2 Mar 2015

Author Interview / Carly Ellen Kramer

Forget what your English professor told you – life stories are not written in college.

Madeleine LaBlange, Annie Anderson, and Audrey Navarro shared formative years as roommates at Chicago’s Catholic haven for women, the historic Abbott College. If only they could have predicted the collisions between their carefully crafted life plans and the realities they discover beyond campus...

Madeleine harbors dreams of becoming a concert pianist while Dr. Reynold Fenwick, her mercurial graduate school mentor, harbors fantasies of Madeleine. Will pursuing her dreams be worth the cost? Will an evening in Budapest change her life forever?

Annie plans to build a perfect family with her perfect husband in the cutthroat news media industry, until an abrupt tragedy shakes the foundations of her marriage. What happens when she feels pulled between the two men she loves most, her husband and her father?

Audrey leaves her religious, restrictive parents behind and aims for Chicago’s downtown skyline, dating recklessly and staring down each grueling workday one Chicago Dog at a time. Will an island respite lure her away from her corporate future? When she finds herself in the arms of an unexpected lover, will she have the courage to stand up for her own evolving sense of self?

Follow the journeys of these remarkable women, and cheer them on as they navigate life, love, and chocolate soufflé.

Includes over a dozen decadent new recipes from Crowded Earth Kitchen!


Amazon: Click Here 
Crowded Earth Kitchen: http://crowdedearthkitchen.com/


1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

That's easy - Barbara O'Neal! I'm a huge Barbara O'Neal fan. The Lost Recipe for Happiness was my introduction to O'Neal's books, and I was completely hooked. I have now read every book she's ever written! I love to read food fiction novels (and ALWAYS try at least one recipe from every book I read), and particularly love how Ms. O'Neal blends serious story lines and edgy prose with decadent recipes. Her recipes are fantastic (those tamales, Oh My!), and her plot lines are sometimes edgy. I think many cooks can relate to this. 

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
 Is there a typical working day? In all seriousness, I don't have a steadfast daily routine. I set monthly goals and deadlines for myself, and am pretty serious about meeting them. Some months I write for the same few hours every day, usually after dinner and late into the evenings. Other months I take more of a sprint-and-rest approach, writing practically around the clock for a few days until I crash and need a few days away.

Where I write depends upon what I'm writing. If I'm sketching, meaning I'm just setting scenes, working out mannerisms of characters, those sorts of things, I work in the quiet of my home office. If I'm writing dialogue, I like to be surrounded by dialogue, and prefer to work in public places such as coffee shops.    

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Honoring my characters is very important to me. If a character is flat or (worse) stereotyped, then I haven't done my duty as a fiction author. I am particularly careful when writing characters whose traits are very different from my own - characters with ethnic backgrounds different from my own, characters who serve in the military, characters who are gay... I need to conduct a lot of research to maintain authenticity.  For me, this is the hardest part of writing.

4. When and why did you first start writing?
When it comes to writing novels, I was a bit of a late bloomer!  I have an established career in another field, and sometimes that work gets a little intense (I'm really Batgirl, but don't tell anyone).  As much as I love, er, being Batgirl, I found that I needed a creative outlet to help take the edge off.  On a last minute whim, I participated in a NaNoWriMo challenge several years ago. I thought it would just be a fun, goofy way to try something a little different for a month. Instead, I was sucked into the vortex of novel writing. The rest is history!

5. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I help write and maintain a food blog, Crowded Earth Kitchen, which is a lot of fun - I love creating new recipes and networking with blog followers. I added a "freebies" feature to the blog, where I give away a different food fiction novel once per month.  Every time I reviewed and posted a new food fiction book on my "freebies" page, I considered what a fun challenge it might be to write and share my OWN food fiction novel.

Around the same time as I was contemplating this idea, I found myself reconnecting with girlfriends from my undergraduate college days.  It's been pretty fabulous, being able to pick up where we left off and rekindle old friendships.  It's also been a bit bittersweet, as reconnecting meant learning about tragic events that had struck a few classmates. At risk of sounding terribly cliché, those events brought many of us closer together.

The combination of these experiences, however unrelated they might seem at a glance, formed the inspiration behind How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé. 


6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I was reading between 200 and 300 books per year before I started actively writing; now I aim for about 50 books per year. It's a bit ironic, how writing books cuts into the time I have for actually reading books!  Right now, I am quite infatuated with Paullina Simons. Oh my goodness, she is such a talented and inspiring author.  Her lengthy historical fiction novels are outside of the sorts of books I usually read, and yet I can't seem to set them down. On the recommendation of a Goodreads friend, I picked up a copy of The Bronze Horseman.  I don't say this lightly... The Bronze Horseman is the best book I've ever read.  I'm now reading the sequel, Tatiana and Alexander, and am finding this book equally captivating. 


7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Yes. Write your first draft with reckless abandon! No matter how terrible you think parts of that first draft may be, just FINISH the draft.  You can't edit what you don't finish!  Once you have a complete first draft, put it away for a few weeks. When you return to your draft, your editing eye will be a bit more objective.  Read it and edit it yourself... but you're not finished!  Now is the time for beta readers, who may advise you to revisit entire sections.  The decision is all yours, of course, but if you trust your beta readers you should give their suggestions serious consideration.  Finally, when you think your editing is complete, hire a professional editor.  In my opinion, there's no getting around this - hiring a professional editor separates novice writing from professional writing.  Perhaps you can get creative - beg an English teacher to serve as your editor and "pay" them with homemade cookies - but you NEED an editor.
Continue Reading...

26 Feb 2015

Book Review / Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The below is the description of Divergent, the first book in the series, for a description of Insurgent please click on the Goodreads link below...

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Published:    22nd October 2013
Publisher:  Harper
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 3, Divergent
Source:  Bought


My Review

What I loved about this book...
What can I say, I loved this book and loved this trilogy.  A lot of what I could say I won't here because that would spoil the story but what I will say is that there is a particular characters I loved being Tris, for obvious reasons.  She starts out not believing in herself and as the trilogy goes along she gets stronger but all the while keeping to her beliefs of what is right and what is wrong.   I really enjoyed following her story and seeing her face challenges throughout this trilogy.  

Now, I have to be honest and say that I do not really read the short stories or companion novels that usually surround series books but I am definitely going to check out the four short stories that follow the story of Four.  I just don't want to leave this world just yet.  For this trilogy, I am going to make an exception because I am a fully fledged Divergent addict!!!

What I was not fond of with this story...
Despite the fact that I absolutely loved this story and the trilogy as a whole there was one particular thing that I was not fond of and that was the ending.  I won't go into detail of what happens to avoid spoilers but all I will say was that I understood what happened but did wish for a different ending to the one given. 


About the Author
From Goodreads

Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). 

The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. 

In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)
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25 Feb 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 12th May 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.



In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn't want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa's in verse and Kiran's in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters' pain and their brave struggle for hope.
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24 Feb 2015

Blog Tour / Thoughtful by SC Stephens

A new novel in the Thoughtless series from #1 New York Times bestselling author S. C. Stephens!

Every story has two sides, and in this new book, the epic love story between Kiera and Kellan is shown through his eyes.

All Kellan Kyle needs is his guitar, and some clean sheets of paper. Growing up in a house that was far from a home, he learned a hard lesson: You're worthless. Now his life is comfortably filled with passionate music, loyal band mates, and fast women...until he meets her.

Kiera makes him ache for more. Makes him feel for the first time that he's worth more. But there's one problem - she's his best friend's girl.

Just when Kellan thought his emotional defenses were rock solid, Kiera's indecisive heart wreaks havoc on his soul, changing him forever. Losing Kiera is not an option.


Published:    24th February 2015
Publisher:  Sphere
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1.5, Thoughtless Series
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



My Review

At the beginning of the year I say to myself that I am going to broaden my reading horizons and try new things, even try genres that I would not previously go anywhere near to see if my tastes have changed or whether that particular book will change them for me.  This is one of those books that I chose to broaden those horizons.  

What I loved about this book...
I really enjoyed reading this book.  For me what I liked the most was the depth and background of the characters, particularly Kellan, and how they progress throughout the book.  I enjoyed following Kellan in this story and seeing things from his perspective and I am definitely intrigued to find out more with the first book in this series.  I am not sure at this point whether it makes a difference to read these in order but I am definitely going to pick up the first book as it has intrigued me to find out more of the story (or the other side of the story).    

What I was not fond of with this book...
This is purely from a personal viewpoint but one of the things that I cannot stand is cheating in any way, shape or form and this is featured in this book.  I found it very hard to get on either Kiera's side when I knew that she was cheating, as well as on Kellan's side too.  Although I did enjoy the story, this is something that bothered me a lot but that is my a personal opinion of mine so please do not let that come in the way of picking this up and giving it a go - it is a good read. 

About the Author
from Goodreads

S.C. Stephens is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.

Her debut novel, Thoughtless, an angst-filled love triangle charged with insurmountable passion and the unforgettable Kellan Kyle, took the literary world by storm. Amazed and surprised by the response to the release of Thoughtless in 2009, more stories were quick to follow. Stephens has been writing nonstop ever since.

In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer's block reducing music, heading out to the movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her two equally beautiful children.


About the Series
(Picture taken from Goodreads)







 
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23 Feb 2015

Book Review / Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The below is the description of Divergent, the first book in the series, for a description of Insurgent please click on the Goodreads link below...

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Published:     1st May 2012
Publisher:  Harper
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Divergent
Source:  Bought

My Review

What I loved about this book...
Words cannot describe fully how much I am loving this trilogy so far...   I can't believe I have waited this long to read this!  What a great second book in the trilogy!  

Although there are a lot of things I loved that I can't go into here as that would spoil the story for those who haven't read it but one thing I can say is that I am loving the character of Tris and her progression through from the first book to the second.  You can really see her personality change and adapt to what she needs to but at the same time her basic morals have remained the same.  

I do struggle sometimes with second books in a series/trilogy but with this one I flew right through and cannot wait to start the final book in this trilogy, Allegiant.


About the Author
From Goodreads

Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). 

The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. 

In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)






 
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18 Feb 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / Rook by Sharon Cameron

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 28th April 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.


History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.
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Blog Tour / Obsession in Death by JD Robb

Lieutenant Eve Dallas walks the thin line between love and hate in this fabulous 40th thriller from #1 New York Times–bestseller J. D. Robb…

Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She—and her billionaire husband—are getting accustomed to being objects of attention, of gossip, of speculation.

But now Eve has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her—again and again…

With a murderer reading meanings into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate—and dangerous—psychological dance. And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her “true and loyal friend.” And in time, idols always fall…


Published:     19th February 2015
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 40, In Death Series
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



My Review

What I loved about this book...

Now this book was a complete surprise to me reading it.  I am not normally one who likes or gravitates to the crime and murder type stories but when I read the blurb for this one I knew that I had to give it a go, especially given the fact that it was written by Nora Roberts under her alias author name.  I already loved Nora Roberts' writing so I was very interested in seeing how I would get on with this book.  I loved it! 

What I loved the most about this book was the suspense.  This story got me suspecting nearly everybody and did such a great job in introducing each character, what they do etc.  Being new to this series and characters, I was a bit worried that I would not pick up the story or the characters but it really didn't matter that I hadn't read all the books before it (all 39 of them lol!).  You can definitely read this as a stand alone but I am definitely more intrigued to collect and read all the others in the series (and it's going to take me a while to collect and read being that this is book 40 lol!).


About the Author

aka:
Sarah Hardesty
Jill March
Nora Roberts

Eleanor Marie Robertson was born on October 10, 1950 in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A. She was the youngest of the five children, also the only girl, of a marriage with Irish ancestors. Her family were avid readers, so books were always important in her life. She attended a Catholic school and credits the nuns with instilling in her a sense of discipline. During her sophomore year in high school, she transferred to a local public school, where she met Ronald Aufdem-Brinke, her future first husband.

In August 17, 1968, as soon as she had graduated from High School, Eleanor married, against her parents' wishes. The marriage settled in Keedysville, Maryland. Her husband worked at his father's sheet-metal business before joining her parents in their lighting company. While, she worked briefly as a legal secretary. "I could type fast but couldn't spell, I was the worst legal secretary ever," she says now. After their sons, Dan and Jason, were born she stayed home. Calling this her "Earth Mother" years, she spent much of her time doing crafts, including ceramics and sewing her children's clothes. The marriage ended separating, and they obtained the divorce in January 1985.

In February 1979, a blizzard in forced her hand to try another creative outlet. She was snowed in with a three and six year old with no kindergarten respite in sight and a dwindling supply of chocolate. During the now famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981 as Nora Roberts, a shortened form of her birth name Eleanor Marie Robertson, because she assumed that all authors had pen names.

Eleanor wrote under the pseudonym Jill March a story for a magazine titled "Melodies of Love".

Eleanor met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, when she hired him to build bookshelves. They were married in July 1985. Her husband owns and operates a bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland called "Turn the Page Books". Since that time, they've expanded their home, traveled the world.

In 1992, she decided adopted other pseudonym so to publish a futuristic-suspense novels, she first decided to use the pseudonym D.J. MacGregor, but she discovered that this pseudonym was used by another author. In 1995, her first "In Death" serial novel was published under the pseudonym J.D. Robb, the initials "J.D." were taken from her sons, Jason and Dan, while "Robb" is a shortened form of Roberts.

Eleanor has also been known as Sara Hardesty, because when the "Born In" series was released in U.K. it carried that name instead of Nora Roberts. She has since changed publishers.

Eleanor has been plagiarized by another best-selling romance writer, Janet Dailey. The practice came to light after a reader read Nora Roberts' "Sweet Revenge" and Janet Dailey's "Notorious" back-to-back; she noticed several similarities and posted the comparable passages on the Internet. Calling the plagiarism "mind rape," Eleanor sued Janet Daily. In 1997, Janet, admitted to repeatedly plagiarizing from Nora Roberts' work, and that both "Aspen Gold" and "Notorious" lifted heavily from Nora Roberts's work. Both of those novels were pulled from print after Janet's admission. She acknowledged the plagiarism and blamed it on a psychological disorder. In a settlement, Janet paid Eleanor an undisclosed sum, which Eleanor donated to the Literacy Volunteers of America.

A founding member of the Romance Writers of America (R.W.A.), she was the first inductee in the organization's Hall of Fame. She also is a member of several writers groups and has won countless award
  





 


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10 Feb 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 12th May 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.


A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
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5 Feb 2015

Book Review / Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Published:     2nd February 2012
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Divergent
Source:  Owned Copy
Review:   

 


My Review

What I loved about this story...
I am having such a great reading year so far for 2015.  Most of the titles I have read have been 4 or 5 stars and I am very happy to say that this title gets the full 5 stars.  I LOVED IT!!!! 

I always tend to gravitate towards books that have a love story in it as well and although it was not a large part of this book I especially enjoyed the parts which did have the starts of a love story in it.  I can't wait to see if that is something that continues throughout the trilogy...

My favourite character, by far, has to be Tris.  The way that she progresses throughout the book is inspirational.  I perceived her as the type of person who is capable of far more than what she seems or even thinks.  It is definitely going to be interesting following her story throughout the rest of the Trilogy....


About the Author
 (from Goodreads)


Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)



Continue Reading...

3 Feb 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 5th May 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.


When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

(This is a standalone novel, not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe.)
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2 Feb 2015

Author Interview / Donald Hounam


The Bishop of Oxford is very, very dead. At least the police think it’s the Bishop – it’s impossible to be sure, since someone has made off with his head.

Fifteen-year-old Frank Sampson is the forensic sorcerer on the case. But he is easily distracted. By Kazia, the supposed victim’s beautiful, and possibly dangerous, niece. By Marvo, his police colleague, who seems dead set on making his life difficult. By the terror that he's losing his Gift – the ability to work magic. And by all those stupid rules which get in the way of proving that everybody is wrong about the case . . . except Frank.

Donald Hounam has wrought a sharp, exciting, original new voice in teen fiction.     
   

     


  1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
    Agatha Christie. I have this vision of Hercule Poirot waving a wand and screaming in broken English while bolts of phosophorescence flicker along his moustache…
    More seriously, I tried co-writing a couple of times and it didn’t really work out.
  2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
    Two answers again, I’m afraid.
    Three days a week, I commute from Canterbury to the day job in London. I start early so I can stop off, usually at the Caffè Nero, and do an hour’s caffeine-fuelled writing. I hack away on the train up; and again, if I’m still awake, on the train back down.
    The other four days, I’ve got a messy office at home. So all I’ve got to do is just push all that mess out of the way…
  3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
    Sending things out. My girlfriend had to put a gun to my head to get me to submit
    Gifted to anybody. Just one of the reasons I dedicated the book to her…
  4. When and why did you first start writing?
    I was an obsessive reader as a child, teenager, student… Sooner or later I was doomed to take a crack at making my own stuff up and hiding it away in a drawer.
  5. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
    When I was about twelve, I loved Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy stories, which featured a forensic sorcerer. I re-read them years later, and they weren’t actually so hot; but I still liked the idea of a forensic sorcerer…
  6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
    I read a lot less now than I’d like. The day job and the commute mash me up pretty good; and
    Gifted and its sequal have kept me pretty busy.
    Still, I’m just finishing one of Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. books:
    The Whispering Skull.
  7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
    Ideally, have an immediate relative in the publishing business.
    Failing that, you put your bum on the chair and your feet under the table, then you just hammer it out.
    Madonna says it best:
It doesn't matter who you are,
It's what you do that takes you far.
And if at first you don't succeed
Here's some advice that you should heed:
You get up again, over and over,
You get up again, over and over,
You get up again, over and over,
You get up again, over and over…

And repeat.
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31 Jan 2015

Book Review / Night World Bind Up 3 by L J Smith

Includes:
Book 7 - Huntress
Book 8 - Black Dawn
Book 9 - Witchlight


Vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters - they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And fallin in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.

The apocalypse is drawing near. But four Wild Powers can save the world from the impending doom. Circle Daybreak, an underground organization with both Night World and human members, is searching for the four who can stop the darkness.

A vampire hunter - who is half vampire - stalks her own kind to protect humans in Huntress.

In Black Dawn, Maggie stumbles upon an old Night World kingdom where the ruling vampire prince is both an enemy and an ally.

And Circle Daybreak hires Keller, a shapeshifting panther, to guard a new Wild power in Witchlight. But when Keller falls in love with the Wild Power's soulmate, her love could destroy everything...


Published:     7th April 2009
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 7, 8 & 9, Night World

Source:  My Own Book

 


My Review 

What I loved about this story...
I was so sad when I got to the end of the final book, this was a series that I can't believe I have left it so long to read and thoroughly enjoy.  I LOVED IT!!!!  As this is nearer the end of the series, there are a lot of plot lines that I cannot go into but what I loved the most about these three books and this series in general is the plot.  You have the Night World and all the characters in each of the stories in this series are living in it or around it.  With each story you follow a different character but you are still in the same world and there is definitely a bigger picture which becomes more apparent with story you read.  

What made this series even better was the fact that after I had finished reading the final book I found out via Goodreads that there is going to be a book 10.  I am not completely sure when that is coming out but possibly in 2015.  I am so excited for that one as I felt that there was a lot more story to tell in Night World....  

This is such a great series that I would HIGHLY recommend giving a go.  

About the Author
(from Goodreads)

L.J. SMITH, Lisa Jane Smith, is the New York Times #1 Bestselling author of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, The Forbidden Game, Dark Visions, Wildworld and Night World series. She has written over two dozen books for children and young adults, and has enjoyed writing every one of them. She lives in the Bay Area of California, with a backyard that is full of flowers, which she adores, especially with many different shades of roses.

She loves to visit a friend's little cabin in the Point Reyes National Seashore area, which has lots of trees, lots of animals, lots of beaches to walk on, and lots of places to hike. Once, while hiking, she saw a snow-white buck which allowed her to follow it nearly half a mile. She also likes to collect things: angels (they remind her of her late mother), tiny boxes from different countries or of fanciful shape, nineteenth century children's literature, and books about quantum physics--especially about the mystery of the dark energy in the universe. A militant optimist, she is also part of the Velociraptor Sisterhood (a fancy way of saying that she likes to read, write and discuss books with strong female characters), and she has traveled extensively in Europe and the Far East. The two countries she loves to visit most are Great Britain, with its historic monuments and amazing country landscapes, and Japan, with its bustling urban life and exquisite mountain scenery.

Her favorite current writer is Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series, for its wild and witty satires on life, death, war, love, assassins, coppers, and Australia. Her favorite classical writer is Jane Austen. Her favorite poets are Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. Her favorite movies are The Seven Samurai and Avatar (analyze that!). She doesn't have a favorite TV show, because she doesn't have time to watch TV (and only owns one for playing movies).

Her favorite people are her readers, each of whom she cherishes with deep and lasting affection.

Note: L. J. Smith wrote books 1-7 of The Vampire Diaries series. After that, a ghostwriter took over the rest of the series. L. J. wrote books 1-3 of The Secret Circle series. After that, a ghostwriter took over the rest of the series. L. J. did not write any of the Originals or Stefan's Diaries. These were written by Kevin Williamson and/or various ghostwritters. 



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28 Jan 2015

Book Review / Nightworld Volume 2 by L J Smith

Includes:
Book 4 - Dark Angel
Book 5 - The Chosen
Book 6 - Soulmate


Vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters -- they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And falling in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.

In Dark Angel, Gillian is saved from drowning by her guardian angel. Only visible to Gillian, Angel will fulfill her heart's every desire. But when Angel starts making strange and sinister requests, Gillian must question who he truly is and where he came from.

Armed with a wooden stake, martial arts, and the will to resist a vampire's mind control, Rashel struggles to avenge her mother's death in The Chosen. Then she meets Quinn, her soulmate, who is part of the world she has vowed to destroy.

Hannah receives notes warning her of incredible danger in Soulmate. But if death is her destiny, is the Lord of the Night World's love strong enough to save her?


Published:     18th November 2008
Publisher:  Hodder
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone: 
Volume 1 (inc. books 2, 3 & 4) Night World  
Source:  Bought


My Review

What I love about this book...
You may notice that there is not a section in this review for 'what I did not like about this book'.  That's because I loved this book.  After reading the previous book (book 3) which I was not fond of I was slightly worried that it was a sign of things to come but it really wasn't.  I liked the fact that you have one world, the Night World, and in each story you are in the same world but seeing it through the eyes of different characters in different situations.  I also like the fact that the more you read the more you see a bigger picture emerging throughout each book that I hope will come to a conclusion nearer the end of the series. 

I couldn't possibly say which of the three books above was my favourite, I loved them all and I really can't wait to read the next three books....


About the Author
 (from Goodreads)


L.J. SMITH, Lisa Jane Smith, is the New York Times #1 Bestselling author of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, The Forbidden Game, Dark Visions, Wildworld and Night World series. She has written over two dozen books for children and young adults, and has enjoyed writing every one of them. She lives in the Bay Area of California, with a backyard that is full of flowers, which she adores, especially with many different shades of roses.

She loves to visit a friend's little cabin in the Point Reyes National Seashore area, which has lots of trees, lots of animals, lots of beaches to walk on, and lots of places to hike. Once, while hiking, she saw a snow-white buck which allowed her to follow it nearly half a mile. She also likes to collect things: angels (they remind her of her late mother), tiny boxes from different countries or of fanciful shape, nineteenth century children's literature, and books about quantum physics--especially about the mystery of the dark energy in the universe. A militant optimist, she is also part of the Velociraptor Sisterhood (a fancy way of saying that she likes to read, write and discuss books with strong female characters), and she has traveled extensively in Europe and the Far East. The two countries she loves to visit most are Great Britain, with its historic monuments and amazing country landscapes, and Japan, with its bustling urban life and exquisite mountain scenery.

Her favorite current writer is Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series, for its wild and witty satires on life, death, war, love, assassins, coppers, and Australia. Her favorite classical writer is Jane Austen. Her favorite poets are Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. Her favorite movies are The Seven Samurai and Avatar (analyze that!). She doesn't have a favorite TV show, because she doesn't have time to watch TV (and only owns one for playing movies).

Her favorite people are her readers, each of whom she cherishes with deep and lasting affection.

Note: L. J. Smith wrote books 1-7 of The Vampire Diaries series. After that, a ghostwriter took over the rest of the series. L. J. wrote books 1-3 of The Secret Circle series. After that, a ghostwriter took over the rest of the series. L. J. did not write any of the Originals or Stefan's Diaries. These were written by Kevin Williamson and/or various ghostwritters.



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27 Jan 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / Things we Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 1st April 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.


When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.
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25 Jan 2015

Book Review / Night World Volume One by L J Smith

Vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters -- they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And falling in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.

 In 'Secret Vampire', Poppy is dying. Her best friend, James can offer her eternal life - as a vampire. One kiss and she sees into his soul. But can she follow him into death ... and beyond?

In 'Daughters of Darkness', there are three sisters with a secret, on the run from their cruel and ruthless brother. Can their new human friend Mary Lynette resist the powerful charm of their brother -and save the sisters and herself from a deadly fate at the hands of a werewolf?

In 'Enchantress', Blaise is irresistible. She's lethal. She bewitches boys for sport. then she meets a boy who matters to her cousin. Thea. They become rivals in love. It's Thea's white magic against Blaise's black magic. They're both breaking the rules. But it's Thea who risks expulsion from the Night World ...


Published:     7th May 2009
Publisher:  Hodder

Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Volume 1 (inc. books 1, 2 and 3) Night World

 Source:  Bought
Review:   4 out of 5

 

My Review

What I loved about this book...
Out of the three books that is in this bind up, my favourite by far was the first one - Secret Vampire.  I instantly felt for the main character, Poppy who is dying (as mentioned in the description above).  You have a best friend character, James, who is more than what he seems and more than what Poppy realises.  It has been a while since I last read a vampire and I am so glad I decided to pick up this one not only to be one of the first books of 2015 but one of my first books I reading for #projecttbr (challenge for this year which aims to reduce your tbr pile). 

Daughters of Darkness takes us in the same world (Night World) but we follow different characters, thi stime the there sisters.  They are part of the Night World and it was very interesting to see how they interacted in this world.  It was definitely fun to find out what they are up to and trying to figure out whether they are on the side of the good or on the side of the bad.  

Enchantress I will talk about more in the next section. 

What I was not fond of with this book...
Unfortunately, Enchantress was the third book in this series and it was one that I did struggle to get through.  Not because the story was not interesting enough but for the sheer fact that didn't like the character of Blaise.  I thought she was very selfish and hurtful I was pretty much annoyed with her for most of the story. 

About the Author
(from Goodreads)

L.J. SMITH, Lisa Jane Smith, is the New York Times #1 Bestselling author of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, The Forbidden Game, Dark Visions, Wildworld and Night World series. She has written over two dozen books for children and young adults, and has enjoyed writing every one of them. She lives in the Bay Area of California, with a backyard that is full of flowers, which she adores, especially with many different shades of roses.

She loves to visit a friend's little cabin in the Point Reyes National Seashore area, which has lots of trees, lots of animals, lots of beaches to walk on, and lots of places to hike. Once, while hiking, she saw a snow-white buck which allowed her to follow it nearly half a mile. She also likes to collect things: angels (they remind her of her late mother), tiny boxes from different countries or of fanciful shape, nineteenth century children's literature, and books about quantum physics--especially about the mystery of the dark energy in the universe. A militant optimist, she is also part of the Velociraptor Sisterhood (a fancy way of saying that she likes to read, write and discuss books with strong female characters), and she has traveled extensively in Europe and the Far East. The two countries she loves to visit most are Great Britain, with its historic monuments and amazing country landscapes, and Japan, with its bustling urban life and exquisite mountain scenery.

Her favorite current writer is Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series, for its wild and witty satires on life, death, war, love, assassins, coppers, and Australia. Her favorite classical writer is Jane Austen. Her favorite poets are Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. Her favorite movies are The Seven Samurai and Avatar (analyze that!). She doesn't have a favorite TV show, because she doesn't have time to watch TV (and only owns one for playing movies).

Her favorite people are her readers, each of whom she cherishes with deep and lasting affection.

Note: L. J. Smith wrote books 1-7 of The Vampire Diaries series. After that, a ghostwriter took over the rest of the series. L. J. wrote books 1-3 of The Secret Circle series. After that, a ghostwriter took over the rest of the series. L. J. did not write any of the Originals or Stefan's Diaries. These were written by Kevin Williamson and/or various ghostwritters.
 
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21 Jan 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / The Artisans by Julie Reece

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 19th May 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.


They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?
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