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It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.
This is my story.
A letter from nowhere.
Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?
The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost
Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
I started this YA novel late last night with one of the worst blizzards to hit Milwaukee in a decade. A perfect setting I may add and a complete contrast to the blistering heat described in this masterful novel about a sixteen-year-old girl named Gemma who was kidnapped from a Bangkok airport and taken to the Outback in Australia. This is a bloody brilliant read that will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s probably the most vivid novel I have ever read describing the horror and beauty of the characters and landscape. From reading other reviews I realized there were contrasting perspectives. In my opinion, STOLEN is a extraordinary piece of art. True works of art – masterpieces – I believe evoke strong emotions, not indifference. A masterpiece stirs the soul, gets you thinking, attacks the senses. I loved this book in the way I would appreciate a work of a master artist who painted haunting images or a movie like Schindler’s List directed by Steven Spielberg – no comparison here to the Holocaust, only the mastery of an art form.
I hope people will read STOLEN. Read it with the eyes of an artist and appreciate the brilliance in each and every word.
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I hope they come away knowing that illnesses do not define us. That setbacks, mistakes, scars, whatever we’ve done in the past—none of that defines who we are. That yes, you can fall to rock bottom, and you can still thrive after that fall. There’s laughter, and happiness, and hope, and love waiting for you—there’s so much love. And I hope they know that they’re worthy of that love.
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to reach out. It’s okay to admit that you need help with this crazy life-thing. Because none of us have all the answers—we’re just doing the best we can. And we’re all in it together. J
Not really a scene itself, but one of the lines. In the original draft, Austin had an ex-girlfriend that was, in a word, vengeful. One night, Austin told her to leave, and she came back to slash his truck’s tires. After discovering what happened the next morning, his mom said, “Your breakup really brought out the redneck in that girl.” That line always made me giggle.
(There’s no ex-girlfriend in the final version, by the way. She got the cut in my first round of edits.)
My favorite scene in the entire book was added during edits! It takes place toward the end and involves stars, hand-holding, and Austin and Marisa talking about what’s to come, rather than the past. It’s a sweet moment that makes me grin like an idiot.
I have to have something on my feet, whether it’s socks or shoes. Like, I absolutely cannot write with cold feet.
I am! I can’t say too much at the moment, but I will say that we haven’t seen the last of Lewis Creek.
Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.
Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.
Prize One: Finished copy of Play On
Prize Two: $10 Amazon/bookstore gift card
Prize Three: Bookmarks
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the novel:
“It’s been two years since Maewyn discovered her magick and saved the Wedge from a troll invasion. Now the hapenny villagers are embarking on an age-old tradition that was given up after the first troll invasion: A Great Expedition. This is a chance for the younger hapennies to discover the world outside of the Wedge. But the world outside of the Wedge can be a scary place, and the hapennies soon find themselves knee deep in troll trouble.”
About the first book in the series:
Hapenny Magick by Jennifer Carson
Maewyn Bridgepost, the tiniest Hapenny, a race of little people, spends her days, from breakfast to midnight nibble, scrubbing the hearth, slopping the pigs, and cooking for her guardian, Gelbane, who never spares a kind word. As if life as a servant isn’t bad enough, Mae learns that Gelbane is a troll and Hapennies are a troll delicacy. Years ago, a spell trapped Gelbane in Mae’s village. Ever since, Gelbane has been chiseling away the magic protections and now Mae’s home is destined to become a smorgasbord for half-starved trolls.
When her best friend, Leif, goes missing, it will take all of Mae’s courage to friend her friend and protect her village.
When pitchforks, sewing needles, pots, brooms and a little magick are the only weapons at hand, the hapennies discover that great victories can be accomplished no matter what size you are, but only if you stick together.
An exclusive California island, a tumultuous senior year, and lots of sandy beaches.
Laguna Tides is a private island off the coast of Laguna Beach, California. It’s a refuge for the families of the rich and famous, but it’s also home to Laguna Tides Prep and that is where our soon-to-come series of young adult contemporary novels is set.
A couple of years ago, my good friend Lani Woodland came to me with ideas for two different novellas she wanted to co-author with me. By the time we’d plotted everything out, we’d created an entire world and it would take five full novels to tell the whole story. Over the course of 2015 and 2016, Lani and I will finally get the chance to introduce the island of Laguna Tides and take readers through the senior year of five of the boys who live there.
First up on May 5th, 2015, meet Dare Andrews and Chance Montgomery in Taken by Chance.
A single chance encounter can change your life.
Despite being the son of Hollywood’s hottest director, Dare Andrews has managed to steer clear of the paparazzi for seventeen years. But when his ex-girlfriend sells a tell-all interview to the tabloids, he’s suddenly hounded by fans and reporters alike. Dare is getting cynical fast, so he’s unprepared to meet a glass-half-full girl like Chance. And unprepared for the consequences after he helps her save face. Pretending to be the new guy in her life was easy enough when she was being dumped by her boyfriend, but the lie backfires.
What started as a random act of chivalry becomes something deeper as Dare and Chance find themselves trapped in their charade. The problem is that the more Dare gets to know Chance, the less fake their relationship feels. But secrets they both keep threaten their future, and with new storms overhead, will Chance’s lessons in optimism be enough to help Dare find the silver lining?
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Get out your smelling salts, Jane Austen fans will definitely swoon for EDENBROOKE.
Julianne Donaldson did a wonderful job telling a Regency time period novel that pulled me into the pages almost immediately. You’ll find yourself in Bath, England in 1816 greeting an unwanted suitor for seventeen-year-old Marianne Daventry. You’ll feel her longing for the country and he heartache over her absent father. You’ll appreciate the propriety and the sweet banter between Marianne and her cranky grandma. And you will definitely fall in love with Edenbrooke and its beautiful landscape. The handsome Philip had me thinking of Mr. Darcy. Sigh.
This is old-fashioned romance at it’s very best.
I highly recommend this book for fellow hopeless romantics and Jane Austen fans like me! Perfect for all YA and up.
I want to thank Penelope Loholea of Reading Fever for recommending this book to me. To see her fabulous review click here: http://www.thereadingfever.com/2013/0…
Boomerang by Noelle August
Wonderful! Love this addition for in the new adult category
What is Boomerang? It’s a creative online dating service, and in this first novel, we have two characters, Mia and Ethan, who are both interns hoping to get a full-time position at Boomerang. There’s a strict no dating policy, but these two break it before their first day when they hookup at a bar.
The tension between Mia and Ethan is fantastic. Definitely have some chemistry going on. Throw in complications of Ethan’s ex girlfriend Alison, and it gets interesting.
I loved the trade show description in Los Vegas. I love that Cookie is a terror. I love Adam and his generous, kind heart.
If you’re looking for a contemporary NA novel with yummy romance, put Boomerang (and the rest of the books in the series) on your to-read list.
Rebound by Noelle August
This is book 2 in the NA Boomerang Series. Thank you to the publisher, William Morrow, for the review copy.
Overall impression: A heartfelt, romantic novel that will have readers swooning and cheering for Adam and Alison. Perfect for anyone who is looking for a NA contemporary series.
Cover: I love it. Sweet, fits into the times they spend in or on water.
There were so many things to love about REBOUND.
The complexity of Adam’s life and what drives him to succeed is fascinating. Alison’s struggles with her past and the poor choices she’s made, haunts her. Her love for neglected horses and her ability to help them thrive was a wonderful element in this novel. Noelle August did a great job of taking readers onto the ski slopes, surfing, sailing, and sea diving. The descriptions put me right into the scenes, and because of it, readers get to know the passions of these characters.
The chemistry is incredible, starting from the Halloween party. Alison is Catwoman and Adam is Zorro. It goes from there. These two spend a lot of time together because Adam is looking to get Alison’s father to invest in his film production company. Alison’s father is a selfish, greedy, cheating bastard. Family loyalty is everything to him. Thank goodness Alison ends up seeing who he really is.
Readers, you do not have to read these books in order. Perhaps some of the subtler details will make more sense if you do, but it’s not necessary. I DO recommend this Boomerang Series for anyone looking for NA contemporary romances novels.
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Following in the bestselling tradition of Molly McAdams and J. Lynn, this final chapter in the fun and steamy New Adult trilogy by Noelle August (authors Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger) features two aspiring musicians who must choose between their careers…and their sizzling attraction for each other.
Playing the occasional club gig just isn’t cutting it for twenty-two-year-old cellist Skyler Canby, who’s trying to support herself and her mother back home in Kentucky. Persuaded by her best friend Beth to accompany her on an audition for the first feature film launched by Blackwood Entertainment, she figures why not? Beth’s a shoe-in for the lead, but maybe Skyler’s newly dyed pink hair will help her stand out enough to score a small speaking part.
Never in her wildest dreams does Skyler imagine she’ll land the lead role or that she’ll have her shoes knocked off her feet by the kiss her audition partner, Grey Blackwood, plants on her—a kiss that feels very real and not at all “acted. ”
After throwing a party that causes thousands of dollars of damage to his older brother’s home, reckless musician Grey Blackwood gets roped into working off his debt on the set of his CEO brother’s newest project. Grey spends his days fetching coffee and doing odd jobs around the studio, but he lives for nights when he performs with his band. He knows if he can stay focused, success as a singer is just around the corner. But that’s tough with a distracting pink-haired girl occupying his every waking thought.
Skyler and Grey have every reason to resist each other. But, like a song neither of them can get out of their minds, they have no choice but to go where the music takes them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Question: What do you get when friends pen a story with heart, plenty of laughs, and toe-curling kissing scenes? Answer: Noelle August, the pseudonym for renowned editor and award-winning writer Lorin Oberweger and New York Times bestselling YA author Veronica Rossi, the masterminds behind the Boomerang series. You can visit them at NoelleAugust.com, @Noelle_August, and facebook.com/NoelleAugustBooks.
Synopsis: In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.
Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek–he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.
As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn t everything–maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.”
In this scene, Austin has just finished practice for the day, only to spot Marisa waiting beside the field.
“So you got off work early and then came all the way here instead of going home?” She glares, one of those “I hate you for pointing that out” looks. I hold up my hands. “Can’t a guy ask a question?”
She runs a hand through her hair again. “I was thinking,” she says, playing with the ends, “that maybe we could get an early start on this weekend’s tutoring session. Study both tonight and tomorrow. You have your book, right?”
Folding my arms, I lean back against my truck. She blinks quickly, not quite meeting my gaze. My lips curve up. She’s so busted. “Let me get this straight: it’s Friday night. We have an entire night ahead of us. And you want to study? You’re an awful liar, Marlowe.”
She eyes me up and down. Crosses her own arms. Finally she sighs and says, “Fine. I have ulterior motives.”
“If it involves moonshine and skinny-dipping, it’s so on.”
Her jaw drops. She blushes as she looks around, but there’s no one out here but the two of us. “No,” she drawls. “And what makes you think I’d go skinny-dipping with you?”
Wishful thinking never killed anybody.
“It’s something the one customer I had today mentioned,” she continues. “She said there’s this thing they do down at the riverfront. Some kind of movie night? Asked if I was going.”
When a town doesn’t even have a movie theater, people get creative when it comes to entertainment. It’s something I’ve only been to once, though.
“They have something down at Mariners’ Wharf. It’s kind of cool, I guess. Everyone brings blankets, picnic baskets, and watches whatever movie they’re playing. It’s usually ancient, but it’s something.” Wait a second. Shoving off my truck, I ask, “Are you asking me on a date, Marisa?”
Dear Lord in heaven above, I think she just asked me on a date.
That earns me another “I hate you and your guts” glare. “I like food,” she says as I step toward her. “And I like movies. And I like you. So I’m asking if you, my best friend in this tiny town, would like to go see an ancient movie with me on a Friday night.”
If anyone else was standing in front of me, asking me to go see what’s probably a fifty-year-old movie on Friday night, you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming. But it’s Marisa, so hell to the yes, I’ll go.
I twirl my keys. “I’m game. You ridin’ with me or driving your car?”
Her gaze darts between me and my truck. She bites her lip. Blinks. Looks back to the truck.
I grin again. This is legit fan-freakin-tastic. Be cool, Braxton. Don’t blow this. “Don’t be all shy. If you wanna ride with me, all you got to do is say so.”
Please say so.
She points at me. “Austin, I am warning you—”
I hold out my arms. “What? Just admit it: you dig the truck.”
She rolls her eyes. “All right, fine. I dig the truck, okay?”
I do love her honesty.
Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine – a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it’s undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe – in love, in herself, and even in miracles.
A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.
The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Wow, this is an emotional novel packed with some major trauma and happiness and miracles, though not the ultimate miracle. Cam is dying of cancer. So is her best friend Lily. Cam’s mother is looking for a miracle and hears about a town in Maine called Promise. It’s almost impossible to find, but they do. Almost immediately, they meet a young man by the name of Asher who offers the use of his grandparents’ home at no cost to them since the hotel is under renovation. They take them up on the offer and move into a beautiful mansion. Cam continues to work through her list of things she wants to “accomplish” before she dies. (Some of these are similar to Tessa’s list in BEFORE I DIE by Jennifer Downham like: SPOILER **** STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW shoplifting and losing their virginity – both do it with a complete stranger)
CONTINUE: I thought the relationship between Asher and Cam was wonderful, sweet, intense.
Overall, a beautiful, fast-pace, well-written YA novel. Expect to laugh, expect to get angry, expect to cry, expect to be touched, expect not to forget these characters. And finally, expect to think about them after you turn the last page!
Liza Wiemer’s favorite books »
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Neely Ambrose thought she was done with secrets. When she escaped the Compound, she also believed she’d escaped a future built on lies and deceit. She was wrong; the world outside isn’t much better. In fact, it may be worse.
All Neely wants is to safely deliver the people of the Compound into Remnant camps so she can go start a life of her own with Thorne. But that’s before the Remnants start dying around her, before camps are destroyed just after she’s left them, before she notices a strange bird carving at the site of each attack, and before Thorne is taken.
The Mavericks believe Thorne is dead, taken by the Elders who will stop at nothing to find Neely, but she’s determined to prove them wrong.
But the only clue she has to find him is a bird carved into the last place where anyone saw Thorne. As she starts a journey to find him, she learns the birds are a symbol for a secret group that’s made a home in the shadows. A group that even Xenith doesn’t know about, that the Remnants won’t talk about, and that Neely feels may have a plan of their own — and that plan may involve her.”
Book 1 in the BOUNDLESS series
“A heart-stopping adventure with characters you will follow anywhere.” ~ Marie Rutkoski, The Winner’s Curse
“A tense, thrilling journey through a richly layered world. The start of what is sure to be a fascinating trilogy.” ~ Kristen Simmons, Article 5 series
“This has a dark, dystopian feel. Incredible world building, clever plot, and swoony romance. I look forward to the next book in the series.” –Liza Wiemer, Hello?
“This fast-paced dystopian thriller shoots off like a rocket from the first chapter and doesn’t stop until the the final page. While Neely’s plan unfolds at breakneck speed, Ellison seamlessly weaves in flashbacks of Neely’s past–including the boy she loves. Follow Me Through Darkness delivers one jaw-dropping twist after another, and the pace is so fast, your page-flipping fingers will hardly be able to keep up.” — Lelia Nebeker, bookseller
“Well written and addictive, I would definitely highly recommend this for fans of the YA Dystopia genre.” — Liz, Liz Loves Books
“Engrossing, thought provoking, action packed.” — Jeanz Books