Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cover Reveal and Blog Tour Sign Ups

So this is the cover for my new YA Contemporary Romance Falling In Between. Just what I wanted - dreamy and romantic!

Finally! A private conversation.
And all I had to do was throw myself off a cliff, drown in a pond in my undies and let him put his hands on my breasts to bring me back to life.
Yay me…(yeah, that’s sarcasm)

Yep, that pretty much sums up the most craptastic night of Jenna Baker’s life. She drowns after jumping off a cliff, meets a hotty named Chance in the pearlescent in-between and is brought back to life by her soon-to-be boyfriend Robert.

Just when things start to move forward with Robert, the guy she'd been crushing on for a year now, in walks the man of her dreams – literally. Chance suddenly appears in her dream every time she closes her eyes. So it's Robert by day and Chance by night. One in the real world and one in the dream world. What could possibly go wrong?
Absolutely nothing – until she comes face to face with the guy she met in the in-between, and realizes her romantic rendezvous with Chance may be more than just her imagination.

Falling In Between by Devon Ashley
Exp. Publication: Valentine's Day 2012
Blog Tour Sign Ups HERE
Click on Add To GoodReads and enter to win a copy starting October 1st!
Wanna read a snippet?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wanna win a signed copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick?

Just head over to A Book Lover's Review to enter.
Ends October 4th!

and just for fun...

I want this freakin' book already!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Poisoned House by Michael Ford (ARC)

The Poisoned House
Michael Ford
Publication: September 1, 2011

Synopsis: Life can be cruel for a servant girl in 1850s London. Fifteen-year-old Abi is a scullery maid in Greave Hall, an elegant but troubled household. The widowed master of the house is slowly slipping into madness, and the tyrannical housekeeper, Mrs.Cotton, punishes Abi without mercy. But there's something else going on in Greave Hall, too. An otherworldly presence is making itself known, and a deadly secret will reveal itself—-a secret that will shatter everything Abi knows.

The Poisoned House turned out to be a more enjoyable read than I originally expected it to be. I began this book while in the middle of a reading slump, not expecting to get more than a few pages in that first night. Lo and behold, I read large chunks at a time and finished it in just a few days. The writing style made it really easy to read: it was clear, clean and to the point.

As for the story, anyone that can do math in their head and has a lick of sense will figure out the answer to the mystery pretty early on in the story. As soon as Abi believed her mother had no longer died of Cholera, but was poisoned, it was completely obvious to me who did it. However, I still really enjoyed experiencing Abi's servant world in Victorian London so I didn't mind waiting for Abi to catch up and figure it out for herself.

The Poisoned House is definitely more suited for mature readers, as today's YA crowd typically likes romantic interludes and more action-driven plots, which this novel lacks. But don't let that steer you away from picking this up. You'll be surprised at how enjoyable it is to read about this servant Victorian world in 1800's London.  

ARC provided by Albert Whitman & Company via NetGalley

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Calling by Alison Bruce (ARC)

The Calling
Alison Bruce
Publication: August 16, 2011

Synopsis: Kaye Whiting went to buy a birthday present and didn't come back. When DC Goodhew hears the recording of the mysterious call made to the station, informing them that Kaye is still alive and that a man named Peter Walsh is responsbile, he knows it's more than a prank call. Why does Mr. Walsh not seem surprised to see Goodhew at his doorstep, and who is the woman who goes to the same diner every day, just so she can watch Mr. Walsh walk out of his building with his new lover?

So this won't be my typical review, as it took me more than four months to actually finish this novel. It's not that The Calling wasn't a good story, it just didn't draw me in as much as I would've liked. I had no problem putting it aside to read about ten other books that did seem to draw me in more.  There were a ton of characters in this novel, all of which had their own point of views (POVs). Normally, I don't mind numerous POVs, but there really wasn't any segregation to tell you it had changed. You would read twenty paragraphs for one person, then suddenly two paragraphs would go to another and then it would revert back to the original character. There were times I had to go back and reread because I didn't quite realize it had switched and I was left wondering, "Wait. How'd he know that?"

As for the story, the plot was interesting enough but I trully never felt connected to any of the characters, and I really didn't care about what happened to them whether they were murdered, trying to commit suicide, a detective investigating the situation, or some other randomly chosen character. Maybe this was because there were so many, but I didn't seem too interested in the character that got the most face time either. But The Calling was by no means a bad novel. The writing style was clean and the mystery about the serial killer was well thought out. Ms. Bruce is a likeable author and I may try my hand at another one of her novels in the future.
ARC won on GoodReads First Read Program.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Sneak Peek at FALLING IN BETWEEN - YA Romance

I'm so excited right now. My edgy YA Romance Falling In Between (aka. Jumpin' Jenna) is complete. 

Finally! A private conversation. And all I had to do was throw myself off a cliff, drown in a lagoon in my undies, and let him put his hands on my breasts to bring me back to life.

Yay me… (yeah – that’s sarcasm)

Yep, that pretty much summed up the most craptastic night of Jenna Baker’s life. She jumped off a cliff, drowned, met a hotty named Chance in the pearlescent in-between, and was brought back to life by her soon-to-be boyfriend Robert. Admit it, you’re jealous right now.

Just when things start to move forward with Robert, the guy she’d been crushing on for a year now, in walks the man of her dreams – literally. Chance suddenly squeezes his way into her dreams every time she shuts her eyes. So it’s Robert by day and Chance by night. One in the real world and one in the dream world. What could possibly go wrong? Okay, now you’re just being mean...

Yeah...there's more to the description! But that's all you're getting right now!!! But, just this once, I'll give you a tiny snippet from the novel. Sorry, but it's all I'm willing to release. Hope you like it!


 I awoke to rhythmic beeping.   
     Something burned when I twitched my nose, and it wasn’t the strong stench of disinfectants that I was breathing in. I slowly reached up to learn what it was, but my hand was grasped before it got there.
     “Jenna?” Sophie. I could sense relief in her voice and wondered how much time had passed since I hit my head.   
     My head! It didn’t hurt anymore. And my back and palms weren’t burning. Though something was snagging the hairs on the skin of my back. Tape, maybe, if they used it to secure the padding on my back. I could tell my scuffed up palms were wrapped with something too.
      My head was still a little groggy though. I opened my eyes and saw her sitting beside me, her face just inches from mine. She crossed her eyes and stuck her tongue out at me. I smiled and tried to push her away with the hand she had a death grip on.
      “Don’t,” I said. “Don’t make me laugh. I think it’ll hurt.”
      Her eyes uncrossed and her tongue retreated, and I was left with a saddened face that was even worse.
      “I’m sorry,” Sophie whispered. “I never should’ve bullied you into doing that.”
      “You didn’t push me, Soph. I did the jumping.”
      “Yeah,” she murmured, but I knew she didn’t believe it, or forgave herself. I think she just didn’t want me to argue with her about it right now.
      After a moment of silence, she added, “Robert’s been here to see you. Hell, he’s practically lived here. Seriously, I had to pull the best friend card to get him out.”
      Maybe it was the fog that clouded my brain at the moment, but I just didn’t get it.
      “You’re in the ICU. They only allow one of us in here at a time.”
      “Oh.” Robert had been to see me? And stayed? It was a little weird. I had liked him for awhile, but I honestly wasn’t sure if he felt anything in return. I got the occasional smile and we both caught the other looking every so often. But he’s never even tried to talk to me on my own. There were always other people around in a group conversation.
      I remembered I was gonna be brave that night. We were gonna go find Robert and Jhett after our dip in the lagoon. Sophie said the jump would be a good practice run. If I could find the courage to finally jump from the cliff, then finding the courage to talk to Robert would be a breeze. Stupid, I know. But it was allowing me to delay our plan and work up some more courage. We knew they were down by the river, like they were most school nights. And Sophie was gonna lure Jhett away for me.
      “I know you’ve got the hots for the guy, but seriously, you went a little overboard trying to get his attention.”
      “Ha ha.” I sighed deeply. “Great. I finally get to be alone with the guy and I was unconscious for all of it.”
      Sophie pressed her lips into a straight line, like she always did when she knew something I didn’t. Worst poker face ever.
      “Well,” she answered, hesitating, “Robert was the one that gave you mouth-to-mouth, so technically, you guys had your first kiss and you weren’t even alive for it.”
      I chuckled weakly and asked, “Was it at least good?”
      “I believe he slipped you the tongue.” Sophie winked her left eye.
      “Lovely.” I tried to rub the grogginess from my eyes. “So long as my virginity is still intact.”
      “Iron-clad. Sauron and his army of Orcs couldn’t break through your defenses.”
      I rolled my eyes and allowed my hand to fall, snagging some type of plastic wire that was the cause of my nose burn. I pulled gently on it and it unplugged from my nose.
      “Aw, man! Robert saw me in this?”
      “He saw a lot more than that. You were in your undies when you performed the Jump of Doom. Remember?”
      A wave of embarrassment rushed through me and I was sure more than my face flushed. Could this get any worse?
      “Is there anything else you haven’t told me yet?”
     Sophie’s lips pursed again.
      I glared at her. “Soph?”
      Her eyes watched the ceiling intently while she confessed. “Well, Robert was the only one that knew the whole CPR thing, so he was the one that…” Sophie placed one hand on top of the other, laced her fingers together and moved her arms in a thrusting motion.
      Robert was the one that did the compressions to my chest. Great.
      “So, technically…” Sophie continued, “your little jump got your relationship with Robert to go from non-existent to rounding first base in seven seconds flat.”
      I couldn’t stop shaking my head. And now both hands were trying desperately to bury my face.
      “Good thing you wore the lace, huh?”
      I groaned, moaned and cried all within five seconds. “I did die. I’ve died and gone to my version of hell. An eternity of sexual humiliation.”
      “Oh, come on. It’s not that bad. Jhett and I were there. It’s not like the guy tried to fondle you or anything. But he has been rather attentive now that he’s seen the goods up close and personal.”
      A nurse came in and saved me from having to continue that humiliating conversation. She was pretty, even with her chestnut colored hair loosely thrown into some updo in the back of her head. The tag pinned to her navy blue scrubs said Michelle.
      She smiled as she said, “I see you’re finally awake. How do you feel?”
      “A little groggy, but no pain.”
      “That’s the morphine. Enjoy it while you can because when you get out of here, those gashes up your back are going to itch and ache for a week or so until they really begin to heal.”
      “And my head?” I couldn’t feel anything, but I remembered the pain when it slammed against the boulder and again when Robert revived me.
      “Concussion, but the doctor ran some scans and everything looks okay. Just a nasty bump. And now that you’re awake, you’ll be moved out of ICU. But you’ll still have to spend a few days in a normal ward, just to make sure there aren’t any complications.”
      “Is that it? Nothing else?”
      “Well,” she said, eyeballing me while fidgeting with my saline pouch, “from what I got meeting that Headmistress of yours, she’ll probably give you the longest lecture of your life about teenage stupidity, so you might want to prepare yourself for something in that aspect.”
      Another groan escaped my throat. Sophie better be forced to attend that lecture as well.   
Sophie stayed with me until they moved me out of ICU, but when I woke up after my nap, it was Robert that was kicked back in the chair, completely zombie-fied as he stared at the television. His dark brown waves were tousled and there were bags under his chocolate eyes, and his hand lay gently on top of mine. He looked like he dragged himself out of bed without bothering to check the mirror on his way here. I suddenly felt grateful and less self-conscience about my own droopy appearance.
     “So I hear I have you to thank for the pain in my chest.”
     It took him a second to realize that the comment came from me and not the television. He dropped his legs from my bed railing and twisted the rolling chair towards me, refusing to release my hand in the process.
     “Hi,” he said, the ends of his lips slowly curling.
     Finally. A private conversation. And all I had to do was throw myself off a cliff, drown in a lagoon in my undies, and let him put his hands on my breasts to bring me back to life.
     Yay me…
     “So did I really hurt you? Because I’ve never done that to a real person before. I wasn’t sure how much pressure to apply to get to your heart going again.”
     “It’s okay. I’ll take a sore chest over death any day.”
     “Good. Because I would’ve broken every rib in your chest if that’s what it took to bring you back.”
     Aww…I didn’t know what to say to that. Did he really like me then?
     “Look, we’ve only got a few minutes before Sophie comes back from lunch. When you get back to the dorms and start feeling better, you want to catch a movie with me or something?”
     Uh, hell yeah! “Yeah, sure.”
     A soft smile grew on his face and he tightened his grip on my hand. “So what would you want to see? That new Meg Ryan movie?”
     “She doesn’t want to see that lovey-dovey crap. What she really wants to see is that new zombie movie, though she’ll never admit it.”
     Robert and I hadn’t bothered to break our eye contact when Sophie interrupted, but now that she had neared my bed, I could sense something strange about her in the corner of my eye. I shifted my eyes to her and my jaw immediately dropped. Embarrassed, my wide eyes darted back to Robert. His eyes narrowed and turned to see the source of my panic.
     Sophie stood there all perky with her hands on her hips in a model-like stance, and a smile that showed way too many pearly whites…and a helium balloon that shouted It’s A Boy!!!
     “Nice balloon, Sophie,” he said, slightly amused.
     “What?” she asked, all innocently. “They were out of Get Well.”
     The hell they were. This little stunt was Sophie-esque. I knew exactly what that balloon meant – that I came into this hospital alone but I was gonna leave it with a boy wrapped in my arms. Sophie probably thinks he’s ready to suckle my breasts too.
     Luckily, Robert had no clue to the workings of our inner monologues. I threw her a contemptuous glare before his head returned my way, but he caught part of it anyway. He quickly returned to Sophie and caught her sticking her tongue out at me.
     “Yeah, I’m going to go now.” He squeezed my hand tightly before standing up. “Let me know when you’re feeling better and ready for company, okay?”
     “You don’t have to go.” God that sounded kind of pathetic, and a little whiney.
     “It’s alright. I’ve got a swim practice to make up and Sophie,” he glanced her way – she stood all innocent-like, “can clearly keep you entertained. I’ll see you later.”
     “Thanks for coming.”
     He lifted his hand in a ‘good-bye’ motion before he walked out the door.
     Once gone, I threw Sophie another disapproving glare. “I hate zombie movies. They creep me out.”
      “Which means you’ll spend the entire movie burying your head into his neck and his arm wrapped around you. Win-win.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Out in Blue by Sarah Gilman (ARC)

Out in Blue (Return to Sanctuary #1)
Sarah Gilman
Expected Publication: September 5, 2011

Synopsis: In a violent world where fallen archangels are hunted for their valuable plumage, Wren knows one thing for certain: the human woman who saved him from a poacher attack will die if she stays with him. The demon responsible for his parents’ gruesome deaths two decades ago pines for the chance to rip apart any woman who stands under Wren’s wing.

Wren doesn’t expect Ginger to stay by his side once she discovers his ability to drain life with a mere touch, yet she lingers. When an unusual talent of her own reveals the location of Wren’s father, Wren’s isolated world implodes. With the help of the demon protectors he’s sworn never to trust again, Wren risks everything to rescue his father, confront the demon who stalks his and Ginger’s every step, and claim his eternity with the most courageous woman he’s ever known.

When archangel Wren is warned and saved by Ginger from poachers, he finds himself torn between the Sanctuary world he was once a part of and the isolated world he's created for himself. He seeks solitude, forever outrunning the demon, Lark, that killed his parents and who still searches to kill Wren, and anyone Wren comes to care about. Lark was once the protector of Wren's family in Sanctuary, the one place the archangels thought they were safe, where demons give their lives to protect them. So when Ginger becomes a target for saving Wren, he's forced to return to Sanctuary to make sure Ginger receives the necessary protection.

As he does, Wren is taunted by Lark and told that his father was never killed, but imprisoned for the past eighteen years. In order to free his father, Wren must once again trust the demons in Sanctuary with his and his father’s life – and continue to trust Ginger, who holds the key to their success.

I genuinely enjoyed Out in Blue, but I do have two criticisms. First off, I love that Wren and Ginger develop an attraction for one another, but as the timeline for this novel spans the course of about five days, the relationship was rushed. They went from complete strangers to performing a mating ceremony within three days, even with Wren’s anguish of taking a lover knowing Lark would strike her down. I’m sorry, but the only adults that fall rapidly in love and get married that quickly involve alcohol and a Vegas wedding. I really would have preferred this first novel to be learning about Wren, trying to save his father and dealing with Lark and his poachers, and allow his relationship with Ginger to build into something more during the second novel. But, as this novel is already being published, my criticism is moot. Secondly, the subject matter and the characters are mature, yet the romantic dialog between Wren and Ginger was so immature I found myself rolling my eyes on several occasions. Hopefully, Ms. Gilman will address this in future novels because it ruined the romantic moments for me.

Those criticisms aside, I truly loved Out in Blue. The writing was clean and smooth, the story was unique, it kept my attention, and for the first time in a long time, there were twists thrown at me I didn’t see coming (and I’m not talking those twists so far out in left field no one could see coming). This was a great novel and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley