BLOG TOUR: The Last Time I Lied, Riley Sager (July 3, 2018)

the last time i lied blog tour | fantastic flying book club

“Everything is a game, Em. Whether you know it or not. Which means that sometimes a lie is more than just a lie. Sometimes it’s the only way to win.”

Riley Sager is becoming one of my favorite thriller novelists. Last year, I absolutely devoured his debut thriller, FINAL GIRLS, and when I saw he was coming out with a new novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it—which makes me even more excited to be included on the blog tour for THE LAST TIME I LIED. Folks, I loved FINAL GIRLS, but I thiiiiiink I might have loved this even more.

Read on for a spoiler-free review AND a giveaway below.

“Two truths and lie, ladies. I’ll start.” 

The 411:  At 13, Emma Davis is sent to Camp Nightingale aka Camp Rich Bitch for the summer. She’s assigned to the Dogwood cabin and is taken in by her cabin-mates, Natalie, Allison, and most importantly, Queen Bee Vivian Hawthorne. Vivian’s favorite game is “two truths and lie” and over the course of the summer, the girls use it to gang up and humiliate each other. The games end, however, when the other three girls go missing one night. As the last person to see the girls, Emma accuses the camp director’s son, Theo, as the culprit.

Fast-forward 15 years and Emma is a hot up-and-comer on the NYC art scene, where she creates lush paintings of forests, (and unknowingly to everyone else) hides three girls in flowy, white dresses. At an art show, Emma is approached by Franny Harris-White, the former director of Camp Nightingale, with the news that she is reopening the camp and wants Emma to return as staff.

Emma returns to Camp Nightingale in the hopes of finally uncovering what happened to her friends, and to face the Harris-White family, who she tore apart with her accusation.

Ok, friends. There were so many swerves in this book that my motion sickness-prone ass was metaphorically spinning by the end. And let me clarify, these were all the good kind of swerves. Here’s the mandatory disclaimer that I am horrible at figuring out twists in books—so it’s no surprise that the ending threw me for a hell of a loop. But it’s an ending that makes sense and is completely satisfying.

Now, the Unreliable Female Narrator is a super common plot line these days and while I do enjoy this trope, I am seriously tired of the is-she-or-isn’t-she-going-“insane” trope. And honestly, I was a little worried that’s where this book was heading at first. Mental illness is involved, but is maaaaaybe mentioned 10 sentences at most. It’s also not often where I enjoy books without some kind of romantic aspect. I don’t need a relaysh to root for, but it definitely helps me feel more invested.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰1/2
RECOMMENDED READING: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier, Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

Also, this book is a July pick for Book for the Month club! If you have a subscription, you should definitely add this to your box and if you don’t—you can grab one here.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | IndieBound | iBooks 


If you’re still here, I’m going to assume you’re here for the freebie (I’m not cocky enough to assume you’ve kept scrolling for my incomparable wit). Dutton is being amazing and offering up 20 hardcovers of THE LAST TIME I LIED for all the blogs on the tour. To get your own copy of the summer’s hottest thriller, here’s what you need to do:

US/Canada only. Winners can only be chosen once per tour (so if you win on another blog, you’ll be disqualified).

Thank you so much to Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me on the tour and to Dutton for my galley. Check out all the other stops on the blog tour here.

BLOG TOUR: Tell Me Lies, Carola Lovering (June 12, 2018)

If you enjoy reading about destructive and toxic relationships and like yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” at fictional characters—I have your next read.

TELL ME LIES by Carola Lovering is a compulsively readable drama that feels almost uncomfortably realistic.

The 411: Lucy Albright is far from her Long Island upbringing when she arrives on the campus of her small California college, and happy to be hundreds of miles from her mother, whom she’s never forgiven for an act of betrayal in her early teen years. Quickly grasping at her fresh start, Lucy embraces college life and all it has to offer—new friends, wild parties, stimulating classes. And then she meets Stephen DeMarco. Charming. Attractive. Complicated. Devastating.

 Confident and cocksure, Stephen sees something in Lucy that no one else has, and she’s quickly seduced by this vision of herself, and the sense of possibility that his attention brings her. Meanwhile, Stephen is determined to forget an incident buried in his past that, if exposed, could ruin him, and his single-minded drive for success extends to winning, and keeping, Lucy’s heart. 

Lucy knows there’s something about Stephen that isn’t to be trusted. Stephen knows Lucy can’t tear herself away. And their addicting entanglement will have consequences they never could have imagined.

So, warning: You’re going to get mad. Stephen and Lucy aren’t particularly likable characters by themselves, let alone together, and their decisions are even more frustrating. They’re clearly horrible for each other and the fact that they keep returning to each other had me at the end of my rope. But after sitting with this book a while, Stephen and Lucy’s actions aren’t just plausible—they feel completely accurate of a dependent relationship.

You know that saying, “The real world is ugly”? Well, TELL ME LIES is ugly. In the best way. You’re not going to come out the other side of this book and feel good. But you will have a better understanding of why people stay in their safe little boxes even when they know something isn’t healthy for them. There are millions of Lucys and Stephens out there. And their stories aren’t the most romantic, but are necessary to tell.

RECOMMENDED READING: What Girls Are Made Of by Alana K. Arnold
**CONTENT WARNING: Lucy struggles with weight issues and there are some fairly detailed descriptions regarding her body and food.

Buy Links

Simon & Schuster | Amazon Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million |
IndieBound | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

Thank you Atria for my galley and including me on the blog tour. Tell Me Lies is available now.

BLOG TOUR: Kissing Games, Tara Eglington (June 5, 2018)

If you like adorable, sugary-sweet romances—I have your next read. KISSING GAMES by Tara Eglington is a YA romance and the sequel to HOW TO KEEP A BOY FROM KISSING YOU, but full disclosure, I hadn’t read the first book and wasn’t too confused just diving in to the story. Now you have no excuse..muahahahaha

Read on for a brief synopsis aaaaand an exclusive excerpt from the book.

The 411: Aurora Skye’s  landed her prince charming, Hayden Paris. And she got her wish—one first kiss with all the knee-trembling, butterfly-inducing gloriousness she’d hoped for. But instead of happily ever after, their second kiss landed Hayden in the emergency room. If that’s not mortifying enough, the whole school is now referring to her as “Lethal Lips.”

When Aurora’s best friend decides to run for class president and offers up Aurora’s matchmaking service as one of her campaign initiatives, the kissing games begin. Aurora has to convince everyone that her program works—but that might be hard to do when it seems like her own love life might be falling apart.


For a girl who shares her name with a princess (Aurora from Sleeping Beauty), my present circumstances were fathoms away from a fairy tale. My kissing skills had left both parties maimed—one case worthy of the emergency room.

Our first kiss as a couple, and my first-ever kiss, had been a melding of everything I’d heard kisses could be, all the glorious cli- chés in action—weak knees, my heart a field of fluttering butter- flies, life in Technicolor. Worth the wait.

With a start like that, I’d expected the second kiss to be as good.

Or at least not to end in calamity.

Four hours ago I’d had no idea I’d be spending half of my Thurs- day night in the local hospital’s emergency department, watching the on-call physician stitching Hayden Paris’s formerly perfect lower lip.

four hours earlier . . .

I stood at my bathroom mirror, staring at my lips. I’d just applied red lipstick, taking a good five minutes to make sure that the edges were perfect. Now I was having second thoughts.

Normally I wasn’t one to spend lengthy amounts of time pouting at my own reflection, but in the fifteen minutes before Hayden was due to arrive I was fixated on my own mouth.

It had started with the intention of making sure I had fresh breath. Three brushings and a lengthy flossing session later, I’d pinched the superstrong dental clinic–issued mouthwash used by my dad (otherwise known as the NAD—New Age dad), on the basis that it would work better than my Listerine. Figuring that if I used any more mouthwash I’d give myself acid reflux, I’d finally stashed a mini breath spray in the pocket of my skirt so I could do a last quick spritz after Hayden and I had finished dinner. Literally sharing breath with someone was nerve-racking.

I was now in a conundrum over lipstick. I’d automatically reached for the red, as numerous studies have proved that red lips are considered the most sensual, due to the way that lipstick mimics the way our lips flush when attracted to another person. But just as I’d finished applying the lipstick, I started worrying that it wasn’t the best choice. It would inevitably kiss off, wouldn’t it? What if I pulled away from the (hopefully) amazing kiss and Hayden was left smeared with red lipstick? Gloss wasn’t an option, either—I’d over- heard way too many guys complaining about how they hated goopy lips.

I blotted the lipstick, hoping to achieve a nice, subtle stain, like I’d been sitting in a field eating raspberries or something. Revlon had had that famous Cherries in the Snow ad campaign in 1953, so bring on Raspberries in a Field. I was obviously getting jittery if I was planning 1950s-esque cosmetic campaigns.

I hadn’t talked about my anxiety with my best friends, Cassie, Jelena, Lindsay, and Sara. They were looking to me to be their dating guru—and hopefully the whole of Jefferson High would be, too, once I implemented my Find a Prince/Princess™ program. This is a program I designed to help guys and girls navigate the minefield that is the high school dating scene. As well as using the program to help Cassie find love with Scott (aka the ubercute new guy) and to help Lindsay win her ex-boyfriend Tyler back, I had also been using the program to weigh my own romantic prospects, with the aim of identifying my “prince.”

A prince:

  • has Principles. He stands up for what he knows to be right, instead of going along with the crowd.
  • Recognizes your worth. He understands how special you are and treats you with respect and kindne
  • possesses Integrity. He’s genuine with his feelings and won’t mislead you for underhanded or selfish purpo
  • Never doubts you’re the only one for him.
  • is Constant. He stands by you through the sunshine and the shadows, the good and the bad.
  • possesses Endurance. He is willing to overcome considerable obstacles to win your affection.

I know the “prince” thing sounds cringeworthy, like it’s something from another century. But the program isn’t about glass slippers or lying around until a prince shows up. It’s about valuing yourself and saying no to guys with dishonest intentions or lukewarm feelings. Guys who lie or are self-involved or only looking for an ego boost. Guys who play around with our feelings like it’s a form of sport.

What the program is really about is knowing what you are worthy of and accepting nothing less.

I get that some people might see this as idealistic. But if I listened to everyone else’s cynicism, I’d never have stuck with the Find a Prince/Princess™ program for the past three years. I’d have given up and settled for a substandard guy. Instead, following my heart had landed me Hayden Paris, Prince Extraordinaire. After years of misunderstandings and miscommunication, Hayden and I had finally come together as a couple three days ago, after he’d revealed himself to be my secret admirer. I’d realized that he was not the bane of my life but actually the boy of my dreams. And after six- teen years and six months of not settling, I’d finally had that magi- cal first kiss I’d been waiting for.

I’d once read that the term “French kiss” was derived from “soul kiss,” because of an ancient belief that the sharing of breath was, in essence, the sharing of souls. It was a romantic notion, yet I had to admit, when I’d let Hayden touch his lips to mine the other night, I’d felt as if parts of me, tiny molecules at a time, had come close to dissolving in the intense closeness.

So when it came to tonight, I wanted the follow-up kiss to be just as legendary. I wanted utter elation, a moment of tenderness in which my heart would tremble inside my chest at how exquisitely beautiful it was to be so close to Hayden.

I shivered at the thought, and the tiny hairs on my arms stood up. Catching sight of my watch, I realized there was only about five minutes until Hayden was due to arrive. I had to turn my mind to practicalities.

My heart pounding, I ran downstairs to do a last-minute check of the living room. Thankfully, Dad had headed out to an event at the local meditation center, so I’d had some time this evening to prep the room for maximum ambience. Beyond emotional connection, romance was a sensory experience, so I’d aimed for soft light and scent. I placed oversize, velvety cushions on either side of the coffee table to encourage a more relaxed feel than the two of us perched at a distance from each other on my long couch, and then I set three large scented candles atop the coffee table.

After lighting the candles, I dimmed the light, just enough to heighten the mood but not so dramatically that I’d have difficulty making out Hayden’s features.

Then I turned them up again a fraction of an inch. Yes, I was trying to create a sense of intimacy, but what if Hayden thought I was being overly forward? It was only our first date, and here I was getting out the candles!

Oh god, could I even pull this off? Yes, I’d readied the room, but was I ready? Could I take this second kiss to the dizzying heights required?

What if our heart-stopping first kiss had set a precedent in Hayden’s mind that I couldn’t equal the second time around? What if I instigated a kiss and it fell flat? What if Hayden was disappointed? My basic plan was to move in close at some point during the night, ensuring that my intimate intentions were obvious to Hayden. But I had major timing trepidation. How would I know the opportune moment to get up close and personal?

For example, what if I moved in and he was tired or cranky or lip-fatigued from an afternoon arguing in the debate team? I pictured myself getting shot down midmove in the candlelight. Hmm . . . was rejection better or worse in low lighting? The lack of light would hide my extreme embarrassment, but I’d also be sitting there in a highly sensuous atmosphere. Hopefully not too sensuous. My hand went to the dimmer switch again.

Right. I was calling Cassie.

She picked up right away. “Hey, aren’t you on your date?”

“About to be. As in, Hayden’s probably heading toward my door right now and I’m doubting I have the courage to open it, let alone make a lunge for his lips later. Cass, what if I get the timing wrong and I’m left cast off in the candlelight?”

“Aurora, you know he’s crazy about you. I’m sure he’s planning to kiss you tonight. But if you want to be the one to make the first move, just look for the cues.”


“Kissing green lights. Physical indications telling you to go straight ahead.”

“I’m a total newbie on the dating highway, Cass. Unless Hayden actually turns green, I’m going to be playing the yes/no game for the next few hours.”

Cassie laughed. “I’m talking things like prolonged eye contact and sitting really close to you, not Hayden turning into a chameleon.”

“Oh god, why can’t he be a chameleon? You know the male actually changes color when he’s in the mood? Just think—if Hayden’s lips burst into stripes of blue and green, I wouldn’t have any hesitation!” My voice rose a half octave with nervous tension.

“Aurora, I can hear you getting breathless. You have to breathe. If you don’t breathe while kissing, you’ll pass out. It happened to my cousin!”

What?” I shrieked. “No one warned me about this!” The doorbell rang. “Argh! Hayden and his nonchameleon lips have arrived!”

“Focus on the feelings and you’ll ace it,” Cassie said. “I promise.”

I caught sight of my face in the hallway mirror as I set the phone down and headed for the door. I looked like a rabbit staring up in terror at a farmer with a pitchfork. Fantastic.

I took a deep breath and opened the door. Hayden’s smiling face greeted me. My whole body instantly relaxed.

“Good evening, Princess.” He gave me a hug. “Any chance a wannabe knight bearing wood-fired pizza could cross the threshold?”

I smiled as I stepped aside to let him in. “Was it an epic quest?”

“It involved much gallantry,” Hayden replied as we headed down the hall. “The guy at the pizza place was actually kind of a fire-breathing dragon. He had serious issues about half-and-half pizzas.”

Hayden started turning right to go into the kitchen.

“Oh!” I touched his shoulder. “I thought we might eat in the living room. It’s cozier.”

My plan of action was to get Hayden comfortable. Get him comfortable and then pounce.

“Sure.” He turned left then stopped at the entrance to the liv- ing room. “We might need a little more light.”

Oh my god—the living room now resembled a dimly lit saloon where busty women of the Wild West were likely to slink by in skimpy corsets or recline languorously on velvet cushions. I must have accidentally hit the dimmer switch in my scramble to get to the front door.

“Sorry, I was, ah, setting the scene.” Had that actually come out?

“The scene?” Hayden turned, eyebrows raised, his hand paused  on the switch. His eyes were undeniably nervous. He probably thought he was about to be thrown down on the coffee table.

Great. I aim for ambience and wind up scaring my date. “Setting the scene—for history!” I cried. “You know, the Middle Ages, living by candlelight? I was hoping it would help with my essay. I, um, was working on it while waiting for you.”

My voice was increasingly resembling a chipmunk’s—high- pitched, fast-paced, and bordering on panicky.

“Much as I love your imagination, I think the take-out pizza might destroy the illusion.” Hayden laughed as he turned the dimmer switch up. “Let’s skip ahead a few centuries so you don’t drip sauce on that gorgeous dress.”

I tried not to feel seriously insulted. Here I was, preparing to execute a major move, and my date didn’t want to know about it. I flopped down onto one of the velvet cushions, trying not to let out a sigh as Hayden set out the pizza and filled our glasses with Coke. Why was this so easy in movies? I thought of Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor tumbling out of the rolled-up carpet. Caesar had been putty in her hands. I’d tried to set up a scene of seduction and in- stead I’d wound up eating pizza underneath blazing lights.

I looked across at Hayden, who’d picked up a piece of pizza but seemed to be waiting for me. I studied the pizza on the table in front of me. The second I took a bite, my painstakingly applied lipstick would be messed up. Then, as the smell wafted up toward me, I realized I had bigger worries—there was garlic on the margherita! No way was breath spray going to cover up that potent passion killer.

I looked up from the pizza and saw that Hayden was watching me with an amused expression.

“Here, my lady, let me choose the perfect piece for thee.” He picked up a slice and put it on the plate in front of me.

His hazel eyes were so warm they were almost golden in the glow of the candles on the coffee table. Eye contact! That was one of Cass’s green lights. Okay, time to up the ante.

My heart had accelerated within mere seconds. I had to push the rest of me to catch up with it before the opportune moment slipped by. I gave Hayden a long gaze and raised an eyebrow in what I hoped was a Cleopatra-esque expression.

He let out a nervous laugh. “Have I got sauce on my face?”

I started in surprise. “What?” Obviously my attempt at Cleopatra was more scornful than seductive. “No!”

My hands, still trembling from the extended eye contact, shook harder, and I dropped my pizza slice into my lap.

“You see! This is why we needed the light!” Hayden leaned forward, shaking his head in amusement, grabbed the pizza slice, and put it back on the plate with a smile.

He reached over and pressed a napkin into my hand, giving it a squeeze. Houston, we had contact. If I didn’t do this now, I never would.

Hayden went to move his hand away, but I grabbed on to it. Before my fear could kick in, I leaned across the coffee table, meeting Hayden halfway.

“Sorry, blotting the stain will probably make it worse—” he began.

I placed my index finger over his lips, stopping his sentence short. His eyes widened.

Okay, replace finger with lips. With hopefully minty-fresh lips. I leaned farther toward Hayden, closing the distance between  us. The caramel aroma of the candles was intoxicating. I took a steady breath, trying to concentrate on my senses. I could feel my cheeks were flushed, although I couldn’t tell whether that was from the warmth of the candles or the dizzying pulse of blood through my body. The room was in complete silence except for our breathing and the pounding of my heart, which thumped in my ears like the crash of the ocean on the sand when you lay your head down on your towel at the beach.

There were two inches left between our faces. I removed my finger from Hayden’s lips and our foreheads touched. The gentleness of the gesture caused a pulling feeling in my chest.

Last step. Last tiny little step and the plan would be complete.

Focus on the feelings. Cass’s advice floated back to me.

I touched his cheek with the fingers of my right hand. This was Hayden, my Potential Prince, my childhood friend, bane of my life turned boy of my dreams. I felt my lips relax into a smile, a smile that sank down through my skin and seemed to hover over my heart. I was so lucky. This thought tipped me over into the courage zone and, almost in a trance, I closed the minute distance left between us.

I pressed my lips to Hayden’s, so lightly that the touch of skin to skin was almost imperceptible. Even the second time around, the sensation was so exquisitely unfamiliar that it was all-encompassing. I was lost to feeling—the exact pressure of Hayden’s lips, his hair brushing against my fingers where they rested on his neck, the smell of his skin—a mix of soap and cologne with green-apple notes.

Hayden put his hand on my waist, pulling me closer and taking the kiss deeper. His breath was hot against mine. My pulse, already at high tempo, hit critical level. I now knew why Cass’s cousin had passed out. The feeling in my chest as we kissed was so intense I almost couldn’t bear it, yet I desperately sought more. I was like the candles, set alight with sensation, all thoughts dissolving in the heat of the moment. The feeling was so realistic that I could almost smell smoke.

I took another deep breath, hoping to dispel the phantom smell by inhaling more of Hayden’s green-apple scent.

Wait a minute. Something was burning. The smell was unmis- takable now, almost sulfuric. What on earth . . . ?

There were about five seconds of illogical agony, in which I wondered whether the mouthwash had failed me and the smell was coming from my own breath, before I realized what I was actually smelling. My hair was on fire!

The thought screamed through my brain, shocking me out of my kissing reverie completely. Forget the notion of “the heat of the moment”—I was literally going up in flames!

My eyes flew open, but I couldn’t look down to see how much of my hair was on fire because Hayden and I were still in lip-lock. All I knew was that I didn’t want the flames to reach my face. The hair spray I’d so liberally applied earlier was probably acting as an accelerant—I might only have seconds to spare!

I threw up my arm, trying to push Hayden away, and instead felt my hand make contact with one of the heavy candles positioned between us. I heard the clunk of the glass holder hitting the table at the same second that I felt boiling-hot wax spill onto my arm.

My whole body jolted from the searing pain. My teeth slammed together in an instinctual reaction and I bit down on Hayden’s lips, which were still intertwined with mine. Hayden let out a muffled shout.

I ripped away from him and stared in horror at the gash in his bottom lip. But there was no time to apologize yet. I snatched the burning ends of my hair from the candle jar, then threw my glass of Coke over them, thankfully extinguishing the flames before they got any closer to my head.

My wrist was prickling with pain from the blisteringly hot wax. I needed ice. I needed liquid of any description. I snatched up Hayden’s Coke and poured it on my arm. As my pain level dropped from all-consuming smart to a bearable throbbing, my attention snapped back to Hayden. He had leaped to his feet and was clutch- ing his mouth. Blood was trickling between his fingers.

Blood. My kiss had actually drawn blood. And not in a sexy, Twilight way. I wanted to be sick.

“Hayden!” I leaped up from my cushion, too.

“I have to get to the bathroom before I get blood everywhere.”

He pushed past me, his words muffled by his hand, and took off down the hall to the downstairs bathroom.

I ran to the kitchen for the first aid kit. I wanted to cry, from both the extreme embarrassment of having sunk my teeth into my Potential Prince and the throbbing pain of my wrist. I swiped at my eyes with the back of my hand, pushing away tears as I dashed toward the bathroom. I had to stay calm. I would have plenty of time to reflect upon my disastrous attempt at acting the siren once Hayden’s lips weren’t streaming blood. Right now I had to focus on helping him.

Hayden turned as I entered. He had one of our hand towels pressed to his lips. I gasped when I saw that the towel was no lon- ger white but almost completely red, soaked with blood in the few minutes he’d been in the bathroom.

“It won’t stop bleeding,” he said. “I think I have to go to the hospital.”

TARA EGLINGTON grew up in Byron Bay, Australia. Her hobbies when she’s not writing include watching endless cat videos on YouTube, planning pretend holidays to the Maldives, and day-dreaming about who would play Hayden Paris in a film adaptation of How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You, her first novel. She lives in Australia.


Thank you so much to ST. MARTIN’S PRESS for including me on this tour and for sending me a gorgeous finished copy.

BLOG TOUR: Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson (May 29, 2018)

If you are a fan of explosive, edge-of-your-seat YA thrillers, I have your book of the summer. LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME, the debut from Jennifer Donaldson, is chock full of mystery, intrigue, and (of course) lies.

The 411:  Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

Quiet, shy Elyse can’t believe it when she’s cast as the lead in her Portland high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn’t sure she’s up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye–someone she knows she absolutely shouldn’t be with–she can’t help but be pulled into the spotlight.

Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable–breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She’s not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.

I was very fortunate to get an ARC of this book (thank you Penguin/Razorbill!) and knocked it out in a couple of hours. LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME is incredibly compelling and readable. You just keeping turning and turning and turning the pages.

I’ve mentioned on this blog maaaaany times that I am horrible that figuring out plot twists in books…and I actually called this one! So proud of myself. But don’t get me wrong, it’s still a zinger you won’t be expecting.

But don’t just take it from me:

“A compulsive page-turner with a shocking twist–get ready to stay up all night!” –Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars

“This conversation-starting page-turner is…Fatal Attraction meets Big Little Lies.” —Kirkus Reviews

Jennifer Donaldson graduated from Reed College and received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently lives in Austin with her family.

The biggest thank you to PENGUIN BOOKS for including me on this book tour.

BLOG TOUR: She Regrets Nothing, Andrea Dunlop (Feb. 6, 2018)

If you’re like me and are missing your weekly glimpse into the lives of New York’s elite via Gossip Girl, I have terrific news for you. SHE REGRETS NOTHING by Andrea Dunlop is exactly what your CW-loving heart needs. Family drama, backstabbing, an “it” girl, a wannabe…I had so much fun with this book.

The 411: After unexpectedly becoming an orphan at 23, Michigander Laila Lawrence is introduced to her cousins, Liberty, Leo, and Nora,  all of whom are part of New York City’s in-crowd. Desperate to be part of their opulent life and to be near family, Laila makes the move to NYC and immediately starts to ingratiate herself into the lives of the rich and famous. But the rise to the top isn’t linear and doesn’t come without casualties.

As I previously mentioned, SHE REGRETS NOTHING is essentially the adult version of Gossip Girl. Beautiful people making horrible decisions in the Big Apple. There’s not necessarily a deep message or a moral to learn because of this book and sometimes you need that. Sometimes you need a good, drama-filled and addictive story. That’s what SHE REGRETS NOTHING was for me.

Do you like love triangles/squares/pentagons/octagons? You’re going to love this book. In true soap fashion, everyone is hooking up with everyone and lying to each other about it. Oh, and shout out to my girl, Liberty. I absolutely loved her character. I loved that she quit modeling and when she felt uncomfortable, she stood up for herself. I loved that she went into publishing and basically told her mom to accept her this way or lose her forever.

I’m an Iowa native and proud Midwesterner, and books/movies/tv shows that do the whole “I had such a boring life in XYZ state that I needed to go somewhere cool” or “all Midwesterners are naive” sort of thing usually annoy me. Just because we live a more low-key lifestyle and say “pop” doesn’t make us boring or naive. That was the only part of this book that kind of irked me–but Laila was so self-centered I wouldn’t want to claim her as a Midwesterner anyway.

As the Jenny Humphrey of this book, Laila is likewise very unlikable and a completely unsympathetic character. Her rise to the top is full of desperation, she’s manipulative to her family, and feels little to no remorse for her actions. And like Jenny Humphrey, you’re just waiting for the inevitable fall from grace. My lips are sealed as to if this happens to Laila.

Does she really “regret nothing”? Check it out for yourself.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰
RECOMMENDED FOR: Contemporary “chick-lit” lovers and non-graphic romance

Thank you Atria Books for  my galley and including me on the blog tour! SHE REGRETS NOTHING is available February 6. Buy here!

BLOG TOUR: Busted, Gina Ciocca

If you, like me, miss “Veronica Mars” with all your heart, I have a belated Christmas present for you. And it comes in the form of BUSTED by Gina Ciocca. I am SO happy that this was the book for my first ever blog tour. It’s such a good, easy read that I was totally invested in the entire time. Not convinced yet? Read on for a synopsis, author info, an excerpt, and some exclusive content—AND a giveaway!

The 411:

Catching cheaters and liars is a lucrative hobby—until you fall for one of the suspects. Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this new novel from the author of Last Year’s Mistake will steal your heart!

Marisa never planned to be a snoop for hire. It wasn’t like she wanted to catch her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. But as her reputation for sniffing out cheaters spreads all over school, Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

And her next case? It’s for ex-frenemy Kendall. She’s convinced her boyfriend, TJ, has feelings for someone else and persuades Marissa to start spying on him. But the more Marisa gets to know sincere and artistic TJ, the more she starts to fall for him. Worse yet, the feelings seem to be mutual. Marisa knows she needs to give up her investigation—and the spoken-for guy who may just be the love of her life. Then she uncovers new secrets about Kendall and TJ, secrets that take “cheater” to a whole new level…

about the author:

Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English, but in her mind, she never left high school. She relocated from Connecticut to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and son. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her taking long walks around the lake in her neighborhood. Gina can also be found online at, on Instagram as gmciocca, and Twitter as gmc511.

buy links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Exclusive content:

Marisa’s Top 5 Tips For Sleuthing:

Hey there. Marisa Palmera, Private Eye here. Okay, so I don’t actually call myself that, and neither does anyone else. In fact, I never meant to become a sleuth-for-hire. But spend one night scaling your best-friend’s boyfriend’s house to take incriminating pictures, and suddenly everyone wants you to be something you’re not…and when they’re willing to line your sadly lacking pockets for it, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

So, should you find yourself an unwitting Girl Friday (or even a witting one… Is “witting” a thing?) like I did, here are some tips that just may save your butt:

  1. Always have a camera handy. Whether it’s your cell phone, or the fancy camera you borrowed from your school’s yearbook club, you never know when you’ll need to snap an evidence shot. Just, um, make sure you turn off the flash if said camera is aimed through a window into a dark living room. I may have learned this the hard way.
  2. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Sounds ominous and dramatic, I know. But if someone gives you the vibe that they shouldn’t be let out of your sight? GO WITH IT.
  3. Think fast. Suck at lying? Me too. Get over it, because you’ll be fudging the truth a lot.
  4. But know when to say no. Weave enough white lies, and suddenly they’re a sticky, tangled web with you trapped inside. Know when it’s time to run, and do it like the flames of hell are licking your feet.
  5. Don’t fall for the person you’re investigating. You’re just gonna have to do as I say and not as I do on this one. Oops.


“Hey, Marisa.”

I slammed my locker a little harder than I meant to at the sound of TJ’s voice. Who knew being a stalker would make me so jumpy? I pasted a smile on my face.

“Hey, what’s up?”

TJ flashed a huge grin. “I finished it this weekend.” He moved his hand from behind his back and held out a black leather belt dotted with silver studs. It was totally gorgeous, and one hundred percent badass at the same time.

“I love it!” I cried, instantly forgetting to regard him as Shady McShadeballs. I took the belt and slid it through the loops of my jeans, loving that it complemented my green shirt, matching flats, and silver jewelry. “What do I owe you?”

TJ scoffed. “You don’t owe me anything.”

“No! I can’t take this for nothing. I have to give you something for it, please?”

The corner of his mouth turned up. “You can take my place interviewing Mr. Crossley about the Math League after school today if you want. I’ll even let you write my article.”

I smiled back. “Nice try. How about this – I’ll take the belt, but only if you let me order some more of your stuff for the holidays and pay you for it. Deal?”

The locker behind me slammed and the skin on my neck crawled. I whipped around, knowing exactly who would be standing there, and the daggers were already shooting from my eyes before I’d even completed my rotation. The ice in my glare could’ve turned the hallway into a skating rink. TJ must’ve sensed it, because he said, “Fair enough. Um, I’ll catch up with you later,” and walked away.

Jordan’s stare stayed fixed on his locker. “Don’t give me that look, Marisa.”

I folded my arms across my chest. “What the hell was that about on Saturday? You told me you wanted me at the bonfire, then totally blew me off. How am I supposed to look at you?”

He slung his bag over his shoulder and threw his other hand in the air. “It’s not that I changed my mind about wanting to be friends, okay? It’s like you said – I didn’t know how to react. Things have been shitty for so long that I forgot how to be normal around you. I’m sorry, all right?”

My comeback, “Sorry is a good word for you,” would’ve been awesome – if I’d had a chance to deliver it. But at that exact moment, my cell phone rang. And since a phone rarely rings with good news at 7:30 a.m., my attention was instantly diverted to the screen flashing Charlie’s name.

I stepped into the exit alcove and barely got a hello out before she said, “Sorry to bother you, but we need to talk. You’re advertising now?”

“Advertising what?”

“I’m hanging up to text you something. Call me as soon as you see it.”

The call clicked off before I could say another word. I was still staring confusedly at the screen when it flashed with a text message. Charlie had sent me a link to a website. When I clicked on it, my heart went dead inside my chest.

A website loaded onto the screen. The word BUSTED splashed across the top of the page in bold, fat letters, glinting in red and black stripes, almost identical to the pin I’d made for Charlie. The pin Kendall had specifically mentioned liking. A squat exclamation point punctuated the word, and a jagged split between the S and T made it – along with the heart around it – appear broken in half.

Beneath the heading, in smaller print, it said Don’t hate the player… bust his ass!

This had to be a joke. Only one person could’ve been responsible for this, and I knew exactly who it was.

I called Charlie back, crushing the phone against my ear as I dashed toward the computer lab. My phone was too old and too slow, and the school’s cell service was too spotty to mess around.

“You’re shitting me,” I said when she picked up. I didn’t so much sit as crash-land in one of the lab’s plastic blue chairs, and my book bag skidded across the floor and toppled over.

“So you didn’t know?”

I pulled the website up on the computer and scanned the page as fast as my brain could process it. “’Suspect your guy has a roaming eye? Our services are discreet, anonymous, and affordable.’” I almost dropped the phone. “She’s advertising me for a fee?!”

“Keep reading. It gets worse.”

“Oh my God!” I moaned. “Fake testimonials? Is she on cra- oh my God. Oh. My. God.”

“Told you.”

I had reached the spot where Kendall provided contact information for my quote-unquote “services.” She’d listed the email address as

MAP. Marisa Ann Palmera. Not only had she used my initials, she’d followed them with my freaking birth date. Who the hell had taught her the definition of anonymous? To think, earlier this morning I’d felt bad for her. Not anymore.

“Do you want me to throw a bag over her head and take her out behind the bleachers? Teach her a little lesson?” I could practically hear Charlie’s knuckles cracking.

“Don’t bother,” I said. “I’m going to kill her myself.”

Thanks to Gina and SourcebooksFIRE for including me on this blog spotlight tour.