Monthly Archives: March 2012
I’m in the middle of changing some things this weekend. I will do a little bit here and there, as I get time. You may have already noticed the cool new social media icons in the right sidebar, and the new giveaway page I have added. I also plan on making a new header…who knows what else I will do while I’m in the mood. So bear with me while I’m working on things, and if you want to check out the new look, tell me what you think!
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Isabelle Scott is happily living with her grandmother in the town of Harborside, North Carolina. The town has a bad reputation, and her grandmother’s health is in decline, but she’s making it day by day with the help of her community. She can escape to the beach for her lifeguard job and time with her recently met surfer friend, Brayden.
Then Izzie gets a bombshell dropped on her: her grandmother is being admitted to a nursing home, and she must go to live with her long-lost uncle and his family in ritzy Emerald Cove. She will also be going to the exclusive private school, Emerald Prep, with her cousins Hayden and Mirabelle.
Of course not everyone in the family or in the school are too excited to have a newcomer from the wrong side of the tracks in their midst. Mirabelle is not happy to have a new girl unceremoniously dumped into her lap, and her best friend Savannah plots to take Izzie down. What will happen when Mira and Izzie discover the truth about their connection?
I read through this book rather quickly, mostly because I was in a hurry to get it over with. Almost every aspect of this book was something I had seen before in another movie or book. There was no mystery at all. I saw every event coming, even the “big twist”…because someone thought it was a good idea to include it in the blurb on the book’s back cover!!
Speaking of unoriginal ideas, I feel like the author was running out of names for characters while she was writing. The two girls’ names are Mirabelle and Isabelle, and I get that the book title is a play off of their names. But the main boys in the novel are named Hayden and Brayden, and there is also a Kellen. Come on.
I really thought Izzie would have stood up more for herself while she was being antagonized, but I was disappointed on that front as well. When we finally get to the end of the story, I just felt like no one really got what they deserved, and it left me unsatisfied.
I was able to review this book thanks to an ARC tour hosted by Southern Book Bloggers.
I’m so excited to be posting my first ever author interview today! I was contacted by the lovely Ms. Madison Louise about doing an interview, and I am so glad I’ve gotten to know her.
Pearl Underwood is just a normal OverShadower.
She’s the only girl OverShadower left, and it makes her role in her world even harder. But Pearl was fine with it, until…
Pearl knew what her future would be, the day she was born. But she didn’t know it would be so hard to go through with. She didn’t know she would fall in love, she didn’t know that her powers would almost disappear, and she didn’t know that her future would be with someone who’s cruel. And she didn’t know that she was more different than she thought she was. But Pearl can’t get away from her future, but she still wants to make a stand for herself. No matter what happens.
I nodded. Positive it wouldn’t happen. I knew what I had to do. I’ve known my whole life. From the moment I was born, I was told what I was going to do someday. I would help multiply the kin.
I was certain at that moment that I wouldn’t fall in love.
Lucky I didn’t swear, because I was so wrong.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m blonde, and very proud of it. (I find blonde jokes offensive. I love country music, and my friends make the world go around. I’m also homeschooled, but very social. (in case you were wondering.) I love to read, and I love my pet fishies.
2. What made you want to become a writer?
I love making up stories in my head, it was fun, and it thrilled me when I did. It also helped me go to sleep at night. XD. So I started to write, and I’m very proud to tell you I’ve written 14 novels, and working on more. (only Shadow Future is getting published, the others were just for fun.) And my friends really enjoy reading them, so it made if even more fun to write.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
Songs do, I listen to a song, and get a new idea right away. Other books do too, and just life in general. It has its ups and downs, which make great stories.
4. Tell us about Shadow Future.
Shadow Future is about a girl, and she’s an OverShadower, and they control the shadows and such. But Pearl, (that’s the girl) is the only female left in her kind, so it’s very important that she stays safe. And the OverShadowers have a lot of rules, so just having fun is something that Pearl can’t do. So the story is mostly about Pearl finding herself, getting what she’s always wanted: her freedom. Freedom to do what she wants. And along the way, she discovers some things about herself that either help her, or make things harder.
5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Fighting with yourself about what readers will want to read in your book. What they like, and what they don’t like. Thinking that you copied someone else’s work, but you really didn’t. But you’re still worried. And of course, getting writer’s block. (it’s the worst!)
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I need music, I need to listen to music to focus. Even if the song has NOTHING to do with the scene or plot, I still need it.
7. What are some of your favorite books?
My favorite book above all is, LEAVING FISHERS by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I also love mystery books, and romance books, thrillers. Or one with all of it in one.
8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Pearl Underwood is based off me in a kind of a weird way. She isn’t EXACTLY like me, but she’s the voice of the story, and some of the things that she’s feeling in the stories, I’ve felt those same things. A lot of characters are based off people I know, but not names. (I don’t want them to be offended if that one person is a bad etc…person. Some secondary characters are based right off my friends, but not main important characters. (they’re always asking if they’re books, so I thought I would please them. XD)
9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?
Well…I’m starting to plan for the future. I’m thinking about being a reporter for a newspaper, as a full time thing, and an author on the side. I’m also working on Shadow Future #2!
10. Why do you love writing?
I love it because, you can be anything you want, and no one can stop you. You can let loose and just be yourself.
Madison is so sweet, I loved working with her!! I’m not going to tell how old she is, but I will say I’m quite impressed by how much she’s managed to do at such a young age. I really admire her tenacity and ambition.
Shadow Future will be available for purchase April 11, 2012.
by Su Halfwerk
A Horror Story Collection
One-way ticket to Hell.
Bart is a greedy morgue attendant with money on his mind. He gets more than what he bargains for when he chances upon a pain-letter, one he must pass on or bear the consequences of his inaction.
Stan is a chiseler, a fake medium, preying on his unsuspecting clients’ earnings through bogus channeling sessions. When he meets mysterious Joanna Stark, he believes her promises of powers beyond his comprehension, powers blessed by the Netherworld.
Jenna gives up her old life and career to settle down as Troy’s loving wife. He is a God-fearing man who will consent only to marriage. Except fate maps a different ending to their love story, a conclusion that takes them both down and never up again.
Bart, Stan, and Jenna are destined to go on a long and abominable journey that sinks them below their expectations and forces them to endure pain and anguish beyond their worst nightmares.
On the paths leading to the depths of Hell, their sins don’t matter!
A scraping sound came from behind the small bar in the corner of the office; Stan swiveled his head in that direction. From the corner of his eye, he caught Jo’s mocking smile.
With legs as heavy as lead, Stan marched to the bar, hoping his tough front would veil the shiver buried deep in his being. At the bar, he placed both hands on the wooden counter and leaned over, and into the yawning blackness of his dead aunt’s eyes. “Aunt Maude?”
She was coiled on herself and slumped behind the bar, facing him, her ancient crêpe skin stretched with the pressure of her jutting bones. Through chattering blue lips, she pleaded, “Do her bidding, Stan. Do it or she won’t let me rest.”
The begging quality of her voice squeezed the life out of his heart. His proud, confident aunt was reduced to this creature? He backed away. “This is a trick. You’re playing with my mind.” He whirled around and faced Jo, who’d shifted around until she could peer down on the old woman as well.
“It’s no trick.” His aunt’s low whisper made him turn again to her, her anguish-inundated gray eyes fixed on Jo. “This witch is a necromancer as well.” Her gaze shifted to him. “Have mercy on me, Stan. Give her what she wants.”
Wetting his lips, Stan gazed down at the woman who’d raised him like her own son. He couldn’t do this to her. Of their own accord, his hands stretched to touch her, to ease her pain and worry. All of a sudden, she vanished. Just like that; one moment she was there, and the next he was staring at the small rectangular carpet.
“Do you believe me now?” Jo asked in a calm tone.
He gritted his teeth so that the pain in his gums would distract him from lashing out. “Why are you doing this?”
“I already explained that I need your services.” When he shook his head, she continued. “I can bring your family to you, one by one. You’ll see them in different stages of decomposition, none of them as pleasant or jubilant as you remember. I will mutate and twist your memories.” She paused. “Dead spirits are never happy when raised.”
No shit, he thought to himself. He returned to his desk and plopped on his chair. “What makes you think I have what it takes to resurrect you?”
“I was a witch long enough to know the necessary ingredients for a resurrection, and a powerful warlock or witch is essential to its success.”
“Why me?” He raised a hand. “And spare me the bullshit.”
She shrugged. “It boils down to two factors. One, you’re in the spiritual business, so you will think twice before asking any type of authority for help.” She winked at him. “Which, by the way, won’t work. Two, you are buyable. Your conscience is on a very long hiatus, it doesn’t twitch even when you hustle an old woman out of her only source of income, her husband’s pension.”
Stan rolled his eyes. “I’m getting a lecture from a dead witch about the morality of my actions.”
All of a sudden, Jo was in his face, glaring down at him. “You can be as sarcastic as you wish, Stan, but you’ll also get initiated as a powerful warlock to resurrect me. Your other option is endless suffering until you throw yourself off a balcony or in front of a speeding bus. And when you die, you will be in my dominion. Think about that.”
About the Author:
Su Halfwerk writes both horror and paranormal romance. From a tender age, the written word left a strong impression on Su. Later on, terrifying, blood chilling books became the object of her interest. Somehow, in her mind, the blossoming of romance in the midst of that mix was only natural.
Her style in horror combines shuddery terror with an element of surprise; some would even call it an enigmatic twist. However, in the world of paranormal romance, she transforms the desire to scare into a quest to seduce and tantalize.
Other books by Su Halfwerk:
· Seeker ~ Book 1 in the Unsettled Series (Paranormal Romance)
· His to Possess (Finalist in 2011 EPIC Awards in the Paranormal Romance category)
· Zuphreen (Horror/Urban Fantasy)
· Intricate Entanglement (Horror/Thriller)
The books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online outlets
When not writing, Su is designing book trailers for herself and other authors.
The author is giving away an eBook copy of Hellbound to one winner and a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate to another winner. Enter in the rafflecopter for a chance to win!
One city of 600,000 people.
One broken girl.
One mysterious boy.
One fateful night,
Two worlds collide.
Seattle, Washington. The sprawling, industrious city set in a blanket of pine. I have never known a day that wasn’t spent inside this concrete jungle. It’s my home, and for that I love it. But it’s also the setting for the tragedy called my life, and so I loathe it.
I live alone in a cold, empty studio apartment. The tiny square room closely resembles a cell. That’s my life: solitary confinement.
Here, in this desolate place that perfectly reflects my soul, my story begins.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Olivia, who is only 20 years old, feels she has already reached the lowest point in her life. So low, in fact, that she’s decided to end it. But luckily for her, she is not successful.
Her rescuer is Jude, an impossibly handsome neighbor who caught her just in time to get her to get her to the hospital and save her life. As Olivia struggles to overcome the physical and emotional fallout from what happened to her, she finds that Jude will become much more than her life saver.
But can Olivia, who has been left by everyone she’s ever loved and trusted in her life, open herself up to someone long enough to form a legitimate relationship? And can Jude let her know the truth about him, without breaking her trust all over again?
I can’t say too much in this review because I don’t want to give away the main plot points…you can discover those for yourself.
Olivia is an empty shell of a girl who has already been through so much in her short life. It saddens me so much to know that there are so many people in the world who get to the point where they think their life is so horrible that they have to take it. This book was an eye-opener in terms of suicide and learning to deal with extreme situations, and losing hope.
I’m glad Olivia grew throughout the novel, but I hope it was not only for the sole reason that she was with Jude.
Jude is the quintessential perfect guy of course–model handsome, polite, not pushy when it comes to sex, sensitive enough to talk about emotions. I wish I could have seen a little bit more from him–but I know that would have been difficult, given what he is.
I was wondering why the setting was Seattle–I guess I felt it could have been anywhere. But the more I think about it, I have to guess that the somber mood and constantly unpleasant weather may have had an affect on Olivia–it was just another ugly thing that she couldn’t control.
I liked the author’s writing style, but I feel like some of the book was just filler. I think it could have been at least 50 pages shorter. Nonetheless, it did give some things to think about, and I always appreciate when a book can do that for me.
About the Author:
I always knew I wanted to be a writer, ever since Career Day in first grade when I walked around carrying a notebook and pencil. Twenty-some odd years later, after a short stint in high school where I dreamed of being an actress, a whirlwind Internet romance including a blind proposal that led to a fairytale wedding and two pretty-near perfect kids, my lifelong dream came to fruition with my first novel, Emerald City. I live with my small brood in my beloved hometown of Pasco, which is located in the only part of Washington state that isn’t green. When I’m not writing, I can be found decorating novelty cakes and taking naps–my other two passions.
Be sure to click on the tour banner at the top of the post to see all the Cedar Fort Tour Stops!
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I was able to review this book thanks to an ARC tour hosted by Southern Book Bloggers.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Haven Terra is just a typical high school girl until she, along with her best friend Dante and classmate Lance, get pulled into a special internship which will last an entire semester. They are thrust into the beautiful, mysterious world of the Lexington Hotel, where every person there seems unbelievably perfect…and it’s not long until Haven finds out why.
When she begins getting strange messages in a blank diary, she also learns that there is much more to her than she ever imagined. And it will be up to her and her friends to combat the evil that is going on behind closed doors.
My first thought upon finishing this book…WHEW, I’m glad I finished reading this! It was a looooong 532 pages. My first thought when I started this book…Haven Terra is a ridiculous name. And I still stand by that. LOL.
For me, this book’s most important parts didn’t really kick in until about halfway through. But once they did, I was hooked. The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my FAVORITE books, so I was very excited that Illuminate did a unique and interesting take on it. The idea of it taking place in an opulent, historical hotel was just icing on the cake.
Despite her dumb name, I really came to like Haven. She grew quite a lot throughout the course of the book, and became strong and respectable towards the end. The same for Lance, he was a great character and he stayed as such for the entire book. The only thing I really had a problem with was Dante (and this is the same problem my fellow reviewers seemed to have). Just because he’s gay doesn’t mean he has to be such a caricature of a gay person…not only flamboyant, but an expert chef, stylist, and hairdresser? It was a bit hard to swallow.
Aurelia and even Lucian were slimy, creepy villains that were easy to hate. The fact that the Devil, AKA The Prince of Darkness, was actually being called “The Prince” kinda made me LOL.
I had many questions while I was reading this book, but towards the end, most of them got answered. The only other things I had issues with were: 1) Haven unquestioningly begins taking orders from the random book, which is super demanding and not at all polite in its’ messages; and 2) It was just a little too convenient that the tunnel and peephole to Aurelia’s office could be accessed from Haven’s room. To me it seemed like maybe Aurelia should have known about that? IDK.
Anyway, this book earned between 3.5 and 4 stars from me, so I rounded up. Here’s hoping the next book will be quite a bit shorter…because I’m quite looking forward to it.
I love books with kick butt characters…some of my faves are Rose from Vampire Academy, and Violet from Embrace.
I am giving away an ebook copy of Every Other Day, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She’s human.
And then every day in between . . .She’s something else entirely.
Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.
When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.
Kali sounds like she really can kick some butt!!
Also, don’t forget about my HUNGER GAMES GIVEAWAY, which ends tomorrow!
Click on the button at the top of the page to continue hopping
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Seventeen year old Alexis can hear what other people are thinking. She’s not sure why, and the only person who knows her secret is her sister and best friend, Brooke. She has also recently met a new guy at her school–the only person whose thoughts she can’t hear at all.
One day she starts hearing someone’s very disturbing thoughts. Murderous thoughts. As if it’s not bad enough knowing someone has been murdered but having no way to explain HOW you know, she also learns that the killer has a special connection to her new guy–and it’s up to both of them to find a way to stop him from killing again.
This was a short book, so I’ll keep my review brief. I thought Alexis was a semi-interesting character, right up until I met my old pet peeve–insta-love. I know the book was short but I wish the relationship between Alex and Chance would have developed a bit more. She’s instantly in love and he’s been in love with her for years, for reasons I’m still not quite sure of.
The most interesting character in the book was also the most stereotypical one, and I was a bit disappointed by that. Summer is a cool, powerful with–and OF COURSE she dresses in all black, with goth girl makeup and fishnets with boots. Eh.
There was a lot going on in this plot that I sometimes couldn’t follow, and I still don’t think I really had all my questions answered by the end of the book. I wasn’t very invested in the characters, and although this was a short book, it took me a while to finish it because I wasn’t that into it. Overall, the whole book just left me with a “take it or leave it” kind of feeling.
Today I am featuring a guest post from Taryn Browning, author of the new novel Whispering Hills. I asked Ms. Browning to write about communicating with the dead.
Communicating with the Dead
Personally, I’ve never communicated with the dead, but I suspect it would be pretty creepy. Alexis feels the same way when she suddenly hears the intentions of a killer – only at first she has no idea the murderer is actually…dead.
For as long as she can remember, Alexis has been able to hear the decisions people make. Not all the decisions are pretty, but hearing someone’s plans to abduct and murder a teenage girl from her high school sends her on a quest to find the truth. Only she can’t tell anyone what she knows. No one would believe her. Alexis soon learns she has a connection to the ghost who has returned to her quiet suburban town of Whispering Hills, Virginia.
As Alexis discovers, there’s nothing worse than hearing the thoughts of a ghost who wants you dead.
For as long as she can remember, seventeen-year-old Alexis Forbes can hear the thoughts of others. Most recently, she is disturbed by the dark, unfamiliar voice of a frightening killer: callous, cunning, charismatic…and dead. She hears his every sinister thought. But she can’t tell anyone. No one would believe her. Alexis is suddenly being haunted by a terrifying past she doesn’t remember, and a ghost with a serious score to settle. Even Chance, the gorgeous new guy she’s falling for, has his own ghostly secret. He’s definitely not like any guy she’s ever met. Alexis soon discovers she has a connection to the dead and it runs much deeper than she could ever imagine. And if the sociopathic entity has his way, she’ll finally be sentenced to the fate she escaped thirteen years ago.
And an excerpt:
“I’m going to kill her.”
Dread shot through my veins. I lost my balance. My back slammed into my locker. The cool metal stung my bare shoulders and the grated slats dug into the exposed skin above my fitted tank. I gasped, dropping my notebook onto the waxy linoleum floor. The plastic binding bounced and settled to the ground with a hollow slap!
My heartbeat thudded in my ears. Clutching my sweater, I squeezed the soft thin cotton until my nails punctured my palm.
Someone rushed by, snapping my focus up. His heavy footfalls pounded my chest with fast hard blows. The boy slung his backpack over one shoulder and skidded past a teacher through an open classroom door. A girl laughed. Still frozen in place, my eyes shifted. She giggled once more and slid out of her boyfriend’s embrace.
I stood, paralyzed, pressed firmly against my locker. That unfamiliar voice, those words, the thought— “I’m going to kill her”—held me captive.
Life at Whispering Hills High went on around me.
About the Author:
Taryn Browning writes young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels. Her debut novel, DARK SEEKER, is available on Amazon and B&N. The sequel, DARK RETURN, comes out in late, 2012.
Taryn graduated with a BS in Education from Towson University and went on to earn a MS in Reading from Hood College. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two young sons and their dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, music, movies, and the beach. Visit her at www.tarynbrowning.com, on twitter and facebook.