Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [29]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to gab on about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week.

So, I had my tooth pulled this week and so far it's proving to have gone well. I'm really getting tired of eating pudding and mashed potatoes, and I've been sleeping a lot, but overall I'm doing pretty good. I'm trying to keep my head up though, because Tuesday I leave for Wisconsin to go spend turkey day with my girlfriend and her family. Yay! Now for the part you care about, the books. I actually didn't get any from Netgalley this week. Shock!

For Review:

No Alligators in Sight by Kirsten B. Feldman

Amazon Freebies:

Sign of the Throne by Melissa Eskue Ousley
Ember X by Jessica Sorensen


I am Venus: A Novel by Bárbara Mujica Thanks Patty!
Divergent by Veronica Roth Thanks Raquel!

What about you?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: Mentality by Ceet the Author

Title: Mentality
Author: Ceet The Author
Format: Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Pub. Date: December 8th 2011
Source: Ceet the Author


3.5 stars.


I have to go on the record saying that this book is definitely not in my normal genre. However, I was intrigued enough by the premise of this book to read it, when the author asked me for my honest review. Unfortunately, Goodreads doesn't have a half-star option, because I think this book deserves a 3.5.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the women of this book were written. Normally, men who write women (to me) are hit or miss, either completely accurate or way off base. Mentality is definitely the former. The characters seemed gritty and real, and though I didn't connect with them as much as I'd have liked, I appreciate what the author conveyed through them.

This book is also really fast paced. It's easy to read in one sitting, and it keeps you hooked throughout the text. For me, it seemed a bit too rushed in parts, but overall it works at a good pace, and is clear to understand.

That being said, I found the fight scenes extremely well done. I'm really picky when it comes to fight scenes, because I easily lose track of who is doing what, and who's winning, and things of that nature, but I didn't have a problem keeping up with this part of the story.

I had a love/hate relationship with the writing style itself. On the one hand, I appreciate the urban, well, Mentality of the prose within this text. It ads a layer of realism and heart to both the characters and the story. But at the same time, my inner grammarian couldn't help but to notice each flaw in the language. I think this book could easily get a four out of five with the help of an editor to tweak some parts.

Over all, I think that anyone with an interest in a very "real" story that addresses racial issues, drug issues, and love and lust, this might be a book for you- just be ready to read in slang. Reader beware that this contains sex, drugs, and violence.

Thank you to Ceet the Author for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cover Reveal: Copper Ravens by Jennifer Allis Provist

Today, I'm sharing with you the cover of Copper Ravens by Jennifer Allis Provist. It's book two in the Copper Legacy series, and will be published by Spencer Hill Press in 2014. The jacket was designed by Lisa Amowitz, and it is positively gorgeous! Here's the blurb of this new story!

Sara should be happy.

She has what every girl wants: a man who loves her, a beautiful home, and wealth beyond imagining. She rescued her brother from the Peacekeepers, destroyed the Iron Queen, and doesn’t have to go to her boring job any more.

And yet… Sara still doesn’t know if her father is alive or dead. Her mother hides in the garden, brooding about her missing husband. Her sister, the Inheritor of Metal, is scared of her own shadow, and her brother spends his days fighting and gambling. To add to Sara’s misery, the new queen (gold, of course) is more than a bit crazy, she misses her life in the Mundane world, and, worst of all, Micah wants to have children. A lot of them.

As Sara wavers between happiness and homesickness, a conspiracy emerges against the Raven clan, implicating them in a plot to dethrone the Gold Queen. How can Sara prove her family’s innocence, and become the consort Micah needs her to be, without losing herself in the process?

How intriguing is that? Be sure to add it to your Goodreads TBR list by clicking here. Check out the full cover art:

Isn't it stunning? Now, don't forget to follow the author to keep up with this series!

About the Author
Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog, two birds, three cats, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: To Walk a Pagan Path

Title: To Walk a Pagan Path: Practical Spirituality for Every Day
Author: Alaric Albertsson
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: November 8th 2013
Source: Netgalley


Four stars.


To Walk a Pagan Path: Practical Spirituality for Every Day is a non-fiction guide book on how to not only walk the Pagan path, but how to incorporate your spiritual beliefs into daily life.

I have been a practicing pagan for about ten years now, but even now finding time for religion is still something that I struggle with. I do walk the walk, but it's nowhere near as often or as in depth as I like. To Walk a Pagan Path definitely helped with some great advice on how to solve this problems.

One of these steps has all to do with food. This book includes recipes for things like breads and treats to make any day of the week, or especially for a ritual. There's also a section on crafting things that will become vital to most, like candles and wreaths. Plus, Alaric Albertsson gives insight on how to make daily ritual completely feasible in today's busy (and urban) world- you can feel just as connected to your path with a simple ritual as you can with an ornately complicated one.

I also found the section written about the Wheel of the Year extremely helpful. I'm always searching for ways to better my sabbats and rituals, and I appreciated gaining insight from this book, since it is not strictly focused on Wicca, but paganism as a whole.

The one part of this book that I didn't really connect to was the section regarding familiars and animals. While I respect and understand the importance that having pets and caring for nature has in the pagan world, it wasn't very practical advice for me personally. I live in housing that doesn't allow animals bigger than fish, and I don't have land. I also am not allowed to have multiple kinds of lights used for plants, and I don't have the space to grow them in natural lighting. However, pet people and homeowners will probably find this far more useful.

I would be more likely to hand this book to someone who is relatively new or inexperienced to paganism, because it reads fairly simply and is easy to understand. However, I'm sure that even well seasoned practitioners would pick up a pointer or two from To Walk a Pagan Path. I know that I'd keep it on my Magick shelf, for sure.

Thank you to Llewellyn Publications and Netgalley for my copy.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [28]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to gab on about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. I got more books than I was anticipating this week... I guess entering so many Halloween hops paid off! But they did help to make my week brighter. This past week, I had to go to the emergency dental care center, for what I learned is an erupted tooth. I have an appointment on Monday to get it extracted. I'm freaking out, because I've never had to have a tooth pulled before. Wish me luck, guys. Now, to distract myself with books.... I ended up with a few cookbooks. 'Tis the season to impress my in-laws. Falalalala.....


Fine Cooking Thanksgiving Cookbook: Recipes for Turkey and All the Trimmings by Fine Cooking Magazine
Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean
Let's Talk Turkey . . . And All the Trimmings: 100 Delicious Holiday Recipes, Tips, and Ideas from America's Top Magazines by Hearst
Sweet & Savory from Miraval Chefs by Justin Cline Macy, Kim Macy
Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes—From Cleopatra to Camus by Kelly Murphy, Hallie Fryd

For Review:

The B-Side Diaries by Brian Joyce


Memoirs of a Bastard Angel by Harold Norse


Masked by Lou Anders (& SuckerPunch DVD) Thanks Mary!
Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle (Signed) Thanks Julie!
Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) by Karina Halle (Signed) Thanks Julie!
Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3) by Karina Halle (Signed) Thanks Julie!
Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison (ebook) Thanks Jessica!
Him (Him #1)by Carey Heywood (Signed + swag) Thanks Carey!
Love and Decay: Volume One (Love and Decay #1-6) by Rachel Higginson (ebook) Thanks Mandy!
Kinslayer (The Lotus War #2) by Jay Kristoff Thanks Heidi!
Red Hill by Jamie McGuire (Signed audibook) Thanks Jamie!!

I also won a signed postcard of If Only We by Jessica Sankiewicz. Thanks Jessica!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cover Reveal: Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia

Jennifer Murgia
Young Adult Fiction – Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: September 9, 2014
ISBN10: 9781937053 - ISBN13: 9781937053567
Cover Designer: Lisa Amowitz
Formats: Trade Paper, e-book


Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.
Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to—one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder—a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.

Goodreads Link.

About the Author

Jennifer Murgia has long loved the dark and speculative—and it’s from these dark places that she weaves fantastical stories, often hoping to find truth in them. Her Young Adult Fantasy & Contemporary novels include the upcoming Historical FOREST OF WHISPERS (9/9/14 – Spencer Hill Press), BETWEEN THESE LINES, ANGEL STAR, LEMNISCATE & THE BLISS. She is the co-founder and coordinator of YA FEST and currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, her two children, and a very spoiled cat. Jennifer is represented by Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary Agency.

Connect with the Author

Jennifer is available for book signings, book fairs, interviews, library and school visits. Please contact her directly for scheduling at:
Publicity inquiries:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: New Orleans Con Sabor Latino

Title: New Orleans Con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking
Author: Zella Palmer Cuadra, Natalie Root, Adolfo Garcia
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 20th 2013
Source: Netgalley


Four stars.


New Orleans Con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking is a nonfiction book that features a collection of stories that help to explain the passion of cooking, the history of Latino cooking, and recipes that come out of New Orleans, Louisiana.


I love New Orleans. I lived there for a little while, and I immediately fell in love with the place. The food is delicious, the people are nice, and I - being from up north- definitely experienced culture shock, though in the best possible way. I was surprised by the amount of story in this book; it goes so far beyond a basic cookbook.

Part of what made this book so intriguing was the wide variety of people who lent their voices to the publication. From a waiter to a businessman to a James Beard Award semifinalist, the passion for cooking and the love of their roots runs deep, and it's clear in this text.

Between the gorgeous photography and the broad range of countries represented by the recipes in this collection, I definitely made a list of things that I must make. Mexican, Dominican, Creole, Spanish, Puerto Rican, and Cuban influences and cuisine are all featured. Some of the dishes that I'm most excited to cook are Maque Choux with Sauteed Shrimp and Chorizo Grit Cake, Seafood Paella with Shrimp Boudin, and Tres Leche Bread Pudding.

Another thing that I really appreciated about this book is that, at the end, there is a list of addresses and websites for all of the businesses and restaurants that were mentioned throughout the text. As someone who plans to return to Nawlins, this is extremely helpful- now I know where I'll be eating!

If you have an interest in Latino heritage or cooking, or New Orleans as a whole, than you should check this book out. Thank you to Netgalley and University Press of Mississippi for my copy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mini Review: First Love by C.J. Harte

Title: First Love
Author: C.J. Harte
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: October 15th 2013
Source: Netgalley


Three stars.


Drew is a rodeo star from Wyoming who pauses her career in order to earn a medical degree, so that she can one day come back and practice medicine as well as ranch. Jordan is the daughter of the President who feels the pressure- her every move must uphold the reputation expected of her from her parents. She hires Drew as a tutor, and what starts as a purely professional relationship grows into something far more unexpected.


This review won't be very long. Overall, this was an okay story. Not good, not bad, just middle of the road for me.

+I adored Drew. She's strong and smart and is definitely the main player in this book, in my opinion. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for smart ass characters, and a sucker for rancher/cowboy(girl) types too. I liked Jordan for the sheer fact that she's relatable. She's sheltered and a bit naive, and is confused when she can't really make sense of the feelings she has for Drew. And when she does begin to understand them, she isn't sure what to do with them because it goes against how she was raised. It was an interesting dynamic for me, since I've been in her shoes.

+I thought that their relationship was sweet. Their feelings for each other go beyond sex, and that much is clear in the writing of the text. I was pleasantly surprised by this fact, and I'm glad that made this a book that had sex in it, but didn't make the story explicitly about it.

Though this book definitely had its strong points, for me it just fell flat. It was predictable and because of that, it dragged on for me. I would definitely read other books by this author, but this title just wasn't a favorite.

Fans of lesbian romance might want to give this book a try. It has solid characters and a sweet romance, but it was just not my cup of tea.

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books, Inc. & Netgalley for my copy.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [27]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to gab on about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. Bear with me this week, guys. I skipped last week's, because I was out of town in St. Louis to go see Beauty and the Beast on stage. It was amazing, by the way. Buuuuut because I skipped, I have double the load this week. Oops! I also actually bought some this week from my library, because I have an addiction...


Alice in Tumblr-land: And Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation by Tim Manley
Expressing the Inner Wild: Tattoos, Piercings, Jewelry, and Other Body Art by Stephen G. Gordon
Goodbye Pink Room: Rose's Story by Jane Grayshon
Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean

For Review:

How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide by Meghan Doherty
Little Fish: A Memoir from a Different Kind of Year by Ramsey Beyer


Bourbon Street Blues by Greg Herren
Cooking for Kings by Ian Kelly
Decked with Folly by Kate Kingsbury
In the Midst of Winter: Selections from the Literature of Mourning by Mary Jane Moffat
Maus I : A Survivor's Tale : My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

Amazon Freebies:

A French Girl in New York by Anna Adams
Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton


The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti Thanks Kristi
My Spy: Last Spy Standing by Dana Marton (Signed!)Thanks Dana
Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet Thanks Karielle
S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline
Secret Shared by L. Marie Adeline Thanks Yvonne
Splintered by A.G. Howard Thanks Angeline

And, I got a signed copy of The Academy Series by CL Stone! This grand prize from Meredith & Jennifer's Musings and Mel, Erin, & Regina Read-A-Lot included all three books, swag, and a t-shirt! Thanks guys!

Enter this Giveaway:

Come enter my giveaway for an ebook copy of Streaks of Blue by Jack Chaucer by clicking here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blog Tour Interview & Review: Karma Gone Bad

Hello again my lovely followers. You've made it past hump day! Hopefully your week's ending better than it started.

Today, I'm hosting a stop on the blog tour for Jenny Feldon's memoir, Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo. As if getting an advanced copy to review wasn't cool enough already, Jenny was awesome enough to answer some interview questions for Bitches n Prose! Be sure to thank her for stopping by, and be sure to check out Karma Gone Bad. Now, without further ado, Jenny Feldon!


What is your favorite memory from the time that you spent in India?

It's so hard to pick just one! But if I had to...toward the end of our journey, Jay and I rented a houseboat in Kerala, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world and my favorite part of India. We spent days drifting in the backwaters, eating delicious locally grown food, talking to the local residents and just taking everything in. It remains one of the most peaceful and magical trips I've ever taken.

Has your time spent living as an American wife in India inspired, or made you more open minded, to traveling elsewhere in the world?

Yes. I had no idea how close-minded I was until I actually left my own country and got to see some of the world. While we lived in India, we were lucky enough to travel extensively throughout Southeast Asia...Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok and Bali were among the trips we made. Every place we visited revealed such incredible treasures of sights and culture once I learned how to open my eyes beyond the world I'd grown accustomed to seeing. Having little kids at home has kept us mostly in the US for the past few years, but I can't wait to start roaming the globe again once they are old enough to enjoy it with us! There's a whole lot more of the world I can't wait to see.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to any American who is headed off to India for the first time?

Two words: let go. My own sense of identity and pride, and my expectations about the way things were "supposed" to be, were nearly the kiss of death for my Indian journey. There are definitely plenty of people out there who are better suited to understanding and embracing India than I was when we first arrived, but I've never met anyone who has lived or travelled there that hasn't experienced frustrations and challenges. India is a beautiful, complicated, difficult country. Letting go of expectations and taking each moment as it comes is so important. Also, ditch the malaria pills, stock up on Odomos when you arrive, and learn to say "No, thank you" in both Hindi and the regional dialect. Good manners go a long way in any country, and you'll use that expression a LOT :)

What American object or comfort did you miss the most while you lived overseas? What is one thing about the states that you DIDN'T miss?

I hate to admit it, but I missed Starbucks more than anything! I know, I shouldn't really be all that important. But for me, it was part of my identity, not just the caffeine addiction but the comfort of the rituals around it--the warmth of the cup in my hand, settling in for a few stolen moments with a book or a manuscript, the delicious sense of luxury surrounding such a simple thing. What I didn't miss about life in the States was the great big rush that permeated everything in New York City. Everyone was always in a hurry, dodging each other on the sidewalk, shoving to get off a subway car, yelling instructions rapid-fire at an employee behind the counter of the corner deli. At first the slow pace in India drove me nuts, but I soon realized how much more civilized (and less stressful!) life can be without that constant sense of urgency. Life goes by at the same pace whether we're trying to force more minutes into a day or not.

Was making the leap from a blogger to a novelist harder/easier than you expected it to be? How so?

I never intended to be a fact, I started blogging so long ago it wasn't even a verb! I was in graduate school studying to be a fiction writer, and I never thought I'd be anything but that. I started my first blog as sort of a writing exercise, a way to free my mind after spending long days reading (and trying to write) literary novels. Later, after years of blogging being the only medium I worked in, sitting down to write the first draft of Karma Gone Bad was really, really challenging. I was used to short, episodic essays--snippets of life that were meant to stick to the point, wrap up quickly, and be digested in short bursts. Writing narrative requires so much more structure, foresight, and what I like to call "weaving"...everything can't be resolved by the end of a few paragraphs. There needs to be an arc, a big picture. I feel very fortunate to be honing my skills at both blogging and traditional narrative--neither is easy, but they are both wonderful ways to tell a story.

Some authors need to be sitting in a certain spot or be drinking a certain flavor of coffee when they write. Do you have any quirky things that you do while you write?

Nope. Writing with two small kids at home means I write whenever I can, wherever I such luxury as choosing the specifics! Coffee, however, is essential for my daily existence whether I'm writing or parenting, so I guess you could say I need coffee to write. And run errands, and play Candyland, and breathe...

Let's say that Karma Gone Bad gets optioned as a movie RIGHT now, and you get a vote- who would you cast as the main players in your life in India?

My two favorite characters in the book are Venkat, my driver, and my dear friend Anjali. In my dream of dreams, they'd be played by Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, both of whom I think are perfect for the roles! Anna Kendrick would make a great Alexis, and maybe Chris Hemsworth for Peter. And I can't even imagine who would play Jay and I, it seems like such a crazy thing to think about!

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! Now, here are my thoughts on Karma Gone Bad!


Title: Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo
Author: Jenny Feldon
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: November 5th 2013
Source: Netgalley & Sourcebooks


Four stars.

"Karma Gone Bad" is Jenny Feldon's memoir on an upper class American woman moving across the world to India when her husband gets transferred for work. From Manhattan to Hyderabad, the coffee addicted New Yorker learns about the world one adventure at a time, with equal parts of humor, sadness, and self-realization.


This book was a great read from cover to cover. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised.

Why surprised, you may ask? Because Jenny is hilarious. I read this book during a train ride, and I felt like an idiot for laughing out loud. And it happened more than once. Despite the fact that I am most definitely not a Manhattanite, I sympathized with her throughout the text. There were more emotions drawn out besides humor. Fear, confusion, and depression are also present within this book, and I felt like this depth gave Jenny a very honest and relatable voice.

As someone who wants to travel, and for whom India is a top location to visit in the future, I also appreciated the chance to learn from her experiences. Like for instance, how American foods are not necessarily abundant everywhere and I may have to hip check someone for a bag of tortilla chips. Or, just how different transportation and manners are in India versus America. Those who have traveled in the past (and have had their share of blunders) as well as those who wish to will both appreciate this memoir.

The detail that went into this memoir was pretty amazing. I felt like I was in the house with the author, and was sharing her shenanigans. I have read other travel memoirs that read like a simple narcissistic, monotonous narration, and that is definitely NOT the case for Karma Gone Bad! It reads like a quick paced fiction, except that it actually happened. That sounds kind of weird, but it's the only way to really explain it. It almost seems too.... Much to be real, but I totally believe that it is.

Karma Gone Bad is a book that takes books like Eat, Pray, Love and mashes them against Sex in the City for a thought provoking, fascinating, yet hilarious story of a woman's move to India. I think that everyone can take something away from this book, and recommend it to everyone, but especially travelers and travelers at heart.

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for my copy!

Follow the Tour!

Blog Tour Schedule

3-Nov- Withered Papyrus
4-Nov- Figuring Out 40
5-Nov-Edible Garden
6-Nov- A Bookish Way of Life
7-Nov- Bitches n Prose
8-Nov- We Said Go Travel
10-Nov- Salt and Nectar
11-Nov- Laura Rossi
12-Nov- Baby Zone
14-Nov- Back ‘n Groove Mom
15-Nov- Bookshipper
16-Nov- House of Prince
17-Nov- The Top Shelf
19-Nov- Perfectly Disheveled
20-Nov- These Little Waves
21-Nov- Alexandra Wrote
22-Nov- Practical Parenting

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Interview + Giveaway with Jack Chaucer

Hello my lovely followers. I hope your week is off too a good start! I'm really excited today to present to you an interview with Jack Chaucer, author of Streaks of Blue: How the Angels of Newtown Inspired One Girl to Save Her School. He was kind enough to answer my questions, and even provide a few ebooks for you to win! This book is a very emotional, thought provoking one, and I am very grateful that I had the chance to pick his brain for a bit. And now, without further ado, Jack Chaucer- be sure to thank him for stopping by!


Streaks of Blue is a story that touches a very sensitive, but unfortunately all too familiar topic. What drove you to write a book about a school shooting?

The Newtown massacre happened in the state where I live, Connecticut, so it really hit close to home. There's this feeling of hopelessness and helplessness after something so awful. As a novelist, I decided to try to write something meaningful about the issue of school violence. My hope is "Streaks of Blue" will inspire people, especially young people, to think twice about their words and actions, and try to make a positive difference in the world. Make friends, not enemies, especially with kids who might need a hand up in life.

What steps did you take to write from inside the would-be killers' perspectives? Was it a hard frame of mind to get into?

It's an impossible frame of mind to get into for someone who prefers not to kill anything, not even spiders, but for the sake of the story, I forced myself to try. I just used my imagination and, by Chapter 8, I had developed Adam's character enough to write the scene where he daydreams, while hunting, about teaming up with Lee to wipe out the entire school. That was a brutal scene to conjure up and write, but I think it was necessary to get into the mind of this kid and present that very real danger to the reader. The only good thing about that scene is Adam was already being affected by Nicole's involvement in his life. The thought of Lee shooting her as she is running toward him makes him feel sick. And that, believe it or not, was a good sign. Nikki had made this kid really think about consequences for the first time since the plot was hatched.

A portion of the proceeds of Streaks of Blue is donated to the Newtown Memorial Fund, which is a great step to take as an author. How much have you raised so far for these families?

To date, I have sold 14 Amazon paperbacks, 7 Kindle copies and 2 iTunes copies for a total of 23 books sold. Net proceeds are $62.12. That means my readers and I have raised $31.06 for the Newtown Memorial Fund so far. I think that's great considering the book has been out for only a little over a month. I'm a largely unknown indie author so those sales and donations are the result of my own online marketing/social media efforts and awesome book bloggers like yourself who help spread the word. So thank you, Jill! My plan is to make my donations to the Newtown Memorial Fund website every year on December 14th, the anniversary of the tragedy. I love that the NMF's motto is "Hitch Your Wagon to a Star." Well, the character Star who appears to Nicole in her dream in Chapter 2 of my book is inspired by little Emilie Parker, one of the victims. And the teacher in the dream is inspired by Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung. Some readers have criticized me for using the dream angle as implausible, but my response is this: I wanted these victims directly in this story. I wanted them to warn Nicole and everyone who reads this book that if it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone, so do SOMETHING to help stop this madness. The clock could strike 12:14 for us at anytime. I wanted them to relay this sense of urgency directly because it's very easy to let a few months go by and forget the horror and pain that occurred on 12-14-12.

No, thank you. I've heard of some writers that need to have a favorite pen or to be drinking a certain kind of pop while they write to channel creativity. Are there any methods or quirks that you have while you're writing?

Well, I sit in a comfy blue recliner and hand write the first draft. I guess that's my zone. I used to listen to music while I write, but now I find that too distracting. I do, however, like listening to music in the car on the way to work. That's when I seem to come up with good ideas for the characters, scenes and plot as I'm working on the story.

I myself am without children, and stories about shootings such as the one plotted in Streaks of Blue in the news terrify me enough. As a father, can you shed some light on how a parent feels when these horrors happen?

My twins are 2, so it's not like they're in school yet, but just being a parent puts Newtown in a whole new level of ... there are no words that can describe what happened. The bottom line is we have to treat what happened as if OUR kids were murdered that day ... because they are OUR kids. All of humanity loses when we send first graders to school to learn and they never come home. It's a chilling plague on our country and it's not just about guns. It's about basic human relationships. We need to bring at-risk kids in from the fringe very early and make them feel accepted, befriended, loved, etc. If we don't, this cycle of horror will continue to repeat itself.

You're really angry or are having a really rough day: what's the one thing that can always cheer you up?

My kids are pretty good at it because they are so cute and funny. Running and fantasy football are good diversions, too.

Are there any writing projects in the works that you can tell us about?

I'm taking a break for a while after this tough one, but most people haven't read my previous works. "Queens are Wild" is an awesome adult sci-fi thriller with a political bent that takes teen Margeaux Quigley from 1984 to 2036 (52 years) in 52 minutes. She gets dragged into a mission to help thwart an overthrow of the U.S. government in 2036. That book is available on Amazon and everywhere else, just like "Streaks of Blue." "Freeway & the Vin Numbers" is a novella about a Jimi Hendrix-inspired band with original song lyrics that's available for free on Booksie. Just do a search for Jack Chaucer. And my first novel, "Rocco & the Russian Mountains," is a YA e-book also available for free on Booksie. I have a couple of short stories on there as well. If I do write another novel, my goal is to tackle a trilogy. I've been toying with the title "Mammyth." And if "Streaks of Blue" were to really take off, I could possibly see doing a sequel at some point.

Well, I personally vote for a sequel. I'd love to read more. Here's my final question: If you could share advice or a message with all of the bullying victims and outcasts reading this interview, what would you tell them?

I would say hang in there. Life can get much better. The teen years are tough, but as you mature and allow yourself to experience more things in life, you'll learn to put things in perspective, not get so freaked out about various obstacles and grow into a unique and special person. Everybody can turn his or her life around. Sometimes all it takes is one friend or one positive experience, like a hike up a mountain with a spectacular view. It worked for Adam Upton. Try to get away from the negativity and do something positive with positive people. You'll feel better about yourself and expand your mind to see what's possible if life.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! Now, to those who missed my earlier review of Streaks of Blue, here are my thoughts!


Title: Streaks of Blue: How the Angels of Newtown Inspired One Girl to Save Her School
Author: Jack Chaucer
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 27th 2013
Source: Netgalley


Four stars.

While camping out with her best friend Candace, Nikki has the strangest dream. A dream that seems to be a warning that social outcast of their high school, Adam, has plans to shoot up the school. Though her friend tells her that it's probably just nothing, Nikki can't shake the bad feelings that it stirs inside her, and she comes up with a simple plan- to become Adam's friend when he might not have any others. But is her friendship too little, too late?


I have to first get off my chest the horrible timing with which I finished this novel. Today, October 21st, 2013, there was a shooting at a Nevada middle school that left two dead, and two injured (as of now). The shooter is believed to be 13 or 14. I am greatly disturbed even more so by this book because it is an issue that clearly is still in need of great discussion.

Nikki is a girl that everyone should be a little bit more like. It's true that I didn't always agree with her choices- befriending two boys who are emotionally unstable enough to plan on a mass murder is obviously extremely dangerous- but she had the cahones to stand up to her school, and her friends who questioned why she'd want to be friends with such a "trailer trash train wreck." I could not help but to think of the wise words of Albus Dumbledore: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Though her best friend was loyal and in the right for being worried, Nikki stood up for what she thought was right, and that's a really hard thing to do in life, high school especially.

School shootings are a widely controversial topic, but Jack Chaucer is gentle and understanding when referencing other shootings- namely Sandy Hook. I was afraid that this book would have been insincere and abuse a hot news story in order to have a plot, but that was definitely not the case. This whole book is gritty and frighteningly real, and driven with emotion.

I did have a few small issues with the book that resulted in its four star review in lieu of five. The conversations between characters had a tendency to feel forced, which led to a small disconnect for me. The end was also patched up rather quickly, but to be honest, I'd rather have it wrapped up a little fast than drag on for too long. And, though this personal opinion isn't reflected in the rating, I'd have really liked to hear more of Adam's story.

It's a sad but true fact that most of us (thankfully) will never know exactly what's going on inside a shooter's head. It's for that reason that things like this need to be taught and discussed: You don't know the life of anyone else. Just because someone is different is no reason to taunt, bully, or pick on them. A little friendship and kindness can go a long way. Embrace differences, and be kind. It's preachy and cliche but god damn it if it isn't true.

Be warned that this book addresses a sensitive topic, contains colorful language, and references drugs and alcohol. The author is donating half of all profits from this book to the Newtown Memorial Fund.

Thank you to Netgalley for my chance to read this.


Now, here's your chance to win an ebook copy of Streaks of Blue.

The Rules:
-This giveaway will run from November 6th, 2013 to November 13th, 2013.
-This giveaway is open to those 18+ or those with parental consent.
-It is open to anyone over that age who can legally enter, receive, and use their prize.
-Three (3) winners will win a digital copy from Smashwords, via code.
-This giveaway is sponsored wholly by the author.
-This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity.
-Winner will have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter.
-Invalid entries will be removed, so please don't cheat.
-Void where prohibited. Odds will vary. No purchase necessary.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Cover Reveal: A Hero's Heart

Title: A Hero's Heart
Author: Amber Daulton
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Release Date: TBA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 38K
Heat Rating: Spicy
Goodreads Link: Here!


Ten years ago, Jarrett Brandt left home and abandoned everyone of importance. After a hard reality check, the irresponsible young man matured into a ballsy DEA agent with a kickass Harley Davidson and a million-dollar bounty on his head. Ordered by his superior officer to take refuge at a safe house just days before Christmas, he headed back home to Washington State, instead, to make peace with his deceased brother’s memory.

Marissa Reinn Brandt never expected to see Jarrett again. Best friends since childhood and lovers as teenagers, immaturity, over-demanding parents and illicit drugs ripped them apart. Now a successful chef at a posh restaurant, the young widow and her son offered Jarrett a place to stay for the holiday. Even though she expected nothing from her former lover—the twin brother of the man she married—fate intervened.

As Jarrett and Marissa rekindled the flames of love and lust that once bound them together, an enemy from his past and a trusted mentor from his present vied their time in the snowy dark and threatened to destroy everyone he held dear. Needing a Christmas miracle to save his family, Jarrett needed the love of a good woman to save his battered heart. His second chance with Marissa meant the world to him and nothing, no one, would stand in his way of cherishing her for all time.


Jarrett seethed. Ready to hit the highway on his Road King Classic and find a biker bar where he could bloody his knuckles, he turned and headed back toward the caretaker’s station. He reached the cracked sidewalk just as someone called out his name. His heart somersaulted as he flipped around. He’d know that voice anywhere. The woman who haunted his dreams skidded down the small hill in clunky shoes with damp auburn hair cascading around her shoulders. He expected her to stop a few feet from him just as his parents did but she jumped into his arms, instead, and knocked him back a few steps. She wrapped her arms around him. Her sweet scent filled his nostrils. He buried one hand in her curly hair and pressed her close to his chest with the other.

This one moment made the trip worth it.

“Marissa,” he breathed her name like a talisman. God, it felt so right to hold her again. She fit against him perfectly. Just a few inches under six feet, while he was a few inches over, their bodies meshed like a work of art. He should have married this woman, fathered children with her and lived his life to make her happy. Instead, he chose something just as intoxicating, just as beautiful to his ignorant mind, and abandoned her on the curb outside his family’s home. More than anything, he regretted that he’d left her behind.

Author Bio:

Amber Daulton lives in the beautiful foothills of North Carolina with her wonderful husband and their five crazy kitties. Writing takes up most of her time, aside from her day job in the retail industry. As a fan of contemporary, paranormal and historical novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of romance and adventure, laughter and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. Writing is her passion and she probably wouldn’t be too sane without it. After all, what’s a girl to do when there are people jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Review: Crimson Night by Marie Hall

Title: Crimson Night (Night #1)
Author: Marie Hall
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 5th 2013
Source: Netgalley


Four stars.


Crimson Night takes place at a dark, twisted kind of carnival, where one can easily be lured in by all the beautiful people... So lured in that they never quite leave. Pandora, half human, half demon of Lust, tries to be normal despite her setting, clinging for the humane half of her. She works doing what she does best- killing paranormal creatures lilke vampires and werewolves. But something dark is lurking in the shadows, and it chills even her- will she be able to take them once betrayed?


This is my first Marie Hall book outside of the Kingdom Series, and I was definitely not disappointed.

Pandora was a really likable character. For one, being a slayer made her pretty bad ass, and it's a nice change from the recent onslaught of damsel in distress novels. A big part of why I liked her was because she was always trying to find her humanity. It added depth to her, and it was needed.

One thing I know from reading the Kingdom Series is that Marie Hall has great skill in creating a world that entrances and intrigues the reader. Crimson Night follows in this tradition. The carnival was a really cool place to read about, and I was immediately drawn in to the story.

Another thing about this book that I enjoyed was the steamy aspect. I appreciated that it wasn't a sticky sweet romance, and catered to Pandora's demon of lust half. I also liked that it wasn't a focal point of the story- it's not a book about only a relationship, it's a book that contains a relationship.

I was engrossed in the story from cover to cover, and I definitely wasn't expecting it to end as it did. I will definitely need to pick up the next book in the series once it becomes available. My enjoyment of this book shows that Marie Hall is the real, and she's become one of my auto-read authors.

Thanks to Marie Hall and Netgalley for my chance to read this.