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Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: WITHER by Lauren DeStefano

This dystopian read by debut YA novelist Lauren DeStafano is actually the first dystopian novel I've ever read. I know, I can hear the collective gasps. But I didn't read The Hunger Games trilogy. I haven't picked up my copy of Matched yet. But something about this novel called to me. So when a won a copy of the book from a fellow blogger, it went straight to the top of my TBR pile.

That was a wise decision, if I do say so myself.  Here's the goodread's description:

What if you knew exactly when you would die? 

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. 

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home. 

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Some of my favorite things:

* The beginning chapter will grab you and pull you right in. Don't think you can just skim the first chapter and come back later. It doesn't work like that.

*  The female characters in particular are extremely well-developed. Rhine, Jenna and Cecily are all distinct, with their own quirks, strengths and weaknesses.

* The first person, present tense voice was extremely well done. It gave such a sense of urgency to the words. And since it's narrated in the present, the reader has no idea if Rhine is going to pull through or not. It was perfectly suspenseful.

*  The novel, while the first in a series, easily stands alone. The ending leaves loads of room for the next book but has such a satisfying end, I'm not going to be pulling my hair out between now and the release of book #2. Sometimes that's almost more motivation to read it...

* The author shows us both sides to some of the main support characters. I love how DeStefano fleshes out the motivations and human frailties. In the end -- well, I don't want to post any spoilers. Let's just say I felt sorry for someone by the end of the story than I didn't go into it thinking I would pity.  Put it that way.

Unsure about:

* And this is where my dystopian virginity is going to show... for the most part, I found the near-future world very well conceived. The visuals are crystal clear and intriguing. But a few things bothered me. Why people die at a certain age.  It's a little convenient, although it does make for an interesting premise! And then there was the weather. Here we are in the future, with enough technology to create genetically perfect individuals, but we can no longer predict hurricanes. So that bothered me. Hurricanes showing up out of the blue and long, snowy winters in Florida. My poor little brain can't wrap around those things.
Okay, you say, that's all you can find to nit-pick about? Pretty much. I give Wither four out of four Greek coins -- a OMG! rating.  If you have any interest in dystopian futures, character-driven plots, or just really good story telling, I'd urge you to give it a read.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thankful for Thursday: Series

Today's meme writing prompt is series. What book series are you thankful for having read?
My go-to answer to this question always seems to be Twilight. It was popular when I'd just started writing YA and it really motivated me to try to create three-dimension characters that would have appeal across a large readership. But since I've used that answer a few dozen times now, I wanted to dig a little deeper.

Ok, a lot deeper.  We're talking all the way back to elementary school here.  Remember those identical blonde twins with diametrically opposed personalities, Jessica & Elizabeth Wakrefield?  Oh yeah, I'm talking Sweet Valley High!
I'm thankful for this series because it's the first one I can remember voraciously reading. I loved these books. I loved Elizabeth and her smart brain and classy dress. I can distinctly remember (and this would be fifth grade), looking at one of the illustrations of Elizabeth on a cover and thinking, "Now that's how I want to look when I'm a teen."  Her look was classic and timeless and I wanted to be the nice, smart girl, like she was.

Now, I have no idea if those thoughts carried through with me into my own high school years. I like to think I may have been classic, but I do seem to recall cutoff denim shorts, so I'm not sure I achieved that goal.  Anyway, my point is that this series got me really drooling over books. And while I may have read as much throughout some years, that love of consuming books has never gone away.

What about you? Do you remember the first series that got you hooked? (Don't forget to drop into the Oasis to link to the meme with you own TT post.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rebecca Ryals Russell Blog Tour & Interview

I'm honored to be participating in Rebecca Ryals Russell's Blog Tour for her debut release: Odessa - The Serapym Wars.  The YA fantasy was released April 1st from Muse It Up Publishing.  Here's a description of the story:

Myrna Watts, 17 years old, struggles with the inner demons for an attack at age 15 by men with 'glowing red eyes.'  Now, two years later, she finds herself mysteriously transported to a frightening foreign planet ruled by demon-dragons.  

The some cute but too-sweet young man tells her she's there to fulfill her destiny which was written in some Prophecy millions of years ago?  Yeah, right. 

Rebecca was kind enough to answer some questions both for readers and for writers.
For readers/adoring fans --
Describe Myrna’s personality.  What makes her different from other main characters?
Myrna is a high school senior. She’s shallow and pedantic; has an in-crowd group she hangs with who teases others who are slightly different/unusual or just have the bad luck to come from situations they have no control over. She skips school to go shopping at the mall. Her dad, who owns the largest advertising agency in Jacksonville, Fl, gives her a brand new Tesla car for her seventeenth birthday. She takes it for granted. And her English Professor mother has her registered at the university already, even though she doesn’t want to attend college at all. But she plans to go just to keep peace, and the money coming in.
But she also struggles with inner demons from an attack by three red-eyed boys when she was fifteen; and then a vision of those same boys murdering her favorite brother, the one who saved her two years ago.
Then she wakes one morning to discover she must fulfill a prophecy on the demon home world of Dracwald. Throughout this discovery, the quest and training, she changes and realizes what a poor excuse for a human she was. She eventually takes on the quest as leader of the Vigorios (seven teenaged demon hunters) and becomes quite skillful with the sword--but only after many stumbling errors in judgment and a lot of self-doubt.
She also has to deal with the attack from two years ago when three guys raise those scars to the surface of her heart, eventually forcing her to choose between them.
What's something that readers would be surprised to know about Myrna (that doesn't give any plot points away)?  I mean, does she bite her nails, gag on broccoli, secretly read US Weekly when she's on Earth?
As badass as Myrna thought she was in high school, she’s still a virgin and very uncertain of herself around men. Placed into this strange, dangerous situation on Dracwald, all affectation falls away and she realizes how simple and vulnerable she really is. For the first time in her life she sees that she must depend on others for help. She has a really irritating habit of saying “Mother o’ pearl” about everything, too.
The idea of demon-dragons is really cool.  Was there anything in particular that inspired this idea?
Actually, the idea came from the statement in Revelations, in the Bible, about Satan being a dragon and God leaving him in that form. I took that a step further. I imagined Satan (whom I call Narciss) and all of the angels who follow him and are then cast out of Heaven (Asgard) remaining in their dragon forms as a means of punishment. Laud (God) tells them that in order to return to Asgard and their old forms, they must be repent and accept him as Holy Leader. They refuse and become completely evil, corrupting the planet of Dracwald with their evil—it spreads throughout the waters and soil, poisoning the inhabitants and creating monsters.
For writers who are interested in your path to publication --
Tell us what drew you to MuseItUp publishing.  You've got several more books coming out with them, they must be great to work with, yes?
My first contact with MuseItUp Publishing came in a chat with Lea and her editors, cover artist and current authors at the time. This was a few months into the beginning of the company. I was impressed with the family atmosphere and attitudes. I wanted badly to become part of that family. Since joining them last July, I have been pleased to notice this family feeling continues even as the company grows in size. We are now over 100 authors and adding more weekly. Yet Lea continues to share everything with us—discussions are held constantly in our author’s loop, about how to improve the eBook industry and make MuseItUp the best eBook publisher out there.
I currently have seven contracts with Muse, through mid 2012, and am working on several more manuscripts in the Seraphym Wars and Stardust Warriors series. My website has all of the covers I’ve created for each book contracted, excerpts, release dates and more.
How much input, if any, did you have into your cover art?
We have an awesome cover artist and Lea recently hired another one. For the Odessa cover, I designed and used one of my own while waiting for the official cover. My oldest daughter was the model (and actually is the concept for Myrna as well, with some of my other daughter mixed in). I loved the way my cover turned out, so I showed this to Delilah who took the idea and ran with it, coming up with her version. We tweaked a little here and there, added the sword through the word Odessa and such, and wa-la! Gorgeous cover! I love it.
I have one for Zarena, the next book due out in July for the MG Stardust Warriors Series. I really like it and hope the official one looks similar to it.
What's been the most fun thing you've done since Odessa launched on April 1st?
I had my first speaking engagement at the Naples Press Club Writer’s Conference April 9-10. Sandy Lender asked me to speak on Writing for YA. I chose to do a presentation comparing writing for Middle Grades vs Young Adults. I was so nervous. I made my first power point presentation, which my advertising hubby said was wonderful, especially for a first; and spoke for nearly an hour. The computer glitched and I didn’t make it through my whole presentation, but the audience said I was good. I got to spend the weekend with my hubby in a gorgeous hotel, eat out all the time and I bought a beautiful linen skirt set, so that made up for any problems, right?

Thanks to Rebecca for stopping by for an interview and allowing me to participate in her blog tour.  For more information on Rebecca and her novels, check out her website.  To read an excerpt and get a longer book description of Odessa, head to Muse It Up Publishing.  Finally, you can buy Odessa anywhere ebooks are sold.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy YA Debut Book Birthdays

It's Tuesday, so you know what that means -- happy debut book birthday day!! (Sorry I went AWOL last week - the stomach bug kept me from doing anything productive or otherwise.)  Remember, while there are plenty of other YA titles making their debuts today, these are titles by those authors who have never before seen their name in print. Exciting, huh?  Let's show them some support.

Blood Magic (The Blood Journals #1) by Tessa Gratton
(Click on links for full Goodreads summary.)  Brother and sister duo out to unravel the mystery of their parents' apparent murder-suicide while exploring the hidden world of blood magic.

Juniper Berry by M. P. Kozlowski
M.P. Kozlowsky's debut novel is a modern-day fairy tale of terror, temptation, and ways in which it is our choices that make us who we are.

Future Imperfect by K. Ryer Breese
A boy addicted to the high of seeing the future must kick the habit and try to break the main rule of Diviners -- don't try to change the future -- to save a friend of a girl he loves.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review & Book Birthday Party: The Goddess Test

Due to a stomach bug from hell yesterday, I didn't have time to do my usual debut YA book birthday party. I did, however, finish Aimee Carter's debut YA novel - The Goddess Test - on Sunday night.  So to celebrate her book birthday TODAY, I figured I'd post my review.  (I received by copy via NetGalley and the publisher, which in no way influenced this review.)  From Goodreads:

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

For those of you who know what a Greek mythology junkie I am, you now understand why I couldn't wait to get my hands on this novel.  The writing is absolutely amazing and I was instantly sucked in.  This was an incredibly fresh take on the classic myths and you'll undoubtedly look at Hades in a new light after reading this book.  His character was heartbroken and lonely, without any hint of malice or evil that we often find being used to describe Hades.

There were a few points toward the end that bugged me, but I can't get into it without including some major spoilers.  The only thing I'll say with specificity is that Kate's internal monologue tends to bog the story down after awhile.  She takes on so much pressure for everyone else's happiness and she broods about it a lot. 
Overall, I would recommend this book.  The characters are well-developed and each is distinct.  Like I said, the writing is lovely.  And the settings are described with vivid and rich details.  I give this novel 3.5 out of 4 Greek coins.  Go forth and get yourself a copy & wish Aimee a happy book birthday!

And after you've read it, please stop by and tell me what you thought.  i'm happy to talk "spoilers" with those of you who've already read it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review: SOMETHING WICKED by Renee Harrell

Today, I'm going to tell you about a book that 99-100% of you have not heard of yet.  Guaranteed.  Isn't that fun?

I was approached by the authors, Renee and Harrell Turner, who write under the not-so-secret pen name Renee Harrell (and not surprisingly liked my last name!), to review their YA novel, Something Wicked.  I loved the title and the premise, so I agreed to do the review. 

Here's the blurb:

After a nasty break-up with her boyfriend, high school student Ann Lippens is invited to go to the town's new night club, Whispers. At the club, she finds herself in the arms of the mysterious and handsome Cody Rhodes. When she rejects Cody's advances, the musician turns his attention to Ann's best friend, Kim. Kim couldn't be happier.

Within days, Kim is changing her appearance and behavior to please her new boyfriend. Ann investigates the singer only to discover that Cody is the very image of a long-dead rock star named Bobby Winters. Winters and his band had a dark and troubled history until their fiery demise. Bobby's string of girlfriends all died early, suspicious deaths.

Discovering the secret timetable for Kim's murder, Ann realizes she's the only one who can stop it. But it's not Kim that Cody truly wants....

While this novel is self-published, you won't find typos and other annoying editorial hiccups in this book.  The authors have written novels before, and had this book edited several times by a small press.  The writing was easy to get into and I read almost 100 pages in my first sitting.

The main character, Ann, is likelable and has a lot in common with many teens.  She's not a genious, she's not the most popular girl in school, but she's not an outcast, she comes from a relatively normal, middle class family (minus the deceased mom), and she has one really close best friend.  Without being preachy, teens and pre-teens can easily learn from Ann's example of rejecting the sexual advances of her boyfriend even if it means losing him.  And they will learn from Kim that you should never change who you are for a boy.  If they don't like you for you, they're not worth it. Again, this is just part of the story, it didn't feel preachy at all to me.

This novel is written for a younger audience than I would normally read for (12-14), so some of the clues to the mystery about Bobby Winters I found to be a bit obvious.  Putting that aside, I think this is a good middle ground book for girls looking to "read up" into the romance/mystery genre and who have moved past the traditional middle grade novel.  While there was some romance (and clearly, Ann's ex wanted "more"), all we see are some rather chaste kisses.  And yes -- some people die (I'm not telling you who), but there's nothing particuarly graphic about it.

Overall, this wasn't the type of book I am swooning over (i.e., there's not much romance so not much cross-over appeal), but if you're looking for a mystery that your tween/younger teen can read without her pulse pounding through the ceiling in a way that makes fathers reach for their shot guns, this is a good option.

If you'd like to read Something Wicked, the book is now available in e-format on Smashwords or Amazon for only $2.99.  You can also learn more about Renee and Hal, a/k/a Renee Harrell, on their website.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flashback Friday: Remember when CDs were the new thing?

Don't know why I revel in dating myself... but today, let's talk music old skool style - tapes and CDs.  When I was in high school - oh so many years ago - I had a stereo on the back of my bed.  The bottom layer was a CD player, in the middle it had dual tape decks, and on top was a turn table.  I could rock out in three different ways.

CDs were sort of the new thing at the time. Most of us were still coming off the days when we popped a tape into the deck and pushed play as soon as our favorite song came on the radio. Of course, we missed the start, had a DJ talking over parts of it, and probably had another song blending in at the end.  But hey - with a little rewinding and no precision whatsoever, we could listen to our favorite tunes again and again.  Pretty high tech, no?

So then come CDs. And the machines won't eat them like they do tapes (awesome!) but you can't record your pirated radio music on them (boo!), so we're still working in dual formats.  In fact, I remember the first CD player I ever had in my car.  It was a portable, walkman-type number that mounted on the dash. The power cord plugged into the cigarette lighter and to get sound, you slipped a cord-connected tape into your tape player so you could use the car speakers.  You could only listen to the 1 artist/band whose CD was in the player.  Meaning (especially on road trips), you listened to all the songs whether you liked them or not.  Of course, with CDs came the ability to quickly skip and repeat songs, so that was a bonus.

Just writing all this makes me feel like a dinosaur! Heck, I wouldn't know what do without iTunes now. Forget CDs; if it's not on my iPhone, I don't need it or want it. But I guess there's still one thing I have in common with today's teens: a love of music. It doesn't matter what the format, teens love listening to music -- the louder, the better.  Hopefully, that's something I'll never be old to relate to.

And for a parting thought... my husband told me he saw a commercial the other day that asked: Now that grunge rock is 20 years old, is it considered "oldies"?  I'm now going to run away screaming and pretend like I never heard that.  Pass the Nirvana.  Who's with me?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thankful Thursday: An Amusing Story

This showing of gratitude amused me.

Last Saturday, my kids had it pretty good.  First, we took them to see Disney on Ice.  Then, when we stopped for gas, I bought them Oreo ice cream bars.  Then we went shopping and they got a soccer ball, a basketball, shin guards, a mouth guard, and some new clothes.  They were pretty happy campers all around.  (Can anyone say spoiled?)

Anyway, when I was bringing the 5 year old water at bedtime, she said: "Thank you, Mommy, for the Oreo ice cream."

Out of everything she could have been thankful for that day, she remembered the smallest, least expensive thing I'd gotten her.  Just goes to show you -- it's the little details that count sometimes!

Does this ever happen to you?

P.S.  Be sure to check out the Oasis for YA post and join in the thankfulness meme celebration.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy YA Debut Book Birthday

Let's wish a very happy book birthday to these debut YA authors!!  (Titles link to their page)

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (dystopian)

Insight by Diana Greenwood (contemporary paranormal)

The End of the Line by Angela Cerrito (4/14 - boy POV)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful for Thursday: Art & Sight

Every day, I'm super-thankful that I have my eyesight (contact-corrected and all), so that I can enjoy the art around me.  Some days the art comes from nature - a watercolor painted sky dripping in colors that are almost unreal; a storm so strong that it bends even the thickest bamboo flat against the earth and rips jagged tears in the gray cotton sky before rattling my chest with a sound-breaking boom.
Other days, the art comes from my children.  I love when I get pictures of me surrounded by hearts - a visual indication of how much they actually appreciate me even when their actions might indicate otherwise.

And still other days, I love to appreciate the art created by others. is one of my favorite websites just to browse.  The range of talent there is amazing and often inspiring.  Sometimes I think I could craft entire scenes in a novel from just one picture.  Like this one by HorrorxXxGirl:
What sights are you most grateful for?  Do you have any other websites that you like to just browse for quiet inspiration?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: FALLING UNDER by Gwen Hayes

Hello debut novelist!  (And let me just bow down to this cover for a moment.)

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams. 

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. 

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

Hayes has created a paranormal world that's amazingly different from anything I've read before.  While it's become somewhat cliche to use dreams too much in books, Hayes does it really well.  When I started the book, I thought it was going to be like "Meet Joe Black" for YA.  I mean, come on, his name is Haden Black and there's a lot of too-good-to-be-true about him.  But the more I read, the more I realized it was more like a romance plunged into the world of "A Nightmare Before Christmas."  Believe me when I tell you this is a good thing.  :)

Some things about the characters bothered me a little bit - Theia was too sheltered, one of her smart friends was too in love with a guy who barely had a heartbeat, and the other friend was too bitchy (especially to her boy friend, who seemed to really like her anyway).  Oh yeah, and we had another dead mom.

But other than these minor gripes, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The chemistry between Theia and Haden is smoking hot.  There's this one scene where they're trying so hard not to touch each other (without much success) that I practically felt like I was smoldering myself.

It's really hard to tell you much more without giving away some plot twists.  Just be prepared to fall down the proverbial rabbit hole along with the characters and wonder if Hayes majored in tragic irony.  I loved the ending and truly am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book in the sequel.  
Overall, I give this stunning debut novel 4 Greek coins -- and OMG! rating.  If you love your stories dark but your romances flaming hot, you'll want to check out this book.  You might also be interested in some of Hayes' short stories -- which you can learn more about on her webpage.  There, you can also read an excerpt from FALLING UNDER and watch the trailer.  Hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Debut YA Book Birthday

Wow - hard to believe we've moved along into April already.  As you may know, I'm taking part in the YA Debut Author challenge -- in which participants try to read at least 12 YA novels by debut authors during 2011 -- and I'm happy to report that I'm up to five already!

Today we celebrate another book birthday with quite a few debut YA novels hitting the shelves today.  Check out these new titles (for more info, the titles are linked to the corresponding Goodreads page).

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

The Year We Were Famous by Carole Etsby Dagg

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

 And belated birthday wishes go out to:

This Girl is Different by J. J. Johnson, which was "born" on April Fools Day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins

Last week, I gave you my review of HEX HALL, the first in the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins.  This week, I present you with DEMON GLASS, the highly anticipated sequel (only I didn't have to "anticipate" since I was late reading the first book.  Sometimes that can work in your favor...)

If you missed that review, click here.  And yeah, it contains lots of gushing and me wishing I'd been brilliant enough to write this book.
Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. 

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. 

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers. 

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?


* We get lots more of Sophie's fresh, sarcastic voice.  And it's cool that Sophie realizes her sarcasm isn't always appropriate, but decides when and how to use it -- like a tool, sometimes a weapon, and often a shield.

*  We get to see Sophie's strong and vulnerable sides.  I really like that she's a character who isn't kick-butt all the time, but can rise to the occasion if someone she cares about is in danger.

*  As with the last book, the writing is unobtrusive and easily drew me into the story.

*  The plot (although not quite as strong as in the first book IMHO) was still a page-turner and kept me up reading way too late.


*  The book didn't have that same stand-alone ending as the first one.  It's definitely got a cliffhanger that means you've GOT to read the next book in the series.

*  Hawkins creates a love triangle (and yes, I was glad to see Archer back in the picture), but the good guy was too passive and so Sophie didn't know about his feelings for the entire book basically.  In some ways it was refreshing not to have a classic battle of two guys duking it out over the girl, but in some ways, I wish Sophie hadn't been so blind either.

*  I didn't love the new demon characters. I know -- they're demons -- they're not supposed to be all warm and fuzzy.  But whereas in the first book, you could love to hate the mean girls, the demons here just rubbed me the wrong way.  Maybe that was the whole point...


*  Again, there was nothing I affirmatively didn't like.  This is an excellent read!
Overall, I give DEMON GLASS 3.5 out of 4 Greek coins.  If you loved HEX HALL, there's absolutely no reason not to pick up this book as well.  It's a solid sequel that does much more than act as a mere bridge between books 1 and 3.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Before I get down to announcing the Fool For Books Give Away Hop contest winner (who will be receiving copies of Joy Preble's YA novels Dreaming Anastasia and Haunted), I wanted to say two things.

First:  To those of you who are new here, WELCOME!  I know a good number of you only joined so you'd have a chance of winning some fabulous prizes, but I hope you'll keep coming back.  I've got a deep & abiding love of YA novels -- particularly those in the paranormal romance genre -- and I love sharing great books with you.

Second:  I found this really fascinating.  Over 100 people entered to win these books.  The entrants represent 31 of the 50 states and cover all points of the continental U.S.  From Maine to Florida, over to Texas and then California, and up to Washington, with a good representation of the "heartland" in between.  These contests show the diversity of folks we can reach through our blogs and also the number of cyber-friends we can make.  Truly, we live in a remarkable age.  Ten years ago, we'd be limited to finding like-minded individuals locally, perhaps in a book club.  Today, our club is the world. Isn't that amazing??

Okay, enough blabbering, now on to the WINNER!  Congratulations to Megan in Ohio.  I've sent her an e-mail and she can expect her books to go out in Monday's mail.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Birthday

It's not an April Fools Day prank (and I know, it's not Tuesday).  But I wanted to extend a very happy book birthday to debut YA novelist Rebecca Ryals Russell (fellow member of YALitChat and a Floridian) for her title - Odessa, the first in the Seraphym Wars series.  If you're a fan of high fantasy, you'll be sure to want to check this one out.

Myrna Ashlin Watts graduated from High School in Jacksonville, Fl just in time to find herself transported to a bizarre and primal planet corrupted by demon-dragons. And they want her DEAD. Her problem is she has been recruited to kill them, too.
18-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, struggling with inner demons resulting from a rape two years earlier, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s recent murder as well as many other atrocities in the news. She meets Michael, who becomes her guide and explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island.
Reluctantly, and knowing it is her only way to get back home, she agrees to lead, battling dragons and monsters while crossing swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She wrangles with the old inner demons when three very different men join her quest—a seasoned demon/dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil?
Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?
The novel is available in e-book format from Muse It Up Publishing for $5.95.

Fool for Books Giveaway Hop

Hi!  If you're new here, welcome.  If you're a regular, welcome back.  Today, I'll be participating in the Fool for Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Bookish Snob.

So, you probably want to know what you can win, right?  One winner will receive paperback copies of BOTH Dreaming Anastasia and Haunted by Joy Preble.

*  You must be a follower of this blog to win.
*  You must live in the US (sorry - International shipping is just too high)
*  Fill out the form below before midnight EST on April 2, 2011
*  One (1) winner will be selected using

And don't forget to visit the 230+ other blogs all giving away book-related prizes in the next two days!