Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 Review: Clockwise by Elle Strauss

Title: Clockwise
Author: Elle Strauss
Publisher: ESB Publishing
Publication Date: November 21, 2011
ebook
ISBN: 978-0-98780783-0
Genre: Paranormal, time travel, young adult
Source: from Author

Summary,
Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this --she’s accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward.Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just “brotherly” protectiveness?

My thoughts:
Clockwise by Elle Strauss is a wonderful story about an extraordinary girl named Casey Donovan who can time travel. However as cool as that sounds she can't go anywhere she wants to. She travels back to a specific place around the same time, the 1800's. The only other person who knows of her ability is her best friend, Lucinda. In fact when Casey time travels, no matter how many days she's gone, only a few seconds pass in real time. The only evidence that anything happened to Casey is the dark circles under her eyes.
Casey is a very strong character. She thinks fast on her feet. She's smart and empathetic to others and the girl has some pretty impressive skills.  Her home life is a bit more troublesome. Her parents are on the verge of getting a divorce, her brother is getting into trouble, and the guy she has a huge crush on, Nate, doesn't even knows she exists until she accidentally takes him with her to the 1800's. Nate's reaction is to the whole event is funny. At first Nate is a big jerk. I couldn't understand why Casey would like him other than because he's hot. However as the story progressed, Nate's character really shines.
One of the impressive things about this book is the historical element. Nate and Casey spend a lot of time in to the 1800's where everything is so unlike what the characters are used to. Elle Staruss captures the essence of the time period. Clockwise is a captivating tale that will leave you wanting more. I enjoyed every minute of it.  I have to say the ending surprised me. I did not see it coming. I definitely will be reading the sequel.
My rating:
Follow Elle Strauss on 

  - As a gift to everyone that comments on this tour post, Elle has graciously offered to give each and every commenter a copy of the sequel to Clockwise, Clockwiser. However, there is one condition: You must "like" Elle's Facebook page and come back here and leave a comment with your facebook name and email address. (link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Elle-Strauss-Author/221066947958466). If you have any questions or concerns please email me by clicking the little envelope at the top of the right sidebar.



Friday, March 30, 2012

0 Free Friday and Saturday from Knox Robinson Publishing


In the midst of the Great Depression, one man must do battle against corruption with nothing but his wits and a host of great literary figures…

Amos Jansen is merely a clerk. He is not a crime fighter, the next great writer, or a man of privilege. He is the humble employee of a Chicago literary society. That is, until he is arrested for murder.

The scapegoat of a perfidious lieutenant, Jansen stands wrongly accused while his idols rally around him. Literary personalities the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Nelson Algren, and H.L. Mencken, as well as civil liberties war-horse Clarence Darrow, join Amos in his search for the real murderer of both the society's vice-chairman and his own father.

Will the pen prove mightier than the sword? Will mercenary police, politicians and money-barons meet with justice? Or will Jansen fail to solve the mystery and wind up literally dead?

Here are the links to the novel in the Kindle Store:

Amazon.co.uk
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Literally-Dead-ebook/dp/B005KD7VA4/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1332945333&sr=8-22

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Literally-Dead-ebook/dp/B005KD7VA4/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=A7B2F8DUJ88VZ&qid=1332945376&sr=8-6

2 The King's Agent Virtual Book Tour: Donno Russo Morin Guest Post and Give@way





THE CONTROVERSY OF THE KING’S AGENT
Battista della Palla, the lead character in The King’s Agent, was a real man, born in Florence in 1489. During his full and prodigious life, he spent many years at the French court, forming an unbreakable bond with King Francois I and his sister Marguerite, one predicated, in part, on their mutual love of art. What became of that friendship is a role Battista would accept as his own for the rest of his life, that of Francois’ art agent, instructed to procure work by the Italian masters that Francois craved at any cost. In exchange, Francois promised Battista his sword—his military might—should Battista’s homeland of Florence ever require it. Battista fulfilled Francois’ requests, most every one of them, most often by nimble pilfering when legal acquisition failed him. In consequence, Francois I and his art agent Battista della Palla could easily be touted as the men directly responsible for what we now call one of the greatest museums in the world, the Louvre. Therefore, with a valid logical syllogism, it can be said that this astounding collection, visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year, began with stolen art.
All of the above is true, but it is not the greatest controversy proposed in The King’s Agent. Not by a long shot.
In The King’s Agent, Battista is commissioned with yet another acquisition by the King of France, but this one is like no other. Even the directive itself—the message of instruction—is couched in vague language and dictates that Battista find him an ancient relic, one crafted in the age of the Greek gods, before the time of Jesus, a relic which, “is said to possess the power I need to reign victorious.”  This is but the beginning of the most bizarre quest Battista and his banda (band of men) have ever endured.
The trouble begins with the path to the relic, one whose stepping stones are laid with clues in the great art of the age. The quest itself is many layered, one painting must be found, which will lead to a triptych—a grouping of three paintings that create a single image—that will then lead to the relic. The discussion and search for these paintings, leads the art connoisseurs (for thieves they may be, but art experts they were first) to an exposure of paintings unlike any others they have seen; paintings which include symbolism of unearthly life. As outlandish as the notion may seem, it is not one of my imagination’s device, but one revealed to me during my research.
For the information in the remainder of this blog, I ask not belief, only the belief in possibility. I will not make a thesis on the support of ancient astronauts, but have chosen merely to accentuate works that may be used in evidence of such.
In an effort to stray from any spoilers, I will discuss the paintings highlighted in The King’s Agent out of context. To see how they affect the story, will take a reading of the work itself.
The painting that has, more than any other, sparked discussion among ufologists—and one of the first to make an appearance in The King’s Agent’s is Madonna col Bambino e San Giovannino  (The Madonna with Child and Saint John). The painting hangs in the government palace in Florence—the Palazzo Vecchio—and is most often attributed to Sebastiano Mainardi. It is the image in the top left corner that is the most intriguing…the hardest to explain, an image that one might call an ‘air ship’.
Impressions to note when studying this painting include the man and the dog on the far hill, both with eyes attentively pointed upward toward the apparition. In an article written in 1996 by Daniele Bedini (an expert in Design Space and Space Technology, an instructor at The Royal College of Art (London), ISU (Strasbourg), and the IED (Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome) and published in Notiziario UFO, Bedini wrote, “we clearly see the presence of an airborne object leaden in color and inclined to port, sporting a "dome" or "turret", apparently identifiable as an oval-shaped moving flying device.”
In other journals, it is also theorized that the placement of Mary in relation to the two babies and the unidentifiable object is as a protector, to keep each from seeing and the other.
The next work is my personal favorite, not for its connection to the subject matter but for its composition and color. The Annunciation was painted by Carlo Crivelli in 1486. Unlike the hundreds, actually thousands, of other paintings dealing with the same theme, one of the most popular in all of religious art, Crivelli’s annunciation—by definition, the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary of her conception of Christ—is committed not by an angel, but by a disc shaped object in the sky casting a beam of light down upon Mary on Earth. There is a great deal more activity taking place in this painting, people pointing at the main activity, and more cryptic symbolism whose meaning seems to have been lost. Crivelli’s Annunciation hangs in the National Gallery in London.
In The Bible and Flying Saucers (Avon Books, 1978) author Barry H. Downing wrote, “Where did this UFO come from, according to the Biblical account? The heavens were ‘opened' and the Spirit seems to have descended from this 'opening.' This idea of an 'opening' represents an example of the 'mythological' expression...The 'opening' represents an example of the Bible cosmology...The 'opening' suggests that in our 'three-decker universe' a 'door' leads from our world below to the world above where the angels live in heaven.”
Rows of round, hovering objects fill the sky in The Miracle of the Snow: Foundation of Santa Maria Maggiore by Masolino da Panicale, which hangs in the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy. The work was originally part of the altar painting for the Church of Saint Mary in Rome. It reminds me of nothing so much as an early Renaissance rendition of Orwell’s War of the Worlds. The painting depicts Jesus and Mary hovering above the Earth on a very solid type of cloud, lenticular clouds in fact, those that are flat and circular, and accompanied by an armada of the same type of saucer-like objects stretching back beyond the horizon.
The original legend of this painting reads that in Rome sometime in the 4th century, during the reign of Pope Liberius (352-366), both the Pope and the Patrician Giovanni Patrizio were visited by an apparition of the Virgin Mary during which she entreated them to build a church in her honor and that they would know the location of where the church should be when they awoke the next morning.
The next morning—a hot summer morning—on Esquino Hill, the outline of the church lay on the ground in snow. Despite the heat, the snow lines remained until the church was staked, when it quickly melted.
To reiterate, I did not want to reveal what part these very real works of art play in The King’s Agent in order to maintain the integrity of the unique story.

The amount of information on extraterrestrials, more prodigiously known as ancient astronauts, is overwhelming (and not just from those society might label as ‘quacks’, but from some of the greatest, most educated, intelligent, and reputed minds of our time). And though it plays a minor part of a complex story, the particular notion that evidence of alien existence can be found in profusion throughout the art of man throughout time, is but one of the inspirations in my writing of The King’s Agent, but without question, the most controversial of them all.

About the author:

Donna Russo Morin was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1958. Her writing endeavors began at age six and covered such timely topics as The Pink Pussy Cat for President and The   Numbers 2 and 4 are in Love.
Traveling through adolescence on the wings of the ‘60s gave Donna a lot of grist for her writing   mill. Feminism, civil rights, the Vietnam War were all a disturbing yet highly motivating muse.   Donna found her voice in fiction and with the appearance of a new horror writer on the book scene, a little known author named Stephen King, she turned her pen to the gruesome and the grotesque.
After graduating from the University of Rhode Island, Donna worked in marketing and advertising for large corporations and small non-profit arts organizations. When she had her children, she knew with a certainty that she needed to show them, by example, that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.
In addition to writing and teaching writing, Donna has worked as a model and actor since the age of seventeen, when she did her first television commercial for Sears. Since then she has appeared in more than thirty television spots and print ads, everything from changing the oil in her car (that was acting) to modeling fur coats. She also appeared in three episodes of Showtime’s THE BROTHERHOOD, as well as in Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED.
Donna lives peacefully, close to the beautiful shoreline of Rhode Island that she loves so much, with her two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.

Check out the rest of the tour by clicking here.

Giveaway
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
This giveaway is for US addresses only





Thursday, March 29, 2012

1 Rebecca Weinstein Guest Post and Give@way


The YA Genre Boom

On one of my last visits to the local bookstore, I realized with pleasure that the Young Adult genre had experienced so much growth that it required not only its own section in the store, but within that section, rows and rows of books in their own individual subsections. Gone are the days of children's, history, cooking, language, and travel sections. Here are the days of Young Adult Horror, Young Adult Non-Fiction, and Young Adult Paranormal Romance—subgenres wholly separate from the children's section.

In the 1800's and early 1900's, there was no Young Adult genre. There were some children's books, and there were some books that were written with a young protagonist but were aimed at an adult audience. Novels such as Oliver Twist, Huckleberry Finn, and Kidnapped appealed to younger readers, but were intended for adults. Indeed, most novels read by young readers in that time period were those written for, about, and by adults. There were very few novels geared toward the young adult reader. It wasn't until the 1920's that more novelists geared their novels toward younger readers, but the genre specifically known as YA had yet to emerge.

J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (1951) is claimed by many critics to be the first true Young Adult novel, however, it too, was written for an adult audience. It wasn't until the 1950's to 1960's that a true Young Adult genre emerged in the classification system. By then, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were making their way onto young adult shelves everywhere. But it wasn't until the late 1970's and into the 1980's that the Young Adult genre really took off. Youths wanted to read more content that pertained to their lives, not perfect teens who solved mysteries in their spare time. The writing got edgier, more realistic, and more dramatic with themes such as drug use, sexuality, and teenage pregnancy. True, there still were book series like Sweet Valley High or Goosebumps, but there were also books like The Pigman, Annie on My Mind, Junk, and Speak.

At the end of the 20th century and into the 21st, the Young Adult genre came into its own. With well-received series such as Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games, the genre experienced a major boom, hence those rows and rows of YA subgenre shelves I now see in my local bookstore. When the YA genre first took off who could imagine that there would one day be so many books published under the Young Adult Paranormal Romance subgenre that it would warrant its own section of the bookstore? And yet, there it is. From Switched to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the YA section keeps growing with the addition of more and more talented authors and a wider variety of novels, and may one day outpace adult fiction. For my sake as a reader as well as a YA author, I certainly hope it does.

* * *

Rebecca is the author of Nashoga and Blood Moon (The Redstone Series 1 & 2), Seraphim, Amazon, and Dexter By A Nose. She has a profound love for reading and art, being not only an author but also the cover artist for her novels. She is currently working on The Redstone Series #3, due out late spring 2012, and Amazon's sequel, Antiquity.

When not writing, she can be found at one of the lovely New Jersey beaches, enjoying all things Japanese with her teenage daughter, cooking or blogging about said cooking, or getting beaten up by her two pesky rabbits.


Links:

Nashoga (Redstone Series #1) on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Nashoga-The-Redstone-Series-ebook/dp/B004XD8OPS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332809251&sr=8-1

My Amazon Profile Page:
http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Weinstein/e/B0050WSCQW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Contact Details

Rebecca Weinstein has generously offered to giveaway 5 ecopies (any format) of her novel, Nashoga (The Redstone Series #1) to my readers.

Summary:
Nashoga, the alpha of the Redstone Pack, has been run off. While in exile, Nashoga meets Buck, an elk with an attitude, and the two are thrust into a dire situation. Will the two be at each others' throats or will they learn to work together to defeat this new threat? Will Nashoga reunite with his pack and his love? Only time will tell in this story of power struggles, love and friendship.

To enter: 
You must be at least 13 years old
You must fill out the form below


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3 A Girl Named Willow Krimble Give@way

A while ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing A Girl Named Willow Krimble by Giuseppe Bianco. You can read my review here.  You can read Willow's story for FREE at http://www.willowkrimble.com/ Giuseppe Bianco sent me a few signed postcards of his book and I want to share them with my readers. I'm also going to giveaway my gently read signed copy of A Girl Named Willow Krimble.


There will be two winners for this giveaway. The grand prize will be a paperback copy of A Girl Named Willow Krimble and a signed postcard. The second winner will receive a signed postcard.

This giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only.
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
You must fill out the form below.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1 Review: A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

Title: A Breath or Eyre
Author: Eve Marie Mont
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Paperback, 342 pages

ISBN-13:978-0-7582-6948-5
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Publisher 


Summary: 
Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre… 


My thoughts:
A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont is a coming of age story about a girl named Emma. Emma is a bit of a loner. She lives with her dad and step-mom, with whom she feels she has little in common. She also attends a prestigious prep school on scholarship. This doesn't make her very popular with the queen bee on campus who makes it her mission in life to make her chosen 'pet' as miserable as possible. Unfortunately for Emma this year's 'pet' is her roommate, Michelle. Michelle is also a scholarship student and she feels vastly out of place. She is very talented and brave but has some anger issues. Emma also has some major boy trouble. She has a crush on her English Teacher but also has love/hate feelings for her longtime friend, Gray Newman. 
Emma receives her mom's old copy of Jane Eyre for her birthday and serendipitously decides to write a paper on Jane. However things get crazy when Emma is transported into Jane Eyre and becomes none other than Jane herself. The lessons Emma learns as Jane applies to her own life as well. These lessons help her deal with the past as well as the present. The situation though different have similarities. Emma starts to doubt Jane's choices as well as her own. 
Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books of all time. So of course this book would interest me.  Eve Marie Mont did a great job translating the classic story while also making it modern. Mont points out that we have a lot we can learn, good and bad, from literature. Overall this was a great read. I enjoyed both sides of the story, Jane and Emma's. A Breath of Eyre also made me look at Jane Eyre in a different light as well.  A Breath of Eyre really is a breath of fresh Eyre.  
My rating:
Check out more about Eve Marie Mont
Website | Facebook | twitter | Blog


Add this book to your GoodReads shelf:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3517421.Eve_Marie_Mont









  

Monday, March 26, 2012

0 Review: The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin

Title: The King's Agent
Author: Donna Russo Morin
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
paperback arc, 411 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7582-4682-0
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Tours

Summary:
As the cloistered ward of the Marquess of Mantua, Lady Aurelia is a woman with a profound duty, and a longing for adventure. In search of a relic intended for the King of France, Battista and Aurelia cross the breathtaking landscape of Renaissance Italy. Clues hide in great works of art, political forces collide, secret societies and enemies abound, and danger lurks in every challenge, those that mirror the passages of Dante's Divine Comedy. It is an adventurous quest with undercurrents of the supernatural, powers that could change the balance of supremacy throughout Europe.


My thoughts:
The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin is a historical fiction novel set during the 16th century in Italy. It is based on the real life art thief, Battista della Palla. Battista works for The King of France, Francois I. During a trip to 'acquire' a particular piece of art he runs into Aurelia. Aurelia has lived a very sheltered and mysterious life. She helps Battista escape with the condition that she accompany him.  Battista is desperate so he agrees. Battista and Aurelia have great chemistry from the beginning of the book. 
Battista takes Aurelia home with him. Aurelia won't sit back and stay at home. She wants to help Battista solve an artistic mystery that might help France. Together, with the help of Battista's lively crew, and a poem by the infamous Dante, they traipse across Italy on an adventure of a life time. Battista is charming, loyal, and clever. Aurelia is an intriguing character. The way her character unfolds during this novel is compelling. This story has quite a handful of characters including Battista's loyal friends. 
The King's Agent is a cross between the Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones with endearing characters that will captivate you. The Italian landscape makes a perfect backdrop to this book.  It has everything from adventure to romance. The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin is very entertaining. It is an epic adventure that was a joy to read. 
My rating:
Follow Donna Russo Morin:




Check out the complete tour schedule here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

0 Check out these two great excerpts


Check out these excerpts from, The Winter Palace, A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak and Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon.


The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak (Excerpt) WIFE 22 by Melanie Gideon (Excerpt)

Friday, March 23, 2012

0 Free this weekend.......


This weekend (March 23-24), 'Vengeance Thwarted', the first novel in Prue Phillipson's Restoration trilogy 'The Hordens of Horden Hall', will be available as a free download in the Amazon Kindle store.



What if the one you love is also the one you are sworn to kill?

Northumberland, 1640. Arabella 'Bel' Horden is a mischievous, pugnacious thirteen-year-old. The youngest daughter of a Northumbrian squire and magistrate, she is wracked by guilt after a careless haystack fire leads to the wrongful hanging of an English army deserter. Sent to boarding school in Yorkshire after another unbecoming act of disobedience, Bel blossoms into a beautiful and quick-witted young woman. Nathaniel 'Nat' Wilson is ill with fever when his twin brother, Daniel, is falsely accused and hung for the fire started by Bel. Accursed by his mother for the tragedy, he is reluctantly sworn to vengeance against the Horden family. A peace-loving boy, Nat temporarily escapes his mother's maddened demands through pursuit of his studies in Cambridge. Years after the violence that first juxtaposed their lives, Bel and Nat's paths finally cross when Nat arrives in Northumberland to discover what he can of the Horden family and their role in his brother's unfortunate death. As a second Scots invasion sends the land into chaos, will love triumph as vengeance is thwarted?

Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/Vengeance-Thwarted-ebook/dp/B00557T7VG/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&qid=1332408739&sr=8-19

Amazon.co.uk - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vengeance-Thwarted-ebook/dp/B00557T7VG/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1332408787&sr=8-16

0 Review: Baby Lit Books by Jennifer Adams

Title: Alice In Wonderland: A Colors Primer Book
Author: Jennifer Adams
Artist: Alison Oliver
Publisher: Gibbs Smith Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Board Book, 22 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4236-2477-6
Genre: Childrens
Source: From Publisher




Title: Little Miss Bronte, Jane Eyre: A Counting Primer
Author: Jennifer Adams
Artist: Alison Oliver
Publisher: Gibbs Smith Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Board Book, 22 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4236-2474-5
Genre: Childrens
Source: From Publisher


How cute are these books? Seriously! Baby Lit Books take these well known classics and turn them into something that every baby would love. The pictures are bursting with character and color. They teach counting and colors. Reading this book  to your child will give them their first introduction to classic literature but in a very fun way. The Baby Lit series includes: Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet, and Pride and Prejudice. I only wish that this series was available when my kids were babies. These books are adorable. 
My rating:


Thursday, March 22, 2012

0 Now Available: Chrysanthe

Chrysanthe
by Yves Meynard
Available at Amazon

Christine, the princess and heir to the real world of Chrysanthe, is kidnapped as a small child by a powerful magician and exiled in a Made World that is a version of our present reality. In exile, supervised by her strict "uncle"(actually a wizard in disguise), she undergoes bogus memory recovery therapy, through which she is forced to remember childhood rape and abuse by her parents and others. She is terribly stunted emotionally by this terrifying plot, but at seventeen discovers it is all a lie. Christine escapes with a rescuer, Sir Quentin, a knight from Chrysanthe, in a thrilling chase across realities.


Once home, the magical standoff caused by her exile is broken, and a war begins, in spite of the best efforts of her father, the king, and his wizard, Melogian. And that war, which takes up nearly the last third of the work, is a marvel of magical invention and terror, a battle between good and evil forces that resounds with echoes of the great battles of fantasy literature.




4 Eve Marie Mont Interview and Give@way

I am so thrilled today to have Eve Marie Mont on today. I'm really excited about the release of her novel, A Breath of Eyre.



What inspired you to write A Breath of Eyre?

Ever since I first read Jane Eyre in eleventh grade, it has remained my favorite book, one I return to again and again and that never loses its fascination for me. I’ve never found another story with such a restrained yet passionate romance. And Jane is the ultimate heroine: strong, intelligent, moral, and unafraid to speak her mind. I knew I wanted my protagonist, Emma, to step into her shoes as she awakens to first love and discovers her own strength of character. Thornfield and the rugged moors beyond provide the perfect backdrop, and then, of course, there’s Rochester—need I say more? Besides, who wouldn’t want to get lost, literally, in her favorite book?

Why do you write young adult literature?

In some ways, I still feel like a teenager—insecure and hopeful and edgy and excited—sometimes all within the same day. I teach high school English, and the teens I meet so seldom resemble the teens portrayed in the media; these kids are smart, talented, compassionate, and complex. And as jaded as they may seem, they see the world with a sense of newness and possibility that’s inspiring.

What was your favorite book as a young person?

My favorite childhood book was The Secret Garden. I love Burnett’s moody descriptions of the moors, the Gothic house Mary gets banished to, the garden that transforms from an overgrown reminder of loss to a healing place of love. The character growth is slow and subtle and well earned, and the ending is suitably happy!

As a writer, who are your main influences?

As you might have guessed, Charlotte Brontë is a huge influence, but my favorites as a kid were Frances Hodgson Burnett and C. S. Lewis. As a teenager, I devoured Daphne DuMaurier, Mary Stewart, and Lois Duncan!

What have you read recently and loved?

I adored Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere—so sad and funny and beautiful. For imagination and voice, I’d recommend Kelly Creagh, Lesley Livingston, and Libba Bray. And I want to live in the contemporary worlds created by Jenny Han, Cynthia Hand, and Stephanie Perkins!

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what artists/bands do you like to listen to?

I usually can’t write with music playing, but I’ll often play a song to get me inspired and tease out the ideas while the music’s on, then shut it off so I can do the actual writing. But the song will still be echoing in my head, and it definitely helps me set the right tone and mood for a scene. Those are the chapters that tend to be the most cinematic, which I love! For A Breath of Eyre, the bands that were most influential were Coldplay, Thirteen Senses, Barcelona, and Embrace. Embrace’s “Gravity” became sort of the unofficial love theme of the book. You can listen to the playlist on my website.

Can you share anything about the next two books in the series?

I can tell you that Book 2 is loosely based on The Scarlet Letter and has my protagonist, Emma, doing a lot of growing up as she navigates her way through secrets and scandal. Book 3 is inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and will take place in Paris; it’s definitely going to be the most dark and thrilling book of the series!

Check out more about Eve Marie 

Add this book to your GoodReads shelf:




Kensington Publishing Corp. has generously offered to giveaway a copy of A Breath of Eyre. To enter you must fill out the form below. This giveaway is for US/Canada addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.




Wednesday, March 21, 2012

6 Review: The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

Title: The World of Downton Abbey
Author: Text: Jessica Fellowes: Photography by: Nick Briggs
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN: 978-1-250-00634-9
Genre: Non-fiction
Source: Publisher


Summary:
A lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey



My thoughts:
Like thousands of others, I fell in love with the series, Downton Abbey. I'm glued to my seat with each season in anticipation to find out what will happen to these beloved characters. I love the upstairs characters as well as the downstairs characters. For those reasons and many others, I absolutely love The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes.
This book is a behind the scenes look at the mesmerizing world that I can't get enough. The World of Downton Abbey is broken up into several chapters that dives deeper into the series such as: Family Life, Society, Life in Service and Style. Each chapter explores the historical significance of events that take place, beautiful photographs, quotes from the actors, as well as mannerisms of the era.  
This is a great book for any fan of Downton Abbey to own. It's interesting as well as very entertaining. There is so much to learn about this period in time. Reading this book will help you get an insightful look at what it was to live in this era as well as the trials and tribulations of belonging to the aristocracy. I also love reading the actor's thoughts on the characters they portray.  This is definitely a book that I will read again and again. 



My rating:



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

0 Review: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

Title: The Maid of Fairborne Hall
Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
paperback, 416 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0709-9
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher


Summary:
Fleeing a dishonorable man, Margaret abandons her pampered upper-class world for an anonymous life "below stairs." But will danger or love find her first?

My thoughts:
In the Maid of Fairborne Hall by Julie Klassen, Margret Macy is used to being waited upon. She doesn't think twice about her lifestyle and all the perks that come with it. She lives with her mother and step-father in a lavish house. Her step-father is adamant in trying to get Margret to marry his nephew. Margret is uneasy about this union and after overhearing a distasteful plot to lure her into matrimony, her only course of action is to flee her home. 
Margret Macy leaves without hardly any comforts or money. Her only solution is to find a job and wait until she is of age to collect her inheritance. Margret is soon in the service of the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch. Margret has an infatuation with Lewis and Nathaniel had proposed and been rejected by Margret. 
Margret is spoiled. She doesn't know what a hard days work would look like. The phrases 'Please' and 'Thank You' rarely cross her lips. Through serendipitous circumstances she comes to work at Fairborne Hall as a maid. Margret has a rude awakening and quickly learns all the hard work the servants accomplish in one day. She also learns that people are not what they seem. She finds quite a few kindred spirits among her fellow workers. Over the course of a few months Margret learns things like humility, forgiveness, integrity and love. Though the work is hard, she also learns the value of friendship and camaraderie. Margret has real character growth in this novel. 
Julie Klassen is a long time fan of Jane Austen and Jane Eyre. If you'd combine the two Jane's you'd come out with The Maid of Fairborne Hall. This book is a well written, very interesting take on a riches to rags story. Klassen takes the life style of the 19th century English manor and gives a great look into the life of the people of downstairs. This is a great book to read and one that I'd highly recommend.
My rating:
Other books by Julie Klassen:
Lady of Milkweed Manor
The Apothecary's Daughter
The Silent Governess


*Summary and cover taken from Goodreads.

Monday, March 19, 2012

7 The Happiness Blog Tour

Bryan Cohen here, guest poster and author, promoting my new book The Post-College Guide to Happiness for The Happiness Blog Tour. I'm giving away free digital review copies of the book and doing a giveaway for paperback copies, audio copies and even a Kindle Fire! Read on and check out the info below the post. "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."
- Albert Schweitzer
A Calling This is a famous quote and I considered not including it on the tour, but so many people get it wrong that I felt compelled to write about it. I realize that it seems nearly impossible to get a job in a field that you love, especially during the midst of a difficult economic time in which so many people are without jobs. In my life, I took the first job that made sense. I was a comedian and an actor, so I took an early-morning job as a barista so that I could spend time going to auditions. The problem with getting a job as a stepping stone to something you really love, is that you may become trapped in something that you didn't intend. I wasn't sure how long I planned to be a barista, but I certainly hoped it wouldn't be for my entire life. I wanted to get an acting gig that paid the bills so that I could quit my early morning coffee career. It would have been the same if I'd had a 9 to 5 job doing anything I wasn't 100 percent committed to. I got stuck. It took me three years and change, but I finally moved on. What did I move onto? I decided that no matter how much I struggled, I would make a living from something I loved to do. I'd always enjoyed writing as well as acting, so I set out to make all of my income from writing. I had no idea where the money would come from at first, but I figured that as long as I was doing something I loved, I would get to a good point financially. It took a few years of painstaking effort and at first I didn't always make ends meet. But I worked really hard to make writing the number one activity of my life. It's tough and I don't always feel like putting pen to paper, but when I do, the whole world changes and I feel as though I'm finally doing what I was meant to.
I've pushed past many of my struggles and now I make over half of my living through my book sales and the other half through freelance writing work. I'm happier and more successful because I made the conscious choice to do what I loved instead of what I could. If you want to be happier, find work that you love doing and at the last, begin making it a part-time activity. Who knows, maybe someday, you'll have found a career that brings you material and spiritual success, happiness and health. Listen to Al and give it a shot! --
Bryan Cohen is giving away 61 paperback and audio copies of The Post-College Guide to Happiness and a Kindle Fire between now and May 7th, 2012 on The Happiness Blog Tour. All entrants receive a free digital review copy of The Post-College Guide to Happiness. Bryan hopes to give away at least 1,000 copies during the blog tour. To enter, post a comment with your e-mail address or send an e-mail to postcollegehappiness (at) gmail.com. Bryan will draw the names at the end of the tour. Entries will be counted through Sunday, May 6th. Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written nine books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job and his new book, 1,000 Character Writing Prompts: Villains, Heroes and Hams for Scripts, Stories and More. His website Build Creative Writing Ideas helps over 25,000 visitors a month to push past writer's block and stay motivated. Feel free to follow along with the tour at The Happiness Blog Tour Hub Page or on the book's Facebook Page.

Friday, March 16, 2012

10 Are you feeling lucky? Luck 'O The Irish Hop

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to check out these other giveaways!
*Romance at Random will pick the winners of this giveaway.

0 M. J. Rose Guest Post


M.J. Rose:  I've been fascinated with lost fragrances since long before I started writing The Book of Lost Fragrances... since I found a bottle of perfume on my great grandmother's dresser that had belonged to her mother in Russia. Here is one of those lost fragrances that stirs the senses and the imagination... (reasearched and described  with the help of the perfume writer  Dimitrios Dimitriadis)


BALENCIAGA - CIALENGA


Several decades before the modern revival of the Balenciaga brand, this Spanish design house (now owned by French multinational firm PPR) found its success chiefly in Paris from WWII through until the 1970s. Perhaps somewhat overshadowed by their flagship perfume Quadrille, the chypre green floral Cialenga, launched in 1973, was an often-overlooked gem which nowadays is chiefly forgotten. With topnotes of citrus, blackcurrant and green leaves, Cialenga evolves into a blooming bouquet of lily, rose, jasmine and ylang ylang… the foundation of which is underpinned by clove, vetiver, patchouli and oakmoss. Similar in character, and launched right on the heels another chypre/green giant: Chanel No.19, Cialenga's success was unfortunately rather short lived in a highly competitive 1970s/80s retail climate.



SYNOPSIS: 
A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra--and lost for 2,000 years. 

Jac L'Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances--and of her mother's suicide--she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it's financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing--leaving a dead body in his wake--Jac is plunged into a world she thought she'd left behind.


Back in Paris to investigate her brother's disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L'Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation - or is it just another dream infused perfume?


The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra's Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet's battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac's quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.




M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her next novel THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES (Atria/S&S) will be published in March 2012.  Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com.  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.


Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.


For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook.


Be sure to check out the other stops on The Book of Lost Fragrances Virtual Book Tour: http://hfvirtualbooktours.blogspot.com/2012/02/mj-rose-on-tour-for-book-of-lost.html and follow it on Twitter using the twitter hashtag: #LostFragrancesVirtualBookTour



0 Perfection Cover Reveal



Title: Perfection
Author: J.L. Spelbring
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (www.SpencerHillPress.com)
ISBN: 978-1-937053-34-5
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Formats: paper & e-book

The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.

Only Ellyssa isn't perfect.

Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.

But he does.

His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

0 Review: Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King

Title: Abby Finds Her Calling (Home at Cedar Creek, Book One)
Author: Naomi King
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Paperback, 306 pages
ISBN: 978-0-451-23573-2
Genre: Inspirational Fiction


Summary:
The Lambright family's eldest daughter, Abby, runs her own sewing shop. There, she mends the town's clothes and their torn relationships. But the town maiden has sworn off any suitors of her own because of her unrequited love for James Graber, who is about to marry her younger sister, Zanna.

My thoughts:
Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King is delightfully heartwarming novel about the small Amish town of Cedar Creek. To call Cedar Creek a town doesn't really do it justice. The town is more like a family. The residents of Cedar Creek not only hold fast to each other but also to their values and faith. Much like a family this quiet town does not escape the drama that can be found in most families. 
Abby is one of the main characters in this book. She is wise, thoughtful, giving and at times to good to be true. She is what the town calls a maidel. She's the local seamstress, who lives by herself. She isn't married or courting anyone. Abby has been in love with James Graber ever since forever. However James never saw her as anything more than a friend. James is also engaged to her sister, Zanna. Without including any spoilers, things get really shaken up when Zanna reveals a secret she's been hiding. 
Naomi King gives us a fictitious look inside a small Amish town. Even though this novel takes place in today's world it's almost as if you travel back in time reading about the Amish lifestyle. Their lives are simple and plain compared to today's society but that doesn't mean they don't suffer some of the same issues that outsiders deal with. The characters of this book are numerous but enjoyable. The story line evokes emotions from joy to heartbreak. 
Overall this is a delightful, clean novel that readers will enjoy. It emphasizes the power of forgiveness that is humbling.  The next book in the series, Rosemary Opens Her Heart, is due out October 2012. 
My rating:

Check out this author on:

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. This in no way influenced my opinion.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

7 Review: Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Title: Graveminder
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Paperback, 326 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-211516-4
Genre: Paranormal


Summary:
Three sips to mind the dead . . .
Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."


My thoughts:
"Sleep well, and stay where I put you." Are you intrigued yet? This sentence is what sold me on this book. Melissa Marr has a fantastic way of sucking you into her stories. She is a phenomenal wordsmith. If you've been reading my reviews for awhile you'd know that I'm not a huge fan of anything to do with zombies.  I loved Marr's Wicked Lovely series so I thought I'd take a chance on Graveminder. Once again Melissa Marr weaves a tale that you can't look away from.
Rebekkah Barrow or Bek left the town of Claysville hoping to make a life for herself anywhere else. She left her grandmother, torn relationships, and family drama behind her. However she never can seem to settle down. After the death of her beloved grandmother she returns to Claysville to take over her grandmother's unusual job as the town's graveminder. Bek is an interesting character. She has several internal struggles that hold her back in life. 
What is a graveminder you ask? Basically it's Bek's job to keep the dead from rising. (It's a little more complicated than that but I don't want to spoil anything.) Which leads me to the zombies. The zombies in this book are a little different from the brainless zombies that are so popular. These zombies have the ability to think although they are still driven by their zombie instincts. Marr also plays up the mystery in the novel. There is a lot of mystery concerning not only the towns history but also the residents of Claysville. This element of the story is what kept me captivated. As far as the gruesome factor is concerned, there is some. However Marr doesn't go to far down that road. 
Overall this book is a titillating  story that grabs your attention from the start. I think this is a great book for people who don't like the gore of traditional zombie books. Melissa Marr has once again put out an entertaining read. Graveminder is written as an adult novel but I think it would be appeal to older teens as well.
*You can read excerpts from Graveminder on Melissa Marr's website.
My rating:
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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. This in no way influenced my opinion.





Tuesday, March 13, 2012

4 Naomi King Guest Post and Give@way


“You Passed the Amish Test!”
Naomi King, author of ABBY FINDS HER CALLING

Along with the pleasure of seeing my first Naomi King book, ABBY FINDS HER CALLING, on the shelves in bookstores this week, I received a fine, fun email from Jim, the fellow in Jamesport, Missouri, who assists me with the details of these Amish romances. He wrote, “Joe Burkholder’s wife read your two books, and they want to carry them in their store. You passed the Amish test!”

Now, while it’s nothing new to Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall, or other well-established authors of Amish novels to have their books stocked in Amish shops, this is a first for me. It’s important not just because Jamesport is the model for the Amish towns in my two series, or because it’s nice to have my books in the Burkholders’ store alongside those big-name authors I mentioned, but because I now have another layer of credibility. The Amish folks I’ve recently started writing about consider me authentic.

 And considering how the Amish don’t much care to be exploited in print—considering how Jim, my private tour guide and resource guy, told me not to mention that I was a writer while he was taking me around Jamesport—this is a major accomplishment! It means that Joe Burkholder and his wife will now be chatting up all their Plain friends and the tourists in their store about these two novels that mention Jamesport. My books will become a unique memento for them to sell and a way for me to attract new readers.
            
A fun twist: during my initial tour of Jamesport, Jim told me about how the Burkholders’ home had burned to the ground when their chimney caught fire a few years ago. In the freezing cold December weather, the local men worked long shifts, eating meals their wives took turns bringing to the site, dealing with the ice around the foundation from the firemens’ hoses. They used big lights provided by their Mennonite friends so they could work after dark. They rebuilt that home by the New Year!

I got goose bumps hearing that story—my editor got goose bumps from that story—so ABBY FINDS HER CALLING features a subplot where the Ropp family’s home catches fire and is rebuilt that same way. Because Rudy Ropp had stopped trusting the bank, all their life savings had been stashed in that house . . . one of their sons had caused a major scandal in Cedar Creek, getting a girl pregnant, and he and his brother had jumped the fence (left the faith rather than joining the Amish church), but by the book’s end those family ties are restored. Healing and forgiveness come about because the fire brings the Ropp boys home again and forces their dad, Rudy, to reevaluate some of his beliefs and behavior.

It’s particularly rewarding that the real-life family who inspired a major part of my book is now going to sell that book in their store. Isn’t that the neatest piece of synchronicity?

 It’s also a plus that I can pass this news on to my editor, who has been scribbling all over the margins of the manuscript for my upcoming book, “is this Amish?” or “do Amish really do this?” She’s been using her eagle-eye, asking me to validate my details and research (and she’s more accustomed to the ways of the Amish in the eastern U.S. Plain folks in Missouri do some things differently) so I hope she, too, will feel good about this on-site Amish response to ABBY FINDS HER CALLING.

After writing this book on a tabletop office, while we were selling, buying, and remodeling homes as we moved from Missouri to Minnesota, it’s gratifying indeed to hear that my work has “passed the Amish test.”

Naomi King, author of ABBY FINDS HER CALLING
www.NaomiKingAuthor.com   Facebook: Naomi C. King
Contact: NaomiCKing@gmail.com


 

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