Aug 16, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday: The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Emily's Waiting on:

Title: The Midnight Dance
Author: Nikki Katz
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: Oct. 17th

Summary: When the music stops, the dance begins.
Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.
But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

I'm super excited about this new stand alone. It's Nikki Katz debut novel and I'm curious as to how the story will play out. I love books like this, ones that have a contemporary feel to it with some mystery mixed in to up the suspense. Be sure to look out for a review and let us know your thoughts on this debut novel!  

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back! 

Aug 14, 2017

Review: Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Title: Ramona Blue
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 432 Pages
Published May 2017

Summary: Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever. The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem. 

I've been a big fan of Julie Murphy ever since I read her book Dumplin' a few years ago. Amber and I (back when Amber used to blog!) were super excited about it at the time, and it was one of the hottest ARCs going around at that year's Book Expo and BookCon. (Thanks to our awesome blogger friend Nori for giving us her copy!) So basically, when I read about Ramona Blue, I was itching for it from the get go. 

And then, a few months late to the game, I managed to pick up a copy at The Strand. I was excited to start the book, and I'm glad I did, because this story was unlike any other I had read in a long time. Julie Murphy has a way of writing stories that touch you and have you hooked from start to finish. I ended up flying through this book like it was nothing because the end of every chapter made me want to turn the next page. 

As the summary explains, Ramona is living in a beat-up trailer with her father and her pregnant older sister, Hattie, after Hurricane Katrina took their old lives from them a few years prior. With not much money and no real home, Ramona was constantly working and struggling to make ends meet while supporting her sister and her father that gave everything he could to them. And Ramona had her own struggles as well -- it wasn't easy being a lesbian teenage girl in Mississippi, but that never made her afraid to be who she was. It did, unfortunately, make people such as her own mother doubt the validity of her sexuality. So in addition to already having to face the challenge of overcoming the forces of Mother Nature and the life that was taken from them, Ramona also has to struggle with having to prove her true self to so many people around her -- because, according to people like her mother, homosexuality is nothing but a phase.

My favorite character in this book was definitely Freddie. He was always so sweet and kind to Ramona and her family, even when he didn't have to be. Even when things were tough, he was always going out of his way to make sure that he was being a good person to them. Freddie was just overall a good person. (And apparently a great, super cute chef.) The way he and his family showered Ramona what true unconditional love felt like all of the time, even when she didn't necessarily feel like she deserved it, was inspiring. And what was even better was that they met as children completely by chance. If the circumstances hadn't lined up just so all those years ago, Freddie may have never met Ramona at all. Which would have been tragic, because the two of them are totally adorable. He is such a genuinely good guy all of the time, even when he definitely had reasons not to be, and that just made me like him even more.

Another character that I really enjoyed in this book was Saul. I felt like he was absolutely hysterical, always adding quips and butting into scenarios at the perfect time. If I had a gay best friend, I'd definitely want it to be Saul. He seemed like a great guy to be around, that's for sure. Any scene where he was involved had me laughing out loud and sending Snapchats of his commentary to some of my good friends, because I wanted them to be able to laugh about it too. When it comes to character creation, Julie Murphy definitely got it right with this guy.

Something that I felt was really important in this book was the fact that Ramona was given the chance to explore her sexuality, and that she was in no rush to put on a label to define herself. She made several comments throughout the novel about not wanting to label herself and not finding it necessary. I feel like that was an important point for a character to acknowledge because of the fact that we live in a world that is so hell-bent on applying labels to everything from foods to races to sexualities, and it was just refreshing to see a story where it made a point of saying that people shouldn't be in any rush to define themselves in they don't want to be defined. (Reading Ramona Blue actually gave me the inspiration for one of my upcoming Odyssey articles -- which hasn't been published yet, otherwise I would link it here -- about how people are always so hell-bent on forcing others into categories and giving them certain boxes to check off, in all aspects of life. But Ramona is against that notion and realizes that she can be who she wants to be without having to stick a label on it, and that's an incredibly important notion.) 

Overall, I really enjoyed Ramona Blue. It was a story about love and loss, new life and old friends, and sticking together to ride out some of the worst moments of a person's life. The characters were all intricate and hilarious and loving and perfect, in my opinion. Julie Murphy had me hooked until the very end and I can't wait to see the next book that she comes up with! 

Aug 11, 2017

My Dream Reading/Writing Nook!

Today, I have a super interesting (and fun!) dream project that I've been working on: I used Havenly to help dream up my perfect reading/writing space! Havenly was super helpful because it's a website dedicated entirely to interior design, from the early stages of planning/mapping out what you want with some of their seasoned interior designers all the way down to actually shopping for the pieces you'd like to put in your space! And trust me, it seriously gets addicting. I've spent hours on their site already.

How does it work? It's super easy, and their website walks you through the entire thing. You can chat with an interior designer that will help you come up with some ideas for what you're visualizing, and then you can check out pieces from all sorts of categories! I'm going with a contemporary feel for my space today, because I'm super neat and organized and I'm a big fan of clean lines, the solid colors, and the overall feel of contemporary pieces. 

Paidge Chair

I'm a big fan of patterned chairs, especially again white or very light, simple walls -- I want my space to look clean and organized with just a few pops of colors and patterns!

Sand Timer with Compass

I'm a total sucker for small, pointless, adorable things that I'd never use. Which is why this adorable sand hourglass/timer is perfect to spend my imaginary money on, and hey -- I'll have a solid way to time myself while doing some writing or reading sprints!

I'm a big fan of rose gold -- everything down to my watch and my phone is already this color, so it'd make sense to have some baskets for office storage be that color, too!

Runway White Desk

Nothing like a plain white desk to have everything feeling nice and clean.

And a matching white chair!

I don't even know why I need this little adorable pen cup, but I just do.


And a white lamp to go along with it!

And a pretty rainbow rug to make things pop!

Can't forget the clock, or I'll get lost in my reading cave and never come out ever again.

And the most important -- tons of bookshelves just like this one to store all of my favorite reads!

So, those are all of the pieces and details I thought up for my perfect reading space -- what're your thoughts? Comment down below to let me know what you think about my design, and feel free to share some designs of your own as well!

If you guys haven't thought about your own bookish space yet, what are you waiting for?! I may be a broke college student just dreaming about my dream reading/writing space, but some of you guys are lucky enough to go out there and already make it happen. For now, I'll be chatting with some of Havenly's interior designers and planning my dream nook a little more!

Aug 9, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

Title: Starfish
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman 
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 26th, 2017

Summary: Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin. But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.
You guys. I have heard nothing but good things about this book from so many readers and bloggers on Twitter, and it made me decide to research it and check it out. The summary seems super intriguing (and the cover of the book is absolutely gorgeous), and I just want it to be September already so I can have this book in my hands! I'm also really excited to see the character development that this summary hints will happen throughout the book -- from what I've heard from people who have already read it, this is one of their favorite books of 2017. I can't wait to read it and add my own opinion into the mix! 

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back! 

Aug 7, 2017

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Published April 2017

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful. Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?


I decided to pick up this book because I was a big fan of Becky Albertalli's previous book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. So I already knew I was a fan of her writing, and I couldn't wait to see what she came up with next. And I'm glad I read this one, because this book was super funny and adorable and kept me laughing, tearing up, and sighing romantically in all the right places.

As the summary explains, Molly has had many crushes throughout her life, but none of them ever stemmed into anything beyond just that -- an unrequited crush. And it was hard to see her twin sister Cassie always have hookups and relationships and then even a girlfriend, while Molly sat by and had to watch it all happen. But then...things start to change for Molly, in ways that she could hardly believe. And then she learns that maybe finding love isn't as hard and as hopeless as she always made it out to be, but something simply amazing and heartwarming.

I really liked reading this book. From the very beginning, I was hooked on Molly's narrative voice, which sounded so much like Simon's from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda that I felt a weird, refreshing sense of deja vu. She was equal parts funny and witty and sarcastic, and several of the comments that she made throughout the book actually had me laughing out loud. When it comes to witty, down-to-earth characters, Becky Albertalli definitely has the market cornered. 

My favorite character in this book was definitely Molly. Although she may have struggled with her self-image at times, and she felt like she certainly didn't have any luck with boys, she was pretty positive and confident about herself and her appearance and she knew what she wanted in life. And all of her sarcastic, witty comments kept things interesting. There's something about a self-deprecating sense of humor that just seems to make teenagers in this day and age laugh -- and I'm one of them.

Another thing that I really liked about this book was the LGBTQ+ representation with several scenarios, especially with Molly's parents, Nadine and Patty, and Cassie and her girlfriend, Mina. I know that Becky Albertalli has said several times that her book wasn't necessarily supposed to be classified as LGBTQ+ (mainly because Molly, the main character in the story, doesn't identify that way), but it was still important to see those characters represented in the story. There was even a mention about the same-sex marriage laws that went into effect a few years ago, and it made me smile because I so vividly remember getting a notification on my phone about the Supreme Court's decision as well. I was actually on a college tour at the time (the school I ended up going to, in case anybody was curious), and everyone around me started talking and laughing and cheering, and it was just such a feel-good moment that it was nice to think back on.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Upside of Unrequited. It was funny and adorable, and all of the characters had their own unique quirks that kept the story interesting. This book reminded me so much of Simon in the sense that it was lighthearted and funny, while it also managed to still tackle some serious issues. This was a super-quick read for me because I could barely put it down, and I'm really glad that I decided to pick it up in the first place. Becky Albertalli did it again with another hilarious, adorable read, and I can't wait to see what story she comes up with next!

Aug 5, 2017

Review: Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed


Title: Gather the Daughters
Author: Jennie Melamed
Publisher: Little, Brown
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 340 Pages
Published July 2017

Summary: Years ago, just before the country was incinerated to wasteland, ten men and their families colonized an island off the coast. They built a radical society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the strict rationing of knowledge and history. Only the Wanderers--chosen male descendants of the original ten--are allowed to cross to the wastelands, where they scavenge for detritus among the still-smoldering fires. The daughters of these men are wives-in-training. At the first sign of puberty, they face their Summer of Fruition, a ritualistic season that drags them from adolescence to matrimony. They have children, who have children, and when they are no longer useful, they take their final draught and die. But in the summer, the younger children reign supreme. With the adults indoors and the pubescent in Fruition, the children live wildly--they fight over food and shelter, free of their fathers' hands and their mothers' despair. And it is at the end of one summer that little Caitlin Jacob sees something so horrifying, so contradictory to the laws of the island, that she must share it with the others. Born leader Janey Solomon steps up to seek the truth. At seventeen years old, Janey is so unwilling to become a woman, she is slowly starving herself to death. Trying urgently now to unravel the mysteries of the island and what lies beyond, before her own demise, she attempts to lead an uprising of the girls that may be their undoing.

I received an advanced copy of Gather the Daughters in exchange for an honest review from the publisher (although it came out a few days ago now), and I'm really glad that I did. I first found out about this book on Twitter through another blogger, and the entire premise of the story just seemed so fascinating to me. I mean, think about it -- a mysterious island where the children (specifically, the daughters) get to roam free in the summertime? The premise reminded me so much of The Wild Girls, which was one of my favorite books as a younger child, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one.

What I quickly learned was that this book was nothing like The Wild Girls at all. It contained a darker, more sinister undertone, and had several plot twists that left me confused, stunned, and sometimes even a little horrified. 

So the story explains what life is like in a little island town, which seems to be post-apocalyptic (or at least, that's what the villagers are told). This book reminded me a lot of The Scarlet Letter in the sense that there was a super close-knit community in a secluded area that all loved (and also judged) each other fiercely. There was a strict order to how things went, with girls who reached puberty being thrust into their "summer of fruition," in which they became sexual objects to be used by eligible men until they chose who they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with. They'd marry, have two children, and eventually die. And every summer, all of the children on the island got to roam free and have complete and utter lawlessness as a way to keep them tame during the rest of the year. And beneath the surface of this seemingly strict but harmless life...there were a lot of dark secrets and terrible, terrible things happening.

I found it kind of difficult to get into this book at first, and I even considered DNFing it for awhile. There is a lot of world-building that has to happen before you can truly understand the story, and everything felt dry and creepy and uninteresting while the scene was put into place (for a good 25% of the book -- or at least that's how it felt, might I add). But once the stage was set and things started to get interesting, I found myself hooked. So if you're reading this book and you find yourself struggling through the beginning, I advise you to keep pushing through, because you will break past all of the dry, seemingly boring introductory stuff and get into the interesting, thrilling, horrifying story soon enough.

(Minor spoilers in this paragraph so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book already!) I remember the exact moment that I figured out exactly what it was that the fathers did with their daughters. It was a mix of utter horror and disbelief. At first, I thought it was an isolated abuse incident, but as the story went on, it was clear that this was a common occurrence, and even something that was supposed to happen. And was so sick. I was appalled. I could hardly believe it as I was reading, and I was totally shocked. 

The end of the book also came as a shock to me. I wasn't entirely sure where I saw the book ending, but I know that it definitely wasn't there. I was left with so many unanswered questions and wish I knew what happened once the final scene was over. But, despite not knowing (and really, really wanting to know), I can say that I'm satisfied with how the book panned out. It was certainly a roller coaster of close calls and emotions, and Melamed keeps your interest piqued until the final page.

Overall, I enjoyed Gather The Daughters. I went through a brief period where it felt too much like an Adult book to me (as opposed to being a YA book), and I thought I was maybe going to have to DNF it because I wasn't sure if it was the right book for me. But once the drama really started to pick up and things got complex and interesting, I was hooked. 

If you're looking for a new thrilling, chilling read that will totally go in directions that you don't expect, Gather The Daughters is the book for you. I liked it and I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to review this one! 

Aug 4, 2017

ARC Review: A Map For Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

Title: A Map For Wrecked Girls
Author: Jessica Taylor
Genre: YA Contemporary  
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: Aug. 15th, 2017
Summary: We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We'd been so sure someone would find us by now.
Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.
I'd trusted Henri more than I'd trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I'd follow.
Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart. 
For the first time, I was afraid we'd die on this shore.
To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

After receiving this advanced copy at BookCon, I knew I'd like it. This was high on my post BookCon TBR pile and I finally got the chance to pick it up. This had me biting my nails as I read every page, wondering what could happen to them or go wrong next. Being wrecked on a strange, uninhabited island with a boy you barely know, has got to be terrifying, but I loved seeing the way things played out and how they handled the worst situations.

Like it says in the summary, Emma and Henri were inseparable, constantly doing everything together, until something happens that puts a giant wedge in their relationship. After they end up stranded on an island, they need to try and fix their relationship in order to get off the island together.

There wasn't much I didn't like about this book but there were a few things. I felt that not enough happened on the island. Yes, there were a few events that had me on the edge of my seat, but I expected a little more action while stranded on the island. Also, I did not like the way Henri acted toward Emma and Alex. Like come on, sure Emma may have done something she shouldn't have, but you're stranded on an island and need to help each other. Get over it.

This book is an excellent example of teamwork. They all needed to work together to get off the island. Henri attempted to push aside her differences with Emma, Emma helped nurse Alex back to health after he got sick,  and Henri helped Emma build their shelter while Alex was unable to help. I loved that the characters were able to form close bonds with each other. 

To be completely honest, I though this book was going to be more like Lord of the Flies in the sense that they would end up turing on each other and abusing power. I'm glad it didn't end up going in that direction though. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and the teamwork they exerted. In the end they were able to overcome their issues and feel real again. I highly suggest you give this a read once it's released! 

Aug 3, 2017

Review: The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace


Title: The Princess Saves Herself In This One
Author: Amanda Lovelace
Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Paperback, 156 Pages
Originally Published April 2016

Summary: A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.


I was never a big fan of poetry, so I wasn't sure what to expect when it came to this book. I heard of Amanda Lovelace through Twitter somehow (I don't quite remember), and I found it interesting that her self-published book gained so much traction that it ended up getting picked up by a traditional publisher. And the title of itself already gives the reader a clue as to what a badass feminist book it is: The Princess Saves Herself In This One. I mean, come on. I absolutely love it. And I love the simplicity of the cover, too -- it's clear that the entire story is about the words and emotions rather than showy things such as the cover or an extensive summary or blurbs from other famous authors.

For starters, this book was a quick, easy read, so if you don't have a lot of time on your hands, that still isn't an excuse to avoid picking this book up. I finished it in a little less than 24 hours, and I would've finished it sooner if work and sleep and sickness hadn't gotten in the way. Each poem is only a few lines at most, very rarely more than a page long, but each one packs just as powerful as a punch as the previous one. Seriously. There were several poems in this book that left me stunned or shocked, and I had to go back and reread it and dissect it line by line, word by word, to make sure that I got the meaning correctly. Seriously. It's amazing that such short poems can do so much to do, but Lovelace's do. 

Another thing that really surprised me about this book was that there was an actual sequence to it. This may be something that is totally common with poetry books, but like I said, I had not previously been a huge fan of poetry and therefore I was just expecting a book filled with jumbled poems about all sorts of topics with no "logical" (meaning linear) sequence to it. But boy, was I wrong. This book starts with poems that explains the narrator's rough childhood and her relationship with the members of her family, as a small and hopeless girl who felt the pressure of everyone around her and caved to it easily. As the book goes on, the princess manages to break past her misconceptions about herself and those around her, and she finds inside of her a fury and a power and a thirst for independence that she totally ends up rocking. 

This book covers a lot of different topics, which I also really liked. Amanda Lovelace writes about everything from self-harm to cancer to losing loved ones, losing friends and falling in love, heartbreak and heartwarming moments, and pretty much everything in between. Most poems are told through the analogy of a princess learning to rescue herself from her dark tower, defeating her dragons and all those who had ever wronged her. It's a great book about feminism and self-empowerment and just learning how to exercise your total badass potential as a human being. 

Overall, I really enjoyed The Princess Saves Herself In This One. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with this book nearly as much as I did, but that was certainly a pleasant surprise for me. For someone who isn't a big fan of poetry, it's safe to say that this book may have changed my mind a little bit. It's safe t say that I'm eagerly awaiting Amanda's next book, The Witch Doesn't Burn In This One, which will be out in 2018. Amanda Lovelace has officially gotten me hooked on the world of poetry, in the most epic of ways, and I think that her first book was an excellent work of art that any woman should read to teach herself to love herself first. Hats off to Lovelace's first book, because I'll be eagerly awaiting the next one!

Aug 2, 2017

Excerpt: Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

Hi guys! We're here on the blog today to share an excerpt of Temple Mathew's new book, Bad Girl Gone. I read over the excerpt before I did this post and I'm super excited to share it with you guys, because it captivated me and hopefully it can captivate you, too!

So without further ado, let's get on to talking about the book and the excerpt!


Title: Bad Girl Gone
Author: Temple Mathews
Publisher: St. Martin's

Hardcover, 256 Pages
Publication Date: August 8th, 2017
Summary: Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she's in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids. There's just one problem: she s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive. She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents car drives right through her. She was right. Her parents are alive but she's not. She's a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn't quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.



When I tried to remember exactly how I came to be lying in the cold black room, my mind couldn’t focus.

I could feel myself slowly climbing upward, clawing my way out of the clutches of a nightmare. This was usually a good feeling, because you knew you were just dreaming, and the nightmare was over. Except this time it wasn’t. My hands felt clammy. I gripped the sheets until I knew my knuckles must be white. Help me, I thought. Somebody please help me.

I had no idea where I was, and for a terrifying second I couldn’t even remember who I was. But then I remembered my name. Echo. Echo Stone. My real name is Eileen. When I was a toddler, I waddled around repeating every thing my parents said and they called me “Echo,” and it just stuck.

We'd like to once again thank St. Martin's Press and author Temple Mathews for allowing us to be a part of this blog tour and for allowing us to share this excerpt here with you today! As always, putting together posts like these is so much fun. :-)