Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


Throne of Glass
(Throne of Glass # 1)
By: Sarah J. Maas
Pub. Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Pages: 416
Source: ARC

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


I've had a copy of this book since April and it took me forever to read it. I kept putting it off, even though everyone kept telling me to read it, and boy, am I glad I finally listened! Throne of Glass was so much more then I was expecting! Sure, it is a pretty big book. So big in fact, that my hands were actually hurting from holding up the ARC, but every single page is filled with action, romance and secrets. I wanted, no I needed to know more about Celaena, Chaol, and Prince Dorian!

Celaena is an 18 year old master assassin, that in itself is pretty awesome! She spent the last year working the mines, being beaten and starved, but she is still strong and would not let the prison break her. The Prince promises to release her if she fights to become his father's champion, which means she must win against 23 other opponents, then work for the King, for a few years, killing exactly who he says. Celaena knows she can will be able to fight and win!

I loved Celaena. At first I didn't think I would, but she really opened up to me. She had a very sad back story, and you understand why and how she became as assassin.  She might be the best there is, but that doesn't mean she likes doing it. She still has a heart, and doesn't want to hurt those that don't deserve it.

I was a little disappointed with the boy factor though. I didn't feel connected to either Chaol, Captain of the Guard or Prince Dorian. Both of them had sweet moments, but Chaol was way too hot and cold for me, and while I definitely liked Dorian more, even he had some pretty dumb moments. Overall, I just wasn't impressed.

Throne of Glass is not a fast read. It took me over a week to read this one. It is a heavy book, literally and figuratively, but it is also an enjoyable read. I am very excited to see where the story is going to take us next!  





Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest Post: Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista


Extraordinary Rendition
By: Paul Batista
Pub. Date: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions LLC
Pages: 380

When Ali Hussein—suspected terrorist and alleged banker for Al Qaeda—is finally transported from Gitmo to the US mainland to stand trial, many are stunned when Byron Carlos Johnson, pre-eminent lawyer and the son of a high-profile diplomat, volunteers as counsel.  On principle, Johnson thought he was merely defending a man unjustly captured through Rendition and water-boarded illegally. But Johnson soon learns that there is much more at stake than one man’s civil rights.

Hussein’s intimate knowledge of key financial transactions could lead to the capture of—or the unabated funding of—the world’s most dangerous terror cells. This makes Hussein the target of corrupt US intelligence forces on one side, and ruthless international terrorists on the other.  And, it puts Byron Carlos Johnson squarely in the crosshairs of both.

Pulled irresistibly by forces he can and cannot see, Johnson enters a lethal maze of espionage, manipulation, legal traps and murder. And when his life, his love, and his acclaimed principles are on the line, Johnson may have one gambit left that can save them all; a play that even his confidants could not have anticipated. He must become the hunter among hunters in the deadliest game.

Written by no-holds-barred-attorney Paul Batista, Extraordinary Rendition excels not only as an action thriller, but as a sophisticated legal procedural as well; tearing the curtains away from the nation’s most controversial issues.

Provocative. Smart. Heart-pounding. A legal thriller of the highest order.


 WHEN WHERE AND HOW DO YOU WRITE?...

I hear this question many times.  And the answer is: "wherever, whenever, and by any means possible."

Here is just one example.  I have been a long-distance runner for many years.  I often take a hand-held voice recorder with me and dictate into it as I run.  I do get puzzled looks from fellow runners, but over the last few years as more and more people use cell phones all the time, even while running, I get fewer and fewer quizzical glances as I speak into a recorder. I'm blessed to have an assistant who doesn't mind typing from dictation, and I find that after a six mile run my dictation translates into four or five written pages. Listening to my panting, almost breathless voice on the tape could make you think I’m doing something other than running. Since I run in places as diverse as central park, long island, and whatever city I happen to be in, the answer to “where do you write?" is "all over the place."

As to "when do you write?" the answer is any time during the day when I can. I still practice law because I enjoy it, but it's demanding work.  There are times during the day when I can start or finish a scene in a new novel but those interludes don't last for more than fifteen minutes before I have to take a call or leave for court.  And I can even write when in court, because a judge often takes a long time before appearing on the bench, and that enables me to write while waiting rather than staring out the window.  A great deal of my writing happens in the quiet hours of the night.  I'm one of those people who'd rather write about intrigue than watch "CSI."  It would be nice to have the kind of routine some writers have   with a set schedule of writing from 8 to noon, as if it were a job.  I admire that discipline; I will say that on a day when I don't write I get that empty feeling that the day was not as well-spent as it could have been.

About the author: 

Paul Batista, novelist and television personality, is one of the most widely known trial lawyers in the country. As a trial attorney, he specializes in federal criminal litigation. As a media figure, he is known for his regular appearances as guest legal commentator on a variety of television shows including, Court TV, CNN, HLN and WNBC. He’s also appeared in the HBO movie, You Don't Know Jack, starring Al Pacino.

A prolific writer, Batista authored the leading treatise on the primary federal anti-racketeering statute, Civil RICO Practice Manual, which is now in its third edition (Wiley & Sons, 1987; Wolters Kluwer, 2008). He has written articles for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The National Law Journal.

Batista's debut novel, Death's Witness, was awarded a Silver Medal by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). And his new novel, Extraordinary Rendition, is now being published—along with a special reissue of Death’s Witness—by Astor + Blue Editions.

Batista is a graduate of Bowdoin College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and Cornell Law School. He’s proud to have served in the United States Army. Paul Batista lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

You can pre-order Extraordinary Rendition now at Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review & Giveaway: The Summer I Learned to Dive By: Shannon McCrimmon


The Summer I Learned to Dive
By: Shannon McCrimmon
Pub. Date: May 7, 2012
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 198
Source: Author

Since the time she was a little girl, eighteen-year-old Finley “Finn” Hemmings has always lived her life according to a plan, focused and driven with no time for the average young adult’s carefree experiences. On the night of her high school graduation, things take a dramatic turn when she discovers that her mother has been keeping a secret from her—a secret that causes Finn to do something she had never done before—veer off her plan. In the middle of the night, Finn packs her bags and travels by bus to Graceville, SC seeking the truth. In Graceville, Finn has experiences that change her life forever; a summer of love, forgiveness and revelations. She learns to take chances, to take the plunge and to dive right in to what life has to offer.
The main reason I accepted to review The Summer I Learned to Dive was the cover. I absolutely loved the colors of the ocean. After I read the summary, I was excited to read a coming of age story, about a girl who is in search of who she really is.

The day that Finley "Finn" Hemmings graduates from high school, she learns that her mother has been keeping her grandparents from her. Finn's father died when she was very young, and for her whole life it has just been her and her mom. She thought her father's parents wanted nothing to do with her. Turns out they never gave up trying to contact her, even sending her a graduation present. That night, Finn does the first impulsive thing she has ever done, and goes to South Carolina to meet them.

I understood why Finn did what she did, but at the same time, I felt she was being a little dramatic. She should have talked to her mother about why she lied, instead of being impulsive and running away. I might not have agreed with her mothers reasoning, but Finn could have waited a few days, talked to her grandparents on then phone, and then planned a trip.

My other complaint was the relationship between Finn and Jesse, the young guy who works for her grandparents. He came off as a very flat, one dimensional character to me, and I just didn't feel any connection with them together.

Other then that, I enjoyed the story. The writing flowed nicely, and I liked the ending. The story was very predictable, but there is a sequel, so I am interested to see where McCrimmon will take us next into the lives of these characters.

Enter below to win a kindle ebook copy of The Summer I Learned to Dive!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Who I Kissed
By: Janet Gurtler
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley

She never thought a kiss could kill…

Samantha didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in...and she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died—right in her arms.

Was she really the only person in the entire school who didn’t know about his peanut allergy? Or that eating a peanut butter sandwich and then kissing him would be deadly? Overnight Sam turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she’ll have to find a way to forgive herself before anyone else will.
This is the first story that I have read from Janet Gurtler, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a fast paced read, with great writing and awesome characters. When I first read the synopsis for Who I Kissed, I was interested to see how the storyline was going to play out, and I ended up loving every second of it!

Samantha begins her first day at a new school, and things become easier when she starts to make friends. She is even invited to a party by a super cute boy named Zee. At the party, Zee started talking to another girl, so she started talking to Alex, Zee's best friend. Sam and Alex are drinking and flirting and eventually they start kissing. All of a sudden Alex can't breath and he ends up dying. Turns out he has a nut allergy and before the party Sam ate a peanut butter sandwich. Consumed with guilt, Sam refuses to leave her house. When she finally goes back to school, everyone hates her.

I felt so bad for Sam. She blames herself completely, but as it turns out, Zee blames himself for his best friends death too and Alex's sister also blames herself.

Who I Kissed is a story about forgiveness and moving past a tragic accident. Sam had a wonderful support system at home with her father and her aunt. She also meets new people at school who don't make her feel like crap for Alex's death.

I really loved Who I Kissed and I will definitely be reading other books from Gurtler! 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Post: The Summer I Learned To Dive by Shannon McCrimmon


Since the time she was a little girl, eighteen-year-old Finley “Finn” Hemmings has always lived her life according to a plan, focused and driven with no time for the average young adult’s carefree experiences. On the night of her high school graduation, things take a dramatic turn when she discovers that her mother has been keeping a secret from her—a secret that causes Finn to do something she had never done before—veer off her plan. In the middle of the night, Finn packs her bags and travels by bus to Graceville, SC seeking the truth. In Graceville, Finn has experiences that change her life forever; a summer of love, forgiveness and revelations. She learns to take chances, to take the plunge and to dive right in to what life has to offer.



The Musings of an Austen Addict

Everyone has a favorite book. It's the book you can claim to have read a million times. It's the one where you know the characters so well, that they feel real to you. It's the book that you can repeat certain passages verbatim.

To say I've read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen a bunch of times is a gross understatement. Every Christmas, as part of a yearly ritual, I reread it. “Hello, my name is Shannon McCrimmon and I am a Jane Austen addict.”

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel of all time. It's a timeless romance with incredible characters. The chemistry between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth is engrossing. You can't help but appreciate their initial disdain for one another, only to see their feelings blossom into a mutual attraction and then grow into full-fledged love. There's that element of suspense where you are constantly asking yourself while reading it, “Will Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett end up together?” In my humble opinion, Darcy is one of the sexiest heroes and Elizabeth is one of the wittiest heroines in literature.

The supporting characters are individuals in their own right: the dim-witted Mr. Collins, who knows nothing about women; the hypochondriac, very dramatic mother who will stop at nothing to marry off her five daughters; and the sweet, non-judgmental sister, Jane, who sees the good in everyone. Austen created an entire cast of colorful characters who enrich the story and make it such an entertaining, memorable read. Characters, who truly are characters, help make a story interesting. If they're dull and lifeless, then you won't be drawn in and may never finish the book.

I just completed the sequel to The Summer I Learned to Dive, entitled: The Year I Almost Drowned. It's slated to be released late fall of this year. I'm really excited about this one. I love the characters I created in The Summer I Learned to Dive and am equally as enthusiastic about the new characters that are introduced in the sequel.

When I create a character, I jot down EVERYTHING about that character, from their taste in music and food, to any peculiarities that they may have, and general background information. When the character of Jesse (swoon) was created, I decided he was a jazz fan and loved Nina Simone. I believed it fit him, because jazz music is incredibly sexy and in my opinion, so is Jesse!

Some people may think that writing a sequel would be easy. It's not. In fact, it can be an intense process where you start second guessing yourself by repeatedly asking, “Would this character do this?” I had to make sure that when the characters spoke, acted, or did anything for that matter that it was true to them and the idea of what I had originally created. For me, I took it as an opportunity to expand on their character. I wanted to give readers the chance to get to know them better―the way I know them.

Unique characters stand out. They pull you into the story and make you remember it. That's what Jane Austen did when she put pen to paper, and that's what I'm hoping to do, too.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway~ Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Today, I am so excited to be hosting the Home Run Blog Tour to celebate the release of Stealing Parker by  Miranda Kenneally!


Stealing Parker
By: Miranda Kenneally
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 242

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.


THE ART OF MAKING MISTAKES: WHY MESSING UP IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO.

BY MIRANDA KENNEALLY


I love reading reviews of my books. I always listen to what people have to say in hopes I can make my writing better. However, there’s one thing I’ll never change about my books, no matter what: I’ve seen some readers get upset when my characters make mistakes.

My characters make big mistakes and small mistakes. Some decisions have serious repercussions on the life of not only my main character, but sometimes on the lives of others.

When I was a teenager, I did some very dumb things. Like, one time my parents told me I couldn’t go to the Aerosmith concert, but I took their car and went anyway. My parents got really upset. Sure, I loved the concert, but afterwards I had to live with the guilt of hurting my parents and doing something I knew was wrong. They grounded me for a month!

Another time, I told a friend a serious lie because I thought it would impress her. She was always doing things that were “cool” and I wanted to feel cool too. I wanted her to think I was worthy of our friendship. Instead of thinking I was cool, she told a bunch of people what I said and spread the gossip about me all over school. What made it especially bad was that some people knew it wasn't true. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. And I was sad that my “friend” wasn't a true friend. But I learned from the mistake. I learned not to lie anymore, and I learned that true friends will love me for who I am, not what I’ve done.

When I’m writing a book, I’m not scared to have my characters screw up. If we don’t screw up, we can’t learn, and then we can’t become better people.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally


Stealing Parker
By: Miranda Kenneally
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 242
Source: ARC from Publisher

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.

I am a huge fan of Miranda Kenneally and Catching Jordan was one of my favorite books of 2011. When I was asked to be apart of the blog tour, I was beyond excited! I started Stealing Parker right away and it did not disappoint!

Parker Shelton's mom left the family to be with another women. Because of this, her church and her friends completely turned on her and everyone started calling her a lesbian. To compensate, Parker quit softball, a game she absolutely loved, lost 20 pounds and started making out with as many boys as she can. Drew was the only person that stayed true to her. He suggests that Parker helps out with the boys baseball team. It is here that she meets Brian Hoffman, the 23 year old baseball coach. She is instantly attracted to him, and though they know the age difference can get them in trouble, they decide to get "friendly" with each other.

I couldn't help but feel for Parker. It was bad enough that her life completely changed when her mom left, but now everyone else in her life has to leave her too? I think this led her to make the choices that she did, but you can't fault her for it. Parker was real and relatable.

I think the surprise hit for me in Stealing Parker was Corndog. He and Parker were always rivals academically, and I really didn't like him at first, but he turned out to be one of the sweetest boys in YA. I just loved him. He wasn't perfect, but just like Parker, he was realistic.

What I love about Miranda Kenneally is her ability to make every signal character feel important, and for the most part, she accomplished this, but I was disappointed in Brian's character. I feel like I didn't know him at all. He was hot and cold, and I hate characters like that.

Religion also plays a big part in this book. I am not a fan of religion in books, but I do think Kenneally did a good job approaching the subject.

Overall, I loved Stealing Parker, Kenneally is such a talented writer and I am already looking forward to her next book.



Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa


The Lost Prince
(The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten # 1)
By: Julie Kagawa
Pub. Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 379
Source: Netgalley
Don't look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase's unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he's dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister's world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myths and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My name is Ethan Chase. And I may not live to see my eighteenth birthday.
When I first heard that the amazing and talented, Julie Kagawa was going to write a new series based on Ethan, Meghan's little brother, I was a little apprehensive about it, but when I saw it on netgalley, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read another Kagawa book. I am very happy that I did. I think this is going to be a wonderful series.

Twelve years after the events of the original series, we find Ethan starting yet another high school. Ethan is labeled a troubled kid, but in reality, Ethan has the Sight, and can see Them, meaning everything in the Fae world. But Ethan isn't a bad kid at all. He's just trying to keep himself and his parents safe.

I really felt so bad for Ethan. He misses his sister Meghan so much, while at the same time hating her for leaving and becoming one of Them. He has to keep to himself and he can't allow himself to get close to anyone. If he does, there is a chance they could get hurt. Ethan just lives in this horrible cycle, while trying to keep everyone safe and not disappointing his family, but it never works out the way he hopes. Ethan is strong and brave, and definitely does not get the credit he deserves!

Despite Ethan trying to stay away from Fae problems, he gets sucked in when these ghosts things, who call themselves the Forgotten, attack him and the girl who won't leave him alone, Kenzie. Even though it is the last thing he wants to do, Ethan and Kenzie go into Nevernever to let Meghan know what is happening.

While in the Fae world we see old friends, Grimalkin, Puck, Ash and Meghan. We also meet some new guys, including Keirran. If you read The Iron Knight, then you know exactly who Keirran is! I really enjoyed Keirran, and I am looking forward to getting to know him better. There were a lot of unanswered questions regarding Ethan and Keirran, so I can't wait to learn more about that in upcoming books.

I also really enjoyed the love interest, Kenzie. At first I couldn't figure her out, but she is the perfect girl for Ethan. Of course, she comes with her own baggage, and I am really hoping that somehow the Fae can help her out with her problems. Ethan and Kenzie were adorable together. I loved watching Ethan's feelings grow for her.

I know this series is supposed to focus on Ethan, and don't get me wrong, I love him as a MC, but I would have liked to see more of Puck, Ash and Meghan. I was hoping Ethan and Meghan would have this huge confrontation, and Meghan would explain why she stayed away, but it never happened. Here's hoping it happens in the next book!

Overall, I really enjoyed The Lost Prince. While I was hoping for a little bit more, I am still extremely interested in The Forgotten, and seeing everything play out in future books. I trust Julie completely. I don't think she will steer us wrong! If you haven't read The Iron Fey series, I suggest you read those four books first, everything will make a lot more sense to you. 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


The Perks of Being a Wallflower
By: Stephen Chbosky
First Published: February 1999 by MTV Books
Re-Published: August 2012 by Gallery Books (MTV Books)
Pages: 213
Source: Publisher

Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.


I first read The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2003, in my senior year of high school. I remembered feeling less alone after I read it. No matter what was happening in my life, I realized that people were going through things as well. It was one of those stories that have stayed with me for years. When I heard it was becoming a movie, I was so excited, I knew I had to re-read it before I saw the movie. When the publisher sent me a surprise tie-in movie edition, I knew it was fate. I was looking forward to seeing if the book meant the same to me as it did 10 years ago, and it 100% did!

What makes Perks so interesting and original, is that it is written in letter form, always ending in, "Love always, Charlie". Charlie is about to start freshman year of high school, feeling alone and scared he writes letters to an anonymous person, in the hopes that someone out there will listen to him. I thought this added so much to the story. Through the letters we learn all about his life, his family, his loneliness, and finally his new set of friends. His friends help him open up to become the young man he is meant to be. I loved these guys together. Patrick and Sam are wonderful and fun, and I easily loved both of them!

I just loved Charlie as a narrative. He is such an endearing young boy, and you can tell he has a lot of problems. Towards the end, a secret about Charlie is revealed. This secret changes everything and makes you understand Charlie so much more.

Overall, I loved this story as much as I did 10 years. Perks is one of my favorite books, and I think it is a book that everyone should read, young and old.

Check out the original cover:


I can't wait to see this movie! Check out the trailer below: 





Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Spotlight & Giveaway The Athena Effect by Derrolyn Anderson

Today I want to spotlight the newest book from a fantastic author, The Athena Effect by Derrolyn Anderson. Derrolyn also wrote the Marina's Tales series (Between the Land and the Sea, The Mood and the Tide, The Fate of the Muse and The Turning Tides), which is one of my favorite mermaid tales out there!


Country girl Cal has been kept a secret her entire life, raised in isolation by two very troubled people. Despite her parent’s disturbing fits, Cal is perfectly content, living at one with nature and finding adventure inside the pages of her beloved books.  When an awful tragedy tears her away from her remote cabin in the woods, nothing she’s ever read has prepared her for a world that she knows very little about.

Girls and motorcycles are what bad-boy Cal’s life is all about. Brought up in a raucous party house by his biker brother, he’s free to do as he pleases, going through the motions on his final days of high school. Aimless, Cal stopped thinking about his future a long time ago.

Attacked by a gang of thugs while running an errand for his brother, Cal is in serious trouble until a fierce girl appears out of nowhere to intervene. She chases off three grown men, sparing Cal a brutal beating before disappearing into the night like a spirit. He can’t stop thinking about his mysterious rescuer, and when she turns out to be the weird new girl at school who goes out of her way to avoid him, he can’t contain his curiosity.

He’s never met anyone like her before, and the more he learns about the unusual girl who shares his nickname, the more he wants to know. Cal can’t help falling for Cal, but can he keep her from falling victim to a dangerous enemy from her parent’s tragic past?

I can not wait to read this one! It sounds amazing. Ms. Anderson is such a terrific writer, I know she can't do any wrong.

I also have an excerpt to share with you all!


She stepped out from the shadows, shrieking, “Stop it! You’re going to kill him!”

The three thugs looked up with shocked faces, “What the…”

The punching man stopped in mid-swing and charged at her. She tried to run back into the tree line, but was thrown to the ground by a flying tackle, and dragged by her ankles into the clearing. She kicked and fought, twisting and clawing at the turf, but she was unable to break free. Her hood slipped down and a mass of curly blonde hair spilled out.

“Let go of me!” she screamed, remembering the last time a killer tried to drag her away.


The man lunged on top of her, straddling her and pinning her arms to the ground over her head.


“Shut up or I’ll shut you up,” he grunted from the exertion. The other two men stood looking down at her as she struggled futilely to get away.


“Here to save your boyfriend?” one of them asked, making the other one laugh.


“Help!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. The man on top of her released one of her arms to slap her hard across the cheek, and it was all the opening she needed.


With a well-practiced grab, she drew her hunting knife from its sheath on her belt and pressed it to his side, ready to plunge it in. He looked down in horror and reeled back from the long blade, allowing her to push him over onto his back and spring to her feet in one swift move. She crouched above him, poised to plunge it into his belly.

“I swear I’ll gut him!” she yelled, her eyes flashing at the men who stood frozen. “Get back,” she growled through gritted teeth, trying her hardest to send them all an icy blue blast of fear.

It seemed to work, because the man lying on the ground called out, “Do what she says…” His eyes were wide in the moonlight, locked onto the gleaming silver blade.

“Back off,” she yelled again, watching the others as they slowly moved away. She kept the knife raised with both hands, shaking from the rush of adrenalin. A police siren wailed in the distance and the two men looked over their shoulders nervously.

“Take it easy Blondie,” the one on the ground said. “We were just leaving.”


She slowly backed away, keeping her knife at the ready, fully prepared to dive on him and stick it deep into his belly without hesitation. The man scrambled backwards, finally rising to join the others. He brushed himself off, trying to regain his dignity, and signaled for them to leave. She watched the three of them disappear back into the shadows they’d come from.

Satisfied that they were really going, she turned her attention to the beaten boy.

Cal had crawled to his knees and witnessed the whole scene, and he looked up with bleary eyes to see the girl standing over him, her golden hair reflecting the moonlight like the halo of a guardian angel. The police siren grew louder on the road beneath the hill, passing them by and fading away into the distance.


She bent down to offer him a hand, and he took it, focusing on the two raised scars that ran down the length of her forearm. She pulled him to his feet and he stood wavering, rubbing his sore jaw. It hurt to breathe, and he wondered if they had a broken rib.

He watched in a daze as she slipped her knife back into its sheath, pulling her oversized sweatshirt down to conceal it. She pushed her sleeves down over her arms and flipped the hood back up to cover her glowing mane of hair. It occurred to him that she might be a ghost.

“You need to get out of here before they come back,” she said.

“Where did you come from?” he choked out, looking back the way the men left. “Who are you?”

When he turned around she was gone.

Now for the giveaway! 

One US resident can win a copy of The Athena Effect, as well as a beautiful necklace created by Derrolyn herself!


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One international resident can win an ebook copy of The Athena Effect!

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Joy Preble is going on tour!

As you know, I am a huge fan of Joy Preble! I love her Dreaming Anastasia series and she is just one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I am happy to announce that Joy will be going on tour to a few places in Texas to promote her latest book, Anastasia Forever.


Joy will be signing at the local Barnes & Noble at these three locations:


Hurst (Dallas/Ft. Worth) on 10/15- 10/16
Round Rock/Austin on 10/17-10/18
San Antonio on 10/19-10/20 


Click here to get more information about the signing, locations, and times! 

About the author: 


A former English teacher, Joy is the author of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series (Sourcebooks), which blends paranormal romance with historical fiction. The second in that series, HAUNTED, is out now, and the final book of the trilogy, title TBA, but currently ANASTASIA FOREVER, is due in Fall 2012. Another paranormal – about a sixteen-year-old stoner turned guardian angel – THE SWEET DEAD LIFE – is set in Houston and slated for May 2013, from Soho Press. Joy grew up in Chicago but now lives with her family in Houston where she writes full time and frequently gets into wild rumpuses and other mischief. She is not a fan of the Houston summer but does love cowboy boots, going to the rodeo, and the coffee drinks at Empire CafĂ©.




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Slammed
(Slammed # 1)
By: Colleen Hoover
Pub. Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 314
Source: Netgalley 


Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart. 

I started seeing Slammed around in the blogosphere and I was instantly interested in it. I requested it on netgalley and within 24 hours I finished one of the best books I read this year! There isn't enough words to describe how amazing Slammed truly is. The writing is perfect, the story is wonderful, and the characters will pull on your heart and make you scream for more. Within five chapters, I knew I was going to love this book, and I requested the second book, Point of Retreat, which I will be starting soon.

Layken just moved from Texas to Michigan with her little brother, Kel and their mom, six months after her father died suddenly. Lake doesn't want to be there. She misses her friends, she misses her dad, she misses home. As soon as they get to their new house, Kel meets Caulder, and Caulder's older brother Will. Lake starts to think that maybe Michigan won't be so bad after all.

I loved Lake. She is easily one of my favorite YA ladies. Some of the things that came out of her mouth were hilarious! I found myself laughing out loud like a fool many times. Then there is the swoon-worthy Will. After his parents died two years ago, he left college, and his football scholarship to become Caulder's legal guardian. He is about as selfless as they come. He is just an overall good person, and anyone would be lucky to have him in their lives. Both of these characters were so broken, but they helped each other in ways that no one else could. When things get even worse for Lake, it's Will that stood by her, no matter what that would cost him.

The secondary characters were some of the best I have ever read! The younger brothers, Caulder and Kel stole the show! They were so much fun and I loved their friendship. You can tell that even though they are only 9, they are going to be each other's best mans at their weddings. Lake's best friend, Eddie, who she meets on the first day of school, was hands down, my favorite character. Eddie has been through so much, yet she has a love for life and adventure. I was bawling like a baby on Eddie's 18th birthday! And honestly, if you didn't have tears in your eyes at that part, then you have no soul! Lake's mom was the kind of mom that everyone wishes they had. She is supportive, but not on top of Lake. She gives Lake the freedom she needs. She was just a wonderful mom.

I honestly could not have asked for anything better. Slammed is the perfect book to read on a rainy day. I can't wait to own a physical copy for my book shelf so I can see this pretty all the time! Slammed will make you laugh, cry, and swoon. It is an easy ready, and even though it deals with some heavy situations, it is still a book about family, love, trust and fun! I highly recommend it!

Point of Retreat is the next chapter in Lake and Will's story and is told in Will's perspective! I.Can't.Wait!!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone


Time Between Us
By: Tamara Ireland Stone
Pub. Date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett's unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna's life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility. As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate--and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning and spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new talent in YA fiction.
  
Take The Time Traveler's Wife, but minus the tear inducing words, The Lake House, minus that entire god awful movie, and you have Time Between Us. A fast paced, thought provoking, wonderful story that stays with you long after you finish reading the last page. I was really impressed with how Tamara Ireland Stone put everything together. She has easily become one of my favorite authors.

It's the year 1995, and Anna is on her morning run when she sees a guy watching her. Later on in school she sees the same guy, but he says that he has never even been to that track. Turns out Bennet can travel through time and he is actually from the year 2012, but is stuck in 1995 for the time being. The more time the two spend together, the more they start to fall in love. But Bennet eventually will go back to where he belongs, and Anna will already be an adult while he is still a teenager in 2012. The odds are against them, but they were so sweet and their connection felt so real, I just had to root for them.

The characters were one of the best things about this book. Both Anna and Bennet were so realistic that I was able to connect with them easily. I loved how Bennet told Anna about his secret. He didn't overwhelm her with it, and he gave her time to take everything in. He was so sweet and he treated Anna amazingly. Bennet was definitely swoon worthy!

The writing was fantastic and everything flowed nicely. Usually, I am confused when I read time traveling stories because authors always make it more complicating then it has to be, but with Time Between Us, I was able to understand what was happening the entire time.

Time Between Us is a sweet love story that I highly recommend!



Monday, October 1, 2012

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Jenny Plague-Bringer by J.L. Bryan

I am so excited to reveal the cover for Jenny Plague-Bringer, the forth book in J.L. Bryan's The Paranormals series! 



How beautiful is this cover? I have been staring at it since it appeared in my inbox! 

Jenny Plague-Bringer
(The Paranormals #4)
By J.L. Bryan
Expected Pub: 10/23/2012
 
Jenny has enjoyed a year of quiet seclusion, but her peace is about to be shattered by two new paranormals who are searching for her. Their intentions are unknown. The timing couldn’t be worse, because Jenny can’t use her pox without risking the life of the baby growing inside her…


Jenny Pox is FREE here:
FREE on: Amazon | Apple | Smashwords | Sony | $2.99 on Nook

J.L. Bryan links:

J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on English Renaissance and Romantic literature. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina, dogs Violet and Tiger Lily, and cats Shadow and Sue.  Amazon US Author Profile  •  Amazon UK Author Profile





Giveaway:

First three books in the Paranormals series *autographed*
*open to entries from the US, Canada, and the UK!*

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Cover Reveals & Giveaway: Hell Bent/Heaven Sent Series by Isobel Lucas


Isobel Lucas is releasing a serial novel, which will contain a series of five novelettes. Each novelette will have its own story to resolve, but all five relate to a wider story! 

I am so excited to read these stories! They sound amazing and I LOVE the covers!

This is the overall series cover: 


And here are the individual novella covers: 





Novella number 1, On Raven's Wings releases on October 23, 2012. Here is a description for it: 


Mary Joseph's family is going through a financial crisis and now she's forced to finish out senior year at the local public school. In an effort to erase her Catholic school girl image, she joins a rock band, gets a makeover from her best friend, and changes her name to Raven.

Ian, the hottest guy in school, notices her and she's plunged into a world she never expected to enter. His kisses are as steamy as his body, but Raven doesn't know if he's telling her the truth about his bizarre family or if he's just saying anything to convince her to go all the way.

When disaster hits Raven's family, she has to make a decision: ignore Ian's wild claims or take a leap of faith.

On Raven's Wings is the first episode in a series of five novelettes (10,000 - 15,000 words) releasing every two weeks starting October 23rd. Due to sex and language, this is recommended for readers 17 and up.


A new novella will release every two weeks starting October 23rd. After the release of Metamorphosis on December 18th, a compilation ebook will also be released!

*Giveaway*

You can win all 5 ebooks! Just fill out the form below. Good luck! 

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