Monday, October 8, 2018

Cover Reveal: START HERE by Trish Doller

I am SO excited to be sharing the cover reveal for Trish Doller's next YA novel, START HERE. This story is everything I love: adventure, heartache, discovery, and the rich beauty of Trish's gorgeous words. No one tells a story like her! The cover for this novel captures all of those details so brilliantly. See the gorgeous cover below and find out more about this book with a playlist, a list of inspirations + a moodboard from Trish Doller, and an excerpt from the story. Then, make sure you add the novel to your goodreads.

About the book: Willa and Taylor were supposed to spend the summer after high school sailing from Ohio to Key West with their best friend, Finley. But when Finley dies just before graduation, the two girls are left with a twenty-five-foot sailboat, a list of clues leading them to destinations along the way, and a friendship that’s hanging by a thread.

Now, Willa and Taylor have two months and two thousand miles to discover how life works without Finley—and to decide if their own friendship is even worth saving.

From acclaimed author Trish Doller comes a poignant tale of forgiveness, grief, and the brilliant discoveries we make within ourselves when we least expect it.

Click HERE to listen to the playlist for Start Here

1. One day I was listening to Frank Turner on Spotify and Long Live the Queen came on. For those of you not inclined to click links, it's a song about a dying friend and the key lines are: "You'll live to dance another day. It's just now you'll have to dance for the two of us." Frank Turner has the ability to wring my emotions dry with his lyrics and I decided I wanted to write a book to capture the way Long Live the Queen makes me feel. I just had no idea what it would be about.

2. I was working on a different project about sailing when I did a google image search for the Bahamas. One of the results lead me to a sailing blog called Katie and Jessie are friends who decided to travel America's Great Loop together on a 27-foot sailboat. (The Great Loop is a circular route that begins and ends in the Great Lakes, following several different waterway systems, including the Erie Canal and the Intracoastal Waterway.) I started reading their blog and by the end of the afternoon, I'd read the entire thing...and I had a setting.

3. At the same time, for some who-knows-why reason, I was thinking about friendship trios and how there is always one person who is the "glue" friend. When I was in high school, I was in a trio with Girl A and Girl B. You can call me Girl C. When we hung out, it was either AB, AC, or ABC. BC was never a thing, even though we were friends. And when I examined my other friendship trios throughout life, it was almost always the same scenario. I spoke with other women and they all said they had similar experiences.

So Frank, Katie, Jessie, Girl A, Girl B, and I all came together in a single day...and a story was born that I'm ridiculously excited about.

The car is out of sight when Willa gathers up her bedding and heads down the dock. The wood thumps beneath her tennis shoes, calling back memories—the crackle of sails, the scent of sunscreen, and the wet footprints their bare feet would make on the sun-warmed dock boards. She glances back, half expecting Finley to come running, her hair streaming behind her like a brown ribbon.

“Let’s go!” She would shout, if she were here. “The world is waiting for us!”

Willa would give anything, everything, to hear her best friend’s voice again. Just a couple of days ago, she was riding her bike down Meigs Street when she passed a teenage guy with a monster Afro pulling a little red wagon down the sidewalk. In the wagon was a bird cage with a brown-and-white rabbit inside. The whole scene was so sweet and absurd, that she automatically hit Finley’s speed dial to tell her about it. The recorded voice—this number is no longer in service—reminded her again that Finley was gone. The pain is lodged in Willa’s chest like a pebble in a shoe, and no matter how much she tries to shake it out, it won’t go away.

While you wait for START HERE, be sure to check out Trish Doller's previous novels:

Connect with Trish Doller:  twitter  ||  instagram  || website

Monday, September 24, 2018

8 Years of GReadsBooks!

Oh hello there! This week my blog turns 8 (yes, EIGHT!) years old!! It's hard to believe that I have been a constant in this bookish community over the course of eight years. That is such a long time if you consider how much has evolved since my early days here. What can I say, I love to read, and I will never grow tired of sharing that love with the world.

If you've been with me since the beginning, THANK YOU. I appreciate your views and your comments, so much. When someone tells me that they've picked up a book (& enjoyed it!) because of my recommendation, it brings me such joy. I do this not because I have to, but because I simply want to. Reading is such a personal journey and when I have any sort of influence on that in a positive way for someone else, it creates such a good feeling inside of me.

I've witnessed young writers in their early days blossom into beautiful, published authors. It's always been important to me to support their talents and I do it because I believe in their craft. To all the authors I've worked with in the past eight years, thank you for trusting me with your words -- it will always be an honor to read something early from you and promote it here.

To the amazing publicists and editors I've worked with, thank you for thinking of me and taking a chance on my little space of the internet to share your authors' work. I know there is A LOT to choose from, especially now.

For every reader out there, young & old, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Even if you don't leave a comment, I appreciate you checking out what I have to say and possibly discovering something new to read. If you've ever read a book because you saw me mention it, I would love to know!

In celebration of my eight years in this bookish community, I want to say thank you by hosting a giveaway & supporting an indie bookstore that I have grown to love (& hope to visit one day soon!). This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (due to shipping costs). Please enter the rafflecopter below for an opportunity to win a $25.00 gift certificate to The Ripped Bodice - A Romantic Bookstore.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Review: Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Published: September 4, 2018 by Gallery Books
About the book:

Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. JOSH AND HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?

Move over all previous Christina Lauren books, because here comes a new favorite!! As soon as I got my hands on a new installment from the writing duo CLo, I stopped what I was doing (or reading, I should say) and cracked this baby open. I didn't want to stop until I was finished! Wait, no. I lied. I read so painstakingly slow because I DID NOT WANT IT TO END. Y'all, this adult contemporary ball of swoony goodness is everything I love about this powerhouse writing team. It is MAGIC.

We first get to know Josh and Hazel during their college years. Though their first meeting is brief, it is still very much impressionable and the type of first encounters that lingers in your mind. As the story progresses and we meet a more grown up version of Josh and Hazel, there's an instant spark, the one you saw ignite early on and have been slowly watching as it spreads... hot... hotter... INSANELY HOT! GET THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER HOT! *fans self*

The relationship of just friends, but you know -- good lord, do you KNOW -- that it's something so much more than just friends, is the best part about this entire story. As the reader, it's so obvious how they feel about one another. But it's the journey, as we sit back and watch these two characters come to that realization on their own terms, that fulfills this story on such a crave-worthy destination. Not once did I find myself yelling at the characters to figure out the obvious. I truly enjoyed their discoveries, in their own time.

I like the risks these characters take. Hazel has always been carefree and extravagant. While Josh has been the more reserved, careful one. You would think they'd mix like oil and water. But there's a beauty in the connection they make, first as friends, then as something so much deeper and just more. I found myself having the Wild Seasons vibes (a previous Christina Lauren series that I absolutely adore and reread constantly), but mixed with a more emotional twist. I've already pre-ordered a signed copy and plan to reread this novel when it arrives. THAT is how much I love it.

Josh and Hazel, you are yet another shining example of the brilliance that evolves from Christina and Lauren's beautiful, creative minds.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Cover Reveal: Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren

I am so excited & feel very honored to be hosting the cover reveal for Sara Biren's next novel, Cold Day in the Sun. Her debut novel, The Last Thing You Said, was one of my favorite reads of 2017 & I absolutely LOVE how these two different book covers compliment each other. Cold Day in the Sun will be published on March 12, 2019, and you can see the beautiful cover right here!

About the book:
Holland Delviss wants to be known for her talent as a hockey player, not a hockey player who happens to be a girl. But when her school team is selected to be featured and televised as part of HockeyFest, her status as the only girl on the boys’ team makes her the lead story. Not everyone is thrilled with Holland’s new fame, but there’s one person who fiercely supports her, and it’s the last person she expects (and definitely the last person she should be falling for): her bossy team captain, Wes.

Add it to your goodreads || Pre-order from Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, Book Depository

Author Sara Biren is here to answer a few questions about the novel and her writing (fun fact: Sara and I are both Foo Fighter fans!!).

1. What inspired you to write this book?

COLD DAY began as a very different book, a book inspired by a spring break trip I took to the Florida Keys during college. I had wanted to write something light-hearted and fun after the heaviness of THE LAST THING YOU SAID, but it turned out to be pretty heavy in its own way. That book, working title KEYS, has been completely rewritten (twice) and looks nothing like the original version except for the two main characters.

The new story was inspired by my love for hockey and my years as the JV hockey team’s manager in high school. This was before the days of girls’ hockey, so managing was the closest I could get to the ice. I loved my time on the bench and made lifelong friends. I also wanted to write a story about a strong, talented girl playing on the boys’ team, the challenges she faces, and her journey to find her place in the world.

2. Name five things that you love about the book:

• The music: Holland loves grunge and glam metal. I had so much fun putting together the playlists in the book.
• The setting: COLD DAY takes place in Halcyon Lake, the same Minnesota resort town as THE LAST THING YOU SAID. This one is set during the winter, of course – hockey season.
• The title, which came to me in a moment of inspiration during a Foo Fighters concert on August 22, 2015, as Taylor sang “Cold Day in the Sun.” I heard those lyrics and knew. (Yes, I’ve been working on this book a very long time – I think I started it the summer of 2012 or 2013. It’s all a bit of a blur.) Like Holland, I love Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters so much, and, like Holland, Wasting Light is my favorite of their albums.
• Holland’s hockey playing brothers. They give her crap but are always supportive.
• The hockey scenes – the perfect excuse to go to local high school games and watch UMD Bulldogs and NHL games on TV. Our high school team went to the state tournament this year for the first time in school history – very exciting! Go Knights!

3. Who is your favorite hockey player?

Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings. I had his rookie card taped up in my locker in junior high. My brother gave me a signed, framed Yzerman jersey for my wedding.

4. What are you working on now?

My next YA is called IF YOU WERE HERE, my Minnesota autumn story: A rock star's son and the caretaker's daughter, a comeback and a scandal, facing the secrets of the past and learning to live in the present. I’m also working on a side project, an adult romance called I SAW YOU FIRST, which takes place in the mid-90s at an electronics store similar to the Best Buy of old (where I worked for many year).

5. What are you currently reading?

I’m officially on vacation for a week and a half. We’re headed first to northern Minnesota and then northern Wisconsin for some serious lake time, so I’ll have lots of reading time as well. I’m currently reading STARRY EYES by Jenn Bennett, which will be followed up with THE OTHER SIDE OF LOST by Jessi Kirby, THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang, and YOU ARE A BADASS by Jen Sincero.

6. Five fast facts about you:

Aries, ENFP, Assistant Scoutmaster (Boy Scouts), Troop Leader (Girl Scouts), content & social media manager (day job).

Where to find Sara Biren:
Instagram: @sarabiren
Twitter: @sbiren
Newsletter sign-up:

Want to win Sara's debut novel THE LAST THING YOU SAID + a pre-order of COLD DAY IN THE SUN? Well, here's your chance! Enter the rafflecopter below. This contest is open to U.S. residents only. Please see my policies page for further contest rules.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

My Summer Reading Pile + a Giveaway!

Hey friendly readers! Can you believe it's already almost August?! I sure can't! In just a few weeks time I'll be back in the classroom and resuming my regularly scheduled crazy life-style. The days of lounging on the couch, or in the pool, are beginning to fade. But, before they do, I wanted to share some more of what I've been reading this summer... and give away a favorite summer read of mine to a lucky reader!

First, let's check out what I've been reading:

These are all the books I've read this summer. Quite a few were re-reads for me! There are some ARCs mixed in, as well as older romances that I've been wanting to check out. Overall, I'd say it's been an amazing summer of books for me! I'm in the middle of reading two more right now: another historical romance + a YA contemporary, that I hope to add to this list by the end of the weekend.

A few of my stand out faves from the list above:

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
About the book: When Wicked Comes Calling...

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion...

But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.


This is easily one of my favorite reads of the YEAR, y'all! I cannot shout my love for this book any louder (ok, maybe I can and I will! ha). Even if historicals aren't your thing, the love story of this novel is so so gripping. It possesses the type of characters who feel like actual people to you. I am STILL thinking about them, all these weeks later. I already know I'll be rereading it at summer's end because I just can't quite say goodbye yet. Best part: it's the first book in a new series from Sarah MacLean!!

A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
About the book: The summer before college, Hannah swears she’s finally going to find The One. And for five perfect minutes, Hannah does find him. He’s cute and makes her laugh like crazy. She just wishes she’d caught his name, because Toilet Boy Cinderella really lacks sex appeal.

For Sam, the summer is off to a bad start for a million reasons. But for five minutes his luck changes: in a fancy restroom painted purple like it belongs in a Bond villain hideaway, Sam falls head over heels for some strange and hilarious girl. Of course, he doesn’t know her name. With his luck, he’ll never see her again, and he’ll remain a girlfriendless, moony-eyed virgin. Forever.

But another chance meeting brings them together, only to have a chance misunderstanding drive them apart . . . and then the cycle starts all over again. Madcap mishaps, raunchy hilarity, and deep romance follow these two wherever they go. For two people so clearly destined for each other, they sure have a hell of a lot of trouble even getting together.


This is an oldie that is definitely new to me. It's been awhile since I've read a book where I am literally laughing out loud and having such JOY reading it. The humor of this book is all my style. These authors know how to write dialogue, and damn is it funny as all get out. I loved the realism of this particular story, too. For anyone who has ever been an awkward teen and trying to find their lobster, you will totally relate to this one! I read their next book FRESHERS immediately after because I couldn't get enough of their voices. That book was equally just as grand.

Some other faves worth pointing out

STAY SWEET by Siobhan Vivian

(check back for my detailed review of this later in August)

I THINK I LOVE YOU by Lauren Layne

WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE by Huntley Fitzpatrick
(my 3rd time to read it & I still love it so much!)


Want to read one of these books from my pile? I'm giving away a copy to one lucky reader (must live in the U.S. & be 18 years of age). Please fill out the rafflecopter below to be entered. Good luck!!

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