26 September 2013

Back to School Romance Tour: THE FUNERAL SINGER by Linda Budzinski and HOW TO DATE A NERD by Cassie Mae

I'm so excited to be a part of the Swoon Romance Back to School blog hop!! This tour features two amazing books: 

The Funeral Singer by Linda Budzinski:

Find it on Goodreads / Amazon 

Being a funeral singer was a dead-end job until it led her to him ...

Seventeen-year-old Melanie Martin has witnessed her share of lame eulogies and uninspired epitaphs while singing part-time at her dad's funeral home. She's determined to be more than a funeral singer, more than just somebody's "beloved wife" or "loving mother." 

When Mel's impromptu rendition of "Amazing Grace" at a local rock star's graveside service goes viral on YouTube, she becomes an Internet sensation, gains thousands of fans and followers, and snags a hot rock star boyfriend--Zed Logan, bass player for The Grime. 

But instant fame isn’t easy—and neither is love. Especially when Mel realizes she’s falling for another guy—one who may just want her heart more than her voice…

My thoughts:

Painfully shy, but afraid she'll die unnoticed, Mel is only ever comfortable when she loses herself in her music, whether she's singing at a funeral or in the school choir. But when that singing gets her noticed by the rock icon she's been crushing on for years, she doesn't know how to handle the instant fame. But this is more than a book about stepping out of the shadows into fame and fortune. Melanie has to find a new way of defining herself and her relationships with friends and family. And I absolutely adored her best friends, Lana and Pete. (I'd love to read a sequel about one of them!)

Okay, so I admit, I signed up to read an advance copy of THE FUNERAL SINGER mainly because I really wanted to participate in the blog tour for HOW TO DATE A NERD, and the tour was running together for both titles. I was never the girl who had celebrity crushes and dreams of becoming a rock star (well, except for that one year when my sister, cousins and I decided we'd be the next big girl group and spent a whole day dreaming about it before we fought over who would be the lead singer or some such nonsense). I wasn't sure if I'd connect with Melanie's story. Of course, I didn't realize that THE FUNERAL SINGER is so much more than the cliched, overnight sensation Cinderella story. It's about friendships and finding yourself, second (and third) chances,  and becoming the amazing person you were destined to be, even when the path is totally terrifying.

Find Lina Budzinski on Twitter / Facebook / Blog / Swoon Romance Author Page

About the Author
Linda Acorn Budzinski decided in the second grade that she wanted to be a “Paperback Writer,” just like in the Beatles song. She majored in journalism in college and now works in marketing and communications. She spent 18 years at a trade association in the funeral service industry, where she discovered that funeral directors are some of the bravest and most compassionate people on earth. Linda lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Joe, and their chihuahua, Demitria. She has two step-daughters, Eris and Sarah. THE FUNERAL SINGER is her debut novel. She is represented by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc.

How to Date a Nerd by Cassie Mae 

Find it on Goodreads / Amazon
Zoe has a great pair of legs, perky boobs, and wears exactly what she needs to show it all off. She works hard for the easy sleazy ‘you only wish you were me’ reputation, burying who she really is—an all-out nerd.

The only time Zoe gets to be herself is when she hides under her comforter to read X-Men comics, sending jealousy stabs at everyone who attends Comic-Con. Keeping up her popular rep is too important, and she’s so damn insecure to care about the consequences. But when Zoe’s sister takes her car for a ‘crash and burn into a tree’ joyride, her parents get her a replacement. A manual. Something she doesn’t know how to operate, but her next door neighbor Zak sure as heck does.

Zak’s a geek to the core, shunned by everyone in school for playing Dungeons and Dragons at lunch and wearing “Use the Force” t-shirts. And Zoe’s got it bad for the boy. Only Zak doesn’t want Popular Zoe. He wants Geek Zoe.

She has to shove her insecurities and the fear of dropping a few rungs on the social ladder aside to prove to Zak who she really is and who she wants to be… if she can figure it out herselfto get it -- and her -- in the process.

My thoughts:
Zoe and her next-door-neighbor Zak were bullied and teased in middle school. They bonded over comic books and video games and all things nerdy, and they were total best friends. But when Zoe had a chance to change her image and her reputation before starting high school, she jumped at it. And for the past few years, she's been "popular Zoe" - the girl who prefers mini skirts to mini figs and who would never be caught dead playing Dungeons and Dragons. The girl who hangs out at the mall with her friends and would never admit to knowing the names of all the X-men. The girl who has to pretend she's not still head-over-heels in love with her former best friend.

My heart ached for Zoe, I loved her like crazy, and I wanted to slap some sense into her all at once. And Zak!! *swoon* You know I love the good guys. My heart flutters for a nice boy who treats a girl with respect and who's more interested in her happiness than his own pleasure. Zak is a classic knight-in-shining-armor. Of course he's not perfect (perfect is beyond boring), but my heart skipped a beat every time he came rushing to Zoe's rescue.

I received the review copy for this book while I was on vacation (at the beach) with my family, and I spent an entire afternoon reading instead of playing in the ocean, because I just had to know what happened next! I can't wait for Cassie's next book!!

Find Cassie Mae on Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Blog / Swoon Romance Author Page
About the Author
Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. Her angel children and perfect husband fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

Cassie Mae is an Amazon.com bestselling author of the teen contemporary romance novel REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND, which she self-published. In addition to publishing with Swoon Romance, she is published by Random House Flirt.

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