2 September 2015

Cover Reveal: Pepped Up Forever by Ali Dean

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Pepped Up Forever
Ali Dean

Pepper Jones #5

This is the fifth and final book in the Pepper Jones series, and it’s one you don’t want to miss.

Pepper Jones is ready to start breaking some records. She’ll be a junior in college, and if she wants to run professionally when she graduates, it’s time to step things up a notch. This time around, she knows it won’t be accomplished by ramping up her training. While Pepper’s hoping for a race day breakthrough, she wonders if there’s a mental barrier holding her back, and if so, how is she supposed to confront it?

Meanwhile, Jace Wilder wants Pepper back any way he can have her, but he’s reluctant to bulldoze his way into her life having already crushed her once (okay, probably a few more times than that) before. More scenes from Jace’s point of view in the book shed a new perspective into the character Pepper fans love to hate, and hate to love, delving into those layers he’s only given glimpses of in the past.

The Brockton crew is growing up. Zoe and Wes. Jenny and Rollie. Lexi and Brax. Bunny and Wallace. Pepper and ??? It’s time to find out what Pepper’s happily ever after will be.

About the Author

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Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.
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29 August 2015

Book Blitz: Moment in Time by Lisa Mondello | Excerpt + Giveaway

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Moment in Time
Lisa Mondello

Summer House #1

Published June 26th 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N
This summer isn’t about dying. It’s about living. Jenna Traynor has been given her life back. After two years of chemo and missing out on college life, she is in remission. Spending the summer working on Nantucket Island is a good place to start life again. Hot guys everywhere, fun times at the clubs, long walks on the beach and beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the ocean from her back porch. Living life again was the plan. And then she met Bobby…

On leave from the military, Bobby Callahan needs one thing: a quiet beach to run and train so his leg will get strong enough for him to return to his post. For the past three years the only thing that made him get out of bed was the military. He’d joined the service to get away from sympathetic eyes and worried faces. He didn’t count on meeting a girl like Jenna whose thirst for life made him break out of the walls he’d so carefully constructed around himself. And once he realized she had his heart, he knew he never wanted to let her go. And then fate stepped in…

This series is a New Adult College Romance series that contains sexual situations that are graphic and explicit and not intended for readers under 18 years old.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter
New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Lisa Mondello, has held many jobs in her life but being a published author is the last job she'll ever have. She's not retiring! She blames the creation of the personal computer for her leap into writing novels. Otherwise, she'd still be penning stories with paper and pen. Her book The Knight and Maggie's Baby is a New York Times Bestseller. Her popular series includes TEXAS HEARTS, DAKOTA HEARTS, Fate with a Helping Hand and the new SUMMER HOUSE series. Writing as LA Mondello, her romantic suspense, MATERIAL WITNESS, book 1 of her Heroes of Providence series made the USA TODAY Bestsellers List and was named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2012. 

Excerpt

Please Note: This excerpt contains nudity.

“Whoever it is that’s trying to reach you is—”

“It’s just my mother. I’ll call her back.” He’s still standing at the end of the porch. “Why did you come here?”
“I wanted to make sure you were alright.”

“Why wouldn’t I be alright?”

“You’re not, are you?”

It wasn’t a question. Was I really acting so different that a total stranger could already tell? He couldn’t even see my face. Not really.

I push myself out of the wicker chair and walk over to him.

“I want to go swimming. Come swimming with me?”

“It’s a bit chilly tonight,” he says, but I’m already taking the porch steps down to the sand and then walking toward the water. The sky has the last of its orange glow. It’s not enough for me to see. There is no moon in the sky yet. That will come later. Right now it’s just me and the water.

My mind registers what Bobby just said, but I’m not really listening. Not now. I pull my T-shirt over my head and drop it to the sand. I turn to Bobby, revealing my naked chest, but he can’t see because of the darkness.

“It’ll feel good,” I say. “I want to feel the cold.”

“Are you crazy?”

I slip out of my cut-off shorts and my thong and leave them next to the shirt on the beach.
“Jenna,” Bobby says. “Wait.”

But I’m not listening. I run naked down toward the surf. I’ve never been skinny dipping. I want to feel the surf crash against my bare skin. All of it. I want to feel it all. Anything is better than feeling numb.

The text message from my mother creeps into my mind as my feet touch the wet sand and then the ocean water, which is far colder than I thought it would be. I welcome the shocking temperature and run a little deeper into the water until a wave crashes against my thighs and knocks me off balance.

And then I feel his warm arms wrap around me, enveloping me in the heat of his body. I can barely see Bobby, but I feel roughness of his wet blue jeans against my naked thighs.

“Let’s get back to the house.”

“I don’t want to,” I say.

“If you don’t get out of this water, I’m going to pick you up and carry you back to the house.”

I push at Bobby’s chest, trying to get him away from me. “I want to swim.”

“Okay, then get your bathing suit on. This is a public beach. And while I’m sure no one can see you right now, I also know if you get caught here like this you’ll be thrown off the island.”

I stop fighting him, but then a wave pushes me against him. Bobby wraps his arm around my waist.

“I thought Nantucket had nude beaches.”

“It does. This isn’t one of them.”


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26 August 2015

Blog Tour: Alexa Crushed by T.R. Cupak | Excerpt + Giveaway

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Alexa Crushed
T.R. Cupak

Alexa Crushed #1

Published May 20th 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N
Alexa Morgan lost her mother when she was two. At eighteen, her father and stepmother died when a devastating earthquake hit the Bay Area. Only one person has remained a constant in her life: Devin.

Devin has been Alexa’s best friend since childhood. The two are inseparable—or they were until Devin declared his love for her at sixteen. When Alexa can offer him only friendship in return, Devin retreats, brokenhearted.

Alexa, on the other hand, longs for Ethan, the boy next door. Four years older than her, and with an ever-changing roster of girlfriends, Ethan is everything Devin isn’t: wild, sensual, and unpredictable.

In the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, Ethan makes his move on Alexa, who reciprocates in a confused whirl of grief and desire. When Ethan leaves town shortly after, Devin comes back into Alexa’s life, offering support and expecting nothing in return.

Alexa begins to see the advantages of Devin’s quiet, stable love. But just as her feelings for her old friend begin to blossom, Ethan returns. Now Alexa must choose—the perfect boyfriend or the wild, thrilling bad boy. It’s a choice that changes her life forever.

About the Author

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
T.R. Cupak was born and raised in the suburbs of a Bay Area city in California. She was the closet nerd who hid her love of reading and writing short stories and poetry when she was younger. Back then it wasn’t considered cool to be into those types of activities for pleasure, whereas today you have TV shows, movies and books that glamourize that being a nerd is actually cool.

T. lives in a quiet, little, country town south of where she grew up. She is happily married to an amazing man who supports her in everything she does and spoils her rotten. They have a crazy little Shih Tzu named Harley. He's their fur-baby and even though he’s a pain in the arse most days, they love the little guy. She has an obsession with cars, especially fast ones. She enjoys her music louder than anyone should. Admittedly it’s to drown out hearing her own singing voice, or lack thereof. When she’s not at work or busy writing you can find her curled up reading a book on her Kindle with a glass of wine or Dirty Shirley.

T. lost touch with her creative side and stepped off the path of all things written in her early twenties. Six years ago, her passion for reading was rekindled. She began to utilize reading as a way to escape everyday chaos. Late 2013 she began journal writing. After a couple of months of journaling T. realized that this form of writing wasn't keeping her interest nor was it helping her to relax. After that realization settled in she changed the direction of her writing. Her creative aspirations were flowing once again and she happily embraced it. As her fingers started to dance across her keyboard she began to see her fictional characters begin to breathe life. Writing was only supposed to be a way for the new author to relax, but a story was born and T.R. Cupak is excited to be releasing her self-published debut novel, Alexa Crushed.

My Review

“Hi, Ethan. I’m Lexi.” I smiled and stuck my hand out for him to shake.

“Hey,” he said with a lopsided smirk on his face as he grabbed my hand to shake. He had a strong grip, and the second he touched my hand, I felt the heat rise to my cheeks again. Stop blushing, I told myself.

I snatched my hand back, wanting to smack the smirk right off his face but thinking better of it as I crossed the living room to where my parents were seated. My mom was watching me closely and had that all-knowing smile on her face, since she seemed to think I had a crush on hottie—oh, wait, I had a name now—Ethan.

I was sitting across from Ethan, trying to take in his model good looks on the sly without being noticed. His close proximity allowed me to see more clearly that his hair was dark brown with a hint of auburn, cut shorter on the sides than the top, with slight waves through it. His full, dark eyelashes enhanced his steel-gray eyes, which flickered with amusement. He was wearing a tight black T-shirt that showed off the lean, muscular build beneath. His faded boot-cut jeans were tight in the right places, and he was still wearing his riding boots. I let out a sigh and didn’t realize it was audible until all attention was focused on me.

“What was that, Alexa?” Dad asked.

“What? Huh? I didn’t say anything,” I said as my cheeks got hot again. I just wanted to die right there, right now.

Mom patted my knee as the conversation continued on after my embarrassing sigh. I was too scared to even look back at Ethan now, but I felt his eyes staring at my side profile. I should have just said, “Hi. Dorky preteen over here just wants to ogle over you.” Crap, Mom was right. I was crushing. What the hell?


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25 August 2015

Book Blitz: Worth It by Linda Kage | Teaser + Giveaway

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Worth It
Linda Kage

Forbidden Men #6

Published August 25th 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N
I fell in love once.

It was amazing. She was amazing. Life was amazing.

I lived for each time I could see her, and nothing else mattered, not that our families were enemies, our time together was forbidden, or we had to meet in secret.

Our love could conquer all.
Until it didn’t.

So I was ripped away from the love of my life and shoved into hell, forced to continue without her.

It shattered me, broke the best parts of me, left me permanently damaged.
Or so I thought.

Years later, I swear history’s trying to repeat itself because she’s back in my life, and I’m just as drawn to her as I was before. But I’m older and wiser now, and I know she should stay away from a worthless piece of ex-con like me.

So, I will not let her in. I absolutely refuse to hurt her. I will keep her away.

Then again, sometimes risking your greatest fear to get to a smile makes everything worth it, and besides, I’m not sure I can resist her, anyway.

This is the story of how Felicity Bainbridge changed my life forever, starting one summer day long ago after I was forced to change a dirty diaper…

– Knox Parker

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Linda is a contemporary romance author from the midwestern USA, where she lives with her wonderful husband, daughter, and nine cuckoo clocks. The eighth and final child of dairy farmers, she was forced into having a vivid imagination if she ever wanted to do something one of her siblings hadn't already tried.

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22 August 2015

Book Blitz: Body Checked by Katherine Stark | Excerpt + Giveaway

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Body Checked
Katherine Stark

Center Ice #1

Published August 18th 2015

Purchase: Amazon
SERGEI DRAKONOV. The newest left wing for the Washington Eagles hockey team is a triple threat: muscle, roughed-up good looks, and a dangerous tabloid reputation. Not the kind of guy who fits into Jael Pereira’s five-year plan. Jael doesn’t have time for a relationship, between her challenging senior-year course load and her stiflingly dull internship at the FBI. But for one steamy night, she gives in to Sergei and his smooth-talking ways.

Sergei wants more than just another one-night stand. But his brother—a high-ranking member of the Russian mob—wants him to help the family business. He can use Sergei as an easy way to launder money, or to smuggle drugs on the Eagles team plane. And if Sergei doesn’t agree, he can kiss his skating career goodbye.

The FBI’s been watching Sergei. When they learn about Jael’s fling, they want her to persuade him to inform on his brother. But the more Jael sees the real Sergei, beyond the role he plays on the ice and in front of the cameras, the more she wants him in her life. How can she win his trust, though, when she’s playing a role of her own? And how can she protect him from his mobster brother when she can’t even protect her own heart?

Body Checked is a standalone HEA sports romance (m/f) in the Center Ice series of interconnected hockey athlete stories. It contains explicit language and sexual content between consenting adults.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter
Katherine Stark is the pseudonym for an author of novels in a variety of genres for children and adults. She can nearly always be found buried underneath a pile of story notes. If she isn't writing, she's probably reading, playing video games with her husband, watching hockey, or eating her way across the East Coast.

Excerpt

“It happens all the time on the ice. Guys will say anything to get inside your head. You don’t want to know what they say about me.” Sergei shrugs, though his smile has faded. “That’s why I don’t like to let them see the real me. Because then, no matter what they say, it’s like it’s not even really me they’re attacking. It’s someone else entirely.”

In spite of myself, I’m reaching for his face, brushing my fingers against his still-swollen lower lip. I’d heard what he said in the interview—that he got injured in practice. Yet he hadn’t explained it any further than that. None of his teammates had said a word about it. Sergei’s eyes lid as I touch his lip, and his breath gusts over my fingertips as he exhales, slow.

“What really happened?” I ask. I try to keep the question light, but I can’t shake the feeling that it has something to do with his brother.

Sergei sighs, and closes a hand around mine. He kisses my fingertips, sending a thrill through my arm, then lowers both our hands to my lap. “I can’t lie to you, Jael.”

My shoulders tense. This is it. Part of me hopes desperately he’s speaking loudly enough for my phone to record it, but the rest of me? It wants to keep this moment for myself.

“But there are some things I can’t discuss. With you, or—or with anyone.” His fingers loosen around mine. “Please trust me when I say it’s for the best.”

I can already imagine Frederica and Chief Ha shouting at me to push him harder, to try and coax out whatever secret he’s locked away behind those cold Siberian eyes. It’s not like it’s completely unknown—a few of the news outlets have made vague whispers about his family being mixed up in some bad shit along the Eastern seaboard, though everyone knows better than to name names. To utter that which shall not be uttered. Bratva. The Slavic mafia boogeyman lurking in the night.

But this is more than some titillating crime drama to be gobbled up in the news. This is personal for Sergei—a private pain. He’d told me what it was like to grow up with nothing in Moscow; how his brother took the first chance he could to make something of himself. Sergei could have followed him into the mafia back then, but he chose not to—he chose to pursue his real passion of hockey. To do honest work. He deserves some respect for that.

I lick my lips. My throat feels impossibly dry. “Well,” I force myself to say, “if you ever change your mind, I promise I’ll listen.”

Sergei smiles again, so bright it lights me up inside. “Milaya devushka.” My darling one.


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20 August 2015

Blog Tour: The Pepper Jones Series by Ali Dean | Review + Giveaway

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Pepper Jones Series
Ali Dean

Purchase: Amazon
Pepped Up (Book 1)
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).

That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.

When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.

All Pepped Up (Book 2)
Pepper Jones knew that being Jace Wilder’s girlfriend wouldn’t be simple. But she didn’t predict just how many complications would arise from his past. Jealous girls? That she expected. Family secrets? Not so much. At least Pepper can always hit the trails to clear her head… except when it comes to racing. The high expectations from her phenomenal cross country season haunt her, and she can’t seem to get psyched up for track season. Pepper’s junior year at Brockton Public is full of challenges on and off the track, but she’s not afraid to face them.

Pepped Up & Ready (Book 3)
Pepper is finally a senior, and she’s determined to defend her national cross-country title. Although Jace is busy with the demands of college football, he’s still at Pepper’s side, supporting her goals. But is she taking her renewed enthusiasm for training too far?

As Jace and Pepper focus on their athletic ambitions, they discover that Jace’s social status has followed him to college, despite his attempt to keep a low profile. With her boyfriend as an idol on campus, Pepper discovers that she might just be a target to those who find Jace threatening.

Are Jace and Pepper strong enough to withstand the pressure from those who want something from them? It won’t be easy fighting for her title and her boyfriend, but nothing easy is worth winning… or keeping.

About the Author

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

My Reviews

To see my reviews for the Pepper Jones series, please click on the respective book cover.


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19 August 2015

Review: Pepped Up & Ready by Ali Dean

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Pepped Up & Ready
Ali Dean

Pepper Jones #3

Published May 28th 2015

Purchase: Amazon
Pepper is finally a senior, and she’s determined to defend her national cross-country title. Although Jace is busy with the demands of college football, he’s still at Pepper’s side, supporting her goals. But is she taking her renewed enthusiasm for training too far?

As Jace and Pepper focus on their athletic ambitions, they discover that Jace’s social status has followed him to college, despite his attempt to keep a low profile. With her boyfriend as an idol on campus, Pepper discovers that she might just be a target to those who find Jace threatening.

Are Jace and Pepper strong enough to withstand the pressure from those who want something from them? It won’t be easy fighting for her title and her boyfriend, but nothing easy is worth winning… or keeping.

About the Author

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

My Review

Coming into the third installment of the Pepper Jones series, I wasn't too sure what to expect. I was worried that it was going to be how life is so hard now that Jace is at college now and no longer in high school with her. Thankfully this is not the case, because there is nothing I hate more than a whiny female lead upset because her boyfriend won't spend every waking minute with her (*cough cough* Twilight *cough cough*). As the story is progressing, Pepper is actually becoming more and more of a strong female character that you can actually look up to.

I was a little disappointed with the storyline in this book. It basically just boiled down to a slightly more extreme version of the last book, All Pepped Up. And everything is always about Jace. Couldn't her problems have been caused by Pepper's fandom rather than Jace's? It really wouldn't have been that much of a stretch considering it targeted her running career.

Also, shame on you for trying to convince me that Ryan is the bad guy. He has been nothing but a complete gentleman this whole series, when he easily couldn't have been.

I liked how the plot is evolving with Pepper; as she's is moving on from the pettiness and backstabbing of high school, so is the plot. I also love how even with everything constantly changing in her life, Pepper's passion and love of running stays a constant. A girl has to have her dreams and I'm happy that the people in Pepper's life are supportive of hers.

Pepped Up & Ready is a strong third addition to the Pepper Jones series wherein Dean adds depth to her characters and leaves you eager to see where she'll take the story next.


3 out of 5
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18 August 2015

Book Blitz: #Poser by Cambria Hebert | Teaser + Giveaway

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#Poser
Cambria Hebert

Hashtag #5

Published August 18th 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
Posers gonna pose

I am a man who had nothing, but found everything.

I’ll never go back to nothing ever again.

I vowed to protect her, and that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

The pictures I stumbled upon haunt me still, the secret I shoulder is heavy.

They say secrets put distance between two people, but the truth is far more destructive than keeping it will ever be.

I won’t ever tell. She can’t ever know.

When I look in the mirror my reflection is of who I’m afraid I’ll become and not the man I am.

It makes me feel like a poser, no better than all the others pretending to be exactly who they aren’t.

How does a man keep it together when everything is unraveling right here in his hands?

I didn’t start any of this.

I never asked for it.

But it came knocking at my door.

When secrets and threats knock, I don’t hide.

I open the door.

Because the best way to take down a poser is to be one.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Email
Cambria Hebert is a bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair. She currently resides in North Carolina with her children (human and furry) and her husband, who is a United States Marine.

Beside’s writing Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (because her dog runs her house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: Text, Torch, Tryst, Masquerade and Recalled.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC

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14 August 2015

Review: All Pepped Up by Ali Dean

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All Pepped Up
Ali Dean

Pepper Jones #2

Published July 10th 2014

Purchase: Amazon
Pepper Jones knew that being Jace Wilder’s girlfriend wouldn’t be simple. But she didn’t predict just how many complications would arise from his past. Jealous girls? That she expected. Family secrets? Not so much. At least Pepper can always hit the trails to clear her head… except when it comes to racing. The high expectations from her phenomenal cross country season haunt her, and she can’t seem to get psyched up for track season. Pepper’s junior year at Brockton Public is full of challenges on and off the track, but she’s not afraid to face them.

About the Author

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

My Review

DISCLAIMER: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT read this review if you haven't read Pepped Up! It will spoil it for you... (So will the synopsis for this book, too...)



After where Dean left things with us in the first book, Pepped Up, I was annoyed with Pepper for breaking up with  Ryan (pretty much her perfect match) for Jace. I mean, the dude is a druggy, drug dealer, and a man-whore! Sure he is Pepper's best friend and was all, "I'll clean my act up for you," I honestly didn't have much faith in the guy.

Then I read All Pepped Up.

He kept his word; stopped dealing and doing drugs, and is pretty much the most adorable boyfriend to Pepper (even if a little possessive...). I actually really like Jace in this book - which surprised me, to say the least. But poor Ryan... he seems to be the designated collateral damage for this series.

The whole plot of book two in the Pepper Jones series, is really just showcasing exactly how incredibly mean teenage girls can be. I tell you what, as entertaining as it is to read, I am SO glad that I managed to avoid (for the lost part at least) the kind of petty drama that goes on in All Pepped Up. (It also makes me kinda ashamed to be the same gender as these spiteful individuals... they give us all a bad name.)

The only real problem I had with this book is that there are so many secondary characters. Most of them don't even seem to serve any real purpose other than make the point that 'this-person-is-popular' more concrete, and I guess believable? I'm absolutely terrible with names - even when I have physical faces to match them to - so having an extra 12 (or something) supporting characters thrown at me AND being expected to remember the short backgrounds provided for them - yeah... I'm going to have a bad time with that. What's so wrong with keeping things simple?

With high levels of teenage drama, All Pepped Up is an entertaining installment to the series with it's fair share of sweet, embarrassing, and meaningful moments for you to enjoy along the way.


3 out of 5

0

Blogger Hacks: 10 Helpful Tips

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Below are 10 helpful tips that cover things like general housekeeping for your blog, design tips, and other things that will just help to make your blogging journey that little bit easier.



10 Helpful Tips

1. Keep Things Simple
When designing the look of your blog, try to keep things simple. If the site is too busy-looking, it can put some readers off and also make it hard to find the information that they are looking for.

Things to consider:
  • Try not to have anymore than 3-4 style colours for design elements (blockquotes, headings, social media icons)
  • Use a clean and easy to read fonts. 'Sans'-type fonts are usually best suited for websites.

2. Don't Over Crowd Your Sidebar
This follows on from the Keep-Things-Simple point. It is super easy to fill up your sidebar(s) with a heap of cool widgets that you find, but you've got to ask yourself, 'Is that virtual fish pond or 284 day countdown timer essential to your blog?' There is nothing worse than having to scroll enough redundant widgets for a finger workout to find what you're actually looking for.

Some ideas for useful widgets:
  • Search bar (Always keep at the top!)
  • Blog archive
  • Social media and subscribe links/buttons
  • Popular posts
  • Your blog button
  • Any events your scheduled to participate in
  • Any current giveaways you are running/hosting on your blog

3. User Friendly Interface
A User Friendly Interface is the secret to any successful website. The information/content your readers are looking for should never be more than 1-click away - whether that is using the search bar or a link.

4. Spread Out & Schedule Your Posts
You don't always have time to write a blog post every day - I know I certainly don't. An easy way to deal with this is maybe set aside one afternoon a week where you sit down and write all your posts for the week, and schedule them to post spread out over the week. This way your wont get a clump of posts one day a week and then radio silence for the rest.

5. Pictures Are Your Friend
In should get in the habit of always including a picture of some sort in your posts. This makes it more visually appealing and less intimidating than than just a block of text. This makes people more likely to stick around and read your content.

6. Use a Post Template
A Post Template is a serious time saver - especially with book blogs. This function can be found in Settings > Posts and comments > Post Template. When using this feature, your are going to have to use <br/> to signify a line break.

Here's one similar to the one I use:
<br/>
<b>Title</b><br/>
<b>Author</b><br/>
<br/>
<i>series</i><br/>
<br/>
Published<br/>
<br/>
<b>Purchase:</b> Link<br/>
<blockquote>
blurb</blockquote>
<br/>
<b>About the Author</b>
<br/>
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter</blockquote>
<blockquote>
author_info</blockquote>
<br/>

7. Comment Spam Protection
It goes without saying that everyone hates Spam. There are two different methods you can use to prevent spam from findings its way into your comments section.

Word Verification (Settings > Posts and comments > Show word verification)
Using word verification means that people leaving a comment with have to complete a 'verification' step before their comment can be posted. While it is a very effective method in preventing spam from getting posted, I find that they are kind of a nuisance for people and sometimes put people off commenting.

Comment Moderation (Settings > Posts and comments > Comment Moderation)
Comment moderation is my preferred method of spam protection. Commenters don't have to do anything extra, and you get notified of all comments. I suppose the down side is you have to be able to spot a spam comment. Usually they contain vague text that could be applied to any post (usually referring to it as an 'article') and end with a short link.

8. Icon Vectors
Icon Vectors are a blogger's best friend! They're super easy to use, and look awesome. I use them for my social media links, in my subscribe buttons, rating system, on my Review Archive page, and in my posts. The ones that I use are from Font Awesome Icons because there are hundreds of them (though they are still lacking a Goodreads one... I am complaining constantly to them about this. They will bow to my demands!) with more being added all the time. To start using them, all you have to do is add a line of code to your template as explained on their Get Started page. You can then check out their Examples page to see all the different ways you can use them.

9. Inspect Element Function
The 'Inspect Element' function that browsers have is a super helpful tool for either teaching yourself HTML/CSS code, or wanting to replicate an element that you've seen somewhere else.

Example: Say I wanted to know how the Facebook icon was made.

Right-click on element > select Inspect element (Ctrl+Shift+I)


A sidebar will appear in your browser.

Top box is the html, bottom two are CSS


Give it a go yourself!

10. Google is Your Friend
If there is a key element that you want to add to your blog, but don't know how to do it - Google it! Google knows everything, so try typing something like:
custom search bar blogger
into Google, and one of the results should be what you're looking for.

The key word 'blogger' is crucial, as not including it may give you results that are not compatible with Blogger. 
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Cover Reveal: Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey

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Picture Imperfect
Jelsa Mepsey

Coming September 22nd 2015

Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it.

So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her.

Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time.

Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worst than the truth is, the facade that surrounds them.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance fiction, drawing inspiration from daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-American in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration.

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13 August 2015

Diving Head-First into the (Vaguely) Unknown

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If you're anything like me when it comes to books, you're forever finding new novels with an awesome synopsis to add to your TBR pile.

Here's what usually happens with me:
  1. I discover some new (or at least to me) and awesome book
  2. I wrangle up a copy of said book from somewhere
  3. I stash it way with all my other TBR books for when I'm finished reading my current book, slash when I have time for reading again
  4. I forget all about the book (I swear I have a memory like a sieve most days...)
  5. Some time later, while searching said stash for something I feel like reading, I rediscover the book (Hurray!)
  6. I can't remember exactly what the book was about, but I obviously thought it sounded good at some point...
  7. I begin reading not knowing the premise of the book

Though I do this by accident, I really like reading books this way. It means that I'm not constantly tying to link up my current position in the book with the synopsis, or when something that was mentioned is going to happen.

Sometimes I find it nice to be blissfully unaware of what the future holds - that way I get to enjoy the present moment not concerned about the future.


Am I the Only One Who Does This?
Hit me up in the comments if you do too!
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