Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of  Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:

          ~Grab your current read.

          ~Open to a random page.

          ~Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. (Sometimes I cheat a bit on this one and do a few more sentences.)
          ~Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn't give to much away.               You don't want to ruin the book for others.)
          ~Share the title and author, so the other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.  :0)

This week my teaser comes from Frank, Incense & Muriel by Anne K. Albert
I'm reading on my Sony eReader and it says page 16.

I can't make out the signature, but he claims to be her 'one and only'.  That could be anybody.  Even you.  Should I keep hunting until I find your letters?"

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review ~ "Queens of All the Earth" by Hannah Sternberg

The Queens of All the EarthThe Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Genre: YA Fiction

Description from Goodreads: As her freshman classmates move into dorms at Cornell University, Olivia Somerset suffers a nervous breakdown. When months of coaxing and analyzing fail to rouse Olivia from her stupor, big sister Miranda decides the sisters should fly off to Barcelona for some "vacation therapy." 

When a mistake at their Barcelona hostel leaves the Somersets in a large co-ed dorm room, Olivia and Miranda are saved by kindly Mr. Brown and his son Greg, who happily volunteer to surrender their private room. But while Olivia feels an instant connection with brooding Greg Brown, Miranda sides with fellow guest and cocky American travel writer Lenny: 

The Browns are just plain weird, and must be avoided at all costs. 

In the midst of urbane Peruvian priests-in-training and Scottish soccer fans, from the shops of La Rambla to the waters of the Mediterranean to the soaring heights of Montjuic, Miranda works to protect her still-fragile sister while Olivia struggles to understand her burgeoning adulthood, her feelings for Greg, and the fear that makes the next step in her life so impossible to take. 

Inspired by E. M. Forster's classic novel A Room with a View, debut author Hannah Sternberg's Queens of All the Earth is a poetic journey of young love and self-awakening set against the beauty of Catalonia. Teenagers and adults alike will be riveted and moved by this coming-of-age novel about the conflicting hearts and minds of two very different sisters

My thoughts: Interesting idea that didn't work well for me. The book seemed to go nowhere. At times confusing.  I found myself skimming to get on to an important part of the story.  (I rarely skim, I like to read every word.)

Olivia has a break down one morning. She enters a catatonic state instead of heading for the dorm.  Her family is concerned, but keep her home in that state until she begins to slowly recover.  School is temporarily put aside, they attribute it to her not able to give up her childhood and move on.

Her concerned older sister thinks to take her on a trip to Spain. Part of the reasoning is to separate her from childhood memories to improve her mental stability.

The descriptions of the beautiful architecture and nature are wonderful. If only the story were about Spanish site seeing it may have worked better for me.

If you love a story about finding yourself, this may be the story for you. F bombs are dropped in every once in a while.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Blog Tour ~ Delivering Hope by Jennifer Ann Holt + (give@way opportunity)

Imagine being married for several years and to not be able to have children.  Odds are that if it hasn't happened to you, you know someone who has dealt with this.

You may know a young woman who has a promising future, but makes a mistake and finds herself pregnant.  No hope for marriage and a delay if not termination to her dreams.

"Delivering Hope" is a novel that takes on the two sides of the equation.  It delves into the lives of two families.  A couple who desperately want a child and an 18 year old unexpectedly pregnant.

This book was told with poise and eloquence.  The author did a great job telling the story and I believe portraying thoughts and feelings accurately.  I gave this book five stars.  For me it was hard to read, but definitely worth it.  This book is told with an emphasis on religion and the atonement of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and how he can help to heal all wounds.

I reviewed this book on Goodreads and I will add my word for word review at the end.  You will see a little more about me and my life in the review.  There may be a few spoilers, but nothing that will ruin the story.  Read at your own risk!!!

I received this book to review,  the thoughts are my honest thoughts and impressions.

The publication date for this book is February 8th.

Find out more from the blogs participating in the tour!

Follow Jennifer at her BLOG (one way to enter her giveaway)

Blog Tour Schedule 
Jennifer Ann Holt

Giveaway opportunity:

Jennifer will be giving away two signed copies of the book.  She will also be giving away a bookmark and magnet to five people. Here are the ways to enter.  You may do one or all.

*Become a follower of her blog:  and leave a comment letting her know you’re here!
*“Like” the Delivering Hope facebook fan page:  
*Watch the book trailer:   and post a comment on the facebook page telling what you liked about it.

The winners will be randomly chosen at the conclusion of the blog tour and be posted on both her blog and the facebook fan page by 10:00 am on Saturday, February 11th.

My Review from Goodreads:  This was a tough book for me to read. In the beginning I set it down several times as I remembered thoughts and feelings that I had thought buried and forgotten. 

I struggled with fertility issues for two years before I was able to conceive my first child with the help of fertility hormones. I remembered the anguish that is so eloquently described in the book. I now have four children. When you feel that much despair, you never forget. 

The first section of the book is about the struggles of a couple who find that they are unable to have children. The road that they travel is tough, they have to come to terms with infertility. It describes accurately the stress on the marriage and the couple individually. 

The second section is about a young woman who is 18 and makes the mistake of sleeping with her best friend in an unplanned moment. One mistake and she finds that she is expecting a baby. The father is not ready to be a father and doesn't want to be a part of the process. He in fact wants her to abort the baby and then he wouldn't have to face any consequences. 

Her journey is a hard one, deciding to give the baby up that she loves so much. 

Their paths merge when the young women picks the couple to be the parents of her baby. I am giving you the outline of the story, but there is so much to be gained by reading the book. 

Like I said, it may be tough to read for many people. Those who have struggled with infertility or a young mother who decides to give a child more by giving it two loving parents. The message is of hope. 

I recommend this book highly. I am glad that I didn't put it down when I was overwhelmed with emotion. I have to admit that I cried in many places. This book is one that deals with the atonement of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and how we can become whole with his help and love.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop (Intl)

Thanks I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole for hosting this hop.

YA is one of my favorite age group of books to read.  Most of the time I can share them and talk about them with my daughter.

For this hop I have selected three books that one winner can choose from.  There will be one winner.
This giveaway is International as long as the Book Depository Ships to your country without charging shipping charges.  If someone from the US wins, I may see if I can find a new copy at a less expensive price to be shipped.

The books to choose from are:

I have read each of these books and gave them either a four or five star rating.  I am linking each of the titles to Goodreads where you can find out more about each book and see multiple reviews.

1. The Key by Felicia Rogers
2. Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
3. Die for Me by Amy Plum

Use the rafflecopter to enter.  You must be 13 or older to enter, follow me on GFC, and live in a country where the book depository ships for free.

Review of "Franklin's Christmas Gift" by Paulette Bourgeois

Franklin's Christmas GiftFranklin's Christmas Gift by Paulette Bourgeois

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Children's Picture Book

This is a wonderful Christmas story. I love how Franklin faces a dilemma. He needs to pick out one of his precious toys to give to another child for Christmas. His class is taking donations for less fortunate children.

Franklin learns a lesson on charity and not being selfish.

Review of "All Good Children" by Catherine Austen

All Good ChildrenAll Good Children by Catherine Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received to Review
Genre: YA Dystopian

Description from Goodreads: In the not-too-distant future, Max tries to maintain his identity in a world where the only way to survive is to conform and obey.

My thoughts: This book deals with another future scenario gone horribly wrong.

Max is a teen who is living in a highly sheltered community. The city is gated and you must have a place to live to get in. He is told how lucky he is to be where he is. The city is full of geriatrics. They are all sent to a nursing home to live out their days in peace and comfort.

Things begin to change when the kids are given vaccines that alters their personality. The teachers and administrators are thrilled and call it nesting. Max and his friends call them zombies. Then it is Max's grades turn to get the vaccine.

This is very interesting. I can't help but think about how for some there is a push to medicate active children so they are more manageable. (Just a thought.)

I take this as a cautionary tale. There is sex talk and repeated use of the "F" word.

Blog tour of "Embrace" by Cherie Coyler, excerpt and a Give@way!

Before  you read the wonderful excerpt, I wanted to let you know that I loved this book.  I gave it 5 stars and had a hard time putting it down.  This is an excellent YA Paranormal book dealing with witches.  It has mild swearing and the romance is sweet.  That is my short and quick review.  Now lets get on to the fun stuff!

Excerpt from Embrace:

Kaylee sat perfectly still, her back straight, hands on her book, and eyes on the chalkboard.
I rested my hand on hers. “Kaylee? Are you okay?”
Mechanically, she turned to face me.
She was really scaring me. I inched my desk closer to hers and asked, “What is it?”
She shook her head. “Nothing. I’m fine. What did you say?” 

But I only saw a ghost of the friend I knew behind those deep brown eyes. “Nothing. You sure you’re okay?”


Mrs. Parris told everyone to listen up, then droned on about the Civil War. Until Kaylee’s blood-curdling scream startled half the class, including me.

About Cherie:

Cherie is always dreaming of romance and expressing her dreams in stories. She combined her passion for writing with her fascination of all things mythical to weave together a youth romance story that led to her debut novel,Embrace.

She lives with her family in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

One lucky person will win an eBook copy from this blog.  You must be 13 or older to enter and leave your email address in the comments.  This is a short contest, it will run until January 29th.    The winner will be contacted using the email provided and your information will be forwarded to those who will get you the eBook.  Good luck!

There is also an opportunity to win a bookmark and bracelet.  The bookmark/bracelet are for US addresses only.  Please indicate in your comment if you are trying for the bracelet/bookmark as well!  One winner for this prize.

You can visit the other blogs in this tour and get better reviews than my quick review at the top.  There will be other chances to enter for giveaways as well.  Go to the link below.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog Tour ~ " On The Bright Side" by S.R. Johannes

I am excited to have information from the new book "On the Bright Side" by S. R. Johannes here today.
She stopped by to tell us how she began her book.  Let's here from her.

Beginning On The Bright Side

I started writing this book in 2008. 

After having a husband recovering from a debilitating back surgery, a dog die, a miscarriage, one kid with a heart defect that (for a while) required constant care and worry, and another who we at one time thought had a fatal disease called septis.

I became obsessed really. The thought of me dying or my kids dying was not just unbearable but left me in panic mode.

During that time, I started thinking about death. So after I got pregnant again, my hubby recovered, my daughter’s heart was deemed healthy and my son’s “septic” was a false diagnosis – those feelings started to process.

This book spawned from that underlying feeling of daily panic and fear. The feeling of wondering what would happen to people I loved when they died (or if they died). If there was anything beyond this life. What could it be? What would I want it to be? 

Heavy right? Uh yeah. 

So, after starting this book originally as a YA, the book got too heavy to write. At that time, things were looking up so I tried to figure out how to reinvent it.  Partly because I just can’t write heavy books that aren’t humorous or issue driven or action oriented. Partly because I was healing and wanted to write something lighter. Let’s just say I knew I couldn’t write another Lovely Bones.

So how would I possible pull off a book about the subject of death while making it lighter and funny? I changed my book and premise to tween. At the time I did this, a lot of books were exploring teen death (vampires, angels, zombies etc)– and I was tired of looking at the dark side of death. 

I wanted to look at The Bright Side – which is why I originally chose this title. It was never meant to be permanent really, but it eventually stuck around and became the core message for this book. 

That no matter what your darkest hour is – and everyone’s is different and relative – there is always a bright side. Sometimes we don’t know what it is. And sometimes we can’t see it.  

Gabby became an outlet for all those feelings of anger and sorrow I had during those times. The fear from hearing my husband had a disability that was deemed unfixable. The anger that my daughter was 1 in 1000 for a heart defect that might cause her problems, and scared that I could be given a wonderful son – only to have him taken away. Some of those feeling were totally irrational and came from a place of depression and fear. But some were justified and I wanted to process through them.

In a light way.

This book was my way of dealing with the unknown and the anxiety of wondering what was next. And Gabby is my way of showing humor in death – if that is even possible – while showing that we all have lessons to learn. 

Even the most angelic of us.

Here is a book Description:
Gabby is a disgruntled tween angel who has just been assigned to protect her school nemesis and ex-beffie. Problem is her ex-beffie is dating Gabby’s longtime crush. Instead of protecting Angela, Gabby pranks her (since when is sticking toilet paper to her shoe or spinach in her teeth a sin?) Soon, Gabby gets out of control and is put on probation by her SKYAgent, who has anger management issues of his own. Determined to right her wrongs, Gabby steals an ancient artifact that allows her to return to Earth for just one day. Without knowing, she kicks off a series of events and learns what can happen when you hate someone to death. 

About the Author:
S.R. Johannes is the author of Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and On The Bright Side ( a tween paranormal). 
She started out writing for her local school paper, winning a state Nutrition essay contest for “Be a Smart Cookie”, and singing in a local Jazz band. Somewhere along the way, she earned an MBA in Marketing and embarked on an 18-year marketing career in Corporate America working as a marketing and communications consultant.

In 2000, S.R. traded in her expensive suits, way-too high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She started her own marketing & communications business, www.bilaninc.com, and continues creating materials for a variety of large profit and nonprofit clients, including Spanx, Goody Hair Products, Chick Filet, Delta, CARE, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.
S.R.’s dream is to publish children’s books and magically imprint the imaginations of kids. In addition to juggling nap schedules while attending client meetings, Shelli focuses on her writing. She is a frequent marketing speaker at SCBWI conferences across the U.S and runs a popular marketing blog, Market My Words (www.faeriality.blogspot.com) where she provides marketing advice for authors in the hopes of helping them better market their words.
In her spare time (yeah right!) and if the kids allow (yeah right!), Shelli obsesses over movies, reads children’s books (over and over), wishes she could squeeze in Bikram Yoga sessions, and dreams of sleeping in on the weekends.
She currently lives in Atlanta with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess that someday will change the world.

You can find her at:

Blog: http://faeriality.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/srjohannes
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SRJohannes/249888602550
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5235537.S_R_Johannes

Check out the Book Trailer:

Book Availability:

The publication date for "On the Bright Side" is January 31st.  It will be available at Amazon $8.99 for paperback and $2.99 for eBook.  

Praises for On The Bright Side

"S.R. Johannes delivers a cute paranormal thrill ride for middle graders! Even in death there is a BRIGHT SIDE!" - Addison Moore, author of the bestselling Celestra series and soon to be TV show

Clever and charming, ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is the story of a reluctant guardian angel, her still-breathing crush, and the frenemy she’s assigned to protect. A great read! -Suzanne Young, author of A Need So Beautiful, A Want So Wicket (6/12), and The Program (2013)

“ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is both hilarious and heart-warming – a tale that’ll have you hoping that there really *are* spunky and determined angels like Gabby who’ve got our backs.” - Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, author of Selling Hope & The 13th Sign (2013) (Feiwel & Friends)

"With a smart, snappy heroine and a heart-warming crush, ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is a page-turning new take on guardian angels that left me begging for a sequel!" - Gretchen McNeil, author of Possess and Ten (9/12) (Balzar + Bray)

She has another book available right now.   :0)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Interview with T.P. Boje author of the Afterlife Series (with a giveaway)

Today T.P. Boje is stopping by to introduce  us to her YA Paranormal series called Afterlife.

What is your favorite part of writing?
I love how I can completely disappear into the worlds that my imagination creates. Hours passes by without me noticing it. And I can do anything. I can be a princess or a dragon. I can fly, surf on clouds or balance on rainbows and ride on unicorns. I love that anything is possible. As a child I used to dream a lot about different worlds and exotic places. I have always had a hard time staying with both feet on the ground. Little did I know back then that it was a blessing to have this great imagination.

If you could go back in time at any point in history.  Where would you want to go and why?
If it was only for a few hours or days, then I would love to go back to the time when Jesus walked the earth. Just to feel his presence and hear him talk. That would be awesome.
Which author's influence you the most?

My favorite book is The Neverending story by Michael Ende. Every time I read it I get caught up in that magical world he creates. I have loved that book since I was a child. My second book in English called The Eye of the Crystal Ball is very inspired from that. My Afterlife-series is different though. There is more romance but there is also a magical world that my main character Meghan has to get used to. I guess J. K. Rowling inspired me a bit on the fantasy/paranormal part and then Stephanie Meyer and Twillight on the romance part. But I like to think that my series is unique and different :-)
You are originally from Denmark.  What brought you to the United States?

The weather! Denmark is cold and rainy. It is dark and gray for 4-5 months and if you are lucky you get 2-3 weeks of summer. Both my husband and I love the heat and the sun so we were looking for a warmer place and since my husband lived in Florida after high-school he was eager to get back. So we sold everything we had and moved with our two girls. It has been quite a ride, but we love the States and especially Florida. This is where I dream to grow old. This is home to me. 
What book is currently on your nightstand?

Carlos Ruiz Zafón The Shadow of the Wind. I got it for Christmas by my stepson who shares my passion for books and writing.
What is the main reason that people should check out your book?

To be entertained. I love writing so much and I hope that my readers will enjoy reading my books just as much. All I dream of is to spellbind my audience.That is what it is all about.

Thanks T.P.!  Here is the book description to the first book.  It is taken from Goodreads.

Beyond:Afterlife ~ Have you ever wondered where you go when you die? Meghan is 16 when it happens to her. She wakes up on a flying steamboat on her way to a school run by Angels in a white marble castle. It is a school everybody has to go to before they are let into Heaven. On the boat she meets Mick who has been dead for more than a hundred years but still looks like a teenager. He helps her past the difficult beginning at the new school in a new world filled with heavenly magic. One day some of Meghan's roommates find a mirror in the cellar of the school and they persuade her to go through it with them - well knowing it is strictly against the rules of the school. Meghan ends up back on earth where she meets Jason. But Jason is in danger and Meghan knows something important. Something that is a matter of life and death. Soon she is forced to choose between the two worlds. The one she belongs to now and the one she left. (Title is linked to the Goodreads page.)


T.P. will give away a print and an ebook copy to someone who comments on this blog.  There will be two winners. It will be a copy of the first book in this series.  The print copy is for US entrants and the eBook copy is international.  To enter, simply leave your name and email address.  You must be 13 or older to enter.  This contest will end on February 6th.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review of "The Book of Wonders" by Jasmine Richards

The Book of Wonders
The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Source: Once Upon A Twilight Book Tours (Received to Review)

Book Description from Goodreads: Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all. 

When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.

My thoughts: This is a wonderful middle grade book. I may have to purchase my own copy so I can share it with my kids.

This book takes on Persian folk lore. As some of the main cast of characters we have Scheherazade (Zardi), Sinbad, Aladdin is mentioned, Djinn, etc. Many characters we have come to know and love are combined to form a new story.  This book is well written, original, and magical.

This is a great adventure where we meet a cyclops, Roc, metal giant, sorcerer, and a snake lady. There is enough magic and adventure to keep the attention of a middle grade reader who is reluctant to read. (For example, my son.)

I hope that there will be more adventures to come.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dreaming of Books blog Hop winner

The winner for the Dreaming of Books Hop is:

Entry #277Christine H.

She chose Kat, Incorrigible as her prize.