Friday, November 29, 2013

Racing Savannah Blog Tour: #Review, #GuestPost & #Giveaway!


Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4) by Miranda Kenneally
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: December 3rd 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Provided with an ebook from the publisher for an honest review. 
Synopsis:
They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…
Purchase: Amazon | B&N
AUTHOR BIO


Miranda Kenneally is the author of CATCHING JORDAN, STEALING PARKER, THINGS I CAN'T FORGET, and RACING SAVANNAH. Her fifth book, most likely to be titled BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE, is coming out in July 2014. She enjoys reading and writing young adult literature, and loves Star Trek, music, sports, Mexican food, Twitter, coffee, and her husband.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

REVIEW

I am seriously so smitten with this series...and with each book I grow to love it more and more! :D While I loved the three previous books, I definitely have to say that Racing Savannah is my favourite so far!! :D I absolutely LOVED IT!!!

Savannah was an AMAZING narrator!!! I loved that she was so true to herself, and that she knew that even though she was poor, she still had value! Too many heroines...and people in real life, too, don't value themselves enough, but Savannah definitely didn't have that problem, and I totally loved her for it. I was so proud of her throughout this book, and I absolutely loved that she stood up for herself the way that she did. Savannah is one of those characters that you just have to love, not only because she's an amazing person, but also because she's the kind of person we all should aspire to be more like. I really hope that we see more heroines in YA like Savannah because she's fantastic.

Also, I absolutely loved Savannah's relationship with the horses! And of course, I loved her relationship with Jack, too. ;D Sometimes the boy got on my nerve, but like I said, I was proud of Savannah, and in her interactions with Jack, she definitely made me proud...Jack did in the end, too. All in all though, I loved Jack...and if I were Savannah, I would've been smitten with the charismatic cowboy, too. ;D I honestly just loved the characters in Racing Savannah, they were great! I really enjoyed getting to know them, and I loved getting to see the siblings of a few of the previous characters growing up, it was pretty neat.

Racing Savannah actually takes place a few years after Things I Can't Forget, but we did still get to see our favourite characters from the previous books, they're just a little bit older...trust me though, you will LOVE that you get to see them! I was totally giddy and squeeing when I saw what the characters were all up to. ;D

Overall, I absolutely LOVED Racing Savannah! It's my favourite in the Hundred Oaks series so far, and I thought that Savannah was an amazing heroine! She was strong, funny, and just all-around awesome! I think she's one of the best YA heroines out there, and I loved reading her story. I can't wait for more from Miranda Kenneally because the Hundred Oaks series just keeps getting better and better!


GUEST POST

I asked Miranda why she chose to make the Hundred Oaks series a companion series rather than just following one narrator, and here's what she said:



Thank you for having me on your blog today! I’m honored.

Why did I choose to write companion novels rather than a series? That is a great question. I have to be honest. I never set out to write companion novels. When I first wrote CATCHING JORDAN, I knew it was a standalone novel. I kind of had an idea of what happened to Jordan and Henry when they went to college, but I never wanted to write that story. The thing about sequels is that there has to be drama, and in order to find drama, I probably would’ve had to break up Jordan and Henry or give them some impossible problem. With good books come great dilemmas. (That sounds like something a literary Spiderman would say, eh?)

Even though I’ve gotten about a gazillion emails cursing me for not writing a CATCHING JORDAN sequel, I didn’t want to mess with Jordan and Henry’s happiness over the course of 300 pages, and I honestly doubt my readers ultimately would like that either.

So how did I get started on companion novels… Well, several months before CATCHING JORDAN was coming out, my editor told me she wanted more books from me. I had already started writing STEALING PARKER, but it was set in another town in Tennessee, at a totally different school. But as I kept moving through the story, characters from CATCHING JORDAN just showed up! I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. The same sort of thing happened when writing CATCHING JORDAN. I had intended for Ty and Jordan to get together, but Sam Henry would just not go away. He kept showing up in scenes and then I realized he was there to stay.

I’m really glad my books have turned out as companions. I love expanding on the same town and meeting new characters along the way.

I hope you guys enjoy reading about Savannah and Jack, who live on an estate right next to Will Whitfield’s (Corndog from Stealing Parker) in RACING SAVANNAH.

Some other companion novels I enjoy are Sarah Dessen’s, and Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever/Iced companion series. I can’t wait to read Huntley Fitzpatrick’s companion novel to MY LIFE NEXT DOOR.

What companion novels do you guys like?



GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY

Prize (open to US and Canada only): 
--A pair of Ralph Lauren riding boots. Or another pair of boots at equal or lesser value.
You can see the boots here. :)

TO ENTER FILL OUT THE RAFFLECOPTER BELOW:


You can find the rest of the Racing Savannah Blog Tour HERE.



What do you think?
Did you like Miranda Kenneally's guest post?
And did my review make you want to start this series if you haven't already?
And if you haven't started it yet, why not?! It's amazing!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Season's Greetings Blog Tour: Review & a Parish Mail Christmas Carol!

SEASON'S GREETINGS is here! It actually released on November 19th, so you can get your copy now. ;)

In honour of its release, there's a little blog tour going on, and I'm a part of it. So, today I have a review of the book and an extra special bit Chistmas themed Parish Mail fun for you in the form of a Parish Mail inspired Christmas Carol. ;D

 Title: Season's Greetings, a Parish Mail Short by Kira Snyder
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review.
Publisher: Coliloquy, LLC
Release Date: Already released.

About Season's Greetings:
Celia Macarty is eager to enjoy her first New Orleans Christmas, but school has barely let out for the holidays when she learns that mystery never takes a vacation. Using the clues on a Christmas card from 1933, Celia must unravel a supernatural riddle that takes her all over festive New Orleans—and deeper into her family’s past. As Christmas Eve draws closer, shameful community secrets come to light, and Celia enlists an unlikely ally to set things right.

With the help of her witchy best friend Tilly and a trio of to-die-for suitors, Celia navigates a mystery and, in the process, her heart. Because in the Crescent City, Christmas is a time of enchantment and surprises, and a little romance might be Celia’s best present of all.

Celia’s latest Parish Mail adventure is an active fiction title from Coliloquy. Your reading choices will help Celia solve the crime!
Add Dead Letter Office (Parish Mail #1) on Goodreads: Dead Letter Office
Add Post Mortem (Parish Mail #2) on Goodreads: Post Mortem
Series Links on Publisher Website: Parish Mail Series on Coliloquy

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo
About the Author

Kira Snyder is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her television work includes the Syfy Channel shows ALPHAS and EUREKA and the People’s Choice Award-winning vampire drama MOONLIGHT, which aired on CBS. Kira’s plays have been performed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Circle in the Square Theatre School, the Burton-Taylor Theatre in Oxford, England, the Bay Area Independent Theatre Fringe Festival, and Stanford University. Also a game designer with a Masters degree from NYU-Tisch’s interactive media program, Kira has produced games for Electronic Arts, Purple Moon, Microsoft, There.com, the MIT Press textbook Rules of Play, and Yahoo, including EA’s seminal alternate reality game MAJESTIC. She is a proud geek and loves sci-fi and videogames, reading and playing when she’s not writing or designing.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

REVIEW

With each book I just come to love the Parish Mail series more and more...and Season's Greetings was no exception! It may be just a Parish Mail "short" but it packed quite a punch and delivered one seriously heartwarming story, and I loved every second of it...especially the romantic moments, I was a sucker for those. ;D

Just as with the first two books, I absolutely loved Celia. She's such a genuine character, and I honestly wish she was real just so I could be her friend...not only is she totally awesome at solving crime, she's just an all-around great person. It's so nice to see a heroine who is so resoundingly likeable. I love getting to experience the series through her, and I definitely love getting to pick her choices through Coliloquy's active fiction features. I also have to admit that I totally enjoy all three of Celia's love interests, although I definitely have my favourite, Donovan,..and my least favourite, Luc,...and I have the one that I just really enjoy her interactions with, Sloan, although I'm pretty sure nothing is going to happen there, but I wouldn't mind it if it did. :P I have to admit that he is pretty alluring, and his interactions with Celia just totally crack me. I absolutely adore Donovan though, he's just such a great guy, but he's also got a bit of a bad side, too. *dreamy sigh*

Anywho, I'm getting off topic because of love interests, but I just have to say that I absolutely loved Season's Greetings. It was a fantastic addition to the series, and I loved that even though it was a novella, it still felt like a fully flushed out book in the series to me. I also just really enjoyed that in this short we got to see a really happy time for these characters. It was nice to see Celia handling a "case" that wasn't so dark and depressing...I mean, I totally love those ones, too, since they're super intense, but it is a happy time of year with Christmas, Hanukkah, and so many other wonderful religious holidays, so it was really nice to see that goodwill permeate this story as well. I also just loved getting to see Celia with her friends, not just Donovan (:P), but Tilly, too, and I really enjoyed her interactions with her family, especially her grandfather, they were such sweet moments!

I loved Season's Greetings, and cannot wait for the next installment in the Parish Mail series! I hope that if you give this series a shot, that you love it as much as I do. :D


PARISH MAIL CHRISTMAS CAROL

I'm not going to pretend that I'm a great lyrist or anything, but I definitely had fun coming up with a Parish Mail-inspire Christmas Carol. It's to the tune of "Jingle Bells"...I hope you enjoy! ;D

Dashing through New Orleans,
In an old, beat-up Mustang,
Searching Celia and her friends go,
Sleuthing all the way.
MUHAHAHAHA
The Green King’s up to something!
Headlights and flashlights shining bright.
What fun it is to find clues …and solve crimes all night!
BOO!

What was that! What was that!
It was just a ghost!
Oh, what fun it is to follow spooky clues,
All through New Orleansssssss!



Here is the schedule for the Season's Greetings blog tour in case you'd like to follow the rest:

And if you like giveaways, the amazing author of the Parish Mail series, Kira Snyder, is hosting a giveaway in honour of its release. You can find it here, and it's open until December 3rd.

What do you think?
Does Season's Greetings, and the Parish Mail series sound like something you'd like to read?
And what did you think of my Christmas Carol?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hard As It Gets Book Blitz: Question & Answer with Laura Kaye & Review! #Review #QandA #LauraKaye #HardInk


In honour of the release of Hard As It Gets today, I've got an awesome Q&A with author Laura Kaye provided to me by the publisher! They've asked some fantastic questions, so I'm excited to share them with you! :D If you keep reading, you'll also find my review for Hard As It Gets...which I totally loved. ;D

Q&A WITH LAURA KAYE

HARD AS IT GETS is one steamy read! How did you first get into writing?

Thanks so much! And thanks for having me here! I’ve been a writer all my life. I’m a historian by training, so writing non-fiction was a part of my job for the fifteen years I worked as a college professor. But I started writing fiction in 2008 in kind of an unusual way. I hit my head on July 4, 2008. I didn’t think much of it that day, but soon after I realized I’d really hurt myself, and it turned out I had a minor traumatic brain injury. As I recovered, I was filled with an amazing urge to be creative, so I started taking guitar lessons (still not very good at that!) and wrote my first novel in 12 weeks (fortunately, I’m better at that LOL!). The experience of writing that first book was truly transformative. It was what I was supposed to be doing, so I revised that book until it sold and kept writing new ones. And I haven’t looked back since!

Why did you choose to write romance?

I had been an avid reader of paranormal romance for years at that point, so I wrote what I loved. But I also picked romance—unconsciously, I think—because to me it’s an incredibly hopeful genre. Romance stories are inherently stories about people who can’t find love or think they don’t deserve it who overcome the odds and find it in the end. In the years leading up to starting writing, I experienced a number of very hard personal losses, so writing in this genre was one way I worked through those issues.

What does “Hard Ink” refer to? What importance do tattoos play in your story?

Hard Ink is the name of the Rixey brothers’ tattoo shop in the Hard Ink series. Nick and Jeremy Rixey are co-owners, though Nick (the hero of book one, Hard As It Gets) prefers to be more of a silent partner, despite Jeremy’s efforts to put Nick’s artistic talents to work. In this series, tattoos are a way people remember, pay penance, or highlight what’s important to them. The act of creating permanent marks on skin has deep meaning to them. And the shop creates a gritty setting where diverse kinds of people meet and interact in the series. I really love it!

Describe Becca—what do you love most about her? And Nick?

I’d love to! Because I really loved writing these characters!

Becca Merritt is smart and strong and honest and protective. I really loved the way she was willing to stand up for those she loves, even against people and forces who might be stronger and even a little scary. There’s a scene in particular when she dresses down Nick’s Special Forces teammates after a fist fight where I was particularly cheering for her! LOL

Nick Rixey is, omg, so freaking hot, you guys! He’s brooding and tortured and honorable and when he falls he falls  so hard. I especially loved Nick’s mix of hard, alpha edges with his artistic side. When Nick shows Becca what her idea for a tattoo might look like on her skin, it’s just scorching!

What significance does the military play in the book?
Military themes are central to the whole Hard Ink series. The military isn’t just sexy window dressing nor is it just there to provide an intriguing backstory. The prior SF guys are this series are entirely defined by their military experience good and bad. It informs their identity, their sense of honor and duty, their view of the world, and of course gives them the skill set required to fight the battles they face in the series. The overall series mystery the characters are working to solve revolves around a military conspiracy in Afghanistan, so even though they’re out of the Army, the military themes are central.

If you could describe your book in a 140 character tweet, what would it be?

In #HardAsItGets, an ex-soldier joins forces w/his dead commander's daughter to regain his tarnished honor & save her brother from a gang

Is there a particular author or book that has influenced your writing?

There are a number of authors that have influenced me, but if I had to pick one it would be J.R. Ward. A lot of what I know about how to write sexy, authentic male point of view comes from reading her books. And I definitely learned the importance of a good bromance to a romance novel from her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, too. Given my ginormous fangirling, you can only imagine how flipping excited I was when this happened:

“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”
~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets

You guys, I bawled like a baby in the middle of a huge workshop put on by my publisher. For real. LOL

What advice would you give aspiring writers looking to get into the publishing industry?

Here’s my advice:
1) Write, write, write. You can’t revise what you haven’t written and you can’t sell what you haven’t written. And the psychological and emotional boost you’ll get from writing “The End” for the first time cannot be overestimated.
2) Revise, revise, revise. That first time you type “The End”? Yeah, you’re nowhere near done. Your book will need to be edited, by you, several times before you ever put it in front of an agent or editor. You get one shot with them, so don’t waste it by not showing them your very best and most polished work.
3) Find critique partners. And your mom, siblings, and best friend do not count (unless you’re really lucky, like me, and your best friend happens t also be a professional author). You need other aspiring writers in your genre who will give you honest but constructive feedback about how to improve your manuscript. Let them catch all the embarrassing goofs and plot holes you thought you caught before it gets to an agent or editor.
4) Want to be a professional, then act it. And by that I mean join the professional organization(s) of the genre in which you write. Through them you will find classes to help hone your craft, critique partner match-ups, networking opportunities, calls for submission, and other opportunities invaluable to breaking into publishing.
5) Don’t give up. You will hear way more no’s than yeses, particularly early in your writing career. Stick with it. Believe in yourself. Give yourself one day to wallow in the rejection and eat a bunch of chocolate and then get right back on the horse. If your first book doesn’t sell, chalk that up to learning and write a second.

What can fans of HARD AS IT GETS look forward to next?

I’m currently writing four series: two contemporary (Hard Ink, Heroes) and two paranormal (Hearts of the Anemoi, Vampire Warrior Kings). I’ll have books from all four of those releasing in 2014. My next release is Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2) coming 2/25/14!

About Hard As It Gets:

Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.

Tall, dark, and lethal...

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome--pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge...
Read Chapter 1 of Hard As It Gets
Buy at Amazon | B&N | iTunes

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.


 You can find more information about Laura Kaye's newest releases HERE.

REVIEW

I have to admit that the extremely delicious cover did initially attract me to Hard As It Gets, but it was the description and the promise of an intriguing story that got me to actually pick it up, and I definitely wasn't disappointed! :D

Hard As It Gets was full of action, but it was also full of character growth, and some seriously amazing chemistry between the two main characters, Becca and Nick (a.k.a. Rixey). Right from the moment Becca and Nick are introduced, the chemistry is palpable and boy is it sexy and hard to resist! Before reading Hard As It Gets, I had read Laura Kaye's Hearts in Darkness, so I did expect some steamy parts...and I definitely got them with this one, too!

This book is more than just about sex though. I loved that the characters connection was so real, and although they hadn't known each other for very long, I could completely believe and understand their strong attraction for each other and enjoyed the progression of their relationship. I also just thought that Becca and Nick complimented each other extremely well, and I especially loved that while Nick protected Becca, he also knew that she was capable of taking care of herself and that she was stronger than she looked. The relationships between siblings were pretty fantastic in Hard As It Gets, too. I absolutely loved Jeremy and Nick's relationship, and I loved seeing Becca interact with Nick's brother, Jeremy, too. I also loved getting to see Becca and Charlie's relationship, and I really admired her for doing all that she could to find out what happened to him, and to help him. Plus, Nick and his buddies were seriously fantastic in their search...it was actually incredibly fascinating to read about it all! :D And the dog...I'm a softie for dogs in books, and this one has a really adorable one. :)

Overall, I loved Hard As It Gets! I thought that the romance was fantastic, but I loved that the story was about more than romance, too. It was about family, brotherhood, learning to trust, finding love and acceptance, and doing anything you can for those that you love. It was a wonderful story, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Hard As You Can! I'd recommend this one to fans of steamy reads who want their story to be about more than sex, and if you're a fan of a bit of mystery and action, you'll like it even more.



What do you think?
Do you want to read Hard As It Gets?
And are you a fan of steamy reads?