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An Appetite For Murder by Lucy Burdette

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hayley Snow's life always revolved around food. But when she applies to be a food critic for a Key West style magazine, she discovers that her new boss would be Kristen Faulkner-the woman Hayley caught in bed with her boyfriend! Hayley thinks things are as bad as they can get-until the police pull her in as a suspect in Kristen's murder. Kristen was killed by a poisoned key lime pie. Now Hayley must find out who used meringue to murder before she takes all the blame.

Goodreads Summary

In this first book in a new series, Hayley Snow – recently transplanted from New Jersey to Key West – attempts to dine and write her way into a food critic position for a newly formed magazine.  Hayley loves quaint, beautiful Key West too much to regret her impulsive decision to move there to live with her cheating boyfriend.  Unfortunately, the magazine owner that she needs to impress is also her ex’s new girlfriend.  To top off all her “good luck”, she becomes the main suspect in the murder of that same woman.   Hayley decides to investigate the murder in order to clear her name despite the fact that she is now being stalked by the killer.

Hayley's character is certainly likable, the reader will connect with her easily and maintain that relationship throughout the novel.  Her quick thinking and wits keep her and the reader one step ahead of the antagonist.  The secondary characters were interesting to get to know, the reader will appreciate the details added to their characters.  The events were fast-paced and easy to follow.  The ending will be both surprising and satisfying.

The author’s descriptions of life on a houseboat, friendly homeless drifters, beautiful flowers, and food that will have you snacking as you read add to the suspense.  Adults will enjoy this mystery; they may be tempted to try the recipes too.

Four stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Closer by Maxine Linnell

Here it is - Closer.

You wouldn’t mess with Mel. She doesn't care about much, but when things go wrong at home, she cares. She has to find out what’s going on. It’s not a choice. And when she does, everything in her life falls apart. And everything has to change.

Closer is a difficult story that needs to be told, and heard, a story about what happens when a dad gets too close. But most of all, it’s a story about Mel – funny, outrageous, emotional, brave. You won’t forget her.

Goodreads Summary

Mel's parents have been fighting lately, mostly about jobs, but their fights continually expand to include other topics including Mel's sister's leaving.  Mel goes about her normal routine for the most part, trying to impress a boy named Raj.  Her whole world revolves around avoiding her family's fights, school, and boy trouble while her sister, Hannah, fades into the background.  Mel stays home from school one day under the guise of feeling sick/sad about her grandmother's recent death and snoops in Hannah's diary.  It is within the diary that she begins to understand her family's dynamics and why Hannah is so unhappy.

Mel's character is easy to relate to.  She acts like a normal teenager, sometimes whiny and sometimes angry.  Her sister, Hannah, and her fight regularly.  Hannah always seems sad and perhaps depressed.  Mel's father is portrayed as being young and somewhat depressed over his job troubles.  The reader will be interested to discover who is the true antagonist in this book.  The other characters are not as focused upon.  Chloe is a good friend to Mel and helps her out when she needs it.  Mel's mother is very argumentative due to stress and misses a few problems within her family that desperately need her attention.

Overall, this book is a quick read and hard to put down.  The author writes from the standpoint of a teenager and actually pulls it off-the reader can completely believe the Mel is the one narrating the story.  The book does touch on difficult subjects and is better suited to young adult/adult readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Treehugger by Kea Alwang

For fourteen-year-old Chloe, planet hopping is a gift. Righting the wrongs of the multiverse on behalf of a mysterious life form is a privilege. Leading a double life has its perks. Being Earth-born, however, simply bites. Chloe knows she will never fit in when high school starts; that’s a given. It’s not like she can reveal her true self and her unusual abilities on Earth anyway. She used to be okay with that, as long as her two best friends were part of her extraterrestrial life, understanding her the way nobody else could. That was before those friends vanished. That was before some jerk displayed her underwear on his head. Now two-thirds short of feeling whole, Chloe becomes an enemy to herself just as a terrifying nemesis threatens to resurface. Can she fight through weakened skills, fearsome flashbacks, and evolving relationships to meet her future head on? Does it really matter what world you’re on when trying to find yourself?

Goodreads Summary

Chloe is the main character in this novel and not quite like the rest of humanity.  She attends high school, but she feels like she is always on the outside looking in, not connected to the rest of her peers.  She understands more than the average human and knows so much more about the universe.  When she thinks about it, she doesn't know why she likes or helps the human race...leading to an intriguing story the reader may find hard to put down. 

As far as science fiction goes, the author does not throw too much information at the reader.  The reader will not be overly confused and will be able to follow the story without checking back too much.  The author does use different terms that are exclusive to the book, they are not hard to pick up though.  The reader will enjoy getting to know Chloe and her friends as they navigate the different issues the book explores.  The events are relatively fast-paced, the reader will keep turning the pages to see what happens next.  The author's way of writing is smooth and will keep the reader interested in the plot.  This book is great for young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

ARC Tour for The Catastrophic History of You and Me! (USA/CAN)

"Inventive, gorgeous, funny and yes . . . heartbreaking. You will absolutely love this book." — Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and Delirium.

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

Goodreads Summary

Leave your blog url and email address if you would like to be part of the ARC tour.  Thank you very much to Heather Rosdol who donated this ARC!

Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix (Outlander Chronicles #1)

Eighty years after a smallpox pandemic decimated the global population, Jacen Chester finds himself the sole survivor of his tiny community, just outside the ruins of Philadelphia. Out of the ashes of the old civilization he determines to build a new one.

The young man encounters a wanderer with a mysterious past, named Hakim, who begins to teach him the arts of leadership, self-defense, and the history of the recent global disaster. Together they gather a small group of people committed to Jacen's vision of the future.

The endeavor is threatened from within by Jacen and Hakim’s own sharp differences, and from without by ruthless groups having a decidedly different view of the future. The two men must grapple with philosophical differences regarding violence and religious tolerance in a world where the margin of survival doesn’t permit mistakes. When catastrophe strikes the growing community, Jacen’s leadership is put to the test.
Goodreads Summary

It must be hard to be one of the only survivors of a small town.  Jacen must decide to put all of the hardships that he has already faced behind him and focus on what is to come.  He determines to try to rebuild the small town.  He runs into other survivors, naturally, and they must work together for one common goal.

The goal is threatened when Jacen and Hakim run into some very large difference of opinion.  Large issues are discussed from religion to the handling of violence-how much is too much?  How should transgressions be handled, does it matter what type of transgression the person committed?  In order to work past these problems, Jacen and Hakim talk it out and leave the reader with a very unusual and philosophical discussion.  The discussion is interesting, especially in the context it is provided, but it can be a little too much sometimes.  The reader may want to just tell the two to figure it out and fast, rather than discussing the issues to death.  However, the book is over-all interesting and an adult readers will likely enjoy the book.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Best of 2011!!! Giveaway Hop! (USA/CAN) ARC of Faerie Ring, Swag, and "Mystery Books"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Faerie Ring (The Faerie Ring #1)

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

I am giving away my ARC of the Faerie Ring.  I loved the inventive, novel idea of The Faerie Ring and the main character, I hope the winner enjoys the book as much as I do!  I will also be throwing in swag and "mystery books" as well :)

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Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Monday, December 26, 2011
My wish is to fall cranium over Converse in dizzy daydream-worthy love.

(If only it were that easy.

Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer—from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She’s left behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.

By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this “summer vacation” has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you’ve watched your parents’ affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you’ve lost it?

Love & Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl’s journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up whole.

Goodreads Summary


What are your meltdowns like? Marcie’s mom drags her from their home in Idaho to New Hampshire when her husband leaves her for a younger man. Her departing from Idaho means leaving her boyfriend and her friends, the “Leftovers,” behind. While in New Hampshire, Marcie gets a new haircut, loses weight, and questions her relationship with her boyfriend. Long distance is rough and all her relationships are strained. Taking care of her mother and trying to adjust to a new school are difficult as well. Marcie feels secluded and too adult. A bright spot in her day is seeing J.D. who brings her breakfast every morning and quickly becomes her best friend in New Hampshire. As time passes, she becomes closer and closer to her and Idaho seems farther and farther away. Marcie does wonder, what happens if she ever returns to Idaho?

Marcie is very dynamic, but often difficult to feel compassion for. Although she is sympathetic, her family collapsed and she is forced into the role of an adult, Marcie makes some bad decisions blatantly and without thought of how her choices affect others. High school, female readers would appreciate Tregay’s work. Because of the subjects discussed, a younger audience might not understand the book. Sarah Tregay wrote Love and Leftovers in free verse as a diary. This style of writing offers a fun look into Marcie’s thought process. Her reactions to situations and emotions are clearly expressed in her poetry. Sarah Tregay’s work earns four stars; I neglect to give the last star because I was able to predict the end of Marcie’s story.          

*Review by Kristin*

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The Book Depository

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

Goodreads Summary

In New Beijing, Cinderella does not dance with Prince Charming in glass, sparkling slippers. Cinder lives in a society plagued by fast and fatal diseases. She is a futuristic Cinderella,a cyborg and mechanic, who has no memories of her past and lives with a cruel stepmother and two stepsisters. Cinder wants to escape; she is tired of giving her stepmother all her money and being belittled and looked down on. Then, before Cinder can flee, her kind, younger stepsister contracts the plague; her stepmother sells her to a team of royal scientists hoping to cure the mysterious disease. 

Dr. Erland, head scientist, discovers that Cinder just may be the cyborg he was looking for. With this discovery, Cinder could be the key to unlocking a cure that would save both her young stepsister Peony and the King of New Beijing. Coming back to the palace would also give Cinder a chance to continue seeing Prince Kai, the kingdom heartthrob who does not know Cinder is cyborg. Even with the potential for all these good things, Cinder senses that Dr. Erland is keeping a secret from her; Queen Levana from the moon is threatening war on all of Earth. 

Smart, funny, and brave, Cinder is noble. She works to protect the people she loves and tries to follow her dreams. Marissa Meyer was extremely creative and wove an intriguing twist on this well known fairytale. Although Meyer’s work follows all the tenets of a Cinderella story, Cinder is completely unique. Ages thirteen and up would definitely enjoy Cinder. The noble heroine and moral issues proposed give readers food for their thoughts. This book is too captivating to put down. Cinder earns five out of five stars for its memorable heroine and Meyer’s creativity.

5 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs

My best friend was more than just a best friend to me. Three words summed it up: I heart him. I’d never tell him though. I wasn’t stupid. Besides, what he’d told no one, but me, was a little something I wished I could forget… or ignore. He was gay. I guess gay wouldn’t be bad if I wasn’t so in love with him. Now it was just cruel.

Stereotypes run amok in this college love story: Parties, alcohol, hookups, and breakups. Alexandria Carmichael may find it a bit much as she deals with the unreturned love from the boy who completes her. When all is revealed, not only does she risk losing her best friend forever, but also herself. Without her childhood companion for support, Alexandria takes a journey of self-discovery but fears what she’ll find at the end.

Goodreads Summary

Alexandria is in love with someone who has no chance of loving her back-at least in the way she would like.  Seth, her best friend, is gay.  Their friendship is sweet, they have been friends for many years and Alexandria does not intend to throw away their friendship over her crush.  Alex knows that Seth is not straight, but she is the only one and is forced to watch the parade of girls that Seth dates more for a show than anything else.  The reader will enjoy understanding the motives behind Seth's actions as well as Alex's thoughts along the way.  Alex's heart is silently breaking, can she move on?

Alex's character is fun.  She can be a little self-pitying, but she is overall a character the reader can connect to.  Seth is a little harder to like as the reader knows he is lying to himself and to others, regardless of the reasons.  The other characters, especially Alex's later on love interests, are interesting and are a tad on the stereotypical side-as the reader was told to expect.  The events were quick, it is college after all, there is a lot to read about and the author covers the most stereotypical aspects of college.  The writing was smooth, the reader isn't left feeling confused.  This book is recommended to young adult/adult readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

The Farsighted Holiday Whirlwind! *Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win $100!*


Announcing the Farsighted Social Media Whirlwind Tour!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Farsighted eBook edition is just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 30th, so you don’t miss out.

To Win the Prizes

  1. Purchase your copy of Farsighted for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!
  5. DOUBLE BONUS: If I receive more comments than any other blogger, *I* win $100.

...And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

The Featured Events include:

Monday, a guest blog on Novel Publicity! Emlyn kicks off the tour on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog by discussing her brightly burning passion for books in a guest post entitled “My journey through the pages and toward a life-long love of reading.” One commenter will win an autographed copy of Farsighted. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of Farsighted is also up for grabs. The winners will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet: Looking for a fun read to round out your holiday break? The paranormal YA hit Farsighted is just 99 cents! #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Stay Farsighted book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Farsighted is also up for grabs. Two chances to win with just one click! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Farsighted book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Farsighted is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Farsighted either in paperback or on an eReading device, then post it to Emlyn Chand’s Facebook page or email a copy to You just way win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the photo with the most interesting setting (so put your holiday travel time to work for you). Another $50 will go the funniest photo, and one more prize of $50 will go the scariest photo—this is a paranormal YA book after all. An autographed copy of Farsighted will go to one randomly selected entrant. For more details about this contest, please visit

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Farsighted: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Farsighted is the winner of the 2011 Dragonfly eBook Awards. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Now please enjoy this exciting excerpt from Farsighted...

“Did Dad tell you? A new tenant moved into the old pharmacy next door.”

“Really?” I ask, not letting on I already know. If I feign ignorance, Mom’ll divulge all the details. “What is it?”

“It’s a psychic shop,” Her voice crackles with excitement like a fire that’s just beginning to burn. “The All-Seeing Miss Teak. Isn’t that cute? Miss Teak, Mystic. Ha, I wonder if that’s her real name.”

I laugh. “That is funny. Never had a psychic in town before. What’s she like?”

“Oh, she’s very friendly. Why don’t you go over and say ‘hi.’ I’m sure she’d like to meet you.”

“Okay, I think I will.” I’m incredibly intrigued, because first off, it’s a psychic shop—how weird is that?—and second, its presence made Dad super uncomfortable—also very cool. I waste no time heading next door to check out the scene.

As I step cautiously into the new shop, a recording of soft, instrumental music greets me. I can make out chimes and a string instrument I don’t recognize but for some reason reminds me of snake charmers. The smell of incense fills my nostrils, which explains the burning I detected earlier.

“Hello?” I call out into the otherwise quiet room.

Nobody answers. I walk in deeper, sweeping my cane out in front of me in a metronome fashion. This place is new to me, so I need to be especially careful while moving around.

Thump! Despite my precautions, I stub my toe on something hard, big, and made of wood. Just my luck to stub the same toe twice in one day. I reach down to press my fingers into my throbbing foot to alleviate some of the pain. Something teeters before rolling off of the chest and across the floor; the sound it makes indicates a curved path. Suddenly, the object stops. Somebody’s stopped it.

“Hello?” I call again.

“Hello,” a deep, feminine voice responds, placing more emphasis on the first syllable than the second.

“I- I’m sorry I knocked that thing over. I didn’t mean to…” I hope she’s not angry. Probably not a good idea to get on a psychic’s bad side.

“That wasn’t just a thing, it’s a crystal ball,” she says as she walks over, sending my blood pulsing through my veins. I sense her looking at me for a moment before she places the ball back on top of the chest.

“Can it see the future?” I ask, allowing my curiosity to outweigh my uneasiness.

“No.” After a pause lasting several beats, she continues. “But I can see the future sometimes when I look into it.”

“Oh, okay.” I tighten my hand around my cane and turn to leave. It may not be the most polite thing to do, but all of this hocus-pocus stuff is freaking me out more than I would’ve guessed.

The psychic lady speaks again, stopping me cold. “Don’t run away, Alex Kosmitoras.” She must’ve spoken to Mom earlier today. That must be how she knows my name.

“I’m not running away,” I say meekly. “I’m just going back over to Sweet Blossoms.”

“Don’t run away,” she repeats—this time she speaks louder and with more energy. “Don’t run away from your abilities. They are gifts.”

“What?” I ask in confusion. What abilities is she talking about?

“You already know. Watch. Listen. Be open to your gifts.”

I turn to face Miss Teak, but find she’s already gone, returning to wherever she was before I got there.

Is it safe to leave? I trail my fingers across the wooden box I ran into earlier; a thick coat of dust clings to the tips as I pull away. If this shop just opened, why is it already so dirty? I wipe my hands over my shirt to get the gritty substance off. Shivers rock my whole body. Something about this place is wrong, and I’m not sticking around to figure out what. Tapping my cane along the floor, I’m able to find the exit without knocking into anything else.

ARC Giveaway! (USA/CAN) and SWAG Giveaway (INT)

What can you win?


-Bookmarks of Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe, The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard, NoJack Turning Back by Deanna Jewel, Lara Adrian, Simone Elkeles, Shelley Workinger, Erin Quinn, Jennifer LaBelle, Jackie Gamber, The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton, The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner, Flame of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille, Karen Arnpriester, Truth & Dare, Try Not To Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard

-Couple of Small Pins (book related)

-Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed bracelet and lipgloss

-Sweet Venom sticker, Temporary Tattoos (book related), Postcards from books

-If I can fit it in: The Fear Test CD from Dark Eden

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Interview with Author Elise Stephens!

  1. What was your inspiration behind the story?

I’ve been in love with Greek myths since I was about thirteen years old, and I’ve been retelling them for years. One of my favorite novels is “Till We Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis, which deals with the same myth, but it wasn’t until I discovered the second half of Cupid and Psyche’s story (the part where Psyche goes on a quest to find her husband and battle against her mother-in-law) that I got this fire in my chest and thought, “Oh my gosh, that would be a great novel!”

  1. Who was the hardest character to write about and why?

Kestrin was toughest. He has a reckless “hell-if-I-care” attitude about a lot of things, but he’s also sensitive, thoughtful, and a bit tortured. I knew who he was almost immediately, but creating why, the history with his parents and his past was tough for me.

  1. What are your favorite qualities concerning the two main characters?

I love how stubborn Lorona is. When she decides she’s going to do something, she does it. I love that she doesn’t settle, and that she’s willing to take the more difficult road if she thinks it’s the right thing.

I love how passionate Kestrin is and how he uses Lorona as his inspiration to resist the charms of people who used to overpower him. I especially love how he accepts the challenge to be a man from his friend, Kahlil, but how he still wrestles with it all the way to the end.

  1. Do you have any specific inspiration for your characters?

I often start with real people and mix them with personality types that add drama, humor, and color.

I’ve been told that Yuki and Lorona behave a heck of a lot like my best friend and me. Kestrin is inspired by a friend of mine from college. Kestrin’s aunt, Carlina, is hugely drawn from my own mother, and Kahlil’s Lebanese culture is rooted in my own experience with having a father who was born in Lebanon.

I go into detail on my character inspirations here.

  1. Give the readers five reasons why they should pick up your book.

If you like:
…quests where the girl is the hero
…modern-day drama in young relationships
…love stories with mistakes and second-chances

Then you will love “Moonlight and Oranges.”

  1. Did you have a say in that gorgeous cover?

I did! My publisher is awesome in that they let me steer the cover art in the direction that made me most excited. They weighed in with comments on how to improve it, but I still chose most of the elements. My cover designer was Isaiah Qualls. He’s been a friend of my family’s for a long time.

  1. Which quote from the book do you think represents the plot the best?

This is a quote taken from the fortune teller who Lorona sees at a carnival:
“I don’t need to see your lines to know this. It’s written all over your face. If you love him, and I can see that you do, you’ll need to pass the tests that were written before you were born.”
  1. Can you give us a sneak peak on your next book?

My current project is an urban fantasy. A fifteen year old boy discovers a magic door that gives him sight into the future and, he hopes, the ability to face his abusive father.

It’s very different in scope and tone from “Moonlight and Oranges,” and so far, it’s been a blast to write! Editing is always the most daunting beast for me.

  1. What is your favorite part of being a writer?

I love the thrill of writing a story, and knowing in my blood that I just wrote something really good. It doesn’t happen for every story, or even for every scene, but when I get that “zing” in my chest after I lift the pen from the final line, the feeling is huge (and I confess, I’m addicted to that high). My favorite thing after the writing high is knowing when one of my stories has warmed the heart of someone. It’s amazing to know that I’m impacting real people.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

The book was originally called “Pierced Art,” which I thought was a cool way of talking about the beauty of imperfections in a relationship. The old title also sounded like “Pierced Heart” which alluded to Cupid from Greek myth, but it just wasn’t working. When I chose two objects that were strong themes for both Kestrin and Lorona, “Moonlight and Oranges,” I thought it would make a good, evocative image to someone who read the title.

Mid-Winter's Eve Blog Hop!

YAY!  Tha Holidays are almost here and it is time for another blog hop!  Thank you for stopping by my blog and Happy Holidays!

What can you win? One choice from these books!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Saturday, December 24, 2011
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers abarbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY

The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure.

Goodreads Summary

*slight spoilers*

    Aria has spent her entire life in a false reality. She prowls computer generated “Realms” through a device known as a “Smarteye” with her friends because real life holds no pleasure. Since the Aether arrived, a strange electrical mist that explodes in storms, humans have had to retreat to domes in order to survive. The land outside the domes is known as the Death Shop and is the home of the Outsiders, savages who sometimes possess advanced senses of smell, sight, or hearing. Realms provide a sense of freedom and allow Aria to travel anywhere at any time in history. Realms allow communication, as well. Aria is still able to sing for and speak to her mother, Lumina, digitally. Lumina was forced to leave Reverie, the dome they lived in together, for her work. Bliss, the dome where Aria’s mother worked, was damaged during an Aether storm and Aria has not spoken to her for several weeks.  

    When a desperate attempt to contact her mother goes horribly wrong, Aria is saved by an Outsider. Perry, the Outsider boy who saved Aria, is on a mission of his own. Perry’s nephew Talon has fallen prey to a disease that will eventually end his life. Trying to find a cure for the malady that is slowly killing Talon led Perry to the dome and Aria. Suddenly, life is turned upside down. Talon is kidnapped by the dome dwellers of Reverie and Aria is abandoned to the Death Shop as punishment for the crimes she committed when trying to speak to her mother. Perry and Aria are forced together to reach their separate goals; finding Lumina and saving Talon from Reverie.

    Opening Veronica Rossi’s novel, Under the Never Sky, is akin with falling into a new world. Rossi’s language and style is inviting and detailed. Every character has a face, personality, and history. Ages 14+ and any gender would love this book because of the exciting plot line and interesting characters. I give Rossi’s work five out of five stars. Time used reading Under the Never Sky is time well spent!       

5 Stars

*Reviewed by Kristin*

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12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn by James Proimos

It’s Wes Anderson meets Holden Caufield in this wry and funny novel about a boy who is sent to live with his uncle when his father (a bestselling self-help author) dies.

James “Hercules” Martino has until the end of the summer (a.k.a. two weeks) to accomplish the twelve tasks given to him by his Uncle Anthony. The tasks will take him to the far reaches of Baltimore, lead him to a Beautiful and Unattainable Women, and change the way he sees his past, present and future.

Goodreads Summary

When James' father passes away, he is sent to live with his Uncle Anthony.  Along the way, he sits on a train next to this beautiful girl he determines is someone he wants to date.  When he finds her Winnie the Pooh book left behind, he knows he must return the book.  His Uncle Anthony has a unique way of helping him deal with his "grief" and tasks him with a list of twelve to-dos.  Anthony begins at the beginning and slowly makes his way through the list, some by accident and some by seeking the action or person out.

James is an interesting character.  He is sullen, stubborn, and determined.  He is a bit blind when it comes to girls and has a very interesting social life while with his Uncle.  His Uncle Anthony is a different character.  He has some secrets that he reveals to James later on in the book that will give the reader that "Aha" moment.  The other characters affect James and his development in the book, but do not feature majorly. 

The events were interesting, the concept was far from the typical.  The reader will enjoy James' sarcastic, caustic nature and take on life.  The ending is perfect, the reader will be happy he/she read the book.  This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Fury's Fire by Lisa Papademetriou

At the end of Siren's Storm, the Sirens were defeated, and now the town of Walfang is once again a peaceful beach community.

Or is it? Gretchen and Will are still haunted by the memories of the night the Sirens were destroyed—Gretchen because she can't remember what happened and Will because he doesn't know how to tell Gretchen what he saw. He doesn't even understand what he saw, but he does know now that Gretchen is more than what she seems, more than a human girl. And at the same time, he is more in love with her than ever.

Gretchen knows there's something wrong, too. She feels like an alien in her own body, but she doesn't know why. And she feels a presence stalking her at every turn. Have the Sirens returned to Walfang? Or has some other force come to claim her?

From the Hardcover edition.

Goodreads Summary

Gretchen and Will are sort of at odds in this book.  Gretchen has no idea what transpired the fateful night where they "battled" the sirens and Will doesn't know what to tell her that won't scare her too much.  Will knows Gretchen is not merely human, but he still doesn't know what she is.  They still are not free of the sirens, there are plenty of siren scenes for the reader to look forward to.  Is Asia really gone?  Who actually killed the sirens? 

Gretchen's character is mostly the same, she has matured a little bit.  Half the time, she's annoying as she continually feels off and lets the reader know about it constantly.  Will's character hasn't changed much either.  He is still protective of Gretchen and clearly loves her.  Their relationship develops more in this book, the reader will enjoying seeing their relationship grow.  There are a few new secondary characters in this book, but the main characters are definitely the focus.  When a few older character reappear, Gretchen and Will have to decide who to trust and who to keep a wary eye on.   This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

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Lucky by Craig Inglis, Illustrated by Richard Kinsey

Can  a terrier named Lucky bounce back from some bad luck? "Lucky",the illustrated children's book by Craig Inglis is a puppy tale any child will love-- and will also learn about overcoming even the most serious disability to find happiness again. With an easy-to-read story and beautiful illustrations by Richard Kinsey, this uplifting, enlightening picture book is targeted for chidren seven years or younger,but is certain to capture the heart of children of all ages. "Lucky" shares the tale of a man who feels like something is missing in his life. He decides to get a dog and names him Lucky. Together, the man and Lucky have a great life. The man teaches Lucky tricks, and they go for walks. All the fun stops when Lucky runs into some very bad luck. Gentle and playful, "Lucky" shows children that they can overcome even the most challenging of problems with the love of friends and with plenty of determination. Positive and joyful, this highly original,instructive book will spark animal lovers everywhere, and show children the power of positive thinking in difficult times,such as a life-chaning physical disability,through the triumphant sory of a lovable,plucky dog named Lucky.
Goodreads Summary

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 Perseverance and effort create success. Young children need to learn the good produced by these virtues and story time reading of Lucky will help. Adopting Lucky, a terrier dog, from an animal shelter was one of the best decisions the main character of the story ever makes. Then, Lucky is struck by a car. Lucky must undergo an amputation surgery and loses a front leg. Will Lucky recover? Love is enough to overcome Lucky’s handicap. Life is still wonderful and Lucky’s master never stops loving his pet.   

    This children’s book is filled with good lessons. From the beginning, only loving acts and the products of effort are shown. One example of caring is Lucky’s master adopting Lucky. The goodness that comes from work is shown by Lucky and his master training and learning tricks. When tragedy occurs, Lucky does not cower or stop trying. After losing a limb, Lucky immediately begins relearning how to move and is soon able to perform all his previous tricks and a new one.  

    Simple language and friendly pictures indicate that this book is meant for a young audience. Children can best appreciate Lucky. Small readers from age’s three to seven will learn and love to read Lucky. The colorful illustrations and short sentences will keep a child’s interest and maybe encourage independent reading. Parents should read this book with their children and encourage them to be like Lucky and his master. This picture book deserves five out of five stars. An excellent message, good storyline, and interest-capturing pictures merit recognition.  

5 Stars

*Review by Kristin*

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.
She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.
In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.
Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.

Goodreads Summary

Myfanwy's life is complicated.  She tells her tale via letters and a body that she apparently inhabits.  She discovers that she has not really lost her memory, but shifted to another body.  She left herself letters detailing how to keep herself safe and is able to learn about the events that led up to this point in time.  The reader will enjoy learning about Myfanwy alongside Myfanwy in possibly the best way to get to know a main character an author has ever crafted.  Myfanwy is in danger, but she can try to prevent any impending harm by reading the letters quickly.

The author creates a different world where the characters are not quite who they appear to be and one must always be on his/her toes to stay alive.  Myfanwy goes from uncertain to organized very quickly, her character is one of those rare strong female characters.  The other characters on not focused upon as much, but the reader does get two sides to Myfanwy-the organized, more out-spoken Myfanwy and the less charismatic, worn Myfanwy of the letters.  The events of this book were fast-paced and innovative, there were a few scenes that the reader will remember until the end of the book and be happy for it.  This book is recommended to young adult/adult readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.