Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Source: Received a copy for an honest review from Scholastic Canada
Publisher: Point
Release Date: Already Released
Number of Pages: 278 (Hardcover)

Blurb from Goodreads:
From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom and Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.



I've read quite a few music-influenced stories in the last little while, and I was extremely happy with Take a Bow. It isn't exclusively about music, but about some students at a performing arts school. So, music, acting, painting, composing, and other fine arts rather than just music. :) I think that the variety makes it pretty original, and the multiple points of view from different types of artists definitely added to book's originality. :)

I wasn't sure if I would like the fact that it has so many point of views (it has four if you were wondering ;D), but I actually ending up really enjoying that aspect of the book. It was interesting to see different perspectives from different characters, especially ones who are so different. You have a child actor, a musical prodigy, a fame-seeking singer, and a shy composer who is more comfortable being the writer behind the singer. I loved seeing such different characters, and seeing them interact with each other.

The characters had me all over the place as far as emotions go. I was laughing with them, smiling with them...angry with them, but above all, I was completely wrapped up in their story. I have to admit, I did have my favourites out of the characters. I loved Emme, and I also really liked Carter. Sophie...well, she was my least favourite, but she was that character that you love to hate. Now, Ethan...I was very conflicted about Ethan. I really liked him sometimes, but at other times he was kind of a chauvinistic pig. His reasons for behaving that way were incredibly flawed, but he still managed to make me come around to liking him by the end of the book. I still don't approve of his behaviour lots of the time though...dude needed a smack in the head sometimes. :P But, his feelings for Emme, and the way that he was so protective towards her just completely won me over. Out of the two male characters though, I still liked Carter better. ;)

Personally, for me the best part of Take a Bow was the fact that it showed how human the characters were. Often, I feel that celebrities, or artists of any kind get glamourized or somewhat dehumanized. We think they're so different from us, and they almost don't get seen as people anymore. Take a Bow showed how they are human. They have flaws, feelings, and get self-conscious just like everybody else. It's great to get to see these young artists behind the curtain, and to get to know them for who they really are rather than who they pretend to be. I think that Elizabeth Eulberg did an amazing job showing how these four young characters are just trying to figure out who they are, and to be as true to themselves as they can. And in Sophie's case, she shows the reader the truth behind her phony persona, and it kind of shows you how maybe those artists you look up to aren't that great after all...then again, they could be even more amazing then you thought, like Emme. :)

Overall, I found Take a Bow to be a quick read, and I really enjoyed getting to see the real people behind these four young artists that Elizabeth Eulberg has shared with us. :) I think that people who love music and seeing artists behind the scenes will love this, especially if you're a fan of the whole "Behind the Music" thing. :D

Have you read Take a Bow?
How about any of Elizabeth Eulberg's books?
I haven't read any of her other books, but I've heard great things. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anastasia Forever Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway!


 What’s Love Got to Do with It?: The Anne/Ethan Romance
 Joy Preble

The guiding force of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series is the relationship between Anne and Ethan. Anne knows from the second she catches blue-eyed Ethan stalking her at the ballet that there is just something about him. And in fact, he proceeds to turn her life upside and sideways because it is Ethan who peels back Anne’s normal world and reveals a world of Russian fairy tales brought to life, of a hidden princess and an illegitimate royal son driven by vengeance. When they touch – and I always knew that their story would begin with a physical touch setting things in motion—everything changes.

Anne is no longer just the girl who dances ballet and goes to school and mourns the death of her brother to cancer. She is a girl with power to save a princess, power to right ancient wrongs and ultimately, the power to break a curse that is holding her birth grandmother captive. But power comes with a steep price. And when Anne accepts Baba Yaga’s bargain so she can save Ethan in book 2, she steps into the witch’s forest in a way she has up until then refused to do. Of course, I wanted her to do this for love, even if she has trouble admitting that’s what it is.

This is problem for Anne and Ethan: they do not come easily to loving each other. Or rather, Ethan comes easily to loving Anne, even if he feels that he does not deserve her or a second chance at life. Which is exactly what she gives him when she rides out of the witch’s forest with Anastasia, allowing Ethan to regain his mortality. While Viktor yearns to live forever, Ethan wants only to have what he lost for a cause that was never what he believed it to be: to live and die in the proper time. That he has found the love of his life makes him both deliriously happy as well as guilty as hell.

And Anne, well, she’s a smart girl. Even when she’s not, she has Tess watching her back, making sure she sees things as they are. Anne sees loving Ethan as an impossibility. He is too old even if he looks young. He has secrets and a long, long past. She is only sixteen. And yet I think she loves him from the moment he tells her his story. But she holds back; she is indecisive. In fact, these traits hurt her in all aspects of her life. She has trouble committing. Ethan, on the other hand, is an all-in kind of guy.

So what did I do to these two? I made them inhabit a reverse fairy tale. It is Anne who ends up saving Ethan over and over. It is Anne who is the hero. And ultimately, it is Ethan (no spoilers for book 3 quite yet) who needs redemption and forgiveness before he and Anne can be together. A happily ever after, but hard won. And not without suffering and sacrifice. This is after all, a Russian fairy tale. No one knows endurance like the Russians

And so it goes: Ethan and Anne, circling and circling love, each running from the other, each doing the hero’s job. The question becomes, will they figure out that they belong together before it’s too late?
Of course they will!

But with these two, love isn’t simple. I think that makes them equal parts of smart and stupid. Not forbidden love. Not crazy love where the passion burns out everything else—and I think we all need some of that in our lives.

When Anne and Ethan finally figure out that they belong together, it will be a love that entwines them like two puzzle pieces, marveling at how perfectly and easily they fit. And how foolish they were not to know it.



  The Dreaming Anastasia Trilogy (with Goodreads Links):
Book 2: Haunted



Giveaway! 

Details:
 - US and Canada Only! (Any entrants not from the US or Canada who are drawn as winner will not be eligible to claim their prize)
-1 Winner will win a physical copy of Anastasia Forever
- Prize is being provided by Sourcebooks and will be sent by them
- Ends on September 22nd (12:01 AM EST)
-Winner will be drawn with Rafflecopter and will have 48 hours to claim their prize

 I'm keeping this giveaway pretty simple. There are no mandatory entries either, so you can pick or choose whichever ones you'd like to do. :)

To enter use the Rafflecopter Widget: 


Good Luck and Thank You for entering! :D

So, have you started this series yet? 
And what did you think of the guest post?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big Sky Mountain Blog Tour: GIVEAWAY!


I meant to post this giveaway before, but it totally slipped my mind, so I'm doing it now! :D I'm going to keep it nice and simple with a rafflecopter widget, and get straight to the details. 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

-US/Canada Only

-1 winner will get a copy Big Sky Mountain

-Ends on Sept.14th at 12:01 am (EST).

-Winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter

-Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize (Winner will be contacted through email and a winner's post will be posted once they are chosen)



ENTER USING THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET BELOW:



Good Luck and Thank You for entering! :D

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lost in the World of Westeros...

You might've noticed that I haven't been posting very often lately. There are a couple of reasons for that. :P

Number 1: I've been working this summer, so I've been kind of tired once I get home. I know this is a lame excuse but life happens, right? I've actually gone to bed before 9 during this summer...which is seriously weird for me. haha
This is how I've felt about my laptop  lately. :P
(Image  Source)


Number 2: My computer's been acting up, which has been making consistent posting a little difficult. I mean it still runs, but it's taken to deciding that it constantly needs updates and then restarts on me...which would be fine with a normal, well-running computer, but with my laptop it causes issues. When my laptop gets turned off...there isn't always a guarantee that I'll be able to see what's on the screen when it's turned back on, which is why I've ordered a new one! So, by next week hopefully I'll have my new laptop and this issue won't be a problem anymore. :P


Number 3: I've had no free weekends this month, or at least I wasn't supposed to. I had three family reunions for the first three weeks, and I worked those weekends, too. I didn't end up going to one of the reunions, but I did meet up with my fellow Edmonton Book Bloggers that weekend. :) Then this past week, my cousin got married. So, needless to say, my weekends have been rather full. :P
This guy's been keeping me up at night....reading, that is. :PJon Snow ♥


Number 4: I started reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin (yes, the one that has been made into the HBO show, Game of Thrones), and I put the one book down a while back....but I picked it up again recently, and I kind of got caught up in the series. The title of this post kind of gives that away. I have been completely and utterly lost in the world of Westeros, and the other places all around it. I've gotten seriously addicted to this series, and I've kept reading until my eyes literally start closing on their own. I'm especially looking forward to the next season of the TV show now, too! :D At first, I thought the books were kind of dense, but now I'm in so deep that I just can't stop reading. It's a constant feeling of HAVING to know what's going to happen next. This is also why I haven't been doing too many memes lately. I've been reading these books pretty much exclusively because there are so many characters to keep track of, so I've been sticking to reading just the one series pretty much. I'm on book three though, and I'm getting closer to finishing, so I may take a break between A Storm of Swords and A Feast For Crows, and read something else. :P I've also been very behind on my Stacking the Shelves posts, so I'll start fresh next week. :)

So, those are my excuses, and I know they're lame, but I'm hoping to blog more soon. I have a few reviews that I still need to write, and a giveaway to post (I'm gonna try to get it up tomorrow actually, so keep your eyes open for that!). My new laptop should be here soon too, so that will definitely help with blogging, and I'm going to try and pace myself better with A Song of Ice and Fire...but if you don't hear from me for a little while, I just might've gotten lost in Westeros once again. :P

I hope that you're all having amazing summers, and that the weather has been great wherever you live. :D I also hope that you've gotten caught up in some amazing books...even though they might keep me from blogging, I think it's amazing to get so caught up in a series that you can't even think of anything else.

What do you think though? 
Do you like the feeling of getting lost in a book, too?
Also, how's your summer been? I'd love to hear about it. :D

Also, here are a few more pictures from Game of Thrones...just because I love it so much! :D Jon and Daenerys are my favourites! :D




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

 Source: Received an egalley for an honest review from Netgalley and the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: Already released! :D
Number of Pages: 320 (Paperback)

Blurb from Goodreads:
In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.



Glitch was one of my most anticipated books for this year, and I am extremely glad to say that it completely lived up...and even surpassed all of my expectations! :D As I always do when I read dystopians I payed attention to the way that the world has changed and how the author has crafted their world...and I loved the way that Heather Anastasiu created hers! She described it so well, and made it stand out. I could actually picture it the way Zoe did, with everything grey and monotone until she glitched, and then there would be bursts of colour! It created such a dynamic story and made it so easy to visualize...which I absolutely loved! :D I also loved the way that Zoe's character was revealed. In the world of Glitch, people don't feel the way that they do now. They're basically computers; like little worker bees...acting like droids to accomplish day to day tasks. It's kind of depressing. They don't feel or think on their own, but Zoe, or Zoel (her full name :P), is glitching...so she's able to actually experience life on her own. :D

Not only was Heather Anastasiu's world in Glitch flushed out and incredibly intricate, the characters were fantastic! Considering that the majority of people in Zoe's world are drones with no mind of their own...it's pretty amazing that the characters that we meet in Glitch have such life and vibrancy. Each character stands out so well, even the ones that remain under the Community's control. Zoe characterizes them for us. Her brother in particular stands out a lot considering he actually doesn't play a large role in this book, and I loved that Heather Anastasiu was able to make characters stand out so well, especially in a world where everyone pretty much just blends in. :)

So let's summarize so far: the world...amazing, the characters....also amazing, and the plot...fan-freaking-tastic! :D I loved it! Dystopians generally share the whole underground-rebellion-trying-to-overthrow-the-society factor, and Glitch definitely has that, but I felt that Heather Anastasiu did a wonderful job at keeping her story unique. The fact that people are basically computers with no feelings kind of makes this story stand out on its own, and the glitching aspect makes it even more so...especially since glitching (as the description tells you) also leads to other abilities. Together all these elements create an amazing and addictive story...and I haven't even mentioned boys yet! :D I'm not going to say too much about them because if I do I might give away some spoilers, but I will say that I have a definite favourite and I don't think that the other guy even comes close to competing...I don't even really consider it a love triangle, but I'll keep quite and let you make up your mind about it all when you read it. ;)

Overall, I loved this book! I can't even begin to think of or use enough words to describe Glitch with as much praise as I want to. I seriously LOVED this book, and it's definitely my favourite out of all the new series that I've started this year. :D Heather Anastasiu is an amazing story teller, and I definitely think that it'll be hard for readers to read this one without quickly becoming swept up in Zoe's story. :D I recommend this one to dystopia fans, and anyone who loves the whole sci-fi element with people being linked to computers. I was also a fan of the romance in this book, and I can't wait for the story, the romance, and the characters to further develop in the next one! :D

Have you read Glitch yet? If so, what'd you think?
Are you just itching to get yourself a copy?
Any other thoughts on Glitch that you'd like to share?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Big Sky Mountain (Swoon-Worthy Cowboys #2) by Linda Lael Miller


Source: Received a copy of the book for an honest review and to participate in the blog tour from the publisher and Media Muscle.
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: Already Released.
Number of Pages: 384 (Paperback)

Blurb from Goodreads:
With his rugged good looks, vast wealth and family name, hell-raiser Hutch Carmody is still the golden boy of Parable, Montana. But he's done some growing up—making peace with his illegitimate half brother and inheriting half of Whisper Creek Ranch, which should have been all his. These days, Hutch knows there are some things money can't buy: like the heart of loving, ladylike divorcée Kendra Shepherd.
Kendra's quiet mansion reminds her of what she wants most—a devoted husband and the pitter-patter of little feet. She can't get Hutch Carmody out of her mind. But a rough-and-tumble cowboy like Hutch, coming home for family dinner? Seems crazy! Then again, crazier dreams have become reality under the vast Montana sky.



Up until reading the first book in this series, Big Sky Country, I'd never read a romance with cowboys, but I can definitely say after reading these two books, I am most definitely a fan. :)

Linda Lael Miller has created some amazing characters, and I absolutely loved getting to see both sides of the story with the points of view alternating between the two main characters of the book. We met both Hutch and Kendra in the first book, Big Sky Country, but in Big Sky Mountain it's all about them. ;) I absolutely loved getting to see Slade and Joslyn again, and I definitely enjoyed reading Kendra and Hutch's story. :D I wasn't sure about Hutch in BSC, but in this one he totally won me over and had me repeatedly swooning. That boy really is a charmer! *sigh* :D

I loved Hutch, and I loved Kendra too, but I definitely would've liked to get to know Hutch more during his parts of the story. I felt like I knew Kendra a lot by the end of the book, and I was totally crushing on Hutch, but his points of view weren't as in-depth as Kendra's were. I still really enjoyed this story, but I definitely could've had more Hutch. I feel like he's still more of a mystery than Slade was in his story, but maybe we'll get to know him even more in upcoming books. That being said, we do get to see a lot of him through Kendra, so maybe that was what the author preferred...it did make him pretty hard to resist seeing him interact with the people around Kendra. ;D

One of the best parts of this series is that the whole Linda Lael Miller has such vibrancy to it. You can picture all of this actually taking place, and it seems as if Parable and the whole area of Big Sky County are real places! It's like the characters are part of a real community, and I love that! :D It's a detail that might be overlooked, but I personally love how much the secondary characters and the ones you meet in passing create the community surrounding the main characters. :D I think that it helps you see what the characters are like, and picture it all going down. It also helps that I'm from a small town, where Rodeos do take place...so I can definitely picture it all! Come to think of it...since I'm in Alberta, I'm actually not all that far from Montana. ;) haha

Overall, I thought that Big Sky Mountain was a fantastic story. :) I loved the whole atmosphere of the story and the community within it's pages that makes up Parable, and most of all, I loved Hutch! :D I only wish I could have had more of him. ;) haha I'd recommend this book and the series to fans of cowboys, and to romance fans who enjoy the chase and that wonderful moment where the characters come together and get their happily ever after. :)

Any cowboy fans out there?
Or are you maybe a fan of some other specific type of romance? (I like sports and musician-related romances, too. *dreamy sigh* lol)
Have you read any of Linda Lael Miller's books?
If you have, what did you think?
And if you haven't, do you think that they're something you'd like?

Big Sky Mountain Blog Tour: Excerpt and Author Q&A!

 

Big Sky Mountain Excerpt: 

       A number of drastic scenarios flashed through her mind—a wedding guest toppling over from a heart attack, then a cattle truck crashing through a wall, followed by lightning boring its way right through the roof of the church and striking the bridegroom dead where he stood.
        She shook the images off. Waited with her breath snagged painfully in the back of her throat.
        “What?” Callie prodded good-naturedly, studying her step-granddaughter. She and Shea were close—the girl worked part-time at Callie’s Curly Burly Hair Salon in town, and during the school year, Shea went to Callie’s place after the last bell rang, spending hours tweaking the website she’d built for the shop.
        “Hutch called the whole thing off,” Shea blurted. “He stopped the wedding!”
        “Oh, my,” Callie said. The door was still open, and Kendra heard Joslyn’s voice, then Opal’s, as they came toward the house. Slade must have been with them, but he was keeping quiet, as usual.
  ---------------------------------------------
About Big Sky Mountain:
With his rugged good looks, vast wealth and family name, hell-raiser Hutch Carmody is still the golden boy of Parable, Montana. But he's done some growing up—making peace with his illegitimate half brother and inheriting half of Whisper Creek Ranch, which should have been all his. These days, Hutch knows there are some things money can't buy: like the heart of loving, ladylike divorcée Kendra Shepherd.Kendra's quiet mansion reminds her of what she wants most—a devoted husband and the pitter-patter of little feet. She can't get Hutch Carmody out of her mind. But a rough-and-tumble cowboy like Hutch, coming home for family dinner? Seems crazy! Then again, crazier dreams have become reality under the vast Montana sky.

Goodreads Page | Book 2 in the Swoon-Worthy Cowboys Series



Question and Answer with Linda Lael Miller: 

1. What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? 
See number 2. I LOVE to read and also to listen to audio books—I’ve always got a couple of volumes going at once. I can get lost in my craft room downstairs, and not just because it’s usually a mess. Spending time with my horses, dog and cats are high priorities, too.

2. How long does it take you to write a novel, from initial idea to finished manuscript?
Wow, that is a hard question. I think the ideas for some of my books were sparked when I was a child, listening to all those great stories about cowboys and rodeos and horses, not to mention the ones my grandma told me about Jessie James sleeping in her family’s barn and the day the Dalton brothers tried to rob the bank in Coffeeville, Kansas. I probably spend between three and six months on the actual writing process.

3. Tell us about your first job. 
I was a waitress, before and after school, at a place in Northport called The Parrot Room. (Go figure, there were, of course, no parrots.) I loved having my own money, but I didn’t always love getting up early.

4. How did you create the town of Parable, Montana? 
Parable is definitely fictional, but I did pattern it in some ways after my mother’s hometown of Choteau, Montana. The terrain is similar and people have the same down-home country values that mean so much to me.

5. What is your favorite way to interact with fans? 
 Of course the best way to interact with fans is in person—I love to shake their hands or hug them or just say “howdy”—but obviously that isn’t always possible. I tweet and have a Facebook page and, of course, there’s my website, where I blog almost every weekday.

 ---------------------------------------------

About the author, Linda Lael Miller:

Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than one hundred historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West. Raised in Northport, Washington, the self-confessed barn goddess now lives in Spokane, Washington. Linda hit a career high in 2011 when all three of her Creed Cowboys books—A Creed in Stone Creek, Creed’s Honor and The Creed Legacy—debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. To learn more about Linda, visit www.LindaLaelMiller.com.




The next excerpts and blog tours continue tomorrow on Book Junkie (August 17th)!

You can follow the Big Sky Mountain blog tour here on Book Trib's site.

So, what did you think of that excerpt?!

Are you a fan of cowboys? If you are, I think you'll like Linda's Swoon-worthy Cowboy series. ;D

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pledged Blog Tour - Excerpts!


In honor, of Pledged's upcoming release on September 1, 2012, I'm taking part in it's ongoing blog tour! :D


And right now, I have some excerpts to share with you! :D

So, here they are:


THREE SHORT EXCERPTS FROM
PLEDGED
By
GWYNNETH WHITE

We have chosen the following excerpts to give your readers a glimpse into the lives of the main characters in Pledged, namely: Seth and Erin, Jared and Sophia, and Caleb and Talitha.

EXCERPT ONE: Meet Seth and Erin . . .

Despite the heat, Seth felt icy. Dread could do that to him. Or so he had recently discovered. Deep breathing usually calmed him, so he sucked in a lungful of desert air and told himself to relax. It didn’t help. By the time he’d walked from the aircraft to the immigration hall he’d ripped off a jagged piece of thumbnail, already bitten raw. He handed his US passport to the Botswanan border official, and, after a frown, and a stamp, he joined the crowd at the baggage carousel. Botswana in southern Africa was the last place on earth he’d ever have picked for a holiday destination. But he wasn’t here on holiday. Not even close.
His backpack was slow in coming. Tired from his long-haul flight from New York, he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. Almost as if to mock him, the hated vision that had brought him to Botswana burst into his mind. In an instant he was back in ancient times, watching a man he knew only as Gideon. As usual, Gideon was huddled on a windswept hill with his band of hopeless soldiers, waiting to be slaughtered by a huge army gathered in the valley below.
Seth snapped his eyes open to stop the battle from waging in his mind. It wasn’t that he was particularly squeamish; he’d watched enough movies to iron clad his stomach against gory visuals. But no movie had ever left him icy with dread the way Gideon’s battle did. And the reason for that was simple. The moment the visions had started, he had known that the war, fought so long ago in a place he’d never heard of, was far from over. And, as reluctant as he was, he too was being enlisted to fight in a cause he didn’t understand or want.
He forced himself to focus on the present: Erin, who waited for him in the arrivals hall; his brother Kyle, whom he’d come to Botswana to visit; Kyle’s expedition to find the Lost City of the Kalahari . . .
He ripped off another piece of fingernail. Thinking about the search for the Lost City was almost as bad as the war-vision. I hope Kyle never finds the damned place. He slapped his hand on his thigh. Enough! Grabbing his backpack off the carousel, he set his face into a smile and strode into the arrivals hall.
The first hurdle was finding Erin. She was due to arrive an hour earlier on a flight from Cape Town in South Africa, one of Botswana’s neighbours. He’d never met her, although they had spoken over the phone once. Then she’d described herself as “a short, seventeen-year-old (a year younger than him) with a mass of ginger hair.” She’d sounded nice. Meeting her was the one ray of brightness in this otherwise dark picture.
He stopped to scan the crowd. A petite girl with shoulder length, reddish-blonde curls, dressed in skinny jeans and a purple blouse, immediately caught his eye. It had to be Erin. Nice legs. What’s it with girls that they always under-sell themselves? He studied her face with his artist’s eye. Vermeer would’ve killed to paint her. Suddenly wishing he didn’t look so grimy after his three plane-changes, he walked over to join her. “Hi, I’m Seth. You’ve got to be Erin. My brother’s just married your sister Izzy.”
“And after only knowing each other for about a week.”
Her dimpled grin was infectious, making him crack his trademark crooked smile. “Madness.”
“Mysterious.” Erin cocked her head to one side, seemingly appraising him. He knew he had been accurate when he’d told her he was tall and dark-haired. But what he had failed to mention was what girls had often said they liked about him: his strong, angular face, softened by expressive brown eyes. He watched her eyes rove over his grey Muse: Resistance t-shirt, taking in his broad shoulders and chest. From there they darted down his black camo-pants to his boots. Amused by her blatant assessment, he cocked his head to one side, watching her. Suddenly Erin giggled – was she embarrassed? – and picked up her bag.
“We’ve yet another plane to catch. My fourth in the last twenty-four hours,” Seth said, hoping to explain away his rumpled appearance. “To a place called Maun.”
“So we do. Let the adventure begin.”

***

EXCERPT TWO: Meet Jared and Sophia . . .

Jared nodded at Sophia and Kezeah without any sign of recognition. With two of his Pledged up front and two at their rear, he marched them down the corridor to a flight of stairs. Once at the bottom, he ducked beneath an archway, opening onto to a gloomy, narrow tunnel. Erin, never keen on dark, claustrophobic spaces, took a deep breath and paused.
“C’mon,” Seth said. “The sooner we walk through it, the quicker we get to the other side.”
“What happens if what’s on the other side is even worse?”
“Then you’ll know for sure that the dead guys are leading this expedition,” Seth said, wanting to deny the painful burning in his heart that reconnected him with a cursed Jared. He grabbed Erin’s arm and pulled her into the passage.
They’d taken no more than two tentative steps along the uneven floor when Sophia stopped. “Commander, I am not walking through this snake-hole!”
Jared turned back to look at her. With none of the fear or diffidence Erin and Seth expected from a boy with limited to exposure to girls – especially beautiful ones – he answered, “Of course, my lady. You’re from Norin, where I understand you live in grass huts.” He gave a sardonic smile. “But don’t despair, you’ll soon get used to bricks. Even our own Outcasts have learnt not to flinch at the sight of them.” He continued down the passage.
     Seth’s mouth dropped at Jared’s rudeness; this was so foreign to the Jared he had seen just moments ago in his vision. It just added to his anger at Reuel’s Curse.
The Pledged at Sophia’s rear prodded her back; she gave him a fierce look and started walking.
For Seth and Sophia, both taller than Erin and Kezeah, negotiating the tortuous twists and turns of the tunnel was no easy matter. Stooping, cursing each time they bumped their heads on the rough ceiling, they struggled after Jared, but he kept up the merciless pace until they reached a dark staircase.
Her temper now as short as her breath, Sophia stopped walking and locked her arms across her chest. “Having just cracked my skull open, you now expect me to scramble up those treacherous stairs too. No doubt hoping I’ll fall and break my neck. Well, forget it. I’m not moving.”
“Sophia!” Kezeah whispered, jabbing her in the ribs as she stepped gingerly onto the first narrow step.
Sophia ignored her. “Only savages and rats live in places like this.”
     Jared’s eyes narrowed. “Savages and rats, you say, my lady?”
Sophia set her face into a cold stare, locking her hypnotic blue eyes on his.
He surprised her by holding her gaze. “I hate to disappoint you, my lady, but Lord Rustus, Lord of the Household, under the direction of the Overlord himself, has chosen your apartment. Surely you don’t question their judgment in this matter?” 
     “As a matter of fact, I do.”
     “In that case, I’ll gladly pass on your concerns. If that’s what you really want.”
“Enough, Sophia. This isn’t a fight you can win.” Sophia’s Guardian had joined them.
***

EXCERPT THREE: Meet Caleb and Talitha . . .
Erin flicked her hair behind her ear and watched Caleb straighten his clothing. He took a deep breath and entered the hut. They followed right after him, drifting through the closed door as if it didn’t exist. Seth laughed, holding his hand up to Erin for a high-five  – until he noticed that Caleb’s Gefallen had also wafted into the cabin with them. Even though he had no idea how to defend Erin from a ghost, he stepped in front of her to protect her. But the wraith ignored them and sailed over to Caleb.
     A tall, blonde-haired girl with almond-shaped brown eyes was waiting for Caleb. For Erin, the recognition was instantaneous; it was Talitha. “She’s so beautiful!”
     “She’s okay,” Seth replied, looking her over critically. “But I don’t think Caleb’s here for her looks.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You said yourself that Caleb’s a good-looking guy. I bet he could have any girl he wants around here.”
Erin frowned; then she smiled as understanding dawned. “So, in guy-talk, you’re saying he loves her?”
Seth chuckled as he picked up Erin’s hand and put it on his heart. “Tell me what you’re feeling?”
Erin gasped at a disconcerting pulse thrumming in Seth’s chest, over-riding his own heartbeat. “It’s . . . no . . . It’s not possible.”
 “I’ll bet it is. It’s Caleb’s heart beating.”
“How do you know it’s him? It could be Talitha.”
“It started the moment I saw him. It’s like it’s there to stop me denying that he and I were once friends. And I was watching Talitha when he walked in. She smiled, and it felt as if someone had just shot a thousand volts through him.”
“It’s amazing you’re so connected that you can feel him.”
Seth wasn’t so sure he agreed; it made being here just a little too real.
Erin felt her own heart and could faintly discern Talitha’s heartbeat; it was nowhere near as strong as the thump in Seth’s chest, but then, she figured, she wasn’t in denial the way he was.
 They fell into silence as Caleb opened his arms to embrace Talitha. She draped her arms around his neck, twisting the dark curls tumbling onto his shoulders. He kissed the nape of her throat and ran his lips up her neck, over her chin to her mouth.
“This is awkward,” Erin murmured, looking away.
“You don’t say. All this way just to watch them making out.”

These excerpts are issued by Swallow Press for use by bloggers participating in launch and blog tour of Pledged by Gwynneth White. Any queries can be addressed to Andrew at sethanderin@swallowpress.com


More about the author, Gwynneth White:

I have spent my entire life living in a parallel universe of make-believe characters, only coming back to reality for long enough to check that no one burnt the house down in my absence. A few years ago I decided to commit some of those ‘friends’ and their stories to paper. The ‘Soul Wars Saga’ comprising ‘Pledged’, ‘Sacrificed’ and ‘Saved’ is the result of those efforts. Before that I co-authored two non-fiction travel books – ‘The Complete Guide to 4x4 Trails’ and ‘The Ultimate 4x4 Guide’. Both books became instant best-sellers in South Africa where I live. And before that even, I studied a degree in African History and Politics at the University of Stellenbosch. When I’m not writing, I am a wife to Andrew and a mom to Stephanie, Erin, and Kate, our teenage daughters. My family and I live in a small town outside Cape Town with two dogs, a cat, a horse, and some neglected fish. 

(Author Bio from theAuthor's Page on Goodreads.com




About Pledged: 

Everyone has a soul mate. But what do you do when your soul mate would rather give his soul to the demons than be with you?

Seventeen-year-old Erin has a problem. Seth has been hers forever, but now an ancient curse is tearing him away. And the demons who invoked it will stop at nothing – even murder – to claim him as their own.

How can she win against a curse so binding that it has damned countless others to this same fate – an eternity alone?

The answer lies in the past. To find it, Erin and Seth must risk all, travelling back in time to a dangerous world where love is forbidden, and life – and death – hang on a pledge.

Follow Erin and Seth as they travel to ancient Shenaya and confront the curse that has plagued their families for millennia. Caught in a war between the Angelic Guardians and the Gefallen, the disembodied dead, they must fight to keep their souls in tact and their love untainted.
(From Pledged's Goodreads Page.)


 
And you can find out more about this series, and about this blog tour at Today in Shenaya!

I hope that you've enjoyed these excerpts, and that they've gotten you excited for Pledged's release! :D

I'd love to know your thoughts. Did you like the excerpts? And did they make you want to check out Pledged once it's out (hopefully they did because I'll be having a giveaway, and posting my own review over the span of this tour!)?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Moonlight Mayhem Blog Tour: "Which Spellbound Character Would You Be?" Quiz and Giveaway! #MMBlogTour



“Which Spellbound Character Would YOU Most Likely Be?” 

This giveaway is open internationally! So let’s tell the blogging world! 

Hi everyone, I’m Sherry Soule—waving from Castro Valley, California, where it gets foggy even during the summer months. But even with the fog burning off by afternoon, I’m relaxing on the sofa and blabbering on Twitter about my life-long obsession with books. 

It’s a real honor to be a guest today as part of my epic tour this summer and meet all these awesome booklovers. 

To celebrate the release of author, Sherry Soule’s newest paranormal novel, MOONLIGHT MAYHEM, the second book in the epic Spellbound Series, take this super fun quiz to see which character in the Spellbound universe you’d mostly be similar to, and score a Kindle or Nook version of the first book in this unforgettable YA series, Beautifully Broken

 Take this quiz and be sure to check the bottom of the post for the details regarding this random giveaway.


1. What’s your favorite season? 
  • a) Winter - Cloudy, Chilly, Rainy, Stormy 
  • b) Fall - Windy, Misty, Foggy, Mild 
  • c) Summer - Hot, Dry, No Wind, Sunny 
  • d) Spring – Warm, Breezy, Greenery, Brisk 

2. I detest using labels, but what would others call you at school? 
  • a) Normal or Jock/ Cheerleader 
  • b) Preppy/ Student Counsel 
  • c) Amateur Fashionista 
  • d) Girlish tomboy 
3. Which of the following best describes your personality? 
  • a) Snobbish, Eccentric, Perky 
  • b) Haughty, Moody, Smart 
  • c) Tough, Snarky, Weird 
  • d) Playful, Vivacious, Straightforward 

4. Which genre do you read most often? 
  • a) Urban Fantasy 
  • b) Horror / Dark YA  
  • c) Paranormal Romance
  • d) Dystopia 
5. You are at school and witness a student bullying someone. What do you do? 
  • a) Run in the opposite direction before they pick on you 
  • b) Laugh and join in on the fun 
  • c) Stop and tell the bully to knock it off or else! 
  • d) Go tell a teacher what’s going on 

6. What’s your hairstyle? 
  • a) Short and sassy 
  • b) Long and straight 
  • c) Medium with highlights 
  • d) Curly or wavy 

7. What’s your typical breakfast? 
  • a) Eggs and bacon 
  • b) Oatmeal and orange juice 
  • c) Coffee and a Pop tart 
  • d) Heaping bowl of my fav cereal 

8. What type of pet would you like to have or do you own? 
  • a) Hamster 
  • b) Small Dog 
  • c) Shade 
  • d) Cat 

9. How often do you shop or hit the mall? 
  • a) Only on sale days 
  • b) Once or twice a month 
  • c) Every week—duh 
  • d) Hardly ever 

If you answered...

Mostly a's: You and Kayla are a lot alike! You both love a good sale, and you’re energetic and sassy.
Mostly b's: Ashley and you could be sisters. You each enjoy autumn days, hanging at the mall, abut you can be a tad moody.
Mostly c's: Shiloh and you could be besties! You both love to shop for the newest trends, enjoy reading paranormal romance novels, and you even have a snarky-side.
Mostly d's: Sounds like you and Ariana have a lot in common. You each love to read YA books, adore cats, and can often be straightforward, but super fun.



MOONLIGHT MAYHEM Synopsis:
 
Otherworldly Creatures. Dazzling Magic. Fiery Romance. 

Shiloh Ravenwolf thought she was getting used to the strange events in Whispering Pines, until the full moon brings another surge of supernatural threats to her coastal town. Ferocious wolves, deadly necromancers, and shambling zombies have descended upon the neighborhood, so Shiloh needs to gain control of her magical abilities—fast!
It sucks that she has a crippling fear of the dark, which for a demon hunter can be an epic problem. When her classmates are attacked by a mysterious creature and her father is murdered, Shiloh vows vengeance. Forcing her phobias aside, she forms an unlikely coven of supernaturally gifted teens to help her eradicate this menace. Except that's not all Shiloh has to worry about. She’s battling a different monster within herself and struggling not to become the very thing she fights: evil. But with demon blood inside her—anything can happen…  

Moonlight Mayhem is the second novel in the unforgettably epic Spellbound series

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:
 

Official Spellbound Series Universe: http://thespellboundseries.blogspot.com

Twitter @WriterSherry: http://twitter.com/writersherry

Awesome Book Trailers/YouTube: http://youtu.be/5uqVXKygvU


Random winner of an ebook of the first book in the Spellbound Series, Beautifully Broken, will be picked from the comments on August 31st (11:59 PM MST) and be posted at the top of this quiz, please check back on that day to find out if you’re the lucky winner. Note: the winner will also be notified by email, so make sure to check your email the following day. :)

Giveaway details for a Kindle or Nook version of BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN:
1.) You must comment with your quiz results
2.) Be a follower of the Spellbound Series Universe Blog
 3.) Be a follower of this blog
4.) Follow us both on Twitter - @WriterSherry and @AmburHostyn
5.) Tweet about this giveaway and include link in the comment
Quick Tweet Link:

Here's a rafflecopter widget to make entering easier.
Just fill it out to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (9)

Stacking the Shelves is Tynga's Reviews' version of In My Mailbox (from The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie).

Stacking the Shelves is a way to share the books that you're adding to your physical and virtual bookshelves. It's easy to participate. You just make your own post, and link it to the main post over at Tynga's Reviews. Also, in case you're curious, Tynga's post for it goes up on Saturdays, but you can post it any day that you like. :) You can find out more about participating by reading the Stacking the Shelves Launch post.

So, here's what I got this week!

For Review:

 Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk #1) by Bec McMaster
Savage Hunter (Heart of the Jaguar #1) by Terry Spear
Call Me Wild (Wild Thing #2) by Robin Kaye
Rev It Up (Black Knights, Inc. #3) by Julie Ann Walker
 Anastasia Forever (Dreaming Anastasia #3) by Joy Preable

All of these ones came from Sourcebooks this week. I wasn't expected any expect for Anastasia Forever, but the others definitely sound interesting...especially Kiss of Steel! :D

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Won: 

 Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Melissa Meyer (won from Raincoast Books)

In their blogger newsletter, Raincoast had an awesome giveaway for a signed copy of Cinder, and I was lucky enough to win it! :D I'm so excited to read this one! :D

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Bought:

Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White (The Book Depository)
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (The Book Depository)
13 (Women of the Otherworld #13) by Kelley Armstrong (Wal-mart)
Try Me (Take a Chance #1) by Diane Alberts (Amazon Kindle Store)
Arson (Arson #1) by Estevan Vega (Amazon Kindle Store)

My pre-orders of Endlessly and Such a Rush finally came, and I can't wait to read both of them! :D Endlessly especially...I've been waiting for Evie's last book for forever it seems! :D I also picked up a copy of 13 from Wal-mart...now I just need to finally read Spellbound, then I can pick up this one...it's definitely a gorgeous book though! So pretty! :D Try Me and Arson have been on my wish list for my Kindle for a while, so I caved and bought them this week. ;) haha

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This week was an amazing book week for me, and I hope it was for you too! :D
So, what did you get this week? Feel free to leave a link in the comments and I'll come visit. :)