Saturday, August 31, 2013

Falling the Right Way

Published:  July 1st, 2013
Falling Hard (Roller Girls # 1)
By: Megan Sparks
Capstone Press
ISBN-13:  9781623700232
When Annie moves from London to a small town in the Midwest, she struggles to fit in. She gets off to a bad start when she makes an enemy of her school's queen bee, Kelsey. But she discovers a new passion, the exciting sport of roller derby, and makes friends with the cool and quirky girls on her team, the Liberty Belles. She also meets Jesse, the friendly boy who works at the roller rink, and Tyler, a cute, all-American sports star.
     Annie is the new girl in a small, Midwestern town and not only is she dealing with going from big city to small town, but England to America.  When her parents separated, Annie decided to go back to her Dad's hometown with him and help him open the café that has been his dream for quite some time now.  Struggling to find her own place in a new and strange life, Annie is drawn to both cheerleading (as a substitute for gymnastics) and roller derby.  Making friends with her next door neighbor Lexie, a sarcastic and individualistic artist, and Jesse, the boy who works at the roller rink, definitely keeps things interesting.  When she's forced to choose between cheer and derby, can Annie make the right decision?  Most importantly, can she decide to do what will make herself happy even in the face of the rules of high school popularity?
     I requested this from NetGalley on a whim, and mostly because after seeing the movie Whip It in 2009, I always wanted to know more about roller derby as a sport.  I thought it sounded interesting for the fish out of water aspect as well and I am a sucker for characters who move from one country to another!  It ended up being younger than I expected, but I'm glad because it lent a real sweetness to the book as a whole that might not have been there if the characters had been near the end of high school, rather than the start.  Annie was a really strong, interesting girl who loved her parents and didn't do stupid, clichéd 'teenager' stuff.  I liked the fact that she knew what she wanted, who she was and refused to cave into the cheerleaders' bullying and shallow opinions about her friends, etc.  Lexie's artwork was described great and the friendship Annie has with Lexie was very realistic for small town outcasts. 
     I feel like Jesse (outcast love interest) and Tyler (jock love interest) were both kind of underdeveloped and like the cheerleaders were very one-dimensional.  I feel like the conflict pretty much disappeared once Annie went for the second tryout for cheerleading and the other cheerleaders stopped picking on her really out of the blue.  The relationship of Annie with both her parents, especially in relation to the separation and the guilt over choosing her Dad to live with was well written.  I liked how invested both parents were in her life, where in YA lit a lot of times parents are non-existent, crappy, or just plain weird/stereotypical.  Sparks avoided that and made me really like Annie's Dad especially.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a light, fluffy and fun read that is something I'd recommend for younger teens in middle school or early high school.  Very cute! :)
VERDICT:  4/5  Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on July 1st, 2013.*

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Dream of a Genie

Published:  April 20th, 2012
Three Wishes (Originally Published as: "Karma Beat")
By: Juli Alexander
ISBN-13:  9781475141092
Not every seventeen-year-old girl works part time for the U.N.I.V.E.R.S.E., but when you’re a genie, you have obligations. I’d rather spend my time rocking with my older brother’s band. I’ve been waiting years to replace the last drummer. Just when it’s looking good for me, Leo Fuller shows up, and this bad boy genie’ s after more than just my drummer gig. Male genies are dangerous, volatile, bad-boy types, and I’m finding him way too attractive. If we’re caught together, we could both lose our powers and be banished to the other realm. I know helping Leo will be a really bad idea. What I don’t know is why I’m doing it anyway.
     Jen just wants to have something normal in her life, now that a good portion of her time is spent working and granting wishes on behalf of the genie U.N.I.V.E.R.S.E.  So when the drummer in her brother's band quits, all Jen wants is a chance to replace him.  She's understandably pissed off when her brother goes behind her back and fills the spot before she even has a chance.  When it turns out that Leo is not only her replacement as potential drummer, he's also a male genie, Jen is in deep trouble.  Because it's against the laws of the genie authorities for male and female genies to be around each other and have contact.  They could both lose their powers and be banished to the other realm for good if they're caught.  Leo desperately needs Jen's help though, so that he can clear his Dad's name before he gets banished for crimes he didn't commit.  Sneaking around in through her Mom's office, reading classified documents and going on spy missions together only brings Jen and Leo closer together.  Can they solve the mystery, save Leo's Dad and not manage to get their hearts broken when it's time to say goodbye?
     I really enjoyed this book!  It reminded me of everything I like about fantasy-infused, contemporary YA lit.  It was absolutely fun and every once in a while it's nice to just stop overthinking and read a book that reminds us to love life.  Jen was the typical teenager, just wanting to hang out with her friends and have fun for a change.  Her parents were somewhat overprotective, but you could tell they really loved her and both her brothers with all their hearts.  Their lives were very average American, even with Jen's Mom working high up in the genie regulation business conducted by the U.N.I.V.E.R.S.E.  Also, her Mom is (if I remember right) the Vice-President of the cover for the genie higher ups, a booming cell phone business.  Jen's older brother is kind of a douchebag and it would've been nice to see some deeper emotion behind him.  Her younger brother hacking into her chattroom cracked me up, but I LOVED her parents' punishment for him to only be allowed to read "girl" books like Esperanza Rising and writing book reports.  I laughed so hard over it!  All the family interaction in this book was a refreshing change to me, upon the heels of so many books where the hero/heroine's family is MIA or just completely awful or bland.
      The explanation of the U.N.I.V.E.R.S.E. might have been kind of vague, but I was kind of glad that with the light-hearted tone of the rest of the book, that Ms. Alexander didn't bog down us readers with an overload of detail.  I got the basics:  if you get enough karma points you get three wishes, Jen was genie through her female heritage (skips every other gen.), male and female genies are too volatile together and the rulers of the genie organization were famous dead people.  I thought it was quite interesting.  It created a believable jump off point for the romantic tension between Jen and Leo, the somewhat R&J vibe and the awkward hesitancy of it all.  I did think that Leo going to Jen for help was a little bit farfetched, but it fit in well enough with the rest of the plot that it wasn't majorly out of place.  I really wasn't surprised at who the perpetrator of the frame job was but I did like the conclusion to the mystery and how it was carried out.  The ending leaves things wide open for a sequel.  I truly would love to read one.  I had a blast and I highly recommend it to those who would like a fresh take on genies, a mystery and a nice sitcomy type romance/family comedy story.
VERDICT:  5/5  Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on April 20th, 2012.*

Monday, August 26, 2013

Still Kind of Cold

Published:  July 15th, 2013

Frigid (Frigid #1)
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout (writing as J. Lynn)
Spencer Hill Contemporary
ISBN-13:  9781939392749

For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn't anything new. They'd been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore. He's never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn't want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she's perfect and she's everything. But the feelings he has for her, he's always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they're stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor'easter, there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

     Sydney and Kyler have been best friends since their playground days and that relationship is still going strong.  Now they're both in their last year of college, and both of them are secretly in love with each other.  Sydney is too scared of rejection to admit her feelings and Kyler thinks she deserves better so he's sleeping with a ton of different girls, trying to bury his feelings.  Going away for the weekend at a ski resort where Kyler's parents have a house, he and Sydney get stranded when a blizzard strikes.  The rest of their friends are unable to make it and with nothing else to distract them from the growing tension and the feelings they can no longer hide, things finally explode.  Just when it looks like Sydney and Kyler might actually be able to start a real relationship, a violent stalker appears on the scene putting their lives in danger.  Will they both get out of the resort alive and if they do, can they manage to make things work romantically or will they lose their friendship for good?
     I am kind of tired of the good girl/virgin/naïve heroine trope in New Adult books.  And the guys she falls for is always some tatted up, womanizing bad boy.  Been there, done that and so sick a tired of it that I'm almost completely out the door with the entire genre as it currently stands.  That said, this book did kind of take a fresh turn by making the two leads childhood best friends, who both want something more with each other.  It was extremely nice to have a romance between two people who have seen each other at their best and worst, know almost everything about each other and they still are attracted to each other after that.  Usually it's a couple people who've known each other for a month, f***** like rabbits, and now "love" each other.  Yeah, sure you do kids.
     Unfortunately, refreshing best friend aspect aside, this book was an extremely mediocre read for me.  Insecure girl, man-whore guy and some really contrived suspense to add an element of danger and make the reader "fear" for the characters' lives.  Sydney and Kyler were both somewhat two-dimensional and I think the thing that bothered me the most was Sydney's supposed naivety and inexperience when it came to sex.  She worries a lot about being frigid, which is what her ex-boyfriend called her when breaking up with her.  They only did it ONE TIME and she's basing her entire sexual self around that experience!  It got on my nerves, because yeah the first time is usually uncomfortable and a little painful.  And unless the guy is some sort of sex god, you're probably not going to get off.  That's kind of common sense, but Sydney's self-confidence issues get in the way of her realizing this and she takes it on as her fault.  This makes her even more reluctant to admit her feelings to Kyler, because of how much of a sexual person he is.  Then when they get together, Kyler is questioning her at every turn, whether or not she actually wants to be with him (which I get, cause she basically propositions him like a male hooker).  They both treat each other stupidly, even after sleeping together.  And the suspense plot is very easily figured out, with really no purpose other to lend some action to a pretty sparse plot. 
     My favorite part was the end, when Kyler and Sydney spend Christmas together and resolve their feelings, finally getting together.  Overall, I really liked the "best friends in love" aspect, but it wasn't enough to really sustain this one for me.  The characters are likeable enough, but really flat and kind of annoyingly dumb when it comes to their own and each others' feelings.  I only recommend this if you really are in the mood for some brainless fluff, with a little but better writing than average.  Cute romance, but no spine or real substance.
VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published July 15th, 2013.*

Friday, August 23, 2013

Follow Me Friday #27

     So, Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and AlisonCanRead. It's where you answer the weekly question and then link yourself and you go and check out other blogs of your interest, helping to support out endeavors as a community. Also, do it just because it's fun! :)

Book Selfie! Take a pic with your current read.

A:  I am currently reading three Kindle books right now, so here are a couple of pics with the two I plan on reading next!!! :)
     I can't wait to see what books y'all are reading and I hope you have a great Friday!  Thanks so much for stopping by! :)  I do prefer Bloglovin' follows, but am also trying to build up my Facebook and Twitter followings (especially my Facebook page).  All the links are on the right sidebar! <3

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dante Walker Can Take A Long Walk (Off A Short Pier)

Published:  April 2nd, 2013
The Collector (Dante Walker #1)
By: Victoria Scott
Entangled Teen

He makes good girls...bad.
Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

     Dante Walker is up for a promotion at work and being the best at what he does, is fully confident that he'll get it without a problem.  That is, until he meets the girl he's supposed the corrupt.  Oh yeah, by the way Dante is a soul collector for Lucifer.  He has exactly 10 days to get Charlie Cooper over to the dark side and collect her soul for his boss - or else.  But with Charlie being a major force for good and an unassuming, semi-ugly average nerd Dante has his work cut out for him.  Dante is an asshole and he knows it.  But the more time he spends with Charlie, the more he feels like he could be a good person.  He wants to change.  But by the time he actually does, will it be too late?
     I thought this sounded like a good book.  I figured I would laugh quite a bit and end up liking the main characters, hoping for the romance aspect by the end.  Mostly what I wanted by the end of the book was for Dante to SHUT THE HELL UP.  I really didn't like him whatsoever.  The moment he first sees Charlie, this is his first thought:
“My eyes widen at the sight of her. This is the girl Boss Man is after? She looks like a porcelain doll... beat three times with an ugly stick.” 
Yeah, that's really someone that I want to read about and sympathize with!  I don't think so!  Also, most of his time is spent talking about how great he is, which is enough to turn me off a character completely.  I get that the whole point is that he's a douchebag who gets reformed, but I thought the reform was really not all that believable.  I mean, he only changes his tune AFTER Charlie is pretty much an entirely different person!
     Speaking of Charlie, I was able to at least tolerate her, but I didn't really like her all that much either.  Yeah, I get that she's supposed to be heaven sent and a force for good, yadda, yadda, yadda.  But no one who has been through that much crap and is a public high school student is that gullible or outright 'Awww shucks' stupid.  Because that's how she came across to me.  There is a fine line between innocence and stupidity and she was really straddling it.  She's known Dante for less that a week and yet Charlie manages to sign her soul away to the Devil in a contract she doesn't even read, because Dante tells her she's signing it away to God.  Since when have you ever heard of signing your soul away TO GOD???  Never!  I did appreciate that (at least on Dante's part) this was free of insta-love.  But I felt like Charlie fawned over him far too much and things happened way too fast for me to really believe their relationship had any substance to it.  Also, he treats her more like a kicked puppy he wants to rescue, than a girl he wants to kiss and be in a relationship with.  Charlie's friends Annabelle and Blue were good additions to the plot, but they really didn't have all that much development.  Another point that had me unable to suspend my disbelief: the three of them decide to skip school and fly to Vegas and party with Dante, a guy they've know for less than a week!
     The whole soul sealing thing and the anti-seals that Charlie was putting out at first kind of confused me.  It was an interesting concept but I didn't find it executed all that well.  I know a lot of girls will read this book and swoon over Dante, even if he is a complete and total, unrepentant asshole.  And Charlie is a genuinely good person, which is nice to see every once in a while.  To be honest though, I'm proud of myself for getting through this book when I really couldn't stand the characters for the majority of it.  That and the lack of insta-love (even if the actual romance goes from zero to sickly sweet REALLY fast) are the only reason this book gets two stars.  That and the fact that I did smile a couple times, even if most of the time I was cringing.
VERDICT:  2/5  Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on April 2nd, 2013.*

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You Ain't Got No Alibi

Published:  July 29th, 2013
Friday Night Alibi
By: Cassie Mae
ISBN-13:  9780345548818
Rising star Cassie Mae introduces New Adult readers to a practical soon-to-be college freshman who seems to have everything—until a special guy shows her what she’s been missing.

In the wealthy town of Sundale, Kelli Pinkins has hatched the perfect plan to capitalize on her sweet reputation. For a generous fee, she will be every trust-fund baby’s dream: a Friday-night alibi, the “girlfriend” or “BFF” that parents dream about. With college approaching in the fall, Kelli’s services are in demand more than ever, which means that her social life is nonexistent. But Kelli is A-okay with that. She’s raking in cash for school. Besides, relationships are tricky, and sometimes very messy. She’d rather be at home on Xbox LIVE, anyway. Then the unexpected happens: She meets college stud Chase Maroney.

Chase isn’t like the preppy, privileged guys Kelli usually meets in Sundale. For starters, he’s twentysomething, always wears black., and he shoots back one-liners as fast as she can dish them out. But Kelli’s attempts to drive Chase away falter when she realizes that he treats her like he really knows her, like he cares about knowing her. When Kelli finally gives in to the delicious kiss she’s been fighting for so long, she faces a tough decision: make Chase a real-life boyfriend and risk her heart . . . or keep her clients and lose her first true love.
     Kelli Pinkins is the stereotypical good girl and in a town full of rich, uptight, religious families it pays off to be good.  At least for Kelli, who has started her own 'alibi' business to help out her classmates and make cash for college.  In exchange for a set fee, Kelli gives an alibi packet that the person memorizes and keeps them from losing their trust funds, etc.  But when she meets Chase Maroney at the bowling alley bar one night when she's supposed to be home as someone's alibi, things come crashing down.  He's completely different from anyone she knows, obnoxious and is suddenly everywhere that Kelli is!  But the more she gets to know Chase, the more she realizes that he's not what she thought he was.  Chase is something more important and could be worth diving into a relationship for.  Kelli would have to give up her alibi business to have a real chance and make Chase her boyfriend.  Can she do it, or will Kelli stick with her safety net instead of taking a risk?
     I was interested to read this, mostly because it sounded a lot different than the normal angsty fare that New Adult has offered up so far to me as a reader.  It was about a girl who hires her services as an alibi for chrissakes!  But with that said, Kelli had some major issues with her parents and Chase had some with his family as well.  The romance between the two of them started off in a way that reminded me of twelve year olds harassing each other with rude comments and juvenile pranks/actions.  He calls her 'Stinky' and she tricks him into a full body wax after he causes her to lose her hair in a gum incident.  They are constantly antagonizing each other and it didn't really make me swoon or want them together.  Mostly I started to feel annoyed.  Kelli as a narrator was kind of condescending and I feel like she used her alibi business as a way to feel like she was so much better than everyone else.  She wasn't your average girl, but I feel like the whole inexperienced, good girl trope is used in every New Adult book under the Sun (unless she happens to be the complete and extreme opposite of good).
     I was okay with the majority of this book, but I knew pretty much everything that was going to happen before it actually did.  There were some cute scenes, especially when Chase takes care of Kelli when she's sick and their bonding over oranges.  For the most part I can take or leave this novel though.  I didn't love any of the characters and they tended to get on my nerves.  I did appreciate the author not resorting to sex scenes to carry the plot and it was a fun, fluffy read.  I think that as long as you can deal with the major immaturity of both the leads, this is a good beach read/time waster.  Not something I would really recommend all that effusively though.
VERDICT:  2.75/5  Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on July 29th, 2013.*

Top Ten Tuesday # 5

     Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, which allows bloggers to share lists of some of our favorite (and not-so favorite) things.  This week we’ll be highlighting the top ten things that make our lives as book bloggers easier!  There are so many in reality, but it's tough to list them all of the top of your head isn't it?  Well, let's see if we can make a top ten list for it!
Top Eight Things That Make My Life As A Blogger Easier
1.  Goodreads:  Without this website, I wouldn't be blogging anyways.  It was such an influence on my life as a reader and some of the best suggestions/discussions I have are with friends and fellow club members on Goodreads.  Plus it lets me set challenges for myself and keep track of my books a lot easier.  It's a godsend for me!
2.  My library:  I actually worked at my local library from the time I was 16 until I was 21.  I don't think I would have stopped reading had I not worked there, but it kept my love and need for it alive.  Also, my library gave me life-long friends who were once just co-workers and it always has something for me to take home and read.  It's a win no matter how you look at it.
3.  Kindle:  Yes, I know Amazon is the evil empire.  That said, about 98% of my ARCs are ebooks and without my Kindle it would be a real bitch to read them.  I should know, because when I first got into Netgalley I was downloading onto my computer.  It's not something most people want to mess with and I am no exception.  My Kindle has made sure I always have something on hand to read, even if it's just for a 10 minute wait in my Doctor's office.  I <3 it very much!
4.  Other book blogs/ARC tour sites:  I don't get much time to explore, but you guys are definitely what keeps me going!  And wonderful weekly thought bombs like the one hosted here definitely help keep me connected to everyone and not just in the book zone 24/7 (not that it's a bad place to be, it can just get overwhelming).  It's wonderful to know I'm not alone and to see differing opinions.
5.  Netgalley/Edelweiss:  These are major sources for me, especially as someone with no publishing contacts and no real drive to contact places like Simon & Schuster and request physical ARCs (it makes me feel like I'm begging for loose change).  Without them it would be all library books, all the time.  With them, I read a lot of things I might not normally choose to pick up in the library either.  Netgalley especially has revived my inner comic book nerd and it's a beautiful thing.
6.  Authors:  There are a LOT of authors out in the big, wide world and the interactions that I've had with some of them have been totally groovy in the best way possible.  I am starting to get more into blog tours and am getting at least one request a week now in my e-mail inbox.  But I'll never forget working with people like Cidney Swanson and Megan Curd, who are just so gracious and deserving of all good things in the world.  Great writing is all well and good, but the wonderful people behind it can elevate things to an even greater level.
7.  Audiobooks:  As someone who works A LOT and doesn't always get the chance to read as much as I want, I usually have a few audiobooks on my iPod at a time.  I can usually count on at least between 2 1/2 - 5 hours of uninterrupted listening time and if it's good enough I'll keep it on when I'm doing other things at home.  These keep my mind busy, I love a good narrator and they make the copious amounts of car time in my life bearable.  What's not to love?
8.  Used Bookstores or really Bookstores of any kind:  I do frequent the chain store in my area a decent amount (Barnes and Noble) but I also love having a great used bookstore only 20 minutes or so away.  I have been going there for the better part of a decade, and they have a great mix of new and old books.  It's one of those stores with shelves so close together, you have to turn sideways and suck in your stomach to pass down the aisle.  The low prices, trades and selection always manage to pull me out of a slump.  Best cure for any sort of ill I can think of.
     So, I fell a little bit short this week with only 8/10 things I can think of for this list!  Can't wait to see what you guys have on your own top ten lists (maybe I'll get some ideas for improvement with my own way of doing things).  Thanks for joining me and happy Tuesday y'all! :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

A DJ Saved My Life Tonight

Expected Publication:  September 17th, 2013
This Song Will Save Your Life
By: Leila Sales
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN-13:  9780374351380
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
     I got this book as part of a tour site I'm a member on and we get five passes per year.  I almost used a pass towards reviewing this one, just because of the sheer personal pain that reading it brought me.  As someone who was bullied from grades 1-8 and spent the rest of my teenage years in awkward, shy distrust (and a few of my adult ones too), this was very difficult.  When I was reading Elise it was like looking in a mirror.  A little kid doesn't realize that they're doing something 'wrong' by being different - until other people start pointing it out and mistreating them for it.  I was lucky enough that when I reached high school the bullying ended and I found a measure of piece.  I also never got quite far enough to attempt suicide, but I did consider it many a time when I'd come home crying and heartbroken that no one liked me. 
 Me as a Zombie Princess in 5th Grade, LONG before it was cool.
     Elise wears all the wrong clothing.  She listens to all the wrong music.  And for the life of her, she can't figure out why everyone seems to hate her so much.  So this year, Elise is going to try something completely different.  She's going to buy clothes like everyone else wears, stop being the first with an answer in class and most of all Elise is going to be anyone but herself.  When even that doesn't work, Elise tries to kill herself.  Even that doesn't turn out how she though she wanted it to.  So when walking one night Elise stumbles on party girl Pippa and her musician friend Vicki, headed for the hottest underground party around.  Elise goes with them to Start and it changes her life.  Connecting with hot DJ Char, she starts to learn how to DJ as well and finds something she's truly passionate about.  But having friends for the first time in her life, and the complications they bring with them, Elise's entire life is turned upside down.  With the bullying at school intensifying and things at home blowing up as well, can Elise figure out what the right thing is?  And can she manage to figure out who she is in the process?
     I think that Elise was a startlingly realistic character.  That didn't always mean that she was the best person or the most interesting one in the room, but it meant that I cringed when she was treated like dirt.  I felt bad for her, even when she did stupid things like try to commit suicide and destroyed her little sister's school project (to try and get her to be normal like everyone else).  And as someone who's been there, it's difficult to feel like you're from a different planet than everyone else.  Romance was not a large factor in this book, but Elise did get into a quasi-relationship with Char (the hot, college-aged DJ who mentors her at first).  He turned out to be someone different than she though, acting like a womanizing douchebag most of the time.  But I think the dynamic between them and Char's twisted relationship with Pippa, a messed up British girl, help Elise realize that not everything's always what it seems.  Other people have problems too, they can just be better at hiding them. 
     Vicki's acceptance of Elise and her refusal to be shut out by her was awesome.  Not to mention Mel the doorman, who is just downright awesome.  I did like that Elise's parents were involved in her life, but agree with some other readers that they were somewhat clueless.  Sometimes parents just don't get bullying and how devastating it can be.  The resolution with the kids at her school was realistic as well.  Elise's attitude towards other people and her snobbery when it came to music was just downright mean at times though.  And the way she treats two gossipy, fellow unpopular girls from school who actually make an attempt to be her friend is rude and condescending.  That was the only thing that bugged me really in this book as an annoyance factor - Elise acting like she thought she was better than everyone (but feeling so lost without their approval).  Overall it was an intense read and I highly recommend it as a realistic look at bullying, especially for teachers and parents who feel like they just don't get it.  For former victims of bullying and those who might have had a suicide attempt, WARNING.  THIS BOOK CONTAINS TRIGGERS.
VERDICT:  4/5  Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication is September 17th, 2013.*

Friday, August 16, 2013

Goodbye Crewel World, Hello Earth

Expected Publication:  October 29th, 2013
Altered (Crewel World # 2)
By: Gennifer Albin
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN-13:  9780374316426
Life. Possibility. Choice.
All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.

But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.

In this thrilling sequel to Crewel, Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.
     At the end of the first book, Adelice, Jost and Erik found themselves in a place they'd been told no longer existed - Earth.  When they discover that Earth is still inhabited, with a stronger connection to the past than Arras could have ever hoped for, their lives are thrown into deep turmoil.  Standing on the brink of destruction and with little time left, the trio must get beyond a number of obstacles and find their way back to the very place they sought to escape.  With the horrifying new additions of the soulless, cannibalistic people known as Remnants, complicated family secrets and extreme romantic tension, it's not long before things explode for Adelice.  Not everyone is left standing in one piece, but will they find their way back together in the end?
     So, unlike in the first book where Adelice was a strong protagonist who did what seemed like minimal whining and where the love triangle was far from in-your-face-pushy, this book took things to another level.  Being set on Earth, things were obviously going to be very different from Arras, the home world of Adelice, Jost and Erik.  The dynamic between the three of them has shifted and their roles in each other' lives are becoming different while they fight for survival.  The main focus of Jost shifts away from Adelice, towards getting back to his daughter.  Especially when they find out that time passes differently on Arras and one Earth month is equal to about one Arras year.  This makes for an interesting plot line in regards to a mysterious guy named Dante, who has a much deeper connection to Adelice than she ever imagined. 
     I did feel like Albin managed to world build with the destroyed, but not dead shell of Earth just as spectacularly as she did in Crewel.  The descriptions were gorgeous and I really felt like I was seeing it as I was reading it.  That is the best kind of reading, though I do like being able to imagine things as well.  But having them given to you for inspection is just as nice to me, as a reader.  The creepiest character award goes to Kincaid, a young-looking guy who is cheating death and is basically the revenge obsessed counter-part to Cormac.  Adelice left Arras looking to get away from Cormac and Kincaid is just as twisted, if not more so.  The scene that left me cringing with it's grotesque brilliance was the one where he puts on a play for Adelice and the boys, but does it with actors who have had their life threads altered to look like famous 1940s film stars.  I enjoyed all the action, and the fast pace of the plot.  I think where Albin lost me was the search for the "Whorl" and the identity of famous scientist who led the 'rebellion.'  I just felt like the revelation of his identity came completely out of left field.  Nothing else really suggested to me that she was going to use a real historical figure and I found it really jarring.
     One thing I will say is that with the developing of the love triangle, and Adelice's inability to make a coherent decision I got pretty annoyed as a reader.  I really dislike the love triangle trope and ESPECIALLY dislike the whole two-brothers-and-one-'perfect'-girl thing.  It makes me gag.  But I did like that Gennifer put a lot of tension and drove a believable wedge between Adelice and one of the guys, before easing her towards the other one.  At least the complications were believable, if really eye-roll inducing and overall annoying to me.  Plus it made for some swoony romantic action between Adelice and my favorite brother (no, I won't say which one!).  Overall, a good follow up to the first book in the series.  I would recommend it to those who enjoyed Crewel, but advise them to expect a major shift from almost straight fantasy, with a little sci-fi to the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  It makes for an interesting read!
VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication is October 29th, 2013.*

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Steel Lily Blog Tour - Review, Excerpt and GIVEAWAY!!!

Steel Lily (The Periodic Series, #1)

Published:  August 12th, 2013
Steel Lily (The Periodic Series #1)
By: Megan Curd
Megan Curd

AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.  
She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Three: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.  
Or so she thinks.  
That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Three. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued.  
But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.  
…Which means digging deeper.  
When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, it may make her wonder if she was better off being a government tool than searching for freedom.  
Some secrets are better left concealed, but humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.  

Book Links - 

BIO:  Megan Curd is a graduate of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. While having always enjoyed reading any books she could get her hands on, Megan didn’t begin writing until a friend encouraged her to do so while in college.   
When not writing, Megan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves to snowboard and travel to new places, and doesn’t turn down the opportunity to play xBox with her brother and friends when it presents itself.  
Megan currently resides in Stanton, Kentucky with her husband, son, and Great Dane named Dozer.


     Recently I've been becoming disillusioned with dystopia as a general rule.  I feel like everyone has been jumping on the bandwagon and publishing mediocre and downright AWFUL books - which are the only kind I seem to be getting my hands on.  Steel Lily has renewed my faith in the genre you guys!  I was contacted by the author about reviewing this book on my blog and normally I am very careful about accepting requests, so that I can give a good review.  Contrary to popular belief (at least on my part) most bloggers hate giving bad book reviews - I'd much prefer to give a good one, as it means my time was well spent reading a good book.  This one definitely fits the bill!  One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that while it has steampunk elements to it, at its heart the novel is mostly dystopia.  As someone who is not a major fan of steampunk, this was a make or break factor for me. 
     The main characters and the side characters were both really well developed, with Avery Pike being one of the most compelling protagonists I've read in quite some time.  She's a girl with the world on her shoulders, an amazing elemental ability and the best sense of humor.  Her banter with some of the other characters made me laugh out loud, which is harder to come by than you might think even in a really good book.  Megan gives us some truly detailed descriptions and I was able to picture everything unfolding in my mind, almost like watching a movie in my head.  And unlike a lot of recent dystopians, she gives us the basic building blocks of the world without leaving obvious gaps that alienate the reader.  For example, you know that this book is set not too long after WWIII and the remaining population is living in domes to avoid radiation poisoning on the uninhabitable portions of land that are left.  The dome that Avery lives in runs off of steam and she is one of very few elementalists keeping her dome alive.  But there is corruption in the police force, known as the Polatzi and Avery is also being treated horribly by her classmates and fellow elementalists.  Still desperate to find out what happened to her parents, Avery ends up leaving the dome with a mysterious man who says that he can help her with her abilities - and he knows where her parents are.
     The adventure and action in this book is phenomenal.  It's definitely writing at it's best when there's not even a line of text that seems superfluous to the story and you are hanging on the edge of your seat the whole time.  The introduction of Avery's love interest, Jaxon, (however reluctantly she may admit her feelings for him) is especially entertaining and one of my favorite parts in the book.  I liked the slow build of their relationship and some of the discoveries about the Resistance and the corruption in the domes that they make together.  Sari is another interesting character, a hacker who is friends with Jaxon and becomes Avery's roommate.  I did feel like I got to know her the least and I am hoping that Megan gives us a little more insight into her background in the next book.  Alice, the best friend from her original dome, definitely provides a nice contrast to the people in Avery's new living environment.  She has a great personality, sweet with a hint of sassiness.  And the loyalty and sisterly bond between her and Avery is awesome.  Not to say their relationship is perfect, because it's not.  But that makes it better in my opinion than if it were. 
     The resolution of the plots the author has going (the missing parents of Avery, the truth of the dome corruption, what adults the teens can trust [a.k.a. who the real villain is]) were well carried out.  I did kind of see one of the plot twists coming, but the way it was written was exceptional and I enjoyed it very much.  Actually, probably my only complaint about this book at all would be that the dialogue/speech sometimes felt stilted and a little unnatural.  It would occasionally make a drop from formal to modern in a way that wasn't entirely smooth.  But it didn't distract me from the overall awesomeness of this book.  So I'd call it a very minor flaw.  Overall, Steel Lily impressed me very much and I am so glad I got the chance to read it!  A fresh, heart-stopping addition to the dystopia family, I'd recommend this to anyone who is longing for a book that will finally leave them satisfied, as so many don't anymore. 

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received this ebook from the author, in exchange for an honest review and participation in a blog tour.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published August 12th, 2013.  It's now available as an ebook.*


I’d never seen anyone like him in Dome Four. His jawbone was strong, his cheekbones set high. His nose was regal and straight and when my gaze reached his eyes, my breath caught. Stormy blue-grey eyes that reminded me of shale returned my gaze with seemingly genuine curiosity, if not a bit of humor. Strips of colored fabric were woven into his dreadlocked hair, giving it a wildly unique appearance that suited him. His smug expression made me realize he was enjoying this. “Are you finished checking me out? If you’re not, that’s okay; I allow every new woman I meet a free five-minute gawking period. After that, it’ll cost you.” Blood rushed to my face. I tore my eyes from his magnetic gaze and watched as he took a worn leather strap off his wrist. He pulled back his dreadlocks–deep brown streaked with blonde–into the strap. His devilish grin pulled his eyes tight at the corners. He was trouble incarnate. Trouble I may very well want to get into, given the right circumstances. “You’re at five minutes and thirty seconds now,” he said in a purr as he leaned in toward me. I felt his breath against my cheek, and my heart raced. “I’m going to start taking payment, and I choose how that payment is issued.” Before I could respond, Alice stirred groggily beside me. She rubbed her eyes as she sat up. “Where are we?” “Good question,” piped Jaxon. “One that your friend here failed to ask, but it could have been because I rendered her speechless with my good looks.” Alice moved to get a better look at him, but he emphatically covered his face, as though he were a vampire trying to block the sun. “Don’t look at me!” he cried, then grinned as he winked at me. “I don’t want to make two ladies swoon in such a short period of time. How would I entertain myself tonight?” “You’re not that handsome,” I argued mulishly. “There’s drool on your chin. Either you’re physically unable to keep your mouth shut, or I caused you to forget how. Since when I found you, you were drool free, I’m going with the assumption that it was me.” He fished in his pocket and offered me a piece of white silk. “Here, a handkerchief for your trouble.”

     If that doesn't make you want to go and read this book, maybe this picture of Jaxon (who is very swoony and an awesome romantic hero) will!

And without further adieu, here is the giveaway! :)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY for The Bearded Scribe! Awesome Prize Opportunities!

Greetings, Beardies! A while back I had mentioned on Facebook (and by default, Twitter) that, in honor of reaching 500 Likes on our Facebook Page and 1000 Followers on Twitter, I would be holding a Giveaway. A Giveaway, there shall be...and it's a doozie! We have some great prizes, donated by some great authors. In addition to their generosity, I've decided to donate a prize of my own.

The Prizes & Their Benefactors:

Joshua Allen Mercier is the Founder and Executive Editor of The Bearded Scribe.  He is a passionate reader and an aspiring author currently shopping his first manuscript, The Assassin of Aldarhaij. He studied Creative Writing at Alma College and is a self-confessed nerd, linguaphile, and Grammar Nazi. He believes that Oxford comma is not optional, and that its absence is a punishable crime. 
World-Building Critique & Feedback. With this service, I'll review your world-building material and notes for consistency and clarity, discrepancies and weaknesses, strengths and uniqueness, among other factors. I will offer a thorough critique with detailed feedback, pointing out places in your world that need work or reinforcement. The service includes the initial email exchange of your notes, my critique and feedback, and two, thirty-minute sessions via Facebook or iMessage (in addition to an initial 30-Minute Consultation).  Prize valued at $70

Cidney Swanson is the author of The Ripple Trilogy and the Saving Mars series.  She has always had a thing for words. At an early age, she knew she’d be a writer. Her dad taught literature, and her mom made sure she and her sister had library books.
Her parents took the sisters to see Shakespeare plays as well, and as a seven-year-old, Cidney interrupted the actors performing The Merchant of Venice when one of them lied to another in Elizabethan English. Cidney recalls seeing the actors onstage breaking into choked laughter when she called out, “You liar!” No one mentioned to her that Shakespeare was difficult to understand, so she simply followed along, commenting when she couldn’t stand the fibbery anymore.
By the time she turned nine, Cidney read and wrote stories constantly. She found Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and became convinced the author had modeled her character “Jo March” after her. As a teen, she fell hard for fantasy and science fiction and soon wrote her futuristic tales in Tolkien’s Elven script. (Which also came in handy for hiding journal entries from her sister.)
Cidney traveled with her teacher-parents every summer, driving through Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and a dozen European countries by the time she reached high school age. She was able to travel abroad three out of her four years in college as well, adding Israel and Eastern Europe to her list.
Through her twenties, and into her thirties—which she describes as her “decade of giving birth”—Cidney journaled, wrote poems and essays, and started novels that were never finished in between chasing chickens and changing diapers. She also started two successful businesses and home-schooled her kids with her husband’s help. She describes those as great years for taking in life, an activity she highly recommends for any aspiring writer.
Cidney lives with her husband and assorted animals and kids in Oregon where she writes full-time, planning her next novel and her next international adventure with equal enthusiasm. She no longer, however, interrupts theatrical performances. Even if someone’s lying. One (1) copy of Defying Mars.  One winner will be handsomely rewarded with a copy of Defying Mars, the second book in the Saving Mars series.
Jessamyn has escaped Earth with food for her starving world, but her troubles are just beginning. She must rebuild her life without Pavel, the Terran boy whose kiss haunts her. Her success is further tainted by the loss of her beloved brother. Ethan disabled the deadly lasers orbiting Mars, but this has created a fervor to re-open trade with Earth which Jess knows would be disastrous. Add into the mix a secret which could launch an interplanetary war, and Jess finds herself at the center of an intrigue where, in order to save the world she loves, she must defy it.
Five (5) Specialty Saving Mars Bookmarks.  These collector bookmarks, inspired by the cover from the first book in the Saving Mars series (aptly titled, Saving Mars), are from a remaining limited quantity, generously donated by Cidney.
Lana Krumwiede’s first name rhymes with banana, and she pronounces her last name KRUM-widdy, as in a clever bread fragment. But don’t worry too much because she’s not touchy about it.
In third grade, Lana wrote in her autobiography that she wanted to be a mother, a writer, and the church organist. The organist thing didn’t work out very well, but the other two dreams made up for it. Her work has appeared in Highlights, High Five, Spider, Babybug, The Friend, and Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul. Freakling is her first novel. She also has a picture book under contract with Candlewick.
Before she remembered she wanted to be a writer, Lana worked as an office manager, a stay-at-home mom, a preschool teacher, a Spanish teacher, a bilingual kindergarten teacher, a swimming instructor, and a reading tutor. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and youngest daughter. Her three older children are off having adventures of their own.
Lana has tried psi many times, especially in association with cleaning house, but could never make it work. She does have a few mildly supernatural abilities, which include untying knots, peeling oranges, and dominating in board games. Her perfect day would include reading, writing, swimming, cooking, telling jokes, spending time with family, and pie.
Two *SIGNED* Copies of Freakling.  
In twelve-year-old Taemon’s city, everyone has a power called psi — the ability to move and manipulate objects with their minds. When Taemon loses his psi in a traumatic accident, he must hide his lack of power by any means possible. But a humiliating incident at a sports tournament exposes his disability, and Taemon is exiled to the powerless colony. The "dud farm" is not what Taemon expected, though: people are kind and open, and they actually seem to enjoy using their hands to work and play and even comfort their children. Taemon adjusts to his new life quickly, making friends and finding unconditional acceptance. But gradually he discovers that for all its openness, there are mysteries at the colony, too — dangerous secrets that would give unchecked power to psi wielders if discovered. When Taemon unwittingly leaks one of these secrets, will he have the courage to repair the damage — even if it means returning to the city and facing the very people who exiled him?

Brian Rathbone is a former horse trainer and computer programmer.  He used his old world knowledge and love of fantasy fiction to create The World of Godsland fantasy series, which begins with The Dawning of Power trilogy.  
Brian began working from home, finally finding the time to write down the story that had been growing in his mind for over a decade. At times he felt like a juggler in motley while he balanced the writing of code and the writing of fiction, but it’s all been worthwhile.
He is currently working on writing Fifth Magic, the seventh book in his World of Godsland series.

Two Copies of The Dawning of Power trilogy, the first three books of his World of Godsland series.  Echoes of the ancients’ power are distant memories, tattered and faded by the passage of eons, but that is about to change. A new dawn has arrived. Latent abilities, harbored in mankind’s deepest fibers, wait to be unleashed. Ancient evils awaken, and old fears ignite the fires of war.
In times such as these, ordinary people have the power to save the world . . . or destroy it.
Paige W. Pendleton. The secrets of the Red Paint People have haunted Maine for 7000 years. Paige is busy writing those tales.
She is currently working on The Keeper and the Scimitar of Salaman, the third installment of her Black Ledge series.
Two Copies of The Keeper and the Rune Stone.  An unholy ritual, a ticking clock. Four children discover that there are things that go bump in the night...
Centuries ago a group of Elves committed an unholy ritual. But the ritual was a spectacular failure. It transformed the Elves into the Noctivagae - the beings we know as vampires.
Striving to maintain a fragile peace, the ancient Elves and Dwarves negotiated an accord, which they've renewed every year on the summer solstice. The ceremony depends on the magical Rune Stone, but it's missing. If it is not found—and quickly—the consequences could be dire, and not just for Elves and Dwarves.
Four children, Rob, Jack, Eleanor, and Flora, stumble into the fantastical excitement when they happen across a wise being who inhabits a nearby cave. He is the Keeper of the Realm. He befriends the children and enlists their help.
The adventure that follows is based on my suspicion that Elves and Dwarves came to Maine with the ancient Norse in the time of the Red Paint People. The story is filled with suspense, magic, adventure, and charming supporting characters. It’s both heart-warming and heart-pounding.
Gregory S. Close has lived on both coasts of the United States (and that wholesome corn-fed part in-between) as well as Dundalk, Ireland and the tiny islands of the Kwajalein Atoll.
Greg loves travelling and sampling the native cultures, foods, customs, and beers of the world. Greg is married to a rocket scientist and lives in California with his two daughters, a cat, and one and a half dogs.
Three Copies of In Siege of DaylightThis new epic literary fantasy follows Calvraign, who is an apprentice to the king’s bard. His studies are filled with prophecy, romance, mythic enemies, and magic, and he contents himself with such fantasies until the day that he is suddenly called to the capital city. His best friend, Callagh, the most skilled huntress in their village, senses something isn’t right with Calvraign’s hasty summons and follows him. Her instincts prove true, as his arrival throws the king’s court into chaos, and the two are abruptly torn from their simple country life and plunged into a real-life version of Calvraign’s tales. A menacing prophecy reveals that an all-encompassing dark magic has already been loosed upon the world, and there is only one way to stop it. Calvraign must reverse the Darkening before treachery takes the life of the crown prince and plunges the kingdom of Providayne into chaos. And Callagh must keep him alive long enough to do it….
Daniel Harvell wrote one short story at the age of 10 about a pit on the moon laden with poisonous hamburgers, and suddenly he was an author. That’s the way he saw it when “Murder on the Moon” became an instant hit with his fourth-grade classmates. He’d always been a voracious reader, but upon sharing his little yarn with friends, Daniel suddenly realized the freedom (and power!) of becoming the storyteller. Over the next few years, he would go on to write several short stories, mostly involving murder mysteries and his schoolmates.
The thrill of whodunits subsided when he discovered the long and (theoretically) rewarding payoffs of the soap operatic style of telling tales, which was followed quickly by his unearthing of the superhero fiction genre (which is just soap operas in spandex). Fast-forward to Daniel's last semester at Florida State University, where he was starting to regret my decision to pursue a business management degree instead of something more literary. He had big stories in his head. Instead of second-guessing his educational path, however, Daniel used his free time to pursue his passion. A few months later, his first novel had arrived in the world—and it wasn’t pretty. Like all writers, though, he had to start somewhere.
Daniel went back to the drawing board with his ideas for The Survivors—a contemporary fantasy story about what would happen if real people found themselves empowered with superhuman abilities. But The Survivors wasn’t so pretty either. The concept was fun but the execution was rough. It was temporarily shelved while he set out to learn how to be a better—and publishable—writer. And 10 years later, Daniel thinks he may have learned a thing or two.
He wrote another novel in the interim years (more on that soon!), but The Survivors will always be his baby. In many ways, the work of an artist is like his or her child. Now his little one’s ready to play with the big kids. After the many years of edits and rewrites, Daniel is proud of the novel into which it has grown.
Two Copies of The Survivors.  When seven strangers impossibly survive a horrific airplane crash, they find themselves changed in remarkable ways. The survivors are endowed with powers that defy explanation. Some are blessed. Some are cursed. 
Going their separate ways, they adapt their extraordinary "gifts" to their ordinary lives. The results, however, aren't always pretty—particularly when one of them engages in a killing spree. With little more to go on than the psychic link that they all share, the survivors seek out one another to uncover the murderer and bring him or her to justice. 
The fireman, the grandmother, the psychiatric patient, the basketball player, the mute girl, the rich blonde, and the man in the wheelchair—they all have secrets worth hiding. They can't trust each other. They can't even trust themselves.
S.M. White has read a metric ton of text in his life. You could probably crush a dozen men beneath the weight. He studied creative writing at Spalding University, which turns out is simply reading and writing; that was nice. He has spent countless hours watching fantasy films, at times awed and at other times disappointed. He has held swords and shields and dead things. He once undertook a daunting quest to recover the stolen car keys to his mother's station wagon. Maidens have handed me favors ranging from bracelets to perfume-drenched letters to lengths of fake hair. When he encounters dragons, he keeps his wits about him and his gold coins close. He is a liar. He is a thief: he has stolen words out of men's mouths and claimed them as fictional musings. His friends often question him on his whereabouts (they seldom check Medieval Outfitters). He is not a serious person; of this, he is serious. He spent his formative years training to be a ninja. In this, he can don dark clothing and climb the tallest trees, he can do a front roll and a cartwheel, and he can fashion a smoke bomb from a tennis ball and match heads. If you were to ask him a question, he would instantly become evasive and confusing (mostly as a product of his uncertainty, but also because he's super mysterious).
Say something poignant, the Internet says.
Very well. He has won many insignificant things and has lost many precious things. This, he feels, is important. It is one thing to hold an object in your hand knowing its worth is a paltry measure in regards to what you might have been holding. This idea of loss is a vibrant and living thing. It lets you see that what is offered is not always what should be taken, and that what should be taken is hardly ever offered. And there waits cynicism, the most powerful of writerly attributes. If you don't know hopelessness, or dejection, or heart ache, you do not know conflict. Pain can be observed on television, or read about in the paper. But to live it, that it what molds a heart and moves a soul. His writing can be dark and terrible and harsh. This is not a product of formal training, or awards, or degrees. It is a result of his humanness, of his longing to understand agony and love and how the two survive in the same world. His stories are studies of the human heart, of humanity's need for good, and of the dreadful movements of evil as done by minds capable of love.
Three Copies The Lonely Man: The Witch's Price. A man responsible for the downfall of a nation. The nation responsible for the downfall of a man.
Mhets and six other greedy men quested to steal the Chained God’s treasure. They were successful. The gods, in their fury, took the lives of Mhets' companions one at a time, and now seek to snuff out the remaining thief. To survive, and to further spite the divine for their part in taking the love of his life, Mhets finds refuge in a witch’s hand. But the vile deal he enters into promises nothing but trouble. Sorcerers, mercenaries, and death wait on the horizon as he moves to complete his end of the terrible bargain. Journeying at the behest of the witch, Mhets learns just how black his heart has become, and how that darkness inside him might spell salvation for the world.
This installment starts the tales of Mhets Sorrowbringer, a man wronged and angered in life. He owns a past riddled with atrocity, betrayal, and death, but here is where his true story starts. Here is where the man called Mirthless Mhets begins to write his legend.
The Tour Hosts:
I Heart Books is a page whose focus is on the promotion of reading, books, and their authors. They provide service for both trad-pub and self-pub authors of all genres. They strive to bring their readers fun and positive posts, while keeping up with current news in the “book world."
Good Choice Reading focuses mainly on Young Adult, New Adult and Romance in all genres. The blog is coordinated by a wonderful group of girls who love to read and share the love they have for books with others!
Diamonds & Coal Book Reviews is run by Anna, an unrepentant 23-year-old nerd. She loves all different sorts of books, has watched too many movies to count, and is always happy to discover new music. That said, her graphic novel/superhero passion knows no bounds. (Hellboy is her favorite—you'll never convince her any other superhero is better!) When she's not at work in the Electronics Department of her local Target, every waking moment revolves around her blog. Come and join her in finding more of the interesting, shiny things in life.
Fae Books is run by Sarah Fae Graham, a 24-year-old Army wife who lives in Catterick Garrison in the United Kingdom. Fae Books is all about promoting authors, bloggers, writers and everything bookish in between. It hosts a lot of giveaways as well as free book posts, excerpts, interviews, and guest blog posts from the people with whom Sarah Fae is working. She runs a reviewing team who are in high demand and tend to book six months in advance. She's also in the process of beginning her own Tours. You can find more information on Sarah Fae and Fae Books by clicking on the above banner—it's never too soon to get Fae Books involved.
Alexis Holcomb is currently a writer, but aspires to one day be a full-time author. She specializes in fiction and loves inspiring others to follow their passions and dreams. She's a hands-on type of person that can just as easily fix a 3 course meal for a group of friends as she can do maintenance on her or her husband's vehicles. She's proud to be an Air Force sergeant, a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a writer. Alexis is also a contributor at The Bearded Scribe.

Wordweaver. A child of the American Great Plains, Court Ellyn moved wherever the oil industry took her family. Born in the panhandle of Texas, she has lived from one end of the Lone Star state to the other, as well as New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Indiana. She is settled at last, or so she hopes, in a growing town southwest of Oklahoma City with her husband, her fat cats, and her writing.
Having to move frequently, drove her to fill her playtime with characters and stories that, at first, she acted out with her sister. Then, when she was fourteen, she began writing what she calls “poor and unrealistic historical fiction,” primarily because her mother discouraged her from reading and writing in the fantasy genre. But because of films like The Never Ending Story, The Princess Bride, and Willow, her fate was sealed. Throughout high school her tastes gravitated toward the fantastical until she secretly purchased her first fantasy novel at a gas station. Her mother warned her, “Be careful.” And so Ms. Ellyn has been carefully reading and writing fantasy ever since.
Ms. Ellyn attended the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, which she claims provided an excellent liberal arts education but failed to dispel the dragons. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2000 with a degree in English and History and an emphasis in Creative Writing. Shortly after, she married her high school sweetheart and determined to write professionally. Sadly, she learned the hard way that a college education does not guarantee book sales. Regardless, Court’s stories have since appeared in numerous magazines such as Kaleidotrope, Silver Blade and the Dead Robots’ Society’s Explorers: Beyond the Horizon anthology. In the spring of 2012, she celebrated the publication of the first novel of a fantasy series, over which she labored for a more than a decade. After a literal outpouring of sweat and tears, both Volumes of Book 1 are available at CreateSpace and at Amazon. Court is also a contributor at The Bearded Scribe.
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Good Luck to Everyone!  And have FUN!