Beckon Me release day blitz!

Beckon Me
Beckon Me Release Day Party Banner
Second, I was lucky enough to get to read this early and, without any spoilers whatsoever, you need this book in your life.  I’m hoping to re-read this soon because I miss this book.  Don’t judge; you’ll get it once you read it for yourself.
Find Cindy Thomas Online: 
 
Links to buy:
 
 
About BECKON ME: 
 

Everything nineteen-year-old Karina Mitchell knows about death changes the instant that she and her best friend, Rainey, are shot. For one, souls don’t die. They cross over. Only, Rainey’s soul hasn’t, and her ghost is hell bent on haunting Karina.

When Karina begins her sophomore year of college and moves into the apartment that she was supposed to share with Rainey, she learns a few shocking truths from her mysterious and gorgeous blue-eyed neighbor, Eli.

One: Karina has been chosen to become a Beckoner—an immortal conduit of the dead who helps safely guide souls to the other side.

Two: She’s the reason that Rainey’s soul can’t cross over—Rainey followed her back from death and missed her window to be at peace.

Three: Eli is hot. As in swoon-worthy, to-die-for, will-make-you-forget-yourself hot. And it turns out, Eli is a Beckoner, too.

Despite her attraction to Eli, the decision to become a Beckoner isn’t an easy one—it would mean giving up her own mortality … her own soul. But if she doesn’t, her best friend will be left to suffer an eternity at the hands of the evil Ceptors, dark creatures that feed on the souls left behind. After all, it’s her fault Rainey is haunting her.

Time is running out, and Karina needs to decide: Are love and loyalty worth sacrificing her soul?

All the Rage

Finished All the Rage by Courtney Summers.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?”

I love this book so much!  So much that the next week on this blog is going to be “All the Rage week” and there will be posts and resources and a giveaway.  This book is incredibly powerful and important and I want to give it as much airtime as I can.

I’m going to go into detail with how the book affected me tomorrow, but for now, let’s focus on the book.

It goes back and forth in time, and we learn about what happened to Romy in bits and pieces (mostly at the end) but it’s clear that (a) something happened that she didn’t want and (b) as a result, the entire school seems to hate her.  And the entire school seems to think that she deserved whatever happened and that she probably wanted it anyway (it has since become common knowledge that she had a crush on the boy).

I love that all of her books are thought-provoking and force you to confront your own prejudices about things.  For example, Romy is obviously damaged as a result of what happened, but she is also unlikable and seems to blame herself more than anyone else for what happened.  She uses her lipstick and nail polish almost as armor and talismans to keep her safe.

This is the most powerful and wrenching book I’ve read on this topic, ever.  I think part of that is because Courtney Summers chose to focus more on the culture that makes this all too prevalent and on the aftermath rather than the incident itself.

This is going to be one of those books that’s talked about and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins a lot of awards this year.

Highly recommended.

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)

Finished Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) by Amy Spalding.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band.

After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they’ll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone’s heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she’s been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.”

This book had me at the “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist meets Easy A.”  I’m a sucker for “It’s this meets this!” if the two “this”es are books or movies that I love.

In this case, the comparison is completely apt.  It’s very fun and also incredibly clever.  I can’t tell you how many times I literally laughed out loud…but it was a lot.

This is a book for people who weren’t super popular in high school but who weren’t also part of the dregs of society.  (Although I think Riley especially was much cooler than I was; she’s in a band!  I was a lot more like Reid who, although in the same band, was much more insecure.)

Bottom line: if you like your love stories sweet but also smart, this is for you.  I now hope to read her other two books, like, NOW.

Highly recommended.

On the Fence

Finished On the Fence by Kasie West.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.”

I am a huge fan of Kasie West and now I have read all of them.  :(  (Fortunately, there’s one coming out in less than a month.)

I think this one is my absolute favorite so far, probably because it really reminded me of One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin (which I also loved).  Charlie is most comfortable with guys, because she has three brothers and was raised by her dad (her mom died when she was little).  She doesn’t really have any girl friends, and when she has to get a job (one too many speeding tickets), she ends up working at a clothing store.  Which is unfortunate, because she has no fashion sense to speak of.

Then she starts being the test dummy (essentially) for makeup classes to get extra money, and it turns out that maybe being a girl isn’t so bad.

I love this book.  It’s incredibly sweet and fun, and the characters are all great.  (I’m kind of hoping it’ll get a sequel or maybe a spinoff novel, although Kasie West doesn’t do those for her contemp YA novels—at least not yet.)

Charlie is the kind of character I immediately love.  She’s strong and smart and lives life on her terms.  She’s not afraid to be exactly who she is and even when she changes a little, it’s for the right reasons.  (There is a part where she pretends not to be as into sports, but at least part of that is because her brother tells her that always acting like you know everything is a jerk move.)

If you’re looking for a book that will put a smile on your face, this is for you.

Highly recommended.

The Walls Around Us

Finished The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.  I received a copy for review from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.”

This book is absolutely amazing.  It’s my first Nova Ren Suma novel but it won’t be the last.  (Note: yes, of course people had said that she’s an amazing author, and I think I have a couple of hers, but this just happened to be the one I started with.)

As the synopsis states, the perspective shifts back and forth from Amber (who is in prison for a crime she may or may not have committed) to Violet (a ballerina who is connected to a different but equally notorious crime).  There doesn’t seem to be a connection between the two—until, of course, there is.  To say more would be spoiling things for you.

I’m not sure what it says about me, but I preferred Amber’s chapters to Violet’s.  We can discuss that after you read the book.

Highly recommended.

The Truth About Us (megapost)

Finished The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler.  I received a copy from the publisher.

9781402278006-PR

Summary (from Goodreads):

The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.
She’s made mistakes, betrayed her best friend, and now she’s paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

The truth is she wishes she was the care-free party-girl everyone thinks she is.
She pretends it’s all fine. That her “perfect” family is fine. But it’s not. And no one notices the lie…until she meets Flynn. He’s the only one who really sees her. The only one who listens.

The truth is that Jess is falling apart – and no one seems to care.
But Flynn is the definition of “the wrong side of the tracks.” When Jess’s parents look at him they only see the differences-not how much they need each other. They don’t get that the person who shouldn’t fit in your world… might just be the one to make you feel like you belong.”

After my review, you will find an excerpt and giveaway link.

I haven’t read very many books by Janet Gurtler, which is both good (I have a backlist to read! YAY!) and bad (How have I not read them all by now? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?)  This book is insanely fun and sweet, but it’s also a lot deeper than I was expecting it to be.

I love books like that, where you’re expecting something sweet and fun, but then it turns out to be that but also amazing and just GOOD.

I love Jess, even though she was breaking my heart.  It’s obvious that whatever happened to her family (we do learn what it is, although it takes a long time) is absolutely killing her and she’s dealing with it in the worst way possible (drinking, partying, questionable decisions).  This ultimately culminates with a punishment of having to volunteer at the shelter which, of course, ends up being almost like a present.

I absolutely love the shelter people too, especially Wilf (who becomes her friend and surrogate grandpa) and obviously Flynn and his brother, Alex.

This book is wonderful and is guaranteed to make you smile at least 10 times and probably make you cry at least twice.

Highly recommended.  (Keep reading for an excerpt and chance to win your own copy.  Good luck!)

Janet-Gurtler-#3 -USE

JANET GURTLER:

RITA Award finalist Janet Gurtler’s young adult books have been chosen for the Junior Library Guild Selection and as Best Books For Teens from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. She has had her writing compared to Judy Blume and Jodi Picoult and that makes her happy. She has volunteered at a few soup kitchens and hopes to do more. Giving back is so important. Janet lives in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, with her husband, son, and a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Excerpt:

The greenhouse is sort of shaped like an old barn. It’s opaque with plastic and steel siding. The door is open, and I follow Wilf inside and pause and then breathe it in. The smell nourishes me. Moist air fills my lungs. I’ve forgotten how much the scents of greenery soothe me. It reminds me of different times. Simpler times.

“Nice,” I tell him, looking around at rows of plants on tabletops and plants stacked on the floor. I realize I’ve missed the satisfaction of nurturing plants.

There’s a man on a ladder in the middle of the greenhouse, fixing a shelf, with his back to us. A little boy stands at the bottom of the ladder, watching. Wilf walks over and pats his head and kneels down to his level. “How are ya, big guy?”

The little boy stands taller and giggles and holds out his hand. He’s got it wrapped tightly around a plastic blue train.

The man on the ladder turns and looks down at me. My heart stops.

It’s not a man at all. It’s him.

Flynn.

 

My face burns.

“What are you doing here?” he asks.

Wilf frowns and then looks at me. “What’s up with you kids these days? In my time, we treated nice–looking young ladies with respect,” he says to Flynn gruffly. “Flynn, this is Jess. She volunteers here.”

I say a silent thank–you to him for calling me nice–looking and glance back at Flynn.

“Since when?” he asks.

“Since now. How about, ‘hello, nice to meet you’?” Wilf says to prompt both of us. “Is that so hard?”

“We’ve already met,” Flynn says.

My cheeks stay on fire as he climbs down the ladder.

“The shelf is fixed,” he says to Wilf. “Slumming?” he adds to me as he jumps to the floor. He folds up the ladder and then leans it against a counter lined with plants.

The little boy stares back and forth.

I try to think of something light and witty to save the moment, but my mind is blank. Instead, I panic. “What’d you do to get stuck working at this place?” I say, channeling my inner Nance.

“What’d I do?” He stares at me and then his lips turn up. “I didn’t have the right daddy, I guess. I’m here to have lunch. With my little brother. I’m not a volunteer.”

My stomach drops. Fail. Epic fail.

Great, right? Click here to enter to win a copy!

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

Finished Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves. Half a year earlier, a nuclear plant in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom had experienced a cataclysmic meltdown, and both of Emily’s parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault. Was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to flee their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that, as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer’s apartment, and inventing a new identity for herself – an identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. When Emily befriends a young homeless boy named Cameron, she protects him with a ferocity she didn’t know she had. But she still can’t outrun her past, can’t escape her grief, can’t hide forever – and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.

A story of loss, adventure, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is one of Chris Bohjalian’s finest novels to date – breathtaking, wise, and utterly transporting.”

This book is not what I would consider to be a “typical” Chris Bohjalian book…although, to be fair, his books all tend to be so different that I’m not entirely sure there is such a thing as a typical Chris Bohjalian book.

My favorite thing about this novel is the fact that it’s set in a post-nuclear accident world, but that most of the world has gone on completely normally.  The accident is in a remote area of Vermont, so most of the country (and world) is not affected.  The problem is that Emily, the main character, is from the town where it occurred and both her parents worked in that nuclear power plant.  So while most of the town and state want to get as far away from that plant as possible, all Emily wants is to get back home.

She’s not dumb.  She knows that her parents are dead and that her dog, who has been alone for ages, is most likely dead.  And she goes as long as she can without going home…but it’s pretty clear that that’s her endgame.

Her friendship with Cameron is also a major highlight.  (Cameron is a young boy who’s run away from a bad foster home; she’s basically the only person he has.)  I love their friendship and the way that Emily became an incredibly responsible person overnight.  She’s not perfect and doesn’t become an insta-Mom, but she does a great job.

I love this book, even though it broke my heart several times.

Highly recommended.

Days Like This cover reveal

  

Okay. Guys, I read this book, and you need it. This book is sweet and perfect and sad and steamy and perfect. 


You need it. 


Book summary:

Sometimes the only thing standing between fear and hope is you. 


Almost a year ago, nineteen-year-old Cassie Harlen had a lot to deal with. A stack of college acceptance letters waiting for answers, a proposal from the boy next door, and a mother whose most recent bipolar episode left Cassie hurt and confused. Tired of cleaning up the messes caused by her mother’s disorder, of resenting her mother for not being there, and scared of being trapped by an inevitable future—which included marrying Graham Tucker—Cassie did the only thing she could think of to keep from ending up like her mother: she left.


Graham never knew why Cassie walked away. He woke up one morning and she was gone—along with the life that he’d created around her. After eleven months, Graham has a new plan for his future. One that doesn’t involve Cassie Harlen.


When Cassie’s mom nearly burns down her house, Cassie’s forced to return home. Back to a mother she’s tried to ignore and the guy she’s been unable to forget. Graham doesn’t know how he’s going to spend the whole summer living next door to the person who broke his heart without letting those old feelings push through to the surface.


Neither does Cassie. 



 Goodreads for DAYS LIKE THIS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25243790-days-like-this   


Pre-order links forDAYS LIKE THIS:  


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Days-Like-This-Landslide-Novel-ebook/dp/B00VGTN85S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427970053&sr=8-1&keywords=B00VGTN85S  


Barnes &Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1121662718?ean=2940152177374&itm=1&usri=2940152177374 


Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/days-like-this-5 


Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id981773810 


One More Page(for signed paperback copies): http://www.onemorepagebooks.com/shop-omp-.html 


  


My bio: 

Danielle Ellison spent most of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It’s probably the reason she can’t divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It’s also probably the reason she’s had so many different zip codes and jobs.  


When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably  eating cookies, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.


Links of my info: Website: http://www.danielleellison.com/


Newsletter: http://danielleellison.us10.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=c31fbc28f04eb33f325285e75&id=9f3ac39dc4


Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanielleEWrites


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Danielle-Ellison/150414211766883?ref=hl


Ask the Dark

Finished Ask the Dark by Henry Turner.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Billy Zeets has a story to tell.

About being a vandal and petty thief.

About missing boys and an elusive killer.

And about what happens if a boy who breaks all the rules is the only person who can piece together the truth.

Gripping and powerful, this masterful debut novel comes to vivid life through the unique voice of a hero as unlikely as he is unforgettable.”

This book is definitely unlike any other I’ve read.

Billy is initially just trying to earn money to save his house (which is about to be foreclosed upon) but then stumbles upon this mystery where other boys his age are disappearing (some are found dead; others show up in pieces…but some are just gone).  The reward is enough to save the house.  That’s definitely enough motivation there, but it quickly becomes personal for him, too.  Because the boys are his age and because he knows some of them and because a friend is a suspect in the disappearance—pick your reason, really; any of them would work.

First, you should be aware that Billy speaks in dialect and that may affect your enjoyment of the book.  (It didn’t take long for me to stop noticing it, however.)

Also, I was warned that this book was really scary.  I wasn’t scared but it’s definitely very creepy.  The last 50 pages or so, especially—I found myself holding my breath over and over.  So maybe have a buddy nearby to remind you to breathe. :)

This is a fun story and I will definitely read the next book Henry Turner puts out.  I didn’t love it, per se, but I was definitely riveted.

Don’t Stay Up Late

Finished Don’t Stay Up Late by R.L. Stine.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

R.L. Stine’s hugely successful young adult horror series Fear Street is back after almost 2 decades. Fear Street is a worldwide phenomenon and helped to kick off the young adult craze which is still going strong today. In the second new book in this series, Don’t Stay Up Late, Stine explores the unbridled terror of a damaged young lady sent on a doomed babysitting job.

Ever since a car accident killed her father and put Lisa and her mother into the hospital, Lisa can’t think straight. She’s plagued by nightmares and hallucinations that force her to relive the accident over and over again in vivid detail. When Lisa finds out that a neighbor is looking for a babysitter for her young son, she takes the job immediately, eager to keep busy and shake these disturbing images from her head.

But what promised to be an easy gig turns terrifying when Lisa begins to question exactly who — or what — she is babysitting.”

As I said when the first Fear Street book came out, this absolutely makes my day.  I loved these books when I was younger, and I’m pretty sure that no one writes books that are more fun than R.L. Stine’s.

I absolutely love this book.  It’s kind of goofy in parts, and I’m not entirely sure that it’s going to scare anyone over the age of 10 or so, but I love it.  It’s incredibly fun and I read it in probably three hours, in one manic gulp.  Nostalgia is generally good for at least three stars for me, and this book has it to spare.

I’m not entirely sure why people continue to live (or babysit) on Fear Street.  It seems to be incredibly dangerous for your health (and, in this case, sanity).  But I guess their misery is a small price to pay for the enjoyment I’ve gotten out of these books over the years.  I cannot wait for the third book and I will read it the absolute second I can.

Recommended.