Friday, May 31, 2013

Awaken Blog Tour: Author Interview & Giveaway

Goodreads Description: 

Three things run through my mind at this very moment…

ONE, my life as I once knew it will never be the same.

TWO, the person I’m in love with might not even exist.

THREE, the deception that has unfolded before me has the power of life and death.

Sixteen year old, Breanna Davis, has heard the saying; life isn’t always what it seems…well, that saying rings true now more than ever. As horrifying visions appear before her, revealing tragedies that will forever change the fate of those she loves, she realizes that she may be the only person who can stop them from becoming reality. 

Amongst the chaos of this new discovery, Bre is faced with a stranger, Eve, who moves in on Bre’s friends and begins to follow her every move. As Eve’s true motives begin to surface, Bre must fight against, not only the visions, but the dangers Eve holds close. 

There is another secret kept- Collin, a boy held captive in Bre’s dreams, the boy she is secretly falling in love with but isn’t sure he even exists. As she tries to make it work with Austin, an old friend who could possibly be more, Bre battles against her feelings for Collin. 

Bre is faced with an almost impossible decision, to choose her life or follow her destiny. If she doesn’t intercede, people will certainly die. If she does, her own life could be at stake. In the end, if she fails, she’ll lose everything.

Released: March 2013
Purchase: Amazon

Jaime Guerard

About the Author

Jaime grew up in a small town in Northern California. Having a passion for dance and music, she never would have thought herself to become an author.

In late 2008, Jaime found the pieces of her novel beginning to take form and a story was born. Soon she had a full novel in her hands and a writer was developed. Awaken is Jaime's first published novel. With many features still in the works, this debut novel is just a taste of the action-packed romantic thrillers to come from this aspiring new author.

Jaime now lives in Nevada with her husband and three boys. Loving life, and living a dream.

Hi Jaime,

Thanks so much for taking a minute to answer some questions for me.

Jaime: Hi Ashley! Thank you for having me here today!

Ashley: Tell us something interesting about Awaken that we should know before reading it that we won’t get from the description.

Jaime: Awaken is about a young teen girl (Breanna Davis) who has a variety of dangerous visions and dreams, but there’s an underlining struggle that Breanna faces each day with her family – specifically her mother. There’s a dynamic with Bre’s mother (and the rest of her family) that plays a big role in the story that helps define Bre as a person. Breanna’s mother, Susan, has been absent for Bre’s life and because of that, Bre’s character is a very strong individual. Bre had to grow up early on in her life and she’s very independent. Breanna is faced with very difficult situations that a normal teen might be able to handle, but she’s able to face everything that’s thrown her way because of how strong she is.  
Another very important key to this story is: Awaken isn’t just about love, deception, teen issues but something deeper. It’s more of a story of choices. The choices that Bre makes could ultimately change her fate as well as changing the fate of others…something that I think  a lot of people could relate to.
Ashley: What can we expect from you next? Are you working on something now?

Jaime: I’m currently working on Book 2 in the Awaken Series. This series will be 3 books when it’s finished. I’m hoping to publish this novel at the end of this year.  

Ashley: Is there a moment that you can pinpoint and say, “that’s why I decided I wanted to be a writer?” If so, when was that moment? What happened?

Jaime: I love this question because I knew exactly the moment when I knew I wanted to be a writer! It was on October 14th 2008. I was in my bedroom when the concept for Awaken plopped into my head! All three novels (the main events in each novel) came to me and I remember standing there with my jaw dropped wide open. It was right then that I knew I had to write this story! So the next month (November 2008) I sat down at my computer and started to write it. It didn’t take me long to write, but after I finished I stuck it away and didn’t do anything with it for a few years.
After that day I knew that writing was my destiny. As of right now I have the Awaken series that I will finish and several novels waiting in the wings for me to write. I’m very excited to write all of them and get them out into the world!

Ashley: If being a writer wasn’t an option, what would your dream job be?

Jaime: Wow that’s a tough question. I think my dream job would be something that still was able to work with authors and the “book publishing community”. I’ve always loved to create/design and if writing wasn’t an option then I would love to design book covers and websites.

Ashley: Avid readers’ favorite books seem to change week to week based on what they’ve read recently or what kind of mood they are in (at least that’s how I am). What’s your favorite book right now?

Jaime: I love all types of genres and I’m sort of the same way (it depends on my mood). My favorite novel right now (and one that I’m eagerly waiting for October to come) is the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth! What an amazing story and I’m very excited to see how it all ends!

Ashley: I believe that all good writers have something they want readers to take away from their books. What do you want readers to take away from yours?

Jaime: The power of choice. As I mentioned in the first question Breanna is faced with decisions. Each decision she makes can mean life altering consequences.  Above all else - even though this is a fictional story - there are many circumstances that the characters face: bad relationships, tragedies, rocky family life. My hope is that if one of my readers are going through something similar that it could help them.    

Ashley: Now, on to the this or that portion of the interview. If at any time you don’t have a preference you can choose neither.

 This or that:

Coke or Pepsi: Pepsi
Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate
Early Bird or Night Owl: Night Owl
Harry Potter or Twilight: Twilight
Answer to Previous or The Hunger Games: Still Twilight, but The Hunger Games is up in my top favorite novels
Vampires or Werewolves: Vampires
Zombies or Unicorns: Neither
Twitter or Facebook: Facebook
MAC or PC: PC (only because I’ve never owned a MAC)
Ebook or print: Print (however, I do love my Kindle/Nook!)

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Armchair BEA: Giveaway & Literary Fiction

Design Credit: Nina @ Nina Reads 

Today is Giveaway Day with Armchair BEA! Yay! So today participants of Armchair BEA can enter to win the prize below! Unfortunately, this giveaway is U.S. Only! Good luck everyone! 

U. S. Only Giveaway! 
Signed copy of The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

Goodreads Description:

3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life.

Sherry and her family have lived sealed in a bunker in the garden since things went wrong up above. Her grandfather has been in the freezer for the last three months, her parents are at each other’s throats and two minutes ago they ran out of food.

Sherry and her father leave the safety of the bunker and find a devastated and empty LA, smashed to pieces by bombs and haunted by ‘Weepers’ - rabid humans infected with a weaponized rabies virus.

While searching for food in a supermarket, Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a boy-hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a tumble-down vineyard in the hills outside LA, where a handful of other survivors are picking up the pieces of their ‘other lives’. As she falls in love for the first time, Sherry must save her father, stay alive and keep Joshua safe when his desire for vengeance threatens them all.

Literary Fiction

Okay, I'm going to be honest and upfront and say that I really didn't have a clue what exactly literary fiction was. My best guess was that it was similar to classics but since there has already been a classics post I second guessed myself. After some research I think that it is a very similar type of books. That being said here's a couple of my favorite "Classic" Books. 

     FAVORITE QUOTE: “The fate of this man or that man was less than a drop, although it was a sparkling one, in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea.” 

- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

      FAVORITE QUOTE: “There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.” 

That Awkward Thursday (11) OBSESSED with the DEAD

That Awkward Thursday is a feature hosted by Wholly Books where it's not only okay but encouraged to share your awkward moments!

That awkward moment you realize you are obsessed with an old, dead man/woman...

Okay, so I'm sure many of you are thinking, What is wrong with Ashley? What had she been smoking when she came up with this topic! Ya know, I'm actually wondering the same thing myself as I'm writing this post. I mean this is seriously awkward topic. Okay, let's be real. This is a WEIRD topic! But hey I'm a little on the weird side so I'm going to rock this topic and you all fall in love with my weird old guy. 

When I first came up with this topic, I was looking up all of these bookish quotes to use for my office. Upon searching for this I found some pretty awesome ones (which I will share shortly). Several of them were by no other than the brilliant Albert Einstein. Yes, I am quite aware that good ole' Al was in fact a scientist and not known for being a writer. However, he did have some of his worked published so he is a published author and let's be honest the man is a genius. 

Well, imagine my delight when I find that he is/was a huge supporter of reading fairy tales to children! Awesome, no? He also believed imagination is very important. Now, I want to get some of his writing in audio format because let's be honest even though I've become somewhat obsessed with the guy it would be a lot easier to listen to his writing than actually reading it. 

Here's a couple of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein. 

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." - Albert Einstein

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world" - Albert Einstein

So, yes, I am in fact obsessed with an old, dead, slightly strange guy. Now, excuse me while I listen to The World as I See it....

While I doubt anyone else decided to post on this bizarre topic, you can leave your link in the comments and I'll check it out!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA: Blogger Development

Design Credit: Nina @ Nina Reads

Today's Armchair BEA topic is about Blogger Development and how we have developed as a blogger. After actively blogging for about a year I still have no idea what I'm doing and I try to take it one day at a time. Blogging is something I absolutely love to do but unfortunately it is very time consuming and more times then not I don't have the time I would like to put into my blog. Still, I feel my blog as progressed and that I have learned a lot. 

When I first started blogging, I'll admit I just kind of went with the flow. I didn't have a clue how to actually be a blogger but I knew it was something I wanted to try. I saw a ton of people did Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday and they both sounded straightforward so I did those. I posted a review as I read a book and slowly but surely I began to get in the swing of things. Now, I have a feature I started here on Wholly Books but I still participate in those memes every so often. I also bought a domain and paid someone to do a custom design. I still struggle with the HTML part of blogging but I have picked up on some things. I have co-hosted a giveaway hop and participated in reading challenges. I have two part-time reviewers, Danielle and Ashley Z. that recently started helping me out since it's so time consuming. 

Also, I recently decided to become an affliate with The Book Depository but it's not something I'll ever make a ton of money from (or any for that matter)! For me, blogging isn't for money but rather a way of sharing my thoughts with others. I love getting comments and hearing from people that read my blog. I'm self absorbed that way! ;) 

Still, there is a ton of stuff I still want to do. I have a couple of events in mind that I hope to do soon and I also would love to host a reading challenge at some point. I'm terrible at commenting on people's blogs and that's something I'm actively working on. (Forgive me if it takes a while for me to comment back!) 

So that's pretty much how my blog has developed! Sorry for such a short post but it's coming up on 1 am here and I have to work in the morning! :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA: Introductions

Hey y'all!!

This year is officially my first year of Armchair BEA! And while I'm sure all of us would love to be at BEA in NYC I think it's awesome that we have something that we can do to interact with authors, bloggers, and publishers from our armchairs!

So, now on to my introduction!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? 

My name is Ashley. I'm 25. I'm from a small town in Alabama. I graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). I've been blogging (seriously) for about a year. I got into blogging because I loved reading and reading other people's blogs. I'm also an aspiring author so I love to write and share my thoughts so I thought blogging would be an awesome way to do that! 

Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures.  

As I said earlier, I'm from a small town in Alabama that I'm sure you've never heard of. (It's Flomaton, in case you were wondering). It's right on the Florida/Alabama line so I'm pretty close to the beach but for some reason I'm about as pale as a vampire!

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013? 

I'm currently reading 3 books. I'm listening to the audiobook of The Program. I'm reading a physical copy of Fairhope by Jeanie Parnell, and I'm reading an E-ARC of Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn. My favorite books from 2013 are The Archived by Victoria Schwab and Pivot Point by Kasie West.

Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read? 

I really love my That Awkward Thursday posts. It's a feature I'm really proud of and have a lot of fun doing. My favorite is probably That Awkward Thursday: What kind of books did you say you read again?

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why? 

Okay, if we're talking real locations, definitely England. There are so many amazing books that have taken place in England! I would love to visit the setting from Jane Austen's novels, Kings Cross station from Harry Potter and also Blackfriar's Bridge from Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. 

Now, if we are talking ficitional locations, I would love to go to Neverland, Narnia, and Hogwarts. I mean, who wouldn't??

Well, that's me! Now, tell me about yourself! :) 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Monument 14: Sky on Fire

Title: Monument 14: Sky on Fire
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Pages: 212
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: ARC
Rating: 3 Cows

Goodreads Description:

The world hasn't ended...yet.

In this sequel to MONUMENT 14, the group of survivors, originally trapped together in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, has split in two. Most of the kids are making a desperate run on their recently repaired school bus for the Denver airport where they hope to reunite with their parents, be evacuated to safety, and save their dying friend. 

But the world outside is dark and filled with dangerous chemicals that turn people into bloodthirsty monsters, and not all the kids were willing to get on the bus. Left behind in a sanctuary that has already been disturbed once, the remaining kids try to rebuild the community they lost. But when the issues are life and death, love and hate, who can you really trust?

MONUMENT 14 was one of the books I read last year that I really enjoyed and was looking forward to the sequel. However, like almost every sequel I have read in 2013, I was disappointed in MONUMENT 14: SKY ON FIRE. 

First, let me start off by saying that SKY ON FIRE is incredibly short. I mean seriously, this book could almost be considered a novella at 212 pages. That being said it is an incredibly quick read. Blink, and you're done. 

I will say that  SKY ON FIRE is action packed, much like MONUMENT 14.  Unfortunately, when I looked back at everything that happened it's all a blur. There was absolutely nothing about the plot that really stood out to me. Don't get me wrong, a lot happens in this book. Maybe the problem was that too much happened in SKY ON FIRE. 

As far as characters go, I still disliked Astrid. I didn't understand Dean's attraction to her at all and was completely over all of his thoughts about her. However, I did enjoy Alex's POV. His story was much more interesting and I found that his chapters were much more memorable. 

One thing that really bothered me about this book was that it was too unrealistic. Yes, I realize this is a fictional story but still I would like something mildly realistic. In my opinion, this is Laybourne's strategy for writing this book. 

Step One: What's the worst thing that can happened to my characters?
Step Two: What's the best case scanerio for getting them out of this situation?
Step Three: Repeat. 

And that pretty much sums up how the novel was written. 

My final verdict on this book: I'm glad I read it. I feel like it was worth the couple of hours it took to read it and I was happy with the ending. And while it didn't evoke any real emotions for me, it was still entertaining, even if it was unrealistic. 


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Classics Retold: King Arthur Intro

Classics Retold is a fun event that was born from Project: Fairy Tale , which was originally hosted by Alison @ The Cheap Reader. This project will essentially work the same except we will be taking a classic novel or tale, instead of a fairy tale, and blogging about its adaptations. It works great for those of you who have wanted to read a classic, but haven’t had the time or for those of you who missed out during Project Fairy Tale.

The What:
For a classic to be usable for this project, it should have at least 2 adaptations, spin-offs, sequels, or retellings.
  1. Choose a classic  that you want to read.
  2. Sign up via the Google doc below and I will place your name and link back to your blog on a sign-up page. Additionally, I will give you a list of possible adaptations that I have found – you will not be limited to this list, of course, it is only meant to be helpful.
  3. Write a “sign-up” post on your own blog before May 25 just telling the blogosphere which “classic” you are choosing and any other info you want to include (for example, here is my sign up post for Project: Fairy Tale) I know that it is MONTHS away so no pressure, just let me know as soon as you do!
  4. Read your classic, and then read or watch as many retellings, spin-offs, sequels or adaptations of the classic as you can.
  5. Post reviews or your thoughts on your blog for each one during September.
  • To participate in this project, you only sign up for one classic and its adaptations.
  • 1-4 bloggers can work on a “main” text. You can work independently or work together, and you’re allowed to all read/watch the same things or split the work up
  • Optional: If you’d like to work on another classic or adaptation in addition to your main choice, find the bloggers “in charge” of that text and ask to do a guest review/post.
  • I will be hosting a giveaway on my blog for those of you participating in the Ancient – Renaissance Literature Classics Retold section. The details aren’t final yet but just know that each review (etc.) that you post will be  one entry! More details will follow as we get closer to the end of sign-ups!
Have fun with this! In lieu of classic reviews, write a character analysis, talk about the culture of the book, or use it in a meme! Get creative! As long as it links back to your classic in some way, it works toward the project!
The When:
  • Sign-ups will run from April 11 – May 25
  • September 2013 will be our month to post!
The Who:
Since this project is so HUGE, we have split up the co-hosting duties! It’s all one big project so you only sign up once for one main text (not once on each blog).

What I Have Planned:

For this event I am going to be doing King Arthur with a special focus on Merlin. There is a lot of overlap so most of the books/movies I will be using will have King Arthur. However, I have seen that there are some books written about Merlins over years so I'm going to try to look into those as well. I haven't decided everything that I will be reading or watching for this event but here's what I have so far!

The Classics:

This book has a lot of Kings of Great Britain so I may just read the parts that focus on Merlin and King Arthur. 

Goodreads Description:

Written in the 12th century this book depicts the author's selected memory of the history of Britain before recorded history. It may not be exactly accurate but it is interesting to read. The information listed mostly laid the ground work for all the legends and fables of King Arthur whether or not what he wrote actually happened at least there was someone who documented these beliefs.

This will be my primary "Classics" text because it is the most recognized as the original King Arthur story.

Goodreads Description:

In a time when there were damsels in distress to save, and mythical dragons to slay, King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table were there to render justice in the face of any danger. From the incredible wizardry of Merlin to the undeniable passion of Sir Launcelot, these tales of Arthur and his knights offer epic adventures with the supernatural, as well as timeless battles with our humanity.

Keith Baine's splendid rendition of Le Morte d'Arthur faithfully preserves the original flavor of Malory's masterpiece - that of banners and bloodshed, knights and ladies, Christians and sorcerers, sentiment and savagery. It remains a vivid medieval tapestry, woven about a central figure who symbolizes the birth of an age of chivalry.

"Le Morte d'Arthur remains an enchanted sea for the reader to swim about in, delighting at the random beauties of fifteenth-century prose." --ROBERT GRAVES

The Retellings:

My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

The Book of Merlin by T.H. White

I plan to watch The Sword and the Stone, Avalon High, King Arthur and some of the T.V. series Merlin!

There's still a little time to sign up so if you're interested be sure to do so now!!!

Oh, and any other suggestions on what I should read/watch??

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