Monday, December 31, 2012

My favorite books of 2012!

Hello lovelies! First off, sorry. I know I haven't posted for a good few months now but I've been so busy with work and school and LIFE that I just haven't had time to write any reviews. However, I have still had time to read which I am thankful for.

Today is the VERY LAST day of 2012. How crazy is that?! According to Goodreads.com (which is an awesome website, by the way) I have read over 50 books this year. I could have probably read more, but I just haven't had the time :(
Of the few I did read there were some fantastic books and I decided to share some of my favorites with you guys.

In no particular order, here they are:

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I tried stopping at 5, but clearly I failed. LOL What are some of your favorite books of the year? Leave them in the comments or link me to your post. I love adding books to my TBR list!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guest Post: Samantha Gray


Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld—The Modern "Catcher" for Young Women

Lee Fiora is a smart, observant, endlessly insecure (though she doesn't know it) fourteen year old girl who is seeking something "different" when she decides to attend an elite boarding school, Ault, in Massachusetts. Hundreds of miles away from her comfortable home in South Bend, Indiana, Lee finds that Ault isn't exactly what its glossy brochures and lush green lawns make it out to be. Lee's experiences—discovering a world unlike her own, surviving complicated relationships with girls her age, becoming infatuated with a boy she never feels good enough for, losing her status as "daddy's little girl"—ultimately communicate the universal pain and excitement that encapsulates being an adolescent and becoming a young adult. 

I read this novel for the first time when I was 18 years old. It was the summer before my first year of college and I could not have been more thrilled to be done with high school and on to "bigger" things. I was leaving the small town I had spent my whole life in for a small liberal arts university hundreds of miles away. At the time, I didn't necessarily see the similarities in my own situation and Lee's situation, but the story did speak to me in many ways. I saw aspects of myself in Lee, as I think any young girl will. 

What makes this story so essential within the young adult genre is Sittenfeld's beautiful depiction of character. Lee captures so many of the universal aspects of being a young girl, that she is approachable for any individual. Lee is flawed—she's foolish and curious, timid and motivated—she's lost. Lee confronts issues of class and money within her new world at Ault. She explores the facets of friendships that so many girls can relate to. Her slow infatuation turned less-than-relationship with a beautiful boy at the school communicates something universal about what it is to be young and have a longing to belong. There is something about Lee's duality in personality, wants, and actions that makes her endlessly familiar. She feels like a constant outsider in the school because she is on scholarship and her hair is not blonde—what she doesn't know is she puts herself on the outside. She is simultaneously drawn to and repelled by other outsiders in the school. Never accepting her place within the system—Lee's story at Ault really boils down to finding her own identity outside of everyone else's. 

I recently picked up this novel again as a 20-something college grad working in the "real world". The novel is just as engrossing as a supposedly grown up, put together adult as it is for a clueless and hopeful 18 year old on summer vacation. Just as Catcher in the Rye was able to depict the coming of age of a young boy in a world that he forever felt out of place in, Prep captures this growth and experience in a delicate and fleeting way. Lee and Holden are staples of American literature. Holding an important place in the world of literary genre and theme, the coming of age story will forever be the signpost of young adult fiction—as it should be. 
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About the Author:
This guest contribution was submitted by Samantha Gray, who specializes in writing about BachelorsDegreeOnline.com Questions and comments can be sent to:  samanthagray024@gmail.com. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Author Interview: Desiree Finkbeiner


Author Interview with Desiree Finkbeiner


Release Date: March 28, 2012
Publisher: Hydra Publications

Hi Anne! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your new book! So first off, describe Ethos in 3 words
Virtuous. Spiritual. Adventurous. 

What inspired you to write Ethos?
Multiple sources inspired the story, but in short, I knew I just needed to write. So I tried to think of a way that I could appeal to a wide market, while choosing genres and topics of popular interest, but did my best to put my own spin on it so it was unique in its own way. I tried to avoid clichés so my own voice would shine through the work.

It’s a story about integrity, duty, agency and self mastery. I wanted to write something that would teach a moral, inspired by an apparent lack in action by the people of today. People everywhere seem complacent, and the liberty of those same people is on the brink of destruction. My series is a call to action; to act or be acted upon. It’s about choice, the very thing that makes us superior beings… and the same element that can ultimately lead to destruction, if not exercised wisely.

If your book was being turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leading roles?
That’s a hard one. I honestly think I’d almost rather see NEW, emerging actors as the leading roles… I’ve always found it hard to accept certain popular actors/actresses in new roles because they live in my mind as the role they played in their last hit. For example, Robert Pattinson will always seem like Edward Cullen to me. I just couldn’t imagine him being anything else LOL. Harrison Ford will always be Indiana Jones and Han Solo to me. 

So for my own story, I’d almost rather find new talent so Ethos can form its own faces. However, there is one French actor that, to me, would make a great ‘Kalen’. (he’s virtually unknown by the American market… though maybe not young enough to fill the role since he was born in 1981) Florent Mothe, who plays the role of Antonio Salieri in Mozart, l'opéra rock.  If you take a moment to Google him, once you see his pictures, you’ll fall in love with him, but he sings like an angel too!

Are you working on anything new at the moment? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
I’m working on book #2 in the Ethos series, which will be out this fall… probably around October. Also, a YA steampunk series called ‘The Elevator’.

Ethos #2 has twice the action and suspense as book one, and of course, takes Brianna and Kalen’s relationship to the next level. Some new characters are introduced and some from book one join them on their journey back to Earth, to try and stop Ellette’s evil plan from moving forward.

Do you have any advice for young writers?
Ignore the pessimistic criticism of others. Most of those type of comments are stemmed from envy or feelings of inadequacy. Never destroy a piece of art that doesn’t appeal to you. To me, that is pure selfishness, and you’re robbing the world of a creation that was begging to be created, even if it happened to be your hand that put it on paper. It wasn’t meant for you, and the person who needs that piece of art/writing in their life, will find it and make it theirs if you only make it available to them. I call it artistic abortion, destroying something that you might not want just because you don’t like it… But there are others out there who would love to adopt your creation!

You are a conduit, a tool to make this world richer by your creations, so why not let those works bless the lives of others, even if you yourself aren’t satisfied with them. Beauty is interpreted differently by everyone, and all art can be loved by someone, even if it’s only one soul that loves it.

Books you currently have on your TBR list?
Several indie books by unpublished authors. 

Favorite place you have ever visited?
I’ve been to 5 countries and 30 states, but the rocky mountains hold a special place in my heart. Especially Warner Mountain in, Moab Utah, and Huntington Canyon, near Price (which has a lot of family history there) and equal to that would be Yellow Stone National park, in Wyoming. The western states are breath taking, particularly Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. Anyone looking for a spiritual experience simply MUST visit the Rockies. 

In fact, book #2 in the Ethos series includes some of my favorite places…






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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review (34): Shut Up by Anne Tibbets

Shut Up
by Anne Tibbets

Series: None
Other Reviewed Titles: None
Release Date:
February 28, 2012
Publisher: Premier Digital Publishing
Pages: 118
Source: ARC from Author
Challenge: None

My Review:

Mary’s older sister gets herself pregnant and then decides to marry The Creep who knocked her up which causes her parents to freak out majorly. And to top it all off, Mary can’t seem to do anything right and is constantly getting yelled at by her mom and the now pregnant Gwen. Her brother just tells her to shut up and blend in, but Mary isn’t good at either. Unfortunately, all her attempts to get help are ignored which causes her to plan different forms of escape. 

This story is told in alternating points of view by Mary and her older brother Paul. The chapters are also divided into the present and the past. It starts off with Mary running away from home which is the present and then shifts to explain exactly why it is that she decided to run away in the first place. Other than that, there isn’t much of a plot. 

I thought Mary was very mature for a 12 year old especially after everything that she goes through. I don’t know what I would do if I was constantly being told that I was stupid and useless and made to feel unwanted. I was really happy with the decision she makes at the end and I was rooting for her to come to the conclusion that she does. As for the other characters, I didn’t really like any of them. Gwen was a complete bitch, Rose was a little tattle tale, Paul, who was supposed to be her one and only ally, never did anything and all the other adults in Mary’s life didn’t bother helping her even though they all knew something wasn’t right. 

And lastly, I love, love, love the cover. I feel that it shows how much pain Mary is in which makes it powerful.

Rating: * * *

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

Author Interview: Anne Tibbets


Author Interview with Anne Tibbets


Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Premier Digital Publishing

Hi Anne! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your new book! So first off, describe Shut Up in 3 words.
1) Emotional
2) Haunting
3) Hopeful 

What inspired you to write Shut Up?
I was all set to start re-writes on my YA Fantasy The Beast Call, when I recalled a memory from my childhood.  It stuck with me for days, so I wrote it down, hoping that would be the end of it.  But then after writing down that one memory, I wrote down another, and another, and another. They came gushing out! After I was through, I tried to go back to the Fantasy re-write but I couldn't concentrate on it.  I kept coming back to the stories, which were nothing more than an unorganized mishmash of things that had happened a long time ago. They were fuzzy at best.  I spent the next few years turning those memories into a full story, and then I spent more time after that turning it into a work of fiction - twisting the story, playing with the time line, and tweaking the characters.  It was torture.  But I couldn't concentrate on any other story until I was done.  After I was finished I felt purged.  Such a relief! But what a great story to tell.  I'm so glad I took the time, because SHUT UP is so different than anything I had written before, and deeply, deeply personal.

What are your thoughts on the cover? Did you have any input in the design?
Customarily authors have zero input on the covers of their own books, but because I went with a very author-friendly press, I was able to work directly with the artist on the cover.  That being said, all I had to do was have one conversation with him about what the book was about, and he sent back this cover - the only difference were the eyes - we had to make them blue to go with the story.  But seeing that cover for the first time - it was one of those moments of my life I will never forget. I opened the file and literally gasped aloud and wept.  He did an amazing job!  He captured Mary's spirit so well, it took my breath away. The artist's name is Kib Prestridge, and he's a very very nice guy with an incredible amount of talent. I feel very lucky to have his design for my book cover.

Are you working on anything new at the moment? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
I had this great idea for another YA contemporary, but I got about twenty pages in and I had another idea for a Supernatural Mystery.  I shelved the contemp just so I could write the outline for the mystery - and then suddenly I was writing the mystery draft, and now I'm up to page 75.  I don't have a title for it yet, but it's about a girl who is an investigative reporter and she stumbles upon an unsolved mystery from her home town, and she sets out to solve it and weird spooky things start to happen to her as she's investigating.  It's a blast to right! I love a good spooky story!

Do you have any advice for young writers?
Write.  Then re-write.  Then re-write again.  Get educated.  Read.  Know your grammar.  Take classes.  Practice.  Practice some more. And above all else, no matter what anybody tells you, never, ever, ever, ever give up.

What was your favorite book growing up? Is it still your favorite today?
My favorite book growing up was Cynthia Voight's DICEY'S SONG.  I haven't read it since the 4th grade, but man - I loved that book.  It was the first book ever to make me cry.  Now, I'd have to say my favorite book of all time is THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak.  If you haven't read it yet, you should. It's a masterpiece.

Once again, thank you for sitting down with us & good luck with your new novel!
And check out my review of Shut Up coming next week.
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Author Interview: John Vorhaus

Author Interview with John Vorhaus


Release Date: April 23, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace

Hi John! Thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions about your new book! So let's start with: who the heck are you?
My name is John Vorhaus. I’m the author of several fun novels, including the con-artist adventures The California Roll and The Albuquerque Turkey, and the brand-new young adult title, Lucy in the Sky.

Tell us a little about your latest book. 
Well, Lucy in the Sky is a coming-of-age tale set in Milwaukee in the 1960s. Our hero is Gene Steen, an earnest young teen who wants to be a hippie in the worst way. He doesn’t know what that means, exactly. He just knows that hippies are scarce on the ground where he is, and laments his life in a cultural wasteland. Then, on the first day of summer, 1969, into his life waltzed his incredibly hip, very wise, spiritually gifted, hot and sexy 17-year-old girl cousin, the eponymous Lucy. Good news, she’ll teach him how to be a hippie; bad news, she’s his cousin; good news, things are not always what they seem. 

Do you have any advice for young writers?
In addition to writing, I travel the world, teaching and training writers – 28 countries on four continents at last count – and here’s the best, simplest advice I ever got, gave, or heard: If you want to get better, write more; if you want to get a lot better, write a lot more. Beyond that, remember that even a bad day of writing is a good day of writing, and a necessary one, since every writer must serve an inevitable apprenticeship of indeterminate length.  It’s not helpful to look for, or even seek, quality early on in one’s career. The first years are just for learning the craft. Quality comes later – and it will come!

What do you see as the writer's role in society?
A writer is a subversive who uses entertainment to instruct.

What do you think the job of young adult fiction is?
To inform without preaching. To me, growing up is about learning how to make choices. Books should not impose choice on any reader, especially a young reader. Rather, books should illuminate the process of choice, thereby giving insight into, well, how to live a productive and effective life. In Lucy in the Sky, my hero learns that being a hippie is not about love beads and peace signs but about the choices you make and the chances you take. I think it’s an important distinction.

What is your working environment like?
Entirely filled by a fourteen-pound dog. When he decides it’s lap time, it’s lap time. When he decides it’s walk time, it’s walk time. This is good; otherwise I might never leave my desk. I have all the coffee and music I need right here, and a monitor that stretches into the middle of next week. Comfy chair, loving dog, words on the page – life is good.

Do you believe in outlining?
I hate outlining like a cat hates baths. If I know too much about where the story is going, I’m not motivated to write it. I like the surprise and discovery of “throwing it out the window and seeing if it lands.” That said, there’s a risk in working this way. I often have to go back and do major revisions, just to clean up the mess I made along the way. That’s a price I’m willing to pay for the chance to confuse and astound even me. But I understand – and admire – writers who outline heavily. 

What's the best piece of advice you ever had on writing?
“Keep giving them you until you is what they want.”

What are some of your hobbies?
I’m passionate about poker and ultimate Frisbee. I’ve written ten books on poker, including (with Annie Duke) the groundbreaking Decide to Play Great Poker. I have written no books on ultimate yet, but who knows? That could be next. It’s a beautiful sport, and totally and completely addictive.

What is your favorite word?
My current favorite word is “ameliarate,” to vanish or disappear like Amelia Earhart. I made it up. I make up many new words every day: for fun; for an ongoing book project called 1001 New Words by Christmas (of an Indeterminate Year); and to feed my twitter stream @TrueFactBarFact. I believe that one of a writer’s responsibilities is to keep the language fresh, new and dynamic. I’m pleased to have given the world “sadlarious,” “harasshole,” “slobnoxious” and many, many other virgin words.

What is the biggest mistake new authors make?
They forget to keep writing. The point of the first book is just to learn and make mistakes. The point of the second one – pretty much the same thing. Once you get to your third or fourth big project, you’re starting to hit your stride, figure things out, and get good. You’re also building a body of work, which is critically important. So keep writing! Everything else will work out fine if you just do that one thing. Remember, you’re building a lifelong practice of writing. The bad news is that this takes time and effort, but the good news is you have an abundance of both, if you so choose. 

What else about you should we know?
I’ve written several books on writing, including The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You're Not, which is especially helpful to new writers. Many of my novels are available in author-narrated audio, which I think is fun and kind of special. I’ve also created television shows in Nicaragua, Romania, Switzerland and many other far-flung locales. I recruited and trained writers for the Bulgarian version of Married…with Children, which looks great – albeit a bit odd – on my résumé. My philosophy of life boils down to this: “Walk down the beach, pick up everything you find, and turn it into a party hat.”

Once again, thank you for sitting down with us & good luck with your new novel!
And check out my review of Lucy in the Sky next week. 
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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. 
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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 (bookpromotion.com), 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.
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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 BookPromotion.com, a consulting firm that provides marketing and website services to authors. She has written for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Salon.com, the Huffington Post, and other publications. She and her husband split time between Los Angeles and New York. You can find her at www.loriculwell.com.

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. http://authorlauradeluca.blogspot.com/2012/05/cast-of-destiny-series.html 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

Review: 
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.

Excerpt:
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 fanfiction.net 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] gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

"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: Secret Society (Secret Society, #1)
Author: Tom Dolby
Release Date: September 29, 2009

An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The scion of one of New York's wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.

They didn't ask to be Society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything--even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they're forced to get on the nape of their necks. Once they're part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It's all perfect--until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo.


This book has been out for ages and has been on my TBR list just as long. I love books about secret societies, they're so intriguing! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Post: Sherry Soule

Guest Post by Sherry Soule
#MMBlogTour


Hi everyone, I’m Sherry Soule—waving from Castro Valley, California, where it gets foggy even during the summer months. But even with the fog burning off by afternoon, I’m relaxing on the sofa and blabbering on Twitter about my life-long obsession with books.
It’s a real honor to be a guest here today as part of my Moonlight Mayhem Blog Tour this summer and meet all of you awesome booklovers.
For those of you who haven’t heard about my epic blog tour it’s not too late to join the fun!

Hashtag Twitter - #MMBlogTour

Okay, today’s entertaining post has a special feature from author, Sherry Soule! She has complied a few of her favorite moments and quotes from the first two YA books in the thrilling Spellbound series, BEAUTIFULLY Broken and MOONLIGHT MAYHEM. *pg numbers are from the mass market paperback edition*

Now let me introduce this turbulent, yet starry-eyed couple:

Shiloh Ravenwolf and Trent Donovan.

Quote from BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN – pg 14 “Initial Glimpse”:

Trent turned his head, his gaze capturing mine. My face flamed, interrupting my ogling. His eyes widened, then narrowed. His arms dropped to his sides. Once those hypnotic green eyes seized mine, the atmosphere shifted, and for a moment, my heart ceased to beat. His gorgeousness silenced the thoughts and whirling emotions inside my head. The lingering anxiety from earlier vanished. 
Finally, Trent turned away. I exhaled. He kept his head down like he had something to hide. Something he didn’t want people to see. Something he didn’t want me to see.

Quote from BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN – pgs. 77 -78 “Meet Charm”:

I leaned out the window and lifted the kitten. She purred and I rubbed her soft fur against my cheek, tension that had snapped my spine straight when I’d heard the eerie cry easing with the each rumbling purr. “Ah, poor baby. Are you hungry?” She loudly meowed.
Trent returned with a bowl of milk and set it on the floor. I lowered the kitten and watched her greedily lap the milk. 
“She’s cute,” Trent said. “What should we name her?”
The ball of fluff raised her head, licking white drops off her mouth.
“Charm.” I hoisted the kitten and cuddled her in my arms. 
Trent scratched her under her white chin. “Charm?”
“Yeah. It’s perfect.”
He scratched the cat behind her ears. “I’d rather have a dog,” he teased.
“Shhh, Charm will hear you.” I covered the cat’s pointy ears with my hands.
Trent grinned, taking the kitten from my arms and surprising me by kissing Charm’s head. 

Quote from BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN – pgs. 86 -87 “A Kiss”:

I went to snatch my hand away, but Trent caught my hand in his, startling me. I looked up to see warmth on his face. His smile held the promise of happiness. He scooted closer and held my gaze for a breath, glanced down. He leaned forward, as if he had no control over his actions. I inhaled his nice, soapy-clean scent, and all coherent thought left my head.
His hands gripped my waist and Trent yanked me against him, his mouth covering mine in a deep kiss. The caress of his lips was softer than I’d imagined. An unfamiliar rush of excitement engulfed my senses. My hands wrapped around his neck, fingering his silky tousled hair. His moist lips seared a path from my lips to my neck, igniting a blaze of desire that flooded my skin everywhere his lips and roaming hands touched. Boys had kissed me before, but not like this. Never like this.
Yes, yes…this is what I want and yearn for—affection. To fall in an impetuous head-over-heels kind of love. Let myself go. Surrender my heart…

Quote from ARC of MOONLIGHT MAYHEM – pgs. 85 -86 “Nervous Belly”:

Luna Pizza wasn’t super busy yet, when the door opened and swoon-worthy Trent Donovan sauntered into the restaurant with a guy I didn’t recognize, which meant I had no place to hide. I felt the air whoosh from my lungs. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them, I swear my body froze. My heart stopped beating. A volatile, relentless thrill shot through my veins, and I shuddered. Messy blond hair, startling emerald eyes, cocky grin on his face… 

Quote from ARC of MOONLIGHT MAYHEM – pg 224 “Hero Intercedes”:

His hands flickered upward, and before I knew it, they were cupping my face. So, damnably fast now. Demonic-like fast. Trent reeled me closer. Our foreheads joined. He held me, while I trembled in his arms. I was vaguely aware of Evans and Maxwell watching, although it didn’t seem important. Nothing seemed important whenever he did this. It felt like we were enclosed in our own personal bubble made only for the two of us. Trent murmured something in my ear. We stood like that until my shaky legs gradually regained strength. I shut my eyes and pretended my body wasn’t sizzling with heat-lightning because Trent stood so close. My hormones always decided to rebel whenever he put his arms around me. And it wasn’t totally awkward and uncomfortable. No, it felt like the best thing I’d experienced since before Dad’s death. And that’s saying a lot.

Quote from ARC of MOONLIGHT MAYHEM – pg 224 “Zombie Encounter”:

Her pale brow furrowed. Her skin veiny and colorless. Sheesh, she’s a hot mess. Zombie Girl tilted her head and raised her arms. “Ashley—hag!” 
“What! Did that corpse just call me a hag?” Ashley sounded more like her usual bitchy self.
 “No, I think she means hug. It’s zombie lingo. I’ve read online that zombies can be affectionate, but hugging one often leads to, well, having your brains eaten,” I said.
“Yuk!” Ashley backpedaled, scrunching her thin face. “Beyond gross.”
Zombie Girl giggled, but it sounded choked, a mere gurgling rumble in her throat. She had these nasty bloody scrapes on her arms and legs. Her right calf had deep teeth marks. Her feet were dirty and bare, her movements jaunty and slow.
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Book Blurb: 
Otherworldly Creatures. Dazzling Magic. Fiery Romance.
Shiloh Ravenwolf thought she was getting used to the strange events in Whispering Pines, until the full moon brings another surge of supernatural threats to her coastal town. Ferocious wolves, deadly necromancers, and shambling zombies have descended upon the neighborhood, so Shiloh needs to gain control of her magical abilities—fast! 
It sucks that she has a crippling fear of the dark, which for a demon hunter can be an epic problem.
When her classmates are attacked by a mysterious creature and her father is murdered, Shiloh vows vengeance. Forcing her phobias aside, she forms an unlikely coven of supernaturally gifted teens to help her eradicate this menace. Except that's not all Shiloh has to worry about. She’s battling a different monster within herself and struggling not to become the very thing she fights: evil. 
But with demon blood inside her—anything can happen…
Moonlight Mayhem is the second novel in the epic Spellbound series

Where you can find author, Sherry Soule online:
Official Spellbound Series Universe: http://thespellboundseries.blogspot.com/
Twitter @WriterSherry: http://twitter.com/writersherry
Book Trailer/YouTube: http://youtu.be/5uqVXKygvUs