Posts Categorized: Giveaway

New Home + New Look = Giveaway!

September 16, 2013 Giveaway 36

home-sweet-homeHi everyone! About a month ago, I decided to move to self-hosted WordPress. I just was not happy with the idea that Google owned my blog and owned my content. They could do whatever they wanted with it (like delete it–ah!)! I had been itching to design a new layout for myself anyway, so moving to WordPress gave me the perfect excuse.

I wrote to Ashley at Creative Whim (she’s also the book blogger at Nose Graze) and started discussing the move. Guys, she is SO easy to work with! And her prices are incredibly reasonable. She recommended a good hosting company that I really love, gave me a temporary test site on her server so I could design my blog and figure out WordPress before the move, and answered every little question of mine almost instantly! She moved over all my posts and comments seamlessly, re-directed my blogspot address to this one, and helped me edit the CSS of her Tweak Me theme (which I LOVE) so I could make it all my own. She also installed some must-have plug-ins that have already saved my life. I also bought her Ultimate Book Blogger Plug-In, and I am in LOVE. Thanks so much, Ashley! This move is probably the best decision I’ve made as far as the blog goes. I am so happy with it, and thought it was time to celebrate now that I have completed the re-formatting of EVERY post, as well as updated all my review archives.

To celebrate, I’m giving a way a book of your choice under $15 (US) from either Amazon (if you live in the USA) or The Book Depository (as long as they ship to you). It’s just my way of saying thanks for sticking with me through the move, and also for being such great friends!

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Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton (Mini Book Review + Giveaway)

September 4, 2013 Book Review, Giveaway 11 ★★★★

Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton (Mini Book Review + Giveaway)Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton
Series: Two Lies and a Spy #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 3, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
When sixteen-year-old Kari’s dad sends her an unexpected text, she and her brother immediately go into hiding. Because when your parents are superspies and your dad declares a Code Black, it can only mean something bad. Very bad.

Kari soon discovers that her parents have been disavowed and declared traitors, and she’s determined to clear their names. Breaking into the Agency seems like a reasonable plan, especially with the help of a team that includes her longtime crush, Luke, as well as her two best friends—an expert hacker with attitude and a master martial artist—and Luke’s popular, vindictive twin sister. Oh, and a new guy, who’s as cute as he is complicated…

What a fun book! I love spy/thriller/espionage type books, and so I was really excited when I was sent a copy of Two Lies and a Spy for review. It was a delightful, quick read and I loved every minute of it.

My favorite part of this book is Kari’s brother, Charlie. He’s seven years old, but he’s a little Einstein. He loves to research things and spout off random facts. He absolutely loves Kari, and she loves him. This has got to be the cutest brother/sister relationship I’ve ever read. After they discover all the trouble their parents are in, they go into hiding together–Charlie dressed as a little girl, and Kari disguised in whatever costume she has at the moment. Kari enlists the help of her friends, and together they decide to break her parents out and clear their names in the process.

Kari’s friends made this story amazing. The plot itself has been done before, but these characters made it unique. Kari is spunky and sarcastic, which I love. Luke, the dreamboat, is so sweet and concerned. Rita and Kale, her two partners in crime were so much fun, especially the zingers they shot back and forth at each other (they kind of hate each other). Rita’s this quirky fashion guru with all the techie gadgets that get things done, and Kale is a computer whiz. Lacey, Luke’s sister, is the bodacious blonde with a major attitude. I liked her, though, and actually enjoyed her prissiness. And then we have Evan, my love. He’s the snarky British bad boy wannabe who drives Kari absolutely nuts with his antics. Aside from Charlie, he is definitely my favorite. I hope we get lots more of him in the next book, because he has a personality you can write novels about. It’s not just the characters I love, but their interactions with one another had me giggling. They are so funny, and I really enjoyed their dialogue. Together, they create this dynamic force you can’t help but root for.

The plot is rather unrealistic at times, but I didn’t even care. There was no eye rolling or muttering from me as I read. It was pure and utter entertainment. The ending made my jaw drop in a twist that was pretty exciting. I love how it ended, and left the door open for more. I can’t wait to read more from Kat!

Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for providing two hardback copies I can giveaway to my readers! Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win. U.S. entries only, please.

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The Emergence of New Adult by Abria Mattina (Author Guest Post + Giveaway)

September 2, 2013 Giveaway, Guest Post, New Adult 2


It’s my pleasure to welcome Abria Mattina, author of Love Among Pigeons (companion novel to Wake), to the blog today to talk about the emergence of the new adult genre! I have never been a huge fan of new adult, but Abria makes some interesting points that have me thinking I should try dipping my toe into the genre again.

The Emergence of New Adult
by Abria Mattina

When I published Wake in the Fall of 2011, I lamented that the New Adult category didn’t exist yet. Here I had a book about characters in their late teens, facing issues and problems that weren’t necessarily appropriate reading material for young teens. So where do I list it? I ended up putting it in the General Fiction category, out of fear that someone would give it to a thirteen-year-old and then send me an angry email, accusing me of scarring their child for life.

Needless to say, I was overjoyed when New Adult began to emerge as a category, distinct from Young Adult and General Fiction. There’s been a lot of discussion about it recently, and some believe that New Adult is just sexed-up Young Adult. Personally, I think that’s making a generalization on the basis of the worst books in the category. The distinction between Young Adult and New Adult has to be more than sex — transitioning into college life or the workforce, taking on serious relationships for the first time, new levels of physical, intellectual, and spiritual freedom, etc.

I see New Adult fiction as books about characters in their college years, aimed at an audience of a similar age. Just like Young Adult is books about teens, for teens, encompassing the full spectrum of genres, styles, and plot types, I believe New Adult has the same potential.

Which brings me to the other New Adult stereotype: it’s all about the angst. Two tortured characters with severe emotional scars come together to heal each other. In basic terms, my first book Wake could be described this way, and it’s not a bad thing. The only reason it has become a stereotype in New Adult, I believe, is that the market has been flooded with books of this particular type. The category is young and has yet to diversify. I hope that it will, lest New Adult turn into a very grim one-trick pony.

Every market has its phases. Not so long ago the Young Adult category was jam-packed with dystopian trilogies. Before that it was the craze for everything supernatural, and now we seem to be moving into a glut of gritty realist fiction. New Adult will have its phases too. It just happens that the first one is heavy on tear-jerkers, but who doesn’t love those deeply moving books?

Released on September 27, 2011

Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.

Love Among Pigeons18072782
Released on August 23, 2013

In this companion novella to Wake, Frank invites the Kirk family home to Smiths Falls for Thanksgiving weekend. Holidays are always a trial for the family that lost their daughter and sister, but Frank is hopeful that this Thanksgiving will be the exception. He has some happy news to share. If only he wasn’t so reluctant to talk about it.


Thanks so much to Abria for stopping by to share her thoughts! She has also provided a few giveaways as part of the tour! Hope you win!


Click here to go to the form to enter to win a Moleskine book notes journal, 1 of 5 signed bookmarks, and a $30 Williams Sonoma gift card.

Click here to go to the form to enter to win a $25 GelaSkins gift card.

Wanted: One Ghost by Loni Lynne (Book Spotlight + Giveaway)

August 26, 2013 Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway 4


It’s my pleasure to promote Loni Lynne’s new book, Wanted: One Ghost, and to be a part of the blog tour hosted by Christine Marie! I love books with ghosts, and this one sounds pretty amazing! Check out some of the reviews it has gotten so far:

“It’s a traditional love story mixed with a mystery and a handsome ghost.”

Read the full review by Rebecca on Goodreads

“The ending will capture your heart. Sweet and innocent, and full of heat, Ms Lynn has come up with a WONDERFUL ghost story, rife with compelling characters and dynamic challenges.”

Read the full review by Louann on Goodreads

“For debut author Loni Lynne I applaud her for writing a story that hooked me at the start and creating a complex historical timeline that was so detailed, I felt like I was really there.”

Read the full review by Kristen on Goodreads

“The story, though it is filled with danger and ghosts, frequently made me laugh.”

Read the full review by Danielle on Goodreads

Wanted: One Ghost by Loni Lynne
Release Date: May 31, 2013
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Add to Goodreads  •  Buy the Book

Stuck in ghostly limbo for 238 years, James Addison can’t move on to an afterlife. After being falsely accused of treason and executed, fate’s cursed him to remain an earth-bound specter until he meets a historian sent to research his past. Distrustful of fate, Dr. April Branford wants to be taken seriously, but her unique ability to divine history by touching objects seriously compromises her credibility. Her latest assignment? James Addison, a legendary colonial ladies’ man with a shadowy past. Without much to go on, she doesn’t hold out much hope to discover the man behind the legend until the day she accidentally touches him and brings him back to life. With the help of family and ghosts from James’s past, they unravel the truth. But after falling in love and with time running out, it’s hard for April to believe in fate and a future where forever is now.

Loni Lynne

About the Author: Loni Lynne

Born in Michigan, Loni grew up all over the mid-west. From Michigan to Texas and everywhere in between before joining the Navy and meeting her Army husband. Together they were stationed in Hawaii for four years before returning to settle close to family in Maryland. Raising two beautiful daughters, Loni went from being a domestic goddess to a writer and finally a published author when her husband gifted her with a laptop,portable hard drive and a membership to Romance Writers of America for her birthday. He then challenged her to, ‘finish a book by her next birthday,’ and she did it! A few years later she was blessed with one of those novels, Wanted: One Ghost, as her debut novel.

Website  •  Author Facebook  •  Find the book on Facebook  •  Twitter

Keep an eye out for my review of Wanted: One Ghost coming in the future.


Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

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Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock (Review, Giveaway, & Guest Post)

July 19, 2013 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 5 ★★★★★

Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock (Review, Giveaway, & Guest Post)Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock
Series: Camp Boyfriend #1
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on July 2, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 324
Format: Paperback
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.

But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?

Welcome to the final stop along the official Camp Boyfriend blog tour! I hope you’ve had fun the last couple of weeks hearing about the book, learning about J.K. Rock (dynamic duo, Jennifer and Karen), and winning giveaways! Today I get to wrap things up with my thoughts on the the book, and will then turn things over to J.K. for some fun summer hair tips. And make sure you enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! You have two chances to win! Anyway, on to the review!

When I was younger, pretty much my favorite movie ever was the original Parent Trap with Hayley Mills. It wasn’t because of the romance or anything like that, it was because I was always fascinated by summer camp! I loved the cabins and the activities and minimal adult supervision. I always wanted to go, but got homesick way too easily. Camp Boyfriend excited me for the same reason Parent Trap did, and I loved it so much!

I kind of loved the idea of Lauren’s double life: popular cheerleader at school, nerdy astronaut wannabe at camp. It’s kind of like Danny Zuko in Grease. He’s a hardened, greasy hair, leather jacket dude at school and a romantic khakis-wearing guy during the summer he and Sandy fall in love. When you think about it, this phenomenon is so common. You’re one person with your parents, another with your friends. You’re on person at your job, and another one at home. Even in this book blogging world, so many of us are VERY different online than off. My friends don’t even really know about my book blogging, and the ones who do know are surprised I’m such a book nerd. We all have different personalities for different times, and Lauren’s two lives collide this summer. I loved watching her world cave in when she realizes what’s going on, because I just know how that would feel. Just as Lauren gets ready to reunite with her sweet, camp boyfriend, her popular boyfriend crashes her fun. And craziness ensues. I couldn’t help but laugh at her predicament. Busted!

Amidst all the summer camp-ness, drama, falling in and out of love over and over again, and trying to keep her old friends and make new friends at the same time… Lauren has to figure out who she really is. Now that her two worlds are one, she has to figure out how to mesh them together. She has to choose who she loves, and what she wants to do with her life. And what HARD choices! I really liked both Seth and Matt, I liked everyone at camp, and I really loved watching everyone try to get along and figure out what’s going on.

This book is, plain and simple, adorable. The writing is perfect, and I SO want to go to summer camp now!

Summer Hair 101
Guest post by J.K. Rock

The day I was born, my parents oohed and ahhed over my brown curls… so much so that they took endless pictures, dragged nurses over to admire me, and called in every friend and relative to see the child destined for shampoo commercials. HAH. Those curls have been the bane of my life, especially when at summer camp. Spending extended amounts of time outdoors, in the water, without frequent access to hair products, takes my semi-intentional, messy, curly look to a hairdo that resembles a Brillo pad- and a used one at that! Yikes. Lauren, the main character in my co-authored novel, Camp Boyfriend, suffers a similar fate (poor thing!). Luckily, her older sister/fashionista, Kellianne, teaches her some tricks to tame her mane. Read on for some fun, stylish ways to deal with summer hair. Take THAT Mother Nature!

Foolproof style for your next getaway or day at the beach. Here’s to good hair days ahead!

1. Before heading to the beach or the pool, wash and condition your hair thoroughly.
2. Towel dry and put hair in a ponytail at the top of your head.
3. Twist hair around the ponytail and secure in a spiraled bun.
4. Spritz strands with a soft-touch hairspray.
5. After your day in the sun, let the bun fall to form smooth waves, and finish with a mist of hairspray to keep locks in place.See? Now it looks like you meant that messy, beachy lookTame the Beast: (otherwise known as your summer hair)T-Shirt Dry – resist the urge to towel dry your wet hair when you get out of the shower. Towels’ thick, rough texture can damage the hair cuticle, so instead reach for an old (clean) t-shirt to soak up moisture.
Don’t Brush – instead of brushing your wet hair, comb through with a wide toothcomb or just your wet fingers. This will help prevent damaging the hair shaft. You can use a brush to blow dry your hair straight, but avoid brushing dry hair as it can stretch out the hair cuticle.

Skip Shampoos – In order to prevent frizz, it’s key not to wash your hair every day. This can deplete the natural healthy oils your scalp produces making your hair even frizzier. Try rinsing with water and applying just conditioner.

Treat it – For an extra benefit, reach for the jojoba or coconut oil once a week. These apply the right amount of moisture and frizz control without weighing hair down.

When it doubt- Braid it out!!
Sometimes the best way to deal with the frizz and heat is to hide it in a messy side bun, top knot, or a braid. It’s a style you can wear to the beach, in the water, on a hike, and still look ready to go to a camp dance like Lauren and her bunkmates at Munchies’ Manor. There are so many styles to choose from. Here one that goes beyond the typical French braid (which I still have yet to master…)

Wave the White Flag- or at least a head scarf.

Head scarves and hats are great ways to look good and not worry about summer locks. Scarves can double as head wraps, head bands, ponytail holders and a weapon when your friends make you want to strangle them as Lauren’s sometimes do! Hats help prevent future wrinkles, but more importantly, they also make you think of Bruno Mars. Who doesn’t want to think about him?!

Go big or Go home!

Sometimes you just have to embrace who you are- frizz and all. Confidence is attractive no matter what. Think about all the rock stars you’ve screamed for in a dark concert hall. Put the same celebrity in daylight and you’ll scream for a different reason- unless it’s Keith Richards and then you’ll know it’s not a mask. Regardless, let your hair be wild and free and when people gently offer you a ponytail holder just smile smugly and say, “And hide all of this awesomeness away… I think not.” In Camp Boyfriend, Seth loves Lauren’s curly hair. In fact, he adores everything about her

Camp Boyfriend is all about individuality and accepting yourself and others. So wave your frizz flag proudly. It’s who you are. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Summer Hair. What’s your favorite summer hairstyle?


(There are two types: a daily prize and a grand prize.)
Daily Prize: Camp journal, pen, bookmark, friendship bracelet and I <3 Camp temporary tattoos – colors and style may vary (see picture).

Grand Prize: Elkeles,The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt, That Summer by Sarah Dessen, Always You by Kirsty Moseley, an autographed Arc of Wait For You by Jennifer Armentrout as J.Lynn and autographed copies of Camp Boyfriend and Camp Kiss along with ‘I Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols, Perfect Chemistry by Simone

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And make sure you visit the other tour stops as well!

7/1 – Aeicha @ Word Spelunking
7/2 – Aseel @ My Crazy Book Obsession
7/3 – Amy @ Book Loving Mom
7/4 – Kazhy @ My Library in the Making
7/8 – Nicole @ Books Complete Me
7/9 – Taherah @ Books As You Know It
7/10 – Jen @ Jenuine Cupcakes
7/12 – Heather @ Nightly Reading
7/15 – Hannah @ The Irish Banana Review
7/16 – Cindy @ Princess Bookie
7/17 – Jenna @ Coffee, Books & Me
7/18 – Jess @ Book Passion for Life
7/19 – Jana @ The Artsy Reader Girl

Jana’s Birthday: Now Closer to 30 than 20… Ahh! (Giveaway)

June 22, 2013 About Me, Giveaway 52

Hi! So, today I turned 26, and OH MY THAT’S SO CLOSE TO 30! I remember turning 13 and thinking I was the most awesome person in the world because, HELLO, I was a teenager! That was half my life ago! It’s amazing how time flies. It’s also hilarious looking back on your life and realizing how totally uncool you were back in the day when you thought you were the coolest ever.

Anyway, I thought this would be a fun occasion to thank you all for your support, loving comments, and friendships. I’ve had an outpouring of “happy birthday”‘s on Facebook, Twitter, and even in my email. You’re all so amazing! So, I’d like to give you something. I wish I could give ALL of you something, but then I’d be broke. Haha. So, please enter this giveaway and know I love you!

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Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg (Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway)

June 13, 2013 Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway 1

Welcome to my spot along the Our Song blog tour, hosted by Itching for Books! It’s my pleasure to spotlight Our Song today, as well as author Jordanna Fraiberg, who is so unbelievably nice!

Our SongTitle: Our Song
Author: Jordanna Fraiberg
Series: Standalone
Release Date: May 2, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Buy It: Amazon
Add It: Goodreads

Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.

Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession.

Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone.

Meet the Author:

Jordanna Fraiberg was born in Montreal, Quebec, and currently lives in L.A., where she settled after receiving degrees from Harvard and Oxford. A former national squash champion and Hollywood film executive, she now divides her time between dreaming up stories and chasing her toddler. She is the author of Our Song and In Your Room.

Author Website  |  Twitter

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Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller (Book Spotlight & Giveaway)

June 12, 2013 Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway 1

As part of the official blog tour for Kimberly Ann Miller’s debut novel, Triangles, I’m spotlighting the book and giving you a friendly reminder that it is coming out REAL soon. Like, in 6 days! I had really been anticipating this book’s release, and was so happy when Spencer Hill Press sent me an ARC. Keep an eye out for my review next month. :) In case you’re wondering, here’s the book info and a pretty sweet cruise giveaway! You know I love cruising, so this giveaway has my name all over it.

Title: Triangles
Author: Kimberly Ann Miller
Series: A companion novel is in the works!
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Pre-Order it: Amazon
Add It: Goodreads 

A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life–her father’s death years ago, her mother’s medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her–seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she’s gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they’re a happy couple… a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying “Happy Anniversary”… and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship’s doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she’s warned that these “alternate realities” could become permanent

Kimberly Ann MillerMeet the Author: Kimberly Ann Miller

Kimberly Ann Miller received Bachelor’s degrees from Georgian Court University and Rutgers University and a Master’s degree from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She is an avid reader and particularly enjoys true crime and young adult novels. She grew up in New Jersey and currently resides in Monmouth County with her husband and three cats. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel to sunny islands where she snorkels by day and stargazes by night. She always takes her Nook with her.


Spencer Hill Press has decided that since Kimberly’s book takes place on a cruise ship, why not giveaway a cruise in honor of its release? Well, actually it’s a travel voucher to cover the cost of a cruise… or any other form of travel.Crazy, huh? I think it’s pretty exciting. Two other winners will receive $50 gift cards to their choice of either Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, or their local bookseller. Free travel or free money? Yes, please!

You have until September 14th to enter, and winners will be drawn on September 16th. Good luck to you! If you win, you have to take me on your trip! :P

Official rules and entry forms are here
Click here to download the PDF entry form

April Showers Bring My Favorite Rainy Day Reads (Giveaway)

April 24, 2013 Giveaway 119

I don’t know about you, but my April has been filled with showers… and blizzards. And when the weather is like that, I want to curl up with a light, warm fuzzies kind of book and escape the yucky weather. I love reading books set at the beach, on vacation, or during the summer or springtime.

I’ve put together a collage of some of my favorite springtime books and beach reads to beat those rainy day blues! And don’t worry! I see sunshine in your future. :)


Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (My Review)
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (My Review)
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland (My Review)
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (My Review)
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (My Review)
My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite (My Review)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen (My Review)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (My Review)
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

I’m hoping to brighten your day with a book of your choice ($12 USD or less) from Amazon (USA) or The Book Depository (Int). Because let’s face it: my rainy day reads might not be your cup of tea. So I’m not choosing for you. All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below and cross your fingers! Please note, the Amazon prices for these titles are less than $12. I can’t guarantee that The Book Depository will have the same prices. Make sure you check before you select. :)

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Good luck, and I hope you win! 
Make sure you hop along to the other participating blogs for more chances to win!

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (Book Review & Giveaway)

April 8, 2013 Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 29

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (Book Review & Giveaway)Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
Published by Simon Pulse on October 30, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

I’m not usually a fan of afterlife-type novels, because I don’t usually like an author’s take on Heaven/Hell, Angels, God, and the afterlife in general. For this reason, I almost did not accept this book for review. Something about it, though, drew me right in and I decided to give it a chance. I am SO glad I did, because this book is a new favorite of mine! I really loved it, and it made me think about my life. I’m going to do my best to make sure this review is vague. You really need to discover the book as you read. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Elliot is a typical teenager, who is trying to learn from her mistakes and plan out her next life. She is struggling to find her way and her place. I loved that about her, because she was so easy to relate to. We all make mistakes, and we all have things in our lives that we wish had turned out, or been handled, differently. I love watching her remember what happened during the months before she passed away. I enjoyed watching her discover and piece together her former life, and the emotions and experiences she had.

2. Elliot has several amazing friends in the Obmil, or afterlife, that she has seen before between past lives. There are also a couple new ones that she has to figure out how and why they are important to her. One of them is a fatherly/grandfatherly figure named Freddie, who gives her advice. I really liked him and his fuzzy flannel shirts. Oliver will do anything to help her discover her plan for spiritual growth, and is a sweet brother type. Mel is a guide of sorts, and unconditionally loves Elliot. She is so sweet and loving. And then we have Trevor, the snarky grump whose t-shirt sayings change to reflect his mood. I loved those shirts. Haha. Some of them were really funny. He is a very dynamic, emotional, and confused character. I loved watching his transformation as he discovers his past right along with Elliot.

3. I loved Kimberly’s take on the afterlife. Basically, it’s a limbo period where people go after they have passed away so that they can learn from their past life or lives and reserve to do better in their next one. Each character goes through a lot of introspection and discovery, which I loved seeing. I firmly believe in always trying to improve yourself, so even though I don’t believe in reincarnation, I appreciated this message in the book.

4. Kimberly’s lyrical writing style is gorgeous, and so perfectly in sync with the subject matter of Touching the Surface. I just drank it all in, and could picture this otherworldly place in the afterlife in vivid detail.

5. The emotions in this book are just so real and pure. The people are flawed and working through their lives. Each is on a very personal journey. Aren’t we all? I really connected with these characters, and their situations. Their discoveries made me think about my own life, and how I am doing now. When I pass on, what will I look back on and wish I had handled differently? Will I wish I said something different to someone? Will I regret not experiencing certain things? I challenged myself to work harder and be better. I’m grateful to Kimberly for making me think all these things. 

Overall, Touching the Surface is a beautiful story that readers of all genres will be able to relate to and pull from. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you will connect with these characters. You will think about your own life, and you will most likely end up making some goals for yourself as you move forward. I was touched by so many of the passages, and related to the emotions that were discussed. I loved experiencing this book, and can’t wait for more books from Kimberly.

Giveaway: Kim is generously providing a personalized hardback of Touching the Surface for one of my US readers! Thanks so much, Kim!

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