Monday, September 30, 2013

A Vintage Reads Review: Inside the Shadow City

Inside the Shadow City (Kiki Strike, 1) by Kirsten Miller, May 30, 2006. 387 pages. Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books. Source: Bought.
Life will never be the same for Ananka Fishbein after she ventures into an enormous sinkhole near her New York City apartment. A million rats, delinquent Girl Scouts out for revenge, and a secret city below the streets of Manhattan combine in this remarkable novel about a darker side of New York City you have only just begun to know about…
First Sentence:
Until the age of twelve, I led what most people would consider an unexceptional life.

Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia: Cover Reveal

Guys, I am excited to help reveal the lovely cover for Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia.

About the author:
Jennifer Murgia has been writing since she was nine years old. After receiving recognition for her poetry, she went on to use her talents to bring characters to life in fiction novels that are authentic, intriguing, and personal. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

You can haunt Jennifer Murgia at-
Website | Goodreads |


Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia, September 9, 2014. Published by Spencer Hill Press.
Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.

Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.

You can add Forest of Whispers to your Goodreads shelf.

Friday, September 27, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Jennifer Ann Mann (Author of Sunny Sweet is So Not Sorry)

This week, on the All About Middle Grade Challenge I am excited to welcome Jennifer Ann Mann, author of Sunny Sweet is So Not Sorry, to the blog. I hope y'all will give her a warm welcome.

About the Author:
Jennifer grew up in New Jersey, the second of four sisters. Her short stories have been published by Highlights for Children, where she won the 2007 Fiction Contest. She lives in Boston in a giant house filled with kids and cats. This coming fall, Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books will publish Jennifer’s debut novel, Sunny Sweet is So Not Sorry, the first book in the Sunny Sweet Series.

You can haunt Jennifer at-
Website | FB | Twitter |

Interview


1. Yikes! Sunny sounds like a pretty bad sister. Could you tell why'd you want there to be an "evil genuis" sister like Sunny in Sunny Sweet Is So NOT Sorry?

On the surface, Sunny Sweet looks like a bad sister, but she is so NOT a bad sister. She torments Masha because she loves Masha. It's Sunny's way of letting Masha know how important she is to her.

2. Could you tell us a little about Masha and how she handles having a sister like Sunny?

Masha's mom and dad have just divorced and she and her mother and Sunny have moved to a brand new state. With this big change in Masha's life has come big responsibility. Masha’s mother is now a single mom and working a new job. She could use Masha’s help with her little sister. Instead of rising to the challenge, Masha balks at the new responsibility. It takes a bunch of plastic flowers, an injured neighbor, a group of sick kids, a new friend, a black eye, a (kind of) broken arm, and a shaved head to help Masha acclimate to her new role. But I have to hand it to Masha because Sunny is no picnic to deal with.

3. It sounds like the sisters in Sunny Sweet Is So NOT Sorry are in for some crazy times. Since your book features siblings, could you share with us your favorite book siblings?

There is no equal to "Beezus and Ramona." Beverly Cleary had me at "Beatrice Quimby's biggest problem was her little sister Ramona." I could relate...I had two Ramona's. Judy Blume’s Peter and Fudge also supported me through some very dark sisterly times. (Although unlike Peter, I never did get a puppy!) Brothers, James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier gave me Sam and Tim in "My Brother Sam Is Dead." They taught me that even if I didn't always understand my sisters, I could always love them. I can't leave the Baudelaire orphans off this list. Lemony Snicket's trio reminded me that my sisters and I were playing for the same team. And finally, I'll add Tamera Will Wissinger’s Sam and Lucy from “Gone Fishing, A novel in verse” which just recently debuted. These two highlight the beautiful lesson that although we may be stuck on the same "little boat" as siblings, we each have the choice as to whether we make the worst of it or the best of it. It’s a message that Masha Sweet learns the hard way!

4. Jennifer, so, what is your current favorite show to watch? What about it makes it a must watch?

"The Mindy Project" I love watching women succeed in unconventional ways.

Jennifer and Christine, her sister.
5. Goodness, not often I "meet" another second of four sisters; sisters can be pretty cool. In your experience, what is the best and worst thing about being a middle child?

The best thing is easy—I had the privilege of being a big sister and helping my little sisters through some tough times, but I also benefited from my position as second sister by not having to break the "life" ice, which of course was my older sister's burden. The hardest part of growing up in the middle was finding my own place (not following in my big sister's footsteps or wallowing in the lack of attention that the middle position brings). I was lucky that I shared the middle sister position. My middle sister and I are extremely close to this day.

6. Since I enjoy seeing what everyone is reading, what was the last book that blew you away? What made it so good?


As a member of The Lucky 13s, a blog for Children's and Young Adult authors debuting in 2013, I gave my reading year over to their debut books and I've been having a blast! It's very difficult to choose a single book from this list, but since you're making me <;, I would have to go with Elisabeth Dahl's "GenieWishes." This was a beautifully written story that deals with every day trials. Since I have such trouble dealing with my own every day trials, the heroes closest to my heart are those who learn how to do this well. And Genie is definitely one of my heroes.

7. If you could only save one thing from your house in an emergency what would it be? Why?

My family. (I would grab them all and run.) If they were already out of the house, I'd grab my blanket-y. I've been sleeping with it so long that I don't think I'd do well without it.

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Your easiest question by far!)

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?


I have an office but I rarely use it. My favorite place to write is at a hospital. I live near an area in Boston called, Longwood, which is where all the hospitals are. There is coffee, water, desks, couches, free internet, and a ton of hope. I move around to different hospitals depending on my mood, but I mostly write in Beth Israel (the picture is of their desks on their surgical floor). I love it there. Of course, my setting for "Sunny Sweet is So NOT Sorry" is a hospital. That probably wasn't a coincidence.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?


The second book in the Sunny Sweet Series, "Sunny Sweet is So Dead Meat" is due to pub in May of 2014 and I'm just finishing up "Sunny Sweet Can So Get Lost" to follow in the winter (with more Sunny books in the series planned). But I'm also working on a YA story that involves dreams, the devil, drugs, and deformity...all the "Ds." 

Jennifer, thank you so much for stopping by. I am glad to hear that Sunny is not as bad as she seems in the synopsis. I loved what you had to say about being a middle child, it is definitely true (probably for all middles).

Sunny Sweet is So Not Sorry (Sunny Sweet, 1) by Jennifer Ann Mann, October 1, 2013. Published by Bloomsbury Children's USA.
We’ve all woken up on the wrong side of the bed. But have you ever woken up stuck to the bed? Masha Sweet has. And there’s only one possible reason: her little sister Sunny. Masha is used to Sunny’s evil genius ways, but the glue Sunny used to secure a bouquet of plastic daisies to Masha’s head is not coming out! The girls have to stay home from school and through a bizarre turn of events, they wind up at the hospital. It’s the perfect place to fix Masha’s head…but first they will (almost) contract a (not so) killer virus, steal a cast, and lead the nurses on a wild goose chase. When this is all over, Sunny Sweet is going to be so sorry!

You can add Sunny Sweet is So Not Sorry to your Goodreads shelf.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Update

Greetings lovely readers. Just thought I'd post a short update to fill y'all in on some of the happenings.


  • If you've emailed me in the last six plus months and have not heard from me, I'm in the process of catching up on replies. I have had minimal internet access since I moved out of state earlier in the year. I apologize for the lack of response, I just did not have the time or means to keep on top of all the emails that have come in.
  • If you've sent me a book for review. I am, again, in the process of catching up on reading and reviewing long-standing titles. Most of my review books, and personal books, had been in storage for almost a year do to last year's move. This might take some time, so, I ask you to please bare with me on the wait.
  • If you are participating in the All About Middle Grade Challenge, I should be able to get you your interview questions soon. 
  • Finally, my reading will probably be a little on the slow side for the next couple of weeks. My allergies are driving me crazy and making it near impossible to read more than a few pages a day, as, well as get in computer work done.
 Again, my thanks to everyone for your patience as I work to get things back on schedule.

For your enjoyment; this one's on my running list...twice:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup, March 12, 2013. Published by Candlewick Press.
Princess Adela is not a typical princess. She’s neither particularly beautiful nor particularly graceful, and she’d rather spend her days digging new plots for her garden than listening to teatime gossip. But when her friend Garth is invited to a garden party hosted by Lady Hortensia — whose beauty is said to be rivaled only by the loveliness of her gardens — Adela can’t resist coming along, even if it means stuffing herself into a too-tight dress and donning impractical shoes. But the moment Adela sets eyes on Hortensia’s garden, she knows something is amiss. Every single flower is in bloom — in the middle of October! Not only that, there is a talking magpie flitting about the garden and stealing the guests’ jewels. Is it possible that Hortensia is a witch and the magpie an enchanted prince? And what of the flowers themselves? Will Adela get to the root of the mystery and nip trouble in the bud before it’s too late?
Why: Okay, so I love princess books, especially ones were the princess is very unprincesslike. I think Garden Princess sounds like a delightful read, so, that is why it is making the list this week.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Angel Maker

Angel Maker (True Grime, 2) by Natasha Deen, August, 2012. 312 pages. Published by Blueberry Hill. Source: Author.
For the last two years, human Aponi Runningbear has been training to be part of Grime, the magical police division tasked with protecting humanity from SOAP terrorists. But things aren’t going well. She’s barely keeping up with her studies, failing the physical component, and her Generalized Anxiety Disorder is making her bad days even worse. When her team is given the chance to find a missing coworker and stop SOAP from producing a DNA-altering drug that’s killing humans, Aponi grabs hold of the chance to show she’s meant for Grime. But as the investigation heats up, she’s forced to deal with the tormentor from her past, dead bodies, and the certainty that SOAP’s going to win this battle. Humanity’s dying, Grime’s in trouble, and she’s failing…does a foster kid really have what it takes to save the world and herself?
First Sentence:
In the city crime didn't sleep but if I couldn't defeat the aswang circling overhead, I'd end up napping in a pine coffin for eternity.

Friday, September 20, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: H.B. Bolton (author of The Serpent's Ring)

Today, I am very excited to welcome H.B. Bolton, author of The Serpent's Ring, to
this week's edition of the All About Middle Grade Challenge. I hope y'all will give her a very warm welcome.

About the Author:
A magical part of H.B. Bolton’s childhood was being swept into worlds of enchanting characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women's fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that's another story, altogether.

You can haunt H.B. Bolton at-
WebsiteFB | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon |
Interview
1.     So, why do you think Evan and Claire decided to follow the strange creature at the museum? Are they about to get more than they bargained for?

Evan first spotted the strange creature as it scampered under the eaves of a historic home. He had never before seen a creature with wide pointy ears, eyes the size of a hen’s eggs, and skin resembling a blue dart frog. Curiosity led him to the back porch, where he heard overgrown toenails scratching along a wooden floor. Evan couldn’t help himself — he had to figure out what had made that noise.
Claire knew her brother was up to no good and followed him inside the home, where she found him snooping around a secret lab.

2.     Could you tell us about the Serpent's Ring and what it is capable of?

The Serpent’s Ring is just one of the Relics that came from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Each Relic contains enough power to open a portal to Sagaas (Land of the Gods), and when touched, a mystical power is given. Evan and Claire come in contact with the Serpent’s Ring at the same time, and each sibling is given a mystical power. Evan learns he’s able to move objects with his mind, which comes in handy when flying an old Model T car through the sky. Claire discovers she can manipulate matter, and she does this for the first time after being asked to mold ordinary sand into a glass Viking ship.

3.     Why did you choose Norse mythology for The Serpent's Ring? Why that one over all others?

Through each book in the series, Evan and Claire will visit many different cultural myths and legends, but I decided on Norse mythology first because of my family’s heritage. In fact, my father’s name is Thor (short for Torval). The funny thing is that before writing my story, I knew very little about Norse mythology. I had heard of Odin, Thor and Loki, but I didn’t really know their story. The sea serpent, Jormundgand, surrounds Midgard (Earth) and bites his tail. If he were to let go, the entire planet would flood.
Anyway, it wasn’t long after doing my research before Evan and Claire were traveling — via the “rainbow bridge” — to Asgard.

4.     Everyone has at least one thing they love about their state, could you share with us the one thing you love most about the state you live in?

I enjoy taking my family to Disney’s Epcot. Where else can one visit eleven different countries, nibble delicious cuisine from foreign lands, listen to outdoor concerts, travel through time on Spaceship Earth, and ride through aquariums filled with sharks, sea turtles and dolphins — all in one day? 

5.     What was the last book you read that stayed in your head long after you finished reading it?

This summer was all about reading through my pile of books, and I finally dove into Catching Fire and Mockingjay (The second and third books in The Hunger Games trilogy). I found myself staying up late just so I could find out what happened next. Catching Fire has stayed with me more so than Mockingjay, and now, I can’t wait to see Katniss play the “game” again on the big screen this fall.

6.     I saw on Goodreads that you count J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien as two authors who have influenced you. Could you expand on why you chose them?

Both J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien twisted, molded and shaped the ordinary into something extraordinary. Their imaginary worlds are filled with mischievous creatures, magical trinkets and wacky foods. Both authors spun entire worlds complete with magic, mystery and unforgettable characters.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”
          ~J.K. Rowling

      “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien

7.     As a young reader, what was one of your favorite book worlds to be swept into? Why?

I’ve always wished I could climb inside a wooden wardrobe, only to discover the snow-covered ground of Narnia.
The great C.S. Lewis once said, “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” As a child, I would dive into fantasy stories such as Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and so many others. As an adult, I still feel the thrill and enchantment of such stories.

8.     The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day. Who do you choose?

Hmm, I believe Obi-Wan Kenobi — with a little help from his lightsaber and the Force — could annihilate an entire army of robots.      

9.     Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My desk sits in my bedroom, next to a window. When the weather’s nice, I fill my room with fresh air, creating a tranquil place to fill blank pages of a new book. Oh, and I never forget to brew a fresh pot of coffee.

10.                         Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
I’ve been busy researching Arthurian Legends for The Dragon’s Egg (Book Three). I wrote the first few pages yesterday, and I’m thrilled to be back in my imaginary world.


Illustrations from The Trickster’s Totem (Book Two).


Thanks so much for stopping by, Heidi. Ah, loved the quotes you included in your answers, especially the one from C.S. Lewis.

The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus, 1) by H.B. Bolton, July 2012.
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum ... that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.

Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous fish and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

You can add The Serpent's Ring and Trickster's Totem to your Goodreads shelves. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On Heaven and Earth

On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century by Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka, April 19, 2013. 256 pages. Published by Image. Source: This book was received from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for an honest review.
From the man who became Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio shares his thoughts on religion, reason, and the challenges the world faces in the 21st century with Abraham Skorka, a rabbi and biophysicist.

For years Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Argentina, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka were tenacious promoters of interreligious dialogues on faith and reason. They both sought to build bridges among Catholicism, Judaism, and the world at large. On Heaven and Earth, originally published in Argentina in 2010, brings together a series of these conversations where both men talked about various theological and worldly issues, including God, fundamentalism, atheism, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization. From these personal and accessible talks comes a first-hand view of the man who would become pope to 1.2 billion Catholics around the world in March 2013.

Skeleton & Dust Review + Author Playlist

About the author:
Rhiannon is an up and coming Indie Author that writes Young Adult Fantasy books and some non fiction. She has a PhD in Metaphysical Science and Parapsychology. When she’s not writing books she’s reading minds, singing karaoke, burning dinner and sipping iced cappuccino despite her allergy to coffee. Some day she’d like to own a unicorn—as long as it doesn’t eat her. She's sold over 50,000 copies of her books worldwide. You can find her at www.yafantasyauthor.com

You can haunt Rhiannon Paille at-
Goodreads | Website

Skeleton & Dust Playlist

Can you share your playlist from writing ‘Skeleton & Dust’ ?


I actually didn’t use a lot of songs when writing Skeleton & Dust, but here are the top three that I listened to while in the trenches.


1. Wolf and I by Oh Land


The lyrics to this piece and the feel of the music really bring you into Tempia and the weird land I created here. I really believe this is the theme song for this book.


2. Until We Bleed by Lykke Li


Another beautiful and sad song. I listened to this during a lot of the quieter scenes in this novella.


3. Snuff by Slipknot


Not much for their masks and on stage presence, or for their grunting lyrics but this song, this song isn’t like the others that they’ve done and it’s pretty.

Review


Skeleton & Dust (The Ferryman and the Flame, 3.5) by Rhiannon Paille, August 19, 2013. 100 pages.
In the First Era, before Kaliel and Krishani fell in love, Tor runs. He escapes the Land of Kings and the tyrannical Valtanyana. In the depths of Tempia he forges weapons-- The Flames-- strong enough to oppose the Kings he betrayed.

Aria, The Amethyst Flame, cannot touch the living or the dead and her kin are silent ghosts. Hidden in a cairn deep in the haunted forest, Aria becomes obsessed with the Ferryman, the only boy who can feel her touch.

Before Aria knows it, The Flames, The Ferryman and Tor are swept up in the first war against the Valtanyana. 
First Sentence:
Tor never told them who he was or what he was running from.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

Sleeping Beauty's Daughters by Diane Zahler, August 27, 2013. Published by HarperCollins.
The classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is transformed into a dazzling new story of two sisters fighting a powerful curse by Diane Zahler, the acclaimed author of The Thirteenth Princess. Briskly paced and full of lush descriptions, readers who enjoy the work of Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine will be swept away by this spellbinding novel.

The daughters of Sleeping Beauty, Princesses Aurora and Luna, have grown up in a cliff-top palace by the sea, where they are carefully protected by their parents. No one visits, the girls cannot stray beyond the castle walls, and all sharp objects are forbidden here.

But accidents will happen—particularly when an old curse still has power. Soon, in spite of all precautions, Aurora is struggling not to slip into an enchanted sleep.

Frantic, the princesses accept the help of a young fisherman named Symon and embark on a daring ocean voyage to find their aunt—a fairy who may be able to break the spell. From fearsome beasts to raging storms, many dangers befall them, yet they must not give up . . . for if Aurora sleeps, she will not wake for one hundred years.
Why: After having the opportunity to interview the author, Diane Zahler, and talk about her newest release, Sleeping Beauty's Daughters, I have been itching to get my hands on this title. I really enjoy seeing the way authors re-create classic fairy tales and am curious to see where she'll take the story of Sleeping Beauty. 

Sky Jumpers: Blog Tour Review


Sky Jumpers (Sky Jumpers, 1) by Peggy Eddleman, September 24, 2013. 288 pages. Published by Random House Children's Books. Source: Publisher.
What happens when you can't do the one thing that matters most? Twelve-year-old Hope Toriella lives in White Rock, a town of inventors struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb's Breath—the deadly band of compressed air that covers the crater left by the bombs—than fail at yet another invention. When bandits discover that White Rock has priceless antibiotics, they invade. With a two-day deadline to finish making this year's batch and no ingredients to make more, the town is left to choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from the disease that's run rampant since the bombs, or die fighting the bandits now. Help lies in a neighboring town, but the bandits count everyone fourteen and older each hour. Hope and her friends—Aaron and Brock—might be the only ones who can escape to make the dangerous trek through the Bomb's Breath and over the snow-covered mountain. Inventing won't help her make it through alive, but with Aaron and Brock's help, the daring and recklessness that usually gets her into trouble might just save them all.
First Sentence:
You would think I’d never jumped off a cliff before, based on how long I stood there.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Colour Wielders by Dawna Raver




Behind the Faerying Mysts, hidden from Mortal eyes, is a land where gods and creatures of myth and legend dwell. And in the Mortal Realm, their Princess is hidden away.

Quinn Sinclair lives an ordinary life with her less-than-loving mother in Conifer, Colorado, clueless of her true nature. On the night of her birthday, a staggering betrayal sends her life spinning out-of-control. As she struggles to pick up the pieces, a vision of a man with haunting tourmaline-blue eyes begs her for help, and she is transported into a Magykal battle-forever changing her life.

Arik Morgaine-Demigod bad boy and outcast of the Magykal Realm-tried to avoid contact with Princess Quinn for eighteen years, not wanting to make good on an old threat. But the fates have other plans. Arik can no longer deny his growing desire for Quinn, or the need to protect her from those wanting to control her burgeoning powers. Can the two of them come together and save the Magykal Realm from being destroyed by the Darkest of Magyks?

New Adult. Recommended for 18 and above. Mature themes, sexual situations, and profanity.







FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR HERE






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Dawna Raver is an author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Colour Wielders, Book One, is her debut novel. When she's not spending time in her fantasy world, Dawna loves football, reading, and pretending she's a top chef in the kitchen. Oh, and fawning over her dogs and husband, sometimes in that order.

Contact me at:
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Eternal Dreams: The Curse of Memories: Blog Tour Review

Eternal Dreams: The Curse of Memories by Christopher Compton, May 21, 213. Published by VirtualBookworm. Source: Blog tour.
Eternal Dreams is a fiction fantasy tale about six teenage friends who escape into a dream world to hide away from the horrors of their own lives, only to find that reality is catching up to them anyway. Drephoria, the name of the stunning dream world created from their collective minds, will test the limits of their friendship, break the balance between good and evil and prove the true value of memories and the imagination. The first book in the trilogy, "The Curse of Memories," focuses on the central character Kail and his dark past, told through memories, while simultaneously introducing the rest of his friends (known as The Inseparable Six) and the other strange and deadly inhabitants of Drephoria. Pitted against the dark queen Malise and her legendary allies known as The Forgotten Four, Kail and his friends must rid their world of evil before they lose themselves forever. Nostalgic, thrilling, heart-breaking, and consistently memorable, Eternal Dreams is a fantasy at its finest.
First Sentence:
“You’ll never believe what I found,” a familiar voice whispered to me. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Steve Whibley (author of Glimpse) + Giveaway

Welcome back to another week in the All About Middle Grade Challenge. This week, I would like to welcome Steve Whibley, author of Glimpse, to the blog to answer some questions about his book. Hope y'all will give him a warm welcome.

About the Author:
Steve believes in pixies and fairy dust, and the healing power of unicorns. When he’s not writing epic tales of horned beasties, he’s working as a look-a-like for Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, Zac Efron, and Seal. He spends his free time training hairless mole rats to be service animals for the colorblind, and dreams of one day inventing a Thanksgiving dish that will rival the infamous turducken.

Steve also believes most readers do not read author biographies. (but just in case, he’ll do a real one once his website is fully updated :) )

You can haunt Steve Whibley at-
Goodreads | Website |
Interview
1. Alright, you have five words to bring in potential readers of Glimpse, what are you going to tell readers?

24-hours to save a life!

2. Why do you think readers will like reading about Dean as he tries to figure out if his new found ability of premonition is a blessing or curse?

Dean has these visions that come on quite suddenly. They're horrible and frightening, and he's scared out of his mind. But as he tries to get a handle on things; as he tries to step up and use the visions to save people, I think the readers are going to really root for him.
3. Your character definitely looks like he'l be in for some crazy times. What made you want to give him the ability of premonition? Do you think he'll be up for the challenge of using it to save lives?

I was daydreaming and imagined a kid freaking out in his history class after having a horrible vision of his teacher's death. I started building the world/story around that scene, and before I knew it I had this outline for a story I was really excited to write. As for Dean being up for it... that's a tough question. It's a challenging gift to have. He can do a lot of good, but the guilt associated with being too late, or making a mistake and not saving a life can be a lot to deal with. In the end, Dean's the kind of kid who doesn't give up. He'll get discouraged, he'll fail from time to time, and feel awful about it, but he's not going to throw in the towel. The problem with having visions of people who are about to die, is that if you don't act, you're (to some extent) responsible, and that's something Dean believes fully.
4. I love the cover for Glimpse, the first book in the Dean Curse Chronicles. Could you tell us a little about the cover for your book? 

Thank you so much. The designer's name is Pintado and you can see his work here: http://pintado.weebly.com/   When I was writing the books, I kept thinking about what kind of design I wanted for the whole series. I knew I wanted them darker, and I knew I wanted and have a sense of urgency to them. I also knew I wanted it clear when they were side-by-side that they were part of a series. I saw Pintado's work and thought he'd be a great fit for what I wanted to achieve. I gave him a brief indicating what I wanted, and he knocked it out of the park.
5. Let's have a little finish the sentence fun. When I'm not writing, I like to...? I enjoy it because...?

... I like to... travel. I enjoy it because... there is nothing quite like finding yourself in a foreign country, completely outside your comfort zone. Every time I find myself in that situation it's as if I've just opened an adventure novel and I'm the main character.
6. What three books have had the biggest influence on you as a reader? Why?

Oh, a tough one. Let's see...

1. The Harry Potter series. I started reading those books in the 90s and fell in love with them. They reminded that books targeting a younger audience can capture the attention and imagination of older readers too. I didn't know I wanted to be a writer at that time, but when I started writing years and years later, I remembered how captivated I'd been with those stories and set out to target a similar audience.

2. Any one of the Hardy Boy books. If it weren't for those two brothers, I don't think I would have read anything as a kid. As it was, I read dozens and dozens of those books. I devoured them. I still remember the light blue, cloth bound collection my parents had. I've continued to read them as an adult too, and they're just as fun as I remembered them.
7. Are you kidding, author bio's are a must read for readers, especially reviewers. So, Steve, what do you think you'll include on your bio when you update it? Anything you think readers should know about you?

I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about; my bio is 100% truthful :)  Okay, okay, so I don't really believe in the healing power of unicorns, and I might not be a lookalike for Brad Pitt. I guess I'd like readers to know that I'm an adventurer at heart, and to that end, I try to write books that take readers on the kinds of adventures I'd loved to experience.
8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
Does it have to be from one of my books? I hope not, because my characters wouldn't stand a chance against a robot invasion. Can I say Superman? He'd get the job done! Robots wouldn't stand a chance. The best any character in my book could do is warn me when I'm going to die. I guess that would buy me a bit of time. Do you think the robot batteries would run out?
9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

The kitchen table is where I do most of my writing (very early in the morning). One day I hope to have an office of some kind, but I don't see that in the cards for my near future. My saving grace is that I sleep a lot less than most people, so I get blocks of quiet, focused writing done in those wee hours.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?

Lots! Book three in The Dean Curse Chronicles will be out this year. Book four will be on its heels though likely early 2014. My agent has a few novels of mine queued up, ready to start pitching to editors, so with a little luck I'll have some news on that front this year as well.

Thanks again, Orchid. I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in this interview. It's been fun!
Steve, thanks so much for stopping by and answering some questions for readers. Ah, so excited to see that you loved the Harry Potter books, too. They are some of my favorite books...still.

Giveaway: Thanks to the author, Steve Whibley, one lucky winner is going to win the first two books in the Dean Curse Chronicles, Glimpse and Relic. To enter, leave a comment and fill out the rafflecopter form.

Glimpse (The Dean Curse Chronicles, 1) by Steve Whibley, April 11, 2013.
"Save them, Dean. Save them all...."

Dean Curse avoids attention the way his best friend Colin avoids common sense. Which is why he isn’t happy about being Abbotsford’s latest local hero – having saved the life of a stranger, he is now front page news. Dean’s reason for avoiding the limelight? Ever since his heroic act, he’s been having terrifying visions of people dying and they’re freaking him out so badly his psychologist father just might have him committed. Dean wants nothing more than to lay low and let life get back to normal.

​But when Dean’s visions start to come true, and people really start dying, he has to race against the clock – literally – to figure out what’s happening. Is this power of premonition a curse? Or is Dean gifted with the ability to save people from horrible fates? The answer will be the difference between life and death.​

You can add Glimpse to your goodreads shelves.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mr. Monk Helps Himself: Blog Tour Review

Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad, June 4, 2013. 304 pages. Published by NAL Hardcover. Source: Book tour.
Now that Monk and Natalie are both in San Francisco again, life is almost back to normal for the duo, with one exception: Natalie is studying for her PI license, the last step to becoming Monk’s full partner.

Before taking the plunge, Natalie sneaks off to Half Moon Bay for a retreat run by Miranda Bigley, charismatic leader of the Best Possible Me self-help program, whose philosophy has helped Natalie deal with her recent life changes. But her plans for a relaxing weekend away are disrupted when Monk tracks her down, determined to rescue her from the "cult.” Their argument is cut short when Miranda, in full view of everyone, calmly walks to the edge of a cliff and jumps off.

Even though Miranda’s death looks like suicide—especially when it’s discovered that she was on the brink of financial disaster—Natalie is sure it is murder. But Monk brushes her off to help the SFPD solve the murder of a clown, despite his coulrophobia, or fear of clowns—number ninety-nine on his list of one hundred phobias.

As Natalie and Monk begin their separate investigations, they are quickly caught up in many precarious situations, but if they want to figure out whodunit, they will have to find a way to become true partners….
First Sentence:
My boss has gotten easier to handle since I realized he’s a magpie. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

The Far Side of Evil (Elana, 2) by Sylvia Engdahl, January 13, 2005 (originally published in 1971). Published by Firebird.
Elana, newly graduated from the Federation Anthropological Service Academy, is sent immediately into danger on the planet Toris-a world poised on the brink of nuclear war. She is ordered to merely observe, and must not reveal her alien origin or interfere with the planet's natural course of evolution. But how can she stand by and watch? Her fellow agent, Randil, is not properly trained to work in the field, and his compassion for the Torisians may lead him to intervene. Yet his very actions may bring about the holocaust that he is so desperately trying to prevent. Elana must make a crucial decision: side with a renegade agent, or stop him at any cost. . . . 
Why: First off, I had no idea that there was a sequel to Enchantress from the Stars, but I am definitely alright with that since it follows Elana's story after she graduates from the academy. My biggest reason for being interested in reading The Far Side of Evil is that I'm curious to see how Elana will handle her responsibilities and how she will have changed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Vintage Reads Review: Enchantress from the Stars

Enchantress from the Stars (Elana, 1) by Sylvia Engdahl, February 24, 2003 (originally published in 1970). 304 pages. Published by Firebird. Source: Bought.
Elana, a member of an interstellar civilization on a mission to a medieval planet, becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back an invasion. How can she help the Andrecians, who still believe in magic and superstition, without revealing her own alien powers? At the same time, Georyn, the son of an Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a dragon in the enchanted forest, and he must defeat it. He sees Elana as the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove he is worthy. One of the few science fiction books to win a Newbery Honor, this novel will enthrall teenage and adult readers.
First Sentence:
The planet shines below us, cloud-flecked, dazzling against the dark backdrop of space.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Creatura by Nely Cab: Blog Tour

About the author:

Nely Cab was born on December 9, 1974, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She has lived and resided in a small, quiet South Texas town most of her life. Putting her Computer Accounting skills to use, Cab worked in banking for several years. In 2001, the author relocated to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, where she dedicated time to the study of culinary arts and the art of oil painting. After her return to the U.S., Nely resumed her employment in banking and later transitioned to the field of Social Work.

Today, Nely Cab writes from the comfort of her home, where she lives with her husband and son. Her life goal is to check-off Bucket List Item No. 95,623,351: To Conquer the World. While she aspires world domination, Nely continues to work on her debut series Creatura.

You can haunt Nely Cab at -
Website | FB Book Page | FB Author Page | Twitter | GoodreadsBlog
Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

Dear Teen Nely,
I know you’re busy worrying about not getting a new zit by morning and how your puffy 90’s hairdo won’t stand a chance against the humidity, even after you used three quarters of the bottle of Extra-Super-Mega-Fly-Trap-Glue-Hold-Popular Ninety’s-Brand Hairspray. But listen up, you, because I have some advice that you’ll thank me for in the future…

1.      Pay more attention in your literature class. You’re going to have to remember what makes a good plot. Sure you’re passing with an okay grade, but you know you could totally ace that class if you weren’t paying attention to the gossip about the past weekend’s party that your parents are never going to allow you go to anyway.

2.      Get a math tutor. When you have a kid and he starts working on Algebraic expressions and Geometry—and all those other math classes—you’re going to be lost.

3.      Learn more languages. You’re going to want to learn more languages when you’re older, but you won’t have the time because marriage, kids, and all this other grown up stuff will take over your life. Your only job right now is to be a student, so learn. 

4.      Read more. You love stories. You used to read all the time when you were a kid. What happened? You’re slacking. If you don’t read now, you wont read again until you’re 30 because as I mentioned in #3, grown up stuff will take over your life.

5.      Nothing’s going to happen with that crush you have on that boy. P.S. He’s also bad news. Get over it! Find a guy that’s smarter than you and that treats you right. You’re going to find this out eventually, but if you find it out sooner, you’ll be a lot happier.

6.      Stop skipping class your senior year. Yes, you’re passing all your classes with flying colors, but I just can’t believe you’re seriously skipping school to go drink coffee and eat at McDonald’s. Your butt will be huge in your thirties if you continue.

7.      Listen to your parents. They may get on your nerves, but they know what’s best. They’ve already lived all the experiences you’re going through. By the way, your mom and dad know you’re cutting school; they just pretend they don’t know.

8.      You wear too much makeup.

9.      The hair—just no.

10.  Study something you enjoy. Numbers, as I pointed out before, are not your thing. 

Well, that’s only the stuff off the top of my head, but I think you’ll be better off knowing some of the things you could improve and not mess up on. Now, if I could just figure out how to get this list to you by the time you turn fifteen and get to high school, it might actually help.

Sincerely,

Adult Nely


Creatura by Nely Cab, August 6, 2013.
Isis can control her dreams. Or she could—until recently. The creature in her nightmares has been haunting her for months. As if being dumped wasn’t bad enough, now she dreads going to sleep. She decides to confront the creature and win back some of her peace; only, she finds that he’s not a monster and he’s not a dream.

A sacrifice for love, a shocking discovery and a jealous ex-boyfriend blur the lines between reality and dreams, making it hard to tell who the real monsters are.
Who would’ve known…that sometimes love is lethal?

You can add Nely Cab's Creatura to your Goodreads shelf:

Tour-Wide Giveaway Open internationally.
Prize #1 Signed, personalized copy of Creatura, bookmark and button (pin)
Prize #2 Ebook, signed bookmark, personalized postcard to winner, and button (pin)
Prize #3 Signed Bookmark and personalized postcard to winner

Friday, September 6, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Diane Zahler (author of Sleeping Beauty's Daughters)

This week, I am very excited to welcome Diane Zahler, author of Sleeping Beauty's Daughters, to the blog. I hope that y'all will give her a very warm welcome.

About the Author:
I grew up reading children's books and never wanted to do anything but write them. Then I got a contract for THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS and A TRUE PRINCESS, and then PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS and, coming in August, SLEEPING BEAUTY'S DAUGHTERS. Magic does happen! I live in the country with my husband in what is aptly nicknamed the Bug House. Visit my website at www.dianezahler.com.

You can haunt Diane Zahler at -
Website | Goodreads | Twitter |

Interview

1. How does your retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Daughters, differ from the original?

Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters is the story of what happens when the evil spell that made Sleeping Beauty sleep for a hundred years is visited on the next generation. So Sleeping Beauty is a character in the story, but it really focuses on her two daughters, Aurora and Luna, and their desperate attempt to escape the curse.

2. In five words, per a character, could you introduce readers to the Princesses Aurora and Luna?

Let’s see….Aurora: sensitive, thoughtful, anxious, smart, compassionate. Luna: bold, lively, courageous, stubborn, indiscreet.

3. Alright, you have seven words to hook potential readers of Sleeping Beauty's Daughters, what would you say to pull them in?

A curse, two princesses, a perilous journey!

4. Reader to reader, why do you enjoy reading and writing children's books?

I’ve always wanted to write children’s books, since I was old enough to read myself. Those are the books that had the greatest impact on me, the ones I turn back to most often. When I was my readers’ age, books were everything to me – an escape, a friend, a voyage to an unknown place and time. My greatest hope is that my books can be that for other kids.

5. What are three of your (current) favorite middle grades reads? Why?

I love The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas (2012). It’s a wonderfully imaginative fantasy rooted in history. Rebecca Stead’s recent books, When You Reach Me (2009) and Liar and Spy (2012), are more realistic fiction and are beautifully written. Since that’s only two authors, I’ll add Kristen Kittscher’s The Wig in the Window (2013), which is a fun mystery by a great debut author.

6. Besides being able to continue reading while working (total win there), what did you enjoy most about being a librarian?

I wasn’t a real librarian – I was what was called a library page (isn’t that a perfect job title?), which is sort of a lowly assistant. And I loved doing the story hours at my library. I was in charge of them; we did two or three a week. It was tremendous fun seeing the kids’ reactions to different books and figuring out which ones they liked and why. Their absolute favorite was always Where the Wild Things Are. I can still recite it by heart.

7. Diane, I've heard that a couple of your books were inspired by places you've visited. Is there anywhere that you would like to visit that you think would make a good setting for a book?

I wrote a nonfiction book about Burma (aka Myanmar) called Than Shwe’s Burma in 2010, and at the time the country was completely closed to the outside world. Now Burma is opening to the West more and more, and I know from my research that there are astonishing things to see there. The country is such a mystery to most people that I think it would make a fabulous setting for a story.

[www.signaturemyanmar.com]

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
Oh, that’s a tough one! I assume I shouldn’t pick one of my own princesses, right? Maybe Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time. She doesn’t seem like hero material at the outset, but she’s super smart and surely could figure out a way to pacify the robots.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
It’s a writing couch. I kind of sprawl on the couch with my new dog, Flora, within petting distance, and write till my computer runs out of juice. Then I plug in to recharge and take the dog for a walk.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?

I’m working on a new middle grade novel. It has magic, baking, and pirates in it…and a princess, but she isn’t the main character. I can’t tell you any more because it’s not finished – and I’m not completely sure what’s going to happen next!

 Diane, thanks so much for stopping by and answering some questions about your newest book, Sleeping Beauty's Daughters. 

Sleeping Beauty's Daughters by Diane Zahler, August 27, 2013. Published by HarperCollins.
The classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is transformed into a dazzling new story of two sisters fighting a powerful curse by Diane Zahler, the acclaimed author of The Thirteenth Princess. Briskly paced and full of lush descriptions, readers who enjoy the work of Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine will be swept away by this spellbinding novel.

The daughters of Sleeping Beauty, Princesses Aurora and Luna, have grown up in a cliff-top palace by the sea, where they are carefully protected by their parents. No one visits, the girls cannot stray beyond the castle walls, and all sharp objects are forbidden here.

But accidents will happen—particularly when an old curse still has power. Soon, in spite of all precautions, Aurora is struggling not to slip into an enchanted sleep.

Frantic, the princesses accept the help of a young fisherman named Symon and embark on a daring ocean voyage to find their aunt—a fairy who may be able to break the spell. From fearsome beasts to raging storms, many dangers befall them, yet they must not give up . . . for if Aurora sleeps, she will not wake for one hundred years.

Don't forget, you can add Sleeping Beauty's Daughters to your Goodreads shelf.
Are you a middle grade author, want your book to be spotlighted this year during the challenge on my blog? Than this post is just for you. All about Middle Grade Challenge

Sign up for the 2014 All about Middle Grade Reading Challenge.

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