Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Blitz Giveaway: Waterborn by Kimberly James


Welcome friends, to another awesome book blitz! I'll tell you why I love participating in these, shall I? Not only do I end up discovering new books to devour, I can share them with you too! Waterborn by Kimberly James not only has a gorgeous cover, it also has amazing ratings.

"You don’t have to choose. You can be both. The girl with the charm, the girl without. They both suit you."

Caris Harper lives a charmed life. Literally.

When her dad offers to take her to the Emerald coast of Florida for summer vacation, Caris jumps at the chance. The chance to get answers to questions she’s always been too afraid to ask. The chance to be normal. Isn’t that what her dreams have been telling her, that here in the place of her birth she can be normal? But from the first moment the wind caresses her face and the sun touches her skin, the charm begins to fade, revealing a girl Caris never knew existed, one that is anything but normal. The long-buried Song that awakens is only the beginning of a transformation that will challenge her ideas about loyalty and family.

Read more here.

Sound like something you'd like to add to your reading list? Well, it just so happens that Kimberly James is offering up a copy to one lucky reader! So please add this book to your reading list, enjoy the excerpt below, and then scroll on down to enter the giveaway!

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     All my life I wanted to be like my mother, hoped I was like her. And now that I knew I was, the knowledge felt like a burden instead of a blessing. A dream turned nightmare.

     As I stood on the beach, a few yards away from where the foamy waves rushed over the sand, I wished it weren’t true. Maybe my dad was wrong. Maybe my mother had been wrong.

     My hope was dashed as soon as the Song came, easy and instinctive. Echoes built and swirled in my head like the breaking of so many waves. I felt the purpose of this Song in a way I hadn’t felt before. I recognized it for what it was now. What before had come as the result of wayward thought, produced by uncontrolled feelings, now came with a violent edge.

     A command.

     A part of me prayed he wouldn’t answer, that he wouldn’t succumb to the power even as it seemed to fill me with a sense of vitality.

     Minutes later, Noah emerged from the surf, surrounded by the foamy break. He radiated power. Somewhere in the fog of my mind, I remembered his strong arms wrapped around me as he wrestled me from the force that held me to the bottom of the ocean. Was it because I knew what he was that I could see him so clearly, or was it that he no longer had to hide that part of himself from me? Did we all wear a charm of some sort? All I knew for sure was that no mere human had eyes like that. No mere human moved with such graceful strength as though he commanded the water itself.

     Our eyes locked and held. We circled each other with wary steps. This wasn’t the same boy I’d rescued from a pack of bullies. This boy was wild, defiant and snarling silently, caught in this invisible trap of my Song.

      Where did we stand? Yesterday I would have said we were friends. Now I didn’t know. He stopped an arms length away. Was he afraid to come closer? No wonder he had looked at me with such animosity before. He didn’t like it, having to come when I called. But despite that, despite what my dad had told me about my real father hurting my mother, I couldn’t believe that Noah would hurt me. I told him that day he’d rescued me from a pool of horseshoe crabs that he wouldn’t hurt me and I still believed that. Maybe even more now.
 
     “Are you afraid of me now?” I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a sense of empowerment, a tiny thrill that he was here only because I’d asked him to come with just a thought.

     “No.” As if to prove it, he closed the space between us with one long stride, eyes intent, bold as they raked over me. I had discarded my dad’s t-shirt, eager to feel the wind on my skin, the spray from the surf. I wore my bikini top and bottoms, but I might as well have been naked the way Noah looked at me. Noah’s bare chest glistened with moisture and I had the absurd thought to rub up against him, let that moisture soak into my skin. Something must have shone on my face, some yearning I couldn’t name, because he shook his head and tiny drops of water rained down on me. I massaged them into my arms, let them drip down my face, craving more. They sang through my blood and every nerve ending in my body responded. Even my scalp tingled.

     His eyes scoured my face, questions swimming in the green depths. But he also looked as if he too had no idea what happened next.

     “How long have you known?” I couldn’t quite keep the edge out of my voice. The accusation. I knew this wasn’t his fault. The fault lie with my dad, but still, he had been keeping this from me. He should have told me.

     “Since the first day I saw you.”

     “The day behind the shops when Jax took your hair?” How had they done it? Cornered and trapped him like that? It didn’t seem possible, even though there had been three of them.

     “No.” He averted his eyes. I watched his throat move as he swallowed. “Before that.”

     Realization dawned. My first night here, when the water grabbed at me. I remembered the swell I’d felt in my chest, the Song that had burst through my head almost without me knowing.

     I called him that first day, and he’d come, not knowing who I was. I didn’t want that kind of power over him. Yet, here he stood.

     “Why you? I mean, there are others like you…” I gulped, still barely able to grasp the idea of another species, even with the proof of it standing in front of me. The proof of it humming under my skin. I still felt human enough, but Noah was definitely more. So unquestioningly, obviously more. “Like us. Why you?”

     “I don’t know.” He said the words almost like a tired sigh, as though it was an unanswered question he’d asked himself over and over.

     “So, we’re not really friends. It’s just this…” I waved my hand between us, not knowing what to call this connection we shared.

     “I can’t speak for you, but I am your friend, Caris. I will always be that.”

     My throat tightened and I looked away, not wanting him to see how his words affected me. They soothed the raw edge of my raging emotions. Grounded me to center when everything felt like it was spiraling out of my control. “You must hate me.”

     His mouth quirked in a half smile. “No. I don’t hate you.”


Copyright 2013, Kimberly James
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Kimberly is a Crossfit junkie and a connoisseur of french fries.

She likes to make stuff up and write it down. Her stories usually have a contemporary setting with a fantastical twist. Waterborn is her debut novel.

Kimberly lives in Alabama the beautiful with her husband, three dogs, Kevin the cat, and four new adults of her own. A couple of which are off at college.
Visit Kimberly: Website / Facebook / Twitter
Buy it: Amazon / B&N

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Some Ramblings


This is where I wish I was right now... doesn't that look heavenly?


Hi there bookish friends! *stretches and yawns* Wow, it's been a long time since I've actually written anything on here that wasn't a review, a promotional post, or a giveaway, hasn't it? I remember when I first started this blog I used to relish in writing random posts. Then, slowly, life got in the way. Full time jobs, with hour long commutes, will do that to you! Still it's nice to stretch out in here and write some ramblings once in a while. I thought I'd catch you up on what's going on in the world of Jessica, the bookworm.

First and foremost, a HUGE wave an hello to any new followers out there! Thanks for picking me to follow. I hope I entertain you. Actually, I hope I help you find tons of books to squee over and entertain you. After all, that's my goal.

In other news, in a mere three weeks I'll have been a married woman for a year. I know, right? Doesn't it seem like I was just gushing, posting dorky pictures, and being excited for my wedding? Yup. It has almost been a year and I'm slightly freaking out at how quickly time passes. Here's a gushy picture for old times sake.


Also I've been in a little bit of a reading slump. Not so much that I've stopped reading altogether. More that I'm being extra picky about what I finish. If I pick up something and it doesn't catch my attention in about 20 minutes, bye bye book. On to something new. On the bright side I've found some awesome reads that way!

We're also really busy gearing up for a big trip early next year. If everything goes well, we should be heading out to South Korea for a visit to my hubby's brother and our awesome friends who are teaching out there. Since this is the first time I'll ever be flying overseas...well...I think I'm entitled to be a little nervous. Who knew that getting a passport was so much paperwork? 

If you haven't been following me for very long, let me tell you that I know I ramble. However I also am a total lover of all things bookish and of making new reader friends. So feel free to start a conversation with me at any time :). I'm always here to chat.

I'll leave you in peace now. Thanks for listening to my ramblings, and happy remainder of your weekend!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Giveaway Time! Confessions: The Private School Murders by James Patterson



Happy Friday my friends! (I'm assuming that by the time you read this, it'll be Friday of course.)

Anyway I have an awesome giveaway opportunity for you! I was lucky enough to review Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson earlier this week. It's definitely worth a read. Full of mystery, lies, and all sorts of twists that you won't see coming. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The second book in the series, Confessions: The Private School Murders is due out October 7th. Lucky for you, there's a copy up for grabs today! Check out the synopsis. 
Tandy Angel may have played the hero when she solved the case of her magnificently wealthy parents' mysterious deaths, but she isn't done yet. Her brother Matthew stands trial for homicide, young girls are found murdered all around New York's Upper West side, and Tandy is determined to use her piercing intellect to get to the bottom of both cases. But the biggest mystery of all may be what actually happened to James Rampling, the handsome son of a family enemy, whom Tandy fell in love and ran away with--though most of her memories of the affair are disturbingly absent...

The confessions keep coming as Tandy delves even deeper into her own tumultuous history and the skeletons in the Angel family closet.
Sound amazing? I thought so too. Enter below to win, not only a copy of Confessions: The Private School Murders, but a snazzy t-shirt to go along with it!



You must have a U.S. mailing address to enter.
Good luck, and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Vicious


Media Type: Print Book
Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor
Pages: Hardcover; 368
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Source: Publisher
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Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal Fiction

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Everyone. Seriously, everyone. Get out there and get a copy of this book.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / BookLikes
A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Oh, good lord. I'm floored at how seamlessly Victoria Schwab's writing translated over into this, her first book written for adults. I've always known she was an amazing writer. She has the ability to entrap you with her words, entrance you with her perfectly built characters, and keep your eyes glued to the action on the page. Before you know it you'll be at the ending, equal parts in love and terribly angry that you'll have to wait for another book. I should know, that's exactly how I felt after turning the last page of Vicious.

What do I say first? The premise of this book is, if you'll allow me to say it, bloody brilliant. Victor and Eli exist in a world where people have the possibility of being ExtraOrdinary. Of having something special about them that translates into the word "superpower". Is it the future? For all we know, people like these could be wandering around in plain sight as we speak. All I know is that it was so very easy to fall into the lives of these two boys. To see how they became special themselves, and then how they were set on two very different paths. I adored the fact that Victoria Schwab doesn't cast a definitive line between good and evil here. Everything is relative, and it makes things that much more interesting.

That being said, the characters all play perfectly into this theme. There is no one character who is entirely pure in their intentions. Even the youngest character, who I refuse to spoil for you, has a bit of grittiness within her. Each one has their own demons to fight off.  If I had to choose a favorite, it would have to be Victor. I'm sure once you read this book you'll see why. He's charming when the need calls for it, but can also be downright vicious. His ability to think on his feet, to plot and scheme, it all just called to me. Once I became immersed in Victor Vale, there was no going back.

I wish I could say more! I genuinely wish I could gush for hours. However to say too much is to possibly give something important away, and I'd much rather you experience this all for yourself. The point remains that Vicious is a beautifully written novel. It's intense, intelligent, and absolutely addictive. Whether you're a current fan of Victoria Schwab or not, I'm certain you will be after you read this book. Settle in, my friends, and prepare to read well into the night. Vicious is waiting 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.

The One About Kissing: A Guest Post by Romily Bernard


Yesterday I posted a review of Romily Bernard's Find Me, and gushed about how awesome it was! Today I'm lucky enough to have the author herself on the blog! You know what I love about books? Good romance. You know what I love about romance? Kissing. So without further ado, here's a guest post from Romily....all about kissing.

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The One About Kissing

     Is there anything better than a kiss scene? It’s so much more satisfying than a fight scene or a chase scene although it can leave you just as pumped. I do wish they weren’t so flipping hard to write though. Maybe it’s me. The final fight scene in FIND ME took, maybe, a full day to write, but the first kiss scene…yeah…that was way longer.

     It’d be so much easier if I could just type “And then they sucked face.” But y’all don’t want to read that and neither do I. You know who I could read again and again though?

     Yeah, I know. You don’t care, but I’m in a sharing mood. It’s probably all the carbs I’ve been loading lately. Side note: I like saying “carb loading,” makes me sound like I’m preparing for a marathon rather than worrying about FIND ME reviews. I am a big fan of frosting. Big. Fan. And sandwiches. Those are good too.

     And now my side note as turned into a full-fledged digression. For those of you playing along at home, this is surprising no one.

     Okay, back to writers who amaze me. In no particular order, let’s start with…

     Rainbow Rowell. If you have not read ELEANOR AND PARK, there is something seriously wrong with you. Kidding! But really why? Why? Why do you hurt me like this? All I want to do is share the awesomeness that is Eleanor and her Park. Rowell’s kissing scenes are so well done—not only because she’s a beautiful writer, but also because the tension leading up to that kiss is perfectly rendered.

     Sherry Thomas. Okay, confession: I have not read THE BURNING SKY…yet. I discovered Thomas back when she was writing historicals and they were amaze-balls. The emotional angst between the hero and heroine in PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS was like a gut-punch. In the absolute best way. When the h/h finally kiss, you want to cheer…and cry because there’s so much damage between them.

     Simone Elkeles. Actually, I’m going to have to say that again, Simone Elkeles. Can we say PERFECT CHEMISTRY? Yes. We. Can. How about CHAIN REACTION? Yep. Enough said.

     Although now I have to sit down. Y’all are going to have to give me a second.

     Okay. Am better now.

     So those are some of my favorite authors, but because I’m still filled with the spirit of sharing (or cake pops, it’s a toss up really) I’m adding one of my favorite kiss scenes from FIND ME. I am not Rainbow Rowell, Sherry Thomas, or Simone Elkeles, but I hope you enjoy it.

****

“We should probably get going,” I say.

“Sure thing.” Griff starts to ease closer and I freeze. “But we don’t have rush off. I have my bike. It’ll take less than twenty minutes to get to Joe’s.”

“I…I…” I don’t know what to say. We’re only inches apart now and my brain has stalled. Griff’s body slides lower along mine and I have to stifle a gasp. He still smells like grass and chlorine from last night and his hair has dried in messy spikes.

Griff smiles and, for a second, I think he’s going to kiss me again, but he turns his head so his whispers rush past my ear, making my skin leap like it’s electrified. “I like waking up to you, Wicked.”

I dig my fingers into the covers so I don’t dig them into him. “I thought you were awake because I kept kicking you.”

“Yeah, you were.” Griff’s hand drifts up, up, up my neck until it’s cupping my jaw. “But, mostly, I was up because I wanted to do this.”

His lips press against corner of my jaw…my cheek…my mouth. I roll into him and he pushes me down, pins me to the bed.

“Again,” he breathes.

****



As always, a huge thank you to Jessica at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile for having me. Thanks for reading and I hope everyone enjoys FIND ME!!


I graduated from Georgia State University with a Literature degree. Since then, I’ve worked as a riding instructor, cell phone salesgirl, personal assistant, groom, exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service rep.

So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed.
Visit Romily: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Review: Find Me


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Find Me
Author: Romily Bernard
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: Hardcover; 307
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Source: Publisher / Blog Tour
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy chilling mysteries wrapped up in real life events.

Add it on: Goodreads / BD / Amazon / B&N / BookLikes
“Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

I finished Find Me only a few moments ago, and I'm still breathless. I'll be the first to admit that this book didn't hook me at first. It was a slow build up. A deliberate web of mystery and deceit that is created page by page. By the time I was at the mid-point of the book, I was intrigued. By the last third of the book, I was flipping pages like a reader possessed. My point? Give this book some time. It'll hook you. Oh, it'll hook you.

Wicket Tate doesn't only have a very unique name, she has skills. She's a survivor, a computer hacker, and an expert at blending in. So why does she suddenly feel like everything is spiraling out of control? I had a soft spot for Wick and her sister Lily. These two had been through hell and back, yet they were stronger than I could ever be. Wicket has a mouth on her, but her love for her sister is fierce and she'll do whatever it takes to protect them. I couldn't have asked for a better protagonist to follow. Then there was Griff. I wasn't certain about this mysterious guy at first. He felt placed in simply for a possible romance. However soon Griff became as essential to the story as Wick was. Kudos to Romily Bernard! I loved him.

As I mentioned before, the story does take a little time to get into full swing. I found myself placed in the middle of Wick's transition and had to wade through until I got my bearings. Her story is tough because it has so much opportunity to be true. On the flip side, that's also why it's so compulsively readable. The emotion that comes through, the raw pain and strength, are what kept me reading on. Wick is fierce, even in the face of danger, and I adored her for it. Plus you won't see the ending coming. It's slightly like a slap in the face, but one that you'll gladly take.

Is this review all over the place? Probably. Truthfully, my thoughts are still all over the place. The ending of this book was so much more than I was expecting, and I still can't get it out of my mind. What I can say is that I recommend Find Me to you, my dear readers. If you enjoy strong, female protagonists and mystery expertly blended, then this is a book for you.


I graduated from Georgia State University with a Literature degree. Since then, I’ve worked as a riding instructor, cell phone salesgirl, personal assistant, groom, exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service rep.

So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed.
Visit Romily: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads


Click here to follow the rest of the tour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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, September 23, 2013

Book Review: Confessions of a Murder Suspect (Confessions #1)


Media Type: Print Book
Title: Confessions of a Murder Suspect
   *Series: Confessions #1
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: Paperback; 372
Release Date: September 24, 2012
Source: Publisher
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Content Screening: Violence; Mild Adult Language

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy mystery stories, especially as written in James Patterson's signature style.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / BookLikes
James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family . . . and the dark secrets they're keeping from one another.

On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone—maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?

I think it's important to note that this is the first James Patterson book I've ever read. I'd always been told he has a certain "style" with which he writes, but had no clue what that meant. I soon found out. Confessions of Murder Suspect started out confusing, became odder, and then ultimately trapped me in its web. In fact, no matter how lost I felt, I just couldn't stop flipping the pages. It wasn't long before I was fully hooked. This book is like a maze. Confusing at times, entertaining throughout, and unwilling to let you go until you reach the conclusion.

The reader is thrown into the lives of Tandy Angel and her family. Tandy is definitely an interesting narrator. She's rather stoic, intelligent, and carries herself as an adult. However you'll often glimpse little pieces of a normal, young girl peeking through. In fact, all of Tandy's brothers are built like that as well. Ranging from intensely athletic, to musically inclined, to full of hot rage, these boys are anything but normal most of the time. Still, there are times where they show their true selves. It takes a while to get used to their antics, but it also really moves the book along.

Speaking of time, it actually takes a bit to understand the Angel family in general. James Patterson builds up the family back story, and the setting, in little, jumbled pieces. I would be learning about the extraordinary furniture in the Angel household, and suddenly find out that Tandy had holes in her memory. Then I'd be intrigued by the family's reward and consequences system, only to randomly discover that one of her brothers may be a psychopath. Needless to say, this book is all over the place. Like I said above though, it's tough to look away. There's something bewitching about all the madness. It creates a need to know how it's all going to end.

Which is why, by the time I reached the end of Confessions of a Murder Suspect, I was a mess. I'd finally discovered some mysteries, but then there was so much left unanswered! As the first in a series, I'll be forgiving. I can't deny that I'm anxious for book two though. This wasn't a passive read. I was thinking, and piecing things together the entire time. It kept my attention riveted and any book that can do that is a keeper in my eyes. It might feel like a maze, but it's one worth navigating.




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 20, 2013

YALLFest presents: An Interview with Sean Williams


Another wonderful YALLFest author is here on the blog today! This time I'm featuring Sean Williams, author of so much Science Fiction and Fantasy that it makes my head spin! He's also the author of the upcoming YA book, Twinmaker.

You can be Improved....

In a near-future world in which technology can transport you anywhere instantly, can a coded note enable you to change your body—to become taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby’s dream turns into Clair’s nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious—but powerful—stranger called Q, Clair’s attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams’ tale of technology, identity, and the lengths to which one girl will go to save her best friend.

I know that I've added this to my reading list! I'm actually surprised I didn't discover it earlier. Anyway, below you'll find a wonderful interview with Sean Williams himself! Please enjoy, and once again don't forget to add Twinmaker to your to-be-read list!

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What one thing do you need to have when you write?

The right music. And chocolate as a reward when I finish.


Describe your book in 5 words
Jump meets Uglies. But different.


What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
The first line is often the hardest to write, but I like a good challenge. The line I like writing the least is the last because it means I have a whole load of rewriting ahead of me.


Best writing tip you ever received?
Give up. If you can do that, you’ll be happier and probably better off as a result. If you can’t, then you know writing is exactly the right thing for you!


Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
1) I live in Adelaide, South Australia, a place that’s home to about a million other people but somehow feels like a small town, which is why I love it.

2) I still think music from the 1980s is cool.

3) My stepson has situs invertus, which means his heart is on the wrong side of his body. That’s not really about me, but it is pretty random.

4) I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who.

5) I’m minding a pair of green tree frogs, Skipper and Jumpy, for a young friend while she’s overseas with her family. You can see pictures of them on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seanwilliamsauthor/.


Where's your favorite place to write?
In my study, a lovely upstairs nook containing all my favorite book-related things, but I’ve trained myself to write anywhere as long as I have my headphones and some music. I quite like writing in hotels, probably because someone else does all the household chores.


What are you working on now?
Crashland, the sequel to Twinmaker.

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Sean Williams was born in the dry, flat lands of South Australia, where he still lives with his wife and family. He has been called many things in his time, including "the premier Australian speculative fiction writer of the age", the "Emperor of Sci-Fi", and the "King of Chameleons" for the diversity of his output. That award-winning output includes over thirty-five novels for readers all ages, seventy-plus short stories across numerous genres, the odd published poem, and even a sci-fi musical.

Read more here.
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Book Review: Just Like Fate


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Just Like Fate
Authors: Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: Hardcover; 304
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Source: Edelweiss
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Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy "sliding door" stories, where you see consequences of both choices.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / BookLikes
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.

The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.
Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...

This is the first "sliding doors" book I've ever read. I have to admit that I was intrigued by the idea of seeing both sides of the same story. What choices would Caroline face, and what would she choose to do about them? When the dilemma was finally presented, I had to take a step back. It seemed so obvious, at least to me, what Caroline should do. Since there was no back story as to why she would want to do anything else, I started this book with a raised eyebrow.

It's true that once the book actually pushed forward, I ended up more invested. It turns out that, despite how weak the beginning felt to me, Caroline's two lives actually do play out fairly differently. Each reality had its own positives and negatives. Each one brought about its own set of problems. In fact, that's what I really enjoyed about Just Like Fate. It shows that life isn't cut and dry. One choice doesn't lead to pure happiness and the other to utter despair. Instead, they each have a bit of both.

Still, this book doesn't exactly dive as deeply as I felt it could have into the characters and their stories. I didn't learn much about Caroline overall, and I felt like things ended up predictable after a time. The romance here was cute, although not entirely believable. It was a love triangle, but then again not. In other words there were two different Carolines, but the same two guys in each. She never has to actually make a choice between them persay, yet it still feels oddly like a love triangle. I feel that if I had gotten to know them better, and maybe known Caroline better, I might have enjoyed the romance more.

Apologies if this review is all over the place, but that's how my thoughts on this book truly are. I liked the premise of Just Like Fate, adored the concept of seeing how choices affect the future, but I just couldn't get behind the execution. I did finish this book and, honestly, enjoyed the ending a lot. So I still recommend that you give it a shot! I feel it's the type of book you'll either love, or fail to click with, but it's definitely worth the journey to find out.



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 17, 2013

YALLFest presents: An Interview with C.J. Lyons


In honor of YALLFest, I'm lucky enough to have C.J. Lyons on the blog today! The author of many thriller books, Broken is C.J.'s first romp into the YA genre. Take a look!


New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons makes her YA debut with a fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page

The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now... or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.

Sounds amazing, am I right? I know I've added it to my reading list! I was lucky enough to host an interview with C.J. also. Please enjoy the Q&A below, and don't forget to add this book to your reading list. Especially if you'll be visiting YALLFest!

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Describe your book in 5 words:

CJ: Girl dying of broken heart (literally)

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

CJ: The first. I’ll often return to it over and over again until I've sliced and diced and fine-honed it to that perfect combination of intrigue, visceral reaction, and emotional connection with the reader.

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?

CJ: Code Name Verity because it is so emotionally honest and inspiring, empowering, not to mention gut-wrenching. Really brings the era to life as well as the sacrifices made in the name of freedom.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

CJ: When I was a kid I worked summer stock theatre and was actually a theatre major undergrad before switching to pre-med. I've had two hard landings in helicopters while working as a flight doc. I survived rampaging Cape Horn Buffalo and a pack of wild baboons, not to mention a leopard (he’s already eaten) while hiking in Hells Gate Park in Kenya. I’m a Capricorn. I diagnosed my niece with the heart condition that’s at the center of my YA thriller, BROKEN.

What are you working on now?

CJ: DAMAGED, my next YA thriller, due out in 2014. It deals with the really tough topic of abuse and coercion and is the most difficult book I’ve ever tackled—there have been times while writing when I was literally in tears as I typed.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

CJ: I created my own genre of Thrillers with Heart—I love writing fast paced stories with raising stakes but centered on the emotional heart of an evolving relationship. As for reading, I read almost every genre but especially love YA, magical realism, and thrillers. As long as a story grabs me by the throat and won’t let me go because I’m too worried about what the characters are going through, I’ll read it and love it.

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of seventeen novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net and everything she knows about being a bestseller at www.NoRulesJustWRITE.com

Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Blitz Giveaway: Sia by Josh Grayson


A book that's had a lot of buzz around the book blogosphere, Sia by Josh Grayson is on tour today! If you're a fan of Contemporary Romance, this might just be something that you want to check out. Read on for more information and a giveaway at the end!

When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.




If you could fly anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Italy, simply because it’s always ranked as having the best food in the world. Its beaches are nice too. I’ve Googled it.


What is your favorite genre to read/write?

Young adult (YA), because those stories carry universal themes we can all relate to, a peek into the lives of characters who are more intriguing, real, and raw.


What is one silly fact about you?

I can mimic Enrique Iglesias’s voice pretty well. I sang “Hero” at a friend’s birthday party once and received an enthusiastic response. Some applauded, others laughed. Overall, though, I felt good about my performance.


What got you started on your writing journey?
My move from Massachusetts (where I’d lived most of my life) to Virginia. The first year here was difficult. I was alone, depressed, and in completely new surroundings. But it was here in the South that I began seeing all these stories in my head, and that my “writing gene” got activated. So it seems the old saying is true, everything does happens for a reason. 


Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance?

I don’t choose, per se. I just write whatever I see in my head. And so far, all the romantic parts have been sweet and clean, which is fine with me.


What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year 2013?

I’m working on another YA novel that Sia fans should enjoy as well. If things go according to plan, I’ll publish that in the summer of 2014.


What inspired you to write Sia?

Initially? Oprah. (laughs). I saw an interview she did on a man with fugue amnesia that impacted me. Fugue amnesia occurs when someone, usually in response to excessive stress, takes off on some unexpected travel. And during the travels, that person assumes either a partial or complete new identity. I found it both fascinating and frightening to think that stress alone can cause the human brain to demand a reset like that. I often wonder why I haven’t gotten fugue amnesia yet!


Is it true you wrote the screenplay adaption as well?
Yes! I wrote it as soon as the book was finished. I’m about to hire a seasoned Hollywood screenwriter to polish it. When it is up to industry standards, we’ll submit it to film companies and cross our fingers. I think Sia would translate wonderfully to film.


If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?

 Determined. Compassionate. Humble. Kind. Brave. 


Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

Because I believe it will leave you touched, encouraged, and—of course—entertained.


Josh Grayson was born in Mexico, raised in Massachusetts, and now lives in Martinsville, Virginia. It was his move to the South that stirred his imagination and gave him the courage to start writing. During his free time, Josh enjoys reading, jogging, swimming, and watching YouTube videos.


Josh currently works as a medical driver, shuttling people all over Virginia and North Carolina. He has also worked as a machinist, film sales rep, administrative assistant, and telemarketer (he apologizes if he called you).
 Sia is his debut YA novel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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.

Audio Book Review: Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard


Media Type: Audio Book
Title: Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard
   * Series: Zoe & Zak Adventures #1
Author: Lars Guignard
Narrator: Bailey S. Carson
Publisher: Fantastic Press
Format: Digital MP3
Duration: 7 hours and 20 minutes
Source: CBB Book Promotions
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Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Young readers who love action and adventure!

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon
Introducing book 1 of the new kids’ adventure books from best-selling author Lars Guignard:
Zoe and Zak are lost in exotic India, where gods and magic still exist. Before they can find their way home, they just have to do one little thing…

…Save a mythical creature from an ancient evil that wants to rule the world.

When Zoe Guire goes along on her mom’s business trip to India, things get very weird, very quickly. An elephant god speaks to her from the bottom of a swimming pool… She and her classmate Zak get locked in a trunk and shipped off to a strange city near the foothills of the Himalayas… and a crazy snake charmer tells them they’ve been chosen to protect a mythical creature called the Ghost Leopard from an ancient evil that wants to take over the world.

As they travel deeper into the majestic mountains known as the Realm of the Gods, things get even weirder. If she and Zak want to make it back to their parents, they’re going to have to tap into powers they never knew existed.

Because if they don’t, things will never be the same for any of us ever again.

Narrator Review:

Bailey Carlson proves to be a good narrator for this story. She has the ability to switch between young voices and older ones seamlessly. I also really liked her accents for the people of India. The absolute only thing I would change is the pacing at some points. There were times when her reading was either too slow or moved a bit too quickly. Overall, a good listen though!

Audio Book Rating - 4/5 Give it a listen!


Book Review:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The best part of Middle Grade fiction is all the adventure that's packed into it! Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard is not exception to this rule. Rich with Indian culture, vivid descriptions and exciting moments, this a book that will be sure to enchant readers of all ages. Whether you're 8 or 80, if you like action you'll love this book!

Zoe and Zak are like night and day. Zoe follows rules and questions everything. Even when magic is right in front of her, it still takes her some time to come to terms with it. Zak, on the other hand, is impulsive and takes everything in stride. Life is an adventure to him. It's probably obvious that these two don't stat out the best of friends. However as the story progresses, and their friendship grows, it's easy to see why they compliment one another. Add in some wonderful supporting characters who, in all honesty, are just as richly built and you have a book that is easy to fall into.

Still, in case you're not a character driven reader, I'll let you know that the setting and the plot are just as well done. India comes to life on the pages and it's easy to see that Lars Guignard has done his research. From bustling cities, to high, snowy mountains, Zoe and Zak visit some amazing places in their quest for the ghost leopard. The action moves along quickly and, before you know it, the final battle is on. I was pleasantly surprised with how Guignard didn't find the need to sugarcoat things for readers. It adds to the appeal for older readers.

I'll admit that it took me a while to fall in love with Zak. He's a bit overbearing for about the first 20% of the book. However once I fell in step with him and Zoe, I was lost in the story. If you have a reader at home who loves action and adventure, or if you're that reader yourself, give this one a try!





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.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Review: Rose


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Rose
   *Series: Rose #1
Author: Holly Webb
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: Paperback; 240
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source: NetGalley
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy stories filled with lessons, magic, and adventure.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / BookLikes
Rose isn't like the other orphans at St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn't need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just maybe; she might have a little bit of magic in her too. This new series featuring magicians, witches, talking cats, mist-monsters, and friendships will have young readers in a trance!

It's no secret that my absolute favorite part of books is falling in love with the characters. It's actually why I tend to read so much Middle Grade fiction. Characters like Rose make me smile. Vibrant, witty, and much braver than I could ever be, she stole my heart and made this book fly by for me! Even if the story hadn't been absolutely stellar, which it was of course, I would have read on just to follow dear Rose. Holly Webb's brilliantly showcases why MG fiction isn't just for one age group.

The real draw for me was that Rose had such big, and yet so simple dreams. While other girls dreamed of being adopted and fawned over, all she wanted as to make something respectable of herself. Despite her young age, Rose has a definite understanding of how the world around her functions. She's hardworking, intelligent, and polite. Even when faced with the possibility of magic, her level head keeps her calm. Who better to navigate a world filled with magic, both good and bad? I loved Rose.

Better still, she has a wonderful cast of characters surrounding her. Freddie, the boy apprentice with just a bit too much ego. Isabella, her master's daughter and a definite spoiled child. Even Gus, a cat a first glance and yet so much more than that, is fleshed out and fun to read about. It was these children that kept the story moving. Their interactions, the lessons learned, and of course the battle against the ultimate baddie at the end. Oh no, you won't get more from me. The synopsis doesn't spoil it, and neither shall I. You'll have to read Holly Webb's gorgeous book to find out what happens to Rose and her friends.

I honestly wish I had better words to describe how much I was enamored with this book. There's something about the old world charm of it that held me under its spell. Even at the ending, which I was satisfied with but made me want so much more, I couldn't stop smiling. Rose is a stellar start to the series. I simply cannot wait for the rest of her story, so I can devour it all over again. If you're a fan of magic, mixed with a bit of mystery, this is a book you'll adore.




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 13, 2013

Magical Powers: A guest post by Holly Webb



I'm happy to be hosting Holly Web's Rose on tour today! I'm a huge fan of Middle Grade books filled with magic, mayhem, and plucky young heroines. That's why I knew that I'd be reading Rose!


Rose isn't like the other orphans at St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn't need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just maybe; she might have a little bit of magic in her too. This new series featuring magicians, witches, talking cats, mist-monsters, and friendships will have young readers in a trance!
Add it: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

Holly Webb is here today to share a little bit about what magical powers she'd most want to have! I think she's picked some wonderful ones. Please enjoy, and make sure to add Rose to your reading list as soon as you can!

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Magical Powers

1. Flying. Oddly enough, this isn’t because I actually want to be able to fly anywhere. I had a recurring dream as a child (and still occasionally now) that I could jump from a particular staircase in my parents’ house (which had a lot of stairs, as it was tall and Victorian, but it was only this one staircase in the dream) and I would be able to float down to the bottom.(Freddie mentions doing this by accident in Rose.) I can still remember the amazing swooping sensation inside, even when I’m awake. I’d love to be able to do it for real. But I don’t think I’d ever fly very high – I’m slightly scared of heights!

2. Talking to animals. Because I would love to know what they think. I had a cat and two dogs growing up, and one of the dogs I was very close to. She was a grumpy English Bull Terrier, and we got her when I was seven. She chewed everything, and never learned to walk to heel, but I think that was our fault rather than hers. She and I used to go on long, sulky walks when I was a teenager, and it would have been wonderful to be able to talk to her properly. Although I should think she would have been very bossy. She already had me convinced that she could never walk over sand because it hurt her paws, so whenever we went to the beach, I had to carry her. And she was a big dog…

3. To make things grow. I love the idea of plant magic – the episode in Rose where she accidentally makes the wisteria vine catch her as she’s trying to climb down the wall of the house is one of my favourite bits. I’d love to be able to grow strange plants, flowers that opened up to reveal people, or perhaps secret rooms that you could get into if you were small. I loved the Narnia books as a child (I still do), and the talking animals and the dryads (the tree people) were my favourite parts.

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Holly Webb is the author of Dog Magic, Cat Magic, and Lost in the Snow. She has always loved animals and owns two very spoiled cats. They haven't said a word to her yet, but she's always listening, just in case! She lives in England.

 

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