Friday, May 31, 2013

Books Blogs & Page Turners Issue #2

BBPT is a monthly meme hosted by Turn The Page where we rehash all our favorites from the month... books, blogs, and all things bookish! 




Books, Blogs & Page Turners - The books reviewed this month:
Trading Poisons ~ By Angel Lepire. Megan gave it 4 stars!
Simply Mine ~  By M.L. Gardner & Jane Carrington. Megan gave it 4.5 stars!
So Many Reasons Why ~ By Missing Johnson. Megan gave it 3 stars
Waiting For Martha ~ By Elly Grant. Megan gave it 3 stars
Lindsey's Choice ~ Laurel Peterson. Megan gave it 4.5 stars
What I didn't Say ~By Keary Taylor. Megan gave it 4.5 stars
Shattered ~ By Sandra Madera. Megan gave it 4.5 stars
Shredded~ By Karen Avivi. Megan gave it 5 Whopping Stars.... what a fantastic read about girl BMX riders!! 
Inseparable~(this review is almost done, but while started in May will probably not post until June 1st.) 


Books, Blogs & Page Turners - Manic Monday Winners:
Manic Monday Week #2 M.L. Garderder & Jane Carrington - Simply Mine
Manic Monday Week #3 Laurel Peterson - Lindsey's Choice
Manic Monday Week #4 Sandra Madera - Shattered
Manic Monday Week #5 Missy Johnson - Inseparable 


Books, Blogs & Page Turners - The blogs we crushed on this month:
Paper Fantasies  Hosted by Kelly Watt. I know I crushed on her blog last month too, but hey what can I say, I know what I like. So this month I particularly enjoyed Kelly's YA Epidemic #8: Everyone Loves An Average Girl. I think this happens a lot with books today, us writers tend to downplay the looks of our protagonist and make her plain and then when suddenly she is noticed by the steamy hot guy we all swoon. But it would appear that we are creating the opposite effect on our readers. After reading Kelly's post I thought back to my protagonist, Lexie - did I make her strong and confident or was she described as plain? While I didn't make her plain, I made her less showy than her sister or her best friends. She describes herself as pretty, but likes simplicity... a ponytail, jeans and t-shirt... hmmm, is this the same as calling her plain? This is what I love about Kelly's YA Epidemics and I mentioned this last month as well, it gives the other side of me, the writer, the opportunity to see what readers like you, do and don't like!! Thanks Kelly. 

Tangled Up In Books (formerly Perks of Being a Bookwork) Hosted by Sheri Boston. First I should say that I love her princess phase and the fact that she somehow finds a tangled picture to coincide with every post she puts up. It's fantastic! I actually crushed on two areas of Tangled up in Books this month, first Sheri's TTT - Books Dealing with Tough Issues and Her Swoon Thursdays. So the TTT, loved this one. I actually have either read or have them in my TBR, all of the books she listed. It also again made me think of my own writing. Harvest Moon deals with some really tough issues and as a newbie to the writing and blogging worlds, I feel like this area is becoming more popular. I love YA/NA books dealing with social issues or things that make you think. ooohh, makes me all giddy! As for her Swoon Thursday, I LOVE this. There is always something is a book I am reading that I want to share and I found this meme to be truly exciting and creative! 


Books, Blogs & Page Turners- Books up for review in June:
Okay, so I said last month that the Emi Lost & Found series would be reviewed in May, and I have read 2.75 of the 3 books, but was totally conflicted whether I wanted to review them individually or as one, so I waited.... and now it's too late to feature them in May. I will be featuring them first in June and I still have yet to decide if they will be one single feature or three individual features. Guess you will have to wait and see. Other great books we will be reviewing this month are:



 




Books, Blogs & Pager Turners - Other bookish news and recaps: 

And in other bookish news, the month of May was a very busy one. I spent very little time working on my own writing and worse, aside from the Manic Monday winners I read only three books... well this isn't completely true. I have read others... like the Emi books, as I already mentioned, but since they have they have yet to be reviewed, I guess they technically don't yet count. 

Angela had to take a hiatus, yeah, before she even started... lol. I know she mentioned in her about me section that we work together and the opening of our new cafe has been beyond brutal. Mix that in with all the commitments we have outside of work and we are simply overloaded. So until she officially makes her presence known, you get me... and I will keep on reading, reviewing, and blogging all about it!! 

I am hoping that the month of June will settle down enough for me to balance my reading/reviewing and my writing. My deadline for Winter Solstice is still set for late fall, so I need to figure out some time management without detracting from TTPBB, because I have become obsessed with book blogging! 

And finally, I am planning to do a couple of author interviews next month, starting with Karen Avivi, the author of Shredded! So stay tuned for all that is to come in the month of June!

We hope you enjoyed our first issue of Books, Blogs & Page Turners... Go ahead and leave us a comment, tell us your thoughts, share your favorites from the month of May!! 

INSEPARABLE!!


Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature 
Week #5

Can you imagine losing your twin?

Nineteen year old Lily is still struggling with the death of her identical twin, Abby, a year later when she moves away from home for college. Even in death though, their bond is still strong, with Abby visiting Lily in her dreams.

When a chance encounter with Twenty-One year old Dane Hansen changes Lily’s life, Lily’s friends warn her off becoming involved with Dane. He’s bad news, according to the rumors, anyway.

Dane has experienced loss himself, he understands Lily, and the more time he spends with her, the harder he falls. There is something he hasn’t told her though, something almost nobody knows, and it’s something that might stop Lily from feeling the same way.

Abby holds the key to something that will change Lily and Dane's life forever, but how do you get someone else to believe something you don't quite understand yourself?

Author: Missy Johnson
Title: Inseparable
Genre: New Adult >Contemporary >Romance >Fantasy >Paranormal 
Publication Date: May 2013
Links to Purchase: Amazon
Reviewer: Megan

My Review: 2 out of 5 Stars! GOT THROUGH IT!

**May contain some minor spoilers**

If there is one thing I hate more than anything, it's not enjoying a book I am reading and then having to write a less than stellar review. However, I promised my readers I would be honest and while the writer in my cringes, the reader/blogger in me knows this comes with the territory of writing reviews.  

This was the second book I have reviewed by this author and once again I can say, there was promise when the story began, but it quickly fell short and turned into an awkward rendition of erotica. I will say for the record that I have never been a fan of erotica, but some of is bearable. After reading this book I can honestly say I am not a fan of erotica at all and I truly believe that books should be labeled this way rather than being labeled "romance".  In my opinion, there is a big difference. 

As for the actual storyline, like I said, it had promise. I liked the twin aspect, the actual paranormal storyline... This is what drew me the book.  But then there is a relationship that begins too quickly, turns too sexual and dominates the pages. There were discrepancies from what the author said in one section of the book to something said later. And as I have said before, I typically never critique grammar (only content), but the spelling errors were in abundance. There were times that there were numerous mistakes on a page, and the sentence made no sense because of it. Also, there were times when the author bounces between english slang and british slang and it gets hard to keep track of. 

My 2 star rating was because I got through it, but it took much longer than it should have. In the midst of searching for his abducted sister, Dane and Lily are tearing (literally) one another's clothes off.  I kept reading, because I was fascinated with the paranormal aspect and the abduction. They go to New York, they follow these leads and then BAM.... no climax, nothing... one moment we are preparing for a major bust and then all we get is a two line phone call telling us it's all over?  I was beyond disappointed. 

I don't want to give away any other spoilers, so I can't talk about the ending, aside from saying that it did not redeem the story at all in my eyes. This story could have been very fascinating and at first almost reminded me of a paranormal/psychic series of books by famous author Kay Hooper, that I used to love reading... but it fell very short very fast and I truly believe it's greatest downfall was the erotica. It took away from the storyline that should have focused more on the paranormal aspect while still focusing on Dane and Lily's relationship, from a more tasteful perspective. 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

SHREDDED!!

Drop into the world of girls’ freestyle BMX for an action-packed summer road-trip adventure.

Josie Peters thinks she’ll do anything to qualify for the Ultimate BMX freestyle event the summer before her senior year. She can handle road trips and back flips, but when flashy rider R.T. Torres tempts her with an easy “in,” the sacrifices required threaten to send Josie spinning out of control.


Author: Karen Avivi
Title: Shredded
Genre: Young Adult >Contemporary 
Publication Date: April 2013
Links to Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Amazon
Reviewer: Megan

My Review: 5 out of 5 Stars I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!

What a Fantastic Story by Karen Avivi!! Okay so maybe I have a soft spot for girls who push the limits with sports that are dubbed "guys sports", but the storyline, the characters, the flow of the writing - it was all there. I read this book in one sitting. I started it early in the morning over coffee and finished it before my overnight shift at work. It was enthralling, captivating, and kept me intrigued.  There was no real major drama or over the top climax, just a real life look at an extreme sport and the girls who refuse to take no for an answer. 

I liked Josie A LOT. She was a strong character and she didn't get everything handed to her with a big shiny bow. She actually had to work for it. And she worked hard. I am not sure if I would be so eager to get up and keep going after the major wipe out she took. But I loved her guts, I loved her charisma, and I loved that stood up for what she wanted. I liked all of her friends - Lauryn, Alexis, Miguel! They all fit well and brought out something in Josie. Okay, Alexis was a little annoying, but that was the point! I also liked R.T. and I liked that the story didn't get caught up in major romance. It was nice to see the dynamic of Josie's family... it was more realistic and as I have said a million times, I love realistic  authenticity! So, another reason I will mention about why I loved this book was how through the whole thing I could see the movie playing in my head... I pictured the characters, the events, the crowds of people... It was so clear!!

A little tid bit about me and a final reason why I LOVED this book... I used to skateboard and freestyle rollerblade with a group of guys in junior high into early high school. I was a lot more daring and put together with my rollerblading than I was the skateboard. I never could master keeping it attached to my feet. But the rollerblading, whoa, watch out. I was a psycho on wheels! Ptts... we called ourselves "The Psycho Chickens".  

When Josie would talk about grinding, the half pipe, or jumping stairs, my heart would pound harder as I remembered those days for myself. The feel of the rush as you push harder toward the jump, praying as you fly through the air that you land it - Whoa, it was a blast! Even her infamous wipe out reminded me of a pretty bad fall I took. Nothing broken, just a concussion, but the adrenaline in the situation is intense. Unlike Josie, I was a bit more leery after this fall. I think I was finally aware that I could actually get hurt. 

I'm fascinated by BMX riders, especially girl BMX riders. The level of guts and bravery is exceptional and that is another reason why I loved this book so much. It was a fun, easy read that showed me another sport that girls can excel at as well as reminded and rekindled some of my own childhood memories. Memories, that as I read felt so fresh.  Back then, girls on skateboards was frowned upon. My parents Loathed it and it was the cause of much tension, but like Josie, I didn't care what other people thought. I loved the way it made me feel and that was all that mattered. 

I truly truly hope to see more from this author in the near future. I cannot thank her enough for bringing this fantastic book into my world and letting me write a review. And if she accepts, I think we just might be hearing a lot more from her soon... in the form of an author interview. Because I don't know about you, but I am beyond intrigued about her knowledge of BMX riders and I just want more!! 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary YA, and who also loves extreme sports and the girls who participate in them. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Manic Monday #6


Manic Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Turn The Page where we get to decide who the 
next Indie/Self-Published author featured will be

Just when I thought last Monday was Manic, this monday came creeping up and slammed me right in the face. It was a busy and hectic weekend as well. It's actually hard to believe that May is just about over. Manic Monday's have been going really well so far and I am looking forward to doing our second issue of Books, Blogs,  & Page Turners this week as well.  So lets see who our last Manic Monday winner is for the month of May, shall we?

The chosen Indie/Self-Published Author for
Manic Monday Week #6 is:

Missy Johnson - Inseparable

Congratulations Missy! 












Monday June 3, 2013 Manic Monday Picks

1. Survival (Book #1 of The Guardians of Vesturon Series) - A.M. Hargrove
2. The Bully - Colby Jones
3. Eternal Eden (Book #1 Eden Trilogy) - Nicole Williams 

* If you've read it, tell us what you thought and tell me which book should be chosen as our Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature for Week #7

Also, Tell me if you've found outstanding Indie books (for FREE or PAID) that you think deserve a spotlight in our Manic Monday. 



Thursday, May 23, 2013

SHATTERED!!

Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature 
Week #4


Identical twins, Miranda and Nastasia Moralez, couldn’t be more different. Being the head of the cheerleading team, Natasia is the most popular girl in the school. Miranda is not, taking photographs in her spare time for the school paper. Life is normal until a tragic accident takes the life of one twin. Miranda quickly realizes that the car crash that took her sister’s life was no accident. It was planned. Now, Miranda has to find out who wanted her sister dead before she succumbs to the same fate.

Author: Sandra Madera
Title: Shattered 
Genre: Young Adult >Short Story >Mystery/Suspense 
Publication Date: April 2013
Links to Purchase: Barnes & Noble (Free)
Reviewer: Megan

My Review: 4.5 out of 5 Stars 

I really enjoyed this short story by Sandra Madera. I thought it was really well written, well put together and had a great plot. I was left in suspense throughout the whole story and found myself liking or disliking characters, that in the end were justified.  There is one detective (all who have read will know who I mean) that I wanted to bitch slap at every turn of the page... being a criminal justice professional myself, I kept thinking who the hell is this (BLEEP) and how is no one keep her in check. Then.... it all became clear. 

I LOVED the ending.  I really thought it was fantastic. What a great twist of events and the author did a great job of bringing the whole thing together. It wasn't predictable at all and kept me guessing. I even judged a couple of the characters, just as the author wanted us to do I'm guessing. 

The only thing I didn't like, but it helped tie the book together, was that these two identical twins seemed to barely know one another. Most twins I know are inseparable, run in the same circles, and are very similar. Not the case with shattered. Like I said though, it helped tie the mystery and suspense together so I get it... but I think I would have liked to see it come from a different angle. Fear maybe? Or threats? So much juicier and SO much more personal had she wanted to tell her and couldn't... (that's all I will say about that.)

I highly recommend this fantastic short story to anyone who likes YA Mystery and Suspense!! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Manic Monday #5


Manic Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Turn The Page where we get to decide who the 
next Indie/Self-Published author featured will be

Today could not be closer to the epitome of a Manic Monday... hence my very late post. It was a long, crazy, hectic kind of day. I went to bed late last night, woke way too early and worked 12 hours preparing for a new store opening. It was rough. Thankfully I had my bloggy friend Angela right there along side me, helping me to get through it. I can only hope that today is not a reflection of the rest of the week, because if it is... I might not make it.  With that said, I will say that Angela and I will be super busy with this new store opening, for the next couple of weeks so please bare with us if we lag at all. Believe me, I would so much rather be reading and blogging that doing what I will be doing.  

The chosen Indie/Self-Published Author for
Manic Monday Week #5 is:

Sandra Madera - Shattered 

Congratulations Sandra 














Monday May 20, 2013 Manic Monday Picks

1. Inseparable - Missy Johnson 
2. Me Again - Keith Cronin
3. Falling - Amber Jaeger

* If you've read it, tell us what you thought and tell me which book should be chosen as our Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature for Week #6

Also, Tell me if you've found outstanding Indie books (for FREE or PAID) that you think deserve a spotlight in our Manic Monday. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

WHAT I DIDN'T SAY!!

Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.  

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.

Author: Keary Taylor 
Title: What I didn't Say
Genre: Young Adult >Contemporary > Social Issues > Romance
Publication Date: April 2012
Links to Purchase: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Reviewer: Megan

My Review: 4.5 out of 5 Stars 

I really really really liked this book. I almost absolutely loved it... It kept me entertained, hanging on and turning page after page. I loved Jake and Sam, well lets be honest, I liked Jordan, Rain, and Carter too! I think the message in the book is a great one -something we can all learn from. 
Underage drinking has become an epidemic in this county and teens think they are indestructible. I have seen first hand the way a car accident caused by carelessness can destroy lives. My story doesn't have the same outcome as Jake's... yes he is mute, but at least he is alive. My personal experience resulted in the death of my best friend. 

We all endure hardships in our lives, but it is how we move on from there, what we do to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves on and keep moving forward that defines us. Life is about obstacles and yes, there are some that make us want to give up. I think this was one of the things that made me really enjoy this book. The author shows us how easy this would be for both Sam and Jake- to just give up and say who cares. But, that's the cowardly way out and it takes a bigger person, a stronger person to keep moving forward. 

I felt connected to Jake and Samantha as people. They both went through some major life struggles at such a young age, but their perseverance was up-lifting. The way they learn to lean on one another is also touching. Their friendship wasn't over the top or unrealistic, which made it that much better for me. They were genuine, honest, and real. 

There wasn't anything I didn't like about this book... no gripes or rants I need to go on. Oh wait, okay maybe one... but this seems like a constant pattern for me... I wanted an epilogue. LOL. I was hoping to see a glimpse of Jake in college or later on in his life. However, not having this, in NO WAY changed my opinion of the book.  This book was great. It will leave a lasting impression on me forever. I was impressed by the authors portrayal of Orcas, of her character development, and her rich storytelling! 

 I highly recommend this book, you will no be sorry you read it! 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

LINDSEY'S CHOICE!!

Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature 
Week #3


Lindsey Connors is a typical 16 year old. As with many young girls her age, she is presented with many difficult choices and situations. As we know as adults, some of the choices, good or bad, we make at a young and vulnerable age may guide the rest of our lives.

Are you ready for the fun and unique part? This story is interactive. It allows the reader to participate in Lindsey╩╝s Choices. Live through Lindsey! It is tailored so the reader can control the direction of Lindsey╩╝s journey toward maturity.


The first tough decision confronting Lindsey is whether to start drinking alcohol at a party. Does she give in the peer pressure and be accepted by the popular crowd or does she decide to stay with her old friends?


The reader can identify with Lindsey and her friends and can think about what they would do in the situations presented to Lindsey. The reader can see that with each choice Lindsey makes, her life is changed, she changes, and her choices have a profound impact on the people around her.


Following the initial decision Lindsey makes, the story then branches into two story lines. Lindsey continues to be faced with many new and challenging obstacles: a friendship with a bullied and suicidal student, peer pressure to take drugs, and challenges in relationships. How can Lindsey pursue her passions and not get caught sitting on the sidelines? Read how with making certain choices she realizes what is important in life OR read how with making different choices she lets life pass her by.

This book enables the reader to make choices in a fictional world, in order to assist them in making the right decisions in their own lives.

Author: Laurel Peterson 
Title: Lindsey's Choice
Genre: Young Adult > Social Issues
Publication Date: October 2012
Links to Purchase: Amazon
Reviewer: Megan

My Review: 4.5 out of 5 Stars 

So let me just say, as a kid I LOVED choose your own adventure books. I have looked for them for my niece and nephews, but they are unfortunately not as popular today as they were 25 years ago. I had toyed with the idea of writing a book like this myself, so when I saw this Indie author had done it I just had to pick it up. 

I liked all the choices we were able to make for Lindsey and I think the author did a great job setting up those choices. There were times when it was predictable, but that could be because I am an adult who knows full well the repercussions of the behaviors Lindsey was faced with. But for teens reading this book, which hopefully they would read both versions as I did, they would see very clearly how different a situation can go, based on ONE CHOICE! I think that is the biggest message here... and I think Laurel paints the darker side well.

When I went back and read the alternate choice (I chose the darker version first) I liked that the author tied in every choice that led to the major decision Lindsey had made in the alternate version. Again, it showed the reader (teens) that how we treat people, how we act, what we do, and inevitably how the choices we make impact more than just ourselves. 

The one thing that I didn't like... hmm, that's not really the right terminology here. It wasn't a dislike by any means, but it was the reason it got 4.5 stars and not the full 5. I already mentioned some of the predictability, which was one thing, but also I guess I would have liked to see the darker choice a little darker (more dire consequences) and the other choice less fluff filled. This is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on who is reading it though... it just seemed to perfectly put together with a very pretty, shiny bow! 

And on that note, I will tell you I loved that the author showed us the outcome of Lindsey's choices in the future. She gives us a glimpse (in each version) of how Lindsey's life as well as those around her, turned out. This is a pretty big deal as it gives you a sense of not just the impact of our decisions like I already mentioned, but how those decisions effect the rest our life. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone with pre-teens heading into high school, teens, and adults who have teens. It paints a very real picture of the choices we make and the consequences that follow. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Manic Monday #4

Manic Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Turn The Page where we get to decide who the 
next Indie/Self-Published author featured will be. 

Hmmm... pretty cold for a Monday in the middle of May. I feel like this happens purposely so that we will have something to complain about during Manic Monday! This yo yo weather is just making me bonkers. The weekend wasn't all that great either, if you take the weather into consideration. It was cold and rainy here in northeast Ohio! at least we had mothers day to round it all out. I am not a mother of the human breed, but I am definitely a mother to three furry, four-legged babies who are the center of my universe. Bailey, Madison & Emma treated me to some beautiful flowers and an adorable card, along with some much needed cuddle time. (All of this courtesy of my wonderful husband that is) So, now as we head into another week... another crazy Manic Monday we can only hope that today is not an indication of the rest of the week or I might as well just go back to bed now. 

Before we reveal this weeks Manic Monday winner I wanted to announce the two winners of the Emi Lost & Found series:  Anne Talberth & Sarah Vesper

So this week we had no votes for our Manic Monday choices... what a bummer! So instead we drew a winner from the three choices! 

The chosen Indie/Self-Published Author for
Manic Monday Week #4 is:

Laurel Peterson - Lindsey's Choice

Congratulations Laurel












Monday May 13, 2013 Manic Monday Picks

1. Shattered - Sandra Madera 
2. The Rocks Below - Nigel P. Bird
3. Be Always On My Side - Nicola Starks

* If you've read it, tell us what you thought and tell me which book should be chosen as our Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature for Week #5

Also, Tell me if you've found outstanding Indie books (for FREE or PAID) that you think deserve a spotlight in our Manic Monday.