Friday, October 10, 2014

Compulsion by Martina Boone | I Have A Compulsion For Magic Blog Tour

Compulsion by Martina Boone | I Have A Compulsion For Magic Blog Tour

Hello & welcome to the I Have A Compulsion for Magic blog tour!

I’m so thrilled to be apart of the tour to celebrate the upcoming release of Martina Boone’s debut, Compulsion. You can follow the entire tour. Trust me, you don’t want to miss the author guest posts, the excerpts, and the massive giveaway going on with the tour.

Guest Post!

Paula Stokes is today’s guest author on the Compulsion for Magic tour, and she’s a pro at writing books about characters in conflict between want and need. (That’s something Barrie in Compulsion has a bit of trouble with too.) Like Compulsion also, The Art of Lainey has a strong heroine who doesn’t need a sword to go after what she wants. In fact, Lainey arms herself with a book instead, and as we all know, books are the best form of everyday magic.

Paula is going to tell us a little about what she, and Lainey, think about double-edged magical gifts.

But first . . . 

What about you? For a chance to win the HUGE tour mega prize of books and the $100 gift card, tell us about the magical gift you’d like to have—but remember, as it does on Compulsion’s Watson Islandall small magic has a downside. Think a little about living with the consequences!

Now here’s what Paula had to say . . .

If you could have any “everyday” magical gift, like finding lost things or knowing what people want, what gift would you want and why?

I would want to have super-remembering power. I want this because right now it seems like I have super-forgetting power. If someone says “Remind me to do the thing when we get to the place” and the place is more than five minutes away, I’ll forget. I forgot to go to class when I was in grad school…more than twice. The only reason I never forgot to go to work is because I always wrote my shifts down on a piece of paper, then transferred them to a calendar, then transferred them to my daily to do lists. If I had super-remembering power, I could spend a less time writing things down and spend more time on crucial tasks, like cupcake eating and playing with my cats 🙂

What everyday magic would your characters wish they had and why?

I think Lainey would want magic that made her a better soccer player, either that or magic that made her hair naturally straight without needing a flat iron. For obvious reasons!

Eight, Barrie’s love interest in Compulsion, has inherited his family’s gift of knowing what people want and feeling compelled to give it to them. What’s one gift you’re glad you don’t have? Or your characters would be glad they didn’t have?

I am soooo glad I can’t read minds. It seems like it would be cool, like knowing everyone’s secrets, but then you’d also know what they were thinking about YOU all the time. No thanks.

Barrie is tied to her family’s plantation, Watson’s Landing, in a magical way, and the whole landscape becomes magical for her. What’s the one place in your book that you wish you could bring to life?

Clearly, CLEARLY Mizz Creant’s House of Torture (and Pancakes.) Delicious breakfast food served in a somewhat deviant and macabre environment? What’s not to love about that?

If you were going to a Halloween party and you had to dress as a character from a Southern Gothic or a Gothic romance, what would your costume look like?

Um…does True Blood count? I’d kill for an excuse to dress up like Pam, Eric’s leather-sporting, no-nonsense progeny who is one of the most flawed yet likable characters I’ve ever come across. (Sorry, I haven’t read a lot of Gothic books so I had to cheat with TV :D)

* * *

What do you say, Sookie Stackhouse fans? Obviously, that totally counts!

Your turn! Leave a comment.

And/Or . . .

Bonus option: If you’ve already done that elsewhere on the tour or just want to do something different for extra entry points, show us your magical, gothic, or romantic Halloween costume! What character from a Gothic or Southern Gothic romance would you dress as? Or how would you show an “everyday magic” as a Halloween costume? Post a comment with the URL to your photo and we’ll share it. Use tag #CompulsionMagic.

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About the book:

COMPULSION (HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND, BOOK 1)
Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse

Hardcover, 10/28/14 ISBN: 1481411225

Three plantations. Two gifts. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who somehow seems to know what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Pre-order Compulsion

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

Add to Goodreads

Signed copies are available for pre-order from One More Page Books. You can also pre-order with the special “I have a Compulsion for reading” bookplate from Eight Cousins. Pre-Order Incentives Going on here.

Early Praise for Compulsion

“Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you’ll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series.”

— #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout

“A fresh twist on the Southern Gothic — haunting, atmospheric, and absorbing.”

— Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of A Thousand Pieces of You and the Evernight and Spellcaster series

“Compulsion is a stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!”

— Wendy Higgins, USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy from HarperTeen

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About the author:

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to encouraging literacy and all things YA Series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Website | Blog | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

 

Giveaway!

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Do you have a Compulsion for Reading? Then you don’t want to miss what Martina Boone is giving away! 5 lucky winners will each win the following:

Grand Prize Winner – will win EVERYTHING pictured above! That’s the right! That entire bag of books will go to 1 reader!! *US residents only

Next Winner – will win a $100 gift card to the book store of their choice! *open internationally

3 Additional winners will each win a Compulsion prize pack which features a signed copy of Compulsion, a Compulsion necklace and bookmarks. *open internationally

To enter to win, please fill out the form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + GiveawayBurying Water by K.A. Tucker
Series: Burying Water #1
Published by Atria on October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

picadillyblueK.A. Tucker’s newest novel is full of mystery, suspense, drama, romance, and betrayal.  Readers will have an impossible time putting this one down once they get started.  It has some similarities to the style of her previous series, Ten Tiny Breaths, but it really does stand out.

Alex (Water) has no memory of her life.  She doesn’t even know her own name.  And don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler for readers to know who she really is.  You find that out within the first chapter or two.  However, readers don’t find out what happened to Alex or why for quite some time.  The story is told in chapters that alternate between the past and present as well as between the points-of-view of Alex and Jesse.  It’s the perfect way to tell this story although sometimes I felt like I would have learned more if Alex had been telling parts of the story rather than Jesse.  You definitely only get one perspective of every situation which makes things very interesting but also very one-sided.

Alex (Water) is not hard to like and sympathize with, even once you find out some of the things she’s done in the past.  Let me go ahead and say this: I don’t condone cheating but I had no issues with it in this book.  You’ll see why pretty quickly.  Alex is lost and confused for so long.  She knows absolutely nothing about her life and it’s hard to even imagine what that is like.  No one is looking for her and without the Welles family, she’d have no one and no place to go.  However, some good people do come into her life and they help her through her problems.  One of them is crotchety old lady Ginny Fitzgerald.  Ginny’s story broke my heart but I loved her.  She was grouchy and mean but she’s one of those people you just can’t help but come to like.  Another person that helped Alex was Jesse.  Jesse was a good guy, through and through.  He always had Alex’s best interests at heart, no matter what he did.  It also didn’t hurt that he was described as being extremely sexy and a gear head.  Nothing wrong with that!

The story is fast-paced and heart-pounding.  Even though you know what’s going to happen, it’s hard to read the events leading up to it without getting terrified for Alex and Jesse.  There are some high stakes in their relationship and those high stakes only made their relationship that much more interesting to me.  While the story does seem a bit unbelievable at times, it really comes together perfectly at the end and left me with a smile on my face.

Overall, Burying Water is another fabulous new adult novel from K.A. Tucker.  It’s by far one of the best new adult books I’ve read and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

P.S. I’m not a fan of the name Water.  I just could not get used to it.  It seemed a bit hippy like to me.

What others are saying about Burying Water:

Itching For Books’ review: “Burying Water has an intriguing plot, great writing, and interesting characters (even the side ones offered something significant), but I feel like there was something missing for me.”

Love Between The Sheets’ review: “Between the storyline and the characters, Ms. Tucker painted a vivid picture that resulted in an intimate, intense, and intriguing tale of what one might do if given the chance to do it all over again, and ultimately what might be lost along the way.”

Four Brits and a Book’s review: “Page after page, chapter after chapter, I was lapping up the words.”

Excerpt

Burying Water – by K.A. Tucker

Jane Doe

Now

 

Kind fingers probe something unseen on my scalp and then, with the sound of the door clicking shut, the doctor asks, “How about we start with the basic questions. Can you please give me your name?”

I open my mouth to answer. It’s such a simple question. Everyone has a name. I have a name. And yet . . . “I don’t . . . I don’t know,” I stammer. How do I not know what my name is? I’m sure it’s the same name I’ve had all my life.

My life.

What do I remember about my life? Shouldn’t something about it be registering?

A wave of panic surges through me and the EKG’s telltale beep increases its cadence. Why can’t I seem to recall a single scrap of my life?

Not a face, not a name, not a childhood pet.

Nothing.

Dr. Alwood stops what she’s doing to meet my gaze. “You’ve had a significant head injury. Just try to relax.” Her words come slow and steady. “I’ll tell you what I know. Maybe that will jog your memory. Okay? Just take a few breaths first.” She’s quick to add, “Not too deep.”

I do as instructed, watching my chest lift and fall beneath my blue-and-white checkered gown, cringing with a sharp twinge of pain on my right side with each inhale. Finally, that incessant beeping begins to slow.

I turn my attention back to her. Waiting.

“You were found in the parking lot of an abandoned building nine days ago,” Dr. Alwood begins.

I’ve been here for nine days?

“You were brought into the emergency room by ambulance with extensive, life-threatening trauma to your body. Your injuries were consistent with a physical assault. You had several fractures—to your ribs, your left leg, your right arm, your skull. Your right lung collapsed. You required surgery for a hematoma, a ruptured spleen, and lacerations to . . .” Her calm voice drifts off into obscurity as she recites a laundry list of brutality that can’t possibly have my name at the top of it. “It will take some time to recover from all of these injuries. Do you feel any tightness in your chest now, when you inhale?”

I swallow the rising lump in my throat, not sure how to answer. I’m certainly having difficulty breathing, but I think it has more to do with panic than anything else.

“No,” I finally offer. “I think I’m okay.”

“Good.” She gingerly peels back pieces of gauze from my face—some over the bridge of my nose and another piece running along the right side of my face, from my temple all the way down to my chin. By the slight nod of approval, I’m guessing she’s happy with whatever is beneath. “And how is the air flow through your nose? Any stuffiness?”

I test my nostrils out. “A little.”

She stops her inspection to scribble something on the chart that’s sitting on the side table. “You were very fortunate that Dr. Gonzalez was in Bend on a ski trip. He’s one of the leading plastic surgeons in the country and a very good friend of mine. When I saw you come in, I called him right away. He offered us his skill, pro bono.”

A part of me knows that I should be concerned that I needed a plastic surgeon for my face, and yet I’m more concerned with the fact that I can’t even imagine what that face looks like.

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About the author:

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker 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 currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

 

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads ** YouTube ** Pinterest ** Instagram

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blog Tour: Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa | Teaser + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa | Teaser + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa | Teaser + GiveawayTalon by Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1
on October 28, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

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julieAbout the author:

Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish and the odd eel.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.

Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all-time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian shepherd who is too smart for his own good and the latest addition, a hyperactive Papillon puppy.

Website |  Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway!

Grand-Prize
Each tour stop is offering up a finished copy of TALON!

Five lucky grand prize winners will receive one of Julie’s amazing dragon figurines as well as some fun signed swag. To enter for the grand prize, you MUST follow the tour each day, find and catch the dragon, and answer the daily question.

Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to US/Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Dragon Hunt_Embers

“Catch the Dragon Contest”: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, a dragon will appear on a different blog and stay there for 48hrs. Once you have found the dragon, click on it and you will be directed to a Rafflecopter entry form for the Grand Prize Giveaway! To enter, you must answer the daily question found at the tour stop!!!

Where could the dragon appear? On all Book Blogger Tour Hosts and The Harlequin Paranormal Blog, so go now and catch yourself a dragon! Will you find it? And will you be able to keep it?

Daily question: What about Talon has you most excited to read it?

Tour Schedule:

 

 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blog Tour: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios | Review + Interview + GiveawayExquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle #1
Published by Harper Teen on October 7, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 480
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

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Heather Demetrios’ sophomore novel has been receiving mixed reviews all across the board. It was hard for me to set expectations going in because the bloggers I usually agree with, were all over the place. That being the case, I went into Exquisite Captive with the expectations that I would enjoy the novel strictly because I enjoyed Heather Demetrios’ debut novel, Something Real, and because I’ve been enjoying fantasy novels lately. My expectations were definitely met.

The uniqueness of Exquisite Captive greatly appealed to me. I’ve only read one book about jinni’s in the past and it was nothing like Exquisite Captive. I truly have nothing I could compare this to that might tell you guys what to expect. That’s far from being a bad thing though. Just know, you are not getting your standard fantasy novel when you go into this one. I loved the Jinni history and caste system and look forward to an expansion of that in the following books in the series.

While I didn’t love the love interests, the relationships definitely intrigued me. Nalia’s relationship with Malek definitely reminded me a bit of the Juliette-Warner thing going on. He’s not a good guy and I don’t see him ever being redeemed but I think he will appeal to some readers for that whole Warner-like aspect. Raif, on the other hand, was more my kind of guy. I didn’t trust him at first but he grew on me.

The aspect of this book that’s probably going to be hardest for some people to get by is how slow the first half is. It’s the first in a new fantasy series so you have to expect world-building and you can’t expect that to be rushed. Just know that it is worth it if you make it past that first part.

Overall, Heather Demetrios has impressed me once again. I highly suggest you do what I did and go into this one kind of blind and just judge for yourself.

What others are saying about Exquisite Captive:

Novel Novice’s review: “Dark and seductive, Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios will have you rethinking wishes — and every genie story you’ve ever heard, whether it’s that lovable blue guy in Aladdin or Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie.”

Mostly YA Book Obsessed’s review: “I was fascinated by the beautiful world that Demetrios’ created!”

Escapism’s review: “There was so much potential but it never rose to it.”

New 2 Author Photo Macmillan 2015About the author:

When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher’s Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review “an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history” (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for youth of limited economic means. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at www.heatherdemetrios.com and www.darkcaravancycle.com

Interview!

First off, thanks so much for doing this interview. I adored Something Real and I can’t wait to read Exquisite Captive!

Yay! It makes me so happy that readers who liked my contemporary YA are also excited about checking out a story about a jinni enslaved in Hollywood.

Describe Exquisite Captive in 140 characters or less!

Enslaved jinni / empress-in-hiding seeks infuriatingly attractive enemy to free her from dangerous master. Must know how to steal bottles.

How was it different for you, going from a contemporary novel to a fantasy novel? Was the writing process any different?

I work on them at the same time, so although the novels themselves are very different for readers, it’s all part of the daily landscape to me. The essentials are the same: creating a world the reader will want to spend time in and characters that will find a place in their heart. The writing process is pretty much the same, although with my fantasy there are a lot more outside elements I use: physical storyboarding, writing to music, using scent in my office to bring the world to life…things like that.

What made you decide to write about jinni? It’s definitely not something that’s done a lot!

The idea came from a prompt in a writing class, but I stuck with it because nobody else was exploring these fascinating mythological creatures. The more research I did, the more I began to see the enormous potential for giving the jinn the treatment they deserve in the West. This isn’t Disney’s Aladdin or I Dream of Jeannie. I really tried to delve into the dark side of Arabic lore here.

Do you have any must-haves while writing?

Something to drink—coffee or sparkling water, usually. A heating pad—sitting all day really wrecks you. My Macbook Air and an aesthetically inspiring environment, which is usually my office or one of the coffeehouses in Brooklyn.

Do you have any plans for your release day?

My release day is going to be totally baller because it’s the first day of the Epic Reads tour! I’ll be in Princeton, NJ on my pub day day—I can’t wait! My launch party is the day before at Books of Wonder in Manhattan and we’re going to have a sitar player and henna artist there. I want readers to have a little taste of my jinn world.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now? I know there are more books in the Dark Caravan Cycle but anything else?

My next contemporary YA comes out in Feb. 2015. It’s called I’ll Meet You There and it’s a love story about a young Marine who just lost his leg in Afghanistan and a girl he works with at a quirky roadside motel. It’s my heart in paper and ink. I can’t wait for it to come out!

Short answer:
Bad Boys or Good Boys? I prefer bad boys next door. ☺

Happily ever after or happily never after? I’m a hopeless romantic of the Stephanie Perkins school.

Series or standalone? Series for fantasy, standalone for everything else. With fantasy, you need more time to really see this whole world the author is creating and you want to have enough time to spend with the large cast of characters. But I can’t reiterate enough that every book in a series needs to stand alone in terms of being a satisfying read with its own plot and character arcs. No filler!

Love triangles or soulmates? Some people might be worried that Exquisite Captive has a love triangle – it doesn’t. Three people does no always a love triangle make. I get pretty tired of the love triangle, but when it’s done well, I can’t resist its pull. Triangle or no, I prefer seeing soulmates who figure out they’re meant to be by novel’s end, but don’t know they’re meant to be at novel’s beginning.

Write at night or write during the day? I feel very lucky that I get to write full time. Because of that, I try to get most of my work done before my PIC (partner in crime) gets home from work. But it’s art – you can’t really confine it to one part of the day.

Write in silence or write with music? It depends on the book. I write the Dark Caravan Cycle to sitar and Middle Eastern music because that’s just what feels right and keeps me in the world. I usually write in silence, but have a playlist that inspires me for when I’m taking breaks.

Print, audio or eBooks? Print. Ain’t nothin’ like the real deal.

Giveaway!

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October 2nd:
Ex Libris REVIEW
Bookish REVIEW + DREAM CAST

October 3rd:
Fiktshun REVIEW + THIS OR THAT
Imagine a World REVIEW

October 4th:
Two Chicks On Books GUEST POST
Books a la Mode REVIEW

October 5th:
Fire and Ice REVIEW + MUSIC PLAYLIST
Me, My Shelf and I SPOTLIGHT

October 6th:
Novel Novice REVIEW
Addicted Readers REVIEW

October 7th:
Such A Novel Idea REVIEW + 10 RANDOM THINGS
Katie’s Book Blog REVIEW + AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Forever Young Adult – CHRACTHER INTERVIEW

October 8th:
I Heart YA Fiction REVIEW
Wholly Books REVIEW + WHAT’S ON HEATHER’S DESK

October 9th:
Once Upon A Twilight REVIEW
Crossroad Reviews REVIEW

October 10th:
Mundie Moms REVIEW + EXCERPT
Curling Up With A Good Book REVIEW

October 11th:
Swoony Boys Podcast REVIEW + A DAY IN THE LIFE OF HEATHER
Book Lovers Life REVIEW

October 12th:
A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW + TENS LIST
CBY Book Club – EXCERPT

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + GiveawayAs Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre
Series: 2B Trilogy #2
Published by Harlequin HQN on September 30, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.

Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

picadillyblueAs Long As You Love Me, the second book in the 2B trilogy, cemented my love for Ann Aguirre’s new adult books.  I enjoyed I Want It That Way but it seems like nothing compared to my love for As Long As You Love Me.

Rob and Lauren stole my heart from the very first page.  I really connected with both of the characters.  Rob is a very attractive but not so smart guy.  He’s always been looked at as the dumb jock, not just by outsiders but by his whole family.    His confidence is nonexistent and he sees himself going nowhere in life.  Lauren is really one of the only people who sees potential in him.  She is just as messed up as he is though, just in different ways.  She has severe social anxiety and it has practically crippled her.  She has moved back home from college and Rob is one of the only people in town for her to hang out with.  What starts as a sweet friendship quickly develops into something more and the two of them bring out the best in each other.  However, things are never smooth sailing so they face many trials, making you wonder if these two are destined for a happy ending or better off on their own.

Rob and Lauren’s flaws are what connected me to them because I could so easily relate to them.  Ann Aguirre created characters that readers will easily be able to understand and sympathize with.  It doesn’t hurt that Rob is also a dream guy.  Lauren’s not too bad herself! She’s got a fabulous sense of humor and the banter between the two of them really just made me smile.  I really liked that their relationship was far from perfect but they worked through their issues together.  They didn’t keep anything from each other.  If Rob did something that bothered Lauren, she let him know, and vice versa.  They were very open about things and it was really refreshing.  For once I didn’t want to reach into the book and knock some sense into the characters.

The story is far from action-packed but it’s still completely unputdownable.  Rob and Lauren are enough to hook readers.  I just wanted to know if they’d get their happy ending and if so, how everything would work out.  It didn’t hurt that there were cameos from the characters of I Want It That Way.  There was also just enough drama to keep things interesting.  Things were far from perfect in Sharon, Nebraska and the honesty of the small town setting really added to how much I loved As Long As You Love Me.

Overall, As Long As You Love Me is a wonderful new adult novel that I think fans of the genre will adore.  It’s a sweet contemporary story that will leave you with a smile on your face!

What others are saying about As Long As You Love Me:

Fic Fare’s review: “Overall, this series is a wonderful addition to the new adult genre – not as heavy as some of the books you’ll find in this genre, but I really like that we’re getting some that aren’t all angst, angst, angst.”

Nomi’s Paranormal Palace’s review: “Although I liked the first book, As Long As You Love Me is definitely my favourite in the series so far.”

Closet Geeks and Slow Mo’s review: “So I got to admit, when I finished. I did sigh happily.”

Ann Aguirre

 About the author:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blog Tour: Atlantia by Ally Condie | Q & A + Giveaway #TeamBelow

If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that Ally Condie has a new book coming out this month.  Atlantia hits shelves on October 28.  To celebrate the release, Penguin has put together a fabulous blog tour and campaign.  There are two teams, #TeamBelow (I’m on this team!), and #TeamAbove.

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Throughout the month you can follow along the blog tour (I’ll post the schedule below) as well as check out the hashtags #TeamBelow and #TeamAbove on Instagram and Twitter.  There will be interviews, reviews, giveaways, and lots of fun stuff going on.  PenguinTeen will also be helping us promote all the special content we’ll be featuring throughout the month.  This is going to be one awesome (friendly!) competition between #TeamBelow and #TeamAbove.

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Atlantia by Ally Condie
To Be Released on: October 28th, 2014
Add it to Goodreads
Pre-Order it from: Amazon | B&N

 

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

Q & A

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog! 

Thank you for having me, and for being part of the Atlantia blog tour! It’s so much fun to get to visit your blog.

Your new book, Atlantia, features an Above world and Below world. Would you want to live Above or Below?

I would definitely want to live Above. I do love the ocean, but I wouldn’t want to live UNDER it. I’m also kind of claustrophobic. I’ve taken the Chunnel (the underwater train from England to France) before and I think is about the longest I can stand being underwater. I also like being able to walk for miles and miles and not reach the end of my world.

Who is the character most like you in Atlantia?

I think the character most like me in the story is probably Bay. I would do just about anything to protect those I love. But I don’t think I’m as unselfish as she is. I’m also a bit like Rio, because I know the feeling of being trapped and also the wonderful feeling of breaking free.

What’s the one thing you have to have when you’re writing?

Water. I guess that’s a little ironic, since this is a book with water in it! But I drink a lot of water while I am writing. I’m not sure what’s up with that. I know that’s a pretty lame answer. I guess the other thing I need most (can I have two?) is quiet. Which is kind of impossible in a house with four kids, but I bought some noise-canceling headphones and that REALLY helps.

Do you read YA when you’re not writing it? If so, what is your top recommendation?

*I read a lot of YA and I also read a lot of adult fiction. As far as recent reads go, my top YA recommendation is KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary Pearson. I thought this was a fantastic read and she does some extremely interesting/well-executed things with point-of-view. For adult fiction, I just finished Kate Atkinson’s BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MUSEUM and I adored it. She’s a brilliant writer.

What’s next for you? Any more YA novels in the works?

*Yes! I am working on a YA novel right now. It’s in a completely different setting than anything I’ve done before, and it’s a book that I’ve wanted to write for years but haven’t attempted until now. I probably can’t say much more since it’s still very early stages. As far as what else is next for me—I’m looking forward to the Atlantia tour (I love meeting readers and doing school visits!) and I’ll also continue to try to keep up with my kids (they are 11, 8, 6, and 3, and they are very busy and fun).

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About the author:

Ally Condie is the author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010. The sequels, CROSSED and REACHED, were also critically acclaimed and received starred reviews, and all three books are available in 30+ languages. Disney has optioned the film rights for the series.

A former English teacher, she lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar. (Source: Ally Condie’s website)

 
You can find Ally via her Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 
 
 

Want to follow along the #TeamBelow blog tour?  Check out the schedule!

September 28 – Katie (Mundie Moms) – Long Q&A
September 30 – Jen (I Read Banned Books) – Guest post
October 2 – Katie (Katie’s Book Blog) – Short Q&A
October 4 – Lea (YA Book Queen) – Review
October 6 – Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic) – Fancasting
October 8 – Jeremy (Novel Thoughts Blog) – Guest post
October 10 – Erin/ Flo (Fangirlish) – Review
October 12 – Nancy (Ravenous Reader) – Review
October 14 – Sara (Novel Novice) – Playlist
October 16 – Jess (Gone with the Words) – Short Q&A
October 18 – Rachel (Paper Cuts) – Guest post
October 20 – Georgia (Eve’s Fan Garden) – Playlist
October 22 – Gabby (Queen Ella Bee Reads) – Long Q&A
October 24 – Andrea (Reading Lark) – Review
October 26 – Tirzah (The Compulsive Reader) – Playlist

Want to win my ARC of Atlantia? (Is that even a question?) Fill out the Rafflecopter! (US/CA only)

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Rooms by Lauren Oliver | Review

Blog Tour: Rooms by Lauren Oliver | ReviewRooms by Lauren Oliver
Published by Ecco on September 23, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Deliriumtrilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

picadillyblueIt really should come as no surprise that Lauren Oliver’s adult debut is spectacular.  Rooms is everything I didn’t know I was looking for in a book.  The writing is gorgeous, the characters are extremely flawed, and the mystery is captivating.

Rooms is not a book you want to rush through.  It’s definitely compelling enough that you will want to sit and read it straight through but it’s a book full of stories that take time to completely understand.  Every character has a story all their own.  Sandra and Alice, the two resident ghosts, spend a lot of time telling theirs and I have to say that theirs were the most interesting stories of the group.  They both lived and died in time periods relatively far in the past and they both have secrets and mysteries surrounding their lives and deaths.  That’s not to say that the other characters don’t have interesting stories though because they do.  Caroline, Minna, and Trenton all have things they are hiding and each story is very compelling.  Even though I may not have liked the characters, their stories had me hooked.

While I say that I didn’t like the characters, I don’t think readers are really meant to like them.  I sympathized with parts of each character but other than that, they are greatly flawed and hard to like.  Trenton is a little bit of an asshole but he’s by far the most likable.  He is seriously depressed and contemplating suicide.  He doesn’t see that there is anything left for him to live for but going back home for his father’s funeral forces him to look at things a little differently, especially when he starts hearing and seeing ghosts.  Minna is closed off to the world and she is a giant bitch.  There is no nice way to put it.  She thinks of no one but herself.  She has a daughter that she’s forced to think of at times but Amy plays a really small part in the story and, it seems, Minna’s life.  Caroline is a lot like Minna but an older version.  She’s very self-centered.  Even when she says she’s doing something for her kids, she’s really thinking of herself.  The one thing that really makes these people tolerable is that they have all have secrets that readers don’t find out about at first.  Once you start to see the dark pasts of the characters, it’s a lot easier to see how they come to be who they are.

Lauren Oliver’s writing style translates to the adult age range brilliantly.  I truly have yet to find something she has written that I don’t like.  She is one author who could write a phone book and have people rush to grab it off the shelves.  The writing style in Rooms is a little spare but never lacking in details that matter.

Overall, Rooms is a novel that can appeal to many people of many age ranges.  The subject and content are definitely better suited for adults but the appeal of this one is widespread.  And what do you know, another Lauren Oliver novel gets added to my shelf of favorites?

What others are saying about Rooms:

Fantasy Book Critic’s Review: “There is real content in the very believable characters’ attempts to make sense of their lives.”

Fic Fare’s review: “This story has a bit of everything… drama, angst, humor and sadness.”

Fiktshun’s review: “The author’s first attempt at a novel aimed at an adult audience was hugely successful.”

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About the author:

Lauren Oliver is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA novels Before I Fall, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem. Her books have been translated into thirty languages. She is also the author of two novels for middle-grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was a 2012 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee. Lauren’s first adult novel, Rooms, will be published in September 2014. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU’s MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the co-founder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit. You can visit her online at www.laurenoliverbooks.com

Purchase ROOMS here!

Add ROOMS on Goodreads!

Follow Lauren on Twitter!

Visit Lauren’s Website!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

15-Sep Reading Lark
16-Sep Midnight Garden
17-Sep Icey Books
18-Sep I Swim For Oceans
19-Sep Fiktshun
22-Sep Fiction Fare
23-Sep Read My Breath Away
24-Sep Queen Ella Bee Reads
25-Sep A Dream Within a Dream
26-Sep Anna Reads
29-Sep Katie’s Book Blog (ME!)
30-Sep Sweeps 4 Bloggers
Sep-31 Mod Podge Bookshelf

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blog Tour: Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane | Review + Interview

Blog Tour: Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane | Review + Interview

Blog Tour: Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane | Review + InterviewEvidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux on September 16, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. Tommy was adopted, so maybe he ran away to find his birth parents. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in his own thoughts about particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pull-out off the highway, so maybe someone drove up and snatched him. Or maybe he slipped into a parallel universe. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it is possibly true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.

Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy and third-person chapters about people who find the things Tommy left behind—his red motorbike, his driving goggles, pages from his notebook—Particles explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.

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Evidence of Things Not Seen might be one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read.  It’s unlike anything else in the YA market and while it wasn’t my favorite, I truly enjoyed reading it.

The story focuses on the disappearance of Tommy Smythe.  Tommy is a strange boy with a fascination for particle physics and alternate universes.  One of the quirky things about the book is that you never actually meet Tommy.  You get to read his journal entries but that is all you have of Tommy other than what other people have to say about him.  Each chapter is told from a different point of view, some people who knew Tommy and some people who stumble upon items of his after his disappearance.  While it took some getting used to, this style was awesome and probably my favorite aspect of the book.

Each chapter is almost like a short story.  Each person has something to do with Tommy, whether they know it or not.  It’s also a way to see how everyone is connected by just one person.  All of the people were very different but they all tied together somehow.  There were times when I wondered why I was reading about a certain person but later on in the book I’d see the bigger role they played.  It was really fascinating and such a unique way to tell this story.

The mature content in Evidence of Things Not Seen really got to me.  I don’t usually have a problem with this kind of stuff but in this case, there was a lot of it and some of it seemed unnecessary.  There was rape, incest, child prostitution, abuse, and all kinds of other stuff.  I just felt like there was an over abundance of mature content and at times it made me really uncomfortable.

The ending is not perfect, it’s not tied up with a bow, but it’s perfect for the story.  It’s very open ended and it has definitely got me thinking.  Also, I won’t tell you what it is but I adore the last line.

Overall, Evidence of Things Not Seen is a promising young adult debut from Lindsey Lane.  I look forward to more unique stories from this author.

What others are saying about Evidence of Things Not Seen:

Shae Has Left The Room’s review: “I will say that it is definitely unlike most books I read.”

Bewitched Bookworms’ review: “The writing was crisp, sometimes stark, but beautiful at the same time.”

Read.Sleep.Repeat’s review: “Overall, I recommend this book to people looking to read fresh and interesting contemporaries, and books with a large feeling of community and family.”

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About the author:

Award-winning author Lindsey Lane is proud to announce her debut YA novel EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN will be published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers on September 16, 2014. Her picture book SNUGGLE MOUNTAIN (Clarion, 2003) is now available as an iTunes app, which Digital Storytime describes as “heartwarming and adorable with rich illustrations and lyrical text.” In 2010, Lindsey received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Lindsey is a featured presenter at many schools where she gets kids (of all ages) excited about writing. When she is not writing, reading or being a mom, Lindsey loves sweating at Bikkram yoga, seeing movies and plays, and enjoying some of the outrageously good food at Austin restaurants with friends.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

Interview with Lindsey Lane!

First off, thanks for stopping by the blog.  =)

Thank you so much for hosting me. It’s an honor.

Describe Evidence of Things Not Seen in 140 characters or less!

Without hashtags? Okay, here goes:

Tommy is missing. As the community searches, their lives are affected by the loss & the only clues they find are pages from Tommy’s notebook

What made you decide to write YA?

I’m not sure I decided to write YA. I think stories come to us and we have to figure out the best way to tell them. That said, one of the things that I am most proud of about EVIDENCE is that it is tough, gritty and honest and I think that young adults sometimes want a story that doesn’t have easy answers and big bows. Sometimes they want to look behind the wizard’s curtain and see the machinations of what makes life messy and magical.

Your character, Tommy, is a genius when it comes to physics.  Do you have a physics background?  If not, how did the idea come to you?

I do not have a background in physics but I have a fascination with the ideas in physics.  So do a lot of other writers. Steven Moffatt (Dr. Who) Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass), to name two of many.

The first story I wrote about Tommy was called Particles and, in it, I hinted that Tommy might have disappeared by going into another dimension. When I expanded the story and wove it through the entire book, I had to entertain all the possibilities of how Tommy might have disappeared.  As Tommy writes in his journal:  All Possibilities exist. When I make an observation, all possibilities collapse into one. So is it our observation that limits possibility? What if there is absolutely no observer? Then anything is possible. Anything. I could be anywhere. I could be dead. I could be sleeping. I could be on Ruby going to class. I could even be in class because that’s one of the possibilities that exists as long as no one is observing me.

Do you have any must haves while writing?

A cup of strong black tea (Yorkshire Gold or Scottish Breakfast) with milk and a comfortable chair. Other than that, I love hearing my animals breathing nearby and, if the weather’s good, the windows open so I can hear the birds.

What has been your best experience being part of the YA community?

I have to say that the Kidlit/YA community has the most enthusiastic and generous people on the planet. As far as best experience, well, being on this blog tour is pretty great and when I reached out to blurbers, I was welcomed heartily into the fold. Because this is my debut, I am looking forward to many more great experiences.

What are you working on now?  Anything else YA?

I am working on the next YA novel. The working title is Inside The Notes.  The protagonist is a musician who is set on a path to meet the man who killed her mother fourteen years ago: her father.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Louder Than Words by Iris St. Clair | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Louder Than Words by Iris St. Clair | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Louder Than Words by Iris St. Clair | Review + GiveawayLouder Than Words by Iris St. Clair
Published by Swoon Romance on September 16, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 310
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson's life lately. Her dad died, her mom numbs the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends have slowly abandoned her.

Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe and should NOT have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt that made her desperate to escape the final moments of Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details to herself and trust no one.

Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky boy, recently transplanted from New York City and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she can't let him get too close. And summer is just long enough and hot enough to keep a boy like that at arm's length.

But by the time Rex's charm wears down her resistance, it's too late. He's put Ellen on the "just friends" shelf and has shifted his romantic attentions to the impossibly annoying and perky anti-Ellen. Even worse, the teacher who tried to get her to sleep with him is still at it, preying on other girls while Ellen struggles to come to terms with what happened.

With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about the well-liked teacher and risk retribution, tell Rex how she really feels about him and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside. After all, it's the only safe place she knows when the only thing louder than words is the fear of being rejected.

picadillyblueStraight contemporary romances haven’t really been wowing me lately and I was hoping Louder Than Words would change that.  While I enjoyed the book and I devoured the story, it just didn’t stand out to me as anything all that special.  It’s a fun read but there could have been a lot more to it.

Louder Than Words does not have a promising beginning.  It’s cheesy and not the best writing and it doesn’t do a good job showcasing what the book contains.  If I had picked this one up at the store and read nothing but the first chapter, I would not have bought it.  However, once I got past that, things got better.  The writing is really rather juvenile but that does help to speed the story along.  However, it doesn’t do justice to the characters or the story.  I honestly felt like I could have been reading something written by a student rather than a published work.  I was not impressed by that aspect of Louder Than Words.

The characters have a lot of growing up to do when readers first meet them.  Ellen and Rex meet during the summer before their senior year of high school but when I was first introduced to them I thought they were much younger.  They were both really immature and Ellen was extremely naive.  That was something I was able to look past though since I expected them to do some growing throughout the course of the story.  Luckily, they did.  Ellen has had a rough couple of years and she is rather cynical.  She’s unwilling to trust most people and Rex is no exception.  In fact, she probably trusts him least of all.  He’s new in town and she has no clue what he could possibly see in her.  Ellen’s lack of confidence in herself was heartbreaking.  She thought very little of herself.  The only thing she ever really liked about herself was her intelligence.  It’s a strong quality of hers but it’s definitely not all Ellen had going for her.  She was also strong, funny, and a tad awkward (which I totally related to.)  Rex was a total sweetheart but he was definitely a bit of a player.  He knew what he looked like and he was willing to use that to his advantage.  Once he saw that his charm and looks weren’t going to work with Ellen though he became a much more honest version of himself.  He was quirky, funny, smart, and kind.  He appealed to me a lot even with his horrible decision making skills.

The secondary characters didn’t stand out a ton to me but they were not bad.  Gracie was annoying and bitchy but I’m pretty sure that was done on purpose.  Lizzy was supposedly Ellen’s best friend but she played a very minor role in the story until the very end.  She wasn’t present for most of the book and I didn’t care much for her when she was introduced to the story.  Robbie, Ellen’s brother and guardian, was a great guy who very obviously cared a ton for his little sister.  However, he tended to underestimate her knowledge at times and it got on my nerves a little.  Mr. Hamer, the creepy science teacher, came across totally like he was supposed to.  He gave me the creeps from the start.  I wasn’t sure how to feel about Leanne for most of the book but she ended up being a good person and a good friend to Ellen which I really liked since Ellen did not have enough of those.

There were parts of the story that seemed almost as if they were thrown in as afterthoughts.  For the first half of the book the story surrounding Ellen and Mr. Hamer went absolutely nowhere and that bothered me a lot.  Then there was a side story about a little boy who was maybe being abused at home.  That story didn’t really go anywhere or play any role in the bigger story.  There was also the story about Rex and his father that took up maybe a chapter but never really came up again after that.  Same with Ellen’s mom and her drug habits.  That story was introduced at the beginning, disappeared for most of the book, and then came back again at the end.  For someone so affected by her mom, you’d think Ellen would mention it more than she did or even think about it more than she did.

Overall, Louder Than Words is an all-around mediocre read that I found entertaining but none too meaningful.  If you’re not looking for a story with any hidden agendas or extensive development, check this one out.

iris st claire About the author:

Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that’s another bio.)

No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.

In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.

Iris believes in the two-year “fish or cut bait” dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.

Author Links:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

GIVEAWAY:
$10 Amazon gift card + ebook of Louder Than Words (INT)

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Michelle Knudsen (Author of Evil Librarian)

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Michelle Knudsen (Author of Evil Librarian)Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
on September 9, 2014
Pages: 352
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When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact ... a demon.

Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body!

From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).
He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

 
 
 

Guest Post from Michelle Knudsen

Evil Librarian was some of the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is definitely that it let me revisit some of my favorite musical theater memories. I’ve loved musical theater for pretty much ever. In elementary school, I used to write plays (both with and without songs) and force my friends to help me perform them in front of the class. I auditioned for every school musical and several community theater productions too, and went to theater sleepaway camp for many magical summers. I got parts in straight plays sometimes, but in musicals I was always in the chorus — and that was fine with me. I knew I wasn’t a strong enough singer to ever be cast in a musical lead, and the beautiful and often complex harmonies of the chorus were part of what I loved most about singing in musicals: all those different voices coming together to create something amazing and richer and bigger than anything one person could sing on his or her own. So for this guest post, I thought it would be fun to make a list of my favorite chorus experiences — that is, the shows I had the most fun being in the chorus of, that I can wholeheartedly recommend to other chorus types like me!

 

  1. The Pirates of Penzance (W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan)

Hands down, my absolute favorite, favorite show to be in. The last time the Village Light Opera Group did it in NYC, I was over the moon to get in, and then devastated when I realized I’d have to drop out because my schedule made it impossible to keep up with the rehearsals. I’ve done this one a few times over the years, including performances with Richmond Theater Collection/Center Stage Productions in Staten Island, NY (during high school), and the Cornell Savoyards in Ithaca, NY (during college).

 

  1. Cabaret (John Kander and Fred Ebb)

I was in this one at summer camp one year, and in addition to just being an amazing show, it’s a fun one for the chorus members, too. I got to be one of the featured chorus dancers in the Kit Kat Klub, which was extra exciting for me.

 

  1. Of Thee I Sing (George and Ira Gershwin)

This was another theater camp experience. I don’t think I’d ever even heard of the show before I was placed in the ensemble. But it was super fun, and included a lot of great chorus numbers, including one where we got to sing about corn muffins. The music was both silly and beautiful, and I can still remember a lot of the chorus parts to this day.

 

  1. Iolanthe (W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan)

I first did this show in college, and then again many years later with the Village Light Opera Group in NYC. The women in the chorus all get to be fairies (and pretty kick-ass fairies, at that), and the music (like most G&S) is gorgeous, and the multi-part harmony in the Act I finale is probably one of my favorite ensemble parts to sing of all time.

 

  1. Les Misérables (Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer)

This one doesn’t have quite as much for the whole chorus to sing as some of the other shows I’ve been in, but it’s all so lovely, and there are lots of little character moments and even some solo lines (I got three!) for chorus members over the course of the musical. It’s also one of my overall favorite musicals, so getting to be a part of it was just really exciting. This was another one from theater camp, and may have marked the beginning of my recurring crushes on bass-baritones (I had it bad for the guy who played Javert).

 

Now that I’m in the beginning stages of working on a sequel to Evil Librarian, I’m listening to a lot of musical theater recordings (both old favorites and shows that I don’t know well yet at all) to help me decide which ones might end up being involved in the next story. This is definitely my kind of research. I just downloaded two more albums while writing this post! 🙂

Michelle Knudsen

About the author:
Michelle Knudsen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 books for children, including the picture books Library Lion, Argus, and Big Mean Mike, as well as the fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian. Her newest book is the YA novel Evil Librarian, which comes out September 9, 2014. Formerly a full-time children’s book editor, Michelle continues to edit manuscripts on a freelance basis and sometimes teaches children’s book writing at Gotham Writers’ Workshop in NYC. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

 

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour for Evil Librarian!

WhoRuBlog

http://www.whorublog.com/ 9/9/2014
Elizabeth O. Dulemba http://dulemba.com 9/13/2014
Random Chalk Talk http://randomchalktalk.blogspot.com/ 9/10/2014
Books 4 Your Kids http://www.books4yourkids.com/ 9/11/2014
Green Bean Teen Queen http://www.greenbeanteenqueen.com/ 9/12/2014
Katie’s Book Blog http://katiesbookblog.com/ 9/15/2014
Word Spelunking http://www.wordspelunking.blogspot.com/ 9/16/2-14
Book Chic Club http://www.bookchicclub.blogspot.com/ 9/17/2014