Jun 13, 2021

Building the Book Pile #349



Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Hi Friends! I hope your weekend is wrapping up nicely.  
This past week I attended the Edelweiss Bookfest, it was a lot of fun. I heard from some authors and learned about a lot of new books that are coming out this Summer and Fall and am super excited about them all. I am especially excited because I finish school in July and will have SO much reading time again.



This week I also made progress with my June TBR - I will post the full update soon but have been trying to track progress on my Instagram, so if you aren't following me over there - please pop over and give me a follow @Cover2CoverBlog

In home news - Charlie our puppy is settling in and Cooper (the cat) is finally playing nice and not just avoiding/hissing at him... so that is good. It has been a whirlwind of activity with all the puppy excitement and wanting to chew on everything (including my toes). School also progressing, I have 4 weeks left starting tomorrow so it is getting more intense - so much paper writing. This week's paper is very technical and will involve statistics which I am NOT fond of but once it all comes together it will feel great.

How has your week been? Read anything fun?

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine, you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi
 


Coming up on the Blog

Early Reader Review: Chucky by Yehudi Mercado (MG, GN)

Early Reader Review: It's Raining Tacos by Parry Gripp (Youth)

Blog Tour: Crownless by M.H. Woodcroft (YA)

Recent Reads: The Umbrella Academy Volume 2 - Dallas by Gerard Way (GN)

Books Received Recently...
 



Have you missed anything lately?
Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Blog Tour: Review - The Reckoning by Marisa Noelle


Source: From the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.


The Reckoning by Marisa Noelle  
Series: The Unadjusteds #3
Publisher: Marisa Noelle
Publication Date:  May 6th, 2021
Page Count: 326 pages
Ages: 12-18

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The final instalment of The Unadjusteds trilogy…

THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER.
A NEW NEMESIS HAS AWOKEN.

Sinister visions of an evil entity with looming yellow eyes haunt Silver’s dreams, threatening to destroy the new world she and her friends have created. The terrifying omens push Silver to experiment with her abilities, but awaken a burgeoning thirst for more power.

As Silver walks a fine line between good and evil, her friends become wary of her intimidating abilities. She finds understanding in a sympathetic newcomer, but their deepening friendship drives an even deeper wedge between Silver and her suspicious friends.

Tragedy strikes during preparations for the final stand, bringing a terrible choice. Grief drives Silver toward reckless actions that may doom the final battle. Can she repair the relationships with her friends and control her powers before her vision becomes reality? 
 
The below review will inevitably have spoilers for books 1 and 2 of this series, if you have not read them yet – please do not read this review unless you are ok with some things being spoiled.

Want to read about Book 1 and Book 2 - Reviews here!

  

        


[spoilers starting now!]
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The Reckoning is the third installment of the Altered series. It follows an eighteen-year-old named Silver that has been saving the world from evil people looking to wipe out populations, change everyone into genetically modified monsters, and just generally being mean. She has done a great job up to this point and it seems like the danger has passed. Everyone is trying to rebuild, refocus, and to mentally adjust to the new normal. Silver has it worse that a lot of others – she is burdened by a multitude of powers, some of which she does not even know are there, her mother is not doing well, and her father is off trying to find someone to help his wife. Silver is practically alone in this new world – her family is not there, and her powers make her dangerous and people fear her.

The beginning of this book is a bit slower than the others in the series, we are focusing on mental well-being and coping, and the realization that nothing will ever be the same versus action. The action comes later, closer to the end of the book. I liked the mental health focus in this story, I think it needed to be done given the amount that this team has been through in the past books. There as a lot of death and trauma.

I really enjoyed this series, especially how it all cam to an end. However, I had a lot of feelings about the relationships in this book, they were all a bit icky for me. Matt has always been a sense of calming for Silver, they have been through a lot and have had to grow up very quickly because of it all, but this book painted him differently. The book is told from mostly Silver’s point of view, but Matt in her eyes because less invested in her well-being and seemed to want to just wipe away what had happened, and that is NOT how trauma works. Silver must be responsible for so much and he is not helping her deal with or embrace anything. Then he takes a moment to talk about rebuilding the population as she is suffering not knowing about what is already inside her – not cool man! Not cool at all. I felt VERY off-put by the situation that he puts her in. What made it worse was that the second he touched her she became malleable and gave in, which that is characteristic of her in previous books, it was amplified here, and I needed less of that.

All that said, I really liked this conclusion. The ending was a slap in the face, in a good way. I did not see it coming and had an “Oh WOW!” reaction while I was reading. If you are looking for an action-packed, dystopian series, this is a great one to pick up.

About the Author
Marisa Noelle is the writer of middle grade & young adult novels in the genres of
science-fiction, fantasy & mental health including The Shadow Keepers, The Unadjusteds Trilogy (The Unadjusteds, The Rise of the Altereds, & The Reckoning), and The Mermaid Chronicles – Secrets of the Deep.

She is a mentor for the Write Mentor program that helps aspiring MG & YA authors. With dual citizenship, Marisa has lived on both sides of the Atlantic and uses settings in both the USA and UK as inspiration for her novels.

When she’s not writing or reading or watching movies, she enjoys swimming. In the pool she likes to imagine she could be a mermaid and become part of some of her make-believe words. Despite being an avid bookworm from the time she could hold a book, being an author came as a bit of a surprise to her as she was a bit of a science geek at school. She lives in Woking, UK with her husband and three children. You can find her on Twitter @MarisaNoelle77 or her website www.MarisaNoelle.com

Find the Author




Jun 10, 2021

Recent Reads: The Umbrella Academy #1 by Gerard Way


The Umbrella Academy: 
The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way 

Series: The Umbrella Academy Volume 1
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date:  June 22, 2008



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Paperback
Source: Borrow from the Library


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born to women who'd previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, "To save the world."

These seven children form the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again.

Collecting: The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite 1-6, as well as out-of-print short stories and an expanded sketchbook section featuring work by Gabriel Bá, James Jean, and Gerard Way.
Review: 
I started watching this show on Netflix recently but realized that there was a graphic novel series that preceded it, so I paused the show and grabbed the volumes from the library.

This is a weird series, I knew that from watching the first episode of the show and the graphic novels obviously are just as weird if not a little bit weirder. The illustrations throughout the book were wonderful, dark and macabre where they needed to be and bright and vivid as they flash back to better times. 

We meet the 'family' of extraordinary children as they come together for the passing of their adoptive father. There is a lot of background that you get from flashbacks and story telling by the characters but I felt like there was still a lot to be explained. The graphic novel chapters move very quickly and hop from one crisis to the next while also telling an overall tale of this strange family. Although they are coming together for their fathers death - their father does not seem like a nice man or really even a father to them and that just sets a sad tone throughout the book. 

I picked up the next two volumes and am hoping that there is more backstory to give insight into why there is so much angst and hate between all the members of the family. 

If you enjoyed the show and are interested in reading the comic adaptations, know that they stories are already slightly different (at least from what I have seen). There might actually be more background in the initial comics than there were in the first few episodes of the show. it is strange and I generally like strange so I am going to push through - I will let you know how it goes.

Jun 8, 2021

Recent Reads: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry


People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry 
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date:  April, 2021


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Hardback
Source: Bought - Book of the Month subscription for April.


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.
Review: 
I have been dabbling in the cozy romance scene recently, it has been giving me all the warm and fuzzies. I am enjoying the love stories and the banter. This book was one of the options for the April Book of the Month subscription, which I wanted to try and finally took the plunge into. Not that I needed more books, but why not, right?!

People We Meet on Vacation is so much more that just a book about 'people we meet on vacation' as the title suggests. Poppy and Alex are opposites, and have ben since college when they met, but every year they get together and go on a trip. Poppy helps Alex break out of his comfort zone, and Alex is a rock for Poppy. Their weird relationship has worked for years until one vacation did not go as planned. They have not gone on their trip in recent years and Poppy is longing for a change. 

I had mixed feelings about both characters, while obviously invested in their stories, they both had moments where I wanted to smack them over the back of the head. Poppy is essentially running away from her home town at every opportunity. Not only has she moved to NYC but she also works for a travel magazine and is constantly swept away on work 'vacations.' She is so stubborn and oblivious to what is right in front of her, but funny and real as well.  Alex, oh Alex... He was an interesting love interest for this story. He is khaki, slightly blah, a little boring, but such a good guy. I wanted him to really pop out of his shell.

The book is told in the past and present, alternating between the now and the upcoming new trip, and every trip they have taken together. While also moving through the trips of the past, you get a lot of back story about other relationships, what they are up  to in their lives and how they are growing apart up until their next vacation. This was a great way to give the reader the backstory without having them slog through the information in a thought process of the characters. 

I enjoyed this book. All things considered, it was a lighter read. There were a few steamy moment, and the ending is cute. It is not a surprising ending but it was closure and that was good. If you are looking for a romance with the opposites attract theme, this is a fun choice - especially if you are bringing it on vacation. 

Jun 7, 2021

Early Reader Review: Call of the Night Volume 2 by Kotoyama

Source: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Call of the Night Volume 2 by Kotoyama
Series: Call of the Night #2
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Publication Date:  June 8, 2021



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Pages: 192
Format: Trade Paperback
Cost: $9.99 USD, $12.99 CAD
ISBN: 9781974720576, 1974720578

ARC Format: Ebook


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Antisocial, dorky boy seeks fun-loving, sexy vampire for blood-sucking and transforming into her minion.

One sleepless night, Ko slips out to walk the streets. Life after dark is a revelation! Especially when he meets flirtatious Nanakusa. Except that she’s a vampire. That’s okay. He wants to become a creature of the night too. But transformation doesn’t come that easily...

What’s the difference between desire and love? Does Nazuna know any better than Ko? What about Ko’s childhood friend Akira? Unable to answer these romantic questions, Ko and Nazuna go swimming. Turns out bathing beauties at pools are just as hot at night as in the blazing sunshine at the beach... Then, Ko gets jealous when he learns about Nazuna’s night job. But after she drafts him into temping for her, the two of them join forces to save a client from her boss—and herself


Review: 
I had mixed feelings about this installment of the Call of the Night series. Overall this series has an interesting twist on the normal vampire lore and the banter is entertaining, but I have to keep reminding myself that Ko is a teen. 

Mush like the first installment we follow Ko on his nighttime escapades, now joined by Nazuma, his vampire 'girlfriend' of sorts. They have witty and raunchy banter that is fun and probably pretty accurate for a teen. However, I haven't really been able to get a read on Nazuma's age and that makes all of this slightly creepy to me. 

Ko is trying to figure out how to be a teenage boy while also trying to figure out how to become a vampire so that he doesn't have to deal with being a teenage boy... he is very jaded and Nakuma is adding to that issue I think. 

Ko has some light in his life, Akira is an old friend that makes a few appearances here. She is sometimes a voice of reason trying to balance Nakuma. That part was refreshing, but there is a backstory for her that I want to learn more about. 

There are a lot of backstories that I think would be helpful to learn more about overall but it was a fun read and I really enjoy the artwork. It is dark and foreboding, and I like the semi-love triangles between Ko and his girl entourage. 

Jun 6, 2021

Building the Book Pile #348



Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 


Happy Sunday again! We are starting a new week (or ending a week if you look at it that way). I hope that everyone had a good week. We sure did. 

I know I mentioned that our dog Rolo passed away in January Well this week we brought home a new little friend. This is Charlie. (His you're in trouble name is Charles Valentino, and when he gets the zommies we say he has the Rossi's, my husband is a MotoGP fan). Right now he is just melting my heart..
Charlie is 12 weeks old and a French Bulldog.


We are still working on Cooper's (our cat) attitude about the change. He is not very happy at the moment but slowly coming around to the idea. We think he has been lonely. Our hope was that another dog like Rolo would ease the transition... we will see. 

In blog and reading news - I am doing those things lol. I have gotten through a few of the graphic novels on my TBR for the month already and happy with that progress. 

This week I am excited to say that I will be attending the Virtual Edelweiss Book Fest. Is anyone else attending? 


How has your June started off?

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine, you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi
 


Coming up on the Blog

Early Reader Review: Call of the Night #2 by Kotoyama (GN) 

Recent Reads: People we Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Adult)

Recent Reads: The Umbrella Academy #1 by Gerard  Way (YA/ GN)


Books Received Recently...
 



Have you missed anything lately?
Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Jun 3, 2021

DC Announces Books in their 2022 Books for Young Readers Lineup!


Today in book news, DC's has announced some of their Books for Young Readers 2022 lineup! 

Read more about these book below!



GREEN LANTERN: ALLIANCE

Minh Lê and Andie Tong, the Bestselling Writer & Artist Behind
Green Lantern: Legacy, Bring New Adventures with Tai Pham to Audiences

From DC’s Books for Young Readers Line, the Middle-Grade Title will be
Available Digitally and at Participating Bookstores on April 5, 2022

It’s only been a few months since Green Lantern Tai Pham inherited his ring from his ba and defeated his nemesis, Xander Griffin, but Tai knows their last battle was only the beginning. Even though no one believes him, Tai is determined to prove that Xander is up to his old tricks again.

When a string of fires starts popping up around Coast City, Tai finds himself stretched thin as he struggles to keep up with school, training, working at his parents’ store, and following Xander’s trail. That is until a new hero, known as Kid Flash, shows up on the scene with an offer to help. Can the heroes find the arsonist before it’s too late?

Green Lantern: Alliance will be available digitally and at participating bookstores next Spring. A hi-res image of the book’s cover is available here.

For more information on the World’s Greatest Super Heroes, visit www.dccomics.com, the DC YouTube channel, or follow @DCComics and @TheDCNation on social media. For a free trial of DC Universe Infinite, visit the website at www.dcuniverseinfinite.com.


SHAZAM! THUNDERCRACK

Set Within the Shazam! Movie Timeline and Written & Illustrated by Yehudi Mercado, Young Readers will Enjoy this Original Story Showcasing Billy Batson as a Football All-Star

From DC’s Books for Young Readers Line, the Middle-Grade Title will be Available
Digitally and at Participating Bookstores on June 7, 2022

From acclaimed writer and illustrator Yehudi Mercado (Chunky, Hero Hotel), this original story is set within the Shazam! movie timeline, featuring Billy Batson as the newest player on the Fawcett Tigers’ football team. Super-heroics are dangerous but joining the football team is an even bigger problem!

Billy Batson has never been a team player and becoming the superhero Shazam didn’t seem to change that much, but his new strength and stamina will make football a breeze. After skipping school one too many times, Billy is offered a choice: football or detention. The Fawcett Tigers need a new champion—their last quarterback ended up in the hospital and the coach is pretty sure rival team the Fishtown Atoms are to blame.

Between football practice and superhero training, Billy’s muscles are getting bigger, but so is his ego. Will foster dad Victor’s wise counsel and memories of his own football triumphs help keep young Shazam grounded? Young readers can follow along on this new journey to find out! Best friend Freddy is also there every step of the way vlogging Billy’s superhero training montages, family pranks, and the new gig he took to monitor Billy’s football practices.

Making his DC debut with Shazam! Thundercrack, Yehudi Mercado is a Mexico City-born writer and artist who grew up in Houston, TX. He began his professional career in the video games industry and eventually became an art director for Disney Interactive, where he co-wrote and art directed the Guardians of the Galaxy mobile game. Mercado’s original graphic novels include Chunky, Hero Hotel, Rocket Salvage, Fun Fun Fun World, and Sci-Fu. He was also the artist on the Epic Original graphic novel Cat Ninja.

Shazam! Thundercrack will be available digitally and at participating bookstores next Summer. A hi-res image of the book’s cover is available here and first-look images from the book’s interior will be available soon.

For more information on the World’s Greatest Super Heroes, visit www.dccomics.com, the DC YouTube channel, or follow @DCComics and @TheDCNation on social media. For a free trial of DC Universe Infinite, visit the website at www.dcuniverseinfinite.com.


About DC:
DC, a WarnerMedia Company, creates iconic characters, enduring stories, and immersive experiences that inspire and entertain audiences of every generation around the world and is one of the world’s largest publishers of comics and graphic novels. As a creative division, DC is charged with strategically integrating its stories and characters across film, television, consumer products, home entertainment, interactive games, and the DC Universe Infinite digital subscription service and community engagement portal. For more information visit dccomics.com and dcuniverseinfinite.com. 





 

Jun 2, 2021

Recent Reads: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams 
Series: The Bromance Book Club #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  November 5, 2019


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Paperback
Source: Bought/ Own


Rating:


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The first rule of book club: You don't talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife. 
Review: 
I have been looking for some lighter romance books lately and heard about this one online. The story seemed every interesting - a group of men reading regency romance to fix their relationships. This one did not disappoint. 

The story follows Gavin who has not been seeing his wife for what she is for a long time. Not an ideal situation and I honestly was not rooting for him in the beginning. He was so focused on himself that he had failed to see her pulling away because she was having to change herself for his lifestyle. However, his trials in trying to gain her back were funny and strange in a good way and overall the story was just light enough but loving enough to make it all work. It was a woman focused romance although from the point of view of the male character which was a positive way to go. 

Gavin is pretty self-centered but part of that is also that he does not realize it, scary but true. He is caring and loves his family but his job pulls him away often and fully. He is needy enough for you to want to root for him but at times he is just annoying in his neediness. 

Thea is a young woman, married to Gavin after getting pregnant. They are a young couple and she has given up so much to have her family and keep things running. But she is starting to realize that she just gave up too much of herself to keep up appearances. I would have liked to see more from her point of view from the times before this book starts. She is strong-willed, stubborn, and vibrant as a character. 

The win for this book was the cast of men that are there to help Gavin. They are hilarious and into this book club and everything it can do for them and to help them be better in their relationships. I wanted more book club discussion and real world applications of their romance reading, but also realized that the book was not actually about the book club but how Gavin was using it. 

I should note that there were some heavy moments, and the whole story hinges on some hot and heavy moments, so if you are not into that kind of romance, this book might not be your style. 

This is the first book in a series and each book seems to follow a different member in the book club, so I am excited to read more in the series. 

Jun 1, 2021

Blog Blitz: Opposites Attract by Jacqueline Lee


Opposites Attract by Jacqueline Lee 
Publication date: May 27th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

About the Book

Megan is nerdier than all of the characters on The Big Bang Theory combined. But it’s a fabulous form of revenge that the same traits she was tormented for in high school have helped her land her dream job as a science journalist in New York and her dream apartment with fellow nerd, Josh, who is potentially her dream guy. The only problem is Josh’s brother, Brandon, is constantly around blocking any attempts to create a romantic atmosphere. Megan nurses an oversized grudge against jocks due to a past traumatic experience. The fact that Brandon’s a professional football player whose new favorite sport is mocking her only increases her fantasies of feeding him to a giant carnivorous plant.

Brandon’s life might look perfect, but he’s got a massive hang-up about his intelligence, a hang-up which is aggravated by all the verbal sparring with Josh’s new roommate. Even worse, it appears Science Barbie is falling for his deeply closeted brother. Why does he care so much about preventing the impending disaster? But the more time he spends with Megan, the more he realizes the sparks between them have the potential to ignite into something amazing.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20



 

Living with Josh is as great as I expected. We move from roommates to friends seamlessly over the next fortnight, and inside me there’s a little spark of hope that the next progression might happen just as naturally.

Unfortunately Josh shows no sign of being interested in me romantically. And trust me, I’ve been searching for signs more actively than UFO enthusiasts search the night sky. Because there is no way I’m going to put myself out there and risk all the potential awkwardness unless I’m absolutely certain my feelings are reciprocated.

One Saturday night we’re heading out the door together when Brandon arrives. I swear Brandon spends more time at our apartment than he does at his own. Josh seems to enjoy his company, so I’ve bitten back my complaints.

“We were just going to grab some frozen yogurt. You want to come?” Josh asks him.

Brandon flinches. “Probably not a good idea.”

I let out a breath I didn’t even realize I was holding. It’s not just that I want to spend time alone with Josh. Somehow, when Brandon’s around there’s always this weird tension buzzing between him and me, and not just when we’re trading insults. It’s like antimatter—one of those phenomena science can’t find an explanation for.

Josh ducks back into his room and emerges holding a red baseball cap and dark sunglasses. “Here.” He thrusts them at Brandon, who puts them on.

I raise an eyebrow. “Is there a reason why you’re dressing Brandon up like that even though it’s mid-January, forty degrees, and dark outside?”

“We’ve got to cover up Brandon’s beauty or the girls start mobbing him,” Josh says.

I roll my eyes. I have to concede, Brandon is male-model gorgeous. However it’s egotistical of him to assume that females can’t control themselves around him.

“Yeah, I understand. I struggle with the urge to mob Brandon daily.” My words are deep-fried in sarcasm.

“And yet you find the strength to resist,” Brandon says.

“It’s my superpower,” I reply.

We head into the elevator, also known as taking your life into your own hands. I swear the metallic groaning and creaking gets worse every time.

Brandon stands next to the door, and as I lean past to press the button I catch a hint of his cologne. He smells like a fresh mix of lemon and cedarwood, two of my favorite scents. I have to restrain myself from shuffling closer to him. After just mocking the idea of mobbing him, planting my nose on his skin might be slightly hypocritical.

We make it to Frozen Palace and I volunteer to queue up while Brandon finds a booth near the back and Josh heads to the bathroom.

I’m studying Frozen Palace’s poster that’s inviting me to suggest my own new flavor of yogurt, when a guy sidles up behind me.

“Excuse me, is that Brandon Seaton you just came in with?”

I turn to look at the guy. He’s the pure definition of a jock, in letterman jacket and jeans. His two friends standing beside him are dressed identically.

“Um…yeah.” My shoulders have hunched up automatically. I force myself to unclench.

“Oh, my God, I thought so.”

“Do you know him from somewhere?” I ask.

He gives me a weird look. “Yeah, I know him from football.”

“Oh, do you guys play on the same team?”

The guy’s look morphs into astonishment, and he starts to chuckle. “Yeah, sure we play on the same team. I’m the starting receiver, didn’t you know?”

He and his friends crack up laughing. Heat tracks up my cheeks. Jocks. I frigging hate them. Especially when I’m the butt of a joke I don’t understand.

And I really don’t understand what’s going on now, because as I collect our orders and weave my way back to the table it’s like I’ve stumbled into one of the sixth dimension’s alternative universes. I can hear Brandon’s name echoing around, like the walls are whispering it. I put the tray on the table with a thump.

Brandon looks at my face and frowns. He’s taken off his sunglasses but his cap remains in place. “What’s up?”

I don’t want to admit I’m hallucinating his name. I’m about to tell him I ran into his friend, when suddenly the friend turns up at our table.

“Sorry to disturb, but can I grab an autograph?” He thrusts a pen and napkin at Brandon.

My forehead wrinkles in confusion as Brandon puts on a smile. I know Brandon well enough to know it’s a fake smile. But he obediently picks up the pen and signs the napkin.

“Your friend wanted to know if we play on the same team,” the guy chortles.

Brandon glances at me. I give him a flat glare back.

“Yeah, she’s not really into football,” he says.

Sidling back in my seat while he talks to the idiot guy, I shield my phone from scrutiny while I google Brandon. What I read makes me swallow hard. Twice.

Right, so apparently there are some negatives about determinedly remaining ignorant about everything in the football universe.

Like not knowing your roommate’s brother is the FREAKING STARTING QUARTERBACK FOR THE NEW YORK GOLIATHS.


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Jacqueline Lee is an award-winning romance author who writes stories with heart and humor. She loves writing characters who have fun with each other while building a deeper connection. Formerly a high school biology teacher, Jackie is living her own version of happily-ever-after with her husband and three children in New Zealand.

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