Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

By: A.G. Howard
Pub. Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Oh. My. God. Splintered is amazing, original, entertaining, fun, and I never knew what to expect. There is mystery and romance, great writing, and awesome characters. I don't think I could have enjoyed a story anymore then I did this one.

Alyssa gets made fun of in school. Why? Because her great-great grandmother was Alice, the little girl who went to Wonderland. Not only is that in her family, but the females all go crazy. It starts by hearing bugs and flowers talk, and eventually leads to suicide. Alyssa doesn't want to turn out like her mother, who is currently in a mental institution. To stop the hospital from giving her mother electric shock therapy, and using the help of a big moth, Alyssa goes on an adventure to Wonderland to right the wrongs of Alice and freeing her family from the curse. Along for the ride is Jeb, Alyssa's best friend. They reach Wonderland and basically goes on the same journey that Alice went on while cleaning up Wonderland of her mistakes.   

What made this story so amazing was how A.G. Howard took a story that everyone knows and created this whole new world. Adding some new characters, but also keeping all the ones we already knew and creating this original and modern story.

I really enjoyed the character of Morpheus, the hookah smoking caterpillar we know from the original story. At some points he was sweet and considerate, other times he was selfish and untruthful. I loved trying to figure him out!
I also loved Jeb. He was so protective of Alyssa and willing to give up his life to protect her. I was rooting for the two of them the entire time!

I fully enjoyed Splintered  and I highly recommend it! I can not wait until I have a finished copy of this book in my hands. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review & Giveaway: ReAwakened by Ada Adams

(Angel Creek # 2)
By: Ada Adams
Pub. Date: November 27, 2012
Pages: 520
Source: Review copy from author

Becoming a vampire guardian was Dawn Fairchild’s ticket out of the Scarlet House. Fresh off a successful mission, life in Angel Creek should have been great. But when her sort-of-maybe-boyfriend, Sebastian, disappears on a quest to help a beautiful vampire from his past, Dawn finds herself amidst a web of danger, lies, and deceit. 
Joining forces with Razor, an enigmatic rebel lacking both a verbal and a physical filter, and her band of Misfits—Brooke, Sophie, Hunter, and Seth—Dawn is thrust into a race against the clock to solve the mystery surrounding brutal Born kidnappings and come to terms with the sudden discovery of her own unique powers. With time ticking away and Born vampires’ lives in jeopardy, it quickly becomes evident that someone—or something—desperately wants Dawn and is willing to shed any amount of blood to get her.
Dawn has only one chance to face her demons and overcome all obstacles standing in her way as she embarks on the biggest mission of her life—one that threatens a deadly outcome for all involved.

This review should be easy, right? All I want to say is "THIS BOOK IS AMAZING, YOU SHOULD READ IT" but, the books you love the most, are always the hardest reviews to write. I really just want to write a bunch of OMGs, and swoons, and loves.....but here goes trying to write an intelligent review that makes sense!

I was so excited to be able to dive back into the Angel Creek series. I absolutely loved ReVamped. Everything about it was wonderful and it was easily one of my favorite books of the year. Now, only a few months later, ReAwakened is also on the top of that list. Ada Adams is truly a fantastic author! This story has one of the most original vampire plots out there, the characters can seriously be my best friends, and the writing is fast paced and kept me interested the entire time.

The book starts out a little while after the events that went down in ReVamped. Dawn is still dealing with everything that had happened, and boy, did a lot to happen. What I love about Dawn is how strong she is. She doesn't let her emotions hold her back. Even while dealing with her own crap, she was always there for her friends, no matter what their problem was.

My absolute favorite part of ReAwakened was learning about the backgrounds of the characters, especially Hunter. All we ever knew about him was that he was a druggie guitarist whose band was about to become nation wide famous before turning into a vampire. He was a loner, who usually stayed quiet when around everyone, but in ReAwakened  he finally opened up about his past and it explained so much about his character. I am whole-heartedly a Hunter girl now!

We are also introduced to some new vampires, including Razor, who happens to have a very interesting connection to Sebastian. I loved Razor. He's gorgeous, sweet, and a doctor!! Can't get much better then that! And I love how much he made fun of Sebastian for being emo and moody.

This entire story was about character development, especially comparing these characters to how they were in the first book. I love the direction that every single character is going, well except Sebastian's character.....but I won't give anything away, and if you read the book you know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

As much as I loved all of the characters, I really missed Ethan, like a lot. But I have been assured that he will be playing a big part in the third book!

There is a lot happening in ReAwakened, but it never became to much to handle. Adams has a talent for incorporating many story lines effortlessly and seamlessly. Everything worked perfectly together and I seriously loved every single minute of this story.

I HIGHLY recommend this series. I recommend this story to YA lovers, New Adult lovers, vampire lovers, adults, old people, teenagers, basically everyone!  Go and get yourself a copy NOW, you won't regret it! 


- 3 winners (One grand prize winner +2 small prize winners)
- One main entry per person
- Must be 13 years or older to enter
- Open Internationally
- Winners will have 48 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen

Grand Prize Winner will win the following-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author: 

“Many people sing in the shower. I write scenes in my head and act them out.”

At the age of five, Ada read her first chapter book—Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. Ever since that moment, she developed an intense passion for stories and characters found within the pages of literature.
In her career as an actress and a writer, Ada currently spends most of her days immersed in imaginary worlds. Much like the characters she enjoys playing and writing about, Ada is a martial artist with a Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. She is also a big proponent of lifelong learning, and has attained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (it aids in creating characters with unique quirks!) as well as a Master’s of Science in Education.
Ada strives to bring a fresh voice and perspective to fiction. She has been writing creatively for many years, and is an editor of a global fashion/literary magazine called VEUX. ReVamped is her debut novel.

She lives in Toronto, Canada, and enjoys adventurous nature hikes with her adorable puppies Cara and Oreo.
Connect with Ada Adams:

Books in the Series:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Promo Blitz: Fang Girl by Helen Keeble (Guest Post and Giveaway)

Fang Girl by Helen Keeble - September 11th 2012 / HarperTeen

Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:

1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.
And finally:
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.

Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....

Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.

Links to purchase Fang Girl: 

Fandom, Family, and FANG GIRL
Guest Post by Helen Keeble

FANG GIRL is about two things: fandom and family.

…Okay, so it's also about a lot of other things, like undead goldfish, vampiric retail empires, and hot boys in tight leather trousers, but mostly it's about fandom and family. Let me explain.

I started writing FANG GIRL because I was immensely irritated (I suspect irritation is the major cause of novels, actually). It was at the height of Twilight fever, and it seemed like every day there was a new article in the newspapers or blogosphere about it. You couldn't click a link or turn on the radio without finding someone either dismissing all YA paranormal romance fans as utterly stupid for liking "that trash", or alternatively getting into a moral panic that these girls were being fundamentally damaged by reading it.

As I rather enjoy a good paranormal romance myself, this was irritating. Really irritating. So irritating I had to spend a year writing a novel to fully express my irritation.

See, personally I think that teenagers are a lot smarter and more discriminating than adults assume. I certainly read an awful lot of fantasy schlock as a teen, and enjoyed it immensely without ever thinking I was actually going to fall through a portal and meet the perfect knight-protector, so I don't believe that all teenage girls are having their relationship expectations warped for life by Robert Patterson's hair. And in my experience, teen paranormal fans can be hugely clever and creative -- they dissect their favorite books like ruthless surgeons, they write their own fanfic versions, they make amazing music videos with footage from movies or tv shows… it's a far cry from the stereotype of a wide-eyed, ditzy girl uncritically consuming anything packaged with a black-and-red cover.

So I decided to write a paranormal romance about a girl who's a vampire fangirl, and who is also practical, snarky, and intelligent -- so when she wakes up one night and discovers she's now a vampire herself, she's got the knowledge and wits to deal with it.

But of course, vampires are rather ridiculous creatures -- seriously, you're angsty because you're eternally young and beautiful? Seriously? I mean, the first thing I'd do is camp out in New York Public Library and read every book ever -- so I also wanted to poke fun at some paranormal romance cliches. The much older vampire hero who inexplicably falls in love with the heroine, eternal angst-filled passion, the inevitable brooding rival, the terribly glamorous vampire lifestyle… in my book, the vampires are quite aware of all these tropes, and are willing to use them to try to influence my heroine Jane. But the vampires are -- like all those columnists and bloggers -- assuming that teenage vampire fangirls actually believe all this stuff… which turns out to be a big mistake.

The other trend I'd noticed in paranormal romances is that usually the heroine's family are barely present (especially not both parents). She might have endless conversations with vampires and werewolves and bears, oh my, but parents seem to stay mostly off-page. Now, I'm not saying that I never fought with my parents when I was a teen, but mostly we got along, and my family were definitely a big influence in my life. And I think that's true for a lot of teens. So I wanted my protagonist's family to be a major part of the story. And really, if you're a girl who wakes up unexpectedly dead one night, what are you going to do? Run off alone and try to survive on the contents of your pockets (most people don't get buried with credit cards, you know), or go back home where there's bed, broadband, and people who love you even if you do now seem to have fangs? No contest!

So that's FANG GIRL: one part fandom, one part family, blended together with creamy comedy goodness and baked in the oven of righteous irritation. Can I tempt you to a bite?

About the Author: 

Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed   down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.

Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.

She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.

Author Links:


Open internationally!
Last day to enter is December 25th!

The prize pack includes:
- one signed copy of Fang Girl (can be personalized)
- a voucher for an ARC of Helen's next book NO ANGEL as soon as they are available (likely to be Spring/Summer 2013)
- a cheerful vampire goldfish paperclip
- Fang Girl stickers featuring the cover and quotes from the book

Friday, December 14, 2012

Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway~ Blissful Lies by Jennifer Brown-Thomas

Blissful Lies
By: Jennifer Brown-Thomas
Publisher Date: January 3, 2013
Publisher: Helm Publishing 
Pages: 234

Things are often not what they seem in the decadent lifestyles of the rich and famous. Life can be messy and at times people do what feels wrong, because in the end it may turn out to be the best decision ever made. A close bond between 5 lifelong friends, now of college age, find the limits of their relationships are tested when multiple secrets and lies begin to surface, which ultimately leave them wondering if it is all too much to move forward as the family they once were. Forbidden love, drug dealing, date rape, betrayal, cheating, and more begin to unravel the strong ties between friends. Can they overcome secrets which warrant a very difficult life altering response?

The process of turning a book into a film can be incredibly tricky. For the writer, you have to think outside your own mind and adjust accordingly to the different mediums of storytelling. Generally speaking, a novel is adapted into a screenplay. I did things a little differently. I decided I wanted to make the film first… the book was an afterthought. So with Blissful Lies I wrote and directed the film first and then adapted it into a novel. When you’re reading a screenplay, it’s essentially your outline—a skeleton, if you will, of a story. You allow your actors to bring your words to life in a believable and enjoyable manner. But when writing a novel, you only have your words to speak to the imagination of your audience. I found it much easier to take the screenplay and grow it into a novel than it was to take a written novel and cut it down to 110 pages for a screenplay.

I tend to be very wordy; I’ve been told on numerous occasions I should write for television. So taking a very lengthy novel and cutting out only the key elements to include in the screenplay, proved to be a very difficult task for me. With my novel, Vindictive Grounds, I wrote the novel first and then adapted the screenplay. It takes a significant amount of dedication and focus to be able to successfully shift between the two mediums, but it’s something I’ve managed to grasp over time.

My conclusion after doing this both ways? I find it easier to transform the screenplay into a novel, instead of the other way around. This way I get to use the original material and simply expand on it, rather than having to cut out parts I feel are important. Both writing styles are incredible in their own ways and I don’t think I enjoy one more than the other, but trying to take something and trim it down to fit the length criteria of a screenplay is exceedingly more difficult for me.

Author Bio:

At just 25 years old, Jennifer Brown-Thomas is a celebrated book author and movie director. Her first novel, Blissful Lies, combines both of her passions.

At the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, she presented Blissful Lies (the movie) starring Emmy award winning actress, Leann Hunley. YTINIFNI Pictures is working to bring the film to DVD and on-demand television this spring.

Jennifer is a married, Texas Christian University graduate and mother of one. Her newest venture, LBT Enterprises, is set to launch a fragrance, a children's clothing line and more.

Watch for more novels from Jennifer - the next on its way is Vindictive Grounds. In February, Jennifer will begin directing the film version of this novel. She says, "It definitely has more of the explicit sexual contact comparable to Fifty Shades of Grey."

Book Trailer: 

Movie Trailer:


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Jennifer Brown-Thomas's Blog:

Jennifer Brown-Thomas's Goodreads:

Blissful Lies Goodreads:

Blissful Lies (the movie) web site:

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Double Time by Olivia Cunning

Double Time
(Sinners on Tour # 5)
By: Olivia Cunning
Pub. Date: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley

Olivia Cunning delivers the perfect blend of steamy sex, heartwarming romance, and a wicked sense of humor in this ménage story featuring the hottest guy in the Sinners band.

Trey Mills, the notoriously sexy Sinners rhythm guitarist, gives up his bisexual lifestyle and is swept into a hot, heady romance with Reagan Elliot, a female rock star sensation. But when Trey encounters Reagan's sexy bisexual roommate, Ethan Conner, he can no longer deny who he is or what he wants. Reagan heartily agrees to a solution that opens up a hot new world of sexual experience--and love--with the two men she wants the most.
I read Hot Ticket, book number three in the Sinners on Tour series, and I was really looking forward to reading the rest of the series, but why in the hell would they release the books out of order?? Because I read book five, I know what happens in book four, even though it doesn't come out for a very long time, there isn't even a cover or release date for it yet. That aspect definitely ruined this book for me a little. I was also disappointed with Double Time, and didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Hot Ticket, which I absolutely loved!

Double Time  is about Trey, the fun loving bisexual and Sinners guitarist. He has been in love with his best friend, Brian since they were teenagers. But Brian is a recent newlywed with a newborn baby. Because he is hurt, Trey decides to swear off men forever, just it time for him to meet the sexy new female guitarist for his brothers band, Reagan. The two of them begin a sexual relationship, but things get even more heated when Reagan's best friend, and ex boyfriend Ethan comes into the picture. Ethan and Trey are instantly attracted to each other, and this is where the scenes get hot and steamy!

I loved Ethan and Treys attraction and connection to each other. I would have been happy with just the two of them! I didn't really feel any connection towards Reagan, but I did like how she got Trey to open up and be honest with himself. I also like how she was willing to accept Trey exactly how he was, and didn't try to change him. Instead she worked with him and in turn, made all three of them very, very happy!

My favorite scene would have to be when Reagan, Trey and Ethan went to Jace and Aggie for BDSM lessons. The scene was funny, sexy and hot! It also featured Jace, which made it instantly amazing!

Double Time was not my favorite m/m/f story, but it was entertaining and hot! I still plan on reading the rest of the Sinner of Tour series because I absolutely love these guys! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Release Day Launch, Review and Giveaway: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
Published: December 11, 2012

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

This is the first story that I have read from K.A. Tucker, and I seriously can not wait to read her other books! What a fantastic, fast paced read! I am absolutely in love with every single character, and the writing was so well done, that I didn't even realize that I hit the last page until I got to the acknowledgements!

Kacey and her younger sister, Livie packed up whatever they could from their aunt and uncles house to move across the country and start completely fresh. They have no friends, no family, and no money, but they know if they stick together everything will be ok. Ever since their parents died four years ago, Kacey has been on a whirlwind spiral. She's rough around the edges but would do anything for Livie.

Kacey and Livie rent out this crap hole apartment and meet their neighbors, Storm and her four year old daughter and there other neighbor just happens to be the gorgeous and sweet, Trent Emerson. Between Livie, Storm and Trent, Kacey's walls start to crumble. I so wanted her to get the help that she needed. She acts so tough and strong, but she is so damaged. I loved Kacey! Despite all of her issues, she was such a good person and I enjoyed watching her defenses crumble.

The secondary characters also brought so much to the story, including the men who worked at the club. I loved how sweet and protective they were of all of the girls. I especially loved Tanner, who wasn't your stereotypical gentleman club owner. He actually cared and protected the ladies with everything that he had.

I was able to figure out the secret within the story about 50 pages or so before it was actually relieved, but that didn't take away anything from the story. I was still in shock when I found out. The writing was so fantastically done, and I could not get enough of Ten Tiny Breaths.

I really am going to miss these characters. I felt like I was apart of this group when I was reading, and then all of a sudden, their story was over. I can definitely see myself reading this story again in the future, just so I can be apart of this amazing and wonderful story again.

Ten Tiny Breaths comes highly recommend. You will not be disappointed!

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Author Links:

I have 1 ecopy of Ten Tiny Breaths to give away. Enter here! 

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens

(Thoughtless # 1)
By: S.C. Stephens
Pub. Date: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 530
Source: ARC from Publisher in exchange for an honest review

For almost two years now, Kiera's boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she's ever wanted: loving, tender and endlessly devoted to her. When they head off to a new city to start their lives together, Denny at his dream job and Kiera at a top-notch university, everything seems perfect. Then an unforeseen obligation forces the happy couple apart.

Feeling lonely, confused, and in need of comfort, Kiera turns to an unexpected source—a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he's purely a friend that she can lean on, but as her loneliness grows, so does their relationship. And then one night everything changes...and none of them will ever be the same.

I was very excited when I received a surprise package from Gallery Books because I wanted to read Thoughtless so badly. I've heard really good things about it, and I was eager to get started on it. I ended up really enjoying it. The characters, especially bad boy, Kellan Kyle was my absolute favorite!

The story begins with Kiera and her boyfriend Denny moving from Ohio to Washington so Denny can begin his dream internship. I really didn't give Denny a fair chance when I first met him. I thought he was going to be a jerk, but he really wasn't. Sure, he is a little boring, but he didn't deserve what Kiera ended up putting him though. Anyway, the two of them get to their new place, and Kiera meets Denny's friend and her new roommate, Kellan. Wow, Kellan! What an amazing, infuriating, deep, smart guy, who sings in a band! I could not get enough of him and he had my full attention when he was on the page.

As Denny gets deeper and deeper into his new job, Kiera and Kellan get closer and closer to hooking up. When they finally went too far, I couldn't help but feel disgust. Denny did not deserve to get cheated on and lied too from his friend and girlfriend. When Denny gave up his entire life to be with Kiera, and she still continued to cheat on him, my disgust for what was happening kept increasing.

Kiera's saving grace was that even though she made a horrible mistake, she is still human and you could tell that she felt guilt over it. Kellan also felt disgust over what he was doing, but the two of them were falling in love and it was hard for them to stop.

My favorite part of Thoughtless was learning about Kellan's past. Through his story, we can understand his character so much better and it just made me fall for him so much harder.

My only complaint, and what made me give it 3 and 1/2 stars (on goodreads) was the amount of details in the writing. I have never been a fan of details, but this was just ridiculous. There was no reason that this story should have been over 500 pages. I think if you take away the details, the book would probably cap 300 or so. For example, Kiera spent about 1 page wondering if she should just open the bathroom door, or if she should knock. It was the middle of the night. OMG! She went on to explain every single outcome for each choice. It was just way to much.

Other then that, I fell in love with Kiera and Kellan's story and I look forward to reading Effortless, the second book in the trilogy!  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cover Reveal: Deeper We Fall by Chelsea M. Cameron

Deeper We Fall by Chelsea M. Cameron 
Publication date: January 12th, 2013

Two years after her best friend was involved in a car accident that caused a traumatic brain injury, Lottie Anders is ready to start her freshman year of college. Ready to move on. Ready to try and forget the night that ripped her life apart.

Her plans come to a screeching halt when not one, but both brothers responsible for the accident end up back in her life again.

Zack is cruel, selfish and constantly rubbing what happened to her friend in Lottie's face.

Zan is different. He listens to her awkward ramblings. His words are few and far between, but when he does speak, she can't help but listen. He loves "To Kill a Mockingbird" as much as she does, and his dark eyes are irresistible.

The trouble is, Zan was the driver in the accident, and now Lottie's discovered he lied to her about what happened that night. She must decide if trusting him again will lead to real forgiveness, or deeper heartache. 

This book sounds amazing! I can not wait to read it and find out more about this Zan guy!

About the Author:

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Author Links:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Tour: Review~ Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss

Passion Blue
By: Victoria Strauss
Pub. Date: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing
Pages: 352
Source: Finished copy from author in exchange for an honest review

"Be sure you know your true heart’s desire, or you may find yourself surprised by what you receive."

This is the warning the Astrologer-Sorcerer gives Giulia when she pays him to create a magical talisman for her. The scorned illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, Giulia is determined to defy the dire fate predicted by her horoscope, and use the talisman to claim what she believes is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs–not likely prospects for a girl about to be packed off to the cloistered world of a convent.

But the convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises. There are strict rules, long hours of work, and spiteful rivalries…but there’s also friendship, and the biggest surprise of all: a workshop of female artists who produce paintings of astonishing beauty, using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion blue. Yet even as Giulia begins to learn the mysteries of the painter’s craft, the magic of the talisman is at work, and a forbidden romance beckons her down a path of uncertainty and danger. She is haunted by the sorcerer’s warning, and by a question: does she really know the true compass of her heart?

Set in Renaissance Italy, this richly imagined novel about a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into a fascinating, exotic world where love, faith, and art inspire passion–of many different hues.

I was very excited to be asked to be apart of the blog tour for Passion Blue. I loved the colors in the cover and the synopsis definitely appealed to my historian side. I love stories set during the Italian Renaissance, so I knew I would enjoy Passion Blue. Passion Blue was everything I expected and more.

The story focuses on Giulia, a young women whose has spent her life as a servant in the home of her father, who happens to be a Count. When he dies, the Counts wife forces her to go live as a nun in the Santa Marta convent. Giulia always wanted a family of her own, but she knows if she actually becomes a nun, she will never have what she always dreamed of. It was hard not to feel connected to Giula. She was a brave girl who just wanted to be loved.

I also enjoyed the fact that Giulia was a painter, during the Renaissance! It was very exciting and brought a lot to the story. She had this wonderful commitment to having a family of her own and being an artist.
I loved the message of sacrifice and finding what truly makes you happy. It is something that everyone struggles with at some point in their life, no matter how old you are, or what century you come from.

I look forward to reading more from the very talented Victoria Strauss!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Whisper's Edge by London Cole

Whisper's Edge
(Whisper's Walker Series # 2)
By: London Cole
Pub. Date: October 28, 2012
Publisher: Self-Pub
Pages: 230

Drake and Kelsie quickly discover life won't be quite the same after getting their new abilities, but they hope everything will settle into a sort of normalcy. It doesn't take long for them to realize it's not the kind of normal they were hoping for.

When Kelsie joins Drake for a routine Hunt, they end up stumbling upon an underground bunker that hasn't been opened in nearly a century. When they meet a far-too-friendly ghost, it should be their first indicator to leave things alone and get out of there. Never ones to resist the opportunity for excitement or mystery, they end up in a situation that could cost them dearly–threatening not only everything they've worked for, but their very lives!

Drake's world is turned upside down. A mysterious new girl seems intent on capturing his heart, but that's not all she's after.

Kelsie faces betrayal by the one she holds most dear, only to meet someone new who could change her entire existence; past, present, and future. If only she can stay alive long enough to find out the truth...

I was a huge fan of London's first book, Whisper's Walker, so I was very excited when I received the second book, Whisper's Edge for review. As with the first one, Edge is an exciting, fast-paced read. There were a lot of plot twists that I was not expecting and a lot of character development!

Whisper's Edge begins with our favorite characters, Drake and Kelsie running for their life, thus starts the action that is Edge. While trying to escape, they come across an old shelter, and meet Megan, a seemingly innocent and lonely girl. Drake immediately feels that he needs to help and vows to return to her.

While I enjoyed both Drake and Kelsie in Whisper Walker, I could not stand Drake in this one. He was just such a stupid boy and I wanted to slap him many times for his constant stupidity. He obviously loves Kelsie, but he decided to flirt with Megan right in front of her. He did other things that pissed me off as well. Ugh, boys. Kelsie on the other hand, I absolutely loved. She really grew as a character and I think she came out a lot stronger. While Drake is busy with Megan, she too meets someone and this man, Trip, opens Kelsie's eyes to a whole new world, and to who, or what, Kelsie really is!  

I think the Whisper Walker series is seriously starting to come along, but my one main complaint was the editing, especially in the beginning. It just didn't flow right to me. It was almost like I was missing something in the writing, and it ended up turning me off a little bit. I am glad I stuck with it though, because the writing and editing did get a lot better. I also would have benefited from some recaps added in throughout the story. I was confused a lot of the time because I didn't remember some parts from the first book. I love when authors include recaps of the earlier books in the series. It saves me a lot of mental questioning! 

If you haven't started this series yet, I definitely think you are missing out. Both books are quick and exciting reads. I am looking forward to see where London Cole takes us next!

I have a signed copy of Whisper Walker, the first book in the series to giveaway. Enter below & good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Spotlight: Two Pair: A Quadruple or Nothing Story by Jessica, Mackenzie, Meredith, and Stephanie Jackson

Two Pair: A Quadruple or Nothing Story
By: Jessica, Mackenzie, Meredith, and Stephanie Jackson
Pub. Date: September 3, 2012
Pages: 250

Ashburg, California; the city that’s split into rich and not rich, the upper class and the middle class, the snobs and the down-to-earth…that’s how the teenagers perceived it, anyway. And it all stemmed from two schools’ rivalries. The rivalry has grown now that there are a set of twins that go to Ashburg Arts and a set of twins that go to Ashburg Academy that don’t see eye to eye.

Reagan and Ronan Jacoby thought that their only problem was wondering if their cop father, Elijah would make it home from work every day. That is, when he wasn’t trying to keep them out of trouble. They didn’t think their father dating would complicate things even further.

Savannah and Mickayla Powers thought their only problem lied in the intense dislike they had of each other. They should be classified as fraternal twins rather than identical. The only thing they can agree on is that their mother, famous fashion designer Dallas, was acting strange.

The four girls’ lives are turned upside down when they realize that they have something in common, more than just their schools’ rivalry and their own problems. There’s a shocking secret that’s at play…do they have it in the cards to figure it out?

This is their debut novel, it is the first in a four-part series.



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Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Spotlight & Excerpt: Last Regress by Rachael J. Thorne

Last Regress
By: Rachael J. Thorne
Pub. Date: July 15, 2012

Alyssa Matthews thought she had an explanation for everything.  After all, as a slightly skeptical paranormal investigator that was what she was used to doing; researching, observing and explaining.
So when she began writing a paper about a long forgotten case of death by Spontaneous Human Combustion, she assumed it would be a run-of-the-mill piece.  Little did she realize that she was about to be plunged into a situation that would not only force her to question her own sanity, but also her skepticism about the nature of the paranormal.
Not to mention the dreams that just wouldn't go away...

Alyssa had absolutely no idea where she was or more to the point how she had got there.  For a fleeting moment it occurred to her that she might be asleep and consequently dreaming, but everything appeared to be so clear in her mind that this possibility seemed highly unlikely.  All around her, for as far as she could have seen, was a thick, overwhelming darkness that felt bitterly cold, damp and bleak.  It was as though the cold itself was gnawing through her bones, so numbing that it was almost impossible to breathe, like trying to inhale ice crystals.  She had the sensation that she was being suspended in mid air although she could not feel anything that could be supporting her there.  None of her limbs seemed to be touching anything and yet she was not falling.  It took her a while to realise that she was in fact moving forwards.  She was certain that she was floating toward something, but in that terrible darkness she could not see what it could be.  Confusion surrounded, penetrated and engulfed her.  Disorientation made her feel as though she was being pulled at from every conceivable angle, like something was trying to drag her away, off into that awful darkness.  She felt lost and she began to worry that she was never going to regain any control.
Somewhere in the darkness Alyssa could hear music, muffled and distorted as if the sound was drifting through the cracks in a closed door.  The sudden realisation that it was this sound toward which she was floating filled her with an inexplicable sense of comfort and contentment.  She now had a purpose, something upon which to focus her mind.  As she became aware that it was the doorway that she was headed for – and she was now convinced that it was indeed a doorway, although she had no idea how she could possibly have come to that conclusion in all that darkness – the music began to grow clearer and louder as though it had started to call out to her, to encourage her.
There wasn’t just music though, she could hear a voice.  In and amongst the notes there was a man’s voice, very deep and strong, chanting and singing over a beautiful haunting melody.  He was singing words that Alyssa could not understand, words that should have had no meaning to her, and yet somehow they did.  Stranger still, for some reason that she could not fathom an inner voice seemed to speak to her and tell her that she could trust that man’s voice implicitly, and she felt willing to give herself completely, to surrender herself to it – to give herself to him.  She felt comfortable and calm, happy to simply float along and let that beautiful music wash over her.  She could have stayed like that forever.
Suddenly there was a flash of something that looked like lightning and the area immediately around her was illuminated by an eerie blue light.  She was sure that she could see something moving out of the corner of her eye.  She tried to look around her, tried to see what it was, but beyond the boundaries of that light was the same black curtain of nothing.  She didn't really want to know what was out there, she was quite content to just float where she was and listen to the music, and anyway, she had the distinct impression that whatever it was that she couldn't see, it wasn't something good.  Ignorance could be bliss and it was better not to know.  She lay back and allowed herself to float in the blue haze, carried along by the sounds surrounding her, but without warning her entire body was wracked with unbearable pain, like hundreds of blades all around her burrowing deep into her skin.  Whatever was out there wasn't hidden in the darkness anymore.

Author Bio:

Rachael J. Thorne is trying to make it in the world as an indie author between tending her garden and being a geek!
She lives in Essex, UK with her husband and crazy dog.
Last Regress is her first novel and she is currently working on her second, Running For A Life.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blitz and Excerpt: Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman

Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
Pub. Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Meet Erin. Smart student, great daughter, better friend. Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy. It all begins when her ex-best friend sends a letter to her blog—and then acts on her advice. Erin’s efforts to undo the mess will plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance. What’s a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate? Hopefully nothing like: You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life.

Miss Fortune Cookie Chapter 1 Excerpt

You will have much luck and little hardship.
Or the other way around.


My friends and I were riding home from school on Muni, clinging to an assortment of slippery handholds, when Linny almost blew my secret identity. Intentionally.
“Listen to this one,” she said, reading off her iPhone, a faint but smirky glint in her eyes. “‘Dear Miss Fortune Cookie. My cousin thinks I’m chasing her boyfriend. Her boyfriend and I never flirt, but sometimes we text. What can I do to make her believe me? Just Friends.’”
In fact, I—Erin Kavanagh, alias Miss Fortune Cookie—had posted this very letter on my anonymous advice blog, and Linny happened to be the only person in San Francisco to know that, the only person in the whole world, except for some random administrator at WordPress. She takes every opportunity to harass me about keeping my blog a secret. “What advice would you give, Erin?” she asked, winking this time.
I kept my face as neutral as possible. Luckily Darren and Mei were only paying attention each other. As usual.
Personally speaking, I think nano-deceptions are a good thing. I regularly use them to protect my friends from unpleasant truths. Should I tell Linny that her favorite knit hat makes her head look like a furry meatball? Or nudge Mei whenever Darren winces at her hyena laugh? Should I have cautioned Darren that taking AP physics would wreck his grade-point average? Absolutely not. Sincere lies keep everyone happy.
I blew the hair out of my eyes. “The cousin will never stop suspecting the two of them,” I said to Linny, “so Just Friends has to stop the texting. She could get her own boyfriend. Or move to somewhere far away like Moldavia.”
Muni, a sort of bus powered by electric wires overhead, jerked to a halt. A seat opened up, and Linny took it. “Exactly!” She had the happiest smile ever, so big it barely fit on her face. Metaphorically speaking. “Mei, don’t you think Erin is a natural at giving advice?”
“Hmm?” Mei said. She was somewhat entwined with Darren and therefore distracted.
“Nothing.” I jabbed Linny in the ribs to get her to stop talking. Gently of course. The three of us—Mei, Linny, and me—made an enviable friendship trio. I was the lesser third, maybe because Mei and Linny were gorgeously Chinese-American, while I was just Boring-American. A Person of Irish.
Mei knew nothing about my connection to Miss Fortune Cookie. We used to be best friends, and by best friends I mean we spent every afternoon and weekend together until eighth grade, when things fell apart between us. The truth is, Mei dumped me. Then Linny brought us together again during freshman year, inviting us both to eat lunch with her, forming a little group. A few months later, I mustered the courage to bring up the dumping incident with Mei, except she didn’t want to talk about it. So we became friends again without dealing with the past. Pretty much.
Except I didn’t trust her like I used to.
And she didn’t share as many intimate details about herself with me.
Linny beckoned me closer to whisper in my ear. “I have a question for Miss Fortune Cookie. A very personal one. But you can’t tell Mei.”
“Why not?”
She lowered her voice more. “You just can’t, ’kay?”
I nodded. Linny usually let both of us in on every detail about her life, although lately she’d been secretive about her new boyfriend. Whatever it was, it wouldn’t be boring. I turned my back toward Mei and said in my quietest voice, “Go ahead. I’m listening. What is it?”
Linny shook her head. “Not now.”
Just then, the Muni driver made the sharp turn into Chinatown, and three things happened almost simultaneously: a bicyclist veered into the road, the driver slammed on the brakes, and I fell into another passenger. We came to a halt fifty feet from the stop, and the bicyclist escaped unscathed. I could tell by the vigorous way he flipped off the driver. Then I caught sight of Mrs. Liu, bundled against the fog, among the passengers waiting to board.
“Your mom!” I whispered to Mei. “She’s getting on!”
Mei’s eyes widened. “What the what?”
Which demonstrates a problem with sincere lies—in this case, Mei’s lie to her mom about not having a boyfriend. They can be found out. Darren dropped his arm from around Mei’s waist and grabbed his backpack. “Bye,” he mouthed before zipping to the back and catapulting out the rear door. He’s considerate like that.
Mrs. Liu’s grocery bags thumped against the handrail as she marched up the steps. She has sharp, high cheekbones and is tall like her daughter. She and Mei both have blunt-cut hair that reaches their shoulders. Our favorite salon in Chinatown sometimes offers two-for-one specials.
Mei hurried to the front to take the two largest bags. “Ma, let me.”
Mrs. Liu stretched her swan neck toward the window. “Who is that with you?”
Mei shook her head nervously. “No one. Just Erin and Linny. I invited them to help with the turnip cakes.”
“No. I see boy before.” Mrs. Liu believed with every sinew in her heart that a boyfriend would distract Mei from her schoolwork, ruining her chances of getting into the number one university in the country, Harvard. So when Mei fell in love with Darren last spring, she kept it a secret from her mom. For thirteen whole months. Which showed amazing ingenuity and skill on her part, but once you start a lie, it’s hard to escape it.
“Who is boy?”
“Oh, him,” Mei said. “Someone from AP chem. We were discussing the homework. Chemical reactions.” She blinked fast. “And stuff like that.”
To be fair, most people have trouble lying to Mrs. Liu. Her eyes bore right through your skull and read your thoughts as if you accidentally uploaded them onto Facebook. It’s her superpower.
Linny stood up to offer her seat to Mrs. Liu. “Mr. F assigned loads of homework over the weekend. He wants us in top shape for the AP test.”
Mrs. Liu ignored the seat. She had just turned forty and didn’t appreciate the senior-citizen treatment. “Very good. Homework make you smart.”
“Ma, please sit down. Ni shi lao.” That means you are the elder, a show of respect. It also means you are old.
“I am comfortable,” Mrs. Liu said.
Mei continued arguing politely. Though most Chinese immigrants to San Francisco speak Cantonese, a dialect common in the south of China, Mrs. Liu emigrated from the north, where they speak Mandarin. I was fluent enough to follow their conversation.
Ma, ni zuo.” Ma, just sit.
Gaosu wo ta de mingzi.Tell me his name.
Before they resolved anything, the driver pulled into the stop by Mrs. Liu’s restaurant, and we all got off. Hay Fat occupies a prominent street corner in Chinatown. Mrs. Liu’s heightened culinary sensibility has turned it into a legend, luring in the more adventurous tourists and fussy locals. She serves authentic dishes with ingredients such as fermented bean paste, whole fish with eyeballs intact, and lotus. Her menu also includes beef broccoli in case people with less sophisticated palates wander in by mistake.
We entered the kitchen through the alley. The dinner rush had yet to begin, which meant we had the place to ourselves. After setting me up with the grater and Mei with the bacon to steam, Mrs. Liu tossed a handful of sesame seeds into sizzling oil at the bottom of the wok. I closed my eyes to better appreciate the scrumptious smell.
“What should I do?” Linny asked. I looked at her appraisingly, wondering about her secret. Not that we could talk here in the kitchen.
Mrs. Liu handed her a bowl. “Cut mushrooms. Very small pieces.”
I consider Hay Fat my second home. Mom and Mrs. Liu met when Mei and I were in preschool and have been good friends ever since. We live one floor below them in an apartment a few blocks from here in a quieter part of Chinatown. Mrs. Liu has always welcomed me into her kitchen, even during that black year when Mei and I barely spoke.
What I know of her life before America comes through Mom. Twenty-three years ago, Mrs. Liu studied cooking at a special school in China that trains workers for American restaurants. After finishing the program, she immigrated to San Francisco, where she met Mei’s dad. He soon left her, and she has remained single ever since. Which could explain some of her gruffness.
“No lollygagging,” Mrs. Liu said. The cloth she wore over her hair fell askew, and my fingers itched to straighten it. I didn’t stop grating for a second, though, because sometimes when I slack off from a job she’s given me, she’ll pinch my arm. Not hard, but still.
Linny held out her cutting board for inspection. “Are these pieces small enough?”
Mrs. Liu took the board and tossed the mushrooms into the wok. “Almost. Watch. This is secret part. Very important. Not in recipe.”
Smoke rose from the hot metal. While Mrs. Liu stirred up a storm, I took the chance to rest my aching muscles. As I was standing there, I noticed that the photographs hanging over the sink had been dusted recently. One showed four-year-old Mei holding a pen and scroll, a minischolar. Next to it hung a picture of me dressed as a sunflower for our preschool play.
The turnip cakes were for a party next week, an event to celebrate Mei’s acceptance into Harvard. Mrs. Liu had planned it out a long time ago. I think she decided on which dishes to serve before Mei started high school. Last July, she bought boxes of scarlet and black decorations. She mailed the invitations a month ago. Harvard’s acceptance emails, though, wouldn’t go out until tomorrow, April 1, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Now Mei just had to get in.
The three of us attend Lowell, a high school for academic types—nerds in the best sense—a rare public school that students compete to get into. At Lowell, we have a popular crowd, hipsters, and partiers like everywhere else, but we worry more about SAT percentiles and college choices than our counterparts. For us, the first of April is bigger than the Academy Awards. Tomorrow, hopes would be mangled and dreams decapitated.
Mrs. Liu spun around to face Mei. “Meihua! That boy on bus. Shi bu shi boyfriend?”
Meihua blinked. “He’s not, Ma.”
Linny and I exchanged glances.
full denial = a lie of omission × 10 3
Mei’s sincere lie had gone bad, turned slimy and evil smelling like leftovers jammed to the back of the fridge behind the sauce jars.
“The stove!” Linny yelled.
Flames shot upward. Mrs. Liu calmly fetched a small broom and beat out the fire in three precise strokes. She’s efficient like that. “You are young. You cannot know love.”
Except Romeo and Juliet were young, and though Darren had not declared his devotion publicly from the alley or climbed a trellis to the window leading to Mei’s bedchamber, Romeo had nothing on him when it came to passion. I’d seen more of that than I cared to, in fact.
Mei laid the steamed bacon on a clean bamboo chopping block and commenced mincing it into molecule-sized bits. Mrs. Liu waved her spatula. “Harvard most important thing. Future more valuable than useless boy. You tell me, Erin. Who is boy?”
My hand flew across the grater, and the mound of turnips grew. “The boy on Muni?”
Mrs. Liu growled with exasperation. “The Master say give elder no reason for anxiety.”
Mei ducked her head. “You’re right, Ma.”
“I am not right,” Mrs. Liu barked. “The Master is right.” By the Master, she meant Confucius, the spiritual grandfather of China, born more than five hundred years before Jesus. Arguing against the Master would be futile. The main dinner chef arrived, and Mrs. Liu dismissed us. “Skedaddle. Do homework. Good-bye.”
Grateful for the reprieve, I slipped out of my apron. Mei planted her feet by the stove and lifted her chin. She looked exactly like she used to long ago when we shoved cooked rice and fruit under the stove to feed the hungry ghost that lived there: scared but determined. She turned to Linny and me. “I’m staying to help Ma. Wait for me.”
Which meant Linny and I would get a little time alone and she could finally tell me what she started to say on Muni.

About the Author:

I am the author of two YA novels, MY INVENTED LIFE and MISS FORTUNE COOKIE. I also contributed a short story to the anthology THE FIRST TIME.

Though I grew up on a sail boat and loved traveling the world as a kid, I'm still afraid of the ocean. I much prefer other modes of transportation these days--plane, train, or car. Walking is best.

I love books with multi-faceted, intriguing characters. The best one make me laugh, cry, and turn the pages long past my bed time.

When I'm not reading or writing, I spend time with family and friends, talking about everything under the sun. Add in some good food to the mix, top it off with chocolate, and I'm truly happy.

Lauren Bjorkman
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