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Dead Zone by Robison Wells
Release Date: September 23th, 2014

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Check it out on: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ HarperTeen

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review, Author Interview, and Giveaway: Eleanor by Johnny Worthen


Eleanor by Johnny Worthen
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Genre: Young adult, horror, literary
SynopsisIt was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it. She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless.

Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only friend she’d ever had, the only other person who knows her secret, is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless. 

Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.

Review: Much like the title character, Eleanor is full of contradictions. No, contradictions isn't quite the right word. Let's call it surprises. I didn't really know what to expect from this book. It has all the hallmarks of a mass market YA horror, but comes neatly packaged with an emotional depth that borders on literary.

Eleanor's story begins as a mystery. She's a shy girl who keeps to herself and spends most of her time taking care of her ailing foster mother. From the start, we know there is something not quite right about Eleanor, but this wrongness, this monster, isn't fully articulated for some time. When David, Eleanor's long-lost childhood friend, returns to their small town, all of the darkest parts of Eleanor begin to rise to the surface.

My favorite part of Eleanor is the unflinching way it approached timeless, human themes: loss, friendship, family, and the dark parts inside all of us that we'd rather no one knew about. On the surface, Eleanor is a drop in the YA "paranormance" bucket, but if you take the time to read it, you'll find it is so much more.







An Interview with Johnny Worthen

Kelsy: Johnny, I'd love to show my readers a guest post about the research that goes into a novel. Would you be able to tell us about the research you conducted for Eleanor?
Johnny: ELEANOR and the entire THE UNSEEN series is ultimately a character study of the ultimate outsider. For Eleanor, the main character, my research came in the writing, the exploration of emotion and event, fear, love trust, adolescence, conformity and loss. Survival and debt.

That being said, beyond my own imagination and experience, I had to fix the place of Jamesford Wyoming in my head with so much familiarity that I could walk its streets at night and not get lost.

I knew from the very beginning that after Eleanor, even before Tabitha and David, the places would be major characters in the story.

Jamesford is a fictional town. It is not far from Dubois, Wyoming. I used Dubois as something of a template and had originally intended to use it outright, but it wasn’t quite what I needed. Nevertheless, I researched Dubois for some time, reading its history, events and census. I found a webcam that looked down onto main street and had that playing on my computer for half a year while I wrote. True story. 

The big deal however, was when I poured my family in van and drove there on the way to South Dakota. My family thought we going to Mount Rushmore. That was an excuse to get us to Wyoming, Dubois in particular. Oh, the lonely roads we took to get there. Empty highways stretching for miles between tiny towns and distant farms. Beautiful lonely country. Just as I imagined it.

We stayed a night in Dubois. I found that web cam and stood in front of it and waved like an idiot. If anyone besides me actually watches that, I’m sure they thought I was mad.

Eleanor’s house was the second most important bit of research I did. I searched long and hard for floor-plans of appropriate old homes. When I found it and placed it and put Tabitha within it, Eleanor in the loft it was like coming home.

I dug into legends and myths but mostly for inspiration more than research. I had to incorporate some Navajo language throughout the series, some Shoshone too, so there was that. By the way, there’s infinitely more Navajo related sites than Shoshone on the internet, a testimony to the tribe’s survival. Same with books. The best source I found for Shoshone legends came from a book I bought on the Wind River Reservation on our trip across Wyoming.

I’ve written books that have required more research than ELEANOR (THE UNSEEN), but none so important and long lasting. I know Jamesford and Eleanor’s little house like I grew up there myself. I lived there while I wrote it and visit it frequently in my thoughts.


About the Author

Johnny Worthen graduated with a B.A. in English and Master’s in 
American Studies from the University of Utah. After a series of 
businesses and adventures, including running his own bakery, Worthen 
found himself drawn to the only thing he ever wanted to do—write. And 
write he does. When he’s not pounding on his keyboard or attending 
writers conferences, Worthen spends his time with his wife and two 
boys in Sandy, Utah.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh


The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh

She’s a Democrat, he’s a Republican. She spends her days fighting global warming at an environmental non-profit, he makes his living doing PR for Bell Motors and their fleet of SUVs. But as soon as they meet, Emily Crossley and Robert Drake realize they have encountered their intellectual match. You’re never challenged, he tells her. You’ve surrounded yourself in a cocoon of people who think exactly the same way you do. She hurls the same accusation back at him, and the fiery debates begin. Despite both of their attempts to derail it, there is no denying that they are falling in love. But their relationship is threatened by political differences, Robert’s excessive work hours, and Emily’s fear of losing her identity as she falls deeper in love. Can their love survive? The Drake Equation is a tale of modern love and all its complexities.

~

The Drake Equation is a classic "opposites attract" tale set in the modern world. I am a huge fan of the unlikely romance, and I loved  reading Emily and Robert's repartee. Walsh really hit the nail on the head with many of contemporary issues facing today's couples. The Drake Equation is a quick read, a little over two-hundred fifty pages, and is ideal for those lazy Saturday afternoons when you need some romance to brighten up your life. Four cats to The Drake Equation, it was truly a great read. 



Cover Reveal: Dead Zone by Robison Wells


Dead Zone by Robison Wells
Release Date: September 30th, 2014

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book and I have been looking forward to promoting Dead Zone ever since! I'm so excited I get to talk about it now, and I am loving the cover! If you haven't read Blackout yet, now is the time to do so!

Check it out on: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ HarperTeen

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blog Tour: The Return by Melissa Douthit


The Return by Melissa Douthit

After the fall from the Maaldan cliff, Chalice is reunited with her friends on a journey that takes them to the coastline of Ielieria. Little do Vlaad and his Fierain know what is in store for them as, bit by bit, their plans are thwarted by this blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty.

The small band of rebels then travels across the Realm, preparing it for war, while Chalice herself is brewing plans of her own that may just land her in the hot seat. What will happen when she returns her father to the throne? What will happen when he finds out what she has done? And ... what will happen once Dar'Maalda learns of the rebels' location?

In the third and final novel of the trilogy, The Legend of the Raie'Chaelia, you find out. It is a dramatic finish to an epic story of action, adventure, betrayal, forgiveness and love.

Review

What a stunning, epic fantasy read! I have had the pleasure of reading the entire trilogy over the last several days and I am so impressed with it. My favorite is, by far, The Return. I had my doubts about how much could really be accomplished in the final book, but eveything was tied up rather nicely. I am a big fan of this series, and an even bigger fan of The Return. Douthit has mastefully crafted a lively fantasy tale that engages your imagination.


Praise for Legend of the Raie'Chaelia, Book One:

"Douthit's love of words is apparent and her use of language highly inventive. She has a firm grip on believable dialogue."-Kirkus Reviews

"Lively, fast-paced and satisfyingly complex! Can't wait for the second in the trilogy!"-Diane Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"I really liked this book! If you love adventure books and romance books this is the story for you!!! First off, the romance between Jeremiah and Chalice is super cute! They are really such a good couple. I like how after all the time that they hadn't seen each other they still had feelings for each other. I also loved Buney! He's so cute, he reminds me of a little stuffed animal. As for the adventure, this book is full of it! There are many twists and turns throughout the book that always keeps you wanting more. This is an adventure that will definitely keep you reading with a little romance thrown into the mix also. I can seriously see this as a movie."-Books Ahoy Website

"This was SUCH an epic fantasy. I felt that same "childhood" feeling I've felt while reading countless fantasy books, such as C.S. Lewis' and J.R.R. Tolkein.

This story was so original! Loved everything about it. I fell in love with the characters, the setting was INCREDIBLE, and the background story was so magical. You immediately get pulled in by the mystery and the curious feeling you get that there's more to this story...

I really loved how Douthit described the scenery. I could imagine myself in the "ghost town" which Chalice travels to first, or the Chinuk village that they stay in overnight. Love the detail, you can really feel a part of the journey which Chalice and her friends take.

The Raie'Chaelia is an amazing journey of which one girl, with the help of her friends, finds out about her past. The ending, was AMAZING. God, I really want to find out more now! That was such a big cliffhanger. The Firelight of Maalda, the second book, will be coming out in maybe around October 2011. Can't wait!"- Rabiah, I Live For Reading Website

"I really enjoyed The Raie'Chaelia. I liked both Chalice and Jeremiah. Especially Jeremiah. I'm not really sure why I think so highly of Jeremiah other than he is just a really great guy and an incredibly likable character. Chalice is quite likable too although she did do a couple of things that I thought were a little silly at times. The supporting cast were all very cool too.

The Raie'Chaelia is definitely a really intriguing story and I had a lot of fun reading through it.

I definitely enjoyed reading The Raie'Chaelia and I had a little sneak peak at the next book in the series in the back of The Raie'Chaelia and it definitely looks interesting. I really enjoyed The Raie'Chaelia and I think that any fans of fantasy would definitely enjoy it."-Rebecca, Everything To Do With Books


Praise for The Firelight of Maalda, Raie'Chaelia, Book Two:

"What I really like about these books is the amount of fantasy. It reminds me of (and I know I said this in the review of the first book) childhood fantasy stories, like C.S. Lewis. Completely magical, and Douthit has really created a fantastic world. You don't see that too much in YA these days.

The romance in this book has improved since the last one! Chalice and Jeremiah develop even more from the first book, and I found it really sweet and not-rushed-into at all. The action and thrill of what's to happen next is really amazing too. I had to keep reading to find out what happens next.

I found that the story was great. Lovers of fantasy, with plenty of action, suspense and of course, the blooming romance, will definitely need to pick this one up. A great follow-up from the first book, this one will leave readers hanging on for more. Looking forward to reading book 3!" - Rabiah, I Live For Reading Website

"The Firelight of Maalda: A story that unites the real with the fantastical and turns science into magic. It is a tale of intrigue and wonder where two opposite worlds collide in an explosive journey that leads Chalice and her friends to the dark islands lurking just beyond the horizon of Ielieria, where the Firelight of Maalda sits ... and waits.

This is a YA series for age 13 upwards. Having said that, I'm sure many 'older' readers will enjoy it as much as I did. The story continues the story begun in The RaieChaelia and reveals more of the characters and the wonderful world Melissa Douthit has created. I really enjoyed reading the first book, The Raie Chaelia, as well as the sequel.

This story continues Chalice's journey to fulfil her destiny, and the growing romance between her and Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah knew each other as children, and meet up again at the beginning of The Raie Chaelia. Their friendship has grown into something deeper and in The Firelight of Maalda both characters, but especially Chalice, have grown and matured emotionally and I found it particularly satisfying that their love is not only acknowledged but their sweet romance seems completely natural and uncontrived. There is a touching tenderness between them, they are both strong characters but neither feels complete without the other and their love and respect for each other shines through even when they are not entirely in agreement.

There is a lot more to this story than romance though, there is plenty of action and suspense. There is a large cast of characters, and some of those from the first book make a welcome re-appearance.

The story moves at a fast pace to the nail biting climax and a cliffhanger of an ending - I'm really glad Melissa gave us a taste of the next book to answer at least one of my questions, and I can't wait for the third in the series."- Hywela Lyn Website

"After reading The Raie'Chaelia last year I was so excited to be able to read the second book, The Firelight of Maalda. Needless to say, I loved The Firelight of Maalda just as much as I loved The Raie'Chaelia.

The story was really good and I had a lot of fun learning more about the world and the goings on. There were the highs and lows in the book and I was really excited to see the return of some really awesome characters from the first book.
Then there was the ending. Oh my goodness! I don't want to spoil anything but can I just say, that is one huge cliffhanger. UGH! Can I have the next book now please?

I absolutely love The Firelight of Maalda and the entire Raie'Chaelia series. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy story and I know I definitely can't wait to continue the series."- Rebecca, Everything To Do With Books


About Melissa Douhit:

Melissa Douthit grew up in North County of San Diego, California. After graduating with a Computer Science degree in Southern California, and working for a summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico, she moved to the Bay Area to work at NASA Ames Research Center for a year and then at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for another four years. From there, she moved to Monterey, California, to work at the Naval Postgraduate School on a government project for two years.

She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, working as a software engineer. Since high school, she has been a voracious reader of books of all genres, with an emphasis in fantasy and science fiction. Her literary work is strongly influenced by her professional experience and includes many elements of her scientific background.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Bargained-For Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure Blog Tour

bargained tour


a bargained

A Bargained-For Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure (Novella)

Excerpt “You’re the sweetest girl in Mourning Dove Creek, you know?” Jack mumbled as he paused in kissing Jilly a moment. Jilly smiled. “And you’re the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek, you know,” she flirted in return. Jack smiled. “I do know,” he said. Jilly giggled. Jack Taylor was so predictable—and a little conceited. He really did think he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove—and he was, for the most part. Secretly, however, if Jilly ever allowed herself to be completely honest about it (which she tried to avoid), there was one other man in Mourning Dove who always crossed her mind when the subject of the handsomest man in town arose. Yet there was no lingering on thinking of that man—no sirree! Not for a moment! Not for any reason—ever. And so Jilly just kept telling Jack that he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek. Besides, it was almost true—being that the other man lived outside of town and not right in town the way Jack did.


Review

I am really beginning to adore Marcia's books. Her writing style is so evocative and I love that you can count on her books to end on a happy note. A Bargained-For Bride is no exception. Seriously, if you are a fan of well-written romance then you need to pick up Marcia's books. Period.  


  marcia

Author Marcia Lynn McClure Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.” Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.
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Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/12/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blog Tour: Battle for Arcanon Major by Alexandra May


dacome


Dark Future

The Battle for Arcanon Major 

 “As daughter of our ruler I grew up in the crossfire of an ongoing war... All I’d ever wanted to be was a great warrior and ultimately lead my people into victorious battles." With only a small army at her command Halíka Dacomé, a skilled warrior and daughter of the Elemental King, is ready to lead one final battle to save her planet. A battle against the savage, bloodthirsty Primords who want to extinguish the diminished race of Elementals once and for all. But before battle commences her father is given an ultimatum from the enemy leader, Arfron Uhnok. If the king agrees, Halíka Dacomé must marry Arfron Uhnok to prevent further bloodshed. If the king disagrees they, as a race, will all perish. Horrified by her fathers decision Halíka Dacomé leads her army onward regardless of the consequences. Because her heart belongs to another. A love that blossomed many years ago. A love that her father has forbidden. Halíka faces her toughest battle yet and learns that not all battles are those fought with a sword... The Battle for Arcanon Major is an epic love story set against the backdrop of war and is the first Prequel to Elemental: The First.

amazon blog Barnes and Noble Kobo Smashwords

Praise: "Excellent story. Plot line is great, definitely 2 thumbs up. Couldn't put it down, easy read, excellent prequel to the elemental. Would definitely recommend Alexandra May!!" "Amazing story had my attention the entire story it is hard to find a book like this, I definitely give it 5 stars." "Excellent short story. Plot line is great, definitely 2 thumbs up. Couldn't put it down, an easy read. Would definitely recommend Alexandra May!!"

Review: May does a lot in just 162 pages. This a short, intense read that I didn't want to put down. The plot was fast-paced and the characterization was top notch. I didn't realize this was a prequel novel when I read it; it stands strongly on its own. For those looking for a short, well-written read I highly recommend Battle for Arcanon Major.






  alexandra

Alexandra May Alexandra May is an English author of three books, bringing together the epic saga of Halíka Dacomé and her modern day equivalent, Rose Frost. Elemental: The First, Elemental: Origin and The Battle for Arcanon Major draw in Alexandra's love of strong women characters, sci-fi, history, romance and a little warmongering on the side!  


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  Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/13/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway    

 Excerpt 

I ducked my head in through the doorway and stood on the metal grills of the sub-chamber floor. The dark anti-room was empty, but a thumping of steps overhead told me he was on his way down.

The shaft that housed the elevator stood empty, and the transparent security doors remained locked.

I waited for what seemed an eternity, rechecking my hands and nails, absently wiping off the crusty, dried blood.

Why hadn’t I stopped along the way to wash my hands or at least brush my hair? He would hate me for looking such a ragged mess, wouldn’t he?

At last the elevator glided downwards to its soft dock. I jumped when it omitted a hiss on landing, a small cloud of steam rising from underneath that coincided with the doors opening.

Then there he was, just an outline at first until he stepped out of the chamber and into the light. Clothed in fine, dark blue battledress, shirt tied at the side, and combatant trousers, his long, black hair shining like a halo, he looked as wondrously, masculinely beautiful as the last day I saw him.

“Nerído Xipilé,” I bowed, watching him return the royal formality.

He walked lightly forward and stopped to fold his arms across his chest. My gaze took in his blue eyes, the pale skin that stretched across his sharp cheekbones and strong jaw to his soft, red lips. His face was so striking, it was hard to break away my gaze.

“So, how was your day? Do anything special?” he mocked me with a half grin.

I scoffed and went along with him. “Of course, sir. We fought a great battle and were within hours of victory. Your arrival just shortened our timeline,” I jested back.

He hadn’t moved. We still had strides of space between us. Despite our pleasantries, my heart pounded faster just being near him again. I could feel his emotions, troubled and concerned, because of the royal connection that bound us, but now I was unsure what direction this conversation would take. Was he revolted by me? Had he had a change of heart since last year? I couldn’t tell. He masked his feelings cleverly. Something I usually excelled at uncovering.

“Hal, I think you have bits of Primord in your hair,” he shuffled his fingers in gesture to my head.

I reached up automatically and grabbed at strands of my loose red locks in horror. “I do? Oh, that’s nasty!” I muttered, gulping quickly, humiliated as I pulled small pieces of fabric and other unmentionables from my knotted hair.

“And you look … bloody.” Still, he hadn’t moved. He thought me repulsive, I knew it.

I laughed. “Well, be thankful the blood isn’t mine.”

“You look a mess, Halíka,” he said with the sincerest, tenderest softness.

My chin quivered as he spoke the last words, forcing me to look away. Did this mean …? I couldn’t think any more. Battle-weary and sore, I fought the urge to bite my lip, knowing it was covered with blood that wasn’t my own. A small tear crept into my eye as the exhaustion of the day finally hit home. So much for keeping a grip on my tough emotions. What was it about Nerí that brought out my insecurities? He’d worn me down with one solitary sentence.

I suddenly felt drained.

He sensed it, as I knew he would. He rushed forward to wrap me in his arms, crushing me closer into his chest and dipping his head down against mine. Like a protective barrier and the safest place I had ever been.

He kissed my head. “But you are still the most beautiful woman I have ever laid my eyes upon.”

“I missed you, so much,” I croaked into his blue tunic.

“I missed you too, Halíka,” he answered and soothed my hair, sending happy chills down my neck.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Egypt Rising Blog Tour

egypt rising tour


egypt rising

Egypt Rising

Some ancient secrets should remain buried. An American teenager in Cairo finds herself in the middle of the Egyptian revolution fleeing militant Islamic extremists. She leads her worst enemy and the boy she thinks about much too often on the adventure of a lifetime. When she discovers an ancient artifact that was buried for thousands of years, she learns that very powerful people will stop at nothing, including murder, to learn the secrets of a long-dead civilization.


Review

There are not a lot of contemporary YA thrillers out there of this caliber. I found Schatt's narrative to be compelling and believable. He masterfully wove Egyptian history into this thrilling modern day story. I would call Egypt Rising a young adult, Egyptian Dan Brown novel. It is an Angels and Demons for the younger generations. Yes, its that good.

Praise for Egypt Rising

 From the first page, and quite possibly the first sentence, I was hooked on this refreshingly different YA read that is suitable and enjoyable for all ages! ~Dii


  stan

Author Stan Schatt Stan Schatt has written thirty books on a wide variety of topics including a chapter book for children, a YA novel, biographies of Michael Connelly and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and books on technology and career changing. His love for teaching is reflected in outstanding teaching awards he received from the University of Southern California and DeVry Institute of Technology. Rather than having one career, Schatt has had several. He has worked as an autopsy assistant, an English professor, a software trainer, a law enforcement administrator, a market research executive, and a sales manager.

  Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/4/13   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway