Saturday, April 20, 2013

Love, Fear, and the NRA

There's a new post on November Surprises, Lucy's political blog. To read it click here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cover Reveal - Shudder

Shudder, by Samantha Durante, is out June 15th. For a sneak peak at the cover and synopsis, read on! To read my review of the first book in the series, Stitch,  and an interview with Samantha Durante, click here.

It’s only been three days, and already everything is different.
Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa’s life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she’d counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she’d thought she’d tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she’s discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.
And then there are the visions.
The memory-altering “stitch” unlocked something in Alessa’s mind, and now she can’t shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers – and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world’s sorry history – will soon leave Alessa reeling…
The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante’s shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review - The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door by Annable Costa, is about two good friends who grow up and fall in love. Of course, one friend realizes his feelings (in this case it's the guy) before the other one does, and there are all sorts of issues that trip them up, like other relationships, family drama, and career choices. Does this sound like a familiar story?

Well, it is. But here's the unique part. The romantic lead, Jason, is a smart, loving, charismatic, good looking guy who also happens to be in a wheel chair. An accident in his childhood has left him unable to feel anything from the chest down. And Tasha, the main character and narrartor of the story, is funny and compelling, but she's also superficial (at times) so it takes her a while to see Jason as anything more than a friend.

I think the reader has a pretty good idea of how the book will end from the very first page. If you want a story with a lot twists and turns, don't read this one. But if you want a fun, witty, warm tale about how love can be at once imperfect and awesome, then this is the book for you. This story is more about the journey than the destination, and I'm glad I got on board. It's well written and the perfect feel-good beach read. Bravo to Annabelle Costa for writing a romance that challenges the boundaries of what we're used to.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Orangeberry Blog Tour - Perception and Volition, by Elle Strauss

Perception, by Elle Strauss, is a dystopian romance that confronts issues like faith versus science, immortality, classism, and the dangers of technology. The main character, Zoe, is a “GAP” – a genetically altered person. GAPs live to be around 200 years old, and they’re all very good looking and very healthy. The only catch? You have to have a lot of money to be a GAP, because it’s an expensive procedure. This creates a major divide in society between the haves and the have-nots, so it’s almost unheard of for a GAP to associate with, much less fall in love with, a non-GAP.

But that’s exactly what happens when Zoe’s brother goes missing. The only person she can trust to help her is Noah, the son of the family maid, and the descendent of the leader of the non-GAP movement. When Noah and Zoe investigate her brother’s disappearance, along the way they uncover family secrets and they’re forced to question themselves, each other, and the world in which they live.

Perception is a thrilling read that never slows down. Every page is suspenseful and well-plotted, and the love story is both believable and compelling. As the daughter of a scientist I did give pause to the sections that seemed to imply that we must choose faith over science, or vice versa, that it has to be the choice and we can’t have both. Still, that is simply implied, not stated, and it’s a subtle message if it’s even one at all. I would still recommend the series to a friend, and right now Perception is free on Amazon! The next book, Volition is available April 16th, and it picks up exactly where Perception left off.  The second book in the series promises to be every bit as suspenseful as the first, as Zoe and Noah must learn to trust each other and work together if they ever want to be free. Filled with stellar dialogue and attention to detail, this is a series you won’t want to miss.

Click here to download Perception for free on Amazon.

Read on for an interview with author Elle (Lee) Strauss!

1.) I like to do ten-word posts on my blog. Can you describe the story of your book in exactly ten words?  Forbidden Love, mystery, family affairs, class division futuristic, faith, science, danger, deception, and of course, perception


2.) It seems there are a lot of themes at play in Perception, including faith versus science, the dangers of technology, youth versus wisdom, and immortality. Was there a particular message you were trying to communicate, or were you simply trying to represent all sides? And, how did those messages carry over into Volition? I am trying to represent all sides and I think this becomes more obvious in Volition, however I do have a personal opinion.


3.) There has been a lot of excellent YA dystopian lit written in the last few years. Is there one book or author who influenced you more than others?
Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox.



4.) I’m curious about the titles of your books. What was the thought process behind them?
 I chose Perception because one of the main themes is how people on both sides of an issue perceive the others in a certain way. Often they get it wrong as is the case with Zoe and Noah. Their perception of each other and their personal situations change sharply as the story unfolds. I chose Volition because one of the main themes in book 2 is free will and how easy it can be to lose it.


5.) There are some great descriptions of meals in Perception. What would be the perfect meal to enjoy while reading your book? (Include dessert and beverage choice.) This is a surprising question! I have to think. I always revert to eating chocolate and drinking soy latte (or a glass of red if it’s evening.)


6.) At the center of the Perception is the star-crossed lover romance between Noah and Zoe. Without giving away the ending, can you tell us if you see a possible happy ending for them, despite their inevitable differences? Ultimately Noah and Zoe will have a happy ending. Or happy-ish ending. It’s not going to come easy, though J.



7.) What do you do when you’re not writing? Can you name any ways that “real life” has influenced your writing? When I’m not writing I’m reading, watching episodic TV (I find I learn a lot about writing series from TV.). I like to hike, cycle and do hot yoga. I live in Germany part-time, so travel is up high on the list.


Ways that real life has influenced my writing: Surviving high school and a dramatic relationship through those years helps me tap into writing for teens. Raising teens helps me keep it current. My own beliefs and personal wrestle with faith and science and how to live it out in this world. And who knows what else. Does any writer really know? J

 To promote her books, Elle Strauss is hosting giveaway for a $200 Amazon gift card. It's easy to enter, so be sure to check it out!