Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reading Together is Fun...Until It's Not

I think a discussion post on this blog is long overdue (except for this one, and oh, that one too), and I found the perfect subject this past week: 

Buddy Reads

Okay, so to open up to the point I want to make, I have to give you a little background on myself. Reading was always a solitary experience for me growing up (unless you count the times when my parents read to me or I went to the library for those fun activities with other kids). But, other than that, it was solitary. Meaning I read alone. I read a book, took it back to the library, and that was that. I didn't talk about them with people, especially in my late teen years. And I didn't necessarily think too hard about them after I dropped them off. Only a few ever truly stuck with me (Hello, Harry Potter). I devoured books, but my reading experience was very different from what it is now. Now I take the time to think about them and pinpoint the emotions I had while reading them. The experience is so much deeper when you let yourself feel every emotion while reading a book. And until I started blogging, I shared that experience with only myself.

I honestly didn't think I'd like buddy reading with people. Because of the deeply personal experiences I have reading, and also because I used to not share anything about the books I read. Reading was encouraged as I grew up. My parents took me to the library and bought me books for presents on birthdays and Christmas. I think my mom read a lot to me, too, and we always had a bookshelf full of everything that is wonderful in the world.  My family was pretty great about my bookworm habit, and a lot of them are big readers. I just don't really... talk to them about the books I read. Most of my family members read Christian fiction, and ONLY Christian fiction. And I read a lot of.. unconventional and gritty stories that probably would get me disgusted looks and horrified expressions and a Bible thrust into my lap. (Okay, okay. I may be exaggerating just a *teeny tiny* bit). But I do know that a lot of them would be disgusted and think they were wrong and shouldn't be written. And they would judge me for it. Or at least go off on a rampage about how immoral they are and why I shouldn't be reading them. I love my family, I do. But I'm more open-minded than most of them.

Don't think I dislike them for being that way. My family encouraged my reading habit, but my peers (and even my friends) did not. It wasn't cool at school. Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner actually wrote a post about this and you should totally go read it. I found that I could definitely relate to the fact that reading books was seen as uncool, and even lazy. It wasn't cool when I was growing up. Or maybe I just hadn't found the right people? Whatever the case, I wasn't popular and I'd rather spend my time reading than going to a party on Friday night. And they just couldn't understand that. I got weird looks for reading, and I'm pretty sure I got teased for it. (Honestly, don't take my word for it. I've forgotten a lot about high school). I do know that it just wasn't COOL. But I didn't give a shit what they thought of me, and it never would have turned me off from books. I didn't read as much, but I didn't quit the habit altogether. My best friend likes to tease me, but good-naturedly and in fun. My other friends weren't big readers, so I didn't talk about books with them. I kind of hid it and locked myself away in my room and got lost in other worlds.

And then I found the book blogosphere and the huge community of all the readers who have found a safe space where they could talk about books freely and without judgment. Where fangirling is normal and having ALL THE FEELS is sane and arguing over who gets what book boyfriend is an everyday conversation. I love being a part of this community! 

But it took me a long time to feel comfortable enough to share my opinions about books with others and actually talk with them. It's why I was wary and a little terrified of buddy reads. Then I started to do them, and I really loved it! Sometimes it's just so much fun reading with other people and sharing the same reactions or being able to have a discussion even when you disagree. In the beginning, when I first did them, I was still nervous about sharing my opinions, so I kind of kept quiet. But that soon changed. I don't remember the first one I did, but I think it might have been with the awesome Diamond. :) She actually commented on a post I published on here and we started reading The Iron Queen, which led to a TON of buddy reads together (even have one in September). So seriously, if you see a book that we both have, let me know in the comments if you want to read it together. I'd love to! I just want some lively discussions... is that too much to ask?

I also do a lot of buddy reads in David Estes' fan group on Goodreads. I looooove buddy reading with these people and talking about life and books. We get some great lively discussions... and that reminds me that I haven't done one with them in awhile. I MUST CHANGE THIS. Anyway, my point is that I've had some great buddy reads! And then I've also had some not-so-great ones...

Case in point: AUGUST. This month was pretty bad when it came to buddy reads. Only one of them was actually fun. The rest? Not so much. It all started out when August hit. I was supposed to do one in the beginning, but the person never responded to my comment when I was wondering if we were still on for it (we'd set this one up like a month beforehand). Okay, whatever. I have other books to read, that's fine. Then I had two other buddy reads with the same person, which turned out to be total busts. She never even read the books. I get it. If you don't have time, or life gets in the way, that's fine. JUST LET ME KNOW! I'm cool with setting the book aside. Just talk to me about it! And then you get the people who don't discuss after they've read the book. Like, I don't do buddy reads to have one-sided conversations with myself. I do buddy reads for discussions! So please do me the favor of actually responding to my comments and letting me know what you thought of the book, even if it's not the same as me. I can have discussions with you without getting defensive and telling you that you're wrong to think a certain way. I don't bite, I promise. But I hate looking stupid when I'm talking to crickets. *chirp chirp*

Sure, I shouldn't let a few bad experiences ruin buddy reads. But it was just so frustrating! I was excited about all of these and happy that I set up a lot of them to help me get through my ARC August reads. Sometimes, though, it just doesn't feel worth it. I'm not trying to call anyone out for this, and I'm sorry if it's you and you're offended and pissed off by this post. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. I managed to do that to someone on Twitter because I decided to rant without remembering that people actually read my tweets. And then I felt incredibly bad about it because it wasn't just one person. It was a stream of crappy buddy reads and a few people who just suck at them.

But it's also not just these bad experiences. I'm a solitary reader, and most of the time, I prefer that. Not because of all of this, but because some books are for me to experience ALONE. I don't want to read them with other people. I don't do buddy reads for contemporary novels. Why? Because usually I feel those ones much more intensely and I don't want to share that with people. Reading is, most of the time, a very emotional experience for me (because I read a lot of realistic fiction). And I prefer those books to stay special by reading them alone so I can feel everything and open myself up to all that's going on. I feel like that would just be weird with others, and I also have a hard time stopping with those books because I just want to keep reading and not discuss.

I probably shouldn't publish this post, especially considering I could possibly piss someone off. But I wanted to rant and DISCUSS buddy reads. They're fun, until they're not. All of the above are the reasons why I have a love/hate relationship with buddy reads. But since that Twitter mini-rant about this subject, I've discovered that you just have to find the right people. I'll keep doing buddy reads. I'll just be more picky when it comes to WHO I read with for obvious reasons. :)

Your turn: how do you feel about buddy reads? Do you do them a lot? Or have you never tried one?

Review of Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton

*I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Mary Hades was one of those books that I liked but won't think about it too much afterward. This is going to sound bad, but I've forgotten a lot about it and this review might take awhile to write because I'll have to go back and look up my bookmarked sections (which I do for these exact instances).

Rating: 3 Stars!
This book was creepy. Not as creepy as it could have been, but it still made me cringe because THE HORROR. It starts out with a bang that pulled me instantly into the story.

Mary Hades is a girl that hasn't had an easy life. Her parents are great, she has an awesome best friend. But she's not...sane. Or, at least, that's what everybody thinks. She's been committed for seeing things that aren't there. And after a tragedy that happened at the mental hospital, Mary's parents decide that she needs a vacation. Something to take her mind off the fact that she almost died and her best friend was killed. But Lacey is still around. She's still here helping Mary, and she needs that. It was a little hard to connect with Mary, probably because she's a little disconnected with the world. Her best friend is a ghost, she's awkward in social situations, and she sees the things that no one believes in. It's made her not believe in herself. But she's also just trying to figure out how to go through life like this, stumbling along the way, and realizing that she's not crazy. 

The secondary characters had some bright personalities, even the ghost of Lacey. I loved the friendship between her and Mary; they really stuck by each other when the going got tough. I liked the carnie, Seth, with Mary. Their relationship was cute and innocent and all about first love. It developed a little fast, but that's okay. It kind of fit them, because they are both experiencing a lot with each other. I liked her parents a lot, though I wish they'd been more involved.

This book was creepy, but I wasn't scared. I think it could have had some major potential in the "horror" department, but it was a little underwhelming in that regard. Though there were some freaky scenes, and that cover itself is weird. And I was so underwhelmed by the ending and the big "showdown" between this mismatched group of sleuthing amateurs and the ghost that just won't let go. And I'm not crazy about a sequel, but I do know that I wouldn't mind more of these characters. 

Mary Hades was a good book, and I liked it. I just don't remember much about it.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Two Favorite K.A. Tucker Moments

I'm so excited to be participating in this blog tour/event, because I absolutely LOVE this series! I didn't start reading it until this past May, and I can't believe it took me so damn long to find out why everyone was in love with this series. Because now I'm completely and irrevocably in love with everything about the Ten Tiny Breaths novels and their characters and K.A. Tucker's beautiful writing. I've only read the first two, sadly. But as soon as I get back to the library (yay for them having her books!) I'll finish the series. And I know I'll love them just as much as the first two. And because I love them so much, I have not just one, but TWO, favorite moments from this series.

I'm warning you now; these will contain SPOILERS. So if you haven't read the books, don't read them. I don't want to ruin a reading experience that should be completely blank and open. :)

Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them.

Four years ago Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, holding her boyfriend’s lifeless hand and listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty year old Kacey and her fifteen year old sister Livie escape Grand Rapids, Michigan to start over in Miami. Struggling to make ends meet, Kacey needs to figure out how to get by. But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.

Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes, deep dimples, and perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds.

***Caution: Mature content! Not suitable for younger readers. Contains reference to drugs, swearing, and sexual content ***

Amazon | B&N iBookstore | BAM | Bookish | Other


Favorite Ten Tiny Breaths Moment! 

My favorite moment in Ten Tiny Breaths was when Kacey and Trent were at the club, and they hold hands. You might think that's not something huge, but it is. That is the moment when the reader can see that Kacey is finally healing. That she's choosing to move on from the pain of that tragic accident. That she's choosing to live. It is the first glimpse into the vulnerability that she tries so hard to hide. It's the moment when holding hands with Trent becomes the first step that Kacey takes in letting someone into her heart. It took her an enormous amount of courage and strength to do that. And if you've read the book, you will understand why. The accident damaged her and shattered her into a million tiny pieces until she was left not remembering who she was before it happened. But Trent broke through her barriers and helped her breathe again. It showed the gentleness in Trent and how much he cared for her. It bonded them with an emotional intimacy that scared Kacey but gave her the courage to tryThat moment was just so exquisitely beautiful that I had to take a few minutes before I could keep reading.
For the first time in four years, the thought of a hand covering mine doesn't send me into a dizzying spiral downward. And I realize that I want Trent to touch me.
"Is this okay?" -Trent 
The world moves forward, oblivious to this significant shift in my tiny universe.


Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents' tragic death and Kacey's self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would...and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fit Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.

Amazon | B&N iBookstore | BAM | Bookish | Other


Favorite One Tiny Lie Moment!

My favorite moment in One Tiny Lie was when Livie twisted her ankle (yeah, I know how bad that sounds) and Ashton helped her out. It was the moment when their relationship took a pivotal turn into a passionate love that consumed them. But it was also the moment that Ashton chooses to let her in, when he's spent his whole life keeping everyone outside of his heart. That scene in the bathroom was one of my favorite parts of the book. I don't even know why, but I think it just showed Ashton at his most vulnerable, and with it, Livie let herself just feel. She threw away her inhibitions and her "good girl" persona and let herself just get caught up in the moment with a guy who confuses and interests her. That kiss was probably my favorite intimate moment of theirs. It was a moment of freedom for both of themAnd when Ashton took her hand and placed it over his heart, I got chills. I got a glimpse into who he is underneath the arrogant exterior, and so did Livie. And it was a beautiful but sad moment.

Actually, I was just looking through all of my bookmarked pages and realized it's not the only favorite moment I have of Livie's and Ashton's story. But it is the one that stuck with me the most, because I felt like it was that pivotal moment in their relationship when everything changed.
"You're staring at me again, Irish." -Ashton
It has to be right if it feels like this. 
"Thank you." -Ashton. "For what?" -Livie. "For helping me forget. Even for a little while." -Ashton.


About K.A. Tucker:
Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Release Day Launch and Review: Guardian

GUARDIAN Synopsis:
Sometimes, things that go bump in the night are real. 

My name is Whitney Lane.  I’m sixteen years old and at first, I thought I was crazy. 

I kept seeing shadows move along walls, and hearing whispers around corners, but whenever I looked, there was never anything there.  

Until one day, there was. 

Our world isn’t what we think.  There are things around us, good things, bad things, scary things.  
Things that we tell ourselves aren’t real, but they are.   

They’re very real, and they’re terrifying. 

I’ve been swept up now, in a battle of good and evil, confused about love and what is supposed to be love, but isn’t.  I don’t know what to think anymore.  I can’t trust my emotions and I don’t know what is true.  

There’s only one thing I know for sure. 

Nothing is what it seems.

Buy Links!
Barnes and Noble (don't have link yet!)


My Review!

I didn't know what to expect from this book, because the synopsis was vague as hell. But it sounded so good! Was it a horror book, a ghost story, or some other paranormal being that we won't know about until we read it? I had no clue! And I loved that. It made everything so surprising and twisty.

Rating: 4 Stars!

At the beginning of this novel, I wasn't sure I could read it. Not because it was bad or that I disliked the writing. It was so eerily similar to what my life was like four years ago, and still kind of is today. It made me put it aside for like a week, because I didn't feel emotionally ready for how this book started out. I almost didn't do it for this release day launch. But then I started reading it again during my "lunch break" at school and I was hooked.

I really loved the main character's voice and how she told the story. Whitney has just been through a terrible tragedy, but she's pushing away her grief to help her mother and baby sister. At times, she resents that, which is normal and makes total sense. But she also just has a huge heart and she can't stand not being able to do anything to heal her mother's broken heart. She's standing on her own, swirling in a world filled with grief and heartache, yet she still does whatever she can to ease her family's pain. That takes strength, and a lot of courage. I admired Whit for her caring nature and golden heart, all the while suffering by herself with no one to lean on. She struggles on a daily basis to be happy and live her life, and she has to balance that with a life that is quickly and rapidly changing. From a crush developing into something more to a mom that won't snap out of her grief to a revelation that rocks Whit's entire universe, she has to come to terms with everything that's happening. But Whit keeps her cool, her calmness, and she's very self-aware of herself and the people around her. This girl seriously doesn't have a flaw, and I found that to be a little bit ridiculous because no one is perfect. But she had great growth throughout the book.

The secondary characters were all wonderfully fleshed out! I loved Whit's relationship with her little sister, and even her mom. I ADORED Delaney, Whit's best friend. She was awesome, and their friendship was beautiful. For reasons I cannot say because they would spoil plot, I also loved the character who shows up and rocks Whit's world with the truth about everything. And there is a little bit of romance, but it's not the focus. I liked that because this was more about Whit healing from a tragedy that changed her life and learning that not everything is as it seems.

And boy is that statement the TRUTH. Because I was so blind from the synopsis (and obviously I missed the hot guy with wings on the cover--not even joking, I just realized this when I started writing the review), I was pleasantly surprised with the direction the story took. That story-line has been overdone and the "twist" near the end was very easy to figure out for me, but I thought this book made things unique. It was fairly simple and straightforward yet there is a lot the reader doesn't know. There is a lot Whitney doesn't know, and I loved watching her untangle the truths behind what she never knew was real.

Guardian was a young adult paranormal that started out reading like a contemporary but quickly changed into a story about good vs. evil, monsters in the dark vs. guardians of the light. And I loved it!


Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real. 

Happy birthday to me. 
 I close my eyes and burrow into my pillow as I try to sleep, as I try to escape this life. 
It’s a life I never thought I’d have, a life I most certainly don’t want. 
I’m still feeling sorry for myself as the blackness of sleep finally overtakes me. 
I don’t know what time it is when I shoot straight upward like a rocket.  Something had yanked me from the oblivion of sleep, something loud and shrill scraping my window.
My room is completely dark and I glanceat my clock in confusion. 
3:00 a.m.
As my heart pounds hard against my ribcage, I quickly scan every corner of the room.
 In the last few hours, dark shadows had migrated onto my pink walls, but they’re familiar, nothing out of the ordinary, although in the night, they seem twisted and scary.  
I remain motionless as I allow the sleep-induced fog to clear from my brain.
As I sit, I feel common sense and logic slowly returning.
Of course nothing had touched my window because my bedroom is on the second floor. Nothing can reach it.  And there are no trees near enough to brush against it.  It was just a dream.
It was only a dream.
I chant it silently to myself like a mantra as I consciously slow my breathing down, hoping that my racing pulse will soon follow. It was only a dream.
But just as I’m calming down, I hear it again.
A high-pitched shrill shriek, reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard, scraping down my window. I gasp and pull my feet up to my chest, which is when I notice the temperature. 
I notice because I can see my breath.
Timidly, I blow a puff out again, watching the way my breath turns white in the air. 
Holy crap.  Oh my God. 
What the hell?
The sound stops and stillness surrounds me once again, the silence so loud that it echoes in my ear.
Nothing moves around me, the shadows are perfectly still as they twist across my wall.  They look like mangled fingers and arms and legs, but they don’t move. 
My legs are weak and shaking, but I know I have to move.   I have to move off my bed because it feels like something is under it.  Something terrifying. 
With a leap, I bound across the room, my feet hitting the floor several feet away from the edge of my bed. 
The floor is ice cold, as though it had been covered in a blanket of snow. 
I’m trembling as I race to the far wall and check the thermostat.  Because that’s the only explanation.  I must’ve bumped it earlier, I must’ve turned the AC way down. 
But the luminous numbers stare at me in contradiction. 
74 degrees. 
It must be broken.  It has to be broken.
My breath is coming in pants now, terrified, anxious pants. 
My fear isn’t logical.  I know there’s nothing here.  I’m the only one in this room. 
Or am I?
The air seems to push at me from all around, something dark, something heavy, something real.  Something unseen. 
My fingers shake, my legs tremble, and then all of a sudden, they can no longer support my weight.  I go down like a pile of bricks, collapsing onto the floor.  I lie still because I can’t move, because something seems to sit on my chest, holding me down. 
The shadows start to move, to slither across the walls, to reach and pull and dance. 
I struggle to focus, to see what it is. 
But all I can see are the numbers on the thermostat suddenly moving, rapidly counting down from 74 to 20. 
Twenty degrees?
The air is frigid as I suck it in, as I try to pull the ice crystals into my mouth so I can breathe. 
All of a sudden, there’s a blackness in front of me.  It hovers over me, a shapeless mass, sucking in the cells of the air, the atoms and the molecules.  It’s darker than the blackness of my room, blacker than the blackest black. 
Something is here. 
With me. 
“Dad?” I whisper in a white puff.  Because what else could it be?
I reach out a finger to touch it, and then I can’t see anything else, because the darkness of it surrounds me, bleeding into everything else, even my vision.   The shriek is back, screaming into my ears, bleeding into my brain. 
Then there’s nothing.


To celebrate Courtney’s Birthday, she is putting the following titles on sale for just $.99 on August 28th ONLY!


Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Release Day Launch and Review: I Want It That Way


Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

"A tender, sweet, and sexy story about how life—and falling in love—can never be planned."
—Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You

I WANT IT THAT WAY on Goodreads



My Review!

Every time I see that title, I start humming the popular song by Backstreet Boys. It's just inevitable, really. I think that was the hook that made me add the book to my TBR. Don't judge me, okay. I love the Backstreet Boys. But I didn't fall totally in love with I Want It That Way like I thought I would.

Rating: 3 Stars!

"You are my fire, the one desire..." 

When Nadia Conrad meets Daniel "Ty" Tyler, she immediately crushes on him. I mean, who wouldn't? He's sexy, knows responsibility, and is a great father to his little boy, Sam. And since she loves kids, that's like kryptonite to her, basically her one weakness. So Nadia pines away thinking about him, and they start this tentative friendship of late-night balcony talks and looks full of longing and desire in the apartment and day-care center where they see each other all the time. But Ty won't date. He's been burned before, and he has a kid to think about. He basically tells her that he can't do more than sex. And she jumps at the chance, because she can't fathom not having anything to do with Ty. So she'll take what she can get, thinking she can keep her emotions out of it. But we all know how that works out, don't we?

I liked the characters, but I didn't love them. And it's not because of their personalities; it's because I just didn't have strong feelings toward them, good or bad. They don't really pop off the pages with bright personalities. Nadia is a hard-worker who cares a lot about her grades and her future. She loves kids but still has uncertainties about her future in special education. She's just a college student who is trying to make her dreams come true. Ty is also a hard-worker, and reserved, and still lets his past rule his future. He needed to learn that opening up to love was worth the pain and potential heartbreak.

They had some serious chemistry together, and I liked that their relationship stayed true to who they both were. However, it didn't feel deep to me at all. They don't have many meaningful conversations, but they do have a lot of sex. But emotions neither of them think they want push between them. It leads to nerves and lukewarm friendship to a separation that spans like six months to moving in together at the end. However, I didn't necessarily believe that what they had was a happily-ever-after, especially since Nadia jumped on the love train kind of fast.

I kind of got bored with the uneventful plot. I really enjoyed it in the beginning, but then I started wishing something exciting would happen. There were quite a few comedic moments with Nadia and her roommates. I loved it when the secondary characters were together! But I did not like the timeline that this book had. I grew frustrated when Ty and Nadia were on their "separation" from each other. It just felt like it was prolonging the story and making the reader "feel" the heartache that Nadia goes through without Ty. But again, I didn't think their relationship had much depth, so it just felt unnecessary. And they worked through everything pretty fast.

Aside from the negative, I did enjoy this book! And now I have the Backstreet Boys song stuck in my head.. Thank you, Ann Aguirre.


“Where are you from?”
Ah, an actual question. That means I can ask one back.
“Nebraska, toward the South Dakota and Wyoming side, if that helps.”
“I’ve never met anyone from there.”
Michigan was a long way from home. “I usually get ‘not in Nebraska anymore’ jokes, and then I have to decide if I’m going to remind them that’s Kansas or play along.”
“What do you usually do?”
“Play along.”
“You don’t like conflict, huh?” He sounded normal tonight, as if talking to me wasn’t an unpleasant chore anymore.
That was a relief since I’d come to look forward to these moments with him so much. More, maybe, than I’d like to admit.Right. Friends. I distracted myself by considering his question. “Not if it can be avoided. I’m not what you’d call pugnacious, no. But I like to think I don’t back off important issues. What about you?”
“No.” His voice was bleak and quiet. “I don’t. Even when I should.”
Wow, that took a dark turn.
If I could’ve jumped onto his patio without breaking an ankle or waking Sam, I’d have been down there like a shot. The distance between us seemed intolerable, and from the knot in my throat, I didn’t see how I could live another second without touching him, finding out if his hair was as soft as it looked or what he smelled like. Iwanted him in a way I never had before.
In high school, I had a boyfriend who played basketball, and we broke up when I left the state. It was a rational decision, and I didn’t miss him that much once I was gone. My freshman year, I went out with a lot of different guys, one date here, two dates there, but I never clicked with anyone enough to focus on them. Sometimes there were hookups with no strings, no expectations. Classes, friends and work seemed a lot more important. The intensity of this attraction was foreign and frightening, if exhilarating. I might already be backing off if I had the faintest sense that Ty was jerking me around on purpose.
Wish he didn’t make me feel this way. It’d be so much simpler if I could friend-zone him.
I realized I still hadn’t touched his verbal grenade. “We all have things we’d do differently in hindsight.”
“What is it about you?” he asked in a wondering tone.
“You make me…better. Calmer.”
“Like a sedative?” I snickered. It was the least sexy thing a guy had ever said to me, including a junior high squeeze who said my face wasn’t actually that bad.
He laughed, too, a sheepish sound. “I didn’t mean it like that. Just…I’m worried pretty much all the time that I’m dropping the ball somewhere, about to face-plant, but when I come out here and hear your voice, everything backs off like ten steps. I can breathe again.”


About Ann Aguirre:
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.