Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy new year everybody.  Hope you all had a great year! :D

Summer Snow by Nicole Baart

                                                

Summer Snow

By Nicole Baart

Blurb: Julia DeSmit is finally learning to accept her new life. Optimistic and anxious to begin again after dropping out of college, she is taking fumbling steps down a challenging yet hope-filled road. But the careful existence Julia has begun to build falls hopelessly to pieces when her estranged mother, Janice, appears on the front porch one icy March night. Mother and daughter have not seen or talked in ten years, and a decade of anger, resentment, and bitterness follows in Janice's wake, along with a surprise Julia could never have anticipated. Julia is convinced that which is broken cannot be mended. Yet when she faces the very decision her mother did years before, she begins to realize what it means to truly accept grace. Will it be her undoing, or the impetus for a change she'd never dared hope for?

Published: April 16, 2008

Genres: Christian, Adult, Realistic Fiction

Pages: 364

Rating: 4 stars

Review: 
I did not feel as emotionally involved in Summer Snow as I did in After the Leaves Fall, but I still enjoyed reading it. This review will have some spoilers if you haven't read After the Leaves Fall, though, so if you haven't read that, you might want to before reading my thoughts on this one!

Julia DeSmit is now home, pregnant and working at a grocery store. She lives with her grandmother now after dropping out of college. I thought that Julia's struggles with her pregnancy were handled in a way that really made you understand how she felt. Her fears and uncertainties seem very realistic. Another thing that was handled well was Julia's struggle to rebuild her relationship with her mom, who left her and her dad when Julia was only nine. I thought that it was really nice to see that relationship grow.

(I'm really trying not to put spoilers in this review, but this paragraph contains a very small one, so don't read if you want to read the book knowing nothing that will happen.) One thing that I was a tiny bit annoyed by was that Julia is struggling with wondering if she should put her baby up for adoption, when in the first book she was absoulutely SURE she could not do it. I think Ms. Baart was trying to show the struggles that teen moms go through deciding if they will keep the baby or not, but it just seemed odd because of how confident Julia was that she wanted to keep the baby in the first book.

In conclusion, Summer Snow was a good addition to this trilogy. I had very few problems with it, and the problems I did have were pretty minor. I would definitely recommend this!



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Those Who Trespass by Melody Valadez

Those Who Trespass

By Melody Valadez

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Jenn Alistor is a murderer.

For months, she and her brother, Jake, have stayed one step ahead of the FBI. Now Jake is missing, maybe even kidnapped, and Jenn's last hope is a risky deal with the feds: if they'll help her find her brother, she'll turn herself in. But their so-called help comes in the form of 21-year-old Clayton Ford—brother of the guy she killed.

Lives aren't the only thing at stake any more. This is Jenn's one shot at forgiveness. But she has to choose.

Time is running out.


Genres:  YA, Thriller, Mystery, Romance

Published: August 27, 2013

Pages: 332

Rating: 4 stars

Well, after reading that amazing blurb, I knew that I had to get this book. And I was definitely not disappointed; this was definitely one of the best stories I read this month.  I will admit that Those Who Trespass is not a book I would normally read; I am rather undernourished in the thriller genre. But this book was so good that I am really starting to regret that!  

I L-O-V-E-D Jenn and Clayton. They were such fleshed out characters, which has been something hard to come by in the books I've read lately. Jenn's guilt is so strongly showed but at the same time she's so much more than simply a guilty murderer; it was just...perfect. And Clayton...Melody Valadez did such a good job portraying his emotional turmoil. It was so amazing. Ugh, I can't even describe how great it was.  

And the action....oh my gosh, it was the best! I love when a book starts out with some action. It gets me into the story almost instantly. And this book had some GREAT action. 

If there was one thing I could say wasn't great with this book, it was the romance between Clayton and Melody. It was sweet and Clayton was basically the most amazing boy ever, but at the same time...Melody murdered  his brother. And you are going to go and date this person? I found it unrealistic, but at the same time I liked it. My feelings are very conflicted right now. 

So to wrap this review up...well, just go and read the book!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cheyenne by Lisa Weidmeier

Cheyenne 

By Lisa Weidmeier

Blurb: Murder, romance, secrets and hidden pasts. Deception from every angle—who's telling the truth?

Cheyenne Wilson's life is thrown into turmoil after her adoptive parents are killed in an accident. With only her best friend Colt to comfort her, she scours through the family archives, hoping to quell her grief. Instead she begins to unravel the mystery behind her birth parents, and her secret heritage. She is a Timeless- a being that ages one year for every hundred human years when they reach their twenties- and of the royal line, destined to gain great power.

But Cheyenne has other problems. The ones who killed her parents want her too, and Colt is hiding something of his own. Surrounded by danger and with few she can trust, Cheyenne must face the dark truth of her past, and choose between a forbidden love that will forever hold her heart, or her destiny...


Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction 

Published: July 15, 2011

Series: Timeless (book 1)

Pages: Goodreads claims 3,406. I say nay-nay. Amazon estimates 486 pages. That's more like it!

My rating: 2 stars

I put off reading this for one reason and one reason only. I did not have time to read a nearly 4000 page book. Finally, I decided to pick it up and see how long it took me to finish. Thank goodness Goodreads was drastically off the mark with its page count!

Cheyenne had a strong beginning, and I was optimistic at first. And then...my expectations went down as the book went along. 

You see, the main problem I had with Cheyenne--The main problem that I have with most YA paranormals, and therefore sound like a broken record almost every time I write reviews for such books--is that it wasn't original. The reason I was so optimistic at first is that the idea for the plot actually sounded pretty awesome, but it got quickly became very meh.

For example, the awful love triangle. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good love triangle, but only when it's done the right way, not the sloppy kind. And, while this is not the worst love triangle I've read about (I am looking at you, Elite), it seemed like Cheyenne just could not make up her mind! And honestly, I ended up not caring if she chose Colt or Callon.

The worst part of the love triangle, however, is that it basically took up the better part of the story, and thus, Cheyenne crawled along at a snail's pace. Honestly, this book could have had a lot more happening than it did. What it ended up being was Cheyenne being confused over which guy she liked.

I ended up just trying to remember what the heck the different tribes were called, finding the love triangle tedious, and constantly checking how far I was into this book. However; I am not so sure I would not recommend it. I hate am quite fed up with the YA Paranormal genre right now, but someone who likes this sort of thing? This might be a good book for them. Still, for me this was a two star book.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Crushing on the Enemy by Sarah Adams

Crushing on the Enemy

By Sarah Adams

Blurb: Alyssa begins her senior year living the life that most teenage girls dream of. She's surrounded by friends, she's captain of the cheer squad, and her crush has just asked her out. Things at home are a little wonky, but isn't that true for everyone?

Alyssa's illusions of happiness are very quickly busted when the people she thought were her friends turn on her. She's unsure of how she's going to manage to survive the rest of her senior year, until she finds two unlikely allies. A long forgotten best friend from middle school and the quarterback from the rival school's football team, but Alyssa's problems are a long way from being solved.

She still has to keep her grades up, put her with overbearing step-father, and deal with being branded a traitor for dating a guy from another school.

Jake's father is a jaded man and he has constantly warned his son not to date until after high school. More than a warning, he's made it a rule that he forces his son to live by.

“Son, if you want to make it to college, you'll listen to me,” his father has said again and again.

Jake manages to follow his fathers rules until he meets a pretty cheerleader from the rival school crying in the parking lot after a football game. After that all bets are off. Alyssa instantly steals his heart, but will his high school football career survive their relationship? If he doesn't stay focused he'll lose out on the only chance he has of going to college: obtaining a football scholarship.
Will their young love be able to survive the storm of teen drama and school spirit called senior year?


Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction 

Series: Crushing On You, Book 1

Pages: 148


My Rating: 2.5 stars


I bought this book because of the pretty cover, ('bought' being a loosely used word; it was free one day on Amazon) which may have not been the wisest decision. I knew that there was basically a ninety percent chance this would be the same old Romeo and Juliet kind of story, but I bought it anyway, hoping it would bring something new to the table.


My theory proved correct. This story was extremely predictable, with characters who weren't necessarily likeable. It seemed that basically every single girl that was introduced in this book was catty and rude. Alyssa included. Although other reviewers have brought up the sketchy divorce included in this book, I too have something to say about it; WHAT THE HECK??? Cody is not the problem! Your daughter is!

Luke was probably the nicest character in the book, though I didn't appreciate him calling Mattie annoying, because as much as she had her faults, she was the least catty girl in the whole book. Speaking of Mattie, one of the later scenes in the story was extremely hard to believe. SPOILER: Mattie goes and gossips to the cheerleaders that Alyssa will be dumping Jake soon, which isn't even true. Really? Mattie has been the super dependable best friend this whole time, and she gets a mad over something trivial that Alyssa has done, so she goes and stabs her in the back? It didn't click with me.

However, the book has its redeeming qualities. The main one is that it's  a quick story that you can finish on the busiest of days. (I read it in the span of forty minutes tops on Christmas night.)  As much as the book bugged me, the romance was cute, so I have bumped my rating up half a star.

I probably will not continue with this series. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What We Did For Love: Resistance, Heartbreak, Betrayal by Natasha Farrant


What We Did For Love: Resistance, Heartbreak, Betrayal

By Natasha Farrant

 Blurb:  Arianne knew Luc before he went away, of course she did. Everyone in Samaroux knows each other. When he returns after five years, the spark between them reignites and becomes something more. But will the war let them be together? As the two teens fall deeply in love, their world starts to crumble around them. German forces, reeling from defeats in the east, are closing in, and Luc, desperate to atone for his family's past, wants to join the resistance. Arianne will do anything to keep him safe. But in such a small village, Luc is not alone in his love for Arianne. And Luc's rival just might be a traitor. How far will they go to protect what they believe in? And what will they do for love?

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction 

Published: January 1, 2014

Pages: 208

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book via Goodreads First Reads.

This book, that started off as simply a cute historical romance, ended with me wanting to cry. The ending was truly tragic. And that is why I am rounding up to four stars instead of three.

I must admit, I had never heard of the event this book is based on. But boy, was it heartbreaking. Not really the kind of book most would read on Christmas, but I did. I would like to research Oradour-sur-Glanr in more detail after finishing this.

Luc and Ari's love was at first nothing that I was truly swept away by, but by the end I loved them together. SPOILER: I truly believe the only thing that stopped me from breaking down and crying was the fact that they both lived. But oh, Solange...

This book is rather reminiscent of the movie Titanic. I know it will be on my mind for a long, long time. One does not simply forget a story as poignant. While I at first was not blown away by What We Did For Love, by the end it was a book I was sad to end. I would highly recommend it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Blitz+GIVEAWAY: Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut





Finn Finnegan

By Darby Karchut

Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Published: March 12, 2013

Series: The Adventures of Finn MacCullen (book 1)



Blurb:
Finnegan MacCullen: a thirteen-year-old apprentice with the famous Irish temperament.
Gideon Lir: a legendary Celtic warrior with a bit of a temper of his own.

Secretly, these blue-collar warriors battle the hobgoblins infesting their suburban neighborhood…when they are not battling each other.

Finn (not bleedin’ Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.

Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn’s survival.

Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of “fighting Irish.”







Character Bucket List: Written by Finn MacCullen

The other day, my master, Gideon Lir, and I were talking about all the things we wanted to do in our lives. So, we decided to write up a list. Here’s mine:

#9   Learn to drive Gideon’s truck. It’s got a stick shift!

#8   Tell my best friends, Rafe and Savannah, who and what I really am. After all, what human wouldn’t want to have a Fey as a friend?

#7   Find the Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan and finally kick some goblin butt.

#6   Visit Ireland.

#5   See my dad’s moonstone light up for me. Just once.

#4   Hit the bull’s eye on the target 3 out of 4 times during knife throwing practice.
(Actually, I would just like to hit the target 3 out of 4 times!)

#3   Go a whole day without losing my temper.

#2   Go a whole day without getting into a fight with Gideon.

#1   Become a Knight of the Tuatha De Danaan.

When I showed Gideon my list, he just nodded, then handed me his list. It just had one thing on it:

See my apprentice grow to manhood.




About the Author:

All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.
Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.
Darby is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Pikes Peak Writers Guild. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches social studies at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather.
Her debut middle grade book, Finn Finnegan, released March 2013 (Spencer Hill Press). The next book in the series, Gideon's Spear (Spencer Hill Press), will be released February 2014. Her YA books include Griffin Rising (2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), Griffin's Fire, and Griffin's Storm. 


Visit her at: www.darbykarchut.com

Links: 


Finn Finnegan Giveaway!


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W...W....Wednesday #2

W...W...W...Wednesdays are hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To partcipate, answer these three questions:

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



Currently reading:










Recently Finished: 

This was a pretty entertaining story. I rated it four stars on Goodreads, and I am debating whether or not to review it. 





Next: 

It is the Book of the Month on my Goodreads group.








How about you guys?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Blitz: Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross



Letters To Nowhere Series

By: Julie Cross 

Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
 

Blurb (Book 1): 
From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest Series...
Set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics...

I've gotten used to the dead parents face. I've gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I've even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that's made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan--being around him, talking to him, thinking about him--makes me feel like I can finally breathe again. That's something I haven't been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it's like to wonder--what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you're struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be...maybe...probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can't happen, can it? But kissing him...well, let's just say it's not an easy activity to forget.




Blurb (Book 2): 
If only summer could last forever…

Karen and Jordan might be out in the open with their relationship, but that doesn't make it any easier for them to face events looming in the future. Like Jordan leaving for college halfway across the country. Or Karen's win at a big international gymnastics competition setting the bar high for her future and adding pressure like she's never experienced before.

But when Nina Jones (aka-US Gymnastics Dictator), makes plans for Karen and teammate Stevie to train at a gymnastics camp for a month—the same camp where Jordan coaches—romantic summer interludes replace their fears of being apart. Both Jordan and Karen know that when fall comes, some very tough decisions will have to be made, but for now, it’s stolen kisses, racing hearts, and whispered words.
Blurb (Book 3) 
How many dreams can you chase at once?

Even with bad boy, TJ, disrupting their morning workouts, Karen and Stevie’s daily battles with each other are sure to bring both of them closer to a national title at next month’s championships. It’s the kind of feud that creates winning results.

Until a fall from the uneven bars shakes Karen’s rock-solid confidence. Not only does she balk every time she so much as attempts a routine, she’s also facing all this without much support from Jordan. After receiving some bad news, Jordan’s reluctance to listen to reason causes Karen so much frustration she begins to avoid him, needing space to deal with her own issues. He needs someone to force him to make the right choice, he needs his dad to intervene and Karen knows this, but is torn between her loyalty to Jordan and her concern for her coach’s son. Even though both paths lead to the same person—Jordan—it feels like she’s choosing between two different people.

And then there’s the growing tension between TJ and Stevie. They’re obviously on the verge of either ripping each other’s heads off or ripping each other’s clothes off. It’s hard for either Jordan or Karen to tell where those two are headed. Tension is building from every possible outlet and there’s bound to be an explosion of some kind in the very near future.


Purchase book 2:
Book 3 will be available on December 15, 2013! 

Interview with Julie Cross:

Do you have a favorite character from Letters to Nowhere? Why is he (or she) your favorite?

Karen, my main character, is my favorite to write mostly because I’ve wanted to write a book narrated from the point of view of an elite gymnast since my author journey first began. I absolutely love capturing that socially sheltered mindset and pairing it up with a level of maturity and discipline that most adults don’t have. That’s the essence of women’s elite gymnastics. Young girls carrying big loads of responsibility and self-awareness. They have it completely together, there’s always a plan for what’s next. With Karen, I gave her all of those qualities and then I pulled the rug out from under her by taking away her parents in a car accident before the book opens. Then: *Enter cute boy* whom she is forced to share a bathroom with. Who has a tragic past of his own. Who may be the only one that can help her heal. 


Were you nervous when you decided to venture outside of your Sci-Fi series and write a contemporary novel? Did you have any reservations at first?

I wasn’t nervous to write the book, but I was super super nervous to tell people about it. Especially online to Tempest series fans. I honestly figured I’d finish the book so the characters would stop tormenting me inside my head, which I know it sounds a little schizophrenic, but it’s the truth and probably never publish it. And just hearing you say that it paid off means that it totally has. I’ve pleased at least one reader. Mission accomplished. Thanks so much for that


Gymnastics is a huge part of this novel and your website says that you were a former gymnastics coach. How excited were you to combine your passions for writing and gymnastics into one project?

It was like Disney World, Universal Studios and a house right on the beach all packaged into one trip that didn’t even require packing or travel time. I enjoyed every phase of creating this story so much, I felt guilty calling it my job.

There are some pretty heartbreaking scenes in the book. Do you get extremely attached to your characters? If so, how do you feel when you have to write a scene that is going to be particularly hard on them? 

Normally, I struggle with getting all the tension I need in a first draft because it becomes so difficult to put characters I love through all this emotional trauma. Often I have to step away from the story for a while and then I raise the stakes in the next draft. But with Letters to Nowhere, I had no problem shoving the characters into flaming fire after fire because I knew that in order for Karen (and also Jordan and Coach Bentley) to properly grieve and begin to heal, there was only one way to get past the fire—run straight through it. And the whole time I was writing this book, I knew Karen was a bomb waiting to go off. I knew she’d need to have that moment of realization about her future and what losing her parents really meant. And I wanted to get her there so I could see that she was okay.

What was the hardest part of writing Letters to Nowhere?
Nothing was really hard to write, but I worked the hardest at making the gymnastics element “user friendly” in the sense that I wanted this to be a book for the widest audience possible while still showing a true portrayal of the sport.

What was your favorite part?
   
The evolution of “Jaren” hands down. The relationship between Karen and Jordan is built in a way that I hadn’t done before in novel. Not exactly. I rarely do the insta-love thing but what they have is so much deeper than romantic love. Not to spoil anything in the book or future books in this world, but I truly believe that Jordan and Karen will always have a tie that can’t be severed no matter where their paths lead them. They could never hate each other. Many people look back on their first love and the relationship and drama often seem silly. It won’t be like that for these two. Their relationship will always represent a hugely important part of their lives.




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Just Breathe by Heather Allen

Just Breathe 

By Heather Allen

Summary: Ever Harding, an average teenager with a passion for swimming is about to turn eighteen. Out of the blue she has been dumped by her long time boyfriend, which is the ultimate of tragedies in her life. Little does she know that on that fated eighteenth birthday, she will have to make a choice that will change her life as she knows it, forever. A month before her birthday, Ever meets Jack, a mysterious new boy with mesmerizing eyes. He affects her like no one else. This meeting sets things into a whirlwind she never would have dreamed. With Jack's guidance she discovers a family line that leads her to the sea. She must make the ultimate choice, stay on land where life as she knows it, won't change, or go and live in the sea as a mermaid with Jack. Ultimately her choice sets into motion an even bigger decision, in which she has the fate of a race of people, in her hands. The people in the sea are in a feud, she will tip the balance. She must battle the ageless moral delimma of prejudice and race. Once she comes to terms with her life changing choices, she must ask herself, did I make the right decisions? and Is Jack really who I think he is?

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy

Published: March 20, 2013

Series: Just Breathe by Heather Allen (Book 1)

My Rating: 2 stars

This book was very poorly written. There were spelling and grammar errors galore, and the writing was terribly choppy. I was really hoping for a good old fashioned mermaid tale based on the gorgeous cover, but what I got was a terribly cliche YA paranormal romance.

There really was nothing new here. Just Breathe was the very definition of cookie-cutter writing. I was expecting it to be a bit repetitive because of the mermaid aspect; in my experience, mermaid novels tend to not to branch out in their plots as much as other paranormal novels, but this was a bit more than I bargained for. I would read something and think, "Hey, that's like in Daughters of the Sea, Emily Windsnap,etc. etc.

Secondly, the writing was really choppy, and at times, the dialogue sounded extremely unreal. The run-on sentences didn't help matters either.

(This last paragraph is just full of spoilers, so if you want to read the book, I wouldn't recommend reading this.) And lastly, I didn't find it wise that Ever just gave up her life on land to be with some guy she hadn't even known that long. It was an extremely dumb decision. She met him a month ago. A month. SPOILER:   Thank goodness she was able to go back to land.

Just Breathe was disappointing for me. I will not be continuing the series unless I have absolutely nothing else to read.

Book Blitz+GIVEAWAY: If Only We by Jessica Santiewicz

If Only We
Release Date: 10/27/13

Summary from Goodreads:
They say all it takes is one wrong move and you lose the game. One false step and you’re trapped. One slip-up in your choice of words and you ruin a friendship forever. That is what they say. They say I lost.

I do not believe them.


At the end of the summer after graduation, Adrienne wonders what happened to cause her life to be in ruins. She isn’t getting along with her mom, her stepsister isn’t talking to her, and, to top it off, the boy she’s been in love with doesn’t want anything to do with her. She believes the turning point was a choice she made at graduation. When she wakes up the next day, she has been transported back three months to that moment, the one where everything started to fall apart.

Adrienne realizes she has been given a second chance—and this time she doesn’t want to mess anything up. Reliving the entire summer, though, turns out to be a lot harder than she thought. As the same days and weeks go by, she starts to see how simple decisions can make a huge impact on the world around her. Despite knowing some of what lies ahead, there are some things she didn’t anticipate. She thought she knew what mistake led her to where she ended up the first time. She was wrong.

And by the time summer is over, she discovers what was really at stake.


Buy Links:

ADVANCED PRAISE:
     “If Only We is a coming of age story that teaches what is truly important in life may not be what we originally thought!” ~ Dianne from Tome Tender Book Blog
   
 “I didn’t want to leave the world of this book by the time it ended!” ~ Stephanie Parent, author of Precious Things
   
 “A sweet and uplifting story about second chances and love in many of its forms, If Only We is a great contemporary story that I think will appeal to people of all ages.” ~ Marie Landry from Ramblings of a Daydreamer and author of Waiting for the Storm
    
A wonderful Debut novel! Full of well developed characters and a very thought out storyline. It is a real page turner, once you start reading it is hard to put down.” ~ Angie from Eastern Sunset Reads


EXCERPT: 

I put the empty glass into the sink, “hop to it,” and get into the shower. My questions will be answered when I see what outfit she puts on my bed. When I get to my room, I don’t find a wedding dress. Thank goodness. I do find, however, a dress—and a graduation cap and gown.
Graduation.
The day everything changed. The day I ran away to my dad. The day my heart broke.
A wave of nausea crashes into me, almost causing my legs to give out beneath me. I grab hold of my doorway with both hands to keep myself standing. A few deep breaths later and my stomach calms down enough for me to close the door. I lean against it and stare at my bed.
How can I be graduating…again?
I rub my eyes and open them again, hoping it was all in my imagination. No such luck. It is still there. This doesn’t make any sense. Where is my suitcase? It’s not on top of my dresser anymore. I left it there when I got back since I didn’t have enough time to unpack. Where did it go?
Opening my closet door, I spot it on the top shelf. Did my mom unpack it for me? Where are the clothes? There is nothing in the hamper and a quick rummage through my dresser finds some of those shirts clean and folded where they belong. How could…? Mom was at work all day yesterday. Not only that, but I saw the suitcase right before I turned the lights out last night.
My head is starting to pound with all the conflicting information I'm taking in. Sitting down in my desk chair, I put my head in my hands and start to rub my temples. I need to find something that isn’t out of place. My desk appears to be the same as I left it. Pens and pencils neatly placed in holder, check. Pile of loose-leaf college-ruled paper on top of a pile of used notebooks, check. Word-of-the-Day calendar off to the side, check. Calendar set to the correct date…what…? I reach out and grab it. That can’t be right.
Saturday, June second.
It feels as though I can’t blink. I worry that if I do, the date on this page will disappear. I know for a fact that I peeled off every page I hadn’t removed all summer before I went to bed last night. Each one was crumpled into a small ball and thrown away. I set the calendar down and drop to the floor to look through my trash. However, I can’t look through it because it's empty.
Nothing is making any sense.
I graduated already. This has already happened. Or did it? I dismiss that thought with a laugh. The most logical reason for what is happening is that I’m dreaming. I’m reliving this day in my mind because I spent the time while I was falling asleep thinking about it. Maybe my mind is playing a psychological trick on itself to right the wrongs and help me cope. Maybe this is all in my head. Maybe I’m just imagining all of this.
On the other hand, maybe I am just losing it.
But what if…what if this is really happening? What if I am reliving my whole summer? The prospect causes goose bumps to spread over my skin.
Have I been given a second chance?

About the Author
Jessica is the 28-year-old author of IF ONLY WE, a YA contemporary. You can often find her either reading or marathon watching TV on DVD, her favorites being Castle and Veronica Mars. She frequently mismatches her clothes and giggles uncontrollably. She knows almost every Billy Joel song by heart. She collects books and toys, and she has an intense love of cats and lemurs. Currently in the midst of her quarter-life-crisis, she is still takin' names and getting very close to reaching an epiphany.

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