Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Falling to Pieces (Pieces #1) by Jamie Canosa

Introducing Falling to Pieces by Jamie Canosa

Suffering the bitter tongues of her alcoholic mother and cruel boyfriend, Jade struggles just to look at herself in the mirror. She hates her life, her insecurities, her ineptitudes, but most of all . . . Jade hates herself. She wants nothing more than to disappear, and everyone seems happy to let her. Until Kiernan Parks moves back into town.

Jade’s been crushing on him ever since kindergarten, when his family moved away. But now he’s back, and looking better than ever.

Hiding is a way of life for Jade, but Kiernan insists on uncovering the real girl he’s sees trapped inside her. On drawing her out of her shell, and showing her that she is someone worthy of love. 

Together, they fight back the darkness she’s living in. But when they finally step into the light, will the secret Kiernan’s been trying to keep buried destroy Jade, once and for all? 

For some people, happy endings are a fairytale.

Get your copy here:


My Two Cents...

I am always excited when Jamie releases a new book, and I was even more excited when she approached me about being apart of the blog tour for Falling to Pieces. Once again, Jamie hits it out of the park. She has the amazing ability to create characters that you can't help but fall head over heals for. From the very first page, I was hooked. I instantly felt for Jade and loved the idea of Kiernan being her knight in shining armor. I flew through this book, unable to put it down, spending my valuable planning time at work, "reading one more chapter." I loved watching their story unfold. But be forewarned, this story doesn't have a happy ending. In fact, this ending left me a crying mess. It was excruciatingly beautiful, and left me with a book hangover. After I finished it, I found myself unable to think of anything else but this story, picking up my Kindle, again and again, to re-read my favorite parts. 

For those of you who have read my other reviews, you know that I love nothing more than to be emotionally wrecked after reading a good love story, and this book definitely left me emotionally destroyed. It is a bit of a departure for Jamie, and definitely more mature than her previous novels. It carries the NA label, but it does not fit the mold of what I have come to expect when I see the NA label attached to a book. If you are picking it up expecting tons of hot and steamy scenes, you will be disappointed. However, there is a maturity about this story that prevents it from being a YA novel. At it's core, it is an honest-to-goodness LOVE story. The love between Jade and Kiernan is the type of love that we all secretly pray to experience at least once before we die. The only thing that I would have wished for, is a happier ending.


Up Next in the Pieces Series...

We can expect a novella, entitled Angel, featuring Kiernan's brother, Cal (release date TBA), as well as the continuation of Jade's story in book two (title/release date TBA). I know where I would like to see the story go, but I guess I will just have to see if my predictions come true. I'm really just hoping for a happier ending.


Meet the Author

Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA/NA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Upstate NY with her husband, and their three crazy kids . . . plus the cat, the bird, and the rabbit.

Author Links:


And Now for a Giveaway!


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing--a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.


It's true what they say: "Childhood is what we spend the rest of our lives trying to get over." Or at least it's partially true. I found myself questioning time and again how anyone who grew up like Jeannette could turn into a functioning, productive adult. The narrative is well written, humorous, and heartbreaking at times. It speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, and the inevitable heartbreak when you finally realize you can't help someone who doesn't want help, no matter how much you love them. It also serves as further evidence that none of us escape our childhoods unscathed. But just like Jeannette, I'm not sure I would give up those scars even if I could. For it is those scars that shape us into the people that we become, for better or for worse. Although, I'd like to think the "better" outweighs the "worst."

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said. “Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery–and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words,Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.


And he [Jesus] said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3

I can't say that I had any profound epiphanies while reading this book, but I was struck by the above Bible verse, which is referenced in the book. It is so easy for children to believe and have faith. They are absolutely fearless and they see the world with such purity. It's sad to think that it is the loss of that child innocence that bogs us down with fear and doubt. How sad, that as we grow up and gain life experience, we lose a truly special part of ourselves that we will struggle to regain for the rest of our lives. Even Colton's father, a pastor, found it hard to believe his son's story at first. How much easier life would be if we could all just return to that part of ourselves?

This is a remarkable little story, and a very enjoyable and quick read. If you are a believer, than I think there is a lot in here that can reaffirm your beliefs and give you hope for beyond this life. I liked how Todd included several passages from the Bible that aligned with what Colton said about heaven, as he discussed his own apprehensions about the validity of his son's story. I also appreciated the fact that he was honest in his skepticism, even though he was a pastor. This story is not "preachy" in any way, and came across as an honest retelling of a horrific experience that turned into a blessing not only for the Burpo Family, but many others as well. Sometimes our darkest hour is one of God's mercies in disguise.

Nova and Quinton: No Regrets (Nova #3) by Jessica Sorensen

Today is the first day of Quinton Carter's new life. The toxic guilt of his past left him in pieces-but one girl unexpectedly put him back together. Thanks to Nova Reed, Quinton can finally see the world with clear eyes. She's the reason his heart is still kicking behind the jagged scar on his chest. And he would love to have her in his arms every minute of the day . . . but he's not ready yet.

Playing drums in a band and living with her best friends are just some of the highlights of Nova's life. But the best new development? Talking to Quinton on the phone each night. She wishes she could touch him, kiss him, though she knows he needs time to heal. Yet shocking news is on the way-a reminder of life's dark side-and Nova will need Quinton like he once needed her. Is he strong enough to take the final leap out of his broken past . . . and into Nova's heart?


This might be my favorite series of Jessica’s, which is saying a lot, because I LOVE her books. Jessica is one of the few authors that I automatically pre-order whatever book she has coming out because I know I'm going to love it. She is also one of my go-to authors when I'm looking for an emotional roller coaster ride.

What I appreciated most about the series was that Jessica didn’t try to sugarcoat addiction. Her characters are real and dealing with real issues. There wasn’t a magical moment when they were suddenly able to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and move on. They had to put in the work. They struggled and faced temptation. As someone who has seen addiction first hand, I appreciated that, because it's not pretty. Other books that I have read that deal with similar issues have glossed over the ugly parts of addiction, or made it seem like it was all too easy to overcome this devastating disease. Not the case here, which added a real sense of reality to this fictional world.

Jessica has an extraordinary ability to create characters that you feel for. I identified with Nova’s wish to fix everything for the ones she cares about. I loved seeing Quinton find purpose and direction again. But what I loved most, was watching them finally make their way back to each other. I was very happy with the ending of Quinton and Nova’s story. They are one of my favorite couples, because they are not perfect people. They are perfect for each other. I was saddened to see that not all of the characters ended up with a happy ending, but life doesn’t always work like that, even in fiction. For me, this again added to the realist quality that this series has.


Up next in the Nova Series...

Tristan: Finding Hope (Nova #3.5)
Release Date: June 2014

A FREE short story featuring Tristan and prequel to Wreck Me.

Wreck Me (Nova #4)
Release Date: October 2014

Tristan and Avery's story.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Avery Hensley who thought she’d found the guy—the one that she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with. They got married young and had the most beautiful son in the world.

Life seemed perfect.

But not everything is what it seems.

Turned out the guy had another side to him, one Avery didn’t see coming. He wrecked her and broke her into a thousand pieces that she had to put back together again. She swore off guys from then on, vowing never to let anyone hurt her or her son again. She built a wall around herself and planned on never letting anyone through it again.

But then she meets Tristan Morganson. He wrecks Avery in a different way, the kind of way that makes her feel free again, the kind of way that makes her think not all guys are bad. But can Avery trust him enough to let her wall come crumbling down?


Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society. 

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.


This is a hard book for me to review, because I feel like I am missing some essential element needed to understand the greater message of the novel. I had a really hard time connecting to this story and its characters. The plot of the story is sparse. Not a lot happens. Because of this, I had a hard time connecting with the characters and their journeys.

I get why the book is called Things Fall Apart. Events outside of Okonkwo’s control cause his world to fall apart and send him into exile for seven years. His tribe and culture begin to “fall apart” under the outside influences of western culture after the missionaries move in and begin converting tribe members. I can certainly understand this to a point. I have studied colonialism and its effects on different cultures, but having never experienced it myself, I will admit that my understanding is limited. I think that is why narratives like Things Fall Apart are important. It prevents us from, what author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls the “danger of a single story” (Sidenote: Check out her TED Talk on this topic here. It’s incredibly powerful). Stories like this are important because they contribute to a broader understanding of the human experience, which is both universal and unique.

There were a lot of times throughout this novel that I had to stop myself from judging the characters through the lens of my own cultural understanding. There were many instances, especially with the main character Okonkwo and his wives, where I found myself getting worked up, forgetting that he exists in a different culture, with different values and social norms. While I personally I don’t think that this is a legitimate justification for his actions, it does help to understand why he acted this way. Even if it makes me cringe.

In the end, I can’t say that I enjoyed this novel. In truth, I read it because I had to. I recognize the necessity of having narratives like this written, published, and read. I just can’t say that this novel did anything for me, but to add a very small piece of the puzzle to understanding a culture quite different from my own. I don’t say this to diminish the novel in any way; I can only speak to my experience. I would encourage others to give the book a chance, despite my low rating. You will be no worse for wear if you decide to pick up this book, and at the very least, you will come away from this novel more culturally aware than before.


Deceiving Lies (Forgiving Lies #2) by Molly McAdams

Deceiving Lies is the sequel to Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams. 

Rachel and Kash thought everything was behind them. They are in the process of planning their wedding, and the future ahead of them looks bright, until Kash’s life as an undercover narcotics agent comes back to steal their happiness. Kidnapped from her home, Rachel now finds herself in the hands of a gang seeking revenge against Kash and is partner, Mace. Kash has only one focus: find Rachel and bring her home, no matter what he has to do, or what rules he has to break.

Trent Cruz’s orders were clear: take Rachel. But after spending months watching her, he can’t help the feelings that Rachel inspires in him. He feels trapped in a life that he never wanted and is determined to protect Rachel, even at the risk of angering his fellow gang members. As time goes on, Rachel begins to see Trent less and less like her captor, and more and more like a true friend and protector. Living in close quarters and facing a life and death situation, leaves Rachel somewhat confused over her feelings. She wants desperately to get back to Kash, but she can’t help caring about Trent.

Can Rachel and Kash find their way back to each other? If they do, will things ever be the same? Or did Trent steal more than just their happily ever after?


Molly McAdams is the queen of the torturous love triangle, and while I LOVE her books, I also know that when I pick one up I am asking to be emotionally destroyed. While this series is full of angst and still emotional, it is different from other novels of hers that I have read. While Deceiving Lies does contain a love triangle, it is a largely unreciprocated love triangle, that didn't leave me me angry (as most love triangles do). Instead, the love triangle made me feel more compassion towards Trent. He turned out to be an alright guy in the end. While he did love Rachel and did physically steal her, I think he knew that her heart would always belong to Kash and was simply content to spend what time he could with her and love her. 

Rachel is an amazing heroine. I’m not sure many women could survive what she has endured and still be able to function as a normal human being. I love her relationship with Kash and her spitfire attitude. I still think she and I could be great friends. Kash is still swoon worthy. He is all alpha and everything that makes a good book boyfriend. I also enjoyed seeing his more vulnerable side and watching him walk the line between what is right and what is a step too far. While still emotional, this book was less emotionally destructive for me than other McAdams novels. However, I should note that Taking Chances was the first Molly McAdams book that I ever read and serves as my point of reference when comparing her other novels. For those of you who have read Taking Chances, you understand that this might not be a fair comparison, as that book is really in a league all its own. It’s all I got, so I’m going with it. 

Overall, I was quite pleased with how this sequel played out. Everyone ended up where they should. Like Forgiving Lies, Deceiving Lies was plenty of action, lots of angst, and plenty of drool worthy men. I know that Mace is due to have his own book, and that is set up quite nicely at the end of this one. I hope that Molly is taking it in the direction that I would like to see it go - namely that Candice and Mace end up together, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I also hope that Molly will give Trent his own book in the future too. He has already joined by book boyfriend list, and I would love to know what happens to him next and see him find his own happy ending. Fingers crossed!

The Princess of Sparta (Heroes of the Trojan War #1) by Aria Cunningham

Everyone knows the story of Helen of Troy and her prince, Paris. Their love story has become legend and their names are inextricably linked, like Romeo and Juliet and all the other tragic lovers of the past. I have to admit that I never really had a lot of compassion for Helen and Paris. Helen was always the seductress who used her beauty as a weapon. Paris was the spoiled prince who was content to sit back and let others fight his battles. Not exactly people who inspire a lot of compassion. That is until I read the version of their story written by Aria Cunningham.

While Aria’s narrative is faithful to the historical events, she crafts the characters of Helen and Paris in a way that is so different from any other that I have encountered. Helen is a humble princess of Sparta, destined to become a great queen. As men from all over come to seek her hand in marriage, Helen faces the most important decision of her life. This Helen is honorable, loyal, and her beauty is more of a curse than a blessing. I instantly connected with her and felt compassion for her situation. Especially after she marries Menelaus, who is a complete brute, and must suffer the carnal desire her sister’s husband, Agamemnon. Her only solace is the promise from Aphrodite of a great love.

Paris is not the spoiled prince. He is a noble prince of Troy, and a respected ambassador, but he is also a cursed man. A dark omen cursed his birth, claiming that he would lead to the destruction of Troy, leading his own mother to try and kill him. Scorned by this family and the other Trojan nobles, Paris has spent his life traveling as an ambassador, always far from home and never knowing love. The guilt he feels because of this curse and the small kindness his father, Priam, has shown him in preventing his death, drives his desire to bring honor to Troy. When his father sends him to deliver a message to Agamemnon about the strength of Troy, it is with the promise that Paris might finally be allowed to remain in Troy upon his return. Again, Aria’s portrayal of Paris makes him a much more sympathetic character. He is everything a great prince should be - handsome, brave, loyal - and his desire to overcome his fate is commendable. 

Because they are such likable characters, it makes the tragedy of their situation that much greater. These two really are soul mates. Watching them try to fight their fate and feel trapped by their situations in life, made for all the angsty goodness that is a well written romance novel. The passion between these lovers makes for some steamy, but tastefully done love scenes. I found myself completely lost in their story, and even though I know the outcome, I can't help myself from hoping that maybe this time there could be a different ending for Helen and Paris. 

I have few criticisms of this novel, and fans of historical romances will be pleased. There were times when Aria used a more modern dialect that threw me out of the world of the story for a moment. For example, Paris’s thought upon seeing Helen for the first time is, “Oh, f*#$ me.” While appropriate to the situation, not so appropriate for the time period. Aria did such a good job with making sure the language she used fit within the context of the time period, that when there was a change in diction, it was quite obvious and jarring. It doesn't happen often, and could have been done for emphasis. When it did happen, for me, it was like the mental equivalent of a tree root one catches their foot on while walking down the street. It caused me to stumble, but I was quickly able to regain my balance and jump back into the story.

My only other criticism is the somewhat cheesy cover. I know that you should never judge a book by its cover, but with so many options available, a good cover goes a long way. A good cover is nothing if there isn't any substance to back it up, but a good cover makes me more likely to pick a book up and read the synopsis, increasing its chances that I will adopt it and take it home. I have to say that if I saw Princess of Sparta in a bookstore and knew nothing about it, I would have most likely passed it by. The cover is just too reminiscent of the cookie cutter romance novels that you can buy for a dime a dozen at Goodwill. And that would be a shame, because despite its cover, this book is worth your time.

The Princess of Sparta only gives us part of the story, and it’s sequel, Princess of Betrayal, is scheduled for release in Fall, 2014. I will be eagerly awaiting its release.

For more information on the author, Aria Cunningham, and her novels, check out her website at http://www.ariacunningham.com/.

**Note: I received a free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, a 16 year old junior, recounts the events following his expulsion from his school, Pencey, and his adventures in New York City as he avoids going home to face his parents' reaction to the news. Holden is the quintessential misunderstood teenager who wants desperately to fit in, but can't seem to connect with anyone.

I somehow escaped reading The Catcher in the Rye in high school, the age when most people read this novel for the first time. Over the years, I have had many people, males especially, tell me how they loved this book and connected to the main character, Holden Caulfield. I read it for the first time last summer and to be honest, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Nothing significant really happens in the story and Holden spends the majority of the novel complaining about everyone and everything. Not exactly my cup of tea. I wouldn’t say I hated it, but I certainly did not experience the connection with Holden so many others did. I’m not sure if that had more to do with my age, or my personality. I have always had very little patience for people who refuse to help themselves, and Holden seemed to fall into that category, which left me little sympathy for him.

I decided to give the book another chance and reread it, as my 10th grade students prepared to study it for the first time. While it still is not a favorite of mine, I do have to say that I find myself having a lot more compassion for Holden after my subsequent reading. I think Holden is a lonely boy. A boy who suffered greatly after the death of his brother and feels abandoned by his parents after they send him away to boarding school after boarding school. I think that he desperately wants to connect with someone, but doesn’t know how and fears being judged. He looks for connection in anyone who will give him the time of day, while at the same time keeping people at a distance. Holden hides behind the pretense that he can’t stand “phonies” when he himself is one of the phoniest people in the novel. He looks for faults in others, but refuses to truly recognize them in himself.

The only real connection he has is with his sister, Phoebe, who is a child. Holden is still a child in many ways and talks about how he desperately wants to protect innocence of the children he sees, but I think it is his innocence that he wants to protect. He is on the cusp of adulthood, but instead of looking forward to the future, Holden wants to freeze time. He was clearly deeply affected by the death of his brother and his failure to protect his innocence.

So in the end, I have a new appreciation for The Catcher in the Rye, but you still won’t find it at the top of my favorite books list. Perhaps this might have been different had I read it as an adolescent, but I still think I would have been impatient with Holden. Maybe future re-readings of the novel will continue to change my perspective.


Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman

Death and the Maiden is the three act play written by Ariel Dorfman in response to the social, economic, and political events surrounding the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile and its eventual overthrow and governmental shift to democracy. 

Set in a country (presumably Chile, but never specified) that has recently returned to a democracy. Paulina Salas waits at home for her husband, Gerardo Escobar, a lawyer recently named to the Commission in charge of investigating the crimes of the old regime, to return home. When Gerardo returns accompanied by Roberto Miranda, a doctor who has stopped to give Gerardo a ride after his car gets a flat tire, Paulina believes she is again hearing the voice of the man who raped and tortured her years before. Taking matters into her own hands, Paulina detains Roberto, seeking the justice that has been denied to her.

I must confess that I do not know much about Chilean history or the dictatorship of Pinochet, except what little I have picked up in my effort to provide my students with some historical context for this play. I think the background of the author and the historical context of the play are important element to understanding this play, but it can also be read and understood without them. What I most appreciated about this play is not the historical connections, but rather the more universal themes it addresses, which were wonderfully summed up by the author in the Afterword:

Death and the Maiden is “not only about a country that is afraid and simultaneously needful of understanding its fear and its scars, not only about the long-term effects of torture and violence on human beings and the beautiful body of their land, but about other themes that have always obsessed me: what happens when women take power. How can you tell the truth if the mask you have adopted ends up being identical to your face? How does memory beguile and save and guide us? How can we keep our innocence once we have tasted evil? How to forgive those who have hurt us irreparably? How do we find a language that is political but not pamphletary? How to tell stories that are both popular and ambiguous, stories that can be understood by large audiences and yet contain stylistic experimentation, that are mythical and also about immediate human beings?”

Dorfman style is simplistic, but deliberate. Each word, each action, every nuance has a purpose. He does some pretty amazing things with symbolism, particularly with the use of silence and sound, and light and darkness. It is through these things that Dorfman artfully explores the issues of power, forgiveness, and justice. What I appreciated most about the play is that Dorfman does not thrust his bias down your throat, but leaves it up to you to make your own decisions. I found myself sympathizing with different characters at different points in the play, sometimes shocked at myself for sympathizing with characters that I previously scorned. The end is ambiguous, leaving the audience to decide what is justified in the end.

Be warned that this play does include sensitive topics, such as rape and torture, and does contain language that may be considered inappropriate. Nevertheless, I do think it is a worthwhile read and I would love to see it performed one day. There is a movie adaptation, but I have been told that it deviates from the play.