Friday, December 25, 2015

FFBC: Welcome to the club, What's Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass

What's Broken Between Us
by Alexis Bass
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: December 29th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
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Alexis Bass’s heartbreakingly beautiful second novel is a tale of love, loss, and learning to forgive.

Look to the left, look to the right. We’re all going to die. But someone has to do it first. So who’s it going to be?

Tragedy struck Amanda Tart’s town a year and a half ago when a sophomore girl was killed in a car accident on graduation night.
Amanda’s brother, Jonathan, was behind the wheel and too drunk to drive. He’s spent the past year in prison and has cut off all ties. But now Jonathan is coming home. Just as Amanda’s trying to figure out what that means for her family and herself, she’s paired up for a school project with Henry Crane—a former crush, and brother of Jonathan’s ex-girlfriend, who survived the crash with horrible injuries.

Everyone is still incredibly damaged by the events of that night. Can Amanda and Henry finally begin to heal what’s broken and find some peace?

Hello Alexis! Welcome Back! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours again!

Could you tell our Book Addicts about What’s Broken Between Us? 

What’s Broken Between Us follows Amanda Tart during her senior year, when her brother gets out of jail for killing one of her classmates in a drunk driving accident, forcing her to confront her feeling about a romantic relationship that fell apart because of the accident. 

How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

A million things inspired this story, but definitely the concept of how someone is perceived after they’ve done or said something on national television was pretty inspiring. 

What is your favorite quote from the book?

I really like the last line in the book. :)

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?

There’s no way to describe this scene without spoiling things, but there was one really uncomfortable scene that I enjoyed writing because there were so many ways it could’ve played out. Hint: It takes places in an auditorium toward the end. 

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song – Which one would you pick? 

Ooo, that’s a hard question. Maybe: Hey Brother by Avicii

What authors are auto-buys for you? 

Courtney Summers, Jandy Nelson and Donna Tartt

Has there been a fan moment that stands out to you? 

Every fan moment stands out for me because talking with readers is always THE BEST part about being an author. <3 

Favorite book of 2015 thus far?

Really hard question! I’ll have to say a few: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven; The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker, The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert, and Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian. 

And lastly – What is your current read? 

I am currently reading a book coming out in 2016 called Wink Poppy Midnight. It’s by April G. Tucholke and I am LOVING it so far. 

Thank you so much for everything, Alexis!

Thanks for having me! 

Follow the What's Broken Between Us Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Alexis Bass grew up in Washington, went to college in Arizona, and spent her early twenties in Seattle. She currently lives in Northern California with Dylan McKay, her gorgeous and rambunctious golden retriever. She loves good fashion and good TV as much as a good book, and is a huge advocate of the three C’s: coffee, chocolate, and cheese. LOVE AND OTHER THEORIES is her first novel.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Playing to Win (Gridiron, #1) by Maci Monroe

Playing to Win (Gridiron, #1)
by Maci Monroe
Publication date: October 27th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports
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Mr. Football. Blake Wilkins. Quarterback at Iowa State. Projected 1st round draft pick by New England. Captain of the Cyclones. English major and all around good guy. He could have his pick of any of the smokin’ hot babes on campus.

Chem Geek. Katelyn French. Her idea of fun was blowing up chemical reactions to cure cancer. Beat Alzheimer’s. Kick Superman’s ass. Football was not her thing until she met Blake.

An unlikely couple. Pulled in different directions as college life comes to a close. Katelyn heading off to Stanford. Blake awaiting the NFL draft. Could they make a long distance romance work?

Sex. Love. Jealousy. Can their love withstand the jealousy and threats that surround them?

“This doesn’t sound like football-guy music,” I said, watching him. He’d taken a bowl of something out of the refrigerator and was whisking it furiously.
“Don’t tell Saint,” he snorted. He dipped a finger into whatever it was he was whisking and tasted it, smacking his lips approvingly. “He’d have a heart attack if he knew that I’d even heard about Enya.”
I frowned. “Why? Does he feel the same way about Mika?”
“No, but only because we assured him that Mika was a girl.”
It was kind of funny, because now that I thought about it, he really was a very feminine singer. Still, it was a little disappointing to hear that the football coach espoused such antiquated values. “What a dinosaur.”
He shrugged, then slid something wrapped in foil inside the oven. “Eh, he’s a good coach. But yeah, doing the alpha-top-dog-male-macho thing all the time gets exhausting.”
“So why do you do it?”
“Because the only way to get drafted by the NFL is to stay on the team, and the only way to stay on the team is to stay on his good side.”
I shook my head. I couldn’t imagine being so dedicated to one career path as to be willing to endure that amount of shit. Then he told me how he’d grown up, raised by a single mom. “My NFL career will be the first time I’ll be able to give her what she deserves,” he said quietly. “You have no idea how much I want that.”
The things that you usually shared on date number, say, ten—we ended up talking about those all night long, while he cooked—or rather, reheated stuff and made salad dressing. Dinner, which was eaten on “company china” as he called it, was roast beef and gravy, with creamy mashed potatoes and a salad. It was strange, how intimate the conversation got, how much of our souls we laid bare to the other that evening, while we picked over the salad and drank down the wine. It wasn’t drunkenness that prompted us to loosen our tongues. In retrospect, I think it was relief that we’d found someone who just “got” us.
“Well,” he said, as he cleared the table. “My brother said we could use his Netflix, so what do you say to finding a movie while I make dessert?” For desert he warmed up a gooey chocolate cake—”Not brownies,” he said, when I asked if that was what they were—and topped with a scoop of ice cream and a few slices of fresh strawberries. We ate it on the floor, snuggled up together on the giant sheepskin watching Skyfall—it was my first time seeing it, and I almost lost it when the Bond girl died. “She’s not supposed to die!” I cried, for at least a good three minutes after the scene. “They’re supposed to blow shit up and kick a couple asses and then make out like animals at the end.”
Still, I had to agree with him that Daniel Craig was a great Bond. And I looked up to tell him so just as he bent his head to kiss me. There were traces of chocolate on his lips, but that wasn’t the only reason I wouldn’t let him go. He was good—he didn’t try to suck my face off and he wasn’t such a germaphobe that he could barely touch my lips to his, hitting that sweet medium with the perfect amount of give-and-take that gave truth to the cliche “tongue tango”. He could tell when to stop, and when to let go. Against all odds I felt myself falling under a sort of hypnotic trance—kiss, let go, kiss, let go—and it was surprising how natural it felt when he gently rolled me over onto my back and his hand was already under my sweater, toying with the clasp of my bra.
“Do you want me to go on?” he asked.
“Yes,” I whispered, feeling a shiver of excitement running up my spine.

I love writing romance and in particular, I love sports romance. I’ve played competitive sports all through school. So I was always hanging out on the field for practices or games. Lots of my girl and guy friends were also jocks. These sports romance stories were inspired by my friends.
I still love to follow collegiate and pro-sports. I enjoy watching soccer and cheering on my favorite football teams.

I like to write romance centered on the field with characters that have lots of spirit and adventure. I hope you enjoy the inside look into the lives of my players and their friends.

To dreams on and off the field. I hope you find yours. 

Play hard, love hard, dream big!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

by Jackie Lea Sommers
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 1st 2015
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Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening-- and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.

It didn’t take long to confirm that Silas was absolutely crazy.
One morning he showed up at my house wearing an honest-to-goodness windbreaker suit straight out of the nineties: purple, mint green, and what is best described as neon salmon. I curbed a grin while Silas gathered our detailing supplies from my garage. “What?” he deadpanned. “What are you staring at?”
“Your windbreaker is just so …”
“Fetching?” he interjected. “Voguish? Swanky?”
“Hot,” I said, playing along. “The nineties neon just exudes sex appeal.”
“Well, I thought so myself.”
And after the sun was high in the sky and the pavement was heating up, he took off the windsuit, revealing shorts and a New Moon T-shirt beneath, Edward Cullen’s pale face dramatically printed across the front. “Vader’s competition,” he said, shrugged, and started vacuuming the floors of the Corolla left in our care. 
He also talked about the strangest things: “Can you ever really prove anything? How?” or “I read about this composer who said his abstract music went ‘to the brink’—that beyond it lay complete chaos. What would that look like? Complete chaos?” or “You know how in Shakespeare Romeo says, ‘Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized’? He’s talking about his name, but baptism’s bigger than that; it has to be. It’s about identity, and wonder, and favor, you know?” or “A group of moles is called a labor; a group of toads is called a knot. Who comes up with this stuff? It’s a bouquet of pheasants, a murder of crows, a storytelling of ravens, a lamentation of swans. A lamentation of swans, West!” 
One morning I was late coming downstairs, and Shea got to Silas first. The two of them sat drinking orange juice on the front steps and discussing Shea’s question of whether fish have boobs. “I think,” Silas said, sounding like a scholar, “they do not, since they’re not mammals. But mermaids do, since they’re half-fish, half-mammal.”
“Mermaids aren’t real though,” Shea said, the tiniest bit of hope in his voice that Silas would prove him wrong.
“Who told you that?” said Silas sternly.
“You think they’re real?” Shea asked.
“I can’t be sure,” Silas said, “but I might have seen one when I used to live in Florida. Probably best not to jump to any conclusions either way.”
Behind me, Libby giggled. Silas glanced at us over his shoulder through the screen door and grinned. “Libby,” he said, “what do you say? Mermaids, real or not?”
“I don’t want to jump to conclusions either way,” my shy sister said, then turned bright red.
“Smart girl,” said Silas.
That afternoon, Silas and I sat in the backseat of a dusty Saturn, trading off the handheld vacuum as we talked—or rather, shouted—over its noise. I ran the hand-vac over the back of the driver’s seat, while Silas said, “I used to think I was the only one with a crush on Emily Dickinson until a couple years ago.”
“You have a crush on Emily Dickinson?”
“Did you just ‘durr’ me? Is that like a ‘duh’?”
He nodded as I handed him the Dirt Devil. “But then I read this book that says it’s a rite of passage for any thinking American man. And then I read a poem called ‘Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes.’”
Just the title made me blush; I averted my eyes to focus on the vacuum’s trajectory. 
Silas, unruffled, sighed unhappily.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, frowning, chancing a glance at him.
“I finally made it into the backseat with a girl,” Silas cracked, looking hard at the Dirt Devil. “This is not all I was hoping it would be.”

I slugged him in the arm, and his wry smile gave way to laughter. 

by Jackie Lea Sommers

I hope you’ll enjoy this Truest playlist! Here are the reasons I’ve included a few of these songs:

Anchor of My Soul” by Josh Garrels | One night, on his roof, Silas plays a hymn on his guitar. I imagine that song is “The Old Rugged Cross” or else this gem by Josh Garrels (which I suppose can be a modern hymn).

Carmina Burana: O Fortuna” played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra | I played this song in my high school band, and the melody– soft and haunting at first, then demanding and desperate later– made my blood pound. I loved that I got to work it into Truest when Silas, West, Laurel, and Whit go to see a dance performance in the Twin Cities.

“Mexico” by Vocal Few | This song inspired me to write a fun, fluffy scene that I didn’t imagine would be included in the story. I wrote it just for fun! But later, my editor asked for a sweet, everything’s-okay-now scene, and I immediately knew I’d found a home for that scene I’d written. When you read the book, you’ll absolutely know what scene this song inspired.

“Janie” by Further Seems Forever | I imagine this song playing as the summer ends in Green Lake. It’s so sad.

“Try Again” by Keane | No other song (except maybe “Find You” by Zedd) epitomizes Truest to me. If my book were a movie, this song would play as the credits started to roll.

Jackie Lea Sommers lives and loves and writes in Minnesota, where the people are nice and the Os are long. She is the 2013 winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize. She dislikes OCD, horcruxes, and Minnesota winters. She likes book boyfriends, cranky teenagers, and Minnesota springs. Truest is her first novel.