Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop–Win The Steam Mole by Dave Freer


Welcome to my Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop.  This hop runs from March 20th to March 25th and is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.  You can win lots of new reads, so click here for a complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

I am giving away an ARC of The Steam Mole by Dave Freer.

About the book:

Steampunk adventure with an environmental point. After a daring chase across the globe, Tim Barnabas and Clara Calland have brought Clara’s scientist father’s secret formula to Westralia. Here, much of Australia is simply too hot to be habitable by day. Duke Malcolm, of the Imperial Security Service, transports Claras rebel-father to a prison in Eastern Australia, hoping to bait her into attempting a rescue. Clara looks to Tim for help, only to find he has fled a racist incident into the desert. She takes a burrowing machine know as a "steam mole" in search of him. The two head to Eastern Australia, where they discover an invading force with plans to take Westralia.

Just fill out the widget for your chance to win. Earn extra entries for following. US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram and Giveaway!

Since I love this cover, I thought I’d jump on the cover reveal for Kelly Oram’s new book, The Avery Shaw Experiment. Check out the post to learn about her new novel and then enter the giveaway for a chance to win some of Kelly’s books.

Title: The Avery Shaw Experiment
Author: Kelly Oram
Publisher: Bluefields
Format: ebook
Genre: YA contemporary romance
Release Date: May 2013


When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

Teaser One – Avery

Grayson finally noticed Aiden and I on the couch. “What are you two dorks doing?”

“Learning about steroids,” I said cheerfully. “You should probably know that using them can cause acne, testicular atrophy, decreased sperm count, prostate enlargement and gynecomastia.”

Grayson looked rightfully appalled. “Gyneco-what-ia?”

“Enlarged breasts in men,” Aiden translated. “So you should lay off the juice before you have to start borrowing Avery’s bras.”

I gasped at the mention of my underwear and whacked Aiden’s shoulder hard.

Behind me, Grayson laughed. I knew he was about to deliver a comeback, but I refused to look at him. Seconds later his breath was warm on my neck. He whispered just low enough that his mother couldn’t hear what he said. “I like my bras colorful and lacey, Aves. Not sure your collection would do it for me.”

Total mortification. Grayson may be as close as family to me, but he was still one of the hottest, most popular guys in our whole school. Him discussing my bras in that low sexy voice that could stop a girl’s heart on the spot made my lungs constrict. Plus, he was right of course. My bras were all of the plain white cotton variety.

Teaser Two – Grayson

I started to leave the room but she stopped me at the door. “Grayson?” Her tone tugged at something inside me. “You really want to take me with you tonight?”

She sounded so small and unsure of herself. It was how she always sounded at school and around strangers, but never when she was at home with us. I think my brother had really broken her. I was seriously going to have to beat him sometime.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I know I really freaked out on you earlier, but I promise I’ll be fine. Aiden’s right.” She swallowed back a lump in her throat. “I’ll manage without him somehow.”

“Aiden’s a tool. You can learn how to manage tomorrow. Tonight’s New Years Eve and for once in your life you’re going to spend it without Aiden or The Discovery Channel.

I knew I was making progress when she cracked a smile and asked, “What about Whootylicious in 7 B?”

I thought of the luscious booty I’d originally planned on seeing tonight and sighed. “That will be an unfortunate loss, but, like you, I will just have to deal.”

I winked and then decided I’d give her ten minutes before I came back and physically dragged her out of bed.

Other books by Kelly Oram

About Kelly Oram…
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.


Win all four books by Kelly Oram in ebook format. This giveaway is open international, as long as you have a way to open the file.

Must be 13 or older to enter.

Enter via Rafflecopter below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Shot! The Broken Hearted by Amelia Kahaney

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

While the last ballerina book I attempted didn’t have positive results, I’m still open to finding one that works better for me.  The Broken Hearted by Amelia Kahaney has a ballerina with a bionic heart who is a super-hero!  This will either be fantastic or leave me wishing it had been.  Honestly, I’m kind of scared, but I’m eager to read this!

In stores October 2013


A wealthy ballerina living in a heightened, Gotham-like version of Chicago, has her heart broken – literally – and receives a dangerous bionic heart, transforming her into a superhero.

Review: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt


Title: Going Vintage

Author:  Lindsey Leavitt

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to "go vintage" and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma’s list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy’s cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she’ll get it done. Somehow.

Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.


I am definitely torn about Going Vintage.  The premise sounded fun and unique, and I enjoy Lindsey Leavitt’s breezy narrative style.  Once I started reading, though, I had a hard time sympathizing with Mallory.  It’s obvious that she and Jeremy are not a match made in heaven, that their relationship has very little actual substance behind it, and that they are better off looking for someone who they can be themselves with.  It’s not even that either of them is pretending to be someone or something else when they are together,  but they lack the ability to communicate in any meaningful way.  Each of them keeps the most important pieces of themselves closely guarded, reluctantly sharing bits here and there.  Their entire relationship revolves around helping each other with homework, eating lunch together at school, and making out.  These are not the keys to a lasting, committed relationship.

When Mallory discovers that Jeremy has a cyberwife in the online sim game he’s playing, she blows a gasket.  When she discovers that he’s been emailing her in real life, and worse, opening up about himself to this mysterious BubbleYum, she’s had enough.  Jeremy is a tool (which she splashes on his Friendspace page with disastrous results), and she’s done with him and modern technology.  As people online let their feelings about the breakup known, Mallory is so over everything.  To galvanize her new tech free life, she discovers a list that her grandmother created when she was Mallory’s age.  She wonders if her grandmother accomplished her bullet list, and decides that she is going to live life like it’s a simpler time – 1962 to be exact, and complete every item on her grandmother’s list.

I was frustrated with the pacing of this book.  Events moved too slowly for my taste, with Mallory constantly re-iterating her intention to give up technology. No cell phone, no texting, no email, no Google.  Some of her tech-free rules just seemed so silly and arbitrary to me, and since she didn’t really communicate with anyone but her younger sister, giving up her communication options just isolated her even more.   The adults in Mallory’s life didn’t seem to have much time or interest to spare for her, at least not at first.  I was so irritated with the lot of them, especially her mom.

What I did enjoy about Going Vintage is how the important people in Mallory’s life re-forge  lasting, emotional connections with her.  Her family bonds are strengthened, and in the process, she learns that being a teenager in any time isn’t easy.  The same pitfalls exist in any decade.  Everyone has challenges and secret pieces that they don’t want to share.  When Mallory finds out that both her grandmother and her mother have secrets they are hiding, she has to accept that everyone makes mistakes, even the creator of her beloved list.  The romance with Oliver is sweet but a long time in developing.  Because of misconceptions and her rage at Jeremy, Mallory almost misses out on her second chance at love, this time with someone who “gets” her. 

Overall, I enjoyed Going Vintage.  I just wish the List wasn’t mentioned endlessly, and that the pace was a bit less leisurely. 

Grade:  C+ / B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Dana Cameron, Author of Seven Kinds of Hell

Please welcome Dana Cameron to the virtual offices today! Dana is celebrating the release of her new urban fantasy novel, Seven Kinds of Hell.  This is the first book in her new Fangborn series.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Dana Cameron] I’m a writer and recovering archaeologist; a history and science geek, I’ve been lucky enough to have adventures and spin them into fiction.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Seven Kinds of Hell?

[Dana Cameron] Zoe Miller’s an archaeologist and she’s been on the run from her father’s family, who are reputed to be killers. Her own tendency to violence—and the occasional glimpse of fangs in the mirror—has her worried about her sanity. But when her cousin is kidnapped, Zoe is forced to renew family ties and come to grips with her powers: She’s a werewolf and Fangborn, part of a family of vampires, werewolves, and oracles dedicated to protecting humanity. Zoe must her use all of her supernatural abilities against her enemies—human and Fangborn—who seek an artifact of world-ending power.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Dana Cameron] The idea of the Fangborn first came to me writing a short story, “The Night Things Changed,” for Charlaine Harris’ and Toni L.P. Kelner’s Wolfsbane and Mistletoe anthology. In that story, I discovered the Fangborn—vampires, werewolves, and oracles—were secret superheroes, dedicated to fighting evil and protecting humanity. With that in mind, I turned a lot of the traditional conventions about supernatural creatures around, and started work on a Fangborn novel. Zoe entered the picture as the protagonist in an archaeological thriller I was working on at the same time; it was only when I realized that both books were halves of just one book that it all came together.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Zoe?

[Dana Cameron] Smart, curious, loyal.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Zoe had a theme song, what would it be?

[Dana Cameron] When I was writing the archaeological thriller, it was “Help I’m Alive,” by Metric. When that book became an archaeological thriller with Fangborn, Zoe’s theme song became “Artificial Nocturne,” also by Metric.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Zoe is never without.

[Dana Cameron] Her backpack.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Zoe’s bedroom?

[Dana Cameron] She’s always been broke, so I’m going to go with designer clothes, a jewelry box, really nice shoes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Dana Cameron] The right song. The glimpse of an actor in a role I’ve never seen before. An art museum. A good walk. My husband saying, “I dare you.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Dana Cameron] My playlists, a keyboard, and a closed door.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Dana Cameron] I’ve read a lot of great stuff lately, but what came first to me was The Name of the Wind. Patrick Rothfuss really took my breath away with that book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Dana Cameron] I remember reading very early, but the book that said “That! That’s what I need in my life!” was either Nancy Drew and the Secret at Shadow Ranch or Little Women.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Dana Cameron] I love to travel, and try different food and drink wherever I go. I looooove museums. I like going for walks. I’ve also been known to binge re-watch great TV series, like “Battlestar Galactica” or “Sherlock.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Dana Cameron] I love hearing from readers! They can reach me via my website (www.danacameron.com), Facebook, Twitter (@danacmrn), and GoodReads. I also blog with the Femmes Fatales (www.femmesfatales.typepad.com/).

Thank you so much, Julie!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Seven Kinds of Hell from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

About the book:

Archaeologist Zoe Miller has been running from a haunting secret her whole life. But when her cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, Zoe is left with only one option: to reveal herself. Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She’s a werewolf and a daughter of the Fangborn, a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles embroiled in an ancient war against evil. To rescue her cousin, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against the dark and nefarious foe. The hunt brings Zoe to the edge of her limits, and with the fate of humanity and the Fangborn in the balance, life will be decided by an artifact of world-ending power.

About the author:

Whether writing noir, historical fiction, urban fantasy, thriller, or traditional mystery, Dana Cameron draws from her expertise in archaeology. Her fiction (including several Fangborn stories) has won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards and earned an Edgar Award nomination. The first of three novels set in the Fangborn ‘verse, Seven Kinds of Hell, will be released March 12, 2013 by 47North. Dana lives in Massachusetts, USA with her husband and benevolent feline overlords.

Cover Shot! Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Ah! This cover is so awesome! Look at that bulldog!  And Clover is autistic?  I can hardly wait to get my hands on this book!



After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

Interview with Gina Lamm, Author of The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl and Giveaway!

Please welcome Gina Lamm to the blog today!  She is celebrating the release of The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl, which blends video games, time travel, and blistering romance.  After the interview, enter for a chance to win a copy of the book!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Gina Lamm] Gina Lamm is a writer, a gamer, a geek, and a kickass female. She does everything too passionately, and is trying her best to learn control.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl?

[Gina Lamm] I’d love to! Jamie, a modern-day gamer girl, gets ported through a mirror into 1816 London. She tries her best to adjust to the rigid rules, but it doesn’t always go well. Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has decided to settle down with a nice proper miss, but Jamie’s arrival in his home completely screws that up. Through misadventure, passion, and true love, Micah and Jamie find where they truly belong.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Gina Lamm] I wrote what I liked! I’m a gamer and a Regency fan, and the contrast between the two really made me happy. I got to blend two of my favorite things!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Jamie?

[Gina Lamm] Independent, Clever, Passionate

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Micah had a theme song, what would it be?

[Gina Lamm] Something like the Moonlight Sonata, I think. Deep and strong, but full of feeling.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Jamie is never without.

[Gina Lamm] Her cell phone. Even in 1816 England!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Micah’s bedroom?

[Gina Lamm] A laptop, a light bulb, or a USB cable. 🙂 Much to Jamie’s dismay, none of these things are available.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Jamie’s greatest regret?

[Gina Lamm] Believing that her ex was the one. She wasted too much time on him.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Gina Lamm] Books. When I fall into other people’s worlds it makes me remember why I do what I do.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Gina Lamm] A screen, my fingers, and determination! 🙂 I’m not picky other than that.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Gina Lamm] Oddly, Mister Monday by Garth Nix. My brother recommended it, and I really loved it. It was odd and complex and weirdly wonderful.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Gina Lamm] Oh gosh, I can’t remember that far back. I’ve been reading voraciously since I was a little kid!! But I do remember the first romance I fell in love with. Scarlet Butterfly by Sandra Chastain.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Gina Lamm] Game! I play both PC and PS3 games. I love to read, to play with my two crazy dogs, to snuggle with my hubby, and go fishing with my family. My life is so full and wonderful, and I’m very lucky!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Gina Lamm] Tweeting me is always good! I’m @GinaLamm. They can connect with me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/GinaLammAuthor, my website www.ginalamm.net , and Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5278879, too!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Giveway Time!!!

Ready for a chance to win The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl? Just fill out widget below. Earn extra entries by following. US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can order The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl from your favorite bookseller or clicking the links below:


About the book:

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher…

An avid gamer, Jamie Marten loves to escape into online adventure. But when she falls through an antique mirror into a lavish bedchamber—200 years in the past!—she realizes she may have escaped a little too far.

Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has just kicked one mistress out of his bed and isn’t looking to fill it with another—least of all this sassy, nearly naked woman who claims to be from the future. Yet something about her is undeniably enticing…

Jamie and Micah are worlds apart. He’s a peer of the realm. She can barely make rent. He’s horse-drawn. She’s Wi-Fi. But in the game of love, these two will risk everything to win.

Review: Tempted by Trouble by Michelle Smart


Title: Tempted by Trouble

Author: Michelle Smart

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Socialite Pippa Rowantree has always provided excellent fodder for the UK’s gossip rags. After another unfortunate scandal sends the gossips into a feeding frenzy, her shamed family retaliates by forcing her into hiding at old family friend Marco Capello’s lush Caribbean estate—literally the last place on earth she wants to be.As far as Marco’s concerned, wild child Pippa has ruined his life once and he’ll be damned if he lets her do it again. But it’s hard to reconcile the adolescent he knew with the mature, beautiful woman who stands before him. Soon he’s questioning if everything the media is claiming about PIppa is the truth or if he should trust his heart.


I love the premise for Tempted by Trouble.  Pippa is a socialite who has gained notoriety due to her bad behavior.  I have to admit that I was drawn to this book because I was hoping Pippa would be bad.  No such luck.  She’s now the reformed Pippa, working hard to make ends meet and forget about her distant, uncaring father.  She blames her step-mother in part for her father’s rejection of her, and ever since her mother died when she was a young girl, she has been trying to get attention – any kind of attention.  From her father or from Marco Capello,  a family friend.  Marco’s kindness has earned him a crush that just won’t die, and as the years roll by, Pippa thinks up more and more outlandish ways to try to get him to notice her.  Pink hair, loud clothes, bold makeup, and even bolder behavior.  In the folly of her youth, Pippa has become a party animal, and since there’s no one who seems to care, she just spirals faster and faster out of control.

Flash forward to the present.  Twenty-five year old Pippa has left her father’s house and has been working waitress jobs to pay her bills.  She has given up the parties, and she’s given up on her father.  He didn’t want her around when she was a child, so why should she be hurt when he doesn’t want her around now that she’s an adult?  Though she’s striving to put her past behind her, the paparazzi won’t leave her alone.  They stalk her and snap pictures of her every move, plastering lies about her in tabloids, online, and anywhere else they can find the space for their stories.  Because she has a record and has had her share of encounters with the police, she knows that nobody would believe the truth, so she tries to ignore the negative press about her.

After being assaulted by her employer, Pippa finds herself in another mess.  She’s going to be charged with assault, and because her boss was unconscious and bleeding all over the floor, the police don’t believe her story.  Her father bails her out of jail and trundles her off to Marco’s home in the Caribbean, where she’s to stay until her case goes to court.  Battered, bruised, and resigned, Pippa’s welcome to Marco’s home is less than enthusiastic.  He tells her the only reason that he’s agreed to allow her to stay in his house is because his mother asked him to, and because his house is large enough that they shouldn’t have to see each other.  Oh, boy! Someone else who believes all of her  bad press.

I didn’t like Marco at first, and  I was worried that I never would.  He always believed the worst of Pippa, kept flinging her past in her face, and treated her like a child.  He was certain that the assault was her fault, even after seeing the painful and vivid bruises marring her skin.  He was so pompous! So arrogant!  So alpha that I could almost smell the testosterone wafting from my iPad.  Ugh! He was so Italian!  He was the worst of my relatives rolled into one angry character who kept blaming a messed up, lonely kid for his problems.  Ugh! again!  His light bulb moment was almost too late for me to accept his remorse, but when it finally happened, I believed that he realized he had done wrong and that he needed to make up for his poor behavior. 

Pippa, I liked right away.  She’s carrying so much baggage that it’s hard to not feel sorry for her, even though that would be the last thing she would ever want.  She is a fighter and a survivor, and somehow she’s going to make it out of this mess, too.  The thought of going to jail is daunting, but she refuses Marco’s offer to foot the bill for a cut-throat defense attorney.  She doesn’t like to be in anyone’s debt, and she’s damned if she’ll be in his.  While I wanted her to just give in a little and take Marco’s help – after all, she is looking at jail time here – I could understand where she’s coming from.  The men in her life certainly hadn’t treated her well, or given her cause to trust them, so it made sense that she would be wary of accepting his help.

While I wasn’t always a fan of Marco, he did turn around near the end of the book.  Pippa’s emotional and personal troubles are immense, and I thought that the resolution of her relationship with her estranged  father was too simplistic and not convincing.   Still, I found Tempted by Trouble a quick, engrossing read that kept me engaged in the story.  With the warmer weather coming, this would be a great title to toss in your bag for a leisurely afternoon at the beach.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher