Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book of the Month: February 2012

I read some great books this month but my favourite read, by far is, you guessed it...

Sweet Evil

LOVED THIS BOOK! Seriously guys I couldn't get enough of it, I'm rereading it as I type haha. You can click here to read my review of Sweet Evil and interview with Debut HarperTeen Author, Wendy Higgins!

What was your favourite February read?

Happy Reading!!!

Waiting on Wednesday: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

This one sounds really good!!!

Something Strange and Deadly
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Release Date: July 24th/12.
Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

What books are you pining for?

Happy Reading!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

ARC Review and Author Interview: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Release Date: May'12
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

My thoughts:

I loved Sweet Evil! I couldn't get enough of it, I tried to take my time reading this book so I could savour each chapter that much more. The only problem is I just couldn't stop myself, I kept telling myself "just one more page" which would would turn in to one more chapter and so on. Needless to say I finished this read in one sitting.
If I could pick one word to describe this book, it would be SEXUAL TENSION, ok two words :). This book is FULL of sexual tension, and it's just so satisfying! To be honest, I was really surprised by how dark a read SWEET EVIL turned out to be. There were some parts that had me thinking it should be 16+, but, trust me, they were very enthralling and entertaining!
The relationship-building between Kai and Anna was thoroughly well done. Feelings emerge, between these two, at a quick pace, but Higgins handles these feelings with such intensity that the reader feels no discomfort at the pacing. 
I personally am team Kai! He's literally talking, walking sex on a stick and o so charming, while also being the typical male in the sense that he's always leaving Anna, and in effect, the reader wanting/needing more physically and emotionally. He has his own "demons" to deal with and I love the fact that he's not the perfect stereotypical "Edward-like" hero, that seems to surround YA these days.
Anna is a great protagonist. She's moral and just, but isn't too preachy or goody goody. She's a typical teenage girl living out new teenage experiences all while dealing with finding out that she's the daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one.
Another relationship I appreciated in Sweet Evil, was that of Anna and her father. The familial bond these two share really tugged at my heart strings. Wiggins handles this father/daughter dynamic beautifully, you'll be cheering when you read their reunion! :)
Another male added to the mix is Kopano. You don't expect him and are not quite sure what to do with him. He adds a great balance of the good boy to Kai's bad boy persona and opens Anna's options, leaving room for a possible love-triangle.
Last male I'll mention, but certainly not least, is Jay. O how I do love Jay, he reminds me of Duckie from Pretty in Pink. He was the perfect, platonic best friend to Anna and I can't wait to see what Wendy has in store for him in book 2!
As you can probably guess, I really don't have anything negative to say about Sweet Evil, I loved it from beginning to end (especially the middle i.e. Kai and Anna's roadtrip! :) ) The only problem is I wish I had waited to read this book until the entire series was released, or at least book 2, because the ending of Sweet Evil had me pulling out my hair and saying "WHAT?! NO" 
So thank you Wendy for writing such a gripping read and eventually making me go bald because of it! Haha.
I would recommend this to all those who enjoy a YA Paranormal read, romance or a genuinely unique take on Demons and Angels. However, there is some mature content in this book, (sex, drugs, drinking) but nothing to explicit that a mature reader couldn't handle :). I will be rereading this book over and over until book 2 comes out!

And now I have the amazing opportunity to welcome Wendy to the blog today! She's here to answer some burning questions I was left with after reading Sweet Evil! Please join me in welcoming Wendy Higgins!

My Photo

1) What inspired you to write Sweet Evil? 
Lots of things…my fascination about the “good and bad” elements living in each one of us, my faith in love, my spiritual beliefs and curiosities, my passion for bad boy drummers.  J

2) Was it a tough process getting Sweet Evil published?
My journey to publication was not traditional. My book was reviewed by a HarperCollins editor when it was voted into the top five on the publisher’s Young Adult writing site,  I’m one of two authors (that we know of) to be picked-up through the site. It was definitely an unexpected dream-come-true.

3) If you could pick one term to describe Sweet Evil, what would it be? (pssst my answer would definitely be SEXUAL TENSION) loved it! :)
Woo, yes, romantic/sexual tension for certain.  I’d also say “Multilayered.” It ended up being not just Anna’s story, but also Kaidan’s and her father’s stories.

4) Would you say you're a Kai or Kopano girl? Why?
I love them both for very different reasons, but I have an especially tender spot for the tortured Kaidan. It’s funny because in real life I dated lots of Kaidans, but married a Kopano. I guess that’s because in real life, bad boys are called “bad” for a reason.

5) How far do you plan to take the Sweet Evil series?
It will be a trilogy.  The second Sweet book is under consideration with the publisher at the moment. *fingers crossed*  Book three is mostly outlined, but not written yet.

6) If you could pick your dream cast for Sweet Evil, whom would you choose?
Since it’s an international cast of characters, they’d have to be of genuine origin - no cast of Americans faking accents, lol.  I like Ben Barnes for Kaidan, only he’d need to have blue 

Wendy's ideal Kai

7) If you could choose, which Duke would you want to be the daughter of? Why?
Eeek!  My first instinct is to say NONE OF THEM! Then I think, Alocer, because maybe I wouldn’t have to “work.” But I wouldn’t want to be plagued with Wrath. So my final answer is Jezebet, the Duke of Lies. I’d be able to tell if anyone was lying to me...which, while cool, would also kind of suck.

8) What advice would you give to those just starting out in the publishing industry?
Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Only you can write like you, and everyone’s journey is different. Write what’s on your heart, and don’t give up. It’s a long process and takes a lot of patience and perseverance.

Thank you so much to Wendy for stopping by and answering some of my burning questions. Best of luck with your debut Wendy!!!

Happy Reading!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox #18

Here's what I got in my mailbox this week!!! :) Special thanks to Crystal from Raincoast Books, for sending me so much awesomeness this week!!! 

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (Tor Teen)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (HarlequinTEEN) Aug'12
Of Posidon by Anna Banks (Feiwel and Friends) May'12
Everything Was Goodbye by Gurjinder Basran (Penguin) Mar'12
Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor Teen)
Magnified World by Grace O'Connell (Random House) May'12
Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore (William Morrow/HarperCollins) Apr'12


AuracleMonument 14This Is Not a Test
Auracle by Gina Rosati (Roaring Brook Press) Aug'12
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (Feiwel and Friends) Jun'12
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (St. Martin's Griffin) Jun'12

That's all for me this week, what did you guys get in your mailbox?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines

Hey All! I'm happy to be participating in the cover reveal today for The Vincent Brothers (Vincent Boys #2) by Abbi Glines!

So without further adieu here's the new cover

What do you guys think? I love the green apple! :)
The Vincent Brothers (Vincent Boys #2) by Abbi Glines
Release date: June 2012

He may have given her up without a fight, but Sawyer Vincent is far from over losing the girl he’s loved all of his life. Instead of giving up his best friend and the girl he thought he’d spend forever with, he gave Ashton and his brother Beau his blessing. However, adjusting to seeing Ashton wrapped up in Beau’s arms isn’t easy. Complicating everything even more, Ashton’s cousin Lana is in town for the summer. Sweet, kind, soft-spoken Lana, who gets under his skin. Just being near her makes him forget all about Ashton and his broken heart. Lana is everything he wanted Ashton to be except she isn’t Ashton. She lacks the backbone to stand up for herself and confidence that Ashton wears like a crown. 
Lana McDaniel  has lived her life in her cousin's shadow. While Lana struggled with her grades no matter how hard she tried, her mother praised Ashton's intelligence. She hadn’t been blessed with Ashton’s blond hair and flawless skin, but that didn't keep her mother from lamenting her naturally red hair and freckles. But none of that would have mattered if Ashton hadn’t always had Sawyer Vincent wrapped around her finger -- the only boy Lana wanted. Once Ashton let Sawyer go, Lana had been so sure that he’d move on. Determined to make Sawyer finally see her, she'd talked her mother into letting her spend the summer with Ashton. But Sawyer is still in love with Ashton, and Lana isn’t going to be anyone's rebound girl. No matter how yummy Sawyer Vincent’s kisses taste.

Another Reveal! The Playlist for The Vincent Brothers!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

And last but certainly not least, the DREAM CAST for The Vincent Boys series!

Abbi has so many amazing series available for order, be sure to visit her website here and say hello on her blog!

Thanks so much to Abbi for all the great reveals! 

Happy Reading Everyone!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Hello All!!!! Sooooooooooooooooooooo the winner of the Mystery box of ARCs is..........................................

Kristin Aragon of Better Read Than Dead!

Congrats Kristin and please email me at hgillis15(AT)gmail(DOT)com so I can get a list of ARCs to choose from to you. Kristin will get to pick THREE ARCs from the list that I will send out to her. I'll announce which titles she picked on the blog, later this week! :)

If I don't hear from Kristin within 48 hours, I will draw a new name. Thanks to all who entered and if you didn't win this time, don't fear, I already have another giveaway planned out for later this month (psstt there might already be a book up for grabs somewhere on this blog- just saying wink wink)

Congrats again to Kristin! Have a great day all!

Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane & Hidden by Sophie Jordan

I decided to pick two WOW titles this week!

I really want to review this title, I loved the first 3 Downside Ghosts books! Can't wait to get more Terrible!

Sacrificial Magic
Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane
Release Date: March 27th/12th
Publisher: Del Rey
Synopsis Courtesy of Goodreads:
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.

Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.

As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.

This is THE book I'm going to be looking for at BEA this year- so excited, this series is my favourite YA series! :)

Hidden by Sophie Jordan
Release Date: September 11th/12.
Publisher: HarperTeen
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....

Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan's Firelight trilogy.

Happy Reading!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Release Date:  May 1st/12.
Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads: 
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

"I wish, just once, that I could see your colours," I whispered.
"Well, I'm glad you can't. And I wish I'd never seen yours." p. 252

Saturday, February 18, 2012

In My Mailbox #17

It wasn't a huge week for me, but exciting non-the-less :), but I did get a nice surprise in the mail earlier this week from Macmillan!

Bone and Shadow by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt and Co.) June 19th/12. - Big thank you to Ksenia from Macmillan who sent a wonderful letter along with this ARC, detailing all the things she loved about the book! And I couldn't resist taking a picture with the package it came in, Macmillan always has the best packages- so shiny and blue!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Indie Review: Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between by J.A. Saare

Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between (Rhiannon's Law #1)

Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between (Rhiannon's Law #1) by J.A. Saare
Publisher: Mundania Press

CONTENT WARNING!!!! please be advised before continuing that this is an adult 18+ novel and does contain some sexual content.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
One bad corpse can ruin your whole day. 

No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy. 

She left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance; she managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her—until now. 

The deliciously good-looking vampire, Disco, knows her secret. When he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, Rhiannon discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no. 

But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.

My Thoughts:
J.A. Saare is one of those authors that truly makes me appreciate the fact that I have a Kindle, because if I didn't, who knows if I would have been able to stumble across the awesomeness that is Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between- yeah that's right I said awesomeness :).

This book has everything that I love in a good read; great story/plot, plenty of action and just the right dose of romance! I love a romance storyline in all books, as I always state, and this one was the perfect amount, the relationship between Rhia and Disco was predominant, but not overwhelming. Each chapter wasn't about how in love they were with each other, but the reader knows without having it explicitly stated in their face that these two have deep feelings for each other.

Disco is the perfect male lead. He's a dominant character but he also has a sexy sensitive side. He's been burned by a past love, but doesn't let that sway him from his duties as a leader or a potential love interest to Rhia.

Rhia, to, has a lot of emotional baggage from her past as she didn't have the most ideal upbringing, and it's because of this that she's closed herself off to others and hides behind her witty/sarcastic demeanour. With this said, she's also a really strong character and doesn't spend all her time feeling sorry for herself, but rather, does the right thing when she needs to and is out for the greater good.

The ending to this book was epic! You will not see it coming, trust me! So it's a good thing that The Renfield Syndrome (Rhiannon Law #2) is already available, because trust me, once you've finished this book you'll be dying for book #2. Right now I'm dying for book #3 The Ripple Effect which is scheduled to be released this Summer! 

Please read this book, I'm dying to know what you will think of it and I'd love to discuss others thoughts on it! I was not even a little disappointed, this will definitely be in my top ten favs for the fore-seeable future!

Happy Reading!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Endlessly by Kiersten White

This one's a no brainer right? Hehe, this is, by far, my favourite cover of the whole series!

Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)

Endlessly by Kiersten White
Release Date: July 24th/12.
Publisher: HarperTeen
Synopsis (or somewhat of a synopsis :) ) courtesy of Goodreads:

The third book in the Paranormalcy trilogy.

The final chapter of Evie's adventures. Old friends, new ones, all wrapped up in impossible decisions. And some ball gowns. Because what's a life of normal and paranormal drama without a ball gown or two?


Monday, February 13, 2012

I've Got Answers!

I'm answering the awesome fellow book blogger Jen Ryland's questions here on the blog today! She asked some that were right up my alley and some that had me scratching my head in wonder :). Here are my answers for you Jen!

Most favorite/least favorite household chore?
Favourite - Doing the dishes, I find it rather therapeutic haha
Least favourite - It's a tie between vacuuming and cleaning the toilet. I hate carrying around the heavy vacuum with me and I just don't like getting up close and personal with my toilet!

Makeup/beauty item you can't live without?
Umm, I'm going to go with eos lip balm!- Love it!

Go-to karaoke song?
Journey! Steve Perry is my soulmate haha, so either "Don't Stop Believe'n" or "Oh Sherry" but I like to replace 'Sherry' with 'Hayley' hehe!

Morning person or night person?
Night person definitely! I have a hard time functioning before 12pm most days :).

Favorite thing to eat at a movie theater?
Peanut M&Ms over top of Butter Popcorn- mmm delicious, now I want to go watch a movie with a nice bowl of it!

If you won a free trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Hmm... I'm going to say either Scotland, because it's so green (I kid you not, that's why I've always wanted to go there) or Australia because it looks like such a scenic change from Toronto!

E-reader or paper books?
Gah! BOTH, I love physical books, I usually buy a ton a week from work, but I also really love my Kindle and appreciate the doors that e-readers/books have opened for many indie publishers and authors. So many great writers out there, who's work I never would have known or read if it hadn't been for Journey (that's what I named my Kindle :) )

Which TV/reality show would you love to make an appearance on?
I'll say So You Think You Can Dance, because I've always wanted to be part of one their routines! So You Think Can Dance, Bi#@$ I know I can! (Side note: I actually can't dance to save my life haha).

Favorite Olympic event (summer or winter) to watch?
Swimming/Syncro for Summer, it's the only sport I'm actually good at haha! As a Canadian I should probably say Hockey for winter, but I really love watching the pairs figure/dance skating.

Do you have any weird phobias or superstitions?
Holy crap are you kidding?! I'm a walking bundle of nerves, I worry about EVERYTHING! I'm sure I'll give myself an ulcer before I hit 30.

Ok those are my answers for the lovely Jen and I had a blast answering them, I hope you all enjoyed reading them! Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Do you agree/disagree with my answers?

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY MYSTERY BOX OF ARCS CONTEST- see Current Giveaways page for the link to the contest :)

Happy Reading!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

In My Mailbox #16

Another great week for books!

I bought

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri (Candlewick Press)
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan (Poppy)
Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber (Katherine Tegen Books)
Cute Curious George Plush (So Adorable!)

From trades with other Book Bloggers Special thanks to Lyndsey, Rebecca and Amelia!
Until I Die by Amy Plum (HarperTeen) May 8th/12
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (HarperTeen) May 1st/12
The Selection by Kiera Cass (HarperTeen) April 24th - Still jumping up and down :) 

From Publisher For Review:
Quaranteen by Lex Thomas (EgmontUSA) Apr. 17th/12
This Is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott (Simon and Schuster) May 1st/12 - Special thanks to Anneliese from Simon and Schuster!

That's all for me this week guys! What did you get in your mailbox?

Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's time for a giveaway, how about a box of ARCs?!

Hello all, so I've been doing some Spring Cleaning this week and there's no room left on my ARC shelf, so you know what that means? It's time for an ARC Giveaway, no, it's time for a BOX OF ARCs GIVEAWAY!!! 

It's the month of love and this is how I'm showing my love to you all!

It's a mystery what ARCs you'll receive (the winner will have a list of options to choose from, and these are ARCs from various publishers such as, Candlewick, HarperTeen, DoubleDay, HarlequinTEEN and many more!) Here's a peek at some of the ARCs that'll be up for grabs- O but there's much more folks, there's much more! :) Must be a GFC or Networkblog follower of this blog to enter! :)

Good luck to all who enter and Happy Early Valentine's Day!
Please see my Review/Giveaway Policy page for complete rules and regulations.

Waiting on Wednesday: Predestined by Abbi Glines

Loved Existence! Go here to see my review of Existence :) CanNOT wait for this one!!!

Predestined (Existence Trilogy, #2)
Predestined (Existence #2) by Abbi Glines
Release Date: April 4th/12.
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
You would think after helping save her boyfriend from an eternity in Hell that things would go back to normal. Well, as normal as life can be when you can see souls and your boyfriend is Death. But for Pagan Moore, things are just getting weirder.  

The high school quarterback and reigning heartthrob, Leif Montgomery, is missing. While the town is in a frenzy of worry, Pagan is a nervous wreck for other reasons. Apparently good ‘ol Leif isn’t your average teenage boy. He isn’t even human. According to Death, Leif doesn’t have a soul. The quarterback may have skipped town but he’s still showing up in Pagan’s dreams... uninvited.  Dank has known from the beginning Leif wasn’t human. But he hadn’t worried about a simple soulless creature. Now, he realizes he made a grave mistake. Pagan’s soul has been marked since birth as a restitution, to a spirit so dark not even Death walks near it. Dank knows saving Pagan’s soul won’t be easy but Pagan is his. And he’s already proven he’ll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: This Is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read• Open to a random page• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This Is So Not Happening
This Is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott
Release Date: May 1st/12.

      And then she was gone. I looked at Ally. She was watching me carefully, like she'd never met me before and was trying to decide if she trusted me.
     "So ... wanna help me with my pre-calc?" I joked. (p. 70)

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
After their long summer apart, Ally and Jake were hoping for a drama free senior year. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like things will work out that way...again. — It turns out that Chloe is pregnant and says that Jake is the father. Hammond is pissed at his best friend, but mostly can't believe that Ally would stay with Jake. But Ally is tired of being apart from Jake and is willing to make it work. But that is easier said than done when Jake starts blowing Ally off to go to doctor's appointments with Chloe and Ally joins the school play and meets a new cute guy.

But as graduation approaches, things get more complicated as new secrets come out and Ally realizes maybe Jake isn't the guy she thought he was. After everything they've been through can Ally and Jake get out of Orchard Hill with their relationship intact?

Happy Reading!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blue Sky Days Blog Tour: Review and Author Interview

Blue Sky Days
Marie Landry, Author

Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry
Now Available!
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother - studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing - and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn't have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn't know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn't helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it's time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she's stepped back in time. 

When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes - he's unlike anyone she's ever met before, the kind of man she didn't even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don't always need a plan - sometimes life steers you where you're meant to be. 

Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it's time for her to help Nicholas the way he's helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.

My Thoughts:

This is a great coming of age novel that many teens and newly-twenty-year-olds can relate to. I enjoyed Emma as a character and was sympathetic to her uncertainty of the future- not everyone knows what they want to do with the rest of their life at nineteen, and on a personal note: who says that you have to decide to be or do one thing in your life, am I right? :)

Emma has always worked hard and kept her nose in the books throughout high school, and in turn, missed out on a lot of social aspects that your teen years have to offer: first party, first kiss etc. But I think the point or moral rather, of this story, is that we shouldn't live in the past or with regrets all we can do is live in the present and look forward to the future. Am I sounding corny right now haha?

Nicholas is a one of a kind, no seriously, please tell me if you have ever known a man more perfect than him. He has a lot to deal with, but he always remains positive and appreciates the life he has been given. It's impossible to be in a bad mood while reading this character. He's just so amazing inside and out, and I think that Emma was lucky to find him :). 

Speaking of, the romance between these two was so special and sweet, it reminded me of the couple from The Notebook, the way their innocent love bloomed. They compliment each other so well to the point of not knowing which is the "better half".

There were a couple things that irked me about this book though. Nothing major, but I couldn't fully understand the relationship (or lack there of) that Emma and her Mom shared. I didn't really appreciate the way Emma put her Mom down, especially to her younger sister. It just didn't seem right to me and I actually found myself sympathizing with Tilly. The second aspect that irked me, and you all may laugh at me cause this is a completely subjective pet peeve of mine and I see it done in lots of book- YA and Adult, is that Emma referred to her Dad as "Daddy" I mean come one seriously your nineteen and you're calling your Dad, Daddy- It creeps me out! :) Haha, but like I said before, this is a subjective thing, I just think if you're over nine-years-old, you should stop calling your father, Daddy.

With all that said, this is a great and fast read that will leave in you in the best possible mood, because no matter what curveballs life throws at you, there will always be "Blue Sky Days" ahead.

Happy Reading!!!

And now folks, will you please join me in welcoming Marie to the blog today!

Marie Landry, Writer

1. How long did it take you to write Blue Sky Days?
When I first wrote it seven years ago, it took me a month. When I brought it back out in 2011 and decided to work on it (it was only about 34,000 words, and needed a lot of work), it took me another month to rewrite it, then several months to do revisions and editing.

2. What inspired you to write Blue Sky Days?
A lot of little things, and because it was so long ago, I can’t remember which came first. I know I had the idea for Emma’s character, and then Nicholas’s character, and they were very clear in my mind. The cancer storyline was something that was probably inevitable since my dad had leukemia when I was little. I think the ideas really came together when a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, because it wasn’t long after that that I started writing Blue Sky Days.

3. If you could describe Blue Sky Days in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
A lost and lonely girl searching for her place in life, and finding it in the most unexpected places.

4. What character from BSD do you relate to most? Why?
Definitely Emma. Unlike her, I had a wonderful mother and a few great friends growing up, but I was also a little lost and lonely and unsure. Like Emma, I put a lot of pressure on myself in school, and sometimes wondered what I had to show for it other than good grades.

5. Do you plan to keep BSD as a standalone?
I had always intended for it to be a standalone, but once it was finished I got a few ideas for a companion novel. Not necessarily a sequel, although that’s a possibility, too. I’m not going to say anymore than that…except that if it did happen, it wouldn’t be for a while, because I have several other projects on the go.

6. What challenges did you face with self-publishing?
For starters, the whole stigma that still surrounds it. It used to be that only hacks and wannabes self-published, but now there are a lot of people with real talent doing it. Still, there are those who write a book, don’t give much thought to plot or character development or all the other important aspects of storytelling, and then don’t bother having their work edited before publishing it. That’s why the stigma still remains, and those people give us all a bad name.

It was also difficult doing it all on my own - finding beta readers, proofreaders, and an editor, going through the book dozens of times myself, designing the cover and book trailer, doing the formatting, and then doing the marketing and promotion. It’s a ton of work, and it’s a good thing I’ve always been the Jack of all trades type, or it would have cost me a fortune to have someone else do it all for me.

7. Do you have any advice to offer those just starting out in the publishing industry?
Work hard, find a support system, and never give up. Writing isn’t easy; it’s a long, solitary process that can make you crazy. There are a lot of obstacles for many people, but if it’s something you love and something you’re passionate about, don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The indie community as a whole is very supportive of each other, so make friends and connections, ask for help, and if you really want to do it, give it all you’ve got.

Thank you for having me here today Hayley, it’s been a pleasure!

Thank you so much for stopping by Marie, and thank you for introducing us Emma and Nicholas!

To purchase your own copy of Blue Sky Days: