Thursday's Treasure Trove

Here at Lives and Breathes Book Blog we are cheerleaders for all things Indie and would like to help Indie authors receive as much exposure as possible. One way we plan to help that along is through a new weekly segment called Thursday’s Treasure Trove. In the Trove, we will be digging up some Hidden Gems and Buried Treasures. The Hidden Gem will be a book that one of our bloggers has read and loved, yet has seen little fanfare. The Buried Treasure will be a book that was popular when it was released, at least six months ago, and has seen little action as of late. If you have a favorite book that qualifies for either category, let us know and maybe you will see it on the Trove post in the future. Happy digging!!

This week for our Treasure Trove, Kathy and Lea decided to pick two books that both bloggers loved, and review them together! 

Hidden Gem of the Week

Falling For the Ghost of You by Nicole Christie

Discovered by Lea and Kathy
Seventeen year old Violet Mercer returns home from her summer vacation in Hawaii to discover her boyfriend's cheating on her with a friend. As if that wasn't bad enough, her mother's marrying a man she just met.

Things take an awkward turn when Violet meets her rich new stepfather, and his gorgeous son--the hot guy whom she made a fool of herself in front of earlier that day! Zane O' Connor is sexy and charming, and way out of her league. He makes her forget her ex-boyfriend even existed. But there's no way she'd ever have a chance with him...right?

Through a strange turn of events, Violet finds herself living with Zane for a month. Somewhere between the fighting and flirting, they become friends. And it isn't long before that friendship blooms into something else...something more powerful than Violet anticipated.

But Zane is hiding something from her--something big enough to tear them apart if Violet ever discovered the truth about him. Her suspicions keep her from trusting him completely. She's been burned before--is she willing to take that risk again?

As she and Zane spend more time together, Violet realizes it's too late: she's fallen for the beautiful boy with the big secret. Will she get her heart broken twice in one year--or will her love survive the truth?

Lea)When we were deciding on our Trove selections this week, one Gem kept popping into my head - Falling For the Ghost of You. I found this book completely by accident. I am pretty sure it was either free or $.99 when I got it, and I waited awhile to read it. I finished an intense book one night and was feeling sleepy, so I selected Falling from my Kindle library thinking it would not hold my attention too long. Big mistake. I ended up getting sucked in, despite the late hour and my silly notion it was going to be too cutesy for my taste. 

Kathy) I'm always looking for a great funny book. I can only read about broken characters for so long before I become depressed too! A girl needs some laughs every once in a while...because if I read any more heartbreaking books my daughter`s teachers are going to wonder why I'm crying in the car line everyday with my kindle. So one day I asked Lea for a funny book recommendation. I have to say, I was a little skeptical because it was free....but I was laughing from page 1. I mean, who doesn't laugh when their best friend sits on a ho ho?
“Fiction should be a place of lollipops and escape. Real life is depressing enough--I, for one, don't want to read about make believe misery, too.”
― Nicole Christie

L)Exactly! So, Violet Mercer, our heroine, is an ex-fat-girl turned (potential) sex kitten. When she returns home from working in Hawaii with her grandmother all summer, she finds her boyfriend has moved on to a mutual friend. After being dumped on their lunch date, she rushes out of the restaurant and ends up falling down, practically at the feet of  “Hot Guy”. From the very beginning, this book had me giggling at the clumsiness and awkwardness of the main character. Oh, and she gets it honestly, let me tell ya! The mother is just as much a bumbling goofball as Violet.

"We never look more like mother and daughter than when our faces are the color of humiliation."
 ― Nicole Christie

K)Yes! The mother cracks me up! Violet’s newly engaged mother takes her to a fancy dinner where she will meet her future stepfamily. Of course, her soon to be stepbrother Zane shows up, and guess who? Yep, "Hot Guy." This dinner is when we see where Violet gets her tendency for nervous outbursts. Her Mom is actually worse than she is - if that is even possible! Of course Violet is mortified - let's face it who wouldn't be humiliated when your hot new stepbrother sees you split your pants, revealing your cute little bunny undies, AND finds out you are a virgin by your mother`s spontaneous confessional, all in the first day.

L)Don’t misunderstand us, though. This story is not all fluffy and light. Violet’s father left her mother for another woman, pretty much cutting off all contact with her as well.  Not even when her mother was sick did he offer any help. Violet’s behaviors are age appropriate and often times naive, but you can feel a deep level of maturity in her as well. The story is laden with intense situations and sexual tension. My favorite! 

K) There's also a little mystery with a few twists and turns. As Violet gets to know Zane it becomes obvious that he's hiding something. Not to mention that her best friend Lauren starts acting a little strange. This book kept me on my toes...I never would've guessed the twist at the end! I love it when a book surprises me!

L)Me too, and that rarely happens! I can usually see a plot twist a mile a way, but this one…well, I just wasn’t really looking for it. I was distracted by all the funny stuff and all the "for the love of all that is holy would you just kiss her already" running through my head. 

K)Falling For the Ghost of You has it all: humor, romance, and a little angst. The perfect trifecta that you won't want to miss!

L)I completely agree. This one is definitely one of my top suggested books, and I look forward to more from this author. I would even love to see more of these characters, but so far this book is a stand alone. Maybe someday Lauren will get a spin-off...please?

"'You know, there are so many things that can go wrong in this world, you could spend your whole life worrying about them and forget to appreciate every moment you have with someone. Then, you're like, 'God, why wasn't I thankful for what I had when I had it?'" He glances over at me. "You know what the secret to a happy life is?" I shake my head, silent tears falling down my cheeks.
He squeezes my hand. "No regrets. Just live in the moment.'”
―Nicole Christie

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Buried Treasure of the Week

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Rediscovered by Lea and Kathy      
 "I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk."
Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.
K)The Buried Treasure we picked this week is The Sea of Tranquility. This is one of those books that everyone raves about.  Its reputation precedes it, but for some reason it took me 3 or 4 tries to get past the first few pages.  I kept picking it up though, because if it is on EVERYONE's top 10 list, I knew I was missing out on something great.  I definitely was missing out!  Once I settled into the book, I was hooked.  Hooked I tell you.  And that's pretty hard to do when you have a main character who doesn't speak!

“Just because I don't talk about it, doesn't mean I forget.”
― Katja Millay

L) Seriously! Oh, man. I was one of those people who read it early on. I had no clue what to expect, since I rarely read the synopsis of a book. I cannot begin to explain how much I love this novel—it is simply beautiful. Nastya is such a strong, yet broken character. Her voice still resonates with me and it has been almost a year since I read this book. I love her burgeoning friendships with all of the boys: Josh, Drew and Clay. I appreciate how Natsya tries to put up her armor, her look of “a profanity-spewing guttersnipe being dragged out of a crack house on Cops” that is meant to keep others away. And then later, someone takes her under their invisible force field which is really just an obstruction built of so much despair it broke my heart in pieces.

“I've scared, offended or made everyone uncomfortable enough to stay away. Mission accomplished.”
Katja Millay

K) I know!! Here is a girl who is clearly traumatized, dresses entirely in black or practically non-existent clothing, doesn't speak at all, and never smiles. Then we have Josh with his force field up keeping everyone away. Yet they see something in each other that no one else sees. I love that Josh breaks down some of her defenses by calling her Sunshine. When she gives him that first smile, it just melted my heart. Nastya really won me over with her baking. Baking something special for someone is such a personal gift. Working with her hands to make something from raw ingredients, making a delicious treat is her way of communicating what she can't with words. That held such a special place in my heart.

“I imagine she came out of the birth canal holding a cupcake and a spatula.”
― Katja Millay
L) I love the baking, and I love the building. I think Josh’s carpentry skills, his ability to take pieces of wood, strip them down, and then sand them and carve them until only something beautiful remains, are a definite metaphor for the way he breaks down her defenses and helps her heal. And in turn, her apprenticeship, her willingness to learn alongside him until she herself can do the same for him, is equally as restorative. 

"His hands are miracles. I can watch them for hours, transforming wood into something it never dreamed of being.”
Katja Millay

K)Lea you are so right...but don't give away too much they have to read it and experience this amazing book for themselves! This is just a beautifully crafted story that weaves its way into your heart. Every sentence serves a purpose. The Sea of Tranquility is one of those special books that stay with you long after you turn the last page.

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