Book Review: How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozzo

How to Keep Rolling After a Fall
Title: How to Keep Rolling After a Fall
Author: Karole Cozzo
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

       
After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance. The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That's all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl's suicide. Now Nikki's been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can't look in her eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates - almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it's like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance...and everyone deserves to be loved.


Holy cow this book definitely deserves its 5-Owl review because it completely threw me for a loop in the most unexpected ways. Because (1) I'm new to the author and (2) it is published by Swoon Reads, I went in thinking I was going to get a fluffy romance filled with characters wearing rose-colored glasses. Boy was I wrong! This book touches on issues that affect the young, old, and everything in between.

I also cried a little at one point in the story (I'm not afraid to admit) over something that involves the love interest, Pax. I love him so much and I still hold out hope that men like him exist in the world. Pax is the strongest character - emotional wise - including more emotionally intelligent than the main character's parents. It really bothered me to see how they acted towards their daughter after her mistake and I'm dying to discuss with others who have read it.

Even though Nikki is on the verge of turning 18, she seems much older and I really do think it's because of the severity of her mistake and the aftermath that follows. She's battling with guilt and shame and can't even stand to look at her own reflection in the mirror. It reminds me of something I read this week that said "if someone doesn't want me, it is not the end of the world but if I do not want me, the world is nothing but endings." It completely rings true for this main character which was all the more fulfilling to watch her growth from self-deprecating to moving forward without dragging the past with her. And of course, Pax is a huge reason for that.

The author is a great storyteller. I can't gush about this book enough and I truly feel that young adults across the world need to read this book, if only to open their eyes to the importance of exercising compassion towards fellow human beings - especially in high school where tensions are so high and kids are misguided. Another thing I liked was how the author showed us the hardships that someone with a disability goes through and it reminded me how easy it is to take for granted the positive things in our lives.

Please do yourself a favor and pick this one up when it comes out next week! Bravo Karole Cozzo and Swoon Reads for putting out this (perfectly) titled book out in the world.



Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Songs of Everealm Series by J.D. Wright


Title: Song of Sovereign
Author: J.D. Wright
Release Date: June 20, 2016
Pages: 248
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Fantasy

     
Princess Sarita has everything. Loving parents, a castle fit for royalty, fine clothes, loyal friends, and an exciting job as a scholar of magic. At eighteen years of age, one might think that she would be content with her position. But one thing has always been missing from her life... full magic, itself.

When a strange old woman gave Sarita a secret spellbook as a child, her entire life was changed. The book contains spells, songs, and stories. But most of all, it provides a path to gaining full magic, the only thing that Sarita still needs to feel complete. And now, she has finally prepared to leave her home in search of the Stones of the Divine, the final ingredient she needs to gain magic.

Gabrielle has been known as the sister of a knight and best friend of the princess for as long as she can remember. Now an experienced healer's assistant, she is desperate to find her place and purpose in Junacave. An adventurous mission to help Sarita locate a mystical stone may be just the change in her life that she is looking for.

King Cassidy is still alone, but not for a lack of trying. His attempts to convince the Princess of Junacave to marry him over the past ten years have been for naught. And being twenty years old, with no heir, he is running out of time. If he can't win the heart of the princess, he may have to face a future without the love of his life.

Title: Song of Sparrows
Author: J.D. Wright
Release Date: June 26, 2016
Pages: 237
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Fantasy

     
The journey across Everealm to find the magical stones has not come without its challenges. After being plagued by unwanted guests, disagreements, and accidents, Princess Sarita is beginning to wonder if her dream of gaining magic is a fantasy that can't come true.

Along the way, new friends and rekindled sparks between old flames have caused quite a stir within the group. As a new wizard joins the effort and gives the princess a reason to continue, the quest for the next stone ensues.

Writing has always been a hobby of mine, beginning as a young child. It was a way to cope with losing my father at seven years of age. I started with poetry and was featured several times on the amazing poetry blog, Autumn Leaves, by Sondra Ball. My love for poetry soon led to writing songs in middle school and beyond, which I still do occasionally. Music has always been an important part of my existence, so writing songs came naturally to me. In high school, I started my own novel, however, life got in the way and I never finished it.

Fast forward many years later and I find myself married with three children, absorbed in my busy life with commitments to my family, work, school, church, and charities, among other things. One day I came across my old binder, with notes from my first novel, and it was with those notes that I conjured up the elusive Everealm.

I write to please readers such as myself, who have a love for fantasy and romance, but like a little danger and sex in their reading. I wrote the book with a mature audience in mind, who can appreciate a hearty imaginary world with magic and the unknown, but want more than fluffy love stories with wizards in them. They want the romance, magic, and danger, all wrapped into one.

Blog Tour + Review: Knight’s Apprentice (Knights of the Immortals #1) by Catrina Taylor

knight's apprentice banner

Welcome to our stop for Knight's Apprentice by Catrina Taylor hosted by YaReads Blog Tours!

knight's apprenticeTitle: Knight’s Apprentice
Series: Knights of the Immortals (book 1)
Author: Catrina Taylor
Genre: YA Scifi, Alternate Reality, Space Colonies Published May 24th, 2015
Pages: 61
Publisher: Midnight Rose
KOBO | AMAZON | SMASHWORDS 
*This book is currently free on Amazon! *

Life altering reality, hidden in plain sight. Ralph has a problem. The Grand Council of Atlantis, the council who rules the twelve hominid tribes, has chosen his apprentice for him. This unusual move has one obstacle. She doesn’t know what it means to be Atlantean. Cerita Guzman is the oldest child in a struggling, single parent home. She doesn’t have time for world shattering reality to interfere with life. She has work, school, siblings, her mom, the house and now, of all things, Atlantis wants her time too. How is that even possible? James has lived among the homo-sapiens, on the surface, for most of his life. He’s training though, to serve his people in Atlantis. His heart is torn when his master knight requests him to bring in the young woman selected by the Grand Council to train with him. She’s in a lot of his classes. She’s beautiful. She’s human. When Atlantis calls, he listens. As Cerita resists the call to serve Atlantis, James must find a way to help her accept the truth about the world around her, about herself. He does. He forces her to activate her internal nanites. She’s forced to accept whole new hominid species exist. If that’s not enough, she’s also forced to accept she’s one of them, when her nanites come to life, and she opens a wormhole into space. Join Cerita, James, and Ralph on the first adventure into the world of Atlantis. Knight’s of the Immortals is a Young Adult Scifi – Adventure that’s loved by readers of all ages. Knight’s Apprentice is free. Download it so you can start reading it today.
 
 In life, realities tend to hit us when we least expect them. And sometimes, when we least expect it, doors open for us that make us realize that there’s more to life than anything we could ever expect.
In The Knight’s Apprentince, we meet Cerita Guzman. According to the book synopsis, she’s a typical teen with all the responsibilities of an oldest child, in a struggling single parent household. Her grades are always high, and she makes it to work everyday to help with the bills. Mornings are filled with coffee, siblings, and school. This straight-A student knows her stuff, but all of that is turned upside down one night as she walks home from the store. 

In something that adds to the book’s action, according to the synopsis, after stumbling across a final rite preformed by a man in a suit of armor, she is faced with the evidence that proves she's not entirely what she believes she is. Her best friend, a classmate, and this knight become her teachers as she learns to accept who she really is, and maybe find love and adventure along the way.
This novel is great for dreamers, for those that have somewhat wondered what else is out there and what their lives are all about. In the book, once Cerita starts to discover what she’s meant for, we see her character truly develop and open up into this magical existence that she never thought possible. 
The story is truly a lovely coming-of-age story, with a paranormal twist. The book is mysterious with its delivery, a page turner that keeps you wondering what will happen next and will have you itching for the next installment in the series.

Make sure to pick up this book before the end of the summer and add it to your TBR. You won’t be disappointed.


 

A unique author with a passion for her family, Catrina Taylor is in love with the written word. As an avid reader she finds her mind enjoys the worlds created uniquely in Fantasy, Science Fiction and various crossover genre. As an author, she most often plays in a universe of her own creation. Introducing us to the imaginary worlds of Xarrok and Atlantis, she has hooked readers, waiting to see where her imagination takes us next. When she is not playing in the universe of her mind, she is playing with her children who she encourages to follow her passion for words, and excel in every area they show interest. In fact, this talented word smith finds that life through their eyes is a constant lesson in self discovery, happiness, and curiosity. Inspired by her everyday world of family, infused with an unquenched curiosity, and gifted with the ability to take us to places we could never have imagined, Catrina Taylor is an author who promises to keep you fully immersed in a world of wonder and intrigue, waiting for more.
TOUR SCHEDULE:  

July 13th Fiction Dreams – Guest Post 
July 14th RoloPoloBookBlog – Promo Post 
July 15th Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! – Guest Post 
Lisa Loves Literature – Author Interview
July 16th The Book Beacon – Review 
July 17th Bookishjessp – Author Interview 
July 18th YaReads – Top Ten Post 
July 19th The Red Pen of Doom – Promo Post 
July 20th Sleeps on Tables – Guest Post 
Adventures in Writing – Promo Post 
July 21st Let Me Tell You a Story – Promo Post 
July 22nd The Cozy Little Book Nook – Top Ten Post 
July 23rd Just One More Chapter – Promo Post 
July 24th Roxy’s Book Reviews – Promo Post 
July 25th Crossroad Reviews – Promo Post 
July 26th Rockin’ Book Reviews – Promo Post 
July 27th Mindjacked – Review 
July 28th YA Book Divas – Review 



Waiting on Wednesday: Vicarious by Paula Stokes


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
This week pick is:

Vicarious (Vicarious, #1)

Vicarious

Author: Paula Stokes
Publisher: Tor Teen
Expected Release: August 16th 2016

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: The Bad Decisions Playlist by Michael Rubens


Welcome to our stop for The Bad Decisions Playlist  hosted by Rockstar Blog Tours

Title: THE BAD DECISIONS PLAYLIST
Author: Michael Rubens
Pub. Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 304
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads

Austin, 16, a self-described screwup, finds out that his father isn’t dead. He’s alive, and moreover he’s Shane Tyler, a famous singer/guitarist/song writer—Austin’s dream for himself. But Shane is battling his own demons, and Austin must figure out how to grow up on his own terms.
 
We all make bad decisions. There’s no time in our life that we have considered it to be perfect, or that every decision that we have made is top notch. And, this amazing book by Michael Rubens, showcases a character that anyone who has made bad decisions, with a lot of potential, can relate to.

In the book, according to the synopsis, sixteen-year-old Austin is always messing up and then joking his way out of tough spots. The sudden appearance of his allegedly dead father, who happens to be the very-much-alive rock star Shane Tyler, stops him cold. Austin—a talented musician himself—is sucked into his newfound father’s alluring music-biz orbit, pulling his true love, Josephine, along with him. None of Austin’s previous bad decisions, resulting in broken instruments, broken hearts, and broken dreams, can top this one. Witty, audacious, and taking adolescence to the max, Austin is dragged kicking and screaming toward adulthood with a series of events that make him realize it’s time to grow up.

This book’s character and realism really got to me and I was touched by the story. Growing up is never easy, and the novel showcases this fact as the character is strewn through a variety of experiences and situations that make us understand him more. I honestly don’t want to give anything away to readers, but I must say that this is certainly a must-read full of heart, humor and emotional moments.

The book was painfully realistic, and it gets so tough and hard to watch Austin mess up time after time. It was also hard to start to feel hopeful with him only to come crashing down when he made more mistakes…but in the end, who in life hasn’t made mistakes of their own and come out stronger in the end? Pick up this book and you will find yourself drawn to this world and realize that we all, in the end, are human after all.

I truly loved the book and gave it 4 stars…hoping you all decide to pick it up as well as a great summer read full of reality and heart.



Michael Rubens is the author of The Sheriff of Yrnameer and Sons of the 613. He was a producer for several years for the Emmy- and Peabody-award-winning Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and has written and produced for CNN, Oxygen, the Travel Channel and other networks. It’s theoretically possible that you saw him as the host of Eclipse Chasers: Ghana on the Travel Channel. He was also, for a very brief period, the World’s Least Effective Bouncer. He lives with his wife and daughter in Brooklyn, New York, and feels that the practice of writing one’s bio in the third person is somewhat questionable.
He is represented by John Silbersack at Trident Media Group.




Follow the Tour below!

Week One:

7/25/2016- The Cover Contessa- Guest Post
7/26/2016- Owl Always Be Reading- Review
7/27/2016- Once Upon a Twilight- Excerpt
7/28/2016- James and the Giant Book- Review
7/29/2016- Fall Into Books- Guest Post

Week Two:

8/1/2016- YA Book Madness- Review
8/2/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book- Guest Post
8/3/2016- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
8/4/2016- Books and Ladders- Excerpt
8/5/2016- Riddle's Reviews- Review

Book Review: Once Upon a Wine by Beth Kendrick


Once Upon a WineAuthor: Beth Kendrick
Title: Once Upon a Wine
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: NAL
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher/Netgalley
Format: Paperback and EArc
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Women's Fiction

     
From the "sharp, sassy, [and] surprisingly emotional" author of Put a Ring on It, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, and The Week Before the Wedding, a new novel set in the charming seaside town of Black Dog Bay, Delaware... Cammie Breyer needs a big glass of Cabernet - her restaurant failed and her chef boyfriend left for a hotter kitchen. Just when she thinks she's hit rock bottom, her Aunt Ginger calls with a surprise. She's bought a vineyard - in Delaware. At Ginger's command, Cammie returns to Black Dog Bay, the seaside town where she spent her childhood summers with her aunt and her cousin, Kat. The three women reunite, determined to succeed. There's only one little problem: None of them knows the first thing about wine making. And it turns out, owning a vineyard isn't all wine and roses. It's dirt, sweat, and desperation. Every day brings financial pitfalls, unruly tourises, romantic dilemmas, and second thoughts. But even as they struggle, they cultivate hidden talents and new passions. While the grapes ripen under the summer sun, Cammie discovers that love, like wine, is layered, complex, delicious, and worth waiting for. 


This is my first Beth Kendrick book and I expect that it won't be my last. The story was just as cute as the novel's cover. And I'm absolutely a dog lover, so what's not to like about that adorable French bulldog, who is also a character in this book (with a name like Jacques to boot!).

Right off, this story felt like a well-written, well-paced, well-directed, and well-acted Hallmark movie. You know the ones? Where everything just comes together and the experience is enjoyable (and not cheesy) from start to finish? Not to diminish the power of storytelling by comparing it to a Hallmark movie because I am an absolute Hallmark-movie junkie but if you enjoy those types, then this is definitely a book for you. You are in for a complex and layered summer beach read as all the women in the book are at different stages of their lives and struggling in very real ways.

Because it's written so well, I was able to finish in it a single sitting. The story begins with Cammie, who receives a phone call from her cousin Kat urging Cammie to come out to Delaware right away since her eccentric aunt, Ginger, just purchased a vineyard. None of them know anything about the wine business and there were hysterical one liners like, "oh my god, it's the Chateau of Woe..." that had me right there beside these women.

Cammie is returning to Black Dog Bay, where 11 years ago she left Ian behind, a farmer who still lives there and who reconnects with her as if no time has elapsed. I love second chance romances and this one was slow-building and satisfying. Kat is dealing with her own midlife crisis at 32, a back and knee injury forcing her to retire early from a skateboarding career. And there's the mother hen, Ginger, who is starting over after surviving cancer.

As the women continue on the road to working together and eventually trying to successfully run a vineyard, their relationship ebbs and flows and the funny lines just keep coming. Such as the dialogue between Kat and Cammie as they attempt to purchase a tractor from an auction:

Kat, who was herself wearing jeans, agreed. "I knew I shouldn't have ironed this shirt." She shook her head at Cammie's yellow cotton sundress and woven straw sunhat. "You are way overdressed." She indicated a man a few yards away. "Look how tight that dude's jeans are. Is that the John Deere version of jeggings? They're like a tourniquet."

I mean, funny, funny lines. As a reader, I was strongly enmeshed in their lives and really wanted things to work out for all of them. Kat had a great backstory and it was interesting to see how she handled her relationship in the throes of (forced) early retirement. She's at a crossroads in her life, having a little bit of a mid-mid-life crisis, and watching her marriage unfold and how she handles it was one of the highlights for me.

A huge theme in this story is to "bloom where you're planted." It recurs throughout the book both figuratively and literally and honestly, gave me a lot to reflect on. This book was a refreshing surprise and I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Also, it made me want to try their strawberry wine! It was a light read yet intricate at the same time. I guess the reading experience was very much like wine - layered, complex, and (this one just happened to be) full-bodied.

It comes out tomorrow and I highly recommend you purchase this one and add it to your summer reading list!








It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by
Here is what we Finished, Currently Reading, and what is
Next In line. How about you? These were some fantastic reads and we are so excited to share what we think with you! So make sure you keep your eyes out for our reviews!
 
  Once Upon a WineFallingEver the Hunted (Clash of Kingdoms, #1)
Girl in Pieces ProtegeYou Before Anyone Else738 DaysHow to Keep Rolling After a FallThe Lovely RecklessStalking Jack the RipperThe Bad Decisions Playlist

The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk, #1) Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)The Woman in Cabin 10The Singles GameRuthless (Lawless, #1)
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