Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Cove by Julie Spencer Free on Kindle August 1st-5th 2016

In honor of the Summer Olympics, and because the main character in The Cove is a famous Olympic swimmer, Julie Spencer is offering her novel, The Cove free on Kindle this week only.

Here is a blurb about The Cove:

Some accomplishments are easier than others…

For Olympic swimmer Gail Pederson, gold medals came easy. Finding true love and marrying him in the temple? Not so easy. Especially with three men competing for her attention, and temptations leading her further and further from her goal.

Choices have consequences, and each choice Gail makes affects all four of them. One choice changes their lives forever, and leaves unexpected consequences in its wake.

Innocence lost, promises broken, and friendships destroyed. Gail may choose how to live her life, but she can’t choose the consequences.

Here is an excerpt from The Cove:

“Why did you do that?” Gail stood in his lit doorway, dripping wet in her designer swimsuit. Todd kept the screen door closed between them, anger in his eyes and a scowl on his face. Gail pushed the door open and stomped into his house, leaving water all across his linoleum floor. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, then grabbed the kitchen towel from the handle on the stove. As he stooped down to wipe up the mess, she grabbed her long hair in her hands and wrung the water from it so that it left an even bigger pool of water beside her. He paused, clenched his hand around the towel and wiped up that mess as well. When Todd stood up, he tossed the towel at Gail’s chest.
“Dry yourself off.” Todd snapped at her. “You’re making a mess in my kitchen.” He walked back over to the counter where he had been making himself a sandwich. How can he possibly be hungry after all that food at the country club?
“Why did you have to show up there anyway?” Gail demanded.
“I was invited!” Todd turned back to her with fierceness in his eyes. “By your fiancé!” He spat the words at her and she flinched back from his accusing eyes. He stepped away from the counter and crossed the room to her. She was glad he’d put down the knife he’d used to cut the salami for his sandwich. Not that she thought he would ever really get so mad he might hurt her, it just would have felt a little more threatening.
“Stephan invited… you? Why?” He ignored her question.
“Do you have any idea how much Patrick loves you? How much it’s going to hurt him when he finds out that you’re engaged to someone else?”

Find out what happens next by downloading The Cove by Julie Spencer on Kindle.

Have you read The Cove? What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Rather read The Cove as a paperback? Get it here:

Also by Julie L. Spencer

Read Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor? on your Kindle

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review of Charitable Hearts by EJ McCay

I was hooked on CharitableHearts by EJ McCay from page one and couldn’t put it down. From the description I thought it was going to be predictable, but it really wasn’t. A little, but most Romance novels are.

The main character, Maggie is snarky and sarcastic like me! She’s a philanthropist who goes out of her way to make sure the charities she funds are actually putting their money in the right places. I like that because I run a non-profit and really try to go out of my way to put our money directly into programs that will positively affect our customers and keep our overhead costs down.

Maggie fights her attraction to Levi, who is one of her perspective clients, and he fights his attraction to her, sort of. They both have secrets and tragedies in their backgrounds, and have to work past those in order to let their walls down so they can fall in love.

I loved it that the characters were down-to-earth and happy with the simple things in life, like homemade pizza and sitting on the back patio together, rather than the glam and glitz that could easily be within reach, considering they’re both rich. They were easy to connect with.

EJ’s writing style is great and I love omniscient point-of-view. Character development was well-done and the story flowed well.

I loved Charitable Hearts, and have already started reading it for the second time!

Have you read Charitable Hearts by EJ McCay? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

EJ McCay lives in a small West Texas town with her husband, two girls, and three cats. When she isn’t writing, she is listening to music, watching the best movie ever, Princess Bride, or the best TV show ever, Chuck. If you’d like to keep in the know, follow her on Facebook at or on Twitter @ElizabethJMcCay.

Also by EJ McCay: 

True Colors by Krysten Lindsay Hager now available on Paperback

True Colors, the first book in Krysten Lindsay Hager’s series called the Landry’s True Colors Series, is now available on paperback.

The Landry’s TrueColors Series is a Young Adult humor series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school & high school, frenemies, crushes, and self-image. It’s a Clean Reads book so it’s suitable for ages 11 and up.

Here’s a blurb from True Colors:

Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round.

However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically “unfriend” her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.

Here’s an excerpt from True Colors:

The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.

“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.

I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.

“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.

Tori was next.

“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.

About Krysten Lindsay Hager:

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, the celebrity world, values, and self-image in True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? Landry in Like, Next Door to a Star and Competingwith the Star. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and True Colors is an international bestseller. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Bellbrook Times, the Grand Haven Tribune, and on the talk show Living Dayton.

Author social media links:

Read Other Books by Krysten Lindsay Hager:

Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.

Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue TV show modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi?

Things seem to be going well in Landry Albright’s world—she’s getting invited to be on local talk shows to talk about her modeling career, her best friends have her back, and her boyfriend Vladi has becoming someone she can truly count on…and then everything changes.
Suddenly it seems like most of the girls in school are into hanging out at a new teen dance club, while Landry just wants to spend her weekends playing video games and baking cup-cakes at sleepovers. Then, Yasmin McCarty, the most popular girl in school, starts to come between Landry’s friendship with her best friend Ashanti. Things take a turn when Yasmin tells Vladi that Landry is interested in another boy. Can Landry get her relationships with Ashanti and Vladi back or will she be left out and left behind?

Have you read any of the Landry’s True Colors Series  or other books by Kryten Lindsay Hager? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

A few more thoughts about Self-Esteem, Frenemies, Modeling, and Middle School Drama from Author Krysten Lindsay Hager:

Meet Landry from the Landry’sTrue Colors Series by Krysten Lindsay Hager

In the Landry’s True Colors Series, we meet my character, Landry Albright, a fourteen year old who deals with self-esteem issues as she tries to see where she fits in with the others at school. Is a girl who just wants to be noticed and fit in, but she also shies away from the spotlight at times. Landry wants to be more self-assured and wouldn’t mind if the modeling competition were to make her a big star…assuming she doesn’t have to wear heels in public or talk in front of a crowd. As she makes new friend, she finds herself conforming to fit in and gets away from her true self. She makes friends who seem to be more sure of themselves, like Thalia, Peyton, and Ashanti, and they encourage Landry to be herself.

Landry and I share a similar sense of humor and way of looking at things. Neither one of us is good at math and spent that class time daydreaming. In True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book 1), Landry gets pushed into trying out for a modeling reality show competition by her two best friends. She goes in feeling anxious and unsure of herself, but the other two girls, Ericka and Tori, push her into going to the audition with them. However, things take a turn when Landry gets chosen to move on to the next round and Tori and Ericka don’t. However, in book two, we see that even though Landry moved on in the competition, she still deals with self-image issues after the girls at school talk behind her back.

     “It had hurt my feelings when I overheard girls at school say the only reason I had gotten as far as I did in the American Ingénue competition was due to my height. Sure, models had to be tall, but would it have killed someone to say, “Hey Landry, you looked really nice and confident up on that runway?” (from True Colors).

     Landry also worries about fitting in and being accepted with her new group of friends. She feels like she finally found a comfortable group to be with, but her self-esteem takes a hit when she goes to visit her grandparents for Christmas and feels left out when she sees her friends’ posts on their social media pages about how much fun they’re having in her absence (from Best Friends…Forever? Landry’s True Colors Series Book 2):

“I got ready for bed and then stopped to check my social media page one more time and that’s when I saw it — another picture of Peyton, India, and Devon hanging out. They were sitting on the couch with their heads scrunched close together and laughing. It was a cute picture, but then I saw the caption: So glad we could all be together for the holidays. Love these guys soooo much! Best friends forever. #Alltogether #Threemusketeers #BestFriendsForever #ThreeBestFriends #ThreesCompany.

     My heart sank. It was India’s caption and anyone who read it would think what a closeknit group of friends and not realize anyone was missing from that photo. Sure, I was in another state, so naturally I couldn’t be there for it, but the way India wrote that made me feel so left out. I mean, what did she mean by the “Three’s Company” hashtag? And sometimes people tagged friends who weren’t there in pictures and added, “Wish you were here,” but there was no mention of a fourth member of the group.” (from Best Friends…Forever?)

     In the series, we see Landry learn that her true worth is more than just her appearance and fitting in with the right crowd. Images of models and celebrities are everywhere showing what the supposed “ideal teen” looks like, which leads Landry to have an unpleasant experience at the makeup counter where the salesperson makes Landry feel worse about herself in order to get her to buy more products. However, soon Landry begins to see through the artificial side of things and she learns to value what’s truly important in herself and others.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Book Review of Candid by Michelle Pennington

It’s like Candid Camera meets Extreme Makeover High School Edition

I was hooked on Candid by Michelle Pennington from page one and couldn’t put it down. The storyline is like Candid Camera meets Extreme Makeover High School Edition (that is a thing, right? It should be!). The main character, Sienna sees things through her lens that other people miss. She uses her photography skills to display less-popular peers in a way that changes student body perception.

Unfortunately, change usually involves growing pains. And BOY does she cause problems. Thankfully, there’s a BOY involved in the story and he is hot! In any YA story, the guy has to be hot and he has to find the geeky wallflower girl beautiful. Candid is no exception.

Michelle’s writing style is great and the character development was well-done. Rather than have Sienna say “I’m so clumsy I couldn’t even open the gate,” Michelle shows Sienna fumbling with the latch, juggling her equipment and ultimately falling on her face in front of a stadium of people. And that’s just page one. Michelle introduces each new character slowly and with description. When I grow up, I wanna be just like her!

I loved Candid so much, I started immediately into the next book in the series, Focused. It was just as good, and I’ll post a review of it in a few days. Have you read Candid by Michelle Pennington? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Read the second book in the series, Focused by Michelle Pennington: