Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco Review (+Giveaway!)


stalkingjacktheripper_9780316273497_hcABOUT STALKING JACK THE RIPPER:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

Stalking Jack the Ripper…you were not what I was expecting in the best way possible. When I first heard the title of this book, I was expected there to be blood and to be lots of it. There was some blood but it was more a historical fiction with mystery/thriller elements than the horror book I was expecting. Kerri did a wonderful job of taking actual events surrounding “Jack the Ripper” and fictionalizing them to tell this story.

Audrey is the main character and she is fierce, smart and very daring. There were more than a few times where she went running off alone WHILE A MURDERER WAS OUT AND ABOUT and had 0 problem with this. Some of the situations she got herself into had me at the edge of my seat. I don’t want this to make her sound dumb because she is far from it. Plus she usually set out alone but somehow Thomas would find his way into being her companion for this night. Thomas is Audrey’s Uncle’s forensic apprentice (along with Audrey) and he has a wicked smart brain and a knack for noticing small clues to come to a conclusion.

I am 100% on board with this ship. In the early stages of the novel Audrey and Thomas reminded me a bit of Jack and Phyrne (from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery, which if you haven’t watched this show yet GET ON IT). I say this because Audrey is a very capable female, doing things that most females don’t do in this era. Thomas is adorable and follows her around, not because he fears Audrey is going to get in trouble but because he doesn’t want to miss out on the action. There is one scene in the novel where Audrey “saves” Thomas and he is very ok with being saved by a female. I love when the ship is so good together. I cannot wait to see what trouble these two get into in book 2!

Overall I loved this one! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a beautifully written historical fiction novel and can handle a small amount of blood.

LINKS: IndieBoundAmazon | B&N 

kerri-maniscalco-1ABOUT KERRI MANISCALCO:

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history, and is the first in a new series of gothic thrillers.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

9/12: No BS Book Reviews – Review
9/13: A Perfection Called Books – Guest Post
9/14: The Heart of a Book Blogger – Review
9/15: My Friends Are Fiction – Q&A
9/16: Pandora’s Books – Review

Week 2:

9/19: Polished Page-Turners – Review
9/20: The Irish Banana Review – Top 10
9/21: Chapter By Chapter – Guest Post
9/22: What Sarah Read – Mood Board
9/23: That Artsy Reader Girl – Review


3 Finished Copies of STALKING JACK THE RIPPER (US Only)


Kids Of Appetite Manicure (+Review + Giveaway)

22466429Kid Of Appetite by David Arnold
Publishing Date September 20th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Source: arc

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

.. do you ever have trouble writing the first sentence of a review? I turn on my brain for guidance and as soon as I think ‘Kids Of Appetite’ it’s all like “AMAZING! I love it! David Arnold is a super racehorse! YAY BOOKS!”, you know, cause that’s a good review. Thanks brain. I guess now that I’ve gotten my dreaded first sentence out of the way I can start talking about how much I loved this book, and how important this book really is.

So in Kids Of Appetite we have Vic, he’s a cool dude who’s goin’ through a lot of shit in life. His dad died, his mom is possibly getting remarried to a boyfriend he doesn’t necessarily love, and he has a not well known neurological disorder called moebius syndrome; which for those who don’t know is (in short) facial paralysis. Most people will read this and not know what Vic’s life is like until he tells you, but for me it was a smidge different since I briefly had facial paralysis myself. I had Bell’s Palsy, which is partial facial paralysis and the entire left half of my face was frozen in time. I had to carry around eye drops, and constantly be aware of my drool. Work was the worst because customers stared at me, it was frackin’ hard, and I only dealt with it for 3 months! Vic was born this way, and I just wanted to climb inside the book and give him a huge hug, because I know a tiny fraction of what he’s going through. Now wait.. I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party here, I just want to throw a shout out to David for being an awesome human and taking the time and love it took to give one of his MC’s such a disorder. It made me feel good to have something I could relate to Vic with, I can only imagine how those who have moebius are going to feel once they here Vic’s tale. Moebius isn’t the focus of the book though, there is SO. MUCH. MORE!

Adjacent to Vic is Mad,  and she is flippin’ great! Plus the entire cast of characters, the whole KOA gang is just amazing and each one of them were written with so much love and devotion. David is an amazing writer, have I mentioned that?? Inside of this book there is nothing short of perfection, and trust me when I say all the emotions will be felt! I mean, you read Mosquitoland right?! (If you didn’t, please correct that ASAP) KOA and Mosquitoland are both very different and also very much the same, they both make you feel things right in the center of your heart.

KOA is a story of life and death and everything in between. I can’t think of a single person who I wouldn’t recommend this book to, so pre-order this baby, camp outside your local bookstore, bribe a friend with an arc, or you can enter the giveaway at the end of this post! I’m giving away a hardcover copy of Kids Of Appettite, and since David Arnold is gracing us with his presence here in Illinois on his tour, the book with be signed and personalized! WOOH!

But fist, my KOA nails! Oh, and obviously I gave KOA 5 stars 😉


So since I’m not very blessed in the way of art, I’m running out of cool nail ideas. Actually I pretty much ran out of ideas since the galaxy mani like a million years ago, and I’ve just kind of been winging it since then. But I really enjoyed doing this simple mani and I got a lot of compliments on it, so I will file this one in the win column.


To get this look I used my favorite brand of polish, Maybelline Color Show, I know you see that brand a lot in my posts but that’s because it’s cheap and decent and I’m poor. But I digress. So I used a matte black to match the background of the cover, some Keep Up The Flame to make a cute little red X on my ring finger, and dotted on some white to, ya know, be cute and stuff.


It’s a simple little mani, that I think compliments the book well. If I were a better nail artiste then I could’ve actually painted the characters onto my nails, but el oh el I’m not that cool.

So, giveaway time! To reiterate, you’re entering to win a signed + personalized hardcover copy of Kids Of Appetite by David Arnold. He’ll be in Chicago on September 26th, so if you win you can expect your copy to be shipped shortly after. Enter below, and GOOD LUCK!



Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas Blog Tour (Giveaway!)


How far are you in Empire of Storms?? Did you stay up at midnight?? I’m a bit over half way done and part of me wants to finish RIGHT NOW and the other half of me wants to savory what I have before waiting a year for the epic conclusion.

I am SO excited for today’s post. This is the Maas Thirteen’s 3rd year hosting a blog tour for Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. The last two years I have made food inspired by the series. Check out my Heir of Fire post here and my Queen of Shadows post here. I was also a part of the blog tour for ACOTAR and got to do a fun Would You Rather with Sarah! I thought about doing another food post this year but I also really wanted to feature a manicure and eye shadow inspired by the cover. I have loved all the covers of this series and really feel that they embody the story.

As I was typing up this post, I realized a lot of the products I used were from pop culture collections. I would LOVE if one day there is an eye shadow palette or nail polish collection based off Throne of Glass SIGN ME UP!!

First up I have a simple manicure! The greenish, slightly steel color is OPI Number One Nemesis (which is from their Spiderman collection a few years ago) and the orange is China Glaze Riveting (which is from their Hunger Game collection from a few years ago). Overall I think this was pretty spot on for the colors. I was looking for colors that had depth to them like the colors in the cover. I am really happy how this looks and forgot how much I LOVE Riveting.


Next I did an eye look. I am a n00b at this and forgot to take pictures of each step. Oops! Here are some pictures of the look, followed by the colors I used.



I used colors from a few different palettes but for the most part I used the Naked Smoky palette. Can we take a moment and appreciate the names of some of the colors I used?? I mean one of them is named Thirteen! How perfect! Armor and Dagger are also spot on for this series as well as this look.

twdxs3qm   cx7wh8st   efczkwhf

I also used the color Diverge, which is from the Divergent collection that Sephora put out. The next is an unnamed orange color from a Revealed palette. I wanted an orange color to try and bring in some of the fire from the cover.

ezrsuwof aalb8pnt

I wish I got the orange to pop more on the lid but you can see it on the lower eye lid in the first picture. I used some black liquid liner and a pair of false lashes. Voila! I am no make-up guru but I am really happy with the final look!

Make sure to follow along the rest of the tour below!


September 7 – Katie @ Polished Page-Turners
September 8 – Steph @ No BS Book Reviews
September 9 – Sarah @ What Sarah Read
September 12 – Kelly @ Belle of the Literati
September 13 – Louisse @ The Soul Sisters
September 14 – Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs
September 15 – Andi @ Andi’s ABCs
September 16 – Gina @ Behind the Pages
September 19 – Jaz @ Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
September 20 – Mel @ The Daily Prophecy
September 21 – Betty @ Book Rock Betty
September 22 – Rachel @ Hello Chelly
September 23 – Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books

book-coverEmpire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
SERIES: Throne of Glass #5
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury
PUBLICATION DATE: September 6, 2015
PAGES: 704 pages
GENRES: Fantasy, Young Adult


The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down? 


Amazon | Target | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository | WHSmith | Kobo | iBooks | Audible

author-photoAUTHOR INFO

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel, will release on September 6th, 2016.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Website || Blog || Twitter || Pinterest || Tumblr || Instagram


PRIZE: One signed copy of Empire of Storms, one Throne of Glass tote bag, one set of lip balms (Dorian, Chaol, Rowan) & one Celaena soap (c/o Behind the Pages) & Throne of Glass buttons (c/o ThroneofGlassPH


Would you want to see a Throne of glass Make-up line? What colors would you want to see??

Overdrive by Dawn Ius (Spotlight + giveaway!)

Overdrive Banner


Gone in Sixty Seconds meets Heist Society in this edgy novel about a crack team of teenage criminals on a mission to learn to trust, build a life, and steal a wish list of exotic cars.

Jules Parish has screwed up.

After three years of boosting cars, she got caught. She’s too good to get caught, but she let her (ex)-boyfriend talk her into a questionable job. And now she and her little sister, Emma, will be kicked out of their foster home, left to survive on the unforgiving streets of Las Vegas alone.


Eccentric, wealthy Roger Montgomery wants to open up his mansion to Jules and Emma. The only catch? Jules must steal seven of the rarest, most valuable muscle cars in the world…in seven weeks. Even worse, she’s forced to put her trust in three complete strangers to help her do it.

First there’s Chelsea, the gorgeous redhead with a sharp tongue and love for picking locks. Then there’s Mat, who hasn’t met a system he couldn’t hack. And finally there’s the impossibly sexy car thief Nick, whose bad attitude and mysterious past drive Jules crazy.

With nothing in common and everything to lose, can Jules and her amateur crew pull off what could be the biggest car heist in history? Or will things spin out of control faster than a Nevada dust devil?

LINKS: Amazon | B&N 


Dawn Ius is a short story author, novelist, screenwriter, professional editor, and communications specialist. She is the cofounder and senior editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal; the assistant manager of The International Thriller Writers (ITW) Association e-zine, The Big Thrill; and the author of ten educational graphic novels. When she’s not slaying fictional monsters, she can be found geeking out over things like fairy tales, Jack Bauer, Halloween, sports cars, and all things that go bump in the night. She lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Jeff, and their giant English mastiff, Roarke.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

9/5: Polished Page-Turners – Spotlight
9/6: Latte Night Reviews – Review
9/7: Little Book Wyrm – Review
9/8: No BS Book Reviews – Makeup Inspirations
9/9: The Book Belles – Review

Week 2:

9/12: Swoony Boys Podcast – Character Interview
9/13: In Wonderland – Review
9/14: Here’s to Happy Endings – Q&A
9/15: Vibin With Books – Review
9/16: Bibliobuli YA – Guest Post


3 Finished Copies of OVERDRIVE (US Only)


The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee (Review + Giveaway!)

Thousandth Floor Banner

ThousandthFloor hcNew York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Let us take a second and stare at this beautiful cover. The building, the font..but at the same time almost simple! Also no faces! I dislike most faces on covers. OK, OK time to get to the actual book. If you are a fan of Gossip Girl in any capacity (book or TV show) than this book is for you. I could easily compare almost every character in this novel to a characters from Gossip Girl. I am not saying this is a bad thing because I loved Gossip Girl! They were 13 year old Katie’s favorite and I loved reading something so similar and yet so different!

The best way to describe this book is Gossip Girl set in the near future. I loved this setting! If society keeps advancing at the rate it currently is, I could see a society like the one in The Thousandth Floor. For the most part, everything the characters used was high-tech. Paper money has been outlawed, you can watch TV using just your contacts and so much more!! There is an underwater train that can get from New York to Paris in 3 hours! I want this to be  thing!! This leans towards science fiction but not what I typically think. It reads closer to a contemporary with science fiction elements, almost sci-fi lite.

I have always been drawn to stories about people you love to hate. I don’t think I particularly liked any of the main characters but I was addicted to reading about them. The story is told in 3rd person and jumps around from character to character (similar to how Gossip Girl was written). At first, I could not remember who was who. I almost put it down because I couldn’t get these characters straight. There are 5 main characters that the POV shifts from each chapter. After about 50 pages totally grasped who was who and had no problem remembering details of each.

I kept with this book because of my hate/love with the characters but I do have to say the plot is very entertaining. There is a lot of social climbing and falling going on, also literal moving up and down in the tower (the rich live on the upper floors, the poor on the lower floors). Just like Gossip Girl, every one has a secret and I mean everyone. At the beginning of the book, not all 5 main characters know each other but by the end their stories are woven together. It was interesting to find out everyone’s secret and how it plays out among the other characters.

Overall I would give The Thousandth Floor 4 stars, while it wasn’t amazing it was highly addictive and a lot of fun!!

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

Katharine McGee credit Chris Bailey Photography-1Katharine McGee is from Houston, Texas. She studied English and French literature at Princeton and has an MBA from Stanford. It was during her years living in a second-floor apartment in New York City that she kept daydreaming about skyscrapers . . . and then she started writing. The Thousandth Floor is her first novel. You can visit her online at or on Twitter at @katharinemcgee .

LINKS: Website | Twitter

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

8/22: In Wonderland – Review
8/23: YA Bibliophile – Guest Post
8/24: Polished Page-Turners – Review
8/25: Once Upon a Twilight – Q&A
8/26: Here’s to Happy Endings – Review

Week 2:
8/29: Krista’s Dust Jacket – Top 10
8/30: Forever Bookish – Review
8/31: The Irish Banana Review – Fast 5
9/1: Alexa Loves Books – Review
9/2: Swoony Boys Podcast – Character Interview


3 Finished Copies of THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR (US Only)


*Thank you to HarperTeen and Irish Banana Tours for a copy of The Thousandth Floor for review*

Up In The Tree House Blog Tour (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Up in the Treehouse
by K.K. Allen
Publication date: July 19th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Add it on Goodreads now!

I wanted to tell him all my secrets, but he became one of them instead.

Chloe Rivers never thought she would keep secrets from her best friend. Then again, she never imagined she would fall in love with him either. When she finally reveals her feelings, rejection shatters her, rendering her vulnerable and sending her straight into the destructive arms of the wrong guy.

Gavin Rhodes never saw the betrayal coming. It crushes him. Chloe has always been his forbidden fantasy–sweet, tempting, and beautiful. But when the opportunity finally presents itself, he makes the biggest mistake of all and denies her.

Now it’s too late . . .

Four years after a devastating tragedy, Chloe and Gavin’s world’s collide and they find their lives entangling once again. Haunted by the past, they are forced to come to terms with all that has transpired to find the peace they deserve. Except they can’t seem to get near each other without combating an intense emotional connection that brings them right back to where it all started . . . their childhood treehouse.

Chloe still holds her secrets close, but this time she isn’t the only one with something to hide. Can their deep-rooted connection survive the destruction of innocence?

I posted my review of Up In The Tree House when I read an arc early last month (you can check that out here) so todya during this blog tour I’m just going to share some fun stuff and encourage you to read this book! Preferably before summer is over, because it’s a perfect summer romance ❤


K.K. Allen was nice enough to provide us bloggers with a choice of excerpts to share, and I chose not only my favorite one, but the one that mentions pizza… because well, pizza. Enough said, read on:

“Chlo? Where’d you go?” He pokes his head around the corner and I smile shyly back at him.

“Just waiting for the pizza to cool off.”

His expression tells me he knows me better, but he doesn’t ask questions. He grabs two plates from the cabinet and grabs us each two pieces before pulling me off the counter. As he does, my body scrapes his, and I’m fully conscious of the sudden change in my breathing.

He tips my chin up with his fingers so I’m looking back at him. He’s staring down at me tenderly. It’s almost as if nothing’s changed, but I know that everything has changed between us. Before, the touching meant friendship. Now, I can’t stop thinking of the night of Comic Mania when we had a chance to explore something more. We’re having one of those moments right now. Aren’t we?

In the short time I’ve been home, the feelings I once had for Gavin have only quadrupled. It doesn’t help that he’s brushing his thumb against my cheek with a heart-melting intensity in his gaze.

“You’re going to miss the part where Louise turns her brother into a dog,” he says playfully.

This does the trick. I let out a laugh and wrap my arms around his waist, my cheek resting against his solid frame. “Damn. What did you do to your body?” I tease, pulling back and rubbing the cloth over his abs. “And your stomach! Carve hills on this bad boy?”

He grins, obviously pleased with the attention. “You like?” He pulls his shirt up to reveal his bare torso. I almost hit the floor. I saw his stomach before at the treehouse, but up close and personal it’s an entirely different story.

“It’s nice,” I say, knowing the flush of my cheeks is giving me away.

“Your turn.” He lifts his brow teasingly. “Show me yours.”

I laugh and shove him away. “Nothing’s changed here.”

He subtly roams the length of my body with his eyes. “I would argue with that.”

My breath is caught somewhere between my throat and my mouth, and I’m certain there’s a damn horse galloping in my chest. “Gavin Rhodes!” I scold, happy to have found my teasing voice despite my intense desire for him in this moment. All the while, I’m trying to remember if this was how we used to banter. I can’t remember Gavin ever being blatantly flirtatious.

He winks and pulls me to him, then rubs my back with the palm of his hand in slow, steady circles. “Chloe.” His voice is raspy, cutting me straight to the core.

Trust me when I say you want to keep reading! So follow me down to the land of book links and I’ll show you where you can get your own copy of Up In The Tree House to continue Chloe and Gavin’s journey.

AmazonBarnes and NobleiTunes

All the platforms are here, just pick your poison! Currently it’s on sale for $1.99, so I would jump on that ASAP!!


I enjoyed Up In The Tree House so much, as well as Allen’s other books. She is a terrific author and a wonderful human, I’m glad I could be a part of her blog tour and I hope this helps you find a new book to love. Everyone here knows how important indie books are too me, since I have one of my own published. So if you’re already an indie lover, this book is for you, and if you’re looking to get into some indie books, this is a GREAT place to start!! And as promised, there is a giveaway from K.K. Allen for a $25 Amazon gift card! So don’t forget to enter that below!! If/When you read Up In The Tree House, be sure to come back here and let me know if you loved it 🙂



K.K. Allen is the author of Contemporary Fantasy and New Adult Romance stories. She loves manatees, learned to swim for the mere purpose of pretending she was a mermaid, and adores the beach so much she promises to one day live on one (in a tent if she has to) in Hawaii and serve shaved ice on the side of the road. K.K.’s Summer Solstice series (The Summer Solstice Enchanted, The Equinox, and The Descendants) are now available for individual sale or as a complete trilogy! Her short story, Soaring, is available for FREE. K.K.’s upcoming New Adult Romance, Up in the Treehouse is set to release on July 19, 2016. See below on how to keep up to date on new releases!
Author links:


Game On by Michelle Smith – Review and Excerpt (+ giveaway!)

25970036Game On (Lewis Creek #2) – Michelle Smith
Published August 16th 2016 by Bloomsbury Spark
Source: eARC from Bloomsbury (thank you!)

As king of baseball in the small town of Lewis Creek, Eric Perry can have any girl he wants and win every game he plays. But when a fight lands him in jail, he’s only got one more strike before his baseball career is over for good. His only chance for redemption? The girl next door, Bri Johnson.

Bri hasn’t talked to Eric in months—for starters, she’s been too busy dealing with her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, not to mention the fact that Eric’s been preoccupied trying to drink every keg in the country dry. But when he needs a way to stay on the team, she proposes a plan: if he helps her out with community service, he can stay on the team. At first it’s a nightmare—Eric and Bri stopped being friends years ago, surely that was for a good reason, right? But as volunteering turns to bonding over old memories of first kisses under the stars, they start to have trouble remembering what pushed them apart.

In a town as small as Lewis Creek, nothing stays secret for long and their friendship and romance might mean bad news. But in this final, tumultuous spring before graduation, Eric and Bri are about to realize that nobody’s perfect alone, but they might just be perfect together.

Last year I read (and loved!) Play On by Michelle Smith. When Bloomsbury asked if I wanted to be apart of the blog tour for Game On, I jumped at the chance! I could not wait to get back into the world of Lewis Creek baseball plus the boy/girl next door trope? SIGN ME UP!

Once again Michelle balances the fine line of fluffy, fun love story and one that tackles tougher, real subjects. Eric is far from perfect and has found himself in trouble with the law, his coach and his parents for the last time. Bri has her own set of “problems” but has a perfect exterior that fools  most people. Bri finds a solution to Eric’s problems that pleases everyone, well expect maybe Eric. The two end up spending a lot more time together than they have in the last few months 🙂

Gahhhh I loved Bri and Eric! I am sure a lot of it has to do with the neighbors/friends to more trope that was going on but also Michelle writes great chemistry. In the beginning of the book, Bri is dating another guy and there was no fizzle there but later scenes in the book (and car rides!) between Bri and Eric had me swooning.

Books like this remind me why I love reading books written in duel POV. I loved being inside both Bri and Eric’s head. Both of them have their own, unique problems but they also had distinctive takes on the same moment. At one point Eric is standing up for Bri and later on Bri makes a point of saying she doesn’t need anyone fighting her battles. I loved how fierce Bri! I was not expecting this from her in the beginning but by the end she had me totally impressed.

I loved that Bri is also an athlete and a soccer player at that! I am always wishing for more soccer players in YA novels. While the plot is very heavy on baseball (it is Lewis Creek after all!), there is enough on the page about Bri being an athlete without it seeming like a random detail. The only thing that bugs me more than a book getting sports details wrong, is when a character is mentioned as an athlete but that has no relevance to the plot. It is a random complaint, that has nothing to do with this book because Game On gets it right!!

Overall I really enjoyed Game On and highly reccomend picking this one up. It is the perfect read to end your summer with and transition into fall.

FYI YOU DO NOT NEED TO READ PLAY ON BEFORE READING GAME ON! Either one can be read first and it won’t affect your enjoyment. If the boy next door is more your think, you may just want to jump straight into this one 😉

Game On quote3

Bloomsbury was kind enough to supply an excerpt today! Read below and then keep scrolling for a GIVEAWAY!!

He’s silent for a moment, until I look up at him. Big mistake. I’ve never been one to go all gah-gah over someone, but that stubble lining his jaw should be a crime. Like, that’s just common human decency. There’s no reason for a dude to look that good when there’s a 99 percent chance he didn’t shower this morning.

And there is really no reason for my heart to be fluttering at the sight of my neighbor’s jawline. Or his eyes. Or those lips, which are curving into the smallest of smiles. But it is.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t used to have a sort-of thing for the boy next door. I mean, he was my first kiss, for crying out loud. But then you hit middle school, and you go the Quiz Bowl route and he’s all baseball, all the time, and then it’s high school and he’s even more baseball and parties while you’re volunteering a dozen hours every week. Before you realize what’s happening, everything’s just different.

You still joke around in the driveway. Still stop by his house for dinner every few weeks when his mom invites you over. Still catch a ride with each other every now and then when someone’s car won’t start (hint: mine). Still say hi in the hallway. Technically, you’re still friends. But your paths never really cross in the same way again.

Until now, that is.

He shakes his head. “You don’t have anything to be sorry for. I get pissed off, too. It happens.” He leans in and adds, “Even if you did make me feel bad for loving bacon. Which is just cruel.”

I shove him playfully, making him laugh as I let out one of my own. “Still. Having a crappy week doesn’t mean I should’ve taken it out on you.” Crappy is the understatement of the century, but we’ll go with it. An ex who won’t stop leaving me voicemails at midnight is more along the lines of shitty.

I swallow hard, forcing away the lump in my throat.

One of the kids screams. My attention snaps back to them, only to spot them laughing as Brantley, an eight-year-old, red-headed firecracker, soars down the field with the ball.

I’m not one to brag, but he had a good teacher.

“That crappy week was partially my fault,” Eric says, and I finally look back to him. “You seem better now, though.”

Because this is my element. The kids, and the people inside, and the feeling of actually being needed? It’s a miracle worker. No matter how many phone calls I get, no matter how many times I have to delete, and delete, and delete voicemails, this is one thing that Matt can’t ruin.

“It’s this place,” I say.

“Why do you do it?”

He holds my gaze, waiting. Genuinely interested in whatever answer I have for him. But what he doesn’t know is that the full answer would keep us here all day. There’s only so much you can describe. When it comes to the thing that makes you thrive, that fills you with so much happiness that you could burst, it’s better to show instead of tell.

But he did ask for an answer, so I tell him, “Because I love people. And I love helping them.”

His lips twitch as he folds his own arms. “You can’t save the world, you know.”

I know that. Trust me, I know that. “If I can help one person, it’s worth it.”

“Your optimism is showing.”

A smile spreads across my face. “Maybe the world needs a little more optimism.” I pause, and add, “I’ll introduce you to them next week. The kids, I mean.”

His eyebrows scrunch together. “Why not today?”

I could tell him about the dozen volunteers I’ve seen come and go over the past year, about the people these kids have gotten to know and then bolted after one session. I could tell him how much it breaks my heart to watch their smiles fall when they realize someone isn’t coming back. And I don’t think Eric would pull something like that, but I can’t risk it. I can’t.

“You can hang out and watch this week,” I tell him. “Make sure it’s something you want to stick with. And we’ll do intros next time.”

“You’re the boss.” He sighs dramatically, tossing an arm across my shoulder. It’s something he’s done dozens of times in the years we’ve known each other, but for some reason, my cheeks flush in response. “Truce, Little Miss Sunshine?” he asks.

My smile grows as I nod once. “Truce.”

He flashes another grin—a genuine Eric Perry grin—before looking back to the kids, and for a split second, it feels like maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance we’re tip-toeing back toward the friend territory that was off-limits for the past few months.

Or maybe we never really left to begin with.

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Comic-Con 2016 (+Giveaway!)


Another year, another Comic-Con. This year marked my 5th consecutive year attending Comic-Con international in San Diego (also known as SDCC)! I love making the trip every year for the all the pop culture but it is also amazing to see my friends. Definitely check out Stacee’s recap (she has all the pictures!) This year was the first year I went alone (how dare none of my friends want to come with this year), so I spent a lot of time with Stacee and Michelle. Wednesday was preview night, which I did not have this year, so no recap of that! One note about Wednesday was the Carne Asada fries from Lolita’s and a Mud Pie donut from Donut bar.


Thursday (or books and Ursula dress) 

Thursday started with my standing in line. Outside. In the hot sun. I was in line to get a ticket for an offsite panel and possible Sarah J. Maas signing ticket. The wacky thing Comic-Con did was put all the lines together (including those for celebrity talent) so it was a very long line. Luckily I was in line behind two fellow Sarah J Maas fans and told them all about Maas Thirteen and how that got started. Once the line moved, it went fast. I got a ticket for my panel and two tickets for SJM signing (one for myself and one for Stacee).

After I got my tickets, I headed to the floor and picked up more tickets for various booth signings. I appreciate the tickets because it allowed me to not have to stress about getting somewhere early enough to get in line. We did end up in a Harper line for a bingo drawing of a sort. This line prompted this photo (which is stolen from Stacee). I was very excited to be the line break. Also Ursula dress.


We split ways after that and I headed to my panel (The Smitten Word: Romancing the Reader) off site at Horton Grand Theatre. I didn’t love this. The theatre itself was nice but the panel was half empty. I think the ticket part turned some people off. The panel itself was wonderful and the authors covered everything to why they write romance to advice to aspiring writers.

I headed back in the heat. I don’t usually complain about summer because I love it but I like the small reprieve I get when I head to southern California but it decided to act like Chicago this year. I met up with Stacee and we got in line for SJM. I was really just there to say hi since I was fortune enough to see Sarah a few months ago and had all my books signed. I got to see Sarah freak out over Stacee’s amazing tattoo and then got to chat with the lovely Lizzie from Bloomsbury.

Right after that (and basically right next to where Sarah was signing), the ladies who were on the romance panel had a signing. I wanted to go to this to meet Tessa Dare (who I have recently been binge reading and loving) and also say hi to Christina and Lauren of Christina Lauren. I got my books signed and fangirled. We went down to the exhibit hall for Alwyn Hamilton’s booth signing (ARCs of Traitor to the Throne!) and got a copy of Gemina and A Shadow Bright and Burning from Random House.

There wasn’t much else to do until a panel signing late in the evening, so we found a spot to camp out. This turned out to be a table where there are usually autographing sessions happening so people would slow down to see who we were. This made me laugh.

The panel signing started and I was able to see Renee again and get my copy of The Rose & The Dagger signed. I also had a copy of Heartless for a friend, so I stopped and chatted with Marissa. Alwyn was also signing, so I got to say hi to her again. My day one haul below!


Friday (or the day of comic books)

The first year I went to Comic-Con, I could’ve cares less about comic books. This year I had an entire day full of comic book signings. I got to the convention center about an hour early and got in line for the exhibit hall. Soon after being let in, I headed to the Image booth to get wristbands for several of their signings. After that I headed to the publisher booths and picked up a few tickets for their signings throughout the day. I had time to kill, so I got in line for this photo booth thing at DC. It resulted in this SUPER nerdy photo of me.


From there I bounced back and forth between Image and Penguin booth. I manage to meet Cliff Chiang & Jared Fletcher (Paper Girls), Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda (Monstress), Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked and The Divine), Brian O’Malley and Leslie Hung (Snotgirl). I feel terrible because I was talking to 2 girls in line and believe we follow each other on Instagram BUT I DIDN’T GET THEIR NAMES. I am dumb because they are Image fans and YA fans. Stupid Katie. I also got to see Sabaa Tahir and Renee Ahdieh. They each were signing in booth and Penguin gave away copies of their books. Some time during this all I passed the Disney booth and grabbed a copy of Spindle by EK Johnston. Almost everyone I met on Friday was super lovely and/or adorable. Oh look I took no pictures! Go me.




I was done will everything on my agenda by early afternoon so I decided I would make my way into Ballroom 20 for the iZombie panel. If you don’t watch iZombie yet, what are you waiting for??? One of my favorite shows on TV right now. I managed to get in the room during the prior panel and caught the second half of EW’s Fan Favorite panel, which features several familiar faces that all together created an entertaining panel.


I wasn’t ready to call quits on my day, so I walked around downtown San Diego. I knew Henry’s Pub had several Game of Thrones beers on tap and decided to grab dinner there. Plus side to traveling alone? Being able to sit at the bar and not have to wait for a table! The bartender was very friendly for being in the middle of SDCC craziness. I got myself an Iron Throne and some fish tacos, I was in heaven. If you ever happen to be in the San Diego area, I would reccomend stopping here even if they don’t have GoT beers!!


Saturday (or the day I needed to see Leigh Bardugo)

I had no real plan for Saturday besides to see Leigh and snag a poster. I swear Leigh makes SDCC worth it every year 😛

I got to the convention center a little early because I was attempting to get a ticket for exclusive Tsum Tsums. I missed getting a ticket for the items I wanted by about 20 people. I wasn’t too upset because I already picked up a ton of cool stuff the previous two days and my suitcase was dwindling fast. I went by Random House booth to see if I could get a ticket for one of their booth signings later in the day but they did theirs slightly different than Penguin and didn’t give them out until right before the signing. Hmm.

I ended up meeting up with Michelle fairly early in the day and we did some shopping. I had bought a Loot4Fangirls earlier in the day and if I bought something from HerUniverse I could get an exclusive item. At first I wasn’t going to buy anything (Michelle was going to and let me take her credit) but when we went over to the StarWars HerUniverse display, I saw a Rey sweater that I fell in love with and ended up buying. My exclusive item ended up being Harry Potter socks. Not totally worth it but I am really happy with my new sweater.

Michelle and I lurked for awhile, waiting to line up for Pierce Brown signing at Random House. I needed to see my husband him since I apparently can only see him at SDCC! I gushed to him about Red Rising being one of my hand sells and hopefully down the line getting him to do a signing in Chicago-area.

After the Pierce signing, we didn’t have anything to do until Leigh was signing. We headed up to the autographing area and got in line for the signing. I was also there to see Kiersten White and get my copy of And I Darken signed. After flailing at Kiersten, I made my way to Leigh. She joked that I was only there to get the Crooked Kingdom pin and I said maybe…but also POSTER.

Straight away Michelle and I (and Michelle’s husband) made out way to the Ballroom 20 line to catch the DC television panels. We missed Supergirl but managed to make it in for Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash and Arrow. All the panels were fantastic but Arrow might have been the best because it ended with a Hamilton sign-a-long. Well sortof because apparently all the nerds haven’t heard of Hamilton. FIX THIS. One again I took almost no pictures…oops

Sunday (or the final day *tear*)

Sunday was going to be quick and dirty (that’s what she said). Just kidding on the dirty part. I took my time getting to the convention center in the morning since I had to finish packing and check out (or well “check out” of my Airbnb). I took a Lyft downtown and told the driver “oh just get me as close as you can to the convention center” meaning I know it’s crazy downtown and I have no problem walking a few blocks if you want to avoid traffic. This man took it as drop her off in front. I think he broke 5 laws but I was right outside the door. I checked my luggage and made my way upstairs for the YA signing first thing.

I originally had nothing for the signing but grabbed a copy of Replica earlier in the week and had Lauren Oliver sign it. I tried to trick her into picking a side of Replica to sign since part of the concept of the book is for the reader to choose which story to start first. I had no luck but we had a good laugh. They also handed out samplers of Strange the Dreamer and I had Laini sign it. I got to say hi to Victoria Schwab and tell her congrats on all the things that have happened to her in July. Adam Silvera was also there and we hugged and chatted for a bit. I also grabbed a Red guard bandana from Victoria Aveyard. Overall I love the authors that Lauren Billings (of Christina Lauren) brings to SDCC for the YA panel. I was sad I couldn’t stay and see the panel this year but it was too late in the day and I had to catch a flight!

There wasn’t anything else I needed to see on Sunday but I still had some time to kill before I needed to head to the airport. Michelle, Stacee and I decided to sit in on Leigh Bardugo in conversation with Gene Luen Yang. I love when Leigh gets to go one on one with another author. Last year her panel with Rainbow Rowell was one of my favorites. They talked about everything from comics to growing up as an outsider to being authors. This was a great panel to end the trip with. After the panel I said my good-byes to Stacee and Michelle (and hugs, tons of hugs). I grabbed my suitcase and got myself to In-n-Out!

I hadn’t been to In-n-Out since 2013 I think. I remember enjoying it but needed to taste it again while I was in California. Overall it was still very good but I am more than happy to eat at 5 Guys or Shake Shack or PORTILLOS. I wouldn’t trade Portillo’s for anything.


This year wasn’t as crazy as past years but I still has a blast. I knew going into this year that it was a 50/50 on being my last year for some time. It is still undecided if I will go back next year, but I know if I don’t I will instantly regret it.

Today’s giveaway is for a few copies of books given away at SDCC! First is an ARC copy of Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi, an ARC copy of Replica by Lauren Oliver and an ARC copy of A Shadow Bright and Burning. 1 person will take all, US only. Sorry international friends!


A few of my favorite things… (GIVEAWAY!)

Today (August 11) happens to be my birthday and what better way to celebrate than to to giveaway my favorite things! In the past year, I have fallen in love with a couple books and a few bookish related items.

First the books! 2016 has had some amazing books but today I want to feature 2; one by an old favorite and one by a new favorite. I have a signed copy of Truthwitch by Susan Dennard and a signed copy of Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Truthwitch is one of my favorite releases of 2016 and Susan just happens to be one of my favorite humans. Serpent King is one of my favorite contemporaries and favorite debut of 2016! I actually just got a copy of Jeff’s new book and I CANNOT wait to dive in!! I have fallen in love with the Harry Potter adult coloring books so I am also including the first one (pictures below).

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Next I have a collection of things from some of my favorite bookish shops. First I have a Truthwitch candle that was a candle of the month from Novelly Yours aka Brittany from Book Addicts Guide! Brittany has a TON of bookish candles (and Disney!) and I have to say I am addicted. I think I have around 25 candles right now (and totally deciding on which to buy next for myself).


Have you looked at The Art of Young Adult? Well you should because Gillian is crazy talented and her stuff is amazing! Here is her Society 6 shop (she is also on RedBubble!) I am including an Anna, Lola and Isla tote bag and an “I space ship it” sticker.


The final item I am including is a set of bookmarks from HappyHello! I am kind of addicted to these bookmarks and I think my collection is nearing 50. Shh I don’t have a problem… but I am throwing in a set of Baz and Simon bookmarks from Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On!


There you have it! My favorite bookish things of the last year! Click below to enter the giveaway. Unfortunately due to the cost of shipping, this is only open to US addresses (sorry international peeps!)

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda Mani + Giveaway

My timehop graciously reminded me that it has been a year since I read Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, so I was feeling a little inspired to do a quick Simon-y mani! Nothing special, but still super cute. Plus I have a giveaway at the end, so stay tuned!


This mani was so easy to create. No sponges, no dotting tools, and no mess. To create this mani I used Hard To Get by Sally Hansen, Keep Up The Flame and Clearly Spotted by Maybelline Color Show. Two coats of each color and then the Clearly Spotted over the top to get the speckled look, easy peasy!



This. Book. People, if you haven’t read this yet then I feel sorry for you, because you’re definitely missing out. Becky is a genius and one of the most amazing humans on earth! Which is why I want to spread the love and giveaway a copy of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda paperback edition – which I’m super jealous about because I don’t even have one yet and I hear it has a sneak peek at Becky’s new book The Upside Of Unrequited! So make sure to enter that below!!