Friday, October 17, 2014

What's Up with Me!

I had to do a little housekeeping on this blog, so I decided to post another update. I can't believe it's almost Halloween!


Unfortunately, I don't see myself posting regularly on this blog again anytime soon.  Life is just too hectic right now, and I don't have regular enough access to the internet to trust myself to sign up for anything I have to post at a certain time.

I am SO behind on my reading and out of touch with my author and blogger friends, and it makes me so sad!  I look at blogs all the time on my phone, but it's been too long since I've commented regularly and I just feel weird leaving random occasional comments.

I am finally finishing up Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead on audiobook, so when that's finished, I can start the third Bloodlines book (already read the first two) and finally feel like I'm not reading out of order. So yay for that!  I'm also reading a really interesting self-published book called The Wild Folk by Flora Kennedy, which I found out about from a coworker. It's funny how word spreads about books that way!  Unfortunately my kindle is on the fritz, so it's going to be a little longer before I can finish it.... 

Anyway, the amount of books coming out right now between self and traditional publishing is just insane.  I'm glad so many authors are finding success, but it feels more impossible than ever to keep up.   As for my writing...I'm playing around with writing something adult under a pen name.  I may go back to writing as Stephanie Parent eventually, but probably not for quite a while. 

I hope everyone is doing well!  I miss you guys :(

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Disappearing Act

If anyone still looks at this blog, you may have noticed I've done a bit of a disappearing act over the past six months.  I got a new job which was utterly overwhelming and time-consuming at first, and then I started having problems with my internet...now I only have internet at work and on my phone, and twitter doesn't work on my phone. Grrr!  AND for a while I'd completely forgotten the gmail account name associated with this blog, and I couldn't log in at all.  In other words,

 

I feel terrible for pretty much abandoning my online friends, and I miss you all!  Unfortunately I don't think the situation is going to change too much in the near future.  Having less time and energy to read has made the number of new books constantly coming out seem even more overwhelming...I'm actually afraid to turn my kindle on right now!  I am thinking about starting to write again, but I'm sure it will be slow going.  I do still lurk on all of my favorite blogs occasionally, so your posts and thoughts are appreciated!

Anyway, maybe I will work up the energy to write something longer soon...but for now, read, blog, and tweet on! :D

Friday, March 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.  I am always so impressed by Tracy's writing, and this book is no exception.  Read on for my review, and follow along with the rest of the tour here.


Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart
(The Diatous Wars #1)
Publication date: February 28th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:

For Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face—and the one promise she swore she’d never break.

In the small village of Lux, everyone flies wingjets, but nobody flies them like Aris Haan. When she’s not dancing through the skies, she’s spending every minute with Calix, whom she’s loved since childhood. They plan to Promise, but instead he is sent to defend their dominion against a bloody invasion. Determined not to lose him, Aris follows, joining an underground network of women inside the male-only military. Using secret technology that allows her to pass as a man, she becomes “Aristos”, a Flyer in a search-and-rescue unit.

As Aris grows stronger on the battlefield and more comfortable in her guise as Aristos, her personal mission becomes less and less clear. When she and her enigmatic commander, Major Vidar, uncover an astonishing conspiracy that could destroy everything, she must make a choice that will determine not only the fate of her heart, but the future of her dominion.
Add it on Goodreads and purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
MY REVIEW

As a dystopian adventure, Shattered Veil is a bit of a departure from Tracy Banghart's earlier books, and I think she did a wonderful job with it!  I was most impressed with the wide scope, multiple points of view and intricate plotting of the book, with the author revealing just the right information and surprises at the right times to keep the pages turning.  As in Banghart's other books, character development is also exceptional, with a protagonist, Aris, who is somewhat weak and needy at the beginning of the book becoming a much stronger person without losing the vulnerability that makes her a believable character.

Even though Shattered Veil is a dystopia, I felt like Banghart used her future society to explore contemporary issues, which made the novel that much more interesting for me.  In Shattered Veil, women aren't allowed in the army, and Aris has to go undercover as the male soldier Aristos; while this is different from our current situation, there's no question that today's female soldiers have to deal with sexism and perhaps even create a bit of a false identity to survive in such a male-saturated environment.  In addition, the politics of Banghart's world reflect current world issues where certain countries have natural resources that others lack, and conflicts invariably arise.

At the beginning of Shattered Veil, the author sets up what seems like a rather typical romantic arc, but as with other aspects of the book, the author isn't afraid to take the romance to places that will surprise and even upset readers.  I admired Banghart's willingness to take risks and present this part of the book realistically, even though she might disappoint some readers in the process.

The ending of Shattered Veil is satisfying, but open-ended enough to feel realistic and leave room for future installments.  Tracy Banghart is a truly talented and versatile author, and I definitely recommend you check out this novel and her other work! 
GIVEAWAY

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Tracy E. Banghart is a cheesy movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.

LINKS:


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Tour: Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon



Welcome to my tour stop for Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon.  This is an adult romantic comedy and  the tour runs February 24th- March 7th and will consist of reviews, guest posts, interviews and more. You can find the full schedule on the tour page.

Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon

Hollie Porter is the chairwoman of Generation Disillusioned: at twenty-five years old, she’s saddled with a job she hates, a boyfriend who’s all wrong for her, and a vexing inability to say no. She’s already near her breaking point, so when one caller too many kicks the bucket during Hollie’s 911 shift, she cashes in the Sweethearts’ Spa & Stay gift certificate from her dad and heads to Revelation Cove, British Columbia. One caveat: she’s going solo. Any sweethearts will have to be found on site.

Hollie hopes to find her beloved otters in the wilds of the Great White North, but instead she’s providing comic relief for staff and guests alike. Even Concierge Ryan, a former NHL star with bad knees and broken dreams, can’t stop her from stumbling from one (mis)adventure to another. Just when Hollie starts to think that a change of venue doesn’t mean a change in circumstances, the island works its charm and she starts to think she might have found the rejuvenation she so desperately desires. But then an uninvited guest crashes the party, forcing her to step out of the discomfort zone where she dwells and save the day … and maybe even herself in the process.
GoodreadsAmazon  | B&N | iBookstore

My Review

Must Love Otters is an adorable romantic comedy/quarter-life crisis story with a nice dose of animal love (except for Yorkies--the poor Yorkies get a bad rap in this novel!)  I was so surprised when I was putting together this blog post and realized author Eliza Gordon is actually two people, because Hollie's very real, consistent voice is one of the strongest aspects of the novel. I don't know how a writing team pulled this off so seamlessly, but they did!

Hollie's sarcastic sense of humor does seem a bit abrasive at the beginning of the book, when she's stuck in a job and relationship that make her miserable, and I think some readers might be a little put off by how judgmental she is.  However, if you stick with the story, Hollie begins to soften as she meets new people and has new experiences that convince her she doesn't have to settle for a safe but unhappy life.  It's wonderful to watch Hollie gradually changing through the course of the story, though she remains funny and tell-it-like-it-is till the very end.

I wanted to read this story because of the title and the main character's love for animals, and that did come through in the book, although most of the animal interactions occurred in the latter part of the story.  The sweet scenes with the otters were worth the wait, and I especially liked learning why Hollie loves otters so much.  The setting, love interest Ryan, and secondary characters all contributed to the story, and I appreciated that Hollie figuring out what she really wanted to do with her life was as important to the story as the romantic plotline.  There are plenty of ridiculous hijinks as well--in fact, I'd say Must Love Otters is like the book version of an adorable romantic comedy, so if you want something sweet and fluffy but with some substance as well, this book is a good pick!

About this author
:
Eliza Gordon is a husband-and-wife team of controlled chaos who writes stories to help you believe in the Happily Ever After.

  Connect:

Website Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 


Giveaway:
$25 Gift Card (INT)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Blog Tour: The Replacement by Rachael Wade


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Replacement by Rachael Wade, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.  You can follow along with the rest of the tour here.


The Replacement by Rachael Wade
Publication date: January 27th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Synopsis:
*Contains sexually explicit content and mature subject matter, including language and elements of abuse.*

A gritty New Adult drama about a young woman’s self-destructive quest to find purpose, self-worth, and love in a broken world.

My name is Elise Duchamp. I’m twenty-three years old and I’m known as the town whore.

No, not the kind who exchanges sexual favors for money. The other kind. The kind who gives it all away for free, whenever and however she likes. I am that girl. The one everyone whispers about and the one none of the girls seem to like, because all of their boyfriends either want to sleep with me or already have. Promiscuity is my thing—the kind that slowly, violently turns my insides black, but gives me something I need.

All things considered, I’m not completely reckless. I’m safe, and contrary to popular opinion, I do have a heart. I live in a world of careless choices, and with those choices come careless people. I cannot judge them, because I am one of them. I too bow down to the altar of the self-serving. I am not a good friend. I am not and never could be anyone’s girlfriend. I’m convinced any goodness in me shriveled up and died long ago.

But I am a replacement. That is something I know how to be, and this is a story of the lengths I’d go to in order to keep it that way.
Add The Replacement on Goodreads and purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

MY REVIEW
The Replacement really worked for me for the same reason that a lot of readers will probably be ambivalent about the novel, at least at first: main character Elise Duchamp.  Author Rachael Wade throws us right into Elise’s world as a girl taught by her parents’ behavior that a woman’s only worth is her appearance and her ability to attract men.  Elise has grown into a young woman who sleeps around—primarily with men already in relationships—in both a desperate attempt to find validation, and as a sort of self-punishment because she doesn’t believe she deserves better.  I think many readers will have a hard time understanding Elise and/or forgiving her behavior, but even so, there’s a can’t-look-away aspect to the book that may keep readers going till Elise begins the slow, painful process of change.  Me, however?  I totally identified with Elise and understood her self-sabotaging decisions from the very beginning.  I don’t know what this says about me, but I do think it speaks to the author’s ability to create a realistic character who could truly exist in the world.  I also appreciated the way Wade was so blunt in her language and descriptions, refusing to sugar-coat things, showing us how utterly broken Elise is.  My favorite quote to that effect:

“The door opens and closes with a quiet click, and all of my hopes for being someone’s something follow Natalie out, reminding me of my true identity.  I am a substitute.  A misfit.  A liar, a thief, and a whore.  I exist to be used, not to belong.”

In terms of plot, The Replacement is a fairly quiet story focused on character growth and relationships, although there were a few twist moments that really surprised me.  I liked a lot of the minor characters, especially Natalie and Jay.  The obligatory “good guy” who sees real value in Elise, Ryder, was definitely dreamy but maybe a little too perfect for my taste.  Still, I think most readers will be happy to see Elise allowing a guy like Ryder in, even if her transformation is a hard-earned one, with plenty of mistakes and unwise decisions along the way.

Just as Elise is a gutsy heroine, The Replacement is a gutsy book.  This was my first read by Rachael Wade, and I’m impressed—the writing was smooth and vivid, the characterization full of depth.  I definitely recommend this one, and I encourage readers who have a hard time identifying with Elise at first to stick with it till the end!
GIVEAWAY
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rachael Wade is the Amazon bestselling author of The Preservation Series, The Resistance Trilogy, and the upcoming sci-fi series, The Keepers Trilogy. When she’s not writing, she’s busy learning French, watching too many movies, and learning how to protect animals and the environment. Visit her at www.RachaelWade.com and www.LightsOnOutreach.com, or come chat with her on Twitter via @RachaelWade.




Author Links:



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Release Event: Hard Glamour by Maggie Marr


Welcome to the release event for Hard Glamour by Maggie Marr, organized by AToMR Tours.  This book takes place right where I live--Hollywood!--so I really need to read it.


A promise to keep….

Honoring her mother’s last wish, Lane Channing vows to follow her dreams. She takes the ‘big risk’ and leaves her small Kansas town behind and heads to LA, the city of dreams. She’s got a stellar job lined up, an old jeep, and 20 bucks to last her to her first paycheck. Her hopes shatter when she arrives to find her job’s been given to someone else.  Now she’s broke and will soon be living on the streets if she doesn’t do something fast. Welcome to cutthroat – Lane is most certainly not in Kansas anymore.

On the cusp of success…

Dillon MacAvoy has one goal–to become a star–whatever it takes. Even if it means honing his bad-boy can’t-be-tamed-and-forever-single image. Besides the image isn’t far from the truth. Dillon cares only about his younger brother and his career. He’s on the brink of superstardom if he can just decide on the next right script. But for that, he needs a script reader he can trust.

In a strange twist of fate…


Lane Channing is Dillon’s last chance. If Lane lasts the summer without becoming MacAvoy’s latest conquest, she’s guaranteed a job in entertainment. No problem, as long as she can ignore the heat that pulses through her every time Dillon is in the room. After all, love and commitment with a sweet, hometown girl would only ruin the Dillon MacAvoy brand.

Add it on Goodreads and purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

INTERVIEW WITH MAGGIE MARR
Author of Hard Glamour (Glamour Series, #1)

Q: Do you have a routine that you use to get into the right frame of mind to write?

Maggie: I write first thing in the morning. My mind is clear and it's the best time for me to get my words down. Also, I am trying to send a message to my muse that Writing Is Important by making my writing the first thing I do in my day. Plus, it is so easy with everything else that goes on in a day to not get the writing done if I don't make it the first thing I do.

Q: Where did you get the idea or inspiration for HARD GLAMOUR?

Maggie: I love the New Adult genre. I've lived and worked in Hollywood and written about Hollywood for nearly a decade so when Dillon and Lane started telling me their story it seemed like a natural fit.

Q: What was your favorite part writing this novel? Don’t forget to tell us why. J

Maggie: I love it when the characters start to act on their own and surprise me. This usually starts to happen around page 60 or so. Up to then I am listening to them tell me their story but I kind of know what they are doing and where I *think* they are going to go with it but then all the sudden Wham! The characters are off and they are surprising me with their words and their actions--I love that! 

I also love to write the sex scenes :)

Q: What was the most difficult part writing this novel?

Maggie: How hard Dillon was as a male character in the beginning.  He is just so Alpha and in unlikeable and closed off--we start to understand why and see that this is a defense mechanism and how Lane is able to break through those barriers but at first he was a really tough guy to like.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Maggie: Read!I love to read! I read all kinds of books truly it is my favorite activity. I also love chasing after the children and yoga.

Q: Any future writing news you would like to share?

Maggie: So many fun things this year!  Broken Glamour, book 2 in the Glamour Series publishes March 2014, Fast Glamour, book 3 comes out in May, and finally Easy Glamour, book 4 is set to publish in July.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maggie Marr grew up in the Midwest and made the move to Los Angeles to work in the movie business.  She was a motion picture literary agent for ICM before becoming a full time writer.  She's written for film and TV and ghostwritten for celebrities.  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.





Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Blitz: Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams


Darkness Watching
by Emma L Adams
Release Date: 10th October 2013
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal
Target Audience: Upper YA/New Adult

Summary from Goodreads:
Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is. 

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...
If you are a blogger and would like to request a review copy of Darkness Watching, sign up below:

Reviews of DARKNESS WATCHING:
"Emma is an amazing writer. She has become one of my favorites. I couldn’t put Darkness Watching down." - Diane at A Creative Mind

"Darkness Watching provides an original world that is fully complete and from a teens POV. It was dark and entertaining and sometimes teen books don’t go full out, this one did. The world building was truly strong in this novel." - Lexi at 
Book Bliss

"Like good books should, Darkness Watching left me pondering the story after I'd finished reading AND left me wanting more. Adams built a strong world for readers to be immersed. But the regular world retained full realism. Normal every day teen situations felt completely believable." - Erin at 
Erin Albert Books

I have to say, I didn’t see the ending coming! ... the final showdown left me speechless (You will have to read it!)" - Julia at Never Judge a Book by its Movie

"This was entertaining from the start...I didn’t want to put it down, and fans of urban fantasies I think will enjoy this. Darkness Watching was definitely worth the read." - Jenea at Books Live Forever

"This book is unique, fun and interesting. I kept wondering what was going to happen next...I felt that this book was well written and It was hard to put this book down once I started. " -Jessica at Eat Sleep Read

About the Author
Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and was published in October 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Author Links:
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***GIVEAWAY***
$10 Amazon gift card (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by: