Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Review: Roots of Insight

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Roots of Insight
Author: Breeana Puttroff
Publisher: Musefish Press
Pages: Paperback; 306
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Source: Author
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
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HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love fabulous fantasy mixed with a hint of romance!

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Quinn Robbins has just returned from spending ten days in Eirentheos, a world she had never known existed. Trying to settle back into her familiar life and establish a relationship with her new boyfriend, Zander, is more of a challenge than she ever dreamed it would be.

Things are just beginning to feel normal again when Thomas shows up in her world, and invites her back to Eirentheos for a royal wedding. She's excited at the chance to reconnect with the people and places she had begun to fall in love with.

What she doesn't realize is just how deeply connected with this new world she might become ... and just what old secrets might be beginning to unravel.

The second book in the beloved Dusk Gate series reconnects Quinn with the charming princes, and the pristine world of Eirentheos. From a beautiful royal wedding to a dangerous rescue mission, Quinn's adventures are about to take her life on a course that will change it forever.


Earlier this year, Seeds of Discovery totally stole my heart. I loved Quinn, Thomas, William and all of the other Rose children. In fact, my one and only complaint was that things took a little while to get going. By the time I had gotten to the end of the book, all I wanted was more. So of course when I saw that Roots of Insight, the second book in the series, was done I was all over it! I had such high hopes, and I wasn't the least bit disappointed.

This is a sequel that I instantly fell in love with! Things pick up right after the ending of the last story, and Quinn is having a hard time adjusting to being back in her world. I appreciated the fact that Ms. Puttroff showed the difficulty that Quinn was having understanding how to co-exist. It made sense to me. How could you have two completely wonderful existences, and then just instantly be able to choose one? The time difference between her home world, and the world of the Rose children, definitely makes things interesting.

Which leads me to my next point. The romance. Oh my! Quinn is a very lucky girl, because two equally amazing boys are hoping for her attention. I'm truly not sure which one of them I would pick. Let's be honest. Between William and Zander there is no wrong answer! Both sweet, both sincere, these are two boys I would happily date. Watching Quinn battle her feelings, and try to choose where she wants to be, is heartbreaking and wonderful.

Best of all, Roots of Insight flies by with a manic pace! Well, actually that kind of made me sad, since the next book isn't ready yet and I absolutely need more story. Still, it makes this a book that is a joy to read. I have to give Breeana Puttroff a huge hand for building a series that has it all. From the characters, to the world, to the story line, this is a set of books that are easy to fall in love with. I can guarantee you'll be hooked.

Long story short? Loved this one! If you have already started the series, pick this up now! If not, make sure you go get the first book and dive in. I will warn you, the ending is completely out of left field and a massive cliffhanger. I cannot wait for more! Please write faster Ms. Puttroff, I'm anxious to see what happens next.



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.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Leigh T. Moore visits, plus win a copy of The Truth About Faking!


Please welcome to the blog the lovely, and talented, Ms. Leigh T. Moore! She is the author of The Truth About Faking, a YA contemporary romance novel. Cute, sweet, and fun!

Leigh is here today to share with all of you a little bit about her writing process and to share a copy of her book as well! Yup, that's right. You'll get a chance to enter to win a copy of this romance for your very own. You lucky ducks you.

So without further ado, here's Leigh!

First, a big THANKS! to Jessica for inviting me here today. Her suggestion was for me to talk about my process of writing The Truth About Faking.

TTAF was the first book I wrote where I just plowed straight through the first draft without stopping. I had the story clear in my head, and I wrote it all in about two weeks. (Of course, then I spent several months revising.)

Originally, it was going to be a very serious book dealing with Harley’s broken home and the fallout for her “Reverend Dad” and her family. But then Jason crashed into the story.

I know, he crashes in during the first scene—but when he and Harley began interacting, they had great chemistry. I let them take over the story and stopped forcing it to follow my original plan.

Harley tries to resist Jason for the longest time. He’s impulsive, a “bad influence,” not the ideal gentleman she has in mind. But by Chapter 7, she’s a total goner for him. Then she has to figure out how to change her mind.

And that was a big part of the fun. Harley is so stubborn, but Jason is about as stubborn about getting what he wants, which is her. At the same time, he’s laid back and teasing where Harley’s more focused and planning.

Watching worlds like that collide is always fun—especially when there’s a cute boy and kissing. J Their scenes together at the creek were probably my favorite to write, and readers have said those scenes are their favorites to read.

So what started out as a sad book in the planning stage came out more light-hearted. Drama still occurs and the book still deals with serious issues, but I think rather than walking away sad, readers leave warm and happy.

That’s a good thing, right?

Thanks again, Jessica! Thanks for reading, and I hope you guys like my book. J

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Thank YOU Leigh for taking the time to visit! She's not kidding about the chemistry either. Jason and Harley are adorable together! You'll have to read the book to find out ;).

You can find Leigh T. Moore at her Blog, her Facebook page, or her Goodreads profile.

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Now...it's giveaway time!
Thanks to Leigh's kindness, I am able to offer up a copy of The Truth About Faking to one lucky winner! Since this is a hard copy of the book, U.S. only please.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
Winner will be chosen 10/5/12.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: The Truth About Faking

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Truth About Faking
Author: Leigh T. Moore
Publisher: Smash
Pages: Ebook; 328
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Source: Author
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Language
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HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love to devour a sweet contemporary romance every now and then.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Jason just wants a date with Harley.
Harley just wants a date with Trent.
Trent's still getting over Stephanie.

When Harley and Jason decide to fake date, they uncover a school of deceptions. Trent's got a secret, but so does Jason. And the more time Harley spends secretly kissing her fake boyfriend, the further she gets from her dreams with Trent.

Worst of all, Harley's mom is getting cozy with her hot massage therapy student, and even Harley's Reverend Dad can't fake not being bothered by it. But when the masks finally come off, can everyone handle the real truth?

When I was first approached by Leigh T. Moore to review The Truth about Faking, I have to admit that I fell in love with the premise. What could be more fun than reading about a group of high school kids who just want to figure out love? It sounded sweet, and funny! So I jumped in head first. It took me a little while to fall into step with Harley and her friends, but once I did I was enjoyed myself.

Let's start with what I loved. Jason definitely makes this list! Here is a character that is just impossible not to fall in love with. Adorable, witty, and just all together nice. It was a breath of fresh air to see a guy character who wasn't trying to constantly be a bad-boy type. I also really loved Harley's mom and dad. Her mom especially! A hippie at heart, and an herbalist by profession, she was one of those moms that shines off the page. She cared about Harley, and it showed. I so enjoy families who actually care about one another!

Harley herself took me a bit longer appreciate. I'm not going to deny that I wanted to shake some sense into her more than a few times. She's a sweet girl. Misguided sure, but definitely not evil-minded. All Harley really wants is Trent, and she's willing to do a lot to get what she wants. I did appreciate how Moore gave Harley a conscience though. We've all acted on instinct, and Harley is no exception. However the difference is that Harley actually learns from her mistakes. Refreshing!

Overall my biggest issue with this book was how long it took for me to become invested. I loved Jason, and because of that I wanted to shake Harley for the way she was treating him. I didn't really care for Trent. Or Shelly, who is supposed to be Harley's best friend and yet treats her pretty badly. The pacing in the beginning also felt a little rushed, and it wasn't until midway that I finally began to understand the characters. Trust me though, it's worth reading on! I loved the ending, and no I won't spoil it.

Ultimately The Truth About Faking ended up being a book that I enjoyed, and that I definitely recommend. If you are a reader who loves a good contemporary romance, then this is one for you.




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, September 26, 2012

Katherine Marsh talks heroes, plus win her new book!



Today's post is all about Katherine Marsh and her new book Jepp, Who Defied the Stars! As you might have seen earlier in the week from my review, this is a book that is well worth your time! A gorgeous mix of historical and fantasy elements, Jepp's story is hard to stop reading once you start!

I'm lucky enough to have Katherine Marsh herself here today. She'll be sharing a guest post with you and was also kind enough to bring along a copy for giveaway! So read on my friends, read on.


Greetings, Bibliophiles and thank you, Jessica!

My new book, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, features one of the most unusual heroes you’ll ever meet. Jepp is not quite four feet tall. He has two birthdays and a name that’s not his own. This sounds like a riddle, doesn’t it? In a sense, it is, one that reading Jepp, Who Defied the Stars will answer. But I will reveal a little more about my book and Jepp as I tackle Jessica’s assignment to share the literary heroes I adore most.

Hero is probably the wrong word since some of my favorite books are populated by the female variety--heroines. One of my favorite books as a kid was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. Loved this book. It’s the story of Karana, a 19th-century Native American girl, who ends up left behind on an island off the California coast. Like Jepp (who served the eccentric 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe), Karana is a real historical character. A one-girl Robinson Crusoe, she managed to survive alone on the island for eighteen years. As an only child who sometimes felt lonely, I really identified with Karana. Jepp, who ends up stuck on an island too at one point in his adventures, would identify with her as well.

Most of us don’t have to survive nature but all of us have to survive nurture. There’s heroism too in facing up to your family—to who they are, to their mistakes and flaws, to who you are apart from them. As anyone with parents know, it can be quite epic (just ask Jepp!). Another of my favorite heroines, Sal, the narrator of Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, embodies this type of heroism. Just like Jepp, over the course of a journey away from home, Sal learns painful secrets about her family, particularly her mother. Her heroism is displayed in how she decides to process this information—and her refusal to let it negatively define her.

While Karana faces up to self and Sal to family, my final favorite hero, Octavian Nothing, faces up to society. The Octavian Nothing books by M.T. Anderson tell the tale of one teenager’s struggle against racial injustice against the backdrop of the American Revolutionary War. Like Jepp, who is a dwarf, Octavian, who is the son of an African slave, is an outsider who must battle prejudice at every turn. Like Jepp, Octavian finds himself imprisoned by people who see him as a plaything. His subsequent rebellion is a feat of both physical and intellectual heroism.

I haven’t quite answered the riddle about Jepp’s two birthdays or his name—you’ll have to read the book for that--but hopefully I’ve wet your appetite for a tale spun from real history, with adventure, family secrets, outsiders, and a small and unusual hero who will loom large.


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For more, check out katherinemarsh.com or follow me on twitter @MarshKatherine or on facebook/katherinemarshauthor

I’m the author of the upcoming historical YA novel Jepp, Who Defied the Stars (out October 9th!), the Edgar-award winning The Night Tourist, and a sequel, The Twilight Prisoner (read if you like ghosts, New York City history, and Greek myths).

A few interesting tidbits about me: I used to write for Rolling Stone magazine, I’m a Scorpio, and I’m really claustrophobic so if you meet me in an elevator, for god sakes, give me space!


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A huge thanks to Katherine Marsh for stopping by!

As promised, you can enter to win a copy of Jepp, Who Defied the Stars of your very own!

Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
Open to U.S. and Canada only.
Winner will be chosen on 10/2/12.




 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This or That? with Daniel Marks, plus win Velveteen!




Today's guest, as promised, is Daniel Marks! This fabulously talented man is the author of the upcoming debut, Velveteen. He's here today for a round of This or That with some amazing answers! 


In his own words, here's a bit about the man himself:
Daniel Marks writes young adult horror and fantasy, spends way too much time glued to the internets and collects books obsessively (occasionally reading them). He’s been a psychotherapist for children and adolescents, a Halloween store manager, and has survived earthquakes, volcanoes and typhoons to get where he is today, which is to say, in his messy office surrounded by half empty coffee cups. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Caroline, and three furry monsters with no regard for quality carpeting. None. Velveteen is his debut YA fantasy (Delacorte/Random House Kids). 
Follow the author on Twitter: @dannymarksya
Check out his YouTube channel! youtube.com/dannymarksya

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It's time for another round of  THIS OR THAT!?!


Shoes or Sandals? Do flip flops count as sandals? Because I couldn’t live without my flipflops!

White Chocolate or Milk Chocolate? Dark, but since that wasn’t an option, I’ll go with milk. As an aside: I make chocolates at home!

Ebooks or Paper Books? Although I have a Nook (I’m actually on my second, a Touch), I still prefer paper books, probably because I’m such an addicted collector.

Hike or Bike? Definitely hike. I walk everyday and try to hike the trails around our house at least three times a week. I’m up to six miles a day.

Dancing or Singing? Singing. I sing all the time. Of course, the only ones who can hear me are my dogs (I work at home).

Email or Snail Mail? Email, though I don’t get excited about it like I do when there’s some card or unusual envelope in my mailbox!

Cook or Order In? Cook. Definitely. If I ever add a segment to my Youtube channel (http://youtube.com/user/dannymarksya), it’ll be a cooking show. I’m the primary cook at home and before I decided to write, I was nearly ready to go to culinary school to become a chef. Still might.

Dark Side or Light Side? Dark. I’m all about the darkside of everything. Music, books, comedy. I think I have an aversion to vanilla.

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Nothing bad about an author who likes to live on the dark side. Hey, it makes for interesting writing fodder if nothing else, right? Thanks bunches to Daniel Marks for stopping by and playing along!

And now...it's GIVEAWAY TIME!

In order to share this wonderful book, I am offering up my ARC of Velveteen to one lucky winner.
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below! Open to U.S. addresses only. Ends 10/1/12.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Jepp, Who Defied the Stars
Author: Katherine Marsh
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Pages: Hardcover; 384
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
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HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a mix of historical elements and fantasy.

Add it: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
Fate:
Is it written in the stars from the moment we are born?
Or is it a bendable thing that we can shape with our own hands?
Jepp of Astraveld needs to know.

He left his countryside home on the empty promise of a stranger, only to become a captive in a luxurious prison: Coudenberg Palace, the royal court of the Spanish Infanta. Nobody warned Jepp that as a court dwarf, daily injustices would become his seemingly unshakable fate. If the humiliations were his alone, perhaps he could endure them; but it breaks Jepp's heart to see his friend Lia suffer.

After Jepp and Lia attempt a daring escape from the palace, Jepp is imprisoned again, alone in a cage. Now, spirited across Europe in a kidnapper's carriage, Jepp fears where his unfortunate stars may lead him. But he can't even begin to imagine the brilliant and eccentric new master--a man devoted to uncovering the secrets of the stars--who awaits him. Or the girl who will help him mend his heart and unearth the long-buried secrets of his past.

Masterfully written, grippingly paced, and inspired by real historical characters, "Jepp, Who Defied the Stars "is the tale of an extraordinary hero and his inspiring quest to become the master of his own destiny.


Set in the Spanish Netherlands and Denmark in the late 16th century, this story follows Jepp of Astraveld. Based on historical truths, we follow Jepp as he leaves the village inn he was raised in to become an entertainer in the court of the Spanish Infanta, and later, a court jester. All the while his goal is to become something more, to discover who he truly is, and as the title suggests, to defy the stars that keep him from doing just that.

Upon opening Jepp, Who Defied the Stars for the first time I was struck first by the sweeping writing style that Katherine Marsh uses to weave her tale. Although the book is based in history, it reads similar to a fairy tale most times. Descriptions of court finery and luxurious living quarters dazzled me. Gorgeous landscapes, filthy cities, and a populace that consists of giants and automatons, poured onto the page in equal measure. While Jepp's story may not always be a happy one, it is definitely easy to get swept up in. Watching his journey becomes addictive in the best way possible.

In fact, it is that very journey that drew me so far into the book. Despite his stature, Jepp's story is big in a lot of ways. A coming-of-age story that anyone can easily relate to. I found myself rooting for him as he struggled to overcome the obstacles that were put in his path. Celebrating when he fought against what others called destiny, to pave his own way in the world. It takes a great person to come through all of this and end up a better person at the end of it. Lucky for the reader, that's precisely the type of character that Katherine Marsh has written.

I remember that when I first saw this title I wasn't sure if it was for me. It generally takes me a pretty fair amount of time to get fully invested in a historical fiction novel. However Jepp, Who Defied the Stars proved to be so much different than what I expected. A gorgeous mix of historical elements and a sweeping fantasy story line, this is a book to get lost in. I highly recommend you add this to your reading list. Be prepared to fall in love.



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, September 23, 2012

Book Review: I Hunt Killers


Media Type: Print Book
Title: I Hunt Killers
   *Series: Jasper Dent #1
Author: Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: Hardcover; 361
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Source: Library
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Content Screening: Violence, Adult Language

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who like darker stories, especially those with an interest in serial murderers.

Add it: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.
In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

Holy YA Batman. This book completely shattered all expectations I had before picking it up. I've always been a bit intrigued by serial killers, morbid as that may seem. It's something about the cold and calculating personas that they have one moment, while having the ability to blend into normal society the next. Jazz's dad was a perfect example of this. Meticulous and horrific, and yet wholly intriguing. Being in the head of a boy raised by a serial killer was intense. And yet, I loved it.

Let's talk about that boy. Jazz. I truly think it is his character that brings this story to life. Raised by a monster, desensitized to the pain of others, Jazz has a point of view that is quite interesting. His life has been filled with a battle between what he knows he should feel, and what he actually does feel. Always battling the darkness inside himself. Is he truly a copy of his father like everyone else believes? Or is there something within Jazz that keeps him from turning into that stigma? This question drives Jazz in I Hunt Killers. Motivates him to solve the murders, and keep the part of himself that still sees the light.

Lucky for Jazz, Barry Lyga gives him some allies in his quest for some type of normalcy. The other characters in this book may be minor ones, but they truly do just as much to bring the book to life as Jazz himself does. Howie was by far my favorite. I won't spoil anything for you, in case you haven't had the pleasure of devouring this book, but trust me he's amazing. I loved the way that he and Jazz are so completely different from one another. One strong, but afraid of his inner demons. The other weak on the outside, but with a strength all his own on the inside. It is these characters that keep Jazz sane, and move the story along.

I will warn you to make sure you have a strong stomach if you are going to take a shot at this amazing story. It is definitely a serial killer novel at its core, and there are some shocking pieces that might make you cringe. Heck, I don't think you'd be human if at least a bit of this story didn't affect you. Still, it's so compulsively readable. Anything you ever wanted to know about the mind of a serial murderer, about the motivations they feel, or even about the crime scenes they leave behind, it's here.

What can I say? I Hunt Killers is just stunning. Gorgeously morbid, and so unique. There is absolutely nothing that I did not love about this book! Barry Lyga is a genius and I simply cannot wait for more! The ending tore me in half with wanting. This is going to be a series that I will follow with a fan girl intensity. You can be sure of that.

Coming Soon on HDB.... (9/23/12)



It's that time again!


MONDAY

Monday is a review of  Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh. This is a gorgeously written book! I can't wait to share it with you!


TUESDAY

Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen, stops by on Tuesday! He'll be participating in a This or That question session. PLUS I'll be giving away my ARC of the book.


WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday, Katherine Marsh stops by the blog! She'll be sharing a guest post on the literary heroes that she adores most, PLUS giving away a copy of Jepp, Who Defied the Stars!


THURSDAY

Another review on Thursday, this time of The Truth About Faking by Leigh T. Moore. Can't wait to read this one and share it with you! Don't you love the cover?


FRIDAY

Coupled with my review of her book, Leigh T. Moore will stop by on Friday with a guest post about her writing process and ANOTHER giveaway! You'll get a chance to win a copy of The Truth About Faking for your very own :).


SATURDAY

To round out the week, Saturday I'll be reviewing the sequel in The Dusk Gate Chronicles. Roots of Insight by Breeana Puttroff is a book that I've been looking forward to for quite a while! I'm excited to see how it holds up to my hopes.

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That's it for this week!
Hope to see you stop by, and don't forget to enter the Speechless giveaway before it ends tomorrow my dear friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The LOVE IS LOUDER campaign, and your chance to win a copy of SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington!


As promised, today is all about the Love is Louder campaign! As you may have read earlier this week, this is a campaign that Harlequin Teen and Speechless are promoting. In my opinion, it's a worthy cause! Let me share some more.

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Harlequin TEEN has partnered with the nonprofit Love is Louder, a movement that started when actress Brittany Snow, MTV and the Jed Foundation decided to do something to help those feeling mistreated. Hundreds of thousands of people just like you have come together to raise the volume around the message that love and support are louder than any internal or external voice that brings you down.

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret. Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast – and nearly got someone killed. Chelsea has taken a vow of silence – to learn to keep her mouth shut and to stop hurting anyone else.


Speechless explores the real-life teen issues of bullying, mean girls, LGBT awareness and hate crimes. Compared to the many books already out about bullies, Harrington’s novel stands out for its authentic voice and unflinching portrayal of what it means to be part of the bullying. In October 2012, Harlequin TEEN will be releasing a brand new survey that has interviewed 1,500 girls between 13-18 years old on the subject of bullying.

See my review of Speechless!

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ARE YOU READY FOR THE GIVEAWAY?

As part of this promotion, Harlequin Teen is giving away prize packs at blogs like mine! One lucky winner will win a Love is Louder gel phone skin, as well as a copy of Speechless!



Open to U.S. and Canada Only.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below! Giveaway ends 9/25/12.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: Speechless

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: Paperback; 288
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Adult Language, Mild Violence
--------------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fans of Contemporary books that deal with tough issues, and do it beautifully.

Add it: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

To be honest, the very first thing I noticed about Speechless was the gorgeous cover. I realize you might find that a little odd. There are no faces, no swirls, no fancy typeface to draw in the reader. However it is exactly the lack of all those accoutrements that caught my eye. Simplistic. Beautiful. A blank slate. Then, the synopsis. Thank you whoever wrote this! Thank you so very much for not giving away the entire plot in a few paragraphs. I promise you, vague or not, this synopsis is perfection. Speechless holds much more than you are expecting.

Chelsea Knot is definitely not a perfect person. What she is, is realistic. A girl who is flawed, selfish, and raw. Harrington starts out the book by showing us a Chelsea that is pretty easy to dislike. One who spreads rumors, and hurts people. However as she learns the error of her ways, she grows by leaps and bounds. The Chelsea at the end of Speechless is an entirely different person, and just being there for her journey will make you fall in love. In fact, the entire cast of characters that support Chelsea in her time of need are easy to love. I could go on and on about Asha, Sam, Dex and Lou, but I won't. I'll let you meet them for yourself.

What I loved most about this book is that Chelsea's story is full of hope. It is full of growth, and understanding. Speechless touches on tough topics, and it does it well. Instead of relying on angst to draw the reader in, we get to dive deep in Chelsea's head and learn right along with her. There is a message here, that bridges that gap between all ages that might pick up this book. I think Harrington says it best with: "Hate is... it's too easy," he says. "Love. Love takes courage."  

Despite it taking some time for me to feel the writing style of the book, I soon became immersed. In fact, a sigh escaped my lips when I reached the last page. A sigh of contentment at how perfectly this book is paced, and executed. Even the romance in this book is spot on, and builds slowly. Gorgeous. Speechless has just further cemented my opinion that Hannah Harrington is a master of her craft. 



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, September 18, 2012

Writing THY FEARFUL SYMMETRY: A post by Richard Wright + a SURPRISE!



Please welcome to the blog, Richard Wright!

He's the author of Thy Fearful Symmetry, a completely amazing book that I've recently fallen in love with. You can find my review here, and add the book to Goodreads by clicking the banner. Trust me, you'll want to. Especially if you like books with a creep factor.

Anyway it's Richard's time to shine, so I'll step away! Please enjoy his guest post and then scroll to the bottom for a surprise!

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You've felt it, haven't you? That white hot passion for another person that drives the world away. Everything's simpler, when you're whacked out on that kind of love. Choices become black and white. Can I or can't I? Will I or won't I? Should I or shouldn't I? There aren't a lot of grey areas, with passion.

I was challenged once, by a lady I was involved with, to write a love story. I mostly scribble strange dark fictions, you see. While being the girlfriend of a writer seemed cool, I suspect she secretly wished she could trade me in for one of those 'proper authors' she was always hearing about. The lady never said so, but I believe she was hoping to lead me out of the ghetto, and turn my powers to good.

I gave her a story about passion, called When The Stars Threw Down Their Spears. Your regular tale of boy meets girl, boy and girl find out they're ancient enemies but fall in love anyway, God disowns them, and the forces of Hell are unleashed. A tale as old as time, even if it wasn't quite what she was hoping for. I was pleased with it. High passion, desperate romance, and an angel being tortured in a dingy Glasgow flat.

Okay, maybe I didn't stay exactly on brief. The lady and I went our separate ways some time after, which says it all.

You can download that story today, for free at most retailers except Amazon, where it's 'cheap' instead. I retitled it His Work To See, because that was easier to fit on the cover.

After the story was first published in 2000, I realised I hadn't finished it. Those two celestial lovers, Ambrose and Pandora, kept interrupting me at inopportune moments to suggest that they weren't entirely done with me. I'd started their tale, but was a long way from finishing it.

To appease them, I wrote the novel Thy Fearful Symmetry. If Stars is the heat of passion and romance, Symmetry is something deeper and more complex. Love never sits in a bubble. The black and white world it creates cannot withstand the distractions of reality. Other people intrude. Other pressures emerge from outside the romance. Sometimes, there's an actual apocalypse, and the world ends (well, not usually, but this time there is).

When faced with the ever more complicated forces of real life, love has to evolve. It's fed less by fire and intimacy, and ever more by faith. Faith that your choice was correct. Faith in the person you love. Faith in yourself. Faith that you'll stay strong and true through the many obstacles life hurls at you.

I don't think the woman for whom I wrote the story ever understood that.

Faith is many things though, and Thy Fearful Symmetry is about several different uses of the word. For Malachi Jones, it comes down to faith in what he's due, while for Inspector James Gemmell it's about faith in the power of law and order. For Father Calum Baskille, it's about faith in a God, and what happens when he no longer has need of it.

Those are the things I was writing of, when I wrote Thy Fearful Symmetry. Your mileage may vary. Every story is unique to the one who reads it. Every book fuses the author and the reader in different ways. It's one of the areas where the written word triumphs over all other means of storytelling. I may suggest images and ideas to you, but they only take final form in your own head, filtered through your own experiences and opinions. It's a strangely intimate form of telepathy, that way. Just you, me, and the apocalypse.

I hope you'll come and join me in the story, and find out what you might have faith in if the world ended. 

Before I go, thank you to our hostess for letting me tell you a bit about where the book comes from. I like what you've done with the place Jessica, and am flattered to be asked in for tea and a natter.

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Anytime Richard! Anytime at all.

Now then, let's get to the surprise shall we?

Thy Fearful Symmetry is free to all you lovely readers!

Yup, in HUGE act of kindness Richard Wright is sharing his wonderful book with each and every one of you, absolutely free, all day today on Amazon! The book will be for 24 hours, starting at 12 am PST today. 

Go get your copy, get reading, and spread the love!
 Also don't forget to thank Richard, since, you know, he's awesome ;).


Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review: Floors

Media Type: Audio Book
Title: Floors
Author: Patrick Carman
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Format: MP3 Digital File
Duration: 6 hours and 13 minutes
Release Date: September 1, 2011
Source: Library
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Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade
Content Screening: Nothing of note
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HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love quirky adventures!

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Charlie had his chocolate factory. Stanley Yelnats had his holes. Leo has the wacky, amazing Whippet Hotel.

The Whippet Hotel is a strange place full of strange and mysterious people. Each floor has its own quirks and secrets. Leo should know most of them - he is the maintenance man's son, after all. But a whole lot more mystery gets thrown his way when a series of cryptic boxes are left for him . . . boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances. Leo had better be quick on his feet, because the fate of the building he loves is at stake . . . and so is Leo's own future!

Narrator Review:
Jesse Bernstein's voice has a quality all its own in this audio book! He brings each character to life in wonderful ways, and always makes it easy for the listener to tell who is speaking. Best of all, he speaks in a clear and well enunciated fashion. Those of you who have younger listeners will greatly appreciate this. Older listeners might need some time to get used to it.

Audio Book Rating: 4/5 - Worth a listen!

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Book Review:
What a fun and wacky read! Not since my days of Roald Dahl have I fallen this in love with a story line. The Whippet Hotel is a place built out of the imagination of a very interesting man. Merganzer Whippet, the hotel's designer, was told that he would one day invent wacky things! If this hotel is any indication, that's completely right. From a room with edible furniture, to one that is built just like a pinball machine (that you can PLAY!) this is a hotel that I would be happy to stay in! I think middle grade readers will fall in love.

When Merganzer Whippet goes missing, it's up to Leo to solve the mystery of the hotel. There's something to be said about a young, brave protagonist. Leo is smart, kind, and adorable the entire way through the book. I loved how Patrick Carman built his relationship with his father, and with the other characters in the story. It's easy to fall into step with Leo as he sets of on a zany adventure through the hotel. You'll find yourself cheering him on, and wondering what fascinating thing he is going to find next!

If that's not enough, the other characters in Floors will definitely sate your need for silliness. Each one has their own unique personality (and in the audio book their own voice). They mean well, but each one has a pretty interesting set of quirks. After all, doesn't an amazing hotel need equally amazing people to inhabit it? It's so much fun to read about their daily lives, and see how they fit into the overall mystery. Kudos to Patrick Carman for writing such a wonderfully vivid cast of characters.

I see this as the type of book that is going to fly off your library shelves. Or, if you have a young reader at home, one that they'll beg you to read over and over. There is so much to love in Floors! Silly, fun, and just downright wholesome. This is the type of stuff that Middle Grade stories are made out of. Definitely recommended!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Coming Soon on HDB... (9/16/12)


It's that time again! Let's not mince words, onward to what you'll find this week!

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MONDAY

Monday is a review of the Middle Grade masterpiece, Floors! This time for real. Due to technical issues, this didn't go up last week. I know, I know.


TUESDAY

Tuesday is all about Richard Wright and his book Thy Fearful Symmetry, which I reviewed last week. Seriously? Fabulous book! FABULOUS. Richard will be stopping by with a stunning guest post and...a surprise! Make sure you come by to see what it is!


WEDNESDAY

Wednesday you'll find a review of Speechless by Hannah Harrington on the blog. I really enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to rave about it!


THURSDAY

Thursday is all about the LOVE IS LOUDER campaign, which Speechless promotes. You'll find a post on this wonderful group, as well as a giveaway of the book!


FRIDAY

Friday, it's all about Allison Pang's second novel in the Abby Sinclair series. A Sliver of Shadow was pure entertainment! I loved it.


SATURDAY

Finally, Saturday rounds out the week with a review of The Erased by Grant Piercy. All about a dystopian society that can erase you at a moment's notice. I haven't started this one yet, but I'll be sure to let you know how it is!

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So that's this week! Hope to see you stop by, and have a fabulous week of bookishness!





Friday, September 14, 2012

Samantha Durante's Top Books of 2012!

Please welcome Samantha Durante! She's the author of Stitch, which I reviewed last month. Now she's on a blog tour, promoting her book and sharing some awesome facts about herself with all of you! Plus she brought along a wonderful giveaway.

So please enjoy the post below and don't forget to comment!


Samantha’s Top Books of 2012


Hi everyone!

Today I wanted to share with you a list of the best books I’ve read this year. Except… I have a confession to make. Given my schedule writing Stitch, planning my wedding, managing my business, and tending to a very demanding TV schedule (I’m sure you don’t want to miss an episode of Vampire Diaries, either!), I have not made as much time to read this year as I normally would.

I did go on a reading binge for about two weeks after I finished the first draft of Stitch, to catch up on YA sci-fi/fantasy that had come out in the past couple years (while trying to forget my own book so that I could come back to revise it with fresh eyes). And during that binge, I read A LOT of fantastic stuff – Divergent, Delirium, The Maze Runner, Shiver, Graceling, City of Bones, Uglies, Unwind. But you guys have probably read all that already, right?

So instead of writing about the best books I’ve read this year, I decided I would share some of the selections from my to-be-read list that I’m most looking forward to, since that list included more recent releases which you may not have gotten to yet. So here goes! My top 15 most anticipated books right now:


1. Here (On the Otherside #1) by Denise Grover Swank. This was mentioned in one of the reviews about Stitch and it sounded like it had a similar twist (which means, of course, that it would be right up my alley). AND it’s by an indie author like me! Gotta give props to indie authors!

2. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. This is a contemporary YA novel, again by an independent author, and it’s getting rave reviews. Plus, I emailed Jessica Park when I was first starting to plan my blog tour and she was kind enough to email me back right away with some advice, so she’s awesome and I couldn’t wait to support her!






3-6. SEQUEL MANIA: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, and The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. Following up on my reading binge earlier this year, these are the sequels that I’ve already loaded on my Kindle and am dying to read.


7-9. The Fifty Shades series by E. L. James. Why? Because everyone needs a little smutty romance sometimes.


10-12. Congo, Sphere, and The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. I’m a HUGE fan of Jurassic Park, so my fiancĂ©’s brother got me these three as a birthday gift and I’m looking forward to finally cracking them open. I particularly love how well-researched and believable Crichton makes his science fiction (I still don’t understand why scientists can’t just engineer dinosaurs like they do in Jurassic Park!), so I’m looking forward to seeing how he works his magic in these other stories.

13. Frost (The Frost Chronicles #1) by Kate Avery Ellison. First off, THAT COVER! It’s gorgeous, and I can’t help myself, I’m a sucker for a pretty cover. Plus, I saw this one recommended on a lot of blogs that are on the Stitch tour. Sounded to me like a mix of the beyond-the-wall aspect of Game of Thrones plus maybe something like the twist from M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, which to me would make for a pretty solid story.




14. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer. Again, gorgeous cover, I’ve been seeing it everywhere, and I want it.







15. Pure (Pure #1) by Julianna Baggott. This is another one where the cover grabbed me after seeing it all over blogs, plus I love a good post-apocalyptic/dystopian story and this one seemed to fit the bill. 







And that’s my top 15 TBR! I’d love to know what other people are eager to read, so if you guys have any suggestions, leave them in the comments! And thanks again to Jessica for hosting Stitch!

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Looking forward to reading Stitch? Lucky for you, there are 3 copies up for grabs! Giveaway is linked below! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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