Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blog Tour (guest post): Camp Utopia by Jenny Ruden

Title: Camp Utopia and the Forgiveness Diet
Genre: Young Adult
Author: Jenny Ruden
Publisher: Koehler Books
Language: English
Pages: 300
Format: Paperback

Sixteen-year-old Baltimore teen Bethany Stern knows the only way out of spending her summer at Camp Utopia, a fat camp in Northern California, is weight-loss. Desperate, she tries The Forgiveness Diet, the latest fad whose infomercial promises that all she has to do is forgive her deadbeat dad, her scandalous sister, and the teenage magician next door and (unrequited) love of her life. But when the diet fails and her camp nemesis delivers the ultimate blow, Bee bids sayonara to Camp-not-Utopian-at-all to begin what she believes will be her “real” summer adventure, only to learn that running away isn’t as easy—or as healing—as it seems.

Her wry and honest voice bring humor and poignancy for anyone, fat or thin, tired of hearing “you’d be so pretty if…[insert unwelcome judgment about your appearance from loved one or perfect stranger].”

What people say about Camp Utopia:

A funny, poignant, emotionally intelligent and beautifully written novel that takes the reader on a journey that is by turns heartbreaking and inspiring. I highly recommend it.”

-Alisa Valdes, New York Times and
USA Today bestselling author

Ruden’s debut novel is more than merely funny. It skewers our cultural obsession with the superficial, lampooning everything from fad diets to reality television and self-help gurus. And Bethany’s inner journey from bitterness to forgiveness is one that will resonate with all readers.

Read it for the laughs, reread it for Ruden’s profound insight into the transformative power of forgiveness.”

-Mike Mullen, author of Ashfall

Anarchic slapstick laced with timely truths make this wry, occasionally raunchy debut a standout.”
Kirkus Reviews

5 Things You Should Know About (CAMP UTOPIA & THE FORGIVENESS DIET by Jenny Ruden)
  1. It took an embarrassingly long time to write.
  1. Promotes self-acceptance and health among people of all shapes and sizes.
  1. Features a really cute guy who appreciates a funny, smart girl who does not wear a size 2.
  1. Finds the extraordinary in people and situations that might otherwise be deemed ordinary.
  1. Promises at least a 5 lb weight loss by the time you finish the book (not true, but, by the end, you probably won’t care about a 5 lb weight loss anyway!)


Jenny Ruden has published short stories and essays in Nerve, Salon, Eclectica Magazine, Literary Mama and High Desert Journal. She won an Orlando award for creative nonfiction, was named a finalist in Glimmertrain’s short fiction contest, and has been nominated for the Pushcart prize two years in a row. She has worked with teenagers for over ten years as a teacher of Reading, Writing and GED, and has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Oregon. She lives with her husband, two daughters, two basset hounds and cat in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
She does a flawless impersonation of a normal person. Don’t be fooled. She’s a writer.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blog tour (review): Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally


NOTE: I received the ARC via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

Before I write anything else, I think it's only fair to say that this is the first of Kenneally's novels I got around to reading. Which is why it's a good thing all of her Hundred Oaks books can be read separately. Thanks for that!

From all the fuss around the blogosphere, I had drawn the conclusion that I should expect something spectacular. Perhaps my high expectations were the reason I wasn't completely blown away by Breathe, Annie, Breathe. That is not to say that I didn't like what I read - it was an enjoyable novel with enough drama on the side to keep me interested. Yet, it couldn't strike that one chord that a book needs to completely captivate me. I guess, I'm more of a Katie McGarry kind of reader.

Writing style:
Kenneally has written a great, realistic story and she has obviously snagged a professional editor because I couldn't find a single fault with the writing itself. Told from Annie's POV, the writing made the story flow well. I also liked the memories that the author has thrown into the story. I'm pretty sure that without them the plot would have been quite incomplete.

Story line:
This is the story of Annie, who has lost a boyfriend, but has gained herself and a whole new world of unexpected adrenaline.
I had a couple of problems with this story. First one was concerning Annie's stomach problems. I didn't understand why her PT would take her to the doctor for her knee but not for her stomach. It just didn't make any sense.
Problem #2, I didn't understand why Matt would warn Annie to stay away from his brother Jeremiah. Sure, she was grieving and he was an adrenaline junkie, but I sort of got the impression there was something else going on. It was just never revealed and that disappointed me a little.
Problem #3 has to do with Annie's guilt trip. Why, oh why did she have to feel guilty that Kyle died? She wasn't even there! That made it a teeny bit unrealistic for me.

- The loss of a loved one can bring you down in no time.
- Grief seems to be somehow worse, but also is a necessary step to move on.
- Is it right to take upon yourself fulfilling the dreams and goals for a deceased loved one? Does that honor them in some way? Or does it simply appease your own mind?
- Dealing with new feelings when the old are still there
- The dangers of any addiction
- The fear of taking a risk vs. being reckless

Annie used to be just an average teen girl with average family, average love life and average dreams. That is to say, she had a mom and a brother (no dad to account for), a high school sweetheart and the dream to go to college. One night an accident leaves her with two out of these three and Annie is devastated. Worse, she feels guilty of her boyfriend Kyle's death because her grieving mind somehow managed to persuade her that it was all her fault.
To atone for her 'sins' she decides to fulfill one of Kyle's last dreams - she would run a marathon. That's when things get really tricky because Annie isn't the sport type. So everything is extra hard for her. She has a difficulty running the one mile for school, and now she's taken upon herself to run 26 miles.
I must say, I was greatly impressed by her spirit of determination. She came out stronger than expected and I think that by the end of her training she was actually running for herself rather than for Kyle.

Jeremiah was Annie's trainer Matt's brother. He was (of course) gorgeous to look at, had a smart mouth and was pretty much an irresistible heart-breaker. It wasn't difficult to guess that he had some kind of fault, but I didn't know exactly what it was until later. To be honest, I didn't understand why Jere's 'fault' should be perceived as such. Sure, he couldn't resist a thrill rush, but I don't think that's so horrible. There are way worse things out there.
What I want to say about Jere is that he was considering, he cared for his family (sisters and everyone else) and he knew when to push and when to pull away to a safe distance.

Matt was a side character who played an important role. As Annie's personal trainer, it was his responsibility to take care of her health all the way. Which is why I was a bit disappointed when he didn't take her to the doctor when her stomach started feeling queasy.

In conclusion:
Breathe, Annie, Breathe is a light read that will keep you interested until the end. It isn't that big on emotions, but it may be able to wring a tear or two.  

My rating is 3.5 stars, but I will round up to

Book details:

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
(Hundred Oaks #5)
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: July 15th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.
But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.
“Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet.” — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You.


Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Author links: 

Giveaway details: Tour wide giveaway Ends July 29th:
-2x 50$ B&N Gift Card
-3x Signed copy of Breathe, Annie, Breathe
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blog Tour (spotlight): Identity Crysis by Jean Hackensmith


Title: Identity Crisis 
Genre: Detective 
Author: Jean Hackensmith
Publisher: Inkwater Press
Language: English 
Pages: 260
When rumors of how Dan Hamilton actually died reach the Cheyenne Chief of Police, Brian Koski is forced to resign his position as captain of the Sixth Precinct and go into business for himself as a private detective. His partner? A mahogany colored Belgian Malinois named Sinbad. A former NYPD police dog, Sinbad is vicious when need be and reliable to a fault–unless a train goes by or there’s a thunderstorm, then chances are he will turn tail and run.
Brian’s first clients are Jeff and Melody Patten. He’s an explosives expert for a local demolitions company, she’s a stay-at-home Mom. Both are devoted parents to their young daughter, Angela. The problem comes in the form of one Collin Lanaski, an unstable ex-Air Force lieutenant and Angela’s second grade teacher, who suddenly starts insisting that Angela is his daughter—the same daughter who died in a tragic car accident four years earlier.  What does Collin base this incredible revelation on?  Dog tags and car seats.  Brian is convinced the man has suffered a psychotic break.  He’s delusional and dangerous, and it becomes the P.I.’s job to protect Angela from a madman.



I have been writing since the age of twenty.  (That’s 37 years and, yes, I’m disclosing my age.)  I am the proud mother of three, stepmother of two, and grandmother to twelve wonderful children.  I lost the love of my life, my husband Ron, in November of 2011 when he died in an accident at work.  He took my heart with him and, for a time, my desire to write.  Time, as they say, heals all wounds, and I have again discovered my passion for the written word.  In fact, I find it strangely comforting to delve into the intricate webs that are my character’s lives and immerse myself in their existence instead of dwelling on my own.

Next to writing, my second passion is live theater.  I founded a local community theater group back in 1992 and directed upwards of 40 shows, including three that I authored.  I also appeared on stage a few times, portraying Anna in The King and I and Miss Hannigan in Annie.  I am sad to say that the theater group closed its final curtain in 2008, but those 16 years will always hold some of my fondest memories.

My husband and I moved from Superior five years ago, seeking the serenity of country living.  We also wanted to get away from the natural air conditioning provided by Lake Superior.  We moved only 50 miles south, but the temperature can vary by 20-30 degrees.  I guess I’m a country girl at heart.  I simply love this area, even though I must now enjoy its beauty alone.  I love the solitude, the picturesque beauty of the sun rising over the water, the strangely calming effect of watching a deer graze outside your kitchen window.  Never again, will I live in the city.  I am an author, after all, and what better place to be inspired than in God’s own back yard.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blog tour (AMAZING guest post): Carrier by Anne Tibbets

My tour stop features a guest post by Anne. I posed her with a choice of three topics, and here's what she chose to write about:

Sucking up your thumb - or how did you get the idea of writing a book about sex slavery."

“Sucking Up Your Thumb”
By Anne Tibbets

How does somebody get the idea of writing a book about sexual slavery? I mean, COME ON! Out of all the topics in the world, why on earth, would I pick the scariest, worst nightmare of any woman on the planet…Oh, wait…I think I just answered my own question.

I write during the school year. I have two daughters, and when they are home for the summer, I typically can’t get anything done. I am, unfortunately, one of those writers that need absolute silence so that I can fully immerse myself into the world I have created, and I simply can’t do that if I’m getting interrupted every six minutes. I’m not exaggerating either. I timed it one summer. My kids find some excuse to interrupt me every. Six. Minutes.

So, after a particularly rough summer when we were renovating our house, and me and the kids were stuck all summer-long with construction workers, only one operating bathroom, and no kitchen – the project finally finished, the workers were gone, the kids were at school, and I sat down to my laptop to the only complete silence I’d had in months, and I asked myself, “What is the WORST future you can think of?” And my mind went to sexual slavery.

I wrote the first fifty pages of CARRIER, then called The Line, and I put it away in a virtual drawer. At the time, I was working part time for an e-publishing company and I had plenty to keep me busy. Besides, the book was so dark, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to remain working on a project that could give me nightmares. But some writerly friends convinced me to attend a writer’s conference, so I entered CARRIER in the contest and low-and-behold, I won second place. I was so shocked. I couldn’t even believe it.

This convinced me to finish the manuscript. At that point, I began researching sexual slavery, just so I could have a baseline of what the reality was, compared to what I deemed the worst-case scenario in my own mind. And what I found still haunts me to this day. My worst-case scenario was real. The girls owned by a restaurant and/or bar: REAL. The institutions out in the middle of nowhere where girls are lined up like cattle and sold as slaves: REAL. Little girls from poor families sold to pay off debts: REAL. And not just in the far East, or in the poorest of third world countries, but here, in the United States of America. It’s everywhere.

I can recall the day quite well. I sat at my dining room table, my laptop humming like a dishwasher, and me, physically sickened and my hands shaking when I found the research.

My worst-case scenario, my worst nightmare, the “silly” prompt I gave myself to stimulate creative thought…? ALL REAL.

After I understood that, there was no doubt in my mind that I had picked the right topic.
Okay, let me tell you something. I don't usually make a habit of commenting (in post) when doing a guest post tour stop. But I had goosebumps reading this one and I just HAD TO share that with you. I had been a bit skeptical about this book, because sheesh! But now I want to read it. I think I'll just go buy it right now.

Book details:

Carrier by Anne Tibbets
(The Line #1)
Published by: Carina Press
Publication date: June 16th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult

Twenty-two -year-old Naya has spent nearly half her life as a sex slave in a government institution called The Line. When she’s kicked out after getting pregnant with twins, she’s got no way to earn a living and a horrifying choice to make: find someone to replace her, or have her babies taken in her stead.
A doctor with a history of aiding ex-Line girls, Ric Bennett, wants to help. He runs a team of rebels that can delete Naya’s records and free her forever. But when The Line sniffs out his plan, things get bloody, fast. Naya means more to them than just a chance at fresh faces—her twins are part of the government’s larger plan.
As they hide from government search parties, Ric comes to admire Naya’s quiet strength. And Naya realizes Ric might be a man she can trust. If they make it off the grid, they could build a new life. But first they’ll have to survive the long, vicious reach of The Line.




About the author:

Anne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning and Smashwords.com Best Selling author. After writing for Children’s television, Anne found her way to young/new adult fiction by following what she loves: books, strong female characters, twisted family dynamics, magic, sword fights, quick moving plots, and ferocious and cuddly animals.

Along with CARRIER, Anne is also the author of the young adult fantasy novella, THE BEAST CALL and the young adult contemporary, SHUT UP.

Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AnneTibbetsAuthor or on Twitter @WriteforCoffee. To contact Anne, visit www.annetibbets.com and 
click the ‘CONTACT’ tab.

Author Links:

Giveaway details: Tour wide giveaway
Open INTL - Ends July 22nd
--20 $ Amazon gift card
--3x eBook copies of Carrier
--20x Carrier t-shirts with Auberge pens.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 4, 2014

Blog Tour (Interview): By Jove by Marissa Doyle

About the book:

For Theodora Fairchild, graduate school is a dream. The professors are fighting over her, she gets to study Latin and explore her knowledge of Greek gods with others who share her passion…and she meets Grant Proctor. He's as shy as she is, and oh so handsome.

As she gives in to her feelings for the man who's stolen her heart, someone seems determined to keep them apart—no matter the consequences. There are evil forces at work, and they have plans for Theo that don’t include Grant. When Grant disappears, surviving the semester becomes the least of Theo’s worries. Her knowledge of ancient mythology may be her best weapon, and relying on her wits and wisdom may be the only thing to help her save her true love.

Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Entangled

Author Bio:

Marissa Doyle graduated from Bryn Mawr College and went on to graduate school intending to be an archaeologist, but somehow got distracted. Eventually she figured out what she was really supposed to be doing and started writing. She’s channeled her inner history geekiness into a successful young adult historical fantasy series, and is now also happily writing contemporary romantic fantasy. She lives in her native Massachusetts with her family, including a pair of bossy but adorable pet rabbits, and loves quilting, sailing, gardening, and collecting antiques. Oh, and coffee.

As a part of this tour, I thought I'd interview Marissa and see how reacts to my questions. Enjoy!

Me: Hello Marissa! So glad to have you for a morning cup of coffee today :) Anyway, how do you take your coffee?
Marissa: Cream/no sugar, decaffeinated (I hate it, but caffeine does awful things to me) and in a very large mug. I love my coffee, I do.

Me:LOL I get it, honestly. Would you tell us about your greatest fear? Not coffee related. *wink*
Marissa: Something happening to my husband or kids. They’re my pole-star.

Me:Oh yeah. That fear is a great one to all us loving wives and mothers. Is there someone you’d like to thank for encouraging you through the hard times?
Marissa: My BFF Sherry, who is my biggest, most enthusiastic non-related cheerleader.

Me:Where would a person find you usually?
Marissa: In my office, at my desk. Life would be so much easier if I could just have my computer surgically implanted, and then I could write anywhere.

Me:How did you come up with the idea for By Jove?
Marissa: By Jove was the result of a dream. I’ve actually dreamed a number of the plots for my books; it’s why I keep a dream journal and light-up pen in my nightstand.

Me:Really? I tried that at one time, but hubby looked at me like I'm nuts to get up in the middle of the night to write my dreams, so I sort of gave up on it... Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat-of-your-pants type of writer?
Marissa: Both, actually. I start with a rough synopsis and then refine it as I go along, but am very happy when some bolt-from-the-blue idea comes into my head to either change that outline or make it stronger.

Me:What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Marissa: Before I start a new book, I go to the candle shop and pick out a scented candle that just seems to go with the story I’m about to start...and then I buy about six of them. I burn the candle while I write until the scent becomes completely associated with that story. It really helps get me going in the morning when I sit down to write because of that association. Once my candle got discontinued while I was in the middle of a book, and I went crazy searching online for more.

Me:Wow! That's such a creative idea! I'm not much of a scented candle lover, as I have bizarro scent allergies, but I think you've found a great way to concentrate on your stories :) What is your usual writing routine?
Marissa: Get up, go to the gym, come home, shower, and write. At least, that’s what I aim for, but sometimes the darned internet gets in my way.

Me:You must be the first author how I've interviewed to go to the gym. I admire you for that. Way to go! How often do you visit the library or bookstore?
Marissa: I got addicted to buying books on-line years ago, and my ereader has just confirmed that habit. I have a scary number of books, both paper and electronic.

Me:Yup. Same thing here. Not to mention that I'm somewhat of a tree-hugger, so yeah. E-books it is :) What’s the last book you bought?
Marissa: Just today I downloaded The Late Scholar, which is the latest Lord Peter Wimsey mystery as told by Jill Paton Walsh, who was authorized by Dorothy L. Sayers’s estate to keep writing Peter Wimsey books. I’m saving it for a long plane flight I have to make later this week.

Me:Awesome! I hope you're going to a wonderful place :) How long does it take you to fall in love with a book?
Marissa: As little as a page, which was the case when I started reading Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell books, about a young girl who becomes Sherlock Holmes’s apprentice (and later partner).

Me:If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Marissa: I wish I were better at small talk and chatting with strangers. It’s something I’ve really been trying to improve about myself, because I’m pretty shy.

Me:Huh. Writers are supposed to be sort of introverts. But I like to think that they have a lot to share, should they feel a bit less shy about it :) You collect...?
Marissa: Antique fashion prints from the early nineteenth century. They’re total eye candy. And I tell myself it’s okay to keep collecting them, because it’s research. And I can post them on my blog and feel like I’m being educational.

Me:Hehehe! Makes for great blog posts too :) Fruit you can’t live without?
Marissa: Pears.

Me:What’s the pet of your dreams?
Marissa: I have them—my two silly, adorable, and utterly sweet house rabbits, Saffron and Beatrice. I’m constantly posting pictures of them on Facebook because they’re just so funny and photogenic.

Me:What do you think is the most important thing in life?
Marissa: To be kind.

Me:What do you carry in your purse/pockets?
Marissa: Wallet, keys, mini-hairbrush, phone, chapstick, business cards, a tiny tape measure and tiny flashlight, about fifteen pens and a notebook, and my ereader. I don’t go anywhere without that!

Me:A tape measure? Okay, I guess we all have our quirks. Where are you right now?
Marissa: In my office, of course. I live here, remember?

Me:*slaps hand on forehead* Gosh! Of course! Well, good luck with your next novel! I hope there are a ton of those to follow :)

Giveaway Details: 
--$30 Starbucks or B&N Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Author Interview: Shay West and her Dangerous Reflections

Hello friends!

Good morning to you too :) I haven't even reached the bottom of my coffee cup, but I'm eager to introduce you to author Shay West. A wonderful young lady with great aspirations, she has a stack of books behind her back. Let's welcome her with cheers!

Me: Hi Shay! I'm so happy to have you here at YA Story Teller! What experience of yours relates to a scene in your newest book, Dangerous Reflections?
Shay: I was bullied in elementary and middle school, though not to the extent that Alex is! But I pulled from the same misery and feelings of rejection that come from years of being bullied.

Me: Huh, I'd never think you had such experience. You're so cool to be around! How do you take your coffee?
Shay: Ah, coffee! When I discovered the flavored selections at my local Sprouts store, it was all over for me. I also love to splurge on delicious creamer (York Peppermint Patty!) to go with it. My favorite thing about weekends and summer vacation is being able to stay in my PJs and enjoy my coffee and breakfast without having to hurry up and be somewhere. Pure bliss!

Me: Oooh yum! Now you have me thinking that my plain old coffee is not worth my time. No fair! If you were given the chance to take the place of one Fairy Tale character, who would you choose?
Shay: I’d have to choose Merlin from Sword in the Stone so I could turn into a bird or maybe get into a wizard’s duel with Mad Madame Mimm!

Me: How did you come with the idea for Dangerous Reflections?
Shay: I was getting ready for work one day and thought about what I would do if the reflection in the mirror changed to be someone else's face. Of course rather than being totally freaked by the notion, I kinda thought it would be cool. LOL

Me: LOL Really? That's how the book came to be? Crackers! Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat on your pants type of a writer?
Shay: I outline the basic beginning and end first, then start writing down ideas for specific scenes even though I don’t know where they will all fit together when I first start. I do a little pantsing for the middle portion and let my characters sort of do what they will. If I like it, I keep it; if not, I get rid of the scene and start over.

Me: What is your usual writing routine?
Shay: I can honestly say that I don’t have one. I write when I can and don’t beat myself up when I’m not feeling up for it or when I can’t do it because of work obligations. However, I’m probably one of the lucky ones in that I absolutely adore my day job (biology professor at university) so I can’t complain  And I’m lucky in that I have all summer off to write and let my imagination run wild!

Me: You're a biology professor? That was my most favorite subject through out high school! I even got a 5 on my AP exam! What's the last book you bought? Have you read it yet?
Shay: I recently purchased Schasm by Shari Ryan (the same one that did the cover art for Dangerous Reflections) and LOVED it!!! It reminds me a lot of the movie Inception.

Me: Oh yeah! I've heard great things about it! I really want to read it too. Just later.... much later... my current stack is up to the ceiling and then some. Which, in your opinion, is the best book to movie adaptation you've ever seen?
Shay: I’d have to say the Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption although Catching Fire was pretty dang awesome, way better than Hunger Games.

Me: Huh. Believe it or not I've never even heard of those two. And I haven't yet seen Catching Fire...
Let's talk about your favorite book genres. What kind of geek are you?
Shay: Scifi and fantasy are my top two but I also like to read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Robin Cook.

Me: Of course. I knew that! Who is the one author that you would love to meet someday and why?
Shay: Jim Butcher (only because JRR Tolkein is dead). I absolutely adore the Codex Alera series and I just think he would be so much fun to go to a bar and hang out with, have a beer and a burger.

Me: You collect...?
Shay: Books and movies! LOL

Me: Who would you like to take a picture with?
Shay: John Barrowman! I’ve seen how much fun he has with his fans at the various ComicCons and he is such a hoot!

Me: Err... Okay :) What are you wearing right at this moment?
Shay: Jeans, tank top, and slippers

Me: Oohh! Slippers! What do you think is the most important thing in life?
Shay: “To crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And to hear the lamentation of the woman.” Sorry about that, had a bit of a Conan the Barbarian moment there ;) This is always a hard one but for me personally it’s to be happy no matter where you are in life.

Me: What do you carry in your purse/pockets?
Shay: Chapstick in my pocket always. Can’t leave home without it. I have several of them stashed away just so I always have one LOL And I have a really neat purse that also doubles as a camera bag. I carry my Canon Rebel and both lenses with me everywhere I go. It always breaks my heart how many awesome photos are missed because the cell phone camera just can’t zoom close enough.

Me: Wow, you sound like me! Have you ever been hurt so much, you didn't find it in yourself to forgive?
Shay: Oh gosh, yes. I went through a divorce last fall from a guy that cheated on me twice and left the marriage twice. The second time I didn’t argue. It’s difficult to forgive when the belief of finally finding the “one” was shattered. I think what hurts the worst is having so many people say that what he did to me was a mistake, oh gosh we all make mistakes and you’re not perfect either, blah, blah, blah. But what my ex did was make choices, not mistakes, choices that hurt me deeply and hurt my family. It’s hard to forgive when the offending party won’t even take responsibility for their choices.

Me: Well, that was a deep confession right there. I'm sorry to hear that such a nice person as you got hurt so deeply. And yes, choices shouldn't be veiled in pretty words just so a person wouldn't feel guilty.

I had a great time with you Shay! Hope to feature you again soon!

Book Details:

Title: Dangerous Reflections

Audience: young adult
Genre: time travel
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Release Date: June 23rd, 2014


Alexis Davenport wants to go home. She hates her new school, her mother for moving her away from her friends, and her father for walking out.
To make matters worse, Alex is haunted by images of strange girls reflected in her mirror. It’s bad enough juggling homework, a relentless bully, boys, and a deadbeat dad; now, she must save the world from an evil presence hell-bent on changing the past – and our futures. Who knew her A+ in history was going to be this important?

Buy links:

Author Bio:
Shay West was born in Longmont, CO and earned a doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical. Dr. West currently lives in Grand Junction, CO with her two cats. When not writing novels, she plays with plushie microbes and teaches biology classes at Colorado Mesa University. She is the author of the Portals of Destiny series and the Adventures of Alexis Davenport series. She has also been published in several anthologies: Battlespace (military scifi), Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior (fundraiser), and Ancient New (steampunk/fantasy).
You can find Dr. West and more of her work at Shay-West.com.

Social Media Links:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book blitz: The V Girl by Mya Robarts

Book & Author Details:

The V Girl
Mya Robarts
Publication date: July 1st 2014
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult

In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love.

Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s rape and kidnapping is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey, a foreign, broody man. Lila does not trust him because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. Aleksey offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.

All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.
This book is recommended for readers over the age of 18 due to strong language and sexual content.
US: http://www.amazon.com/The-Girl-coming-age-story-ebook/dp/B00L6MFXWG
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-coming-age-story-ebook/dp/B00L6MFXWG
Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Girl-coming-age-story-ebook/dp/B00L6MFXWG
Germany: http://www.amazon.de/The-Girl-coming-English-Edition-ebook/dp/B00L6MFXWG
Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/The-Girl-coming-age-story-ebook/dp/B00L6MFXWG
Spain: http://www.amazon.es/The-Girl-coming-English-Edition-ebook/dp/B00L6MFXWG
India: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00L6MFXWG
France: http://www.amazon.fr/Girl-coming-age-story-English-ebook/dp/B00L6MFXWG
Italy: http://www.amazon.it/Girl-coming-age-story-English-ebook/dp/B00L6MFXWG

I am a bookaholic and regret nothing.

I spent years trying to become a contemporary dance choreographer. Eventually I realized that I enjoyed writing my stories rather than creating dances for them.

I am obsessed with books that present damaged characters, swoon worthy guys, controversial topics and happy endings.

Author links: 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Blitz-wide giveaway, Open INTL - Ends July 14th
--3 x eBook copy of The V Girl + 20$ Amazon Gift Card
--3 x T-Shirt + 20$ Amazon Gift Card

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Blog tour (guest post): Dwellers of Darkness by Stacey Marie Brown

As a part of the Dwellers of Darkness blog tour, I had to think of a guest post topic for author Stacie Marie Brown. After a long time of wrecking my brain as to what that should be, here's what I came up with: 
What is the one MUST HAVE theme in every novel? Why?
This is what I got in return:

There are so many themes that are considered important to make a good novel. Theme is crucial to a story. I like to think of a theme as the pulse of the story. Some of the most common are: Acceptance, Courage, Ambition, and Freedom. The list could go on.
Most books have several main ones and even more sub themes running through them. Each reader has a different idea of what themes they hold important and which ones they prefer in the story. Personally, I would have to say I enjoy the theme of Discovery or some kind of growth. A journey. Internal or external. This can be on a grand or a very small scale, but there needs to be some kind of change or development in the plot or in the characters.
Another theme I really find important is love, whether that be for a friend, family, a pet, or lover. Relationships are a crux to a story for me. It can have this action, but if there is no connection to the characters or the characters with each other, then I don’t care about the brilliantly executed action scene. Love adds conflict. It can turn to hate, blind, fades, overcome. Relationships, of some kind, are critical to a story whether the character has any friends or not. The lack of love can be just as interesting.
Loss is another great theme: loss of life, innocence, love, friends. There are so many ways you can write about loss, and usually with loss there is some kind of change from it.
There are so many more themes that are out there, but I feel the main theme running through my Darkness Series is: staying strong and true to yourself.
Okay, now it’s your turn. What themes do you need in a novel?
Upon seeing that question up there - you got it, the last one Stacey dared pose -  I wondered whether I should be giving an answer. I mean, is it rhetorical or is it not? Then I thought, what the dunk - I'll just do it. It's quite simple really. One word, to be honest. And it is..... 
....it is.....
.....the answer is.....
.... okay, that's enough of  holding your attention with dots and empty lines. So I guess to me, the most important theme in fiction (and well, in non-fiction as well, but it's hard to incorporate love in a business-column, now isn't it?) is love. Nothing else could ever be more important. Courage, greed, living life to the fullest... these are all secondary things. Love is the ultimate winner.

So, there Stacey! Wait, now that the ball is back on my side of the court, do I challenge you with another question? Oh, that was a question of itself, wasn't it? *wink*

Book details:

Darkness of Light  by Stacey Marie Brown
(Darkness #1)
Publication date: February 13th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance

Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.

Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.

When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.

Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.

Fire in the Darkness by Stacey Marie Brown
(Darkness #2)
Publication date: August 31st 2013
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance

It's been four weeks since Ember Brycin witnessed what her powers are capable of. The Electrical Current Storm has turned Seattle, Washington into a natural disaster zone. The death toll is in the thousands with countless others homeless and hungry.

And Ember is the one who caused it. Something she will have to live with every day.

Those people who were unable to escape either turned quickly into gangs or live in shelters. Ember, on the other hand, can’t do either. With a price on her head and a Dark Dweller on her ass, she is constantly on the move. Both Light and Dark are hunting her for their own purpose to use her as a weapon or a pawn in the war between the Unseelie King of the Dark and the Seelie Queen of the Light.

Em needs help but doesn’t know who to trust: Lars, the mystery man Torin told her to find? Torin, the Seelie Queen’s personal knight, who has sworn to keep Em safe? Or Eli, who wants to turn her over to the Unseelie King, but whom she has an undeniable, intense connection with?

No matter what she chooses she will probably lose—her life or everything and everyone she loves.

Dwellers of Darkness by Stacey Marie Brown
(Darkness #3)
Publication date: February 27th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance

Some days feel like years, but in Ember Brycin’s case just the opposite is true. She had only been in the Otherworld for a day or two when she returned back to the Earth’s realm. But it is three years later on Earth. Em is now 22. It would matter if she was human, but she’s not. She is a Dae, part Demon and part Fay, with a little Dark Dweller thrown in to make her even more of a freak.

Seeing Seattle rebuilt only confirms she has been gone three years. For her it was not long ago that the Seattle area was just rubble of concrete and death. All done by her hand.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is her undeniable connection to Eli Dragen, who is sexy, gorgeous, and even more volatile and frustrating. But her problems go way past him. The Seelie Queen of the Otherworld still holds Mark, Em’s father, and her friends, Ryan, and Josh as hostages. Em needs to rescue them without, once again, getting caught and being used as a pawn to help the Queen regain possession of Earth. At the same time Ember is in hot water with Lars, the Unseelie King, after breaking her contract with him.

As some secrets have come to light others seem to become even more enigmatic. The only truth Ember knows is,everyone is harboring secrets. As Eli’s past is revealed, Em understands more clearly why he acts the way he does and how much their lives are intertwined. But she also knows Eli is holding something back, something that could change their relationship forever.

Em herself continues to wrestle with her feelings toward Torin and her own secret she’s withholding from Kennedy. As the tension for war mounts between the Seelie and Unseelie (Light and Dark), the tension at the Dark Dweller’s compound mounts even more as they prepare to obtain the sword no matter what the price. But is Ember the answer to the location of the sword? Is she the one to fulfill the prophecy? As usual nothing is ever what it seems.



About the Author
Stacey Marie Brown by day is an Interior/Set Designer, by night a writer of Paranormal Fantasy, Adventure, and Literary Fiction. She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. Even before she could write, she was creating stories and making up intricate fantasies. Writing came as easy as breathing. She later turned that passion into acting, living and traveling abroad, and designing. Though she had never stopped writing, moving back to San Francisco seemed to have brought it back to the forefront and this time it would not be ignored.

When she’s not writing she’s out hiking, spending time with friends, traveling, listening to music, or designing.

Author Links:

Giveaway details: Tour wide giveaway
--First two books in the Darkness series (signed) with tote bag (US only) -see picture above!
--Signed copy of Dwellers of Darkness + pouch (US only) - see picture above!
--5 x eBook copy (any book in series) - INTL

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