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Tuesday 30 June 2015

Teaser + Top Ten Tuesday #28 ~ Books Read so far in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

I wasn't that thrilled with this week's topic as I've only gotten out of my reading rut in May, so you may wonder why all the books I've mentioned on this list have been "recent" that's why. Looking forward to checking out what everyone else's 2015 picks are. 

Please make sure you leave your linky on the comments section so I can come for a blog visit and check out your Top Ten list and/or your teasers which I LOVE checking out! Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week...

Top Ten Books we've read so far in 2015 

Next week @ Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read

Source: Beckoned by Books

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along, just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • Be careful not to include spoilers (make sure what you share doesn't give too much away. You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the book info so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like the teasers. 
Some people have to wait their whole lives for great love. Some people find it when they're too young to know what to do with it. I don't know if one is easier than the other, but I do know that whenever you find it, if you have it in you to keep trying, you might actually get a second, and third, and fourth chance to get it right.  

No More Confessions

by Louise Rozett

Series: Confessions #3
Publication Date: January 25, 2015
Publisher: Stonesong

Monday 29 June 2015

You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison ~ Author Interview + Giveaway

Click for tour schedule

Welcome to my tour stop for 

You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison

Paperback Princess is kicking off You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison's blog tour! Today we are very honoured to have Kris here with us to answer a few questions. 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway courtesy of HMH Kids and Kris for your chance to win a copy finished copy of You and Me and Him. 

About The Author

Kris Dinnison

Kris Dinnison learned to read when she was five years old. She grew up reading books nobody else had read and listening to music nobody else had heard of and thinking she was weird, which she kind of was. She spent nearly two decades as a teacher and librarian working with students from kindergarten to graduate school. The bulk of that time she spent teaching High School English while dreaming of becoming a writer. Nowadays, when she’s not writing, she helps run her family’s retail and café businesses. She lives in Spokane, Washington with one husband, one daughter (when said daughter is not living in some foreign country or other), two cats, and a labradoodle named Charlie.

Thanks Kris, for allowing me the opportunity to be part of this tour, You and Me and Him was such a fantastic read, I devoured it in two days. 

Your Top 3 Favourite Cookies?

Well, I don’t bake quite as well as Maggie does in the story, but I do love cookies. I have a lot of great emotional associations with certain cookies. 

I love Madelines, which are this kind of cakey French cookie shaped like a shell. I eat them when I’m in France, and I baked them with my daughter a few times, so they always make me think of her and of traveling. 

I also love Oatmeal Scotchies. I’m not sure why the fake butterscotch chips are so appealing to me, but they are just perfect with the oatmeal and the cinnamon. When we first opened our café business, I was so inexperienced. I didn’t really know how to do anything well, but those cookies were one thing I could make and people seemed to love them. 

Finally, the chocolate chip cookies my friend Randy makes. He’s a teacher and he regularly makes huge batches of them for students and staff. He has been such a great friend that I can’t taste one of those cookies without thinking of him.

In your blog you mentioned that growing up you felt a bit strange, not like everyone else, was Maggie's character based on yourself? 

Maggie is more the person I wished I had been in high school. I definitely struggled with a lot of the same things she did: body image, dating, friend drama, listening to weird music, feeling like people didn’t get me. And on top of it all, I moved from Washington State to the Bay Area in California halfway through my junior year in High School. I definitely felt like an outsider then. But unlike Maggie, it took me so much longer to become okay with a lot of those things. To be honest, some of them I’m still struggling with. But writing her character gave me a little of that sense of getting a “do over” on some of the things I wished I’d handled differently. In a way, it allowed me to go back and give some advice to my 17 year-old self.

You refer to a lot of different era music throughout the book, and you mention that when growing up you listened to a lot of music that no one else had heard of, give me one of your favourite singer/band and song when you were growing up, and why were they your favourite? 

Stephen Chbosky has a great line in “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” where someone asks his main character what his favorite book is and he answers “The last one I read.” 

(I think that's going to be MY favourite quote)

It’s really hard for me to say I have a favorite book or movie or band or whatever, because I like so many different things. In fact I was just talking about this after seeing the documentary “Kurt Cobain, Montage of Heck”, which I thought was incredible, by the way. I had this realization that I was never rabidly, obsessively into one band the way the fans of Nirvana were. I love music, but I’m not one of those people who knew everything about them or needed to feel connected to them to enjoy the music. 

So anyway, that question of favorites always throws me. But when you talk about someone I listened to a lot that nobody else listened to, Billie Holiday was definitely one of those. I loved her voice, and the rough, scratchy quality of the recordings, and just the whole “Lady Sings the Blues” thing. I remember there was one song I listened to a lot, Lover Man. 

I had a lot of friends, but I really did long for that special someone who I would have a different bond with. I was kind of like Nash in the book, I wanted to hold hands and dance at prom and that whole romantic picture. The song Lover Man really spoke to that sort of yearning. 

“I don’t know why but I’m feeling so sad/I long to try something I’ve never had/Never had no kissin’/Oh what I’ve been missin’/Lover Man, oh where can you be?”

You have walked into Square Peg, which of the 3 in the RTP (Records to Play) pile would you want Maggie and Quinn to play whilst your shopping? 

I think I’d like to hear Louder Than Bombs by the Smiths and Head in the Door by The Cure. In high school I literally wore out those cassettes and had to buy new ones. And I love stepping into a place and feeling connected to the people that work there by their music choices. And then I’d love it if they were playing something I didn’t know but really liked. That’s part of the fun of going into a real record store (or bookstore or library or whatever). The people there know about the stuff you don’t know about yet and they can introduce you to some great new artist or book if you let them. 

I guess the algorithms online will do the same thing based on what you buy or what toothpaste you use or whatever, but somehow it’s not as gratifying for me as having a conversation with someone who says, “Hey, you have to check this out!”

I absolutely adored the banter between Quinn and Maggie, and those sessions at Square Peg became one of my favourite scenes, their relationship was so easy...did you base that on a relationship you have with your brother?

My brother and I have a good relationship, and he’s one of the smartest people I know. I love talking with him, but we tend to talk about more serious things. I wasn’t really thinking of him at all when I started on Maggie and Quinn’s relationship. Actually I’d be hard pressed to say where their banter came from. I think they just see that kindred spirit in each other, in spite of the age difference, so they feel comfortable giving each other some crap and also supporting one another.

You have worked in a lot of different industries, which of those jobs (excluding being a Writer of course) would you say was your favourite job and why? 

I really did love being a teacher. The kids I got to work with during that career were amazing. And I always felt like they were teaching me as much as I taught them. I’m still in touch with some of the students I had my first year of teaching, which was over twenty years ago. Seeing them grow up and be amazing makes me really happy. The system has changed a lot since I started teaching, and it wouldn’t be a good fit for me anymore, but I’m really grateful for the time I had with students. I also like being a barista, because free coffee. Duh.

About The Book

You and Me and Him 

by Kris Dinnison

Published: July 7, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books 
Buy It Now: Amazon | Book Depository

“Do not ignore a call from me when you know I am feeling neurotic about a boy. That is Best Friend 101.” —Nash         

Maggie and Nash are outsiders. She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. The best of friends, they have seen each other through thick and thin, but when Tom moves to town at the start of the school year, they have something unexpected in common: feelings for the same guy. This warm, witty novel—with a clear, true voice and a clever soundtrack of musical references—sings a song of love and forgiveness.

~ Giveaway ~ 

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Stay tuned for an upcoming review coming shortly at Paperback Princess! 

This event is brought to you by 

Sunday 28 June 2015

Sunday Post #11

The Sunday Post
Sunday Post is a weekly feature hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's main purpose is similar to that of a Sunday newspaper; recap of the week gone by, additions to your library and what is going on in the book blogging community.

Library Additions

Inspired by The Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews


For Review

Personal News

Happy Birthday to my Hubby 

This was his small birthday cupcake as it was only for me and him. We had an awesome day, went to the city and went to Madame Tussaud where he got a hand wax, using his actual hand as mould, a personalised engraved trophy and souvenir pics. There are plenty more pics to come next week as it was only yesterday so I haven't had time to upload it all, but it truly was fantastic, I loved it, and being such a child he loved it even more. He got a pic with nearly all the wax figures LOL, and I don't mean just normal pics standing next to them, he had all kinds of poses. 

We then had dinner at Zaaffran which is an Indian Restaurant at the heart of Darling Harbour in Sydney, with beautiful views, you'll see more pics with the actual views next week, this was our entree. It was a 4 course meal but after 2 we were already full, so we didn't even get to the good part, the main! So that's just a little snippet of our day...more to come. 

Son Aka Batman

"My Mummy's just changing me out of my baby jumpsuit disguise...don't look at me funny, all superheroes bust outta their normal clothes!"

RIP Sister-in-Law

My Hubby got some tragic news last week that his Sister passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 31 years old, we are unaware at this stage the cause of her death. He didn't know her very well as they were raised separately, they have different Fathers, but she had stayed with them for a few months when she was around 18 years of age. Since then they haven't had contact, but it doesn't soften the blow unfortunately. We attended her funeral and it was very saddening, but Hubby got to reunite with his Mother's side of the family which he doesn't have much to do with it, so I suppose that's a plus side. 

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You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison
Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

See you next week! 

No More Confessions by Louise Rozett ~ Author Interview + Giveaway

This week Paperback Princess has dedicated the week to the Confessions Series by Louise Rozett. These are the posts thus far... 

Day 3 Interview with Rose Zarelli

This is the last day of Paperback Princess' The Confessions Series feature by Louise Rozett, so what a perfect time to Interview the lady that created this amazing series, Louise Rozett! 

Read till the end for your chance to win not one but TWO giveaways courtesy of myself and YA Bound Blog Tours. Please click the banner below for the complete tour schedule. 

~ This or That ~ 

I love a good game of This or That, don’t you? It always makes me think of that Black Sheep song from the early ’90s, “This or That” (actually, I think it’s called “The Choice is Yours”) and then I spend the whole day with an earworm...but that’s okay! Unfortunately, I’m sort of terrible at this game—I can’t always make a choice. So I apologize in advance, but here we go.... 

Katy or Beyoncé? 

I love Katy, but Beyoncé might just be the best performer alive. I mean, she’s superhuman, right? Katy is awesome. Beyoncé is from another planet. 

Tattoo or piercing? 

Well, let’s see. My ears are pierced, but that’s it. I also have a tattoo. It’s the Sydney Opera House because I LOVE Australia! (In fact, Australia plays an important role in a new book I’m working on....) But if I had to pick? I’d say...hmmm...I don’t think I’d get anything else pierced, but I might get another tattoo (of another piece of architecture, maybe, like the Brooklyn Bridge?) so I guess the answer

I can't wait to read your new book featuring Sydney, Australia! 

Spinach or kale? 

Really? I have to choose? I love both—in salads, smoothies, sandwiches, snacks (what else starts with “s”?). But seriously. It’s true. I can’t choose. I’m not all about greens, however—I can eat sugar and carbs and fat with the best of them. Bring on the cupcakes.

Bachelor or Bachelorette? 

Neither. I am generally not a fan of the reality TV. I am, however, totally loving UnREAL on Lifetime, which is a fictional behind-the-scenes look at how shows like The Bachelor get made. It’s kind of terrifying (and, like most “reality” shows, it’s pretty much for adults, FYI). It raises the question, how did we get here? Why are we allowing these kinds of reality shows to happen in the name of entertainment? Yikes...

Blond or brunette? 

I’ve been both, and everything in between (along with some colors that aren’t on that spectrum at all, like blue). I think my favorite is a combination of the two—base color brunette, highlights blond. (Is that a copout?) (Yeah, probably...)

Dog or cat? 

I’m an animal lover to my core, but for me, it’s all about the dogs. If you’ve seen my website, you probably already know that. 

Heels or flats? 

I love high heels, as is evidenced on my beloved Pinterest board, “I Dream of Wearing...” And being 5’3” makes me love them even more! The problem is, though, that heels don’t love me. Too many stress fractures from running...blah blah blah. It doesn’t stop me from still wearing them on occasion—I admit it!

Salty or sweet? 

No one should ever have to choose between these two things, should they?! I mean, it’s awesome to just keep ping-ponging back and forth, right?

Rain or sun? 

I am really terrible at this game. When I’m in NYC and it’s rainy, I dream of sun. When I’m in LA and it’s sunny, I crave rain. I love them both equally and for different reasons!

M&Ms or Reese’s? 

Oh, M&Ms. Hands down. I am not a peanut-butter-and-chocolate girl. I just don’t get it—why obscure the flawless flavor of chocolate?! Although I guess there are a few flavors I like with chocolate. But not peanut butter. (Yes, I know, people are equally passionate in the other direction. It’s just one of those personal things we’ll have to agree to disagree on.)

~ Q&A with Louise Rozett ~ 

Q. Tell us about yourself and your writing.
A. I was one of those kids who wrote lots of stories and plays. As I got older and started studying acting, I focused more on plays. I loved the collaborative nature of playwriting, but at a certain point, I really wanted to create something entirely on my own, that didn’t require a director and actors. And that’s when I went back to fiction. For me, writing is the best way to disappear into myself, to take a break from the real world. It calms me and absorbs me in a way that nothing else does.
Q. What inspired the Confessions series?
A. I have very vivid memories of being a teenager and trying to understand and cope with desire and other big, new issues. Desire is very tricky—people can really lose themselves in it and make bad decisions as a result of it—and I was interested in investigating what it’s like to be a smart girl navigating that territory. Because it doesn’t matter how smart you are—when you feel desire for the first time, it can really scramble your brain.
Q. Rose has been through so much over two books. How did you create such a realistic portrayal of grief?
A. Thanks for saying it’s a realistic portrayal! I think the thing that’s tough about portraying grief is the time frame. It takes a long, long time to process grief—it’s not the kind of thing that can be dealt with quickly and cleanly. Based on my own experience with grief and trauma, the healing process is messy, and it’s not linear—it starts and stops, and it’s two steps forward, three steps back sometimes. Once I recognized that, Rose’s journey became clear to me.
Q. In book 1, Confessions of an Angry Girl, Rose is bullied by Regina. In book 2, she sees Conrad being harassed by the swim team. What do you hope readers learn from Rose’s experience, and what would you say to someone who is being bullied or harassed?
A. I think it’s important for people experiencing bullying or harassment to speak up, in whatever form that takes, whether it’s talking to an adult, or addressing the bully directly, or getting the police involved. Everyone has to make their own decision about how to manage the situation, and choose what feels right to them, as Rose does. But personally, I feel that staying silent is not the answer.
Q. What resources are there for someone who is being bullied or harassed?
A. There are a ton of different resources online, from websites like to sections on bullying on the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network site, There’s also a fantastic documentary called Bully that I think is a must-see for everyone, with a website called that has great resources.
Q. Rose and Jamie have a rather complex relationship. How do you view their romance, and is there hope for them in the future?
A. I love Rose and Jamie together. I think they are very different people who broaden each other’s minds and give each other new experiences of all kinds. I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen in their future—they haven’t told me yet, if that makes any sense. But I will say this: the hardest thing to do in a relationship is stay together through change. And teenagers change quickly, and very often. It’ll be interesting to see if Rose and Jamie can figure out how to handle that.
Q. Rose and Tracy’s friendship has its ups and downs, but in the end they seem to make it work. What do you think is important in a friendship?
A. I think Rose and Tracy keep finding their way back to each other because they understand that they are different people, yet they respect their differences. They don’t try to like the same things or the same people—they try to respect each other’s opinions and decisions, even if they don’t understand them. If you can master that in your friendships, you’ll have a lifetime of great friends.
Q. Do you have a favorite among Rose’s circle of family and friends? Who is it?
A. I love Angelo. I really do. He’s a diamond in the rough. Angelo sees potential in Rose from the moment he meets her, and as he figures out who he is, he starts to help Rose reach that potential. He’s also just fun, and funny, and kind, and uncomplicated in a way. I think Rose appreciates that in the middle of her very complicated life.
Q. Any words of advice for aspiring authors?
A. I have two pieces of advice for aspiring authors. The first one is just sit down and do it. Make a schedule for yourself, write it in your calendar like it’s a doctor’s appointment and commit to it. If you don’t know what to say, then write about that. But get some words on the page.

The second piece of advice is, be nice to yourself while you’re writing. I think this is really important. A lot of people stop writing after a few tries because they read what they wrote and decide it’s terrible. But they’re being completely unfair—they’re judging something that isn’t ready to be judged. Writing is a process of creation and revision, and more creation and more revision—it takes time. You have to be critical eventually, but if you do it while your ideas are still young and taking shape, you’ll give up before you’ve even started.

About the Author

Louise Rozett

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Louise Rozett is an author, a playwright, and a recovering performer. She made her YA debut with Confessions of an Angry Girl, followed by Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend, both published by HarlequinTEEN. The next book in the series, No More Confessions, is due out January 2015. She lives with her 120-pound Bernese Mountain dog Lester (named after Lester Freamon from THE WIRE, of course) in sunny Los Angeles, and pines for New York City.

Read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 

~ Chapter 3 ~ 

“It’s Not You,” Halestorm, Halestorm

Upstairs, I dig around in the tangled pile of clothes and sheets that is my bed. Soon my fingers graze the cool metal of my laptop. I slide it out and open it, the screen springing to life with an old photo of my parents before my brother and I were born. Peter has been scanning family photos from old albums so we have digital versions, and I’ve changed my settings so that every time I open my laptop, a different photo comes up. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but I’m not changing it. 

I look over at Angelo’s old guitar sitting in the corner of my room, untouched for the last few days. I was planning on practicing tonight so Angelo doesn’t destroy me at rehearsal tomorrow—Angelo is on my ass about getting better at guitar so he can play bass—but it’s pretty clear that’s no longer going to happen. 

 Once I’m online, my fingers hesitate over the keys. I know that if I watch this, I might get answers to questions I’ve had for the last two years, like, what was Dad doing right before he died? Was he with nice, good people when it happened? Was it fast, and painless? 

Was he in one piece when it was over? 

I obsess over this one even though the answer is obvious. He was blown up by a bomb—one piece isn’t an option in that scenario. 

I grab my phone and hit speed dial. 

As it rings, I hold it to my ear with my shoulder and twist my overgrown bangs around my finger. I lean over to my nightstand and grab my pinking sheers, which I keep nearby for this very purpose. 

Sometimes, the only thing you can control in life is your hair. 

I don’t want to lose the blue ends of my bangs—Tracy helped me do them a few weeks ago and they look really cool—but they’re just too damn long. I should have cut them before we dyed the ends. But things don’t always happen in the order you want them to. 

Vicky answers by saying, “Sugar, if you watch that video, I swear to god...” 

Although I’ve never met Vicky in person, I’ve seen enough photos that I can picture her sitting at her kitchen table, fanning herself as she talks on her landline with the 30-year-old curly cord that’s probably sticky with kitchen grease. I imagine her sweating in the Texas heat, blotting her face with her “kerchief,” as she calls it. 

“Did you just take the lord’s name in vain?” I tease. 

“I’m a Texas Christian, honey—we get to take the lord’s name in vain in certain situations. And this is for sure a ‘certain’ situation.” 

I lean forward over the edge of my bed so my hair hangs in front of my face like a curtain. “Are you okay, Vic?” 

“No, sweetie. And you’re not either, I can tell.” 

“If we watch it,” I say, “at least we’ll know what it was like for them.” 

Vicky is quiet for so long, I check my phone to see if we still have a connection. Finally she says, “We can’t ever know what it was like for them, hon. And that’s how they’d want it. Don’t watch it, sweetheart.” 

I slide the scissors under my hair curtain to reach my bangs. Snip. A chunk of blue falls to the floor. 

“That video never should have seen the light of day,” Vicky continues. “If I knew where Gabe was, I would tan his hide somethin’ fierce, I tell you what.” 

I freeze, scissors poised to do more damage. “Who’s Gabe?” I ask. 

There’s a long pause before Vicky says, “Your mamma didn’t get that far, huh?” 

It’s hard to listen as she explains that the soldier who posted the video was Travis’ best friend, Gabriel Ortiz. He’d been using his camera phone in Iraq, even though soldiers aren’t supposed to do that. He and Travis were part of the convoy that was escorting my dad and a bunch of other engineers to a site. Gabriel got injured in the explosion, but he recovered, finished his tour, and signed up for another one before the army realized—or had to acknowledge—that he had PTSD and was unstable. 

“So they sent him home. And now, for reasons only the good lord knows, he’s posting all the dang videos he took while he was over there. I tell you what, Rosalita, if Travis were here, he would kick that fool’s ass. Gabe always did need help stayin’ in line.” I hear a catch in her voice, and then she changes the subject so fast I get whiplash. “How’s junior year so far?” she asks with a whole bunch of fake cheer. 

Junior year. Sometimes I feel like I was a freshman two seconds ago. Today it feels like 20 years. 

“You still there, Rose?” <


I can’t shift topics that quickly—I’m still trying to deal with the fact that Vicky actually knows the guy I’ve been referring to as “the jackass with a smartphone.” 

I flip over onto my back and hold my bangs up between two fingers. Snip. A chunk spills on my face, tickling my nose, sticking to my lips. 

“Did I just hear those scissors?” Vicky asks sternly. “You know you’re not supposed to cut your own hair. We talked about this!” 

Vicky is a hairdresser, and she does not approve of my taking matters into my own hands. “I’m just trimming my bangs,” I say. 

“There are professionals who would be happy to do that for you.” She sighs. “Don’t you go too short or your forehead will look as big as a football field on a Friday night, only nobody will be cheerin’.” <

“I won’t, Vic, I promise.” 

“All righty, listen, I’m gonna go find that boy before he gets himself court-martialed or dishonorably discharged or strung up by his ankles.” 

I sit up, the scissors gaping open in my hand. “You’re worried about him? After what he did to us? What the hell?” 

Although I’m pissed off, I cringe at my choice of words and my tone of voice—I’ve never talked to Vicky like this before. But she doesn’t miss a beat. 

“Rosalita, that boy ate at my table almost every night of his life until he enlisted. He’s a few wings short of a bird right now but Travis would want me to help him and that’s what I’m gonna do. Now stop butchering your hair and go to bed. And do not—I repeat—do not watch that video.” 

I hear her setting her old-school handset in the cradle as she hangs up. And then, dead air. I feel like I’m falling backward with nothing to stop me. 

Things were almost normal again for the first time in two years, and then...Smartphone Jackass. Who does he think he is? What gives him the right to put that video online for anyone to watch? 

But even as I curse Gabriel Ortiz’s name, I know I’m one of the people who’s going to watch the video. It’s just a question of when, and whether or not Jamie’s going to watch it with me. 

The outside of Jamie’s house is bleak, with paint peeling off the shutters and flaking onto the dead grass. I’ve never seen the inside, but I bet it’s not much better. 

It’s the middle of the night, and I’m sitting in my mom’s car. She has to take an arsenal of sleeping pills at night so the chances of her waking up, realizing I took the car again and making good on her promise to ground me for the next two years are fairly slim. It’s a selfish risk to take, given the state she’s in tonight, and possibly a pointless one since Jamie’s car is not here. But it’s a risk I’m taking anyway. I can’t shake the feeling that he can help me with this. 

I don’t know what time Dizzy’s closes, but it’s almost 2 a.m. He’ll probably be home soon. Unless he’s not coming home at all. Which is his business, not mine, I remind myself. 

I look up at the house where Jamie has lived with just his dad for the last few years since his mom died in an institution. She was schizophrenic, something that Jamie and I have talked about exactly twice for a grand total of three minutes. As I’m trying not to picture him in Cargo Pants’ dorm room, headlights sweep across the front porch. He pulls into the driveway too fast and overshoots on one side, his tires tearing up the scraggly, parched lawn. He turns the car off but doesn’t get out. 

After a minute, I go look in the open passenger-side window. Jamie’s leaning against his door, his eyes closed. “Jamie.” 

“What?” he says without opening his eyes. Either he recognizes my voice, or he doesn’t care who’s talking to him. It’s probably the latter. 

“Are you going to sleep in the driveway?” 

“Good a place as any.” His words slur. 
“Are you drunk?” I ask. He opens his eyes, and it takes them a second to focus. “I work in a bar,” he says. He shoves open the door and steps out, steadying himself on the hood before heading toward the porch. He fumbles with his keys and drops them. When he gets the door open and looks over his shoulder, he has trouble finding me, though I’m five feet away. 

I’ve never seen Jamie drunk. It’s not pretty. 

“I need to talk—” 

He cuts me off. “Yeah, the stalking sort of gave that away.” Not only is he drunk, he’s in a shit mood. But he’s right—I showed up at his work uninvited, and now at his house at 2 a.m., also uninvited. 

“I’m sorry.” 

“Can’t stay away, huh?” 

“Oh, get over yourself,” I answer. I sound tough but I feel strange—if he were sober, he’d hear uncertainty in my voice. “What are you doing driving like that?” I step closer, and the beer and whatever else comes off him in a stale wave. I didn’t think it was possible to find Jamie unattractive, but it turns out it is. There’s a life lesson in here somewhere but I’m too pissed off to parse it right now. I lean in to make sure he gets every word. “This is an emergency. Do you understand? Or do you need me to spell it out for you because you can’t understand English right now?” 

My harsh words have an impact and I glimpse the Jamie I know behind the haze, concerned. I wonder if it’s possible that Jamie and I only know how to be around each other when I need rescuing. That would suck—according to Killing Cinderella, the only thing worse than buying into the Lip-Gloss-Begets-Boyfriend Myth is the Damsel-in-Distress Myth. Have I been chasing him all night because some part of me knows I can use this to get him back? 

But I don’t want him back. Right? 

Jamie holds the door open for me, and as I step in it feels like we’re crossing a line. Access to the inner sanctum at the Forta household. There’s a first time for everything. 

The air inside is still. He leads me through a dark living room with furniture that sags to the floor, into the kitchen. He flips the light switch, revealing disaster. It’s not just that there are food-encrusted dishes piled high in the sink, it’s that everything is covered in grime, as if no one has cleaned in a long time. A seriously long time. 

“Been working a lot,” he grumbles. 

I know enough about his dad not to ask why it’s solely Jamie’s job to take care of the house. “Drink?” He braces himself against the wall as he takes clean glasses out of the dishwasher. 

“Water,” I say, hoping he’ll drink some too. 

He fills both glasses, hands me one and opens the sliding doors. They lead to a patio that is way cleaner than the kitchen, with an overhang and a shiny grill next to a set of outdoor furniture that looks new. On the table sits a sketchpad. Jamie closes it, shoving it onto a chair before I can see what he was drawing. He sits, leans back and closes his eyes. 

I forge ahead. “Sorry—again—that I just showed up at your job.” 

“Your brother know about that ID?” 

“His girlfriend got it for me.” 

“It’s shit.” 

“It worked.” 

“Dizzy looks the other way for cute girls.” His words are 100-percent scolding, zero-percent compliment. 

“I shouldn’t have expected you to have time. You definitely looked...busy.” 

He doesn’t take the bait. My glass of water sweats in the late-night humidity, rivulets pooling on the table. As he sits there, eyes still closed, I look at what he’s wearing—a T-shirt and jeans like always, but they’re nicer versions, a step up from what I’m used to seeing on him. His dark green T-shirt shows off his body, which I’m sure helps the tip jar fill up faster. 

“Should we talk about last spring?” I finally ask. He just shrugs. “She asked me not to tell you.” 

He opens his eyes and tries to stare me down, which isn’t quite as effective when he’s hammered. “Parrina was hitting her. I know she did some serious shit to you, but you shoulda told me.” 

“Regina asked me not to tell you because she knew you’d go after him and get expelled. And so did I. I chose youover her.” 

“I never asked you to do me any favors.” 

“You get to protect everybody but nobody gets to protect you?” He has no comeback for this. “I told her she had to tell you herself. I would never intentionally betray you. Not after everything you’ve done for me.” 

He downs the rest of his water in one gulp. “I gotta go to bed. I’m working every night ‘til I die.” <

I’ve never heard Jamie say anything self-pitying before—ever. “Why are you working so much?” I ask. 

Embarrassment flickers across his face before anger. “My dad lost his job.” <

There is nothing about this situation that will be good for Jamie. Nothing. I try to climb down off my high horse. “When?” 

“‘Early retirement’ last month. Without a full pension. Too many strikes against him. He asked Dizzy to hire me off the books.” 

Given the stellar citizen I now know Dizzy to be, I’m sure he jumped at the chance to hire a cop’s underage son to bartend. What a great insurance policy. “Jamie, I’m sorry—” 

Jamie’s phone buzzes and he pulls it out of his back pocket. It takes him a while to read the screen. His face gives nothing away but I’d bet money Cargo Pants just sent him a text. He starts to stand. 

“I didn’t track you down at work to talk about Regina and Anthony Parrina. I found out something about my dad, and I needed...advice. You were the first person I thought of.” 

His eyes lock onto mine. Then he slowly sits back down. 

The hardness in his eyes slips away as I tell him about the video. “My mother watched it. I haven’t talked to my brother yet. I don’t know if I should watch it. How messed up is it that the three of us aren’t deciding what to do together? It’s like we’re in different families.” 

"Some families don’t get put back together.” 

At first, I dismiss what Jamie is saying because he’s talking about his own family. But is there a universe in which what he’s saying applies to my family? Why wouldn’t it? Because we’re more privileged than the Fortas? I don’t have it in me to examine that right now but the bottom line is, I still think of my mom, my brother and me as a family, even though we lost Dad. Do they, I wonder? 

“Would you watch it, if you were me?” I ask. 

He leans back in his chair, tipping the legs off the ground. I stop myself from grabbing his arm so he doesn’t fall. “Doesn’t matter what I’d do.” 

In his pocket, his phone buzzes again. His chair lands back on the ground with a thud. So much for the wisdom of Jamie Forta. 

I’m not going to sit here and watch him read another text from her. “I have to go,” I say. 

I head back through the house, Jamie following me. And just when I think it was a mistake to come here and that he no longer cares about me—just when I’m ready to write him off entirely and get on with my life—his hand lands on mine as I reach for the door. He takes a step closer. I can feel the heat from his chest on my back. I can smell him—not the alcohol, but him. <

“You call me if you’re gonna watch that thing, Rose.” 

When I turn to tell him thanks but no thanks, he’s looking down at his phone, so I say nothing. I leave him leaning against the doorway, the glow from the screen lighting his face

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Saturday 27 June 2015

No More Confessions by Louise Rozett {Review + Giveaway}

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Welcome to my tour stop for 

No More Confessions by Louise Rozett

I've been running a weekly feature for The Confession Series by Louise Rozett, sort of a lead up to this tour, as this tour is for the last book of The Confession series. Check out the posts to get more up close and personal with the entire series and it's characters!  

In honour of this feature I am also giving away ONE copy of book 1 in the series, Confessions of an Angry Girl, and YA Bound is having a tour-wide giveaway for book 3; No More Confessions. 

And today I finally share my thoughts on the grand finale, No More Confessions! 

About The Book

No More Confessions

by Louise Rozett

Series: Confessions #3
Publication Date: January 25, 2015
Publisher: Stonesong
Buy It Now: AmazonBook Depository

For Rose Zarelli, freshman year was about controlling her rage. Sophomore year was about finding her voice. With all that behind her, junior year should be a breeze, right? Nope. When a horrific video surfaces, Rose needs the one person she wants to be done with, the person who has broken her heart twice—Jamie Forta. But as the intensity between them heats up, Rose realizes she isn’t the only one who needs help. The thing is, Jamie doesn’t see it that way—and that could cost them both everything.

ROSE ZARELLI is done confessing because ​confessions are for people who have done something wrong. ​And I haven't done anything wrong. Here, I'll prove it to you.

1) After my mother got that call, I “borrowed” her car. (Because you can’t steal your mother’s car, can you?) I don’t really remember driving downtown, but I do remember...

2) …getting past the bouncer at Dizzy’s (I mean, it’s his job to spot a fake ID, so that’s on him)…

​3) …and then later, telling my mother the truth about the bar but lying about how I got in. (A truth totally cancels out a lie, right?)

After all, what’s a little duplicity when finding Jamie Forta is the only thing that’s going to keep you from losing what’s left of your mind?

See? Junior year is off to a great start.

~ Review ~

No More Confessions was truly the best grand finale to this awesome, awesome series! I absolutely LOVED No More Confessions, it was truly the best book out of the entire series. Louise Rozett did great with Confessions of an Angry Girl, then it stepped up a notch for Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend, and No More Confessions is just an explosive ending that I loved! Yes, it's certainly not a happily ever after ending, but the ending is real. This series is a true representation of grief and life. 

Rose thought that she can finally start moving on with life, as the death of her Father gets longer she feels that she may actually get through this, but a video surfaces and now she's faced with the reality of possibly seeing her Father's last moments. 

No More Confessions...fantastic title by the way, as the synopsis states, Rose is finally over "Confessing" she feels that she hasn't done anything wrong so there is no more apologies for this teen, and it is amazing to really see Rose's growth. Tracy, Angelo, Stephanie and Peter were a few of the characters that had tremendous growth throughout the series as well. Louise truly writes characters brilliantly, they were so realistic and relatable as they were far from perfect, this is realism at its best! 

The characters of No More Confessions were so real that I felt that I was watching their lives play out in front of me rather than reading about it. Louise Rozett is a truly blessed writer with a way to make the reader love the characters, I was invested in what happened to them that I got a bit emotional at the end, and whilst the ending isn't what's "norm" in most books I absolutely loved the ending although it was sad. The main reason why I loved the series, not just the ending was because this is what happens in reality. Reality doesn't always get "happily ever after" and even though this is saddening it is the truth. This is truly what sets The Confession series apart from other YA Contemporary Romance books.

The toughest thing about all of this is accepting that love is not enough, which goes against everything I learned growing up, every fairytale. The reality is that two people can love each other to pieces but all sorts of other things have to be right for it to work out. And with us, all sorts of other things have been wrong all along.

The Confession Series by Louise Rozett is a very beautiful and some way empowering series that teaches love, life and grief. It shows us that life is raw and emotional and that it's not always perfect but we get there. We don't always like what we get, but we survive. It honestly touches on so many themes, but the most recurring factor for me for this series was the realistic and rawness of life. I don't think I can explain it anymore than that. 

I'm so looking forward to Louise Rozett's future projects as The Confession series really grabs you by the heart strings and doesn't let you go until you've shed a tear. Louise shows us life for what it truly is, an imperfect world but with goodness and bad, terrible and beautiful and love and grief. 

Read Chapter 1 

~ Chapter 2 ~

“Stolen Car,” 1000 Kisses, Patty Griffin 

“Rose, you cannot just take my car without asking.” 

My mother is trying to hide from me the fact that she’s been crying. She’s still in her earth-toned shrink clothes though I know she saw her last adolescent head-case over two hours ago. We’re side by side in the kitchen, standing at the sink in front of the picture window framed in tiny white lights, where she and my father used to drink coffee and look out at the backyard together in the mornings. 

My mother leans forward and snaps on the outside lights, and I see that our big, beautiful maples are beginning to turn. In another week or two, our back lawn will be covered in leaves the color of fire. She will have to ask me twice before I rake them—I love the way they look. 

“My car is not yours to do with as you please,” she says. 

We stare straight ahead, not able to look at each other. We both know we’re not really arguing about the car. It’s just easier than arguing about the video. 

Has she watched it? I try to wrap my brain around the idea of my mother seeing my father—the man she fell in love with and married and had two kids with—die in a video taken on some jackass’s smartphone. A smartphone. 

When I finally look at her, I see my face in hers, in the curve of her chin and cheekbone, in her red-rimmed eyes. I made this whole thing worse for her by disappearing for a few hours. I wonder if she feels like people keep abandoning her: Dad, my brother Peter, her boyfriend Dirk, and now me. 

When I touch her arm, she’s surprised, although whether she’s surprised that I touched her or that I’m still standing here, I’m not sure. “I’m sorry I left like that. I don’t know what happened.” 

“Where did you go, Rose?” 

This is the question I’m trying not to answer. I could lie, because lying comes easily to me these days, even when I’m trying to be sincere and genuine—definitely something to be proud of. But my guess is, she already knows the answer. 

My mother made it clear that Jamie was off limits for a while after the parking lot incident. Part of me was fine with that—Jamie didn’t give me the chance to explain my role in that whole thing, so he didn’t deserve my explanation. I didn’t call him and he didn’t call me, which was basically a repeat of what happened last summer. Except last summer I knew I’d be seeing him when school started again. Not the case this time. So one day I caved and asked Angelo—Jamie’s best friend and my bandmate—how Jamie was doing. That’s how I found out he was working at Dizzy’s. 

I’m not sure how my mother found out, but I think she keeps pretty close tabs on Jamie, as much for his sake as for mine. He was my mom’s patient after his mom died, and she likes him. I’d go so far as to say that she has a soft spot for him. She knows he’s a heart-of-gold guy who has had a lot of rough things to deal with. But as far as she’s concerned, he now has too many strikes against him, not the least of which is that he’s a dropout with a “history of violence” who works in a bar. 

It doesn’t matter that he’s only violent when he’s defending someone he cares about. It also doesn’t matter that I’ve had my own issues with violence—she prefers to overlook that. I can’t blame her. What mother wants to acknowledge that her daughter has an ugly streak? 

When I don’t answer her question, my mother goes over to our rickety chrome and Formica table, which still has our dinner dishes on it, and drops into one of the vintage red vinyl chairs. She slides her glasses up onto her head and pushes the heels of her hands into her eyes. She always forgets what this does to her eye makeup, and I usually remind her not to do it, but not this time. “Just tell me where you went in my car without permission.” 

I sit down across from her, the vinyl chair squeaking in protest—or warning—that I shouldn’t do what I’m about to do. I do it anyway. “I went to see Jamie.” 

She pulls her hands from her eyes to look at me. “At his house?” she asks. 

I shake my head. 

“You went to Dizzy’s? And they let you in?” 

“I told the guy at the door that I just had to talk to Jamie for a minute. It wasn’t like they were going to let me drink anything.” I am able to rationalize my decision to keep the part about my fake ID to myself because I no longer have it. Why worry her even more? 

She shakes her head, dumbfounded. “You’re sixteen, Rose. There are no circumstances—none—under which you should be in a bar. No car for two weeks. And if I find out that you set foot in that place again, or that you’re seeing Jamie, you will be grounded until you’re done with high school.” I’m getting off easy, but I stare at the table and keep quiet because I don’t want her to know I know. “I thought we decided you were going to keep your distance from Jamie.” 

I don’t remember much about the time that passed between when my mother told me about the video and when I was standing in line at Dizzy’s. But I do know that talking to Jamie was suddenly a matter of life or death. “I felt like he’d know what to do. About watching it.” <

“And did he?” 

“It turns out he wasn’t interested in talking to me.” 

When she speaks again, her voice is hesitant. “So you haven’t seen it yet?” 

“No. Have you?” The question slips out before I can think better of it. 

She looks at her hands clasped on the table as if she doesn’t recognize them. 

She watched it. My mother watched it. By herself. 

Maybe if I ask her about it, I won’t be tempted to go online and undo all the progress I’ve made in the last two years managing the rage, the panic and my out-of-control imagination. But when her hands slowly rise from the table to cover her mouth as if she’s afraid that what’s happening inside her might come out, I know I’m not going to ask her a thing. 

I gently wrap my fingers around her wrists and hold on. “Breathe, Mom,” I whisper. 

Her blue eyes meet mine, and I can see that she feels terrible that I’m comforting her and not the other way around. But she’s the one who saw the jackass’s video, not me, and unfortunately for her, there are no rules for this situation, there is no self-help book. My brain inappropriately churns out a title—What to Do When Someone Films Your Husband’s Death With a Smartphone: A Handbook—before it settles. 

I think this is what our shrink, Caron, meant when she said grief isn’t linear—it just keeps looping back around. Caron also said that sometimes all you can do is breathe and exist, and that’s enough. So that’s what my mom and I do. We sit there, inhaling and exhaling. 

When the front door opens, my mom looks up at the clock. We listen together as Holly drops her keys in the tray, steps out of her noisy clogs and makes her way toward the kitchen, her silver bangles clinking against each other on her arms. It’s a sound we’ve both gotten used to in the last few months, and it’s a comfort. 

Last year, the alarmingly lovely Holly Taylor and her dad, Dirk, moved to Union from Los Angeles so he could teach for a year in the drama school at Yale. Holly is that rare breed of girl who is as nice as she is beautiful. She and I became friends and then Dirk and my mother started dating. I was not a Dirk fan. Despite—or because of—his being a famous movie actor, he was a total cheese-ball. Plus, there was the small matter of him not being my father. But he made my mom happy. I hadn’t seen her happy in a long time, so I got over myself and tried to be supportive. When his year at Yale ended, he went back to LA to do a TV show, but Holly didn’t want to leave Union. Mom told Dirk she could live with us, and while he didn’t love the idea, he said yes. 

Holly goes through life believing that good things lie just around the corner for everybody. While I don’t believe that, I like being in proximity to someone who does. Kind of like my not believing in God but taking comfort in knowing that Vicky is praying for me weekly down there in Texas. Well, she says she does it weekly, but I think she does it daily—she just doesn’t want to freak me out by telling me. 

I love having Holly here, especially since Tracy spent so much of the summer in the city and my brother Peter went back to Tufts early. My mother likes having her here too, although it’s complicated for her. Holly is dating a college guy, which my mother sure as hell would never let me do. I don’t think Dirk would have let Holly do it either, except that Cal was in one of Dirk’s classes last year and Dirk liked him. I don’t know anything about being a parent but I’m guessing Dirk realizes the futility of keeping guys away from his beautiful daughter. So if she wants to go out with a guy he knows and trusts, it’s probably in his best interests to let her. 

Holly stops in the doorway and leans against the frame. “Sorry I’m late,” she says, her gaze shifting nervously between my mom and me. 

“How was the play?” My mom’s voice rises a little—she’s trying to sound normal. She pulls a chair out for Holly, patting the seat. <

“Dad would have been happy with their performances but not ecstatic.” Holly makes her way to the table and tucks a leg under her as she sits, her bangles jingling. “Are you both...?” She stops short of asking us if we’re okay. “How are you?” 

In the silence, the clock over the stove ticks. And ticks. 

“I think we’re in shock,” my mother finally answers. “Like it just happened again. 

Which is impossible.” She sounds like she’s trying to convince herself, her voice cracking. She clears her throat, picks up the plates that I neglected to clear after dinner in my burning desire to get the hell out of the house and carries them to the sink. “Girls, I’m sure you’re curious, but once you see it, you can never unsee it.” 

“I’ll load, Mom. It’s my turn.” <

She doesn’t seem to hear me. “I can’t keep you from watching it,” she continues as she opens the dishwasher and puts the plates in without rinsing them, which I’ve never seen her do in my whole life. “All I can do is tell you that I wish you wouldn’t.” She closes the dishwasher and turns out the lights, forgetting about the glasses and serving bowls still on the table, forgetting that Holly and I are still sitting there. “Rose, I left Peter a message—I just said I needed to speak with him. If you hear from him, let me know. Don’t stay up much longer—school tomorrow.” As she leaves us sitting in near darkness, she adds, “No car privileges for a week, Rose.” 

I almost point out that earlier she’d said two weeks, but I don’t have the heart. Or maybe I’m just being opportunistic. Holly and I listen as she goes upstairs to her room and closes her bedroom door. 

“She called and told me what happened—I think she thought you were coming to find me,” Holly whispers, as if my mother can still hear us. “Did you get my text?” I nod. “So where’d you go?” 


“Rose! What happened to your plan to stay away? Wait, how did you get in?” 

“I used the ID Tracy gave me.” 

Holly gasps delightedly. “And it worked?” 

“Ish. It got me in, but the guy knew it was fake and he took it when I left.” 

“Ooh. Tracy’s not going to like that,” she says, spinning the bracelets on her arm. <

“Well, obviously it wasn’t a very good fake ID.” 

“Obviously. So, what happened to staying away from Jamie?” 

I sigh, wishing I’d handled everything so differently tonight. “I didn’t go down there to get him back. I just needed to tell him. I wanted him to say he’d watch it with me, but none of that matters because he was too busy bartending.” 

“How is that possible?” she asks. 

“I guess his fake ID is way better than mine,” I say, knowing that Jamie doesn’t need a fake ID for anything, ever. “He’s making a lot in tips and he’s very popular.” I think of Ms. Cargo Pants, with her chestnut hair and green eyes, and her special smile just for Jamie. I snatch a serving bowl off the table, sending a big spoon clattering to the floor. “There was a girl. A Yalie,” I add scornfully, before remembering that Holly is dating a Yalie. “Sorry.” 

She waves away my words, scooping up the spoon and taking the bowl from my hands. “Is he with her?” she asks as she rinses and loads it. 

“I don’t know. They were definitely flirting. Whatever—I don’t care.” 

“Oh stop it, Rose, of course you do.” She takes out the plates my mother loaded and rinses those, too. 

“I don’t. He is not boyfriend material, and boyfriends are just a distraction anyway—” 

Holly has heard my Killing Cinderella diatribe about the Romance Industrial Complex before. She cuts me off. “None of that stuff changes the fact that you love Jamie.” 

I close the dishwasher a little too hard, making the glasses clank against each other inside, and change the subject. 

“I love that you went to a play tonight and I used a fake ID to get into a dive bar. ‘Which one of these girls is more likely to have a meaningful future?’” 

“The bar was more exciting than the play, trust me.” Holly loops her arm through mine and leads me out of the kitchen. We turn off the rest of the lights on the first floor and double-check the front door. When the only light left is the glow of the streetlamps through the window, Holly says, “I’ll watch it with you if you want.” 

I love Holly for offering, but I shake my head. “Mom is right. You’ll never be able to unsee it.” 

“That’s okay.” 

“Whatever it is, you don’t need it in your head.” 

“If you’re going to watch it, you have to watch it with someone, whether it’s me or Jamie or your mother or Peter. Promise me?” Holly asks. 

Can I imagine watching the video with my mother or my brother? It’ll be brutal enough dealing with my own feelings—I’m not sure I can handle theirs, too. Which is probably why I went to see Jamie. But Jamie has his hands full with the Yalies. In fact, he might literally have his hands full of Yalie at this very moment. 

As if she can read my mind, Holly says, “He’ll come around. He always does when it comes to you.”

Come back tomorrow for Chapter 3 and an Author Interview with Louise Rozett! 

About the Author

Louise Rozett

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Louise Rozett is an author, a playwright, and a recovering performer. She made her YA debut with Confessions of an Angry Girl, followed by Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend, both published by HarlequinTEEN. The next book in the series, No More Confessions, is due out January 2015. She lives with her 120-pound Bernese Mountain dog Lester (named after Lester Freamon from THE WIRE, of course) in sunny Los Angeles, and pines for New York City.

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