Blogger-Thon Interview

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Hello friends!  A few months ago, I signed up for something called a Blogger-Thon put on by Bemused Bookworm, where bloggers could interview each other and kind of share experiences in the hopes of making new friends.  It’s been a really cool experience and I’m here to share with you my interview with Heather from Random Redheaded Ramblings.  While she doesn’t read near as much YA as I do, she’s certainly read a lot of awesome stuff!  If you like what you see here, I encourage you to head over to her website and check her out.

(Also, my interview should be posted soon on Book YAbber, courtesy of Elizabeth.  Keep on the lookout for it!)

On to Heather’s interview!

Belle: What author have you read the most books from?  Why?
Heather: It would probably have to be JD Robb, I have read about thirty of her In Death novels! She is yet to release a bad book in this series.
Belle: E-reader or physical books?
Heather: A couple of years ago I would have told you I would never have a Kindle but I got one for my birthday and I very quickly got hooked.  The downside of Kindles is that I am now on my third, they are not built to last.  I still love physical books and nothing gives me the warm and fuzzies more that seeing a series on my shelf!
Belle: What was an important moment in your reading life?
Heather: Reading The Hobbit in English in secondary school (high school), through that I read the Lord of the Rings and that encouraged me to read out with my comfort zone.
Belle: What are three of your all-time favorite books?
Heather: I could cheat and say The Lord of the Rings in its three parts but I better count that as one choice, the second would be Wool by Hugh Howey it really blew me away and the third would be Ready Player One, I loved that book it is just a great read and being a child of the 80’s I loved all the references.
Belle: What are some series (book or otherwise) that you are a fangirl of?
Heather: OOooo, well to name a few – Firefly, Star Wars, Disney, Discworld, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Wool, LOTR, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, JD Robb’s In Death series, Harry Potter, Parks and Rec, Marvel, not many!!!!
Belle: Favorite new author you discovered this year?
Heather: Patrick W Marsh, the author of the Greenland Diaries, his book is scary as anything and an amazing read.
Belle: Best book from a genre outside of your comfort zone?
Heather: I never been a huge fan of biographies but this year having read Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling’s my mind is changed, these are such funny reads!
Belle: What is the most thought-provoking/life-changing book you’ve read?  (This year or ever.)
Heather: Ever, it would have to be The Lord of the Rings, when I first read it I was totally blown away by the maps, this whole new world that Tolkien had created.  I wanted to find out more about Middle Earth, its inhabitants, their lives, it is just such an immense creation.
This year it would have to be Felicia Day’s I’m never weird on the internet, she is the queen of all things geek and she is such an icon, she is truly inspirational as when she puts her mind to something she does it.  I just felt after reading it I could do anything!!
Belle: Best blogging moment this year?
Heather: Cheesy I know but blogging just makes me happy all the time, I finally got more confident in leaving comments on other blogs this year and I have discovered so many great blogs out there, and in turn they have inspired me so much!  The best part is getting comments on my blog, it means so much that people come visit my wee corner of the blogosphere!
Non-cheesy it would have to be get a personalised signed book from Lisa Dickenson one of my fave chick lit authors or any time someone I love RT’s or Favourites my tweet.
Belle: What sequel or series finale are you most looking forward to?
Heather: The third book in Justin Cronin’s The Passage series and Stiletto the sequel to The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.
Belle: Favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Heather: Can I make it book to tv? Movies tend to condense so much! My vote would be Game of Thrones, the tv show is brilliant but I wish GRR Martin would hurry up and write the next book!
Belle: Favorite classic novel?
Heather: Pride and Prejudice, it has Mr Darcy in it, that is reason enough for me!
Belle: What book do you wish you could live in?
Heather: I would say Middle Earth but those Black Riders and Sauron could be a problem, The silos of Wool fascinate me too but again that doesn’t end well so I would probably go with my favourite books from when I was little, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five! They always had such a marvellous time, they ate super food and they didn’t have to worry about lack of WiFi or nowhere to charge your phone!  Discworld would also be fun, it is crazy!
Belle: What is your least favorite/most overused plot device?
Heather: As a massive dystopian fan it would have to be the well overused kickass (who was a princess  pre-apoc) girl in apocalyptic world, she is the only person who can stop evil tyrant/government/general bad dudes and she falls in love with soldier/boy from wrong side of tracks/guy she wouldn’t normally look twice at whilst dealing with absent parents/siblings.
Belle: Favorite quote?
Heather: Not all those who wander are lost – Tolkien
Belle: Biggest bookworm/nerd/geek moment?
Heather: Getting RT’d by Neil Gaiman was pretty awesome and a tweet from Hugh Howey was amazing!
Belle: Why did you start blogging?
Heather: I started off as a food blog as I was (and still am) a heavy user of Pinterest, I had came across as lot of great food sites and they inspired me to start a blog but I quickly realised that taking food photos is hard work and what the heck was I doing trying to be a food blog when book where much more important.  Blogging is my way of trying to meet other like minded souls who love what I love and I think I have succeeded so far! I love it, it can be hard work and I do get some weeks where I get a slump but I wouldn’t change anything!

Belle: Thanks Heather!

Spotlight for Aloha Self Esteem?

Hello lovelies!  I was asked recently to do a spotlight for a book called Aloha Self Esteem? and I really wanted to.  So please, keep reading to find out a little more about this book.  And if you like what you see, enter into the Goodreads giveaway to try to win it!  Giveaway is open until July 17th.

Aloha Self Esteem? by Alicia Emamdee

Publisher: For She Is Beautiful, LLC

Date of Publication: March 11, 2014

Synopsis: Jennifer Gonzalez, a shy and quiet girl of almost 16, desperately wants to visit her cousin, Sara, in Hawaii for the summer. The only way her Mom will allow her to go is if she improves her grades. Her worst subject is Psychology and the topic for her term paper, which counts for half of her grade, is due in only a few days, and having no idea what to base her paper on, Jen falls into a deep state of complete and utter panic.

It’s not until she hears her little sister talking about being too fat that she comes up with the brilliant idea to write her paper on self-esteem and ways to improve it. As Jen delves into her research, she discovers why so many teen girls suffer with low self-esteem and finds techniques to help increase it. Despite the pressures society places on women and teenage girls to look perfect, Jen realizes that she needs a boost of self-esteem as well, and takes us on her own journey of self-confidence and self-discovery.

Experiencing many obstacles along the way, Jen keeps bumping into her guy crush but is extremely shy and hesitant to attempt any kind of interaction with him. Her hopes of ever falling in love fall to the wayside as she struggles with her insecurities. Will Jen improve her grades enough to be allowed to visit her cousin in Hawaii? Will she overcome her shyness and gain self-confidence? What about her guy crush? Will she ever be confident enough to talk to him? Will she ever fall in love?

Author Bio: Alicia Emamdee is the creator of For She Is Beautiful, LLC, a website dedicated to empowering and inspiring women, teen girls and girls of all ages. It provides information on building self-esteem, staying positive and believing in yourself. Alicia has an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling and has over eight years experience working with children and adolescents. As a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern, she worked as a Child and Family Therapist for two years at a mental health agency in South Florida. Due to an illness called fibromyalgia, however, she was forced to stop working in the counseling field but is finally living out her dream of writing inspirational and motivational books with her first young adult novel on self-esteem for teen girls, “Aloha Self-Esteem?” She is currently working on her second book in the self-esteem series for women in their 30s and 40s.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/4SheIsBeautiful

Amazon Author Page:http://amzn.to/1nxGgSY

Goodreads Author Page:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8063532.Alicia_Emamdee

My Final Note: You guys, I really think the mission behind this book is kind of awesome.  I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever met who didn’t struggle with self-esteem issues, especially in high school.  Here is a fictional novel that may just help you feel better about yourself.  Have fun, believe in yourselves, and happy reading!

The A-Word (Sweet Dead Life, #2) BLOG TOUR


First Lines
: It took everything I had to convince my best friend Maggie to come to the football game.  Football is not Maggie’s thing.

Welcome to The A-Word Blog Tour!  I want to begin by saying a quick thank you to Soho Teen for asking me to be a part of this tour.

(Don’t worry about spoilers; I kept this one clean.)

It’s been almost a year now since Jenna’s brother, Casey, died and came back as her guardian angel.  Jenna’s fifteen now and learning to navigate high school and boys (something her brother detests).  But Casey’s starting to question what he’s still doing on Earth. Guarding Jenna’s fine–the girl’s a handful sometimes, but what sister isn’t?–but there has to be more to this angel thing than that, right?  Then comes Bo Shivers, a whiskey drinking angel who can be unpredictably crazy.  Bo knows that something big is coming, but he doesn’t know what.  Can the group figure it out before it’s too late?

I’ll start by saying that I liked this book more than The Sweet Dead Life.  I thought there were better character growth and development in this one.  And the action/dialogue was a smidgen better in this one too.

I really like that this story is an unconventional twist on what you think you already know about angel stories.  These angels aren’t pure, innocent beings, nor are they the tough-guy angels that fallen angels tend to be in stories.  They were normal people before they died, and they’re still pretty normal with a few quirks.  Bo, for example, drinks whiskey like it’s water.  Not exactly angelic material.  There’s something freeing in breaking the mold like this.  And something ironic, which is probably why I found it so funny.

I liked that nearly a year has gone by between the first and second book.  It gave the characters some time to grow away from an audience.  I mean, Jenna’s in high school now and that’s changed her a little.  And Casey’s had time to grow discontent with his lot in life.  If this book had taken place even a month after the last book, it wouldn’t be the same.  It wouldn’t feel as authentic.

There were points in the middle of the story where I felt like the pace had slowed down.  It was probably because I figured out the clues way before Jenna did, so I was just waiting for her to catch up.  It was a little frustrating on that front, but it wasn’t terrible.  She’s got great wit to lighten the mood whenever she feels like it.

Generally speaking, I liked this story a lot.  I’m really interested to know where it goes from here, because I can see so much happening after that ending.  I really want to know what happens next.

Resisting Atlantis (Atlantis, #1)

First Lines: Branches reach for me like gnarly, wooden hands, grabbing at my hair and clothing.  Clinging to me.  Holding me back.  It’s a struggle to break free.

I was contacted by the author to read her new book and be a part of her blog tour for it.  So, yay!  Here it is, the kickoff to her tour!

When she asked me to read this book, I jumped at the opportunity.  There aren’t nearly enough books about Atlantis to sate my curiosity on the topic, nor my fascination with this mysterious island.

Cora is your average freshman in college.  At 18, her biggest concerns deal with the too-hot-to-handle neighbor of hers and not falling asleep in boring classes.  That is until Kaden shows up.  He insists that everything she knows about her life is false.  Her parents, her friends, her childhood memories are all false.  Even her name isn’t right.  She’s not Cora but Cameron.  And she’s not from New York, but from Atlantis.  Who would believe this guy?  But trouble starts to follow the two of them around.  Soon, Cam finds out that Kaden may be right; things aren’t exactly what they seem…

Alright.  So when I started this, I was immediately drawn in.  False memories?  Just a bit cooler than plain old amnesia.  And Kaden?  Sweetheart.  (Atlantis itself was pretty cool too.)

I thought that this was a pretty good story.  Cam was a good heroine for it and Kaden was the kind of hero that didn’t see himself as a hero.  I’m pretty drawn to those.  It’s a humble thing, I guess.  Also, the action of the story moved at a really consistent clip.  That meant there were times when it was really hard to put down.

However, I did start to have some issues with the book by the end.  First, Cam was pretty self-depricating in a way that started to rub me the wrong way.  Sometimes when people who reference who she was before her memories were changed, she’d say things like, “Yeah, I’m probably stupid enough to do that.”  To me, these things she said were “stupid” were actually strengths in her character.  It made me question Cam a little every time it came up.  What was so wrong with these qualities that it made her label herself as “stupid”?

Also, even though I really enjoyed Cam and Kaden together, they got incredibly annoying by the end.  Think of it this way.  Have you ever been out with another couple and they spend the whole evening saying cute things about each other?  At first, it’s adorable.  But four hours later, you’re ready for them to knock it off.  That was me with this book.  It was cute, absolutely, but almost sickeningly cute by the end.

Overall, I did think it was a good read.  Like I said, the action was good and I enjoyed the plot and characters.  There were just a few things along the way that just drove me crazy, though.

Interview with Shari J. Ryan!

Hey everyone!  I’m pleased to be sharing with you an interview I did with Shari!  Enjoy!

coverSchasm – Chloe Valcourt drifts between two worlds: the dark reality of her domineering mother and feeble father and the vivid fantasy of her imagination. With her condition comes the harsh observation of doctors who intend to cure her of it. But a chance encounter with a handsome and vaguely familiar young man in her dream world hints at the possibility of hidden truths—and a life she can’t remember. As her drifts become a greater escape from the cruelty of the real world, Chloe finds herself lost between what is real and what is imagined, questioning her very existence. Can she remain in the lush new imagined landscape to find happiness in a realm of her own invention? Is she doomed to return to the harsh reality of the outside world forever? Or will she become trapped somewhere between the two…unable to return to either?

Shari J. Ryan, author of Schasm

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Belle: Chloe seems to drift between two worlds: reality and fantasy. Have you ever found yourself caught between two different worlds?
Shari: I’m a daydreamer, and whenever things get too stressful in life, I try to imagine myself somewhere better. For me, that’s usually the beach. It’s the one place that always takes my stress away. As much as I wish I could get stuck there sometimes, reality usually pulls me back in with a screaming child. 🙂
Belle: What do you think Chloe would think of you if she ever met you?
Shari: She might think her personality is eerily similar to mine. Plus, I’m confident she’d be happy to meet her creator ;).
Belle: What or who influenced you to be a writer?
Shari: Life changes have influenced me to write. I suffered from a bout of postpartum depression after my first son was born, and I found writing to be very therapeutic and somewhat healing. Because I felt the improvement within my mental health every time I sat down to write, I continued writing. One day, I realized I had concluded the end of my first book, and it was then that I realized I had turned something bad into something amazing.
Belle: Is there anything you haven’t written about yet that you’d like to in the future?
Shari: I’m really fascinated by psychological conditions, so I’ll probably continue to delve into this genre for as long as I can. And the ideas just keep coming.
Thanks Shari!
Book Links:

Blood and Lilies Spotlight

Hello friends!  I’m excited to show you guys a spotlight for a new book!  Just check it out and see if this strikes your fancy.

Lyn CroftBlood and Lilies by Lyn Croft

The blurbFirst in the Bloodlines Series

Once cast from Heaven, Zillah has vowed to destroy God and overtake his kingdom. But a key is needed to open the gates between the two realms.

The Key to the gate walks the earth in the form of a woman…young, innocent and completely unaware of her importance in the battle between good and evil. Once her blood is shed, Zillah can open the portal to release her father…Lucifer himself.

Cara, a college sophomore, is quickly thrown into the world of the supernatural, as well as learning of her true ancestry. Vampires, werewolves and the Nephilim are now a part of her reality. As the beings struggle to protect her, she fights to keep her sanity as her mortal realm is crushed.

Secrets are revealed that could shatter Cara’s new found love, as well as lead to her ultimate death. A family is torn apart as the battle to save the key leads them down a road of betrayal and heartache. Loved ones are lost, lines are crossed, and nothing is as it seems. Lies and truths twist and turn, leaving us with only one question…

Could you sacrifice the one you love to save the world?

An excerpt: The evening sky pulsed, hues of deep purples and blacks engraving blurry lines above the earth. The night echoed its cries, carried by angry breezes through the hills of the land. The cemetery, cascaded in carved tombstones that sprouted from the ground, laid empty and dormant, except for the busy, yet silent whispers of the dead.

The ground, wet and damp, gave way beneath Cara’s bare feet as she trudged through the mud pushing between her toes. Her eyes traveled towards the ground to study her soiled feet, finding her body was draped in a simple, yet elegant white dress which graced her pale legs just below her knees. The plunging neckline stopped just beneath the cleft of her breast as the thin silk straps hugged the tops of her shoulders, exposing her bare delicate skin.

She scanned around her, alone and frightened, like a young child strayed from its mother. It was so dark, and the crested moon, swarmed by rolling darkened clouds, offered no safe haven of light to guide her way. Slow and unsure, she stepped cautiously, waiting blindly for an edge that would send her spiraling down into a never-ending abyss, swallowing her whole. The shadows danced in front of her, playing tricks on her unfocused eyes as her feet took her step by step.
Where was she? How did she get here? She could hear faint whispers of the dead crying out to her from the spirit world. Their words made no sense as they all jumbled together like a soft but unmelodic hum in the air. Her ears strained to make out parts of the words, hoping to piece together some language so she could better understand why they’d brought her here.

Realization struck. The voices had guided her here. She turned around to where the whispers grew, louder and more needful. She followed them as they increased, vibrating through her head as if they were coming from inside her brain, instead of churning in the air around her. The darkness frightened her, yet she still continued, following the only guidance she had.

Cara.

She could hear it now. Through the vast echo of the whispers, she could make out her name. They called to her, begged her to come near. She obeyed. 
Something hard struck her toes, shooting instant pain up through her legs, like lightning igniting through her to her very core. Her body flew forward as she reached out to stop her fall. She expected a large stone to split her head. Or perhaps the tip of a metal cross would impale her through her chest and end it all, without her knowing or seeing it in the darkness before her. But there was nothing as her body hit the soft ground beneath her.

Grass laced itself through her fingers as she looked up to the gravestone in front of her. The clouds that had hugged the moon so well broke, lighting the etched carvings before her so she could see. What she read on the engraving shook her to the core. Her eyes couldn’t process, couldn’t comprehend what she was seeing.

Cara L. Chadwick
Beloved Friend and Student
We will miss you always
Oct. 18, 1992 to Dec. 21, 2012

A cry escaped her lips as Cara pushed herself up from the ground as fast as she could, stumbling backwards. She wanted to turn away, run and never look back. There was no way in hell she was going to stay here to hang out with her own tomb. And the date…it was this Friday’s date…or had it already arrived and was now in the past? Cara realized she had no idea of what time it was, or the day, but she needed to escape and get out of this place as fast as her bare feet could carry her.

Author Bio

Lyn Croft is a sci-fi fantasy writer born and raised in sunny Southern California. There, she raises her daughter, works full time, writes novels, and plays video games in her spare time.
Her new book, “Blood & Lilies ~ Bloodlines” is her debut novel, and the first in a series of epic tales for the battle between good and evil.

Links

Happy reading!