Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best of 2012 Blog Hop Give@way!

Ahh, the end of the year is here and as always it is time to look back at the best of the year. So, here to celebrate is the Best of 2012 Blog Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer


For this giveaway I am offering up a choice of a indie author books that have been released this year that I enjoyed. All books will be gifted from Amazon, so as long as you are able to accept Kindle gifts, this giveaway is open to you!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Ever by Jessa Russo

Ever (Ever, #1)
by Jessa Russo
Published: October 1, 2012

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.

Of course, it doesn't help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.

Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.

Some girls lose their hearts to love.

Some girls lose their minds.

Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.

Review:
There were so many things I wanted to like about this book. The ghost of a childhood crush, a girl who was a devoted to his memory, a hot new neighbor. Combined they should have made an awesome read. Instead this story fell flat.

So, Frankie is dead and he's been haunting Ever for the past two years. Which was pretty much fine by her because she was fifteen (or was it fourteen) and madly in love with him when he died, although he never once thought of her that way. Having Frankie haunt her and her family is just peachy because this way she knows that she never has to move on and actually experience any healthy relationships. Then Toby moves in next door and he's hot enough that Ever realizes she's not dead like Frankie and maybe she should move on with her life.

I spent the entire novel rooting for Ever and Toby. Yes, Frankie appears first, and there's the whole unrequited love issue Ever has going on with him, but seriously? He's a 17 year old ghost with a pompadour and a cigarette behind his ear, who is actually pretty mean to Ever. There was a lot of Ever flip flopping between her love of Toby and Frankie. And really, it's pretty pathetic how quickly she does it. One minute she's making out with Toby the next she's realizing Frankie is her life (despite the fact he has none) and then it's back to Toby.

A few other characters appear and it's kind of hard to figure out what their motives really are. By the end I was confused and disappointed, and maybe even a little angry. Ever was set up to be a girl who had realized that she was wasting her life day dreaming over someone she could never have, who was determined to move on with her life, and then she just folds.

While the writing wasn't bad, this is not a series I am the least bit interested in continuing. I have a feeling that the next book will simply weaken Ever to the point of no return.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Blast Blog Hop Continues!


So today on The Edible Bookshelf the Winter Book Blast is focusing on Young Adult books and includes a feature on Songbird and Lie to Me! I thought I'd share the book blurbs and covers along with the giveaway that I am hosting here on my blog. Check back on Dec 23rd and you can see a sneak peak of book 2 in A Touched Trilogy, Heal Me!

Songbird

There are defining moments in life when everything changes. For Dani Mays, it was the day she witnessed her father kill her brother. Now seventeen, she still hasn't put it behind her.

After Jace's death, she bounced between her alcoholic mother and foster homes until she found a permanent place. And a reason to want to stay: Reece Tyler. He's her best friend, yet Dani wants more from him.

Faced with losing Reece, Dani struggles to define his place in her life and escape the influence the memories of her brother's death have over her choices. Even as she weaves the pieces of her heart back together, the past becomes more than a memory when a former foster brother reappears and Dani begins receiving threatening calls.

Lie to Me (A Touched Trilogy, #1)

With a Truth Telling gift that has never worked, Phoebe Matlin accepted long ago that she was broken.

Then one simple lie changes everything and suddenly the whisper of liar is ripping through her. Some lies, though, cover darker truths than Phoebe ever imagined.

But knowing when someone is lying is the easy part. It's convincing everyone else that's the problem.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 14, 2012

Winter Book Blast Give@way Blog Hop!

Blog Hop time!

The Winter Book Blast Giveaway Hop is hosted by The Edible Bookshelf and a bunch of great authors are participating!

Starting December 15th - 23rd you can enter the Grand Prize Giveaway for a total of 18 books (a mix of YA and non-YA) and some individual blog giveaways. I am giving away ebook copies of my YA novels Songbird and Lie to Me.

To learn more about my novels Songbird and Lie to Me, as well as a sneak peek at book 2 in the Touched Trilogy, Heal Me come back on Dec. 19th and the 23rd!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell

Midnight City (A Conquered Earth Novel)
J. Barton Mitchell
Published: October 30, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

Earth has been conquered by an alien race known as the Assembly. The human adult population is gone, having succumbed to the Tone---a powerful, telepathic super-signal broadcast across the planet that reduces them to a state of complete subservience. But the Tone has one critical flaw. It only affects the population once they reach their early twenties, which means that there is one group left to resist: Children.

Holt Hawkins is a bounty hunter, and his current target is Mira Toombs, an infamous treasure seeker with a price on her head. It’s not long before Holt bags his prey, but their instant connection isn’t something he bargained for. Neither is the Assembly ship that crash-lands near them shortly after. Venturing inside, Holt finds a young girl who remembers nothing except her name: Zoey.

As the three make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, they encounter young freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and the amazing powers that Zoey is beginning to exhibit. Powers that suggest she, as impossible as it seems, may just be the key to stopping the Assembly once and for all.

Midnight City is the breathtaking first book of the Conquered Earth series.

Review:

Midnight City is a complex tale that weaves together a post-apocalyptic story with aliens and magic. Barton does an amazing job of focusing on both world building and character development, not sacrificing one for the other.

Holt is a great main character. He has a depth to him that is continually exposed in increments through out the story. His personal experiences with the Tone have left him jaded, without turning him into a complete jerk. He comes across as very real with his fears and insecurities mixed with his strength and determination. Mira was also very interesting. She had a sassy, tough side to her, but it didn't define her. She also came across as caring and vulnerable without ever seeming weak. I loved how she was constantly planning and never felt like there was no way out of a bad situation.

The chemistry between Holt and Mira is obvious from the first meeting, but it doesn't consume the story. This is not a romance novel. It is a Science Fiction book with a bit of romance thrown in. And despite being a romance addict, I was perfectly all right with that.

The biggest issue I had with Midnight City was that the alien technology was pretty much exactly like War of the Worlds. It's extremely hard not to notice the sticking similarities, even if you're like me and have only seen the Tom Cruise movie.

Ultimately, what I love about this book and had me putting aside the WotW similarities is that Midnight City is a story for boys and girls. One of the biggest complaints I hear about YA books is that there aren't enough books that appeal to boys. Midnight City is one of those that I think has the potential to do so.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: Bad Hair Day by Carrie Harris

Bad Hair Day (Kate Grable, #2)
by Carrie Harris
Published: Nov. 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

Senior year is positively hair-raising.

Kate Grable is geeked out to shadow the county medical examiner as part of her school’s pre-med program. Except when he’s arrested for murder, she’s left with the bodies. And when Kate’s brother Jonah stumbles upon a dead gamer girl, she realizes that the zombie epidemic she cured last fall was only the beginning of the weirdness taking over her town. Someone’s murdering kids—something really hairy. And strong. Possibly with claws.

Is it werewolf awesomeness like Jonah and his dorktastic friends think? Kate’s supposed to be a butt-kicking zombie killing genius...but if she can’t figure out who’s behind the freakish attacks, the victims—or what’s left of them—are going to keep piling up.

It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.

Review:
Carrie Harris's sequel to Bad Taste in Boys is exactly what I expected from her. If you've ever visited her website you'll know what I mean. Bad Hair Day picks up soon after Bad Taste in Boys ends and Kate is still adjusting to all of the attention she's been getting ever since curing the "zombie" virus. In Bad Taste in Boys she got the boy she wanted and now she's struggling to deal with having a boyfriend who is really beyond her geeky social status while at the same time trying to save the world again.

I love that Kate's character doesn't change from one book to the other. Even though she's famous, she stays true to her science geek character and once the new mystery starts she is completely focused on solving it. There were some interesting scenes between Kate and her boyfriend Aaron. But he wasn't a big player in the story, mainly because Kate is too independent to fall into the whole "I love you too much to do anything without you" routine. In fact, Kate almost forgets about him while embroiled in her mystery.

I actually found the interactions between Kate and her brother, Jonah, to be the most entertaining. I don't have a brother, but can imagine how one would be so annoying, especially if he wore tights and played with a sword all day.

There is of course a certain amount of reality that needs to be checked before opening the book, even for a paranormal book. Kate's ability to perform some complex surgical procedures, the police department's willingness to divulge sensitive information to her, and the hospital's lack of knowledge that a high school senior is acting as medical examiner makes things convenient for the plot, but doesn't toe the line of reality.

For me this was a quick, fun read and really, once the line "You don't understand. I'm team Edward!" crossed the page, I was all in. This is a definite must read for anyone who's looking for something a quirky and fast paced.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dreaming of Summer Give@way Hop!!

Is winter really here? Is that what the fluffy white stuff covering the ground is? Thank goodness, the Dreaming of Summer Giveaway Hop is here!!



Thanks go out to I am a Reader, Not a Writer and  Me, My Shelf and I for hosting the giveaway!

So, I thought for this hop I would giveaway one of Shelly Crane's books! Since I read Significance and  Accordance over the summer they take me back to reading beside the pool on those warm, sunny, days.

So my giveaway is for an ebook of any one of the novels in the Significance series! You can check out my reviews of Significance here and Accordance here.

 This Giveaway is open internationally as long as you can receive Amazon Kindle gifts! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Update on Life and All That Good Stuff!

So, I've been having a hard time lately keeping up with my blogging. Over the summer, I was so gung-ho and signed up for a bazillion tours, posts, ARCs, and hops. Then vacation ended and life (AKA work, family, writing, editing, illness, NaNoWriMo)got in the way.

I have been reading, but had absolutely no time to review. My plan right now is to be back on track with reviews by next week. I've read some amazing and not so amazing books, all of which I really want to share (Skinny, Bad Hair Day, Secret of Betrayal, Flawless, Ever).

I do have some awesome things coming up though!

~ I've signed up to do a few blog hops (3 in December!) hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer where you'll be able to win copies of my new novel Lie to Me (A Touched Trilogy, #1), and possibly something by Shelly Crane (I love her Significance series, so I may share the love). Okay, definitely something by Shelly Crane - I just have to figure out which one to give away.

~ Lie to Me (A Touched Trilogy, #1) will be available on December 1st! Look for it in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon and B&N for Nook!

~ Songbird will be free for lending to Amazon Select members starting in December. And look for a Free purchase day sometime before the end of the year!

~ The draft for Heal Me (a Touched Trilogy, #2) is nearly complete and will be going into editing in December. We're planning for a Spring release. Hopefully, I'll have more details in January!

For once I'm looking forward to the end of the year for a reason other than Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blog Tour: Owlet by Emma Michaels *Review, Excerpt, and G!vaway!


I am so excited to be hosting today's stop on the Owlet Blog Tour!! For those of you following the Read Along, I am posting the next excerpt! For those just joining the tour make sure you enter the giveaway and then click on the tour banner to check out the previous stops along the tour so you can catch up on the read along
 
Owlet (Society of Feathers, #1)
by Emma Michaels
Published: October 13, 2012
Publsiher: Tribute Books
Available: Amazon, B&N, iBookstore, Smashwords


Synopsis: 

Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.

Review:

Owlet was an extremely fast read. I felt like I had barely begun reading before it was over. There is no lag time and the quick pace made it an engaging read. It also meant that a lot of information is given in a very short number of pages. With a paranormal book such as this, there needs to be a lot of world building and background for the characters. At times I felt like this was a bit too cramped in Owlet and I wish that there had been a slower pace so that we could get a smoother introduction to the world Iris is inhabiting.

Iris was an interesting character. She suffers from asthma, which often debilitates her, yet she still manages to hold her own. She doesn't use it as an excuse for not living her life, or for not making choices. I enjoyed Iris's interactions with her love interest Falcon. There was a dark side of Falcon that I wish we could have seen more of, and this again I felt was a result of the fast pace. His past played a really big part in the decisions he made and I thought he was really under used.

I found Owlet to be a very interesting start to a series, and I would definitely be willing to read more. 

Excerpt

“Why?” Iris responded, not understanding what was going on or why Falcon was suddenly on his feet and crouching lightly, looking like a bird about to burst into flight.

“Iris! Do as I say and get away from him! Come over to me. Now!” Diana said,
moving into the clearing and to the first steps of the gazebo, opposite from where Iris and Falcon were now standing. Diana was crouching just like Falcon only her hands were up and ready to fight.

“What are you doing?” Iris yelled. “Have you lost your mind?”

“No, Iris. He is one of the things that you don’t know about, or at least not enough to understand.”

Iris tried to keep calm but she started to get defensive. She realized she might not understand the full situation, but seeing Diana ready to attack Falcon who she knew had been a part of her past, was making her feel protective—even though her loyalties were still to Diana, which made her emotions turn and twist inside her mind.

“Diana, put your hands down,” she said. Looking to the right she could see Falcon trying to stop himself from going into a defensive stance.

“What is going on?” Iris screamed. Getting confused, Iris suddenly realized that she was backing up from both of them leaving her standing exactly in between them— two people who looked as if they were enemies in some invisible war.

“Iris, run.”

“No, Iris. Don’t go with her. You need to understand. I won’t lose you again,” Falcon said in a desperate voice.

Diana’s expression softened for a moment at his words, but the hard mask of defense reappeared in seconds.

“Iris, he is the one who—”

“No!” Falcon shouted.

“—was sent to kill you.”

About the Author

Emma Michaels is the author of the ‘A Sense of Truth’ and ‘Society of Feathers’ series. Her goal with her latest YA novel 'Owlet' is to give others what she did not have growing up; a strong female protagonist with asthma. While her previous aspiration was to be a lady knight she realized that not being able to run more than a few feet might become a hindrance so turned to writing instead. Her day jobs include being a cover artist, marketing consultant and silk screen designer.

As the founder of The Writers Voice blog (http://OurBooksOurVoice.Blogspot.com) she loves to connect authors and readers. As a book blogger turned author, she was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, until she moved at eighteen to Washington State. Suddenly, the world was a new place filled with tall green trees that reached further for the sky with every moment, making her want to do the same. Ever since, she has tried to make her life something new and different from what it was before, pursuing her future career, setting high goals and reaching for them. With the support of her fiancé, Chihuahua, and her amazing blog followers and fellow bloggers, she wants to prove to the world that anything is possible and help inspire fellow literary lovers to reach for their dreams.

Facebook  Twitter  Website  Goodreads  / Tribute Website  /  Tribute Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cover Reveal and G!veaway: Lie to Me by Angela Fristoe

The cover for Lie to Me (A Touched Trilogy, #1) is finally here! I am sooo much happier with this one than the original I was sent. Now, I just have to wait for the December 1st release date! Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 2 ARCs of Lie to Me!

Lie to Me (A Touched Trilogy, #1) 
by Angela Fristoe
Expected Release Date: December 1, 2012
Publisher: Little Prince Publishing

Synopsis:
With a Truth Telling gift that has never worked, Phoebe Matlin accepted long ago that she was broken.

Then one simple lie changes everything and suddenly the whisper of liar is ripping through her. Some lies, though, cover darker truths than Phoebe ever imagined.

But knowing when someone is lying is the easy part. It's convincing everyone else that's the problem.

Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (For international residents, check back on November 27th for an opportunity to win an ebook copy of Lie to Me during the Dreaming of Summer giveaway Hop!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blog Tour ~ Reaction by Jessica Roberts *Review

I am so excited to be hosting the next stop on the Reaction by Jessica Roberts Blog Tour! Reaction is book 2 in the Reflection series by Jessica Roberts and is a heart warming romance that straddles the Young Adult - New Adult genres. After reading the review and entering the giveaway, click on the banner to check out more stops along the Reaction Tour!

Reaction  
by Jessica Roberts
Published: November 5, 2012
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

Harmony…

I’ve previously had that in my life, but only once, briefly, a while ago. It was during the time I’d started my first year of college. My own apartment, a new old car, and a life free of deadbeat stepfathers, all of which was fulfilling enough. But if it wasn’t, I also had a best friend, soul mate, and boyfriend all in one. Yes, life was near perfect.

But one stormy night can change everything…

For many months I rested in a prolonged sleep, fighting for my life. Well, more than fighting for it, also dreaming of it. Dreaming of him. Thank goodness, the dream is over and I’m back in the real world now. And all I want is for everything to return to the way it was. But nothing’s the same; most of all, us.

Once again, I find myself at the crossroads of a ruthless battle, this time not for life, but love. Do I fight for the guy I twice fell for, or do I let her take him away?


Review:

The first thing I have to say about Reaction is that if you haven't read Reflection first, do it. I'm sure you could figure out pretty quickly what was going on, but the emotional impact is so much more knowing what Heather has gone through.

Reaction picks up only weeks after Reflection ended, jumping right into Heather's life as she leaves the hospital and giving us drama right away. I love happy endings and while Reflection didn't exactly give us that, Reaction starts off with the slightest hint of hope. Heather has learned that the boy she has been dreaming of while in a coma for years has moved on with his life. I actually liked that Nick hadn't spent years just sitting around pining after her, although it does become obvious that he's never gotten over her completely even though he thought she had run off to marry someone else.

Reaction is a very melodramatic book, in the best way possible. Yes, there are parts where I was rolling my eyes at the frequent disagreements and the all-too-convenient run ins Nick and Heather have, but those were also those moments where I was hoping that and thinking "this is the moment", and then feeling the disappointment each time it wasn't. It's exactly the type of drama I love in my romance novels.

I definitely recommend the Reflection series to those who love romances that constantly have you alternating between crying and smiling.




About the Author:
JESSICA ROBERTS grew up in the San Francisco, California Bay Area where she spent most of her time playing sports alongside her six siblings. She was crowned Miss Teen California her senior year of high school, and went on to Brigham Young University where she graduated in Human Development. Her love of family, church, writing, athletics, and singing and dancing keeps her life busy and fulfilled. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and three children.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blog Tour ~ Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent *Review


I am thrilled to be part of the Defy the Stars Blog Tour by Stephanie Parent! Defy the Stars is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet. After checking out the review and entering the giveaways, click on the tour banner to check out more stops along the tour!

Defy the Stars
by Stephanie Parent
Published: July 30, 2012
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:
Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.

Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a story, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.


Review:

As I started reading Defy the Stars, I found myself completely torn. On one hand I love anything Shakespeare (yes, even the cheesy 10 Things I Hate About You), and Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorites. On the other hand is that I hate sad endings and Defy the Stars starts off letting you know this will be a sad ending, which really shouldn't be a surprise considering it's a retelling of one of the saddest love stories ever told.

So, where did that leave me? Well, I went in cautiously. I tried not to let myself care about Julia and Reed, to realize that I knew exactly where their story was going so that I wouldn't feel let down. And for a while it worked, I picked apart things about them I didn't like, how quickly their relationship developed, how cliche the characters were, but by the end I cried. I can't say I was a big fan of Julia. She was so easy to jump into danger again and again, I just wanted to smack her, especially since she does it simply because she likes a guy. Reed, however, felt like a much more powerful character. He has deep problems that even at the end I didn't feel were ever truly revealed. I really wanted to know more about him, and while his storyline was realistic for his character, it was also very sad. Ultimately it was Reed's character that kept me reading, and hoping that maybe this reimaging of Romeo and Juliet would have a happy ending.

I didn't quite getting the happy ending I wanted, not surprising considering Parent let's us know that right up front in the prologue. But neither did the ending go exactly the way I was expecting. While Parent stayed true to some aspects of Shakespeare's original tale, she does make it her own. Despite finding the ending sad and hopeless, there was just a touch of light at the end, something to make the reader think that maybe all hope is not lost, and that the experiences we have that seem so unsurvivable can make us stronger.

The writing style was definitely different as it is set up as verse, and while there were times I could fall into the rhythm of it, other times I would stumble over a word that didn't follow the regular soft-hard pattern of the syllables and it pulled me out of the story. After a while, though, I found myself focusing more on the characters, and simply reading the story as regular prose.

I would recommend Defy the Stars to lovers of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and anyone who loves a romance with a good cry at the end.



About the Author:
Stephanie Parent is a YA author repped by Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major.
http://www.stephanieparent.blogspot.com

Giveaway Info:
1st prize: $30 gift card from Amazon and a e-book copy of Defy the Stars.
2nd place: 4 e-book copies of Defy the Stars.
Additional Prize: A query letter critique by Stephanie Parent.
All giveaways are open internationally!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

Blackwood
by Gwenda Bond
Published: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Available: Amazon


Synopsis:

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.


Review:
For some reason I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Blackwood. I wasn't expecting to not like it, so maybe it was because it had been a while since I requested it and downloaded it that I'd forgotten what it was that had intrigued me. Whatever it was, I'm glad that I finally sat down and read it.

Blackwood manages to walk a fine line between creepy and creeping me out. I hate ghost movies and books, simply because to me of all paranormal activity it seems most likely. When Bond first introduces the paranormal to the book, the main character Miranda believes that she has hallucinated it, yet she doesn't need to suffer thinking that long, because Bond moves the plot along quickly. The fast pace doesn't let up much and it made for a really fast read. I finished in one sitting of maybe 3 or 4 hours.

Miranda is an outcast in her small town. She is harassed and bullied, yet she is not a victim. She hits back (verbally) and doesn't wallow in self-pity. I liked that she stood up for herself when she felt like it and ignored the bullies when she didn't. Phillips was a bit harder to connect with. I felt that when in his perspective it was further removed from him than when in Miranda's perspective. There seemed to be so much more to his character than we get to see and I wish Bond had revealed more about him.

The one thing that kept me from absolutely loving this was the lack of depth in Miranda's dealing with her father's death. She alternates between being sad, devastated, and coming forgetting about it. Considering he was an inattentive, negligent, alcoholic father, I could have believed her lack of emotions at certain times, if it had been consistent.

Overall, Blackwood was a good read, and I think it has potential to appeal to some male readers as well since it alternates perspectives and the focus is on the ghost mystery and not some insta-love.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield

Hanging by a Thread 
by Sophie Littlefield
Published: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:
Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?

Review:
Hanging by a Thread started off pretty good. Clare was an interesting character, with a mysterious family background, a love of fashion and the ability to read the past from fabric. That said, I quickly lost respect for her. She is judgement of her new friends lives, lies to her, says that she doesn't care who she has sex with the first time as long as it happens that summer, constantly thinks about how wonderful her friends were back at her old school but never calls them, and becomes angry with her mother for worrying about a killer being on the loose in their small community. Despite Clare's turn for the worse, I kept reading, because really she did at least seem like a believable character.

For me, the high points of the story were when Clare was having her visions. It's were pretty much the only action was and where it actually felt like there was a point to the story. I've read a few other reviews complaining about the over abundance of sewing and fashion talk, but it didn't really bother me. I felt like it was the best drawn part of Clare's character, and that it tied her ability to read fabric into her so deeply. That said, some of her 'creations' sounded like bejeweled messes.

By the end there were just too many loose threads. Littlefield brought up so many things, such as the old school friends and spent so much time detailing them, that I felt let down that they never went anywhere. At other times, she completely skipped over things and had Clare come up with these amazing insights that I just didn't see how she came to. This lead to an ending that I just didn't buy. I couldn't wrap my mind around why the characters would think they would get away with what they had done. (I really want to explain more here, but doing so would spoil the ending since it would reveal who wasn't the killer) Overall, it was an okay read, but I don't think I'd search out more from Littlefield.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blog Tour: Elemental by Shauna Granger *Promo Post

I am so excited to be hosting the next stop along the Elemental by Shauna Granger Blog Tour! For this stop along the tour Shauna is sharing an excerpt from Earth (Elemental, #1). Don't forget to enter the giveaway and then click on the banner to check out other stops along the tour!

Earth (Elemental, #1)
by Shauna Granger
Published: May 1st, 2011
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:
Shayna and her two best friends have the abilities to manipulate and control the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. While learning to hone their growing powers, they discover a new and malicious presence in their sleepy beach town. Someone is performing blood magic and threatens to expose their small magical community. So far only small animals have been slaughtered, but then the nightmares start.

Shayna suffers nightmares of being chased and sacrificed only to wake up bloodied and bruised. She thinks her magical blood is the ultimate target for the final blood rite. When an innocent girl, Tracy, is kidnapped Shayna knows it's only a ploy to draw her out; she can't let someone die because of her.


 Excerpts for Earth (Elemental, #1)


I reached in my locker to grab my French book when it hit me; a sudden wave of dread. I dropped my book to the ground, fingers trembling and my mouth went dry.

“Shay?” Jodi asked hesitantly.

“Tracy,” I whispered almost too quiet for even me to hear.

“What?” Steven asked, placing his hand on my shoulder to shake me, but in my state the simple touch opened our channel in a flood. In an instant he knew what I knew and all the color drained from his face. I dropped everything, forgetting to shut my locker, and took off at a dead run, racing to the school parking lot.

“Steven, what the—” Before Jodi could finish her question Steven had grabbed her by the wrist and took off after me, pulling her along behind him.

“Something’s going to happen to Tracy if we don’t get out there!” Steven tried to explain in a rush as we rounded the office building and skidded to a halt on the asphalt of the parking lot, searching desperately for Tracy. Unfortunately the bell had only rung a few minutes ago so the parking lot was still full of cars, making it very difficult to figure out where we should be looking. Finally, after what seemed like too long, Steven pointed off to the right, “There’s Nick’s truck.” Again I took off like a shot, only to be hindered by the impatient line of cars that snaked through the aisles.

We weaved in and out, dodging between parked cars, trying to get closer to the truck. I felt like I was slogging through quicksand and the faster I went the harder it was to get to the truck. The mounting dread turned into pure panic when I saw Tracy’s black curly hair over the roof of the car next to the truck.

“Shay! What’s gonna happen?” I heard Jodi call behind me but I didn’t stop to explain.

“She doesn’t know,” Steven said helpfully. “She just knows something’s gonna happen.” He sounded like I would have if I could’ve forced myself to speak, but I was concentrating all of my energy on getting to Tracy. Suddenly, when we were still ten cars away from them, I heard Nick’s voice carry back to me.

“Just get in the goddamn truck!” Didn’t he know any other way to say that? Red colored the edges of my vision, tinting everything around Nick and Tracy. “Now damnit!” Nick yelled, grabbing her upper left arm and jerking her towards the truck and shoving her hard. She hit the side of the truck with her right shoulder and I could see her grimace of pain. I stopped short, knowing even with his broken collarbone, none of the three of us stood a chance against Nick.

I spread my fingers wide with my hands down at my sides, set my feet hip-width apart and drove my energy down past the asphalt into the ground. Steven and Jodi came up on either side of me, each placing a hand on one of my shoulders, lending their energy to me. This was no time for secrecy.

As I reached looking for the dormant fault lines beneath Nick I could still hear him yelling at her and calling her names, apparently no longer worried if people heard him treating her this way, the arrogant bastard. I took my anger and directed it to fuel my need, finally finding a wire-thin fault line. I grabbed hold of it, forcing the flow of my energy into it, guiding it to the place that Nick stood next to his truck.

I heard the crack and crumble of the asphalt as the fault line swelled with power, having gained enough control to keep the ground from shaking to give myself away. Inch by inch it came closer to Nick, opening a jagged line in the asphalt as it neared him.

“You just don’t listen!” Nick yelled, inches from Tracy’s face, and grabbed her collar and shook her roughly.

“That’s enough!” an unfamiliar, rough voice called out at him. I reigned in my energy, holding the fault line at bay just feet away from my target to look for the source of the voice. Ian came striding through the parking lot. The anger in his face and swelling of his shoulders made me wonder if he was just going to pick up and throw the cars that were in his way.

Other books in the Elemental Series:

Release Date: 10/31/11
Available: Amazon
Summary :
It was a rough start to the school year for Shayna and her friends, Jodi and Steven, but thankfully summer break is near. Trying to sort out her feelings for the new guy in town, Shayna agrees to let Jensen join her on a group date with her friends. While out they end up at a local coffee house where their classmate, social outcast Jeremy McCormick, is humiliated by his baseball star brother. When Jeremy runs away from the jeering crowd, Shayna and Jodi hear the unmistakable sound of a thousand wings chasing after him, but no one else seems to hear them. These are not like any air elementals that Shayna or Jodi have ever encountered before and they fear Jeremy has gotten himself tangled up in something too dangerous for him to handle. But when Shayna tries to help Jeremy control his magical abilities she realizes it might be the biggest mistake of her life.


Release Date: 06/19/12
Available: Amazon

Summary:
Shayna's first surfing session of the summer is interrupted by the screams of a mother who has lost her little boy in the water. Without regard to her own safety, Shayna swims out, rescues the boy, but must escape the clutches of something far worse than she could have ever imagined – mermaids.

Compelled to answer the sirens' call, the boys of Shayna's town are drawn to the sea, but when they return are afflicted by an unknown illness, a sickness which is draining them of their life force. Unable to tell anyone about the mermaids, Shayna and her friends are forced to solve the mystery before it's too late, and in doing so, Shayna will finally have to face the full force of her powers. Whether she’s ready or not, she will have to face her true nature.

About the Author
I don't do well talking about myself. So as basics go, I have recently self-published the first two books in my Elemental Series, Earth and Air, Young Adult Urban Fantasy novels. Look for the third installment, Water, coming in 2012!

I have been working on the Elemental Series for the last four years and plan for it to be a 5 book series. It was a hard decision to self-publish but it's been an exciting and terrifying ride.

You can find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shauna-...

And to my readers (or fans of my covers), I have beautiful bookmarks that I would love to share with you. If you'd like one, drop me a note with your contact info and I'd be happy to send you one!

Goodreads:
Blog:
Twitter:
Facebook:

Thank you, Shauna for stopping by and sharing a look at Earth (Elemental, #1) with us!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Henry Franks by Peter Adam Salomon


Henry Franks
by Peter Adam Salomon
Published: September 2012
Publisher: Flux
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

A dark, psychological thriller about a boy's search for himself

Four thousand, three hundred and seventeen stitches, his father had told him once. All the King's horses and all the King's men had put Henry Franks back together again.

One year ago, a terrible accident robbed Henry Franks of his mother and his memories. The past sixteen years have vanished. All he has now are scars and a distant father—the only one who can tell Henry who he is.

If he could trust his father.

Can his nightmares—a sweet little girl calling him Daddy, murderous urges, dead bodies—help him remember?

While a serial killer stalks their small Georgia town, Henry unearths the bitter truth behind his mother’s death—and the terrifying secrets of his own dark past.

Sometimes, the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering.

Review:
Henry Franks is unlike any book I've read this year, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it. There was a definite sense of originality that I liked. It didn't follow any formula and when it threatened to go down the easy route with character development or plot details it stayed true to the story. There are obvious connections to Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and yet there is still a uniqueness to the story.

I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book. There were a lot of questions that Henry is attempting to answer and when they are finally uncovered it actually quiet sad to consider the lengths that were gone to in order to protect Henry. What accident caused Henry's injuries? His mother? What is his father hiding? Who is the killer? What is happening to Henry's body now?

So why am I so unsure of how I feel? Well, I think it's because I didn't really connect with Henry and at times his relationship with his neighbor Justine didn't feel authentic. It was all too easy. There is also the issue I had with the very end. I don't want to reveal what happens, but to me it didn't feel right. I just couldn't see the characters accepting the final decision they make. Then again, maybe if I had connected with them more, it would have worked for me.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: Shakespeare on Toast by Ben Crystal

Shakespeare on Toast
by Ben Crystal
Published: 2008
Publisher: Totem Books
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

Who's afraid of William Shakespeare? Just about everyone. He wrote too much and what he did write is inaccessible and elitist. Right? Wrong. "Shakespeare on Toast" knocks the stuffing from the staid old myth of Shakespeare, revealing the man and his plays for what they really are: modern, thrilling and uplifting drama. Actor and author Ben Crystal brings the bright words and colourful characters of the world's greatest hack writer brilliantly to life, handing over the key to Shakespeare's plays, unlocking the so-called difficult bits and, astonishingly, finding Shakespeare's own voice amid the poetry.Told in five fascinating Acts, "Shakespeare on Toast" sweeps the cobwebs from the Bard - from his language, his life, his time - revealing both the man and his work to be relevant, accessible and full of beans. This is a book for everyone, whether you're reading Shakespeare for the first time, occasionally find him troublesome, think you know him backwards, or have never set foot near one of his plays but have always wanted to ...It's quick, easy and good for you. Just like beans on toast.

Review:
When I was in junior high I took a Shakespeare class from my favorite teacher ever. Mr. Stefan was not only a teacher, he was also an actor in the local theater production that year of Fiddler on the Roof. Why am I writing about him in my review? Well, Crystal points out something that I had never considered about Shakespeare, and it's something that I think Mr. Stefan would have 100% agreed with - Shakespeare is meant to be heard and seen, not read. The experience of being in a Shakespearean theater such as The Globe, seeing the actors use minimal props, and understanding the subtle references in the slight changing of word usage from thou to you or in moving from prose to verse, can never be fully appreciated by simply silently reading one of Shakespeare's plays.

Mr. Stefan's Shakespeare class was not about reading Shakespeare (which we didn't even do!). It was about watching his plays being performed on the screen - whether big budget or film student versions, and most importantly learning about his life and times. Crystal's idea is that Shakespeare shouldn't be read like a novel, or even a modern play, simply because what Shakespeare needed to accomplish in his writing was more in direction to the actors on how to perform than to a reader on how to enjoy. Maybe that's why whenever I read Shakespeare I can't help but read it aloud, and yes, I do use a cheesy accent that I'm sure would horrify my Welsh and British relatives.

I had never considered how important all of these pieces were until I started reading Shakespeare on Toast. Crystal manages to point out how easy Shakespeare is to understand when you put him in context. Knowing who he was writing for, how his work was being presented, and most importantly the cultural influences he was under, makes certain things much easier to relate to. I have to admit there were certain things I had never even thought of, such as Shakespeare's use of the iambic pentameter, yet when it was explained in the book, I quickly found myself testing it out on random selections of Shakespeare.

Now that I've finished Shakespeare on Toast, I am feeling an overwhelming urge to read, ad watch, some Shakespeare. My husband on the other hand is rolling his eyes at my continued efforts to make him discuss The Bard :)

Shakespeare on Toast is a great book for anyone struggling with understanding works by Shakespeare, or just a general obsession with him!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Welcome to the Next Big Thing Blog Hop! On this hop we will be hopping our way to various blogs to find out what fellow authors are working on.  At this stop, I will be answering 10 questions on my work in progress. Thank you Jeanne Bannon for tagging me to participate. 


What is the working title of your book? Lie to Me (A Touched Trilogy, Book 1) is in the editing stages and will be out late this year, and I'm also working on Heal Me, book 2 in the trilogy.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have no clue. I can't remember when I first thought of it, just that I started writing chapter 1 of Lie to Me, and suddenly by the end of the chapter I figured out it was going to be a trilogy. I tend to be a 'write and see what happens' kind of writer. Even with the trilogy, I have book 2 pretty solidly laid out, but the third book keeps changing in my head.

What genre does your book fall under?
YA Paranormal Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 


Phoebe - Naomi Scott from "Terra Nova"
Nathan -Avan Jogia from "Victorious"
Tonya - Zendaya from "Shake it Up"
Trevor - Jacob Artist from "Glee"
Lily - Sophie Turner from "Game of Thrones"
Chloe - Bridget Mendler from "Good Luck Charlie"
Bianca - Hayley Kiyoko from "Lemonade Mouth"
Owen -Jake T. Austin form "Wizards of Waverly Place"

Scott - Shane Harper from "Good Luck Charlie"

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? In lies intention is everything.



Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Lie to Me will be published through Little Prince Publishing

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  11 months

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Hard question, I can't think of anything it compares to, but I'm going to consider that a good thing. :)

Who or What inspired you to write this book?  I was actually inspired by the character of Lily. For me she is the heart of this trilogy. I was going to write her story last, and build up to it, but I realized that I didn't want to wait that long to write her story, so poor Chloe has been bumped to book 3, and I'm debating what to do with her.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  Phoebe is a bit of a smart ass, and is always getting into trouble through her verbal vomit.


Five authors I'm tagging:
Okay, I admit it. I'm a bit of a slacker :/ I totally spaced on this part of the post, but I am looking for authors I want to tag and will add them in as I find them!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Trailer ~ What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang   
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .   
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.