Where I Found You – plus GIVEAWAY!!!

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Let’s travel to the other side of the world for a little YA romance this week…

The images from the tsunami that devastated multiple countries off the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day 2004 are pictures that few can forget. For the people of Indonesia, however, the tsunami was more than mere photographs and videos. It completely swept away entire villages, destroyed homes and businesses, and killed an estimated 220,000 people. Although many of the casualties were children, the tsunami also left many children orphaned.

About now, you’re probably asking what happened to the YA romance I promised. I’m getting there…

Our protagonist, Sienna, is afraid of flying and the ocean, and has no desire to jump on a plane and fly for many hours over the Pacific Ocean to stay at an orphanage (technically, a pesantren, or school) in Indonesia. But her dad really wants to help kids who are suffering from the emotional trauma of the tsunami, so Sienna agrees to swallow her fears (with the help of a sleeping pill) and go along.

What Sienna doesn’t count on (yep, the romance part!) is meeting Deni while she’s at the orphanage. Deni is one of 200 orphans at the pesantren who came from the refugee camps in Aceh province. He’s striking, confident, a leader of the kids. He cares about the other children and stands up when he believes they are not being treated properly, even though he knows it makes the pesantren’s owner dislike him. Sienna is drawn to Deni immediately, and each time she sees him, her attraction grows.

This is a fascinating read. Aside from the adorable and steamy romance, there are a lot of other great aspects to this book. Many YA readers will be too young to remember the tsunami images the way adults do, so this may be their introduction to this devastating moment in history. Ms. Kling has sprinkled just enough detail about what happened, what a tsunami is, and how it impacted Indonesia to educate readers without them feeling that they are being “taught.”

Also, because the book is mainly set in Indonesia, Ms. Kling shares many details about daily life in that country, from wearing hijabs to only using the RIGHT hand for things to different religious and cultural beliefs. Again, Ms. Kling masterfully does this all without the feeling that we’ve moved out of the YA romance genre and into a non-fiction tome.

In case I missed anything really important, here’s the publisher’s synopsis of the book:

After her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call.

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami.

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn’t anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be…and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her.

A woman he wants for his own.

Gulp.

But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again.

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.

Ms. Kling explains in the Forward to her book that her husband is a cross-cultural psychiatrist who traveled to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami and met orphans like those at Sienna’s pesantren. Deni was inspired by a boy Ms. Kling’s husband met, named Usul, who outran the tsunami on his moped. Ms. Kling’s website is www.heidirkling.com.

You can win a copy of Where I Found You by entering this GIVEAWAY. If you are too excited to wait until the giveaway ends, the book is also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher, Entangled Publishing.

Have you read any great books lately?

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!

An Unstill Life

It’s time for something completely different—a YA novel exploring sexuality and new romance (plus a little mortality thrown into the mix!). I’m participating in the YA Reads Blog Tour of An Unstill Life, which was released on July 12, 2017.

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To start, here’s the publisher’s synopsis of the book:

When your whole world is falling apart, what are the chances you’ll find love in the most unexpected of places?

Livvie feels like she’s losing everything: her two best friends have abandoned her for their boyfriends, her mother continues to ignore her, while her sister, Jules, is sick again and getting worse by the day. Add in the request Jules has made of her and Livvie feels like she’s losing her mind, too.

Her only escape is in the art room, where she discovers not only a refuge from her life, but also a kindred soul in Bianca, the school “freak”. Livvie’s always felt invisible, at school and at home, but with Bianca, she finally feels like someone sees the real Livvie. As the relationship deepens and it comes time to take the romance public, will Livvie be able to take that step?

Livvie’s about to find out if she has what it takes to make the tough decisions and stand up for herself—for the first time in her life.

The Livvie and Bianca characters in this book are wonderful. Their relationship seems to grow naturally as they get closer to each other through their art. Livvie is a character you want to protect and guide, and I was happy when Bianca came in to fill that role.

Livvie also grows a lot throughout the book. She is challenged in many ways—in deciding whether to move forward with a relationship with Bianca, then in making that relationship public and dealing with the reactions of her friends and others, and also in her life at home. Her sister is sick and needs Livvie’s support, and Livvie’s mother doesn’t seem to notice Livvie exists.

In addition to dealing with a sick sister and questioning her sexual identity, Livvie also has synesthesia. Thanks to David Baldacci (Amos Decker books), I knew that this was the condition where a person sees or hears color in everything. But I found this aspect of the book to be really distracting. Perhaps this is natural—I assume seeing or hearing color in everything WOULD be really distracting to a person who has synesthesia. I just think I would have enjoyed the book just as much without the synesthesia aspect.

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A little about author Kate Larkindale:

Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand. A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.

She has written fourteen contemporary YA novels, a few of which other people are allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance. She is currently working on a new YA novel and ghostwriting an autobiography.

Have you read any great books lately?

Enshrine

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It’s time to move to a time when life was simpler. When people traveled on horseback and celebrated the survival of winter with festivals full of music and dancing. A time of arranged marriages and strict class structures.

This is the world where we meet Sage Wolfe, in the village of Community in the empire of Rosementh. Sage would have been very happy in her simple life in Community, but during the Spring Equinox festival, the feared tyrant-king, Dayton, rides into town.

Dayton maintains control over his people by looting, terrorizing, and destroying villages, and slaughtering his own subjects. His reputation is well-known throughout Rosementh, and the Elders of Community quickly give Dayton everything he demands—including Sage.

Here is the publisher’s description of the plot of Enshrine:

When Sage Wolfe is accidentally mistaken for a peace offering, her world turns upside down. Dayton, the young, handsome, and insane King of Rosementh whisks her away to his castle to be his bride with the promise that he can give her the world and anything she desires. These offers become tainted as Dayton’s true colors show themselves; he is cruel and violent and Sage vows to run away or die trying.

Just when Sage thinks she is hitting rock bottom, a hooded stranger named Jonathan Kreider comes to the castle. He doesn’t say much but his actions speak for themselves. Not only can he wield a sword or shoot an arrow better than most of Dayton’s men, but he always seems to be a step behind Sage, and though it should terrify her, for the first time Sage finds herself filling with hope.

Sage is faced with a choice. Should she run away from the wicked king who took her away from her family? Or should she stay to learn more about the man who lurks in the shadows, the man that makes her heart race and almost makes suffering Dayton’s wrath worthwhile? Sage is about to discover that nothing is as it seems and everyone has secrets; Dayton, the man that calls himself Jonathan Kreider, and even herself.

The love triangle storyline always brings tension and drama to a novel. Throw in an evil king who does not hesitate to kill people—even when he has no reason to believe they betrayed him—and the excitement mounts! Jonathan Kreider is a kind but mysterious stranger, who leaves Sage—and the reader—wanting to know all of his secrets.

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Intrigued yet? You can pick up a copy of Enshrine on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

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Author Kay Bennson is from Northwestern Connecticut where she lives with her husband. She doesn’t remember a time where she wasn’t writing stories (in fact, some of her best ideas were forged in high school classes and at part time jobs). When she isn’t writing, she is a competitive Irish Dancer. Enshrine is her first novel.

There are many ways to find Ms. Bennson online: check out her website; find her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter; or look her up on Goodreads.

Ms. Bennson has another book in the works already, so I think we’ll see much more from this impressive author!

Have you read any great books lately?

Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief & GIVEAWAY!

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Most teenagers wish their lives were more exciting, more thrilling, anything but dull and normal. Then, there’s Maribel.

Maribel is a “Teenage Jewel Thief.” We meet her scaling the wall of a museum in the middle of a heist. The job is interrupted by the arrival of goons sent by Petrov Rosinsky, the leader of a crime syndicate. Petrov killed Mari’s father nine years ago, and he seems determined to wipe out the rest of the family.

Mari and her mother flee to New York, where they attempt to live a “regular life.” Mari begins high school as just a typical teenage girl—a life she has been pining for as she moonlighted as a professional thief.

On her first day of school, Mari meets Will Campbell. She instantly falls for his good looks and charm, but tries to distance herself from him in case Petrov finds her.

When Mari starts seeing suspicious people that appear to be following her, she becomes convinced that Petrov has found her. Is her imagination threatening to destroy her new love and regular life, or has her past caught up with her again?

Mari frequently takes a break from the high school drama to write in her diary. We learn about her fears for herself and her mother, her growing attraction toward Will, and her attempts to fit in at school.

The action in Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief is addicting—by the end of Chapter 1, I couldn’t put the book down. Mari battles typical teenage problems and doubts, while also struggling with her fears from her past. Mari is charming and vulnerable, and I was cheering for her throughout the book as she looked for to ways fit in and make friends.

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The publisher of Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief has provided this synopsis:

Most sixteen-year-olds shouldn’t know where museums keep their rarest jewels (the basement) and they really shouldn’t know that vans make the worst getaway cars. But for Marisol Flores, a life of jewel thievery is a birthright handed down from generation to generation, even if she didn’t ask for it. So when a rival thief targets Mari and her mother, Mari’s more than happy to flee to the anonymity of bustling New York City.

Blending in is a dream come true for Mari, but keeping her former thieving ways a secret gets way more complicated when handsome Will Campbell sets his sights on her. She can’t help but like his terrible puns and charming grin…but when her past catches up with her, it’s not only her life—and her anonymity—that’s at stake.

Will could be the next target.

This is a great book to pick up if you want a fun, exciting, compelling read, with a little love thrown in. You can find Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief at Amazon.com and other book retailers. Click here to enter a GIVEAWAY for a $20 Amazon gift card.

About the Author:

Rosie Somers is a beach-going book addict who’s been crafting stories since before she learned her ABCs. When she’s not busy trying to bring the characters in her head to life on paper, she can be found volunteering with local animal rescues, crocheting funky hats for her friends, or eating herself into the poorhouse at Chipotle. Her fondest dream is to one day own a goat.

You can follow Ms. Somers on her blog (rosiesomers.blogspot.com), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ProsyRosie/) or on Twitter (@prosyrosie).

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!

Have you read any great books lately?

The Librarian Giveaway

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It’s time for another giveaway! The Librarian, by Christy Sloat, was published on June 17, 2017, and it sounds amazing! the librarianHere’s the description of the story:

He’s from 1892 England, she’s in a small library in 2017. And that’s just the start of their troubles.

Emme never meant to stay in Maine. She’d come only to find a librarian for her Gram’s library, a custodian for the collection of mysterious books she’d promised to protect. On a dark, wintery night, alone in the library, she takes her first glance into one of the antique novels and finds herself transported to 1892 England staring into the eyes of handsome and dashing hero Jack Ridgewell. As each chapter passes she learns you can truly fall in love with a character in a book, that book boyfriends are real and Emme must choose between the real world, and his.

When the last page is read he’s gone and Emme feels the cold loneliness of lost love. Will she find Jack again, or will their love be forever lost? The answer lies within the pages…

About the Author

Christy-Sloat-201x300Christy Sloat is a SoCal born girl who resides in New Jersey currently with her husband, two daughters and Sophie her Chihuahua. Christy has embraced the love of reading and writing since her youth and was inspired by her grandmother’s loving support. Christy passes that love of reading, writing, and creativity to her daughters, family, and friends. When you do not find Christy within the pages of a book you can find her being mommy, wife, crafter, and dear friend. She loves adventurous journeys with her friends and can be known to get lost inside a bookstore. Be sure to venture into her Past Lives Series, The Visitor’s Series, and watch for many more exciting things to come.

Check out her blog or find her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

I spent the rest of the day filing paperwork for the funding process and preparing to open the library doors on Monday morning. I told Rose and Becca to spread the word. Tarryn had decided to move her smaller items in already, and she was asleep by nine the same night. It didn’t seem strange to me that I had a roommate; instead it made me feel comfortable. I never lived alone before, and I would feel lonely otherwise. Tarryn was quiet, but I knew in time she’d get used to me and I’d get used to her. We just needed to get to know each other first.

Once I was done with the paperwork, I filed the books that were left on the shelf from when Gram was still here. As I placed the classic books on the correct shelves, I felt a longing to finish reading my mysterious book in my nook.

So, instead of going to bed at a decent hour, I climbed into my cozy space and picked the book back up. I didn’t open it right away. Instead I inspected the outside for any sort of title. I found nothing of the sort. I flipped to the title page once more, trying to find my place, and that’s when I saw the word on the page. It was just a simple “The” typed out on the once blank title page. I ran my finger across it and realized it was printed in ink as if the press had done it. I was sure the night before it was blank, but then again, I was sure my dream about being with a man was real. So I wasn’t really a reliable source at the moment.

I found the spot where I ended with a dog-eared page. I absolutely hated doing this to the book and didn’t remember it at all. I usually had a nice bookmark, but this seemed to be the only thing to mark the page before I had fallen asleep. Running my fingers across the crease at the corner of the page, I settled back and started reading.

 

I woke up once again face down, this time I was in grass. I blinked my eyes and felt the blades of grass tickling my nose and lips. I pulled myself up and took a deep breath. I looked around and saw the fields upon which I had dreamt of the night before. I was back in England. I was dreaming the same dream. How odd.

There were times when I had thought I had the same dream over and over again, to only find out that it was my mind playing tricks on me. This was no mistake. I was, once again, in the same place.

“Emmeline, are you all right?” I looked up and blocked the sun from my eyes. The man from before was standing in front of me. “You … you disappeared. It happened so fast that I fear I cannot explain to you how it happened. Now you’re here once again.” He sounded really confused and, to put it lightly, so was I.

This dream felt way too real. It was exactly like before. So real and tangible that I couldn’t explain it even if I tried.

“I … I don’t know how I’m here again,” I mumbled.

He reached out to steady me as I swayed to the side. “You’ve been gone for days. I worried I was going mad, that your presence was one of my imaginings. I dared not to speak a word to anyone about it. I have to admit, Emmeline, I’ve been going slightly crazed since I saw you last.”

His hair was disheveled and he had grown a slight beard that only enhanced the sexiness of his strong jawline. His deep set blue-green eyes looked weary, and for that I felt awful.

My sudden disappearance had made him fall apart, that was apparent.

“I’ll tell you, I feel like I’m going crazy too. Trust me,” I admitted. “Can we sit somewhere? Out of the sun?”

“Of course.”

He held my arm and led me to a tree in the center of the field. Once underneath the large tree, I felt instantly better. I looked down at my clothes and saw that I was, once again, in my own clothes. This time a little better than before. I was wearing yoga pants and an old T-shirt.

“I can’t explain how or why I’m here. Hell, I don’t even know your name, but I’m here again and I’m beginning to think that this isn’t a dream. That I’m really here, with you,” I said as I touched his arm. “I’m not from … here.”

I didn’t know how to explain it to him, but I did the best any girl who was somehow traveling through time could. I didn’t have answers or explanations, but I had a gut feeling.

“I’m from a different time as you. As you can tell by my lovely clothing, I’m not from 1893.”

He placed his fingers on my lips, stopping me, while shaking his head.

“This isn’t right, Emmeline. Trickery at a time like this isn’t fair,” he said as he stood up fast. “I am leaving soon. I shall not have you doing this to me.”

My mouth fell open in shock and I stood. “Do something to you? Listen here, buddy, I didn’t ask for this. I sat down to read a book and then boom, I’m stuck in England with a stranger.”

I pointed at myself. “Look at me. Do I really look like I belong here?”

He looked at my clothing and up to my hair, and I could see his cheeks redden.

“You are dressed very indecent, I suppose. No woman I’ve ever met wears trousers. Nor do they wear clothing that fitting.”

I laughed. He thought this was indecent, he should see some of the dresses I had worn to parties. They were nothing like the dresses he was used to seeing on a woman. We absolutely didn’t dress ladylike anymore. My sexy little black dress that currently hung in my closet would definitely shock some of the people of this era for sure.

“I don’t know why I’m here. I’m absolutely not trying to, I don’t know, hurt you or anything. I don’t know how to go home.” I slumped back against the tree. “I wish that I could prove to you that I’m not lying to you, but I cannot. You’ll have to just believe me, I guess.” It was as simple as that. He could either believe this bat-shit crazy explanation or not. One way or another, I didn’t care. I just wanted to go home.

“I don’t know why, Emmeline, but I feel as if I should say that I do believe you.” He ran a hand through his thick hair, mussing it up. “I just don’t know how else to explain your abrupt presence. One minute you are here and the next you’re disappearing into thin air. I read many books on fiction, so I suppose it could be true.”

“Well, I may know someone who knows something. She works for the lucky bastard that owns that house,” I told him pointing to the house where Nancy was the last time I saw her. She was probably cooking something again for her master.

He smiled. “That house?”

“Yes. Her name is Nancy.”

“Ah. Nancy. And who is this Nancy woman you speak of?” He continued to smile as if this was a joke, but I ignored it.

“She’s a cook. I met her on my last visit here,” I explained. “She’s not the nicest person I’ve ever met, but I think she has some answers.”

 

“I must argue that Miss Nancy is more than a cook. She’s also the lady upon with which I trust my household while I’m gone. She’s more of an aunt than a housekeeper,” he said as he took my hand in his. “It’s very nice to finally introduce myself to you, Emmeline Bailey. I’m Jack Ridgewell or you may just call me the lucky bastard.”

Intrigued yet? You can get your own copy of The Librarian ebook by entering the giveaway here.

The Librarian is also available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Have you read any great books lately?

Fairytale

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We’re venturing into a different world with Fairytale, a YA novel by Hope Pennington (only one of us read this one—it’s a little too old for my sous-chef!). I read this book as part of the #FairytaleTheNovel blog tour hosted by Writerly Yours.

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Sean is just your everyday teenager—he likes to play video games and antagonize his younger sister. On a day that is starting out like any other, his life changes dramatically when he is pulled through a portal to another world.

Sean finds himself in Glensdore, a world that looks like it is from an old fairytale or video game. There are rustic wooden huts with hay for roofs, and a castle that reminds Sean of the sand castles he used to build at the beach.

Sean is surrounded by burly men carrying swords and axes, engaged in hand-to hand combat. A creature named Monaciello, less than three feet tall with four hands for feet and a round head half as big as its body, becomes his sidekick.

He isn’t sure why, but people keep calling Sean the “Treasure Seeker” or the “Chosen One.” He discovers that the princess of Glensdore is missing and must be rescued to return power to the hands of goodness before darkness falls.

Sean joins in the rescue of the princess. He pairs up with a newly-knighted knight named Hansak, and they set off on an adventure that leads them to elves, mermaids, and other mystic creatures.

The official description of the book is:

A teenage boy’s happy-go-lazy world is turned on it’s head when he’s yanked into an epic fairytale and shocked to discover that his ability to predict the cliche storyline is the only thing that can save their world from destruction!

But it’s more than that. Sean grows and learns about himself as he fights to save Glensdore. And as readers, we cheer and celebrate as he figures out that life is more than the “happy-go-lazy” one he has been living.

To pick up a copy of Fairytale, go to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. And be prepared to be swept away to a world of chivalry, magic, and adventure!

ABOUT HOPE:

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Hope Pennington is a homeschooled graduate living in Kerrville Texas, author of the young adult novel Fairytale and creator of The Epic Place YouTube channel where she encourages geeks, nerds and fan girls to always remember that #WeAreEpicHeroes every single day of our lives. Coffee is her spirit animal and if she had it her way she’d be living on the TARDIS from Doctor Who going on endless time travel adventures.
Twitter // Instagram // Tumblr  // YouTube // Blog // Wattpad

 

I reached out to Hope a few days ago to see if she would agree to an interview for my blog, and she said yes! I *hope* you enjoy getting to know her just a little more…
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi!  I’m Hope!  I was homeschooled for my whole life and pretty much since a toddler I’ve been in love with books!  As soon as I could get my schoolwork done each day I’d rush up to the attic to grab a book to delve into.  Fantasy was always my favorite and my older sister Grace was writing from an early age so at about age eight I had decided I wanted to be an author and started writing mystery novels.  By age nine I was writing scifi.  In my teen years I was introduced to OYAN (an epic homeschooled writing curriculum) and my writing got 99% better!  The days after that were full of fantasy noveling including the first draft of Fairytale. ^_^
Where did the idea for Fairytale come from? What inspired you to write it?
It’s a funny story actually!  Being an avid reader I was getting really annoyed at the lack of good fantasy novels and somewhere around the hundredth boring fantasy novel I tried to read my sister and I started making jokes about what if a modern teen boy got yanked into one of these cliché fairytales and could predict the whole thing…and the rest is history!
Are you working on any projects right now?
Right now I’m working on publishing a children’s book series called “Brad the Puppy” that I wrote with my Grandpa and a Middle Grade novel called “There’s A Werewolf at My School” that I wrote with my younger brother Adam!  The Werewolf one is definitely exciting because it’s my second mix of modern and myth now with a whole new cast of characters to explore it with!  I won’t say too much but it includes a teenage werewolf, elf, dwarf, mermaid, troll, goblin and more all in modern day middle school.
Will we see Sean in any future books?
Yes!  I’m working on Fairytale 2 now!  It’s called “Fairytale 2: Sean’s Squire” aaannndddd it involves a girl…from his school who goes in with him.  Their banter is way too fun to write!  I can’t wait to write all the fun parts I have planned!
What is the hardest part about being an author?
Probably promotion actually.  Being an author these days you have to be good and writing AND marketing cause most authors don’t have the money to pay someone to promote for them.  Thankfully social media leaves a nice space for authors to grow a following and maybe generate interest in their book, which has actually been super fun but I’m not that good at it just yet. 😛
What is the best piece of advice you have been given about writing?
I must’ve heard this from a hundred different people but it’s honestly “Just Write”  Everyone’s path to writing, everyone’s method and everyone’s style is so different you can really only discover your way by doing it.  The other awesome piece of advice is write for you.  If you don’t enjoy it no one will.  So entertain yourself, captivate and mystify yourself with your writing and someone is liable to feel the same way.
Which authors inspire you?
Dickens for SURE!  He’s my writing hero.  He wasn’t afraid to write real, raw, authentic darkness mixed with humor…uggg I can’t get enough of his work but in the scifi/fantasy realm my writing heroes are definitely C.S. Lewis, E. Nesbit, J.R.R. Tolkien and Joss Wheaten.  They all wrote their way, and they wrote magical and mystical lands full of fun and heart and courage and enthusiasm and freedom.  They never cease to inspire me
What are your three favorite books?
A Tale of Two Cities
The Hobbit
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Thanks for joining us, Hope!
Have you read any great books lately?

The Castaways (it’s giveaway time again!)

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Okay, I guess I can’t just say “you had me at Olive McGaggy.” I need to give you a little more about The Castaways…  But man, I wish I had thought to write a book with Olive McGaggy as the name of my main character before Jessika Fleck did it!TheCastaways1600

Sixteen year-old Olive Gagmuehler has been tormented by her name for years – a smelly food plus the word “gag” was an easy source of jokes. And kids came up with Olive McGaggy as a cruel nickname.

For six years, Olive has been bullied by three girls she calls the “Trio.” The Trio has moved from merely teasing to physical harm as well.

One weekend, the Castaway Carnival comes to town. It’s a pirate-themed carnival with a corn maze. Unfortunately, there have been two incidents – two teenagers in the sixties, and a nine year-old last year – where kids have not come out of the maze. The kids simply vanished.

Olive bumps into the Trio at the Carnival. They attack her, but she manages to get free and runs into the corn maze to escape. One of the Trio members, Lesley, chases her, and Olive crawls into a tunnel made of cornstalks.

When she emerges from tunnel on the other side, she is in a forest. There is no more cornfield, and no more carnival. Even the moon is different.

Olive discovers she is on an island. There are twelve other kids on the island, living in two separate groups. The groups are at war, and Olive is dragged into the war before she even has a chance to pick sides.

Now Olive must fight to stay alive in the war and learn to live on a deserted island, while also trying to find a way home.

I had a lot of trouble putting The Castaways down. I was very quickly drawn into Olive’s life (maybe I have a little Olive McGaggy in me?), and cheered for her when she fought back against the Trio, even when she knew it meant Lesley was going to find worse ways to hurt her.

Once Olive was on the island, it was all over for me. I needed to know what would happen next. This is one of those books where you can’t wait to get to the end even though you know you’ll be sad that it’s finished.

In case you need a little more persuading (as if my review were not enough!), here’s the publisher’s teaser:

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous. Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing. Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home. But victory may require more betrayal, sacrifice, and heartbreak than she’s ready for.

As part of this Blog Tour, Ms. Fleck is giving away a Prize Pack, including a copy of The Castaways plus swag! (International winner will receive an Amazon gift card in place of the Prize Pack.) Enter here.

If you don’t win the Prize Pack, you can pick up your copy of The Castaways at Barnes & NobleiBooksKoboAmazon.com,  Amazon.co.ukAmazon.ca, or directly from the publisher, Entangled Publishing.

Have you read any great books today?

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!

Proof of Lies (plus a giveaway!!!)

Proof of Lies Banner

I have something a little different today. A new and fascinating-sounding book was just released on March 7. If you read YA books, this is one that you can’t miss! Proof of Lies is book #1 of the Anastasia Phoenix series, by Diana Rodriguez Wallach.

Proof of Lies

Here’s a short description of the book:

Some secrets are best kept hidden…

Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages.

And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead.

She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true.

Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility.

She will find her sister.

You can pick up a copy of Proof of Lies at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher, Entangled Publishing.

Ms. Wallach is giving away something really unique as part of the blog tour happening right now: the winner will get to name one of the secondary characters in Book #2 of the Anastasia Phoenix series! Enter here!

If you would like to read more about Proof of Lies, including some reviews and some discussions with the author, check out some of these great blogs, who are all participating in the blog tour for Proof of Lies:

Smada’s Book Smack               Literary Chanteuse

A Dream Within A Dream       Roxy’s Book Reviews

Positively Book Crazy               Crossroad Reviews

Kourtni Reads                             RoloPoloBookBlog

Cindy’s Love of Books              Book Lovers Life

The Book Beacon                       Just One More Chapter

For Love of Books4                    Sleeps on Tables

Book-Keeping                             Bibliophile Mystery

Readingwithwrin                        All Things Christine

Bibliobibuli YA                            Rockin’ Book Reviews

Literary Meanderings                Literary Dust

Deal Sharing Aunt                       Hannah Plus Books

Never Too Many To Read           The Phantom Paragrapher

YA Reads

About the Author:            
Diana

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is not the child of super spies, as far as she knows. But she is an avid traveler, and every scene in her books comes from a place she has lived or visited—from her senior year apartment in Boston, MA to the hotel where she stayed in Cortona, Italy. In addition to the Anastasia Phoenix series, Diana is also the author of the award-winning Amor and Summer Secrets series; the Mirror, Mirror short story collection; and essays in both Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories and Latina Authors and Their Muses. She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, and is a Creative Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two kids. But of course, this all could be a masterly crafted piece of disinformation…

Website: http://www. dianarodriguezwallach.com/

Twitter: @dianarwallach

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ dianarwallach

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