Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This book is one that transcends the typical YA book and I think would be truly enjoyed by anyone at ANY age. First off the writing is stunning, the prose is poetic but not annoyingly so. The whole story is totally engaging and full of characters that you wish were real. I'm usually impatient as I read the non-romance parts of books, but that was not the case here. I loved all of it.

This is a story of the countless ways we get love wrong. And why, despite every disappointment, we keep fighting to get it right.

Jennifer must do the impossible – bring her mother home. When a family is torn apart by death, two sisters take violently divergent paths and the story of their family appears to end terribly and abruptly. Two decades later Jennifer never dreams that the photo she finds stuck between the pages of a neglected book will tear open a gaping wound to her mother’s secret past. Abandoning her comfortable life with her parents and best friend in the wheat fields of Nebraska, Jennifer’s quest for a hidden aunt leads her to the untamed coast of Maine where she struggles to understand why her mother lied to her for sixteen years.

Across the grey, rocky cove she meets Nathan Moore, the young, reluctant genius surrounded by women who need him to be brother, father, friend, provider, protector and now, first love. The stories, varied, hilarious, and heartbreaking, unfold to paint a striking mural of the shattered past. As Jennifer seeks to piece together her mother’s story, she inadvertently writes one for herself.

A huge thank you to my friend Sara who told me about this book. If you've got a kindle it is really an inexpensive ebook, and if you are a Amazon Prime member it is one of the books you can borrow for free. I really don't think anyone would be disappointed with this one.

This is a totally clean read.

Read more about this book on goodreads HERE.
or just go to amazon and buy the paperback or download it HERE.

Friday, March 16, 2012


This was my number one favorite read of 2011, and when you consider how many books I read last year that is one giant compliment for this book. When I originally reviewed it on goodreads I pleaded to Tara Kelly to "please never stop writing books". I re-read this today because I have been dying to revisit this story and I loved it yet again.

Kelly is a master at character voice. Her characters are authentic and so real it is startling. The first time I read this I felt like I was the main character Jasmine in a way that I have never experienced with any other book ever. Her highs were mine, as much her lows. It was especially impressive since I know so little about playing music and I was completely rocking out with the band. And man the sexual tension, suffice it to say it is a real treat. (But hey, what can I say? I love musicians.)

When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it. . .

In this fresh new novel by critically acclaimed author Tara Kelly, Jasmine finds out what happens when her life gets Amplified.

BTW, there is nothing overly vulgar (like swearing for no reason) about this book, but it does take place out of HS and there is plenty of rock star life style stuff going on. But, um...did I mention I loved this book?

Read more about my number one favorite book of 2011

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I have to admit that part of my love for this series has been watching Bree go through the process of writing it. It is hard not to admire her books more when I know how much of her heart you will find in these pages. Seriously, to be an author is a brave thing.

The Savage Grace is a freaking awesome conclusion to the story of Grace Divine. I don't want to write too much because I would hate to spoil anything, but the ending is satisfying and real (as real as a story about fantastical creatures can be). Daniel becomes stronger and more capable while Grace continues to be the awesome female lead. There are twists and turns and surprises and heartbreaks and also a wolf named Brent who is based off of my husband.

A troubled soul. An impossible choice. A final battle.

Wrestling with the werewolf curse pulsing deep inside of her, Grace Divine was finally able to find her brother, but it nearly cost her everything.

With her boyfriend, Daniel, stuck in wolf form and Sirhan's death approaching, time is running out for Grace to stop Caleb Kalbi and his gang of demons. If she fails, her family and hometown will perish. Everything rests on Grace's shoulders.

The final installment in The Dark Divine trilogy brings Daniel and Grace's love story to a breathtaking conclusion.

My husband (Brent) wrote a hilarious alternate ending to this book that I would love to post, but it is full of spoilers so if you finish the books and you want to read it you can request it by leaving a comment on this post with your email and I will send it to you.

I also took pictures last night and posted a few favorite on my PHOTO BLOG.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Welcome to all of my new followers and thanks to everyone who spread the word about this giveaway.

The winner is:

throuthehaze !

Since you left your email in the comments, keep and eye out for an email from me!

Thanks again, and don't forget to get out and get your copy of The Savage Grace. I'll be posting a full review of the book in a few days.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Okay so, picture this, it is 1997 and your love of the stage and drama geeks has kept you involved in your HS drama department despite your strong dislike for your teacher. There is one girl you like especially, in fact you have a crush on the very same boy and she lets you ask him to the big dance even though you both totally swoon when dream boy wears a certain sweater. This makes you realize that she is a pretty nice girl on top of being cool. You even still stay friends after the shock of finding out that she started dating one of your mutual friends while you took some summer college classes after gradation. But she ends up marring the guy so it all ends up okay.

Fifteen whole years later you are still BFFs and when your friend fulfills a lifelong dream of getting her book published you couldn’t be more thrilled. Unless, oh no, what if you DON’T like her book?! What would happen to this friendship, especially when you have never been the kind of girl who can’t be anything but honest to a fault?

No, these are not the new lyrics to a Taylor Swift song, this is my life! And man, was I nervous when my dearest of friends gave me a copy of her first book The Dark Divine. Well, I loved it (whew), and have fortunately loved the whole series. So no worries—my friendship is still intact.

I have adored the Dark Divine series, and think each book has gotten better than the last. In a book world where I rarely find a series that I even care about reading more than the first one, Bree’s books are a great achievement. They even got my husband Brent to read again, partly because he is a character in book three.

My full review is coming up next week, but for now, here are the questions that I really wanted to ask Bree about the series. Finally,


First off, you know I was totally shocked when I found out you and our friend Brick were suddenly an item when I came home from college. I have forgiven you both though since you have ended up being one of the coolest couples I know. Does meeting your husband in HS have any affect on the fact that you are drawn to write YA books?

Interesting question. While hubby and I never actually went on a date during high school, I did start to develop feelings for him then--and we started dating shortly after graduation. I wouldn't write YA if I didn't believe that teenagers are capable of real love. I know they are from first-hand experience.

My characters are almost always close to the age of 17 because I feel like that was the time in my life when I really started to figure out who I wanted to be as a person--when I first started to come into myself. What I love about writing YA is re-exploring all those firsts in life. First love, first kisses, first time behind the wheel, maybe the first time getting to travel without your parents, the first time you really start to think about who you want to be and what kind of impact you want to have on the world. The "firsts" are always so intense and often life-changing--why would I want to write about anything else?

Grace goes through some serious struggles and growing pains throughout all the books. As your friend I have watched you go through some growing pains as well as you felt the pressure to write two more TDD books. Have your struggles manifested in what we see Grace face?

I definitely draw on my own struggles when writing. Because of that, I feel like all of my books have a little piece of my soul in them. In THE LOST SAINT, Grace struggles quite a bit with living up to expectations, and she's extremely frustrated that her powers aren't developing fast enough in order for her to accomplish what she needs to do. That directly parallels my struggles to write a sequel that would live up to the expectations of my readers--and me fretting over feeling like "the words" weren't coming fast enough for me to make my tight deadlines. In THE SAVAGE GRACE, my main character struggles with balancing the safety and well being of her family with her obligations to her paranormal "destiny." (See here: Bree struggles with balancing family life with writing deadlines and expectations.) I don't know that I've truly conquered any of my personal struggles, but it does feel cathartic to be able to help Grace take on metaphors of those problems on paper.

Grace is always talking about how hot Daniel is, but what about Grace? Is she “hot,” or just an average girl? (BTW, I seriously wonder this, I always pictured her as kind of simple but then everyone ends up wanting her. Is it her looks or her strength that is so attractive to all the hot werewolf boys?)

Grace, like most teenage girls I know, doesn't really have a concept of how beautiful she is, so she's not going to go on and on about how hot she thinks she is. I do give her a few moments where she looks in the mirror and acknowledges that she looks good, but mostly, as the author, I tried to show her attractiveness by the way other people react to her. Daniel, Pete, and Talbot act like Grace is "hot" because to them she is. But I don't see her as being the epitome of what most people call beauty. You know that overdone, teased out, plasticy, fake, super-model version of beauty? That's not Grace. I think she's naturally beautiful in a simple, real, sort of way--she's the fresh-faced, girl-next-door that the brooding boy wishes he could have. Grace has a pretty face, but I also think the way she carries herself, and the way she treats others, helps bring out her inner beauty.

Well, I love Grace, and I know she will never have a normal life, but if she did, what would be her favorite TV show? Has she read The Hunger Games? Does she keep up a werewolf blog? Or is she too busy for those kinds of things?

Grace likes the old school Linda Carter WONDER WOMAN. I think there was even a line in TDD about that show that got cut out. Her parents are pretty conservative and they don't allow much "newer" TV in their home, so Grace grew up watching mostly old classic TV shows with her dad. She is a pretty big fan of Star Wars because she used to watch it all the time with Jude and Daniel. Grace loves to read so I think she'd totally pick up Hunger Games because she loves stories about tough girls. Don't see her blogging much because she tries to keep all this werewolf stuff secret--plus her mom (when she's feeling well) patrols her internet usage.

In a world where you have unlimited time and energy and no bouts of writer’s block, who is getting the spinoff series, and why?

Just for fun, I worked up a short synopsis of a book from Baby James's point of view. Except he wasn't a baby any more. It was about James as a16 year old who is sick and tired of all the paranormal craziness his family has to deal with all the time, and he just longs to be normal. All he wants in life is to earn enough money to buy his own car so he can drive as far away from Rose Crest and the Divines as he can get. So when a job comes along that will get him enough money to facilitate his great escape, he jumps at it--only to find himself thrown into the middle of turf-war between rival werewolf packs. In order to stop the packs from destroying his town and family in the wake of their battle, James must save the life of a kidnapped werewolf-mafia-princess whom he can't stand--at least not at first . . .

I sent the synopsis to a critique partner and my agent, meaning it to just be a funny joke--but they both wrote back saying that they liked the idea and thought it would make a fun book. Not sure if I'll ever actually write it. But the idea is still floating around in my brain.

I also think it might be fun to explore Talbot's character some more. He's definitely got a complex back-story and a whole lot of baggage to be opened up.

Of these three, what motivates you most? Gluten-free cupcakes, gluten-free brownies, or gluten-free dinners prepared by your imaginary in-house chef?

Man, if I could have my own in-house chef, that would motivate me to do just about anything! Can we throw in a house keeper, a personal trainer, and a nanny while we're imagining? I'd be so motivated (or bored) I'd write 3 books a year from now on!

I've had a few good gluten free cupcakes--but I am still on the search for a decent gluten free brownie. Especially one that is dairy and egg free, also. Have I ever told you how much I miss brownies?

Thank you so much Bree for taking the time to answer all of my awesome questions, and yes, I do think you have mentioned how much you miss brownies. Did I mention that I am super freaking proud of you?

Me and Bree in HS, where we got the lamest parts in a children's theater play simple because our teacher hated us the most.

Bree trying not to be too embarrassed that I her BIGGEST fan at the TLS launch last December. Notice that my hair style has not changed in 15 years, at least my love for over sized plaid shirts has diminished.

I guess you can tell I loved The Savage Grace and will be sharing a full review on release day, March 17th!

Okay, now here is your chance to get a signed copy of The Savage Grace for yourself. And since I am doing this giveaway before I see Bree at the launch, I can get it personalized for you too if you so desire.

To enter:

1.Become a follower of my blog, and leave a comment on this post that you are now a follower. (If you are already a follower, all you need to do is leave a comment.)

2. To get more entries you need to talk about this giveaway on a blog, Facebook, or Twitter with a link to this contest, and then leave a comment on this post that you did it. You get an individual entry by promoting my blog and contest using all three social media devices.

I am closing this contest Friday, March 9th. Winner will be announced on Saturday the 10th here on the blog.

If I make it to 100 followers I will give away an additional copy of The Savage Grace next week as well!

Friday, March 2, 2012


I was out of town this week and I took a big pile of paperbacks with me. I got a lot of reading done and there was only one standout in the mix. Awkward is adorable. It is kind of silly, but not in a bad way. Mackenzie is so likeable and very awkwardly hilarious. I don't know, I just kind of loved it and devoured it in almost one sitting.

Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she's the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous - not to mention unwelcome - attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that's when life gets really interesting..

There is going to be a follow up book following a character in this book, and I am looking forward to it.

Read more about it HERE.