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.


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!


October YA Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Day Moon by Brett Armstrong

Day Moon by Brett Armstrong
Tomorrow’s Edge Book One

Publisher: Clean Reads
Genre: Inspirational, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (376 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Stargazer

BoM LASR YA copy

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.


Fox in the City by Daniel Cabrera

Fox in the City by Daniel Cabrera
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (172 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

This is the story of a fox–a fox named Tom. A fox who couldn’t in his wildest dreams imagine what it would be like to stand up on two. To behold and experience all the wonders of the world of man. The lights that light up the ground: The hum of the engines that roar and the fervor that engulfs everyone in the impassioned pursuit of happiness. Could he understand that the most amazing part is not in what we built?

The dividing line between human and animal isn’t always a clear one.

Tom’s character development was well done. It was especially interesting to see how he made the adjustment from being a fox to living as a human child. There are so many differences between those two species that he couldn’t take anything for granted. Everything he knew about the world had been turned on its head, and that made his emotional transformation something I had to keep following until I knew how it would end.

There were many grammatical and punctuation errors. I also noticed a sentences that were missing key words. It was hard to tell what they meant without knowing which word the author intended to use in that sentence. While I enjoyed the storyline itself quite a bit, another round of editing would have made a huge difference in my final rating for this book.

The friendship between Tom and Nora, the human girl he met soon after he was transformed, was beautiful. They were supportive of each other from the beginning. I really enjoyed watching her show him how to survive in the city and seeing how their feelings for each other slowly began to shift as they got to know each other even better. I thought they made a great team and couldn’t wait to see what would happen to them next.

Fox in the City was a creative tale that I’d recommend to anyone who has ever wondered what animals would say if they somehow learned how to speak.

August Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Jake and the Dragons of Asheville by Brian Kacica

Jake and the Dragons of Asheville by Brian Kacica
Publisher: Magic Penny Press
Genre:: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (221 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

In a small, sleepy town in North Carolina, thirteen-year-old Jake Winston has discovered he carries a unique genetic trait; one that a covert government agency will stop at nothing to obtain. After the tragic death of his father, a local firefighting hero, Jake’s absent grandfather returns and sends him on a journey into the gated forest at the edge of town, bringing Jake face-to-face with a family of ancient dragons thought long extinct.

Determined to grasp the power of the blood flowing through Jake’s veins, the agent from the secret ONX facility begins killing every dragon in his path. This forces Jake in the middle of a battle between the government and the dragons of Asheville, where the true potential of his power is revealed.


If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer Armentrout – Exclusive Excerpt

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer Armentrout.

Sebastian Harwell was one of the most popular guys in school, but that wasn’t surprising. Not when he was gorgeous. Talented. Funny. Smart. Nice. He was in his own league.

He was also one of my best friends.

For reasons I didn’t want to examine too closely, he made my bedroom appear smaller when he was in it, the bed too tiny and the air too thick.

“What in the hell are you watching?” he asked, keeping his voice low as he stared at the TV.

I looked at the screen. There was a guy with bushy, crazy looking brown hair waving his hands around. “Um… Ancient Aliens reruns.”

“Alrighty then. Guess it’s less morbid than the forensics show you watch. Sometimes I worry….” Sebastian trailed off as he faced me. His head tilted to the side. “Is that…my shirt?”

Oh. Oh my God.

My eyes widened as I remembered what I was wearing: his old freshmen practice shirt. A couple of years ago he left it over here for some reason or another, and I kept it.

Like a stalker.

My cheeks flushed, and the blush raced down the front of my body. And there was a whole lot of body on display. The shirt hung off one shoulder, I had no bra, and I fought the urge to tug on the hem of the shirt.

I told myself not to freak out, because he’d seen me in bathing suits a million times. This was no different.

But it was.

“It is my shirt.” Thick lashes lowered, shielding his eyes as he sat on my bed. “Wondered where that went.”

I didn’t know what to say. I was suddenly petrified, plastered to the door. Did he think me wearing his shirt to sleep was weird? Because yeah, it was kind of weird. I couldn’t deny that.

He threw himself down on the bed then immediately sat up. “Ow. What the hell?” Rubbing his back, he twisted at the waist. “Jesus.” He picked up my book and held it out. “You’re reading this?”

My eyes narrowed. “Yeah. What’s wrong with that?”

“This thing could double as a weapon. You could hit me over the head with this thing, kill me and then end up on one of those shows you watch on ID.”

I rolled my eyes. “That’s a bit excessive.”

“Whatever.” He tossed the book to the other side of the bed. “Were you getting ready for bed?”

“I was getting ready to read before I was rudely interrupted,” I joked. Forcing myself away from the door, I slowly dragged my way over to where he was now stretched out on his side, lying there like it was his bed, cheek resting on his fist. “But someone, no name’s mentioned, is now here.”

His lips kicked up at the sides. “Want me to leave?”


“Didn’t think so.” He patted the spot next to him. “Come talk with me. Tell me everything I’ve missed.”

Ordering myself not to act like a complete dork, I sat on the bed, which wasn’t easy because of the shirt. I so did not want to flash him. Or maybe I did want to flash him. But he probably didn’t want that.

“You haven’t missed much,” I said, glancing at my bedroom door. Thank God I’d closed it already. “Keith’s thrown a couple of parties—”

“You went to them without me?” He pressed his hand to his chest. “My heart. It hurts.”

I grinned at him as I stretched my legs out, crossing them at the ankles. “I went with the girls. I didn’t go by myself. And so what if I did?”

The grin went up a notch. “Did he have any down by the lake?”

Shaking my head, I tugged on the hem of my shirt as I wiggled my toes. “No. Just at his place.”

“Cool.” When I looked over at him, his lashes were lowered. His free hand rested on the bed between us. His fingers were long and slender, skin tan from being outside all the time. “You do anything else? Go out with anyone?”

I stopped moving my toes, and my head swung back toward him. That was a random question. “Not really.”

An eyebrow rose as his gaze lifted to mine.

I quickly changed the subject. “By the way, guess who stopped in at Joanna’s tonight, asking about you?”

“Who wouldn’t stop by asking about me?”

I shot him a bland look.

He grinned. “Who?”

“Skylar. Apparently she’s been messaging you and you’ve been ignoring her.”

“I haven’t been ignoring her.” He reached up, knocking the flop of hair off his forehead. “I just haven’t been responding.”

A frown tugged down the corners of my lips. “Isn’t that the same thing?”

“What did she want?” he asked instead of answering.

“To talk to you.” I leaned back against the headboard and grabbed the pillow, thrusting it into my lap. “She said… she asked me to tell you that she was asking for you.”

“Well, look at you, doing as you’re told.” He paused, his grin increasing. “For once.”

I chose to ignore that comment. “She also said she thought breaking up with you was a mistake.”

His head jerked back and that grin faded. “She said that?”

My heart started pounding in my chest. He sounded surprised. Was that a happy surprise or bad one? Did he still care about her? “Yeah.”

Sebastian didn’t move for a second and then shook his head. “Whatever.” His hand moved lightning fast, snatching the pillow out of my lap. He shoved it under his head.

“Help yourself,” I muttered, tugging the shirt back up my shoulder.

“Just did.” He smiled up at me. “You have another freckle.”

“What?” I turned my head to him. Since I could remember, my face looked like it got hit with a freckle cannon. “There is no way you can tell if I have another freckle.”

“I can tell. Lean over. I can even show you where.”

I hesitated, eyeing him.

“Come on,” he coaxed, hooking his finger at me.

Inhaling a shallow breath, I leaned toward him. Hair slipped over my shoulder as he lifted his hand.

That grin was back, playing over his lips. “Right there….” He pressed the tip of his finger to the center of my chin. I sucked in air. His lashes swept down. “That’s a new one.”

For a moment, I couldn’t move. All I could do was sit there, leaning toward him with his finger touching my chin. It was crazy and stupid, because it was just the softest touch, but I felt it in every cell of my body.

He lowered his hand to the space between us again.

I exhaled a shaky breath. “You are…you are so stupid.”

“You love me,” he said.


Madly. Deeply. Irrevocably. I could come up with five more adverbs. I’d been in love with Sebastian since, geez, since he was seven and brought over the black snake he’d found in his yard as a gift. I don’t know why he thought I wanted it, but he’d carried it over and plopped it down in front of me like a cat bringing back a dead bird to its owner.

A really, truly weird gift—the type a gift one dude would give another dude—and that pretty much summed up our relationship right there. I was in love with him, painfully and embarrassingly so, and he mostly treated me like one of his guy friends. Had since the beginning and always would.

“I barely tolerate you,” I said.

Rolling onto his back, he stretched his arms out above his head, clasping his hands together as he laughed. His shirt rose, revealing his flat lower stomach and those two muscles on either side of his hips. I had no idea how he got them.

“Keep lying to yourself,” he said. “Maybe one day you’ll believe it.”

He had no idea how close to the truth he was.

When it came to Sebastian and how I felt about him, all I did was lie.

Lying was another thing Dad had left me.

It was something he’d also been so, so good at.

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

About the Author: # 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia.

When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories. Therefore explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Young Adult Contemporary, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and Romance. She writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J.Lynn.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press) the Lux Series (Entangled Teen) and the upcoming YA Don’t Look Back (2014) and untitled YA (Fall 2014) from Disney/Hyperion. She is also published with Harlequin Teen and HarperCollins.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Books-A-Million, or  Barnes & Noble

The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour celebrating the recent release of The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $50 Amazon GC.

There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there’s only one way to set things right…

Music is Elijah’s life. His band plays loud and hard, and he’ll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he’d rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town…until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother’s. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program–and being the star in her high school musical isn’t going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can’t take his eyes off of Kristen’s performance, and snaps a photo of her in costume that he posts online with a comment that everybody misunderstands. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don’t stay online…they follow them into real life.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Elijah took my hands. “Okay, look. Maybe you’re right. Maybe these people are taking this whole battle thing way too seriously. If you’re scared, then we’ll stop. No more posts except for appearance information.”

“So no more battle of the sexes, no more make Kris scream?”

He held up his hand. “Swear to God.”

“Okay.” I sighed in relief. “You’d really do that?”

He leaned closer and repeated the vow. “I promise, Kris.”

And just like that, I forgot why I was mad at him. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even blink because I was afraid he’d let go. This was the part of him I adored. I clung to him for a long moment, and when his gaze drifted to my mouth, I wondered if—hoped—prayed—he’d finally kiss me.

And then, Etta’s voice suddenly spoke inside my head. “Well, my God, darling, it’s the twenty-first century. What on earth are you waiting for? You can kiss him.”

I could. Yes. Yes, I could just lift my head and lean in and kiss Elijah Hamilton like it was a normal, ordinary occurrence.
Right. Like kissing Elijah Hamilton would ever be ordinary?

I’d watched him kiss that girl at the mall and was sure I’d memorized all the steps in his routine. He’d move in, grip my face between his hands, run his thumb along my jaw, and finally, glide his arm down around my body, pulling me against his own, all the while, peeking through his lashes to see if I enjoyed it.

I wasn’t sure when I decided—even what made me decide. I just touched my lips to his and waited.

It took a second or two. But then there was a sudden, tiny squeak from him, and I felt the pulse in his wrist leap under my fingertips.

And then, his hands were in my hair, angling my head just the way he liked it, his tongue brushing against mine, so soft it might have been my imagination…except imaginary kisses were never so intense. He kissed me like I was a song he wrote, lips wrapped around every word until it hummed with hidden meaning and promise, and his hands held me the way they held his guitar—like the music would stop if he let me go.

Copyright © The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount 2017

About the Author: Native New Yorker Patty Blount is the award-winning author of several critically acclaimed internet issues novels for teens as well as a few adult contemporary romances. She is inspired to write by such greats as Judy Blume, JK Rowling, and Gayle Forman. In fact, Judy Blume is the reason Patty elected to write under her real name…so she’d appear on shelves next to her idol. Patty adores writing; she’s written everything from technical manuals to song lyrics (see THE WAY IT HURTS, coming August 2017). Patty wants you to know she loves chocolate…really, really loves chocolate.

When not crushing on actors Gilles Marini or Sam Heughan, Patty can be found sitting in traffic somewhere on the Long Island Expressway, listening to audio books or talking wildly to herself about plots and characters. Prone to falling madly in love with fictional characters, Patty suffers frequent broken hearts when they all invariably prefer the heroine to her… go figure. When she’s not writing, Patty loves to watch bad sci-fi movies and live tweet the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases.

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July Book of the Month Poll

Fitting In by S.E. Walker
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (140 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Charlotte Finnegan James desperately wants to fit in. Her parents encourage her to act like everyone around her, but Charlotte always feels like an outsider looking in. When men come late one night to “take control” of her, Charlotte knows fitting in will forever be impossible.

After being placed into a military boarding school, a name change is the first step in taking control of her own life. Finn’s differences are evident, no matter how hard she works to appear normal. Finding a sympathetic soul in Taber McCoy helps Finn execute her plan to escape the school.

Can she continue to hide her true self from the world? Will she find sanctuary with her aunt? Can she and Taber stay ahead of the men in black following them on their race across the country?


Lovely Scars by Cassandra Jamison

Lovely Scars by Cassandra Jamison
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense/Mystery, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (246 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Snooping on your boyfriend’s phone is never a good idea. Collins can’t help herself after he unexpectedly commits suicide, but what she finds makes her grateful he’s dead. Collins Carpenter has always been the textbook good girl until her freshman year of college when an unplanned pregnancy with her best friend, Everett, complicates everything. In a desperate attempt to deny her feelings for her child’s father and her jealousy toward his new girlfriend, Collins jumps into a relationship with Brock Webber. Nobody suspects that his good looks and charm masks something quite sinister until after his death, when the things he had been involved in finally come to light. Disturbing and inexplicable events leave Collins wondering if Brock’s spirit is not at rest or if somebody from his past is after her. Somebody who may be closer than she thinks.

Not every man who tries to sweep you off of your feet is going to turn out to be Prince Charming.

Wow, this was scary! I really appreciated the peaceful beginning. It lulled me into a false sense of security before Collins realized that the handsome guy she’d just met wasn’t necessarily who he portrayed himself to be. There were times when I was nearly as shocked as she was by his behaviour even though I’d read the blurb and obviously knew that some unsettling experiences were headed her way. I only grew more apprehensive as the story moved forward and I became less and less sure that my theories about what was going on with Brock were actually correct. Not knowing these things only made him feel more chilling to me.

Collins made a lot of senseless decisions in this book. There were times when I had to stop reading and shake my head because I couldn’t understand why she did so many things that she knew were dangerous or ill-advised. While the plot itself was excellent, I had a tough time connecting to this character because of how little common sense she had.

The romance was beautiful. I desperately wanted the characters involved in it to admit their feelings for each other and find a way to be together. They were perfect for each other in just about every way. One of the biggest reasons why I read this tale as quickly as I did is that I couldn’t wait to find out when or if this might happen. I honestly wasn’t sure what was going to happen with them, and that made it impossible for me to stop reading.

Lovely Scars should be read by anyone who is in the mood for a truly frightening mystery.

Girl Without a Face by Medeia Sharif

Girl Without a Face by Medeia Sharif
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (135 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Destiny awakes with amnesia. She’d been driving on a wet road, about to leave flowers at a memorial marker of a deceased classmate, when she almost met that same fate.

Her mother, Mildred, is beyond restrictive, and she doesn’t want Destiny to have her cellphone back. A nurse sneaks it into her room, but it’s useless without the passcode. After her hospital stay, her mother becomes physically abusive.

Destiny and the boy she’s developing feelings for decide to drive around to spark her memory. She’s positive she crashed near a memorial marker. When they find the place in question, and when Destiny remembers her phone’s passcode, nothing is as it seems—and Mildred is crazier than she first thought.


Destiny’s life is full of things that don’t make any sense. If only she knew if this was a side effect of her amnesia or if there’s another explanation for it.

The flashbacks to Destiny’s life before the accident were well done. I especially enjoyed seeing how they changed as her body continued to heal from the accident and her mind was better at going back and exploring those pieces of her past despite the fact that her memory was so spotty. The evolution of it all made me want to keep reading.

There were a few big plot holes that were never explained, especially when it came to Destiny’s time in the hospital after her accident and how certain parts of that experience played out. I would have really liked to spend more time on that part of the plot so that I could understand it better. What the plot did reveal was fascinating, but it left me with many more questions than I had answers.

Destiny was such a brave girl. Some of the best scenes in this tale were the ones that showed how she reacted in a crisis. She almost always kept a level head and thought rationally about what her choices were in that situation even if she didn’t have a lot of them to begin with. This is something I love seeing in young adult books, so I was glad to find it here.

I figured out the mystery very early on because of how many clues the narrator discovered after she woke up in the hospital. It would have been nice to either have them spread out more evenly through the storyline or to have fewer of them in general. I was disappointed by how little effort I had to put into piecing everything together.

The romantic subplot was sweet. I liked both of the characters involved in it, and I liked them even more when they were spending time together. They brought out the best in each other in so many different ways. I couldn’t wait to find out if they’d end up together in the end.

Girl Without a Face should be read by anyone who is in the mood for something intense.