Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Title: Blonde Ops
Authors: Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: May 6th, 2014
Rating:

Expelled from yet another boarding school for hacking, sixteen-year-old Rebecca "Bec" Jackson is shipped off to Rome to intern for Parker Phillips, the editor-in-chief of one of the world’s top fashion magazines. But when a mysterious accident lands Parker in a coma, former supermodel and notorious drama queen Candace Worthington takes the reins of the magazine. The First Lady is in Rome for a cover shoot, and all hands are on deck to make sure her visit goes smoothly.

Bec quickly realizes that Parker's "accident" may not have been quite so accidental, and when the First Lady's life is threatened, Bec is determined to uncover the truth. On top of that, Bec must contend with bitchy models, her new boss, Candace, who is just as difficult as the tabloids say, and two guys, a hunky Italian bike messenger with a thousand-watt smile and a fashion blogger with a razor-sharp wit, who are both vying for her heart.

Can Bec catch the person who's after the First Lady, solve the mystery of Parker's accident, and juggle two cute boys at the same time? Blonde Ops is a fun, action-packed romp through the hallways of a fashion magazine and the cobblestone streets of Rome.

Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman is a cute adventure centered in Rome, about hackers, spies, the secret service, hot boys, and some truly eccentric fashion lovers. Unfortunately, it just wasn't for me.

I feel overly disappointed with Blonde Ops. It wasn't that the story was bad, it wasn't. It was an adventurous romp through Rome to save the First Lady. And it wasn't that the characters were terrible. I liked almost all of the characters. The problem was that I did not like Bec. At all.

Bec, at first, seems like a cool main character. She's a hacker who's just been kicked out of her umpteenth boarding school and is sent to stay with her mother's best friend in Rome, where she'll be interning for her fashion magazine for the summer. Promising start. Except that once Bec gets to Rome, her level of obnoxious (and stupid) increases tenfold. Seriously, on your second day as an intern you complain because you have to do, dare I say it?, menial intern work! The horror! And when the woman you're staying with, your mother's friend, is in a serious car accident, the message you leave your mom is a chipper, "call me when you have a sec"? I'm sorry, that's just ridiculous. I felt like the situation was a complete joke to Bec. She's one of those characters that, even though they're only 15 or 16, they think they're smarter than every adult they meet. She just rubbed me the wrong way, which caused me to think everything she did was annoying. By the time she eventually grew and developed—a little—as a character, it was too late for me to change my opinion.

The love interests—there's two, but... well, I'm not sure how truly interested Bec was in either. They were more like casual high school boyfriends then epic soul mates. Which was actually something I really appreciated about the story. Bec doesn't fall madly in love with two boys and have to decide which one to be with. She's sixteen and meets two cute boys and goes out with them both a couple of times, but she's not basing any life decisions around them. They're just boys, and she's not even sure she trusts either of them completely. I wasn't a huge fan of the way she handles both boys, but I just didn't like Bec's judgment in general so I'm not sure I should really comment on her taste in guys.

Unfortunately, for me, Blonde Ops is another case of a gorgeous cover being wasted on a weak story. Or, more like, an irritating main character. But if you like cute spy stories you might want to give this one a try. Maybe you'll like Bec more than I did.

For more about Blonde Ops check out these sites!

AmazonB&NGoodreads


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (74): Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

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

This week's teaser comes from Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this one. It's a really clever retelling, but so far Wendy is coming off like a starry-eyed girl falling in instalove with Pete before she even knows if he's a good guy or not. Instalove, in cases such as this, does not work for me, so I'm not enjoying Second Star as much as I would like, but I do like it. The surfing element works amazingly well when paired with the story of Peter Pan.

You can't bring all of that with you here." He taps the board. "Worries weigh you down. You need to be light enough to fly.

{Second Star, Chapter 5}

Synopsis of Second Star:

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

For more about Second Star check out these sites!

AmazonB&NGoodreads


*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Falling to Pieces by Jamie Canosa

Today we're excited to be a part of the Falling to Pieces blog tour! As part of the tour we have a giveaway from Jamie. And, as a special treat, Falling to Pieces is on sale for just $0.99, so make sure you get your copy today!

Suffering the bitter tongues of her alcoholic mother and cruel boyfriend, Jade struggles just to look at herself in the mirror. She hates her life, her insecurities, her ineptitudes, but most of all . . . Jade hates herself. She wants nothing more than to disappear, and everyone seems happy to let her. Until Kiernan Parks moves back into town.

Jade’s been crushing on him ever since kindergarten, when his family moved away.

But now he’s back, and looking better than ever.

Hiding is a way of life for Jade, but Kiernan insists on uncovering the real girl he’s sees trapped inside her. On drawing her out of her shell, and showing her that she is someone worthy of love.

Together, they fight back the darkness she’s living in. But when they finally step into the light, will the secret Kiernan’s been trying to keep buried destroy Jade, once and for all?

For some people, happy endings are a fairytale.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA/NA 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 Upstate NY with her husband, and their three crazy kids . . . plus the cat, the bird, and the rabbit.

For more about Falling to Pieces check out these sites!

AmazonGoodreads


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Orenda by Ruth Silver

Happy release day to Ruth Silver and her latest book, Orenda! There's a short snippet from the book as well as a giveaway for a $10 Amazon giftcard, so make sure you check the out below! Here's the synopsis:

Join forces with a parallel universe.

Dark forces, magical creatures, and the world Lil thought she knew collide when a dream transports her to the strange world of Orenda. Stunned and terrified, Lil comes face to face with her doppelganger, Willow, who possesses the ability to travel between the two worlds. Everything Lil knows logically says that Orenda can't exist, but a small clue may be proof that it was more than an ordinary dream. With the threat of her younger sister in danger, Lil crosses dimensions but it may cost her even more than she bargained for.

A sword wielding girl, the eternal suit, and a parallel universe come together in this action-packed Young Adult fantasy adventure that will keep readers of all ages turning the pages. Orenda is the first novel in the Orenda series.

Excerpt:

Lil stood firm, sword-in-hand, staring at the beast as it flew directly at her.

“How do I kill it?” She raised the sword above her head with two hands. 
Hudson glanced at her. “With what we taught you. The dragon is no different than a man.” 
“It has wings and is flying at me. I’d say it’s different!” 

Giveaway:


About the Author:

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of ABERRANT, a young adult dystopian adventure series published by Patchwork Press and Lazy Day Publishing, in 2013. Silver attended Northern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication in the spring of 2005. While in college, she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004. Her favori
te class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required, because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories. Her love of writing led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading, photography, traveling and most of all writing. She loves dystopian and fantasy young adult stories. Ruth has been actively writing since she was a teenager. Upcoming works include Royal Reaper, a young adult series about grim reapers, due for release June 3rd, 2014. She currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois.

For more about Orenda check out these sites!

AmazonB&NSigned CopyGoodreads


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Shuffle Saturday (63): Cheap Sunglasses

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:

Cheap Sunglasses (ft. Matthew Koma) by RAC

This song is definitely being played a lot this summer. It's got such a bubbly summer feel, I just can't not play it over and over again!

What are you listening to?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London

Title: Definitely, Maybe In Love
Author: Ophelia London
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Publish Date: October 28th, 2013
Rating:

Her theory of attraction is about to get a new angle...

Spring Honeycutt wants two things: to ace her sustainable living thesis and to save the environment. Both seem hopelessly unobtainable until her college professor suggests that with a new angle, her paper could be published. Spring swears she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.

“Whatever it takes,” however, means forming a partnership with the very hot, very privileged, very conceited Henry Knightly.

Henry is Spring's only hope at publication, but he's also the über-rich son of a land developer and cash-strapped Spring’s polar opposite. Too bad she can't help being attracted to the way he pushes her buttons, both politically and physically. As they work on her thesis, Spring finds there's more to Henry than his old money and argyle sweaters…but can she drop the loud-and-proud act long enough to let him in? Suddenly, choosing between what she wants and what she needs puts Spring at odds with everything she believes in.

Definitely, Maybe in Love is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice that proves true love is worth risking a little pride.

Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London is a new adult retelling of Pride and Prejudice set at modern day Stanford University.

As a P&P retelling, Definitely, Maybe in Love works well. While it's got all the major plot points and characters, London uses them in a way that makes her story unique. I enjoyed the changes in the story. They left me wondering about a story that's been told a thousand times before.

Spring, as a main character, takes a little getting used to. She's a great character, but seeing everything she thinks sort of makes you want to shake her on occasion. She's very judgmental and emotional, which Lizzie is supposed to be, but Spring has a grating personality that Lizzie didn't have. She does grow on you though. I really liked her and her adorable nature lovingness by the end of the book.

Henry is a great Darcy. No one can ever replace Mr. Darcy in my heart, but I did love Henry's teasing and banter as he tried to rile Spring up. Henry's only fault is that he is, like, really bad at communicating. Darcy was proud and a little shy, but Henry is neither. He's just really bad at talking to people and conveying his thoughts.

One of my favorite characters in this actually turned out to be Mel, the annoying but lovable gossip, who is nothing like her P&P counterpart, Charlotte. Everyone needs a best friend like Mel. Now, Julia on the other hand... She seems cute and all Jane like at first, but I swear, she's got to be one of the stupidest characters I've ever read about. I just... I don't know what happened with her.

(Slight spoilers ahead)

She was great and then her boyfriend left her and she runs off with a man she knows is practically a rapist? Yeah, no, bunny. That's always a bad idea. And it's worse because it wasn't even like she was just drunk and was coerced into it. The girl mentioned wanting to hook up with him once—after she knew what a bad guy he was, of course—when she was stone cold sober. That's just... Ugh. Julia is not my favorite, although she's probably not as bad as I'm making her out to be. Her actions just severely annoyed me. Like, make yourself a victim even more, why don't you?

(End spoilers)

I wasn't so sure about the way London eluded to conversations and events we, as readers, are not privy to in the novel. It left me feeling like I'd missed something somehow. I kept having "when did that happen?" moments. But it did keep the plot moving and that was one of my favorite things about this book. It flows very well for taking place over an entire year.

If you're a lover of Pride and Prejudice retellings or just a fan of New Adult then you will definitely want to check out Definitely, Maybe in Love. It's a clean New Adult novel so if NA gets a little too steamy for you at times, this one's for you!

For more about Definitely, Maybe in Love check out these sites!

AmazonB&NGoodreads


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

Title: The Last Best Kiss
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: April 22nd, 2014
Rating:

Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too....

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.

The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik is an utterly adorable contemporary take on Jane Austen's Persuasion. I've never read Persuasion—I keep falling asleep right in the beginning!—but this seems like a great retelling. It's fun, fast-paced, and makes its point about not letting others dictate your life and who you're allowed to like.

Anna Eliot is such a likable character which you wouldn't think she would be based on how she treats Finn in the beginning. She's embarrassed to admit she likes him and would rather hurt his feeling then risk not fitting in. But she's so forthright about it all that it's hard not to like her. She admits when she's wrong, for the most part (something few YA heroines seem to do). She cares about her friends and doesn't judge their choices even when she's worried they'll judge hers. She's an all around good person—with the occasional flaw of course—and that made her so enjoyable to read about.

Finn was pretty great himself. His excitement about something as simple as a picture of a flower or an animal or the stars was so incredible to read about. A lot of times romantic novels are just about romance. The characters seem to get caught up in this idea of love and flirting and completely lose any and all personality traits that aren't smooth or suave. But Finn babbles like a little kid when he discovers something new and interesting. And he's so supportive of Anna's paintings (which are totally cool, by the way, and I want one!). He's that nice guy that isn't too nice but just nice enough to be perfect. Although, I'll admit, he had his moments.

Anna's family is all sorts of dysfunctional. Her mom, who's really only mentioned pretty briefly, is possibly terrible. Her sister's are both older and away and a little emotionally stunted when it comes to familial bonds. And her dad is self centered to the point where it's sort of amusing. To be honest, I actually like Anna's dad. A lot. I think he's pretty adorable. He's not mean or terrible just because he can be. It's like he legitimately doesn't see how the things he does, or doesn't do more likely, effect Anna. That's not to say he's a good parent, he's not, but he is a parent. He doesn't want to get to know Anna not because he doesn't care, but because he doesn't realize he needs to. She doesn't find the same things interesting as he does. Not like Lizzie does. Lizzie and her dad are like the cutest BFF's ever. I appreciate their relationship, maybe more than I should, but still. I think they're cute. Their dad rarely mentions his older daughter Molly, but he cares about her the same as he cares about his younger daughters. He's not emotionally there for any of them, but he's physically there and that's more then their mother ever gave them.

I don't quite get the cover. It has nothing at all to do with the story aside from the kissing. But, whatever, I guess. It's cute and colorful and works. It just holds no meaning other than that it's a very contemporary cover. Not sure why this, of all things, bothered me, but it did a little. I enjoy a cover that means something to the story. The cover's really not important though, what's important is the amazingly sweet story inside.

If you're a fan of contemporary, an Austen lover, or a fan of LaZebnik herself, you're going to want to pick up The Last Best Kiss for your collection. It'll keep you up all night reading. Trust me, I know from experience!

Find out more about The Last Best Kiss at these sites!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Shuffle Saturday (62): Fader

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:

Fader by The Temper Trap

This is one of those songs that I didn't even realize I downloaded until I heard it playing a few weeks later. But then I totally fell in love with it. Now I have to check out more songs by The Temper Trap!

What are you listening to?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Read Georgetown Academy For FREE! #GTScandal

If you guys have been following me for a while then you know how much I love the Georgetown Academy series by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz. Especially Brooks... just saying. Anyway, there is some MAJOR news about the series coming up soon (hopefully!) and if you haven't already read the books you should get started on this series. Especially since the first book is FREE! That's right, book one is free over on Wattpad, so get over there and enjoy! But don't forget to help spread the word using the hashtag #GTScandal!

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

Read Georgetown Academy and Share!

Georgetown Academy is a juicy series about the politics at D.C.’s most elite prep school. A cross between Scandal and Gossip Girl, it’s fans include Eva Longoria and nearly a million Wattpad fans.

To celebrate the series’ success, we’ve put together an amazing campaign that involves and benefits readers—the more participation, the more we’ll give. Here are the steps:

Book One is currently being featured on Wattpad. Add GTA to your public Wattpad reading list: http://www.wattpad.com/story/8095946-georgetown-academy-book-one

Share Book One’s Wattpad link via twitter (Using #GTScandal)
• If GT fans hit 1k tweets by Wednesday, April 23, we will release Chapter 1 of Book 2 on Wattpad 
• if can hit 1.5k tweets by Sunday 4/27, we’ll release another Book 2 chapter (from the POV of a an unknown character) on Wattpad 
• If we hit 2k, the price of book 2, across all platforms will be dropped to $1.99 
Join our Twitter Party! On Tuesday 4/22 @ 9 pm EST authors Jessica and Alyssa will answer all readers’ questions! Find out if Taryn will stand between Ellie and Gabe, and maybe their parents’ careers. Use the hashtag #GTScandal to participate. Follow us @GTownAcademy.
Other ways to participate in the campaign and spread the word:

Add the books on Goodreads! Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4

If you've already read and loved the books, consider posting your review on Amazon.

So will you be attending the chat? Let me know in the comments :)


For more about the Georgetown Academy series check out our reviews!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FREE for Kindle: Everville series by Roy Huff

Today Everville: The First Pillar by Roy Huff is free on Amazon!  If you haven't checked out this fantasy adventure series get the first two books for free during this promotion and the third is on sale for only $0.99 during the event!

The First Pillar

Owen Sage is the emblematic college freshman at Easton Falls University. With all the worries about his first year in college, he was not prepared for what would happen next. His way of life was flipped upside down when he mysteriously crossed into another dimension, into the beautiful land of Everville. His excitement was abruptly halted when he discovered that there was a darkness forged against both the natural world, which he knew well, and the new land which he discovered, Everville. He must devise a plan to save both worlds while joining forces with the race of Fron and The Keepers, whom both harbor hidden secrets he must learn in order to gain power over the evil that dwells in The Other In Between. With a race against time to save both worlds, his short time at Easton Falls did not quite prepare him for the evil, dark forces he must fight in order to conquer The Other In Between.

FREE from April 15th - 18th!


The City of Worms

College freshman Owen Sage has just started to understand the darkness trying to overtake Everville and the earthly realm. With the help of The Keeper and the Fron army, Owen has managed to buy some time, but new problems have already emerged, new secrets need to be revealed, and the race against time to stop Them from conquering both dimensions has only just begun. The Keeper, Owen Sage, and his friends at Easton Falls University must now battle threats from within. To do it, they must reunite with familiar creatures and join forces with new ones as they navigate their journey to the truth that awaits them in Everville.

FREE from April 19th - 22nd!


The Rise of Mallory

As the epic journey continues, a victorious Owen Sage stands undefeated against his enemies. His last battle in Everville gave rise to a new insidious evil, Mallory; whose determination to defeat him opens an unexplored Pandora’s box. Owen's search for truth will unveil the mystery and surprising insights surrounding himself and his friends at Easton Falls University. New creatures will be uncovered and the true value of friendship will be tested, as Owen embarks on yet another battle in Everville.

On sale for $0.99 from April 15th - 21st!

For more about this event check it out on these sites!

FacebookGoodreads


Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Forever Song
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publish Date: April 15th, 2014
Rating:

VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

MONSTER

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa provides an epic ending to an epic series. With heart pounding danger around every twist and turn, you won't be able to put this apocalyptic masterpiece down until the very last page.

Kagawa seriously writes the best fight scenes into this series. It's one of the reasons I can't stop reading these books once I pick them up. They're filled with action and packed with twists and turns. The action did get more than a little gruesome at times. This series isn't for the weak stomached. There is a lot of blood and death and dismemberment, so if that's not your thing, you might be skipping great chucks of The Forever Song. I feel this was the goriest book in the series, but I felt it was necessary to the story and really showed just what the risks were for Allie, Kanin and the rest.

The romance in this was as good as it was in the first two books. I don't want to give anything away, but Zeke is still Allie's número uno and I still like them, but not in an overpowering they-need-to-be-together sort of way. I said it in my review of The Eternity Cure, I would love to have seen the romantic interest be changed up a little, and I guess it sort of was in a way, but not the way I wanted. I feel like Zeke and Allie together come off a tad self-righteous. They both see each other as so perfect and everyone who doesn't think exactly like them just has to be wrong. That annoyed me majorly since I'm super in love with Jackal who is so great in this book and gets almost no credit. In fact, all he usually ever gets is a sneer from Allie, even when he's right. Ugh. I'm a little bitter about that, if you can't tell. It's the only thing that really irked me about Allie this time around.

But anyway, back to Jackal who is just amazing in The Forever Song. I'm so in love with him, I could read about him forever. And yeah, I get it. I know Jackal and Allie are just blood siblings, but their chemistry is off the charts. Not in a romance-y sort of way, much to my dismay, but in a platonic way that makes me silly-grin whenever I read about the two of them bickering. It's adorable and I just wish Allie could have given him some more credit. Then there's Kanin. Oh, Kanin. Best mentor ever. I've always loved Kanin, but he, like Jackal, is just so perfect in The Forever Song. Allie, Jackal and Kanin make this perfect, completely dysfunctional family out to save the world and that is the reason I fell so hard for this series. No matter how hard things get, or how much they irritate each other, or whatever their individual beliefs, they want to do the right thing and come together despite all their differences.

If you've been following this series, fear not. Kagawa manages to outdo herself with The Forever Song, creating the perfect ending for these characters and the whole apocalyptic world she's created. If you still haven't picked this series up, you have to get on that. Now that it's over there will be nothing to keep you from devouring all three books one after the other, which is what you'll do the moment you start the Blood of Eden series.

For more about The Forever Song check out these sites!

AmazonB&NGoodreads


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Shuffle Saturday (61): Working Man

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:

Working Man by Imagine Dragons

I am so in love with everything about this song. I've listened to it more times than I care to admit. It's just so catchy and spring-y and I'm obsessed.

What are you listening to?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spotlight: Sapphire by Sarah Fay Olson

Today we're spotlighting Sapphire by Sarah Fay Olson! Sapphire is a fantasy full of adventure and romance. Check out the synopsis:

In the kingdom of Asteria, Layla has dreamt of nothing but royal balls and falling in love. On her sixteenth birthday, she receives the invitation to the annual Autumn Ball and it doesn't seem like life could get any better when the Prince falls for her. But the fairy tale is short-lived as Layla soon learns the truth about her murdered parents and is given a sapphire that changes her life.


About the Author:

Sarah Fay Olson is a native Floridian that began writing her debut novel, Sapphire, during her senior year in high school. She enjoys reading young and new adult books whether they are dystopian, fantasy, adventure or romance. When she is not reading or writing, Sarah enjoys horseback riding, playing the violin, and watching movies.

For more about Sapphire check out these sites!

AmazonChristopher Matthews PublishingGoodreads


Thursday, April 10, 2014

ReReading: My Pride and Prejudice Obsession

Every few years I get the urge to reread one of my favorite novels, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Of course, since I'm crazy and obsessive, once I'm finished reading I have to immediately watch all of the movies and the BBC mini-series. Then I want to read any book inspired by P&P just to get a little more of that fantastic banter between two characters that just can't stand each other. So, today I have a list of four of my favorite remakes I've read and one that I want to read.

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn't interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles's friend, Will Darcy, who's snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk - so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

This was such a cute story! I loved the private school setting. It definitely worked for the storyline.


Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Fifteen-year-old Callie buys a pair of real Prada pumps to impress the cool crowd on a school trip to London. Goodbye, Callie the clumsy geek-girl, hello popularity! But before she knows what’s hit her, Callie wobbles, trips, conks her head...and wakes up in the year 1815!

She stumbles about until she meets the kind-hearted Emily, who takes Callie in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. Sparks soon fly between Callie and Emily’s cousin, Alex, the maddeningly handsome - though totally arrogant - Duke of Harksbury. Too bad he seems to have something sinister up his ruffled sleeve...

From face-planting off velvet piano benches and hiding behind claw-foot couches to streaking through the estate halls wearing nothing but an itchy blanket, Callie’s curiosity about Alex creates all kinds of trouble.

But the grandfather clock is ticking on her 19th Century shenanigans. Can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, win a kiss from Alex, and prove to herself that she’s more than just a loud-mouth klutz before her time there is up?

This is definitely a unique take on P&P. It's slightly reminiscent of Lost in Austen with the whole time traveling aspect.


Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:

- As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school--not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.

- As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn't exactly on everyone's must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise's beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince's best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

So another prep school setting, but it still works. It's been a while, but I think Epic Fail might be the most similar to P&P on this list. Plus LaZebnik's other Austen inspired books are equally as amazing, including the upcoming The Last Best Kiss (Persuasion), which I loved!

Amazon ($1.99 as of this post) • B&NGoodreads

Pride and Popularity by Jenni James

Chloe Elizabeth Hart despises the conceited antics of the popular crowd, or more importantly, one very annoying self-possessed guy, Taylor Anderson, who seems determined to make her the president of his fan club! As if! Every girl in the whole city of Farmington, New Mexico, is in love with him, but he seems to be only interested in Chloe.

This modern high school adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” is a battle of wits as Chloe desperately tries to remain the only girl who can avoid the inevitable—falling for Taylor.

I fell hard for this one. Taylor! Swoon! I really want to read all of James' other Austen inspired novels.


Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London

Her theory of attraction is about to get a new angle...

Spring Honeycutt wants two things: to ace her sustainable living thesis and to save the environment. Both seem hopelessly unobtainable until her college professor suggests that with a new angle, her paper could be published. Spring swears she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.

“Whatever it takes,” however, means forming a partnership with the very hot, very privileged, very conceited Henry Knightly.

Henry is Spring's only hope at publication, but he's also the über-rich son of a land developer and cash-strapped Spring’s polar opposite. Too bad she can't help being attracted to the way he pushes her buttons, both politically and physically. As they work on her thesis, Spring finds there's more to Henry than his old money and argyle sweaters…but can she drop the loud-and-proud act long enough to let him in? Suddenly, choosing between what she wants and what she needs puts Spring at odds with everything she believes in.

Definitely, Maybe in Love is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice that proves true love is worth risking a little pride.

I haven't read this P&P remake yet, but I really hope it's good! I love that the charcaters are in college in this one. It reminds me a little of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which is the most awesomely awesome thing ever!


Have any suggestions for Pride and Prejudice inspired books or movies? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spotlight: Madness of the Turtle by SR Wilsher

Today we have an excerpt from Madness of the Turtle by S.R. Wilsher! Madness of the Turtle is an intense coming of age story about a boy trying to find himself in a gang of bandits in the jungle. Check out the synopsis:

Father Gerard Limerick is the psychotic leader of a gang of uneducated and brutal jungle bandits. Needing to escape the Guatemalan army they are heading to join the revolution in Cuba. But it is 1971 and they are ignorant that the fighting has ended and that Ché Guevara died years before.

Whilst recovering on a farm after being shot, Limerick sees a daytime soap and falls in love with the beautiful Magdalena. Convinced the soap characters are real, and already believing he is a Son of God, Limerick claims he has been resurrected in order to save Magdalena from the soap’s evil Senor Gonzales.

Although pursued by the army and still heading for Cuba, they track Magdalena to a jungle film-set where they await the arrival of Senor Gonzales.

The story narrator is Limerick’s son; Seventeen year old Rico who believes he was kidnapped as a child from a gringo family. When they arrive in the film camp Rico becomes convinced that the writer and an actress are the parents he has dreamt about.

But, as the writer gradually reveals the truth of the child’s Robin Hood book that his father uses as a guide, and the fate of Guevara, Rico finally recognises his own self-delusion, and the crazed rationalisation and dangerous ignorance of his father.

Having earlier failed to protect a farmer’s wife and Alegria, a prostitute he loved, Rico grows determined that no harm should come to Magdalena and, as rivalries among the guerrillas surfaces Rico decides where his loyalties lie.

As the army catches up with them and Father Gerard flees taking Magdalena, it is left to Rico to confront his unhinged father to save her.

Excerpt from Madness of the Turtle:

I found Miguel Poptun sitting on a low step at the end of a row of houses that headed down the hill away from the main street. He looked like a man whose favourite dog had died. He looked round as I sat down beside him, but it was as if he didn’t see me. I didn’t want to pry. But he also looked like a man who shouldn’t be alone. 
We sat and watched the shadows move with the sun. 
The dirty and small, box-like houses sat on a mud road and staggered down the hill and yet seemed yellow and pretty in the brilliant morning light. The longer we sat, the greyer they became as it became clear how chipped were the walls, how rotten were the doors and how poorly repaired many of them were. The path was rocky with stones that had been uncovered by the rain. We sat there for a long time before Miguel spoke. 
“This is the street where I was born,” he said. 
“You’ve been away a long time?” I asked. 
“Too long.” He said it with a sadness I’d never heard in his voice before. I didn’t think he meant he was tired with the life we led, because I knew he enjoyed it as much as any man, but I sensed there was something here he regretted. 
He stood suddenly and took two steps, then paused. He turned to me, waiting for me to follow. I didn’t know if we were going back or going on. 
I followed him down the slope. He was determined at first, then slowed as he got halfway down the slope, as if his will was deserting him. He stopped suddenly. He didn’t check to see if I was still there. 
He was looking at one of the houses. There was no door. Just a rug hung between rotten wooden posts nailed to the stone front. Miguel pulled the rug aside and stepped through. He didn’t invite me in but I followed anyway. 
It was cool inside out of the sun and the uneven mud floor was damp. There was a table and a chair and a bed in this single room but nothing else. There was a door in the corner and we went through into the back room. 
There was another chair and a smaller table. This room had a wooden door to the outside but it was rotten at the bottom with enough room for a dog to crawl through. A dirty window in the back wall let in enough light to see an old woman at a metal tub that was propped on two chairs. She was bent forward her hands wrapped in the clothes in the water. She was dressed all in black and with her back to us. She heard us and turned around. She was a small woman, frail with deeply wrinkled, sun-darkened skin and small features in her aged face. 
“Who is it,” she demanded. She looked towards us but it was as if she didn’t really see us.
“It’s Miguel, Mama.” There was a gentle care inside his voice that sounded alien from Miguel’s mouth. 
“Miguel,” she repeated. She turned her head towards me as if it was me that had spoken. Her head shook, as if the name meant nothing to her. 
“Is she blind?” I asked with my voice low. 
“No.” Miguel didn’t take his eyes from the old woman. “Her mind’s gone.” 
“Who is it?” she asked again. 
“It’s Miguel, your son, Mama.” 
“Miguel?” She shook her head. “I don’t know a Miguel.” She turned back to her washing tub. It was as if we’d left the room. 
“My father was also called Miguel. You think she would recall one of us at least.” There was a great sadness in his voice. “My father died fifteen years ago. She changed overnight. I watched her for a time but I couldn’t stay and see her like this. I left two years after my father died. I have a brother and he and his wife take care of her. He’s a much better man than I am and she doesn’t forget him.” 
“You’ve never spoken of this, Miguel.” 
“The other men, they all have stories that are dangerous and exciting. Father’s killed by the army or mothers who died giving birth. How can I tell them that my father dropped down dead and my mother lost her mind? It’s not exciting, it’s just sad. How could I look them in the eye and tell them I’d left my home because my mother couldn’t remember my name?” 
“Why did you share it with me?” I asked. 
He looked at me as if I’d made him wonder the same thing. 
“Because, if you remember outside of your head it seems more real. And you don’t judge, Rico.” 
Miguel meant it kindly, but it didn’t feel like a good thing to me. I’d begun to think that all I’d accepted before wasn’t what I should accept now. And Miguel’s words made me feel like I’d been too good a son, an unquestioning son. Maybe if I’d judged more, things might have been different; people might have still been alive.

About Rico and Me by SR Wilsher:

Rico’s world is a harsh and brutal place where violence and indifference is second nature, but there is no frontier-glory attached to their behaviour. Instead it betrays all of the ignorance, misogyny and desolation of such lives.

The story came about when I abandoned an earlier thriller and searched the story to see what could be rescued. The only interesting thing of note was the bandit leader Father Gerard Limerick- and so a hundred thousand word thriller was reduced to a single page thought.

However, the more Limerick developed the more absurd he became. And while we all rewrite our pasts to a certain extent to protect our self-image, it’s those like Limerick, whose shamelessness and manipulation of the truth for their own ends that verges on madness, that his character is supposed to spotlight.

When I consider the wilful one-eyed ignorance of the bandits, I have in mind a group of under-educated vigilantes a few years ago who had protested against a local man because they had confused paediatrician for paedophile. So the bandits also became the easily confused and those who are too lazy to consider anything other than a black or white solution for those problems that are only ever grey.

Rico though is plainly different and, of all my characters, he’s my favourite. I love his honour and bravery in accepting the truth, and then his clear-sighted willingness to act against that which is wrong, never mind the cost too himself.

It was never my intention to write a satire, and I still resist the idea that I have, because the narrative was always more important than trying to lampoon types. And because the characters inside, and the segments of society they represent, are not meant to be funny; they are more to be feared than mocked.

Nor do I write for a younger audience. I always spoke to my children exactly how I would anyone else, so see no reason to write differently either. It’s just that I feel the themes of this story are best pitched earlier in life rather than later.

I’ve been writing all my adult life, with my career and my writing each suffering as a result of the other. I chose my degree (psychology) based solely on what it could offer my writing rather than my working day, which for twenty-plus years was in Sales Management. That was cut short by the need for a kidney transplant - although the break was a great boost for my writing. As an aside, I now work as a Clinical Research Administrator and currently live in Dorset, England and am married with two children.

This was my first completed book, but the years of trying to get past an agent meant I had more than one in the pipeline, so I also have available The Collection of Heng Souk and – The Seventeen Commandments of Jimmy September. A fourth ‘was played by Walter Johns’ should be ready this summer.

For more about Madness of the Turtle check out these sites!

AmazonWebsiteGoodreads


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