Saturday, July 23, 2011

New This Week!

New This Week! is a weekly feature in which I showcase some of the titles released in the Young Adult world throughout week. Each picture is linked to its respective Goodreads page, so if a cover appeals to you be sure to click on it to learn more about the book.

 Week of: July 17th - July 23rd, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hop & Follow Friday

Parajunkee's Question:
Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour or a meal with just talking about either their books or get advice on writing from?
Easy! Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice and Beth Fantaskey. For some reason, I think sitting down with all of them at one time would be quite a treat!

Crazy-for-Books' Question:
What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?
As a whole, probably Historical Fiction. I can read some and actually enjoy them, but for some reason I always avoid the section all the time. A [historical fiction] book has to be pretty intriguing with really rave reviews for me to actually pick it up.

Missy's Reads & Reviews: Weekly Re-cap

First Line Friday

First Line Friday will be a weekly feature that showcases all of the books that I have reviewed in the week. Each post will include the book's cover art along with the first line of the first chapter from said book. Everyone knows the first line is the hook. The question is: will the first line snag you, or let you get away?

Grasiella had great plans for the summer break of 2045.

The cool breeze made the hair rise on my arms, but did nothing to ease the rage boiling inside me.

His hands gently touched my temples as my fingers glided along his skin.

Mia, my best friend, sits cross-legged on the floor in front of me.

Day one, take fifty, I self-narrated, pausing in the open doorway.

Before & After: Cat Patrick

Cat Patrick is an author of books for teens, beginning with Forgotten (Little, Brown, June 2011). She lives in the Seattle area with her husband and twin preschoolers, and is afraid of heights, planes and zombies.

For more information on Cat Patrick, visit her website at

It’s the day before my first book comes out.

Today’s the day before the day I’ve been talking about for nearly two years; the day I’ve been dreaming about my whole life. It’s the day before my most significant professional milestone will officially be achieved. Except, wait…does that mean that people I don’t know—and people I’ve known for ages—are going to read my book?


Right now, one day before launch, I feel like I’ve had too much caffeine even though I gave it up a while ago. Like I said on my blog, I’m obsessively checking Facebook and Twitter like they’re going to tell me The Answers…or somehow make me calm. I feel like a jumpy deer in headlights, wandering onto the literary street, hoping not to get mowed over.

My sister and I were chatting the other day about how we’re both the type of people who just do things without getting emotional about them in the moment. Through some of the best times in my life, I was like a ram, head down, charging forward.

(What’s with the animal analogies? Sorry!)

Anyway, Sis and I were laughing about how we tend to get emotional after the fact. I’ve come up with a label for our kind: Hindsight Sentimentalists. Being a Hindsight Sentimentalist, I didn’t cry when the first copies of the book arrived at my door or when I saw an early stack on the New Releases table at my local Barnes & Noble. I’m incredibly nervous about my first public appearance as an author tomorrow evening, but I’ll get through it…and then later this week or next month, I’ll tell the story of how wonderful it was with tears shooting out of my eyes like in cartoons.

For now, I’m bouncing off the walls, eyes dry, but with a big smile on my face. Because any way you slice it—whether I’m a ram or a deer or a Hindsight Sentimentalist—one of my biggest dreams will come true tomorrow.

And I think that’s pretty stinking cool.

(June 24, 2011) Two weeks and two days ago, Forgotten launched in the U.S., and it’s been an exciting 16 days! In fact, it feels more like the book launched two months ago.

On the day of launch, I celebrated with friends and family at a great Seattle bookstore called Secret Garden; the following week, I had the pleasure of meeting 20+ local booksellers and librarians at a private dinner at the delicious Canlis restaurant. My sweet neighbor threw me a neighborhood book signing party, and my immediate family surprised me by writing their own books in my honor.

In between events, I’ve been trying not to completely stalk my agent and editors about how the book is doing worldwide (so far so good!), wrapping up edits on Book 2 (not a sequel), and daydreaming about Book 3. I’ve received many amazing fan emails that I’ve loved reading.

Beyond that, things are sort-of back to normal, which makes me feel a little panicky, like if I’m not thinking about Forgotten 24 hours a day, it’ll be forgotten by readers. My rational brain knows that these things take time. But now that I’m over the fear of my book being out there, I want it out there big time!

I’m working hard at balancing being a published author and being a mom/wife/friend/daughter/sister. (And I still can’t believe I get to call myself a “published author.”) I’ve been smiling a lot, laughing a lot, making plans for upcoming events and to see friends and to go on trips and okay, fine…

I’ve cried a few times.
  • I cried when my sister brought over a homemade cat T-shirt like London’s.
  • My eyes welled up when I read the books my family wrote for me…until I got to my Dad’s. Then, I just laughed.
  • I cried when the audio version of Forgotten arrived at my door.
  • I got giddy-misty when I saw Forgotten on the “Hot Teen Picks” shelf at Barnes & Noble.
  • I fought back tears when I saw the amazing window display at Dymocks in Australia.
So there you have it: further proof of my Hindsight Sentimentalism.

Right now—this second and this week and this month—is one of the best times in my life. Every day, I’m a little nervous. Every day, I’m curious about what will happen. And every day, I’m thankful. Because I’m a debut author (OMG!).

And I’m enjoying every second of the wild and wonderful ride.

It just so happens that I have an extra copy of FORGOTTEN that I need to get rid of. For your chance to win it, simply follow the instructions below.

· Must be a blog follower.
· Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
· You must enter by midnight on July 30, 2011.
· A valid e-mail must be provided so I can notify you if you win.

Fill out the form HERE.

Good luck!

Solid Review

Solid (Solid #1)
Shelley Workinger

Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date:
July 9, 2010
YA, Sci-Fi
Kindle edition
4/5 (Avg 3.5/5)
Teens who discover they were secretly genetically altered before birth are brought together at a classified site where they forge new friendships, find love, develop "super-abilities," and even unearth a conspiracy.

For lack of better terms, Solid was a great solid start to a series. The concept behind it is something that I have not seen before, but after reading it, all I could think was, "Why hasn't no one thought about this before?" (Note: There might be some books out with something similar, I've just never come across any in my readings.)

The main female in this book, Clio, is a polka-dotted elephant in a sea of grays. She's unique from other female leads in many ways, mostly because she stays so positive and upbeat where others would be all gloom-and-doom. The other characters - students like Clio - were also the same in some ways, they all seemed to roll with the punches and just take whatever was dealt to them without complaining and whining. I'm sure that has to do with their military upraising, which is pretty spot-on from my experience as my mom and her siblings were military brats and acted the same. Well, you know, except for being genetically altered and all.

The middle of the book slowed down a little, as it centered more around the introduction of characters and some budding romantic interests. I wouldn't say that it took away from the story any because it gives great insight. Also, it picks up in the last part of the book with some twists that were unexpected and kept me on the edge of my seat.

At a little over 220+ pages, Solid is a pretty decently paced read that you can probably finish in one sitting because once you get into the story, you won't want to miss any of the good stuff. I also think this is one of those reads that has a little bit of something for everyone.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Interview with Tammara Webber

Tammara Webber
Web | Facebook | Twitter

· Between the Lines (2011) [My Review]

Coming Soon:
· Where You Are (October 2011)

Have you ever received one critical piece of advice about writing that has stayed with you?

Gleaned (a looooong time ago) from a book called The First Five Pages: Go through a piece of writing and remove every descriptive word (adjectives, adverbs). Then replace the nouns and verbs with stronger nouns and verbs. (This is the best writing advice I can give a beginner who knows the “rules” of writing, but not the fine-tuning. Descriptive words have their places – but they should be used sparingly.)

You have a free afternoon. Would you rather continue writing on a story you're currently working on, or catch up on reading some books?

If I feel the need to write, I write. If I must write because I’m behind (this is a tough one because as an indie author, my deadlines are self-imposed!), I write. Otherwise, I read. Reading, for me, feeds the need to write. I can’t do one without the other. (I’m often knee-deep in a great book when I feel compelled to write. I’ve learned to just get up and follow that inspiration.)

What is it about the Young Adult genre that calls to you as a writer?

The age of 16-20 has always been appealing to me as a reader, whether in classics, contemporary fiction, or romance. It’s the age where everything is possible. The course of your life isn’t set. Your beliefs aren’t set (even if you think they are). The way you love, the type of friend you are, your prejudices, career paths—nothing is set. There are many points in life when you hit huge strides of self-discovery, of course, but I believe that the ability to self-shape during this time period is universal.

What would you say is the key to having a successful love triangle that doesn't push the boundaries of cliché or forced?

I actually don’t see Reid-Emma-Graham as a love triangle. Like Edward-Bella-Jacob, it’s more of a tug-of-war, where the person in the middle is going to get hurt no matter what, and the people at either end would prefer to lose each other. To me, a love triangle is attached at all three points. Jenny Han’s Summer books for instance – one girl, two brothers, or Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot in Arthurian legend – one woman, two very close friends. The person not chosen loses two people, not just one.

As far as successful love triangles go, the author has to show genuine attachment between all three parties. No matter what happens, everyone is hurt. Very tricky. In a tug-of-war there must be a similar strong attachment between the center person and each of the outer people. A little less tricky, I think. Either way, if those attachments don’t ring true, people will see it as forced and unbelievable.

How did the inspiration come about to write a story about teenage movie stars?

Watching actors/musicians hit their late teens/early twenties and self-destruct is almost old hat. Will they come out the other end intact, or will they just ruin their lives and blow their careers? I have to wonder how much of this phenomenon can be attributed to the lack of privacy at this critical time in a person’s life. We all make mistakes while we’re growing and maturing, but most of us don’t have to see those mistakes “reported” on
TMZ or parodied on SNL.

Your story wrapped up nicely with some unexpected twists. Did you pretty much know everything that would happen before you started writing, or did it just happen at the writing went along?

I had a vague idea of where it was going. The twists at the end of BTL were known ahead of time, because they were past events. The personalities of the characters have likewise been defined by those past events when the novel opens. That said, how characters react to what I throw at them isn’t always how I expect them to react. Sometimes they mess up my assumed little storyline with their decisions! But I believe firmly in letting them do that. (Even if sometimes I’d like to pull them out of my computer and shake them. Hard.)

Are you working on anything right now that you can share with us?

I’m working on a sequel, the prologue of which is Graham’s take on the last scene of BTL… The title is Where You Are and it should be out in October.

Winterborne Review

Augusta Blythe [F]

Release Date:
April 24, 2011
Universe Unbound
YA, Paranormal
Kindle edition
4/5 (Avg 4/5)
Sixteen-year old Mia Winterborne is destined to be special. Details are sketchy, though, as her dad disappeared with all the answers when she was five. Mia only knows that she'll inherit her kickass superpowers on her seventeenth birthday. Helping Mia prepare for her anticipated ascendancy is Loie Bryce, her best friend and eternal sidekick extraordinaire. The girls' intense friendship has never wavered until now, when Andreas arrives in Salcey Ridge. They both fall hard for the British hottie, who quickly becomes a fixture in their lives. When they discover that Andreas is not who he appears to be, the frightening reality of Mia's powers finally hits home. The nearer Mia's birthday draws, the more the danger escalates and long-buried lies are exposed, putting the girls on a path that they never expected.

The first thing that popped out to me about this book is that it's from Loie's perspective instead of Mia's, which I had originally thought. This makes for an interesting change of pace, though I felt that it waned sometimes because Loie's a little less interesting. However, Loie is a much more relatable character and much more empathetic than Mia, who seems to be a bit selfish and sometimes just as equally inconsiderate. Then again, she is the typical girl-who-has-it-all, so I can't really put fault on her because she knows no different. Loie and Mia's friendship is a good friendship, though I think I would change Loie's passiveness just a little - she seems to just accept that Mia is "better" and that Mia will get everything, yet she does nothing to try to make the situation better for herself. Andreas was a good character to bring into the equation and I think the romance was pleasant in the story, but I can't say that I found him as swoon-worthy as the girls did. He just didn't stick out to me all that much. I don't know if my indifference comes from the fact that I felt like he was leading Loie on a little because they did have some semi-sweet moments together, or he just fell flat personality-wise for me. Or maybe there's really more there with Andreas and Loie? I guess we will know with time. In any case, he's a good character.. I just feel like maybe I need to know him a little better before I can really understand him and maybe actually like him more.

I found the plot and twists in this story completely unique from others in the genre. You actually learn a lot right along with the characters instead of the characters knowing about themselves already and then you just discover it on down the road, which was a nice little feat. The best part of the story was that it kept me guessing. I didn't know as much as I thought I did as I was reading and was pleasantly surprised with the curve balls that were thrown through the novel.

Even though it's not written from the main character's point of view, Loie is a great narrator and, from her descriptions, you know that she definitely knows Mia very well - which kept the feel of the story very genuine. This is a great read with some interesting features that I think readers will absolutely love. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book to come out.

Thoughts on Thursday

Today's Topic:
Reading vs. Reviewing: What's the Difference?
I first want to say that I've had this article stashed for a while, but when ToT kind of teetered out I just didn't bother with it. I opened it up and edited it to recycle elsewhere, but it didn't work out. So now, you guys get to have it here!

One of the things that I am asked by those that know me personally when I say that I review books is, “How is that different from what you did before?” If you're an avid reader that has become a reviewer like myself, then you know the answer. However, if you haven't made the transition from “reader” to “reviewer” yet, you may not know that there is a significant difference. To help you understand it better, I thought that I would put together a small article about my experience.

Reviewing is almost like leveling up from reading. You've read a book and now you want to share what you think with the rest of the world. You're still reading and, yes, reviewing IS just your opinion about a book, but there's more responsibility to it when you decide to make the transition. When you're going public with your review of a book, the most important thing to remember is that you have to have a reason for why you feel the way you do about a book.

Did you really like the book? Great! What about the novel made you like it so much?

Think this book is the worst book that you've ever read in your entire existence? Okay... but why?

Though a book may have only taken you mere hours to read through, it took that author months of writing, editing, revising, and just all out devotion and love to get that specific story into your hands. When you review, you want to make sure you're completely fair and very judicious in your portrayal of their work. And there are many things to consider when you rate a book. It's not just about you liking the story as a whole, it's more of a delicate balance of your opinion AND a fair, yet honest, judgment of the author's work as an actual writer.

There are specific aspects of a book that reviewers are always aware of while they're reading: cover, plot, relatability, writing and, of course, the audience. Not just the audience as in the reviewer, but the audience as in anyone that may read this specific book.

This is what really separates the readers from the reviewers! As a reader, when you're finished with a book there is only one thing on your mind: Did I like this book? Usually, this concentrates only on your personal satisfaction with a book. As a reviewer, you're still considering how the book makes you feel because a review is YOUR opinion of the book, but you're also considering how others make like the book as well.

If you read a book for pleasure, then you're only focused on how the book makes you feel as a whole. You may love the story because it's a feel-good, happily-ever-after type book. But, was it something you've read a million times before, or did it introduce you to a whole new world that you've never been before? When it's just for you, it doesn't matter because it just made you feel good – and that's why you read it.

If you read that same book for reviewing, then you're more focused on how the book will come across to the general public. Sure, it's that feel-good, happily-ever-after type book that you love... but it's also cliché and has been done a few hundred times now. Someone else who wants something original and completely unique may want to know that this book is similar to books that are already out on the market that they may have already read.

It's the same if you didn't like a book. For pleasure: you didn't agree with the story/ending/etc and now you think it's a complete waste of your time. For reviewing: you didn't like the story, but you can't deny that the storytelling itself is written beautifully and you know that there are people out there that think the story was exactly right.

After everything, the main difference can be summed up to this: reviewing is more about thinking of the audience while reading is more centered around personal satisfaction. In the grand scheme of things, they're intertwined in that both concentrates on how you feel about the novel – the real difference lies in if you decide to share how you feel with the world or not.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

October 11, 2011

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool. But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.

Can I have this like.. now? It's probably my morbid fascination with serial killers that has me pining for ever type of murder mystery book out there, but I can't help it! This book sounds like it would be a great YA read that offers not only mystery and suspense, but maybe some humor too. I mean, come on, her boyfriend cheated on her with the president of a chastity club... how freaking hilarious is that?!

Wynter Chelsea: The Sublimity Review

Wynter Chelsea: The Sublimity
Becca Ritchie [F][T]

Publisher: Outskirts Press
Release Date:
December 20, 2010
Wynter Chelsea
YA, Paranormal
Paperback, 436 pages
5/5 (Avg 4.5/5)
Amanda Chelsea. The Beacon. A friend. A sister. And... and... a daughter? Now part of the legacy, Amanda has exactly what she wanted, but the price she paid comes back to haunt her. The true terrors of the Wynter Chelsea legacy are exposed, and is it everything she thought it would be? As Jack Chelsea struggles to accept his position as leader, Killian steps in as a tyrannical replacement. When the situation doesn't seem like it can get much worse, Dustin distances himself from Amanda. Both families soon find that the Marathaca's tricks might be a threat, but it's not the only horror that is trying to trap them. Wynter Chelsea: The Sublimity is the second book in the Wynter Chelsea series.

If you haven't read my review for Becca's first book in the Wynter Chelsea series, The Legacy, then I would suggest that you do that first. You can read it here.

Did you read it? Okay, good. Carrying on...

The Legacy absolutely captivated me and made me a huge fan of the Wynter Chelsea books. I absolutely could not wait until I got to its sequel, though at the same time I was a little hesitant because sometimes series have an amazing first book and the others are just so-so. I am happy to tell you all that this is most definitely not the case with The Sublimity. It had everything that I so loved and cherished about the first book: amazing cast of characters, imaginative mythology and a fast-paced plot that doesn't take a moment's break from action. But then it goes even further and adds even more layers to the story, which makes it completely overwhelming - but in a good way!

Everything Amanda did that annoyed me in the first book (which wasn't much) was completely turned around in this novel. She grew and matured, making better decisions and judgment calls than before. My heart actually went out to her in this book (you'll understand when you read the book), but she was incredibly strong and rolled with the punches. I couldn't imagine being put in her shoes and having to go through everything she did. My feelings for Jack were absolutely all over the place with this book as his actions seemed arrogant and he was sometimes just an all-out ass. Thankfully, he redeemed himself and I hope it stays that way through the rest of the series. Dustin also had some moments where I wanted to reach through the book and strangle him. He had his reasons for all of his actions and I understood his reasons, but it doesn't mean that I had to like it. ;) There were completely swoon-worthy moments between him and Amanda, and the end of the book just had me gushing.

Most of the old cast and crew was back for this round, and there were more demons and new characters - all which made the action and intensity of this series grow. Like The Legacy, there was never a dull moment. And just when you think that everything is going to settle down at the end of the novel, BAM! Miss Ritchie hits you with another surprise at the very end. I found it absolutely maddening since now, I have to wait for the third book to come out.

Blog Tour Guest Post: Character This Or That

Today, I have the extreme honor of having Michael, one of the star characters from Heather Terrell's Fallen Angels series, here with me to share his choices in a This Or That list. Enjoy!

Book or Movie?
While I love movies (and even went on my first date with Ellie at the movies), I’d still probably pick books. They transport you in a way that only flying can.

Reading or Writing?
I’ve got to go with reading on this one too. For the same reasons as I listed above.

Sunrises or Sunsets?
I’ve shared too many amazing sunrises and sunsets with Ellie to select just one. I love them both.

Romance or Mystery?
I think I’ll go with romance, as I’ve had my fair share of mystery these days.

Love or Lust?
Love. Every single time.

Love or Trust?
How can you have love without trust? I’ve got to say both.

Beauty or Brains?
I’d select brains, because I always see beauty within them. Ellie’s got both, of course.

Black or White?
I’d pick white. I’ve seen too much darkness lately, even within myself.

Honesty or Lies?
I strive for honesty, but sometimes I’ve gotten tangled up in some lies because of my personal weaknesses.

Organized Religion or Spirituality?
I’d pick spirituality, definitely.

Before & After: Gae Polisner

I write both women’s and young adult fiction. My debut young adult novel, The Pull of Gravity, will be released spring 2011 from Frances Foster Books / Farrar Straus Giroux.

I have written since the time I was little. Mostly, poems and short stories through college. Then, I went to law school and, for over a decade, replaced all that creative writing with legal briefs. But after my sons were born, I decided to return to my first love. I like to think my novels are accessible, lyrical (somewhat literary) fiction – and, my young adult storieLinks, an homage to the character-driven fiction I loved as a child (anything by E.L. Konigsburg, Paul Zindel, Judy Blume, and the amazing Madeleine L’Engle…). The Pull of Gravity has a special “secret” nod to the first novel I couldn’t put down – Don't Take Teddy, by Babbis Friis-Baastad. To this day, I remember the feeling of frantically turning pages to find out if the brothers would be okay. If any of you ever read that book, please send me an email, and we can be instant BFF's.
To read more about Gae in her own words, visit her website at

You picked a great or terrible time to ask me, Missy, because at this moment, I am so ^$&%^%&^#-ing tired. :) Of course, The Pull of Gravity comes out in three days (!!!) so it's been a whirlwind few weeks, and, given who/how I am (nuts?) I've been really busting my butt to get word of my book The Pull of Gravity out there into the big wide world.

Before writing, and before law school, I actually got my undergrad degree in marketing and my self-marketer girl has come out of hiding in full force and won't let me rest (please let me rest, self-marketer girl, I am very, very tired). In fact, I'd probably rest more if I wasn't getting such good results and great reactions (thank you, all!). For example, I snagged myself a sneaky little profile in the Sunday New York Times [here] and one in tomorrow's Sunday Newsday [here] (big in New York). And the Strand Bookstore in NYC (a landmark of bookstore, people!) will be carrying a whole stack of them! I've been making phone calls and writing emails and running into the city to meet and greet and brainstorm, plus trying to keep on top of my other career (family law mediator) and my kids (two teen boys who need to be fed and watered, or something like that . . .). So, the answer is I am mostly pooped. But also, honestly, very excited. And, overwhelmed by the many good advance reviews, and especially by the support of the YA community which is a beautiful, sparkling thing.

[May 28, 2011] So, how do I feel after? I feel fine thank you. (Is that some old punchline to a lame joke?).

Anyway, it's odd and somewhat hard to explain how you feel after -- oh, the irony for a writer! ;) It's this weird mix of "high" moments that are surreal and fun and nerve-wracking and exciting (like my launch party where over 100 people showed up, or our Class of 2K11 appearance at Books of Wonder, NYC -- the lines of people holding your book, wanting you to sign your name) and totally quiet moments where you go, "did that really happen?" and, "but here I am again, just the same, doing laundry or pecking away fruitlessly at the computer keys..."

You watch sales numbers and try not to, and still bite nails about reviews coming in, and, for me, wonder if you'll ever get another book deal. It's like it was before, only with bursts of busy, some really sweet and wonderful feedback, and this sense of quiet accomplishment that buoys you through the next day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

"G," Tatiana stopped her. "That story you told us about our ancestor, was it true?"

With a smile on her face G replied, "I hope so. It's always nice to think so."
- pg. 99, Mishap & Mayhem

Bone Dressing Review

Bone Dressing
Michelle Brooks [T]

Publisher: Savage Enterprises
Release Date:
April 20, 2011
Bone Dressing
YA, Paranormal
Paperback, 360 pages
4/5 (Avg 4/5)
TIME IS RUNNING OUT … THE DARK THAT’S BEEN CHASING SYD FOR MANY LIFETIMES HAS FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH HER … Sydney Roberdeau lost her parents as a young girl. Waiting for her life to start and the freedom that will come with her eighteenth birthday, Syd spends much of her time haunting the local cemetery. It is there, stretched out among the dead, that she feels most alive, most at home. Until one rainy night when Beau, Sarah and T.J. crash her ghostly sanctuary, appearing out of nowhere, turning her already inside-out world one degree past upside down. Syd must now revisit past lives, dressing in the bodies of her previous selves … bone dressing. Her only chance to outrun the evil breathing down her neck is to face her own worst nightmares and her strongest desires. But if she can’t stay out of trouble in this life, how can she possibly fix mistakes from past lives? And just how many lives has she lived, loved and lost? What is Syd exactly, and what will she risk for the life of a man she doesn’t remember, the man she spent a lifetime with, the man she loves? Everything … including her very own life? Bone Dressing, the first in a series of seven books, will carry Syd and Beau on an adventure that transcends life itself.

This book started as an uphill battle for me, but it was a short battle. For the first 20 pages or so, I had a little trouble getting into it. Then, once I started understanding the plot and character(s) better, it was basically like a ball rolling down a hill for me - I couldn't stop it until I was completely finished with the book. And to be completely honest, I cannot even tell you if it was this book's fault that I had trouble with the beginning or my mind was still reeling from the last book (which I won't name and you'll never know because I never review my books in the order that I read them) and it had a hard time grasping something new.

Syd was a great female lead that I almost instantly fell in love with. I say 'almost instantly' because I wanted to slap her at first for being so unwilling to confront her destiny - but, again, that's probably because I'm a little on the impatient side and I like to get straight down to business. Her snarky attitude and witty one-liners had me laughing out loud several times, effectively making my husband think I'd finally gone off the deep end. Although this book is a little on the dark side, Syd's humor kept in more light - even if the snarky, tough girl attitude was just an exterior of a girl who was in pain. I think that's what made me love her so much. And Beau? Swoon alert. I absolutely loved the romance between them which was way more than what meets the eye - which you'll understand better when you read the book.

The premise of this paranormal book is unique and stands out in the world of angels, demons, shape shifters and vampires. It's pretty fast paced and will have you hooked from the very beginning. Michelle's writing is flawless and I have to credit that as well because I think it really made the book as great as it was.

Like any book in a series, you're left with a few questions once you're done.. but they keep you on the edge of your seat and anxiously awaiting the next book.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mishap & Mayhem Review

Mishap & Mayhem
M.M. Shelley [F][T]

Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date:
April 3, 2011
Mishap & Mayhem
YA, Fantasy
Paperback, 288 pages
4/5 (Avg 3.5/5)
For centuries magical beings have hidden in the darkness, waiting. Some good, some evil. A battle is brewing, and only twins, Grasiella and Tatiana, have the power to stop it. It’s the summer of the year 2045, and sixteen year old Grasiella, along with her twin sister, Tatiana plan to visit their grandmother in Hawaii. They have no idea that when they arrive on the island of Kauai, they are about to be drawn into a secret, the secret, of their family’s dark origins and magical powers. On the first day of their arrival, their grandmother is accused of a horrible crime involving a faerie. Whispers have spread throughout the islands about the disappearance of a faerie named Sita Knook and her connection to a mysterious group known only as the Cinerians. Before long, Grasiella and Tatiana are doing battle with ancient races and magical beings. All the while trying to retrieve an ancient stone of power and impress a couple of local surfers, Kana’i and Kye, cousins who have some pretty exciting family secrets of their own. It’s pretty serious stuff for two girls who were planning to spend the summer at the beach getting tans, but then that’s the trouble with secrets, sometimes they just don't stay buried.

This is one of those books where it catches your attention right off the start and doesn't let go until you're closing the book upon completion. The plot was completely unpredictable and had me guessing through the entire book. With every chapter came something new. Every time I tried to sit this book down, I would end up picking it back up moments later just to see what happened next.

The twins, Grasiella and Tatiana, are two great female leads that go out of their comfort zones on many occasions to find answers and fight for the world's salvation. I think the only thing that I didn't see between them was that strong bond that most twins have, but it didn't take away from the story much. All of the characters that were introduced in the book had something to bring to the story, although at times it felt a little overwhelming with so many characters that were introduced - but once that was straightened out, everything else with the reading went swimmingly.

This book is wonderfully written and was jam-packed with magic, mystery and mythology. I absolutely loved living in the world I was introduced to as I was reading the book and cannot wait for its sequel to come out later this year. If you're looking for a good, fast-paced fantasy novel then I would definitely recommend getting yourself a copy of Mishap & Mayhem.

Before & After: Amy Holder

I was born and raised in Upstate New York, the home of the Finger Lakes Region, Kodak, snowpalooza winters, and the best grape pies you'll ever eat (thanks to the Grape Festival). The youngest of three, I established my place in my family as the "artsy" one early on.

My love of all things creative swiftly translated to an infatuation with books and the written word. Often dreaming of seeing my picture on the back of a book someday, I began writing and illustrating my own stories and poems at six years old, followed by my first chapter book written in third grade. I took up non-fiction writing by funneling the awkwardness of my middle school years into the safe confines of my locked diary. By high school, I was writing angst-ridden poetry that would be fully deserving of an Emo-rific award in today's time. Apart from my undergrad years, when I traded in fiction reading and writing for psychology books and papers written in APA style, creative writing has always been an essential part of my daily life.

To read about the author in her own words, visit

Wait a second… I have a book coming out? Really? When? April 4th? What!? Don’t you think I should have known about this? No one ever shares anything with me! Clearly the release of my upcoming book (THE LIPSTICK LAWS) has pumped me up into an amnesiac stupor. I feel like I have a million things going on and only one brain, two hands…and not nearly enough chocolate to get everything done! I’ve been worried that I’m forgetting important things (like my name… or that I have a book coming out) in the process of multi-tasking my tail off. That’s right; I have also grown a tail. That’s what book releases will do to you. Really though, my emotions have ranged from over-the-top-sugar-high ecstatic to bite-my-fingernails-to-nubs nervous. There’s a fine line between jumping-and-shouting-from-the-rooftops excitement and pull-your-hair-out anxiety for a debut author. So, take this as a warning… I may be bald at signings, but I promise to put a lovely bow on my tail.

(April 29, 2011) Deep breath…deep breath…deep breath… deep… oh no, I think I need the paper bag again! Yes, I’m still hyperventilating a bit from the excitement of my debut launch. The enthusiasm I’ve felt from readers, bloggers, family, friends and fellow writers has been so incredible!! I feel very lucky to have so much support from such wonderful people! This whole process has been a (very busy and sometimes nerve-wracking) dream come true. It has been completely surreal and amazing to walk into a bookstore and see my book on a bookshelf. Also, I'm thrilled because it was recently announced that my television rights have been optioned, which was the cherry on the top of my dream come true. Okay, I’m mixing up analogies again. This is what happens when you hyperventilate too much. The good news is that I have successfully multi-tasked my tail off… so I am now tailless. I’m also ready to get my next book out there so I can ride this crazy roller coaster again! Hmmm…I guess that means I should probably get to work writing now. I’ll make sure to keep my paper bag handy – just in case.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this ride so fantastic!

Interview with Amy Holder

Amy Holder
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

· The Lipstick Laws

First off: your website. I absolutely fell in love with it! Is this something that you came up with?

Thank you so much! I came up with the concept after thinking up and ditching several other design ideas. My fabulous web designer (Denise Biondo) translated the final concept into the design you see today. She’s awesome! If you’re interested, check out her list of other web designs here:

You say that you're a huge animal lover. How many pets do you have? Do you plan on getting more?

I have four pets -- two dogs and two cats. They’re all rescues and I’m a big supporter of animal rescue organizations. I would love to adopt more, but I have my hands full with the ones I have at the moment! There definitely might be room for more in the future though.

When did you start seriously considering a career as a writer?

I’ve always loved to write (and have been writing since I was six), but I didn’t seriously think about trying to get published until after college. That’s when I started looking at it as more than a hobby, and I realized I wouldn’t feel completely fulfilled unless I have a career that I truly adore. Writing is that career and I feel very lucky to be able to do it!

How did the idea behind The Lipstick Laws come about?

I knew I wanted to write a fun take on the ups and downs of high school and the social hierarchies within it, but I didn’t have a full plot in mind originally. April’s voice was the first part of the story that came to me in the form of a sarcastic, quirky, self-deprecating character filled with teen angst. I had a lot of fun free-writing in her voice, and the full plot evolved by putting her character into what-if scenarios.

Besides the main character April, are there any other characters that you hope readers will fall in love with?

I hope readers will fall in love with Delvin McGerk because he’s so awkwardly sweet. I also hope readers will root for the Lipstick Lawbreakers, and love to loathe Britney and her Lipstick Laws.

Are any of the characters based off of people you know?

None of the characters are based entirely off of anyone I know, but some of them have personality quirks that were loosely inspired by people I’ve known. Also, I have a lot in common with April and Melanie. I gave April my naturally curly hair (sorry, April), middle name, love of sales, and knack for making up random words. I gave Melanie two of my vices: sweets and reality TV.

What was the road to publication like for you?

My road to publication for The Lipstick Laws was surprisingly short and smooth! The manuscript was acquired by the first and only publisher that I submitted it to within a few weeks of submission. Before you start booing at me, I should add that I’ve received rejection letters from other manuscripts prior to publication. The disappointment that I experienced from those rejections made me appreciate the quick sale of my debut novel even more.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us?

I’m working on a few projects right now, but am not sure which will be next to hit the shelves. I’m hoping to write many more books in various genres and age groups. Also, my television rights for The Lipstick Laws have just been optioned by an amazing producer, so I’m hoping it will make it to production, but there are no guarantees. I’m optimistically hopeful with my fingers tightly crossed!

Any last words to the readers?

I just want to thank you all for your enthusiasm about my debut! Publishing my first book has been a wonderful experience, and hearing from readers all over the world has made it that much more special. Also, Missy, I want to thank you for this interview and your support of debut authors! Bloggers like you help get the word out about new writers and their books. I’m very grateful for your support!

Thanks for having me on your blog! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox

Hosted By: The Story Siren
Inspired By: Pop Culture Junkie

For Review

S&S GalleyGrab


This was my run to the Books-A-Million while I was out of town. I've read Generation Dead and Hush, Hush but they were both e-books and since I liked them so much, I thought I'd add them to my bookshelf. The others are books that I've been meaning to read. Since they were all on sale, why not? I got all six books for less than $24! :)
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