Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Blast: Silver-White by Shawn Underhill

Silver-White by Shawn Underhill

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
~ Robert Frost

*Evie’s family has been holding out on her …

Big time.

On an unexpected visit to her grandparents’ house in New Hampshire’s secluded North Woods, the sixteen-year-old literally runs into the truth of the long-hidden family secrets, and finds herself thrust without warning into the clandestine world of the Great North Pack—a wild and exhilarating world of rugged beauty, heart-pounding adventures, and long nights running under a sea of stars … but as she’s set to discover, a world also fraught with potential dangers lurking in the shadows.

 "Simply put, this book was amazing. I've read more fantasy novels than than I can count, but this one is certainly one of the best. The heroine isn't some wishy-washy pansy that screams at everything, and the focus of the story isn't on some unbelievably beautiful teenage girl who suddenly becomes the biggest, baddest member of her species falling in love with some big, bad, sexy member of her newfound species. It's about a girl becoming something she never knew existed, finding her place within the pack family she values more than ever before, and an age-old feud that threatens everything she loves." ~Morgan

Purchase ~ just .99 cents

Author Shawn Underhill

Shawn is a part-time writer from New Hampshire, where he spends his free time hiking in the mountains, camping, racing dirt bikes, or anything else that keeps him outdoors. Dogs are his very favorite people. He is also the author of the novel All Things Different.

BookBlast $100 Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/13/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Cover Reveal: Redgates Secrets by Kim Koning

Redgates Secrets
(The Redgates Secrets #1)
The Redgates Secrets where shadows become monsters and the chilling truth is revealed in secrets better left untold…
Alicia and Joseph Jackson are a couple at cracking point. After years of trying and failing to conceive, Alicia has finally fallen pregnant. But worried for her safety, her doctor prescribes a complete change of pace. What better change of pace but to buy a mortgagee sale smallholding in the country-side? The house has a name: REDGATES. Alicia is immediately charmed by this beautiful sprawling mansion. She can see her baby being born and nurtured here. Joseph is taken with the mysterious history of this old homestead. But digging around in the house’s past may uncover more than just cracks in their marriage. Some secrets are better left untold. Some nightmares hide in the shadows of the day. The locals have another name for the house: The House of Blood & Secrets.
About the Author:
Kim is a dark fiction writer with the heart of a poet and the soul of a gypsy while the ancient rhythms of Africa, the birthplace of storytellers, courses through her veins. Wanting to be either a pathologist or a criminal psychologist, life took her on a few twists and turns while studying journalism and after a couple of meandering offshoots that did not involve fiction, fiction finally chose her when she was asked to write a short story for a NZ anthology (which was a National Award Winner). Kim now lives on the beautiful East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island and is lucky enough to call the Pacific Ocean her backyard. She can often be found wandering the cliff tops above the crashing ocean and walking through the lush farmlands that surround the area. But with a heart caught between two lands, the sunburned, ancient Africa and the lush, green islands of New Zealand, she finds her true home within the white pages covered in ink. Her fiction is caught between the dark and mysterious, the truth and the what ifs, secrets and reality, shadows and light. Kim really does see ghosts and her loved ones believe ghosts and extreme weather phenomenon follow her around. She grew up spending holidays and weekends at her grandparents’ large old farm homestead which had a hidden wing that was haunted. These early experiences with haunted homes ignited her imagination and started a spark that made her question what else is out there that we couldn’t see, what is around us observing us? Why could she see these ghosts/spirits and many others couldn’t? The spark was lit and the stories started coming as fast as she could write them down. One of these real life experiences sparked The Redgates Secrets, Kim’s debut 6 part novella series.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: The Wanderers by Jessica Miller

The Wanderers
(book 1)
by Jessica Miller
YA Paranormal Romance
Self-Published December 6, 2012

*Ebook received directly from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis Via Goodreads:

What do you do when you learn your family is the one who's holding all the secrets. Secrets that could get you killed...

Ella is looking forward to starting college in the fall with her best friend Josie. She’s looking for a place where she can get away from her overbearing parents and two older annoying brothers. Unfortunately Ella realizes that sometimes the past comes back to haunt you. 

Ella soon learns that the man who terrorizes her dreams is in fact real and coming after her.
When one of her classmates is murdered, Ella slowly recognizes this is not some strange coincidence. Ella fears that the boy she’s falling in love with is the one who stalks her dreams and no longer knows who she can trust.

When she finally learns the truth of her families deepest secret, Ella has to face her demons by taking out one of the people she thought she could trust…before they kill her.

Get Your Copy:

About the Author:
I live in a fantasy world and have an over active imagination. But the best part about that is I never stop creating new characters and new stories to share. I love writing and expressing myself in a way that everyone else can enjoy as well. I work in the salon most days, but when I'm not doing hair, I'm writing or reading.
Connect with Jessica on Goodreads
My Review:

I really enjoyed this novel. Actually stayed up until 4 am reading.

I am a huge fan of vampire novels and this had a nice spin for me. I can see this novel becoming a very popular series once the word gets out.

The characters all stood out on their own, each with their own bold personality. You have the main female lead Ella - the girl going off to college to get away from her over-dramatic, over-protective mother who drives her nuts. Don't get me wrong, she loves her mom, but she's one of those micro-managing parents it seems. Poor Ella has gone through a very traumatic event - losing her boyfriend Kyle in a horrendous wreck with a mysterious yellow-eyed man. This scene begins haunting Ella's dreams once again while she's off at college. Then you have Josie - Ella's best friend who goes off to college with her. I was excited that they ended up in the same dorm but that really led to a new side of Josie that you would've missed otherwise - the messy, disorganized, panty-dropping side. Haha. She would've driven me nuts if she'd been my college roommate. They go off to a party & meet Tristan - the bad boy with the side that all girls will swoon for. He comes off as being a total douche but honestly, he's a great guy. He's absolutely crazy about Ella but has a habit of screwing up - but who can blame him when Ella treats him like crap most of the time. She totally over thinks things - Josie tries to tell her - but she won't just relax. You know there's more to Tristan than you see at first so it's exciting to watch the plot unfold and secrets being revealed. Every story with one hot boy always needs two right? Enter Jack. I really liked Jack... before... he's hard to figure out but you're completely taken off guard later in the story when more secrets are revealed.

 I adore Tristan but Ella drove me absolutely bonkers. Her character is the only downfall for me.

I absolutely loved the plot (minus the way Ella treated Tristan the majority of the time - hot cold hot cold) and loved all of the twists. It keeps you on your toes because you're constantly wondering "what now?!"

I was close to having a heart attack when I got to the end and can't believe it ended where it did! Talk about one of those books where you think you'll die before you get book 2!! I can't wait to see how the story continues!

Great book - just annoying lead female.

Overall Rating: 3.5 Stars <-- I really want to give this novel a higher rating because honestly, it was great! But Ella just really drove me nuts >_<

Cover: 2 Stars - I didn't really connect the cover with the story
Characters: 4 Stars
Plot: 4.5 Stars
Climax: 5 Stars <-- Talk about nail biting!
Ending: __ Stars... I can't even put a star rating because I really couldn't breathe.... I can't wait to get my hands on book 2!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ARC Review: Platinum by Jeffe Kennedy

by Jeffe Kennedy
Adult Erotica / Light BDSM
Expected Publication Date - Feb 25, 2013
Published by Carina Press
*ARC obtained via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Althea Grant's Charleston gallery might be suffering from the bad economy, and her artistic aspirations have gone nowhere, but she's doing just fine, thank you. When bad-boy sculptor Steel rides up on his motorcycle looking to rent studio space, his infusion of cash is more than welcome. But his art is raw, visceral, sexual—and completely inappropriate for her pastel world of watercolor landscapes.

Steel, fascinated by Althea's rare albino coloring, sees in her the key to his next piece: a metal satyr designed for bondage games. Moving into her gallery basement is the first step; seducing the cool Southern belle into modeling for him is the second.

As Steel peels away her careful manners and tasteful outfits, Althea begins to realize her life isn't just fine at all—it's as pale and washed-out as the watercolor paintings she's failing to sell. Can she transform her life and accept her most secret desires?

Pre-Order Your Copy:

About the Author:
Jeffe took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, an erotic short, Feeding the Vampire, and another erotic novella, Sapphire, have hit the shelves. Her contemporary fantasy novel, Rogue’s Pawn, will be published in July, 2012. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.

Connect with the Author:
Website      Goodreads      Twitter     

My Review:

I enjoyed this quick, hot read. It was a journey of finding and accepting one’s self and true personality.
The characters seemed more like real people rather than our fantasy/dream/billionaire characters we've grown to love & fantasize about. Okay - yea so Steel is totally my hot biker fantasy but not my billionaire CEO fantasy type. LoL
You have Althea - owner of her own art gallery that's doing quite poorly, family who obviously has money but raised her to be a "proper young lady" who follows all of society's rules. She never steps out of line. She holds herself as a completely poised, elegant woman who appears smooth as glass on the outside. She's obviously has no idea who she really is deep down - she's who she was raised to be. Due to her complexion & hair color (albino), she always wears pastel colored clothes and light colored makeup. Enter Steel - hot, rough around the edges biker, sexy, tattoos, nipple ring, and did I mention he is a completely brilliant artist. And a total Dom.
The way that Steel owns his life choices and is completely comfortable with himself is very appealing. He obviously had a not-so-great life when he was younger but with help from social workers, etc., he puts his emotions out there through his art. He's able to slowly guide Althea into realizing HER true nature & feelings. He helps her understand that it's perfectly acceptable to NOT be who everyone expects you to be. Live the way you want to live. Think the way you want to think. Throw "Society's rules" to the wind I guess I should say. He opens her eyes to primal, sexual urges in human nature. Althea has a hard time accepting it because it goes against everything that she's ever been told was proper.
Overall, great hot read of self-exploration & acceptance. I really enjoyed it. It only took a few hours to read but I didn't really feel like it was too short. This story is focused on Althea's self-exploration so it doesn't delve into the other character's reasons for why they are who they are. You only get a few glimpses but it works. You're constantly drawn back to Althea.
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Cover Rating: 4.5 Stars - It really is beautiful
Characters: 5 Stars
Plot: 4 Stars
Climax: 4 Stars - Loved the charity ball
Ending: 4 Stars - I'm very happy with the ending


Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot

 Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
by Anne Eliot
Published October 17, 2012 by Butterfly Books, LLC
Kindle Edition: 422 Pages
*ebook obtained for review directly from the author as part of a book tour hosted by Supagurl's Blog Tours*

Synopsis via Goodreads:

"After a car accident--an event he considers a prank gone bad--pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.

Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a 'nice' guy.

Funny thing is...Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.

She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s transformation.

When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist...

And that’s when things get out of control...

High School Romance, first love, sweet romance..."

Get Your Copy of Unmaking Hunter Kennedy:   Amazon

About the Author:

 Anne Eliot writes middle grade and young adult fiction full time. She's a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Pikes Peak Writers. Anne lives in Denver, Colorado, USA. Anne's favorite thing to write about is a first kiss. She loves to hear from readers. For more information, please visit her website.

Connect with Anne:

My Review:
Cute boys, quirky girls, football players, rock stars, drama, first kiss/first love, the emotional hurdle of learning who you really are - not who people want you to be.

I LOVED this novel. I honestly couldn't put it down.

First off, GREAT characters. I absolutely adore how quirky Vere & Jenna are. I really enjoyed the fact that Vere & her brother Charlie have such a great relationship - even if Charlie gets alittle misguided at some points. He has a great heart though & great intentions so you can't really hate him. When Vere & Charlie first meet Hunter - I was laughing my butt off. I found myself doing just that all through this book. Speaking of Hunter - *Swoon* - I <3 Hunter. He's officially been added to my fictional boyfriends list. Okay - yes he's way too young for me but that's why "fictional" lists are so great right? I can pretend I'm just that young all over again :) Hunter's life just seems to be absolutely spiraling out of control. Hunter has to fight his own demons - even discovering depression runs in his family. Feeling like his own mom uses him for his money, he ends up making a big mess out of the situation - ending up in what I would call a podunk town. Definitely a long way from LA, Cali. Even though this novel deals with such a dark, painful issue, the novel is bright & happy most of the time. Anne keeps the pace & brightens the mood constantly with the antics of Vere's awkwardness, "Dustin's" completely dorkiness, and Jenna...well, just being Jenna.

This novel moves at a constant pace - I wasn't bored a single time, nor did I feel like I needed to take a breather. I didn't want to stop reading.

I really loved how Hunter put himself out there - pretending to be the ultimate geek stereotype. I laughed so many times! The retainer topped it off for me! Absolutely "adorkable" - love that word btw. Then he has his moments where he's himself - the real Hunter - like when he picks up the old Strat that Vere shows him in the antique store. *swoon* Nothing is hotter than a man who knows how to handle a guitar. I can only imagine what Hunter's voice sounds like as he strums the guitar later in the novel. I wonder who he sounds like? I imagine a raspy, low sexy voice - almost bluesy rock... the only thing is, my thoughts on him totally don't match that crazy outfit his mom makes him wear in the beginning - totally over the top pop boy band gear >_<

The romance aspect was precious - it made me wish that I could go back to high school and enjoy these silly butterfly moments all over again. From Vere's crush on Charlie's best friend who she has known forever to Hunter starting to fall for Vere's absolute quirkiness. I adored reading from Hunter's perspective. I enjoyed his internal struggle where he was trying to stay away from her because of the deal he made with Charlie but realizing how hard it is because he's falling for Vere. This book is very tame compared to other novels I generally read because the most "action" you have is kissing but oh man are those kisses perfect. It was like being thrown right back into my teens - when I was so excited to get that first kiss - all those thoughts running around in my head about how it would be, the what-ifs that drove you crazy (what if I'm a horrible kisser, what if he tastes funny, what if he thinks I taste funny, what if freeze up....) Anne did a GREAT job connecting with all those feelings and bringing me right back to those days.

Here's a few of my favorite quotes:

"I’ll let Vere Roth drive me straight into hell if she keeps smiling at me like this."

"Hell. I’m about to go shopping in hell. Hell that sells poop."

"She thinks we’re both of the same species, but vultures don’t make friends with hummingbirds."

“If one fish nibbles my toes I’m going to lose all testosterone and scream like a little girl right in front of you. They won’t, will they?”

“Please! I made that pillow very happy. And you won’t believe the feathers it put in my ear. Still does, and I haven’t made out with it in over a year. You aren’t the only one with mega-skills"

Hahahaha just thinking about those quotes makes me laugh all over again!!! Oooh & the first kiss - jeewiz! Can I please have a re-do on my first kiss? Is Hunter available?? *sigh*

Overall Rating: 5 Whopping Stars
Cover Rating: 4.5 Stars
Characters: 5 Stars
Plot: 5 Stars
Climax: 4.5 Stars <--seriously had be biting my nails because I was so nervous for them!

I had a moment to talk to Anne about Unmaking Hunter Kennedy & specifically Hunter's music. Anne totally opened my eyes to a new musician I had never heard of - Jason Reeves. I'm loving it! Here's a little bit from our conversation. It's great insight & really connects you to Hunter's character even more. Anne makes some amazing points that people probably don't think about often - seeing who is behind the star persona.

I'm a sucker for rock music & guitar players so I'd love for you to address the musical aspect of Hunter's world. I was thinking about Hunter & his music over and over again while reading UHK. I picture this low, raspy voice - more old rock and not pop music - but that totally doesn't fit the pop outfit - all white & glittery - that his mom puts him in during his swap with the stand-in. LoL I totally thought of Justin Bieber when she made him wear that outfit - Not something that happens often for this 26 year old rock girl hahaha ^_^

Did you listen to music while writing? I love listening to author's playlists for novels - it's like it opens a whole new chapter for the novels through different eyes. I wonder who, in your mind, Hunter is similar to with regards to musicians - especially when he's sitting there writing music with the old strat that Vere buys him. Did you actually think of lyrics in your mind for possible songs that he might be writing - new love ballads like he tells Martin about in the email? Who you think of when you imagine their band together, up on stage performing?

 I did try to write some songs and I almost put one in the book (somewhere on my computer is the love ballad, actually) but it's so hard to do that because everyone reads the lyrics differently and then there's no music to match it -- so it seemed stronger with everyone able to imagine their own. I showed it to a few teens and half would LOVE It, the other half BARFED and dry heaved forever, etc. Music is so subjective so I finally left it out because I didn't want to alienate anyone. While I was writing the Strat stuff though…Jason Reeves was in my head a lot. 'I Just Want to Write You in a Song', and esp. 'Girl You are like Summer Rain…' that one is SIGH… and 'I don't want to be 'just friends'… do you know those?
Hunter came about not really because of a band, but more because of that show on MTV called 'Made'. Have you seen it? It's where they took a normal teen and made them into a rapper, or a cheerleader (from dork land) or a beauty queen out of the library…shy girl becomes a slam poet... all sort of opposite transformations. That plus my kids were 24/7 watching Disney channel stuff like Zach and Cody and iCarly (most awesome show). I kept wondering if a kid could be UNMADE. Like if they could get OUT of the life they'd started as kid actors that had them caught in a BIG career yet they'd never known anything else. (This was also when cute Lindsi Lohan [from the Parent Trap cute--not in jail cute] was falling apart on TV every single day.Poor kid.)

I'm not going to lie, though… I think the guys from One Direction are SO cute and The Wanted…, yes even Justin Beiber is adorable and we've all watched him grow up on stage. Every single generation has had a boy band, and after these guys, there will be another set of boy bands coming through. But yeah, what if one kid on One Direction goes home sad every night? He likes that he's making money, but maybe deep down he's a jazz guitarist or something… and so the longer he's in the band the less he's able to find himself and so eventually that would make anyone get depressed. I think if we aren't living in our essence…as our true selves were meant to be. What we crave to be if only we had the time, money, talent…

If we are hiding or scared to try to be what we KNOW we are and we follow the path our parents/society tells us to follow, then eventually our soul/spirit begins to slowly die.

HA - you're totally right there with regards to some people loving vs hating music without lyrics. It's amazing to pick up the booklet for a CD (well, some kids today I guess can't do that but I still have my HUGE binder full of CDs & their books HA) and actually just READ the lyrics to some of your favorite songs. The lyrics you read often don't match the feelings you have when you're actually listening to the song. I've read in other novels the songs that the characters are singing and absolutely swoon - then I'll hear the version of the song that the author will sometimes post on their website/blog (sometimes fan made music, sometimes otherwise made) and I'll think to myself - "huh... I saw that going in a totally different direction." It's amazing (& sometimes annoying especially in conversations that turn into debates HA) how we all interpret things completely different. A favorite book by 1 person will be another person's least favorite. Completely the same for music. I guess that's why I love that the world of books (& music for that matter) is so never ending. It makes me happy to know that I can always find my very own niche & there's a whole world of readers out there that agree. It's one of the few things that people can always find in common no matter what country, what state, what region you live in.

Ooh I totally see your thought process with regards to Made vs Unmade. Sometimes when you see such young stars on tv today (there's so many more now than there were when I was young it seems like), you think "are they going to get to experience Anything in life? Any of the fun simple moments?" I'm sure they're all feeling just like Hunter - thinking about that, you did such a great job capturing that emotion. I'm sure there's so many of them out there that feel exactly like Hunter - or lack of feeling I should say too. Just being told where to go, what to wear, what to say, who to speak to, who NOT to speak to, etc. has to be exhausting. I can see where everyone would lose their own, deep down, personal originality when forced to live that way each and every day. :( All the rumors that fly around have got to be exhausting - I would want to completely shut myself out of the world - well, they probably all do because it's the only way they can breathe.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Altered (#1) by Jennifer Rush

(Altered #1)
by Jennifer Rush

YA Dystopia full of Mystery & a tiny hint of Romance
Published Jan 1, 2013

*Self-Purchased Ebook*
DAC 2013

Synopsis via Goodreads:

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Get Your Copy:

About the Author:
Jennifer Rush lives in a little town on the shoreline of Lake Michigan with her husband and two children. She grew up wanting to be an Egyptologist, but realized she hated the desert and declared herself a writer instead. She won her first writing award in the fourth grade (a Mickey Mouse pencil was the prize) and has been crafting stories ever since. In her free time, she likes to read, Photoshop, and consume large amounts of caffeine.

Connect With Jennifer:
Goodreads       Blog       Facebook      Twitter

My Review:

This is my very first read for my DAC 2013 Goals. I definitely picked right.

This book was AH-MAZING!!! I read the entire novel in one sitting - 5 hours.... I didn't go to sleep until around 3 this morning because I.COULD.NOT.PUT.IT.DOWN.

The cover & synopsis intrigued me from the start so I couldn't wait to read it. It's definitely going on my faves list!!

The characters are absolutely fabulous. Anna, Nick, Trav, Cas & Sam keep you completely enthralled in the story. Anna is a female lead that I think anyone can enjoy. She's intelligent, honorable, and has a crush on Sam. Nick, Trav, Cas & Sam are stuck down in the "lab" - which is down below Anna's home where she lives with her father Arthur.

From page one to the very last page, the story is full of mystery... it's one big puzzle that they're trying to solve. What is the purpose of Nick, Trav, Cas & Sam's "testing". What is the goal? What is the "Branch" trying to accomplish? Why do they have to stay locked up? Why can't they remember anything past a certain point? Is it really amnesia due to the testing? Or something more foul-play? Then the mysteries end up getting deeper and more connected to Anna & Sam. I don't want to go into more detail because I can't ruin the outcome of this story. Let me just say that it's going to BLOW.YOU.AWAY. If you enjoy mysteries & solving puzzles, then get this book! You'll love it! I'd really love to know how Jennifer kept track of everything that she had going on - I'd love to see the story-board.

The overall plot to the story is great! I never once wanted to put the book down because I was too enthralled with what was going to happen next. What was going to be their next clue? What did the clue they were trying to solve really mean? Who is Anna's mom? What? Why? How????? When???? It keeps going and you can't wait to learn more. I was left speechless several times throughout the story and not once did I ever get close to what the actual outcome was going to be! Ugh - One of the boys totally took me by surprise! I won't ruin it for you but I'll just say, you'll be taken by surprise too. I was totally heart broken & couldn't believe what I was reading!

My only thought for what I would've liked more of would have to be background on Sam. (Maybe a tad more heat between Sam & Anna too but hey, I'm a girl, I love that stuff, LoL).  He's the quiet one in the group it seems - the brooding one with so much history with the Branch but you never really get a complete feel for him. I want to know his true history, what really happened, why he is like he is? How did he get so deeply involved in the Branch that they can't seem to let him go? I know that his mom just dropped him off with the Branch but how did he end up so deeply wound up in them? What was he like before?

I can't wait for book 2!!!!!!

Overall Rating: 5 Huge Stars! Loved this book!

Cover Rating: 5 Stars - such a great cover that illustrates Sam well
Characters: 5 Stars
Plot: 5 Stars
Climax: 5 Stars
Ending: 5 Stars

I haven't given a book a whole round of 5 stars in what feels like forever. I'm super excited to be starting out my DAC list with such a bang!!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

IMM #20 / STS #15

IMM Info @ The Story Siren
STS Info @ Tynga's Reviews 

 Okay - I'm officially obsessed with this cover model - he's so freaking hott! LoL He's also on the cover of Easy by Tammara Webber - LOVE him but no one can figure out who he is!
Devoured for $2.99
Lie to Me for $.99
Grabbed this to start off my DAC 2013 Goals
(yea, I'm running a tad late considering today is the 26th LOL)
Altered for  $8.89

Received for Review Directly From the Author or Publisher:


Received for Review Via Net Galley:
 Literally In My Mailbox!
*Happy Dance*
Thank you Alex!!!!!!

These beauties are for my Birthday Giveaway starting in Feb!! ^_^
I <3 Tammara Webber!




Monday, January 21, 2013

Sharing My Love of Books with H :)

I'm starting him off early!
I hope he grows up to enjoy reading as much as I do :)
He received this set of little cardboard books as a "just because" gift from my Niece.
He Loves Them! Honestly, reading with H has to be one of my all-time favorite things to do. To see him become excited about some brightly colored character, or make a sad face when he sees the characters are sad is priceless. I think that our world would be so much better off if parents read to their children more. Books open up a world of knowledge and creativity. Children deserve to be able to escape to a fun, new world just like we adults do. So, if you have kids, go pick up a few kids books today and share with them. :) H doesn't have the attention span to read more than one at a time with me but that's a start. I'm hoping, before long, that we'll have his own little library in his room. Hehe.
hehe - My 2 favorite cartoon movies of all time!!
Alice in Wonderland & 101 Dalmatians!
If you have kiddos, I definitely suggest grabbing a set of these :)
They have them in all different types of sets! Check them out!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

IMM #19 / STS #14

Ebook Won Via Blog Contests:
For Review Via NetGalley:
In My Mailbox:
*Happy Dance*
Eeeeek!!! Thank you Debbie!!!! <3
Guys & Gals - If you haven't read this book, You MUST get it!
One of my faves of 2012 by far!!
Check out my Beloveds Tab for the Amazon Link
Won via blog contest @ The Book Sniffers!
Thanks Karen for sending me a copy of Edgewood!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Series Spotlight, Message from & Interview with the Author : The Premonition Series by Amy Bartol

Series Spotlight, Message from Amy & Author Interview
The Premonition Series
By Amy Bartol
YA Paranormal Romance
First off guys & gals, I'm super stoked to be posting this information for you. Amy Bartol is one of my fave finds of 2012 for sure! I LOVE the Premonition Series!! So today, I'm going to share a little bit about the series & how you can grab your copy to start reading them TODAY!
Plussssss I have a message from Amy & she answered a few questions for me! Eeek!! Happy Happy!

This post is REALLY long BUT I want you to read every single part of it - K? ^_^

Here we go! First off, Let's look at the entire series thus far!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
"My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me--my freshman year of college. I had been hoping that once I had arrived on Crestwood's campus, the nightmare that I've been having would go away. It hasn't. I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I'm grounded...sane. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he is near, I feel an attraction to him--a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you're thinking...that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would--if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I'm the worst thing that's ever happened to Crestwood...or him. But, get this, for some reason every time I turn around he's there, barging into my life. What is the secret he is keeping from me? I'm hoping that it is anything but what I expect: that he is not exactly normal...and neither am I. So maybe Crestwood won't be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I have been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is...inescapable."
Synopsis from Goodreads:
"I don’t open my eyes so I can’t see him, but I can smell him. He thickens the air I breathe, choking me with his scent…his aroma. I shiver. I have to resist. If I’m not strong, then I will be relegated to the same fate as this predator whose sickness infects me even now. But now, I crave him and he knows that; he has been counting on my need to end the gnawing pain. How he would savor my surrender. I’m alive, but how much longer will it take until I beg him not to be?"

Synopsis from Goodreads:
"I hang my head in sorrow for just a moment when I know I am truly alone. I feel like I’m going to my execution, just as he had said. Then I move forward again. I hop a fence of fieldstone and cross a field dotted with Queen Anne’s lace. Goose bumps rise on my arms as I pass the cluster of windmills that I have seen in a dream. The scent is sweet in the field though, not the scent of heat, like it had been when it was forced upon me in visions. I gaze down the hill, beyond the small, whitewashed house that I knew would be there. The church looms dark and grim with its rough-hewn, timber façade, capped by tall, oblong spires reaching to the sky. Black, ominous clouds have collected above the roofline, as if Heaven is showing me the way."

Synopsis from Goodreads:

'Cold, fine drops of rain fall softly on my cheeks as I emerge from the darkness of the ship's interior to the gray, overcast sky of the main deck. Pulling my dark pea coat tighter to my body, the wind lifts red tendrils of my hair. I walk slowly to the railing overlooking the water.

I catch my first sight of the Irish coastline; its craggy landscape makes me shiver in dread. I find it difficult to imagine now how the Gancanagh had made this their home for so long without anyone realizing it. The cold, moss-covered edifices practically scream their presence. As I study the shadows between the falling-down stone, I imagine creeping shapes of undead Faeries grasping the rock, waiting for our ship to draw nearer to their position.

Tipping my face up, I let the rain wash over me. It bathes away the frigid sweat of fear that has broken on my brow. "You don't know how fiercely beautiful you are, do you?" A quiet voice behind me asks, causing me to stiffen and fix my eyes on the rocks along the shoreline.

Next Up:
The Premonition Series #5
A cover hasn't been released just yet but I can't wait!!!

Want to get a copy of one or all of these?? Go Here:

*note - not all of them are available on B&N but you can buy them on Smashwords & download the epub version for your Nook*

Now that you know alittle about each book based on the synopsis, let's learn about the author of this AMAZING series!

Who Is Amy Bartol according to, well, Amy Bartol:
I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed. 
Want to connect with her? Find here in all of these places:
A Message From Amy 

I’m an indie author, but I started my career by querying agents. There’s a very good reason why I self-publish my manuscript. It has to do with a dog.

When I first wrote Inescapable, I had a different working title for it: The Evolution of Evie. Evie was 170,000 words, more or less, and for about the first three or four months I sent out query letters to literary agents touting this. (A query letter is like a résumé for a manuscript.) Needless to say, I rarely got a response and when I did, it was a form rejection letter.

Then one day, an agent sent me a rejection letter stating that my manuscript was “way too long.” I did some research and discovered that, unless you are a previously published author, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting your book published with that word count. (Naïve thy name is Amy.)

By this time, I was almost finished with my second book that was longer than the first. (Lucky me.) Anyway, I did a few rewrites and got my manuscript down to around 135,000 words, but I still wasn’t getting any interest. Finally, I pared my book down to 105,000 words. I sent out about 20 queries and I had an almost immediate response. One of the agencies asked for a query, twenty-five pages of the manuscript, and a brief synopsis. I sent it. A week later, this agency requested the entire manuscript. So, I’m totally geeked, right! You bet your ass right! Someone was finally reading my novel!

Furiously, I researched this agency that was considering representing me and found that one of my most favorite authors (I mean, he is a book-writing machine) is a client of this agency. You notice that I haven’t named this author or the agency; this is because I respect the author and his work and do not wish to taint it. I also do not bear the agency any ill will, so they will remain anonymous, too. Anyway, it’s really not about this amazing author, it’s about his dog. You see, this author has a dog; I think it’s either a yellow lab or a golden retriever (sorry, I don’t have a fact checker) and this author’s dog is also a client of this agency. A client…as in: the dog is an author. (I am so not making this up, if I was, I would have to make it more believable, but because it is nonfiction, it doesn’t have to make sense.)

Apparently, this talented canine has penned a manuscript that reveals the “true spirit of Christmas.” Good for her! At this point, I’m super psyched, right, because these people are giving book deals to dogs! (I can’t lose!) They have to give one to me, too! (Naïve, thy name is Amy.)

About a month later, I received my rejection letter stating that I was not a “good fit for the agency at this time,” which left me to think: I must be the worst writer in the world if a dog can get a book deal and I can’t. That was my first thought. My next thought was: maybe I’ve been too harsh with my criticism. Maybe this dog is really talented and mystical and has discovered some insight on a holiday that most of my relatives manage to screw up annually and with aplomb. (Ha, ha.)

Mystical dogs aside, it was for me the deciding factor in my decision to self-publish. I could have sent out more queries, but I didn’t like my book at 105,000 words and I was trying to please people I don’t understand. At the end of the day, I want to like what I write and it took a dog to teach me that. So, maybe it is a mystical dog after all.

I never thought that I would get this far in my writing career. I have only one explanation for my success and that is that it comes at the hands of my readers. You have been so generous to me. Since I’m an independent author, I have no publicity machine driving my work. That has been you. You tell your friends, your sisters, your mothers, and your grandmothers to read my stories. I’m so grateful for your support. Never in my wildest dreams could I have conceived of you when I was sitting alone in my room with my computer, dreaming dreams of other worlds. So thank you for being incredibly generous with your time, with your praise, and with your enthusiasm. I am humbled by it and by you.

A Few Questions for Amy
I'm so excited that I had the opportunity to ask Amy a handful of questions! I enjoy getting to know authors & I LOVE having the opportunity to "interview" them. It really makes blogging even more fun!

Who would you consider to be your role models when it comes to writing? Have you had the pleasure of meeting them in person?

Amy: I can name so many authors whom I admire, but the three core writers that I consider my role models are: Markus Zusak, Ray Bradbury, and Diana Gabaldon.

I Am The Messenger, by Markus Zusak, is a story told from the point of view of the main character, Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who has a coffee-drinking dog named The Doorman and a secret crush on his best friend Audrey. Written in the present tense, it’s funny and heart pounding and sad and euphoric. It reads like you can step into Ed’s shoes, breathe his air, see what he’s seeing. I admire that so much. I want to write characters that, when you read them, make you feel as if you’ve stepped into the pages, assumed their life, and are now breathing their wild air. Zusak is a master at the first person present tense.

If Markus Zusak is a master, then Ray Bradbury is a writing demigod. Something Wicked This Way Comes is pure genius. Ray Bradbury not only allows you to live in his world, he paints it with wisdom of experience so that you feel as if you’ve learned something about life and human nature when you’ve finished one of his stories.

As far as romance goes, I bow down to Diana Gabaldon. She created Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp in the Outlander series. Outlander is my favorite book. I’ve had to buy several copies of it over the years because they’ve all fallen apart; I’ve re-read them too many times. No one conveys raw emotion like Diana Gabaldon. No one.

I have never had the pleasure of meeting any of these authors, but that’s okay because I think I would have a fangirl heart attack and drop dead on the spot if I did.

Me: Okay, I feel totally crazy saying this but I haven't heard of any of them so thank you for introducing me to them! I'll have to go pick up the Outlander Series! Ha - I'm in a constant state of fan girl craziness these days because I get to interact with fabulous authors like you! *Happy Dance*

What would you say was the most difficult part to writing The Premonition Series? Easiest?

Amy: There have been a couple of hard scenes for me to write. I think the hardest, so far, has been the second half of “Copper Mining,” which is chapter eleven in Intuition; it’s the part where Brennus locks Evie in a cell in the caves of Houghton. I had to live down there with Evie in that cell for a few days as I wrote it and she went slightly mad. It was difficult for me because I sometimes feel like I’m in the room with my characters. When I have to leave them, and subsequently leave their world to go back to my own, I still feel like I can’t transition back to my life fully. I still linger there with them until the bad part is over. So it leaves me straddling two worlds, not fully in either one of them.

The other hard scene to write was chapter ten of Indebted; it’s called “Survival.” I had to torture Russell and Brownie. I hated that. It was tantamount to the same thing; I get stuck there with them until the scene is written.

The easiest scenes to write are the ones I don’t write; they’re the ones I let my characters write. Chapters written in Russell’s point of view and scenes with Brennus in them practically write themselves.

Me: I definitely understand how those scenes would be difficult to write. I know, as a reader, we're right there with them and it's awful. I always end up feeling like I've been put through the ringer myself whenever I read through rough scenes. I see where it would be ten times more emotional actually writing and working through those scenes as the author. >_<

I love knowing that characters evolve all on their own. Ha - I can see Russell especially having a mind of his own. I'm sure he had something to say about everything ;)

What made you decide to write Urban Fantasy / Romantic Suspense? If you had to choose another genre to jump into, which one would it be?

Amy: I've been a really avid reader of the paranormal fantasy genre for a while now. I was obsessed with Odd Thomas, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter to name a few, so I knew I wanted to write a story that took place in the “real world,” but which also had supernatural elements to it.

If I had to choose another genre, I’d have to say dystopian because I’ve recently written an unpublished novel in that vein.

Kricket is a working title for a manuscript I wrote in 2010. I wrote it in tandem with Incendiary. I’d write a couple of chapters of Incendiary, and then toggle over to Kricket and write a few chapters of it. I did that because I was afraid that after writing three Premonition Series books the storyline would get stale if I didn’t mix it up. I had also been interested at the time in trying to find an agent to represent my work, so I wrote it with word count in mind. It’s only 90K, which is 50K less than Inescapable. Essentially, Kricket is a dystopian novel with sci-fi and supernatural elements intended for the young adult market.

Seventeen-year-old Kricket Hollowell’s only wish is to find a home where she belongs. An expert at dodging the Chicago Department of Social Services caseworkers who want to force her back into foster care, Kricket is unprepared to avoid Trey and Kyon, soldiers from opposing factions sent from another world to remand her back to their own. Desperate to avoid capture and remain in the city, Kricket trades one cultural prison for another when Trey takes her beyond this reality to an entirely new one. With her uncanny ability to discern truth from lies, Kricket will need every instinct, all her street sense, and the gifts that she has inherited from her priestess mother in order to avoid being controlled and sold to the highest bidder. And...she’ll need Trey.

The thing I really love about this character, Kricket, is that she’s not like Evie. She’s completely ready to smack the taste out of your mouth if you back her into a corner, so she’s fun to write. I have written one book in this series and I plan to make this a trilogy.

Me: Ooh I love Kricket's character already. Based on the synopsis, it sounds like a great story! I hope it hits the shelves soon ;)

Since your trials of obtaining an agent and subsequently deciding to self-publish, what words of advice or encouragement would you give to others who are going through this exact same process right now?

Amy: Never give up. If your dream is to be a writer, find a way because there is truth, there are several, but you only need one. Oh, and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it or that you shouldn’t do it. Live it, be it—pretend until you can make it real.

Me: Definitely words of wisdom! "Pretend until you can make it real." Love that!

I love how Brownie & Buns were based off of real friends of yours from college. Is there a crazy story that you can share with readers that really happened during your adventures in the Golden Goose?

Amy: The Golden Goose was in far too many misadventures to name. It was in the “Ketchup And Syrup War”(and, yes, it was a war with the Delts wherein the weapons were ketchup and syrup.) It was our tank. After the war, the smell in the Goose was ungodly after it had baked in the sun for a few days. We tried to clean it, but in the end I think the Goose had to be professionally cleaned. Poor Mr. Longbons (Buns’ dad). He was sort of our financer of fun.

Me: Hahahaha eweee.... >_<

Do you have a funny quirk that readers don't know about you? A certain chair you have to sit in to write, a certain shirt you have to wear, etc.

Amy: I like to wear yoga pants when I write, not because I might do yoga at any point, but because they’re damn comfortable.

Me: Ha. I'm jealous! I wish I could wear comfy clothes to work!

Was there a character in The Premonition Series that you connected with the most out of everyone? Someone whose Point of View flowed effortlessly while you were writing?

Amy: Writing from Russell’s POV (point of view) is by far the easiest. Okay, this is going to sound strange. I just want to say upfront that I am completely sane and I do realize that my characters are imaginary. Russell and Evie are the easiest to write. Russell “talks” to me the most—he's chatty—he likes to tell me his story and he makes me laugh out loud sometimes with what he says. He’ll wake me up in the middle of the night talking about where the story should go next and I usually have to get up and write it down to shut him up.

Brennus is only second to Russell for “talking.” Brennus would completely take over if I let him write the story. I’ll probably have to write from his POV soon, but I’m afraid he’ll “kill all da aingeals” if I do. He’s sort of a tyrant.

I was afraid to write in Reed’s POV because I didn’t think that I could do him justice. I didn’t think that I could convey his intelligence. He “talks” to me the least. He is my most mysterious character, but when he does speak, I hang on his every word. Now that I have written from Reed’s POV, I’ll probably do it more often.

Me: Ole Russell - I can just imagine him chattin' it up. I'm sure he's probably woken up several times with ideas - probably several involving taking Reed out of the picture ;) I enjoy reading from all of their POV and I love that each character's distinct personality shines through. Ha - Brennus would probably wreak a world of havoc if you gave him the reins. There's no telling where the story would go but I'm pretty sure he would definitely have "his heart" back under his roof & bed.

Looking back, is there something that you wished you would've done differently during the series? Any outcome or event you'd like to change? Why & how would you have changed it? 
Amy: If I changed one thing, it would be to soften Russell’s accent so that it’s not so strong and prevalent in Inescapable and Intuition. I think that if I had put less stress on it, maybe readers would’ve found him more likable in the first two books. I began to soften Russell’s accent in Indebted and I really gave it a polish in Incendiary. Russell gets less criticism in the latter books than the former ones. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly because of the accent.

Me: Coming from Louisiana, I'm pretty used to the strong accent so I really didn't notice that his was really strong unless I compared him to everyone else. I had a few friends in mind when I would read Russell's dialog. LOL I can see where that would be something to soften though. I'm sure people who aren't used to that type of accent would say "whoah - wait, what did he say?" hahaha I can just imagine people trying to sound it out ;)

Amy: Thank you for this incredible opportunity to be on your amazing book blog, Kayla! I am truly grateful.

Me: Oh my gosh! Thank you! I'm so excited that you were able to take some time and chat. I'm honored to have your series spotlighted on my blog! I absolutely <3 the Premonition Series & can't wait to see what you come up with next!!!