Category Archives: english

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

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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….

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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? 

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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!

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Book Review: Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

Title: FireworksFireworks_JKT

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4/5 Stars




 

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.




 

Katie Cotugno just released a new book and of course I had it pre-ordered months ago! Fireworks fell a little short for me though, compared to her previous novels How to Love and 99 Days, yet I still devoured this book in a matter of days because Cotugno’s writing is so easy and fun to read.

The characters in Fireworks weren’t as easy for me to love as characters in her previous books. I felt like everyone was unreachable, like they were on a pedestal and I couldn’t relate to them easily. Dana came from a not so well off family, so she should have been easy to relate to, but I wanted to see more of her home life. What did her mother think of her leaving town to become a girl in a pop group? Did her mom even notice she left? And why didn’t she bring a swim suit with her to Orlando?! Don’t Floridians always have swimsuits with them no matter what?!

The romance was just enough in this, I was kind of worried it would be lacking based on the plot, but I was very pleased in the end. I found myself putting a ton of trust in Alex, more trust than I’ve ever put in a male character. He was so kind and patient with Dana while she was going through her problems in Orlando and back home in Jessel.

What I find funny is I never seem to like Cotugno’s main characters best friend. I hated Olivia so much. She came off as a backstabber from the beginning. We don’t see a great conclusion between ‘Dolivia’, but I think it’s the only conclusion that would have worked.

And that cover, Katie, keep doing the polaroid look on your books! Like 99 Days and this, they are so aesthetically pleasing! I’m loving all of her covers so much!

Though Dana doesn’t get a 100% happy ending, I like to believe that she was at least happy with her decisions. And I love that about all three of Cotugno’s books. She leaves them open-ended but without a cliffhanger. You know that the character is going to be all right, but they still have some conflict by the last sentence, just nothing major.

Overall, if you’re going to read anything by Cotugno, I’d read 99 Days or How to Love first. Fireworks doesn’t do Cotugno’s writing justice. However, I am so pumped for her next novel, Top Ten, that’s supposed to come out later this year.

 

Book Review: Shadowlith by Stuart Thaman

Title: Shadowlith (Book 1 in The Umbral Blade Series)1490375765404

Author: Stuart Thaman

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 Stars




 

Alistair the Fourth was a mighty general from a long-forgotten war. Four hundred years later, Alster Lightbridge is barely a shadow of his legendary namesake. Crippled and confined to his family’s estate, he spends his days dreaming of something larger than himself—something worthy of his name.

Encouraged by his tutor to explore the Lightbridge archive, Alster discovers a magical dagger with the power to cleave shadows from their bodies. Blade in hand, Alster finally understands his purpose, though he needs to find a four-centuries-old grave in order to fulfill it.




 

I don’t read fantasy… at all… but when my husband tells me that he’s putting out a YA fantasy novel, I have to read it! That being said, I’m going to try my best to make this review as unbiased as possible, though I do believe it is well deserving of a perfect 5/5 star review.

What I love to see is writer’s get better as they progress in their novels. This being Thaman’s second fantasy series, I believe it’s a huge step forward in his writing. If you were to compare this novel to his first book, you could tell more time and effort has been put forth.

It’s also an easier read, and there’s less characters to remember than the first fantasy series, The Goblin Wars. I’m used to reading contemporary YA where there are only a handful of characters to follow. Shadowlith has about six main characters to focus on. This allows you to feel more emotions for each character. Elsey was probably my favorite character (that survived) because of the changes she went through during the beginning of a book. She was so excited to get out of the town that she grew up in and go on an adventure with her friend, but then accidents happen and she realizes this adventure to find the Shadow King’s tomb is not for the faint of heart. I really hope in the second book that we see her grow up more and become a super badass female worrier.

Now the ending….

No spoilers ahead! I promise.

I felt like this book closed off on a good note. Let’s say if you didn’t want to read the rest of the books in the series, you could stop (but you don’t want to!) However, Thaman does set our characters up for a huge plot for the next book which I really loved.

Definitely, check this one out. Loved Alster and Elsey.

 

Trusting You and Other Lies Book Review

32441709Title: Trusting You and Other Lies

Author: Nicole Williams

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Publication Date: June 20, 2017




 

Phoenix can’t imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years–do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?
On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum–the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he’s impossible to figure out–and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he’s promising Phoenix a summer she’ll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?




 

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This was the cutest book! I loved the characters so much, and didn’t encounter anything that I hated about the book. So why didn’t I give it a perfect rating? I felt like it left me wanting more and a lot more. This book could have been way longer, I really wanted to see Phoenix and Callum’s relationship bloom a bit more and see how Phoenix interacted with other counselors.

This book was too short, I just wanted it to continue! Which, I guess is a good thing but I needed more Callum!

I thought the ‘family camp’ situation would be weird but it actually worked for this book.

By the end, the moral of the story is tied up with a nice bow, pulling the title and the plot together which I thought was fantastic. Also thought it was genius to name the character Phoenix and talk about her rising from the ashes.

Trusting You and Other Lies, is a fantastic read for your summer vacation! And because I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover, look at that one! It’s gorgeous!

 

 

So You Finished Your Novel. Now what? (The Last July Update)

This week I finally finished my novel that I’ve been working on and off since the summer of 2013. I finished all the edits from my editor (my husband) and I’m not feeling too bad. Well, I wasn’t until I went to consider submitting it. This week, to my surprise, has been a rollercoaster of emotions over this manuscript.

You see, I felt pretty good about this novel until about 90% of the way through the edits and then I began second guessing myself. Is this book good enough? Have I literally just been rewriting my favorite books? What if I get rejected my first time? I don’t know how to take that.

My novel is my baby. A novel I struggled with reaching 50k during NaNoWriMo, and 70k for edits, has grown over 81k words! That amazes me! I pretty much scrapped the original document, I think there’s only 15% that resembles what it originally was.

Now what? I’ve made contact with a publisher and now we wait. The hard part is trying not to edit anymore. Literally, woke up this morning thinking, maybe I should change some things.

Luckily, the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo begins next Saturday, so that will take my mind off writing on my finished novel and concentrating on a new one. I’m pretty excited about this new one too! I pretty much have over half of it mapped out!

Have you ever submitted a manuscript? What part of the novel writing process is the scariest to you?

 

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover Book Review

Title: Hopeless (#1)

Author: Colleen Hooverhopeless-colleen-hoover

Genre: New Adult Contemporary

Rating: 4/5 STARS

Overall Emotions: Bored, and then straight to ‘Holy crap, what the hell is happening?!’ ‘What?!’ ‘No!!!!!’

 




 

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever

 




 

I’ve said before that I haven’t enjoyed the books I’ve read by Colleen Hoover, and that I’d give her one more shot because so many people live (love, if you’ve read this book, you’d know that was not a misspelling) her writing. I’m glad I decided to give her one more chance and read this novel. I loved it, it’s way better than the other novel and novella that I read of hers. Though, there were some points where it just wasn’t believable or I felt like Hoover took it a little too far. Some say that this book may have needed a ‘trigger warning’, due to the content and I agree to a certain point. Nothing ‘triggered’ me, but there were many topics that occurred in this book that might set someone off.

The only reason I didn’t give this book the full five stars was because it only surprised me once and that was the final ‘answer’ hope received from her mother, Karen. Other than that, I kind of predicted the way things would end up going. This book is full of twists and turns. At first you think it’s just a cute romance about the high school ‘slut’ (who is actually not a slut at all) and the trouble maker boy (who is just misunderstood).

For a story about such dark subjects, I didn’t imagine it to have any happy ending whatsoever, I really applaud Hoover on figuring out just the perfect way to heal Sky and give her a happily ever after.

If you’re going to read any of Hoover’s books, this needs to be the one. It’s dark and beautiful and tells the story of a survivor coming to terms with all the pain she blocked out years ago.

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