Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Official Stop on the Now or Never Blog Tour, Plus Read and EXCLUSIVE excerpt form Jamie Canosa's New Book!


Title: Now or Never
Author: Jamie Canosa
Received by: Author

I’ll admit it makes my day when I check my email and see Jamie has yet another book coming out. It’s like Christmas morning when I see my advance copy has been sent to me, and when I reach the end of her original eye opening story I read a message to her fans explaining she has another book locked and loaded. Jamie Canosa is a machine that puts out book after book and every one is a home run. In her newest release Now or Never the second in her Fight or Flight series readers will read about Jay and Em and what happens in detail after the happy ending.

 But wait it isn’t exactly perfect, it is happy but very real with the backgrounds theses two characters have come from. Now or Never goes far and beyond all those other books where the guy gets the girl and everything is tied up so perfectly you just know the couple will be okay. Jamie Canosa tells a story about the rocky beginnings of two people who have found a safe place but have not yet faced their demons. Canosa achieved something quite wonderful by showing in detail how people with unfortunate pasts like Jay and Em’s can infect a relationship, if they allow it. Just because someone can walk away from a situation doesn’t mean the bruises and pain go away soon after.  

CLICK ON COVER TO PURCHASE YOUR COPY
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY SONG PICK BELOW,
AND WHY I CHOSE IT.

Summary:

To move on,Leave the past behind,And build a new life with Jay. That’s all Em wanted. After everything they’d been through together, they were both overdue their ‘happily ever after’. Too bad the world doesn’t work that way. Memories last longer than dreams and Em’s fears continue to plague her both day and night, interfering with that new life she so desperately craves. To start over,Secure a future,And give Em the life she deserves. That was Jay’s plan, but the past isn’t done with them, yet. While Em still struggles to overcome the ghosts of her past, Jay is forced to come face to face with his. When the skeletons in his closet step back into the light, Jay must decide what he will do—and what he will sacrifice—to protect Em from them.
 Against all odds, Em and Jay are on the verge of having everything they’ve ever wanted. They’ve fought for it before, but is their love strong enough to endure any more heartache? The time has come for each of them to choose for themselves whether or not they will allow the past to continue to corrupt their future. And, together, they must decide, will it be . . . NOW OR NEVER?


Even though she won’t agree with you, Em is an extremely strong person. Because of what her Uncle did to her as a child, Em is someone who now has to learn to live at peace in her world with Jay. But the memories still plague her in her dreams, or when she simply touches or has a conversation with a friend. She always wonders in her head if someone else in her life will cross that wall she’s created. What’s most heartbreaking is that she struggles with those awful memories of her past while being close with Jay. Em offers readers the truest look into someone who has gone through sexual abuse. Her thought process while living through an average day associating with people and friends, and her boyfriend with those awful memories is what people like Em really go through. There is a constant battle in her head on who to trust, who’s getting too close, most important dealing with intimacy with her boyfriend and learning to kick the demons out and take control of her happiness.

Jay is still Jay and is still trying to keep Em safe. He was able to get her out of a bad situation and protect her but now his past threatens the safe place he’s made for him and Em. It was amazing to see someone who has been portrayed as having no fear cower the second he sees his abusive father at his doorstep and be believable most importantly. I wasn’t used to seeing Jay as submissive but when it’s Em who is threatened it’s the only reaction Jay should have. It was agony when Jay thinks his only option is to push Em away. But I crossed that line too with him when he realizes exactly what he took from Em in doing so. It was a great revelation on his part and I hope readers will see how they matter in their own relationships. Jay is a good example of how a person’s strength can be taken away from one single person in a blink of an eye. Jay’s dad is a bully, and whether it’s in the halls of school, at work, or at home they exist to invoke fear. Jay is a glowing example of how someone has to face the one thing they are afraid of and stand up to it.

Even though Now or Never has a dark subject that the two lead characters have to deal with, the love that Jay and Em have always takes center stage. This is what Canosa is most talented at. I always manage to finish her books with a smile because her writing enables her readers to latch onto her characters. At the end of Now or Never I remembered the sweet moments like when Jay talks about coming home to Em, or when Em and Jay rush to help each other even though they are apart. These two are NEVER corny, always real. Two new characters are also introduced; Ashlyn and Mason are friends of Jay and Em and offer many laughs. I enjoyed their chemistry a lot and am pleased to say there is already another book in the works about these two entitled Win or Lose.

If you are anxious to read something that you can connect with far and beyond what is on the book shelves today, I recommend Now or Never, or any of Jamie Canosa’s books. I can say honestly that I love all of her books, hands down. I think that I’ve said in the past that if you enjoy Sarah Dessen you are guaranteed to like Canosa’s books. I do feel Canosa is a bit grittier though because she really “goes there” as a writer. So be sure to add and download Now or Never to your reading list and let her awaken your heart and mind to something that is going on right now.


READ AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM NOW OR NEVER

"She sifted through several bills and junk mail addressed to Ashlyn, c/o Andrew Mills—her father, Em assumed—and wondered why her friend bothered to work at all, until a small package caught her attention. The metallic green paper glinted in the morning light as she examined the tag.

Em. That was all it said. No mailing address. No return address. No stamp. Whoever delivered this had done so in person. She could only think of one person who would do that.

Why he hadn’t just spoken to her at work didn’t matter. All that mattered was that he was reaching out to her. Yesterday was a mistake. A terrible mistake. He’d gone home, thought about it, and this gift was his way of apologizing. It was completely unnecessary, but Em was practically giddy with excitement when Ash came into the living room to find her tearing into the package like a two-year-old on Christmas morning.

“What’s that?”

“I don’t know. It’s from J—” The package fell open and a small, sleek black cellphone stared back at her. Her heart sank. Jay couldn’t afford something like that.

Some song Em didn’t recognize began pouring from the box and she nearly fumbled it in surprise.

“It’s ringing!” Ashlyn squealed. This was some kind of exciting mystery to her, whereas it had Em’s stomach in a tangle of knots.

“What do I do?” She lifted the phone carefully out of the box to examine it closer as though it were some kind of alien technology beyond her understanding.

“Try answering it, Em.”

“How do I do that?” She hadn’t used cell phones very often and the one she remembered her uncle having had a little green phone to answer and a red one to hang up. This one had no phones. It didn’t have any buttons at all. It was just a screen with a number flashing on it that she didn’t recognize.

“The bar! Slide the bar down!”

“What?”

“The . . . Give it to me! They’re going to hang up.” Ashlyn snatched the phone from her hands and finagled it until they both heard a voice coming through loud and clear. She’d somehow managed to turn on the speaker phone in the process. By accident, Em was sure.

“Hello?” The voice was familiar and Em stifled a groan as a wide grin broke out on Ashlyn’s face."



SONG PICK FOR NOW OR NEVER

I chose this song because of my most favorite part in the book when Jay explains the first time he saw Em in the decrepit home they once lived in while struggling on the streets. It brought a new meaning to home and what Jay continuously does for Em and what they mean to each other. Thank you Jamie for writing about these two amazing people I personally identify with and will always hold close to my heart.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Song of The Week

Click Picture for More Hot As Sun
It's been awhile since I posted songs for you guys so here are a couple from the group called Hot As Sun. Their album Night Time Sound Desire came out last March and the group offers some variety for anyone who is thinking of buying it. I personally love Dahnce to the Beat because it's fun and playful and for some reason reminds me of school dances, and fun winter nights. My second pick Desert Song is more bold and a bit 80's going into the chorus which I can appreciate because I loved the 80's. Any song that can zap me back in time to when I was a kid and watched MTV when they actually showed music videos is amazing. So listen, download and be merry!










  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard


I am a huge fan of author Susan Dennard, huge! I even dropped not so subtle hints to my friends about wanting an autographed copy of Something Strange and Deadly. Plus as a hopeful published writer I admire her as an author. Her series Something Strange and Deadly introduced me to Steampunk and a new level of storytelling that can satisfy many genres. The world of her lead character Eleanor Fitt is frightening yet still authentically beautiful. In A Darkness Strange and Lovely readers will read elegant details of 19th century Paris such as fashion, architecture and creative innovations of that time. Oh and then there are those pesky demons and zombies that the heroic Spirit Hunters have to deal with.

Once again Dennard delivers a great mystery that I promise will captivate readers. There are a lot of events that are packed in this little number that keep the story going at a great pace. I was a bit worried when Eleanor had to take a long boat ride to Paris but a fantastic new character is introduced at the perfect time. The Spirit Hunters are all back but a bit different in a more welcoming Paris environment. What’s interesting is Eleanor must deal with new conflict in each individual relationship. Eleanor and Joseph seem to have trust issues, her and Jie deal with loyalty and Daniel and Eleanor seem to deal with the identity of their relationship. Not the sort of issues you want the team of people who need to protect you dealing with, but what great thought out tension! 

YEAH, I  GOT MY SIGNED BOOK!!!!
PLUS I MADE THIS WALLET INSPIRED BY A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY
 OUT OF DUCT TAPE FOR MYSELF!!!

  

CLICK ON COVER FOR MORE AUTHOR INFO
I COULDN'T DECIDE WHAT SONG TO PICK FOR THIS BOOK SO I MADE A MINI PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY. LISTEN AND ENJOY HERE!

Summary:

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.


Eleanor seems more alone in this story. After being left alone in Philadelphia she seems to have a lot more to prove in her new journey. She walks a fine line between what she’s been taught by the Spirit Hunters and what she knows is dangerous. But when everything is different when she arrives in Paris she starts to wonder if the Spirit Hunters have it together themselves. Daniel dawns a more sophisticated look and her old friends have taken the interest of well respected society in Paris. I felt so bad for Eleanor who is trying to find more answers about Marcus’ plan and because of her friend’s opinions she has to lie about who she trusts and the things she has done to earn that trust. Plus just when she thought she had Daniel figured out he eludes her with his new behavior. Eleanor hasn’t lost her fire because of him though. He still makes her cat like curiosity more stubborn and determined as ever.

Daniel isn’t in the book as much as the first, but when he is he delivers great moments. I trust readers will be able to see why he has changed a bit. I loved reading about his discoveries with other creative minds like his. Dennard writes his dialogue so well that I could actually see him glowing. His passion for what he loves is represented by one certain invention that is from the heart. I have to say his entrance in the book is AMAZING and perfect just like in the first book. BTW if your interested in reading that first epic entrance from Daniels point of view click here. But even with the new duds and new friends, Daniel still puts himself at a distance from Eleanor. Her new friend and the tactics she has taken to find more information about Marcus has drawn a line between them.  

A Darkness Strange and Lovely is a wickedly yummy book. It’s got zombies, a mystery that needs solving, crafty inventions that you’ll hear ticking in your mind as you read, romantic tension that is Han and Leia worthy. A Darkness Strange and Lovely is a chocolate truffle filled with Sherlock Holmes and Supernatural covered in decadent Pride and Prejudice wrapped in a shiny bronze box. Yeah…I loved it A LOT. The ending of this book is full of possibilities and very ‘Empire Strikes Back’. Eleanor and Daniel still have a story that needs to be tied up and characters that are left with plenty of mystery to them. Spread the word about the Something Strange and Deadly Trilogy because it deserves even more fans than it already has. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Brain Picking (Interview) of Julia Swift and Andrew Landis


AHHHHH! I cannot express how excited I am to interview writing duo Julia Swift and Andrew Landis, who have worked together on television shows like Smallville and The Book of Daniel. Well Swift and Landis have written a fantastic YA book entitled Bold that take two broken characters and have them walk a daringly different path to self-discovery. I enjoyed Bold immensely and am happy to share this interview with you today.


The Brain Picking of Authors Julia Swift and Andrew Landis

When reading Bold I found myself flashing back a lot to when I was a teen and wishing that I had read your book back then. Bold can be read by a variety of ages, when they do, what is the most important lesson you want audiences to get from Bold?

We also wonder if this book was out there when we were teens if we would have felt less alone, less shy.  Our hope is readers will see how many possibilities exist if they don’t hold themselves back because they’re afraid of being judged.  It’s okay to be scared, but by putting yourself out there even one time, you open yourself up to new experiences you might never have thought possible and people who can enrich your life in unexpected ways. 

Characters always seem to live on in the minds of their creators, what are Will and Sasha up to these days?

Will and Sasha stuck around in our brains after we wrote the words “The End” so much so that we decided to write a sequel to continue their journeys.  Sasha and Will learned a lot in Bold, but they are both very private people who will now find themselves trying to figure out how to be a couple.  And Sasha, Will and Ricky will all start the process of deciding who they are apart from their families.  Not who they were raised to be, but who they dream they will be in the future.  They all have different ideas about what’s important -- money, fame, helping people, living up to parents’ and their own expectations.  Once we create characters, they never leave us alone again!  We will go to movies and wonder if Sasha would have liked it.  Would she think the guy was cute?  Would Will laugh at the jokes?  Right now we are finishing a book version of a TV drama pilot we sold to Fox that never got produced.  Those characters have been pulling at us for years to get a voice and an audience.  Then it’s back to Sasha and Will.  We’re not in control.  They are.  And the amazing part is, even though we are a writing team, the characters always tell us the same thing.  We’ve been writing together for so long that even if we don’t see each other or talk for a few days, when we check in again we are always on the same page.

I think Ricky’s introduction in Bold may be unexpected for readers. What do you hope readers will appreciate about him?

We hope our readers will be shocked -- as Will and Sasha are in that moment.  As they learn more about Ricky, we hope they identify with and appreciate his devotion to the one friend who has been there for him his whole life.  And since Ricky doesn’t have a lot of family, his childhood friend is more like family than a friend.  Ricky is in a tough spot.  And as often happens as we grow up, right and wrong are not that clear to him anymore.  What do you do when someone you promised to be loyal to heads down the wrong path and tries to drag you down?  We also hope that some of our readers might go through the same shedding of stereotypes that Sasha and Will experience when they get to know Ricky the person versus Ricky the guy they meet at the game store.   

Experiencing life and the impact of death are both important focal points for Will and Sasha, do you think young adults are seeking out books like this that are unique as Bold?

The readers we are trying to reach want to see real life on the page.  If you recognize the situations, thoughts and emotions, then you feel less alone in the world.  We write because, honestly, we are not that great at talking.  We read to feel a connection with other people, and our dream is that our book can reach someone and make them feel they are known, understood, and if we met in real life, we would be friends.  The amazing thing with e-books now is that our book can reach across the world and touch someone we never could have met in our lives and really make a difference for them.  If we could bottle hope, confidence and love, we would send that along to every reader with our books.  

Okay, let’s get serious. Are there any absolute necessities creators like yourselves need when writing a great story such as a favorite drink, food, lucky charm maybe?

J:  I am completely addicted to Diet Coke.  Like bad.  I’ve stopped a few times, but I always go back.  When we write on TV shows, we sit in a room with other writers all day and it usually takes about two days before someone notices the empty cans I’m hiding under the table and asks if I really drank them all.  Yes, I did.  And I will continue to.  Life is just better with Diet Coke.

A:  It’s not so much about a favorite drink or food item, it’s more about having prepared food readily available so that I don’t have to think about making something.  Nothing makes me happier than eating the same thing for five days in a row because during my lunch, I love to veg and not use any more brain cells than I have to.

I get my best ideas for stories when I drive to work on the freeway, do you two have any places that help inspire you?

A:  When I am looking for inspiration for a story or more likely trying to figure a way out of a corner that I’ve written myself into, I often lace up my sneakers and let my imagination wander the roads of my L.A. neighborhood.  This may sound corny, but jogging past the homes where Dorothy Parker or F. Scott Fitzgerald once lived sometimes makes me feel connected or at least on the right track to finding a real gem of an idea.

J:  I come up with all of my best stuff at night.  There is something about the freedom of saying to myself, ok, you don’t have to worry about it anymore, just sleep, that gets me to the real heart and soul of what I want to write.  Many a morning I’ll wake up and call Andrew, so excited to share an idea, only to spend the next hour trying to decipher my middle-of-the-night, in-the-dark notes scribbled onto a magazine cover.

What is the most challenging thing you’ve encountered when writing for both T.V. and for the YA genre?

One of the reasons we so love writing books, is that when writing TV for young adults, we have to follow what the network wants.  Often their notes are amazing -- except when it comes to trusting what teens can understand.  With TV, we have to keep everything very simple.  But with books, we can write for the audience we know is out there -- smart, thoughtful teens and adults who are still on the search to define who they are and what they want from life and relationships.  

Finally, any projects in the works readers can look out for? 

In the next few months we will release Stung, about a shy girl who grew up in the Mob, but, unlike her family, always followed the rules and worked hard to get into a good college and escape.  When her younger brother and sister need her, she has to decide if she’s going to start the new life she’s always dreamed of or be pulled back into the life she always hated.  And then in the New Year, a follow-up to Bold.  Stay tuned…  

Thank you Julia and Andrew for letting me pick your brains. 

If you guys want more information about this spectacular team visit the at Julia Swift & Andrew Landis.com. If you would like to purchase their book BOLD click the link below to do so. If you own a NOOK HD you can download the Kindle app through google play and purchase BOLD there. 



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Song of The Week

I found a new favorite band! Lead singer Lauren Mayberry's voice is delicate yet inviting. The Chvrches are a scottish band from Glasgow, which is the home of my other favorite band Glasvegas. I've included two of their songs this week because I simply can't pick a favorite. 'Now is Not the Time' is from therir EP that's available through iTunes and the second song 'Recover' is from there newest album The Bones of What You Believe. I strongly encourage people to take a listen if they like singers like Amy Mann, Skylar Grey, or Lana Del Rey. The Chvrches (Churches) have a good variety of songs with incredible lyrics that tell higher level stories, plus their videos are beautiful eye candy. Listen and enjoy!




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bold by Julia Swift & Andrew Landis


Title: Bold
Author: Julia Swift & Andrew Landis
Received by: Authors

Bold is an original approach to the readers of the young adult genre. Swift and Landis focus on the idea of what is possible for their characters Will and Sasha if they step out of their boxes. The books format was very refreshing to read. It is written in the two perspectives of the lead characters and offers a real view into the thoughts of these young adults. I did a great amount of highlighting while reading on my Nook because I loved so many passages.

I was also impressed with the timeline of Will and Sasha’s story. Their first meeting and the events that follow are natural and I didn’t second-guess their feelings for each other. They do get into a dangerous situation that threw me off a bit, but it only helped the story develop into a meaningful lesson that I think will benefit readers. I hope that the people who read Bold who might feel like they are weak, shy, and unseen will stop and think about how others may actually see them. Other people may see these same people as strong and fantastic original individuals. Bold is about when a person starts to realize this and embrace it.

CLICK ON BOOK COVER FOR MORE AUTHOR INFO

Summary:

Sasha, a shy, 15-year-old girl who hides from the world, almost dies in a car crash and vows that if she survives, she will be bold and live life to the fullest. Her newfound courage is tested when she meets Will, who just moved to her Air Force desert town after his journalist father’s disappearance. Will is fascinated by Sasha’s brush with and secret knowledge of death.

Sasha and Will push each other to take chances and break out of their sheltered suburban world. But will they discover there is a difference between being bold and being stupid before they put themselves, or someone else, in danger?


Sasha is a shy girl but with a loud personality that few get to see. She’s a girl that is already so strong but has to catch up to this part of her to see it. She has realistic thoughts that every girl has at any age. I loved her sort of confessional when she see’s a group of girls primping in the mirror.

Favorite passage in Bold by Julia Swift & Andrew Landis
“Sometimes I walk by the mirrors in the crowded girls’ bathroom at school, and it’s always crowded because those girls are always staring at themselves, primping. I do not want to be them. But sometimes I catch a glimpse in the mirror of all the girls and then walk out and realize I didn’t see me. If I could see the mirror, then the mirror could see me and I should have seen me reflection. But I didn’t.”  

When Sasha meets Will she starts to factor out things in her head more. She asks the right questions on Will’s motives towards her and decides to just go for it because she made a promise to herself to live more. Her first step in this process is to help Will when she sees him in a vulnerable position. When she meets Will is the moment when readers get to see the real Sasha. He sees her strong soul and admires it more than his own. She serves as an example of what he wants to be himself.

Will is a confused young man who wants answers about his father’s death. He decides that he wants to be a journalist like his father and in doing so comes across Sasha. His tactics may not go over so well with readers but that’s Will, an honest person who makes mistakes. He’s new at school and is trying to find his place. Will is confident in his skin but through Sasha I saw his “shy soul”. Sasha senses Will needs her for something and talking about her own near death experience enables Will to become more focused as a character. Will’s thought process is just as real as Sasha’s. He knows when he’s making a mistake but does it anyway because I think he craves reaction. He always wants to know why things are the way they are, a natural journalist.

Another favorite passage from Bold by Julia Swift & Andrew Landis
“Prove you have a soul. I have a soul, it just doesn’t like to come out, show itself all the time. It’s like, shy. I have a shy soul sometimes. Not like that girl Sasha, who almost died. The one with the toe ring. Her soul is fierce, it knew it wasn’t time. Her time. She fought back.”

My favorite moment in the book is when Will and Sasha go hiking. It’s when they seem the most comfortable and are able to forget everything that they feel is wrong in their lives. They are in a private bubble that will pop, but when it does they both learn more about themselves in the process. When reading Bold I was reminded of authors Tom Leveen and Jon Skovron. They are both writers who put their characters outside the box and explore unique options available in the world. If you’ve read any of their titles you’ll probably be into Bold and appreciate authors Julia Swift and Andrew Landis’ originality on what it’s like to take a risk in life and be Bold.
Trying something new and posting my song pick with the review. This song describes Sasha a bit more than Will but I think it fits along with her near death experience and her determination to try new things. Sasha and Will both have a strong feeling for each other but are on the fence about whether or not its worth a chance.