10:00 a.m.: The principal of Opportunity High School in Alabama finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m.: The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 a.m.: The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05 a.m.: Someone starts shooting.
This explosive, emotional, page-turning debut about a high school held hostage is told from the perspective of four teens--each with their own reason to fear the boy with the gun.
About The Author
This Is Where It Ends, Marieke Nijkamp’s young adult debut and New York Times bestseller, has left an indelible mark on those who have read the heartrending and harrowing story.Nijkamp’s novel is starkly real, dealing with themes of violence, abuse, bullying, and prejudice, among others.
It’s a harsh reminder that every moment counts when it comes to living your best life, being your best self, and treating others with love, compassion, and kindness.
Read More for Ideas to Get You Started:
Fallen Too Far was Blaire's story. Now it's time for Rush to share his side.
Everyone in Rosemary Beach thinks they know how Rush Finlay and Blaire Wynn fell in love. But Rush is back to tell his side of the story...
Rush has earned every bit of his bad-boy reputation. The three-story beach house, luxury car, and line of girls begging for time between his sheets are the envy of every guy in Rosemary Beach, and Rush handles it all with the laid-back cool of a rock star’s son. All he needs are his best friend, Grant, and his sister, Nan.
Until Blaire Wynn drives into town in her beat-up pickup truck with a pistol under her seat. The Alabama farm girl instantly captures Rush’s attention once he discovers that the angelic beauty is his new stepsister, but he vows to keep his distance. Even if she needs his help. Even if he craves her.
Because Rush knows why Blaire is all alone in the world, forced to ask for help from the father who abandoned her three years ago. And he knows if he gets too close it will destroy Nan, who has a secret connection to Blaire.
He has every reason in the world to stay away from her. Find out why he doesn’t.
Current GoodReads Rating: 4.27 Stars
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 242 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Atria Books
It has been almost two years since I read the other side of this story, Fallen Too Far, the first book in the Rosemary Beach, Too Far series back in August 2014. I did not read the synopsis on this book to remind myself of the story line or to know that it was a different perspective of the first in this series. These renditions of telling the same story in a different perspective are not my favorite and I don't know if I would have added this to my to-read list if I would have read what it was about, but once I started the book I didn't want to put it down.
Once you leave home, can you ever return? Two characters, mother and daughter, contemplate this question in Lost Path to Solitude. Twenty-five years after leaving Romania in order to follow the man she loves to New York, Maria Pop still struggles with accepting her decision. She is determined to go back and recapture the poetry and joy of life in Bucharest, even at the expense of risking her marriage. Meanwhile, her daughter, Liliana, second-guesses her own choice of moving to a small town in Southeast Texas, ironically called Solitude, where she finds herself lonely, bored, and nostalgic for the fast pace of life in New York City. Facing the claustrophobic social climate of a town that goes to bed early, as well as the constrictions of her emerging academic career, Liliana longs for something that would give her existence meaning. The parallel soul-searching and the frustration they experience does little to bring mother and daughter closer. Instead, as each struggles with finding her own place in the world, they become increasingly critical of each other. Will their relationship survive the growing pains they each must suffer in their quest for self-fulfillment?
Maria Elena Sandovici moved to Texas on a Greyhound bus in the summer of 2005. It would be the beginning of a great adventure. Born in Bucharest, Romania, a place she loves and where she returns often, she’d spend the requisite time in Manhattan to call herself a New Yorker, but also to know she was looking for something else. Her debut novel, Dogs with Bagels, is very much a New York story: the story of an immigrant family forging new identities for themselves in the city that never sleeps.
Her second novel, Stray Dogs and Lonely Beaches, is the story of a young woman traveling the world in search of herself. This theme persists in Lost Path to Solitude, her third novel, in which characters suffering an identity crisis are caught in a search for the ideal place to call home. Three locales dominate the story: New York City, Bucharest, and an imaginary, caricaturized town in Southeast Texas, called Solitude.
In addition to writing fiction, Maria Elena Sandovici paints every day. She has a studio at Hardy and Nance Studios in Houston, and also shows her daily watercolors on her blog, Have Watercolors Will Travel, accompanied by essays about whatever inspires or obsesses her at any given moment.
To support her art and writing, she teaches Political Science at Lamar University. She is also the well-behaved human of a feisty little dog.
Her favorite places in Texas are Houston and Galveston.
Read More for Excerpt + Giveaway!
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
Date of Publication: May 17, 2016
# of pages: 352
Another Delightful Romance from the Queen of Romantic Comedy
Katie Fisher is ecstatic. Pro basketball star Brady James has proposed, and she can't wait to start planning their life together. She's confident she'll make it down the aisle this time--but it still may be easier said than done. A high-society Houston bride has Katie and the Cosmopolitan Bridal team scrambling to get the perfect dress done in time for her spectacular wedding. Meanwhile, Katie finds herself bombarded with everyone's competing visions regarding her own special day--and she's beginning to worry that her own ideas will get lost in the crossfire. Will she ever manage to settle all of the details for her perfect day? Or will bridal shop chaos and overzealous friends and family make a mess of everything? Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers what they've been clamoring for: another funny, romantic romp with a Texas twang.
About the Author
Read More for Review + Giveaway!
Read More for Giveaway!
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Date of Publication: March 8, 2016
Number of Pages: 314
In the summer of 1969, a small town in west Texas prepares to send one of their finest young men off to fight a faraway, controversial war. A parallel battle of domestic violence erupts at home as a younger generation struggles to reconcile older notions of right and wrong and even fractured family ties with the inevitable price that the fighting demands.
Much like today's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Vietnam war is little understood by those left behind, but the lessons of strength, commitment and duty are timeless, then and now. East Jesus, the story of that national struggle today as well as back in 1969, is a plangent, soulful journey lived through the eyes of a wide-ranging, colorful array of characters, with a conclusion readers will never forget.
There's more. "East Jesus," said one editor, "is a message of hope for our children." Too often, teenagers who've survived a young lifetime of domestic violence believe "this is the hell I was born into, this is the hell I must accept for life." East Jesus turns that notion on its ear: though there's a price to pay, there's a better way that rises above the violence.
The novel is peopled by strong characters, particularly women, in a salt-of-the-earth, small town, west Texas community. The price of a far away, unpopular war always comes due in small town America, then (set in 1969) as well as now (Iraq and Afghanistan). But the lesson of hope, sacrifice and redemption is timeless.
To read East Jesus is to live that story, to transcend the fighting at home and abroad, and to embrace the hope and faith in what's right above all else.
Experience East Jesus, live the story--you'll never forget it.
Read More for Giveaway!
Jude Ryder and Lucy Larson are this generation's Romeo and Juliet: Explosive. Sizzling. Tragic.
A steamy summer encounter with bad boy Jude means trouble for Lucy. Her sights are set on becoming a ballerina, and she won't let anything get in her way . . . except Jude.
He's got a rap sheet, dangerous mood swings, and a name that's been sighed, shouted, and cursed by who knows how many girls.
Jude's a cancer, the kind of guy who's fated to ruin the lives of girls like Lucy—and he tells her so.
But as rumors run rampant and reputations are destroyed, Lucy's not listening to Jude's warning. Is tragedy waiting in the wings? This racy romance is hot, hot, hot!
Paperback, 365 pages
Published December 18th 2012 by HarperCollins
Current GoodReads Rating: 4.04 Stars
The entire story seemed to happen in the last few chapters!
It started off in a very stereotypical fashion as a high school girl that just moved to town lays out in her bikini in her last week of summer break before her senior year and spots a hot guy playing football on the beach. She tries to get his attention and finally on her last effort to catch his eyes, she has him falling over her to catch the ball. It was a disappointing cliche of a beginning that I felt I had read before and knew every last detail of what was to happen during the rest of the book.
Genre: Texas Customs / Social Life / Humor
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Date of Publication: May 3, 2016
# of pages: 208, 58 B&W Illustrations
There are certain things every Texan should know how to do and say, whether your Lone Star roots reach all the way back to the 1836 Republic or you were just transplanted here yesterday. Some of these may be second nature to you, but others . . . well, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have a few handy hints if, say, branding the herd or hosting a tamalada aren’t your usual pastimes. That’s where How to Be a Texan can help.
In a friendly, lighthearted style, Andrea Valdez offers illustrated, easy-to-follow steps for dozens of authentic Texas activities and sayings. In no time, you’ll be talking like a Texan and dressing the part; hunting, fishing, and ranching; cooking your favorite Texas dishes; and dancing cumbia and two-step. You’ll learn how to take a proper bluebonnet photo and build a Día de los Muertos altar, and you’ll have a bucket list of all the places Texans should visit in their lifetime. Not only will you know how to do all these things, you’ll finish the book with a whole new appreciation for what it means to be a Texan and even more pride in saying “I’m from Texas” anywhere you wander in the world.
Read More for Giveaway!
I graduated college in 2012 and have been traveling as an energy consultant since. Work keeps me busy, but with no more evenings filled with studying I figured I needed a hobby...and the reading began.