Spotlight and Giveaway–Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins



Stir Me Up
Release Date: 10/01/13
Harlequin Teen
 
Summary from Goodreads:
Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She’ll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father’s French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami’s family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Julian’s all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami’s starting to feel. And Cami can’t stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He’s got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….
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Interview with Jenny Brigalow, author of Children of the Mist

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Jenny!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jenny Brigalow] I’m a mum, a writer, a dreamer, a chocoholic and a hopeless romantic.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Children of the Mist?

[Jenny Brigalow] COTM is a Young Adult paranormal with a strong romantic element. It’s about skater girl Morven Smith who turns sixteen and develops boobs, acute appendicitis and a pair of pointy teeth. Whilst she is stunned by her metamorphosis into vampire, her best mate, the enigmatic Zest, is not. For the young werewolf it’s the answer to a prayer. He’s been alone for a long time. But when fate conspires to push them apart, Zest is filled with dread. In Scotland Morven will discover the truth of an ancient feud. Must the past always repeat itself? And, in the end, can they both survive?

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Review: The Lair by Emily McKay

The Lair

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

When I was contacted about participating in the blog tour for The Lair, I hesitated.  I had tried to read The Farm last summer, but there was so much going on in my life that I had give up and return it to the library.  I thought the premise sounded interesting,  though, and I love post-apocalyptic reads, so I thought What the heck?  Sure, I’ll give it a try.  Let me say that The Lair can be read by itself.  I was only confused a few times, and the author did a nice job recapping the previous book, without the references feeling awkward or out of place.  As someone who hates to read books out of order, or hates starting a series in the middle, I never felt that nagging burst of frustration with The Lair, and I don’t regret reading book two without having first read book one.  I guess I should try this more often with longer series that I’m interested in, but that seem too overwhelming to start at the beginning.

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Spotlight and Giveaway: Alchemy by Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West

Alchemy by Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West
457 pages
YA, paranormal

"Do you want me to be dangerous?" he asked, his voice husky and low.
I gulped, and for a moment I was incapable of speech. But he was quiet, waiting. "No. I don’t."
"Then I’m not dangerous at all," he murmured. His gaze moved from my eyes to my mouth. "You’ve never been safer than you are at this moment." I shivered as his breath tickled my skin. Our lips were mere millimeters apart when the sky shattered in a kaleidoscope of colored light.
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Cheap Reads for Your Kindle! Books for a Stormy October Night

Here are some inexpensive reads for your Saturday night.  If the weather in your area is like mine, you are probably going to want to stay in this evening.  We are expecting thunderstorms to roll through, and it has been cloudy and overcast all day long.

The Rise of Renegade X rocks, and I highly recommend it, even though at $3.99 it’s the priciest book listed below.  The rest are $1.99.

The Rise of Renegade X (Renegade X, Book 1)

Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she’s been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father’s too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he’s not a hero in any way, or else he’s stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.
To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad’s "flying lessons" that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city–despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights–thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she’s his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.

I just saw a listing for the sequel  The Trials of Renegade X (Renegade X, Book 2), which released last month. I will be grabbing it as soon as I have some room in my reading schedule.

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Interview with Jennifer Kloester, Author of The Cinderella Moment

Please give a warm welcome to Jennifer Kloester! She’s here to talk about her new release The Cinderella Moment.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] I’m an adventure-loving book addict with a passion for writing. I love karate, Paris and my garden. I believe in kindness and integrity.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Cinderella Moment?

[Jennifer Kloester] It’s a contemporary novel set in New York and Paris with a 16 year-old heroine who dreams of being a fashion designer. She’s entering a fashion design competition called the Teen Couture but when things go wrong she has to go to Paris and masquerade as her best friend. It’s all fashion, glitz and high society, and of course nothing turns out as she expected – especially after she meets a gorgeous guy who thinks she’s someone else!  

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

[Jennifer Kloester] I was living in the Middle East and read a story in a magazine about these girls who were in Paris  for a grand ball and my heroine Angel and her dream of winning the Teen Couture just fell into my head fully formed. I knew she wanted more than anything to be a fashion designer and that her mom was a housekeeper and her best friend the daughter of the mega-rich family her mom worked for and the story just grew from there. Funnily enough, I didn’t realise just how many links to the original Cinderella story there were in my book until I’d finished it!

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

[Jennifer Kloester] passionate, determined,romantic

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

[Jennifer Kloester] Adele’s version of "Promise This"

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

[Jennifer Kloester] A sketchbook.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] A car key cause she hasn’t got her license yet and who drives in New York anyway?

A credit card – maybe one day when she can afford it.

Pepper spray – Angel’s not afraid of boys, she just hasn’t met one she really likes – yet!

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

[Jennifer Kloester] Other books, other writers – as Stephen Kings says – ‘if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.’ All kinds of music and the things people say – I love listening to people’s words and conversations – you never know where the next big idea will come from.  

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

[Jennifer Kloester] Time, a pen or laptop, discipline (is that four things?)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on The Cinderella Moment?

[Jennifer Kloester] My family (immediate and extended) and household chores that suddenly became much more appealing than usual!

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

[Jennifer Kloester] "The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" I loved it because it was clever, had memorable characters, and it made me laugh.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] When I was six I read "The Good Master’ by Kate Seredy. I still remember it vividly.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] I love karate and got my black belt last year. Training in the martial arts is the perfect contrast sitting at my computer all day. I also love gardening and the beach. I’d say travel but I usually write when I’m travelling – so much great material.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] I’m on Twitter (I love Twitter) @jenkloester, via email jenkloester@gmail.com and on my Facebook author page JenniferKloesterAuthor – I’ve also had letters from readers via my publishers (Penguin Aus, Sourcebooks & Swoon Romance) which is awesome fun. I love hearing from readers and will always reply.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link

 

About the book:

Let the masquerade begin!
Angel Moncoeur has always wanted to be a fashion designer, but without money or connections, it’s going to be a challenge. When an opportunity to leave her home in New York and head to Paris appears, Angel grabs it – even if it means masquerading as her best friend Lily. That can’t be too hard, can it? But when she falls in love with her very own Prince Charming who thinks she’s someone else, Angel embarks on a plan to secure her happily ever after.
THE CINDERELLA MOMENT is a fabulously fun story about high society, mistaken identity, love, betrayal, friendship – and great clothes

About the author:

Jennifer Kloester is passionate about books and writing. She is the author of two books on the bestselling historical novelist Georgette Heyer: Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller. The Cinderella Moment is her first novel. She is currently writing the sequel The Rapunzel Dilemma. In her spare time Jennifer loves to travel and train in karate.

Meet Katie From Laura Bickle’s The Outside

Please welcome special guest Katie to the virtual offices! Katie is on the run for her life, hiding from the undead.  Hopefully, they haven’t followed her here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Katie} Faltering, but not yet broken.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your typical day like?

[Katie} Before the end of the world, I had a peaceful Amish life. I worked on my parents’ farm. I raised Golden Retriever puppies and helped take care of my little sister, Sarah. There was plenty of work to be done: tending the garden, working the crops, feeding the cattle, cooking, laundry, and cleaning. But it kept me busy, and for the most part kept my mind from wandering to all the interesting things that must be in the outside world: comic books, Coca-Cola, jeans, and make-up.

But after…after the end of the world…I am on my own. I’ve been exiled from my community. With my two friends, Alex and Ginger, we search for other survivors by day. By night, we try to fight and outrun the vampires. We eat whatever we can scavenge and try to find safe places to sleep. Winter’s coming, and there’s less and less food as it grows colder.

I miss home.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Katie} I know that my parents would want me to regret being shunned in the first place. Fearing contagion, the Elders made a rule that no one was to come in our community, and no one was allowed out. But I found Alex, an injured man, just beyond my fence. I brought him into our barn to heal.

I know that my parents would want me to say that I regret this, and that I regret falling in love with him. But I don’t.

The thing that I regret is not being able to make my family and my community understand what terrible evil was coming, that it could affect us just as much as it has the outside world. They didn’t believe me then. But I know that they do now.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s the one thing do you prize above all others?

[Katie} Of all things, certainly my faith. Though I wrestle with knowing that God has chosen not to intervene in this evil that has spread over the earth, I still treasure it.

In terms of material things? The only thing I really have is the Himmelsbrief my village Hexenmeister created for me. It is a letter to God, a beautiful and powerful thing. It deters the vampires, and I credit it with my survival so far.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think the world has become such a dangerous place?

[Katie] I have heard many explanations for this. My village Hexenmeister has said that the Darkness has always been with us. He says that it was with us even in the Old Country. He remembers the old ways of dealing with the Darkness: with stakes and fire and sunlight. People believed in it then, and struck it down before it had the chance to take root.

Others tell me that it is a scientific evil. That something has crawled out of a radioactive experiment in a place half a world away. Chernobyl? I can’t remember what it was called. Some think that a meteor fell. Others think that it is a virus.

I don’t know the answer. All I know is that there is Darkness and light, and that one must choose a side.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think you have survived, while so many others have not?

[Katie} Alex says that it’s because I’m used to being without modern conveniences: that I know how to make my way without electricity, cars, and telephones. I know what’s edible in the forest and which animal tracks to follow and which to avoid.

I think it’s partially because of the Himmelsbrief. Without it, I would have been devoured long before.

And it’s also because I am not truly alone. I have my friends, Alex and Ginger. We have a horse and have just been joined by a wolf. The wolf is good with hunting…more dog than wolf. He is good with finding chickens, and he shares what he finds.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Katie} No more blood and Darkness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Katie} Thank you so much!

Purchase link:

About the book:

One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.
And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

Interview with Kelly Fiore, Author of Taste Test

[Manga Maniac Café] Please welcome Kelly Fiore to the virtual offices this morning!

[Kelly Fiore] Thanks so much for having me!

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

[Kelly Fiore] I’m an author, mother & former high school teacher. I love Hair Metal (think Def Leppard) & baking. I’m obsessed w/my Fiat 500 & I’m a sucker for movies with James McAvoy.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Taste Test?

[Kelly Fiore] Sure – TASTE TEST is about a high school senior named Nora who applies to be a contestant on Taste Test, which is a show like Top Chef but for teenagers. Nora gets on the show, but has to leave her best-friend-and-maybe-more, Billy, behind, along with her dad and the barbecue business she loves. When she gets to the set of the show, Nora’s faced with a snotty roommate named Joy and an infuriating fellow contestant named Christian. Christian is super-competitive and, of course, super-hot – and that only makes Nora dislike him even more. As Nora gets further into the competition, secrets and mysteries begin to surface – there is a huge scandal bubbling just below the surface, a scandal that could bring down another contestant and maybe even a judge. Nora is determined to reveal this dramatic twist to the producers of the show, but when accidents start happening in the kitchen, she realizes she’s got bigger problems after all. Nora needs to dig a little deeper to find out the truth about what’s happening on the Taste Test set – before she becomes a victim, too.

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

[Kelly Fiore] There are certain shows that have characters with great chemistry and sexual tension – the Pacey/Joey factor is what I like to call it (for those of you who don’t know, Pacey and Joey were two of the characters on the 1990’s show Dawson’s Creek.) Blair and Chuck from Gossip Girl are another great example. I really tried to emulate that frustrating but satisfying relationship between Nora and Christian.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Nora?

[Kelly Fiore] Competitive, Sassy, and Loyal

[Manga Maniac Café] If Christian had a theme song, what would it be?

[Kelly Fiore] That is a GREAT question! That might be the best one I’ve been asked!

I think Christian is the type of guy who would have a playlist, like in the locker room – how athletes play certain songs to psych themselves up. I feel like AC/DC “Back in Black” would be a good bet, but also something like “Can’t Deny It” by Fabolous. Something with a lot of “smack talk” to it.

[Manga Maniac Café] Name one thing Nora is never without.

[Kelly Fiore] She has two pictures that she brings with her from home – one of her and her dad and one of her with her best friend, Billy. In some ways, she’s never without those two people, even though they’re far away from her. She learns to respect her roots and the culture she grew up in – I know that’s not really a tangible thing, but it’s definitely something she carries with her.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things will you never find in Nora’s kitchen?

[Kelly Fiore] Another fantastic question! In Nora’s kitchen, you’ll never find something fancy taking the place of something simple. No lobster, no caviar, no fois gras – she’d much rather cook ribs, potatoes, and corn on the cob!

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

[Kelly Fiore] In terms of YA, my greatest writing influences are YA authors I admire – there are so many great writers out there. Some of the books that I find most inspiring are Liar by Justine Larbeleister, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King, and Teach Me by RA Nelson. As a writer in general, poetry is what helped me establish my writing style and my voice. I have an MFA in poetry and it was my first love – I feel like poetry taught me how to tighten my prose and be more expressive in an abbreviated space.

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

[Kelly Fiore] Coffee, noise in the background (usually the TV), and natural light. I work best around lots of windows!

[Manga Maniac Café] What was your biggest distraction while working on Taste Test?

[Kelly Fiore] The internet. Ugh – social networking is SO my downfall. It’s far too easy to get sucked into the lives of other people instead of creating the lives on the page.

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

[Kelly Fiore] The Fault of our Stars by John Green is absolutely as good as everyone says it is, and it was probably the last book I read that really blew me away.

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

[Kelly Fiore] The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It was such a clever, magical world and I was totally enamored with the way Juster described his characters and settings. It’s such a great story – so creative.

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

[Kelly Fiore] I spend most of my time with my husband and son – we love going on road trips and going hiking. I love to cook and try to do it as much as possible, although it’s admittedly less often when I’m working on a book!

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

[Kelly Fiore] Follow me on Twitter! I’m @kellyannfiore – I would love to talk to readers! You can also find me on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/KellyFioreYAAuthor or at my website, www.kellyfiorewrites.com.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

About the book:

If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good.


With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.