Monday, February 25, 2013

Tour and Review: Leaves by Michael Baron

Hey All!  Welcome to my stop on the 'Leaves' Tour which was organized by Providence Book Promotions. Thank you to the great gals over there that allowed me to participate.

Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 332
Edition: Kindle

'Leaves' is a story of love and loss, of family and friends and of the fluidity of relationships. The Gold children were raised in Oldham, CT, learning the ins and outs of small town life. They grew up in and helped their parents run The Sugar Maple Inn. Now that both of their parents are gone, the kids have decided it's time to sell the inn and move on. Before the sale goes through the family is going to throw one last huge Halloween bash, after all the Sugar Maple is famous for them. That is if they don't drive each other crazy first. They have always been a close family, has the loss of their parents and the pending sale of their childhood home changed that?

I was completely captivated by this story! The author does a wonderful job setting the scene in each of the locations, though most of the story does take place in Oldham. With his descriptions of the scenery, I really felt like I was there in the moment with the characters. The fact that Tyler, the youngest of the Gold children is a photographer by trade gave the author more room to be descriptive without overwhelming the reader. I will admit that after reading 'Leaves' I have added “Connecticut during Autumn” to my places I need to visit list.

In my notes, I referred to the story as a sampler platter. Throughout the book we are introduced to several characters the main ones being the Gold children, and the supporting cast their significant others, children, love interests, etc. Because there are so many characters to get familiar with, it felt like I didn't get to know them as well as if there had only been two main characters. That being said, I do think the author did a fantastic job developing the ensemble cast and I was excited to learn that we haven't heard the end of the Gold children. Michael Baron made his characters real. They are believable and best of all they aren't perfect! Some of my favorites are Deborah, Tyler and Sage (love that name). My least favorite was Corrina, and that's just because I wasn't fond of the type of person she was. She was extremely well written though and at times very punchable (to me at least). I cannot wait to learn even more about this family.

All in all I was extremely happy with this book and I'm so glad to have Michael Barons on my radar now. I will most definitely be reading more of his work.

My Rating: 4/5 Autumn Leaves

About the Author:

I grew up in the New York area and I’ve lived there my entire life. I worked in retail and taught high school English before I got my first book contract. I have gotten several additional book contracts since then, which is fortunate because I didn’t have the patience to work in retail and, while I quite enjoyed teaching, my approach was a bit too unconventional for most school systems. One school administrator told me that, “there are more important things than being a dynamic teacher.” Since I couldn’t name any of those things (at least in the context of school), I figured I didn’t have a long-term future in the profession. Hence, I became a writer, where I believe people appreciate a certain level of dynamism.
Though I started with nonfiction, I have always loved fiction and I have always wanted to write it. Since I can remember, I've had a particular affection for love stories. In fact, the very first book-length thing I ever wrote, when I was thirteen, was a love story. Mind you, it was the kind of love story that a thirteen-year-old boy would write, but it was a love story nonetheless. I have a deep passion for writing about relationships – family relationships, working relationships, friendships, and, of course, romantic relationships – and I can only truly explore this by writing fiction. These novels have given me a way to voice the millions of things running through my head.
My wife and kids are the center of my life. My wife is the inspiration for all of my love stories and my children enthrall me, challenge me, and keep me moving (and have served as the inspiration for several of the kids I've written about). One of the primary reasons I wrote my first novel, WHEN YOU WENT AWAY was that I wanted to write about being a father. Aside from my family, I have a few other burning passions. I’m a pop culture junkie with an especially strong interest in music, I love fine food (as well as any restaurant shaped like a hot dog), and I read far too many sports blogs for my own good. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Getting To Know Author Nancy Richardson Fischer

Hey Readers, take a moment out of your day and meet Nancy Richardson Fischer, author of 'Pandora's Key'. If you'd like a refresher course on the book, click here to see my review. :)

I was born on the east coast and went to Cornell University. After college I worked as a writer for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was a fun first job and I learned how to write quickly, and also that when elephants sneeze on you it's very (VERY) messy. After a year in the circus, I moved out west. I lived in Aspen, Colorado where I skied as much as possible and worked as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. Great experience but I learned that waitressing is hard (HARD) and I'm not very good at it.

After Aspen, I moved to San Francisco, California where I worked as a writer for University of California, San Francisco and wrote freelance for LucasFilm. At UCSF I learned that sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights dulls my soul. LucasFilm taught me that writing freelance, especially fiction, is fun (FUN). So I headed tograduate school in Boulder, Colorado to further hone my skills.

For the first part of my freelance writing career I wrote sport autobiographies. I'd visit and travel with an athlete like Monica Seles, Bela Karolyi, Nadia Comaneci or Apolo Ohno and then write their book. It was a terrific job, but after ten years and tons of incredible experiences I got tired of writing other peoples' stories and not my own.

I've always loved books with adventure, magic, and dark forces. I'm a huge fan of Stephen King, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Suzanne Collins and George R.R. Martin. Those writers allow a reader to lose themselves in stories that are intense, sometimes other-worldly, yet strangely believable. I feel incredibly lucky that now I have the chance to create books for readers that will hopefully captivate and transport them into a world where the supernatural is possible with characters that they can relate to who are flawed yet totally compelling.

Today I live in the Pacific Northwest with my amazing husband, Henry, and our mostly loveable (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla, Boone. When I'm not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with Boone and Henry, who both make me laugh for different reasons and who are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine. (Bio taken from Nancy's website, which can be found here )


What is the hardest part of the writing process?

Putting my butt in the chair. A lot of people tell me they have great ideas for books... and they do! But it's putting your butt in the chair for hour after hour, day after day, and continuing to write when you feel like playing with your dog, going for a run, meeting friends for coffee, that's hard! It's worth it, but it's hard:-)

Where is your favorite place to write?

I love writing in my house with my dog curled up at my feet.

Are you lucky enough to write full time or do you have a day job?

I am lucky enough to write full time. That wasn't always the case. I spent a decade writing other peoples stories - sport autobiographies, Star Wars trilogies, and various articles, plus a few years working for different companies. There isn't a day that I'm not thankful for the opportunity I now have to write what I love!

 How do you handle negative reviews?

They hurt my feelings... and then I get over them. You just can't please everyone. Sometimes I want to write the person and explain that I spent two years writing the book they just trashed and I did it FOR readers to enjoy, NOT to torture them! Good intentions, you know? But that's why they make a zillion different flavors of ice cream - people need options and we all like different things.

If Pandora's Key was made into a movie who would you cast?

Brittany, I really want to know who YOU would cast!!! Who would play Evangeline, Olivia, Raphe, Dr. Sullivan and Malledy? 

I'm still working on this...... :) Everyone that I have in mind is too old, I need to become more familiar with the younger generation of actors!

I can imagine Dakota Fanning as Evangeline... Naomi Watts as Olivia... Michael Pitt or Joseph Gordon Levitt as Dr. Sullivan.... and I'm not sure about Raphe or Malledy... maybe two unknown actors... what do you think?

What book is currently on your night stand? (At least, at the time of the interview)

'Where She Went' by Gayle Forman

Do you have any hobbies?

I'm a sporty gal. I love to kitesurf, ski, road bike, hike... anything outside. I also like to study French and dream of one day being fluent.

 What are your favorite tv shows, past or present?

Hands down The Walking Dead!!!! Followed by Homeland, Justified, and Breaking Bad. I also loved Deadwood.

What are some of your favorite smells?

Vanilla. Orange blossoms. Freshly baked pies. Chocolate chip cookies. My husband right after he shaves.

Do you have any pet peeves?

Mean people. Pet owners who don't pick up their dog's poop (I have a dog so I can say this;-). Olives in any food I want to eat. Pickles. The word: moist.

Thank you so much Nancy for taking the time to answer my questions.  If you haven't read it yet, give 'Pandora's Key' a try.  And be on the lookout for 'The Key to Tartarus' (Book 2 of the Key Trilogy) which Nancy is currently hard at work on!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cover Reveal: Bitter Angel by Megan Hand

Title: Bitter Angel

Author: Megan Hand

Expected release date: April 1, 2013

Genre: Thriller

Age Group: New Adult

Cover Designer: B Design;

Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours


Book Description:

Torn between two realities.
A choice that will mean life or death.
She won’t know anything… until she wakes up.

College sophomore, Lila Spencer lived Friday night twice. She doesn’t know how or why, just
that she did. As if she split in half and went in two different directions.

Out clubbing with her friends, Heather and Nilah, the girls rock it out and party hard. What
begins as an innocent night will lead to a deadly fight for their lives, and Lila might be their only
chance for survival.

In bed with her boyfriend, Jay, Lila is safe and warm as she drifts to sleep in the arms of the man
she loves. Until she is sucked into a horrifying nightmare of her friends’ deaths.

As the sunlight warms her face on Saturday morning, the two scenarios collide. But there can be
only one outcome. Will she wake up in her warm bed with Jay by her side, devastated and
grieving for her friends? Or was she there to save them?

The answer is just the beginning.

About the author:

At twelve, Megan decided to write a novel. A month later, she quit. A reading junkie by nature, she 
started writing again in her twenties as a way to get the voices out, because who wouldn't want to 
create a Real Living Person out of thin air? Megan also plays the piano and sings. She teaches little kids 
and takes pictures of pretty butterflies. She eats way too much chocolate, is sort of a mad scientist with 
her blender, and spends an unhealthy amount of time LOLing on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Ohio 
with her husband and very smiley son. Bitter Angel is her first published novel.

What do you guys think? It looks like a great, creepy cover to me, I can't wait until this comes out!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Phantom Book Blast

Phantom by Laura DeLuca

The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.


The orchestra tuned for its virtuoso, and Justyn stood ready. But no one else was ready for the magical performance he began. Beside her, Carmen was rambling on about something mundane. Rebecca elbowed her to silence so she could listen to the perfectly thrilling tenor. As she listened to the song unfold, the world around her started to slip away. Gone was the high school auditorium. Gone were the rowdy teenagers. The Gothic stranger on the stage had become the embodiment of Erik, and Rebecca watched him in all his dark glory, belting out his tormented love through the words of his song. And she was as breathless with wonder as Christine herself must have been when the masked stranger serenaded her in the candlelit labyrinth of the opera house. In that moment, Justyn wasn’t just portraying the phantom. Justyn was the phantom.

                 “Let the music touch your soul.
                   Let the darkness make you whole.
                   Do not fear what is unknown.
                   Your true path has now been shown.
                   Listen to the words I sing.
                   Embrace the peace that night will bring.”

     As he continued to sing in his deep but somehow angelic voice, Rebecca found that she couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. With every line, her heart began to beat faster.  She truly felt the arms of night wrapping her in a warm embrace. She could almost feel the hands of the phantom glide along her body as the words poured forth. The music caressed her. It possessed her—mind, body and soul. Each word left her longing, yearning for more.

     She was gawking so obviously, it was hardly surprising when Justyn felt her eyes on him and steadily met her gaze. She realized her mouth was hanging open in stunned awe, and she quickly snapped it shut. His lips moved into just a small hint of a smile. He never took his eyes off her while he sang the final verse, making her cheeks flush to the point that she felt almost feverish. But it wasn’t embarrassment but excitement, arousal even, which was sending her mind spinning in so many directions.

      When the song was over, and Rebecca had recovered just a hint of her composure, she couldn’t help but burst into a healthy round of applause. A few scattered people joined in, including Debbie and Carmen after she nudged them in the ribs. But only Miss King seemed to truly appreciate the brilliance of his talent as much as Rebecca did.

      “That was amazing, Justyn!” the teacher gushed.

      “Lord Justyn,” he corrected as he stepped down from the stage.

      A few others complimented him as well, but he took in all in stride. In fact, his serious expression never faltered as he stepped down from the stage. He seemed almost bored, like it was all he could do to hold back a yawn, despite the smiles and words of encouragement.

     But not everyone in the crowd was pleased as Justyn glided down the aisle, so ethereal in his dark garments that he still resonated the spirit of the Opera Ghost. Miss King might have been excited about the newest male addition to her cast after being limited for many years, but Tom and his group of boisterous companions glared at him as he passed them by.  Jay sneered and tossed a balled up piece of paper in Justyn’s direction, but the Goth was quick, and caught it in his hand without missing a beat.

    “I think you dropped something,” he said.

    His speaking voice was no less melodic than his singing voice, but something about his tone made Rebecca shiver. He tossed the paper back at Jay, who was nowhere near as coordinated as Justyn. He practically fell off his seat in his efforts to catch it.

     “Hey vampire,” Tom called when Justyn went to walk away. “Are you sure you can handle the competition?”

     Justyn smiled, a cool, sarcastic half-smile, and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you?”

     Miss King didn’t notice the short confrontation, and Justyn vanished from the auditorium as quickly and mysteriously as he had appeared. Only Rebecca had noticed the very real tension between the two boys. She wondered if it was a bad omen for them to start off the production with hard feelings and envy. That could only lead to trouble. The kind of trouble that could end with someone getting hurt.  The kind of trouble that Rebecca would do whatever it took to avoid.


Author Laura DeLuca

Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.

BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/22/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Discover New Authors and Enter to Win a Kindle Fire!!

Kindle Fire HD Giveaway!

The winner will have the option of receiving a Kindle Fire HD (US Only)

Or $199 Gift Card (International)

Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

This giveaway is sponsored by these Authors:

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson
For What It's Worth by Karey White</ div>
Cascade Brides by Bonnie Blythe
A World Apart by Camelia Miron Skiba
Reality Bites, Tales of a Half-Vampire by Shaunda Wenger
Face-Off by Stacy Juba</ a>
Two Equals by Marta Szemik</ div>
The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw by Suzy Turner
One for Kami by Charlene A. Wilson</ div>

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Getting To Know Author Amanda Day

Hey everyone!  I'd like introduce you to Amanda Day, author of The Dark Side of Night (link will take you to my review). 

Amanda lives in Cornwall in the UK, loves young adult fiction, especially when magic and love are included, she day-dreams excessively, lives for cake, and drinks tea by the bucket. (bio provided by author)

Amanda was awesome enough to agree to an interview so let's get on with it shall we?

When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up? Or did you always want to be a writer?

I actually wanted to be a vet for a really long time… until I realised blood was involved. After that I didn’t really have a set idea what I wanted to do until 18, which is when I had my first idea which grew and grew until I couldn’t hold it in anymore!

What is the first thing you ever wrote?

The Lands of the Hexagon House, which is being tinkered with and should be available before the Summer this year. I hope.

What do you find to be the hardest part of the writing process?

Motivation. Not because I don’t love it, but because I often want to go outside or watch TV in my pyjamas instead of sit at a desk and tune the world out. I am easily swayed to stop writing for things like sunshine and cake, which is bad bad bad.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so what are your 'soundtracks' like?

I do listen to music. I put together playlists for each book to help me get into the mood for a particular section. For The Dark Side of Night I listened to Closer by Kings of Leon a lot, Miserere by Allegri was my favourite to play when I imagined Cyan’s fighting scenes. In my head they were slow motion and beautiful to match the choir singing. I also listened to Snow Patrol - The City, Creed – My Own Prison and also Bon Iver – I Can’t Make You Love Me, a lot.

If you could be any character in any book, who would you be?

Clary Fray in The Mortal Instruments I think. Not just for her amazing powers, gorgeous red hair or brilliant best friend, but mainly because of Jace!

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Skulduggery Pleasant, Kingdom of the Wicked by Derek Landy. I absolutely love Skulduggery and Valkyrie Cain; they are the best and funniest magical crime fighting duo in my opinion. The books are bursting with awesome action and laugh out loud sarcastic humour, plus there are a lot of cool fights.

What are some of your favorite things or hobbies?

Practising Tae Kwon Do is my main hobby. Outside of that I read a lot, I like walking and painting. Mainly I just like to be out and about in the world, seeing what is happening and trying to learn as much as I can about this funny old life.

What are your some of your favorite t.v. shows, past or present?

One Tree Hill has been a firm favourite for a very long time. I loved Gilmore Girls. Currently I am super into New Girl, How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory. Past shows include British comedy Absolutely Fabulous and the British BBC version of Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Cumberbatch (sorry if you don’t know these ones!). I am also into Girls at the moment as the second series has just started here. Generally, I like a mix of soft girlie drama and comedies.

If you could invite any 3 people to dinner, who would you invite?

Beyonce because she is the ultimate strong, independent and amazing woman, and we could potentially plot to take over the world together, or maybe just discuss shoes and dancing. Brian Cox (Brit Physicist) for a lot of space and universe talk. Finally, I would invite Patrick Rothfuss because he is my favourite author and very clever and funny.

What can we expect from you next?

Next up is a middle grade fantasy adventure called The Lands of the Hexagon House, then after will be the follow up to The Dark Side of Night. After that? Who knows. I have a mighty long list of ideas, but I am betting whatever I go with will involve lots of magic and love; my two favourite things!

Great big thanks go out to Amanda for taking the time to let us get to know her a little bit. Amanda is also a blogger and you can visit her blog by clicking here.