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The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
India Morgan Phelps-Imp to her friends-is schizophrenic. Struggling with her perceptions of reality, Imp must uncover the truth about her encounters with creatures out of myth-or from something far, far stranger...

Goodreads Summary

India is schizophrenic and the reader will know her as Imp in the novel.  She has a distinct and intriguing personality that a reader will either like instinctively or have a hard time connecting to. The story is told from her perspective in the first person, making it easier for the reader to get to know her.  Imp will inform the reader of the "family curse" that seems to strike random females within her family tree.  The reader will enjoy getting the facts on Imp's background and past.  Imp is one of the rare characters who holds nothing back.  She will reveal all to the reader, almost to the point where the reader wants her to stop.  Her thoughts seem to run together fluidly, but with no real transitions.  Although the reader could almost get confused, the author keeps the stories and histories from blending together. 

The reader will enjoy meeting Imp's unique love interest.  In a way, she keeps Imp stable...or as stable as possible.  Her character is interesting and will likely appeal to the reader.  When an surprise comes in and interrupts their somewhat idyllic world, the reader will be both surprised at the twists and turns in the plot and have a hard time putting this book down.  Imp's world could be considered zany, but she seems to enjoy it at times.  The reader will become accustomed to Imp's world and maybe even begin to enjoy it.  The vivid emotions and shocking revelations will keep the reader on his/her toes.  Imp's unusual world will captivate the reader with its sudden imaginings and off-the-wall conclusions.  Overall, this book is worth a second look on Goodreads or Amazon and recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

Find this book:
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Stone Relics by Katy Walters Guest Post and Giveaway!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
One of my favourite characters in Stone Relics is Dr Lucy Roberts.
I have put up a short pitch of the book so that I can then explain one of my favourite characters. They do say to write about what you know. Sometimes that can be true. I was a psychologist and hypnotherapist for so many years and delight in drawing upon facets of my work for the books.
Pitch for Stone Relics.
It's 2065 and Ben Tobin Super Cop is an enigma, his true identity known only to the few. Working as an undercover agent for MI8, Ben is monitored by a secret organization buried in the bowels of Whitehall.
He heads an investigation into the gruesome deaths of young women left with putrefying snakes covering their bodies an ancient stone relic of a Prehistoric Snake-Bird Goddess relic wedged at their feet. Other young women are abducted chosen to become sacred prostitutes to a prehistoric Goddess.
Ben suspects this is the work of a sinister cult. They take victims from London, France, Germany and America.
At the start of the investigation, to his horror Ben develops a crippling phobia of snakes threatening the investigation, his job, his life. Desperate, he turns to a psycho-neurologist, a titian haired beauty. Because she is a rebel she is unlikely report him to MI8. Reluctantly she agrees to help him, only to be drawn into a love relationship fraught with danger.

Lucy’s character draws upon Past Lives as part of her therapy practice. Part of my work also involved Past Lives. This is such a fascinating subject and one i still find exciting. I am not sure I believe in it as there is no proof but part of the book is based on a past life or lives really. Lucy is not just a prop for Ben as love interest, she is the catalyst for Ben discovering things about himself and about the crime he is investigating. It is through her that we find out about Ben’s history, his flaws, assets, likes, dislikes and emotions. I have always been fascinated with Past Lives. It is not something that I could not say i believe in and there is no proof really. Lots of stories especially from India about reincarnation and memories of past incarnations but nothing really concrete about Europeans. However, it is so intriguing and one that I used regularly for people with severe problems.
A past life can act as a symbol, a covering from a trauma so traumatic that it is intolerable for the mind to bear. So as Lucy explains to Ben, our brains are really clever and develop a counter anxiety often in the form of a phobia. As the person is coping with the phobia they do not have to face the true cause of the panic attacks. It is through Lucy’s therapy that the plot and the symbolism of the sinister cult unfold. Their ensuing love affair is tempestuous, romantic and quite sexy at times. This too holds secrets about Ben and Lucy, that only their affair can reveal.
Lucy is a beautiful woman, with amber eyes and titian hair, but she has flaws, one being an inner insecurity hidden well below her steely exterior. She is also a sincere and warm sympathetic character but can also be feisty when confronted. Ben at first is surprised saying, ‘She is a mean as her cat.’ But for all that Lucy is what he needs a fighter, someone who will believe in him, someone who will go the last mile for him.

Find and follow Katy Walters on:

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*Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win one print copy of the Stone Relics! USA/CAN please*

The Weeping by O'Dell Hutchison Review and Guest Post

Twenty years ago, Catherine Whitley was the victim of a horrible crime. Betrayed by her friends, including the boy she loved, she was left to die when the Rock Harbor Opera House caught fire, taking a disturbing secret with her to her grave.

Seventeen-year-old Heath Ingram was driving the night his Jeep careened off the road, killing three of his closest friends. Once a popular, outgoing athlete, Heath now suffers from severe depression and crippling anxiety. His parents decide to send him to stay with his uncle in Rock Harbor, Oregon for the summer, praying that by getting away he will be able to put this awful tragedy behind him.

When Heath starts working at the newly renovated Rock Harbor Opera House, he meets Molly, a young dancer who awakens in him a desire to start over and move on. But, when he begins having visions of a half-burned girl in a white dress, he starts to think he may be slipping even further over the edge.

As the apparent hauntings become more intense, Heath begins to fear for his safety. With the help of his friend Josie, Heath discovers an unsettling secret that ties the mysterious girl to both their families. When two of their friends die unexpectedly, Josie and Heath realize that something, or someone, is after the children of those who wronged Catherine, and they are next.

Goodreads Summary

This novel reads like a well-written horror story.  The reader will be instantly captivated by the very first chapter in the book, where a young girl cries out for her boyfriend only to suffer a terrible fate.  Heath, the main character, is no stranger to loss.  He believes himself to be the killer of three of his friends, their deaths due to an unfortunate accident.  His parents figure that the best way to remove the problem would be to remove the boy from all objects, areas, and people that will continually remind him of the accident.  Heath is sent to live with his uncle.  There, he is distracted, but not in the way his parents imagined.

Heath's character is sympathetic; the reader will feel bad for him and his part in the early demise of his friends, that memory will always be tough to live with.  Although Heath can be grumpy and sullen, he still makes for an interesting main character and one a reader can connect to.  When Josie appears in Heath's life, the reader may decide what he/she thinks of her.  She can be annoying, but she appears genuinely interested in Heath-but for what reason?  Molly is more of the love interest; she is viewed as kind, intelligent, and quiet.  Catherine, the ghost of the girl mentioned in the very first portion of the book, has every right to be angry.  Her story develops over the course of the novel and the reader will be drawn to her story and the obvious feelings of love, hate, and hope she emits to the reader.  The other characters round out the novel, but they do not affect the novel as much as the ones mentioned above.

The events of this novel are fast-paced and the undertone of the book is eerie, perfect for this story.  Heath leads the reader through the novel with Catherine filling in the gaps.  The reader will not expect the twists and surprises in this book, nothing is very predictable.  The ending will both surprise and satisfy the reader.  Young adult/teen readers should take a look at this book!

4 Stars

Find this novel:
Barnes and Noble

A haunting we will go...

I have a very overactive imagination, especially when I’m scared. It really kicks into high gear when I’m lying in bed at night. I can easily take a small thump, which is more than likely something harmless such as the refrigerator kicking on, or the house settling, and turn it into a full-fledged zombie attack in a matter of seconds. As I lie frozen in my bed, I’ll quickly run through my plan of attack:

Grab the old wooden rocking chair in my room and smash it to pieces against the wall.
Take one of the wooden legs and use it as a weapon.
Run to the living room, wielding said wooden sword and grab my keys, phone and dog.
Fight off the zombie who managed to break in through the window.
Barely make it to the garage, open the door and prepare for the horde of undead waiting to eat my brains.
Start the car (praying it actually does start), then plow my trusty Nissan backward, mowing over the flesh-eating monsters trying to get to me.
Flee to safety.

Once I have my plan, I eventually fall asleep, surrendering myself to a barrage of crazy dreams.

About five years ago, I was at a local theatre painting the set for a show I was directing. It was over the Christmas holiday and my entire crew was out of town. It was the perfect time for me to get the painting done without any distractions. I locked all the doors, turned on the stage lights so I could make sure the woodgrain effect had the proper shadowing, and set to work.

About an hour later, as I stood on the ladder painting away, I heard what sounded like footsteps walking up the stairs to the tech booth. I glanced up and thought I saw someone walking through the booth. I called out, asking if anyone was there, but received no answer. A few seconds later, the stage lights went out. Luckily, I still had the work lights for the stage, so I wasn’t totally left in the dark.

I climbed down from the ladder and walked out to the lobby, my mind racing with who it could possibly be. It was well after midnight, and very unlikely that anyone other than my stupid self would be at the theatre that late. The doors were locked and firmly closed and all the lobby lights off, just as I’d left it. I walked up to the booth, calling out for someone, but no one answered.

I walked into the booth, checking both spot lofts and found no one up there. I turned the lights back on and went down to finish painting.

No sooner had I climbed the ladder when the footsteps came back. This time I glanced up to see the shape of a man standing in one of the spot lofts watching me. The stage lights were so bright I couldn’t see who it was. I climbed down from the ladder, shielding my eyes and walked to the edge of the stage. I was both a little freaked out and a little pissed that someone was messing with me. When I got to the edge of the stage, the figure was gone.

I decided I was done for the night, and walked back to put the lid on the paint can when suddenly, all the lights went out - stage lights, work lights - everything. Thankfully, I had a small light on my keychain to help guide me out of the theatre.

Since that night, I’ve had other encounters. One night, several of my crew members for another show I’d directed claimed to see a man standing in the second floor scene shop watching them during the show.

During a sold-out performance of yet another show I’d directed, I went upstairs to watch the show from the spot loft. I was up there alone, but after the show, several of my cast members asked me who was in the loft with me. I insisted that I was there alone, but they all claimed someone was standing behind me.

My logical self has many explanations for what could have happened on those occasions: The power went out the night I was painting and the thumping noises I heard were probably just the ice machine or the building settling. My crew probably just saw a piece of wood in the shape of a man standing in the scene shop, or maybe a homeless person wandered in and got lost (It could happen). Whatever the case may be, I had plenty of inspiration for “The Weeping”. Thanks to my overactive imagination, and maybe even a little help from a wandering soul, I was able to take all of these events and mold them into a tale that combines two things I love the most: Ghost stories and theatre.

Have you ever had a close encounter with a ghost? I’d love to hear about it.

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

PrintRunner Giveaway!

Monday, February 27, 2012
If you're the type of person who needs to print out postcards, bookmarks, stickers, calendars, etc...PrintRunner may be the perfect website for you with its quality online printing.  This giveaway will concern the stickers.  If you haven't heard of custom sticker printing before, check out PrintRunner's Sticker page.  The stickers are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.  You choose how many you want to print and simply upload the picture you would want to use. 

Details of the giveaway prize:      Stickers
                        Sticker Shape           :       Standard Stickers
                        Flat Width                :       2"
                        Flat Height               :       3.5"
                        Quantity                   :       250
                        Paper                        :       Premium Sticker Stock
                        Colors                      :       Full Color ( 4 Color Process), Black and White
                        Proof                        :       NONE
                        Ready to Ship In      :       3 Business Days
                *Giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 years old and above.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.  Thank you to PrintRunner for providing us this giveaway, I will receive a set of stickers for hosting this.

Beth Aldrich Guest Post!

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Congratulations, you've garnered a book deal with a major publisher and you've written the book; but that's just half the work. The most challenging work is about to begin. Most writers do just that, they write; but with today's competitive book market, good writing is only half the battle. Nowadays, writers are encouraged to be active in social media and other forms of marketing so they can ramp up their book's presence-to stand out on the bookshelves and increase sales.
When I began my book journey two years ago, little did I know that I'd be embarking on the ride of my life. With 12-hour work days, writing the book and "getting the word out" about my book in any way I could. Knowing that I would be responsible for my own "tour" expenses, I decided to build my presence in social media as a way to reach my target audience of busy moms, so that the sponsorship money I raised would be best spent traveling to book tour events. Knowing that many moms like to connect online through social media, I began making connections and generating useful and trustworthy content to build my following. Nothing good comes easy and it's been a daily challenge to garner followers (legitimately) who appreciate and value my content. Through my networking and connections I decided to partner with,, a popular moms online social media community filled with articles, content and great mom networking. With the power of social media, we created a book launch virtual party and contest with over 100 moms bloggers who participated. I acquired book tour sponsors who donated prizes for our contest so that all participants would have incentive to be a part of the fun and excitement. I love to get involved with contests and communities and I wanted to create that for the moms who took the time to be a part of this special project; within weeks of my book's launch, there were thoughtful blog posts about my book, spanning the internet, from real moms-the demographic I was hoping to tap. Word spread like wildfire and on my book's launch day, and the throughout the month that followed, my book was a best seller in two categories on Amazon. The mom bloggers agreed to Tweet, FB and share their blog posts and in exchange, we offered sponsored goodie boxes of book-inspired products (all garnered from months of product partnering sponsorship deals), exposure on our blog and cross promotion through social media. We had a multi-prize drawing the night before the book launched, and announced winners via a private newsletter designated just for the participating bloggers. All-in-all, it was a successful book launch, thanks primarily, to the hard work and support of the mom bloggers in our book tour contest, social media and my tenacity to get the word out.
When people ask me, "How did you know what to do to promote your book?" I always tell them that I networked with other authors, researched what other author have done in the past and trusted my judgement. I know that I love prizes, so I spent weeks and weeks, acquiring products that I knew I'd love to receive as a participation gift goodie box. I also understand the power of communication, so I interacted with the registered participants regularly, sharing all of the steps of my book tour publication, along the way. I often connected with the moms on Twitter, through Twitter parties (where we had, yes, more prizes), and on Facebook. I made sure I was following everyone that was following me on social media and I always tried to re-tweet their tweets, etc. With consideration and on-going communication, relationships were built with new mom friends throughout the process. The folks at were so supportive, offering advice and ideas, making the launch everything that I hoped it would be. Some of the mom bloggers even agreed to help me host in-person parties in their cities, making my ground tour a huge success. We used the power of social media to get the word out about our on-location book events, which helped raise attendance and bring more awareness to my book's brand.
Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight and Feel Fabulous (Penguin Books, NAL, January, 2012), had a fantastic launch and I can certainly say that the power of social media helped contribute to it's kick off success.
To find out more about Beth and her book, visit,; her book is available where ever books are sold, or online at ( and

Autographed Copy of Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles!!! GIVEAWAY :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An autographed copy courtesy of Simone Elkeles herself is up for grabs-be excited people!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ARC Tour for Of Poseidon by Anna Banks!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.

What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.

Goodreads Summary

Every blogger who joins in on this tour will sign the ARC and the ARC will be returned to the author, thank you very much for your interest!  Please leave your email and blog name below in the comments to join. 

Can't Wait For Embrace by Jessica Shirvington?

“Shirvington’s debut is smart, edgy and addictive—and sure to leave readers clamoring for the rest of the series.” — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED

 “One of the best YA novels we've seen in a while. Get ready for a confident, kick butt, well-defined heroine.” — RT Book Reviews 

“This absorbing debut, the first in a series, features an appealing, well-written protagonist; diversely drawn characters; intricate . . . mythology; and an exploration of free will versus destiny.” — Booklist

 “Fans of romantic fantasy with a paranormal twist will find Violet and her adventures captivating.” — VOYA 

Want to watch Violet Eden's story from the beginning?  Check out Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life: !

Witchful Thinking by H.P. Mallory Videos!

From H. P. Mallory—the exciting author of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble—comes her new paranormal romance featuring the sassy, self-deprecating witch Jolie Wilkins.

Jolie thinks she’s seen it all, but life continues to spring surprises. The latest shocker? She’s just been crowned Queen of the Underworld. Jolie may possess a rare gift for reanimating the dead, but she doesn’t know the first thing about governing disparatefactions of supernatural creatures. She can barely maintain order in her own chaotic personal life, which is heading into a romantic tailspin.
First there’s sexy warlock Rand, the love of her life, from whom Jolie is hiding a devastating secret. Then there’s Sinjin, a darkly seductive vampire and Jolie’s sworn protector—though others suspect he harbors ulterior motives. As the two polar opposite yetmagnetic men vie for Jolie’s affection, she must keep her wits about her to balance affairs of state and affairs of her heart. Overwhelmed, under pressure, and longing for love, Jolie decides it’s time to take charge—and show everyone that this queen won’ttake jack.

Something Witchy This Way Comes on sale 7/31

The Witch Is Back on sale 9/25




Ever Heard of the Frugal Dad Website?

The site's name mainly speaks for itself.  The website was created by a dad looking to portray and promote a conservative outlook on finances.  In the "About" tab, viewers may read the site creator's whole story and just why he thought creating and maintaining this website was worth it.  His reasons are very clearly laid out and fun to read through.  The reader will most likely find him/herself relating to at least one of the situations the Frugal Dad describes.  Although many of the what the Frugal Dad states may not be "new or surprising,"  they are all facts that apply to finances and most likely the viewer's finances directly.  The statements may seem simple enough when stated one at a time, but it is rare that all of them are employed successfully.  If interested, a reader is also able to look at some of the websites/publications that have featured the Frugal Dad.  The site is easy to navigate;  there are 6 tabs clearly labeled at the top of the page.  A viewer with specific questions may leave a comment on a blog post or contact the site creator himself. 

Viewers who happen to be college students should read the "Scholarship" tab, where they will learn that they might have a chance at a scholarship for their education.  This tab is another example of how Frugal Dad ties in his beliefs to his actions.  For more information regarding the "Scholarships" tab, the student or parent should directly email the Frugal Dad.  The "Archives" section is separated by the month and year.  Browsers will find plenty of different articles to read through on certain subjects-the titles are very clear and up-to-date. 

The "Coupon Codes & Deals" tab provides a myriad of different Internet locations to find the perfect coupons.  The Frugal Dad even provides a warning, however, to make sure that one is not buying an object just to use the coupon.  The coupons are separated out and placed under applicable tags such as Department Stores, Personal Finance, Shoes, etc...  It is easy to find what one might have thought of as a "hard-to-find" coupon.  The site stresses the importance of being as frugal as possible and only spending on the necessities.  The "Coupon Codes & Deals" tab also includes some helpful information about certain stores and certain offers that one might not have known about before.  Find discounts at!

The Qur'an Dilemma (English Volume 1) Analyzed by: former Muslims

Monday, February 20, 2012
This is the most beautiful book I’ve read in years.  The quality of the pages: paper, color, print, and decorative art draw the reader into the text.  The organization of the book helps the reader to understand this difficult analysis writing with color coding and a pronunciation guide.  The Preface gives a Guide to Reading the Book which leads you to a “key” before reading Part I.  As with any ancient text written in a language other than your own, you rely on translations.  The authors, in the “key”, discuss the reliability of non-Arabic Qur'ans.  This very thorough analysis refers to 3 different translations and discusses whether, in the author’s opinions, the translation truly relates the intent of the original. 

While this book could probably be an excellent analytical source for those who would seriously study world religions, many of us are probably reading The Qur'an Dilemma just to gain an understanding of a religion other than our own.  This text is almost too in-depth for a casually interested reader; however, the analysis is so organized and well-planned that all readers will find they gain some knowledge and understanding after reading it.

Young and mature adults will enjoy the text and may gain new insight into Islam’s Holiest Book.  The text could probably motivate readers to search for more information about Islam or other world religions.

Four Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Cover Reveal!

Mimics of Rune #2
by Aimee Laine
Release Date: September 3, 2012
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Paranormal Romance, Shape-shifter
Back of the Book
Face the past or look to the future? Both will hurt. One could kill her.
All her life, Lily Crane has supressed her childhood memories, masking the signs of abuse with a variety of looks. From brunette to blonde, tall to short — as a Mimic, changing shape is her gift. Her right. Her achilles heel.
It’s Lily’s latest likeness, chosen simply by accident, which threatens to repeat a history she’s desperate to forget. Worse, she must do so without the one man who takes all her pain away: Cael Aldridge.
Cael has no intention of leaving Lily on her own. He never has. Now, with the woman he loves in the hands of a predator who wants Lily for her genetics, Cael will do everything he can to bring her home.
He can only pray he isn’t too late.


Sunday, February 19, 2012
Buy this book: -- on sale, 2/28/2012

Witchful Thinking: A Jolie Wilkins Novel by H. P. Mallory (Free Excerpt)

Jolie thinks she’s seen it all, but life continues to spring surprises. The latest shocker? She’s just been crowned Queen of the Underworld. Jolie may possess a rare gift for reanimating the dead, but she doesn’t know the first thing about governingdisparate factions of supernatural creatures. She can barely maintain order in her own chaotic personal life, which is heading into a romantic tailspin.

First there’s sexy warlock Rand, the love of her life, from whom Jolie is hiding a devastating secret. Then there’s Sinjin, a darkly seductive vampire and Jolie’s sworn protector—though others suspect he harbors ulterior motives. As the two polar opposite yetmagnetic men vie for Jolie’s affection, she must keep her wits about her to balance affairs of state and affairs of her heart. Overwhelmed, under pressure, and longing for love, Jolie decides it’s time to take charge—and show everyone that this queen won’ttake jack.


Saturday, February 18, 2012
New York, Thursday, February 16, 2012¾Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers announced today plans to publish Life’s a Witch by Brittany Geragotelis. This young adult paranormal novel follows the life of Hadley Bishop, a descendant of one of the women executed in the Salem witch trials. Geragotelis originally self-published the book on Wattpad as a free serial e-novel, where it has already gotten over 18 million reads. She also published a CreateSpace/Amazon paperback edition, which was print-on-demand. The book is slated to be released in Fall 2013 and will be edited by Books for Young Readers Senior Editor Alexandra Cooper. The deal was brokered by Justin Chanda, Vice President and Publisher, with Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, and Simon & Schuster has North American and audio rights to the book.  

Simon & Schuster will also publish a prequel to Life’s a Witch in the form of three e-book installments in Fall 2012. The prequel title is What the Spell? The launch date for the first installment of this original e-book will be September 4, 2012. The prequel centers on Brooklyn Sparks, a witch who has just come into her powers, which revolve around matters of the heart, sort of like a magical Cupid. She quickly begins to abuse her powers to gain popularity and win the guy she likes, Asher—whom she finds out is also a witch. Fans of Life’s a Witch will see Asher’s backstory revealed in this prequel, while new readers will be introduced to the world of witchcraft that Geragotelis has imagined. Simon & Schuster will follow up by publishing this prequel as a book in December 2012. Then Life’s a Witch will be relaunched in Fall 2013, and the sequel to Life’s a Witch will be published in Fall 2014.     

Author Brittany Geragotelis was managing editor of American Cheerleader magazine before publishing her book on Wattpad and CreateSpace. She also runs a book blog called Brittany the Book Slayer. Despite the book’s popularity on Wattpad, Brittany was having trouble finding a traditional publisher until PW Daily ran a story on her decision to self-publish Life’s a Witch and the enthusiastic fan reactions to it.

“It's hard to argue with 18 million Wattpad reads," says Justin Chanda, Vice President and Publisher. "But the truth is that it was the strength of Brittany's writing, these wonderful characters she's created that convinced us—here is someone we want to be working with!”

“I'm incredibly thrilled to be teaming up with Simon & Schuster on the re-launching of the Life's a Witch brand,” says Geragotelis. “I'm drawn to how far they'll go to create a great new series and love that they're not afraid to break the rules and try something new. With their guidance, and my loyal fan base behind me, I know we're about to do something magical.”

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, one of the leading children’s book publishers in the world, is comprised of the following imprints: Aladdin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Beach Lane Books, Libros para niños, Little Simon®, Little Simon Inspirations™, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon Pulse, and Simon Spotlight®. While maintaining an extensive award-winning backlist, the division continues to publish acclaimed and bestselling books for children of all ages. In addition to numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners, Simon & Schuster publishes such high-profile properties and series as Eloise, Olivia, Raggedy Ann & Andy™, Henry & Mudge®, The Hardy Boys®, Nancy Drew®, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Nickelodeon’s® Dora the Explorer®, and SpongeBob SquarePants. For more information about Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, visit our website at

Simon & Schuster, a part of the CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at

Sweeter Than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliot

"Music offers Kate sweet refuge from her troubles...but real freedom is sweeter."
In Westerville, Ohio, 1855, " "Kate Winter's dreams are almost within reach. As the first woman to graduate from Otterbein College, she'll be guaranteed her deepest wish: escape from the dark secret haunting her family. But with her mother determined to marry her off to a wealthy man, Kate must face reality. She has to run. Now. And she has the perfect plan. Join the upcoming musical performance--and use it to mask her flight.
Ben Hanby, Otterbein College's musical genius, sees Kate Winter as an enigmatic creature, notable for her beauty, yet painfully shy. Then he hears her sing-and the glory of her voice moves him as never before. He determines to cast her in his musical and uncover the mystery that is Kate. Still, he must keep his own secret to himself. Not even this intriguing woman can know that his passionate faith is driving him to aid fugitives on the Underground Railroad.
A terrifying accident brings Kate and Ben together, but threatens to shatter both their secrets and their dreams. Kate can no longer deny the need to find her courage-and her voice-if she is to sing a new song for their future.
"Sweeter than Birdsong" is a stirring novel of hope and faith inspired by real historical people and events.

Goodreads Summary

Kate is not a woman who gives in to her family's demands for marriage.  She has recently graduated from college and is very proud of her hard work and degree.  In order to achieve her dreams, she must decide whether she should run from her family and try her own luck or stay and marry at a young age.   The reader will be rooting for Kate throughout the book.

Kate's character was likable and easy to connect to.  The reader will enjoy her passion for learning and success, she isn't cut from the same cloth as many women of that time period.  The love interest, Ben, will capture the readers' heart as well as Kate's.  He is intelligent, quiet, and very musical.  He notices Kate very early on in the novel and their relationship will proceed on a sweet note.  The other characters can be fun to get to know, but many will leave the reader with a myriad of different reactions.

The plot is fast-paced; the author has a very fluid and clean way of writing that contains no awkward transitions or bad sentence structure.  The reader will find the plot and events easy to understand and follow, there should be no confusion.  This book is recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

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Cover Reveal

Friday, February 17, 2012

Finn Finnegan
Finn (not bleedin' Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his  apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters  in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight,  Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De  Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to  the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year  old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of  goblin-like creatures.

 Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his  master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the  only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true  identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South  African roots may hold a key to Finn's survival. Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a  hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning  of "fighting Irish."

Title: Finn Finnegan
Author: Darby Karchut
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (
ISBN: 978-1-937053-32-1

Release Date: March 12, 2013

Formats: Paper, e-book
Genres: Middle Grade/Young Adult, Fantasy

In Darkness by Nick Lake

In darkness I count my blessings like Manman taught me. One: I am alive. Two: there is no two. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake a boy is trapped beneath the rubble of a ruined hospital: thirsty, terrified and alone. 'Shorty' is a child of the slums, a teenage boy who has seen enough violence to last a lifetime, and who has been inexorably drawn into the world of the gangsters who rule Site Soleil: men who dole out money with one hand and death with the other. But Shorty has a secret: a flame of revenge that blazes inside him and a burning wish to find the twin sister he lost five years ago. And he is marked. Marked in a way that links him with Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian rebel who two-hundred years ago led the slave revolt and faced down Napoleon to force the French out of Haiti. As he grows weaker, Shorty relives the journey that took him to the hospital, a bullet wound in his arm. In his visions and memories he hopes to find the strength to survive, and perhaps then Toussaint can find a way to be free ...

Goodreads Summary

The best quality of this book is the raw emotion.  The author writes beautifully, capturing the tone and syntax the main characters would have utilized.  The author incorporates Haiti's earthquake to the country's attempts at liberation.  The plot line flows perfectly, the reader will not be confused at all with the switching view points.  The reader will be introduced to both characters early on in the book and will get to know and like them both within the first few chapters.

The Goodreads summary does a wonderful job of explaining the plot.  The events are fast-paced and there is plenty of action and suspense to keep the reader turning the pages.  The characters are very likable, they both have qualities that make them very similar.  The main characters are brave, resilient, strong, and charismatic in many ways.  The secondary characters mold the main characters into who they are; in that way, they do have a large impact on the story.  The author is very descriptive, the reader will be able to picture the scenes and environment. 

Overall, this book is a terrific read.  The reader will see the parallels between modern day Haiti and the sordid past.  The reader will be able to connect with the main characters and think of them as friends, he/she will be rooting for them.  There is a raw intensity to this book that makes it very hard to put down, the reader will likely finish the book within a day or two.  This book is highly recommended to young adult/adult readers.

5 Stars

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It all comes down to the college admissions essay

Thursday, February 16, 2012
Guest post written by Justin Hinston

I remember back when I was applying to college and writing admissions essays. I even remember typing it on a type writer! That was kind of tough, but I'm so glad that I don't have to type everything on a computer now. My son is lucky that he's able to write his admissions essays on a computer and edit them over and over again without printing it off. He's been working on a whole bunch of those essays because he's applying to several different colleges.

I've been trying to help him out by finding tips on how to really make an impact on the college essay. I'm certainly not writing it for him, but I want him to have the best shot. While I was online looking up some of those tips, I ran across the site I thought that it would be a good site for my wife and I to look at because we're in some debt and want to get that settled soon. So I think that we're going to use that site to help us.

I have found all kinds of tips for him to help him write his essay. I told him to write his story and then use the tips.

Emily's House by Natalie Wright and a Giveaway!

Fourteen-year-old Emily Adams is flunking math - and life. But Emily has a secret that she has kept even from her best friends. Soon the ancient legacy coursing through her veins will force her secret to be revealed. Dormant for over a thousand years, an evil has arisen and this time, it will destroy anyone - or anything - that stands in its way. Three teens embark on a dangerous journey and risk everything. For Emily, the fate of her friends - and her world - lies in her hands. Travel with Emily as she unlocks the secrets of her Celtic ancestors as she goes on a mystical journey to the inner house and beyond.

Goodreads Summary

Emily, the main character, has not had the easiest life.  She lost her mother at a young age and her father as well-her father, though still alive, pays no attention to Emily or life in general.  She endures her harsh aunt who has nothing kind to say to her and isn't doing well in school.  Emily plods through life without any real motivation until she discovers that she just might have a higher purpose-maybe even a "save the world" purpose. 

The author creates a world with Celtic mysteries and traditions that will entrance the reader and leave him/her wanting more.  Emily navigates this new world and acts as a guide for the reader as well.  Emily is a good character, the reader will connect to her with ease.  At times, she may need more motivation and the reader will want to push her along, but she gradually develops a "can-do" attitude over the course of the story.  Emily's friends are her motivation at times and the reader will most likely enjoy them. 

The events are moderately paced and the reader will enjoy the atmosphere and air of possibility the author crafts.  The reader will finish the novel satisfied and look towards the next in this series.  This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

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Falling In Between by Devon Ashley

Finally! A private conversation. And all I had to do was throw myself off a cliff, drown in a pond in my undies and let him put his hands on my breasts to bring me back to life. Yay me…(yeah, that’s sarcasm)

Yep, that pretty much sums up the most craptastic night of Jenna Baker’s life. She drowns after jumping off a cliff, meets a hotty named Chance in the pearlescent in-between and is brought back to life by her soon-to-be boyfriend Robert.

Just when things start to move forward with Robert, the guy she'd been crushing on for a year now, in walks the man of her dreams – literally. Chance suddenly appears in her dream every time she closes her eyes. So it's Robert by day and Chance by night. One in the real world and one in the dream world. What could possibly go wrong?

Absolutely nothing – until she comes face to face with the guy she met in the in-between, and realizes her romantic rendezvous with Chance may be more than just her imagination.

Note: Jenna's coming of age story is a little edgy. There is mild language and some sexual content.

First chapter excerpt here:

Goodreads Summary

This book has so much more to offer than that gorgeous cover.  The main character was very dynamic, she doesn't feel like a character guided by the author, she feels like the author's creation who goes on to form a story.  The main character, Jenna, is fun and likable.  When she has what one could call a "bad fall," her life changes.  During her drowning, she meets a boy named Chance.  Chance is apparently also in the "in-between." The book takes off from there with sharp turns in the plot and surprises that will leave the reader guessing. 

Jenna as a character appears very real.  She behaves just like one might expect a teenage female to behave.  She has to make a choice between two very different boys, a decision that she does not take lightly.  Chance, one of the love interests, is not easy to dismiss.  He is very gentle with Jenna.  Robert, the guy Jenna has had a crush on, obviously cares for Jenna.  The author does not make the choice between the two guys easy, but it does serve to draw out the reader's attention and anticipation. 

The plot itself was very interesting.  The idea of an in-between is different and the author portrays the idea as novel and intriguing.  The events were fast-paced, the characters drove the plot and events.  The carefully constructed relationships between the characters were done with obvious care on the authors' part, they all fit in like puzzle pieces.  The majority of the characters were likable and easy to relate too.  Young adult/teen readers will be excited for this book.

5 Stars

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Act of Grace by Karen Simpson

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
would Grace Johnson, a bright, African-American high school senior, save the life of a Ku Klux Klansman named Jonathan Gilmore?
That question hovers over Grace's hometown of Vigilant, Michigan, and few people, black or white, understand her actions-especially since rumor has it that many years ago, a member of the Gilmore family murdered several African-American residents. And if Grace had her way, she would not reveal the circumstances that led her to make what some deem to be a foolish sacrifice and an act of treason against her race.
The decision to remain silent, however, is not Grace's to make, for the spirit of her ancestors have emerged and insist, in ways Grace cannot ignore, that she bear witness to the violent racial history that continues to divide the town of Vigilant. But when Grace discovers a century-old tale of a bloodsoaked, eye-for-eye vengeance that includes the mysterious death of her own father, she questions whether she has the ability and the will to accept the mind-bending spiritual challenge in front of her.
As Grace reluctantly embarks on the unlikeliest of journeys and into the magical world of the African-American traditions used by her ancestors to fight slavery and oppression, she undergoes a spiritual transformation that leads to the true nature of her calling: to lead Jonathan Gilmore, the town of Vigilant and her own soul on a path toward reconciliation, redemption and true grace.

Goodreads Summary

Grace has not had it easy and is looking to get out of her small town and get away from her mother.  Her mother appears to hate Grace at times for no reason, her dad passed away long ago.  Grace just wants to graduate and leave.  Grace turns eighteen and experiences an unusual event.  Her paternal side contacts her and tells her that she is special, she is able to access the spirit world.  From the spirit world she learns disturbing things about the death of her father and disappearance of town children from the past. 

Grace's character will be easy to connect to from the first couple of chapters on.  She is sweet, intelligent, and witty.  The reader will likely feel sympathy for her and root for her throughout the book.  The other characters can be either a hit or a miss depending on the reader.  The events of this book are intriguing and exciting.  The reader gets to follow Grace through her very different life and experience what Grace experiences.  The mystery behind the disappearance of the children and her fathers' death is interesting.  The undertone of the novel is filled with suspense and sets the tone of the novel for the reader.  The author's way of writing is lyrical and poetic, the reader will love the style.  This book is recommended to young adult/adult readers.

4 Stars

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Halflings by Heather Burch

Thursday, February 9, 2012
After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

Goodreads Summary

Nikki was a normal teenager until she was attacked at random and saved by a man she didn't know.  When three young men show up at random and attend her school, she doesn't know quite what to make of it, but she knows that one of them was connected to the day she was attacked.   Nikki expects that there might be something fishy going on, but she doesn't know the half of it.  She discovers fairly early on in the novel that the three men are Halflings...and they were sent to protect her.

Nikki's character was fun and easy to connect to.  She has a somewhat cautious, but welcoming exterior.  The three boys are terrific to read about.  They literally act like family...with all of the antics that goes along with that quality.  The reader will not know which one to root for as a love interest and which one he/she likes best and would rather hoard for him/herself.  Nikki's best friend can be sassy and a little on the pushy side, but the reader will appreciate her devotion to Nikki.

The plot was fast-paced.  The reader did not have to wait long to discover the true mystery in the book.  The events were richly detailed and easy to follow.  The author's lyrical way of writing will likely appeal to the reader.  Although the point of view from which the story is told switches around from character to character, the characters are easy to get to know and enjoy.  This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

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What are the challenges you face as a writer in your genre? By Perry Martin

The first challenge I had to face was to figure out what genre my first novel, "Pretty Flamingo" fit into.  It's essentially a Romance-Drama but it does have a strong element of mystery about it - - and even a touch of the paranormal.  I tried calling it a Mystery/Love Story but, apparently there's no such category so.......... it's a Romance-Drama!

   With that settled I was then challenged to make sure the reader really identified with the characters - - particularly the two leads.   It was important that my intended audience were really pulling for them in the romance scenes as well as the dramatic sequences.  I learned along the way, and in several subsequent rewrites, that you can't just say, "Robert was a very likeable guy." and expect the reader to automatically like Robert.  You have to make Robert a likeable guy, by the things he says and does;  by making the reader privy to his inner dialogue and by sharing his hopes and dreams.  All the really well-written and successful books in my genre had that in common - - characters you liked (or hated, depending on the part they play) and identified with.

   My next challenge was how to handle the romance aspect of it, particularly since that part of the story is told in flashback and concerns two teenagers.  I had to remember what it was like to be a teenager in love.  We think differently at that age and, consequently, I had to resist the impulse to write too "cleverly" and use words that a teenager wouldn't use.  Because of that, there is subtle difference in writing style between the chapters set in 2004 and those set in 1969.  Also, there was a temptation to get carried away with the love scenes.  I was fortunate to have a female business partner I could send my chapter drafts to and she always let me know if I was overdoing it with the "smoochy-smoochy" stuff.  Thanks to her I deleted two chapters that were over-the-top and basically redundant as they were just a rehash of earlier love scenes, just set in a different locale.

   Then, I had to make sure I stretched out the various conflicts - - both romantic and dramatic - - in a way that kept the reader turning the pages before finally "letting them off the hook" so to speak, and allowing each aspect of the story to reach a satisfying conclusion.  Part of the challenge was in making sure the flashback chapters, and subsequent returns to the present, were handled smoothly.  According to reader reviews I've seen, I achieved that - - I'm glad to say.

   The ultimate challenge, though, was to try and make the story as unique as I could, while still appealing to readers who enjoy Romance-Dramas.  I think that would be the challenge for most Romance writers - - finding a storyline that hasn't been done before.  Or, if it has, then adding an interesting twist to it.  As an example, look at almost all the successful romantic comedy movies there have been over the years.  For the most part they followed this simple formula: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finally gets girl.  That's it.  But the challenge is how take that formula and weave some unexpected twist and turns into it, giving it enough uniqueness to stand out from the competition.

About the author - In his long and varied career as a musician, songwriter and producer Perry has worked with such people as Lefty Frizzell, Hank Snow Jr. and Sheb Wooley. Over the years as a solo performer or with a band he has also been the supporting act for such show biz luminaries as the Bee Gees, Ambrosia, Little River Band, B.J. Thomas, Hal Ketchum and Lonestar - - to name just a few.

More recently he completed his first novel, "Pretty Flamingo". Based on actual personal experiences the book is essentially a mystery/love story that takes some very unexpected twists and turns. 

Guest Post and Giveaway with Author Greg Kiser!

How did you do it?

Getting Started

Think of a high concept.  For me, that’s the ability to tap into the internet with your mind. So you can surf the internet the way you peruse your own memory today.  

Try to remember the lyrics to a song.  Might take a few seconds, then you remember.  You find that information in your brain, obviously.  Sort of a local hard drive, to use computer terms.

Now imagine you’re transparently tapped into the Global internet 24x7. Try to remember the lyrics to a song.  They’re there instantly.  Feels like you found them in your brain, just like before. But you didn’t.  You found the words on a server in Germany.  Doesn’t matter, all transparent to you.

Characters make a great story.  

For me, anyway, it’s all about the characters.  I’ll give a book 50 to 100 pages.  By then if I haven’t connected with at least some of the characters then I generally won’t finish the book.  Unless, maybe, the plot is just a killer, like The Da vinci Code, or something like that.  Preferably, I’m looking for the protagonist to blow me away because most of the time you are reading from his/her point of view.

But occasionally it’s enough if the antagonist is blowing me away, such as the Hannibal series by Thomas Harris.
Now, you put together a novel that has two or three characters that I can identify with?  Or more?  That’s a novel I’m not going to put down.

Character driven plot – rare gems these days

They make the best TV and movies too.  Think about Breaking Bad – hell yes the story is outstanding.  But the cast, the cast!  Walter, Jessie – sure.  But also Hank, Skylar, the various villains.  So you don’t mind when they switch scenes because the cast is great so all of the subplots are intriguing.

For my own novel, I probably relate to Mitch the most since I was in the Navy and I had similar discussions with my mother.  My Mom always pushed me hard to get an education.

But I am most entertained by Cheslov.  And most surprised by him. He is the character everyone who reads my novel seems to talk about.  Some are darkly drawn to him.  Most found him fascinating in his evilness.  But he’s the one people remember.  Me too.

Confidence is key

Just know that if you get in front of the keyboard at the right time of day for you, then you’ll write.  Think about your characters, where the story is going to go.  You don’t have to have it all planned out.  It doesn’t have to be the next Da Vinci Code in terms of plot development.  It just has to flow, to take on a life of it’s own.  

Don’t start off thinking about how the hell you’re going to write a 300 page novel.  Just start off and let the journey occur.  Think about it and make your characters come alive and write their thoughts and lives and then let the interactions occur and you’ll be amazed and surprised and hopefully delighted by the results.


OK – so you have the high concept.  Now what? Well, you have to have conflict.  For me, I created a moral dilemma between the protagonist, the ‘monster’ Cheslov, and a local politician who thinks he has a direct connect with God. 
Next – ratchet up the tension at every opportunity.  I made my protagonist an ex-Navy seal so he could pretty much deal with anything.  Made Cheslov part wolf, paranormal.  Then went into detail explaining how screwed up the politician is, he’s hooked on drugs due to his wife’s death, etc.  Keep ratcheting up.

Then create an outline – and write, write, write to fill in the outline.  Don’t worry about adjectives or effect or the best dialogue or even grammar/punctuation.

First Draft

My initial draft took 3 months to write.  Then finishing the novel took another 3 years.

Oh – and don’t let ANYBODY read that initial draft.  It will suck, indeed.

I finished the first draft and put it down and thought – hey, this has got to be one of the best books EVER.  The agents will be beating down my door when they get so much as a whiff of this manuscript!  So I set it aside and took a little break.  Felt like I was on top of the world.

A month later I opened the manuscript and started printing and reading (you must print and read to get the full effect.  Not good enough to read a word doc directly from the computer.  Better yet, print and read out loud to understand how the dialogue really sounds – helps avoid unrealistic speech.  Example:  “What is up with that” quickly becomes “What’s up with that” when you’re reading aloud).

Anyway, I started reading and was horrified at how bad it was.  Thus started the 3 year polishing cycle.
Creating the initial draft is the hardest. The initial overall idea of what your book is going to be about.  Who are the characters, what’s the high concept, where will the conflict come from. 
Once you get past that and start writing, it gets easier.

And once you get that initial draft completed – then it’s fun.  Truly.  From that point forward, you only need to polish.  Just pick you’re your gem every few days and polish for a few minutes.  Hear someone say something funny at the mall, consider a tree limb in a park and how you might describe it, smell a familiar smell and let your mind run – all of these ‘experiences’ … feel them and bring them back into your novel as you polish and make it shine and breathe life into it.  That’s the best part.  Oh, it’s so hard to get that gem established at first.  But once you do, it’s your gem.  And it may never sell, it may never make millions of dollars – but it’s your gem and you can publish it and you can get it in print and you can show your friends and one day your children and one day, many years from now, you’ll read that work as a different person, as an older person.  You’ll wonder who wrote that?  You’ll be amazed all over again.

Greg Kiser is happily married to a wonderful and inspirational wife, Serena, and has two beautiful children – Miller and Grace.
Greg graduated from Southern Polytechnic University in Atlanta with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Greg also earned his MBA from the University of South Florida. He is currently a Director at Cisco, a high tech fortune 50 multinational corporation.
Greg has written extensively for fortune 50 high tech firms in describing next generation networks and painting pictures of the true evolution of technology for the consumer.

Book Title – inSyte
Genre – Paranormal Thriller
Format – Print & E-book
Released – May 13, 2011

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