Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies Trilogy #2) 
by Pittacus Lore
Published: August 23, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Available: Amazon
Synopsis:
I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us-if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio - and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight.

Review:

From the synopsis this book sounds as if it were going to follow Number Seven through the entire story. Instead the book alternates between Number Seven and Number Four. This changing view point is part of what I liked about the book, but also part of why I didn't like the book. The transitions between view points is abrupt and very confusing for most of the book. There is no signal that it is changing, and considering both perspectives are told in first person I sometimes had to read an entire page for clues to the setting and mentions of other characters in order to figure out the perspective had changed. Although it did get easier to notice the changes as the story progressed.

The change in view point however did let us back into the mind of Number Four (John Smith), and pick up on where he, Sam, and Six left off. There was a good continuation to their storyline and it meshed well with that of Number Seven.

Number Seven's plotline was really interesting and I liked how she was having a completely different experience on Earth than Four and Six. We get a few more clues about what happened to all of them after landing and how they managed to survive. Through Number Seven we also get to find out what happened to the second vessel Four saw leaving Lorien.  

Overall, The Power of Six was a good solid transition book in this trilogy. It had enough new info and action to keep it from feeling like filler, answering some of the questions raised in I Am Number Four, and building even bigger mysteries to be answered in the final book. This is a book though that needs to be read after reading I Am Number Four (not just watching the movie).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kindle INDIEpendence Day Give@way!

It is time for the second annual Kindle INDIEpendence Day giveaway. This year there are even more authors and best of all bigger prizes! Contest ends July 7th!


Grand Prize: 1 Kindle Fire
1st place: 1 Kindle with special offers
2nd place: a choice of 20 free ebooks from the 29 participating authors
3rd place:  a choice of 15 free ebooks from the participating authors

There's a ton of ways to enter including tweeting about the contest, following the authors on Facebook and Twitter, blogging about the contest and even purchasing the participating books. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

Check out the other blogs on the Linky list under the Rafflecopter form and learn more about the Indie authors participating.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Freedom to Read Give@way Blog Hop!


I am so excited to be participating in this blog hop giveaway! This is my first official July 4th as an American! After living here for eleven years I made the decision to make the move permanent and am proud to call myself a Canadian-American. In celebration I am giving away a signed paperback copy of my novel Songbird. Due to the price of shipping, this giveaway is limited to residents of Canada and the USA.

Thanks go out to Mundie Moms and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this giveaway!
Synopsis:
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.

Don't forget to check out the other blogs participating in the blog hop!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride

One Moment
by Kristina McBride
Published: June 26, 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:
"This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie's life. Now it's the one she'd do anything to forget."

Maggie remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party. She remembers climbing the trail with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can't she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below-dead?
 
As Maggie's memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

Review:
I find myself really torn about One Moment. I enjoyed the book, reading through it in one sitting, but there was such predictability to it that I can't really say that it was an amazing read.

The book started off really strong, and I immediately became engaged in figuring out what exactly happened on the top of that cliff. This aspect of the plot reminded me of Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf, but I was pleased when the further along I read the more different it became.

One Moment focuses on it's characters, and the friendship they have. Everything between these friends changes when one of them dies, and it's not in the way they expect. At the center is Maggie, who is the only witness to the last moments of her boyfriend Joey. Her conflicted feelings over Joey and her lack of memories was nicely done. I could understand her reluctance to believe her doubts and especially her anger and despair when she finally knew everything that had been happening.

The supporting characters were a nice mix of personalities and it was believable that they would have been friends. There was nothing extreme about their circumstances or actions that felt forced.McBride did a great job of building them in a way that kept them grounded in reality.

Overall, One Moment was a good quick read. I will definitely be picking up more from McBride.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Blog Tour ~ Retro Geeks Review and Give@way!


I am thrilled to be hosting the next stop in the Retro Geeks Blog Tour! As part of the tour stop I am doing a review and giving away a copy of Retro Geeks by Karen Mueller Bryson! Don't forget to click on the banner to visit the other stops along the tour including more reviews, interviews, guest posts and additional chances to win a copy of Retro Geeks.


Retro Geeks  by Karen Mueller Bryson
Published: March 29, 2012
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

Retro Geeks is a Short on Time Books for Teens, fast-paced and fun novels for readers on the go. Remember when it wasn't cool to be a geek? That's so yesterday! Retro Geeks, chronicles the (mis)adventures of two self-proclaimed geek girls, Molly and Ally, as they attempt to land super-hot dates for their senior prom. The 80s obsessed BFFs attempt a variety of date-finding schemes, including spying on the popular girls for the 411 on fitting in, in their quest for top-tier prom dates.

Review

Retro Geeks is a quick, light-hearted romp with an 80's flavor. Mueller Bryson moves at a quick pace, and allows for little down in the in the plot. 

Molly and Ally are best friends dedicated to everything 80's. They are nerdy, sweet, and comical, and are the epitome of the stars in an 80's romance. Although they have more in common with silly sidekicks than the heroines. There was actually a lot of room here for more character development that I wish had been done, but that would have defeated the purpose of being a 'Short on Time Book'.

This is a perfect read for anyone who is looking for a fast, short read.I'm interested to see if the next 'Short on time Book for Teens' continues to focus on Molly and Ally.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book Trailer ~ Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Hell's Game by Teresa Lo

Hell's Game by Teresa Lo
Published: 2012
Publisher: Stull Printing
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:
On Halloween night in Deer Creek, Kansas, Jake Victor, Ashley and Ashton Gemini, and Kristin Grace convince Ronnie Smalls to meet them at the town cemetery, which local folklore has always rumored to be the Gateway to Hell. Their intention was only to scare him, but soon the wicked prank becomes actual horror as the group learns the Gateway is all too real. After demons snatch Ronnie and drag him to Hell, the terrified foursome vow to keep what they had seen a secret.

Two years later, the group receives a mysterious letter, an invite to play a high-stakes game in Hell. If they win, they release Ronnie’s soul as well as their own from eternal damnation. If they lose, they are stuck in Hell forever. Choosing to play, they face nightmare after nightmare as each level escalates in intensity and forces them to face the seven deadly sins.

Inspired by the legends of the Gateway to Hell in Stull, Kansas, Hell’s Game explores the cruelty that teenagers can inflict upon each other as well as the horrors that exist amongst mankind. It is a dark, action-packed young adult novel that will both scare its readers and make them question the true meaning of evil.

Review:
Hell's Game is an intense book that examines four friends as they battle Hell for their souls. This book took some really unexpected turns and once the game got going, I couldn't put it down. 

When the four characters were first introduced, they were set up pretty clearly. It was easy to point out the mean, the weak, the sidekick, and the jock, and I thought from there that the rest of the story would be predictable. Boy was I wrong. Not one of my predictions was right. Hell's Game is about challenging each of their characters, making them face their worst fears, and push past the traits that have held them back. And this is what made the story so unpredictable.


The game itself was really well developed. The levels of the game were influenced by the characters personalities and backgrounds, and they really challenged the beliefs and values of each character. Each level was a detailed picture of hell, and I loved that the rules of each level depended on how the character responded to it. 

There was an issue with the editing in this book and it occasionally pulled me out from the story as name swaps and missing words caused me to be confused at times. I think it would definitely benefit from another round of edits.

This is a good choice if you're looking for a bit of a scare, especially around Halloween.




Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Published: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers 
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

Review:

Lies Beneath is not the Disney mermaid tale that you might have been expecting. Calder and his mermaid sisters are vicious killing machines intent on taking revenge out on Jason Hancock. I loved that Greenwood Brown did not soften this aspect of Calder's character and that is where the strength of this story is. Calder begins as an unapologetic killer. He believes that his way of life is just a that, a way of life. Yet, there is a part of him that realizes that his life could have been entirely different, and that he could have been normal. It's this part of him that makes him a character the reader can like. As the story progresses, Calder becomes less sure of the brutal life he and his sisters lead, and this builds a new dimension to his character, making him into one that the reader can actually cheer for.

Lily was a frustrating character for me. She started off really strong, distrustful of Calder, suspicious of who he was and what his intentions were. I really liked that she wasn't falling all over him just because of his looks. But midway through she became Twilight's Bella, convinced that despite what Calder had done in the past, what he was, and what he told her his intentions were, that he would never hurt her. It was just too much for me, and I was glad that I didn't need to read things from her perspective.

Despite Lily's about face in character, I really enjoyed the story and am finally being forced to realize that I do like reading from a male's point of view. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of this series.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blog Tour ~ Loving Summer by Kailin Gow


Loving Summer  
by Kailin Gow
Published: May 28, 2012 
Publisher: theEDGEbooks.com  
Available: Amazon 

Synopsis:
Summer has always looked forward to spending her summers at her Aunt's beach house with the Donovans. To her, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house was magical, especially getting to spend time with the Donovans - her best friend Rachel and Rachel's brothers Nathaniel, and Drew. Here at Aunt Sookie's beach house, they can be anyone and anything they dreamed. For Summer, she had always wished to become as pretty as Rachel and for her brothers to think of her as more than Rachel's friend. For Nat and Drew, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house meant fun and escape, a place where they go to with their mom and sister for the summer, away from city life. They never thought this summer would be different. They never thought things would change as much as they did...and it all began with them falling for and loving Summer.

*Included in Loving Summer's Kindle Version, is a full-length Loving Summer Healthy Summer Recipes Cookbook written by Kailin Gow, which will also a book that will release and be sold separately, and valued at $9.99.

Also, for anyone who purchase a copy of Loving Summer from Amazon.com, they get  a chance to win one of Kailin's own Gently Used Coach Bag that is SIGNED by her, as well, valued at $500.


About the Author:
Kailin Gow is the author of over 100 books, with the majority of them for young adults. Her most popular series are:  The Frost Series, PULSE Series, Desire Series, Wicked Woods, Steampunk Scarlett Novels, and more.  A full-time author, she is also a producer, having worked in radio, television, and film.  She grew up in Southern California, lived in Texas and England, and had traveled extensively around the world. 
  



Review:

Loving Summer did not go the way I expected. I was expecting a typical love triangle, but the book was so much more than that, and not just because there was third love interest.

Summer is the central character and she comes across as very likeable. She struggles with her seemingly unrequited love for Nat, and her growing attraction to Drew and a popular actor who is working for her aunt, who is showing an interest in her as well. There was a lot of room for Summer to make selfish, or silly decisions, but she doesn't. What really made me like her was that she doesn't try to play games with them. Instead she tries to be fair, and honest with not only herself, but also with the three guys.

The other characters, especially Nat and Drew felt very well developed and thought out. Drew starts off as the playboy, interested in sex and, well, more sex. But he goes through a gradual change that seems believable and makes him into someone that the reader could see being with Summer. Nat on the other hand, has fewer scenes in the book, but they reveal his character very clearly. He's the responsible older brother, and it's not until near the end of the book that the reader learns all of the things he's been dealing with, which only makes him more attractive.

The ending of Loving Summer definitely had me wanting more, if only so Summer could end up with the person I wanted her to be with! This was a great summer read and I am looking forward to reading more of this series.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blog Tour ~ Caterpillar by Kate Oliver Review and Give@way!

I am so excited to be hosting the next stop in the Caterpillar by Kate Oliver Book Tour! After checking out my review and entering for a chance to win a copy of Caterpillar, click the banner to visit other stops along the tour and read interviews, guest posts and more reviews, along with other chances to win a copy of Caterpillar!


Caterpillar by Kate Oliver
Published: April 10, 2012
Publisher:MAB Books
Available: Amazon
 
Synopsis:
In a small college town in northern California, a lonely young man is working himself to the bone to solve a sixty-year-old problem ... a stranger with a will of iron and eyes the color of ice is searching for someone he can't identify ... and a girl who loves plants is about to grow roots of her own.

When Cara Gallagher's parents are transferred overseas again, she's off to spend her senior year of high school living with her sister, a graduate student at the famed McNair University. Cara, a girl with a passion for science and an indifference to people, hopes this move will be her first step in claiming the independence she craves. Cara has her future planned down to the letter: her college, her major, her career.

Then she saves Will Mallory's life, and both of their futures are completely rewritten.

The last years of Will's life have been spent shifting from one identity to the next, dodging the FBI, and trying desperately to find a way home. But Will's home is forty-four light years away, and to reach it he'll have to outwit the man who's hunting him--and leave behind the only love he's ever known.

Review:
 I love paranormal romance, and Caterpillar did not disappoint. Oliver has done an excellent job it creating an alien that is unique and bringing to life his world. 

Cara is an earthy, natural kind of character, almost a tree hugger type, without the activism. Her constant moving has left her with no friends and she isn't sure she wants to change that. Even when she does make a few friends they are more of a group that latches on to her and she can't shake them, despite wanting to. Though she doesn't really like them, she still suffers the feelings of peer pressure and it's easy to understand why she doesn't drop them completely. But it's Cara's interactions with Will, where I found myself liking her even more.

Will is an alien who has been stranded on Earth for sometime. He is becoming desperate in his search for a way home, and while he thinks he may be on the verge of discovering that, he struggles with the consequences of leaving, namely leaving Cara behind. Put of the book is told from his point of view and it was interesting to see how he was dealing with his life on Earth and possibility of returning home.

Alien romances have always confused me in their simplicity. In movies and other alien books I've read, aliens fall into two different categories: monsters or humans with super powers. Either they're going to eat you, or there's no reason why you can't be with them. Oliver though has created an alien where there are problems. Although Will is in a human form, he doesn't experience things the same way as them, and he can't do everything they can. This made the romance angle of the book even more interesting.

Caterpillar is a fast paced read for paranormal lovers, and is a great start to a new series.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Book Trailer ~ Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters, #1) by Jessica Shirvington


Synopsis
It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins



Temptation 
by Karen Ann Hopkins
Publish: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin
Available: Amazon


Synopsis:
Your heart misleads you.  That's what my friends and family say.  But I love Noah. And he loves me.  We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other's arms. It should be  ROSE & NOAH forever, easy. But it won't be. Because he's Amish. And I'm not.

Review:
Temptation is not a book for everyone. Yes, it is a sweet romance, but it also walks a very fine line with its message to young girls. I think when a lot of readers see an Amish / Non-Amish love story they have the assumption that the Amish person will give up their life style to be with the other person, or that the two will find a compromise between life styles.

In Temptation, Noah and Rose don't have the luxury of being adults and being able to handle the consequences of breaking the rules. Noah has no interest in entering into an "English" life, and Rose doesn't know if she can handle the Amish life, yet they are forced to choose.  They both decide they are willing to try the other's way in order to be together. This is where I think a lot of readers will struggle with the story. They won't struggle with Noah giving up his Amish ways, because there is a judgement people place on the Amish for being uneducated, old fashioned, and a male dominated culture. But the idea that Rose would consider giving up her education, equal rights, and chance to live in a technologically advanced society will infuriate many readers. I'm one of those that can see that both life styles have their advantages and disadvantages, so for me it wasn't a question of whether they were making the right choice, but whether they were making a realistic choice.

I loved the characters of Rose and Noah. Rose is lost after the death of her mother, and then a move to the country. It seemed natural that she would fall for a handsome, older, good boy. He's off limits due to his religion/culture, yet he's also safe in that those beliefs will keep him from pressuring her. There are times when she is a whiney, manipulative teenage girl, but that's what she is and those reminders are what makes her actions and choices hard to stand behind. Noah is content with his Amish life, he loves working his farm and attending church sponsored events. Rose is the only thing he desires that he can't have. He lives the Amish life without apologies, and it dominates his character. He is sweet and loving, he is considerate and charming, but there is a part of him that wants to control Rose. It's a control that he feels is a natural part of a relationship and that if she understood Amish ways she would control herself. It is definitely interesting to see him struggle with the knowledge that Rose doesn't want to be controlled and it is actually that uncontrolled part of her that attracts him.

I give fair warning that I cried for about the last third of this book. And that ultimately is why I rated it 5 stars. Whatever I thought about the choices made by Rose and Noah, their story was well written and drew me in. I was a bit surprised to discover that this is a sequel, but I'm glad it is, I am really interested to see how Rose and Noah deal with the consequences of their decisions and how it effects their relationship.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Moon Dwellers by David Estes

The Moon Dwellers by David Estes

Synopsis:
In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the
depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the
middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.

Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father. 

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to
mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

Praise for Moon Dwellers:
“Once again, David Estes has put an original twist to a popular theme. Moon Dwellers is a dystopian novel filled with action, great characters and romance.”
Author Christie Rich

“You can't pigeonhole this YA fiction into one specific genre. It has all the elements of action & adventure, comedy, tragedy, romance, and suspense all rolled into one magnificent story by author David Estes."
Laurie Love Goodreads

“This was a fabulous work of art appropriate for all ages. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of this sweet and fantastical world from the amazingly creative David Estes."
Nicole Marie Goodreads

“An emotional rollercoaster that had me crying and gave me goose bumps more times than I’m willing to accept."
Karla Book Addict Goodreads

About the Author:
David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. He grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010. He´s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

Review: Thumped (Bumped #2) by Megan McCafferty

Thumped (Bumped #2) by Megan McCafferty
Published: April 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:
It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.

Review:
When I first read the blurb for Thumped, I was really expecting a different story, but I really like the way McCafferty took the book.

In Thumped, Harmony is struggling to take on the responsibility of her pregnancy while living in a male controlled religious community. She wants to understand the laws of her religion, but every question she asks just sets her apart more. Goodside is using the publicity around the "Double Double Due Date" to promote procreation for God and as a form of responsibility the youth need to take on.

Melody meanwhile has been playing a duel role. Everyone, including her parents and believe she is pregnant with Johndoe's twins, but she is really wearing a high tech fake baby bump. She and Zen are planning on a big reveal to take a stand for condoms and for non-procreating sex. But their plan is complicated when she finally meets the couple who have already paid for her "babies".

I enjoyed Bumped, but for me Thumped was much better, partly because there is a solid ending that I could live with. It might sound strange considering both books are told in alternating view points between the girls, but for me Bumped was much more Melody's story and looking at how media distorts our perceptions of what is acceptable, while Thumped is Harmony's and looks at how we value life and the responsibilities a baby brings with it.

Thumped is much less controversial than Bumped, probably because the world McCafferty has created is now established and not such a shock to the reader. but it's message is the same. These books are not meant to promote teen pregnancy, or make light of it. I see them as a comment on our current society and the way media and reality TV is skewing young peoples' minds into believing that teen sex and teen pregnancy are completely acceptable and desirable. Just look at the girls from all of those MTV shows, and how they are getting on the cover of magazines and on talk shows simply because they had babies in their teens. They are making money off the fact that they either weren't responsible enough to wait to have sex or that they didn't use protection.


Thumped does a good job of questioning birth parent's rights, adoption, and the true value of human life. About halfway through, the ending became predictable, but it was still satisfying.

 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blog Tour: Redheads are Soulless by Heather M. White (Excerpt and Review)

I am so excited to be hosting today's stop on the Redheads Are Soulless Blog Tour! Don't forget to click on the banner after reading the excerpt and my review to check out all of the other stops on the tour including more reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Redheads Are Soulless  
by Heather M. White
Published: May 22, 2012
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

High school senior, Sofia Black, has had a very hard life. Since her father's death 7 years ago, she has had to look after her drug addicted, alcohlic mother. School isn't any better for her either. The other kids constantly tease, and ridicule her. All she wants is to get out of her small hometown in Alabama.

When new student, Jason, shows up, Sofia's world is turned upside down. She doesn't understand why he wants to befriend her so badly... And, just when she thinks she can trust him, trouble appears.

Jason's twin brother, Robbie, moves into town, and things go haywire. Sofia is now running for her life - and Jason is forced to share hidden secrets with her. She learns the truth about her father's death, and finds out that she may not be as "human" as she once thought. She struggles to accept her fate, while fighting for her life.

Excerpt from Redheads are Soulless:

For me, dying seems like an easy way out. I only wish that death would have come sooner, before I met him, before he changed my life. It almost seems unfair that I have to leave him now, just when I found my place in the world.
I fought to stay alive. I fought for him. As reality slowly slipped away from my grasp, I tried hard to hold on. 
I couldn’t leave. Not now – not yet anyway.
I had to see his face one more time.
I had to say goodbye.

About the Author:

Hi! I'm Heather M White, a YA Paranormal author. I'm 22 years old and I recently got married. I just moved from Saint Louis, Missouri to a very small town in Arkansas. My passion is: writing. I also like to read, and play guitar. And I love Dr. Pepper! 


Review

First off, I absolutely love this cover! The colors are gorgeous and it reminds me of Scarlett Johansson. But enough about the superficial lovely cover :)

This was such an interesting read, mainly because it didn't do what I expected it to. Love triangles are pretty much a staple in YA books, especially paranormal, and you can see form the blurb that White doesn't try to disguise that fact that there's a love triangle. I can respect that. I hate books that make me think there isn't a love triangle and then POW! there it is halfway through. 

Sofia is a pretty likeable character. She's going through some hard things at home and school, but she makes the best of it. White really shows how hard Sofia is trying to get along at home and deal with her mom and as the story progresses I really admire how Sofia says enough, without doing it in a way that seems cruel. what I wish I'd seen more of is what's happening at school. Near the beginning we get a glimpse of the bullying going on, but once Jason and Robbie are established there's very little mention of problems at school.

The love triangle aspect did not play out how I expected. One chapter I was thinking she'd definitely stay with Jason, then next I thought she'd be with Robbie and then back and forth. The love triangle comes to a head when Sofia is targeted in an ancient war between immortals. It's at this point I had no clue who was the good guy and who was the bad guy.

The ending definitely leads to a sequel/series and I hope that we get more development with the immortals. And this is one of the few cases where I can honestly say I hope that the love triangle continues to develop, because despite the outcome of this book, I liked both of the brothers and I'm not sure yet if I think Sofia ended up with the right one.





Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Indie Author Give@way Hop!

It's giveaway time again thanks to I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Krazy Book Lady!


For this giveaway I am giving away a Little Prince Publishing ebook pack! This ebook pack will include:
Kings & Queens by Courtney Vail, The Queen Bee of Bridgeton by Leslie DuBois, and my own debut novel Songbird!

Click the books covers to check them out on Goodreads!

Don't forget to visit all the other blogs participating!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review: What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

What I Didn't Say  by Keary Taylor
Published: April 30, 2012
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:
Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.

Review:
I've said it countless times that I'm not big on reading books told from a male's perspective, and I think I'm preparing to eat my words considering some of the books I've reviewed lately. What I Didn't Say is just one more book that makes me realize that reading from a guy's point of view isn't a bad thing.

Jake Hayes is a typical small town guy with dreams of leaving home after high school and becoming a pilot in the Air Force. He secretly pines for Samantha Shay and just when he has finally gathered some liquid courage he is left facing a life without talking. I was wondering how this book would read, with a main character that can't talk, but Taylor does an amazing job with dialogue and how Jake is forced to communicate. Jake's actual reaction to his sudden disability felt realistic. He sways back and forth between anger, depression, and acceptance in a swiftness and depth that was genuine.

Although from the blurb Sam seems to be in a role of supporting Jake through his acceptance, she has a life of her own and it quickly becomes part of the main plot. I like that Taylor doesn't have Sam's life completely revolving around Jake. The troubles she is having, that she struggles to keep hidden, give her depth and allow Jake to have something other than his disability to focus on. Sam is smart, pretty, nice, and though she's not 'popular' she is well liked. But her family life is far from perfect and it makes her a more sympathetic character.

The romantic angle of the story comes through as very natural. We get to see a few flashbacks that allow us to see their relationship building over years, and that give the reader a reason to believe that these two people belong together. I definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a sweet romance.

Book Trailer ~ The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

You can check out my review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan here.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
 Published: February 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

Meet Corrinne. She's living every girl's dream in New York City - shopping sprees at Barney's, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her perfect life is perfectly on track. At least it was...

When Corrinne's father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she's stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back the life she's supposed to be living. She doesn't care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R. - before the recession- was as perfect as it seemed.

Review: **This review will contain spoilers

Wow. This was no where as good as I'd hoped. I'd seen this as part of a giveaway on the Spring Fling Blog Hop and the description grabbed me as much as the cover. I love Texas romances (so much I even moved to Texas and married a Texan!), and I love sweet romances. This looked and sounded like it would be perfect for me. Instead, I was disappointed and frustrated (and not in a good way).

The book starts off with a preface written by the main character Corrinne, telling us that if we don't  like her at first, to keep reading. Well she was right, at least partly. I didn't like her at the start, but contrary to the suggestion that I would grow to like her I never did. She is selfish, self absorbed, prejudiced, snobby, and an all round b***h. Right up until maybe the last two chapters when she then suddenly realizes what a horrible person she is and makes a last ditch effort to accept the friendship of Kitsy and romantic interest of Bubby. Yes, accept. Because I'm supposed to somehow believe that she actually deserves these things?

The romance angle is way over stated. There is practically no romance to this book. Bubby - yes, apparently that is his name, because every Texas town has a Bubby, right? Gagh! Having lived 10 years in Texas I never meet a Bubby. (I'm ignoring that fact that my sister-in-law calls my husband Bubba, because he absolutely hates it.) Bubby is barely in the story. Corrinne uses him as a stand in date, she ditches him, calls him names, constantly insults him and judges him, and yet he still likes her?! Even Corrinne doesn't understand that and asks him why, to which he responds that she's full of surprises. Uh no, she's not. From the opening page which establishes her as a Blair Waldorf/Paris Hilton wannabe, everything she says and does is exactly as I predicted.

The only thing that kept me mildly interested was Kitsy. I wanted to see if she would finally stand up to Corrinne and her judgmental attitude, but alas, Kitsy is a stereotypical Southern girl with all the right manners and just accepts Corrinne's judgment as her due while fawning over how wonderful Corrinne is.

*Here are the big spoilers,so you are warned*
The ending was a huge disappointment. Heasley seemed to be trying to wrap it up in a way that would be just perfect. Corrinne's father's company magically comes out of the recession and create a wonderful new job for him back in New York, Corrinne gets to go to the exclusive boarding school she's whined about the entire book, she realizes she's been snobby, and she decides to accept and return Bubby's interest in her (even though she's now moving away!). What the hell?! The more I think about it the angrier I get.

There wasn't anything that made me hate this book, and even though I didn't like the main character or the stereotypes displayed, it was well written and I think there will be people who could enjoy the story. Maybe I would have been one of those people if I hadn't gone in believing it was a romance or that by the end I would like Corrinne. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review: Hollyweird by Terri Clark

Hollyweird by Terri Clark
 Published: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Flux Books
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

Aly King is about to fall for the fallen

My best friend, Des, and I totally freaked when we won the contest to meet THE Dakota Danvers in Hollywood. But now we’re finding out he’s SO not the angel everyone believes him to be. In fact, Dakota is the son of Satan, wreaking havoc on Hollywood and creating an evil army hellbent on world domination.

Lucky for us, Dakota’s super-cute personal assistant, Jameson, is a fallen angel trying to get his wings back, and he’s working undercover to squash his demon boss’s plan. If Jameson hadn’t taken me under his wing I’d be in serious trouble, because I’m a total newb when it comes to conquering evil. But, truth be told, that sexy angel’s got me all aflutter and may be one temptation I can’t resist.

Review:

When I started reading Hollweird I was a bit put off by the overwhelming amount of pop culture references and the odd 'dialect' Aly and her friend Des have going on, but the story quickly grew on me. 

The book is fast paced and a very quick read. The dialogue between Des and Aly is funny and feels like a real friendship. They may be opposites, but they understand each other so well, it makes sense that they are friends, almost like Shawn and Gus on Psych :) (See, I can do pop culture references, too!) And after a few of their weird words, I realized the cuteness of them and have been tempted into using a couple. 

Although Aly is the main character, we also get to see from Jameson's perspective and I liked how this slowed the story down a bit and gave me time to catch up. Both of them are likeable and I really appreciated that Clark didn't try to add in those overused scenarios of love triangles or mistaken intentions. Clark sticks to the plot and gradually builds the relationship between Aly and Jameson in a way that, strangely enough, didn't make me doubt the likelihood of it after only a few days together.

 I don't know if this is categorized as Christian fiction, although there are of course references to God and discussions of believing, but then again, it's hard to write an angel book without doing that! I don't think there is anything about the references that would make non-Christians uncomfortable, especially those who are reading angel books, because honestly, if you're offended by God, then what are you doing reading a book about angels?!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Interview with Teresa Lo, Author of Hell's Game

I am thrilled to have Teresa Lo, author of the YA horror Hell's Game, stopping by for an interview today. I have just started to read Hell's Game and will be sharing my review later this month.

Hell's Game by Teresa Lo
 Published: April 2012
Publisher: Stull Printing
Available: Amazon

Synopsis:

On Halloween night in Deer Creek, Kansas, Jake Victor, Ashley and Ashton Gemini, and Kristin Grace convince Ronnie Smalls to meet them at the town cemetery, which local folklore has always rumored to be the Gateway to Hell. Their intention was only to scare him, but soon the wicked prank becomes actual horror as the group learns the Gateway is all too real. After demons snatch Ronnie and drag him to Hell, the terrified foursome vow to keep what they had seen a secret.

Two years later, the group receives a mysterious letter, an invite to play a high-stakes game in Hell. If they win, they release Ronnie’s soul as well as their own from eternal damnation. If they lose, they are stuck in Hell forever. Choosing to play, they face nightmare after nightmare as each level escalates in intensity and forces them to face the seven deadly sins.

Inspired by the legends of the Gateway to Hell in Stull, Kansas, Hell’s Game explores the cruelty that teenagers can inflict upon each other as well as the horrors that exist amongst mankind. It is a dark, action-packed young adult novel that will both scare its readers and make them question the true meaning of evil.

Interview:

Tell us a bit about your novel.

Hell’s Game follows a group of popular teenagers who are forced to play a high-stakes game in Hell after they play a horrific prank on the school nerd. As the group moves from level to level in the game, the settings intensify, and each level is a manifestation of one of the seven deadly sins. The story was inspired by the legend of the Gateway to Hell in Stull, Kansas. 

What do you hope readers will obtain from your book?

I want my readers to enjoy the story. I hope they find it entertaining and thrilling, but that they also take away the message that those who see or know of evil acts and do nothing are just as guilty as those who committed the crime. All of the characters that play Hell’s Game are doing so because they are guilty of harming one of their classmates, and all of the characters must fight actual monsters as well as the demons within themselves if they want to survive. 

What are some of your favorite YA books or authors? Non-YA?

I’m a big reader of YA literature. Growing up, I devoured books by Judy Blume, R.L. Stine, L.J. Smith, and Ellen Raskin, but I also liked non-YA writers such as Stephen King and John L’Heureux. 

Do you have any other works published and how do they compare genre/style wise with your current work?

My first published short story was “Letters,” and it was a serial published in my high school newspaper. It was popular with my peers, and it was about a lonely overweight high school outcast whose best friend snagged the high school “It” boy and subsequently abandoned her. In college, I published “Guilt” in The Comma Splice Literary Journal, and it was much darker than “Letters” but it also focused on a female protagonist. Those two stories are compiled in Realities, my first collection of short stories, which is available on Amazon. 

My second collection of short stories, The Other Side, had fantastical elements and explored loss and death. Hell’s Game extrapolates on some of the themes from those two collections.

Do you have any current writing projects? Can you tell us a bit about them?  

I’ve been working on ideas for my next book, but at the moment, I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do. However, I am interested in adapting Hell’s Game into a screenplay, so hopefully something will happen there!

About the Author
Teresa Lo is a writer living in Los Angeles.   She is currently a cast member on Just Seen It, and she has contributed to Examiner.com, Yahoo.com, The Hollywood Reporter, The University Daily Kansan, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts website.  She has published two books of short stories, and she has won various screenwriting awards. Most recently, she released the YA horror e-book, HELL’S GAME. She is a member of the international Horror Writers Association, and she is the Social Media Chair of USC’s Women of Cinematic Arts.

Thank you, Teresa, for stopping by! 

If you are interested in picking up a copy of Hell's Game you can buy the ebook from Amazon for only $0.99!