Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: The Road To You by Marilyn Brant

Title: The Road To You
Author: Marilyn Brant
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Twelfth Night Books (October 3, 2013)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Sometimes the only road to the truth...is one you’ve never taken.

Until I found Gideon’s journal in the tool shed — locked in the cedar box where I’d once hidden my old diary — I’d been led to believe my brother was dead. But the contents of his journal changed all that.

The Road to Discovery...
Two years ago, Aurora Gray’s world turned upside down when her big brother Gideon and his best friend Jeremy disappeared. Now, during the summer of her 18th birthday, she unexpectedly finds her brother’s journal and sees that it’s been written in again. Recently. By him. 

The Road to Danger...
There are secret messages coded within the journal’s pages. Aurora, who’s unusually perceptive and a natural puzzle solver, is hell bent on following where they lead, no matter what the cost. She confides in the only person she feels can help her interpret the clues: Donovan McCafferty, Jeremy’s older brother and a guy she’s always been drawn to — even against her better judgment. 

The Road to You...
Reluctantly, Donovan agrees to go with her and, together, they set out on a road trip of discovery and danger, hoping to find their lost brothers and the answers to questions they’ve never dared to ask aloud.

In that expectant space between silence and melody, our trip began...





My Thoughts and Review:
This is one of those stories that surprises you. One that you don't know right away will end up completely capturing your attention and holding it, not because the synopsis wasn't good or because you weren’t' expecting it to be something you would like but rather it is unlike most books out there. One big puzzle just waiting to be dissected and then put together again. One big ball of mystery that is just as intriguing as it can be frustrating. Little clues and breadcrumbs left throughout the pages of a journal from a  brother gone missing years earlier. 

The fact that this book, while recently written, takes place during the late 1970's is even better because it truly made it stand out, it truly made it something you don't see or read every day and it completely made the story being told, utterly believable. 

Aurora and Donovan were both good characters and while I understand that this wasn't really a story just about them, it would have been nice to get a better, fleshed out version of them and I have to say it, the romance junkie in me was a little disappointed that there wasn't more to the romance and their connection than what was presented. Really this wasn't just a mission to find Jeremy and Gideon, this was just as much a mission about finding themselves as well as each other and I would have liked a little more of that part of them as well as the mystery and adventure of finding what happened to their brothers.

The clues and puzzle pieces were cleverly done and the mystery of their brother's disappearances really did stay a mystery for me up until the very end. Not once did I guess how far into it the boys had dug themselves or had uncovered until the fate of them, what had happened and who the bad guys were until it was all revealed at the very end. 


With as much conspiracy, goose chases and mystery that is behind this story you would think it would be hard to follow or believe but the author still some how kept it very real feeling and a journey that truly was a fun one to uncover right along with Donovan and Aurora. 




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Something Wicked Returns



Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings:Robin LaFevers: Dark Triumph

And Maja @ The Nocturnal Library with Matthew Quinn Martin


Today is the last day for the Something Wicked Tour. A Huge thank you to everyone who participated in this fun month long event.

Today is also the last day to enter all those fabulous giveaway so be sure to check them all out if you haven't already!


I would also like to extend a huge thank you to Heidi, Candace and Maja for helping with this event. It has been so much fun!! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Two Mini Reviews: Ghosts of the Falls by Sarah Gilman and Ghosts of Kingston Cottage by Libby Bishop




Make sure and check out today's stop!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings: Andrea Jones: Other Oceans

What better way to honor this whole month and tour than with a ghost story or two?

Today I have two novellas that are all about the haunting.





Title: Ghosts of Kingston Cottage
Author: Libby Bishop
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Entangled: Ever After (October 28, 2013)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating: 3 Stars!

Book Description:
She believes in ghosts.

Medium and paranormal investigator Arabella Pierce is sent with her crew to Kingston Cottage, a haunted Maine seafarer’s cottage on an isolated island, but for this investigation, her boss has stuck them with skeptical reporter Lucas Brown. Though he’s hot as they come, Arabella can’t trust a man whose sole job is to discredit her and the work she does. Not after what happened with the last few skeptics...

He believes in evidence.


But Lucas isn’t as skeptical as he seems—he wants the truth, no matter what that is. When the ghosts appear, he and Arabella must work together—in tight quarters—to convince the resident ghosts to move on before a storm strands the entire crew on the island. If Arabella can put aside her prejudices, she and Lucas just might have a shot at a lifetime.





My Thoughts and Review:

Who doesn't love a good ghost story, especially during the Halloween season when the nights are getting longer and there is just a touch of mischief and mystery in the air? I have always loved reading about ghosts. I am fascinated with them and I hardly ever pass up a good story that involves the supernatural, and okay, the cover didn't hurt either. 

This wasn't so much of a ghost story as it was a love story, for both the ghost and the main characters. 
And while I couldn’t' help being a little disappointed this wasn't more ghostly than it was, the sweet love stories of both Katie and Arabella made up for it. 


The author did a nice job with this and it really was a fun quick read that any lover of romance and the paranormal will enjoy. 





*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*










Title: Ghosts of the Falls
Author: Sarah Gilman
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: entangled: Ever After (October 28, 2013)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:

Book Description:

Determined to prove she’s fit for the family business, exorcist Jade Clarence knows the assignment waiting in Maine is her last chance. Born into a family of exorcists, Jade’s unorthodox ideas have gotten her into trouble in the past...and cost the life of a client.

After haunting a Maine state park for more than a century, Dutch Hutchinson will do whatever it takes to bring an end to his unfulfilling existence. When an act of arson brings a beautiful exorcist to town, Dutch takes corporeal form in order to spend his last hours in her company.

Jade quickly uncovers Dutch’s true identity and finds herself falling for the man behind the spirit. But when Jade’s legacy threatens their future, they will have to overcome the greatest of odds—life and death.





My Thoughts and Review:
With this time of year I am always up for a good spooky ghost story, which is odd because honestly, most other times I am a pretty big chicken but there is just something about this time of year that demands I read something that will make the hair on my arms stand up and have me looking over my shoulder and leery of cold spots and anything that goes bump in the night.

I really enjoyed that while this was a novella is had dual point of views from both Jade and Dutch, it added a depth to it that a lot of novellas lack. 

Once again this wasn't the spooky story I was hoping for but it was a really sweet love story (a little steamy too!). I loved that Jade wanted to be different from her family, that she stuck with what she knew was right and went for it. This had a very sweet ending and was a quick, light, fun read that was well written. 








*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Sia by Josh Grayson


Once again we have another ful filled day of the Something Wicked Tour. Make sure and check out all the fun stops scheduled as the tour is starting to wind down.

Also don't forget to check out all the great stops. There are a ton of great giveaways as well as the big giveaway that Heidi, Candace, Maja and myself are offering of a $50 Amazon gift card!

Today's stops are:


Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings: Cambria Hebert

Tanja@Ja citam, a ti? Eliza Crewe: Cracked





Title: Sia
Author: Josh Grayson
Series: Stand Alone
Published: November 20, 2013
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary





Book Description:
When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.






My Thoughts and Review:

You might be wondering why I choose to showcase this book during the Something Wicked Tour and the answer is a simple one. Sia starts the book off with not knowing where she is or even who she is. With no identification on her and nothing else to go on other than the iPod she has in her possession with the name “Sia” on it, she is lost, confused and alone with no idea where to turn, who she is or why she is where she is.

What could be more horrifying than that? No memories, no idea of who the people are that you love, where you live or even if you are a good guy or a bad guy, this believe it or not, is one of my biggest fears. 

If we woke up someone different would we like the same things we once did? Would our friends still be our friends and those we love, would they still be someone we would love? And would any of them like the new person we had become?

These are all questions and situations Sia faced as she became the person she never was. As she became someone kind and good and real. 

I really liked this story. It was different and fun and had some pretty good messages in it as well. Could any of it ever really happen? Who knows and it really doesn't matter, because what matters most of that the author did a great job portraying the messages he wanted to get out there and hey, I have to give him credit for the fact that even though he is male, he did a wonderful job writing this in the female point of view of Sia. 

This is a fun read about growing up, living up to your potential, treating others with respect no matter what situation in life they are in and learning  how to be giving and selfless. 








*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review and Giveaway: The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins

Title: The Perfect Match
Author: Kristan Higgins
Series: Book Two in the Blue Heron Series
Published By: Harlequinn (October 29, 2013)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!


Book Description:
What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise? Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there…or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn't easier said than done. 

Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind. 


In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancĂ©, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn't easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love….







My Thoughts and Review:
For the record, I love Kristan Higgins. She is one of my absolute favorite authors in this genre. I look forward to each of her new releases and have read every single book she has published, she is that good and that loved.

Her books are witty and funny and have all the good stuff I love in a romance. The heroines are flawed and loveable and so down to earth and always someone I would want for a friend. And of course the heroes are their perfect match (no pun intended) in every way. Smart, handsome, ambitious and completely swoon worthy. 

I fell in love with the Holland family after reading The Best Man and was so very excited to learn that all of the same characters I fell in love with in the first book would once again be starring in the second.

I love stand alone series for the simple fact that we get glimpses into the past characters without all the fuss of having to read the last book or even the first book (although I do highly recommend you do read them all in order because this is a fabulous series) to know what is going on and to have the chance to get to know all the other characters in the story and series.  

I love that we got to see more of the Holland clan and especially Levi and Faith. 

And even though I loved Levi and Faith I was super excited to dive into the life of Honor the middle child in the Holland clan and learn more about her. And of course, I fell in love with her immediately. Would I expect anything less from Higgin's work? Not a chance.

I love that Higgins can make me laugh one moment and then get teary eyed the next with her heartfelt stories that are sure to tug at your heart strings and leave an impression on your soul. Her characters are so real and so enduring it would be almost impossible to read one of her stories and not have it stick with you long after it has been put down. 

I absolutely loved Tom and just how amazing the the grumpy Brit could be. His sense of humor, loyalty and just plain goodness (when he wasn't deliberately trying to be a turd) were what made him a stand out character. His love for Charlie was so tender and true that I couldn't help but like him and root for him to get his HEA. 


Once again Higgin's managed to take my breath away with how wonderful a writer she really is with her enduring stories about love triumphing over everything, growing into your own, forgiving and forgetting and learning to let go and be happy. 





*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*



Giveaway: 
Open to US Residents Only
(Giveaway sponsored by the publisher)


a Rafflecopter giveaway







Don't forget about the Something Wicked Tour that is still going on all month long!

Today's stops are:

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings:Sarah Fine: Fractured

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Something Wicked Returns With Author Ripley Patton and Her Book; Ghost Hand!


I am so excited to have Ripley here to share with us a special guest post just for Something Wicked. Her YA series the PSS Chronicles is fantastic and if you haven't tried it yet now is the perfect time because the first book in the series Ghost Hand is FREE on Amazon!




*Amazon

But now I am getting ahead of myself here aren't I?

Before I get onto the guest post, don't forget to check out today's other great stops on the tour.




Beth@Living A Goddess Life:  Beth Wade: Phantasmagloria

Melanie@Dispatches from Hamletville: Melanie Karsak: Chasing the Star Garden





I love this series, I really do, it is unique and fun and just different, not to mention, very well written.

Ripley's latest book Ghost Hold, the second book in the PSS Chronicles is out as well so make sure and grab a copy of that one too!


Book Description:

Olivia Black is back.

Only this time she's not the one in need of rescue.

Samantha James, rich, popular, and an award-winning composer at age seventeen, is the next target on the CAMFers' list. In order to convince Samantha to come with them, Olivia and Passion must pose as cousins, blend into the most affluent high school in Indianapolis, and infiltrate a mysterious cult known as The Hold.

Olivia doesn't expect it to be easy, even with the PSS guys backing them up. But what she discovers over the course of the mission will call into question everything she ever believed about herself, her family, and especially about Marcus, the guy she is undoubtedly falling in love with.








About Ripley:






Ripley Patton lives in Portland, Oregon with one cat, two teenagers, and a man who wants to live on a boat. She is an award-winning short story writer and author of The PSS Chronicles, a young adult paranormal thriller series.
Ripley doesn't smoke, or drink, or cuss as much as her characters. Her only real vices are writing, eating M&Ms, and watching reality television.


Guest Post:

Frolicking with Monsters: Why Halloween and Dark YA are good for us

By Ripley Patton

Every year On October 31st or All Hallows Eve , adults and children of all ages dress up in guises of fear, monstrosity, and horror. They go out into the dark chill of the night, small and large, breathing heavily inside their masks, their hearts pounding, as the people they once knew as neighbors, friends and siblings become the creatures of their very nightmares. Adults do this too, yes. But this event is mostly for children and teens. The youngest of us dressed in blood and gore, carrying an ax and someone's severed head, and asking politely for candy.

What a strange thing to do. What an odd ritual to indoctrinate our children into. Except it isn't once you understand that every culture has a ritual for teaching its young people to face their fears. Death is a reality for every human being. That ghost, or ghoul, or rotting corpse stumbling past you on Halloween; that's all of us, eventually. That werewolf? Yes, there are animals in this world that will try to kill and eat you. That psycho with the Scream mask? Yes, there are bad people too. Very. Bad. People. There is darkness in this world we live in. Deep darkness. And our children know it long before we want them to. Should we protect them from that as much as we can? Yes. Should we equip them to deal with it for the times when they inevitably encounter it? Absolutely.

You see, frolicking with monsters makes us brave. Not just that, but putting on and becoming our own fear makes us even braver. When your child dresses up as a ghost or a witch or the monster that lives under their bed, they are defeating those fears. They are dawning the mask of their own terror and laughing through its very face. By becoming the very thing they are most frightened of, they diminish its power over them. And they do this with their friends and family at night, all while raking in the candy or playing harmless tricks on their neighbors.

This is where Halloween and dark, edgy, Young Adult books come together.

Fiction is a teenager's perpetual Halloween. No, it’s a perpetual Halloween for ALL AGES. Through books we become the characters we love, and despise, and fear. Books are the safe-house of our imaginations, a place where we can dress up as all manner of dark things without suffering the real-life risks or consequences. Through the magic of books we can date the ancient vampires or kiss the loyal werewolf, and decide which we like better (Go Team Jacob). We can grow up as a wizard and vanquish our own Dementors (you know there really are people who will suck the very life out of you). We can ride or tame the fire-eating dragon. We can win the desperate Hunger Games and free our oppressed society. Through books we can practice the bravery we need in our everyday lives. And we will get braver.

That is why I'm tired of hearing people say that Young Adult Fiction has gotten too dark.

I have two teenagers myself, and they have faced some pretty tough things in their lives. By the time I was thirteen, I had faced the death of two immediate family members, my brother and my mother. That's more death than many adults have dealt with. And reading fiction about characters my age dealing with death was a huge help to me. It still is.

So, yes, I write about death in my YA books. And I write about cutting and religion and about how kids are treated in the foster care system. I write about my own fears- of cancer and doctors of what it feels

like to be different. I write to face my fears, to put them on like a mask and laugh straight through them to the other side. I frolic with monsters every day.

And I intend to keep doing it.

I hope you'll come frolic with me.

Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Something Wicked Blog Tour Guest Post and Giveaway With: Extracted by Tyler Jolley and Sherry D. Ficklin




Not only is today's post perfect for Halloween because it is all about the fantasy, but it is also all about time travel, one of my favorite topics to read about and come on, check out that gorgeous cover! Isn't it fabulous?

I have debut authors Tyler and Sherry here today to tell us a little about their new book Extracted and they even have not one but two awesome giveaways to offer  so be sure to check them out as well at the bottom of the post. 

First let's learn a little about their book and them.

Also, be sure to stop by and check out Heidi's post at  Rainy Day Ramblings: With author Andrea Colt and her book Wavecrossed.


Tomorrow's Stops:




Beth@Living A Goddess Life:  Beth Wade: Phantasmagloria

Melanie@Dispatches from Hamletville: Melanie Karsak: Chasing the Star Garden







Title: Extracted
Authors: Tyler Jolley and Sherry D.  Ficklin
Series: Book One in The Lost Imperials Series
Genre: Ya Fantasy/Time Travel
Published By: Spencer Hills (November 12, 2013)






Book Blurb:

Welcome to the war. The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it. The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens--their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream. Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war. When Lex's girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It's there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both again.







Preorder link US amazon: http://amzn.to/14JLNuA 
Preorder link UK amazon: http://amzn.to/17o8zZp 
Preorder link b&n: http://bit.ly/13SCJ3P




About the Authors:


Tyler H. Jolley is a sci-fi/fantasy author and full-time orthodontist, periodontist (see: Overachiever). He divides his spare time between writing, reading, mountain biking, and camping with his family.

Sherry D. Ficklin is a full-time writer and internet radio show host with more mouth then good sense. She has a serious book addiction, but continually refuses treatment, much to her husband’s chagrin.

Tyler and Sherry met one fateful day and bonded over their love for books, science fiction, and donuts. Their first co-written novel came shortly after. Now, they still do all those other things, but also go to various steampunk conventions and events under the guise of ‘research’. They can often be found lurking on the Lost Imperials Facebook page or over on the official website, www.thelostimperials.com.









Guest Post:
Back to where it all began:

Most people don’t know that there is a kind of unofficial set of rules to publishing a book. Not writing a book, but basically if you want to publish a book, there is a preferred method—a stringent set of do’s and do not’s.

I (Sherry) had been published about a half a dozen times with small press publishers before I began writing Extracted, so going into it I had a pretty good idea of what I could and couldn’t get away with. It’s worth noting that every publisher is different, but general guidelines are pretty much the same. After bringing Tyler (kicking and screaming) on board to co-author the story with me, we settled in and drafted a quick outline then just jumped in. At one point in the book Tyler asked me to look over a chapter he’d just finished and I noticed something. At one point in the scene, he’d slipped into first person, present tense.



Holy crap on a cracker. It was awesome. I fell in love with it and even though it had been beaten into me by my previous editors (NEVER write a book in first person, and NEVER write in present tense) we went for it. Why? Because I suppose after having survived the waters of publishing for a few years I was growing bold (see: stupid) with my work. Though I have to admit, I always hated reading books in present tense. My brain was sort of programmed to read

3rd person past tense, so it was strange and oddly beautiful to see it working in this book. And I promise you, it does work quite well.




It took us about 3 months to write the book, from start to finishing the first draft. And we were in love with it. It was glorious. A miracle. I know that sounds a bit silly, but as any writer will tell you, when you write something, you fall in love with it. If you didn’t you’d never finish writing it.





Another common misconception is that once you have a novel published, you don’t have to query projects anymore. I can’t tell you how much I wish that was true. We dug in our heels and decided to shop it around. We skipped right over sending it to agents (another stupid, stupid move, but I had been going to publishers directly and I figured, why not?) and moved directly to

the publishing houses. (It’s important to note that most publishers require you have an agent to query them, so again, we were doing things the very wrong way). But I hate to the very bottom of my soul writing query letters (most authors I know do) and let’s face it, when a publisher gets literally thousands of query letters a week, it’s almost impossible to stand out in the crowd and get noticed.





So we decided to try something different. We made a query video. It’s basically a glorified book trailer that included our word count, contact info, and etc. This is a HUGE no-no. Most agents and publishers have a very strict set of guidelines on how to submit work to them (and I am in NO WAY advocating breaking those rules). It was a kind of strange, untested idea so I needed to get some feedback. I pulled out my list of dream publishers. Going through the list, there were two on it that were very explicitly closed to submissions. My thought process was, why burn a bridge on a potential submission before getting feedback on the video concept? So we decided to submit to those two publishers, fully expecting the ‘we aren’t taking submissions right now’ rejections, but hoping for some feedback on the video at least.

I honestly expected a “What the hell are you thinking?” letter from both of them. Not two weeks later, we had two requests for the manuscript in our inbox. And a few weeks later, we had two wonderful offers. At the end of the month, we had a contract in hand. I was in shock. And Tyler was over the moon. We partied like it was 1899. FOR WEEKS.





This is obviously not your typical publication story. Basically, we shot ourselves in the foot over and over and still managed to somehow end up right where we wanted to be. Luck? Stupidity? Maybe a little of both. It was really a lot of hard work and persistence. Neither of us had that kind of Cinderella story with our first books. But there is something really special about Extracted and, I like to think, about us as a team.






That was over a year ago and since then it’s been a whirlwind ride through this process, and one that we’ve enjoyed immensely. With our little rule-breaking book now in the hands of readers, all we can do is sit back and see how it’s received. Hopefully, readers will think it was worth a little rule breaking.





Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway




There is also a Tour Wide giveaway going on in honor of the tour so be sure and check it out as well, they are offering up a new Kindle Paperwhite!





a Rafflecopter giveaway