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Game Master by Scarlett Dawn

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Official Blurb

Arizona Creed lost her assassin father, and her whole world changed.
Literally.
With one magical skeleton key, Arizona lands in another realm.

Forget Earth. Terlant is the place to be. And Lucifer wants her there, the dashing man with no last name and more secrets than even she has. But love isn’t always enough. Arizona must find purpose in her new life.

The Royal Guard could give Lucifer and Arizona what they desire.
They only need to pass two tests to win the Game and enter the elite Guard.
But is her real test to open her heart to true love?
And will she win her wings to fly into his arms?

Review

Game Master was a quick fun read, full of action, emotion and of course, a bit of romance. Arizona, on the run from men trying to kill her, happens upon a skeleton key that leads into another world where frogs talk, magic is real, and Lucifer isn’t necessarily the devil. She’s stuck in this world, away from the earth she knows and loves, but when it comes down to it, will she even want to leave?
I enjoyed the novella, which is part of a bigger series of novellas The Skeleton Key, but for me, it did miss in a couple areas. To me, this one would have quite simply worked better as a full length novel. As always, I found myself transported to the world Ms. Dawn created, but all too soon, it was over and I was left wanting more. We caught a quick glimpse of the magic of the world, enough to really spark my interest but not enough that I felt like I knew the world. And I wanted to know it. There were a couple instances where something was mentioned, like a dangerous forest but we never got to find out more about it or the creatures inside. Similarly, I wanted to know more about both Arizona and Lucifer – about their pasts and their present.
That said, I did love the main characters in this story. They were unique in different while at the same time they reminded me of my favorite couple in Scarlett Dawn writing, Lily and Ezra. It made it impossible not to fall for these characters too. Arizona was confident and strong while remaining human and relatable. Lucifer was thoughtful and kind but with a bit of mystery and a lot of sex appeal. And Kingsley. There isn’t much more I can say about him aside from the fact that I very much loved our resident talking frog.

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Review & Excerpt Tour THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US by Rachel Harris

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If you’re looking for a quick, fun young adult read that you simply won’t be able to put down, Rachel Harris’ The Natural History of Us is the way to go!

The story of Peyton and Justin begins Freshman year of high school when they struck up a friendship that turned into much, much more that ended in disaster. Our story catches up with them Senior year. A few years have passed and the two haven’t so much as spoken to one another until they’re partnered together for a final project in one of their classes. Yeah, the story was a little predictable, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment.

Peyton was easy to like and Justin, despite the teenage boy silliness (which, let’s face it, was a bit endearing) was hard not to fall for. The supporting cast, however, felt a bit forgettable. It’s not a huge deal, but I’m a sucker for great secondary characters. I crave secondary characters to fall in love with, but I didn’t really get that with this novel.

True to what readers have come to expect from Rachel Harris, The Natural History of Us is the angsty, sweet, swoony sort of novel that rather perfectly captures the essence of high school, first loves, and first heartbreaks. Can’t wait for you guys to read this super sweet novel! And it’s out TODAY! Lots of awesome stuff below (including a virtual book signing you don’t want to miss), so check it out and then follow the links to buy your copy!!

 

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About THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US:

One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who’s forever owned his heart.

Justin Carter has a secret. He’s not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy…and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she’d ever forgive him.

Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she’s done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she’ll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.

For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate’s given him a shot at redemption, he’s determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton…well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.

Order THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US Today!

Amazon **Barnes and Noble ** Kobo ** IndieBound

Add to your Goodreads

 

 

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You can order a signed and/or personalized copy of THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US now through April 8th HERE!

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And don’t miss Rachel Harris’s

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THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING!

 

 

Rachel Harris - Author photoAbout Rachel Harris:

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

 

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter Signup ** Goodreads

 

 

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Rachel Harris’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US– Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

March 28th

For the Love of Books & Alcohol – Excerpt

A Leisure Moment – Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

Home.Love.Books. – Review

My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt

Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Excerpt

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Excerpt

March 29th

A Crave For Books – Review

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Angel Reads – Review

Girl with a Pen and a Dream – Excerpt

Lovin’ Los Libros – Review & Excerpt

I Read Indie – Excerpt

The Phantom Paragrapher – Review

March 30th

Bookish Things & More – Review & Excerpt

Stuck In Books – Review & Excerpt

Reading Adventurously – Review & Excerpt

Typical Distractions – Review & Excerpt

Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

March 31st

Dazzled by Books – Review & Excerpt

Kindle and Me – Review & Excerpt

The Cover Contessa – Review & Excerpt

Book Groupies – Excerpt

We All Make Mistakes in Books – Review & Excerpt

The Bibliophile Confessions – Review & Excerpt

Ticket To Anywhere – Review & Excerpt

April 1st

Bookaholics Reading Haven – Review & Excerpt

Books Eater – Review & Excerpt

SprinkleofBooks – Excerpt

Melena’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Ficwishes – Review & Excerpt

Gaga Over Books – Review & Excerpt

My fictional escape – Review & Excerpt

April 2nd

Collector of book boyfriends – Excerpt

Caitlin Audet – Excerpt

Andi’s ABCs – Review

My Slanted Bookish Ramblings – Review

A Dream Within A Dream – Excerpt

Defiantly Deviant – Review

Book Briefs – Review

April 3rd

The Romance Reviews – Review

Cheyanne Young – Review & Excerpt

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Review

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review & Excerpt

Ashleyz Wonderland – Excerpt

Blogging For The Love Of Authors And Their Books – Review & Excerpt

April 4th

The bookworms obsession blog – Review

Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous – Review & Excerpt

Addicted to Books – Review & Excerpt

Bookish Escapes – Review & Excerpt

Adventures of a Book Junkie – Review & Excerpt

The Bookish Thought – Review

Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 5th

Book it – Review & Excerpt

Julie Antonovich Reece – Excerpt

Book Junkie: Not-So-Anonymous – Review & Excerpt

YA Book Madness – Excerpt

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

A Full Bookshelf – Review

April 6th

Books and Boys Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Reading Is My Bliss – Review

Behind Closed Covers – Review & Excerpt

Jackie’s Book World – Review

The Procrastinator’s Corner – Review & Excerpt

KatyaRath – Review

The book slayer77 – Review

April 7th

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

The Lovely Books – Review

thebookdragon – Review & Excerpt

Aira Reads – Review

Reviews from the Heart – Review & Excerpt

Literary Misfit – Review & Excerpt

Love & Life & Learning – Review & Excerpt

April 8th

Alpha Book Club – Excerpt

Crawling Over the Pages – Review

Three chicks and their books – Review & Excerpt

Reviews By Rah – Review & Excerpt

All For Love of the Word – Excerpt

Library of a Book Witch – Review & Excerpt

The Bookmark Blog – Review & Excerpt

 

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We Were Here – Daisy Prescott 

We Were Here by Daisy Prescott Review and Excerpt Blog Tour- Feb 23-26

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In the 90s …

texting involved paper and a pen …

… our selfies were Polaroids …

… our favorite music was on mix tapes.

Sex was dangerous, music was raw, and falling in love felt nostalgic.

We were friends and lovers.

We thought we knew everything.

We knew nothing.

We were here.

Set in the early 1990s, a time before the internet, social media, and smart phones, We Were Here is the prequel to Geoducks Are For Lovers. This book can be read as a standalone.

“This story has it all! Just like a mixed tape; we get a dose of steamy romance, angsty ballads and sweet love songs woven together in a compelling, heartwarming and sometimes heartwrenching journey of self-exploration.” Helena Hunting, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

Review

In “We Were Here,” Daisy Prescott takes us back to the early 90’s and man, oh man, it’s a fun ride! The chapter titles (all coined after 90’s songs) will have you singing along — and maybe even dancing along if you’re anything like me — for the entire novel… And for days to follow. Though it sometimes bordered on feeling a little forced, there are so many references to the early 90’s, you won’t be able to stop yourself from remenesing about a time when you listened to music on your walkman instead of cell phone.  Simply put, this was such a fun novel, which is perfect because it’s been a long time since I smiled or giggled so much while reading.

The story is told in seven chronological parts that each follow a different friend’s story. I haven’t ready a story that delves so fully into so many characters and I have to say, I really enjoyed the layout. Everyone had their chance to shine. Usually when reading, I fall in love with seecondary characters and find myself wishing for more of them. Prescott did just that. She took Ben, who was a very minor character in Maggie’s story, though still one that intrigued me, and gave him a part of his own — a story of his own.

There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about this book, but not everything. As I mentioned, sometimes the 90’s references were over done. Reference after reference after refereence started feeling less like a fun reminder of the decade Prescott took us back to and more like we were being whacked over the head with it. And while the characters were decent and relatable, they all felt a little like stereotypes, espeically Quinn.

Overall, it’s worth a read. We Were  Here is a fun novel that will have you putting a playlist together of all the songs as a sountrack to your life for the next couple of days.  

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C0VV7VM

iBooks: http://smarturl.it/wwhibooks

Barnes & Noble: http://smarturl.it/wwhbn

Kobo: http://smarturl.it/wwhkobo

We Were Here Tour Excerpts

Meet Maggie Teaser

 

Maggie, Freshmen year

After being quizzed about the Dewey Decimal system, and failing, I returned to my room in shame. At this rate, if I wanted to work on campus, I’d be washing dishes in the dining hall. Nothing could be grosser than the used food and unclean dishes of thousands of college students. I gagged at the thought as I opened our door.
Inside, Jennifer—my perfectly nice and perfectly normal roommate—was straddling a guy on my desk chair, making out.

She might have been trying to eat his face. I couldn’t really tell in the two seconds I stared at them before clamping my eyes shut. I know I spied her tongue. Outside of her mouth. All I could see of him were his dark hair, long legs, and brown Wallabee boots.

Panicked about interrupting something, and simultaneously feeling like a prude, I backed my way through the open door. After it quietly clicked close, I pressed my head against the cool metal.

I could go back to the library, except I left there ten minutes ago. The dorm lounge was an option, but this time of day meant it would be filled with some random club. I couldn’t remember if Thursday’s meeting was German Lovers or Save the Geoducks—our school mascot. Neither appealed to me.

I stared harder at the painted metal, wishing the make-out session on the other side would end sooner rather than later.

“Are you locked out?” The blond guy from down the hall rested his head on the bulletin board next to my room.

“Or are you praying?”

Pressing my cheek on the door, I twisted to see him more clearly.

“It’s okay if you are. Pray if you’ve got to.”

“I’m not. Just thinking.”

A loud moan sounded from inside the room. “Oh, oh, oh God.”

“Sounds like someone in there is praying.” His lips curled into a smile. “You might want to step away, lest someone think you’re a pervert for eavesdropping.”

I jumped away from the door. “I wasn’t listening!”

Chuckling, he held up his hands in defense. “Not judging you. Praying and voyeurism both have their places, usually in Madonna videos.”

Another not so soft groan carried from my room. I took a step farther away. My favorite black on black Swatch showed the time as four o’clock. Too early to go to dinner. Looks like I’ll be going to the lounge after all.

“You want to come hang out in my room until they finish whatever they’re doing in there?” His offer sounded genuine and his smile was more than friendly. He gestured over his shoulder to the open door across the hall and down a few rooms. “I can promise you my roommate isn’t in there making out with anyone. We should be safe.”

WWH Teaser Blog Tour 1

Selah, Freshman Year

“Miss Elmore.”

Great. Despite most definitely being outside of class and off campus, he’d reverted to formal names.

“Mr. Vincent.”

“I’m surprised to see you here.” He ignored introductions to his friend.

“I could say the same. I didn’t realize you lived in Olympia.”

“I don’t.”

Geez, this conversation couldn’t be more boring. Maybe his companion was friendly. I stuck out my hand. “Hi, I’m Selah, one of Mr. Vincent’s students at Evergreen.”

“Pleased to meet you. I’m Kevin.” If someone could be described as beige, he was that person. Nothing remarkable about him except how unremarkable he looked. “Are you taking Jason’s sex class?”

Thankfully, I remained composed enough not to swallow my tongue. “Is that how he’s describing it? Professor?” I held my gaze steady on Jason’s face. I swore I saw his cheeks color with pink.

“Kevin.” His voice lowered, stern and threatening.

Kevin’s grin told me he enjoyed teasing Jason. They must have been old friends. “Fine, are you in Professor Vincent’s biology class?”

“I am. I’m hoping for an A.”

Kevin’s clever eyes swept over me. “What year are you?”

“First.”

Jason groaned while Kevin nodded and asked, “Tell me, Selah, has anyone ever called you Lolita before?”

Now my own cheeks heated. My skirt suddenly felt too short—the gap between it and my boots exposing a lot of fishnet covered skin. Or it could have been my short pigtails. I realized all I needed was a lollipop.

“Can’t say it’s happened before, Kevin.”

Clearly, Kevin knew my game. Or maybe Jason’s. I’d never thought he could be the type to seduce his students. As far as I knew, this class was his first teaching job.

“How did you get in here?” Jason changed the subject. “Fake ID?”

Busted. “No one carded us.”

“Doesn’t make you legal.”

“Are you going to call the police? Have us arrested and handcuffed?” It might have been the vodka, but I decided to be bold and push him. “Are you into handcuffs, Professor?”

Jason choked on his beer, coughing to clear his throat.

After making sure his friend wasn’t dying, Kevin laughed. “This is more entertaining than I imagined a college dive bar could be.”

I focused my attention on the non-choking friend. “What brings you to Olympia, Kevin?”

“I’m in politics.”

Jason found his voice again. “He’s an assistant to an assistant to a state senator.”

“Then you know all about impropriety.” I gave him a sweet smile.

“It’s been a political tradition since the Founding Fathers.” Kevin raised his glass. “I like you. Care to join us?”

Jason set his beer on the table. “I can’t be seen drinking with students. Kevin, shut up.” He pointed at me. “You return to your booth and your friends, and we’ll pretend we never ran into each other.”

“Yes, sir.” I saluted him. “Can I ask one question first?”

“If he doesn’t answer, I will.” Kevin gave me a wicked grin like a wolf in beige clothing.

About Daisy Prescott:

31ve3dUPvQL._UX250_USA Today Bestselling Author Daisy Prescott writes romantic comedies with heart.
Her Modern Love Stories feature characters in their thirties and forties finding and rediscovering love in unexpected and humorous ways. Her Wingmen books star regular guys who often have beards, drive trucks, and love deeply once they fall.
Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband and an imaginary house goat. When not writing about herself in the third person, Daisy can be found traveling, gardening, baking, or lost in a good book.
To learn more about Daisy and her writing, sign up for her mailing list here (copy and paste this link): eepurl.com/xhXb5. Send her an email at: daisyauthor@gmail.com Or chat with her on Twitter (@daisy_prescott) and Facebook: /daisyprescottauthorpage, and follow her on Instagram: /daisyprescott

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First Love – James Patterson

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Synopsis:

Axi Moore is a “good girl”. When Axi invites her best friend, Robinson–with whom she’s secretly in love–to come with her on a cross-country road trip, she’s finally breaking all the rules. But they soon find that, however far they run, they can’t escape the heartbreaking troubles that brought them together in the first place.
In this madcap adventure full of love and loss, Axi realizes that her romance with Robinson might not have the happy ending she was hoping for….

Review:

I was recently browsing through Books-a-Million and came across James Patterson’s First Love. The cover was so beautiful that I just had to pick it up. I know, I know we’re taught from birth not to judge a book by its cover but let’s get real, there’s a reason they make covers so pretty. And this one is especially pretty.
I read the first three or four pages in store and then I did something I don’t often find myself doing in this day and age of the kindle, I took the hard copy to the register and purchased the real-life book. Because, yes, I had fallen in love with it after only a couple of pages.
The rest of the novel, though not at all what I’d expected (honestly, I hadn’t even read a synopsis or ever heard of the book. I didn’t even know that James Patterson wrote stories about first loves for a YA audience – or any audience. I’d only ever known him for his other stuff, but had never read any of it.) blew me away.
Axi is a character that every girl can relate to. She’s unsure and hesitant and adventurous and confident. She’s shy and clever and scared to admit her feelings to the boy she loves. Her circumstance may have more bumps and twists than many a teenage girl experiences, but at her core, she is someone who is relatable. So much of her was me at sixteen and because of that it’s hard not to feel a since of kinship for this character and desperate will that everything works out for her.
Robinson is… He’s him. Charming, funny, attractive. He’s the boy that it was impossible not to crush on in high school and not because of his looks (though those certainly don’t hinder matters) but because he’s magnetic.
I can’t imagine two better to join on a road trip across America as they escape their realities for adventure.
I don’t often spend more than five or six dollars on a book and usually only purchase kindle editions. But like I said, I fell for this book after a mere three pages and it didn’t disappoint even once. It doesn’t matter your age, the story – the adventure, the crushing sadness, the love – makes this a wonderful read that I will forever recommend to anyone with ears to listen.

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The Year of Falling in Love – Jessica Sorensen

 

Happy Release Day to Jessica Sorensen’s The Year of Falling in Love!!
I am so thrilled to be a part of this release, check out my review below and then go get your own copy! Seriously, you don’t want to miss this one! 
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Synopsis:

Isabella Anders just found out Lynn and her dad want to send her to a reform school. But with the help of Grandma Stephy, Isa’s dad agrees to let her move in with her grandma.

Isa is more than relieved to be moving out. And after going on an unofficial date with Kyler, she wonders if maybe her life is starting to turn around. But then she discovers the truth about what really happened to her mother.

Not ready to fully accept that her mother is a murderer, Isa turns to Kai for help. Kai is more than willing to help, but to protect Isa, he keeps some of the more brutal details about her mother’s case to himself until he can find out more.

But when a mysterious blue car starts showing up everywhere, and Isa receives a threatening text message from an unknown caller, Kai realizes someone is dead set on destroying Isa. And he might not be able to protect her.

Review:

There’s something about Jessica Sorensen that I simply cannot get enough of. The way she writes, the characters… it doesn’t matter if it’s dystopian freaky vampires, fallen stars, contemporary love stories about best friends… or a whole library shelf load of other things, I will fall irrevocably into whatever world she creates and stay there until the book is devoured. The Year of Falling In Love is no exception to this. I fell in love with Isa in the first novel of the series and continued to do so in this one. Sorensen is proving herself skilled at more than just love and fantasy, she does an amazing job of building suspense and mystery in this series, something you do not want to miss! The only complaint I have is that while the suspense and relationship/character building was on pointe, this installment seemed to focus more on furthering along the plot dealing with Isa’s mother and the mystery surrounding Kai’s life than falling in love. In short, I’d hoped for more kissing. Don’t get me wrong, what we get is perfect, it just made me want more. Tons more! And Ermagerhd! That drama. I have so many questions that I MUST have answered. I’ve just read this and I’m already dying for the next Sunnyvale Novel to release!

Seriously, if you haven’t already got the copy on your kindle, but it here and do it now!

 

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SOAR – Cold Mark Saga – Scarlett Dawn

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I am so thrilled to announce the release of Soar by Scarlett Dawn. This is the fifth, and final, installation in the amazing COLD MARK SAGA! If you haven’t already gotten your hands on it, go buy it here immediately! 

Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author, Scarlett Dawn, captures the perfect last installment of The Cold Mark Saga, where trust is earned and love soars…

Braita Valorn is a disaster walking. One mistake after another on the planet Triaz has landed her in trouble time and again. Only Braita’s quick wit has kept her from complete ruin—and her cunning to blackmail the Plumas of the east.

The Plumas of the west own Braita. She is their Soul. But when her ultimate freedom is so close she can taste it, Braita might just ‘own’ them…if her heart doesn’t get in the way.

Or, perhaps, Braita should have followed her heart from the start—to one set of Plumas who are her perfect match.
Will Braita obtain her freedom? Or will she finally accept a life she never asked for?

Review:

Five novellas later and I am still in love with every character! I don’t even know what else to say, I r eally loved this series of novellas. Briata is as awesome as ever. I loved her assertion to her freedom, despite the ways everything seems to be working against it. I’m so sad to be saying goodbye to such an awesome character! The plumas are great- though I won’t spoil it by saying which ones – I will say the heat is turned up in Soar and man oh man, it does not leave a girl disappointed. There is a bit of action, fighting (duh! These are the Mian we’re talking about), and, of course, some laughs – would it be Scarlett Dawn if we didn’t laugh? I will say there are times it felt a little rushed. I found myself wishing it was longer because though everything tied together, it did so in a manner that just kind of brushed over things instead of taking the time to really explore them. Because of that, I found myself a little disappointed. I wanted more detail, more explanation… more. When it ended, I simply wasn’t ready to let go. Even though I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, Soar was a wonderful end to the Cold Mark Saga.

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The Illusion of Annabella – Jessica Sorensen – Book Review

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Review:

I’m not certain that words can quite describe how quickly I fell in love with The Illusion of Annabella, but I can tell you it by the second sentence of the novel.

Always wearing a sparkling smile, I was the kind of child who dreamed about catching rainbows and drinking glasses of sunshine.”

It’s hard not to fall in love with Annabella from the start of the prologue and that makes it infinitely more heartbreaking when tragedy strikes. Yes, I cried while reading the first chapter… and most thereafter. This book, true to Jessica Sorensen style, is a sobfest to the max. The emotion is so strong, so intense, so heartbreaking that you feel for Annabella as if you’ve known her your whole life; you connect to her as if you share a soul. And our sweet neighbor boy, he is completely swoon worthy and I love envisioning his interactions with Annabella. But the focus of this novel is really Annabella finding herself again. I actually liked that the love story was a little pushed back because it may have seemed a little forced otherwise – don’t worry though we get plenty of swoon worthy moments. The romance just, to me, wasn’t the purpose of this novel. That, was Annabella rediscovering herself and coming to terms with her life. The story was lacking nothing. I haven’t fallen so quickly and completely in love with another Jessica Sorensen novel since first reading The Secret of Ella and Micha. That’s saying something considering I eat up every book she releases! Honestly, this isn’t one you want to miss.

Synopsis

Annabella Baker has always lived a normal life with a loving family. She had dreams of going to college and becoming a dancer. But the summer before her senior year, the life she knew is ripped away from her, and she’s left wondering if it ever really existed in the first place.

Six months later, Annabella is living an entirely different life. The loving family she had no longer exists, and the girl who dreamed of being a dancer can barely walk. She spends most of her time getting into trouble and living in denial over what happened. One night she takes things one step too far and is left dealing with the consequences.

Put under house arrest, Annabella can no longer run away from her problems. With the help of her cute, sweet neighbor, Luca Benton, she rediscovers the girl she used to be, and finally learns the truth about what really happened that horrible day that changed her life forever.

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Excerpt

I swallow hard, pressing my hands to the garage as my legs turn into noodles. “It seems crazy, wanting to help someone when you don’t even know them . . . Your life would be easier if you didn’t.”

“My life’s never been easy, but do you know what’s really easy?” he asks, and I shake my head. With a hint of a smile on his face, he reaches out, and I think he’s going to grab me, but instead he taps the box of sparklers I’m holding. “Lighting sparklers.”

I frown warily at the box. “That’s actually harder than it seems.”

Suddenly the wind gusts dead leaves across grass, and the cloudy sky grumbles, warning us of an impending storm. Clasping the lighter in one hand, I open the box and wiggle two sparklers out.

Can I do this?

I give one to Luca then fumble to light the lighter.

Am I really going to do this?

Blame it on my nerves, but I can’t get the damn thing to work.

Maybe I shouldn’t do this?

Finally, Luca pries my fingers off it, flicks the top, and creates a steady flame. He lights his first then sticks it out in front of him as silvery sparks shoot out like a magic wand.

“Put yours up to mine,” he instructs, stuffing the lighter into his back pocket.

With a deep breath, I kiss the tip of his sparkler with mine. Oh, my God, I’m really doing this. They hiss as the flames aglow.

I move the sparkler in a circle in front of me. “Wow.” I forgot how magical a simple firework could be, and for a moment, I see the world through my old eyes, lit up like fireflies that I swear I could catch if I just stuck out my hand.

For the next few minutes, Luca and I play around in the driveway, going through sparkler after sparkler, giggling like a couple of kids as we clumsily skip around. When it comes down to the last one, he lights it up and hands it to me.

As the sparkler reaches the halfway point, Luca moves up behind me and circles his arms around my waist, covering my hand with his so we’re both holding onto it. His breath tickles my ear as he laughs and traces letters in the air. My hand moves with his, but I can barely focus on what he’s writing. I’m too distracted by his chest pressed against my back, his warm fingers covering mine, how very alive I feel in that moment, and how terrified I am.

“Luca, I think . . .” I trail off as he stretches our arms out to the side and fixes his finger under my chin. Turning my head toward him, his eyes search mine, then slowly, he leans in.

AboutTheAuthor

 

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Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author from the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.