Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Awaken by Christy Sloat

Awaken by Christy Sloat
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairytale retelling
Published: November 17th, 2015
Published by: Anchor Group Publishing

“Happily ever after is hers for the taking.”

Once upon a time I found myself locked away in Spindle Ridge Asylum, punished for a murder I didn’t commit. It was all part of Maleficent’s evil plan. I didn’t remember who I was then … now I do. My name is Aurora, and I am the rightful queen of this realm. Armed with my memories, I’m ready to take charge of my kingdom once more. Happily ever after evades me, yet I long to claim it with my true love, Sawyer, beside me. That fairy tale ending seems impossible with him locked in the thralls of a sleeping curse. As much as I’d love to sit by his bedside and eagerly await a cure, I must first travel into the terrifying Dark Woods to stop Raven from stripping me of all that is rightfully mine. I am not only a queen, but a warrior who will fight for her kingdom. Some may die. Blood will be shed. But when this ending comes, I will settle for nothing less than a blissful ever after.
About the Author 
Christy 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 website:  
Facebook: Christy Sloat Author
Twitter: @ChristySloat

The Excerpt:
I took a breath and let all of my energy go to my fingers.
My body still.
My heart beating a mile a minute.
The next breath would be a release.
Focus. Focus.
The next breath came, and with my fingers, where all of my strength remained, I let go. The arrow flew through the air, the only thing moving. I was still as I watched it slam into the target. It hit very center of the target just like I wanted.
“Yes!” I shouted.

Sawyer would have been so proud of me.  And just like that my excitement was gone. My mind now on him as he lay up in a bed, alone.

“Rory, don’t do this to yourself,” Gray said holding my arm. She knew what practicing archery did to me. She knew that I was great at it, but also that every time I did something fantastic, I missed his touch. She knew all of this without me even telling her a word because she knows me best.

“I have to go, Gray. I have to go see him and tell him about this,” I said, fighting the tears.

“No. You don’t have to go, you want to go. You’re running away, and I won’t let you,” she said sternly.

I tried to fight, but she won as she pulled me harder and into her arms.

I cried softly as she assured me we would find a way to wake him.

I pulled away and questioned, “Will we? It’s been two months and Merryweather and Flora have not sent word. They haven’t sent word because they haven’t found anything!”

Gray kept her calm face, even though I was breaking apart inside.

“Merryweather and Flora will find something, Rory. They will. We have to have faith in them. You, above all, should trust that they will not return until they find a cure for him. Look at all they did for you when you were trapped here.” Guilt slammed into me as I thought of Merryweather and how she did protect me when she took my memories away. Flora was always protective and never harsh in any way. Even when the other nurses were awful to me—like Betty or Raven—Flora, Merryweather and Fauna were kind and gentle. Always.

They were the three best fairies I had ever known, besides Gray, and here I was being ungrateful.

“Sorry,” I muttered. “You’re right. I’m just … I’m breaking inside, Gray.”

She smiled kindly and said, “And I break inside for you. But now is not the time to lose it. Now is the time to stand up and fight back, Rory. Do it for him. Because you know if he could he’d tell you to put yourself back together and defeat her.”

A smile formed on my wet lips. I wiped the tears away and picked up my bow.

I looked across the yard to where my arrow had flown. I was growing stronger as each day passed. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that I was going to kill Raven when I had the chance.

The Giveaway:
  • 1 eBook copy gifted through Amazon for Kindle of Awaken
                 1 Signed bookmark
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 27, 2015

Cover Characteristic: Fish

The Cover Characteristic meme is hosted at  Sugar and Snark.   Here are the guidelines:

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit).
You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

This week I was able to narrow it down to only 5, as it seems I have many books with sharks, but not with just fish.  And my #5 might be an interesting choice to you.

5.  The first book that popped in my head before I went to look at my covers, called Fishbowl, sounds like it should have a fish on it, right? Well, it doesn't.

However, I do like the Italian version of it, which does have a fish, so I went ahead and included it as #5.



1.  And I guess this is my favorite, the two fish are my two favorite colors.

So those are my covers with fish on them.  Have you read any of these?  Do you have any covers with fish that you like?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Promo: The Giving Way to Happiness by Jenni Santi

Today I'm sharing a book that is really a great one to read at this time of the year especially.  As we're giving thanks, it is nice to think of how we can give to others who have less than we do to be happy for.  Something that seems to be more in our minds during this time of the year, although really it is something we should be thinking of all year round.

We often focus on how our gifts can help those in need. But the act of giving actually improves our own lives as well. In The Giving Way to Happiness, Jenny Santi overturns conventional thinking about what it takes to be happy by revealing how giving to others—whether in the form of money, expertise, time, or love—has helped people from all walks of life find purpose and joy. Drawing on the wisdom of great thinkers past and present, as well as cutting-edge scientific research, Santi makes an eloquent and passionate case that oftentimes the answers to the problems that haunt us, and the key to the happiness that eludes us, lie in helping those around us.

This book is filled with inspiring stories told firsthand by Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn, Noble Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp, philanthropist Richard Rockefeller, environmentalist Philippe Cousteau, activist Ric O’Barry, bestselling author Isabel Allende, ALS survivor Augie Nieto, and many others from all over the world. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they have all found unexpected happiness and fulfillment through giving. This book tells us not just how they changed the world but also how their acts changed their very own lives.

In addition, Santi reveals:
- How altruism involves far more than suppressing basic selfish urges. Rather, we are wired to give, as it activates the same pleasure centers of the brain stimulated by food, sex, and drugs
- How helping others—whether by walking a friend through a struggle that you’ve also experienced or by supporting a cause to honor a loved one’s memory—can be a healthy way to deal with adversity and process grief
- The unexpected reasons why those who “gave it all up” to make a difference, and who face the direst situations, are nevertheless some of the happiest, most fulfilled, and least angst-ridden people you’ll ever meet.
- Practical, universally applicable lessons on what kind of giving makes people happy and what doesn’t. How do you discover giving that is unique to you and makes you feel good?

In this inspiring book, Santi turns conventional wisdom upside down about what it takes to be happy and reveals the surprising reasons that have led so many people to live lives full of meaning, purpose and happiness.

Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads


  • Wunderkind PR is going to donate $50.00 to the charity of the winner's choice!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

While you're here, I'd like to also bring to your attention Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a global initiative that promotes the generosity of people who are giving around the holidays. Directly following BlackFriday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is an event started by the 92 Street Y in New York City, which hoped to connect a diverse and well-rounded network of people, foundations and organizations. On December 1, 2015, we encourage you to use #MyGivingStory to promote the charity/non-profit organization that you're helping to support/spotlight this Holiday Season. You can learn more about Giving Tuesday here: 

There are a few charities that I like to donate to whenever possible.  One of them is the American Cancer Society.  I lost my maternal grandmother to lung cancer from smoking when I was in middle school.  My maternal grandfather quit smoking when she got sick, and never smoked again.  Yet when he was 76 years old, lung cancer still took him away from us as well.  I lost my paternal grandmother to breast cancer shortly after I was born, so I never got to really know her.  Along with that I have donated in the past to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, when they were partnered with my college sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha.  Now ZTA is partnering with several Think Pink philanthropies, and one of them is the American Cancer Society. 

I'd love to hear about what charities you support, or where you like to donate your time or money to help others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's post is just to wish everyone a happy thanksgiving.  I hope that you get to spend time with your family for at least part of the day, or else do something that you enjoy.  I always have a big lunch at my mom's house, and then go to my dad's house for a big dinner.  At  my mom's house, all my aunts and uncles on her side will be there, and we will all draw names to see who we will buy a gift for when we have our family Christmas party and gift exchange.  At my dad's it will be nice because my sister who lives in NYC will be coming home and we will all get to spend time together.

I picked the Snoopy graphic above in honor of the movie coming out.  And before I go on with anything else, I must put a gif of Dean Winchester eating pie.  It just fits so perfectly, and, it amuses me.


Now, here is a wish of bookish things that I am thankful for this year:
  1. Still glad to have my library job and be out of the classroom
  2. Grateful for my friend that I did NaNoWriMo with last year working with me throughout the year on reading through last year's novel, and helping me get prepared to try again this year.  
  3. I'm glad that I've been getting a few more publishers sending me books.
  4. It's been another great year for winning books in giveaways as well.
  5. I'm still extremely grateful for all the authors that I get to talk to because they are on Facebook or Twitter.
  6. I'm grateful for all my followers, both old and new, and hope that you will continue with me on this blog for a long time to come.
And because I love gifs, here are some more fun ones to enjoy!

This one shows how I feel about all the food!

At my dad's house, a lot of times the food isn't ready right away, and this is how I feel sometimes.

Let's slow down and look at one of my favorite floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade:

And I'll leave you with one of the best Thanksgiving gifs ever:


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Circle of Jinn (Becoming Jinn #2) by Lori Goldstein

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  My choice this week is a sequel, but it is a sequel to a book I wasn't quite sure if I was blown away by, Becoming Jinn.  It was good enough that I do want to read on though.  So here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Being Jinn is Azra’s new reality. As she grants wishes under the watchful eye of the Afrit council, she remains torn between her two worlds—human and Jinn. Soon, secrets spill. Zars are broken. Humans become pawns. And rumors of an uprising become real as the Afrit’s reach extends beyond the underground world of Janna.

Straddling the line becomes impossible. Aware of her unique abilities, Azra must not just face but embrace her destiny. But when the role she must play and those she must protect expand to include a circle of Jinn greater than her own, Azra will be forced to risk everything. A risk that means there’s everything to lose, and at the same time, everything to gain—for herself and her entire Jinn race.

In this dramatic sequel to Becoming Jinn, Azra’s story comes to a heartfelt and thrilling conclusion.

Have you started this series yet?  Does it sound like one you'd like to start if you haven't  yet?  What book are you eagerly awaiting this week?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger

I have to thank one of my fellow teachers for passing this ARC on to me a month or so ago.  The author is a friend of one of our art teachers, and I'm actually going to get to meet her when she comes to talk to the students at our school in December.  When the art teacher first told me about the book, I went and looked it up on Goodreads, and was immediately intrigued.  The story sounded really good. And I loved that part of it was going to be set in Missouri, even if it is on the other side of the state from where I live.  I've really started enjoying historical fiction these days I guess.  And while this is fantasy, it is definitely a bit of a scary story as well. And can I say that I could totally see this book as a really great TV series or movie? 

The main character is, as you would guess, Jacob Tracy.  The story takes place back in kind of the old west.  After the Civil War really.  Trace, as he goes by, can see ghosts and such things.  He tries not to give into the things he sees though, especially not to tell those around him about his ability, because in the past when he'd done that, his family - parents and wife - had all died.  He does kind of odd jobs around the town he lives in near St. Louis, Missouri, with his partner/best friend, Boz.  Sometimes the jobs are clearing out trees for farms, other times it may be acting as guides for those traveling out West. The story really gets going when a strange woman offers him a job, going to pick up something that a dead friend of her's left to her. But in the trip, it turns out that maybe her story isn't quite true.  And the place she sends him to is haunted, and he begins to see more ghosts.  He finds out that she actually knows about his powers, and she wants to help him learn to use them, and in some way, then he'll be able to help her with whatever it is that has been causing her illness. 

Working for this woman, Miss Fairweather, will lead him into all kinds of sticky situations.  Ghosts, strange bearlike creatures, demons, and even werewolves, will all be things he has to deal with.  All the while he will fight her influence, try not to give into what she wants, while at the same time he will feel that she is helping him, and he is learning to control his powers the more he works with her.  It won't be just one bad guy he deals with, although there does seem to be one "boss" or "master" that is sending them all to find about him, and possibly get him to join and give over his powers.  This master is also someone that Miss Fairweather had dealt with in the past, and she will do her best to help Trace as much as she can, even while still keeping her own secrets about what she actually needs.

Like I said, this is one that as I read it I could totally picture watching it.  The characters were really well done.  The historical time period was very detailed and seemed just like what you would imagine.  One of the characters in the last section of the book, named Remy, was a Cajun man, and as I read his dialogue, I totally heard the accent and voice in my head.  I look forward to reading more by this author, especially since I think this definitely left off for a sequel.  There is more that I need to know! 

Also, I love the publisher's little symbol.  I'm pretty sure it is a dachshund!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Promo and Author Interview: Molly Lee by Andrew Joyce

Book Information:
Genre: Adventure/Historical Fiction

Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.
It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.
Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.
We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.
I first saw him in the light of the setting sun. He sat straight and proud astride a chestnut mare, handsome in his grey lieutenant’s uniform. He rode into the yard following my pa who was driving the family wagon. In the back of the wagon lay the “Captain.”

We womenfolk have it tougher than men when it comes to affairs of the heart. What you are about to read is my story. It is not a pretty story, and I am not proud of it. I think the only proud moment of my life was the day I met and fell in love with Huck Finn.

 Author Interview:

1. What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start? Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)? If you plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, note cards, post-it notes, etc.?
I prefer to write in the early morning hours when things are quiet. I usually get up around 2:00 a.m. and go to work. The commute is not long . . . only a few steps to my computer.
I sit down to write a book with no idea where my characters will take me. I start out with (I hope) a killer first sentence and the last paragraph of the book. Then I set out to fill the in-between space with 100,000 words. I find that the easy part. Sometimes I will bring my characters to a certain place, only to have them rebel when we get there. They’ll tell me they want to go somewhere else and take off on their own. I have no choice but to follow.
2. How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
For my short stories it can be a line from a song or anything inconsequential I may come across during the day. Sometimes memories of people I had known in my distant past will get me thinking and that will lead to a story. I have published forty short stories about my dog. They are told from his perspective and the continuing narrative is what an idiot I am. For anyone who may be interested in what my dog has to say can check him out at: Danny the Dog.
However, for my novels it’s a bit different. It’s the urge to tell a story. I don’t really know what it will be about, but I know it’s in me. So I sit down at the computer and go to town. I never suffer from writer’s block because that story is just roaring to get out.
3. How long have you been writing?
One morning, about five years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. It was soon published in a print magazine—remember them? I’ve been writing ever since.
4. What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
Read, read . . . and then read some more. Read everything you can get your hands on! Reading to a writer is as medical school is to a doctor, as training is to an athlete, as breathing is to life. When one reads stuff like what is below, one cannot help but become a better writer.
"The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide." — John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
5. How important are names in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds, or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
There is a lot of history in my novels and that takes a lot of research. I have to get things right. In my first book, I made two mistakes. One was the date an event occurred (I was off by one year) and with the other, I had my hero loading the wrong caliber bullet into the gun he was using. Believe me; I heard about those errors in a few of the reviews for the book. But that was a good thing. It taught me to do my homework.
Anyway, while doing my research, I come across the names of people who actually had a hand in what I’m writing about. So I’ll sprinkle their names throughout the story. Because of the history factor in my books, people’s names have to fit the time and the place I’m writing about. Also, when reading for pleasure (history, non-fiction), if I come across a great name, I’ll jot it down for future reference.
Books/authors/genres:  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. He is also my favorite author. Lee Child and David Baldacci ain’t bad either.
Movies/TV Shows:  I like movies from the 1930s & ’40s.
Music:  John Stewart. If you’d like, you can listen to one of his songs here.
Food/writing snack:  Food: Chicken sandwich.   Writing snack: Vodka and cranberry juice.
Social Media Site:  None
Thank you for having me over, Lisa. It’s been a real pleasure.  

Author Andrew Joyce:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Post #42 and Stacking the Shelves November 22nd, 2015

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

Last 3 weeks highlights:  Since I didn't do one of these for the last 3 weeks, I'm going to just do some highlight links here:
So I got more than 2 reviews a week, of course audiobooks are going on only when I'm in my car right now, so they count a little differently.  As I mentioned on the only other Sunday Post I've done this month, I started off doing a new NaNoWriMo.  However, about a week or so ago, when my writing partner kind of cancelled on me again, I realized I just wasn't feeling the story this year as much as I had last year.  I actually think maybe I want to just go back and work on the story from last year, get it all polished up. And then finish a story I started in NaNo several years ago.  After that, I'm not sure how much more writing I really want to do.  I'm kind of feeling like the name of one of my favorite blogs:  I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.  Writing really takes away from my reading time, and as I don't feel like I'm that good at it, why keep at it?  I know, I know, they say the more you write the better you will get, but I don't know that I care enough about writing to dedicate that kind of time to it, and take it away from reading, which I do care about, a lot.  Since the beginning of the month, my Kansas City Royals won the World Series!  It was so exciting and awesome!  Here is a picture of the rally they had in our city for them.  They said like 600,000 or more people showed up, and you can see it in this picture.

All the blue at the bottom of the picture and the roads around are people!  We love our Royals!  Writing was also taking me away from blogging, and I'm glad to get back to do more of that, and start commenting on other blogs again.

This week on the blog:

  • Promo and Author Interview:  Molly Lee by Andrew Joyce
  • Cover Characteristic:  Fish
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book Blitz:  Awaken by Christy Sloat
  • Possible Reviews:  The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger, Armada by Ernest Cline
Not sure what else I might get done reading this week.  And don't know if I'll actually get Armada done being listened to.  Maybe I'll TRY to make sure I actually go use my Planet Fitness membership to walk and get some listening done that way.  Not sure if I'm going to finish Jackaby.  While I like the story itself, it is really wordy, I find myself taking forever to get through just a page at a time, and it is not really very easy to read.  And at the moment, I may not be in the mood for a book like that.  I'm considering just taking the copy I won and donating it to my school library, where I'll be able to check it out when I am in the mood and have time to read it.  Of course the sequel to that one is an ARC, so I would have to maybe try to do a book for trade on Twitter or Goodreads for that.  I'm probably only give Jackaby one more chance.  If it doesn't get better, then I'm moving on to something else.  It's also Thanksgiving this week, so I will spend lots of time with family, including my sister who lives in NYC who will be flying home for the holiday.  I unfortunately got scheduled to work on Black Friday, an 8 hour shift at the bookstore where I work part time.  But, my one bright spot about that is that I don't have to close.  

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  Now this is a lot in this list, but it is a 3 week haul remember.

Physical books:

The Beth Revis books are all ones I've read, but they are from a contest I won, and I got them all autographed, as well as a little sneak peek with 5 fun facts about her upcoming book A World Without You.  So excited for a new Beth Revis book!  There are a couple other wins, Ghost House, The Hanging Tree, and Monsterland.  There are a couple books for trade from Twitter:  The Dead House, Soundless, and Until the Beginning.  I got the ARC of Raging Sea by writing to the publisher and requesting it.  The ARC of The Haters is one I got at the bookstore where I work.  It is by the same person who wrote Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.  


All of them are from Edelweiss.

Review e-copy from author:

I got an email asking to review these, and they sounded good, so I said I would give them a try.

Free e-books:

 So these are all from either Barnes and Noble or Amazon.  Don't know which might still be free, but you can always go check!

E-books won:

E-books bought:
 I had a little bit leftover on the Amazon gift cards I won a while back. I spent most of it on a case for my new iPhone 6s, and the rest I used for this novella while I'm waiting on the sequel to Red Queen, since I haven't been able to get my hands on an ARC of it.  :-(

Wow, that is a lot of books!  I might need to slow down a bit!  Or else I'm prepared for a nuclear war, and I just need a place to go live, like a missile silo that is all set up to live there until the radioactive air is clean enough to come out and live in.  Who's with me?