Friday, September 30, 2016

Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway! "Chasing Truth by Julie Cross

You guys! I'm so excited to be a part of this blog tour, put on by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours, for Julie Cross's "Chasing Truth"!  This book was so good, and I've been waiting to tell everyone for so long just how much I loved it!!! Make sure to scroll to the end of this post for a great giveaway, too!

At Holden Prep, the rich and powerful rule the school—and they’ll do just about anything to keep their dirty little secrets hidden. 

When former con artist Eleanor Ames’s homecoming date commits suicide, she’s positive there’s something more going on. The more questions she asks, though, the more she crosses paths with Miles Beckett. He’s sexy, mysterious, arrogant…and he’s asking all the same questions. 

Eleanor might not trust him—she doesn’t even like him—but they can’t keep their hands off of each other. Fighting the infuriating attraction is almost as hard as ignoring the fact that Miles isn’t telling her the truth…and that there’s a good chance he thinks she’s the killer.

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:

AmazonBarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | | | IndieBound | BAM | TBD

Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press).
 She’s also the author of the Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!
 Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA.
She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.
 Outside of her reading and writing cred, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.


Thanks so much to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

By now I've read a few of Julie Cross's books, and I've enjoyed them all, so I figured I was in safe hands by requesting this title. I was pretty confident I would enjoy "Chasing Truth", but I didn't know it would completely blow my expectations out of the water!  I loved every moment of this book, if I'm being honest. The suspense was literally keeping me awake at night! You think I'm kidding, but I'm absolutely telling the truth. One night, I woke up to use the washroom. The next thing I knew, I was tossing and turning, going through all the evidence I remembered, totally convinced that I knew who the killer was. And I was so wrong, it's not even funny! But I'm glad I was wrong, because I would have been sooooo mad if I was right. That probably makes no sense whatsoever, but you'll just have to read this book, then we can compare notes without spoiling anything. I will say that this reading experience was a complete mind screw, in the best possible way!
I also need to comment on how fantastic Julie Cross is at writing these characters that just feel so real to me. Ellie Ames is a completely flawed character, but she is so honest and upfront about her flaws, at least with us readers - I could not help but be drawn to her.  And Miles? Ooooeee! That guy is a smokin' enigma! One minute I loved him, the next I didn't trust him, and I was always wondering what the heck he was up to. But he's kind of adorable at the same time, and the heat between him and Ellie was cooking up my iPhone! Scorching! There are also a few minor side characters who I wouldn't mind getting to know more about, so I'm happy to see that this is a series - I think you can tell by my enthusiasm that I will be picking up the next Ellie Ames book as soon as possible!
If you are looking for some action, danger, hot times, and a twisty plot in your next YA read, you should absolutely pick up "Chasing Truth" - I guarantee you won't regret it!
My rating: 

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cover Reveal: Jay Crownover's "Riveted"

 Isn't this cover gorgeous?! This book looks so good, time to preorder now!
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the next installment in the Saints of Denver series.

Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him...even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.

When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you. 

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Release Blitz! "Lyric and Lingerie" by Tracy Wolff and Katie Graykowski

Hey everyone, I'm so glad Tracy Wolff and Katie Graykowski asked me to be a part of their Release Day Blitz! Lyric and Lingerie looks like so much fun, and I can't wait to read it!

Release Date: September 27, 2016

From New York Times Bestselling author Tracy Wolff and International Bestselling author Katie Graykowski comes a sexy tale of love, laughter and lingerie …

Lyric Wright is an off-beat astrophysicist whose life is falling apart around her. After losing her fiancé to a hula dancing astrologer and losing her dress to an ill-fated leap of faith, she’s sure there’s nowhere for her life to go but up. At least until she sits down on a trans-Pacific flight next to the one man she never wanted to see again—the boy she’d lost her heart and her virginity too back before she’d learned that friendship and football don’t equal true love.

Broken down quarterback Heath Montgomery is on a plane ride to nowhere. Dodging the phone call he’s certain will end his professional football career for good, he might be Texas bound, but he knows there’s nowhere for him to go but down. But that’s before his childhood best friend and confidante plops back into his life wearing nothing but duct tape and a bad attitude. Determined not to lose her again (especially since he isn’t sure why he lost her the first time) and desperate to outrun his own shadowy future, Heath sets out to take Lyric on the ride of her life. Too bad she only dates men who actually know what her butterfly nebula is … and can find it without the help of a star chart.

Add in one passive-aggressive flight attendant with delusions of couture, a cherry red car with a crush on Neil Diamond, an over-protective sister with a black belt in Krav Maga, two parents determined to marry their spinster daughter off to the hometown hero no matter the cost, and a whole lot of lingerie popping up in all the right places at all the wrong times and you’ve got an unforgettable love story that fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson won’t want to miss!

About the Authors

Tracy Wolff

tracy-wolff Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.   And for all of those who want the unedited version: Tracy Wolff lives with four men, teaches writing to local college students and spends as much time as she can manage immersed in worlds of her own creation. Married to the alpha hero of her dreams for twelve years, she is the mother of three young sons who spend most of their time trying to make her as crazy as possible.   You can find Tracy also on Twitter, and   Tracy Wolff also writes as Tessa Adams

Katie Graykowski

katie-graykowski I write romantic comedy with lots of heart. I like scuba diving, Mexican food, chocolate cream cheese frosting, movies where lots of stuff gets blown up, and sparkly things. I have a husband, a daughter, and three K-9 kids. I'd love to hear from you. Shoot me an email at

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: "Hello?" by Liza Wiemer

One HELLO can change a life. One HELLO can save a life. Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death. Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical. Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry. Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past. Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both. Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope. Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian).

Thank you very much to Spencer Hill Press (via Netgalley) for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
This review might be full of gushy praise, because I loved it a whole lot! So, consider that fair warning...

Um, where to start? I requested this book a long time ago, not sure why (cover? synopsis? Couldn't tell ya) and then promptly put it aside. Again, not sure why, but if I'd known how good it was going to be, I would have read it way sooner! First off, the way it is written is very unique, and it really helped to give each character an individual voice. If you're put off by the thought of reading free verse poetry or screenplay format, don't be - it definitely works here! With the narrative style of this book, I felt I was really able to connect with each of these characters, empathizing with them and hoping for them to succeed and be happy in their future. 

I think probably my favourite character was Emerson. He was so layered, and really just all around wonderful! I can't even put into words why I liked him so much, but I really wanted him to get his happy ending. 

Brenda ended up being a big surprise for me. I had a hard time connecting with her at first, and maybe part of that was me getting used to her screenplay format. I've read plays for school, but I would not normally ever choose to read one, and I guess that felt a bit uncomfortable at first. Anyway, it didn't take long and she became one of my favourites too.

Another big surprise here was the setting. Tricia's lighthouse, and funky little island town, is definitely somewhere I would love to visit, and Wiemer paints such a vivid picture of this place that I felt I could visualize every element. Stunning!

Great writing, wonderful characters, an unforgettable setting, romance, heartbreak, music - what more could you ask for in a contemporary young adult read?  Absolutely recommended to everyone!

My rating: 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Review: "You Before Anyone Else" by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

Model Finley needs someone to help her shed her "good girl" persona, so she'll try Eddie on for size. New York City model Finley is fed up with hearing the same feedback at castings: she needs to take some serious action to wipe the "good girl" stamp from her resume if she wants to launch to stardom. Enter Eddie Wells. He's shallow, predictable…and just as lost as Finley feels. Deep down, Finley is drawn to Eddie's bravado, his intensity. Except Eddie is hiding something. A big something. And when it surfaces, both loving and leaving Finley will become so much harder.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 
It's been awhile since I read the first book in this series, but I remember really liking it and that's why I requested "You Before Anyone Else". This installment did not disappoint - the strong  chemistry between the two main characters, the pacing that flows seamlessly throughout the book, and the glimpses we get into the world of modeling are some of the things I loved about the first book, and they were all present here as well.

Cross and Perini have given us two fabulous main characters here. Finley and Eddie are both working through some pretty serious stuff, so neither of them are looking for a long term relationship. In fact, when they first hook up, it's with the understanding that it will be a "one night stand". But, surprise surprise! They actually end up really liking each other, and a strong friendship develops. The more time they spend together, the more they come to rely and trust in each other, and I think that's probably what I enjoyed the most - the building of a beautiful friendship.

I also really liked how both Finley and Eddie realize modeling is not a long term career for them. Finley is modeling to save money so she can reopen her mom's dance studio, and Eddie sees modeling as a very short term solution to his homeless status.  He has a goal in mind that I won't divulge for fear of spoiling anything, but modeling seems like the best source of income to keep him in Manhattan, which is where he needs to be for the moment. I found Eddie's attitude towards modeling quite humorous!  He really didn't like getting made up to have his photo taken, but he was just so good at it! Finley and her roommates couldn't get over how he could become so accomplished without even really trying.

I looooved Finley's family! Her dad was just awesome, and her little brothers were super cute! I thought every moment involving these three characters was a great one, with nothing over the top or extraneous. So many books in this genre get family dynamics so wrong, with either tons of cheesy moments that make me roll my eyes, or a villainous family member who has no redeeming qualities. I suppose Eddie's parents could fall into that latter category, but even though they were terrible, I think they were realistically portrayed.

The ending was, again, realistic. I'm happy with the way things turned out, 'nuff said. I really hope to see updates on these characters in future books of the series, the same way Eve and Alex appeared in this book. Finley and Alex are a wonderful couple, and I'd love to see more of them!

My rating: 3.5 stars

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cover Reveal - "Heatwave" by Karina Halle


We are very excited to bring you the cover for the upcoming standalone novel HEAT WAVE  from NEW YORK TIME Bestselling Author Karina Halle.  HEAT WAVE is a new alluring forbidden romance you do not want to miss releasing on November 3rd.

  heat-wave-amazon         heat-wave-3d-bookThey say when life closes one door, another one opens. This door happens to lead to paradise. And a man I can never, ever have. Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica "Ronnie" Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it. The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy: Logan Shephard. It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl. What does matter is that he’s a grump. Kind of an asshole, too. And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else. But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating. There’s just one major catch. The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from. Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.   

   Halle Headshot
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK. Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more. 


Sunday, September 11, 2016

"The Storm" by Virginia Bergin - Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I'm so excited to be part of this blog tour put on by Sourcebooks Fire!  I've read both books in this series, and they are freakin' awesome!!! Everybody needs to meet Ruby, she is one of a kind!

The Storm
By Virginia Bergin
September 6, 2016; Tradepaper, ISBN 9781492621003
Book Info:
Title: The Storm
Author: Virginia Bergin
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


Some people walk in the rain. Some people die.

Ninety-seven percent of the population is dead. And the killer rain keeps falling. Ruby’s not sure she can make it on her own much longer. So when a chance encounter leads her to a camp with the last boy she may ever kiss (it’s not easy to date during an apocalypse), Ruby gratefully accepts the army’s protection.
But safety comes with a price: If Ruby wants to stay, she must keep her eyes—and her mouth—shut.

Except Ruby stumbles across a secret she can’t possibly keep. Horrified, she flips out and fights back—only to make the most shocking discovery of all…

Goodreads Link:

Buy Links:

About the Author:

VIRGINIA BERGIN works as a writer for TV, eLearning, and corporate projects. Most recently, she has been working in online education, creating interactive courses for The Open University. She lives in Bristol, England. Visit her at

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @VeeBergin

Excerpt from The Storm by Virginia Bergin:
From Chapter 7
At this point in time, there are a number of things I don’t really get. But these are only the things I know I don’t get, and not the things I don’t know I don’t get, which are, unfortunately, to be revealed.
I dragged Saskia into that ice-­cream van myself. No one helped. No one tried to stop me. Crying, dog tired (don’t think about dogs)—­no, dead tired (don’t think about death)—­very (that’s OK) tired, very hungover, very ill, and very aching-­all-­over, I drove that stupid ice-cream van toward the army base. It was the only place I could think of where there would be medical help, and I took the only route I knew to get to it: highway, turn right at Swindon.
I was on the same highway I’d once driven along with the Spratt, when we sang and played silly games—­as you do when you’re trying to take your mind off an apocalypse-­type situation. And I realized a dreadful thing. That journey? It was the last time I’d laughed. I had smiled since. I had smiled pretty hard last night. Grinned witchy grins. But that journey? It was the last time I had laughed.
In an attempt to block out thoughts about the disappearance of my own laugh, I tried to find other things to think about—­but I didn’t much want to think about a single thing. Except…why had Saskia even turned up looking for me in the first place? Why would she—­why would anyone?—­leave the Camp of the Useful: the army camp where you’d be protected and taken care of? Where everything was surely…tickety-­boo, as my grandma would have said.
It was the one thing I probably should have asked her about, and now I couldn’t ask her about it, and no explanation I could come up with seemed remotely plausible:
EXPLANATION #1: Saskia is a kindhearted girl who really likes me and was so worried about whether I was OK she left the army camp.
EXPLANATION #2: Saskia had ditched the Spratt, and she had come to beg my forgiveness.
EXPLANATION #3: The Spratt had ditched Saskia, and she had nowhere else to go.
EXPLANATION #4: Ruby, she kept trying to tell you something and maybe you wouldn’t have to be dreaming up explanations if you’d listened.
There are no comments because I have nothing to say about any of my own explanations. It was almost enough to make me want to stop the ice-cream ambulance and go and shake Saskia back to consciousness for just long enough to get the truth out of her, but only a monster would do such a thing—­and I am not a monster. Thinking bad thoughts is not the same as doing bad things, and plenty of people who think they think GOOD thoughts do TERRIBLE things. (They used to call it “politics” or “religion” or “teaching mathematics.”) All I do is drive an ice-cream van.
When we finally arrive at the gates to the army base, there is a camp of useless people, like me. There are cars; there are caravans—­fires burning, people sitting out under tarps…people wrapped in blankets and duvets that tumble from their shoulders as they rise to their feet, laughing and…hooting, jeering, and cheering.
I remember that I am a witch-­fairy driving an ice-cream van.
Ahead of me, at the gates, electric lights in the dusk burn so brightly, I am blinded, and I stop long before I have to, blinking, dazzled. My head hurts.
I am getting into this base. I am getting Saskia into this base.
A fist against my window. I see a face—­a woman’s face.

Also by Virginia Bergin:



.27 is a number Ruby hates.

It’s a number that marks the percentage of the population that has survived. It’s a number that means she’s one of the “lucky” few still standing. And it’s a number that says her father is probably dead.

Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning, “It’s in the rain. It’s fatal and there’s no cure,” the drinkable water is running out. Ruby’s left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father—if he’s even still alive.

Buy Links:

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 1 Copy of H2O and back-pack/survival kit
Runs September 6-September 19 (US & Canada only)

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review: "The Boyfriend Bet" by Chris Cannon

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains multiple PDAs, after-school detentions, and gambling on the side. Warning: betting on a boyfriend is bad for your health. Zoe Cain knows that Grant Evertide is way out of her league. So naturally, she kisses him. Out of spite. Not only is Grant her brother’s number-one nemesis, but he has zero interest in being tied down to one girl. She’s shocked—and secretly thrilled—when they start spending more time together. Zoe’s brother claims Grant is trying to make her his “Ringer,” an oh-so-charming tradition where a popular guy dates a non-popular girl until he hooks up with her, then dumps her. Zoe threatens to neuter Grant with hedge clippers if he's lying but Grant swears he isn’t trying to trick her. Still, that doesn’t mean Grant is the commitment type—even if winning a bet is on the line.

My thanks to Entangled Teen Crush via Netgalley for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this book as much as I'd hoped to. There were a few things I liked, and the potential was there, but with more attention to detail and some actual chemistry between the two main characters, it could have been a lot better.

The one area where this book really excelled is with the banter between Zoe and Grant. Chris Cannon wrote some great snarky and funny scenes between the two of them, which had me snort-laughing from time to time. I also really enjoyed Zoe's friendship with Delia. The two of them kind of reminded me of myself and my best friends in high school. These positives weren't enough to get me to fall in love with this book, though. 

The plot meandered a lot. There were things that happened or were mentioned that didn't serve a purpose, like the whole cake baking fundraiser thing. I liked that Zoe was working together with Delia on something, and that they seemed to take this project seriously, but in the end, there was no real reason for any of it to be in the book. 

There were also a lot of details that needed to be fleshed out more. For example, Zoe and Delia transfer to this exclusive private school in their junior year. If they really are "hicks" - the book's description, not mine - then how can their families afford it? Zoe's father and grandfather died in a car accident, so how can her mom and grandmother keep the farm running? Do they even live on a farm? That's the impression I was given, but then what do they grow? And why doesn't Zoe ever have to help out? Zoe's grandmother had some cute moments, but what does she do other than crochet and shoot stuff off the back porch? 

And as far as the connection between Zoe and Grant? I just couldn't buy into it, at all. I was more interested in Delia's growing relationship with Aiden than I was with whatever was going on with the two main characters, and you know that's a bad sign when the best friends are more interesting than the main players! I'll be honest, I didn't really like Grant all that much. I thought Zoe could do better. I didn't want them to end up together, and isn't that supposed to be the point of a romance novel?

My rating: 2.5 stars

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Blog Tour: "Daring the Bad Boy" by Monica Murphy

Hey, everyone! I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Monica Murphy's new YA Romance! I've got an excerpt and review for you, but first, here's a bit about the book:

Truth or Dare was never this much fun... Annie McFarland is sick of being a shy nobody. A session at summer camp seems like the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself—gain some confidence, kiss a boy, be whoever she wants to be. A few days in, she’s already set her sights on über-hottie Kyle. Too bad her fear of water keeps her away from the lake, where Kyle is always hanging out. Jacob Fazio is at Camp Pine Ridge after one too many screw-ups. Junior counseling seems like punishment enough, but the rigid no-fraternizing-with-campers rules harsh his chill. When a night of Truth or Dare gets him roped into teaching Annie how to swim, she begs him to also teach her how to snag Kyle. Late-night swim sessions turn into late-night kissing sessions...but there’s more on the line than just their hearts. If they get caught, Jake’s headed straight to juvie, but Annie’s more than ready to dare him to reveal the truth. Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains references to drinking, sexual situations, adult language, and an intense bad boy hero who will melt your heart.



“Don’t forget to pack extras of everything,” Mom stressed, her voice high, her entire demeanor anxious. She really didn’t want me to leave, though she was the one who’d suggested I go to camp in the first place. And I guess I can’t blame her, since I am her only child, but it’s just for a few weeks—I had to be wait-listed, and when a spot opened up for the second session, I begged my parents to let me go. 

But with the way she’s fretting over my leaving, I realize she needs to cut the umbilical cord sometime. At least I’ll be outside getting fresh air, not stuck in the air-conditioned house with my nose in a book. That’s how I usually spend my summers. 

Well, no more. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with reading, but…it was my escape, my safe place. I’m tired of living in someone else’s imaginary world—I want to live in my world for once. But it’s hard making a new impression on people you’ve known your entire school life, some of them since preschool. 

To them I’m quiet little Annie McFarland. The girl who cried so hard on the first day of kindergarten that she blew a bubble of snot out her nose. The girl who was so petrified to perform in the third-grade Christmas play that her knees literally knocked together and everyone could hear them. The girl who had a major crush on Wade Johnson in sixth grade and wrote him a heartfelt Valentine’s Day poem—and he shared it with all his friends. 

I endured their teasing for the rest of the school year. Sixth grade was definitely not my favorite year. 

Yeah. I could go on and on. 

I’d just finished my sophomore year, and while everyone was busy pairing off, being social, actually doing something with their lives, I was stuck. Stuck in my quiet shell, stuck with the nerd-girl label, stuck as the teacher’s pet. I hated it. 

More than anything, I was beyond ready for a change. 

“Extra T-shirts, extra shorts.” Mom ticked off the items with her fingers, her gaze meeting mine. “Extra, um, feminine products.” 

My cheeks went hot. “I’ve already packed extra everything.” I waved a hand at my open but mostly stuffed duffel bag. 

“Okay, good. Good. Wouldn’t want you to run out of necessities. Though I fully plan on sending you care packages. And there’s parents’ weekend, too, so I can always bring you whatever you might need.” Mom was rambling. A sure sign she was upset. 

“Mom.” I went to her and took her hand, giving it a squeeze. “I don’t leave for another twenty-four hours. It’s not time to cry yet.” 

“I’ll just miss you.” She brushed a stray hair away from my forehead, her gaze soft. “You’ve never left us like this before, for this long. A whole month, hundreds of miles away. With strangers.” She stressed the last word. 

That was my favorite part of the plan. Being with strangers, people who don’t know the real me. I could totally reinvent myself. Be whoever I wanted to be. I could demand they call me Ann, tell them I’m the most popular girl at my school, and win the attention of all the hot boys within hours of my arrival. 

Though I doubted any of that would really happen. Just because I’m with people who don’t know me doesn’t mean my real self won’t make an immediate appearance. It’s hard for me to open up to new people. Plus, I really don’t like it when someone calls me Ann—I think Annie’s a much cuter name. And I’ve never gotten the attention of a hot boy in my entire life. Well, I have—hello, Wade Johnson—but that was unwanted attention. That I’m great at. 

I’d like to change that particularly annoying trait of mine. 

Okay, I’m not drop-dead gorgeous with a bubbly, flirtatious personality, not by a long shot. I’m not a hideous troll, either, but come on. Hot guys have never noticed me—unless they’re six and I’m blowing snot bubbles out my nose. Or I write really bad poetry that makes adolescent boys howl with laughter. And that’s not the way I want boys to notice me. 

“I’ll be fine,” I reassured Mom, offering her a smile in return, which somehow only seemed to upset her more. Her chin got all wobbly, and she yanked me into her arms, holding me close. I let her smother me with Mom love for a few minutes before I disentangled myself from her embrace. “Seriously, it’s going to be okay. I’ll write you and Dad as much as I can.” 

“Which shouldn’t be very much at all. I want you to meet new people and try new things. You need to stay busy and have fun. Don’t worry about us.” She wagged her finger at me before her hand dropped to her side. “I know you feel a little stifled here, so this will be good for you.” 

Mom understood. She always had. We moved here when I was two, back to Dad’s hometown; he felt right at home because he was home. Mom, on the other hand, was still considered an outsider, and they’d always treated her that way. So she knew what it was like, to feel like you didn’t fit in. She understood my problems at school, when Dad always blew them off. Not that he was mean about it. 

He just didn’t get it. “It’s going to be great,” I told Mom with a genuine smile. My heart did a funny little flip in the center of my chest and I breathed deeply, telling myself everything really would be great. 

Going to camp was going to change my life. 


One month earlier 

“You’re going. I know this is a last-minute decision and you’re probably pissed that you have to leave tomorrow, but too damn bad, Jacob. You’re out of here.” Dad’s voice was firm, simmering with anger. His eyes blazed with barely withheld fury as he glared at me. He was super pissed, but what else was new? “And that’s final. No arguments, no defiance, no threats that you’ll run away. The second you leave this house without my permission, I’m calling the cops. And they will lock you up. Thanks to your latest mishap, that’s guaranteed.” 

I stared at him, my arms crossed in front of my chest, my jaw clenched so tight I felt like I could crush my teeth into powder. My uncle’s summer camp held good memories. Back when I was a kid and had no cares in the world, and my main priorities had been swimming in the lake and hanging out with friends. 

But those days were a long time ago. 

Now I didn’t want to go back. There was no point. I was a different person. Not just older, but freaking wiser. 

Well. Maybe not wiser. I kept fucking up, like I couldn’t help myself. That latest mishap Dad was talking about? Stealing hubcaps off fancy cars in the middle of the night with my so-called friends. We’d been drinking. I’d been dared. The moment the cops showed up, they all bailed on me. Every last one of them, and I was royally busted. They booked me like a real criminal, taking my photo, getting my fingerprints. I’d nearly pissed my pants I was so scared. 

Never let them see it, though. Just kept my mouth shut and glared at everyone. When Dad showed up to bail me out, I almost went weak with relief. I believed I was home free—until he got me into the car and proceeded to yell the entire drive home. 

That was the first clue that I’d have to finally pay for my sins. 

Dad went with me to my court appearance and asked to speak to the judge. I thought he would plead my case. Tell the scowling middle-aged woman with glasses perched on the tip of her nose that I really was a good kid. I just needed another chance. 

Nope. Dad chucked me so far under the bus, I still have tire marks across my stomach. He told the judge I was a screwup, a failure, a disappointment, and that he was afraid for my future. He then promised her if she gave me community service, he’d make sure I did my time by working at my uncle’s summer camp under strict supervision. 

She’d agreed. 

And now here I am, going to camp and having to work with a bunch of asshole kids who’ll give me nothing but crap over the next two months. The only thing that was giving me hope? The possibility there would be plenty of pretty counselors with a bad-boy fetish. I’ll be willing to fulfill whatever fantasy they have, as long as we can do it on the down low. My uncle gets one whiff of me doing something wrong, and I’m a dead man. I’ll end up in juvenile hall or, worse, in freaking jail. My dad’ll make sure I pay for my mistakes. 

“Fine,” I muttered, dropping my head so I didn’t have to look him in the eye. Seeing the disappointment there, all the anger and frustration, I couldn’t take it anymore. “I’ll go.” 

His deep sigh of relief was loud, and hearing it didn’t make me feel any better. We sat in the living room, Dad in his recliner, me on the couch. I let my arms drop to my sides and took a deep breath, glancing around the room. It was small, narrow, no pictures on the wall, no homey touches. A total bachelor pad, Dad had told me when we moved in to the place, like that was going to appeal to fourteen-year-old me. 

After Mom died, Dad sold our house—too full of memories, he’d said, his expression pained—and we rented this shitty little two-story condo. A temporary move, he’d reassured me. The place was old but centrally located in single-dom paradise. As in, there were plenty of divorced women who lived in this complex who were hot for my dad. 

And it sucked. Mom’s dying had completely messed with my head. But Dad’s moving us away from the only home I’d ever known had pushed me over the edge. The more trouble I got into, the more attention I received. It didn’t matter if it was bad or good; at least someone was looking at me. Acknowledging me. Telling me I mattered. 

Sort of. 

“Spending the summer with your uncle Bob is just what you need,” Dad said, his expression softening, the anger slowly dissipating because I didn’t protest or get angry. Why fight it? At least at camp, I’d have some freedom. 

I’d be working my ass off and under Uncle Bob’s thumb all the time, but what else could I do? 

“Though just because you’re surrounded by a bunch of young girls doesn’t mean you should touch any of them.” The pointed look Dad sent my way almost made me want to laugh. 


“They’re off-limits. Forbidden. The campers, at least. You have to follow your uncle’s rules. The counselors, they’re your peers, but I wouldn’t recommend you messing around with any of them, either. You don’t need the distraction.” He paused. “You mess up once, and you’ll end up in juvie. 

Understand?” I nodded. Whatever. I’d mess around with whoever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I’d freaking need the distraction so I wouldn’t lose my mind having to work for Uncle Bob all summer long. 

“You’ll get out of here.” Away from my friends. “You’ll meet new people.” Who aren’t my friends. “You’ll earn a little money and save it up.” So I can buy my own cigarettes or weed or whatever I want and not have to ask for cash from you. “And you might learn a thing or two.” 

Yeah, right. 

But instead of saying any of that, I nodded like I agreed and stood, finally meeting his gaze. His eyes weren’t blazing with so much frustration anymore, and I felt like I’d jumped over the first hurdle. “I’d better go pack, then,” I told him, and left the room. 

Never looked back once, either.

 Thanks to Entangled Teen Crush for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
This book was super cute and I really enjoyed my time with it. There's a bit of angst and drama, and maybe a few things I would change or fix up, but overall, it was just what I was looking for to lighten up my summer TBR list.

With the dual POV, we get both Annie's and Jake's thoughts, which seemed to work well here. I really liked Annie and Jack, and found myself empathizing with them both, although I have to say I became more attached to Jake than I was expecting to! He has done some bad things, but really, it's pretty evident from the beginning that he has a heart of gold. Annie, on the other hand, frustrated me occasionally, what with her trying to get together with Kyle all of the time. I wanted her to give her head a shake, but considering how completely inexperienced she was with boys, I was able to forgive her lapse of judgment. She went to camp to learn and grow and to come out of her shell, so in a way it was good that she had a crush on Kyle first, just to figure out that he wasn't really the one for her.

I do wish that there was a bit more description of the day to day workings of the camp - did Annie really spend a month learning how to make lanyards? Likewise, I wanted to know more about how Annie's relationships with the girls in her cabin developed. It felt like one minute everyone was ignoring Annie or ditching her to drown, and the next they were giving her makeovers. There just wasn't enough explanation to take me from point A to point B, so I didn't really believe the change in attitude there.  In contrast, Annie and Jake's relationship felt really well developed, so in that regard I was quite satisfied.

So, if you're looking for a sweet, summer romance to melt your icy heart (haha!) don't hesitate to pick up "Daring the Bad Boy" - I guarantee you'll have a hard time NOT falling for Jake and Annie!

My rating: 3.5 stars 

About the Author:  Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is a traditionally published author with Bantam/Random House and Harper Collins/Avon, as well as an independently published author. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. She is also USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson. She is a wife and a mother of three who lives with her family in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere, along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through many angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA. 

Twitter: @MsMonicaMurphy