"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die." ~ Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writerly Wednesday

Hello, everyone, and welcome again to Writerly Wednesday! Today, I have a super special treat for you as I introduce you to the fabulous writers behind DarkSide Publishing.

DarkSide Publishing is a new concept in an old business.  We’re taking the independent out of indie and offering authors a way to work together as a collective to produce quality ebooks.  With over a decade of combined experience writing, editing and publishing, we make each book under the DarkSide label an outstanding value.  We want you to trust DarkSide to create fascinating and quality literature. We hope  you will enjoy all of our titles.

The current team at DarkSide Publishing include Karly Kirkpatrick, Megg Jensen, Genevieve Ching (G.P. Ching to her fans), Angela Carlie and Magan Vernon. I am a huge fan of these ladies and all they do to support each other and all other indie authors.

Their titles range from hard-hitting real life dramas to medieval fantasy adventures. I've read most of their titles and loved all of them. I also love the camaraderie they have together, working as a team to make sure every book is as good as they can make it. Their covers are eye-catching and inspired.

That closeness that I see with Megg, Karly, Gen, Angela and now Magan is what I looked for when I began my search for a publisher. I can only hope I have as much fun and success as they seem to be having. I wish them all the best and will continue to support them in any way I can.

Their current titles include:

Karly Kirkpatrick
Into the Shadows
Bloody Little Secrets
The Green

Megg Jensen
Anathema (The Cloud Prophet trilogy #1)
Oubliette (The Cloud Prophet trilogy #2)
Severed (The Cloud Prophet trilogy #3)
The Initiate
Sleepers (Book #1 of the Swarm trilogy)
Coming Soon: Afterlife (Book #2 of the Swarm trilogy)

G.P. Ching
The Soulkeepers (The Soulkeepers #1)
Weaving Destiny (The Soulkeepers #2)
Coming Soon: Return to Eden (The Soulkeepers #3)

Angela Carlie
Dream Smashers
Land of Corn Chips
Loramendi's Story (A Lords of Shifters novel)
Coming Soon: Spider Wards (A Lords of Shifters novel)

Magan Vernon
How to Date an Alien

To learn more about this dynamic company and these amazing women, visit DarkSide Publishing's website at http://darksidepublishing.blogspot.com/.

Happy Reading, everyone!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by the lovely Cambria Herbert. Every week, Cambria gives out a question to be answered. This week's question is:

If you could go into any book and visit the setting and characters, which book would it be and why?

I've been struggling to answer this question for the past 24 hours. My first instinct is to say HARRY POTTER, but I can just run down to Orlando, Florida, if I really feel the need to experience Harry's world. (well, maybe not really run since it's a bit far, but you get the idea.)

So, if not the wonderful HP world, then where would I like to go? There are so many worlds I would love to visit, characters I've come to love. But, I think the one world I can not get enough of would be...

I've wanted to go to Paris since I first learned a few words of French in middle school. In fact, I took French through college (not very well, mind you) in hopes of one day visiting the beautiful City of Light. To visit the city and explore it with Anna and St. Clair (not to mention Mer, Josh and Rashmi) would be amazing! Though, in reality, every time I open the pages of this book, I'm transported to their world, to Anna's life as she figures out her way around Paris and SOAP.

But if I'm going to Paris...

I might want to look in on Kate, Georgia, Vincent and the rest of his kindred. Their version of Paris is much darker than Anna's but just as beautiful. There's definitely more danger following them around, but it makes life more... interesting. Kate and her sister Georgia are already familiar with Paris, so walking around town with them is like visiting an old friend.

So, I guess in answer to this week's question... give me Paris and I will be happy!

How about you; what book would you like to jump into the pages of?

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Character Chat with Evan Llewellyn

Welcome once more to another edition of Character Chat, where I sit down with one of my many characters and have a little chat with them. This meme was actually started by my dear friend, Beth Ann Masarik, who chats frequently with the characters from her debut novel, The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness. 

Today I have with me, Evan Llewellyn, from my work in progress tentatively titled Llewellyn's Pride. In the story, Evan's father and brothers are all big cat shapeshifters who have a circus act called Llewellyn's Pride. For the summer, the show has been stationed at a Renaissance type faire, where Evan meets Lily Reynolds.

 A tingle tickled the back of my neck, alerting me to the fact that I was no longer alone in my office. I looked up from my laptop and grinned when I saw Evan Llewellyn casually leaning against the door frame of the open door, his arms crossed and a smile quirking the corners of his mouth as he watched me work. He entered the room without an invitation, sauntering over to perch on the corner of my desk.

"Working on more shamanism and spirit animal homework?" he asked, the deep timbre of his voice surprising me as much as it had surprised Lily when they first met. I continued to smile as I sat back in my chair.

"Are you interested in things like that?" I asked the shapeshifter. He shrugged one broad shoulder.

"It goes along with the myth my dad likes to tell about how we came to be what we are today."

"You mean, how you came to be shapeshifters?"

"Yeah." He settled more comfortably on the edge of my desk, turning his body towards me as he told the tale. "As my dad says it, thousands of years ago, the Horned God, Cernunnos, blessed some of his most devoted followers with the gift to change their skin and bodies into that of an animal of their choosing. My ancestor who was chosen first changed into a panther and since then, that line of men has been shapeshifting into felines ever since."

"Have there ever been female shapeshifters?"

"Not in my family, but there have been in others." 

"So, what most interested you in the research I've been doing?"

"The animal spirit stuff. The lion's strong family ties, strength and courage remind me so much of my dad and the tiger's power, energy and ability to act without analysis reminded me so much of my brother Broderick; he's always been a bit of a hot head when he thinks he's doing what's right to protect our family. And then of course, the black panther's guardian energy and ability to know the darkness... well, that's just me." He rubbed the back of his neck, a sheepish grin on his handsome face. I had to admit I couldn't agree more with his analysis of his family and himself.

"That's pretty cool," I told him.

"So, do you think there's any chance of you working on our story some time soon?"

"I don't know," I admitted. "But it's on my list of things to accomplish this year. I hope you guys will be patient with me. I just want to get your story right."

"We can always be patient." He slipped off the edge of my desk, a big grin stretched across his face. "I'll see ya around, Erin."

"Bye, Evan."

I pulled out a notebook and wrote down the story of his family getting their abilities from the Celtic God, Cernunnos, as Evan left the room. Just as the door closed behind him, another question popped into my head. If they were blessed by a Celtic God, why do they have Japanese names for their animals during the show?

That's it for today. I hope everyone enjoyed getting a small glimpse into another character's life. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to another fun edition of Six Sentence Sunday, where I share the first six sentences of books I've read or can't wait to read and give you links where you can find them. I hope you enjoy today's featured titles!

Fae Heath wants to be on TV, but not just any show. She wants to be on Ghost UK. She intends to win the contest to find the next presenter. Tall, slim and blonde and access to a haunted Welsh Castle on Halloween – how can she fail? 

"And cue, Fae." Mist swirled in front of Fae's vision in the dusky twilight. "I'm here at the gateway to a very special place this Halloween. Follow me inside November Castle as I uncover the legendary secrets of the ghostly Green Lady and that of her faithful wolf companion." Her sister, Izzy, stopped filming and Fae rushed over to look at the results. "That looks fine. What do you think, Flash?"

~ Nell Dixon (2012). Cue Me In.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

The werewolf king Gorgoza is dead leaving the west in turmoil. With the king’s passing it is only a matter of time before someone has claimed the western empire for themselves, leaving the east ripe for invasion. Against the werewolf hordes no eastern kingdom stands a chance for survival. 

But all hope is not yet lost for there may be a way to destroy the monsters of the west. Such a chance comes from the most unlikely of sources, Cada Varl the Immortal, the being responsible for the creation of the werewolves. 

Accompanied by 6 of the greatest warriors of the great warrior society of Helluv Cada Varl journeys into the west in the hopes of saving the east from utter destruction. Facing impossible odds the group must journey across lands that will offer nothing to them but misery and death.

The Rodovic war was the bloodiest and longest conflict of its age. Fought between the kingdoms of Gatavoi and Belrondia, it was a war that lasted for three decades. But it was on the fields of Marga where the most important battle of history was fought. Over one million warriors from both kingdoms waged a battle more ferocious than any other. By the 11th day the battle had come to a bloody end and only a single man still stood. Cada Varl, a soldier of Gatavoi. But after seeing so much blood and death Cada Varl had lost his humanity.   As he began to wander the land aimlessly, wolves, drawn by the smell of blood and death came to the field and feasted on the flesh of the fallen.

~ Shane Porteous (2011). How Gods Bleed.  Smashwords

When Andy Tanaka finds an old wooden chest in a storage shed on his family’s flower farm, he can’t wait to share his discovery with his best friend, Leigh Becker.

Inside the dusty lacquered chest are a pair of swords, some Japanese clothing, and a mysterious scroll, which could provide links to his samurai ancestor. They find someone to translate the scroll and then research the significance of the other items, intent on ensuring the legacy isn’t forgotten.

In the process, they learn not only about samurai history, but also some surprising truths about themselves.

“Are you reading those ridiculous comic books again? Honestly, you’re a college graduate. Aren’t you a little old for those?” 
“Dad, they’re called manga. They’re different. They’re illustrated Japanese stories.” Leigh Becker closed her book and stood. Even as the words left her mouth, she knew correcting her stepfather was useless.

~ Patricia Kiyono (2011). The Legacy. Astraea Press.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

When Zanna Seoul accidentally causes the death of a fellow spirit guide’s charge while trying to save the life of the man she loves, she is stripped of her position and banished to Earth to die. In the spirit world, one doesn’t mess with what’s written.

With Zanna no longer guiding him and his memory of her erased, Owen Nash is left wide open as the target of the vengeful spirit guide who feels he’s been wronged. A guide who also happens to be a werewolf. Once on Earth, Zanna refuses to stand by and watch Owen die, so she intervenes again, setting off a chain of events that could mean death for all of them if she doesn’t go back and undo the mess she’s made. Can Zanna succeed before the werewolf does?

“Owen, please don’t go to work today.” Zanna slapped a hand over her mouth. Did she just say that out loud? What the heck was she trying to do? She was Owen’s spirit guide for goodness sake. Her job was to make sure he followed his charted course while living on Earth.

~ Kim Bowman (2011). Wayward Soul. Astraea Press.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

Amanda turned down Preston's prom invitation in front of her entire high school, but that was eight years ago.

Somehow, her past mistakes always have a way of catching up with her, and making her pay. Amanda's sarcastic wit mixed with Preston's insufferable ego make sparks fly in more than one way.

Preston, against his better judgment can't fight the desire to get under Amanda's skin and mercilessly tease her, but when that teasing becomes flirting, and flirting becomes something dangerously more, neither of them are prepared for the adventure that follows.

Oh no. This is not happening, not happening! I wipe my hands over my pleated skirt, a nervous habit. Sweaty hands aren’t attractive, or so Brad Macintosh said when he held them during couple’s skate my seventh grade year. It’s my first choir solo ever. Why couldn’t it be our fall concert instead of our Spring Spectacular?

~ Rachel Van Dyken (2011). Every Girl Does It. Astraea Press.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition Smashwords

There you have it, folks! I hope you've found something fun to read!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday

Welcome once again to Tell Me Something Tuesday, a weekly meme where Cambria Herbert posts a question on her blog and the rest of us get to answer it. Today's question:

How do you feel about love triangles?

Probably one of the most famous love triangles of the moment would be Edward-Bella-Jacob. Now personally, I'm all about Team Jacob, but that's not what this post is about. ;-)

I like love triangles. OK, so it's more like I love them. I love the intrigue created by them, the passion and intensity between the two who aren't supposed to be together but fall for each other anyway, and even the heartache of when it all falls apart. Of course, all of this happens if the love triangle is done right. So far I have been lucky enough not to read a bad one (yet). :)

What do I consider a great love triangle? Glad you asked! I think it happens when the girl is with one person but is destined to be with another, or when she falls for her best friend of FOREVER after hooking up with the hottest guy in school, or even when she meets one guy, falls for him and then falls for someone else (though the girl might be considered a slut by this way of thinking - this is the one that has to be done right). Or, she just happens to fall for a set of brothers due to all the crazy circumstances of her life. ;-)

I think love triangles have to have a purpose, a reason for existing. Like I mentioned before, maybe the girl is destined to be with someone else when she is already with one person. I'm actually turned off by the slut-girl version of a love triangle, unless one boy is better for her than the other. I like when all sides of the triangle complement each other in some way, that they give each other something positive. This also makes the intrigue of "who's she going to choose??" that much more exciting.

My favorite love triangles of the moment?

Definitely my #1 love triangle right now. This one just keeps heating up every week, making me anxious to see what happens next. (Of course, I'm totally rooting for Damon even though that doesn't seem to be happening.)

The love triangle here is between Rose Hathaway, a runaway-and-now-returned guardian in training, Dimitri Belikov, the badass Guardian god who helps Rose catch up in her training, and Adrian Ivashkov, playboy Moroi and spirit user. Even though it's obvious Rose and Dimitri should be together, there is a time when Adrian gets his chance.

Image captured from sayusculam.blogspot.com

Here we have Jace, Clary, and Simon from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Simon is Clary's BFF and secretly in love with her for years. Jace is the badass Shadowhunter who helps Clary reveal the secrets about herself and her mother.  And right from the start, even though Simon has been there for Clary for many years, it's obvious Jace is the one she should be with (even with the little thing of them possibly being siblings). I love reading this series!

Those are my top three love triangles of the moment. I feel like I have many more to discover as I continue to read and read. How about you? Love or hate love triangles? Who are you favorites?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Good morning, everyone! And thank you for joining me for another edition of Six Sentence Sunday, where I share the blurb, cover and first six sentences of some awesome books! :)

Cat, Kassie, Sian and Loi are anything but damsels in distress.
Fed up with a lack of decent male specimens they cast a love spell in the hopes of finding their soul-mates. And inadvertently land themselves on another planet. Oops.

The Arrival, follows the girls' adventures as they stumble through a foreign and often hostile world where humans are NOT at the top of the food chain.
Friendships are forged and love teeters on the horizon while the threat of civil war looms thanks to the girls' very unexpected 'gifts'.
Will the girls master these gifts in time to survive a war in which, not only are they the ultimate weapons, but also the ultimate prize?

SMACK. I winced as my back hit the mat and inwardly cursed. Bugger, feels like I bruised my spine again, yippee. Ignoring the ache, I grappled with Nathan. Like hell I’d let him win this one. Hooking my leg around his as he worked on getting me into a shoulder lock, I flipped him using his bent elbow to my advantage. It didn’t go as I intended.

~ Nicole MacDonald (2010). The Arrival. Little Leo Reads.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords  THIS IS A FREE TITLE!

Donovan is a werejaguar sworn to fight against his enemies, the dreaded werewolf clan - the Whitelaws. Isabella is an uncommon librarian, a member of the Committee. When she faces down the Whitelaws to retrieve a very dangerous book, she encounters Donovan and their lives will never be the same.

The woman ran down the dirt track as if fleeing demons from Hell. Donovan Lawton shifted slightly. Lean muscles rippled down his arms as he pressed his large hands against the ground. Not one of the branches that concealed him moved in response. His green eyes were fixed on the trek of road that lay below his position. If he had wanted he could reach his high powered binoculars, but it wasn’t necessary.

~ C.L. Bevill  (2010). Black Moon (The Moon Trilogy #1).  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition

The Noah sisters rule Titan High with their beauty, brains, and magical powers. 

Each year they play a secret game: Crushed. The girls pick their targets carefully and blow enchanted dust into the boy’s faces, charming them, but this year Kristen makes a grave mistake. She chooses the wrong boy and almost dies that same day. Coincidence? Maybe. 

But something isn’t quite right about Zach Bevian. He doesn’t behave like a boy who’s been Crushed. He goes from hot to cold, from looking at her with contempt to asking her out on a date. She doesn’t know what to think. Does he hate her or is he truly falling for her? Is he trying to kill her, or is he trying to save her?

“Witch!” The word echoed down Titan High’s main hallway. Kristen stumbled in her flashy red stilettos, almost tripping the sibling to her left. She recovered her footing quickly and tried to maintain an air of dignity, but it was too late. Giggles assaulted her ears. Anger burned below the surface layer of skin and her blood heated. The laughing students didn’t need to worry about retaliation because she had bigger problems at the moment. Someone was calling her out on her turf.

~ K. C. Blake (2011). Crushed (The Witch-Game Books). Amazon.  Kindle Edition    Smashwords   (NOOK Edition available through Smashwords)

The Island of the Dolls is a strange and eerie tourist destination in Mexico, where hundreds of decomposing dolls hang from trees like grisly Christmas ornaments. On a trip to the island, Joyce Parker's daughter falls in love with a beautiful but sinister doll. Soon after, she starts developing strange mannerisms that concerns Joyce. Her research into the doll's past reveals a dark history, and the curse of a lonely child spirit.

The disembodied head dangled from the overhanging branch, staring at Joyce Parker with one glass eye. “Look, Mommy!” Taylor squealed, tugging at her hand and pointing in all directions at once. “There’s another one! And another! They’re everywhere!”

~ J.C. Martin (2011). The Doll.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords  THIS IS A FREE SHORT STORY!

Sixteen-year-old, Skyla Messenger is a dead girl walking. 

When her newly remarried mother moves the family to Paragon Island, to a house that is rumored to be haunted, Skyla finds refuge in Logan Oliver, a boy who shares her unique ability to read minds.

Skyla discovers Logan holds the answers to the questions she’s been looking for, but Logan’s reluctance to give her the knowledge she desires leaves her believing Logan has a few secrets of his own. 

Skyla’s bloodlines may just be connected to the most powerful angelic beings that roam the earth, and the more she knows, the more danger she seems to be in. 

Suddenly an entire faction of earthbound angels wants her dead, at least she still has Logan, or does she?

Falling in love is a lot like death. It chooses you. It decides the moment and the chain of events that will preclude the precise intersection of life in which it occurs. It uses you—treats you as though you were malleable in its warm pliable hands. It doesn’t bother to ask if you want it, or need it, just fills the gaping hole of destiny’s design. Love. My world blooms with its beautiful never-ending ache.

~ Addison Moore (2011). Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1).  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords  THIS TITLE IS JUST 99cents! 

There you have it, folks! I hope you've found my ecclectic offerings interesting enough to help support these fine authors!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Writerly Wednesday - BookEnds, LLC

Today I want to introduce you to BookEnds, LLC, a Literary Agency. Why? Because their blog is chocked full of advice for writers. How to write a query letter? check! Not only how to write one, but read some real winners and have it explained to you what made it so great.  Worried about contracts (what's in store)? There's a three part segment on them! Information on book proposals, how to market your books (how to help sell your books), discussions to have with your agent and questions to ask before signing; it's all there. BookEnds, LLC, is the place I first went to when i was looking for advice on how to write my query letter. What I learned there seemed invaluable at the time.

You can check them out here: http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The World Among Us Blog Tour - A Valentine's Day Interview

Welcome, everyone, to my stop on Beth Ann Masarik's month-long blog tour for her debut novel, The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness. I am very excited to have with me today Selene Aysel and Damien Wicklen.

Selene, How do you feel now that your memories are recovered?  
Selene sits back in her chair and thinks.  How did she feel?  It was a good couple of minutes before she replied.  “It all depends on the day, I guess,” she said while shrugging.  “Some days it’s nice to know where I belong, but, there are days where I wish I hadn’t found out,” she explained as she and Damien exchanged knowing glances.  He squeezed her hand affectionately.

Damien, Throughout the novel, we’ve watched your struggle against Hades and DuVessa as  you try to do the right thing. Now that Selene’s powers are re-emerging, do you think Hades will double his efforts towards his ultimate goal of world domination?
Damien frowned, and let out a sigh at the question. His bright blue eyes lit up with anger, but then mellowed out into sadness at the very thought of his father and past lover, DuVessa.  “I have no doubts that Hades will double his efforts.  He’s an ass and it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again, and when he does, I will be ready for him.”

Why didn't you want Selene to see you after you visited her in her dream at the end of the novel?  Damien looked at Selene and this time, she squeezed his hand in understanding. It was as if they were having a telepathic conversation of their own, but not.  “I wasn’t ready to face her yet,” he explained.  “She needed to get back on her feet without any influence from anyone in our world."

Selene and Damien, How has Jason’s death affected you? 
Tears fell down Selene’s cheeks as she thought about Jason.  “It’s pretty much torn me apart,” Selene confessed.  “I feel so empty.  I never knew my real father, and I don’t think he wants to know me either.  With Jason’s death came my mother’s, and my life just spiraled downward.”  
Damien wrapped his arm around her affectionately, and stroked her red hair gently.  “Jason’s death has been hard on all of us,” Damien said as Selene nestled into his arms.  “There is no easy way to describe it.  Everything is different now, and not for the better.”

Selene, I hear you’re starting college soon. Are you excited to go?  
Selene wiped her eyes and shrugged. “I’m not really excited for it, to be honest. My future seems to be have already been decided for me, so why should I bother going?”

Damien, Are you going with her?  
Damien looks at Erin, almost startled by the question.  “OF COURSE I’M GOING WITH HER!” he shouted.  “Who else is going to protect her against Hades and the Angels of Fire?”

Good point. Obviously, that wasn't a question I needed to ask. I'm sorry I insulted you. Let me ask another question you might not find so naive. Can I ask what your relationship status is now?  They looked at each other, unsure of how to answer the question.  “It’s complicated,” Damien said finally after a few moments of silence. 

Is there anything else you'd like to add? 
Both: Thank you for having us today, Erin.  We really appreciate the opportunity.
Damien: Now, we’d like to offer you all a chance to win an electronic copy of our book The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness.
Selene: PLUS, you will get some major bonus points if you participate in today’s scavenger hunt opportunity (it will also qualify you to win the grand prize package at the end of the month which will be listed below.)


Send me a picture of you and your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouce/etc.  OR if you don’t want to send me the picture, write me at least a 200 word email, telling me about how you met your sweetie & what you are doing for Valentine’s Day.  To participate in the Scavenger hunt, please send me an email to bethmasarik@gmail.com


Each entry of the scavenger hunt qualifies for a chance to win an autographed hardcover of The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness that will be signed by me AND the illustrator, a totebag, a personalized mug with your name on it, a never before seen drawing of chibi Selene & Damien, and some extra goodies courtesy of my publisher, Otherworld Publications.  The winner will be announced at the end of the tour, which will be the first week of March.  This fabulous prize is valued at $100 USD. (You will get extra bonus points if you do this part)

NOW, in addition to that fabulous giveaway, I am offering up a ecopy of The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness.  This offer is until February 16th.

Please fill out the rafflecopter below in order to qualify.

Thank you for having me on the blog today, Erin! And good luck everyone!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Good morning, everyone! (I can say that since it's 12:30AM where I am right now! lol) I hope by the time you read this that your Sunday is going smashingly. :) Today I'm going to feature some contemporary YA novels that I've read and enjoyed. I hope you will give them a chance to enjoy them, too!

Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak is thrilled when hit TV show Teen Celebrity Dance Off comes to the campus of her performing arts boarding school. She trades the barre for the ballroom and gets set to cha-cha-cha to stardom with Hollywood wonderboy Nick Galliano. 

At first their partnership is awkward, because Dani is in awe of her longtime teen idol crush. But soon their chemistry is heating up the dance floor and the attraction moves into real life. 

Her excitement is short-lived, because someone wants her off the show. Bombs, poisoning, arson… Will Dani’s 15 minutes of fame be over before she reaches age 15? Dani and her friends are suddenly at the center of some serious sabotage. And if she doesn’t find out who is behind it, her next pirouette could be her last. 

It’s like Nancy Drew in toe shoes in this light-hearted tween mystery, a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award for Best Young Adult Romance.

My first hint that the devil was wearing Prada earmuffs and a Burberry scarf should’ve been when my parents gave in and let me go to the Mountain Shadows Academy of the Arts. After all, they’d sworn up and down it would be a cold day in Hades before they let me go away for high school. I definitely didn’t inherit my Grandma Rose’s ESP — she’s what she calls ‘fey’ and my dad calls ‘crazy’ — or I would have realized my world was about to be turned upside down. But I guess it’s not surprising I’d missed the signs. I mean, there’s not exactly much use for earmuffs and a scarf in Arizona. I forgot to mention. That’s where I would be for the next four years.

~ Amanda Brice (2011). Codename: Dancer (A Dani Spevak Mystery)  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

When Zoey’s long-time boyfriend, Finn, cheats on her—kissing a girl he “just can’t resist”—he gives Zoey a “free pass,” telling her she can kiss any guy she wants. Finn is so cocky and sure of their relationship that the arrangement seems perfect. He’s not worried Zoey will fall for another guy, and he’s itching to get rid of his feelings of guilt.

But the thing is, Zoey knows exactly who she wants to kiss—longs to kiss— Finn’s best friend, Riley. But, she wants the kiss too much. She knows that. So, she resists the “Free Pass.” Still, she’s pushed into it when Finn loses a bet to Riley, and Riley wants his payment—a kiss from Zoey.

“Back off!” I slammed down my serving tray, storming through the restaurant’s kitchen. I didn’t even care (for the most part) that all my co-workers were now staring at me. So what? I’d had enough. They were all catty witches anyway and I was ready to quit. Riley was at my elbow in a second. “What’s going on?”

~ Melanie Marks (2011). Fall For Me (Young Adult Romance). ThunderStruck Publishing.  Kindle Edition  (this title is currently only available through Amazon. :( )

Unforgettable moments shape a romance that could last a lifetime. 

Jen Adams’s first kiss didn’t happen the way she’d expected. On a steamy summer’s day, a shared moment with a boy who runs with a bad crowd leaves an indelible impression on a thirteen year old girl. But that’s only the first time Jen and Drake Malinson’s paths cross in an unforeseen way.

The night of junior prom Jen bumps into an older, sexier and even wilder Drake. He distracts and mesmerizes her, turning a disastrous evening into one she’ll always remember. 

When they meet again as adults under stranger circumstances, Jen tries to ignore old memories. Were her insights into Drake real or had his kisses seduced her into believing he was deeper than he was. Can straight-arrow Jen and aimless Drake change enough to find common ground? 

“Nice titties, Banacek. Big.” It was a sneer, not a compliment, drawled by a hulking monster of a boy who could’ve been a linebacker but was instead a waste of space druggie and, from the gossip Jen had heard, a criminal. “Shut up, Crawford, you little pencil dick.” Tara Banacek was bold. You had to give her that. It was easy to see why she was the queen bee in the middle school hive.

~ Bonnie Dee (2011). Four Kisses (contemporary romance).  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  

When sixteen year old Hannah Brewster lands the lead in the school musical she hopes it will be the perfect chance to get the attention of her family and her long time crush, Kyle. The only problem is that school super star, Josh Larson, has been cast opposite her, and he seems to like her as more than just a cast mate.

As Hannah and Josh grow closer, things between Hannah and Kyle get complicated. When Hannah realizes that Kyle is not who she thought he was, she also realizes that she just might like Josh as more than just a friend.

Will Hannah and Josh be able to overcome their obstacles and admit their feelings before the musical ends?

“Look out!” I was drawn out of my Kyle and Claudia contemplation just in time to see a basketball hurtling toward my head. Well, a basketball and Josh Larson. Josh knocked the ball away just as it was about to make contact and landed hard on the bleacher in front of me, wincing in pain. “Oh my gosh!” Claudia jumped to her feet. “Josh! Are you okay? That was so brave.”

~ Liz  Botts (2012). In The Spotlight. Astrea Press.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords 

Korinne was born addicted to drugs, and life has been headed downhill ever since. After her abusive mom is arrested, Korinne is given a second chance when she’s placed in foster care. There she meets the girl who becomes her best friend and the boy she falls in love with. 

When her mother is released from jail, she demands that Korinne be returned to her care. Korinne runs away only to end up living on the streets. After suffering an overdose, she awakes in the hospital…and finds out she’s pregnant. 

16-year-old Korinne must pick up the pieces and heal so she can provide a better life for her baby—and for herself.

I hid in the closet when I heard the car pull up. Voices got louder as the front door opened. One was Mom’s voice, she was slurring her words and giggling. Clearly she was drunk again. The other voice was deeper, a man’s, not one that I recognized. I shrank back as far as I could and covered myself with my dirty clothes. “I’m sure she’s here somewhere,” my mother was saying.

~ Talia Jager (2011). Lost and Found.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords  (*A note about this book: it is very graphic at times and deals with sex, drugs and addiction.*) 

I hope everyone enjoyed these books! As always, if there is something you would like me to feature, just drop me an email and I will gladly get back to you. :)

Happy Reading!

Friday, February 10, 2012

REVIEW - In the Spotlight by Liz Botts

Blurb ~
When sixteen year old Hannah Brewster lands the lead in the school musical she hopes it will be the perfect chance to get the attention of her family and her long time crush, Kyle. The only problem is that school super star, Josh Larson, has been cast opposite her, and he seems to like her as more than just a cast mate.

As Hannah and Josh grow closer, things between Hannah and Kyle get complicated. When Hannah realizes that Kyle is not who she thought he was, she also realizes that she just might like Josh as more than just a friend.

Will Hannah and Josh be able to overcome their obstacles and admit their feelings before the musical ends? 

My review ~

I would actually like to give this book 4.5 stars but nobody allows that. I honestly wasn't overly wowed with this book. I found it a bit predictable and even a little cliched at times (even the MC points out the cliches at one point).

But I did meet a group of characters who were all 110% genuine to me. Everyone had a unique voice, unique problems and depth. Grandma cracked me up (and scared me a little - amateur night - yikes!). I knew Kyle was a jerk from the beginning and didn't understand how Hannah couldn't see it. Every time she wondered about Josh, I asked myself how she couldn't know - and had *I* been like that in high school? (to which I almost always answered yes.) The waiting for Josh and Hannah to *finally* be together felt dragged out, but it was also worth the wait. ;-)

Even while the plot was predictable, this book was a fun read. I would love to read more from Ms. Botts and definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a light, fun YA contemporary read.

I also just found out this book was just published 2 days ago so I feel lucky to have gotten it for free from Astrea Press yesterday. If you haven't checked it out, I do recommend it. It's available from Amazon (where it's only 99cents!), Barnes and Nobles and Smashwords.

Happy Reading, everyone!

Fangtastic Friday - Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz

I apologize profusely for missing last week's opportunity for sharing this wonderful series with you! I have no excuses except that it was an exceptionally bad day. But without further ado, I bring you the BLUE BLOODS series by Melissa de la Cruz.

The series follows 16-year-old Schuyler (pronounced Sky-ler) Van Alen as she learns she is a Blue Blood, a vampire who is a reincarnated angel. Here is a description of the process:

"There were so many things they were talking about that made sense. The blue marks on her arms, for instance. Apparently their  blood was shining through the skin because it was  starting to assert itself, starting to reconnect with all the old knowledge and wisdom and memories of their past lives. Because it was their blood that was alive-- that was what made them undead-- their blood was thousands of years old, from the beginning of time, a living database of their own immortal consciousness."
                                ~ Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz, pages 144-145

Throughout the series, Schuyler falls in love, knows betrayal and heartbreak, and travels the world in search of her grandfather and the answers he holds to her destiny.

Below, I put together a minute long slideshow of the various covers for the 8 Blue Bloods books out now. No copyright infringement was meant on my part while making this show. I just wanted to have a little fun. :)

To learn more about this delightful series or Melissa de al Cruz herself, please visit her website:  http://melissa-delacruz.com/

I hope you've enjoyed a very small glimpse into a fantastic new way to look at vampires. And if you haven't already, I hope you will give this series a chance to WOW you as much as it has WOW'd me. :)

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writerly Wednesday - Opening Lines

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Writerly Wednesday! I hope you are enjoying your Hump Day. ;) Today, I'm going to discuss the Opening Line.

The Opening Line is the most important line of the book. Would you agree with me? I feel that if you don't hook the reader with that first line, you've lost. Unfortunately, this makes it also the hardest line to write. I've struggled with that line more times than I care to count.

Some of my favorite Opening Lines include:

"I was angry. I was so angry that I felt as though my body could burst open with that anger." ~ Amaretto Flame by Sammie Spencer

"Bo was on his knees in the center of the concrete floor, kneeling on a black towel." ~ Blood Like Poison: For the Love of a Vampire by M. Leighton

“I don’t know, Ivy. This borders on black magic,” Shayde said. “You are so dead when your mom finds out.” ~ The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto

“Enough!” Lisbeth shrieked, slamming her hands down on the heavy oak table and raising herself from her seat. ~ The Childe by C.A. Kunz

"The flat tone of the monitor reverberated through my head as my mother’s lifeless hand began to turn cold in mine." ~ Foreshadow by Brea Essex

"When I was a little girl, I thought the shadows could harm me." ~ The Halo Chronicles: The Guardian by Carey Corp

These are only six of a very long list of favorite Opening Lines. :) And all of them are from Indie Authors. What makes them so wonderful? They elicit emotion immediately, whether you are scared, sad, angry or excited. These Opening Lines are what I strive for with every new Opening Line I write.

Want to know my best Opening Lines so far?

I live in a world of vampires. (a WIP)

Sirens and gunshots always sound louder from the edge of sleep. ~ "Hello to Nobody," a short story

I'm sure I have more that I'm not remembering right now. ;) How about you? Care to share any of your favorite Opening Lines? Do you struggle writing that perfect Opener? How do you handle it?

Happy Writing!