For What It's Worth

Thursday, September 22, 2016

mini’s: adulting, hauntings, hitting the trail...

Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry

The struggle is real.

Nick Stahlnecker is eighteen and not ready to grow up yet. He has a summer job, a case of existential panic, and a hopeless crush on the unattainable Jai Hazenbrook. Except how do you know that your coworker’s unattainable unless you ask to blow him in the porta-potty?

That’s probably not what Dad meant when he said Nick should act more like an adult.

Twenty-five-year-old Jai is back in his hometown of Franklin, Ohio, just long enough to earn the money to get the hell out again. His long-term goal of seeing more of the world is worth the short-term pain of living in his mother’s basement, but only barely.

Meeting Nick doesn’t fit in with Jai’s plans at all, but, as Jai soon learns, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to have the adventure of a lifetime.

This is not a summer romance. This is a summer friendship-with-benefits. It’s got pizza with disgusting toppings, Netflix and chill, and accidental exhibitionism. That’s all. There are no feelings here. None. Shut up. ~

Source: Purchased

My thoughts: Between Nick’s no verbal filter, the really embarassing sex interuptions/fiascos and the wonderful cast of friends/family - I think I gigled almost the entire time reading Adulting 101. I was laughing out loud but it also has a lot to say about growing up, trying to map out your future when you aren't sure what you want and dealing with anxiety/social interactions. Well done! I need more books like this in my life.

Under-Your-Spell-300x253Under Your Spell: A Romance Boxed Set of Masked Balls, Haunted Gardens, Magic, and More by Elana Johnson, Amanda Gale, G.G. Andrew , Sara Spencer, Rachel Shane, Bryn Donovan , Nicole Zoltack , Jessica Arden, Saskia Blake, Elizabeth Cole

Fall under the spell of ten up-and-coming romance authors. When the clock strikes midnight on Halloween, you’ll want to read every one of these all-new, original novellas. From enchanted gardens to mystic curses, you’ll find something to make your spine shiver and your heart beat faster. Fall in love with a cursed werewolf, a heartbroken ghost, a true southern gentleman, and many more. There’s something for everyone, with contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal and shifter romance.

Everyday is Halloween with this spellbinding collection! ~

Source: e-arc provided in exchange for an honest review
My thoughts: I’ve only read the first four stories so far but they were quite good for getting into the fall/Halloween spirit.

#1 - The Killing Touch by Elana Johnson had an old fashioned kind of feel – a gentleman courting his love interest – but turns much darker after tradgedy strikes.

#2 – One Touch of Silver by Elizabeth Cole was a lot of fun. Cursed werewolves, gothic vibe, romance.

#3 – Sweet Lavvy by Amanda Gale was a bittersweet tale told by a mysterious man to a younger man making a big life decision as a warning not to take advantage of the love you have. Nice message but not as spooky as the rest.

#4 – To Hell with Love by G.G. Andrews. Andrews is the reason I read this antho and hers is my favorite of the group (so far). Fun, sexy, Greek mythology, curses, BOOKS and romance.

I do plan on reading the other 4 stories and reviewing on Goodreads – but probably closer to Halloween…mood reader lol but wanted to let you all know about it in the meantime.

28490317Overexposed (In Focus #4) by Megan Erickson

Love runs wild on the Appalachian Trail in the latest from the author of Out of Frame and Focus on Me...

Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he'd planned to do with his sister.

His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs. ~

Source: ARC- via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Thoughts: It’s Megan Erickson people – go read it! Ok – you probably need a little more. Overexposed is another emotional, heartfelt addition to the In Focus series with the Appalachian Trail as a backdrop to Levi and Thad’s haunting memories and blossoming friendship/romance.The In Focus series is one of all time favorite LGBQT/NA series. This is book #4 but can be read as a stand alone and I’m REALLY hoping that a certain character, who’s kind of an asshole  but I liked him, gets his own book.

Monday, September 19, 2016

review: vassa in the night by sarah porter

22065080In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair. . . .

Inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful and Sarah Porter’s years of experience teaching creative writing to New York City students. ~

Source: ARC provided by the publisher (Tor Teen) in exchange for an honest review


Vassa in the Night was one odd story. Vassa was given a wooden doll named Erg by her mother, before her death, years earlier. Oh – did I mention that Erg is a smart mouth, ravenous, thieving, talking doll that only Vassa can hear? Erg gets Vassa in a whole lot of trouble with her step mother and sisters.

One night after Erg gets Vassa in trouble for stealing - yet again – her angry and vindictive step sister sends her to the local store for lightbulbs. No big deal. Except BY’s is a store that dances, has decapitated heads on poles that serve as a warning to shoplifters, and is owned by an old woman, Baba Yagg, who puts curses on people.

After accusing Vassa of shoplifting, Baba Yagg gives Vassa three nights of servitude in the store to prove her innocence and earn her release. Vassa makes friends with the stores faceless watchman and avenging swans while trying to avoid the severed hands crawling around trying to kill her. Like I said earlier - this is an odd story!

The whole time I was reading Vassa in the Night, I could see it in my mind as a Tim Burton movie. Modern day Brooklyn, NY is the perfect backdrop for this tale. Something about it makes perfect sense. It doesn’t seem weird at all that people still shop at store that kills its shoppers. lol

You just kind of have to go with it if you’re going to enjoy this book at all. Vassa in the Night is magical realism and although I’m not a big fan or magical realism, it worked for me here.

The magic, while creeptastic and  awesome, somewhat overwhelmed my ability to form a connection with Vassa and kept this from being a WOW – 5 star book for me even though it was fun. Vassa's problems with her dad, step mother & sister ended up not having the emotional impact it could have.

This book is strange, imaginative, gory and a touch sentimental but also a bit confusing as the author slowly reveals the history of Vassa’s parents and Erg while alternating with the more exciting story of Vassa’s adventures at BY’s.

I think readers are going to find this weird and wonderful or just plain weird.

I would suggest reading a sample first if you can to see if the writing pulls you in.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Leave a Mark Auctions

I wanted to take a moment to let you all know about a wonderful charity project called Leave a Mark Auctions hosted by fellow blogger – Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag & Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance.


Here’s a little bit about the auctions:

The items we auction are marked up books by authors and other famous names. The authors mark up one of their own titles, and the other famous folks mark up a favorite book.

What does “marking up” mean? It’s like an annotated version of the book for an author – write little notes and facts throughout the book that the future winner/reader might be interested in knowing! If the book is not your own, you simply post your thoughts about parts of the book – highlight favorite quotes, etc.

I think with the idea of marking up a book in mind, it’s easy to see why the auctions are called Leave a Mark. It also works because the money raised by these auctions are going to help a charity and that will leave a mark on whoever the charity helps.

A new charity will be chosen every few months.



Lauren had co-hosted this before in 2008-2009 – raising $1587.50 for the charity First Book - and getting about 700 books to children in need! I had bid/won 3 books so I thought I would share what you can get from these auctions. Obviously it varies from author to author but it’s pretty cool!


Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready and Willow by Julia Hoban were two of my favorite books so those are very special to me. Vintage Veronica was a book that had low bidding so I grabbed it!

I suggest you don't pass up books that aren't necessarily your favorite but are still within your bidding range because, even though I knew nothing about Vintage Veronica, it was SO much fun to get a behind the scenes peak at the story process anyway. Plus the author added adorable art and recipes. too cute! Some of the notes are about how they chose characters names, inspirations for certain scenes etc. 

Current auction:

All the Feels by Danika Stone

College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.
Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.

Current high bid - $11
Bidding ends for this auction on September 21st at 9pm EST

If you would like to donate a marked up book - contact Lauren at Lauren51990 AT aol DOT com