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Booksniffer has read 9 books toward her goal of 100 books.
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Thanks go to: Read Write All The Time!

Cover Reveal: CRYOSTORM by Lynn Rush!

They made his body, she'll awaken his soul.

4 Sniffs Review: SEE THROUGH ME by Sera Bright #Giveaway

There's only one person I want to see when I return home. But I know he won't be waiting. It's the reason I feel safe enough to come back. I’m so wrong.

YBO Sniffer Review: THIS WICKED RUSH by Jessie Evans #Giveaway

THIS WICKED RUSH is an edgy, sexy, boundary-pushing read intended for readers over the age of seventeen. The book features graphic love scenes, violence, strong language, and thieves in love. Read at your own risk.

5.5 Sniffs Review: SYNCHRONY by Cindy Ray Hale #Giveaway #Excerpt

Will Destiny and Preston find the synchrony they so desperately need, or will she find a way to forgive Isaac and return to his outstretched arms?

5 Sniffs Review: DESTINY by Cindy Ray Hale #Giveaway

Weaving around Destiny and Isaac's alternating viewpoints, Destiny is the first book in a series inspired by the characters of Les Misérables and explores heartbreak, self-discovery, intolerance, and love.

CHANGES & MERGER

Hello! I'm currently in the process of merging my 3 sites to make it easier for me to keep everything up.

So all book tours that have a ROMANCE title will be posted to the new site instead of here on Booksniffer Book Reviews. All non-romance titles will still be posted here.

Those posts can be found here: http://loveineverypage.weebly.com/

I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but it'll be better in the long run.

~Christina

Monday, March 31, 2014

4 Sniffs Review: CONVICTION by Amanda Lance




Title: Conviction
Series: Wanted #2
Author: Amanda Lance
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC
ASIN: B00FNC3KL6
Release Date: October 4, 2013
Source: Bought on Amazon.com
Links: Goodreads  Amazon

Falling in love with each other was unlikely.
Surviving their adventure was doubtful.
Living without each other: impossible.

For Addie Battes and Charlie Hays, a couple who defied all odds, life on land should be a breeze--except, for the fact that their newest challenge may include life, without each other...

To everyone else it looks like she's leaving for college, but for Addie Battes, it's much more. She and her kidnapper Charlie Hays have found a way to be together and elude authorities. Yet fairytale romances aside; life isn't easy with schoolwork, roommates, and meddling FBI agents. And balancing acts threaten to fall when violent competitors rise up to put Charlie and the guys out of business.

Addie soon realizes that keeping her relationship with Charlie a secret is the least of her problems, especially with Charlie's unfounded suspicions and jealousies. When misunderstandings surface, Addie's worst fears come to fruition.

Desperate and alone, she is faced with a choice: try to find her own happy ending, or fight to make Charlie a part of hers.




Addie Battes leaves for college in California to be with her former kidnapper and current boyfriend, Charlie Hays. She's really happy to finally be with Charlie with some semblance of normalcy, but all the half truths are starting to weigh her down, and Charlie's suspicions and jealousy over her friendship with FBI Agent Adam Harpsten aren't helping. Everything starts unraveling when a violent competitor of Ben Walden's hijacks one of their airport runs. When the final straw breaks and Charlie is arrested, Addie has to choose whether she will try to move on from him, or try to figure out a way to keep Charlie in her life.

CONVICTION has some themes from Shakespeare's Othello in that we have Addie and Charlie who have a secret relationship (from everyone but their group), and someone working behind the scenes to split them up, not to mention the attack from the rival group that could be compared to the Turks attack in Othello. There are more comparisons I could make, but then I'd give away a lot of the story, so I'll leave it at that. It was also cool how Addie's roommate, who is a theater major, was acting in the college's production of Othello.

In Wanted, where they were in a secluded environment, we were shown a lot of the positive traits of Addie and Charlie, but in CONVICTION, we see more of the negative traits. While on the Diyu in Wanted, the feel of the story was more...um...dreamlike? or fantastical? in that they are, mostly, alone and they are able to just be and enjoy their time together. But then in CONVICTION reality sets in, and everything becomes complicated.



The Guy: He loves Addie very deeply, but doesn't feel like he deserves her love in return. He's easily jealous, and his temper can be explosive. Addie seems to be the only thing that can calm him down. He has a driving need to protect her from everything that his job could do to her, so he keeps her out of the loop about anything concerning what he does on his jobs.

The Girl: Addie has gotten pretty good at lying in order to protect Charlie and their relationship. But all the half truths are getting bunched up and she starts making little slips. Her friendship with FBI Agent Adam Harpsten is the main source for Charlie's jealousy, but she won't let him dictate who she can be friends with. But when Adam starts poking around again, she begins resenting Adam and his friendship. Addie also starts to question her future with Charlie, when she realizes that they may never be able to have a normal relationship, may never be able to get married, or have children.



Addie and Charlie have a lot more complications in CONVICTION than they did in Wanted. Lies and half truths are thrown out like candy at a parade. Addie has to lie to her family about her relationship with Charlie and her real reasons for moving so close to where she was found in California. She has to lie to the FBI to protect Charlie and her friends. And she has to lie to her new roommate to keep her from learning too much about Charlie and possibly getting him caught.

But the real problems begin when they both start lying to each other. Charlie is keeping things from her about what he's doing for his job, in order to protect her in case something goes wrong, giving her plausible deniability, but that only makes her more anxious and paranoid. Addie is keeping her friendship with Adam a secret from Charlie and the interactions between them that he does know about cause extreme jealousy and rage in him. So all of this combined is crumbling their trust and security in each other, inviting in the whispers of those who want them separated for good.

But in the end, their devotion to each other wins out and their relationship is stronger than ever. But that may not be enough to keep them together if something happens to take them away from each other permanently.


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

4 Sniffs Review: REWOUND by D.T. Dyllin




Title: Rewound
Author: D.T. Dyllin
Genre: New Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Erotica, Historical
Publisher: Tik Tok Press
ASIN: B00IBP8TQ8
Release Date: February 8, 2014
Links: Goodreads  Amazon  Facebook Event

Dezdamona Kabinosh is on a mission—a mission of love. And she traveled back in her own timeline to complete it. After being betrayed by her husband she’s seeking a second chance at love, and Dez has come up with the perfect plan.

One problem though… Jaxson Kabinosh, her future husband, has also traveled back in time and he’s determined to keep Dez for himself. Who will win the ultimate battle for Dez’s heart? Jaxson, or her possible rebound guy?




In REWOUND, Dez feels betrayed by her husband, Jaxson, when she finds a compromising photo of him with another woman. So she uses the time-travel technology that her husband's company has to go back into her past and start all over, to a time before she met Jaxson. What she doesn't expect is for him to follow her back and try to win her heart all over again.

I'm going to say this right now, and get it out of the way. REWOUND, in my opinion, does not have a happy ending. You could look at how the book ends as either a happy ending or an unhappy ending depending on your perspective. For me, if I'm left bawling my eyes out, in sadness, that it isn't an happily ever after ending.

I was actually really blindsided by the revelation of what was really happening. There are parts in the story where both Dez and Jaxson are having blackout, that hint that there is a lot more going on than we are lead to believe. I didn't really pay much attention to these points, so when the moment of revelation came, the impact was hard. Even now, thinking back on the story to write this review, I want to start crying again. 

This book really hits your heart by the time you finish it.



The Guy: In the future, Jaxson is a successful CEO, but in his past he was a pierced and tattooed playboy. That is until he met Dez. She changed his entire life and his love for her only grows stronger with time. So when he chases her back into time and she pushes him away at every chance and insists on never being with him ever again, he takes matters into his own hands to win her heart back. He knows about her love for romance novels, and uses that to make some of her fantasies come true. Their attraction and chemistry are explosive and that is one of the things that keeps her coming back to him, but Jaxson knows that if he wants Dez to choose him again, that he needs to prove to her that his love for her hasn't changed.

The Girl: It was the anniversary of their wedding when Dez found that compromising photo of Jaxson with another woman and feeling betrayed she travels back in time to just before Spring Break, when her original choice had been what caused her to meet Jaxson. But she plans on making the opposite choice this time and try to "rekindle" her relationship with Owen. But then Jaxson shows up to ruin her plans. And no matter how hard she tries, she can't stay away from Jaxson. She still loves him more than anything, but she's going to give him one final test to prove his love for her.



For this section, I'm going to do a kind of beginning, middle, and end type run-through.

At the start of REWOUND, Dez is begging a lab technician to send her back in time, so that she can start over after she found that photo of Jaxson with another woman. She is sent back to the moment when her choice not to go to Panama City the first time changed who she would eventually end up with. If she had gone the first time, she may have been with Owen instead of Jaxson, but in her original timeline she chose not to go and that's when she met Jaxson. So she plans on doing the exact opposite this time. But then Jaxson shows up and interferes with her plans.

Then after some misunderstandings are cleared up and a few bumps in the road crossed, Dez and Jaxson are getting ready to start their lives together all over again. They rededicate themselves to each other by getting remarried and having their names tattooed on each other. 

But then Jaxson has a blackout and he begins to remember what's really happening. I won't say what that is, but I will say that he chooses to stay with Dez to the very end.

Dez and Jaxson's love story is very bittersweet, and we don't even realize that until the end. During the rest of the book, their passion is scorching and their love is deeper than the ocean. Then we are slapped with the truth, and all I wanted to do was cry out their pain. I felt it that much. 



GET THIS BOOK WHILE IT'S STILL ON SALE!
During the Tour Only!

From March 24th-26th the book will be on sale for 99 cents
From March 27th-29th the book will be on sale for $1.99 
and back to regular price of $2.99 on March 30th



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Friday, March 28, 2014

5 Sniffs Review: THE ROMEO CLUB by Rebekah L. Purdy #Giveaway




Title: The Romeo Club
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Romance
ASIN: B00INB4FMM
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Links: Goodreads  Amazon

THE ROMEO CLUB is Hitch meets The Secret of My Success.

What happens when you agree to help your brother “de-nerdify” so he can catch the attention of the popular Chloe Anders, and to everyone's surprise, he actually lands her?

And what if his equally geeky friends come running with girl wish lists of their own, offering money for your services?

Well, if you’re sixteen-year-old, Delyla Denson, then you start The Romeo Club. A secret club where she’ll teach these guys how talk, act, and be cool around girls. It’s a win-win situation.

She’ll get enough money for the awesome prom dress she’s had her eye on, and the guys, well, they’ll get dates and maybe learn how to do something other than beat the next level on their video games.

There are only two problems with this plan. One, her quarterback/track star boyfriend is getting jealous of how much time she’s spending away from him and decides to try and figure out what’s going on. And two, Delyla is kind of falling for her brother’s BFF, Trey who she’s been hanging out with a lot more. And who thanks to her help, has caught the attention of the beautiful, perfect, and popular, Portia Rickard. With Portia and Trey heating up, Delyla realizes that maybe the person she’s meant to be with has been in front of her all this time.

But falling for Trey means she’ll have to take drastic measures including sabotage, with a capital S.




The Romeo Club all started when Delyla simply helped her brother Drake update his image and up his confidence to ask the girl he liked out. When Drake's friends found out and saw how well it worked, they asked Delyla to help them too. And they were willing to pay her, so that she can buy her prom dress. What's not to like about that deal? The fact that she's starting to fall for her brother's best friend, Trey, who she helped get a girlfriend.

I absolutely loved THE ROMEO CLUB! The simple innocent act of helping her brother and his friends "de-nerdify" so that they can get the girls they want to take notice of them, turns into an emotionally charged roller coaster ride that leaves her emotionally drained. BUT not for long, I promise.

There are some really humorous moment that had tears streaming down my face, and then there were heartbreaking moments that had me desperate for things to work out in the end. So THE ROMEO CLUB has everything from gut-busting humor to hopeful romances, action-packed sports scenes and devious sabotage.



Delyla: All she did was help her brother when he asked her to help him ask out his crush Chloe. She didn't expect to be helping out his friends find girlfriends, too. But she needs money for her prom dress, and they offered to pay her to help them. So she agrees. It's not easy, but each of them are improving from taking her advice. What she didn't expect was to start falling for her brother's best friend, Trey, along the way. But now he has a girlfriend, one she helped him gain. So she plans to sabotage their budding relationship.

Drake: Delyla's older brother has had a crush on the popular, Chloe Anders, but didn't have the courage to approach her, so he asked his little sister Delyla for help.

Trey: He has been best friends with Drake and Delyla since they were small children. They've been through all the embarrassing childhood phases together and share a lot of the same interests. When he sees how well Delyla's makeover of Drake went, he suggests that she help him and their other friends get girlfriends too. And he wants Delyla's help landing Portia Rickard. There's a lot more going on with Trey than I'm going to say here, because I don't want to give anything away!

Kevin: Kevin is the shyest member of the Nerd Herd. He has a crush on one of his co-workers named Melanie. He actually has a lot more courage than he realizes.

C.C.: Where Kevin is the shyest, C.C. is so confident that it borders on the obscene, except when it comes the Liza. With Delyla's help he gains the courage to audition for the male lead in the school play opposite Liza, instead of remaining backstage.



This is a hard section to talk about, because if I say too much I could ruin the ending of the book for everyone. So I might seem kind of vague at times. And there might be tiny spoilers that are unavoidable.

Okay, so Delyla was completely happy with her relationship with her boyfriend, Rex. They both are popular athletes and they aren't lacking in the looks department. But their relationship becomes strained when she starts The Romeo Club to help out the Nerd Herd. She's lying about what she's doing, and dodging him whenever he shows up out of nowhere at the places she's at with the Nerd Herd. And then Trey says something to make her question her relationship with Rex. The final action that seals the end of her relationship with Rex is when she agrees to help teach Trey how to kiss...and she starts developing feeling for him.

This is where I'm going to get a little vague. After some time where Trey completely acts like the kiss meant nothing and his relationship is growing with Portia, Delyla plans to sabotage their relationship. But when that doesn't work, she decides to just go for it and confess. But it doesn't go over well. Trey is angry and Delyla is left heartbroken.

This is the relationship throughout the whole book that I was desperate to work out in the end. Trey and Delyla seems so perfect for each other. The have practically everything in common and they've known each other for like ever. They know all the embarrassing things that could pop up in learning about the person you're starting a relationship with, and they are comfortable around each other.

There is an interesting little suggestion that Delyla could possibly have a future relationship with her neighbor Carver when he comes home from college in the Summer. So that leave you wondering who she'll end up with.

Whether anything with Trey and Delyla improves, you'll have to read the book to find out!



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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

4 Sniffs Review: FEVER PITCH by Ann Marie Frohoff #Giveaway #Excerpt




Title: Fever Pitch
Series: Heavy Influence #1.5
Author: Ann Marie Frohoff
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Rock Star/Musician
Publisher: AMF Publishing
ASIN: B00J7R2NR0
Release Date: March 23, 2014
Source: Lady Reader's Bookstuff Blog Tours  Tour Schedule
Links: Goodreads  Amazon

I WAS CRUSHED BY MY HUNGER FOR HIM AND I COULD BARELY BREATHE.

Desire? Definitely. Forever? Maybe.

When Jake and Alyssa's virtual affair peaks while his band tours Europe, Alyssa decides it's Jake that she wants for her 18th birthday. She surprises everyone, including Jake, with a planned trip to London.

After three years apart and with their devastating breakup behind them, will their reunion be everything they've both dreamed of? Alyssa is soon thrown into Jake’s stardom, delicate family matters and a side of him she's never seen before.




Aly and Jake are back! It is now 3 years later and Aly is turning 18 years old. They've been talking via Skype ever since their disastrous breakup, and when their long distance relationship reaches a certain point Aly decides that she wants Jake for her birthday. She plans a trip to London to meet with Jake, who is touring Europe with his band. When she arrives they are both happy to be in each other's arms after so long apart. It seems like everything is finally going to work out for them, but is it really?

FEVER PITCH is just as intense as the first two book in the Heavy Influence series, if not more since Aly and Jake have been apart for 3 years. That is a lot of pent up emotion and passion. I really liked how there was a foreshadowing of something possibly life-changing for Jake when his mother makes an unexpected visit to him in London. And we don't know if it's good or bad, but from the way his mother was acting, I'd say it's probably not good and it may cause problems for him and Aly. That's just my guess, of course.

And the sneak peek at the end of the book for Broken Notes left me wanting the next book right that second. I'm really excited for the next installment in this series.



The Guy: Jake has been very successful in the 3 years he and Aly have been apart. He's currently touring Europe with his band, but even with all that success, his life has a hole in it that Aly left behind. And she is the only one who can fill it. Now that they've been together again after so long apart, he's determined to keep Aly with him.

The Girl: Aly is now a senior in high school and she has full rides to a number of colleges to choose from. After spending the last 3 years communicating with Jake over Skype, she desperately wants him in real life. Knowing that her parents still don't approve of her and Jake being together doesn't stop her from buying a plane ticket to London after her 18th birthday to see him. And once she has him in her arms again, she doesn't want to let go.



Aly and Jake have had an intense relationship from the very beginning, back when she was a freshman and he a senior in high school. But it was their very love for each other that tore them apart. It was intense and passionate, but is was also a poison eating at every aspect of their lives. Their parents were vehemently against them being together, and their relationship got in the way of Aly's academic and volleyball and Jake's music career.

Their breakup nearly destroyed them both and it took them months to get where they are today. But what no one knows is that they never stopped communicating. They never stopped loving each other, and now their love for each other is even stronger and more intense than ever. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

When they are together in London, they take their relationship to a level that it's never been to before. But there are still elements out there that could get in the way of their happiness. Aly's college plans, Sophia (you'll have to read the book to find out about her), and whatever it is that Jake's mother is hiding that could change his life.

So the big question we're left with at the end of FEVER PITCH is what happens next? Will Jake and Aly finally be together as they have always wanted? Or will something else come along to rip them apart again?



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“Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.” 
~Oscar Wilde


1
            Had I really nodded off, drool dripping out of the side of my mouth? Kill me, yes, I do. I quickly looked around to see if anyone noticed. Mr. Chapman, my Calculus teacher, looked like he was dozing off himself. His hand propped his head up. He’d allowed us the last half of class to study for our next exam. I could hear Nicole snickering while she kicked the back of my chair. I turned and glanced at her over my shoulder, frowning. Looking at the clock, I was relieved to see we only had fifteen minutes to go.
            Nicole kept tapping at the back of my seat and she whispered, loudly. “Late night?” She giggled. “How was the Skype sex?”
            Without turning around, I waved my hand at her, hoping she’d shut up. My eyes darted in every direction, hoping no one heard her. Geez. What the hell? Nicole Hamilton and I had been best friends since practically Kindergarten, and now we were finally seniors. I would be eighteen in six weeks and I had big plans. BIG plans.
I’d kept these secrets from everyone in my life, except Nadine. She was now attending Cal State Long Beach. Nadine Lewis was my rock, my confidant in every single way, much more so than Nicole. Nicole and I had never fully recovered our friendship to the level prior to my Jake meltdown. It was totally catastrophic, like movie shit, like put-me-in-the-loony-bin crazy, for real. People would pay to watch the shit that went down with Jake and I.
It was hard for me to believe Nicole’s sincerity, since she’d chosen sides (in a number of ways), and had decided not to hang out with me while I was chilling with my other dear (and gay) friend Marshall. Nicole had thought it would damage her rep if she hung out with him, since he was different. Even after apologies and tears, for two years we were distantly cordial to each other.
            The bell rang, shaking me from my memories. I bolted out of my seat, shoving past everyone. I was desperate to get home before my mother. I’d absentmindedly left the envelope that held the passport application documents, laying on the coffee table, along with the scribbled notes of where Jake was staying in London. I wasn’t ready for her or my dad to know about Jake being back in my life, and it would be immediately obvious what I was planning if she got a hold of that envelope.
            “Aly! Wait up,” Nicole hollered. “Dude, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
            I smiled. Nothing could upset me these days. “No worries. I just have to get home. I left something out in plain view I don’t want my mom seeing, yet.”
            “Dish! What?” Nicole shuffled alongside me and nudged my shoulder. 
            I slung my backpack over to the other side. “That passport application I told you about.”
            “Why would you care if she saw that? She has no idea what you’ve been up to. Just tell her you’re thinking ahead or something. Like we’re planning a graduation trip to Mexico.”
            “She wouldn’t care, really, but I stupidly wrote Jake’s address in London, and like an idiot, scribbled little hearts and his name over and over again all over the envelope.”
            Nicole laughed. “Aww, how cute.” She breathed in heavily, shaking her head. “I still can’t believe you guys are getting back together. I thought he had a girlfriend, that girl in all those pictures with him. What’s her name? Sophia something.”
            My heart lurched. I hated hearing her name. We strode through the parking lot to my car. “For the record, I don’t know if we’re getting back together. I have so many mixed emotions. Like, are we really right for each other? But I want to see him. I want to see how I feel when I’m with him. We’ve been talking for so long and so much has built up. You know, we kinda owe it to each other. And as far as this girlfriend, he says she’s more like a companion, and he told her that he couldn’t make any serious commitments.” I shrugged, trying to convince myself. “Who knows if he’s telling me the truth, but he’s never lied to me before.”
            Nicole tapped the window for me to unlock the passenger door. I slid into the driver’s seat. She huffed as she slammed the door shut. “Didn’t he lie to you about seeing that Eva chick, who he went on tour with?”
“No, he didn’t lie,” I sneered. “He just failed to mention it. That was a long time ago. I was a baby back then. Now I understand why he didn’t tell me.”
“You’re so lucky,” she murmured under her breath, almost like the thought slipped out by accident.
            “What?” Here we go. These were the types of comments that made me hold back confiding in her. Nicole always thought of things as a competition. I don’t think she’d ever realize how lucky and fortunate she was.
            “You’re going out with the hottest musician-rock star…in like…ages. I just can’t believe it’s Jake, of all freaking people. This is like the stuff you watch on E! True Hollywood Story.” She laughed. “And that you two are getting back together.”
            “Dude, we’re not getting back together.”
            “Uh, dude, yes you are. I can feel it in my bones.”
***
            Pulling up to my house, thankful that my mom wasn’t home from her volunteer job yet. I rushed through the door into the family room, and could see the manila envelope with the blazing red heart doodles practically beating. Picking it up, I looked over my shoulder like my mother would be standing there or something. On my eighteenth birthday, I would be first in line at the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard to turn in my passport application. My heart raced as I thought of Jake and how surprised he’d be when I told him he was what I wanted for my birthday.
            I sank down into the sofa thinking of what it would be like to touch his skin again and to feel his lips on mine. If it weren’t for our several nights a week Skype sessions, I wouldn’t believe it was real. He still wanted me after all these years. It bothered me that I couldn’t talk freely with Nicole about my feelings for Jake. Instead, I chose to stay on the surface with information. Maybe it was because if I admitted to too many people how I truly felt about Jake, they’d think I was losing my mind again.
            I looked up at the clock and it was three-thirty. I needed to talk to Nadine. I had to figure out how to tell my parents that I was going to see Jake. They had no idea that we’d been carrying on, since they’d thought it ended. Guilt rushed through my veins as I thought of how disappointed my dad would be. Ugh. Would he really be? I mean it’s not like Jake was some loser; he actually did make something of himself with his music and has stayed drug free. My dad should really be proud of Jake. 

            I sent a text to Nadine, asking her to come over as soon as possible.
***
            “So you’re gonna do it? For reals?” Nadine chomped hard on her gum like her life depended on it. She dropped her keys and purse on the floor next to the coffee table. “I’m thirsty. You’re giving me cotton mouth, making me all nervous for you.”
            My hands tingled thinking about it. “Yeah. I need to plant the seed, you know.” I sighed, covering my eyes. I could feel the blood pumping behind them. “How do you think I should do it? How do I go about telling them that Jake and I have been talking?”
            “Aly, you can’t really sugar-coat it. Just tell ’em how it is. You’re practically an adult. You’re going away to college soon. Speaking of, have you decided where? How many colleges did you apply to?”
            “Twenty, but two have already offered me a full ride. I have to make a choice, soon.”
            “Wow.” She said shaking her head. “You’re so fucking lucky.”
            Maybe I really was. I smiled at Nadine. The way she said it, she was really happy for me, unlike Nicole’s edgy tone. “I worked hard at it, you know.”
            “I know you did.” She said and went into the kitchen and grabbed a drink from the fridge. She cracked the top of the Gatorade bottle and looked around. “Where’s your sister?”
            “She’s working at HBO now. She got her marketing dream job and decided to take the last year of college classes at night. I have to say I didn’t think she could do it, but she’s doing it.”
            Nadine nodded her head and concern dashed onto her face. “I don’t know what I wanna do with my life.”
            I cracked a week smile. “It’s ok. I still don’t know what I wanna do either. I’m going to play volleyball and hope to figure it out along the way. I’m going to major in Communications. My dad was hoping I’d be a lawyer like him, ain’t happening.”
            She opened the cupboard and grabbed a bag of chips. “Can I open these? I’m feelin’ snacky.”
            “Help yourself.” I waved her off, my mind elsewhere and reached for my phone. It was five o’clock and the middle of the night in London. Jake would usually hit me up right around this time, with one simple text – ‘How’s my beautiful Alycat?’  I was anxious for his message. It was like a daily drug dose, my fix. I tingled all over thinking about him. I swallowed. “I’m thinking about moving to New York and going to NYU.”
            Nadine eyes sprung wide open as she lifted the lid of the trashcan, spitting her gum into it. “Ummmm. NYU is not on the volleyball school list. Do they even have a team? This is totally all about Jake.” She smiled mischievously at me, opening the bag of chips.
            I sighed. “Why can’t I have it all? Why can’t I have Jake and volleyball and get my degree?”

            “There’s no beach volleyball in New York City, Aly. Do you hear yourself?” She stuffed a few potato chips into her mouth. “I’m all for love and shit like that. Jake with his hot ass and lifestyle, fucking pick me! You’d be living the dream, that’s for sure, but be real, Aly.” She slumped into the chair across from me, filling her mouth with more chips. I watched her chew and talk with her mouth full. “You have a real chance at playing beach volleyball and traveling around the world. Like gold medal shit, you’re that good. You need to be where you can train.”

            I narrowed my eyes at her and my stomach flipped. She was right, but I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted her to back me up. “Look at you being all mom-ish. You don’t think it’s a good idea? Really? I can play indoor. I kinda don’t care if the team is division 3 if Jake means what he’s saying. I can get the degree that I want.”
            She sighed loudly and put her feet up on the coffee table. “It sounds perfect. I mean, I guess you can play anywhere, but what’s your coach gonna say? You’ve been playing and winning these beach tournaments, Aly. Pepperdine and USC are offering you something that people would sell their souls for.”
            “I applied to NYU, and I’ve been talking to the girls volleyball coach there.” I blurted out and paused when Nadine’s voice cracked with a hack. “You’re the only one who knows.”
            Nadine coughed more and sat up, grabbing her Gatorade. She took a huge swig and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “Wow. Does Jake know?”
            “It was his idea.” My hands trembled with nerves from hearing myself admit to what had been churning below the surface.
            My parents were going to shit a ton of bricks.
2
            I sat in front of my laptop with my wet hair wrapped in a towel. Jake finally sent me a text a few hours later than he normally did. He’d been in rehearsal most of the day with the band, for an upcoming tour through Spain and France. We had a Skype chat set up. It was just about seven in the morning for him. I pulled the towel from my hair and checked my image on computer screen. My heart raced from the excitement streaming through me. I couldn’t wait to talk to him. You’d think after all these years and all that we’d been through that I wouldn’t be reacting this way. Every time I heard his voice or thought about what it would be like to touch him again, my insides fluttered.
            I leaned back into my pillows and pulled my comforter over me. It was cold, the first of December, and Christmas was just around the corner. My big February birthday was just on the horizon. Jake kept asking me what I wanted for my birthday. He was beyond thoughtful. I didn’t want anything from him. Last year he’d surprised me with a Hermés watch. I totally had to lie to my parents, saying it was a knockoff I’d gotten in Venice Beach. I took in a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves. I only wanted him, and tonight I was going to tell him just that. I would inform him of my plans to visit him in London during our Ski Week winter break. My hands became damp just thinking about it, wondering how he would react.
            The familiar ping of Skype rang out, sending my heart into my throat. I took one last look at my reflection in my closet mirror and answered the call.
            “Hey Alycat.” Jake’s voice streamed through my computer. His eyes sparkled so blue, I was desperate to touch his unshaven face. He looked beyond hot, sitting there shirtless. I wanted to kiss every inch of him.
            “Hey you.” I giggled. “You better go put a shirt on. You’re killing me.”
          
  “Mmm. I think you need to take yours off.” 
Touché.
            “How was practice?” I giggled, brushing off his pervy come-on.
            “Long and sweaty.” He smirked. He was trying to egg me on, and normally I would have bitten, but I was so anxious to share my surprise.
            I clasped my hands under my chin. Here it goes. “So I have something to tell you. I know what I want for my birthday.”
            “Ok, let’s hear it…and don’t tell me ‘nothing’, and leave me to my own devices like you did last year.”
            “Shush.” I teased, placing my index finger over my lips. “I want you for my birthday.”
            A sly, sexy grin spread across his face. “You already have me, Alycat.”
        
    I squirmed, shifting my legs into a new position. “Not physically, I don’t.” My heart thrashed in my chest, forcing the words to come out. “I want to feel your body next to mine and I don’t want to wait until summer. I’m planning on visiting you about a week after my birthday.” Holy shit, I said it! I’m not sure if it was surprise on his face or what.
            Jake leaned in closer to his screen. “Do you know how badly I want to kiss you? Do you know how you make me wanna do bad things to you, bad good things?”
            I felt the heat rise through my body and an ache penetrated every inch of me. It literally made me wet hearing him say those things to me. “You take my breath away,” I whispered, smiling at the screen. I reached out to touch the image of his face that smiled back at me. I wanted to melt into the screen. “Soooo, to continue,” I said quietly, trying to keep my composure, “I bought a plane ticket already. I haven’t told anyone of my plans, other than Nadine, and I’m gonna spring this on my parents as soon as I grow some balls.”
            He gave me a hearty laugh. “I prefer you without balls, but ok.” He winked at me and shook his head. “Aly I want nothing more than to have you with me, but I don’t know about this. Your parents already hate me…”
       
     “They don’t hate you,” I interrupted. At least my mom doesn’t.
            “I know they don’t think too highly of me.”
            “They’re actually proud of you, Jake.” My mom was, but my dad had no idea what Jake was up to. Jake’s eyes softened and his mouth clamped shut. “I bring you up every now and then, you know. They’re very aware of all your accomplishments.”
            He sighed, running his hands through his hair. His image became pixelated to match his mood. “I’d love to be a fly on the wall when you tell them what your plans are.”
            I laughed nervously. “I know, right?”
“So when do you think you’ll do it?”
“I don’t know, but the longer I stare at you, the braver I get. Sooooo?” I hummed and propped my chin in my hand. I leaned in closer to the computer. My question lingered, and he just stared back at me, dreamy and perfect.
            “So, the so is I want to touch you so bad.”
            “Ditto,” I purred.
            “I want to kiss you all over.”
            His words made the butterflies swarm. “Mhmm. What else?”
            “I wanna make you…”
            “Alyssa?” I heard my mom’s voice squeeze through my door, and it nearly launched me to the ceiling. My heart thundered like I’d been shocked by a defibrillator and little white dots floated in my vision. My immediate reaction was to slam my laptop lid shut. Oh my god! Did she hear us? Fuck. The doorknob rattled. “Are you alone?”
            I was beyond agitated. What was she still doing up? It was midnight. “Yes, Mom!” I hopped off the bed and grabbed the doorknob, unlocking it. I stalked away getting back in my bed, pulling the laptop back on my lap. 
“What’s up?”
            She stalled, blinking twice. “Are you okay?”
            “Yes, Mom,” I growled. “I was watching YouTube. What is it? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”
            She gave me a stern look to quit it with my attitude.
            “Mom, I’m sorry. I was just starting to nod off and you scared me. You’re usually asleep by now.”
            “I forgot to tell you that the doctor called and rescheduled your physical therapy appointment to five-thirty tomorrow. I’m leaving early in the morning and didn’t want to forget.”
            I sighed, leaning back into my pillows. “Ok. Thanks.” She eyeballed me a little longer, like she was about to call me out or something. Then she shut the door without another word. I opened my laptop and began to write Jake an email. I was too fearful that my mom was lingering at my door to try for another Skype session.
Jake,
            OMG! I am soooo sorry. My mom came knocking at my door and I freaked out. I thought she heard us, but she didn’t. Thank God. I would have died. Ugh… you have no idea how bad I want February to be here. I think about you every moment of every day. I dream about what it’ll be like to feel you again. I can’t wait to kiss you. I can’t wait to feel your body against mine.
            Love you madly, Aly.
            I hit send and stared at my screen. I kept hitting the refresh button, hoping that he’d answer back right away. He finally did…fifteen minutes later.
            Hey Alycat – Oh man... I needed to cool off anyway ;) You have no idea how bad I want you. You really don’t. I don’t think words or songs or anything can truly describe my feelings for you. I have to show you, touch you...send me your flight info so I can pin it to my wall or somethin’.
            You’re my everything. J



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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

4 Sniffs Review: TWELVES STEPS by Veronica Bartles #Giveaway




Title: Twelve Steps
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Romance
ASIN: B00ILMKZFO
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon Barnes and Noble ☆ iBooks   Kobo

Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. The only thing Andi’s sure she has going for her is her awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's perfect everything else.

When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough, and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina and get the guy.

Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks.

Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities. She MUST have more than just great hair, right?

Step 7: Demand attention for more than just the way she screws things up.

When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi realizes that her twelve-step program isn’t working. Her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and the spotlight she’s been trying to steal isn’t the one she wants.

As Laina’s flawless façade begins to crumble, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.




TWELVE STEPS brings us the story of Andi, a girl who feels eclipsed by her older sister, Laina. Everything she does and who she is is compared to Laina - her grades, her actions, etc. The interesting thing is that as the truth of Laina's imperfections come to light, Andi learns that her sister feels like she's in Andi's shadow. So both sisters feel like they are being overshadowed and are trying to find a way to shine.

What I really liked was that, even though they both feel like they need to prove themselves in someway to step out of their respective shadows, they both still love each other very much. Sometimes when one sibling feels like they aren't being treated fairly or the same as the other, they feel resentment and hatred for their sibling. That's not the case in TWELVE STEPS. Both Andi and Laina love and support each other, despite feeling like they aren't seen as equals. Andi, in particular, is very protective if Laina, and I thought that it was really cute and sweet that the younger sibling wanted to protect her sister.

There is also a sort of rivalry (mostly on Andi's part) over the guys they both like. I'll talk more about that in the Romance section of this review.

But I was really happy that TWELVE STEPS ended the way I was hoping that it would!



Andi: She feels like she is never treated with the same treatment as her older sister, Alaina. She always feels like the little sister of Alaina. Everything she does is compared to what Alaina has done before her, instead of being given her earned praises. What she doesn't realize is that even though Alaina may seem like she is perfect - grades, looks, and her male admirers, Andi is right up there with her. She had good grades (except in Biology), she's a beautiful girl, and she has her own fair share of male admirers. Andi is so focused on being blinded by her sisters light that she doesn't see her own.

Laina: And the same could be said for Alaina. She can't see her own light because she is hiding behind her sister's. Alaina had a bad experience with a guy who attacked her and she has a "best friend" who is always tearing down her self esteem, so she doesn't realize (or refuses to acknowledge) that there are a number of other guys who like her and that her best friend is just using her. Alaina is kind of, as Andi's friends say, "Snow White" like. She has this innocent aloofness that prevents her from seeing how her very best friend, Jarod really feels about her.

Jarod: He and Alaina are practically inseparable. They are the very best of friends. When is comes to Alaina, Jarod only has eyes for her and is very protective of her. Especially after he saved her from being attacked further by a male classmate. The only problem is that Alaina is totally unaware of how he really feels about her. So he recruits Andi's help to get Alaina to realize and believe his feeling for her.

Shane: Unfortunately for Jarod, Shane also has feeling for Alaina and also asks Andi's help in telling her. And although Andi is friends with Jarod, she likes him, so she helps Shane in an effort to make Jarod hers. But Shane screws up every chance that Andi makes for him to tell Alaina how he feels.

Dave: On the other hand, Dave has feeling for Andi. As she is trying to get Jarod to choose her, Dave is becoming her best friend, and they form a relationship that is exactly like Alaina and Jarod's. But the difference with Dave is that he sees behind the mask that Andi wears and sees who she really is.



Okay, so this is where is gets interesting. The romance is TWELVE STEPS is not a triangle, but this whole tangled mess, which makes for some really fun and entertaining moments. Which is why I would say this is more of a romantic comedy.

Here's how the tangle goes: Dave likes Andi but Andi likes Jarod, and Jarod like Alaina, and she likes Shane. Both Shane and Jarod ask Andi for her help in confessing their feelings to Alaina. She helps Shane because she sees it as her chance to make Jarod hers, which shouldn't be hard because Alaina already has a crush on Shane. While helping him, Andi and Jarod become closer, and she feels like he's finally seeing her as more than Alaina's little sister. But Jarod is still hung up on Alaina, and while Andi is being jerked back and forth between Jarod's conflicting feelings, Dave is able to make his move. It can go on and on from there.

Now the comparison between Alaina and Jarod's friendship and Andi and Dave's is that it becomes exactly the same, but opposite. Jarod likes Alaina and only has eyes for her, while she is completely clueless to all of this. Whereas Dave likes Andi, but she refuses to acknowledge his feelings, because she only has eyes for Jarod.. Unlike Alaina who is clueless to Jarod's feelings, Andi knows how Dave feels about her, but she feels that their relationship works better if they're friends. So this is an interesting parallel that happens in the relationships in TWELVE STEPS.

So as you can imagine, all of these comedic romance moments leave you guessing as to who will end up with who. What I will say is that both Alaina and Andi ended up with the guys that I was hoping they would. So I was very happy with how this book ended.



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