Monday, June 30, 2014

Guest Post: Eleanor (The Unseen #1) by @JohnnyWorthen

The Unseen #1
by Johnny Worthen
Young Adult
Published July 1 by Jolly Fish Press

Synopsis via Goodreads:

It was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it. She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless. Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only friend she’d ever had, the only other person who knows her secret, is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless.

Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.

Grab Your Copy:

JOHNNY WORTHEN grew up in the high desert snows and warm summer winds of the Wasatch Mountains. He graduated with a B.A. in English, minor in Classics and a Master's in American Studies from the University of Utah. After a series of businesses and adventures, including years abroad and running his own bakery, Johnny found himself drawn to the only thing he ever wanted to do -- write. And write he does. Well versed in modern literary criticism and cultural studies, Johnny writes upmarket multi-genre fiction – thriller, horror, young adult, comedy and mystery so far. “I write what I like to read,” he says. “That guarantees me at least one fan and a hectic job for my publicist.”

When not pounding on his keyboard, attending conferences and conventions, Johnny Worthen can be found with his wife and two boys in Sandy, Utah.

Connect with Johnny:  Twitter    Website    Eleanor Website     Blog     Amazon    Goodreads

In praise of the Reader

Sometimes I think of myself as a candle-maker in the age of the LED. I am a writer. I am an author. I create books. Paper objects which share my thoughts in antiquated symbols thousands of years old. The product I make requires knowledge and education to access, it requires an active participation by the reader as the fuel for the machine is found in their imagination. I requires the reader’s time and indulgence. It is not instant gratification. In the age of TV and movies, video games and the internet, reading for pleasure is a rare activity. It is difficult to compete with the technological leaps entertainment has seen in the last half century, hypnotic lights and phrenetic cut scenes. It is difficult but not impossible.

Books offer several advantages over every other narrative art forms. Here are three that I like to remember

First, books are one heck of a great bargain. For the cost of a movie ticket you can get days of entertainment.

Second, books flow at a reader’s pace. They can read it all at once, speed-read style, get to the action, whoop-whoop the case is solved, or they can linger in the language, a warm bath of images and symbols to play with.

Third, the level of complexity offered in a book cannot be duplicated even by most skillful filmmaker. Films speak in images, plays in speech, but books speak in thoughts. Literature can reach deep into the reader like a subliminal lullaby, touching the rawest of emotions. Other narrative forms can do this too, but books, requiring the reader’s cooperation, I would argue, are the most powerful and effective at this. No monster ever shown on a screen is half as terrifying as the one an author induces you to imagine. No love was ever so pure as the one you the reader is lead to create.

Study after study, college after college and life after life all agree that people who read are more educated and worldly and interesting than people who don’t. I had a friend once tell me that the best experiences they’d ever had in their life never actually happened to them. That’s the power of books. That’s why it is so important to read and teach our children to read. 

I’m here to tell you about my new book, ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN, a young adult paranormal story about a girl living in a small Wyoming town. She is old and young, malleable but fixed. She is loved and alone. She is a liar and a thief and she is not what she appears to be.

The book’s getting great reviews and is a fantastic fable of growing up, the trials of the outsider and dealing with prejudice. It’s full of grand themes intimately argued, personal triumph and tragedy. You’d do me a favor if you were to look it up and let me know what you think of it, but if you don’t that’s okay too, as long as you, gentle reader, read something and encourage others to do the same.

I am a candlemaker but it is you, the readers, who keep the flame alight. It is that light that ignites our culture. The best movies are born of the best books. The stories drawn on paper sheets in ancient symbols that require an effort to understand. Books are the seeds of culture, the narratives of our society — extra lives waiting to be shared for the cost a cup of coffee.

If you’re here at Kayla’s Place, I know you’re a reader and I want to thank you. On behalf of authors everywhere, on behalf of our culture and society and species, I thank you! When we meet we’ll have much to discuss, depths of intrigue and twists of fate, experiences beyond ourselves but still our own, all this because we have read it in books.

Read and be well and look for ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN, wherever excellent books are sold.

Among other places, I can be reached at:
Website    Eleanor Website     Blog     Amazon     Goodreads

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cover Reveal & Excerpt: Undeniably Chosen (Significance Series) by Shelly Crane

Aahhh! I cannot wait for this one! <3 this series! It's been one of my absolutely faves since first picking up book 1! Without further ado, here's the cover for Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane! 


Ava has watched her parents, Caleb and Maggie, live the perfect fairy tale, the perfect love story, played out in front of her eyes her entire life. Her family is love, life, and happiness. The Jacobsons are everything a family should be and Ava is loved and well taken care of. But the one thing that’s missing from her life is the one thing she’s waited for every day, the one thing her kind knows will make them complete, the one thing they thought was gone and lost forever.

Her significant.

Seth has lived with the Watsons his entire life. They’re the only family he knows, but he knows that there are things they keep from him. He knows that they lie and they do unspeakable evil, things from when he was a child that he can barely remember that cling to the edges of his memory. He barely remembers his real mother and all he knows is what he’s told. He doesn’t know what to trust. He wants to believe that the Watsons love and care for him, have his best interest at heart, but isn’t so sure of that anymore when he finally—after a lifetime of waiting for her—meets his soulmate, and the Watson’s first act is to try to take her away from him.

The Virtuoso worlds collide, hearts are exposed, humans are endangered, and the lives of Seth and Ava are changed forever. They’ll have to love without judgment or reservation, they’ll have to be wise and accepting beyond their years, they’ll have to forgive for things before they’ve even happened, they’ll have to trust without seeing, have faith without knowing, and they’ll have to light their own way in the dark when everyone else is blind to show them the way. And more than anything else…

they’ll fight like hell to keep each other.

Shelly is a NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling YA author from a small town in Georgia and loves everything about the south. She is wife to a fantastical husband and stay at home mom to two boisterous and mischievous boys who keep her on her toes. She loves paperbacks, coffee, and candy corn, and to spend time with her family and friends, go out to eat at new restaurants and site see in the new areas they travel to, listen to music and also LOVES to read.

Her own books happen by accident and she revels in the writing and imagination process. She doesn't go anywhere without her notepad for fear of an idea creeping up and not being able to write it down immediately, even in the middle of the night, where her best ideas are born.

Connect with the Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Shelfari | Tumblr | Google+ | We Heart It | Spotify

“I don’t know if I can even sleep tonight,” I muttered and rubbed at my arms. They were restless. “I can already feel myself twitching.”
“Tomorrow…” Dad began, but stopped. He sighed forcefully and tightened his fists. “I’ll go find him and make him come here if he doesn’t come on his own.”
“Dad, you didn’t see him. He was…” I bit into my lip hard. Just talking about him was making me ache all over. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe.
I heard Mom say, “Baby, I think we need to stop talking about this. It’s just making things worse for her.”
“I know, but…maybe I should go over there. Maybe I should try to find him and—you know what? No.” I looked up to find him looking down at me. “I’m not going to do that. It has to be his choice until it’s not. I’ll give him until tomorrow to be the good guy. If he doesn’t, then I’ll go get him and make him. I can tell by looking at you that you want to have faith in him.”
“You didn’t see him, Dad,” I reiterated. “He wanted this. He was worried about me. He’ll come. He’ll find me.” I hoped. “If what you said is true, then he didn’t choose any of what happened. He’s not a Watson.”
“But he’s lived with them his whole life,” Mom reasoned. “We have no idea the things they’ve done to him, the things they’ve made him do. We have to be cautious. You have to cautious.” She went into the kitchen and I heard a pill bottle shake before she came back. “Here. Take these. They’ll help you sleep tonight. They were Grans,” she said softly.
I ached as the pills went down. I heard Rodney coming in the back door loudly. Dad went right to him and put his hand on his chest to stop him. They whispered back and forth and Rodney looked at me over Dad’s shoulder. Dad wasn’t going to be able to stop him. He didn’t know that, but I did.
“Come on, Dad,” Rodney said gruffly and looked at him right in his face. “Move.”
He pushed his Champion gently in the shoulder and I watched Dad’s stunned face as he watched Rodney come and sweep we up in his big brotherly arms on the couch. He said low in my ear, but I knew that they still could hear, “Tell me who I have to hurt. Who is this guy and why isn’t he here with you right now?”
I looked at Dad and he looked so amused and bemused all at once. He waved me on and leaned his hip against the counter, pulling Mom into the ‘v’ of his legs so he could wrap his arms around her from behind. I heard her so sigh loud and hated that I was causing them so much distress.
“Seth,” I explained. “Seth Watson,” I said with as much gumption as I could muster.
His eyes rounded. I told him everything and he tightened his arms on me as he listened.
“Okay,” he said and kicked his shoes off the end of the couch. Mom was two seconds from scolding him when he asked, “So where is he? He should be here.”
       Like fate usually worked, there was a knock on the front door. An insistent knock. Dad shot me a look before taking a loaded breath. I started to shake and stood from the couch quickly. It was him; I knew it like I knew my own name.
“Ava, wait,” he told me.
“You, sit,” he said in his Champion voice. “I’ll answer and let him in. What if the Watsons were planning something and knew you’d run to the door to answer it thinking it was him? We know nothing about him yet. Until we do, we go at this with caution.” I sighed. I hated that I had to look at my significant with anything but reverence, but Daddy was right. I mean, I was the one that had run right out of the coffee shop this afternoon. “I mean it, baby girl,” he said softly.
Rodney turned me to look at him and held my upper arms in his hands. “If he hurts you, I can’t be held account for what I do.”
“I love you, you know that?” I replied and kissed his cheek. I tried to smile, but think I failed epically when he put one arm around my shoulders and tugged me close, as if to shield me from whatever or whoever was coming.
Dad had to know I was anxious—he didn’t make me wait. He went to the door quickly. I could hear them in the other room with deep, urgent tones. My significant.
And then there he was.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Release Day! #Giveaway #Review How I Fall by Anne Eliot @YARomance

 *Throws confetti in the air! Cheers! Claps!*

So I haven't been around much on my blog lately. Life has been a bully these days and has taken up way too much of the time I'd rather spend on my blog & talking to all of my fabulous bookish friends (Like you! Yes, You! The one reading this right now!)

Although I haven't had much of a presence, I've still been actively reading & doing other fun bookish things! One of those things has been talking to this fabulous lady who's releasing this ah-mazing new novel!  Hopefully, work and dr visits will slow down so I can get back to blogging!

I really hope you pick up this novel. I highly recommend it! It's a sweet, first kiss, honest-to-the-love-of-all-things-adorable novel with so many emotional highs and lows that it leaves you wanting more! More! More! I can't wait for the next book to come out.

Now, before I start giving you all of the specs on the novel and the author, I want to make sure you read the backstory for this one. It's heart pinching and ohhhh so beautiful.You can read about this in the back of How You Fall & see another picture of this young lady who is an inspiration to so many! I did make sure Anne was okay with me sharing Allison's story below & she even sent me the photos to use. The more we can share the details of this wonderful program, the more lives might be impacted!

An adorable young lady by the name of Allison suffers from symptoms similar to those of Cerebral Palsy, hemiparesis/balance issues brought about after a childhood brain tumor was removed. The character Ellen is a fictional character, but her  hemiparesis/balance issues are loosely matched to Allison. This amazing young lady, with the help of family and the inspiration from her cute little rescued fluffball Coco, decided to begin baking dog biscuits and hand-selling them in the hopes that she could help other kids who were sick be able to afford full trained dogs from a very special program. When she was 9 (NINE!!) years old, her goal was to raise enough money so that one dog could join the family of a child with a life-threatening illness. She met that goal PLUS 9 more dogs! 10 in Total! What an Ah-Mazing inspiration Allison is! <3 It brings tears to my eyes to think about how she's played a role in helping so many families with sick boys and girls. I look at my little man (5 years old now) and it warms my heart to know that in a time of such heartbreaking sadness, there are individuals and programs like Allison's out there to help bring a little light and cheer to both the family's and the children's hearts.

Allison is now 14 years old and cancer free (Take that Cancer!) but she still continues to bake and sell dog biscuits for her now thriving community charity effort! Her program, called the Stink-Bug Project, is now linked with the Rocky Mountain Children's Health Foundation. They handle the adoptions & applications for the dogs. You really should go check out their site so you can read more about the project! I would love to hear that some of you read this and made a donation! Anne plans on making a donation every single year to this project and also take donations at book signings!

So if you see Anne, remember to help out the Stink-Bug Project! <3 
You'll be helping to change a child & family's life. <3 <3 <3

Click on the Stink Bug Logo above to hop over to the site so you can learn more about it! 

How I Fall
(Bk 1)
by Anne Eliot
YA Sweet Romance 
(first kisses, butterflies! <3)
Self-Published June 15, 2014

*ARC obtained in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis via Goodreads:

What if on one fall day, everything goes terribly wrong at school but somehow turns out right? Suddenly you're forced into friendship with your secret crush—thanks to a glitter crazed new-girl who turns your life upside down. Literally. But you know your crush needs to stay how it's always been—distant, impossible, in your head—because you have problems and hide things this crush would never understand.

But what if you all end up in the same group photography project? Suddenly talking and making friends is easy, more than easy. It's almost perfect. What if high school felt normal for once, and what if your crush wasn't who you thought they were at all, and what if they liked you as much as you like them?

And what if when you kiss…it’s so amazing. You tell each other secrets and you make the kind of promises that are impossible to keep when you’re only sixteen and have no control over your own life. Which is why, long before things fall apart you kind of already knew nothing this beautiful could have really been yours for long…

Grab Your Copy:

Anne Eliot writes sweet, first-love stories. She was raised in the mountains of Colorado, but says she really learned about life, love and friendships from summers spent with her large, Italian immigrant family in Ontario, Canada.

Anne is grateful to have had schools with inspiring teachers and librarians who directed her to worlds she would not have found on her own. To this day, she adores school visits, teaching writing to teens, and is dedicated to making sure kids in need have access to books that will fuel their hopes and dreams.

While growing up, Anne hid her own anxieties by hiding and reading book after book. She developed an addiction to first love, first kisses and her favorite: the happy-ever-after story. This is what she writes today. Now she's a mom of two and happily married to her own first love. Anne works hard to juggle being a wife and parent while writing, but fails at cooking because she is still trying to read book, after book of love stories on the side.

Anne Eliot’s first book, Almost, became a top 100 best selling Kindle book, and was a Readers Choice, Top 12 of 2012 book for at #11, and will be translated and released in Germany and Turkey fall 2013. Her second book, Unmaking Hunter Kennedy, is a also a Kindle, top 100 best selling book in Teen Romance for 2013. She's hard at work on her third novel, another sweet teen romance releasing fall/winter, 2013. She loves to hear from readers. Please look for her on Facebook or tweet her @yaromance.

Representation: Anne Eliot’s foreign translations, audio and film rights are represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary management.

Connect with Anne:  

How I Fall is a beautiful tale of the heart-fluttering first kisses of a boy who thought he wasn’t good enough for her and a girl who thought she wasn’t good enough for him. Yay for group school projects bringing people together!

The story truly melted my heart! Ellen & Cam will stick with you long after you’ve finished the last page because they’re both beautiful individuals despite the struggles they deal with every day. It’s so easy to love their characters. And I loved Ellen's internal monologue! I can't forget the fabulous Irish gal & Patrick! They're both the best supporting characters! Oh my gosh! Loved them both! They cracked me up!

It’s a griping tale that pulls at every one of your emotions: Love, humor, excitement, anger, sadness, betrayal… Cam loves Ellen. Ellen loves Cam. But is that enough? She has her mountains, he has his own. They’re pretty big mountains… Ellen has CP but it's not the main focal point in the novel. You go through her struggle of not falling, keeping her balance, and trying to be the person who just blends into the background so no one notices her grabbing the wall/car/etc. so she doesn't fall. But she's so strong! Gosh! I just loved her character! I'm not an expert on CP by any means, but I feel like I understand how someone with similar symptoms to Ellen's would feel. How they struggle. How she has to work double/triple to just do things that I take for granted. Then you have Cam.. Poor Cam has an overbearing jerk for a dad who is determined to ensure Cam's future is football. Not to mention his mom who just stands back with her nose up in the air. Grrrrrr.... But Cam, gosh. Even living in a house like his, he's a gem. He has his own goals and dreams. But is he strong enough to stand up for what he wants & make them come true? 

As the reader, you stand in Cam & Ellen's corner and cheer them on through it all. I wanted to jump through the novel quite a few times when it came to Cam's parents! Grrr!

The plot, for me, flowed effortlessly. It was like I was a fly on the wall, or on Ellen & Cam's shoulders, Ha. Just when you think things are going to be perfect, something happens or someone makes a comment that knocks you back to growling at the rest of the world for not letting them be THEM! 

The photography project was absolutely brilliant. That little piece of the story was perfect! Loved, loved, loved it! 

And Ahhh! The ending! I cannot wait for book 2 because I seriously am having heart palpitations over here because of the ending! Must.Know.What.Happens!

Overall, I loved every emotional second of this novel. I highly recommend it to those of us who love a sweet, emotional novel with butterflies & first kisses. <3

Overall Rating: 5 Huge Stars 
Cover Rating: 5 Stars <- I love this! I love the significance of the leaves and how they're woven throughout the pages! 
Characters: 5 Stars!
Plot: 5 Stars
Climax: 5 Huge Stars! Ack! Omg! 
And then you have the ending: 5 Stars of course but totally torture! 

I can't wait to see how their journey continues! 

I truly hope you love them as much as I did! 

Use the first Rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win 1 of 2 Kindle copies of How I Fall! Use the second Rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win a $10.00 Amazon Giftcard! Both of these are international giveaways, void where prohibited!

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