Book Blitz: Primordial Dust by Sarah Daltry

Author: Sarah Daltry
Pubishing Date: June 29th 2014
Blurb Description: A princess, trained to behave. An assassin, betrothed to her. A thief, whose eyes she dreams of at night. A kingdom at war, torn apart by the suppression of magic and truth, as well as family secrets that threaten to destroy decades of peace.
Questions of loyalty, of morality, and of free will culminate in a fantasy novel about forging one’s own path and choosing one’s own destiny.

BUY  LINKS:










ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Daltry writes about the regular people who populate our lives. She’s written works in various genres – romance, erotica, fantasy, horror. Genre isn’t as important as telling a story about people and how their lives unfold. Sarah tends to focus on YA/NA characters but she’s been known to shake it up. Most of her stories are about relationships – romantic, familial, friendly – because love and empathy are the foundation of life. It doesn’t matter if the story is set in contemporary NY, historical Britain, or a fantasy world in the future – human beings are most interesting in the ways they interact with others. This is the principle behind all of Sarah’s stories.

Sarah has spent most of her life in school, from her BA and MA in English and writing to teaching both at the high school and college level. She also loves studying art history and really anything because learning is fun.

When Sarah isn’t writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking Facebook for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window.

TWITTER: @SarahDaltry
FACEBOOK: 
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahDaltry
WEBSITE: 
http://sarahdaltry.com/


**GIVEAWAY**

Giveaway is open Internationally | Must be 13+ to Enter

3 Winners will receive an E-Copy of Primordial Dust by Sarah Daltry.
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and Swag pack by Sarah Daltry.
1 Winner will receive a Swag Pack by Sarah Daltry.

The Antisocial Network by Idris Berry- Review

Author: Idris Berry
Publication Date: April 26th 2014
Blurb Description: Shortly after Alice's brother is involved in an accident that hospitalizes him Alice becomes the target of a viscous gang of internet trolls that take pleasure from the accident. Soon, Alice's normally carefree life is torn apart by the trolls and as her brother lies fighting for his life in a hospital bed, Alice is left battling her own fight for survival.


**MY REVIEW**


e've all heard of it, haven't we? Those unknown dangers lurking behind computer screens- hiding behind virtual walls, prying on the unsuspecting. The social networking siter are the place to be- gossip, food and keeping up to date with all your mates- this is where you can learn it all.

But have you ever, EVER really thought about the repercussions of living your life on platforms open to pretty much anyone and everyone? Thought that those sort of things just won't happen to you? The Antisocial Network shows you just how real it all is...

So, the beginning of the book- I found it a bit weird- and very hard to feel the what our protagonist was trying to emote- the writing seemed distant and I read this as a PDF copy, making the text extremely small, which didn't do anything for me. Regardless, and very intrigued on I trudged forward.

Very soon after, the story picked up the pace, and I was HOOKED. I loved how I experienced the fear Alice felt and completely understood her determination to fight back. It was scary, kept me at the edge of my seat, and most of all, had a realistic element- you could literally feel how her life changed from normal to being tormented in all aspects- like it could just about happen to anybody!

The ending, well, it was unfinished. I kept turning the page to read, waiting for an epilogue, or just some reassurance that everything turned relatively normal once more, but I didn't get it. Alice and Jason's parents are another matter altogether. I can't believe they didn't give her a chance to explain anything nor how they blamed her for everything that happened.

*And that's it*

My Verdict:

Regardless, this was a brilliant book, that all (older) social media users MUST READ!

Early Review Tour: MELT by Selena Castrovilla

Author: Selena Castrovilla
Publisher:Lasy Syllable Books
Publictation Date: November 6th 2014
Blurb Description: MELT is a brutal love story, set against the backdrop of The Wizard of Oz. Sixteen year old “good girl” Dorothy just blew into the small town of Highland Park – where the social headquarters is Munchkinland (Dunkin’ Donuts.) There, she meets Joey – a “bad boy” who tells no one about the catastrophic domestic violence he witnesses at home. Can these two lovers survive peer pressure, Joey’s reputation, and his alcoholism? And then there’s his family's secret – about to be unleashed.

Told in dual first person, Joey's words are scattered on the page - reflecting his broken state. Dorothy is the voice of reason - until something so shattering happens that she, too, may lose her grip. Can their love endure, or will it melt away?

MELT is based on true events. It is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance. It will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul

**MY REVIEW**


”When you think about it, the words don’t count for too much anyway, it’s the intentions behind them that do. And this was like we were skipping past the words because we didn’t need them.”*Quotes subject to my ARC*

And Melt was filled with them. Beautiful, thoughtful lines that is. From the time you read the synopsis, you know that this going to be one of those books- haunting, deep, and soulful.

Dorothy- asked many times if named after the wizard of Oz protagonist- meets bad boy Joey. Literally a bad boy- time in prison, drinking and just the reputation that goes along with it. The porcelain doll with the boxer: one of the most unexpected relationships.

And yet, sparks fly and the most unusual of people find solace in each other- the best kind- a special sort of togetherness and a love that must defy all odds to succeed. Even the most dangerous of all- Joey’s own father.

This book is VERY addicting. From the minute when you flip it open, with Joey telling you about how his everyday life goes- so perfect on the outside right down to the flowerbeds and so dysfunctional on the inside you know this is going to be one hell of a book.

The one thing, okay, two things I didn’t like were: The Insta-Love. Oh. God. How much I hate it when this happens. He looked at her, she looked at him across a crowded Dunkin Donuts outlet and they knew- right then, that this was it. Oh, and the book had no element other than the two of them. Well rounded, it was not.

My second would be the way abuse was handled- like something you would never have control over- nothing to be done about it. I understand that it is something almost impossible to get the strength to fight but as a book aimed towards teenagers, there should have been something uplifting or hope delivering about it.

And despite all of it, Melt is still a book I would read again- but maybe not compulsively.

My Verdict:

A Good Book- addicting, haunting- but one that could have been Great! 

**A Huge thanks to the author and Jen Halligan PR for making me a part of this early tour!**

Bloomsbury Spark's Six Month SparkiAversary Giveaway Blitz




Blitz-wide giveaway
Open to US/CAN

A Kindle Paperwhite loaded with all of these titles (also please use image attached with all the covers included):

1) The Sound of Us by Ashley Poston
2) The Art of Falling by Jenny Kaczorowski
3) The Secret of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel PLUS its sequel
4) Her Secret Inheritance
5) Positively Mine by Christine Duval
6) Deliver Me by Kate Jarvik Birch
7) Pride’s Run by Cat Kalen
8) Road to Somewhere by Jenny S. Morris and Kelley Lynn
9) Beyond Our Stars by Marie Langager
10) The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford
11) Until We End by Frankie Brown
12) An ARC of My Soon-To-Be Sex Life by Judith Tewes


a Rafflecopter giveaway

READ MORE FOR BUY LINKS AND INTERVIEWS!

Book Blitz- Love Edy by Shewanda Pugh

Author: Shewanda Pugh
Publication date: June 24th 2014
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Synopsis:
When Edy Phelps falls hard for her best friend, she knows nothing can come from it. Forget actual chemistry, or the fact that she cherishes his mother more than her own; centuries of tradition say that Hassan will grow up, marry the girl his parents pick, and forget his best friend: the dancer with the bursting smile. Except he can’t. In a world erupting with possibilities for the boy with a body of steel and dreams of the NFL, everything seems promised while nothing at all is; when he’s denied the girl he wants most.

Two hearts. Two families devoted through generations of friendship. Could Edy and Hassan really risk all that? And yet … how could they not?


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22075460-love-edy?ac=1

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 AUTHOR BIO
Shewanda Pugh is a tomboy who credits Stephen King with being the reason she writes romance. In 2012 she debuted with the first novel in a three part contemporary adult romance series, Crimson Footprints. Since then, she's been shortlisted for the AAMBC Reader's Choice Award, the National Black Book Festival's Best New Author Award, and the Rone Award for Contemporary Fiction in 2012 and 2013. She has an MA in Writing from Nova Southeastern University and a BA in Political Science from Alabama A&M University. Though a native of Boston, MA, she now lives in Miami, FL, where she can soak up sun rays without fear of shivering. Her first young adult romance, Love Edy, is scheduled for release on June 24th, 2014.

Author links:

**GIVEAWAY**

a Rafflecopter giveaway


READ ON FOR AN EXCERPT!


The Summer Of Shambles by Ebony McKenna- GIVEAWAY+ Guest Post+ Review

Author: Ebony McKenna
Publisher: Egmont
Publishing Date: April 5th 2010
Blurb Description: Dive into this wonderfully witty young adult series from author Ebony McKenna, set in the far off European country of Brugel.
15-year-old Ondine is struggling to fit in at Psychic Summercamp and doubts she possesses any of her family's magical abilities. She resolves to leave, determined to follow her own path and be a normal teenager. Whatever normal is in a place like Brugel.

On the way home Ondine is shocked when her pet ferret Shambles starts talking - in a cheeky Scottish accent no less! He is in fact a young man trapped in a witch's curse. When he briefly transforms into his human self, Ondine is smitten. If only she can break the spell for good, Shambles can be handsomely human on a full-time basis.

During the summer, these two misfits uncover a plot to assassinate a member of the royal family and discover a secret treasure that has remained hidden for decades. This attracts the attention of the arrogant Lord Vincent, and Ondine can't help being drawn in by his bad-boy charm. 
With so many demands on Ondine's attentions - and affections - normal has never seemed so far away.
The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series. Fans of The Princess Bride or the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series will love this delightfully quirky fairytale.


**GIVEAWAY**

Ferrets as heroes

It feels like I’m telling an enormous fib, but I never set out to write a novel about ferrets. The idea that kicked off the Ondine series centered on a teen girl with a pet on her shoulder. The pet jumped onto the ground and changed into a Scottish lad in the moonlight (with fireflies darting all around).

Initially - and this is the proper truth - the pet was a rat and not a ferret.

Then the little voice in my head said, “Rat’s have been done. What about a ferret?”

I’ve never had a pet ferret, so I didn’t know much about them. This, as it turns out, was a blessing. By the time I’d finished the first draft, Shambles the ferret had spent most of his time darting about, getting lost, eating too much, raising a stink and being all kinds of hilarious. Real ferrets spend about 80% of their time sleeping. Probably for the best that I didn’t know that. It would have made Shambles pretty dreary!

Ferrets are made for comedy; racing down drainpipes, scampering about, sleeping in a tangled knot. In real life, they have also been used in construction. In the 1960s, Boeing used ferrets to run wiring through the tight spots in aircraft construction. This enterprise did not last very long, as the ferrets sometimes fell asleep in those inaccessible spots and not come out for hours. 

Ferrets were also used at the Millennium Dome in London. Organizers had an immovable deadline - December 31, 1999. It was impossible to use rods and poles to shove electrical wires through the tunnels under the stage. Enter the ferrets fitted with snug nylon harnesses. Owners attached cables to the harness and the ferrets were set into the tunnels - lured out the other side with some choice cuts of meat. (This would have circumvented the ‘falling asleep’ problem that caused Boeing so many headaches.) 

The name ferret comes from Latin, which means ‘little thief’. It’s only a tiny step from there to imagine ferrets being awesome at espionage, what with being able to slink about like they do. Suddenly the teenage girl in my head was warning a local Duke about a threat to his life - with a ferret wrapped around her pretending to be a scarf. Everything started coming together after that.

I wanted a truly sexy hero for my teen girl as well. He had to be funny, a bit rude and full of adventure. So he pretty much had to be Scottish because Scots are the funniest people on earth. From there, it felt like a great fit to have a lad trapped in a ferret’s body as a form of punishment.

To be a true hero Shambles the ferret had to be heroic. Many times when he was heroically stupid he made me laugh out loud. Without giving away spoilers, Shambles (or Hamish the lad) grows to love Ondine, and understands that he needs to be good enough for her. This gives him the chance to step up and be a proper hero.

**MY REVIEW**


This book is SIMPLY BRILLIANT!

A fairy tale retelling- that makes you feel like you’re riding with Cinderella in the carriage to the ball or singing with the animals like Snow White- with a modernized, hilariously unique twist- The Summer of Shambles is one book you CANNOT miss!

Ondine is your perfect teenager- craving romance, freedom a little bit of drama and more that a bit of magic all while searching for her individuality. She has fights with her mother, sisters, arguments that finally land up in her winning with her father- and now, a talking ferret that she can’t stop thinking about!

Shambles was simply brilliant- a Scottish ragamuffin with a conscious and so, SO delightful! He comes off as a rouge in the beginning but not too much after you see what an absolute darling he can be! When he does turn temporarily into a man, all of this gets even better!- I LOVED every minute of the romance between Ondine and Hamish!

An assassination plot, a gorgeous, sneaky prince, a ferret that can’t remain a man, a fun loving, all around crazy family, a whole boatload of romance!- READ IT!

My Verdict:

If you’ve ever read a fairy tale, this is the perfect YA book to make you feel the same way!
     

BLOG TOUR: Crane By Stacey Rourke- Excerpt


Crane by Stacey RourkeLegends Saga Book 1

The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?
About Stacy Rourke
There is nothing worse than being put on the spot and asked to talk about yourself. For me it brings back that inevitable moment in a new school when the teacher would ask me to stand up, introduce myself and tell the class something about myself. I was always worried I would blurt out something stupid that I would get teased for. Something like, “My name’s Stacey and I like pickles!” Then for the rest of the school year I’d be known as the Pickle Girl and let’s be honest, no one wants that. So to avoid such a faux pas I will simply say that I love to write. It allows me to get my crazy out just enough that I can function as a normal member of society.

**MY REVIEW**


Dangerous, legendary and all around brilliant, Crane is the perfect, chilly read!

Told in two POV’s, Crane seamlessly flows from the time after the Revolutionary War to the bustle of cars today, both in a little, picturesque town called Sleepy Hollow (yeah, I think of the show too!) with each character telling you a little more- giving you one more piece of the puzzle- but just little enough to have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

Centuries ago, the headless horseman rode, faster than light on his steed as black as night, claiming the heads of the innocent and even the not so as his own. Until the ultimate sacrifice was paid, lovers torn apart, brothers in spirit separated and everything returned to the quiet.

Right now, looking for a fresh start, after her pompous ex-boyfriend broke her heart and stole her refrigerator (No, I’m not joking!), Ireland (Awesome name, by the way) is the first Crane to set foot into a town that does everything it can to live up to its name, becomes everything but. Beheadings, warnings in blood and a senile old man this book is everything you could ever want to read and more!

Scary, with the ‘I must see what happens next- it is essential for sane thought’ element combined with one of the most fun and flirty chemistries I’ve read about in a while, Crane is just. Plain. Awesome.

And, how can I forget, you’re always left thinking, how can you kill someone who is already dead?

My Verdict:

Just. Read. It!! 

Drawn by Cecilia Gray- GIVEAWAY, INTERVIEW & REVIEW

Author: Cecilia Gray
Publisher: Gray Life, LLC
Publication Date: December 12th 2014
Blurb Description: A wholly original tale of friendship and betrayal through the eyes – and lies – of one extraordinary girl. 

Sasha has a secret – that she can make you spill your secret with nothing more than a question. Her strange gift makes her a burden to her foster family and a total freak of nature. Not that Sasha cares. Why should she when no one cares about her?

Then the CIA knocks on her door. They want to give Sasha a new identity and drop her into a foreign country to infiltrate a ring of zealous graffiti terrorists. They want to give Sasha something to care about.

To survive a world where no one is who they seem, Sasha needs to make people trust her. But when that trust blossoms into love, Sasha is forced to decide between duty and friendship, between her mind and her heart, and whether to tell the truth or keep her secrets


**GIVEAWAY**



a Rafflecopter giveaway

**INTERVIEW**

1. 3 Of the Weirdest Things you've ever done:

I don't know if they are weird, per se, because other people have done them, too, but strangers seem to be impressed that I have swam from Alcatraz and danced ballet on the stage when I was very young. The weirdest thing I did for DRAWN was take graffiti lessons and then try my own graffiti in the city. I was terrible at it and I feel so sorry for whoever had to clean it up. :(

2. This or that:
-- Graffiti or Modern Art - I think they can be one and the same!
-- Chick Flicks or Horror - Horror. I love being scared. I wish haunted houses existed year round instead of just at Halloween.
-- Chinese or Italian - Chinese. I grew up in Taiwan. :)

And now, onto your masterpiece- (haha, thank you!)

3. Do a Drawn Acronym: 
D- Daring, R- Romantic, A- Artistic, W- Worldly, N-Nonconventional

4. Do give us a gist of your storyline:
Orphaned government asset and "truth-detector" Sasha must betray the first friends she's made in order to infiltrate their ring of graffiti artists and earn her independence as a spy.

5. Your favorite character and scene from Drawn:
I love Vivi because she is based on one of my best friends. My favorite scene in the book is their first graffiti job all together when Vivi acts as a decoy tourist while Sasha and Sebastien break into the building and scale to the roof. It's the first time you see them working together.

6. Hypothetical Situations: (these can just be for me if you like!)
-- what does happen to Sasha's biological parents? Ah, that's a story for another day. I will say that even though Sasha thinks she has all the answers about how she was discovered, she does not.
-- Do Sasha and Sebastian have a 'normal' future? In my head, no. They both are incredibly skilled and passionate for their causes which means they cannot always be on the same side.

**MY REVIEW**


A Strange, heart-wrenching new voice in the world of YA!

Drawn. God, I just closed the book and I’m currently at a loss for words! This was so raw, so honest that you won’t even know what has hit you till you look up after you’ve flipped the last page.
Thrown around from orphanages to foster homes, after her parents all but dumped her, Sasha already knows that normal- normal houses, parents, or friends- just isn’t in the books for her. Her FBI handler is also her current foster mom- who saw her as a burden in the beginning- whom she partners with on cases as a human lie detector.

After being inadvertedly benched from the FBI and sent to the CIA on a mission in Brussels, Belgium, 
Sasha’s world spins on its very axis once more.

And that’s all I’m going to tell you. This book was strange, in a really good way. She was on a mission, that she never completes- which I felt was the only downside to Drawn for me! I would also have loved more on her biological parents and even her foster mother- just you know, more.

Sasha is an extremely tough person. So much so that she believes she doesn’t need anyone- but wants approval anyway. That she wants to be loved but is afraid no one ever will. She is crazily focused on what she has to do- but feels guilty about lying to the first bunch of people she has ever been friends with. I absolutely loved her!

All in all, a book that I can’t really go into for the fear that it might not be any fun- but a Brilliant read just the same!

My Verdict:

You should Definitely try this book- I Loved It!

BOOK BLAST: Shrouded In Blackness by Norma Jeanna




S


Synopsis 

Only loyalty can truly win his heart…

Gangs, organized crime and underground bare-knuckle fighting make up the world that Kieran Delaney thrives within. His reputation is built on the talent of his fists, as much as his ability to get information about any and everything. Never one to be caught by surprise or bested, Kieran knows what you’re going to do before you do it…until Darcy Quinlan enters his life. She introduces herself with a knife to his throat and a promise of unbridled pain. Darcy’s life has been destroyed by betrayal and false promises of safety. Living on the streets for the last eight years, she’s has been a ghost. Never in one place long enough to be seen because you can’t catch what isn’t there. Now Kieran sees her and can’t erase her image from his mind.

Kieran and Darcy must now battle to keep her alive and by his side. As her past enters her life from every angle, Kieran makes certain her safety is no longer a concern, annihilating her demons at every corner. He’ll fight, he’ll maim, he’ll torture and he’ll murder to keep Darcy protected. If Kieran can win, her life will no longer be shrouded in blackness…loyalty will lift the veil.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Blackness Takes Over was Norma Jeanne's debut novel. What began as an homage to the home town of a homesick Midwestern girl, unfolded a story of love, danger, humor, and trust. Blackness Awaits was the highly anticipated continuation of Blackness Takes Over, leading readers through the twists and turns of the unconventional world in The Blackness Series. Her third novel, Shrouded in Blackness, ventures into a criminal world where violence and vengeance reign supreme. She's currently working on her untitled fourth novel.

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Norma Jeanne recently found herself relocating to the United Kingdom. Now living in Belfast, she took hold of the opportunity to kick the 9-5 job for a chance to become an author. The best part: working from her home office, she gets to spend more time with her cast of crazy characters (written and real).

In her free time Norma Jeanne is a voracious reader and consumes books as readily as meals. She is a people watcher by nature and uses her experiences in life, observed or otherwise, to build the worlds and characters that thrive in her books. A believer in the strength of the human spirit, Norma Jeanne writes the stories of people that persevere when all appears to be lost.

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” –Dylan Thomas


Rafflecopter Link (Needs to be added on your post)
--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

1 Winner will receive a Swag Pack (Bookmark, Postcard, Sticky Notes, Pen and a Tote Bag, Plus an E-Book ARC) by Norma Jeanne Karlsson.

Blog Tour: How To Get Ainsley Bishop To Fall In Love With You by T.M.Franklin- Guest Post and Review

AinsleyAuthor: T.M.Franklin

Publisher: The Writers Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publication Date: June 12th 2014
Blurb Description: Seventeen-year-old Oliver Wendell Holmes (Yes, his parents are just that peculiar, but his brother's name is Sherlock, so it could have been worse) knows that he's different. He's quirky, awkward, and he's okay with that. Oliver also likes making lists-meticulous procedures for achieving his goals, step-by-step. Whether it's "How to Get an A in Chemistry" or "How to Get Accepted to MIT," he has a process, and it's worked for him so far. He doesn't even care that the popular kids mock him. Oliver's got his eye on the prize.


So when he decides it's time to declare his feelings for Ainsley Bishop, the girl of his dreams, it's only natural for him to make a list-a point-by-point strategy to win her heart. He knows it will take a grand gesture for her to see all he has to offer, and her approaching birthday provides the ideal opportunity for Oliver to put his plan into action.

Finding the perfect gift is a challenge Oliver meets with his usual dogged determination. He'll need to watch her carefully for clues to pinpoint exactly what he should give her. And along the way, he might just learn that what Ainsley really needs is not quite what he expected.

Ainsley Blog Tour

Ainsley is available now!

Amazon |Barnes & Noble |iTunes |Kobo | TWCS


Giveaway


T.M. Franklin
T.M. Franklin started out her career writing non-fiction in a television newsroom. Graduating with a B.A. in Communications specializing in broadcast journalism and production, she worked for nine years as a major market television news producer, and garnered two regional Emmy Awards, before she resigned to be a full-time mom and part-time freelance writer. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards.

In addition to MORE and its sequel, The Guardians, Franklin penned the Amazon best-selling short stories A Piece of Cake andWindow, which also won a Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Award for Short Story/Fantasy. Her new YA romance, How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, is Franklin’s first love story without a paranormal or fantasy element, although she believes love is the best kind of magic.
TWELVE, the final installment in the MORE Trilogy will be released in the fall of 2014.
Connect with T.M. Franklin

Reviews




GUEST POST: Fitting In and Standing Out

By T.M. Franklin
Stressed teen
We’ve all heard it – being a teenager before is harder than is used to be. There’s increased pressure to perform, more competition to get in college, and no guarantee of a job, even if you do get a degree. On top of that is all the social pressure. And as the mother of a teen, it does seem to me like they have it tougher than back in my day (I say, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man.)
MIT. The Land of Opportunity.

Kids today live in a world that’s faster and smaller than ever. News comes at them in an instant, communication is lightning fast and distilled to 140-character blurbs. Social media makes it easier than ever before to meet people, but it also makes it easier than ever before for someone to criticize or mock them. Anonymity makes cyber-bullying a very real threat – and one that can be just as devastating as the getting-pushed-into-a-locker kind.
Every teen wants to have friends, and the characters in How to Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You are no different. They deal with the pressure to fit in, however, in very different ways.
Oliver is very aware he’s not part of the popular crowd. He’s smart and funny, but a loner with only one true friend, Viney Palmari. The popular kids make fun of Oliver, but he really tries not to let it bother him.
I knew what people said about me. Geek. Freak. Nerd. The words stung, sure. It wasn’t like I didn’t have feelings, after all. But I also knew what so many of my classmates couldn’t seem to wrap their minds around. High school was four years of torture before life truly began. I understood that college was where I would one day shine, where I would find myself, and high school was simply a stepping stool to get me where I wanted to go.

So I ignored the insults as much as I could and kept mostly to myself, with the exception of Viney, of course. I kept my head down and my eyes on the prize.
Except . . .
Except when it came to Ainsley Bishop.
- How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, Prologue
I really wanted to write a story about a boy who was quirky and different, but was okay with that. I wanted Oliver to be a guy who doesn’t have to change or go through some kind of makeover to get the girl. I wanted him to realize that he just has to be true to himself, and people will come to realize what a great guy he is… including Ainsley.
As for Ainsley, she deals with things a little differently. Where Oliver focuses on his own goals and dreams, Ainsley puts other people’s needs – including her boyfriend, Ian’s - before her own.
Her eyes flashed, and she sat back, crossing her arms over her chest. “It’s not that big a deal, Oliver.”
I nodded. “Sorry.”
I glanced up at her, and her eyes softened. “No, I’m sorry. I guess I don’t think it’s that important. Not really.”
“It is,” I said quickly. “If it’s important to you, it’s important.”
Ainsley sighed and leaned forward on the table. “I just don’t want to make a big deal about it. If it means so much to Ian, why shouldn’t I give it to him?”
I was in untested waters, felt like the ground was moving beneath my feet. Ainsley seemed to actually be asking my opinion about something—something that meant something to her—and I didn’t want to let her down.
“I think . . .” I hesitated, but Ainsley was watching me with wide, expectant eyes. “I think it’s nice to do things for people you care about,” I said. “But I also think there are times you need to do things for yourself—to make yourself happy. And the play is something that’s important to you, so maybe . . . maybe Ian should be the one to give in to you? He’s not the one who’s going to be on that stage, you know? I mean, it’s your name in the program, right? It’s your responsibility. Shouldn’t it be the way you want it to be?”
Ainsley chewed on her lip, her gaze falling to the tabletop. “I don’t want to disappoint him,” she said quietly. And that one sentence, those seven words, spoke volumes about her. About why she shrugged off college. About why she seemed to think her own goals didn’t matter, or at least weren’t as important as other people’s.
- How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, Chapter 5
Of course, Oliver’s going to do what he can to help Ainsley realize that her own dreams are important too. And I have a feeling he’s up to the task.

**My Review**

This is the CUTEST book I’ve read ever since I flipped open my first Meg Cabot book (think Teen Idol), all those years ago!

Well, I’m not going to go into the actual story line of this book- there is just no fun. (What would be the point of me telling you this happens and then that?) I am, however, going to talk about the brilliant characters!

This book has so many aspects that had me laughing out loud or just going ‘aww’ in my head! The funniest character, by far, was Oliver’s brother- Sherlock! He has deducing habits, a pet goldfish named Watson (which is kind of ironic- you know because Goldfishes have a fifteen second memory span) and uses words he doesn’t fully understand! He was by far my favourite!

Ainsley Bishop. The first time you meet her, you think she is kind of, well, a ditz or a doormat to be more specific- but thank god, she realises it and tries to change! She is an abnormally nice person, smart-ish but you just can’t help liking her. Somewhere in the middle, she starts getting nerves around Oliver and it is just SO cute!

Oliver is a stand-up guy- nerdy, awkward, nervous, and so ridiculously sweet you can’t help empathising with him! His parents, with their own love story, his best friend and the whole perfect gift debacle will have you smiling and wishing you were right there, living it! Another aspect of this book that I loved was the fact that there were barely any 'mean' characters- that seem to be there in all high school romance books!

HTGABTFILWY is one of the best books I've ever read. It was really easy to get into- with not even a single flaw! 

My Verdict:

A sweet, simple, laugh out loud and all around perfect YA read!

Elixir Bound by Katie Carroll- Review, Interview and Giveaway

Author: Kaite Carroll
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Publication Date: August 31st 2012
Blurb Description: Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone. 

It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.

**GIVEAWAY**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**INTERVIEW**

We would love to know more about you:

1. 5 very weird things about you:
--I can kiss my own elbow, which I’ve heard makes me a princess.

--For the past year I’ve been doing this thing called grounding where I go outside and put my bare feet on the earth. I try to do it every day, even when we had feet of snow and sub-freezing temperatures this past winter. 

--As a kid, I used to refuse to eat mac ‘n’ cheese with that fake orange cheese. 

--When I was three, I insisted that I was a boy because I wanted to play baseball for the New York Yankees. 

--I asked my husband to give me one more weird thing, and he say I eat peanut cups weird because I like to eat the chocolate around the edge first and save the middle for last.

2. If you were to be Guardian of something (say an Elixir), would you accept? How would you feel?
I’d like to think that I would accept for the good of the world or some other noble reason. But I definitely wouldn’t want it sprung upon me like happens to Katora in ELIXIR BOUND. I like to have all the information at hand and have time to think things over before making really big decisions like that. And if it would put my family at risk (especially now that I’m a mom), I might say no. Family always comes first for me.

3. 3 books you would love to call yours:
Oh, there are so many. I’ll try to stay away from the super obvious (Harry Potter!). I’d have to go with GRACELING by Kristin Cashore (one of my favorite YA fantasies), THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson (a fabulous contemporary YA), and pretty much anything Maggie Stiefvater has written.

And now, onto your masterpiece:

4. Briefly describe all the characters undertaking the quest- and which one your favourite is:
Katora, the main character, is stubborn, independent, and introspective. Kylene, the younger sister, is sensitive, giving, and not afraid to show her emotions. Bhar, the younger brother, provides some much needed comic relief but is also immature. Hirsten, the love interest, is meticulous, insightful, and supportive (oh, and has really soft lips). Palafair is of the miniature demick species and is the father figure of the group. Zelenka, also of the demick species, is fierce, brave, and not afraid to speak her mind. 

It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but I have to go with Kylene because she is based on my little sister who passed away at the age of 16 and was the inspiration behind me not only writing ELIXIR BOUND but becoming a writer at all.

5. Your favourite line and scene from Elixir Bound:
Man, these are tough questions. There are some nice descriptive lines in the book that I’m kind of proud of, but I’ll go with something a little philosophical. As Katora contemplates whether or not to become guardian of the Elixir, she finally confides some of her fears to Hirsten, and he says, “I’m sure there are all kinds of forces that play a role in what happens to each one of us. And there’s no way for us to know what’s really in our control.”

I love the scene in chapter five where Katora, her siblings, Hirsten, and Palafair are sitting around the fire telling stories. It’s early in the journey and the night before Katora’s two older sisters are to return home. The mood goes from silly, where the siblings reminisce about their crazy childhood teasing each other, to more serious as they look forward to the dangers of the journey and being in Faway Forest (with a nice kissing scene right in the middle). So much of that scene was inspired by my own childhood growing up in a large family. It was fun to be able to incorporate that stuff into the story.

6. What's after Elixir Bound for you?
I’m working on a follow up to ELIXIR BOUND, more of a companion story than a second in a series, called ELIXIR SAVED. Right now it’s still in the drafting stage and is told from three different points of view. Two are well-known characters from BOUND, Kylene and Zelenka, and one is a new. It’s turning out to be even more epic in scope. Right now the tagline is “Each saved by the Elixir, three survivors must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice with their second chances at life.”


**MY REVIEW**


Stunning and brilliantly conceptualised, Elixir Bound is The Lord of The Rings with a YA fiction twist.

Reading the synopsis, I didn't expect much- for the book to be lacking in some way- and I received a very pleasant, unexpected surprise. Elixir Bound can be described in one word- Amazing!

Okay, fine. I have a lot more to say. Reasons why Elixir Bound has my 5-starred review:

1. Brilliant Descriptions:

In loads of adventure/ quest-y books, you find descriptions to be lacking, leaving too much to the imagination- that lots of people hate doing. Well, I can say with absolute certainty that Elixir Bound is not one of those books. I quite literally felt like I was in the book- especially in all of the major scenes- the Tilli Demick, Yesalda but the best by far was when Katora reaches the field where the flowers of the Elixir are grown. Carroll's ability to envision scenes in uncanny.

2. A Realistic Heroine:

Pretty, capable and sure- that's what heroines are these days. Perhaps they have minor doubts but never anything to deter their self confidence. Katora Kase is the exception. I could literally feel myself mirroring her thoughts, both moral and practical, on her quest to find the Elixir flowers. I loved the way the author expressed her feelings of doubt, anger, love and strong headedness- so believe able

3. A book not centred around a guy:

Don't get me wrong- there is a guy- but refreshingly, this book was not just about what one guy thought about Katora, or whether or not he liked her. Hirsten is sweet sincere and a bit of an introvert. It was pretty much the cutest story ever, which didn't eat up the spotlight, which I really liked.

My Verdict:


Undoubtedly a must read- for all lovers of YA Fiction!