Friday, March 22, 2013

My Review & Interview with Jamie Canosa, Author of Fight or Flight, Plus a Giveaway!

This book was far too real and I loved it, absolutely loved it! We as readers often turn to books as an escape but Fight or Flight offers an awakening to an unfortunate common issue that should be shared and talked about with teachers, teens and families. Jay and Em’s story IS actually happening, right now, probably where you live. They offer readers a true love story of strength, sacrifice and the willingness to do anything to keep each other safe in the dark and cold world they have chosen instead of the place they used to call home. 

Jamie Canosa is just remarkable! Fight or Flight is written in both Em and Jay’s POV and is eloquently done. Instead of looking at these two trying to survive I was right there with them. The cold nights that Em struggles to stay warm on a makeshift newspaper mattress or when their eyes gleam at the sight of restaurant containers full of food in a dumpster only to find that the owners tossed maggots over them just so they didn’t take them. Jamie Canosa makes your heart beat a little faster and you have no choice but to feel empathy for her characters and hope they will make it another day.  



Be smart.
Keep your head down.
And look out for number one.

These are the rules Jay has lived by for the past two years. The rules of surviving life on the streets. But when Em comes bursting into his life, in all of her disastrous glory, the rules go right out the window.

Flee what’s been left behind
And never look back.

Em’s plan was simple. Though, it was easier said than done. The city streets are dangerous and unforgiving to a new arrival. Especially, a seventeen year old girl who’s never known anything but life in the suburbs. Sometimes, however, what’s lurking behind those white picket fences can be more frightening than any dark alley.

Both of them made the same decision when life got overwhelming—to run from their demons. Brought together by fate or circumstance, Em and Jay find the kind of love neither of them ever expected. But when those demons come back to haunt them and their love is on the line, which instincts will they choose to follow this time . . . Fight or Flight? 

*Warning: This story includes mature language and themes, and is intended for mature audiences.

Em managed to steal me as a reader immediately. Her moments of fleeing were thrilling and I just wanted her to be safe, not even knowing what she was running from yet. She made me wonder more about people who keep their heads down and what lives they have. The level of expertise it takes to survive on the streets surprises Em. She curses herself for when she thinks she’s being a coward yet she doesn’t realize how strong she already is. Canosa nailed her inner thought throughout the book. Em is someone who doesn’t trust easily and the level of this is revealed when she struggles with the simple act of touch. Her reason for leaving is heartbreaking and made her more real for me. She will always hold a special place in my heart.

It’s clear that Jay takes a risk when helping Em. But when he imagines the kind of trouble that she could get into being new and naive he can’t ignore her. He works himself ragged to provide a small amount of warm food for Em. Because of how resourceful he proves to be I couldn’t help but imagine what life was like for him before when he was the new guy. Jay is very talented at blending in that he almost seems ghostlike. He is the one who will take readers on a surprising day in the life of a homeless teen. Jay’s reason for leaving his former life behind is tragic and dark and he must wear his struggle everyday.

A shiny moment in Fight or Flight was when Jay takes Em out for breakfast and Sam is introduced. I was able to get a grasp of the type of man Jay was, what Em still struggled with and how Sam was able to help them in his own way. Plus it’s the start of a fun day with Jay and Em. There are a lot of other moments I loved but I’d like you as readers to just buy this book and experience them yourself because that’s the best way to appreciate them. 

Jamie Canosa’s writing is beyond insightful; it’s an experience into someone else’s world that had me asking what I could do for people like Jay and Em. It gives them an identity and makes you realize that sometimes this isn’t a choice but maybe an only option. This book needs to be shared and read by many. I believe it can help many who may be in the situation of the characters or know of someone like Jay or Em. If you buy one book, make it Fight or Flight.

Author Bio:

Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Upstate NY with her husband, and their three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird, and the rabbit.

Her debut novel, Dissidence, was published in 2012 along with several novellas, including the first in her Heart and Soul series, ‘Temptation’.

My Interview with Jamie Canosa

I am so excited to have Jamie Canosa here today on a stop for her Fight or Flight Blog Tour. She is even offering a giveaway of Fight or Flight to celebrate her books publication, so be sure to enter the Rafflecopter form below.

As you can tell from my review I am very passionate about your book Jamie and feel very lucky to talk to you about it. Thank you for stopping by I Blog, You Read today and welcome.

Thank you so much for having me. I’m happy to be here.

First question, Jay is very resourceful when helping Em survive on the streets. What type of research was needed in order to tell this part of their story?

I did do some fact checking. The downfall, or writing contemporary fiction is that there are rules you have to follow. But, most of Jay’s ideas came straight from me. I thought about what they would need and how best to go about getting it.

The dark pasts of Em and Jay could have been set in a variety of places, what made you decide to set your characters on the streets rather than a typical high school setting?

The halls of fictional high schools are a popular setting for many YA books. I am in no way trying to downplay the severity of some of the issues that can come from that setting, as well. But, with this particular book, I wanted to draw attention to not only the issues of abuse, but also that of the homeless youth population. It’s another one of those things people don’t really like to think about, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Every day there are kids (and adults) looking for food, shelter, somewhere warm to sleep. And not just in other countries or other parts of the world, but in our own backyards. It’s real and it’s here. We’ll never find a solution if we can’t even acknowledge the problem.

If Jay and Em originated from a more loving background how do you imagine them living today?

If they had a more loving background I doubt either one of them would have left home or ended up where they did. Their love, however, was meant to be. If one or both of them hadn’t ended up on the streets, I have no doubt they would have found each other, anyway.

Your writing really struck my heart in regards to the teens out there that have no other safe options like Jay, Em and Al. What do you hope that YA audiences will get out of Fight or Flight?

While writing Fight or Flight, I had this constant concern that individuals who could relate to Em, Jay, and Al’s background would be insulted, or think that I was trying to use that kind of pain for entertainment value. That is absolutely not it, at all.

What I truly hope readers will get out of this book is an awakening. An increased awareness of this issue that is all around us and we sometimes—often times—fail to even notice. And, for those who can relate, who are maybe going through something similar even as they read it, I want them to find hope. Even the slightest belief that someone somewhere cares about them. That they’re not alone. That others have gone through or are going through the same types of things and I hope that gives them courage. I think—far and away—the most important part of the book is the Dear Reader where I made sure to include phone numbers and URLs for both the National Child Abuse Hotline and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). There is help out there. Jay’s words were meant for every one of you, you are Strong, Beautiful, and Brave.

I personally feel that one of the reasons why Fight or Flight is such a strong story is because of the two POV’s. Was this an important factor in writing their story?

It was. Originally, I started writing Fight or Flight from just Em’s perspective. I was more than half way through before I stopped because something just didn’t feel right. Something was missing. Then, I realized that it was Jay. Sure, we got to see him through Em’s eyes and hear his words, but without his thoughts and emotions behind them, they were just words. As soon as I started to add in Jay’s POV everything just fell together. He was such a pleasure to write. A strong, good—even if somewhat jaded—person with his own unique take on the story to tell. His perspective brought him to life for me and seeing Em through his eyes made me love her that much more.

Are there any other projects you are currently working that you’d like to share so that we can add them to our reading lists?

Absolutely! I love to write. I’m always writing. At the moment, I have three projects in the works. The third installment of my paranormal romance novella mini-series, Heart and Soul, is coming out next month. The sequel to my YA dystopian novel, Dissidence, is scheduled for release in June. AND. . . I’m working on a spin-off novel to Fight or Flight that follows Al back home, which I hope to release sometime this summer. So, if you love Al as much as I do, keep your eyes peeled for that one.

Finally, do you want to leave any final words for the readers? Why should they read Fight or Flight?

I wrote Fight or Flight as a story that aims to grab the reader’s heart as well as their mind. I hope that it will serve to raise awareness of some very real issues and get people not only thinking about them, but truly feeling for them. In my opinion, emotion is the greatest catalyst for action.

Looks like we have a lot to look forward to from Jamie Canosa so be sure to keep up to date by finding her at the links below. Very excited to know that we will be able to read more about Al.

I sincerely want to thank Jamie for this interview. It was a pleasure to be able to talk with her about Fight or Flight. I encourage all of you to read this incredible book and to share this post with others. The more hands that this book gets into the better chance it has at helping others like Jay, Em, and Al. I thought it was very thoughtful of Jamie to include the Dear Reader page in the beginning of her book and have decided that I should include the info below. It’s just the right thing to do.

Author links:

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD
RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) anytime at 1-800-656-HOPE


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Song of The Week!

This weeks pick is 'Leader of the Pack' by Sleigh Bells. Not really sure what it's about but I like the unique music behind the lyrics. It's a bit electronic yet industrial I suppose. I looked up the lyrics of the song and sense that the song is about someone passing and the person left behind has to deal with the fact that their loved one is never returning. So it could be about loss or maybe a breakup?

This is one of those songs (like many) that was probably written for the artist and is capable of taking on new meanings to a wide audience. A song can mean one thing to one person and something totally different to someone else. The song has somewhat intense lyrics to what I think is a fun beat. So this song could even serve as a release to someone. But those are just my thoughts.
Thank for visiting and remember to share! :)

*Not even going to get into the cover because that's a whole other can of worms.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MASSIVE GIVEAWAY for Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey!!!

A BIG THANK YOU to Kristin Bailey for these wonderful prizes! I am so pleased to be able to offer a giveaway of this magnitude. Legacy of the Clockwork Key is a lovely book that I encourage you all to read and share. It even inspired one of the prizes that I included in this giveaway. Click here for my review.


A teen girl unravels the mysteries of a secret society and their most dangerous invention in this adventure-swept romance set in Victorian London.

When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.

Meg has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect—and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge. The clockwork key has unlocked her destiny in this captivating start to a trilogy.

Hira for her very original compact and eyeglasses combo!
Be sure to check your email tomorrow!

1 Hardcover copy of Legacy of the Clockwork Key.
(purchased by me)
1 Awesome duct tape clutch made by me and inspired 
by Kristin Bailey's book cover.
1 Compact mirror with the design of Meg's key on back.
1 Signed bookmark.
1 Signed media card w/excerpt and summary on back.
1 Join the Order keychain.

Donna, Shelley, Julie, & Marie 
Be sure to check your email tomorrow!

1 Signed bookmark.
1 Signed media card w/excerpt and summary on back.
1 Sticker OR 1 Button w/Meg's key design.

Now how do you enter this amazing giveaway? Well I thought, and thought, and thought about what I could request from you that would be fun. I kept thinking about the gorgeous inventions that Kristin Bailey writes about during Meg’s adventure. Every invention is a surprise. So that’s what I want from you, an invention. Tell me what you would invent for a secret society during the Victorian period that Legacy of the Clockwork Key takes place in. Be creative, include as much detail as you want and tell me why you would invent it, and think steampunk if it helps. It can be something big or small, practical or fun. Enter an invention everyday until the end of contest date on March 27th. I will be picking my favorite as the grand prizewinner. I will also be tweeting random entries to promote this giveaway.

For example one of my favorite inventions in Kristen Bailey’s book is the mechanical horse drawn carriage. Each horse is plated in silver with brass eyelashes and instead of legs the horses have wheels with shiny spokes.

Need another example? I would invent mirror compacts for woman and timepieces for men that would be used as locaters for secret society members. With markings on gears for all members displaying who is closest on their own secret map. GPS for the past! (No need to get into the logistics of how it would work.)  


Giveaway is for the U.S. only.

You have one week to enter and the winner will be announced here on March 27th and emailed by me.

All entries MUST submit an invention in the comment box below. Be sure to click the +1 mandatory button so that your entries are counted for each day entered. I will be cross checking all entries throughout the week of the contest. 

**Be sure to enter through the other options on the Rafflecopter form because I will be using these in case of a tiebreaker and to determine the runner-ups for the other prizes. If you enter an invention and do not win you will still have a second chance to win runner up prizes by random choice. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Song of The Week!

This next song surprised me and while at work it often plays in my head. About 90% of the time a song is playing in my head while at work. So far I haven’t been able to get ‘Yes, I’m Stalking You’ out of my brain, performed by the unique band Dante vs. Zombies. They are a bit out there but I can’t help but like this song. It can be portrayed as dark or even comedic in the right romantic setting. Maybe Duckie singing to Andie in say…the record store or riding his bike by her house. LOL!

Dante vs. Zombies seems like a mixture of John Waters and The B-52’s. I mean they have a song about a parrot gone mad, that is very B-52’s. No matter how odd my choice is this week I can see the endless possibilities with this song on a fun level. It could totally be placed in a very dark horror movie but we won’t go there because I have to watch scary movies with the hall light on or watch something really funny afterwards to get the scary out of my brain. But you can’t deny the awesome intro to ‘Yes, I’m Stalking You’.