Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blog Tour Review: Love Ya Like A Sister, by Tom Kepler

Love Ya Like A Sister
by Tom Kepler

Release Date: March 4, 2011
Format: Kindle
Source: Author
Rating: 4/5

If you want something done right, then do it yourself. At least, that's what people say. But does that include having three girlfriends at the same time--and stealing a car?

Life is simple for Randy: 1) he loves his girlfriend and 2) he likes his motorcycle. And even if he really likes his motorcycle and only thinks he's pretty sure he loves his girlfriend, it's still the same difference. Easy to know, easy to think about.

Then Randy's life gets complicated. In one week he makes friends with a senior girl and her five-year-old sister,
his girlfriend dumps him, and his ex's older sister helps him with his math--although, it turns out, she's better at biology.

While trying to uncomplicate their lives, Randy and his friends learn what to do when your parents are too busy, too divorced, too drunk, or too dead to help.

I normally don't like love triangles, especially when it's completely deliberate. However, I have to make an exception for Love Ya Like A Sister. The way Tom Kepler writes the relationships makes you understand it in ways that I think I never really understood it before.

The characters in this book are great in the way that you can relate to them and most of their actions match them well. I think that I understood Randy better than I did the girls, but I think that's to be expected from the main character. My heart was pretty much with Randy the whole time, even when I wanted to slap him silly for some of his actions. Having said that, I wish I knew the girls a little better so I could understand them completely. Some moments had me scratching my head in confusion.

The lack of parenting was a little mind-boggling, but without that... we don't have a story. And it's a great one. The story moves along smoothly with no hiccups and plenty of drama to go around! This was a quick read, though not too quick that you didn't get enough story. The resolution fit the bill for this one, and you finished feeling pretty satisfied as a whole. Overall, this was an enjoyable read that would be good for any YA fan that likes a good contemporary read.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Before & After: Bettina Restrepo

I'm super excited about this week's Before & After because it's a first ... both author responses are in Vlogs! Hope you guys enjoy as much as I did!

Bettina Restrepo is a writer. This means she basically sits around in pajamas making up lies. As glamorous as this may seem, she spends a lot of time researching, thinking, and talking to the dog about her characters, plots, and story lines.

She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Speech Communication. She married an Aggie. Together they have a son, Allen, (who will be an Aggie) and an English springer spaniel, Winston (who will not be an Aggie). When Bettina is not writing, or thinking about writing, she likes to exercise, go on walks, and read, read, read. She lives in Frisco, Texas…. which is basically Dallas.


Reviews of Illegal
The Book Scout
Bookworming in the 21st Century
One Book At A Time

Read an excerpt of Illegal here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review: When Colors Bleed, by Estevan Vega

When Colors Bleed
by Estevan Vega

Release Date: March 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Rating: 5/5
WHEN COLORS BLEED is a collection of short stories by the author of ARSON. This collection features three unique stories with universal themes of love, loss, and regret. Watch the colors bleed.

Casey never had any luck with men, even though she was employed by one of the finest clothing stores in New England and saw attractive, “sure kinds” strolling through her section every day like clockwork. At twenty-three years old, she has given up on her dreams of the spotlight, of finding love, and of ever getting out of the small town she reluctantly calls home. But one rainy afternoon, Thomas Rayford, a very unusual and kind stranger, stumbles into her life looking for an odd, baby blue suit. One thing is certain: Casey, the twenty-three-year-old dreamer stuck in a line, will never be the same.

From his cold hell in Block C, a nameless man unfolds this twisted tale. This is the story of a man who becomes something else. A man who had a father once. A man who loved once. “They want to know why. They want a reason,” he confesses. “But nobody likes the reasons. They’re like unwanted children or cancers with no cure. A reason is a justification, an excuse so we can’t be blamed. But I know what it is I’ve done, and there is no reason that can take it back.” So begins Vanilla Red, a confession, a story, a prayer, or perhaps a drip of dark truth in the batter of humanity. Take a look inside and tell me what color you see.

Colin awakens in a room, jittery, afraid, and confused. He knows not how he got here, who brought him, or why. And the only thing waiting for him is a hot cup of coffee and a seemingly flawless room that bleeds colors. As an architect, he understands that no room is perfect, but somehow this anomaly has crawled through the cracks and pushed the limits of perfection. No seams. No lines. No windows. Enter a bald man in a suit. Once he steps through the door, he makes the colors disappear with the push of button. His name is Jack, and he claims to be a friend. Still unsure of anything, Colin wages war with his mind, with a dark truth he isn’t ready to accept, and with Jack. In the moments that follow, Jack asks Colin a series of questions, questions that will reveal the where, the how, and the why of his arrival.

Estevan Vega completely blew me away with his novel Arson when I read it last year. So when Estevan contacted me to read his short story collection, When Colors Bleed, I jumped on it immediately - no questions asked.

Each story is similar in that they have the usual dark undertone (no sunshine and rainbows here), yet they're each unique stories that stand on their own. I found myself completely taken by each of the stories. BABY BLUE had me in tears, VANILLA RED made the part of me that loves reading about murder and mayhem squeal with giddiness, and THE MAN IN THE COLORED ROOM had me guessing what was going on until the very end. While each was vividly different from the others, they all had the same result: they made me fall absolutely in love with the collection itself, eager to read more.

No matter which story you read, Vega's writing put you right dead in the center of the story. You experience everything that the characters experience. Feel everything they feel. No matter what their story is, or their motives, you somehow are able to empathize with each and every one of them. There's always a trait in each of the characters that you can relate to that makes the story that much more real for you.

With a little over 70 pages, When Colors Bleed can easily be read in one sitting. Be warned: once you've read these deliciously addicting tales, you'll want more. It can't be helped. That's just the way it is. I'm realizing it's just part of the Vega-effect.

Find Estevan Vega Online
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Purchase When Colors Bleed
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (11)

Hosted By: The Story Siren
Inspired By: Pop Culture Junkie

Get ready for an overhaul of books. I haven't done an IMM post in a few weeks. So, there's quite a bunch - including those that I bought. I never really get time to read books that I buy anymore, but it's still important to support the authors we love! I'm sure I'll eventually get around the reading them! ;)

For Review
(for Teen Book Scene)

(for Authors)

(for Publishers)

(for Portland Book Review)


(from LibraryThing)

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