Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Self-Published Authors to Check Out!!

I'm particularly excited about this post! As those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know both of my books are self-published. (Thousands of Mornings and Holiday Hospital Stay Poetry Collection 2012). I didn't know much about the world of self-publishing before this but a few self-published books have come onto my shelves. When you publish with a big New York house they take on the publicity for the most part. When you self-publish this is usually on you. Writers self-publish for many reasons and today I wanted to do my part to spread the word about some self-published authors and their books. 



Many of you may already know who this is. Michelle Madow self-published her Young Adult series The Transcend Time Saga. This includes: Remembrance, Vengeance, Timeless and Transcendence (A Transcend Time Bonus Packet). I have read every single one of these and have reviews of every one up on my blog. Michelle did such a wonderful job of marketing that this series has sold over 7,000 copies! She got her first book deal with a traditional publisher for The Secret Diamond Sisters. Coming February 2014! 

Website: http://blog.michellemadow.com/




This is a self-published poetry collection by Nicole Iadevaia. I found out about this because my Aunt knows one of the author's relatives. So I got a copy from that relative. :) I haven't read the whole thing yet but I have read some of the poems and I wanted to feature it here. It is published through Lulu.com. 

A Glimpse of Light 

I couldn't find the cover for this book anywhere. Or information on it. :/ I got this book a while ago because of a connection to the author. It is a poetry collection by Vinette M. Smith (Classy). 

This Place Called Us 

Again, I couldn't find the cover or information on the book. :/ This is another book that I got from a connection to the authors; Lisa Wujnovich and Mark Dunau. This is a poetry and photography collection. 


I know the author of this book via Facebook. Jessica Jondle. We both have Cystinosis. This is a book about her experiences with Cystinosis. Self-published with Lulu.com. 

Website: http://rollerskatingwithrickets.com/ 



I just discovered this author on Sunday via a mutual friend that I met through Rachel Harris' Flirt Squad Facebook Group. I started reading this book on Sunday too. :) So far I'm really liking it. It seems to be Upper Young Adult/New Adult. The author's name is Ryan Ringbloom. This book is part of the Fast series. The next book, Wait, should be dropping soon. 

Website: http://www.ryanringbloom.com/





And of course, there are my books! ;) Thousands of Mornings (a poetry and photography collection) and Holiday Hospital Stay Poetry Collection 2012 (poetry collection). These are some of my suggestions! Covering the scope of Young Adult, Young Adult/New Adult, Memoir/Autobiography, Poetry/Photography and Poetry. Let me know what some of your favorites are! I would love to know! I am always up for supporting self-published authors! :)

<3 Amanda Leigh

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review ~ Diary of the White Witch: A Witches of East End Prequel by Melissa De La Cruz

 

Title: Diary of the White Witch: A Witches of East End Prequel
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Release Date: June 12th, 2012 
Published By: Hyperion 
Page Amount: 24 pages on my Nook 

GoodReads Blurb: 
The exciting prequel to the Witches of East End series from Blue Bloods author, Melissa de la Cruz. 

Review: 
In the February of 2012 I read another Witches of East End Prequel .(Although I didn't post the review until August. -Was this really only in 2012? Wow-). Well, it was called a Witches of East End Primer. It was pretty good. It's so funny, sometimes when you look at a book that you read a year later sometimes you would change the rating. I think now I would give that book about 3.5 stars probably. You can find that review here: http://girlwithapenandadream.blogspot.com/2012/08/book-review-witches-101-witches-of-east.html

This prequel was okay. I enjoyed it. It was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed the format of it a lot. I always enjoy something told through a diary entry format. Being an avid journaler myself, I love this format. 

I tink that Melissa De La Cruz did a nice job of showing the reader that this witch has been around for a while. Via the language Ingrid chooses to use. You can also see the contrast between Ingrid and  her sister Freya pretty well. Melissa De La Cruz also sets up the fact that something sinister is brewing; so that was alright but for some reason I wanted more about that. It didn't seem done to me. 

Ingrid was rather naive about her feelings about Matthew Noble. And I realize this is just the way this character is but for some reason it sort of irritated me. Reading it you can tell that she "likes" this guy or there is some sort of attraction and she is going on about how she doesn't understand why she just wrote about how she met in her diary. Instead she could have just written that she already loathes him. Also, I found several errors in editing in this so I couldn't over look that. I would give this one 3 stars. If you've read this or the Witches of East End series let me know. I would like to hear your opinion and if I should give it a shot. Thanks! :) 

<3 Amanda Leigh

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Character of the Month! (#2)

  

This month my character of the month is Damon Salvatore! I love the character from the books so much. I know that most people know him from the television show and I love the Damon there too. I think that he is pretty spot-on to the character in the books.  

The Damon in the books is just as complex as the one in the show. He starts off just seeming like a jerk but when he meets Elena feelings begin to stir up in him. This is of course, just as in the show, because she looks like Katherine. However as he gets to know Elena he sees the ways that she is different from Katherine and is feelings grow for her. He always tries to protect her. Even if he is often a smart-alec and quite snippy. In time he even grows to care about her friend Bonnie. A certain protectiveness over her other friends sets in as well. His main concern is always Elena though. And he even begins to mend his relationship with his brother, Stefan. As twisted as some of the things he does/did are I believe that he believes that he is truly doing it all in the name of love. Whether that love is of his brother, or the love he has for Elena, or the friendship he has with Bonnie. Even some of the things he did in the beginning to get Katherine back. He also has had so much happen to him in his 500 some odd years on this Earth. His past is also very dark. He is all around a very dark, complex character. One who acts on love; no matter what the consequences may be. He would do anything to protect the people that he cares about.

Pretty similar to the Damon in the show. So that was my character of the month this month! He has been one of my favorites since I started reading The Vampire Diaries series. What are some of your favorite characters? 

<3 Amanda Leigh

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review ~ The Prince (The Selection #0.5) by Kiera Cass

 

Title: The Prince (The Selection #0.5)
Author: Kiera Cass 
Release Date: March 5th 2013
Published By: HarperTeen
Page Amount: 55 pages, NookBook (I know the description doesn't say 55 but that is what my NookBook was).

GoodReads Blurb:
Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection...

Before Aspen broke America's heart...

There was another girl in Prince Maxon's life...


Don't miss this thrilling 64-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection. Also features a teaser to The Elite, Kiera Cass's hotly anticipated sequel to The Selection.

Review: 
The book The Selection ha been intriguing me for a while. The concept caught my attention. This is the prequel to The Selection. It has an excerpt of The Elite (The Selection #2) but since I haven't read The Selection I skipped over that part. 

I think that this serves as a great primer to The Selection. It is a very good set up. I enjoyed coming at this from the perspective of someone first being introduced to the series. Though I think that it would be good coming at this from the perspective of someone who has already read the other books. 


I like that this was told in a different perspective that the other books. I also enjoyed that this was a male perpecivte. There is not a lot of that going on in Young Adult. I thought that it was well done. I found myself thinking as I read this "That sounds like something that a man would say." (Sexist perhaps, but I couldn't help thinking it). 


I enjoyed Prince Maxon as a character as well. I found his awkwardness with women charming. It also made him more believable as a human being, so to speak, not just some perfectly poised prince. (Oooo, alteration. :) I think that it was good that I saw into his thoughts before I dive into the series. 


This didn't blow me out of the water but it was an enjoyable read. I would recommend this to any fans of The Selection series. I would say 3.5 stars! 


<3 Amanda Leigh

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Review ~ The Adventures of Balto: The Untold Story of Alaska's Famous Iditarod Sled Dog by Patricia Chargot

 

Title: The Adventures of Balto: The Untold Story of Alaska's Famous Iditarod Sled Dog
Author: Patricia Chargot 
Release Date: March 1st 2006 
Published By: Publication Consultants 
Page Amount: 75 pages, E-book

GoodReads Blurb:

Balto, the great Alaska sled dog, has been dead since 1933. But he still stands larger-than-life on Dogdom's Mount Olympus, where the world's great canines are immortalized. Yet few people know Baltos true story. Only one small part has been told, and even it has been distorted. Several Balto books have been written. There's even a Balto animated movie, but it, too, is largely fiction. (Balto was NOT part wolf!) Like the books, the movie leaves off where this book begins -- and tells the best part of the story.

Balto was only three years old when he helped carry serum across Alaska from Nenana to Nome to save the town's children from diphtheria. As leader of the last dog team in the life-saving relay race, he became an overnight sensation - a BONEafide international celebrity.

But much more happened after that. Balto lived for eight more years. His days unfolded like a sled expedition to the North Pole, carrying him in an exhilarating rush over smooth snow one minute, an icy hummock the next. And how does the new story end? With a heart-thumping surprise that you can't imagine - and neither could have Balto.


Hook up your harness, step into Balto's booties, and mush off to Balto's true story. 

Review:
I was obsessed with the animated Balto movie when I was little. I also had a huge crush on the animated Balto. My mom just recently got the movie on DVD for me and I must have watched it at least ten times. I started to become curious about the real Balto so I did some searching on my Nook. The only books that I could find were children's books and this was the one that I chose. 

Overall, this was a very good read. It was very interesting to read the real story of Balto. It was much more sad than I expected it to be. But the ending was a happy one for the sled team. I also found out the real names of some of the other sled dogs. The ones that I remember are Alaska Slim, Tilly and Old Moctoc. There was also another sled dog mentioned who participated in the serum run on another team. (They actually did the serum run in a relay style). This dog's name was Togo. I also heard about when Balto sat for the statue that now sits in Central Park. It was great to know the story, sad parts and all. I'n glad that it was a happy ending but what happened to them throughout was awful. 


However, there were some typos in this book and I couldn't overlook that. I still adore the animated movie but this book was very good. 4 stars!


<3 Amanda 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott ~ Website Reveal!


Hello lovely readers! Today I am sharing with you something very exciting! The website for Fire and Flood (Victoria Scott's series with Scholastic) has gone live! And I have been given the go ahead to share the link AND the password! So enjoy, dear readers! And congratulations to Victoria Scott! Fire and Flood is slated to release in February 2014. 

Website: http://www.fireandfloodbooks.com/


Password: Pandora 


Find Victoria Scott Online:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VictoriaScottYA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaScott 


Website: http://www.victoriascottya.com/


<3 Amanda Leigh

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blog Tour ~ The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker

The Ghost Files, Volume I by Apryl Baker



Cherry blossom lipstick:  check

Smokey eyes:  check

Skinny jeans:  check

Dead kid in the mirror:  check

For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too. Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister… Sally. Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance. Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim… Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her?

Q and A:
Q:  So tell us a little bit about Apryl Baker.
A:  Well, in a nutshell, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up.  Seriously, sometimes I can be mid-sentence and I’ll get an idea and stop talking so I can write it down.  Terribly rude, I know, but my friends and family are used to it!  

Q:  Mattie is very, well, let's call her unique.  What inspired you when you created that little bundle of attitude?
A:  LOL!  She is that, isn't she?  Well, honestly, I had some foster kids living down the block from me and I had the opportunity to get to know them.  It took me the better part of a year to get them to trust me enough to open up.  I have to say they were the bravest, most courageous kids I've ever met. They are tough as nails, loyal only to each other, and they will break your heart.  Some of the stories they told me made me want to just cry.  Don't get me wrong, there are tons of great foster homes out there, the one they were in at the time I got to know them was one of those, but there are just as many bad ones as well.  I got to hear up close and personal just how bad some of them were.
Those experiences shaped those kids into the people they were.  They all had serious trust issues and sometimes the haunted look in their eyes made me hurt.  When I got the idea for this story, Mattie in my mind was a foster kid.  I wanted to show people that those kids are more than just the tough facade they show to the world, that they are vulnerable and sweet underneath their layers of shields.  I rolled all their attitude into Mattie and there's a little bit of each of them in her. 
Mattie Louise Hathaway is that tough as nails foster kid who looks after her own and will deck you as soon as look at you, but underneath all that attitude, there's still a sixteen year old girl who's scared, alone, vulnerable, and well 16!  She still notices the cute guy while being that sassy, snotty brat!

Q:  I know that most writers have to have music when they are writing.  Let's face it, music has inspired so many different stories over the years.  What was on your playlist when you wrote The Ghost Files?  
 A:  Wow, well, I did listen to a ton of different music, but these were my favs:
Fall Out Boy: My Song Knows What You Did In the Dark (this song alone is responsible for the last five chapters of the book!)
Evanescence:  Bring Me To Life
Bruno Mars:  Just the Way You Are
Demi Lovato:  Heart Attack
Taylor Swift:  I Knew You Were Trouble
Taking Back Sunday:  Make Damn Sure
My Chemical Romance:  I Don't Love You
My Chemical Romance:  The Ghost of You
Korn:  Freak On A Leash
Dashboard Confessional:  Slow Decay
Valora: I Waited For You

Q:  What advice would you give struggling authors in today's market?
A:  My best advice is to never give up.  I still have stack upon stack of rejection letters sitting on my desk.  It sucks!  That will never change.  You write this amazing story, polish it up a hundred times, then send out the query letter you slaved over for weeks, only to get rejection upon rejection upon rejection.  Huge blow to anyone's confidence.  Here's the thing though, you have all these rejection letters, but it only takes that one yes to make it all better.  I almost gave up on writing, but I'm so glad I didn't.  I have an amazing writing group, an agent that believes in me, and a publisher that is downright awesome.  Just believe in yourself.  You can't see your dreams come true if you don't keep trying.  Give yourself a minute to wallow in pity, then get up, dust yourself off and try, try again!

Q:  So why should we all rush out to buy The Ghost Files?
A:  That's simple!  It's awesome!  No, really, it's a fun, but scary read.  I have been advised by all the Wattpad crew who read it before it was published that you cannot read it in the dark. Scared them senseless.  There's a hint of romance, but the book itself is centered around the mystery of who killed Mattie's foster sister and the fact that Mattie now has to face her own weirdness.  She can see ghosts?  Um, not something she advertises.  Then there's Officer Dan...yum, all I'm saying. 

 About the Author:
 


So who am I? Well, I'm the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies. My friend Chazz laughs at me when I scare myself watching them and tells me to stop watching them, but who doesn't love to get scared? I grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees, and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to sleep. Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there's always someone to tell your mama on you. So when you get grounded, what is there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel. It was a romance titled "Lord Margrave's Deception." I remember it fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main characters. Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my family and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats start yelling something fierce...lol. I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.
PS: DO NOT GET IN MY WAY IF THERE IS A SALE ON AT TARGET - my home away from home!

Connect With Apryl: 
Don't forget to check out Apryl's other books, The Promise and The Awakening!


Enter to win a signed print edition of The Ghost Files just by Liking Apryl's Author page on Facebook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Book Birthday Rachel Harris + A Virtual Party Today!!!

Rachel Harris just yesterday had book two in the Love and Games novels release! Seven Day Fiance! I already have it on my nook and I'm quite excited! So I wanted to do a post wishing her a (belated) Happy Book Birthday Rachel!!!! Congratulations!!! I can't wait to read about Cane and Angelle! For all of you wondering what this book is about here is the cover and blurb! :)

 

One bad boy. One good girl. One unforgettable week.

Angelle Prejean is in a pickle. Her family is expecting her to come home with a fiancé—a fiancé who doesn’t exist. Well, he exists, but he definitely has no idea Angelle told her mama they were engaged. Tattooed, muscled, and hotter than sin, Cane can reduce Angelle to a hot mess with one look—and leave her heart a mess if she falls for him. But when she ends up winning Cane at a charity bachelor auction, she knows just how to solve her fiancé problem.

Cane Robicheaux is no one’s prince. He doesn’t do relationships and he doesn’t fall in love. When sweet, sultry-voiced Angelle propositions him, he hopes their little game can finally get her out of his head. He doesn’t expect her to break through all his barriers. But even as Angelle burrows deeper into his heart, he knows once their seven days are up, so is their ruse.


Buy Links:




And I have to mention that Tuesday night Rachel and friends Caisey Quinn, Ophelia London, Cindi Madsen, Karen Rock, Christina Lee, and Vivi Barnes are throwing a virtual party. Click  HERE to get the details.  

Find Rachel Online:
Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook  / Goodreads

Enjoy! Congratulations again to Rachel! :)

<3 Amanda Leigh

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review ~ Moments for Graduates by Robert Strand


Title: Moments for Graduates (Moments to Give)
Author: Robert Strand
Release Date: December 12th 1994 (first published February 1st 1994)
Published By: New Leaf Press (AR)
Page Amount: 80 pages, Hardcover

Blurb:

Perhaps the overwhelming irony of graduation is that all our knowledge often fails to prepare us for the pitfalls of the future. There is too much excitement, too much focus on relaxing from the years of work and achievement.


Moments for Graduates provides a look at true success stories (and some failures), ripe with humor and practical advice. Inspiring and compelling challenges for life's journey will appeal to graduates of all ages, who need an occasional moment to reflect on the true meaning of life and how it can best be lived. Moments for Graduates offers not only riveting stories, but drops pearls of wisdom to students embarking on a lifelong path.

Review:
I got this book from my Nana when I graduated high school and decided to save it until I graduated college. I just recently found it again - a couple of months after I officially graduated. 

This book has an anecdote for each day. The intention is that you would read one anecdote/page a day for a month. (Okay, two pages). Each story also features a quote and a Bible verse. (This book is heavy with religious theme so if that's not your thing then you may not want to pick this up). Even thought each story brought the focus back to having God in your life these stories could also be applied if you are not religious. Even an atheist could apply these stories to their life. They are stories about hard work, opportunity, choices, kindness. I think that even people who are not religious should want to apply these things in their lives. So if you are not religious and are curious about the stories in this book, I say read it. But just don't let the religious content be what you focus on. 


That being said, if you are a religious Christian then you would likely love this book and the quotes and Bible verses in it. You would also get a lesson for life outside of religion at the same time. 


I liked nearly every anecdote in this book. There was only one I didn't particularly care for. And that was because the man in the anecdote was trying to get people to convert to Christianity. I'm not saying that I have anything against Christianity (or any religion) I just feel that you should not try to convert people to your beliefs. 


Some of my favorite stories n here are:


A Goal for Life: About a young boy who wants to grow up to be the greatest baseball catcher that ever lived. He continues with this ambition. And you'll just have to see what happens.


It's In the Message: This one is great. About a man who wants a morose code job. See what happens when he goes for an interview. :)


Take Another Look: About two men sent to sell they're companies shoes. One gives up for certain reasons. one stays for the same reasons. 


A True Sportsman: About the Olympic Games in Hitler's Germany. A black competitor and a competitor from the "arian race". 


A Loser?: About a boy who was very poor at nearly everything he did. But he loved to draw and was very proud of his drawings. See what happens to this boy. :) 


Lessons From Salesmen: A young salesmen talks to a sales manager about buying a life insurance policy. Really, this one is just funny.... :) 


However, there are spelling and some grammar errors in this book and so I really couldn't overlook that. So because of the errors and the one story I did not care for I would say that this one is 4 stars! 

Recommended to anyone who has graduated, especially if they are a religious Christian. If not, try to not focus on that. Same goes for people who haven't recently graduated who want to read this. 


<3 Amanda Leigh