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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Opinion Needed Please!

Hi, everyone! Here's the deal. This new book I'm writing has been giving me several problems and even though I'm only in the second draft (after not even finishing the first due to the pacing problems), this first chapter is still kinda bugging me. A trusted friend has read it and says there is something off about it. Please, help me out and tell me what you think of it. I would appreciate all kinds of feedback, the good, bad and constructive. :)

Chapter 1

My mom moved me and my brother to Hell a week ago. Now, mom was bringing us home after registering us at the Shadow Creek School – not high school, just school. Two long buildings with chipping white paint and maroon roofs made up the school, one for the lower campus (grades K-7) and one for the upper campus (grades 8-12). It was so small, it was ridiculous. Back in Chicago, my high school had three buildings on a sprawling campus that took up several city blocks. I felt like I would suffocate.
My anger built as mom drove the six blocks across town to our new home. There was a general store, which carried everything except food, a grocery store, a tavern-slash-inn on the corner, and two diners. Nothing had a brand name like Walmart or McDonald’s; no, they were all named things like Bubba’s Pancake Emporium and Ray’s General Store. I felt like I had gone back in time a hundred years.
We finally arrived at our cute little shack and I jumped out without a word to my mother. Glaring at everything in sight, I followed her inside, stripped off my black hoodie, shoved my feet into running shoes and finally looked up at her.
“I can’t believe you did this to me,” I growled at her and slammed out of the house. I vaguely heard Bryce call after me but that only made me pump my legs faster. I had to get away from there. I needed to get back to Chicago, surround myself in the familiar sounds and smog. All this greenery and fresh air was going to kill me.
I ran track for two years at my old high school and my legs seemed to remember what to do. My breathing slowed as my legs fell into a comfortable rhythm, my shoes slapping against the only asphalt paved road in town. Trees surrounded me on both sides of the two-lane highway. My mind continued to race. My BFF’s face flashed in front of my eyes, then my old boyfriend’s, and I stumbled, flailing forward and just barely catching myself before falling flat on my face. I missed Brittany and Brad so much my chest ached and I couldn’t breathe; I hadn't talked to either of them since before moving here almost a week ago. Why did mom do this to me? Why did we have to move to this little God forsaken town at the edge of nowhere, hundreds of miles away from my friends?
I stopped running and doubled over, my hands on my knees as I tried to breathe through the onslaught of emotions and tears. School started in three days, my senior year. Instead of taking a limo and going to Fogo de Chao for Prom, I’d probably end up in a horse drawn buggy and be taken to Bubba’s. I shuddered and crumpled to the hot street, unable to hold in my misery any longer. My body shook as sobs consumed me. My life was over.
I’m not sure how long I sat on the side of the road bawling my eyes out. All I know is when the tears finally stopped, my face was blotchy, my eyes were swollen and my head was pounding. Cursing my mom for the headache she’d now given me, I picked myself up and continued down the road out of town, starting at a jog and finally going up to a full blown sprint. But as fast as I ran, I knew I couldn’t escape my new excuse for a life. I clenched my fists and pumped my arms harder, willing my legs to go faster. I felt like I was going to burst with the need to escape.
Out of nowhere, a guy appeared next to me. Dressed similarly to me in a pair of red running shorts and a white t-shirt stretched just right across his broad shoulders, he fell into step with me. I glanced at him, noticing how his golden hair gleams in the sunlight, but he didn’t look at me; his eyes stayed focused on whatever’s ahead of us. Irritated that my pity party was being crashed (no matter how hot this guy was), I sighed and sped up. He stayed in step with me. I glared at him and tried again. He was still there. A growl of frustration escaped my throat and he finally looked at me. I was momentarily sidetracked by his brilliantly blue eyes and stumbled once again. His hand snaked out and his arm wrapped around my waist to catch me before I fell. Blood rushed up my neck to my cheeks. Taken down by a pair of blue eyes. I would have giggled if I wasn’t so mortified. He chuckled as we stopped and he lets me go.
“Are you okay?” he asked. I nodded, irritated because I really want him to hold me again.
“I’m fine,” I replied, a little harsher than I meant to be. I winced but he didn’t seem affected by my tone.
“So, what are you running from?” he continued. I reached up, wrapping my long dark hair into a rope, and wrapped it around my hand to keep it off my neck. I lifted my chin and looked into his eyes, watching them wander down my body before they came back to mine. He didn’t even seem embarrassed to be caught checking me out.
“Who says I’m running from anything? Maybe I just like to run,” I replied with a smirk.
“If you like to run, I’m sure I would have seen you around before now.”
“How could you? I just got here.” My mood soured and I stared off into the trees, scowling at all their green leaves and brown bark. I shuddered, desperately missing the steel buildings and packed streets of my hometown.
“Where did you come from?”
His question snapped my attention back to him. I sighed, embarrassed that I had to blink more tears out of my eyes. Why did I have to cry in front of this hot guy? He was going to think I was absolutely mental.
“Chicago,” I told him, my voice catching on the word.
“No wonder you’re so miserable; this must be like your own personal hell compared to the city.”
“Have you ever been?”
“Kinda. My parents took my friends and me to Six Flags Great America one weekend last summer.” He rubbed the back of his neck like he was embarrassed by this. I laughed out loud, thinking he was adorable. He ran a hand through his gorgeous hair, dimples appearing in his cheeks when he suddenly smiled. My knees weakened.
“Going to Great America is nothing like going into the city,” I finally told him, my words breathy from all the fog suddenly clouding my mind.
“It’s the closest I’ve ever been; it’s not like I go north much.” His smile faltered and I wondered if he was irritated he has to admit that. I would have been. I nodded to let him know I understood.
“Someday I’ll take you to the city and show you all my favorite places to go,” I promised him, laying a hand on his sun-bronzed forearm. His warm skin made my fingers tingle and I sighed, this time content.
A twig snapped and a low growl emitted from the trees nearby. I instinctively moved closer to the guy—and realized I didn’t even know what to call him. A golden god? My thoughts were interrupted by another low growl and I gasped, my eyes widening as a small grey wolf stalked out of the trees to our right. It stopped not even ten feet away from us, lowered down on its haunches, its lips curled back as it snarled as us. The guy pushed me behind him and I clung to the back of his shirt, balling the soft fabric in my fists.
His back muscles rippled beneath my fists as he turned his head, keeping one eye on the wolf as he said out of the side of his mouth, “Whatever happens, don’t make any sudden movements or she’ll attack you.”
I nodded, wondering how he knew the wolf looking to make lunch out of us was female. Maybe because she was smaller, I decided as I gulped. The guy, now known as my hero, turned his attention back to the slowly approaching wolf. I peeked around him and dug my nails into his back, cowering behind him. His back rippled again and heat blasted me from his skin. I leaned into him, oddly comforted by his hot body.
“Go away; leave us alone,” he yelled at the wolf. I gasped, holding my breath as I waited for the wolf to pounce on us. The rippling of his body picked up tempo until it was like he vibrated under my touch, sending the heat and vibration into my body until I shook with him. His hands fisted at his sides. My lungs burned, begging for air, but I couldn’t release the breathe I held until the wolf was gone.
“I said go!” he bellowed. The wolf whimpered and scampered away. I wanted to do the same, my body forced into flight mode by his command. The air whooshed out of my lungs and I felt dizzy as he spun around to catch me, crushing my body against his.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his voice sounding more like a growl. His hand gently held my head against his massive chest. His heart beat steadily in my ear. I managed to move my head enough to look up at him and blinked up at his furrowed brow and curled back upper lip – he looked ready to take on a whole pack of wolves. He saw me glance up at him and immediately forced his features to relax, bring back his dimpled grin. I relaxed with him.
“Are you okay?” he asked again, his voice much gentler this time. I nodded and he stepped back, keeping his hands on my shoulders in case I wasn’t quite steady yet. I wasn’t. I swayed towards him and then shivered, cold without his warmth.
“You’re cold,” he declared, concern etched into his features. “Are you dizzy? Do you feel nauseous?”
I blinked up at him again before realizing he was waiting for a response. I said the only thing that came to mind. “You’re just so hot.”
He chuckled and I realized what I’d said. My cheeks burned, a new level of mortification setting in. I opened my mouth to explain only to snap it shut again; anything I said would only make this worse.
“It’s okay; I think you’re pretty hot, too,” he teased me, grinning at me with his adorable dimples. A smile tugged at my mouth as laughter bubbled up within me. Soon, both of us were laughing over the stupidity of our conversation. My laughter died when he draped an arm over my shoulders and turned me around, walking down the street the way I’d come. He was walking me home.
I melted a little at the sentiment and then the reality of what just happened crashed over me. We’d barely taken five steps when I stopped and looked up at him.
“How did you do that?” My voice shook with fear. He pursed his lips and let out a breath through his nose, flaring his nostrils. I suddenly wondered if he was going to snarl at me or yell like he had at the wolf. He sighed and some of my fear ebbed away.
“The trick to dealing with any kind of wild animal is that you have to show it who’s boss,” he declared and continued walking.
I mulled over that for a moment, biting the inside of my cheek as I replayed the scene with the wolf in my mind. Then I thought about everything I knew about wolves. They were pack animals, including when they hunted. They weren’t known for attacking humans unless they were hurt – and from what I could see, that bitch hadn't been hurt. But maybe her pups were nearby, I argued with myself and moved on. Wolves asserted dominance by fighting or wrestling and biting down on the other’s beck, making the lesser dominant wolf bow down. I pictured the guy biting that she-wolf’s scruff and making her submit. I shook my head; the wolf would have torn him to shreds. He’d done the only thing left to protect us.
“Well, thank you,” I told him with a smile. He returned my smile, visibly relaxing. I would my arm through his and we continued to my house.
“Do you go to Shadow Creek School?” I ventured nervously. We’d walked a while in companionable silence, something I’d never shared with a guy before. I always felt the need to fill the silence.
“Yeah, I’ll be a senior. What about you?”
“The same.” Yes! I wanted to jump up and down but thought that might make a bad impression. I bit back a smile and forced myself not to giggle.
“Now that we’ve established we’re both in school and you’ve saved my life, who are you?” I asked as we neared my house. He chuckled.
“Caleb Hunter. And you’re Jessica Teal,” he told me. My mouth dropped open and he had the decency to look embarrassed, rubbing the back of his neck again. “It’s a very small town so new folks coming in are top news. Everyone knows who you and your brother are; it’s Bryce, right?”
I nodded, unable to form a coherent thought. I couldn’t believe he already knew who I was, or that the town was talking about us. I remembered my mouth still hung open and snapped it shut, now embarrassed I’d been gaping at him like a fish out of water. Again, I wondered what had possessed my mom to move us here. Nothing would be private if everyone was already in our business.
Caleb saw my discomfort and put his hand on my shoulder, drawing my attention back to him. My eyes met his and I immediately calmed down again, warm tingles spreading from my shoulder through my entire body. His brow furrowed and a frown turned down his smile as he removed his hand. I wondered what I’d done wrong. I swallowed hard and looked away.
“I guess I’d better go,” I said. He nodded, still watching me warily.
“Yeah, I’ll see you Monday at school,” he replied and turned to walk away. I sighed, my shoulders slumped as I continued up to my front door. When I turned back, he was already gone.
“Who was that?” my mom asked as I walked inside. Of course she’d been watching from the window! Because now that we were here, nothing was private.
“Nobody,” I snapped at her and headed back to my new bedroom. I needed to finish unpacking—and try to figure out what just happened with Caleb so I wouldn’t do it again when we saw each other at school.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Writerly Wednesday - ARC Review of Between by Cambria Hebert

Welcome to another week of Writerly Wednesday, a weekly meme where I share with you something in my writing life, such as sites I've found useful or friends I've made. Today I'm going to share something very special. I was more than excited and honored when Cambria Hebert asked me to review an ARC of her upcoming novella, Between (Heven and Hell 1.5). Let me tell you a little more about it before I tell you what I thought of it.

I grew up in a comfortable house with two parents and a white-picket fence. My brother, Sam, and I used to play with sticks in the backyard and pretend they were swords. There were always cookies on the table and milk in the fridge. Then, one day, things changed. 

Sam changed. 

Life was never the same again. Sam left. My parents abandoned him when he needed them most, and I was left to survive in a house that was merely a shell of what it used to be. Mom cried all the time and Dad expected me to fill the void my brother left behind. But mostly, all we did was pretend. We pretended that things weren’t messed up. We pretended that Sam never existed. 

Until I changed, too. 

Now, everything’s a mess and I’m so confused. It’s like there are two different people trapped inside one body—my body—and one of them wants out. I do things. Bad things and I don’t know how to stop. I’m not sure I want to. The only way I can be normal again is if I find Sam. He’ll know what to do. 

He has too.

(blurb and cover pic from Goodreads. Add this novella to your reading list here.)

My review
Having briefly met Logan when I read Masquerade, I was very excited to see I would get to read a bit of his back story. Let me tell you, Ms. Hebert did not disappoint! This story moved at a fast pace, keeping me guessing even as the answers to my questions were presented. Some of my suspicions from Masquerade were confirmed, making me nervous and anxious for Charade to come out.
Between was the perfect novella between the two Heven and Hell novels. I enjoyed it immensely, especially finding the many meanings to the title. ;-) 
Having read two stories from Ms. Hebert, I can confidently say I am a fan for life. Her writing is engaging, her characters are real and her stories are extraordinary!

I give Between FIVE STARS and recommend to anyone who loves paranormal stories.

Mark The Date: Between will be available from Otherworld Publications on April 20, 2012.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday

Welcome to another edition of Tell Me Something Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Cambria Hebert. Every week, she asks a question and we get to answer it. This week's question is:

Who are your favorite sidekicks in a book? (you know, the main character's BFF)

**SPOILERS will abound. You have been warned**

Find this picture here
Simon Lewis - The Mortal Instruments

Simon is Clary's best friend. He's in a rock back that never has a name. He's resourceful and saves the day when it matters most, such as using his awesome archery skills to kill a Major Demon. He's geeky. He's also in love with Clary.

Simon is my favorite BFF. He's caring, sweet, and Jewish. Did I mention he's also a vampire? ;-)

He's super loyal and follows Clary into the Shadowhunter world with very little complaint, even when he comes out of it a completely different guy. Simon has to deal with letting Clary go and does so with as much grace as a 17-year-old boy can.

Hermione Granger - The Harry Potter series

I love Hermione! She's smart, sweet, loyal, caring, funny and a bit headstrong at times (okay, a lot of the time). She helps get Harry out of plenty of bad spots, starting when she helps him get through the teachers' riddles to get to the Sorcerer's Stone. Throughout the movies and books, we watch Hermione grow up into a beautiful, strong young woman who would do anything for her friends and family, including erase their memories so they're safe from You-Know-Who. :-) Hermione is a great role model for girls.

Vasilissa Dragomir - Vampire Academy series

Lissa is Rose's best friend. They've known each other since they were small children. They've been through everything together, including a car crash that killed Lissa's family and left the girl's Shadow Kissed and telepathically linked (one-way at least). Lissa is the last Dragomir princess and must be protected from the evil Strigoi who are trying to kill off all 13 families, a job Rose is more than happy to do. But Lissa also finds strength throughout the series and becomes a strong, beautiful leader ready to take her place in politics and possibly as the next Vampire Queen. Lissa deals with a lot through the series, including falling in love with a guy who's an outcast for things he couldn't control, getting manipulated by another Spirit user, being afraid she's losing her mind and resorting to cutting herself to stop the mental pain, and losing Rose to Dimitri. But through it all, Lissa finds a way to come out on top and helps Rose in a way no one thought possible.

There you have it! My three favorite BFF's! (and trust me, I've read the books enough times, they truly are my friends. lol) So how about you? Who are your favorite sidekicks?

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Good morning and welcome to another edition of this awesome meme where I feature a book's title, cover, blurb, buy links and of course, the first six sentences. Today I'm sharing my love of King Arthur, Merlin and dragons. :)

Set in 7th century Wales, the Last Pendragon is the story of Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon (Cade)--heir to the throne of Arthur--and of Rhiannon, the bastard daughter of the man who usurped Cade's father's throne. Born to rule, yet without a kingdom, Cade must learn to be both Christian king and pagan hero, and Rhiannon must decide how much she is willing to risk to follow her heart. 

Water streamed in rivulets down the stone walls as I stood at the kitchen door of the castle, seeking shelter from the weather. I pushed the door open further, the rain dripping from my hood, and confronted the weeping woman. 
“Give the boy to me.” 
With tears pouring down her face, a match to the drops of rain on mine, Alcfrith, sister to the great King Penda of Mercia and wife of Cadwallon, the King of Gwynedd, handed me the sleeping child. I took him and studied the face of his mother. She’d lost her husband and the boy his father in battle ten days before, killed far from home in Saxon lands. Although the woman did not yet know, Cadwallon had been struck down by the very man who now sought to marry her.

~ Sarah Woodbury (2011). The Last Pendragon. The Morgan-Stanwood Publishing Group.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

 The sorceress Lusiradrol, exiled to human form thousands of years earlier from her life as the terrible black dragon, has awakened her Red Clan. The true dragons are ready to renew their ancient wars to save the world, but they cannot do it alone. Unfortunately, the magi and the two races of men are far from ready to face the darkness unleashed by Lusiradrol. 

The white dragon was made to banish her, one who could unite all beings of Light, but his return is not as any foresaw. Through a woman who guards his power and his spirit, he will be reborn. But will he be too late to save the world?

Setheadroc. Formerly known as senthir rî Afdroc, or "hill of the Dragon", the resting place of the white dragon. Through time it passed into legend, its meaning forgotten by men of the Second Race, along with those who named it and were driven out and those who lived in a time of war against a darkness fouler than any man could imagine. Thousands of years and hundreds of wars later, a palace was built on the hill. Noble and grand and home of the royal family of Cavatar, the greatest nation of the continent of Ayrule, this glorious structure stood out among others. Constructed with the exquisite beauty of Rivon architecture and the blood and sweat of Cavatar citizens, it testified to the strength of the alliance between Cavatar and Rivonia. But not all had forgotten the legends.

~ Melanie Nilles (2010). Legend of the White Dragon: Legends. Prairie Star Publishing.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords (This is a FREE title!)

The next two novels are both part of Amazon's Prime Lending services for Prime Members and are not available at this time for e-readers anywhere other than Amazon. They are still available as paperback novels. I apologize for the inconvenience!

What happens when you combine ancient Celtic magic and artificial intelligence? Hidden for centuries and concealed by codes hidden in Celtic knots, Alan Clark, a computer programmer, and his friends are about to rediscover Merlin's magic, but they aren't the only ones who've been searching for it, and their opponents will stop at absolutely nothing to gain the power it possesses... 

The pristine silence of the hallway was shattered by the sound of a young man’s struggles as he violently slammed shut a door. Breathless, he sagged against the wood and slid to the cold marble floor. Abruptly, the door exploded above him amidst a flash of light resembling nothing so much as a clenched fist. The force threw the man’s body forward, where he slid to a stop face down; gulping breaths amidst defeat, he fought to stand. From within the room, another figure emerged, and with a gesture, his fist lit up and released a beam of light at the struggling form. The brilliance was deflected by a corona from the hand of the victim.

~ Rave C.S. McCracken (2011). Merlin's Knot. Swooping Grizzly Publications.  Kindle Edition 

From slaying dragons, to rescuing the King's Whore, to secret missions for good King Henri, no job is too big or too small for the Great Knight, Sir Julian Lackland. But what happens when the only one still willing to take on the bad jobs is too old to be doing them? How does a hero retire from the business of saving people? 
Here begins the tale of the life and adventures of the peoples Champion. Invincible on both the field of battle and the bedroom, Lackland is a man of intense passion, the highest honor, and deepest loyalties. A mercenary, a bold warrior and a brilliant tactician, he is at times reckless beyond comprehension, and often suicidal; throwing himself into both battle and love with his entire being. 
His heart is forever given to one woman, but she will never give up the sword, not even for him and her choices leave Lackland with no choices whatsoever. Despite the lack of resolution in his personal life, he somehow endures; his innate sense of the ridiculous, wry wit and humor concealing the fragile man that is Julian Lackland. From his days as a mercenary to his years as the arms-master of Waldeyn, obsession and honor rule his life; these two things both make him and break him. 
But for all that Julian is the invincible Great Knight, he eventually becomes the Lost Knight. An incident occurs that changes everything and begins his descent into madness. Two great loves form the framework of his life anchoring his sanity and making a love triangle unlike any other. Yet, even in the depths of madness Lackland remains the very soul of knightly courtesy and true nobility; seeking that which was lost, and as always, making the world a safer place. 

The True Tale of Billy’s Revenge, and How the Great Knight Became a Rowdy as told by Huw the Bard: In a cabin in the woods near the River Limpwater, Billy MacNess, newly-made captain of the Rowdies lay recovering from an inconveniencing wound received at the hands of his rival, Bastard John, captain of the Wolves out of Goober Flats. And just that morning, unaware that Billy was still mewed up in his bunk, Bastard John had decided to burn the place down, since he had only managed to take off one of Billy's fingers by fighting fair. Despite his mutilated hand, Billy managed to stab The Bastard in the back before the fire got going. At that point, Billy was faced with the dilemma of what to do with the body.

~ Connie J. Jasperson; Darroll J. Hall (2011). The Last Good Knight. Fantasy Island Book Publishing.com.  Kindle Edition

And there you have it! I hope you've found a great new read here! As always, if you have a suggestion for a book I could recommend, please leave it in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday

Welcome to another week of Tell Me Something Tuesday, the weekly meme set up by Cambria Hebert where she asks the questions and we answer. This week's question is:

Who is your favorite heroine in a book? (Okay, you can name more than one)

It's good that I can name more than one because I have a lot to list! Almost every book I've read in the past 2 years has had a strong heroine; narrowing it down will be the problem.

#1 - Peyton Giles - Gravity by M. Leighton
On her 18th birthday, Peyton Giles finds out her life is not what she thought it was - and neither is every person in her small town of Two Lakes. After a bizarre episode of repeating the same day twice, Peyton learns more about this weird connection to her brother's best friend and the creatures that reside within everyone in town. She shows courage, guts and angst all in perfect measure. The twists within the book show Peyton as a normal teenager with extraordinary abilities. The decisions she makes show how strong of a character she is and her stand at the end shows there is a lot more to come from this character.

#2 - Rosemarie Hathaway - Vampire Academy
Rose Hathaway is one kick ass dhampir. Even though she ran away with her best friend, only to be dragged back to the Vampire Academy, she did so with a very valid reason. She loves her friends, loves her mentor completely, and has a huge attitude - and don't even mention her mother to her. But even though Rose is training to be a guardian and quickly becomes top of her class once again, she usually acts without thinking and pays the consequences later. Rose development throughout the six book series shows a young girl growing up into a young woman and I have laughed, cried, cheered and yelled with her along the way many times.

#3 - Maximum Ride - the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Max starts out as a fourteen-year-old kid living on the streets with her "siblings": Fang, Angel, Gazzy, Nudge and Iggy. All of them have one special ability in common - they were genetically engineered to fly and have various sized wings growing out of their back. Max is the leader of her flock and though not everyone agrees with the heart wrenching decisions she has to make along the way, they all follow her (until late in the series). I have grown up with these books and feel like these kids are my own. Max is a strong character who faces adversity at every turn, including flying beasts called Erasers and having to defeat evil bad guys like the Uber Director. Max always does what she thinks if best for her flock, looking out for them before herself. I love these kids!

#4 - Kate Mercier - Die For Me by Amy Plum
This book has been on a few lists of mine and for good reason - it's just that good! One thing that makes it that good is the main character, Kate Mercier. She and her sister just lost their parents and have to live in Paris with their grandparents. While her sister Georgia parties it up and goes on with her life, it takes Kate a while to get there. But when she does, she finds herself thrust into a world she never knew existed - with a boyfriend who shouldn't even be real. The fact that Kate stands strong despite all the adversity she faces makes me relate to her and want to keep reading. Kate is also a typical teenager, getting upset when I thought she should, laughing, crying - all of it. It's seeing those two sides of her so well put together that make Kate such a great heroine.

#5 - Heven - Masquerade by Cambria Hebert
I'm not adding this just to suck up to the host of this meme. ;) I truly feel that Heven is one of the strongest heroines I have read about lately. The fact that she overcomes her fear and the scars on her face shows a strength of character that some other heroines have not been able to exhibit. I enjoyed Heven's journey to self discovery and her romance with Sam. Heven faces adversity at every turn, whether it is when she avoids a mirror, has to sub on the cheer squad, or has her mother telling her she's evil, Heven comes through it stronger than when we first meet her. It is that strength that I admire. Also, the fact that she takes the changes in her life with such grace is just awesome. I don't know that I would be able to live through everything Heven goes through and come out a stronger person.

There you have it, everyone! So how about you; who are your favorite heroines?

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Good morning and welcome once again to Six Sentence Sunday, a weekly meme where I introduce you to new (-to-you) books and tell you where you can buy them. In my intro, I will give you the cover, the blurb and the first six sentences of each novel. if it interests you, please go to the buy links and pick it up! As always, if there is a book I haven't found that you would like included, just tell me about it in the comments below. And as always, thanks for joining me today! Let's get to it!

Welcome to the big leagues. To secrets and scandals. It's all about the game. Who's playing. Who's not. Who has no idea about the game. And...wait, what game are we playing?
I'll leave that for you to decide.

Chloe: Where to start is the big question. How do I explain to Zack that I started a fan club for him when I was a kid? It was just a game. A way to make friends and have fun. I never thought it would spiral out of control. And never. In a million, gazilaon years, did I think it would follow me to college. How do I tell him my best friend Lana kept the club alive? That I had nothing to do with the craziness? Because I'm finished playing those stupid games.
But I don't understand why I care so much about Zack's freaking opinion of me. I hate him. He hates me. We have very mutual feelings of dislike for each other. So he'll just hate me even more when or if he finds out. 
And that's totally fine...I think.

Zack: I have a soft spot for Chloe There I said it. I like Chloe Baker. I like the way she walks. I like the way she talks. If I was poetically inclined, I'd write a sonnet about her ass. But I'm not, and if the guys on the baseball team found out, they'd never let me live that down. 
It's my junior year of college. I've got things to worry about. Scouts from the major leagues. Baseball games. Contracts. Grades....my father ran away to Vegas with Chloe's mother. I don't have time to worry about a girl. But I do. I worry about Chloe a lot. Especially with that asshole Max sniffing around her. It's weird though, to like your stepsister, right?
But I could argue that I saw Chloe first. Way before Max. And way before my dad met her mom. I was too young to stake a claim. But I'm getting to the point where I could give a flying fu....well, I just don't care. I'm done playing games. 

Under the fragrant limbs of a magnolia tree an unofficial meeting was held. The meeting’s subject matter was nothing related to science. It was dedicated to one person, a special person, or so the attendee’s thought. I knew the truth, that the meeting was a waste of time and a show of stupidity. From my seat high in the bleachers I watched, feeling like an outsider. I haven’t been to an unofficial meeting since the fifth grade, the day I wised up, and now it was nearing spring break of my freshman year of college. It’s been a long time. Sometimes I think it hasn’t been long enough.

~ J.C. Isabella  (2011). The Unofficial Zack Warren Fan Club.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

When fifteen-year-old Sonya Garrison is accepted into the prestigious Bridgeton Academy, she soon discovers that rich girls are just as dangerous as the thugs in her home of Venton Heights...maybe more so. After catching the eye of the star white basketball player and unwittingly becoming the most popular girl in school, she earns the hatred of the three most ruthless and vindictive girls at Bridgeton. Can she defeat the reigning high school royalty? Or will they succeed in ruining her lifelong dream of becoming a world class dancer? 

"Every student who has faced this honor council has been found guilty and expelled," Headmaster Collins said from behind the judge's bench of Dardem Hall. Though I knew the expulsion rate of Bridgeton Academy, I prayed the outcome of my own honor trial would be different. I mean, innocence had to account for something, right? I felt like everyone in the world was staring at me. Probably because they were. The five members of the honor council, which included my sister Sasha, sat in the middle of the stage waiting for my explanation of events.

~ Leslie DuBois (2011). The Queen Bee of Bridgeton. Little Prince Publishing.  Kindle Edition   Nook Edition  Smashwords 

After being hurt in a relationship herself, Rachel starts a website that allows girls from her town log on and 'review' guys they've dated. A gorgeous guy walks into the animal shelter where she works and she vows not to fall for him until she's looked him up on her website. Unfortunately for her, her website is offline today because she's gone with a cheap service provider, (hey the shelter doesn't pay very much ok). 

“Edna! Sit! Oh gosh, please don’t…. pee on the floor. Errr! I quit!” Edna blinks sleepily at me. “Ok, no I’m not actually going to quit baby, I’m sorry I said that; come here.” I step around the puddle of dog pee and snuggle against Edna’s wiry coat, breathing in her scent. I’m not sure how she always smells like baby powder since a. she’s a dog, and b. she lives at the animal shelter where I work.

~ Katie Aleo; FreeDigitalPhotos, Photostock (2011). Trust Me (A Teen Romance).  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition

At the age of 15, Taylor Beauforte has only met her father twice in person. After all, he is the lead singer of a world-famous rock band, constantly on the cover of music magazines and giving interviews on MTV. He pays for Taylor to attend the Treadwell Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts, and provides her mother with monthly checks to cover her basic needs, but has never made much of an effort to play an active part in Taylor’s life. Taylor's mom Dawn is the only family she has ever really known, and because of Dawn's hard-partying Hollywood lifestyle, studious Taylor is happiest on the other side of the country in Massachusetts with her nose buried in a book. 
When Taylor 's mom unexpectedly dies the summer before Taylor starts her junior year, she receives a crash course in fame. She has no choice but to join her father and his new family on their summer concert tour before she has even had a chance to mourn the loss of her mother. Life as the daughter of a rock star seems like it would be enviable, but Taylor can't figure her dad out. He seems like a supportive authority figure (even if he's kind of a fashion tragedy) , but she is collecting a growing pile of evidence that he's a liar and a cheat. Her stepmother, Jill, can’t seem to decide if she wants to treat Taylor like a girlfriend or a nuisance. Having had no time to grieve and say goodbye to her childhood before being thrust into the limelight, Taylor is suddenly finding herself in situations she could have never imagined before this summer. 
With no one else to turn to, Taylor falls head over heels in love with Jake, the teenage son of one of the band's touring groupies. Taylor has growing concerns about Jake's background and the suspicious relationship between his mom and her own father, but is desperate for something real in her life onto which she can build a future. When Jake offers Taylor an opportunity to join him on a whirlwind adventure and leave her problems with her father far behind, Taylor has to decide – should she carve out her own way in the world, or try to repair the relationship she has with her only living parent? 
Over the course of the summer with the band, Taylor learns the depths of her own strength, the difficulty of overcoming loss, and that the definition of family means much more than shared bloodlines. 

I don't remember much about the first three weeks of the summer my mom died. I suppose those weeks passed in the same way most previous summers did before the year I was fifteen; my mom picked me up at L.A.X in her Benz, I totally pigged out on food I wasn't allowed to have during the school year at Treadwell Preparatory Academy, lounged around by the pool with my best friend Allison, and endlessly hoped for a few moments alone with her older brother Todd, who I wanted to fall in love with me.  My mom would have been around, I'm sure, occasionally asking me to help her with her suntan lotion or walk over to Larchmont Village to get her a coffee smoothie. For the most part my mom was somewhat of a shadow in my summer days even before the accident. Allison, who I've known since I was in kindergarten, used to say my mom was a periphery character. She was always in the background, usually nursing a hangover. There were a few summers when she was recovering from plastic surgery, padding around the house in a robe with her swollen face bandaged.  On weekend nights she would appear in my bedroom doorway wearing an obscenely short or low-cut dress and ask me how she looked. "Embarrassing" was never the answer I gave her.

~ Caitlyn Duffy (2011). The Rock Star's Daughter. Lovestruck Literary.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords  THIS IS A VERY GOOD FREE TITLE!!

Thirteen year old Kaley’s best friend Jules is an alien clone. That has to be it. Because Jules wouldn’t dress like that or act like that…and she definitely wouldn’t be friends with Meg-a-bitch. 

Kaley can't wait to start at her new school with her best friend Jules. Jules was away in Europe all summer (worst summer of Kaley's life!) But it's cool, now school is starting and everything is going to be awesome. However as the school bus pulls up on that first day, Kaley barely recognizes the silky hair and glossy lips as Jules gets off with the cool kids and with their arch-nemesis Meg, the popular girl (God only knows why) who made Kaley and Jules's lives miserable in elementary school. In Europe, Meg had somehow won over Kaley's best friend and Kaley finds herself frozen out. 

LIFE WAS COOL UNTIL YOU GOT POPULAR is a first person MG told through Kaley’s eyes, chronicling the initial pain and incomprehension of what happened to destroy their friendship. But that doesn't last long. Kaley decides that underneath the bleached blond clone with the personality transplant, Jules is still in there. Somewhere. And she is going to get her best friend back! 

I stood by the school gate at Cromwell Prep, feeling weird in the maroon and white uniform. Over the past two years at Malcolm MacGregor Middle I’d gotten used to blue, white and yellow. It’s not like I had a whole lot of school pride or would go and watch any of the team sports I wasn’t forced to, but blue, white and yellow sort of…I dunno, it became part of my identity. So even though all the other kids were wearing the same colors, I felt completely conspicuous in maroon and white. Especially with my stiff, scratchy jumper, pristine blazer and school dress practically down to my ankles. Mom said I’d grow into it, but really – what am I supposed to do in the meantime?

~ Sarah Billington (2011). Life Was Cool Until You Got Popular.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords (this book is currently on a special holiday 99cent discount until March 20)

There you have it, folks. I hope you've found some awesome new reads! :)

Happy Reading!

Masquerade Read Along

Hello, everybody! Next month, I am happy to announce I will be taking part in my very first Read Along. As you can see above, I will be reading and answering questions about Masquerade, the debut novel by Cambria Hebert and a novel you definitely don't want to miss! To learn more about the Read Along, check out the original announcement made on March 13 or just click on the button I made in the upper left hand corner of this blog. :)

You have two weeks to enter into the fun. Questions are posted on a weekly basis and answered every Thursday in April, starting April 5.

Hope to see you there!
Happy Reading!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fangtastic Friday - Vampire Diaries

Hello once again, everyone! :) Welcome to another installment of Fangtastic Friday, a weekly meme started by Beth Ann Masarik that allows us to talk about everything vampire-ish! :} Today, I'm expressing my opinion to this very simple question:

Vampire Diaries - Books or CW show?

I read the first book of this series when it first was published circa 1995. I was an impressionable teenager at the time and I fell in love with the Salvatore brothers and Elena. Even though I only read the first book at the time, 15 years later, I read the full four books that began this series. I loved them. I love L.J. Smith anyway (mostly because no matter what, her books have a happy ending), but TVD was just amazing to me. I loved the conflict of the books, the pacing, everything that happened, even how Elena eventually ended up as a vampire. And of course, I loved the love triangle (because I'm a weird girl like that). I was smitten with both Stefan and Damon when I read these books and I really enjoyed how the author introduced both of them in the beginning and how the relationships fluctuation throughout the novels (though of course, Elena and Stefan always ended up together).

When I found out The Vampire Diaries was coming to the CW, I was super excited. Like everyone else, I counted down the days to the first episode. I watched it with bated breath, having just read the first book a few months prior, I had a good idea of how everything was supposed to go. And then, 45 minutes into the show, Damon showed up in Stefan's bedroom. I hated it. That whole scene happened on page 244 of the first book - how could they have it in the first episode?! I lamented about everything that was left out and debated watching the following week.

Let me just say, I'm very glad I stuck with it. Since that somewhat disappointing first episode, I have learned that a lot has to change when a book goes to Hollywood (whether in movie or TV). I can honestly say I've enjoyed watching the show on the CW 100 times more than reading the books. In fact, now the books seemed too slow and a little dull compared to everything that has happened on the show!

What's your take on it? Have you read the books? (I'll admit, I haven't read any of the new books that have popped up since the show began.) How do you feel they compare to the show? Which do you like better?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writerly Wednesday - Inspiration

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Writerly Wednesday, a weekly meme I started to talk about anything pertaining to writing, whether it's my journey as a soon-to-be-published author (SQUEEE!), a writing resource I find valuable, or an author or publishing company I find inspiring. :) Today, I want to talk about inspiration.

Inspiration comes from many different places. As an author, I have to keep my eyes and ears open at all times. Some of my most inspired ideas, though, have come while I'm in the shower or when I'm about to fall asleep - those rare times of day when I'm not consumed with keeping a family, a job and a house satisfied.

For my upcoming novel, Into the Spiral, I got the inspiration for Ronnie, the main character, from two simple words: spontaneous combustion. I'd decided I wanted a character who was on the verge of combusting because of everything happening in her life. In the original beginning of the novel, Ronnie was walking down the street, listening to her iPod and trying to drown out the nagging voices of everyone telling her what to do. From there, the idea branched out and Ronnie became a real person. (She was also inspired in personality and looks by my dear friend, Lindsay, who I work with.)

For my Mason Ridge trilogy, the inspiration came from a writing prompt on Writing,com. The prompt was for The Witch's Circle in October of 2008, a month-long supernatural short story contest. The prompt was to have a mix of supernatural characters in one story, including a werewolf, vampire, ghost and a human (I think a troll was included, too, but that never made it to my novel). That November for NaNoWriMo, I wrote Losing Control, the first novel of the Mason Ridge trilogy. The title of that book was also inspired by the song Lose Control by Evanescence (the video I've shared below).

Inspiration can come from anywhere. I always have something with me to take notes in, whether it's pen and paper or the notepad option on my phone. A snippet of overheard conversation can inspire an entire scene or chapter. Seeing a live Big Cats show at the county fair can inspire a novel about a shapeshifting family that travels around the US as a similar show (yes, this is my idea; please don't steal it!). The local news, headlines of major papers, even a magazine article can inspire something written. I've found I'm most inspired by music, others around me, and reading books (which usually leads to tons of research. LOL).

Where does your inspiration come from? 

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday

Hello! Welcome to this week's Tell Me Something Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Cambria Hebert! :) This week, Cambria asks...

Have you ever participated in a Book Club, Buddy Read or Read Along? Did you enjoy it? 
Why or why not?

Unfortunately, this is a super easy question for me to answer this week. The answer is no. :( It's not that I've never thought about it or wanted to join something like that, I've just never found the time or one in my area (for a book club). I think it would be a lot of fun to do something like this.

With the internet, it's much easier to join an online book club, find a read along (such as the Hunger Games one I keep getting invited to on Facebook) or even find out what a Buddy Read is. LOL I can say that I have visited the Vampire Book Club website quite a few times, though I haven't participated in their Book-of-the-Month read along yet.

How about you? Have you ever participated in any of the above? Why or why not? Please, tell me about your experiences. :)

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Good morning! Welcome to another edition of Six Sentence Sunday, where I share with you up to 5 books that I have enjoyed, their blurbs and links where to buy them - oh, and their first six sentences! All books have ebook links but some (or maybe most) are available as paperback as well. :) So without further ado, let's begin!

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. 

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. 

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

"Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared. No, he didn't leave. Leaving would imply suitcases and empty drawers, and late birthday cards with ten-dollar bills stuffed inside. Leaving would imply he was unhappy with Mom and me, or that he found a new love elsewhere. None of that was true. He also did not die, because we would've heard about it."

~ Julie Kagawa (2010). The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1). Harlequin TEEN.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  also available as paperback novel.

Before. Everything was so much better Before. I wasn’t haunted by nightmares, my place at school was secure and my face was flawless. Now, I’m a freak and everything has changed. The worst part is that I can’t remember the night I was sentenced to the shadows. The memory has been stolen from me and I just can’t shake the feeling that someone, something is out there -watching. 

Just when I think I have my life handled, Sam, with his intimidating golden stare and shiver inducing voice, makes me realize that I don’t know anything. He makes me see that my scars don’t matter. That they never mattered. I can’t help but fall for him, completely unknowing that he knows exactly how I got this way. Not knowing he was involved. 


Heven has no idea how closely death stalks her. She has no idea what I have done to keep her alive. I fear the day she learns my secrets, finds out what I really am. But even then I cannot stop, I vow to make things right. Finally her hunter will be hunted, Heaven and Hell, faith and sin will battle, and we will be victorious. But first, Heven must learn to be what she never imagined. I know her strength is there – I feel it. If we are to overcome all odds, she must push past her flaws - her frailties - to become much more. 

The street was dark and deserted. I wished, not for the first time, that I had a car. But I didn’t, and I’d spent too long in the library, so now I had to walk home in the dark. It was a clear night, and there were a million stars nestled in the sky, twinkling brightly alongside the moon. I was nearly home, my street just yards away. The night was quiet, exaggerating the sound my heels were making on the pavement.

~ Cambria Hebert (2011). Masquerade (Heven & Hell) . Otherworld Publications, LLC.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

What happens when a powerful elvish monarch opens a doorway from Sídhí to Earth? 

He stumbles upon a beautiful halfling who may spell doom for his entire world. When she turns out to be his predestined lifeMate, he knows without a shadow of doubt, his day has gone from bad to worse. Full-bloods, especially royals, never mate with halflings. 

~ ~ ~ 

What's a girl to do when her destined lifeMate tries to kill her? 

It all starts late one night about midnight ~ the only realistic time for a blood drinker to be out and about. 

Miranda is having a fun-filled trip to Tulsa, celebrating her seventeenth birthday. Well, it was fantastic until her lifeMate tries to kill her. 

Life as she knows it is about to come down to two critical facts: Stay away from sharp swords and do not fall off the commode. 

If my lifeMate – supposedly the perfect guy of my dreams – wasn't trying to kill me, I'd be much happier. Sigh, sorry, let me backup. I've gotten way ahead of myself. It all started earlier today, while I was still on Earth, walking through a park and minding my own business. For the first time in several months mom and dad agreed it was safe enough for me to visit Earth. The real Earth, not one of the second dimensional valleys all Sídhí live in.

~ Jodie B. Cooper (2011). Beloved LifeMate: Song of the Sídhí #1. Jodie B. Cooper.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

For one-thousand years, Druid prophecies foretold of a young witch destined to alter the fate of both human and immortal alike. This witch-turned-vampire would be capable of harnessing the supernatural abilities of both and, in a bloody rise to power, would rule with unwavering control. 

Unwillingly thrust into a world she never dreamed existed, Liz Markum is catapulted into an ancient war between rival vampire factions. She must choose between those she loves and the ever-present darkness attempting to devour her very soul. 

Only one question remains: Will Liz claim her birthright or surrender to the dark gift? 

This was crazy. Just forty-eight hours ago the man whose hand she held with an iron grip, whose comfort she sought in this unimaginable whirlwind of chaos, and was willing to sacrifice herself for if need arose--had killed her. She glanced around the hall hoping to find a friendly face...anything that might calm her wrangled nerves. The spacious room coupled with a high-arched ceiling could have doubled as an auditorium. Three rows of tiered benches surrounded the grayed wood floor, adding to the effect. Dotted throughout the crowd were beings of extraordinary beauty.

~ Willow Cross (2011). Birthright. Willow Cross.  Kindle Edition  Nook Edition  Smashwords

Follow Brighton and Lilian through an action packed, fast paced adventure in the first book of the Energy Chronicles Trilogy as they discover their unique talents in the art of energy manipulation. 
As teenagers, Brighton and Lilian live quiet, peaceful and uncomplicated lives in a remote mountain village called Four Mountains. Before they can explore their feelings for each other, a dark secret about Lilian’s past rips their world apart. Brighton finds himself fighting for the girl he loves as well as his own life while simultaneously discovering an even bigger secret about himself. 
Brighton has to overcome great odds and even death itself if he is going to save himself and Lilian from the evil determined to destroy them. 

LILIAN CRAWLED AROUND the tree, trying to be as quiet as possible. She held her breath as she looked behind her. Her white dress was covered in mud but she didn’t care, as long as she stayed hidden. She turned her head forward again and looked straight into a pair of muscular legs. She scrambled to her feet and turned to run but a strong arm circled her waist and lifted her off the ground. The man pulled her close to his chest. A deep voice said softly, ‘Where are you going, little one?’

~ MJ Schutte (2012). Energy - The Awakening (THe Energy Chronicles).   Kindle Edition  Smashwords

There you have it! I hope you've found something fantastic to read this week! :) If you have anything you'd like to see listed as a recommendation, leave it in the comments section below! Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Reading!