Monday, December 17, 2012

Guest Post: Trisha Leigh, author of The Last Year series

Today, in honor of her newly released book, Betrayals in Spring, author Trisha Leigh is chatting with us about who she would cast as her characters if her books were made into movies.
When Shelby asked me to do a guest blog, I was mostly excited but also kind of oh dear what shall I write about – until she mentioned that she heard I review television and movies, and perhaps I’d like to talk about who my dream cast would be for The Last Year if it were turned into a movie or a television series.
Not only do I review televisions and movies for Poptimal, I have a degree in Television and Film Production from Texas Christian University (go Frogs!). Even though I haven’t put that degree to any real use in my life, I adore television and movies, and would one day love to find a way to integrate my passion for them and my passion for writing fiction.

Nicola Peltz

At any rate, today I’m going to tell you who I would cast in Whispers in Autumn, and also give you a little sneak preview into who I would cast in Winter Omens and Betrayals in Spring, when we meet a few new characters. Some of my cast is impossible to find actors for since, well, they don’t appear human – for them I’ll let your imagination run wild. I’m sure it’s much more wonderful than anything I can come up with, anyway. So here goes.

Jonny Weston

First up, Althea. I’ve waffled between two different actresses, but keep coming back to Nicola Peltz. She’s an interesting blend of fierce and reserved that fits Althea perfectly. Her hair would have to be a darker red, but other than that, she’s perfect.

J.D. Pardo
Next, Lucas. For a long time, Freddie Stroma was my choice for Lucas, but then I asked readers to choose between him and Jonny Weston – and Jonny won by a landslide. So, we’ll go with Jonny Weston. For one, he looks like Lucas – blond curls, blue eyes, wiry build – but he’s also got a sweetness about him that does remind me of Whispers in Autumn’s leading man.
Kim Bum

Pax, from Winter Omens, gives me a bit more trouble. Or at least he did until I saw J.D. Pardo on Revolution and thought THAT’S PAX. Pardo is hot, obviously, and muscled. More importantly (kind of), he’s capable of carrying off a moodier, less emotionally involved character. Pax may not remain that kind of guy by the end of the series (teaser!), but he certainly starts off that way.

Cassie Scerbo

Deshi is a complicated figure that I can’t really explain for fear of spoilers. But in case anyone is out there wondering, I’d cast Kim Bum.
In Winter Omens I introduce a pair of twins, Griffin and Greer. They’re playful to the point of being cruel, at times, and consider themselves not only more beautiful than humans (they aren’t human), but also stronger, faster, smarter – you name it, they are better at it. If you ask them. My choices are Cassie Scerbo and Chris Zylka. Because they’re both blond and beautiful, and both proved in previous performances that they know how to be snotty know-it-alls.
Chris Zylka

Evil brother and sister Zakej and Kendaja – Tom Felton and Elle Fanning.
The most evil Prime Other – David Lyons. Mostly because I want to meet him again. J
I don’t really have anyone in mind for minor characters Brittany or Leah, and would love to hear your suggestions, if you have any. Actually, I’d welcome thoughts and suggestions on any of my choices!

Tom Felton

Thanks for playing along today; it can be fun to find people that remind us exactly of the characters the way they are in our heads, but of course, everyone sees them a little differently and that’s why casting directors have such a hard job. When they get it wrong, in the fans opinion (think Jamie Campbell Bower in The Mortal Instruments), people can get really angry. When they get it right (Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games, as well as pretty much every single character in Harry Potter), we all cheer.

Elle Fanning

I think we all just want to see the vision on the screen line up as closely as possible with what’s in our heads when we read. Once the vision is out there and filtered through a director/casting director’s brain, though, it’s bound to look a little different. And that’s okay. They’re actors, so their job is to become these characters, no matter what physical traits they do or don’t share.

David Lyons

What do you guys think? Do you like this new trend of YA fiction being snapped up for adaptations in Hollywood? Or would you rather the stories stay pristine and untouched in your mind?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Connect with Trisha in these places:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rouge (Cheveux Roux #1) by Leigh Talbert Moore

Published: November 11th, 2012 (S/P)
Pages: 300
Rating: 2/5
Trapped in the underground theater world of 1890s New Orleans, Hale Ferrer has only one goal: escape. But not without Teeny, the orphan-girl she rescued from the streets and promised to protect.

Freddie Lovel, Hale's wealthy Parisian suitor, seems to be the easy solution. If only his touch could arouse her interest like Beau's, the penniless stagehand who captures her heart.

Denying her fears, Hale is poised to choose love until an evil lurking in their cabaret-home launches a chain of events that could cost her everything.

Hale Ferrer has always wanted to be freed from the confines of her run-down theatre home, but not for her own good. Not her future, but the future of her “adopted” charge, Teeny, is what she fears. Untalented girls, girls unlike Hale, girls much like Teeny, are sent to a much darker place than center stage. But when the new stage hand gets Hale’s attention, her focus is shifted and her heart is split between doing what she wants and doing what she knows she must do. Distraction from her mission is the last thing she needs.
Little does she know the battle for safety may cost her her heart.
 I am so, so, so divided on this book. The historical element was fantastic; I loved getting to experience New Orleans during this particular time period. I’ve visited the city once and absolutely fell in love with it. The culture seeps out of every seam, and it’s the same way with this book. The theatre/cabaret setting, while somewhat provocative, is an interesting one- one I’ve never read about in a book before. And thank God- Hale, the protagonist, was relatable, which is something I don’t see much of in self-published books. She had depth, as did many of the other characters. I adored her romance with Beau, though it seemed to spawn out of absolutely nothing. Sadly, I’d have to diagnose it as a mild case of insta-love, but as shallow as their relationship was, I still loved it.
So, you might be asking, “If you enjoyed Rouge so much, why are you so riven over it? What’s not to love?” Well, read on, my friend.
Unfortunately, there was a colossal amount of sexual content that marred the story for me. While this is New Adult, and therefore has more of that type of content, there’s still quite a hefty amount. I might not have been so bothered by it had it not been for the raping going on. That’s really what crossed the line for me. I don’t recommend this book if you think you’d be bothered by that. If you’re wary, check the Quick Content Review below. Like I’ve stated there, nothing much is left out of those scenes, and I feel that was entirely unnecessary.
In the end, I guess I have a love/hate relationship with Rouge. I love the history, the characters, the romance. I abhor the lack of discretion when it comes to the sexual content. I simply wasn’t expecting *that* much of it. Fortunately, now you know, and can make a personal decision as to whether to read Rouge or not. To read or not to read…that is the question. But if you ask me, I’d probably say no.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: Mild (a couple d-words)
Violence: Heavy (rape)
Sexual: Heavy (Rape, described. A love affair between two characters; sex described.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blog Tour: For What It's Worth by Karey White (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Today author Karey White has stopped by in honor of the For What It’s Worth Blog Tour to discuss the hard work that’s called book writing, and why it’s all worth it.
Writing a book is hard work. I have a hard time writing when my house is a wreck, so it requires that I be more organized than is my nature. It requires that I carve out time to write, even when other things might be more enjoyable or interesting. I don't ever turn on the television during the day. I try to go to bed with my housework in a manageable condition.
Even though there are some challenges when it comes to writing, there are also great rewards. I've always had to be creating. I've owned my own wedding cake business and my own clothing design business. I've done a lot of scrapbooking and paper crafts. I've gone through phases of embroidery, cross stitching, crocheting, felting, jewelry making and painting. If I saw something creative and felt the itch to try it, I usually did. Writing is great because it gives me my needed creative outlet with much less mess than any of the other things I've done over the years.
Another reward is the thrill of seeing something that I wrote on a bookshelf. Knowing I put all those words together to create a story that people are enjoying is a thrill. And when I receive emails or phone calls or letters from some of those people, telling me how much they enjoyed it or how touched they were by it, I feel humbled that God has given me a talent and an idea that means something to people. It's a privilege and a blessing to be able to write.
For What It's Worth by Karey White
Twenty-four year-old, Abby Benson has dreams of owning her own wedding cake shop. An inheritance from her aunt gives her the ability to make those dreams come true. She hires Dane, a handsome contractor, to help her get the bakery up and running and soon they’re moving toward their own happy ending.
Unsure what to charge for her cakes, Abby has a crazy idea to let the customer decide what they think their cake is worth. This plan has its ups and downs, but the novelty of the idea makes her a local celebrity. When she is interviewed on television about the unusual idea, business booms and Abby has cake adventures she never dreamed possible. But as her fame grows, Abby is swept up in a whirlwind that threatens everything she values. With the challenges that face her, will she be able to determine what is worth the most?
Check out the book trailer:

About the author
Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.
She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.
Connect with Karey here:
$25 Amazon Gift Card + A Copy of For What It's Worth (Paperback available to US only, E-book Available Internationally)

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour here!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Blast: Christmas Ever After by Elyse Douglas (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Christmas Ever After by Elyse Douglas

Can 26-year-old Jennifer Taylor overcome her past—the death of her fiancĂ© that has left her bitter and angry? Will she accept the gift of an adventure from a mysterious woman before it’s too late: a trip to New York City on Christmas Eve, where she’ll meet three men who will change her life forever?


Suddenly, everything seemed to happen at once, and in slow motion. Mrs. Stanton stepped in front of the shop, stabbing away at the snow with her cane.
Jennifer’s back tires slid away into chaos. It was as if the world was spinning away from her. She frantically fought for control of the car, but the steering wheel became useless. She was slipping away toward the east wall of Cards N’ Stuff.  Jennifer held her breath.
Just then, Mrs. Stanton’s left foot found an unfortunate old patch of ice beneath the newly fallen snow. She felt it give way, and her cane, which should have been a support, slipped from her hand and sailed away into a snowdrift. Jennifer watched in horror as Mrs. Stanton’s body lifted from the earth and rose like a great bird above the spread of undulating snow. She seemed suspended in time. For a brief hopeful moment, Jennifer had the irrational belief that she could somehow scramble from her car and rescue Mrs. Stanton, as one would rescue a priceless fragile vase falling from a great height.
But there was no rescue. There was no one to catch Mrs. Stanton and there was no one to stop Jennifer’s car from its collision course with the garbage cans in the alleyway, and the inevitable impact into the side of the building.
Mrs. Stanton’s body finally hit the snow, like a massive meteorite striking the earth. The impact threw up a plume of whiteness. The crater was deep and impressive. Mrs. Stanton let out an almighty howl that scattered chirping sparrows into the trees. Her yell was eclipsed by Jennifer’s car slamming into the garbage cans, and colliding into the side wall of Cards N’ Stuff.
Then there was silence. But only a brief one.
From somewhere, close by, came a low rumble. It was a foreboding sound, like the low moan of fate in the apprehension of an imminent catastrophe.
Cards N’ Stuff began to shimmy and quake. Icicles snapped and fell. Fractures formed on the roof. Sliding snow whooshed down in avalanches, crashing to the ground.
Mrs. Stanton was frozen in fear, looking bug-eyed, hearing a roar, like the sea.
Jennifer managed to shove open the jammed car door and roll out, falling into a mound of snow. She heard the frightening sound, struggled to her feet and staggered away from the building, running, stumbling and gasping.
There was a terrible, miserable groan as the roof buckled and plunged down into the shop in a storm of wood, roof-tiles, dirt and snow. In violent hammer-like blows, it shattered snow globes, jewelry boxes and porcelain figurines. It smashed glass displays and chopped through shelves, burying Christmas angels, Santa Clauses, Christmas cards and delicate earrings. The window Christmas displays were blown into oblivion; the Victorian town demolished; the electric train flicked away and buried by a powerful cascading shaft of dirt and ice. The family around the piano was pummeled and destroyed.
In a final act of destruction, sprinkler pipes ruptured, shooting streams of water into the air like geysers, flooding the place. Books, CDs and DVDs floated by, little boats navigating a chaotic space.
When it was finally over, an uneasy silence settled in, like a warning.

Purchase Christmas Ever After here:
Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Smashwords

Check out the book trailer:

About the Authors
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse's mother was a painter and her father a textile consultant. Elyse began writing poems and short stories at an early age, and graduated from Columbia University with a Master's Degree in English Literature. Douglas grew up in a family of musicians, astrologers and avid readers. His grandfather was a gifted humorist and storyteller from Kentucky.
Elyse Douglas' four novels include: The Astrologer's Daughter, Wanting Rita, The Christmas Diary and Christmas Ever After. They live in New York City.
Twitter * Facebook * Website

Book Blast Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash (Ends 12/16/12)
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it when you follow Elyse and leave the others blank.
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cover Reveal: Hover (The Taking #2) by Melissa West

Today we’re celebrating the cover reveal of Hover, the second book in The Taking series by Melissa West (if you’re like me, you’re more familiar with the title of the first book, Gravity). Take a peek at the epic, brand-spanking new cover below:
Hover (The Taking #2)
By Melissa West
Release Date: 2013
Published by Entangled Teen
400 pages 
Summary from Goodreads:
Book two in the heart-stopping new series by Melissa West. The follow-up to the acclaimed Gravity, Hover is another thrilling dystopian romance and is perfect for fans of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, Veronica Roth's Divergent, and Marie Lu's Legend.
I adore this cover; very eye-catching and…um, spacey. The single question on the front makes it all the more intriguing. It’s definitely one I’d display proudly on my shelf. What about you?

Gravity (The Taking #1) by Melissa West 
Release Date: 11/20/12 by Entangled Teen
400 pages
Summary from Goodreads:
In the future, only one rule will matter:
Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.
Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.
About the author…
Melissa lives in a tiny suburb of Atlanta, GA with her husband and daughter. She pretends to like yoga, actually likes shoes, and could not live without coffee. Her writing heroes include greats like Jane Austen and Madeleine L'Engle.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.
Connect with Melissa here:
Twitter: @MB_West

You can pre-order Hover at any of these places:

 Enter the giveaway below to win a copy of Gravity!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Blog Tour: Rouge by Leigh Talbert Moore (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Kissing, We Love Kissing!
By Leigh Talbert Moore

Romance is a huge part of my new book Rouge.

Yes, it’s an exciting story of loyalty and how main character Hale will do anything to get her and Teeny (the little orphan she rescued) away from their theater-home (which is a front for prostitution).

But I love stories. So when Beau shows up looking all hot, naturally Hale falls for him. She tries to resist, but it’s no good. He saves her life, and after that, she’s a goner.

Beau’s just as surprised as she is, but he’s impulsive and doesn’t hesitate.

So here’s a short excerpt of Hale attempting to fight her feelings. I hope you like it!

With his thumb, Beau wiped my tear away, then without a word, he leaned forward and kissed me gently. I reached forward to catch the front of his shirt, the fabric rough against my fingertips.

He lifted his head and looked into my eyes. “I hate to see you sad,” he whispered.

“There’s not much to do about it.” I tried to laugh, but it wasn’t convincing.

“I never expected to meet someone like you. And then when I did, I never dreamed you’d consider me worth your time.”

“I shouldn’t consider you,” I said, longing pulsing through me with every heartbeat. “But
I guess I can’t help it.”

Thanks for having me here today, and happy reading!

Trapped in the underground theater world of 1890s New Orleans, Hale Ferrer has only one goal: escape. But not without Teeny, the orphan-girl she rescued from the streets and promised to protect.

Freddie Lovel, Hale's wealthy Parisian suitor, seems to be the easy solution. If only his touch could arouse her interest like Beau's, the penniless stagehand who captures her heart.

Denying her fears, Hale is poised to choose love until an evil lurking in their cabaret-home launches a chain of events that could cost her everything.

(Mature YA/light historical/theater romance)

About the Author
Leigh Talbert Moore is a wife and mom by day, a writer by day, a reader by day, a freelance editor when time permits, a chocoholic, a caffeine addict, a lover of YA and new adult romance (really any great love story), a beach bum, and occasionally she sleeps.

Leigh loves hearing from readers! Stop by and say hello:

And be sure to stop by the tour host’s blog (YA Bound) and check out the full Rouge blog tour schedule! You can do so here.

Signed print copies of Rouge for US readers, e-book copies for International readers.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

So Over My Head by Jenny B. Jones

Published: May 4th, 2010 (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Pages: 326
Rating: 4/5
Newly single, stalked by a killer, and in desperate need of some chic clown shoes--Bella is one skinny mocha frapp away from total meltdown. When the Fritz Family Carnival makes its annual appearance in Truman, Bella's keen reporter instincts tell her the bright lights hide more than they reveal. Her suspicions are confirmed when one of the stars is murdered. Though the police make an immediate arrest, Bella doubts this case is quite that simple. She needs her crime-solving boyfriend, Luke, more than ever. Problem is, his ex-girlfriend has moved back to town, giving Bella some murderous thoughts of her own. Then again, there's no time for a relationship crisis when Bella's doing her best to derail her father's wedding and stay one step ahead of a killer. Is God sending her a message in all of this madness? With a murderer on the loose and her boyfriend's ex on the prowl, this undercover clown has never had more to juggle--or more to risk.
(Description from Goodreads)
Being the Thanksgiving season and all, I’d just like to say that I’m thankful for authors like Jenny B. Jones who toss hilarious, fun, clean Christian YA fiction at teen girls like me. What would I do without them?
That said, Bella Kirkwood really takes it hard in So Over My Head. Her family is suffering from not having her stepdad around due to his reality-show wrestling gig, and the fact that Bella caught Luke in a lip lock with none other than his ex- girlfriend Barbie Doll doesn’t make matters any rosier.
Oh, and did I mention that a magician-turned-murderer is after her?
Bella must go undercover as a circus act to reveal the truth and save the day- yet again.
I adore Bella and her hilarious crime-solving schemes. She never fails to make me laugh. Even her sarcasm Especially her sarcasm. This last installment was just as hilariously entertaining as the last two. This time, instead of uncovering the football team’s psychotic rituals or saving prom from sheer destruction, Bella’s gotten herself wrapped up in the Fritz Family Circus. But more is going on than just clowning around.
(I promise not to embarrass you with another one of those awful puns ever again. Promise.)
I’m not going to lie. So Over My Head seemed a little slow at parts. I think I was just a little tired of it all: the crime-solving, Bella’s irrational jealousy of Luke’s ex Ashley, etc. There wasn’t anything wrong with all those things, I was just sorely in need of a break from Bella.
There. I said it. I hated saying it, but it needed to be said. *sigh of relief* Aside from getting a little weary of the series, I loved everything else. I honestly could sit and read this book all day. It will make you laugh. I don’t care if you’re a snotty, stiff, hater of fun. It will make you cry tears of laughter. I’m so glad I bought my copy so that I can pull it out whenever I need a laugh. Just a page or two will do. I suggest you follow suit- it’s quite a smart idea, no?
In conclusion, I’ll just say what I said in my reviews for the last two books (I mean, how original do you expect me to be? A writer can only rephrase the same thing oh so many times!): Pick it up. I loved it. So should you.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: None
Violence: Mild-Moderate (A murder, a kidnapping, some grave digging, etc. Nothing described. Offset with humor.)
Sexual: Mild (Some kissing).