~What's Happening at Ramblings of a Daydreamer~
 *Enter to win a More Than Words prize pack (open INTL)
*Historic Fiction Reading Challenge participants: link October reviews

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick-or-Treat Book Blog Hop

Happy Halloween, and welcome to my stop on the Trick-or-Treat Book Blog Hop! For those of you who haven’t been to Ramblings of a Daydreamer before, I’m Marie Landry. I write young adult, new adult, and adult contemporary books.

If this happens to be your first stop, or if you’ve made it here on your own and not through the hop, here’s how this works: this Halloween, instead of trick-or-treating for candy, our fearless leader, Patricia Lynne, thought it would be fun to trick-or-treat for books. As much as I love candy, I love free books even more, and I’m sure I’m not alone. So, do you want a free book? I have 5 books to choose from, so reach into my little back of tricks and pick the book you want.

 ~Blue Sky Days (Contemporary NA)
~The Game Changer (Women’s fiction/chick lit)
~Waiting for the Storm (Contemporary upper YA/NA) 
~The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (a contemporary NA holiday novella) 
~After the Storm (Contemporary YA) 
*all links lead to GoodReads, where you can read the synopsis 

If you’d like one of these books, it’s yours! Just fill out this form, telling me which book you’d like, what format you’d prefer (mobi, epub, or pdf), and your email address. I have the form for people who don't want to share their email address publicly, but if you want to skip the form and leave your info in the comments below, feel free to do so.

Some of you might be wondering if there’s a catch. There’s not. Honestly! However, if you like to write reviews for your blog, Amazon, GoodReads, Barnes & Noble, etc., and you feel like writing a review for the books you receive during this hop, that would be a really nice treat for us authors! It’s not necessary - this really is a no strings attached hop - but reviews really do help authors, and they’re always greatly appreciated.

Be sure to keep trick-or-treating for the rest of the day. There are lots of free books to collect!

Happy Halloween!

What's your favourite part about Halloween? What's your favourite Halloween treat? Favourite spooky movie or book? Are you doing anything fun to celebrate Halloween? What's the best costume you ever wore?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

5 Things About MORE THAN WORDS by Lilly Avalon + Giveaway

Today I have my friend and fellow author Lilly Avalon on the blog to share 5 things you may not know about her newest release, More Than Words, which came out last week. AND she has a super awesome exclusive giveaway just for you guys! 

First, here's a bit about More Than Words...

More Than Words
by Lilly Avalon
Published: October 24, 2014
All of her friends know her as Dana Darling, the clean romance writer. She's never written a steamy novel, not even in her head, but now her publisher needs her to write one. It doesn't appear too difficult at first, but then Dana's lack of sexual knowledge creates writer's block.
That's where her friend Landon comes in. She needs pointers on positions and dirty talk, and he owes her a favor. They agree that it's strictly business and clothes are mandatory, but once they get to work, it's another story entirely... one that's being written between the sheets and not on paper.

*More Than Words is a standalone erotica novella*

5 Things You May Not Know About More Than Words
1. I wrote the whole first draft in 12 days. The word count broke 12,000, so that means I averaged about 1,000 words a day. It was a milestone for me as a writer: consistent high count writing days and fastest I've written a whole story. What was even more amazing about it is that I didn't have to change or add much when I edited.

2. I didn't choose the title until I was done writing. Usually I have to have a title before I write, but this time nothing was clicking. When I was almost finished, I started considering a few different titles. Then I wrote a line in the story that included the words "more than words" and I knew I had my title.

3. I didn't expect to write this story until some time down the road. I wanted to focus my attention on Longing, the sequel to Resist, first. Of course, no matter what your intentions are as a writer, inspiration has other plans. More Than Words just fell into place one night. I pretty much wrote a bare bones draft in my phone of about 2800 words the first night. The path of the story from then on out flowed until the end. To be honest, it was magical.

4. The character of Landon took the whole story to flesh out. At first he was just a sweet guy, then he started to tell me more about himself and that just added to his dynamic and the friendship he has with Dana. I have a soft spot for men with a strong sense of humor, and Landon really made me swoon because of that (and other more sexy reasons...obviously).

5. When I contemplated writing this, it was going to be a short story. I guessed maybe a little over 5,000 words. But when I started actually writing it, I realized how much more needed to be said, how much more there was to the story. I couldn't deprive Dana and Landon by not telling their story the way it needed to be told.

Interesting, huh? I love knowing behind the scenes facts about stories I've read. More Than Words is my favourite book of Lilly's so far, and I highly recommend it. You can read my review here. Hopefully that, plus Lilly's post and the amazing giveaway will convince you to buy the book, which you can do at any of the following retailers:

~About the Author~

Lilly Avalon is the author of the erotic romances Here All Along and Resist, and the upcoming novella More Than Words. She's somewhere in the midst of her twenties and lives mostly in the stories in her head. When she's not enveloped in the worlds she creates, she's out in the real world making stories happen. That or reading other romances. It's a toss-up.

Find Lilly online:
{Goodreads ||Website ||  Facebook || Twitter}

Lilly has donated an amazing, exclusive prize just for readers of Ramblings of a Daydreamer. It's so cool I want to enter myself, but I guess that's not really fair, is it? ;-)

One lucky winner will get this More Than Words themed pack of goodies:
*3 mini composition notebooks
*5 bangle bracelets
*1 tiny tiger plushie
*1 compact mirror (with the quote "Well behaved women seldom make history")
*book swag

~Open internationally~

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Have you read More Than Words? If you haven't, is it on your TBR? Have a question or comment for Lilly? We want to hear from you! ;-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cover Reveal: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

Welcome to the cover reveal for Dahlia Adler's upcoming New Adult book, Last Will and Testament. This book sounds so good, I can't wait!

Ready for the cover?

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Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
Expected publication: December 9th, 2014
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Add to GoodReads

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

 Dahlia Adler is an Assistant Editor of Mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and a YA/NA author and blogger at every spare moment in between. More often than not, you can find her on Twitter as @MissDahlELama, and if you tweet her pictures of macarons, she just might fall in love with you. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves.

What do you think of the cover? Have you read Dahlia's YA debut Behind the Scenes?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
Series: Standalone
Published: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
304 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult/LGBT
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia's confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

I’ll admit, I went into this book with fairly high expectations. I’ve read quite a few LGBT books this year, and they’ve been all over the place - some great, some good, some just okay. I keep waiting for that one that will feel like the definitive LGBT book, the one I recommend to everyone because it’s so amazing…but Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, unfortunately, wasn’t it.

This book is quite simple in most ways - the writing, the characters, the plot. I contemplated DNFing this book for at least the first half because nothing was really happening, and I wasn’t connecting to the characters. I never did fully connect to the characters, but I’m glad I kept reading. There wasn’t much plot-wise and the characters didn’t have much depth, but the story was mostly entertaining.

Leila was really na├»ve and seemed very young. Her inner dialogue, her observations, her outlook on the world, and the things she said and did made me feel like I was reading about a tween at times instead of someone in her mid-teens. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike her. I thought her confusion, insecurities, and fears rang mostly true. Coming out is never easy, but when your parents are from a country where it’s illegal to be gay, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to deal with those feelings and the worry of what will happen when you come out.

One thing I loved about this book was the diversity. I enjoyed learning about Leila’s family, their customs, etc., and I liked that she wasn’t the only diverse character in the book. It still amazes me how little diversity there is in YA these days, so I really appreciated that there was a rainbow of characters in this book, from different ethnicities to religions to sexual orientation.

My favourite parts of this book were the interactions between Leila and her family. I wanted to throttle her sister at first, but she ended up having much more depth than expected. The scenes with her parents were alternately amusing, frustrating, embarrassing, and touching.

Overall, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel was pretty middle of the road for me. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. I think it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re looking for LGBT YA with lots of diversity, humour, and romance. It’s an easy, light read.

Have you read Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel? What did you think? If you haven't read it, does it sound like something you'd be interested in?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blog Tour ~ Sideswiped by Lia Riley

Today I'm excited to be part of the blog tour for Sideswiped by Lia Riley. I've been lucky enough to get to know Lia a bit over the last couple months, and she is amazing - funny, smart, brave, supportive. An awesome writer and friend, and I feel blessed to have her in my life. 

Lia and I met during a Facebook party for the release of Chanel Cleeton's London Falling. We were talking about travels and adventures, and from that seemingly simple conversation came a whole lot of inspiration. I talked about that inspiration a few weeks ago, and will be able to talk about it more (and make a few exciting announcements!) early next year. For now, since Lia and I share a love of travel, I asked her to share her top 5 favourite travel destinations as part of the Sideswiped blog tour. 

Want to know more about Sideswiped?

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight—because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

~Excerpt from Sideswiped~

An hour later I’m zipping the back of Talia’s wet suit at the edge of the tide line. Moonlight glimmers on the black water. The waves line up perfectly, peeling clean. I breathe deep, savoring the air’s briny tang and the musty smell of decomposing kelp. My awareness is sharpened by anticipation, the five senses amplified by the dark.

Talia shuffles at my side, getting antsy.

“You sure about this?”

“Yes. Well, sure enough.”

Another set breaks. The conditions are choice. If she changes her mind, I might need to have a ride—a quick one.

Maybe two, tops.

“What’s that noise?” She stills. “There it is again. Can you hear it?”

I concentrate and smile when a sound like a wheezing donkey drifts from beyond the breakers. “Fairy penguin.”

“Shut up! There are penguins around here?”

“Sure. In the summer they build burrows in the scrub along the coast. If you stand outside a colony right after sunset, things get pretty noisy.”

“Penguins.” She almost whispers the word. “That’s so cool.”

The wash races over the sand and breaks across our toes. I figure out a plan of attack. “We’ll paddle to the left shoulder where the wave’s less steep. Stick with me, okay?” No one else is out and my voice feels extra loud even though I’m speaking quiet.

“Have you ever been to Rome?” She takes my hand.

“No, not yet.”

“Me neither. But I can’t imagine the Sistine Chapel being more amazing than this.”

Besides the moon, there’s zero light pollution. The Milky Way arches in a dazzling band across the sky’s apex. Individual stars are indistinguishable in the brilliant haze.

“You ready?”

She squeezes my hand in reply.

We paddle out.

“Whoa!” She pushes her chest up to better peer over her board’s tip. Around us the water casts a luminous green-blue light.

“Phosphorescence. Cool, eh? It’s blooming phytoplankton, caused by this marine species of dinoflagellates releasing enzymes that—”

“That’s enough, Sid the Science Kid. Let me retain this fairy kingdom illusion a little while longer.”

“Science is cool, Captain.”

“I never said—Oh, crap!”

Instead of duck-diving under the incoming wave, the water wall pounds her in the face. She breaks through the other side, coughing out a lung.

“We can head back to shore, don’t have to—”

“I’m fine. Please. There’s a wave coming. I can feel the pull. Can you?”

“You want it?”

“It’s all yours.”

I take off on a left break and fly down the smooth face. For a few perfect seconds, I’m right here in the moment. Rational thought is eclipsed and with it the aggravating confusion of having everything: Talia, Tasmania, honors, and still hungering for more like a greedy bastard. I paddle back to her.

“You looked great.”

“That was good.”

She sits, bobbing lightly. “It’s not as freaky out here as I imagined.”

“Fucking hell, Captain. You said you weren’t scared.”

“No, I never did. I’m scared by everything. But I want to do this.”

We’re quiet. A few more waves come but I let them go, happy to be with my girl, the stars, and the radiant water.

Hard not to believe in magic on such a night.

She clears her throat. “About what happened back at the house…if this is going to work, you can’t shut me out. You’re not just a you anymore; we’re an us. We have to be there for each other.”

I bob on my board and drag my fingers through the water. The phosphorescence lights from my touch. Finally I speak. “Karma’s got this mate; he’s on the crew of a Sea Alliance vessel. There’s an opening for a gig, with voyages to Japan and Antarctica.”

“You want to go for it?” I can’t decipher her expression.

I almost say no, but honesty’s easier in the anonymous dark. “Yeah, kinda. But I want to be with you more.”

“Oh, Bran, that’s way too much pressure.”

“What do you mean?”

“Imagine coming home in a few months and I’m all vegged on the couch, watching awful reality television. Will you think to yourself, ‘I could be gallantly defending the high seas but instead I’m attached to this boring anchor’?”

“Life with you is bound to be a lot of things, but boring isn’t the first depiction that springs to mind.”

“But life isn’t always night surfing. I…I can’t compete against a fantasy.”

“I never said you had to.”

“Isn’t supporting the other’s goals a fundamental part of the good girlfriend/boyfriend job description? I mean, say I always wanted to volunteer in Africa? Join the Peace Corps.”

“Do you?”

“I used to toy around with the idea. Now? I’m not sure but I don’t want to close myself off to opportunities.”

“We can travel through Africa someday.”

“Peace Corps is one of my dreams, not yours. I want you to have the freedom to pursue your own happiness.”

“You make me happy.” I strike my words like flint before sucking in a rough breath. “Look, I’m not a guy cut out for the long-distance thing. I hated every second we were apart the last two months.”
“Bran…” She reaches out her hand and I take hold. “I won’t let go.”

“Me neither.” I scrutinize the sky, heart clanging. Everything appears so deceptively still. In reality, the Earth careens through space. Talia and I, we’re little specks of cosmic dust in the grand scheme. It wouldn’t take much to blow away from each other.

“But in the future—”

“I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the support. But the only future I’m willing to discuss is the one where it’s me and you—together.”

Better to orbit far away from black holes.

My review of Upside Down 
Add Upside Down on GoodReads
Buy Upside Down: Amazon || Kobo || Barnes & Noble 

My review of Sideswiped
Add Sideswiped on GoodReads
Buy Sideswiped: Amazon || Kobo || Barnes & Noble

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn't mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Release Day Review: Sideswiped by Lia Riley

Sideswiped by Lia Riley
Series: Off the Map #2
Published: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central/Forever
384 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Kobo}
{Read my review of Upside Down}

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight—because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

Upside Down, the first book in the Off the Map series, was emotional, funny, sexy—basically everything New Adult should be. I loved Talia and Bran’s story, and while I was excited to see more of them in Sideswiped, I admit part of me was a bit wary. Sometimes when there’s a series about the same people, it can ruin the feelings you first had for them. You might get tired of the characters, or they go in a direction you don’t like, or any number of other things. So even though I loved these characters and part of me was like GIVE ME ALL THE TALIA AND BRAN, I went into Sideswiped cautiously. I think it’s a testament to Lia Riley’s writing that after reading Sideswiped I love these characters even more and wish I could read about them forever.

It was easy to get invested in Talia and Bran’s love story in Upside Down, and that feeling just grew in Sideswiped. Their relationship is far from perfect, but the love they have for each other is beautiful. The romantic things they say to each other had me alternately swooning and sighing wistfully. Then there were times when they infuriated me so much I wanted to knock their heads together…hard. In many cases, that might make me dislike the book itself, because the characters are just so freaking stupid you wonder how they can function, but that wasn’t the case with Sideswiped. Talia and Bran are so human, so real. They both have issues—together and separately—and they’re legitimate issues people and couples deal with. They make mistakes, they sometimes say things that make you cringe, but it’s REAL, and I love that.

Their struggles were very real and believable—wondering what to do after school; wanting to stay together, but not sure how to make it work; wanting to do things they’re passionate about, but worrying what it would mean for their relationship. I felt for them and wanted things to work out, but wondered how they could. Their situation seemed hopeless at times, and that really came across.

Now, let’s see, what else can I gush about? ;-) This book wasn’t all seriousness and angst though; there was a lot of humour—great banter, plus funny internal dialogue from both characters. I was happy to see more from Bran’s perspective this time around. Dual POV can sometimes be a disaster, but Riley pulled it off seamlessly. 

Something else I love: how Riley doesn’t shy away from anything. She puts it all out there. In the first book there’s this part with a vibrator that shocked me because you rarely read about stuff like that. It was funny and sexy and honest. In Sideswiped there’s a scene in a waxing parlour that had me just about rolling. My mouth was hanging open and I ended up in a complete giggle fit. Riley took scenarios that could be totally shocking and possibly uncomfortable and made them hilarious and relatable. I love the overall messages about pleasure and sex. I also love how realistic the sex scenes are. They’re ridiculously hot, but there are small things you don’t often see in sex scenes that make them real, and make them things you can relate to. They’re not just wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sex scenes, they’re sensual and just SO FREAKING HOT. I appreciated that Talia became more adventurous sexually and enjoyed exploring and knew it was okay to have a healthy, active sex life. There need to be more books like this, where the sex is a natural part of the story and isn’t thrown in as an afterthought or to reach a quota of sexytimes. 

Lia Riley is officially one of my favourite voices in New Adult. The world needs more books like this—honest, real, raw, relatable, funny, sexy, and memorable. I was emotionally invested in Sideswiped from beginning to end. It made me laugh, made my heart ache, inspired me, and made me believe that true love really is possible. Even though I’m going to be sad to say goodbye to Talia and Bran, I’m eager to read the conclusion of their story in Inside Out, and then to see what Lia Riley comes up with after that.


Have you read Upside Down or Sideswiped? What are some of your favourite New Adult books?
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