Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Girls Don't Cry: What I Look For In a Blog

Inspired by Book Buzzers, Book Girls Don't Cry is a weekly feature where we each discuss/vent/advise on the chosen weekly bookish topic. Don't miss Jenni on Mondays, and Amy on Saturdays:

Be attractive, baby! *winks*

Most people will start a blog because they want to share their opinion, so it's important that your blog (design, content etc) attracts readers. What you should really aim for are regular visitors as they're the ones who are your loyal blog supporters and readers. How do you get people to come back? After visiting tons of blogs in my 2 years of blogging - and even before - I've seen it all, and some things will attract me to come back, other things will make sure I never do.

How to attract readers:
  • Content! I like content that is a mix of interesting bookish things, though as I prefer reading reviews I'm attracted to blogs who post at least 2-3 reviews every week - to me reviews are the raison d'être of book blogging. I also enjoy discussion posts and some memes (I like Top Ten Tuesday, WoW, and STS). I think the key for memes is moderation; if a blog only has meme after meme after meme, it gets boring and lacks personality. Content should also show effort and that you care about what you're sharing.

  • An attractive design! This doesn't mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for a designer, in fact a lot of simple designs that take minimal effort can be very nice. I guess I should say more "a design that doesn't give people headaches". Firstly, white on black is hard on the eyes and while I won't not read a white on back text, I won't read a lot of it. I can't. It physically hurts my eyeballs! I also find it hard to read when the fonts are way too fancy (usually hard to read) or bright colors. No one likes to read bright lime green text!

  • Clean sidebar! This is a huge pet peeve of mine but I can't stand when things are all over the place on a sidebar. Similar go together!! For instance, a Facebook icon that is at a totally different place from the Twitter icon irks me (and this is something I deal with daily when visiting for tours), it makes it so hard to find you online which is how you make blog friends and connections! And if you're going to put buttons of blogs you like, why not put em together? One here, one over there, another one randomly on top of everything makes no sense, and if you don't make sense I'm not interested in figuring you out. Moving on, sidebar widgets like moving cats or fish-tanks have a sole purpose of making a site slow to load. Those book countdown widgets, too, can slow your site down tremendously if you have more than a couple. This reminds me, I went to a blog once that had a Hunger Games countdown with sound effects and I almost shat my pants - yeah I didn't go back there. My point: Keep your sidebar clean, logical, and to the point!

  • Socialize! Who wants to talk to a wall? Well aside from Facebook? No matter how nice your design looks or how good your content is, if you don't show you care or even notice people are visiting, they're likely to stop coming. If you get a comment, you should reciprocate, especially if the person is a regular commenter. If someone asks a question, reply direct or via Twitter - that's just common courtesy. I know some recommend replying to every comment but in my opinion 1) if you've got  the native Blogger commenting people don't get notified of your reply so I never saw the point (unless they asked a question and thus are likely to come back to check) and 2) a lot of people will appreciate comment backs more than a generic reply if you don't really have anything to add, so I prefer commenting back on their blog instead. I also like people who show an online presence on Twitter; that is how I made almost all of my blogging friends. It's how you really get to know and connect with them, and you get a bigger grasp at their personality. I'm not saying you have to be constantly on Twitter chatting about, but it's good to show your face every day or 2 - and if someone @'s you, reply!

Those are the main things that will be deciding factors on who will appear in my favorite list in Bloglovin and Feedly ;)

What do YOU look for in a blog?
What makes you come back, or run away?

We're looking for topic suggestions for future BGDC posts! What would YOU like to discuss (can be anything from vents to advice)?
Leave a suggestion via this short form!

You know you love me!
Xoxo, Book Girl!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Demanding Ransom Tour Stop: Guest Post + Giveaway

Today as part of the Demanding Ransom Blog Tour - Kismet Book Touring - I've got the lovely Megan Squires on the blog with some fun facts about herself! She loves Breaking Bad, so now we're BFFs! Have a look and enter to win before you go! :)

Demanding Ransom
Megan Squires
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publication date: June 2013

Sometimes life takes things away from you. In nineteen-year-old Maggie Carson’s case, it’s taken more than its fair share.

Determined to move forward, Maggie embarks on her first year of college, hoping to finally put her past behind her, exactly where it belongs.

But that’s hard to do when the present is just as difficult. And even harder when someone like Ran, the gorgeous paramedic that keeps crossing Maggie’s path, challenges her to face things head on, rather than bury them like she always does.

Ran hasn’t had a perfect life either. But there’s something different about him, and something different about the way he makes Maggie feel. Maybe meeting Ran is life’s little gift for Maggie—a sort of consolation prize for enduring everything she's had to go through.

But things don’t come easy for Maggie. Why should love be the exception? And just when everything starts to settle, it’s all turned on its head once again.

If there is one thing Ran has taught Maggie, it’s that you can’t sit on the sidelines of your own existence. When life takes something that’s yours, you have every right to demand it back.

Only for Maggie, that is easier said than done.

Guest Post by Megan Squires

10 Random Facts About Megan Squires (in no particular order)

I have never seen any of the original Star Wars. Or any Indiana Jones. Or The Sound of Music. Call me un-American if you will. I did, however, seen the Baz Lurhmann  Romeo and Juliet seven times in the movie theater. So I think that proves that I’m not only a bit of a creature of habit, but when I like something I tend to become a bit obsessed.

I was an International Relations major in college, yet have never really traveled internationally.  Well, that’s not entirely true. I did go to Costa Rica for two weeks when I was in my early twenties, but other than that, I’m a bit of a homebody.

I photograph newborn babies for a living. For the past five years, I’ve been a photographer and have a studio where I get to snuggle and photograph brand new babies. Other than writing, I think I have the best job on earth.

I write about my life. Sort of. I typically can’t get away from pulling past experiences into my stories. The snowboard scene in Demanding Ransom where they shut down the lift? Yeah. That happened. Luckily, it was with my best friend and not a guy, but still mortifying nonetheless.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was a Diet Coke addict. As in I would wake up and have a can every morning (and then several more throughout the day). Then I just decided to quite cold turkey. After getting past the initial few days of caffeine withdrawals, it wasn’t as difficult to kick as I thought it would be.

My first book boyfriend was Noah Calhoun from the Notebook. And I think he’ll always have a piece of my heart, though Jace Lightwood and Augustus Waters have successfully edged their way in.

This September I’ll celebrate my 10-year anniversary with my hubby.  And we’ll be going to Italy, so I can finally put all the international relating to use!

I wrote my first book on a whim. My best friend had just finished reading the Hunger Games and she said she needed another “escape” book, so I thought, “Hey, why not?” I was up that night outlining what later became Traced.

I’m obsessed with Breaking Bad. And have an unhealthy addiction to Jesse Pinkman. So excited for the final season to start in August!
I wrote Demanding Ransom in just under 30 days. I still don’t know how I did that, especially when I look at The Rules of Regret (my current work) and see that I’ve been writing it since February. I guess when inspiration hit, it really slugged me with that one!

About the Author

Megan Squires lives with her husband and two children just outside of Sacramento, California. A graduate from the University of California, Davis, Megan is now a full-time mother, wife, and dreamer – though her characters don’t often give her much opportunity to sleep.

This post is part of the Demanding Ransom blog tour:

Monday, June 24th - Just Reading For Fun 
Tuesday, June 25th - Nose Graze
Wednesday, June 26th - The Irish Banana
Thursday, June 27th - Proserpine Graving Books
Friday, June 28th - The Bookswarm

Monday, July 1st - Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, July 2nd Supernatural Snark 
Wednesday, July 3rd - Krista's Dusk Jacket 
Thursday, July 4th - Basia's Book Shelf 
Friday, July 5th - Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Monday, July 8th - Rose's Book Corner
Tuesday, July 9th - Confessions From Romaholics
Wednesday, July 10th - Xpresso Reads
Thursday, July 11th - The Book Cellar
Friday, July 12th - Selkie Reads Stories 

Waiting on Wednesday (85)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine 
and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

My pick this week:

Perfect Ruin
 Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles #1
Genre: YA Sci Fi
Publication date: October 1st 2013
by Simon & Schuster BfYR

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

Whoa this sounds really cool and different for a dystpian/sci-fi/whatevers. I like the murder mystery included in it, too!

What are you waiting on?
Link me up! :)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Review: Nomad by J.L. Bryan

J.L. Bryan
Genre: NA Time-Travel Dystopia
Publication date: July 26th 2013

A new dystopian novel from the author of Jenny Pox - coming July 26.

They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight
-A copy was provided by J.L. Bryan for review-

JL Bryan has always impressed me with the level of originality and excitement he works into his novels (big fan of Jenny Pox), and I was yet again taken aback, this time by a time-travel dystopian that is full of thrills and has a kick-ass heroine to boot!

Time-travel dystopian! When I saw those words together my mind kind of flipped, making me unsure of what to expect. For one, time-travel is nothing to play around with if you're not fully committed to deliver. I have a low level of patience for ignored time loops and paradoxes, and while I'm still wrapping my head around the details of JL's take on it with Nomads and the universe taking care of itself, it's one of very few time-travel plots that I can say I'm ok with (and "ok" is about the best you'll get). Some things still hurt my brain if I think about it too hard, but that's time-travel for ya.

Taking us straight into the action, this story begins with Raven suddenly finding herself in 2013 with no recollection of where she is, nor where she's from. It doesn't take long for her to realize she's in unfamiliar terrain, though, with old-fashioned… everything and bizarre gadgets in her pockets. It also takes just as long for trouble to find her! Raven's personality and smarts made it easy for me to take a liking to her. She's quick on her feet and intelligent in a way that completely fits with where she's really from - the future is not a pretty place. It also makes her loyal to her cause. However great of a protagonist she is, though, she brought out my enthusiasm more than my emotions. Perhaps due to the nature of the plot with its distant past and new present, together with flashbacks and the Nomads theory, it made it hard to get attached with this nonlinear character building. I did, nevertheless, find myself intrigued and unexpectedly enthused by the peculiar romance that she stumbles upon with its sensual pull and lingering sense of wrongness. I was also surprisingly content with the direction JL decided to take with these two.

This plot brings in a layered butterfly effect that requires pinpointing what needs to be changed to bring about a full metamorphosis of Raven's future. This means most of the book takes place in our day and age, where she wants to try to make things better with a nudge - or bullet - but what if it isn't enough? Or makes it worse? Aside from this fun to ponder time-travel bit, I loved learning about the future Raven came from; especially the realistic plausibility of it all. The advancement in technology, the history that lead to this dystopian society, even the fashion, it's a solidly imagined world that is made believably futuristic without any overkill.

Highly entertaining with a time-travel aspect that is just as fascinating as it is perplexing, Nomad is a unique dystopian that's perfect for reluctant dystopian readers, or those who just want a different mix! You might as well pick it up; this book is in your future! (I've seen it!)

FYI - This book is considered New Adult; college life, sex, violence, and a few swear words thrown in.

4 Hot Espressos

Monday, July 08, 2013

Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

 In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
Genre: YA Historical Thriller
Publication date: April 2nd 2013
by Amulet Books

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.
-A copy was provided by Amulet Books for review-

It excites me so when I come across a novel that shows me there can still be books that thoroughly stand out from any other in its originality and outstanding story-telling. I can not even believe that In the Shadow of Blackbirds is Cat's debut novel!

What I love most from this book is how, through impressive research, Cat achieves an exceptionally poignant historical atmosphere from a time that saw through so much death and horror. The fall of 1918 had not only the highest death toll from the Spanish Flu which killed over 50 million people (some sources even say up to 100 million), but it was also in the throes of the first World War. Having been fascinated by an epidemic flu that, even to this day, is seen as unusual without a known origin, I have fell upon surprisingly few books on the matter, so I was instantly drawn to this novel. And I'm highly impressed with the level of realism and drive it endorsed in showing us exactly what people were going through in those god-awful days. From frantic - but in a way necessary - beliefs in thrifty home remedies; to face masks that hides you from the world - and you to it; to the number of bodies being picked up like garbage every evening. We're brought into a time that was, in the best of descriptions, gray.

Not only do we see the horrors of this invisible killer, we're also in the midst of Word War I. This, too, is full of unbelievable sadness. Cat is not afraid to show us the real ugly truths. Through the eyes of Mary Shelley - an innocent 16 year old girl - we experience the longing that comes from having a loved one at war, and we see the grim consequences of this war during her visits to the recovering veterans' ward when we meet soldiers who have been irreversibly damaged; not just physically, but mentally. And that is what In the Shadow of Blackbirds is really about: the fragility of the mind. Even while reading, you're forever questioning what is real, and what isn't.

Throughout, Mary becomes such a compelling character that I found myself easily lost in the ways she's seeing this bitter world. She despises the masks that she sees as the face of an unflinching villain. She digresses, at least to herself, from the new "patriotic" ways, believing what her father was saying about doing what is right instead of what's safe. She finds bravery when she has nothing else. Furthermore, I loved the side characters who, no matter how small the role, had great impact in the story, insuring their memorability.

When Mary Shelley's sweetheart starts haunting her, this turns an already bleak story into one that is positively eerie. There could not have been a better atmosphere set for a plot such as this. Along with hair-raising scenes that range from cryptic to horrific, the book includes several grim photographs that make its eeriness even moreso. Plus, when you think about the real surge of spirit photography from a desperate time with desperate mourners, the book doesn't stray very far from reality. Cat simply takes history and turns beliefs into actuality.

Cat Winters was immediately added on my "auto-buy" list upon finishing the last page. Her talent is proven undeniable in this unique, well-researched, and evocative novel that is In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

Also, isn't it odd that I was reading this book while sick with the flu? *looks around warily*

5 Hot Espressos

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (62)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews featuring the books we got this week, and I also mention blog news/happenings of the past week

Happy belated 4th of July to my American friends! :) I hope you're all having great weather. It's sweltering here. And of course I have a cold. Blah! So did you see? Our Cover Madness giveaway hop started this week! There are 60 blogs all hosting giveaways for some pretty covered books so make sure to hop away! I also posted a sweet giveaway for an ARC of Antigoddess for my UK and England peeps! And how's everyone finding life without Google Reader? Not so bad eh? I'm preferring Feedly and Bloglovin myself I find they're even better than GR! Have you all found me on Bloglovin? I'll just leave this easy and obvious button below *whistles innocently*

Follow on Bloglovin


 (Click on covers for Goodreads)
I received for review:


*Thanks to Random House Canada, St. Martin's Press, and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for these pretties!*

Yuppers, all short weeks since BEA!
Don't forget to link me to your book haul! :)

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Fresh Batch (New Releases July 7th - 13th)

Exclusively titled for Xpresso Reads, Fresh Batch features the hottest releases of this upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Fifth Grave Past the Light
Darynda Jones

Series: Charley Davidson #5
Publication date: July 9th, 2013
by St. Martin's Press

Charley Davidson may not look like your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper, but she has vowed to reap grimness wherever she goes despite this unfortunate fact. Sadly, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. As he is the main suspect in her arson case, she is determined to stay away from him until she can find out the truth. According to her therapist, however, she lacks conviction.

When dead women start appearing in her apartment - lost, confused and terrified beyond reason - Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes's help, especially when it becomes apparent that her own sister Gemma is the serial killer's next target. With his ability to observe incorporeally, surely he can find out who's responsible. And even if he can't, he is the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return: Charley. All of her - body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay…

The Charley Davidson Series:

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. She currently has two series with St. Martin's Press, the Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of more than 25 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Book Girls Don't Cry: Where Are All the Parents?

Inspired by Book Buzzers, Book Girls Don't Cry is a weekly feature where we each discuss/vent/advise on the chosen weekly bookish topic. Don't miss Jenni on Mondays, and Amy on Saturdays:

So Many Orphans!

Seriously? Where are the parents in YA novels? I have noticed a common theme where the characters are either orphans, live away from home (like in a private school dorm or with an uncle), have parents who are always at work or otherwise clueless/uninvolved in the book at all, or gone on vacation for the duration of the story. I know that these "excuses" are things that can happen. A lot of parents are uninvolved, too busy with their careers or otherwise to be very... parenty, but it seems to be such a common occurrence in YA that I wonder, is the author not wanting to deal with writing/creating familial bonds and dynamics? Are they trying to make it feel more mature by keeping out strict parents who may point to the fact that these are teenage kids? I'm not sure, and to be honest if done well it doesn't bother me too much, but a lot of the time the missing parents syndrome gives the book sort of an unrealistic feel.

I'm not saying I need for both parents who are perfectly devoted and clued in to everything their kid is doing. Great parent/child dynamics can be so very unique for every family and every book. Which is why it's unfortunate that it's become so rare in YA - there are so many directions to take. Even though it can be cliché, I don't mind one missing parent. Cliché or not, having been raised by only one parent for most of my life, I do relate to those kids. I have read and enjoyed many books involving a one-parent family dynamic and it can offer just as much.

Having so much familial absence does make those books with actual involved parents and a realistic family dynamic stand out. I've noticed that books with great family dynamics become really enjoyable reads to me as of late. It seems to be a missing elements that can give the book just that extra profoundness. Here are a few examples of books with great parental relationships:

However, there is a way you can take book parents a bit too far, as well. I have found myself annoyed by parent in YA so much at times that it affects my enjoyment of the book overall. Sometimes it's because they are present, but are cold or so uncaring I want to slap them silly for procreating at all. Other times it's by how annoying strict they are, to the point of getting on my nerves as a parent myself. I wasn't raised in a strict home. I was left to make my own mistakes and choices when I was a teenager. Moreover, my mother's way was if you can't stop it from happening - and you likely can't - control it the only way you can. For instance, she was smart enough to know that teenagers (at least where I come from) were bound to drink as some point, so she would tell me she'd rather buy me booze herself than not knowing what and where I would get it. Having no reason to rebel from rules fixed on my head, I never "snuck out", I had no interest in drugs, and never even smoked a cigarette in my life. Being a believer that if you tell someone not to do something, they will do just that, I guess it plays a hand in my not having patience for parents who are clueless to this in books and try to control every aspect of a teen's life. It doesn't mesh with my own parental beliefs and upbringing. I like a balance of openness, while still being the parent figure the child needs them to be.

What do you think about missing parents in YA?
Do you have any recs for books with good family dynamics?

We're looking for topic suggestions for future BGDC posts! What would YOU like to discuss (can be anything from vents to advice)?
Leave a suggestion via this short form!

You know you love me!
Xoxo, Book Girl!

Giveaway: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (UK/Europe)

Kendare Blake
Series: Goddess War #1
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mythology
Publication date: September 10th 2013
by Orchard Books

He was Apollo, the sun, and he'd burn down anything that tried to hurt her... Cassandra and Aidan are just your average high-school couple. Or so Cassandra believes. Blissfully unaware that she was once a powerful prophetess, Cassandra doesn't even know that god exist...Until now.

Because the gods are dying - and Cassandra could hold the answer to their survival. But Aidan has a secret of his own. He is really Apollo, god of the sun, and he will do anything to protect the girl he loves from the danger that's coming for her. Even if it means war against his immortal family...

Sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; relentless action and suspense - ANTIGODDESS is the YA novel you've been waiting for.

Thanks to the wonderful people over at Hachette Children's UK, I have a pretty ARC of Antigoddess for giveaway unique to my UK and Europe readers. I'm telling you - this one is not one you want to miss! Enter away!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Review + Playlist: This Love by Nazarea Andrews

Perfectly timed for summer, the This Love blog tour is dropping by today. This is a great summer romance for New Adult fans. Why don't you have a look at my review, and then you can check out the playlist for the book to put you in the mood! :)

This Love
Nazarea Andrews
Series: University of Branton #1
Genre: NA Contemporary
Publication date: June 25th 2013
by A&A Literary

She wants a summer job and a ride to a wedding.

He wants an assistant and a distraction from the mess his life had become.

They didn't know they needed each other.

Avery Emili needs two grand. Two grand and a plane ticket--her sister is counting on her to get to Jamaica for her wedding. But the semester is over, and tutoring college freshman and high school students has dried up until the fall.

Atticus Grimes needs help--the messy split with his wife left the twenty-eight year old professor scrambling to keep things together as the semester winds down. Now he's got a research grant he has to actually do research for and all he wants to do is drown himself in a tall bottle of bourbon.

When Avery sees his ad for an assistant, all she's thinking is a summer job. But as they spend time together, in the office and out, both of them begin to realize something is there. Something that can't happen--he's a professor and she's a student. And both of them have histories, pasts that won’t let go. Can two broken people pulled apart by expectations find a way to be whole?
-A copy was provided by Nazarea Andrews for review-

A perfect for summer read, This Love is a forbidden love story involving a student and a professor that you know is doomed before it begins, yet you keep hoping, denying the fact that the end of their crazy, sexy summer is coming.

The beginning of this book was a little rough for me and left me uncertain as to if I would enjoy it. The story is told through a dual POV that switches quite often and abruptly which can take a while to get used to. Eventually I did get into the flow of it, though, and stopped even noticing. Another worry was how fast it was going. I don't mean the relationship itself as in insta-love, I mean the timeline passing by. In only the first 15%, weeks have passed while they meet, flirt, tease, make out, insist it can't happen again, fight impulses, make out some more, become text buddies, etc. I felt like all of that was a big blur. Fortunately the book does slow to a steadier pace in the midst of their relationship, letting us savor the best part of their summer - which is also the part that bears the most emotion.

I was surprised by how emotionally connected I became to these characters and their relationship after that speedy start. It first gives the impression that the book stays on the surface of emotional impact with underdeveloped, but fun, characters -- which can be ok for a light summer read. Instead, though, I found myself broken up over this doomed relationship of theirs and reveling in their happy moments. It became an up and down roller coaster ride with just the right amount of heart and tears. Both Avery and Atticus are likeable characters with problems and insecurities that are easy to relate to. The characters could use some tightening up, especially the secondary roles, but as the book focuses on the here and now it's not a big deal that we don't get a full three dimensional look at their individual lives.

Now, let's fixate on Atticus a moment - not hard to do, believe me. This is the kind of love interest I wish all books would aim for, not the pompous jerks we often get. Don't get me wrong, Atticus is not flawless, he's got insecurities and fears of his own, and an ex wife who's a total bag of farts. Most importantly, I love how deeply he cares for everyone in his life: his sister, his best friend, Avery. And how he loves without barriers. Another thing to note is how open they are with each other. They do keep some secrets about their past relationships at first - understandably - but we finally get a couple who communicate instead of assume and overreact. How refreshing! Level headed characters take the win! And just a heads up - this is a New Adult book with a mature, adult relationship, meaning there are (many and hot) graphic sex scenes.

This Love is a sweet, fun, and sexy beach read that I recommend to those who can't get enough of forbidden romances!

4 Hot Espressos

Playlist for This Love, by Nazarea Andrews

I write to music—a lot of music, and often times, Pandora channels keep me going while I’m drafting. But there are always a handful of songs that really stand out and remind me acutely of the characters and that list becomes my playlist.

Here is the playlist for This Love

Ours--Taylor Swift This is the theme song for the entire book, and where I found the title.
Skyscrapper--Demi loveatto. I loved the beauty and just general feeling of this song—it reminded me of Avery and I spent a lot of time listening to it when writing her point of view.
There Ain't Nothing--Brooks and Dunn.  When I heard this song on my husband’s phone after writing Atticus, I knew it summed up everything he felt for Avery.
Fix a Heart--Demi lovato This is for both Atti and Avery, separately. Both have had their hearts broken, and it definitely speaks to that.
Summer Love-- One Direction As This Love is a summer romance, it should be kinda obvious.
Springsteen--Eric Church It doesn’t speak to any particular scene or person, but it was played often and I loved it while writing.
Nobody Compares--One Direction How Atticus feels about Avery.
Should have Kissed You—Glorianna What Avery/Atticus feel most nights after work.

About the Author

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog