Saturday, December 21, 2013

Midwinter'​s Giveaway Hop 2013

Welcome to the Midwinter'​s Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Bookhounds.

Thanks for visiting my blog! As you can see, we love juvenile fiction books in all shapes, sizes, lengths and genres and post reviews, giveaways, interviews and guest blogs, contests and more.

To win my Midwinter'​s Giveaway Hop giveaway, all I ask is that you follow my blog. There's a Rafflecopter right at the end of the post. Earn a second entry by suggestion some of the YA/Middle Grade books you'd choose if you win (I always need help building my TBR pile)!

My prize?

One winner will receive their choice of a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC!

It's so easy to enter! Just FOLLOW ME! And a comment with a book suggestion earns you another entry.

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Good luck! And check out the other participants for more great prizes.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Initiation by Rayna Noire - Virtual Book tour and Giveaway

Today we're visiting with author Rayna Noire on her tour with Bewitching Book Tours for Initiation. She'll be giving away 5 print copies of her book (US only), and a $50 Amazon GC via the rafflecopter at the end of this post.


Today, we are talking with Esmeralda Hare. She’s the family matriarch of the Carpenter Family, an integral part of the Pagan Eyes series.

(Esmeralda clears her throat.) Esmeralda: Excuse me; I am the matriarch of the Hare family, not the Carpenter family. My daughter happened to marry a Carpenter, but that does not change who she is or who I am. The matriarch of the Carpenter family took off with a visiting evangelist. You could try tracking her down, but I doubt you’d have any luck with that.

(Interviewer is flustered.) Well now, Mrs. Hare. Tell me about your family.

Esmeralda: You can call me Madame Esmeralda, like my clients. Since you are so young, I might even let you call me Nana like my grandchildren do. My husband Buell and I only have one child, Maura. She’s exceptionally precious to me. Family is everything to the Romany. With Buell disappearing, I held my daughter and her family very close.

Interviewer: Your husband disappeared?

Esmeralda: Yes, he did. Left me a note about having to do something. Don’t get the wrong idea. He’s didn’t take up with some traveling evangelist like some. If he had to do something, then I believe it. Still, it’s been hard on me. Having the love of your life blink out of existence is a shock.

Interviewer: Did you search for him?

(Esmeralda glares at the interviewer.) Esmeralda: Do you think I would not look for my soul mate? I did. We did. Brought in the police, the ceremonial magicians, even a psychic who knew him well attempted astral projection, but no sign of Buell anywhere. There was no sense of his essence.

(Interviewer covers heart.) Interviewer: Do you think he might be…

Esmeralda: Dead. I thought of it. Even got my friend, Trisha, to do a séance. The spirits have not seen him, which means he isn’t dead. My only explanation is he has slipped into another dimension or time.

(Interviewer looks doubtful.)

Esmeralda: I recognize that expression. You think the old woman has gone around the bend due to grief over her loss. Think again, missy. There is a lot that goes on in this world that you miss because you refuse to believe. Ever wonder about people who mysteriously disappear?

Interviewer: I always assumed they were a crime victim or simply ran away.

Esmeralda: Some do, that’s true enough. Others stumble into time portals that are scattered throughout the planet. Maybe you heard of Einstein.

Interviewer: What does Einstein have to do with your husband?

Esmeralda: Buell met him once, but that’s beside the point. He described time as being folded on itself as opposed to being linear as most people believe. With that in mind, there are times when we can experience other times or even slip into them. I believe people leave emotional imprints. Have you ever visited a place of suffering like Alcatraz prison or a Nazi death camp? (Interviewer nods.)

Esmeralda: You probably felt a sense of oppression or hopelessness pulling at you. Some are more sensitive than others. I believe that need often pulls people in. That might have happened to Buell, but unfortunately, I don’t where he went. Interviewer: That must be rough on you.

Esmeralda: It is. More so now.

Interviewer: Why is that?

Esmeralda: My youngest granddaughter, Leah, is being pulled back in the past.

(Interviewer looks shocked.) Interviewer: What are you going to do?

Esmeralda: I’m not sure there is much we can do if it is her destiny. I bestowed protective amulets upon her. Amelia, another talented friend, is creating her an enchanted garment, but other than that, there is no alternative. All we can do is pool all our intentions and focus on a successful conclusion.

Interviewer: It seems like so little.

Esmeralda: It is more help than most get. In the end, everyone has to walk their own path, no matter their age.

Pagan Eyes
Book 1
Rayna Noire

Book Description:

Leah Carpenter thought being the only witch in her local high school was hard. That was until she inexplicably found herself in the past running from an angry mob, which turned out to be much harder. Lionel, the man in charge of the mob, holds a grudge against a girl he calls Arabella. He thinks she’s Arabella.

Luckily, just about the time it looks as if she’s done for she pops back into her century. This causes trouble at school, but at least she has an understanding family. What happens in the past can hurt her. The whiplashes covering her body are proof enough. Her Nana believes she has to right a wrong in the past to stay in the present and go out with her crush, Dylan. What she discovers in the past is an evil so pure that it makes her blood run cold. She might not ever make it back for geometry class or more importantly a possible date with Dylan.

About the author:  Rayna Noire is an author and a historian. The desire to uncover the truth behind the original fear of witches led her to the surprising discovery that people believed in magick in some form up to 150 years ago. A world that believed the impossible could happen and often did must have been amazing. With this in mind, Ms. Noire taps into this dimension, shapes it into stories about Pagan families who really aren’t that different from most people. They do go on the occasional time travel adventures and magick happens.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Courtyard Series: Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun - Review and Giveaway

This review is posted as part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon or BN Giftcard + Swag Pack of Bookmarks, Posters & Magnets to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun
Young Adult Fantasy
275 pages
4 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the empire. But beneath her empire’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond initiations.

Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron.

But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.

This sensational series debut melds intricate storylines with remarkable characters and unforgettable magic. Sworn To Raise is ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore, Michelle Sagara, and Maria Snyder.

My Review:

Ciardia, an orphan and laundress, win the figurative lottery. She is spotted by one of the Companions and chosen to join the ranks of the Companion's Guild. Her sponsor, Serena, has a feeling that there is more to Ciardia than meets the eye and, boy, is she ever right.

I enjoyed this book--and I really like the character of Ciardia. I only wish there had been more character development and a fuller view of the friendships that Ciardia makes within the guild (as well as a little more depth as to why the rest of the people at the guild dislike her so much). With a little more depth to the story, this could have easily been a 5 star book.

Even with that, the book is very interesting. I like the relationship that is developing between Ciardia and Sebastian. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series to find out what else is in store for these characters.

Read an excerpt:

She stared at the longbow arrow jutting from the animal’s ribs. However, it wasn't enough to bring him down. Only a blade or magical blast to the heart could do that. In pain and fury, the white hart elk whirled around to face his tormentor. He saw the general a dozen feet away and charged. Ciardis watched as the elk raced toward the general, who now clutched a sword in his hands. The elk lowered his rack to spear the invader.

The general knew that he would have one chance to slay the beast. He just needed to get underneath its jaw and pierce straight through to the heart. Ciardis scrambled up and dashed toward the two combatants. She couldn't do anything from here; the elk's magical protection was already going down, thanks to the verbane-laced arrow, and there was no way she'd get a heart-shot in from behind.

Barnaren glanced at her. His concentration had been broken by Ciardis's movement, and he quickly looked away. The elk reached him in that moment and Barnaren had to dodge to the side and under its angry hooves. It wasn't quite enough. His sword stroke missed, but as the stag raced past, it managed to spear the general's thigh with a tine. The tine snapped off in a clean break, but another immediately grew in its place.

The blood poison of the tines did its work within seconds. General Barnaren collapsed, unable to move his leg. His sword lay a few feet to one side.

About the Author: Terah Edun is a young adult fantasy writer born and raised in the Atlanta metropolitan area, who transplanted to the Northeast region for college, and has spent years living abroad in South Sudan and Morocco. She writes the stories that she always loved to read as a young girl.

Connect with Terah:

Author Site:

Buy Sworn to Raise at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dragon Fire by Dina von Lowenkraft - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Today we're visiting with author Dina von Lowenkraft on his tour with Bewitching Book Tours for Dragon Fire. She'll be giving away 10 eBooks and 2 print books via the rafflecopter at the end of this post.

Why YA fiction? What draws you to it?

I love the themes of self-discovery, of first (true?) love, of questioning everything you have ever known, of knowing you have the power to change the world and that feeling of endless possibility that we all had/have as teenagers but that all too often people forget as they move on to their 20’s and 30’s and get caught up in their jobs, families, responsibilities etc. I never sat down and asked myself what I should write - it just came naturally that the themes I always write about are all YA whether I write fantasy or sci-fi.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

One? only one? I have too many to choose one... basically I love desserts, especially ones with chocolate like a ‘mi-cuit’ or a ‘fondant’ (think brownie but even better - a little lighter, but just as chocolatey) or with cream (think tiramisu or creme brulee - or even just a good scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam) or anything with butter and sugar, preferably melted together (think crepes beurre sucre)... oh my, I’m getting hungry just thinking about all these things, hmm... which one should I make first?

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

One? Seriously? Or maybe I’m the only one who does multiple kinds of hot drinks, all day long? Since I get too wired on caffeine, I usually limit (real) coffee and tea to the morning - but will have decaf (one or the other) in the afternoon. And I love herbal teas in the evening - right now I’m having one of my favorites, a loose leaf herbal blend from Germany.

Ideal summer vacation.

By myself with lots of time to write on a snow-covered mountain by the ocean with my family enjoying the sun and surf. No? Doesn’t work? Why not? OK, OK - some of my (real) ideal/dream places are Cape Cod, anywhere in Norway, or right here in the fields of Belgium with our horses. With time to write and my family, cocktails in the lingering light of sunset with friends, dinner by a campfire on the beach, a hike in the woods or across a glacier, and a bunch of good books to read.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?


1. He’s hot (my husband had better not be reading this!)
2. He’s resourceful
3. He could just shift us elsewhere - but we can pretend he can’t because, well, you know... answer number 1 still applies.
4. He’s a shapeshifting dragon and he takes care of the people he cares about
5. He can manipulate matter and create fire - could come in handy, don’t you think?
6. He’s hot. I already said that? OK, um... he’s kind and generous and I’m sure he’ll figure out how to either get us off the island or make the island a very nice place to be. And he’s... never mind... you know what I mean!

Favorite pizza toppings.

Cheese. Any kind of cheese. I love cheese. Lots of it. I don’t eat meat and here in Belgium there isn’t a huge veggie choice in pizza toppings, but in the US I love grilled vegetables. With extra cheese, of course!

Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

One? why one? why always only ONE? so two, at least two... first one that popped up in my mind is YUM - a dessert I made up based on a Tiramisu recipe, but without the coffee dipped lady fingers. It is a creamy mascarpone and egg base that I top with raspberries. The ice cream version would be a creamy, rich vanilla base laced with raspberry coulis (a smooth, strained raspberry sauce). YUM.

The other one would be Matcha with pistachio (called Matcha Crunch?) - don’t ask, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the color... but I’d try it - and if it’s no good, well, I’ll just have to get another YUM!

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I’d give it to Allan Savory to continue his work on fighting desertification and reversing climate change. If you haven’t heard of his work, check out his Ted Talk on

Favorite class in high school. Why?

A literature class in my junior year - it was a pilot class and we would read a book from Monday to Wednesday (including heavy hitters like Dostoevsky), discuss it on Thursday and then hand in a 10-15 page paper on Friday. And start all over again the next week. I loved the class because it was challenging and exciting. I learned how to analyze what I was reading, write a paper and defend my ideas - all with a dozen other people who were just as passionate about literature as I was. It also got me over the fear of deadlines and over-thinking what I was writing - there was just no time to worry about it!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

Dragon Fire by Dina von Lowenkraft
Genre: YA fantasy romance
Publisher: Twilight Times Books

BN * Amazon * ARe

Book Description:

Some choices are hard to live with.

But some choices will kill you.

When seventeen-year-old Anna first meets Rakan in her hometown north of the Arctic Circle, she is attracted to the pulsing energy that surrounds him. Unaware that he is a shapeshifting dragon, Anna is drawn into a murderous cycle of revenge that pits Rakan and his clan against her best friend June.

Torn between his forbidden relationship with Anna, punishable by death, and restoring his family’s honor by killing June, Rakan must decide what is right. And what is worth living – or dying – for.

About the Author:

Born in the US, Dina von Lowenkraft has lived on 4 continents, worked as a graphic artist for television and as a consultant in the fashion industry. Somewhere between New York and Paris she picked up an MBA and a black belt. Dina is currently the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Belgium, where she lives with her husband, two children and three horses.




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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Secret Diary of Sarah Chamberlain by Sarah Norkus - Review

This review is posted as part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sarah will award a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Fifteen year-old Emily Grace (Em) discovers a secret hiding place under a wooden plank in the attic of an old house in Petersburg owned by the Ladies Benevolent Society. It conceals a 150 year old diary belonging to Sarah Chamberlain, the previous owner of the house. Turning to the last entry, Em’s interest is piqued by the mention of the missing confederate gold and a murder mystery. She slips the diary into the pocket of her capris.

A week later, Em finishes the diary. Emotions well up inside her as she rereads the last page. The diary holds no clues to the location of the gold. But it is clear that Sarah believes that her husband, Robert, was murdered by the guards in charge of the Union prison where he was being held. Tears slide down Em’s cheeks as she thinks about the senseless murder of the man Sarah loved. She slips the diary back in her pocket planning to return it to the attic while helping her mother clean the old house in Petersburg.

While scrubbing black scuffmarks off the kitchen floor in the Petersburg house, Em has an emotional meltdown. She shouts her list of grievances, including Robert’s murder, before God. Em ends her tirade by saying that since God has done nothing to help her or Sarah she doesn’t believe he really exists. Almost immediately, she is overcome with vertigo and passes out.

Slowly regaining consciousness, Em looks around in confusion. The kitchen has been replaced by a nineteenth century parlor.

My Review:

I found the story behind the Secret Diary of Sarah Chamberlain quite intriguing - I really like the development of the characters and how I can identify a trait within myself with one of theirs. I enjoyed how Em dealt with everyday life, and how she eventually bonds strongly with her mom. Being shown one world, then another when Em was whipped back into the Civil war was wonderful. I liked reading, then seeing the people come to life. I also like the positive impact that Em has on Sarah's life, completely changing the plot in the diary.

I did have a hard time keeping up with the pace. It was a little fast for my liking, with no time to register what happens before moving on to the next idea. However, it does keep the pages turning. I did enjoy the ideas behind the plot, and how nicely everything fit together in the story.

My favorite parts were the love that the characters had for each other, how one would sacrifice everything for another's well being. It was sweet, and it was caring.

Please continue to write excellent stories for those who like time travel, history, young adult, and love.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Em struggled her way back to consciousness. Moving her cheek on the floor, she puzzled at the sensation. Linoleum was supposed to be smooth and hard, not soft. She slowly opened her eyes and blinked at a table leg about a half an inch from her nose. Wiggling on her belly away from the table leg, Em placed her hands flat and prepared to push herself up. Her eyes widened. Her hands were on either side of a large, red rose embroidered into a rug. She jerked in shock, banging her head on the bottom of a wooden table.

“Ouch,” Em said, rubbing the top of her head.

After scooting backward so she wouldn’t hit her head again, Em sat up and looked around the room. Gone were the sink and the shiny, new chrome faucets. Gone, too, were the refrigerator and stove. In fact, the whole kitchen had disappeared, along with the worn linoleum. “That’s no great loss; in fact, that’s the best part of this crazy dream I’m having,” Em thought.

Em’s brows knitted together. She must be dreaming, although she couldn’t remember ever having the sensation of touch in a dream. Her fingers rubbed across the pile of the rug.

On the ledge over the fireplace, which was no longer bricked in, sat a clock. It ticked rhythmically and showed the time to be ten o’clock. To the right of the fireplace was a beautiful needlepoint chair. Two dark wood chairs faced each other, their cushions upholstered in a floral pattern. One rested to the left of the fireplace, the other was next to the doorway. Each chair had a walnut wooden table next to it, with an oil lamp on each. Against the far wall was a settee, the cushion a slightly worn dusty rose. The walls were painted a moss green. The heavy drapes on the windows next to the fireplace matched the settee. Chills ran down Em’s spine. It all looked so real.

Turning around to look behind her, Em saw the antique writing table that had been sent out to be restored. A small dark wooden chair perched between the drawers. Trembling, Em pushed herself up off the floor on shaky legs. She tentatively touched the smooth surface of the writing table.

“Mom!” Em screamed.

A door slammed and Em heard footsteps.

But instead of her mother, the biggest black man she had ever seen filled the doorway. He wore a stained and faded white shirt and calf-length brown work pants. His feet were bare and covered in dirt. His short cropped hair looked like a gray Brillo pad. He held a long-handled, curved knife. Em took a step backward, lost her balance, and fell, hitting her head on the mantle of the fireplace. Pain exploded in her head. She crumpled to the floor.

About the Author:
Sarah tells readers that writing is in her blood, literally. Her father was a writer and editor of the horse racing magazine, The Horseman and Fair World. And her cousin, Stephen Ambrose, wrote many historic military books, including Band of Brothers, which became a miniseries on HBO.

Getting a late start, Sarah didn’t pen her first book until she was forty-eight. “I was too busy globe-trotting with my army husband and raising two daughters.” But she is quickly making up for lost time with five manuscripts completed and three published books in the last eight years: the creative non-fiction, The Eleventh Summer, a general fiction, Until The Wind Changes, and a Christian historical fantasy, The Secret Diary Of Sarah Chamberlain. “I tend to be all over the map genre-wise, writing whatever sparks my imagination.”

Sarah is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the National Society Daughters of American Revolution, Toastmasters International and the American Red Cross. She grew up in Lexington, KY, but now resides in Colonial Heights, VA with her retired military officer husband, Michael.

Facebook author page
@snkusbooks Twitter handle
List of online stores to click on to buy book
Buy the book at Amazon
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Friday, December 6, 2013

King of Bad by Kai Strand - Review and Giveaway

This review is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.  Kai will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC plus a signed book mark to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (International) via the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. You can see the rest of the stops by clicking the tour banner.

King of Bad by Kai Strand
Contemporary Fantasy Young Adult
174 pages
3.5 stars

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

My Review:  King of Bad starts strong.  The writer has a strong sense of characterization and did a fantastic job populating her story with distinct, unique people who were interesting and real (or as real as a school full of kids with super powers can be).
At first I struggled to like Jeff ... I'm just not an anti-hero fan.  But once he gets to the SVA, it's clear he's not a bad kid and he started to grow on me (especially when we see how much he loves his fish, Pucker).
I enjoyed watching him struggle through his learning curve, make friends (and enemies) and basically find his way in this new life that seems to have chosen him.  I admit to being a bit surprised at the sheer number of kids in these various schools, and had to really suspend my need for realism then, and I wasn't sure how I felt about his mom and dad once their secrets were shared.  I had some trouble believing how neatly they were able to get along in life.
Still, I was a huge fan of this book right to the end, which mostly confused me.  I read it three times, and I'm still not entirely certain what happened.  However, it the fault might just lie with me and I will rave again at the overall plot and, most importantly, the author's skill with wordsmithing. That alone would be enough for me to seek out her next release and give it a try.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“Source, who is she?”

Source followed Jeff’s line of vision. “Oh, that’s Oceanus. Don’t even think it, kid. She’s already found a match.”

“What do you mean?”

“See the guy next to her?”

“The skinny red head?” Jeff hoped.

“No, the other one.”

“Oh, the Adonis?” Jeff’s heart fell. He’d no hope to thwart the god-like S.V. seated next to Oceanus.

“Not far off. People call him Set. The God of chaos, storm, wind. He’s a great guy.” Sarcasm wrapped around Source’s words. “Descended from a long line of super villains Known he’s an S.V. his whole life so came to the school ready to rule from what I hear. Real nasty character, even for an S.V. You don’t want to piss him off.”

“Oh, I won’t piss him off. I don’t go looking for trouble.” Jeff considered his life before the academy and real-ized that looking for trouble was the only thing he used to do. He amended his statement, saying, “Much.”

His stomach knotted. Had the academy turned him into a coward?

Source chuckled. “Don’t worry. You’ll get a name and things will settle into some sort of normal. Once we figure out what your root ability is, I’ll help you develop it. Though, after your hulk impersonation, I doubt anyone will dare taunt you.”

Jeff felt the anxiety lift. Source was okay for a bad guy.

About the Author:

When the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died, the end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for younger children Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Visit Kai’s website,, to browse her books, download companion materials or to find all her online haunts.

You can usually find Kai online at Facebook: or Twitter:

Buy it:



Barnes and Noble:

Add it to Goodreads:

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Quen Nim by Steve Shilstone -- Review and Giveaway

This review is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.

Steve will be awarding a $10 Wild Child Publishing GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

You can see the rest of the stops by clicking on the tour banner.

Nimble Missst, shapeshifting Cloud Castle City Princess, rages against her betrothal to the ridiculous Blossom Prince, Zootch. Reluctantly bound to duty, she agrees to go through with the marriage, but always in her snapjaw mind she devises plans of escape.

On the day the vows are to be exchanged, her startling violet eyes flash in disbelief when she learns that Zootch has fled Blossom in terror, saying he’s always been afraid of Nimble Missst.

Newly enraged, she sets off in hot pursuit of the Prince. It becomes a game of hide and seek, pitting the snapjaw mind of Nimble Missst against the surprising cleverness of Zootch.

My Review:

Nimble Misst is a shapeshifting princess... but not the sort who turn into wolves or other creatures. She can turn into clouds--- after all, she's a princess from Cloud Castle City. And, there is an arranged marriage in store for her--with the Blossom Prince, Zooch.

She has a snapjaw brain and wants to escape the marriage until the tables are turned and she discovers that Zootch doesn't want the marriage any more than she does and... in fact, is afraid of her and has run away.

This series is so much fun--it's enjoyable discovering other facts about it through the different chronicles! This particular story takes place long before the material in the first book... and is, in fact, a story told by Bekka in her unique way. Nimble comes to realize that, instead of really running way, she is engaged in a battle of wits, because Zooch also has a "snapjaw brain" only he kept his hidden.

The story plays out as the Zooch tries to outsmart Nim by leaving clues.. but staying one step ahead of her. And, there's a hidden player in this game.

You don't need to read the other books in the series to enjoy this short volume, but be aware that the language and the way the stories are written have it's own rhythm and may take you awhile to get comfortable with if you aren't familiar with is. But, the stories are, as Nim would say, ridiculously good. And, I hope there are more stories about Nimble's family... I haven't read all the books in the series and need to double check on that.

About the Author:
Steve Shilstone is a benign elderly hippie lite loon living in Northern California. He fancies himself to be a prosemaker and a dadaist with a small d who enjoys hanging out at the intersection of Humor and Nonsense. In times ago, he was a youth baseball coach for 25 years, a distributor of mail for the United States Postal Service, a stock associate employed by a no longer with us department store, a cartoonist of little note, a painter of littler note, and an anthropology student at UCLA.

His author website –
His fantasy site –
His dada site, Anvil in a Lace Bootie –
Publisher of his fantasy series –
Publisher of his print child of hippies novel, Vineyard’s Children, due out in December 2013 –

Buy the book at Wild Child Publishing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review: Aundes Aura by Ryan Sullivan

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ryan will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Since their father was taken to the dungeons of the capital city, Eoin and Saera have had to fend for themselves. If Eoin can find an apprenticeship in the capital, they can work on freeing him.

But Saera is afflicted with an evil goddess's light, and when her Aura flares up in the middle of the street, the power-hungry Church Regency are quickly on their heels, keen to eradicate the threat.

With more than the Regency after them, their only hope is to relinquish the Aura. Making alliances they would never have dreamt of, they find themselves swept up into a struggle against the kingdom they once called their own.

This is a very exciting book! I'm so glad it's part of a series because I really liked these characters and this world, and I can't wait to visit there again.

Often people dream about having special powers, but Saera knows that having special powers aren't always what it's cracked up to be--especially in their kingdom. The Church Regency tries to hunt down everyone who has been gifted with one of the Auras to destroy them. Fortunately for Saera and her brother, there are other kingdoms that will take them in and protect them--the trouble is getting there first.

On their way to safety, Saera and Eoin meet other people who hold the Auras of the other gods--and the adventure is on! There's also a touch of romance which is nice.

Thanks, Ryan, for a great read!!

About the Author:
Ryan Sullivan discovered his passion for writing at the age of seven. Drawn to the limitless worlds of magic, he never stopped. Ever since writing his first collection of stories, he knew he wanted to be an author. He is currently studying music, and teaches piano. He lives east of Melbourne, Australia.

Buy the book at Amazon US, or Amazon UK. Connect with the author at his Facebook Author Page, Twitter, Goodreads, his blog, and his website. Sign up to the mailing list for new books.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Painted Boots by Mechelle Morrison - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a unique, hand-crafted bookmark to one randomly drawn commenter at each stop--the other stops on the tour can be seen by clicking the tour banner. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I’ve been addicted to chocolate from birth. Especially the European stuff. I blame my mother, who likely gorged on chocolate right along with pickles and sour- cream herring during my formative months in her womb. Though come to think of it, I don’t like pickles or sour-cream herring. Anyway, I also blame her for my far-sidedness, and for the ridiculous habit I have of fretting over things so miniscule most people just stare at me blankly when I bring them up, but those are completely different issues.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist—and I became one. I graduated college in graphic design and illustration then spent ten years in the commercial art market, designing things like wall paper and fabric and scrapbook papers and frameable art. Twelve years ago I stepped out of the working world to become a mom. That’s when I started to write.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

I love this question. Passionately. But I’ll say here and now that whenever I think about the past I realize I would never travel back in time—unless I could take what I know with me. So here goes:


Don’t bother with boys until they’re out of college and making money. I mean date, enjoy, have good friends, but beyond that remember: there’s so much else when you’re young. Work hard in school, get good grades and a scholarship, be crazy-brave and head to a place like Portland or Seattle or even Stanford for college. You love the northwest … you just don’t know it yet. And invest: Microsoft, Apple, Amazon. Maybe you’ve never heard of these companies but trust me. Borrow money from your parents or your grandmother and plop about ten thousand dollars into each one of them before the clock strikes 1990. You’ll be set for life. BTW: about your seventh grade BFF, LeeAnn. Turns out her older brother and your husband are friends. So instead of spending your middle school summers hanging around at the mall, spend more time at LeeAnn’s house, where I dare you to walk up to the guy of your dreams and say: “Hey. You’re gonna marry me someday.”

Favorite hot beverage.

Chai tea—the creamier, the better. I’d take it intravenously but then I wouldn’t be able to taste it. As a chai-lover, I feel compelled to share my favorite recipe with the world: -boil some crushed fresh ginger in water (I peel the ginger, smash about an inch of it in a garlic press, then put it in the water to boil) -1 ½ teaspoon White Ayurvedic Chai (I get mine from Teavana) Strain about ½ cup water into a mug. Put the chai in a tea-ball and the tea-ball into the water. Steep for 2 minutes. Remove teaball, add one cup whole milk and ½ teaspoon sugar. Warm in the microwave. A bit time-consuming, but yumma! Or just do it the easy way and order Oregon Chai from your local Java Joes.

Create an ice-cream flavor. What’s it called?


-one cup Häagen-Daz vanilla
-1 T chopped Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, caramel and sea-salt covered almonds
-about half a shot glass of Baileys Irish Cream
-heavy whipping cream, whipped
-sprinkle with grated dark chocolate
Enjoy with a good book. Hint: tastes even better when you have the whole house to yourself J

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I’d buy an Airstream camper, talk my husband into hooking it up to his silver Tundra, pull our daughter out of school for two years and hit the road. We’d visit every National Park and quirky, out-of-the-way attraction we could find. We’d shop consignment and country yard sales. We’d eat at local diners for breakfast and always leave our waitress a hundred-dollar tip. Most evenings we’d cook dinner on our really cool Airstream kitchen stove while reminiscing about our day and up-loading pictures from our digital camera to our travel blog, which I hardly ever use because we hardly ever travel. Our nights would be filled with board games, guitar, star-gazing and other stuff. Hmmmmm. This is food for thought ….. now I just need that million dollars.

When her father drags her to a new life in Wyoming, Aspen Brand doesn’t expect to fall for a cowboy named Kyle Thacker—but she does. Aspen and Kyle share unexpected ground: guitar, running, physics. And guilt. Aspen blames herself for her mother’s car accident, while Kyle can’t find a way past his brother’s suicide.

On their first date they open up to each other, forging an unbreakable bond between them. But Kyle has spent two years living with a vicious secret—one his ex-girlfriend will do anything to protect—and sharing his truth with Aspen makes her a target. Now if Kyle is to be her love story, Aspen must first win the fight of her life.

An excerpt:

“My parents had a great relationship,” I say. “They were always touching each other, like they’d never evolved beyond infatuation. I lost my mom, yeah. But my dad lost more. He lost his other half, his best friend, the girl he’d been with since he was sixteen years old. It’s like I don’t know him, since Mom died.”

“If your mom was anything like you,” Kyle says, “I guarantee your dad’s hurting.”

“It’s hard for me to see him without her. I still think of my parents the way they were—loving and physical and fun with each other, all the time.”

Kyle slides his hand beneath the hem of my tank top, resting his fingers on the bare curve of my waist. Goose bumps spread across my skin. He pulls at me until our bodies touch. “Any guy’d want that,” he says softly.

About the Author:

As a child, Mechelle filled her journals with someday-my-prince-will-come fantasies. Then one day her prince arrived, driving a silver Tundra, and they adopted a fine daughter. Life got busy—work, family, daily cooking—but she still spends her evenings giving voice to the stories inside her head. Only now, instead of locking them away, she publishes them.

Book trailer: :
Barnes & Noble :
Kobo :

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Princess Interrupted by Michael A. Rothman

MEDIA KIT LargePrincessFrontCover 2BLURB:

** A prequel novel to the Prophecies series **

Arabelle's life of leisure is shattered when she's attacked by a poisonous creature that hasn't walked the land in over five centuries.

As she struggles to live with the effects of the poison, Arabelle learns that it isn't the only cause of her sleepless nights. With her gift of prophecy, her sleep is plagued with visions of assassins and monstrous foes that threaten her people and the ones she loves. Yet during the day, her visions hint of a blue-eyed boy that makes her hope for the future.

The fate of her people weighs heavily on her shoulders, and Arabelle knows she must keep a dark secret that only she can bear.

My Review:
Princess Interrupted gives us a few months, maybe a year, in Arabelle's life before she meets the Rivertons in the LORDS series. She has to handle the transition from being a little girl to growing up and handling responsibility while caring for her loved ones, and exercising her talents. She is a very well developed character, and it's interesting to look back at her life to see what she had to live through.
Arabelle is a very admirable character. I like to see her reaction to the curse she's been afflicted with, watching her fight, train, and protect her loved ones despite the dark clouds hanging over her head. She has a whole heart, and I hope to see that people can reflect her good image.
The characters come alive in many different ways; giving the reader a view of what's really running through their minds at a specific time in the story. My favorite was probably Grisham, because of his gentle attitude, and his care for other's well-being. He had a good heart, and a sound mind, and at some points, I just wanted to reach through the pages and give him a big hug.
I loved  the book, through and through, and I'm pleased to have finally gotten the chance to read it. I give it five out of five stars, since it lived up to all I thought I would be. It's perfect for fantasy lovers, magic, spells, heart, and more!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Nov 13, 2013
Here's a book that I have been waiting on for weeks. Yes, just weeks, because, after all, the most recent addition to the series, The House of Hades, came out in the second week of October.

I've been thoroughly obsessed with the series forever - I have been obsessively reading the whole Percy Jackson series since Riordan came out with The Lightning Thief.  I hope you enjoy!

The Blood Of Olympus, Book Five

Release date October 7, 2014

Cover Not Final
Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them, and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake. The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance.

Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it might be able to stop a war between the two camps. The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

What are YOU waiting for?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flick by Keira Des Anges - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card--the other stops on the tour can be seen by clicking the tour banner. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Leanna Matthews enjoys flying below the radar. She does well in school, has a few close friends and hides the fact she’s an astral-traveling telekinetic. But there’s no escaping her creepy dreams or Simora, the bizarre little spirit lady, that suddenly pops out of nowhere to warn her against keeping secrets and predicts an encounter with a sinister evil. For the first time in forever someone…or something…is on to her.

But life turns around when Leanna meets Piper one sunny afternoon. She’s inexplicably drawn to him, almost as if she’s been waiting for him to come. Forbidden to have a boyfriend Leanna throws caution to the wind, lying to her family and friends to be with him, while ignoring Simora’s ominous message.

Yet Piper has a secret of his own. He is on a mission and Leanna, unwittingly, is the key.

Now, enjoy an except:
Leanna Matthews craved for ordinary in the least extraordinary way. She enjoyed a few close friends, shopping at the mall and perhaps a nice romance novel every now and again. Routine was good, early mornings were better…and life was extremely complicated.

She squirmed restlessly in Biology – the final, insufferable class of the day – listening to Ms. Alvarado drone on-and-on about non-polar bonds in her last, torturous act of the term. Somewhere between ‘atom’ and ‘electronegativity,’ Leanna nodded off, nearly conking her head on the desk while daydreaming of summer vacation: shopping, beach, friends, shopping, vacation, shopping, sun, shopping, but not necessarily in that order.

Someone snickered from behind, no doubt amused by her wobbly head, as her eyelids grew heavier. Shut-up Ms. Alvarado, she thought bitterly. Thank God that in less than 20 minutes ninth grade would be officially over! School, and all its stupid inhabitants (present company included), would be history for a good two months; or rather two months too short - but it didn’t matter. Somewhere a beach chair sat waiting on white, fluffy sand and a plane ticket had her name stamped all over it. The fun was just about to begin!

Or so she thought.

That next morning, instead of awakening to the sweet taste of freedom, Leanna lay whimpering, shivering feverishly in her sleep. She curled tightly into a knot as a tiny beam of light crept through the shutters while she slept, casting eerie shadows on the wall - one of which grew abnormally in size until completely encircling the white canopy bed.

About the Author:

By day, Keira des Anges has the distinct pleasure of assisting teenagers with disabilities find employment, empowering one life at a time. By night, she is a chew toy for her dog and cat and avid reader of anything spooky, magical and totally out of this world. She lives in sunny Florida with her husband and two kids.

Find me online at:

Twitter: @KeiradesAnges
Book Video:

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Finder's Tome by TJ Marshall-- Book Review and Giveaway

This review is posted as part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. TJ will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Finder's Tome by TJ Marshall
YA Fantasy
332 pages
4 Stars

The Deadly Gates have been opened. An exiled prince plots the return of trolls into FourPosts.

Jacob “Feather” Moore is given an ancient book to read. It shows him where he can find Mandrake’s Key, an artifact with the power to lock the Deadly Gates.

Forced into a race for his life and the future of FourPosts, Feather is pursued through caverns, deserts and foreign cities. Lost, hungry and alone, the boy struggles to reach the Great Hollow and the portal it holds. His only hope lies in the visions given by the book called Finder’s Tome.
This was a really neat book... Feather was my kind of guy--he loves to read! Fortunately, he has a friend who keeps him supplied. Turns out, though, the latest book this friend gives him is magic--and only Feather can "read" it.

I was a little perturbed by Feather's "adopted father" and mother at the beginning of the book--I thought the father was too harsh on Feather, but as you read the book you come to understand the conflicts his parents go through.

I liked the idea of a book that gives visions--Feather has to not only figure out what they mean, but had to go through many adventures in order to find Mandrake's Key and save his world. I also loved his traveling companions and helpers... a great beginning to what promises to be an awesome series.

Good job, Mr. Marshall! Four Stars!!!

Now enjoy an excerpt:

In this scene, Feather had fallen asleep in front of a fire the morning after a fight that ended with him killing a man.

“You little runt!”

Feather flinched, backing up a step.

A disembodied face with a black goatee loomed over him. Steel blue eyes glared as the man’s lips twisted into a grimace.

“No!” Feather yelled. “It can’t be!”

People surrounded him, some waving overfull tankards, splashing its contents, while others danced to a lute player’s tune. They appeared and disappeared in an instant, each pointing and laughing.

Feather’s heart beat wildly. He searched for a way out, but a thick haze of pipe tobacco choked him and obscured his vision.

A huge body formed under the floating man’s face. His arm dripped blood. He charged across a black floor, and toppled over Feather, weighing him down like a boulder.

Feather screamed again, struggling to be free of the dead weight. Breathing in short bursts, he managed to roll the man over. His knife was buried in Darrius’ chest.

The people stopped laughing. They sneered at Feather and shouted, “Murderer!” The lute player waved his instrument like a club as the crowd closed on him.

“Feather, this way!” The voice was distant, it’s source nowhere to be seen. “Feather! Feather!

Feather jumped, shoving a hand off his shoulder.

“Feather, wake up.” Geoffrey touched the boy’s arm.

Shaking his head, Feather tried to dismiss the lingering vision.

“You were screaming.” The old man hugged Feather. “Are you okay?”

“Oh, sorry.” He rubbed his eyes. “It must have been a nightmare.”

About the Author:
TJ Marshall spent the majority of his adult life in the US Army, and during this time, had traveled to more than two dozen countries as well as visiting nearly every state. A veteran of both Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror, TJ finally decided to retire and start a new life in Texas with his two daughters. A newcomer to writing, Finder’s Tome is TJ’s first novel, but in the short time he’s been writing, he has produced countless short stories, one of which was the winner of an internet writing contest hosted by First Page Last Page. TJ is currently working on a second novel titled The Struggles due to be released in summer 2014.
Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bad Reputation by P.W. Creighton


Today we're here with P.W. Creighton, talking about Bad Reputation, toured by Bewitching Book Tours.

Why YA (or Middle Grade) fiction? What draws you to it?

Initially, when I was writing my other novels and stories I would craft characters that had these really dynamic and significant events that happened in their back-stories that were driving their current motivations. Since the characters were in their early and mid-twenties most of these events were taking place during their high school years. So, when the story of Bad Reputation came to me it wasn’t much of a shift to focus on these influential years. One of the most compelling reasons for this focus is the natural setting. During these years emotions are heightened, there are new experiences every day, relationships are more awkward and complicated and as a teen everything feels uncertain.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

When I was younger I read all of the classics and got quite a few pizzas out of the Book-It program that kept me reading everything and anything. Out of all those I would say that aside from the classics, Sherlock Holmes and Goosebumps were my favorites. There’s nothing like a good mystery with an unexpected twist.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

Rather entertainingly, in the second grade my teacher asked the same question. I didn’t have an answer then and in all the years since I still haven’t really ‘found’ an answer. I love adventure and travel and always learning something new. It’s how I ended up where I am today. As Benjamin Franklin said… “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing…”

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Bad Reputation, it's the last day of school and gossip says someone is going to die. The weight of secrets will have a costly price…

Ideal summer vacation.

Sure it would be fun to dedicate a summer to traveling the globe and seeing all of the different countries but in truth, vacation for me means a chance to relax. In all of my travels the one thing that has always stuck with me is the New England coast. There’s nothing quite like it, especially off Marblehead, MA or Maine. So, the perfect summer vacation for me would be lounging on the coast all summer long.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

The first invitee would have to be Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby because he would make for an excellent founder of the feast but also because he knows how to throw a party. He would also have great insight on any topic of dinner conversation. The second guest would have to be Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes because not only is he a brilliant detective but he would also be the most amusing counter to Gatsby. You know they’ll get into an argument at some point. To keep conversations really entertaining the third guest would have to be Lovecraft’s Professor William Dyer to regale guests with stories of adventure and the darker things that remain unknown. The final guest would have to be someone to really keep the boys on their toes, so Sara Paretsky’s Vic Warshawski is the logical choice. She wouldn’t hesitate to question Dyer’s stories or doubt Gatsby’s motives and call them out on it. Dinner would be the most entertaining, confusing and contemplative evening ever.

Playlist for your current book.

I’m going to cheat. Since my music constantly changes with whatever I’m writing my current playlist for the North Shore series consists of a lot of influential songs.

Favorite class in high school. Why?

Favorite class in high school, hands down was Business English. Not only was it putting together the yearbook but, it was also the weekly student newspaper. I got the chance to wander wherever I wanted on stories, taking photos and for a week each year we could drive around town getting the advertisers for the yearbook. It was also a great get out of trouble card too when a teacher would ask where I was. “Out on a story.” ;-)

Bad Reputation
North Shore Book 1
P.W. Creighton
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Romance

Number of pages: 279
Word Count: 62,000

Book Description:

The North Shore Sheriff's Department has a bit of a problem. Someone contacted the local radio station last night and left an alarming confession.

Logan and his friends may be gossiping about it but their only concern is getting through the last day of school before summer vacation. After all, tonight is the party of the year. No one wants to miss it.

But the weight of secrets will have a costly price…

Now, enjoy an excerpt:

Through the trees I could just barely make out the practice field ahead of me. Another little secret Sara had let me in on. The truant officer tended to make his rounds on the half-hour and kept a close eye on the path through the woods to the parking lot. If I came in from the practice field, no one would bat an eye.

“Then again,” I said aloud.

I thought about grabbing my jacket, but it really wasn’t cold enough. My phone on the other hand, I needed. Checking the screen, it was only a little after nine. Tardy, but not something that would stand out.

There was still a chance to ditch the entire day. My phone gave a brief buzz of notification. I checked it to find a text waiting. It was Hailey again.

“Where R U?”

I groaned. She was pissed at me. If I bailed, not only would Sara and Mom freak on me, Hailey would jump down my throat. I could avoid them, but I needed to take Hailey to the party tonight. I could just stand her up. I let out a heavy breath. I wanted to go though, and if I didn’t take her, she would still find a way to get there. It was just better to deal with her now than to put it off till the end of the day. Maybe she wouldn’t be too pissed.

“5 Min” I texted back and started walking towards the practice field. Old leaves and branches crunched underfoot, keeping my mind off the fact that Hailey was going to rip me a new one, and I had no clue what she was going to want.

The girl could hold a grudge better than anyone I’ve ever known.

I emerged into the open near one of the maintenance sheds. Why was I still with Hailey? She was constantly pissing me off, and she didn’t even hear me most of the time. I turned right to follow the maintenance path. I dumped Jamie for less than what I was putting up with now. I opened the texts from Hailey to scroll back. There had to be some reason.

A few days back through the texts was all I needed as a reminder. It was a ‘selfie’ shot from Hailey angled down at her. She was giving me a playful smile. Straight, platinum blonde hair, a tight low-cut top and a teasing attitude, she was hot. Knowing how she felt silenced any objections my brain could come up with at the moment.

I smiled to myself.

Tucking the phone in my front pocket, I crossed into the parking lot. I couldn’t see anyone over the cars but I didn’t need to push it. I quickened my pace towards the end of the science building.

At the far end of the concrete and faux wood building I walked around the corner to the concrete steps and black railing. I took one last breath of the free air before climbing the stairs to the heavy fire-door. It was always left unlocked so teachers could duck out to the parking lot or students could get to the athletic fields. The cold handle slipped from my grasp as I tried to open the door. I finally noticed the grease and dirt on my hands.

“Ugh,” I groaned.

About the Author:

Born in California, I have spent most of my life traveling throughout the US. I draw inspiration from my many adventures, turning my strange reality into fiction.

Over the years, I've found myself in many unusual situations, ranging from hanging off an 80 foot cliff-face in New York, to sailing off the coast of Salem, Massachusetts. I have had an opportunity to work at an archaeological excavation, and have even reported from the middle of a police stand-off.

When a teacher asked me in the second grade what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn't have an answer. To be honest, I still don't know. I let my characters make that decision for me.

Find me online at:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Alex Finch: Monster Hunter by C.A. Dean - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
The author will be awarding signed bookmarks or pins to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop.  Grand prizes are: a $25 Amazon GC to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and a swag bag with exclusive merchandise related to the book, to one commenter during the tour (this last prize is US ONLY).
The Rafflecopter is at the end of this post, and you can see the other stops on the tour by clicking on the tour banner.

Meet Alex Finch - tomboy, techno geek, monster hunter.

Reluctant monster hunter.

When Alex’s project partner Misty loses her notes for the most important English project of her school career, Alex heads to the local haunted house to find them. Instead she makes a life-changing discovery.

Monsters are real.

That single, mind-blowing incident throws her life in a completely different direction – and into the path of Sam, the boy she’s had a serious crush on since first grade. He knows more than he’s telling, and the further she digs, the deeper and darker the secrets become.

What else is hiding behind the ordinary facade of her California beach town?

Alex is about to find out.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

“Alex!” Sam caught up with me before I reached the trees. “Please—you have to believe me.”

“Why?” I turned on him, angry and terrified fighting to be on top. “Because I saw something in the McGinty house? Because I was attacked by what was probably a big, feral dog?” Who could stand upright and track like a hunter. Keep on believing the lie, Alex.

“You saw him. You know better.” Sam refused to let me avoid. Gripping my upper arms, careful of my injury, he leaned in until I could see the pale gold flecks in his grey-blue eyes. “You have to believe, Alex. Because there’s no going back from this.”

“What—what are you talking about?” This whole conversation just took a turn I didn’t see coming—a scary, I-should-have-stayed-in-bed turn. “All I did was run for my life—”

“You saw him.” Sam let me go, let out a sigh. And I knew, in that moment, my life was about to change. “That makes you a danger to my family.”

“Whoa—wait a minute. ME? What about your hairy, seven foot cousin? I’m not going around trying to eat innocent people—”

“No—you just saw what was trying to eat innocent people.”

“And Misty? What are you going to do to her?” Panic had my voice jumping into eardrum-bursting range. “Or is she exempt, because she’s one of you?”

He blinked. “What?”

“One of the populars, one of the pretty people. Not a geek, like me.” I jerked free, surprised he let me go.

“Alex.” That quiet voice left goose bumps on my skin. I kept staring at the ground, focusing on the scratches that marked my boots. I really needed to pull out the leather polish again— “I always admired your geek side.”

I wanted to clean out my ears, have him repeat that. Several times. So I could record it.

About the Author:
C.A. Dean believes in ghosts, witches, magic - and monsters.

She loves the supernatural, the odd and the strange, and writing about it is like going to a job she loves - no work and all fun.

She would love for you to join her as she hunts for monsters - real and imagined.

And there's the official biography, out of the way.

I love telling stories, and my four nephews have been a big influence in what I read, and now what I write.

Sliding into YA has been as easy fit, especially since I've been reading and loving it for years.

Alex Finch: Monster Hunter is the first book of a series I have been planning for a while, and I can't wait to introduce you to Alex and her rather quirky friends. :)

You can find out more about me and my books at my website: Hang out with me on my Facebook page: Or come and exchange tweets at:

I look forward to meeting you. :)


Barnes & Noble:


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Friday, November 1, 2013

Tokyo Dare (The Sushi Chronicles) by Anne Van - Virtual Tour and Giveaway
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anne will be awarding a box filled with Japanese Chocolates (The main character in the book loves them.) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY).--the other stops on the tour can be seen by clicking the tour banner. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Why YA (or Middle Grade) fiction? What draws you to it?

I think part of me never grew up. : ) I like to explore things with wide-eyed innocence just like when I was in high school. When I travel to new places I just take it all in. I like to dive into life. When I’m writing I try to capture that feeling through my characters reactions to the places they see on their adventures.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Chocolate, lots of chocolate. Her art supplies would be stacked on top of her schoolbooks. Stuck to the inside of the door Taylor would have a few photos of her favorite J pop stars. Smack in the middle of the photos would be one of her host mother with a hand drawn mustache and horns on her head.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I’m a chocoholic. Can’t go a day without my 60% dark chocolate fix. My other weakness is ice cream. Plus I love to bake. I usually make a batch of cookies a week. To make up for all my sweet treats I walk at least a mile almost every day.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

Ever since I could hold a pencil in my hand, I’ve drawn and painted. I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I love creating things. I also liked to design and I sew my own clothes when I was in high school. Things in the store just weren’t unique enough for me. That’s when I first wanted to be a fashion designer. It wasn’t until I got a bit older when I was in college that my creativity spread to writing.

What candy do you give out at Halloween?

Halloween is a big deal at my house. It’s my husband’s favorite holiday and we were married on Halloween. So we go all out decorating the house and have a huge plastic pumpkin full of candy. It’s loaded down with Reese’s peanut butter cups, Jr. Mints, Skittles, Almond Joy, candy corn, you name it. I love seeing the faces of the kids when I show up at the door dressed like a vampiress and fill their bags with candy.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately while I’m working on my new genie story. What power would my character wish for? For some reason mind reading came to me first. How awesome would that be? Then I thought about what it would be like to read what everybody was thinking about me and thought maybe that wouldn’t be so awesome. I think immortally would be the one I’d wish for in the end. I love life and discovering things and how fantastic would it be to have it never end.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

Tales For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I’m really enjoying it. I read a lot of YA but like to switch it up and read adult literary every once in awhile. The book has a really compelling premise. A woman finds a diary inside a Hello Kitty lunchbox that washed up on the beach from the Fukashima tsunami. It’s written by a Japanese girl who is going through a tough time in her life. The story is very compelling.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

A dare sends a high school student to Japan where her host family thinks she's the devil and a wacky to-do list turns her world inside out.

What was your ideal summer vacation?

I love to travel. My ideal summer vacation would be to hop on a plane with an endless budget and travel the world. I’d make sure to schedule in some down time on the beaches of Tahiti. Nothing like staking out a slice of a beautiful white sand beach and staring out at the turquois waters of Bora Bora.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

Without a doubt Kenzo. He would give me a grand tour of the island. He’d tell me jokes and funny stories so the time would fly by. Plus he’s very resourceful and a real survivor. I’m sure I’d make it off the island alive.

Sixteen-year-old artist, Erin Van Horn, doesn’t know an Unagi Roll from a Kaiser Roll. But on a dare from her best friend, Tori Mukigawa, she wins a spot as an exchange student at a prestigious Tokyo high school. Once in the land of the rising sun, Erin struggles to learn the culture and deal with a host family from hell. Otosan, the father, stops speaking to her after she “murders” his favorite bonsai tree. The mother, Okasan, believes Erin’s evil because she’s left- handed and their son is an Elvis impersonator who is convinced Erin’s the spitting image of Priscilla if only she’d dye her blonde hair black, and become his child bride.

But Erin has a bigger problem than her crazy host family when she faces the ultimate dare from Tori—a to-do list.Racked with guilt for winning the spot that should have gone to her best friend, Erin is determined to complete the list. All she has to do is find a rock star boyfriend, (sure, there’s one on every street corner), apprentice under a famous Japanese artist, (no problem, they’ll be listed in the Tokyo Yellow Pages) and visit Tori’s long lost relatives to find out what’s hidden in the family closet. So what if the only words she knows in Japanese are, “Excuse me eat pretty idiot.” How hard could it be?

Now, enjoy an excerpt:

A Japanese guy in his early twenties with a mop of long hair and a goatee blocked my way. Dressed in a black leather jacket and skinny jeans, all he needed was a guitar, and the rocker look would be complete. I stood speechless. He was the kind of guy that never talked to me back home.

He stretched out his hand and said. “Names Kenzo.”

I managed to squeak out, “Erin…. Um… American who’s totally lost.” Just as I was about to let go of his hand, water dripped down my arm onto his watch.

“Hey, I know it’s a sizzling summer but you’re soaked.”

“I had a little accident with a water bottle.”

His eyes moved up and down my body like a scanner. “I can see that.”

His stare confirmed I still looked like a wet T-shirt contestant.

“I was headed to Seda Academy and got lost. I couldn’t find anyone who could speak English to help me. Until… you.”

“You don’t speak any Japanese?”

“Only five words.” I gave him a smile and said in Japanese, “Excuse me, eat pretty idiot.”

About the Author

Anne Van is an artist, fashionista, turned writer. She has a Masters Degree in Fine Art and attended Waseda University in Tokyo Japan on a scholarship. She has exhibited her artwork all over the United States and one of her works was displayed in a museum in Picasso’s hometown of Malaga, Spain.

After several years toiling as a fine artist, she switched gears to pursue another passion, fashion. Anne graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles and designed sportswear for major retailers. All the while she heard stories in her head. So one day she quit fashion and finally put her stories on paper. Since then Anne has published an article in a national magazine and an award winning travel story about her time living in Tokyo, Japan.

She has also published short fiction. Anne continues to write the stories that fill her head. She lives in a Victorian home in a historic landmark district in Pasadena, California along with three rescue cats, including one that has six toes, and her TV composer husband who thankfully doesn’t.






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