Upside Down by Lia Riley: New Release and Giveaway

I am so excited to have my very good friend and CP, Lia Riley, on my blog! Today we’ll talk about dream casting. She’s given me a glimpse at her ultimate dream cast.  WARNING: Hot guys ahead!! Enter at your own risk. There is also a kickass excerpt at the bottom, so check it out!

Here is Lia’s cast:


hero inspiration


Talia inspiration  Emma Watson


Secondary character inspiration :: UPSIDE DOWN Jazza

Bee (Talia’s mom)

Secondary character :: UPSIDE DOWN Bee, Talia's mom

Scott (Talia’s dad)

Secondary character :: UPSIDE DOWN Scott, Talia's Dad


Secondary character inspiration :: UPSIDE DOWN Marti


Secondary character inspiration :: UPSIDE DOWN Beth.




Secondary character inspiration :: Upside Down Bella


hero insp


Adie Inspiration


I absolutely love Lia’s choice for dream cast. And Bran? Totally swooning right now. Someone get me a fan. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this book, GO DO IT NOW! It is a summer must-read. Well, really a must-read of any season.


Okay, first off let me start by saying that if you only read one NA contemporary romance this year, it needs to be this one. This is a spectacular debut by Lia Riley.

The main character, Talia, is running away from her problems. Her sister died in a car accident—one that happened when she was rushing home to check if Talia had left her hair straightener on. Talia (and her mother) blames her sister’s death on Talia’s OCD tendencies. With Talia’s life going to shit, she decides she needs a break from her life in California and chooses to study abroad in Australia. Lia does such a good job portraying a girl who is dealing with OCD. Talia’s discomfort rolled off the page, and I really felt for her. Her struggle with wanting to be normal, but her compulsion to do her rituals was heart-breaking and eye-opening. GOD DAMNIT, TALIA, I WANT TO GIVE YOU A HUG!

Fast forward to her new life in Australia. Talia is on her way to meet up with a guy who is a total wanker (never heard that term til this book and am now going to use it to describe every dirtbag I meet!) Right in front of the bar is where we meet Bran for the first time. The way Talia meets Bran is quite possibly the funniest “how we met” story ever. I won’t spoil it, but it involved a Kuala suit. And I snorted. In public.

Bran is a very complex hero that kept me guessing the whole time. Not giving any spoilers, he has been through a hell of a lot with his ex-girlfriend, and the last thing he wants is to have a relationship. But the way Talia and Bran are drawn together is absolutely magnetic. The sex scenes were very steamy and well done.

What I really loved about this story was that it wasn’t cookie cutter. These characters were truly flawed, but I loved them for that. Their problems were real and relatable. Also, the secondary characters, such as her friend Marti, who was HILARIOUS and I wanted to be her friend, also added so much to the story.
This book made me run through the gamut of emotions. I laughed, cried, snorted, and wanted to punch Bran (the hero) in the nads (and also swoon majorly for him).

Lia’s writing is so rich, and the characters are so complex, they literally pop off the page. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good laugh, cry, and beautifully-crafted story.



Title: Upside Down

Author: Lia Riley

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Series: Off the Map #1

Publication: August 5th, 2014 by Grand Central

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.


— — — — — — — —- — — — — — — —- — — — — — — —- — — — — — — — 
About Lia

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live in Northern California.

— — — — — — — —- — — — — — — —- — — — — — — —- — — — — — — — 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Pitch Wars

Hello wonderful people interested in Pitch Wars!

As you guessed, I am a mentor for this wonderful contest Brenda Drake has put on! Click here for more information about Pitch Wars.

I guess I should tell a little about myself.

Well, hi, my name is Jen. 

I write New Adult Contemporary Romance, and have two books coming out with Entangled later this year! I am also an editorial intern for Entangled. I read submissions for the Embrace and Teen line. When I am not writing or reading submissions, I am teaching middle school language arts. Though this is my first year as a mentor, editing and critiquing is my job. I love to dig deep and flesh out plot issues. I am also a stickler for grammar, so I will make sure your book is as error-free as possible!

Okay, now for the good stuff!

This year I am mentoring Adult and NA entries.

My wish list:


Romance- I especially love contemporary romance. The steamier, the better!

Tropes I love-

*Enemies to lovers

*Older brother’s best friend

*Second chance love

If you have any of these, please send my way! (Really, I am open to any trope in romance)


Romance- I AM DYING FOR A STUDY ABROAD NOVEL. Something along the lines of Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss, Lia Riley’s Upside Down, and AJ Pine’s If Only. If you have something like this, send it my way. I will die of happiness. And then my ghost self will help you edit it into a beautiful, submission-ready book.  But really, I am interested in ALL romance in the New Adult category.

Mystery- I would love to get my hands on a good sleuth novel. I have a soft spot for witty/snarky characters. If your character is sassy and a badass like Veronica Mars, please send my way.

Not on my wish list:


Science Fiction



Anything involving rape (I can’t handle the subject, and you want someone who will be able to help you out with your MS)

And that concludes my wish list for Pitch Wars! I can’t wait to get my hands on your submissions!


Go check out the other awesome mentors on the blog hop!

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JUST YOU Book Tour

JU Blog tour banner
Today I have the honor of hosting Jane Lark’s book, JUST YOU! I just one-clicked it and can’t wait to read!
Book & Author details:
  Just You
Just You by Jane Lark 
(Starting Out #2) 
Published by: Harper Impulse
Publication date: May 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
The morning after the New Year’s Eve before…

Waking up to a new year with a killer hangover and hazy memories of a seriously hot hook-up the night before leaves Portia in an awkward situation… Did I, or didn’t I? The only way she’s going to find out is by standing up to the guy in question.

With no regrets, Justin is willing to play the gentleman and save Portia her embarrassment. Only then he gets a text saying, come over… and he’s not gonna lie – this is friends with a lot of benefits!

But no matter how good the sex is, there’s one thing Justin’s not down with: being this shallow rich girl’s dirty little secret…

Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult romance and author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Novel,’The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, as well as a Kindle overall Top 25, bestselling author.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series as well as contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.

Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses these to create more realistic plots.

‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Author links: 




I have been waiting for this day for A LONG TIME. Rene is one of my fabulous critique partners, and she has written a FABULOUS debut novel, JUST SING. Today on the blog, I’ll be doing a giveaway (at the bottom of the post) and tell you a little more about this must-read YA novel!!!

Just Sing

Book One

of the

Seven Oaks Series


René Gilley

“Follow you dreams, follow your heart, love your family and Just Sing.”

Release Date: 5th June 2014

Genre: Young Adult/Performing Arts/Music

Published by: The Writers Coffee Shop

Available from: AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS PH


Sixteen-year-old Lily O’Brien has one goal in life—to sing. Her dream is to get into a top notch college vocal program, but the summer before her junior year, her high school cuts their awarding-winning vocal ensemble. She might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.
When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.
He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. Through her newfound friendship, she finds the strength to step outside the comfort of her plan and follow her dream.

But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts her wishes aside and finds the answer to save their generations-old ranch in the last place she expected.

My Review:
This is one of my favorite YA’s of 2014. I had the pleasure to read this story in the early stages, right when the brilliance was starting, and also in the later stages when The Writers Coffee Shop picked it up for publication.
The main character, Lily, is strong-willed, caring, and very close to her family. She is a talented singer, and when the vocal program at her school has been cut, she starts to look at other options. As a singer in high school, I was immediately drawn to her. Choir was my favorite class, and I think if my vocal program was shut down, I’d blow a gasket. I just loved how this was a hearty novel that effectively deals with family dynamics/issues. Every character in the novel was so unique and lovable in their own way, especially Lily’s very cute, damaged neighbor, Aiden, that puts her through the emotional wringer. At times I wanted to strangle Aiden, and others I swooned. He really is a deep, complex character, and I can’t wait to read more about him in book two (which on the DL, I hear is a tear-jerker!!! Lord, save me).
I felt so connected to Lily and her relationship with her family, Philip, and Aiden. If you’re looking for a heartwarming coming of age story, this is definitely one you need to check out!

Author Bio: 

By day, René Gilley works as a portfolio manager for a Fortune 50 company, but her nights and weekends are spent writing young adult and new adult romance books. Her brain never shuts off—always dreaming up new situations her characters can get into. 
Her California home is often the backdrop for her books. Her debut novel, Just Sing of the SEVEN OAKS SERIES, was years in the making. Like her character, René seeing Just Sing being published is a dream come true.
She’s a wife, mother to two beautiful daughters, and fourdogs. She’s proud to be a triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) survivor and believes in giving back through book profits to charities that support breast cancer. 

Connect with René Gilley on: 

Facebook, TwitterWebsite and Goodreads

Video Trailer:


Just Sing evolves mostly around Lily’s struggle with her family, the reality of her dreams, and her first relationship issues with the neighbors’ son Aiden. Honestly Lily is a truly amazing… She is strong-willed and her loyalty and love for her family is admirable. –Between Dreams and Reality Blog
With the popularity of shows like American Idol and The Voice, Gilley’s Just Sing promises to bring high engagement to any YA reader who dreams of the stage, lives the stage, or enjoys the stage as a spectator… -Fictionally Yours Blog
Just Sing was a complete and pleasant surprise. There’s not many YA novels out there that can capture my heart and soul wholly. And this book is definitely one of them. -Goodreads Review

And here’s a chance to win this fab debut novel!!!!!!!

I am giving away one ebook copy of JUST SING to one lucky person who comments in the comment section below what their favorite subject was in high school. I will pick tonight at 9pm PST. Please leave your email in the comment as well! 





My Writing Process Blog Tour

I love the writing community. At every stage of my journey to publication, I have been supported by fellow writers. They have been my cheerleaders throughout this whole crazy process. I have made connections with people who have changed my life for the better. Today on the blog, I’m participating in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour.” If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, amazing authors have shared their insights about the craft.

If-Only_500 My agent sister, AJ Pine, tagged me to join the tour. Her NA debut, If Only, was released a few weeks ago with Entangled Embrace! I devoured this book and can’t wait for more from AJ!!


So, here’s how the tour works. I’ve got a few questions to answer for you, and then you’ll get to meet a couple other authors who will join the tour next week!

1. What am I working on?
At the moment, I am working on the second book of my NA contemporary romance series. I can’t really say much right now, but I will have a fun announcement in the VERY NEAR FUTURE.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My first book, Unethical, is a NA contemporary romance. I really love focusing on gray area issues in my writing. In this one, the main character (MC), Payton, is dealing with her mother passing via assisted suicide—that was administered by her dad. I like to delve into topics that are unusual and uncomfortable. Since I was a biology major with a pre-med focus for the first three years of college, I like to incorporate the pre-med aspect into my characters’ lives. Think of it like the younger version of Grey’s Anatomy.

3. Why do I write what I do?
College was one of the happiest times of my life. My first real taste of freedom from my parents. Making bad choices. Going to tons of parties. And, oh yeah, studying my ass off. All while trying to figure out who I was, and who I wanted to be. Hell, I’m 26 and still trying to figure it out! When I first read Easy by Tammara Webber, I fell in love. I kept it by my bedside so I could reread passages because they were SO GOOD. I really loved how she dealt with serious issues, such as rape, and handled it with such grace. And then I thought to myself, maybe I could try this. Maybe I could write about tough issues that interest me. I grew up in a medical family (I am the black sheep in the family; everyone else is either a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist). When I was younger, dinner conversations consisted of interesting/disgusting things that happened at the hospital. Sometimes I’d even go in with my dad to the hospital and help him with his rounds (he was grooming me early to be the next doctor in the family). That’s where most of my ideas spawn from. And also my perfectionists streak a mile wide…but we’ll save traumatizing study sessions with my dad for another time. My dad has been a wealth of knowledge and it’s been a great bonding experience talking about medical issues (even if I didn’t become a doctor like he had hoped). Along with tough issues, I love to add some steamy tension, and sizzling romance, because who doesn’t love flawed characters getting their happily ever after?

4. How does my writing process work?
I am a total plotter. I wish I could be a pantster, and I envy those who are. When I try to be, I end up adding subplots that make my critique partners (CPs) go what the hell was that, Jen? And I just shake my head and shrug, because I don’t know what in heaven’s name just happened. Before I even start a story, I chat with my CPs and bounce ideas around, seeing which one would be interesting enough to pursue. Once I figure out my topic, I then go to my writing bible, Blake Snyder’s beat sheets. If you haven’t used this to plot out your novel, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. This helps me ensure that I have enough going on in the story so my character goes through a nice pretty little arc. Or in my case, that I sufficiently torture them enough until they get their happily ever after. After I finish the beat sheet, I write out a few chapters and try to really hone in on the character’s voice. Since I write dual POV, it’s really important I make sure the characters each have a distinct voice of their own. When I wrote Unethical, I seriously felt like I was bipolar. Being in the heads of both my characters was both very fun, but exhausting. I think my husband really thought I was crazy, because I was talking about the voices in my head. Some things only a writer will understand…Anyway, after I finish my first draft, I send to my CPs who then tear it apart (thank goodness). They make notes in my MS to tell me where I need to add more, what’s working, and what’s not. I edit based off of their feedback, and my manuscript is so much stronger because of them. If you are a writer in the query trenches, and you haven’t done so already, invest in some critique partners. They will keep you sane throughout your writing process and make you a much better writer.


That’s all from me. Next week you can learn about some other amazing authors–two of my fabulous CPs–one whose book, JUST SING, comes out in JUNE, and the other who is in the query trenches as we speak. Also tagged is my good friend, who has one of my favorite blogs that I resorted to all the time when I was querying. I had the pleasure of beta-ing her fantastic book. Keep on the lookout for all three of these talented ladies!


Final Just Sing_just coverweb René Gilley is a young adult and new adult author. She’s a mom, wife, and breast cancer survivor. A portion of René’s book profits will go to support breast cancer patients, awareness, and research. JUST SING, her debut young adult book, will be available in ebook and paperback, June 5, 2014.
Between the arrival of her rich new neighbors and the canceling of her school’s vocal program, Lily is sure her summer is going to suck. She never thought a simple friendship with the neighbor’s son would give her the strength to walk away from her tried-and-true plan and follow her dreams.
But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts wishes aside and finds the answer to save their ranch in the last place she expected.


image[1]Jessica Harvey is a New Adult Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Romance writer. When she’s not working or writing her own New Adult novels, she can be found watching old sci-fi shows, hiking the forests of New England, or attending to her ever-growing To Be Read pile.


DSC_5093act Amy Trueblood is a freelance writer who spends most of her time penning press releases for her favorite non-profit. When not “chasing the crazy” dream of being published, she feeds her addictions to good TV (Bones, Castle & Fringe), Barnes & Noble and mango ice tea. Her short stories, “Emanate” and “Unearthed” are part of The Fall and Summer’s Edge anthologies published by Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. While her story, “A Seat For Every Soul” will appear in Pen & Muses’ Dark Carnival collection this fall. Her writing has also appeared in Liquid Imagination.

Trailer Reveal: A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love and Chaos by Linda Brendle

Today I have the pleasure of revealing the trailer for A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love and Chaos by Linda Brendle. Come take a look!

Trailer Link on Youtube:
Sometimes reality really bites. Alzheimer’s has wrapped Mom’s brain into knots, vascular dementia has attacked Dad, and instead of carefree retirees, we have become caregivers. Regardless, dreams die hard, and we somehow stumbled into the purchase of a forty-foot motor home. That’s when all four of us set out on this seven-week trek across sixteen U.S. states. Now, Dad stopped-up the toilet again, Mom wet her last pair of clean jeans, and David just announced that he was hungry. My head is beginning to pound, and I know this isn’t going to be the easygoing retirement we’d imagined for ourselves.

Linda Brendle takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotional and spiritual challenges that many families are facing right now. Co-dependency, mental breakdowns, and finding love after divorce are just a few of the issues weaved into this journey of caregiving. Whether you’re looking for an inspirational story to help teach you how to “let go and let God,” considering becoming the caregiver for one of your own parents, or are just looking for an entertaining travel book, this story is sure to strike a tender nerve.

Release Date: July 1, 2014
Author Bio:
After 15 years as a family caregiver, Linda began writing to encourage, inspire and amuse other caregivers. She loves to travel and since retiring has traveled mostly by motorcycle and RV. She and her husband live in a small East Texas town where she gardens, writes and attends church.

Yahoo Voices:
Red Letter Christians:

Anaiah Press:

Cover Reveal: BLUE CRUSH by Jules Barnard

When Jules first showed me the cover of her second book, Blue Crush, I was blown away and so excited to share it with you all! I have had the pleasure of reading an ARC of this book and I LOVED IT. If you haven’t added it to your TBR list, this is a must if you enjoy New Adult.

Okay, down to business. Here is the beautiful cover!


BlueCrush Amazon GR SW


About BLUE CRUSH (Blue Series, Book #2): On the cusp of a humiliating breakup from the safe, conservative boyfriend, who ended up betraying her, Genevieve Tierney moves to Lake Tahoe with her best friend after college to lick her romantic wounds. Earning cash at one of Lake Tahoe’s lucrative casinos before grad school in the fall and keeping a safe distance from cheating jerks seems like a good plan, until she meets the one guy tempting enough to drag her back down. Lewis Sallee is six and a half feet of perfectly sculpted mountain man, who captures Gen’s attention from the moment he walks in the door. Her play-it-safe approach to relationships flies out the window as Lewis’s presence awakens a sex drive she never knew she had. Lewis is in a complicated relationship with one of the most beautiful women Gen has ever seen, and despite all logical reasons to stay away—and she’s a logic devotee—Gen can’t seem to control her body’s attraction to him.  Feeling like a magnet for the worst sort of guys, Gen’s desperate to win the battle for self-control around Lewis and put the sleazy casino men pestering her in their place. To boost her confidence, Gen steps out of her comfort zone and signs up for the Alpine Mudder, a gritty endurance race. But as she prepares for one of the biggest physical challenges of her life, her emotional strength is pushed to its limits when she needs Lewis’s help to train. He tests her willpower and has her fighting her body’s attraction—with her mind and heart not far behind.  


About Author Jules Barnard:


Jules Barnard is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended UC Davis, whose college landscape often finds its way into her New Adult novels. She has a Master’s degree and spent many an hour running statistical analysis, until she realized her favorite part of the job was writing reports. She decided to cut out the math and add in some hot guys, and so began her career as a novelist.Jules is a Northern California native living on the coast with her husband and two children. She has no impulse control around cupcakes and credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.

Jules Barnard, New Adult Fiction Deep Blue – Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and iTunes Blue Crush, Releases 05/27/14