Category Archives: english

Katie Cotugno Signing/ Cotugno Book Ratings

 

On Saturday, May 12th, Katie Cotugno and the Epic Reads Tour made their final stop in Cincinnati Ohio. Of course, I had to go! She attended, along with two other authors (author of Simon Versus and Dumpin’) but I’ve never read anything from them.

 

 

I managed to get all five of my Katie Cotugno books signed! Which, if you’ve ever been to a book signing like this, they usually limit the number of books you can have signed.

 

I was super nervous but very excited to meet Katie. She’s been a huge inspiration for my writing. My husband convinced me to bring a copy of my novel, The Last July, as a gift for her. I was terrified she wouldn’t accept it or that it would be weird to hand her a book while others were standing behind me. You see, I’m terrified of rejection, so all I could imagine was her saying she wasn’t allowed to accept books written by fans. To my surprise, she was thrilled. Our conversation basically went as follows:

Me: Do you accept gifts?

Her: *smiles* What?

Me: Can I give you a gift?

Her: Of course!

Me handing over my novel: So I’m a huge fan of your writing and you’ve been a huge inspiration of mine and I’d like you to have a copy of my novel if that’s okay.

She then asked if she could hug me and it was up there with the top five best moments of my life (along with meeting Joey and Chris from NSYNC and my wedding day). We then took a picture of her holding her recent release and me holding mine (her idea!) and I walked off giddy as can be. Best. Day. Ever.

Photos courtesy of my husband:

0512181949a

Thank you, Joseph Beth Booksellers Cincinnati and Epic Reads for putting together this tour and allowing me to meet my role model!

 

Since Cotugno’s recent novel came out earlier this month, I thought it would be fun to rate her novels and give a review for each one!

 

 

5. Top Ten

3/5 Stars

This one fell short for me. Possibly because at the time, all I wanted from Katie was the sequel for 99 Days.

4. Fireworks

4/5 Stars

Fireworks wasn’t my favorite book of Cotugno’s, it fell a little short but I didn’t hate it.
The characters were slightly hard to relate to, but Alex was one of the best fictional boyfriends I’ve ever encountered in a YA novel.

As someone who grew up in the 90’s (I was born in 1990), I wish there had been more 90’s nostalgia worked into the plot. Some 90’s lingo and what not. Aside from the rise of boy and girl bands during this time, you wouldn’t really know this book was set in the 90’s.

What I find funny is I’ve never liked the main characters best friend in any of the books Cotugno has written. Is this something everyone notices? How the characters friends are down right mean and not right for them? Olivia was by far my least favorite friend.

3. 9 Day and 9 Nights

5/5 Stars

I’m obsessed with Katie’s writing style. 99 Days was the first book I ever read of hers and I loved it so much but I felt like something was missing, so when I heard she was finally writing the sequel, I was beyond happy. 9 Days and 9 Nights met my expectations and then some! I spent the entire book with so many questions, but by the end, everything is answered. There are no crumby cliffhangers and I am so thankful for that but also a little bummed because of the possibility of not getting to hear anymore of Molly and Gabe’s story.

2. How to Love

5/5 Stars

I can’t get enough of Katie Cotugno’s novels. It took me awhile to pick this one up (99 Days was the first book I read of hers), and I’m so glad I picked it up. I loved Sawyer (expect when he was being a ‘dickhead’) and Reena so much! I finished this book in three days, it was a page turner!

1. 99 Days

5/5 Stars

If I died tomorrow, I would die happy with this book being the final one that I read. The dust jacket is adorable and I’m not going to lie, I might have only bought it because of the cat picture inside.

Now, let’s be real. I feel like this book was written for me. There’s not many books that have made me feel that way, but this was one of them. Cotugno, created so many 4-diminsional characters, me relating and understanding all of them. I had this huge hatred for Julia though. I’d describe this book as the ‘what happens after a love triangle goes to shit’ book. I’ve read so many young adult love triangles that end with a ‘happily ever after’, but this book… this tells you the messy truth. I wanted to defend Molly Barlow’s actions so much because I’ve been in her shoes. IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO! It wasn’t the ending I was hoping for, but I think it’s the ending the book needed.

Advertisements

Southern Rebirth Cover Reveal

Guys! Great news! I have a cover reveal for my new novel!

Tada!

31179565_10211888702559024_6917174074363871232_n

kwV5NXa

 

I’m so excited for this one! It will be the first in the series, I’m currently writing the second one, they will be focused on different characters in the novel.

The ebook is currently up for pre-order on Amazon here for 3.99 currently. Its release date is May 24th, just in time for Memorial weekend at the lake! I’m really excited about this and I hope you enjoy!

About Southern Rebirth:

A little fooling around in the backseat of a car has landed Lexi Fernbrook in a summer of solitude, exiled to a quiet house, a job on Norris Lake, and no contact with her friends.

Then Duncan comes along.

Lexi’s decided to ban dating as she gets her life back on track, but Duncan might just be the perfect guy to get her through the summer. When Duncan’s band, Southern Rebirth, hires her for some show photography, how could she resist?

To Reread or not to reread…

I’ve never reread a book. Ever. *LE GASP* Yes, I buy the physical book and keep it

3459513455_d1288a14b9_o

shelved in my library with no intention of ever opening it up again but I just love looking at my collection.

But why won’t you reread a book? If it’s your favorite, wouldn’t you want to reread it?

I think the main reason I don’t choose to reread books is because there are so many other books out there that I have yet to read and want to read! I have an ever growing TBR list on my Goodreads page (add me on Goodreads!), books I want to get to but something always comes ahead of them. Literally, I have books on that list that have been there for three or more years, but one of my favorite authors is always putting out another one or I get a recommendation from a friend.

But guess what… I’m currently rereading one of my favorite books…

giphy.gif

This is the very first time! But thinking about it, I’m nervous. Here’s the thing, my favorite book is 99 Days by Katie Cotugno and it got mixed reviews from what I remember. When it first came out, I think I might have been one of the only people who actually enjoyed it (apparently people don’t like teen love triangles anymore).

I’m terrified that rereading it is going to make me not like the book as much as I did two years ago when I first read it. I’ve grown up a little since then, and my style of reading has matured. I’ve gotten more into adult romance. I’m terrified that if I don’t like it as much as I liked it the first time, that I’m not going to want to read the sequel that comes out next month. Which would put me in a bad spot since I bought tickets to Cotugno’s Epic Reads book signing next month as well!

I’ll continue with the reread of 99 Days because I need a refresher before I read the sequel and there will no doubt be a book review up for the sequel.

What about you? Do you reread books? What’s your opinion on the subject? Leave a comment and let me know!

The Beau & the Belle Book Review

Title: The Beau & the Belle

belle.jpg

Author: R.S. Grey

Genre: YA/NA/Romantic Comedy

Rating: 5/5 stars




 

Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.

I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.

That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.

A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.

Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.

Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.

My old friend, Mr. Fortier.

But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.

When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.

Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.

 




 

This was probably the cutest book I’ve read in a very long time. I fell in love with the characters from chapter one and loved watching the change in them after the 10 year time gap. This novel starts out as a YA, Lauren a 16 year old who is very unfamiliar with dating and ends up developing a crush on Beau, the tenant who is renting out her parents apartment.

This love continues to fester for 10 years of ‘what if’s’ until they finally reconnect when Lauren is in her late 20’s and Beau in his 30’s. Once we do the time jump, things get spicier! This is one of those books that it’s been a few days since I’ve read it and I’m still thinking about/ missing the characters. Lauren’s internal monologue had me laughing out loud through the entire book.

With most romantic novels, you expect them to have sex, her move in with him and then get engaged. This novel is realistic and I was so happy to see that! There are a lot of things left open to your imagination but I didn’t feel like there were any cliffhangers whatsoever. This romantic comedy was very enjoyable and I plan on reading more from R.S. Grey.

Dirty (Dive Bar Book 1) by Kylie Scott Review

Title: Dirty (Dive Bar 1)25671827

Author: Kylie Scott

Genre: Romance

Rating: 3/5 Stars



 

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together.

Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she’s normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia’s already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong–maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?



 

After I read Trust by Scott, I was really excited to check out some of her other books. I was a little let down by this one, it wasn’t as good as Trust was and I felt like things moved way too quickly. The ‘instalove’ was VERY instant in this novel. It started out hilarious, I mean, what would you do if you found a porn of your soon-to-be husband having sex with his groomsmen? Talk about dodging a bullet.

One thing I’m not a fan of in Kylie Scott’s books is how she makes her characters self-conscious of their body weight. Unless it has to do with the plot, which it didn’t in this novel, don’t make it part of the story. I feel like she’s only writing overweight characters in order to get a target audience. Not into that.

This novel takes place over one week… as I mentioned before about the instant love between these two characters, I wasn’t lying. Even Lydia says at the end of the book that they moved too fast.

With all that said, I might still read book two in the series (Twist) just to see if it’s any better.

 

Cover Reveal and 10 Fun Facts About The Last July!

With the upcoming release of my very first novel, I thought it would be fun to share some facts about The Last July as it went from it’s very rough first draft to the final edit. Today is also my birthday, and for my birthday, I’d like to share my cover reveal with my blog followers! This has been a long time coming!

  • The Last July was originally in two different POV’s, Penelope and Sampson’s.
  • In the first few drafts, TLJ was a story about a romance between a camper and counselor. It wasn’t until the final two drafts that Penelope was almost 18 and Sampson was slightly younger.
  • The very first draft of TLJ was written in the Spring of 2014 during Camp NaNoWriMo, I didn’t go to finish it until April 2016 when it was only 31k words. It still wasn’t finished! So it pretty much took me three to four years to write this novel, I just took many breaks. Too many breaks.
  • Some of the camp activities in the novel are my favorite things that I did at camp when I was younger. Swimming, hiking, capture the flag, even the mashed potato mohawks!
  • Camp Arthur is based off of the camp I attended as a kid/teen in Ohio, but is set in Tennessee because it’s one of my favorite places to vacation.
  • I’ve hiked Abrams Falls (twice) and it’s a very tough trail! But the waterfall is so worth it!
  • I wrote about five different final chapters, never sure of how I wanted Sampson and Penelope’s story to end. I finally went to my husband to give me their ending. Yay for having a husband who is also an author!
  • In one of the many drafts, Penelope’s friend, Jenny was supposed to be a camper who suffered an awful fate of a bee sting. I quickly realized that was a bit too morbid, I was watching Game of Thrones at the time.
  • TLJ is a stand alone, but I do plan on writing in the world of Camp Arthur again one day.
  • The authors that I got some inspiration from over the years were Sarah Dessen and Katie Cotugno. I love their contemporary summer romances! Hopefully, one day I can inspire someone the way they inspired me!

 

I also made a blog post for the songs that inspired some scenes in the novel, find that one here. And a sneak peak that can be found here.

The Last July is set to come out very soon, fingers crossed. Follow the blog for updates on the release, deals, and pre-order!

This is an exclusive blog post that I won’t be sharing to any of my other social media platforms! So you guys get to be the first to hear the news!

Guys, now I’m starting to feel like an author!

Here’s the cover! Tada!

received_10212052203755287

Cover Reveal and 10 Fun Facts About The Last July!

With the upcoming release of my very first novel, I thought it would be fun to share some facts about The Last July as it went from it’s very rough first draft to the final edit. Today is also my birthday, and for my birthday, I’d like to share my cover reveal with my blog followers! This has been a long time coming!

  • The Last July was originally in two different POV’s, Penelope and Sampson’s.
  • In the first few drafts, TLJ was a story about a romance between a camper and counselor. It wasn’t until the final two drafts that Penelope was almost 18 and Sampson was slightly younger.
  • The very first draft of TLJ was written in the Spring of 2014 during Camp NaNoWriMo, I didn’t go to finish it until April 2016 when it was only 31k words. It still wasn’t finished! So it pretty much took me three to four years to write this novel, I just took many breaks. Too many breaks.
  • Some of the camp activities in the novel are my favorite things that I did at camp when I was younger. Swimming, hiking, capture the flag, even the mashed potato mohawks!
  • Camp Arthur is based off of the camp I attended as a kid/teen in Ohio, but is set in Tennessee because it’s one of my favorite places to vacation.
  • I’ve hiked Abrams Falls (twice) and it’s a very tough trail! But the waterfall is so worth it!
  • I wrote about five different final chapters, never sure of how I wanted Sampson and Penelope’s story to end. I finally went to my husband to give me their ending. Yay for having a husband who is also an author!
  • In one of the many drafts, Penelope’s friend, Jenny was supposed to be a camper who suffered an awful fate of a bee sting. I quickly realized that was a bit too morbid, I was watching Game of Thrones at the time.
  • TLJ is a stand alone, but I do plan on writing in the world of Camp Arthur again one day.
  • The authors that I got some inspiration from over the years were Sarah Dessen and Katie Cotugno. I love their contemporary summer romances! Hopefully, one day I can inspire someone the way they inspired me!

 

I also made a blog post for the songs that inspired some scenes in the novel, find that one here. And a sneak peak that can be found here.

The Last July is set to come out very soon, fingers crossed. Follow the blog for updates on the release, deals, and pre-order!

This is an exclusive blog post that I won’t be sharing to any of my other social media platforms! So you guys get to be the first to hear the news!

Guys, now I’m starting to feel like an author!

Here’s the cover! Tada!

received_10212052203755287

Trust by Kylie Scott Book Review

Title: Trust34776338

Author: Kylie Scott

Genre: Young/New Adult

Rating: 3/5 Stars




 

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.




 

I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Lately, I haven’t been breezing through books, but this one, I did! From the very first chapter, I was drawn in and couldn’t put the novel down. That being said, it wasn’t great writing either. It wasn’t beautifully written like the latest Sarah Dessen and it wasn’t ‘life-changing’, but it was very interesting and I’ll give it a ‘okay’ rating for that.

This wasn’t an insta-romance either, which was surprisingly pleasant since I love that troupe. It was more so, ‘insta-crush’. Edie and John go through a traumatic event together, but they don’t immediately want to date. John tries to protect her from his bad boy image, worried people will judge her for being associated with an ex-drug dealer.

I kind of got tired of hearing about the weight of our main character. In my eyes, she wasn’t fat, I couldn’t tell if she was huge or just a little chubby. I don’t think the weight of our character matters much unless it’s part of the plot like in Dumplin’. I feel like in order to make her weight a bigger deal, more people should have been picking on her for that.

The constant underage partying was also an issue for me. I get high schoolers party on occasion, but it felt like that was all Edie and her friends did. Constant underage drinking, sex, ect… I would classify this book as new adult, rather than young adult, because of these topics.

I loved John in the robbery scene, but he fell short after that. During the robbery, John was so kind and social, but after that, we just got grunt responses from him. He seemed to act like Edie was pesky to him. I know John was going through a lot with his brother, and the robbery, but he changed a lot from the guy he was at the gas station.

I’m  also pretty sure Kylie Scott might be a pen name… possibly Kevin/Hedwig from Split has written this book, with all the etceteras in the beginning….

48cf9d2dd8774da4a06f634673d4cf19

Overall, I did like the book, but I felt like it had a lot of issues that still needed to be worked out. I plan on reading more from Kylie Scott in the next few months. Always willing to give an author a second shot!

 

Book Review: Bad Penny by Staci Hart

Title: Bad Penny35109577

Author: Staci Hart

Genre: Romance

Rating: 3/5 Stars




 

Nothing good comes after the third date.

Date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he’ll get weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.

Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.

So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked or that he can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.

Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.




 

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the norm and ready a fun and easy romance novel. This did just that for me. This book pulls you in with its wit from the very first chapter title, literally, I laughed out loud when I saw it. Penny is an all around happy, independent woman who knows what she wants in life, that is, until she meets Bodie. I’m so used to the tame, girl next door type going after the bad boy in these types of novels, so it was cool to see a badass tatted girl in a novel getting involved with the nerdy gamer (who is also chiseled beyond belief). I admit, I saw the cover and that’s what pulled me in, I don’t think I even looked at the synopsis.

With alternating chapters, we get to see both POV’s, which I loved because we got to know that Bodie wasn’t just using Penny like she was using him in the beginning.

If you’re not a fan of ‘insta-romance’, this book isn’t for you because the romance starts off within the first two chapters. There’s no build up at all. If you’re looking for erotica, this book also isn’t for you. The sexual scenes in this novel were very tame in nature, but they did exist.

I rated this lower than my normal reviews only because there wasn’t enough conflict to keep me involved and concerned for the characters. And when there was conflict, it was rather annoying and self-inflicted.

Would love to see a second book in Veronica’s perspective. Who is she dating?!

The ending was perfect, but I feel like the characters (or at least Penny) didn’t act their age throughout the entirety of the novel.

 

What are your favorite adult romance novels? Looking to fill up my kindle with some reads similar to this.

 

 

June Wrap Up, July TBR & July Camp NaNoWriMo Prep!

June Wrap Up

 

 

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker– 4/5 stars. Great beachy summer romance from a local (to me) author. The only thing that I wish was different was that the only POV’s be between Tanner and Paige, instead of all four characters.

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry– 4/5 stars. I think I ended up liking the second book in this series better than the first book, but they’re still not hitting a perfect score with me. However, I felt more compassion throughout the book for Razor and Breanna, more than I had for Oz and Emily from the first Thunder Road book.

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry– Probably my favorite book out of this series. I feel like all the other books have set us up for Violet and Chevy’s story! Review to come!

I also just realized every book I read in June (and finished) was set in Kentucky! How cool is that? 

HOMETOWN.gif

 

July TBR

July is not going to be a reading month for me since NaNo will be going on, but I am going to try and finish one book that I started in June and read a few chapters from a book I recently purchased.

I’ve been reading chapters here and there on Letters to my Daughters, it’s one of those feel good, faith books. I’ve been trying my best to read up more on my bible and books like LtmD:TAoBaW, it’s just a book that I’m making a habit of pulling out before bed to read and relax.

Once and For All, Sarah Dessen’s latest release, just came out a few weeks ago and I thought this would be a good book to focus on in July during camp NaNo. You’re supposed to read how you want to write, right? I’d love to be as successful of a writer as Dessen. Here’s to hoping.

And I’ll also be reading a romance novel, just to take a break from CAMP and all the other marriage/wedding stuff haha. Sometimes it’s nice to read something sexy! I’ll be at the lake for a weekend, so the romance will be a fun breather.

 

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep

July Session

Camp-2017-Participant-Twitter-Header

Back in April, I started writing a new summer contemporary YA novel. Since then, I’ve been editing here and there trying to prepare for July’s session of camp. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I struggled the final week of camp in April, especially that final day and I only have a goal of 40k. I’m hoping this month goes a bit smoother, with a goal of 30k. I have a pretty good feeling about this one now, better than anything I’ve written before.

During edits this June, I haven’t had to scrap too much, just the last couple thousand words because they didn’t even fit with the plot. I was just writing to hit the word goal that last day in April. Probably the worst writing month I’ve ever had.

I’m excited for this coming camp NaNo though. I have a great cabin (some people from April’s session and my husband), so I should be pushed to finish. Wish me luck!

good.gif