October 31, 2011

Boo Bash Grand Finale Giveaway


Aimee and I would like to thank all of the wonderful authors who participated in our Boo Bash event this year. Thanks for donating all of the great prizes and taking the time out of your busy schedule to help.

Today we are having our grand finale giveaway event. We are going to have two contests one for our International friends and the other is US/Canada only. Below is the entry form for the US/Canada Prize Pack for International entries please visit Aimee's site here.  
Happy Halloween! Hope everyone has a great day!

Prize Package

US/Canada Entries

For International entries, please visit Aimee at Coffee Table Reviews

October 30, 2011

Boo Bash Giveaway & Interview_ Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

I am very excited to post this interview with Sarah Beth Durst author of  Drink Slay Love. This is book I am especially excited about because I've heard so many great things about it, seriously vampires and unicorns how cool does that sound?

Drink, Slay, LovePearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

Since I love twitter, I think it would be fun to see how you would describe your book Twitter-style. How would you describe it in 140 characters or less?

Pearl is a 16-year-old vampire, fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night she is stabbed through the heart by a were-unicorn's horn.

What inspired the concept for Drink, Slay, Love?

One night, I was thinking about how I'd love to write a story with a were-unicorn in it, and it suddenly occurred to me: Unicorns are natural vampire hunters. Seriously, look at their horn. Built in stake! Clearly, their cute and cuddly reputation is mere propaganda to disguise their true purpose...

Which character from your book did you find you could relate to the most?

Bethany. She's the human friend with zero superpowers and boundless optimism. That's me. Like Bethany, I'm the glass-half-full girl (even if the glass is half full of blood).

Not to imply that I drink blood. Totally not a vampire. Just want to clarify that.

What was the hardest part of the writing process?

Saying goodbye to the characters. Usually, my writing process involves at least one "oh, no, I'm doomed!!!" moments, but with this novel... It was so much fun to write start to finish that I cried when I was done. Kind of weird, I know.

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing environment and/or and rituals you go through before sitting down to write?

I like to be temperature regulated. (If I'm too hot or cold, I tend to start whining rather than writing.) Also, I'm not fond of bugs. So if you give me my laptop in a normal-temp room that isn't crawling with centipedes, then I have my ideal writing environment.

I don't think I have any rituals... aside from writing every day whether the writing is going well or not. I don't believe in waiting for inspiration. I believe in showing up to write, and if the muse decides to show up too... well, then, she can share my chocolate.

Do you listen to music while you write, if so what’s on your playlist?

With Drink, Slay, Love, I had a definite playlist. It included a fair amount of Tori Amos and a bit of Queen, plus a variety of songs that just seemed kind of vampiric to me. If you're curious, I posted it here on my blog: http://sarahbethdurst.blogspot.com/2011/10/drink-slay-love-playlists.html

What is your favorite Book or Series?
Ooh, so hard to choose! I read mostly fantasy. And I love books about girls who kick butt. All-time favorite... I think Tamora Pierce's Tortall books.

My favorite recent read is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Also loved Bloodshot by Cherie Priest and Soulless by Gail Carriger.

If there was one thought or feeling you would want readers to take away from reading Drink, Slay, Love, what would it be?

I want you to laugh.

And for the length of time it takes you to read, I want Drink, Slay, Love to take you away from whatever's bothering you or upsetting you in the real world. I think that's the true magic of books -- the power to transport someone out of their life and into another. I hope I've created that kind of magic.

Thanks so much for interviewing me! Thanks Sarah for giving me the opportunity too!

About the author:

PhotobucketSarah Beth Durst is the author of young adult novels Drink, Slay, Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as middle grade novels Into the Wild and Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. She has twice been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award, for both Ice and Into the Wild.
Sarah was born in Massachusetts as Sarah Angelini and grew up in Northboro, a small town in central Mass that later became the setting for her debut novel.
At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories.
She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk.
Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her two children, and her ill-mannered cat. She also has a miniature pet griffin named Alfred. Okay, okay, that’s not quite true. His name is really Montgomery.
You can find her on Twitter/Facebook/Website

Now on to the Giveaway:

Ms. Durst was gracious enough to provide (1) signed copy of Drink Slay Love to one lucky winner. This contest is open to the US only.

October 29, 2011

Boo Bash Giveaway & Guest Post_Spellbinder by Helen Stringer


Today, I am lucky enough to post a guest post by Helen Stringer author of Spellbinder and Midnight Gate, she is one of my daughters favorite authors. I love good ghost stories and although I haven't read this book yet, I can't wait to read it and find out why my daughter rambles on and on about it.  :)

SpellbinderBelladonna Johnson can see ghosts. It’s a trait she’s inherited from her mother’s side of the family, like blue eyes or straight hair. And it’s a trait she could do without, because what twelve-year-old wants to be caught talking to someone invisible?
It is convenient, though, after Belladonna’s parents are killed in a car accident. They can live with her the same as always, watching the same old TV shows in their same old house. Nothing has changed . . . until everything changes.
One night, with no warning, they vanish into thin air—along with every other ghost in the world. It’s what some people think ghosts are supposed to do, but Belladonna knows it’s all wrong. They may not be living, but they’re not supposed to be gone.
With the help of her classmate Steve, a master of sneaking and spying, Belladonna is left to uncover what’s become of the spirits and to navigate a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can’t find her way, she’ll lose them again—this time for good.

A Traveler’s Guide to the Land of the Dead

Ghosts. You say the word at this time of year and everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about: spirits. The wandering souls of the dead. Wraiths, who are either unaware that they are deceased, despondent and waiting for some wrong to be righted, or angry and ready to do the job themselves. Once said wrong has been righted or the fact that they have shuffled off the ol’ mortal coil has been pointed out, the ghosts are ready to cross over to the “other side.”

People tend to be a good deal more vague about what constitutes the Other Side. On TV shows and in movies it’s usually portrayed as some kind of misty tunnel with a light at the end and a bunch of smiling relatives waiting, arms outstretched, as if death were the portal to some kind of eternal Thanksgiving dinner.

None of this ever really appealed to me. It all sounded terribly dull and sort of anti-climactic. Of course, once I started looking into it, I discovered that this idea of the vengeful spirit is relatively new and that for earlier generations spirits simply “were.” In most cases the tales of white ladies, mysterious riders and the vast herds of phantom animals that haunted the crossroads, bridges, rivers and stiles of our ancestors’ landscapes didn’t have lengthy origin tales attached. The actual place was usually more important than the entity that lingered there. Crossing points were seen as sites where the veil between the land of the living and that of the dead was at its thinnest.

The terms “land of the living” and “land of the dead” are important here, because prior to the late 19th century the concept of “heaven” had little place in ghost stories. Perhaps this is because the very concept of wandering spirits is much more ancient than any organized religion and reflects a more visceral time when the line between the real and the imagined was far more blurred than it is today.

All of this affected the view of life, death and the worlds beyond our own that Belladonna Johnson and Steve Evans discover in Spellbinder and The Midnight Gate.

I started with the concept that the only difference between the living and the dead is that the dead are sure that we exist. Death isn’t the end. It isn’t a journey to some beatific la-la land. It’s just another stage of life. Of course, the transition would probably be a tad disturbing, which is why I created the small purple charnel sprites who wait beneath the earth and help the newly dead to get where they’re going. This help consists of places to rest, sandwiches and cups of tea. The charnel sprites are one of the few supernatural creatures that I invented for the books – they really ought to exist, though!

The Other Side where the dead dwell can be anything they want. For Elsie and Belladonna’s parents and grandfather it’s a version of their home town. The land of the dead is vast, however, because everyone and everything that has ever died is to be found somewhere. (Hence the mammoths in the park.) Once there the dead discover that they can move backwards and forwards from this new world (where they are as solid and real as when they were alive) to the land of the living (where they are ghosts, seen only by a few). The only condition is that they must choose a single place to haunt and cannot manifest anywhere else. Belladonna’s mum and dad select the family home so they can continue to raise their daughter. Elsie picks the school, the site of her greatest triumphs. (That last one created some problems when I needed Elsie to leave the school and travel to the ruined Fenchurch Abbey in The Midnight Gate!)

The belief in a place where all the dead reside is nothing new – it was familiar to the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as to the Norse people, where Niflheim was but one of the nine worlds that made up their world view. From a story-telling standpoint it is ideal, of course, because this version of the netherworld provides for both good and evil and the mortal traveler must use the same caution with an inhabitant of that realm as they would use in navigating their own day-to-day world.

As Spellbinder begins, Belladonna is still getting used to her ability to see ghosts. By the end she realizes that they serve an important function for those who are still alive, and that without them her world is somehow empty – as if all the trees had suddenly vanished. Of course, the fact that Steve can now also see the spirits of the dead makes things a lot more bearable…as does the news that there are Chime Children everywhere, all with the hidden ability to see the denizens of the other worlds and just waiting for someone (or something) to trigger their second sight.

But that’s another story for another day…

You can find out more about the author on her Website.

Now on to the Giveaway:
Ms. Stringer was gracious enough to provide a signed copy of Spellbinder to one lucky winner. This contest is open to the US only.

October 27, 2011

Boo Bash- Giveaway & Guest Post_The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab


I have always loved witch stories, they were the first paranormal books I read. The Near Witch was one of those books that I had to read and I was very excited when the author Victoria Schwab agreed to take time out of her busy schedule to write a guest post.

The Near WitchThe Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Addicted to the Fantastical

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, because it meant that for a whole day I had permission to be someone else.

But as my mother reminded me this past week, pulling out a massive photo box, I never really needed that


I spent most of my childhood as an explorer, a princess, a villain, a conqueror, a chef, whatever I could get my hands on.

Where most kids had boxes of toys, I had chests of dress-up clothes, and would transform myself at every opportunity.

Sure, Halloween was well and good, and meant candy, but Tuesday in March was as good a day as any to become a queen.

And I really haven’t changed that much. No, I don’t parade the neighborhood on Monday afternoons as a ninja (at least not every Monday). But my favorite thing about dressing up is also my favorite thing about writing: the ability to transform, both yourself and the world around you at will.

Sure, the changes are internal, unseen except for where they sneak out, between your fingers and the keyboard or the page. But that’s okay, because even if it’s not as flashy, your costume box is so, so much bigger, and you get to share it with everyone who wants to play.

(But it never hurts to don a cape, or wear a hat now and then. For research/inspiration, of course.)

You can find the author on her website, blog, or on twitter.

Now on to the Giveaway:
Ms. Schwab was gracious enough to provide bookmarks, buttons, and a signed/illustrated bookplate to (1) lucky winner and a copy of The Near Witch.

October 26, 2011

Boo Bash Giveaway & Guest Post_The Restorer by Amanda Stevens


So one of my favorite ghost books is The Restorer by Amanda Stevens. When Aimee (CoffeeTableReviews) and I decided to host a Halloween event I knew I had to ask Ms. Stevens if she would be willing to write a guest post. I sent the email and waited patiently for her response, when the email popped in that she would love to, I went all fan girl, maybe I did a little dance or two at my desk when I was suppose to be working, lol. 

Ms. Stevens has generously offered to give (1) signed copy of The Restorer to one lucky winner, see details below guest post.

The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1)My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.
It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims—lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

Ghost Stories

In The Graveyard Queen series, I write about ghosts. Greedy, grasping netherworld parasites that prey on human warmth and devour the life force of their hosts. Truth be told, my own supernatural encounters have been fairly benign. The scent of cherry pipe tobacco emanating from the backseat of my car. A phantom music box playing in the middle of the night. Hardly the stuff of nightmares. But people close to me have had far more harrowing experiences. The following accounts are real-life ghost stories, gleaned from a series of
interviews I conducted with friends, family and acquaintances. The names have been changed, but the incidents are exactly as they were told to me. (Warning: not for the faint of heart.)

Meet Mary. She grew up in a traditional, middle-class home in suburban Houston. The family was fairly religious and attended church regularly, so imagine their surprise when the mother became obsessed with an old Ouija board that fell into her possession. Soon, her health began to suffer. She lost weight, couldn’t sleep and smoked incessantly. Worse, strange things started happening inside the house, mostly to Mary, who was a teenager at the time. Personal items went missing from her bureau. A picture of her fell from the living room wall and shattered. One night she went into the kitchen to find her mother at the table hunched over the Ouija board. When she looked up, Mary could have sworn her mother’s eyes were glowing red. That night marked a turning point. They burned the board and thankfully the household returned to normal.

Next is Audrey. She and I grew up together in a rural Arkansas town at the edge of the Ozark Foothills. Audrey lived in a little white house near a mosquito-infested lake perpetually shrouded in gloom. The house had once been occupied by Audrey’s grandfather, a country doctor, and her grandmother, a woman who had been slowly losing her mind for years. At the height of her illness, she tried to kill her husband and son with a butcher knife. Audrey believes the paranormal activity they experienced in that house was a manifestation of her grandmother’s trapped emotions. Inexplicable footsteps in the middle of the night. Doors slamming at all hours. Electrical fluctuations. Stopped clocks. The house simply couldn’t rest. One night they came home to find the doors flung wide open, lights burning in every room and the television blaring. Their dog wouldn’t step foot inside no matter how much they coaxed him.

The most troubling incident, however, occurred in the backyard. Audrey and her brother were outside one day when they saw a man standing at the edge of the woods staring at them. They didn’t recognize him, which was unusual in our little community where everyone knew everyone. The brother called out to him and the man then dropped to his hands and knees and crawled back into the woods. To this day, they have no idea who he was, what he was, but that bizarre behavior struck such a chord that I’ve used a variation of this scene in The Kingdom.

The last interviewee is my son. He laughs about this now, but there was a time when he was convinced people came into his room at night and stood around his bed watching him sleep. One night he heard someone whisper, “He’s awake.” He had bunk beds and I often fell asleep in the lower bunk after reading a bedtime story. I never saw or heard anything out of the ordinary and neither did my daughter, who had the room next to his. I think those mysterious ‘watchers’ were conjured by a bad dream or a little boy’s fertile imagination.

At least, that’s what I tell myself when I’m alone in the house and the hair on my cat’s back bristles for no apparent reason…

Thanks Ms. Stevens for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by.

To learn more about Amanda Stevens and her books check out her website, you can also find her on twitter.

Please stop by Coffee Table Reviews to check out the guest post and giveaway by Lee Nichols.

October 13, 2011

Review: The Boys Next Door & Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

The Boys Next Door (Simon Romantic Comedies)Lori lives for summertime on the lake. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties in the house next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori's always been one of the guys.

But while Lori and the "baby" brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can't deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean's been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.

But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she's girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girl friend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard....

The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols
Published: June 26, 2007
Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

This was the perfect summer read, the story was light, heartwarming and funny. The author did such a great job of portraying teenagers that I felt like I was in the awkward stages of my teen years all over again.

I loved the dynamic of the relationship between the Vader brothers, Adam and Sean. The fighting between them and the jokes were all part of what made the book great, the characters were real and you could easily identify with them.

Lori was such a great main character; she was really sweet and just had this way of taking something and turning it into the most complicated thing ever. It’s almost as if chaos found her which made for a hilarious read. This book was a short read as I flew through the book in one sitting. I felt a connection with each of the characters and although at times the story was predictable I was still able to enjoy it. The writing was engaging and flowed well.

I now see what all the hype about Jennifer Echol’s books are about and I am definitely going to read the rest of her books. This was definitely a fun read!

Endless Summer (The Boys Next Door & Endless Summer)

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
Published: May 25, 2010
Source: Bought
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Nobles

My Thoughts:

This is the sequel to the Boys Next door. I can’t say I enjoyed this as much as the first because the characters  really didn’t learn from their mistakes in the first book that things don’t always work out the way you want them to. There were too many games being played and I just kind of got annoyed. But, maybe this is just me and because I’m nowhere near the age of 16 anymore maybe I just can’t relate to the retarded games that they were playing to capture the attention of the one they love.
I have to say this I was okay with the way the first book ended, it felt complete to me. I didn’t really see the need for a sequel and it actually ruined the story for me.

October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

This week I am choosing Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly, I LOVED Angel Burn and loved Ms. Weatherly's spin on Angels. The first book was intriguing and action packed, can't wait to read this book.

Angel Fire (Angel Trilogy, #2)In Book Two of L. A. Weatherly’s wildly romantic, action-packed trilogy, the angels are back with a vengeance . . . and they don’t have heaven in mind.

In the wake of the Second Wave, the angel menace has exploded, and Alex and Willow are on the lam. Willow’s prophetic dream points them to Mexico City, where they connect with a fledgling group of angel killers led by the exotically beautiful Kara, an Angel Killer from Alex’s past. But the team remains suspicious of Willow, even after the more-experienced Alex takes over as leader, training them hard for a rush attack on the Seraphic Council, or “The Twelve.” This elite group of all-powerful angels is also under the scrutiny of Willow’s angel-father, Raziel, who has his own sinister plan to defeat them.

What Willow hasn’t told Alex is that there was also a mysterious boy in her dream, one she felt overpoweringly attracted to. When brooding, gorgeous Seb shows up in the flesh, he turns out to be another—possibly the world’s only other—half angel. He’s been searching for Willow all his life, and when Alex enlists this rival to help keep Willow safe, he can’t predict what chemistry will pass between them . . . or how far Willow might go to keep Alex safe. Will their love endure or spell doomsday for the human race? ~Goodreads

So what book are you anxiously awaiting the release of? There are so many great books out there that it's hard to choose just one.

Leave a link and I'll stop by- Happy Wednesday!

October 11, 2011

Review: The Last Page By Lacy Camey

Norah Johnson is at a crossroads and is in desperate need to heal after a highly publicized breakup from her major league baseball player boyfriend. To escape, she moves to her summer home at the beach with her sister and best friend where she journals, attends therapy and works on her pending clothing line. When a gorgeous stranger finds her lost journal, he seeks to find the author and make her fall in love with him. But is Norah ready to love again?

The Last Page by Lacy Camey
Published: August 3, 2011
Source: I received this book from the author/CLP Book Tour in exchange for an honest and thoughful review.
Amazon, Barnes and Nobles


It’s bad enough to go through a break up and dealing with the grief and pain of a broken heart let alone have it publicized on national TV and tabloids but, yet this was what Norah had to endure. Norah’s ex-boyfriend, Truett was a famous major league baseball player, think A-Rod, Derek Jeter and the breakup made her a target for the paparazzi.

After that horrid day, Norah’s life had completely fallen apart and she dealt with the break up in a self destructive way. She does nothing as her life and career falls apart and basically sits on the couch for weeks at a time drowning in her sorrows. Her family has finally had enough and they ship her to the family summer home with her sister for a few weeks where she seeks help from a therapist. In the summer home surrounded by her best friend and sister is where Norah finally learns to overcome all of the obstacles that she was dealt, and starts to slowly see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What I love about the story is that the characters were so relatable. I could totally understand everything that Norah was going through and I loved that she had such a supporting family and best friend. Ms. Camey did a great job of making me feel everything that Norah was going through at the time. Norah was a great character although there were times when I felt like smacking her and telling her that the truth is right there open your eyes.

The only issue I really had with the book is I felt that the storyline with her sister and boyfriend wasn’t really needed, or maybe it wasn’t developed enough for me. It didn’t take away from the story though; it just kind of felt like it was thrown in.

I truly enjoyed this story and although it’s not happy go lucky from the get go, it was what made it more realistic, and had me completely hooked.

You can find Lacy at the following places:


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