Friday, March 30, 2012

{OMG Moment} Insurgent by Veronica Roth

So, I nearly locked my dog in a closet because she made me so mad. 

I heard a light tapping on my front door and, of course, my little Ella starts yapping and yapping. My husband was trying to get to the door and I'm trying to wrangle the barking Shit Tzu so she won't shred the ankles of whoever dared to knock on my door so frickin' early in the morning. 

You can imagine the thoughts going through my head...I mean, after all, it's only 9:30 AM and I hadn't had my coffee yet. I know, most people are well on their way by 9:30 AM...not me.

Anywhoo...when I finally got to see what all the hubbub was about...this is what I found. I, like most of the other bloggers out there, had NO idea this was coming. who needs coffee now? Not me because this made my day or week, hell, probably my month. See that pretty little letter on the right...well, it contained some important information. I don't have a lot of details but let me tell you what I do know...borrowed from The Divergent Lexicon's initial announcement.

Harper Collins selected five bloggers to lead faction teams in an ‘Insurgent’ fan-driven promotion/click-through challenge. The Divergent Lexicon is my team leader!

Here are the team leaders:

Divergent Fans— Dauntless
Divergent Examiner— Abnegation
Divergent Lexicon— Amity (That's our team!)
The Story Siren— Candor
Bookalicious— Erudite
Here’s how it’s going to work:

Starting Monday April 2nd, the five sites above, will lead faction teams in a click-through challenge. In addition to the team leader’s blogs, each team will have 9 other bloggers (54 total! One being our blog. Sqwee!!) inducted into their faction. Those bloggers will also receive a copy of the highly coveted Insurgent ARC. The team members (who have already been selected by Harper Collins) will be announced on Choosing Ceremony day, Monday April 2nd.
Each faction team will then compete against each throughout the month of April to see who can generate the most reader traffic. We’ll have more information on how you can support Team Amity next week when everything kicks off.
Stay tuned for various events here and on our other team members sites as well! It’s going to be an amazing month and we can’t wait to share it with all of you! We’re hoping it helps speed up the wait for the release of Insurgent on May 1st!
Make sure you’re following Amity's Team Leader on twitter and facebook, as well as our new Team Amity tumblr, which can be found by clicking here.

Thank you Divergent Lexicon for this great release statement.

Stay tuned to #DivergentNation on twitter for lots of fun. 
Be sure to visit this link...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Charity Hopping and Giveaway: St. Jude Children's Hospital

Hey everyone! Thanks for stopping by the Charity Hopping Around the World Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer; Reading Away the Days, and Reading A Little Bit of Everything. 

My son, DJ, passed away in 2003. He was an amazing child then, and now, my guardian angel. Born on May 5, 1997 weighing only 1 lb 5 oz...he surpassed every obstacle set in front of him for nearly 6 years. Because he was premature, trauma, and other complications at birth, DJ's body was inflicted with a condition known as Cerebral Palsy. To find out a little more about DJ...go HERE.

Multiple charities focus on helping children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. I'd like to acknowledge a few on this hop.

Please visit these links and find out more about what each of them do for children and their families.

Rachel Vincent, author of the Soul Screamer Series, is donating 100% of her royalties of her newest Novella, Never to Sleep, to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for the next few months. Since she's being so kind...I thought I would give away 5 copies of the ebook to 5 lucky winners for this hop. And...since they are ebooks, the giveaway is international as long as you can download from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Be sure to go look at Rachel's website for all the deets.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For a complete list of participating Read More below!

{Author Interview} Stella Stafford

Kristin:  Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live?
I am married with two children  and live in a village in Oxfordshire (UK).

Kristin:  What is the name of the book you are currently promoting and would you like to tell us a little about it?
My first Little Wychwell mystery novel is Did Anyone Die? and is currently available in paperback and on Kindle, the second Little Wychwell  mystery novel is A Very Quiet Guest and will be available at the end of May.  They are mystery crime novels set in  the quiet and totally imaginary village of Little Wychwell in Oxfordshire and in Oxford. Very light reading! 

Kristin:  Where did you come up for the idea for your book?
I wrote a plan for Did Anyone Die?, bearing in mind the advice ‘Write about what you know’.  Then I started writing it and the characters took over and changed the entire plot to something else.  So since then I just let the characters, or, presumably, my subconscious, write the books. 
Kristin:  Tell us a little about your main character(s)
The main characters in the Little Wychwell books are Priscilla, who is an Oxford Classics Don, her best friend, Elodea, with whom she has been friends since they went to Oxford together, and Elodea’s youngest son, Barnabus. 
Kristin:  Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I’m very attached to all of them! But I think I love Barnabus best! 

Kristin:  Do you feel like you put parts of yourself in your characters?
I think all my main characters are based on different aspects of me, or what I might have become under different circumstances.  All the non-criminal characters, that is.  I once said that all my characters were based on me when I was giving a talk about my book and one of the audience put up her hand and said ‘You’re a criminal then?”  I am definitely not a criminal!  The secondary characters just turned up and joined in.  They are not based on any real person.  Pippy, who is a Yorkshire Terrier, is based on a real Yorkie, although I changed his sex to conceal his real identity! 

Kristin:  Will there be a sequel or do you have another project in the works?
I have now written five Little Wychwell books, which means I can call them a series. Getting from acceptance to publication is a long and slow process, however, and I held back book two for a while in case I needed to change bits of it to match the later books. I had a section in book two that I took out because it seemed to be disconnected to the main plot. When I wrote book three I had to put it back in again. Which is partly why there has been well over a year between book one and book two. Having written the fifth I have switched over to science fiction. I have finished my first science fiction book but, again, it’s not got a publication date yet. I’m about to embark on writing the second but I am taking a break from that to write a little book of short stories which is an interesting exercise for me. As you will have noticed I find writing in a condensed style quite hard!

Kristin:  How long did the entire process from writing your current work to getting it published take?
For the first book just over a year.   The second one was longer than that because I held on to it for a while before sending it to the publishers. 

Kristin:  Where do you draw your inspiration from?
The Little Wychwell novels are set in Oxfordshire, even though the village and the Oxford College that the main characters inhabit do not exist.  So the background scenery and style is quite authentic Oxfordshire and Oxford.  The plots just arise out of my head.  

Kristin:  Do you have any “rituals” when you write?

Kristin:  If you couldn’t be an author, but anything else…what would you be?
I am quite a few other things already, being an author is just part of my life!  If I could choose anything at all I am not sure what it would be.  I quite like being me! 

Kristin:  Independently published,  commercially published, or self-published?
I’m published by Melrose Books who are a small publishers based in Cambridge.  But I also self publish on Kindle.

Kristin:  Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Simply enjoy writing! I enjoy writing the way I enjoy reading, with an added ‘puzzle solving’ element to make the plot work! 

Kristin:  When did reading and writing become important to you?
They became important as soon as I could read and write. I am told that I could read quite fluently at age two and a half.  I certainly can’t remember learning to read so I must have been quite young. I found a ‘book’ I wrote when I was five quite recently.    I honestly can’t remember ever not having a current book to read and also ever not being in the process of writing something.   But Did Anyone Die? is the first full length novel that I have ever written and also the first one I ever sent to a publishers. I was not really expecting it to be accepted at my first attempt so it was a lovely surprise! 

Fun Stuff

Kristin:  The apocalypse is coming…what do you do?
Pray. (This is not a joke, I am being perfectly serious)

Kristin:  If you were stranded on an island, name the 5 things you could not live without?
Am I allowed to take my immediate family with me?  If so that would be five things.  And I would have to take the dog as well. 

Kristin:  What 5 things are within your reach right now? No cheating?
Given that I am typing on my computer I am afraid this is going to be very boring.  Even not including all the parts of the computer, like the mouse, keyboard etc.   A set of computer disks.  A book of arias. Some bits of paper with random notes scribbled on them.  A design for a book cover.  A pen.  Also a lot of other things - I can reach two bookcases from here! 

Kristin:  Favorite Food?
Raspberries loaded with sugar and clotted cream. I could eat bowlfuls! Closely followed by spaghetti with a knob of butter!  Then really luscious cake!

Kristin: Favorite Movie?
Tricky question! I’ll say ‘When Harry met Sally’ but if you asked me tomorrow I would probably say something else. 

Kristin:  Favorite TV show?
Favourite TV program that is being aired currently is The Big Bang Theory (this is a comedy show for those who have not seen it)

Kristin: Favorite Song?
Something I will answer differently every time you ask.  Instant thoughts today are Radar Love by Silver Earring and In Paradisum from Fauré’s Requiem

Kristin:  Favorite singer or band?
Another inconsistent answer depending on the day and the weather and all sorts of other things, I have lots of favourite singers, first thoughts that pop into my head today are Mika and  Bryan Adams, 

Kristin:  One food you would never try?
Sushi made with raw fish, I have never eaten fish even if it’s cooked and I find the thought of raw fish quite appalling. 

Kristin: Health nut or junk food junkie?
Neither.  I like fruit and vegetables, but I also like cake, coffee and double cream! 

Kristin: The most exotic food you have ever eaten?
I am prepared to try any sort of fruit or vegetable but I am not sure if any of them really count as exotic,  dragon fruit maybe?   I have also chomped through the tops of a lot of pens, including stainless steel ones! 

Kristin:  Day on the beach or snow skiing down a mountain?
Snow skiing, definitely,  although I would rather go mountain walking in summer. 

Kristin:  If you could move anywhere on this Earth, where would it be?
High in the mountains somewhere, probably the Alps or the Rockies. 

Kristin: Two books you think everyone should read. (Yes, you can and should include yours.)
If I am going to include mine then it would clearly be Did Anyone Die? followed by A Very Quiet Guest BUT I really think that everyone should read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Also the Bible or the main book for your own religion whatever that might be. 
Kristin:  Places my readers can stalk you?
Twitter: @stellasstafford
Facebook - Author, Facebook - Novel
Anywhere else  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

{Guest Post} What does it feel like to get published?

Today, I have a great guest post from Suzanne Abel Sullivan, a debut author, discussing how she feels about getting published. I hope you enjoy!

What does it feel like to be published? 

There are many ways to be published and each one brings its own excitement and jubilation. The first publication in an online Ezine. The first print magazine publication. The first foreign magazine publication. The first pro-level magazine publication. And the first book.

CURSED: WICKEDLY FUN STORIES is a first in many ways. Not only is it my first published book, it’s my first published short fiction collection and it’s my first eBook, the newest technology for telling stories. It’s also the first book released by World Weaver Press and I am honored to be their debut author.

To say I’m excited about all this would be a cheat as a writer. I’ve been elated, ecstatic, and, yes, I’ve done a few happy dances around the house. What I didn’t anticipate was how absolutely cool the whole eBook publication would be. I attended a birthday party recently and the hostess, upon hearing that I’d published my first book, pulled out her Nook, came and sat down beside me, and right there in front of everyone, bought my book. Now how cool is that? That just wouldn’t be possible with a printed book. Sure, someone could buy a printed book online, but it would have to be shipped. The hostess was able to buy and acquire my book immediately. That is just the best feeling ever.

World Weaver Press has done an outstanding job with publicizing the book. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of interviews and guest blogs and I now know how celebrities feel. People who didn’t even know I write have discovered my passion and not only bought my book, but read it. And they’ve told me about it, sharing which stories have been their favorites. I’m an entertainer at heart and for someone to read my work and come away entertained means the world to me.

So, what does it feel like to be published? It feels great!


Wickedly fun short stories featuring witches, werewolves, limericks that can change fate, and a sinister vine bent on murder and the destruction of Alabama! Inside quirky settings with creepy plots, characters discover new and unsettling powers as their worst fears manifest.

Let these stories draw you in with their lighthearted tone — then delight you with their wickedly sly sense of humor. You’ll laugh, you’ll shudder, you’ll think twice about taking a deal from a bucktoothed woman.


“CURSED is a small package of strangeness and charm, delivered by a writer blessed with imagination and wit.” – Hugo Award Winner Allen Steele, author of THE COYOTE TRILOGY and THE COYOTE CHRONICLES

“Quirky, clever, and just a little savage, CURSED is a delightful read!” – Lane Robins, critically acclaimed author of MALEDICTE and KINGS AND ASSASSINS

“Engrossing, imaginative, and funny … Susan Abel Sullivan’s debut collection of short stories will have you both laughing out loud and checking your closet for monsters.” –Kelly L. Stone, author of GRAVE SECRET and THINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind.

Buy Links:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

{Guest Post} A Happy Medium for Promotions by Wayne Zurl

If you book blog, twitter, or facebook; you are going to want to read this fantastic guest post. Wayne Zurl, author of A Leprechaun's Lament, gives some great advice regarding etiquette and promoting your book.

Find a Happy Medium for Promotions
by Wayne Zurl

Every morning, the local NBC network affiliate floods the commercial breaks with ads for car dealers and furniture stores—sometimes the same thirty second messages back to back.

They assault the senses. My wife now mutes the ad time and only returns the sound when the Today Show resumes.

That doesn’t sound like the advertisers are getting the desired results.

Are you getting favorable results for your efforts in book marketing?  Are you tweeting or posting enough? Or do readers regard you as annoying—like a Toyotathon?

  I’m not an advertising or marketing genius, but I know what may turn off readers or listeners and your potential book buyers. Repetition may foster retention [of your name] but in my opinion, saturation sucks.

Don’t we want people to say, “Oh, yeah, Wayne Zurl. That’s an interesting little message. Maybe I’ll try one of his books.” And not: “Jeez, that bastard again. I hope he gets the flu and stays off facebook for a week.”

Let’s take a hypothetical pair of writers, follow their marketing strategy and the effect it had on others.

They’re both members of several writer/reader groups—associations designed to bring two main factions of publishing together, but often end up being nothing more than venues for shameless self-promotion. I sometimes wonder if any readers remain in the respective audiences looking for previously undiscovered literary talent.

Okay, on with the show. Mr. X debuts his book and shows his Amazon link. Other members wish him well, like, tag, tweet, and post the news to their Facebook walls. Mr. X responds cordially and thanks his new supporters. Several hours later, he repeats his actions trying to catch any Johnny-come-lately members. X gets more action from the group with additional liking, tweeting, etc. Conspicuously absent, though, are his reciprocal efforts of liking, tweeting, and all that jazz for their books.

On the same day, Ms. Y showcases her new book. All group members lend a hand and give Y plenty of cyber ink. She’s thankful, but unlike X, she also expends considerable energy tweeting things for her new group-mates. Everyone thinks Ms. Y made a great beginning.

Several days pass and now X and Y have graduated to sending out hourly blurbs about their literary endeavors in tandem. Miraculously, 5 star reviews are pouring in like the monsoons of Southeast Asia. Ten, twenty, thirty . . . more. And we hear about every stinking one. Something smells fishy. Are they organizing and pooling their friends and family to pepper the review sites? Then enter the interviews and guest posts. Me. Me. Me!

Soon X interviews Y and Y hosts X on her blog. They’ve openly joined forces. Then they review each other and of course there are more 5 star accolades. Never less than a 5.
Hour after hour, promo after promo . . . On each of the six groups to which we all belong. Me. Me. Me!

But the camaraderie and help from others drops off drastically. Then it becomes non-existent. The groups look like they’ve turned into satellites of the X & Y Show. Familiar faces disappear. No one except the occasional newbie posts anything. Enough is enough! And too much is . . . Well, it constitutes invasive saturation.

So, how much is the correct amount of media marketing? Beats the hell outta me. If I knew the definitive answer to that, I’d be an ad executive instead of an ex-cop writing police mysteries.

I do know you can’t sit at your typewriter wishing people knew about your book. But you can’t assault the senses of those huddled masses without incurring your share of negative feelings.

Look for that happy medium. And it’s subjective. My toleration may be more than my wife’s. Yours may be more liberal than mine.

And when you’re telling everyone about your beloved book, I have no doubt someone will extend the favor of passing that information on to their followers. Return that good deed in kind, immediately or when the appropriate time comes. Do it without being asked—remember the Golden Rule.

You may want to consider the term: Pay it forward. Help other writers before you begin your marketing campaign. Then continue to give and take. Who likes someone who only takes?

Today’s term for what people recognize in you is your brand. Years ago it was called a reputation. Getting a bad one is generally more harmful than being unknown.


Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Wayne left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Thirteen (13) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. Zurl’s first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards, is currently a finalist in the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and was nominated for a Montaigne Medal. His second novel, A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT, was released on St. Patrick’s Day, 2012 in hardcover with eBooks coming soon.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Friday, March 23, 2012

{Blog Tour} Pure by Jennifer L Armentrout

Title: Pure
Series: The Covenant Series #2
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: April 3, 2012


There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

All I can say is...OMG. I loved Pure more than Half-Blood and I drooled over Half-Blood. Jennifer L. Armentrout is such a witty writer, weaving stories of romance, action, and humor in a way only she can do. If you haven't read any of her work...Do. So. Now.

So when we left Alex in Half-Blood, kick-ass heroine and all, she had just said goodbye to her mother in a very touching memorial which both Caleb (best friend) and Aiden (hot trainer) attended. Aiden really just smoldered in the background, allowing Alex to make peace with her mother's death. So sweet.

Pure begins with Alex smack dab in the middle of training, unfortunately, not with Aiden or Seth, but with her evil and sadistic teacher (who I believe has a much bigger role in this story than we are lead to believe). Alex spends a great deal of her time training, and when she's not training, she's usually in some sort of rebellion-type trouble. She's spunky and feisty but isn't so super-heroic that the bad things in life don't affect her. Like many of us, she suffers pain and loss. She has a hard time fighting back the darkness of depression on occasions; however, she always comes out on top. In my opinion, this is why Alex is one of the greatest female protagonists in YA literature today. She's strong but her character isn't flawless which is what makes Alex is so believable.

Much of Alex's journey is spent in the Catskills with the Council, awaiting her hearing. She will be forced to explain her actions regarding an incident that occurred during Half-Blood involving her mother, daimons and death. Unfortunately, her mother isn't the only situation the Council plans on addressing. Alex's time before them will prove to be a harrowing experience to say the least.

Okay, enough about all of that stuff. Let's talk about Alex's very complicated (and coveted) love life. First there's Aiden - the forbidden pure-blood Alex can't escape. He's sexy and brooding but his ancestry makes him completely off limits to Alex. Too bad neither he nor Alex can keep their feelings for each other a secret, because if the wrong people find out...Alex will be the one to pay the price. You know teenagers...tell them they can't and they will.

Then there's the bad-boy Seth and no girl resists him, at least not for long. Just ask Alex. Seth is snarky and frustrating a good portion of the time. However, in Pure, we get to see a complete different side to the playboy image Seth usually portrays...and I loved every minute of it. While Aiden can't be Alex's comforter on cold and worrisome New York nights, Seth is her fated other-half. She definitely needs to investigate his assets...and who knows, maybe she does sample him just a bit. *coughs* "Pool Scene." I got chills just typing that. LOL.

I've never read a series with a romantic triangle that I didn't have a predestined choice. I can honestly say, as of my reading of Pure, I don't have a team. I love Aiden! I love Seth!

Pure begins with intense training, bleeds into heart-stopping romance, jumps back into gut-wrenching combat, and ends with a cover-up/escape that rivals anything I've ever read.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- for the fun stuff. There's not one, but two, tour long giveaways. Comment at every stop for extra entries.

GIVEAWAY:  To gain an entry in either/both of the tour giveaways for Pure, leave a comment here about your choice for Alex (Aiden or Seth)...and why. Then go to StuckInBooks and/or A Cupcake and a Latte with this link to complete your entry.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

{Giveaway Hop} Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop

Yeppers, it's officially spring cleaning time and I'm always amazed at the duplicate books I accrue over a year. Books are that something special to me. I have multiple bookcases, as well as many books stacked in the corners of my room. Sometimes I don't even know what I I buy it again. Ugh.

I'm in the process of putting a list together and as soon as I complete it, I will post it here. The list will contain both YA and Adult Fiction - mostly paranormal romance. From this list, one winner will choose 3 books, and one winner will choose 2.

US/Canada only since I will be shipping them from my home. Sorry guys.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Cover Reveal} Dark Shadows by Natalie Hancock

Eternal Darkness (Book 1)

Pleasure and hunger ignite when a vampire tempts a dhampir with everything she desires. Can she resist the forbidden lust or will she surrender?

Layla, a twenty-one-year-old half-breed known as a dhampir, is incredibly beautiful and deadly. She drinks vampire blood for power and to stop the burning hunger. The vampire academy is a hundred acres of land surrounded by high tech security to ensure that none enters or leaves. She is in the protection.

When she has lessons with the vampires, she struggles with her hunger and has to learn to trust them—a big issue for Layla because of her past, something she can neither forget nor run from. The past that haunts her dreams reminds her that she cannot hide as she lives her life in the academy.

Then there is Shade—an impossibly handsome vampire and Layla's one-on-one instructor. Desires she never knew rise whenever he looks at her. She cannot stop how her body reacts to his touch or how much she wants his body and his blood. It is a forbidden lust that they share, one they must keep a secret from those around them or Layla risks everyone finding out who she really is.

Someone wants her dead. Layla's goals, deal with the vampires who hate dhampir's and keep herself alive. Can she do it?

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Extasy Books


Dark Shadows (Book 2)

With distractions around her and danger nearby, will Layla escape death, keeping her secret? Or will it end when the hunter steps from the shadows?

Layla is incredibly weak from serious wounds after the attack and the hunger raging inside of her does not help. When Shade tempts her, with not just his body, but with his blood also, Layla struggles harder than ever. As much as she wants his blood pouring into her mouth while he takes her, she cannot do it. Her secret, her hidden identity will get out—and that she cannot handle.

Layla tries to continue to live her life as normal, however, things turn bad when Layla and Nikalye discover something and Layla has to fight for her life, putting everyone in serious danger.

Layla is on the lookout now, and the only distraction is Shade. When he speaks, when he breathes down her neck and touches her, she cannot remember anything but him. When they get intimate, it is all she can do to keep herself breathing as he pleasures her. She cannot understand how they both react so strongly with each other, but she does not care.

Yet she feels as though something is going to go horribly wrong, not with Shade and herself, but something else, something bigger…and she is not wrong.

It is worse than before and Layla has no choice now but to reveal whom she really is, and risk everyone hating her for the rest of her time in the academy.

Dark Shadows will be released April 1st (unless the date changes)
You will be able to buy it here once it is released,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

{Book Review} Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith

Title: Kiss Crush Collide
Author: Christina Meredith
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
December 27, 2012


What Leah did—only she really shouldn’t have—one hot night at a country club party.

What Leah has—only she really shouldn’t have—on the guy with the green eyes, the guy who is not her perfect boyfriend, the guy who does not fit in her picture-perfect life, the guy her sisters will only mock and her mother will never approve of. Not in a million years.

What happens when everything you always thought you wanted—having cool friends, being class valedictorian and homecoming queen—runs smack into everything it turns out you really do want.

Kiss. Crush. Collide.
For Leah and Porter, summer is only the beginning.

After reading, what seemed like, a ton of dark paranormal romance books, I needed something light and fun to read. Kiss Crush Collide was exactly that kind of book. It took me a little over 4 hours to finish and for the most part, I adored this novel. Unfortunately, it just didn't hit the spot I needed consoled. 

Leah was raised in a "perfect" family: a perfect mother, a rich father, and two perfect older sisters. Both sisters were class valedictorians, they dated perfect boys until it was time to move away to college, they didn't work. They behaved as only the rich and wealthy should. Leah was set to follow in her sisters footsteps. She was a shoe-in for class valedictorian and she dates Shane - sports god. However, the one thing Leah refuses to let go of is swimming. Even though her parents will not allow her to swim on the school team, they do allow her hold a summer job as a lifeguard at the local pool.

Leah is unhappy with her lot in life so when fate places Porter in her path one night, what else could she do except accept a ride in his borrowed car and feel alive for the first time in her life. Porter, local bad boy, knows little about Leah and she knows even less about him. He is her perfect escape from the pressures of being a "Johnson." And the more intense the secrets get at the Johnson household, the more Leah will seek out Porter.

So while I enjoyed this story, one thing bugged me above all else. I could not feel a connection to any of the characters. They seemed so two-dimensional. For me to fall head-over-heals for a book, I need to walk in the characters least for a minute or two. Sadly, in the case of Kiss Crush Collide, I wasn't pulled into the all. The writing held my attention and I made my way through the novel in two sittings, so I'm giving it 3 Stars but my first instinct is 2 Stars.

{Author Interview} Natasha Slight - Guardians of the Grimoire

Kristin:  Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live?

I was born and raised in Montreal, where I still live with my husband and two daughters. I’ve moved around a lot, but I always come back to Montreal. The people here are very warm and friendly; just don’t get in their way on the road!

Kristin:  What is the name of the book you are currently promoting and would you like to tell us a little about it?
Guardians of the Grimoire, book one in the Grimoire series, is my debut novel. Although, written for Young Adults, the book has also been well received by adults. It is a Fantasy Adventure packed with action from beginning to end. The concept of the book is based on the idea of multiverses (parallel universes).

Kaël, an evil god, seeks to gain access to the Grimoire. If he succeeds, he can control the four universes. Desperate, the Spirit Mother hides the book on Earth where a goddess and three young girls will help. Kerani, Tiluvia, and Cesca must race to Gaïa's island, while attempting to control their newfound magic. Will the girls reach Gaïa in time? Or will Kaël succeed in finding the Grimoire?

Kristin:  Where did you come up for the idea for your book?
Well, actually the idea just popped into my head one day. There’s really no other way to describe it. It was like a movie playing in my head. The longer I sat, thinking about it, the more detailed it became. Before I knew it, I was frantically writing everything down. It took me a few days, where I was completely immersed in the storyline. I still have the very first draft and I shake my head every time I look at it, wondering how I came up with it.

Kristin:  Tell us a little about your main character(s).
I have three main characters, all female, which is rare in high-fantasy books. I find this genre very male oriented and I wanted to do something different. I like to think ‘out of the box’, so this was right up my alley.

Kerani: The leader of the group, she is a feisty, strong-willed, sword-wielding princess. She doesn’t take no for an answer and is not afraid to fight.

Tiluvia: Quirky, funny, and always smiling, she’s my comic relief in the book. She is also very sensitive to the moods of others around her. She is the shoulder to cry on and the pillar of the group.

Cesca: She is my brooding dark beauty who is also very shy and quiet. Plagued by inner turmoil, Cesca is someone who has to find and accept herself for who she is. The question is will she succeed?

Kristin:  Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I love all three equally...hmm, this sounds like what a parent would say to their children. LOL But it’s true!

Kristin:  Do you feel like you put parts of yourself in your characters?
Oh my goodness, yes. The first time I was asked this question, I came to realize that each character embodies a quality from my own personality. For me it felt like the girls’ personalities just naturally evolved, but in hindsight, I see where they evolved from. Today, I can understand when they say an author’s book contains his or her soul in it.

Kristin:  Will there be a sequel or do you have another project in the works?
After I finish writing this trilogy, I have a novella I’d like to write, followed by another trilogy. I don’t know why, but writing trilogies just seems to come naturally to me. I feel very comfortable with it. This is all in the Young Adult category. Afterwards, I’d like to branch out and write a series for adults, which I’ve already begun to plan. My mind is just bursting with ideas!

Kristin:  How long did the entire process from writing your current work to getting it published take?
It took me 2 years and 3 months. I still remember the date I began to write: October 8th, 2009. My official coming out was December 1st, 2011. I would work all day, often times 7 days a week and into the wee hours of the morning. I went through a lot of edits, but I can’t tell you how many, because I lost count after fifty! Since I am self-published this also includes all the social networking I had to set up, the research into indie publishing vs traditional publishing, not to mention all the research I did for my book. It was a major learning curve and one heck of a roller coaster ride.

Kristin:  Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everywhere! From books, movies, music, life events, and even dreams.

Kristin:  Do you have any “rituals” when you write?
Yes, I do. The first draft of a book is always written by hand. I begin writing in my dining room, because the table gives me space to spread the sheets out in front of me. Once that’s done, then I hibernate in my office rewriting, editing, working with my editor and proofreader until the book is ready to be published...and that can be months! 

Kristin:  If you couldn’t be an author, but anything else…what would you be?
Oh, that’s easy, I’d own a restaurant. My other passion in life is cooking. I’m not afraid to taste new things and I’m always putting my own twist on recipes. 

Kristin:  Independently published, commercially published, or self-published?
I am presently self-published.

Kristin:  Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
I have three tips.
1) Read A LOT. By doing this, it will help to develop your own writer’s voice. You’ll discover what genre you like to write in and maybe even what language. I’m bilingual in both French and English, having grown up with both languages, but don’t ask me to write in French! I much prefer to write in English.
2) Write A LOT. Like the expression says, “Practice makes perfect.”
3) Write about something that truly inspires you. If you feel very strong about your idea, and it captures you entirely, then write about it.
4) Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP.

Kristin:  When did reading and writing become important you?
I’ve read my whole life, so books have always been very important to me, but writing became important when I allowed myself to try my hand at it. I didn’t reject the idea. Writing is now a passion for me. I don’t see myself doing anything else in life.

Fun Stuff

Kristin:  The apocalypse is coming…what do you do?
Make sure my latest project is backed up on my USB key. You never know if you’ll survive!

Kristin:  What 5 things are within your reach right now? No cheating?
My cup of tea, pens and pencils, Webster’s dictionary, a camera, and of course my book.

Kristin:  Favorite Food?
Everything that is in the ocean. I melt for seafood, especially lobster.

Kristin: Favorite Movie?
Ratatouille! Not only is it about cooking, but it’s in Paris. *sigh* I’ve been there once, and I think I left my heart at the top of the Eiffel Tower. No choice, but to go back and get it.

Kristin:  Favorite TV show?
Lie To Me.

Kristin: Favorite Song?
La Mer by Charles Trenet

Kristin:  Favorite singer or band?

Kristin:  One food you would never try?
I’m someone who is always willing to try new things, and I like to watch Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern (one day I’ll get to see what a cricket tastes like), but one thing I would never, never, never want to try are Coconut Grubs. *shudders* I close my eyes when I see them on TV. I would love to post a picture here for you, but I can’t bring myself to Google search for an image. Eew! Eew! Eew!

Kristin: Health nut or junk food junkie?
Can I be both? LOL I’m usually the health-wise type, after all, I do have two kids, but sometimes momma just wants her chips. I’ll only eat chips if the bag is freshly opened, afterwards, they don’t taste as good, and in my house the bag can stay there for over a week. I put mine in the freezer; they’re better cold, especially when it’s a brand new unopened bag! Crazy, I know.

Kristin: The most exotic food you have ever eaten?
Turtle, while I was in the Cayman Islands. They slather it in sauce and it’s really good. Psst, by the way, the sauce is there to hide the fact that the meat is green.

Kristin:  Day on the beach or snow skiing down a mountain?
Day on the beach all the way! I hate the cold and snow and I don’t ski. Imagine, I live in Montreal with minus 40 degrees in winter. Brrrr.

Kristin:  If you could move anywhere on this Earth, where would it be?
The South of France and it’s not IF, it’s WHEN. I seriously plan on moving there one day. No snow and the beach is close by.

Kristin: Two books you think everyone should read. (Yes, you can and should include yours.)
Well, if you’re reading this then you’re already aware of my book, but if you’re into symbolism, I strongly suggest anything written by Dan Brown. My favorite is The Lost Symbol. If you like high-fantasy, then I suggest The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay.

Kristin:  Places my readers can stalk you?

Thank you for taking this time to let us get to know you. We have enjoyed having you today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and will stop by to see us again soon.

Friday, March 16, 2012

TBR Intervention - Hereafter and Beautiful Chaos

TBR Intervention is a weekly challenge hosted by
and April @ Books4Juliet

The goal of this challenge is to help each other (fellow readers and bloggers) manage our enormous and constantly growing TBR (To-Be-Read) List. The rules are simple and everyone is encouraged to participate. It does not force you to commit to more than what you can manage to read in a week or so, but participants are encouraged to read at least one book within a week. You are free to choose the book you want to read and commit to this challenge. You may post your entry every Saturday, at the frequency of your choice--EVERY WEEK or EVERY TWO WEEKS. However, we will sponsor this event regularly every Saturday.

OMG! Long, long couple of weeks.

Good news...I finished Hereafter by Tara Hudson (which I wasn't sure would ever happen). I'm a glutton for punishment. You will hardly ever see me not finish a book, I'm afraid I might miss something. I've been like that since I was a kid...didn't want to go to bed 'cause I knew something spectacular was going to happen...only to be let down miserably. Kind of same thing with Hereafter.

Beautiful Chaos...simply amazing. I know tons of people don't really like the Caster Chronicle Series but I love them. They are just so different from everything else lurking around. Maybe it's just me? Who really knows.

Now...for the coming week...

I've started this one for review and have really enjoyed the first couple of chapters... I'm hoping to get the rest read this week. It's been sitting in my pile of TBR's for quite a while. 

And...I've heard so many wonderful things about these books. It's been sitting on my TBR shelf on Goodreads and in real life since Sept 17, 2011. I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

{Book Review} Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Series: Divergent #1
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books: HarperCollins
May 3, 2011



In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her. (From Veronica Roth's Website)

I really don't know why I put off reading Divergent for so long. It has everything I love (or hate) in real life: politics, idealism, segregation, cliques, etc. Actually, love and hate aren't the words I'm looking for...intrigue is a better description. I like to believe I am an open-minded person, and I believe most of my close friends would describe me in this manner. Of course, we all have our faults...don't we?

I love the cleverness of Veronica's world-building. She takes positive traits and begins to prove how only possessing one of these attributes and degrading the rest make for an unstable environment.

Divergent begins just before the aptitude testing that all 16 year olds must take to tell which faction a person's innate beliefs and personality will be most beneficial. Beatrice and Caleb, her brother, are both taking the test. They have been raised Abnegation and taught to put other peoples well-being before their own. Beatrice finds this train of thought more difficult than her brother and worries what her simulation test will show. Turns out, she is right to be worried.

After the test, comes the Choosing Ceremony. Each initiate now knows their test result and must choose which faction they wish to join. Yes, there is still a minute amount of free will involved...initiates may go against their test results and choose a different faction - though few do. The chosen factions will forever become their new homes, given they pass the initiation process.

"Faction before blood" is a way of life in and around the factions. Even more so for the Dauntless - the faction that places bravery above all else. The faction that protects the borders. The faction you want on your side in a time of war...which is coming sooner than anyone thought.

I don't want to go into any more details about the story itself. So many things happen on "Tris's" journey from Abnegation to Dauntless. Her transformation is one of self-discovery, strength, bravery, and, ultimately, doing what is inherently right...always. Tris is one of the strongest heroines I've had the pleasure of reading about in quite some time. Her growth throughout a single book is phenomenal, especially with the obstacles she faces both day and night. I'm amazed by the feats she conquered in one novel, I cannot imagine what fate lies for her in Insurgent.

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned Four. Simply amazing, but you see...he is someone you cannot discuss in detail without giving away vital secrets. BUT...his and Tris's relationship grows at a steady and realistic pace. He's strong, brilliant, sincere, and broken. Kindness is hidden deep inside him and trust...well, good luck Tris.

During the next week, I'm going to do several Divergent based posts. Something a little different. So keep a close lookout...especially Sunday. I'm thinking there may be a giveaway. Hmmm....what do y'all think?

Have your read Divergent? What did you think? Are you looking forward to Insurgent (which releases May 1, 2012 - AKA: My birthday)?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Follow Friday 3/15/12

Oh, it's been so long since I've participated in the Friday Feature and Follow hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. I've been a slacker...what can I say. Actually, I've been so freaking busy but I wanted jump back in and say hi. So...


And...a big

Hello to the features...

Question: What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you've read in the last month?

Best Book...

I've read several of Ms. Kenyon's books but hadn't read Acheron yet. Loved it. Wow!

Worst Book...I don't read "bad" books. I read "didn't quite fit my taste" books. But in the last month...I've enjoyed everything I've read. worst book here.

What's your answer?

{Interview} Natalie Hancock Author of Eternal Darkness

Kristin:  Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live?

I’m Natalie Hancock, I was born in Plymouth Devon and moved to Lincoln at a young age. I have been to University of Lincoln, Riseholme College, studying a course on Animal Care, which I did for two years. During that time, I never even thought about getting my work published, just looking after animals. When I left the ideas for the books came more frequently and I wrote my first 150k+ book soon after. I had to split it into three before I could get it published.

 I now live in the middle of nowhere with my boyfriend, Reece, and our little zoo, which includes my hamster named Crunch, a chinchilla called Hektor and three guinea pigs, Fluff, Smudge and Squig.

We both love animals and hope to have an army of guinea pigs, hamsters and chinchilla’s. Along with a goat.

Kristin:  What is the name of the book you are currently promoting and would you like to tell us a little about it?
Eternal Darkness is the book I’m currently promoting. It is the first in the series, Cursed in Darkness. It is about the life of Layla, a half vampire, half human who is sent to live in the hundred acres of land full of vampires for her own safety. The only problem is she hungers for the vampires blood, so when she has lessons with them, not only does she struggle with the hunger raging inside of her, but she has to learn to trust those around her, something she can’t do because she has a dark past, and because of it, she has trouble trusting anyone.

She knows she’s in as much danger inside the land as she was when she was outside the land, and she can’t shake off the feeling that something, or someone is watching her, waiting to attack her, despite the guards watching her every move.

When she meets one of the tutors, she feels things towards him and wants both his blood and his body, but it’s forbidden to feel the way they do and Layla must fight her feelings otherwise the secrets she desperately wants to remain a secret will get out, and put her in more danger than she already is.

Kristin:  Where did you come up for the idea for your book?

I didn’t exactly come up with the ideas for Eternal Darkness. Not exactly anyway, I dreamt it. At first, they were just dreams, but then I noticed a pattern in what I was dreaming, for instance, there would be the same people in my dreams and the same setting. I decided to write my dreams down, and once I started writing, I just didn’t stop. And ta da! Eternal Darkness was made. 

Kristin:  Tell us a little about your main character(s).

Layla and Shade are my main characters.

The story is based entirely around Layla. She’s a beautiful, fearless and deadly dhampir living in a world full of vampires. She has a past that haunts her, and secrets just waiting to be exposed. Though out the stories you learn more about Layla and everything she doesn’t want anyone to know.

Shade is an impossibly handsome vampire that can make Layla shiver with pleasure with just a look. Layla is the fearless and deadly dhampir, and the fact that he can make her feel things she never knew she desired, I thought this would make an interesting relationship because he’s a vampire, and she can drain him dry without a second thought.

Kristin:  Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

My favourite character I’ve created would obviously be Layla, because she is my main character. She’s my favourite because she's strong, incredibly fast, beautiful and deadly. But she isn’t perfect. She’s far from it actually and she knows it. She doesn’t make out she is either. She’s just herself and would rather take a bullet to save those around her than let someone take the shot for her.

Kristin:  Do you feel like you put parts of yourself in your characters?

I’d like to think that it hasn’t, but deep down I think it has. I had a hard life and I always struggled to fit in as I grew up. I had secrets, horrible ones, and I guess that's what my book is about. Layla is a dhampir—half-vampire, half-human—who drinks vampire blood. She also has a deep dark secret that she can’t and won’t tell anyone, no matter how much she trusts them. So she struggles to ‘fit in’ when she is taken to the academy full of vampires. When they find out what she is, they don’t accept her instantly. Only one person does, someone who knew all along what she was, and didn’t care—Shade.

Shade is my Reece I guess, and Reece accepted me for me, he didn’t care about my past. He didn’t care that I had secrets. He loves me the way I am, and he’s helped me through a lot.

That’s exactly how Shade feels for Layla. Though their relation goes FAR deeper than a normal one, but you’ll have to read the books to understand what I’m talking about.

The story, as a whole, is basically Layla learning to trust those around her enough to let her secrets out, and heal the hole in her heart, because she isn’t free from them and struggles with them through-out the series.

Kristin:  Will there be a sequel or do you have another project in the works?

There is going to be seven in the series. Already, I have the second and third cover and release date. The others will be release later on.

I do have another book I am writing, called Untouched. It is another vampire paranormal romance book on its own. I will release information on that once I get the go ahead.

Kristin:  How long did the entire process from writing your current work to getting it published take?
Well… I wrote Eternal Darkness within a few months and when I contacted a publisher to get it published, I had to split it into three, as it would be released as an e-book, and no one likes to read a 150k+ e-book.

I spent a week splitting Eternal Darkness into, Eternal Darkness, Dark Shadows and Dark Awakening.

When I contacted the publisher again, and she told me to send her my work (all three) within two hours of doing so, I had a contracted signed.
I was shocked at how fast the entire thing went.

Kristin:  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I read a lot, so I get my inspiration from there mostly, though I dream ideas for all of my books. Also, my partner, Reece has one hell of an imagination and he could be telling me something, and I would think of something to go in my book, but it’s completely irrelevant to what he was saying. It’s weird, but I do it a lot.

Kristin:  Do you have any “rituals” when you write?
Stick on some loud rock/hardcore music until I can’t hear myself sing. I will usually put on You Me at Six because they are currently my favourite band to listen to, and then I just write. I usually can’t think if I don’t have music on, because I’m easily distracted and usually find myself staring out of the window at nothing in particular.

Kristin:  If you couldn’t be an author, but anything else…what would you be?
A zoo keeper. I love animals, and studied them too. Since I was five I wanted to work with wild animals but always got travel sickness whenever I was away from home, even when I was at school. So all I can do is look after my own little zoo.

Kristin:  Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

If you believe your work is good enough, and have worked your butt off writing it, keep searching for the right publisher to publish your work or try your hardest to get your work out there.

To anyone who wants to be published with a publisher, if they ask you to make changes, most definitely accept them because most of the time when publishers ask you to make changes, they see potential in your work.

To anyone who wants to be self published, don’t give up. There is no feeling like knowing that someone is out there reading your work.

Kristin:  When did reading and writing become important you?

I’ve been reading for years, and it’s one of my favourite hobbies. I don’t know what I would be doing if I had never started reading. Certainly not an author, that’s for sure.
My writing has  always been important to me because it’s something that I’m good at, and it’s unique. I don’t write like others, and others don’t write like me. It’s my own thing and I get to share that with everyone.

Fun Stuff

Kristin:  The apocalypse is coming…what do you do?

Scream? Cry?
I probably wouldn’t actually, I would just brush it off and sigh before I say, “Again? The world is always ending. What’s new?”

Kristin:  If you were stranded on an island, name the 5 things you could not live without?

My Partner, Reece
My laptop with an infinite battery
Paper and pen (with ink that lasts forever)
My zoo
And unlimited food for all of us.

Kristin:  What 5 things are within your reach right now? No cheating?

*wiggles eyebrows*


Kristin:  Favorite Food?
Chocolate. Most definitely chocolate

Kristin: Favorite Movie?
Harry Potter. All of them. I’m a massive fan.

Kristin:  Favorite TV show?
The Vampire Diaries

Kristin: Favorite Song?
Crash—You Me at Six

Kristin:  Favorite singer or band?
You Me at Six

Kristin:  One food you would never try?
Snails! Bleh! Just the thought makes me shiver.

Kristin: Health nut or junk food junkie?
Both? I like to be healthy but can never resist the temptations of chocolate.

Kristin: The most exotic food you have ever eaten?
I honestly have no idea.

Kristin:  Day on the beach or snow skiing down a mountain?
Day on the beach. I can lake my laptop and partner. Besides, I hate snow.

Kristin:  If you could move anywhere on this Earth, where would it be?
Egypt. I’ve always wanted to go there. I love the entire history and myths and everything of Egypt.

Kristin: Two books you think everyone should read. (Yes, you can and should include yours.)
Well, if I should include mine, then I will.
Eternal Darkness.
And a most definite must read would be Vampire Vengeance, by Storm Savage. Her Night Angel trilogy is the best series I’ve read, ever.

Kristin:  Places my readers can stalk you?
Twitter: @Author_Natalie

*Just wanted to mention that I've had the privilege of seeing the cover for book 2 and you will not be disappointed! Wowza!!!

Thank you so much for taking this time to let us get to know you. We have enjoyed having you today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and will stop by to see us again soon.

Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I really appreciate it. I’ve really enjoyed myself and some of the questions were a giggle to answer.



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