Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blog Tour Review: My Own Worst Frenemy, by Kimberly Reid

Straight outta the Mile High City, Chanti Evans is an undercover cop's daughter and an exclusive private school's newest student. But Chanti is learning fast that when it comes to con games, the streets have nothing on Langdon Prep.

With barely a foot in the door, fifteen-year-old Chanti gets on the bad side of school queen bee Lissa and snobbish Headmistress Smythe. They've made it their mission to take Chanti down and she needs to find out why, especially when stuff begins disappearing around campus, making her the most wanted girl in school, and not in a good way. But the last straw comes when she and her Langdon crush, the seriously hot Marco Ruiz, are set up to take the heat for a series of home burglaries--and worse. . . .

Mysteries are typically hit or miss with me -- usually because, nine times out of ten, I guess everything before I'm remotely close to the end. I blame years of reading Nancy Drew and watching Scooby Doo for this. Who knew it would lead to years of bitter reading because I think I have everything figured out? Thankfully, I can't say that I was bitter at all reading My Own Worst Frenemy. I may have guessed a bit before the end, but the journey there was no less enjoyable.

Chanti is a character that you just can't help but like from the very first page. It takes a while to know her whole story but once you get there, your view of her really doesn't change. She's still the likable girl that you related to from the very first page.. just with a little more depth. Marco is a good interest for Chanti, but I wish we got to know more about him. A lot of the supporting characters fell a little flat for me because they weren't as well developed as Chanti. If any of them popped out though, it was definitely Bethanie - but, again, you want to know more about her.

The plot is good, if not a little simple. I liked the mystery, it definitely had some aspects to it that did keep me second-guessing myself through a good portion of the book. The cat fights were.. entertaining. The description of those as well as the surroundings kept you believing you were right there in the story with the characters. Overall, I think Kimberly did an incredible job with this book and I will be sticking around to read more from her.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blog Tour: Author This or That with Jaime Reed

Today, it's my pleasure to have author Jaime Reed stop by the blog to answer a few This or That questions so we can get to know her better.

Chocolate or Coffee?
Chocolate flavored coffee.

Pen or Pencil?
Pen. I’m all about commitment.

E-mail or Phone call?
Email. I have this awkward thing where I don’t know how to wrap up a phone call. At least in email I can think of a closing sentence.

Sun or Moon?
Moon. You can stare at it and not go blind.

Summer or Winter?
Winter. Death is only pretty in weather.

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs. Cat’s think they’re better than you. I should know. I have a cat.

Reading or Writing?
Both. They go hand in hand in my field.

Desktop or Laptop?
Laptop. When the power goes out, you have the backup battery.

Books or Movies?
Movies. My ADD requires constant activity.

Paper Books or E-books?
Ebook. The same reason I prefer MP3 over CDs: space-saver.

Series or Stand-Alone?
Stand alone.

Sci-Fi or Fantasy?
Fantasy. Sci-fi is too technical.

Good or Evil?
Evil. They have the most fun.

Cause or Effect?
Effect. There’s more action.

Vampires or Werewolves?
Werewolves, they have a special time of the month too. We can relate. Plus I like their sense of unity with pack members and mates.

A big thanks to Jaime for dropping by. On a personal note, I totally agree that cats think they're better than us -- at least, mine does!

To see more of Jaime's blog tour stops, be sure to drop by the Teen Book Scene tour page. I'll be back in January with my review for Living Violet. (Spoiler alert: I really liked it!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blog Tour: Q&A with author Kimberly Reid

Kimberly Reid
· Website
· Blog
· Facebook
· Twitter

Kimberly Reid Books
· My Own Worst Frenemy (2011)
· Creeping With The Enemy (2012)

How does writing differ from other jobs you've had in the past?
Writing is the only job I’ve had in which I have complete control. Once the manuscript leaves my laptop and goes off into the world, there is very little I can control about the publishing business, what readers think about the book, or whether the stars align in a way that makes my book a blockbuster (if only). But when I’m in front of the keyboard creating worlds, characters and stories, I run the show. Since I have a mild case of control-freak, writing is the perfect job for me– that and the fact I get paid to make stuff up. I’m so lucky.

What is the most rewarding part of writing for you?
When readers tell me they enjoy my work. No doubt – that’s the best part. Writing is a way of understanding yourself and the world, but it’s also a way to connect with others. It’s kind of ironic that writers want our work to find readers, but during the actual writing we might be so deep into our own heads we wouldn’t notice a parade of readers going by the window. But once the book is done, I can get out of my head, rejoin the rest of the world, and have a life beyond the one my characters are living. Then, I can’t wait for people to read it. The main thing I want to do is entertain people, whatever entertainment means to each reader. When someone tells me my book entertained them, I’m buzzing off that for the next couple of days.

How did the idea for My Own Worst Frenemy come about?
I stole it from my life, but somehow it never occurred to me to do that until I was watching an episode of Veronica Mars. It’s a TV show about a girl in high school who starts solving crimes using the knowledge she’s gained from her father, a single dad and cop-turned-private detective. I had a light-bulb moment when it occurred to me that I was once in high school at the same time my single-mom was a cop and maybe I could write a character like Veronica. Like my main character, I also won a scholarship to a cushy private school way across town from my not-so-great neighborhood. Switching between those two worlds every day was slightly crazy-making. So Chanti and I have a lot in common, but she’s far more adventurous than I was. I wanted to solve crimes but didn’t have the nerve. I did give my mother my two cents on some of her cases. It was probably more like ten cents.

What was the most challenging part of writing this story?
I had a hard time deciding if I was writing a mystery or a thriller. A straight mystery usually has the crime happen at the beginning and the hero has to solve it. A thriller brings more urgency – a race against the clock to prevent some jeopardy for the hero or someone she cares about. Mystery grabs the reader’s brain, and they work alongside the hero trying to figure out whodunit. A thriller grabs the readers gut, and they sit on the edge of their seats hoping the hero figures it all out in time to save themselves or their loved one. I ended up writing a hybrid, which is great because I love both genres. I think people who know these things actually call it a mystery thriller. And then I added a dash of romance because I remember high school was made much more bearable by the presence of cute boys, even when they didn’t know I existed.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
My Own Worst Frenemy is the first book in the Langdon Prep series. The second book, Creeping With the Enemy, will be out in April 2012, and right now I’m working on a third book in the series. The title of that one won’t include any words that contain enemy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quick Note on Semi-Hiatus

Hello, lovelies!

This is just a small little post to let you know that, yes, I'm sort of not around right now but, no, this is not the end of Missy's Reads & Reviews. Actually, quite the opposite!

While life is pretty much keeping me physically away from my blog right now because of the holidays and such, the blog is never mentally kept away from me. Christmas time always means lots of time running around, spending many consecutive nights out of town, and trying my best to find time to spend quality time with the husband. And on top of this that Blogger isn't liking me much and not letting me schedule posts for when I am away - and that looks like a very inactive blog. For that, I'm sorry.

But while I'm away, I'm keeping my blog [paper] journal with me to jot down reviews of books I've read, ideas for 2012 and anything else I may think of for this blog. I have plenty that will be worked on when Christmas is over, including the return of the Before & After Feature for debut authors - which is very exciting for me because I've sincerely missed doing these posts.

So, don't give up on me! I'll be back very soon - better than ever! =D

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blog Tour: Character This or That List with Emma

Today, it's my pleasure to have one of my favorite female leads with us as part of the Surrender Tour for Teen Book Scene. If you haven't read my review for Surrender (Haunting Emma #3) yet, be sure to check that out here. Also be sure to drop by the tour page for even more wonderful tour stops!

Books or Movies?
I’m a classic romantic comedy girl (When Harry Met Sally, Working Girl, Moonstruck), but I also love the X-Men movies.

Reading or Writing?
Reading. I’ve got enough drama in my life without writing about it.

Company or Solitude?
I like the right company. Good friends, not big parties.

Love or Lust?
Lust that leads to love.

Morning or Night?
Nighttime is when all the evil ghosts come out, so I definitely prefer morning.

Stay At Home or Travel?
At the moment home, but travel is definitely in my future.

US or Anywhere Else?

Normal or Super Powers?
As much as I long to be normal, it’d kill me to give up my powers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Double Clutch Blog Tour End

It pains me to say this, but the Double Clutch blog tour has officially come to an end! I would like to thank all of the bloggers for doing such an amazing job in helping me spread the word about such a great YA Contemporary book that some people may not have heard about before this tour.

I also want to thank Liz for her willingness to put up with my craziness and really be there for everyone during the tour. Honestly, I couldn't have done all of this without her time and patience!

For those of you that may have missed out on some stops during the tour, I'll post them below for you to visit.. along with the Linky for bloggers to add their reviews. There are still many giveaways going on for this tour, so be sure to visit the tour posts for chances to win Double Clutch and/or its sequel, Junk Miles. All links will be at the end of this post, after a word from the real star of this tour - Liz Reinhardt!

When I first decided to write books, I sat down with my laptop and just poured my heart out, day after day, with exactly one goal. I wanted to finish a book.

It was long, tedious work that made my back ache and my fingers clumsy. My eyes burned from staring at the screen all day, and I gave myself more vice-like headaches than I can count. But that wasn't the worst part. At the end of the work day, I had no one to share with.

If you've followed this blog tour, you know I have a really cool husband, Frank. Three nights ago, he emerged from our daughter's room with an enormous smile on his face. "I just finished my second chapter book since high school!" he announced. "I read Of Mice and Men when I was a junior, and Amelia and I just finished The Mouse and the Motorcycle. What do you think of that?" Of course I was proud! And slightly horrified. My rock, my best buddy, my confidante, has read TWO books in a decade and a half. He couldn't understand what it was like to pour your heart into your words.

But, this is the amazing thing. I'm not alone anymore. The first few weeks after I finished my books, I started looking around for someone, anyone to share my enthusiasm and love for books with. I met my fantastic critique partner. I reconnected with friends who eagerly offered to be my beta readers. I met bloggers, reviewers, authors, other readers. My circle of friends got wider and wider, until, once I put my book out, I wasn't alone at all anymore. I had a network to support me and care about me. I had people to tweet with, email, blog with, and talk to every day, and I love every single one of you and treasure the support you've offered me!

Double Clutch was the book of my heart, and I am so proud that I didn't do it alone. The reason it's been successful beyond my expectations is because of the amazing people I've met along the way. You guys have been the best, and I love every one of you! So a huge thanks to my tour organizer, Missy, all the lovely bloggers who gave their time and space for this tour, and all the readers who stopped by to share the love. You guys rock, and I'm so fortunate to have you in my life! Thank you!!

Double Clutch Blog Tour Links

Author Interviews
Roro Is Reading
A Diary of a Book Addict
Arianne Cruz
O'Boyled Books
Words on the Shelf
The Book Barbies
Book Labyrinth

Guest Posts
(These are in chronological order.. both post- and story-wise.)
Turner's Antics
Dreams Galore
A Word's Worth
Alchemy of Scrawl
Books, Biscuits & Tea
Missy's Reads & Reviews

Double Clutch Reviews
(Assigned as part of tour..)
I Heart Books
Much Loved Books
The Confessions of a Book Nerd
KC's Paranormal Books
The Ballad of a Subcultural Mother

Review Linky
(For other reviews to be included..)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blog Tour Review: Surrender, by Lee Nichols

After a devastating battle at headquarters in New York, the ghostkeeping world is in shambles. When Emma and Bennett return home, they are determined to defeat the wraithmaster, Neos, forever. But it's not going to be easy. Bennett's parents kick him out when they realize he is still using drugs to enhance his powers. Emma is convinced her aunt has come back from the dead to warn her of a new threat. And worst of all, Neos is using wraiths to possess the students at Thatcher Academy.

If the ghosts manage to take over the entire school, even Emma won't be strong enough to stop them. But if either she or Bennett sacrifice his or her powers, they might be able to save the ghostkeeping world once and for all-and break the "ghostkeepers lose their powers when they fall in love" curse. The question is: who will be the one to surrender all power?

Fast-paced and romantic, this conclusion to the Haunting Emma trilogy will thrill readers as it brings the ghostly mystery to a close.

It always makes me sad when a good series comes to an end, but I love it when the conclusion makes you feel completely satisfied. This is exactly what Surrender did for me. Every question that you may have had unanswered with the previous two books are answered in this one. Every little fantasy you may have wanted to come true... well, your wishes are granted in this one - at least for me, anyway. Everything you couldn't have even imagined happening in this book actually happens in this one. Everything you want in a good ending to an amazing trilogy is given to you in this one. I could go on, but my basic point is that this book is good. Really good.

If you've read the trilogy from the beginning, then you will see that Emma is a little different in this book. Not different-bad, but actually different-good. She's still consistently Emma (which is really good), but she's done a lot of maturing and has become a stronger version of herself. It's enchanting to see her go through this transformation through all three books, right before your eyes. The other characters also remained true to themselves and made a few changes themselves, as well as more being revealed about them - especially Bennett. My emotions were a little bi-polar toward him through a good portion of this book. One minute, I would absolutely adore him and the next, I was rolling my eyes and clenching my fists - ready to give him a piece of my mind. In the end, all works out - so, the rollercoaster is definitely worth it. I also really enjoyed the time we got to spend with Harry and Sara. I'm a big fan of those two.

Although I adore this book, there is something about it that is holding me back from liking it as much as I liked the first book in the series, Deception. Perhaps it's just that fondness that one gets for the beginning of a new series, where no matter what the other books simply cannot live up to it? I'm not quite sure - it's just something I can't put my finger on. However, don't let that deter you because this book is still great. It's full of twists and turns you never see coming, along with a romance that will melt you. It's definitely a recommended read.

Rating: ★★★★✩
Source: Author, Teen Book Scene

Author Information

Book Information
Series: Haunting Emma (Book 3)
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 6, 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
ISBN: 1599904233
ISBN13: 9781599904238

Buy The Book
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Maria Murnane Q&A

Maria Murnane
· Website
· Blog
· Facebook
· Twitter

Books by Maria Murnane
· Perfect On Paper [Buy]
· It's A Waverly Life [Buy] [Review]

1. Was writing something that you knew you always wanted to pursue, or did you have a different idea for an occupation when you were younger?
Back in high school I liked writing, but I never considered trying to make a career out of it. I ended up majoring in English and working in PR, which included a lot of writing, but certainly not the type of FUN writing I’m doing now. But once email was everywhere, I realized I had a knack for making people laugh through the written word. I remember once my friend Mary told me how much she looked forward the weekly emails I sent to our Sunday co-ed soccer team, in which I’d joke about what we needed to do to win, who was going to show up hung-over, etc. She said the emails always made her laugh out loud, and I remember thinking Wouldn’t it be cool to get paid to make people laugh through my writing? It took a while to make that happen, but it was worth the wait!

2. You started out self-publishing before signing with Amazon. After pretty much giving up with publishing houses to self-publish, how did it feel to finally be recognized and offered a contract?
Signing with Amazon felt great for two reasons. The first was that Perfect on Paper had finally been recognized as being worthy of a publishing contract, and the second was that it was my hard work that made it happen. After I self-published I spent more than a year doing a ton of grassroots marketing to get the book noticed, so it was a wonderful feeling to know that my efforts had paid off. There were many times along the way that I was tempted to give up, and I’m so glad that I didn’t. I have my mom and dad to thank for that—they both loved the book and wouldn’t let me throw in the towel!

3. Waverly is an amazing character. Was her character inspired by a real person?
My friends all say that reading my books is like listening to me talk, so that should answer the question! Personality-wise Waverly and I are very similar, and most of the awful dates she suffers through were ripped from the headlines of my own dating life. (While I have friends who have come close, I have yet to encounter anyone who can beat me in head-to-head comparison of insanely bad dating experiences.) But in other ways she and I are very different. My family situation is a good example of that—my parents have been happily married for nearly 45 years and are extremely supportive of me, and I have two sisters and a brother who are awesome, as are their spouses and kids. Waverly sort of missed out on that, but I felt it made the books more interesting to have her as an only child.

4. When you started writing Perfect on Paper, did you always know there would be a second and third book about Waverly to follow?
Definitely not. When I was writing Perfect on Paper, I never imagined that I would one day write a sequel. It wasn’t after until I got the publishing contract with Amazon that my thinking started to change. I kept getting emails from readers telling me how much they loved the book and asking when I was going to write another one. Nearly every email would mention something about how the reader connected to Waverly, or related to Waverly, or just wanted to hang out with Waverly. People really wanted to know what happened to her next, so despite my fear of a sophomore slump (I dreaded seeing a review with a headline like “She should have stopped at one!” haha), I decided to continue her story. In a way I was curious as well to find out where life would take her!

5. Do you prefer to write series over stand-alone books?
Given that I’ve only written a series, I guess the answer is yes! Ha.

6. What are your pet peeves when it comes to grammar?
Oh gosh, don’t me started! I blog about this all the time. I think my biggest pet peeve right now is the use of an apostrophe to denote a plural. I see that everywhere, and it drives me nuts! There is a huge sign for banana’s in my local grocery story. Every time I go in there I want to take it down. I mean seriously, what IS that? I even took a photo with my phone. Check this out:

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
If you have a book inside of you, just write it! No matter what happens after you’re finished, the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with typing the words THE END is unlike any I’d experienced before. I remember telling my mom when I was writing Perfect on Paper that if just ONE person I wasn’t related enjoyed the book, I would be thrilled, and I was completely serious! I still love getting emails from readers—for me that is the best part of being an author!

8. Are there any upcoming projects that we can look forward to?
My agent is currently reading the first draft of the third Waverly book, so if all goes well, it will come out next summer. I’m not sure what my next project after that will be, but I will definitely be writing another book, so stay tuned! You can sign up for my newsletter for updates at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blog Tour: Character This or That List with Becca Ritchie {& Giveaway!}

Today, it's my extreme pleasure to welcome Becca Ritchie [back] to my blog as part of her tour with Teen Book Scene for Wynter Chelsea. If you've read my review for Wynter Chelsea: The Legacy or even my review for its sequel, Wynter Chelsea: The Sublimity, then you must know that one of my favorite characters is Dustin - who I seem to have a huge fangirl crush on. That's why I'm excited to have Becca here, giving us some details on things that Dustin likes in today's This or That list! Be sure to read below the post for your chance to win an e-copy of Wynter Chelsea: The Legacy!

Movies or Music?

Guns or Knives?
Guns. He prefers the lovely shotgun.

Loving or Fighting?
Loving. His father taught him to fight with his fists, a shotgun, and butterfly knives before he reached his teenage years. He would rather sit in a park and watch the clouds pass by with Amanda than throw a few punches.

Angels or Demons?
Demons. He has never seen an angel. And the unknown for a telepath can be terrifying. That being said, Dustin is rarely ever surprised.

Fantasy or Reality?

Regular Life or Your Life?
Regular life. Only because Amanda is in it. He would be fully gray by thirty if he left her in the legacy alone.

Normal or Super Powers?
Normal. Telepathy, his ability, caused him five years of pain before he was able to control it. A bit of normalcy is a treasure in the Wynter family.

Family Orders or Amanda?
Amanda. He adores Amanda above the legacy, but sometimes those lines blur since she wants to be a part of the family business.

Dustin's Power or Jack's Power?
Jack’s Power. Conjuring items is more convenient and less painful than listening in on private thoughts.

Chelsea or Wynter?
Chelsea. In the past, Chelseas are seen as noble whereas Wynters verge on psychopathic. Dustin’s father, Killian Wynter, is one of them. So Dustin would choose Chelsea. Every time.

Thanks for having my on your blog, Missy!

As a special part of this tour, I get to offer you guys an e-copy of Wynter Chelsea: The Legacy! Simply comment on this post with a valid e-mail address to be notified if you're the winner.

This contest will end one week from today at midnight, after which the winner will be selected and contacted via e-mail.

Good luck!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Double Clutch Blog Tour: Guest Post with Liz

Today, it's my pleasure to bring you the final chapter in Liz's amazing stories about all of her firsts. But don't worry, we're not completely done with the tour.. there are still many more fabulous interviews and reviews to come!

First Comes (True) Love...

The lovely, sweet, talented, amazing Missy is my final guest post on my blog tour. I've talked about first romantic interests, first crushes, first kisses, first boyfriends, first failed rebounds...and now comes the story of my first date with my true love, or how I met my deliciously patient, awesome, adorable husband. (I like him. I like him a lot.)

I've blogged about poor Frank before. He knows that I do, but he never reads them. It makes him way too nervous. But here's the story, in black and white, of how we got going with our first date.

My parents owned this awful 50s style drive-in restaurant. I was in college, and I had to come back, every weekend, to the antiquated county of my youth and put on a stupid poodle skirt and do my stupid waitressing job. Needless to say, I wasn't the happiest camper.

I know it looks adorable and sweet, but it's not! I assure you, if it's your life and you're stuck there day in and day out, it's a living nightmare.

Frank had taken a job making hamburgers. It was a tedious, thankless job, and the one that was easiest to mess up, since the burgers were cooked to order. I'm sorry... the burgers were supposed to be cooked to order. Frank was the world's worst burger cook, and that didn't endear him to the waitresses who had to carry his charred messes to their tables. I was foremost among the complainers.

But on late, slow nights at the restaurant, there was often nothing to do and no one to talk to, and Frank and I would strike up desperate conversations. It wasn't even flirting. It was just talking. We had both just gotten out of long term relationships, so we both agreed that there was no reason to rush into anything with anyone new. When we got around to deciding to go out to the movies, it was as friends, not romantic interests.

Our first nonromantic date was scheduled for the last day of the spring semester at college. I had an exam in Women in Art, then I went home and put school behind me for a few months so I could have a wild, free summer.

Okay, this was my dream summer. In fact, I usually worked back-to-back shifts at my parents' place. But a girl could dream.

The night before our date, I'd gotten all dressed up to go out to dinner with a professor and a group of students from my 18th Century Art class. He'd invited the best students out, and we had such funny, loud conversations and ate and drank such amazing food, I was disappointed when the night ended, and I was left all alone in my almost empty dorm room. All I had there was my bedding and a few things tacked on the wall. Including Frank's number. I picked up the phone and dialed.

Okay, this was back when people had land lines, and the phone could wake up the whole house. What I didn't know was that Frank lived with his grandparents. I was calling a little on the late side, but I didn't think it would be too big a deal.

Frank's little sister picked up. When he got to the phone, he sounded a little out of breath.

"Oh, hey!" I said, examining my cute shoes and wondering where else I could go tonight. Maybe Frank would want to drive down to my college town for some fun? "So, we still on for tomorrow?"

He paused for a second. "Yes."

"Okay. So, did you have a nice day?" This didn't feel promising.


"What did you do?"


"I'm going to let you go," I said with a sigh, kicking off my adorable shoes and shrugging out of my sexy dress. The night was over, I was about to go on a date with a dud, and life was miserable.

The phone call was so disappointing, I stopped thinking about the date. In fact, my mind was reeling over the fact that I'd gotten a C on a paper for my Women in Art class. Yes, I had written it in one night, after a shift at my parents' place. Yes, I had been so rushed I actually spelled the artist's name wrong twice in the paper. Yes, a C was probably a mercy grade from a teacher who knew that I was a straight A student and that pathetic scribble must have been a flub, but I was torn up about it.

Plus I had this date, and I was sure it would suck. Positive.

Sometimes the letter C makes me sublimely happy. Maybe if I'd gotten this C on my paper, I wouldn't have been so bummed.

I went home and got ready. Hair curled, makeup on, cute outfit, but not too cute. I might need to save my cutest clothes for a real date. It was coming up on the agreed-upon hour, and there was no sign of Frank. My baby brother came in my room.

"You look pretty, Lizzie."

"Thank you, Jack." I looked at his gorgeous little brown eyes and shiny hair and sweet cherub face. "Buddy, when you get to be a big boy and you ask a perfectly nice girl on a date, pick her up on time, alright? It's not nice to be late. Only big jerks are late. Come watch Scooby Doo with me."

I was snuggled with my favorite little man when my mom brought the phone in.

"Is it him?" I asked.

"Yeah. But maybe you shouldn't go too hard on him. He sounds pretty frantic." She smiled. Evilly. My mom knew I wouldn't listen to her.

"Hi," I said flatly.

"Elizabeth! Hi!" I could hear him swallow hard. "Um, look, I'm getting in the truck, like, now. My dad took me to this car show, and I told him about the date, but he lost track of time. By the time I managed to find him, we were already late. I know you must be pissed. I'm not usually late for stuff."

Some of the iciness melted. "Well, if you're on your way, I guess we should still go."

"Thank you! Seriously, I promise, this won't happen again. And, if it makes you feel better, I got sunburn on my neck. Bad sunburn."

It did make me feel better, because I'm mean. I finished watching Scooby, gave Jack a million smooches, and got my purse. Frank was waiting in my foyer, nervously fidgeting, his neck lobster red. He was wearing a blue shirt, kind of dressy, not his usual style, and jeans so stiff I knew he'd probably just ripped the tags off of them and thrown them on. I appreciated his strange clothing efforts.

We walked out to his enormous truck and he opened my door and offered me a boost. "No thank you," I said as his hand hovered an inch away from my butt. "I'm almost six feet tall. I don't need a boost."

He climbed into the driver's seat with a huge smile on his face. I felt a tad bit better about the date. The nonromantic date, I reminded myself firmly.

Hmm. This seemed like a closed-case sucky date, but there are clues that indicate this might be a fun, sweet outing. Well, gang, what do you think?

I made an attempt to start things off right, and got the conversation going.

"I like your id bracelet," I said.

He looked at it for a minute. "Oh. Thanks. My ex gave it to me."

He was wearing jewelry from his ex? The girl he'd told me had basically taken his heart out of his chest cavity and trampled on it? "Well, it's cool," I finally managed.

He cleared his throat. "So, do you still want to see Blow?"

"Yeah! I try to make it a point to never miss a Johnny Depp movie if I can help it."

"Cool. I agree. Um, do you want to listen to some music?" He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel.

"Do you have CDs? I can't stand the radio."

"Yeah. Sure. Right in the center console." He pointed.

I popped it open and there was a black CD case and a pile of pictures. They were of a pretty blonde girl smirking at the camera. I fanned them out and looked at Frank, whose face was on fire. "This is your ex?" I asked.

"Um, yeah." He rubbed his sunburned neck and winced. "She went to this wedding with another guy, and we saw each other after, and she gave me pictures from the wedding. I guess that's weird, right?"

I took a deep breath. "Are you asking if I think it's weird that you have pictures your cruel ex-girlfriend gave you from a date she had with another guy? Yes, Frank, it's super weird. Look, you seem like a really nice guy, and I know this isn't, like, a real date, so I'm saying this as a friend. Take these pictures, dip them in gasoline, and light them on fire. Okay? Because you deserve better than that crap. Or, if you still love her, go run out and win her back. But this whole scenario..." I gestured at the pictures. "This is just sad."

"No!" I looked up at him, surprised by his exclamation, and he got all red again. "I mean, yes, I will get rid of those pictures. Just, no about this date. I mean, I think it's real. Not that you have to be my girlfriend, or whatever, but you must think I'm still into her. I'm not. At all. I wanted to take you out. I was really upset when I thought I messed it all up. And it seems like maybe I still am? Messing it up? But I've been looking forward to today. To spending time alone with you."

Our date was a little like this image...weird, but sweet, fun but weird. And kind of awesome.

Yep. I was a little smitten. I thought about what I should say or how I should phrase what I was thinking, but, in the end, but it all sounded lame or mean or sappy in my head, so I said, "You wanna go old school and listen to Pearl Jam?"

We did. When we got to the movie theater, I offered to pay for the tickets if he would pay for snacks. Little did he know 'snacks' included a Slurpee, a hot dog, popcorn, and Rasinets. We got all of our goodies and went to the theater, where Frank headed right to the very last row.

I stood in the aisle. "No way."

He shook his head. "No way what?"

"No way am I sitting in the back row of a movie theater with you. No way." I crooked my finger and he jumped up and followed me to the dead center (which is the best place for reasonable people to sit.

During the movie, he leaned over so his head was on my shoulder. "This cool?" he whispered.

I took his hat off and smoothed his hair back with my fingers. "It's cool."

We walked around the mall, stopping to look at random things, sometimes grabbing hands, sometimes brushing shoulders. When I finally checked my watch, I was sad to see I had to go.

"We need to head back," I said. "Mom likes me home by eleven."

"Even though you're in college?" he asked, clearly disappointed.

"Jack is so little. Mom doesn't want people coming in and out super late."

We drove home in relative quiet, and when we pulled into the driveway, he looked at me for a long time.

"I had so much fun," I said, feeling awkward. "Seriously. I had a great time. Maybe we can hang out again?"

Frank put his hand out, and I reached mine back and shook. Like we were two CEOs closing a merger.

Frank laughed and blushed again.

"What? It was weird to shake, right?" I asked. "We can, I don't know, hug or something."

I leaned over and wrapped my arms around him tight, took a deep breath and just smelled him. And I loved the way he smelled and felt. A good hug is a truly underestimated romantic gesture, and this was an awesome hug.

Awwww yeah! Now that's an awesome hug!

When we pulled away, he got out of the truck and came around to open my door and help me out. "I didn't want to shake your hand," he said next to my ear. "I was going to kiss it."

Which was so adorably romantic, I was at a loss. "Okay. Well, maybe next time?"

"Yeah. Let's do this again. Soon."

And we did. We dated again, and again, and soon we were talking on the phone every night, and I was calling to see if he wanted to see another movie or he was telling me about a great waffle place he found that he just had to take me to, or we were just making up any excuse to see each other until we gave up and officially became boyfriend and girlfriend. Then we got engaged, then married, and had our daughter. Finding Frank was one of the most awesome, unexpected joys of my life, and we still have a blast together all the time.

So it all worked out. The faulty starts, the unrequited crushes, the Mr. Wrongs and Mr. Okays all led to the guy who I still check out on a daily basis and who just might be the inspiration for pretty much every guy I've ever written into a book.

You know when somebody just feels like home? And has the added perk of being super sexy? That's Frank. Ah, love!

And Liz and Frank...natch! (Is there anything better than love and cupcakes?)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New This Week!

New This Week! is a weekly feature in which I showcase some of the titles released in the Young Adult world throughout the week. Each picture is linked to its respective Goodreads page, so if a cover appeals to you be sure to click on it to learn more about the book.

Week of: November 20th - November 26th, 2011

This is a list of the books that come out through the week. This list is NOT in chronological order, but instead alphabetized. To see the books on the date that they are actually published, please be sure to "like" Missy's Reads & Reviews on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Participants Needed for Blog Tour!

Beginning mid-January, I will be hosting a tour for Elizabeth Marx and her book, All's Fair In Vanities War. From the details that I know so far, this is shaping up to be a very fun blog tour that includes reviews, interviews, fun guest posts, and lots of giveaways - including a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card at the tour's end! But, like any tour, I cannot simply do this alone.. so, I need you guys to help me out!

For this tour, I need volunteer bloggers for:
· Reviews
· Author Interviews
· Guest Posts
· Top Ten Lists

E-copies of All's Fair In Vanities War will be given to all of those that are willing to post reviews. Elizabeth has also offered to mail bookmarks (US only!) to those that want to do giveaways during the tour. If this sounds like something you'd like to do, there is a place on the form to include your mailing address. Don't worry, it's private and will only be shared with Elizabeth so she can mail out the bookmarks.

I will keep the sign-up form up for exactly one week and will be e-mailing the participants soon after with more details about the tour. There is more information on All's Fair in Vanities War under the sign-up link.

All's Fair in Vanities War
(The Seer's Seven Deadly Fairy Tales)
Keleigh Flaherty is born a Devas.

At one her mother is certain she is a Celtic ExtraOrdinary being of light, and leaves the protection of the Order to conceal her.

By three Keleigh speaks fluent Gaelic, and whispers start.

At five she makes one playmate fly, and another one dies.

By seven Keleigh reads her mother’s fear in her reflection.

At nine she is brainwashed, her ExtraOrdinary powers exiled.

By eleven Keleigh convinces herself she’s just an Ordinary girl.

At fourteen she witnesses her parents’ death by beasts that only exist in fairy tales.

By fifteen the Order shrouds Keleigh in Salem, she is given a sacrificed Seer, and Locke Cavanagh detests her.

At sixteen her mother contacts her through a magic mirror and insists Keleigh find a forgotten relic by the next blue moon.

Now Locke is her only hope for locating the artifact, but he knows the key to its discovery is in Keleigh embracing her ExtraOrdinary gifts, because they will need their combined abilities to battle the ShiningOnes over something so powerful.

And if they fail . . . Keleigh will never see seventeen.

Note: The banner used for the announcement of this blog tour is NOT the official banner for the blog tour itself. The official graphic will be seen during the tour in January.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Ashes, by Estevan Vega

More than three months have passed since Arson and Emery were taken. Taken and then separated.

And experimented on.

Salvation Asylum is more like a prison than a psychiatric facility. Unknowingly, Arson has become a vital instrument in a campaign set to genetically alter mankind. Enraged, confused, trapped, and unable to fully manifest his abilities, he wonders if he will ever see Emery again. His new existence is one crawling with questions. Is Grandma alive? Where does the fire come from? Can he become more than a monster?

In Ashes, book two of the ARSON series, nightmare and reality collide as Arson must embrace what he is and the haunting realization that there may be others out there, others like him.

This is Book Two in Vega's ARSON series. To read my review for Book One, ARSON, click here.

If you've followed my reviews for the past few months, then you know how much I loved Arson. And when I thought that there was no way to improve on such an amazing story, Vega has decided to go and prove me wrong in Ashes. It's darker, grittier and so much more than what I expected it to be. Plus, it had just enough detail and reference to Arson that it was a slice of cake to delve right back into Arson's world.

One of the first things that I noticed in this book is that we get to know Arson a lot better, both past and present. He's always been a character of interest, but that's taken to a whole knew level in this book. Not only do you get to know him more, but you empathize with him so much that you feel everything that he feels and experience everything that he goes through right with him.

Of course, Emery is also back and you witness what she goes through as well. Both she and Arson go through a lot, not only physically but mentally as well - all while not knowing what has happened to each other. We're also introduced to a new character, Adam, who promises to get Emery out of the facility.

The POV changes a lot through the story. However, where most stories would get confusing and difficult to follow, Estevan writes the perspective changes so well that switching is as easy as counting 1-2-3. It doesn't take you out of the story at all. On the contrary, it adds more layers to the story so we can see how everyone is effected by Arson and Emery's disappearance from their own lives and their entrance into Salvation Asylum. As we advance in the story, we not only learn more about the characters but also about the true purpose of the Asylum. The ending will both leave you breathless and longing for even more of Arson's world.

Like his other stories, Vega's description and detail in this book are so vivid that you feel as though you've dived right into the dark world that he has created. Every page is chock full of amazing storytelling that keeps you flipping from beginning to end - hanging on to the very end of your seat the entire time.

Rating: ★★★★★
Source: AuthorLink

Author Information

Book Information
Series: Arson (Book 2)
Kindle Edition
Published September 11, 2011 by StoneGate Ink

Buy The Book
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New This Week!

New This Week! is a weekly feature in which I showcase some of the titles released in the Young Adult world throughout the week. Each picture is linked to its respective Goodreads page, so if a cover appeals to you be sure to click on it to learn more about the book.

Week of: November 13th - November 19th, 2011

This is a list of the books that come out through the week. This list is NOT in chronological order, but instead alphabetized. To see the books on the date that they are actually published, please be sure to "like" Missy's Reads & Reviews on Facebook.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Double Clutch Blog Tour Kick-Off

Welcome to the official post for Liz Reinhardt's DOUBLE CLUTCH Blog Tour, hosted by yours truly! Here you will find links to all tour stops during the blog tour which will begin Sunday, November 13th and run through Sunday, December 4th. There will be interviews with the author, guest posts written by Liz and reviews so you can see what others think of Double Clutch. The best part? A lot of the participating bloggers will be hosting giveaways for e-copies of Double Clutch to selected lucky readers.

Double Clutch Tour Stops
November 13 - December 4

Sunday, November 13: Interview @ Roro Is Reading
Monday, November 14:
Guest Post @ Turner's Antics
Tuesday, November 15: Interview @ A Diary of a Book Addict
Wednesday, November 16: Guest Post @ Dreams Galore
Thursday, November 17: Review @ I Heart Books
Friday, November 18: Guest Post @ A Word's Worth
Saturday, November 19: Review @ Much Loved Books
Sunday, November 20: Interview @ Arianne Cruz
Monday, November 21: Review @ The Confessions of a Book Nerd
Tuesday, November 22: Guest Post @ Alchemy of Scrawl
Wednesday, November 23: Interview @ O'Boyled Books
Thursday, November 24: Guest Post @ Books, Biscuits & Tea
Saturday, November 26: Review @ KC's Paranormal Books
Sunday, November 27: Interview @ Words on the Shelf
Monday, November 28: Guest Post @ Missy's Reads & Reviews
Thursday, December 01: Interview @ The Book Barbies
Saturday, December 03: Interview @ Book Labyrinth
Sunday, December 04: Review @ The Ballad of a Subcultural Mother

Although not every participating blogger was given a specific date to review Double Clutch, they will still be posting their reviews throughout the tour. In order to keep track of all of these reviews, I am including a linky for them to post the link to their reviews. Please make sure to visit their reviews below.

Double Clutch Reviews...

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