Monday, October 31, 2011

Out of Breath - Blair Richmond

Nineteen-year-old Kat Jones has been a competitive runner since she was a young girl, but after her mother's death, the path her life was supposed to take begins to crumble around her -- until one day, she finds herself on the run in a literal sense, this time in a race for her very life!

Kat's journey takes her to the Pacific Northwest town of Lithia, the place of her last good memories, of the days when her mother was still alive. But soon after her arrival, strange things begin to happen in Lithia -- and when one of her new friends disappears under mysterious circumstances, Kat begins to realize that Lithia's inhabitants are not all of this world. Worst of all, she is falling in love with one of these otherworldly locals, and the friend who hopes to save her has secrets of his own.

As Kat tries to rebuild her life, she is also training for a race that will turn out to be her biggest challenge yet, as she must outrun not only the demons of her past but the demons of the here and now, who threaten her very existence and that of the entire town.

At once a paranormal love story and an environmental allegory, Out of Breath offers an exciting new voice in young adult fiction.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: Out of Breath
Author: Blair Richmond
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Ashland Creek Press
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Format: ARC
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Rebecca from Ashland Creek Press for sending me a copy of this book. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 3.5/5

Kat has been on the run, and is now coming full circle. She is back in the town she was born in, and she is hoping that she has run far enough from her past to settle down for a while. She makes friends with the locals, finds a place to live and to work, and has her pick of two of the towns most eligible young men. Kat is not quite sure that this is her life now, and when a murder destroys the sense of peace surrounding the town, she realizes that she might have to run yet again. 
Out of Breath is an interesting tale, one that brings together vampires and vegans. It is an eco-friendly read, especially since Kat is a vegan. The outdoor beauty of Lithia, the mountains, and the competitive atmosphere of those hoping to run the upcoming race all factor in to make this an idyllic read. It could have been written on those merits alone without the addition of vampires. Even so, the vampires aren't necessarily of the norm, and Kat will have to decide who she can trust once she makes some realizations of her own. Though this is the first novel in a trilogy, it can be read as a standalone. There is resolution at the end of the book, though it is left open-ended to continue with the next book in the trilogy. 
I liked Kat, and I liked Alex. I even liked Roman. However I found that though they were all drawn to each other, there wasn't any definitive reason as to why they liked each other. They seemed to be a little flat, and their relationships with each other and past history is left in question and is not wholly believable. I wanted a more in depth look at the inner workings of the characters, particularly Alex and Roman. I wanted to know why they set their sights on Kat, and what made her so special to them. 
I did enjoy the book, and I was intrigued by the vampire mythos used in the book. I liked the incorporation of Kat's vegan diet, and how it in turn brought another outlook or aspect to the read. Out of Breath is a fast-paced read, and readers will gobble it up in a few short hours. I am left to wonder what will happen next to Kat, especially since there are things and beings hinted at that haven't even been formally introduced into the story yet. 
All in all, this is a haunting and inspired read. Though there are vampires in Out of Breath, the book is not just another vampire novel. There are other elements at play, and it will be interesting to see what happens next as Kat's past and more of the supernatural world is revealed.

Can You Survive: Jack London's Call of the Wild - Ryan Jacobson - Blog Tour Review and a Spooky Story for you!

Stolen. Shipped. Enslaved.
Can You Survive?
You find yourself in Alaska, a dangerous world of greedy men and savage dogs. Every moment, your life is at risk. Do you have what it takes to survive as Buck, literature’s most famous sled dog? Or will the freezing temperatures and rugged wilderness lead to your doom? Step into this adventure, and choose your path. But choose wisely, or else…

Title: Can You Survive? Jack London's Call of the Wild
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Choose Your Own Adventure, Adventure, Action
Publisher: Lake 7 Creative
Publication Date: October 15, 2011
Format: ARC
Source: Received from author. Many thanks goes to Ryan Jacobson for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 4/5


Can You Survive: Jack London's Call of the Wild is an adaptation of the classic tale Call of the Wild. It has been adapted into a choose your own adventure book, where the reader becomes Buck. Choices abound for the reader as they follow along with Buck on his journey across the wilds of Alaska. 
The wilderness is a treacherous place, and death beckons to the unwary. Buck has to learn who to trust, and how to adapt to the harsh conditions he is forced into. He no longer lives in the lap of luxury and you will need to make the choices alongside him. If you make the wrong choice, that will be the end of the line for Buck. There are many different choices to make within the pages of this book, and many of them lead to Buck's demise. Will you, and he, be able to make the right decision in every situation? Only time will tell. 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading and re-living the classic tale of Call of the Wild in this format. I believe many middle grade readers and even teens will enjoy reading it as well, especially since they get to dictate what Buck does next. All in all, this is an adventurous adaptation that will have the reader living out Buck's story. 

Now for a Spooky Treat!

The Haunted Hutch

“Surprise!” exclaimed Lila Palmer.

Her daughter Jenny stifled a gasp. It was indeed a surprise—but not a good one. Jenny’s parents had unexpectedly arrived at her home, and while they were always welcome to visit, the gift they had brought was not a happy sight.

The china hutch was a gorgeous piece of furniture, but its worth was measured only in sentimental value. The antique had been passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Apparently, now it was Jenny’s turn to own it.

As a child, Jenny had never given much thought to the hutch. She would have ignored it all together if not for the times she had gotten into trouble on its behalf. The items displayed behind the hutch’s glass doors had a strange habit of rearranging themselves, and the hutch doors often popped open without explanation.

For years, Jenny shouldered the blame, even though she was innocent. Fortunately for her, when she was eight years old, her mother witnessed a door opening on its own; a statuette jumped off its shelf and onto the floor. After that, Jenny wasn’t blamed anymore.

Before the girl’s ninth birthday, the Palmers hit a stretch of bad luck. The family’s house was burglarized, and the thieves took several hunting rifles and a jewelry collection that included Lila’s heirloom wedding rings.

Mere months later, an electrical fire destroyed the Palmer’s home, consuming most of their belongings. The only item to survive the blaze was the old hutch. Lila took special care in cleaning the soot off her prized possession, and while she did so, she made a startling discovery: The two stolen wedding rings had suddenly appeared on one of the hutch’s shelves.

Even after the Palmers moved the hutch into their new home, its contents continued to change positions, and the doors sometimes opened themselves. At first, these happenings were little more than fun conversation topics. However, as the years passed, Jenny detected a ghastly pattern: Every time the hutch doors opened, a loved one died within three months!

Jenny hated herself for discovering the correlation. She spent most of her teen years in fear of finding the hutch open, and when this harbinger came, she waited in dreadful anticipation for death to find someone she cared about. It always did, without exception.

By contrast, in the years after she left the hutch behind, Jenny didn’t attend a single funeral. It would seem that in escaping the antique cabinet, she had saved her family and friends from the Grim Reaper.

Yet here it was. Death—the hutch—had found her again. Jenny silently debated her options. Although it would break her mother’s heart, she eventually chose to refuse the gift.

She didn’t have to.

As the hutch was lifted off the truck, the glass on its doors broke. Jenny tried not to smile; now she had an excuse for keeping it in the garage.

Three years came and went, and the hutch sat in storage. Time softened Jenny’s opinion of the family treasure. Eventually her sentiments got the better of her. (The hutch’s predictions of death couldn’t be real. They were simply matters of coincidence.) She fixed the hutch and moved it into her dining room.

For the better part of a month, Jenny enjoyed the old piece of furniture without incident. Then one day it happened. Jenny came home from grocery shopping to find the hutch’s doors standing open.

Exactly three months later, her 36-year-old cousin died from a heart attack. Jenny wasted no time in getting rid of the hutch, once and for all.

© Ryan Jacobson

Ryan Jacobson can be found on his website, on facebook, and on twitter.


Ryan Jacobson has always loved choose your path books, so he is thrilled to get a chance to write them. He used his memories of those fun-filled stories and his past experiences to write LOST IN THE WILD. The book became so popular that he followed it with STORM AT THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT EVEREST and CAN YOU SURVIVE: JACK LONDON’S CALL OF THE WILD.
Ryan is the author of nearly 20 books, including picture books, comic books, graphic novels, chapter books and ghost stories. He lives in Mora, Minnesota, with his wife Lora, sons Jonah and Lucas, and dog Boo. For more details, visit

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blog Tour: Ashes - Estevan Vega - Character Feature: Arson

Estevan Vega is here today with his main character, Arson, courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for his newest release, Ashes. Thank you for being here today, Estevan and Arson! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy!

Wake Me Up

by steph arson gable

Hello? I guess this is where I talk and we pretend like you hear what I’m saying. I’m supposed to tell you about myself, the who-I-am bit like you see on the back of those corny young adult books. But who’s to say you can even hear me. Come to think of it, who’s to say you wouldn’t shut off right from the get-go? Sorry. I guess I’m not so good at this honesty thing. The whole, share your emotions stuff freaks me out a bit, to be honest. Grandma’s better at this than me. Although she hasn’t really opened up to anyone since…

Forget it. I don’t want to talk about that. And don’t ask me to. Let’s just say things haven’t ever really been great in my life. Don’t worry, this isn’t a soapbox, and I’m not Emery’s dad, so you’ll get no preaching from me. Crap, that sounded a little harsher than I meant for it to. Anyway, Grandma’s got this love-hate dynamic with me. Not sure what else to call it. It’s sick in a way, but I guess I love her more than I hate her. I only got one, right? And when she’s acting…you know…normal, she’s actually kinda nice. ’Course there are some days when she’s tossing plates at me because I let out a burp “rudely” in her presence or telling me what she really thinks of me, in the dark of her, but when you choose to love somebody you make excuses for why they treat you like garbage.

If you really want to know, she’s particularly fond of a few choice words. She hasn’t ever been much for cussing, so she resorts to harsh names like demon or killer when she’s upset with me. She likes those names. I don’t.

But I s’pose she’s not far-off. Anyone who knows anything about me (which isn’t a whole lot of people) knows that my past sort of earned those ugly nicknames. No, I’m not gonna go into here. I’m not pathetic like that. This is not a diary or a neat little bio; it’s the truth. So…without any wild intro, I guess I’ll rewind a bit and try to start over: I can create fire with my mind. With my thoughts, really. Don’t freak out. After all, if you think about something long enough, chances are it can become reality. My powers work a little but like that, just more literal. The fire can come out at any time if I’m not careful. And it’s happened. I’ve been trying to keep it contained. Trying to create some kind of order from all the chaos.

But for now, things aren’t looking so great. I haven’t seen Grandma in God knows how long. I haven’t seen the cabin or the lake. I haven’t walked the halls of my high school. Well, I have, but it’s different now. Way different. It’s like a dream, but you can’t open your eyes. Not really. Is anything making sense yet?

Right. I almost forgot. You probably can’t even hear me.

Worst part of all this is that I haven’t seen Emery. Not sure she’s even alive or where they’ve taken her. She’s so real, you know? So freaking compassionate…the greatest girl. We met this past summer. She wears a mask, but she’s not some weirdo. Cross my heart. Well, she wore a mask, actually. Tell you the truth, I’m kind of okay with the mask being gone, even though I can still picture the scars on her face. Still, that mask made any possibility of making-out nearly impossible. Not that her parents would be thrilled of us doing that. Well, her mother might not possess too much of an opinion, but her father would never let it go if he caught us. I’ve already had two awkward conversations with that man, not sure I can handle a third.

No. That last part was a lie. I would. If it meant I could see her again. If it meant I could get that summer back. Get my life back. My sad, pathetic, dysfunctional, freak life. I knew how that world worked. Well, more like I was figuring it out. I hadn’t mastered the control thing like I wanted to, but I was trying like crazy.

It’s so weird; no matter how often I blink, I’m still alone. I’m talking to you with no response. I pray, but God’s delivery boy must be out sick. I’ve even called out my grandmother’s name a few times in the darkness. But the emptiness grows. It hurts even. My head’s pounding. There’s this pain, like a knife’s splitting open my chest and my forehead. It won’t quit. I keep swallowing, but I’m just sucking down dead spit. I’m ready for the nightmare to stop. I’m ready to go back. To wake up.

Help me wake up.


Thank you for introducing yourself, Arson! I hope that the nightmare ends for you soon! =( 

Thank you Estevan for being here today as well! 

Estevan Vega can be found on his website, and on twitter


More than three months have passed since Arson and Emery were taken. Taken and then separated.

And experimented on.

Salvation Asylum is more like a prison than a psychiatric facility. Unknowingly, Arson has become a vital instrument in a campaign set to genetically alter mankind. Enraged, confused, trapped, and unable to fully manifest his abilities, he wonders if he will ever see Emery again. His new existence is one crawling with questions. Is Grandma alive? Where does the fire come from? Can he become more than a monster?

In Ashes, book two of the ARSON series, nightmare and reality collide as Arson must embrace what he is and the haunting realization that there may be others out there, others like him.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Blog Tour: Kane Richards Must Die - Shanice Williams - Suranne This or That List

Shanice Williams is here today with a character this or that list for her character, Suranne, courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her new release, Kane Richards Must Die. Thank you for being here today, Shanice! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy!
Chapstick or lipstickChapstick. It does its job without making too much of a statement.

Strawberries or raspberriesStrawberries! I love them with cream, or chocolate.

A1 or 5iveUhm… I don’t know either… I’ll say 5ive!

Marvel or DCDC. I loved the art more. There was just something about it!

Cosmopolitan or SeventeenI’m not really into Magazines, but I guess Seventeen cus that’s my age!

Skirt or PantsI’m definitely more of a skinny jean/jeggings kinda girl. J

Policemen or FiremenFireman definitely. They know how to work their hose. J

Giraffe or LemurGiraffe’s seem so cute and gentle and just always at ease. I like that.

Watch shows on TV or on DVDDVD. I hate those annoying adverts! With a DVD it’s at your pace.

Night out on the town, or homebodyUnless I'm with some really great friends, then I prefer to stay at home with my music and just doodle!

Thank you for being here today Suranne and Shanice! 

Shanice Williams can be found on her blog, and on twitter.


After an unexpected transfer to the States for her senior year, Suranne's new friends give her just one instruction: stay away from Kane Richards. According to everyone, he's a heartless playboy concerned only for himself. With one glance, it's easy to see why he gets away with it. But things aren't always what they seem- especially when he sets his sights on her and whispers that she's different.
Despite all the red flags, Suranne considers whether or not his intentions are genuine or if she's simply another name on his list. In the process, she may just uncover the real Kane Richards. But, when it comes down to it, the real Kane Richards may not want to be found.

Filled with raw emotion, Kane Richards Must Die explores relationships, trust, love, and what can happen when life takes an unexpected turn.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

That Boy - Jillian Dodd - Blog Tour Review

That Boy is a contemporary romance about falling in love with the boys next door.

You know, being friends with two cute boys does have its benefits.

There's Danny. Danny is a golden boy in every way. He has dreamy blue eyes and blonde hair that always looks perfect, even when it’s windblown or been stuck under a football helmet. He’s the boy every girl crushes on. The boy I get into trouble with, the boy I fight with, the hot quarterback no girl can resist, not even me. Being with Danny is like being on an adventure. He has a bright, contagious smile and abs to die for. He’s pretty much irresistible.

Equally crush worthy is Phillip. Adorable, sweet Phillip, who I have known since birth. Phillip has dark hair, a perfect smile, brown eyes, and the sexiest voice I have ever heard. He’s the boy I talk to every night before I go to sleep. The boy who rescues me, the boy who can read my mind, the boy who is always there for me, the boy who tries to keep me out of trouble, the boy who irritatingly keeps getting hotter, and whose strong arms always seem to find their way around me. And when he gives me that grin, I can never say no.

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.
Only one of them is That Boy.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: That Boy
Author: Jillian Dodd
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Coming of Age
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: E-book
Source: Received from author courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Jillian Dodd and Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Blog tour: Teen Book Scene blog tour. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner located below the review.
Look for it: Amazon
My rating: 4/5

That Boy is Jay's story. She has never been close to girls, certainly not as close friends as she is to both Phillip and Danny. She likes them both for different reasons, but doesn't want their relationship with her to change if they take things past the 'just friends' stage. If she did that, one of the relationships would never be repaired, and the other, would be a match made in heaven. Will she decide to follow her heart, and will she realize what is right in front of her, before she loses out on her forever after?
Jay is a cute main character. I enjoyed reading the book from her point of view, even when it skipped from grade to grade within a few pages. I was never lost during the transitioning  between pages as Jay kept us informed of what was going on in her life, especially pertaining to boys. She is quite the boy crazy, football wielding main character, and I found her enthusiasm infectious. She calls things as she sees them, and is a daredevil with both Phillip and Danny. At least Phillip looks after her to make sure she doesn't get into any trouble. 
I have to say though, that Phillip won my heart. He and Danny are both excellent characters, and they have their attractions and are both heart-breakers for different reasons. Phillip was there for Jay through everything. She had quite a tumultuous time during high school, but both Phillip and Danny were there for her, and it was nice to see them looking out for her. 
There are several laugh out loud scenes in this book, and some scenes are also tearjerkers. I was shocked by the turn of events at one point in the book and did end up tearing up at said point. The one thing I noticed in the book is that Jay or JJ, keeps the same attitude throughout. Her personality and character don't seem to vary much, even as the read progresses through her college years. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but she ends up having to be told by everyone around her just what is in front of her before she realizes her feelings and the feelings of her said paramour. 
All in all, a cute coming of age read. Phillip and Danny hooked me as soon as I read about them. I absolutely loved the friendship between all three of the main characters and enjoyed reading about the trouble they got themselves into. I also enjoyed how football oriented the book is as football played a major focal point during the read. This is definitely a fun read, and I know that I will enjoy diving back in to Jay's world to see what is up next for her, Phillip, Danny, and their friends and family.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows - Molly E. Johnson - Blog Tour Review

When Spartacus Ryan “Poop Lip” Zander finds his house destroyed and his wacko, Human Cannonball mother missing, it’s obvious that she’s been kidnapped by Bartholomew’s World-Renowned Circus of the Incredible. But when his dad and brother refuse to believe it—because they’re morons, obviously—it’s up to Spartacus to be the hero.

With the Internet-wizardry of his best friend and clues from his mom’s postcards, Spartacus sets out on a zany, west coast rescue mission. But as the stories about the circus get stranger (and Spart’s enemies get weirder), he realizes the only way to bring his family back together is to bring the big top down, once and for all.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Publisher: RainTown Press
Publication Date: October 26, 2011
Format: ARC
Source: Received from publicist courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to RainTown Press and Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Tour: Teen Book Scene blog tour. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner located below the review. 
My rating: 4/5

Spartacus Ryan Zander has always disliked his name. It's not normal enough for him, and to add insult to injury, his older brother has dubbed him "Poop Lip" due to the freckle or mole on his upper lip. When his mother joins the circus, Spartacus is left bereft. He believes she has been kidnapped, and no one will do anything about it. His father doesn't seem to be worried, which makes Spartacus even more concerned. He devises a plan to find his mother, but he'll have to rely on his best friend to find him the rides he needs to get to the circus. Once there he uncovers more disturbing news, and he will have to bring down the whole circus if he is going to save those he cares for, as well as himself. 
Spartacus is a sweet kid. He is completely infatuated with saving his mother, and will do anything to bring her back home. With the help of his best friend, he embarks on a journey across several states to get to the circus. He hitches rides with some questionable characters, and finds himself in some hairy situations, but he doesn't lose his determination to find his mother. He is a plucky character, and will have readers engaged in his wild ride to the circus. 
Johnson displays a tongue in cheek quality to her writing, one that will have readers laughing alongside Spartacus as they find him in some increasingly compromising predicaments. The friends he makes as well as the enemies, will have readers hoping that he makes it to the circus in one piece. Then of course, the hard part will be extricating his mother from the grasp of the evil Bartholomew. 
Many characters pop up throughout the novel, and they bring about some of the best comic relief I have read in a long time. The elderly women in the car are hilarious, and will have readers laughing as well as hoping that Spartacus can get himself out of yet another dangerous situation.
All in all, a hilarious and enterprising read. Spartacus will draw readers to him as he travels across state lines to find his mother. An engaging hero, a diabolical villain, and many humorous yet complicated situations will have readers deeply invested in Spartacus' story. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Two author events in the Toronto area.

Two authors are going to be in the Toronto area within the next two weeks, and if you are looking for events to go to, look no further! The first event is with Alice Hoffman, the author of the newly released The Dovekeepers. I am currently reading this book right now, and even though I'm just starting it, it has captured my attention! The second event is with Canadian author, Jennifer Hillier. She is the author of Creep, an adult fiction thriller. It sounds fantastic as well! 

The details for the events will be listed within the poster, and the synopsis of the books will be listed below the poster. I hope you can make it out to see both of these wonderful authors!
The Dovekeepers synopsis courtesy of goodreads.

Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel.

The author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune’s Daughter, and Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet—one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women.

In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.

This novel is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.
Creep synopsis courtesy of goodreads.
Pulsing with the dark obsession of Radiohead’s song “Creep,” this taut thriller—Jennifer Hillier’s superb debut—rockets from its seductive opening to a heartpounding climax not easily forgotten.

If he can’t have her . . .

Dr. Sheila Tao is a professor of psychology. An expert in human behavior. And when she began an affair with sexy, charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Consumed by lust when they were together, riddled with guilt when they weren’t, she knows the three-month fling with her teaching assistant has to end. After all, she’s finally engaged to a kind and loving investment banker who adores her, and she’s taking control of her life. But when she attempts to end the affair, Ethan Wolfe won’t let her walk away.

. . . no one else can.

Ethan has plans for Sheila, plans that involve posting a sex video that would surely get her fired and destroy her prestigious career. Plans to make her pay for rejecting him. And as she attempts to counter his every threatening move without her colleagues or her fiancé discovering her most intimate secrets, a shattering crime rocks Puget Sound State University: a female student, a star athlete, is found stabbed to death. Someone is raising the stakes of violence, sex, and blackmail . . . and before she knows it, Sheila is caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with the lover she couldn’t resist—who is now the monster who won’t let her go.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Blog Tour: That Boy - Jillian Dodd - Author Interview and Giveaway

Jillian Dodd is here today with an author interview courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her new release, That Boy. Thank you for being here today, Jillian! You can follow along with the blog tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy! 

You are walking down the street, what catches your eye? 

Food, shoes, good looking men, hot cars.

What song do listen to on repeat? 

I’m working on a new book series, so I’m getting to know those characters. Working hard to thoroughly develop each one. That Boy had just a few main characters. This series has many important characters, and they each have distinctive personalities. The songs I have been listening to over and over relate to the story line and the individual characters. Songs they would like.
Here’s the list of songs I have been listening to over and over again.
Sure Thing by Miguel
Yeah 3x by Chris Brown
Since U Been Gone by A Day To Remember
Outta Your Mind by Lil Jon (feat. LMFAO)
Down on Me by Jeremiah (feat. 50 Cent)
Tonight by Enrique Iglesias (feat. Ludacris)
Move Shake Drop by DJ Laz (feat. Flo Rida &Casely)
It’s a War by New Medicine
American Wasted by New Medicine
Never Heard by New Medicine
I Get It In by Omarion
Ni**as In Paris by Jay-Z.

If you could do one thing before you die, what would it be? 

That’s hard. I just want to live whatever life I have left to the fullest. I want my family to be close, for my kids to always know how much I love them. There’s a lot of places I’d love to visit. I’d love to see my books made into a movie, hit the best sellers list, things like that, but really I just like living. I like everyday things. I love the sunset, watching waves at the beach, eating dinner with my family, talking to my hubby over a beer.

How would you describe yourself to those meeting you for the first time? 

I’d say I’m easy to talk to. I’m easily distracted, have a hard time learning names. I can never remember people’s names in the beginning, but once I learn your name, I’ll never forget it. It always amazed my high school bff how I could remember the names of all the boys she liked, when half the time she didn’t remember!

If you could describe THAT BOY in one sentence, what would it be?

You know being friends with cute boys does have it’s benefits. (This is an actual line from the book.)

If Murphy's Law applied to you, which law or scenario would you most likely encounter? 

If I remember right Murphy’s law is something like if anything can go wrong, it will. I think in life you have to try and plan for things to go wrong. Life isn’t supposed to be perfect. But I also think that life can be really really good.
I was very athletic growing up. I’m still athletic and can whip both my kids and usually my husband at things like playing Horse. My husband says I’m the most athletic klutz he knows. Case in point. Hubby is super athletic. He’s one of those people that can do anything he tries and can do it well. At the time, his latest addiction was riding bikes. He enjoyed riding miles and miles and thought maybe I would too. (He really should have known better.) I agreed to go for a simple ride with him. On some trails, not for miles. It was fun. There was a big hill, and I decided to stop to rest for a minute. We were on a cement riding trail on a hill. There was curbing attached to the cement on the trail. I leaned my bike over, put one foot on the curb, then boom, fell down. My foot slipped off the curbing and down about six inches into the grass. Needless to say, that caused me to fall, the bike flipping over on top of me. Hubby was laughing hysterically, probably wishing he had a video camera, until he realized I was hurt. I sprained my ankle badly. Apparently falling off your bike and spraining your ankle, while the bike is stopped, is not something particularly graceful. And I’m afraid I’ve passed on the trait. My daughter once sprained her ankle on an acorn. She also fell down in the parking lot at school on the way to Field Day.

If you, Jadyn, Danny, and Phillip were all at a party, what would you say to each other?

We’ve known each other for about 8 years now, so we’re old friends. I’ve been busy working on a new six book series and have been spending a lot of time with those characters, getting to know them. But we’d catch up. I’d ask Danny how Kansas City is. You know, I used to live there. I still sing Home of the Chiefs at the end of the National Anthem. I’d ask him how Lori’s been feeling, if they have picked out any baby names yet.
I’d ask Jadyn how her wedding planning is going. I’d wanna see the ring!
I’d ask Phillip how he ever came up with the idea for the charm bracelet, all the charms, and the treasure hunt. Then we’d probably all have a few drinks together.

Thanks so much for having me here today!! You can all check out my website: There are links on there to follow me on twitter, facebook, and my blog. I love talking to readers and always respond!! The sequel That Wedding should be coming out in January! Check my blog and twitter for updated information!

Thank you so much for being here today, Jillian! I absolutely loved your answers! I believe we also have something in common thanks to Murphy's Law. ;) 

Jillian Dodd can be found on her website, her blog, twitter and facebook.


That Boy is a contemporary romance about falling in love with the boys next door.

You know, being friends with two cute boys does have its benefits.

There's Danny. Danny is a golden boy in every way. He has dreamy blue eyes and blonde hair that always looks perfect, even when it’s windblown or been stuck under a football helmet. He’s the boy every girl crushes on. The boy I get into trouble with, the boy I fight with, the hot quarterback no girl can resist, not even me. Being with Danny is like being on an adventure. He has a bright, contagious smile and abs to die for. He’s pretty much irresistible.

Equally crush worthy is Phillip. Adorable, sweet Phillip, who I have known since birth. Phillip has dark hair, a perfect smile, brown eyes, and the sexiest voice I have ever heard. He’s the boy I talk to every night before I go to sleep. The boy who rescues me, the boy who can read my mind, the boy who is always there for me, the boy who tries to keep me out of trouble, the boy who irritatingly keeps getting hotter, and whose strong arms always seem to find their way around me. And when he gives me that grin, I can never say no.

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.
Only one of them is That Boy.
Synopsis taken from goodreads


Giveaway Details

Jillian Dodd has graciously provided  Lost For Words with an e-copy of That Boy for giveaway. 
Thank you, Jillian! 
Giveaway is open internationally. 
Giveaway will end October 30, 2011.
Please fill out this FORM to enter. Comments, while appreciated, will not be counted as entries. 
Thank you!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blog Tour: Ashfall - Mike Mullin - Alex's Book Picks & Giveaway Details

Mike Mullin is here today with Alex's Book Picks courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for his new release, Ashfall. Thank you for being here today, Mike! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy! 

Alex’s Favorite Books
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
Anyone who even occasionally glances at Google News knows some places are a lot crappier to live in than the United States was before the supervolcano. This book explains why.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
About a future world in which parents can choose to have their teenagers disassembled for parts. So, only slightly worse than today. I don’t think Mom would unwind me. At least not on most days.

Red Thunder by John Varley
A bunch of kids get together and build a spaceship. The cool thing about this book is that, except for some hand-waving about a “bubble drive,” this would really work.

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
Unless you’re satisfied learning only the history that Texas Board of Education wants taught, you need this book. (Yes—even in Iowa, and probably your state—the Texas Board of Education decides what goes into your high school history textbooks; check this out if you don’t believe me.)

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
My favorite fantasy—it reads like a real history of Italy, but with magic thrown in for extra fun.
Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution by Benson Bobrick
This is my favorite history of The American Revolution, which is also one of my favorite topics in history.

1632 by Eric Flint
A small West Virginia town is suddenly transported to the northern Germany of 1632. Mayhem ensues. This book rocks, but the sequels are meh.

Startide Rising by David Brin
Talking, sentient dolphins! And chimps! Hundreds of alien species. Some of which want to eat us. What more do you want? The Uplift War, set in the same universe, is just as good.

Feed by M.T. Anderson
Here’s the first sentence, “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.” Tell me that doesn’t make you want to read the whole book. It doesn’t? Oh well, it worked for me.

Thank you for sharing some of your favourite books with us today, Alex!

Thank you for being here today, Mike and Alex! 

Mike Mullin can be found on his website, his blog, and on twitter

Want to buy an autographed copy of Ashfall? Look here.


Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.


Giveaway Details

Comment to be entered to win an autographed copy of Ashfall. US/Canada only. 
Mike will draw a winner each week of the tour.
International winner will be selected at end of tour. 

Unwelcome - Michael Griffo - Blog Tour Review

Archangel Academy is more than a school to Michael Howard. Within its majestic buildings and serene English grounds, he's found friends, new love, and a place that feels more like home than Nebraska ever did. But the most important gift of Archangel Academy is immortality. . .

Life as a just-made vampire is challenging for Michael, even with Ronan, an experienced vamp, to guide him. Michael's abilities are still raw and unpredictable. To add to the turmoil, the ancient feud between rival vampire species is sending ripples of discord through the school. And beneath the new headmaster's charismatic front lies a powerful and very personal agenda.

Yet the mysteries lurking around the Academy pale in comparison to the secrets emerging from Michael's past. And choosing the wrong person to trust—or to love—could lead to an eternity of regret. . .
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: Unwelcome (Archangel Academy)
Author: Michael Griffo
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Format: Softcover
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Kensington Books, and Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Blog Tour: Teen Book Scene blog tour. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner located below the review. 
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 3.5/5 

Unwelcome picks up right where Unnatural left off. Michael is at Archangel Academy, and he is at the start of a new semester. After the events of the previous semester, he is hoping to just relax and enjoy the company of his new boyfriend. However, evil still lurks and is not done with Michael and Archangel Academy yet. The vampire factions are at the precipice of a war, and immortality may be cut short at any time. Danger and intrigue abound at Archangel Academy. Will Michael and Ronan survive, and will they still be united together? 
Unwelcome was an engrossing read. Many new characters were thrown at the reader, however they were a welcome addition to the Archangel Academy crew. New villains rose to the challenge, and previously reliable friends are unwittingly crossing into enemy territory. There is still a lot of head jumping in the book as the point of view switches between several characters per page. Once you are used to the narrative style, and know the characters, it is easy to follow along with the different perspectives. I did find that in Unwelcome the head jumping was more refined and fluid as it would follow a set train of thought with a few characters. Michael would be going to confront his father, and Brania would be going to confront hers and it would switch back and forth between both of their conversations, much like a tv show of sorts. 
Several new characters were added to the already large cast, and they brought both humour and suspense with them. We glean more insight into some of the new characters, and more tidbits are revealed about the different vampire factions, however there are still some aspects that are cloaked in secrecy yet. Hopefully they will be revealed within the next book as they will let us know more about the different factions and how they came to be. 
Many intriguing twists are revealed in Unwelcome and it kept the story moving. Griffo is not afraid of killing characters once he is done with them, so be warned, some of your favourites could end up on the chopping block. 
All in all, a solid follow-up to Unnatural. Relationships evolve to give us a new perspective on situations that we hadn't previously seen before. New family members entering the picture add another dimension as well as we get to see more of the vampire world and the inner workings of set family dynamics. I'm intrigued to know what will happen next for Michael, Ronan and their friends.