Excerpt & Giveaway: Independently Wealthy by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

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On December 2nd, Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s third novel released. Independently Wealthy is a follow up to Lorraine’s second novel New Money, but it can also be read as a stand alone. Today I have an excerpt of the book and am offering a giveaway.

Independently WealthySummary (From Goodreads):

In New Money, Savannah Morgan was thrust into high-society New York when she learned she was the sole heir to her father’s billion-dollar fortune. In Independently Wealthy, she is living her dream life on the Upper West Side, excelling at her job as an editorial assistant, and enjoying her handsome new boyfriend, Alex.

Everything in Savannah’s life should be perfect—but she can’t ignore the questions and scandal surrounding her father’s fatal accident. Her hopes of solving this mystery are shared by Caroline Stone—her newfound sister who is slowly becoming a friend. Savannah decides to investigate, although not everyone wants her to discover the truth. Her domineering older brother, Ned, has his own problems, including a lingering regret over his recent divorce, the constant pressure of running the Stone media empire, and managing a playboy bachelorhood. As Savannah’s quest for justice becomes complicated and dangerous, she is led to Washington, D.C., an alluring stranger, and more surprises, trouble, and changes than she ever could have imagined.

Lorraine Zago Rosenthal 2014About the author:

LORRAINE ZAGO ROSENTHAL was born and raised in New York City. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and earned a Master’s in English from Northern Kentucky University. Lorraine’s debut novel, Other Words for Love, was published in 2011, and her second novel, New Money, was published in 2013. Currently, she lives near Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband.

 

 

 

 

A portion of chapter 1:

One

 “It’s true,” I said as I gazed at the gilded statue of Prometheus, the massive tree dotted with colored lights, and the swarm of people in winter coats who were skating across the ice. “Manhattan really is the best place to be for Christmas.”

 “It sure is,” Alex said, “especially when I’m with the most beautiful woman in the city.”

 He was sitting across from me at a table beside a window in the Rock Center Café, which was filled with a Saturday-night dinner crowd and the sound of Christina Aguilera singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

 I grinned while I admired Alex’s thick, dark hair and the broad shoulders beneath his black sweater. The white lights framing the rink sparkled in his blue eyes.

 He flashed me a smile and turned his attention to a waitress who’d just arrived at our table. He gave his order while I glanced around the casual but upscale restaurant that had chairs covered in beige leather and walls decorated with Andy Warhol’s art. I was studying one of the paintings when the waitress asked if Alex wanted an appetizer before his entrée.

 “No, thanks,” he said, handing her his menu.

 I frowned. He’d gotten better at accepting gifts from me, but he still tried to be a cheap date whenever I insisted that dinner was my treat.

 “A big boy like you,” I said, “needs a healthy meal. Get an appetizer.”

 It took a moment for him to let out a chagrined laugh. “Yes, ma’am,” he said finally. Then we put in our orders, the waitress left, and Alex reached across the table to pinch my cheek. “You’re trying to fatten me up, Savannah.”

 I shook my head, thinking of all the times he’d walked into my bedroom after a shower, wearing nothing but a towel and glittering beads of water on his skin. “I wouldn’t do that. I’m much too fond of the way you look right now.”

 He smiled shyly. “So your mother and Tina are flying in soon?”

I nodded and took the lemon wedge off my glass. “In ten days … they’ll be here Christmas morning. My office is closing early the night before and won’t reopen until January second, so I’ll have plenty of time to spend with them. And Mom can’t wait to meet you.”

 Alex’s smile widened as the waitress returned with a shrimp cocktail for him and a crab cake for me. I started eating, but he didn’t.

 “What’s wrong?” I asked.

 “Nothing, actually,” he said. “Ever since we got back together, I’ve felt happier than I have in years.”

 I reached out to squeeze his arm. “That’s so sweet.”

 He put his hand over mine. “Like I’ve said before … if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be a published author.”

 I smiled, thinking about his short story inside the pages of a literary journal. The story had come out earlier this month, and I’d had it framed for him. I’d done the same for my first story in Femme. “You give too much credit to me and not enough to yourself,” I said, sitting back in my chair. “It’s great work, and it deserved to be published. Was your dad impressed?”

 Alex shrugged. “I couldn’t tell. He seemed more interested in my brother’s new stockbroker job on Wall Street. I don’t know … I just wish my mother was alive to see me finally doing something with my writing.”

 “She still sees,” I said.

 He gave me a faint smile. “Of course my father had to remind me that one publication doesn’t make a career.” He glanced out the window at a row of novice skaters limping past. “But maybe his cynicism will crack when I tell him about my new job.”

 I raised an eyebrow, surprised. “What new job?”

 He looked at me. “I didn’t want to say anything until it was definite … and it’s really no big deal … but I got hired at an advertising agency. I’ll just be a proofreader, and I only landed the position because I know a senior copyeditor there … I met him at the gym. But he saw my story in the journal and knew I wanted a better job than bartending, so he used the publication and my degree to get me in. I’ll be proofing TV copy … and I start right after New Year’s.”

 I clasped my hands together. “That’s fantastic, Alex. I don’t know much about advertising agencies, but which one is it?”

 “Fletcher, Cole, Goddard and Bristol,” he said so quickly that the names ran together. “Fletcher Cole for short. It’s on Madison Avenue … and it’s a prestigious agency. I’ll have a more stable schedule and I might make some acting contacts … who knows.”

 “Fletcher Cole,” I repeated, imagining how delectable he’d look heading off to work in a suit each morning and sipping a Gibson Martini at his desk every afternoon—even though workplace drinking had been outlawed decades ago and the agency’s dress code was probably business casual. Still, my Mad Men fantasy was so sexy, I just had to indulge it.

 I slipped my cell out of the Gucci purse I’d bought last July. “I’m so happy for you … and Mom will be, too. I have to call and tell her.”

 He reached across the table and gingerly extracted the phone from my fingers. “I don’t want to brag. Your mother will think I’m an arrogant jerk before we’ve even met.”

 I smiled and dropped the phone back into my purse. “You’re not even close to being a jerk. But I understand … so I’ll tell just her when she’s here. And I’m very proud of you.” I stood up, walked toward him, and leaned down to plant a kiss on his mouth while Mariah Carey sang “All I Want for Christmas Is You.

 The song was stuck in my head when we walked into my darkened apartment later that night. I’d finally given in and hired a cleaning lady—but only because I’d been working so much that I didn’t have time to vacuum and dust—and she’d banished the stench of Tina’s Marlboros. Now the place smelled fresh and clean like the Norway spruce in a corner of the living room, beside my windows that overlooked Central Park.

 I flipped a switch. The tree brightened with blinking white lights that made the silver tinsel on the branches shimmer. There were lots of boxes underneath—presents for Mom and Tina and Alex—wrapped in dark-blue foil and tied with silver bows.

 “Oh,” I said with a gasp as I stood there in my coat. “Isn’t it pretty?”

 Alex nodded and pulled me toward him. “Just like you.”

 The cold leather on his jacket rubbed against me when he pressed his lips to mine. We stayed there for a while, just kissing in the middle of the room as the Christmas lights twinkled. His mouth was so warm and he kissed so well, but I remembered something that made me take a step back.

Copyright © 2014 by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Giveaway Details:

One copy available for a US entrant only
Leave a comment to enter
Only one comment per entrant
Giveaway open until 12/15/14
Winner will be emailed
Do not leave your address in the comments; I will request that in the email

Blog Tour Stops:

12/1       JENNIFER VIDO                                                 ‘TOP PICKS’ + GIVEAWAY

12/1       CHICK LIT CENTRAL                                          ‘BOOKSHELF’

12/1       THE BEVY BIBLIOTHEQUE                              REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/2       BOOK MAMA                                                         REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/2       THE READING DATE                                         EXCERPT + REVIEW

12/2       JENNIFER VIDO                                                 EXCERPT

12/3       A SOUTHERN GIRLS BOOKSHELF                EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

12/3       DEW ON THE KUDZU                                      ‘SPOTLIGHT’

12/4       RATHER BE READING                                      REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/5       LUXURY READING                                            GIVEAWAY

12/6       HARLEQUIN JUNKIE                                        ‘SPOTLIGHT’

12/8       BOOKS IN THE BURBS                                     INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/9       YA LOVE                                                                  EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

12/10     CHAPTER CHICKS                                              EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

12/11     THE HIDING SPOT                                            REVIEW + INTERVIEW

12/12     DREAM WITHIN A DREAM                            EXCERPT + INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/15     JUMP INTO BOOKS                                         EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

12/16     INKBITTEN                                                          REVIEW

12/17     WILLA’S RAMBLINGS                                      REVIEW + INTERVIEW

12/18     WINDOW SEAT ON A RAINY DAY               ‘SPOTLIGHT’ + GIVEAWAY

12/18     WRITE MEG!                                                      REVIEW

12/19     KAYLA’S READS AND REVIEWS                   EXCERPT

12/22     THE READING FRENZY                                    ‘SHOWCASE’ + INTERVIEW

If you have any additional questions for Lorraine, head over to her Goodreads profile here: http://bit.ly/1B70IzC!

House of Night: Redeemed Excerpt & Giveaway

Redeemed 2If you’ve been following P.C. Casts & Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, then you know that the final installment, Redeemed, released on October 14th. Today I have an excerpt and giveaway for you from the publicist to help celebrate the release. I received a Goddess Gift as well and it’s really cool! Enjoy! :)

Excerpt #1

…Neferet beamed a smile at her Dark minions that was both exquisitely beautiful and terrifying. “I have an answer to our dilemma, children! The cage we created to hold Redbird was a weak, pathetic attempt at imprisonment. I have learned so much since that night. I have gained so much power—we have gained so much power. We will not cage people, as if I am a gaoler instead of a goddess. My children, we are going to blanket the very walls of my Temple with your magickal, unbreachable threads so that my new supplicants will be able to worship me unhindered. And that will only be the beginning. As I absorb more and more power, why not encase the entire city? I know it now—I know my destiny. I begin my reign as Goddess of Darkness by making Tulsa my Olympus! Only this is not a weak myth passed down as trite stories from schoolchildren to schoolchildren. This will be reality—a Dark Otherworld come to earth! And in my Dark Otherworld, there will be no innocents being abused by predators. All will be under my protection. I hold their fates in my hands—they have only to look to my welfare to be fulfilled. Ah, how they will worship me!”

Around her, the tendrils writhed in response to her excitement. She smiled and stroked those nearest to her. “Yes, yes, I know. It will be glorious!”

Giveaway Details

Think you have what it takes fight the darkness with Zoey? Can you wield Old Magick effortlessly like Neferet?

 To celebrate the launch of REDEEMED, P.C. and Kristin Cast teamed up with some great companies, like Sinful Colors, 21 Drops, Jamberry, Chrislie, Baby Blue Designs, and For Strange Women, to put together “Goddess Gifts” filled with goodies that represent main characters in the books.

Celebrate the goddess within. Enter to win a Goddess Gift. #HONRedeemed

 And be sure to check out the epic finale to P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, REDEEMED http://www.amazon.com/Redeemed-House-Night-Novels-Cast/dp/0312594445/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

 *Only one entry per person
*Open only to US residents
*Giveaway ends Nov. 3rd @ 11:59 pm EST
*Goddess Gift provided by & mailed by the publicist
*Winner will be notified via email

Facebook Tags for brands:

https://www.facebook.com/sinfulcolors

https://www.facebook.com/jamberrynails

https://www.facebook.com/chrislie.formulations

http://www.facebook.com/forstrangewomen

https://www.facebook.com/21drops

Twitter Tags for sponsors:

@SinfulColors_NP
@jamberrynails
@ChrislieBeauty
@forstrangewomen
@21drops
@hayleydollx (ByBabyBlue)

Websites for the brands

Sinful Colors http://sinfulcolors.com/
Jamberry Nails http://www.jamberrynails.net/
Chrislie Formulations http://www.chrislie.com/
For Strange Women http://www.forstrangewomen.com/
21 Drops http://www.21drops.com/
Baby Blue Designs https://www.etsy.com/shop/byBabyBlue

 

FOREIGN EXCHANGE Cover Reveal and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER Giveaway!

I’m very excited to be part of Denise Jaden’s cover reveal for her upcoming release Foreign Exchange. This is extra exciting for me because one of my students connected with Denise a few years back after reading Losing Faith. Through this connection, my student started reading parts of Foreign Exchange as a beta reader and Denise used her name for a character in the book (Tristan Bishop). So cool! :)

Thank you, Denise, for letting me take part in the cover reveal and the giveaway of your copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After!

Here are a few of Denise’s thoughts on Foreign Exchange and its cover…

I’m so incredibly excited to share my cover of Foreign Exchange with you! This book holds a very special place in my heart. I wrote it during a very difficult year of my life, and the characters and their stories were a real bright spot for me.

Because this book is so important to me, I’m giving away something VERY important to me to go along with this cover reveal. I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of the highly-anticipated Isla and the Happily Ever After by one of my all-time favorite authors, Stephanie Perkins. ISLA and Foreign Exchange are both romances with swoon-worthy boys, and they’re both set partially in Europe. So I want one lucky person to receive my advanced copy of ISLA in to get you excited for Foreign Exchange!

Read on, check out my cover, and read the first chapter of Foreign Exchange below. It’ll all help you in earning extra entries to win my copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After!

And here is the beautiful cover…

 

Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.

 

As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer. 

 

 “Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance makes for a can’t miss read.”

 – Eileen Cook  Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries. 

“A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry kept me turning those pages!”

- Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore

“Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful…the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare.”

 – D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the upcoming Noir et Bleu MC series.

 

One of the entries in the Rafflecopter below will ask you a question from the above chapter!

This contest is open internationally!

Don’t forget…this copy of ISLA could be yours…

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

* Note – If you cannot access the Rafflecopter Widget through this blog, access it HERE.

Racing Savannah Pre-Order Gift Campaign

Sourcebooks is offering a fun pre-order gift campaign for Miranda Kenneally’s upcoming release Racing Savannah. Here’s the information you’ll need…

From Sourcebooks….

They’re from two different worlds, but Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules. . . get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!

Right before her senior year, Savannah’s father whisks the family off to Tennessee to work as head groom at fancy Cedar Hill Farms. Savannah finally sees it as the perfect opportunity to earn extra money as an exercise rider—no matter how many others don’t want a girl around the barn.  But she’s also caught the eye of Jack Goodwin, the owner’s son. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries. With her dream of becoming a jockey, Savannah is not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack.

We’ve put together a fun campaign to thank readers for pre-ordering: send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you this fabulous horseshoe key chain!

A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally

We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out.

Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)

2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to teenfire@sourcebooks.com. Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!

3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out. 

4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!

Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.

A Mother’s Day Giveaway!

The wonderful people at Sourcebooks are offering a fantastic giveaway just for moms!  You can enter to win Marianne Richmond’s adorable new picture book, Oh, the Things My Mom Will Do and her board book, If I Could Keep You Little.

Oh The Things My Mom Will Do KeepYouLittleBB_CVR.indd

Summary of Oh, the Things My Mom Will Do (from the publisher):

What a child sees as everyday routine is anything but for a mom! Oh, the Things My Mom Will Do is a celebration of the unpredictable adventure that is motherhood with its sometimes silly, always heartfelt, and wonderfully important moments–all rooted in love. This sweet and amusing book will have book moms and kids smiling with recognition while spotlighting all the different ways a mom shows her devotion.

Oh The Things My Mom Will Do exclusive art

MarianneRichmond2012About Marianne Richmond:

Beloved author and illustrator MARIANNE RICHMOND has touched the lives of millions for nearly two decades through her award-winning books, greeting cards, and other gift products that offer people the most heartfelt way to connect with each other.  She lives in the Minneapolis area.  Visit www.mariannerichmond.com.

Check 0ut Marianne Richmond’s great Mother’s Day craft ideas here.

Giveaway Details

**Open to the US and Canada only**
**To enter, simply leave a comment (your email will be filled in w/the comment form)**
**Must be at least 13 to enter**
**Giveaway ends Saturday, May 18th, 2013**
**Winner will be contacted via email**
**Only one entry per person**

 

Let the WriteOnCon Voting Begin!

About a month ago I posted about WriteOnCon.  Now’s the time to start voting for your favorite pitch submissions!  Here are the details:

**UPDATED by WriteOnCon organizers**

  • The voting starts today (Monday, March 18th). There are over 350 book pitches to choose from!
  • If you’re interested in voting, please register at this link! You must register to vote, or your vote does not count. We want to make sure the voting is thorough, balanced, and above all, fair.
  • We’re taking votes from book bloggers, published/represented authors, and book fans. Teachers and librarians, if you have a group of students, take them to a computer lab so they can read the pitches and vote as well.
  • The authors with the most votes will win prizes that could really make the difference in their careers, so your support really will make a difference.
  • The whole thing ends on 10 PM EST Friday, March 22. So make sure to get those votes in by then.
  • You don’t have to be a blogger to participate, so feel free to join the fun :)

Guest Post + Giveaway: Kim Purcell author of Trafficked

Kim3-small_2Kim Purcell is celebrating the paperback release of her book Trafficked with a blog tour stop here at YA Love and giving away a copy of Trafficked to one lucky winner.  Her guest post today is on method writing which I’m excited to share since my students are working so hard this year to become stronger writers.  Make sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post!

Summary of Trafficked (From Goodreads):

Hannah has struggled ever since her parents were killed and her beloved uncle vanished. So when she’s offered the chance to leave Moldova and become a nanny for a family in Los Angeles, it seems like a dream come true-and at first it is. But after weeks of working sixteen-hour days and not being able to leave the house, she still hasn’t been paid. As things go from bad to worse, Hannah realizes that things are not at all what they seem and she finds herself doing things she never imagined herself capable of. But as she begins uncovering the family’s crooked history, she may be exposing more than she bargained on-and putting her life in danger.

** “Method Writing” guest post by Kim Purcell **

Sometimes people ask me how I could write about a modern-day slave in America, an orphan girl from Moldova, someone so different from me. I did a lot to prepare myself before I started writing this book. I went to Moldova and had some scary experiences there, which I put into the book through Hannah’s perspective. I ate Russian and Moldovan food. I interviewed about forty different girls and women in Moldova and America and absorbed their experiences so that I could become Hannah.

I write a little differently from many other writers. I call it Method Writing, similar to Method Acting, which is when the actor becomes the character for extended periods and even becomes the character for periods of time, even when not acting. It’s the only way any good writing comes out of me. If I try hard to focus on craft and consciously try to write something beautiful, forget it. The writing will always be awkward. I have to put myself in a trance beforehand and become that character.

Before I even sit down at the computer, it’s my goal to be the character and see the world through her eyes. How do I get into the character? First, I need a little time walking or running to get myself into the character. I love to run with friends, but if I’m getting into character, I need to be alone. At first, my mind starts circling around my character. I start thinking her thoughts. I focus on my physical senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. I try to experience these senses through the character’s eyes, ears, nose, etc. Once I am physically feeling like my character, I can write with the type of sensory detail that makes the writing come alive.

There are some downsides to this kind of writing. One of them is I feel everything the character feels, which means I also suffer through the things she’s suffering. If she’s running from something or someone who wants to kill her, my pulse is beating fast and my adrenalin is going. If she’s lonely and sad, oh man, I’m so lonely and sad. If she’s having fun and laughing, you’ll probably find me giggling at my computer screen.

If I wrote only happy scenes, it would be great, but I don’t specialize in happy scenes. Trafficked has some pretty tough scenes in it, and this is true for my next novel too. So, it messes with my body. Because I’m wrapped up in the story, my body will get itself into weird positions as I’m writing. Sometimes my feet rest on the desk or get curled under me and fall asleep. Sometimes my back is all curled up like a mad scientist. Sometimes my shoulders are pulled right up to my neck. Or my character is running so my feet are flexed and poised off the ground for thirty minutes. Later in the day, I wonder, hmm, how come my legs hurt?

Another downside is that if someone interrupts me in the midst of writing, like my husband or my kids, I’ll look up with a sort of dazed, crazed expression. “What do you want?” I’m not myself. Or their interruption might scare me and make me jump. Needless to say, I rarely write with them around. Sometimes I write in cafes because I feel like my house will distract me from my character because it’s messy or I have a bunch of things to do there. In a café, I put on headphones with really loud, fast music, nothing that I want to sing along to, just so I can block out any external noise. When I write at home, it has to be totally quiet and I like my office to be spotless (and preferably my house too) because I need that emptiness to transport myself elsewhere and completely lose myself in the writing.

Because I lose myself in my writing, things can happen around me and I may not notice. One time, this winter, I forgot to turn on the heat and I was shivering as I came out of my writing. My fingers were so cold they wouldn’t move and I realized that was what pulled me out of the character. Often I won’t stop to eat if I’m in the middle of my writing, so I’ll get dizzy before I realize I need to eat. I always bring a tea with milk and sugar now and a little snack to start off my writing. I can never put something in the oven without an alarm on – I’ve learned it will burn, for sure, and the house will be filled with smoke before I notice it. I also set an alarm so I finish when I need to finish and go do what I need to do for the rest of my life.

If I’m in the midst of an early draft of my book, it gets harder to maintain the separation between writing and life. I obsess about my character. I could think about her all day long if I let myself. Sometimes I dream about her and in the morning, I want everyone to go away so I can write. But this isn’t possible. I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend. I have things to do, people who need me. And so, I hold that character in a little box in my mind while I get everyone out the door in the morning. After I’m done writing, I need a transition back to regular life too. If I take a shower and do a little yoga, this usually works. Then, I can act more or less like a regular person, and not like my character. Until the next morning.

** Author Bio **

 Kim Purcell is a journalist, teacher and novelist of Trafficked (Penguin). She dances anywhere a good song is playing, and she’d love to offer you a cup of tea.

** Win a copy of Trafficked **

Trafficked book cover

Giveaway open to US and Canada only
Giveaway sponsored by the author–Thanks, Kim!
Only one entry per person
Must be at least 13 years old to enter
Giveaway ends 3/26/13 at 11:59 pm EST
Winner will be notified via email and given 48 hours to respond

Review: Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington + Giveaway

EmblazeTitle: Emblaze

Author: Jessica Shirvington

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: March 5th, 2013

Interest: Series continuation

Source: E-ARC received via NetGalley from the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads): Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice … and the consequences are unimaginable. 

Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.

Now Violet has something Phoenix – the exiled angel who betrayed her – will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too. 

Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn’t take him long to realise exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.

With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to…

First, if you haven’t read Embrace or the second book, Entice, do not read this review.

It’s becoming more and more difficult to write these reviews because I’m constantly worried about including a spoiler unintentionally, so I’m going to write my review as a list.  Here it goes…

  • Once again, Jessica Shirvington delivers tons of action.  It’s almost on a constant loop in Emblaze.
  • The angst!  The forbidden love!  It hasn’t died down, that’s for sure!  A plus to this is that Violet never strikes me as whiny.  In fact, that’s a major plus.
  • I love how Stef’s character is developing.  I have some predictions about her and some questions as well.  She balances Violet and keeps her grounded which I love.
  • I kind of wish Spence played a bigger role in Emblaze.  He’s in the story, but I missed the large part he played in Entice.
  • Embrace and Entice kept me hooked the entire time, but there were times during Emblaze that really dragged.  Most of those scenes are between big action scenes when the characters are sort of at a stand still and spending too much time discussing strategy or history.
  • I was hoping for more development between Lincoln and Violet.  Their relationship needs to move along more (in one way or another) considering this is the third book in the series.
  • I loved the surprise ending.  I’m really looking forward to where that takes the story in the fourth book.
  • Overall I really enjoyed Emblaze and am looking forward to passing it on to my diehard fans in class :)

Win a copy of Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington

*Open to US and Cananda only
*Giveaway provided by the publisher–Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire!
*Must be 13 years or older to enter
*Only one entry per person
*Giveaway ends 3/26/13 at 11:59 EST
*Winner will be notified via email & have 48 hours to respond

 

The Farm by Emily McKay Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

The FarmTitle: The Farm

Author: Emily McKay

Publisher: Berkley Trade

Release Date: December 4th, 2012

Interest: Post-Apocalyptic / Blog Tour

Source: Finished copy received from the publisher

The Farm Website

Summary (From Goodreads): Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

I honestly had mixed reactions when I started reading The Farm.  The concept is cool which is why I decided to try it and join the blog tour.  I’m not really big on vampires, but I like post-apocalyptic books.  My students still like reading paranormal vampire novels and the post-apocalyptic genre is a big hit with them as well.  Emily McKay’s debut is another book that I need to break down into what worked and what didn’t work.

What Worked For Me:

  • The multiple points of view–The Farm is told from Lily, Mel, and Carter’s points of view told in alternating chapters.  My favorite chapters are Mel’s because she’s autistic and has a really unique perspective and understanding of the world around her.  The story works with this format because there’s so much going on and the characters are so involved.  I learned more about Carter and his history during his chapters than in any of the other chapters, and I really don’t know how we could have learned as much about him without this format.  Overall it added more layers to the story and really defined the characters.
  • Lily–I like what a strong heroine she is.  She’s quick on her feet and stands up for herself and her sister.  Her sense of humor, despite how horrible her life is, is witty and snarky.  I really think teens with siblings who they’re close to or protective of, will connect with Lily and enjoy her character.
  • The pacing & action–The Farm is full of suspense, twists, and action.  Emily McKay did a nice job balancing The Farm’s character development and plot development; it doesn’t feel like one more than the other (character driven or plot driven).  I enjoyed the suspense and wondering how new developments were going to come to light.  The pacing it great and will keep my students interested as they read.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • Vampires–I’m over vampires.  I don’t have much else to say on that topic.
  • I tried to keep an open mind on the vampire front, but some of the background storyline didn’t work for me.  I don’t want to ruin anything because much of that isn’t revealed until 100+ pages in, but when I came to that story I sort of cringed.  I had to start thinking of the book as more of a book for my students than for me at that point.  And sometimes that’s what I really need to do when I read a book outside my comfort zone; I need to think about the students in class who will like it more than me.
  • I really liked Lily, Mel, and Carter, but I didn’t find myself connecting to them and their story until 75 or more pages in.  I needed more earlier than that.

The Farm Blog Tour Exclusive Content

Lily is such a strong main character. How did you decide to give her this fierce identity as opposed to the weak female characters that are so often present in books?

To be honest, I don’t know any weak teen-age girls.  The teen-age girls I know are strong and smart and giving and determined and I just drew on that to create Lily.  Years ago, I taught in a lower-income area and one of the things that I still remember from that time is how tough the girls I taught were and how devoted they were to their families.  I wanted to channel some of that into Lily, and hope I succeeded.

Tour Stops:
Yesterday–Actin’ Up With Books
Monday–Addicted to Novels

Giveaway Details

Giveaway sponsored by the publisher
Open to the US only
One lucky winner will win a copy of The Farm + “Vampire Apocalypse Survival Kit”
Must be 13 years or older to enter
Giveaway ends January 4th, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST
Only one entry per person
Winner will be emailed and given 48 hours to respond
No extra entries required, but spreading the word is appreciated :)

Home Run Blog Tour + Giveaway

I’m am super excited to be part of the Home Run Blog Tour for Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally!  I read Kenneally’s debut, Catching Jordan, in one sitting and did the same thing with her newest release, Stealing Parker.  My students are a big fan of her books as well.

I hope you enjoy Miranda’s guest post.  Make sure to enter to win a copy of Stealing Parker!

Summary (From Goodreads):

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

After her family’s scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won’t turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys–a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far…especially when he starts flirting back.

Peanut Gallery:  Where does Miranda get her inspiration?  Find out as Miranda speaks about her idea origins. As a bonus, Miranda shares the best advice that she ever got about being a writer.

Geez, this is a pretty hard question. I get my inspiration from all over the place. From conversations I have with friends and people at work. From inside jokes with my husband. I read lots of books, and see how my favorite authors write plot arcs and characterization, and then I set out to do that too, but with my own edge. I often look through my junior and high school yearbooks to remind myself of how I felt when I was younger. I also like to read my old diaries. One time I got a book idea from a true fact under a Snapple lid. Another time I got a book idea because somebody had broken into my car!

I got the idea for the “Jerry Rice fake baby home ec” project in Catching Jordan because I remembered this time I was out on the football field in junior high, and a football player was pushing another player around in a stroller.

The best advice I ever got as a writer?

  • An editor told me my strongest skill as an author is writing groups of teens goofing off and talking about nothing, so now I try to have my characters bantering while doing lots of wild and wacky things while trying to move the plot forward. And I have a great time doing it! I try to write silly scenes that I hope people will enjoy reading.

Giveaway Guidelines

Giveaway is sponsored by Sourcebooks Fire and open to residents of the US & Canada.
Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
One entry per person.
Only one winner.
Winner will be contacted via email & announced on Twitter.
Giveaway ends Friday, November 2nd, 2012 @ 11:59 EST.

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