Bring on the Bad Boys || A Conversation

It is indisputable that there is a certain allure to bad boys—hell this point was brought up on the first episode of Jojo’s Bachelorette season. What is it about the down and dirty (and I mean dirty talking, motorcycle driving, boys you don’t being home to your mama) men that have us squirming in our seats? Besides that, what is the difference between the ‘bad boys’ and the Bad Boys?
(did you notice how I capitalized the second offender?)
I like to think of the ‘bad boys’ in a way that parallels that breed of male-ness to broken puppies. They’ve got big eyes that you can just fall into, and you want to fix them. These ‘bad boys’ are the ones that can be fixed. There’s not something at their core that makes your soul shudder just a little bit, when you get too close to them. They often come in the form of (but not limited to) motorcyclists who just happen to be rolling into town, bootleggers with a heart of gold, teenagers who’ve got their boxers in a twist, and the occasional cheating with the best friend boyfriend (who, no, you’re not allowed to casually back over with your daddy’s pick-up). Of course there’s a ‘bad boy’ who will always and forever be close to my heart.
His name is Rhys. And he’s a rant for another time. I could write a two-thousand-word essay on his wings.
*clears throat*

The Bad Boys on the other hand (I’m waggling my eyebrows in case you can’t see), well sugar, they’re a different story all together. They’re the bad to the bone boys. Think irredeemable. The first one that comes to mind to me is The Darkling. He’s evil in the murderous kind of way. He’s what makes the world that Leigh Bardugo creates so beautiful, dark, glittering, and unforgiving. His rage and desire for power makes the people is their society both desolate and incredibly rebellious.
Then I also think of Lo-Melkhiin, when I think of Bad Boys. He’s also rather murderous. Fond of fires and swords, these are two of the most swoon-worthy evil guys out there, in my personal opinion. (which I like to think is right more often than not) The Bad Boys are frequently found in fantasy novel, a place where there are not actual bounds to their evil-doing because literally anything is possible. (mwahahahaha) This, not that I think about it, is probably why fantasy is one of my favorite genres.

So there we have it: the distinction between ‘bad boys’ and Bad Boys. Which one is your favorite? Or—whois your favorite?
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#ARC Review: Body Rocks by A. M. Arthur

Body Rocks by A. M. Arthur
Amazon || Goodreads
Published June 28, 2016 || Swerve
eARC via Publisher

Everything is finally falling into place for Trey Cooper: his band has been accepted into one of the biggest music competitions in the country…too bad their drummer just quit to play with XYZ, their biggest rival. When Trey has a mind-blowingly hot hookup with a mysterious violinist, Trey definitely plans to see him again – just not on stage as a member XYZ.

Dominic Bounds’ time to make his musical dreams come true is running out. If something doesn’t happen fast, he has to head home to find a real job. This competition is his last chance, and Dom needs to come out on top – but he never expected to fall for his rival. As Dom and Trey risk everything to begin a secret affair, there’s no denying their chemistry is off the charts – but could their band rivalry turn their romance into a one-hit wonder?

Dom and Trey meet at an open mic night. The after-fall changes the course of not only who they are (and yes, I’m being serious) but what they are capable of doing. Their past makes them wary of people and feelings; Dom is out in the open about his sexuality, while Trey is closeted behind the persona of the band he’s in. If I could describe this book in two words I would use Hot (capitalized for emphasis) and dramatic. BODY ROCKSfollows these two men on a trek to re-capture themselves, accept who they are, and figure out how they can intertwine their two great loves. While I was really into the story for the first half of the book, it took a turn for the worse on the second half.
I liked this book, and I thought I would, but there were parts that sort of killed me a bit on the inside. I’m not a huge lover of drama. You read that the two words I used to describe this book were hot and dramatic. I feel like there’s drama with them just being together; their bands are rivals, Trey’s not even really out, and they’ve both got some serious emotional baggage that they’re lugging around. I would have liked the plot better if it would have not strayed from where it was going around sixty percent. I ended up not hating the plot twist as much as I thought I would (YAY!) but I was still annoyed. I found it predictable in a not so wonderful way. Drama isn’t my thing, and even though I wasn’t a fan of the use of it in BODY ROCKS, it still worked better than I thought it would.
While I really like the plot (hey there, love), I just got annoyed with the choices the characters were making. I get insecurity, and fear, and the desperation to hold onto something that you’re pretty positive is slipping away. At some point, however, you’ve got to have faith that you both got a pretty good handle on things, and if things do take a turn for the worse freaking talk about it. I’m all about good communication.
This drama and communication issue comes back to how much I like the characters. Even though it probably doesn’t sound like it from my previous rant, I did really like them. I was rooting for them and cheering them on. I’LL BE THE CHEERLEADER YOU NEVER KNEW YOU NEEDED. They both really need to win the competition to prove something, to earn something. I could see the struggle they faced, torn between wanting to win for themselves and wanting the other one to win because they needed the title and contract a little bit more.

I adore music, and BODY ROCKS let it play a big part in the story. Every aspect of it was coated in song lyrics and heavy bass. Even though I was at ends with the less than fantastic decisions the characters made, I still found them pretty endearing. I wanted to hug them as much as I wanted to punch them (I say that with affection). I found myself wanting to hear the music they were playing, and give them a high-five when they won, and buy them a taco when they didn’t get exactly what they wanted. BODY ROCKS was good. I’m glad I read it, even though I had to stop a few times from frustration.

#BookLook || The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright

The Heir and the Spare

My Two Cents

I can’t deal with those shoes. Ugh. I mean they look like Cinderella’s carriage wheels. I can pretty much guarantee I would not be able to walk very far in them. Maybe from the car to the dinner table .

I want them.

And while I’m at it, I also want that winking clutch because WHO DOESN’T need a winking clutch in their purse collection?

Really? Who?

About the Book

Goodreads || Amazon

Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.

In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.

#ARC Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall

Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall
Amazon || Goodreads
Published June 21, 2016 || Swerve Press
eARC via Publisher

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Daire is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts th
at only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Daire’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Daire does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Daire let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

I made a wonderfully, horrible decision a week or so ago. I started this book right before bed, promising myself a couple of chapters just to get a feel for the book (I’ve said this promise and broken it so many times—I should really know better by now) and ended up staying up into the AM finishing BEAUTY AND THE HIGHLAND BEAST. When the email with this book popped into my inbox so soon after finishing testing, I really, really couldn’t resist. I’m super glad I didn’t. Beauty and the Beastis one of my favorite tales, and Lecia Cornwall used the tale not only as a device to create the plot, but also as a character builder. While I wasn’t head over heels for the romance, I like the coming-to-terms-with-oneself story line. I can’t resist a good self-discovery story. This was just that. (well just that along with a super swoony Scot…)
That super swoony Scot happens to go by the name of Dair Sinclair. When his cousin Jean decided to pledge her life to God he is the one tasked with getting her across the sea and safely to her destination. Unfortunately, this plan goes awry and Dair comes back with emotional and physical scars. A local healer predicts that a virgin (I rolled my eyes too, y’all) can heal him. This is where the strong-willed, fantastically brave and kind Fia MacLeod comes in. She travels from her home to Dair’s, along with one of her sisters and her cat, with the intention to heal the supposed madman.
All of the characters, with the exception of Fia, had to grow on me. Especially Meggie. What made me, in the end, want to be friends with most of them? Answer: the way they interacted was something to be seen. From people being accused of witchery, nightmares, cats who put warriors in their place, and a family dynamic that is just as heartbreaking as it is endearing, this book nails human interaction. Because of the simple humanness of all the characters, the plot twist wasn’t unforeseeable (at least not all of it) but still left me eagerly (eagerly should be read compulsively in a sleepy-can’t-stop kind of way) flipping pages on my phone until the story was all said and done. An unexpected mystery does this to a girl. Or at least it does to this nosey one.
I don’t read a bunch of historical novels simply because the past is romanticized is a way that frequently annoys me. It was romanticized a bit here too, but I liked it instead of being fed up with it. Reading this after putting off historicals for so long makes me want to go out and buy a bunch of them. Maybe I was too quick to judge. Either way, I want more.

For those who are just getting into the historical romance game, BEAUTY AND THE HIGHLAND BEAST is a dashing place to begin. It’s a love story, a self-discovery story, a mystery, and it’s set in Scotland. Which is hella gorgeous (rolling hills and has warrior chiefs in kilts (or I’m going to assume kilts since the actual clothing of the men was never talked about and I like that picture). Talk about a picture perfect setting. Talk about a good book.

#ARC Review || Third Base by Heidi McLaughlin || Not My Favorite

Third Base by Heidi McLaughlin
ARC via Publisher + NetGalley
Published || June 7, 2016
Goodreads || Amazon

Ethan Davenport is already Boston’s most eligible bachelor. In his second season with the Boston Renegades he has set his eyes on the girl behind the visitors’ dugout.

That girl is Daisy Robinson, a journalism student at the University of Boston and a die-hard Renegades fan.

But with new found love comes challenges and Ethan and Daisy have to deal with his crazy schedule, school finals and his presence on her campus for some much needed media training.
For Ethan nothing can come between him and Daisy, until a secret that she’s been keeping threatens to destroy them both.

This is going to be real short and sweet. 
I’m going to be completely honest here (I mean, when am I not?) and just come right out and say it.
Reading THIRD BASE I was just so incredibly bored. That sounds terrible. Here’s the thing: I love baseball, books about baseball, how butts tend to look in baseball pants. Books with baseball have to bear the weight of all my expectations coming into it, and this book just didn’t hold up to the fold.
The book just didn’t hold my interest. I felt like I wasn’t learning anything about his love interest, and that her employment was fairly obvious. (maybe I just read too much?) I found it predictable. I wish that there was a dual perspective, and not only the guy’s. I’m fine with just one character usually, but this book felt like it needed more.

Overall, this just wasn’t what I was looking for.
**highlight to see the sort-of spoiler**

#ARC Review || The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone 

Goodreads || Amazon
ARC via Publisher and Andye @ readingteen.net
Published: June 7, 2016

Enter to win a copy of the book on twitter here.

Seventeen-year-old Maddie O’Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie’s closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. Maddie’s plans change the instant Gram announces that she is terminally ill and has booked the family on a secret “death with dignity” cruise ship so that she can leave the world in her own unconventional way – and give the O’Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.


Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. As they travel the globe, Maddie bonds with other passengers and falls for Enzo, who is processing his own grief. But despite the laughter, headiness of first love, and excitement of glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram. She struggles to find the strength to say good-bye in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, loss, and the power of forgiveness.

Death, friendship, love: they’re all a part of life. 

They’re good and their bad. Sometimes they disappoint. Sometimes they’re all you’ve got left. When Maggie’s Gram announces she wants to take her family on a death with dignity cruise after being diagnosed with a terminal form of pancreatic cancer, those three parts of life come crashing into her. On this around the world boat trip, there’s amusing humans also facing death, as well as a certain beautiful boy with a hella swoony accent who may just be a Great Love.
The Loose Ends List is such a good book. I sat down the Saturday following my first week of IB testing and read this book. I mean, I prepped for mother’s day and finished up my article for HelloFlo, but then I sat down with this gorgeous book and read and read and finished it. Besides this being the prettiest book on my shelf, it’s also one with a totally swoony main dude. He definitely joins the ranks among Etienne and The Warden. Enzo, Enzo, Enzo. You, sir, are adorable and that accent. Ugh. Disgustingly attractive. The characters in this book really made the book. I mean from Enzo to Gram, to the rest of Maggie’s family: they were all fun to read about. At times I found them overwhelming and insane. I mean that in the best way.
Isn’t that family? Insane and beautiful and chaotic? This book nailed the family relationship to a tee—even it was a big more expensive, and a bit eccentric than the majority of families out there.
Let’s talk a little but more about plot itself, and how the book involves the characters and life so wonderfully. As I said before, they’re on a cruise where all the patients go with the intention of this being their last big adventure. Maddie makes a Loose Ends List. This is the inspiration for Gram’s adventure. This book follows that last big adventure. All feels and romance and last words. It’s gorgeous and amazing.
I want to talk about the idea of a Loose Ends List versus a Bucket List.
First off, the whole idea of tying up loose ends applies to everyone; you want to do thing before you graduate college or high school. Maybe you have things to finish up before you’re married. It could be as simple as some things you want to do before summer is over. On the other end of the spectrum is a Bucket List. This concept has been around forever. It’s a list of things you do before you kick the bucket. Things to do before you die. The loose ends list is a much happier approach to the end, whatever that end may be.

It’s pretty obvious, I bet, that I really like the idea. I’ll be adopting it.

Book Endings that Linda Grimes {All Fixed Up} Would Change if She Could

We’ve all been there. The book was going great {amazing, spellbinding, awesome, hellstotheyesplease, ect.} but the ending totally killed the vibe. I know I’m guilty of knocking a whole star off the book rating if the ending angered me. I’m not saying I need a happily ever after all the time (I like a good old tragedy as much as the next girl) but I do like what I like.

I mean, don’t we all? It’s why we like different book. Uniformity is boring. Let’s embrace that. But if we could change the ending…given half the chance…well, that’s what Linda Grimes, author of All Fixed Up, is going to explore this lovely Friday Morning.

(P.S: I GRADUATE TODAY, BABES!)

Goodreads || Amazon

LINDA GRIMES is a former English teacher and ex-actress now channeling her love of words and drama into writing. She grew up in Texas and currently resides in northern Virginia with her husband.

Her series, CIEL HALLIGAN, is in stores now.

Book Endings I’d (Presumptuously) Rewrite If Given Half a Chance


Author’s Note: SPOILER ALERT: Actual book endings may be revealed in the course of this shameful confession. Read at your own risk.

1. Gone With The Wind. I first read GWTW when I was about eleven or twelve, on the recommendation of one of my fellow book-nerd friends. I must have read it ten times before I was sixteen, always secretly hoping Scarlett would somehow get a happily ever after with Rhett. In my version, Rhett does give a damn, and actually says, “Thank God you finally came to your senses, Scarlett!”

2. Old Yeller. Why does the dog always die in children’s books?! Gaah. Couldn’t it, just once, come close to death but narrowly avoid it and miraculously rally? Is that really asking too much? In my version, the dog saves everyone and lives to wag its tail to a ripe old age. 

3. Little Women. Jo should have wound up with Laurie. End of story. Because, seriously, Professor Bhaer? Can we say daddy issues? Also, bor-ing. Ho-hum city. The Big Yawn. Jo and Laurie were the best of friends, and I firmly believe a solid friendship is the basis of a good marriage. They were obviously meant for each other, and in my version that’s exactly how they wind up. Oh, yeah, and Beth doesn’t die. She gets really sick, but miraculously recovers. Kind of like Old Yeller (see above).

4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Really? It was all just a dream? Come. On. You lead me through all those wild and whimsical happenings, introducing me to magnificently imaginative characters, and then tell me none of it was real? Please. In my version every last part of it actually happens. That would be surprising. Perhaps a bit frightening, yes, but at least you wouldn’t get a cold splash of “real life” thrown in your face before you even close the book.

5. Gone Girl. Okay, this may exhibit more of my vindictive nature than I generally like to, but frankly these characters don’t deserve to live. Sure, the book is a gripping read, but frankly I wanted to throw it against a wall when I found out that last “surprise.” In my version, the baby is born, after which its parents die tragically in a car wreck. Then the baby is raised by a nice, normal, loving couple and lives happily ever after. The End.

Now, I’m not saying my versions would make any of these books better. In fact, I’d venture to say they’d probably ruin the books entirely. I fully admit that. I’m just being honest about how the books, as written, made me feel while reading them. So please take it with the proverbial grain of salt.

How about you? Are there any books you, in you heart of hearts, would like to change the ending to? Do share! Even if they happen to be mine. Well, except this latest one (All Fixed Up), because I agonized over that ending, and I’m rather fond of it.

All Fixed Up by Linda Grimes
(Ciel Halligan #4)
Published May 24, 2016 || Tor Books
The hilarious adventures of human chameleon Ciel Halligan continue in the fourth installment of this original urban fantasy series from Linda Grimes, All Fixed Up.
Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, has a lot of experience filling in for her clients–as them. A rare genetic quirk gives her the ability to absorb human energy and project it back out in a flawless imitation. She’s hard at work, posing as a well-known and celebrated astronaut, about to make a stunning announcement on behalf of the space program…when the photographer documenting the job sees right through her aura. Worse, it soon becomes apparent that he not only knows Ciel’s not who she’s supposed to be, but means her harm.
When Ciel’s elderly Aunt Helen—also an aura adaptor—is murdered in Central Park, and the same photographer shows up at the funeral, Ciel starts to feel even more exposed. Then more adaptors are killed in the same way, and she becomes terrified her friends and family are being systematically exterminated … and it’s starting to look like she’s the ultimate target. She turns to Billy Doyle, her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, for help, but when an unexpected crisis causes him to take off without a word, she’s left to rely on her not-so-former crush, CIA agent Mark Fielding.
Staying alive, keeping control of her romantic life, and unraveling the mystery of why adaptors are being pursued becomes a harder balancing act than ever in this new Ciel Halligan adventure from Linda Grimes.

#Review || Calico by Callie Hart || Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

Calico by Callie Hart
Goodreads || Amazon
Published April 8, 2016

Coralie
Twelve years ago, I ran to stay alive. 


Port Royal, South Carolina, was my home. I was born there. I fell in love there. And I nearly died there. I never thought I’d go back. Now, after so many years, I have to return to bury the man who made my life a living hell. Some nights, I used to cry myself to sleep, praying my father would die. Other nights were different. Other nights, there was him. 

Callan Cross. 


My first confidante. My first kiss. My first love. My first everything: Callan was the glue that held me together when everything else was falling apart. He was my savior. He was there for me whenever I needed him…

Until he wasn’t.

Every night, I’ve seen the love of my life in my sleep.
I just never thought I’d have to face him again.



Callan
Twelve years ago, I f*#@ed up big time.
 

Living life through a camera lens is sometimes easier than dealing with it head on. Scratch that. It’s always easier. For over a decade, I’ve been a master of my art, taking photographs all over the world. Yet despite all of the countries I’ve visited, the amazing things I’ve seen, the beautiful women I’ve screwed, my heart has remained in pieces.

Coralie’s the only woman I’ve ever loved, will ever love. And I’m determined to show her that we’re meant to be together. Even if it means unearthing the bones of the past in the process. 

A lifetime and a thousand miles have stood between us.
Now, there’s no length of time I won’t wait, no distance I won’t travel, in order to make her mine.



This is what happens when you let injuries fester. 

You get scars that you can’t quite cover up. This book is all about what happens when you have no choice but to face the injury. Callan and Coralie grew up together, fell in love, endured pain. Then Coralie left. They both grew up, one in California and one in New York. When they both come back to where they grew up, they can stay away from each other, but they also can’t be together because of the secrets they kept.
Okay, y’all. I’m just going to come out and say it. I despise Callan. I maybe sort of liked him for a hot second. As CALICO progressed I was annoyed, and, frankly, pissed off. Coralie was abused by her father for almost the sum of her formative years. She didn’t tell anyone, which isn’t uncommon for those being abused. Especially when the abuse is at the hands of someone they’re supposed to be protected by. When she leaves, she tries to bury all of her hurt, and her sorrow, and her pain. With all that she buried, she also dug a hole for Callan.
The book follows how they deal with the secrets and with their being in the company of the other again.
These two are toxic for each other. The wounds of the past had not been dealt with, and personally I felt that they needed to deal with all of that before they decided where they stood on the other person. They were invaluable to each other as children, but not they’re adult who’ve avoided things for too long. And it hurt them.
I was fed up with the situation. I wanted to show them the door to therapy offices, not to the door of the other’s bedroom. Which seemed to be the way they wanted to go.
I did not like the way abuse was handled in the novel. I did not like Callan. I really did not like how fast they went back to each other without really discussing what happened. The cover drew me in, but the contents severely disappointed me. Emotional trauma is a real thing, and we can see how deep in burrowed in Coralie. This girl just needs some more help, some more time, and, I think, different people. (or more specifically, a different person)
Obviously I’m in the minority with this one; read the other reviews to get different opinions. Maybe you’ll see something in CALICO that I didn’t.

Change The World: Feel Free to Call Yourself A Sexy-Pants Pro-Equality-ist

Dear readers,

Welcome one and all to another session of CHANGE THE WORLD, where I rant about how to make a change and a lovely way to do so. Like spreading the word. Not letting people having the excuse of not knowing about it. Starting a conversation. Raising awareness.

First off, bravo world. Since the August 18, 1920 women in the United States have had the right to vote. Take that patriarchy! *ahem* *clears throat* Before I go on, I know it’s Not All Men. So please don’t use that argument with me. I know, I know. But it’s also not all women. If you believe in equality, then I love you. If you believe if equal pay (not the women, on average, get $0.75 for ever $1.00 men get) then I adore you. If you believe that there is an actual gender gap, then thank you for not letting your eyes glaze over. I appreciate that. Big time.

I think we, as a society, maybe just as individuals, have an idea in our minds of what our lives should be like. And that is totally fine. Seriously. I mean, I want a farm and a garden a a bed a breakfast with an animal rescue on the side. We all have dreams. And that’s absolutely fantastic. Seriously, yay you for looking forward to something. It’s called motivation. It’s when that motivation is derogatory towards a set group of people, whether it be towards a certain gender, sexuality, race, religion, ect, that things get a little crazy and the line between right and wrong get a little blurry.

The fact that people call things like this (rights) women’s right, or gay rights (or men’s right, or straight rights–though I haven’t really heard either of those) frankly gets on my nerves a bit. Aren’t women…human? Aren’t people who like the same gender..human? Are people who are transexual…human? So…wait…these are human rights. *cue the light bulbs going off*

I’ll say it again. I know it’s Not All Men. It’s also Not All Women.

I rather like the idea of equality. Quite a bit actually. I like the idea of everyone being on the same level, rights wise. I like the idea of having a say when deciding who is going to run my county and make decisions that are going to impact me. I love the idea of people marrying who they love. For love. (I feel like that would make an epic battle cry “FOR LOVE!“). Also have you listened to ARTIST VS POET’s song “Sake of Love” (SUCH A GOOD SONG!)

Before you start going all “Well this chick obviously is crazy…feminism *shudders*”

If it makes you feel better, don’t call it feminism. I honestly, don’t really care what you describe yourself as. Call yourself a sexy-pants pro-equlaity-ist if that really makes you feel better. What I just described to you is my feminism. And frankly, I’ll describe myself as a feminist. And yes, *sigh* I shave my legs. Jeez, stop being so stereotypical, y’all.

I’m so in love with love. I’m in love with people with brains and a heart. That’s why I believe in equality. Express yourself however you please. Do what makes you happy. Love who you love. Go cast that ballot! Be involved in society! Use that freedom of speech amendment to the best of your ability. You deserve it. Be educated. Read politics and stories with cute romances and for dear lord, smile. Are you frowning? Be happy. 

NOOOOW that I have all that out of the way, let me show you some killer conversation induction clothing. I just recently discovered this website and I waaaant the racerback ‘this is what a #feminist looks like’ tank. *drools*  /// V i s i t the website

N O W

Let’s talk about equality in literature. I freaking love it. I love the girls who don’t want to be saved but do the saving, who mess up but move on (Princess of Thorns). I love the girls who fight and save and escape and boys who let that girl bloom. (The Glass Arrow). I love the stories where there is no slut-shaming and people make their own decisions and they aren’t afraid (The Devil You Know). I love the stories were girls are kissing girls (Black Iris) and boys are kissing boys (Two Boys Kissing).

So hello there. You made it to the end of the post. I’m impressed. Tell me your thoughts. On everything. How you describe yourself. How you see the world. Your ideas. Do you have a dream? I hope you do. 

Book Tour: Sideswiped by Lia Riley + Top 5 + Giveaway

SIDESWIPED by Lia Riley (June 30, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; Off the Map #2)
Goodreads / Amazon / Book 1 / Book 3

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless SoCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

Let’s all have a round of applause for the paperback release of book two in Lia Riley’s Off the Map series! Today, Lia is going to share her top 5 reading places and snack with us. 
Top 5 Summer Reading Spots + Snacks
1.     Franklin Point (my favorite local beach haunt) with ice cold watermelon
2.     My bed with a cup of tea
3.     My parents’ lake house with a fresh-baked German pretzel
4.     The playground while poaching my kid’s juice box
5.     Airplanes going to fun places with a plastic cup of tomato juice.

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Excerpt from Sideswiped 

An hour later I’m zipping the back of Talia’s wet suit at the edge of the tide line. Moonlight glimmers on the black water. The waves line up perfectly, peeling clean. I breathe deep, savoring the air’s briny tang and the musty smell of decomposing kelp. My awareness is sharpened by anticipation, the five senses amplified by the dark.
Talia shuffles at my side, getting antsy.
“You sure about this?”
“Yes. Well, sure enough.”
Another set breaks. The conditions are choice. If she changes her mind, I might need to have a ride—a quick one.
Maybe two, tops.
“What’s that noise?” She stills. “There it is again. Can you hear it?”
I concentrate and smile when a sound like a wheezing donkey drifts from beyond the breakers. “Fairy penguin.”
“Shut up! There are penguins around here?”
“Sure. In the summer they build burrows in the scrub along the coast. If you stand outside a colony right after sunset, things get pretty noisy.”
“Penguins.” She almost whispers the word. “That’s so cool.”
The wash races over the sand and breaks across our toes. I figure out a plan of attack. “We’ll paddle to the left shoulder where the wave’s less steep. Stick with me, okay?” No one else is out and my voice feels extra loud even though I’m speaking quiet.
“Have you ever been to Rome?” She takes my hand.
“No, not yet.”
“Me neither. But I can’t imagine the Sistine Chapel being more amazing than this.”
Besides the moon, there’s zero light pollution. The Milky Way arches in a dazzling band across the sky’s apex. Individual stars are indistinguishable in the brilliant haze.
“You ready?”
She squeezes my hand in reply.
We paddle out.
“Whoa!” She pushes her chest up to better peer over her board’s tip. Around us the water casts a luminous green-blue light.
“Phosphorescence. Cool, eh? It’s blooming phytoplankton, caused by this marine species of dinoflagellates releasing enzymes that—”
“That’s enough, Sid the Science Kid. Let me retain this fairy kingdom illusion a little while longer.”
“Science is cool, Captain.”
“I never said— Oh, crap!”
Instead of duck-diving under the incoming wave, the water wall pounds her in the face. She breaks through the other side, coughing out a lung.
“We can head back to shore, don’t have to—”
“I’m fine. Please. There’s a wave coming. I can feel the pull. Can you?”
“You want it?”
“It’s all yours.”
I take off on a left break and fly down the smooth face. For a few perfect seconds, I’m right here in the moment. Rational thought is eclipsed and with it the aggravating confusion of having everything: Talia, Tasmania, honors, and still hungering for more like a greedy bastard. I paddle back to her.
“You looked great.”
“That was good.”
She sits, bobbing lightly. “It’s not as freaky out here as I imagined.”
“Fucking hell, Captain. You said you weren’t scared.”
“No, I never did. I’m scared by everything. But I want to do this.”
We’re quiet. A few more waves come but I let them go, happy to be with my girl, the stars, and the radiant water.
Hard not to believe in magic on such a night.
She clears her throat. “About what happened back at the house…if this is going to work, you can’t shut me out. You’re not just a you anymore; we’re an us. We have to be there for each other.”
I bob on my board and drag my fingers through the water. The phosphorescence lights from my touch. Finally I speak. “Karma’s got this mate; he’s on the crew of a Sea Alliance vessel. There’s an opening for a gig, with voyages to Japan and Antarctica.”
“You want to go for it?” I can’t decipher her expression.
I almost say no, but honesty’s easier in the anonymous dark. “Yeah, kinda. But I want to be with you more.”
“Oh, Bran, that’s way too much pressure.”
“What do you mean?”
“Imagine coming home in a few months and I’m all vegged on the couch, watching awful reality television. Will you think to yourself, ‘I could be gallantly defending the high seas but instead I’m attached to this boring anchor’?”
“Life with you is bound to be a lot of things, but boring isn’t the first depiction that springs to mind.”
“But life isn’t always night surfing. I…I can’t compete against a fantasy.”
“I never said you had to.”
“Isn’t supporting the other’s goals a fundamental part of the good girlfriend/boyfriend job description? I mean, say I always wanted to volunteer in Africa? Join the Peace Corps.”
“Do you?”
“I used to toy around with the idea. Now? I’m not sure but I don’t want to close myself off to opportunities.”
“We can travel through Africa someday.”
“Peace Corps is one of my dreams, not yours. I want you to have the freedom to pursue your own happiness.”
“You make me happy.” I strike my words like flint before sucking in a rough breath. “Look, I’m not a guy cut out for the long-distance thing. I hated every second we were apart the last two months.”
“Bran…” She reaches out her hand and I take hold. “I won’t let go.”
“Me neither.” I scrutinize the sky, heart clanging. Everything appears so deceptively still. In reality, the Earth careens through space. Talia and I, we’re little specks of cosmic dust in the grand scheme. It wouldn’t take much to blow away from each other.
“But in the future—”
“I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the support. But the only future I’m willing to discuss is the one where it’s me and you—together.”
Better to orbit far away from black holes.
About Lia Riley
After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.