Archives for April 2012

GIVEAWAY! Guest Post: Aaron Smith – Prom Dates to Die For


Prom Dates to Die For

written by: Lena Brown, Heather Dearly, Kelly Parra, Jenny Peterson, and Aaron Smith
published by: Buzz Books USA

release date: May 1, 2012

available for purchase at: Buzz Books Store and Amazon
The ebook editions will be available at the Kindle store, B&N, iBook store and Smashwords.


Be sure to enter the awesome Giveaway after the guest post by author Aaron Smith!!! You can win your choose of either a paperback copy or an e-copy of Prom Dates to Die For!!!!

Summary from Goodreads:  

Five young adult authors cordially invite you to five paranormal proms with…
  • Supernatual hunters hired to save a prom date hungry for souls
  • A reaper haunted by a past she doesn’t remember
  • A prom queen seeking justice…and revenge
  • A loner musician called to save his classmates from an enemy only he can see
  • A heroine getting much more than she wished for on her 18th birthday and prom night


GUEST POST

WHEN REALITY ISN’T WEIRD ENOUGH
By Aaron Smith
author of “A Kiss at the Threshold,” in the PROM DATES TO DIE FOR anthology

     So I had to write a story taking place at a prom with a supernatural element. It wasn’t difficult. In fact, the whole story came crashing into my mind very quickly. That’s the way it works with writers sometimes. On other occasions, getting a story to flow onto the page is like pulling teeth, but sometimes it just pops into existence. During the writing process, I never stopped to wonder why it came so easily, but now I suppose I can analyze the process.
     Maybe it was me looking back on my own high school years and the prom in particular and wishing it had been a little weirder, a little more eventful than it was. I can’t say my own prom was a huge highlight of my teenage years. Much like Clarence, the protagonist of my story, I didn’t even intend to go to the prom. Yes, there was somebody I wanted to ask, but I thought she was out of my league. So she ended up going with somebody else, but it turned out the guy she went with was the person a certain female friend of mine wanted to go with…so that friend asked me if I’d be her date so she’d have someone to go with. I accepted.
     Looking back, I remember very little about the actual prom. It just didn’t have the power that such a night is supposed to have. There was no excitement in it for me, no romance, and no great saga like it often has in movies or books. Maybe that’s why adding an element of excitement came so easily to me. If something like what happens in the story had happened at my prom, maybe I wouldn’t draw such a blank about it now when I look back in time!
     Despite the fact that mine was nothing so special, I do understand, as a writer, that the idea of the prom has something archetypal connected to it. It’s supposed to be a highlight of the high school years, it’s meant to be one of those nights that everybody who goes remembers for the rest of their lives.
     But I have to wonder now (because that’s what writers do) about what would have happened if the prom had been more interesting to me. Would it have been so easy, years later, to add an element of strangeness to the idea and come up with the story? Or is the fact that my own prom seems so mundane to me an essential part of me being able to write the story now? I guess I’ll never really know, but every experience, or lack of experience, has an effect on the mind of a writer, so it seems it worked out for the best.  

a Rafflecopter giveawayYou need javascript enabled to see this giveaway.

h&m online

Embrace by Cherie Colyer

Embrace
written by Cherie Colyer          
published by Omnific Publishing


Why did I pick this book: I participated in this book’s blog tour through YA Bound. I did a spotlight of the book. (I was provided with a digital copy for review purposes.)



Did I enjoy this book: I really didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would. I really wanted to because the synopsis I had read sounded so intriguing and exciting. I didn’t read every free chance I had. 


This book moved slowly and it did not hold my interest. For me, it was not developed enough. There needed to be more explanation and follow through. I wish we would have learned a bit more about Isaac’s and Josh’s back stories. They were good, strong male characters that cared about others’ well-being. That care is evident throughout the story. To learn more about them would have made me like them even more. Also, I would have liked to learn more about Madison’s sense of taste/smell when encountering emotions. That was a really interesting aspect of Madison’s powers that I wish would have been explored or explained further. 


Here is a SPOILER question that I had when I finished this book: Why did no one pick up on Madison’s mother’s necklace??? It is so obvious that the mother – who apparently knew it was the end – transferred her power to her daughter through the necklace, like Isaac’s grandfather. That would have been a great revelation for Madison. Unless I am wrong about that conclusion.


I just didn’t like this book. For me, the main character was hard to like and get behind. I was a bit bored reading the story. I know I am in the minority with this view of the book but it is how I felt after reading it. The concept behind the book was great but I think it could’ve been so much better.


Would I recommend it: No, I would not recommend this book. 


Will I read it again: No, I will not read this book again. With that being said, I will read other books from this author in the future. The concept was great for Embrace, it just wasn’t for me. 


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Madison lives in a small town and has a great best friend, Kaylee. Her long-term boyfriend, Kevin, moved out of state and now she is all alone. Kaylee tries to get her to meet someone new and sets her up with Isaac, the new boy in school.


Isaac and Madison have a connection, a spark if you will. But is there something he is hiding from her? Now some strange things are happening. Her best friend is acting crazy – seeing demons and bugs all around her. The doctors cannot determine what is wrong with Kaylee. So, Madison decides to do some research of her own on the internet. What she finds surprises her and leads her down a path that will change her  life.

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

Sweetness (Bold As Love #1) by Lindsay Paige

Sweetness (Bold As Love #1)
written by Lindsay Paige         
published by CreateSpace


Why did I pick this book: The author asked me to review her book and I gladly accepted her request. (I was provided with a copy of the book for review purposes.)



Did I enjoy this book: I did. It was a quick read (only 110 pages) that held my interest. I read this book every free chance I had. 


I just wanted to hug both Emily and Jake and tell each of them that it wasn’t his/her fault. I cared about these characters and I wanted to see how their story ended. 


Emily was a well written character. She is described as walking with her head down, looking at the shoes going by her. She almost always had her iPod on her and didn’t talk to anyone. You could tell she had something going on inside her that was holding her back.  When Emily is paired up with Jake for a class project, he helps her open up…especially once she meets Jake’s little brother, Drake. I loved that Emily became her true self when she was with Drake. Those were really sweet moments in the story. Jake is a sweet, caring, very mature young man. Much more mature than most high school boys. Their relationship – although slow to start – is one based on total trust and support.


There were some flaws in this book…mainly proofreading and some editing issues. But they were quite easy to overlook and did not disrupt the flow of the story in the least. This story seemed quite real to me for the most part. 


Would I recommend it: I would probably recommend Sweetness to the older young adult readers. I do think that it is a bit mature for a young, young adult crowd. 


Will I read it again: No, I won’t read this book again.


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Emily has moved to a new town and a new school. She is quiet and not wanting to make new friends. In fact, Emily doesn’t think she deserves new friends. When she is paired up with Jake for a class project, she cannot understand why he wants to be friends with her. 


Jake is the star player on the school’s hockey team. He is good looking, popular, and a great guy. And now he is just completely taken with Emily. He wants her to realize her worth and to stop being so shy.


Both Jake and Emily have secrets. They both have things in their past that are difficult to talk about and that they want to stay hidden. Can these two maintain a relationship and help each other overcome their pasts?


Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

the wedding dressThe Wedding Dress
written by Rachel Hauck
published by Nelson, Thomas, Inc.

Why did I pick this book: I saw this book on NetGalley. It looked rather interesting, so I requested a review copy. My request was granted. (I was provided with a digital copy of the book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I really did enjoy this book. It was uplifting, exciting, and enjoyable. I read this book every free chance I had and I loved the route it took.

This book starts with Charlotte Malone as the narrator in the present day. Charlotte is an orphan. Her mother died when she was 12 years old in a car accident and she never knew her father, nor does she know any relatives. She has no one except her fiance, Tim. She doesn’t even rely on Tim that much either. She has always been on her own and she is strong, independent.

Tim and Charlotte got engaged after a whirlwind romance…two months after they met in fact. The cards are stacked against them. Tim starts to get cold feet. Charlotte hasn’t even begun to plan the wedding or even look for a dress. An old girlfriend comes back, an overprotective sister-in-law interferes. But the need for both of them to have each other is clearly there throughout.

The narration shifts to Emily in 1912. Emily is engaged to Phillip but is still in love with Daniel – though she won’t admit it. I really like Emily’s character. She seemed to want to make change happen…by being a part of women’s suffrage, hiring an African American to design and sew her wedding dress. She tries to do the right thing…and eventually does in the end.

The story jumps mainly between these two women who are living about a century apart from one another. There are a few other narrator changes, but the story mainly centers on Charlotte and Emily. I wish the author would have told a bit more of Hillary and Mary Grace stories. I understand that theirs were not quite as important as Charlotte or Emily’s but if they were important enough to wear the dress, they were important enough to warrant more story time.

All-in-all, this was a good, clean Christian story that tugs at your heart and leaves you with a smile at the end. I really enjoyed the author’s note at the end (I usually don’t read these). Ms. Hauck explains how this story came about and the metaphor she used…that the dress is like the gospel of Jesus in that he fits each of us no matter what.

everyfree4

Would I recommend it: I would…I may recommend it to my book group.

Will I read it again: I may, especially if I need an uplifting story. And I will if my book group decides to read it.

chrissysig

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Made in 1912, a wedding dress seems to pick its brides, stay in perfect condition, and fit each of its four wearers perfectly – no alterations needed.

Charlotte Malone owns a bridal boutique. She’s been dressing brides for their big day for years now but when it comes to her own wedding, Charlotte hasn’t even begun to look for a dress. At an auction, Charlotte purchases a worn-out old trunk that had been welded shut. The trunk was said to be a bride’s trunk but the contents are unknown.

Charlotte sets off on an adventure to find out the origin of the trunk, the wedding gown found inside of it, and the brides who have worn the dress before her. Along the way, she finds out more about herself and what love truly is.

efchappy

Giveaway! Blog Tour Spotlight: Embrace by Cherie Colyer

Embrace (Synopsis from Goodreads)

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.

This book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both print and ebook versions. Embrace is publised by Omnific Publishing and runs about 220 pages. 


Be sure to enter this awesome Grand Prize giveaway below for your chance to win a signed copy of Embrace, bookmarks, and bracelets!

My review will be posted after the tour is over. 

Giveaway!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


<a href=”http://rafl.es/enable-js”>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.

Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Girl Unmoored
written by Jennifer Gooch Hummer          
published by Fiction Std


Why did I pick this book: The author emailed me and asked that I review her book. I happily accepted her request! And boy am I glad I did. (The author provided me a copy of her book for review purposes.) 



Did I enjoy this book: I really did. In fact, the first thing I said to my husband when I finished this book was “that was a really good book.” Plain and simply put. I read this book every free chance I had…I put off household chores in order to read this book. I could not put it down. When I had to put it down, all I wanted to do was pick it back up again.


Girl Unmoored is told from the perspective of 13 year old Apron Bramhall. To have gone through everything that Apron has gone through in her 13 years and yet still have an innocence to her narrative was remarkable. That innocence should not have been there…but it was and it was great. There were moments in this book where I laughed out loud, moments where I just shook my head, and moments where I wanted to cry. So many emotions, so well written by Ms. Hummer. 


The story moved and kept me interested. Most of the characters were likeable and loveable. The trio – Apron, Mike, and Chad – were my favorites. They worked so well together. Their friendship was unlikely and should have been strained…but it wasn’t and they were meant to be friends, you could tell. Grandma Bramhall was a trip. I just laughed when I read the parts with her. Some characters were really unlikeable. M was one of the unlikeable characters. I couldn’t believe her and the things that she said and did…to herself and to Apron. 

This book left me with a smile and a happy sigh at the end. Much like middle school drama, all eventually works out in some way in the end. 



Would I recommend it: I would, absolutely. Girl Unmoored was a great read, well worth it.


Will I read it again: I’m not sure. I really enjoyed it but I don’t know that it is a re-readable book for me. Only time will tell if I will reread this wonderfully written book. I know that I will definitely read any other book that Ms. Hummer writes in the future.


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Apron Bramhall is having a rough time…her mother has passed away, her father has a new girlfriend, she’s going to have a new sibling, and her best friend has left her for a new one. But she has found a new friend in Jesus…well, a look-alike Jesus…Mike, and actor who plays Jesus in Jesus Christ, Superstar. 


In an unexpected turn of events, Apron finds herself helping Mike and his boyfriend, Chad, set up flowers for a wedding. This leads to a friendship, a job, and more heartbreak down the road. Apron spends a summer finding out what love is, what love isn’t, and what it means to her.


Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

Review: Mockingjay (Hunger Games Series #3) by Suzanne Collins

mockingjayMockingjay (Hunger Games Series #3)
written by Suzanne Collins
published by Scholastic, Inc.

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I just reread the first two books in this series – The Hunger Games and Catching Fire – so I had to finish out the series with Mockingjay.

Did I enjoy this book: I did but not as much the second time around. That surprised me…a lot. I loved this series – all three books – the first time I read The Hunger Games series. But this time around, I didn’t quite feel as enamored with Mockingjay. Don’t get me wrong…this is a great book and a fitting end to the series. But parts of it settled differently with me this time.

STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK OR THE PREVIOUS TWO BOOKS IN THE SERIES…THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!

Anyway…I didn’t like that Katniss was the face of the rebellion at 17 years old. I can understand that she was the face of hope and determination, but of war and fighting and unrest…not so much. She was so independent in the first two books, then she practically bows to District 13. (I know this doesn’t last too long and she does kind of get her way quite a few times. But it just seemed like she was going along with it all…not with what she wanted…at least until the end.)

I thought District 13 was just as bad, if not worse, than the Capitol. I understand why they are so strict but come on! You would think they would treat their citizens a bit better considering they want to fight the Capitol and get the other districts on their side.

Again, Ms. Collins had some really great visuals in Mockingjay. I could see the propos, the tv feeds, the layout of District 13. I could envision Katniss’s mockingjay outfit that was designed by the late, great Cinna. The warring districts and the “76th Annual Hunger Games.” All things were described with great detail and images…I could see it all play out in my mind’s eye.

I felt bad for most of the characters in this book. Finnick seemed so lost. Peeta was used. Johanna had it really bad. Gale seemed to be taken over by the thoughts of rebellion and payback. Even President Snow…he was evil but somewhat sad as well. And poor Prim…I don’t even want to discuss that. That was not necessary at all! Katniss deserved some happiness. All that did was  make her lose the rest of her family because even her mother abandoned her after that incident. And the facts surrounding Gale and that incident is just inexcusable!!! (I know this is the way the series had to end…I can see that and understand that not all stories can have super happy endings…but come on!!!)

everyfree4

Would I recommend it: I would…especially if you have read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Like I said above, it was a fitting end to this fantastic series.

Will I read it again: I will. This is a series that I will likely read once a year…especially when the subsequent movies are released. I’m anxious to see what they do with an adaption of this book.

chrissysig

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Katniss Everdeen wakes up after being plucked from the arena during the 75th Hunger Games in a hovercraft headed for District 13. But now, there is a rebellion…the Capitol is not happy and will take it out on anyone, especially past victors of the Hunger Games in order to restore its reign and power. Of course, the Capitol blames Katniss for the political unrest and rebellion.

Katniss finds herself with Haymitch, Gale, Finnick, and the head gamemaker, Plutarch, as they work with the president of District 13 to lead the other districts into battle against the Capitol. Katniss finds herself as the poster child for the rebellion – as the Mockingjay.

Will Katniss survive another Hunger Games? Will the districts succeed in rebelling against the Capitol? Will Katniss lose herself?

efchappy

Review: Catching Fire (Hunger Games Series #2) by Suzanne Collins

catching fireCatching Fire (Hunger Games Series #2)
written by Suzanne Collins
published by Scholastic, Inc.

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I read this series last year and loved it so much that it is now on my “to be reread every year” list. I just finished The Hunger Games in anticipation of seeing the movie. (See my review here.) I couldn’t wait to read book 2 again!

Did I enjoy this book: I really did! Even more the second time around. Catching Fire is a second book in a trilogy that doesn’t disappoint and doesn’t read as a second book. So many second books are mere bridges between the set-up of the first book and the climax/conclusion of the third book. While this book does leave us with a cliffhanger, it is still a fantastic second book!!!

It amazes me the small part of the books that the Hunger Games actually play out in, yet they dominate the entire series. They are always at the forefront…much like what the games are for the people of Panem.

Again, Suzanne Collins gets me with her vivid descriptions. The arena sounds amazing. I want to see it! (I can’t wait to see what they do for it in the next movie.) I really want to see Katniss’s dress that changes during her interview. That moment in the book is a “read again” moment for me. (I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read it.)

Other characters besides Katniss and Haymitch were great players in this book. I had forgotten how much dislike I have for President Snow. The way he is described as smelling of blood and roses is so distinct and makes me want to wretch. I had always pictured Finnick as older, in his 40s – not 24 years old. I don’t know why…but this time through the book, I paid more attention and I still pictured him in his 40s. And Peeta…oh, Peeta…such a great speaker, performer, a natural charmer. Yet he is hopelessly in love with a girl who may or may not love him back but has to.

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: Absolutely!!! This is a must read series for everyone.

Will I read it again: Absolutely!!! At least once a year.

chrissysig

About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS (especially if you haven’t read the first book!): Katniss Everdeen won the 74th annual Hunger Games along with her district 12 boy tribute counterpart, Peeta Mellark. In a move that was unprecedented, Katniss defied the Capitol yet stole the hearts of its citizens. The move also made her an unwitting symbol of the uprising against the Capitol.

During the victors’ tour of the districts of Panem, it becomes more apparent that there is unrest and unhappiness. It also becomes clear to President Snow that it is all Katniss Everdeen’s fault.

It is now time for the quarter quell…the 75th annual Hunger Games. Much to everyone’s dismay, the tributes will be selected from the living victors! Who will live? Will the tributes be able to kill their friends in the ultimate fight for survival? Will the uprising happen?

efchappy

Review: The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1) by Suzanne Collins

hunger gamesThe Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1) 
written by Suzanne Collins
published by Scholastic, Inc.

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I read this book last year at the suggestion of my sister-in-law. I loved it. Because the movie is now out, I am reading it again before I see the movie.

Did I enjoy this book: Yes, I loved it the first time I read it. And after this second reading, I still love it every bit as much. The action in this book is fast-paced and keeps you glued to the book from the very beginning.  I can honestly say that I read this book every free chance I had both times I have read it. Even the second time around, I found it hard to put this book down to take care of the every day stuff that needed to be done. I just couldn’t wait to see what happened next!

This was the first dystopian YA book I had ever read. What a way to break into a genre!! This book was exciting, emotional, enraging, and enthralling! (I can’t believe I described this book with all ‘e’ words.) It’s hard to imagine a world like this, but this book is written so well that I can imagine a world like this – as sad as that is. Ms. Collins is an amazing writer. The world she built can be pictured clearly. I can see the absurdity of the Capitol and its citizens – what it looks like, how they dress, what they eat. I can see the despair of the districts – the poverty, the hurt, the defeat.

Katniss is a great heroine. She isn’t perfect…far from it, in fact. But she is strong, she is a provider, she is a survivor. I like her no nonsense approach to her life and her lot. She does what she needs to do in order to protect those who love her. She is funny, too. Ms. Collins writes some funny dialogue and thoughts. One of my favorite thoughts of Katniss is from Chapter 2: “Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you in there? Somehow it just won’t seem sincere if I’m trying to slit his throat.”

Haymitch is fantastic. He is just like Katniss…or should I say that Katniss is just like him? They are great together and truly seem to get one another. His messages to Katniss in the arena are clear and understood by Katniss.

Peeta and Gale both love Katniss. Only one can have her. I have a favorite. I’m not going to say who it is because if you haven’t read this book, I don’t want to give anything away! However, if you haven’t read this book yet…WHY NOT??? Seriously, go get it immediately and read it!

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: Absolutely!!!

Will I read it again: Yes, I will. Probably once a year…especially right before the release of the movie sequels.

chrissysig
About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: The nation of Panem is located in the area that was once known as North America. There are twelve districts that surround the Capitol. The districts all have a specific industry that supplies the Capital with goods. Many years ago, a rebellion against the Capitol occurred. Now, as punishment for the rebellion, each district must send two tributes – one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 18 – to the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a literal game of Survivor…the children must fight each other to the death in an arena created by the Gamemakers…all for the entertainment of the citizens of the Capitol. (The Games are nationally televised and promoted.)

Katniss Everdeen is sixteen years old and lives in District 12. Katniss has been providing for her mother and sister ever since her father was killed in a mine explosion. When her little sister is picked as the tribute, Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place. Little does she know that this death sentence may not be a sure thing at all. She may actually have a chance to get out of the games alive. But at what cost?

What are your thoughts on this book? Have you seen the movie? 

efchappy

COVER REVEAL: Astarte’s Wrath


Astarte’s Wrath 

by Trisha Wolfe

Format: e-book

Expected Publication: July 2012

A Kythan Guardians Novella

Prequel to Destiny’s Fire

Two thousand years before Dez Harkly developed her secret powers, Kythan Astarte vowed to free the Kythans from the binds that enslaved them to the Egyptian pharaohs and sorcerers. Discover the prophecy that originated from a very different time, and spans generations to link two very different girls…This is the beginning.

Set against the backdrop of the Battle of Actium, in the city of Alexandria, Star struggles with her guardian duties as her feelings for the newly named pharaoh of Egypt grow deeper. Not only is Caesarian her duty, he’s the son of Cleopatra, and he’s…human. All of which makes their love forbidden.

But when a conspiracy linked to Caesar, Caesarian’s own father, creeps its ways into Alexandria, Star must choose between helping her fellow Kythans free themselves of their servitude, or protecting her charge—the last pharaoh—while Egypt burns around her.

Excerpt:

Whenever the sky bleeds, covering the once-blue pallet with crimson, and the bright ball of fire burns through billowy puffs of white, staining them and the earth in hues of red-orange and amber…and ash floats on a non-existent breeze, I know the Narcolym Guardians are waging a battle.

            Shuttering my window, I unloose the hemp thread, and a sheer curtain veils the sand-covered horizon from my vision. My fingers trail the cream fabric, the tips tracing the darkening clouds against the light material as my other hand curls into a fist by my thigh, dousing the swirling vortex rising up at the charge in the air.

            “Star…?”

            Astarte, I correct inwardly, but pinch my lips closed. “Yes, Habi?”

            Habi’s footsteps echo throughout the mud-brick room as he approaches. “It’s time…”