Blind Spot Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway)

"It's a story about how sometimes we fail to see things that are right in front of us."

Since You've Been Gone (Review)

"fabulous, wonderful, endearing, amazing story"

Dissected by Megan Bostic (Blog Tour)

"Powerful & Thought Provoking"

In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Review)

"This is going on my favorites shelf and I will probably reread it again in the future."

Blog Tour: Hungry by H.A. Swain (Review + Giveaway)

"Hungry is a captivating and thought-provoking story set in a fascinating world."

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Review))

"All-in-all, a perfect summer read and you should totally pick up these books, if you haven't already!"

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle (Review)

"The Edge of Falling is a beautifully told story, both in plot and writing."

Hexed by Michelle Krys (Review)

"Hexed was just the thing that I needed to get back into the reading world."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blog Tour: The Gifted Dead by Jenna Black (Excerpt & Giveaway)





Paperback, 410 pages
Expected publication: September 23rd 2014 by Aardwolf Press
Goodreads

Politics and magic make dangerous bedfellows.

Deep within the Order, the seeds of corruption have taken root. While younger generations of the Gifted have embraced modern democratic values, a secret society of old-guard zealots seek a return to the past, when only European men of distinguished bloodlines held power.
Now, three venerable European families and a maverick American each plot to seize control of the Order and shape it to their will. A cutthroat game of political intrigue will decide the winner; and the stakes couldn't be higher, for ruling the Order carries with it the power to grant—or deny—an afterlife.
What begins as a battle of wills could turn into an all-out war. And magic could prove deadlier than any missile.

Excerpt:

[Excerpt 10—Lynda Powell scene 2]

Saint-Malo, France

It was dark by the time Lynda’s driver pulled up to the front of the quaint little hotel she had chosen in the medieval walled city of Saint-Malo. It was a beautiful place, steeped in well-preserved history, with its walls still intact and many of the buildings hundreds of years old. She felt a pang of mild regret that she wouldn’t get to see it during the daytime.
She tipped her driver generously and checked in, though she had no intention of staying. The more normal she could act before she struck, the better her chances of success. And it was nice to have a chance to freshen up after the long drive.
Lynda fixed her makeup and her hair, then changed from her comfortable traveling pants into a somber black dress and a pair of low-heeled pumps that she hoped wouldn’t hurt her feet too much. She had some walking to do tonight, and she should have thought to bring flats in deference to the cobblestones that had rattled her teeth as soon as her car had passed through the gates of the city.
She could have taken a cab from her hotel to the Abbey, but she chose to walk instead. Now that she was actually here, her nerves were beginning to buzz and her heart to race. She even swayed dizzily a couple of times when she was getting dressed and wondered if she was really up to the challenge.
But she was sixty-three years old, and this was only the second time in her life the Anima had set her on a Quest. She was not going to let fear stop her. Though perhaps it wasn’t fair of her to think of it as “only” the second time; most of the Gifted received no further Gifts aside from their spirit guides and their inborn connection with the Anima. To be chosen to perform a Quest, to have a chance to receive a Gift, was a rare honor, and it was a thrill to think that she was worthy of a second such honor.
The cool night air calmed the worst of Lynda’s nerves as she walked to the Abbey, and she found herself almost at peace as the moment of reckoning drew near. She had lost her Harry forever, and her son was a spoiled, selfish power-monger who would happily walk over his family and friends in his fierce attempt to claw his way to the top. There were no ties to hold her back, no matter what the end results of this night might be.
Lynda entered via the tourists’ entrance just in time for the last tour of the evening, paying the admission fee and stepping aside to wait for a tour guide as instructed. She had studied maps of the Abbey carefully before coming, and further research into the life of the current Patriarch had revealed a pattern she could easily exploit. Every night at nine o’clock when he was in residence at the Abbey, the Patriarch dined with twenty or thirty members of the Council of Elders in the refectory. Apparently, there was fierce competition among the Elders for invitations to that dinner table, and one could gauge who was in favor and who was not by how often they were invited.
The tour group, naturally, went nowhere near the refectory or the Patriarch’s residential apartments, but when Lynda was as close as she was likely to get, she invoked her Gift, letting the tour group go on ahead of her while she slipped down a forbidden hallway. She tripped some kind of alarm, and her pulse started thundering in her ears, but her Gift held true and the alarm was ignored. It had been more than thirty years since she had earned her Gift, and she couldn’t help wondering if the Anima had known way back then what it would one day ask her to do with it.
There were guards everywhere, armed with mortal weapons and, no doubt, deadly Gifts, but none sensed Lynda’s presence. She had it on good authority that there were those whose Gifts included neutralizing the Gifts of others, but they couldn’t use that Gift it they didn’t know Lynda was there.
Thus Lynda made her way through the heavily guarded halls of the Abbey and into the refectory, a task that on its surface seemed impossible. How could the Anima have known thirty years ago, when Adrian Farraday was decades away from being elected Patriarch, that Lynda would need this particular Gift someday? And yet, how could it possibly be a coincidence that her particular Gift was the only way to get through the Abbey’s defenses?
The refectory was an enormous rotunda with a domed ceiling and arched doorways. The floor was of inlaid tile, the ceiling gilded with gold leaf. The great table that dominated the room had been in use in the Abbey since the fifteenth century.
Lynda paused to gather herself in the doorway, her heart fluttering against her ribs. There were guards against each wall and beside each doorway, and servants bustled about carrying food and wine to the black-robed Elders who sat at the table. The Patriarch alone wore white robes and sat at the head of the table in a throne-like seat, on the far end of the room from Lynda’s doorway. The noise of at least twenty conversations echoed in the domed room, as did the clatter of knives and forks against plates, the sound so loud Lynda could almost feel it in her bones.
Keeping herself unseen had been effortless for the first few minutes, but Lynda had never tried to use her Gift for such an extended period before, and she found she was getting alarmingly tired. She couldn’t allow herself to take her time, or to be awed by her surroundings or the concentration of male power that sat before her.
Mouth suddenly dry, Lynda reached into her pocket with a shaking hand and pulled out her gun. She needed to get closer, though the sudden weakness in her knees made each step an onerous effort, the fatigue rapidly growing worse. It was imperative that she fire at close range, due to both the small caliber of her weapon and the uncertain aim of her shaking hands.
Sweat dripped into her eyes, stinging, and her shaking was getting worse instead of better. Just a little closer, she urged herself, but her strength gave out.
The sudden chorus of gasps and exclamations told her she had lost her grip on her Gift. If the Patriarch realized an attack was coming, he could invoke his own Gift to make her bullet pass harmlessly through him—assuming she hadn’t been shot by a guard already. It was now or never.
Heedless of her shaking hands and her questionable aim, Lynda pulled the trigger.

About the author:



Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr
Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.
Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like eighty percent of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.
Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She is now a full-time author of fantasy, young adult, and romance novels.

Giveaway:

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Schedule:

Monday, September 8th Fiktshun
Tuesday, September 9th Books and Things
Wednesday, September 10th Xpresso Reads
Thursday, September 11th Addicted 2 Heroines
Friday, September 12th Gizmos Reviews
Monday, September 15th The Book Swarm
Tuesday, September 16th Jessabella Reads
Wednesday, September 17th Romancing the Dark Side
Thursday, September 18th Literary Escapism
Friday, September 19th Bookish

The Martian by Andy Weir (Review)

Genre:
Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Publication.Date  February 11th 2014
Pages:369
Published By:  Crown
AuthorAndy Weir

The Martian on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:


Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

(Goodreads)

“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”
“I can't wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!”
“If ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Martian vampires, I'll have to risk it.”
“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”
“Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person.”
"What do you know? I’m in command”
“[11:49] JPL: What we can see of your planned cut looks good. We’re assuming the other side is identical. You’re cleared to start drilling. [12:07] Watney: That’s what she said. [12:25] JPL: Seriously, Mark? Seriously?”
“Me: “This is obviously a clog. How about I take it apart and check the internal tubing?” NASA: (after five hours of deliberation) “No. You’ll fuck it up and die.” So I took it apart.”
“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”




      The Martian took me by surprise. If I am honest, I have yo say I was ready to give up on this book after 50 pages. It's not that I didn't find it interesting enough, or well written, or even scientifically accurate, because it really was all these things. I just found it hard to connect with the lead character. 

    Mark Watney was not a character I immediately connected with. In fact, it took me long time to even get to the point when I would tolerate him, what with all his jokes and jackass behavior. I didn't understand how a person left to die alone on a different planet could be so lighthearted, cheerful and in the mood for random jokes. It wasn't until I finally realized, that, had he been any more serious or depressing, I would have hated his guts even more. Mark made the best out of the situation he found himself in, and I learned to appreciate his optimism and zest for life. His brave attitude was truly admirable. He was a clever problem-solver, and in situations where most of us would probably break down and cry, he looked for solutions and ways to troubleshoot. And his jokes and surprisingly positive attitude? Well, I realize now that without it, the whole novel would have been pointless, he might've as well just shoot himself in the head in the first chapter. 

     By the end of the book, I was a huge fan of Mark Watney and his biting sense of humor. He is such a fantastic, complex, intelligent and sharp character, I actually miss his inappropriate remarks and nerdy observations. He grew on me, like no other character ever did, and I wish I knew someone like Watney in real life. 

     The concept behind this novel is really rather simple, and really kind of brilliant in its simplicity. Can you even imagine how incredibly terrifying it would be to be left behind, all alone, on a planet thousands of miles away from home? Knowing that you don't have enough supplies to last anywhere long enough for the rescue mission to come and save you? Not even having any means of communicating to others that you're alive? Boy, I would probably give up and die on the spot the moment I'd realize the extent of just how screwed I was. 

    The premise was blood chilling in both the concept and its execution. Mark is a fighter, but Mars itself is definitely a worthy opponent. Everything that can go wrong, does, and it's a never ending battle against time and Mars' deadly atmosphere. The sense of urgency and danger is omnipresent, almost palpable and claustrophobic, to the point that you're having trouble breathing yourself while reading about Mark running out of oxygen, or you suddenly feel the urge to stock up on food supplies, while reading about Mark's desperate attempts at growing potatoes on Mars (and really, just how cool is that?). 

     I loved how scientifically accurate this book was. All the scientific detail made this story very believable, and therefore that much more terrifying. The many bits and pieces of information and data, endless calculations and predictions, detailed descriptions, etc.. It all made for an interesting read. And even though it was definitely a bit heavy on the scientific stuff, it was never boring or disconnected. Andy did a great job of balancing the intense plot line with the scientific information, creating a story that while mentally stimulating, complex and challenging, was also very entertaining and emotionally engaging. And Mark's awesomely bad-ass character played a vital role in making this a very accessible and enjoyable read.

     I would recommend this book to all science fiction fans, especially those who appreciate a great, thrilling story with a carefully fleshed out scientific background. You won't be disappointed.


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

HARLEY In the Company of Snipers by Irish Winters Blog tour [Promo Post]

Sometimes, only the heart remembers… He’s in the fight of his life… Suddenly back in Iraq, US Army Corporal Harley Mortimer searches for the men he left behind. He finds himself lost in a world where guilt never lets go and nothing seems real. Dead men talk and die over and over again. There is no peace or rest. Only war. Only despair. Only—didn’t he survive this exact scenario once before? And who the hell is Judy? She is a force to be reckoned with… Judy O’Brien’s future is planned and perfect until Harley, the man she intends to marry, goes missing. Mysteriously, Kelsey Stewart disappears the same day. He and Kelsey have a shared history, but do they love each other—that way? Worse, is he the murderer the FBI claims he is? Judy must come to grips with the man she thought she knew. And all of his secrets…

The wife of one handsome husband and the mother of three perfect sons, Irish divides her time between writing at home and traveling the country with her man while - writing. (Seriously, what else?) She believes in making every day count for something and follows the wise admonition of her mother to, "Look out the window and see something!" To learn more about Irish and her books, please visit www.IrishWinters.com.
Irish Winters is an award-winning author who dabbles in poetry, grandchildren, and rarely (as in extremely rarely) the kitchen. More prone to be outdoors than in, she grew up the quintessential tomboy on a farm in rural Wisconsin, spent her teenage years in the Pacific Northwest, but calls the Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah home. For now.
Website | Facebook | Goodreads Twitter
September 15th Kristin Holt – Review/Guest Post  September 16th The Pleasure of Reading Today – Review  September 16th ~ TBA  September 17th My Secret Bookspot – Review/Top Ten  September 17th Cabin Goddess – Guest Post   September 18th Fangirlish – Interview/Guest Post  September 18th ~ TBA  September 19th Jen's Reading Obsession – Review (Series)  September 19th Reads All The Books – Review (Series)
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One Two Three by Elodie Nowodazkij [Book Review, Author Interview, & Giveaway]




Genre:Contemporary Fiction, YA
Publication.Date 
June 15th 2014
Pages:296
Published By:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing
WebsiteElodie Nowodazkij

One Two Three Goodreads



                                     Where to get:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991500776/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0991500776&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2



When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.

Last year,seventeen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive.

But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career.

At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present. Keeping him an arabesque away proves to be a challenge for Natalya and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell.

When upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.

Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself?



I loved this book so much that I just had to know more about the woman behind it. Here is my interview with Elodie Nowodazkij. She opens up a lot about her writing and book love.

What inspired you to write this book?

I used to love dancing ballet as a kid, and I won a writing contest to go see the Opera de Paris. We saw the dancers train, it was magical. Those moments stayed with me. Then, one day, I was talking about the movie Center Stage on Twitter and Natalya’s voice came into my head. At first, all I knew was that she was seventeen and an accident had killed her hope of becoming a professional ballerina...The accident turned into a car crash that also took her father’s life. Natalya’s voice was sad and broken, but full of want.

From there on, it became her story.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Not particularly. Or maybe it’s one of those questions I should ask my readers J It’s tough sometimes to look at your own writing, even though it is necessary to analyze it in order to become better. And…I am stopping now.

How did you come up with the title?

It comes from the breathing techniques one does when needing to relax and memories from my years of dancing, when my teacher used to say “hold the position. One, two, three.”

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The theme of forgiveness is pretty big in the novel: forgiving others, forgiving yourself. And,Natalya has to learn to let others help her. Those are the messages I’d love for readers to walk away with. It is ok to ask for help.

What books have influenced your life most?

So many. So so so so many. When I was young, I read Voltaire and Zola, and Camus and Judy Blume, and so so many more. I always had a book by my bed, and was (still am) very eclectic in what I read. One of my Master´s degrees is in German Cultural Studies, and my thesis was about Medea by Christa Wolf, so during a period of my life, I ate, breathed and slept Christa Wolf J

In the recent past, I fell in love with JELLICOE ROAD: the writing, the story, everything. And then, Stephanie Perkins. Whenever I was feeling down, I picked up ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, it became a pick-me-up-and-let´s-smile book. Just a few examples.

I could fill out an entire novel with books that played a role in my life and influenced it somehow.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

My writing got better thanks to my critique partners and beta readers. All those wonderful ladies who know what I`m going through and are always there for me are definitely my mentors. Plus, I am so lucky because I get to read their books, and their writing is AMAZING!

What book are you reading now?

I am just starting BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler. I am super excited about it. Dahlia was my mentor during the writing contest Pitch Wars and she helped me so much.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

There are always new authors grasping my interest. Sometimes, they are debut authors, and sometimes they’re just new-to-me authors. In the last 3 months: Jessica Love & Chelsie Hill and their debut PUSH GIRLS, Katja Millay and THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY, Elizabeth Briggs and her debut MORE THAN MUSIC, Jennifer Ellision and her debut THREATS OF SKY AND SEA, Kristin Rae and her debut WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN, Elizabeth Eulberg with BETTER OFF FRIENDS. I am lucky enough to call some of the authors my friends and I am in awe of what they’ve accomplished! (and I cannot wait to read more).

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Trust my instinct earlier. There was a little voice in my head telling me that the draft I queried needed a major overhaul. This overhaul ended up happening much later in the process.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

From reading mainly, and wanting to craft the stories in my mind…when I was maybe 12 or 14, I wrote a bunch of poetry (especially about a crush I had but also about society…).

Then, in high school, I started writing a full novel (which I never finished). Some of my friends were reading it as I went, encouraging me. I loved, loved, loved writing and getting lost in the characters.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I think one of the things I had to work on is trust myself and my writing more. I am French, currently living in Germany, writing in English. I lived in the US for several years, I studied there, I taught there and my higher education was pretty much in English. My day job also requires English and I speak English with my husband…so it comes naturally for me to write in English. But it is still one of my worries.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Only one? Really? I have several must-buy authors. If you really want me to pick only one, I will have to go with Melina Marchetta. The way she writes really grasps me and I fall utterly in love with her characters, they feel…real.

Ok, and a bonus one? Judy Blume. Her books accompanied me throughout my teenage years and I also absolutely loved her book SUMMER SISTERS.

Who designed the covers?

Derek Murphy from Creativindie. I love his work!

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

There are certain scenes in the book, where I had to really push myself, where my critique partners wrote in the margins, "I want more. You can doooo it!"

I pretty much bawled writing certain scenes and I think the result is much better.




Dancing's always been my future. Dancing's always been who I am. So even if I can't dance like I used to, even if I can't put too much pressure on my knee, I'm convinced I'll train my way back to the top, that I'll show Dr. Gibson and the rest of them that they got it wrong, when they said It was very unlikely I would ever go back on stage.
I know way too well how guilt can eat you up from the inside, take away everything you thought you knew about yourself, and spit out your happiness on its way out.   
No longer scared of what' to come for us, not longer holding back. This date is magical. That means I get a happy ending, right? 



 One, Two, Three is one of those contemporary reads that you can curl up with on your sofa and fall in love with within minutes. The character's of Natalya and Antonio are worthy of your love from the first page. 

Natalya is a ballerina in her heart and soul. She can't imagine doing anything else, being anything else in life. Then tragedy strikes her and a car accident kills her father and injures Natalya to the point that the doctors aren't sure she'll dance again on stage. She is heartbroken and lost. She moves into her grandmother's house with her drunken and lost mother. The only thing that holds her together is her drive to beat the odds and dance again and her best friend Becca. 

This book is about learning to live without the one thing you thought you couldn't and realizing that the people who matter are often the ones that are just as broken as you. I loved the lesson this book taught, and I think young readers will get a lot out of it. Elodie's characters are strong and just jump off the page and into your heart. 

This book has a lot of heart, and it struggles with a lot of issues that people face everyday. The grief after a death, the having to move on and adapt to changes that you don't necessarily want. Having to let yourself be weak once in a while, and letting people in so that they can help you. 

Elodie Nowodazkij has written a powerful book that reminds me a bit of "Save the Last Dance" which I absolutely loved!! She seamlessly developed her characters and the attitude of this novel without much flaw. From the beginning I was hooked on her words and how she brought this story to life!!




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About the Author


 
The short story: Young adult author, Elodie Nowodazkij writes the stories swirling in her head during her commute time.

The long story: Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Language & Linguistics, and later earned master’s degrees in German Cultural Studies and European Studies. Unbeknownst to her professors, she sometimes drafted stories in class. Now she lives in Germany with her husband and their cat (who doesn’t seem to realize he’s not human), and use her commuting time to write the stories swirling in her head. She's also a serial smiley user.
ONE TWO THREE is her first novel




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