Friday, May 30, 2014

Armchair BEA: YA Literature (Day 5)

If you read my blog then you know I love YA. I do sometimes reading other things but YA is my choice of poison. When I first began reading YA I read a lot of Paranormal, then I went to Dystopian, then Contemporary and so on. Today, I am going to give you some choices in each of those categories that I think you would enjoy. Happy Reading!!
Spellcaster (Spellcaster, #1)     11988046   My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1) The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)  Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)  Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1)
Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1) Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)  The Program (The Program, #1)
Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)  16151178 15283043 Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) Why We Broke Up

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) 16074758

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Armchair BEA: Giveaway (Day 4)

Today is giveaway day with Armchiar BEA!! I am super happy to offer a prize pack that I hope many of you are interested in. Please see details below and don't forget to check out my other giveaway going on here!

Included in this giveaway is:

A signed copy of Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
A copy of The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom with a signed bookplate inside
Finale Audiobook
Blue tote bag
Cress fingernail/toenail stickers
Assorted Swag

This giveaway is US only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Armchair BEA: Author Interaction & More Than Just Words (Day 2)

Author Interaction

One of my favorite authors interactions is RT Teen Day party! It's a great event and I absolutely love getting to talk to them. They are all super nice and it's just so much fun. I actually just got back from my third Teen Day and I wrote a post about it here. The post also includes a giveaway where you can win books (some are signed) and swag!

More Than Just Words

Over the past year I have really become a huge fan of audiobooks. It started out as more of a convenience thing with my commute to work but now I have found that I tend to like more books that I listen to on audio than I do books I actually read. I'm not sure if I have just gotten a lot of really great audiobooks or if there is something more to it. 

With audiobooks, narrators can make it or break it. A really great narrator does more than just read the words on the page. A great narrator brings the story to life. As I said earlier, I have read a lot of really great audiobooks recently and all of them have one thing in common: narrators that bring the story to life. 

Here are a few of my favorite audiobooks:

The Sea of Tranquility by Katjy Millay
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Poison Princess/Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
Daughter of Smoke and Bone/Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Shadow and Bone/Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Spellcaster/Steadfast by Claudia Gray

That list should get you started!! Hope you get a chance to check some of them out! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Armchair BEA: Introductions (Day One)

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

My name is Ashley. I'm 26 years old (I am getting so incredibly old and it is so depressing!). I am from a very small dot in the world that you have most likely never heard of but 'round here we call it Flomaton, AL.

I have been blogging 3 or 4 years now. I'm not 100% sure. I am awful at keeping up with things like that!

I got into blogging because I love reading and when I found out there was a whole community of people out there that loved reading too I had to a part of that!  

What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?

Favorite Contemporary book this year: The Rule for Breaking by Ashley Elston

Favorite Contemporary book last year: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay 

Favorite Non-Contemporary book this year: Ignite Me by Taherah Mafi

Favorite Non-Contemporary book last year: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers). 

Some of my favorite blogs/bloggers are:

Rachel at Paper Cuts

Share your favorite book or reading related quote.

What book would you love to see as a movie? 

I would love to see this book as a movie. It has fantastic world-building and I would love to be able to see it on the screen. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Free to Fall Blog Tour: What's in my Purse and Review

Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for 
FREE TO FALL by Lauren Miller. 

May 23: RealityLapse REVIEW + TENS LIST 
May 24: A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW + AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 25: Wholly Books REVIEW + WHAT’S IN MY PURSE/ON DESK  (You are Here!)
May 26: Swoony Boys Podcast REVIEW + THIS OR THAT

Author: Lauren Miller
Release Date: May 13th 2014 | Publisher HarperTeen
What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness? What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?
What if you never had to fall?

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results. Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school. Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.

Free to Fall is a futrustic novel that is unsettlingly close to reality. It isn't one of those really out scenarios, but instead one that hits very close to home. Free to Fall is an excellently written, fast paced novel of how technology could change our world and it isn't a good change.

I loved the plot of this book! Free to Fall is full of suspense and will keep you guessing. There were several times when I was completely caught off guard by the plot twists. You never knew who to trust and who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. The secret society definitely added an extra level of mystery and kept me guessing. 

The premise of the book is very interesting and made even more interesting about how easily we could actually see this happen. We use apps for EVERYTHING so is it really that far fetched to use an app that tells you what to do to achieve the best possible outcome? I don't think so. It really makes you think, what if?

Rory and North were both interesting characters and I liked their chemistry. I liked that North didn't allow others to make his decisions and instead chose to make his own decisions. I loved that Rory was able to start making her own decisions after being around North. Rory was very dependent on Lux but after being around North she is able to realize that maybe Lux doesn't have her best interests at heart. The only thing I didn't like about their relationship was that there was a few too many "misunderstandings". I feel like those were thrown in for added suspense but with the suspense of the rest of the novel it was unnecessary. 

Free to Fall is a thought provoking novel that will hook readers instantly. Anyone that is looking for a futuristic or suspenseful novel should pick up this book!

What's In My Purse by Lauren Miller

1)     My Mac Air - I carry my laptop with me everywhere, just in case I find time to write.  The Air is so light, I sometimes panic and think Ive forgotten it somewhere.  And by sometimes, I mean at least once a day.
2)    A hairclip - Who has time to wash their hair when theyre on a book deadline?  Not me.  On day 3, I start wearing it up.
3)    My iPhone (in its nifty Free to Fall upsilon case) - Despite the fact that I wrote a cautionary tale about our addiction to our smartphones, Im still tethered to mine.  This case features the dominant symbol from Free to Fall, an upsilon, the 20th letter of the Greek alphabet.
4)    Free to Fall promo postcard - I usually have bookmarks in my bag, but since Ive been promoting the book launch party at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica (which, by the time this post appears, will have already happened), Ive been carrying around promo postcards.
5)    Alphabet notebook - I carry this little notepad with me for jotting down ideas.  Its empty, though, because I use my iPhones notepad when inspiration strikes.  I still carry the paper pad, just in case my phone dies in the middle of my next great idea.
6)    A pen, a pencil, and a sharpie - all the writing utensils a girl needs.  One for writing checks, one for taking notes, and one for signing books. 
7)    Nohmad Peppermint Crunch dark chocolate - Around three oclock every day, I crave coffee and chocolate.  Starbucks is great for satisfying the coffee craving, but their chocolate offerings arent near dark enough for my tastes.  Nohmad chocolates are super dark, locally made, and un-roasted.  Yum.
8)    Extra gum - I chew gum constantly, even when I sleep.  Likely the reason I have TMJ. 
9)    Altoids - Every day I tell myself Im going to chew less gum, and Ill pop a mint.  Ten minutes later, Im reaching for the gum.
10) Rosebud salve - My magic potion.  Good for lips, dry knuckles and cuticles.  Even cuts in a pinch.
11) Charger thingy - Im sure this little blue rectangle has a name, but I just call it my charger thingy.  It works like an outlet, charging my phone when Im out and about.
12) Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me by Rachel Bertshe - I usually have a book in my bag, and right now its a galley of the new book by my dear friend and fellow author Rachel Bertshe.  You may recognize her name from her debut, the bestselling MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend.  Her latest memoir is about her quest for perfection, one celebrity at a time, and Im loving it! 
13) Toy mail truck - These days, I often have my writing partner with me when Im writing.  My four month old son.  Invariably, something from his diaper bag ends up in my purse.  Today, its this little metal mail truck.  Not pictured?  The tiny little sock I found inside its trunk.

Open to US Only | Must be 13+ To Enter
Connect with Lauren Miller

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Black Bear Lake Blog Tour: Spotlight and Excerpt


Adam Craig, a forty year-old stock trader in Chicago, finds his marriage teetering on the rocks and his life at a standstill. Desperate and on the edge of personal collapse, Adam takes the advice of a therapist and travels to his childhood family compound on Black Bear Lake with hopes of making peace with his past. Stepping onto the northern Wisconsin property, he relives the painful memories of the summer of 1983, his last summer at the lake. 

In August 1983, a self-conscious fifteen year-old Adam carries a world of worry on his shoulders as he arrives at Black Bear Lake for a month long family reunion. Between anger and fear of mother’s declining health as she quietly battles a quickly spreading cancer and his cherished cousin’s depression over her parents’ bitter divorce, Adam is swept up in smothering familial love among the multiple generations and heartbreaking misunderstanding and betrayal. The arrival of a sensual but troublesome babysitter throws the delicate balance of his family into a tailspin. Blinded by his attraction to the newcomer, Adam fails to see his cousin's desperate cries for help and the charged electrical current running through his family's hierarchy. Crushed in the middle of it all, Adam is forced to learn that there's a fine line between self-preservation and the strength of family blood, all the while unaware of the impending tragedy that will ultimately change his life forever.


An excerpt from BLACK BEAR LAKE:

As we went farther into the lodge the sounds of kitchen chaos grew. Shrieks of laughter were drowned out by belly laughs. The noise grew louder as the adults tried to talk over one another, while waves of enthusiastic shouting were followed by exuberant backslapping. The smells of the family meal enveloped us. It was the smell of our summers. Granny, in one of her well-worn cotton lake dresses, stood at the stove, one hand stirring a buttery slow-cooking spaghetti sauce, the other holding her wine glass. Dannie’s mom, Patty, had the same sun-streaked blonde hair as her daughter and wore it thrown in a loose ponytail. She and my mother stood side by side at the butcher block, hips touching, as they peeled, scooped and chopped cucumbers for our salad. Gramps’ older sister, Genevieve, sat hunched over the long kitchen table, cane resting on her thigh, and kneaded the dough for her biscuits. They always turned out too dry and hard to eat but no one had the heart to tell her. My Aunt Tammy, tall and athletic, came in to the kitchen from the back yard where she had been grilling bratwurst. The dense smells, mixing and swirling, were so strong I swore they were visible before my eyes and immediately my mouth watered.
     Tammy slammed the tray of sausages on the island counter, grinning amicably. “I’m of the personal opinion that any grilling should be done by the men of this family. I’m sweating like a pig out there”
     “I’m of the opinion that I’d rather not have my brats turned into rubber, so the men grilling is not an option”, Mom muttered loud enough to send the women into another fit of giggles. Noticing our arrival, she winked mischievously,  “You weren’t supposed to hear that. Don’t tell your father.”
     “Your secret is safe with me. For a price.” I reached for a brownie from the pile stashed in the corner. Grannie’s head snapped up abruptly. “Not so fast, Mister. Here,” she said gently, taking my elbow, ”try this. I just want to make sure it’s alright.” She scooped a large portion of her sauce into a love-worn wooden spoon and handed it to me, smiling softly. Dannie slid into place beside her mother and began peeling carrots.
     I held the spoon at my mouth, blowing away the steam. As I watched the group of women I felt an unfamiliar sting of jealousy. They danced around the kitchen, around each other, in a beautifully choreographed waltz that only they knew.  Arms weaved above and below, reaching for salt, tomatoes and lettuce. Hands nudged and patted hips to the side, out of the way of opening drawers and the hot oven door. They silently stroked a lock of hair or kissed a forehead when passing through the narrow aisle between the island and sink. They were their own clan, set apart from the boys and men.  It was an intangible relationship. The weight and mass so undeniable but at the same time so elusive it slipped through my fingers before I could grasp it. I watched my mom and ached for this bond with her.


Leslie Liautaud is the author of Midnight Waltzes (2006), He Is Us (2008), The Wreck (2009), SALIGIA (2011), The Mansion (2012) and Summer Nights and Dreams (2012). She is also the author of the coming-of-age novel, Black Bear Lake (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014).
Leslie is originally from Kansas City, MO where she worked in the performing arts. Currently, she divides her time between between Key Largo, FL and Champaign, IL with her husband, three teenage children and three rambunctious dogs.

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