Monday, July 30, 2012

Review (33): The Dirt by Lori Culwell

The Dirt
by Lori Culwell

Series: None
Other Reviewed Titles: None
Release Date:
November 11, 2011
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Pages: 208
Source: ARC from author
Challenge: None

My Review:
Lucy has been surrounded by “The Whitley Family scandal” for the past 9 years and just when she thinks she is finally going to be able to distance herself from her dysfunctional family, everything just gets even more complicated. All she wants to do is go away to a boarding school in Connecticut where she can step out from under the shadow of her evil, perfect and uber popular older sister Sloane and out of the little desert town that seems to be obsessed with gossiping about her family. Her plan to move across the country relies on her father’s second wedding which does not go as anybody expected.

This book can be summed up in one word: Drama, drama, drama! I thought this was a very enjoyable and quick read. The plot wasn’t as unpredictable as I would have hoped, but it did have its fair share of twists and turns which held my interest. I wasn’t really satisfied with the ending though, I felt that there was something...missing. I don’t even know why, it just felt a little unfinished to me.

As for the characters, the Whitley sisters could not have been more opposite if they tried. I felt that Lucy lacked a lot of confidence which was understandable since she was always being put down by Sloane. I kept rooting for her to grow and stand up for herself, but she never really did. She kind of just hid behind Megan who did most of the fighting. This really made Megan become my favorite because she didn’t seem to be scared of anyone.

The cover is cute and simple. I’m assuming the two girls on it are supposed to represent Sloane and Megan. Why Lucy wasn’t included (since she is the main one), I don’t know, but I still really like it. 

Rating: * * * 1/2

And thank you to the author for sending me a copy for review.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can not wait to read! This meme is the perfect way to add books to your TBR list. Along with upcoming releases, I sometimes include books that I have not had the chance to read or buy even if they have already come out. 

The book I am anxiously awaiting is...

Title: Hide and Seek (The Lying Game, #4)
Author: Sara Shepard
Release Date: July 31, 2012

My friends and I used to play lying games.

Now my twin sister is living one.

When I was alive, my family seemed picture-perfect. My adoptive parents adored me, and my little sister, Laurel, copied my every move. But now that my long-lost twin, Emma, has taken my place to solve my murder, we’re both learning just how flawed my family really is.

Laurel is shooting Emma nasty looks and sneaking around with my ex-boyfriend. And it turns out my parents are keeping a huge secret—could it be the reason I’m dead?

How far would they go to keep the truth buried? No one can harm me now, but Emma is still fair game. And if she’s not careful, she’ll end up buried, too. . . .

I've only read the first book in this series. Although it was nothing like the show (which I was watching way before reading the book), I still really liked both and can't wait for this new one!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Author Interview: Lori Culwell

Author Interview with Lori Culwell

Release Date: November 11, 2011
Publisher: Booktrope Editions

Hi Lori! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your new book! So first off, describe The Dirt in 3 words.
Funny.  Quirky.  Scandalous!

What inspired you to write The Dirt?I grew up in Palm Desert, California (the town where the book is set), so I had years and years of “on the job research/ training,” so to speak.  Many of the stories and situations in the book are true (or close to true).

If your book was being turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leading roles?
I would definitely want Ashley Benson (Hanna from Pretty Little Liars) to play the mean big sister Sloane.  She’s so good at being bitchy!   I think for the Lucy character, I think it would be hard to get the quirky/ ugly duckling-into-swan thing going, though I do love Shailene Woodley on Secret Life.  Maybe we could have a contest—I’m sure the perfect Lucy is out there somewhere!

Are you working on anything new at the moment? If so, can you tell us anything about it?I own a company that helps authors learn how to promote their books (, and a book I wrote about that just came out (How to Market a Book), so I just spoke at BEA (Book Expo America) in support of that. I’m all about books!

Do you have any advice for young writers?Write every day, be organized, and think about writing as a business.  You can never be too prepared, and always be ready for your big opportunity.

What is your favorite Starbucks drink?I do love the Frappucino, though it gets me a little too speedy so I tend to stick with plain decaf.  I love those little VIA packets!

Once again, thank you for sitting down with us & good luck with your new novel!
And check out my review of The Dirt coming next week.

About the Author
Lori Culwell is the author of five books. Her first novel, Hollywood Car Wash, was originally self-published, then was acquired and re-released by Simon & Schuster. She is also the owner of, a consulting firm that provides marketing and website services to authors. She has written for the San Francisco Bay Guardian,, the Huffington Post, and other publications. She and her husband split time between Los Angeles and New York. You can find her at

About The Dirt
Lucy Whitley cannot wait to get out of Palm Desert. It’s not a place for a frizzy-haired science nerd, particularly when her fashion-obsessed older sister Sloane is the head of a clique of pretty girls who rule the school – and practically the whole town.

Fortunately, life is about to change forever. Lucy’s dad is getting re-married, and then she can transfer to a boarding school in Connecticut, escaping all the mean girls and the endless whispers about the Whitley family scandal. Everything is going to be perfect – as long as the wedding goes smoothly.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

Waiting On Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can not wait to read! This meme is the perfect way to add books to your TBR list. Along with upcoming releases, I sometimes include books that I have not had the chance to read or buy even if they have already come out. 

The book I am anxiously awaiting is...

Title: Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: July 24, 2012

Try as she might, Evie can’t seem to escape her not-so-normal past. And what was supposed to be a blissfully normal school break is ruined when a massive group of paranormals shows up at her house, claiming that Evie is the only one who can protect them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The deadly war between the faerie courts looms ever closer. The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its future rests solely in Evie’s hands.

So much for normal.

I haven't read the first book in this series even though I'm pretty sure I own it. Hopefully I'll have time this summer so that I can buy this one as well because they seem really good!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Author Interview: Laura DeLuca

Author Interview with Laura DeLuca

Release Date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Free Focus Publishing

Hi Laura! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your new book! So first off, describe Destiny Unveiled in 3 words.
Witches kicking butt.

What inspired you to write Destiny Unveiled? 
My best friend Donna Brown had a cameo appearance in the first Destiny as the other surviving member of Gabby’s mother’s coven. She said I should bring her back for a sequel. That simple comment made me decide to continue with the series and Donna became one of the main characters in Destiny Unveiled. What are your thoughts on the cover? Did you have any input in the design? 
The cover was my idea. My husband sketched it first, based on my description of what I wanted, and then the publisher digitalized it. I love the way it turned out.  What was your favorite scene to write?  
The elaborate full moon ritual towards the end of the book was my favorite scene. It allowed me to use what I know as a practicing Wiccan to enhance the effects of the scene.  
If your book was being turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leading roles?  
To see my cast list, just check this post on my author blog. There are names and photos of all my cast picks. Are you working on anything new at the moment? If so, can you tell us anything about it? 
I am currently working on a fantasy novel called Morrigan. Morrigan is a teenage witch who has been shuffled from one foster home to another all her life.  Now she is about to discover she is a princess from the mystical land of Tír Na NÓg. The handsome werewolf Filtiarn guides her through countless perils to find her mother, Ceridwyn, and grandmother, Hecate. Only together can they complete the magical triad and save their world.

Do you have any advice for young writers?
Learn to take criticism and use it to improve your work. This is a harsh business at times, and I have gotten some rejection that made me want to cry. But when I really listened to what they were saying, I could see where my work needed improvement, and it's made me a better writer, which has subsequently let to me getting published.

Once again, thank you for sitting down with us & good luck with your new novel!

Author Bio:
Laura "Luna" DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and three children. She has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Old high school friends would tell you she was always scratching in her notebook instead of paying attention in class and the children she used to babysit for always loved to hear her scary stories at bedtime. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.  She loves writing young adult novels, because it keeps her young at heart. She is the author of three published works including Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, and Phantom, and has several more projects in the works.

Author Links:
Site        Twitter      Facebook      Goodreads

Review (32): Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire

Don’t You Wish
by Roxanne St. Claire

Series: None
Other Reviewed Titles: None
Release Date:
July 10, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley
Challenge: None

This book is the epitome of “Be careful what you wish for”. Annie Nutter discovers that her mom almost married a different man, one who could have made her the wife of a multi-millionaire. Annie could have been gorgeous and popular and living in a house worthy of being in magazines, all of which she’s always wanted. She is pretty much invisible at her high school, she lives with a hoarder for a father, and her family has always struggled financially, so she secretly thinks “what if”. What if her mom had married Jim Monroe instead of Mel Nutter? What would her life have been like then? Then during a lightning storm the impossible happens and Annie Nutter wakes up as Ayla Monroe and she learns that money and popularity really aren’t the key to a happy and satisfying life.

I absolutely love this book and have never read anything like it. I didn’t even really know what it was about when I requested it on NetGalley, but I’m so glad I was able to read it. I thought it would just be one of those stories about learning a lesson and then getting transported back to your life a new and changed person, and although that is basically what happens, there was so much science behind it that made it much more interesting to read.

I liked Annie at the end of the book better than I did at the beginning. At first she wasn’t really my favorite because she was a little too obsessed with anything popular and she basically cowered in their shadows. By the end, though, she becomes confident and, most importantly, happy. A lot of this change has to do with the things she faces in the alternate universe, things she never would have worried about in her “old” life. Along with dealing with her parents impending divorce, she loses not only her super hot boyfriend, but her “A-list” friends aswell. As her status disintegrates, she realizes that being popular isn’t everything if you don’t even have friends you can trust and talk to. Thankfully she befriends Charlie, the school outcast who is charming, sweet, funny, smart, and very, very kind. He helps her figure out how to get back to where she now knows she belongs.

And last but not least, I feel that the cover is a little too plain. I think they could have made a much cooler looking one with an alternate universe theme, but it’s still cute. It probably still would have grabbed my attention had I seen it in stores. 

Rating: * * * * *
Click here to read an excerpt!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (14)

Waiting On Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can not wait to read! This meme is the perfect way to add books to your TBR list. Along with upcoming releases, I sometimes include books that I have not had the chance to read or buy even if they have already come out. 
The book I am anxiously awaiting is...

Title: Diva (Flappers, #3)
Author: Jillian Larkin
Release Date: July 10, 2012

Parties, bad boys, speakeasies—life in Manhattan has become a woozy blur for Clara Knowles. If Marcus Eastman truly loved her, how could he have fallen for another girl so quickly? Their romance mustn't have been as magical as Clara thought. And if she has to be unhappy, she's going to drag everyone else down to the depths of despair right along with her. 

Being a Barnard girl is the stuff of Lorraine Dyer's dreams. Finding out that Marcus is marrying a gold digger who may or may not be named Anastasia? A nightmare. The old Lorraine would have sat by and let the chips fall where they may, but she's grown up a lot these past few months. She can't bear to see Marcus lose a chance for true love. But will anyone listen to her? 

Now that the charges against her have been dropped, Gloria Carmody is spending the last dizzying days of summer on Long Island, yachting on the sound and palling around with socialites at Forrest Hamilton's swanky villa. Beneath her smile, though, Gloria's keeping a secret. One that could have deadly consequences . . .
I've had the first 2 books in this series for the longest time, but I just haven't had the time to read them even though I can hear them calling to me from their places on my bookshelf. I will definitely be buying this one and adding it to the collection lol

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest Post: Heather Smith

The Quiet Ones and No Earthly Ship

I am a bit of a nerd. Okay, more than a bit. I not only read young adult stories as an adult, but I actively go and seek out a terrible subsection of writing know as… fan fiction. Yes. There, I said it. Feel free to berate me now. Wait, you are still reading? Then you must be a geek too! Yay! Nice to meet you. Now, allons-y!

I read fan fiction. All kinds.Ones on books, ones on movies, ones on television shows, and even ones on comics. Wait, you do know what fan fiction is, right? You don’t? Well, think of it as normal people’s versions of things they love. Kind of like those weird Pride And Prejudice And Zombies books that are so popular. Take something already created and mess with it. Make it your own. Make it end the way you want or have the characters you love to see together get married or have kids or turn into flesh eating monsters. Whatever.

So, to my point.While reading fan fiction, I ran across an author and fell in love with her writing. Her pen name is Spookysister7. I read through her work, even some of the genres I’m not really a fan of. For some reason, though, her writing struck me. I had to read more. So, I followed her link back to her website. Voila. Some more stories to sink my teeth into. Original ones, not based on any book or movie. That is when I ran across the two stories I am about to tell you about.

The first story, The Quiet Ones, is quintessential young adult fiction in its most basic form. Really a sort of Spider-man spin off, this story takes on a life of its own. At first I thought it was going to be a simple do-gooder fluff piece. And then it changed. I love the subtext here. Masks and identities.Fear and passion.Even sexual tension.All packed into a very short story. It makes me want to find the writer, shake her, and insist she rewrite it longer!

Excerpt :
Spider bites hurt. I was working in the lab, growing plants for some stupid “acid rain” experiment. No, duh, acid’s going to kill the plants! Anyways, it bit me. Sounds like some comic book story, but it’s true. I was bit by an irradiated spider.

The second story, No Earthly Ship, is a little longer. More misunderstood princess than comic book hero in this one, still it is worth reading. The heroine of the story reminds me less of Sleeping Beauty and more of Ariel; more than a little rebellious and headstrong, with no wish to fit in. I love the monsters in this tale. I always hoped the author would include a sketch of them but no luck. The tale of hopeless love and dangerous politics is unfinished, but at least she left off at a good point. Well worth a look.

The top of the spire tumbled from its perch, crashing to pieces on the ground. Out of the water before me raised an orange serpent. Its scales were as big as a hand span, and its yellow-orange eyes seemed to burn with an inner fire as it gazed upon me. I cowered back into my hole, pressing into the soft moss and rough stone. Its tongue flicked out, tasting my fear, and the sharp point of its arrow-shaped tail waved like a pendulum behind it. Its childlike arms sported long, curved claws, and I remembered my mother’s stories. The Eah. When the Other transformed into their true selves, they became this; deadly claws, massive size, and a poison-tipped tail.

Reading these two stories will not take you very long and it will be time well spent. The original website is cluttered and chaotic and has not been touched in quite a while. The author still writes, both on and her own site Twitterpated by Spookysister7, though most of her writing is now less young adult and of a more romantic sort. Still, I enjoy her style and hope she keeps writing.

Author Bio:
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at]