Wednesday, September 30, 2015

REVIEW: The House by Christina Lauren

Gavin tells Delilah he’s hers—completely—but whatever lives inside that house with him disagrees.

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.

Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness. The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.  BUY IT: Amazon


I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this. Other than Anne Rice's Vampire series, I'm completely new to anything like this. Court is this paranormal? (I'm such a newbie). I don't know ..I don't have the right vocabulary for this, so why am I reading it? Well, I love when writers change things up and knowing Christina Lauren from their other books, I thought I'd check this one out and guess what? It was so different and unique that I couldn't put it down. I pushed aside the things I needed to do, papers I needed to grade, sleep I needed to have because as the tension built, I absolutely had to know how Gavin and Delilah were going to handle the increasing violent actions of the house (see the synopsis if you're perplexed by this statement). 

As I read I kept trying to search for a way to envision what was going on and the first thing I came up with was children's animated films...things like Alice in Wonderland or Beauty and the Beast where inanimate objects had a life and a mind of their own. And you know what? At first that idea worked but as the house became nastier and more hateful, those innocent films were no longer a sufficient frame of reference and I began to think of darker more sinister feeling ones. All of that to say that the writing was so vivid and the scenes so surreal that my head was filled with visions and colors and lots of sensations as I thought about House. Let me stop here to repeat this: THIS BOOK IS SO COOL. How do people even think up these things? So neat.


Outside of all the neat and weird and scary things that had to do with House, Gavin and Delilah were so sweet. I loved how Gavin seemed almost bemused by Delilah and how Delilah was like a moth to a flame, when it came to him--she couldn't resist getting to know him. I loved their loyalty and protectiveness and the love they shared and felt with each other. Their love story was such a nice foil to the chaos and possessiveness of House. 

By the end, I had a ton of questions--questions not really meant to be answered--but mainly, by the end, I felt like I wanted to talk to my students and tell them to grab a copy. I think many of them would love this book and with the release near October, it's the perfect book for this Halloween season. What a fantastically creepy, sweet, and interesting paranormal romance (that is the right term, right Court?); I hope you pick it up and enjoy it as much as we did.

Happy Reading~~

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced eleven New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 23+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

FIND THEM: Goodreads | Website

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TEASER TUESDAY: Wicked Restless by Ginger Scott

Very Mature YA Contemporary Romance
Scheduled to release: October 20, 2015

Andrew Harper grew up in a house marked by tragedy. His older brother Owen did his best to shelter him, but you can only be protected from life’s pain for so long. Eventually, you end up just feeling numb…and isolated.

Loneliness was the one constant in Andrew’s life. Until one girl, met by chance in a high school hallway, changed everything. Emma Burke was a mystery and all that was beautiful in this world, the only air Andrew ever wanted to breathe. She took the lonely away, and filled it with hope and color, and Andrew would do anything to keep her safe, happy and whole.

But sometimes, what feels good and right is what ends up hurting us the most. And when Andrew and Emma are faced with an impossible decision, Andrew is tested to see just how far he’s willing to go for the girl who owns his heart.

Cuts are deep.

Scars are left behind.

And revenge beckons.

When Andrew finally gets his chance, in college, five years after his first love broke him completely, he finds out old feelings don’t really disappear just because you say you hate someone. The more he tries to avenge all that he believes he lost, the more he uncovers the real story of what happened years before.

Love is wicked. But a restless heart is never satisfied beating on its own. Can Andrew and Emma make it right before it's too late, or will the ties that bind them now destroy their only chance at a future?

About the Author:
Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling author of eight young and new adult
romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How
We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, Wild
Reckless and The Girl I Was Before.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she
often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot
quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has
been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than
15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors,
scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work,
visit her website at

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a
baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce
Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona
Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college
sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page:
Twitter: @TheGingerScott

"Her Kind" by Anne Sexton

I have a thing for Anne Sexton and I guess reading Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, I found myself returning to her today. I don't have anything profound to say about this poem; I'm fresh out of words so I'll just leave it here and hope you enjoy it.

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,   
haunting the black air, braver at night;   
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch   
over the plain houses, light by light:   
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.   
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.   
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,   
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,   
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:   
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,   
learning the last bright routes, survivor   
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.   
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.   
I have been her kind.

You can find this poem and others here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Chaser by Staci Hart

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Designer: Quirky Bird
Add to Goodreads
Everyone knows you should never say never.
Cooper Moore never saw Maggie Williams coming. She was just his best friend’s little sister, the curly-haired, freckle-faced girl from Mississippi who was absolutely off limits. And he never thought about her any other way — not until he saw her that night, broken and brave. From that moment on, he knew he’d do whatever it took to protect her, even if it meant he had to stay away.
Maggie never expected to find her fiancΓ© banging her maid of honor an hour before she was set to walk down the aisle, but life’s funny that way. The only option to save her sanity is to get the hell out of Jackson and move to New York where her brother lives. The only downside: Cooper is there too. And she just doesn’t know if she can stay away from him — the filthy rich, dead sexy playboy who’s allergic to commitment.
The second Maggie sees him again, she realizes he’ll be impossible to resist. Luckily, commitment is the last thing on her mind, and Cooper is the perfect escape. As long as she can keep her heart in check, everything will be just fine. Because she can never have feelings for him. Or at least that’s what she’ll keep telling herself.
Chaser is a standalone romantic comedy and book 2 of the Bad Habits series.
Chaser Teaser
the series
About the author
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom; she has three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife; even though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.
From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.
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NEW RELEASE: The Allure of Dean Harper by R.S. Grey

Title: The Allure of Dean Harper (Allure #2)
Author: R.S. Grey
Release Date: Sept 28, 2015
Find on Goodreads
Subject: You’re a flippin’ idiot

Good morning my dear, naive friend,

I hope you’re enjoying a breakfast of regret and sorrow.


Because you sent me to work for Dean Harper, aka a control freak in a tailor-made suit. Sure he owns the trendiest restaurants in NYC, but c'mon Jo, his ego makes Kanye West look like the Dalai Lama.

He's the type of guy that only hears the word “no” when it's followed by “don’t stop.”

Working for Dean Harper would be like selling my soul to the devil…and before you say anything, I don’t care if the devil has punch-you-in-the-gut brown eyes and an ass to match. My soul isn’t for sale.

Regretfully yours,

The Allure of Dean Harper is a full-length standalone romance with overlapping characters from The Allure of Julian Lefray. Both books can be read separately. Chronologically, The Allure of Julian Lefray happens first. 
I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things...everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors are Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I'm a comedy geek and love all things funny. Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

THE LATEST on Alessandra Torre

cooltext138462235418027AT headshot - red dress
Alessandra Torre is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of ten novels. Her books focus on romance and suspense, all with a strong undercurrent of sexuality. Torre has been featured in such publications as Elle and Elle UK, co-hosted Dirty Sexy Funny with Jenny McCarthy, as well as guest blogged for the Huffington Post and RT Book Reviews. She is also the Bedroom Blogger for
You can learn more about Alessandra on her website at, or you can find her on Twitter (@ReadAlessandra) or Facebook.

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Cole Masten. Abandoned by his superstar wife, Hollywood’s Perfect Husband is now Hollywood’s Sexiest Bachelor: partying hard and screwing even harder. Watch out Los Angeles, there's a new bad boy in town. Summer Jenkins. That’s me, a small town girl stuck in Quincy, Georgia. I cook some mean chicken and dumplins, can bluff a grown man out of his savings in poker, and was voted Most Friendly my senior year. We were from different worlds. Our lives shouldn’t have collided. But then Cole Masten read a book about my small town. And six months later, his jet landed on our dusty airstrip, and he brought Hollywood with him. From the start, I knew he was trouble. For our town. And for me. Sometimes, opposites just aren’t meant to attract..


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═══ COMING NOVEMBER 10th ═══

Book Cover

Equal parts Dexter and 50 Shades, this is the eagerly awaited new novel from A. R. Torre, author of the award winning erotic thriller, The Girl in 6E.
The rules are the same. I can’t open the door. I can’t leave. I can’t kill anyone.
The only difference is, I don’t set the rules anymore. Guards in grey uniforms do. It is everything I never wanted and everything I always deserved. I write to you now, from a prison cell. My home for the next twenty to thirty years.
That’s the going term for murder.

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*** Spoiler Free ***

“Where were you last night, Ms. Madden?”

I brought my eyes up from the water bottle and into the woman’s eyes. “I was here. In my apartment.”

The woman’s eyes darted, from left to right, like a pong paddle. “All night?”


“Can anyone verify that?”

When she spoke, her eyebrows pinched together in a sharp V of distrust. I watched their narrow exclamations and wondered what they have on me. Anything? Was this a fishing expedition or a sharpening of the nails that would seal my coffin?

“Umm… yes. My next-door neighbor. Simon.” I tried to push into last night’s vault, but found nothing. Strange.

“He was with you?”

I felt the upward curl of my lip. “No. But he locked me into the apartment. From nine till sometime this morning.”

That surprised them. I felt the shift of air, the rigid tilt of the woman as she fought against turning her head to the man. He leaned in a little and spoke, “I don’t understand.”

I sighed, an action that bought me a moment to deliberate the wisdom of information sharing. “Simon lives a few doors down. He locks my door at night. So he can verify that he locked me inside last night, and I was here all night until he unlocked me.”

“Your door locks from the outside?” EyelinerCop found this very interesting. I watched the tip of her pen, the increased tremor of it as it scratched against the page of her notebook.

“Yes.” I lifted my eyes from the pen. “What evidence do you have against me?”

Her mouth widened into a grin, a stretch of raw lips that looked painful. I didn’t like that grin, that tell that I’d just stepped into a pile of shit. “Why, Ms. Madden, what an interesting question. An innocent person would be more interested in finding out what crime was committed.”

“Who said I was an innocent person?” The response slipped out, snarky and unnecessary. I’d wanted to shut the cop up, to wipe that smug grin off her face. The question was much more passive than what I wanted to do. To spring across the table and claw at her throat. Yank at her belt and palm her service revolver. Celebrate the gun’s weight in my hand in the moment before I pointed the gun at her temple and pulled the trigger. Take that, bulletproof vest. Compared to that scenario, my egotistic response was tame. Tame and stupid. The pair of detectives all but high-fived each other with their eye contact. I settled back in my chair and waited. Counted to ten and swore to behave.

The woman composed herself and spoke. “What are you guilty of, Ms. Madden?”

I wondered why she was in charge of this interaction. If it was her rank or if it was because they thought I’d associate with a woman more. Thought I would buddy up and confess away, all because a penis didn’t hang between her legs. I tapped my fingers against the arm of the chair. “I’d like you both to leave now. Unless you have something to charge me with.”

They had to have something. Surely they didn’t show up at my apartment on a whim. I must have slipped up somewhere, forgotten something. Left a gaping hole big enough for them to stick an arrest warrant through.

The man spoke. “Let’s get back to the neighbor. You said he locks you inside? Why would you let him do that?”

This was wrong, bad. I shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t be talking to them. I had asked them to leave, didn’t that mean they had to? I took a sip of my water and looked away from the man, making accidental eye contact with the woman. She leaned forward and pointed, her finger one long arrow of invasion. “What happened to your nose, Ms. Madden?”

“My nose?” I reached up and touched it. Felt the caked blood, the split across my bridge. I fought the urge to follow suit with my second hand to fully explore the damage. Focused on my pain and suddenly realized how much it throbbed.

“It looks broken.” She looked concerned, but she wasn’t. She was giddy, would probably have reached out and gripped my nose herself if she could have.

<i>It looks broken</i>. It felt broken. I pushed on the tip and got lightheaded. Pulled my hand away before I fainted. I stared at a strand of the woman’s hair that had escaped her ponytail. Focused on it until the spots cleared from my vision.

“Ms. Madden?” the man prodded.


“What happened to your nose?”

Good question. I looked away from the strand of hair and into the man’s eyes. “I’m not sure.”

“You forgot?”

The seed of unease was growing in my stomach. Why was I talking to them? Why were they here? Why was I offering information when I wasn’t getting any? I stood up and watched for a reaction. A reach for a paper, for evidence to wave in my face, but they did nothing, just stayed in place and watched me. “I’d like to be alone.”

I walked to the door and waited, the pair slow in their stand, step, then pass through the open door. I was almost free, about to shut it, when the woman’s hand settled on my arm, a firm and hard grip that tightened against the sleeve of my Marilyn Monroe sweatshirt. I turned, raising my brows at her in question.

“Why did you kill him?” the cop whispered, her eyes glued on me.

I didn’t answer her. I held her eye contact while I reached down and pulled back on her index finger until she released my arm. Then I dropped my hand, stepped back, and shut the door, the slam of the steel against the frame loud and unfamiliar.

I didn’t not answer to be smart or mysterious. The main reason I didn’t answer was because I wasn’t sure how to answer. I wasn’t sure which death she was asking about. To be honest, I was starting to lose track.

Friday, September 25, 2015

REVIEW: A Desperate Man Vol. 3 by Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine

Series: A Desperate Man: Volume Three
Author: Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Release Date: September 13, 2015
Cover Design: © By Hang Le

Volume Three
Ella Frank Brooke Blaine
Sex. Addiction. Lies.
One night changed everything.
With the sins that stand between Evan and Reagan, can a relationship emerge from a past that is so broken?
Or will the weight of their deceptions crush any hope of redemption?


Shel: It's always fun to see your favorite writers do something different and when Brooke and Ella decided to team up to write this series, I was very interested in seeing how it would work. Ideas are one thing, execution is another and in this case A Desperate Man Series showed us that these two writers can definitely tackle the task of blending styles and 'voices'. Court: Yes, and it was seamless from one voice to another, and wasn't jarring as each point of view transitioned. I always get nervous at the end of a series at how things will go, and I am quite happy with how it ended. Sexy times were plentiful, and some information comes to light with each installment that drives the plot.

Shel: In this final installment, we get answers + a little angst + a lot of sexiness + a fun mix of playfulness + our HEA. For those who've enjoyed this series, I think you'll finish it with contentment at where Evan and Reagan end up. BEFORE YOU START, ONE PIECE OF ADVICE: if you're not reading all three volumes back to back and you've been reading them as they've been released, I would definitely suggest you read the last chapter or two of volume two before you start this one. I didn't do that and since it had been a while since I'd read the first two books, it took me a little longer than I thought it would for me to remember how the last one left us. I think had I been more patient and stopped to re-read a little of volume two, I'd had a more seamless experience. Anyway. Evan and Reagan had a few heavy moments, but I found this third book to not only answer my questions but it also made me smile--the sexual tension, their teasing and games, and their ultimate happiness made for a great way to end this series.

Court: I was a big fan of Evan in this tale, and that did not change through each part. His addiction though seemed to sort of fall by the wayside, and that somewhat bothers me. I do know that it is a novella series, and that for progress to be shown in such a short time from each part to the next that I have to go with the flow on that. And maybe it's in my head like Shelley said, since it had been a time since I read part two. Did it draw me away too much? I don't think so, and I am very pleased with where it ended, but I wish we had a little bit more on that. I loved their banter, in person and in e-mail form, and the scene in the conference room will be forever engrained.

Shel: After having this experience--of reading two writers blend their writing so well--I am eager to see what they work on together next. Court:I do love them immensely so I can't wait to see too! 

Happy reading!

“SO LET ME get this straight.” Dr. Glover lifted the end of his pen to his lips as his eyes narrowed on Evan over the top of his glasses. “The woman we’ve been discussing over the past few weeks finally shows you that she wants more, and you left her in an emotional heap in her office. Did I get that right?”
Evan stretched his long legs out in front of him. She thinks I fucked a prostitute the day after I left her apartment, so, yeah, that’s about right. Sighing, he leaned back into the worn leather couch. “You left out the part about her being a liar. And not someone I met in the last few weeks. She had an agenda.”
“So did you.”
“And what the hell was that?”
“You wanted to fuck her.”
“Jesus, you get right to the point, don’t you?”
“Well, that’s what you do. Isn’t it?”
I thought it was until I became obsessed with a leggy fucking blonde. Evan glared at the man whose eyes he swore fucking twinkled. “Even if it is, what therapist talks like you do? I’m positive they don’t teach you that in Patient-Client Relations 101.”
“I’ve always been a firm believer in no bullshit. I told you that the day you walked in and tried to lie to me. We aren’t going to make any progress if you don’t trust me and I don’t trust you.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re just—”
“Yes, Evan?”
Evan waved him off. “Nothing. I guess I’m still trying to process the fact that Reagan is that little girl from so long ago. A whole fucking life ago. It’s… I don’t know,” he said, running his fingers through his hair in frustration. “It’s disconcerting. She knew me before.”
“And that bothers you.”
“Fuck yes, it bothers me. I was ten years old the last time I saw her. Innocent. And now I’m…this.”
“You’re awfully hard on yourself. I wonder if you’re upset over what you’re saying or over Reagan thinking bad of you.”
And there it was. The truth he didn’t want to admit. Reagan accusing him of being with anyone hours after he’d been with her had infuriated him. Which was ridiculous, because he knew what he was. The demons he’d been trying to fight. Why would she assume anything but the worst? But with that anger came embarrassment and shame. He hated that she’d seen him on that corner. Hated that she’d seen him with Layla. But how the fuck could he ever convince her otherwise? And why would he even want to?
“She’s a liar,” he said.
“And you’re a sex addict. Fantastic pairing.”

Buy Links:
A Desperate Man: Volume 3
A Desperate Man: The Complete Series
A Desperate Man: Volume 1
A Desperate Man: Volume 2
About Brooke
You could say Brooke Blaine was a book-a-holic from the time she knew how to read; she used to tell her mother that curling up with one at 4 a.m. before elementary school was her ‘quiet time.’ Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas.
Flash Point is her debut solo novel, and she is the co-author of the erotic serial, A Desperate Man, with Ella Frank. The latter has scarred her conservative southern family for life, bless their hearts. Licked, a romantic comedy, will be released on November 11, 2015.
If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find - just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for ten years.
Brooke’s Links
Brooke’s Newsletter

About Ella
Ella Frank is the author of the #1 Bestselling Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite erotic serial, A Desperate Man. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”
A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction and lives with her husband in Portland, OR. You can reach her on the web at and on Facebook at
Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.
Ella’s Links
Ella’s Newsletter

Thursday, September 24, 2015

COVER REVEAL: The Play by Karina Halle

A troubled Scottish rugby player who doesn't play by the rules.
A vivacious man-eater who's given up on love.
When it comes to Lachlan and Kayla, opposites don't just attract - they explode.

Kayla Moore has always been comfortable with her feisty, maneating reputation. At least it was fine until she hit her thirties and saw her best friends Stephanie and Nicola settle down with Linden and Bram McGregor, leaving Kayla to be the odd one out. Tired of being the third wheel with nothing but one-night stands and dead-end dates in San Francisco, Kayla decides to take a vow of celibacy and put men on the backburner.

That is until she lays her eyes on Linden and Bram’s cousin, hot Scot Lachlan McGregor. Lachlan is her sexual fantasy come to life – tall, tatted, and built like a Mack truck. With a steely gaze and successful rugby career back in Edinburgh, he’s the kind of man that makes her want to throw her vow right out the window. But Lachlan’s quiet and intense demeanor makes him a hard man to get to know, let alone get close to.

It isn’t until the two of them are thrown together one long, unforgettable night that Kayla realizes there is so much more to this brooding macho man than what meets the eye. But even with sparks flying between the two, Lachlan can’t stay in America forever. Now, Kayla has to decide whether to uproot her whole life and chance it all on someone she barely knows or risk getting burned once again.
Sometimes love is a game that just needs to be played.



Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 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 Atria Books/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.

REVIEW: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
Purchase a copy: Goodreads | Amazon


Shel: This is not the YA I grew up with. I swear. This book and the new YA books I've read or am reading or SO MUCH BETTER than anything I had growing up. This makes me so excited because I have two young readers at home and to know that there are books out there that are representative of the diverse world we live in and interesting and well written makes me so happy for them (and my students). I love that we are reading heroines and heros who are multiracial, living with medical conditions, or discovering their identities, or living with and through eating disorders or depression or homelessness and showing the readers of the world that our fictional worlds are finally catching up and giving us characters who aren't the same old thing. Court: Right? I do suppose I caught at least the tail end of this new found development where HEA's aren't always quite so wrapped up in a bow. Life hurts, and it hurts just as much when you're a teen and adults might not think your problems are that big, but they are to you. This novel captured so many things that I was thinking "YES" a lot...because Madeline and Olly are right on the cusp of the rest of their lives but they have some serious obstacles in their path to life on their own, let alone as friends. This one also made my shelf for 'brilliant writing' and 'life changer' shelf, because it's one that I will remember always.

Shel: Everything, Everything was a breath of fresh air; reading Madeline go from knowing one way of life to another and experiencing her joys and hurts and exhilaration and contemplation was emotional. I found myself wanting to push her to do more and then to put on the brakes. There were times when I wanted to cover my eyes when I anticipated certain things (which is the dumbest thing ever, right?, because I need to see to read!) and towards the end, I just wanted to emote...a lot. (Poor Dahlia Adler, I exploded all over her twitter for about 20 minutes--I just needed to express the FEELS to someone who'd get me. *waves to Dahlia* Thanks, Dahlia!). I love when books do this to me, even if it feels slightly torturous when I'm experiencing. 

Court: I found Everything, Everything to be...well, everything...which is eloquent I know. But, I told Shel this a few times because as I was reading I thought this character is so strong and I related to her in her thought processes and how she saw the world. When we meet her, and immediately she is lamenting why she doesn't know why she labels her books as her own property when she'll never lend to anyone...I found that funny and I loved her voice. Madeline is a character with a serious struggle in all planes - physically, of course, but also emotionally and one could say that with all of the things she has given to her what could she possibly have to complain about? Well, read it and weep, because she really is on a journey here to explore all of the things life has to offer...even if it is from the comfort of her glass house.

Shel: Not only did I love reading through Madeline's eyes, I enjoyed all of the graphics/charts/drawings. I think showing those things added a layer to understanding Madeline. I also thought the chapter titles and her 'dictionary' entries were fantastic. And I know you're thinking well that's all great and good but what about Olly? The mysterious and great Olly. Watching Madeline watch Olly and fall for him was bittersweet because I knew, JUST KNEW!, where this was ending--you know, how those first crushes and first loves do that number on your heart and you learn from it and it hurts but it's good? I was certain that's where this was going and I was so busy anticipating the hurt of that that the ending completely did a number on me and instead of feeling sad, I put it down with a smile. Court: It hurt so good. It was really beautiful to me, because I felt nostalgic for the feelings of something new and exciting. I think that is the best thing for me about a YA book, because it isn't just that...a book for me is a beautiful masterpiece even if someone thinks I might be too old for it! Hah. I'll never be too old. But, I digress. Knowing Madeline's emotions and how realistic she is about things was also refreshing. I can't get over how great the writing is of this book, how it is actually a debut! and how excited I am to read more from Nicola Yoon. 

Shel: As I'm sitting here basking in my love of this book, I can anticipate that some may quibble with the medical things in this book, or how much of this scenario could or could not happen and why. This is where my limited medical background comes in handy because while I was curious about how much of this could happen, knowing the factual things about Madeline's medical condition didn't inhibit me from enjoying how she felt and experienced the life. There were other elements that some might quibble with as well, and I don't feel that I can really explore those without spoiling, but I'll just say that the more fictional aspects of Madeline's journey didn't bother me at all. Kudos to the writing and Yoon's ability to completely pull me into her book and not making me stop to wonder about the hows and whys and ifs certain things could happen. Whether you agree with me or not about that, I think we can all agree that we love our heroine and how Olly respects and cares for her; how they talk about who they are and where they came from and find the other one wondrous and beautiful because of, not despite, these things.

Court: I'm so glad you mentioned this. And I'm glad you're thinking, yeah, why are you glad Courtney? Well, I'll tell you. It's because in this fictional world where we are 'expecting' realism, there are some parts that you'll be thinking...uh, why, uh no, what? So, I was excited too that the writing, the relationships, the scenarios outside of all of 'that' collectively are too good to miss. Don't be disappointed by certain things, but instead be embracing of the themes, the diversity, the coming of age story that this is and you'll hopefully enjoy it as much as we did. I might wish there was a bit more fleshing out at the end of a certain character and her having a more complete ending...but...I'm at peace with where our journey took us, and excited about it still. 

Shel: I suppose if I'm being completely honest, I had one or two spots that pulled me out of the narrative, a little. Mostly they had to do with Olly and a section where he's sharing a moment with his dad. Because of the way the novel is set up, I had a question about whether that was Madeline retelling this or actually from him. Court: Yes, I had to re-read that part too. Shel: I also found myself wanting to know more of his story, which isn't really all that fair since this is Madeline's story. It's just that Yoon made them both so interesting, I wanted more and more and more. As a matter of fact, I'm sitting here right now wondering what she envisions for them right now. And I guess that says it all doesn't it? That I'm sitting here on a Friday night still thinking about these characters tells me that this is not a novel I'll forget soon. I can't wait for you guys to discover this one, too. I think you're going to really enjoy it.

Shel: So to sum up, after all of this rambling, you'll love this book if you:

  • like reading about first loves 
  • like to laugh 
  • like interesting charts and graphics 
  • like when characters IM (I loved this part!) 
  • like a very solid cast of secondary characters 
  • like to catch a good case of the FEELS as you're reading 
  • can suspend reality and it doesn't bother you, for parts 
  • like reading through the eyes of a multiracial young woman diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder 
Court: Check, times all of that. This is a debut that I won't be forgetting soon either, because of things that happen that I can't tell you...and things that are going on with me I find it a beautiful thing that there is words out there put together that can help put a tiny piece of glue on a cracked soul, and make things better. This is what Everything, Everything is to me, and I hope you'll take a look at it. 

Shel: I liked all of these things and more and I will not hesitate to buy this book for classroom, buy it for my daughters, and will be looking forward to the next work from Nicola Yoon.

About this author:

Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. Everything, Everything is her first novel.

SURPRISE RELEASE: Initium by Courtney Cole

INITIUM Nocte Prequel by Courtney Cole

The end is coming. LUX is almost here. But everything has a beginning. A beginning before the night. Before Finn. Before Calla. Everything starts somewhere.

This is where the darkness is born. ANOTHER STORY.

INITIUM (Nocte #2.5), a Nocte Trilogy between-the-books novella, is now available...and only $0.99 for TODAY ONLY! Includes an exclusive FOUR CHAPTER sneak peek of Lux (Nocte #3)! 
I never knew what the consequences would be. I say that like it’s a defense, an excuse. It’s not. It’s simply the truth. I never knew what he would become to me. Through everything, he’s become everything. My rock, my air, my love. My everything. And then…. Things changed. Because it was wrong. Because sometimes, our sons must pay for the sins of their fathers. Or their mothers. I’m afraid that I’m lost, that I’m damned. After you read this, you’ll probably agree. Really, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I save him. Because he shouldn’t pay for my sin. Judge me if you like. But keep reading. This is our beginning. This is where the darkness truly starts.
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Get NOCTE, the first book in the trilogy Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Audible Audiobook
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LUX, the final book in the trilogy, is coming October 28, 2015.
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