Book Review and Playlist: Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels

It was supposed to be epic.

During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can’t be broken.

So the first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite.
But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up.

A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there’s a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that’s not including the ridiculously heavy ax that Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can’t figure out what their deal is.

And then one of them doesn’t make it back to the tent.
Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences. 

Well, you can definitely count me out on any possible hiking trip in Yosemite National Park after reading this. Okay, that’s definitely an exaggeration because I do love a good hike…hmm…Oh! You can count me out of ever camping in Yosemite National Park after reading this book.  In fact, camping in general.

This book was everything that has always made me terrified of camping and completely disconnecting from society: unexpected weather, wild animals, inappropriate camping gear, lack of sustenance, and of course, drama between all of the people camping together.

Yep, you guessed it, this killer thriller novel about teens hiking in the woods contains drama. To be fair, I will say that the relationship-y drama takes very much a back seat to the survival drama for the most part–at least for me. It was a welcome change, in all honesty.

Now, I’m not always a fan of switching point of views.  Especially if they are changing between sexes, if only because I find that some authors are not very good at switching between the two.  However, I have to give Wallenfels for using two very distinctive narrators that are different enough personality wise that it was easy to make the distinction (the titles of the chapters indicating who was narrating, not-with-standing).

I read Bad Call in one day, and it was definitely one of those reads that enthralls you and then leaves you wanting more at the very end.  If anything, my only negative comment is going to be how quickly the end was resolved.  After so much narrative build-up, it felt like we needed a bit more composition to get us from A to B, as it were.

Overall, I recommend this for fans of the outdoors and thrillers.

4 Bards!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review & Playlist: Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear “You’re Dusty’s sister?” ever again.

Life is real enough for Dylan—especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network’s crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV.

As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty’s maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises—including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan’s family isn’t good enough for her only son. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress . . . if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation. 

Release Date: December 19, 2017

Around the holidays I tend to be more susceptible to a love story than I am on a normal average day, so when Hyperion sent me a copy of this book, I couldn’t resist.

This book is equal parts E! network and Jane Austen, via Bridget Jones’s Diary and I enjoyed every single page. It was a relaxing, albeit freezing, Southern December Sunday when I picked this book up…and finished it in that same exact spot. Strohm’s storytelling was lighthearted and fun, full of literary references that pleased this English Major, but not too many to make the Darcy character unlikeable or cold.  In fact, I think Strohm made Jamie the character I wish Darcy had been all along.  Although, that would have made Pride and Prejudice an entirely different narrative.

As someone with a sister, and a sister whom I love but don’t always agree, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dusty and Dylan. It’s hard to capture that kind of sisterly relationship in words, and I think Strohm did an amazing job. I also adored the musical inspiration behind their names, because I am a sucker for classic music and obviously so was their mother.

I also came out of this novel knowing a lot more about Scottish culture than I ever thought I’d know, and so I’m officially skeptical of Haggis and all it is made of. Although, I do appreciate the Robert Burns celebration, as I am a sucker for his “A Red, Red Rose” poem.

Overall this book was delightfully written and I could have read two more books of Jamie and Dylan’s banter.

Instead I leave you with my 4 Bard rating and the playlist I created especially to celebrate this novel. Be sure to give it a listen, I chose my personal favorite Dylan song to represent Dylan. Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here

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It is Midsummer’s stop on the Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here blog tour hosted by Penguin Teen!

Be sure to check out the information on the novel, listen to the playlist for Ashley, and order a copy of this unforgettable novel.  My review will be up next week, so stay tuned!

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

 

“Hands To Myself,” Selena Gomez
She’s choreographing a cheer set to this song, so she listens to it like a zillion times a day.

“Fancy,” Iggy Azalea
The song she listens to when she’s driving to school (which her twin sister Avery hates, but too freaking bad).

“In The Night,” The Weeknd
She listens to this when she’s taking an evening drive by herself, just to CVS or something. It’s her time to be alone.

“Story of My Life,” One Direction
She and Avery sing along with this song in the car on the way home (assuming Ave’s not hanging out with that pretentious d-bag Scarlett).

“Hello,” Adele
When she’s sad about Gideon.

“Chichester Psalms,” Leonard Bernstein
She first listened to these to impress this college guy she was dating, but wound up loving them herself. She always cries at the end of III.

“Trap Queen,” Fetty Wap
The summer song that seems to play at all the block parties in the neighborhood that her family goes to.

“How Deep Is Your Love,” Calvin Harris & Disciples
Sexy shower-singing song.

“Let It Go,” Idina Menzel
Empowering shower-singing song.

“Work,” Rihanna
On in the background as she and her friends pregame for a house party.

“Ultralight Beam,” Kanye West
On in the background if she’s pregaming alone for a house party.

“Elastic Heart,” Sia
To remind herself she’s stronger than people think she is.

“All Of Me,” John Legend
She imagines this being her first dance as prom queen.

“Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift
Sometimes, remembering some diss Scarlett shot in her direction, she blasts this in the car and scream-sings it.

Swan Lake, Op.20, Act I: 2. Waltz (Tempo di valse)
She remembers this from ballet class—she quit because she wasn’t the best student there, and misses it sometimes—and listens to it often.

 

Buy the book:

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Blog Tour: In Real Life by Jessica Love

Welcome to Midsummer’s stop on the In Real Life blog tour! Below you will find an excerpt from the novel AND the spotify playlist provided by the author.

First, let me tell you a little bit about the book:

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Release Date: March 1, 2016 **Hot off the press**

Check out a short excerpt!

CREDIT: In Real Life by Jessica Love; Courtesy of Thomas Dunne Books

 

Did you love the excerpt? Well, be sure to listen to the author’s spotify playlist that was created especially for you.

(My personal favorites from the playlist: Edge of Desire by John Mayer, Ghost Under Rocks by Ra Ra Riot, You and I by Ingrid Michaelson)

 

 

My copy is already on the way, get yours now!

Book Playlist: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra-Bracken-PassengerAfter I finished Passenger I had to clean up my apartment, and so as I usually do, I put on some music, just a random collection of songs that I put on shuffle. I ended up hearing about four songs in a row that reminded me of the book, so I decided to compile a list of songs that I thought fit the story or the characters. Beware, it’s a little spoiler-y, but I hope you enjoy it!

Ships in the Night by Mat Kearney; I actually thought of this from a line in the book, because Nicholas says something along these lines and I thought it went perfectly with the overall story.
And if it all goes crashing into the sea, If it’s just you and me trying to find the light, Like ships in the night

Disappear by Parachute; This one mostly reminds me of Nicholas. After Julian, he was a little lost, but he knew he wanted to be at sea and away from the Ironwoods.
You don’t have to know where you’re going, Just where it is you wanna be

Start a Riot by BANNER; This one also reminds me of Nicholas, more in relation to Etta being his passenger. He tells he would go to the ends of the Earth to bring her back and make sure she is safe.
I will march down an empty street like a ship into the storm, No surrender, no retreat

Cry Baby by The Neighbourhood; This is about both Nicholas and Etta because they both know what they’re heading towards while also keeping secrets from the other.
I know I’ll fall in love with you, baby, And that’s not what I wanna do

Run Away with Me by Carly Rae Jepson; Reminds me of Etta, because if she had it her way she would take Nicholas away to a place where they could be together without fear.
This is the part, you’ve got to say all that you’re feeling, feeling, Packing a bag, we’re leaving tonight when everyone’s sleeping, sleeping

Fire and the Flood by Vance Joy; As much as he tries to deny it and push Etta away, he feels for her and he can’t stop the way he feels.
You’re the fire and the flood, And I’ll always feel you in my blood

Without You by Parachute; Now that she’s had Nicholas, she never wants to let him go and she can’t imagine travelling without him, even after only a week.
It’s only been a moment, it’s true, But I could never live this life without you

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by Sleeping at Last; As much as I love the Proclaimers, this is more Nicholas’ speed I think. But after Etta disappears you know for certain that Nicholas would travel to the ends of the earth to find her.
But I would walk five hundred miles, And I would walk five hundred more, Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles, To fall down at your door

How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding; I included this one mostly because it’s the song at the end of my favorite movie about time travel and love, About Time. They both teach you about living and loving for the moment, so I thought it was fitting to end with this one.
How long will I be with you? As long as the sea is bound to, Wash up on the sand

Blog Tour: Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

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As a huge fan of the Falling Kingdoms series, I was honored to be offered a chance to participate in the blog tour for the release of the fourth installment, Frozen Tides.  Yesterday you will notice that I posted my review of the third novel, Gathering Darkness, and you will get my review of Frozen Tides on Thursday! Today, for the tour, I am hosting author Morgan Rhodes’ Frozen Tides book playlist!

Be aware that there are possible spoilers for Falling Kingdoms books 1-3 in this! Let’s get started!

Protectors of the Earth – Two Steps From Hell


Super epic music (Two Steps from Hell produce music used in a lot of big budget movie trailers) which could definitely set the tone for the Falling Kingdoms series!

Royals – Lorde

I think ever since I saw this song used in a Reign promo, it’s stuck in my mind when it comes to dealing with teenaged princes and princesses and their daily dramas.

 

Gravity – Sara Bareilles


This song has Team Magneo written all over it…from Magnus’s POV at the end of Gathering Darkness, anyway!

 

Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri


Another super angsty song for the heir to his evil father’s throne.

 

Time is Running Out – Muse

This song would definitely suit a Rebel-Jonas-in-training montage, while he’s thinking/pining away about Cleo.

 

Just a Girl – No Doubt


This song makes me think of Cleo back when she was more of a party princess with no responsibilities than a royal rebel.

Breathe Me – Sia


This song has so much atmosphere and emotion that it would definitely suit many of the complicated, twisty – may I say angsty again?? — romantic situations in the Falling Kingdoms series.

 

Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys


Don’t mess with Lucia. Two words: fire magic. She will torch y’all.

 

Freedom Fighters – Two Steps from Hell


A powerful, victorious anthem for the rebels who are trying to bring down the evil King Gaius. Just before everything goes horribly wrong, of course.

 

Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd


That feeling when you’re falling for someone who probably isn’t someone you want to fall for? Yeah, that.

 

Holding out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler


I’ve always loved this song…but in the Falling Kingdoms series I think my characters are at their strongest when they stop waiting for someone to save them and they save themselves instead! And yes, this video is about as retro as they get! Viva The Eighties!

 

Poker Face – Lady GaGa


I once made a joke on Tumblr that, secretly, Prince Magnus really loves Lady GaGa. Now whenever I hear her music I think of him. I think he’d listen to Poker Face with headphones (if such things existed in his world) so no one would know. Also, since he does pride himself on his own poker face, this is a song match made in heaven!

Happy Reading! (and listening!)

Morgan

You can visit Morgan on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook!

 

Frozen Tides: A Falling Kingdoms Novel


New From: $7.22 USD In Stock

Blog Tour: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

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Welcome to A Midsummer Night’s Read’s stop on the Blood and Salt Blog tour, hosted by Penguin Teen!

Check out the book synopsis below, listen to the book playlist, and enter to win a hardcover copy of the book.  My Review of Blood and Salt will be up tomorrow!

 

bloodandsalt“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Blood and Salt is full of creepy goodness, but there’s also a scorching hot romance.

This is the official Ash and Dane playlist directly from the author herself! (Click on the song title to listen!)

1) Neighborhood #1— Arcade Fire

I love this song– I think it captures that all-consuming feeling of first love.

2) I Never— Rilo Kiley

“I’ve got nothing to give, except everything. The good and the bad.” The ache in this song is so real.

3) Flow — Sade

This is a seriously sexy song. I can just imagine this playing during the lake scene.

4) Use Me— Holly Golightly

I think this shows Ash’s attitude to her brother’s warnings.

5) The Crystal Ship— The Hot Rats

Dark, gritty with a slight hallucinogenic quality. I can imagine this playing during that incredibly hot kiss on page 236.

6) I Want It That Way— Backstreet Boys

If this seems like an oddball choice– you’re right. Read the book and you’ll understand everything. ; )

7) Bloodstream— Stateless 

This song feels like a dream– a perfect combination of anguish and bliss.

8) It Won’t Be Long— Jason Collett

“When you close your eyes, kiss my mouth, I know I’m closer now than anyone has ever been.” Nuff said.

9) Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want— Clayhill

I always think of Dane when I hear this. It reminds me of his focus on Ash– he’s trying to do the right thing, but he’s clouded by desire.

10) Closer— Kings of Leon

“She took my heart, I think she took my soul.” This song is dark, dangerous and sexy.

11) I Want You— Elvis Costello

I wrote an incredibly hot scene to this song that didn’t make it into the final book. But this song belongs on this playlist.

12) Night In My Veins— Pretenders

“It feels good, even if it’s just the night in my veins.” I think there’s a part of Ash that knows this is dangerous, but she doesn’t care. It feels too good.

13) Can’t Seem To Make You Mine— The Seeds

This is such a fun song! Very Ash and Dane.

14) Fall At Your Feet— Boy & Bear

This is a beautiful song, but there’s a certain sadness that reminds me of Ash and Dane.

15) Shade And Honey— Sparklehorse

This song is so romantic and dark and strange. Just like Blood and Salt.

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Be sure to check out some of the other stops on the Blood and Salt tour, and come back tomorrow to see my review!

Good Books & Wine –  9/14
Addicted Readers – 9/15
Jessabella Reads –  9/16
A Midsummer Night’s Read – 9/17
It Starts At Midnight –  9/18

The Book Bratz –  9/21
No BS Book Reviews – 9/22
Once Upon a Twilight – 9/23
Please Feed the Bookworm – 9/24
The Irish Banana –  9/25

Winterhaven Books – 9/28
My Friends are Fiction – 9/29
Fiction Fare –  9/30
A Dream Within a Dream –  10/1
Two Chicks on Books –10/2

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