Sunday, October 7, 2012

Scheduling Wicked Rose Book Tour



Hello again everybody! I am once again scheduling a book tour and have spaces open for bloggers who are interested in joining the tour.

This time around, I am scheduling a book tour for Madalynn Davis' young adult book, Wicked Rose.

If you're interested in hosting a stop on the tour, I can be contacted by email at: sarah.f.empey@gmail.com.

Wicked Rose Blog Tour October 22- November 2


Dates Available: 

Friday, October 26
Tuesday, October 30
Wednesday, October 31
Thursday, November 1
Friday, November 2

Still reeling from her father's murder, sixteen-year-old Noelle Hart returns to Whisper Preparatory Academy, an exclusive private boarding school in the sleepy town of Whisper, Connecticut.  She tries to move on with her life, but things get off to a rocky start.  Arguing with friends, dodging the overbearing Headmaster, and staying out of her nemesis' line of fire are almost her undoing.

Until she meets Gabriel Merriweather.Over night, Noelle's luck takes a turn for the better.  For the first time in her life, Noelle is the girl that every other girl at school wants to be.  Once and for all, Noelle is able to step out of her older, perfect sister's shadow and be the center of attention. At last, her world is perfect. But, all good things must come to an end. When one of her friends is brutally murdered, Noelle becomes the prime suspect.  Noelle's world is turned upside down when she learns that a secret sisterhood known as the Hive may be responsible for her friend's death and others.  If Noelle and Gabriel cannot fight their way through the labyrinth of lies and secrets surrounding the Hive, then she may be next.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest Post & Cover Reveal

Today I have the pleasure of hosting a guest post & cover reveal from Kyra Gregory's intriguing new book, Secrets Clad in Light. I hope you'll agree with me, that the cover is absolutely wonderful, it has such a mysterious flavour to it! So without any further ado...



 Kyra Gregory

      When people hear of a younger writer they often have this image of someone very inexperienced. While I don't claim to be a perfect writer I can say that I am far from inexperienced because my road as a writer has been a long one.

     I've been writing novel-length stories for about ten years now starting with short stories, lyrics and fanfictions. From the beginning there were very few people who knew that I wrote anything at all. It was only after being caught writing lyrics for a song my friend had composed that I started being pushed to write more. At the time I wrote in order to save myself; to come to terms with things that I couldn't any other way. I never really thought I was particularly good at it, regardless of what readers told me. The thing that I loved the most about writing was that I got to do it from the heart; I was able to be open and honest about numerous issues and I was able to share these feelings with others.

     By my mid teens I had heard a decent amount of praise and more than a decent amount of criticism. After making adjustments I began to format the manuscript for one of my novels. Now, at this point, I didn't have the slightest inkling in me of "I want to be a writer!" but I thought it would be fun to test myself as a writer. I sent my novel out to six publishers that would accept work without an agent and got back four rejections, one acceptance and one remained unanswered. The problem was that there was a catch to that acceptance. I would have to, in their words, "make the gay couple a straight one" in order for it to truly be accepted and considered worthy for publishing. I always knew that there were going to be things I would have to change but I had never thought it would be something that would change an entire story. I wanted to be thrilled but couldn't be; the fact that I couldn't do things the way I wanted totally shattered me.

    I always knew the writing world was going to be competitive and that there were going to be things that people loved and hated but it never really hit me until that point that there were people who weren't going to be given a chance because of what they wrote. From then on I knew that I would never go back to traditional publishing. I was a control freak and I was proud of it; I wanted a hand in each and every part of the production of each project I was a part of and I wasn't willing to negotiate on that. I went on writing for years and in June 2012 I self-published a novella, Despair & Decision, through Amazon's KDP. On 10th September I'll be releasing my first book, Secrets Clad in Light in just a few months of self-publishing. It's been an adventure and I'm still learning as I go along but it's easily the best decision I've made. As long as I keep doing things this way I can keep writing in the way that I've always loved; honestly. 

If you want to get a hold of Kyra Gregory here are some links you might be interested in:


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Tours "Currently Scheduling"

     You may have noticed that I know organize book tours or, then again maybe not, in which case I would like to inform you that I know arrange book tours! I am currently featuring the blog tours that I'm scheduling at the top of my sidebar, and I am also going to be writing posts about when I am scheduling a new book tour to let you know, so that anyone who's interested can participate :)

     That being said, I have two blog tours which are coming up fairly soon, one at the end of September and one at the beginning of October, both of which I need blog tour hosts for. I'm including all of the info about those two tours below. If you're interested shoot me an email with your blog url and what day/ tour you would like to host, my email address is: sarah.f.empey@gmail.com.


Once Upon a Remembrance Blog Tour October 1 - October 12


 Dates Available:


Monday October 1
Tuesday October 9
Thursday October 11

Once Upon a Remembrance: Book 1 Women of Strength time travel trilogy: Photographer Isabeau Remington travels to 1894 Virgina and falls in love with a man she must ultimately leave behind when she returns to her own time...but things are not always as they seem.

Modern day photographer Isabeau is pulled from the present time and thrust back into the year 1894 in Virginia. She must help save Hawk Morgan, a man threatened by a killer, a man endangered by his own erased memories. Hawk must survive in 1894 so his present day ancestor Pierce Morgan, will be alive in Isabeau's future.

Isabeau begins to fall in love with Hawk Morgan but with both their future's uncertain and a killer on the loose, neither one of them may have a tomorrow to look forward to.


Island of Tory Blog Tour September 24 - October 1




Dates Available:

Fully Booked

Arella Cline, a sixteen year old teen from Wexford Pennsylvania, finds her life turned upside down when her family summer vacation begins with a tragic car accident which kills both of her parents. Going to live with her Great-aunt Fi, Arella tries to start a new life on a tiny island off the western coast of Ireland. Everything about Tory Island, however, is objectionable to her–the gray and wet weather, the stringent academy she is forced to attend, as well as the island’s lack of modern day amenities. The only thing Arella likes about Tory is Declan McQuilan, a handsome, dark-haired boy who attempts to show her the island’s hidden charms....


To read more about Island of Tory or check out my personal review click here





Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Deconstructing Infatuation Review




Rating: 3/5
 
Title: Deconstructing Infatuation
 
Author: Merce Cardus
 
Page Count (ebook): 74
 

Official Description



Deconstructing INFATUATIONSometimes, whether you're single or with a significant one,
somebody appears in your life unexpectedly.
We feel the need to know who this person is,
the need to know exactly who this person is.

A story may offer different interpretations, even with several irreconcilable and contradictory meanings. As in Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta's story in Dante's Divine Comedy, this story is not about unfaithfulness either. This story is about infatuation: what burns inside of oneself when we let ourselves fall madly for someone.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My Thoughts



    The way in which Merce Cardus approached infatuation and its role in relationships was uniquely interesting. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of infatuation and its effect on the infatuated person. I would have appreciated far more description of the characters, I believe that deeper development of the characters would have certainly made the main character's emotions more understandable and easier to grasp. One thing which confused me deeply was the sudden change in perspectives. The entire novel is written in third person and then suddenly in the last the chapter the main character begins speaking from first person. I understand that this was used to enhance the reader's understanding of what had taken place in the story but it personally threw me off. Overall, I think that this story offers a unique look at infatuation and is certainly worth a read.

Buy Links

Amazon
 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dragon Dreams ~ Review


Rating: 4.5/5

Title: Dragon Dreams

Author:Dusty Lynn Holloway

Page Count (ebook): 229

 

Official Description

In my shadow you sleep, hungry for my soul.
In my heart you live, nurtured and at peace.
In my life you belong, always.
The red dawn of war clashes with the tide. Black descends. Shadows come alive.
I call to you. I see you across the field of battle, calling to me. So many stand between us.
I turn away to the tide; the tide sweeps forward, surging, billowing, covering.
I raise my hand and stare at the sky above. Silence descends. A hush. Tears fall down. Liquid, they fall down my face, down my grimy cheeks, onto my bloodstained clothes.
I raise my other hand. A burst of time shoots forward, galloping like my heart as I wait for the final blow . . . but it never comes. I’ve frozen the moment in time as the blade meant for my heart pierces his. The sobs choke my chest as I stare at the metal, gleaming red like the rising sun, sticking from his chest. His eyes are frozen as well, locked onto mine.
They look unsurprised.
I sink down to my knees; tears fall harder. I hear your voice. A shout, a scream of pain and anger and despair and fear from across the field.
I don’t turn. I look straight ahead to the eyes that are locked onto mine as I bring both of my hands down in a gesture as sharp as the blade. Light explodes outward from me, shooting across the battlefield, consuming everything.
I fall. He falls too.
His eyes speak the things he cannot say. They close after a minute, but mine stay open.
You reach me then. Everyone else is flattened, reeling on the blood-soaked earth, but you reach me. You turn me face up. You gather me in your arms. You weep, but my eyes are dry now. My eyes are dry.
“It will be alright,” I whisper to you. “It will be alright.”

 

My Thoughts


         It's been a while since I've read a fantasy novel that centered around dragons, humans and elves. And let me tell you, this was most certainly worth the wait! Dragon Dreams is simply enchanting, I mean the work alone that went into creating such a marvelous kingdom is astounding. The novel flows effortlessly through the different realms of the kingdom and leaves you wanting more the moment you set the book down. I found myself eagerly wondering what was going to happen next every time I walked away from Dragon Dreams. This book is perfect if you are looking to escape into an entirely different world.

     This story is told from the perspectives of Auri and Nachal, two separate beings who are indefinitley intertwined through the name-sake of the book 'Dragon Dreams'. I have to pause a moment to highlight 'Dragon Dreams' in the sense they are used in the book, not in the sense of the title. I'm pausing to highlight these, because in my opinion it is worth taking the time to read this book, just to experience a  'Dragon Dream'. When Holloway starts in on a 'Dragon Dream', its as if the rest of the outside world fades away; you and the book are the only things left.

     On a more technical note I have to commend Holloway on the fact that there were no typos in this book. I'm always so pleased when I read a self-published book with no typos that I can't not mention the phenom of it. Also, can I just say that the cover of this book is awesome! So, what are you waiting for? Go pick up a copy yourself!

Links:

Amazon (ebook)

Amazon (paperback)

Createspace (paperback)

Monday, August 20, 2012

What do you look for in a review?

review



        Todat I'm participating in a blog hop organized by Reading Romances. The question the bloggers participating in this blog hop were asked was:

What do you look for in a review?


      As a blogger who reviews quite a few books a month I think this is a very poignant question. When I write a review for this blog, or read a review form on eof the many book blogs I follow I think the key feature is honesty. I never ever write a dishonest review or accept money to post a good review, not only is this bad taste in my opinion but it ruins your reputation as a book blogger. Who wants to read a book review that's biased, because money was offered as an incentive?! You read a review to find out what other people thought of the book and if you should buy it, and when someone writes a dishonest review for money you'll never really know if the book was actually good or not.

      In addition to honesty, I want to know why the reviewer thought what they did and inturn I try to explain my ratings in my own reviews. Now, this does not mean I look for the exact sentence Why I rated this book..... if everyone wrote that, I think book blogs would be extremely boring. However, I think its important to mention the reasoning behind a rating, for example, was it a low rating because of typos? you didn't like the genre? the writing style wasn't your personal favourite? When an explanation is provided in a review it gives the review a level of credibility because their thoughts are supported with some sort of evidence.

 

     So now I'm asking you; what do you look for in a review?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Heart Without Words Review

Rating: 4/5

Title: A Heart Without Words

Author: David F. McDonald

Page Count (ebook): 48

Page Count (print): 96


Official Amazon Description

This is the first of two books which deal with the one thing the Military can’t train, THE HEART, and the emotions a Soldier may encounter.This poetry deals with the emotions Soldiers and their loved ones must deal with in a myriad of situations.

This poetry is much softer in nature to my previous work and is, I hope, easier on the reader for that.









My Thoughts

      I have to say this is definitley one of the better collections of poetry I have read. First of all, at 96 pages in print it is a good length for a collection of poetry. Though it may seem insignificant, the page count in poetry collections is very important, if there are too few poems then the reader never truly discovers the author's writing style and if there are too many poems the reader can get bored. Trust me, I've read published poetry collections 6 pages in length, hardly a sufficient length for a poetry collection. So what I'm saying here is right from the start A Heart Without Words was on top of its game.

      Despite the occasional typo, which didn't bother me but may bother some readers, the poetry within the pages of this book is very good. I found it a very unique read as many of the poems were written in the form of dialogue, something that I haven't seen very often in poetry. The verse itself is mainly written in terms of rhyme, there was very little free verse included in this collection. The majority of the poems seemed to focus upon the various ways soldiers die and their thoughts during death. These morbid poems were if profoundly sad, beautifully written. I would recommend this collection of poetry to all those who are prepared to contemplate the final thoughts of dieing men and women.

   If you are interested in reading a sample of the poetry included in this book, I featured one of McDonald's poems titled A Soul during my Highlight Poetry segment, you can check that out here.

Buy Links:


 





Friday, August 17, 2012

Island of Tory Review

Rating: 5/5

Title: Island of Tory

Author: Regina M. Geither

Page Count (ebook): 192


Official Description


Arella Cline, a sixteen year old teen from Wexford Pennsylvania, finds her life turned upside down when her family summer vacation begins with a tragic car accident which kills both of her parents. Going to live with her Great-aunt Fi, Arella tries to start a new life on a tiny island off the western coast of Ireland. Everything about Tory Island, however, is objectionable to her–the gray and wet weather, the stringent academy she is forced to attend, as well as the island’s lack of modern day amenities. The only thing Arella likes about Tory is Declan McQuilan, a handsome, dark-haired boy who attempts to show her the island’s hidden charms.

But there are too many strange things happening on Tory to make Arella feel that she could call the island home. She keeps seeing shadow figures and strange auras and hearing her parents’ voices. The people on the island are very secretive. And when Arella tries to leave on a ferryboat, she blacks out only to find herself back at her aunt’s cottage as predicted by Cannon Fidelous, another teen stranded on the mysterious island.

When Arella quits The Academy of St. Colm Cille, Father Cillian, a kindly old priest, offers to tutor her using an ancient book of prophecies which is now considered the history of Tory. What he teaches her will lead to a journey into ancient magic and Tory’s cursed past. Arella is forced to face her fears and newly discovered powers to turn back the pages of history in order for her to return to the present.
    

My Thoughts


       Island of Tory completely enchanted me, it has been quite a while since I've read a Young Adult book this good! Everything about this book was spot on. The language was beautifully descriptive without being overbearing, which made the setting so vivid I felt as if I walked into the damp mist of the British Isles myself. The character development was exquisite, every detail about the characters was revealed at just the right moment, making them entirely believable. The story itself was also extremely fluid flowing purposefully through the celtic tides of the tale. I became so enthralled that I finished this story in one day, I simply could not leave the book for a single moment!

      I urge to read this immediatley, the suspense will leave you itching for more as its dark romance and irish lore sucks you deep into this celtic enchantment.


Book Links

Book/ Author Site

Place an order through the author's site



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vacation!!

Hi everyone!

Just to let you know, I will be going on vacation for the next two weeks. I have
pre-scheduled a few posts that will appear while I'm away, but if I don't reply to my comments or your emails right away that's why.

Sincerely,

-Sarah
(a.k.a. the blogger for Lace and Lavender Hints)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Train Station Bride Interview with Holly Bush

  

         Today, I have the pleasure of hosting another stop in the Train Station Bride Blog Tour. For today's stop, I will be interviewing Holly Bush, the author of Train Station Bride. So what are you waiting for read on!

 If you want to see yesterday's stop, when I reviewed Train Station Bride click here.

Author Bio


        I grew up in a home where I was surrounded by books. There was not a room that did not hold a bookcase, stack or shelves of books. My father didn't care what we read, although he did, as long as we read something, even a comic book. His stack of books beside his reading chair that sat next to a sunny window was a strange mix of westerns, political intrigue, current affairs, science fiction and the odd biography. Books made me curious, comforted me, excited me, scared me and gave me glimpses into lives and worlds beyond my reach. What a gift - the written word - what a gift!
 
 

The Interview


LL: Lace and Lavender Hints (Me)
HB: Holly Bush (author of Train Station Bride)

LL: Tell us a bit about yourself.
HB: Hello! First I’m very glad to be talking to you and your followers. I’m married with two daughters and live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I work full-time in the Quality Department for a large farming company.
LL: Why did you decide to become a writer?   

HB: I’m not sure I decided to become a writer. I think the writing found me. I see characters doing things or going somewhere and that is often the basis for my books.
LL: What was your main inspiration to write Train Station Bride?

HB: I had a vision in my head of a young woman, formally dressed for the late 1800’s, stepping off of a train onto a busy platform in a mid-western town. She was Julia. I began writing when I figured out why she was getting off of the train at that stop.
LL: Why did you decide to write a romance novel?

HB: I’m a big fan of Happily Ever Afters. News, politics, work and even family is sometimes stressful and when I relax, I want to think of something that is hopeful and happy.

LL: If you could sum Jake into five words, what would they be?

HB: Stubborn, loving, smart, loyal and handsome!
LL: What is your all-time favorite book and why?

HB: That’s a tough question. To Kill a Mockingbird is probably number one for me. The story and the characters felt real when I read it for the first time years ago and have stuck with me. A close second is Mary Balogh’s Slightly Married and John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany.
LL: What was your biggest challenge when writing Train Station Bride?

HB: Time is always a challenge for me. I write on the weekends and work like a nut all week in the evenings to do my marketing, clean the house and keep some clean undies in the drawers. We’re empty nesters and thank goodness my hubby does the cooking!
LL: Do you have any advice for new authors and aspiring writers?

HB: Join a writing group. I think my writing made great strides by listening to others read their works and hearing the group make comments. Just be careful to get in a ‘positive’ group. There’s nothing worse than being with a bunch of negative nellies!

LL: Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans and readers? 
HB: I can’t thank folks enough for taking a chance on a new writer. I’ve been very fortunate to receive great reviews and have had good sales so far. All the people that take the time to post a review on Amazon or B & N or GoodReads or just tell a friend about my books have a huge impact on my ability to reach new readers. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Where to find Holly


 Website | Blog | Twitter

Buy Links



Monday, August 13, 2012

Train Station Bride Review

Rating: 4/5

Title: Train Station Bride

Author: Holly Bush

Page Count (ebook): 147


Official Description


Train Station Bride      1887 Debutante, Julia Crawford endures a lifetime of subtle ridicule as the plump, silly daughter of a premiere Bostonfamily. Julia strikes out on her own to gain independence, traveling to theMidwest to marry an aging shopkeeper and care for his mother. Julia finds hernew home rough and uncivilized after the sophistication of a big city, while closely held secrets threaten to ruin Julia’s one chance at love.

    Jake Shelling was sixteen and grew up quick when his parents died from influenza on the North Dakota prairie. Left with a half-cleared farm and two young sisters, he spent little time on his own needs... till now. At thirty-five, he figured it was high time to have some sons and a mail order bride would suit him just fine. Noexpectations of love, just a helpmate from sturdy stock, ready for farmlife.Will fate and chance play a trick on Julia and Jake?



My Thoughts

     From the girlish Julia Crawford, unconfident and unsure of herself to the handsome and obstinate Jake Shelling, Train Station Bride is in every sense, a romance novel. The plot is split between the perspectives of Julia and Jake as they both embark on a journey to meet their 'mail-order' spouses and is filled with the playfulness of true love mixed with the sharper truths of being female in a strict society. Unlike some straight forward romances, Train Station Bride is filled with a slew of twists which I whole heartedly commend; I just love an unpredictable story! The artful way Bush wove the twists into the novel, added dimension to both the romance and the subplots within the book, creating wonderfully suspenseful scenes. Aside from the fact that I thought some of the love scenes could have been a bit more...steamy and polished, the romance between Julia and Jake was nevertheless well written and 100% believable.

I'm interviewing Holly Bush tomorrow so be sure to check back then!


Links:

Amazon

Author's Page


Saturday, August 11, 2012

City of Fallen Angels Review

Rating: 4/5

Title: City of Fallen Angels

Author: Cassandra Clare

Page Count (hardcover): 424

Inside the Cover


City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And - most importantly of all - she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine's Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side - along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls - neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

My Thoughts


     I'll admit it I had doubts, a lot of doubts. I absolutely adored the first three books in The Mortal Instruments Series immensly and for some reason after finishing the third, I came to the conclusion that it was a trilogy. With that in mind, I was contented with the ending so, when I heard there was a fourth book I was more than a little uncertain about it. Hadn't Clare already wrapped everything up? What story could there be left to tell?

    Let me tell you, I was wrong. I don't know how she did it, how she managed to create another masterpiece of Young Adult literature but she did and it was magnificent. City of Fallen Angels is absolutely riveting, I couldn't tear myself away from turning page, after page, after page. The descriptive language Clare uses to write drew me into the story and though I read the third book over two years ago, like a good friend, once I dug into City of Fallen Angels, it felt as if no time had passed.

Book Links:

75% off Youth Fiction Titles with code percyartemis75

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Sound and The Echoes Review

Rating: 3/5

Title: The Sound & The Echoes

Author: Dew Pellucid

Page Count (ebook): 279

Official Amazon Description

The Sound and the Echoes, YA novel
The Sound and the Echoes is a high-concept, fantasy adventure for young adults, with 27 magical illustrations.

Imagine that everyone around you has a mirror image living somewhere else. Your world is like a sound, which produced that other world of echoes. And in this land men are governed by a terrible law—no Echo is allowed to live after his Sound dies.

One Sound especially must die. The Prince’s Sound. The Fate Sealers and Fortune Tellers will make sure of that! Because after this Sound dies, the Echo Prince will have to die too.

Now, twelve-year-old Will Cleary is about to discover that he is the Sound the Echoes are hunting. And so begins his perilous adventure into a see-through, sparkling world, filled with spying crystal balls, an eerie fortress of castaway children, a hunt for clues in an ancient book of riddles, and a last-chance escape through a frozen gem-studded lake into a secret land that holds the key to placing the Prince on the throne and returning freedom to the Echoes.


My Thoughts

      Though the description of The Sound & The Echoes states that this is a Young Adult novel, at several points in the book I found myself wondering exactly how it could be defined as belonging to the YA genre. Most of the YA novels I have read feature characters between the ages of 15-19 who are teenagers in every sense of the word. However, The Sound & The Echoes' main character was twelve years old for the majority of the book and it seemed to be written for an audience of the same age, which left me feeling more than a bit confused as to how this could be classified as a YA book.

        I did enjoy the story, it was extremely creative and unique, something I appreciate in a literary world where there are far too many cookie cutter books around. And at points, I even felt like I was reading some alterior version of the Harry Potter series, with the main character being a male twelve years in age who arrives at an orphanage of sorts with a Dumbledore-esque headmaster and proceeds to become aquaintances with an equally outcast boy and girl.

    I think this is an excellent book for a younger age range, simply because it seems to revolve around the sort of interests a younger audience would appreciate; I believe my twelve year old self would have loved this book. Overall, I found that The Sound & The Echoes was a good read, with an excellent plot line, though I would say it belongs more to an age range of 9-13 than the typical YA genre.

     In your opinion what makes a novel, a YA book?

Book Links:

Amazon

Book site