Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Joann I. Martin Sowles, Author of The Brookhaven Vampires

This week I have the lovely Joann I. Martin Sowles for my Writer's Block segment. She's the author of the Brookhaven Vampires series and this indie writer becomes more and more popular as the weeks fly by. I'm sure you all recognize her New Adult Urban Fantasy novels Laney and Darkness, so let's take a few minutes to get to know this cool chic.

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What was your favorite book as a kid? Well, I wasn’t much of a reader as a child. I was well into my twenties when I discovered my love of reading. But, as a child, my parents had this book that was about several unexplained mysteries. I was fascinated with the section on the Loch Ness monster. I would read it over and over. I’m still quite fascinated with Nessie today.

Tell us your favorite quote. One of my favorite quotes is by Lucille Ball: "I would rather regret the things I have done than the things I have not."

What is your favorite genre to read and what makes it so awesome? My favorite genre is paranormal romance. I love the supernatural and mix that together with a fantastic love story, you can’t ask for anything better.

Tell us your favorite author. Which book is your total fave from that author? I have quite a few favorite authors, it’s hard to choose just one but the one that I’ve read the most of lately would be Rachel Caine. I love her Morganville Vampires series, and to choose just one of them… I don’t think I could do it. The entire series is just fantastic! I love the relationships between Claire (the main character) and her friends and all of the action and excitement. Oh, and Shane and Myrnin… They are just the best!

If you could meet any dead person, who would you choose? Any particular reason why? I would love to meet Walt Disney. His imagination and his devotion to his dreams are truly inspiring.

If the Earth suddenly became uninhabitable, would you rather live under the sea or in space? Under the sea. I’d find myself a group of mermaids to take me to the Lost City of Atlantis. Cuz you know they know where it is. ;)

If you could live in any time period other than the present, which would you choose and why? Arthurian. I would love to see the time/age of Arthur and Merlin and even be a part of it.

What do you do when you experience that lovely problem called writer's block? Oh, writer’s block, how you torment so many of us. For me, I usually walk away for a bit. I take a break and play a game on my phone or take my dog out back and throw a ball for her or play something with my kids or rockband with my husband. I just try to clear my mind completely and start fresh after thirty minutes or so. Usually, things will start to flow again when I’m focused on something else.

Do you have a secret obsession you'd be willing to share? <wink, wink> Now, if I shared them they wouldn’t be a secret, would they?. ;) I will tell you that I have a serious addiction to Annie’s Gummy Bunnys. I can’t stop at one bag, I’ll eat the entire box in one sitting! Oh, and Kettlecorn. Same story, I’ll eat the entire bag. We can’t keep either of those items in the house, I just can’t control myself.

Do you like to listen to music when you read or write? I do, especially when I’m writing. It’s a must in my not-so-quiet house, I have to have my ear buds in to get any writing done.

Did you do anything special to celebrate your first book release? A friend of mine surprised me with cupcakes. She made mini versions of the cover and put them on popsicle sticks. It was super cute!

Which book are you most looking forward to reading this year? I have a huge to-read list but there are a few that I can’t wait to get lost in: Rachel Caine’s new Morganville books: Black Dawn and Bitter Blood, Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance. Charlaine Harris’ Deadlocked, the fourth installment in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series, and the sequel to Tess Oliver’s Camille.

Which do you prefer: ebook, hardback or paperback? Hardcovers. I’ve always loved books, even before I was a reader. I love the way they look, feel, and smell but I love hardcovers the most for some reason.

This or That
Underworld or Twilight: That’s a toss-up… I think it would depend on my mood.
Original or Remake
Sweet or Salty: Both! Kettlecorn, baby!
Drama or Comedy
Fantasy or Romance: Fantasy with some romance thrown in. ;)
Spring or Autumn: Both!
Dirty Dancing or Footloose
Movie Theatre or Loveseat
Tea or Coffee
Rain or Sunshine
Skiing or Surfing: Neither, but I’d take the beach over the mountains anytime!
Tree House or Man Cave: Tree house and a book, and I’m pulling the ladder up so nobody else can get inside.

Choose a challenge...if you dare!
Write a sentence using all these words: joker, fireball, backpack, sticker, hula hoop: I gave the Joker a sticker for doing such a great job shooting fireballs through a hula hoop from his backpack.

Thank you for the great interview!
I’d also like to thank all who have stopped by and taken the time read this interview. I invite all of you to visit my website where you can read the first 3 chapters of both Laney & Darkness.
Much Love,
Joann I. Martin Sowles

And now for the Giveaway!!! Ms. Martin Sowless has generously offered up signed bookmarks and paperbacks of Laney and Darkness for you guys. :) Just fill in the rafflecopter below!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Darkness by Joann I. Martin Sowles

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Darkness (Brookhaven Vampires #2)
Joann I. Martin Sowles

Synopsis: Not long ago, Laney Alexander was living a carefree life, that is, until she was thrown into a world full of creatures only the imagination thought possible. Now, after surviving a terrifying night, Laney and Oliver are lying low at Julz's place, relieved to be in each other's arms once again. But fate seems to have other plans...

Julz is not happy to have visitors in her home and emotions run high. Laney is pushed to her limits as she watches Carter fight for his life and her relationship with Oliver becomes strained as she discovers secrets about Julz that could tear them apart.

As she reaches her boiling point, disaster strikes and her life is shattered. Laney must come to terms with what has unfolded. Will she lose her way and let the darkness consume her or will she find her light in Oliver?

Secrets will be revealed. Hearts will be broken. Lives will be lost. Darkness will fall.

Picking up where Laney left off, Oliver and Laney have fled to the fortress that is Julz's house and is forced to just stay there with the crazy-@ss woman who is determined to rip her to shreds. And with Felix's insistence, Carter is also there, recovering from a werewolf bite, nervously awaiting the full moon to see what happens. The entire household is on edge, and it strains all their relationships. One night when left alone for once, Laney finally says screw it and goes out with Carter and gets completely drunk off her butt. Can't say I blame her really. But when you have a jealous boyfriend that can't stand anyone giving you the slightest attention, who always seems to know what you're doing and where you are, you'd better be ready for the repercussions, and the wrath of a seriously overprotective vampire.

As for the plot in Darkness, I'm still trying to figure that out. Don't get me wrong, I liked Darkness, especially the sexual frustration between Laney and Oliver and their impending bonding, but this novel seems to be made up of lots of little things and not really anything big. As I skimmed through the reviews afterwards, trying to see if anyone caught something I missed, I noticed others felt that way too.

I do wish some things would have been answered in this book, cause all I have in the end was lots of unanswered questions. Why does Felix know her grandparents, and what are the odds that he shares the same last name as Laney? How did Laney's illusive dad know something terrible happened in her life, and sent his regards in a freakin' flower arrangement? What's in the hidden room at Laney's Aunt's house, and why didn't Laney go after Carter after he went snooping around in it? Why does Oliver's tattoo seem so familiar? And why won't Oliver explain this whole Brookhaven vampire thing? Cause clearly Laney's family may be involved. Laney doesn't force the issue on any of these things and it's frustrating that she allows herself to stay in the darkness (no pun intended). The only thing I felt Darkness answered was how Carter would react to the werewolf bite come full moon, which was a little weird.

I also kind of wish a little more of the story was focused on Laney, since she's the only point of view we get. So much is going on around her and the novel is basically her dealing with everybody elses' issues, save some grief she has to work through herself. It's Laney having to deal with Oliver because of how he has to deal with Julz, and the secret work he's constantly running off to do for his organization that he can't tell her about. Or Laney watching over Carter as he awaits the upcoming full moon. Or Laney dealing with a frantic Keira cause Carter's shut her out and she doesn't know why (cause she's not in on the vampire/werewolf thing - or is she?...everyone around Laney seems to be some kind of vampire-in-waiting). Hopefully the next story will be more about what's happening directly with Laney cause she's definetly got some hidden family secrets, grandparents and a father she didn't know about, and dare I say a possible brother she never knew existed? And Oliver. I'm impatiently waiting for their bond to happen cause the sexual tension is driving me crazy! (in a good way, of course).

Novel provided by author for honest review.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Laney by Joanne I. Martin Sowles

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Laney (Brookhaven Vampires #1)
Joanne I. Martin Sowles

Synopsis: In a small college town in Northern California, Laney Alexander leads a regular, uneventful life-that is, until the charming and alluring Oliver Knight enters her world. Who is this gorgeous and mysterious stranger? Or, rather, what is he? As Laney's sophomore year of college begins, so does an unbelievable adventure-including a love she didn't know she longed for. She soon learns that Oliver is not ordinary, nor is the rest of his family, including a sister who openly hates her and a brother who will stop at nothing for revenge. As she fights for her life, and Oliver's love, Laney discovers that the fictional world of vampires isn't so fictional after all. Nobody is safe, especially Laney, Oliver's most important priority, and he will stop at nothing to protect her. With her mortality at risk, and a commitment revealed that she, without a doubt, knows she wants, Laney's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn...

Laney and her best friend forever, Keira, are roommates starting their second year of college. Apparently, this hottie has moved in down the hall, and surprisingly shows up in Laney's classes at school. The attraction seems mutual, and we meet Oliver Knight within the first few pages. But Oliver's slow to move into Laney's life, and it really frustrates her. What time the girls get to spend with Oliver and his roommate Carter, who Keira's been crushing on for years, the more Laney falls head over heels for Oliver. She catches some strange things, like Oliver constantly biting his lip and bleeding as he drinks from a silver canteen (gonna have to say Duh! here cause biting his lip wouldn't have been what I would have been thinking) and that he always seems to avoid the get-togethers involving food. It's not until he saves her from a vampire attack that she opens her eyes to what's right in front of her.

Oliver is a Brookhaven vampire, and his interest in Laney has drawn her into a violent family fued. His brother Oscar blames him for taking his love away from him, so he's determined to return the favor, making Laney number one on their Most Wanted list. Life couldn't suck more...literally. As she struggles dealing with fantasy becoming reality all around her, she's twisted and pulled in every direction as Oliver struggles to keep her safe.

For people with pet peeves, there are a few things I should mention. The first half and the back half of this book don't match. It's almost like the author became a better writer as she advanced through, cause the first half needs a little rewriting. Why do I say this? Because the first half of the book is guilty of the following: 1) Very little substance. Everything interesting happens in the back end of the book and very little in the front. 2) Overly-descriptive. I don't really need to know how many feet there are between Laney's bed and the bathroom, and how many more to Keira's room. All these descriptions slow down the action and makes the story drag out. 3) Simple sentences. At times it actually reads like: Oliver smiles. I blush. Too many short sentences, not enough complex ones. 4) Laney's obsessed with Oliver. Once she meets him, you can't go one page without hearing about how handsome he is or how gorgeous some body part is. It's overwhelming, and her feelings just don't seem real to me, like what she's feeling is lust for his body and not love for who he is. Also, 5) Laney's college is weird. I've attended three universities and I've never experienced the scheduling block she has, nor had the same hottie I liked in all my classes, nor did the professors care whether or not I came to class. It almost felt like Laney was originally attending a live-in private high school and got changed later to make the characters older. Luckily, the second half of this novel seems to fix all these issues when the story becomes focused on the action, and the writing seems to fall into place and flow like it should.

Don't let my last paragraph scare you off of reading Laney. I was really happy with how the story came together by the end, I just felt it was a bumpy ride getting there. Once you pass 150 pages, the story hooks you and the writing flows a lot better. Now that the writing kinks have been smoothed out, I expect Darkness to get a higher rating from me. :)

Novel provided by author for honest review.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Bunch of Giveaways!!! INT and US

All the giveaways for the Ordained blog tour are now open!
Here's the list:

International Giveaways:
Ella Bella Reviews (INT paperback/signed bookmark)
Mind Reading? (ebook)*
My Blog Tour Page (ebooks, signed paperback)

US Only Giveaways:
Books Complete Me (ARCs of Ordained and Metamophosis
w/ original book covers)
Reader's Antidote (paperback/signed bookmark)
My Blog Tour Page (signed bookmarks)

*ebooks to be gifted through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo or Smashwords

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan (ARC)

Fractured Light
Rachel McClellanRelated Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pub: Feb. 8, 2012

Synopsis: Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. But she never felt ready to face them---until now. Defying the Auran Council and everything she's been taught, Llona must learn to use her power over light as a weapon if she wants to survive.
Llona has moved around since her parents were killed. Her mother died when she was really young, and her father when she was just a teen. Under the supervision of her uncle, they change locations whenever Llona begins to feel uncomfortable. She understands there's a strength of Light within her that makes her different, but she refuses to go to the protective school that houses and teaches others like her how to control their power. She's rebellious - just like her mother, and wants to be like her in every way. But being uneducated in the Light-sense makes her an easy target for those that kill the Aura's, the Vykens, who can only step out of the darkness and into light once they drink their blood.

Llona's beginning her senior year of high school and she's fed up of running. She wants nothing more than to make friends and have a little normalcy in her life. But that's short-lived. Having not gone to school and no one around to teach her how to control her Light, she doesn't know how to keep herself hidden very well, and immediately begins to sense a dark presence stalking her at night. Not to mention the murders of a couple of women, and some of the evidence of the crimes literally showing up on her doorstep. And she can't help but notice that May, one of new friend's, has the ability to set things on fire. Is she the new presence Llona's been sensing? Then there's Christian, another new student that takes an interest in Llona, who's practically attached at the hip, and makes remarks about the Light that leave Llona wondering if he knows what she is. But Llona still feels safe around her new friends. The only problem is, the Vyken stalking her is the one that killed her mom, and it's been following her all her life, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. She knows the lengths this Vyken went to befriend her mom before killing her, and she knows it could very well have taken the form of one of her new best friends. So what's an Aura to do?

Still refusing to take shelter at the Auran school, Llona goes against all Auran rules and principles and trains to use the Light as a defensive maneuver. Like her mother, she wants to live a real life, not run and hide every time danger arises. And if that Vyken ever decides to strike, she's gonna give him a fight like no Aura before her.

Fractured Light was a wonderful read. :) It's different from any other paranormal book out there right now and was absolutely refreshing. Ms. McClellan has come up with a whole new type of supernatural ability, harnessing Light as a power source, and I can't wait to see where she takes it. There is a little romance, as Llona and Christian do feel something for each other, but don't expect this to be filled with too much lovey-dovey stuff. So if you want to read a paranormal that doesn't involve the typical supernatural beings, suck up this one soon!

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Metamorphosis Blog Tour Sign-ups

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I'm currently setting up a blog tour in August for my New Adult Urban Fantasy Metamorphosis (The Immortal Archives #2). If you're a blogger and would like to be considered to do a review for this tour, please fill out the information below. For those of you more fond of Emily, you'll be happy to hear she plays a bigger role in this novel (she did get the cover this time). :)

Change is not always a good thing...

Some survived the battle – but not without a price. As one heart starts up again, another dies down. The pure vampires learn their immortality isn't as strong as they'd thought – the status of their hearts determines their vulnerability. And when the truth gets out, a betrayal by one of their own will cost more lives.

"METAMORPHOSIS delivers shock after shock, accompanied by repeated plot twists. This story is so filled with action and surprises the reader can get whiplash just trying to keep up." Ellen Hudson of Ella Bella Reviews.

Note: You must be a blogger with a blog dedicated to book reviews to be part of this tour. Only eBooks will be distributed for the Metamorphosis tour, so you must be able to accept an eBook for Kindle, Nook, Kobo or an epub through Smashwords.

If you're interested, head over to my tour page to sign-up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ordained Blog Tour and Giveaways! (INT)

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The Ordained Blog Tour is now underway! To celebrate, I'll be giving away a couple of paperbacks, several eBooks and lots of bookmarks at various sites. To find out where to enter, just head over to my tour page!

Ordained tags: Urban Fantasy, Hunters, Magic, Witches, Demons, Mythology, New Adult

Normally, the school creates the hunters - not the monsters.

Abby Sorrensten likes to play rough. Ripping the horns off the heads of demons, manipulating lightning and setting things on fire with the flick of your wrist can give you a serious rush. So she probably wasn't the best choice for the Order's experimental training program. Thirteen years of isolation, lack of affection and a bruised and broken body from horrendous training sessions creates more than just an exceptional fighter. It creates an evil within - an evil responsible for the several deaths the night she left.

Two hundred years later Abby resurfaces as the very thing the Order trained her to kill: a vampire. A mythical demon has set his sights on the school and only the ordained hunter has the powers to face it. Unbenknownst to the Order, Abby's their precious ordained one and their only chance for survival. As much as she would love to leave them hanging, she's not willing to risk the life of Emily, a fellow friend and hunter also fed up with the organization.

But for Abby, locking herself away in a fortress filled with angry descendents of those she killed causes suspicions and tensions to run high. Abby must learn the demon's weaknesses for battle before the Order learns hers.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock (ARC) - Blog Tour Stop

Kathleen Peacock
Pub: May 8, 2012

Synopsis: Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered. Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Four best friends with secrets up the wazoo, and Amy's death is the catalyst that crumbles their lives to pieces. Mac is left without a best friend, Jason without a girlfriend, and Kyle, well...he's got other issues to deal with, including a psycho ex that doesn't like that he's grieving over Amy, or how much time he's spending with Mac these days. In a world where werewolves were outed more than a decade ago, those found with the virus for Lupin syndrome get stripped of their human rights and shipped off to horrible camps to spend the rest of their lives.

When Amy, a senator's daughter, whose father was adamant about werewolf rights, is murdered by a white werewolf, the crime scene just doesn't look right. While the rest of the recent murders resemble murder by bloodlust, a few details make it seem Amy's death was carefully thought out ahead, perhaps by someone trying to change the senator's way of thinking. But for some reason the police are slipping the crime's details under the rug. When the lead investigator suddenly gets kicked off the case and a vigilante group called the Trackers show up in town, they claim they're going to track it down and kill it. But Amy's not so sure. After several run-ins with the Tracker's leader, she's not entirely convinced he has any intention of tracking down the white wolf. He seems more interested in making Jason, the son of one of the town's most wealthiest and influential citizens, his new protege. So it's up to Mac, and an protective Kyle, to investigate Amy's death and learn the identity of the white wolf, all while keeping Jason at bay, who's in route to join the vigilante's group.

Hemlock was filled with endless twists and turns, and danger around every corner. Ms. Peacock has interweaved an urban fantasy filled with mystery, intrigue and suspense - sure to keep your hands glued to the book until the very last page. Pick it up already!

ARC provided by Parafantasy ARC Tours.

Interview with Michelle Pennington, Author of Candid

This week at The Writer's Block I have debut novelist Michelle Pennington. She's fresh on the scene with Candid, the first book in the True Images series. She's a shark week finatic, and Super Mom, who's not afraid to let the kiddos veg out in front of the TV to get some writing time in! And as Christmas-obsessed as she is, she's probably one of those people ready to knock you down for that Black Friday deal. :P Let's take a few minutes to get know this overworked mommy.


Tell us your favorite quote. My favorite quote of the moment is one by Albert Einstein: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

What is your favorite genre to read and what makes it so awesome? I love to read many genres, but if a book doesn’t have romance in it, I have a hard time getting into it. Conversely, I’m really picky when it comes to the kind of romances I’ll read because they have to be clean. I am a sucker for those moments in a romance where your heart swells up so that you can barely breathe and you have to take a moment to gather yourself so that you can fully appreciate the storm of gooey emotions in a good love scene. I love the moment when they confess their love for each other. Nothing beats that.

Tell us your favorite author. Which book is your total fave from that author? My favorite author is Georgette Heyer. She’s the queen of regency romance and no one will ever match her wit or story crafting – at least in my eyes. Choosing a favorite among the gems of her books is like trying to choose which of my children is my favorite. Since I have three kids, I’ll try to narrow it down to that many: The Masqueraders, The Nonesuch, and Devil’s Cub.

Any pet peeves you'd be willing to share? If we’re talking about life in general, it’s when my husband asks what the kids are up to in another part of the house when I’m in the same room he’s in. Seriously, does he think I can see through walls? If we’re talking about writing, I hate when an author tells you the same thing over and over and over again.

If the Earth suddenly became uninhabitable, would you rather live under the sea or in space? I confess that I would choose under the sea. For one thing, I always had a fascination for Marine Biology, but since I grew up in Arkansas, I didn’t see that I had much chance up competing in the field against people who grew up with the sea in their back yard. I still watch every documentary on the oceans, marine animals, and I’m a Shark Week fanatic.

Take us through a typical writing day for you. I write early in the morning before my kids wake up and my day gets crazy. I admit that I let them veg on the couch in front of cartoons for a while if they wake up too early so I can get my writing time in. When I wake up, I’m alert and full of ideas. I turn on some music, open my laptop on my kitchen table and zone for as long as life lets me.

What do you do when you experience that lovely problem called writer's block? In college, I was taught that writing block was caused by not knowing who your audience was. I’ve found that there’s sometimes some truth in that. If I let pressure from writing a story that so and so would like affect me, I stop listening to my gut and my characters’ voices. Sometimes, I just get ahead of my brains’ advance work. (when it’s thinking on its own without any interference from my conscious self) and I just have to go do something else for a while until it catches up. It’s a weird feeling to realize that so much of what I write comes from a part of me that I don’t control. I guess writing is taking that unconscious part and translating it for other people to understand.

What is the craziest dream you've ever had? I live in tornado country, and I’ve never been afraid of tornados. I do have a healthy respect and awe for them though and I have recurring dreams about them. I’m always hunkered down in a building somewhere, watching a tornado spin towards me while my heart is about to beat out of my chest. It gets closer and closer, the building expands and contracts like a pair of lungs, the wind roars and things start to get really surreal right before it hits. Then the darn thing bounces of the window and goes another direction. It’s pretty anti-climactic, but always a relief. If anyone can tell me if this means something, I’d love to know.

If you could live anywhere in the world you'd like, where would that be and why? I’d live on Roatan Island, Honduras because it’s a dream of my hubsand's to live there. Anywhere he goes, I go, and I have to admit, it would be pretty fabulous to live there.

Do you have a secret obsession you'd be willing to share? <wink, wink> Christmas. That’s right, Christmas. Everything about it. Especially the music.

What food/drink would absolutely devastate you if they stopped production on? I’m not sure if it qualifies as a food or a drink. It’s kind of a food, but I do drink it. La Martinique French Vinaigrette. I pour too much on my salads just so I can slurp up what’s left at the bottom of the bowl. My local grocery stores don’t carry it, so I drive over to the neighboring town to stock up occasionally. The cashiers probably think I’m crazy to buy so many bottles at once. One time I couldn’t find it because they rearranged the shelves and I almost had a heart attack that they weren’t carrying it anymore.

Do you like to listen to music when you read or write? Tell us a few of your favorites. It’s almost impossible for me to write without music. I’ve got different playlists for different moods or situations. Some of my songs range from “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles to “Fallin’ for You” by Colbie Caillat to “All of Me” by Evanescence.

Which do you prefer: ebook, hardback or paperback? I love the feel and smell and comfort of a physical book, though I prefer to read paperback over hardback. I have to say though, I’ve been totally converted to ebooks the last few years though since I got my kindle. Benefits include: I can buy them whenever I want. I can afford more books. My kids don’t turn the pages or rip them out. I can take it anywhere and have a whole library of books with me. Nobody makes fun of me for reading a romance with a cheesy cover on it. Most importantly, my husband doesn’t knock my book out of my hands so that I lose my place. He thinks it’s hilarious to bug me like that, (so annoying!) but he doesn’t want to break my kindle, so I’m safe. Once my brother even threw my book out the car window while we were driving down the highway at 70 mph! He would never have done that to a Kindle, so if you have men in your life like the ones in my life, ebooks are the way to go.

This or That
Sweet or Salty – I like Sweet and Salty together…I always add ¼ to ½ tsp of extra salt to my cookie dough recipes.
Drama or Comedy – Comedy all the way.
Fantasy or Romance – Romance, but put the two together and I’m so there
Autumn or Rain
Tree house or Man Cave – Hello Swiss Family Robinson

Candid was a really cute read that I just breezed through in one sitting. I highly recommend picking it up, and you can check out my review here.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Candid by Michelle Pennington

Candid (True Images #1)
Michelle Pennington

Synopsis: Life is simple for high school senior, Sienna Whitfield. With a few good friends, a camera, and a dream, she has everything she needs to be happy. But when Jordan Rubio, the most popular girl at Haskins High, makes her mad, she decides to use the power of photography to right a few social wrongs. As if that doesn’t cause enough drama in her life, she realizes she’s falling for the new guy, Lee Franklin. Strong and protective, he’s just what she needs to survive the craziness she’s stirred up at school. If only she didn’t have to keep her feelings for Lee a secret from her mom…

This being a debut novel that didn't have any reviews going in, I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into. Turns out, I was actually pleasantly surprised. :) I began Candid late one night and stayed up a few hours to read it all the way through...cause I just couldn't seem to put it down. Sienna is your typical girl-next-door senior, easily getting by the social war zone of high school by staying under the radar. But when she takes the job to photograph the football team's home games, trouble stirs up between her and the queen bee of the school, little miss cheerleading captain Jordan. So...Sienna decides it's time to kick the bee's nest and see if she can use her photography blog's newfound popularity to change the perception the student body has on a couple of people. And no, I don't mean finding the most humiliating pictures and poking fun, but spotlighting the kinder people that hang with the popular crowd. Dethroning the queen...who hasn't wanted to do that at one point in their lives?

As much fun as it is to watch the popular crowd squirm, what I really loved about this novel was the growing attraction between Sienna and Lee, the new hottie in school that seemed to have his eyes solely on Sienna, much to the popular crowd's dismay. Only problem was, her mom didn't allow her to date, cause for some reason (ie. mommy's past hormonal mistakes) all teenagers are horny, can't control their urges, are doomed to throw themselves at one another and pop out a kid. Yeah...um...I didn't have that problem in high school Did you?  Unfortunately for Sienna, her mom doesn't listen to reason, or believe her when she says that she and Lee aren't looking to jump into that any time soon. She tries to respect her mom's wishes, cause she before Lee, she actually agreed dating in high school and getting emotionally attached to a guy wasn't worth risking the future she had planned out. But now that she's met Lee...well that kind of thinking was just plain silly!

All in all, really cute book. Guess it was since I couldn't put it down. And any book that can keep me up late cause I absolutely want to know NOW what's going to happen, gets five stars in my book.

Novel provided by author for honest review.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Indie Author Giveaway Hop - Show Some Love! (INT)

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You'd have to be living under a rock to not know that Indie Authors are on the rise. Yeah, in the beginning, it was hard to find a good book that wasn't filled with plot holes or in need of some desperate editing or formatting. And the original covers - bleh. Nowadays, the number of awesome Indie books available on the market are endless. Did you know that these are Indie books?

If you're weary of reading Indie books, I can't promise you won't come across a really bad one cause those are still out there. Sadly, a few newbies still throw it out there before it's ready. (Hell, even I was a little guilty of needing some more editing with the first edition of my first book). And I'm sure you all remember Amanda Hocking's reviews filled with endless criticisms about her lack of editing...but luckily it didn't stop people from reading them.

For this giveaway, I'm offering you $10 to pick up your choice of a few indie ebooks at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Smashwords. I highly recommend the ones above!

Check out my header text for more giveaways!

The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal (ARC)

The Lifeguard
Deborah Blumenthal

Synopsis: It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with Pilot, the lifeguard with shamanic skills. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious - almost magical - gifts.
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Hmm...where to begin with The Lifeguard? Well, let's just say there was a better taste in my mouth going out than in. Cause for a good chunk of this book, Sirena really annoyed me, to the point I wanted to quit reading. And I guess you could call this a romance, but really, more pages were spent on her obsessive stalking than romance, and she was way to desperate to get his attention. This girl's so freakin' crazy she actually steals (yeah, that's right - STEALS) a painting of Pilot from a small town art gallery while the owner's out to lunch. A normal, albeit obsessive-crazy-person, would have simply taken out their phone and taken a snapshot of it...but with Sirena, she needs the actual painting.

I can appreciate Ms. Blumenthal's attempt to weave in a culture involving people with the ability to draw from the earth and be able to heal people by doing so. However, I have a hard time swallowing the fact that this hottie of a white boy can be Shaman. I need this role to be handed down to someone that actually looks like his descendents came from the rain forest, not Malibu.

About two-third's of the way through, Sirena and Pilot both became more likeable and the story got a little more interesting, but it wasn't enough to rebound the feelings I'd already developed earlier for The Lifeguard. I'm not one to disencourage anyone from reading a book...some people are willing to five star this, I just don't happen to be one of them.

Novel provided by publisher via NetGalley.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saving June by Hannah Harrington (ARC)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Saving June
Hannah Harrington

Synopsis: Everyone's sorry. But no one can explain why. Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going - California.
Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession...and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except...Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down - again.

Harper is sick of everyone at the funeral asking her if she's okay. Of course she's not okay. Her sister just committed suicide and she was the one that found the body. She's also filled with guilt over their last conversation cause they were squabbling like teenage sisters tend to do...or at least Harper was, cause June already knew what she was gonna do. Not to mention her divorcing parents and nosy-Jesus-is-the-answer-to-everything Aunt, who tends to get a little ticked when Harper calls her on saying June went to Heaven when the bible clearly says she's going to hell. (Hey, if you can't take it, don't preach it. The rules don't change because you're related to someone). And then there's this strange guy smoking in the backyard that Harper bums a cigarette from. Who the heck is he and how'd he know June? Unfortunately, he takes off before she can really find out.

So her sister just died, her mom is falling apart, and her dad avoids them like the plague and moves forward with his new love interest. Harper's best friend Laney is the only thing keeping her sane, and even she's constantly asking her if she's okay. But what's really bugging Harper is that her parents, who smashed all hopes June had of leaving this hell-hole and going to school in her dream location of California, have decided they want to split her ashes between them, which sets Harper on fire. She wants nothing more than to lay June to rest in the one place she really wanted to be - California.

Going through June's stuff looking for answers as to why this happened, weird clues lead her to a music shop, where lo and behold, the mysterious funeral crasher works - Jake, a guy June was apparently tutoring.  When Jake finds out Harper and Laney are gonna sneak off with June's urn to California, he offers to drive. Not realizing he has his own motive for going, they take him up on the offer cause they're still minors, and traveling with someone no one knows will help get them to their destination before their parents and the police can find them and yank them all the way back home again.

The road trip is filled with tribulations for each character and the three probably learn more about the other than they care to know, but the biggest shock of all will come with what Jake has to share about June...and Harper won't be pleased.

Saving June is definitely New Adult (Mature YA) and has lots of language, mature subjects and some sexual content.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Who-hoo! Vacation I'm-Not-Gonna-Write-I'm-Gonna-Read-ATHON

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Yay!!! I'm officially done writing my pixie novel Dust. I had origanlly planned to take this indie, but now that the story has unfolded in ways I never saw coming, I think the uniquness of the storyline could do very well in the YA marketplace, so I've decided to change to the publisher route. To celebrate, I'm going to take an entire month off from writing and focus on the fun of reading. Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know I need to get to finishing Catacombs and working on Falling Away, but it's time to spend some much needed time with my neglected bookshelf. It's just filled with goodies I haven't had time to get to yet. (Don't even get me started on all the books sitting on my Kindle, but hey - out of sight, out of mind!)

First off, I've gotta start with my ARC pile cause I really wanna get caught up on that. Luckily, I keep my requests to a minimum, so I only have twelve that I need to read for publishers. Normally, I'd hit up the ones I'm most excited to read, but since several of these have already hit their publishing date, I'm gonna get to those first. Check 'em out:

Of course, I'm still going to be running my feature The Writer's Block. I've cut the number of authors down to half for this time period, but I've still got to read the books being spotlighted. The ones I currently have lined up are:

Once I'm done with all those, I'm moving on to some much needed bookshelf love. Take a peek at what I plan to tackle - cause hey - some of these goodies may just pop up on my monthly Previously Loved Book Giveaways!

Some of these are on loan to my sister-in-law, so I may not get them back in time to knock them out, but I think I've got enough to keep me busy! And my hubby is reading Divergent, and as epically slow as he is at reading, I'll be lucky to get that back sometime this year! LOL. Any suggestions for what I should read first?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Interview and Free Download with Elle Strauss

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Howdy gals and gents! This week we have the lovely Elle Strauss with us on the Writer's Block. She's the author of the adorable Clockwise novels you see below. Another fan of the unsinkable Jane Austen. Addicted to dark chocolate and red wine. And she even spends time teaching the English language to poor farm kids in Romania . 'Super Awesome' sticker goes right here! Yeah, there's a free download attached to this interview, but let's take a minute to learn a thing or two about this generous gal!


What was your favorite book as a kid? The Reddy Fox books by Thorton Burgess and Nancy Drew

If you were stranded on a desert island what is the one book you couldn't be stranded without? Bible

What is your favorite genre to read and what makes it so awesome? I love YA. I like reading about first experiences and a world that can still be fresh and not jaded. 

Any pet peeves you'd be willing to share? Finding out that the stand alone book you're reading is actually the first book of a trilogy on the last page. 

If you could meet any dead person, who would you choose? Any particular reason why? Jane Austen. Just to see if we got our perceptions of her right. :) 

What was your most favorite past time as a kid? Reading of course. I also loved to water ski, a sport I no longer do. 

If you could live in any time period other than the present, which would you choose and why? I think I'd like to live in the fifties. Lived seemed simpler and more wholesome then (though I'm sure it wasn't). I think that's why I chose 1955 for the main character to travel back to in Like Clockwise. 

What do you do when you experience that lovely problem called writer's block? I do something physical, like hiking or yoga. It seems to unlock things for me. 

If you could live anywhere in the world you'd like, where would that be and why? Right now, it would be somewhere tropical because winter this year felt so long. :) 

What food/drink would absolutely devastate you if they stopped production on? Dark chocolate and red wine. And soy lattes. :)

Which book are you most looking forward to reading this year? Probably Insurgent by Veronica Roth. 

Which do you prefer: ebook, hardback or paperback? I've swung from paperback to ebook this year. 

This or That
Underworld or Twilight
Original or Remake
Sweet or Salty
Drama or Comedy
Fantasy or Romance
Spring or Autumn
Dirty Dancing or Footloose
American Idol or X-Factor or The Voice
Movie Theatre or Loveseat
Tea or Coffee
Rain or Sunshine

This series is super cute. If you're still on the fence, check out my reviews of Clockwise, Clockwiser and the companion novel Like Clockwork. There's also a fourth done in Nate's POV called Clocked, but I haven't gotten to that one yet! Now for the FREE DOWNLOAD of CLOCKWISE! This book is so freakin' adorable it's a crime we get it for free! So be sure to pick this up at either Amazon, iTunes, Kobo or Smashwords.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Like Clockwork by Elle Strauss

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Like Clockwork (A Clockwise Companion Novel)
Elle Strauss

Synopsis: Adeline Savoy had hoped that the move west from Cambridge to Hollywood with her single dad would mean they’d finally bond like a real family, but all she got was a father too busy with his new female friends and his passion for acting to really see her.

Instead she finds herself getting attached to Faye, the divorcee hair dresser she befriends when she travels back in time to 1955. Plus Faye has a hottie, James Dean-esque, bad-boy brother who has Adeline’s heart all aflutter. But bad boys from the past can be dangerous.

Is is possible that Adeline really does belong in her own time and that maybe the right boy lives as close as next door?

This is the companion novel to the Clockwise series, which instead of following Casey back into the 1800's, follows another time traveler Casey once met named Adeline, into 1950's Hollywood. Casey and Adeline are polar opposites. Whereas Casey is cheerful, spunky and has a sense of humor, Adeline seems absolutely miserable. Her personality is easily annoyed, just wants to be left alone and quite frankly, a little rude to everyone. I guess you could say she's a normal unhappy teenager...at least when she's in the present, where's she's having major issues with her dad's mid-life crisis. But back in the 1950's, she's a happier person...well, she's still a little rude at times though. But the fifties seem to suit her better, where she has a nice loving woman named Faye that takes on the motherly role she so desperately needs, and the hot bad boy, definitely-too-old-for-her James Dean lookalike she's got a major crush on.

As her relationship with her gotta-surround-myself-with-ridiculously-named-actress-wannabees father sours, her life in the 1950's becomes a little complicated as well. Howard, the hot James Dean lookalike is showing some interest in Adeline, which gets the attention of Leroy, a really bad boy Howard apparently owes money to, putting Adeline smack in the middle of a place no girl lying about her age should be. And things get a little complicated when one person from the past gets shuffled to the present and vice versa.

Personality-wise, Adeline manages to scuff off that outer rough later and learns to be a litter nicer to people, and she figures out that whole loner lifestyle isn't the best way to live when you actually meet decent people to befriend. I'm a sucker for the 1800's so I still prefer Casey's adventures, but if you love anything about the 1950's - like poodle skirts, Jame Dean, Marilyn Monroe haircuts, greased-back hair, musician-wannabees and bikinis that won't get you arrested for indecent exposure - pick this up...it's a good read.

Novel provided by author for honest review.