January 30, 2013

Review for The Stone Guardian by Theresa McClinton


The Stone GuardianThe Stone Guardian by Theresa McClinton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When myth becomes reality, reality becomes a nightmare.

Like any other teenager in America, Ashley just wants a normal life. But growing up in an orphanage for the insane is anything but normal. After endless therapy and increasing medication, her nightmares have only gotten worse.

Probably because they’re not nightmares.

When Ashley’s mysteriously abducted, she finds a reality even less normal than the orphanage. And she discovers something else—she’s no ordinary orphan. Faced with enemies thought to only exist in fairy tales, Ashley discovers she possesses a powerful Maya bloodline. She’s the daughter of an ancient Maya Guardian, whose duty is to protect the Stone of Muuk’ich, an enchanted relic blessed by the gods. But first she must get it back from Sarian, a power-hungry demigod who slaughtered the last guardian—Ashley’s mother. Without the stone, all will be lost.

When she meets Arwan, a hot Belizean time bender, his delicious olive skin and dark eyes make her feel a little less alone. But his gentle whispers and reassuring touch might not be all they seem. How can she balance love and duty when it’s up to her to prevent the rising of the underworld? Especially when the guy she loves might be its crown prince…

(Blurb taken from Goodreads.com)

My thoughts: Lately, it seems I keep coming across these highly original books. The Stone Guardian was no exception. I can't say I've read a book with a similar plot or concept before. I won't go over the plot because the blurb is great and I don't think I would do it justice. Plus, I think readers want to know whether it was a good read or not which I can say, without a doubt, it is.

It is a young adult paranormal romance, but it is also so much more. It also has mystery and a touch of humour as well. It was very well written and the opening scenes really hooked me. When I began reading it, I had no idea where the plot would take me. I love it when this happens. I absolutely hate predictable story lines, although I'm usually pretty slow on the uptake so I'm often surprised. So you know a book is SUPER predictable if I predict something is coming. I did, however, find it lagged a touch in the middle and this is the only reason I'm not giving it five stars. 

All and all The Stone Guardian was a wonderful debut by a super sweet author. The book and the teaser of an epilogue ensures I will be reading the next one in the series. 

This was gifted to my by Theresa in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much, Theresa, for the chance to read your wonderful novel! 

View all my reviews

January 27, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday: Magic, She Cast




It's that time of the week again. What to share? Hmm... I think today I will give you six sentences from the sequel to Blood, She Read. This novel is a work in progress and I'm about 50% finished with the first draft. Love to know what you think.

I stared at his tan fingers and his clean, cut nails. Those hands had wrapped around so many people's necks before squeezing the life right out of them. With a deep breath, I stepped towards him, determined to shut off my mind so I wouldn’t take any memories from him that would add to the ones that already haunted me. 
He took my hand in his and whispered a spell. 

I was committed to this now, whether I wanted to be or not. I’d sold my soul to my father, a man no better than the devil himself.

Want to read more? I should have this one out before the end of the year. If you haven't read my first novel, be sure to enter  my giveaway in the post below. You could win an eBook copy of Blood, She Read and/or a $25 gift card from Amazon or Kobo. 

January 22, 2013

Thank You


I am so very thankful for all the new likes and follows. To show my appreciation, I wanted to host a giveaway. Make sure to enter! This is for you. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Chat with Christina Dotson: author of Killing Caroline


I'm so excited to have Christina Dotson on my blog today! Christina's debut novel released January 18, 2013. Please help me show her some love! Ever since I saw her trailer I've been intrigued by her book and I can't wait to read it. Please see the trailer below and you'll see what I mean. Perfect image. Perfect song. Perfect mood. 

Today, Christina will be answering some questions, but if you have some of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments. But first...the trailer. 



Welcome Christina! Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when you decided to start writing your first novel.

I knew I wanted to be a writer at the age of ten when I read Judy Blume’s Freckle Juice. It was the first book I checked out on my own from the library. I loved how excited I felt about turning the pages. I wanted to learn how to create that same feeling for other readers with my own stories. I’ve actually written a total of six novels, one of which is self-published.

What is your novel about and what inspired you to write it?

Killing Caroline is really a story of obsession; obsession of money, popularity, beauty, love and even acceptance. We always want what we can’t have, or at least, what seems to be out of our reach. I suppose the inspiration to write this story came from, well, everywhere. For example, we worship celebrities and fame as if it were a religion. Suddenly, all you have to do is make an interesting (or stupid) video of yourself, post it on YouTube, and suddenly you’re catapulted to fame. And don’t get me started on our obsession with beauty. Our faces no longer look human anymore. Killing Caroline acknowledges these obsessions in the form of a misunderstood sixteen-year-old girl.

Describe a typical day in your life.
  
I’m a medical social worker for a home health company so every day is different. However, every day always includes a little writing and of course, snuggle time with my puppy.

Plotter or pantser? What is your writing process?

I’ve never outlined or plotted a story. I may have an idea in the beginning about what the story will be about, but ultimately, I leave it up to my characters to tell their own story.

Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.

I hate the sound of my speaking voice. I’m 33 and I sound like I’m 15.

Okay, now I need to hear it to form my own opinion. It can't be that bad. 

Who is your favorite character in your novel and why?

Definitely Davis Monroe. He’s my favorite character because he was the most fun to write. I loved exploring his dark and twisted mind. If he were a real person, I would be very afraid of him.

Describe you main character’s idea of a perfect date.

Honestly, Althea would be happy simply sitting at Dairy Queen and watching Jacob flip burgers.

If you could be a character in any book, who would you be and why?

I’ve been reading the True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse novels and I wouldn’t mind being Sookie. Having all those sexy vampires drooling over me would be kind of fun. That is, until they bite me.

What is your favorite line in your book?

“People like us don’t get to live happily ever after.”

What are you working on now?

I’m revising a novel that I previously wrote about a girl who falls for her sister’s best girlfriend. It’s more of a thriller than a romance. Should be interesting…

Hmm. It sounds it! Thanks so much for stopping by, Christina. I wish you the best success! Make sure to stop by Christina's website to show her some love or leave a comment. 

                             

Althea James is the girl everyone loves to ignore. Even her parents act like she doesn't exist, especially after her perfect sister, Caroline, arrives home from college for summer break. But the sibling rivalry Althea shares with Caroline, goes much deeper than competing for their parents’ affection. Caroline represents everything Althea isn't and never will be, until one tragic night that threatens to change her life forever. Suddenly, Althea is forced into the blinding spotlight of fame, but for all the wrong reasons. Her sister is dead, her boyfriend is in jail and she's been reported missing by her parents. Now, caught in the middle of a never ending media storm, Althea is the girl no one can stop talking about. But is her newfound fame worth keeping the secret she so desperately wants to keep?


About the Author

Christina Dotson grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where she attended Western Kentucky University. She considers her career as a social worker to be the inspiration behind her stories of dysfunctional relationships. Christina currently lives in Tennessee with her extremely hyper Labrador Retriever, Ivy. Please visit website here or her Facebook page here

January 20, 2013

Guest Post: The Kabrini Message




Thank you so much for inviting me to visit with you today, Sara and to share our story with you and your readers!

Where to begin?  Let's begin at the beginning.  No, let's begin with the basics and then we'll move on to the beginning:

The basics:  The Kabrini Message is a book, written a quarter of a century ago, that was just released on January 18, 2013 (yeah!!!).  It was written by a first time author, J.R. Egles (my brother) who passed away in 2010.  The Kabrini Message, therefore, is not only the author's first but only novel and being published posthumously.  It is technically a science fiction book, with an action/adventure crossover.  The "message" is of our universal connection and need for social consciousness (but don’t worry, it’s not that heavy and very funny in parts!).

I have not read anything like The Kabrini Message before and therefore, it is difficult to compare it to any other stories...however, as purely a point a reference, the closest thing I can associate it with is a sort of Avatar meets Indiana Jones.  

OK, now we can begin at the beginning:  It was late spring 2011 when I found myself feeling very nostalgic.  For some reason, I felt the overwhelming urge to climb up into my attic and reminisce over old family photos.  At the time, I attributed it to the fact that I had been working on a project for my son’s upcoming wedding—assembling pictures of him from birth through adulthood, which would be displayed at the reception.  As I was combing through all of his old pictures, I was suddenly overcome with a desire to look through my own childhood photos. 

A few days went by, and I still had not made the trek up into the attic.  I realized that with the frantic pace of everyday life, if I waited for a day when I finally had some spare time, I may never get around to it.  So late one night, feeling compelled at that moment, I went into my attic in search of old family photographs.  I found the photographs—but I also found something else.

I discovered it as I was digging through a box of photos that had come from my mother’s house.  My mother passed away in 1994, and I must have received the box of photographs and mementos shortly after that—but I had not gone through it until this particular late night adventure.  Inside the old box, I came across a large manila envelope, marked in my mother’s handwriting:  “Joe’s Book”.  The manuscript was dated 1987.

Six Sentence Sunday



Six Sentence Sunday is here again. Let me be honest, I was a little unsure about what I would post today. I have probably a half dozen projects on the go right now. Ever since I was published, sticking to a project has been difficult. I'm trying to get out of this nasty funk I'm in, but it's not going so well. It's like nothing I write is ever good enough anymore. Plus, my current addiction to new adult contemporary novels doesn't help put me in the mood for a paranormal. Don't worry. The sequel to Blood, She Read will be finished and published (either traditionally or through self-publishing) this year. I promise. Last week I posted a contemporary tidbit. This week I'm going to post a piece from a New Adult fantasy. This is from the first book I wrote and completed. It is not published. I shopped it to agents and they didn't bite. It's needs work. I like the story, but the writing needs some serious tweaking. One day it will see the light of day, but for now I'll leave you with a taste. Thanks for reading! 

Her Captive Heart 

"This kind of love scared me--scares me still. It almost killed my mother. I never wanted to suffer like she suffered. So I have never been anything but casual with women. But then you came along and I realized you don't get a choice. Some people hold a piece of your soul and no matter how much you resist, it only makes you need them that much more." 

What do you think? 


January 19, 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award


I've been nominated for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award by paranormal author, Ally Shields! Yay! Go me. Thank you so much, Ally, for the acknowledgement. The rules for this award are as follows:

Display the award logo on your blog.
Link back to the person who nominated you.
State 7 things about yourself.
Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them.
Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven things about myself (as stated by my husband; I thought this might add some humour):

1. I am blunt.
2. I am well-intentioned.
3. I am pushy.
4. I am determined...sometimes.
5. I am a button-pusher.
6. I pee when I sneeze. 
(So, I didn't want to put this, but in the spirit of my post I am writing it anyway). By the way, I've had two children, and it only rarely happens. AND take a lesson from me and don't ask you spouse to pick the seven things to say about yourself.
7. I enjoy painting, sewing, art, writing--for now.
So...my husband thinks I change my interests as frequently as I change my underwear. I have tried and given up many things over the years. The only interest that has stuck for me is writing.

15 people I would like to nominate for this award are:

1. Christina Dotson
2. E.C. Newman
3. Amy Newman
4. Cyn Balog
5. Taryn Blackthorne
6. Lynn Rush
7. Shawna Romkey
8. Anne Rose
9. Renee Pace
10. Cat Kalen
11. Suzanne van Rooyen
12. Theresa McClinton
13. Dani-Lyn Alexander
14. Catherine Cavendish
15. Tara Fuller

There you have it! Make sure to check out these authors! Most are young adult or new adult authors, but there is some contemporary adult and horror authors thrown in their for good measure--and because they're awesome! 

January 13, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday


It's that time of the week again! Six sentence Sunday is a way for authors to share tidbits from their WIPs or published works. Right now, I'm alternating back and forth between two projects. 

1. The sequel to Blood, She Read, which I'm excited about. You'll see more of Sebastian and Tommy in this one and I love exploring their personalities and their motivations. 

2. A contemporary, mature YA. For the first time ever I've gotten choked up writing a book. This book is going to be special so I want to share a passage from it today. So, here goes...


A moment later, Dr. Carson’s wife walked out of my mother's office. A girl about my age followed closely behind her; her head was bowed and her eyes were to the floor. Mrs. Carson offered me a polite smile and gently pulled the girl over beside her, resting her hands on the girl's shoulders, before leading her down the hall. I stared after them, curious about the girl, and before they disappeared from sight, her gaze met mine. Her hollow cheeks and dead, black eyes imprinted on my brain, haunting me. 
And she’s haunted me ever since. 

There you go! Hopefully, you've enjoyed the sneek peek. I plan on sharing another passage from this story next Sunday so make sure to drop by.


January 07, 2013

An Interview with E.C. Newman


I'm so excited to have E.C. Newman on my blog today talking about her YA paranormal novel, Phase. 
If you haven't read her book yet, you can read all about it at the end of the interview, where you'll also
find more information about Eden. 

1.     Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when you decided to start writing your first novel.

A little bit? Which bit? I’m from the South, but now live in Illinois. I teach both literature and drama at a private school up here. I went to graduate school in Bath, England and miss it every day. I love talking to people whether I’ve known them for ages or just met them. I used to plan to be a rock star (drummer specifically) as my plan B in life.

I’ve been writing seriously since I was about nineteen. Before that I made up stories in my head and often acted them out with My Little Ponies and Barbies. But in college, I started writing both fanfiction (began with Newsies) and tried my hand my own stories as well. The first real novel I wrote (that I can consider worth calling my ‘first real novel’) isn’t published, but it got me my lovely agent, and it sits in my computer begging to be revamped. I wrote it for my Masters (that grad school in England) and I’m so very proud of it despite the many rejections it received from publishers. I started that book in 2008 (officially, but the idea had been in my head since 2006).

2.     What is your novel about and what inspired you to write it?

Phase is a young adult paranormal novel about a senior, Sophie, who befriends another girl, Jules. Jules is a foster kid and Sophie comes from a strong close-knit family. It takes several overtures on Sophie’s part to connect with Jules, but when events start happening and secrets are revealed, the girls’ friendship is tested. There are also bullies, spying on others, and high school classes to survive. And cute boys.

I wanted to write about girl friendship. That’s truly how Phase started. I don’t usually start with such a broad idea or theme. It’s usually a character or scene or moment. But I wanted two girls who stuck by each other. But as I stared at the ceiling while crashed on my bed that April night in 2009, I knew a theme wasn’t a story. The next thought was “What if one of them isn’t human?” And there you go. Phase was born. It was going to be a standalone novel, but two other characters really wanted their stories told. So, we have a trilogy.

3.     Describe a typical day in your life.

During the school year, it’s me getting woken up by my two-year-old dog, Marjorie, usually before the alarm goes off. Followed by a walk, coffee and getting ready for the day. Eight hours plus of teaching and trying to inspire young minds. Then I come home and walk my dog again. I usually watch something on Netflix to debrief from the day and then get started on grading or prepping. If I’m lucky and a wiz at time management, I carve out some time to write in the evenings. Weekends are filled with errand running, socializing (if I can) and oh, more grading. No teacher will tell you his or her favorite part is the grading. For me, it’s the kids themselves that make it worth it. 

4.     Plotter or pantser? What is your writing process?

Total pantser. I write what I feel like writing, often out of order and possibly with the potential of not being used. After I write quite a bit, I do a chapter breakdown outline type thing, notes on characters, etc. It’s probably not the most efficient way to write a book, but if I outline too much I won’t write it. The playing around introduces me to the characters and the story. It’s like mingling at a party, but more fun.

5.     Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.

That’s tough because I’m annoyingly open with just about everybody. I guess, I collect Zippo lighters. I’ve gotten them from places I’ve visited (like one with the German Flag on it, another with the outline of England etched on it). I don’t smoke, so it’s probably a bit odd. I’ve liked them since my high school did Grease my senior year (I was Frenchy) and we had one as a prop. It was fun to play with (flipping it open, igniting it by swiping the little wheel thing by brushing it on your jeans). 

6.     Who is your favorite character in your novel and why?

Oh my gosh, what a question. That’s like asking a parent who they’re favorite child is. Cruel. I guess, oh man, I can’t answer this. I love Sophie because it’s in her voice and I relate to her best, but Jules tugs at my heart. Ezra makes me a little swoony and Gil is just precious.

7.     If your book were to be made into a movie who would you cast?

Emma Stone I know (if she was younger) would be Summer (my bully). I’d love to see her play someone unlikable. There’s an actress who was in New In Town with Harry Connick Jr. and Renee Zellweger. She played Connick’s daughter, Bobbie and she was cute, but not typical Hollywood-looking. Her name is Ferron Guerreiro. She’d be perfect for Sophie. I haven’t found Jules yet. Evan Peters from American Horror Story would work well for Ezra (when Evan was younger) without the creepy stuff. And a younger Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Micah. 

8.     If you could be a character in any book, who would you be and why?

Another question that’s so hard to answer because there are some great characters out there. I used to want to play Ophelia when I wanted to be an actress, but I wouldn’t want to BE her. I’d say Wendy in Peter Pan. Because she got to go to Neverland, and what an adventure, but also got to be with her loving family in the end.

9.     What is your favorite line in your book?

When I wrote it, I told my friend that it should be on a bumper sticker and I just made it into a button. I just liked the flow of it. Ezra, the protagonist’s crush, says it: “You're a ring-wearing, save-yourself-for-marriage kind of girl. I dig that.” Maybe it’s just all the hyphens.

10. What are you working on now?

 The other two books in the Phase Trilogy. Each book is from another character’s point of view so it’s been quite the process to get into the head of another character I’ve already written. There’s also that first novel I wrote that I mentioned before that I’m always trying to make better. And last is this wonderful idea I had for over a year that’s completely out of my genre and style and requires major research. I hope to get to that one soon.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!!

About E.C. Newman 

Born and raised wherever the military sent her father, E. C. Newman is a storyteller at heart. It didn't translate into writing, however, until she found herself in Ancient History her freshman year of college, desperate to stay awake. Bringing stories alive since then in FanFiction, poetry, and original work gave E. C. the confidence to add a Writing Major to her bachelor's degree, and after a stint in acting school in Los Angeles, she gained a MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University in Bath, England.


E.C. currently lives with her mutt of a dog in Illinois, where she teaches middle school drama and high school literature, and can't help but find it hilarious that she’s now teaching how to write an essay when she so deplored them as a student herself. In her spare time, E. C. is also a reader for a literary scout, which keeps her current with the children’s literature market. She actively avoids growing up by writing stories about high school and the trials and triumphs that accompany it.

Phase

Sophie Todd hoped that her senior year would be different. Unfortunately, different seems to mean getting punched in the face for sticking up for the new girl, having her offer of friendship spurned by said new girl, and finally gaining the attention of her long-time crush, Ezra Varden, but for all the wrong reasons.

It's a tenuous friendship at best, but as Juliet starts to open up to Sophie, they both realize that the Vardens, Juliet's foster family, is not your average family. They're extremely close-knit—freakishly so—but they welcomed a complete stranger into their home, which just so happens to have the largest meat freezer anyone's ever seen...

...and certainly no one said anything about Ezra and the wolves.



AMAZON US / UK / CA / B&NKOBO



January 06, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday


Six sentence Sunday is an initiative for authors to share excerpts from their published works or works in progress. I'll be participating in Six Sentence Sundays from now on. Since this is my first one, I wanted to share a juicy excerpt from my recently published book. So here goes!

Blood, She Read
Published by Etopia Press

“But in that moment, I didn’t want to be trusted. I wanted something far more primal. I stretched up on my tiptoes and leaned in. I closed my eyes as his scent overcame me. When his lips touched mine it felt as if he’d caressed them with a feather. It was all I could do not to wrap myself around him and do things I’d never really thought about doing before.”

What do you think? Is this something you'd be interested in reading? Or if you've read it already, did you enjoy the romance? Next week, I'm going to share an excerpt from one of the projects I'm working on, a YA contemporary. 

January 05, 2013

Obscura Burning: A review


Obscura BurningObscura Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world’s going to end in fire…and it’s all Kyle’s fault.


Kyle Wolfe’s world is about to crash and burn. Just weeks away from graduation, a fire kills Kyle’s two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. A fire that Kyle accidentally set the night he cheated on his boyfriend Danny with their female friend, Shira. That same day, a strange new planet, Obscura, appears in the sky. And suddenly Kyle’s friends aren’t all that dead anymore.
Each time Kyle goes to sleep, he awakens to two different realities. In one, his boyfriend Danny is still alive, but Shira is dead. In the other, it’s Shira who’s alive…and now they’re friends with benefits. Shifting between realities is slowly killing him, and he’s not the only one dying. The world is dying with him. He’s pretty sure Obscura has something to do with it, but with his parents’ marriage imploding and realities shifting each time he closes his eyes, Kyle has problems enough without being the one in charge of saving the world…


This book was unlike any other YA book I've read. The entire time I read it I was thinking about it as a film and how suited it would be as a cult/Indie classic. It was just so damn original. The main relationship was M/M which isn't my preference in a book, but I didn't mind it in the slightest and I was really rooting for them to make it. The writing was wonderful and engaging and the characters had depth and were very likeable, even Maya, who was blunt and awful at times. If I were to say one bad thing about the novel it would be concerning the beginning. I felt it could have been set up a little better and it took me a few chapters to orient myself as to what was going on. But I forgave this easily as I continued reading. My favourite part about it: the ending. It kept me guessing all the way to the end. Usually endings are so predictable, but Suzanne is a master at suspense. I will absolutely be reading all of her future books and highly recommend this one. 

View all my reviews

January 02, 2013

Top Reads of 2012




Above, you'll find the books I read in 2012. Looking back, my top three favorite books are easy to pick out. 


1. Beautiful Disaster by Jaime McGuire. Sigh.  Holy crow I loved this book. It was compulsively readable, and I could read it over and over again and not tire of it. I know there is a lot of controversy over this one, and I get why. The love between the main characters was kind of a train wreck, and yet, I couldn't--no, didn't want to--look away. 




2. Easy by Tammara Webber Same goes for this one. Read the whole thing in pretty much one sitting. This is a book I know I will read over and over again. I am so in love with the hero I may start doodling his name on random pages in my notebooks. 




3. The Kings of Cool by Don Winslow This book was unlike any other book I've ever read. It is definitely an adult book, though, with adult themes and language. The writing was so original and almost poetic at times. And the characters he developed were a-may-zing.



Did I meet my reading goal for 2012? Yes! Yay! I kind of low-balled myself at 26 books, though. I thought, 1 book every 2 books would be plenty considering my schedule was all over the place. Still, I beat my goal. 

How about you? 

January 01, 2013

Sizzling Read of the Month Nomination!


Blood, She Read is up for a Sizzling Read of the Month award! This is the first award my book has ever been nominated for, so of course I'm freaking out! What a way to begin the New Year. This site discusses both young adult and adult books so please be advised of this before you visit. If you are over 18 and you feel my book is worthy, I'd love to have your vote. 

Vote here.          

Happy New Year everyone! I hope this year will be everything you want it to be.    

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