2013 YA and MG Time Travel Reading Challenge: May Wrap-Up Post + Review Linky + Giveaway: The Cydonian Pyramid by Pete Hautman

Hey, everyone! It’s the end of May, which means only one thing… it’s monthly wrap-up time for the YA and MG Time Travel Reading Challenge! Today, we have an interview with Pete Hautman, author of the time travel series The Klaatu Diskos Trilogy. Last April, the paperback of the first book, The Obsidian Blade was released. And just this May 14, the second book, The Cydonian Pyramid, was released. You can click on the links to check out my review. But for now, here’s the interview and don’t forget to get to the end to join the giveaway!

Interview with Pete Hautman

On The Klaatu Diskos Trilogy

How did the idea for The Klaatu Diskos series come to you?

Several years ago I wrote a time-travel book called “Mr. Was,” loosely based on a recurring dream I had throughout my adolescence. I swore I’d never do time-travel again! But then I had an idea for a boy named Tucker, and a girl named Lahlia, and a mysterious disappearance. And I was thinking about autism, and religious cults, and modern medicine, and the ways that digital technology is changing human relations…and the next thing I knew it was back to the future. Time-travel was the only way I could pull all those ideas together. It took about  ten years.

How did you come up with the names of the characters? Do their names mean anything?

I look for a sound that seems to suit the character. Sometimes in the course of writing a character will change, and I have to change their name to suit. If I get stuck for a character name, I consult my high school yearbook. I sometimes borrow contemporary names from students I meet at school visits.

Who’s your favorite character in the book? Who was the most fun to write? Who was the hardest?

The hardest characters to write are always the most intriguing. It was fun to watch Lah Lia (aka Lahlia) and Kosh develop. I didn’t know them well when I started, but they filled out nicely. I particularly like Lah Lia. I have a soft spot for powerful young women (big Buffy fan, y’know) and Lia is most definitely a butt-kicker. Kosh is somewhat the opposite: a big softy inside a formidable shell.

What would the third and last book of the trilogy be about? Is there a title yet?

 “The Klaatu Terminus” will continue Tucker’s and Lia’s tale, and tell the story of Kosh Feye, Tucker’s uncle—how he became the grumpy black-clad biker we met in “The Obsidian Blade.” All will be revealed, including the secret origin of the diskos, and the strange and twisted fates of Tucker’s parents.

On publishing and reviews

You’re a multi-awarded author. Do you read reviews of your book? Why or why not?

Yeah, I read reviews. I care about how people respond to my work—after all, writing is about reaching out to people, it is about communicating, entertaining, and satisfying readers. I’m not going to appeal to everyone—my stuff is way to quirky for that—but it can be useful to know what works and what doesn’t for a particular reader.

Your thoughts about negative reviews?

Most of them are respectful, at least.

On writing

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No. Until I was in my mid-twenties, I wanted to be a comic book artist. But it was always about the storytelling. All art is about telling stories.

You have written books across several genres – sci-fi, mystery, realistic fiction and romance among others. What’s your favorite genre to write? What’s the hardest to write?

I like trying something new with every book—it keeps me fresh. My next book is middle-grade robot comedy set in Iowa. After that, a YA love story set in an apocalyptic cult. I’m also working a book about food, and I’m playing around with an idea for a horror novel.

As for what is most difficult to write, I would say time-travel, or anything that requires extensive world-building.

Did you ever think about writing for adults? Why do you write books for teens and young adults?

I’ve written eight adult novels, two of which were New York Times Notable Books. All are still in print. They are, for lack of a better way to describe them, “crime novels with a sense of humor.” In recent years, I’ve been focusing more on YA novels, mostly because I loved reading so much when I was a teen. Remember your most intense, most memorable reading experiences? There’s a good chance that they happened between the ages of ten and eighteen. At least that was true for me. I remember books I read as a teen more vividly that I remember what I read last month. There is nothing better than being fourteen years old and losing oneself in a book. Nothing. Better.

Thank you so much Pete for that very insightful interview. And yes, the books we read when we’re young are the best. Now for those not familiar with series, check out the blurbs below!


The Obsidian Blade (The Klaatu Diskos, #1)

Title: The Obsidian Blade (The Klaatu Diskos #1)
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Candlewick
Date of Publication: April 10, 2012

Kicking off a riveting sci-fi trilogy, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman plunges us into a world where time is a tool — and the question is, who will control it?

The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished — only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing — one right on top of the roof — hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey
— from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker’s actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.

Purchase from Amazon | The Book Depository

The Cydonian Pyramid (The Klaatus Diskos, #2)

Title: The Cydonian Pyramid (The Klaatu Diskos #2)
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Date of Publication: May 14, 2013

The much-anticipated sequel to The Obsidian Blade transports readers to the terrifying and thrilling world of Lah Lia, the enigmatic girl who changed Tucker Feye’s life.

More than half a millennium in the future, in the shadow of the looming Cydonian Pyramid, a pampered girl named Lah Lia has been raised for one purpose: to be sacrificed through one of the mysterious diskos that hover over the pyramid’s top. But just as she is about to be killed, a strange boy appears from the diskos, providing a cover of chaos that allows her to escape and launching her on a time-spinning journey in which her fate is irreversibly linked to his. In this second volume of the Klaatu Diskos trilogy, Tucker Feye and Lah Lia each hurtle through time, relating their stories in alternating viewpoints that converge at crucial moments. Fans of the first adventure will be intrigued by the chance to see the world through Lah Lia’s eyes — no matter how disturbing the vision might be.

Purchase from Amazon | The Book Depository

About Pete Hautman

Pete Hautman is the author of Godless, which won the National Book Award, and many other critically acclaimed books for teens and adults, including Blank Confession, All-In, Rash, No Limit, and Invisible. Mr. Was was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin.


Giveaway

Sorry international peeps as this giveaway is US only. We do try our best to make all giveaways international but sadly, sometimes it’s just not possible. We feel you though as we’re international too. Anyway, for US residents, you have until June 30 to join! We will have THREE winners of The Cydonian Pyramid (or The Obsidian Blade if you haven’t read the first book). The winners will be contacted through email and must respond within 48 hours. Good luck! Thank you to Andie of Candlewick Press for sponsoring this giveaway!


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Review Linky

Link up your May time travel reviews here!
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Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)
Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen | MIRA Ink | Harlequin Teen Australia
Date of Publication: May 28, 2013 | May 22, 2013 | June 1, 2013

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. “Dance with me, Beth.”

“No.” I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again….

“I dare you…”

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all…


Purchase from Amazon | B&NThe Book Depository

Review

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Harlequin (UK) and NetGalley for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.


Truth be told, I was hesitant to read this novel. I was long approved for it but I kept on postponing reading it. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read a novel about Beth. As you can read in my PUSHING THE LIMITS review last year, I was disappointed that the next novel centers on Beth and the excerpt at the end of PTL definitely did not make me want to read it. I sorta kinda hate her. Fine, I hate her. I hate how she twists Isaiah. Poor, poor Isaiah. And with her very abrasive behavior, I just don’t think I can stomach a novel full of her. So I only read this novel with my faith in Katie McGarry’s writing propelling me forward. And she didn’t fail me. Why did I ever doubt her?

I wasn’t immediately hooked with DARE YOU TO as stated by the reasons above. I even stopped reading after a few chapters and actually read this book in a span of time. I kept on rolling my eyes with Beth and I wasn’t too keen in the change of setting from Louisville to county Groveton. But as I read on, I became so engrossed in it because of one reason – RYAN.

Ryan, oh Ryan. Oh baby. I’ve tried writing this review so many times, finding the perfect way to profess, declare and tell the world how much I love Ryan. I thought of writing an ode to him, a letter or whatever but in the end, I know it will never be enough. Ryan is the kind of fictional guy who will wreck all guys for you. There, I said it. I found myself not impressed with him at the start of the novel because JOCK. I’m not judging jocks but I find myself not too into stories centering around them. But little by little, he got endearing then I don’t exactly know the exact point in the story but the realization just came crashing down on me – I lurve this guy. He’s a jock and he’s great at baseball, yes, but he’s SO much more than that. He’s an amazing writer (the excerpt of his short story was more than great), awesome friend, quite the gentleman but still such a guy with his thoughts and desires and most important of all – he loves Beth. The abrasive Beth. Beth did nothing in here but to shoo him away and do all sorts of numbers on him but what did he do? He just continued loving her, protecting her, helping her and GOOD LAWD, HELP ME CONTROL MYSELF IN HERE.

Then, he did all sort of sweet stuff that SHOULD HAVE BEEN CHEESY but it never appeared cheesy. It didn’t feel sappy. I was putty in Ryan’s hands and love. That rain scene? OH PLEASE TAKE ME NOW, RYAN. He’s such a good guy. Sigh, anyway, I’ll stop with the Ryan gushing because by now it should be pretty obvious he ranks way up there with my book boyfriends. Ryan is one of the proofs Sab and I are citing on the first rule of book boyfriends: All Ryan’s are awesome, amazing and PERFECT.

As for Beth, her past was heavy. While I still am not her biggest fan, it takes a lot of talent in Katie McGarry to make us understand what she actually has been through and why she is the way she is. And ultimately, to root for her and wish her much deserved happiness. When the happy Beth came, I just wanna hug her (even if she would have hated that) because FINALLY, she has found family, love and joy.

The side characters were lovely and dare I say it, I think they are perfect for the story. They each brought something to the story and they each have their own roles. Scott, Beth’s uncle, was cool and understanding. Ryan’s jock friends aren’t as shallow as you would first think. Ryan’s family and the problems they also posed for Ryan were such great additions to the already fantastic Ryan arc. His growth as a character was so great to read and coupled that with Beth’s, oh sigh, happy sigh.

Moreover, once again, Katie McGarry treats us with her wonderful writing. There’s just something about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on but if you’ve read Pushing the Limits, you probably know what I’m talking about. The way things come around, the connected metaphors, everything. Katie’s brand of writing is definitely one I will read again and again. And yes, Dare You To made me cry.

DARE YOU TO isn’t perfect and I’ve read reviews where they thought the push-and-pull between Beth and Ryan got repetitive and tiresome at some point. While I do understand and agree with that, I guess nothing can really take this book down a notch in my heart because of Ryan. I know, what an objective way to rate a novel but whatever. Katie McGarry definitely made a homerun with Dare You To because of Ryan.

DARE YOU TO, wow. I can’t even make a proper blurb because I still can’t fathom how to properly review this even though I’m technically done with my review. I admit that whatever I said could not have justified how much I love Ryan and this book and Katie McGarry because let’s face it, I’m no writer. But do know that I’m a big gusher and hopefully, my over-the-top gushing in here could have convinced you. So yes, I dare you to fall in love with Ryan and DARE YOU TO!
About Katie McGarry

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

{Blog Tour} YA Summer of Love from Swoon Romance


Today’s my stop at the YA Summer of Love Blog Tour from Swoon Romance, an imprint of Month9Books. Excited to check out their new releases? I’m featuring their blurbs (and purchase links because you’ll want to grab them right away) here! Add them to your Goodreads shelf too! Come back soon for my reviews as well. Let’s get this started!



Secondary Characters

Title: Secondary Characters
Author: Rachel Schieffelbein
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Date of Publication: May 28, 2013

When Mabel’s best friend, Amber, drags her along on a double date she finds herself falling for Lance, the obnoxious class clown whom she swore she’d have no interest in. The only problem is, she’s not sure if she’s really the girl Lance is into, or if, like every other guy she knows, it’s really Amber he’s after. One thing is clear, if Mabel wants to be the lead in her own love story, she needs to start acting like it.

Purchase from Amazon

About Rachel Schieffelbein

I am married with four great little kids. They drive me crazy and make me very happy every single day. I have been coaching speech for twelve years and I love it. The teens I work with are very talented and so much fun to be around.


Advantage: Heartbreak (Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak, #2)

Title: Advantage: Heartbreak (Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak #2)
Author: Kelly Hashway
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Date of Publication: May 28, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan thought she’d made up her mind about love. But with two guys still vying for her attention, she wonders if she made the right decision. Ash is everything she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend: loyal, loving, and totally hot. But then there’s Noah: fun, sexy, and the more he sticks around, the more Meg wants him there.

What’s a girl to do?

Make up her mind, before it’s too late. Gorgeous freshman Liz has set her sights on Ash, and Noah is beginning to remind Meg of her last boyfriend—the one who broke her heart. Can she figure things out before she ruins not one, but two relationships? Or is she doomed to serve up heartbreak?

Purchase from Amazon

About Kelly Hashway

I’m represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management. Look for my upcoming YA novels, Touch of Death (Spencer Hill Press, 1/15/13), Stalked by Death (Spencer Hill Press, 8/13/13), The Monster Within (Spencer Hill Press, 4/14), The Darkness Within (Spencer Hill Press, TBA), and Into the Fire (Month9Books, spring 2014). Love All, the first book in my Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak Novella series, (Swoon Romance) releases 1/22/13. Also look for my MG series Curse of the Granville Fortune (Month9Books, 2014).



Charm and Consequence (Snark and Circumstance, #2)

Title: Charm and Consequence (Snark and Circumstance #2)
Author: Stephanie Wardrop
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Date of Publication: May 28, 2013

One superior smirk from Michael Endicott convinces sixteen-year-old Georgia Barrett that the Devil wears Polo. His family may have founded the postcard-perfect New England town they live in, but Georgia’s not impressed. Even if he is smart, good looking, and can return Georgia’s barbs as deftly as he returns serves on his family’s tennis courts. After all, if Michael actually thinks she refuses to participate in lab dissections just to mess with his grade, he’s a little too sure that he’s the center of the universe. Could there be more to Michael Endicott than smirks and sarcasm? If Georgia can cut the snark long enough, she just might find out.

Purchase from Amazon

About Stephanie Wardrop


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About Swoon Romance

Swoon Romance is a digital-first imprint from Month9Books founder and publisher, Georgia McBride. Our stories are full of second chances, forbidden love, sexy encounters, hidden feelings, happy ever afters and flirtatious first love. It’s easy to get lost in one of our books. Go ahead . . . swoon.

Spotlight + Giveaway: Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan

Thank you to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to join the Unbreak Me Blitz! Not familiar with Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan? Come on and join me!


Unbreak Me

Title: Unbreak Me
Author: Lexi Ryan
Date of Publication: May 27, 2013

“If you’re broken, I’ll fix you…”

I’m only twenty-one and already damaged goods. A slut. A failure. A disappointment to my picture-perfect family as long as I can remember. I called off my wedding to William Bailey, the only man who thought I was worth fixing. A year later, he’s marrying my sister. Unless I ask him not to…

“If you shatter, I’ll find you…”

But now there’s Asher Logan, a broken man who sees the fractures in my façade and doesn’t want to fix me at all. Asher wants me to stop hiding, to stop pretending. Asher wants to break down my walls. But that means letting him see my ugly secrets and forgiving him for his.

With my past weighing down on me, do I want the man who holds me together or the man who gives me permission to break?

Purchase from Amazon | B&N

Excerpt

“How do you feel about weddings?” I hear myself ask.

“Proposing already?” He cuts his eyes to me. “I don’t know. Seems like we’re moving a little fast.”

I bite back my smile. “I need an escort.”

“To a wedding?”

“To my sister Krystal’s wedding. I mean, if you’re still in town or whatever. I’m not asking that you make a special trip.”

He quirks a brow. “I thought she already got married.”

“She wants a do-over. But don’t worry, she promises it’s going to be fah-bu-lous.”

He’s silent. Can you blame him? He didn’t want to sleep with me, and I think this is a more appealing proposition?

“Sure,” he finally says. “I’d be happy to accompany you.”

“Really? Because there’s a pretty good chance the twins might maul you at the reception.”

He chuckles and cuts his eyes to me. “I can handle a couple of fan girls. Anyway, I know you wouldn’t ask me if you didn’t feel like you needed to have a date. I’ve never said no to a woman in need.”

“Humph,” I snort. “My experience says otherwise.”

A block away, a pickup screeches forward at the traffic light, and a guy in a ball cap sticks his head and chest out the window and points at me. “Loooose!” he calls out into the night, drawing out the word. “Loooos-eeee!”

The word, once a sharp knife, is now the sawing of a dull blade against my calloused heart. The truck screeches down the road, and hatred clogs my throat and blocks any response.

“Lucy?” Asher asks. “Isn’t that your dog’s name?”

Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed by my own naiveté. I really thought I could come back to this godforsaken hole-in-the-earth town and live a normal life? New Hope will never offer me normal. If I live and die in New Hope, I imagine they’ll carve my tombstone with the word loose.

I swallow down my anger and shake my head. “Loose,” I explain. “As in loose woman. Promiscuous. Slut.”

Asher’s breath draws in with a raspy hiss and his nostrils flare. Those blue eyes burn as he looks after the offender. He’s long gone now, and I’m glad because the look in Asher’s eyes says what he’d like to do to them. It should scare me, given his reputation, but instead it helps the insult roll off my back.

I can handle the nastiness now. But I wish I could send Asher back in time to be indignant on behalf of my fifteen-year-old self. She wasn’t so hardened.

“Can you tell me a name?” he asks, his voice low and deadly steady.

“They’re just stupid townies from my high school.” I press my hand to his arm. “It doesn’t matter.”

He doesn’t call me on my lie, but we both know it does matter. What had he said in there? Words hurt.

He takes my hand and walks me to my car, toying with my fingers.

“Assholes notwithstanding,” I whisper, “I had a good time.”

“Me too.” He rubs the inside of my palm. Soft. Gentle. This man may look rough with his tattoos and piercings, but there is nothing rough about the way he treats me. And, where the violence that flashed in his eyes didn’t scare me, this gentleness does.

“Listen,” I say. “About the other morning, I just—”

He cuts me off with his mouth. He touches his lips to mine, and I feel frozen for a moment—I am the statue I once trained myself to be. But his mouth is soft and slow and patient. I melt into him, curl my fingers into his chest, slide my tongue against his.

It’s the kind of kiss I dreamed about as a girl and never got.

When he pulls away, he traces his thumb over my bottom lip.

“Come home with me?” I ask, breathless from his kiss, his touch.

“You’re so damn sweet.”

That gets me right in the solar plexus. Men call me hot. Men call me sexy. Men don’t call me sweet.

“For a woman who claims to be an open book, you hide so much.” He runs his thumb down the side of my neck, over the hollow in my collarbone. “Next time you strip for me, you’re taking off more than your clothes.”

I step back. “Goodnight, Asher.” I climb in my car and drive away—from him and from this aching inside my chest that feels a whole lot like falling.

About Lexi Ryan

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Ryan writes romances with humor, heat, and heart. Her books are described as fun, flirty, and wickedly sexy. A lover of learning, Lexi has been in the classroom all her life and currently holds the title of assistant professor of English at her local community college. Lexi is a proud member of Romance Writers of America. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two children.


Giveaway

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Review: Oppression by Jessica Therrien

In line with the release of Uprising on May 28 (two days from now!!), the second book in the Children of the Gods series by Jessica Therrien, I am hereby reviewing the the first book in the series. Not familiar with the series? Check my review of Oppression today and get acquainted with possibly your next favorite series! Did you love Oppression? Come back here in two days time to check out my review of Uprising!


Oppression (Children of the Gods, #1)

Title: Oppression (Children of the Gods #1)
Author: Jessica Therrien
Publisher: ZOVA Books
Date of Publication: February 28, 2012

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she’s been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Among so many of her kind, she should not be very remarkable–except for the prophecy. Some believe she will put an end to traditions, safeguarded by violence, which have oppressed her people for centuries. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning–and she’s not entirely willing to play by their rules.

Purchase from Amazon | The Book Depository

Review

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First and foremost, thank you so much to Jessica Therrien for the signed review copy! ❤ I also want to congratulate her for the super cute baby Matthew! Still, it goes without saying (but I'm saying it anyway) that all you'll ever read are my honest opinions. So let's get to that review, shall we?

I’m going to try something new for this review. I will be listing three things that I liked about Oppression and then three things that didn’t really work out for me. Tell me what you think of that style in the comments section. So here goes!

Three Things I Loved About Oppression

1. Greek mythology. Guys, it’s inspired by Greek mythology. That should be enough. Greek mythology is like ancient soap opera on steroids. All the scheming, the heartbreak, the killing — it’s campy good. I guess if it isn’t your thing (HOW CAN IT BE NOT YOUR THING), this wouldn’t appeal to you as much. But if it’s your thing, if you’re like me who filled notebooks and notebooks of family trees and stories and everything when you were a kid (yes, I was obsessed with Greek mythology when I was a kid), then this is for you.

2. Story world. In the Children of the Gods series, Descendants live with humans. They are the descendants of what the Greeks once considered gods. They have powers according to their lineage – light manipulation, persuasion, turning any liquid to wine, healing, conducting electricity, copying any power and a whole lot more. Oppression showed a beacon of light to all these terrific powers and I can’t wait to read Uprising as I feel that more powers will be known in the second book. The Descendants also age slower than humans and can live up to 500 years, whilst looking like a normal 80-year old. There are several secret communities hiding in plain sight and they’re governed by The Council, a bunch of corrupt leaders who descended from the original “gods”. Cool? YEAH. Especially the powers. I also love how Jessica Therrien took Greek mythology and melded it into her own story. She used it for inspiration but she made it her own.

3. Cover. Isn’t that GORGEOUS? The cover, that font, the model, the pose, her make-up, everything just looks good. I can’t count how many times I petted my copy. My copy even came with these cloth leaf garland and they’re just so Greek-looking and so pretty. Granted, I somehow don’t get the relation of the cover to the story. Maybe the model’s eyes are closed because they are oppressed? Or she’s not yet aware of all the horror that’s happening? That she needs to wake up and act? That sounds about right.

Three Things That Didn’t Really Work For Me About Oppression


1. Insta-trust and insta-love. Right after they met, Elyse just joins William, trusts this COMPLETE STRANGER and goes with him to wherever. And then they’re already in love. Sigh. I truly don’t like insta-love guys. I sometimes love insta-love when I don’t realize it. Maybe it’s disguised or not so instant. But in here, BOOM. First few chapters and they’re in love. Fine, Elyse lived her life thinking she’s alone, a freak. But does that mean you’ll jump into a relationship right away? Maybe it didn’t help that I’m not a big fan of the characters as well, which is point number 2.

2. Characters. Sadly, I was not invested in Elyse and William and pretty much everyone. My favorite character was Kara because she’s one conflicting character with depth. The characters did not grate on my nerves but I didn’t love them as well. I was indifferent and I was more into knowing all about the Descendants themselves.

3. Loopholes. So the Descendants age slower. So while Elyse looks like an eighteen year-old, she’s secretly eighty plus years old. But why does she acts like a teenager? Why is everyone acting like a teenager when they’re not? I don’t get it and it took me away from fully enjoying this read. It just nagged me while I was reading it though I did my best to put it at the back of my mind.

So that’s about it! I feel bad that I didn’t enjoy Oppression as much as I wanted to, knowing that I love anything Greek and the premise. Plus, Jessica Therrien is such a darling. However, I read tons of reviews of Oppression and they seemed to enjoy it so much. Even those who hate instalove found the romance sizzling and some also found Elyse a strong and relatable character. I guess this is a case of it’s not the book, it’s me but I truly think most readers will enjoy this novel. Oppression successfully established the world of the Children of the Gods series and it has done a wonderful job at it. I’ll be reading the sequel for sure entitled Uprising. I’m excited to see all the scheming and fighting and I definitely want to know more about the Descendants.


About Jessica Therrien

Jessica is a graduate of San Diego State University. She lived in Taiwan for a year where she learned Chinese, but she lives in Chula Vista now, where everyone speaks Spanish instead.

Jessica is currently writing book three in her CHILDREN OF THE GODS series.

Spotlight + Giveaway: Surface by Tiffany Daune

Thank you to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to join the Surface Blitz! Not familiar with Surface by Tiffany Daune? I have the blurb, an excerpt the trailer and two giveaways! Come on and join me!


Surface (Surface #1)

Title: Surface (Surface #1)
Author: Tiffany Daune
Publisher: Noble Young Adult
Date of Publication: February 2013
Genre: paranormal YA

Bound to the water bound to land, a Siren’s soul will never be safe on either side of the ocean’s surface. Hidden beneath the rolling waves lies the secret to Theia’s past and as she unveils each haunting truth, she realizes the last seventeen years of her life have been a lie. Now, drawn into a mysterious new world and with nowhere to turn, Theia must place her trust in Luc, a beautiful boy who stops her heart with each dazzling smile, but even his unearthly charm can’t hide the truth—he has secrets— dark secrets binding him to his world—an underwater world where Theia will never belong—a world determined to destroy her soul.

Purchase from Amazon

Trailer



Excerpt

Theia’s head fell back as soon as she lifted it, her brain pounding with the demons’ shrill cries. She closed her eyes tight, trying to remember what had happened, but all she could see was the perfect, smiling face of the angel, his watery eyes staring back at her.

I must be dead, Theia thought.

But dead people didn’t feel pain. She tried to sit up, but her limbs felt heavy with every movement. She stretched her arm out to her side, and her elbow brushed against something soft. She peeked to her left. Sitting next to her was the angel with an amused, crooked smile on his face.

“Hi,” he said, his eyes soft with concern.

Theia gasped. He was beautiful. Loose waves of golden hair fell around his face in an ethereal halo, and his blue eyes sparkled like sapphires.

Are all angels this hot? She wondered.

He reached for her hand, but she snapped it back.

“Fair enough,” he said, with a cool grin. “I wouldn’t go around holding strangers’ hands either.”

He held out his hand for her to shake, but she tucked hers against her chest.

“I’m Luc,” he said.

Theia flushed. His voice was soft, even soothing, yet somehow beguiling at the same time.

“I really just wanted to check your pulse.” Luc held out his hand again in truce. “You’ve been out for hours—”

“That long?” Theia coughed. Her voice was cracked and hoarse.

“You lost a lot of blood and passed out.” He shook his head. “Those witches should have never touched you.”

His eyes searched Theia’s looking for an answer, but he did not seem to find the answer he was looking for.

“Their reaction was so strange,” he continued. “I don’t know what they were thinking.”

Theia’s pulse quickened as memories flooded back. She remembered the disappearing boat, treading water in the rain, but, most of all, she remembered the freaky demon girls, their vicious cries, and the little girl with a tail who tried to eat her alive.

Hallucinations brought on by hypothermia, Theia thought. But Luc had seen them too.

“What were they?” Theia asked.

Luc laughed. “You must still be out of it. Maybe you should lie back down.”

The room swirled as he lowered her back onto the pillow. Theia tried to focus on his blue eyes, but they seemed to spin like Van Gogh’s twisted stars.

“Your hair is so dark.” He swept his hand across her cheek and past her temple.

Theia held her breath. His touch warmed her down to the tips of her toes. She didn’t dare exhale.

About Tiffany Daune

Tiffany Daune doesn’t get why people want to grow up or why anyone would ever stop eating candy. Her purse is filled with books, lip gloss and a few pieces of Lego bricks. She writes best with a dish of chocolate chips on hand and finds licorice makes a better straw than plastic.

She lives on an island and believes mermaids may be raiding her candy stash, thoughshe hasn’t caught them, yet.

Surface is her first novel and pairs well with gummy sharks.


Giveaway


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Spotlight + Giveaway: In Darkness We Must Abide by Rhiannon Frater

In Darkness We Must Abide: The Complete First Season

Title: In Darkness We Must Abide: The Complete First Season
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Date of Publication: May 24, 2013
Genre: NA modern gothic horror

In Darkness We Must Abide is the epic saga of one young woman caught in the dangerous world of the creatures of the night.

Already living in the shadows due to her albinism, Vanora is just a little girl when her older brother inadvertently unleashes a terrible evil from the family crypt that changes their lives forever.

As she grows up in a world where beautiful deadly beings hunt by night, one captures her eye and her heart. Yet, can she trust the mysterious Armando? For there is a powerful entity plotting to claim her when she reaches adulthood in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy, and her enemy has enveloped her in a web of deceit, casting doubt on all she believes to be true. Soon, she will have to fight not only to save those she loves, but also for her very soul.

Rhiannon Frater delivers a chilling adventure once again with this multi-part epic serial with a dynamic cast, old school vampires, bloody action, a smoldering forbidden love, and a terrifying villain set against the backdrop of a modern day vampire war.

This paperback includes all five episodes of the first season of the serial.


Excerpt

With his presence still sizzling on her skin and his hazel eyes still haunting her thoughts, Vanora pondered the words that Armando had spoken in his silky Spanish accent.

You must go home, he had said.

Hugging herself, she gazed into the darkness surrounding her, wondering if Armando still lingered in the shadows observing her. That he had sought her out both thrilled and terrified her. When she had first seen him standing on the lighted path of her apartment complex, the mere sight of his enigmatic smile had set her heart aflutter. But now that he had slipped back into the darkness, her heart beat with fear.

Could she go back to Houston and face all she had run from? Could she forget the evils she had beheld on her eighteenth birthday? Could she just abandon the life she had meticulously created for herself over the last two years and return to the mansion that was haunted by death and pain?

You must go home.

Armando’s words echoed in her mind.

Vanora lifted a hand to brush away her white-blond hair and turned to face the dark waters of the swimming pool that glimmered in the moonlight.

To go home meant she would at last cast aside her trepidation and face the monsters of her nightmares. Was she strong enough to do so? Was she strong enough to go home and save the ones she loved?

With a surrendering sigh, she admitted to herself that it was time to return to her childhood home. It was difficult to concede, but her reluctance to return was partially because she feared allowing Armando into her life once more. Though the creatures that dwelled in the darkness were terrifying, it was Armando who surely frightened her.

Only he could truly steal away her heart and soul…

About Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) , as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog),and other horror novels. Her next novel for Tor, Dead Spots, will be published in 2014. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dying her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.


Giveaway

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Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up in Flames

Title: How My Summer Went Up in Flames
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date of Publication: May 7, 2013

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

Purchase from Amazon | The Book Depository

Review

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for the eARC I have received for review! As always, this in no way affected my views of the book. All opinions are my own honest ones. So let’s jump on to the review, shall we?

First, the cover. I love how it perfectly fits the novel. I think it’s a definite draw-in especially for readers who love anything with a road trip in it. And the bow-legged stance kind of says “oops”, which what Rosie should definitely be saying after she accidentally set his ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. Plus, all the bursts of color and the cutesy typography screams summer read. “Come buy me buy buy me! I’m fun, light and quick!” is what it’s saying. I love the cover and it’s one of the reasons I picked this novel up. (Yeah, totally not because I got it for review.) Plus, I love roadtrips! In fiction and in reality. So much tension and potential in hours or days spent in a moving vehicle, transcending miles and miles of road. And I never say no to contemporary romances. Never. So on a bus ride home, I started reading this in the hopes of once again, finding another contemporary YA romance gem. Sadly, it didn’t end up a gem for me.

I have read lots of great reviews of How My Summer Went Up in Flames and while I didn’t have high expectations going in (I rarely do that expectation thing with summer reads as it’s safer that way), I still ended up fairly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it enough to finish it and I do know that it’s a me thing. I am part of the minority in this so I truly think most people will enjoy this novel. It is indeed a fun, quick and light read, perfect for the summer or any other vacation break, but sadly, it wasn’t for me. Here’s why.

Most of the people who loved HMSWUIF (it’s getting gruesome to type the whole title) loved the main character Rosie. I didn’t. In fact, I kind of hated her at times. Rosie’s of Hispanic descent and even though it is a stereotype, she speaks her mind up and is full of fire. I like that about her, along with her impulsiveness and rashness. But the lack of brakes of her mouth also comes off as being tactless and sigh, I don’t like that in a character. Moreover, she’s sort of insensitive to other people’s plight. She’s kind of self-centered (definitely self-centered) and whiny too. If you have read my Confessions of An Angry Girl review, nothing grates on my nerves more than a whiny character. However, by the end of the novel, Rosie has certainly matured and her character’s development arc saved the book for me. Of course, I expected as much since no character embarking on a roadtrip does not grow in the end. Still, it was kind of a test in patience. But a lot of people loved Rosie and all her flaws and insecurities so I truly think it’s just me and a bunch of other people who won’t enjoy this book as much.

But Rosie aside, I loved all of the other characters so much. Rosie’s parents, the little of what we saw of her brother (whose name I can’t remember), her girl bestfriend Lilliana, Avery and the boys were all so awesome. Rosie’s family is the usual protective and overbearing but totally just-concerned-for-you family and they’re close. Matty (her younger guy best friend), Spencer (Matty’s friend and Logan’s younger brother) and Logan were great people and characters. They each have their own quirks, insecurities and baggage and it makes for great fodder when I’m kind of hating on Rosie. Spencer was so cute and I just like how geeky he was yet totally aware and mature. Avery is the girl I want to be BFFs with. I had fun reading their interactions and their own subplots.

The actual roadtrip was fun as well! Their trip to Dollywood, to Graceland and to these other places I’m not familiar with. I’m used to roadtrip novels going to some known places and I love how I got a glimpse of these other tourist-y places in USA. I especially love the place they went to where you get to vandalize or spray-paint to these cars (Cadillacs if I remember correctly) positioned like the Stonehenge in the middle of a field. That was cool.

So, lest you think I’m full-on hating Rosie, I’m not. I did like how she started to think things through during the roadtrip and how she was definitely a girl I’d more likely hang out with at the end. I also appreciate how the romance element was not the focus of this novel but Rosie’s imminent maturity and the friendships she formed along the way. I mean, she just broke up with her boyfriend, got served with a restraining order from said ex’s mother and she has a lot of shaping up to do. Jumping right into a relationship wouldn’t have been good. Plus, I like how I didn’t exactly know who to root for with her until the end. Until now. As the romance is not the main focus, the love triangle was a light one but still, it was a triangle alright. It’s a true triangle as well, wherein each guy has a chance. Moreover, I like how the romance was kind of open-ended. No we-will-be-together-forever when it isn’t logical or even believable. Just, you’re-here-I’m-here-we-like-each-other-so-let’s-enjoy-this-reprieve ending.

All in all, I still recommend How My Summer Went Up in Flames as it is a light and quick contemporary YA romance perfect for reading in a beach or while you’re in a roadtrip as well. I’m part of the minority in here so I suggest to still go and try this one as you might enjoy and love it. I’m sure those who love the roadtrip premise will also enjoy this book. If not, you can always grab the book because of it’s cute cover. 😀

About Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

In addition to writing for teens, I’m a freelance writer who has written articles and essays for national publications including, Cosmopolitan. I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer even though I often referred to my college major in English as “PreLaw” because it held the promise that I might actually find work someday.

As it turns out, I did find work. My first paid writing gig was as an editorial assistant for the North Jersey Herald & News, where, in addition to developing a life-long passion for coffee and news, I wrote obituaries for eight months. I’ve also worked as a speech writer, bank teller, ghostwriter, bookkeeper in a lampshade factory, pet shop clerk, and music zine editor.

My debut young adult novel, HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES, will be published by Simon Pulse in May 2013. My second YA novel, FAMOUS LAST WORDS, about a teen obit writer will be published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers in July 2013.

Double Cover Reveal: Picture Perfect & Subject to Change by Alessandra Thomas

Picture Perfect got a redesign and today’s the day of reveal! And the second book in the Picturing Perfect series by Alessandra Thomas, Subject to Change, is also revealing its cover today. Double whammy! Check them out below!


Title: Picture Perfect (Picturing Perfect #1)
Author: Alessandra Thomas
Date of Publication: March 26, 2013

Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes – and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two.

When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn’t there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral – nude modeling for a nearby college’s human form drawing classes.

When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she’s posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she’s ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat’s absolutely smitten.

Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again – confident and beautiful – as long as Nate’s around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he’s just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again.

But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing – this might destroy their relationship before it’s even had a chance to get off the ground.

Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she’ll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin – even if it means leaving him forever.

(This book contains sex and adult language.)

Purchase from Amazon | B&N



Title: Subject to Change (Picturing Perfect #2)
Author: Alessandra Thomas
Date of Publication: June 25, 2013

Joey made her dad a deathbed promise that she would become a doctor, and dedicate herself to fighting the very cancer that took his life. There’s just one problem -three years into her pre-med classes, she’s struggling to stay on top of the curve, let alone prove she’s dazzling enough to earn a spot in an Ivy League medical school. In a Hail Mary move, she throws a basic Business 101 class into her semester schedule, banking on a perfect score to boost her GPA.

That is, until she’s paired for a final project with Hawk, the bartending, motorbike-riding, gorgeously bedheaded loser who falls asleep in class and communicates in one-word sentences.

Hawk does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, which sets Joey on edge – in every possible way. As they get to know each other, her urge to scream at him is curbed only by her fantasies of tearing his clothes off. Soon those fantasies become reality, and Joey realizes Hawk makes her feel more fully herself than any of the rich boys her mother and sorority sisters approve of.

But the promise to her father hangs over her head, and the harder Joey tries to succeed in her chosen career, the faster everything falls into a hopeless tailspin of bad grades, broken promises and guilt. It doesn’t help to have Hawk sitting like a devil on her shoulder, insisting she should be free to live however she wants to live – like he does.

The only thing Joey knows is that her neatly organized life is crushing her – and Hawk’s bad attitude might be the only thing that can save her.

About Alessandra Thomas

Alessandra Thomas is a New Adult writer who swears she was in her twenties yesterday. Since that’s sadly untrue, she spends her time looking back on her college years fondly, and writing sexy stories about guys and girls falling in love and really living life for the first time.

When she’s not writing, you can find her with a spoonful of ice cream in one hand and the newest New Adult release in the other.

Spotlight + Interview + Giveaway: Inspire by Heather Buchine

Thank you to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to join the Inspire Blitz! Not familiar with Inspire? I have the blurb, an interview with author Heather Buchine and a giveaway! Come on and join me!


Inspire

Title: Inspire
Author: Heather Buchine
Date of Publication: March 31, 2013
Genre: contemporary NA romance

18-year old Paige Rice, an exquisite beauty from East Hampton, NY, has just celebrated her high school graduation and is expecting to spend her summer living it up with all her socialite friends. But her parents have a different idea – she is being hauled away-literally- to the mountains of Vermont for the entire summer- in an RV!

Assuming she will be an outcast amongst the other teens at the campground still does not prepare her for the treatment she receives, which is far worse than she imagined. She also isn’t prepared for Travis, the campground owner’s son and the “Sexiest” guy she has ever laid eyes on. Travis is the only one who shows any interest in getting to know Paige. The only problem is that they have to explore what lies between them in secret. But once all the secrets are stripped away, the truth may be crushing.

***Intended for mature audiences due to language and sexual content***

Purchase from Amazon

Interview

Where did the idea for Inspire come from?

I was actually camping with my family when the idea for the story came to me. We had just hiked through the woods down to a lake, and I was staring out at the boats when it hit me. I spent the rest of the afternoon “daydreaming” away.

How did you come up with the name of the title?

My protagonist, Paige, has a tattoo that inspired the title “Inspire.” It’s also a key part of her character.

What was the hardest part of writing Inspire? The easiest?

The hardest part of writing the book was writing the ending. It took a couple of drafts before I was happy with the way I was leaving off. (I’m trying not to give too much away, so I’ll leave it at that.) The easiest part was writing the dialogue between Paige and Travis, and the “LOVE” scenes. They were fun to write!!

Are you working on any other projects?

Yes. At least two of the other characters from this book are getting their own stories, and then there are a couple other projects in the works.

Do you have a specific writing process?

I really consider myself a mix between a panster and a plotter. The first part of my process is visualizing the characters and the main scenes of the book. My mind starts playing them out like a movie, and so I write it down exactly how I see it. Then, I go back and fill in the story around those scenes until I have a book that I would like to jump into. Although I outline my book ahead of time, things always change along the way as I get to know my characters better.

Do you have a certain time of day where you feel most creative?

Honestly, not really. I usually always have a notebook nearby so that I can scribble down things as they come to me. I could be in the shower, in the car, running through the check-out line, or making dinner and something may hit me.

Do you have any favorite authors?

Yes, I have LOTS of favorite authors, but the two that stick out the most are: S.C. Stephens and Abbi Glines. Their stories come to life for me, and I have a thing for their leading men!

What tips or advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

My first tip would be to write what you love! Second, edit, edit and edit some more. And third, if you’re a self-published author, let someone else do your formatting. (Your time saved is so worth the money!)

About Heather Buchine

By no surprise my favorite hobbies are reading and writing. But beyond escaping into the written fantasy world, I love experiencing new things. Surfing, motorcycle riding, snow blading, glass blowing, parasailing, SUP boarding are just a few that I have checked off my bucket list, but there is still so much more to explore. Right now, being a mom is my biggest adventure and the best by far!! In the quiet calm hours of the night though, I can usually be found typing away creating a world of romance where drama still exists but love (hopefully!!) always prevails.


Giveaway

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