Archives for October 2012

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: Earth (Elemental Series #1) by Shauna Granger

 Earth (Elemental Series #1)
written by Shauna Granger          
published by Shauna Granger via CreateSpace 

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I am a stop on Ms. Granger’s blog tour hosted by YA Bound. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book but not as much as I had initially hoped. For me, this book moved kind of slow. There were some great moments but I feel like it should have taken me much less time than it did to read.

Earth has a great premise and I want to see what will happen next. Most of the action was well-written. There was some mystery…why was she having those nightmares? Why did she wake up injured from her dreams? Who are the ones performing the dark magic? These are great elements to this story and these questions were what kept me reading. 

The three main characters – Shayna, Jodi, and Steven – were well-written and worked well together. They were different enough from each other but you could see why they were best friends. Shayna was my least favorite. She just seemed to lack common sense despite seeming to know the most out of the three of them. She received so many warnings and signs in her dreams, intuition, and from Deb and her friends yet she refused to follow any of them. Shayna was a great friend and protector of sorts to Tracey and that redeemed her for me. She truly cared for Tracey’s safety and well-being. Shayna did her very best to protect Tracey. 

We don’t learn that much about Jodi and Steven in Earth. But I do like them. They are great counterparts to Shayna. I hope to find out more about them in the remaining books in the series. I also enjoyed that the story combined elements of magic along with religion. It wasn’t a one or the other type of situation. The characters seemed to embrace both and made them work together. Usually, the story pits religion against magic and/or witchcraft. This book combined them in a different way. 

However, there were some unanswered questions for me. Do Shayna, Jodi, and Steven’s parents know about their powers and what they are doing? The parents do not seem to know what their children are up to or where they are or even when they skip school. It must be a different generation because I couldn’t imagine my parents not knowing if I was in school or not. Further, why didn’t these three run into Deb and the other adults that were monitoring the troublesome situation going on in their area? And the end was rather ‘neat’ for me. I understand it but I didn’t feel like it completely fit this story. 

I also wish that the magic – where it came from, how they used it, how it worked – would have been explained at the beginning, not in the last 50 pages. I think it would have helped me understand what was going on a bit more. There were some typos, consistency errors, and wrong words throughout Earth. There weren’t enough to be distracting but there were enough to be noticeable. 

Would I recommend it: I would with the caveat that it is kind of slow but it has an interesting plot.

Will I read it again: I will not but I will read Air, book #2 in the Elemental Series. 

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Shayna and her two best friends have the abilities to manipulate and control the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. While learning to hone their growing powers, they discover a new and malicious presence in their sleepy beach town. Someone is performing blood magic and threatens to expose their small magical community. So far only small animals have been slaughtered, but then the nightmares start. 

Shayna suffers nightmares of being chased and sacrificed only to wake up bloodied and bruised. She thinks her magical blood is the ultimate target for the final blood rite. When an innocent girl, Tracy, is kidnapped Shayna knows it’s only a ploy to draw her out; she can’t let someone die because of her.

About the author: I don’t do well talking about myself. So as basics go, I have recently self-published the first two books in my Elemental Series, Earth and Air, Young Adult Urban Fantasy novels. Look for the third installment, Water, coming in 2012!

I have been working on the Elemental Series for the last four years and plan for it to be a 5 book series. It was a hard decision to self-publish but it’s been an exciting and terrifying ride.

And to my readers (or fans of my covers), I have beautiful bookmarks that I would love to share with you. If you’d like one, drop me a note with your contact info and I’d be happy to send you one!

Find Ms. Granger here: blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

And now for the GIVEAWAY! There is a signed copy of each paperback – Earth, Air, and Water – as well as a matching bookmark for each book. There is a mini Jack-o-lantern and an awesome, sparkly candle (electric) and some fun Halloween treats that include candy, stickers and copy of one of my favorite Halloween movies, Monster House. (US only)

 3 other winners will receive a ebook from the series, winner’s choice from Earth, Air, or Water.  (Open Internationally)

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Check out the next to books in the Elemental Series – Air and Water

Air (Elemental Series #2)
written by Shauna Granger          
published by Shauna Granger via CreateSpace 

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: It was a rough start to the school year for Shayna and her friends, Jodi and Steven, but thankfully summer break is near. Trying to sort out her feelings for the new guy in town, Shayna agrees to let Jensen join her on a group date with her friends. While out they end up at a local coffee house where their classmate, social outcast Jeremy McCormick, is humiliated by his baseball star brother. When Jeremy runs away from the jeering crowd, Shayna and Jodi hear the unmistakable sound of a thousand wings chasing after him, but no one else seems to hear them. These are not like any air elementals that Shayna or Jodi have ever encountered before and they fear Jeremy has gotten himself tangled up in something too dangerous for him to handle. But when Shayna tries to help Jeremy control his magical abilities she realizes it might be the biggest mistake of her life.

Water (Elemental Series #3)
written by Shauna Granger          
published by Shauna Granger via CreateSpace 

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Shayna’s first surfing session of the summer is interrupted by the screams of a mother who has lost her little boy in the water. Without regard to her own safety, Shayna swims out, rescues the boy, but must escape the clutches of something far worse than she could have ever imagined – mermaids.

Compelled to answer the sirens’ call, the boys of Shayna’s town are drawn to the sea, but when they return are afflicted by an unknown illness, a sickness which is draining them of their life force. Unable to tell anyone about the mermaids, Shayna and her friends are forced to solve the mystery before it’s too late, and in doing so, Shayna will finally have to face the full force of her powers. Whether she’s ready or not, she will have to face her true nature.

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

GIVEAWAY!! Jane Austen Blog Hop

I am participating in the Jane Austen Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not a Writer and vvb32reads!!!! 

I am giving away one of my favorite books that I have read this year – Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight. You can read my review here.

written by Alyssa Goodnight
published by Kensington Publishing Corporation

About the book – from Goodreads: In this quirky, sexy novel set against the lively, music-filled backdrop of Austin, Texas, a young woman learns that romance can wreak havoc with even the best laid plans. . .
It started innocently enough. While browsing in one of Austin’s funky little shops, Nicola James is intrigued by a blank vintage journal she finds hidden among a set of Jane Austen novels. Even though Nic is a straight-laced engineer, she’s still a sucker for anything Austen-esque. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to disbelief once she starts writing in the journal–because somehow, it’s writing her back. . .
Miss Nicola James will be sensible and indulge in a little romance. Those twelve tiny words hit Nic like a thunderbolt, as if her diary was channeling Austen herself! Itching for a bit of excitement, Nic decides to follow her “Fairy Jane’s” advice. The result: a red-hot romance with a sexy Scottish musician who charms his way into Nic’s heart in about five seconds flat.
Sean MacInnes is warm, funny, and happens to think Nic is the most desirable woman he’s ever met. But a guy like Sean doesn’t exactly fit into her Life Plan. With no one but Fairy Jane to guide her, Nic must choose between the life she thought she wanted–and the kind of happy ending she never saw coming. . ..

And now for the GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight!!! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win. (Open US only.)

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Be sure to stop by the other stops on the Jane Austen Blog Hop!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson

reluctantThe Reluctant Bachelorette 
written by Rachael Anderson
published by HEA Publishing, LLC

find it here: AmazonGoodreads

Why did I pick this book: I am participating in the blog tour hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. I read it every free chance I had and I was glued to my Nook for the last 100 pages. I couldn’t wait to see how this story ended and I wasn’t disappointed. The end left me with a smile and a giddy feeling. I love books that do that!

This was a cute concept. I would have killed my so-called best friend for doing this to me but Taycee was a much better sport. She is your typical small-town girl who is resistant to change. Even though her parents and her brother moved away from their hometown, she relocated there, started her business, and doesn’t dream of leaving. The one thing I couldn’t relate to was Taycee’s long-harbored obsession and grudge against her brother’s high school best friend. I mean, 10 years is a long time to not let something go; especially when that something is a guy that you never even dated.

Jessa is Taycee’s best friend and mastermind behind the internet reality show, Shelter’s Bachelorette. Jessa is rather bossy and domineering but she has good in her heart. All of this is to save her hometown and her aunt and uncle with whom she is very close. Luke, Taycee’s brother’s best friend from high school, moved back to Shelter Springs to start a veterinary practice. He doesn’t realized how much had changed, especially Taycee. He was a great love interest in this story. Sometimes you want to root for him and sometimes you want him to be out of the picture.

The secondary characters really added to the overall story and setting of this small town. Liza, Caleb, Missy, Jake, and Miles were all well-written. Jake and Miles were some of my favorites. They are sweet guys.

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book. It was a great, clean chick lit read.

Will I read it again: I may read this book again someday. It is not a “read every year” book but it may be worth another read down the road. I will definitely read more by Ms. Anderson!

About the book – from the publisher: Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it’s up to the viewers–not her–to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke’s an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she’s up to, it means revenge.

But when their pranks go south, will they screw up any chance they have at a future together, or will they be able to forgive and forget and prove that love really does conquer all?

rachael - reluctant bacheloretteAbout the Author: Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She’s the mother of four, can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Find Ms. Anderson here: webFacebookTwitterGoodreadsAmazon


And now for the Tour Giveaway!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win some awesome prizes!

(Open October 1st to 31st)

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

GIVEAWAY!! Book Blast: Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion by Marisol Murano

Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion
written by Marisol Murano
published by Hipso Media

find it here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

About the book: Since her arrival in the United States from Venezuela, Valentina Goldman isn’t exactly living the American Dream. She’s living the American Nightmare.

Her late husband, Max, has left her a young widow, a step-daughter whom Valentina didn’t want, and a bi-polar ex-wife. And oh, having given up her dream job in New York, Valentina is also unemployed in Arizona.

Part “Bridget Jones Diary,” part “Modern Family,” Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion is the story of a woman trying to get a handle on her whacky life in America. In breathless, blog-like snippets, Valentina compares her own story with that of her eccentric sister, Azucena, who has bizarre troubles of her own down in the tropics.

Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion is a funny and moving story about what happens when a passionate South American woman moves to the USA and, like so many of us, ends up with a life she never imagined.

“A funny and quirky mix of anecdotes and life lessons. This is imbued with such a distinct personality — one that begs you to laugh at nearly every page.”
~ Emily from Goodreads

About the author: When she was 18-years-old Marisol Murano moved to the United States to attend school so that afterwards she could return to her native Venezuela to get married and have kids. None of this happened. Instead, she ended up getting a Master’s degree which eventually landed her a boring job in an exciting city: New York.

After a few years running the corporate rat race, Marisol woke up to this one day, “Even if you win the race, you’re still a rat.” That was the end of her banking career and the birth of her first novel: The Lady, The Chef, and The Courtesan.

Marisol was the first to be surprised when her first novel was named Latino Book of the Year, Original Voices from Border’s and was picked as a BookSense selection. She was further surprised when it was translated into several languages.

A second career detour led her to become a chef and the author of a cookbook, Deliciously Doable Small Plates from Around the World. Between novels, Chef Marisol now travels the world conducting culinary demonstrations on exotic cuisine. In fact, Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion was born at sea in a split-second of confusion when during a culinary demonstration a woman raised her hand to ask: “Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?”

Life is stranger than fiction, indeed.

Find Ms. Murano here: Hipso Media Blog, Facebook,  Goodreads

And now for the Book Blast Giveaway! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash from Hipso Media!!! (Ends October 25, 2012)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent’s permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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


Hi Everyone!

Today is my 1 year Blogoversary! I cannot believe that I started this adventure a year ago. And, boy, has that time flown by. 

I want to thank all of you…my followers, my friends, all of the great authors and tour hosts that I have had a chance to work with…from the bottom of my heart. All of you have helped make this blog what it is today. Without you, I probably would not be celebrating this milestone.

As a thank you, I am giving away to one lucky follower a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card! Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

GIVEAWAY!! Book Blast: Kids Can by Leslie Susskind

It’s Time for Good Manners!
written by Leslie Susskind
published by Good Manners Kids Stuff Press

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

About the book: Part story book, part practice book, all parts fun! Children will learn about good manners — and how to tell time — with this colorful, engaging book.

 They’ll spend the day with Torie, Tad, Tessa and Tyler and discover how it’s time for good manners all day long. And then they’ll get the chance to practice telling time — all while enjoying the cute clock designs, and without realizing they’re learning!

Praise for It’s Time for Good Manners!

“It’s Time for Good Manners” is a great package workbook for children ages 4-7, combining learning twin virtues of considerateness and courtesy and punctuality.”

“If ever a book was needed for this time, then this is it.”

“A fun way to learn how to tell time.”

“…good book for introducing time to students in earlier grades.”

The Kids’ (and parents’, too!) Book of Good Sportsmanship 
written by Leslie Susskind
published by Good Manners Kids Stuff Press

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

About the book: Do you have little athletes in your family? Then this colorful, engaging book is the perfect way to help them understand what it means – and how important it is – to be a Good Sport. Soccer? Dancing? Swimming? Whatever sport they do, they’ll learn easy, basic sports manners through reading familiar situations featuring kids just like them. Parents, you’ll also find handy reminders for you with each tip, so that the entire family can learn to be Good Sports together.

Praise for The Kids’ (and parents’, too!) Book of Good Sportsmanship

“This is a great easy read that reminds not just the kids in your family but also parents, and in my case, grandparents how important it is to be a Good Sport. Basic sports etiquette that works just as well with Dad’s Sunday Soccer game as with the munchkin’s is presented in an engaging and entertaining way. Memorable reminders teach this important etiquette and keep it top of mind and simple for the whole family!”

“The Kids’ (and parents’, too!) Book of Good Sportsmanship” is a guidebook for raising winners, both on and off the field!”

“Children need more books like this, to teach important lessons. Parents are as big a factor in a child’s perception of sports as the children themselves, and the parents attitude becomes the children’s. This book teaches children that no one should take sports so seriously that they get angry, be rude, but instead, be gracious, respectful and have fun with it.”

About the Author: Leslie A. Susskind lives with her husband, daughters and two cats outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she writes children’s books while working in marketing and trying to keep up with everyone’s activities.

She is a BIG bookworm and loves to read just about anything she can get her hands on. She also loves to watch home improvement TV shows (and tries to convince her husband to do the projects), sing in choirs, and watch movies (especially anything Jane Austin). Sometimes she can even be found cooking without a microwave.

Leslie is the author of several manners-themed books, including “The Kids’ (and parents’, too!) Book of Good Sportsmanship,” and “It’s Time for Good Manners!” She is also the of the middle grade fantasy series, The Zephram Tales, which include “The Month of Zephram Mondays” and “The Tale of Time Warp Tuesday.”

find Ms. Susskind here: Author Website, Book Website, Twitter, Good Manners Blogs Mother Daughter Bookworms Blog, Goodreads, Facebook

And now for the GIVEAWAY! Author Leslie Susskind is giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win. (Ends October 23, 2012)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent’s permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: Living in Glass Houses by Zoe McKnight with a guest post by the author

Living in Glass Houses
written by Zoe McKnight         
published by Kelli Burgos

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I am participating in the blog tour hosted by CLP Blog Tours. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. I read it every free chance I had. 

I found it interesting to watch all of the characters. Each of them went through their own issues, problems, joys, etc. A lot of these situations were similar to other characters’ yet everyone passed judgment on the others. The old saying rings true…”those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” 

I did not like Jonathan. I thought he was a bit of an ass but he was an ass who tried to do the right thing. Elle was strong and confident. I was happy with some of her decisions. Blair needs to be stronger. She doesn’t need Vaughn. Lauryn was clingy. And Vaughn was an ass who, unlike Jonathan, did not try to do the right things.

At first, I thought Living in Glass Houses would be hard to follow because of the changing character focus of each chapter. However, because each chapter was titled with the character’s name, it was easy to follow along. The only confusing part that I found throughout this book was the jumps in time. I would have liked some signal of the amount of time that had passed or a mention or something. Those transitions were hard to follow.

The ending was quite interesting. I cannot wait for the sequel!

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book. 

Will I read it again: I will not but I can’t wait to read the sequel to Living in Glass Houses

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Even good people make bad decisions when it comes to affairs of the heart. 

Living in Glass Houses is a contemporary story of three friends, all at a crossroads after discovering that sometimes even the best laid plans won’t result in the life you want. It’s about navigating the murky waters of relationships and friendships and having the courage to make those hard, life-altering decisions which mark the difference between existing and living.

Every Free Chance Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Zoe McKnight, author of Living in Glass Houses, to the blog today! Ms. McKnight has written the following guest post about writing a book from different characters’ points of view. Enjoy!

When I started writing Living in Glass Houses, it was my plan to tell the story from only one character’s point of view — Elle. But I found her too level-headed and logical to make for an intriguing story on her own. So, I introduced more characters and felt their stories needed to be told as well.

In order to balance out Elle’s pragmatism, I developed a second character. One with a riveting story line, to which I believed readers would respond strongly. And, they did. The most impassioned feedback has been about Blair. Readers either sympathize with her or hate her.

And because chick-lit (by definition) focuses solely on women, I thought it would be cool to show things from a man’s perspective. Having several close male friends, I’ve learned that they go through a lot of the same relationship woes we do. Only they rarely talk about it. That was the genesis of my third character, Jonathan.
I had a lot of fun dipping in and out of the three character’s heads, but my challenge was in telling enough of their personal stories so that readers could connect with them each. Believe me, there was a lot more I wanted to write, but, for the sake of brevity, I had to limit their back stories. In order to find their individual voices, I created a bio for them each. A detailed story about who they were and not just the surface things like their occupations and hobbies, but also details like their personality quirks, fears, and bad habits. The small things that make people who they are. For instance, I knew Jonathan had a touch of ADD and Blair was perpetually late. Once I felt like I really knew them in my mind, I had a better sense of how they would react under certain circumstances and what drove their decision-making. It also helped as a reference when I came to points where I wasn’t sure which direction to take.
In my next novel, the sequel to Living in Glass Houses, I’m only telling the story of one character, Blair. This will answer a lot of questions readers had after completing the first book. It gives a deeper look into her past, who she is and why she’s such a controversial character.

About the author: Zoe McKnight was born and raised in New York City. When she’s not writing she can be found reading or satisfying her reality show fix. Her two favorite things are eggnog lattes and the love of her neurotic ten-year old cocker spaniel. Living in Glass Houses is her first novel. The sequel, ‘Til Our Lies Do Us Part, will be released later this Fall.

Find Ms. McKnight here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!! CLP Blog Tours and Zoe McKnight are offering one lucky winner a copy – either print or ebook – of Living in Glass Houses!! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: 2:32 A.M. (The Djinn Master’s Legacy #1) by Emily Ford with a guest post by the author and an excerpt from the book

2:32 A.M. (The Djinn Master’s Legacy #1)
written by Emily Ford          
published by Emily Ford

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by JKS Communications. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. It is the first book about Djinn (genies) that I have read…with the exception of Aladdin. At first, this book was slow. However, at about the halfway mark, it started to move. The last fourth of the book was exciting and had me glued to my Kindle.

Cat is a strong protagonist. For 17, she is very mature. I really liked that she resisted having sex with Todd despite his pressure, repeated advances, and shows of frustration when she denied him. That showed good character. She was strong and willing but did not go into anything completely blind. Cat questioned and reasoned and learned to trust her instinct as Finnegan instructed her to do.

Todd was a typical teenage boy. But he seemed to really care for Cat despite not always showing it, especially when she denied him sex. Hayden was a wonderful older brother and obvious best friend. Their close relationship was nice. Rolf left me a bit uneasy. I know he is meant to be her life partner but there’s something not quite right about him. Red flags kept popping up in my mind as I read this story.

The action was pretty good. Cat’s rival, Valentine, was an interesting enemy. It was unusual to have an antagonist follow the rules. Valentine knew she couldn’t touch Cat while she was underage. She didn’t try to but she found ways to terrorize her without violating that genie law. 

A few things that fell short for me…
     In the beginning the southern drawl was spelled out phonetically. That made it almost impossible to read the dialogue. For me, describing that a character has a deep southern drawl is sufficient enough. Also, there was an awful lot of swearing in the beginning by the teens. I know teens swear but it wasn’t necessary and didn’t help the plot or the dialogue move. Thankfully, these two issues were only in the beginning of the book. 
     What was the significance of 2:32 a.m.? Will we find this out in later books? I hope so because it kept showing up and it seems like there should be something really special or magical about it. 

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book. 

Will I read it again: I will not read this book again. However, I would be interested in reading the next book in  The Djinn Master’s Legacy series.

About the book: 

In the early morning hours nearing her 17th birthday, Cat Townsend woke to the sudden blur of a mysterious unknown man sitting on the edge of her bed. She did not feel fear – rather a strange calmness overtook her. In an instant their eyes locked, he lightly touched her hand, and then he disappeared into the nothingness of night.

Caught in that undefined place between asleep and awake, the moment felt hazy and surreal. A chill ran down Cat’s spine as she glances at the time – it’s 2:32 a.m.

What unfolds in the first book of The Djinn Master’s Legacy trilogy, is young Cat’s personal struggle with the overwhelming choice to accept a destiny of magic. As she contemplates the merits of unparalleled power, her new and ordinary world in Savannah, Georgia is understandably shaken.  The closer her decision gets, the more twisted her life with family, friends and boyfriend becomes. Will she choose to give up everything she cherishes?

Find out, in 2:32 A.M. The time everything happens.

Every Free Chance Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Emily Ford, author of 2:32 A.M., to the blog today! She has written a guest post about how she chose the locales for specific scenes in 2:32 A.M.

            People wonder how authors select locales for scenes in their book. For me, all the locations in The Djinn Master’s Legacy trilogy have been places I’ve visited and loved.  (Never been anywhere I haven’t liked yet!) While traveling incessantly for my “real job,” I always took pictures and notes about places that would provide interesting settings for my scenes. 

             I chose Savannah, Georgia as protagonist Cat Townsend’s hometown not only because of its historic southern charm and stunning beauty, but it had all the elements I needed for her story.  It’s a nice-sized city with a small town feel, I had to have water and a nearby beach, (The Savannah River run through town and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Tybee Island.).  And of course there had to be a rich, bustling music scene for Hayden!

            For the camp locale, there’s a plethora of stunning settings to choose from in this country.  From Minnesota to Michigan, Wisconsin to the Eastern Seaboard, and anywhere West, the options are endless.

            However, in my heart, there’s no place like Harrison, Maine! I, myself spent seven summers swimming in the frigid water, and have never forgotten the sights, sounds, and smells there.  To all those kids lucky enough to go to summer camp somewhere, you know what I’m talking about!  To those of you who will experience camp for the first time through 2:32 A.M., I hope I do justice to the natural beauty and bring the experience to you.

            The Irish countryside was the perfect landscape for an all out “genie” war between the “very old guard and the rookie” in 2:32 A.M.  In fact, as the series unfolds, you will discover what role genies played in the history of these ancient lands now called the United Kingdom.  It necessitated quite a bit of research to find the right tie-in for all these earliest genies. 

            As a writer, choosing the locale for a scene might be my favorite part.  And yes, I have tried one on for size, then changed my mind when the feel wasn’t completely right.  Alas, I must keep traveling to keep up with the Genie world.  Poor, poor me!

About the author: Debut novelist Emily Ford has always been a storyteller. As a kid at summer camp in Maine, she’d make up ghost stories at bedtime for her fellow bunkmates.

Her Djinn Master’s Legacy trilogy also began as a simple bedtime story, intended for Ford’s then adolescent children to have in writing and use to tell their own kids one day. By the time she finished writing, she had three very full books.

2:32 a.m., Ford’s first installment of her young adult series, caught early readers’ attention as a fiction book minus the typical vampire and werewolf characters.

The Texas writer interned each summer with KHOU-TV in Houston while gaining her bachelor’s degree in radio and television at The University of Arizona. She worked on the copy desk at The Dallas Morning News, and eventually started the marketing company KapsMark, Inc.

Find Ms. Ford here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

And now, Emily Ford and JKS Communications are giving you a chance to win a $20 iTunes gift card!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win! (US only)

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Please enjoy the following excerpt from 2:32 A.M.

Chapter 1:  Reality

Sixteen-year-old Cat moaned as she opened her bleary eyes and glanced around the unfamiliar bedroom. 
What a dream,” she grimaced.  She was remembering the unsettling images of the black man, the scary woman and the handsome Todd Wilkinson.  However, it was the powerful sense of being out of her body, astral projection — that made her skin crawl.  Sitting up abruptly in bed, Cat attempted to shake off an icy feeling.  Something had happened to her last night.  She didn’t know how she knew this or what it meant, but she was certain it was true.  

Her thoughts wandered to Todd.  She hadn’t seen or heard from him in ten years, since her family moved from Florida to Colorado.  As of yesterday, that was officially two moves back.  She pulled the covers tightly under her chin and sighed; that felt like a lifetime ago. 

So why dream of him now?  She couldn’t answer that.  But, knowing he was real made her wonder if the hideous lady was too.  And, what about the black man, was it possible he had actually been here?

 She shook her head trying to rid herself of the image and glanced at the piles of unpacked boxes cluttering her room.  She thought perhaps she dreamt of Todd because they’d moved again.  “Another night in a new bed, a new town, a new life….”

  “Cat, get up!” Hayden bellowed from downstairs.  Hayden was her eighteen-year-old brother.  His voice jolted her back to reality.  She flew from bed as he again hollered, “Cat, get down here, quick!”   

She glanced at the clock.  11:43 a.m.  “Just a minute!” she called and jumped out of bed.  She pulled out fresh shorts and a t-shirt from a nearby box and, quickly, detoured to her bathroom before bolting down the stairs.  “Easy Hay, what’s up?”  

He just smirked.

“Uh-oh, you’re up to something, I can tell.”

“I’m not sayin.  But, you have to come with me right now!” 

“Where the…?” She mumbled and followed him to the car.  She shrugged.  “We might as well get a look at Savannah.  I haven’t been out of this house since we rolled up.”

Her brother said nothing as his smile turned to an all-out grin.  It wasn’t like him to keep her in suspense; secrets just weren’t his thing. 

Just seventeen months apart they were practically twins and the best of friends.  As he drove down the driveway, Cat pulled down the sun guard and glanced in the mirror.  She frowned.  Her long, chestnut-brown hair was a mess so she pulled it up in a ponytail.

  In the mirror, she glanced back at their new house.  She liked the regal, two-story white Colonial with black shutters and trim.  The porch was an expansive wrap-around with a nice swing.  The front yard was large with lush green grass.  And, majestic oak trees stood in a line as if protecting a slice of southern history.  

There were five additional houses on their street.  Each one set back on its own lot.  It was difficult to see some of the homes, especially, the house next door at the end of the cul-de-sac.  It looked like something out of Gone With The Wind.  

“Feels like a sauna here,” Cat said.  She wiped her brow.  “I’m literally soaked.”

“Yep…” Hayden agreed, “It’s a far cry from the cool summers of Colorado.  But I like it here.  The music scene is amazing.”

“Really, already…?  We’ve been here less than twenty-four hours and you’ve had time to check out the music?” 

“Of course,” he laughed.  Cat glanced at her oldest brother and knew he was destined to be a rock-star.  He had the look, the voice, and the charisma to be great.  Perhaps, he would be a superstar!

 “Look Cat.”  He pointed toward City Market in the historic section of downtown Savannah.  It was already packed with shoppers and diners.  There was also a stage set up for a band.  The port town of Savannah was huge compared to the small sleepy mining town they’d come from. 

“Whoa, check out that group of kids hanging out in front of that ice cream parlor. 

Hayden, let’s stop!  I want to get out and walk around.”

 “Not yet, there’s someone I want you to see first.”

 “See?” she asked.  She starred at his smug expression.  “Who in the world could I possibly want to see?  Have you already found someone you know?”

“I’m not telling.  It’s a surprise!”

He turned up the radio and music blared from the open windows.

 They turned away from the river and Cat saw the entrance to Savannah Hills High School.  Catherine Ann Townsend would be starting her junior year there in just days.  Catherine was a name she never used.

“Here we are,” Hayden said.  They pulled into the parking lot of the football stadium.  Practice was in session. 

Cat looked curiously at her brother.  “So why exactly are we here?” 

Hayden grinned, broadly, and said nothing.

“Great!” Cat muttered.  She got out of the car and followed him to the bleachers. 

Hayden waved at a player at mid-field.  The person turned toward them.     

Curiosity and nerves hit her.  “Quick, so I don’t make a complete ass out of myself who is that?”

“Nope, you’ve got to guess.”

Cat peered toward the field and mumbled, “Freak.”

The guy came closer pulling at his helmet.  Cat noticed his size.  He was well over six feet tall, seriously sweating, and undeniably cute.  He got to the bleachers, shook out his wet hair, and flashed an enormous smile.  His two mammoth dimples were a dead giveaway.

Cat froze.  It was–Todd Wilkinson!  Although, he was much cuter in person, the uncanny resemblance to the Todd in her dream made her shiver.  She wondered what he was doing here. 

“Hey Kitty Cat it’s been awhile!”  Todd’s deep voice rang out.

Cat blushed hard.  It was impossible to keep her emotions from hijacking her confident self away.  She heard her voice speak, but had no idea what she was saying.  “Todd Wilkinson– who’d have thought it?”

Cat continued her internal gaping.  The accuracy of her dream was unnerving.  “Wow, I can’t believe it’s him and he’s here.”

Cat couldn’t tear her gaze from him.  More words spewed from her mouth.  “You were a kid with a geeky buzz cut, big ears, and a big mouth when I last saw you.”

“Yeah, and you were a skinny little runt with a permanent layer of dirt all over your face.”

She giggled.  Goose bumps rose like mountains on her arms even in the extreme heat.  Seeing Todd was shocking.  It was nearly impossible to believe her family had moved halfway across the country and then landed next door to the Wilkinson’s.

Her mind could process nothing but the big brown eyes that danced in delight as he gazed at her.  Todd glanced anxiously at Hayden who still looked elated.  Cat couldn’t focus.  Memories of the three of them came to her.  They spent long lazy afternoons together at the beach, fished with string, throw sand at each other, and would dig to China and collecting shells from the beach. 

Todd and Hayden had been best friends then.  And, even though she was young, and Todd had teased her unmercifully, she’d had a total crush on him.  It had been horrible to say goodbye when they’d moved to Colorado.  Hayden talked about Todd for years after they left.  Whatever she imagined happened to him, she never dreamed a kid so geeky could grow up to look so great.  

She couldn’t stop from staring.

Todd laughed and said, “Take a picture it’ll last longer!”

 Cat turned away her face was growing crimson again.  Todd and Hayden howled in delight. 

Embarrassed, she stammered, “You-you know what?  You may look different but you haven’t changed a bit.  You’re still a creep Todd Wilkinson!”  

She looked away and her heart pumped, furiously.  Todd’s laugh rang out as he put his helmet on and headed back to the field.  He turned to face her and shouted, “But, you’ve changed Cat Townsend!  And, you look really good all grown up.  See ya, Hayden.”  He waved goodbye and was off.

On the outside, Cat appeared calm, cool, and collected as she followed Hayden back to the car.  But on the inside she was mush.  Her legs felt wobbly.  Wiping her sweaty hands on her shorts she muttered, “Can’t believe he’s here, in Savannah.  What are the odds?” 

“Yep, it’s pretty cool, isn’t it?”  Her brother beamed.

“Really…?”  She rolled her eyes.  “He’s still an ass.”

Hayden burst out laughing.  “No he’s not and you know it!  That’s why your face is still beet red.”

In the car Cat felt strange.  Her body trembled from the inside out.  It wasn’t just her attraction to Todd getting to her.  It was the awareness somewhere in the back of her mind that seeing Todd was no accident.  “Listen, Hayden…I need to tell you…I had another one of those dreams last night.  You know the one’s I’ve told you about where it feels 3D, like I’m a freak of nature?” 

“Ye-ah,” he said with some hesitation.

“Yeah, well…last night I dreamt of Todd — twice.”  She glanced sideways at her brother.  His smile faded away.  “One was more of a memory — we were kids again.  We were playing on the beach and he was teasing me.  The other was weird and horrible – impossible to describe really.  Anyway, then he shows up here?  I think that’s more than a coincidence, don’t you?”

He shrugged.  “I don’t know Cat.  These dreams of yours have always been creepy to me.  They don’t make sense.  It’s probably nothing.” 

“It’s nothing?” Cat countered, sarcastically.  She stared at her brother.

His quick glance silenced her all the way home.

They walked up the steps of the front porch and opened the door.  “Hey Momma,” Cat called out.  She was overly enthusiastic trying to shake off the ominous feeling she had.  Both, she and Hayden, carefully made their way around their mother’s petite frame and the unpacked boxes that littered the hardwood floors. 

“Where have you two been?” she asked.  She was standing knee deep in Styrofoam peanuts and crumpled newspapers.  She stopped flattening boxes to gaze at them with her sparkling emerald green eyes.

“Here, let me help you,” Cat offered.

“No dear, that’s alright, you know I need to do this myself.  It helps me acclimate.” 

At that moment, Rex Cat’s younger brother by eighteen months, walked in from the kitchen.  He was holding a family-sized bag of Fritos.  And Drew, her fourteen-year-old brother was just one step behind him.

“Hey where’d ya go?  And, why’d you leave us here?” Rex asked. He had his mouth full.  Cat glanced at Rex and marveled at the dirty blond curls that bounced across his forehead.  She constantly thought how amazing it was.  Rex, alone, had inherited his blond hair and brown eyes from their father, while the rest of them got their mother’s brown hair and green eyes.

Taking a few chips from the bag, Hayden grinned at Rex.  “Wouldn’t you like to know?” he teased.

Cat huffed.

Her mother looked up in surprise.  “Well?” 

“You’re never going to guess who lives here,” Hayden blurted out.

“Who,” she asked.  She stopped folding tissue.

“Todd Wilkinson!” Hayden beamed.  Cat rolled her eyes again.  Her father stumbled from his office to join them.  His laughter filled the room.

“You’re kidding!” exclaimed her mother as she looked up.  “The Wilkinson’s live here…in Savannah?  I’ll have to call Susanna.  I haven’t spoken with her in years.  So, what’s Todd like these days?”

Cat glanced at her father; his dirty blond hair was hidden under a baseball cap and his glasses were perched on his nose.

“That’s the kid from Florida, right?” Rex interrupted.  He stuffed another handful of Fritos into his mouth.  “Even though I was young, I remember he was cool.”

“He’s still a jerk,” Cat said.  She picked up some trash from the table and took it toward the kitchen. 

“You are so full of shit Cat!” Hayden teased.  “You totally think he’s hot, it’s written all over your face!”  She heard his boisterous laugh behind her  as she escaped into the kitchen.

 “Hey- watch your language!” scolded her father.  Then he returned to his office.

“Didn’t he have a sister named Allison, or something like that?” Rex asked.  Putting down the Frito’s bag and licked the salt from his fingers.

“Anna,” Cat called out from inside the refrigerator.  Another icy chill pierced her spine as she thought of Todd’s family living so close to them.

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

The White Lilac by Christina Adams

ChristinaAdams-WhiteLilac-WEB-mediumThe White Lilac
written by Christina J. Adams
published by CreateSpace

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: The author, Christina J. Adams asked me to review her book and I gladly accepted her request. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy The White Lilac. It was very good and I found myself reading every free chance I had. I couldn’t put this book down during the last 100 pages. I was hooked and had to find out how this book would end.

I thought Ms. Adams came up with a great concept for this book. It was definitely something new and different for me. The White Lilac had just enough twists and shocking moments to keep you reading. And this story was believable. There wasn’t a moment where I thought “this is ridiculous.”

The narrators alternate between Kai and Caryn. This was not confusing at all and, in fact, I thought it helped the story. I wanted to hear both points of view during certain events and scenes. And that’s what the changing of the narrators did for me. Caryn is a girl who was genetically engineered to be able to swim underwater for long periods of time in order to save the human race by collecting the Jigger eggs from the poisonous anemone plants. She is so strong and willing to die for the people of Betan Earth. Kai is an orphan who was abandoned by his mother when he was rather young. He has a great story and it was great to find out where he came from. He was a good friend to Caryn and a strong young man (I cannot say too much about Kai without giving away any of this story.)

everyfree4Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book. Those who like dystopian, science fiction YA books would enjoy this book.

Will I read it again: I will not. But I will definitely read more from this author.

About the book – from the author: Fifteen year old Caryn Tobin is willing to sacrifice her life to save the world, and to atone for her part in the death of a friend. Kai Garrett will risk everything to discover his past and why he was abandon. When their paths join, they form an unlikely friendship that could change everything. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

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

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: Into the Wilderness by David Ebenbach with a guest post from the author

Into the Wilderness
written by David Ebenbach          
published by Washington Writers’ Publishing House

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by JKS Communications. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: I found this book to be thought-provoking, emotional, and kind of sad. It was a quick read and I am glad I read this collection of short stories. 

Each short story in Into the Wilderness was about parenthood – whether the situation was about a new parent, a separated parent, or a hopeful parent. Each story seemed to focus on a hardship or a downside to each parent’s situation. These are not your happy, everything-about-being-a-parent-is-great stories. This made it a bit difficult for me to relate to any of the parents in the stories. Now, I’m not saying that my experience with parenthood is the best all the time either. It’s just that I didn’t relate to these particular stories. For example, the “main character” through four of the stories, Judith, could not come up with a name for her child…even a few weeks after her child was born. That I could not understand. 

I was happy with the ending. I was worried about this particular parent throughout the stories. The message in the book is clear…not everything about being a parent or hoping to be a parent is perfect…but in my mind, the good moments always outweigh the bad.

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book. It was a quick read comprised of thoughtful short stories.

Will I read it again: I will not read this book again.

About the book – from the publisher: 
“For the very real people in David Ebenbach’s vivid and emotional stories,” says author Jesse Lee Kercheval, “becoming a parent — as Judith, the single mother in four of the stories, says — is going ‘into the wilderness’.” The collection Into the Wilderness explores the theme of parenthood from many angles: an eager-to-connect divorced father takes his kids to a Jewish-themed baseball game; a lesbian couple tries to decide whether their toddler son needs a man in his life; one young couple debates the idea of parenthood while another struggles with infertility; a reserved father uses an all-you-can-eat buffet to comfort his heartbroken son. But the backbone of the collection is Judith, who we follow through her challenging first weeks of motherhood, culminating in an intense and redemptive baby-naming ceremony. Says author Joan Leegant, “Ebenbach takes us deep into the heart of the messy confusion and terror and unfathomable love that make up that shaky state we call parenthood. These stories are fearless, honest and true.”

Every Free Chance Book Reviews would like to welcome David Ebenbach, author of Into the Wilderness, to the blog today!! He has written the following guest post for all of you.

Finding Time

 by David Ebenbach

I love the theme of this blog; I am definitely one of those people who doesn’t have a lot of spare time. During the daytime, I’ve got my full-time job teaching, a job that I love but that spills easily beyond normal working hours; during mornings, afternoons, evenings, and weekends I’m an active parent; and then there’s that unfortunate recurring need to sleep that seems to take up a lot of each night. And yet, like the host of this blog, I love books, and I’m determined to make them a major part of my life — reading books and also writing them. Given that you can’t actually make time — you only get twenty-four hours each day, no matter what you do — my life is all about findingtime.

The good news is that there is time to be found. For example, my life involves a lot of walking, especially to and from work, so I read while I walk. It takes practice, and alertness; I live in a city and there are cars flying through every intersection. And there are downsides: with my eyes down on the pages, I’m missing all the other things in the world that I would be noticing if I put my book away. Still — it does get those books read. Another sneaky thing I do is sometimes assign my classes books that I really want to read, as long as they’re relevant to the course; that way I really have to read it or I won’t have anything to talk about when I get to class. I also carry a little notepad with me wherever I go, so that I can jot lines down whenever a free minute shows up unexpectedly. Those opportunities do present themselves, and I want to be ready. I think we actually lose a lot of time in tiny bursts; a few minutes here or there, spent bored or checking Facebook or something. A friend of mine once called that “stupid time” — stupid because it seems like there isn’t enough of it to get anything done — but I’ve found that you can get stuff done when you grab every little chance you can get. If you get in the habit of that, you’ll find that your mind stays on-topic in between opportunities, keeps you ready for the next one. More importantly, I do lean on my partner a lot; I’ll admit that there’s some tag-team parenting in our house on the weekends. There are also the summers, of course. And then the last resort: waking up extra early. I do that when the rest of the time just isn’t adding up. Through all this, I get it done.

So, it’s true that you can’t make time, but I do think it’s often there to be found. What are your strategies? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

About the author: David Ebenbach was born and raised in the great city of
Philadelphia, home of America’s first library, first art museum, first public school, and first zoo, along with his very first stories and poems – though those early efforts went on to become (deservedly) less famous than, for example, the zoo.

Since then David has lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, Philadelphia again, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Ohio again, picking up some education (formal and otherwise) and more than a few stories along the way. He has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

In addition to his short-story collection Into the Wilderness (October 2012, Washington Writers’ Publishing House), David is the author of another book of short stories entitled Between Camelots (October 2005, University of Pittsburgh Press), and a non-fiction guide to creativity called The Artist’s Torah (forthcoming, Cascade Books). His poetry has appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Subtropics, and the Hayden’s Ferry Review, among other places.

He has been awarded the Drue Heinz Literature Prize; fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center; and an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.

David currently teaches at Georgetown University and very happily lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and son, both of whom are a marvel and an inspiration.

Find Mr. Ebenbach here: webFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads

And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Mr. Ebenbach and JKS Communications are giving away a paperback copy of Into the Wilderness! (Open US only.)

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