Sunday, March 31, 2013

Author Interview with Arthur J. Gonzalez

Title: The Photo Traveler
Author: Arthur J. Gonzalez
Release Date: Feb 13, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Gavin learns that he is one of the last descendents of a small group of Photo Travelers--people who can time travel through photos and images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!

| Goodreads |
| Amazon Kindle / Paperback |
Smashwords |

Hi Arthur! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your new book! First off, describe The Photo Traveler in 3 words for us?
Adventurous, Intriguing, Unpredictable.

What inspired you to write The Photo Traveler?
One of the most important people in my life life was facing a difficult time when their grandmother passed away. It affected him in such a deep way that it consequently affected me. I remember him crying, starting at an old black and white photo of his grandmother in Havana, Cuba. He held it, starting at it like she was talking back to him.
He said, "I'd give anything to travel into this picture right now and hug her."
I jumped off the couch my mind spinning in every direction. “What if you could?”
And from that moment…The Photo Traveler was born. It was perfect. It was as if she and my father plotted in the Heavens to gift me this story. 

What is different about The Photo Traveler?
Okay…so let me be honest--we all know time travel has been done over and over again. But I wanted an idea that everyone would hear and think, “Oh my God.  I wish I could do that!” or “Hm…that sounds awesome.” And what better way than to time travel back and relive memories? 

We live in a particular age where we document and photograph nearly everything we do. It’s a huge piece of this younger generation’s culture. I wanted to make sure whatever I did was relatable. There are no time travel machines, but there are millions of photos that anyone can pick up and travel to.

Are any of your characters based on yourself or someone you know? 
Some are. The character Yogi is loosely based on one of my best friends. And besides the more intense, dramatic storylines to Gavin, I see a lot of me in him. 

Have you always been interested in becoming a writer?
I’ve always loved writing. I began with writing poetry and music, but I progressed to imagining these stories I had to share. In some form or another, I have always wanted to be a writer.

What book are you currently reading? Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcover?
I just wrapped up the Beautiful Creatures series and I enjoyed it tremendously. As far as what why preference is--at first I was adamant on only reading physical copies of books, but I succumbed to my Kindle and we have never parted since. I love her very much.

What do you think is more important: character or plot?
There needs to be a balance of both in order to produce a success (like a marriage). Characters help propel the story forward, while the plot promotes and helps develop who the characters are. I don’t think you can have a truly epic story with both.

Do you have any advice for young writers?
First and foremost, there needs to be a relentless belief in yourself. Even if you are insecure or scared, you must believe that there is no other way for you. You cannot accept anything less than what you have dreamed of. Second, you need to be completely committed to your book and story. Take your time. Know your characters better than you know your very self. Also, connecting with your readers. Understanding what they want and how your stories can inspire them and generate emotional attachments. And lastly, do your research. Know what's available. Think outside the box for promoting your book. Never expect that success will be given to you. Work for it. Achieve it. Earn it.

What's next for you?
Hopefully somewhere in a Best Seller's category!  ;) But in the mean time I'll be writing the sequel to The Photo Traveler, called The Peace Hunter. It will be absolutely amazing. I'm also working on three other novels. I feel a little crazy. But I love it. All I have to say is: lots of coffee...lots and lots of coffee. 

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

About the Author:
The Photo Traveler is young adult author Arthur J. Gonzalez's first novel. Arthur was born and raised in Miami surrounded by his loud Cuban family. He graduated from the University of Florida, where he acquired his coffee obsession and his chocolate hoarding antics. He's the proud father of one baby girl, Sookie--his miniature schnoodle dog. Arthur is a self-professed goodball who spends 98% of his life laughing. He's now working on his second novel.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review (44): That Time I Joined the Circus by J. J. Howard

That Time I Joined the Circus
by J. J. Howard

Series: None
Other Reviewed Titles: None
Release Date:
April 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: 273
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley
Challenge: None
Author Website

FYI: Slight spoilers in last paragraph. Continue at own risk. 

My Thoughts: 
After her father is killed in an accident, Lexi finds out that not only is she broke and homeless, but she can’t continue her last year of high school without a guardian. Lexi hasn’t seen her mother since she ran out on her at the age of eight. Almost a decade later, she still hates the woman who left her, but without any other options, Lexi sets out to find her. Her mother is supposed to be somewhere in Florida traveling with a circus. Unfortunately, she hasn’t worked there for over six months and nobody knows where she’s run off to this time. With no where else to go and with no money for food, Lexi joins Circus Europa.

The circus actually fascinates me for some reason. I haven’t been to one in YEARS which is why I love reading books that revolve around them. And there aren’t that many which makes them extra special. That Time I Joined the Circus is adorable. This is a cute, entertaining read, but it also has depth. It has love and self-discovery, but it also deals with some heavier topics like death, loss, and betrayal. 

Lexi is a lot like I was during my senior year. She is kind of in a slump and spends all her time at home listening to music or reading. She only has two close friends who are dating which makes it that much harder to make plans since she is the constant third wheel. As horrible as the situation is, I feel like it was the best thing that could have happened to her. Being evicted and penniless forces her to go out and do something. Those four months she spends at the circus completely change her and she comes out so much stronger and confident because of them. 

The story is not completely chronological, it bounces around quite a bit from the present to the past and then back. But it wasn’t at all confusing because the date is clearly printed at the beginning of each chapter. I did have a problem with this constant jumping back and forth thing though. I felt like the relationship development lacked a little because of the constant shift. One moment the ring leaders daughter, Lina, is giving Lexi the evil-eye, then we get a ‘flashback’ of Lexi’s life in NY, and then we’re back at the circus and all of a sudden Lexi & Lina are going shopping together and becoming roommates. We never get to see this shift in their friendship, it just kind of happens. This constant back and forth also made the romances in the book problematic for me. I never connected with any of the guys because we never really get to fully know them. First she’s making out with Jamie, then she’s falling in love with Nick, and then Eli pops up and she likes him again. It was just kind of all over the place. I would have liked to see more of Nick because I felt he was the most interesting and the one she truly cared about. I never got the feeling that she actually had any romantic feelings for Eli, it just felt like she went back to him because...well, why not?

Other than the last paragraph, this is a really great debut and I can’t wait to see what else J. J. Howard has in store for us!

Friday, March 29, 2013

GIVEAWAY & Author Interview with Jamie Canosa, Author of Fight or Flight

Title: Fight or Flight
Author: Jamie Canosa

Be smart.
Keep your head down.
And look out for number one.

These are the rules Jay has lived by for the past two years. The rules of surviving life on the streets. But when Em comes bursting into his life, in all of her disastrous glory, the rules go right out the window.

Flee what’s been left behind.
And never look back.

Emerson’s plan was simple. Though, it was easier said than done. The city streets are dangerous and unforgiving to a new arrival. Especially, a seventeen-year-old girl who’s never known anything but life in the suburbs. Sometimes, however, what’s lurking behind those white picket fences can be more frightening than any dark alley.

Both of them made the same decision when life got overwhelming—to run from their demons. Brought together by fate or circumstance, Em and Jay find the kind of love neither of them ever expected. But, when those demons come back to haunt them and their love is on the line, which instincts will they choose to follow this time . . . Fight or Flight?

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Hi Jamie! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your new book! First off, describe Fight or Flight in 3 words for us?
Brave. Strong. Beautiful. (They’re the words Jay gives Em to build her confidence and self-esteem.)

Where did the idea for Fight or Flight come from?
Honestly, it started with a dream. It was one of those half-awake/half-asleep things that fall somewhere between dreams and daydreams. I was thinking about another book I was working on and this scene just came into my head. It didn’t work for that particular book, but I liked it so much I started building a story around it and then Em and Jay were born.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I’m working on a few different things right now. The third installment to my Heart and Soul paranormal romance novella mini-series, the sequel to my debut dystopian novel, Dissidence, and a spin off novel to Fight or Flight that follows the character of Al.

Do you listen to music while you write?
Not while I write. I tend to sing along to music and then the lyrics and words in my head get all tangled. But, I did have a whole playlist of music to listen to whenever I got writer’s block for this book.

If your book was being turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leading roles?
For Em, I’d probably choose Michelle Trachtenberg. And for Jay, Tyler Posey. 

This or That:
  • Morning or night? Umm… neither?
  • Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
  • Pen or pencil? Pen
  • Comedy or horror? Horror 
  • Tea or coffee? Caramel Iced Coffee!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:
Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Ravena, NY with her wonderful husband and three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird and the rabbit.

Her debut novel, Dissidence, was published in 2012 along with several novellas, including

the first in her Heart and Soul series, ‘Temptation’.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Jessica by Laura DeLuca FREE on Amazon until March 29th!

Title: Jessica
Author: Laura DeLuca 

Wilbur was used to going to his college formals alone. He thought the Halloween Ball would be no different. He’s amazed when a beautiful girl in a Victorian costume displays an interest in him and even more amazed to find himself alone with her on one of the campus nature trails.

What Wilbur doesn’t realize is that another woman has her eye on him too. The White Lady returns every Halloween to take revenge on the men of the campus for her brutal murder. She has chosen Wilbur as her next victim.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

"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 Moon and More
by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 4, 2013

From Barnes & Noble:
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated  exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar word of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Monday, March 25, 2013

From Print to the Big Screen: The Host

Last month we got Warm Bodies and Beautiful Creatures, this month we get The Host! WOOO!

The film rights to The Host by Stephenie Meyer were actually acquired way back in 2009, but it wasn't until mid-2011/early-2012 that the movie finally started to take form. Better late than never, am I right?

Melanie Stryder/Wanderer will be portrayed by Saoirse Ronan. She has been in some great movies including The Lovely Bones and Hanna. I love her name (though I have no idea how to pronounce it).

Jared Howe and Ian O'Shae will be played by Max Irons and Jake Abel respectively. Irons is probably best known for his role in Red Riding Hood. Abel has been in a bunch of book-based movies: The Lovely Bones, I Am Number Four, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

Other actors include Chandler Canterbury as Jamie, Diane Kruger as The Seeker, Boyd Holbrook as Kyle, and Frances Fisher as Maggie.

This is definitely my favorite of Stephenie Meyer's books (it is SO much better than Twilight) and I am so excited for the movie. I am also excited that Andrew Niccol stayed as the director. He has directed some of my favorite movies (In Time & The Truman Show).

I have a great feeling about this one, how about you?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Guest Post from Brandy Nacole, Author of Uniquely Unwelcome

Title: Uniquely Unwelcome
Author: Brandy Nacole
Date Published: Sept 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal

Racquel is unique. The bloodlines of four of the most powerful beings in the Shadow World are intertwined within her DNA. She has never craved attention. She just wants to be able to live as normal life as she can. But she’s about to find that even though she’s uniquely unwelcome wherever she goes, her abilities also make her the best chance the Shadow World has to stop a threat to all the Shadow races.

Once arriving home, Racquel finds that greater evils exist and that the person she cares for most in this world, her half-sister Addie, has been kidnapped along with other Shadow World beings. Racquel finds herself facing horrible odds with those who would rather see her dead than alive.

As her journey continues, Racquel learns more about herself, what she is capable of, and that not every being looks at her as an abomination. Coy, a human captive that Racquel saves from the Vampires, starts showing kindness toward her. Racquel tries putting distance between her and the human boy but as they spend more time together it becomes harder and harder for Racquel to fight the affection she wants and needs.

But will Coy’s friendship and her new found discoveries be enough to help Racquel unravel the strangest mystery that has ever plagued the Shadow World?

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Why Book Covers Are So Important

There’s this saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but let’s face it, it happens. When searching for a book the first thing someone is going to notice is the cover. The cover can then draw that person into reading the synopsis. If the synopsis and the cover draw the reader in, they could possibly buy it or put it on their to-be-read list.

My own personal experience with a cover design came with Uniquely Unwelcome. The first edition cover was a hand drawing of a girl looking up at an eagle. While it was a nice drawing, it just wasn’t up to par with other Fantasy covers. It became very apparent to me, especially after a few readers recommended that I change the cover, that a change was indeed

Why did I decide to use a hand drawing? Well it was kind of a dream of mine. My husband is a great artist. He’s also my support system. Whenever I’m frustrated, stuck on an idea, or just at a complete loss, he’s there. I wanted to pay some tribute to his support and so I thought I would
have him do my first cover. From there, I would go with the “traditional covers” but for my first publication I wanted to incorporate him in some way.

My lesson from that, sometimes we have to let go of the smaller dreams/goals to reach the bigger ones. I felt guilty I guess you could say when I told him I thought it was best if we changed the cover. Being a great supporter like he is, he agreed. He was honored that I had tried and that I had even used his art to begin with. So together we picked out the cover for Uniquely Unwelcome and then again with Blood Burdens.

So yes, books are judged by their covers. I’m not saying that every person does this, but most probably do. I’m happy with the new cover for Uniquely Unwelcome and have a paperback edition of both the first edition with my husband’s cover design and the newer edition so I at least have a small token of my little dream.

About the Author: 
Brandy Nacole resides in Arkansas where her imagination runs wild. Her obsession is reading but herpassion is writing. She put her dream of becoming a writer on the back burner and went to collegeto become a psychologist. Three years after endless classes in a field she only felt half satisfied with, Brandy picked up her pen once again and wrote the outline to Uniquely Unwelcome. She finished outher degree in psychology but traded her dream of writing for the degree and put psychology on the backburner. Whenever she’s not reading or writing, Brandy is spending time with her family and friends, throwing around crazy ideas, and laughing through the crazy moments.

Weekly Recap: March 17 - 23

On the blog this week we had:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Guest Post from Angela Brown, Author of Frailties of the Bond

Title: Frailties of the Bond
Author: Angela Brown

In Frailties of the Bond, it only takes one bite to change a life…

After a hiking trip gone wrong, sixteen-year-old Luca should have been dead. Since then, he’s drifted from one school day to the next, annoyed by the looks of suspicion. When a vampire attack claimed his mother and forced his first shift into animal form, Luca set out for Texas, vengeance bound, only to discover so much more when Aimee crossed his path.

Flesh-born of vampire parents sixteen years ago, Aimee shouldn’t exist. Magic, though, made dreams come true for an undead couple desperate for a child all their own. But this magic came with a price, a cost Aimee discovered after one forbidden bite.

| Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo |

Five Things You May or May Not Know About Me:
  1. I stole a box of Chiclets gum when I was five. Guilt tore me apart. I haven’t had the stomach for stealing anything since.
  2. My then fiancé couldn’t attend my senior prom due to distance, so I had his name drawn on my left ring fingernail in white to match my all white dress.
  3. I’m addicted to chocolate and Wild Cherry Pepsi (lol!! Most of you probably already know that.)
  4. I’m a middle child (who may or may not suffer from that silly middle kid syndrome lol!!)
  5. I’m an Aquarius
Did someone happen to check my horoscope today? If it’s bad news, I’d rather remain blissfully
ignorant lol!

About the Author:
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home.

Reading and writing have been lifelong passions. It was around the time she gave birth to her forever-love, nicknamed Chipmunk, that she really took writing seriously. After all, how could she teach her child to follow her dreams if she hadn't tried herself?

As a YA fantasy/sci-fi reader and author, she favors the magical, mysterious, the darker side of life...even harbors a secret fright for things that go bump in the night.

NEVERLOVE is a special project spawned from a blog-challenge-turned-blog-opera, the Abby and Basil affair. It is the first in the Shadow Jumpers series.

FRAILTIES OF THE BOND is the first in a series of novellas and short stories introducing heroes and heroines of the secret organization, NEO – Network of Extraordinaires and Otherwordlies.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Excerpt of Trust In Me by Bethany Lopez

Title: Trust In Me
Series: Friends & Lovers, #3

Author: Bethany Lopez
Genre: NA Contemporary

Roni's dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer were smashed under the brutal rage of her ex-husband's fists. Getting divorced and starting over at the age of twenty-two was never her plan, but maybe in Texas, she'll find her path. When the town's local player, Rich, opens a Rec Center, she sees a way to rekindle her dancing dreams...and maybe have a little fun with her sexy new boss.

Rich never expected to fulfill his dreams in the town he planned to leave behind, but that's just what he's doing. His reputation as a noncommittal ladies' man might make it challenging to earn respect in the business world, but he's willing to prove that he's serious. In fact, when it comes to pursuing Roni, he's more than willing. But she's taking a page out of his book, not wanting to risk another relationship. Can he convince her that his playboy days are over and that she can trust him with her heart?

| Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Smashwords |

When she walked in, his breath caught and his entire body seemed to stiffen.

Her hair was piled on top of her head, black boy shorts showcased her long, lean legs, and a small black tank molded to her slender form. Her feet were bare. For some reason that last bit of bare skin made Rich feel like he was going to lose his mind.

She padded softly across the wood floor to the radio and hooked her iPod in. She stretched languidly in front of the mirror, seeming to have forgotten Rich’s presence.

With each stretch, Roni became more limber, and Rich became harder. He was starting to think this audition was a terrible idea.

Terribly awesome.

When she was finished stretching, she pressed play on her iPod and positioned herself in the center of the room. As Christina Perri’s voice filled the room, Roni began to move.

Rich couldn’t have uttered a sound if he wanted to. He was completely, and utterly mesmerized.

Her body seemed to be made for this. The movement was so natural, so sensual, Rich had to focus on keeping himself in the chair… his entire body seemed to scream at him to get up and go to her.

As the music stopped, Roni turned to him, her chest heaving as she fought to catch her breath.

“That’s the contemporary. It’ll be for the advanced classes. I can show you the basic ballet and tap steps for the younger classes if you’d like.”

Rich tried to speak, but squeaked instead.

He felt his face grow warm as he cleared his throat and tried again, “Um, no. That won’t be necessary.”

Roni stretched a bit as she walked towards him, a puzzled smile on her face.

“You okay?”

Rich stood, willing his legs to hold him as he tried to look cool and unaffected. “Yeah, I’m great.”

About the Author:
Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult series. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her novels through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

"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. 

This Is What Happy Looks Like
by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: April 2, 2013

From Barnes & Noble:
If fate sent you an email, would you answer it?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Excerpt of Going Under by S. Walden!

Title: Going Under
Author: S. Walden
Release Date: March 19, 2013

Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a "Fantasy Slut League," scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls. 

Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend's death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the "unsuspecting girls," and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.

(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains explicit language and descriptions of sexual violence.)
Excerpt from Chapter 1:
I left the bathroom in a hurry, turning the corner for the foyer and slamming into him. The force of the hit was so great that I stumbled backwards, nearly falling on my bottom if not for his outstretched hand. I grabbed it before going down and wobbled on my too-high heels, clutching him as I worked to regain my balance.

"God, I'm sorry!" he exclaimed. I looked at his face then, unprepared to see something so beautiful. I think I gasped. And then I averted my eyes out of sheer embarrasment.

"I really should watch where I'm going," he said.

He still held my hand, and I let him. I couldn't remember who I was or where I was going. I couldn't remember where I had just been. I only knew that a very cute, he was more than cute. He was gorgeous. This very gorgeous boy was holding my hand, and I had only one thought. I wanted to make our handholding more intimate. I wanted to lace my fingers with his.

"I think I should," I mumbled.

I chanced another look at him. I made a conscientious effort not to gasp as I took in his light blue eyes. I'd never seen eyes that color. Bing Crosby had nothing on this guy's eyes, and Bing's eyes were the color of the Mediterranean. No, the eyes I looked into now were so light blue they looked translucent. I thought if I stared a little longer I could see right inside his head, to his brain, and I don't know why that turned me on so much. I wanted to witness the workings of his mind, the firing synapses, information traveling safely inside neurons to different parts of his body. A few made it to his hand, and they must have told him to keep holding mine because he didn't let go.

I stared shamelessly, licking my lips at one point. He stared back just as boldly. I wanted him to like what he saw. I wanted him to think I was sexy. I wanted him to feel the same instant attraction I did. I'd never felt it before. Not really. Not even with Finn. It was unsettling, and I wondered how people functioned after being smacked upside the head with it. Intant. Physical. Chemical. Primal. Just rip my clothes off, I thought. Just rip my clothes off and do me right here in the hallway!

He smiled and released my hand. I thought he did it reluctantly, like his brain ordered him to and he finally acquiesced. I simled back, a flirty grin. I pulled my ponytail forward over my shoulder and played with the strands. I bit my lover lip. And then reality came crashing down like a hailstorm, large lumps of ice banging my head and screaming at me in unison.


I looked at the gorgeous guy, and my face went white.

"Oh my God," I whispered.

He stared at me for a moment before saying, "Are you okay?"

I shook my head and started towards the sanctuary doors. He followed behind.

"I'm awful, I'm awful, I'm awful," I whispered over and over. I didn't care if he could hear.

What the hell was I doing? Trying to flirt with a guy at my best friend's funeral? How could I even forget for a second that I was at a funeral? I was supposed to be carrying around heavy, black sorrow to match my black dress and black heart, not batting my lashes and fantasizing about sex with a stranger. Was I so ridiculous that a hot guy could make me forget to have any kind of decency? Or shame?

I rounded the corner and saw my mother waiting for me. And then I ran to her, threw myself into her arms, and burst into a fit of tears.

"Brooklyn," she whispered, holding me in a tight hug. "It's okay," she cooed as she stroked my hair.

"I'm a terrible friend!" I wailed. I saw the fuzzy outline of a boy walking past us tentatively through the doors.

"No, you aren't," my mother replied.

"Yes, I am! I don't even know why I'm here! Beth hated my guts! She wouldn't talk to me all summer!"

"Brooke," Mom said. "I want you to calm down. Now, we talked about this. You knew it would be hard, but she was your best friend for all those years. Do you think she wouldn't have wanted you here?

"No, I don't!" I cried.

"Yes, she would," Mom said. "Now we have to go in."

"I can't!"

"Brooke, Beth was your best friend," Mom said, trying for patience.

"No she wasn't! Not after what I did! I ruined everything! I'm a freaking slut!" I sobbed, shaking my head from side to side.

"Sweetheart, don't say worlds like 'freaking' and 'slut' in a church," Mom replied.

I only sobbed louder.

"You can do this," Mom encouraged.

I stood my ground, shaking my head violently, refusing to go in.

"Brooklyn Wright!" Mom hissed pushing me away and grabbing my upper arm. She squeezed too tightly, and I squeaked in discomfort. There was no more tenderness in her voice.

"Get yourself together. This isn't about you. So stop making it about you. You're going into that sanctuary and you're going to pay your respects to your friend, and you're going to make it about Beth. Do you understand me?"

I swallowed hard and wiped my face.

"Do you understand me?" Mom repeated.

I nodded grudgingly, and she took my hand, leading me through the doors. 

About the Author:
S. Walden used to teach English before making the easy decision to become a full-time writer. Easy because once she completed her full-time graduate program, there weren't any teaching jobs anyway! She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who does not read fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has two Westies instead. Her dreams include getting through her next big writing project (a three-part series) and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast. Her husband's dreams for her include getting her Ph.D so that he can tell people he's married to a doctor. She loves her fans and loves to here from them.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Author Interview with Camille Dixon, Author of Picture Perfect

Title: Picture Perfect
Author: Camille Dixon
Release Date: Mar 26, 2013
Genre: NA Contemp. Romance

On the outside, Devin Thompson looks like he has it all--charm, good looks, and a scholarship every art major at Sanhope would kill for. But on the inside, he's dying. His family is falling apart, his grades are dropping, and his girlfriend just dumped him for his hockey team rival, who also happens to be his younger brother. Not to mention he hasn't been able to snap a decent picture for his senior portfolio in weeks. But when a sultry redhead with fire burning in her eyes struts across his path, he thinks he may have finally found his muse...

Angela "Angel" Davis learned early on that life never offers any hand-outs. And she's getting burned out. Between juggling her nights as an exotic dancer at a men's private club and struggling to keep up with her elementary education courses during the day, she barely has time to think of the future. Not that she wants to. The future implies planning, and Angel is no stranger to broken dreams. Then she meets Devin, a man who's so wrong for her, yet she can't seem to stay away from.

When Devin offers to take her on as his private model, Angel finds the cash hard to refuse. Each has something the other desperately needs, and neither one is willing to walk away. As their professional relationship spirals out of control into something more, they learn sometimes the wrong person can be the only right person, and that life--and people--are rarely picture perfect. 

| Goodreads |

Hi Camille! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your new book! How long have you been writing? 
I've been writing my whole life, but I've been actively writing for the past three years. (Yes, I had my fair share of fan fiction days when I was in grade school.)

Have you always wanted to be a writer? 
I’ve always loved to write, but for some reason I never considered writing as a profession until later in my life. I think it comes to you when you’re ready for it.

Tell us about your book. 
Picture Perfect is a sweet and spicy new adult romance about these people with damaged pasts – and hearts – who find redemption through their love.

How did you come up with the idea for Picture Perfect? 
Like most of my ideas, it just kind of hit me one day. I knew I wanted a story about a dancer and a photographer, and I knew what Angel would look like. Then it was just a matter of figuring out the rest and letting it come to me.

Will Picture Perfect have a sequel, or will other characters get a book? 
No, it’s a stand alone story. There isn’t enough conflict in the background characters’ lives to drive future stories, and I have other books I want to focus on.

What’s your favorite love story? 
Hard to say! I’m a big fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I also love the film Ever After with Drew Barrymore.

Do you think you’ll ever pursue traditional publishing? 
Yes! I want to be a hybrid author, and I make no secret of it. While I like having total creative control, it can also be draining. I wouldn’t mind if someone else did some of the work.

Are you writing any other books at the moment? 
I’m outlining a new adult series called New Haven Hope that I hope to start releasing by the end of the year. It’ll have a similar vibe to Picture Perfect.

What other genres do you write? 
Currently, I write high fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance under other pen names. I’m also interested in horror, erotica, and sci-fi. I’d like to eventually try them all, just to see what I can learn from them.

What do you like to do for fun? 
Aside from reading, I like to play around in Photoshop and draw. I also enjoy watching movies and hanging out with my husband.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 
Read a lot and write a lot. Read outside of your genre and read as many books inside your genre as you can. Look at the New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers Lists. Those books got on there for a reason. Read as many creditble "how-to" books as you can, critique others' works, and have your own critiqued. Don't half-ass it. Put everything you have into it.

Thank you for having me!

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

About the Author:
I'm a Southern girl who's spent the last few years freezing my toosh off up north. Except for the snow, things are pretty good. I love sunshine, sweet tea, and romances that touch my heart. A lifelong romantic, I found my own prince charming at an online dating site. Six months later, he asked me to marry him. Picture Perfect is my debut novel.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review (43): Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
by Beth Revis

Series: Across the Universe, #1
Other Reviewed Titles: None
Release Date:
January 11, 2011
Publisher: Razor Bill
Pages: 398
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Challenge: None
Book Website

My Thoughts: 
When both of her parents are chosen to be two of the people who will help colonize a brand new planet, Amy decides to go with them even though it means leaving the only life she’s ever known behind. Because landing is predicted for 300 years in the future, all three are frozen and put aboard the vast spaceship known as Godspeed. But Amy is unexpectedly woken up 50 years before schedule. She wakes to an entirely different world, confined inside a massive hunk of metal floating among the stars. What she discovers is that she was not unfrozen by accident and that she isn’t the only victim. If she doesn’t find out who is unfreezing people and leaving them to drown, her parents might be next. With the help of Elder, the future leader of the ship, she uncovers dangerous secrets that Godspeed and it’s leaders have been keeping for decades.

The world created by Beth Revis is incredibly detailed and amazing...but it is also kind of terrifying. Could you imagine being frozen and then suddenly waking up hundreds of years later in space surrounded by a community of empty, brainless people blindly following the command of a tyrant leader? Yeah, me neither. Luckily, we can read about it without experiencing it! I thought the plot was great. The beginning of the book was a bit slow but only because we are being introduced to the characters and Godspeed. Once Amy is woken up the action picks up and the story really gets started. From then on I couldn’t put the book down because I NEEDED to know what was going to happen next!

Besides the fantastic plot, there were two other things I loved about this book; the dual perspective and the new slang that people aboard the ship use. It seems like more and more books are taking the 2+ person perspective which I adore. Being able to see into both heads gives the reader a much better understanding of what is going on and what the characters are feeling. As for the slang, it was hilarious. I chuckled every time someone said ‘frex,’ ‘loons,’ ‘chutz,’ ‘stars,’ etc. Out of context they don’t make much sense, but it is easy to figure out what they all mean while reading.

This is a must-read even if you don't typically for go science fiction.

Weekly Recap: March 10 - 16

On the blog this week we had:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Guest Post by Leigh Talbert Moore, Author of The Truth About Letting Go

Title: The Truth About Letting Go
Author: Leigh Talbert Moore

Ashley wants to smash everything in her once-perfect life. Charlotte wants to walk in Ashley's seemingly charmed shoes. Colt wants to turn Smalltown USA on its ear--with Ashley at his side. Jordan wants to follow his heart... but Ashley is the one sacrifice he never expected to make.

Up until now, Ashley Lockett has always followed the rules. She's always done the right thing, played it safe, and then her ideal life is shattered when her dad dies suddenly. 

Fueled by anger and grief, she vows to do everything opposite of how she lived before. She rejects safety, the rules, faith, and then she meets Jordan. 

Jordan has big dreams, he's had a crush on Ashley for years, he's a great kisser... but he's also safe. 

Enter Colt. He is not safe, and he's more than willing to help Ashley fulfill her vow.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iTunes |

The Truth About Playlists, Inspiration, and A Chance to #WIN

When it comes to music, I'm like that dog in the movie Up... Doug! 

Most songs tell a story, so when one I like comes on, I start singing or tapping along. Then I'm off imagining the story the musician is telling and not mine.

So basically, I can't write while music is playing.

BUT! I often use songs to help me remember certain scenes or to put me in the mood for a scene. If it's angry or happy or sassy. You know.

When I started writing The Truth About Letting Go, I had several songs swirling in my head. So I put them all together in an order that made sense, loaded them onto my iPod, and voila!

The Playlist for The Truth About Letting Go
This first set all have that driving feeling that put me in Ashleyís frame of mind. Especially "Breakdown" by Ryan Adams. Certain phrases in that song make me think of her angry despair and just her inner turmoil, her questions. (Titles are linked to videos.)

"Breaking the Habit" by Linkin Park

"Breakdown Into the Resolve" by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

"Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" by Fall Out Boy

Next up, "Here Comes Your Man" by The Pixies (This is for Jordan, obvs)
In the story, Jordan has to drive his momís ancient Toyota, and he and Ashley are forced to listen to her old music. "Zanzibar" by Billy Joel and "Missionary Man" by The Eurythmics are directly referenced.

Next, "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift (This is for Colt, obvs)

"Play With Fire" by The Rolling Stones. This one could be Ashley + Jordan or Ashley + Colt. Both of those couples are playing with fire in different ways.

"A Little Bit of Everything" by Dawes. This song could be Ashley's theme for the whole book. It sounds like an old hymn, which to me felt like the soundtrack of her ultimate realization and finding peace. Plus, the message is just so great. Itís a realization that it takes ìa little bit of everythingî to make a life.

"Strangers" by The Kinks. Ditto above, and it's the soundtrack to Ashleyís ìwalkabout.î

"Firefliesî by Fleetwood Mac. This one sounds like being at the creek to me and the things that happen there, which is a lot.

And there you have it! Happy reading and listening~ 

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About the Author:
Leigh Talbert Moore is a wife and mom by day, a writer by day, a reader by day, a former freelance editor, a former journalist, a chocoholic, a caffeine addict, a southern expat, a lover of any great love story, a beach bum, and occasionally she sleeps.
Find her online at her blog, on Facebook, on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, and Tumblr. Read excerpts of her books on Wattpad and Figment!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cover Reveal of Pretty When They Collide by Rhiannon Frater

Title: Pretty When They Collide
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Genre: Adult Horror
Release Date: March 15, 2013

An exciting new novella set in the world of Pretty When She Dies...

Cassandra is a dhampir--the offspring of a vampire and mortal woman--and a thief of occult relics.

Aimee is a full-blood witch that is bound to a powerful vampire who traffics in the slavery of supernatural beings.

Both are powerful, lonely, and trapped in the dangerous world of the vampires.

When Cassandra steals a relic from Aimee's vampire master, he targets her as his next acquisition. What he doesn't realize is that a chance encounter between Cassandra and Aimee ignited a spark between them that they cannot deny.

To survive, the women must find a way to band together and fight against the ruthless evil that conspires to enslave them forever. 


About the Author:
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies trilogy (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, and Siege) and the author of three other books: the vampire novels Pretty When She Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride and the YA zombie novel The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. Inspired to independently produce her work from the urging of her fans, she published The First Days in late 2008 and quickly gathered a cult following. She won the Dead Letter Award back-to-back for both The First Days and Fighting to Survive, the former of which the Harrisburg Book Examiner called 'one of the best zombie books of the decade.' Rhiannon is currently represented by Hannah Gordon of the Foundry + Literary Media agency. You may contact her by clicking here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

GIVEAWAY & Excerpt of Blood and Snow: The Complete Set by RaShelle Workman

Title: Blood and Snow
Author: RaShelle Workman
Genre: YA Paranormal

Every thousand years the Vampire Queen selects a new body, always the fairest in the land, and this time she's chosen Snow White.

Snow isn't an ordinary girl. She doesn't know that yet.

When Snow gets bitten by a Hunter, her life is thrown into the whirlwind of change where instead of worrying about what to eat, she has to fight not to drink the blood of fellow high school students. She becomes a revenant--not quite human, not quite vampire.

With the help of an eccentric old Professor, his seven adoptive sons, and her best friend, Snow learns to control her blood craving. Sort of. She drinks a bloodlust tea, but she'd rather drink from her Hunter.

Or, a human.

She also discovers a whole other realm, one filled with fairies, dragons, and magic. And not only does the Vampire Queen want her, but there's a pendant called the Seal of Gabriel created for Snow by the Vampire Queen's twin sister. And Snow's supposed to use it to restore balance to all magical creatures. Including vampires. 

| Goodreads |

Excerpt from Chapter 1:
“I’ve had several seriously sexual day dreams about the new guy. Have you seen him?”

“Cin, I didn’t need to know that.” I jammed my math book into my backpack, and slammed the locker door. Cindy rested her petite frame against the locker next to mine.

Her radiant baby blues twinkled. “No, I haven’t seen him. Apparently he’s . . . cute?” I asked.

She snorted. “Cute? No! He isn’t a kitten. He’s hot, sexier than hell, and has a voice that could melt chocolate.”

I had to laugh. Cindy had a way with words. It’d been like that since first grade. We met our first day of school. She’d traded me her Twinkie for my apple with the line, “I don’t think you should eat the apple, Snow White.” We’d been friends almost ten years.

She was different than me in every way, except our blue eyes. She was the epitome of a waif, while I towered over her at five foot eight. She had blond hair that hung long, and was always perfectly styled, mine was a boring dark brown, and came to just below my ears. Her clothes were the latest fashion, as were her nails, makeup, and jewelry, including the heart shaped stud in her belly button. Me, well let’s just say I didn’t own any makeup, and my clothes consisted of baggy jeans, and large old t- shirts, thanks to my seven best friends, and their hand-me-downs. My nails were stubby, and my ears weren’t even pierced. Honestly, I wondered if Cin found me embarrassing sometimes, but I gave her points for sticking around.

“Melt chocolate, huh? He sounds nice.”

“Snow!” She stomped her foot. “Nice isn’t even a proper word. It’s in the same arena as fine, good, okay, and pure.” She shuddered.

“What’s wrong with pure?” I asked, unable to help a laugh, and started toward the gym.

She jogged next to me. “Nothing if you’re Snow White.”

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About the Author:
RaShelle Workman lives on a mountain with her husband, three children, and three dogs. From her back porch she can see the city light and imagine... She's the bestselling author of the Dead Roses series (Sleeping Roses is being translated into Turkish, and will be available in print wherever Turkish books are sold in 2014), the Immortal Essence series, and the Blood and Snow series.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (28)

"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. 

Clockwork Princess 
by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: March 19, 2013

From Barnes & Noble:
If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Excerpt of When the Silence Ends by Jade Kerrion

Title: When the Silence Ends
Author: Jade Kerrion

When you choose your friends, you also choose your enemies.

Seventeen-year old Dee wants nothing more than to help her twin brother, Dum, break free from the trauma in their childhood and speak again, but the only person who can help Dum is the alpha empath, Danyael Sabre, whom the U.S. government considers a terrorist and traitor.

The search for Danyael will lead Dee and Dum from the sheltered protection of the Mutant Affairs Council and into the violent, gang-controlled heart of Anacostia. Ensnared by Danyael’s complicated network of friends and enemies, Dee makes her stand in a political and social war that she is ill equipped to fight. What can one human, armed only with her wits and pepper spray, do against the super-powered mutants who dominate the Genetic Revolution?

America, nevertheless, is ripe for transformation. Exhausted by decades of belligerence between humans and their genetic derivatives—the clones, in vitros, and mutants—society is on the verge of falling apart or growing up. Dee, with her sassy attitude and smart mouth, is the unwitting pebble that starts the avalanche of change. In her quest to help her brother become normal, Dee will finally learn what it means to be extraordinary.

When the Silence Ends is the Young Adult spinoff in the award-winning Double Helix series and can be read as a standalone novel.

| Amazon US / UK |

Excerpt from Chapter 1:
Author’s note: Dee is an ordinary human surrounded by extraordinary people, including her brother Dum who is an empath, and their friend Jessica, a telepath and telekinetic. In a world where the lines are clearly drawn between what’s normal and what’s not, Dee will find that there is still lots of room for ordinary to grow into extraordinary. I hope you enjoy this excerpt that showcases the relationship between Dee, Dum, and Jessica…
Dee stalked over to her brother. For a long, silent moment, she stared into his familiar face as he bopped along to whatever music was blasting from his iPod. He did not even look at her. When had he become a stranger? She smacked him on the side of his head and remained unmoved when he raised his aggrieved gaze to her. “Are you saying that this place is okay for you?” she asked, raising her voice so that he could hear her through his ear pods.

He nodded.

“Are you sure about that? We’re moving here so that you can train with Danyael. I’d hate for you to feel inconvenienced about leaving the comfort and protection of the council for this dump.”

He frowned, his eyebrows drawing together, and turned away.

All right, so he understood sarcasm. How was she supposed to argue with a person who would not argue back, but who could hurt her just by walking away? Dee was still scowling and blinking back the tears from her eyes when Jessica returned with an armful of cleaning supplies. Dee ignored Jessica’s compassionate glance. “I thought Danyael said he worked all day. I didn’t think he would be around.”

“He isn’t.”

“You broke into his apartment?”

Jessica put the cleaning supplies on the grimy countertop in the kitchen. She tapped the side of her head. “I flipped the lock on his door. I did tell him, though.”

“Before or after you broke in?”

Jessica cocked her head to the side. “Why are you so uptight about stuff like that?”

“Because when I do it, I run the risk of being caught and labeled a criminal. You do it, and nobody cares.”

“Sure, they care. They just don’t notice.”

“And you don’t care?”

“Look, I got his permission. Who cares if I got it a microsecond before or after I flipped the lock? You need to chill out.” Jessica snatched up a spray bottle and a rag, and stomped off toward the bathroom.

With a sponge in hand and her teeth clenched, Dee scrubbed out the dirty brown spots on the kitchen counter. Jeez, I’m becoming my mother. Except that Mom had never been a nag. When she wasn’t sunk in depression, Mom had been cool, even though she had been a mutant. Dee cast a narrow-eyed glare at her brother, who was washing down the windows. Mom had not been an alpha mutant; she had not possessed the prerequisite weirdness that accompanied most alpha mutants.

I am not weird. Jessica’s irate voice snapped through her head.

Dee hurled the sponge into the sink and stalked into the bathroom. For a long and silent moment, she stared at the rag, apparently under the control of an invisible hand, as it scrubbed down the shower tiles. She looked back at Jessica who sat on the closed lid of the toilet bowl.

“And that’s not weird?”

“No, it’s who I am, and I don’t like being called ‘weird.’”

“Fine, but that—” She pointed at the hardworking rag. “—is not normal.”

“What’s not normal is how gross the shower is. I’m not stepping in there to scrub it out.”

Dee’s passing glance at the shower became a hard look, and she chuckled. “Is that green thing in the corner alive?”

“Yes, and it’s really close to sentient thought. In a year, it might be able to talk.”

Unlike Dum.

Jessica’s gaze darted to Dum and then flashed back to Dee. She switched to a telepathic conversation. He can talk, you know. I asked Danyael. He said there wasn’t anything wrong with Dum physically.

I know. The problem is just in Dum’s head. What else did Danyael tell you about my brother?

Jessica shrugged. If you want to know, you can ask Danyael directly. It’s not like it’s a secret.

Who knew what other telepathic and empathic conversations were taking place around her? It sucked to be human in a world dominated by super-powered alpha mutants, and worse, she could do nothing about it.

About the Author:
Jade Kerrion unites cutting-edge science and bioethics with fast-paced action in her award-winning Double Helix series. Perfection Unleashed and its sequels, Perfect Betrayal and Perfect Weapon, have been described as “a breakout piece of science fiction” and drawn rave reviews for their originality and vision. Her latest novel, When the Silence Ends, is a Young Adult spinoff the Double Helix series. She is also the author of Earth-Sim, a whimsical and compelling view of Earth’s history through the eyes of the two students assigned to manage our planet.