Blog Tour: One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin (Exerpt)

One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

Release Date: February 10, 2015 – Spencer Hill Press
320 pages – 978-1939392633

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Summary:

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a “lady” while the guys move on without her. Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.  But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

Excerpt:

From Chapter 3

One month later, I’m sitting in a brightly lit classroom at the Winston Academy for Girls. My dad used to joke that the day I wore a skirt would be the day the zombie apocalypse rolled into town. Two hours in and I have yet to see a zombie, but I do feel like the living dead. Someone bathed in raspberry perfume this morning, causing a war to rage inside my nostrils. I might fall to the floor and convulse, the smell’s that thick.

Maybe it’s not the perfume. Maybe I’m allergic to all this estrogen.

“You okay?” the girl next to me whispers.

I respond by covering my mouth and sneezing so hard that a giant wad of snot lands in the palm of my hand. Carefully, I move my hand under the desk and smile.

“Fine,” I reply. “Just tired.”

The girl chews on a strand of her honey-colored hair as she attempts to write down every word of the lecture. A leather day planner rests at the edge of her desk, a name embroidered in pink curly letters at the bottom: Emma Elizabeth Swanson.

I’m definitely not in public school anymore.

Our Business Mathematics teacher pity-smiles at me from behind her glasses and dives into a discussion about supply and demand. I continue to wonder what I should do with the snot on my palm. If I were sitting beside one of the guys at Burlington High, like I should be this year, the snot wouldn’t be an issue. I would wipe it on Cowboy, the least likely of the group to retaliate, and laugh.

But what would a “lady” do?

Here at Winston, boys feel as mythical and mysterious as unicorns. There’s no sign of them anywhere. No obnoxious belches. No stupid high- fives. No talk of monster hunting. It’s unsettling, like I’m walking among a race of polite aliens wearing plaid jumpers and lip gloss.

How am I supposed to survive a year on another planet? 

About the Author:

Lisa Aldin

Lisa Aldin graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in English Literature. She now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and daughter. ONE OF THE GUYS is her debut novel.

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Blog Tour: I Wish by Elizabeth Langston [Interview + Giveaway]

An attractive guy that grants you wishes?

Today I would love to introduce I WISH by Elizabeth Langston. Spencer Hill is holding a wonderful blog tour and I was given the chance to interview Elizabeth Langston. I WISH releases tomorrow (11/18); with an awesome protag and a cute guy who grants wishes, I do hope you check this book out.

I WISH by Elizabeth Langston

Paperback: 312 pages
Expected publication: November 18th
ISBN: 1939392233 

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What Lacey needs is a miracle. What she gets is a genie with rules.

Lacey Linden is hiding the truth of her life—a depressed mom, a crumbling house, and bills too big to pay. While her high school classmates see a girl with a ready smile and good grades, Lacey spends her evenings seeking ways to save her family. On a get-cash-quick trip to the flea market, Lacey stumbles over a music box that seemingly begs her to take it home. She does, only to find it is inhabited by a gorgeous “genie.” He offers her a month of wishes, one per day, but there’s a catch. Each wish must be humanly possible.

Grant belongs to a league of supernatural beings, dedicated to serving humans in need. After two years of fulfilling the boring wishes of conventional teens, he is one assignment away from promotion to a challenging new role with more daring cases. Yet his month with Lacey is everything that he expects and nothing like he imagines. Lacey and Grant soon discover that the most difficult task of all might be saying goodbye.

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Elizabeth also answered a few questions I had for her. So without further ado, I welcome Elizabeth Langston!

1. How would you explain I WISH in a six word sentence?

Lacey needs Grant more than wishes.

2. What gave you the inspiration for your novel?

My daughter had a friend in high school with an absent father, alcoholic mom, and four younger siblings. This girl became the hub of her family. She went to school, worked a waitressing job, took care of the kids, and kept everything from falling apart. When their car broke down, my daughter became her chauffeur for a while.

I thought this young woman was amazing. She was on track to be a superstar in high school and college, yet she put it all on hold for her family. I remember thinking that it would be so nice if she had a little magic to make all of her problems go away.  And the idea for I WISH was born.

3. Lacey finds her music box while browsing around a flea market; do you go to flea markets? If so, what is the most memorable thing you have found?

Not in North Carolina. But my family travels a lot—and wandering through flea markets or bazaars is something we do on vacation. It’s a great way to discover what’s important in the places we’re visiting.

I usually try to buy a pair of earrings at flea markets. Each time I put them on, I’m briefly reminded of that place. But if I had to pick a single memorable thing, it would be a set of wind chimes made with ceramic birds. When the wind blows, I remember and smile.

4. The first thing I noticed on your website were the words ‘Magical Realism’ and its definition. What draws you to the genre and what has your experience been like incorporating it into your YA novels?’

My day job is in computer software. We’re logical, scientific, and orderly. When I’m not at work, I want to escape into things that can’t be explained. My favorite TV shows have often featured people with a twist of something magical in their midst of their ordinary worlds. Bewitched. Twilight Zone. Medium. Right now, it’s Elementary because I love how Sherlock has this eerie ability to perceive things the rest of us can’t. It also intrigues me to think how much of a burden a supernatural power must be.

When I started writing, I tried realistic fiction, but it didn’t work for me. I finally figured out that I had to be fascinated by stories before readers could be. So I turned to my love of magical realism, and it just fit.

My debut series is Whisper Falls. On Goodreads, it’s classified as time-travel, but I really wrote it as magical realism.  The heroine is Susanna, an indentured servant living in the completely realistic world of 1796. The hero is Mark, a teen athlete living in the completely realistic world of now. The heart of their story is how they create a real relationship through a magical fracture in time.

I WISH was the first YA novel that I wrote (although it sold after Whisper Falls).  The heroine Lacey needs help, so I send her a genie. But Grant acts as real—as nearly-human—as possible, because that’s more interesting to me than absolute power. It forces Grant to consider the true value of his powers—when it makes sense to use them and when it does not.

About the Author:

Eelizabeth-langstonlizabeth Langston lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two teen-ish daughters and one husband (a geek like her). When she’s not writing software or stories, Elizabeth loves to travel with her family, watch dance reality TV shows, and dream about which restaurant ought to get their business that night.

Elizabeth’s debut novel WHISPER FALLS released in November 2013. Its sequels, A WHISPER IN TIME released in April 2014 and WHISPERS FROM THE PAST released in October 2014.  Her new series begins with I WISH in November 2014. Learn more about her at www.elizabethlangston.net.

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Rafflecopter Giveaway (Ends 12/01)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/efd711b43/

  • (1 winner) Grand Prize: Signed copy of I WISH, $25 e-book gift card, copper bracelet, swag, temporary tattoo (US & Canada)
  • (2 winners) 2nd prize: copper bracelet, swag, temporary tattoo (US & Canada)
  • (30 winners) 3rd prize: swag & temporary tattoos (international)

Tour Schedule:

November 17 – Bumbles and Fairy-Tales (guest post), Books As You Know It (interview)
November 18 – RELEASE DAY!!! Branwrites (interview), K-Books (guest post)
November 19 – (Lost in) Believing in Books (interview), The Cover Contessa (guest post)
November 20 – Jessabella Reads (interview), Books Complete Me (review)
November 21 – Shersinghzn (guest post)
November 22 – Lovely Reads (guest post)
November 23 – Crossroad Reviews (review), Stuck In YA Books (guest post)
November 24 – Letters in the Sand (review), Beauty and the Bookshelf (guest post)

My Thoughts: True Fire by Gary Meehan

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Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Megan is pregnant.

As she prepares to tell her family, the unthinkable happens. Her village is razed by soldiers: her grandfather murdered, her twin sister taken.

On a desperate mission to rescue her beloved Gwyneth, Megan discovers a terrifying truth – that the destruction of her old life is inextricably linked to her unborn child. The feared witch soldiers, vanquished a generation ago, have returned to see the fulfilment of a prophecy: one that will put Megan and her new friends – Eleanor, a fiery ex-aristocrat, and Damon, a wayward charmer – at the heart of the greatest war her world has ever known.

My Thoughts:

(**I received this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

With True Fire, Meehan has crafted a world divided by religion and corruption while interrupting reader’s connotations about witches.

I firmly believe I would not have enjoyed the novel as much if not for Meehan’s writing – it is definitely the strongest aspect of True Fire. For me, the book reads as high YA. The writing, along with the book’s themes, is more mature; on the other hand, the characters are highly sarcastic and fall into the mature, yet immature range. Meehan also details scenes with just enough description to keep things entertaining instead of boring readers with a descriptive over-kill.

That being said, I really enjoyed the protagonists Megan, Eleanor and Damon. Like any other novel, they meet under special circumstances; unlike other novels though, the three of them continue a very intense love-hate relationship with each other. I really couldn’t tell if they were going to stay acquaintances or kill each other off; that question itself kept me reading.

Although True Fire has a strong narrative and awesome characters, I found the plot to be average (if that’s a good description). There’s the girl who hasn’t done anything wrong, but is in this huge predicament; the beautiful friend that can kick-ass; and the charming guy who may or may not be on the protagonist’s side. I also must admit I predicted the ending, which I had hoped would be something different.

Still, the themes and conflicts that revolve around religion, belief, and corruption are written in with much thought. In True Fire, there are two groups: the witches and the Brothers. Both believe in God, but are out to destroy each other for the struggle of power. Meehan incorporates these things into the plot well; the reader is able to look into a world controlled by religion without feeling pressured to take on, or think of, notions of their own.

True Fire is a satisfying read. If you are looking for an action filled adventure mixed with sarcasm, I definitely think Meehan’s book is for you.

My Thoughts: Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith

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Summary:

When 22-year-old aspiring journalist Emma Cohen is forced to flee the comforts of her NYU student life, she maneuvers an internship from her father at his newspaper in Rio de Janeiro. There, Emma is immediately swept into a major news story—and a life-threatening situation—when a famous jungle environmentalist, Milton Silva, is mysteriously murdered.

Emma must now enter the Amazon rainforest with her father to investigate, where she is both awed by the enormity and beauty of the Amazon and appalled by its reckless destruction. Not only will Emma have to brave the primal world of the Amazon, she must fight to survive the kidnappers, villains, corrupt activists, and indigenous tribes that lay in wait along the ever-twisting trail of the murder case. Stretched to the brink, it’s up to Emma, her father, and the dreamy news photographer, Jimmy, to unravel the mystery and live to tell the tale.

Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith is a spectacular debut Young Adult novel. Griffith’s powerful rendering of the Amazon rainforest forms the perfect, wildly exotic backdrop for this extraordinary tale of a young urban woman coming of age in the midst of intense conflict.

My Thoughts:

(**I received this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

I finished Amazon Burning a little more than a week ago; today, I’m still unsure about how I feel about this book. To begin, I thought this book fell more into the new adult category instead of the young adult category (the steamy scenes get a little too graphic for me to place this in YA).

I went into this book thinking it was going to be engaging and heavy; instead, Amazon Burning is more of a light, action-filled story. The plot was filled with crazy impossible scenes and non-stop action, which allowed me to imagine the book as a thriller movie, instead of a novel, in my mind.

Emma is a likable protagonist, even though I was not able to connect with her. The story begins with her in the middle of a sexual assault case against one of her professors, which prompts her to take her dad’s offer to go to Brazil. Although I understood the importance of the situation, I did not think the writing captured the severity and effect it has on Emma’s life. I was waiting to read about Emma’s character development through her mental and physical battle with these events, but it never came. There are many sub-plots that emerge throughout the novel; I wish Griffith had focused in and built more of that one.

On the other hand, I did enjoy the relationship between Emma and Jimmy. Jimmy is caring, protective and adorable. Emma and Jimmy are a good fit and I think the romance is a great part of the plot. Still, I found the sex scenes to be awkwardly detailed.

A great aspect of this novel is the setting. A majority of the book revolves around the Amazon rainforest and the animals and people that live in it. Amazon Burning is unique from other teen books because it focuses on people outside of modern influence. I liked reading about Yanomami Indian characters, and knowing that the author spent time with Yanomami people adds to her credibility in portraying them.

Overall, I thought Amazon Burning was alright. I didn’t fall in love with the book, but at times I kept reading because I wanted to know what came next. If you’re looking for something different, Amazon Burning might be for you.

 

Cover Reveal: The Collectors’ Society by Heather Lyon

The Collectors' Society teaser 1

 

We are very excited to bring you the cover for Heather Lyon’s THE COLLECTORS SERIES!  THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY is a new adult romance title, set to be released on October 23rd!

 

The Collectors' Society front cover

Cover design by Victoria Faye of Whit and Ware

THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY Goodreads

THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY Synopsis:

From the author of the Fate series and The Deep End of the Sea comes a fantastical romantic adventure that has Alice tumbling down the strangest rabbit hole yet.

After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

The Collectors' Society full wrap

 

Author PhotoAbout Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

 

 

 

 

Website ** Author Goodreads ** Twitter ** Facebook

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Cover Reveal: Play On by Michelle Smith

Title: Play On by Michelle Smith
Expected Release Date: April 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

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Summary:

In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius; she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek — he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the façade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.

About Michelle Smith:

Michelle Smith writes books for teens (and adults who aren’t ashamed of their love for YA). She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and is a complete sap. She advocates for mental health awareness, and is a strong supporter of The Trevor Project, Love is Louder, and To Write Love on Her Arms.
Michelle lives in North Carolina with her family.
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Blog Tour: London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton [Book Thoughts]

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Summary:

Maggie Carpenter walked away from the hottest encounter of her life when she left the seductive glitz of England for summer break in her South Carolina hometown. Now that she’s returned to the International School in London—and sexy, privileged Samir Khouri is once again close enough to touch—she can’t help but remember the attraction, the drama … the heartbreak.

She can’t help but want him even more.

Samir can’t afford to fall for someone so far removed from his world, not when his time in London is running out. It’s his senior year—his last chance at freedom before he returns home to Lebanon. There, he’ll be expected to follow in his father’s footsteps—not follow his heart to Maggie. But when a scorching secret hookup becomes a temptation neither can resist, they’ll both have to fight to survive the consequences … and find a future together.

My Thoughts:

Although I adored I See London, London Falling somehow made me fall in love with Maggie, Samir and the International School a hundred times more.

To be honest, I didn’t really know where London Falling was going to go. Yes, the first book set up a lot of things for the sequel, but I questioned the relationship between Maggie and Samir. Everything between them was already so intense and passionate that I honestly questioned how it could become more intense and passionate. In the end, it was wrong for me to question. Chanel Cleeton crafted an addictive sequel that intensified everything between Maggie and Samir, making me feel every emotion known to mankind.

Even though the book revolves around Maggie and Samir, Cleeton doesn’t forget about the other characters and other important things. For example, Fleur’s past comes back to haunt her, and she’s stuck getting through everything too. Maggie is also challenged with facing her own family issues. What I love about London Falling is that it mirrors true reactions and outcomes. In every scene, I understood and empathized with a character’s decision.

Chanel Cleeton does a wonderful job at capturing moments and emotions and translating them into words one can put on a page. I found myself staring at the book in awe at certain sentences and passages because Maggie’s thoughts about life captured my exact feelings. Those details brought me closer to the characters because I knew how they felt.

In the end, all I can do is applaud Chanel Cleeton for writing a wonderful sequel to a wonderful book. If you haven’t read I See London, the first book in the International School series, then you need to do so right now. If you have, you need to somehow obtain the sequel because this series is my favorite.

Buy Links
Amazon Barnes & NoblesiTunes Harlequin

Author Links
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Giveaway!

Win a London Falling coffee mug, Tea, (4) signed London Falling bookmarks, (4) signed I See London bookmarks, (4) pens, a London case, and a $25 Amazon GC. Enter the rafflecopter here!

Please check out the rest of the LONDON FALLING tour here!

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