BLOG TOUR: After Hours by Claire Kennedy- Review, Playlist & Giveaway!

After Hours by Claire Kennedy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 16th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rate: 4 STARS!
Synopsis: Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn't just about waiting tables. It's about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it's about Tips.

Tips--the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.

Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.

Xavi will do anything for the money...absolutely anything.

Peter, Xavi's stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings. Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy...even if those tips come with some conditions.

From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.

The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes...and things are about to get dirty.
I would have normally given a book this good a five star rating. In fact, under normal circumstances, I would be giving it a five star rating- but I must say that while the synopsis is very catchy it is also misleading as it makes you expect something in equivalent of James Dawson's Cruel Summer and what you get is a good book, that doesn't seem all that great as it hasn't hit that exceptional mark!

Pretty much everything that the book has is described in the synopsis. With maybe a few twists- well, one major one that I can think of now- and I was expecting SO much more! The characters were quite good, but something about the writing kept me from connecting with them, in that way that I would have loved to. I expected Tips to be more than a simple Dare game- maybe with dares a little more, well, dare-y instead of just kissing a guy and getting a whole jar full of money. 

The Waterside cafe as well, gave off this comfy old vibe, not the hip and sophisticated place it was supposed to be. There were side characters for no reason at all except to beef up the book a little. But there were things I LOVED about the book as well, including Xavi and Peter- becasuse, if nothing else, Claire Kennedy NAILED their relationship, pushing up my three stars to a four!

While it isn't the book out there, in conclusion, you just might like it more than me, and so I'd recommend it as a one time, rather short read!

Here is Claire Kennedy's OFFICIAL Writing Playlist: 
BAD (Lexi Larsen)
BILLIONAIRE (Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars)
AMERICAN KIDS (Kenny Chesney)

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Follow the After Hours by Claire Kennedy Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Claire Kennedy is a pen name for author Amanda K. Morgan. She is a freelance writer living in Nashville, TN. She covers events and works as a technical writer when she isn't working on her YA novels.

At age 15, Amanda finished her first novel and continued to write in college, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in English and an emphasis in Creative Writing.

Amanda is an avid volleyball player and spends time playing both indoors and out. When Amanda isn't writing, she enjoys being entirely too busy and trying new things. Endeavors as of late include appearances in music videos, TV, and movies, rock climbing, and attending as many concerts and shows as her schedule allows.

Amanda headed up the Do The Write Thing for Nashville Project (with co-organizers/authors Victoria Schwab and Myra McEntire), which tapped some of the biggest authors, editors, and agents in the industry for an online auction that raised over $70,000 for Midsouth flood relief.

For more information on Amanda's freelance or technical writing, contact her.


BLOG TOUR: An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston- Review & Giveaway

An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston
Published by: Evernight Teen
Publication date: October 31st 2014
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Synopsis: Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.

She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.

When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, 
Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever.

Goodreads Purchase: Amazon || B&N

Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

--She’s a Northern California girl. And now is braving the cold winters in Montana.
--When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
--She’s also an anthropology professor and loves getting people interested in studying humans.
--If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.

Author links:


I've only read one other Meradeth Houston book, and that was almost a full year ago- one of my first indie books, one of my first blog events- and the first author that I spoke to- and while Surrender The Sky wasn't a mindblowing book, it is most definitely one imprinted into my memory- and here I am, at the end of another one of her books- one that I loved VERY much!

I suppose what got me into the book after who it was written by and what that meant to me was the title itself- An Absence of Light- which for some reason sounds BRILLIANT- Just like all Meradeth's other titles! An Absence of Light starts off with a rather emotional bang, as described in the blurb. Leah's entire family has been murdered by these soulless things only she has been able to see for a long time- things that she calls the Shadows. Filled with grief she can't yet process, she takes off, leaving her family's rotting corpses and a possible murder conviction in her wake...

Lost, and broken, she stumbles upon people like her- ones that can not only see the shadows, but also have been hurt just as much. But they're also different. They've learnt how to fight back, and now, so can Leah!
But the shadows are only becoming more daring, and all they want is blood. A shadow take over is on the horizon and there are only three people that can stop it.

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I don't know what else to say, except for the fact that it was exactly what I wanted and nothing like what I expected- I can simply recommend it! The characters had pain and happiness that was so equally divided that you couldn't help but sympathize with them. In any case, there was only one drawback- I just wished that Leah went through something- SOMETHING- before meeting Manuel and the rest of the gang, just to make it seem more plausible that just running into a gang of people that could make your life a whole lot easier!


The Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A.Maclagan- Review, Interview & Giveaway

Title: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone
Author: T.A.Maclagan
Publishing Date: May 20th 2015
Part of a Series?- Yes!
I received a copy through: The author via NetGalley
Blurb Description:When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

1. The Thing you're most afraid of (your most irrational fear): Probably my most irrational fear is flying, which is a pretty big issue for me because I both love to travel and live in New Zealand while all my family lives in the States. New Zealand is far from everywhere but Australia, so almost any plane ride out of the country is a long one. I’ve always been a bit of an anxious flier but I was mostly okay until I had a child. That flicked a switch for me and now I’m a wreck whenever I get on a plane. So far it hasn’t stopped me from going anywhere, but I definitely start to get nervous about flying several months in advance. It’s pretty ridiculous really, but oh so true!

2. Three of the funniest things about you:
 -I always read magazines from back to front.
-I didn’t learn to eat salad until I was in my thirties. Now I can’t get enough.
-I’m originally from Kansas and really, really dislike The Wizard of Oz. That melting witch FREAKED me out as a child. If someone makes some quip about The Wizard of Oz after hearing I’m from Kansas, I’ll likely shiver or flinch, because my mind immediately goes to the witch. It’s not that I’m scared of her anymore, but …I don’t know…I still have an involuntary negative association that makes me unsettled. Yeah, I’m a total weirdo!

3. This or That:
 --Australia or Europe: Europe because there’s more diversity of culture.
 --Apple or Samsung: Apple.
 --Prom Lover or Prom Hater: Tough one…prom lover…I guess? I had fun at my prom but that was about the only school dance I had fun at.

4. Tell us a little about your masterpiece: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is about a teen sleeper agent living in the United States who gets activated. I got the idea after watching the movie SALT with Angelina Jolie. In it, she’s a Russian sleeper who was placed in the US as a child. That got me thinking about what her life as a teenager might have been like and from there Alexandra Gastone was born. Writing the novel, I loved exploring what notions of identity, loyalty and family would be like for a sleeper. The teen years are so much about finding your own identity, but what if your identity is dictated to you? What if who you are is a lie? I had a ton of fun exploring these questions while writing Alexandra!

5. What does it feel like, to have They Call Me Alexandra Gastone out there for the world to read?

It feels really surreal. Growing up, I never dreamed of being an author. Writing a book seemed like an insurmountable task to me and I was quite grade oriented and not very open to creative pursuits where grades were more subjective. It was while I was writing my anthropology dissertation that I started to feel this need to be creative. I think it was because I was dealing with statistics and rigid scientific analysis protocols. Anyway, that’s when I got it in my head to try and write a book. If I could write a three hundred page dissertation full of mostly coherent scientific jargon, surely I could write a fiction novel!  I laugh now at my naiveté. Writing Alexandra was way harder than the dissertation but also way more fun! I definitely have the writing bug now!

6. Your opinion on negative reviews:
I think everyone has a right to their opinion. I’m very open to constructive criticism and am more than a little thankful for the criticisms my agent and editors shared with me. They helped make Alexandra a book I’m really, really proud of.  I’ll definitely be reading my reviews and taking notes on things I think I can address in future books. I have a pretty thick skin as far as dealing with negative opinions. That said, I personally can’t understand reviewers that out and out bash authors and their books. I can’t stomach when people are really mean to each other so stuff like that just doesn’t sit well with me

T.A. Maclagan is a Kansas girl by birth but now lives in the bush-clad hills of Wellington, New
Zealand with her Kiwi husband, son and four pampered cats. With a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in anthropology, she’s studied poison dart frogs in the rainforests of Costa Rica, howler monkeys in Panama and the very exotic and always elusive American farmer. It was as she was writing her ‘just the facts’ dissertation that T.A. felt the call to pursue something more imaginative and discovered a passion for creative writing. They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is her first novel.

You can find her online at:



I spy beauty , Eyes spy loss , I spy strength , Eyes spy death , I spy knowledge , Eyes spy danger
I spy potential , Eyes spy distance 

I spy a lie?

And that's what her whole life is. A lie. Everything she does, from her hobbies to the people she talks to, to what kind of person she should be- it's not who she really is. They're lies. A cover up.

Because she's not really Alexandra Gastone, and hasn't been for seven whole years.  She is Milena Rovka an Olissian national- a trained impersonator and killer set to become a spy in the CIA. 

But being a spy is never easy, is it? Especially when the spy in question is finding the lines between who she was and who she's supposed to be blurring until they are almost nonexistent.

I ABSOLUTELY ADORED this book!' It had that right amount of suspense, mystery, romance, love, friendship and family that made you believe it, and at the same time, kept you at the edge of your seat, flipping pages, waiting for what came next. I couldn't BELIEVE that shock ending either. All I could think was WOAH- I need to tell people about this.

T. A. Maclagan writing is simple and yet, so complex- just like her characters. Varos, Milena, Albert, Grant, and there's even a political conspiracy and terrible corporations integrated with patriotism and a seventeen year old girl questioning things she thought had always been cemented. I can't tell you much about it, because then boom goes the suspense but...

...READ IT!:)