Category Archives: book tour

BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Destroyed by Krys Fenner

 Destroyed

by Krys Fenner

YA Thriller

Book Description

Bella has lived a rather boring life, but that all quickly changes. A new position in school forces her to take charge. A new boyfriend (her first), Jeremiah, hands her a confidence she has never known before. A new role in her church’s Fall Production makes her a leader. But that all gets destroyed when an attack by her father’s enemy turns her into the center of attention. Bella believes things couldn’t get worse, but they do. Can she survive the road of destruction and emerge stronger? Or has all that she gained been destroyed forever?

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Using Psychology in Writing

by Krys Fenner

There are two ways to use psychology in writing. One gets very technical, while the other is more descriptive and action-oriented. There are two questions I would ask. Whose perspective is the story being told? And who is your audience? Once those are answered, then you’ll know how much terminology should be included in the manuscript.

Theoretically a work of non-fiction directed at a psychology student, psychologists, psychiatrist, or any counselor will be filled with more terminology than say a work of fiction intended for a young adult (12-18), new adult (18-25), or adult (25+) audience. Pieces of fiction are more likely to be action-based than using terminology. However, this again depends on the point of view character and your audience.

If the novel is written from the perspective of a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist then the use of technical terms is highly probable. But if the book is written from a character suffering a particular psychosis, the character isn’t going to think “I have an adjustment disorder with a depressed mood.” Instead, actions and words of that character will display the psychological issue. If I was an author writing this character, then I would take into consideration how to demonstrate their problem.

Let’s say Jane has just gotten divorced. To describe an adjustment disorder with depression, I would reference her problems sleeping or lack of appetite. I would write about Jane’s refusal to spend time with friends. Or how she misses time from work. I could show her crying a lot or getting frequent headaches. All of these things would be symptoms of the psychological issue without verbally giving it a name. So, what if the point of view were changed?

With all that is going on, Jane recognizes she has a problem and decides to go see a psychologist. The doctor Jane chooses consults with another psychologist in their practice. We’ll call Jane’s psychologist, Dr. Tracy. If I were writing the scene from Dr. Tracy’s point of view, then I am more likely going to use technical terms, especially if she is speaking to a colleague. However, as a writer I will take into consideration my audience. Who am I writing the story for? Do I expect people who read the novel to understand these terms? If not, I have two options: define the terms in the book or dumb the terminology down.

It isn’t hard to write a book using psychological issues without technological terms. You just have to know who your audience is and whose perspective the story should be told from. The difficulty is in making sure the actions and feelings the character displays are accurate and appropriate for the situation. If you can do that successfully, the terminology won’t matter; the story will.

About the Author

At the age of 16, Krys Fenner fell in love with Psychology and Creative Writing. At that time she wrote her first short story dealing with sexual abuse and forgiveness. Psychological issues in her family filled her with the desire to help others using her own experiences. So in 2004, she earned an Associate of Arts in Psychology. And while her sister is the one with dreams of becoming a Psychologist, Krys Fenner returned to Creative Writing. She is currently working on a Bachelor of Arts and plans to continue on to a Masters degree, where she can major in her first love (Creative Writing)  and minor in her second (Psychology).

Author Links:

Purchase:
(Destroyed is on sale through 5/15/15 and a portion of the proceeds is be donated to Women’s Center of Jacksonville.)
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Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN only)
  • 3 Grand Prize Giveaways: Each includes books from other authors, signed copy of Destroyed, plus swag.
  • 5 paperback copies and 5 e-books
  • 5 T-shirts

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

Xpresso Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

 Scarlett Undercover

by Jennifer Latham

YA Mystery/Supernatural

Expected Publication: May 19, 2015

Book Description

Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic fifteen-year-old, ready to take on crime in her hometown. When Scarlett agrees to investigate a local boy’s suicide, she figures she’s in for an easy case and a quick buck. But it doesn’t take long for suicide to start looking a lot like murder.

As Scarlett finds herself deep in a world of cults, curses, and the seemingly supernatural, she discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks…and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

About the Author

I write because it’s the only job I’ve been able to stick to for more than two years.  Seriously.
I’ve lived lots of different places.  Here’s the list:  New York City; San Francisco; Augusta, GA; Buffalo, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Madrid; Providence, RI; and now…Tulsa, OK.
I’ve had some really weird and really normal jobs.  The weirdest was helping out with autopsies.  The one I’d go back to if I couldn’t write is being a school psychologist.  The one I still do sometimes is teach yoga.
I live with my two daughters, two dogs, a cat, three turtles, three hermit crabs, a bunch of fish, and a husband (mine, of course).
I love watching people.
And I love writing about the people who live inside my head, even when they don’t play nice.

WebsiteTwitter  | Facebook | TumblrInstagram | Goodreads

PURCHASE THE BOOK:

AmazonBarnes & Noble, iBooks,  Goodreads

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10 winners will receive a finished copy of SCARLETT UNDERCOVER. US Only.

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REVIEW: Lucky Strike by Bobbie Pyron

Lucky Strike

by Bobbie Pyron

Middle Grade

Book Description

Nate Harlow has never had a lucky day in his life. He’s never won a prize, he’s never been picked first, he’s never even won a coin toss. His best friend, Genesis Beam (aka Gen), believes in science and logic, and she doesn’t think for one second that there’s such a thing as luck, good or bad. But only an extremely unlucky person could be struck by lightning on his birthday… and that person is Nate Harlow. By some miracle, though, Nate survives, and the strike seems to have changed his luck.

Suddenly, Nate’s grandpa is the busiest fisherman in their small, beachside town. And Nate finds himself the center of attention, the most popular kid at school, the one who hits a game-winning home run! This lucky streak can’t last forever, though, and as a hurricane draws close to the shores of Paradise Beach, Nate and Gen may need more than just good luck to save their friendship and their town: They need a miracle.

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MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS


Lucky Strike
by Bobbie Pyron

Nate is so unlucky, that he gets hit by lightning on his 11th birthday! He does survive it though, and it seems that somehow, it has had an effect on him–everything he does now turns out right. It even appears he can affect the luck of others!

But Nate soon learns that just because a wish comes true, doesn’t mean it solves every problem in your life–in a lot of instances, it can create more.

Nate and his best friend Gen are kind of the outcast kids of their small town, but they have each other and their families, at least. When Nate gets struck by lightning, his luck changes, and he finds himself a very popular person all of a sudden. It doesn’t take him long to learn that popularity comes with a price, and his “blessing” of good luck is more like a curse, at least when it comes to the relationships he has with the people closest to him.

I think this is a pretty good middle grade offering that 5th-7th graders would like. Gen and Nate have a pretty good friendship, and I think a lot of kids would relate to the way they are outsiders.

Lucky Strike had plenty of humorous parts, which I think young readers will enjoy as well. There are also moments of sadness and suspense that will keep readers quite engaged.

I liked the writing, though everything seemed to move very fast, even for a 250-plus page book! As I said, this is more geared toward middle grade readers, and they will love learning Nate’s story.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Bobbie Pyron was born in Hollywood, Florida and spent her growing up years up in the panhandle, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and dreaming of being a mermaid.  She has degrees in Psychology and Anthropology, and a Masters degree in Library Science, and has worked as a librarian for over twenty-five years.

Her first book, a novel for teens titled The Ring (WestSide Books), was published in October of 2009. Her second book, A Dog’s Way Home (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books), was published to starred reviews in March of 2011. The Dog Writers Association of America recently awarded Bobbie the Maxwell Medal of Excellence and the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award.  It was also named a Banks Street Best Books of the Year.

Bobbie Pyron’s book, The Dogs of Winter (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic), came out October of 2012. The Dogs of Winter is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Kirkus Best 100 Children’s Books of the Year. Bobbie lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, two dogs, and two cats.

Bobbie Pyron’s Website.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BobbiePyron
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bobbie.pyron?fref=ts

Buy ‘Lucky Strike':

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository
Indie Bound

Follow the Tour:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Apr 2 Spotlight & Giveaway

Rockin’ Book Reviews Apr 7 Interview & Giveaway

Hott Books Apr 8 Review

Always Reiding Apr 9 Review & Excerpt

Geo Librarian Apr 10 Review

Curling Up With A Good Book Apr 13 Interview & Excerpt

fuonlyknew Apr 14 Review & Giveaway

Once Upon A Story Apr 15 Review & Excerpt

Beneath the Jacket Reviews Apr 16 Review

Indie Review Behind the Scenes Apr 17 Live I 6 pm cst

Cassandra M’s Place Apr 20 Review & Giveaway

In Bed With Books Apr 22 Review & Excerpt

In Bed With Books Apr 22 Interview

Allison’s Book Bag April 24 Interview

Allison’s Book Bag April 24 Review

Mary’s Cup of Tea Apr 27 Review & Giveaway

Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 28 Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Bound for Escape Apr 30 Review

What U Talking Bout Willis? May 1 Review

Lisa’s Writopia May 4 Review

Books, Books, and More Books May 5 Review & Excerpt

Beth’s Book-Nook Blog May 8 Review

Sweet Southern Home May 11 Review

The Crypto-Caper Review May 12 Review

One Frugal Girl May 15 Review

BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW: Blood Matters by Aviva Bel’Harold

Blood Matters

by Aviva Bel’Harold

YA Supernatural

Book Description

Grief changes people.

Brittany used to be a normal teen. She ate like one, slept like one, and had typical teenage mood swings. But after she found her best friend dead, everything changed.

Grief might explain her loss of appetite and her lack of sleep. It might even explain why she sees her dead friend everywhere she goes. But it certainly won’t explain why everyone she touches develops bruises or why she’s attracted to the smell of blood.

And, she’s pretty sure grief dosen’t make you want to rip apart your boyfriend just to get closer to his beating heart.

But what happens when it’s the choices we make, not the creature inside, that proves the monster is in us all?

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1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

I love people. I love being around them. Listening to their life stories. Talking to them. Entertaining them with my life stories. I love doing this so much that for a long time I figured I should have been an actress. But I had kids before I could pursue a career in acting.

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2.  What made you want to become a writer?

I never wanted to be a writer… No, actually, that’s not entirely true. I never thought I could be one. You see, I’ve always had stories — huge epic fantasies in my head. But I’m dyslexic so I never thought I could become an author. I always figured I’d just be a good story teller — you know, the kind of person who’s good to have at parties.

 

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3.  Who or what gives you inspiration?
I think we need to find inspiration wherever we can — daily! So for me my kids inspire me. Growing up is never easy even when things look like they are. Growing up is met with challenges and learning opportunities. And the way kids will face them head on is an inspiration. My kids have inspired me to keep on trying even when I don’t succeed (or at least it doesn’t appear that I am succeeding).
My husband also inspires me to be better. He loves me, just the way I am, but for him I constantly want to be better.
My friends inspire me to find joy in the now. They tell me time and again that if I’m not having fun then I should reevaluate how I’m doing things. Even if its a simple change of attitude.
And finally my fans inspire me to keep going even then I feel like I’m all tapped out. A simple note or mention can to a long way for inspiration to pick up my pen and get another chapter written, edited, finished.
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4.  Tell us about Blood Matters.
Blood Matters is the only way I could envision vampires to be real. Up to coming up with this idea I thought vampires were a nice idea but not really feasible.
However, as I wrote the book I fell in love with EV (the parasite). And it was my love for her — my heroic villain — that kept my pen moving across the page to the books completion.
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5.  What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
The hardest part is balancing everything. I mean, how much do I write each day/week? How many days do I let the dishes pile up? When the story is flowing I don’t want to stop to make dinner or clean, or even spend time with my family. Yet when I’m in problem solving mode (others might call it ‘writers block’) then the dishes, no the whole kitchen, in fact the whole house is cleaned! Sometimes I worry that living with me is like being with someone who’s bipolar. It’s can’t be easy for my kids or my hubby (but I think the dogs are ok with it…)
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6.  What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I need my pen. Silly really. My Uni-ball Signo 207 pen. Its not the best out there, though it’s not the cheapest either. They are disposable so I go thought a couple each month. But without my pen I’m lost. My second necessity is coloured paper. I have a crazy system with different colors of paper for different editing stages… Oh, and printer ink — I’m hooped if the printer runs out of ink.
Other than that… I guess my sauna is also a necessity. I go in there and it’s like a dark room — no distractions. I get a lot of good writing/editing done there.
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7.  What are some of your favorite books?
Favourite books are like clothing to me. I will love a shirt of pair of pants so much that I’ll wear it until it is falling apart. Books are the same. If I love it I read it over and over again until it is completely worn out so the words aren’t legible any more. Then I put those books on my featured book shelf so everyone can see them (even if they don’t look like much to look at). Some of the books that have made it there are:
Harry Potter (all of them)
The Twilight series
The Left Behind series
Ann McCaffery’s Dragon Rider’s series
Kelly Armstrong’s The Summoning as well as The Gathering
Artemis Fowl
And all books by Torey L. Hayden 
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8.  Are your characters based on anyone you know?

No, not in this book. I did however borrow names for it but not because the characters represented anyone, I just liked the names.

 

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9.  What, if anything, are you working on right now?

Right now I am working on a space adventure that takes place in a solar system ruled by magic that’s being misused. It’s a YA that’s a dystopian space opera with magic. It’s going to be amazing!

 

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10.  Why do you love writing?

Writing makes me feel like I’ve lived more lives than the one I’ve been given. Also, I like meeting new people and when I write I feel like I do that with each new character. And lastly, even if I wasn’t writing I’d still be making all these things up — so being a writer helps me justify all my daydreaming.

 

 

About the Author

Aviva Bel’Harold writes young adult fiction: Horror, Science Fiction, ­Urban Fantasy, etc. — as long as the ­characters are young, full of life, and out for adventure. When she’s writing, you’ll find her curled up on a sofa with a pen and a pad of paper, ­surrounded by her adorable puppies.Born in Winnipeg and raised in Vancouver, Aviva Bel’Harold ­currently resides in Calgary with her husband, four children, and six dachshunds.

Website | Facebook | Twitter: @AvivaTheAuthor

Goodreads | Amazon | YouTube

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BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT: Believers: Truth in Deception by Tamara Taylor

 Believers: Truth in Deception

by Tamara D. Taylor

New Adult Dystopian/Romance

Book Description

Mary lives in a world of the future where an anti aging drug has torn society apart, creating an insurmountable divide between the wealthy and the poor. Her life is thrown sideways after she receives an unsolicited promotion at work, which leaves her as assistant to one of the most notorious playboys of the wealthy elite.

Mary struggles to find solid footing in a world that drastically conflicts with her humble upbringing. Her moral compass is tested as she finds herself falling in love with a man she knows she should not trust,  compromising her relationship with her childhood sweetheart.

After her life is threatened, she fears for her safety and that of her family. Will she be able to guard her own secrets to prevent even further danger? Will death be the consequence of falling in love with the wrong man?

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What would you do if you knew you could live forever? How would you change your life? The world? Would you be the one to make it better? I thought the cure for aging would be the answer to so many of humanity’s problems. I really believed this little pill would help us make the world a better place.

Yet all I have seen is the further deterioration of generosity, love, compassion and freedom. It has not brought out the better side of the human race. It has created a darker side where compassion and generosity are rare traits that are almost extinct. It has taken me over 400 years to realize that the end of aging does not give one freedom. Your body becomes a prison in which you are trapped and from which you can’t escape.

It saddens me that the world has entered such a dark time, to the point where I no longer want to stay and witness the pain that we, as people, are putting ourselves through.

To many, this will come as a shock. My success has only forced me to put up a wall, one that keeps away even those who feel they are my closest friends. I do not trust anyone. The friends I have left only appear to be interested in their association with me to advance their own political aspirations in life.

I feel that if I can’t offer the peace that eternal life brings to all, then none of us should have it. It is not fair of us to choose a select few to live far past an age that God has intended.

I have watched too many good people come in and out of this world, knowing that, “in the end,” I could have saved them. However, like many other people, I had started believing that I deserved this gift, that it was my right, and that if a person was not smart enough or rich enough to buy this gift, then they did not deserve to obtain it.

Looking back on my life, I can see that I am the origin of all the world’s troubles. As intelligent as I was to invent this amazing drug, I can’t begin to imagine that I am brilliant enough to change the course of our planet.

My heart is broken, my soul damaged and weak. My resilience is nothing but a shadow left. I cry, for humanity, mother earth and the faith that we have lost in God. So the only thing left I can offer is the end. Tonight will be my last. I have settled my regrets, sins and all other misgivings with God and look forward to joining all of those I have cared for over my 400 years on this planet.

He slowly raises the gun and puts it into his mouth. With a quick fluid motion, the trigger is pulled.

 

About the Author

Tamara D. Taylor was born and raised in the East Bay of California until she moved to Omaha, Nebraska to attend Creighton University. Today, Tamara still resides in Nebraska where she and her husband, John, are raising their five young children.

A life long lover of all forms of the written word, Tamara is an avid reader, and has been writing short stories and poetry since elementary school. After watching her son struggle with succeeding in school, she decided to finally write the novel she had been thinking about for years in an effort to show her son that no dream is too big to achieve.

Her latest book is the YA, Believers: Truth in Deception.

For More Information

Connect with Tamara on Facebook and Twitter.

Find out more about Tamara at Goodreads.

Believers: Truth in Deception is available at Amazon.

 

 

Pump Up Your Book

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Green Gooey Goop by Anna C. Morrison

 Green Gooey Goop

by Anna C. Morrison

Children’s Fiction

Book Description

 A little girl is presented with a different sort of a meal when her mom serves her green gooey goop. Interesting and icky ingredients appear one by one as the little girl decides what’s in this noxious-smelling concoction. The little girl creates a flood, and her dog’s fur turns green. Suggested age range for readers: 0-8

This book was written to capture the moment when a child is confronted by healthy food that, while nutritious, may not appear to be delicious.  Many children react imaginatively to new foods, and the child in this book is no exception.  She envisions the ingredients as other than what her mother describes in the first part of the book in an attempt to get out of eating the food.  When she realizes she must eat it anyway, it spills onto the family dog, who may or may not be green forever!

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MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS


Green Gooey Goop
by Anna C. Morrison

My 6 year old actually loves to eat his greens, so this book was like looking on the other side for us! He thought it was hilarious to name all of the ingredients that the main character believed were in the soup–while mom thought it was kinda gross. I know kids love gross, though, so I can see this book being a big hit with both boys and girls of kindergarten age.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Anna C. Morrison is an author of children’s books, including Silly Moments and Green Gooey Goop, with many more to follow.  She is also an adjunct professor for multiple colleges and universities, both face-to-face and online.  While she instructs various levels of English composition, she also teaches classes on literature, film, feature writing, and technical writing, among others.  In addition, she has worked with Adapt Courseware as a writing consultant on three video course projects, including college skills and composition.  Anna received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and her BA in English, Creative Writing, from California State University, San Bernardino.  Anna is an active member of SCBWI and is available for book signings.  She lives in Southern California with her family and pets.

For More Information

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BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan

 Biggie

by Derek E. Sullivan

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Henry “Biggie” Abbott is the son of one of Finch, Iowa ‘s most famous athletes. His father was a baseball legend and his step-dad is a close second. At an obese 300+ pounds though, Biggie himself prefers classroom success to sports. As a perfectionist, he doesn’t understand why someone would be happy getting two hits in five trips to the plate. “Forty percent, that’s an F in any class,” he would say. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts to flirt with him. Hundreds of people have told him to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play ball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try. What happens when a boy who has spent his life since fourth grade trying to remain invisible is suddenly thrust into the harsh glare of the high school spotlight?

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MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS


Biggie
by Derek E. Sullivan

At over 320 pounds, Henry Abbott is not only the biggest kid in his high school, he’s also the one made fun of the most. After all, his nickname since childhood has been Biggie–even teachers and his stepdad call him that. But after a fluke at the beginning of the school year that results in him throwing a perfect game of wiffle ball in PE one day, Biggie decides that this will be his year; he will lose weight, be the star pitcher on the baseball team, and finally get the girl he’s been in love with for as long as he can remember, Annabelle.

Biggie makes good progress, but just as it seems he’s within reach of all his dreams, he realizes that you can’t make plans involving other people, because you definitely cannot predict what they will do. Biggie is thrown several curveballs, and it’s up to him to pull himself through if he wants to finish out the year his way.

I have to say that Biggie is one of the single most frustrating characters I have stepped into the shoes of. He complains about how his life is and how people treat him, but he is the only thing in his way most of the time. He makes some decisions I just can’t understand. Just WHY would you tell your dream girl you’ve been stalking her email for the past several years? Even Biggie knows he’s making a mistake as the words leave his mouth. It also takes him much longer than it should to see that the reason he doesn’t have any friends isn’t because he’s overweight; it’s because he’s quite arrogant and gives off the impression that he believes he’s better than everyone else in town.

While I appreciate that Biggie did put in all the hard work that led to his weight loss, I want to state to young readers that in my opinion, the amount of weight loss shown is not realistic. It’s stated that in one month Biggie loses 28 pounds–this should not and will not happen to anyone who’s just cutting calories and exercising, no matter how hard they work. I just don’t want teens who read this book to think that they too can lose that amount of weight in so short a time.

I liked the way the author showed the relationship between Biggie and his younger brother, but I wish I could have seen more between Biggie and his parents. There is a sort of emotional scene between Biggie and his stepdad towards the end of the book, but other than that there’s really not much interaction between he and his parents at all.

If you can get past Biggie’s often Debbie Downer type attitude, there’s a good story here with a very important message. I believe a lot of kids will be able to relate to the main character, and that’s always a very important goal in a YA novel.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Derek E. Sullivan is an award-winning reporter and columnist at the Rochester Post-Bulletin in Minnesota. As a reporter, he has written more than 1,000 stories about the lives of teenagers, which he attributes to helping him find his YA voice. He has an MFA from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with his wife and three sons.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)

2x 50$ B&N Gift Cards

3x Signed copies of BIGGIE hardcover

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

Xpresso Book Tours

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: The Camelot Kids by Ben Zackheim

The Camelot Kids

by Ben Zackheim

Middle Grade Fantasy

Book Description

What happens when Merlin tries to save the world with 150 teenage descendants of The Knights of the Round Table?

In The Camelot Kids, Ben Zackheim, author of the bestselling Shirley Link series, tells the exhilarating story of Merlin’s quest to save the modern world by recruiting 150 teenage descendants of The Knights of the Round Table. Getting 150 teenagers to do anything can be tough. Even if you know how to handle them. Merlin has no idea how to handle them.

Luckily, Merlin finds Simon Sharp — a natural leader, but not a big fan of the Camelot myth. In fact, his parents, both obsessed with King Arthur, died in a plane crash on their way to an archaeological dig. So when Merlin tells him that he’s a descendant of Lancelot, King Arthur’s strongest warrior, Simon is skeptical and not receptive in the least. And that’s just the beginning of a story that will leave readers thrilled, wanting more and entirely convinced of the brilliance of Simon Sharp.

In the same way that magic is the code that holds Harry Potter’s world together, chivalry is the code, the foundation and the social dynamic of The Camelot Kids. Chivalry is, in a sense, real-life magic, and it is the real-life code Simon and the other teenagers learn to live by.

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MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

The Camelot Kids by Ben Zackheim

Simon is a 14 year old orphan living in New York City. He lost his parents 2 years ago, when their plane crashed on one of their weird quests to find the lost kingdom of Camelot.

When Simon is one day taken in by his curmudgeonly uncle, he discovers that what his parents were searching for did in fact exist…and Simon is a very important part of it. he is quickly thrown into a world filled with trolls, wizards, dragons, and danger at every turn.

While I enjoyed this story for the most part, it took quite a little while to get off the ground for me. The exciting action and Simon learning the truth about himself doesn’t happen for a while, though intriguing things do pop up in the beginning. There are so many questions that don’t get answered until towards the end of this 500 page book.

Simon himself is not my favorite character in the book. He’s so very serious for a 14 year old, and very very skeptical. Though, I guess perhaps I shouldn’t fault an orphan for being this way. I much prefer Simon’s new wizarding friend Maille Rose. She’s smart, fiery, and has a way of doing what she wants no matter what the consequences. They make very complementary friends.

The author does a great job of making the reader feel as if he or she is entering the magical kingdom of New Camelot at the same time Simon is. It’s an enchanting place where both fun and trouble lurk. You also get to know the cast of characters, and either liking or disliking them right away.

At times I had a bit of trouble keeping up with who was fighting whom, who was the enemy, and who was being betrayed. I feel like as an adult this shouldn’t happen to me with a middle grade book, but there you have it. Hopefully the kids to whom this book is targeted won’t feel the same way.

I would be interested in seeing what the future holds for New Camelot, now that the first book has gotten into the heart of the action.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Zackheim’s storytelling chops span TV (Nickelodeon), Games (Sony), Books (Shirley Link) and screenplays (Chester Yang, an Austin Heart of Film Festival semi-finalist script). Parents.com and Edward Hemingway have both highly recommended Shirley Link as a great book for Middle Graders.

Find out more about Ben at his website, and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Hellhole by Gina Damico

 Hellhole

by Gina Damico

YA Supernatural/Humor

Book Description

A devil is a bad influence . . .

There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max’s choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food—and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high. With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time, and all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss, run out. Gina Damico, author of the Croak series, once again delivers all the horror, hilarity, and high-stakes drama that any kid in high school or hell could ever handle.

 

 

MY THOUGHTS:

4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

 

Hellhole by Gina Damico

It’s my opinion that Gina Damico is one of the best modern YA authors in the biz right now. Her series Croak was hilarious, and I knew by the description that this book would be in the same vein of dark humor.

Max Kilgore is a dorky dude with a cool name. When he’s not working at the local convenience store, playing with his model dinosaurs, or hanging out with his one friend, he’s taking care of his ailing mother. Max would do anything to see her get better…and he gets his chance when he somehow frees a devil from hell.

First off, I really love novels written from a male’s point of view. They are so rarely done that I often seek them out. I like to get inside the mind of a guy and see how they are feeling in certain situations. Often I have found that they seem just as neurotic as women when it comes to some things.

Max isn’t exactly a loser, but he is a loner. He just doesn’t have the time or the interest to make friends. His best friend is actually his mom, which is sweet but also sad because the is on the verge of dying any day.

The devil in this story, Burg, is definitely one heck of a character. he has a penchant for video games, booze, unhealthy snacks, and hot tubs. The author does a nice job of making you feel that maybe he’s not too bad…and then hitting you with something heinous.

There is romance in this story, but don’t expect it to be sappy or saccharine sweet. Max knows he likes Lore, but often tells her to shut it or puts his foot in his mouth in other ridiculous ways. I’m not really sure why Lore stuck with him, actually, expect maybe that she saw through all his awkwardness and didn’t take his curtness personally.

I found the end to this novel pretty funny and unexpected, though it was very abrupt. I am on the fence about a couple of things, because it seems a lot of bad things had to happen for one good thing. But, maybe I have a little devil in me, because I think it was all worth it in the end.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Gina Damico is the author of Croak, Scorch, and Rogue, the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy. She has also dabbled as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker and breadmonger. A native of Syracuse, New York, she now lives outside Boston with her husband, two cats, and one dog, and while she has never visited hell in person, she has spent countless waking hours at the Albany Regional Bus Terminal, which is pretty darn close. Visit her website at www.ginadami.co.

WEBSITE | TUMBLR | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

| INSTAGRAM | YOUTUBE | GOODREADS

sshgiveaway

We are giving away a Hardcover copy of HELLHOLE to TWO WINNERS
Giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships.
Giveaway ends on January 21st at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

ALSO–A SPECIAL GIVEAWAY FROM GINA DAMICO!

Hey there book fans! I’m running a Follow Frenzy giveaway over the course of this blog tour, and the prize is pretty neato: a signed copy of HELLHOLE wherein each chapter will have a little bit of trivia and/or a doodle handwritten by yours truly. (Gina) (Damico) To enter, all you have to do is follow me on one or more of my various social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube), then fill out this adorable little form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MbfSsZCiALw_I_C7WpI0d71hPNe0b94Ot89sxFesUzM/viewform . That’s it! The more things you follow, the more chances you will earn to win. Good luck!

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The Tour Schedule

Week One

Jan. 5 – Xpresso Reads – Guest Post

Jan. 5 – Fiction Fare – Spotlight

Jan. 6 – Paranormal Book Club – Guest Post

Jan. 6 – Two Chicks on Books – Spotlight

Jan. 7 – A Dream Within A Dream – Review

Jan. 7 – Book Jems – Guest Post

Jan. 8 – BookHounds YA – Interview

Jan. 8 – YA Midnight Reads – Dual Review

Jan. 9 – Novel Novice – Guest Post

Jan. 9 – Consuming Worlds – Interview

Week Two

Jan. 12 – Once Upon a Twilight – Review

Jan. 12 – Book Sniffers Anonymous – Interview

Jan. 13 – No BS Book Reviews – Interview

Jan. 13 – The Best Books Ever – Review

Jan. 14 – Teen Readers’ Diary – Guest Post

Jan. 14 – The Book Bratz – Review

Jan. 15 – Sweet Southern Home – Review

Jan. 15 – Eli to the nth – Review

Jan. 16 – Bad Bird Reads – Guest Post

Jan. 16 – Crossroad Reviews – Review

 

SPOTLIGHT: A Dark Road by Amanda Lance

Dark Road Banner
A Dark Road by Amanda Lance

BLOG TOUR

January 12-16, 2015

ADRCover

Not every friendship is as harmless as it seems.
Loner James McKay wants nothing to do with Hadley Grayson. After all, the last
thing a drug dealer needs is the pretty, new girl trying to be friends. Walking
distractions like her lead to trouble, the kind that can get you 10 to 15 behind bars.
Likewise, fencing champion Hadley Grayson isn’t thrilled about her family uprooting
her during her senior year of high school. At least there’s James McKay, the quiet,
mad scientist who is as adorable as he is mysterious.
Though McKay may reject the idea of friendship, he gets one whether he wants it or
not. But once the lies are told and the rumors spread, the dangers of meth making
and dealing are impossible to avoid. Between secrets and overdosing classmates,
McKay and Hadley will learn that loneliness can be a two-way street, changing both
of their lives forever.

BUY IT FOR ONLY 99 CENTS ON
AMAZON:

http://bit.ly/ADRAL

~*~ABOUT AMANDA~*~

Amanda

A native of New Jersey and lifelong nerd, Amanda
Lance recently completed her Master in Liberal Arts at Thomas Edison State College
after her BA in English Literature and AFA in creative writing.
She currently resides in Easton Pennsylvania with her boyfriend and their spoiled
hound dog. She is a cliché booknerd who is terrible at math, clinically obsessive, and
prone to addictive behavior. She may or may not be a recluse.

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