Monday, November 30, 2015

Promo Post and Giveaway: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
Published: November 17th, 2015
Published by: Skyscape
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy

Seven girls tied by time. 
Five powers that bind. 
One curse to lock the horror away. 
One attic to keep the monsters at bay. 
After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normalneeds a new definition. 

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal. 

Find out more about signed copies HERE!   


About the Author:
Alys Arden was raised by the street performers, tea leaf-readers, and glittering drag queens of the New Orleans, French Quarter. She cut her teeth on the streets of New York and has worked all around the world since. She either talks too much or not at all. She obsessively documents things. Her hair ranges from eggplant to cotton-candy-colored. One dreary day in London, while dreaming of running away with the circus, she started writing The Casquette Girls. Her debut novel garnered over one million reads online before being acquired by Skyscape in a two book deal. Rep’d by ICM.

The Excerpt:

On the Road 

October 9th

The day had finally come.
     Elation coursed through my head, my chest, my stomach—until the tips of my fingers tingled, as if the sensation were trying to escape the confines of my nervous system.
     My father and I were finally on our way home.
     Trying not to let the anticipation drive me crazy, I leaned back in the passenger seat and took deep breaths, inhaling the scents of worn black leather and bubble gum. The combination reminded me of sitting in the front seat as a child. I’d always been up for a ride in my father’s prized possession because I knew there’d be a sugary pink stick waiting for me in the glove box.
     The city wasn’t exactly encouraging people to come home yet, but my father had always been a bit of a rebel. This fact, topped with endless nights of me begging and pleading, had finally made those four little words slip out of his mouth: “Okay, let’s go home.”
     As soon as he caved, I fled the Parisian boarding school where my French mother had dumped me while my father and I were “displaced.” She didn’t tell me good-bye, and I never looked back.
     I landed in Miami late last night, and we were on the road by six this morning. I didn’t want to give my father the chance to renege.
     Ten hours later, we were still purring down the interstate in his 1981 BMW.
     But I didn’t mind the long drive. In my sixteen years, I’d never been away from my father for that long. I’d never been away from New Orleans for that long either. It felt like years since the mandatory evacuation, but in reality it had only been two months—two months, two days, and nine hours since the Storm had touched ground.
     The Storm was the largest hurricane in US history. Scientists were still debating whether it should even be considered a hurricane because it had smashed all previous classification parameters. They didn’t even name it. Everyone simply referred to it as “the Storm.” Economists were predicting it would end up being the greatest natural disaster in the Western world, and there were even rumors flying around that the federal government was considering constituting the area uninhabitable and not rebuilding the city. That idea was incomprehensible to me.
     The media was all over the place about the devastation. We’d heard such conflicting stories there was really no telling what would be awaiting us (or not awaiting us) upon our arrival. Had our home been damaged, flooded, ransacked, robbed—or any combination of those things? Was it now just rotting away? I fiddled with the sun-shaped charm hanging from the silver necklace that nearly reached my waist, wrapping and unwrapping the thin chain around my fingers.
     My phone buzzed.  
     Brooke            3:42 p.m. Are you close? Text me as soon as you get home. I want to know      everything, ASAP! xoxo.

I quickly pecked,  
Adele            3:43 p.m. I will! How’s La-La land? <3 nbsp="" p="">
     I didn’t exactly have a laundry list of close friends, but Brooke Jones and I had been attached at the hip since the second grade. The Joneses had been stuck in Los Angeles since the evacuation, and Brooke was freaking out on a daily basis because her parents were adjusting to the West Coast lifestyle at an alarming rate. Even the thought that her parents might permanently relocate to California made me cringe.
     “Waffle House?” my father asked as we sped past the Florida state line into Alabama. He proceeded down the exit ramp before I could respond.

      A bell dinged when I opened the door of the infamous southern chain, causing all of the employees to shout a welcome without looking up from what they were doing. My father headed to the bathroom, and I jumped into a booth, grabbing a napkin to wipe pancake-syrup residue off the table.
     “I’ll be with ya in a second, darlin’,” a waitress yelled from across the narrow, shoe box–shaped diner.
     Johnny Cash blared on the jukebox, the air reeked of grease, and the fluorescent bulb in the overhead light gave everything a sickly tint. I couldn’t help but chuckle, thinking about the stark contrast of this scene to my life just two nights ago: sitting in a café on the Champs-Élysées, eating a crêpe suzettes with my mother. Well, I’d been eating a crêpe. She’d never allow herself to eat something as appalling as sugar.
     Midchuckle, I caught the gaze of a guy sitting solo in a booth across the aisle, who was slowly stirring a cup of coffee. Our eyes locked. My cheeks started to burn. I grabbed a menu so I could pretend to focus on something and let my long waves of espresso-colored hair fall in front of my face, trying to recall the last time I’d taken a shower. Ugh. I’d been in transit for more than twenty-four hours at this point.
     I lifted my eyes to find him still looking intensely at me.
     He was probably a few years older than me . . . and far too sophisticated to be sitting in this particular establishment among the tall hairdos and flip-flops. His black leather jacket was not the biker kind you might find in any diner in the Deep South—it was softer looking, trendier, possibly custom-made. The jacket, along with his dark, slicked hair, made him appear part James Dean, part Italian Vogue. For a split second I forgot where I was, as if stuck in some kind of Paris–Alabama time-continuum hiccup.
     When I realized I was staring at him again, I became instantly flustered. His eyes didn’t move, but the corners of his mouth slowly spread upward into an innocent smile. Or maybe it was deceptively innocent? Just as my heart began to speed up at the prospect of finding out, my fork slid across the table, flew halfway across the room, and clanked against his ceramic mug.
     “Sorry!” I covered my face, mortified, and considered crawling underneath the table. I’d been so caught up in the moment I hadn’t even noticed myself flick it.
     “Don’t worry, honey, I’ll bring ya a new one,” the waitress yelled.
     As if I was worried about the fork. I’d nearly taken out the eye of the hottest guy within a fifty-mile radius. My heart pounded melodramatically.
     When I finally mustered the courage to raise my head to catch another glimpse of him, all I saw was his mug on top of a ten-dollar bill. Realizing I’d been hiding my gaze from no one, I became even more embarrassed.  
     Of course he ran. I am obviously hazardous.
     “You okay?” my father asked as he slid into the orange leather booth.
     “Yep, the jet lag must have just kicked in,” I blurted out, “but I’m super excited for cheesy eggs.”
     “I thought you hated American cheese?” he asked suspiciously. “You always called it plastic.”
     “Yeah, well, I guess something becomes more desirable when you can’t have it.” There were certainly no American-cheese-like products in France.
     We ordered and then sat in silence while we waited for our food. My father turned his head to stare out the window. I knew he was too nervous to ask me about Paris, and I was not going to readily volunteer up any information. It was weird to spend your entire life with someone, be suddenly separated for two months, and then reunite. It felt strange that it felt strange being together.
     Luckily the food came quickly, and soon he was polishing off a stack of waffles, while I forced myself to choke down eggs smothered in plastic cheese.

     “How about I drive for a while?” I asked as we headed back to the car.
     “How about I drive and you study?”
     “Why should I study? Technically, I’m not even enrolled in a school right now.”
     “You are enrolled in a school right now, Adele . . .”
I unintentionally slammed the passenger door after getting in.
     “You are technically still enrolled in Notre-Dame International.” He pulled out of the deserted parking lot and in his best I-am-serious voice added, “And if we get to New Orleans and find out you can’t get into a local school, you’re going to be on the first plane back to Paris. Back to school. That was the deal.”
     “I am not going back to Paris.” I didn’t care what I had previously agreed to. “Je déteste Notre-Dame International! Je déteste Paris!” I said in my most dramatic French accent, but I stopped myself before I said something about detesting my mother. Those were words he certainly would’ve understood. But he had only himself to blame for my speaking French; he was the one who’d forced me to take private lessons since I was five—a year after my mother had skipped town—as if my ability to speak her native language might bring her back.
     “I can’t believe you shipped me off there in the first place. I belong here, not with rich kids in boarding school. Not with her.”
     My eyes began to well up. I knew my reaction would upset him, but even the thought of having to go back to Paris made me want to jump out of the moving car and run away.
     He didn’t know what to do or say next, and soon the old Bimmer filled up with awkward tension. The slightest sign of teen-girl tears made Macalister Le Moyne uncomfortable. My father always tried his best to be paternal, but it never really seemed natural for him, not even after all this time of it being just the two of us.
     He patted my hand. “Don’t get upset. You know school comes first.”
     I’d never once heard him say anything bad about my mother, but I could tell he felt relieved that I’d fight to stay in New Orleans with him instead of returning to her in Paris. He was simultaneously terrified and proud that I’d inherited his rebellious streak rather than her need for refinement.
     Ever since I could remember, my father lived with a perpetually tired look. He’d inherited the ever-popular bar Le Chat Noir from my grandfather around the same time my mother left us, making him an artist-turned-business-owner and single parent all at once. Since then, he kept mostly nocturnal hours, waking midday to give himself enough time to work on sculptures and furniture in his metal shop before going back to the bar. Now he was unshaven and a bit shaggier than usual, appearing to have aged a few years in the last couple of months, just like all the other displaced citizens of New Orleans.

The Storm had been peculiar, not just because of the suddenness with which it had grown but because its target had been so unexpected. The day before it hit, the Storm was a routine Category 2 hurricane—not something to shrug off but something people knew how to handle— predicted to make landfall somewhere around Galveston, Texas. Eighteen hours prior to hitting land, the hurricane unpredictably changed course and headed straight for New Orleans.
     Trying to clear the city with such short notice caused total mayhem. We ended up evacuating to Miami with a few of Dad’s bartenders, never dreaming we’d be gone for more than a few days. But before the Storm left the Gulf of Mexico, it tipped the Saffir-Simpson scale, and once it hit land, like most folks upon arrival in New Orleans, it didn’t want to leave. We watched in horror as it hovered.
     And hovered.
     And hovered.
     All we could do was stare at the TV and wait for our unwelcome houseguest to take a hint. That was before the levees broke and turned the city into a fishbowl.
     When reality kicked in and we were suddenly unable to return home for an undetermined period, my father decided I would be better off in Paris with my mother than in Miami with a bunch of vagabonds looking for bar work. I wasn’t sure if he really believed that or if he’d just cracked under post-Storm pressure; either way, he shipped me off to France as soon as he managed to get in touch with her. As far as I knew, that was the first time they’d had contact in the twelve years she’d been gone.
     I refused to let the tears fall as I looked out the car window.  
     I’m not going back to live with her. I won’t let it happen. New Orleans is my home.
     Even thinking about going back to Paris made me immediately selfconscious. Up until eight weeks ago, I’d always thought of myself as just a normal teenager—not the head-cheerleader type but not the type to be shoved into lockers either. I did pretty well in school but was certainly not in the running for valedictorian. Besides rebellion, I’d also inherited my father’s artistic tendencies, but (to my curatorial mother’s high-art dismay) I channeled them mostly through designing clothes. Despite all of this, I’d hardly tipped average by Parisian standards. During the last two months, I couldn’t have felt more plain, more uncultured, or more passé. My Parisian classmates were like ballerinas in six-inch heels, born to analyze haute couture and recite Baudelaire, making my skinny jeans and DIY dresses seem childish and unsophisticated.
     I sighed and attempted to push the French memories out of my consciousness: the sparkling Eiffel Tower, the macarons from Ladurée, and most of all Émile.
     My stomach twisted.
     I definitely didn’t want to think about Émile. Not the way his slight smile always made me wonder what he was thinking. Not his Vespa or ’iz stupid, sexy accent.  
     Pathetic, Adele. You didn’t mean anything to him. He’s just your mother’s assistant.
     The car went over a bump, and I realized trying not to think about Émile was actually making me think about Émile. Ugh.    

The Giveaway:
  • 5 physical copies open US only.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

The Trailer:


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Post #43, Stacking the Shelves, and November 2015 Wrap-Up

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme.
 Last week on the blog:
I didn't do so well with reviews this past week.  I do have another book that I finished that I need to review, but I didn't have time to really review it yet.  However, even though I didn't get my goal of two reviews a week met this week, I did actually reach my Goodreads goal of reading 130 book a whole month early.  Yay!  I'm guessing part of it is the audio books I've been listening to, but I figure they count, right?  And I'm ahead on my e-galleys for a change!  Probably because there hasn't been very many that I've got downloaded over the next few weeks.  I had a nice Thanksgiving with both sides of my family.  I had to work 8 hours on Black Friday at the bookstore where I work part time.  Since I gave up on my NaNoWriMo novel this year, I was able to do more reading. Still kind of sad about it, but hey, still not sure how much of a writer I really want to be. 

This week on the blog:
  • Promo Post:  The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
  • Cover Characteristic:  Beds
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review:  Hellraisers (The Devil's Engine #1) by Alexander Gordon Smith
  • Book Tour:  Shadow in the Sea by Sheila A. Nielson
  • Debut Authors Tour Stop:  Holly Bodger - author of 5 to 1
  • Possible reviews:  Armada  by Ernest Cline, Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Need by Joelle Charbonneau
I should probably finish my audio book this week.  I'm enjoying reading Onyx before bed each night. Sometimes getting so wrapped in it I forget to go to bed when I plan to!  I'm excited that the Debut Authors Tour got started again this year!  It looked like because of the issues with a certain stalking author last year that they weren't going to do it again this year.  But then things changed, and it's back! And I'm so excited to get to host two really awesome authors!  The first one will be this Saturday.
As I look back on the challenges and stuff that I've done this past year I've been thinking about hosting my own year-long challenge.  Something I find myself saying a lot, especially on other blogs when they do their WOW posts, is that I still need to start some book series that everyone loves.  Examples, Throne of Glass series, Covenant series by JLA, The Styclar Saga, and The Madman's Daughter, to name a few.  And some of these I even have the first book in the series, just haven't had the time to pick it up yet.  So I'm thinking of doing a challenge for that, maybe it's called "It's New to Me"?  Don't know.  Wondering if anyone else would join in or if it's worth messing with.  It may just be a personal challenge. We'll see.  
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  A small list this week, the way I need to keep it!

--> Physical books:

Both were from the publishers.  The first one I think I asked for through the Shelf Awareness e-newsletter.  The 2nd was unsolicited.


Only one this week. Very proud of myself!  Although it didn't feel like there were actually that many that popped up.

No free e-books, or any purchased books!  Part of that is because I was broke.  Plus my extra discount for employee appreciation days starts tomorrow at the bookstore where I work, so I'm waiting for that too.  As for the free ebooks, I haven't seen too many that sound that great, and I've been deleting the emails before I read some of them to even get tempted.

End of the month Wrap-Up:
  • Series Ender Challenge:  As long as it is the final book and no more come out, I finished the Fallen series by Lauren Kate when I read Unforgiven.  I finished the Penryn and the End of Days series by Susan Ee when I read End of Days.  That gets me to 4, so I may not quite reach my goal of level 2, but we'll see!
  • TBR Pile Challenge:  I'm not sure if End of Days  will count for this or not, but I think maybe it does?  Otherwise, none.
  • Fit Blogger:  Nothing.  I really need to go to the gym that I'm paying for!
So, that was my November, even with one more day, that's about it.  How was your November? Do you think you might want to join into a challenge next year like the one I'm thinking of doing?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Awaken by Christy Sloat

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

“Happily ever after is hers for the taking.”

Once upon a time I found myself locked away in Spindle Ridge Asylum, punished for a murder I didn’t commit. It was all part of Maleficent’s evil plan. I didn’t remember who I was then … now I do. My name is Aurora, and I am the rightful queen of this realm. Armed with my memories, I’m ready to take charge of my kingdom once more. Happily ever after evades me, yet I long to claim it with my true love, Sawyer, beside me. That fairy tale ending seems impossible with him locked in the thralls of a sleeping curse. As much as I’d love to sit by his bedside and eagerly await a cure, I must first travel into the terrifying Dark Woods to stop Raven from stripping me of all that is rightfully mine. I am not only a queen, but a warrior who will fight for her kingdom. Some may die. Blood will be shed. But when this ending comes, I will settle for nothing less than a blissful ever after.
About the Author 
Christy Sloat is a SoCal born girl who resides in New Jersey currently with her husband, two daughters and Sophie her Chihuahua. Christy has embraced the love of reading and writing since her youth and was inspired by her grandmother’s loving support. Christy passes that love of reading, writing, and creativity to her daughters, family, and friends. When you do not find Christy within the pages of a book you can find her being mommy, wife, crafter, and dear friend. She loves adventurous journeys with her friends and can be known to get lost inside a bookstore. Be sure to venture into her Past Lives Series, The Visitor’s Series, and watch for many more exciting things to come.

Check out her website:  
Facebook: Christy Sloat Author
Twitter: @ChristySloat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

Cover Characteristic: Fish

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Promo: The Giving Way to Happiness by Jenni Santi

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

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

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

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

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

Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads


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

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

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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


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

This one shows how I feel about all the food!

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

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

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


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

Promo and Author Interview: Molly Lee by Andrew Joyce

Book Information:
Genre: Adventure/Historical Fiction

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

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

 Author Interview:

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

Author Andrew Joyce: