Thursday, December 11, 2014

3rd Degree Secrets Tour by Author Roni O'Connell annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd give away

About The Book:
3rd Degree Secrets (The Chronicles of D.E.A.D. High, #2) By: Roni O'Connell Published: December 8, 2014 Pages: 310
Like burns, there are degrees of secrets. First-degree secrets are those that girls share with female friends under clouds of giggles and shushed voices, eyes bright, smiles flashing, with furtive glances to ensure that a certain boy doesn't overhear.  First-degree secrets are relatively painless, subject to no worse than blushes or easy tears depending upon if that boy does or does not return feelings of affection.   Second-degree secrets follow a person from her locker down the school halls—rolling eyes and pointed fingers marking her as surely as a painted X on her back. These secrets don’t leave scars, but injure nonetheless, deep inside where insecurities linger and fester, waiting to explode. The most serious secrets are third degree, just as third degree burns are the worst, leaving the scars, bumpy, pitted, and marred; these secrets irrevocably twist, disfigure, and ruin lives.  I’ve had my share of second-degree secrets that I mostly try to ignore, but my third-degree secrets, well, those I hug to me in a fear born of basic survival instincts. My exterior is unblemished, white with blue veins, road maps traveling to foreign places beneath my skin, but inside, the terrain rises into mountains and ridges, scared, puckered, and ugly, un-crossable except by painful passage that I’m unwilling to take.

My Review of  3rd Degree Secrets: 

There is just something exceptional about the way Author Roni O'Connell tells a story. She is no ordinary author. Not by any means. When I read her book Float, book 1 in this series, I literally stopped reading and sent her a super long message before the end of the book. (See my review of Float below). I would have to go back now and read it to see how badly I babbled but I was just so blown away by her writing, her characters and her writing skills. When I found out that 3rd Degree Secrets was coming out, I about went out of my mind!

In 3rd Degree Secrets, we get to relive what it is like to be the odd girl out in high school. If you were not that girl, consider yourself lucky. For those of us who were, like myself, I feel like for our main character Kisten. She manages to get through day to day as anyone does in her situation. Even though her situation is a little different because she is blind in one eye, Kisten gets a little more flack from the other kids than most. She is not popular, not rich and but definitely very smart. Anyone that has been in high school knows this equals MAJOR HARASSMENT! Kisten's blind eye turns out to be more than meets the eye...(no pun intended..ok so yes it is)!!!!!

Luckily, Kisten handles all this as best as she can. She turns to the comfort of her pet rats when she gets home. *Again, I can relate. I had pets rats in high school. They were amazing! So sweet and loving. They honestly do make amazing pets!

This book is fast paced but not at a super fast, get lost and confused pace. The story line is so intriguing that I never stopped to eat while reading it. That was actually one of the messages I sent to Author Roni about this book. Her characters are SO REAL! It never ceases to amaze me when I find an author that captures my attention and manages to keep me enthralled in a book like Author Roni O'Connell has in 3rd Degree Secrets. The name alone makes you sit and think WHAT A CLEVER IDEA!!!!! The 3rd degree secret like a 3rd degree burn...you know it has to hurt! 

I apologize if my review seems vague. I did that on purpose my dear readers. There is so much to this book that I would be giving the whole world a disservice if I gave even a TINY speck of a spoiler away. That is how passionate I feel about this book. Trust me when I say YOU MUST READ FLOAT first and then READ 3rd DEGREE BURN because if you have not read them, you can now read them back to back. I had to wait! You won't have to! LUCKY YOU!!!!!!!!!!


Amazon | Createspace | Goodreads
5 Day Special:
Grab a copy of FLOAT for FREE this week only at Amazon. http://amzn.to/1u93prQ
My review of  FLOAT:
OMG! That is my initial reaction to this book. I am so in love with this book that I just totally flipped out. I was almost done with the book and sent Author Roni O'Connell a HUGE message on Facebook. After reassuring her several times I am not a crazy person, I had to tell her how much this book affected me. I love when a book totally just takes me by surprise. I was not able to figure out anything that was going on and was so surprised at what was going on that I was just speechless. This is true writing here. This is why I love to read. I fell in love with the characters so much. I have been thinking of them so much since finishing the book. Songs remind me of them. I find myself thinking of the whole book while trying to go to sleep. It is just THAT amazing. Ok for my review...

When Shellie wakes up from a 9 month coma, she realizes that more than just time has changed. Insisting on being called by her real name Rachelle, is just the beginning of the strange events that start taking place. Being a victim of a very violent crime and left for dead, Rashelle starts trying to put HER life back together. Being known as Shellie before the horrible attack, Rashelle knows that she must figure out what has happened and why things are so different now. She knows her mom, dad and her dog O'Malley but everyone else is a stranger. What is the secret to unlocking her memories?

YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!

About The Author:
Roni O’Connell lives with her husband and two dogs high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She finds inspiration in the forest, wildlife, and lakes around her home.
A former English teacher, Roni enjoys the company of young adults, their spirited opinions, great enthusiasm, and outrageous humor.
When Roni isn’t writing novels, you can find her hiking in the forest or contemplating the wonders of nature.
Social Media Links:
Follow The Tour:
December 8thAll About Books – Guest Post  
December 8thFangirlish – Review  
December 8thCabin Goddess – Playlist
 December 9thJess Resides Here – Promo Post
December 9thKarin Reads and Reviews – Review
December 10thPretty Girls Read – Author Interview
December 10thJen's Reading Obsession – Guest Post
December 10thLara Lynn – Review
December 10thThe Reader And The Chef – Review
December 11thPixie Vixen Reviews – Review
December 11thA Book Addicts Delight – Guest Post
December 11th Books Complete Me – Review
December 12thBookish Debbie – Review
December 12thBookish - Tiffany – Review
December 12thReads All The Books – Review 
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: I Wish by Elizabeth Langston

Book Information:
Lacey Linden is hiding the truth of her life—a depressed mom, a crumbling house, and bills too big to pay. While her high school classmates see a girl with a ready smile and good grades, Lacey spends her evenings seeking ways to save her family. On a get-cash-quick trip to the flea market, Lacey stumbles over a music box that seemingly begs her to take it home. She does, only to find it is inhabited by a gorgeous "genie." He offers her a month of wishes, one per day, but there's a catch. Each wish must be humanly possible.
Grant belongs to a league of supernatural beings, dedicated to serving humans in need. After two years of fulfilling the boring wishes of conventional teens, he is one assignment away from promotion to a challenging new role with more daring cases. Yet his month with Lacey is everything that he expects and nothing like he imagines. Lacey and Grant soon discover that the most difficult task of all might be saying goodbye.


Paperback: 312 pages
Expected publication: November 18th
ISBN: 1939392233 

What Lacey needs is a miracle. What she gets is a genie with rules.
Links:

My Review: WOW!!! I related so much to this story.  I was seriously hooked from the first page.  Elizabeth has given us a world in which we can see that sometimes it takes us swallowing our pride and accepting help.  I know personally I still struggle to let others help me.  I really loved this book!!!



About the Author:
Elizabeth Langston lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two teen-ish daughters and one husband (a geek like her). When she’s not writing software or stories, Elizabeth loves to travel with her family, watch dance reality TV shows, and dream about which restaurant ought to get their business that night.
Elizabeth’s debut novel WHISPER FALLS released in November 2013. Its sequels, A WHISPER IN TIME released in April 2014 and WHISPERS FROM THE PAST released in October 2014.  Her new series begins with I WISH in November 2014. Learn more about her at www.elizabethlangston.net.
Author Links:




Rafflecopter Giveaway (Ends 12/01)
·         (1 winner) Grand Prize: Signed copy of I WISH, $25 e-book gift card, copper bracelet, swag, temporary tattoo (US & Canada)
·         (2 winners) 2nd prize: copper bracelet, swag, temporary tattoo (US & Canada)
·         (30 winners) 3rd prize: swag & temporary tattoos (international)

Tour Schedule:
November 17 - Bumbles and Fairy-Tales (guest post), Books As You Know It (interview)
November 18 – RELEASE DAY!!! Branwrites (interview), K-Books (guest post)
November 19 - (Lost in) Believing in Books (interview), The Cover Contessa (guest post)
November 20 - Jessabella Reads (interview), Books Complete Me (review)
November 21 - Shersinghzn (guest post)
November 22 - Lovely Reads (guest post)
November 23 - Crossroad Reviews (review), Stuck In YA Books (guest post)
November 24 - Letters in the Sand (review), Beauty and the Bookshelf (guest post)


Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: Becoming Beauty by Sarah Boucher






Welcome to Becoming Beauty's Blog Tour! Learn all about Sarah E. Boucher and her exciting new Young Adult novel based on the classic fairy tale Beauty & The Beast.

Becoming Beauty

Self-centered Bella focuses her attention on beautiful dresses and fabulous balls rather than helping her family earn a living.  And her siblings have had enough! To pay off their father’s debt, they send Bella to a far-off manor where the owner is more like a beast than a man.

As their personalities clash, Bella comes to realize there’s more to the Beast than she could ever have dreamed—if only she can look beneath the surface. And then there’s Jack, the kind servant who helps Bella adjust to her new life, someone Bella could easily fall in love with. But pursuing love may cost Bella her dreams of wealth and beauty. And that’s a price she’s not willing to pay.

Becoming Beauty is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and books & things.

My Review: I LOVED this book!!  Its a total twist on the Beauty and the Beast story!!!  I loved seeing the difference that Bella who first comes to the castle - because of her family, and the Bella that ends up staying at the castle!!!  This is such a good read!!!



Author Spotlight


Sarah E. Boucher spends her days instilling young children with the same love of literature she has known since childhood. After hours, she pens her own stories and nurses an unhealthy obsession for handbags, high heels, baking, and British television. Sarah is a graduate of Brigham Young University, who currently lives and teaches in Ogden, Utah. Becoming Beauty is her first novel.

Visit Sarah at blog/website (SarahEBoucher.com) 

Or connect with Sarah by clicking through to the following social media sites: 


And don't forget to click below and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Monday, November 10, 2014

SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE Deleted Scene Blog Tour

Title: Sing Sweet Nightingale
Author: Erica Cameron
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Synopsis: Mariella Teagen hasn't spoken a word in four years.

She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.

Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.

Calease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Calease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.

Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella's life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.

MY DELETED SCENE:

The late bell rings and I find myself in a deserted hallway, but that’s fine by me. It gives me a chance to take it all in. Lockers line the walls interspersed with classroom doors and corkboards displaying announcements, rules, and awards. The main office isn’t hard to find, but before I enter, I pause and take a deep breath.
The two women behind the tall desk dividing the room are so deep in their own conversation they both seem incredibly startled to see someone come through the door. Or maybe they find me startling. They’re an odd pair, the closer one so thin it looks like she’d break in a strong wind and the other one is large enough to make it justifiably questionable she’d survive running a mile. I keep my eyes down as I step up to the desk, concentrating on making a good impression. That’s not easy when the first things people notice are my height, the scars on my arms, and my pitch black eyes. Usually in that order.
As the office assistants guide me through the necessary forms and regulations, an increasingly annoying tingling sensation climbs up my spine and down my arms. The last time I felt like this was just before being jumped by two idiots with knives and one with a 9mm and a twitchy trigger finger. Without this slight warning, I would have died instead of simply adding a gunshot graze and two knife wounds to my collection of scars. But I’m not in the alleys of Trenton. What could possibly be lying in wait for me here?
When I finally hand over the last of my paperwork, the skinny secretary, Ms. Laurel, begins to give me instructions, but the sound of the door opening pulls my attention away. Automatically, I tense, hating my vulnerable position, but forcing myself to hold it. I’m not in Trenton, I remind myself. No one is going to attack me here. No one has a reason to attack me here. Not yet, anyway.
“That should be your mentor now,” Laurel says, apparently oblivious to my distress. I don’t turn, happy to put off the inevitable for another minute, so I’m watching Laurel as her smile dims and her eyes widen. Mrs. Quinn has frozen with a baby carrot halfway to her mouth, staring at person at the door.
“Oh, dear.” Laurel glances at Mrs. Quinn and hisses in the loudest whisper ever, “Can we really expect her to mentor anyone? She hasn’t said a word in four years! It never even crossed my mind they’d put her name on the list, bless her heart.”
A mute? Awesome. Maybe I’ll be able to escape the usual ritualistic grilling. Still, I feel a little bad for this girl. Why are they talking about her like she isn’t standing right behind me? Maybe she’s deaf. I don’t remember much sign language. It doesn’t matter right now, though, ‘cause I can’t ignore the growing certainty that I’m standing under the sword of Damocles.
Wait... A mute?
The image of the blonde girl silenced with a pink ribbon fills my vision. Can it be this easy? Am I really going to get this lucky for once in my life? I want to turn around and find out, but I make myself hold my position. I’m too amped up now. If I turn around before I get myself under control I’ll either latch onto her until she tells me what I want or have to face the disappointment of finding out this isn’t the girl I’m looking for.
“Mariella, sweetie, this is the newest addition to our honors program.”
Mariella. The name slams around my head like the clapper in a bell. Laurel is speaking directly to the girl, so she’s not deaf. But she’s also talking to Mariella like she might not understand English, slow and over-annunciated.
“His name is Hudson and he just moved here from… I’m sorry, Hudson, where was it?”
My backpack starts sliding off my shoulder. I pull it back up before placing my hands on the counter, turning my right hand palm up and staring at my brother’s initials on my wrist trying to ignore the ugly blue glow. My muscles are tensing, preparing for disappointment or danger, just in case.
“Don’t worry about it,” I tell Laurel. “I’m sure she doesn’t care.”
I expect Laurel to argue my dismissiveness, but she frowns and shakes her head. Standing up, she beckons me closer and whispers even louder than last time, “Mariella is a very bright girl, but she has trouble connecting with people.” She heaves a sigh and shrugs. “I don’t know how you’re going to communicate with her. Silent for so long, the poor dear.”
Poor dear indeed, if only for having to listen to some office assistant pass judgment on her. But at the same time, everything Laurel tells me makes me even more sure this is the girl I’m looking for. This is the person who can help me find a way back into the dreamworld. I prepare to say something to take the heat off her—I don’t know what, just something—when a light tapping noise from behind me makes Laurel and Quinn spaz like frightened cats. Conversely, it allows me to relax just a little. I don’t know what she did to make them jump like that, but good for her. I hope she flipped them off.
It takes Laurel a minute to refocus. Her gaze keeps darting to Mariella.
“This should be everything you need,” she whispers, this time quietly. Maybe because she finally remembers being mute doesn’t make someone deaf or stupid. “Good luck. You just let us know if you need anything, honey.”
I thank them and roll up the paperwork since I can follow Mariella from class to class. Now, the only thing left to do is face the music. I take a deep breath, turn around, and say hello to clue number three.
There’s no way the woman I saw at the supermarket yesterday isn’t Mariella’s mother. They’re practically clones of each other. But the physical features are where the resemblance ends.
Mariella is wearing baggy jeans three or four sizes too big and her shirt is hidden by a black hoodie I probably can fit into with her still inside it. Headphones hang out of the neck of the hoodie and she’s holding a composition book in her hand, but she doesn’t have a backpack. Mariella's wheat-gold hair seems dull, but it’s hard to tell since it’s all wrapped up in a hairdo I’d expect to see at a prom. Her skin is too pale, her lips too white, and her eyes too wide and glazed.
But none of that matters compared to what I see glowing against her skin. If I’m a smurf, this girl is an orange. No. Not even. It looks like she walked out of a horror movie. She’s on fire, burning from the inside out.
Was everything in my dream literal? The sign, the trees, the ribbon, and now the flames eating this girl alive. I’ve never seen another victim of the demons, but even when I was fully under their spell, I don’t think I ever glowed as bright as this girl. I blink to lower a dampening filter over my vision, protecting my eyes from the glare of the light she throws off. As soon as I do, though, I realize it might not have been the best idea.
Underneath the pallor, underneath the orange mist caressing her skin like the flames in my dreams, Mariella is gorgeous. I remember the end of the dream, the girl I pulled out of the blaze. I remember the expression in her eyes as she tore at the ribbon embedded in her skin. I thought I saw her clearly in the dream, but it can’t compare to standing this close and looking directly into her eyes. My heart stops. I stop breathing. Time stops. Lush, full lips under a small nose and overlarge eyes. Her porcelain-like appearance contradicts the set of her chin and tells me she may not be the fragile flower she looks like. She is built to smile and tease and laugh, but I bet she’s practically forgotten how. Just like I have.
She jerks back just a little as her eyes meet mine, sticks her hand in her pocket, and grips onto something that intensifies that sickening light tenfold. Even through my dampening filter, the light intensifies a lot, the strongest glow centered around her pocket. The glass nightingale, maybe? If this girl is still sucking energy from the dreamworld, she isn’t going to be much help. Whatever she knows will be locked inside her head and she’ll be watched by the demons twenty-four/seven.
If I look only at her eyes, I can almost see who she used to be. I can remember the girl in the dream who fought against the ties binding her and I can picture the woman from the supermarket, living her life with that unbearable sadness eating away at her. It takes me a moment to shake myself free of the spell Mariella seems to have thrown over me. Luckily, only a second has passed and neither of the office assistants has noticed anything odd. Yet.
“I know you two will manage,” Laurel says. Trying to make the best of it, I guess. “Mariella may be quiet, but I’m sure you two will find something in common.”
I can’t tear my eyes away from her. I’m a passing asteroid sucked into orbit around a planet. Every instinct in my body screams at me to tear that token away from her and save her from the demons plaguing her dreams. I want to, but I can already see it isn’t going to be that simple. But when has anything in my life been simple?
“I have a feeling you're more right than you know,” I manage to say.


My Deleted Scene Q&A:

1. I love this scene. Why did you delete it (obvious question I know)? It is so 
descriptive and insightful. I love how Mariella is described in such a negative way 
by the people who are supposed to really know her yet how Hudson knows her so 
well but does not know her personally. I would read the book based on this deleted 
scene!

It’s a great question! And highly relevant considering the purpose of the tour. 
Unfortunately it’s absolutely impossible for me to pinpoint one particular reason that this scene was cut. Mostly, this scene was lost because it no longer fit the needs of the story. When Spencer Hill bought the book and the editing process began, everything changed. 

It’s funny that you specifically mentioned the negative way the other people spoke about 

Mari because that was one of the major things we changed! In fact, no character in the book has changed more than Mariella. In early versions, I worked very hard to make her distant and disoriented, but she basically came off as (more than a little bit of) a b*t*h. 

Unlikable characters are one thing, but there’s definitely a tipping point where it becomes too much. There are also certain types of unlikable that readers aren’t willing to accept. 

In the beginning, Mari was one of those. It had to be fixed and fixing it wasn’t easy. 
In addition to the work we did on her, subplots were removed, timelines were changed, and a lot of the “hows” behind the construction of the story changed. Hudson still moved to Swallow’s Grove looking for a girl he saw in his dream, but meeting on the first day of school no longer worked with the new elements I needed to add. Their first meeting is still jarring and tense and fraught wit strange signs and emotions, but it takes place at Mariella’s house instead of at school. Add all of that together and this version of their first meeting had to go.

2. What inspires your work? Do you listen to music, have a muse, do you have 
a "voice" in your head that helps you write (which I think is really really cool)?

Inspiration can really come from anywhere. The original concept for The Dream War 
Saga came from song lyrics. Another book came from the idea of two people meeting 
somewhere weird like a fire escape, and a different book evolved out of a question 
lingering in my mind about what society would look like if aggression were not only 
expected but completely normalized within a culture. That’s one of the great things about inspiration—anything can trigger it! Conversations with friends, trips you take, photos, events you witness...the list is endless!

As for how I write, it depends on the day! Sometimes I listen to music (classical is 
best when I’m really trying to concentrate because otherwise I get distracted by the 
lyrics), sometimes I watch movies or TV in the background (usually only things I’ve 
seen more than a few times so I can fight the urge to really watch it), or I go to a coffee shop/café type place where I can work with the low level distraction of other people around. I probably should have a routine, but every time I get one something happens to completely disrupt it! Luckily laptops make it easy to adjust. ;)

3. How does the book you are writing affect your personal life? Does it consume 
you? Do you live through your characters?

Deadlines are definitely consuming. And when you’re aiming for a career in an industry like this, you need to work consistently (if not constantly). Add those two up with my natural tendency toward introversion and reclusion and....yeah. What personal life? 

Besides TDWS books, I’m also working on several other projects that are in various 
stages of completion. I wrote the first two books of a contemporary series with my friend Lani Woodland, I have a fantasy series I’m honing, and right now I’m working on a thriller with lots of guns and explosions. With all of this plus my day job...yeah. My 
books most definitely consume my personal life. Luckily, I have some amazing friends 
and family who understand that my work weeks aren’t normal 40-hour weeks. They cut me a lot of slack when I disappear on them for weeks at a time. 

4. What is the worst character you have written but had to write? 

Like morally horrible or just awful to write because they gave me a hard time? 
Mariella definitely gave me a hard time. No matter how hard I tried, getting the right 
balance for her character just wouldn’t work! It took a lot of work and many drafts until 
I found something that worked. There’s also a contemporary novel I want to write that 
straddles the NA/Adult line that would have a really incredibly morally horrible character in it, one that will be especially hard for me personally to write. Since that hasn’t happened yet, the Balasura are definitely the most straight-up evil characters I’ve written. 

They’re selfish in ways that no other character I’ve written or imagined could possibly 
be.

5. During this scene, Hudson seems almost hypnotized by Mariella. Do you regret 

deleting this scene? Could this have made an impact to the overall storyline?

You picked up on a lot of small details! Hudson is definitely enthralled here. He still is to an extent in the final version, but you’re picking up on subplots and layers and elements from this version that didn't carry through to the published product. While this version is definitely sentimental for a lot of reasons (early version of my first published book! Early version of my babies!), I don’t regret the changes I made here. They needed to happen. 

The changes I made in the beginning created a ripple that moved through the entire book and when the edits were done I ended up with a much better product than I ever could have imagined. It’s fun to look back on the early editions, and it’s even more fun to share them with readers, but I regret nothing. ;)




Dream War Saga Website: http://thedreamwarsaga.com

Dream War Saga Tumblr: http://thedreamwarsaga.tumblr.com/


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Author Bio:

After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.

Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, ex-Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.

Her debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, released March 2014 and it was the first volume of The Dream War Saga, a four-book young adult series.



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