Sunday, June 30, 2013

Time To Talk! The Back Side of Blogger Burnout.

You'd think I'd take the time to snap a picture of a more
summer-like coffee mug, but I just love this one too much. 

It was bound to happen sooner or later, right? 
Everyone gets a case of blogger burnout every now and then...
...or so I've heard

I've been fortunate that it hasn't happened to me to a serious degree before.
I take this blog-thing seriously, but I'm not really obsessive about it. I don't freak out if I don't have a post for a day or two, that sort of thing. But lately - I just haven't even been able to even turn on my computer for more than very small amounts of time without feeling this crushing, overwhelming OMG TURN IT OFF! feeling. 

It took me a while to realize that feeling was actually 
me feeling burned-out. 

I've just not really had much of a problem with it until recently. 
I think between being post-BEA/NYC for the first time
blog events
a tiny amount of behind-the-scenes blogger drama
and some personal stuff outside of blogging 
I'm just happy that I'm still reading
(Although I will admit to a couple of days when I barely even looked at a book. Those days are gone and my BookwormAsheley nerd-self is back 100%.)

You guys, I've watched more TV in the past few days 
than in the past two years. TRUTH.

I guess it was just time for a break. Either that or crash, because I was headed in that direction. Getting burned-out on something always comes at the worst times, doesn't it? I've had two events going on that I've not been able to keep up with. I just couldn't. And I haven't been able to visit and read other blogs in over two months. I just haven't been able to due to real-life stuff, and it was wearing me down (because I like to visit blogs as much as I like to write one). 


I've not been very open about how I was feeling. I haven't tweeted it out there, blogged about it, done any of those things. I just didn't see the necessity in it. But it does make me feel better sometimes to come on here and talk about stuff, so that's why I'm talking about it now - now that I'm on the up-swing! WOOHOO!

If I've caused you frustration because I've been behind on something or non-existent where I'm normally very present, I sincerely apologize. 

I'm slowly coming back around. I've been reading like crazy so I'll spend some time writing up some thoughts on the books I've read. But I'm not pushing myself too hard. I love this blog far too much for me to: 
make it feel like a chore - which it doesn't
give up on it - which I won't
let it go - not gonna happen
stop blogging - not an option

I just thought I'd put a few words up here so you all know 
how I'm feeling
that I'm still here
that I'm reading
but I needed a break. 

I repeat - this blog isn't a chore and doesn't feel like work. 
I love it so much. But we need breaks from even the things that we love sometimes, ya know?

Anyway, I'm ready to start reading blogs again ASAP. 
I'm ready to put out good stuff for you guys. 
Thank you for reading what I've had to say for the past few months while this has been going on - whether you are a commenter or not (please do!), I know that you're there and I kind of love you all for it. 

Have any of you all had blogger burnout before? 
What helped you get back into the swing of things? 

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard Review

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard
Series: The Danaan Trilogy #1
Publish Date: May 15, 2013

197 Pages
Source: Author for review - Thank you!
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity. -(from Goodreads) 

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard 

My Thoughts: OF COURSE I chose to read this book because 1) HELLO that cover and 2) I am a sucker for fantasy books that deal with fey. I love them, I love them, I love them - the mythology, the rules of the courts, everything. 

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard begins with the feel of a contemporary as we grow to learn a little bit about main character Allison O'Malley and her family and friends - her schizophrenic mother, her crush Ethan, and the rest of the gang. Allison is a little bit of an oddball around the area as she doesn't spend very much time hanging out with the rest of her peers - she spends a great deal of time helping her grandparents care for her mother. Pretty early into the book, Ethan steps out and professes his feelings for Allison and she reluctantly begins to open up to having a relationship with him, but just as things are starting to go well for them, some crazy things start happening. 

First of all, a new guy comes to town - Liam. Liam, the man who turns out to be her father. Liam, who is fey. Here is where the magical world mingles with the "real" world - and things get really interesting. Liam isn't the only fey in town, and Allison's world sort of goes crazy. One minute she doesn't know her father and has a schizophrenic mother, and the next minute she meets her father - who is magical - and finds out that what ails her mother isn't actually schizophrenia but something that can be traced back to an interaction with the fey from years and years ago. PLUS it might actually be possible for her mother to get better. 

Naturally Allison is interested. And skeptical. And confused. And wonders what the heck just happened? But just as she's trying to get her bearings and come to grips with everything, some of the not-so-great fey come around, her mother turns up missing, and stuff gets real. Allison has to work with Liam to make things right. 

And then there's Ethan. Allison can't forget about him. Cause she really does actually like him. But how in the world can she explain to him what is happening with her? 


I enjoyed The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard, but guys, I almost felt like this would almost be a given because I enjoy fey books and mythology so much. I loved that the groundwork was put out there in the beginning in a way that felt a big contemporary, so it was comfortable, and then BOOM the magic starts happening. 

Now, when the magic starts happening and the fey start coming to see Allison, I have to admit that there are quite a few of them. And they come with their very interesting names. It's not easy to pronounce the names and it isn't easy to keep the people straight so I feel like if people will have any trouble with the book, it'll be with this. A pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book would be helpful. (There is one, guys, but it's actually at the end of the book - didn't realize it until I was done reading on the Kindle.) Luckily for me, I've read and loved and actually own some of these books that have great pronunciation guides in them, so I wasn't flailing as much as I could've been because I was a little teensy bit familar.  

As far as characterization goes, Allison is a pretty neat gal. She's got a lot on her - a bit of stress, I guess - but it's because she feels responsible and wants to help out. I loved that she was learning to let loose a little bit and live like a normal 21-year-old...and then everything started going crazy. BUT then when all of the magic started happening, Allison became stronger because the stakes were pretty high for her mother and she loved her mother so much - she was such a take-charge kinda gal, and I really liked that. I also enjoyed Ethan as a romantic interest, even though the romance had to take a bit of a back-seat to the other stuff that was going on in the book. Ethan seems like a really cool guy and was a great, respectable male character. And Liam, I enjoyed him as well. 

Other than that, the mythology was a lot of fun. There is a king and queen, of course, as always. And there are good fey and bad fey, of course, as always. I adored Liam as fey, and Allison's mother with her role in the story. I adored all of the fey that we met along the way (especially Aodhan, pronounced Ay-den), even the ones that were sort of on the fringes of the fey society. I loved Tir na n'Og (I always do!) and the imagery it invoked. I thought the ending was a little bit short or abrupt, but it leaves a pretty doggone good starting-off point for the next book in the series. I wish there would've been a little more Allison-Ethan interaction in terms of the romance, but perhaps that will come later? And I'd have loved a little more Allison-Liam bonding as far as their father-daughter relationship goes, but they really didn't have time to bond with all of the craziness that was going on - I'll keep my eyes peeled for that in the next book as well. 

Ultimately, this was a fun, super quick, fey story - the beginning of a series. I'm interested in seeing what happens next with these characters and in this story as a whole. I fell in love with the cover and I would recommend The Forgotten Ones to fans of New Adult books, fantasy, and stories with fey. 


Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her  obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

Follow Laura Howard:  Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Website


The Forgotten Ones will appeal to fans of:

New Adult Fantasy
Romance: Slowly Developing. No Triangle.

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard
is currently available for purchase.


And now for the Giveaway - 
just fill out the rafflecopter to enter!


Do you guys like fey books?
What are some of your favorites? 
Recommend some for me, please!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

45 Pounds (more or less) by K.A. Barson Review

45 Pounds (more or less) 
by K.A. Barson
Published by Viking Juvenile
Publish Date: July 11, 2013
272 Pages
Source: ARC Tour
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother. 

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up! -(excerpt from Goodreads) 

45 Pounds (more or less) by K.A. Barson 

My Thoughts: I went into reading 45 Pounds not really knowing what to expect. I think I was wildly thrown off by the little quote/blurb on the top of the book that calls it "deliciously relatable" but I'll get to that in a minute. This book is cute. It's a quick read with a good ending that I am confident most of us will enjoy. And there is a little humor to it, but it packs a little bit of a punch too. And I loved that. 

The main character, Ann, actually reminded me a lot of the daughter and her issues in the movie Spanglish. Anyone seen that movie? If you have, you'll probably understand what I'm talking about a bit more as you read this. (By the way, that movie is fabulous - you should watch it a thousand times.)

The first thing you need to know is this
As we see from the summary, Ann Galardi is overweight. 
From the very beginning, almost the second we meet Ann, we start reading about her weight. Her size. How she's bigger than she should be and how her mother is tiny and how Ann doesn't feel good about herself and her body. 

Around the beginning of the book, Ann and her mother are shopping for clothes - ugh, a bathing suit, you guys - and Ann is having a really difficult time finding one that 1) fits well and 2) she feels comfortable wearing. Anyone ever had that problem? YES, you know you have. You know - you know - how hard it is when you're shopping alone and you feel that way. In this case, Ann has her beautiful, perfect, tiny mother along, offering commentary and suggestions and unsolicited advice. Her mother certainly isn't helping things with her little off-comments or snide remarks about Ann's weight, losing weight, or ooohhh how she herself should try on THIS or THAT but wait! it would probably be too big...even when the sizes in her hands are too small for Ann. POOR ANN. set this story up: Ann is living her life in a home with a mother that is a great size. Who "encourages" her to lose weight nearly constantly. Ann is part of a blended family - both divorced parents are remarried and there are several siblings on both sides. So...Ann also struggles to figure out where she fits in the big scheme of things. There is more to Ann, but I'll just let you read it. 

Now, what does Ann do when she feels down on herself? What do many people do when they become emotional? They eat. And do they eat the healthy stuff they see around them? NOPE. They go to drive-thru restaurants and order too much food. So I'm reading this book, I'm watching Ann self-destruct, I'm watching it be partially because of her mother and partially other things, and I'm immediately sad for her. This is all within the first few pages, you guys. 

Ann TOTALLY reminds me of the character from Spanglish

**I should note that some of Ann's classmates stopped by the dressing rooms while Ann was trying on bathing suits, making things even more mortifying when Ann was already having a hard time finding a suit. This kind of issue happens to Ann sometimes - things like that with the meaner girls at school - and these events contributed to Ann's self-destructive behavior with food because Ann felt comforted by the food. 

The second thing you need to know is this:
Ann finds out she has to be in a wedding and will require a dress. YAY! 
Ann needs to lose some weight, and fast!
So Ann buys a diet system off of television. 
Ann sees an infomercial on TV that seems to have had some really great results. The testimonials from the people in the infomercial are really convincing and practically had Ann in tears, so Ann decides that she should purchase this diet system too and try it out. Her problem? She doesn't have enough money. So a few things happen here: 
  • Ann gets a job working at a pretzel place in the mall.
  • Ann orders the system but freaks when she can't save the money fast enough to pay for it. 
  • Ann accepts the money from her mother for the first payment and....she's off to weight loss!
Ann does a great job sticking to the weight-loss plan. She eats the (horrible) food and doesn't stop at any fast food places, even though they'd be delicious!! She doesn't eat any junk. She doesn't eat extra food. She is determined to lose the weight! By her calculations, she needs to lose about 45 pounds by the time of her aunt's wedding, which gives her about six weeks. 

Sidenote: While working at the pretzel place, she is actually working with two of the meaner girls from school. One is as mean as Ann has always expected and known, but one is actually not - which is surprising. Ann realizes that perhaps she was wrong about this gal and maybe they can be friends. Maybe. ALSO ALSO ALSO there is a boy. An actual boy that talks to Ann! WHAT? Nobody talks to the big girl, you guys. Nobody. 

The third thing you need to know is this:
Ann comes to realize that her unhealthy attitudes toward food 
are having very, very unhealthy effects on her younger siblings. 
One day when playing tea-party with her much-younger sister, Ann watches how she interacts with her stuffed animals - when she offers them cake and such (you know how little children do at tea parties, right?). Well, there are statements to the effect of NO, EATING CAKE WILL MAKE ME GAIN WEIGHT* and I CAN'T EAT THAT CAKE BECAUSE...* and Ann nearly freaks out. 

This is truly an A-Ha moment for her. And also, in my opinion, a turning point in the story. 

Ann realizes that little ears are listening around the house, at mealtimes, at snacktimes, all the time. The things that are coming out of her mouth, her habits, etc are having an absolute direct effect on her younger sister, which could in turn set that little girl up for a lifetime like Ann's. BUT not only that - so are the comments, actions, etc of Ann's mother. Her perfectly-sized mother - the one that doesn't really eat at dinnertime, makes the comments about weight and staying thin, etc. Ann is still freaking out. Also, Ann realizes that her mother is hiding some stuff. 

Things change for the better at this point. 

*I'm paraphrasing, m'kay?


45 Pounds (more or less) by K.A. Barson is a book that is about several things actually, but I saw it mainly about Ann's journey into trying to lose weight and then trying to find a healthy lifestyle - including seeing herself in a healthy way, which I loved. In the beginning of the book, we meet an Ann that has been put down because of her weight by lots of people - family included - and her self-image is poor. And it is sad. And a little of a downer. But by the end of the book, Ann's development and transformation made me want to run a marathon. I'm not even joking. I was so happy for this character.

Ann bought that diet system off of television because she does what so many people do and she believed what she heard. She hoped. She bought into the fad diet thing when she could've/should've maybe changed her eating habits and became more active. Yeah, I said it. And this frustrated me so much about Ann so many times, because she wanted/ended up taking what was the easy way out. Right away after making that phonecall to order, she knew something was up (or she should have) when she website was extremely hard to navigate and she had a difficult time getting an actual person to talk to on the phone. Then there was the food - it didn't look like it did on TV and it didn't smell or taste like Ann thought it would. Disappointing. Still, she persevered because she wanted to lose the weight so much. 

And you know what? Ann did lose some weight with this system. But was it really worth it? To hate what she was eating that much? To watch her family eat delicious, healthy, well-proportioned meals while she ate something prepackaged that tasted like cardboard? To have her younger sister watching her doing this? These are all questions that Ann has to answer throughout the course of the book and while it takes her a while to arrive at each of these answers, it's a good and necessary journey for Ann. 

About her job? Ann liked the job. She liked having a little paycheck, a little freedom of her own, some money. She liked one of the gals she was working with even though she just knew in her heart of hearts that that same girl had never really liked her before. But Ann learned that she was wrong and a really great friendship was born. I mean, the things that Ann's friend does for her toward the end of the book nearly made me tear up. I loved it. 

And the boy. See, this boy comes to the pretzel place on Ann's first day. He orders his pretzel and Ann sort-of messes it up. They share a laugh over a well-placed bad joke about it, he takes the pretzel, and off he goes. But he comes back over and over and naturally this makes Ann's heart pitter-patter because he's a really good-looking guy. But that's the end of it, right? - guys never look at the big girls. Eventually Ann wonders if maybe, possibly, could it be that he might actually have a crush on her too??? And this sweet first (lite) romance is so much fun to read because it's tucked away underneath and in-between what is the main idea of this story, which is all of the stuff that is happening with Ann. It is kind of kept separate, so even though there are a few heavier times (not too many!) this little crush/romance stays just that. It's lovely and refreshing and never over-powering. 

I can't sing the praises of how this book ends enough. Ann's family is completely dysfunctional, in my opinion. They are just a mess. I'm not sure if other people will think the same way or not, but to me - well, I could see issues with them a mile away. Ann didn't really because she was so caught up in her own struggles with her weight and fitting in with her parents and all that, but YOU GUYS WHEN SHE STARTED CHANGING TO MAKE A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON HER YOUNGER SISTER...just, YES. Yes! Because even though her reasons were different, the effects were still the same. She was still making healthier changes to her life, still losing weight, and still becoming more well as a person. I just loved it. 

I recommend 45 Pounds (more or less) to fans of YA Contemporary with Realistic Fiction. The blurb makes it look like a funny book - and I think that there are some parts that made me chuckle a little bit - but don't underestimate the messages that are present in this story. It's a super-quick read, enjoyable, and cute. It's not too heavy on the issues. And I think it'd be great for the summer. But it wasn't one that I took to be humorous - rather, I saw it as one that lots of people out there can really get something from, even if it is a little on the lighter side. 


45 Pounds (more or less) will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary with some Realistic Fiction
Romance: Lite. Slowly-developing. No Triangle. 
(does not overshadow main plot)
Issues: Weight, Self-Image
Stories Incorporating Family/Family Dynamics

45 Pounds (more or less) by K.A. Barson
is currently available for purchase.


Is 45 POUNDS (more or less) on your to-read list? 
Or have you maybe already read it?

Talk to me!! 

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Subject To Change by Alessandra Thomas Review & Giveaway!

Subject To Change by Alessandra Thomas
Series: Picturing Perfect #2
Publish Date: June 25, 2013

Source: Author for Review - Thank you!
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

Joey made her dad a deathbed promise that she would become a doctor, and dedicate herself to fighting the very cancer that took his life. There’s just one problem -three years into her pre-med classes, she's struggling to stay on top of the curve, let alone prove she's dazzling enough to earn a spot in an Ivy League medical school. In a Hail Mary move, she throws a basic Business 101 class into her semester schedule, banking on a perfect score to boost her GPA.

That is, until she’s paired for a final project with Hawk, the bartending, motorbike-riding, gorgeously bedheaded loser who falls asleep in class and communicates in one-word sentences.

Hawk does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, which sets Joey on edge – in every possible way. As they get to know each other, her urge to scream at him is curbed only by her fantasies of tearing his clothes off. Soon those fantasies become reality, and Joey realizes Hawk makes her feel more fully herself than any of the rich boys her mother and sorority sisters approve of.

But the promise to her father hangs over her head, and the harder Joey tries to succeed in her chosen career, the faster everything falls into a hopeless tailspin of bad grades, broken promises and guilt. It doesn't help to have Hawk sitting like a devil on her shoulder, insisting she should be free to live however she wants to live - like he does.

The only thing Joey knows is that her neatly organized life is crushing her - and Hawk's bad attitude
might be the only thing that can save her.

Subject To Change by Alessandra Thomas 

My Thoughts:  So it wasn't too terribly long ago that I read a little book by Alessandra Thomas called Picture Perfect and it took me by storm and I loved it and told everyone about it and they've loved it and there has been this huge ripple effect of love around me for Alessandra Thomas and Picture Perfect. You guys, it's the TRUTH. So when I found out that she was already working on her next book - like the very second - I was so stupidly excited about it, I even embarrassed myself. I think I did a dance. A fan, I am, because I knew I'd love it. Gosh, it's so much fun to be right.

I love solid writing, y'all. I love it when a writer can take a book and make something GOOD of it, when she can take a story and make people FEEL THINGS. That's what happened with Picture Perfect (because all older girls/women need to be reading that one). So I decided based on that book that I wanted to read the next book, sight unseen. Summary unread. Cover unseen (BIG DEAL FOR ME). I can now say that I've read and loved two of Alessandra Thomas' books and she is instant-read for me. 2/2, ladies and gentlemen. But I'm not here to discuss Picture Perfect today, I'm here to celebrate and discuss Subject to Change, and I just cannot wait to do that. 

(You can read my thoughts on Picture Perfect HERE.)


Subject To Change is the story of Josephine "Joey" Daly and the incredibly hot William "Hawk" Hawkins. YES I SAID HAWK. Just stop for a second and take in the name Hawk because it GOT ME every time I read it. Yes, I realize that has nothing to do with the story and may be mildly childish but HAWK. 

Okay, now back to the actual story. 

Joey is a pre-med college student, an aspiring oncologist. Guilted into this career path by her father who was dying of cancer at the time, Joey is struggling. Big time. She's barely keeping her head above water and after spending some time shadowing a renowed pediatric oncologist, Joey is actually not really sure if she wants to continue down that exact path. But she promised her father, and this is something she's struggling with - along with the grades in some of the classes that are over-her-head (organic chemistry, anyone?). Because of all of the time she spends studying, she does basically nothing, meaning she has a virtually non-existent life outside of school except for the little time she spends with her super-cool sorority sisters, including the incredible Cat (from Picture Perfect - anyone remember her? - yeah, she's an AMAZING character). Joey could use a little excitement in her life - a little somethin' somethin' - but she refuses to change her career choice because she promised her father, so her classes are kicking her butt. The story begins when one day, Joey is sitting in a new class - new semester - and in walks this guy. He stinks. He's disheveled  And he can't keep his eyes open. Falls asleep in class, first day! WHAT A LOSER. 

Ahem, everyone, meet William "Hawk" Hawkins. Ahem. 

Hawk made an awful impression on the very straight-laced Joey on that first day in classes. Late, smelly, and sleepy. He absolutely reeked of cigarette smoke, so much so that Joey had to turn her head. She could barely concentrate on what the professor was saying, she was judging him so hard (bad Joey!). Wouldn't you know the professor would assign group projects - two people each - and randomly assign people to work together? And wouldn't you just know that Joey and Hawk would randomly be assigned to work together? Isn't that how it always goes? Joey is way, way less than pleased and figures she'll be carrying the grade - she knows hers can't suffer and this guy can't even stay awake - but she reluctantly makes a plan to meet with him so they can get started. It promises to be a tough project, lasting all semester. Time after time, Hawk lets her down - missing scheduled meeting times, being late, things like that. Joey is livid more than once. But then Joey learns a few other things...

Things like: Hawk owns a bar. What? Yep, he's a bar owner at his young age (he's over 21, no worries) but there are reasons for this that might surprise you. Hawk has some family issues - big ones - way bigger than Joey could imagine. Joey realizes that she has been way out of line in judging him. For example, he comes to class sleepy because he's struggling to keep his business afloat. He comes to class smelling bad because he's coming from work - you know, people smoke in bars. There's so much to this guy that Joey doesn't realize - but slowly, slowly Joey realizes she wants to find out. Because OH NO! the girl is crushing attracted to him wants him so bad she can't even stand it. NOW.

Okay, let's back up a second. Back the heck up! Because I wanted you to get Hawk-the-person before I mentioned Hawk the EYES. They're blue, perfect crystal clear blue. And good gracious if they don't captivate Joey. Even through his stinking, even when he is late, even when she is angry with him - it's those eyes. ALSO ALSO ALSO, Hawk is a motorcycle man. He. Is. A. Motorcycle. Man. With some lovely tattoos. I could go on... But okay! I'm gonna stop here. (Hawk is one of the best book boyfriends I've read in like ever.)


Okay, so you guys, Alessandra Thomas! I'm such a fan. What she's done here with Subject To Change is given us Joey who has this growth from this flailing college student that really doesn't want to do what she's doing to this confident, amazing woman. Let us not forget that she also gave us this hot guy that has some serious issues, is a bit of a jerk, but he has his reasons. Alessandra puts on her New Adult belt, picks up her New Adult pen, and writes the heck out of this story to put these two together so they can work out their issues. Together, they are better than they are apart. Joey learns to stop judging so dang much and see the person inside and underneath and Hawk, well, Hawk becomes better

Y'all, Hawk has issues, but he has some great things about him too. I don't want to leave the impression that he's this angsty, awful New Adult guy - because there is plenty of that in the category and people get turned off by that. Ms. Thomas doesn't write that crap. Hawk has reasons for the way that he is and I just loved finding out what they were and watching his transformation into the person he became at the end. And Joey, gosh - thank goodness she didn't stay the same way throughout the story too. Her development was key in finding herself and her happiness and perhaps the happiness that the two shared together. Yeah, HEA guys. 

Subject To Change is the second book in the Picturing Perfect companion series by Alessandra Thomas - this means that you don't technically have to read them in order but I personally think it would be best to. The characters from the first book make an appearance in this second book and I always think it is great when you know their backstory. Even so, picking up this one would be excellent even if you haven't read Picture Perfect. You can always go back and read it later (and you should). 

Alessandra Thomas has shown me, as a reader, that after two efforts, she writes relatable characters that are going through real-life issues - you can find these characters at any college in America, or maybe the world, and they may be/probably are having issues similar to this. That's what I love about her books thus far. They are REAL and that is what contemporary ought to be. The swoons and steams don't hurt either, guys. 

I recommend Subject To Change to fans of New Adult Contemporary Romance and fans of books that have college settings. Also, readers that enjoy those bad boys that ride motorcycles, have tattoos, and have names like HAWK will absolutely love this one. Good grief, that boy is hot. 

Alessandra Thomas: more, please and thank you! 


Alessandra Thomas is a New Adult writer who swears she was in her twenties yesterday. Since she's not, she spends her time looking back on her college years fondly, and writing sexy stories about guys and girls falling in love and really living life for the first time. When she's not writing, you can find her with a spoonful of ice cream in one hand and the newest New Adult release in the other.

Follow Alessandra Thomas:  Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Website


Subject To Change will appeal to fans of:

New Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: No triangle.  Insta-attraction present

BECAUSE IT'S HAWK. (Seriously.)
Men Named Hawk

Subject To Change by Alessandra Thomas
is currently available for purchase.

*Mature audiences only - this book is New Adult and contains some scenes 
that are inappropriate for younger readers.


And now for the Giveaway!

Author Alessandra Thomas
is offering ONE SIGNED COPY and
one COFFEE MUG and two T-SHIRTS! 

Huge contest, you guys! 
US/Canada Only. 

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THIS LOVE by Nazarea Andrews Review Excerpt & Giveaway!

This Love by Nazarea Andrews
Publish Date: June 25, 2013

Source: Author for Review - Thank you!
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

She wants a summer job and a ride to a wedding. 

He wants an assistant and a distraction from the mess his life had become.

They didn't know they needed each other.

Avery Emili needs two grand. Two grand and a plane ticket--her sister is counting on her to get to Jamaica for her wedding. But the semester is over, and tutoring college freshman and high school students has dried up until the fall.

Atticus Grimes needs help--the messy split with his wife left the twenty-eight year old professor scrambling to keep things together as the semester winds down. Now he's got a research grant he has to actually do research for and all he wants to do is drown himself in a tall bottle of bourbon.

When Avery sees his ad for an assistant, all she's thinking is a summer job. But as they spend time together, in the office and out, both of them begin to realize something is there. Something that can't happen--he's a professor and she's a student. And both of them have histories, pasts that won’t let go. Can two broken people pulled apart by expectations find a way to be whole? -(from Goodreads) 

This Love by Nazarea Andrews 

My Thoughts: This book is so good. So very, very good. It's a perfect summer read and it has a perfect cover and good grief, you guys, just buy the book. You'll thank me later. 

This Love is the story of Avery and Atticus (aka The Professor) - both extremely likable and even lovable - both the victims of horrible past relationships - that come together in an unexpected and rather cute way to begin working together over the summer. Avery is a college student in need of a job, in need of some money. Quick! And Atticus is a college professor in need of an assistant with some serious organizational skills. Atticus used to have an assistant, but she wasn't a good fit so she left the position. Seeing Atticus in need, best buddy Dane took it upon himself to secretly take out an ad in Craiglist for the assistant position, which is when Avery comes into his life: she calls about the job. It can't hurt to at least check it out, right? 

WELL, FOLKS. Atticus is asleep when his phone starts going crazy, ringing off off the hook. He wonders why the heck he has something like fourteen or so missed calls in a few hours. Nobody ever calls him! Out of curiousity, Atticus picks up the next ring and is simultaneously intoxicated by the sweet voice he hears (Avery!) and pretty upset that Dane would take out an ad in Craigslist without his permission. While Atticus can feel his blood pressure rising with the need to kick Dane's butt, he agrees to meet with Avery to discuss the position at a local coffeehouse. Not because her voice is super-sexy and wildly enticing. Naw, not that. Because, you now, she might turn out to be a good assistant. Yeah, that. 

So they meet. She's hot, he's hot. There is MEGA instant-attraction going on here. (I LOVED IT.) But both of them are on a mission...and they walk away with both of their needs being met: Atticus gets an assistant and Avery gets a job that actually pays pretty well. Avery starts working right away, she does the job well, and Atticus is impressed over and over and over. The end. Sounds easy, right? Cut and dry? OH NO. No way. There's WAY more to all of this, folks. And I just ate it up. 


You guys remember that instant-attraction I mentioned? Well can you imagine working in extremely close quarters over the summer with a professor that "looks good enough to eat" - yep, it actually says that in the book. ATTICUS LOOKS GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT. (Sidenote: You guys, the way Nazarea Andrews wrote the story, I totally believe this.) And HELLO!! Avery is a college student. Y'all know how those young college girls are always wearing those cute little outfits and stuff. Stuff is bound to happen. And it does. 

But this story is more than that - more than sexual tension and steamy scenes and romance, although those things are super great. 

Atticus basically falls hard for the little things he learns about Avery, even when he knows he probably shouldn't - the way she can't/won't do anything in the morning without her coffee (attagirl, Avery!) - it can't be that fake coffee either or coffee drinks - Avery wants the real deal, real coffee. He loves that. He loves that she waltzes right into his home office and cooks or cleans or organizes or whatever needs to be done - she's a take charge kind of gal that isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. And she's beautiful, so beautiful. She doesn't feel the need to constantly be dressed to the nines - she's comfortable in yoga pants and a crazy-looking tee shirt or whatever. She's comfortable with herself, which is pretty sexy. Despite the fact that Atticus is up-to-his-eyeballs with an ex-wife that is giving him a very difficult time signing some divorce papers, he cannot help but fall hard for Avery. He ends up loving this girl. This could be a very interesting/dangerous thing when the semester starts back and he is professor and she is a student. Not his student, a student. But still. 

And oh Avery! Sweet little Avery. Avery comes from a pretty tough relationship history as well - the thing about hers is that you don't really get the details about it until you're pretty invested into the story. You get hints - the barest of hints. You get just enough to know that this girl has been burned in the past and she's totally petrified of opening her heart to someone else. Sure, she gets reassurances from her best friend and sister that it's okay to let her guard down and have some fun for the summer - especially with a very attraction man like Atticus - but it doesn't really help. Avery had a rough time not-so-long-ago. Eventually, though, she just can't help it - she falls too. She wants to be around that man 24/7. Despite her feelings and intentions - and despite her job - she is falling for him and that isn't part of the deal! She doesn't want that! Wait, does she? PLUS, Avery has carefully laid-out plans for graduate school and a career - how on earth will Atticus fit into all of that? Nope, she can't let herself fall for this man. She. Can. Not. She'll keep working for him for now, but there is definitely an expiration on their "relationship." (The more she said that, the more my heart would just squeeze and break because I was scared of what would happen!) 


This Love by Nazarea Andrews is, as I mentioned earlier, the perfect summer read. It is oozing, dripping, completely filled with romantic tension, with swoony moments, with a bit of steam, and with some falling in love. I'm adding this to my list of favorite stories lately, and I love so much about it. I love the sweet Southern setting as well as the Jamaican beach setting. I love the relationship between Avery and Atticus. I love the push-and-pull, the should we?/shouldn't we? between these two, and I love the way that they finally give into their feelings after fighting for so long - only to then resume the push-and-pull. I love the desperation that came with the admission that they finally felt things for each other and OH MY GRACIOUS we could get into trouble for this if anyone found out, and I loved the lengths that one (or both of them - no spoilers!) went to in order to ensure (or maybe get back) the relationship once the semester started. This book, you guys, this book. 

Avery Emili is every college girl. She's that girl. She's also a little bit of every New Adult girl. She's the one that's been wronged before and therefore she doesn't want to go back home (read: her hometown) because she doesn't want to see her ex-boyfriend, aka the douchebag. She has great friends and her sister is her everything. In this case, her sister is getting married and she is not the most thrilled about this that she can be. She we can read and begin to pick up clues about why she loves her sister so much but is less-than-thrilled about this wedding. Why is that? Seems a little off, no? Also, Avery is super smart (yes!) and organized and a perfect fit to do the job for Atticus. She surprises the heck out of him, takes him by storm. He wasn't expecting this little gal to breeze into his life and completely take it over, organizing it into files and an easily manageable system, but Avery did it, and now they're both smitten like crazy. And you guys, Avery doesn't know what to do. She fights her feelings - way too much, exhaustingly so - because she puts her old feelings for this bad, bad guy from her past on this new and great guy right in front of her. It's frustrating at times. Sometimes, sweet lil Avery gave me a case of whiplash. But I understand, I do. But still, Avery - you have Atticus standing in front of you - give it up, girl. Go on a kiss the boy!

Then there is Atticus. Good gracious, that man. I'm not sure where Nazarea Andrews found him, but I'd like one, please! No, seriously, I just loved him. Initially, like when he and Avery are in the early stages of their relationship - like, barely know each other - Atticus is so rude. He's cocky and way too sure of himself. But he's fine, you guys. He's SO HOT. And also a hot mess. His work is important to the University, but it's an organizational disaster - totally mixed-up and just, well, a mess. His last assistant completely screwed him over as far as doing a good job, so Atticus really does need to take a chill pill and just watch and see what Avery can do. When she blows into his workspace and takes over and does well, he is highly impressed, and from there he begins to settle down a bit. I'll admit, part of his settling down and letting Avery do her work is part visual attraction - he's wildly attracted to her (part of why this book is so fun and yummy) but it eventually grows to so much more than just attraction and it's actually Atticus that realizes that he has the real, true, can't-live-without-her feelings first. The LOVE feelings that made my heart pitter-patter. I'm so serious - I love this character. The lengths that this man went to to express his love to this girl who is - for all intensive purposes somewhat damaged and a lot thick-headed and incredibly wishy-washy - I just want an Atticus of my own. 

I would be a very poor blogger if I didn't mention the past relationships of these two, particularly Atticus. The relationship that Atticus is having a difficult time dropping is like a thorn in his side and is very present throughout the story. It pops up when readers least expect it and I found myself wanting to just brush it off of my Kindle, so very despicable is this gal he used to be involved with. BUT I had to stick with Atticus and trust him and see how things ended up. And Avery's past is just as bad, but since Nazarea Andrews was sparing with her details early on, you're certainly not getting anything from me here. It's just...ICK. The guy is just plain awful. But I will say that once Atticus finds out about it, WOW and HOT and I loved Atticus even more. HOWEVER, it is interesting how both of these relationships worked into the story, like little secret cups that are filling up and waiting to spill over and ruin a nice tablecloth. So much potential to do so much damage if they aren't checked...

You guys, I've repeated myself to say that This Love is a favorite in a while. It had that perfect summer feel to it, which is why it felt so good to read part of the book outside. Plus, check out that amazing cover! This book will do so nicely out by the pool or by the beach, or maybe just in the backyard or the porch. Heck, read it in the house if you will. Just do read it. I think you'll love Atticus and Avery and their story. I know I did. It's certainly been a summer favorite of mine and I will definitely be re-reading it.

I recommend This Love to fans of New Adult Contemporary Romance and fans of college settings. There are also some other great settings in this book: New Orleans and Jamaica. WHAT?! I know. This book is steamy, which is fun, but younger readers need to use caution when picking it up - it's definitely for the older-YA reading or adult-YA reading crowds only. I'm ready for the next part of the story, Nazarea Andrews! Great job with this one and nice job by your cover-marketing team! 


YOU GUYS!! I have an excerpt from the book! 

This is a good one! This is from the POV of Atticus:
 his first encounter with Avery, which is a phonecall. 
(He doesn't know his friend has put an ad in Craigslist for an assistant 
and Avery has called him for information.)
Man, it gets good from here. 

No one calls me. Nik used to, but her calls ended months ago. My sister emails me; the only time my phone rings is when Dane is checking on me. But he's here, so what the hell? 

My phone rings again, a different number.

I answer it. "Who is this?"

"I'm calling about the job you listed on Craigslist."

The girl's voice is like warm scotch, sliding around me with just the hint of a bite, and even in the midst of my hangover, I can't help the surge of interest. Then her words make it through the Jaeger induced fog and I groan. 

"I'm going to kill Dane." I mutter.

"Excuse me?" She sounds startled and a little amused, and I flush.

"Look, sweetheart, my roommate is being a dick. I'm sorry."

"You don't need a research assistant? Because I'm actually really good at this and I have better qualifications than most people."

Her voice. God, it's too early—that has to be part of the reason I'm getting aroused just listening to her talk. "What kind of qualifications?"

"I'm a double major—history, with a specialty in ancient civilizations, and secondary education. I planned on spending the summer researching graduate schools."

"You should stick with that," I advise.

"Can't. And I don't really want to spend the summer waiting tables—although I will."

There's something about her voice that makes me think she's telling the truth. And it tells me something about her: she's serious. There's a work ethic I don't often see in undergraduates, and it makes me pause.

"I'm sorry," she says, sounding frazzled—I can hear a male voice in the background—and music and laughter. "You said it's not really a position. I'll let you go. Get back to your morning."

"Wait," I say, startling both of us into silence. What the hell am I doing? "How about you meet me, and we'll talk. It can't hurt, right?"

She hesitates, and then, "Look, I'm not trying to do a job that doesn't exist. I appreciate it, though."

"Coffee. Please. Just to talk about it."

"Ok," she says, reluctance clear in her tone. "Hill of Beans at five?"

I nod. "I'll see you then."

We hang up, and I stare at my phone. What the hell am I doing?


This Love will appeal to fans of:

New Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: Slow-burn. No Triangle. 
College Setting. 
Also, New Orleans setting for a little while. 

Be smart, younger readers! 

This book is for the older-YA and adult reading crowd!

This Love by Nazarea Andrews
is currently available for purchase. 


Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog.

Find Nazarea Andrews


And now for the Giveaway!

Author Nazarea Andrews is offering 
2 Signed Paperback copies of THIS LOVE 
 and postcards!

Good Luck!

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