You by Austin Grossman, narrated by
Genre: No clue (geek, contemporary, humor, almost fantasy)
ISBN 9781478978565 | Published March 26th 2013 by Hachette Audio (first published March 1st 2013)| Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

Rating: 3.5


When Russell joins Black Arts games, brainchild of two visionary designers who were once his closest friends, he reunites with an eccentric crew of nerds hacking the frontiers of both technology and entertainment. In part, he's finally given up chasing the conventional path that has always seemed just out of reach. But mostly, he needs to know what happened to Simon, the strangest and most gifted friend he ever lost, who died under mysterious circumstances soon after Black Arts' breakout hit.

Then Black Arts' revolutionary next-gen game is threatened by a mysterious software glitch, and Russell finds himself in a race to save his job, Black Arts' legacy, and the people he has grown to care about. The bug is the first clue in a mystery leading back twenty years, through real and virtual worlds, corporate boardrooms and high school computer camp, to a secret that changed a friendship and the history of gaming. The deeper Russell digs, the more dangerous the glitch appears--and soon, Russell comes to realize there's much more is at stake than just one software company's bottom line.

While reading—and after finishing—You, I really had no idea what to say about it. I let it sit in my brain for a while, and I think I’ve decided how I feel. It’s a funny book though, because honestly, you have to be the right kind of reader for it. I’m not yet sure what that kind of reader is.

First, as you can see above, I can’t really say what genre it was. It wasn’t really young adult, though I’m sure some young people will enjoy it. It’s not really adult either though, because it’s about a group of people who play videogames for a living. So I wasn’t sure what category to put it into for my brain.

There was some fantasy aspects, because the videogame they made was fantasy. The videogame characters would come to visit Russell, the main character, in his dreams or daydreams. Once he took one of them on a date. That was kind of weird.

Then there was the plot. They’re making this game, another game in the series, and there’s a bug that’s causing all sorts of problems. They have to play the game to get rid of the bug. Now I’m not a game designer but that doesn’t seem very probable to me personally. I’d do a control search for the line of problem code, and just take it the hell out. But like I said, I’m not a designer. 

The subplot to the bug mystery had something to do with the past, the founder of the company, a mysterious death, and an “ultimate game.” It was all very vague, and not a lot of it was wrapped up.

Finally, I didn’t particularly like the conclusion. Suffice to say I thought the whole novel would take a different turn than it did, and it wasn’t what I wanted.

But the good parts were good! The writing was funny and descriptive, the characters were well developed—I loved Lisa so much!—and it was fast paced.

Personally, I liked it. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, but I probably wouldn’t read (or listen to) it again.

Content/recommendation: some language, no sex. Ages 16+


Vanished by Christina Holt

Cover_VanishedTen years ago, Emily Miller went missing when she was only five years old. Everyone in town thought she had either drowned in the lake near her house, or had been kidnapped. Some even whispered that her father, Frank Miller was responsible.

No one suspected the old boathouse behind the Miller property, except Emily’s father. Frank Miller knew what had happened to his little girl. He knew the boathouse had her.

Ten years later, thirteen-year-old George Morgan wanders into the same boathouse and discovers a magical secret. At first he’s thrilled. He reveals his secret to his fifteen-year-old brother Eddie, thinking it will bring them closer together. After all, George and Eddie used to be best friends, before they moved to town, and before Eddie started hanging out with a bunch of older boys—the same boys who make it their mission to bully George on a daily basis. But, when Eddie tells his friends about the boathouse, everything starts to go wrong.

Suddenly the cool, magical secret of the boathouse isn’t a secret anymore, and the mysteries of the past come back to haunt them, putting their lives in great danger.

ASIN B00CHGNLBK| Published April 22nd 2013 by Lachesis Publishing Inc| Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

Christina Holt is a writer of Young Adult Science Fiction. She loves to create original stories that capture the young reader from the first page and give them a reason to love reading. Christina’s first published novel was Second Chance (LBF Books, 2007). Christina Holt currently lives in Memphis, TN with her husband, daughter, and the family pug, Pete. You can find her online at her website,, or her facebook page.


VBRT Vanished Banner

Christina will be awarding loose teas and chip nuts (Chips nuts are peanuts coated with potato chips) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/CANADA ONLY). Check out the other tour stops for more about the book, and more chances to win.

June 24:  Book Bling Blog
June 25:  Andi's Young Adult Books
June 26:  The Muse Unleashed
June 27:  Reading In Twilight
June 27:   The Life (and lies) of an inanimate flying object
June 28:  The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl

Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha

The Secret of Ella and Micah by Jennifer Sorrensen
Genre: New Adult, Romance
ISBN: 9781455574858
March 26th 2013 by Forever (first published October 2nd 2012)
Amazon | Goodreads | Audible
Rating: DNF, 1

I got maybe three or four chapters into this novel. Ella seemed like a strong character with potential, and the basic plot seemed like it could have been really good. Sadly, I couldn’t get past chapter 4. There are a few reasons why.

1. Drama. Drama, drama, drama! Really that’s what most fiction boils down to, but what makes a book good is that the drama is realistic. This drama was a little overdone. Ella goes to college (running away without telling anyone where she went, which technically is impossible: trust me, I know. My university sends my parents stuff all the time with their logo on it). when she comes back, Micah is a mess, and has been looking for her everywhere.

2. Physicalities. I felt like this book was an excuse to write steamy romance… bad steamy romance at that. When Ella comes home, she still wants Micah, but she won’t admit it. And he knows it. Then he starts flirting with her, touching her, kissing her on the ear, etc. Really? The girl won’t even look you in the eye, doesn’t want to talk to you, and you can’t even rekindle your friendship before getting touchy-feely? Talk about being a douche bag. After she tells him off and leaves, he climbs into her room through the window and climbs in bed with her. C’mon. Really? Does this girl have no self respect? Then there was the factor that it wasn’t even hot. I mean, if you want to write erotica, fine. Write erotica. don’t disguise it as a New Adult novel… and at least make it good. It was just sappy and corny. Trust me, writing emotional and physical scenes is really hard: I’ve written a few now since I’ve gotten through some of my own books. But if you suck at writing love scenes, don’t make your whole book a drawn out love scene.

3. The sorority best friend. Every time this b!tch opened her mouth, I had flashbacks to this video. That was one thing the narrator did really well: She nailed the rich kid! And I couldn’t stand her. Maybe that was the point… but it was just the nail in the coffin for me.

So yeah, that’s why I didn’t like the book. Also, the female narrator sounded like she was fourteen, and the male narrator sounded twenty eight… So that was awkward.

Maybe if I read the book instead of listened to it, I would like it more… but as of now, I can’t recommend it.

Review: Icons

Icons by Margaret Stohl
Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic
ISBN 9780316205184
Published May 7th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

Rating: 3.5, DNF

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.
She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.

This book had a lot of potential, and I was really getting into it… before I just got too out of it to keep going. Maybe one day I’ll read it again but I stopped at chapter 8.

There are only two reasons why. Which is really too bad because like I said, there was A LOT of potential here.

1. Emotionally sappy. Sap city, guys. "It was like “Our wrists touched and I felt it tingling down my arm and into my toes to the depths of my soul” kind of sappy. Overdramatic is another way to say it. I’ve talked about this before, and I’m sure I’ll talk about it again… romantic scenes are hard to write. But if you suck at them, find a way to tell the romantic story without writing sucky scenes.

2. The story itself was almost a repeat of The Hunger Games. Now I know, there are a lot of major differences, but let’s look at the similarities: An evil all-powerful and all-controlling government, a creepy government leader, a boy and a girl who are totally in love with each other but won’t admit it are trying to bring it down and just get back to the way things are supposed to be, they get brought to the main city and forced to participate in something they don’t want to do but don’t have a choice in… etc. Also, love triangle. Yeah. It’s The Hunger Games but more sci-fi technically advanced.

It just wasn’t for me. That being said, there were a lot of good things about it! It was exciting, it drew you in right away, the characters were distinct, the setting and descriptions were excellent. It was just those two things that kept coming back to me, and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to finish listening to it.

Content/Recommendation: occasional use of light language. Ages 13+

The Disappearing Girl

The Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood

Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…

Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous obsession with losing weight begins.

Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.

Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he becomes desperate to save her.

Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of her past.

New Adult Contemporary-Ages 17+ due to language and sexual situations.

ISBN 9781483906775 | Published May 7 2013 | Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the Second Sight series and the standalone The Disappearing Girl.

Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor's degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today,, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.



Thanks for stopping by, Heather!

Book Blitz: A Moment

Cover _ a Moment by Marie HallToday I’ve got Marie Hall visiting The Life and Lies for her virtual book tour of A Moment.

About the Book

Ryan Cosgrove and Liliana Delgado are on a collision course with destiny. They don't know it yet, but before the night is over their lives will be forever changed.

Spending Valentine's Day at a burlesque bar, hadn't been Liliana's ideal way of spending a Friday night. She'd much rather be back at campus, doing homework... until she meets Ryan. Tall, athletic, and gorgeous, Lili can't keep her eyes off him, and despite his gruff manners and drunken disposition she's intrigued.

Ryan's got demons, and they're deep, dark, and eating him alive. Regardless of his attraction to the petite brunette he's tired of fighting, of pretending the last fifteen years haven't been a daily struggle just to get out of bed every morning. That night he decides to end his pain, to leave it all behind and float away into the blessed darkness of oblivion. But fate has other plans for him, Lily finds and rescues Ryan, determined she'll not only save his body, but his soul too.

This is their moment...

ASIN B00BTN2DSY| Published March 12th 2013 by Marie Hall Publishing| Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

Marie Hall has always had a dangerous fascination for creatures that go bump in the night. And mermaids. And of course fairies. Trolls. Unicorns. Shapeshifters. Vampires. Scottish brogues. Kilts. Beefy arms. Ummm... Bad boys! Especially the sexy ones. Which is probably why she married one.

On top of that she's a confirmed foodie, she nearly went to culinary school and then figured out she could save a ton of money if she just watched food shows religiously! She's a self-proclaimed master chef, certified deep sea dolphin trainer, finder of leprechaun's gold at the end of the rainbow, and rumor has it she keeps the Troll King locked away in her basement. All of which is untrue, however, she does have an incredibly active imagination and loves to share her crazy thoughts with the world!

If you want to see what new creations she's got up her sleeves check out her blog: and sign up for her newsletter!

(Above: Marie taking a picture of herself only because someone forced her—at least, I’m assuming that, because of the comment she made on her website.)



Marie will be awarding an E-book at every stop from her fairy tales series to a randomly drawn commenter, and a Grand Prize of a $50.00 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC (Winner's Choice) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

To enter: Leave a comment below! Tell Marie anything. Ask questions. I don’t know about you guys, but I think she sounds fun!

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DIY: Shadow Box Flowers

So I have no money. That should be obvious by now. But on May 19th, I had a performance with my students, and one of my girls gave me some beautiful flowers! well since I’m so sentimental, when they started to die, I didn’t want to throw them out, so I dried them.

By the way, if you don’t know, the best way to dry flowers is upside down. they don’t droop that way.

Anyway I had all these dried flowers and I’ve been looking for something to do with them… and then I saw this in a craft book:

flower shadowbox

And I was like “DUDE THAT’S PERFECT.”

So this is what I made and how I made it:


Gathered my supplies!



Started by locating a large cardboard box and cutting it so it was a little over 2 inches deep. If I did this again, I’d use a cereal box (they’re bigger) or I’d make a box out of heavier cardboard. This one ended up a little floppy near the end.



the outside fabric I used was green. Very cute. I cut it to about 5 inches…


then started glueing on the back and folding it over.



Finished decorating the box, and placed one of the flowers inside to see how it would look.




Glued in three flowers (the box was small). Isn’t it pretty?! :D I love it.


I’m adopting a kitty! There’s a shelter out here that I love to support and volunteer for as often as possible called Catman2. As a graduation present, one of my friends is paying my adoption fee for a kitty! So I decided to make a kitty bed because every kitty needs a box to sleep in, right?


Rounding up my supplies



Wasn’t sur ehow much cardboard I’d need… turns out I only needed one box!



I used a clorox box and cut it down the middle…


and then opened it up. If you have more than one cat, you could make an extra-large kitty bed!


But I’m only getting one. So I cut it in half.


Hot-glued the flaps down so it was a tray of sorts


using the other half of the box, I made a template for the head/foot board.



Painted them white


Except for the part that would be glued to the tray! because the paint would peel off and the head board would fall off. So I left that part blank.


Cut 16 small 3-inch squares, and hot-glued them together in sets of 4


Covered them in fabric, as if I were wrapping them



Everything glued together



Hypothetically you could paint the inside too, but I doubt my cat will care.



The bottom looks like this.


Made a really fast quilt (I’m talking four hours and this thing was done)


ta-da! isn’t it cute!?


So now you know how to make a kitty bed.

Or a doll bed, or a teddy-bear bed, or even a guinea pig bed or rabbit bed. If you feel so inclined.

Waiting on Wednesday

Why do bizarre things intrigue me? Who knows, but this sounds peculiar and interesting.

Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

Joy doesn’t know who “Ink” is, but she suspects it might be the guy who tried to stab her in the eye. Ever since that night at the club, Joy keeps finding cryptic notes, messages, and threats for Ink. Trying to disentangle herself from this bizarre case of mistaken identity, Joy discovers the truth about the mysterious Indelible Ink and other members of the Twixt, unexpectedly pitting them both against a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, and a scheme to end the Age of Man.

Expected publication: July 30th 2013 by Harlequin Teen| Goodreads | Series

Tour: Legal Ease

Today I’m hosting Lori Ryan for her book blast of Legal Ease! And honestly, I don’t usually post excerpts… but this one is funny. You should read it.


“We’re here to meet Jack’s fiancé,” a smug-looking Mabry announced to Chad and Jack watched a bemused expression come over his cousin’s face.

Chad had to be wondering what the hell was going on. He and Jack were more like brothers than cousins, so if Jack were getting married, Chad should have been the first to know.

Oh, shit. I’m never gonna hear the end of this from him.

So there they sat, waiting for an introduction to a fiancé that Jack had never mentioned to Chad and a fiancé that Chad had never set eyes on.

Jack leaned forward in his chair, took a deep breath and prepared to come clean. Just then his secretary’s voice cut in and he could swear he heard her say that his fiancé was here.

His head whipped around and he stared open-mouthed at the phone, unable to process what was going on. Jack’s experience in business had taught him to school his expressions and hide his thoughts from those around him and though he was shocked, he did just that. He quickly hid all emotion from his face as he listened to his secretary.

“Sir, did you hear me? Mr. Sutton? Your fiancé has just arrived. Shall I show her in?” Jennie spoke again.

Andrew. Andrew must have sent him a fiancé. How in the hell had Andrew found him a fiancé? I mean, how does one go about that, Jack thought. Oh God, what if Andrew sent him a prostitute?


About the book

Legal Ease Cover 300Jack Sutton needs a wife and he needs one now. Jack loved his mother, but she really screwed him over when she set up her will. If Jack doesn’t have a wife by the end of the week, he’ll lose control of the largest chunk of voting stock in his company and will most likely lose his position as CEO as a result.

And Jack’s Aunt Mabry is waiting in the wings to make sure that the terms of the will are enforced. If he doesn’t find a wife, she’ll seize control of the stock so she can install her own son at the helm and she couldn’t care less that her son doesn’t want the job or that he probably won’t be any good at it.

Enter Kelly Bradley, a twenty eight year old college graduate with a spot at Yale Law School but no way to pay for it. Kelly and Jack’s eavesdropping secretary have discovered Jack’s secret need for a wife and Kelly comes up with a plan to fix both of their problems.

Just when Jack needs her, Kelly breezes into his office, introduces herself to his Aunt and cousin, and hands Jack an offer. She will marry him for a year so that he can retain the stock that will keep him in control of Sutton Development if he’ll pay for her to go to law school. Jack has no idea where his beautiful savior came from or who she is but he’s willing to take a chance to save it all.

The deal may have kept Jack in control at Sutton Development but his private life quickly spirals out of control. Just when Jack realizes that he wants more than a year with Kelly, his wealth puts her in great danger and he is left scrambling to save her life and their future together.

ISBN 9780989245 | Published April 18th 2013 by Cara Shannon for the Kindle Fire| Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

AuthorPicLori has had a number of careers before embarking on her newest adventure of writing novels. After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law, she practiced law for three years, working primarily in the areas of utilities law and intellectual property litigation.

More recently, Lori owned and operated a dog training business in Austin, Texas, where she specialized in aggression and became an expert in the field of dog bite analysis. Lori sold her dog training business in 2013 and is now a full time writer and mother of two.

Lori still lives in Austin with her husband -- who is endlessly supportive of her changing career paths -- and her two children, one cat, and three dogs.



Lori will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click here to see the other stops!

Tour: The Gospel According to Prissy

Today I’m hosting Barbara Casey on her virtual book tour for The Gospel According to Prissy.

About the Book

A fascinating story populated with memorable characters. We have three Army veteran misfits, a college dropout, and unmotivated high school graduate accused of murder, a controversial warden of a women's prison, a little girl with the gift of prophesy. Lara Kruger, 31, invites them into her life after suffering a miscarriage, a divorce from an abusive husband, and unemployment. It is a powerful tale told by a talented writer.


ISBN 9780985244026 | Published March 15th 2013 by Strategic Media Books | Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

Barbara Casey is the author of seven award-winning novels and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. She lives on a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband, her 6-pound Maltese named Hemingway, and Benton, a hound-mix who adopted her.


Barbara will give away one $25 amazon/bn gift card to one randomly drawn commenter! click here to see the other tour dates for more chances to win!

Tour: Hidden

Today I have M. Lathan visiting The Life and Lies for her virtual book tour of Hidden, the first book in her new YA series!

About the Book

Sixteen-year-old Leah Grant has given up on being normal. She’d settle for stopping the voices in her head, intrusive visions of the future, and better odds of making it to her seventeenth birthday.

hat’s the thing about pretending to be human in a world where magic used to exist – at any moment, her cover could be blown and she’ll be burned to death like the rest of the witches.

Everything changes when she loses control of her powers and flees the orphanage she grew up in. She desperately wants to be invisible but finds her face plastered on every news channel as humans panic over the possible resurgence of her kind. And now the hunters won’t give up until they find her.

Making friends for the first time in her life and falling in love with one of them drives her to discover why she is unlike any being she’s ever met – human or otherwise. The dangerous powers inside of her that would repel Nathan, her new, handsome reason for living, are priceless to some. The locked up forever kind of priceless. And to others, they are too dangerous to allow her to live.

Let’s hope she can stay hidden.

ISBN 9780989418409 | Published November 12th 2012| Amazon | Goodreads

Right now, Hidden is available on Amazon for $0.99!

About the Author

M. Lathan lives in San Antonio with her husband and mini-schnauzer. She enjoys writing and has a B.S. in Psych and a Masters in Counseling. Her passion is a blend of her two interests – creating new worlds and stocking them with crazy people. She enjoys reading anything with interesting characters and writing in front of a window while asking rhetorical questions … like her idol Carrie Bradshaw.






Leave a comment to be entered in the awesome giveaway for a $50 gift card to Amazon/BN!

Summer Art Series: Paint Chip Bookmarks

Paint chips are inspiring, fun to look at, and free (that’s my favorite part right there). And if you’re new to Zentangle, it’s the perfect template, because there are several small shapes already created, you don’t have to do a boarder, you don’t need a “string,” and even if you mess it up and end up just scribbling on it, it’ll still look pretty.

I saw this picture on Pinterest:

and I thought DUDE THAT’S PRETTY. Except these were done with stamps. But I don’t have any stamps because I’m a broke college student. I realized I could do it with Zentangles, and it would be even cooler.

So I went to Walmart and got a bunch of paint chips.


My supplies


Started a pretty swirl


But I touched it before it dried –_- Maybe micron pens are a bad idea on Paint chips


a mini-one, done with a different pen.

I went back to the micron later, and let it dry before I touched it. worked much better!


Check out my Zentangle board on Pinterest for TONS of awesome tangles! and if you decide to make some, post pics on your blog and leave a link in the comments!


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.