Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Guest Post + Giveaway with Steven Manchester

Brief Synopsis:
Don DiMarco has a very good life– a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests thatkeep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not tobe the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Donnow wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romancehe didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitiousfantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolvedrelationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed,Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a lifein full. A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re givenhere on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, TwelveMonths is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.
Author Bio: 
Steven Manchester is the published author of Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as severalbooks under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC'sToday Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN’s American Morningand BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of his short storieswere selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soulseries.

Excerpt From Twelve Months:
     On Sunday morning, we decided to spend the second half of our getaway in Oak Bluffs
and Edgartown. My wife insisted, "We have to visit the gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs
first." Known by the locals as "the Cottage Colony," this cliquey community is famous
for its storybook gingerbread cottages, three hundred thirty in all, encircling Trinity Park.
With rocking chairs on the front porches and candle-lit Japanese lanterns glowing at
night, names such as Time Remembered, Rose Crest and Alice’s Wonderland made Bella
coo. Many of the gothic resort cottages – adorned with their ornamental scroll work,
decorative shingling, porch aprons, arched double doors and candy cane colors of pink,
blue and green – contained miniature gardens behind white picket fences.
     “They look like doll houses,” I said.
     She nodded. “They’re wonderful.”
     Rising out of the center was the Tabernacle, an open-air cathedral with dominant
wrought iron arches, colored windows and an octagonal cupola. The Trinity United
Methodist Church was just next door. It had a classic New England spire that had been
hit three times by lightning. With blown-glass windows and a stamped-tin interior, I
remembered visiting it as a kid. "It's still my favorite," I told Bella.
     Beyond the summer cottages that rented for more than it would have cost us to
put both Madison and Pudge through college, the Annual Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival
     It was a junk-food junkie’s paradise. The air was thick with the distinct aromas of
cotton candy and fried dough. While a live band played on the dock and young children
competed in a chalk art contest on the cement walkway, we ate as we walked along and
looked at the boats. I'd given my belly a rest, so we shared a pulled pork sandwich from
a local Bar-B-Q smokehouse, and then an expensive lobster roll overflowing with claw
meat. I’m dying, I figured, but I’m not dead yet. At the end of the dock, a heavy-set
woman dressed like a rag doll yelled out, "Strawberry shortcakes! Get your strawberry
shortcakes here!"
     We stopped and I turned to Bella. “Oh, good…fruit!” I said, excitedly.
     She laughed, and we bought one and split it. It was made with fresh strawberries,
a real shortcake and sweet whipped cream. Two bites in, I almost told Raggedy Ann that
I loved her.
     As we strolled further down the pier, I stopped and gave Bella a hug. I was
starting to understand that it wasn’t so much about doing anything; about feeling or even
thinking anything. It was about being; being who I was, and being with the woman who
owned my heart. I looked into her eyes and kissed her again.
     “What is it?” she asked.
     “Nothing,” I said. “It’s just that I love you.”
     We hugged for a while, swaying together on the dock, while the crowd milled
around us. Sometimes all we have to do is breathe, I thought. The rest is out of our hands.

Purchase Steven's book:
Paperback & Kindle: Amazon.com
Nook: Barnes and Noble
Ebook: Book U

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cryer's Cross Review

TITLE: Cryer's Cross
AUTHOR: Lisa McMann
PUBLIHSER: Simon Pulse
PAGES: 240

BACK COVER BLURB:The small town of Cryer's Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn't that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain.

When a second student goes missing -- someone close to Kendall's heart -- the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall's not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she's losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school -- messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there -- Kendall decides that crazy or not, she'd never forgive herself if she didn't act on her suspicions.

Something's not right in Cryer's Cross -- and Kendall's about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This book was so good. It was so incredibly creepy. The last few chapters had me hooked -- I read it right before bed and I had to stay up to finish it until the very end. I knew if I didn't finish the story I wasn't going to be able to sleep. I was worried I would have nightmares! That's really all I can say about this book. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a little scare this coming Halloween.

CHARACTERS: I really enjoyed the main character Kendall. I like the the author gave her OCD. It made her more relateable. I also really liked Jacian. I felt like he had great chemistry with Kendall.

COVER: The cover fits perfectly with the story line. Again, very creepy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

On The Bright Side Author Interview & Giveaway

Today I have an Author interview and giveaway for you guys! On the Bright Side is a cute, fun paranomal middle grade read. You can check out my review here.
All about S.R. Johannes (taken from Goodreads.com): When Shelli was younger, she spent all her time outdoors, hiking, camping and living the Girl Scout Way.

Somewhere along the way, she got away from nature and earned an MBA in Marketing, kicking off an 18-year marketing career in Corporate America.

Eventually, Shelli traded in her expensive suits, 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, where she worked with Spanx, Goody Hair Products, Chick Filet, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.

In addition to juggling nap schedules and client meetings, Shelli focuses on her writing. She is a frequent speaker on marketing and book publicity at SCBWI conferences across the U.S, and runs a popular book marketing blog, Market My Words (www.faeriality.blogspot.com).

In her spare time (yeah right!) and if the kids allow (yeah right!), Shelli obsesses over movies, reads children’s books (over and over), and still dreams of sleeping in on the weekends. But most importantly, she is finally getting back to her roots by running her own Girl Scout Troop in Atlanta, helping girls get back to nature.

She currently lives in Atlanta with her dog (Charley), British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess that someday will change the world.
1. What is your favorite color?

2. Where did you get the inspiration to write your novel?
            My husband came home one day from camping and talked about being so deep the wilderness that anything could happen and no one would know. That planted a seed that later developed into Untraceable.

3. Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
             Grace. I wish I was more like her (and not because of Mo! ;) . That I had one thing in mind and fought for it no matter what. Especially as a teen. I love that she's spunky, confident and insecure all at the same time.

4. When you are not writing what else do you like to do?
              Family stuff. If I am not with my family, or watching The Walking Dead, I'm writing or marketing my books :)

5. Describe your family (Are you married? Do you have kids? Pets?)
              Hubby is from Great Britain - we have been married 10 years. I have two kids - a 8 year old daughter and a 5 year old son who is starting kindergarden this year (what?) I have a goldendoodle who is actually black named Charley after John Steinbeck's dog. We also have 2 crabs (hermie and bilbo) and 2 fish (scaly and blueberry - don't ask ;)

6. What is your favorite holiday and why?
              I'm going to say Groundhog day because no one else will. :)

7. Do you participate in any sports/clubs/groups?
             Writing ones :) Unless you count the PTA at my kids school. I'm boring.

8. Do you prefer cold, snowy weather or warm, sunny weather?
            Beach all the way. Though I love to write in the mountains.

9. What would do if you won the lottery?
            Finally find a charity I can contribute to.

10. What is your favorite genre to read?
            YA :)

11. What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
           How did you get so brilliant...and cute...and hilarious - all at once? ;)

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

When You Were Mine Review

TITLE: When You Were Mine
AUTHOR: Rebecca Serle
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
PAGES: 334

INSIDE COVER BLURB: Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her -- and when he finally does, it's perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose's best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn't even stand a chance.

Rose is devestated over losing Rob to Juliet.This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet's instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob's heart, but also for his life. Because Shakesepeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Absolutely amazing! I could not get enough of this book. The first half of the story was super sweet. I love the way Rose and Rob are together. I went through so many emotions while reading this book -- happiness, anger, devestation. It felt like I was actually in the story. I was so emotionally connected to the story and the characters.

The ending was superb. The epilogue was perfect and could not have been written any better.

CHARACTERS: There were a lot of well rounded characters in this book. There's wasn't a character that I did not like. I feel like all of the characters are normal everyday people that I have encountered throughout my life. There's the group of girls who are best friends, the boy and girl romance spawned from a life of growing up together, and the misunderstood rival girl.

COVER: Very cute. It just looks like a couple coming in for an innocent, sweet kiss. I love the tagline on the cover as well: "What if the greaes love story ever told was the wrong one?"

*I received a copy of this book from Amazon Vine for review.