Monday, September 30, 2013

Semi-Charmed Autumn 2013 Book Challenge

Monday, September 30, 2013 with 4 comments

It's that time again! Time for another Semi-Charmed Book Challenge, hosted by Megan @ Semi-Charmed Kind of Life in honor of the Autumn season. I love her challenges, since they're pretty much bookish scavenger hunts, in which you have to find and read books that fit the given categories (which change with each challenge). If you're interested in signing up, you can check out the rules HERE. The challenge runs from October 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. Here are the categories for this particular Autumn reading challenge, along with my goal books, which are subject to change:

5 points: Read a book that does not have "the," "a" or "an" in the title.
Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey
10 points: Read a book that has been featured in Oprah's Book Club.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
10 points: Read a book that takes place in the state you currently live in.
Howling At The Moon by Karen MacInerney (Texas)
15 points: Read an epistolary novel (written in letters/emails/diary entries)
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
15 points: Read a book first published in 2013.
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
15 points: Read a book with something spooky in the title.
The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington
20 points: Read a book with "air," "water," "earth" or "fire" in the title.
20 points: Read a book on which a television series has been based.
The Awakening & The Struggle by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries)
25 points: Read a novel that has someone’s first & last name in the title.
30 points: Read two books by the same author.
Angelfall by Susan Ee
World After by Susan Ee
35 points: Read a fiction and nonfiction book about the same topic.
My first option is Jack the Ripper:
The Complete History of Jack the Ripper by Philip Sugden (Non-Fiction)
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Fiction)
My second option is Tourette Syndrome:
The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (Non-Fiction)
Icy Sparks by Gywn Hyman Rubio (Fiction)

Current Score: 135 Points 

I'll be crossing out each book as I finish reading them, and linking them to any reviews I may write. If you'd like to join in, feel free to do so - these challenges are always a lot of fun! Let me know if you do so I can check out what books you come up with for each category!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Choosing You by Allie Everhart
(The Jade Series #1)
Published: September 23, 2013
When Jade is given a scholarship to an elite private college in Connecticut, she sees it as a chance to finally escape her painful past and get a fresh start. She’s determined to succeed and that means keeping her focus on school and not guys. But her plan falls apart her first day on campus when Garret, a rich prep school boy with swimmer abs and a perfect smile, offers to help her move in.

Jade tries to push him away, but she can’t deny her attraction to him and Garret won’t let her. Things quickly heat up between them, but then come to a sudden halt when reality hits and Jade realizes that a relationship with Garret may never be possible. He comes from a world of wealth where there are rules, including rules about who he can date. And not following those rules has consequences.

As the two of them try to overcome the obstacles working to keep them apart, Jade is confronted with another challenge. On her 19th birthday, she receives a letter that her now deceased mother wrote years ago. In it are revelations that explain her traumatic childhood but also make her question the past she’s been running from.

Author Interview

Why did you write Choosing You? 

About a year ago I started reading some New Adult books and I liked them so much I couldn’t stop! At the time I wasn’t even considering writing my own New Adult book because I was still writing my Young Adult series, The Samantha Project, (written under a different name). That series has some romance in it and I found that I really liked writing those scenes. I liked all the emotion that came through when the main character was dealing with her conflicted feelings over the two guys in the book. So when I finished that series, just for fun, I wrote an emotion-packed scene in which a girl in college is struggling to deal with issues in her relationship with a guy as well as issues from her past. After writing that scene, I instantly connected with Jade, the main character. The story took off from there and that scene ended up being the opening scene in Choosing You. 

What else can you tell us about Choosing You that’s not in the description/blurb? 

Jade and Garret take time to get to know each other in this book. There’s no insta-love. In a lot of the books I read, the guy and girl meet and are in love the next day. I didn't want that for these characters. I wanted the relationship to build over time. Jade and Garret are definitely attracted to each other from the very beginning but they’re not in love right away. They’re friends first and Jade has to learn to trust Garret before she’ll move the relationship forward. This is more like real life, but it also creates tension and anticipation for the reader which is good because it keeps the story moving forward. 

Another thing to mention is that I really wanted this book/series to have a strong female as the main character. Jade is tough and resilient. She lived through a difficult childhood and came out ahead. But sometimes her tough exterior is used to hide the emotions that she needs to deal with, and that’s where Garret comes in. He’s the only person who’s able to get her to deal with things and express the emotions she tries so hard to hide. 

Why did you decide to include a mystery in the book? Why not just straight romance? 

I wanted to make the story run deeper than just the romance. My YA series has lots of twists and turns, suspense, conspiracies, secrets, etc. I like all that stuff. I find it fun to read about. The Jade Series doesn’t have all of that, but it has some of it. There’s a mystery that runs through the whole series that involves both Jade and Garret. And as with my other series, there are some unexpected twists and suspenseful moments.

About The Author
Allie Everhart writes about dating, love, and romance. She’s also a freelance writer for magazines and websites. Before freelancing, she was a book editor for a publishing company where she worked on several NYT bestselling nonfiction books. She loves to read as much as she loves to write. And when she’s not reading or writing, she’s outside running, which is when she gets her best book ideas.

Author Links

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 23, 2013

Embrace (The Embrace Series #1)
by Cherie Colyer
Release Date: 12/20/11
Omnific Publishing
Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.


There was something in the way he’d said it that sent an elated shiver through me. Not because I was nervous to be alone with him, but because I had a sudden urge to cover his mouth with mine. That would be so unlike me, but at that moment I wanted to grab the front of his shirt and pull him closer. It took me a second to compose myself, and I had to focus on my words to get them out in something that resembled a calm tone.

“Oh, really?” I glanced around his dungeon-like room. I’d happily be his prisoner.

“Really.” Isaac crouched down, one hand resting on the floor on either side of me, his smile devious. “Aren’t you in the least bit curious why?”

My pulse raced in a mix of excitement and longing. His cologne combined with the scents of his room and made my head spin. My reply came out weaker than I meant it to.


“First, it gave me an excuse to get you down here.” He ran his hand over my ponytail, giving it a gentle tug before placing his hand back on the floor next to me. He was enjoying himself. “And second, now I can do this.” 

Hold Tight (Embrace Series #2)
Release Date: 08/20/13
Omnific Publishing
What’s one little spell?

When you’re new to magic, one spell can be the difference between getting what you want...and ruining the lives of everyone you love.

Sixteen-year-old Madison has just embraced her magical powers. The trick now is learning how to control them. She and her boyfriend -and fellow witch- can’t even enjoy a simple kiss without getting shocked when their powers collide. Instead of mastering her new skills, though, Madison is stuck watching her kid brother and doing chores.

But being a witch does have its benefits. With a simple spell, Madison instantly conjures the help she needs around the house. Or so she thinks. Her idea of “help” invites trouble of its own as a pair of dangerous yet enticing beings enter her life. When a classmate disappears soon afterwards, Madison discovers she's the next victim of a threat she's powerless to resist...and there’s nothing it won’t kill to make her surrender.

Caught in the crossfire between two dashing but deadly creatures, Madison must figure out which one to trust and how to rid her world of the other—before one of them destroys her and everyone she cares about.


“Does it hurt?” My fingertips lingered on the smooth, pearly white scar on Isaac’s chin.

We sat on the couch in his family room, me straddling his lap. He brushed a stray strand of hair out of my eyes with his thumb.


“It’s cold,” I said, amazed that the skin there never warmed to match the rest of him.

“You really want to talk about my scars? I have one on my side too.” He lifted his shirt, revealing a salmon-colored blemish along his lower ribcage. “I got this one jumping a fence when I was nine. Didn’t quite make it.” He pulled the waist of his jeans down next, just low enough for me to see the rope-like muscles that ran alongside his hip bone. “And I got this one when I was eleven. Tried jumping my bike over one of those workhorses. Back tire caught on the orange light. Bike stopped; I didn’t. Flew right over the handlebars. I have another one on my thigh.” His fingers went to the button on his jeans.

“I’ll take your word for it,” I said, my hand catching his.

My cheeks grew warm, and his gaze moved to my lips.

About the Author: Cherie Colyer
A little about myself: I write young adult and middle grade novels. I love finding new stories that keep me up late reading. While my favorite genre is fantasy, if the book is beautifully written with characters that come alive I’m all over it. My debut novel EMBRACE is now available from Omnific Publishing.

***Author Links***
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

$20 Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz organized by:

Friday, September 20, 2013

{Follow Friday} My Favorite Picture Books

Friday, September 20, 2013 with 11 comments

Follow Friday, or Feature & Follow, is a meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The premise is for bloggers to get to know more about other bloggers, and to keep in touch with each other while also discovering new blogs. This week's prompt is as follows:

What were some of your favorite picture books as a kid? If you have kids, what are your favorites to read to them?

I don't have any kids, but I absolutely adored reading as a child. I admit, once I learned to read I pretty much delved straight into chapter books (like the Goosebumps series), but I still had a few picture books that I would go back to once in a while because I liked them so much. Here are a couple that I remember enjoying the most:

I also had a lot of books from both the Walt Disney Fun-To-Learn Library & the Walt Disney Fun-To-Read Library, which I loved reading. Here are three of my favorites from each set:

To be honest, it's a little hard trying to remember all of the picture books I loved as a kid - it doesn't help that all of those books are probably buried somewhere in the garage, where I'm unable to reach them. I know I also enjoyed reading The Berenstain Bears and the Little Critter books, along with the Little Golden Books (which I had a lot of), and almost anything that was ever on Reading Rainbow.

So, what were some of your favorite picture books to read as a kid?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

{Cover Reveal} Tempt by Cambria Hebert

Thursday, September 19, 2013 with No comments

by Cambria Hebert
Release Date: October 14, 2013
Cover Designed By: Mae I Design

Stranded and alone with not one, but two wickedly enticing men.

Ava arrives at the airport, expecting to board a commercial flight to Puerto Rico. But a plane ticket isn’t waiting for her. Instead, she finds a guy with dark curly hair wearing seriously ratty jeans and holding a sign with her name on it.

He may not look like a pilot, but he is. And he’s her ride.

So now it’s just Nash and her on a tiny tin can of a plane flying over the Atlantic. When a thunderstorm comes out of nowhere, it proves to be too much for the little aircraft.

Ava and Nash plunge from the sky and end up on an uncharted deserted island.


As if that isn’t bad enough, Ava starts to desire more than just rescue—hunger for more than food. Nash is only too happy to oblige… but it seems they might not be as alone as they thought.

And Nash might have some competition in claiming Ava’s body… and her heart.

TEMPT (a Take It Off novel)
***This is a new adult contemporary novel and contains sexual content and graphic language. It is not intended for young adult readers.***

Other Books In The Series:

About The Author

Cambria Hebert is the author of the young adult paranormal Heven and Hell series, the new adult Death Escorts series, and the new adult Take it Off series. She loves a caramel latte, hates math and is afraid of chickens (yes, chickens). She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and children (both human and furry) where she is plotting her next book. You can find out more about Cambria and her work by visiting

Author Links


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Published: December 2012
Genres: New Adult, Time Travel
Amazon | Goodreads | B&N
Eighteen-year-old Sage Hannigan wants to get back to her own time, preferably one that hasn’t been destroyed by an underworld plot brewing in Edwardian-era South Carolina. How hard can it be?

All she has to do is:

1. Learn to use newly acquired warping skills to bend time to her will.
2. Take out a few rogue vampires.
3. Join an ancient secret society.
4. Figure out who is putting the time stream in jeopardy.
5. Find and maim whoever invented the corset.

Sage never asked to be chosen by the Druid Priestess, Amerach, to become a Warper. She also never asked to have the future hanging on her shoulders or to warp a hundred years into the past. She certainly never asked to meet Dr. Aldwin Blake, who would make her question her desire to get back to her own time. But if she fails her mission, people will die, history will change, and the present she wishes to return to will be no more.


“Sage? Dear God, are you hurt?” Some sane part of my brain registered the voice as someone I knew, so I lowered my dirk a fraction and focused on the person standing a few feet away from me. Elaine stood there, one hand on her chest, the other raised slightly palm out, as if to appease a wild beast. I looked around myself at the carnage and down at the dirt and blood splatters on my arms and dress. My hair had come undone and hung around my shoulders and in my face. I must have looked like an insane asylum escapee. My body felt all wrong so I sat back down on the ground next to the man I hadn’t saved just as a single tear tracked down my cheek.
-- CONTINGENCY, Peggy Martinez
Published: February 20, 2013
Genres: New Adult, Time Travel
Three months after Sage Hannigan time warps a hundred years into the past and saves the future as we know it, she is still trying to come to grips with all the has gained…and all that she has lost. All of her searching hasn’t turned up Cerberus Society or any creatures of the night and she’s beginning to wonder if she’s gone crazy after all. The only things keeping her grounded are her sparring sessions with Matt and her weekly ritual of scouring the city for low lives to kick the crap out of, and even that can’t keep her dreams free of the heartache and bitter sweet memories she has come to loath and…to cherish. When blasts from the past; good, bad, and evil, come knocking on her door, will she be able to do what she has to even if it means having her barely-healing heart ripped to shreds?


I stood there with my hands on my hips trying to decide which was more disturbing—the fact that I’d just punched some idiot in the face right in the middle of Taco Hut and enjoyed it or that I’d done it while wearing a mini-sombrero and a name tag that read: “Hola! Mi nombre es Sage!” 
-- RELATIVITY, Peggy Martinez

 About The Author
Peggy Martinez is a homeschooling mom of one boy and four girls. She has been married to her soul mate, Omar, since January 2000. She enjoys reading, writing, soap making, all things aromatherapy, and Twizzlers- lots of Twizzlers. She dreams of one day owning a small homestead, raising some chickens along with her children, growing a large garden, and eventually taking a dream vacation to Greece. It isn't too far fetched to think you could happen upon her and her husband having a conversation about religion, political conspiracies, a zombie apocalypse, or gangster movies.

Author Links

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dragonskin Slippers by Jessica Day George

Saturday, September 14, 2013 with No comments

Many stories tell of damsels in distress, who are rescued from the clutches of fire-breathing dragons by knights in shining armor, and swept off to live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, this is not one of those stories.

True, when Creel's aunt suggests sacrificing her to the local dragon, it is with the hope that the knight will marry Creel and that everyone (aunt and family included) will benefit handsomely. Yet it's Creel who talks her way out of the dragon's clutches. And it's Creel who walks for days on end to seek her fortune in the king's city with only a bit of embroidery thread and a strange pair of slippers in her possession.

But even Creel could not have guessed the outcome of this tale. For in a country on the verge of war, Creel unknowingly possesses not just any pair of shoes, but a tool that could be used to save her kingdom…or destroy it.

Wow. This book was utterly fantastic! I've dabbled a bit in reading fantasy novels, but I'm still rather new to the genre. I picked this book up because a reading challenge I'm participating in required that a book featuring dragons be read for the month of September, and as the synopsis for Dragonskin Slippers sounded appealing, I chose to give it a shot. I was not disappointed.

This book definitely got my emotions riled up - I had to put it down a few times just because I was so worked up about what was happening in the story. Ms. George truly is an excellent story-teller, and writes in a way that makes it seem like she is not merely telling you a story, but showing you. There were instances when I wasn't even aware I was reading, so lost was I in her words.

Creel was a very like-able protagonist, and her character, along with the other leading characters, was very well fleshed-out. I especially enjoyed reading about the dragons, and how instead of hoarding gold, they each hoarded certain items for collection (such as the dragon Shardas, who hoarded stained-glass windows, or the dragon Feniul, who collected live dogs!) It was a rather a unique take on dragon lore, at least as far as I'm familiar with it. 

This novel had action, drama, secrets, backstabbing, strong friendships, a developing romance, and lots of amazing characters - just what any good fantasy story needs. The ending was tied up nicely, but still left me hungry for more. As this is the first book in a trilogy, I'm looking forward to delving into more of Creel's heroic exploits. This book is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good adventure!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

by Trish Doller
Expected Publication: September 24, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Children's

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Why I Can't Wait To Read This:
That synopsis sounds amazing! I grew up watching Lifetime Original Movies with my mom, so I'm a fan of gritty, true-to-life drama/suspense stories, and this seems to fit the bill. I think it would be fascinating to read about a character who was kidnapped by her own mother, and I'm curious to find out both why she was taken and why it was considered kidnapping (since it was her mother.) It just sounds like an interesting story.

What do you guys think?

If you haven't done so already, feel free to link-up your own Waiting on Wednesday post at Breaking The Spine. And if you add a link to your WoW post in the comments, I'll be sure to check it out.

It's day seven of Blogtember, and today's prompt is: Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop. I am a bit of an online shopping addict - I don't yet own a car, so shopping online makes things a whole lot easier. Lately, I've been really into Etsy, so I decided that I would use this post to showcase a few of my favorite Etsy shops, in no particular order:

Rocky Top Soap Shop // I love these homemade soaps! My favorite item is 'The Grit' exfoliating bar, made with coffee grounds & black poppy seeds - it feels amazing!

Sonu Designs // Her jewelry is beautiful! I keep getting complements anytime I wear my bird's nest necklace, and have already gifted items purchased from this store.

Bethy Designs // Beth makes some of the cutest bookmarks I have ever seen - my goal is to own them all, but so far I only have her Merlin set.

Frostbeard Studio // Bookish candles, like Dumbledore's Office (cedar wood, vanilla, fireplace, & lemon) & Sherlock's Study (sweet pipe tobacco, cherry wood & fresh rain)

I'm always on the look-out for new shops, so if you have any favorite Etsy stores, please list them in the comments and I'll check them out!