Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Favorite Reads Give@away Hop!

So in the spirit of this giveaway I am giving away an ebook copy of the brand new release On a Wing and a Dare by Linda Ulleseit! I was so privileged to have had the opportunity to read this multiple times as Linda was work shopping it and I fell in love with the world she has created.

Thanks go out to I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Rachel's Writing Spot for hosting this blog hop!!

On a Wing and a Dare by Linda Ulleseit

In Tremeirchson, a barn leader’s children are expected to follow their parents into the sky, becoming riders of the magnificent winged horses that are the medieval Welsh village’s legacy. Neither Emma nor Davyd, however, want to follow that tradition.

Sixteen-year-old Emma risks losing her family by following her heart. Eager to take her place in the air, she longs to ride a forbidden winged colt born in barn of her father’s biggest rival. She also dreams of the rival’s sons, not sure which she truly loves. Bold and exciting, Evan will someday lead his father’s barn. Davyd is quieter, more dependable, with an ability to get things done. Her father disapproves of both boys and pushes her toward an ambitious newcomer. He also insists she ride the colt he’s picked for her.

Davyd, also sixteen, is plagued with a secret—he is afraid of heights. Refusing to become a rider means public humiliation, his parents’ disappointment, and lifelong ridicule from his brother, Evan. He reluctantly prepares to join his family aloft in the Aerial Games that provide the entire village with its livelihood and tries desperately to think of an alternative.

As Tremeirchson’s barns prepare for the Rider Ceremony, winged horses suddenly start dying. Shocked, the adults hesitate, mired in tradition and politics. Is it a disease or poison? Accidental or purposeful? Someone must discover the answer and act before all the winged horses in the world are gone forever.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sneak Peek at Liar by Angela Fristoe

So, I thought I'd share one of my favorite scenes from my current work in progress Liar the first in a planned trilogy about three sisters who are graced with special gifts. This first book follows Phoebe, a Truth Teller, who discovers that knowing when someone is lying isn't always enough.

I love this scene, because it really sets up Phoebe's spunky side.

Except from Chapter 2 of Liar:

The door to Mr. Mason's class flew open and crashed against the wall. I stood in the doorway under the intense scrutiny of the entire class, Mr. Mason included.
"I'm back," I said and breezed into the class, moving straight for my seat. My friend Owen chuckled and I shot him a cocky smile. I evaded Tonya's curious look and concentrated on the swirling wood pattern of my desktop. Normally, I talked to Tonya about pretty much everything, but family was different. Our family was different and even if I didn't have a gift, Dad had drilled into me the need to protect my sisters. Even when we were younger, I was the one telling them not to freak people out. Not that they ever really listened to me. Chloe would constantly make her little predictions, and Lily couldn't keep her hands to herself.
Mr. Mason droned on and I watched the second hand on the clock tick slowly around the face. Five minutes. I could have skipped out early, but the chance of being sucked into Lily and Chloe's plans was too great. It was safer to die of boredom.
A twitch of black cloth out of the corner of my eye drew my attention to Nathan. He was refolding a piece of wrinkled paper into its original intricate square. He looked past me and nodded to the person on my left side. Vivian, his girlfriend. I didn't bother looking at her, mainly because the sight of her caused me to gag more than Chloe did. He tucked the last corner in and flicked his hand, letting the note fly towards her.
As the note crossed in front of me, I reached out and snatched it mid-flight. I wasn't sure what possessed me to do it, but Nathan's shocked expression combined with Vivian's gasp of outrage made it worth the effort. 
I gave Nathan a smile and a wink then blew him a kiss, loving the answering blush.

Review: From Fame to Shame by Veronica Blade

From Fame to Shame by Veronica Blade
Published: April 2012
Publisher: Crush Publishing Inc
Available: Amazon


When good-girl Maddie switches places with her famous bad-girl twin Jackie, she has some pretty high stilettos to fill.

Despite the danger of tabloid drama if their identity swap is discovered, Maddie has to save her sister's butt. When Jackie’s ex-boyfriend shows up with a rekindled spark for “Jackie,” his deep gray eyes and sweet kisses make Maddie's heart thumpety thump. But dating the guy who dumped her sister is a no-no. Too bad Dallas isn’t used to girls saying no. What will happen when he discovers Maddie’s deception?


This is a very short and sweet romance. I hadn't expected it to be so short, and wish that it had been a bit longer, simply because I love a bit more drama in my romances. But this wasn't about drama. It was about falling in love and Blade wrote it perfectly. Love isn't always about drama and being unforgiving. Sometimes, most times love is simply about meeting someone and even when there's a misunderstanding forgiving them.

I had won From Fame to Shame in a giveaway and when I saw how short it was (117 pages) I immediately sat down and started reading. I managed to finish the book in one sitting of maybe an hour. It was fast paced, and definitely kept me interested.

I enjoyed both Maddie and Dallas and the chemistry between them was hot. Blade definitely has the steamy part of romance down pat. Dallas is hot and has a flirty side that comes out with Maddie. Maddie is used to be the more sedate twin, with Jackie being the outgoing and vivacious one, and Blade does a good job of showing how secure Maddie is in herself as the quieter small town girl. But that doesn't make Maddie insecure, and she gives back to Dallas as good as she gets. For me that's what really works in this story. Maddie doesn't doubt herself, she doubts her decisions, and for me that made me respect her.

This book is not for everyone. This is a sweet romance and doesn't try to be anything else.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review: Torn by Stephanie Guerra

Torn by Stephanie Guerra
Published: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Available: Amazon

Stella Chavez is your classic good girl: straight As, clean-cut boyfriends, and soccer trophies. You’d never guess that Stella’s dad was a drug addict who walked out when she was a kid. Or that inside, Stella wishes for something more.

New girl Ruby Caroline seems like Stella’s polar opposite: cursing, smoking, and teetering in sky-high heels. But with Ruby, Stella gets a taste of another world—a world in which parents act like roommates, college men are way more interesting than high school boys, and there is nothing that shouldn’t be tried once.

It’s not long before Stella finds herself torn: between the best friend she’s ever had and the friends she’s known forever, between her family and her own independence, between who she was and who she wants to be.

But Ruby has a darker side, a side she doesn’t show anyone—not even Stella. As Stella watches her friend slowly unravel, she will have to search deep inside herself for the strength to be a true friend, even if it means committing the ultimate betrayal. 


Torn really brought back some memories of my junior high days. I had a few Rubys come through my life and I could really empathize with Stella's struggle to know where to draw the line in their friendship. This was what really kept me reading. I wanted to know just how far Stella would let Ruby push the boundaries and how she would finally say enough. I found that she had a much farther boundary than I would have.

Both of the girls' characters are well developed and it is easy to see why they are drawn to each other, especially as we learn more about Stella's father. Ruby is looking for someone willing to accept her, while Stella wants to leave behind the responsibilities of helping her single mom raise two younger siblings. A few of the situations they find themselves in may seem a bit extreme, but sadly are entirely possible. At times I wished I could have seen into Ruby's head, just to know what exactly was driving her down such a destructive path. What she does reveal to Stella seems more like the nice version of her life, and that she was still hiding parts of what happened to her.

The only thing that kept me from giving this 5 stars is that the ending just seemed too predictable. I thought there could have been a more real ending.

Torn is definitely not a book for younger teens as it deals with drugs, alcohol, and illegal underage relationships even though nothing is explicit.

Did I mention that I love the cover? The earth tone colors are really appealing and I love that the girl pictured could pass for someone of mixed heritage.

Book Trailer ~ The Awakening by Apryl Baker

The Awakening by Apryl Baker

Snap...crackle...pop. The sounds of bones breaking and shifting and of muscles tearing haunt Alexandria Reed.

For the last five years, Alex has been locked up at Compton Academy, a "school" for the emotionally challenged. She calls it the politically correct way of saying they’re all nuts and Alex has no doubts she’s insane. She comes home to Jacob's Fork to face the demons she left behind her after deceiving the doctors into believing she’s well. Soon after her arrival home though, news of her estranged mother's death brings her uncle back into her life and she and her brother, Jason, learn a terrifying secret about their family.

After questioning her sanity for the last ten years, she discovers the night terrors she's suffered for so long has become a reality. She and her brother are now being hunted because of the secret her family has killed to protect. Her world has been turned upside down, every belief she held true destroyed. Aided by her new friends, who have some dark secrets themselves, can she and Jason survive long enough to figure out the secret behind the secret?

I am currently giving away a copy of The Promise by Apryl Baker during the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
Published: January 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available: Amazon


Me? A leader?

Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion—between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again—while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside.

And something from Outside wants In.


When I finished reading this I was so torn. I loved Inside out, and had really high hopes for Outside In. But I was left feeling very blah about it. There was just a feeling of the author not really caring about developing anything in depth or about where the story was going. 

Trella is still a strong character and I'm glad that at least didn't change, but her relationship with Riley just confused me. There's no showing of how they are falling in love. We are just told they are, and then given a couple of make out sessions, which while being steamy, felt more like filler. I wanted to be part of their falling in love, and we don't get that. Maybe Snyder added in the romance angle because it's expected in YA, but this is not a romance. It is a science fiction novel, and I think it would have worked better if the romance weren't in there.

I also had a hard time with the plot. Too many people were double crossing everyone else, and there's no real explanation as to who the Outsiders really are and what their reasoning was. It's possible that Snyder is planning on a third book in the series to answer these questions, but I don't think I really care, and it makes me really sad to say that because I enjoyed Inside Out so much. 

The book wasn't horrible, and it's possible that my ambivalence towards science fiction writing is coming through. The writing is decent, and there were some good scenes between Trella and Riley, and Trella and Lamont, just not enough to get me through he confusion of Trella being captured, tricked and tortured by a different group every couple of chapters. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Splash into Summer Give@way Hop!

Summer is here!! Today is a wonderful day to start another giveaway (It's my last day of work before summer vacation!). So I've joined I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Pager Turner as they host the Splash into Summer giveaway hop. There will be 2 winners as I am giving away 2 awesome YA books. These are new paperback copies so the giveaway is only open to the US.

The Promise by Apryl Baker

Cassie Jayne Bishop grew up in the sleepy town of New Salem, NC, the only non-believer in the tradition and power of the town Coven. When a stranger comes to New Salem, everything she thought was normal about her life unravels around her. Ethan makes her question everything, even her sister's death in a car crash years ago. As Cassie discovers the full truth about her heritage, and the clues start to pile up, she becomes determined to find out if the Coven was actually involved in her sister's death. What she uncovers terrifies her.
Her fate lies at the very heart of the secret the Coven protects. It's the reason she was born. Now, betrayed on every side, can she find a way to survive or will she be the catalyst that triggers a centuries old act of vengeance.

You can check out my review of The Promise here and my interview with Apryl Baker here.

Twin Souls by Delsheree Gladden 
He avoids her because of the strange physical pain he feels when they touch. She avoids him because the way everyone seems to do what he says scares her. But when Claire needs to escape a bad situation Uriah is the first person she thinks of, and he is eager to rescue her. Faced with each other for the first time, both Uriah and Claire find it impossible to listen to their fears and stay away from one another. They soon find out, though, that there is more than they ever thought possible trying to keep them apart.

Following tradition the pair approaches the Elders of their Tewa tribe to ask permission to marry. Everyone is shocked when the shaman refuses them, claiming they are not Twin Souls. Confused and angry Uriah refuses to listen, and promises them that he will never abandon Claire. When Claire is poisoned by her vindictive father his resolve is tested. Ancient Native American myths and legends spring into reality, doing everything they can to keep Uriah from saving Claire’s life, while beginning to reveal the truth behind the lies he has been told all his life.
My review of Twin Souls is coming soon!

This giveaway is open to the US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Published: January 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Available: Amazon


Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. It’s been three months. In that time, Amy has learned to hide who she is. Elder is trying to be the leader he’s always wanted to be. But as the ship gets more and more out of control, only one thing is certain: They have to get off the ship.


Wow! I thought Across the Universe was great, but this sequel, A Million Suns, was even better! A Million Suns picks up just weeks after Across the Universe ends, and we are immediately thrown back into life upon Godspeed. Things are different now that Eldest is gone, and Elder is struggling to know what exactly is the right thing to do. Revis does an amazing job of showing Elder's indecision and how he constantly goes back and forth over how much he should tell the feeders.

Amy seemed at times a bit whiny, but really who can blame her? She's stuck on a ship in the middle of nowhere, and not expecting to reach land in her lifetime. Her relationship with Elder is developing, although she struggles to completely trust him after his revelation at the end of the first book. Her hesitations are completely believable and I liked that she didn't just fall for him and brush aside the choices he made. There is still chemistry between them, but neither is consumed by their love. Instead they try to be rational and that makes the relationship feel more realistic.

There was a bit more of a mystery to this book, and I enjoyed the search Amy and Elder embark on. I have to say that a couple chapters before the big reveal I figured it out. But what was great was that in addition to the lies Eldest had been hiding behind, the rebellion built the story up even more. There was the question of who was behind the attacks, if Orion was still frozen, and what was their reasoning behind it.

The ending was absolutely awesome! The only problem is that now I have to wait a year to read what happens next.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tallis Blog Tour ~ Playlist and Give@away!

Tallis by M.C. Rae
Published: April 2012
Publisher: Tulipe Noire Press

The Empire of Andresium is threatened by the corruption of the immortals, ancient beings given the gift of eternal life after the death of the last reigning empress. A prophecy speaks of their eventual downfall at the hands of one of their own, however. Tallis is known by most simply as "The Loren", and seeks to avoid her destiny while trying herself to remain untainted by the decaying morals and indifference to the fates of men that plague her kind. As the events of the prophecy begin to unfold, Tallis finds herself conflicted between upholding her dedication to justice, and falling victim to the ramifications of following the desires of her own heart.

Tallis Playlist:

Nina Gordon – “Tonight and the rest of my life”
This song just captures Tallis’s self-awareness beautifully. She knows she’s about to betray her own nature, and feels a joyful sorrow in knowing it’s coming, and welcoming it.

Muse – “Butterflies and Rainbows”
Again, an encapsulation of a world on the edge of irreversible change, with the fate of the many in the hands of the few. I consider this song Tarameen’s theme (though readers will see this side of him more thoroughly in book two. ;) Plus, I just REALLY dig the latter half of this piece with its Rachmaninoff-inspired bridge.

Tori Amos – “Crucify”
“Lorens don’t typically show emotion, Tarameen, but we do feel.” (from Tallis) Tallis finds herself the victim of intrigues and vicious rumors, though she’s never done anything to jeopardize life and, though unknown by most, has protected mortals from Shahlamin’s desire for power for centuries. She’s getting tired of it, however, when our story begins. J

Composed by Allesandro Scarlatti (performed flawlessly in this clip by the incomparable Cecelia Bartoli) – “O Cessate di Piagarmi”
For this one, it’s really the words. The unrequited lover begs the object of her affection to stop making her suffer by ignoring her, reminding him that while he’s the cure to her pain, he’s also the cure.  Allowing for the flip of the sexes, this is the nature of the relationship between Shahlamin and Tallis.

Azam Ali – “The Tryst”
This woman’s voice is so haunting that I’ve fallen in love with all her music. This piece specifically, however, is very in tune with Tallis’s situation at the end of Tallis, as well as with the state of her presence in book two, in which her legend and the echoes of her actions are stronger in play than she herself. It represents her retreat to stoicism.

About the Author

M.C. Rae (aka Killian McRae) is a cross-genre author whose works include elements of history, fantasy, science fiction, and romance- sometimes all in the same novel. She hails from the midwest but currently makes her home in Northern California. She is  a devout student of history,a podcaster, an amateur graphics and web designer, a coffee enthusiast, and has an unhealthy obsession with world music.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal ~ My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Blurb: On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Never-Before-Seen Excerpt from 

“I thought I’d teach you a dance from where I come from,” I tell him. “One that’s much easier than that multi-step mess inside.”
            I place my left hand on Lorenzo’s shoulder and slip my right one into his. I pause to listen to the music floating over the tinkling voices and bubbling fountain, and begin counting the three-beat tempo. “One, two, three. One, two, three.”
            I stand still, only my head moving, slowly nodding with my words so he can hear the rhythm.
            When his head begins subtly bobbing with mine, I show him how to add his feet. He takes a tentative step forward with his left while I step back with my right, then we side step, close, and repeat the steps with our other feet, all while I lightly whisper the beat count.
            The breeze picks up, blowing my skirt and skimming my veil across the back of my neck. Chills run down my spine, but the warmth coursing through my veins from being in his arms provides a delicious contradiction.
            Lorenzo continues nervously darting his eyes to our feet, but he is dancing. As he relaxes into the movement, his shoulders rising and falling with the steps, the confidence he always seems to exude creeps back on his face, and he tightens the hold around me. Our faces are kissably close, our lips a hairs breadth away from touching. I stare into the chocolate depths of his eyes and the rest of the ball fades away. The only music guiding our steps is my light whisper and the erratic rhythm of our breathing. Time slows. Lorenzo grins.
            “I think you got it,” I say breathlessly, running my hand along the soft fabric of his shoulder, feeling the rock-hard muscles underneath.
            My body curls inward, pressing against his. The proper form for the waltz is a straight spine and shoulders back, but if there was ever a time to break the rules, this is it.

About the Author

As a teen, I threw raging parties that shook my parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.

As an adult, I read and write obsessively, rehash said embarrassing fodder, and dream up characters who become my imaginary friends.

When I'm not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find me homeschooling my two beautiful princesses, hanging out with my amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.

MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is my first novel. I did have my own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn’t televised.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Trailer: Inside Out

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

You can check out my review of Inside Out here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Love in Bloom Give@way Hop ~ Going Under

Love is in the air! What better time of year to fall in love than Spring? Thanks go out to I am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this giveaway blog hop.

For this giveaway, I'm giving away an ebook copy of Going Under by Georgia Cates! I recently read and reviewed this YA romance and fell in love with it! You can check out my review by clicking here. To give you a taste of what you can win, check out this interview with one of the main characters from Going Under.

 Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us. My name is Georgia Cates and I am the author of the recently released novel, Going Under. Today, I will be interviewing Jessie Boone, my leading protagonist.

Georgia: Hi, Jessie. I’m so glad you are able to join us. 
Jessie: I’m glad to be here. It’s good to see you again, Georgia. 

Georgia: Why don’t we start our interview with something easy and light-hearted? In Going Under, you were never aware of the plan to punk you by Claire and Payton. What was your reaction when you found out? Or did you know? 
Jessie: (Laughing) Yeah, I know about it. It was several months before I accidentally found out about that and “The Coitus Hiatus Plan.” Payton let it slip one night when she had too many drinks at a party, but I wasn’t mad. How could I be? The whole charade is what brought us together. And it made me more than glad to tell her how the whole Gretchen thing was only a ploy to cause her jealousy. 

Georgia: And what did Claire think when you told her you tricked her into being jealous? 
Jessie: She didn’t care for it very much, but we can both laugh about it today. Besides, she couldn’t really say much about it because it wasn’t really different from what she was doing with Forbes. 

Georgia: Good point. Tell us when you knew you loved Claire. 
 Jessie: I knew very early in our relationship that I could fall in love with her, but I didn’t know for sure until the moment she made me see that I might be lost, but I wasn’t a lost cause. 

Georgia: Do you have any regrets? 
Jessie: I did some hurtful things to Claire and I’m sorry I caused her pain, but I wouldn’t take back a thing because all of those events led us to where we are now. I’m a better person today because of it. How I could say that I would take back something that ultimately led us to this happy place we’re in now? 

Georgia: Last question...Did Claire ever go with you to get more tattoos? 
Jessie: (Laughing) Yep! (Pulling up sleeve) Claire chose this herself. Nice, right? 

Georgia: Good choice. Did you talk her into one? 
Jessie: I’ll never tell.

This concludes our interview with Jessie Boone. I hope you enjoyed getting a brief glimpse of him outside of Going Under.
Georgia Cates Links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Swipe by Evan Angler Review and Give@way!

by Evan Angler
Published: May 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Available: Amazon


Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.


Logan lives in a world where every American is given a mark that allows them to access the benefits of their citizenship, from working to voting to purchasing things from a store. But Logan believes that the Mark may be more than that, and that getting it is what killed his sister. With strange noises and shadows hovering in the corners, Logan is slowly being consumed with suspicions. There is something about him that has not only a group of society out to possibly kill him, but another on a mission to keep him alive. Swipe has you falling into Logan's paranoia and constant questioning of the motives of everyone he meets.

Stories centered on young boys, aren't my usual read, but the cover of Swipe reminded me of Unwind by Neal Shusterman which I enjoyed, so I wanted to give it a try. This book is definitely geared for a younger male audience, more of a higher middle grade novel. There is little to no romance and is focused more on the mystery of what is going on with Logan. I actually thought the fact that Erin and Logan stay in the friend zone, makes the ending all that better. All of the characters make choices that make sense, even if they are unexpected. Angler introduces a lot of issues that teens face as they transition from elementary into middle school and beyond; the way relationship change, how hormones come into play, interfering with friendships, and how with a little knowledge you could question everything you thought you knew about the world and the people around you.

Angler throws in a few twists that really surprised me and each lead nicely towards a sequel. I could definitely see reading more of the series.  

Giveaway is open to the US and Canada only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: Going Under by Georgia Cates

Going Under by Georgia Cates
Published: March 2012
Available: Amazon


Jessie Boone is a self proclaimed bad boy and doesn’t march to the beat of anyone’s drum, but his own. Growing up in less than desirable circumstances has made him no stranger to the hard knock life and his determination to leave it behind is fierce. When he finds himself transferred to East Franklin High School, he sees his opportunity to use his athletic ability to snag a college football scholarship, but Forbes Henderson, the player Jessie means to replace isn’t giving up his spot willingly. In fact, Forbes is willing to go to extreme measures to retain his place as first string quarterback. When Forbes’ malicious plan to injure his replacement fails, Jessie is furious and determined to show him he messed with the wrong person; not only is he going to take the position of first string quarterback, he’s going to take his girl, too.

Claire Deveraux is perfection at it’s best. She is beautiful, intelligent and unaware she just became Jessie Boone’s conquest as revenge against her boyfriend, Forbes Henderson. Like her flawless performance as the perfect daughter and student, Claire’s production of being the perfect girlfriend has everyone fooled, except Jessie Boone, and she fears this tattooed bad boy will see her secret desire to explore his crude threats and promises to rock her perfect world. If she decides to give in to one uninhibited moment with Jessie, will she learn too late that it was all an act of vengeance or will Jessie learn the taste of first love is sweeter than that of revenge?


When I started reading Going Under I was expecting a slightly fluffier book, and I was glad that the author didn't go there. Cates grabbed me right from the start with characters that weren't 2-dimensional. Jessie is the guy from the wrong side of the tracks, who is willing to use someone for revenge, and Claire is a bit of a b***h, struggling to be the perfect girl her friends and family think she is.

Both characters start in a place where, while not perfect, they are realistic and likable. There were points where I wanted to strangle Claire and force her to make different decisions, but still I could see why she was making certain choices. I have to admit, I was cheering more for Jessie to get what he wanted more than I was cheering for Claire or even for the two of them to be together. Jessie had a tougher story, he was more sympathetic, and with more imperfections he was slightly more interesting than Claire, who sometimes fell into the whole 'my life is so perfect it's horrible' routine. They did have lots of chemistry and Cates kept things between them spicy and a their back and forth banter was fun.

There were a few twists that I wasn't expecting and Cates did a great job of leading up to them, without being obvious. The pacing was great, and I read the book within a day, not wanting to put it down. One thing that was different about the ending was that it came with an epilogue. I haven't noticed these a lot in YA books, and honestly I'm not sure Going Under needed it. If Jessie and Claire's story had ended at the end of the last chapter I would have been satisfied. The epilogue doesn't change my view of the story, but I just didn't see it as a necessary part of the story. Then again, it wraps things up, and leaves no questions about how Claire and Jessie's lives change from the beginning of the book.

Come back on May 17th to read a Going Under character interview with Jessie and enter to win a copy of Going Under during the Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book Trailer ~ The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen

Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Empty by Suzanne Weyn

Empty by Suzanne Weyn
Published: October 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Available: Amazon


It's the near future - the very near future - and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be. 

Nobody expected the end to come this fast. And in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that once seemed easy are quickly becoming matters of life and death. There is hope - there has to be hope - just there are also sacrifices that need to be made, and a whole society that needs to be rethought.

Teens like Niki, Tom, and Gwen may find what they need to survive. But their lives are never going to be the same again. 


I was really excited about this book when I first read the blurb, and I actually did a giveaway for it a while back even before reading the book. That's how optimistic I was. And yes, I judged it on the cover, but I also thought it sounded really interesting. Maybe it's because I've lived through two hurricanes when I was down in Texas, and I know how panicked people become when there's no gas, no electricity, no grocery stores or modern conveniences. I thought Empty would take that type of situation and stretch it beyond a few weeks, take it into a future without any hope of those things coming back.

Sadly, that wasn't the case.

Empty follows three teens, Niki, Tom, and Gwen as they struggle to adjust to their new world, where gas is $40-$100 a gallon. Of the three Gwen was the least annoying. Her mom had bailed on her and her older brother was into black market goods. When she's left without shelter, she doesn't go all pity-party, instead she keeps going, and just happens to completely luck out by finding a self-sustaining house. Tom was okay, but in an economy where gas is that expensive I didn't understand why he would want to spend all of his money in order to drive and see a girl he wasn't even sure liked him back. And what high school kid, from a single parent middle class family has that kind of money? Why was he so worried about gas, when they didn't even have food??! Niki was the worst. She was selfish, annoying, and selfish, and...selfish. She had zero redeeming qualities.

I would guess that Weyn has never lived through a disaster, such as a hurricane, where there is widespread damage, where there is no gas for even a week, where grocery stores have no electricity. She had her students whining about how boring school was because they couldn't use tablets. When my students came back to school and there was no electricity, they were grateful, because it was better than being inside their flooded, tree covered homes. I'm going to stop myself, because I could go on about-I'm stopping! But this possible lack of understanding is exactly why Weyn probably added in a super hurricane. Stronger than even a cat 5. ARGH! I'm stopping!

The book was not horrible. It was written well, and was an extremely fast read. I think I was down within a couple of hours. It obviously has a clear and strong environmental, conservationist message. If you don't mind being lectured on how much better it is to use alternative energy sources then you'll probably love this. If you're like me and want something that shows the hardships of life without everything we know and rely on then skip it.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac 
by Gabrielle Zevin
Published: August 2007
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Available: Amazon


If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn't have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn't have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn't have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her "Chief." She'd know about her mom's new family. She'd know about her dad's fiancée. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn't have wanted to kiss him back.
But Naomi picked heads.


I finally admit that I judge books by their covers. I do and I did in the case of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, which I find really strange since even now I'm not exactly sure what it is about this cover that I like. Maybe it's because it's one of the few female geared books I've seen recently without a long haired girl on the front. But I did judge it worthy of a read, even without actually reading the blurb. I mean the title is a bit self explanatory, isn't it?

Zevin has a great sense of pacing, and I really felt that just as I was getting a bit tired of something, she moved the story forward. There seemed to be three separate stories going on for Naomi. There's her missing memories of her family, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what little life she can remember. It's heartbreaking to feel her going through her parents divorce, mom's remarriage and the birth of a baby sister instantly. The second story involves her friendship with Will. I felt that there was a bit too much obviousness to this, but it didn't feel forced. She makes choices that Will doesn't understand, but she still makes them. I liked that she didn't give in just because he kept saying she never would have done that.

The third story was about her discovery of James. This is the story line that really drew me in. There was an honesty to James that I felt Naomi wanted to have herself, yet was scared to. Even thought she was completely redefining herself, she was doing it more just to not be what everyone else kept telling her she was. James new what he was and was attempting to make real changes, even if he was more messed up than Naomi was. 

On story alone I would have given this a five, but I found that a lot of the dialogue felt off. For the first two chapters I kept thinking the book was taking place in England, and even throughout the rest of the book the idea kept coming back to me. Maybe people on the East coast really do talk that way, but I just didn't feel like the vocabulary was natural for American teens (when was the last time you heard a seventeen-year-old boy refer to another as a chap?). I will however definitely look for more from Zevin.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Win a $100 Amazon gift card with the Kings & Queens Book Blast!

I am thrilled to be part of the Book Blast for Kings & Queens hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer! Last month, I had the opportunity to interview Courtney Vail about her debut novel Kings & Queens. Now Courtney and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer are giving you the chance to win $100 Amazon gift card!! Of course you have to keep reading all the way to the end of the post to enter, but Kings & Queens is definitely worth a look :)

"Courtney Vail thrills and shocks in her debut YA suspense, Kings & Queens. I really enjoyed reading this mystery because it reminded me of one of my favorite detective TV shows, Veronica Mars. The authentic high school drama and conspiracies were warped and utterly original." 
~Candace @ Lovey Dovey Books


Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father’s fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek…or, no…maybe Alec…maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right before slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.

All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they’re sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it’s not like she cries wolf. Not really. They’d be freaked too, but they’re not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse.

So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do…try to I.D. the nutjobs before they act. But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she’s left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.

"WOW. The description for this book on does not do this book justice. This was an AWESOME, twisted, capturing tale. Like Gossip Girl with deadly consequences."  
~Teresa Rice from The Duchess Mommy Reads

About Author Courtney Vail:

COURTNEY VAIL writes totally twisted YA and adult suspense. She enjoys braiding mystery, suspense & romance with some kind of weirdness. Her addictions to crazy coffee concoctions, Funny Bones, Ben & Jerry's, and bacon keep her running and writing. She currently lives in New England with a comedian stud and a wild gang of kidlets. 

Tell us a bit about Kings & Queens.

My novel is about a tomboy who overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. When cops don’t believe her, she aims to ID the nut jobs herself before they act, but they have an agenda far bigger than she ever assumed, and she gets sucked into a ruthless game that casts even her closest friends under suspicion.

How did you come up with the idea for your novel?

So lame, but I got the idea from a dream. I had a loose love triangle in mind with Majesty and her two best friends, who play on the baseball team she manages, but I had no plot for it. One night, I dreamt the massacre thing, overhearing the massacre plot while on a run, yes, in my sleep, and as soon as I woke up, I knew I’d found my plot. I just didn’t know when I started it that it would become such a rollercoaster ride with twisty turns, dark tunnels and heart wrenching descents, but, I’m sure glad it ended up that way. I love rollercoasters. 

If you got the chance to spend a day with any character from your books, who would it be and why?

Probably Warren Niles, a gothic outcast. I’m sure he could teach me a thing or two.

Is Kings & Queens part of a series? If so, when can we expect more of Majesty?

Yes, the sequel to Kings & Queens, Sapphire Reign, will be coming out this summer through Little Prince Publishing. It opens 10 years later. 

You can read my full interview with Courtney Vail here.

Connect with Courtney:

a Rafflecopter giveaway