.  

Lil thought she was having a dream when she finds herself in an alternate reality - she's still in her house but her family photographs have been replaced with pictures of her with a little boy. No photos of her parents or sister can be found. She's can't find her parents or her sister anywhere. When she wakes up, a small clue leads her to believe it was more than just a dream, and she's right. 

It's up to Lil to save Willow in Orenda, the world parallel to Lil's, and if she doesn't, her own world will be in danger, too. I can understand her trepidation in helping out virtual strangers in a world she didn't know existed until a day or two ago. I think for me, I probably would have been like, "Yeah, let's go beat that demon sorceress!" I'm always looking for adventure though - one of the reasons I love reading and losing myself in books. I've never read about a demon sorceress, so that was fresh and original - and I LOVED IT! 

When Lil finds out her friend Bray has been kidnapped along with Willow, I admired her for taking up training with a sword to make the rescue. I love reading about romance, adventure, and kick ass characters, and Lil and Willow are definitely both kick ass ladies. 

While the pacing was a bit quick for me, I still enjoyed Orenda immensely. It was a breath of fresh air, and I can't wait for more! 

My Rating: 

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of ABERRANT, a young adult dystopian adventure series published by Patchwork Press and Lazy Day Publishing, in 2013. Author, YA Blogger, and Book Manager with Booktrope Publishing, Ruth keeps busy with writing, updating her books blogs Write Away Bliss and YA Book Deals, and promoting authors.

With a passion for reading, photography, and traveling Ruth has plenty of stories and experiences to share. She loves dystopian, paranormal, and fantasy young adult novels most of all. Ruth has been actively writing since she was a teenager. She currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois. 

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