Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Miranda Kenneally Talks About Her Inspirations

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 with
Hello everyone,
Happy Halloween for those celebrate!

We are the stop of the Home Run Blog Tour to get the word out about Miranda Kenneally's newest release, Stealing Parker. If you've read Catching Jordan or you love reading contemporary YA, then you're going to love SP--trust me because I did!

We asked Miranda: Where do you get your inspiration? Tell us about where your ideas originate. And please share with us the best advice that you've ever gotten about being a writer.

book cover
Geez, this is a pretty hard question. I get my inspiration from all over the place. From conversations I have with friends and people at work. From inside jokes with my husband. I read lots of books, and see how my favorite authors write plot arcs and characterization, and then I set out to do that too, but with my own edge. I often look through my junior and high school yearbooks to remind myself of how I felt when I was younger. I also like to read my old diaries. One time I got a book idea from a true fact under a Snapple lid. Another time I got a book idea because somebody had broken into my car!

I got the idea for the “Jerry Rice fake baby home ec” project in Catching Jordan because I remembered this time I was out on the football field in junior high, and a football player was pushing another player around in a stroller.

The best advice I ever got as a writer?
An editor told me my strongest skill as an author is writing groups of teens goofing off and talking about nothing, so now I try to have my characters bantering while doing lots of wild and wacky things while trying to move the plot forward. And I have a great time doing it! I try to write silly scenes that I hope people will enjoy reading.
Thank you, Miranda! Tomorrow I'll be posting my review of Stealing Parker (which I practically inhaled in one sitting). If you've never heard of SP, here's the synopsis:
book cover
Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?
Have a fun and safe night everyone!


Friday, October 26, 2012

FYI: Exciting Bookish Events

Friday, October 26, 2012 with
Happy Friday bookish friends!

Exciting bookish events are coming up! And in case you guys don't know about them, I'm going to tell you about them.

First off, (this one you all probably participate in every year--I know I do) is the Goodreads Choice Awards 2012! There will be 20 categories this year and the three I really look forward to are the YA (Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction), fiction and romance categories. The opening round starts on Tuesday, October 30 where you can write-in votes if your favorites are not in the nominees.

I am really hoping Seraphina will be one of the nominees--no, I know it will be one of the nominees in the YA Fantasy & Science Fiction and it has an excellent chance of winning (it's a excellent book!). The other YA novel that I think will be on the list for sure is Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.
For fiction, I really hope The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer will be nominated. As for romance, I really want to see Scorched by Laura Griffin nominated (I read it recently and loved it but it won't be released until next week Tuesday) but I'm 100% sure About That Night by Julie James will be one of the romance nominees.

The other event coming up is a Shindig online event happening this weekend--on Sunday, October 28th at 2:00 PM EST to be exact: Christopher Paolini, Stefan Bachmann (The Peculiars) and Rachel Hartman (see left) will all be talking their books and what inspires them and they'll be taking questions from readers.

I highlighted Rachel Hartman because her debut novel Seraphina is one of my favorite reads this year! I haven't read the other two authors but I've definitely heard of Paolini and his Inheritance series. I've already RSVP'd to the event and if you haven't, you can do that here:

What are your Goodreads Choice Awards picks? If you're going to the Shindig event, I will "see" you there! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with gripping reads.

<3, Michelle

P.S. Don't forget to enter our giveaways (see sidebar). There's low entries, so you all have a very good chance of winning! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hello fellow readers,
Yesterday we spotlighted Delilah S. Dawson's The Mysterious Madam Morpho. Today, we are featuring Warrior's Last Gift by Melissa Mayhue.

book cover
An enthralling eNovella that combines time-travel, the Scottish Highlands, and a touch of Norse mythology—linking the Daughter of the Glens series with the Warriors series spin-off.

When Jeanne MacGhie had nowhere to turn, Eymer Horvesson stepped in with an offer of marriage. He asked for only one favor in return…and now that he’s dead, Jeanne will stop at nothing to keep her promise to the young warrior—even though it means turning to the one man she swore she’d never speak to again.

Eric MacNicol never expected a cavalier refusal to wed would result in his losing the one thing he truly wanted in life. When a warrior’s final request forces him on a cross-country quest with the widow, he must battle his inner demons to make the right decision this time. Only one last gift from a fallen warrior can offer them both a second chance at true love…
>>You can buy Warrior's Last Gift HERE.<< 

Enter to win an e-book copy of Warrior's Last Gift novella! Open to U.S. residents only (if you win, you will be given a code and it's only redeemable on the Simon & Schuster's U.S. site--sorry international readers). Ends October 31.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
Don't forget to enter to win the e-novella The Mysterious Madam Morpho HERE.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hello fellow readers,
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Sigh. But it's Monday again... However I got something that might take out of of your Monday doldrums...

Did you read Delilah S. Dawson's debut novel Wicked as They Come and is hankering for more? Well, check out the e-novella that takes place right after WaTC.

book cover
Taking place after Wicked as They Come, this original eBook features a mysterious lady and a reclusive mechanical genius who find love and danger in a traveling circus.

An elusive woman arrives at Criminy’s doorstep with a steamer trunk, begging for a position in the caravan to perform her unique new act. She opens her trunk to reveal a menagerie of brilliantly colored butterflies. The woman, who calls herself Madam Morpho, is on the run from a dark past in London, where she was forced to leave her equipment behind and abscond with only her tiny performers. Playing a hunch, Criminy hires Madam Morpho on the spot. Taking her down to meet Mr. Murdoch, the reclusive talented engineer who keeps the carnival’s clockworks running, Criminy instructs them to work together to design and build a groundbreaking new circus for the butterflies. Amid the magical ambiance of the circus and the hint of danger from Madam Morpho’s pursuers, she and Mr. Murdoch soon find that their scientific collaboration has produced chemistry of a more romantic kind.
>>You can buy The Mysterious Madam Morpho HERE.<< 

Enter to win an e-book copy of The Mysterious Madam Morpho novella! Open to U.S. residents only (if you win, you will be given a code and it's only redeemable on the Simon & Schuster's U.S. site--sorry international readers). Ends October 31.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! Come back tomorrow for another e-novella giveaway!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

We got new books! (16)

Saturday, October 20, 2012 with
We haven't done a "we got new books" post since last month so these are the books we got in October (so far?).  We're going to start with the books Leslie got on Maui.
The entire Ruby Oliver series! by E. Lockhart (won)
[[Michelle won the entire set from Random House on Twitter. We've been hearing great things about this series so we are so happy we got all four books!]]

Three romance novels also arrived on Maui for me (check out Aubrey's teddy in the background):
Twelfth Night Secrets by Jane Feather (unsolicited)
Where Angels Rest by Kate Brady (won)
'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries (unsolicited)

Michelle, who was in a contemporary YA kick after reading Stealing Parker, hit the library. There were some awesome YA review books that arrived too:
Tempestuous (Twisted Lit #1) by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes (review)
[[This one is a modern spin on Shakespeare's The Tempest!]]
Touched by Corrine Jackson (review)
7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker (library)
[[Read this one already and it's really good. 4/5 stars!]]
In Honor by Jessi Kirby (library)
One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt (library)
The Pledge (The Pledge #1) by Kimberly Derting (library)

Michelle's romance novels:
One Wrong Move by Shannon McKenna (review)
The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day (review)
Saddled and Spurred (Blacktop Cowboys #2) by Lorelei James (bought)
Wrangled and Tangled (Blacktop Cowboys #3) by Lorelei James (bought)
[[I love Lorelei James's Rough Riders series so I thought I'd give her other series a try.]]

I also bought these e-books:
Never Seduce a Scot (Montgomerys and Armstrongs #1) by Maya Banks
[[I resist buying NSaS after reading all the great reviews.]]
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (review)
[[I am reading Scorched and I am really loving Kelsey and Gage. I wanted to read more about them so I just HAD to get their novella.]]

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Lies That Bind Vlog Tour: Week #2

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 with
Hello everyone,
Happy Wednesday! We continue the Lies The Bind love here with video number 2 in the vlog tour. This time Lisa and Laura talk about fantasy casting the Liar Society series.

Laura's pick for Kate is Emma Roberts and I agree! I think she's very Kate. They also talk about who they would cast for Liam and Seth. My picks are Pierre Boulanger as he was in the movie Monte Carlo for Liam and Rupert Grint with an American accent for Seth.

Here's vlog number 2:

Don't forget to enter to win the Random Prize Pack that includes a copy of Lies That Bind!

Have a wonderful day and happy reading.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Lies That Bind Vlog Tour: GIVEAWAY

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 with
Hello bookish friends,
If you stopped by on this here blog on Tuesday you know that the Lies That Bind Vlog Tour is currently happening from now to the release week of  The Lies That Bind (book 2 in the Liar Society series) on November 6.

Yup, it's a vlog tour: Every week Lisa and Laura Roecker will be posting a video each week talking about Kate and the Liar Society series and getting into fun shenanigans. If you missed video #1 this week, go watch it now.

As part of the vlog tour and thanks to Lisa, Laura and Sourcebooks Fire we are hosting a giveaway! One lucky bookish gal or guy can win this random prize pack:

All you have to do is enter through the Rafflecopter below. This contest will end on November 6 (The Lies That Bind's release day) and is open to US only. One winner will be chosen at random.


Come back later this week for video #2. Lisa and Laura will dish on if The Liar Society should become a movie or TV show and who they think should play Kate, Liam, Seth, Taylor & Bradley.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 15, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 364 pages 
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: July 10, 2012
ISBN: 9780316185574

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

WKendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.
Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.
With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.

Leslie's Review:
Perfect Escape really delivered as it was refreshing, honest, real, and memorable. I liked its idea of two siblings--Kendra and Grayson--trying to escape from their problems by going on this road trip together and ending up learning more about themselves and each other. The plot was really interesting and well-paced. I enjoyed being immersed in Kendra and Grayson's road trip.

Having siblings of my own, I was able to relate and connect with Kendra and Grayson very well. Their honest relationship of friendly banter, arguing and disagreeing, and brotherly-sisterly moments captured what it's like to have a sibling, most especially one with difficulties--and that was what made Kendra and Grayson so real and relatable.

However, my favorite character was Grayson. Despite his difficulties, he was a great character and I imagine would've been a great person if he were real. Towards Kendra, he was nice (as much as a brother can be to his sister), caring, and protective. As an individual, he was very intelligent and truly determined in his efforts to overcome his OCD for the sake of his family. I would've love to have met him if he were a real person.

After reading Perfect Escape--my first of Jennifer Brown's books--I've decided to definitely check out her older books (and future books). I really the way she writes and her voice. I recommend this great read to anyone looking for something refreshing and honest. It really is a perfect escape.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Valkyrie Rising Blog Tour + Giveaway

Saturday, October 13, 2012 with
Hello everyone,
I hope you are all having a great Saturday. Welcome to our stop on the Valkyrie Rising Blog Tour (hosted by Shane of Itching for Books--thanks Shane!).

I posted my review of Ingrid Paulson's Valkyrie Rising earlier today. If you haven't checked it out, you can find it HERE.

Now, I am here to share with you an excerpt from VR.

This exchange between Ellie and Tuck happened early on, during Ellie's brother's party and before they left for Norway and all the things happened. I like this scene because it sets up the relationships between Ellie and her brother Graham as well as Ellie and Tuck.

book cover
"Are you leaning on me because you're drunk?" I choked out, once the silence had stretched itself so far and thin it was fine dust coating my throat. Then I grasp for the only logical explanation. "If you're trying to make some girl down there jealous, you should cozy up to someone else. No one would ever see me as a threat."

"Why do you say that?" His grin reappeared, settling in and preparing to stay a while. And marking the return to familiar footing. The muscles in my shoulder started to uncoil.

"Because of who I am." Freshman year, Graham had thrown a boy out of a party for ignoring my polite hints. And he had interpreted my one-time plea for help as an open-door invitation into my love life. Or lack thereof, thanks to his constant interference. I wasn't supposed to know that my touch carried a social stigma second only to leprosy, but word gets back to you eventually.

"I mean, why play games? I get by just fine on looks alone." His smile was blinding, driving his point home.

"Don't forget your charming personality," I said, and my stomach flipped when his grin widened at my words. Making Tucker laugh was the best kind of rush. "I hear modesty is quite the aphrodisiac," I added.

"Listen to you." He lifted those gray eyes to meet mine. "Graham would die if he heard sweet little Ellie use a word like that. And die all over again if he thought you knew what it meant."

"Lucky he's not here," I said.

"Lucky indeed," he said slowly. "For more than one reason."

His smile was so pretty, I almost sighed out lout. Fortunately, that was all it took to remind me of the manifold dangers of dropping my guard around Tuck. Because he was softening me up. It was a dance I knew all too well, even if he usually preferred a more direct assault with me.

"What do you want?" I repeated.

"Time with you," he said sweetly. "Your undivided attention."
Awesome, right? Check out the giveaway if you haven't already:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! Don't forget to check out Valkyrie Rising. And have a great rest of the weekend!

book coverE-ARC: 242 pages 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: Oct. 9, 2012
ISBN: 9780062025722
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Valkyrie Rising #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.
What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.

Michelle's Review:
I was very excited for Valkyrie Rising when I first heard of it earlier this year. I haven't read a lot of books about valkyries, it is set in Norway and the love interest is the heroine's brother's best friend. It sounded like a fantastic read.

And it was good. There are many things I liked about it but I also had a couple of issues with it. One of things I did like a lot was the dynamics between the main character Ellie and Tuck, her brother Graham's best friend. I really liked the back and forth banter between them and they had that chemistry. I looked forward to the moment when they finally get together. My favorite character was actually Tuck. He was charming, quick and he didn't mind letting Ellie take the lead. I really appreciated that he was steady throughout the novel and didn't vacillate between hot and cold towards Ellie as a lot of YA paranormal love interest tend to do.

Another thing I liked about the novel was the change in Ellie's character goes through. She started off as a girl that hid in her room during her brother's party but as the story went on and she learned more about herself, she gained self-confidence and got stronger. She was a great heroine--she didn't give up when the odds were stacked up against her and Tuck and she fought back but she also knew when to ask for help.

Like I mentioned above, one of the things that initially made me excited about Valkyrie Rising was that it took place outside the United States. But I did wish it made a bigger impression or it was elaborated on more because while I knew in my head that the characters were in a village in Norway, it read like Anyplace, USA. My other issue was that the story dragged in the middle. There was a lot of running around on Ellie and Tuck's part as they tried to rescue Graham but nothing happened to push the story forward.

Valkyrie Rising was a good debut novel and an enjoyable read. I do think that Valkyrie Rising will be a series but the ending did leave me satisfied. Despite some loose ends, it was not a cliffhanger ending that left me cheated (thank you Ms. Paulson!). So, check out Valkyrie Rising for its has a strong heroine, interesting secondary characters and Norse mythology. Although the middle did drag somewhat there's also enough of action to keep you reading.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Michelle Covets: The Rules by Stacey Kade

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 with
Why I covet this book: I LOOVE Stacey's Ghost and the Goth series and I am so excited to read more books written by her.

The Rules sounds really good too. And check out the cover--the girl's eyes are super freaky.

book cover
1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…
The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) comes out on April 23, 2013 from Disney-Hyperion. For more info and news about the novel, visit check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Lies That Bind Vlog Tour: Week #1

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 with
Hello fellow bookaholics,
You probably don't remember but I featured The Lies That Bind as one of the "books I covet" back in July. Well, I won't be coveting it much longer because because it is coming out in less than a month!

I am very excited for the release of The Lies That Bind, book 2 in the Liar Society series. I really loved  the first book and I am so happy that I'll get to revisit Kate and her friends very soon. To celebrate the upcoming release of The Lies That Bind, the Roecker sisters (the authors) are doing a vlog each week talking about Kate and the Liar Society and getting into fun shenanigans.

If you haven't heard of the Liar Society series, it features a spunky, kick-ass character named Kate. In the first book she tried to find proof that her best friend's death was no accident after getting a strange email from said best friend (from beyond the grave?!). She teams up with hotty Liam and ginger haired Seth.

There's humor, mystery and light romance. It's like a modern, more awesome version of the Nancy Drew series.

Click on the cover to read the synopsis of book one and two on Goodreads:


Thursday, October 4, 2012

book cover ARC: 350 pages 
Publisher: MacMillan
 Release Date: September 18, 2012
ISBN: 9780374380740

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Birthright #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship. But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before.

Leslie's Review:
I'm just going to say it: SOOOOOO GOOD!! I mean, that's exactly what I thought about as soon as I flipped the last page. I LOVED it. All of it. And I already can't wait for the next book to come out.

Once again, Anya shined for me in this second installment of Zevin's Birthright series. Her character continued to be a strong and courageous heroine that I truly admire. Even though she was (as she was in the first book) thoughtless and confused at times and messed things up greatly and often, it was her imperfections that made her such an awesome, true-to-life character. I rooted for her all throughout the story and I hope for the best for her in the next book (that ending . . . *whew*).

And just like the first book All These Things I've Done, the plot was full of action and suspense. It never dragged or got cliche for me; rather it kept me interested all throughout the book. I also liked the romance--it wasn't at all overdone and dramatized, which was really great and refreshing. The romance played a rather small role in Anya's story as it focused more on her mafia family and her dilemmas with them revolving around the illegal chocolate. But when the romance was brought up, it continued to be lovely and sweet. Although not the most heroic love interest, Win continued to be a great companion for Anya (companion, as in it's Anya, and her alone, who is carrying the series--another thing I like about it). I like how he calms her down, is protective of her, is always willing to help her, and how his calm nature balances out her fierce nature. He and Anya are one of my favorite YA couples.

This is a fantastic series! If you read book one, All These Things I've Done, you're going to want to pick up Because It Is My Blood ASAP. It's a MUST READ. I can't wait for book three!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Michelle Covets: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 with
Why I covet this book: I loved, LOVED Forman's previous duology If I Stay and Where She Went. I think I am going to enjoy Allyson and Willem's stories as well.

book cover
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!
Just One Day (Just One Day #1) comes on January 8, 2013 from Dutton Juvenile. For more info and news about the novel, visit check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!