The Confession Hour Episode 3 - The Giving Way To Happiness Blitz



How I Give 
Join me as I share how my family and I give back year round, especially during the holidays.


To celebrate the release of The Giving Way To Happiness by Jenny Santi, I along with a few other bloggers, have decided to promote this title by sharing how we give year round or during the holidays with our readers. Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and with Christmas right around the corner, what better time to showcase how we give thanks, as well as lend a hand to those in need.

The Children's Aid Society has been an organization my family and I have been working with since I was a small child. Every year for the holidays we're assigned a family and given a list of 1.) Who the family is and where they're located 2.) How many members make up the family/ages & genders and finally 3.) What they need/wish to have. I absolutely love " adopting " the families, especially since it gives us the opportunity to fully provide for the less fortunate. Unfortunately, we're living in a different county now and the organization works completely different from what we're used to, so we no longer have a particular family we're assigned to. Instead, we go shopping for clothes, shoes, toys, books, food, etc and make multiple baskets to deliver to a local church where TCAS operates. While I still enjoy this method of giving back, I do miss being able to personally deliver gifts to families on Thanksgiving and Christmas day to see the joy that lights up their faces. However, knowing that I'm giving back to my community is all that really matters.

So what about you?

Do you volunteer throughout the year or during the holidays? Do you have a charity you donate to? This Tuesday use the hashtag #givingtuesday, to tell the world how you're giving back! & if you want more information on Giving Tuesday, head over to the website! (GT is linked just in case you didn't notice or something lol)

About The Book

We often focus on how our gifts can help those in need. But the act of giving actually improves our own lives as well. In The Giving Way to Happiness, Jenny Santi overturns conventional thinking about what it takes to be happy by revealing how giving to others—whether in the form of money, expertise, time, or love—has helped people from all walks of life find purpose and joy. Drawing on the wisdom of great thinkers past and present, as well as cutting-edge scientific research, Santi makes an eloquent and passionate case that oftentimes the answers to the problems that haunt us, and the key to the happiness that eludes us, lie in helping those around us.

This book is filled with inspiring stories told firsthand by Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn, Noble Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp, philanthropist Richard Rockefeller, environmentalist Philippe Cousteau, activist Ric O’Barry, bestselling author Isabel Allende, ALS survivor Augie Nieto, and many others from all over the world. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they have all found unexpected happiness and fulfillment through giving. This book tells us not just how they changed the world but also how their acts changed their very own lives


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mother Bruce Blog Tour + Review - Brucey Goosey

Mother Bruce | Ryan T. Higgins
Release Date: November 24, 2015 | Disney
Genre(s): Children's Fiction
Source: Irish Banana Tours
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Bruce the bear likes to keep to himself. That, and eat eggs. But when his hard-boiled goose eggs turn out to be real, live goslings, he starts to lose his appetite. And even worse, the goslings are convinced he's their mother. Bruce tries to get the geese to go south, but he can't seem to rid himself of his new companions. What's a bear to do?

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.



Toddler Takeover #2
What happens when a grumpy bear is mistaken for mother goose? A whole bunch of funny.


Would you believe me if I told you my son and I read this book 6 times in one day? Yep, 6. From the moment it came in the mail, to random times during the day, we both found ourselves unable to put the book down and leave it the heck alone. Maybe it was the awesome illustrations, or maybe it was just the incredibly cute + funny plot, (most likely both) either way Mother Bruce easily became a favorite for both my little monster and I.

In this story we follow Bruce, a grumpy, crabby, just plain ole' mean bear, who my son and I found absolutely hilarious. He was completely different from other furry animals we've read about, making his character such a pleasure to read about. He's what I would call a foodie (like myself.) He searches the internet for recipes he can cook up in his kitchen, particularly any recipe with eggs as it's main ingredient. On a mission to whip up something delicious, he heads over to mother goose's house to purchase some fresh eggs from her. I mean, who better to get them from right? But, after discovering that the eggs he was about to devour hatched a handful of baby goslings, Bruce's life is pretty much turned upside down. I mean, HELLO, they think Bruce is their mama!

Goslings always follow their mother, even if SHE is a HE and HE is a bear.

Since Tihamer shows an extreme interest in reading, and likes to think of himself as a blogger, I've noticed that now he's very picky with certain books. Some titles he used to love he now labels as " boring " or " yadda yadda ", so I had no clue what his reaction would be this time around. One thing I know for sure, is that he absolutely adores illustrations, (he certainly gets this from me) and like most children, any book that has graphics and or illustrations grabs his attention, but not all can actually keep it. Thank goodness he enjoyed what was displayed in Mother Bruce. He pointed out every color he seen, and was able to piece together what was happening on each page by looking at the pictures.

video-1448344131.mp4 from fangirltikaa on Vimeo.

UGH don't mind the quality, the app I used sucked lol.

With minimal text on each page, my " reader in training " was able to memorize certain parts of the story, which is excellent for beginner readers. He not only identified some sight words, but he was also able to act out what emotions Bruce expressed throughout the book. Every parent would agree that while we use reading as a method of escapism, it's beyond important for our little ones to learn while allowing their imaginations to sore.

To say my son enjoyed Mother Bruce would be an understatement. He laughed from beginning to end, and I certainly would be telling a fib if I said I wasn't entertained right along with him. It definitely wasn't what we were expecting, which added a nice element of surprise. If you're looking for the perfect title to give a small child during the holidays, I definitely recommend making the purchase. It's silly, heartwarming, and down-right tickled with fun, so yes this book gets the fangirlconfessions stamp of approval!

Fangirl Gallery

Fangirl Gallery

Don't forget to hover over the pictures!

Earth's End Cover Reveal - Badassery x1000



Vhalla Boo, You Are Giving Me So Much Life
It's so satisfying to read a kick ass book that has a cover to match that kickassness. Not a word but it is now.


If you've read my dual review for Air Awakens + Fire Falling by Elise Kova, then you'd know just how much I am digging this series. & if you haven't . . . don't make me karate chop you in your neck, click that link and all shall be forgiven. Anywho, today is finally the day where we get to reveal to the world the cover of Elise's third title in the Air Awakens series, Earth's End. Shout out to her amazing artist Merilliza Chan for the amazing work she has done! If you wish to check out how cool she is, check out her website, Deviant Art page, and twitter 

Let's countdown to the badassery.

5 . . .
4 . . .
3 . . .
2 . . .
1 . . .

Earth's End - Air Awakens #3
Author: Elise Kova
Release Date: February 2016
Publisher: Silver wing Press

A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood. 

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.

Exclusive Content 

Q&A session with Merlin

What attracted you to doing the covers for the AIR AWAKENS series?

The AIR AWAKENS series was my very first book cover series. I’m not going to lie that I first took interest on the project because it was an opportunity for me to finally work on the book industry. Any artist starting out would be uncontrollably excited when offered a project as such. And THEN I read the story, read about the characters, got to know an amazing client and author, a friend, and so there lies my true answer. It was the perfect project for me, I loved the world, I loved the characters and I loved the idea behind it all. And so I wanted to make sure that I make it very special.

What is your favorite cover so far?

That’s hard to say. I loved all of it so far! (Or I’m being extremely biased, because well, I worked hard on all of them! haha) But if I’m being asked as an artist I would probably say the first cover. It was simple, straight to the point, saying, ‘Hey, this is Vhalla, the Heroine for this amazing world/story’. I like covers that has that iconic, unique feeling to it and so I would say that the first cover definitely did it for this series.

(Without any spoilers) What did you like about the third book in the AIR AWAKENS series: Earth’s End?

Earth’s End is my favorite of the 3 books so far and my main reason is that it felt like everything was coming down together, finally! Especially for Vhalla. I loved the Vhalla in this book. The character has developed into something much more and although she’s still probably transitioning, she’s finally getting there. In general what I liked about Earth’s End is that there’s more action, more storyline focused on Vhalla and her world, there were more things learned about the other characters too such as Baldair, among many others. Elise has outdone herself with this one.

What’s one thing that you think would surprise people about the process of creating the AIR AWAKENS covers? Or, one thing people may not know?

Elise has always told me that she and her author friends never expect their artist to read the whole manuscript. And I read the whole thing because well, I just couldn’t help it. I have become very attached! She says I make the most ‘official-est’ fanart ever and I agree.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author

Elise Kova has always had a passion for storytelling. She wrote her first novella, a high-fantasy, in sixth grade. Over the years she’s honed her love of literature with everything from fantasy to romance, science fiction to mystery, and whatever else catches her eye.

Elise lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she’s currently working on the next installment in her debut YA fantasy series: Air Awakens. She enjoys video games, anime, table-top role playing games, and many other forms of “geekdom.” She loves talking with fans on Twitter (@EliseKova) and Facebook. Visit her website,, for news and extras about her books!

Air Awakens + Fire Falling ARC Review - The Epic DUO

Air Awakens | Fire Falling
Author: Elise Kova
AW Release Date: August 27, 2015
FF Release Date: November 19, 2015
Edition: E-ARC
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Overall Rating:

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.



An Epic Collision of Air & Fire
Hold on to your wigs and protect yourself against this new heat folks, Kova here is kicking ass and taking plenty of names. 


Captain Kova, she's our hero
gonna take . .  uhhh . .  gonna take . . 
the Northern Empire DOWN TO ZERO
Debut author Elise Kova has the fantasy genre at her fingertips. 
Crafting a series using elements of earth as her foundation, she has re-lit the torch of both Captain Planet and Avatar, creating a unique story that is sure to grab the attention of all readers alike. She reminds me of a puppeteer, her work swirling into pirouettes before my eyes, the words becoming invisible marionettes prancing along a fictional stage. I was completely captivated by her show, failing to keep my eyes from leaving the pages until I was finished.

Air Awakens swept me away within the pages, wrapping me in a zephyr of words. Vhalla's story wasn't a rare one, but was done in a way that was quite unique, making it nearly impossible to avoid being caught up in the windstorm of her journey. From a library apprentice, to a sorceress with the ability to manipulate air, Vhalla proved to be one of my favorite heroines to date. Kova avoided the typical stereotype of a heroine in YA fantasy by pushing the " Celaena's " aside to give us a character that was someone new, someone relateable, someone realistic. I'd take a sensible, down-to-earth, bookworm with a fiery attitude any day.

Vhalla's new found status as a Windwalker, opened her world to not only magic, but to other characters who possessed it as well, especially one in particular.

In a horrible way, he was like a song of death and flame.

He was light and darkness, night and day, cool water and ashes after a blazing fire, Prince Aldrik is the epitome of swoon. The chemistry between he and Vhalla was undeniable from the very beginning, a low breeze that over time formed a tornado, their romance ripping it's way through the pages and into my heart. I enjoyed not only their budding friendship, but the hand he played in Vhalla's character growth. He pushed Vhalla to believe in herself, which helped our bookworm blossom into a fluttering butterfly.

If you thought the first novel was a heart attack waiting to happen, wait until you dive into Fire Falling. The story picks up right after the cliffhanger of Air Awakens, but instead of slow and steady, Kova shifted the plot into gear, flying us through the pages at lightening speed. What I thought was going to be a " filler " novel, full of info-dumping and unnecessary scenes, surprisingly was a complete stepping stone from the last installment. 

Oh dear Vhalla, how you never cease to amaze me.

There was something severed and rough about her, something tainted and, yet, at the same time those jagged pieces were the makings of something fearsome. She'd wanted to become someone the Senate would fear, why not shatter the sky?

This time around our MC was more than just a butterfly. Broken and haunted by nightmares of the Night of Fire and Wind, Vhal is a phoenix rising from the ashes ready to protect the ones she loves. Now property of the crown, she finds herself in the midst of a war. Her ability as a Windwalker is being used as a weapon for the Emperor, forcing our heroine to fight alongside trained soldiers if she wants to claim her freedom.

This plot is smoking with battle scenes and twists, and with Prince Aldrik around, the intensity level is magnified x10. One of my favorite aspects of the story is the romance between our two main characters. What started off as a slow burn, turned into a blazing inferno, the passion they had for not only each other, but for those special around them completely melted my heart.

Everything in this novel is woven together perfectly. From the characters, to the marvelous world-building, down to the itsy-bitsy details of the sorcerers's magic, Kova has created something special, giving us readers a breath of fresh air, a rare break from redundancy. Both Air Awakens and Fire Falling showed up and out, packing a powerful punch with it's nostalgic magic systemfast paced plotheart-thumping twistsand unforgettable characters, proving that this series will be a force to be reckoned with.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until We Meet Again ARC Review - The Butterfly Effect

Until We Meet Again | Renee Collins
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 336
Edition: E-ARC
Source: Publisher

They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own—and that the year is 1925—she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandra discovers a truth that puts their growing love—and Lawrence's life—into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.



A Love That Defies Time
If only we could manipulate time and cheat death to save the ones we love.


Time travel is one of my favorite concepts to read about. It's one of those concepts that can be poked and probed, divided and multiplied, but can still equal an unique outcome. The aspect of time seems to be a hot trend within the YA genre this year, and of course I can't complain, especially when stories like this have been birthed from the idea.

Until We Meet Again made me feel alot like a tightrope dancer. For majority of the book, I teetered on an invisible string, the flaws of the story hitting me like a gush of wind threatening to push me over, yet the writing and plot strengthened my balance, allowing me to fight against the wind gracefully. I swiftly moved with the words, elegantly prancing along until a plot twist pulled the string from under my feet, forcing me to dangle mid-air as the story took a terrifying turn. I'm a bundle of mixed emotions, desperately hanging on to such a promising concept, but the ragged mishaps of this tale is causing the string to slowly slip from my grasp.

Cassandra. An older sibling fresh out of a divorce between her parents, finds herself spending the summer with her mother and stepfather at a rented beach house in Massachusetts. It wouldn't be a YA novel if she wasn't miserable, finding the shore town with the Great Gatsby-esque atomsphere, full of rich people who threw lavish parties to be a complete snooze. She was oddly rebellious, breaking into her neighbors backyard at 2am, or pulling immature antics in hopes to punish her parents for her circumstances. In the beginning, I struggled to connect with Cass and her childish behavior, until a walk down to her private beach changed everything.

Lawrence. A beautiful boy with an an old soul. He was a handsome outsider, who had the swag of a poet, and the lingo of my great-great-great grandfather. He proved to be much more than just a misfit, and thanks to a dual-perspective, I was brilliantly able to travel from our current year of twenty-fifteen, to the luscious year of nineteen-twenty five.

Of truth and sea, her eyes become bound, endless in the vast beyond. And morning starlight's milky shine reverberates her soul in mine.

but·ter·fly ef·fect
noun: butterfly effect; plural noun: butterfly effects
(with reference to chaos theory) the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.

Taking a page out of the 2004 film The Butterfly Effect staring Aston Kutcher, Collins crafted more than just a time travel novel for us readers. Both characters reside in the same beach house, Cass in our current year, Lawrence 100 years in the past, both discovering that their private beach isn't just a place to escape reality, but indeed a loop hole in time. The moment they start interacting, the butterfly effect kicks in, allowing our characters to not only bend time, but to change the inevitable . . . Lawrence's fate. However, while this sounds all fine and dandy, the effect wasn't executed as smoothly as it should've been. We were given a bunch of causes that didn't have effects, completely scattering the domino effect I was looking for. This major flaw heavily changed some dynamics, the execution of the ending being one of them, but I wouldn't run the other direction just yet.

If this story was drowning, the writing was surely there to rescue, life jacket and all. It flowed with precision, beautifully meshing two centuries into one, while seamlessly weaving an unorthodox romance into the mix. I was hooked from the very beginning, completely mesmerized by Lawrence's perspective, captivated by his era of the 1920's. I was completely smitten with their relationship, and while the bittersweet ending wasn't entirely satisfying, I still found myself shedding a tear . . . or two. Okay three whatever. Until We Meet Again might not be perfect across the board, but it's definitely worth the read. The concept of time travel and the butterfly effect, writing, and the romance, will surely assist you with jumping over those hiccups, allowing you to still experience the beauty of what the author managed to create.

Just don't blame me if you hate it  


Sweet Madness ARC Review - Insanity At It's Finest

Sweet Madness
Author(s): Lindsay Currie & Trisha Leaver
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 224
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

Seventeen-year-old Bridget Sullivan is alone in Fall River, a city that sees Irish immigrants as nothing more than a drunken drain on society. To make matters worse, she's taken employment with the city’s most peculiar and gossip-laden family—the Bordens. But Bridget can’t afford to be picky—the pay surpasses any other job Bridget could ever secure and she desperately needs the money to buy her little sister, Cara, passage to the states. It doesn’t hurt that the job location is also close to her beau, Liam. As she enters the disturbing inner workings of the Borden household, Bridget clings to these advantages.

However, what seemed like a straightforward situation soon turns into one that is untenable. Of course Bridget has heard the gossip around town about the Bordens, but what she encounters is far more unsettling. The erratic, paranoid behavior of Mr. Borden, the fearful silence of his wife, and worse still…the nightly whisperings Bridget hears that seem to come from the walls themselves.

The unexpected bright spot of the position is that Lizzie Borden is so friendly. At first, Bridget is surprised at how Lizzie seems to look out for her, how she takes a strong interest in Bridget’s life. Over time, a friendship grows between them. But when Mr. Borden’s behavior goes from paranoid to cruel, and the eerie occurrences in the house seem to be building momentum, Bridget makes the tough decision that she must leave the house—even if it means leaving behind Lizzie, her closest friend, alone with the madness. Something she swore she would not do.

But when Bridget makes a horrifying discovery in the home, all that she thought she knew about the Bordens is called into question…including if Lizzie is dangerous. And the choice she must make about Lizzie’s character could mean Bridget’s life or death.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.



Never Has A Book Title Been So Fitting
and now I'm scared to make friends with anyone by the name Lizzie. Just kidding . . . Okay no I'm not.


Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
You guys have probably heard me mention this a thousand times on my blog, but here's a thousand and one, I am so obsessed with documentaries. I'm not exactly sure when it started, some odd years ago I'm sure, but I do remember as clear as day, the Lizzie Borden story being one of the first I've ever seen. I recall looking up article after article, documentary after documentary, and any movies that covered this twisted tale, hoping to find some new information or to even solve the case myself. When I was presented with the opportunity to review this re-telling, I knew only two things could happen, A. The authors would do the story it's justice, or B. It would end up being absolutely horrible. There could be no in between. So you could probably imagine how pleased I was to witness how the authors created a fresh take on what really went down in the Borden house.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was having a discussion with some blogger friends about creepy reads in Young Adult fiction. I mentioned how I love the horror genre, including thrillers and such, but have never come across a YA title that raised the hairs on my neck, or makes me look around the room because I feel something near me . . .  until I picked up Sweet Madness. While I wasn't cowering under my covers screaming for my mama, there were scenes in this book that sent shivers down my spine, scenes that raised goosebumps on my arms, as if I suddenly felt a chilly breeze. No one could be trusted, and just when I thought I was brilliantly gluing the pieces together, a plot twist would come, completely rattling my puzzle yet again. Nothing, and I mean nothing was as it seemed.

Before reading Sweet Madness, I was of course familiar with the role our main character Bridget Sullivan played within the house, but it was an entirely different experience being able to read from what her perspective could've been. She was literally the only sane person living under that roof, but a year living with the Bordens can make even the innocent succumb to evilness. As the story progressed, Lizzie proved to be as unreliable and looney as her community made her out to be, but it was her father who I feared as well. Neither one had their wits about them, and the situations, not to mention the tension-filled relationship between the two, would've sent me running for the hills! Both were equally mad, which caused a ping-pong effect when it came to figuring out who killed who and why.

If you're going to survive in this house, you've got to know who you're truly living with.

Other than the novel being a re-telling of the most infamous story ever, what will win readers over is the creep factor Currie and Leaver were able to deliver. You could almost feel the eerie atmosphere of the house while reading, which allowed the story to hover you over the edge and keep you there to the very end. The writing flowed seamlessly, capturing the setting of the 1800's including the lingo, attire, and surroundings, perfectly. The characters are twisted, menacing, even bizarre, but they felt real, and in my head they soon became the real Borden family, not just the fictional depiction.

Even though Halloween is long gone, if you're still in a festive mood, looking for something dark, enthralling, and incredibly suspenseful, I'd highly recommend Sweet Madness . . . if you don't mind questioning your own sanity that is.

Lizzie better keep her behind far away from me, I know that. 


SST Guest Post - Jenn Bennett's Top 5 YA Contemporary Reads

The Anatomical Shape Of A Heart
Author: Jenn Bennett
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends 
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 304

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?



Jenn Benn's Top 5 Favorite Contemporaries
and of course I haven't read any of them. Shame on you Tika, shame on you.


If you guys aren't familiar with who Jenn Bennett is . . . where the hell have you been? Under a rock? In bikini bottom chilling with Spongebob? * Snaps Fingers * wake up people, WAKE UP! Anywho, Jenn is the author of a number of titles, her recent being my most anticipated read right now, The Anatomical Shape Of A Heart, (Night Owls for my international folks.) Sooooo many people have been raving about this book, and when I first seen my girl Kelly from Divabooknerd's review for it last month of so, I knew that I had to have it. Thank goodness she's an amazing friend, because she gifted it to me, and I'll be reading and reviewing it next week! Now for the Sunday Street Team, I have a guest post featuring Jenn, showcasing her top 5 favorite young adult contemporary reads!

Let's dive in shall we?

Favorite Young Adult Contemporaries

I read every day, all kinds of books. Historical romance, low fantasy, mystery, thrillers, time travel—and lots and lots of young adult. If I had to pick my top five YA books… well, I’d do what I just did, right now, and bang my head on my desk, because there are far too many to distill into a short list. And then I’d just randomly choose these five, which are my current fave teen contemporary reads:

5. Lola And The Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins (2011)

To be honest, I’ve read Anna and the French Kiss at least five times. It’s my go-to comfort read. I adore the hero in that book and the Paris setting. HOWEVER, I love the character Lola more than sliced bread. I want Lola to be happy, so whatever Lola wants, I want her to have. And she wants the nice, geeky boy, and that makes me doubly happy. Also, this book is set in San Francisco, like The Anatomical Shape of a Heart—win! Thirdly, I recently met Stephanie Perkins in Dallas at a book convention and she told me my dress was pretty. I almost fainted. (Authors are fangirls, too.)

I've read Anna & The French Kiss and because it was too fluffy for my tastes, (Anna was annoying as well) I wasn't very motivated to continue on to the next two books. Maybe now I'll reconsider . . . maybe.

4. My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick (2012)

Funny, engaging, sexy, and real. This is a summer romance between the lonely daughter of a single mom and the neighboring boy, whose family is big and loud and sprawling. I did a lot swooning and laughing during this one.

My Life Next Door has been sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read since December 26, 2014. Yep, I'm shameful.

3. Dangerous Girls - Abigail Hass - (2013)

A compelling thriller about a group of teens who go on holiday in Aruba. When one of the girls is brutally murdered, her best friend is accused of the killing and arrested. Jailed in a foreign country, as her friends and the media turn against her, she has to defend herself. I could not put this down. It was so scary, so twisty. Even until the last sentence, I didn’t know for certain who the murderer was… just WOW.

When it comes to YA thrillers, I'm always skeptical and a little hesitant to pick them up. But this does sound pretty good.

2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E Lockhart (2008)

I grew up in a working-class family, so sometimes I like to read books about wealthy private schools—to see what I missed, I suppose. Privilege aside, the narrator is smart and genuine enough to make me want to follow her as she stages a rebellion against a decades-old male-dominated secret society.

I honestly didn't know E Lockhart had another title besides We Were Liars, which happens to be one of my favorite books.

1. I'll Give You The Sun - Jandy Nelson (2014)

Lush, stream-of-conscious narrative soars through this tale of grief told from the point of views of twins, male and female. Like The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, this book is also about artists (both the twins and their mother). This book warmed me and crushed me, then warmed me all over again. I love it from the top of my head to my toes. It is, simply, beautiful.

This book is always raved about so much in the blogging community, so I just may have to pick this up!

So there you have it guys, Jenn's list of her favorite YA contemps. 
Have you guys read any of these titles? If so, which ones, and what did you think about them?


Tell The Story To It's End ARC Review -- 1,2 Eren's Coming For You

Tell The Story To It's End | Simon P. Clark
Publisher: St.Martin's Griffin
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Genre(s): Middle Grade, Mystery
Pages: 208
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad where his father is. Why isn't he with them? Has something happened? Oli has a hundred questions, and only an old, empty house in the middle of an ancient forest for answers. But then he finds a secret of his own: there is a creature that lives in the attic…

Eren is not human.
Eren is hungry for stories.
Eren has been waiting for him.

Sharing his stories with Eren, Oli starts to make sense of what’s happening downstairs with his family. But what if it’s a trap? Soon, Oli must make a choice: learn the truth—or abandon himself to Eren’s world, forever.

Reminiscent of SKELLIG by David Almond and A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness, EREN is richly atmospheric, moving, unsettleing, and told in gorgeous prose. A modern classic in the making.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.



I'm Not Scared Of Anything ..
besides a monster that can tell a damn good story.


Did you ever have an imaginary friend as a child? Like your shadow that you named Penelope, a doll or special toy that you confided in? I most certainly did. I didn't have conversations with the dust specks that floated through the air or anything, but I had teddy bears, dolls, and barbies that I chatted with, told my darkest secrets to. For me, it's almost nostalgic reading stories about children who enter this phase as I once had, witnessing them create pals out of random objects like a toaster, or a paranormal phenomena like ghosts. So when the opportunity came to read Tell The Story To It's End I jumped on it, not only because October called for some creepy reads, but for the simple fact that there was no way I could ever pass up a story involving a monster.

I mean, I like monsters, not enough to talk to them, but I do like them . . .

Something fishy is going on, and 12 year old Oli knows it. 
Is it the fact that his mom dragged him from London to the countryside to stay with her brother he's never met?
Or is it because his father didn't tag along, and no one wants to explain why? 

The answer . . both. After arriving to his mother's childhood home to live with her brother and his wife for an undetermined amount of time, Oli knows from the jump something isn't quite right. His mother is on edge, constantly arguing with a mystery person on the phone, and his uncle and aunt look as if they want to say something, but of course cat has their tongue. As the days turns into weeks his father still hasn't shown up, and whenever he brings up the topic of his missing dad, he's shoo'd away, completely shut out from whatever is going on. So what's a kid to do when he's left in the dark, trapped in a bubble no one seems to be bouncing in besides himself? Well you not only befriend two curious kids from your neighborhood, but you become close pals with the monster that is hiding in your attic.

He was smoke turned into a bat - or a bear, tattered and old. His face was pointed - a wolf, a rat? A vulture? - and his eyes shone, brighter than the stars far behind him. He was big, old, moving, creaking, grinning.

Eren was hauntingly beautiful. He was both real and a figment of your imagination, contorting your reality to lure you into his world of cleverly spun stories. He was both good and evil, friendly - a great companion even, yet sinister. At first I was captured by their friendship, but it didn't take long before I began to fear for little Oli, wishing him to leave Eren to cower in his dark realm of the attic. Because monsters are indeed monsters, and this one had Oli right where he wanted him, pulling him closer and closer from reality, deeper into his pits of darkness. The unexpected ending took me by surprise, and as Eren mentioned, " stories never end " holds so much truth.

'There is no end,' he says. He swoops down and his wings darken my sky. 'No end, Oli. Tales go on and on. They come from before you were born, and they echo on after you leave.

Tell The Story To It's End, surprised me like no other. It was dark, creepy, magical, and shockingly sad, showing us fairy tales don't always have happy endings. Clark used this story about stories to captivate us while opening our minds to the art of storytelling, and I don't think I'll ever be the same.

I think it may be time to warn my three year old about imaginary friends.