Friday, November 25, 2016

Best Books of November

It's once again time to tell you about the best books I read this month. Here are my favorite November reads!

I couldn't wait to read the first book on my list this month, since it's from one of my favorite authors. Gail Nall writes both young adult and middle grade and, since the book starts out in Nashville, I could totally relate to her latest:

The idea of traveling around the country in an RV sounds amazing to most of us. Not to the lead character in Out of Tune, though. All Maya wants is to audition for a show called Dueling Duets with her secret crush, Jack. But her fixation on getting home almost makes her miss out on all of the great things about her new life, including a cute boy named Remy and a "frenemy" named Shiver. Gail does a fantastic job of conveying the angst a preteen feels when she's stuck with her family while missing out on so much back at home. You can't help but feel as though you've been on the adventure alongside Maya!

My next read this month includes another familiar author for my blog readers. Meradeth Houston is a super-smart writer who weaves her scientific fascinations into her books. This month I read this anthology that includes a story from her:

Ghosts of Fire is an anthology of ten supernatural stories. I read Meradeth's story, The Cost of Greatness, on Election Day, which made its theme of a newly-elected President who wants to get rid of a group of people who were "different" especially eerie. What I liked most about this anthology, though, was the diversity in story types. There's something for everyone here. Word of warning: don't read Demon in the Basement late at night when you're home alone! Very, very scary.

You can't spend much time online without seeing Crystal Collier's book somewhere. This woman is a marketing master! But after reading her latest book, I can say she's an even better novelist.

Timeless is the third in a trilogy of books about Alexia, the Maiden of Time. If you haven't read the first two, I recommend starting with book #1 and going all the way through. You'll want to know the backstory on these characters, even though you can read this one without reading the others. I was drawn into this story of a pregnant, time traveling, kick-butt heroine. Crystal knows how to draw the suspense out to keep you reading all the way to the end. I found myself whipping through the book in record time because I couldn't wait to see what happened next!

Joylene Nowell Butler is a relatively new friend, which means I get to discover her books for the first time! Her latest book is a murder mystery, which just happens to be one of my favorite genres!

In Matowak: Woman Who Cries, a woman suddenly finds her husband dead of a gunshot wound in their kitchen. Because he's the retired Minister of National Defense, the list of suspects is long...and it includes his grieving widow, Sally. She has lost so much, you can't help but feel for her while at the same time wondering if she really did have something to do with it. If you are one of the many people (like me!) who like police procedurals, this is a book you'll LOVE.

Full confession, I'm a little behind on the next read. I'm always looking for that book everyone's talking about this year, but somehow I missed this one. Apparently, I just need to follow Reese Witherspoon's production company because, like Gone Girl, she snatched the film rights up to this book almost as soon as it shot to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list!!!

Ruth Ware is the author of The Woman in Cabin 10, a new release I saw on the shelves while signing books at Barnes & Noble. After reading that book, I noticed in the reviews that everyone said her first book was better, so I had to track it down and read it. In a Dark, Dark Wood sounds like a simple premise. A group of women (and one man) gathers at a cabin in the woods for a "hen party." (British term for "bachelorette party.") How could that be suspenseful? You know from the start somehow our main character ends up injured, in the hospital, unable to remember what happened during this seemingly harmless weekend. If you haven't read this book and you love suspense, read it as soon as possible!

Also, a BIG congratulations to the winners of a free signed copy of Piper Morgan to the Rescue (listed below). I chose three because everyone was SO awesome this time! 

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cover Reveal: Best.Night.Ever by Seven Great Authors!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I love my fellow Aladdin authors. We get to write fun, girly our books have the best covers!

So when I had the opportunity to work with six of my favorite Aladdin authors, I couldn't pass it up! For the past year, seven of us have been working on a book about a school dance from seven different perspectives. And...get this: I wrote the boy character!

My fellow writers on this project included Jen Malone (who also edited) and Gail Nall:

Plus Dee Romito (right, with Gail):

Ronni Arno (left, with Jen):

Alison Cherry (left, with Jen):

And Rachele Alpine, who we all can't wait to meet!

Together, we created Best.Night.Ever: A Story Told from Seven Points of View. (Release date: August 15, 2017.) This is the cover:

Here's a little more about it. And be sure to enter to enter the giveaway below to win a free copy of middle grade novels from all seven of us!


Love Actually meets Adventures in Babysitting in this hilarious novel written by seven authors about seven classmates who are preparing for a crazy night at their middle school dance.

Lynnfield Middle School is prepped and ready for a dance to remember, including an awesome performance from Heart Grenade, the all-girl band who recently won a Battle of the Bands contest. Seven classmates—Carmen, Genevieve, Tess, Ryan, Ellie, Ashlyn, and Jade—intend to make the most of the night…or at least the five of them who are able to attend do. The other two would sacrifice almost anything to be there.

One thing’s for sure—this entire crew is in for one epic night! Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, Jen Malone, Gail Nall, and Dee Romito have created a charming, hilarious, and relatable novel that’s perfect for anyone who can’t wait to dance the night away.

Buy Links:

Amazon | B&N

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Introducing Catalyst by Kristin Smith

I'm so excited about Kristin Smith's new book, I actually tried to buy it two weeks ago. The good news is, I was able to buy it yesterday, but it'll take a little longer for me to share my review of it! Here's Kristin's new's book one in an exciting new series.


In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn't fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she's ever known and loved changes in an instant.

With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she's falling for as bait.

In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who's too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren't what they seem, and the secrets they're hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most.

Buy Links:


Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she's not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at


Monday, November 21, 2016

Mystery Monday: Holly Bobo

It's Monday, which means it's time for:

Every Monday, I'm presenting a new mystery. Some have been solved...some remain unsolved to this day. 

Today's mystery hits a little close to home. It happened in Darden, Tennessee, just a couple of hours from my house. It received national coverage because, well, the victim looked like this:

Is it fair that beautiful young women get more media coverage when they suddenly disappear? Not really. Still, the story of Holly Bobo would be haunting even if she weren't so beautiful.

Holly was a 20-year-old college student preparing for her nursing exams in a town with a population of 396. Which is the average number of people in the produce section of my grocery store at any given time. Holly had a boyfriend:

On the morning of April 13, 2011, Holly awoke at 4:30 a.m. to study for an exam. Around 7:30, she spoke to her ^^boyfriend^^, who was hunting at her grandmother's farm. Her parents had already left for work, but her brother Clint was still asleep in the house.

At 7:40 a.m., a neighbor heard a scream coming from the general direction of the property. That neighbor's mom called Holly's mom, expressing concern. Holly's mom:

At 7:50, Clint was awakened by the family dogs barking. He says he looked out and saw two people kneeling in the garage. One was Holly and, at the time, he assumed the other was her boyfriend, Drew. He said Holly was visibly upset and the only words he could make out were, "No, why?"

Soon after this, Holly's mom called Clint and told him that was not Drew. She suggested he get his gun and shoot the person speaking to Holly. Clint's response? "You want me to shoot Drew?"

Frustrated, Holly's mom hung up and dialed 911. Meanwhile, Clint stood watching while Holly was led into the woods by a man in camouflage clothing. Clint ran outside and found a pool of blood near Holly's car. The blood was later confirmed to be Holly's.

More than three painful years later, Holly's remains were finally found in the woods a few miles from her home. Three men were prosecuted for her murder, with two remaining in jail. One, Zach Adams, appears to be the primary subject, due in part to some very incriminating Facebook posts he made after her abduction:

The "Who am I looking for?" post was just after the reward went up for Holly. However, the below post went up just minutes after Holly was last seen:

The evidence against Zachary Adams and the other suspects is still a mystery. The case drags on and on for reasons unknown. Most recently, the judge said the earliest a trial could begin in the case is April of 2017. Nobody really knows what the police know. Some think the brother is involved somehow. But I would assume the police cleared him right away.

Meanwhile, this dude sits in jail...

...while a family is heartbroken.

Do you think Zachary killed Holly? Or is someone else to blame?