Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley (Book Blitz)


I usually do review & excerpts posts here, but I just had to include this super sweet, lavender-purple cover that I adored upon laying eyes on it. Finding Perfect  is a new YA romance by Entangled Crush. Read on for all book details, info on how to win a $25 Amazon gift card, and other goodies by Kendra C. Highley as well as to find out what the author’s favorite teen movies are plus an excerpt. And then, resist buying.

Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley

Published by: Entangled Crush
Publication date: September 14th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Purchase Link: Amazon |    B&N


Official Synopsis

For “Perfect Paige” Westfeld, today is “D” Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With  her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents’ expectations at stake, Paige needs to  find a way to save face before everything she’s worked for goes up in flames.

Ben Franklin (yes, he’s related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the  wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he’ll be happy to tutor  Paige—if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.

It’s the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient—and utterly imperfect—attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it…


Enter here for a chance to win $25 Amazon gift card and signed FIND PERFECT and SIDELINED bookmarks as well as a signed copy of SIDELINED (US only)

Kendra C. Highley’s favorite teen movies

Being a newbie to writing a contemporary YA romance, but a long-time fan of teen movies with a romantic bent, I thought I’d share my five favorite teen movies:

5) Pride and Prejudice (The A&E version)

Does this really count? I think so, since Lizzie was only twenty when her epic romance with Mr. Darcy began. Plus, Lydia? Scandalous, silly Lydia? Only fifteen and proof that even two hundred years ago, some teen girls are seriously boy crazy. The angst and the tension and the miscues between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy are superb. It even made my 12 year old daughter sigh.  Oh, and the pond. Collin Firth, I tip my hat, sir. Jennifer Ehle was delightful as Lizzie—lovely, sharp tongued, and independent.

4) Juno

Based on this list, Michael Cera might be emerging as my unlikely favorite leading man. Truth is—he picks great movies. Juno is a unique and quirky love story about a girl who got pregnant by her friend the very first time they had sex. The love story comes into play with them becoming closer while they cope with this big change.  Juno (a remarkable Ellen Page) also makes the decision to give her baby up for adoption and that’s a love story, too. The line, “She never really belonged to us,” makes me cry every single time.

3) Some Kind of Wonderful

Okay, if you’ve only indulged in Say Anything as your 80s teen movie, you missed a few. One of my favorites isn’t one you usually see on lists, though. Some Kind of Wonderful is a crazy-amazing look at the divide between popular/rich and unpopular/working class. John Hughes wrote it, and his touch shines through. If you took Pretty in Pink, gender flipped it, and gave it the ending we really wanted—there you have it. It’s gloriously acted by Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Lea Thompson.  Key line:  “You look good wearing my future.” Swoon!

2) Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist

This might be all about the casting, but the adventure of running around NYC, looking for a band leaving clues about where they’ll perform, is also an achingly sweet love story. The scene in the recording studio? Wow. Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are adorable together and the whole movie makes you feel like your greatest moment is right there, waiting.

1) The Breakfast Club

This movie stands up. It’s amazing how well it stands up. I saw it first when I was 13. I remember it so clearly (I was home with strep and thoroughly miserable)— it made me feel like someone got me. Someone understood what school, what teens, were like. And, come on, Bender and Claire (Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald)? That chemistry oozed off the screen. It was the perfect opposites attract, rich girl/bad boy romance. I watched it recently and swooned all over again. Oh, sure, the kids don’t have iPhones and who does Saturday detention anymore, but the essence of it is still…perfect.

How about you? What are some of your favorites?


Ben rocked from foot to foot, then said, “Want to come in? I mean, it’s not much, but—”

“I’d love to!” she answered in a rush, before he could change his mind. He raised an eyebrow and Paige almost laughed—he and Zoey could play Eyebrow Battle Royale when they went out. A wave of cold washed over her. She had to stop thinking about how this would all end, otherwise she’d make herself sick. “Well, are we going in or not?”

Looking nervous, he let her in a side door near the carport. The first thing she noticed was the house smelled like… “Brownies? You have brownies? For real? Where are they? Can I have some?”

He hung his keys on a hook by the door and turned to her, smiling. “My mom usually cooks stuff before she goes to work. We can go look.”

They went through a tiny utility room—more like a hallway—into a small, clean kitchen. The rest of the room, because it was all one room, had a little dining table and a living area with a sofa and a TV. Paige took all that in with one quick glance, then zeroed in on the baking pan on the range. Speechless, she merely pointed and gave Ben a single, pleading look.

By now he was laughing. “If I’d known you had a brownie fetish, I wouldn’t have worried so much about bringing you home.”

He pulled the foil off the pan and cut her a big square. The first bite was heaven. “Ohhhh my God. Mmmm.”

“Okay, so fetish was the right word. You sound a little like a porn soundtrack.” He cut a brownie for himself. “What, you don’t eat brownies at your house?”

“No.” She had to eat another bite before explaining further. Heavenly bliss on a napkin. “My mother, in addition to being randomly rude—I’m so sorry for the way she acted, by the way, because she was a total bitch. No idea what her problem was. Anyway, she’s a health fiend, and an all-organic champion. No junk food is allowed in the house. When Mom bakes, it’s low-fat, gluten-free, and non-GMO. She wouldn’t even let me buy something good at my own bake sale today. I have to buy candy bars on the way to school and hoard them in my locker if I want a fix.”

“Wow…that sucks,” he said emphatically before popping the rest of his brownie in his mouth.

She nodded, too drunk on chocolate to bother answering.

His expression softened, and he reached out to brush her cheek. Goose bumps covered her arms and she gulped down her brownie. “What is it?”

He leaned forward, looking down into her eyes, before smiling. “Crumb on your cheek.”

She flushed head to toe, not sure if she was embarrassed or something else. Good God, she needed some air. Their faces were inches apart. All she’d have to do was lean forward and tilt her mouth up and they’d kiss. Would that bother him? Scare him off? He swayed closer to her and his hand drifted from her face to her shoulder.

No, to hell with worrying about it. She wanted him to kiss her. She turned her face up to his, and their lips were a breath away from touching. He stared down at her, mouth slightly open, and any second now, any second and he would kiss her. Any second…

About the Author

KendraKendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important cats. This, according to the cats, is her most crucial job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.

Author links



Honest and eye opening: Don’t call me Kit Kat by K.J. Farnham

This book about a young girl whose life seems an overwhelming mess, and how she deals with the building stress through developing an eating disorder is a must-read. Especially if you think you know about this stuff. Read on for the book details and my 5-star review. This review tour is organized by Xpresso Book Tours.

Don’t Call Me Kit Kat

by K.J. Farnham
Publication date: May 15th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Purchase Links: Amazon



My Review

At 13, Katie is fed up with her embarrassing life. Wearing only hand-me-downs, being constantly criticized by her overcriticized, coupon-wielding mom and ignored by her father who has a new family and a cute, talented new daughter to dote on, she wants nothing more than to be invisible. Until Anika who hangs out with the popular OH girls takes her under her wing … to show her how to shoplift. Mortification holds nothing to the embarrassment of letting Anika down, but when everything that can go wrong does, Anika points the finger to her. Katie’s world crumbles, and that’s how she turns to binging and purging. Which oddly enough is comforting. She’s finally found a way to cleanse herself of the eternal embarrassment and stress her middle school causes, but hiding her new habit proves too hard. Especially when her family says crazy stuff like she’s getting thin, and she has to stop. Because that’s the biggest problem of all. She can’t.

This is a must-read book. We all have read about or seen people with (and some may have experienced) eating disorders, but it’s the first time I read the full account through a thirteen-year-old girl’s perspective. The overwhelming I-look-like-shit angst that feels silly to an adult but is choking to a young girl, the need to fit in, the broken family where adults try too hard the wrong way, the hit-and-miss friends who make things worse through no fault of their own muddle a young girl’s outlook to the point of total misery. And if self-image is the prominent issue, the development of an eating disorder looms as the go-to solution.

Told exclusively through the heroine’s point of view, as if reading a diary, the reader delves into the mind of a thirteen-year-old and faces the struggle between knowing that all this heavy perception of superficial things is age-related and trivial and accepting that, to a young girl, it’s her whole world. And that’s where the trap lies. If an adult dismisses all that as nonsense, the battle to bring a lost teenager around could be lost.

Whether you are raising a girl or are close to someone raising a girl, this book is an eye-opener.

Official Synopsis

Junior high is where things really start to happen. Cliques form and break apart. Couples are made and destroyed. And a reputation is  solidified that you won’t ever be able to escape. Everything you do and say, and everyone you spend your time with, matters.

Katie Mills knows that. She gets it. That’s why she tried so hard to get in with the cool girls at school. And why she was so devastated when those efforts found her detained for shoplifting and laughed out of cheer squad tryouts.

But Katie has more to worry about than just fitting in. Her parents are divorced and always fighting. Her sister never has time for her. And her friends all seem to be drifting apart. Even worse? The boy she has a crush on is dating the mean girl at school.

Everything is a mess, and Katie doesn’t feel like she has control over any of it. Certainly not over her weight, which has always topped out at slightly pudgier than normal—at least, according to her mother.

So when she happens to catch one of the popular girls throwing up in the bathroom one day, it sparks an idea. A match that quickly engulfs her life in flames.

Is there any going back once she gets started down this path?

And would she even want to if she could?

About the Author

Born and raised in a suburb of Milwaukee, K. J. Farnham was a teacher for 12 years and became a freelance writer in 2012. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee and a master’s degree from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is currently working on a sequel to “Click Date Repeat.” Farnham loves hearing from readers. Connect with her at:



Voices by R. E. Rowe (Book Blitz)


I was immediately attracted to the beautiful cover of this book and had to take a closer look. What brought together a street artist who hears voices and a track star whose dreams were destroyed by a heart condition? For more about this YA, paranormal story, the full first chapter and a chance to win the $50 giveaway (open internationally) read on. This tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

Voices by R.E. Rowe

(The Reincarnation Series, #1)
Publication date: February 27th 2015
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N



Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card (ends May 7).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


In a small town in Arkansas, two lives that seemingly have nothing in common will converge and change each other forever.  A brilliant but tormented street artist and an ex-track star whose career was cut short by a heart condition.

Aimee DeLuca had a promising athletic career before her heart gave out during a high school track and field contest. Aimee struggles to find her way after spending time with a deceased grandmother during a near death experience. Reizo Rush is a street artist whose torment fuels his desire to add color to the gray walls of the city. But Reizo’s tagging and the two voices only he hears land him in perpetual trouble with both his teachers and the law.

During a chance encounter, the two quickly find out they have much more in common than love. When they stumble upon a century-old storm cellar hidden underground on Aimee’s uncle’s ranch, they unearth a cellar full of artifacts and a hundred-year-old Will. Once the news of the discovery leaks out, a drug-dealing teen and a mysterious soul named General are determined to bury the truth along with anyone who gets in their way.


Chapter One



Forty-three minutes without a heartbeat—a little longer than a sitcom. About the time it takes for first period at Theodore High. It’d been five years since I’d seen Grams. She looked amazingly happy, considering she was dead.

After waking up from heart surgery, the first words I uttered in the recovery room were “Did my team win?”

“Miracle, miracle,” a nurse whispered. I guess she thought I’d have brain damage.

Another nurse cried. A male nurse asked me if I’d experienced anything strange. He said some patients have what they call a “Near-Death-Experience”—NDE for short. After all, I’d been officially pronounced dead before the doctors brought me back to life.

I told him, “No, nothing worth mentioning.” Lying was easier than telling the truth. There’s no way I’ll ever talk to anyone about those forty-three minutes—especially not Mom or her boyfriend, Hank. What would I tell them? “Hey, remember when I was dead? Well, I hung out with Grams on a bright day at Uncle Pete’s pond.”

Not a chance. I’d get tagged a wacko and locked up at Willowgate, just like the crazy kid from school.

The nurses told me it’d been a miracle that I had survived with only chest compressions until I arrived at the ER. I agreed, of course, but I knew different. Grams had said, “It’s your choice, dear. Stay here or return.”

Being a track star and honor student, I wanted to return.

And so I did.

I blink away these thoughts and slurp in a mouthful of milky flakes while peering at the track star on the cereal box. The glint of excitement in the athlete’s eyes is familiar. But the feeling of adrenaline and winning races is a distant memory.

Gardenia perfume invades the kitchen as Mom scurries in and fills up a travel mug with coffee. She smiles while sinking a teaspoon of sugar into the mug. “Aimee, aren’t you excited?”

I place my bowl in the dishwasher and nod. “I guess. I’m mainly looking forward to painting at Uncle’s pond.”

Mom takes a paper sack out of the refrigerator and hands it to me. It’s been part of our daily routine for as long as I can remember. She sends me into the world each day with a kiss and a packed lunch.

“Uncle Pete will pick you up early, but you’ll still need lunch. The artist must be fed.” She winks.

“Thanks, Mom.”

Her cell blasts some upbeat tune from the ancient past. “Let’s go. I’m presenting closing arguments in court this morning.”

I swim in Mom’s flowery wake as we walk out the door and into the garage.

Mom answers her cell, connecting it to the car’s hands-free device. “I’ll be at the office in twenty minutes.”

As usual, I push in my ear buds to avoid listening to lawyers’ ramblings while we drive. Hopefully, junior year will be better if I get a car, like she promised.

Mom raises her voice. “I’m ready . . . I know, I know . . . it’s our responsibility.”

I gaze out the car window. My pulse quickens and my stomach churns. Even with the music distraction, I still feel Mom’s emotions. I let my mind drift as she navigates morning traffic.

Cancer took Grams’ life five years before my NDE. But when I saw her that day, she looked beautiful, like in the framed picture Mom keeps on her bookshelf. “It’ll be hard, darling,” Grams had said. “But I hope you’ll decide to return. There are still things for you to do.”

A couple of years later and I still have no clue what “things” she meant.

I glance at Mom gripping the steering wheel and feel her nervousness and anxiety. It must be a big legal case for her today.

I remember the day I left the hospital. It was a shock, feeling the energy from things around me. It’s like suddenly feeling hot in an air-conditioned room or feeling chilly when it’s ninety-degrees outside. It’s hard to explain, exactly, how I can feel excitement coming from saw grass swaying in the wind and strength emanating from oak trees baking in sunshine. I’m not psychic or anything, but my intuition is off the charts. It sounds ill and delusional, which is why I’ll never talk about it.

The first day back to school after my heart surgery was the worst. I quickly realized the people around me were crushing me with their emotions. Feelings of worry, excitement, anger, love, and hate swirled the school hallways from my classmates and hung over my head in class. Trying to concentrate on schoolwork while being flattened by so many emotions all at once was impossible in the beginning.

At first, my friends had been supportive when I needed my space. But soon they realized I’d changed for good. Gossiping about Kelly’s ridiculous shoe purchase and texting about Sharon and Roger hooking up after a Friday night football game became boring. Going to a pep rally to wait for the crazy kid to attack another mascot turned into a ridiculous waste of time. What’s the point of rushing around, worrying about what people think, or worrying about saying something stupid? All the little things used to stress me out. Not anymore. Now people do.

Mom drives the car up to the curb and stops in front of Theodore High School in the heart of Franklinville, Arkansas. Waves of anticipation and excitement from kids walking through the school gates roll over me.

I hesitate before pulling out my ear buds and fight the overwhelming urge to run. I’d usually pretend I was sick and ask Mom to take me home, but today is the last day of the school year.

I can do this.

A man’s voice from Mom’s office blasts from the car speakers.

Mom mouths to me, “I’ll call you later.” Then she leans over and kisses me on the cheek, exactly like she always does.

At the start of freshman year, I’d been the girl who set track records. I was the popular girl with friends, the fashion trendsetter, and the designated shoulder to lean on.

I was all of that before I died.

But I was none of it after the doctors brought me back to life.

About the Author

REWhen Rick isn’t dreaming, you’ll find him trying to discover why, figuring out how, uncovering ancient mysteries, writing a crazy fun middle-grade or young adult novel, inventing something seriously cool, or learning something new. He enjoys participating in science camps, writing conferences and talking to groups about creative topics such as the process of inventing, building worlds for science fiction and fantasy stories, and the importance of dreaming big.

Rick is a lifelong inventor and a named inventor on over one hundred patents. He has degrees in Avionics Systems Technology, Computer Science and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology. His experience includes a wide range of engineering, technology development and management roles ranging from aerospace systems to gaming systems. He is a proud member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society, and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Connect with the Author