March 30, 2012

Interview and Giveaway: Elle Casey author of The Changelings (WAR OF THE FAE: BOOK 1)

Today we have Elle Casey stopping by to chat with us:

1. How did you come up with the concept for this book?
Well, it was a combination of things, actually. The two main characters in the first part of The Changelings, Jayne and Tony, are loosely based on me and a friend of mine in high school (poor Tony - I really did harass him a lot before he finally capitulated). Originally, the book was going to be about runaways that try to earn money by participating in a test in a forest that is a playground for vampires - but when I started to write the story, it evolved on its own and became much bigger than I originally anticipated. My characters took on their own lives and create their own realities. At this point, I just take dictation. They are the bosses of the stories.

2.How did you come up with the names for the characters?
Jayne's name was inspired by the band Breaking Benjamin and their song "Diary of Jane". It's very haunting and really grabs me, every time I hear it; even after hearing it probably over a thousand times. Music and the mysterious lyrics in a lot of songs make me think of the most amazing things sometimes - like what if? Tony is a real person, or at least who he was in high school many years ago.

3.How much are you and the characters alike?
I am much like Jayne. I try to tame the sharper parts of the personality for the outside world, but I don't have to do that in the books. It's very cathartic, actually, to be able to just say whatever you're thinking the way she does. :) So Jayne lives in my head, but she's not me. She's an alter ego of me, maybe.

4. Do you read a lot and what are you reading now?
I used to read a ton, but with all the writing I'm doing, I don't read nearly as much since there aren't enough hours in the day. I'm in the middle of Samantha Young's Fire Spirits series right now.

5. What made you decide to go Young Adult?
I love to read YA books myself and I love the enthusiasm of other readers who enjoy this genre. YA readers, whether actually young adults or older ones, tend to really fall into the stories and live them right along with me. I love their obsessions.

6. How did the cover come about?
I am an indie author, so that means that I have to do all the work of getting my books out myself or finding other professionals to help me. So a book cover artist is an expense I can't really budget for yet. I found some photography that I loved, that I thought carried the emotion and mystery of my stories, and bought a custom font to use with it, and hired someone to put it all together for me.

7. So what is your next project and when is it due out?
War of the Fae: Book 3 will be out this weekend. War of the Fae: Book 4 is next - publish date April 30th. I have just finished my first novella, My Vampire Summer, and that is now part of a 4-novella series. The next one, My Vampire Fall, will come out just before Fall, August or September. Then one new one will be published each season for the next year. I also have plans for a post-apocalyptic series, tentatively titled "Apocaplysis" that I am starting after I finish the 4th War of the Fae title. Then after that, possibly a new series based on the War of the Fae - kind of a continuation of the series, but with a different focus. Tentative title for that series is Clash of the Other worlds. I have some vague ideas for that series, but it's not all congealed yet. Any reader of my books won't have to wait more than a month for a new title to come out. I'm obsessed with writing!

8. Do you have a daytime job or are you a full time writer?
I am a university professor at two universities, one a law school and one an international business school, both in Paris. I work at each, one day a week. So 2 days a week I teach, and 5 days a week I write. I never take a day off. I love writing so much, it's not really work for me.

9. How did you get into writing novels and were you worried about peoples reactions to your books?
I have been writing all my life, but have never finished a full novel until the end of last year, 2011. I had read some articles about people finding success with self-publishing for e-readers and decided it was time for me to finally finish a novel and see what would happen. I've never submitted anything to an agent or publisher because I just figured it was like winning the lottery; and I'm not a very patient person, so the idea of waiting years for a book manuscript to make it through the process was just too depressing for me. Now I am in control of the whole process, and I can put books out in six weeks or less, not a year. It's amazing the way the industry is in the middle of a major revolution right now. Yes, I was worried about people's reactions to my work. Jayne is a strong character and her language worried me. But it's who she is, so I couldn't change her. Plus, while I may be confident in other areas of my life, I need constant validation as a writer. Every piece of fan mail, every good review I receive, it means so very much to me. It keeps me writing.

10. One last thing do you collect anything personally?
It's not much of a collection, but I have several jeweled boxes I love. I also collect books! Oh, and this might be corny, but I've printed out every kind word anyone's ever said about my books and put it in a binder. I read it when I need inspiration. :)

Thank you Elle for stopping by and letting us get to know you better.
Find more of Elle Here:
                                       Enter Giveaway HERE!

Charity Hopping Around the World Hop Giveaway!

The read for your Future book program. This is how it works:  I contact authors and publishers that I think will Donate a book in exchange for a honest review. I then get the book put it on a list and let the students at Franklin High School choose the book. The student that chooses the book then reads the book and writes a review for the book. There are links on my website to lead them through the process. When they are finished with their review they then turn that book into to the librarian at their school. It then gets cataloged and at that point has a new home for years to come. You can send your book to review. Or donate your slightly used YA books.  Just email me at

Now the giveaway-
An Ebook of The Changelings by Elle Casey.
Jayne Sparks, a potty-mouthed, rebellious seventeen-year-old and her best friend, shy and bookish Tony Green, have a pretty typical high school existence, until several seemingly unrelated incidents converge, causing a cascade of events that change their lives forever. Jayne and Tony, together with a group of runaway teens, are hijacked and sent into a forest, where nothing and no one are as they seem. Who will emerge triumphant? And what will they be when they do?

March 25, 2012

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

She  is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.
Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

What if you fell in love with someone you weren't suppose to fall in love with? What if your love for each other was so strong and so pure, you knew in your heart there would never be anyone else? What if you happen to fall in love with your brother or sister? For Maya and Lochan that's exactly what happened. As morbid and disgusting as it may be it does happen more often then you realize. For me, despite the fact that they are siblings I still felt this was one of the most beautiful love stories doomed for an unhappy ending. There are many topics I think authors steer clear of due to being destined to fail. Tabitha Suzuma pulls off the subject of incest in a very beautiful and captivating way. Now let me make myself clear, I find incest disgusting and would never think of any of my family that way. But to have it in a story this way was just.....amazingly done. The author held my attention from the very beginning. By the end I was curled up on my couch crying like a baby. This story truly captured my heart. And even though they were destined to have a bad ending, I still felt myself rooting for them. This story is not for young adults. There is too much sexual content. And quite frankly incest sexual content is not for everyone. You need to be mature to handle this book. Words that come to mind are beautiful, disturbing, captivating, insane, heartbreaking. This book was destined to have a gut twisting, heartbreaking ending. I just never thought..... Bravo Tabitha Suzuma!

Reviewer Rating: 5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Sarah


Review: Level Up by Gene Luen Yang, Thien Pham

New York Times Notable Children's Book (Young Adult) for 2011 Smackdown!
                                                 Video Games vs. Medical School!
Which will win the battle for our hero’s attention in Gene Luen Yang’s new graphic novel?
Dennis Ouyang lives in the shadow of his parents’ high expectations. They want him to go to med school and become a doctor. Dennis just wants to play video games—and he might actually be good enough to do it professionally.
But four adorable, bossy, and occasionally terrifying angels arrive just in time to lead Dennis back onto the straight and narrow: the path to gastroenterology. It’s all part of the plan, they tell him. But is it? This powerful piece of magical realism brings into sharp relief the conflict many teens face between pursuing their dreams and living their parents’.
Partnered with the deceptively simple, cute art of newcomer Thien Pham, Gene Yang has returned to the subject he revolutionized with American Born Chinese. Whimsical and serious by turns, Level Up is a new look at the tale that Yang has made his own: coming of age as an Asian American.

It is a very good book. It gives a good lesson and shows what addictions can do. I also believe it says WORK HARD!

Publisher-First Second                     
Reviewers Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Brett Ball (Student at Franklin High School)
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Review: The Temptation (Kindred #1) by Alisa Valdes

is touch was electric.
His eyes were magnetic.
His lips were a temptation....
But was he real?
After crashing her car on an empty highway, Shane is miraculously saved by Travis, a mysterious cowboy who walks out of nowhere. She is instantly attracted to him, and for the first time, she believes in “soul mates.” But Shane soon discovers that Travis is dead and that strict rules from the Underworld govern kindred spirits of different dimensions. Breaking these rules could destroy both their souls. And while Travis is almost impossible to resist, temptation proves to be the kindest enemy they encounter.
Can true love surpass the power of pure evil? Part love story, part supernatural thriller, this first book in the Kindred trilogy will leave readers lusting for more!

 WOW.... What a Great book!!! I have had the good fortune to read & review a lot of good books lately, this one stands above most. It is one of those books that surprise you at every twist and turn. Full of action. A very imaginative storyline. The author has a way of getting you rooting for the good guys with all your emotions. The story is written with such beautiful detail. A strong, intelligent, valiant "Good Girl" type of main character. Just goes to show you there is constantly an on-going struggle between good & evil, with our souls hanging in the balance. I was very impressed with this story and the way it was presented. I can not wait to read the sequel!! Highly recommended. I would give it 4 3/4 stars if I could!!

                    Publisher-HarperCollins Publishers                     
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~


Review: Death Sentence (Escape From Furnace #3) by Alexander Gordon Smith

Alex's second attempt to break out of Furnace Penetentiary has failed. This time his punishment will be much worse than before. Because in the hidden, bloodstained laboratories beneath the prison, he will be made into a monster. As the warden pumps something evil into his veins--a sinisterly dark nectar--Alex becomes what he most fears . . . a superhuman minion of Furnace. How can he escape when the darkness is inside him? How can he lead the way to freedom if he is lost to himself?
This is a really great book.
It is well written.
While i was reading it i was able to visualize what it was like being in the shoes of the main character. Reading this book was like watching a movie on the book. It was wonderful

Publisher-Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Reviewer Rating: 5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Syra Chambers
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Review: Changing My Wardrobe by Deb Hanrahan

Lindsey, a high school freshman, views her new school as a place to start over. With the help of her friends, she hopes that a change in her wardrobe will prompt a change in her image. She has some success until her long-time nemesis, Avery, reminds Lindsey of her place. Without asking for help from the adults, the main character and her friends struggle to manage the bullying. Despite their efforts, tensions rise, and people get hurt. The ending of this book will leave the reader shocked and heartbroken.
Changing My Wardrobe is a cautionary tale about the immutable problem of bullying. This story not only looks at bullying from the victim's point of view but also explores the motives behind the aggressors’ actions. Changing My Wardrobe demonstrates the fluid and complex nature of bullying by shining a light on the contributing factor of social media.

Omg this book was great. I really related to it because or her moving aropund her dad not being in the picture. Changing schools and having to change ur ownself to fit ur new school and neighbor hood.

Publisher-Philyra Publishing
Reviewer Rating:4.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Sierra Wells(Student at Franklin High School)
~Thank you to the author for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Review: Savor (Warm Delicacy #1) by Megan Duncan

When Claire Miller turned eighteen all she wanted to do was celebrate her birthday, but after a night on the town with her best friend she awakes to a visitor she never expected. The rulers of her region, a vampire royal family, have chosen her to be turned as their new heir and vampire princess. Claire quickly discovers the royal family is not what they seem and that she has secrets in her past, she never knew existed.

Savor was an ok book for me. I love vampire books but it just wasn't for me and i really don't know why. It just took me for ever to read.

Reviewer Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by~Sierra Wells (Student at Franklin High School)
~Thank you to the author for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Review: The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

I  wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.I didn't get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren't any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I'd cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William's younger brother.Good thing he's sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he's from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.Still, there's something about him that's making my eyes go star-crossed....

This book is an amazing book. I liked it so much because it was like romeo and Juliet but in modern times and it had romeos brother come to the future. It was amazing because I love reading Shakespeare and this book made me cry because it was emotional and very upbeat too!!! I recommend this book for and teenager in love!!!

Publisher-Harlequin Teen
Reviewers Rating: 5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Sierra Wells (Student at Franklin High School)
~Thank you to the author for the donation of this book to the Read for your future book program!~

Review: LIE by Caroline Bock

Everybody knows, nobody’s talking. . . .
Seventeen-year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she’s the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she’s seen, but how long can she keep it up?
But Jimmy was her savior. . . .
When her mother died, he was the only person who made her feel safe, protected from the world. But when she begins to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, one of the victims, steps up to demand justice, she starts to have second thoughts about protecting Jimmy. Jimmy’s accomplice, Sean, is facing his own moral quandary. He’s out on bail and has been offered a plea in exchange for testifying against Jimmy.
The truth must be told. . . .
Sean must decide whether or not to turn on his friend in order to save himself. But most important, both he and Skylar need to figure out why they would follow someone like Jimmy in the first place.

This book is very moving. It shows all sides of the story when there is a terrible accident. It doesn't just show one side and make you infer about how everyone in the story feels. This book shows you that sometimes, even when the person is supposed to be a leader, people aren't who we think they are.

Publisher-St. Martin's Griffin                     
Reviewers rating: 5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Destiny Beaudoin (Student at Franklin High School)
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your future book program!~

March 24, 2012

Review: Fever(The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.
The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.
In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

 Let me start off by saying... I was expecting more from this second book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy. The storyline was a little wishy-washy and loosely fit together. Also, it had a few slow spots. Not to mention the couple of completely dead ones. In turn the author tried to over compensate with the rest of the story. Some parts were ok... while others just went into a monologue. There are only so many ways to describe the same event. It's a little "racy" for High School students. Especially, with all the sexuality and drug abuse going on in it. It takes a long journey for Rhine to end up right back where she started to begin with. Maybe, I just don't get the world in which she lives. A lot of weird & disturbing experiments go on. With little or no Hope, it's no wonder she just accepts the things happening to and around her. A very different main character than in the first book. Not nearly as likable, really kind of weak. Not sure if I'll read the next installment or not. Maybe, in the hopes of a better story. 

Publisher-Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Reviewer Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your future book program!~