Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Blast: Guardians Inc.: The Cypher by Julian Rosado-Machain


A chance reading of a newspaper ad will send 16 year old Thomas Byrne into the world within our world.

Following the ad he will find Guardians Incorporated. A seven thousand year old organization charged with protecting the balance between Magic and technology.

Through their guidance, technology has kept Magic at bay since the Renaissance, but the balance is shifting and soon all those creatures we've driven into myth and legend will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future and to unlock the future they need a Cypher.

Book Trailer

Guardians Inc.: The Cypher is FREE on Kindle, Nook & iBooks


USA Book News 2012 Finalist -Young Adult Fiction

"Rosado-Machain brings a light, humorous touch to themes of teenage love, loss and betrayal wrapped up in a tasty package of magical coming-of-age."
~Kirkus Reviews

"It's like Julian Rosado-Machain took everything that I love about middle grade children's fiction and slammed it into one awesome, well-paced fantasy"
~Emi London Oktopusink.blogspot.com

"The Cypher hooked me from the beginning. And kept my attention right through to the very end."
- Heidi Roth reviewthebook.com

Get Your Copy for FREE

Author Julian Rosado-Machain

Julian has enjoyed pizza in three continents, holds a degree in graphic design, built armored vehicles and computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears has seen at least one ghost.

He is the Co-owner of Hacienda de Vega Restaurant in San Diego, California and enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.

Book Blast Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/13/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Blast: Phantom Summer by Amy Sparling

Phantom Summer by Amy Sparling

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Gray moves to Sterling Island to get over her dead boyfriend. Mom’s cool with letting her crash on the couch, but Taylor needs to get a job before the lights are cut off again.

When the tall, dark and crazy Raine Tsunami offers her a position at his thriving ghost tour business, she figures it’s an easy way to make some cash. Taylor isn’t afraid of ghosts--that crap is as fake as her mom’s boob job. She loves their adventures on the historic island, especially the secret places he shows her when the crowds go home. So what if all the ghost stories are just legends?

When Taylor comes face to face with a ghost and Raine crosses the line between friend and boyfriend--Taylor’s new life collides with her haunted past. If murdered people end up as ghosts, then that someone she was trying to forget is probably trying to find her.


"I was wonderfully surprised by Phantom Summer!!! I couldn't put it down. Loved everything about it."

~Amazon Reviewer Angelmusic

"The emotions are so well written... I would definitely recommend reading this."

~Goodreads Reviewer Lauren

Author Amy Sparling

Amy Sparling is a Texas native with a passion for young adult literature. In her free time she participates in an unhealthy amount of Xbox playing, attends nerd conventions and reads books with her daughter. She's studying to become a high school teacher and lives near the beach with her daughter and two cats. Amy Sparling is a pen name.

$50 Book Blast Giveaway

Ends 3/10/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Next Forever by Lisa Burstein (Book Review and Interview)

Title: The Next Forever
Author: Lisa Burstein
Publisher: Ever After/Entangled Publishing

About the book: One night in college can change everything…
Away at college, Amy just wants one night alone without her high school sweetheart, Joe. So when he invites her to go to the library, she heads off on her own instead. How she ended up at a house party with the mysterious bad-boy Trevor is another story…
Joe so isn’t going to the library. He needs space from Amy, too, so he’s decided to rush a fraternity, to get back the swagger he had in high school. But it doesn’t take long for the brothers to invite him to the real rush—where the beer is flowing and one particular girl has set her eyes on Joe.
Over the course of one wild night, both Amy and Joe will have to decide if their futures belong with two new people, or whether the next forever will have their first loves in it.


My thoughts: This is a cute little love story about discovering who you are and learning to make the right decisions for your own reasons.  Amy reminded me a lot of the struggles that my own teenage  girls go through.  Making decisions because it is what people expect of you versus making decisions because it is what you want to do.  Amy had gotten into trouble in high school by doing what her friends expected - and then Joe had saved her.  Joe, the boy who had loved her in silence since she was ten, who had lived across the street from her forever, but who had only recently became so much more.  

Amy has a little bit of a destructive streak and is having a hard time figuring out why.  She begins to learn a little more about herself one night while attending a party with Trevor - a bad boy who lives in her dorm.  She has been watching him since college started, but she is usually shadowed by her boyfriend Joe. Trevor knows just which questions to ask to make her second guess herself.  

Joe, knowing how Amy feels about fraternities, tells her he is going to study at the library - but instead attends a frat party - one that he is considering rushing. He soon finds himself with a half-naked girl, who is one of many girls there, whose soul purpose at the party seems to be for hooking up with the frat boys and their guests. 

Their decisions that night will either make or break their relationship - but you will have to read it to find out!
It was a quick read at only 97 pages - but it is one that I am going to recommend to my daughters - to let them know that the way they are feeling is normal and all a part of growing up!

~I received a complimentary ecopy of The Next Forever from Entangled Publishing in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Read an excerpt from The Next Forever.

Please take a moment to learn a little more about Lisa by reading her interview below: 

1. How do you typically write? Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?

I have an idea of what the story will be, but I don't outline. I think it makes my work feel more real and organic to the characters. At least that's what I've heard ;)

2. Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?

I think how people respond to my writing. It is surprising that people find my work so honest and raw because it really isn't something I try to do, or even think about when I'm writing, but that has been really surprising, that readers feel like my work speaks to them in that way.

3. Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?

All of my teachers were really supportive of my writing. I think maybe because they could see I loved it so much.

4. If you could meet one person who has died, who would that be?

Jim Morrison

5. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I am afraid of needles, like so afraid I fainted each time I got my ears pierced and I've had them pierced 3 times.

6. What do you do in your spare time?

HA! I work full time and write, I don't have much spare time. Usually I'm writing, reading or wishing I could be writing or reading.

7. What time of day do you like to write?

In the afternoon, right after work. I think I've taught my brain to be creative during that time.

8. What themes do you love to read or write about?

Definitely the hard stuff. I like to explore human emotion at it's breaking point. For example in The Next Forever the two main characters at a decision point in their relationship. Stay together, or move on with their lives.

Silly questions –
1. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

To fly

2. Night owl or early bird?

Early bird

3. Favorite season?


4. Cat or dog?


5. Guilty pleasure tv show?

Dance Moms

6. Sweet or salty snacks?

Sweet, I love candy!

Lisa Burstein

PRETTY AMY May 2012 Entangled Publishing
THE NEXT FOREVER January 2013 Entangled Publishing
DEAR CASSIE March 2013 Entangled Publishing

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guest Post by Nell Gavin (Author of Hang On)

Nell Gavin
Author of Hang On

Teenagers travel in herds, so when I was seventeen a number of us accompanied a friend of ours to the police station to file a report. I don’t recall the nature of the problem – a stolen car, I believe – but we all went with him, piled together in someone else’s car, the girls squeezing themselves onto boys’ laps, and stragglers spread horizontally across everyone else, pressed up against the roof of the car. Eleven teens fit into a sedan in 1971 because cars were bigger then, and seatbelt laws were not yet in effect. Off we went.

The police station looked as if it hadn’t been renovated in decades. It was old and worn, and had that 1930s look about it, with tall, dark wooden benches, dirty gray-green paint, black-and-white tiled flooring, and dirty glass globe lights dangling from the ceiling.

Our friend spoke with a police officer while we hovered, affronted and indignant behind him, providing moral support for him in his predicament. When he was finished with his business, we all turned to go. As we did, I saw a little girl, about four years old, sitting alone on a bench looking terrified. Her hair was long and dark and messy, and her clothing looked dirty and slept in, but she was a very beautiful child. She wasn’t crying because she apparently was too stunned, or was beyond tears. She sat stiffly, her hands folded and her dangling legs crossed at the ankle. Her eyes were wide with fear and wariness. The most frightening thing about her was that she did not cry. What did that say about her, and her life, and why she was there?

Everyone was too busy to worry about a little girl as she sat there alone, looking very small. That, more than anything else, struck me – that the child was alone. How could it be that nobody was comforting that terrified little girl, or even sitting with her? Shouldn’t that be what one DOES? Without thinking?
I started to walk over to her – she needed a hug – but someone grabbed my sleeve and pulled me out the door. We were leaving now, and teens leave in herds. So I left, walking backwards, being pulled but resisting, still looking at that child, who has haunted me to this day.

She is the child I was thinking of, when I described Holly Salvino in Hang On. I made up her story: Her mother commits suicide, and everyone else abandons her. Where does she go next? To her abusive grandmother. And what happens to her for the rest of her life? Horrible things, and then wonderful things. I wanted to give that child love, so I did it in a book.

I merged her story with my own. She gets pulled into the world of Rock and Roll, and so was I. She has a mental illness, and so did I.

Rock and roll was like a drug, back in the 1970s. It had more glamour, excitement, mischief, danger, and sexiness than just about anything that had ever preceded it. Pumping rhythms, gyrating singers, screaming fans, smashed guitars – adrenaline surged through your veins at most concerts. This was the era when rock and roll production introduced lasers and pyrotechnics. This was when Heil Sound System’s “Talk Box” and other sorts of miraculous gimmickry came to be.

I was there, in the mid-70s. Like Holly, I had a roadie boyfriend, I was on the band bus, and I spent countless hours backstage meeting dozens of rock stars. I was flown to the Bahamas, like Holly. Like Holly, I was nearly sent home because my prepaid airline ticket wasn’t paid in full for some reason, so I’d given an airline all of my spending money and arrived in Nassau virtually penniless, with no phone number to call and no local references to give them. I thankfully slipped through customs and played Coconut Bowl on the beach with the band and some others. I also watched Bahamian’s elite drive up to hang out with the rock stars. I attended parties in incredible mansions when I was forced to, and hung out at the Traveller’s Rest restaurant and bar to escape the noise of it all, whenever I could.

The lead singer of “my” band was brilliant. He was nothing at all like the somewhat dense Angus Atkins. However, after I left the Bahamas I learned he had driven a particularly fretful rental car (one they all disliked – transmission problems, I believe) into the ocean in protest, and left it there. So he had his moments, just as Angus does in Hang On.

It was exciting, it was free, it was high-energy – if I were to pick a decade, I would pick the 1970s as my favorite. The clothing was stupid, but the entire decade was a party. Plus we were living in a very short window between wars, and before AIDS.

From another perspective, that decade is unfortunate. In the 1970s Holly’s mental illness will not be recognized as a condition until the 1980s, and there will be no effective treatment for it until the 1990s. This condition does not respond to medication, so her psychiatrist is of no real help to her. Nevertheless, she continues to see him, and continues to go hungry in order to pay him because she has bouts of very severe depression and thoughts of suicide, but has vowed to never kill herself, as her mother did. He is her only safety net.

I had Holly’s condition, when I was young. It is called Borderline Personality Disorder, and it covers a very wide spectrum of symptoms, with an equally wide spectrum of severity. Its symptoms “border” those of several conditions, all at the same time. It most typically impacts people with a high emotional sensitivity score, who also suffer some kind of trauma, neglect or abuse in childhood. If the sensitivity level is high enough, it takes very little (or even no) trauma to trigger symptoms. (When I was reading the Secret Life of Bees I imagined that the character “May” was one of these.) If the sensitivity level is lower, it requires a more extreme level of trauma for a person to show signs of it.

So each sufferer falls somewhere on the spectrum, from highly functional to non-functional, depending on his or her own sensitivity score and the trauma he or she experiences. People at risk for Borderline Personality Disorder are also those who most easily succumb to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The factors in play are very similar, and in some ways so is the treatment.
The good news about Holly’s (and my) condition is that symptoms improve as you get older, particularly if you make an active effort to confront and overcome them. In my case they are completely gone, and I leave a breadcrumb trail in Hang On for how I did that.

I was highly functional, and so is Holly. She holds a job and pays her rent. However, she is very lonely because her symptoms make it difficult for her to interact with other people and sustain relationships for very long. She has one or two friends who overlook her mood swings, and she has Trevor. The world of Rock and Roll keeps her afloat. But her isolation is palpable and painful, and her fear of losing the little she has is very real.

Hang On is sad, but it’s also funny. As I explained earlier, I gave that little girl in the police station “love,” and also shared with her some of my wonderful adventures. But I have no doubt that she grew up not-quite-wholly-intact. I wanted to show this, but I wanted to also give her hope.

I only wish I could have hugged her.

Title: Hang On
Author: Nell Gavin
Publisher/Publication Date: CreateSpace, Mar 2012
ISBN:  9781475023213

Watch for my review of Hang On before the end of the month.  
There will be a giveaway!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Betrayed by Shadows by Nancy Gideon (Giveaway,Interview and Book Review)

It is time for A Bookend Tour for Betrayed by Shadows by Nancy Gideon and hosted by Buy the Book Tours.  The tour runs from January 4 - March 1.  Full tour schedule is below:

January 4, 2013 - Romance Writer Sara Walter Ellwood(GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
January 5, 2013 - MJ Schiller (GIVEAWAY / REVIEW / Author Interview)
January 6, 2013 - HBS Author’s Spotlight (GIVEAWAY / Author Interview)
January 8, 2013 - Simply Ali (GIVEAWAY / Author Interview)
January 9, 2013 - Reading Romances (GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog) 
January 11, 2013 - SciFiChick.com (GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
January 13, 2013 - Janna Shay’s Fair Play (GIVEAWAY / Author Interview)    
January 15, 2013 - Christine’s Words (GIVEAWAY / Author Interview)   
January 19, 2013 - The Brook Sayers Blog (Author Interview)
January 20, 2013 - Amberkatze’s Book Blog (GIVEAWAY/  Guest Blog)
January 23, 2013 - Mama Knows Books (GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
January 29, 2013 - OMFG!Books (GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
January 31, 2013 - Krystal Shannan – Where Love & Destiny Collide (GIVEAWAY / Character Interview)
February 1, 2013 - Sarah Grimm, Author (GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
February 3, 2013 - Writerly Ramblings (GIVEAWAY / Author Interview)
February 6, 2013 - DforDarla’s Definite Reads (GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
February 12, 2013 - [Insert Clever Quip Here] (GIVEAWAY / REVIEW / Author Interview)
February 14, 2013 - Author’s Cafe (GIVEAWAY / Character Interview)
February 18, 2013 - Just One More Chapter (GIVEAWAY / REVIEW / Author Interview)
February 20, 2013 - Books and Needlepoint (GIVEAWAY / REVIEW / Author Interview)
February 22, 2013 - Romancing The Dark Side (GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
February 23, 2013 - Sallie’s Book Reviews & More(GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
February 25, 2013 - I Know That Book (GIVEAWAY / REVIEW / Guest Blog)
February 26, 2013 - Reginamayross’s Blog (GIVEAWAY / Guest Blog)
February 26, 2013 - TBQ’s Book Palace (GIVEAWAY / REVIEW / Character Interview)
February 28, 2013 - Romance Book Junkies (GIVEAWAY / REVIEW / Guest Blog)
March 1, 2013 - Cheryl Yeko  – Where Love Always Wins(GIVEAWAY / REVIEW / Author Interview)
Unscheduled Date - Open Book Society (REVIEW ONLY)

Title: Betrayed by Shadows
Author: Nancy Gideon
Publisher: Pocket Star

About the book: Balancing a criminal empire and a preternatural clan war, reluctant front man Giles St. Clair doesn’t need a problem like Brigit MacCreedy . . . How much trouble can the head-strong and manipulative Shifter beauty get into in two weeks? Plenty when her schemes range from kidnapping to fleeing the retribution of her dead lover’s clan. 

With her family’s lives on the line, Brigit is willing to do whatever it takes to save them. The only thing standing in her way is an immovable stone wall of a man she can’t bully or beguile . . . a human, no less, who has promised to protect her from the secrets and dangers she conceals. 

Risking her own safety gets complicated when an honorable and annoyingly desirable man puts himself between her and her powerful enemies in a battle he can’t win in this Taming of the Shrew meets Shifter Goodfellas on the Bayou tale of consequences, redemption and finding love in all the wrong places.

Buy Links: 
Barnes & Noble

My thoughts:  I had the opportunity to read Masked by Moonlight, the first book in this series, back in 2010, and really enjoyed it.  It was a series that I knew that I wanted to read more of - but of course, hundreds of other books got in the way.  When I was given the opportunity to read this one for review, I jumped on it!  I missed out on a lot in the five books that came in between - but this book does read well as a standalone.  

I really liked Brigit - she was all tough as nails on the outside, but once you got within the walls that she built up, she was really just lonely and looking for someplace to call home.  Giles was sort of the same way.  He had given up his family and home for revenge and just saw a lonely life stretching before him.  He had sold his soul to Jimmy Legere to exact revenge for his father's death, but since Jimmy died and Max Savoie has taken over the business, his dark side has started to retreat.  He has mixed feelings toward Brigit though.

You see, Giles is human and Brigit is "one of them".  Giles has always been big on compartmentalizing everything, but he is having a hard time trying to figure out where Bree should fit. Trouble seems to follow her, regardless of her intentions, and before you know it, it has found her in New Orleans.  Giles packs her up and takes her down to the backwoods where he is from to try to keep her safe.  They let their guard down and actually start to get close, but will the trouble that pursues her be too much for a fledgling romance?

This is a very fast moving book and you barely get a breather between crises. There is a lot of family loyalty, whether related by blood or friendship, where people will put everything they have on the line to save another.  Warning - there are sex scenes in the book, but they are not vulgar.  They are gentle, sensual, and leave you breathless. I will be doing my best to find some time to go back and fit in those books that I missed, as this is one author that I really enjoy reading.

~I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Buy the Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~

About the author: An author of over fifty novels since 1987, Nancy Gideon thrives on variety. Under her own name and several pseudonyms, she’s written award-winning series suspense, historical and paranormal bestsellers, earned a “Career Achievement for Historical Adventure”, and has had two original horror screenplays optioned for film. A Michigan native, she works full time as a legal administrative assistant and feeds a NetFlix addiction.

You can connect with Nancy here: 

I was lucky enough to get Nancy to answer some questions for me!

1.      Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?
My mom.  She was a liberal-thinking woman long before it was cool (or acceptable) and told me to follow my dreams and do what I love . . . but get a good education first. I did.
2.      Do you have any books on your nightstand right now?
I have Justin Cronin’s The Twelve burning a hole in my iPad Kindle app.  I can’t wait to get to it. His first of the series, The Passage sucked away a week of my life. Can’t go wrong with vampire post-apocalypse.
3.      What do you come up with first when creating your characters- the back story, the plot, the characteristics?
Depends on the book!  Sometimes I’ll have a character and build the book around them. Sometimes, especially when writing a series, a character is born in an earlier book, ready to roll, the way Giles St. Clair and Brigit MacCreedy were in BETRAYED BY SHADOWS.  Giving them history and depth is the fun part.
4.      What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time . . . I vaguely remember that. Something I used to have before children and two jobs!
When I can shoehorn it in, I love to read, feed my Netflix addiction, play Mahjongg, and travel to warm places.
5.      How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
I’m divorced, which kinda tells you what my ex thought about it. My kids grew up with Mom as a stay at home writer so they’ve never known anything else. They’re very blasé. They were only impressed when I wrote a horror novelization and collaborated on a screenplay because I got my name listed in three places on the DVD and in two categories on IMDB. Boys are shallow creatures.  My sisters love and promote my books shamelessly.
6.      Where/when do you brainstorm best?
With my critique group.  The eight of us can brew up some serious creativity, especially on long drives to meetings.  Since we all write in different areas and truly respect each other’s work enough to be honest, it’s a great safety net for ideas. Love you guys!
7.      How long do you think about a story before starting to write the book?
Until it gels.  Once I can see it unfolding like a movie, I’m ready to go.  I don’t mind surprises along the way, but I need a destination before leaving the garage. Getting that first sentence perfect usually starts the ball rolling.
8.      What is your favorite way to promote a book?
Online.  I enjoy the blogging and fun contest things like my Haunted Open House that don’t require me to leave the comfort of my keyboard. Or wear pantyhose!
Now it is time for some Silly questions –
1.      If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to clone myself so I could send the clone to my day job and stay home to write.
2.      Do you have any hidden talents?
I love to organize other people’s lives. My own, not so much.
3.      Night owl or early bird?
Early bird! Right after coffee.
4.      Favorite season?
Spring and fall – the element of change. And they smell good.
5.      If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Here Lies Nancy Gideon, Skin and Bones at Last!
6.      Favorite sport?
I don’t regularly follow any sports, but when one catches my eye, I become a rabid fan.  I love Drew Brees, the Olympics, and am a closet NASCAR watcher.
7.      Favorite music?
I’m a rocker from waaaay back, but I love most types of music . . .and immerse myself in something different for each book as its ‘soundtrack.’
8.      Talk or text?
Nancy don’t text.
9.      Cat or dog?
Love everything fur, fin and feather,  but can only have a cat at my apartment. So I have a cat.
10.   Guilty pleasure TV show?
11.   Sweet or salty snacks?
Anything salty . . . in fact, just put a salt lick on my desk.
12.   Favorite holiday destination?
Home.  I love to travel, but over holidays, there’s no place like home.
13.   Do you have a literary crush?
Dean Koontz.  I’d have his literary babies!

Thank you Nancy for visiting us here at Books and Needlepoint.  Probably my favorite part of reading an author's answers is seeing that we actually have things in common.  To think that the woman who was able to come up with this book likes to play Mahjongg (like me) and loves Dean Koontz (like me) is just awesome!

For a chance at an Amazon giftcard being given away as part of this tour - please enter through the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Desert Rice/Desert Flower by Angela Scott (Book Reviews)

Welcome to the Virtual Book Tour of Desert Flower presented by Reading Addiction Blog Tours - February 18 - March 15!

February 18 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
February 19 - Books and Needlepoint - Review
February 20 - Bean Counting Mommy - Review
February 22 - Snifferwalk - Review
February 23 - Andi's YA Books - Review/Interview
February 24 - The adventures Within - Review/INterview
February 25 - Author Ever Leigh - Review
February 26 - My Reading Addiction - Review
February 28 - 
March 1 - Queen of All She Reads - Review/interview
March 2 - Doodle's Book Blog - Review
March 3 - Reviewing Shelf - review
March 4 - Must Read Faster - Review
March 5 - 
March 6 - Oh! The Books That You'll Read - Review
March 7 - 
March 10 - A Bibliophile's Thoughts - Review
March 11 - My Neurotic Book Affair - Review
March 12 - My Cozie Corner- Review
March 13 - Book Maven - Review
March 13 - My Seryniti - Review
March 14 - Kaisy Daisy Blog - Review
March 15 - Taking it One Page at a Time - Review/Interview
March 15 - RABT Reviews - Review

Desert Rice
Desert Flower

About Desert Rice: Samantha Jean Haggert is a beautiful twelve-year-old girl—but no one knows it. All they see is an awkward boy in a baseball cap and baggy pants. Sam’s not thrilled with the idea of hiding her identity, but it’s all part of her older brother’s plan to keep Sam safe from male attention and hidden from the law. Fifteen-year-old Jacob will stop at nothing to protect his sister, including concealing the death of the one person who should have protected them in the first place—their mother.

Sam and Jacob try to outrun their past by stealing the family car and traveling from West Virginia to Arizona, but the adult world proves mighty difficult to navigate, especially for two kids on their own. Trusting adults has never been an option; no adult has ever given them a good reason. But when Sam meets “Jesus”—who smells an awful lot like a horse—in the park, life takes a different turn. He saved her once, and may be willing to save Sam and her brother again, if only they admit what took place that fateful day in West Virginia. The problem? Sam doesn’t remember, and Jacob isn’t talking.

About Desert Flower: Bodies have a canny way of finding Samantha Jean Haggert. The first, the dead body of her mama. The second, a naked man in the middle of the Arizona desert. For Sam, dealing with one dead body in her lifetime is more than unfair. Two, is downright cruel.

Seven years after running from West Virginia, Sam's now a young woman of nineteen, trying to put the pieces of her life together with the help of her family—Jacob, Boone, and Laura. But the naked man in the desert spirals her world out of control, resurfacing past hurts, revealing old secrets, and pitting her between two men who via for her heart. Carson, her friend, her first kiss, and the one man who knows everything about her past and loves her despite it. And Turner, the stranger who knows nothing, but who excites and frustrates her all at once. 

When bad choices made as a child leads to more bad choices as a young adult, Sam finds herself at a crossroads and is forced to face her demons head on if she plans to have any future at all—with Carson, with Turner, or with anyone. But fixing the wrongs of the past takes time, and learning to forgive herself is damn near impossible.

Buy Links 
Barnes & Noble

Tori's Thoughts: I read Desert Rice in preparation for reading Desert Flower and am glad that I read them in order.  The first book gave me some background and insight into the story that may not have had quite the same punch without reading it.  I liked seeing the strong relationship between Jacob and Sam evolve - in the first book Sam is only twelve, but is wise beyond her years due to her circumstances.  She has lived through sexual abuse, betrayal, murder, but has also learned how strong family bonds can be, even if they are not related by blood. 

 Desert Flower starts out seven years later and her relationship with Carson (a boy who had become her protector in Desert Rice) has changed into a physical one.  Feeling confused, days later she also sleeps with Turner.  This creates one very interesting love triangle.  

I enjoyed that Jacob was still so supportive of Sam, even though he knew about both men in her life.  You also got to learn more about Laura and Boone in this book - they had taken them in in Desert Rice and without owing anybody any obligation have adopted them as their own.  In Desert Flower this relationship solidifies and you see what great people they really are.  

The pace of the book was consistent throughout Desert Rice and Desert Flower.  The story would move along over a period of days and then jump ahead a few weeks - which was confusing at first, but then I came to expect the jumps in time.  This wasn't really my style of book, as I really enjoy fantasy and sci-fi - but I found myself very involved in the story and did not want to stop reading.  I have a feeling there is a third book that could come out of this story.  My mom just told me that she has written a Zombie series and I am really looking forward to reading those!

(Video added by her proud mom. . .  seemed like a good theme song for these books!)

~I received complimentary ecopies of these books from Reading Addiction Blog Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~

About the author: I hear voices. Tiny fictional people sit on my shoulders and whisper their stories in my ear. Instead of medicating myself, I decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it into a book. I’m not crazy. I’m an author. For the most part, I write contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, I found myself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West—and loving it. My zombies don’t sparkle, and they definitely don’t cuddle. At least, I wouldn’t suggest it.

I live on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. I graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of my love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. I can’t spell, and grammar is my arch nemesis. But they gave me the degree, and there are no take backs.

As a child, I never sucked on a pacifier; I chewed on a pencil. I’ve been writing that long. It has only been the past few years that I’ve pursued it professionally, forged relationships with other like-minded individuals, and determined to make a career out of it.

You can subscribe and follow me on my website, where I blog obsessively about my writing process and post updates on my current works. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook, but be forewarned, I tweet and post more than a normal person.

You can connect with Angela at the following places:

Desert Rice
Publisher/Publication Date:  Evolved Publishing, June 2012
ISBN: 9781622538546
225 pages

Desert Flower
Publisher/Publication Date: Evolved Publishing, Jan 2013
ISBN: 9781622538607
216 pages


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