Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Poison Diaries (#1) by Maryrose Wood

If interested, you can read The Poison Diaries for FREE on the HarperTeen site.  I haven't read it, yet.  After seeing its beautiful design & formatting and reading several of its reviews, I will definitely be adding this to my 'to-be-read' list.       

In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure — or kill. 

When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . .



Friday, October 28, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Best Scares


This week's YA Indie Carnival topic is Best Scares. Now, I'm going to flat-up (my niece's favorite thing to say) tell you I never have and probably never will read a scary book. For all those same reasons, I do not watch terrifying shows or sit through horror movies. I know...I know I am in the minority, and I'm okay with my lot in life. I just can't do horror in any fashion.

By contrast, I LOVE to read - and write - paranormal romance. There are aspects of the paranormal genre which allows me to experience the excitement of getting to know the character's 'magical' talents without having the bejesus scared out of me. When their mystical traits are coupled with a solid romantic story-line, I can really devote some undivided attention to the offering's of the author's imagination.
 



Since I have no frightening books to share, I'm going to talk about the paranormal romance I just finished, Everlasting by . The final book of The Immortals Series is the perfect ending to a series filled with love, hate, romance, passion, regret, and the effects (positive and negative) of karma. 

We've known for a while that Ever, Damen, and Jude have met in each of their lifetimes. This book opens us up to the possibility that everyone lives the same life over and over until they get it right, and the karma from our past keeps haunting us until we've made amends to those wronged...and the universe. 

Traveling down Ever's road, we find an entire population of people who have gotten caught up in - and keep getting caught up in - her cosmic adventure, one which includes auras, witches, telepathy, apothecary, and magic. Equally obvious is Ever's desire to go to heaven (to join her family) and her fear of landing in hell (lost an alone) for the choices she makes. 

Like the rest of the books in the series, Ever and Damen are ignorant when it comes to the impact of their slip-ups. Because of this, they are prevented from journeying toward the world of enlightenment they claim to seek.  Worse, they make the same blunders over and over. Some of their worst mistakes are made when they try to do what they think is best for the other.  

As in life, some of the characters are memorable, and others are not. By far, my favorite characters of the series are Riley and Jude. If I were writing this story, they would become soul mates in their next life.  

This final book rights most wrongs while hinting at a new series...or even a seventh book. It will be interesting to see which wins out.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Silence (Hush, Hush, #3) by Becca Fitzpatrick


Silence, a great third book in a series with a long, long future.  If you are a fan of Hush, Hush and Crescendo (and let's just face it...Patch), the only disappointment you will experience is the fact that the book ends.  I know this because I just finished Silence and am already anticipating the next in the series, Untitled (Hush, Hush #4).  Unfortunately, it will not be released until fall of 2012. 

With Silence, Nora Grey embraces her destiny and quickly becomes someone worthy of the Fallen Angel Patch.  The journey to this point has been long and arduous.  It's been filled with sobering deaths and anxiety-producing near deaths...unending love and venomous hate...pretenses of indifference mixed with heated passion.  Somehow, that same excitement is embedded into every page of Silence, making it one of the best of the series (so far).

In my humble opinion, the stronger Becca Fitzpatrick makes Nora Grey, the more lovable she becomes.  The more empowered Nora is, the more I want Nora and Patch to end up as the soul mates they have claimed to be since Hush, Hush.  The more grown-up Nora acts, the more realistic the entire story, and its unique characters begin to feel.  Without any doubt at all, I can say this series has matured in a very good way, and the characters are more endearing than ever.

Most of all, I'm thankful for the ending.  I wouldn't dream of giving anything away, but for the briefest moment, I thought Nora, sweet Nora, was going to....   Sorry.  You will just have to read Silence for yourself to find out my concerns.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Memorable Halloweens


The sponsors of the YA Indie Carnival have a wonderful topic - GREAT HALLOWEEN MEMORIES - to post this week.  There were many haunted house horrors, carnival capers, and scavenger hunts which I could have shared.  Instead, I settled on a story where I was surrounded by my loving family yet frightened to the core.

The Halloween most ingrained in my memories was one celebrated with my cousins when I was seven years old.  My father went to work in Colorado and had to leave my mother, brother, two sisters, and me while living in a haunted farmhouse deep within the woods of central Louisiana. 

The house creaked and moaned all night long, making us believe the former, dead owner roamed the house nonstop.  It was so far away from civilization that 'lights out' meant ink black darkness.  We didn't just think there were wild animals slinking around the forest near our new (old) house.  Instead, we knew it.  We'd seen the dead carcasses of mountain lions and scared each other with giant snake skins.  We'd even heard the local hunters bragging about the size of the bears they'd encountered in the woods surrounding our home.  

On this particular Halloween, all the kids dressed in their vampire, zombie, Frankenstein, and ghosts costumes and piled into my grandmother's station wagon.  We drove miles and miles until we made it to the nearest small town.  The wonderful people of that community were eager to share their Halloween candy, caramel apples, and popcorn balls, and we were happy to take them.

I can still remember the flickering candles burning within the creatively carved pumpkins, mamma's complaints of an allergic reaction from the stacks of hay, and the pause we took when coming face-to-face with a life-sized scarecrow drenched in 'bloody clothes'.  We may have hesitated, but we didn't let any of those props stop us.  We trick-or-treated like it was a competitive sport and relished in the victory of having the most candy in our bags.  We had a great time...one to be cherished for a lifetime.  

When we got home, the only lights were those from within the house.  All the kids were high from the thrill of the evening and bounced from the sugar spiking our bloodstreams.  My mother, grandmother, and aunt led us from the gravel parking area, through the dark, and toward the house.  When we reached the porch, my mother used the light streaming from the window to find the key, so she could unlock the door.  

We complained impatiently while she fumbled because we couldn't wait to run inside, dump the candy out side-by-side, and crown one person the winner of the Most Candy Contest.  Suddenly, and without any sort of warning, a man flailing around his arms and wearing a mask jumped from behind us, roaring loud and long.  His growl sounded worse because of the concert of new high pitched screams instantly joining his.

Seconds later, we realized it was my uncle.  The fact that our 'ghost' was my uncle and not a real threat did little to calm my sister who had been so frightened she erupted into tears and dropped her bucket of candy.  Of course, my uncle felt horrible after he realized how badly he'd terrified all of us (including the adults), but I can honestly say his lack of good sense gave me a story worth sharing.


1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. Heather Self 4. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 6. Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7. Lexus Luke 8. PJ Hoover, Author of SOLSTICE, Blogging at ROOTS IN MYTH
9. Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy 10. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
11. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed 12. Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
13. Courtney Cole, author of The Bloodstone Saga 14. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
15. Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews 16. Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
17. M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 18. Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
19. Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind 20. Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
21. Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler 22. Nicole Williams, author of Eternal Eden, Falling Eden
23. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter

Thursday, October 13, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Favorite Fan Experience


It’s the time of week when the sponsors of the YA Indie Carnival post their version of the very same topic.  I’m always shocked - in a very good way - by the unique twist two dozen people put on an identical subject.  This week we are sharing our ‘best fan experience’.

This is the hardest blog I’ve written to date because it is almost impossible for me to isolate this wonderful journey, one filled with amazing people, down to one experience…one person.  For the rest of my life, I will remember the first person who read Warriors of the Cross and the only other person to have read Guardians of the Cross:  Pollie Martinez, a supportive woman unlike any other.  My first fellow author virtual friend was Jayde Scott, a great Indie mentor, who helped me more than I can say after I published Warriors of the Cross.  Then, there was one of my first five star (⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆) reviews.  It was written by Jody, and with it, I knew she understood where I was going with The Warrior Series.

While all of those firsts, were unbelievable…amazing...inspiring, the Warriors of the Cross Tour embarked upon this last weekend by some wonderful fans will forever be among my most favorite memories.  Below, I thought I would take each of you on a virtual tour of Galveston sites which are near and dear to Allison La Crosses's heart.  Also, enjoy the Warriors of the Cross excerpt next to each picture. 

The first stop on the tour was the Gleaves T. James Centennial Rose Garden where Brody and Allison fell in love over the Mr. Lincoln roses.                         ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Today, Clark had an important lunch meeting, so I rushed outside and toward my backup lunch spot, The Rose Garden.  There, I sat, enjoying a few coveted minutes of quieted peace. 
I basked in the glorious golden sunshine and the fresh wind gusts coming from the ocean.  As the salty, ocean breeze blew through the garden, it intermingled with and held hostage the heavenly mixed rose fragrances.  The result was a unique but refreshing blend that would sell well if it were embedded in a candle. The atmosphere was a needed reprieve from the morning’s turmoil. 
Startled out of my tiny world, I noticed Brody standing next to my bench. 
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The second stop was The Facewalla frightening place where Satan's Sect killed Brody's girlfriend four years earlier.
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Several phenomena occurred the moment my feet hit the ground on the other side.  First, the wind picked up enough to cause an immediate temperature drop.  I reasoned it was more likely the result of the terror stinging my veins than an instant cyclone.  With it, my unbound hair whipped around my face, stinging me with each painful lash.  Second, there was a sulfur-infused aroma in the air so concentrated that I gagged.  Finally, I had a sense of being in a forbidden area and an inexplicable urge to bolt.  It was like I had a shock collar on and this was out of bounds for me.
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The third stop was the The Mosquito Cafe, where Clark took Allison and Mallory after the terrifying visit to The Facewall.        ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
“I knew we shouldn’t have gone there.  Let me make it up to you and take you to dinner,” Clark said.
“No, thank you.  You have already spent your entire afternoon entertaining us,” I said.
“Come on, Allie.  I’m starved.  We haven’t eaten all day,” Mallory said.
“Okay,” I agreed when I realized she was right.  I had been so nervous I refused to eat breakfast and lunch.  It was not until that minute that I realized she had not eaten either.
With my concession, Clark drove straight to the Mosquito Café.  The cafe was an old home which had been transformed into a restaurant serving traditional food with an unconventional twist.
⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
There was a visit to the wonderful seawall, a barrier between the gulf and the island and Allison's favorite place to walk with Clark. ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
After supper, we went for a walk on the seawall.  It was still very dark outside.  With Clark next to me and more than enough street lights, I enjoyed the relaxing tropical stroll.  Getting my mind off everything else, I talked to Clark about the patient charge issues I had seen.  He made it seem like he was interested in my description of the unfairness.  I suspected he was actually just good at playing along with my need to think about anything other than the subjects really bothering me. 
⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
They appreciated the beauty of Galveston's glorious ocean view.  Along these beaches, Allison strolled for hours with Brody.  ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆ 


In the midst of the endless waves traveling toward the sand packed beach, I watched the school of dolphins gracefully ascending out and descending into the water.  Each following their leader’s path and mimicking his actions.  I stumbled in my quest to get to the beach, wanting a closer look before they disappeared.
I jogged over the ramp extending from the deck to the beach.  When I made it to the water-logged layer of beach, I took the flip-flops off.  I walked holding them and enjoying the exhilaration of the periodic wave as it made its way up to the beach and onto my feet.  I found myself torn between watching the dolphins, taking in the wonderful ocean view, and searching for beach scavenged treasures.  In the end, Lita’s dolphins won out.  At least, for a little while. 
⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

They spent time admiring the phenomenal beachfront houses, ones similar to The Sisters' sanctuary.
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When we made it to the house, it was dark.  The three-story house sat glowing like a lighthouse.  Muted beams of light had been hidden within the trees, around bushes, and underneath the eaves.  The illumination allowed me to appreciate the cottage’s warm shade of butter yellow along with its black shutters, silver tin roof, and white deck. 
We climbed the flight of stairs leading to the back of the house.  Making it to the deck, I turned toward where the ocean would have been.  In its place was an unending blackness which was speckled with an entire constellation of oil rig lights.  The breeze whistled in my ears and pushed my hair away from my face, soothing me in a way I would have thought to be impossible given the day’s events.
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The one place they forgot to visit was Old Red.  This is one of the most amazing buildings in Galveston, the first medical school in Texas...the building housing the cadavers which frighten Allison to the core. ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
I wandered up the stairs and into the second floor double doors.  As the frigid air escaped, my nose burned from the smell of formaldehyde and death.  Left unhidden by the aroma was the fact that cadavers were housed somewhere within the halls of this building.  The smell became more concentrated and offensive after the doors closed behind me.  With my heart rate skipping and without making a conscious decision to do so, I turned toward the doors to leave. Exiting the building and meeting the beautiful sunny skies of the summer day, the trepidation engulfing me within the walls of Old Rouge evaporated like the morning dew in the afternoon sun. 
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ANNOUNCEMENTS

Courtney Cole released her Bloodstone Saga finale, My Tattered Bonds.
Check out The Paranormal Plumes Haunted Book Tour in Savannah Halloween Weekend!
30% of the royalties of Lexus Luke's Manitou The Sky People Saga go to the ASPCA.
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines will release on Oct 21. Here is the book trailer.
For a limited time, Kimberly Kinrade is selling signed copies of her YA paranormal thriller/romance Forbidden Mind. As an All Hallow's Read bonus, she is also including some awesome gifts with each purchase... including a very special bonus to the first 5 lucky people who place an order. Get a copy for yourself and buy one for a friend in celebration of All Hallow's Read. For more details, visit her site
Filter Giveaway on Gwenn Wright's blog! When she reaches 100 followers she will give away a signed copy of Filter AND one of her fancy new mugs!

Take a few minutes to visit the other carnival participant's and join them in reliving their favorite fan experience:
Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Hunted Series and the Hayle Coven Novels
Courtney Cole Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also, she's a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Nicole Williams Author of Eternal Eden, and Fallen Eden. She is also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Fisher Amelie Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Laura A. H. Elliott Author of Winnemucca and soon to be released 13 on Halloween
Amy Maurer Jones Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms
T. R. Graves T.R. Graves: Author of Warriors of the Cross and soon to be released Guardians of the Cross
P.J. Hoover Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis
Alicia McCalla Author of the upcoming science-fiction novel Breaking Free
Heather Cashman Author of Perception
Abbi Glines Author of Breathe, and the upcoming Existence and Vincent Boys
Cheri Schmidt Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden
Lexus Luke Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga
Suzy Turner Author of December Moon and Raven
K. C. Blake Author of Vampires Rule, Werewolves Rule, and Crushed
Gwenn Wright Author of Filter
Kimberly Kinrade Author of Bits of You & Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind
J.L. Bryan Author of Paranormals series - Jenny Pox, Tommy Nightmare, and Alexander Death
Darby Karchut Author of Griffin Rising
Madeline Smoot Author of Missing (Liv & Death)
M. Leighton Author of Blood Like Poison Series, Wiccan, Caterpillar, Madly & Wolfhardt, and The Reaping
Cidney Swanson Author of Chameleon (The Ripple Series)
Heather Self 

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 5 STARS
AMAZING! Really, I'm not sure I've ever read a book where every sense is completely satisfied. Erin Morgenstern's descriptions are so flawless you know exactly how foods you've never eaten taste. She details fragrances in such a manner that - while they are nowhere near - they waft around you and awaken your senses. She makes places, which are absolutely foreign, feel like home and complete strangers seem like trusted friends. In other words, she is one of the rare authors who can perform magic with her words...similar to the way her characters perform their illusions within The Night Circus.

I've said before I have a long commute, so I enjoy listening to a great book. Somehow, listening to this story made the commute feel less of a chore and more like 'me time'. I was so enthralled by the story that I was disappointed every day when I finally made it to my destinations (work or home).  

I should also mention that the narrator is phenomenal. He has one of those voices. An accent I could listen to forever. When you couple him with the beautifully poetic writing and the unique and timeless story, this audiobook becomes a must listen to (or a must read). In other words, pick your book median of choice and go for it. You will not be disappointed.

Now, I just hope to win one of the two signed copies being given away on Goodreads. *fingers crossed*

Thanks to my dear friend, Michael, for insisting I read this book.  You were absolutely right! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Favorite Character


Thanks for joining the YA Indie Carnival sponsors for another week. Today, we are sharing the characters we most love to read or write about.

Allison Faith La Crosse of Warriors of the Cross is now - and always will be - my favorite character.  First and foremost, her physical characteristics mirror my daughter’s features.  When I think of and/or write about Allison La Crosse, my mind’s eye envisions my daughter.  For that reason, I love Allison, as if she were my second daughter.    

Beyond Allison’s likenesses with my daughter, I’ve created a protagonist whose compassion is so compelling that she cares more for others than she cares about herself.  Of course, this proves to be a debilitating flaw when it comes to her gifts since that same compassion makes her willing to take on the symptoms of the dying people she saves.  Almost killing her on more than one occasion.

In addition to beauty and compassion, I’ve embedded a tolerance so pure it is rare.  She loves everyone without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, etc.   After hoping and praying for a world of people with these very same individualities, there was little doubt my main characters would embody that which I crave.   

In the end, I like to think I’ve molded Allison into a role-model for young girls.  I hope they want to be like her enough to follow her lead, educate themselves, and show everyone the respect they deserve. 

**Galveston's Rainforest Cafe: Pictures of my lovely daughter.

ANNOUNCEMENTS


Beyond The Veil: A Ghost Story Anthology released this week by Rachel Coles
 by Darby Karchut is a nominee for the 2011 Cybils Award (YA Fantasy)
Interviewing Kimberly Kinrade by Dani Snell

Don't forget to visit the other carnival participant's and see which characters are their favorite:
Patti Larsen Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Hunted Series and the Hayle Coven Novels
Courtney Cole Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also, she's a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Nicole Williams Author of Eternal Eden, and Fallen Eden. She is also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Fisher Amelie Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Laura A. H. Elliott Author of Winnemucca and soon to be released 13 on Halloween
Amy Maurer Jones Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms
T. R. Graves T.R. Graves: Author of Warriors of the Cross and soon to be released Guardians of the Cross
P.J. Hoover Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis
Alicia McCalla Author of the upcoming science-fiction novel Breaking Free
Heather Cashman Author of Perception
Abbi Glines Author of Breathe, and the upcoming Existence and Vincent Boys
Cheri Schmidt Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden
Lexus Luke Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga
Suzy Turner Author of December Moon and Raven
K. C. Blake Author of Vampires Rule, Werewolves Rule, and Crushed
Gwenn Wright Author of Filter
Kimberly Kinrade Author of Bits of You, Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind
J.L. Bryan Author of Paranormals series - Jenny Pox, Tommy Nightmare, and Alexander Death
M. Leighton Author of Blood Like Poison Series, Wiccan, Caterpillar, Madly & Wolfhardt, and The Reaping