Thursday, May 31, 2012

Soul Savers Book Tour: Kristie Cook on Devotion + some goodies for you!


Please give a big HDB welcome to Kristie Cook! You may know her as the author of Promise, the first book in the Soul Savers Series. However if you're like me, and have fallen way behind, you might not know that she has already taken readers on a journey to the third book in the series! 

Kristie is on tour promoting the newest book, Devotion.

With powerful abilities gained from the Ang’dora and Tristan back by her side, Alexis thinks she’s ready for the next challenge— protecting her son from what appears to be the inevitable. But she has so much to learn about her powers, her new world and the people in it. Nothing is what it seems to be on the surface, including the Amadis.

Power-hungry politicians comprise the council and make impossible demands. A traitor lurks among them all, inciting trouble that could destroy the Amadis and, ultimately, humanity. The Daemoni wreak havoc in the human world, with the ultimatum that they’ll continue attacking innocents until Alexis and Tristan are expelled from the Amadis’ protection. The couple’s own society begins to shut them out. But that’s not all.

Someone’s keeping a secret. A big one. Faith and hope in Alexis and Tristan will be restored if she can uncover the truth in time.
But the search for answers leads only to the discovery of more betrayals by those closest to Alexis. Her devotion is put to the test—devotion to her husband, to her family, to her people and to her beliefs—leaving her to question whom she’s fighting for and why she should even bother. But if she won’t fight . . . who will?

Sounds amazing, right? To add it to your TBR pile, just click the book cover.

On this tour we were allowed to ask Kristie any one question pertaining to devotion. Mine is below, along with her awesome answer! Enjoy, and then don't forget to keep reading to find out about the awesome giveaway that is going on too!

What color do you think devotion would be? 

First of all, great blog for this tour! LOL I’m so glad you participated because it couldn’t be more perfect, right? (Not to mention that Grease was my absolute favorite movie as a girl.)

Okay…the color of devotion? Hmm…according to a few different sources, blue is the color of loyalty. Red is known for intensity and passion. Since devotion is a pretty intense and passionate form of loyalty, I’d say its color is a deep blue leaning a bit toward the purple range with the red addition. What do you think?

A huge thank you to Kristie for being here!

Now for the giveaway.

You can enter to win one of the great prizes below:
Grand Prize – Nook Simple Touch (US only)
1st Prize — All 4 of my books signed (US only)
2nd Prize — Soul Savers Swag bag (US only)
International Prize — All 4 books as ebooks

To enter, all you have to do is comment! Leave something for Kristie to come read :). To enter more times, comment on more blog posts! You can find the full list of stops here.

Leaving a comment below also enters you to win a digital copy of Devotion right through my blog as well! I'll pick a winner on June 8. So get to commenting, and good luck!


 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: The Guardians of Elijah's Fire

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Guardians of Elijah's Fire
Author: Frank L. Cole
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Pages: Paperback; 272
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade / Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
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HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who are looking for an action packed adventure! Especially those who enjoy a historical background in their reading.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Just when they thought they were safe, Amber, Trendon, and their classmates get yanked back into the action. With the Tebah Stick in enemy hands, Amber becomes a target, and it seems even her closest allies can't be trusted. Now the gang will have to travel through enemy territory to protect a deadly ancient weapon that could cause the earth's utter destruction.

This thrilling tale ups the action and doubles the danger. Bestselling author Frank L. Cole delivers an addicting read for adventurers of all ages.

The Guardians are back, and this installment things get even more heated than before! We join Amber and Trendon as they are working on getting back into their normal lives. After being secreted half way across the world to help uncover an ancient artifact, who could just go back to school? I loved that both of these characters are back in this book. Amber is just as sweet and stubborn as ever. Trendon? Well, he's Trendon. Hacker extraordinaire and just a bit on the eccentric side. Both fabulous characters!

What really impressed me about The Guardians of Elijah's Fire was how quickly the plot really took off. In the first book, Frank L. Cole had to lay down a lot of back story to make things flow. In this book Amber and Trendon are thrown into the action almost instantly. This is a story that will grab you by the shoulders and drag you in. There is not a moment of rest for these characters! If you are a reader who enjoys intrigue, deception, and some historical background in your reading, welcome to your new favorite book.

I remember, back when I reviewed the first book, Cole was telling me how he hoped these books appealed to all reading levels rather than just one. In all honesty? This is a book that I know will draw from all reading levels. It has a little bit of something for everyone. As an adult reader, I found myself completely lost in the story. I'm sure younger readers will be too. One slight warning though. Since this is an action packed book, there is violence. Explosions, deaths, and the like. Nothing over the top, but take that into account when choosing this for your young reader.

Overall, I have to say that I completely adored The Guardians of Elijah's Fire. I did miss the relationship between Amber, Trendon and Dorothy, but in this book it's important that it's a little bit different. Nope, no spoilers here. You'll have to see for yourself. Let's just say that you should read this. If you are a fan of action, if you enjoy seeing young characters pitted against near impossible odds, then this is a story for you! Get out there and get a copy. You won't regret it.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An Interview with Geoff Herbach! Plus take home a copy of NOTHING SPECIAL.




Last year I had the chance to read Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach. I loved it so much, fell in love with Felton's voice so wholly, that I wrote a fangirl review. Little did I know that it would be quoted in the second book, Nothing Special

Felton Reinstein thought he had it all-a great girlfriend, an athletic scholarship in the bag, and football friends he could totally count on. Wrong Like an elephant storming a house of cards, it all comes crashing down. And it's Felton's fault. Turns out his little brother has taken an impromptu road trip to Florida (aka desperate flight from all the talented people) to make a bid for stardom (aka fronting a hotel rock band with escapees from a retirement community). What's a big brother to do but help pick up the pieces, even if it means giving up all the status, all the glory and once again facing a life of nothing special.


Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to interview Geoff Herbach, who is hilarious by the way. He also brought along a giveaway so make sure to read down and giggle away!

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1) If you had to describe with a color, which one would you choose and why?

I like the color orange. I would not use it to describe an orange, but maybe the sunrise when you're on an airplane. That's a good looking color.


2) How was Felton born as a character? Did you draw inspiration from people you know?

Felton has a terrible voice in his head that definitely comes from me.

I drew a lot from my son who grew fast. I knew a lot of kids growing up who didn't seem protected by adults and mostly he comes from them.


3) Important question of the day: What is your favorite snack food?

I love crackers and cheese. I will eat all the Wheat Thins and cheese in the world.


4) What would you say to the inspiring writers out there?

It often takes a long time to get where you want to go. Don't stop because it's taking a long time. Keep working and keep loving your characters. That's the way to do it!


5) Finally, a bit of a challenge. You need to leave your house in an emergency and you can only grab 3 things to take with you. What items do you choose?

1) My phone! It has some pretty good games on it. Also, it has everything I really need to survive as long as I don't have to hunt for food. 2) My pants. I have nightmares of being pant-less in public. I don't want to be without my pants. 3) Bottle opener, in case I'm offered some Mexican Coca-Cola. That stuff is delicious.

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Ready to win? One winner will take home their very own copy of Nothing Special. You must be in the U.S. or Canada to win! Giveaway will end on June 4, 2012. Good luck!







Monday, May 28, 2012

An Interview with Scott Haworth, author of Heaven 2.0



Today I'm pleased to welcome Scott Haworth, author of Heaven 2.0, to the blog! He's here to answer some interview questions and was also kind enough to bring along a giveaway. Read on my friends, read on.

Having been born in the 28th century, Mike Kepler never believed in the existence of Heaven or Hell. The myths of the old faiths had been abandoned and replaced with the teachings of The Church many centuries earlier. The young physicist is shocked to learn that there is an afterlife when he is recruited by the Taipei Corporation. It was created by a team of scientists rather than God.

Mike’s job is to travel to the past and save people at the time of their deaths using advanced medical technology. The individuals are then brought back to the 28th century, judged on the sins they committed and sentenced to an eternity in the artificial Heaven or Hell. Mike quickly learns that the project is far less noble than it appears. He discovers that many of the people sentenced to eternal torment in Hell do not deserve their fate...

Sound like something you'd like to add to your TBR list? Click the book cover to do so! Then read on, and enjoy the interview. Giveaway is at the bottom!



1) If you had to describe yourself using only a color, which would it be and why?

Blue. No, wait! Yelloooooooooooooow! But if I can’t answer with a Monty Python quote, I’d have to go with white. White is a good fit to describe both my pasty complexion and suburban upbringing.


2) What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

All the women! There’s no career that the ladies find more interesting than being a writer… except maybe musician… or professional athlete… or doctor… or accountant. Come to think of it, it’s been my experience that women don’t seem to be too impressed with novelists. Stupid Computer Age. Why couldn’t I have lived in the 1920’s and had F. Scott Fitzgerald as my wingman?


3) Do you have a favorite character out of those that you've written?

My favorite is a very minor character called Gary from my novel American Liberation Front. Gary is a Canadian Goose who is recruited to guard a guerilla camp by a resistance leader. This action is the first sign that the leader is beginning to become unbalanced after his family is brutally murdered. If you live in a part of the world without Canadian Geese, picture a bird with no teeth and webbed feet. They have absolutely no offensive capabilities, but are easily the most brazen animals on the planet. After being “attacked” by one, I knew I wanted to turn the bird into a character.


4) What are your hopes for the future?

I don’t need to be the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. I’d be happy if I could get to the point where I was making enough money to write full-time.


5) Lastly, and rather importantly, where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

Hawaii. The consistently beautiful weather is very appealing to me after three decades living in Ohio. Seriously, there’s like two weeks in May that the weather is actually nice in Ohio. The rest of the time it’s either a snowstorm or a heat wave.



 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Review: A Brush of Darkness

Media Type: Print Book
Title: A Brush of Darkness
   * Series: Abby Sinclair #1
Author: Allison Pang
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: MMP; 343
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
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HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love a good romance, complete with paranormal twists! Must be okay with sexual scenes and adult language.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
The man of her dreams might be the cause of her nightmares.

Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and sexy-as- sin incubus searching for his sister, convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invade her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish, as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As she is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, Abby realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.

I'm pretty sure A Brush of Darkness has now cemented my love of this genre! Abby Sinclair takes her rightful place among my favorite female protagonists of all time! Sassy, sarcastic, and downright awesome, Abby is the type of woman who won't let anyone else push her around. What I loved most about her character was the fact that Pang wrote her with such depth. From the beginning you know there is more to Abby than meets the eye. As the book progresses, little bits come to light. It makes for a fantastic and engrossing read.

However it isn't just Abby that steals the show. Brystion of course is the dark, brooding and smoldering love interest. From the first moment he was introduced I knew I was going to fall for him. Yes, he plays the classic bad boy image, but (and pardon my French) damn does he do it well! This incubus has no qualms with admitting what he is. He is sex personified, and he is delicious. Behind him the other characters kind of pale in comparison, but they do their part and they do it right. Pang populates her world with all types of otherwordly creatures. Including, and of course my favorite, Phineas the unicorn. If you thought unicorns were sweet and lovely, well, you thought wrong. We'll leave it at that.

True to the genre, there is a fabulous amount of outright action present in A Brush of Darkness! This is a wild ride through not only the mortal world, but the world of the other and everywhere in between. I loved the way that Abby and Brystion played off one another. I was also quite appreciative of their more sensual scenes. Pang treats these two with class and, although they definitely sizzle on the page, the scenes aren't overly descriptive. Just enough to make your skin tingle, if you know what I mean.

Wickedly funny, this is a book that will have you reading like mad! I could go on and on about the characters, the vivid world building and everything else, but really you'll just have to read this to appreciate it fully! If you like sexual tension, snarky humor and a roller coaster ride of a plot, this is one for you! I cannot wait for more of Abby and Brystion. Bring it on! I'll be here.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This or That? with Jenny Torres Sanchez


Please give a warm welcome to Jenny Torres Sanchez! Her debut book, The Downside of Being Charlie is on tour and I'm lucky enough to be a stop. Huzzah!

Charlie is handed a crappy senior year. Despite losing thirty pounds over the summer, he still gets called “Chunks” Grisner. What’s worse, he has to share a locker with the biggest Lord of the Rings freak his school has ever seen. He also can’t figure out whether Charlotte VanderKleaton, the beautiful strawberry lip-glossed new girl, likes him the way he likes her. Oh, and then there’s his mom. She’s disappeared—again—and his dad won’t talk about it.

Somewhere between the madness, Charlie can at least find comfort in his one and only talent that just might get him out of this life-sucking place. But will he be able to hold his head above water in the meantime?

Today I asked her to answer a few questions in a game of This or That? I give two choices, she picks one. It's that easy! And away we go!


Vacation or stay at home? vacation
Shoes or sandals? shoes
Strawberries or cherries? strawberries
Walk or run? walk
Fiction or Non-fiction? fiction
School lunch or pack a lunch? school lunch
Paper books or digital books? paper books
Read the book or see the movie? see the movie
Dance or sing? dance
Casual or dressy? somewhere in between


A huge thank you to both The {Teen} Book Scene and Jenny Torres Sanchez! 

Book Review: Exiled

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Exiled
    *Series: The Never Chronicles
Author: J.R. Wagner
Publisher: Live Oak Book Company
Pages: Paperback; 350
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Source: JKS Communications
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
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HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy Fantasy worlds with well described characters and events.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
James has never known an ordinary life. As long as he can remember, he and his family have been on the run—moving from place to place, never settling down, never growing roots. Now, just when he’s on the brink of manhood, the very thing his family has been trying to prevent tears him from all he has ever known and thrusts him into a place where he is powerless and alone.

Bent on finding a way back, James must brave a place reserved for the worst of his kind. He quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants and if he is to have any chance of returning, he must work with the very people he’s been raised to fear.

James has known magic since just after he was born. As a sorcerer, his skills are exceptional yet when he wakes in The Never, his abilities are gone. Armed with nothing but determination and the will to survive, he braves a land wrought with dangers, mysteries and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind and prevent escape forever.

Exiled opens up a new world that Fantasy lovers will have a blast exploring. Here we are introduced to the "The Never", a place where people go who have been exiled from normal society. Mysterious islands, giant plants, man-eating reptiles, it all makes an appearance here. Couple this new world with the fact that the rest of the book is set in Europe circa the late 1800's, and you have a very fascinating setting to get lost in. Hands down, this was my favorite part of the book.

The characters are also very well done. J.R. Wagner takes ample time to make sure that the reader is not only immersed in the world the characters live in, but that they understand the characters in depth as well. By the time I was mid way into the book I was invested in the characters so wholly that I was rooting for them! That's a good feeling while reading a Fantasy novel, especially since the cast of characters is so large. I liked James a lot. Although he is impulsive, it's easy to see why. His spirit definitely makes him a great protagonist to follow.

What fell short for me was the flow of the story. Exiled is told in a way that alternates between different time periods and points of view. At the beginning I had no problem following along, and the story was moving nicely. However as things moved along it began to get pretty confusing. Flashbacks are common throughout the story and, although they are labeled with the date, after a bit I was lost as to what age the characters were at the time and who was speaking. My other problem was that there was no cliffhanger. I liked the story well enough, but what is to keep me reading on?

Overall, Exiled was a great read by the end. I wish the balance between description and interaction had been a little bit more equal, but I did enjoy the read! I'd love to see a little more development in the next book in the series and, perhaps, a little romance? I'm a sucker for that. Either way if you like Fantasy this is a read to give a shot! Let J.R. Wagner take you into The Never.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Encouraging Creativity in Children with J.R. Wagner


I'm pleased as punch to welcome J.R. Wagner, author of Exiled to the blog! His book comes out in a mere 13 days and counting, and therefore he is on tour to promote it to the masses. Below you'll find what I think is a fabulous guest post! It's all about creativity and children. Enjoy!

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Encouraging Creativity in our Children 
-J. R. Wagner 

Imagine you’re a parent for a moment (if you aren’t a parent at the moment). Your son has taken over half the basement in order to ‘work on a project’. Curious, you slowly creep down the stairs to see what he’s up to. This is what you find: 

The carpeted floor has been covered by pieces of scrap wood he’s managed to find. What look like bloodstains speckle the top of the wood along with various other debris. In each corner are your antique wine barrels. Atop the wine barrels are two clay pots filled with a liquid stinking of lantern oil. Hanging from the old plaster walls are weapons. A bow, a chain with a nasty looking ball at one end, an axe. In the corner is a pickaxe. In the center of the room is a low table. More bloodstains are on and around the table.

Some parents would use this opportunity to rush their son to the nearest hospital for a psychological evaluation. Not mine. What my horrified mother was looking at was not a torture chamber but a movie set my best friend Nick and I had created. We were shooting a scene from The Lord of the Rings (long before Pete Jackson had even thought of purchasing the film rights). She wasn’t actually horrified (although she wasn’t thrilled with the idea of the flaming clay pots…but lighting is everything, Mom!) she was intrigued. At least, I’d like to think she found my various creative projects intriguing.

In second grade I would spend my recess re-enacting The Return of The Jedi with my friends. No props, all imagination. In third grade I used the family video camera –one of the old-school shoulder-sitting beasts to begin my filming career.

Yep, it was just like this bad-boy. Huge, cumbersome and had terrible audio and video recording quality…but it was the best thing a boy could ever have!

Many a model airplane met fiery ends in front of that lens. The poor sheep my dad kept as pets died horrible deaths at the hands of a vicious creature from another world. (The hand was actually a fork wrapped in fur fabric.)

In seventh grade, my dad bought me a top-of-the-line video camera. Out of nowhere, he came home and gave it to me. I can still recall where I was standing when he brought it home. I loved that camera. I even remember which of my cousins would eventually lose my childhood dream-come-true. There MAY be some slight hostility left in the recesses of my emotions over that. Just sayin’.

Not only did I film as a child. I wrote the screenplays for the films. I wrote short stories. I wrote longer stories. One of my teachers had us keep journals in class. Everyday we were given time to write in our journals. Rather than write about my day or the latest episode of Different Strokes, I wrote the sequel to Jaws. I think my teacher found the death scenes I’d drawn in the margins somewhat disturbing based upon her expression but she never asked me to change the subject. I still have that journal.

In fifth grade everyone was assigned to write a story that would be ‘published’ in the year-end fifth-grade publication. It probably had a name, but I sure as heck can’t remember it. The prompt was; if you could go back in time and change something… My parents rolled their eyes when they got their hands on this gem. I had decided to write about traveling back to the civil war…with a cache of AK-47’s where I proceeded to wipe out the entire Confederate army in a single day. I probably saved tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives and ended the bloodiest war in our countries history in one day. Most of my readers saw only the disturbing aspect of my ultra-violent resolution –yet, without one bit of censorship, it made it in the fifth-grade publication. Would that have today? I doubt it.

Why am I sharing tales from my out-of-the-ordinary childhood? If you notice, in every example provided, there wasn’t a point where my parents or a teacher told me to stop. They never told me I was doing something wrong. I was never told I was going to offend someone or hurt someone. (Although, when I did finally light the clay pots and the black smoke began collecting on the white basement ceiling, Mom finally put her foot down.)

Both parents encouraged my creativity in their own ways. My dad supplied the hardware and stayed far, far away from my movie sets and my mom would often play a role in my films when nobody else was around. She almost fell victim to my sheep-killing alien creature…but the family dog managed to distract it at the last moment (and became dinner).

My teachers never told me to change topic or sent me to the guidance counselor for a psychological evaluation (Thank you!).

I believe it was this support that kept the creative part of my brain running, full steam ahead, into adulthood. I kept on writing and eventually, fulfilled the dream of publishing a novel. (And I’m just getting started) I also believe it is essential to the upbringing of all children to support their creativity as much as possible. Being able to create something from nothing translates into so many aspects of a successful life. Providing an outlet for teen angst, a means of escape from the often crappy world they must brave every day, allowing teens to create their own focal point and hone in on it rather than telling them where they need to focus –these things make a difference in who they become.

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And now, a giveaway! Up for grabs is a digital copy of Exiled! To enter, please fill out the form below. I will pick a winner on May 30, 2012. Good luck!

Ena Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Interview with authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, plus a giveaway!


A little background for this post, because my fangirl tendencies demand I tell you why I love these books. First off, Fantasy is/has been/will always be my favorite of all genres. I adore getting swept away in a good story. That being said, my the first books I fell in love with when I discovered this genre were the Dragonlance series books. Fantasy fans will know what I'm talking about. They were epic, and plentiful.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman always stood out as authors in that series. Every book that they penned together was fabulous! I was smitten. So imagine how I felt when I was approached to not only read their newest book, but host an interview with them as well! I nearly fainted. I digress. Here's the book to speak for itself.

Skylan Ivorson is the gods-chosen Chief of all Vindras clans. But the gods from whom the Vindrasi draw their earthdwelling power are besieged by a new generation of gods who are challenging them for the powers of creation. The only way to stop these brash interlopers lies within the Five Bones of the Vektia Dragon—the primal dragon forged during the creation of the world—which have been lost for generations.

With the Gods of the New Dawn amassing a vast army, Skylan finds allies in former enemies. Calling upon the ogres to fight their common foes, the Vindrasi soon find themselves in the middle of an even larger war. Skylan and his Vindrasi clan must sail the Sea of Tears into the heart of the Forbidden Empire of the Cyclops, to implement a cunning yet delicate plan that risks his life and leadership at every corner. But a new enemy lies deep in the sea, one who draws upon powers never harnessed by land dwellers.

If you enjoy Fantasy you must start this series, but I'll stop babbling and let these two amazing authors take it away. Make sure you read to the bottom. There's a giveaway waiting for you there!
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1) If you could transport yourself to any fictional land, where would you want to visit?

(TH) Most fictional lands are pretty frightful ... places where dragons rage or terrible epic battles are taking place. Not the best of places to spend one’s leisure time! If there is one place I would like to visit, it would be a little village called ‘Eventide’ in our fantasy world of ‘Dragon’s Bard.’ We specifically wrote that as the kind of place one would like to visit with people you would like to meet.

(MW) The world of Aeronne, which features in my new series, Dragon Brigade, I'm doing for Tor along with co-author Robert Krammes. This is a world of floating continents, magic in the very air you breathe, wyvern-drawn carriages, soldiers on dragon-back, saints, demons flying on giant bats, castles drifting in the clouds.


2) Do you have a favorite character, from your fantasy worlds or elsewhere?

(TH) I have many favorite characters characters but each of them for different reasons. One of the spookiest, for example, is Miss Havisham from Charles Dicken’s ‘Great Expectations.’ I very much enjoyed writing Harley Quinn for my ‘Wayne of Gotham’ Batman novel. My favorite character, I believe, is also from ‘Eventide’ –Beulandrius Dudgeon, the blacksmith dwarf who secretly wants to dance.

(MW) Oh, so many! Lady Maigrey from Star of the Guardians, Raistlin and Tasselhoff from Dragonlance, Skylan from the Dragonships series, Father Jacob Northrop from the Dragon Brigade.


3) What is your favorite part about being an author?

(TH) My favorite part about being an author is sharing the creation of story with readers. Writers may create the script but it is the reader who actually provides the performance. I love being part of that creative experience for every reader.

(MW) I get to leave this world for a few hours every day and spend that time in a fantastical place. (Also I get to work at home with my dogs!:))


4) Who or what provides your inspiration?

(TH) I get my inspiration from many sources. I love to read and I love to go to movies. I also love life and the experience that it brings, both good and bad. I also find much inspiration from my faith.

(MW) Life provides inspiration.

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A huge thank you to Tor, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman for providing this interview!
I can't say enough how wonderful it was to get to know more about two of my favorite authors.


Now, it's time for a giveaway!

Up for grabs are 3, yes three, copies of Rage of the Dragon. The publisher has been extremely generous, and I'm pleased that I can offer so many of you the opportunity to read this book!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. You must have a mailing address in the U.S. or Canada to enter! A winner will be chosen on May 30, 2012. Good luck!



Monday, May 21, 2012

Win a copy of GODDESS INTERRUPTED by Aimee Carter!



Did you read my review of Goddess Interrupted earlier today? If you didn't, I'll wait. Go read it now. 

*waits*

Still deciding? Here's some trailer goodness for you:




For those of you who have loved this series so far, and want to know what the evil cliffhanger at the end is, I have good news! You can win a copy right here!

Courtesy of Harlequin Teen, one winner will take home their own copy of Goddess Interrupted!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. You must have a U.S. or Canada mailing address. A winner will be chosen on May 28, 2012. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Goddess Interrupted

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Goddess Interrupted
   * Series: Goddess Test #2
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: Paperback; 296
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
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HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers of the series, or those who enjoy greek mythology with a YA twist.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
KATE WINTERS HAS WON IMMORTALITY.

BUT IF SHE WANTS A LIFE WITH HENRY IN THE UNDERWORLD, SHE'LL HAVE TO FIGHT FOR IT.

Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry's first wife, Persephone.

I've been highly anticipating Goddess Interrupted ever since I finished the first book in the series last year! Aimee Carter took me away to a world rich with Greek mythology, but one that still held one foot strongly in the mortal world. This time I knew that I'd be able to dive deeper into the characters, their lives, and the unique problems that they faced as gods and goddesses. I couldn't wait! As soon as this book arrived, I had to devour it.

When I first met Kate last year in The Goddess Test, I fell in love with her bold and brave attitude. Even though she started out as a bit tough to love, she soon transformed into a character that I could really get behind. That's why it was so hard for me when I started reading Goddess Interrupted and realized that the same old Kate was back. Tough to love, thoughts that bordered on depressing. The only reason I was able to cope with it better this time is because Aimee Carter does give Kate a mind of her own. Kate knows she's being that way, she tries to battle it, she just doesn't always win.

That's not to say that Kate's attitude isn't warranted. I'll warn you that Carter's characters face their fair share of issues in this story. From waking Titans, to old love affairs, there is a lot that is laid bare in this installment. I had a great time getting to know more about the cast of characters and how they were all linked. Kate and Henry's relationship didn't steal the show, but instead contrasted nicely to the feelings of war that were floating around the palace. So yes, Kate did have a reason to feel so down. I'll give her that.

What really saved the day for me was the ending. Once again Kate proved herself to be a stubborn and fiery character. I won't spoil, but let's just say that this is a cliffhanger that will make your mouth drop open! Upon reading the last page I was speechless. Despite any qualms I may have had while reading, the ending is more than enough to keep me reading on in this series. Bring on more Kate and more Henry. I'll be here to read it.



Other books reviewed in this series:
The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1)




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Review: The Goddess Test

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Goddess Test
   * Series: Goddess Test #1
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: Paperback; 293
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Source: Library
------------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
------------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy YA with a twist on Greek mythology.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
EVERY GIRL WHO HAS TAKEN THE TEST HAS DIED.
NOW IT'S KATE'S TURN.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.
IF SHE FAILS...

One of the things that initially drew me to The Goddess Test was the incorporation of Greek Mythology. I fully admit that I am a mythology nerd in all senses of the term. There is nothing that makes me happier than diving into stories about Persephone, Demeter and all the other fascinating Gods and Goddesses. That being said, I really adored how Aimee Carter wove this fascinating topic into an even more intriguing new story! The Goddess Test is everything a good read should be. Fast paced, full of intrigue and deception, and of course a little bit of love.

Kate comes onto the scene a broken shell. Her mother is dying, and she's not sure what she is going to do with herself when the inevitable finally comes. To be honest, Kate was tough for me to love at first. I understood her need to have her mother in her life, but I kept hoping that she'd see the good that comes with moving on alone. A new life, a new start. Her attitude bordered on depressing sometimes, and I really wanted her to see something positive about her situation.

However as the book progresses, Kate definitely does change. It's like a metamorphosis actually. One minute she is a shy, quiet, and lost girl. The next she meets Henry and everything changes for her. The Kate that develops is bold, brave, and full of life. I loved her so much. I won't reveal how this all comes about, or what happens afterwards, but I will say that if you feel the way I did at the beginning just make sure to read on. It gets so much more amazing.

Story wise, I couldn't have been happier with the way that Aimee Carter wove Greek Mythology into Kate's story. Henry was dark and mysterious, and each twist brought about a new aspect for me to fall in love with. The tie in of the story of Persephone definitely gives this book an added element. Watching Kate struggle to let go of her mother, learn to love herself, and try to help Henry, made for a fantastic read. I devoured the book from beginning to end and then lamented the fact that there was no more left to read.

In all honesty, The Goddess Test far surpassed my initial hopes for it. The story line, characters, and setting, all mesh into a wonderfully immersing read. I, for one, eagerly await the second installment in Kate's story. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

An Interview with Genevieve Graham, and a giveaway!



Ready for some Scottish sexiness? In case you missed it, I reviewed Sound of the Heart a few days ago. This is a wonderful story, with rich historical content and a great romance! I highly recommend it. 

Today I'm lucky enough to have Genvieve Graham here to answer a few questions! So, without further ado, I'll let her take it away!
*****

1)  Truth be told, it's a little hard not to stare at your gorgeous cover. What inspired you to write the Dougal's character?

Dougal is the brother of Andrew, who was the hero in my first novel, "Under the Same Sky". I had never planned to write a second book, but when Penguin offered me a contract it was on the grounds that I write a companion novel. I was SO excited about that … then panicked because I didn't know what to write about. I've discovered that when I try really hard to come up with a story, I get nothing. But when I sit back and let the story come to me, it arrives almost fully fleshed out, complete with multi-dimensional characters. Dougal appeared in the first book, and I always saw him as the jovial, strong, everybody's-friend kind of guy, but also a fierce warrior and loyal like crazy. So when he brought me his story, it all made sense. I have a funny feeling that even though I didn't know it was coming, the book knew it was coming. I say that because in the first book, Andrew assumes Dougal is dead. But that is never proven. I leave it as an open mystery … which solves itself in "Sound of the Heart"!

2) What is your favorite way to wind down after a long day of writing?

I like to do anything that takes me away from the computer! I love watching movies, snuggling with my hubby and getting lost in the show. Mostly I love adventure movies, like Lord of the Rings or Braveheart or Cold Mountain. Or Pride & Prejudice. 

3) If you had to describe yourself in just one word, what would it be and why?

ONE WORD?!?!? EGAD! I'm a WRITER! I have a ZILLION words! ok ok. Creative. Can I use a hyphen? Creatively-driven …?

4) Inquiring minds want to know. Just what is your favorite snack food?

Chocolate. I'm liking a slightly darker chocolate these days, or a GOOD milk chocolate (I can't stand the cheap, sugary blends), and I'm partial to almonds in the chocolate …

5) Finally, and thank you for answering all of these, what message would you like to give to your potential readers?

I'm a romantic, which means I believe I'm an idealist, a lover of adventure, and an emotional sap. (Okay. Not every romantic is an emotional sap, but I am) That does not mean I'm all a lovey-dovey kissy type. It doesn't mean my stories revolve around "romance" or physical manifestations of love. Love, need, desire … they are underlying themes to my books, but I cannot write anything in which you know what will happen within the first few pages. I cannot write anything solely based on two people's desires for each other. Romance encompasses so much, and the experience of falling in love is only one of those. So when you pick up my book, yes, you will find romance. But it's not the kind you might expect—especially based on the covers. Mostly you will find adventure, realism, and a pathway into a world you never knew existed.

******
Want more?
Here is a trailer to sate your needs!



And now, a giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Friday, May 18, 2012

A guest post on supporting characters with Matt Adams!


Framed by his father, “reformed” supervillain Colonel Chaos, super-speedster Chris Fairborne, AKA Crimsonstreak, is sent to the Clermont Institution for the Criminally Insane. A hero surrounded by dastardly inmates and heartless guards, Chris struggles to keep his wits about him, until the arrival of some unexpected new “guests” at the facility provides him with a means for escape. Once out, though, he discovers that the world he knew is gone, replaced by a fascist, supposedly utopian state run by none other than Colonel Chaos himself.

With the heroes of the world locked away or fighting in a disorganized resistance, Crimsonstreak teams up with a snarky British butler and a teenage superhero-to-be. Together, the unlikely (and bickering) allies must take down Crimsonstreak’s dad and set the world right. Not easy when your only powers are super-speed and looking good in spandex. But hey, someone’s got to save the world.


Get By With a Little Help from Your Friends: The Importance of Supporting Character by Matt Adams

Without a doubt, the central figure in I, Crimsonstreak is our titular hero. He’s our narrator and his image is splashed across the cover. However, Crimsonstreak can’t carry the load by himself (and he’d be the first to admit this, since, well, he doesn’t have super-strength).

In every story, the protagonist needs other characters to help shoulder the burden. Crimsonstreak doesn’t necessarily like this—he has a certain disdain for sidekicks—but when you’re up against your super-powerful father and his fascist, domineering regime (the New World Common Wealth)…you’re only going to get by with little help from your friends.

Let’s introduce a few of them.

Mortimer P. Willoughby is the assistant to the Crusading Comet, another superhero. A warped version of your typical proper butler, “Morty” (as he’s affectionately called by our hero) holds down the fort as the Comet works with other superheroes to set things right.

Morty has an understated nobility often hidden behind sarcasm that cuts like a rapier. He’s not fond of Crimsonstreak for reasons we’ll never know, but he tolerates our hero because he knows Crimsonstreak is the key to saving the world. Not the kindliest mentor, but a mentor nonetheless.

Warren Kensington IV is the son of the Crusading Comet. Morty serves as his often-disapproving father figure, but sometimes Warren is too hotheaded to listen. He has a major chip on his shoulder and doesn’t trust Crimsonstreak, which creates tension between the two.

Although he’s young (Crimsonstreak often refers to Warren as “kid,” to the teen’s chagrin), Warren has an array of skills, including computer hacking, hand-to-hand combat, and espionage. Scenes with Crimsonstreak, Warren, and Morty show a reluctant camaraderie and teambuilding.

I have several strong women in my life, including my mother, mother-in-law, and wife. I felt it was important for Crimsonstreak to have similarly strong figures.

Our hero’s mother, Miss Lightspeed, appears very little in the book, yet her fingerprints are all over the narrative. She died when Crimsonstreak was a freshman in college, an event that changed the course of his life…and the world.

Miss Lightspeed is a strong woman—and I don’t mean that just because she has superpowers like otherworldly strength and speed. She’s a resolute woman who won’t let anyone push her around, least of all her husband and her son. While she performs the duties of a mother, those duties don’t define her. She will risk everything to fight for something she believes in, and doesn’t need someone to come rescue her; she’s the one doing the rescuing.

In many ways, her strength is Crimsonstreak’s as well, and he would not be the man he is today without her.

Jaci Graves is another supporting character. Like our protagonist, she’s the offspring of two well-regarded heroes. She and Crimsonstreak had a falling-out after the death of his mother, something that changed our hero and resulted in the collapse of their relationship. She’s a relatively important figure in the New World Common Wealth, the earthly empire forged by Crimsonstreak’s father. She soon realizes that this “utopia” is anything but…and aligns herself with an underground resistance.

Jaci helps mastermind a plan to take down Crimsonstreak’s father. Resourcefulness and strength are her key attributes, and she forces Crimsonstreak to realize how high the stakes are. Like Miss Lightspeed, Jaci won’t put up with any nonsense.

Creating memorable supporting characters is a challenge in any story—especially one written in first person. I worked very hard to surround my hero with characters that would both challenge and complement him.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review: Sound of the Heart



Media Type: Print Book
Title: Sound of the Heart
Author: Genevieve Graham
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages: Paperback; 336
Release Date: May 1, 2102
Source: Publisher / Author
-----------------------------------
Genre: Historical Romance

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love historical romance, and to be immersed in the land it is set in.


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
From Genevieve Graham, author of Under the Same Sky, comes a sweeping romantic historical novel of one man’s strange gift and dangerous battles…

Dougal MacDonnell, a fierce warrior from the Highlands of Scotland, is able to hear the thoughts of other men and dream how the future will unfold. Devastated by the loss of his family during the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he fosters a deep hatred for the English. But when Glenna, the love of his life and a Scottish outlaw, is captured and shipped overseas, Dougal is forced to join an English army made of vanquished Scots. Now fighting on the side of his sworn enemies, he embarks on a journey that will take him across the seas to the colonies. There he will risk everything for the chance to find his true love.

Sound of the Heart further deepens my slow journey into this genre, and I have to say that I am so glad that Genevieve Graham offered me the opportunity for a review! This was a book that I truly enjoyed. From the sweeping highlands of Scotland, to the dark and dank streets of London, Graham is an expert at explaining the setting just right. I was transported each  place that I followed Dougal and settled right in to read his story. Descriptive writing abounds in this story.

If that isn't enough for you, I have to say that Dougal now reigns as one of my all time favorite male characters. It isn't just his sexy Scottish accent (although that is definitely a plus), but his whole entire person. Dougal is sweet, caring, fiery, and tough as nails when he needs to be. Throughout the story I saw multiple times where he had the option to sit at the sidelines or intervene during a problem. This is a character who always chose to be the hero. That makes him a hero in my heart.

However it isn't just Dougal who steals the show in Graham's book. Sound of the Heart has an amazing cast of characters, and each time a new one comes into play they fit seamlessly into the overall story. There isn't too much I can say here without giving a very important portion of the story away, but I can talk about Glenna. She is a spitfire! I love a female character who can hold her own, and Glenna definitely fits that bill. The chemistry between her and Dougal is, well, steamy. Let's just say that if you love some romance in your books, you're definitely going to get it here.

This story is the whole package. From the beginning I was immersed in Dougal's struggle to keep the part of him that was being torn away. I loved the descriptive scenes. I fell under the spell of his heart of gold demeanor. Then by the time I reached the end I felt like it had come much too soon. I haven't had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, but I can say that I am going to pick up Under the Same Sky as soon as I can. If you haven't either, but have this book in your TBR, don't fret. It reads amazingly as a standalone.

Final verdict? If you love historical fiction and historical romance, pick up a copy of Sound of the Heart and prepare to be swept off your feet.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A post on World Building by Sheenah Freitas


Sheenah Freitas is here today! You may remember when I reviewed her first book, The Chosen, last year. If not, you can click on the link to be taken to my review. Now she's back to share a little lover for her newest book, and the next in the series, The Number.

Kaia disappeared for five years. Now she’s back and her planet is on the brink of war.

The new “Numbers” program, created by the Tueors’ leader, tracks and isolates demigods. Kaia’s friend, Catrina, refuses to take part, and that makes her the most dangerous Number of all.

It’s Kaia’s duty to gather and protect the treasures of the gods. But neither the treasures nor Catrina are what they appear to be.

As the day a dire prophesy foresees draws near, will Kaia reverse the gears of fate, or will everything she’s ever loved be burned away by the flames of war?


Sheenah agreed to write about one of my favorite topics for her guest post today: World Building. It's what transports us into the books we love, and keeps us there no matter what else happens. I'm so excited to see what she has to say! I'll let her take it away.

*****

World building is one of the hardest things to do correctly when you write fiction. If you’re doing something realistic, you need to make sure that if you’re using a real place you have the details correct. It’s one thing to have a detail about a small town barely anyone has ever heard of wrong, it’s another thing entirely to have a detail about Chicago wrong. And if you decide not to use a real place, you better make sure that the fictional world works and acts like a place in the real world or else someone is going to call you on it.

As difficult as it is to create a town, it’s even more difficult to create an entire nation, let alone a world. Unfortunately, that’s what most sci-fi and fantasy authors have to say. When I take on world building, I try to think of it objectively or simply run to SimCity. I ask myself: what do people need in a civilization? There’s the obvious: food, water, a base set of rules via their government, jobs. But I think a lot of people tend to forget about the little things that really make up the structure of a civilization. If there’s no entertainment, people get bored and bored people will leave your city to go and live where there’s more entertainment (at least, according to the game Pharoh which is highly addicting). And of course where there are people, there will be religion unless you’ve stated that no one in your vast new world believes in a higher being (and a lot of people do).

I think J.K. Rowling is absolutely brilliant for creating Quidditch. Every culture has some sort of a sport that they play. Americans have football, most countries celebrate soccer, and cricket is hailed in most countries that were once part of the British Empire.

Even if you don’t make certain elements prominently displayed in your writing, I think it’s essential to write out somewhere in your notes the different sports, religions, races, jobs, etc. It’ll help keep your world building richer and readers won’t stop and question whether something is possible or not. Keeping readers engaged and believing in the world and the characters is something all writers strive to do.

*****

Author Links:
Author Website: http://sheenahfreitas.com
Twitter: @SheenahFreitas (http://twitter.com/SheenahFreitas)




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review: The Book Blogger's Cookbook

The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook is a community project from some of the blogosphere's best book bloggers in a simple, easy to read format. The cookbook combines a love of reading and dining to help you find books you'll devour and recipes you can't put down.

You’ll love The Book Blogger’s Cookbook because…

The Book Blogger’s Cookbook has 50 different book reviewers from every corner of the blogosphere. It bridges the gap between author and reader—putting you in touch with book reviewers who can separate the 5 star books from the mediocre.

The Book Blogger’s Cookbook showcases great reads and provides an interactive experience with links to author and book reviewer websites. The cookbook is created for those who like to experience what they read long after they’ve closed the book.

The Book Blogger’s Cookbook tells why each recipe complements its companion book. Recipes and books combine to make the reading experience satisfying and entertaining.


Review:
Let me tell you, The Book Blogger's Cookbook is awesome! Not only does it feature some amazing mini reviews from well-respected bloggers, but the recipes are to die for. Do you love pizza? It's in here. How about dessert? Plenty of those in here too! On every page there is something delicious to devour with your eyes, and then plan to make later on.

Of course the main event is the fact that each recipe corresponds to an amazing book! I had a great time reading little snippets of the books I hadn't read yet, and then seeing what other readers though. This is a great way to add new books to your TBR, while learning a new recipe at the same time. Food and books? Who could ask for a better combination?

Long story short, The Book Blogger's Cookbook is sheer awesome. I am so happy to have a copy, and I cannot wait to try out some of the delicious looking goodies in here! What a great way to make some bookish friends and some new food as well.


About the author:Christy Dorrity loves to read about cooking and cook about reading. She was taught early to have a discriminating taste for both books and food. Christy grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming. She taught elementary school and lives in the mountains with her husband Devon and their five young children. When Christy's not reading or writing, she's probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.
www.christydorrity.comchristy@dorrity.nettwitter: @christydorrity





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review: Fated

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Fated
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: Hardcover; 306
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Source: Publisher
-----------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Nothing of note
-----------------------------------
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a suspenseful read, with a touch of romance and hints of Native American lore.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
The first book in a magnificent new series about a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.

There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

I'll admit that what first drew me to Fated was the gorgeous cover. Everything about it is gorgeous, and I give massive kudos to the artist. Just lovely. That being said, this is my first foray into Alyson Noel's books. Her Immortals series has been on my reading list for a long time, but I hadn't had the opportunity to start it yet. I was excited to dive into this new series from the beginning.

At first glance Daire was definitely not my favorite character. Her attitude was okay, but I felt like she was kind of disinterested in everything that was happening around her. Even when things picked up speed, and she needed help, it was like she was watching it from outside of herself. I felt more connected to her in her dreams than I did when she was awake. However, as the story progressed I started to like Daire more and more. About half way through the book she does a 180 and really comes to life. It's almost like a brand new character. If you feel the same way I did about her at the beginning, keep reading. It gets better.

The concept of Fated is extremely intriguing. Watching Daire learn who she really is, watching her form a bond with the power inside her, it's all fascinating and makes for a great read. That is honestly why the book picks up so much after the first half. My gripe was that there really wasn't much Dace and Cade development in this story. Since it is the first in the series, I'm willing to give it some time. Admittedly Cade is a great villian! Also I liked that the romance aspect wasn't rushed, or took over the story. I do hope to see a little more later on in the series though.

As a package, I enjoyed Fated and will come back for more. There were little things that kept me from being fully immersed in it, but it did peak my interest for the other books in the series and also the books that Alyson Noel has already written! If you are new to her books, I think this is a good place to start. I've been told it shadows the other series, but I read it as a standalone and I had no trouble following. If you enjoy stories with heart, and just a touch of romance, this is one to add to your reading list.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

An Interview with Alyson Noel and a giveaway



Happy today to have Alyson Noel on the blog! If you don't know her name, this is an author that has multiple very popular books. Her newest book, Fated is scheduled to come out in a few weeks and starts a new series called Soul Seekers.

The first book in a magnificent new series about a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.

There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.
Below is an interview with Alyson Noel, as she was sweet enough to answer some of my questions. Enjoy and don't forget to scroll down for a giveaway of Fated!


1) If Fated is made into a movie, who would you like to see as the main characters?

Honestly, I don’t have anyone in particular in mind, other than someone brave, kind, and incredibly smokin’ to play Dace, and someone pretty, smart, and overall amazing to play Daire—not too tall of an order, right?!


2) Daire and Dace are really interesting and different names. Do you have a process that you use to choose character names?

I’ve always liked unusual names and I’m always on the lookout for new ones to add to the list. The first time I came across the name Daire, I knew it was perfect for my character. I chose the name Dace because the letters can be rearranged to spell Cade, the name of his twin.


3) What is one item that you simply cannot live without?

My iPad—it has the capacity to create, entertain, and connect me to my loved ones!


4) If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you choose?

Well, if it’s truly free, then I think I’ll clinch a seat on Virgin Galactic and journey into space!


5) What is your biggest hope for the future?

That someday—to quote Jimi Hendrix—the power of love will overcome the love of power and the world will know peace.

Now... it's GIVEAWAY TIME!

Up for grabs is a copy of Fated by Alyson Noel. This is open to residents of the U.S. and ends May 20, 2012. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Win a copy of WRECKED!



Thanks to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster, I have two copies of this fantastic book to give away! I actually have a copy in my possession as well, which I can't WAIT to read, but I thought I'd give you a chance to win while I await this on my TBR. Hey, maybe the winner and I can tandem read! Here's the synopsis:

In the wake of a tragic boating accident that killed her friends, 16-year-old Miranda is consumed by guilt.

She has no memory of how she managed to survive the crash, only the murky dreams of a strange boy in the dark water. Her only refuge is in the late-night swims she takes alone— until one night on the beach when she meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but keeps many secrets.

The more she fights it the faster love pulls her under. Soon she finds herself in over her head when the dangerous true nature of Christian’s secrets rise to the surface.

Wrecked is a seductive contemporary reimagination of The Little Mermaid, with a paranormal twist, from debut author Anna Davies.

Intrigued? You should be! If you'd like to see more, you can find an excerpt here and take a look deeper into the book. In my opinion, this reimagination sounds like something wonderful.


Now for the GIVEAWAY!

Two winners will receive a copy of WRECKED by Anna Davies. You must have a mailing address in the U.S. to enter. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: Anna Dressed In Blood

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Anna Dressed In Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: Hardcover; 316
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Source: Library
--------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence
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HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who are okay with some pretty graphic violence, and like a good scare.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Number one thing I loved about Anna Dressed In Blood above anything else? Cas. Hands down, it's Cas. He is the best male character I've ever read! You know the brooding, mysterious boy that makes a debut in almost every novel? He is always the crush of the female character because he is so different. That boy? That's Cas. It's amazing to finally get to see things from that boy's point of view, and let me tell you, it's a pretty intense point of view. As a main character, Cas shows us what it is like to be the lone wolf. The person trying to keep others at bay to protect them. It's sensational!

I do admit that this book scared the pants off me for a bit. Let's be honest, this isn't a book for the faint of heart. In fact, if you're not a fan of slightly gory occurrences? This might not be for you. However if you are okay with some violence in  your reading, then you'll love Kendare Blake's story. This is a darker story. One filled with grief, vengeance, and yet still the hope that there is something better out there. The multiple layers create something that is wholly immersive, and easy to read.

Anna Dressed In Blood moves at breakneck speed, and I promise you that if you pick it up you won't set it down until you've finished reading. The way that the characters all compliment one another, the way that just enough suspense gets placed in just the right places, it makes this a story that is massively addicted. In fact, by the time that I reached the end I wanted to throw the book across the room. Not because I didn't love it. Nay, because I wish I had more! I cannot wait.

Suffice it to say, if you couldn't tell from my above ramblings, this is a book that I just adored. Kendare Blake has taken all of the elements that I love in a good story and blended them together into something that is just too good to be true. I never though I'd find myself enamored with a ghost, but there you have it. Blake has managed to do that for me. I don't doubt you'll feel the same way when you pick up a copy of this book. Anna Dressed In Blood is amazing. Get it.

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