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Friday, July 25, 2014

JUST DESSERTS Book Blast and Giveaway! #FridayReads

JustDessertsTourbannerJustDessertsSWCover   When her friend Julia needed help forming a revenge plan against her ex-boyfriend, Ava was happy to lend a hand. She never expected that in the course of making Liam pay, she'd be the one to fall hard. . .for the one person who was absolutely off-limits. Crushing on the guy who humiliated her best friend is definitely against the girl code. Besides, Ava has goals. Her life is all about graduating with honors and landing the perfect job. And Liam Bailey—sweet-talking, complicated son of a well-known local politician—isn't part of those plans. But Liam doesn't give up easily. And he doesn't intend to let their friends' opinions, his parents' disapproval or Ava's past get in the way of what he wants--Ava's heart.

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About the Author

Tawdra Kandle has been a writer since the invention of the pen. Her first published work appeared in Child's Life magazine when she was 13. After a brief, thirty-year hiatus, she published a young adult quartet, The King Series. More recently, she's released contemporary and paranormal romances in both the adult and New Adult genres. Tawdra lives in central Florida with her husband and children, of both skin and fur types. And yes, she has purple hair.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: SECRETS (PsyCop #4) by @JordanCPrice #AmReading

Victor Bayne's job as a PsyCop involves tracking down dead people and getting them to spill their guts about their final moments. It's never been fun, per se. But it's not usually this annoying.

Vic has just moved in with his boyfriend Jacob, he can't figure out where anything's packed, and his co-worker is pressuring him to have a housewarming party.

Can't a guy catch a break?

On a more sinister note, Vic discovers there's absolutely no trace of him online. No trace of anyone else who trained at "Camp Hell," either.

Everyone Vic knows has signed a mysterious set of papers to ensure his "privacy." The contracts are so confidential that even Vic has never heard of them. But Jacob might have.



Another wonderful installment in the PsyCop series! This time Victor discovers his co-workers, friends and even his boyfriend Jacob are keeping secrets from him. Why can’t Victor be Googled? Why is there no record of the infamous Camp Hell or any of its former residents online? In this day and age, that’s a scary thing. The worst part is that everyone seems to know the answers except Victor.

On top of trying to piece out what people are hiding from him, Jacob is stuck investigating a crime so horrible, that it’s taking a serious emotional toll on the usually tough-as-nails detective and his relationship with Victor. I think this is the first time we get to see Jacob’s flawed side. The way he chose to deal with his emotions pissed me off. I also thought Victor was a little too quick to forgive once he figured it out. That said though, I’m glad the boys worked out their issues, and were playing nice by the end.

Overall, I give Secrets...

Plot - 5 bookmarks
Character Development - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Horror Elements - 5 bookmarks

Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Matthew Gray Gubler (Victor), Channing Tatum (Jacob), Michelle Rodriguez (Lisa), Cherry Jones (Carolyn), Boyd Holbrook (Crash)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cover Reveal - NINE BY NIGHT #AmReading #UrbanFantasy

Another fabulous cover by Damonza! What do you think?

NINE BY NIGHT



About NINE BY NIGHT

"From vampires to empaths, to the grim reaper himself, this bundle will keep you on the edge of your seat. I dare you to try and put it down!" SHANNON MAYER - author of THE RYLEE ADAMSON NOVELS and THE NEVERMORE TRILOGY

Nine books. Nine bestselling authors. Nine heroines that take names—and chances—while confronting dark foes, whether by force of arms or magic, that threaten their entire world.
Over two-thousand pages of epic reading await! Let the adventures begin.

From NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author, SM REINE, WITCH HUNT –– Shaman on the run. Isobel Stonecrow speaks with the dead...for the right price. She brings closure to the bereaved and heals broken hearts. But when she resurrects someone for the wrong client, she ends up on the OPA's most wanted list.

From NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, CJ ELLISSON, DEATH’S SERVANT –– Jonathan Winchester has clashed with his werewolf alpha one too many times. He returns to Virginia to find work and meets a young waitress, Raine. As their relationship progresses, Jon's embroiled in more intrigue than he bargained for and a danger bigger than he can handle.

From bestselling author, LINDSAY BUROKER, TORRENT –– When Delia chose to major in archaeology, she imagined herself as the female Indiana Jones of the Southwest. She didn't imagine herself stumbling across decapitated bodies in old mine shafts or learning that monsters are real…

From bestselling author, ANTHEA SHARP, SPARK –– What if a high-tech game was a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie? Superstar gamer Spark Jaxley's life might look easy, but she's part of an elite few who guard a shocking secret; the Realm of Faerie exists, and its dark magic is desperate for a foothold in the mortal world.

From bestselling authors BOONE BRUX and CJ ELLISSON, DEATH TIMES TWO –– The V V Inn has a ghost problem. New grim reaper, Lisa Carron, accepts the job. She quickly learns the hotel is full of the dearly departed—and she’s working for vampires. Throw in Asa, a young vamp hot enough to melt the Arctic ice, and Lisa realizes she’s way out of her element.

From bestselling author, JC ANDRIJESKI, ROOK: ALLIE’S WAR EPISODES 1-4 –– Like most humans, Allie distanced herself from Seers, a race of human-like beings discovered on Earth. Yanked out of her life by the mysterious Revik, Allie finds out her blood may not be as “human” as she thought, the world is nothing like it appears to be...and she has more in common with Seers than she ever wanted to believe.

From bestselling author, ANNIE BELLET, JUSTICE CALLING –– Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress. Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers, quiet suits her just fine. Surrounded by friends who are even less human than she is, Jade figures she's finally safe. As long as she doesn't use her magic…

From bestselling author, JESI LEA RYAN, ARCADIA’S GIFT –– Teenager Arcadia (Cady) Day’s family tragedy unleashes a hidden power. After experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, her home life crumbles. As her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning…

From Urban Fantasy author, KARA LEGEND, WILD NIGHT ROAD –– One innocent hex sets off a chain reaction of trouble among the shifters of the Kinraven that threatens war between werewolves, seraphim and witches. Lilith Darke will do anything to be free of her seraphim master. All hell breaks loose when rival packs face off only to discover a new, deadly threat that will take all their magick to survive.


NINE BY NIGHT releases 8/03/2014 on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other e-book retailers. 


Nine By Night

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: MEATWORKS by Jordan Castillo Price @JordanCPrice #SciFi #Amreading

Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.

Corey Steiner is a hot young rudeboy who works his robotic limb like an extension of his own body, and he’s smitten by Desmond’s crusty punk rock charm from the get-go. Unfortunately, Desmond hasn’t quite severed ties with his ex-boyfriend, and Corey isn’t known for his maturity or patience.

Meatworks is set in a bleak near-future where cell phone and personal computer technologies never developed. In their place, robotics flourished. Now robots run everything from cars to coffee pots. Taking the guesswork out of menial tasks was intended to create leisure time, but instead robots have made society dependent and passive.

Desmond loathes robots and goes out of his way to avoid them. But can he survive without the robotic arm strapped to the end of his stump?



Wow. Just wow. Once I started reading Meatworks, I couldn’t put it down. That’s not to say the novel was always comfortable. There were times when I felt like I was watching a speeding train headed for the edge of a cliff. But dang, it was worth the ride. Let me just start by saying this is not a romance. If you are a reader who likes weddings and puppies, you’ll have to look for them somewhere else. The closest you’ll get here are some re-hydrated sea monkeys.

Desmond Poole is a beautifully written anti-hero. More than just flawed, this guy is a hot mess! While he’s not the most likeable character I’ve ever read, his vulnerability really shines through--even when he doesn’t want anyone to see it, or admit it to himself. I do believe this is the first science fiction novel I’ve read where the main character is a total Luddite when it comes to technology, and that was one of Desmond’s most endearing traits. He lost his dominant hand, and has a robotic prosthetic that, because of his aversion to robotics, he doesn’t know how to use. But just when you start to feel sorry for him, he does something completely despicable.

The supporting cast isn’t much better. Corey is a hot little guy Desmond meets at the amputee support group. He’s fun and a bit wild, but also moody and immature. Then there is Desmond’s ex-boyfriend, Jim, who on the surface appears to be a well-adjusted, productive member of society, but under his veneer is just as flawed as the others. While Desmond and Jim broke up before the accident, Jim, a social worker, has made it his do-gooder mission of the year to “help” Desmond and assuage some of his residual guilt from the break-up. I know this sounds like the makings of a love-triangle, but really, it’s nothing that sappy. Like I said, this is not a romance. Even if there is some boy drama and a couple hot sex scenes.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the quality of the writing. Jordan Castillo-Price writes prose the way some writing poetry, each sentence carefully constructed for maximum impact. Her setting details were so gritty, I could see the story like a film in my head. She also used action to convey character brilliantly. My favorite example of this is the hamburger wrapper. Each day, Desmond stops by a burger joint and eats the sandwich on the way home. He then tosses the greasy wrapped over his neighbor’s fence, so his lawn-bot will have to come out to clean it up. This small action of tossing the wrapped in his neighbor’s yard says so much about Desmond’s contempt for the robotic helpers as well as for other people.

Meatworks is a dark and gritty story that sucked me right in. Desmond is the perfect anti-hero, masking his vulnerability in a tough fa├žade, ten inches thick. His bent toward self-destruction is, at times, disturbing, but you won’t want to put this book down.

Overall, I give Meatworks...

Plot - 5 bookmarks

Character development - 5 bookmarks

Writing quality - 5 bookmarks

Love story - PSYCH!!!! How many times do I have to tell you this is not a romance?


Dream cast (Otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - A really punked out and dirty Channing Tatum (Desmond), Jake Bass (Corey), William Levy (Jim), Cate Blanchett (Pam)

Find Meatworks here:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: THE BODY IN THE WOODS by @aprilhenrybooks #NewRelease

Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.

This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series, The Body in the Woods is full of riveting suspense, putting readers right in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.



I found the premise of this book incredibly interesting. I love the idea of a young adult mystery series centered on Search and Rescue volunteers. Honestly, I didn’t know much about this organization when I started reading, and now I kind of want to volunteer. (Except for the small problem of I hate the outdoors... Maybe they have an S&R division that focuses on shopping malls.) The book is the first in a planned series, and I can see so many plot ideas that could come out of this idea. Not to mention, the story is set in Portland, Oregon, which is one of my favorite cites.

The story revolves view points between four characters: the three S&R volunteers and the killer. As a general rule, I don’t like it when the killer gets a view point because it usually gives too much away, as it did here. The killer only had a couple of POV scenes, and I really think the story would have been stronger if they were left out. The details and info those scenes provided could have been worked in another way.

Which brings us to the three teenage sleuths: Alexis, Nick and Ruby. Each of the characters was well-developed and flawed (which I like). In real life, Nick and Ruby would have driven me nuts. The character I identified with the most was the frustrated Detective who obviously regretting giving his cell number to these kids. But if you put aside my curmudgeon ways, these characters were well-drawn and believable. I’m interested in where they will go in the rest of the series.

Overall, I give The Body in the Woods...

Plot - 4 bookmarks
Character Development - 4 1/2 bookmarks

Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - A younger, blond Laura Prepon (Alexis), Jaden Smith (Nick - mostly because they both annoy me), Molly Quinn (Ruby) 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE by @JuliannRich1 #Amreading #LGBT

Two boys at Bible camp; one forbidden love.

That is the dilemma sixteen-year-old Jonathan Cooper faces when he goes away to Spirit Lake Bible Camp, an oasis for teen believers situated along Minnesota's rugged north shore. He is expecting a summer of mosquito bites, bonfires with S'mores, and photography classes with Simon, his favorite counselor, who always helps Jonathan see his life in perfect focus.

What he isn't expecting is Ian McGuire, a new camper who openly argues against phrases like pray the gay away. Ian is certain of many things, including what could happen between them if only Jonathan could surrender to his feelings. Jonathan, however, tosses in a storm of indecision between his belief in God and his inability to stay away from Ian. When a real storm hits and Ian is lost in it, Jonathan is forced to make a public decision that changes his life.



It’s hard to think of a more awkward setting for a gay love story, but I love it! The pray-the-gay-away people completely creep me out. I can’t imagine being a young man, just figuring out who he is, and be subjected to these people. That said, a huge positive about this book is the author didn’t vilify religion or God. She offered a very balanced view, giving different interpretations of biblical arguments for and against homosexuality. Jonathan is able to find a way to be comfortable with himself inside his faith. That’s a difficult and powerful thing.

The relationship between Jonathan and Ian was a little fast, but very typical of teenagers. It wasn’t “insta-love” at least. There was also good, realistic chemistry between them. Being the only two gay boys in the camp, you might think they gravitated to each other out of convenience, but I never got that feeling here.

My only problem with the book is there were a few times I wanted to smack Jonathan upside the head for the way he treated Ian. I get it that he was conflicted and scared, but he should have talked to Ian about it rather than pushing him away. Though this too is probably typical of a teenage boy. I also didn’t really buy the characters of Dawn and Simon. They almost seemed too understanding and perfect.

Overall, I give CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE...

Plot - 4 bookmarks
Character Development - 4 bookmarks
Love Story - 5 bookmarks (I like how it ended. Not a HEA or HFN, but realistic.)
Handling of Sensitive Subjects - 5 bookmarks!

Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Dylan O’Brien (Jonathan), A younger Prince Harry - my go-to for HAWT redheads (Ian), Peter Dinkledge (Simon), Alexander Ludwig (Jake), Jeanette McCurdy (Bethany)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: STRANGER ON THE SHORE by Josh Lanyon #Mystery #Amreading

Twenty years ago, little Brian Arlington was kidnapped from his family's Long Island estate and was never seen again. The trail went cold, but investigative journalist Griff Hadley has always thought there was more to the story—much more. When the Arlingtons' patriarch invites him to stay at their estate to research his true crime book, Griff can't say no. It's the story of a lifetime.

But not everyone is happy about Griff's presence. Relatives and staff alike regard him coldly, including Pierce Mather, the Arlingtons' attractive lawyer, who is more than a little wary of Griff's motives.

When a stranger shows up claiming to be the long-lost Brian, Griff and Pierce are united in their suspicions. Startled to have found an ally in the buttoned-up lawyer, Griff soon realizes it's hard to keep a professional distance. Even in the midst of a groundbreaking investigation, even in the face of a shocking family secret…



I wanted to like this book. I really did. I love the concept. Cold case mystery involving a missing child and one of America’s most wealthy families? Cool! Unfortunately, the execution of mystery fell short for me. The clues were so painfully obvious right from the beginning that I spent most of the time pissed off at the characters for not figuring it out. Rather than creating tension, I wanted to throw my Kindle against the wall. I kept hoping there would be some twist at the end to prove me wrong, some big pay-off to wow me...but the end was just sort of meh. Coincidence as a plot point just doesn’t do it for me.

I also thought the romance lagged. The attraction between Griff and Pierce wasn’t believable. I feel like there needs to be more than, “Oh, you’re gay too? Let’s go!” Pierce was a jerk to Griff even after they hooked up. And Griff taking it from him made him seem weak. If you are going to have a highhanded Alpha male, you need someone to put him in his place.

I don’t want you to think I hated this book. It was okay. The prose was strong, and like I said, I loved the concept. I guess I just expected more from Josh Lanyon.

Overall, I give Stranger on the Shore...

Plot - 2 1/2 bookmarks
Character Development - 3 bookmarks
Romance - 3 bookmarks

Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Jamie Bell (Griff), Armie Hammer (Pierce)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: A CASUAL WEEKEND THING by AJ Thomas #AmReading

Doug Heavy Runner left the life of an openly gay Miami police officer and returned to his home on the Salish-Kootenai Indian Reservation when his mother got sick. In the two years since she passed, he’s carved out an empty life as a small-town deputy, relying on out-of-town one-night stands to keep him sane. Then he meets Detective Christopher Hayes, and they share a wild night so incredible Doug breaks his own rule and allows a one-night stand to grow into a weekend of amazing sex.

When Christopher travels from San Diego to Montana to deal with his abusive brother’s suicide, he doesn’t expect to find the man he spent the weekend with to be handling his brother’s case. He certainly doesn’t mind spending more time with Doug—but then an arsonist destroys the house Christopher inherited from his brother, and Christopher and Doug discover they are the primary suspects.


As they investigate, they discover Christopher’s dead brother has set them on the trail of a psychotic pedophile who will stop at nothing to silence his last victim. However, the search for the victim goes horribly wrong, leaving Doug hospitalized and Christopher at the mercy of the killer….



Just finished the audio book of A Casual Weekend Thing by A.J. Thomas. Great story, but I almost couldn't get through it because of the narrator. He had the least sexy voice ever. For some books, that would work fine, but he made all the guys in this book sound like creepers. I see there is a second book out. I hope when Dreamspinner produces the audio version, they chose a more appropriate reader.

As far as the story goes...I enjoyed the characterization. Christopher and Doug were interesting, thought I really wish the author would have left off the lame back story and nightmares for Doug. It felt like an afterthought, and didn't really add to his character or the plot. I liked his struggles with prejudice as a Native American. That was enough. No need to try to make him more damaged.

The plot moved quickly. There was enough mystery to keep me guessing. The love story was handled well. I liked that it showed even relationships with sleezey beginnings can find their happily ever after.

Overall, I give A Casual Weekend Thing...

Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Character Development - 4 bookmarks (I'm just going to go ahead and pretend Doug's stupid back story with the boy from college didn't exist.)
Love Story - 5 bookmarks (Felt very natural.)

Dream cast (Otherwise known as who I pictured while reading/listening) - This was tough, because the narrator had me picturing Ron Jeremy. I suppose if I were reading this book my brain would have pictured Adam Beach (Doug) and Cam Gigandet (Christopher).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: CRISS CROSS & BODY AND SOUL by @jordancprice #PsychicsRock #AmReading

The PsyCop series by Jordan Castillo Price is quickly becoming some of my favorite books. I just finished books 2 & 3, so thought I’d review them together. Here goes!
  



Criss Cross

Criss Cross finds the ghosts surrounding Victor getting awfully pushy. The medications that Victor usually takes to control his abilities are threatening to destroy his liver, and his new meds aren't any more effective than sugar pills.

Vic is also adjusting to a new PsyCop partner, a mild-mannered guy named Roger with all the personality of white bread. At least he's willing to spring for the Starbucks.

Jacob's ex-boyfriend, Crash, is an empathic healer who might be able to help Victor pull his powers into balance, but he seems more interested in getting into Victor’s pants than in providing any actual assistance.

The thing I like about this series is how unique it is. The writing is witty and inventive. I just love the world that the author has built. Victor is an unlikely hero. He is a mess, literally and figuratively, and he has a bit of a drug problem. Sometimes I have a hard time picturing him doing any actual police work. But somehow it works!

Jacob, on the other hand, is the very definition of Hero with a capital “H”. I don’t know why, but I was suspicious of him in the first book. He is just too perfect, too much of a police department Golden Boy. My opinion of Jacob has changed a lot through this book. I don’t know what I read in the first book that raised a red flag with me, but it’s gone now. Jacob can’t help it if he is a good guy. Victor desperately needs someone to love him like Jacob does. And he obviously has good taste in men, because I loved Crash as much as I love Victor. (Please tell me Crash gets his own story.)

The plot of this story is fast-paced. The ghosts around Victor are creepy and obnoxious. The humor is smart. What’s not to love?



Body and Soul

Thanksgiving can't end too soon for Victor Bayne, who's finding Jacob's family hard to swallow. Luckily, he's called back to work to track down a high-profile missing person.

Meanwhile, Jacob tries to find a home they can move into that's not infested--with either cockroaches, or ghosts. As if the house-hunting isn't stressful enough, Vic's new partner Bob Zigler doesn't seem to think he can do anything right. A deceased junkie with a bone to pick leads Vic and Zig on a wild chase that ends in a basement full of horrors.

The opening scene with Victor in small-town Wisconsin having Thanksgiving dinner was hilarious! And creepy. And hilariously creepy. 

So now Victor is trying to function without his spirit-suppressing drugs, but the constant chatter from noisy ghosts might just make him go insane. I feel for Victor, because like a lot of people, he can’t seem to find a balance between using and abusing prescription medication. For years he has over medicated as a way to cope. Now he is trying to cut the meds out cold-turkey. Poor Victor.

The cool thing about this book is we get to see Victor act a little more like a police officer. He carries a gun and everything. Not that he didn’t in prior books, but it felt more like a prop before. He also can’t use Lisa’s si-no as a crutch anymore either. This leaves good old-fashioned police work to solve a missing persons case with a gruesome ending.

Speaking of endings, Body and Soul ends with the most romantic scene yet. Beautiful!
  
Plot - 5 bookmarks
Character development - 5 bookmarks (Packs a lot into novella length books.)
Love/Sex - 5 bookmarks (Getting more romantic as the books go on.)
Humor - 5 bookmarks (These books actually make me laugh. Not an easy feat.)

Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Matthew Gray Gubler (Victor), Channing Tatum (Jacob), Michelle Rodriguez (Lisa), Cherry Jones (Carolyn), Boyd Holbrook (Crash)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: WE ARE THE GOLDENS by Dana Reinhardt #AmReading @dsreinhardt

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.



My review is going to have some mild spoilers. While I hate to do that, I really must talk about the ending here. I’m not going to tell you the ending; rather, I am going to talk about the literary device used at the end of this book -- the zero ending. For those of you who did not major in literature, the zero ending is one where the climax of the story occurs off screen after the last page. In other word, the narrative ends before the climax of the story. Short story writers like Raymond Carver, Ernest Hemingway and Anton Chekov used this type of ending with great success. But that was for short stories. I just don’t think the zero ending works well in a novel. Especially a young adult novel.

I guess I just think if I am going to invest the time and energy into reading a whole novel, I want more of a pay-off at the end than the whole choose-your-own-ending. And if the zero ending irritates me, I think teens are going to whip the book against the wall in blind rage.

Before you get the wrong idea, it wasn’t a bad book. Well, the point of view was a little annoying, and Nell and Layla were both too naive for words, but other than that... um... I know! I loved the best friend, Felix! He needs his own book. The scenes where he and Nell are speaking in faux Shakespearian were hilarious.

Overall, I give We Are the Goldens...

Plot - 3 bookmarks (a little predictable)
Character Development - 3 bookmarks (might have felt like more of a character arch had there been an ending)

Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Elle Fanning (Nell), Dakota Fanning (Layla)