August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

So, this week is a "back-to-school freebie" week. Basically, we pick any category that has something to do with school. So, my list is...

Top 10 Favorite Books/Series Set in a School

1. Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling/Hogwarts - This list would not be complete without the school to beat all schools - Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I love this series. My 10-year-old daughter loves this series. It will forever be one of the best series set in a school of all time. 

2. Vampire Academy Series, by Richelle Mead/St. Vladimir's - Vampire Academy has got to be one of my most loved YA PNR ever. Dimitri is the hottest, most badass teacher ever. Pretty sure Rose agrees with me. 

3. The Covenant Series, by Jennifer Armentrout/The Covenant - To this day, Aiden St. Delphi remains the book boyfriend at the top of my very long list. And Jennifer Armentrout's Covenant series (and now the Titans spin-off) remains the one series I've read more times than any other. 

4. Misconduct, by Penelope Douglas/Braddock Autenberry - Shifting gears a bit, not only is Misconduct an adult contemporary romance book, but it's a standalone. Much to my disappointment - Easton and Tyler were so incredibly yummy together. And I loved Easton's teaching methods - I wish she had been my teacher.

5. The Rusk University Series, by Cora Carmack/Rusk University - I have so much love for this series that centers around a college football team. It marries some of my most favorite things - a sports theme, strong but awkward girls, and a sexy new adult vibe. 

6. The Off-Campus Series, by Elle Kennedy/Briar University - In keeping with the sports-themed books, Elle Kennedy's Off-Campus series might be one of my favorites. Which is weird, because ice hockey is not a sport I care even a whit about. But these books - and the boys in them - are SO good. 

7. The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, by Rick Riordan/Camp Half-Blood - So, this might be cheating just a smudge, as Camp Half-Blood isn't quite a school. But, it does offer instruction to demigods on how to do... well, demigod stuff. This middle-grade series is so incredibly entertaining 

8. P.S. I Like You, by Kasie West/Some un-named high school in Arizona - I haven't thoroughly enjoyed a book more in recent months than P.S. I Like You. It was so sweet and adorable and engaging. It's the perfect example of a YA book that I think anyone of any age would love. 

9. Slammed, my Colleen Hoover/a high school in Michigan - I don't even like poetry much, and Slammed pretty much owned me. It was my first CoHo book ever, so it was the first time (and definitely not the last time) she brought me to tears. So, it takes a special place in my heart.

10. The Bowler University Series, by Megan Erickson/Bowler University - Make it Count highlighted how sexy it can be to be a nerd. And it was the book to launch a dozen more favorites for me by this author. 

August 29, 2016

BLOG TOUR TOP 10 & GIVEAWAY: The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1)

Katharine McGee's debut dystopian novel, THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR comes out tomorrow. Imagine New York City 100 years in the future. Most of the city lives in one building that is 2.5 miles high and has - you guessed it - 1,000 floors. The richer and more prominent you are, the higher up you live. It's a pretty amazing idea that an entire city could live in one building and have everything at its fingertips - houses, restaurants, gyms, schools. And what would it be like being a teenager living in a world like this? The Thousandth Floor follows the lives of five teens, all living different lives, yet finding a way to intersect in some way.

Today I have something special for you - we know what Katharine McGee's view of NYC 100 years from now is. What about her thoughts of it in 2016? I asked her what her top 10 favorite things about New York City in 2016 are. Here are her answers...

Katherine McGee's Top 10 Favorite Things About New York City in 2016

10. It’s still the city that never sleeps. No matter the day or time, something is always happening in New York. Life there is so convenient—restaurants and drugstores are always open, and everything delivers. Pouring rain outside? No need to leave home; just order Chinese food delivery and watch the rain from your window, snuggled up in a blanket!

9. Shakespeare in the Park. It’s a New York rite of passage! You have to sit in line all morning, starting at around 6 AM (earlier on the weekends!) just to get tickets when they go on sale at noon. But being in line is actually incredibly fun—everyone is laughing and talking, reading books, sharing snacks. By the time you finally get your ticket, you feel like you’ve earned it!

8. That first magical weekend of spring. You can always tell the day that the weather changes in New York because suddenly, everyone streams outdoors wearing sunglasses and scarves, pale from the, but determined to walk outside and get an iced coffee instead of hot!

7. The Frick museum. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Met, but the Frick is underrated. If you’ve been to their summer garden party and seen their fountains in action then you know what I mean! The house itself is a historic monument, with gorgeous staircases and light fixtures and furniture, and the art is breathtaking. Sometimes I go there alone to just sit in the room lined with Fragonard paintings.

6. Rooftops. Once the weather turns warm, New York goes totally nuts for rooftops—everyone wants to sit outside to share a glass of wine with friends and enjoy the sunset. There are so many fantastic rooftops (the Hotel Gansevoort, or the Empire Hotel, which always makes me think of Chuck Bass) but my favorite is still the roof of the Met Museum!

5. The transit system. It’s so easy to get around New York: no matter where you’re headed, a subway will take you there. After five years of living in New York, I basically had the subway map memorized—a bit of a useless skill now that I’ve moved away, but at least I get to go back occasionally.

4. The food. New York has every kind of food imaginable! One of my best friends and I used to do monthly dinners where we tried a new cuisine each week, everything from Moroccan couscous to Korean barbeque to Russian borscht and pastries. I loved all of it, but I have to say my favorite food in all of New York was the bread pudding at Jacob’s Pickles. They make it out of crumbled honey biscuits and smother it in vanilla ice cream and now I’m hungry just thinking about it.

3. The West Village. When I lived in New York, my apartment was in the West Village, and it’s still my absolute favorite neighborhood. I love the adorable winding cobblestone streets and random boutiques. The West Village is always full of surprises—like a gourmet popsicle stand, or a bar that’s long and skinny and only four feet wide (it opened in the alleyway between two buildings). I miss it!

2. Broadway. I inherited this love from my mom, who unlike me is a great singer, and always walks around our house humming show tunes. When I was growing up, we saw Broadway shows every time they toured through Houston, and as I got older, we started taking annual trips together to New York to see new shows as they opened. Favorite show of all time: Les Miz. Favorite new show: Hamilton, without a doubt.

1. The people. New Yorkers are unlike anyone else on the planet. Of course I’m an adopted New Yorker, not a native, but I’m just as fiercely proud as any of them ☺ It constantly amazes me how New York attracts such a brilliant, eclectic, ambitious, and diverse group of people. New Yorkers sometimes act gruff and impatient with one another, but the truth is, they will always help one another. I saw it firsthand during Hurricane Sandy and this year in winter storm Jonas—there’s no one like New Yorkers for banding together in a crisis.

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1), by Katharine McGee
Publish Date:
August 30, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: young adult dystopian
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

(Synopsis) New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Check out the rest of the stops on The Thousandth Floor blog tour, organized by Irish Banana Tours:

Week 1:

Week 2:

Katharine McGee is from Houston, Texas. She studied English and French literature at Princeton and has an MBA from Stanford. It was during her years living in a second-floor apartment in New York City that she kept daydreaming about skyscrapers . . . and then she started writing. The Thousandth Floor is her first novel. You can visit her online at or on Twitter at @katharinemcgee.

LINKS: Website | Twitter

Enter below to win one of three finished copies of The Thousandth Floor (US Only)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 26, 2016

REVIEW: Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs #1)

Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs #1), by Santino Hassell
Publish Date:
July 31, 2005
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Format: e-book, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary m/m romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.

Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.

When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.

Are you kidding me with this awesome book? I didn't know what to expect when I purchased Sutphin Boulevard. All I knew was that Santino Hassell has paired with one of my favorite authors, Megan Erickson, on the Cyberlove series. Which I love. So, I wanted to know more about Santino as a solitary writer. And, I am telling you, this book blew me away. 

Sutphin Boulevard is an incredibly powerful friends to lovers story. But, it's also a lot more than that. It's about friendship and family and grief and how we all deal with the bad things that happen in our lives. Some deal with it well - others, not so well. But, what spoke to me was the importance of unconditional love. And that, even when we don't want it or feel like we deserve it, just the knowledge that there is someone or several someones out there who will love us anyway can make all the difference in the world. 

Michael and Nunzio have been BFFs forever, but one drunken night at a club changes the way Michael looks at Nunzio. Michael is having a hard time dealing with his shifting feelings for his friend, and an even harder time dealing with his alcoholic father and deadbeat, but lovable, brother at home. All those things, together with changes at his job, have Michael constantly on edge and stressed out. No one seems to be able to reach him, and a chain reaction of bad choices finally forces Michael to take stock of his life and figure out how to deal with his problems - and whether he wants to do it by himself or with Nunzio by his side as more than a friend. 

I am about as far removed from this world as you can get. I'm a woman. I'm white. I'm heterosexual. I live in the 'burbs with a cornfield in my backyard. And yet, Santino Hassell's brilliant writing forced me to be a part of the story. His writing is beautiful and evocative and it makes his characters, surroundings and situations become so real. In Michael's case, that meant a lot of tears and throat lumps on my part.

Make no mistake - this is a crazy sexy book. Michael and Nunzio have off-the-charts chemistry, and when they put that to good use... oh my. So, while I promise you will swoon and you will blush, you will also FEEL. Your feels will have feels. Michael's journey to his happy place with Nunzio is hard. It's frustrating and sad and scary. The emotional response that Michael's life ripped from me was unparalleled. 

I ended up binge reading this entire series. After I was introduced to the characters that I knew would take starring roles in the future books in the series, I had to know their stories too. And, Santino Hassell didn't disappoint. Not even a little.