Author Spotlight: David Estes

This month I have the pleasure of spotlighting David Estes. As for you Homeland buffs, no not that Estes. This month we will be enjoying the work and the pleasure of getting to know the author of both Children’s and YA literature.

David Estes

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children’s and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David’s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

Estes has surpassed his one million word count in a total of 14 novels both published and soon to be released. He is very social and can be constantly spotted on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook. With that being said, be sure to add him and say hello. We have some great things planned for you this month. Including book reviews, giveaways, interviews and a guest post. David, thank you for allowing us to spotlight you!

Book Review + Giveaway: Immortal Mine

Immortal MineTitle: Immortal Mine

Author: Cindy C. Bennett

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Niahm (pronounced Neeve) Parker is thoroughly content with her life in the small town of Goshen. Her parents, who travel frequently for their work, have raised a headstrong, independent teen. While her peers can hardly wait for the opportunity to leave, Niahm plans to stay forever.

When Shane Coleman and his nephew Sam move into town, it’s the biggest event to happen in as long as anyone can remember. It’s quite remarkable for anyone to move into Goshen rather than out, but when it’s discovered that Sam is 17, it requires some serious burning of the phone lines. All the teen girls are thrilled to have a new hottie in town—all except Niahm. Sam Coleman represents a threat to her perfect way of life.

Sam is drawn to Niahm against his will. He’d prefer to not be bound to this angry, stubborn, unlikeable girl. Unfortunately, he has no choice. However, Sam didn’t plan on falling for Niahm. For Immortals, love is not only forbidden, but dangerous for her. He finds himself in a fight not only for Niahm’s heart, but to protect her from being harmed by those who seek to destroy Sam and those like him.

Niahm finds herself attracted to the tall, copper-headed boy, who becomes her friend and then her support when tragedy strikes. Soon, she begins to realize that there may be more to Sam than she ever suspected… much more. But what he truly is, she can’t begin to imagine.

My Review: Niahm is a self-sufficient 17-year-old who has been taking care of herself and her farm while her parents travel the world. She loves her hometown of Goshen and pretty much has her life planned out. People moving into this small town is unheard of. But when it is found out that these two guys are hot and single- one a teenager and one an adult, the whole town goes out to meet them. Niahm and Sam get off on the wrong food. It’s all pretty silly but man do they seem to hate each other. They are so focused on the tension they hardly see the sparks flying.

The book is pretty good. I enjoyed it and it turned out to be more than I expected. It’s addictive and felt very real. I laughed, cried and fell in love. Also, I would get so caught up in the book (with the characters, emotions, storyline) I would forget myself. I would catch myself, look around and realize I was actually reading and not watching a film or something. This was the book for me. An amazing escape that keeps you guessing and is addictive.

Niamh is a relatable character. She is head strong and self-contained and a good mixture of strong and vulnerable. Sam is a total sweetheart. He lacks the ability to think things through but he is patient and loving and sweet. Sam and Niamh make a great couple. Honestly though, all the characters in this novel are great.

Reading a story about immortals, I expected it to be generic and along the lines of: boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall irrevocably in love. Boy reveals inhuman-ous to girl. She may or may not freak out. She gets over it.They live happily ever after. I expected this. I thought I knew where the story was headed. Honestly I found that it followed my blueprint to a point then I was left not knowing what to expect. I found the pacing slowed alot on a couple of parts but even that did little to deter me from this read.

I found this book to be great. I loved many things in this novel: the romance, the characters, the action… But above all, the ending was amazing. I found that it ended well but with a few questions in the air. Cindy, if you ever write a sequel for Immortal Mine you can count me in on the list of readers who will be anxious to get her hands on it.

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway: For a chance to win an ebook copy of this great novel, be sure to enter this Rafflecopter giveaway by Clicking Here

Book Review + Giveaway: Geek Girl

Geek GirlTitle: Geek Girl

Author: Cindy C. Bennett

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Blurb: “Think I can turn that boy bad?” 17-year-old Jen turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek Trevor into someone like her. Instead, the goth girl finds herself sucked into his world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even-ugh!-bowling. To truly belong with him-and with her new foster family-she must first come to terms with her violent past.

My Review I’ll start by saying that I read this novel a little over a month ago and as the emotion is not fresh in my mind all I have is my notes to go off of. For those of you who tend to enjoy my long, emotion filled rants- I apologize. 🙂

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect with this book. Lets see: It has great overall reviews and seems to be one of the novels Bennett is best known for. I went into this novel not really knowing what to expect but with high expectations. After all, I have read and loved a few of Bennett’s other novels. With that being said, I was not at all disappointed.

Geek Girl is a pretty amazing novel about a girl with a tragic childhood who finds herself a young adult lost in the pain of her upbringing. Jen is a total goth who attempts to turn the schools golden boy “bad” after a dare brought out of boredom. In the beginning of the novel, the book was all high school drama with all of its drama and gossip. Which in truth, I’m usually bored by but Bennett managed to make it entertaining. I also found myself constantly wondering what would happen next. Geek Girl turned out to be quite the roller coaster ride of the reader not knowing what to expect and loving every minute of it.

Trevor, Jen’s love interest is amazing. He is… wow. One of those guys you would clone if you could and bring home to meet your parents. He is an all around amazing guy. Well Jen didn’t account for him being such a great guy and finds herself drawn to him. The romance is beautiful and their relationship is absolutely heart warming.

Bennett is apparently fluent in geek and some references I was familiar with while I found myself being educated on others. I guess I’m not the geek I thought myself to be. 🙂 I found Geek Girl to be perfect reading for anyone. It’s greatly addictive and the romance is quite beautiful. The character developement is realistic and the read is emotional. This novel has a great pace and if my 5 stars wasn’t enough of an indication, I absolutely loved this novel.

*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway: For a chance to fall in love and see just how great this book is, be sure to Click Here. As one lucky person will walk away with a ebook copy of this novel. Good luck!

Blog Tour: Rapunzel Untangled

Rapunzel Blog Tour Banner

rapunzel untangledTitle: Rapunzel Untangled

Author: Cindy C. Bennett

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

    Fab Fane Fannigan: Are you saying you live at GOTHEL MANSION???
    RG: My mother calls it Gothel Manor, so maybe that’s different?
    Fab Fane Flannigan: No, Rapunzel, there’s only one that I know of. It has to be the same. So you live in the tower?
    RG: Uh, the tower? I don’t know. Is it a tower?
    Fab Fane Flannigan: Yes, it is. I know where it is. Rapunzel, promise me one thing.
    RG: Okay.
    Fab Fane Flannigan: Don’t Google your house.

Rapunzel is not your average teenager. For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is. Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

My Review: It is rare when I find a blurb that so well captures the essence of the novel while giving such an accurate synopsis as this one does. Rapunzel Untangled takes the original fairytale, flips it on it’s head and does something magical while not losing sight of the classic. I tend to be a pretty emotional reader but was shocked at how much I loved this novel. Seriously, you should see my notes while reading. I love, I love, I love… Every sentence seems to start that way. So prepare yourself for lots of gushing and a pretty good sales pitch (pats self on back) as to why you should go out and pick up a copy of this novel.

I assume everyone knows Rapunzel in some form. Bedtime stories, movies, literarture, cartoons, heresay… Haha the list is endless. Well this novel starts much the way one would expect. You know, evil witch of a woman keeping Rapunzel prisoner in a tower. But then Bennett does something. She makes it a story all her own and it turns into this dark, magical story that leaves you unawares and completely captivated.

The characters were very realistic and I love Bennetts insight and attention to detail. Rapunzel for example is a blissfully innocent character. As the blind is taken from her eyes and she is exposed to the world it is done in a practical, funny way. And there is one of the things on the “I love list”- the humor. It is casual but pure genius. As were the emails shared between Rapunzel and her love interest: Fane. Ok, so back to Rapunzel’s innocence I loved how she starts to see her “mother’s” true colors. How it takes her seeing geniune emotions in someone else for her to realize how fake her mother’s are.

As for villians this book has it in spades and in my mind would rival that of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie or don’t understand the reference just expect great plot twists and to see the genius of a great villian.

Now, this is going to sound weird but the book is so pretty. Yes I like the cover, and is the first thing that drew me to the novel, but that’s not at all what I’m talking about. The font, the presentation, the beginning of every chapter is like a feast for the eyes. It’s beautiful and it adds to the fairytale feel of it.

So what can you expect from Rapunzel Untangled besides an amazing retelling of a classic fairytale? Romance, friendship, intrigue and to be swept off of your feat with a story that will capture your attention and keep it. It’s different, suspenseful and new while maintaining the essence that is Rapunzel.

*I recieved a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review

Now, for a chance to win a copy of this novel and see if all this gushing is about enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway. And don’t forget to visit other blogs participating in the Blog Tour to see interviews, book reviews, guest posts and many more giveaways.

About The Author: Cindy Bennett
Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She and her husband – who happens to be her high-school sweetheart – raised two sons and two daughters. She’s now blessed with two daughters-in-law as well. She developed a love of writing in high school when a teacher introduced her to the joys of escaping reality for ten minutes each day in writing.
When she’s not writing, reading, or answering emails (notice there’s no mention of cleaning, cooking, or anything remotely domestic), she can often be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home. (Yes, she rides a Harley.)

December BotM Giveaway Winner

I am happy to announce that the winner of our December BotM Giveaway of a $10 Amazon gift card is Duks. Congrats! Thank you to all who entered.

Truly, I have learned why everyone raves about Rafflecopter. They are truly the way to go. With that being said, don’t forget that there are still a few days to enter the giveaway to win one of four ebook copies of James Agee’s Jr’s Mask City. If you haven’t entered or are looking to get a last minute entry be sure to click here.

Also as an update, there will be no January BotM Giveaway or Author Spotlights. However, I plan to be back in full swing in February…

Once again, Congrats Duks!

Spotlight Interview: Dianne Gray

As many of you know, the lovely Dianne Gray is our Spotlighted Author. She has granted me this great interview and I hope you guys enjoy it! Be sure to stop by one of her pages (listed below) and say ‘Hello’. 🙂

Q: Can you give us a quick summary of who you are?
If I go by my twitter profile I am “Author, dream catcher magician and writer of The Everything Theory”
So I guess you could classify me as an author. I have five novels under my belt. Three of these have won national or international writing awards. My latest novel The Eleventh Question was published in late October and (as far as I know) it hasn’t been put forward for any awards. I say ‘as far as I know’ because when ‘Soul’s Child’ won the You Write On Book of the Year Award in September, I actually had no idea it was in the running! It was a fantastic surprise.
I’ve been published by Harper Collins, Harlequin and Ginninderra Press – but in 2011 I decided to get into self-publishing. I found this gave me a lot more freedom to write what I please, when I please and how I please and I’ve never looked back! My writing is very flexible. I write about anything I’m interested in or thinking about at the time and I don’t stick to a particular genre. It may sound selfish, but I write for myself and not to an audience. If the audience reads and likes my work, it’s the icing on the cake for me. I’ve always been a great believer in keeping true to what’s in your heart and not looking outside for what you think other people will like. You’re never going to be able to please everyone, so you’re better off doing what YOU like.

Last week I ‘gave up my day job’ to pursue my dream of writing full-time. Normally, I would take a long holiday once a year to just focus on writing, but now I can spend all my time getting those new ideas out of my head and onto paper.

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned about being a writer in your 16 year career as one?
1. Never give up. I know this sounds clichéd, but it is so true. I remember when I entered one of my short stories into a small local writing competition. It came nowhere – but I knew it was a great story. Instead of throwing my hands in the air and giving up on that story I entered it into a big international competition. I was shocked when it won, but it just goes to show that different people like different things and just because someone doesn’t like a story it doesn’t mean it’s not a good story and that no one will like it. That’s the beauty of writing, as long as you like what you do and have faith in your craft, you will always be on the right track.
2. People will love and hate your writing. There’s not a soul alive that has ever written a book that everyone loves. Take all critiques for what they are worth and move on. Remember that an opinion is just that and someone’s opinion doesn’t make you a greater or lesser person.

Quick Five
1. Favorite Novel: Midnight’s Children
2. Favorite Musician: David Gray
3. Favorite Quote: It’s easier to walk through life if you’re not nailed to a cross (from my short story “Corrugated Dreaming”)
4. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Lead-lighting
5. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? Oscar Wilde

Q: If you can have one lasting impression on your readers what would you want it to be?
I like to encourage people to think. When I write a novel or a short story there is always something included that encourages thought. I want people to come away from reading my work with a new thought or a new idea in their head.

Q: Lastly, being that you are now in the Spotlight, are there any parting thoughts you would like to share?
I’d like to say thank you to all those who are reading this post. I really hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Q: Where can readers follow you?
Twitter “Zigotide” Facebook “Dianne Gray Author” and (of course) “WordPress”.

Book Review + Giveaway: The Eleventh Question

Title: The Eleventh Question

Author: Dianne Gray

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Blurb: The first ten questions have already been asked. Who will ask the eleventh?

Fifteen-year-old Arista McGregor is in trouble – she is being bullied at school, her mother is put into rehab and she is sent to live with a foster carer. The foster carer is a vet and Arista isn’t what you would call an animal lover, in fact she’s terrified of the things. Like any teenager she asks questions, but the difference with Arista is that her questions may spark a chain of events that will change the world forever.

My Review: It all starts with “Who am I?”

It is the Seer and her Ayudante’s job to oversee those who have the potential to ask the eleventh question. The idea is that since the beginning of mankind, humans have questioned their existence and purpose. To first time each question was asked, it led to consciousness and a paradigm shift across the face of the Earth. Each potential unknowingly starts from the first question ever asked and work through the ten. The eleventh question has never been asked and no one knows what repercussions it will have. The Seer oversees and helps those potentials. They are also to oversee the effects of the eleventh question.

Does my summary sound boring or dull? Well, the novel is anything but. Gray takes the reader into this world that’s intriguing, unpredictable and fresh. Gray keeps her readers guessing. There are plenty of plot twists to leave the reader not knowing what to expect. I also thoroughly enjoyed the wide array of characters but in particular the two narrators: Arista and Cayo.

  • Arista is a 15 year old girl who has a pretty crappy life. She is constantly being bullied- at school and online. Her parents divorced and she believes it was because her father didn’t love her enough. Her mother is an alcoholic, a gambler, and has terrible taste in men. She is struggling with life and begins to question her own. She is a strong character who loves deeply.
  • On the other hand there is Cayo who is the Seer’s Ayudante. He is sensitive to the emotion of others and tends to feel his own very strongly. He is the Seer’s connection to human emotions. He is strong and determined and can also be a total bad-ass. And from me, that’s a compliment. His strength and morals had me absolutely loving his character
  • One thing however, that took away from the novel for me is that The Eleventh Question is very philosophical. To be honest, at times I would reread a line three of four times and finally come to the conclusion that no amount of re-reading would help me understand it. For example, one popular idea in the novel that kept me scratching my head in wonder is: that you should not ‘mistake reality for truth.’ I know many of you may understand this but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. At times I felt it was a bit too philosophical for me. Yet even this not take away from the overall awesomeness that is this novel.

    The Eleventh Question is an interesting read to say the least. It was fresh and different and I really enjoyed it. The characters are realistic and relatable. It has it’s suspense, action, humor, drama and you are hooked throughout. Definitely worth reading and am positively looking forward to it’s sequel.

    *I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review

    To see just how great this novel is, fill out the form below. Dianne Gray is giving away an ebook copy to one very lucky winner. The giveaway ends November 19, 2012. Good Luck!

    November Author Spotlight: Dianne Gray

    It’s that time of the month where I have the pleasure of introducing to you an author who’s great novels you may not know about. This month’s Author Spotlight is someone who has welcomed me into the blogging word and shown me a lot of support. I hold her in high esteem and have countlessly been captivated by her writing.

    Dianne Gray is an Australian author how has won countless awards for her writing. She has been writing short stories for 16 years now and novels for six. Between 1995 and 2007 she’s won or been short listed in 11 national and international awards. She has five published novels. One of which is a collection of short stories.

    Sadly I could not find much information about her online. So, people who are as curious as me, don’t worry. Dianne has agreed to grant me an interview and I’m sure we will end this month all wanting to read her work, some of us with new books (Givaways! Yay!) and all definitely feeling that we know her better. So guys, be sure to make her feel welcome and stay tuned. We have a lot of fun stuff planned for you guys! 🙂

    Book Review: After the Fall

    Title: After the Fall (Clash of the Otherworlds #1)

    Author: Elle Casey

    Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

    Blurb: The Light and Dark Fae have come together, a tenuous peace formed at the urging of the Overworld. Potty-mouthed teen, Jayne Sparks, and her fellow changeling friends find themselves once again in the middle of a maelstrom of conflict, mystery, and magic that they must struggle to not only understand but to overcome. Jayne Sparks Blackthorn hereby cordially invites you to follow her into the Gray…

    *Clash of the Otherworlds continues where Elle Casey’s War of the Fae series left off

    My Review: I find myself having a tough time reviewing books that come from a series. I feel limited in the sense that it’s harder to not provide spoilers. Like me being particularly emotional in Bella and Edwards wedding from Breaking Dawn and writing something to that effect. For someone who has read Eclipse they are already expecting this. However this will be a total spoiler for those who have only read Twilight or New Moon. Uhum… So I hope you understand my dilemma and my usual hope of not providing spoilers. Which for those of you who are unaware is why I tend to keep reviews about sequels short. However, I’ll admit I can’t help myself on this one. Those of you who have yet to finish reading the War of the Fae series or don’t enjoy **SPOILERS**, stop here. You have been warned.

    After the Fall begins where War of the Fae ended. I was pretty much left not knowing what to expect. The Light and Dark Fae have united, Jayne and Ben got married and now they have a war with the Otherworlds to deal with.

    In regards to Ben and Jayne, we all know how stubborn and head strong Jayne can be, but I was left feeling hopeful that things would work out between them with their steamy kiss, a few heartfelt promises and overall attitude at the end of New World Order. However, this book highlighted all of their problems and it seems to me that their relationship may not work out. First, Jayne is having a tough time getting over Chase. Then Ben can’t seem to make up his mind as to whether he is a possessive a-hole or a sweetheart. He changes moods as much as you would expect a PMS-ing girl would. The jury is still out on Ben. He needs to pick a side like who do his loyalties lie with? There is such a shroud of mystery around him and I’m honestly not sure if he’s a good or bad guy. But then I remember that Chase sanctioned their union and spirit has blessed it. Surely Chase would never marry her off to a traitor to their race right? Well, I guess we can say I keep going back and forth on this. I think we just need to learn a little more about him before we make up our mind about liking him.

    Casey reveals more of Jayne’s heritage and she does in the most unexpected way. Then in regard to the ever hilarious Tim the Pixie, he is dealing with having his wife around and getting to know his son. I absolutely love his character and cannot possibly count the laughs I’ve had on his account. His son Willy is pretty awesome too and is also pretty funny; Especially with his spider nakie stuff. I seriously couldn’t get enough of it.

    It turns out that Jayne has more potential that anyone could of ever imagined. Like… How about a major **SPOILER** now? Again, MAJOR SPOILER!!!! Our Jaynie girl can wield all four elements. That was a wowsers moment and the scene was exciting as hell. I’m still grinning like a madman over that amazing action scene.

    After the Fall is a pretty intense book. The pace is fast, the action is intense and it is hilariously funny. I truly think that I would have ended up in a mental institution had I read this book in front of anyone outside of my family. I looked absolutely crazy with my wild reactions, burst of laughter and in my general excitement over this book. Good thing my family is used to me turning into a madman when there is a book in my hands… 😉

    *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

    Book Review: New World Order

    Title: New World Order (War of the Fae #4)

    Author: Elle Casey

    Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

    Blurb: Will the fae will be able to make the sacrifices they must to survive?

    Jayne Sparks and her Light Fae changeling friends face off in the final battle against their enemies. But the identify of their true enemies isn’t as clear as it once was. Are they the ones breaking down their doors … or perhaps another entity, hiding in the shadows?

    Friends come and go, bridges burned are rebuilt, love is lost and found. The survival of the fae depends on the answer to one question: Which burns hotter … hatred or hope?

    My Review: Let my start this review by saying that I absolutely love this book. Casey finished her War of the Fae series with a bang. It had everything I loved about the series: humor, friendship, love, romance, action, Jayne’s bad-assery and a plot that was as awesome as it was unexpected.

    The series ending was very bittersweet for me but I loved it. It ended in a way that allows for Jayne’s story to be continued, which Casey is doing in Clash of the Otherworlds. Which you guys should be seeing a review for in a couple of days. Now I apologize for my short review but I am still feeling very emotional after finishing New World Order and I have some crying to get back to. Now if you’ll excuse me…