Pokemon Go Tag

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pokemon-go-book-tag I was tagged by Ari @ The Daydreaming Bookworm for the Pokémon Go Book Tag. It was originally created by Aentee @ Read At Midnight. To be completely honest, I have never played Pokémon Go or any other Pokémon games. I have seen some of the trading cards my nephew has, though. Does that count? 😉 But I’m going to do this tag anyways because it looks like so much fun! You can click on the book cover to read the Goodreads synopsis.


Pokemon-Tag-01Starters

 I can’t remember which book exactly started my love of reading, but I was a huge fan of Sweet Valley Twins when it came out. I would have picked The Baby-Sitters Club, but I checked and this book came out first. Pokemon-Tag02Pikachu

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Can Twilight be considered a classic now? I think I’ll always love it because it’s the first YA book I read as an adult that I read. Or at least I think it was. It’s been so long and so many books since!

Pokemon-Tag-03-Zubat

I feel like I see The Selection series everywhere. There are so many books. I thought The Selection was pretty good when I read it, but I couldn’t handle the next book. I actually DNF’d it early on and I never do that.

Pokemon-Tag-04-Ditto

Bittersweet

I have to admit that Bittersweet reminded me of another well-known farmer and chef romance. It didn’t bother me, though, because I loved this one so much!

Pokemon-Tag-05-Snorlax

Not only is Outlander really long, but there’s like a million books in the series and they’re ALL long. I don’t doubt they’re amazing. I just can’t imagine the commitment it would take!

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A gift of time cover

I actually couldn’t sleep while reading A Gift of Time. I would put the book down and try to sleep, but I’d just keep thinking about it. This series has the most messed up storyline I’ve ever read, but it’s so consuming!

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I always hate having to answer questions like this because I don’t just have one. But since I have to pick, I’m going with Jamie & Wes from Him. Love, love, love those guys!

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Sugar Daddy was both fire-hot and a fast-paced read. And the next two books in the series are just as good!

Pokemon-Tag09-Eevee

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There aren’t actually any spin-offs of The Off-Campus series yet, but I hope there will be! I’m not ready for this series to be over after the fourth book is released.

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The Over the Top series has quickly become one of my favorite new series. Each book gets better and better.

Pokemon-Tag12-Legendary

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom have some serious hype around them, but I loved the first book and will definitely read the second.

Pokemon-Tag15Mew-MewTwo

I would love to have all of Colleen Hoover’s books signed. That would make me happy.

Pokemon-Tag10-Egg

I know The Serpent King has been out a while, but I haven’t read it yet.

Pokemon-Tag11-Lure-Module

Everyone, I swear! Colleen Hoover, Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy…I could go on and on.

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Only a couple more days to wait…


I TAG:

Ali @ Arctic Books
Amy @ Curiouser and Curiouser
Ashley @ What’s She Reading
Alex @ Alextheshadowgirl’s Blog
Betwixt the Pages
Calliope the Book Goddess
Claire @ Art and Soul
Dimple @ enthrallingdimple
Esther @ Chapter Adventures
Jacquie @ Rattle the Stars
Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf
Jessica @ Mud and Stars
Maren @ The Worn Bookmark
Paige @ Page by Paige
Pooja @ Dreamy Romance Book Blog
Raven @ Dreamy Addictions
Stephanie @ Stephanie’s Book Reviews
The Orang-utan Librarian
Yvo @ It’s All About Books

And anyone else who wants to do it!

Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

Spontaneous
Author:
Aaron Starmer
Publication Date: August 31, 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

“Katelyn Ogden was a lot of things, but she wasn’t particularly explosive, in any sense of the word.”

Mara Carlyle’s senior year at Covington High in suburban New Jersey is going on as normally as could be expected, until the day—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to spontaneously combust without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason—Terrorism! Drugs! Homosexuality! Government conspiracy!—while the seniors continue to pop like balloons.

Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it with tell-it-like-it-is insight as she tries to make it to graduation in one piece through an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard the President of the United States use over Skype.


Spontaneous was a weird book. The concept behind it, high school seniors spontaneously combusting, was disturbing yet surprisingly entertaining. I loved the way the story was set up with each chapter unveiling a little more. The writing was amazing and the entire book was so creative!

I loved Mara’s rambling point of view in Spontaneous. It was blunt and refreshing. Mara was a little witty and a lot snarky. Her flippant attitude was perfect for a teenage character. I enjoyed reading her thoughts and feelings throughout the entire book. The supporting characters were fun, too. I loved learning bits and pieces about them through Mara.

Spontaneous delivered an incredibly entertaining reading experience, but it was a little frustrating.The spontaneous combustion plot and the revelations that went a long with it were confusing at times. So much random information was given and then never really explained or dealt with. I was only partially happy with the ending because I still feel like I need certain answers.

Still, I did really enjoy the book. I would definitely recommend it to YA Contemporary readers who enjoy a strange story filled with cool characters and great writing.

 

 

Review: Broken Prince by Erin Watt

Broken Prince
Series:
The Royals, #2
Author: Erin Watt
Publication Date: July 25, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: You must read Paper Princess prior to reading Broken Prince.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

These Royals will ruin you…

From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

She might be right.

Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.


When I started Broken Prince I had no doubt it would be just as good, if not better than, Paper Princess. I wasn’t disappointed. The writing was just as fantastic, and I was just as hooked. The characters continued to grow in complexity, and I loved learning more and more about them. The plot went places I would never have expected. The witty banter and dialog between the characters got better and better. I fell even more in love with the characters this time around.

Broken Prince picked right back up where Paper Princess ended. I can’t tell you where that is because I’m not going to spoil it for anyone. Just know that there will be major revelations and surprises — and another fascinating cliffhanger! I can’t leave that out. I absolutely loved it this book and I know fans of Paper Princess will, too. If you haven’t started this series yet, do it now! You’re missing out on something amazing!

 

Sorry the review is so short — I just don’t want to give anything away! 😉

 

Review: Up In the Treehouse by K.K. Allen

Up In the Treehouse
Author: K.K. Allen
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: I received an ARC from IndieSage PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I wanted to tell him all my secrets, but he became one of them instead.

Chloe Rivers never thought she would keep secrets from her best friend. Then again, she never imagined she would fall in love with him either. When she finally reveals her feelings, rejection shatters her, rendering her vulnerable and sending her straight into the destructive arms of the wrong guy.

Gavin Rhodes never saw the betrayal coming. It crushes him. Chloe has always been his forbidden fantasy–sweet, tempting, and beautiful. But when the opportunity finally presents itself, he makes the biggest mistake of all and turns her down.

Now it’s too late . . .

Four years after a devastating tragedy, Chloe and Gavin find themselves crashing back into each other’s lives. Haunted by the past, they’re forced to come to terms with all that has transpired to find the peace they deserve. Except they can’t seem to get near each other without combatting an intense emotional connection that brings them right back to where it all started . . . their childhood treehouse.

Chloe still holds her secrets close, but this time she isn’t the only one with something to hide. Can their deep-rooted connection survive the destruction of innocence?


I can’t tell you how happy I am to have read Up in the Treehouse. When I started it, I had no clue it was by a local author! Yes, I know K.K. Allen now lives in Florida now, but I’m claiming her as a local Seattle author since she grew up here. And I’m guessing she might have been more South Sound than Seattle by the setting of her book. But I’ll get back to the setting in a bit.
I truly enjoyed K.K. Allen’s writing. Up in the Treehouse  was a dramatic story told in dual points of view. It alternated between past and present so the reader could understand the special history of the main characters, Chloe and Gavin.
Chloe and Gavin were childhood friends who hadn’t seen each other since a tragic event after their high school graduation. Both were deeply hurt by what happened their last night together, and their experiences tore them apart. They’re finally seeing each other after four years apart, and neither of them know how to navigate their lost friendship. The awkwardness and attraction between them was so much fun to read.
What I loved most about these characters was that neither of them was perfect. Their reactions and feelings felt real and honest. Both had been through the same event, but had recovered from it in different ways. I liked Chloe and her new determination to face her fears, but I also got annoyed with her for constantly avoiding things she didn’t want to deal with. Gavin was sweet and his frustrations were easy to understand. I liked how he wasn’t quick to let Chloe back in. I enjoyed watching them learn how to be friends — and maybe more — again.
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Now back to the setting. Up In the Treehouse was perfectly set. The accuracy with which Bonney Lake, Washington was described was incredible. I can say that because I live 15 minutes from Bonney Lake. I’ve spent many hours on Lake Tapps (I’m pretty sure that’s the lake Chloe and Gavin live on.). You can check out the picture above to see what some of the area actually looks like, including Chloe’s view of Mt. Rainier probably looked like from her house. I’ve been to Allan Yorke Park more times than I can count. I’ve spent time at the pool tables in Babalouie’s. I smiled at every reference to one of my favorite lakes and the surrounding area attractions. The only thing missing was time spent complaining about the commute from Bonney Lake to Bellevue. Chloe must have hated that! It’s bad enough to deserve a mention. 😉
I loved everything about Up in the Treehouse. It was a slightly angsty romance with amazing characters and a couple of great twists. I know other New Adult readers will as much as I did. I really hope K.K. Allen will write more in this setting. I would love a story about Monica or one of Chloe and Gavin’s other friends.

About K.K. Allen

K.K. Allen is the Contemporary Romance & Fantasy Author of the Summer Solsticeseries (Enchanted, The Equinox and The Descendants), Soaring (short story in theEchoes of Winter Anthology), and Up in the Tree House, which will be available late Spring / early Summer.Ms. Allen was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, raised in Seattle, Washington, and currently resides near Orlando, Florida. She has always had a passion for reading and writing and has done so every day since the young age of 12. K.K. enjoys writing stories inspired by nature, magic and love. She loves manatees, learned to swim for the mere purpose of pretending she was a mermaid, and adores the beach so much she promises to one day live on one (in a tent if she has to) in Hawaii and serve snow cones on the side of the road.What’s Next: K.K. is gearing up to release her New Adult Contemporary Romance, Up in the Tree House, which deals with friendship, love, and everything in between.

WWW Wednesday: July 27, 2016

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading but is now hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So here we go…


Currently reading:

I am reading Spontaneous right now. It’s pretty comical.


Recently finished:

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This was an especially good reading week. I got to read 3 sequels I’ve been waiting for, an author I’ve never read before and then an ARC of a book set just about 15 minutes from my house. 🙂

A Gift of Time (Nine Minutes Trilogy, #3)
A Fine Mess (Over the Top, #2)
Up in the Treehouse
Broken Prince (The Royals, #2)
The Playboy’s Proposal (The Sorensen Family, #3)

Click on the book titles to read the reviews that I have already posted.


Reading Next:

I didn’t get to this one last week like I said I was going to, but hopefully this week!

Release Blitz Review: Mettle by J.C. Valentine

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METTLE

by J.C. Valentine
Spartan Riders, #2
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, MC Romance

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BUY:

Synopsis: Talia McKinnon said goodbye to love the day she signed the divorce papers and moved across the country looking for a fresh start. With work occupying her days and nights, a relationship is the last thing on her mind, until a run-in with a hot-as-Hades, leather clad biker changes her mind. He’s everything she shouldn’t want but has to have. The problem is, he’s not that easy to catch.

Tucker “Country” Abrams believes in two things: brotherhood and women. He takes his job seriously and his women hard, but at the end of the day, the only loyalty he has is to his club. So when a night with a beautiful stranger threatens to change everything, he’s quick to apply the brakes. But when a little detective work reveals that Talia may be much more than a one-night stand, Tucker is tasked with an impossible decision. Will he push her away, or go against every instinct he has and pull her closer?

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REVIEW:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

In Mettle, we return to J.C. Valentine’s Spartan Riders MC world. This time, it’s “Country” who is taking us for a ride.

Tucker “Country” Abrams is a love ’em and leave ’em type of guy. He’s always known the whole marriage and kids thing wasn’t for him. He doesn’t even like the bunnies to stay the night. Tucker’s loyalty has always been and always will be to the Spartan Riders. Or it was until a sultry, little blonde walked into the bar.

The last thing Talia McKinnon was looking for when transfer jobs across country was love. Any chances Talia had at that were ruined by her ex-husband. But when her new job presents the chance to get down and dirty with a sexy-as-sin biker, Talia jumps at the chance. Why not mix work with pleasure, if doing so will satisfy all of her needs?

While Tucker and his brother’s are trying to get a step ahead in a dangerous game, Talia is searching for answers to a mystery she needs to uncover. Can their new relationship survive the jobs they’re determined to do?

Just like the first book in the Spartan Riders series, Mettle was an intense, sexy ride. The suspense kept me on edge almost the entire time. I knew that once Tucker found out the truth behind Talia’s job, things were going to get tense. I never imagine the entire story would have me in a state of anticipation! There were other twist and turns I didn’t see coming. I was completely surprised a couple of times while reading.

Mettle wasn’t just all suspense, though. There was another kind of tension at play, too. Sexual tension. The sexual connection between Talia and Tucker was very carnal and a little bit kinky. I was definitely fanning myself! There was also a sweet side to their relationship. Both had feelings for each other quickly that went deeper. Neither of them was willing to admit that their relationship went anything beyond the physical for a while, but I loved the way they both were secretly falling for each other. I enjoyed the comfortable way they were with each other.

I would highly recommend  Mettle to readers who enjoy MC romances or the Romantic Suspense genre. It was definitely filled with several steamy scenes and a whole lot of action. I would suggest reading the first Spartan Riders novel, GRIT, before reading Mettle, though; it sets up a major part of this story.

**I received an ARC from IndieSage Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.

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HAVE YOU MET THE PREZ OF THE #SPARTANRIDERS MC? GET LOST IN #GRIT, BLAKE AND GABBY’S STORY NOW, #FREE WITH #KINDLEUNLIMITED!

GRIT Cover

BUY:

Amazon (#FREE with #KindleUnlimited): http://amzn.to/1TdpkNZ

Synopsis: Gabby Morgan isn’t looking for love. Not even a little romance. Following a rocky past that she’d just as soon forget, she’s determined to focus on the future. One that most certainly doesn’t involve the tough-as-nails, short-on-words, hot-as-hell biker…or his kid.

Blake Mahone may not be done with women, but he’s finished with relationships. Then Gabby Morgan enters the picture. She’s flawless, refined, and as his kid’s teacher, way out of his league. She acts like she hates him, but her eyes tell a different story. Before he knows it, Blake finds himself hot for teacher, and he’s more than ready to learn all her secrets. Now all he has to do is convince her to give him a shot…without getting them both killed in the process.

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ABOUT J.C. VALENTINE

JC Valentine

J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Series. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn’t sorry.

J.C. earned her own happily ever after when she married her high school sweetheart. Living in the Northwest, they have three amazing children and far too many pets and spend much of their free time together enjoying movies or the outdoors. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor’s in English and when she isn’t writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors.

Sign up for J.C.’s newsletter and never miss a thing! http://bit.ly/1KxXWWB

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Five Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them.

This is kind of a hard post for me. I had to think about it for a while. Most of the time I read romances. Since I’m already married, I think I have the falling in love thing down. Or at least I hope I do! 😉


102838721. Visit the South (North & South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana)

I love books set in the Southern U.S. The way authors such as Karen White describe the historic settings make me curious to what they look like in real life. I mean, I’ve seen pictures, but certain historic places make you feel sometimes. Does that make sense at all? (I’m also a sucker for a southern accent!)

 

2. Talk to my daughter about consent.

This may seem like a weird want to do, but after having read so many books about date rape or date rape drugs I feel like I want her to have an understanding of what consent means. I hope talking to her (in the future because she’s 8) about it will enable her to come to me in the future if she needs to.

 

3. Cut sugar out of my diet.

I read this book because I was interested in author Jasinda Wilder’s approach to well being and weightloss. Having a degree in Food and Nutrition Management, I’m always interested in “diets” and I loved that this wasn’t supposed to be one. She has a lot of great insights, although I’m still not sure how I feel about the use of Stevia as a replacement. I do love her positive message, though!

4. Change my daily routines.

So, I haven’t read this book yet. I have read the parts about forming and changing habits, though. I would really love to apply this to my life. I know I have some unhealthy habits to break and this book could be the push I need.

 

226698325. “Do epic” every day.

Life flies by. Seriously. One day you’re 18, the next you’re 38. Don’t wait for special occasions. I want to make each day memorable. If not for myself, then for someone around me. It’s the little moments and memories that count.

 


I know, nothing super exciting on this list, but I’m not very adventurous. 😉

Review: Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

Adorkable
Author:
Cookie O’Gorman
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

 

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

 

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

 

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties.

 

The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless.

 

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

 

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?


I honestly can’t believe Adorkable is Cookie O’Gorman’s début novel. Seriously? The writing was brilliant. It didn’t feel like a début at all! It may have bordered on slighty corny at times, but it was so much fun I didn’t care. Plus, it had my most favorite relationship trope ever: best friends to lovers (or best friends to dating because there’s no lovers in this YA novel).

I absolutely adored the story and the main characters. Sally was this geeky girl who didn’t mind not being the most beautiful or popular girl in the room. She kept her eye on the future and what she wanted. Her only little insecurity was the crush she had on her best friend, Becks. She didn’t think he would ever like her as more than a friend, so he seemed like the safest choice as her fake boyfriend. Sally just didn’t think the “pretending” would be so hard or make her want him even more.

Becks was the most popular and gorgeous guy in school. He could (and maybe did) have any girl of his choice, but he was totally willing to help Sally out. Becks had his own reasoning for being Sally’s fake boyfriend, but he truly would have done anything for her. He wasn’t just some popular athlete, he was a good guy and an amazing friend.

As for the other characters in the story…There was one I have to talk about. I couldn’t stand Sally’s other best friend, Hooker. I had major problems with her. She wasn’t a good friend at all. She obviously didn’t respect Sally’s thoughts or believe in her enough to allow Sally to find a boyfriend on her own — if she wanted one. I get that Hooker wanted Sally to be happy, but she had a really poor way of showing it. She made me so mad! But without her, the story wouldn’t have been quite as funny. Some of those dates…

Adorkable was everything I love in a YA Contemporary Romance. It was an upbeat, funny and fast-paced read. I read it in one evening — it was that good! It kept me smiling from beginning to end. If you enjoy YA contemporary romances, you should definitely check out this book. Cookie O’Gorman will be going on my YA must read list with Kasie West, Miranda Kenneally, Sarah Dessen and Ali Novak. I’m going to be keeping my eye out for her next release. I don’t want to miss it!

The Hard Count Promo Tour

 Welcome to THE HARD COUNT review tour with Ginger Scott, hosted by Wordsmith Publicity. Be sure to check out all the great blogs,
author posts and enter to win the event giveaway!

 THE HARD COUNT

Mature YA Contemporary Romance-Stand Alone

Release Date: July 15, 2016

PURCHASE NOW!
SYNOPSIS
Nico Medina’s world is
eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are
open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it
becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars
that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes.
West End is the kind of
place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another.
And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.
I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect
family.
Life on top.
Lies.
My world is the ugly one.
Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in
the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in
whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched
it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years.
In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
Quarterback.
Hero.
Heart.
Good.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late.
When two ugly worlds
collide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West
End.

EXCERPT

“You’re mad at me,” he says, his fingers sliding to mine, his thumb covering the top of my knuckles while the rest of his hands hold my palms.

“I’m not mad at you, Nico. I was busy. I have things that don’t have anything to do with you,” I say, still fighting.

He chuckles.

“You’re still mad at me,” he says, and I glance up just enough to see his smile, all lopsided and perfect, the dimple that he gets when he’s right in its place. I hate him so much.

“Why would I be made at you,” I sigh, acting as best as I can while my mind races through all of the reasons I am mad at Nico Medina—not a single one of them really his fault.

I meet his challenge, staring back at him, forcing the stern expression to remain on my face, while he looks back at me with perfect lips curved up a hint on one side and unfair eyes that act as target sights. I’m caught in them, and they will not let go.

“You’re mad because of some homecoming dance,” he says, and I laugh once because…fuck!

“Admit it,” he smirks.

“Nico,” I begin, finding it hard to even say his name. “I could care less who you want to go to some stupid school dance with.”

Couldn’t care less,” he says quickly. I tilt my head and pinch my brow. “You said you could care less, but really…you mean you couldn’t.”

I jerk my hands away and huff.

“Could you?” he says, his hands back in his pockets, his head tilted, angled so I can’t ignore it.

I push my tongue in my cheek and shake my head, glancing away, but always coming back to his gaze. His stupid, perfect, eyes and face that I want to put my hand on. The damned lock of his hair that falls forward when his head leans forward, his tongue caught in his teeth. His kissable lips that I felt in a dream and watched speak in class. His arrogance. His confidence.

“Gah!” I exhale, shaking my head and focusing on the bricked wall behind him. He stands there with one foot against the wall, his back leaning into it, so comfortable seeing me so uncomfortable.

“You make me so mad!” My eyes slide to his, and his lip ticks higher.

“I knew you were mad at me,” he nods.

I stretch my arms out wide, my eyes wider, and I stare up to the ceiling with another shake of my head.

“Fine!” I shout. “Yes, you got me. I’m mad at you! Can I go do class now, please?”

Nico snickers, and I cross my arms over my chest. He pushes forward from the wall, taking a few steps toward me. On instinct, I take one back, but not far enough from his reach. He reaches for my hand again, and I hug myself tighter, tucking my fingers under each arm for protection. I’m throwing a fit now, but I’m this far in, there really isn’t any way to undo it.

Nico holds my elbows when he’s unable to get to my hands, and realizing how ridiculous I would look spinning out of his hold, I give in and let him. His touch is gentle and warm, and I wish I could just get over myself and take his hands back in mine. But I’m scared. My bottom lip shakes with nerves. Nico’s eyes glance at it, so I pull it into my teeth. I want to hide every weakness from him, but eventually I’ll have to curl up inside myself. I have too many.

“Why are you mad at me, Reagan?”

He says my name, and the word falls from his lips soft and sweet. No judgment, no challenge. My lip falls loose from the hold of my teeth and my eyes flutter shut for a long blink. I open again to find him waiting, still looking at me.

“I don’t know,” I say, with a small shake of my head.

“But you are,” he says, and I nod with the same slight movement, sucking in my bottom lip and breathing through my nose.

“Yeah,” I say, my lip falling away and my eyes only able to look at his cheek.

I’m holding myself tighter than I ever have, my fingers actually digging into my sides, my nails rough against my skin through the fabric of my gray Cornwall sweatshirt. Nico doesn’t flinch once. His eyes stay on mine when I give in, and his expression doesn’t shift from the gentle, sweet one he’s held.

His right hand lets go of my elbow, moving to the few strands of hair resting against my forehead, falling over one eye. Nico takes them with his thumbs, moving them behind my ears, his eyes watching his movement then settling back on mine.

“You’ve worn your hair down ever since I said I liked it,” he says.

I breathe in long and deep, letting myself feel this moment—all of it. I have worn my hair down. I did it hoping he would touch it, but never once actually thinking he would.

“That’s how I knew,” he says, and my forehead crinkles. He smiles on one side, repeating the gesture and moving the long wave of blonde hair from my face again. “That’s how I knew I was more than just some guy you wanted on your dad’s football team.”

  
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The Hard Count, in Five Words by Ginger Scott

Prejudice: I mention this in my acknowledgements, that this book…it’s about more than football. This word was the driving force for me behind this story, and above all, The Hard Count is about confronting those things we assume about others based on where they live, the color of their skin, their religion, background, and families. I wanted to write a book that wasn’t shy about portraying the everyday prejudice, hate and racism that exists. And then I wanted to prove it all wrong because love…it wins.

Family: This word applies to The Hard Count in many aspects, the most obvious in the closeness of each main character to his/her family. Family comes in many forms, and it tries us, and pushes our limits. The love from family though is one of the most powerful gifts, and in this book, even when things are grim, when hope feels lost—family is always there, no matter what side of the bridge you live on. And that sense carries out onto the field. There’s a saying the Cornwall Tiger Tradition have: Honor. Brotherhood. Tradition. This team is built on a sense of family, and when they forget that, their strength is lost.

Adversity: Adversity is at the heart of many of my stories. I love the human spirit and our ability to overcome. I like to think we have real life superheroes on earth. While I’ve written about people overcoming mental and physical barriers, Nico is different—for him, that barrier is something less tangible. It’s wrapped up in assumptions, in racism and class, and the limitations that come with being born on the poor street, in the neighborhood where drugs are sold and bullets pierce the walls of your home. Nico may just be my favorite hero yet.

Trust: This word is a subtle player in The Hard Count. Trust is broken and tested by several people, and in many ways each character, not just our main hero and heroine, need to find their faith again. Brothers test, teammates fail, fathers lose—but The Hard Count is about those people still left standing in your corner when it all goes wrong.

Will. I was going to say ego for my final word, but ego is really the villain in this story, and frankly, I didn’t want to give him that much power 😉 His arch nemesis is will—sheer will. That’s what makes Nico good at anything he does, his own determined will to succeed, to overcome and to push himself harder. Will is what makes Cornwall so good, and will is what readers will see out there on that field.

About Ginger Scott

Ginger Scott is an
Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young
and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless and In Your Dreams.
A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for
newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.
When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Connect with Ginger

 

 

Inside Out Book Tag, #3

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I was tagged by Beth @ Reading Every Night for the Inside Out Book Tag. (Thanks, Beth!) I’ve done this tag before, but it’s been a while so I thought I would go ahead and do it again. 🙂 I still haven’t seen this movie — although my daughter has, so she told me all about it.


A Book that Brings you Joy

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Kelly Siskind is one of my new favorite authors. Her writing style is fun and witty. I love her characters and banter. My Perfect Mistake was so much fun to read. It brought me so much joy.


A Book that Brings you Sadness

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Bright Side definitely brought me sadness. I’ve said it before, but this book made me cry more than any other book. And that includes Me Before You, so you know that’s saying something.


A Book that Brings you Fear

This might seem like an odd choice for a book that brings me fear, but it does. The whole mosquito pandemic is believable and frightening. Heck, look at the Zika virus.


A Book that Brings you Anger

I’m pretty sure So Much More has cemented its place in any post dealing with anger. You know what I mean, if you read this book. Miranda’s character made me feel anger like I’ve never felt before while reading. Props to Kim Holden for character development and the ability to make me feel. She did it with Bright Side, Gus and now with So Much More.


A Book that Brings you Disgust

I can’t tell you why Say Something disgusted me without giving away a major spoiler, but I can honestly say I won’t be reading the second book in the series because of it. Just ewww.


I tag:

I’ve done this one a couple of times, so I am going to leave the tagging open to anyone who hasn’t gotten the chance to do this tag yet. Go for it! 🙂