Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cover Reveal of Fractured Glass: A Novel Anthology

I'm so excited to reveal the cover for Fractured Glass, a novel anthology. It was such an amazing experience writing a story with four other authors. 

Expected Release Date: Late December, 2014
Pre-orders: Late November, 2014
Title: Fractured Glass
Author(s): Tia Silverthorne Bach, Jo Michaels, Casey L. Bond, Kelly Risser, and N. L. Greene
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction with five sub-genres (paranormal, horror, fantasy, magic, and romance)
Length: ~100k words

About Fractured Glass


What if other worlds existed alongside your own? What if you could travel through them and truly escape reality?

Sloan and Harley Glass were born moments apart; but, despite their differences, the sixteen-year-old twins couldn’t be closer. They’ve held their tongues each and every time their mother has uprooted them—often moving across the country with little notice. They’ve learned to accept change. But what is Mom running from?

They discover they’re travelers—half-descendants of those who can traverse an entire universe of parallel worlds known as fractals. When the past catches up, Harley is kidnapped and taken to one of those distant worlds. Now, Sloan must garner her courage and find a way to rescue her sister. Traversing the worlds isn’t the hard part; it’s surviving the elements and the creatures lying in wait to destroy everything in their path.
Will the Glass sisters be able to save the fractal worlds from the kidnapper, or will everything fracture and crumble around them?


*****

Why is this novel different? Well, because it’s a novel anthology. Each of the authors endeavored to use the same characters and to guide those characters through five sub-genres of 20k words each in the same storyline. You’ve never read anything quite like it, and we do hope you enjoy the Glass sisters’ adventures.

Now we’ll get to the good stuff! First, the digital cover:



And the full wrap...



We can’t wait to release this puppy out into the world for all to read and be entertained. Thanks so much for stopping by to check out our cover. We’ll have some giveaways when the book goes live, so be looking for that post, too!

If you’d like to visit the authors, you may do so via the links below:

Tia Silverthorne Bach
Jo Michaels
Casey L. Bond
Kelly Risser
N. L. Greene

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ghost Horse by Thomas McNeely (3.5 stars)

About Ghost Horse

Publisher: Gival Press

Set amidst the social tensions of 1970’s Houston, Ghost Horse tells the story of eleven-year-old Buddy Turner’s shifting alliances within his fragmented family and with two other boys—one Anglo, one Latino—in their quest to make a Super-8 animated movie. As his father’s many secrets begin to unravel, Buddy discovers the real movie: the intersection between life as he sees it and the truth of his own past. In a vivid story of love, friendship, and betrayal, Ghost Horse explores a boy’s swiftly changing awareness of himself and the world through the lens of imagination.

Praise for Ghost Horse

“An elegy for a lost father, an unforgettable fable of the power of art, Ghost Horse weaves a singular spell, captivating the reader and never letting go.”—Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

“In Ghost Horse, his excellent debut novel, Thomas McNeely skillfully offers up the dark mysteries of the adult world through the eyes of a child. Wise, insightful, and exquisitely written, it lays bare the heartbreak of family life and lost friendship against the back drop of class and racial difference. Ghost Horse is that rare fictional rendering that truly illuminates real life.” —Rishi Reddi, author of Karma and Other Stories, winner of the L. L. Winship / PEN New England Award

“Thomas McNeely is a beautiful writer. I’ve read drafts of this book over the last ten years and I’ve been waiting all that time for the finished product. This is an incredible book about love and family and growing up. But mostly it’s about the mysteries of the human heart.” —Stephen Elliott, editor of The Rumpus; author of Happy Baby and The Adderall Diaries

“Thomas H. McNeely’s moving, darkly beautiful debut novel, Ghost Horse, turns the emotional messiness of family life into something gripping and mysterious. One boy’s coming-of-age in 1970s Texas becomes the deeply compelling story of all who have ever shouldered an unwanted secret. McNeely is an astoundingly gifted writer exploring—to great effect—the vagaries and surprises of desire.” —Daphne Kalotay, author of Russian Winter and Sight Reading

“In this dark, swirling, atmospheric novel Thomas McNeely brings to life the world of Buddy Turner and his deeply troubled parents and grandparents during a few desperate months in the mid-70s. Even as Buddy struggles to keep faith with his film about the ghost horse and his collaborator, Alex, the adults around him keep changing shape, keep lying. I know of few other novels that so powerfully evoke the chaos and powerlessness of childhood, even fewer that do so with such power and brilliance. Ghost Horse is a wonderful and compulsively readable debut.”—Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The House on Fortune Street, winner of the L.L. Winship / PEN New England Award for Fiction

“As if Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson teamed up to write a 1970’s Texas YA novel that went off the rails somewhere – in a very, very good way.” —Lisa Peet, LibraryJournal

Review

Buddy is a boy torn between two parents and all their issues. His escape is focusing on a movie project with one of his friends. But creative endeavors can't hold back the troubles in his family and society in general. 

So much is right about this novel. For instance, Buddy is an intricate character who will find his way into the reader's heart. He is struggling, and his pain jumps off the pages. Then, there are his interactions with kids his own age, which showcases both society at the time and general coming-of-age woes. All of this is told in heartbreaking detail. It's dark in a way that rings true and pulls the reader in.

But I also must say, I found myself struggling to read it. Not just because of the raw honesty, but the author's style in presenting it. There's not enough dialogue and too many rushed scenes (and overheard conversations) which took away from some of the emotional punch, although there's still plenty.

To be fair, it's not meant to be an easy read. While I felt connected to Buddy and his struggles, I felt somehow removed from both of his parents and their real stories. I especially wanted more background and character transparency for the involved grandparents.

Still, I would recommend to readers who love literary fiction and all that entails--dark, intense story; heartbreaking revelations; emotional connection to struggling characters; and thought-provoking, underlying themes and symbolism. It's the kind of a book an English class or scholarly book club would have a field day with.

Note: I love literary fiction, but it relies heavily on connection. For some reason, I was having a hard time staying connected to the story. Connection is highly subjective.

Rating: 3.5 stars

About Thomas McNeely

A native of Houston, Texas, Thomas H. McNeely has received fellowships from the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University, the Dobie Paisano Program at the University of Texas at Austin, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well from the MacDowell Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Vermont Studio Center. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Epoch, and has been anthologized in Algonquin Books’ Best of the South and What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. His non-fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter and The Rumpus. Ghost Horse, winner of the 2013 Gival Press Novel Award, is his first book. He teaches in the Emerson College Honors Program and the Stanford Online Writing Studio, and lives with his wife and daughter in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Find out more about Thomas at his website.


Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Ghost Horse blog tour page

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Less Than Nothing by R.E. Blake (4 stars)

About Less Than Nothing
(from GoodReads)

Sage’s life as a teenage runaway in San Francisco is simple: Snatch a few hours of sleep on park benches and bus stops; dodge perverts, predators, and cops; and make enough as a street musician to eat. But her world flips upside down when she meets Derek – hot, tattooed, and charming, a singer from Seattle whose looks and talent take her breath away.

What begins as a reluctant partnership quickly develops into a cross-country race against time - and awakens a hunger in Sage that’s unfamiliar and exciting.

As they travel from coast to coast, Sage and Derek pursue their dream, only to discover that they can never run far enough to escape the demons from their pasts.

Less Than Nothing is the breakout debut NA novel from USA Today bestseller R.E. Blake that critics are buzzing about and readers can’t put down. Sage & Derek's story continues in More Than Anything (book 2) and Best of Everything (book 3).


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Review

Sage is facing a struggle few teens experience: life on the streets. Derek is in the same predicament. All they have is whatever their voices can earn. Sage inherited a good corner, and her voice has managed to keep some food in her belly. 

When Derek proposes they work together, she's dubious at first but gives in. Then, he reveals his dreams are even bigger. Suddenly, they are heading cross-country for a one in a million chance. 

Sage quickly won my heart. She's alone at a very young age, but she's a fighter. As if it wasn't enough what she'd been through with an addict mom, absent father, and abusive stepfather, she had to navigate the dangers of life on the streets. Then, Derek came along. No longer alone, she opened herself up to the pain of finally letting someone in.

What an interesting spin on young love, too. Most of us don't think of two teenagers falling in love on the streets and finding a way to follow their dreams. It's an interesting journey, and I found myself quite caught up in it. As a first of a series, it's a strong start, and I'm eager to see what happens with these characters. 

If you want to invest in great characters for a series, take a chance on Less than Nothing

Rating: 4 stars

About the Author

R.E. Blake is the pseudonym of the NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of over 30 novels, featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Times, and The Chicago Tribune.

Find out more at his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Naliyah by Shauna Kelley (5 stars)

About Naliyah
(from Goodreads)

Lenora Scheid can tell you much of human nature. After more than a century of traveling from warzone to warzone, she has experienced more than she can handle of mankind’s thirst for blood and power…she cannot, however, tell you what she is.

Not exactly human, but not precisely vampire either, Lenora’s whole life has been spent under the watchful eye of her father. With only her dreams of a mysterious blue‐eyed man as company, she has little choice but to follow her father across the world despite his refusal to help her understand her true nature.

As Lenora reaches the end of her tolerance with their life of travel and death, she comes face to face with her blue‐eyed man and everything changes. Can this man save her from a life of brutality? Or will the secrets kept from her for so long destroy them both?


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Review

Lenora Scheid has spent most of her life on the move and struggling to remember details. Her father isn't much help, and they seem to up and move every time she gets close to figuring out who--or what--she is.

Still, he's all she's every had, and she has to trust him. Then, she makes a friend. Someone who wants Lenora to break free. But Lenora's attempts at a life lead to tragedy. In answer, her father uproots them again. Finally, she crosses paths with a man she's known only in her dreams. Are the answers she craves far behind? Will she be able to live with what she learns.

I love Shauna Kelley's work! She crafts amazing characters with deep flaws but great strength. 

Lenora is one of those great characters. She is more mature than a normal young person, thanks to life events and extenuating circumstances, but she clutches to youthful beliefs--like trusting her father and following him past her own gut. Yet, she grows and begins to question. When faced with uncertain influences on her journey to answers, she continues to become stronger--putting more emphasis on her gut than her past. 

And she's not the only great character. There are several, including her father, who were captivating, but I could never quite decide whose side they were on. Was the father protecting her or using her for his own purposes? What about the blue-eyed man? Since this is the first book in a series, I was left with more questions than answers, but I couldn't put it down.

Plus, the spin on what Lenora is really appealed to me. Her gifts are unlike any I've ever read before, and I'm quite intrigued to see where this story goes.

Highly imaginative, captivating, and rich in characters and story. A must read!

Ratings: 5 stars

Please check out my reviews of two of Shauna Kelley's other books: Don't Wake Up and Max and Menna.

About the Author
(from Amazon Author Central)


Shauna Kelley lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband and beloved mutts. Dedicated aunt, adventurous baker, and action movie fanatic, she spends her days writing, teaching, and crocheting.

Kelley's first novel, Max and Menna, was a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award finalist for Young Adult Fiction in 2010. Naliyah is her third novel.

Kelley delights in the opportunity to interact with readers. Find her online at her blog or on Facebook.

Note: I was a beta reader for this novel (lucky me!). A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Age of Opportunity by Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. (4 stars)

About Age of Opportunity

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (September 9, 2014)


Adolescence now lasts longer than ever before. And as world-renowned expert on adolescent psychology Dr. Laurence Steinberg argues, this makes these years the key period in determining individuals’ life outcomes, demanding that we change the way we parent, educate, and understand young people.

In Age of Opportunity, Steinberg leads readers through a host of new findings — including groundbreaking original research — that reveal what the new timetable of adolescence means for parenting 13-year-olds (who may look more mature than they really are) versus 20-somethings (who may not be floundering even when it looks like they are). He also explains how the plasticity of the adolescent brain, rivaling that of years 0 through 3, suggests new strategies for instilling self-control during the teenage years. Packed with useful knowledge, Age of Opportunity is a sweeping book in the tradition of Reviving Ophelia, and an essential guide for parents and educators of teenagers.

Praise for Age of Opportunity

“As a mother of two boys and an educator, I am so grateful Laurence Steinberg has written this amazing book. He not only clearly and elegantly communicates the newest insights into understanding teenagers’ brains but also shows how adults can manage ourselves when we get frustrated with teens’ behavior.” — Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes and Masterminds and Wingmen

“Steinberg explains how ‘abnormal’ adolescent behavior is actually ‘normal.’ This book belongs on the shelf of every parent, teacher, youth worker, counselor, judge — heck, anyone interested in pre-teens and teenagers.” — David Walsh, Ph.D., author of Why Do They Act That Way?

“If you need to understand adolescents — whether your own or anyone else’s — you must read this book. Steinberg explains why most of our presumptions about adolescence are dead wrong and reveals the truth about this exciting and unnerving stage of life. Written with warmth, lucidity, and passion, Age of Opportunity will fill parents with relief by demystifying their children. Educators and policy-makers should study it carefully.” — Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun


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Review

As the mom of three girls ages 14, 12, and 9, I am just beginning to see the ebbs and flows of the adolescent years. I am also the oldest of three girls, so I remember those years as well. Just in one generation, I am shocked by the new averages being thrown at me about when girls entered puberty. One pediatrician told me the average was getting closer to 9 than 10. 

Age of Opportunity supports the idea that the adolescent phase of life is getting longer. The author states, "The brain is radically transformed by stress hormones like testosterone and estrogen." This is certainly not new information, but when coupled with data supporting an elongated adolescence, it's significant.  I also found it interesting that while parents try to delay adolescence, society seems bent on a delayed adulthood.

Further studies show, and are illustrated in this book, that our brain is heightened during these years and captures the corresponding memories with vivid detail. In addition to all the brain studies, the book provides worrisome data comparing our teens to those in other industrialized countries.

At this point, I was convinced and craving solutions. After all, my kids are there and depending on me. I loved his basic principles: Be Warm, Be Firm, Be Supportive. It's the gray area that gets confusing. When is warm too warm (we create kids who go on American Idol and can't handle any critique and think they can sing even when faced with the reality that they can't) and firm too firm (although he does address that the punishment shouldn't be extreme and to be consistent and fair)? 

As a parent, we know what we should do in a perfect, calm environment. Unfortunately, too often the chaos and expectations of our time take center stage: pressure to perform in sports and academics, an overload of technology, and constantly changing education focuses (hello, Common Core). 

Overall, two-thirds of the book convinced me about a problem I suspected, while only one-third focused on possible solutions. I would have rather seen that flip-flopped.

If you are looking for a kick in the pants to search out parenting solutions to benefit your children, this is a great starting point. It's a book I'd love to see followed up by a manual with more specific solutions and examples for parents craving to make that difference.

Rating: 4 stars

About the Author

LAURENCE STEINBERG, a professor of psychology at Temple University, is the author of the leading textbook on adolescence, as well as over 350 scholarly articles and a dozen books. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Psychology Today and is a regular guest on NPR.



Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Age of Opportunity blog tour page.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Unless You Can Be A Unicorn by Delphina Henley Release Day Blitz & Giveaway

Unless You Can Be A Unicorn Banner  
Happy Release Week Sale!!!  Only $.99 for one week only!
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Always be yourself... that was the last advice Scout's Grandma Nora gave her before she died. Scout has spent her life trying to be anything but, but she has a chance to start anew as she moves several states away to college. She had always thought the glowing aura she saw around some people was a childhood fancy, but when it starts coming back just as she's starting her new life, she learns there was much hidden about who she truly is.

Thankfully, she has a motley crew to help her along the way: a spunky bookseller, a trustworthy pub owner, a commanding grandmother, a possible best friend, and a hot rocker boy who only has eyes for her.

Unless You Can Be A Unicorn is a New Adult Paranormal Romance with content appropriate for a Young Adult audience.
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Giveaway: Be sure to enter to win a Ginormous Gift Pack of Awesome including a GC, Books, swag and more :You can check out the prize pack on the FB Release Day Extravaganza page and join the fun!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

On Paper Wings by Magan Vernon Cover Reveal

Today we're revealing the cover in the highly anticipated sequel to My Paper Heart! 

This is the second book in this southern romance novel and you get your chance to go back to Louisiana and spend some time with Libby, Blaine, and turn up the southern heat!


Title:  On Paper Wings (My Paper Heart #2)
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary
Release Date:  November, 2014
Cover Designer:  Elizabeth Sharp with Sharp Designs

About On Paper Wings

Taking a leap of faith is one thing, but learning to get up when you fall is a whole other story.

 After a summer spent with her Aunt Dee in tiny Elsbury, Louisiana, former Chicago princess Libby Gentry traded in her old life for a new one with the southern Casanova, Blaine Crabtree.

But just when she thinks things are changing for the better, old girlfriends of Blaine's start coming back into the picture, and not a single one of them are friendly or bad on the eyes. Combine the worry of passing her first semester at St. Joseph Community College and sponsoring her tomboy cousin in Cotillion and Libby can barely keep up.

It's hard to learn to fly on paper wings. They're flimsy and can easily break. But if Libby can mend a broken heart, hopefully she can learn to fly.

Add it to your GoodReads now.

About the Author

Magan Vernon is a Young Adult and New Adult writer who lives with her family in the suburbs of Charlotte, NC. When not writing she spends her time fighting over fake boyfriends via social media. You can find her online on