Pre-Christmas Book Haul

Hey everyone! Before I left in my vacation I visited a couple used bookstores in my area and aquired a few books to add to my shelves! So here is a pre-Christmas book haul! 

The first book is the Queen’s Own Fool by Philippa Gregory. I’ve never read a book by her but I really want to try them out and see how I like them! I’m noticing I’m getting books I never figured I’d read or didn’t seem to interest me previously but now suddenly are! This is one of them! If you’ve read any of her books let me know in the comments how you liked them! 

Up next I got Velvet by Temple West, and I don’t know anything about it, only that I really loved the cover so I bought it…it was like 5$ so I couldn’t pass it up! I’m sorry! 

Next two are by the same author and they are The Rose Garden and The Shadowy Horse by Susanna Kearsley. I have the Winter Sea by her but have never read it so I’m hoping I enjoy these. I’ve heard really good things about her works so I’m really thinking I’ll enjoy these! 

The next two are also by the same author and they are The Perfect Play and Playing to Win by Jaci Burton. I’m really getting into new adult and adult romance so I’m so glad I found these! I again haven’t read a book by her but I’ve heard her books are hot and steamy so we shall see! 

The next book is City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare in the U.K. paperback. I read this from the library at the beginning of the year and really liked it so I decided to get a copy for myself. Her Mortal Instruments books are hit and miss with me so I really don’t know how I feel about the series yet. I haven’t read past the second so I guess I’ll eventually see how I feel about her books. The first was boring to me but the second I really enjoyed! I have a long way to go though before I read Lady Midnight. 

Up next is Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire. I think this is the companion novel or sequel to Beautiful Disaster. This book is really out of my comfort zone so I’m a bit nervous to read this series but I’m trying to push myself to read books I don’t normally go for and try them out. I want to read it so I hope I get to it in the next couple months. 

I then bought Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I’ve read books by Rachel but never by David; although I did read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and to be honest I wasn’t crazy about it. I’m hoping this book is better! The sequel just came out so I wanna get to that soon once I’m done with this one! 

Second to last is Soulless by Gail Carriger. I jut recently got two of her Finishing School series books which will be in a different haul, but again I’ve never read her work so I’m hoping this will be really good, along with the other series I started collecting! 

Lastly is Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin. Now this book is really out of my comfort zone. Mainly because I’ve been so into my Young Adult books that I just haven’t felt the need to explore outside of that. And I told myself that I didn’t think I would ever read them but I decided that since I found it for a dollar might as well give it a chance! I’ve heard from others that they love her work so let’s see what I think of it! I’ll definitely keep you all updated on that! 

Let me know in the comments what books you’ve gotten recently or for Christmas as I would love to know! 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! 

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What I’m Taking on My Trip


So I’m leaving on a trip tomorrow morning! Going away for 10 days to visit some family! And of course I have to bring a couple books to entertain me during my free time! 

So I’m bringing The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye! I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and the sequel is coming out soon so I’m really excited to dive into it! 

Next I’m bring Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman! Again another I’ve wanted to read for months and it has a sequel coming out in the next few months so I wanna read it before that comes out!

Thirdly is The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, which I’ve heard amazing things about and again the sequel is coming in 2017 so I want to catch up before that releases.  

Lastly is The Glittering Court by Rachelle Mead. This will be my first Rachelle Mead book so I hope I love it! I’ve heard mixed things so I’m excited to read it and see what I think. Sequel releases in 2017 as well!

The theme seems to be books I’ve wanted to read and since the sequels are coming out I might as well get them read before that happens! Hopefully I’ll finish them all! I’ll be keeping you all updated as soon as much as I can! I’m also bringing my ereaders incase I feel like something else. 

Let me know in the comments whether you’ve read these or not and your thoughts as I would love to know! 

Spindle

Spindle by E. K. Johnston

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Published: December 6th 2016

Rating: 4.5/5

Was sent an ARC from the publisher for review. 

So when I started this book I was kind of sad that it wasn’t a continuation of the Storyteller Queen’s story. Then I finished the book and came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter, because the book was amazing! This follows Yashaa and his life as a spinner in the desert after his mother and his people were forced to leave their homes after a curse was placed on the Little Rose. Now he is sent on a journey to find a way to break the curse. While A Thousand Nights was a retelling of A Thousand Nights story, Spindle is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. 

I loved this story, even though at first I was hestiant to really get into it because I was so enamored with the first novel. The characters were amazing, and I found myself adoring them as much as the Storyteller Queen and the King. Arwa is resilient, Tariq is a hopeful dreamer, and Saoud is loyal to a fault. The four of them formed a makeshift family and you just couldn’t help but love them!

The adventure was amazing! I loved following them on their journey across the desert areas to first get to their destination, and also find a way to break the curse. E. K. Johnston has such a beautiful way of telling a story! I definitely need to check out more of her writing in the future! And I highly recommend that everyone tries her writing out, you won’t be disappointed! 

Overall this book had everything: action; adventure; romance; and fantasy! Put together with beautiful writing you are given a novel that cannot go wrong! 

Great book, great author, I highly recommend this book! 

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on this book and whether or not you’ve read it as I would love to know!

The Sun is Also a Star

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Published: November 1st, 2016

Rating: 5/5

The Sun is Also a Star follows a Jamaican girl named Natasha and a Korean American man named Daniel as they figure out a way to help Natasha stay in the US as her family is on the verge of being deported. 

I absolutely loved this book, and it’s so relevant today’s society, because for many people around the country, that scenario is a possible reality. She captured everything so well, the emotions, the steps, everything. I really felt myself slipping into Natasha’s shoes and I felt her fear, her determination. I even felt her heartbreak as it seemed everything was going down the drain. I cried I’m sure a few times during this novel. 

As you read the story and see everything through Natasha and Daniel’s eyes, their emotions just really hit home and put you in their shoes. I’ve personally never felt what Natasha felt, or felt what Daniel felt later on, but from this story I got a glimpse into it. 

It really just stays with you, and I just fall more in love with Nicola’s writing! This is her second novel and so far I’ve loved every one of her books! I highly suggest you give her work a try! You will not regret it! Overall again I loved this novel! The characters were amazing, the writing was beautiful, the plot was special and eye opening, everything I would want in a contemporary! The way she writes her novels is also very unique and special, which is something I really enjoy from her. It gives you peaks into other character’s lives, and their stories; something not always done in most books.  

Overall I highly recommend this book! If you’re looking for a good contemporary novel definitely check this book out! Also check out her debut novel Everything, Everything! You won’t regret it! Love those two books so much! Some of my all time favorites for sure! 

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on this book and if you’ve read it down below as I would love to know! 

Quick Book Haul

Hey everyone! So I have a tiny haul to show you all that I got from a few different places over the weekend.

So Saturday I had work but my supervisor gave it to someone else so I had the whole day off and I spent it with my momma. We went to breakfast and went to Costco where I got The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. I love Carrie so I was excited when she came out with another book! I hope to read it during my winter break.

We went to Target afterwards where I shockingly didn’t get anything but we went to Barnes and Nobles to get a gifrcard for someone and then I ended up getting TO Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin. This novel from what I remember is set during the construction of the Eiffel Tower and focuses on the relationship between a Scottish widow and a French engineer.

I lastly got Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan which is about author Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous wife Fanny.

I noticed that recently I have been looking more and more at adult fiction which is something that feels out of my comfort zone. While I still love to dive into young adult I am starting to spread my interests into other areas like New Adult and Adult.

So I hopefully will be reviewing those more in the future!

Time Zero

Time Zero by Carolyn Cohagan

Publisher: She Writes Press

Published: May 16, 2016

Rating: 4/5

I was sent a copy of the book for an honest review by the author.

Time Zero follows 15 year old Mina Clark, who lives in a futuristic Manhattan that is ruled by extremists. The girls there aren’t allowed to get educated, they cannot speak to boys without permission, and all the marriages are negotiated by contracts. But Mina’s grandmother has been teaching her to read and the path she is being led down can only get her killed.

I really felt this was one of the best dystopian novels I’ve ever read. I really  liked how even though it was a work of fiction, it took elements that women face in other parts of the world. While reading it I felt sad because I wish I could say what Mina faced in the novel is pure fiction but sadly women have gone through this before, and some might still be going through it today. Overall I loved the strong female lead in this novel, who in her own way is unique. While most girls in dystopian YA novels get saved a lot, Mina does her own bit of saving, which brings home the idea that many people need help sometimes.

I think what I also really liked was the idea that showing emotions like compassion is not something to be considered weak.

I did think her romantic interest had a touch of insta-love but glad there wasn’t a love triangle. I have a love hate relationship with love triangles. I like them but then at times I don’t, I think mainly if I read too many in a row I get over it but normally I don’t care too much.

Overall this book was awesome. I liked the writing style, the characters were interesting, the action in the novel was great!I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in dystopian novels!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this novel and your thoughts as I would love to know!

Invisible

Invisible by D. R. Fuller

Publisher: White Meadow Books

Published: May 2016

Rating: 3.5/5

Was given a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 

Invisible follows a young girl named Evelyn who one day after her family’s death, is invisible. No one can see her or recognize that she exists. She must now cope with her grief, as well as discover what happened to her. Then she meets Adam, a young man who is the only person who can sense her, and the story continues! 

I throughly enjoyed this book! I’m a sucker for mystery novels, I enjoy trying to discover what happened, the hunt for either a killer or an answer. So I felt that this novel really took you on a fun journey. While I felt the book had a slow start, it picked up and was gripping in it’s mystery. The Point of View changes were a bit off to me but I can still see why they were needed in this book. 

Evelyn’s bond with Adam was something I enjoyed as well! They had such a cute romance that I really enjoyed reading about it. They had such a beautiful and unique way of falling in love that it really just made me happy! I don’t want to mention too much of it because it’s something you really need to read about, but just know it’s such a cute romance! Loved it! Loved how he really made their connect so beautiful! 

I do think the ending was a bit confusing, and it was something I really needed to focus on because if I didn’t I got a bit confused. But overall it was a nice solid book! The writing was great, the plot was awesome, the romance was unique, the characters were well thought out, and overall it was just a very interesting book! I enjoyed getting sucked in trying to find the answer to what happened to Evelyn. It’s always fun really getting drawn into a mystery novel like that, because it’s fun! It’s probably one of my favorite type of book, and one of my favorite adventures to take in a novel. 

Highly recommend this book! 

Let me know in the comments down below your thoughts on this book, and if you’ve read it as I would love to know! 

Black Friday Haul

Hello everyone! So as you know Black Friday recently happened and there were some decent deals for book lovers! 

Black Friday always tends to suck for me because I usually give homemade gifts or gift cards for Christmas; or even take friends places like Disney or Knotts as a gift. So I never really take part in the shopping except for books. And there aren’t many deals out there for books so I just stay home. But this year I found out that the Barnes and Nobles 30% off coupon can be used over and over again all weekend long. Basically as long as you went to a different bookstore or did separate transactions online you can keep using it. So I took advantage a bit! 

And Amazon had a 10$ off 25$ or more for books so I hopped on that as well! 

So let’s get started on the haul! 

The first thing I got using the 30% coupon was the Legend Boxed Set! I had a older hardcover copy of Legend but I wanted matching covers so I sold it and got this instead! Online it was around 34$ and with my coupon I got it for 24! Plus free shipping for members! 

The next two were from Amazon along with the last book. Blackheart, Reign of Shadows, and The Crown’s Game were bought using the 10$ coupon. I haven’t read these but I’ve heard amazing things about them so I’m super excited to jump into them! I’ve owned the Crown’s Game but I gave it to a friend who wanted to read it badly. 

And the last two are from Barnes and Nobles using the coupon. I got Even if the Sky Falls and Into the Dim. I’m super excited to start these, I’ve heard good things about them! 

I’m still waiting for my Book Outlet box so I’ll be doing a separate haul for that when it comes in. I got it on Black Friday as well! 

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on these books and if you’ve read them as I would love to know! 

Author of the Month

Hi everyone! So I decided to start a thing for my blog titled Author of the Month where I do posts promoting their work, post buying links from Amazon or Barnes and Nobles etc. Maybe sometime in the future there will be more for the posts if it continues on!

But the first Author of the Month is Estelle Maskame!

She is the wonderful author of the Did I Mention I Love You trilogy!

I have read the first book Did I Mention I Love You and will be posting reviews all this month about them once I finish the last two books in the series! Since it is a series I will only be posting about the first book in the series as to avoid spoilers, but I will be posting links for the other books.

Did I Mention I Love You

did-i-mention-i-love-you-estelle-maskameSummary: Eden Munro came to California for the summer to spend some down time enjoying the sun, sand, and boys. Then she meets her new family: a stepmother, a father she has not seen in a few years, and three stepbrothers. While staying in her room at her fathers fancy new house, she ends up stuck next to her older stepbrother Tyler. While she cannot stand him and he her; but somehow, someway, they begin to fall in love with people they shouldn’t. Each other.

Barnes and Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/did-i-mention-i-love-you-estelle-maskame/1124933634?ean=9781492632153

Amazon site: https://www.amazon.com/Estelle-Maskame/e/B00WSPYJ9I/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1480656715&sr=8-2-ent

Estelle’s Website: http://www.estellemaskame.com

Twitter: @EstelleMaskame

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

If movies and books have taught me anything, it’s that Los Angeles is the greatest city with the greatest people and the greatest beaches. And so, like every girl to ever walk this earth, I dreamed of visiting this Golden State. I wanted to run along the sand of Venice Beach, to press my hands on my favorite celebrities’ stars on the Walk of Fame, to one day stand behind the Hollywood Sign and look out over the beautiful city.

That and all the other lame tourist must-dos.

With one earphone in, my attention half on the music humming into my ear and half on the conveyor belt rotating in front of me, I try my hardest to find a spot clear enough for me to grab my luggage. While the people around me shove and chat loudly with their partners, yelling that their luggage just went past and the other yelling back that it wasn’t actually their luggage, I roll my eyes and focus on the khaki suitcase nearing me. I can tell it’s mine by the lyrics scrawled along its side, so I grab the handle and yank it off as quickly as I can.

“Over here!” a familiar voice calls. My father’s astoundingly deep voice is half drowned out by my music, but no matter how loud the volume, I would probably still hear him from a mile away. His voice is too irritatingly painful to ignore.

When Mom first broke the news to me that Dad had asked me to spend the summer with him, we both found ourselves in a fit of laughter at the sheer insanity of it all. “You don’t have to go anywhere near him,” Mom reminded me daily. Three years of hearing nothing and suddenly he wanted me to spend the entire summer with him? All he had to do was maybe start calling me once in a while, ask me how I was doing, gradually ease himself back into my life, but no, he decided to bite the bullet and ask to spend eight weeks with me instead. Mom was completely against the idea. Mom didn’t think he deserved eight weeks with me. She said it would never be enough to make up for the time he’d already lost with me. But Dad only got more persistent, more desperate to convince me that I’d love it in southern California. I don’t know why he finally decided to get in touch out of the blue. Was he hoping he could mend the relationship with me that he broke the day he got up and left? I doubted that was even possible, but one day I caved and called up my father to tell him that I wanted to come. My decision didn’t revolve around him though. It revolved around the idea of hot summer days and glorious beaches and the possibility of falling in love with an Abercrombie & Fitch model with tanned skin and an eight-pack. Besides, I had my own reasons for wanting to get nine hundred miles away from Portland.

So, I am not particularly thrilled to see the person approaching me.

A lot can change in three years. Three years ago, I was three inches shorter. Three years ago, my dad didn’t have noticeable graying strands throughout his hair. Three years ago, this wouldn’t have been awkward.

I try my hardest to smile, to grin so that I won’t have to explain why there’s a permanent frown sketched upon my lips. It’s always so much easier just to smile.

“Look at my little girl!” Dad says, widening his eyes and shaking his head in disbelief that I no longer look the same as I did at thirteen. Oh, how shocking that, in fact, sixteen-year-olds do not look the same as they did when they were in eighth grade.

“Yep,” I say, reaching up and pulling out my earphone. The wires dangle in my hands, the faint lull of the music vibrating through the buds.

“I’ve missed you a lot, Eden,” he tells me, as though I’ll be overjoyed to know that my dad who walked out on us misses me, and perhaps I’ll throw myself into his arms and forgive him right there and then. But things don’t work like that. Forgiveness shouldn’t be expected: it has to be earned.

However, if I’m going to be living with him for eight weeks, I should probably try to put my hostility aside. “I’ve missed you too.”

Dad beams at me, his dimples boring into his cheeks the way a mole burrows into dirt. “Let me take your bag,” he says, reaching for my suitcase and propping it onto its wheels.

I follow him out of LAX. I keep my eyes peeled for any film stars or fashion models that might happen to brush past me, but I don’t spot anyone on my way out.

Warmth hits my face as I walk across the sprawling parking lot, the sun tingling my skin and the soft breeze swaying around my hair. The sky is mostly clear apart from several unsatisfying clouds.

“I thought it was going to be hotter here,” I comment, peeved that California is not actually as completely free from wind and clouds and rain as stereotypes have led me to believe. Never did it occur to me that the boring city of Portland would be hotter in the summer than Los Angeles. It is such a tragic disappointment, and now I’d much rather go home, despite how lame Oregon is.

“It’s still pretty hot,” says Dad, shrugging almost apologetically on behalf of the weather. When I glance sideways at him, I can see his growing exasperation as he racks his brain for something to say. There is nothing to talk about besides the uncomfortable reality of the situation.

He draws my suitcase to a halt by a black Lexus, and I stare dubiously at the polished paintwork. Before the divorce, he and my mom shared a crappy Volvo that broke down every four weeks. And that’s if we were lucky. Either his new job pays extremely well or he just chose not to splurge on us before. Perhaps we weren’t worth spending money on.

“It’s open,” he tells me, nodding at the vehicle as he pops the trunk and throws my suitcase inside.

I move around to the right side of the car and slide my backpack off my shoulder, opening the door and getting in. The leather is scorching hot against my bare thighs. I wait in silence for a few moments before Dad edges in behind the wheel.

“So, did you have a nice flight?” he asks, engaging me in a generic conversation as he starts up the engine and backs out of the spot.

“Yeah, it was okay.” I tug my seat belt over my body and click it into place, staring blankly out the windshield while holding my backpack on my lap. The sun is blinding, so I open up the front compartment of my bag and pull out my shades, slipping them over my eyes. I heave a sigh.

I almost hear my dad gulp as he takes a deep breath and asks, “How’s your mom?”

“She’s great,” I say, almost too enthusiastically as I try my hardest to emphasize just how well she’s getting on without him. This is not entirely the truth though. She’s doing okay. Not great, but not bad. She’s spent the past few years trying to convince herself that the divorce is an experience that she can learn from. She wants to think that it’s given her a life-affirming message or filled her with wisdom, but honestly, the only thing it’s done is make her despise men. “Never been better.”

Dad nods then, gripping the steering wheel firmly as the car peels out of the airport grounds and onto the boulevard. There are numerous lanes, cars racing down each one, the traffic heavy but moving quickly. The landscape here is open. The buildings are not leaning, towering skyscrapers like those in New York, nor are there rows of trees like the ones back home in Portland. The only satisfying thing I discover is that palm trees do really exist. Part of me always wondered if they were a myth.

We pass under a collection of road signs, one above each lane, outlining the surrounding cities and neighborhoods. The words are nothing more than a blur as we speed under them. A new silence is forming, so Dad quickly clears his throat and makes a second attempt at holding a conversation with me.

“You’re going to love Santa Monica,” he says, smiling only briefly. “It’s a great city.”

“Yeah, I looked it up,” I say, propping my arm up against the window and staring out onto the boulevard. So far, LA doesn’t look as glamorous as it does in all those images I saw on the Internet. “It’s the one with that pier thingy, right?”

“Yes, Pacific Park.” A glint of sunlight catches the gold wedding band around my dad’s finger where his hands grip the steering wheel. I groan. He notices. “Ella can’t wait to meet you,” he tells me.

“And I her.” This is a lie.

Ella, my dad informed me recently, is his new wife. A replacement for my mom: something new, something better. And this is something that I can’t understand. What does this Ella woman have that my mom doesn’t? A better dish-scrubbing technique? Better meat loaf?

“I hope the two of you can get along,” Dad says after a moment of suffocating silence. He merges into the farthest right lane. “I really want this to work.”

Dad might really want this to work, but I, on the other hand, am still not completely sold on the whole reconstituted-family-model idea. The thought of having a stepmom does not appeal to me. I want a nuclear family, a cereal box family made up of my mom, my dad, and myself. I don’t like adjustments. I don’t like change.

“How many kids does she have again?” I ask, my tone contemptuous. Not only have I been blessed with a lovely stepmother, I have also been graced with stepbrothers.

“Three,” Dad shoots back. He is growing irritated by my obvious negativity. “Tyler, Jamie, and Chase.”

“Okay,” I say. “How old are they?”

He talks as he focuses on the stop sign only yards ahead and slows the car down. “Tyler just turned seventeen, Jamie’s fourteen, and Chase-Chase is eleven. Try to get along with them, honey.” Out of the corner of his hazel eyes, he fixes me with a pleading stare.

“Oh,” I say again. Until now I just assumed I’d be meeting a couple of toddlers who could barely string sentences together yet. “Okay.”

Thirty minutes later, we’re driving through a winding road in what appears to be the outskirts of the city. Tall trees decorate the parkway on each sidewalk, their thick trunks and crooked branches providing shade from the heat. The houses here are all larger than the one I live in with my mom back home, and they’re all uniquely designed and constructed. No two houses are alike, neither in shape nor color nor size. Dad’s Lexus pulls up outside a white-stone one.

“You live here?” Deidre Avenue seems too normal, as though it belongs in the middle of North Carolina. LA isn’t supposed to be normal. It’s supposed to be glitzy and out of this world and totally surreal, but it’s not.

Dad nods, killing the engine and closing his sun visor. “You see that window?” He points to a window on the second floor, the one right in the center.

“Yeah?”

“That’s your room.”

“Oh,” I say. I wasn’t expecting my own room for the eight weeks that I’m here. But it looks to be a pretty big house, so I’m sure spare rooms are plentiful. I’m glad I won’t be sleeping on an inflatable bed in the middle of the living room. “Thanks, Dad.” When I try to push myself up, I realize that wearing shorts has proven to have both pros and cons. Pro: my legs feel fresh and cool in this weather. Con: my thighs are now stuck to the leather of Dad’s Lexus. And so it takes me a good long minute to actually get myself out of the car.

Dad heads around to the trunk, collecting my suitcase and placing it on the sidewalk. “Better head inside,” he says as he yanks out the handle and begins wheeling it along behind him.

I take a wide step over the parking strip and follow my dad along the stone path. It leads up to the front door: mahogany and paneled, just like the doors to houses owned by the rich should be. All the while, I’m just staring at the Converse on my feet, taking a moment to let my eyes run over my scrawling handwriting, which decorates the sides of the white rubber. Just like my suitcase, there are lyrics written in black Sharpie. Staring at the writing helps keep my nerves at ease: slightly, just until we reach the front door.

The house itself-despite being an obnoxious symbol of consumerism-is very pretty. Compared with the house I woke up in this morning, it may as well be a five-star guesthouse. There’s a white Range Rover parked in the driveway. How flashy, I think.

“Nervous?” Dad asks, hesitating outside the door. He smiles reassuringly down at me.

“Kind of,” I admit. I’ve tried not to think about the endless list of things that could go wrong, but somewhere within me, there is a sense of fear. What if they all absolutely hate me?

“Don’t be.” He opens the door, and we head inside, my suitcase trailing behind us, its wheels scraping along the wooden flooring.

In the entryway we’re immediately overcome by an overwhelming scent of lavender. In front of me there is a staircase leading upstairs and a door to my right leading, from what I can see through the crack, to the living room. Straight ahead there is a large archway into the kitchen: a kitchen from which a woman is approaching me.

“Eden!” the woman cries. She swallows me into a hug, her extreme bustiness getting in the way a little, and then takes a step back to examine me. I return the favor. Her hair is blond, figure slim. For some absurd reason, I expected her to look similar to my mom. But apparently Dad has altered his taste in women along with his living standards. “It’s so nice to finally meet you!”

I take a slight step back from her, fighting the urge to roll my eyes or pull a face. Dad would surely drag me straight back to the airport if I ever displayed such disrespect. “Hi,” I say instead.

And then she blurts, “God, you’ve got Dave’s eyes!” which is possibly the worst thing someone could ever say to me given that I’d much rather have my mom’s eyes. My mom wasn’t the one who walked out.

“Mine are darker,” I murmur in disdain.

Ella doesn’t push the subject any further and instead turns the conversation around in a completely different direction. “You’ll need to meet the rest of us. Jamie, Chase, get down here!” she yells up the stairs before turning back to me. “Did Dave tell you about the get-together we’re having tonight?”

“Get-together?” I echo. A social gathering was certainly not on my Things to Do While in California list. Especially when it’s strangers who are doing the gathering. “Dad?” I glance sideways up at him, willing myself not to fire a death glare in his direction, and arch my brows.

“We’re sparking up the barbecue for the neighbors,” he explains. “No better way to kick off the summer than with a good old barbecue.” I really wish he’d stop talking.

Quite frankly, I hate both large groups of people and barbecues. “Awesome,” I say.

There’s a series of thuds as two boys come jogging down the staircase, their footsteps pounding against the oak as they jump down two steps at a time.

“Is that Eden?” the eldest of the pair whispers to Ella as he reaches us, but I hear him anyway. He must be Jamie. The younger one with the wide eyes must be Chase.

“Hey,” I say. My lips curl up into a beaming smile. From what I remember of my conversation in the car, Jamie is fourteen. Despite being two years younger than me, he is about the same height. “What’s up?”

“Just hanging out,” Jamie answers. He is so totally Ella’s child. His sparkling blue eyes and shaggy blond hair make this connection clear. “Do you want a drink or something?”

“I’m good, thanks,” I say. From his straightened posture and his attempt at good manners, he seems mature for his age. Perhaps we’ll get along well.

“Chase, are you going to say hi to Eden?” Ella encourages.

Chase comes across as very reserved. He, too, has inherited Ella’s flawless genes. “Hi,” he mumbles, not quite meeting my eyes. “Mom, can I go to Matt’s?”

“Of course, honey, just be back by seven,” Ella says. I wonder if she’s the type of mom who grounds you for dropping crumbs on the living room carpet or the type who doesn’t mind if you disappear for two days. “We’re having the barbecue, remember?”

Chase nods and then brushes past me, swinging open the front door and closing it again just as quickly without even a whisper of a good-bye to any of us.

“Mom, do you want me to show her around?” Jamie asks the second his brother is gone.

“That’d be great,” I answer for her. Jamie’s company will surely be better than my dad’s or Ella’s or both of them combined. I don’t quite see the point in spending time with people I’d much rather be nowhere near. So for now I’ll stick to my new, wonderful stepbrothers. Surely they are finding this entire thing just as foreign as I am.

“That’s nice of you, Jay,” Ella says. She sounds grateful at the idea of not having to be the one to tell me where the bathroom is. “Let her see her room.”

Dad gives me a clipped nod and grins. “We’ll be in the kitchen if you need anything.”

I try to refrain from snorting as Jamie takes my suitcase and begins hauling it up the staircase. Right now, the only things I need are tanned legs and fresh air, which I most certainly won’t get from lingering inside with my dad.

As I turn to follow Jamie upstairs, I hear my dad hiss, “Where’s Tyler?”

“I don’t know,” Ella says.

Their voices begin to fade as we all distance ourselves from each other, but not far enough that I can’t hear Dad reply with, “So you just let him leave?”

“Yes,” says Ella before we move out of hearing range.

“You’re right across from me,” Jamie informs me as we reach the landing. “You’ve got the coolest room. The best view.”

“Sorry.” I laugh lightly and try to keep a smile on my face as he makes his way over to one of the five doors. But I can’t help but pause to glance down to the hall below, my eyes focusing on the back of Ella’s blond hair as she disappears through the archway into the kitchen.

I figure she’s the type who doesn’t mind if you disappear.

-Did I Mention I Love You

Did I Mention I Need You

9781492632184-300

Barnes and Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/did-i-mention-i-need-you-estelle-maskame/1124933635?ean=9781492632184

Did I Mention I Miss You

did-i-mention-i-miss-you-cover

Preorder it on Barnes and Nobles or pick it up at your local bookstore when it releases on December 6 of 2016!

Barnes and Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/did-i-mention-i-miss-you-estelle-maskame/1124933636?ean=9781492632214

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on the series as I would love to know!

This might also be a time to maybe recommend in the comments books you would recommend that are similar to this incase someone wants to read more books like this in the future!