Sunday, January 17, 2016

Blog Tour (Review): Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn #yalit #giveaway #excerpt @GriffinTeen @laurellizabeth

Thank you so much for visiting by Bibliophilia, Please for my stop of the Firsts blog tour - which is out now! Today, I'll be featuring an excerpt, my review, and there's also a giveaway of the book!

Title: Firsts
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan)
Release Date: January 5, 2016

In the vein of Easy A, an honest and refreshing young adult novel about sex, love, and high school.

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy - so far. Her mother isn't home nearly enough to know about Mercedes' extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won't even say the word "sex" until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn't bank on Angela's boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn - or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes' perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.


Tonight, I’m doing Evan Brown’s girlfriend a favor. An awkward, sweaty, fumbling favor. Melanie, or whatever her name is, owes me big time.

Except she’ll never know it.


“You’re not staying over,” I say, fastening the robe around my waist. “You’ll get there. Girls care less about that than you think. Especially in the beginning. You can work up to it together.”

He grins. He looks different, more handsome somehow. In the softer light, his pimples aren’t as evident and his jawline seems more pronounced. One day, I think Evan Brown could even be a heartbreaker.

But that day isn’t today.

I glance at the clock on my nightstand. Eleven p.m. on a Tues- day. “It’s a school night, Evan. Time for you to go. Your mother will wonder where you are.” Or I assume she would. Most mothers do. Not mine, of course.

His grin turns into a frown. “Do I, you know, owe you some- thing? I don’t know how this works . . .” His voice trails off.

“You don’t owe me anything. Just be good to her, okay? Re- member everything we talked about.”

I know he will. He even took notes. Open her car door for her. Bring her flowers, not something generic like roses but her actual favorite flowers. Have dinner reservations in advance, not necessarily somewhere fancy but somewhere meaningful, like where you had your first kiss or where you realized you loved her. Kiss her, not just on her lips but in unexpected places. On the nape of her neck. On her forehead. On her wrist. Push her hair behind her ears gently. Take a picture. She’ll want to remember the night.

I swallow against a lump that has risen up suddenly in my throat. It’s not that Evan is different—he’s a nice guy, a kid who loves his girlfriend and wants to please her. Maybe I’m the one who’s different. Maybe this speech is starting to feel too familiar. I told myself five favors for five deserving virgins. Five was the line I drew in the sand, and I trampled over it like it wasn’t even there. Evan is the tenth, and ten is a line I can’t just trample past.

But I’m certainly not going to get into this with Evan, so I put on a fake smile. I gesture around the room at the chaise lounge and walk-in closet and floor-to-ceiling shoe rack. “Besides, I really don’t need your money. Spend it on Melody.”

He pulls his boxers and pants back on. His movements are more measured, not the bumbling, terrified movements of the Evan Brown who entered my bedroom an hour ago. Even his voice seems deeper, like he came here a boy and is leaving as a man. I suppose that’s not far from the truth. I allow myself a little smile, a real one this time. It’s easy to reaffirm what I do. What happened to Evan in my bedroom will change him, make him into a more consider- ate lover, even a better boyfriend. Moments like these are what made that line in the sand so easy to obliterate.

Moments like these, I could see an eleventh, even though I promised myself that’s not going to happen. I’m starting the second half of senior year with all of my good karma already under my belt.

“I don’t know where you came from, but you saved my life, Mercy. I mean, Mercedes. I don’t know what I would’ve done with- out you.”

“You would’ve ripped five condoms by accident, and you might’ve drowned the girl in saliva. But now, you’re going to nail it. Literally.”

He tugs his shirt over his head. “When Gus told me how you helped him, I didn’t believe it. But he was right—you’re an angel.” He pauses. “But can I ask you—”

I cut him off midsentence. “No, you can’t. Don’t spoil it.” “But you didn’t even let me finish,” he protests.

“Oh, I let you finish,” I say. “The one thing you can do for me is not ask me any questions.”

He nods. “Fair enough.” “Goodnight, Evan,” I say.

“Goodnight, Mercy. Uh, Mercedes.” He gets to my bedroom door and pauses with his hand on the doorknob.

“This won’t be awkward at school tomorrow, will it?” he says, looking back at me.

“Of course not,” I say, folding my arms over my chest. “It’s not going to be awkward at all, because what happened in this room becomes just a figment of your imagination the second you walk out that door.”

He gives me a tight-lipped smile and pulls the door shut after him. I can see his shoes underneath, can tell he’s lingering there, wondering if he said too much or not enough, not entirely convinced that his secret is safe with me.

But he has nothing to worry about. His secret, like those of nine of his fellow seniors, is safe with me. At Milton High, I’m my own statistic. People fail to see the great equalizer, the one thing the band geeks, the drama nerds, the jocks, and the preppies all have in common.

Me—Mercedes Ayres.

The girl who took their virginity.

My Review

I can honestly say that I don't read many books about teenagers having sex, but Firsts had an interesting premise, and I was curious about how the whole thing would be executed. Firsts gives teens a realistic look at sex, relationships, and the responsibility that comes with both.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Review: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh #yalit #scifi #BibPleaseReview

1 comment:

Title: Burning Midnight
Will McIntosh
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Acquired Via: Publisher

For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave, this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.

My Review

I'll be honest with you - I have no idea why I requested Burning Midnight. I don't even remember requesting it. (Granted, I'm the sort of person who has to write notes for everything or it won't get done. Period.) I just found a note on my calendar saying that I needed to read it and my review was due today. It was already on my Kindle, so I went along with it.

I am so glad that I did.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Blog Tour (Interview): The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones #giveaway @darynda @StMartinsPress


Thank you so much for visiting by Bibliophilia, Please for my stop of the The Dirt on Ninth Grave blog tour - which is out TOMORROW! Today, I'll be featuring an exclusive interview with Darynda Jones, and there's also a giveaway of the book!

Title: The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9)
Darynda Jones
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Macmillan)
Release Date: January 12, 2016

In a small village in New York Charley Davidson is living as Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her-even from her new and trusted friends-the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

Author Interview

Kayla: Hi, Darynda! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to interview you. You have a lot of fans here at Bibliophilia, Please. Do you mind telling us a little bit about your Charley Davidson series and newest book, The Dirt on Ninth Grave?

Darynda Jones: I’d love to! Charley Davidson is a female PI who was born the grim reaper. In every story, she solves a case for a living client and one for a departed, not to mention all the side cases thrown in for good measure. The books are packed with lots of mystery and lots of sexiness in the form of our love interest, Reyes Farrow. He has daddy issues (mostly because his father is public enemy number one in both the tangible realm and the supernatural one), but that’s another story.

In Ninth Grave, Charley has lost her memory due to a traumatic event (involving Reyes’s dad, no less), and we find her working at a diner in Sleepy Hollow, NY, where she has her whole brood looking out for her. She just doesn't know it’s HER brood. Trust is coming hard for her, especially since she can see into the supernatural realm but has no idea why. And when one of her regulars is cloaked in shadows and fire, she’s both scared and intrigued by him.

This book was so fun to write because it is almost like starting over. Charley gets to learn to trust her closest friends once again and fall in love with Reyes all over again, once she can get past his brooding darkness.

Kayla: You’ve been working on this series for quite a while. How have you changed as a writer since you wrote the first book in the series and debut novel, First Grave on the Right?