Friday, November 21, 2014

Tasty Book Tours: Sleigh Bells In Valentine Valley

Sleigh Bells in Valentine Valley
Valentine Valley # 5
By: Emma Cane
Releasing October 28th, 2014

Return to Valentine Valley, where Christmas lights are twinkling and first love burns brighter the second time around...
When Tony De Luca's ex, Kate Fenelli, waltzes through the door of his tavern and pulls up a bar stool, she turns his balanced world on end. Once they'd been each other's first love, first everything. But then life happened, and they walked away with broken hearts. Now Kate is back in Valentine, and they can't seem to stay out of each other's way. When Tony begins wondering what would happen if they rekindled the sparks, he knows he's in big trouble.

Kate can't believe she's sitting at Tony's bar spilling her life-changing problems to him. He's as gorgeous as ever, and she can't seem to forget how incredible he always made her feel. Still, the door on that chapter of their lives closed long ago. Yet with Christmas buzzing in the air, Kate can't help wondering if anything is possible—even a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.

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By the Monday after Thanksgiving, Kate thought she’d go out of her mind. Everyone went back to work and school, and she was alone but for dog Barney, who kept her company at home, since the old guy couldn’t exactly go for long runs anymore. She read a book. She baked the simplest cookies for Ethan after school like he was six, and he humored her, good son that he was. But she caught his worried looks just the same.
She called her lawyer friend Michelle again—no answer. The partners would never reveal details about her sabbatical, but she still felt paranoid. She kept thinking of that report she wasn’t supposed to have seen, and she wished she could talk to someone about it. But obviously her firm didn’t want to listen.
Tuesday, on her late-morning run, she passed by Tony’s Tavern. Without planning it, she turned around and went inside. Compared to Friday night, it was pretty empty, just a couple people starting an early lunch. No one sat at the bar, behind which her ex-husband Tony stood at the POS computer, his back to her, his head bent, unruly brown hair touching the creased collar of his black polo shirt. She felt a momentary need to straighten it. The thought was so shocking that she was about to leave, when he looked up and saw her. She froze, wondering if she’d overstepped her bounds.
He frowned, but he seemed puzzled, not annoyed. It made her feel braver, so she sat down at the bar and pulled off her winter hat and gloves. She casually ran her hands through her hair to straighten it, and he watched her without saying a word.
Is something wrong?” When his voice emerged with a husky tone, he cleared his throat.
May I have a glass of water?” she asked lamely. Dammit, why had she come here?
He poured her one from the tap. “Tough workout?”
She nodded. “They always are. I hate running.”
Then why do you do it?”
Quick and convenient, keeps me healthy, and holds down the weight.” She held up a hand. “I know, I know, there are ways to have fun and exercise. But this works for me.”
Do you have any fun, Kate?” he asked softly.
For a moment, she didn’t know how to answer that. “Every weekend when Ethan is with me.”
No grown-up fun?”
And then she blushed, though she assumed he didn’t mean sex. “I had a pretty good time in here Friday night. I date occasionally at home, too. That’s fun.”
He nodded slowly, almost as if he didn’t believe her. So she added defensiveness to her feelings of panic and desperation.
I don’t have anything to do,” she finally said in a hushed whisper, her throat tight. “I feel…lost. The thing I’m best at—they won’t let me do, won’t trust my judgment. I’m not even the homemaker type, and I’m cleaning my mother’s house every day. I’m running out of stuff to do. I think I’m driving Ethan nuts—and I don’t mean to! And now here I am driving you nuts. I’m sorry, I should go.”
He looked at her for a long minute, eyes narrowed in thought, but not anger. Still she didn’t go; she only took a long swig of her water.
Then he reached beneath the counter and slid a crumpled apron across to her. “My lunch server, Rhonda—her kid had his appendix out. There’s complications, poor little guy, but he’ll be okay. She’s going to be out a while. Wait tables if you’re so bored.”
She stared at him in shock. There was a faint smirk twisting his lips, as if he expected her to turn him down. He knew she hated serving. It was hard, demanding work, and people were difficult to satisfy.
But…she was alone all day, with not enough to do. She lifted her head and met his gaze with a challenging one of her own. “Are you offering me a job?”
A temporary one,” he amended, then crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t think you’ll last.”
She straightened her shoulders. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. I’ve never left a job unfinished.” And then she felt a spasm of worry as she remembered her law career, her marriage—the unfinished things in her life. He started to pull the apron back, and she suddenly grabbed it, looking him fiercely in the eyes. “You’re on.” She heard the words coming out of her mouth and couldn’t regret them, although she wasn’t sure why.
After years in a courtroom, Kate wasn’t nervous talking to people, so she had no problem chatting up the young couple who’d just come from a winter hiking excursion. She seated them at a two-top (she remembered the lingo!), brought them ice water and menus, and felt Tony watching her the whole time. Well, at least he wasn’t looking at her like he had on Friday night, with his eyes all hot and half-lidded. The memory of those eyes had made sleeping difficult that night, and she’d told herself she was going too long between dates. Obviously Tony was, too.
After getting Tony’s table another beer and soda refill, she hung out near the wait station, wiping down bottles of ketchup and mustard, until her new customers seemed ready to order. She thought about Tony dating—obviously she knew he did. Ethan even mentioned it occasionally. She hoped their failed marriage hadn’t ruined the way he focused on a woman without pressuring her, letting her know with his gaze and his manners that he was into her. Back in the day, he used to make her feel like the sexiest girl alive, the only one he wanted. After victorious football games, he’d take off his helmet, and their eyes would meet as he grinned at her like only she understood how fun a victory was. Because that’s all sports had been to him—fun—and she’d had a hard time understanding that. He liked to win, but he was laid-back enough that he didn’t take losses personally. He was so…different from her in every way, and she recognized that was once part of his appeal. Unlike her, he’d never talked about his future career or what he wanted to do—he’d just assumed it would occur to him eventually. That had shocked her, especially since she’d joined some clubs simply because she’d known they’d look good on her college applications. More and more during their marriage, his lack of ambition had gnawed at her. And now he was running his own successful business, making her rethink her old assumptions.
Her two-top looked ready to order, and she bluffed her way through the menu, writing everything down—unlike the expert, Tony. He was there when she entered the order, looking over her shoulder, guiding her when she needed help. She fumbled a lot, with him standing so near, and let out her breath in a rush when he finally stepped away to prepare her drink order.
The flare-up of her old physical attraction to him was going to be damned inconvenient.

Review:  I love stories about second chances, especially when they are marriages that have gone wrong. It is easy to see that Tony and Kate need a second chance. Neither of them have really moved on from their divorce. They both are good parents, but they need something and that is obviously the other one.

They have been divorced nine years, so there's a lot of life that's gone on. The thing I liked the most was that it was Kate that was the part time parent. She wanted a high powered career as a lawyer, whereas Tony was more content with a town like Valentine Valley, which is where they both grew up and were childhood sweethearts.

It is a beautiful holiday story, a sweet and easy read and one for the keeper shelves.

Rating: 5 flowers

Author Info
Emma Cane grew up reading and soon discovered that she liked to write passionate stories of teenagers in space. Her love of “passionate stories” has never gone away, although today she concentrates on the heartwarming characters of Valentine, her fictional small town in the Colorado Rockies.
Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Valentine Valley Holiday Gift Bag)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball Of Death

Author: Mark Reutlinger
Title: Mrs Kaplan & the Matzoh Ball Of Death
Publisher: Albi
Publish Date: Nov 18, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & Net Galley
Blurb: Move over, Miss Marple—Mark Reutlinger’s charming cozy debut introduces readers to the unforgettable amateur sleuth Rose Kaplan and her loyal sidekick, Ida.

Everyone knows that Rose Kaplan makes the best matzoh ball soup around—she’s a regular matzoh ball maven—so it’s no surprise at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors when, once again, Mrs. K wins the honor of preparing the beloved dish for the Home’s seder on the first night of Passover.

But when Bertha Finkelstein is discovered facedown in her bowl of soup, her death puts a bit of a pall on the rest of the seder. And things go really meshugge when it comes out that Bertha choked on a diamond earring earlier stolen from resident Daisy Goldfarb. Suddenly Mrs. K is the prime suspect in the police investigation of both theft and murder. Oy vey—it’s a recipe for disaster, unless Rose and her dear friend Ida can summon up the chutzpah to face down the police and solve the mystery themselves.

Review: I absolutely loved this book. Rose and Ida live in a Jewish Senior Home. When one of the residents ends up dead, Rose is the prime suspect. (It was Rose's soup, Bertha went face down in)

The story is told from Ida'a point of view, and she's really such fun. This was really a different kind of cozy. You'll definitely learn a bit of Yiddish while reading this book. You'll also laugh.

I found that reading this was a bit like Sherlock Holmes meets Jessica Fletcher.

It is a great start to a new cozy mystery series!

Rating: 5 flowers

Thursday, November 13, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Christmas At Tiffany's

Author: Karen Swan
Title: Christmas At Tiffany's
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: Oct 28, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: What do you do when the man you pledged your life to breaks your heart and shatters your dreams? You pack your bags and travel the big, wide world to find your destiny—and your true love . . .

Ten years ago, a young and na├»ve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be. Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.

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Review:  The title of this book is a teensy bit deceiving. I was thinking that I was going to get a festive chicklit novel, but I should have known better, when I saw the length of this book.  Holy frijoles! It almost tops 600 pages.

No joke, I can't remember when I read a book this long, and for awhile, I wasn't sure I was going to finish this one. It starts out slowly and if you have a short attention span or if you need something fast paced, this might not be a good book to start with.

Cassie's life falls apart in a very big way. More than just a cheating husband kind of way. Her husband was scum and that's about all I can say on that.

That's where her friends step in. Imagine having 3 friends living in 3 fantastic cities, and while you regroup, you get to live with them as you reinvent yourself. (Note to self...find friends like this)

In some ways I absolutely loved this book. It's more than just chicklit. Sure there are relationships going on, but it is a little deeper than that, but sometimes Cassie annoyed me and that's what kept me from being over the moon by this book.

But no matter what, if you have a cold weekend with nothing to do, grab this book and cozy up in a chair with a blanket and get to reading!

Rating: 4 flowers

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: The Tudor Vendetta

Please join C.W. Gortner as he tours the blogosphere for the release of the third book in his Spymaster Chronicles Series, The Tudor Vendetta, from October 20 - November 28, and enter to win a complete set of the trilogy!

The Tudor Vendetta
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
St. Martin's Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: Spymaster Chronicles
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen's behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry's disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth's doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner's Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

Praise for The Tudor Vendetta

“Fast paced and exciting, with a most engaging hero . . . So vivid, you feel are there!” - Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series

“C.W. Gortner has done it again! Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read.” - Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

“Suspense, intrigue, betrayal and deadly rivalry: What more can you ask for? A swashbuckling, perilous adventure.” - M.J. Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist

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Review: C. W. Gortner is one of my favorite authors of the Tudor period. We're focusing on Elizabethan England with a mystery told from Elizabeth's spy, Brendan Prescott.

This is the third book in the Spymaster Chronicles. I read book two The Tudor Conspiracy and loved it. This is a stand alone novel, but I have to say, that it does help to have read at least one of the other books so that you can really get the feel for the characters.

I still love Brendan. He's just a wonderful guy, and in the courts of Tudor England that is often something you just can't find. You are immediately drawn to him for all his faults and flaws.

Like the other book in this series, it is one you can't put down. Gortner's writing is that good. He puts you in the Tudor period, and you don't want to leave. This time period was full of intrigue and Gortner writes this best. As always, he brings fact and fiction together without any sacrifices.

Rating: 5 flowers

About the Author

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

03_CW GortnerAfter an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin's Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information please visit C.W. Gortner's website and blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube.

The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20
Review at The Maiden's Court
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 21
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 22
Review at Back Porchervations
Review at Always With a Books

Thursday, October 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Friday, October 24
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, October 27
Review at JulzReads
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, October 28
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Wednesday, October 29
Review at Making My Mark
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Bookish

Thursday, October 30
Review & Guest Post at Drey's Library
Review & Interview at The Copperfield Review & From Meredith Allard
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, October 31
Review at Book by Book

Monday, November 3
Review at Mari Reads
Review & Gues Post at JM Ledwell Writes

Tuesday, November 4
Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 5
Review at One Book at a Time
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 6
Review at Booktalk & More

Friday, November 7
Review at Build a Bookshelf

Monday, November 10
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, November 11
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, November 12
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 14
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Paranormal Book Club

Monday, November 17
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, November 18
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at What is That Book About

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Kate Forsyth's Blog

Thursday, November 20
Review & Interview at The Tudor Enthusiast

Friday, November 21
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Monday, November 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Historical Tapestry
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, November 28
Review at Books in the Burbs
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story


To win a complete set of CW Gortner's Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy (The Tudor Secret, The Tudor Conspiracy, and The Tudor Vendetta) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 29th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Dae's Christmas Past

Author: Joyce & Jim Laven
Title: Dae's Christmas Past
Publish Date: Nov 4, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Great Escapes Book Tours & the authors
Book Blurb: 
When wild horse rescue director Tom Watts is found dead on Duck Road, newly re-elected mayor Dae O’Donnell is determined to find out who killed him. Her friend Jake Burleson is accused of killing Tom even though the two men have been good friends for years.

The problem is the excavation of the horse cult that’s been happening on Jake’s property. Tom and several archaeologists working on the project think that Jake should give up his land to widen the search for artifacts. Jake won’t do that.

It’s not that Jake hasn’t been acting strangely. He shoved one of the ancient stone horses into Dae’s hands when he knew she was afraid to touch it. He’s obsessed with stopping the excavation—maybe to the point of killing Tom.

But Dae thinks there may be more to the story. Jake’s determination has shown her what the horse cult was used for thousands of years ago, the destruction the demon horses brought before they were stopped. She’s afraid something of the past may have already returned to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and there may be more deaths to come.

Featuring Pet Psychic Mary Catherine Roberts!

Review: Joyce and Jim Lavene are two of my favorite cozy mystery writers. I've read books from several of their series. (I love the Ren Faire mysteries) This is book 6 in the Missing Pieces series, and I don't know how I missed the other books!

Dae has special talents when it comes to touching things, psychic talents. That's all I'll say there, you'll have to read the book to find out the rest. When a horse statue gets thrust into her hands things get a little crazy. And what she sees involves a horse cult! OMG! Let me tell you, as things progress with the story and you learn more about the horse cult, you'll see how very creepy it is.

Then when the body is found in the road the only suspect looks like her friend Jake. And when another body turns up, it looks like there's no way he won't go to jail. Both victims had ties to Jake.

This mystery was fast paced and such fun. I loved Pet Psychic Mary Catherine Roberts and her relationship with Dae's grandfather. I'm so excited that she may be a recurring character!  There's one particular scene with the wild horses that was so beautiful and another with a rat. (Yeah, I know..rats...ick...but this scene was wonderful) I loved how all the animals came to her to talk!

Oh and Jessie and Chase from the Ren Faire series make a stop in Missing Pieces for some shopping! I love when stories overlap!

The cast of characters here is wonderful. If you haven't read anything by Joyce and Jim Lavene, this is a god series to start with.

Rating: 5 flowers

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Monday, November 10, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Red Book Of Primrose House

Author: Marty Wingate
Title: The Red Book of Primrose House
Publisher: Alibi
Publish Date: Nov 4, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and NetGalley
Book Blurb: In Marty Wingate’s charming new Potting Shed Mystery, Texas transplant Pru Parke’s restoration of a historic landscape in England is uprooted by an ax murderer.

Pru Parke has her dream job: head gardener at an eighteenth-century manor house in Sussex. The landscape for Primrose House was laid out in 1806 by renowned designer Humphry Repton in one of his meticulously illustrated Red Books, and the new owners want Pru to restore the estate to its former glory—quickly, as they’re planning to showcase it in less than a year at a summer party.

But life gets in the way of the best laid plans: When not being happily distracted by the romantic attentions of the handsome Inspector Christopher Pearse, Pru is digging into the mystery of her own British roots. Still, she manages to make considerable progress on the vast grounds—until vandals wreak havoc on each of her projects. Then, to her horror, one of her workers is found murdered among the yews. The police have a suspect, but Pru is certain they’re wrong. Once again, Pru finds herself entangled in a thicket of evil intentions—and her, without a hatchet.

Review: I love this beautiful English cozy series. Pru Parke is just a great, unique heroine. She's 51 and working as head gardener at a manor house in Sussex.

I love that she only has one love interest, Christopher Pearse, and that their relationship is a good one and we get to see that develop as this book goes one. Christopher plays a bigger part in Pru's life rather than the mystery in this book. He also is doing his best to protect her from the killer too.

The mystery involves the death of one of her assistants, after a string of vandals hit the garden she's working in. At first you think the victim just might have deserved what he got. He was a bit of an old fashioned guy and a curmudgeon at large, but as the story goes on, you find he really did care for his daughter's well being.

The police have a suspect or two, but like Pru, you know that they can't be right. In fact, you might be a little bit angry at their first choice of suspects, when you have at least two floating around your head as potentials.

You also get to learn a bit more about Pru's English ancestry in this book, which proves to be as exciting as the murder. There's also some drama surrounding Christopher's son, who is working in Dubai.

The mystery is solved before the book is finished, which felt a little bit odd to me, but there were other things, like the status of Pru's employment that needed wrapping up. It made the end of the book feel a bit awkward, but it didn't hurt the quality of the story at all.

There's great character development here and a whole slew of quirky secondary characters that make this a great read and a great series.

Rating: 5 flowers

Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Review: Unteachable

Author: Leah Raeder
Title: Unteachable
Publisher: Atria
Publish Date: Oct 14, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb:  
Maise O’Malley just turned eighteen, but she’s felt like a grown-up her entire life. The summer before senior year, she has plans: get into a great film school, convince her mom to go into rehab, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, screw up her own future.

But life has a way of throwing her plans into free-fall.

When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their chemistry is immediate, intense, and short-lived. Which is exactly how she likes it: no strings. But afterward, she can’t get Evan out of her head. He’s taught her that a hookup can be something more. It can be an unexpected connection with someone who truly understands her. Someone who sees beyond her bravado to the scared but strong girl inside.

That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke.

Maise and Evan resolve to keep their hands off each other, but the attraction is too much to bear. Together, they’re real and genuine; apart, they’re just actors playing their parts for everyone else. And their masks are slipping. People start to notice. Rumors fly. When the truth comes to light in a shocking way, they may learn they were just playing parts for each other, too.

Review: Unteachable is almost a Lolita for the modern age, but Maise isn't a naive young thing. She's 18, she's street smart and she's got quite a messed up life.

This is a book that you will be shocked and intrigued by. Maise and Evan aren't your average couple, but there's nothing average about either one of them.

Maise is the daughter of a druggie/drug dealer. Everything she has, she's got on her own. She's pretty much raised herself. So when she hooks up with a much older guy at the fair,  you don't think twice about it. She is 18.  You also don't know Evan's age when they hook up either.

Then they meet again at school, where Evan is Maise's film studies teacher.

I could deal with most of their relationship at the beginning. I mean, the "hot for teacher" thing is quite common, but the fact that their relationship is really rooted in sex made things ultra creepy at times.

And then there's Wesley, the boy her own age, that has a stalker-esque crush on her. I have to say, I was team Wesley throughout the book. I felt Wes would have brought stability to her life, whereas Evan was just going to screw her up, especially when you find out he has secrets of his own.

I loved Leah's writing. It pulled you in, even if you didn't quite agree with what the characters were doing. Maise, in particular. I'm pretty sure there are a lot of psychological things you could say about her behavior, but really, she's just a screwed up kid.

I felt bad for her. There was nothing good about this girl's life, and the choices she makes will have some shaking their heads, but then again, she is only 18.

I often felt that though Maise and Evan had a bit in common, like their love of films and both coming from very dysfunctional families, that their relationship was really rooted in sex. I love you seemed to get tossed in there, because when you are spending that much time "doing it" you should have some emotional attachment. My thought's on their attachment? Someone has daddy issues.

This book is out to push boundaries and take you out of your comfort zone. It took me out of mine, because even though both characters would be legal in any other circumstances, Evan being her teacher made things wrong, and the fact he hooked up with another young girl before makes him a perv in my book. I simply couldn't like him. And I couldn't grasp Maise's actions once she found out about his past either.

The writing was solid and it was a definite page turner, but it creeped me out too much to be a winner.

Rating: 3 flowers

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