Pretty Funny For a Girl by Rebecca Elliott: Nerd Blast

Hardcover : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 1682631478
ISBN-13 : 978-1682631478
Publisher : Peachtree Publishing (October 1, 2020)
Language: : English

Praise for PRETTY FUNNY FOR A GIRL

“Elliott, who has previously published picture books and early readers, nails the voice and persona of a high school girl…. A good purchase for libraries that need coming-of-age books centering body-positivity.” ―School Library Journal

 
“A feel-good story featuring a narrator who’s likable and genuinely funny, even at her most self-deprecating. Dreams, being true to oneself, body-image issues, single parenting, family dynamics, self-confidence, and a realistic depiction of friendship make this a refreshing coming-of-age read full of optimism, dreams, and plenty of stereotype-smashing laughs. A natural pick for Dumplin’ (2015) fans.” ―Booklist


“Sharp, funny… The working-class British milieu feels freshly wrought, and Elliott’s characters are well balanced… [Haylah’s] comedy routine, though at times self-deprecating, also flips some stereotypes.” ―Publishers Weekly

A candid and laugh-out-loud journey of family, friends, and fierce mistakes.

Haylah Swinton is an ace best friend, a loving daughter, and an incredibly patient sister to a four-year-old nutcase of a brother. Best of all, she’s pretty confident she’s mastered making light of every situation–from her mom’s new boyfriend to unsolicited remarks on her plus-sized figure. Haylah’s learning to embrace all of her curvy parts and, besides, she has a secret: one day, she’ll be a stand-up comedian star.

So when impossibly cool and thirstalicious Leo reveals he’s also into comedy, Haylah jumps at the chance to ghost-write his sets. But is Leo as interested in returning the favor? Even though her friends warn her of Leo’s intentions, Haylah’s not ready to listen–and she might just be digging herself deeper toward heartbreak. If Haylah’s ever going to step into the spotlight, first she’ll need to find the confidence to put herself out there and strut like the boss she really is.

Rebecca Elliott’s hilarious and authentic narrative voice is sure to capture readers’ hearts as her plus-sized, teenage heroine navigates learning to love the body she’s in while dealing with friends, family, and boys.

You can purchase Pretty Funny for a Girl at the following Retailers:

 

Photo Content from Rebecca Elliott

Rebecca Elliott was not so much born as assembled from potatoes, cat hair and sarcasm in Suffolk quite a few years ago. A school project of Rebecca’s from the age of 6 reads, “When I grow up I want to write and draw books”, clearly a precocious little brat but still, if nothing else it proves that when she’s made a decision she really can’t be bothered to change it. After a ‘brief’ detour from this career plan involving wanting to be Stephen Fry, a degree in philosophy and a dull office job, she finally got round to doing the whole book thing .

Since then she has become an award-winning (you won’t have heard of the award but come on, that sounds good, right?)and bestselling author of over 30 books for children. These include Just Because, a book about her daughter who had severe special needs and her ongoing series Owl Diaries which has sold 6 million copies worldwide. Her new YA novel, ‘Pretty Funny’ is due out in March 2020. (Published by Penguin, like actual Penguin. Which is dream-come-true awesome) And her mum really likes it.

When she’s not story-making she can be found reading (everyone puts that as a hobby but really, I mean who doesn’t read? Even if its just the TV guide?), loudly venting her issues on the drums, singing in her band, painting pictures only she appreciates, at the movies (again, everyone, right?), podcasting or just hanging out with her husband Matthew (a history teacher), her children (professional monkey-boys), chickens (egg production executives) and cat Bernard (currently unemployed).

        
*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leave a comment

Filed under Misc

My Life in the Fish Tank by Barbara Dee: Nerd Blast

For more head here.
SYNOPSIS
 

From the acclaimed author of Maybe He Just Likes You and Halfway Normal comes a powerful and moving story of learning how to grow, change, and survive.

When twelve-year-old Zinnia Manning’s older brother Gabriel is diagnosed with a mental illness, the family’s world is turned upside down. Mom and Dad want Zinny, her sixteen-year-old sister, Scarlett, and her eight-year-old brother, Aiden, to keep Gabriel’s condition “private”—and to Zinny that sounds the same as “secret.” Which means she can’t talk about it to her two best friends, who don’t understand why Zinny keeps pushing them away, turning everything into a joke.

It also means she can’t talk about it during Lunch Club, a group run by the school guidance counselor. How did Zinny get stuck in this weird club, anyway? She certainly doesn’t have anything in common with these kids—and even if she did, she’d never betray her family’s secret.

The only good thing about school is science class, where cool teacher Ms. Molina has them doing experiments on crayfish. And when Zinny has the chance to attend a dream marine biology camp for the summer, she doesn’t know what to do. How can Zinny move forward when Gabriel—and, really, her whole family—still needs her help?

Praise for MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK

“I loved My Life in the Fish Tank. Once again, Barbara Dee writes about important topics with intelligence, nuance and grace. She earned all the accolades for Maybe He Just Likes You and will earn them for My Life in the Fish Tank too.” —Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, author of Fighting Words and Newbery Honor Book The War That Saved My Life

”I felt every beat of Zinny Manning’s heart in this authentic and affecting story. Barbara Dee consistently has her finger on the pulse of her middle grade audience. Outstanding!” —Leslie Connor, A Home for Goddesses and Dogs and The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle (National Book Award Finalist)

“Barbara Dee offers a deeply compassionate look at life for twelve-year-old Zinny, whose older brother faces mental health challenges. This touching novel will go a long way in providing understanding and empathy for young readers. Highly recommended.” —Donna Gephart, award-winning author of Lily and Dunkin and The Paris Project

“My Life in the Fish Tank rings true for its humor, insight, and honesty. Zinny is an appealing narrator, and her friendships with supporting characters are beautifully drawn.” —Laura Shovan, author of Takedown and A Place at the Table

“MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK is a powerful portrayal of a twelve-year old dealing with her sibling’s newly discovered mental illness. Author Barbara Dee deftly weaves in themes of friendship, family, and secrets, while also reminding us all to accept what we can’t control. I truly loved every moment of this emotional and gripping novel, with its notes of hope that linger long after the last page.” —Lindsay Currie, author of The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street and Scritch-Scratch.

 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PHOTO CREDIT: RANDY MATUSOW

Barbara Dee is the author of eleven middle grade novels published by Simon & Schuster, including My Life in the Fish Tank, Maybe He Just Likes You, Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed. Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many best-of lists, including the The Washington Post’s Best Children’s Books, the ALA Notable Children’s Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, and the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten. Barbara lives with her family, including a naughty cat named Luna and a sweet rescue hound named Ripley, in Westchester County, New York.

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
 

– 5 Winners will receive a Copy of MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK by Barbara Dee.

ENDS: October 5, 2020

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Blast, Giveaway

Sing Like No One’s Listening by Vanessa Jones: Nerd Book Blast

I can’t wait to read Sing Like No One’s Listening. As soon I read the synopsis (see below) I thought of so many of my students. This will be a book I put in my classroom as soon as we are back in the building! Want a chance at a free copy? See below.

A moving story of grief and healing – sure to be a pure joy for any musical theater aficionado.

SYNOPSIS

Nettie Delaney has just been accepted into a prestigious performing arts school–the very same school her superstar mother attended. With her mother’s shadow hanging over her, Nettie has her work cut out for her–and everyone is watching. To make matters worse, Nettie hasn’t been able to sing a single note since her mother died. Whenever she tries, she just clams up. But if Nettie’s going to survive a demanding first year and keep her place in a highly coveted program, she’ll have to work through her grief and deliver a showstopper or face expulsion.

All may not be lost, however, when Nettie stumbles upon a mysterious piano player in an empty studio after class. Masked behind a curtain, can Nettie summon the courage to find her voice? Or will the pressure and anxiety of performing come crashing down?

All about finding and raising your voice, and not throwing away your shot, Vanessa Jones’s well-crafted journey of grief and healing will pull readers along with its strong narrative voice and satisfying sense of mystery.  

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Praise for SING LIKE NO ONE’S LISTENING

““Anglophiles, music and theater nerds, and those looking for some classic will-they-won’t-they romance will all find something to enjoy here. Jones writes her subject matter authentically, with obvious passion to balance the professional arts’ not-so-pretty struggles…. A touching portrait of healing after loss.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Jones’ novel has the expected Fame vibes that will delight any reader who loves stories of aspiring young stars learning their craft, but its exploration of Nettie’s complexities makes the story unique…. Jones offsets the narrative’s weightier moments with light and quirky ones, making it a fast read with staying power.” ―Booklist


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



VANESSA JONES
 trained at Laine Theatre Arts in Surrey, England and went on to be a musical theater actor on West End, performing in shows including Sister Act, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun, and Mary Poppins. She began her writing career with a stage play for a fringe theater and works as a freelance copywriter and editor. She lives in England with her fellow chimney sweep.  

TWITTER: @NessJonesWrites
GOODREADS: 
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1128153.Vanessa_Jones
FACEBOOK: 
https://www.facebook.com/Vanessa-Jones-2205623043021474
INSTAGRAM: 
https://www.instagram.com/vanessajoneswrites/

GIVEAWAY


5 Winners will receive a Copy of SING LIKE NO ONE’S LISTENING by Vanessa Jones.

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter– ENDS September 28, 2020

For more Check out the NERD BLAST!

Leave a comment

Filed under Misc

ALC: Dear Girl by Aija Mayrock

Audiobook

I was approved to review this book through NetGalley.

Description from NetGalley:

From a poet and celebrated spoken-word performer comes a debut poetry collection that takes readers on an empowering, lyrical journey exploring truth, silence, wounds, healing, and the resilience we all share.

Dear Girl is a journey from girlhood to womanhood through poetry
It is the search for truth in silence
The freeing of the tongue
It is deep wounds and deep healing
And the resilience that lies within us
It is a love letter
To the sisterhood

This audiobook is a fusion of powerful words and beautiful music. Together, they create an emotionally resonant listening experience.

My Review:

It was an audio version which I loved since the author performed her poetry. I have to admit that until last year when I started teaching APLIT and was forced to teach poetry that I have never been one to pick up a poetry book. However, I’ve found a new appreciation for poetry and poets as I’ve taught myself and my students the nuances of poetic prose. This collection of poems is powerful and should be read by every young girl and woman across the country. As I listened I did long to have the words in front of me because there were so many lines I wanted to go back to and reflect on as I listened. There is something special about listening to poets perform their poems that help the reader/listener gain a new understanding of the words but it’s also helpful for us visual learners to have the words in front of us. I understand that at spoken-word poetry events this would not be the case but I want something tangible to hold onto as I digest the poems.  

I see this collection not only as an addition to my classroom (I’ve already started brainstorming lesson plans with these poems in mind) but also as a perfect gift for my female student assistants (I like to gift them a book as a token of my appreciation at the end of the semester). This collection is empowering, motivating and thought provoking! I will be purchasing the audiobook when it is published on August 25, 2020. Be on the look out for it; I promise you will want to add this to your personal library and your classroom library! 

The paperback version is already available, but don’t miss out on the performance of these striking poems via audiobook!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under ALC, Audiobook, Reviews

I’m Back…

I’ve been MIA:

I’ve been gone for a long while from here but I promise I’ve been reading. In fact, my BTF (Best Teacher Friend) and I stared a faculty book club to share our love of reading. So I’m not sure why I stopped writing about books.  I would blame it on my kids but the fact of the matter is I just didn’t make the time to review the books I was reading. But recently I’ve been missing capturing my thoughts about all the books I’ve read. In addition, since I’m teaching virtually for at least a quarter, this may become a place where my students post their thoughts about books they read. So I hope you will stick around and see what I’ve been reading and let me know what you’ve been reading or if you like/dislike the books I review.

Where to go from here:

So where to start. There are literally years of books that I would love to review but I think the best place to start would be with ones that really stood out to me. My next few posts I imagine as top ten lists or mine-reviews, then once I catch up I will once again begin full reviews.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Leave a comment

August 11, 2020 · 10:20 am

Blog Tour: Son of War, Daughter of Chaos by Janette Rallison

Son of War Daughter of Chaos Blog TourBlog Tour Schedule

 

SonOfWarEBookSon of War, Daughter of Chaos

Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for the signs: people with greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and have the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks—things that get in the way of having a normal high school life.

When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she’s prepared or not.

Excerpt: 

Preface

An Egyptian tomb is only a good place to die if you happen to be the pharaoh for whom it was built. And maybe not even then. I didn’t intend to room with any of the deceased, which meant the sooner I got out of this place the better.
My flashlight swept over the figures on the mural in front of me. A feeling of danger and expectation clung to everything here, as thick as the dust. On the mural, a warrior with bright green eyes stared back at me. Horusian glowing eyes. I could almost see the smugness in his expression, an expression that said he was coming for me. Or at least his kind were.
 
Behind me, something creaked. Footsteps.

AMAZON

 Review: I was hooked immediately as I read the preface. Rallison’s story of suspense, love and mythology is filled with lovable characters and suspense. While I’m not usually one to get caught up in the history and mythology of the story, I felt that the way Rallison presented the information was gripping and never boring. Aislynn was likable from the first page. She’s witty, strong and a little vulnerable at times.  I loved reading the story from her perspective.  Since Aislynn was kept in the dark for so long about the family’s history, I was surprised every time she was and completely shocked by all the twists and turns. I also loved watching her falling in love for the first time.  The combination of romance and thriller makes this book one of the best I’ve read. I’m hoping Rallison will write a sequel soon (I have to know what happens the next year).

Janette RallisonAuthor Janette Rallison

Janette Rallison is old. Don’t ask how old, because it isn’t polite. Let’s just say she’s older than she’d like to be and leave it at that.

Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.

Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)

Website * Facebook * Twitter

 

add to goodreads

 

 

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 8/24/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 Comment

Filed under Blog Tour, Giveaway, Reviews

Book Blast: Son of War, Daughter of Chaos by Janette Rallison

 

 

SonOfWarEBookSon of War, Daughter of Chaos

Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for the signs: people with greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and have the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks—things that get in the way of having a normal high school life.

When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she’s prepared or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMAZON

Son of War Daughter of Chaos Blog TourBlog Tour Schedule

Janette RallisonAuthor Janette Rallison

Janette Rallison is old. Don’t ask how old, because it isn’t polite. Let’s just say she’s older than she’d like to be and leave it at that.

Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.

Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)

Website * Facebook * Twitter

 

book blast button

 

 

 

Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 8/17/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Blast, Giveaway

Cassie Shine’s HARP’S VOICE Release Launch!

Harp's Voice by Cassie Shine

Happy Book Birthday to Cassie Shine’s HARP’S VOICE (Harp’s Song #2)! I’m so excited (and a little sad) to take part in the release day launch for the conclusion to the HARP’S SONG duology. Check out the book and excerpt below, and then be sure to enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter.

HarpsVoice_cover

Harp’s Voice (Harp’s Song #2) by Cassie Shine | Release Date: June 24, 2014

Single-minded to the point of near seclusion, Harp Evans’ only goal was to move away from her abusive mother, and start a new life at college. Now a freshman at a prestigious university, Harp continues to struggle letting people in, including her ex-boyfriend—Connor Williams—who has always stood by her, especially after her mother exposed a devastating secret about Harp’s origin. While Harp figures out how to navigate her relationships, especially with her mom, Anne, she will have to exorcize her own demons and face challenges with uncompromising courage, including reuniting her broken family—the family that was shattered by the acts of one man. After almost twenty years, is it possible for people to change their minds and open their hearts? More importantly, is Harp strong enough to pull them all back together?

CHAPTER 19: BROWN-EYED GIRL

Emma: Good morning sunshine???!!!!!

Me: Thanks for the wake up call.

Emma: Be there in 20. Be Ready. XOXO

I crawl out of bed and shuffle toward the smell of coffee to find my mom in the kitchen reading the paper.

“Good morning,” she says. “I know you got home late last night so I didn’t want to wake you.”

“Well, Emma texted me and is going to be here in about twenty minutes,” I relay to her. “We’d better get ready before she walks in and explodes when she see’s us still in our pajamas.”

My mom laughs, “Ok, I’ll go get ready. Catherine should be here at the same time.”

We’re still in limbo waiting for my mom’s results from her last scan, so Emma and Catherine decided a girl’s day was in order.

“Helloooooo!” Emma screams exactly twenty minutes later.

“In my room!” I yell back.

Emma throws my door open with gusto, taking one look at me, “That’s what you’re wearing for girl’s day?”

“Good morning to you too, dear friend.”

“Harp, I love you, but seriously, you cannot wear cut offs and a T-shirt … especially that T-shirt.”

“Morning Emma.”

“Morning Anne,” she hugs my mom. “See, Harp, look at your mom, she knows what the appropriate attire is for girl’s day.”

My mom and Emma look like twinsies about to walk a mother/daughter catwalk in similar floral sundresses with strappy sandals, and compared to my chucks and ‘I love treble’ T-shirt, I feel very out of place.  

“Fine,” I sigh. “Pick ….”

Emma doesn’t wait for me to finish, already rummaging through my closet, scraping hangers across the bar quickly dismissing things, until she holds out a lavender sundress, “Here wear this.”

I shrug out of my clothes, throw the dress on and then grab the pair of sandals she’s holding in her hand.

“Does this meet your approval?” I twirl with my hands out to my sides.

She claps her hands in rapid succession grinning like it’s Christmas morning and she’s four years old.

“Ok, let’s go get manis and pedis ladies,” she announces as she walks through the hallway to where my mom and Catherine are waiting for us

The three of them talked the whole way to the nail place while I texted Jayden and Harmony, working out the details of our trip next week.

“Emma, have you declared a major yet?” Catherine asks, handing my mom a bottle of fire engine red nail polish.

“Communications Studies,” she answers dipping her toes into the bubbling water. “They have a solid journalism program and a student-run fashion magazine. I’d love to work in fashion doing PR or writing fashion columns.”

“That sounds perfect for you.” Catherine agrees.

“Are you sure about this color for me, Catherine?”

“That color is perfect, Anne,” Emma insists.

“Did you have a good first year, Emma?” My mom asks sitting in the pedicure chair next to Catherine, across the aisle from Emma and me. 

“Yeah, it was good. I didn’t luck out with an awesome roommate like Harp did, but other than that I really liked my classes and made some good friends.

“Did you miss being home?” Catherine asks.

“Honestly, no,” she laughs. “My parents are more interested in their social lives than they are in me or Ethan.”

“You totally missed Ethan,” I call her out.

“Fine, yeah, I missed him. Before we left for school we’d always been together … it was kind of weird not seeing him every day, even though he annoys the crap out of me.”

“Well, honey, he’s a boy, so that’s a given,” Catherine laughs.

“And, that’s just what siblings do,” my mom adds. “Push your buttons like no one else can.”

“Anne, you have brothers or sisters?” Emma asks curiously.

“Yeah, I do—a sister,” my mom sighs. “We haven’t talked since I moved away, but we were really close as kids.”

“What’s her name?” Emma asks.

“Ginny.”

“Well, Ginny’s loss is our gain,” Catherine says enthusiastically.

“For realz,” Emma agrees holding her fist out. When my mom actually bumps fists with her, I can’t contain myself.

“Harp, you did not just snort.” Emma states stunned.

“Sorry.”

“OMG! What are we gonna do with you?” She teases.

“Love her just the way she is,” my mom answers smiling at me.

****

“Hello,” my mom answers her phone waving her hand in front of our faces. We’re in the dressing room at Anthropologie with half the sale rack surrounding us.

“Yes, this is Anne Evans.”

“Ok … uh huh … yes, ok. Thank you, Dr. Morris. Ok, I will.”

She hits end on her phone and the three of us watch her every move. I’m trying to decipher her facial expression but there’s not really one to decode.

“Anne?” Catherine breaks the tension. “Were those your results?”

“Yeah,” my mom clears her throat.

“And?” I ask feeling my muscles tense in preparation for the bad news that I’m certain she’s going to deliver.

“Clear,” she blurts. “I’m all-clear. Clean as a whistle.”

“EEEEEEEEEK!” Emma shouts clapping her hands.

I catapult myself toward my mom, my force knocking her into the wall.

“Oh my God! I’m so glad!”

“Me too,” she laughs, hugging me back. “Me too!”

“This calls for an extension on girl’s day!” Catherine announces. “Who’s in for girl’s night?

I pull away from my mom and shrug my shoulders.

“I think a night on the town is exactly what I need,” my mom smiles, hugging her friend.

“Ok, then we’ll need new outfits.” Emma announces.

“Seriously?” I groan.

“Yes, seriously.” Emma sticks her tongue out at me.

****

“These strawberry margaritas are delicious!” Emma says for the tenth time.

She and Catherine are sucking down their second round at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

“You’d better slow down there,” I tease. “I’m not holding your hair back tonight.

“Don’t worry so much,” Emma waves her hand dismissively.

“Fine!” I pull the margarita toward me and take a large gulp.

“Woohoo!” Emma cheers garnering stares.

“You know,” I whisper. “You might want to stop drawing attention to our table considering we’re underage.”

“Oh, yeah,” she giggles. “Good idea!”

After we’ve stuffed ourselves to the brim, we get back in the car and my mom drives us to the small downtown area where there are some bars.

“Seriously, mom?” I lean forward from the back seat. “You’re taking us to a bar?”

“Yeah, girl’s night out isn’t complete without dancing,” she says as Catherine and Emma cheer.

I’m slammed with a wall of cigarette smoke and loud music as I walk in and follow everyone to a table.

“The band’s really good,” Catherine says waving the server over. “I love this song! It reminds me of college”

“Harp, let’s dance!” Emma squeals, pulling me to the middle of the dance floor. Catherine and my mom join us and we laugh, dancing to a lineup of 80s and 90s songs until I’m soaked in sweat and my mouth is so dry I can’t speak.

I motion to my mom that I’m getting something to drink and she nods, getting Catherine and Emma to follow me back to the table.

“Will you come to the bathroom with me?” Emma asks as I suck down my replenishment.

“Yeah, let’s go,” I hop off my stool.

“Anne is so cool!” Emma says with a high-pitched, wavy voice.

“Yeah, she’s pretty cool,” I chuckle.

“And she’s so young and pretty,” she rambles. “She’s not all stuffy and old. My mom would never be caught dead in a place like this. She’d be mortified. But your mom, is just so … so … I dunno … fun!”

“Come on,” I laugh at Emma as she washes her hands. “Let’s go dance off more of that margarita.”

“Ooooh! More dancing … yay!”

“Excuse me,” I say to the man with salt and pepper hair sitting on my stool.

When he turns his head, my jaw drops to the floor.

“Doc … doctor Stewart?” my voice ratchets an octave.

“Hi Harp,” he laughs at me. “Looks like you’ve made a full recovery.”

“Must have been the terrific doctor she had,” Catherine says in a flirty voice as she winks at him. I look at her—completely horrified—and then at my mom whose face is really pale, a sign of her embarrassment.

Dr. Stewart graciously shrugs off the blatant one-liner, stands and gestures for Emma and me to sit down, so we do.

“What are you doing here?” I ask confused because the last time I saw him I was laying in a hospital bed after getting punched in the face.  

“I was just telling them,” he says pointing to mom and Catherine. “I play in the band. I saw you guys dancing and thought I’d come say hi during the break.”

“You’re in the band?” I ask dumbfounded.

“He plays the drums,” Catherine pipes in.

“Your mom said that you’re going to school at Oberlin,” he addresses me.

“Uh, yeah.”

“That’s great, I’ve heard you’re an amazing cellist. I’ll have to keep tabs on you.”

“You know, Anne plays the violin and the piano,” Catherine shares.

“Is that so?” he raises his eyebrows.

“She also sings,” Emma says. “You should hear her sing in the car … she sounds better than the actual people on the radio.”

“Well, then, maybe you’ll join us for a song tonight?” Dr. Stewart suggests.

“That’s a great idea Anne!” Emma squeals.

“I agree,” Catherine smiles at her with a mischievous sparkle in her eye.

If looks could kill, Catherine and Emma would be dead right now from the death rays shooting out of my mom’s eyes.

“Only if Harp sings with me,” she tells Dr. Stewart.

What.Did.I.Do?

The compassion I felt for this woman a moment ago disintegrates when Catherine and Emma in unison start chirping about what a good idea that is.

“So, Harp, I guess your mom’s fate is in your hands,” Dr. Stewart jokes. “What’s it going to be?”

Ugh.I.Hate.Them … All.

“What song, Dr. Stewart?” I ask giving my mom the evil eye.

“Call me Dylan,” he says obviously amused by the four of us.

“So, Dylan,” Catherine purrs, “What song do you suggest for these two lovely ladies to sing?”

Dr. Stewart—Dylan—thinks about it while looking at my mom, “How about Brown Eyed Girl?”

Emma gasps and I whip my head to her. “Sorry,” she whispers. “It’s just so sweet—you know, that he picked that song.”

I roll my eyes.

“Harp, you know that song?” my mom asks.

“Yeah, I know it,” I snap.

An older man, who I recognize as the lead singer appears at Dr. Dylan’s side. I watch them like a detective, narrowing my eyes when the guy laughs and smacks Dr. Dylan on the back before walking toward the stage.

”Well, ladies, I’ve got to go,” he smiles that George Clooney ‘I know all your secrets smile’ and turns to my mom. “Third song in, Anne. See you up there.”

She nods her head and we all watch him walk to the stage, climb the stairs, and position himself behind his drum kit.

When I return my focus to my mom, her head is bowed, her face illuminated by a blue-ish glow.

“Ow!” she screeches, jerking her head up from her phone.

She gives Catherine a glare that would rival Elizabeth Taylor, but Catherine isn’t fazed. She raises her eyebrows and keeps her eyes on my mom.

Finally my mom gives in and rolls her eyes. “Ok, fine … say whatever it is the two of you are dying to say,” she points between Catherine and Emma.

They both start talking at the same time and we all laugh. Catherine proceeds first, “Anne, that man likes you … like likes you.”

“OMG Anne, he’s so dreamy … and he’s a doctor … and he plays the drums,” Emma coos. “Dr. Dylan is hot!”

“Well, thanks to you two for being so obvious,” my mom says sarcastically.

“And you,” she scowls at me. “You weren’t supposed to agree to sing, you were my sure way out of this, so even though I’d like to blame those two, I can’t. I blame you for this.”

Out of nowhere, the waitress slides fresh drinks across the table. Before Catherine can take a drink of her cheap chardonnay, I grab her glass and take a gulp. There’s no way I’m getting on that stage without some liquid courage.

After I set the almost-empty glass down, my mom hands me her phone and my angst fades because she’s pulled up the lyrics to Brown Eyed Girl.

“You good?” I ask handing her the phone back after scrolling through the lines. She nods, downing what’s left of the wine. “This is the second song in the set … we’d better look alive.”

I glare at Emma and Catherine, whose faces are plastered with Cheshire cat grins, before following my mom to the center of the dance floor where we sway to the beat of the music.

Before I know it, the lead singer announces a special guest performance-our cue. We climb the stairs on the right side of the stage and walk in front of the bass guitarist.

My mom glances over at Dr. Dylan, and hands him a napkin. He looks at it before giving her an appreciative head-to-toe once-over that I’d like to erase from my memory.

I’ve performed in front of hundreds of people before, but not only that, I’ve also performed in front of the toughest critics. None of that has me feeling the amount of nerves I’m feeling right now, on a stage, in front of fifty people in this hole in the wall bar.

My mom leans into me, and whispers the key in my ear. I swivel my head around left to right … the guys in the band all look the same—middle aged yet young at heart.

When my head stops dead center, in front of the dance floor, my mom weaves her hand into mine. Her eyes are twinkling, and the corner of her mouth curves into a slight ‘give ‘em hell’ smile.

On this stage, with her … it’s miles—no light years-from where we were a little over a year ago when there was no balance in our lives or our relationship with each other.

The band begins and it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. The bass guitar reverberates with such power that my normal heartbeat punches an irregular rhythm inside my chest. The drums hammer the beat, and then my mom’s voice enters the mix. My whole body is wired physically and emotionally.

She sings the first verse, eyes closed as she hits each note with perfect pitch and when her eyes open, the raw strength of her voice mesmerizes me so much that I miss my cue. She looks at me, nods her head and I jump in and harmonize the rest of the bridge.

Our individual voices complement each other, neither one overtaking the other. Instead, as we listen to each other, we adjust our tone … our dynamics … rolling and dipping to enhance each other’s voice.  

 

Cassie ShineAbout Cassie Shine

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Goodreads

Cassie Shine released her debut young adult novel, Harp’s Song in November 2013, finally finishing the short story she started in her college creative writing class … many, many moons ago. She has always been an avid reader and lover of music (yes, she was in the high school marching band). While she has a weak spot for all things teeny bopper, especially boy bands, she also loves classical, country, rock and well, pretty much everything. After living in St. Louis for more than ten years, she and her husband packed up a U-Haul and headed west. They currently live in Orange County, CA with their furry kids Finnegan and Molly.


HARP’S VOICE Release Facebook Party!

Let’s Celebrate! You’re invited to Cassie Shine’s HARP’S VOICE Release Facebook Party on Saturday, June 28th at 5PM PDT (8PM EDT). Join Cassie for a fun-filled celebration with a lot of giveaways and special guests!

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/773630852657150

Giveaway

***Any contestant that uses dummy or contest only accounts to enter will be disqualified.***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jen Halligan PR host

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Tour

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Harp’s Voice by Cassie Shine

I’m so excited to take part in the cover reveal for HARP’S VOICE (Harp’s Song #2) by Cassie Shine! Check out the cover below, and let us know what you think in the comments. Then be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of HARP’S SONG or HARP’S VOICE (winner’s choice), and a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card!

HarpsVoice_cover

Harp’s Voice (Harp’s Song #2) by Cassie Shine | Release Date: June 24, 2014

Single-minded to the point of near seclusion, Harp Evans’ only goal was to move away from her abusive mother, and start a new life at college. Now a freshman at a prestigious university, Harp continues to struggle letting people in, including her ex-boyfriend—Connor Williams—who has always stood by her, especially after her mother exposed a devastating secret about Harp’s origin.

While Harp figures out how to navigate her relationships, especially with her mom, Anne, she will have to exorcize her own demons and face challenges with uncompromising courage, including reuniting her broken family—the family that was shattered by the acts of one man.

After almost twenty years, is it possible for people to change their minds and open their hearts? More importantly, is Harp strong enough to pull them all back together?

Add Java Man to your Goodreads TBR!

What do you think of the cover?

Cassie ShineAbout Cassie Shine

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Goodreads

Cassie Shine released her debut young adult novel, Harp’s Song in November 2013, finally finishing the short story she started in her college creative writing class … many, many moons ago. She has always been an avid reader and lover of music (yes, she was in the high school marching band). While she has a weak spot for all things teeny bopper, especially boy bands, she also loves classical, country, rock and well, pretty much everything.

After living in St. Louis for more than ten years, she and her husband packed up a U-Haul and headed west. They currently live in Orange County, CA with their furry kids Finnegan and Molly.

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a signed copy of HARP’S SONG or HARP’S VOICE (winner’s choice) with $25 Amazon or B&N gift card! (US/CA only)

***Any contestant that uses dummy or contest only accounts to enter will be disqualified.***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jen Halligan PR host

Leave a comment

Filed under Cover Reveal, Giveaway

Student Review: Julie M: The Lives We Lost by

Author Megan Crewe 

Published: February 12, 2013

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

10 Reasons You Should Read The Lives We Lost

1. The cover gives a great description of the setting of the book. In this book it is the middle of winter and most people have died from this rapidly spreading virus.

2. Surreal. Imagine that everyone you know is suddenly dying from this terrible disease and there is no cure and you can’t do anything about it. It would lead you to do some bizarre things in order to stay alive and save your loved ones.

3. Kaelyn and Gav. These two teens have been dating for about a year and their love for each other intensifies during the outbreak of the disease. They stick together and through out the story you can see how much they really care about each other. It keeps them together during the tough times they go through.  When Gav suddenly becomes sick with the disease Kaelyn loses all hope and there is nothing else she can do except watch her love die.

4. Kaelyn and Leo. They were best friends even before the disease broke out. They have a strong connection and they even kiss each other while Kaelyn is still dating Gav. Gav never finds out but through out the book Leo and Kaelyn have moments of connection and they truly do care about each other. Kaelyn becomes conflicted because Gav gets sick and she has feelings for Leo at the same time.

5. It makes you think. You never know, a disease could break out and kill millions of people. It really makes you think about what you would do in this situation if you were a survivor. The group or survivors in this book break into peoples houses and steal their cars, clothes, beds, and food. They even end up killing people.

6It leaves you hanging. They are trying to find someone who can help them duplicate the vaccine to help save people. They have traveled to many places and have had many false hopes. The book ends with them deciding to go to Atlanta and Gav barley hanging onto life.

7. The Wardens. Not all of the people left in the world are trying to help other people like Kaelyn and her friends are. The Wardens are a group of people who are only looking out for themselves and are hunting Kaelyn and her friends. They constantly have to be on the look out for the and it keeps the readers on their toes.

8. Adventure. Kaelyn, Gav, Leo, Tessa, and Meredith all once lived on an island. It became so infected with the disease that the military starts blowing it up in order to kill all of the sick people. In order to survive, they have to walk all the way to Ottawa in the middle of the winter with limited supplies.

9. The Fallen World Trilogy.  The Lives We Lost is just the second book in a trilogy of suspenseful books. The action continues once they reach Atlanta.

10. Anika. She used to be apart of The Wardens until Kaelyn and he friends decide to let her into their group. But the real question is if the can trust her or not.

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews, Student Review