Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review: The Testing (Joelle Charbonneau)

The Testing (The Testing, #1)
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Book Purchased for Review Purposes

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same? 
The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

Joelle Charbonneau
I am a storyteller at heart. I have performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area. 
While I'm happy to perform for an audience, I am equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use my experience from the stage to create compelling characters on the page. I am the author of the Rebecca Robbins mystery series (Minotaur Books), The Paige Marshall Glee Club mysteries (Berkley) and The Testing YA triology (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

The Testing…Where do I begin? I have read several reviews that state this book is similar to Hunger Games. OK yes it is similar in that it is a survival story where the candidates have to pass life or death situations in order to pass the tests YET it is sooooo different as well. The Testing is not only about surviving but also about instincts and smarts. There are so many twists that the main character has to “figure out.” I was just completely enthralled by this story. It was everything you want in a Dystopian novel. It was full of intense situations, heart-wrenching romance, and die-hard action. 

The main character Cia was so easy to relate to. She was a normal young girl just wanted to live her dreams. Her whole life she has wanted the chance to be a candidate for the Testing and to attend the University where she will become a leader for the commonwealth. This was her one chance to make a difference in her small colony that her family lives in, Five Lakes Colony. None of her other family have had the chance to partake in the Testing except her father. 

Little does Cia know but the Testing is not what it seems. The Testing is nothing like what she dreams it is and what she has wanted to experience her whole life. She is immediately thrown into a world that shakes her to her core and causes her to fight for her life, literally. She goes into each “test” knowing that she may not make it and that the friends she has made along the way may not make it as well. 

"Leaders are forced to kill all the time. Then they have to learn to live with the decisions they make. Just like I'm going to learn to live with mine." 

As the story progresses Cia and Tomas (a young boy whom she grew up with) face disaster and treachery like you can’t imagine and yet amongst all of this despair they begin a relationship. A relationship that helps both of them to fight and to want to survive each test. I love how their relationship is so powerful and how Tomas seems to love her unconditionally. 

There are so many twists and turns in this story…I devoured this book in three days…I could not put this book down. I literally found myself in the story with the characters. I cannot wait to read the sequel to this book ….I can’t wait to see what Cia has to deal with next…This book was truly incredible and Joelle Charbonneau has an amazing writing style. She developed these characters in such a way that you can relate to each decision they make and you really “feel” for them…I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good survival story with lots of mystery. SO GOOD!!!

The Sequel to The Testing: 
Release Date: January 7th, 2014

Independent Study (The Testing, #2)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: The Registry (Shannon Stoker)

Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks

ARC Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

The Registry saved the country from collapse. But stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained by the state to fight to their death.
Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous thoughts. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.
All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.

Another great book about a Post World War 3/Dystopian America! A world where young parents have to hand over their sons to the government and raise their daughters to be sold to the highest bidder at age 18. 

I could not image wanting to have children in the world that is portrayed in this book. This amazing story gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Mia, a beautiful 18 year girl that is the youngest of 4 daughters. Mia has been raised to believe the registry is wonderful! She has watched as her older 3 sisters went to "finishing school" and were sold to their husbands. 

The part she does not understand is why she never sees her sisters again except for one sister that makes it back to warn Mia. After the warning Mia convinces her best friend Whitney to run away to Mexico. The girls trick one of the guys from the farm to help them get to Mexico. 

The journey is long and full of suspense as they try to stay one step ahead of the awful man that has bought Mia. I loved this book and hope to read the sequel! I give it 4 stars! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: The Harvesting (Melanie Karsak)

The Harvesting 
The Harvesting Series, Book 1
Melanie Karsak
Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy 
Publisher: Steampunk Press

Cover Artist: Michael Hall Photography

When mankind finally consumes itself, can any spark of humanity survive? Layla fights to keep those she loves alive when the zombie apocalypse unfolds, but she soon learns that zombies are not the only problem. With mankind silenced, those beings living on the fringe seek to reclaim power. Layla must learn who to trust, fast, if she hopes to save what is left of our kind.

TV interview with book info:

Melanie Karsak, steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, resides in Florida with her husband and two children. Visit the author at her blog,, to learn more about upcoming projects.

I joined the blog tour for The Harvesting and chose a review as my tour stop. Let me say that I am so glad I did. I love the horror/zombie genre and this one fits right in! There are so many turns and twists in this story. You begin reading and you think you know what is happening but you really have no idea….

I began reading and the main character, Layla grabbed my attention immediately. Layla is a strong heroine with a great personality. She receives a call from her grandmother (who is known for being a psychic) who tells her to come home immediately. Layla travels home and her grandmother is basically preparing for the end of the world.  Layla loves her grandmother so she follows her orders but she is skeptical about what her grandmother thinks will occur.

The next thing you know the end of the world IS happening and thanks to Layla’s grandmother’s they are prepared. I really don’t even know where to begin. Layla has to deal with so many trials and tribulations. There is romance, suspense, and FULL of lots of ACTION!!
The survivors that are left after the apocalypse are depending on Layla and her instincts to help them survive. This is the main reason that I love zombie stories. They are not about the gore and blood factor…They are all about the survivors and how they come together to overcome the odds.

This story was incredible. I could not put it down. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I really loved Melanie’s writing style and how she placed everything so perfect where the story just blended. I am really looking forward to reading the sequel!!!


June 7 Character interview and review
eclipse reviews 

June 7 Interview and review
Hooked In a Book

June 10 Guest blog
Beauty in Ruins

June 11 Guest blog
So Much To Write So Little Time 

June 11 review
Cloey's Book Reviews and Other Stuff

June 12 Interview
The Zombie Survival Crew 

June 13 Spotlight and review

June 13 review
The Avid Reader

June 14 Guest blog
My Book Addiction,  

June 14 review
Demons do it Better

June 17 Interview
My Seryniti

June 17 Spotlight and review
Jessica Loves Books

June 18 Guest blog
Share My Destiny

June 19 Guest blog and review
Mama Knows Books 

June 21 Interview and review
Shut Up & Read 

June 24 Guest blog
The Speculative Salon – 

June 24 Spotlight
Fae Books 

June 25 Guest blog
Simply Infatuated

June 26 Guest blog
Kristy Centeno

June 27 Interview
Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews 
June 27 review
Curling Up With A Good Book

June 28 Interview
Delirious About Books 

July 1 Guest blog
Mondays as part of the paranormal perceptions guest post series

July 1 review
Liz @ Fictional Candy

July 2 Spotlight and review
Faerie Tale Books

July 2 Review
2 Bibliophilies Guide to Seriously Awesome Books

July 3 Review
Gimme The Scoop Reviews

July 3 review
Welcome to Larissa's Life – 

July 4 review
Bookworm Babblings – 

July 5 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair. 

July 5 review
All Fantasy Worlds

Roxanne Rhoads
Author, Book Publicist, Owner Bewitching Book Tours 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: Catherine (April Lindner)

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 2nd 2013 by Poppy

A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart??
Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

April Lindner is the author of two novels, Catherine, a modernization of Wuthering Heights, and Jane, an update of Jane Eyre. She also has published two poetry collections, Skin and This Bed Our Bodies Shaped. 
She plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets—two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs.

A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.


Can you image not knowing for sure if your mom was dead or alive?! That is how young Chelsea felt and when she began looking for answers she had no idea that she would uncover a murder mystery! 

 Chelsea always felt like did not get the chance to know her mom, Catherine, since her mom went missing when she was 3 years old. Her dad had moved her around her entire life and she knew nothing of her mom's family. 

 One day she found a letter from her mother that sent her looking for answers in the big city of New York. Chelsea found herself staying in the room her mother grew up in and learning about her life before her mother left and went to Harvard. Chelsea finds her mothers diary and starts figuring out the secrets of her past. 

 Let me tell is some good stuff! I am not sure I would want to read my mother's diary though! There are twist and turns and the reader is so hoping that Catherine will be alive! I loved how in the end you had no idea what was going to happen and who was going to make it out alive! This was an amazing story! I give it 5 stars!

A hardcover copy of CATHERINE by April Lindner to THREE (3) winners.

It is a tour-wide giveaway shared across all the stops via a common Rafflecopter.

Giveaway is US only.

Must be 13 or older to enter.

Giveaway ends July 4 at 11:59 p.m.

Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter and contacted by email.
Mandatory requirement is to leave a comment. Optional entries are to Like the CATHERINE Facebook page, follow the author on Twitter and Tweet (daily) about the tour/giveaway.
All giveaway options are weighted evenly.


Week One

June 17th - Bewitched Bookworms - Review + Interview
June 18th - Jessabella Reads - Guest Post
June 19th - Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - Interview
June 20th - Romancing the Dark Side - Guest Post
June 20th - Between the Pages - Review
June 21st - Emily's Crammed Bookshelf - Interview
June 21st - A Little Shelf of Heaven - Review

Week Two

June 24th - Parajunkee - Guest Post
June 25th - The Book Belles - Interview
June 25th - The Bookmark Blog - Review
June 26th - Curling Up With A Good Book - Review
June 26th - Ink Skies - Interview
June 27th - BookHounds - Guest Post
June 27th - To Read or Not To Read - Review
June 28th - Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Guest Post

Waiting On Wednesday: Revelations (J.A. Souders)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at
and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Revelations (The Elysium Chronicles, #2)Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: November 5th 2013 by Tor Teen

J.A. Souders (Author)

The follow-up to J. A. Souders’s riveting SF psychological thriller for teens, Renegade
Six weeks ago, Evelyn Winters was locked away in Elysium, a city hidden miles beneath the sea, brainwashed into submission. With the help of Gavin, she fought free of her captors and the fog in her own mind. He took her back with him to the Surface, a world she's never known. Now she will begin a new life.

But her past is closer than she thinks...

I absolutely loved the first in this series, Renegade. There was something so different about this story and so new. I just fell in love with it! So of course when thinking of what I wanted for my Waiting on Wednesday post...this book immediately came to mind!!! If you haven't read Renegade PLEASE do! It is unlike anything you will ever read! A totally new, different type of Dystopian!! 

Here is my review for the first book if you want to check it out!!

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend (Louise Rozett)

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend

Rose Zarelli has big plans for sophomore year—everything is going to be different. This year, she’s going to be the talented singer with the killer voice, the fabulous girl with the fashionista best friend, the brainiac who refuses to let Jamie Forta jerk her around...
...but if she’s not careful, she’s also going to be the sister who misses the signals, the daughter who can only think about her own pain, the “good girl” who finds herself in mid-scandal again (because no good deed goes unpunished) and possibly worst of all...the almost-girlfriend.
When all else fails, stop looking for love and go find yourself.

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions #2)
Release Date: 06/18/13
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

What was the first thing you ever wrote?

I wrote a play when I was in elementary school, when a group of actors came to the school to run a workshop. All the students wrote plays for a class-wide contest, and the prize was that the actors were going to perform it. But the actors got called away to do a show somewhere else, and the play was never performed. I was so hurt and disappointed, but someone—maybe my teacher—told me that they had given me another prize: by choosing my play, they’d told me that I had talent as a writer. And I think I decided that day that I would keep going.

If you could be a mythical creature, what would it be?

The vampire movie of my teenage years was called The Lost Boys, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric. At first, I desperately wanted to be the Jami Gertz character, Star, who was caught between loving the vampire and loving the good guy. And then, after the third or fourth time I saw it, I realized, wait! I don’t want to be Star. I want to be the vampire! I liked his fashion sense and his take-charge attitude better.

Are you excited about the second book in your series coming out?

I am! I’m very excited. It’s such a treat to have the opportunity to tell more of Rose’s story. I hope I get to keep going for a few more books, but you never know. It’s a tough industry.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently in Los Angeles, writing the pilot for the Confessions series. It was originally a half-hour format, and now I’m working with my manager to change it to an hour-long format, to make it more suitable for places like ABC Family and the CW. It’s a really fun, strange process—it’s like writing the Confessions books all over again, but in a parallel universe, where everything is shifted by at least a few degrees, and some of the characters are completely different from who they were in the books. It’s cool!

What advice do you have for young writers?

It’s cliché but classic: write everyday. Even when you don’t feel like it. The only way to get anywhere is to get the words on the page. Don’t be afraid of the blank page—it won’t bite you. I promise.

Confessions of an Angry Girl

Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…
1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?
2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is nowenraged and out for blood. Mine.
3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)
Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.
(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)
(Sorry. That was rude.)

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions #1)
Release Date: 08/28/12
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
288 pages

Louise Rozett
Louise Rozett is an author, a playwright, and a recovering performer. She made her YA debut with Confessions of an Angry Girl, published by Harlequin Teen. The next book in the series, Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend, is due out June 2013. She lives with her 120-pound Bernese Mountain dog Lester (named after Lester Freamon from THE WIRE, of course) in one of the world's greatest literary meccas, Brooklyn...and also in sunny Los Angeles. (Being bi-coastal is fun!) Visit for more info.

One lucky winner will get a signed copy of ANGRY GIRL, a signed copy of ALMOST-GIRLFRIEND, and a $25 iTunes gift card! (US only)

Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Tainted Love (Erin Cawood)

CLP Blog Tours
Tainted Love: The Faith McKenzie Story
For anyone in a relationship, the words 'we need to talk' can only mean one thing. In the last twenty-two years, the McKenzies have been through it, survived it, learned by it, and grown stronger from it, because life didn't stop for breath when they needed it. Amongst the tears and the tragedies, the hopes and happiness, they've built something amazing: a happy family, a luxury lifestyle and a booming empire. Don't they deserve to have it all?

But for the perfect wife, those four sinister words mean something entirely different. They're a summons into a private world where what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors.

Faith has no doubt in Calvin's undying love for her. It's what kept her sane in the darkest hours. If only she could figure out what it is she does wrong... because it’s rapidly becoming apparent their tainted love is running out of time.

Erin Cawood
Erin Cawood is a commercial women’s fiction author, with a taste for dramatic storylines and a passion for strong lead characters she really gets behind, cheering on right to the very end of their story. Her focus? Taking romance into the darker, edgier side of contemporary fiction.Erin lives in Leeds, UK, with her partner of thirteen years and their fourteen year old cat. She spends her days somewhere between the fiction world and the student world. Fascinated by web design and digial communication, Erin is studing a BA(hons) in New Media at the University of Leeds. Before returning to full time education two years ago, Erin worked at a theme park, a convenience store, a public house/restaurant both in the kitchen and waitressing, as an insurance agent and currently works part time in a customer contact centre. 
Connect with Erin!

Beyond My Writing Space:

“Happy Birthday, Mommy!” Aww! They looked so cute.

“Can we have pancakes now, Daddy?” Zoe cheered.

Pancakes for breakfast on a school day? Not likely. Cal would fly into a rage if I served them anything more than fruit and cereal for breakfast before school. But he placed two plates with two smiley faced pancakes and syrup in front of the girls, then smiled at me.

“Close your eyes.” He wrapped his hand around my eyes. “No peeking,” he said, shuffling me forward.

The hairs rose on the back of my neck. The last time he put his hand around my eyes he’d surprised me with a candle lit bathroom and a romantic bath for two. There’d been good vibes that night, lots of good vibes… and I missed it when the vibe changed. I hadn’t seen it coming. I ended up with a couple of cracked ribs. He said he was sorry and then continued with getting his good vibes afterwards. I closed my eyes and pretended I wasn’t in pain.

“Where are we going?”

“Stay here and stay out of trouble. DOUBLE trouble. I’m going to give Mommy her surprise.”

The moths awoke in my stomach. I didn’t like it when Cal was spontaneous. If I didn’t react the way he expected me to, he’d flip. And when he did something I wasn’t expecting, I didn’t know how he expected me to act. Was it bad I didn’t trust my husband to surprise me anymore?

“It’s awesome, Mommy.” Cate said.

“Can I at least have a clue?”

“It’s the best color in the world! “ Zoe shouted.

“Shush!” Cal hissed. “Sit down and…” he began chuckling as he said, “I’m not sure who’s more excited, me or them.” He cleared his throat and growled, “No more giving Mommy clues.”

Then this was good? He was in a great mood. I released the tense breath I held and let my guard down. I let him take me where ever he wanted to go. Even with his hand covering my eyes, I knew we were in the front hallway. I felt the cool breeze from the open door, heard our footsteps on the hard wood of the porch.

The warmth of his hand slipped away as roared, "Surprise!"

My hands tightened around his. "Oh Cal!" I didn’t believe it. How had he pulled this off? I’d wanted a new car for ages. The SUV was just too hot in the summer but when I’d said this he’d flew off into a rage. But there it was. A beautiful red convertible, top down, with a huge bow on the windshield, and all for me!

"Happy Birthday, Fay."

"Oh Cal," I gushed again, stepping off our porch. I hadn't let go of his hand and dragged him with me. "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." I traced my fingertips along the curve of the hood.

"It's not the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

My eyes went to his. They looked sincere. Loving. I was the rarest, most precious thing he’d seen. Butterflies took flight in my belly. "Oh, Cal." For the first time in a long time I blushed like a teen. "Stop it."

"You look...” He stepped closer to me. His free hand cupped my cheek and my breath caught, “adorable." You know, with the fierceness of that kiss I’d have... um, well, yes, right there in the driveway. Except we were interrupted.

"Hey, Mom!” We broke apart at Caleb’s voice. “Neat ride!"

"It's my birthday present from your dad." The death glare Caleb sent toward his father took all the joy out of receiving the keys into the palm of my hand. What was that all about? Caleb seemed to have a growing issue with his dad, and I had the intention of finding out what it was. "You... um,” Cal kissed my neck and threw off my train of thought. “ want to come for a spin?"

"Nah, I have to revise." His enthusiasm for my present had all but disappeared as he mustered a smile. "But take Dad though. I'll take Cate and Zoe to preschool."

"How is that revising?" Cal mumbled into the sensitive part underneath my ear as he kissed me there. He really wasn’t interested in where Caleb was, as long as it wasn’t where we were.

"He’ll have the house to himself when he gets home." I said. "Quick, get your things and I'll drive you to work.” Cal pulled away, and his eyes narrowed as they met mine. He wasn’t happy. “I want to give my baby a whirl."

He rolled his eyes and grinned at me. “Only if I get to give my baby a whirl later.”

“You’re on!”

“Gawd, didn’t anyone ever tell you two your sex life is over when you have kids?” Caleb cringed.

“Yes,” we both said in unison.

“Then will you STOP with the making babies in front of me already!” he cried. “I’m traumatized by it enough!”

Caleb spun on his heel and marched back into the house as we fell about the garden laughing. This was one of the best birthdays I’d had in a long time and it wasn’t even nine A.M.