Sunday, September 29, 2013

Review: Mister Max

Mister Max, twelve, becomes a detective  (he detests that word) solutionner under the worst circumstances. 

Right before Max and his parents are set to depart for India, Max stops to say farewell to a friend. But when he shows up at the port, on time, his parents have already left. What's even more peculiar, there was no boat for India that day. Max has only Grammie now, and both of them will stop at nothing to find out what really happened to their loved ones. 

Cynthia Voigt sets the story in the Victorian Era, giving it a polished Sherlock Holmes feel. This detail made Max a more mature character. Money was scarce back then, and to survive Max had no other resort than to find work. Joining him, is sidekick Pia, a young girl with a dose of attitude who helps him in his odd jobs: rescuing a lost dog, a stolen spoon, reuniting two long lost lovers, and even a search for a missing child. 

A great read  recommended for children 10+

Friday, September 27, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Don't Take my Sunshine Away

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: Reading Nook Tour

''As long as there is light, I can read anywhere'' BookCupid

If there was no light, I'd learn braille. There is always a solution to every problem.

Mostly, I read on the go: subway, dentist office, at the park, between classes...  I must admit reading at home is much more relaxing and easier to just let go and let the story transport you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Seraphina

When two species unite, there is always someone willing to cause a stir. 

Dragons and humans have lived together for several years. The curiosity strung once dragons realized how artistic we are. In order to maintain the peace, dragons are forbidden to eat meat -- best way to avoid nibbling on villagers -- and humans are forbidden to kill dragons while they are in their human form. But when one dragon dies, the truce might go along with him. 

Rachel Hartman chose a brave and intrepid girl named Seraphina, to lead the story. Not only is she a talented musician, but her connection with dragons placed her right in the middle of the fiasco. Joining this mysterious crime investigation is Prince Lucian Kiggs, whom Seraphina can't help but fall in love with. Unfortunately for her, he is engaged. 

Although the story maintains a stable slow paced action, where lots of towns were name dropped for no particular reason, Hartman manages nonetheless to provide an interesting take on dragons. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Encore

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


Lola and the Boy Next Door: Romantic & snuggle worthy

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Well-written
 The Calling: Captivating & satisfying
Catching Fire: Crazy cliffhanger  
Until I die: Great turn of events  
 Frostbite: What an ending
The Golden Lily:  Humorous with enough action to make you turn the pages. 

Pandemonium: Better than the finale

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review: Illegal

"A promise is just a lie you don't want to keep."

Nora is distraught when her papa migrates from their small town in Mexico to Texas. He works hard, sending monthly income until the checks abruptly stop. Did he forget about them? Will he break her promise and never return?

In Illegal, Bettina Restrepo wrote a heart-shattering and realistic example about the American Dream. Nora could never had imagined what her father went through when he left his country, until she experienced it herself. Not speaking English, meant she had to work at a pool stand selling snacks while other kids her age went to school. It meant adapting, learning how the US works, and mostly taking chances. Restrepo also brushed the topic of gang initiation, racism, and losing faith in God, while maintaining the mystery around Nora's father's disappearance. 

Enough teary-eyed moments to make you forget that there is no romance involved. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Kinder Reads

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: If you have kids, what are your favorites to read to them?

I loooove to do voices. The funny part is that the children imitate the voices as well when they read (or attempt to read) the story to me.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Angela N. Blount opens up about her new book

I'm pleased to be receiving author Angela N. Blount today to promote her YA novel, Once Upon a Road Trip.

Eighteen-year-old Angeli doesn’t "fit in." She’s never been on a single date, and she lives vicariously through an online world of storytelling. With the pressures of choosing a practical future path bearing down, she needs a drastic change. Too old to run away from home, she opts instead to embark on a solo 2-month road trip. But her freedom is tempered by loneliness — and anxiety tests her resolve as she comes face-to-face with her quirky internet friends. 

Aside from contracting mono and repeatedly getting herself lost, Angeli's adventure is mired by more unforeseen glitches — like being detained by Canadian authorities, and a near-death experience at the hands of an overzealous amateur wrestler. Her odyssey is complicated further when she unwittingly earns the affections of two young men. One a privileged martial artist; the other a talented techie with a colorful past.

Bewildered by the emotions they stir, Angeli spurns the idea of a doomed long-distance relationship. But she is unprepared for the determination of her hopeful suitors. 

A true story with an unapologetically honest outlook on life, love, faith, and adventure -- Once Upon A Road Trip is a coming-of-age memoir.

                   Find it on Amazon                                               Find it on Goodreads 

Hi Angela, thank you for being with us. Please do tell, what inspired you to write this book?

I think a lot of people toy with the idea of running away from home when they're young. I just waited until I was of legal age, and decided to expand my horizons by going on a cross-country road trip. At the time, I had no idea how life-altering that decision would become. (Think Eat, Pray, Love ... but the geeky teenaged version, and on a tight budget.)

What song best describes your work?

Either It's My Life by Bon Jovi, or Cross The Line by Superchick. They both fit perfectly at different points.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Lots! When I first got serious about writing, I didn't fathom how much I didn't know about it -- and about the publishing industry. Which is probably for the best as I might have been too intimidated if I'd realized what I was getting myself into. But in trying to spare others of what I wish I'd figured out early on, I'll hit a few highlights....

1. Don't write in a vacuum. Carefully seek out critiquing partners and beta readers who can offer constructive criticism and  knowledgeable feedback. It may hurt at first, but it will challenge and grow you like nothing else.

2. If at all possible, join a writer's guild or similar organization that will offer you community support and craft honing opportunities such as workshops, conferences, contests, etc. I've personally found invaluable aid and opportunities as a member of the RWA (Romance Writers of America), though I almost didn't join because I didn't think I was focused enough on romance. As it turns out, nearly everything they offer is applicable across all genres.

3. Carve out daily writing time for yourself, and defend it like professional work -- even if you don't yet feel like a professional.

4. In the words of Winston Churchill: "Never, never, never give up." You are the most qualified person in the world to tell your stories they way they need to be told. 

What are you working on now -- or would you rather surprise us?

I've just finished a Contemporary YA romance, and I'm now hard at work on the first in a YA sci-fi series. How exciting! I don't generally recommend genre-hopping, but my brain can't seem to help it.

You can find Angela N. Blount on:




Thank you for being with us Angela, and good luck on all your future projects.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me

The Catastrophic History of You and Me gives a new spin to the popular vow ''till dead do us part.''

After, Brie dies from a broken heart (heart failure) she arrives in limbo where she must go through five steps to enter the afterlife: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. Or so Patrick, a boy from the 80's who is keen on helping, tells her. But once Brie learns that anger means going back and getting even with the boy who broke her heart, she gets a bit too carried away. Why move on at all? And if Patrick says that is the best thing to do, then why is he still in limbo after so many years?

At 375 pages, the book felt quite lengthy compared to other contemporary stories, but author Jess Rothenberg did an incredible job utilizing the space and providing us with a journey through the human emotion of loss. Brie was overly talkative at first; mostly filled with rage over being dumped and seeing so many people at her funeral, who never even payed her attention while she was alive. Discovering how her family and true friends coped with things brought tears to my eyes. And definitely made me appreciate life even more.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Autumn Reads

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


The Moon and More
"Dessen is as skilled as ever at turning out steady, satisfying stories about teens that are easy to fall for" -- Publishers Weekly

The Beginning of Everything
"Efficient use of language, evocative descriptions and subtle turns of phrase make reading and rereading this novel a delight." Kirkus Reviews

Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: The Unwritten Rule

Thou shalt not kiss thy friend's boyfriend

Sarah wanted Ryan first, but Brianna, who is more extroverted and aggressive went for him. As the three of them started hanging out together, it became obvious that there was a stronger chemistry between Sarah and Ryan. Something needed to be done about it. And soon. 

The Unwritten Rule is very repetitive despite it's short length. Brianna could be a charming girl and then turn into a terrible friend you wouldn't even wish on your worst enemy. This made it harder to root for the girl code. One wonders, how much deeper the book could have been, if Brianna had been the sweet girl next door.

On the plus side, the theme and situations (bowling dates, spending quality time with parents), made the story realistic. Elizabeth Scott also managed to give the ending a twist and provide the story with some great quotes on friendship and letting go.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Caught my arrow #23

Caught my Arrow is a meme similar to In my mailbox and  Stalking the Shelves featuring books that were purchased, borrowed or received that week.

Birthday Week! Received lots of unexpected goodies I will soon devour. As well as James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by author Colm McElwain.  

Received for review 

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra

Birthday Gifts I received

Vader's Little Princess
Grave Mercy
The Dark and Hollow Places
You Against Me
The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Casual Vacancy

Borrowed from Library

The Education of Hailey Kendrick
The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
H.G. Wells Steampunk Collection

What are you reading this week?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Roll Camera!

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: It is up to you to do a kickstarter campaign for your favorite book!! Who are you casting for the main characters?

Seven Star Pictures bought the rights to The Forest of Hands and Teeth in 2009. But since the casting hasn't yet started, I decided to give it a go myself. Here are my picks:

Isabel Burr as Mary:A teenage girl who wishes to learn what lies beyond the village. She is very curious about the ocean, which no one believes is real.

Colton Haynes as Travis The boy Mary loves. Though he returns her feelings, he won't marry her because his brother is in love with her. Instead, he asks Mary's best friend, Cass, to become his wife. He injures his leg one day, and later in the book is infected while trying to save Mary.

Beau Mirchoff as HarryTravis's brother, who is in love with Mary though the feeling is not reciprocated. Nevertheless, Mary agrees to wed him to escape the Sisterhood. He soon develops feelings for Cass while Travis is recovering from his broken leg. 

Pixie Lott as CassMary's best friend until a love-quadrilateral estranges them. Mary says she smells like sunshine.

(Characters descriptions taken from Wikipedia)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Conversation with Author Jordan Elizabeth Mierek

I'm happy to be receiving author Jordan Elizabeth Mierek today to promote her upcoming anthology, 13 Haunted Tales.


Hi Jordan, thank you for being with us. Please do tell, what inspired you to write these three short stories?

It started with one short story, Amity.   I was looking for an agent for my manuscript Timelessness and I read on a writing website that it’s a good idea to have credits to your name, and a great way to get those would be by writing short stories.  I wrote Amity based on the graveyard by my house.  Plus, I’ve always had a love for the supernatural. I submitted it to online journals, but they weren’t interested in ghost stories.  Then, while browsing the Internet, I found that Wagonbridge Publishing wanted short stories for a ghost story anthology. Perfect! I was so excited to get an acceptance email.  I wrote two other short stories for the anthology: Candlestick Guilt and Yankee Inn.  The anthology will be titled 13 Haunted Tales and will be available on Wagonbridge Publishing’s website starting in October.

If you could have a diner party with two authors, who would you pick and what would you serve?

Wow, only two?  I’d love to invite all of my author friends and serve them fried tofu.  For one thing, I’d love to meet them, since I only know them through Facebook, email, and their stories.  For another, more people should be introduced to fried tofu, haha. 

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t listen when people say, “You’re not there now; what makes you think you’ll ever get there?”  Just like with anything, you have to believe you can do it.  You have to strive for it.  Fight.  Do whatever you have to (without hurting others).  It isn’t about the naysayers.  It’s all about you and what you want.  The happiest moment of my life was when I signed with my agency, Belcastro.   I stared at the mirror behind my bedroom door with this goofy smile on my face and said, “I really did it.  My dream really did come true.  This is what it feels like.”  When I still think about that moment, that goofy smile returns. 

What are you working on now -- or would you rather surprise us?

I’m always working on something!  I wrote a steampunk/Wild West story that got too long, so I split it into two books.  I’m working on that sequel and a fantasy about a girl with a spirit panther.  I’m curious to see where she takes me in her world of snow and castles.

You can find Jordan Elizabeth Mierek on:





Thank you for being with us Jordan, and good luck on all your future projects.