Friday, August 30, 2013

Shuffle Saturday (38): What I've Done

Every Saturday I'll be posting a random song off of my iPod. Everyone can feel free to join in, just leave a link to your Shuffle Saturday post in the comments! This week's song is:

What I've Done by Marie Digby

Marie Digby has a beautiful voice, so its no surprise I love her cover of Linkin Park's What I've Done. That song is so beautiful to begin with, but her slowed down acoustic version is just gorgeous.

What are you listening to?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Interview: AA Bukhatir, author of Dragon Boy and the Witches of Galza

Today we have an interview with AA Bukhatir, author of the coming of age fantasy novel Dragon Boy and the Witches of Galza! Check out the synopsis:

Dragon Boy and The Witches of Galza follows the fate of a boy raised amongst humans and oblivious to the fact that he is a dragon. Dragon Boy is entrusted to an old man named Aijou who vows to take care of him until adulthood. Aijou himself is seeking help to escape the dangerous Haroomas Forest and he is aided by the Butterbaby Queen. In his journey through the enchanted woods, Aijou is trapped by the malefic Sister Witches of Galza who remind him of a bargain made in the past that concerns Dragon Boy.

Why are the witches so keen on capturing him and what sinister deeds are they planning? Will Dragon Boy discover his true identity and powers before the situation grows worse? Discover the answers in an epic tale woven with imagination, courage and magic!

How did the concept of Dragon Boy come into being?

It was a combination of several factors. Since childhood, I loved the idea of wizards, sorcerers, witches, dragons, fairies, monsters, and the supernatural world. I also used to dream about being able to fly. I dreamed that I had large white wings and could fly across the continents. I was also fascinated by fantasy movies and their special effects. Somehow all of these elements combined and, one night, as I was driving with a friend, the idea of Dragon Boy came into my head. As this idea took shape, I knew I had to write it down and the book Dragon Boy And The Witches of Galza came into being.

What insight can you share with us about Dragon Boy himself?

I had to imagine what a boy would go through as a child and a teenager. I created him coming from a supernatural world filled with monsters and evil people. Then I placed him in a world full of normal humans who lived their lives like regular people – loving, caring, hating and fighting.

Which are your favorite characters?

My favorite characters in the first book are the Sister Witches of Galza. I love the way they think and act. They’re so bad that their reputation precedes them. And when you get to know them in the story, they’re the villains you love to hate but with respect.

Who is your favorite author?

J.K. Rowling is definitely my favorite author. But I am also very impressed by Cressida Cowel who wrote “How to Train Your Dragon.” She has been writing since she was a child. I realized that nothing stopped her from tapping her vast imagination and then putting it on paper and making it turn into reality! That really inspired me. I realized that it doesn’t matter where you are, what age you are, or who will like it or not, you can follow your muse, your imagination.

Did you face any challenges writing this book? If so, what were they?

Of course! Every work that is beautifully done should have many obstacles and challenges. And this one had its share of challenges. Keeping track of all the fantastical creatures and making sure that all the pieces of the story make sense were two of challenges. And there’s always the fine line between the believable and the unbelievable. I want the reader to be able to identify with the characters and if they are too strange, then it won’t work.

For more about Dragon Boy and the Witches of Galza check out these sites!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Picture of Dulce Garcia by Alana Albertson

Today we have a cover reveal for The Picture of Dulce Garcia by Alana Albertson hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! It's a retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray which I think sounds incredible.  It releases this fall so keep an eye out and add it to Goodreads! Check out the synopsis:

Dulce Garcia, star of The Coven, would rather spend her days sketching dresses. Instead, she works to support her family and dreams of one day becoming a fashion designer. After Teen Vogue declares Dulce, “The Hottest Teen in America,” she is stunned by how amazing she looks in their photo.

At sixteen, Dulce feels the pressure to stay youthful in Hollywood. When Dulce’s prop Book of Shadows gets destroyed, she substitutes her favorite Victorian Anthology, opened to Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and says her spell during the shoot over the anthology.

Afterwards, in her trailer, she discovers that she has transformed into her Teen Vogue picture, and her real body is completely airbrushed. Can she break the curse or will she remain locked forever in a picture?


This cover is kind of creepy, which I think works for this kind of story, but... I don't know. I think I'm just not a huge fan of these sort of covers. I think I wish it told a little more about the story instead of just showing the girl's face, but I do like that she's all decked out in makeup. It is very pretty though. I especially love the skull wallpaper in the background!

What do you think of the cover?

About the Author:

Alana Albertson is the former President of both Romance Writers of Americas’s Young Adult and Chick Lit chapters and the founder of Academe Advantage, a college admissions & test preparation company. Alana Albertson holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University. A recovering professional ballroom dancer, Alana currently writes contemporary romance and young adult fiction. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two young sons, and four dogs. When she’s not spending her time needlepointing, dancing, or saving dogs from high kill shelters through Pugs N Roses, the rescue she founded, she can be found watching episodes of House Hunters, Homeland, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

For more about The Picture of Dulce Garcia check out Goodreads!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Taste Test by Kelly Fiore

Review: Taste Test
Author: Kelly Fiore
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publish Date: August 27th, 2013
Rating:

If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good.

With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.

Taste Test by Kelly Fiore is one of those books with such a cute concept that you just have to read it. The second I read the synopsis I knew, good or bad, I'd be reading this one. And I enjoyed it! A lot, actually. It was fun and creative and perfect for a quick read at the beach.

The story takes place on the set of a teen reality cooking show, which is just about the coolest concept ever. Or, I think it is, at least, because I can't seem to stop watching reality cooking shows! They're addictive and so was this book (and the mystery that went along with it). I have to admit, I wish Fiore had picked an aspect of this story and stuck with it though. I felt between the romance, the mystery and the cooking, everything was stretched too thin. It all felt vague. If she'd pushed the cooking or mystery to the forefront and let the romance settle into the background Taste Test might have become one of my favorites. But as it is, I think it'll just become a cute book I read one time.

Let's talk about the love interest for a minute. I can't say I fell for Christian, but I can't say I didn't either. He was a jerk from the beginning of the book and he didn't grow or change much throughout the story, but what seventeen year old boy would mature in just a few months? Especially months spent on the set of a reality show!

The thing about Christian is that, even though whenever he's feeling insecure he reverts back to a thirteen year old caveman, he still has a good heart underneath that bravado and you do get glimpses of the man he might become, but he's not becoming that man in this book. So, no, maybe he's not the love interest that will stick with you and have you swooning all over yourself, but his character is a realistic take on a spoiled seventeen year old boy and I appreciate that. Plus he's one heck of a cook!

The thing that really makes this book stand out for me is the contestant recipes for the dishes they make throughout the show. There's everything from Nora's Three Chili Macaroni and Cheese to Joy's Lobster Bisque with Roasted Corn and Potato Shreds. Mmm. Yum. My mouth was watering the whole time I was reading so it only makes sense Fiore leaves the reader with a few fantastic sounding recipes!

While Taste Test might not have the consistency to stick with you after you put the book down, it's entertaining while you're reading and will leave you dying to try out some of those recipes. I highly recommend to fellow Food Network junkies and to anyone looking for a light, but very cute, story.

For more about Taste Test check out these sites!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publish Date: August 27th, 2013
Rating:

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.

But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.
Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Celaena Sardothian is back and more badass then ever in Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. My favorite thing about this series is how the world engulfs you and doesn't let you up until the very end. And not even then, because Maas knows just what information to dangle in front of you, knowing you'll be drooling for more.

For those of you who felt Throne of Glass could have used a bit more action, you'll be glad to hear that not only has the King's Champion finally got her assassin on, but also that the danger gets ratcheted up a notch too. And no one is safe.

Now onto the boys! You want to know why I'm Team Chaol? Chocolate cake. Seriously. Any guy who brings you chocolate cake on the worst night of your life is worthy of some major swoonage. These two have their problems in Crown of Midnight, but even in the midst of a fight, you can still see how much they care about each other. The romance in this book is hot, but at the same time, absolutely heartbreaking for everyone involved.

I won't lie, even though I'm solidly Team Chaol, Dorian is badass in this book. A lot of things change for him. I won't go into details, but I'll say this: By the end of the book, I was swaying towards Team Dorian, if not for Celaena, than at least for myself! Although, I really enjoyed reading the Celaena/Dorian scenes throughout Crown of Midnight, much more than I did in the first (which might be because the love triangle plot has been somewhat dissolved in this one). They make a really good team and it's fun to read about, even if you're worried for their lives most of the time.

The only negative thing I can even think to say about Crown of Midnight is that, for most of the book—like, maybe the middle 50 percent—the characters are all keeping major secrets from each other. Now, I get why they kept some of those secrets, but for people who claim to love each other so much, they certainly don't seem to trust each other. At all. It seemed to me like the plot dragged a little because of all this secret keeping, especially around the middle. But that's not to say the story wasn't still an action packed page turner, because it was. But there were a few times when I felt the plot could have been rushed along a little.

Crown of Midnight is one of those exceptional sequels that outshines the first book in nearly every way. Which is saying a lot since I loved Throne of Glass. If you had your problems with Throne of Glass, give this book a chance, I bet you'll love it. And if you haven't started this series yet, what are you waiting for? With a brilliantly thought out fantasy world with magic, fae, a thoroughly evil villain, and a heroine who is the perfect mix between strong and vulnerable, this is a series every fantasy lover needs to own. Not to mention the boys. Oh, the boys.

For more about Crown of Midnight check out these sites!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Shuffle Saturday (37): Tango Della Signora Francesco Di Bartolommeo Di Zanobi Del Giocono

Every Saturday I'll be posting a random song off of my iPod. Everyone can feel free to join in, just leave a link to your Shuffle Saturday post in the comments! This week's song is:

Tango Della Signora Francesco Di Bartolommeo Di Zanobi Del Giocono by Forgive Durden

So, yeah. Forgive Durden again. I can't help it though, I just love them! And this song was one of my first favorite songs by them. I'm in love with this beat! It just makes you wish they'd use it on an episode of So You Think You Can Dance? Well... it makes me wish that anyway ;)

What are you listening to?

Spotlight: Demon's Grip by Tahlia Newland

Today we have a post by Tahlia Newland, author of Demon's Grip! Check out the post:

Another book flies into cyberspace, released from its single-computer prison.

Do you live in the world of a book while you read it? I do, and I think it's the same for others, that's why reading is a more intimate activity than watching TV. You can stay outside a TV show or a movie, but a book happens inside, in your imagination, a much more personal place. So, imagine how it is if you're writing the story! Yes, it can be pretty intense. Imagine how it would be if you're writing a long story, one that takes several years and four books to tell, how much would you live that story? The answer for me is a lot.

The characters become your friends, and the world becomes as real to you as the one you see from your window. Gradually, as you work though the drafts and refine the words, the story takes on an independent form, something you can share with others, then one day, viola, it's ready to be released.

The feeling when you press the 'publish now' button in digital publishing is a little like waving your child goodbye on their first day of school, it's a relief to get them out of the house, you hope they'll be treated kindly and make friends, and you can't help worrying a little that they might get lost amongst all the other kids.

There's an awful lot of books in the cyber world, and many do get lost in the crowd. And now here's another one. This one isn't alone though, it has two books before it in the story and another to follow.

So what is this new wide-eyed book on the block?

Ariel is in a hidden realm on a mission to rescue her mother, but the demons who kidnapped her are hunting Ariel as well, and they're aiming to kill, after they've fed from her emotions, that is. Yep, these suckers are energy parasites, and when they feed, they tend to arouse in you the very emotions they feed on, so it's easy to get caught in a demon's grip. Then, you need help to get out. Luckily, Ariel's got friends, and her gorgeous boyfriend Nick isn't about to give her up to a demon.

Add it on Goodreads.

Why should you read this book? Like all the best new adult fantasy, this series has a great mix of action, adventure, humour and romance, but unlike others the layers of meaning within this series are rich, the symbolism profound and the characters’ experiences, though cloaked in fantasy, are the journey we all take through life whether we know it or not. It is a journey of self discovery on the profoundest of levels. These are no ordinary books. The magic within them is real. The powers of the characters are within your grasp and their success can be yours.

The purchase links for Demon’s Grip are here. It’s always best to start at the beginning of a series though, and book one, Lethal Inheritance is available in paperback as well as ebook. For details & purchase points pop over to the Lethal Inheritance page on my website.

Post by Tahlia Newland, the award-winning fantasy and magical realism author with a metaphysical twist. If you enjoyed this blog post, you can join her on Facebook , Twitter or Google+ You can even fan her on Goodreads. When not reading, writing, reviewing or mentoring authors you may find her being an extremely casual high school teacher or making decorative masks. Tahlia began writing full time in 2008 after twenty years in the performing arts. She has had extensive training in meditation and Buddhist philosophy and lives in an Australian rainforest south of Sydney. Creativity is her middle name!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Download CHRONICLE and enter the #RelicRevealed Sweepstakes from @Soho_Teen!

How cool is this? An internet flash mob promoting Chronicle, the prequel to Relic: The Books of Eva by Heather Terrell. The free download is available now at RelicTheBook.com, as well as at all major retailers. When you download the book, you'll also receive information about entering the sweepstakes and an extended sneak peek at Relic: The Books of Eva I.

CHRONICLE: Before the Books of Eva tells the story of Madeline, the very first female to participate in the Testing for New North, after the Healing drowned the world...

Each year, the finest Gallants in New North embark on the Testing, a harrowing rite of passage through the frozen wastelands to recover Relics, artifacts from the evil time before the Healing. About these Relics the Testors construct their Chronicles, illustrating mankind’s depravity, his Vanity, his love of Tech, his sins too numerous to count. All true Chronicles are collected and made part of the Lex’s Holy Truths, year by year.

The Chronicle. Nothing is more vital to the resolve of the inhabitants of the New North, the last inhabitants of an Earth flooded by the Healing. But not all Chronicles are deemed True. And not all Testors are Gallants. One year there was a Maiden, Madeline, the first but not the last. Braving the perils of the Testing, she discovered a Relic that, if Chronicled, would be the New North’s downfall...

For more about Chronicle & Relic check out Goodreads!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (53): Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This teaser is from Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris. I'm so excited to read this one. I loved the first book and can't wait to see how it ends!

A date or even a little romance would be such a welcome distraction from everything going on, but all I see when I look at another guy is someone who's not Ben Michaels. 

{Unbreakable, Chapter 1}

Synopsis of Unbreakable:

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

For more about Unbreakable check out these sites!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Spotlight: Shiloh by Helena Sorensen

Today we have an excerpt from Shiloh by Helena Sorensen. Shiloh is a fantasy set in a world full of legends and danger, with a little bit of romance sprinkled in. Check out the synopsis:

In a world of perpetual darkness, a boy is born who wields remarkable power over fire. Amos is no more than seven when he kills a Shadow Wolf and becomes a legend in Shiloh. He would be destined for great things were it not for the stories his father tells about a world beyond the Shadow and a time before the Shadow. Only madmen hold to such tales, and in Shiloh, they have always come to bad ends.

Amos is fearless. He walks with easy confidence, certain that the Shadow cannot touch him. Even his family is in awe of him. His father marvels at his skill with the bow, his mother thanks the gods that he has all the courage she lacks, and his sister, Phebe, worships him for saving her from an attack of the Shadow Cats.

On a trip to the village of Emmerich, Amos rescues the Magistrate’s son, Simeon, from the village bullies. Simeon, fair-skinned and pale-eyed like other Dreamers in Shiloh’s history, becomes Amos’s constant companion and dearest friend. Simeon becomes a part of Amos’s family, listening to fireside stories told in a way he’s never heard them before and learning to wield a bow and arrow.

The year the boys turn twelve, they are itching to prove themselves. An impetuous plan to steal a beautiful lantern goes miserably awry, and the lantern’s owner prophecies that Amos will be devoured by the Shadow. For the first time, a seed of fear is planted in Amos’s mind, and when his father is killed by a Shadow Wolf on the last day of the Great Hunt, the fear takes hold. If so great and brave a man as his father could fall to the Shadow, what hope has he?

Excerpt from Shiloh:

The door of the cottage swung open and smacked against the wall. Their father, a lean, hardened man with dark hair and eyes stepped over the threshold and tossed a heap of blood and fur on the floor. “Make some use o’ yerself, girl,” he said to Isolde.

He settled himself onto the bench by the table and waited for Rosalyn to serve him while Isolde took the day’s kill and hurried out into the gloaming.

She drew a dagger from the leather sheath on her belt. Her mother’s dagger. It was beautiful, its wooden handle inlaid with silver, its blade engraved with the sign of the Clan of the White Tree. Her mother’s clan. If only the dagger had proven its worth when Sullivan came to carry her away in the night. “You’ll serve me better when I get out o’ here,” Isolde spoke to the dagger and sighed again. She took her time skinning the rabbits, peeling away the gray-brown fur and setting it aside before burying the entrails.

She cleaned the blade in the spring, where frigid water bubbled up to bite at her fingers.

Then she carried the carcasses to the stable, where she placed each on an iron spit and leaned them against the wall in the corner.

Resisting the pull of the cottage, of her father’s silent will, she stepped up to the new foal, Echo, and stroked her neck. Sullivan had traded a large doe for the little foal, hoping she would one day replace his aging stallion. Isolde smiled as Echo shuffled and stamped on her spindly brown legs, and finally pulled away, taking the rabbits inside to roast on the hearth fire.

“It’s awfully close ta the Black Mountains, though, Da,” Rosalyn was saying, as she ladled another helping of stew into her father’s bowl.

“Ya know nothin’ of it, girl. Some o’ the finest hunters in the north go ta that lake. No end o’ bull elk there, they say, grazin’ in the meadows and drinkin’ from the still water. I’ll be leavin’ in the mornin’. You’d best pack my things.” 
“Do ya mean Lake Morrison, Da?” Isolde asked as she settled the spits over the fire. “I’ve heard stories of hunters disappearin’ near the lake, of strange things happenin’. Melburn says it’s…” 
“Speak the name o’ that fool mapmaker once more…just once.” Sullivan’s voice never rose. He spoke with complete calm, complete control. 
Isolde was tempted to challenge him, and she held his eyes with hers for the space of a single heartbeat. Then the moment passed. She took a bowl of stew and sat down at the table. 
“That man preys on ignorant men and silly girls. He draws ‘maps’ of he knows not what. Any fool can scribble on a parchment. I’d like ta see him brave the Hunter’s Path through the Whisperin’ Wood. See what he’s made of.”

Sullivan finished his stew and set the bowl aside. “I catch ya near his cottage again, Isolde, and you’ll be sorry.” 
The sisters exchanged the briefest of glances. They’d both been sorry before, Isolde more often than her sister. Rosalyn was always finding some way to make herself useful, even invaluable, to their father. But Isolde had never proven her worth.

Before long Sullivan was asleep in his cot, and Rosalyn as well, on the opposite wall. Soft night sounds filled the cottage: the playful crackling of the fire as it died away into embers, the creaking of the cots as sleepers turned and tossed, the roar of the wind coming down from the mountains. Isolde heard none of them. For her, the cottage was filled with a ringing silence. It was oppressive. At times, it was unbearable. On many nights, she snatched a lantern from the hook on the wall and made her way to the only place in the village where she felt she could breathe.

Fleete rested on a hill that, for the most part, rose gently from the surrounding landscape. Cottages, stables, and shops were scattered about in an erratic, disorderly fashion. The village had no real center, for just before the hill reached its peak, it changed its character, rising steeply to a rocky summit. There, an immense boulder braved the icy winds that whipped down from the white spires of the Pallid Peaks.

It was a hallowed place for Isolde. She loved the precarious climb to the summit, the sting of the wind on her cheeks, the empty, open darkness that lay all around her. A faint golden glow of fires and lanterns floated beneath her in an ocean of inky black. And she was lifted above them, free from the terrible gravity of her tiny world. 
As always, Isolde was grateful for Rosalyn’s skill with braids. Her hair was tightly wound away from her face, and even this wind could not pull it free. She settled into her usual place and stared out into the void. Once in a great while, there were bursts of blue flame that appeared in the distant mountains. It had been a hundred years at least since any of the Dragons had come down into the foothills, but they still lived among the

Peaks, waiting in snow and Shadow.

I’d risk any fate if only I could go and see the Dragons with my own eyes. Or the southern moors, or the western plains. Or the Hall of Echoes, or the Three Bridges.

She thought back to the many cheerful afternoons she’d spent in Melburn’s cottage, hovering over his shoulder as he drew and redrew his maps of Shiloh. The mapmaker had perfected inks of several different colors, and perhaps it was those that most fired Isolde’s imagination. She could still envision the green of the Whispering Wood and the rich blue of the River Meander. At times, when Sullivan had been hunting in some far-distant clime, Isolde had sat with Melburn as he listened to hunters and travelers give accounts of their journeys. He hung on their every word, and he paid them in Edanna coins, so they were always willing to share. Melburn had collected hundreds of accounts in the course of his life, and the best of these he had compiled into the Red Maps.

If I had one of the Red Maps, I could search the whole of Shiloh. I could find Valour’s Glass. And then…then…perhaps… Her thoughts wandered out of the mapmaker’s cottage and up into the Pallid Peaks and down through the Whispering Wood and back through a thousand years to the tale of her forebear. And she envied the wind its freedom and wished that her father might never return from Lake Morrison and imagined all the places in Shiloh where she might roam… until her toes were stiff with cold, and she rose and hurried back to the cottage and the warmth of the fire on the hearth and the softness of her woolen blankets.

For more about Shiloh check out these sites!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blog Tour: Sink or Swim by Jamie Canosa

Today we have an excerpt from Sink or Swim, book 1.5 in the Fight or Flight series, by Jamie Canosa! If you're a lover of New Adult romance then you're going to want to check out Jamie's Fight or Flight series! There's a giveaway so make sure you scroll to the bottom. Check out the synopsis:

There are some things you just can't walk away from.

When sleeping in vacant warehouses and dark alleys becomes preferable to living at home, something is seriously wrong. But when word reaches Allie that her mother is facing a life threatening illness, she has no choice but to return to the place of nightmares. Leaving wasn't a choice, it was a necessity, and if returning hadn't been equally necessary, Allie never would have set foot back inside that hell-hole.

Dean is no stranger to hardship, but the day Allie walked out of his life, taking his heart right along with her, was hands-down the most frustrating. Six months later, she's back and Dean refuses to rest until he figures out exactly what the hell happened.

Now, Allie's drowning. Drowning in lies. Drowning in the truth. Drowning in pain, and anger, and fear.

But there comes a time when every drowning person must decide whether they will . . . Sink or Swim?

Excerpt from Sink or Swim:

Dean helped her buckle—her hands shaking too badly to do it herself—and then flew like a bat out of hell all the way to the Emergency Room entrance at the hospital. The moment they were inside, he deposited her into one of the chairs in the waiting area. She would have argued if she’d thought her legs could hold her any longer. 
“Stay here. I’m gonna go see what I can find out.” 
Allie sat there in a daze watching him argue with the nurse behind the reception desk. She’d known this was coming. She’d known it the day she left the city. Stage four cancer wasn’t something you walked away from. Not without some kind of miracle, and her family had never scored high on the miracle charts. Then, why the hell was she so stunned? 
Her mother was dying. Dying. The fact wasn’t new. And it wasn’t what bothered her. Her mother was about to be dead. Dead. That was it. There was a hell of a lot of difference between dying and dead. Yeah, sure, one usually led to the other, but her brain had refused to make that connection until now. 
Her mom was going to die. Be dead. Dead. She hated that word. It sounded so goddamn final.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Ravena, NY with her wonderful husband and three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird and the rabbit.

For more about Sink or Swim check out these sites!




Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shuffle Saturday (36): The Fourth Drink Instinct

Every Saturday I'll be posting a random song off of my iPod. Everyone can feel free to join in, just leave a link to your Shuffle Saturday post in the comments! This week's song is:

The Fourth Drink Instinct by Cute Is What We Aim For

I've always loved this song–or, well, the whole CD really. But this song is one of the best. It's sad, but beautiful. The lyrics repeat a lot, but it sort of burns their message into your mind.

What are you listening to?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Blog Tour Character Interview: Awakenings by JE Shannon

Today we have JE Shannon stopping by with Evie, the main character from Awakenings, to chat a bit! To celebrate her new release, JE is giving away a Kindle with an ecopy of Awakenings (US only). One runner-up will win an ecopy of Awakenings (open internationally). You can enter HERE! Check out the synopsis:

Evie Shepard awakens to a nightmare. She's been buried alive and has no idea how or why. As she struggles to remember what happened, she begins to notice changes –heightened senses, as well as increased speed, agility, and strength. And her heart no longer beats. She soon makes a disturbing discovery: she wasn't buried alive; she was murdered. Somehow, she has come back...and she wants revenge.

Character Interview with Evie:

JE: I’ve managed to slow Evie down for a bit and ask her some questions. She’s pretty antsy, so I’ll get through this as quickly as possible.

So Evie. Can you tell me a little about your life before...ummm.

Evie: Before I was brutally murdered and came back from the dead?

JE: Uh...Yeah. That.

Evie: It was pretty typical I guess. I went to school, I had friends. Honestly, I was never really into most things that teenage girls are. I would much rather have been involved in a good book than a pep rally.

JE: So you were a homebody?

Evie: *shrugs* I guess. I went to movies with friends, things like that. *laughs*

JE: What?

Evie: I had this one friend, Lacey. She was always so much fun. We liked to go running together early in the morning. At the end of the run we would climb this huge tree and just hang out. I’m going to miss that. It’s not like I can go back to my old life.

JE: I’m so sorry. I know this must be hard.

Evie: Don’t worry. I’ll make the people responsible pay for it. *sparks emit from her hands*

JE: Whoa. Ok, let’s move on. How is working with Ethan and Bo?

Evie: Complicated. Well, not with Bo. He’s about as complicated as a spoon. Ethan is the serious, down to business kind. Bo is anything but. I don’t know how they work so well together.

JE: Speaking of Ethan...

Evie: *Evie looks away* He’s smart, kind, and completely devoted. And he has a really great smile but...I really don’t want to discuss this right now. I have more important things to worry about right now. Like finding my sister. And finding my killer. *she smiles but in a completely frightening way*

JE: Well. I’ll let you get back to your...errr...hunting.

Evie: You know, whoever put us through all of this really must be a sadistic person. When I get my hands on them...

JE: *Interviewer backs away slowly* Well, good luck with that. *Runs for her life*

Book Trailer:


About the Author:

J. E. Shannon currently lives in Florida, but is a Missouri native. She spends most of her time reading, writing, and taking care of her small child and two crazy dogs. Visit her at www.jeshannonbooks.com.

For more about Awakenings check out these sites!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Spotlight: The Devil You Know by JM Gregoire

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Today we have an excerpt from JM Gregoire's The Devil You Know. You guys, I don't know about you, but this cover is all I need to know that I want to read about Dez! But the synopsis helps too!

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Deziree Davanzatti is a thief by trade and to keep herself occupied between jobs, she owns and operates Onyx, a trendy nightclub for the supernatural citizens of New York City.

What else would a 400-something year old demon-human hybrid do with her spare time?

Following a drunken night of questionable decisions, the vampire Michael “Vegas” Tremayne leaves town with no explanation. Dez is left wondering if they made a mistake and if it cost her a price she wasn’t willing to pay – her best friend and confidant.

When he returns after two weeks of no contact, he comes bearing grave news that could potentially change the world forever….or end it all together. To make matters worse, they suspect that someone they know may be behind it all.

An extremely dangerous chain of events has been set in motion and it is up to Dez and Vegas, with the help of his brother Lucas, to find a way to stop it.

From the author of Burning, the short story prequel, comes The Devil You Know, the first full length novel in the Demon Legacy series by J.M. Gregoire.

Excerpt from The Devil You Know:

The time seemed to pass quickly. Deziree had taken a second to pan around the room and felt the mild pangs of disappointed when she didn't see Vegas anywhere. She took a look over the main bar and realized that some of the bottles were getting a low. 
"Hey Danni,” she called to the bartender, “I’m going to take a break on the roof. When I get back, I will run out back and grab some refills."

As she stepped out of the roof-access door onto the flat expanse of building, Deziree opened her pack of cigarettes, took one out, put it to her lips and lit it. She could feel his presence as she took her first drag. She exhaled and smiled when she heard his voice behind her. 
"Those are bad for you, you know." 
When she spun around, he was standing a few paces away.

"Hey you." As Deziree gazed at Vegas, her smile didn't attenuate. Besides the fact that he was her best friend, she loved to look at him. He was by far the most beautiful creature she'd laid eyes on in her extraordinarily long life. He was stereotypically hot guy. Tall, dark and every bit of him was dangerous. He was six-two or three, the top of his smooth, bald head towering above her. She couldn’t imagine the number of razors he’d gone through over the centuries to keep that look. He had the perfectly chiseled appearance of a deadly hunter. Most people would have to spend hours in the gym every day for a body like that, but his undead status meant he didn't even have to try. He would look like that forever. His eyes were the only tell-tale sign that he was a vampire. Those irises – each a pure gleaming gold with a dark-brown ring bordering the edge - were the only giveaway to the general public of what he was. She, on the other hand, could feel it. She could feel the electricity crackle in the air whenever her was around. In more than four hundred years, she had never met someone as exciting as Vegas, and she wanted him from the moment they first met. Why did we fight it? 
"Can I bum one off you?" He nodded his head toward the cigarettes. 
"You would make a terrible spokesperson for anti-smoking public service announcements," she replied with a snarky tone. As she fumbled with the pack of cigarettes, he stepped closer to her.

Her nerves hummed.

With a predatory smile that revealed his intentions, he closed what little remaining space there was between them. Reaching his hand around the back of her neck and tilting her head, he brought his lips down to meet hers. Her head spun with euphoria. His scent washed away every negative thought she'd had about him in the last two weeks. When the kiss finally broke, it was not her doing. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes to see that he had that his smile had grown wicked.

"You didn't answer me on the phone," he purred. "Did you miss me?" 
"Well, with the harem of men I have at my disposal, I couldn't find the time to miss someone I only had a little fling with." She stepped back and with a smirk, she added, "I mean, I didn't even get breakfast." 
Vegas dropped his gaze. "I honestly am sorry about that. I don't want you to get the wrong idea.

I had a fantastic time and I didn't want to leave, but I was contracted at the last minute and it was time-sensitive." 
Deziree smiled. "I'm just fucking with you, Michael. I'm not mad. I mean, I was initially. But I figured something must have happened. A call or a text would have been nice, but shit happens, right?" 
"Well," he said, his wicked grin firmly in place and his eyebrow cocked, "let me make it up to you." 
"We'll see about that," she replied as her heart pounded in her chest. 
"I can hear your heart racing.” Stepping forward, he leaned down and kissed her again. When he broke away again, she found herself wishing that she didn't have to go back to work. He leaned his forehead on hers and whispered, "My place when you get out?" 
"Sure," was her quick breathy reply.

"I have a few things to take care of," he said quietly, "and then I will meet you here around the time you guys usually lock up." 
She nodded in response, and he turned, walked to the edge of the roof and dropped off the side.

After standing there for a few moments in a daze, she finished her cigarette and headed back through the roof-access door to finish her shift.

About the Author:

J.M. Gregoire was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA and despite her abhorrence for any season that dares to drop to a temperature below seventy degrees, she still currently resides there with her two children and her two cats. Always a passionate reader, her love of urban fantasy books eventually morphed into a love of writing them. She is currently working on the Demon Legacy series and has an urban fantasy thriller project coming up that will be co-written with one of her best friends and favorite authors, Ginny Lurcock.

For more about The Devil You Know check out these sites!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Giveaway: Entranced Goes From Blush to Rush!

Yesterday, Entranced Publishing changed the name of their YA imprint from Blush to Rush, and I couldn't love it more! The name Rush just appeals to me more than Blush. Blush sounds romance-y and sweet, whereas Rush makes me think action and romance and so many other things that I love finding in a good YA book.
Here's what Entranced is saying about the name change:
We feel the term Rush really captures the direction Young and New Adult romances are heading in,” CEO Ashley Christman says. “Whether you’re referring to the heady rush of first love or the more charged rush of sexual exploration and experimentation, Rush is energetic, it’s exciting—and it’s very much Entranced.
To celebrate the change Entranced is giving away three copies of every book currently available in the new Rush line, including Spirit World,  Elsker,  The Georgia Corbins,  In Stone and The Sacrificed. This competition will run from August 5 through till August 12. ENTER HERE!

Or enter to win signed books and more from the YARush Launch giveaway! ENTER HERE!

For more about Entranced Publishing and Rush check out their sites!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Exclusive Bonus Chapter: Shadow by Olivia Cooper

Today we have an exclusive bonus chapter from Olivia Cooper's Shadow, a story about a girl and a life changing secret that just might mean the difference between life and death! Shadow is FREE on Amazon from August 5th - 9th, so make sure you get your free copy before time runs out! Check out the synopsis:

Angelina Hathaway was a baby when her mother gave her up for adoption. Now eighteen years old, she meets Guillermo - a handsome, arrogant boy who was sent from Europe to tell her that she’s inherited a vast fortune from her birth parents along with an explosive secret about her lineage that will change her forever.

Unfortunately, there are people who know her secret and will stop at nothing to control her for their own purposes, or even kill her. In order to escape, she must decide between those she can trust and those she can’t…before it’s too late.

Bonus Chapter from Shadow by Olivia Cooper:

Rise of a Pharaoh
Egypt – 3,000 B.C. 
My wedding was three days ago and I still have not spent a night with my husband. In fact, I’ve hardly seen him…without his mistress, that is. I have to remind myself that it’s quite common for a pharaoh to have a mistress or even several of them, but as his queen, I think I should be given some of his time. I don’t think his mistress would bother me as much if the attraction seemed to be only physical, but she seems to have power over his mind as well and her influence over him scares me. 
I come from the great chiefdom of Abydos and my husband comes from the chiefdom of Hierakonpolis. Our marriage was meant to join two houses of great power and unify Egypt under a single ruler. My husband’s family brought greater wealth to the marriage and my family brought a stronger military – more soldiers, more horses, and more advanced weapons. I see ambition in his mistress’s eyes and I worry what she will do with that power. I’ve already noticed her dismissing our servants, people who have served my family for years, and replacing them with people who are loyal to her.

I decide to try again. I notice him walking through the courtyard without her and I realize that my opportunity has come. I walk down the stairs to meet him. 
“Darling,” I say. “I’ve hardly seen you since our wedding. I hope I haven’t done anything to offend you.” 
“Of course not,” he says. “I’ve been busy, that’s all. It’s a lot of work ruling Egypt.” 
It’s hard for me keep the pleasant look on my face as he says that to me. From what I’ve observed, he really hasn’t done much of anything at all. 
“Of course,” I say. “Perhaps you could take a break from all your hard work. Would you like to meet me for dinner this evening? I’ll have them prepare something extra special.” 
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I wish I could but I have an important meeting this evening and can’t make it.” 
I nod my head and we bid each other farewell. Later that evening, my curiosity gets the better of me and I decide to look for him. I walk for almost an hour before I see him sitting in the garden having a picnic dinner with his mistress. The flowers are blooming, the breeze is gently fluttering the leaves on the trees, the birds are chirping and the sun is setting. It’s the very essence of romance and it makes me sick. And then I see her wearing the red diamond necklace and earrings that belong to my family.

Those red diamonds were pulled from the mines near my ancestral home and made into jewelry for my grandmother. I’m sure there’s nothing like them in the world. Some say the gems are magic. When I arrived here, the necklace and earrings were placed into the vault containing our treasures. I’m enraged that he gave them to her. I wonder if he’s even allowed her into the vault for a tour to ransack more of my things. In his love for his mistress, I think my husband may have forgotten who holds greater power here.

The next day, I decide to go for a swim. The cool water feels refreshing in the hot desert sun. It’s a beautiful day. After my swim, I head to my chambers to get dressed. Just as I finish dressing, I hear a knock at my door. 
“It’s done,” he says. 
“May I see?” I ask. 
He leads me to my husband’s chambers and opens the door for me to enter. Inside, I see my husband and his mistress lying on the ground in a pool of blood. I can see the spots where the swords went through their hearts. I walk over and remove the red diamond necklace and earrings from around her neck and place them around my own. I walk over to where my husband keeps his double crown, pick it up and place it on my own head. I pick up his scepter and turn to my guard. 
“Send word out that Egypt has finally been unified under one ruler. Tell them that the pharaoh has taken her throne.”



For more about Shadow check out these sites!


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