Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Audio Review: Crash by Lisa McMann



Crash by Lisa McMann

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Source: Purchased audio book


Crash is the first of four books in the Vision series and what a great start to the series. In Crash, Jules DeMarco sees this gruesome accident on billboards and on signs that no one else can see. Jules doesn't know where the visions come from, but the more she ignores them the more they haunt her. She realizes that these visions are something that will happen in the near future and she has to stop it. As if having visions wasn't bad enough she finds out that the vision involves Sawyer Angotti, a guy who was once her friend and current crush. Jules doesn't have friends. She spends all her free time working at her parent's pizza place with her brother Trey and her younger sister Rowan. Jules doesn't blame people for not liking her, especially when her family car has two giant meatballs on the roof, she constantly smells of pizza, and Sawyer's parents pizza restaurant is far more popular.

Jules life gets even more complicated when her visions grow and are everywhere. As if having horrible images weren't bad enough she now knows it will involve Sawyer's restaurant. Sawyer and Jules families have hated each other for as long as Jules can remember. The DeMarco and Angotti feud puts Jules in a tough spot when deciding what's the right thing to do about her visions.

I absolutely loved Crash and I'm counting down until October 8th when Bang, the second book in the Vision series, will be available! Fans of the television show Ghost Whisperer or my favorite book series The Body Finder will really enjoy Crash. You must go get this one, like right now!

Narrator: This is the first time I listened to Allyson Ryan and she did a great job. The audio is only a little over five hours so it's a quick listen.

Sample audio of Crash

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Audio Review: The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble




The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Source: Purchased Audio Book


The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble is full of sass! Joy Preble is known for her series Dreaming Anastasia, but she steps completely outside of the box with The Sweet Dead Life. Jenna Samuels is just trying to get through life since her father left when she was eight and her mom never recovered from his departure. Her older brother,Casey, is a stoner and he quit football to take care of the family. Jenna has been sick with an illness that her doctor can't diagnose. When Jenna collapses and Casey drives her to the hospital they are involved in a horrible wreck that changes their lives for good. An EMT at the scene suggests more tests be run and the cause of Jenna's illness is discovered. What Jenna doesn't expect is that Casey is completely unharmed by the crash when she clearly remembers he should have been. Things get even weirder when they find out that Jenna is sick because she's being poisoned. Jenna can't get passed the fact that Casey isn't his usual stoner self, but looks better than he ever has. Also Amber, the annoying EMT, won't go away. Casey listens to what Amber has to say and trusts her after just meeting her. Jenna wants nothing to do with her, but it was she who pushed for Jenna's blood test. It's up to the three of them to find out who would want to poison her and whether it has anything to do with her father disappearing and her mother's depression.

I love that the story is set in Houston and the city really feels like it's a character of it's own. Jenna is so sassy and has some of the best lines. I was frustrated with their mom and how she could just fall off into her own world when her kids needed her. I went from not liking Casey to really caring about him! I highly recommend getting The Sweet Dead Life!

Narrator: Madeleine Lambert does a great job of capturing Jenna's sassy personality. She also does a great job with Casey. There were a few minor parts where I felt she could have done a better job like the action scenes or how she pronounced a few words. Over all Madeleine did a good job as narrator.

Sample of The Sweet Dead Life Audio

Monday, May 20, 2013

Audio Review: The Program by Suzanne Young




The Program by Suzanne Young

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Source: Review copy provided by Publisher


The Program by Suzanne Young is one of the first books in a long time that really shocked me. The Program was designed to prevent teens from killing themselves after a teen suicide epidemic spread world wide. Traditional antidepressants no longer work and teens who are getting depressed, quickly kill themselves. The Program takes teens into a hospital and puts them through therapy and a drug that causes them to forget the memories that made them want to kill themselves. Teens know that they have to walk a fine line so they aren't "flagged" and sent away to this program. Sloane lost her brother Brady when he killed himself and her best friend Lacey was recently flagged. Sloane knows she can't show emotion in public no matter what. She only confides in her boyfriend James and her best friend Miller who dated Lacey. Miller is determined to make Lacey remember her old life and her love for him. James was Brady's best friend and he is Sloane's everything. They count down until the day they turn eighteen and the program can't touch them. But when Lacey returns and doesn't want anything to do with Miller it sends him into a downward spiral. James and Sloane try to keep him happy and look for signs he is becoming depressed and possibly suicidal, but one weekend they leave him alone and he takes his own life. James is so tired of losing people and he soon starts showing signs of depression. Sloane does her best to be normal for both her and James, but he can't avoid the Program. Sloane's parents are worried that after losing Brady they could lose their daughter as well and soon turn Sloane into The Program. The Program breaks even the strongest person and even though Sloane is determined to stay who she is and keep her memories, what can you do when drugs are pumped into you to make you talk and to steal every memory you have that makes you who you are? Is it better to live a life without your memories or risk losing your life because it's just too much to bare? There were so many times I yelled at the counselors in The Program and to Sloane to not fall for what they were telling her.

The story is told in three parts: life before The Program, life at The Program and life after. The Program is one of my favorite books this year! So many twists and turns and so many mind games! You will love it!

Narrator: Joy Osmanski is a great narrator! I was so caught up in the story I felt like I was there.

Sample audio of The Program

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop


I'm so happy to be a part of the Love In Bloom Giveaway Hop! So today I'm bringing you a very special interview with Francisco, co owner of BestiaStory. The minute I visited BestiaStory online I was in love with the idea so what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway. I got to ask Francisco a few questions about BestiaStory so I hope you enjoy the interview.



Two lucky winners are going to win a shirt from the Bestia line! All you have to do is go to http://www.bestiastory.com and pick your favorite shirt and let me know in the rafflecopter. BestiaStory also has a coupon code for my blog readers. Type CARIBLOG on the cart page to get 15% off your entire order!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




A big thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Portrait of a Book for putting together the giveaway hop

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Interview & Giveaway with Joy Preble

I'm so happy to welcome my friend and Texas author Joy Preble! I'm a big fan of Joy's first series and super excited about The Sweet Dead Life! I had a blast asking Joy questions and of course I want to thank Soho for the giveaway copies!


What was your inspiration for The Sweet Dead Life?
I got an email from my editor at Soho Press asking if I was interested in writing a book about a down on his luck stoner dude who comes back from a fatal car accident as his dying sister's guardian angel and solves a huge family mystery. That was basically it -- this one intriguing sentence. Of course I said yes! And then I said, you know, I think this book is going to be set in Texas, which I had no idea how he would take since I figured he probably hadn't envisioned it in the northern suburbs of Houston. But when I sent him the sample chapters, he said yes, too and on we went from there! Ultimately, it became more than the sum of its parts. I mean originally, we'd pitched this project as FALLEN meets VERONICA MARS meets PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and other Judd Apatow movies. So we both knew there would be strong comic elements. But once I began writing, there was suddenly this much bigger, more poignant story of siblings and love and family and good and evil and blackmail and poison... along with breakfast tacos. Very Texas, I guess you'd say. We were creating this Texas makeover of the angel book and being careful to create an original world and not one attached to any specific faith philosophy. And then I fell in love with my narrator Jenna. After that, it was a labor of love. Plus there are cowgirl boots. And guac.

I'm lucky to know you personally so I'm wondering how much of your personality is in this book?
Well, I suppose there's some of me in every book I write. But I did have the opportunity here through some - not all- of Jenna's observations to let you see my sense of absurdism. And my belief that we make our own family, particularly if the one we're given has issues -- well, that's in there, too. I guess after that, I'll have to leave it you to decide which of Jenna's opinions - and she has MANY- are also my own. :)

What was the hardest part of writing The Sweet Dead Life?
Honestly, there were very few hard parts. I think there was some thought about hey, I've written this angel book that's based on a mystery and not on romance: How's that going to work out? But it's exactly that aspect that reviewers like Kirkus and Booklist have loved. So I guess it worked out just fine. The harder part actually came writing the sequel, which is called THE A WORD and will release in May 2014 and continue Jenna and Casey's adventures and the larger mystery that's been unleashed. Plus Jenna will have a romance in book 2 ! If you are a careful reader of TSDL, you will know who it will be with! THE A WORD is going to be a little darker and longer and a 'bigger' book overall. Plus a new angel will come into the picture. So the stakes were raised all around.

What do you want readers to take away from reading your books?
I think I sort of covered that above in the personality question, but beyond that I hope readers will enjoy a mixture of humor and pathos - of fantasy set in a very real world setting. Because I guess that's how I see life: this wonderful mixture of funny and awful and great and horrible all rolled into one, and we as humans have to have hope in each other to get us through.

I know you can't have favorites, but what was your favorite moment in the book?
I do love all of TSDL, but one of my favorite moments is the scene where Jenna finally learns and accepts that her brother is an 'A-word' now. And then even after that, she subjects him to this haphazard, self-created 'A-Word test.' It is funny and poignant and I love it. Because accepting that Casey is a 'you know what' now, also means accepting that he's, well, dead.

All about Joy

Tell us something readers might not know about you?
Hmm.... I bet you might not know that I was first chair viola in the high school orchestra! And you definitely might not know that I coached JV girl's volleyball my first year teaching. Yup. Both true.

Shoes, purses, or books?
Um, all. Of course. Really, my new Michael Kors nylon tote was not only affordable but also big enough to carry books AND shoes.

OMG did that really happen to me?
The funny one that comes to mind is one you actually know! It's when you and I were tweeting about the aforementioned Covert Affairs and @chrisgorham (who is our favorite actor on the show) tweeted back. It was one of those random celeb moments that I love. Also when my 50 pound log of doom dog crashed through my very expensive leaded glass window. But that wasn't as fun. There are many others that are much funnier. But they can't be repeated here.

When I'm not writing I spend my time ____?
Besides hanging out at book events with Maria Cari Soto? I read, watch trash TV (actually I LOVE all TV, including Covert Affairs which can't return soon enough), plan trips (we just went to Ireland and I'm hoping Italy is next), and drink wayyy too much caffeine.


About the author: Joy Preble is the author of the popular and highly acclaimed Dreaming Anastasia series. A former English teacher, Joy grew up in Chicago and is a graduate of Northwestern University. She is now a full time writer and lives with her family in Texas, where she has learned to say "y'all" without any hint of irony. A tireless advocate for literacy and great books, she is at the center of the all-important Texas YA scene.

To learn more about Joy visit:
www.joypreble.com and follow her on twitter at @joypreble

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mini Review: The Collector by Victoria Scott



The Collector by Victoria Scott

Source: eArc from Publisher

For all you girls who get upset when the bad boy gets the bad reputation then The Collector is for you! Dante is the ultimate bad boy and you will want to run away with him. Dante is in charge of collecting souls and he is the best at what he does. Warning, he knows he's the best, so his attitude is as big as his ego. Dante thinks his life is great until his latest high profile assignment turns his world upside down. He tells himself not to get involved, but he can't help himself. The male point of view is frustrating at times, but feels very real.

Victoria Scott really captures you with her sassy slang, making The Collector fun and light. This is a perfect beach read! The Collector is Victoria Scott's first novel and I can't wait to read more from her. Fun fact: Tori is a Texas author and you know how much I love Texas authors! Pick up a copy of The Collector today!

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Game of Thrones Reading Adventure


A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars


First things first. I'm such a big fan of the HBO series A Game of Thrones. I can honestly say I may never have picked up the books if I hadn't watched the shows. If you're thinking "How can you watch the show and then read the books" I always try to read the book before the tv/movie, but I loved the show so much that I knew there had to be more details that I was missing, so I started A Game of Thrones about a year ago. Yes, a year ago! A Game of Thrones is over 800 pages in hardcover form, so it's not easy to carry around. I decided to get the e-book for my iPad, but I would only get like 10 pages and then a tweet/email/gchat would distract me.

Each chapter of A Game of Thrones is told from a different point of view so at first it was difficult keeping track of who was where. Reading A Game of Thrones was about studying the characters and how the book is different from the show. I found that the book and the show are really close, but you do learn more about the past and Ned's promises to his sister Lyanna. There are a number flashbacks and dreams that were never shown on the show that I'm glad I got to learn about. Some people only got creepier in the book. Yes, I'm looking at you Cersei Lannister! If you love the show and are looking for a fantasy novel then pick this one up! Don't let the size of the book or the hype deter you, it's a great read.

I loved A Game of Thrones so much that I started Clash of Kings, book two in the series. Interesting side note a number of YA authors are big fans of A Game of Thrones, the books and the show!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guest Post: Letting Go of Plans to Make Way for the Real Story

Please help me welcome Nichole Giles author of DESCENDANT. Nichole is guest posting on letting go of plans.



When I first started writing Descendant, the entire concept revolved around the fact that my main character, Abby, had some extraordinary abilities. Originally, she could do a lot of other things, but as I got writing the story, I realized that I was in over my head, and that the story was going to be way too complicated. If I wasn’t careful, I’d end up with a story about another super hero.

Don’t get me wrong, super heroes are extremely cool. I’m a big fan of super heroes. But as I got to know Abby and Kye, I realized that they are so much more human than anything else. And rather than make them invincible, I allowed them to keep the powers that sort of made them who they are, and then I gave the rest away to other characters, or dropped the abilities altogether.

Once I made that decision, the story came alive in a way it never had before. I figured out where their powers came from, why they each have the abilities they do, and why those abilities are so important to the story. Also, it was doing this that brought up Abby and Kye’s connection, and the history behind it. That connection has become a backbone for the plot, and one of the things that keeps them moving through it.

By letting go of what I thought this story was going to be, I discovered what it truly is.

Abby and Kye’s journey has evolved over a long time, and the story has changed dramatically in the process. But the things that have remained consistent are Abby’s ability to Heal others, and her intuitive ability to See things. The love story hasn’t changed much either, actually. It’s just become deeper and more refined. So there’s that.

I’m a fan of love stories, so everything I write will involve some romance. It’s just who I am as a writer. Love at first sight? Check. Long lost kindred souls? Check. People and circumstances trying to tear the lovers apart? Check. And guess what? Other than the love at first sight thing (which was part of the very, very first draft of this story forever and ever ago) Abby and Kye’s story evolved organically. Most of what happens between them wasn’t planned in advance.


A bit of trivia: there is one scene that started it all, including the special abilities and everything else that evolved from that. It’s a scene between Abby and Kye. While it changed somewhat in the revision process, it is, to me, the truest part of the story.

Anyone want to guess which scene it is? Leave your guesses in the comments for a chance to win a signed Descendant bookmark.

 

About DESCENDANT: Seventeen-year-old Abigail Johnson is Gifted.

Blessed-or cursed-with Sight and Healing, Abby lives an unsettled life, moving from place to place and staying one step ahead of the darkness that hunts her. When she arrives in Jackson, Wyoming, she is desperate to maintain the illusion of normalcy, but she is plagued with visions of past lives mixed with frightening glimpses of her future. Then she meets Kye, a mysterious boy who seems so achingly familiar that Abby is drawn to him like he's a missing piece of her own soul.

Before Abby can discover the reason for her feelings toward Kye, the darkness catches up to her and she is forced to flee again. But this time she's not just running. She is fighting back with Kye at her side, and it's not only Abby's life at stake.

Praise for DESCENDANT: "A hot new spin on paranormal, Descendant is refreshingly imaginative and powerful. I can't decide which was best -- piecing together Abby's sinister past or keeping up with her heartbreaking future. If you like your YA laced with melt-my-heart romance and a good helping of heart-pounding suspense, you'll love this book!" -- Michelle Davidson Argyle, author of The Breakaway

"This debut novel delivers in all the right ways, with heart-pounding action and a delicious romance that sweeps centuries. I loved it!" --Elana Johnson, author of Possession and Surrender

Thanks for participating! And don’t forget to enter the Descendant Blog Tour giveaway provided by Nichole Giles!

Monday, May 6, 2013

HERO'S GUIDE BLOG TOUR



I'm so happy to be part of the HERO'S GUIDE BLOG TOUR! I just finished THE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING THE KINGDOM and it's so funny. This is such a special occasion, because I have had authors, bloggers and reviewers on my blog, but this is the first time I've had a prince! Who is this prince? Well you can learn all about him below! The tour is just getting started, so there will be a giveaway, a twitter chat, and hello did I mention a prince?




Prince Liam
Occupation: Prince, hero
Affiliation: Founding member, League of Princes
Kingdom of Origin: Erinthia
Current Residence: Royal Palace of Harmonia
Parents: King Gareth & Queen Gertrude
Sibling: Princess Lila
Longtime Foe: Deeb Rauber (a.k.a. the Bandit King)
Likes: Saving lives, exercise, capes
Dislikes: Evildoers, bards, melon
Signature Move: The Double-Flip Half-Twist Disarming Sword Thrust with a Cape Flourish
Quote: “I am Liam of Erinthia. And you can consider yourself rescued.”
Little Known Fact: Once defeated a team of bandits while armed with nothing but an empty birdcage and a lemon wedge.

Storming the Castle Giveaway: The first THREE entrants today will receive signed copies of THE HERO’S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE and EVERYONE who enters is eligible to win a $200 gift card to the bookstore of his or her choice. You will need this SECRET CODE to enter the giveaway: Prince Charming. Enter here. *Update the link is working*

Twitter Chat: Join New York Times Bestselling author Marissa Meyer and Christopher Healy for a Twitter Chat on fractured fairy tales on Monday, June 3rd at 9pm ET. Hashtag #talesretold. There will be giveaways!

Tour Stops: If you want to link to other stops on the tour – you will find those here: http://waldenpondpress.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-heros-guide-heroes-guide-now-with.html

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: Such A Rush



Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols

Source: Advance Readers Copy

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars



I love the gritty trailer park feel of Such A Rush. Leah is a girl who has every reason to be dysfunctional and yet she is kind and has a quiet fierceness about herself. The more I read about Leah the more I wanted to protect her.  Most people have made up their mind about Leah and they judge her for her looks and for where she comes from. Instead of lashing out Leah shows how strong she really is.

Greyson, her boss's son treats her like dirt and accuses her of sleeping with his dad. Greyson is such a jerk considering that Leah has always had a crush on him. Why are guys such jerks sometimes?

There are moments where you see how sheltered Leah really is, like the fact that she doesn't know how to drive or swim. Then there are other times where she uses her looks as a shield. When her best friend Molly convinces her to go to a party Leah dresses like the girl they all expect her to be. People call her names and treat her like crap and Molly is no where around. I don't think Molly was always a great friend.

Jennifer Echols gives you the most dysfunctional mother I have seen in YA literature and while I get that its a main obstacle I really wanted someone to be there for Leah. I wish the mother-daughter role had been developed a little more.

I think contemporary fans will really enjoy Such A Rush.  Such a Rush is my first Jennifer Echols novel and look forward to reading more from her in the future. I would love to see a follow up novella to check in on Leah.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May What I'm Reading Now

Hi All! Here is my schedule. Feel free to join me and then we can discuss. Also I am always up for taking recommendations. If you check my blog often you will find I add and remove books just depending on my moods. What are you reading or looking forward to reading this month?

Currently Reading:


Currently Audio Book:



Next:


Just Finished:



A little side note but I want to celebrate that after almost a year I have finally finished GAME OF THRONES and yes I loved it!