Posts

Showing posts from May, 2012

Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Image
Title: The False Prince
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
arc paperback, 342 pages
ISBN: 978-0-545-28413-4
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: From Publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

My thoughts:
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen is the first book in the middle grade fantasy, The Ascendance Trilogy. The story focuses on Sage. He's a resourceful orphan who is usually up to no good. H…

Diane Chamberlain Guest Post

Image
How did closing your private psychotherapy practice influence your writing? Do you have any regrets or do you still believe in following your dreams?


When I first started writing, I’d hoped to continue my private practice, but as the demands of my writing career grew, it quickly became clear I would have to pick one or the other. I loved them both, but my dream of being a writer went back to my childhood. Plus, I knew how hard I’d worked on my books and how fortunate I was to be published. I couldn’t give that up.
It was very hard to end my practice. I’d published three books by that time, but my identity had still very much been connected to being a clinical social worker. Plus, my practice had been primarily with adolescents and I would miss working with them so much. Many of my clients touched my life as much as I touched theirs. I still hear from a few of them and it’s wonderful to see them grow into a happy adulthood and know I had a small part in that.
Obviously, I believe in f…

Clean Break Give@way

Image
Clean Break: A Novel by David Klein
Broadway Paperbacks | June 5, 2012 |384 pages| $15.00 | 978-0-307-71683-5
A riveting tale of psychological suspense about a woman who finds herself in an impossible situation.
Lured by the hope of a better life for herself and her son, Celeste Vanek must deal with the emotional and physical resistance of her compulsive gambler husband when she asks for a divorce. Though she hopes she is on the verge of making a clean break, her husband demands his family back, and things get violent. Jake Atwood, who witnesses the shocking scene between Celeste and her husband, struggles with his own emotional and ethical issues while attempting to help Celeste escape her marriage. At the same time, Jake is involved with Sara, a married and childless police detective who has a private agenda to pursue when a crime is committed that links all of these characters together and changes their lives forever. With heart-pounding suspense and brilliant psychological insigh…

Before Ever After Give@way

Image
Before Ever After: A Novel By Samantha Sotto
Broadway Paperbacks | May 29, 2012 |304 pages | $13.00 | 978-0-307-71988-1
Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well. As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and …

Q&A with Rob Badcock, author of Big Frog

Image
1.  What made you choose to write in the genre you write in?
I didn't.  Sometimes you don't know what kind of book you're writing until you're part way through.  Big Frog was some five years in the making and over that period it went through a whole life cycle of its own to become the hero's journey in a dystopian world that it is now.  I started off with two guiding principles:  I wanted to write something which would be an easy, fun read for young adults; and I also set out to write something different.
At the first meeting with my publisher, Carol, I told her of my weekly masochistic ritual of turning to the Book Review section in the Sunday papers filled with dread that someone had got there before me.  She smiled, paused, then replied 'I don't think you need to worry on that count, Rob.  Nobody will have written anything like this.'  To this day, I'm still not sure whether she meant this as a compliment...

2.  What would your protagonist think o…

Review: A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

Image
Title: A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2)
Author: Julia Quinn
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
ebook arc
ISBN: 0062072919 (ISBN13: 9780062072917)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: From Edelweiss

Summary (From Goodreads):
Anne Wynter might not be who she says she is…
Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger…

My thoughts:
Have you met the Smythe-Smith's? I was introduced to this delightful family last year with Just Like Heaven. The Smythe-Smith is a family who upholds tradition especially when it comes to the Smythe-Smith Quartet. The family has a lot going for them but musical talent is not one of those things. Every year the family gathers to put on a ghastly musical. This particular book focuses on Anne Wynter. She's is not a Smythe-Smith but rather the governess of Harriet, Elizabeth, and Frances, that steps in when one of the members of the quartet falls suddenly ill.
Daniel Smythe-Smith has just returned from exile. Although he's ass…

A.M. Dellamonica Guest Post and Give@way

Image
My Books of Chantment, Indigo Springs and Blue Magic, are often referred to as ecofantasy. What this means is that while they're urban fantasy--they are magical stories set in a world much like the here and now--there's a strong environmental slant to them. The magic has been thrown out of balance by human activity, and while the main character, Astrid, is trying to put things right there is no way she can restore the mystical ecosystem to its original state. Enough has changed that magic itself has changed--fairies, for example, have been hunted to extinction--and whatever new balance she manages to find, it will essentially leave the world a new place, with new rules.
I didn't sit down in the early 2000's and say: "Hey, I'm gonna write an ecofantasy!" I'm an environmentalist and have been as long as I can remember, but these stories grow, primarily, out of my love for the natural world (I am an avid amateur wildlife photographer) and my observation…

Check out this excerpt from Wife 22

WIFE 22 – on sale 5/29/2012
An irresistible novel of a woman losing herself . . . and finding herself again . . . in the middle of her life. If you like Bridget Jones Diary? Or, you like authors Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin?  This is a novel for you!

WIFE 22 by Melanie Gideon (Excerpt)

Review: Jackie After O by Tina Cassidy

Image
Title: Jackie After O
Author: Tina Cassidy
Publisher: It Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Hardcover, 276 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-199433-3
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: From Publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):
A former "Boston Globe" reporter delivers a remarkable account of one year in the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, America's favorite first lady and international icon, as she lost her second husband, saved a landmark, and found her true calling.

My thoughts:
As far back as I can remember, and even before that, the world has been infatuated with Jackie Kennedy Onassis. She first became a public icon when her husband ran for office back in the 1960's. Since then the stylish, soft spoken first lady became a celebrity. Jackie After O by Tina Cassidy focuses specifically on the period in Jackie's life after her second husband passed away. Cassidy writes an introspective view on Jackie's life. This is a fantastic book worth reading!
During this period, Jackie…

Dog Laughter, Guest Post by Elsa Watson

Image
Dog Laughter Elsa Watson
Thank you so much for having me on To Read or Not To Read!
My latest book is about dogs, so you’ll have to forgive me if my mind keeps reverting to all things canine.  Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about dogs and their sense of humor.  A year ago, if you’d asked me whether dogs laugh, I’d have said absolutely.
I’ve seen our dog Kota—mouth open in a joyful pant, mischievous gleam in her eye—give what is clearly a silent chuckle at the cat batting the other side of the French doors.  Once, when we heard Kota come in through her dog door, my husband and I hid under a blanket on the couch.  We heard her go upstairs, looking, then downstairs, looking.  When she finally found us, she was full of chuckles.  The look on her face so spelled laughter, I never had any doubts.
Well now it appears there’s some actual evidence to back up what other dog lovers and I have seen for ages.  Dogs do laugh.  Their laughs are silent—at least to us—so they’re easy to overlook.  Bu…

F.R.E.E. book in the kindle store

Image
Don't have anything to read this weekend? Here's your chance to download Hearts Restored by Prue Phillipson. It's FREE until Sunday in the Kindle store. Check out the blurb below then click on the link to take you to the amazon store.



What can a young man of fifteen do when he is told by his mother that  the
three cousins he is about to meet all want to marry him? Daniel  Wilson
Horden has arrived in London with his parents from their home in
Northumberland on the very day of King Charles II's triumphant return to
his capital. Receiving his own personal wave from the king, Daniel longs
only to serve him, but first he must keep at bay the threat of marriage.
His two French cousins are adamant in their pursuit of him, but Daniel  is
intrigued by his English cousin, Eunice, whose Puritan father
snatches her away from the reunion celebrations. Unaware that his  gallant
attempt to save her has endeared him to her, Daniel only just  escapes the
marriage trap which his young…

Review: More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer by Casper Kelly

Image
Title: More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer
Author: Casper Kelly
Publisher: Fried Society Press
Publication Date: April 7, 2012
paperback, 158 pages
ISBN: 9780984940707
Genre: short stories,
Source: From Author
Available @ Amazon


Summary (from Goodreads):
Award-winning TV writer and filmmaker Casper Kelly brings his hilarious, absurdist, and dark vision to the page in this debut collection, perhaps the first with a horror host guiding you between the stories. In one story, you enter the mind of one of the seven dwarfs wrestling with his fevered sexual crush on Snow White. In another tale, a cash-strapped elderly man in the future is quietly pressured to “retire” by having his brain put in a vat and live out the rest of his day in a virtual reality paradise. “Sex Fantasies at Work” follows an office drone who suspects he’s always at work and his entire home life is merely implanted memories. And more. The thrilling conclusion just may change your life! Of each and every story! Th…

Mary Jo Putney Give@way

Image
Hello fellow readers! I have a great giveaway for you today. Two Mary Jo Puteny books are up for grabs, The Rake and No Longer A Gentleman. This giveaway is for US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. You must fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway.


A man's past doesn't have to map his fate, especially when a woman holds the key to his destiny in this timeless novel by New York Times bestselling author and legend in historical romance Mary Jo Putney...
Disinherited and disgraced, Reginald Davenport's prospects cried for a dire end. But fate has given him one last chance at redemption—by taking his rightful place as the heir of Strickland, his lost ancestral estate. Davenport knows his way around women, yet nothing prepares him for his shocking encounter with Lady Alys Weston.
Masquerading as a man in order to obtain a position as estate manager of Strickland, Alys fled a world filled with mistrust and betrayal. She was finished wit…

Q&A with author Richard Stephenson

Image
1. Collapse takes place in 2027, what made your pick that year?
 Well, I knew I wanted the the book to be set in the near future.  It started out as a "What if?" to some of the current events we are facing today.   Little tidbits about the Middle East that are happening right now are mentioned.  Our struggling economic recession grows into The Second Great Depression.  I probably wrote a third of the book before I finally had to slow down and figure out the exact year.  It basically was a problem of continuity growing into a monster that I had to tame.  When I started to reference earlier events in the character's lives it got really hard to keep track of things like.....  OK, so he got out of high school and spent eight years doing that, now he is in his early forties so what year is it now?   When I gave one of the characters children and started writing scenes, I had to make sure that their ages matched up with the present day of the book.   I had to sit down and char…

Review: Touchstone by Letitia Coyne

Image
Title: Touchstone
Author: Letitia Coyne
Publisher: 1889 Labs Ltd
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
ebook
ISBN-13: 9781926959207
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Author

Summary (from Goodreads):

When war is all you’ve ever known, the promise of peace is more terrifying than any battle.
For Freya, there is no life worth remembering before the army, and none worth imagining after. Born to the lowest caste of a brutally bigoted society, she’s found no more horror on the battlefield than she knew on the streets.
And she’s earned a lot more respect with a sword in her hand.
As a young man, Dragan was blooded on the rush of adrenaline and sated by the euphoria of victory. With Freya beside him as his partner, he was indestructible. But age and mortality are gaining ground, and cracks have started to appear.
He’s had fifteen years of war and he’s earned his retirement.

My thoughts:
Together they survived the war. But can they survive peace when it means different things to each of them?

Freya…

The Dark Garden Free Excerpt

Character Envy, Guest Post by Jus Accardo

Image
Character Envy 
How lame would it be to say that I’m totally jealous of my main character, Dez? I know, I know. The grass is always greener in someone else’s field, right? But seriously—that girl is awesome with a side of sauce.
While she has her issues and faults—she’s a little too impulsive at times and doesn’t know when to stop talking—she’s got a lot going for her.
One of the major things I love about Dez is her confidence with the boys. At her age, I couldn’t get a coherent sentence out to a guy I liked. There was stuttering and at times, drool. It was the very definition of a train wreck. Dez? She plays it cool and leaves a trail of broken hearts in her wake.
She’s also not afraid to try new things. Dez is an adrenalin junkie. She’s bungee jumped, skateboarded from rooftops and jumped from moving vehicles. I too jumped from a moving vehicle. Except I didn’t exactly jump. I kind of fell out. And we weren't moving much. The car was pulling up to a red light. In five o’clock tr…

Diamond Jubilee Celebration Hop

Image
Romance at Random will be randomly giving away some of our jewels of romance, to celebrate the UK’s Diamond Jubilee including:

·  1 winner, 1 copy – Born To Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann
·  1 winner, 1 copy – The Proposal by Mary Balogh
·  1 winner, 1 copy – Darker After Midnight by Lara Adrian
·  3 winners, 1 copy of WITCHFUL THINKING by HP Mallory
·  10 winners, 1 copy of a PREVIEW from Net Galley of ABOUT LAST NIGHT by Ruthie Knox
·  10 winners, 1 copy of PREVIEW from Net Galley of DEEP AUTUMN HEAT by Elisabeth Barrett

Us addresses only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*winners will be selected by Random House. Good luck!

Review: To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace

Image
Title: To Marry an English Lord
Author: Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Publication Date: March 15, 2012
paperback, 403 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7611-7195-9
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Source: From Publisher

Summary:
Here is the American Heiress's story. Filled with tales of wealth and marriage, sex and snobbery -- and 100-year-old gossip that's still scorching -- To Marry an English Lord is a heavily illustrated and energetically presented popular history. A rich tapestry of essays, sidebars, fact-filled boxes, and lively anecdotesoXcombined with wealth of portraits, drawings, photographs, and other rare Victoriana -- it chronicles the era of Mrs. Astor, Edith Wharton, King Edward VII, and the Marlborough House Set. Over 100 heiresses swapped dollars for titles. To Marry an English Lord is the only book to tell how they did it.

My thoughts:
To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace is an introspective look into the lives of Amer…

Books to watch out for: The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner

Image
DIGITAL FIRST RELEASE Press Release Described as “one of the great coming of age novels of the Twentieth Century,” and as an “undiscovered American classic,” Theodore Weesner’s poignant coming-of-age novel, The Car Thief is poised for a new generation to discover.  Once released to wide critical acclaim, The Car Thief, like the vast majority of print editions, was deemed to have “lost its shelf life” decades ago, and was summarily dropped and ignored by the larger publishing establishment.

But now, new Digital First Publisher, Astor + Blue Editions promises to “revive Weesner’s readership and keep it alive indefinitely” through its specialized “Digital First Platform” (DFP).  In the spirit of DFP, Astor + Blue Editions releases The Car Thief  in Digital E-Book format, through all major online retailers—notably Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBook/iPad), Kobo, Sony, Overdrive—before the release of the Custom Print Version, due out next month.

“The Car Thief represent…

To Cuss or Not To Cuss, Guest Post by Mary Sisson

In Defense of Cussing . . . at least some of the time

Cussing, like porn or musical theater, divides people: Some people love it, others can’t stand it.

I know this well because my father was very much in the first group, while my mother was strongly in the second. The result was that I had one parent who taught me rousing songs about masturbation, and another parent who banned words like “jeez” and “golly.” (Theirs was an interesting union.)

When the time came to write my science-fiction novel Trang, I was faced with the question of whether or not to have some of my characters use profanity. Some background: The book’s titular character, Philippe Trang, is a diplomat—Earth’s first diplomat to aliens, in fact. He is chosen for the job because he is, by nature, very diplomatic, considerate of other people’s feelings and careful not to offend them.

Philippe Trang does not use profanity.

For this mission, he is provided with guards. Philippe Trang expects this; but he does not expect hi…

Review: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach

Image
Title: Nothing Special
Author: Geoff Herbach
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
arc, ebook
ISBN: 1402265077 (ISBN13: 9781402265075)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: NetGalley

Summary (from GoodReads):
Felton Reinstein thought he had it all-a great girlfriend, an athletic scholarship in the bag, and football friends he could totally count on. Wrong Like an elephant storming a house of cards, it all comes crashing down. And it's Felton's fault. Turns out his little brother has taken an impromptu road trip to Florida (aka desperate flight from all the talented people) to make a bid for stardom (aka fronting a hotel rock band with escapees from a retirement community). What's a big brother to do but help pick up the pieces, even if it means giving up all the status, all the glory and once again facing a life of nothing special.

My thoughts:
Felton Reinstein is the center of his own universe. He's very talented in the athletic department and …

Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Image
Title: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Author: Christopher Healy
Publisher: HaperCollins Publisher
Publication Date: May 1 ,2012
ebook arc
ISBN: 978-0-06-211743-4
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: edelweiss

Summary:

Enter a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never head of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as "Prince Charming." But all of this is about to change...

My thoughts:
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy is a brilliantly funny take on the classic fairy tale stories. This is one of those books that adults as well as kids will love. Healy does a fantastic job in giving Princes Charming his own story. This book just isn't about one prince, it…