Posts Categorized: Giveaway

Dark Light (Ronald McDonald House Fundraiser Spotlight)

July 18, 2012 Blog Tour, Giveaway 5

I am so happy to be participating in this blog tour to help raise money for the Ronald McDonald House! Here’s the story behind this project. Oh, and make sure to enter the giveaway for a Kindle at the bottom of this post!

Carl Hose and his wife, Marcee, went through a very trying time during the pregnancy and birth of their daughter, Ireland Joy Hose. Complications arose during the development of their baby, so Carl’s wife was scheduled for a C-section just over two weeks before her due date. Normally, this is completely fine. Well, Ireland wanted to come six weeks early instead. The doctors could not stop Marcee’s contractions, and she started bleeding profusely. Ireland came out fine, but very tiny. Marcee had to have a hysterectomy if she wanted to survive. She pushed through and survived the surgery, regardless of all the blood loss. After the birth, Ireland was moved to the NICU at a different hospital than her mother, which was much further away. Carl and Marcee decided that Carl should move to be with Ireland. However, that meant leaving his wife alone during a very emotional and painful time. After much coaxing from the hospital staff, Carl moved into the Ronald McDonald House. Miraculously, Marcee joined him there the next day. She should not have been able to walk. They spent the next 3 weeks living in there, visiting their baby and watching her gain her strength and recover from coming into this world so early. Their entire family is doing so well today.

Ronald McDonald House played a huge part in this family’s happiness. They provided a place to live, food to eat, gifts, and even Valentine cards. They did not have to travel to see Ireland, nor did they have to sleep in her NICU room. They had a comfortable place close by where they could heal from this trauma together. RMH does this same thing for thousands of other families every year, and they do it solely from donations. Carl and Marcee are so grateful for the help that they received, that they want to give something back to the Ronald McDonald House. Here’s what they did:

Dark Light is the light that shines through when some of the finest writers in horror use the power of their words for something good. That’s the case with this anthology—42 writers coming together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities and all the good the organization does for families every day of the year.

Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down.

Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel.

Turn the lights down low and enjoy the show.

Dark Light will be available in all digital formats, plus the printed version will be available wherever books are sold online, as well as in some brick and mortar stores. No matter where you buy it, the money goes to RMH. I think this is a wonderful way to make a difference, and I’m so happy I was contacted to help with this project!

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Check out the other stops on this tour for reviews of the book, guest posts, and book excerpts.  (Scroll through the list of current tours to get to the button for this tour, where all the stops are listed underneath.)


Celebrating 25 Years of Jana! (International Giveaway)

June 22, 2012 Giveaway 36

So… once upon a time, I turned 25. And it happened this very month! I think that’s worth celebrating! This giveaway is going to be a lot of fun, because in honor of my birthday, I get to surprise you! All you need to do is make a wishlist somewhere on the Internet (of 15-30 books), and link me to it. Here’s mine, if you need an example. Then, enter the giveaway as usual. Rafflecopter will decide who wins, and then I will visit the winner’s wishlist and send them something from it! You won’t know what you’re getting until it’s in your hands, so please keep your list updated throughout the giveaway. I’d hate to send you something you already have!

Rules: 

→ You must be 13 years or older to enter. Otherwise, ask a parent to enter for you. :)

→ This giveaway is International. If you live in the USA, your prize will be coming from Amazon. If you’re International, it will be coming from The Book Depository. Make sure they ship to you!

→  As part of Armchair BEA, I posted a survey asking for advice and book blogging in general. If you filled out that survey, you get an extra two entries in this giveaway. I will check, and if your name is not entered in the survey (it was question #1) then those two entries will not count.

→  I am more than willing to do pre-orders, so feel free to put those on your wishlist as well.

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Cicada by Belle Whittington (Book Review + Giveaways!)

June 18, 2012 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 5

Cicada by Belle Whittington (Book Review + Giveaways!)Cicada by Belle Whittington
Series: Cicada #1
Also in this series: Firefly, Monarch
Published by CreateSpace on September 13, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 220
Format: eBook
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
Summertime for Blair Reynolds and her friends had always been carefree and fun... until the summer they happened upon something that was not human. As they band together in a fight for their lives, Blair's true love becomes something more than human. Something unnatural. And their survival depends entirely upon their ability to keep a secret.

Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog as I help kick off the AToMR blog tour for Belle Whittington’s Cicada, book #1 in an exciting and suspenseful young adult sci-fi trilogy (haha. Long sentence there!)! When you are finished reading my review, make sure to find the complete schedule of tour events at the bottom. Also, find the opportunity to win one of 12 ebook copies of Cicada and/or an electronic firefly in a jar in honor of the upcoming sequel to Cicada, called Firefly. Both Rafflecopters are at the bottom of this review. :)

Going into this book, I was not really sure what to expect at all. I mean… cicadas are bugs. And they are noisy little guys! I used to live in Louisiana, and every summer night was accompanied by the sounds of cicadas in the trees. One time I saw one and flipped out. I’m really against bugs in general. And then I read the book blurb, which does not tell you much, and saw the “not human” and thought: Oooo! Aliens! And sci-fi. And hopefully not huge bugs, because I would have a major problem with that. Cicada surprised me! I was not expecting such a suspenseful, romantic, creepy, mysterious, and exciting story. I’m a huge lover of reading conspiracy theories (I don’t believe most of them, but they are fun to think about!), so when crop circles and aliens and UFOs and secret government agencies came into play, I was up all night reading. This was a great story! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This is a way different kind of story than most sci-fi books I’ve come across lately. It’s kind of a mix of the movie Signs and the Wings series by Aprilynn Pike. Weird, I know. That sounds crazy. Seriously, though! You’ve got the aliens and the crop circles and the “I’m freaking out about the fact that you’re outside in the dark right now” feeling, mixed with the “my boyfriend, who I thought was normal, is not normal at all and is changing and becoming a new person, and I might not see him for a while, but I need to pull through this and be strong” kind of situation.

2. Welcome to a young adult romance without a love triangle! Do you know how much I loved the fact that the main story was not centered around two boys fighting over one girl? It was glorious! Everett, the geeky guy in the group is Blaire’s best friend, and things develop from that. It’s a natural, common kind of real life relationship and I was very happy to see that surface in a sea of books with love triangles.

3. The characters were a lot of fun, but Blair was not my favorite at all. She was kind of an ordinary heroine to me. Her brother Andrew, though, was so great to read about. He is this sweet big brother who has a whole bunch of secrets, and really adores and protects his sister. Blair’s mom kind of weirded me out. She spoke to Blair a lot in sing-sing rhymes, which I found… well, weird. Haha. David is a baseball stud, whose batting skills came in handy and made me like him a lot. He’s also a very caring friend. Then there’s Natalie… and her role in the story confused me. She and David have a thing for each other, but don’t act on it because college is coming up and they will have to part ways. But they are still cuddly and dependent on each other, and then all of a sudden, the relationship escalates, but we were given no clues that it was happening! That romance was a bit unconvincing, but it’s probably because they are supporting characters, so we don’t get much info on them.

4. The creep-factor in Cicada had this chicken quivering under every blanket she owned. There’s just something about people walking through really dark, dense woods in the middle of the DARK. Plus, as Blair and all her friends started to get more and more involved with this non-human situation at hand, they became targets of a very dangerous group of people who were out to kill them. Now me, I’d hide in my closet. Or I’d move. Join a convent. Flee the country. What did they do? They went searching for these people! They entered mysterious buildings with green lights inside in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Because surely, waiting until it’s light out is not at all practical. You know how you watch a movie, and the main character hears a noise outside, so they walk out to see what it is? And they’re all, “Hello? Is someone there?” And you’re like, “DUH! GETINSIDERIGHTNOW!” Yeah. Exactly. Would you go snooping around scary city in the middle of the night? No, I think not. I was so creeped out that I called my little sister at 2:00 in the morning and asked her to go with me when I brushed my teeth, so that I would not have to walk across the dark hallway alone (because I swear I heard an alien out there). Yes, I’m admitting this to you. And I’m a chicken. This might be something your mom would read as a bedtime story to a 7-year-old you. Don’t judge me if you read this and are not scared. Toast popping out of the toaster has me practically running in place.

5. I wish there was a bit more substance. There was a lot of riding around “in the darkness” and searching a building and four-wheeling and visiting a storage facility. I wish we had been given some more character development and a few different events. The story was relatively short, though, so maybe we’ll get more in book #2. :)

6. The main climax of the book moved really quickly. It took a while to build up, which I enjoyed, but then BAM! Crazy thing happens, and then crazy thing is somewhat resolved within a few pages. I would have liked a little more time between the crazy and the resolution. We are led to believe (through what the characters say) that fixing this major, major problem is going to be extremely hard, but they do it rather easily within just a few pages. I wanted to go through more turmoil and more worry. I wanted the characters to have to struggle more. This is really hard to explain without spoiling things. If you’ve read the book, you know what I mean.

7. The vague blurb was obviously written vaguely for a reason, so I’m not going to spoil anything for you. I find that sometimes a book’s back cover summary gives way too much away. This one leaves you with a lot of questions, which brings me to my next point: this book has left me with SO MANY QUESTIONS, which really frustrated me! Haha. I’m glad there’s a couple more books coming out in this story, and hopefully I’ll know what’s going on by the end of those. :P

This is a really nice debut from Belle Whittington. Of course, there is room for improvement, but isn’t there always? I’m excited to see what she does with the following stories, and it’ll be fun to watch her writing style and storytelling develop as her books continue. The sign of a great author is that each of their books are better than the ones before. I can see Belle being one of those authors. I enjoyed the story a lot, and am going to be on the lookout for the next one. I’d recommend this to lovers of sci-fi romances and conspiracy theories.
 

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Here’s a link to a video of what the electronic firefly looks like. Very cool!

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These giveaways include everyone on every stop of this blog tour, so there is no guarantee that one of my readers will win. Also, I’m not the one in charge of choosing the winners. They are. :)

Follow the tour! Here’s the schedule.


Armchair BEA 2012: BEA Books on My List + a Giveaway!

June 5, 2012 Giveaway 86

Armchair BEA is a fun online event that those of us who could not attend BEA in New York City can participate in! There’s ways to network with other bloggers, posts on blogging tips, giveaways, and happenings at BEA from people who are there. Visit the Armchair BEA blog to see a schedule of events!

Today’s post consists of a few of the titles from the BEA 2012 Catalog that I would move Heaven and Earth to get if I were at the Javits Center. There are so many pretty covers and amazing sounding books! I can’t wait to get my hands on all of these! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a giveaway I’m hosting in honor of amazing books everywhere!

Black City by Elizabeth Richards

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable–they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed–but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

A Gift from Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill

When Ethan Greene lost his wife to cancer, he never thought he would be able to replace her… until one woman stepped in and showed him how to be happy again.  Now, on a romantic Christmas trip to New York City, he has a plan to show Vanessa just how important she is to him, and maybe even give his daughter, Daisy, a complete family again. He’s going to propose with a perfect ring from Tiffany’s.Gary Knowles and his girlfriend Rachel are on the trip-of-a-lifetime in New York, at the most magical time of year. The only thing missing is Gary’s gift for Rachel. On a last-minute Christmas Eve visit to Tiffany’s, he quickly picks out a charm bracelet for her, and heads back to their hotel. But, in a moment, one small mistake changes everything.

Reached by Ally Condie

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson

The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy. But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history.

No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process.

Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry…and that less-than-ordinary can evolve into extraordinary.

So, what do you think? Are any of these on your list? Which books am I missing?

Now, on to the giveaway! I recently acquired an extra copy of Across the Universe, signed by Beth Revis (thanks to Tiffany Schmitt’s Breathless Reads Giveaway)! Interested? You should be! Sadly, I can only send this to US residents. I’m sorry. :)

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Author Interview with Anna Banks & an Of Poseidon Giveaway!

June 2, 2012 Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway 38

Hello! Welcome to the final stop on the official Of Poseidon blog tour! So nice of you to stop by. :) If you’re late joining in on the fun, here’s the tour itinerary. Definitely visit the other stops if you haven’t. There’s lots of great stuff at each one.

I’m so excited to have Anna Banks, author of Of Poseidon (a book I just so happened to LOVE) here on the blog to discuss her new book and to tell us a little bit about herself. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway (USA/Canada only… sorry!) for a chance to win a bound copy of Of Poseidon! You can find it at the bottom of the interview. :)

1. Tell us 5-10 quintessential Anna-isms. What should we know about you? 

– I believe in Sasquatch.
– I don’t get the hiccups. Just one big hiccup that hurts the deepest parts of me, then I’m done.
– I love love love to scare pedestrians. Beeping, screaming, swerving, etc.
– I can shoot a sling shot (which also applied to scaring pedestrians, in my teen years…)
– My body is comprised of approximately 13% fried chicken, 7.567% chocolate, and _________% wine (completely dependent on the strength of the wine at that moment)

2. If you’re not writing, where are you?
I’m watching The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones or I’m reading someone else’s brilliant book and getting jealous about it (Right now I’m giving John Green the stank eye). Or I could be pedestrian-hunting…

3. Did you always imagine being an author? What were your back-up plans? (And please include any extraordinary childhood dreams like a princess or professional cake sampler… or a mermaid.)Yes I did always want to be an author, ever since I read Anne of Green Gables, but I never thought I could do it. I really thought somehow that I would save the world in some epic way (from what, I’m not sure, but it felt like destiny when I was twelve). If the world didn’t need saving, then certainly Prince William and I would have a chance meeting and fall instantly in love and get married (though I do think Kate is handling that much better than I could have, so all is well). I also really really wanted to be an actress (and still secretly do).

4. I liked mermaid books before they were popular, so thanks for writing Of Poseidon for me! I really appreciate it. Other than wanting to please me… what made you choose mermaids and mythology? Okay, so I never actually read a mermaid book before I started to write one. I was looking for something to write besides vampires, weres, etc. Then I watched this documentary about how they’d found a giant squid—something scientists had long written off as myth, fishermen’s lore. Then I wondered what else could be out there that we don’t know about? Could mermaids exist? BTW, after doing so much research, I believe in my heart of hearts that mermaids *could* scientifically exist…

5. Tell us where “ohmysweetgoodness” comes from! I laughed every time I read that!
You know how you stub your toe and you almost cuss but then you save it like “Fuuuuuudge.”  Well, that’s what I did one day. Only, I was annoyed and it started out like, “Oh my _______” and it was going to end badly but I saved it before I shamed myself. Then I thought it was a cool word, so certainly if it was a cool word then Emma should say it…

6. Speaking of laughing, you are so funny! I giggled a lot throughout this book. Emma’s inner dialogue is hilarious. Is this a true testament to your personality? I just know we’d have fun sitting and talking.
Yes, I’m almost exactly like Emma in that regard. I apologize in advance for things that I may say or do on tour. I know at the different stops there will be readers that are more stoic, more serious, more respectable than I am and who like books that are serious stoic and serious and respectable.

They won’t “get” me and I just know there will be that awkward silence after my jokes, like when someone farts and everyone in the room absolutely knows who it was but no one will tell because you’re at a funeral, for crying out loud, and the dilemma isn’t only that it’s inappropriate to fart at a funeral but it may well be inappropriate to chastise someone who farts at a funeral because bigger things are going on at the moment and the person who farted might be having a hard time emotionally and it just kind of debuted physically. That kind of “OMG did that really just happen and how should I react?” awkward silence, you know?

7. Emma is incredibly quirky and a bit of an accident waiting to happen. And Galen is completely swoon-worthy. Oh, and Toraf. I LOVE him! Where do you find your inspiration for characters? They all seem so real.
I write characters that offset each other. You know, opposites attract and such. I really have always loved bickering couples, like Anne and Gilbert, Lizzy and Mr. Darcy, Scarlett and Rhett.

And I’m glad you love Toraf. He’s my favorite character, hands down. He’s incredibly fun to write because nothing is off limits with him. He’s simply capably of incomprehensible mischief.

8. If you were to write yourself into Of Poseidon, who would you be? An existing character, or would you write a new one for yourself?
I would write myself as that intelligent outsider who figures out that something is amiss and starts asking all the right questions and makes the other characters tell me what’s really going on—and I haven’t decided if they would trust me or if Rachel would have to off me…

9. Of Poseidon alternates back and forth between Emma and Galen’s perspectives. How was it taking on the story from Galen’s point of view? Did you find it challenging jumping into a guy’s head?
I don’t think it was challenging. I knew the story simply must be told this way. I even turned down an agent’s offer of rep because (not only because) he wanted me to remove Galen’s point of view and just go with Emma’s. Turns out I was right—Galen’s point of view seems to be the favorite one, out of the two.

10. You wrote some amazing underwater scenes. Your descriptions of the world down there are gorgeous. What kind of research did you do? Snorkeling? Scuba diving? Glass-bottom boats? Lots of The Little Mermaid? Haha. Or did you just pull this all out of your imagination?
There is really no way to explain myself other than this: I. Am. A. Nerd. I watch the heck out of some documentaries, and I must have recorded every episode of Blue Planet. I also did internet research, but a lot was imagined. Ooops?

11. What’s next? I hear there’s a sequel in the works! YAY! That cliffhanger nearly killed me. Can you tell us anything about it? What are your plans after that?
I can tell you that the Gift of Triton makes an appearance in the next one, in a big way.  After Of Triton is signed sealed delivered, I’m working on a top secret project I’m calling Nemesis at the moment and I lurve the idea but I’m not sure if I can pull it off just yet, so that’s all I really wanna say about it, in case I chicken out.

Thanks again for stopping by, Anna! I’m so excited for Of Triton, and am also quite curious about your top secret project after that! Everyone, go out and buy Of Poseidon right now! Or… try your luck at this awesome giveaway instead (offered by Anna and Macmillan Publishing). Either way, I hope you’ll love it as much as I did, and as much as I’m sure Anna loved writing it!

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On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Review & Intl Giveaway)

March 5, 2012 Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway 16 ★★★★★

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Review & Intl Giveaway)On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
Series: On the Island #1
Also in this series: Uncharted
Published by CreateSpace on October 11, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Survival
Pages: 329
Format: eBook
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I was pretty leery of this book. A 33-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy? I was worried it would be written in a tasteless way, or that it would seem creepy. I was also worried that this book would be as boring as the movie Castaway. Nothing against the movie, but only so much can happen on an island. Gilligan’s Island was entertaining, but it was because of all the shenanigans. I was worried this would be either boring or cheesy. It definitely was not either of those things. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The age difference is not weird, nor is it a big deal. Nothing happens until TJ is almost 19, so don’t worry. He has been through and conquered cancer, and he’s surviving on an island. He is very mature and has a lot of life experience. You will not be weirded out by this concept. I’m mentioning this first because it was the first thing that scared me about this book. Haha.

2. I was hooked from the first page and read over half of the book in one sitting. The beginning is particularly intense, as the plane crash and the process of making it to shore is pretty crazy. The whole book is intense, to be honest. I mean, these two went through everything! Health issues, vicious wildlife, constant worry, depression, etc. I seriously was hooked. I kept saying to myself, “Just one more chapter. Then I’ll go to sleep.”

3. I really liked the two main characters. They strengthened each other and became very close. Anna is smart and caring. She was a mother figure to TJ until he grew up. TJ is strong and incredibly mature. He really takes care of Anna. Their relationship was really very sweet, as it formed from a bond that most people will never understand. I appreciated that they waited on being intimate until TJ was the proper age. If it had happened when they first crashed and he was 16, I would have probably quit reading. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but let me just say that some of the biggest obstacles they dealt with were not on the island. But they stuck together and pulled through. I love a strong set of characters, and these are probably some of the strongest I’ve ever read about.

4. The narration alternates back and forth between the two characters, allowing us to read what’s going on through both their minds. I loved that.

5. The descriptions of the island and the weather were very detailed and well done. I felt like I was there. Also, the intense moments (like animal attacks) were so intense that I almost quit blinking. I loved how the author took me to the exact moment and dropped me in the middle of it.

6. Remember how I said, “Only so much can happen on an island?” I was wrong! I read through years of these two and their island happenings, and I didn’t get bored once. That takes extreme talent on the author’s part. When over half the book consists of two people, an island, and nature, you would think there’s not much to work with. Things could get boring and repetitive really fast. The conversations and critical events kept me wondering what was going to happen next, and I actually wished that more of the book took place on the island.

7. The writing is flawless. I can’t believe it’s Tracey’s first book! Really, it was beautiful.

8. This book pulled intense emotions out of me. I was scared for these two, and I felt the love they had for each other. Their story is very moving–how they relied so heavily on each other, how they could not think of losing one another, how as long as they were together they would be ok. I mean, they were each others’ reasons for surviving. Talk about intense emotion. If someone got sick or hurt, the other one immediately dreaded life. And I was there for the whole thing. I felt all of it, and it was powerful.

9. There were funny moments too, don’t get me wrong. I laughed at some of the things they said to each other. I laughed at the chicken named “Chicken” who they adopted as a pet. I mean, the little guy curled up in Anna’s lap! How whimsical! They played with dolphins in the lagoon almost every day. And before they acted upon it, the sexual tension and the things they said to each other were hilarious.

10. I appreciated the authenticity of the story. Tracey did not sugarcoat anything. She made things seem believable. I mean, if you’re stranded on an island for a few years, you’re going to deal with gross hygiene, bad diet, crummy weather, sickness, and other dangers. This could really happen, and I think that’s part of why I loved it so much.

11. Everything was resolved. Have you ever read a book and flipped out because the ending just sucked? This ending did not suck at all. I loved it. You will too.

Overall, I am so glad I took a leap of faith with this book. I loved it. The writing was amazing, the story inspiring, and the characters well-rounded and loveable. It’s during instances like this one when I realize how truly grateful I am to be a book blogger. I’m exposed to lesser-known novels all the time, and most of them (like this one) deserve much more recognition. It’s an honor to be able to help spread the word when a book is this good. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good romance mixed with a ton of action, excitement, intrigue, and exotic places.

EDIT: I just noticed how many times I said “intense”. Oh. My. Gosh. 


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This tour runs through March 9th. To follow the other tour stops, which include author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways, and more reviews, click here.

Edit (June 13, 2012) – Tracey has announced on her blog, that Plume (an imprint of Penguin) bought On the Island, designed a new cover, and are publishing it! Her next novel was also bought up. She’s no longer a self-published author! I am SO excited for her, and so happy I was able to help get the word out about this book so many months ago. I love, LOVE this story and am SO excited about what’s in store for Tracey as a result!


"Leap" into Books Giveaway Hop (Intl)

February 29, 2012 Giveaway 163

Happy Leap Day! And thanks for stopping by! I’m excited to be participating in my very first blog hop! I embrace any and all reasons to celebrate a holiday, and Leap Year doesn’t just happen willy nilly! To celebrate, I’m giving you a really awesome book! I love giveaways where I get to choose my own prize, so I’m giving you a book up to $10 (USD) from The Book Depository (or Amazon if you’re in the USA). Just fill out the Rafflecopter below, and you’re all set!

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(Visit the other participating blogs in the linky found here.)


Invisible by Jeanne Bannon (Book Excerpt and Giveaway)

February 13, 2012 Blog Tour, Book Excerpt, Giveaway, Young Adult 8

Title: Invisible
Author: Jeanne Bannon
Release Date: September 7, 2011
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Format: PDF e-book
Source: Free from the author for the blog tour.
Buy It: Amazon
Add It: Goodreads

Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that…

For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.

Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power. 

Book Excerpt (Taken from the first chapter, so it’s spoiler free!):

Not only am I fat, I’m freakishly tall. God only knows why, since Mom is petite and Dad is on the short side. My older sister Eva is the spitting image of Mom, fair and fine boned. I take after Dad’s side, bulky, dark and thick. Dad says I must have gotten some of Uncle Sammy’s genes, the giant of the Savullo family, who tops out at 6ft 4 inches. Anyway, I’m sure you‘re getting a good mental picture right about now. 
My insides drop as if I placed a foot on a step that wasn’t there when I peer down at the coarse dark hair creeping from my calves to just past my knees, where it gradually peters out. Then I run a hand across the tops of my thighs. The triple bulge of my belly prevents me from a good look at my sorely neglected bikini area. Even in the blazing August sun, I wear baggy cotton Capri pants, never exposing more than an ankle. There’s never been a reason to shave. My eyes mist with tears, but I pinch them away. It’ll be hard enough to go out in public like this, but I won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I lift my chin in resolve and open the door. 

The whistle blows, signalling the beginning of the session. Screams of delight fill the air, as the kids jump into the pool to find relief from the 90-degree heat. 

I fasten a towel around my waist as best I can. Towels never seem large enough to wrap completely and comfortably around the bulge of my stomach. To the pool I go, treading silently so as not to draw attention. 

“Where’s Lola?” Sonia, a fellow counselor, asks. 

At first I think she’s joking because I‘m right in front of her. I toss her an annoyed look and don’t bother to answer as I trudge past to the edge of the pool, where I pull off my towel and slip into the water.

 
“She’s probably taken off,” Jerod replies. He’s a year younger than I am, but looks older with his muscular build and chiseled jaw line. The girls love him. “I hope she doesn’t show,” he continues. “Who wants to see a hippo in a bathing suit anyway?”

Sonia laughs, a little too hard and places a hand on Jerod’s shoulder. 

Puzzlement and anger compete on my face. I’m standing no more than three feet away from them. I’m used to rude comments and I know what everyone thinks of me, but this is way beyond mean. The tears in my eyes spill down my cheeks and I slip under the water, hoping to wash away the evidence of my pain. Not that anyone would care, but crying could give them more ammunition; just another reason to taunt me. 

Kids bounce around me, laughing and playing. Justine stands like a sentinel, looking like a Bay Watch babe in her red suit, one hand gripping an emergency flotation device. Her steel blue eyes are focused on the activity in the pool. 

Jerod jumps in, nearly landing on my back. I barely have time to leap out of the way. My anger boils; blood rushes to my temples and pounds there, giving me an instant headache. I hurl myself at him, pushing with all my might, elbows aimed at his chest. I hit nothing but air and fly into the rough concrete wall of the pool, scraping a hole in my one piece and rubbing raw a patch of skin. Small blood pinpricks rise to the surface. 

“Hey!” I scream, bewildered. How’d he maneuver out of the way so fast? 

Jerod slips under the water and emerges at the other end of the pool in one long, slick glide. 

The steel in me comes up, anger replacing humiliation. I pull my bulk out of the water and march over to Justine. 

“Did you see what that asshole just did?” I bellow.

Justine brings the whistle that hangs from her neck to her lips and blows two sharp blasts, making my ears ring.

 
“Stop horsing around,” she calls to a group of boys, who offer sheepish grins and stop instantly. 

I step forward so she can see me. “Justine?” I reach to touch her shoulder but, impossibly, my hand falls through her. 

“Justine?” I call again, louder, my voice panic-laced. With both hands, I grab her, or try to. Again, it’s as if she’s not there. 

My mind is swept along in a current of anxiety. What’s happening? 

Then it hits me… it’s me who’s not there. 

Enter to win your very own copy! 


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This book excerpt and giveaway is brought to you on behalf of Ever After PR.

100 Followers Giveaway! (International)

January 21, 2012 Giveaway 39

Hi guys! My blog reached 100 followers a few nights ago, and let me tell you… I was much more excited than I thought I would be! Haha. I love all my readers, tweeters, and awesome book blogging friends. It means so much to me that you all care about my opinions, and take the time to read what I have to say! I also love the discussions we’ve had! To thank you for following me, supporting my blog, and being great friends, I’m giving the winner of this giveaway $10 at The Book Depository to spend on whatever book they’d like. This giveaway is open to my International readers, as long as The Book Depository ships to you. (Check here if you’re not sure.) Once again, thank you and good luck! I hope you win, because I kind of adore you.

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Congratulations, Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books!
Your book, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, will arrive at your house on February 1st! Hope you love it!


2012 Happy New Year Giveaway! (International)

January 1, 2012 Giveaway 31

Hello one and all! Happy new year! To celebrate a new year (that I know will be better than 2011), and the fact that I reached my Goodreads reading goal I am giving away a brand new copy of one of my favorite 2011 reads (also, the first book I read in January 2011), Nocturne by Syrie James. I read and reviewed this book before I started That Artsy Reader Girl, so check out my review on Goodreads.

When Nicole Walker runs off the road in a blinding snowstorm after attending a friend’s wedding at a Colorado ski resort, she wakes up to find herself stranded at the remote mountain house of a handsome, enigmatic stranger. She lives and works in a fast-paced, high tech world; he is cultured and modern yet lives a quiet life in self-imposed exile. They are both powerfully attracted to each other, but there are things about him that mystify her and fill her with apprehension—and Nicole can’t shake the feeling that he really doesn’t want her there.

She soon discovers that he’s a famous, reclusive author, renowned for his highly detailed and authentic historical fiction, and fiercely protective of his privacy. No wonder he was so reluctant to take her in, Nicole thinks. But he hides a far darker secret. As the sexual tension between them builds, the clues mount up.

When Nicole realizes that her host is an ages-old vampire who thirsts for her blood, there’s nowhere for her to run but the blizzard raging outside, and he’s the only one who can save her life. By now there is no turning back; they have both fallen deeply in love, and share several passionate days together while waiting out the storm—a deep, meaningful, and dangerously seductive experience that will change them both forever.

This giveaway is International (just make sure The Book Depository ships to you)! Yay! If a USA resident wins, the package will be coming from me. If the winner lives outside of the USA, it will come from The Book Depository.

Congratulations, Lecea L.!
Your hardback copy of Nocturne will be sent out ASAP! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)