Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ban This! Speak

Banned Book Week is September 30th to October 6th, and since I am participating in Donna's event to help bring awareness to this ridiculousness that some dork began, oh, I don't know ages ago I'll  post one challenged book everyday in no particular order until the event ends.

I'm going to start with a book that was challenged when I was still a relatively new book blogger, and it really got me thinking about this whole idiotic idea of banning books.  As a Canadian reader (and as a reader in general), I love and enjoy all sorts of books and I honestly didn't even know we had our own Freedom to Read Week, much like the Banned Book Week of the United States.  If it weren't for the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere I would probably still be fumbling around in the dark.  I fully admit that up until now I have never really paid close attention to the awful reality that books are challenged and banned from those who would choose to enjoy them.  But from now on, I'm going to make a better effort to read, or even just acknowledge, those books that others challenge.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Reason: Challenged by Wesley Scroggins who claimed this book was 'soft pornography' and for 'exposing children to immorality.'

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Bookish Wants & Gots (22)

My Bookish Wants & Gots is a weekly Saturday feature at The Book Vixen. I list the books I want - which can be old, new, or upcoming releases - and the books I recently got.

The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber
For Natalie Stewart, a normal life has never seemed so far away. Her only solace, Lord Jonathan Denbury, is wanted for murder. To clear his name, Denbury must return to England and assume the role of his demon doppelganger. But Natalie begins to doubt his true motives, especially as a new gentleman begins whispering in her ear. Natalie and Denbury may be able to visit each other in their dreams, but they can't escape the darkening shadows. Amid spontaneous explosions, friends turned enemies and dangerous secrets revealed, there's still a demon who has Natalie's scent, and someone is trying to resurrect the ultimate evil.

Transcend by Christine Fonseca
All seventeen-year-old composer Ien Montgomery desires is an escape from his family's rigid expectations for his life; someone to inspire his music. When he meets a beautiful violin-prodigy, Kiera McDougal, his life music takes on new life. With her, he imagines a future outside of his parents’ control. That is, until a horrible accident tears them apart.

Sent to die in a sanatorium, Ien’s obsession for Kiera grows unbearable. Tortured by thoughts he can’t escape and the truth of his monstrous disfigurement, he flees, desperate to exact revenge on the people that ruined his life – his parents. But, vengeance is empty. Betrayed by those closest to him, Ien discovers that the price for his happiness may be his sanity.

Set amidst the landscape of New York's Gilded Age, and inspired by Phantom of the Opera, TRANSCEND exposes the fine line between love and madness.

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.

After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.

But not everyone is on board. The werewolf Rights of Laws is missing text and the superstitious werewolves think that Jessica means an end to their race. It doesn’t help when Jessica begins to realize she’s more. She can change partway and hold her form, and speak directly to her wolf. But the biggest complication by far is that her alpha father can't control her like he can the rest of his wolves.

When a mercenary who’s been hired by the vampires shows up to extract information about the newly turned werewolf only days after her change, they find themselves smack in the middle of a war and there's no choice but to run together. When it’s up to Jessica to negotiate her release against her father’s direct orders, she chooses to take an offer for help instead. In exchange, Jessica must now swear an oath she may end up repaying with her life.

Crimson Sunrise by J.A. Saare
Beware the calm before the storm…

After eradicating the obstacles between them, Emma Johnson and Caleb Blackney are ready to embrace their future together. They have a lot of decisions to make. There is the issue of Emma's fae heritage, her choice to become a werewolf or remain human, and Caleb's refusal to partake in anything that could cause harm to his mate.

When Caleb's sister goes missing, personal issues are forced aside, and he and Emma are faced with a past threat that has come knocking at their door. As the search for Sammie reveals plans far more sinister than they ever could have imagined, Emma and Caleb will face their fears, confront their enemies, and unite their families to stand against an evil that won't stop until vengeance is served.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Interview & Giveaway with Tammy Blackwell

1. When did you first start writing, and was there something in particular that inspired you?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was very young. (Of course, in the beginning I wanted to write country-western songs like Dolly Parton, but that’s what happens when Opryland is your favorite vacation destination as a child.) What inspired me to finally sit my butt in a chair and give it a try was the YALSA Lit Symposium in 2008. It was the first time I interacted with published writers, and I was amazed at how they were real people. I decided if they could do it, so could I.

2. What first attracted you to your genre when it comes to writing?

The real world often sucks. It’s full of responsibilities, disappointments, and heartache… when it’s not being dreadfully dull. I like urban fantasy because it makes life interesting and gives us physical demons to fight, instead of the emotional ones we have to put up with in our day-to-day lives. I’ve always been attracted to the idea that there is something more to our world than what we can see. As for the YA aspect of it, I love that whole coming-of-age thing. Probably because at 34, I still feel like I’m coming of age myself.

3. In regards to your own characters, who is your favorite and why?

Completely impossible to choose one! Jase and Angel are the easiest to write; Charlie, Alex, and Liam will always have my heart; and Scout will always be important to me, even after I eventually leave her and her world behind.

4. What other genres (besides your own) do you enjoy reading?

I love adult paranormal, steampunk (especially the kind with lots of kissing in it), and most genres of YA. But mostly, I just like a well-written story. If it sucks me in and makes me feel all the feelings, I don’t really care what genre it is.

5. If you could not be a writer, what would you be?

Well, I’m also a librarian, and that’s pretty awesome. I’m lucky to love both of my jobs so much. But if I couldn’t do either, I would like to try my hand at being the Ruler of the World. I think I could do that one up right.

6. As a reader I know how difficult it can be to name a ‘favorite’ book, would you mind listing your top three? (Past or present authors)

Argh! Hardest question ever! How about my 3 favorite things I’ve read recently?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I usually hate war novels, so for me to say I’m in love with this YA novel about two girls in WWII is saying a lot. Brilliantly written. I can’t say enough good things about this one.

Love by the Numbers series by Sarah MacLean
Is using a series cheating? Let’s say no and just go with it, okay?
These were my first ever historical romances, and I absolutely loved them. Very witty and sexy.

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
Samantha’s first adult novel is full of sexy AND heart. She did a marvelous job.

7. What are some must haves when you sit down to write?

Well, I would normally say “Mello Yello” here, but I’ve recently gave it up in an attempt to be more healthy. Other than my caffeine fix, I need music. Lots of it. Played loudly.

8. If you became trapped as a character in a book or series, which would you choose and why? (Any book, any series, new or old)

Minerva McGonagall. Let’s face it, we all want to be Hogwart’s most kick-ass witch.

About the Author:
Tammy Blackwell, a YA librarian from Kentucky, is the author of the Amazon top-rated Timber Wolves trilogy. She once killed a man just to watch you cry.

Find Tammy:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

The final Timber Wolves novel:

Fate Succumbs

Having narrowly escaped an unjust death sentence, Scout Donovan is on the run. But the more she discovers about the Alpha Pack and herself, the more she realizes she can’t run forever. Destiny is propelling her towards an unavoidable battle. Can Scout survive, or will she finally succumb to fate?


The entire Timber Wolves trilogy signed by Tammy.

Rules for entry:
- Giveaway ends October 5, 2012 12AM EST.
- Leave a thoughtful comment and fill out the FORM below.  Entries in the comment section will not be counted.

Forgotten Fridays (31)

I invite and welcome anyone interested to post their own Forgotten Friday and join in the fun! I feature a book that I have read and have forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Some books might recent reads and some might be older reads, but I hope this helps these (sometimes forgotten) books earn a spot on your own TBR pile!

The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen
First Published: December 1996
Series: N/A

If fate suddenly made you more beautiful that you ever dreamed possible, would it be the beginning of a fairy tale, or your worst nightmare?

The brutal attack should have killed anybody, but Nell Calder did more than survive. She emerged a woman transformed, with an exquisite beauty found only in fairy tales. Nell Calder deserved a happy ending. Instead, her descent into terror has just begun.

Her attacker is still on the hunt, determined to finish what he's started. And Nell, protected by a new face, is just as determined to fight back and take her revenge. But to catch her prey, she will have to expose herself—even if it makes her a killer's prime target.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Faithful by Janet Fox

Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet's life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she's ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father's betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie's heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.

Faithful by Janet Fox was a wonderfully captivating story. For me, it seemed that the romance of Faithful was not within the relationship between Maggie and Tom, but instead the romantic vivid imagery given when describing Yellowstone Park. One character I had a really hard time liking was Maggie’s father; he constantly ignored his daughter unless her actions could harm his advancement in the future. I did enjoy Maggie as a character, although there were times that I found her to be rather whiny when it concerned her station in life. Although, for a girl her age, and during the early 1900’s, she honestly didn’t seem to know any better. For the most part I also really liked Tom, but at times it was hard to keep up with his mood swings, one instant he would be kind and the next he’d be sharp tongued with Maggie. But in the end, it was Maggie’s courage and Tom’s gift of understanding that brought them together. Maggie’s adventure is full of mystery, and leads her to find someone she never could have expected, as well as the determination to make her own decisions regarding her future and who she chooses to be a part of it.

Theme Thursday (72)

Theme Thursdays

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event hosted by Reading Between Pages that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:
  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursdays)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
    Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”
This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week’s theme is – RUN (jog, race, sprint, etc)

He took off in a dead run, hooking a right down an adjacent alley, heading for the main road.

Crimson Moon by J.A. Saare

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Book Boyfriend (85)

My Book Boyfriend is a weekly meme hosted by Missie of The Unread Reader and co-hosted by Lesley of My Keeper Shelf, in which we swoon over boys in books!
(I--as in me, Amy--don't like to use commercial photos, I like to use the authors' descriptions and my imagination.)

Tom Rowland
Book: Faithful by Janet Fox
Series: Faithful

A young man of eighteen, who dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist in the early 1900’s. His eyes are the color of the sea when it’s stormy, a peculiar changeable gray with a hint of green. He has blond hair with a stubborn lock that constantly falls across his forehead, a wonderful smile that will make your heart melt and he towers over nearly everyone in the room. His movements are athletic, yet graceful.  He doesn't are much for what society thinks, and believes that humans should leave nature alone.

That errant lock of hair fell across his forehead. “You’re right. I’m sorry.” He looked at his hands that worked the canvas bag he held, kneading it like dough. “I think we got off on the wrong foot here. Can I make it up to you? Maybe we can start over.” He pointed down the hill to the hotel. His clear sea-grey eyes met mine and my stomach flipped. “So, Miss Bennet, could I buy you an ice cream this evening after supper?”

He laughed and stopped walking. I felt a wash of relief and faced him and smiled. I liked the way he threw his head back and how his laugh sounded deep and genuine. Our eyes met and I could scarcely breathe from the joy of it.

He started to laugh. “Maggie, what are you trying to say?”

“I want to know. Am I a friend?” I asked. I looked up at him, at that impertinent lock of hair, at his smiling eyes. “A good friend? Like Kula?”

“More than that, I hope. More than good,” he said. He reached out to me and drew me to him. I looked up into his eyes, and he kissed me then, and it was like no kiss I’d ever felt. Deep and pure and filled with longing, as he pressed me to his chest.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Future Favorites (100)

Future Favorites is an awesome blog feature created by Alex over at Electrifying Reviews. I post about a book that is yet-to-be-released that I can't wait to read!

Falling to Ash by Karen Mahoney
Release Date: September 27, 2012 by Corgi Childrens

You can’t choose your family... living or dead.

Trapped between two very different worlds, newly made vampire Moth is struggling to find her place in either. Not only does she have to answer to her strict Irish-Catholic Dad, but her over-protective maker, Theo, is intent on making her the star attraction in his powerful Boston vampire clan. Moth will have to pull off the double-act of the century to please both of them...

Adding to her problems is the dangerously attractive Jason Murdoch, a trainee vampire hunter who loves to play cat and mouse in his spare time (Jace = cat; Moth = mouse). But when the teenagers of Boston’s wealthiest families start to disappear, it forces Moth and Jace into an uneasy truce. Will they be able to solve the mystery behind the disappearances—before someone winds up undead?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Willow Pond Blog Tour

What Inspired You To Write “Willow Pond?”

My road to becoming a published author was a long one. I couldn't have been more than nine years old when I wrote my first short story. Actually it was a collection of several stories each one probably no more than a page or so long. I made a little booklet and presented it to my father. He was very proud and made a big fuss and that made me happy. I don't remember what the stories were about, but I loved the look on his face when he read them.

It would be years before I even came close to achieving my goal. My teenage years were rough; my father died just before I turned thirteen and I became rebellious. My love of writing faded into the background. After graduating from high school I went to London with a friend. We lived there and made a feeble attempt to co-author a novel about a rock band. It was a disaster and we never discussed it again.

Back home I found myself floundering. I wanted to do something with my life, but what? One day I came across those stories I had written so many years ago. To my surprise my mother had saved them. My love of writing was renewed.

In college I decided I wanted to be a journalist and travel around the world investigating the biggest news stories. My main interest was investigating crimes especially when a child was involved. Those broke my heart.

For the subject of my freshman English research paper I chose the Lindbergh kidnapping. The case fascinated me and I sensed that the whole thing had been bungled from the beginning. I wanted to write a book about it, but it just never all came together.

I don't remember when the idea for Willow Pond began to form in my mind. One day it was just there. It was a difficult journey and the book went through many different versions and had many different titles none of which sounded right to me. Finally the title just came to me and it felt right.

I don't believe in ever giving up on your dreams. No matter how long it takes just keep pursuing it because I think if you believe in yourself your dreams can come true. Just keep working hard and never pay any attention to the naysayers who doubt you.

About the Author:

Carol Tibaldi was born and raised in Bayside, New York and attended Queens College of the City University of New York. She loves to travel and has lived in London and Los Angeles. For twenty-five years she worked as a newspaper reporter and covered the crime beat. She is a history buff and loves to research different time periods having a special affinity of the prohibition era and the Civil War. Willow Pond is her first novel and she is hard at work on the sequel.

Find Carol:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (119)

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Books I read last week:
Fate Succumbs by Tammy Blackwell
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi

The book I’m reading now:
Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet's life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she's ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father's betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie's heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.

Books that spark my interest this week:
Forgiven by Janet Fox
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Uncontrollable Launch Party!

Yay! Uncontrollable is out tomorrow!

Uncontrollable is the second book in "The Nature of Grace" series by S.R. Johannes. Untraceable, the first book in the series, has won and been nominated for several awards including Winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award (YA), 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (YA Nominee), and a finalist in The Kindle Book Review's "Best Indie Book of 2012 (YA)".

Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."

If you like a page turner, you will love this series!

Head over to Mundie Moms for a Big Uncontrollable Launch Party on Monday September 24th with tons of prizes and then over to SR Johannes blog for even more.

To continue on with the blog tour, check out the line up! Where SR talks about anything from marketing to writing to her books to personal interviews and giveaways.

Book Summary

As 16-year-old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program".

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants.

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.

Little does she know, she is being hunted too.

About the Author:

S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes.

After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.

Find S.R. Johannes:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Bookish Wants & Gots (21)

My Bookish Wants & Gots is a weekly Saturday feature at The Book Vixen. I list the books I want - which can be old, new, or upcoming releases - and the books I recently got.

Bad Hair Day by Carrie Harris
Senior year is positively hair-raising.

Kate Grable is geeked out to shadow the county medical examiner as part of her school’s pre-med program. Except when he’s arrested for murder, she’s left with the bodies. And when Kate’s brother Jonah stumbles upon a dead gamer girl, she realizes that the zombie epidemic she cured last fall was only the beginning of the weirdness taking over her town. Someone’s murdering kids—something really hairy. And strong. Possibly with claws.

Is it werewolf awesomeness like Jonah and his dorktastic friends think? Kate’s supposed to be a butt-kicking zombie killing genius...but if she can’t figure out who’s behind the freakish attacks, the victims—or what’s left of them—are going to keep piling up.

It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

Don’t Cry For Me by Sharon Sala
Mariah Conrad has come home. Badly wounded on active duty in Afghanistan and finally released stateside, she has no family to call on and nowhere to go—until Quinn Walker arrives at her bedside. Quinn…her brother-in-arms, ex-lover and now maybe her future.Quinn brings Mariah to his log cabin in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky to rest and recuperate both physically and emotionally. While she's incredibly grateful, Mariah is also confused and frustrated. She's always stood on her own two feet, but now even that can literally be torture. She's having flashbacks and blackouts, hearing helicopter noises in the night. She wants to push Quinn away—and hold him closer than ever.

But will she get the chance? Those helicopters are more than just post-traumatic stress; they're real—and dangerous. Bad things are happening on the mountain. Suddenly there's a battle to be fought on the home front, and no guarantee of survival.

Forgiven by Janet Fox
Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.