Monday, August 29, 2016

Show Me How by Molly McAdams (Review + Giveaway)

New Adult, Romance
Publication.Date  August 23rd 2016
Published By:  William Morrow Impulse
AuthorMolly McAdams

Show Me How on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

New York Times bestselling author Molly McAdams delivers another heart-wrenching, emotional novel in her Thatch series…

After her first love was ripped from her grasp four years earlier, Charlie Easton was sure she would never be able to trust anyone with the shattered pieces of her heart again. That is, until Deacon Carver forces himself into her life, and makes those pieces swirl in chaos. But Charlie doesn't know how to let him in… until a stranger stumbles upon a notebook filled with her innermost secrets, and shows her how.

Deacon Carver is known for sleeping his way through the town of Thatch, as well as the surrounding cities—something he used to take pride in. But that persona has haunted Deacon ever since he decided to leave that life behind for the girl he wants more than anything: Charlie Easton.

But when another girl falls into Deacon's life, allowing him to be himself without judgment for his past, will their conversations hinder his relationship with Charlie … even if he's never seen her?

     Show Me How is the third installment in Molly McAdams highly praised Thatch series, and this time we are following the adventures of Charlie and Deacon, who readers already know from their appearances in the earlier books. 

    Charlie is struggling to let go of the past and open her heart up. She's unable to trust anyone, she's guarded and she doesn't feel quite ready to fall in love again. Similarly, Deacon is not quite sure how to part with his "player" mask. He has a certain reputation in town, and well, let's say it's not a very good one. He, too, seems unable to get over his past - he's carrying the weight of his heartbreaker/player label. 

    Now, what you need to know is that I haven't read the previous two books in the series. When I first started reading Show Me How, I wasn't even aware of the fact that this was book three. Honestly, I still wouldn't know any better, if I hadn't looked it up, because Show Me How reads like a stand-alone. I know now that all or most of the characters appear in the earlier volumes, and I also know that Deacon and Charlie were both introduced to the fans of the series before.

    That being said, I breezed through this volume without stopping or ever wondering why something was happening. Molly wrote this book in a way, that doesn't make you feel like you're missing any details at all. I found myself completely immersed in the story and really intrigued by everything that was happening. Show Me How was a very emotional read to me, as I could relate to certain parts of the story. My heart was pounding fast during certain scenes, I was frustrated and ready to scream during others, but overall, I came out of reading this book feeling very satisfied and happy.

    Molly's writing pulls you in right from the beginning. She created characters that feel real and are easy to connect with (I especially loved Charlie's son, Keith). Neither Deacon nor Charlie are without flaws, but it's their flaws and struggles that make them so incredibly easy to relate to and care about. As I was reading about Charlie's past, I was really able to feel her pain and understand her reluctance to open up. She's a shy person to begin with, but after everything she's been through, even the most easy-going person would close-up and become guarded.

    I loved the tension in this book, the chemistry, the slow-burning romance and the great ending. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a heart-wrenching, harrowing romance story - it's one not to be missed!

About the author:

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she's not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm ... or under one in a bathtub if there are tornadoes. That way she can pretend they aren't really happening.


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Blog Tour: Just Kill Me by Adam Selzer (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Contemporary Fiction 
Publication.Date  August 30th 2016
Published By:  Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
AuthorAdam Selzer

Just Kill Me on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

From the author of Play Me Backwards and I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It comes a dark comedy about one teen’s unusual summer job as a ghost tour guide in Chicago.

Megan Henske isn’t one to heed warnings…

When the last letters in her alphabet cereal are D, I, and E, she doesn’t crawl right back into bed. When her online girlfriend won’t text a photo, she just sends more of herself.

And when she realizes that Cynthia, her boss at a Chicago ghost tour company, isn’t joking about making stops more haunted by killing people there, she doesn’t quit her job—she may even help.

But who is responsible for the deaths of prominent figures in the murdermonger industry? Could it be the head of the rival tour company? Or could it be someone near and dear to Megan?

Soon after she learns that she has an uncanny resemblance to a flapper who disappeared in 1922, Megan receives a warning she can’t ignore: the next ghost on the tour might be her…

The Ghosts Of Chicago:
Guest Post by Adam Selzer

     Just south of Soldier Field, Chicago’s Prairie Avenue has a block of old robber baron mansions from the Gilded Age. There’s the Kimball House, as in Kimball Pianos, the former home of Marshall Field Jr, and a place called the Keith House that looks like something out of Scooby Doo. But right in the middle of those is a smaller place called the Clarke House. Built in 1836, it’s generally considered the oldest house in Chicago. When I tell this to tourists from the UK, they think it’s hilarious. In the UK people have takeout menus from before 1836.

Chicago is a very young town, but people have been talking about ghosts here for close to two hundred years. Back in the 1840s, some of the early settles talked about “The Prairie Specter,” the ghost of a black-haired woman who was said to roam around the outskirts of town at dusk with her arms outstretched, as though she was looking for something to hold on to. She stopped being seen around 1850, perhaps when the land she was said to roam was built on and stopped being a prairie. Around the same time, there were even stories of a glowing ghostly mule floating around on the South Side.

Now, we sometimes advertise Chicago as the most haunted city in the world - but there’s a fair amount of hype built into that; it’s not like the parks department releases data on which city has the most ghosts. But we’ve got some good stories. Among these:

Resurrection Mary The most famous of the “vanishing hitchhiker” ghosts, Mary is said to hitch rides on Archer Avenue and disappear outside of Resurrection Cemetery. She stands out from similar ghosts in other towns because we have a lot of first-hand sightings, which is pretty rare in the ghost world, really.

Tapeworm I met Tapeworm. He ran a tattoo shop in a former funeral home that had been said to be haunted for decades. He liked the ghosts in his place for the most part, but said that “What really freaks me the %^& out is the stairs - twice I’ve been walking down them ^&*ing stairs and felt like the ghosts were trying to %^&ing push me. And everyone knows you can’t fight back with these cats! So I said, ‘LIsten, you %^&*, if I ^&*ing die in this place, it is %^&*ing ON.” Three weeks later he DID die in the place; staff at the tattoo shop were talking about his ghost within weeks.

Peg Leg Johnny The first time I investigated the old Congress Hotel, staffers told me they’d been getting calls about a “hobo” with a peg leg lying asleep in one of the hallways. They’d go to run the guy off and find no one there. Later, a guard told me he’d seen the peg leg ghost himself in one of the ballrooms. I like to imagine it’s the ghost of Charles Cramer, a one-legged clown who committed a couple of murders near the Congress in the early 20th century, escaped from prison in the 1920s, and was never found.

The Gray Lady The former Harpo Studios, where Oprah filmed her show, served as a morgue after a steamship capsized in 1915, and is often said to be haunted as a result. The most famous ghost, the Gray Lady, is said be a woman in gray who floats down a hallway. But she’s better known among ghost hunters than she ever was among Harpo employees. They’d tell me about a little girl they’d see by the vending machines, and about a woman they’d hear crying in one of the bathrooms (I liked to call her Moaning Myrtle), but they always told me they’d never heard of the Gray Lady!

The Hooters on Erie - the River North Hooters has always claimed to be haunted, but they could never figure out WHO would be haunting them. I eventually found an article about grave robbers in the 1870s stashing bodies in barrels in a barn right where the restaurant is now; what made it especially amusing is that when the grave robbers were caught, the newspapers went into great detail talking how attractive one of the nude corpses in the barrels was.

Now, whether these ghosts are “real” is sort of beyond my pay grade - my job in the ghost hunting world was always just doing the historical research, really. I tend to believe that almost everything can be explained away. But the stories behind them can be fascinating, and lead to more and more of those “curiosity doors” that you should never leave locked. And they gave me a lot of ideas for backstory and plot points for JUST KILL ME, in which a group of ghost tour guides makes places even MORE haunted by killing people at them.

The Elbridge Keith House on Prairie Avenue. That we don’t have better ghost stories about this place reflects poorly on the city!

The Gold Ballroom at the Congress Hotel. As Ricardo explains in the book, the “orbs”are not ghosts, they’re ghost farts.

The Clark House, form 1836, via adam’s instagram (

About the author:

His first book was HOW TO GET SUSPENDED AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE (now available in a "Now With More Swearing") edition, his next one is PLAY ME BACKWARDS (for satanic young adults), and his best known is probably I KISSED A ZOMBIE AND I LIKED IT, a Twilight satire that was not marketed as a satire.

He also writes the SMART ALECK'S GUIDE series and has published a bunch of Chicago history/ghostlore books.

You can also find him under the name SJ Adams, the name he used for SPARKS: THE EPIC, COMPLETELY TRUE BLUE (ALMOST) HOLY QUEST OF DEBBIE, which won a Stonewall honor and made the YALSA popular paperback list.
LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

3 Finished Copies of JUST KILL ME (US Only)

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Musical Musings: August 2016

Musical Musings is a new feature where I'll be talking about music! There'll be two posts a month---the first of which will be about some random musical topic, and the second post of the month (like this one!) will be a recap of my month in music. To learn more about this feature and whatnot, click here to check out my introduction post! :)

August Overall

I wish I had more to say about my month in music but as I said in my Discover Weekly post, I've still been so hung up on Hamilton. Plus, everything that can go wrong HAS been going wrong for my family and me lately, so I've been so busy. I learned that my 2 year-old nephew likes Hamilton, though! I was babysitting him and played a song (Burn) and he was so enthralled by it. So then I played him more and it actually held his attention well enough for a few songs. I'm sure you can imagine my utter joy at this discovery!

Anyway, I did make a playlist for this month. It's called Wolf (because I've been reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer this month). It's a mix of things: Hamilton songs I've been especially fond of this month, songs that have been put on (or BACK on) my radar thanks to Discover Weekly, a whole lot of Fall Out Boy (because one of their songs was in one of my Discover Weekly playlists and it put me in a mood to binge a bunch of FOB music), and a few songs from a musical called Spring Awakening (more on that later).

Though my pickings are much smaller than I'd like for this month, I do still have some top songs from this month to talk about...

My Top Five Songs of August 2016

The Room Where It Happens - Leslie Odom Jr. (& more)

This is the first time in my entire obsession with Hamilton that I've been stuck on this song. Like, I've known it's existed. I've listened to it. But I never paid much attention to it. I never randomly quoted it or even loved this one particular song. Which seemed odd to me because this was one of the first songs that I heard talked about from the music before I listened to it myself. But then for whatever reason, I got this random urge to listen to this song earlier this month...and I've been listening to it incessantly ever since. (And I'm not complaining. Not even a little.)

Ever the Same - Rob Thomas

This song! I've loved it for so long. So, so long. And it's been on my mind every now and then this year---like at my nephew's birthday party where it played in a bowling alley. But I hadn't properly sat down and listened to it in A WHILE. Until, wonder of wonders, it showed up in my Discover Weekly playlist. Now I listen to it regularly.

All That's Known - Jonathan Groff

I was listening to my Hamilton playlist on my phone (SHOCKER) when Spotify decided to play a recommended song (something that generally grinds my gears). I planned to skip over it until two things happened: 1) I realized the song playing actually wasn't bad, and 2) Jonathan Groff was singing. In case you are unaware (though I'm sure you already know), Jonathan Groff plays King George in Hamilton. So of course I was more than willing to listen to the end of this song he sang. And of course, after I enjoyed the song, it made sense that I sat down and listened to the entire cast album for Spring Awakening---the play this song is from. There are so many good songs there! This was a good life choice.

Young Volcanoes - Fall Out Boy

This song is the reason there's so much Fall Out Boy on this month's playlist. What a Catch, Donnie was the song in my Discover Weekly playlist that brought FOB to mind, but this song is the one I was desperate to listen to when I began my binge. It's so catchy and I love it and I could listen to it on repeat for basically forever. So, so good. And especially great for summer! Lighthearted and fun. Ahhhh I love it.

Teenagers - My Chemical Romance

This gem popped up in my Discover Weekly playlist for this week and oh, the nostalgia! This was the first MCR song I ever listened to---I've since listened to A LOT more of their music and can honestly say I adore them. I remember hearing it for the first time at my friend Brittany's house. I thought it was so cool and, like, edgy or something because there's a curse word so prominent in the lyrics. I'm over that now (obviously...this is especially funny if you check out the full cast album for Spring Awakening---curse words abound), but I still enjoy this song. And I'll always be especially fond of it even though it's not my favorite by MCR. (Don't ask me which is, I need to think about it...)

That's what my month in music was like! Now I'd LOVE to hear from you! What have you been into? Any new obsessions? Favorite songs? What do you think of the songs and artists I've been into? Let me know your thoughts! :)

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