December 23, 2015

12 days of reading recap

Blogger's Note: This will be my last post for 2015. After releasing The Marrying Type, First & Goal, and All I Want For Christmas and working on my upcoming titles due for release in 2016, I am taking off the rest of the year to relax and reboot so we can start off the new year on a good note. Thanks to each and every one of you for your ongoing support through the years. I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season. See you next year!


Thanks for following along the past couple of weeks as I highlighted some of my favorite reads from 2015. In case you missed any of them, here's a quick recap:

Day 1: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.


A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.


Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and the creator and star of The Mindy Project comes a collection of essays that are as hilarious and insightful as they are deeply personal.

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.


In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)


Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything. Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof. 

It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’ 

But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated. 

Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning.


But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one. Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all?

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


“Professional athletes are pillars of their respective communities. They are heroes in the eyes of boys and girls and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents their community.”

The public loves a good scandal. Seeing someone fall from the pinnacle of success makes a great headline. No one knows that better than I do. What started out as a promising career in college football, spiraled into scandal and shame. 


But being a hero is easier said then done. Especially when there are those who expected to see the great Brody Madden fail. I craved nothing except being the best—willing to do anything to prove them wrong. But I went too far, and I tried too hard, and it broke me.


“At the time of going to print, Jordan Elliott was unavailable for comment.” 


I met Brody Madden in my senior year of college. An Australian native on an international scholarship, I was the female soccer sensation with stars in her eyes and no room for a hotshot wide receiver with a chip on his shoulder.


But a heart bursting with ambition and a driving fire to succeed isn’t made of stone. I became his strength, his obsession, and the greatest love of his life. Only I wasn’t there when he needed me most.


This is a story about love and a game that takes everything. Where the path to glory is paved with sacrifice. Where pressure makes you, or breaks you, and triumph is born in the ashes of failure. Where two people’s end game will change everything.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  Goodreads
Maura Richards has a plan for her life—it involves not having a plan. From biding her time at a long-term temp job to ending relationships before they get too serious, Maura’s only commitment is to being noncommittal.

When she meets Jet Knox, the starting quarterback of her beloved hometown football team, she dismisses their encounter as a thrilling brush with celebrity she can drag out at parties for a few years, and nothing more. Jet has other ideas. He’s someone who’s made a living setting—and scoring—goals. Wooing Maura is his latest objective.


Everyone in Maura’s life seems to have a take on her relationship with the All-Pro QB, but with so many swirling opinions, rumors, and doubts, Maura must rely on the judgment of the very last person she feels she can trust: herself.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads



Day 6: Now a Major Motion Picture by Stacey Wideower
Eight years after her fiancé's betrayal rips her world apart, Amelia Wright is at the pinnacle of career success. Using heartbreak as her muse, she's authored Shattered, a best-selling dystopian series that's headed for the big screen. Though she writes under a pen name, she's secretly scared Noah Bradley, her ex-fiancé, will recognize himself in her work, and, worse yet, realize she's never moved on.

But in a world of Instagram and iPhones, Amelia quickly learns it isn't easy to hide in plain sight-especially after a paparazzo steals a shot of Amelia in a steamy encounter with the star of her upcoming movie. At the height of the tabloid frenzy, Amelia uncovers a secret about Noah's betrayal and finds herself faced with a choice. Will she move forward with her new life of Louboutins, limos, and bullying paparazzi or succumb to the pull of a past she thought she'd finally written off?


Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Giuliana Rancic is best known for interviewing A-listers on the red carpet and E! News, skewering their shocking style choices on Fashion Police, and giving viewers a front row seat to her marriage and family life on her reality show, Giuliana & Bill. What fans may not know is that she learned English from Eddie Murphy, got her American citizenship so she could be a beauty queen, and used to have a bad habit of stealing cars for fun. 

Giuliana bares this and so much more in her hilarious, warm, and inspiring memoir, Going Off Script. From a young age she dreamed of being a TV anchorwoman but, because of her inclination toward mischief and away from schoolwork, her path to her dream job was far from straight. After a fateful (and mortifying) encounter with the late Senator Ted Kennedy, she learned that Hollywood news was where she belonged. Thankfully for readers, this epiphany led her to a bounty of LA misadventures (featuring notables such as Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Russell Crowe) and an entertaining behind-the-scenes perspective on what our favorite celebrities are really like. 

In spite of her glamorous Hollywood life, however, Giuliana could not escape some rockier times, including her battles with infertility and breast cancer. Here, for the first time, she reveals the whole truth behind her well-publicized struggles, and the highly controversial decisions she had to make. And, of course, at the heart of it all are the two loves of her life who keep her strong through everything, her husband Bill and her son, Duke. 

Candid, funny, and poignant, Going Off Script is an autobiography that proves you don’t always have to follow the rules to get the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads



A former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner describes how her years inside the Playboy Mansion went from a fairytale of A-list celebrity parties to an oppressive regime of strict rules, scheduled sex, and a total loss of identity, so much so that she even contemplated suicide.





Landon Brinkley’s dreams are all coming true. She’s landed an internship with the fabulous Selah Smith, event planner for the Hollywood elite, taking her from small-town Texas to the bright lights of LA. Landon soon finds herself in a world in which spending a million dollars on an event—even a child’s birthday party—is de rigueur and the whims of celebrity clients are life-and-death matters. At first, the thrill of working on A-list parties and celebrity weddings is enough to get Landon through the seventy-five-hour workweeks and endless abuse at the hands of her mercurial boss. But when the reality of the business reveals itself, she’s forced to make a choice: do whatever it takes to get ahead, or stay true to herself.

Drawing on the author’s real-life experiences as an event planner to the stars, Party Girl takes readers on an adventure among Hollywood’s most beautiful—and most outrageous—peopl

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Day 10: Jane Eyre by Jane Austen
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.


An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Find the Book on Amazon
Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads



When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act. 

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker. 

But Ian has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart. 

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Now that I've shared some of my favorite reads from 2015, it's your turn--which books make your list?


View my previous 12 Days of series here.


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December 22, 2015

12 days of reading: 'heart-shaped hack' by tracey garvis graves

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. For these final two days, I'm featuring two books that I haven't read yet, but are on my "must-read-before-the-end-of-the-year" list. Enjoy!



Day 12: Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis Graves

I totally meant to read this book sooner, but as way leads to way (or more specifically time gets away from you) this is one story I haven't done yet, and I can't wait.

About the Book
When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act. 

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker. 

But Ian has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart. 

I'm a big fan of TGG. Not only was she one of the most genuinely wonderful authors I've ever had the pleasure to meet, but she's just so talented. I've never been disappointed with any of her books, and I have no doubt I will love this one, too.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


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December 21, 2015

12 days of reading: 'finding audrey' by sophie kinsella

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. For these final two days, I'm featuring two books that I haven't read yet, but are on my "must-read-before-the-end-of-the-year" list. Enjoy!



Day 11: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

The fabulously fantastic Sophie Kinsella released a young adult novel this year, and the premise sounds exactly like something I would have liked to read when I was a young adult. Heck, it's still way applicable for me as an alleged grownup.

About the Book
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

I really like the idea of a book for young adults (or any readers) that tackles anxiety disorders. I wish a book like this would have been around in my younger days (or even a year ago) to help me feel like I maybe wasn't quite so alone.

I'll be sure to share my thoughts on this read on Goodreads once I have finished it.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


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December 18, 2015

12 days of reading: jane eyre by charlotte bronte

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!


Day 10: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This year I finally read a book I'd been meaning to read FOREVER--Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

About the Book
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

I've been familiar with the story for years--heck I've watched the Michael Fassbender adaptation of the movie more times than I can remember--but this year I actually sat down to read the story.

And I kind of loved it.

If Jane Austen is the mother of romance and chick lit, well, I'm thinking Charlotte is maybe the original young adult/new adult mama. And I mean that as a compliment. Though I hate comparing apples and oranges (along with avoiding cliches), Bronte's work definitely has more angst and emotion than Austen's works. I particularly hate bringing this up because Char somewhat famously criticized Austen for her lack of emotion, but whatevs.

I found Jane to be a relatable character. I found Mr. Rochester to be super hunky. (We can talk the political correctness of that if you like, but I'm still going to think he's hot.) And I liked the exploration we took of Jane's life through her formative years until she found her happily ever after.

This book took me a while to get through--not because it was slow, but there was a lot of it. Getting to the end felt like a great accomplishment. Then again, sometimes it's just really nice to read a book that's been on your to-be-read pile for ages and ages.

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


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December 17, 2015

12 days of reading: 'party girl' by rachel hollis

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!



Day 9: Party Girl by Rachel Hollis

I'm so glad I read Rachel Hollis's debut novel Party Girl. It's a fun, fast-paced read with a quirky and adorkable leading lady who is easy to love.

About the Book
Landon Brinkley’s dreams are all coming true. She’s landed an internship with the fabulous Selah Smith, event planner for the Hollywood elite, taking her from small-town Texas to the bright lights of LA. Landon soon finds herself in a world in which spending a million dollars on an event—even a child’s birthday party—is de rigueur and the whims of celebrity clients are life-and-death matters. At first, the thrill of working on A-list parties and celebrity weddings is enough to get Landon through the seventy-five-hour workweeks and endless abuse at the hands of her mercurial boss. But when the reality of the business reveals itself, she’s forced to make a choice: do whatever it takes to get ahead, or stay true to herself.

Drawing on the author’s real-life experiences as an event planner to the stars, Party Girl takes readers on an adventure among Hollywood’s most beautiful—and most outrageous—people, revealing the ugly side of Hollywood’s prettiest parties. 

After following Rachel Hollis and her super fantastic website on Facebook this year, I *finally* read Party Girl this month, and it was such a fun experience.

Landon is a small town girl with big L.A. dreams. She was so relatable and driven that I instantly found myself rooting her on to personal and professional success. I was caught up in her world through the vivid and often laugh-out-loud descriptions of the drama surrounding a fab party planner. Throw in some awesome besties and a hunky love interest to crush on, and this book had everything I could want.

I'll definitely be checking out the rest of Hollis's books. And if you aren't following her on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram you totally should. Rachel's posts are so positive and fun, I always look forward to seeing her in my feed.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

December 16, 2015

12 days of reading: 'down the rabbit hole' by holly madison

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!



Day 8: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

The college student in me who binge-watched episodes of the Girls Next Door (then for the next couple of years sporadically followed along additional adventures in Holly's World and Kendra) couldn't resist reading Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison.

About the Book
A former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner describes how her years inside the Playboy Mansion went from a fairytale of A-list celebrity parties to an oppressive regime of strict rules, scheduled sex, and a total loss of identity, so much so that she even contemplated suicide.

I received what I expected from reading this book--the revelation that what happens behind-the-scenes if a reality TV show isn't what you see on screen. I'll admit, I anticipated more dirt and flat-out name-calling, particularly with the outcry of contempt from some in the Playboy camp. I was also a little surprised by how much of the story took place after she left the mansion, but that was some of the most interesting to learn about.

I also know that this is only her side of the story, and we always know there are three sides: what he says, what she says, and the truth. And what she says made for an easy read that reminded me of the guilty pleasure I gained from tuning into E! regularly in the pre-Kardashian days. Fans of the show (and maybe even light beach reads) will likely find this entertaining of at least interesting.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

December 15, 2015

12 days of reading: 'going off script' by giuliana rancic

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!



Day 7: Going Off Script by  Giuliana Rancic

As someone who used to watch E! somewhat obsessively (I've moved on to HGTV in recent years, because I have serious real estate envy, and I gave up the Kardashians several years ago) I've had plenty of exposure to Giuliana Rancic both as a reporter and anchor on E! News and on her own show Giuliana and Bill. So I was definitely interested in checking out her memoirs when they were released this summer.

About the Book
Giuliana Rancic is best known for interviewing A-listers on the red carpet and E! News, skewering their shocking style choices on Fashion Police, and giving viewers a front row seat to her marriage and family life on her reality show, Giuliana & Bill. What fans may not know is that she learned English from Eddie Murphy, got her American citizenship so she could be a beauty queen, and used to have a bad habit of stealing cars for fun. 

Giuliana bares this and so much more in her hilarious, warm, and inspiring memoir, Going Off Script. From a young age she dreamed of being a TV anchorwoman but, because of her inclination toward mischief and away from schoolwork, her path to her dream job was far from straight. After a fateful (and mortifying) encounter with the late Senator Ted Kennedy, she learned that Hollywood news was where she belonged. Thankfully for readers, this epiphany led her to a bounty of LA misadventures (featuring notables such as Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Russell Crowe) and an entertaining behind-the-scenes perspective on what our favorite celebrities are really like. 

In spite of her glamorous Hollywood life, however, Giuliana could not escape some rockier times, including her battles with infertility and breast cancer. Here, for the first time, she reveals the whole truth behind her well-publicized struggles, and the highly controversial decisions she had to make. And, of course, at the heart of it all are the two loves of her life who keep her strong through everything, her husband Bill and her son, Duke. 

Candid, funny, and poignant, Going Off Script is an autobiography that proves you don’t always have to follow the rules to get the life you’ve always dreamed of.

There were many parts of this memoir that I didn't find too surprising. That Giuliana had worked fiercely to earn her spot at E! and had been willing to take risks. I watched for years, so I saw a lot of that happen. The parts that captured me most were how she candidly described what happened behind the scenes with her fertility struggles, her breast cancer diagnosis and the aftermath of both. Always a pillar of strength on screen and in the media, it was somewhat incredible to hear more about how hard she struggled to maintain that picture of calm when she really felt anything but.

This was a quick read, and one I found particularly interesting, because I've seen so much of Guiliana's career on screen, which is why it sticks out as one of my most notable reads of the year.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

December 14, 2015

12 days of reading: 'now a major motion picture' by stacey wideower

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!


Day 6: Now a Major Motion Picture by Stacey Wideower

Stacey Wideower combines an inventive premise with relatable characters in Now A Major Motion Picture.

About the Book
Eight years after her fiancé's betrayal rips her world apart, Amelia Wright is at the pinnacle of career success. Using heartbreak as her muse, she's authored Shattered, a best-selling dystopian series that's headed for the big screen. Though she writes under a pen name, she's secretly scared Noah Bradley, her ex-fiancé, will recognize himself in her work, and, worse yet, realize she's never moved on.

But in a world of Instagram and iPhones, Amelia quickly learns it isn't easy to hide in plain sight-especially after a paparazzo steals a shot of Amelia in a steamy encounter with the star of her upcoming movie. At the height of the tabloid frenzy, Amelia uncovers a secret about Noah's betrayal and finds herself faced with a choice. Will she move forward with her new life of Louboutins, limos, and bullying paparazzi or succumb to the pull of a past she thought she'd finally written off?

Now A Major Motion Picture is a fun and fast-paced story about a woman coming to terms with old heartbreak and learning to love again while also dealing with becoming an instant celebrity based on the success of her works.

I loved the premise of this book. It spoke to me both as a writer and as a huge fan of epic book-turned movie franchises, like the Hunger Games (which we just bid farewell to with the final installment of the series). I'm also a longtime sucker for stories about the one who got away. While the concept drew me to the story, Amelia, Noah, and the rest of the characters kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next.

Intriguing and fast moving, this story kept my interest through the end and didn't disappoint. I'd highly recommend this read for my fellow chick lit fans who have an appreciation for behind the scenes glimpses of the real world meeting Hollywood.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboGoodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

December 11, 2015

12 days of reading: 'out of my league' by brea brown

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!


Day 5: Out of My League by Brea Brown

Technically I read an early version of this book in 2014, but having recently re-read it to see the changes, I figure I can still count this on my 2015 list. :) Brea Brown is back on my best of list with her latest release, Out of My League, a book about love, decisions, and football.

About the Book
Maura Richards has a plan for her life—it involves not having a plan. From biding her time at a long-term temp job to ending relationships before they get too serious, Maura’s only commitment is to being noncommittal. 
When she meets Jet Knox, the starting quarterback of her beloved hometown football team, she dismisses their encounter as a thrilling brush with celebrity she can drag out at parties for a few years, and nothing more. Jet has other ideas. He’s someone who’s made a living setting—and scoring—goals. Wooing Maura is his latest objective. 
Everyone in Maura’s life seems to have a take on her relationship with the All-Pro QB, but with so many swirling opinions, rumors, and doubts, Maura must rely on the judgment of the very last person she feels she can trust: herself.

If you're a fan of football--or more specifically, a fan who sometimes fantasizes about running away with your favorite player--this is a great read for you.

The characters in this story are what makes it so fun. You have Maura--who I could totally relate to with her indecisiveness and inability to commit--and her quirky cast of friends and family, who are too opinionated for their own good. And then there's Jet: the hot shot quarterback with a heart of gold.

With lots of laugh-out-loud moments, this book is a fun escape and pleasure read.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

December 10, 2015

12 days of reading: 'the end game' by kate mccarthy

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!



Day 4: The End Game by Kate McCarthy

This was the year of football for me. And when I heard about this book, I knew I had to check it out. This romantic and angst-filled new adult fiction was a fast read that was hard to put down (Translation: I took it with me wherever I went, and I read it during every second of downtime I could find--during NaNoWriMo no less.)

About the Book
“Professional athletes are pillars of their respective communities. They are heroes in the eyes of boys and girls and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents their community.” 
The public loves a good scandal. Seeing someone fall from the pinnacle of success makes a great headline. No one knows that better than I do. What started out as a promising career in college football, spiraled into scandal and shame.  
But being a hero is easier said then done. Especially when there are those who expected to see the great Brody Madden fail. I craved nothing except being the best—willing to do anything to prove them wrong. But I went too far, and I tried too hard, and it broke me. 
“At the time of going to print, Jordan Elliott was unavailable for comment.”  
I met Brody Madden in my senior year of college. An Australian native on an international scholarship, I was the female soccer sensation with stars in her eyes and no room for a hotshot wide receiver with a chip on his shoulder.
But a heart bursting with ambition and a driving fire to succeed isn’t made of stone. I became his strength, his obsession, and the greatest love of his life. Only I wasn’t there when he needed me most. 
This is a story about love and a game that takes everything. Where the path to glory is paved with sacrifice. Where pressure makes you, or breaks you, and triumph is born in the ashes of failure. Where two people’s end game will change everything.

Filled with a steamy, yet often sweet, romance, this story had a lot going for it if you're a fan of romance. There were laugh (and gasp) out loud moments when you couldn't get through and flip the pages fast enough to find out what happened next.

The new adult work did a great job of capturing the hectic schedule and crazy demands of college athletes along with what it's like to be in that last year of college and the first year post-college. This is often a time already filled with a lot of anxiety about the future while grappling with the present.

The characters were easy to cheer for and support. Both were flawed in intriguing ways, but at their core they were trying to do and be their best under the pressure they faced. Brody and Jordan were well-developed and each carried their own burdens from the past that made their presents and futures extra complicated.

The sports factor in the book was a plus for me, but there wasn't so much of it that you wouldn't be able to follow if you don't know much about football (or in my case, soccer). It worked well, because the author did such a great job of world-building.

If you're looking for a toe-curling romantic escape, I'd highly recommend this one.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


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December 9, 2015

12 days of reading: 'peri in progress' by cat lavoie

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!



Day 3: Peri in Progress by Cat Lavoie

I was honored to be asked to beta read my friend Cat Lavoie's latest novel earlier this year, and I was seriously hooked on Peri in Progress from the first sentence.

About the Book
After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything. Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof.  
It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’  
But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated.  
Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning. 
But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one. Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all?

This is a lovely story. It was fun, fast-paced, and once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. As a woman approaching 30, I found this totally relatable, but I would have even if I was a kid or older. We're all works in progress, right?

This story is clever and witty. It had me laughing out loud, cringing, and even getting the clutch in my chest thingy where I wondered how those two crazy kids were going to work it out.

If you're looking for a light, fun, and flirty escape--filled with mouth-watering food descriptions--this one is for you.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


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December 8, 2015

12 days of reading: 'why not me?' by mindy kaling

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!



Day 2: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

If I could have but one wish this Christmas season, it would be for Mindy Kaling and I to have a fun and inventive bestie meet-cute and become a dynamic duo so clever and brilliant that even JLaw and Amy Schumer can't resist thinking about us in terms of #squadgoals. That's the thing about Mindy Kaling--she's so funny, so creative, and so damn relateable that you want to be her BFF.

And while it's highly improbable my Christmas wish will ever come true, at least I have her latest book, Why Not Me?, to ease the disappointment.

About the Book
From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and the creator and star of The Mindy Project comes a collection of essays that are as hilarious and insightful as they are deeply personal. 
In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you. 
In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

Like her first offering, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns, Why Not Me? has the potential to make you laugh out loud and also fight back tears with a sniffle and "No, I'm cool, bro." We get insight into what her life has been like since leaving The Office to create and run The Mindy Project, and we see how her life has changed.

Her brutal honesty packaged in glossy humor is particularly evident in passages that mirror her first book--like how she is similar to and different from Mindy on TV and a list of her fears--and show how much determination and hard work it takes to survive and thrive in the pursuit of living the dream.

There's also a chapter toward the end which is so fantastic--and so perfectly like a love letter to fans of chick lit and romantic comedies--that I would have been a happy reader if it had been the only contents in the book. I want to talk about it more, but I also don't want to spoil it if you haven't gotten around to reading this. (So please go and read this and then message me so we can talk about the scene. You'll know it when you get there.)

My future best friend Mindy Kaling didn't disappoint with this latest update on her life. I can't wait to read her next humorous memoir in a few more years.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


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December 7, 2015

12 days of reading: 'maybe someday' by colleen hoover

As 2015 comes to a close, I'm looking back at and celebrating some of my favorites reads from the year via the 12 Days of Reading. Enjoy!


Day 1: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Haven't you always wondered what it would be like to fall for the boy next (ish) door? Especially if he was a totally adorable musician, who created tunes that turned your heart and soul into mush?

About the Book
At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be. 
Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.
A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.

After a couple of years of following (i.e. stalking) Colleen Hoover on Facebook and adding her books to my to-read list, I finally committed myself to reading Maybe Someday during my summer vacation. Not to brag, but this turned out to be a really smart decision on my part for a couple of reasons: 1) It was really good. 2) Because I didn't have to worry about waking up early for work, I could stay up late flipping the pages on this one guilt-free.

Without giving away too much--which is hard, because I desperately want to talk to all of you about a pretty crucial twist that happens early on, but it would spoil everything if I bring it up now--this story quickly surpassed my expectations. It offered up some rather clever story elements while also producing characters that were both relatable and unique.

Hoover masterfully writes from both male and female points of view while crafting a compelling story that left me hardcore crushing on Ridge.

Find the Book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

View other books from this year's 12 Days of Reading list--
and my previous 12 Days of series--here.


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December 4, 2015

becky monson shares her favorite holiday traditions

Bloggers Note: The traditions surrounding the holiday season are part of what make it so special. In Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight--my novellas featured in All I Want For Christmas--both celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve traditions. To spread the merriment of the season, I have invited five writers to share their favorite holiday traditions on the blog this week. Enjoy!


By Becky Monson
Author of  Thirty-Two Going on SpinsterThirty-Three Going on Girlfriend and Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Growing up, my favorite Christmas tradition was my mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls. Actually, it still is my favorite tradition. And she still makes them every year. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill cinnamon rolls. She makes the dough on Christmas Eve, watches it all day – letting the dough rise and kneading it down, only to let it rise again. Christmas Eve night, she rolls the dough out and covers it with loads of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Then rolls it all up, slices it, and once they are placed into generously buttered pans, she lets them rise again.

Christmas morning the cinnamon rolls go into the oven and bake while we open presents. Once baked to a light brown perfection, she dumps them onto wax paper and then takes a spatula and scrapes all of the brown-sugar-cinnamon-buttery-goodness on top of the rolls.

I’m literally drooling right now just thinking about it.

Not an actual picture of the cinnamon rolls,
but this is basically what they look like.

The first time I was away from home for Christmas, after I started adult-ing (what a stupid idea that was), I decided I was going to carry on the cinnamon roll tradition. So I called my mom and had her send me the recipe.

I set out Christmas Eve to not just make my mom’s cinnamon rolls, but to make them even better than she did. What can I say, I’ve always been an over-achiever. She never added frosting to her rolls and I thought that would make them even more amazing.

I did everything like she did. Watched the dough like a hawk all day, letting it rise a few times. Rolled it out and added just a bit more butter, sugar, and cinnamon then she usually does, because what doesn’t taste better with even more of that stuff? Seriously, put butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon on anything and tell me it doesn’t taste better. Okay, maybe not broccoli. Or maybe I just invented the best broccoli ever. Hmm…

The next morning, as they baked in the oven, making my apartment smell like heaven and my roommates drool with the thought, I was so proud of myself for having carried on this tradition and dreamed of the day I would share this with my future children. With my added addition of frosting along with my extra butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon – these were bound to be the best cinnamon rolls ever.

Only they weren’t.

While my finished product looked quite amazing, it was basically dough on the inside and the extra innards and frosting only proved to make them taste like the sweetest thing I had ever eaten. One would assume too much sweetness is never a bad thing, and I am here to tell you that notion is wrong. Very wrong. Too much sugar is, in fact, a bad thing.

From then on out, I decided to leave the cinnamon rolls to the expert – my mother. And when I did finally have children of my own, we traveled to see Nana so she could make us cinnamon rolls for Christmas. When we don’t get to visit Nana over the holidays, then I keep it simple and make Monkey Bread (also delicious, but definitely more fool-proof). Lesson learned.


About the Author
By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last... but it probably won't.

Connect with Becky

About All I Want For Christmas
Making Christmas by Laura Chapman
While settling into a new career in a new community, Ivy is determined not to let the holiday season pass her by. Enter the grownup advent calendar: twenty-four days of festivities to celebrate Christmas. What begins as a bit of fun turns into a mission to spread cheer when she meets Everett. After learning about his bad Christmas attitude, she invites him to join her quest. Despite his initial reservations, Everett quickly gets caught up in the spirit of the calendar. But when new feelings surface and are impossible to ignore, Everett’s inner curmudgeon threatens to put a damper on the whole experience.

Nine Ladies Dancing by Cat Lavoie
Casey Ellis is the last person who should be planning her office’s holiday party. Convinced she’s plagued with chronic Christmas bad luck, Casey isn’t interested in tempting fate. But when putting on a party planner hat seems like a good way to get closer to her longtime crush, Casey takes charge—and braces for impact.
When things start to fall apart—just like Casey knew they would—will she run and hide, or will she learn that bad luck can sometimes turn out to be Christmas magic in disguise?

The Christmas Surprise by Samantha March
Juliette Mabry is a happily married stay-at-home wife and mother...until there appears to be trouble brewing in her nearly ten-year marriage. Juliette takes it upon herself to find out if her husband is up to no good, but does she want to know the truth? Everything is revealed on Christmas, and Juliette is in for her biggest Christmas surprise.

What Happens at Midnight by Laura Chapman
Romantic comedy junkie Natalie lives out those fantasies in real life three New Year's Eves in a row when fate throws her together with the same handsome stranger. A heartbreaking turn of events leaves her swearing off of love, forevers, and the holidays (bah humbug). That is until the mystery man from her past reappears years later. Over a holiday season, Natalie struggles to reconcile the whimsical notions of her past with the practical sensibilities she has worked so hard to develop. With the countdown to a new year looming, she must decide whether or not she is willing to give happily ever after another shot.

All I Want For Christmas is Now Available


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