March YA Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ What Time Is It There? by Christine Potter


What Time Is It There? by Christine Potter
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (167 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

Just over a year ago, Bean and Zak headed for colleges two thousand miles apart, promising to write, but to see other people … until Bean fell for the wrong guy and Zak fell off the planet. Now, Bean’s got two weeks’ worth of Zak’s year-old letters that she still can’t bear to open—and a broken heart. Her new best friend, a guy named Amp, wants her to read the letters and be done with it, but he may have his own reasons for that. When Sam shows up at Bean’s school unexpectedly and Bean tumbles into the 19th century from the cellar of a ruined church, things start making a bizarre kind of sense. That is, if she can just fit all the pieces together again…

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Last First Daughter by Abbie Fine


The Last First Daughter by Abbie Fine
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (262 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Lindy is the only surviving member of the First Family.

During the first television broadcast in a decade, direct from the White House, terrorists attack. Eighteen-year-old Lindy escapes thanks to her secret service officer, Henry, and now finds her country under the control of a cruel, oppressive regime—and she and Henry the targets of a countrywide manhunt.

Using fake identities and Lindy’s engineering skills, which allow her to build a network of radios, Lindy and Henry join a group planning to fight back against the new regime. Lindy must decide if she can sacrifice the relationship closest to her heart, her safety, and possibly her life to give millions of others hope for their future, and take back the White House.

The only way to stay alive is to keep running.

One of the things I liked the most about this book was how much common sense all of the characters had. When they were in dangerous circumstances they paid close attention to their surroundings and took all of the precautions they could to stay safe. This is something I always enjoy finding when I’m reading about people who live in places where there’s no such thing as a hospital or police station in every community anymore. I would be cautious in that kind of environment, so it’s nice to read about characters who take the same sensible approach.

The romantic subplot felt completely out of place to me. There were so many serious and time-sensitive things going on in Lindy’s life that I really didn’t understand why she was spending so much energy on her crush. This behavior didn’t fit her personality, and it also felt odd in a plot that was so full of other conflicts. While I liked the idea of these characters eventually exploring the possibility of a relationship, it would have worked better in a sequel that didn’t have so many other storylines happening simultaneously.

Lindy was a brave and resourceful young woman. The world she lived in was a dangerous one, and she knew just how quickly things could go terribly wrong for her if she made the wrong move. I really liked seeing her adjust from life as the sheltered daughter of a world leader to the one she lead as someone who was always on the run. She handled that transition really well.

There were pacing issues. This was something I noticed most heavily in the middle of this story. Lindy and Henry spent so much time planning their next move in that section that I had trouble keeping up my interest in what would happen to them next. As much as I liked seeing how seriously they took the various steps in their mission, I would have preferred to see them begin to carry them out much more quickly than they did.

With that being said, the world building was well done. I was especially interested in the scenes that talked about how ordinary people survived after they realized they could no longer count on the government for any kind of help at all. Farming is a difficult profession, and the narrator got that point across nicely while also showing the upside of people being required to grow or trade for everything they needed.

I’d recommend The Last First Daughter to anyone who is looking for romantic science fiction.

Neutral Shades by Xondra Day


Neutral Shades by Xondra Day
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (81 pages)
Age Recommendation:16+
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Forced to move and change schools just before his senior year, Greg Reese thinks his life is over until he meets handsome jock, Nick Anderson who is his dream guy in every way.

Sparks fly between the two, but neither are out. When they’re caught in a compromising situation, Greg quickly finds himself dumped.

Moving on isn’t easy, but starting a summer job helps keep a devastated Greg occupied, along with forming a friendship with humorous and cute co-worker, Chris.

Chris is out and makes no bones about it. Greg has an instant attraction to Chris, and coming out now seems to be an option. After all, you can’t hide forever, right?

It’s never easy to move to a small town. This is even more true for gay teens who don’t know anyone in their new community.

Greg was a three-dimensional protagonist who I came to like quite a bit. His impulsiveness and restlessness sometimes got him into trouble, but it also made him an incredibly interesting guy because of how self-aware he was of his flaws. He was always the kind of person who acknowledged his own weaknesses even if he wasn’t necessarily sure how to improve them. This is the kind of character development that makes me wish for a sequel!

I would have liked to see more details included in this story. Everything from the physical descriptions of the characters to what the buildings they spent their time in looked like were described so briefly that I had a hard time imagining what everyone looked like and what was happening. This was a little disappointing since the plot itself was so well done. Had more time been taken to describe the settings and characters, I would have happily chosen a much higher rating.

The romance was handled beautifully. I loved seeing Chris and Greg get to know each other. They had a lot of shared interested and similar personality traits. It seemed to me like they’d be a great match. The fact that they waited a while before acting on their attractions only made me more curious to find out if the sparks between them were going to lead to anything longterm.

Neutral Shades is a good read for anyone who is looking for something romantic.

February YA Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Secrets From Myself by Christine Hart

Secrets from Myself by Christine Hart
Publisher: Dancing Cat Books
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Mystery
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Rose

BoM LASR YA copy

Twelve-year-old Katelyn has always heard voices and had visions. She’s long suspected she was hearing from past lives. But when she runs away from home and hides out with an old friend in Vancouver, things become more real. She even finds herself writing the words of someone else in a diary – the words of someone whose fate was deeply impacted by the Komagata Maru incident.

As Katelyn learns more about the Komagata Maru and the person communicating with her, she realizes that she has a task to fulfill that will correct a wrong from the past.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager


Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Publisher: Clean Reads
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: Full (266 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3 stars
Review by Poinsettia

Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren, seems determined to get back into his life, along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.

Can Emme learn to trust herself?

Emme’s relatively simple life became much more complicated over the summer. First her grandma has a severe stroke, and then her grandpa begins showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Even though she’s going through a rough time at home, Emme catches the eye of Brendon, the most popular guy in school. Emme has always admired Brendon, but can’t believe his interest in her will be long lived. Brendon isn’t perfect, but he always strikes me as sincere. Yet, Emme continues to doubt him whenever possible. I kept wondering when Emme stop letting her past experience cloud her judgement.

Emme is a very likable character. Watching her try to balance school, family, and romance felt very realistic. I also like that she’s a regular girl with believable strengths and weaknesses. She isn’t the smartest in her class, and she isn’t super popular. However, she’s caring, loyal, and I truly enjoyed watching her interest in writing grow.

Brendon and Emme make a sweet couple, but I must admit that I was very frustrated by Emme constantly second-guessing Brendon. I understand her previous relationship ended badly. Anyone would be hurt by what she went through, and it would be hard to move on from that. However, instead of seeing Brendon for who he is, Emme over analyzes everything and frequently jumps to conclusions. When they inevitably get into a fight, she places all the blame on him. This happens several times, and it got old after a while. Emme kept saying that she and Brendon had a deep connection, but didn’t seem to be willing to have an honest conversation about her feelings with him. Despite this issue, I liked watching Emme and Brendon get to know each other. When Emme stopped worrying about everyone else, I could see a happy ending waiting for the young couple.

I’m glad I read Dating the It Guy. Emme is a well-rounded character and the romance is sweet. Fans of young adult romance might want to give this book a try.

January YA Book of the Month Poll Winners ~ a Tie! ~ Stumped by Kate Larkindale & Dorm Rats by Michelle Levigne

We have a tie this month for Book of the Month!!


Stumped by Kate Larkindale
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (246 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Seventeen-year-old Ozzy has a super-hot girlfriend who’s ready to take their relationship to the next level. Tonight. At the lake. But a missing condom scuttles his plans for seduction. Furious, Ozzy takes his girlfriend home and drives off—into the path of an oncoming truck. He wakes up with both legs amputated above the knees. When his girlfriend runs out gagging after one look at him, Ozzy knows he’s a hideous freak. He’s convinced he’s blown any chance of having a real relationship with a girl. Determined to prove he can still be a man despite his disability, Ozzy throws himself into dumping his virginity, but finds there’s a limited number of people willing to touch legless dudes in wheelchairs. His obsession takes him into an underworld of brothels and escort services where he discovers the difference between sex and intimacy, and that sometimes the price is much higher than a sex worker’s fee.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

AND…


Dorm Rats by Michelle L Levigne
Growing Up Neighborlee

Publisher: Uncial Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (323 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 5 stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

Lanie and her Lost Kids friends continue growing into their semi-pseudo-superhero powers and responsibilities, and learn more about what it means to be a guardian of the odd little town of Neighborlee. Sometimes that meant protecting the rest of the world from the everyday weirdness and magic around them.

The transition from high school to college is marked with challenges and mystical, magical attacks from outside Neighborlee’s borders. When the academic game-playing and politics of the local college are used to run a questionable experiment on the entire freshman class, Lanie is there in the middle of it. Sometimes those who realize there’s something strange going on aren’t as enchanted as Lanie and her geek friends, and it takes a lot of fast talking and faster maneuvering to keep the lid from blowing off the entire town.

The threats grow bigger and the enemies grow meaner, but it’s all in a day’s work for the guardians of Neighborlee. This is home, and they’re willing to pay the price. Sometimes, they do. With their lives.

The really big questions remain: Why are they the way they are and how can they do the things they do? At least when they mess up and use their talents in public, most people don’t even notice. It’s just part of the background weirdness of Neighborlee, Ohio.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!!

The Details of My Reality by Katie L. Oslin – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Katie L. Oslin will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Amy Thatcher is full of despair since her best friend is no longer by her side. Known as the ice queen, Amy is quick to dismiss people and barricade her sweet and beautiful soul. Although young, she’s wise beyond her years. And nothing and no one is going to get in the way of achieving her goals; or so she thinks.

Life soon shows Amy that it has other plans. She’s suddenly thrust into a world full of difficult circumstances and even more difficult decisions.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He hugged me tightly for so long I wondered if he’d ever let me go. Our cigarettes developed the longest ashes I ever saw. As mine finally fell to the ground, I was reminded of how quickly I fell for Johnny and how our relationship had been burning for the last three years. Eventually, we, too, like that ash, would fall. We would end up a memory of something that burned so deeply into our souls and it too would eventually turn to ash.

Such thoughts swirled through my mind, as I drove without a destination. Eventually, I found myself at the park where Johnny and I went that fateful night when he showed me the secret overlook and took my virginity and my innocence. I decided to park the car, then I grabbed my emergency blanket, flashlight, and cigarettes and walked toward the precipice where it all began.

A tear fell down my cold wet cheek. I sighed and gave him my heartbreaking answer. “Honestly?” I held back my tears as best I could. “I want you to leave me alone, Johnny. I want you to love me enough to let me go. I want you to help me finally get over you by staying the hell away from me. I want you to stay out of my life and let me be. Please, Johnny, I’m begging you.

“I want to be happy. I deserve that, and you of all people know it. Since I can’t have it with you,” I said, crying a little harder, then I deserve to have it with someone else. So, please, Johnny, if you love me like you say you do, you’ll let me go.”

About the Author:

Katie L. Oslin is a Midwesterner who started writing diaries, poetry and many short stories at a very young age. As a newly published author THE DETIALS OF MY REALITY is her first novel.

She is also a wife, mother and bachelor’s prepared registered nurse. Living on the coast of North Carolina, she frequents the beach and finds inspiration in the sound of the waves and the solitude of her surroundings.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

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Stumped by Kate Larkindale


Stumped by Kate Larkindale
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (246 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Seventeen-year-old Ozzy has a super-hot girlfriend who’s ready to take their relationship to the next level. Tonight. At the lake. But a missing condom scuttles his plans for seduction. Furious, Ozzy takes his girlfriend home and drives off—into the path of an oncoming truck. He wakes up with both legs amputated above the knees. When his girlfriend runs out gagging after one look at him, Ozzy knows he’s a hideous freak. He’s convinced he’s blown any chance of having a real relationship with a girl. Determined to prove he can still be a man despite his disability, Ozzy throws himself into dumping his virginity, but finds there’s a limited number of people willing to touch legless dudes in wheelchairs. His obsession takes him into an underworld of brothels and escort services where he discovers the difference between sex and intimacy, and that sometimes the price is much higher than a sex worker’s fee.

The only thing more troublesome to Ozzy than losing his legs is how many times he’s tried and failed to lose his virginity.

Ozzy’s character development was fantastic. His sarcastic response to his accident was funny, but it was also completely believable. He’d suffered a huge loss at a time when he wasn’t at all emotionally prepared to deal with the his disability or how his life was going to change now that he had two amputated limbs. While he definitely had his fair share of flaws, I soon came to love Ozzy’s boldly honest and complex personality.

My only criticism has to do with the descriptions of the many secondary characters that were introduced during the course of the plot. I got to know Ozzy’s mom and siblings pretty well, but there were so many other people who moved in and out of his life that it was hard at times to remember who everyone was, how they were connected to him, and what they looked like. Had there been a smaller cast, I would have chosen a much higher rating for this tale as I loved everything else about it.

As I hinted at earlier in this review, this story was quite humorous. It dealt with so many difficult topics that the last thing I ever expected to do while I was reading it was to start laughing. I was pleasantly surprised the first time it made me chuckle, and I was even happier when this trend continued up until the very last scene.

Stumped was a hilarious and thought-provoking book that I’d recommend to anyone who has ever dealt with serious medical problems or wondered what it would be like to go through that sort of experience.

December Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards


Topaz Reign by Teresa Richards
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (286 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: Best Book
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

Fairy tales are simply tales, told and re-told, but changed over time. It has been four months since Maggie learned the dark truth behind the tale of the Princess and the Pea and freed Princess Lindy from the cursed Emerald. Lindy is now back in the past where she belongs, queen of her tiny Scandinavian country, and Maggie is a fully reformed ex-stalker. Except … she can’t stop doing internet searches on Lindy and her country. One morning, Maggie wakes to find history turned on its head. Apparently, you can’t destroy a centuries-old curse without consequence. In order to prevent the changes in history from wiping out the present, Maggie resurrects her stalking gene and learns that fairy tales don’t stay dead for long. Or at all. Back in 1623, Lindy is juggling a threat to her family, a handsome new guard she’s not supposed to have feelings for, and a cursed Topaz with ties to the tale of Thumbelina. When past and present collide, Lindy and Maggie are brought together again, and another of Andersen’s tales turns from twisted fiction to chilling fact.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

November Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ E.C. Max, Kid Genius: Critter Camp by Sierra Luke


E.C. Max, Kid Genius: Critter Camp by Sierra Luke
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (37 pages)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Meet E.C. Max, a lovable know-it-all. He has many misadventures while solving everyday problems using science and technology. His inventions and experiments usually have wacky, unexpected results.

Slap that mosquito as you read how Max deals with pesky pests in E.C. Max, Kid Genius Critter Camp!

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!!