Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sarcastic Song Shuffle

The Sarcastic Song Shuffle is a monthly feature hosted by The Sarcastic Palmtree. I liked the idea of this, and music is a big part of writing, so of course I had to participate.

All you do is grab your iPod/iPhone/whatever you listen to music on, hit shuffle and list the next 10 songs that show up.

Here's my playlist:

Glad You Came - Wanted
Brokenheaded - Karmin
Drops of Jupiter - Train
Always the Love Song - Eli Young Band
Then - Brad Paisley
One of Those Nights - Tim McGraw
Living in the Moment - Jason Mraz
Rude - MAGIC!
I'm Yours - The Script
Simple Man - Shinedown

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of this list! No too many embarrassing songs on it, except for possibly the first one. Until next month, happy listening! :)

Top 5 Reasons I Enjoyed MY BEST EVERYTHING

When I went to YALLFest last year, I had dinner with a group of bloggers and ended up going home with a few books. One of those books was an ARC of My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp, which is what I'm here to talk about today.

Between the title, the cover, and the synopsis, I was excited to read it. Before I get to the top 5 reasons why I enjoyed reading this book, here's the synopsis.



You say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate.

Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why.


Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.

Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart?

The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?

Now, here's my Top 5:
  1. Set in a small town. I grew up in a small town and there were many instances where I found myself nodding along and agreeing with the things Lulu was saying/thinking. I could so very easily relate to her. There was one instance where she mentions about how she wants to get away from her small town because she feels traps, but how she's also worried her destination won't live up to her expectations. That I can relate to. There was another instance where Lulu comes to appreciate the beauty and realize that there are things she loves about her hometown and that I could relate to as well. The older I get, the more I'm able to appreciate things like that, even though I still want to leave.
  2. The way it's told. So, as it mentions in the synopsis, this book is a letter to Mason. Therefore, she refers to him as "you." It took a little while to get used to it, but once I did, I really enjoyed that it was told like that. The more I got used to it, the more it felt as if Lulu was sitting next to me and telling me this story herself. And that, I really loved.
  3. Her nickname. Fun fact, my nicknames growing up was Lindsay Lu, Lindsay Lulu, or just Lulu. It was really cool to read a character who was called Lulu.
  4. Left me wanting more. Granted, there were a few things I wish were elaborated more, but if a book can leave me wanting more, then I always consider it a good thing. It means I was invested enough to want to know more, see more, and read more. I'm still unsure exactly how I feel about the ending, but I wanted more from it. Just a little.
  5. Favorite Quotes. Keep in mind that the book I read was an ARC, so these may vary in the final copy of the book. The first one made me laugh/smile, and the other, I just really loved.
I could smell your shampoo or deodorant, something clean, mixed in with your sweat and boy smell too. Our olfactory systems are crucially tied in to memories and comfort and physical attraction. It's science.

I was scientifically aware of you as I turned the key and started the engine.
And this one:
I wasn't sure exactly what I'd do, but I'd have options. I'd get to decide what mattered most. Whatever it was, I'd be able to do something that made the world better. Not just swap out one rusty part for another.

You stood up, clasped your hands together above your head. Then turned to me, let me peek inside at what you'd caught. A lightning bug, looking dim, ordinary, ugly, crawled across your fingers. You let it go, and then it shone bright.

There's my top five reasons! Be sure to add the book to your Goodreads! It releases on March 3rd!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Oh My Captain: Ashton Campbell

At last, we've reached the fourth captain, Ashton Campbell. This book was really fun to write and I think Mary will agree that the kids had us cracking up sometimes, like with this excerpt.

When we make it to the living room, I tell Reed to show Sadie where all the extra pillows and blankets are, so we can fix a makeshift campout on the floor for them. Lexie helps me get them situated before we take a seat on the couch behind them. I throw a blanket over us and reach over to hold Lexie’s hand under it. She smiles and interlocks our fingers. The previews seem to be taking forever, the current one featuring a talking baby in an animated movie, releasing soon.

Sadie looks back at Lexie and suddenly asks, "Mommy, can I have a brother? A girl at school said her mommy is giving her a brother, and I want one too."

Lexie glances at me, like I could help her out, but she’s on her own. "Um, I don't know,” she begins carefully. “I need to a daddy to help me have a baby, like I had your daddy to help me have you."

She doesn’t respond right away, which worries Lexie, judging by her anxious sneaky looks to me.

“Mr. Ashton is a daddy,” Sadie adds, glancing at me. “He could help you, Mommy. Please? I really want one.”

Lexie is mortified. I kind of am too. The poor kid doesn’t know what she’s really saying.

“Hey, could I have a brother too?” Reed perks up. “Are you and Mom going to give me a brother one day?” Oh, no. This just got worse. Reed turns to Sadie and grins like he has a bright idea before turning to me. “If you are a dad and Ms. Lexie is a mom, does that mean you could give me and Sadie both a brother?”

My mouth opens and closes numerous times, but I can’t manage to say anything.

"I…” Lexie tries before finally thinking of something. “Why do you two want a brother?"

"Our friend at school said she would have someone to play with all the time. I want someone to play with all the time,” Sadie explains.

“Me too,” Reed agrees.

“You already have that. You have each other because you’re best friends. Y’all play together all the time,” Lexie points out.

Sadie smiles at Reed. “Yeah, he is my best friend. I guess we don’t need a brother.” A movie about a dog previews next.

“What about a puppy?” Of course. “Could I have a puppy? A boy at school says he has a puppy and that they play fetch. I want a puppy too, Mommy.”

“If Sadie gets a puppy, I want one too, Dad.”

God, what is wrong with them? At least we’re moving the topic away from babies. “That’s something you better talk to your mom about, Reed.”

“Well, do I get one?” Sadie asks again.

“I don't know. A puppy is a lot of responsibility. Maybe we should think about a fish instead,” Lexie suggests.
Sadie’s eyes light up with excitement. “Like at the aquarium?! That sounds even better than a brother or a puppy! Can we get a fish?”

“Oh!” Reed exclaims. “Can I get a shark then?”

“No.” This conversation needs to end soon. Thankfully, the movie finally starts. “Be quiet, the movie is starting, and I don’t want to miss anything.” Running my thumb over Lexie’s knuckles, I lean over and whisper, “I’m thinking they should be homeschooled from now on.”
Our muse for Ashton is TJ Oshie, a player for the St. Louis Blues.  He seems to be a good guy, good player, and that fits the bill for Ashton.

Be sure to add the series on Goodreads and enter the giveaway below! Good luck!
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oh My Captain: Carson Lee

First, it was Hudson King, then Brody Ross, and now, Carson Lee from the Oh Captain, My Captain series. Who can resist a bad boy? Carson Lee is more than meets the eye and Kinley Wright is the perfect chick to keep him in line.

As per usual, here's an excerpt before we get to the muse and giveaway!

“Why?”

"What do you mean ‘why’? I have the means to do so and the kids enjoy it. Why wouldn’t I?” Seems pretty simple to me.

"Have you looked in the mirror? You’re Carson Lee. You’re the bad-boy of hockey. Nowhere on your resume does it say, ‘good samaritan’.”

"That’s not who I am to them and there’s a reason it’s not on my resume.” Conversations like this for example. Who I normally am wouldn’t coincide with the guy who visits kids in hospitals anyway, so it’s good that no one knows. It’s no one’s business either. “I do something good, shouldn’t you be happy about that? Just smile and say, ‘That’s nice of you, Carson. I’m surprised, but it’s still nice.’ Or smile and keep your thoughts to yourself. That works too.” I try not to be snappy, in part because I do hope she’ll smile. So my voice is as nice and casual as I can make it. I even smile at her.

"If you’re trying to get me to smile, it’s not working. Although, I am surprised, didn’t think you had it in you. May I ask who Gracie is?”

"No,” I answer curtly.

"Oh, okay.” She drops the topic for a moment. “I’m still surprised that you have a good side.”

I shrug. “Well, I do.”

"And all this time I thought the only thing you did good was have sex with all of Alabama.”

"Good is a huge understatement when referring to sex with me. If good is all the women are saying, then I’m slacking,” I say seriously.

Kinley smiles and cracks up in a laugh but quickly covers her mouth.

"That’s one!” I point at her, grinning. “It should count for two since you laughed.”

She gazes at her drink before looking back at me. “You must have slipped something into my soda, and it’s one, not two.”

 
Our muse for Carson is Tyler Seguin. Seguin is a young hotshot player for the Dallas Stars and like Carson, he has tattoos. What's not to love?

Be sure to add the series on Goodreads and enter the giveaway below! Good luck!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oh My Captain: Brody Ross

Yesterday was about Looking for You, but today, I'm featuring A Hockey Player's Proposal from the Oh Captain, My Captain series.

How could I not love this couple when Selene has a dog named Bonkers?! I love Brody's brother and Selene's best friend, too. Not to mention, our muse for captain Brody Ross is sooooooo hot.

But first, here's an excerpt for you!

We begin opening boxes and I ask Brody where he wants his stuff, but he just shrugs and tells me to put most of it wherever it looks like it should go. So that’s what I do, setting things here and there. But when I pull out a photo album, I’m so, so, so tempted to look. The thought of cracking this open and seeing all the pictures inside is seducing me by the second as I stare at the plain black cover

"Selene?”

I look up at the sound of Brody’s voice. Apparently, I’ve been idle for too long. “Sorry. Where would you like this?” I ask, holding it up for him to see, even though he’s standing in front of me, so he already knows what it is.

Brody slowly smiles. “You want to look, don’t you? Are you having to fight your stalker tendencies, Selene?”

"What? No. I don’t want to look. You’re enjoying this too much, you know.” I walk away from him with the album and set it on the shelf underneath his coffee table. Brody chuckles when I go back to unpacking, ignoring him in the process. We finish with the living room soon after and move to more boxes. I go to open the next one, but Brody places his hand on mine to stop me.

"I have to warn you.” He grins.

"About?”

"This is all my hockey-related stuff and a few more photo albums. Sure you can handle that?”

I glare at him. “Go to your own boxes, Brody.”

He laughs, but he does go. The first box has two, thick photo albums in it. When I pick one of them up, a picture falls out. I retrieve it to see two of the cutest little boys I’ve ever seen, balancing on a man’s shoulder, obviously their father. The heat from Brody’s body hits me as his breath tickles my neck before he speaks.

"You couldn’t resist, could you?” He laughs.

"Ha. Ha. Is this you and your brother?” I ask, even though I know it has to be.

"Yep. We were four, I think.”

"Y’all are so adorable.” I look from the picture up at Brody. “What happened to you?”

"What?” He takes the picture and walks around to the other side of the box so he’s standing in front of me. “Are you trying to say that I’m not adorable anymore?” He grins.

Nope. Not adorable. He’s downright gorgeous, especially with that smile. I snatch the picture from him, open the album, and stick it inside. “No, you’re not. All that hockey is actually working against you.” He laughs, like he knows I’m lying through my teeth.

Our muse for Brody is the captain of the Colorado Avalanche, Gabriel Landeskog. Like Brody, he's Swedish, has a twin, and both were young when they became captains.

 




Be sure to check out the series on Goodreads, add A Hockey Player's Proposal to your to-read shelf, and enter the series giveaway!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Captain King, Teaser, Giveaway, oh my!

This week is all about the Oh Captain, My Captain series. You may or may not know who our muses are for the captains. Therefore, this week, I'll be sharing that, some teasers, and a giveaway, of course! If you haven't figured it out by the title, today we're venturing back to Looking for You.

I like to consider Hudson and Ellie our sweet couple, so I've included one of my favorite tidbits.

“This is my favorite thing about this place. I love to sit on the porch,” Ellie says, resting her chin on my shoulder as she looks at me. 
“Really? So if you’re not in a good mood, I should make you sit out here with me so you will feel better?” 
She smiles and nods. “Mhm. Thank you so much for the dress and everything. I still can’t believe you did that.” 
Angling myself towards her better, I kiss her softly and rest my forehead against hers. “It was my pleasure, Ellie.” 
Her eyes search mine for a moment. I catch myself wondering what she’s thinking, what does she see, and what she’s searching for? Before she can say anything, I push her hair behind her ear, my hand staying tangled in her hair at the base of her neck and mumble, “You’re gorgeous.” 
My eyes keep jumping between her mouth and her eyes. 
Faintly, Ellie says, “What are you waiting for?” The corner of her mouth lifts a little into a smile. 
“You,” I answer before pressing my lips to hers.

Photo from Carolina Hurricanes Pinterest
On to the muse!

Captain Hudson King took on a few similar traits from our muse, Nathan Gerbe. Gerbe plays for the Carolina Hurricanes and is the shortest player in the NHL at 5 feet, 5 inches. (Thus, where Hudson gets his height from, although he's a bit taller.) Gerbe doesn't back down and we liked that about him.

Check out the series on Goodreads, add Looking for You on Goodreads, and enter for a chance to win ebooks from the series below.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nepenthe - Fun Fact 5


Does this picture ring any bells? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.

I posted it last August on Facebook while I was on vacation at the beach.

I was in love with the word and the fact that it was on a beach house.

Which brings me to the final Nepenthe Fun Fact.

In Nepenthe, Lucy calls Corey and tells her about the name of the beach house she's staying in with Grant and his family.

The name of that beach house?

NEPENTHE.

How did I come across the word?

It was the name of a beach house across the road from the one I was staying in last August. My sister and I had looked at the word every time we sat in the rocking chairs on the porch and finally, I mentioned it.

We looked up the definition and both thought it was perfect for a beach house.


And ta-da, that's the connection to how the word gets mentioned in the book for me to tie it into the story.

Hope you've enjoyed these fun facts! I did! :)