Sunday, February 24, 2013


Looking For Alaska by John Green Review

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads):

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

My Review:

Miles Halter, a very low-key, serene, teenage boy enrolls in a co-ed boarding school to shake his droll life up a little. On the first day, he falls in with a group of intelligent, though cynical, cigarette -smoking, booze-swilling pranksters, including the stunning girl named Alaska. The semester is spent sneaking around campus, pulling jokes, rapping, camping, drinking, telling stories, talking poetry and growing their bond. But beneath Alaska's confidence and spark is an element of tragedy, that leads to a heart-breaking twist that I never saw coming. Mile and his friends must come to turns with their lives after the tragic event and learn to be happy again.

John Green's writing style is like white bread: uncomplicated, pure, basic and once you start consuming it, you can't stop. And who doesn't like bread? The novel is almost entirely dialogue: funny, true-to-life dialogue, with dashes of interesting ponderings and action. They say a good novel has a character who changes himself or others. Looking For Alaska shows not one change in Miles Halter, but two. The first occurs in the "Before" portion of the book, where we find Miles's friends teach him to let loose and be a kid. In the "After" section, Miles has to learn to become an old, to come to terms with the more difficult things in life" death, guilt, disappointment and find a way to still be hopeful. Looking For Alaska is just a clean, brilliant look into the emotional year in the life of  thoughtful, extremely Holden Caulfield-esque kid. And it is nothing short of perfect. 

Favorite quote: 

"And the way her mouth curled up on the right side all the time, like she was preparing to smirk, like she'd mastered the right half of Mona Lisa's inimitable smile..."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

First Frost Tour and Guest Post

Thanks to the lovely and clever, Liz De Jesus for stopping by today for an interesting look at her reasons for writing YA. And isn't First Frost such a pretty book? 


Fairy tales aren’t real…yeah…that’s exactly what Bianca thought. She was wrong.

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn't really exist.

She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

Guest Post from Liz DeJesus:

Why I write YA

It’s actually happened by accident. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide ‘Today I’m going to write a book for Teens!’. Sadly things don’t happen for me that way. I follow my muse and go wherever she takes me. I got the idea for First Frost while watching a commercial for a local children’s museum. I thought it would be cool if there were themed museums for kids that had different interests. Like a car, pirate or fairy tale themed museum. Something that would be fun for kids. Then when I repeated to myself the idea for a fairy tale themed museum everything stopped.


That’s a pretty cool idea for a book. Everything sort of unraveled for me after that. First I needed an awesome main character. Originally, Bianca Frost was going to be 20 years old and would occasionally help her mother while she went to college. But I decided that it would make things a little easier on me if I made her younger and still living at home with her mother. Plus, there are other challenges I can throw at her since I turned her into a 17 year old girl.

I wrote for about nine months straight (first, second and third draft included).  And to be honest, that time simply flew by for me. This was the first time in a long time where writing was actually fun for me. I love my other novels and short stories, don’t get me wrong. But that felt more like work. Does that make any sense? Anyway writing First Frost allowed me to flex some muscles I didn’t know I had. I had fun writing Bianca and Ming’s dialogue. I love the back and forth they have, it felt natural to me. Plus, it helped that I modeled Bianca after myself at 18. I was a weird, sarcastic and introverted teenager just like her and lucky for me I was able to tap into those emotions fairly easy.
I read a few articles and books on how to write for teens. One of the things I read that really stayed with me was that teenagers are not stupid, they’re simply inexperienced. So I try to remember that now that I’m working on a Young Adult series.  That little bit of advice has helped me a lot.

But I shouldn’t be that surprised that I sort of stumbled into the young adult genre. It’s the one I read most. I’ve read the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer, Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, Once Upon a Time series (each book is written by a different author), almost everything written by Francesca Lia Block, and a few others. One of the things I like about reading young adult books is because they’re plain fun. And if it has fantasy and/or fairy tales? I’m in. I don’t even need to read the blurb on the back of the book. I’ll buy it. It’s my favorite genre so it was only a matter of time before I took on the task of writing a book of my own.

For now I’m sticking with Bianca Frost for as long as she’ll continue taking residence in my head. I’ll keep writing her story until it comes to an end. I’m sure it’ll have a happy ending. ;-)

About the author:

Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico.  She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi'er Publishing, October 2007), The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 31st 2011) and First Frost (Musa Publishing, June 22nd 2012) Glass Frost (Musa Publishing, Summer 2013). She is also a member of The Written Remains Writers Guild . Liz is currently working on a new novel.
Feel free to email Liz at
For more information please visit her website

Buying links:

Monday, February 18, 2013

An Italian Obsession Promo

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

 Young Adult/Historical/General Fiction
Title: An Italian Obsession
Author: Kfir Luzzatoo
Date Published: 9/3/12

 In the lax atmosphere of middle-class post-war Italy, sex and drugs are easy to come by. Roberto tries to find his own balance, but a crush he had for Alessandra in elementary school is reignited and the course of his life is changed forever.

It's the 1970’s, a time of political upheaval driven by disillusioned young people. Roberto is caught up in the times. He makes a new start, but his past catches up with him. Finding himself accused of a crime, he must defend himself even when he isn’t sure he committed it. A vivid snapshot of European post-war society, this novel is viewed through the eyes of a young adult coming of age.

Virtual Book Tour February 1 - March 10

February 1 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
February 2 - Pink Fluffy Hearts - PROMO
February 3 - Lovely Reads - Guest Post/PROMO
February 6 - Lust For Stories - Review/Interview
February 7 - Mom With a Kindle - PROMO
February 9 - The Stuff of Success - PROMO
February 11 - Lauries Thoughts and Reviews - Interview/PROMO
February 12 - Emily's Bookshelf - PROMO
February 13 - Love in a Book - Guest Post/PROMO
February 14 - My Reading Addiction -PROMO
February 15 - Boundless Booklist - Review/Interview
February 16 - Crazy For Books - Review
February 18 - YA Reviews and News - Interview/PROMO
February 19 - Fictional Reality - Review
February 23 - Books, Books, the Magical Fruit- Guest Post/PROMO
February 24 - Andi's YA Books - Interview/PROMO
February 27 - Author Ever Leigh - Review
March 1 - Books For Me - Review
March 2 - Lov Liv Life Reviews - Guest Post/PROMO
March 4 -Debbie Jean's Blog - Review
March 5 - Tiramisu Mom - Review/Interview
March 7 - Book Marks the Spot - PROMO
March 8 - RABT Reviews - Review
March 9 - I Know That Book - Guest Post/PROMO
March 10 - My Cozie Corner - Review

Kfir Luzzatto

Author Bio:
Kfir was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier and WWII veteran, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney. He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis.
Novels: Crossing the Meadow (2003); The Odyssey Gene (2006); The Evelyn Project (2012); Have Book – Will Travel (2012 – with Yonatan Luzzatto); An Italian Obsession (2012).
Short Story Collections: His Darker Side (2002-2011); His Lighter Side (2002-2011).
Non-Fiction: The World of Patents (2002) Blog: on the web site. Twitter: @KfirLuzzatto. Facebook: LinkedIn:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

O!Jackie Review and Giveaway

Title: O! Jackie
Author - Mercedes King
Web site:
Twitter: @OJackiebook

 Despite her poise and graceful smile, Jackie Kennedy’s life was far from perfect. Behind closed doors, Jackie struggled with bouts of depression, endured a heartbreaking road to motherhood, and had difficult relationships with those closest to her. Ravaged by insecurities and humiliation, she even wrestled her own temptations for both other men and divorce. But Jackie clung to the belief that she could make JFK abandon his wandering ways. Through the years, though, Jack Kennedy’s lustful escapades grew in carelessness and frequency, and most needling for Jackie were his trysts with Marilyn Monroe. When Marilyn becomes erratic and unstable, Jackie must decide how far she will go to protect the presidency and to save her marriage. 

My Review

O! Jackie is masterfully written, emotional and heart-wrenching. I stayed up well-past midnight every night gobbling down every word of this novelization of Jackie Kennedy-Onassis's  life with her first husband. The voice shifts seamlessly from fictional diary entries to a third person narrative. O! Jackie blends facts with stunning imaginings of her encounters with Marilyn Monroe, Bobby Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, and Aristotle Onassis, among others. But, the story isn't a feel-good romp through Hollywood. Rather, it's the tale of a dutiful young woman who finds herself unwillingly in the limelight and in love with a chronically unfaithful man, and this woman goes to shocking lengths to hold her family together.

Jackie feels trapped in what is basically an arranged marriage with JFK, pushed by her mother to marry well, and pressured by the Kennedys to perform as a poised and perfect wife. Lonely and constantly trying to pin down the affections of a husband who humiliates her with very public trysts, Jackie goes to extremes to keep her husband and her spotless reputation.

It was so easy to identify with the protagonist, her yearning to be loved, the turmoil of handling painful situations, her desire to be a normal mom and wife. But since this book isn't a biography, but a historical imagining of Jackie O's life, you'll get surprising twists. Especially at the conclusion of the novel. Scandals, empathy for Jackie and an abundance of conflicted characters equals a book without equal. I can't imagine a soul on this planet who wouldn't enjoy O! Jackie. This is best-seller material!

Author Bio:
A founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio, Mercedes King is an active member and past president. She graduated from Capital University with a degree in Criminology, and since then has been crafting stories with a scandalous flair. A born and bred Buckeye, she writes in a variety of genres and is hard at work on her next novel. 

Check out the rest of the tour!

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR February 4 - March 1st

February 4 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet

February 5 - Cozie Corner- Review
February 6 - A Chick Who Reads - Review/Guest Post
February 7 - Bless Their Hearts Mom - Review/Guest Post
February 10 - Author Ever Leigh - Review
February 11 - The Self-Taught Cook - Review
February 12 - YA Reviews and News - Review
February 13 - Tiffany Talks Books - Review
February 14 - Keenly Kristin - Review
February 15 - The Book Lover's Paradise - Review
February 16 - My Reading Addiction - Review 
February 20 - Love In a Book - Review/Guest Post
February 21 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews - Review/Guest Post
February 22 - Must Read Faster - Review/Guest Post
February 23 - Book Bliss - Review
February 24 - My Devotional Thoughts - Review/Guest Post
February 25 - Queen of All She Reads - Review
February 26 - Manhattan Reader - Review
February 27 - Celtic Lady Reviews - Review
February 28 - Keeping Up With the Rheinlanders - Review/Guest Post
February 29 - 
February 30 -
March 1 - RABT Reviews - Review

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Manipulation by Jolene Perry: Review and Giveaway

Manipulation (Shadows #2)
Release Date: January 2013

Summary from Goodreads:
Addison Prince has almost always gotten what she wants.
Dean Courser only wants to find his brother, but it's the one thing he’s failed at... Even with his unusual ability.

Dean and Addison share the gift of Manipulation—a brief touch that forces others to do what they wish. But when they meet and realize their connection, they find more questions than answers. Suddenly Dean is seeing shadows move on their own, and Addison is learning her father’s mysterious group may know more about her abilities than he’s ever let on.

As Dean and Addison second-guess every decision about who they are and why they're wanted, time is running out. With shadows following their every move, they're losing hope they’ll ever get to safety—if such a thing exists.

My Review:

Uptown girl, Addison meets downtown guy, Dean and they discover they share the power to influence others through touch. This power is amplified when they work together, but it also makes them a target for the Middlemen, a strange group that collects people with supernatural talents. Running from these mysterious collectors, send the two on a road trip that brings them close together.

Perry writes in a stripped down, clarified style that most people find very appealing. Addison, isn't the nervous, virgin we get in so many YA books, and Dean isn't the manly, stoic type either. The characters are very fleshed out and deliciously human. {Dean, in fact, is my book boyfriend this month. Four reasons why: 1.) He's handsome (of course) 2) He isn't haunted and edgy. He's upbeat and sweet. 3.) His best friend is a girl he deeply cares about, but isn't trying to bang. That shows depth. 4.) He would do anything to find his younger brother who was adopted to another family. Family loyalty is hot!}

The paranormal aspect makes Manipulation fun and the love story is particularly sweet and tender, which I found so refreshing. The minor characters are interesting, like Katy with her new boyfriend, Addison's father with his secrets and our protagonists' relationships with their younger siblings, and those subplots keep the story alive and vital page after page.

 About the Author
Jolene kissed a boy on her high school graduation night. One she’d wanted to kiss for a long time. They got married two years later, have built two homes together, survived military deployments, law school, student loan debt, and two children.

Jolene plays the guitar, takes pictures, and loves to hike. She doesn’t like rivers, but loves the ocean. She loves to fly, but gets motion sick. Her ultimate vacation would be to sail 

Prize #1:  (1) Paperback copies of Insight and Manipulation (International)
Prize #2:  (1)Paperback copy of Manipulation (US only)
Prize #3:  (3) e-book copies of Manipulation.  Kindle or Nook (International)

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Carrie Diaries

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell: Review

Synopsis (Taken from Amazon):

The Carrie Diaries is the coming-of-age story of one of the most iconic characters of our generation.
Before Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw was a small-town girl who knew she wanted more. She's ready for real life to start, but first she must navigate her senior year of high school. Up until now, Carrie and her friends have been inseparable. Then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture, and a friend's betrayal makes her question everything.
With an unforgettable cast of characters, The Carrie Diaries is the story of how a regular girl learns to think for herself and evolves into a sharp, insightful writer. Through adventures both audacious and poignant, we'll see what brings Carrie to her beloved New York City, where her new life begins.

My Review:

I haven't read the original Sex and the City in over ten years. I haven't watched the series since the last episode aired. (I did see the movies, but it just wasn't the same.) I honestly only picked up The Carrie Diaries audio book because it was the only young adult book available on Play Away from my library. (I mean, CDs? Where on earth can I even buy a CD player these days? I's have just as much luck finding an old Vitrola.) But I'm so glad I did. I realized from page one that I missed Carrie Bradshaw. I miss Candace Bushnell's unique writing style. And if you've never read a Bushnell novel, this is a great place to start.

Carrie finds herself caught up in typical high school drama: cheating boyfriends, bitchy girls, friends who cry all the time, and trying to figure out what she want to do in life. Carrie tires to rise above all the emotional theatrics, but she finds herself doing a fair amount of crying, fighting and screaming, too. (Especially when bad boy and man of mystery, Sebastian Kydd, starts stealing some high school hearts.) All the while, she's trying to learn to be a writer, though many have discouraged her and she doesn't have that much confidence in her abilities.

With Bushnell, it's not the plot that matters. This woman could make taking out the trash a riveting event, a page turner! Her protagonist doesn't utter a word without the reader knowing the motivation behind it. Carrie divulges all her thoughts, even when it makes her look foolish or desperate. Carrie isn't some perfect heroine. She wants to be everything: smart, strong, useful, sexy, classy, and kind, but she stumbles and gets frustrated with herself. Our girl always talks it out and finds her way.

One thing I have always loved about the Carrie character is how much she values her friends. In The Carries Diaries, she bolsters her small, loyal group of friends up, and they do the same for her. With Busnell, it isn't really about the romance, it's about the bromance. So few modern writers show the value of friendship and sisterhood like Candace does. Carrie may get wrapped up in a boy for a time, but she understands that those relationships can be fleeting. She always has her girls. The real joy in The Carrie Diaries is the hijinx Carrie and her friends get into: almost getting busted painting a barn, spying on a friend coming out of a porn shop, singing on stage at concert, and many a party.

This book could not have been more perfect. Carrie's thoughts, philosophies and back stories combined with endless teenage girl drama makes for a delectable and satisfying read. The Carrie Diaries is a steak dinner with with cake for dessert. You'll gobble it down!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Book Haul

Today, I spotted a huge YA section in an overstock bargain store called, "Ollie's." And  I walked away with these babies for under $18.

Book Haul=
Looking For Alaska by John Green (Because he's the king of YA)
Let It Snow by various authors (Because Maureen Johnson has a story, and I heart her)
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (I have been wanting to read this forever!)
Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad (Wanted to see if she can write. Curious.)
The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd (Vowed to read at least a couple books with LGBT teens.)
And a Charlie and Lola book for my five year-old! (So she'll grow up to be clever like her mom and dad! But mostly like Mom. Wink.)

I'm slowwwwwwllllly building my collection!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Going Under Cover Reveal

New Adult 
Date to be Published: March 19, 2013


Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of
trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her
anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She
learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their
sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.

Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by
becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her
best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice
turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a

(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains explicit language and
descriptions of sexual violence.)

Book Excerpt (from Chapter One):

I left the bathroom in a hurry, turning the corner for the foyer and slamming into him. The
force of the hit was so great that I stumbled backwards, nearly falling on my bottom if not for his
outstretched hand. I grabbed it before going down and wobbled on my too-high heels, clutching
him as I worked to regain my balance.
“God, I’m sorry!” he exclaimed.
I looked at his face then, unprepared to see something so beautiful. I think I gasped. And
then I averted my eyes out of sheer embarrassment.
“I really should watch where I’m going,” he said.
He still held my hand, and I let him. I couldn’t remember who I was or where I was going. I
couldn’t remember where I had just been. I only knew that a very cute boy . . . no, he was more
than cute. He was gorgeous. This very gorgeous boy was holding my hand, and I had only one
thought. I wanted to make our handholding more intimate. I wanted to lace my fingers with his.
“I think I should,” I mumbled.
I chanced another look at him. I made a conscientious effort not to gasp as I took in his light
blue eyes. I’d never seen eyes that color. Bing Crosby had nothing on this guy’s eyes, and Bing’s
eyes were the color of the Mediterranean. No, the eyes I looked into now were so light blue they
looked translucent. I thought if I stared a little longer I could see right inside his head, to his
brain, and I don’t know why that turned me on so much. I wanted to witness the workings of his
mind, the firing synapses, information traveling safely inside neurons to different parts of his
body. A few made it to his hand, and they must have told him to keep holding mine because he
didn’t let go.

I stared shamelessly, licking my lips at one point. He stared back just as boldly. I wanted
him to like what he saw. I wanted him to think I was sexy. I wanted him to feel the same instant
attraction I did. I’d never felt it before. Not really. Not even with Finn. It was unsettling, and I
wondered how people functioned after being smacked upside the head with it. Instant. Physical.
Just rip my clothes off, I thought. Just rip my clothes off and do me right here in the hallway!
He smiled and released my hand. I thought he did it reluctantly, like his brain ordered him
to and he finally acquiesced. I smiled back, a flirty grin. I pulled my ponytail forward over my
shoulder and played with the strands. I bit my lower lip. And then reality came crashing down
like a hailstorm, large lumps of ice banging my head and screaming at me in unison.
I looked at the gorgeous guy, and my face went white.
“Oh my God,” I whispered.
He stared at me for a moment before saying, “Are you okay?”
I shook my head and started towards the sanctuary doors. He followed behind.
“I’m awful, I’m awful, I’m awful,” I whispered over and over. I didn’t care if he could hear.
What the hell was I doing? Trying to flirt with a guy at my best friend’s funeral? How could
I even forget for a second that I was at a funeral? I was supposed to be carrying around heavy,
black sorrow to match my black dress and black heart, not batting lashes and fantasizing about
sex with a stranger. Was I so ridiculous that a hot guy could make me forget to have any kind of
decency? Or shame?
I rounded the corner and saw my mother waiting for me. And then I ran to her, threw myself
into her arms, and burst into a fit of tears.
“Brooklyn,” she whispered, holding me in a tight hug. “It’s okay,” she cooed as she stroked
my hair.
“I’m a terrible friend!” I wailed. I saw the fuzzy outline of a boy walking past us tentatively
through the doors.
“No, you aren’t,” my mother replied.
“Yes, I am! I don’t even know why I’m here! Beth hated my guts! She wouldn’t talk to me
all summer!”
“Brooke,” Mom said. “I want you to calm down. Now, we talked about this. You knew it
would be hard, but she was your best friend for all those years. Do you think she wouldn’t have
wanted you here?”
“No, I don’t!” I cried.
“Yes, she would,” Mom said. “Now we have to go in.”
“I can’t!”
“Brooke, Beth was your best friend,” Mom said, trying for patience.
“No she wasn’t! Not after what I did! I ruined everything! I’m a freaking slut!” I sobbed,
shaking my head from side to side.
“Sweetheart, don’t say words like ‘freaking’ and ‘slut’ in a church,” Mom replied.
I only sobbed louder.
“You can do this,” Mom encouraged.
I stood my ground, shaking my head violently, refusing to go in.
“Brooklyn Wright!” Mom hissed pushing me away and grabbing my upper arm. She
squeezed too tightly, and I squeaked in discomfort. There was no more tenderness in her voice.

“Get yourself together. This isn’t about you. So stop making it about you. You’re going into that
sanctuary and you’re going to pay your respects to your friend, and you’re going to make it about
Beth. Do you understand me?”
I swallowed hard and wiped my face.
“Do you understand me?” Mom repeated.
I nodded grudgingly, and she took my hand, leading me through the doors.

© S. Walden, 2013


S. Walden

Author Bio:
S. Walden used to teach English before making the easy decision to become a full-time writer.
Easy because once she completed a full-time graduate program, there weren't any teaching jobs
anyway! She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who does not read fiction and
has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of
small children, so she has two Westies instead. Her dreams include getting through her next big
writing project (a three-part series) and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast.
Her husband's dreams for her include getting her Ph.D. so that he can tell people he's married to
a doctor.

She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at and
follow her blog at where you can get up-to-date information
on her current projects.