Tag Archives: young adult

Current Reads & WIP’s

Hey guys! It’s been a bit since I’ve posted a book blog, I’ve been very busy lately and my summer isn’t slowing down at all! I’ve also been in a bit of a reading and writing slump since I put out Southern Rebirth. Two weeks ago, I attended Fanboy Expo in Knoxville Tennessee with my husband and our published, followed by a Fourth of July festival a few days later where we sold our books and made some new friends/fans. There’s nothing better than selling a book to a complete stranger! I look forward to continuing going to these cons and selling my ‘babies’ (books).

So what am I reading right now? I’m in between three books currently, one of them I had to put on pause because of the spooky vibes but I will be finishing it eventually! Probably after vacation. I

 

I’m most of the way through the Carlino book and it took a turn that I wasn’t expecting at all, I’ll probably be finishing this one while on vacation and getting back to the others when I return. I have them in paperback, so I won’t be toting any books with me, just my kindle!

As for my writing, I’m really enjoying this novel I started a few months ago. It’s more mature than my other two that I already have out and I can’t wait to see this one out there. I’m hoping to have it out before December! I’ve also started the sequel to Southern Rebirth that will be titled Southern Belle. The sequel will be focusing on Max and Lee Ann’s love story, I’m only about a chapter in this one. I’m also trying to get a sequel to The Last July out, but I have no idea what I want to do with it, I just know I’m dying to get back into the world of Camp Arthur.

If you’ve read either of my novels, let me know what you would like to see in the sequel!

-B

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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:

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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.

Southern Rebirth Cover Reveal

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

Tada!

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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

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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…

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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

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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.

2017 Goodreads Challenge COMPLETED!

So I completed my 2017 Goodreads Challenge and even went an ‘armful’ of books over! I thought I’d share with you the stats of the books I read over 2017 because it’s fun for me to look back on all the books. Some of them feel like I read them YEARS ago!

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No-where But Here was sooooo good!

 

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Loved Everything, Everything but the movie fell short for me. Of course, my novel was the least ‘popular’ one that I read. And yes, I did read my own novel, a few times actually. Show your support for an indie or local author! It doesn’t even have to be me (but I’d love if you checked my novel out), us small time authors love hearing feedback! The Last July is out in paperback and e-book, the e-book is usually $4.99 but you can sometimes catch it on sale for .99 cents.

Overview of Book Ratings in 2017

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover- 4/5 Stars

Outcast Volume 1 by Robery Kirkman- 4/5 Stars

How to Love by Katie Cotugno- 5/5 Stars

True (#1) by Erin McCarthy- 2/5 Stars

Denton Little’s Still Not Dead by Lance Rubin- 5/5 Stars

Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken- 3/5 Stars

Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally- 2/5 Stars

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West- 4/5 Stars

Pucked (#1) by Helena Hunting- 3/5 Stars

Say Anything by Sarah Dessen- 3/5 Stars

Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams- 4/5 Stars

No-Where But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry- 5/5 Stars

Shadowlith (Umbral Blade #1) by Stuart Thaman- 5/5 Stars

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno- 4/5 Stars

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker- 4/5 Stars

Kingdom Marriage Devotional- I didn’t finish this, but my husband and I read a devotional once a week from it and it’s been a good conversation starter for us.

Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2) by Katie McGarry- 4/5 Stars

Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3) by Katie McGarry- 5/5 Stars

Bad Penny by Staci Hart- 3/5 Stars

Wonderlost by Jenny Malone- 2/5 Stars

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen- 5/5 Stars

Trust by Kylie Scott- 3/5 Stars

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon- 5/5 Stars

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino- 5/5 Stars

The Last July by Breanna Mounce- I’d give it a 5/5 but I wrote it!

Dearly Departed (Grave Reminders #1) by Rachael Rawlings- 4/5 Stars

Dirty by Kylie Scott- 3/5 Stars

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno- 3/5 Stars

Wytches Volume 1 by Scott Snyder- 4/5 Stars

November 9 by Colleen Hoover- 5/5 Stars

Dear Delilah by T Bester- 2/5 Stars

What Light by Jay Asher- 5/5 Stars

 

As for the 2018 Challenge, I set my goal to only 15. This year I want to read more non-fiction, faith based and classic books. I also want to publish two of my own, so I’m going to slow down on my writing a little bit.

 

 

 

Bookish Resolutions for 2018

 

1.) Read IT by Stephen King all the way through. Why is this a battle? Because I’ve never read anything by Stephen King and this book is about 900 pages. My husband started IT two months ago and he’s almost done.

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2.) Read some classic books. I stick to YA and romance most of the time because they’re easy reads, but I’d like to read some classics that I’ve been trying to get around to.

 

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3.) Read without feeling pressured to read. I got into doing a lot of ARC reading last year and I’m going to stay away from that this year. I’m not against ARC’s, but I feel like I have to enjoy them and write a good review for the author.

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4.) Finally finish The Raven Cycle. Yes, I still haven’t read The Raven King yet. It’s on my TBR pile. I swear.

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5.) Publish two of my own novels. I just finished my first set of edits on a novel I’ll be co-authoring with my husband and I just started editing another contemporary YA. Looking forward to getting those done! I just have to kick myself to sit down and complete this.

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4.) Finish reading all the hardback/paperback books I bought in 2017 but didn’t get to. Here’s my current TBR pile of those novels:

 

 

What Light by Jay Asher Book Review

Title: What LightBooks Jay Asher

Author: Jay Asher

Rating: 5/5 Stars




Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.




 

This was probably the coziest YA romance I could have picked up for the month of December. I’ve had it on my TBR since earlier this summer and had been waiting for the holiday season to hit so I could read it (yes, I prefer to read books in whatever season they take place in.)

I loved this novel so much, it wasn’t a life changing, I’m in complete since I finished it like I was with November 9 last month, but it was still super cute and I was totally crushing on Caleb.

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I didn’t find too many issues with the plot in this and I never found the characters annoying or bland. Which was why I gave this novel a perfect rating. The drama was minimal, and was usually quickly resolved.

This is the perfect novel for you to snuggle up to this Christmas! I highly recommend it, no complaints here! Beautiful scenery, plenty of details, wonderful story.

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Surviving my first book signing…

 

On December 2nd, I did my very first book signing. I’ve gone along with my husband to various signings and comic-cons, but this was the first time my book would be on the table to purchase.

Now, let me tell you, I was nervous. I was shaking like crazy on the way to the venue and I get this weird voice when I’m going to have to talk to strangers in person, where I sound like I’m going to burst into tears. I’m fairly sure I have a mild case of anxiety that I haven’t been able to shake since middle school, but I refuse to admit it sometimes.

My husband was running late, so it was up to me to get everything ready to go, I’m used to following his lead when we go to shows like this.

When I got to the venue though and set the table up, I felt a lot better. It wasn’t too crowded so there weren’t many people I could make a full of myself in front of. It’s a lot different when you’re trying to sell your own book, versus someone else’s. I was honestly surprised about how confident I was talking to people, the pride I felt for accomplishing something I’ve always wanted to do. But… I did have some trouble finding the words I wanted to say when someone asked me a question. I’m not a good BS’er or salesperson, I’ll admit that right now. I don’t know what to say to convince someone that they must read my book, but honestly, that doesn’t bother me.

I’m not writing for money or fame. Even if only a handful of strangers love my novels and writing style, I’d say I was successful. I write because it’s my passion, I want to write the perfect book boyfriend that you’re going to fall in love with and beg me for a sequel.

I didn’t sell out at the signing, but my husband and I managed to make back what we paid for the booth and then some. If anything, it was a great learning experience and I found some stuff I want to work on for the next signing. I totally need to improve on my selling pitch and get my next novel out ASAP. It was still fun. I had my very first in person sale to someone who wasn’t a friend or family member! Can’t wait to sign up to do some more next year!

If you want to stay up to date on signings and specials, follow my FB author page.

 

 

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno Book Review

Title: Top TenTopTen_1

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 3/5 Stars



 

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?



 

I didn’t think it would happen, but I’ve finally read a book of Katie Cotugno’s that I wasn’t thrilled about. I’ve never given her anything less than a five star until this novel. It won’t stop me from reading her stuff in the future, but I don’t think it was nearly as good as 99 Days of How to Love.

Gabby’s Anxiety

Gabby reminded me so much of myself. She hates being put in social situations, doesn’t want to be in a crowd, hates parties and constantly thinks she makes mistakes and dwells on the past. Literally. Me. There were moments I thought, ‘Shit, Cotugno, how’d you get into my brain and write my anxiety so well?’ She did a great job at the ‘panicers’ and anxiety, but I found myself really annoyed with Gabby for how she treated Ryan and her sisters sometimes. She came off as a total ass and I know she didn’t mean to, but you can only blame the anxiety for so long.

Sexuality

I was also put off my Gabby being bi, I’m not a big fan about ready non-heterosexual romance (I’m not against this, I’m just not a fan of reading something I can’t relate to like that). I feel like if you’re going to make a character bi/gay/trans it needs to be in the synopsis, especially since this played a huge role in the book. I may be the only one who feels this way, and forgive me if I sound ignorant, but that’s how I felt.

Out of Order Plot

How to Love was written in a THEN/NOW alternating chapters, which I loved. This novel however did a countdown that was mixed in some areas. Had it been written their senior year, backwards until you get to when they meet each other, that would have been easier to follow.

 

For Ryan and Gabby being best friends, I feel like they never actually knew how to handle one another, they seemed to constantly be stepping around their feelings for each other. This drove me absolutely nuts! Ryan was always worried about setting off Gabby and Gabby was always worried about pissing off Ryan. It didn’t seem healthy for either of them. And poor Ryan! I felt like Gabby was constantly messing with his emotions!