Update: Winners, Giveaways & Life

Hey guys! I apologize for my radio silence as of late, my life has been a little hectic. So I have a lot of catching up to do!

First order of business, two lucky gals entered and won our Cindy C. Bennett Author Spotlight Giveaways. The first, an ebook copy of Geek Girl was won by Cassandra. The second, an ebook copy of Immortal Mine was won by Martha. Congrats to you both! I will be in touch with the author and you should be receiving your prizes soon.

Second, I did promise an BotM Giveaway for April. Well, I had no clue what to giveaway, sorry for my delay. That crux was resolved, as I just read a book that I thoroughly enjoyed The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa. It was amazing and a review should be up within a couple of days. The giveaway will be available in both Hardcover and ebook and yes that includes international. I’ve just discovered the awesomeness that is the Book Depository and if they ship in the winner’s area (country) then that format (hardcover) will be available to said winner. To enter this Rafflecopter Giveaway, Click Here Good luck!

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Author Interview: Cindy C. Bennett

As many of you know, Bennett is an amazing author whose work I have been devouring this Spotlight. She seems to always manage to write novels that are captivating, relatable, romantic and all out amazing. Cindy has provided me this wonderful interview which I hope you all enjoy! Also don’t forget that the giveaways for Immortal Mine and Geek Girl are open until the end of the month. Enjoy!

Q: What was the first story you wrote that gave you the maybe I can do this for a living’ feeling?
A: I’d have to say Geek Girl, which was actually the second book I wrote (following Heart on a Chain). I’d really written both of them for my daughters, but after I finished Geek Girl, my daughters asked why I didn’t have them published, and it occurred to me that I should.

Q: Name one random thing about you your fans are not likely to know.
A: I have an irrational, deeply disturbing fear of spiders (and most creepy-crawly things, really). Not just an “eww, there’s a spider” kind of fear, but the kind of terror so deep that I can’t even pick a dead one up to flush it. If I see one, I spend the rest of the day thinking that they’re crawling all over me. It’s crazy, I know. I know I’m bigger than a spider and that, with the exception of the poisonous ones, they can’t hurt me. Doesn’t matter. Just speaking of it now makes me shiver.

Cindy Bennett

Fav Five

1. What is your favorite pastime? Hanging with my kids, watching TV or movies or playing games with them.

2. What is your favorite film? Ever After

3. What is your favorite novel? Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale (which is not at all within my preferred reading and writing genre)

4. Favorite season? Fall

5. Favorite place to write? On my couch, surrounded by noise, family, and dogs

Q: What was the first YA book that you read that helped mold your love of this genre?
A: I’m not sure which I read first, but around the same time I read Twilight (Stephenie Meyer), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (JK Rowling), Eragon (Christopher Paolini), and Dreamland (Sarah Dessen). I was amazed there were so many great books available for teens. I fell immediately in love with the YA genre and began reading it almost exclusively, which lead to my deciding this was a genre I could write.

Q: Of your many published works, which one is closest to your heart? Why?
A: Heart on a Chain, probably because it’s the first completed novel I wrote, which began as a labor of love for my daughters. To this day it remains my best selling novel – though Rapunzel Untangled is giving it a run for it’s money.

Q: If you can have one lasting impression on your readers what would you want it to be?
A: I hope my characters stay with them, at least for a little while. I hope something within the story spoke to them and made the characters sympathetic, empathetic, or at least feel like a friend.

Q: Lastly, being that you are now in the Spotlight, are there any parting thoughts you would like to share?
A: I want to thank Tiffany for the opportunity to hang out on her blog for a while. I hope you all get a chance to read as much as you’d like, and that if you happen to pick up one of my books, you enjoy the journey while you’re in one of my worlds.

Q: Where can readers follow you?
Blog: http://www.cindycbennett.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/authorcindycbennett
Twitter: @cinbennett

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!

Giveaways…

Hey Guys! I apologize for my extreme delay in posting this. But as you know, last month I had two giveaways: Rapunzel Untangled and the Unearthly Trilogy. So without further ado, our winners are:

rapunzel untangled

Wanda, congratulations! You have win a copy of Cindy C. Bennett’s newest novel, Rapunzel Untangled.

Unearthly Series Julie, Congratulations! You are the winner of our February BotM giveaway of the Unearthly Series by Cynthia Hand.

You gals, should be receiving your congratulatory emails any minute now! Also, a special thank you to all who entered!

As for you amazing people who follow my blog, thank you for sticking with me through my dark period/black out/MIA/radio silence. Thank you for your continued support.

Now, while being back online, I happened upon some great giveaways I want to share with you guys.

1. Aptly titled the 100+ Giveaway on the Live To Read Blog. Giveaway ends March 15. I’ve entered and if you are interested in entering Click Here.

2. Mystery Box Giveaway at Gabby Reads Blog. Although this giveaway is limited to the US, the winner will be receiving some hardcovers, arcs and swag. You have until March 23rd to enter this giveaway by Clicking Here

3. March Author’s Kindle Fire Giveaway which I learned about from FUOnlyKnew Blog. This giveaway is open internationally and ends March 31st. Those interested in entering, Click Here.

4. $100 Amazon Gift card is being given away from the Sab The Book Eater Blog. Simply Click Here to enter this giveaway.

Guest Post: Traditional vs. Self-Publishing by Cindy C. Bennett

Cindy Bennett

    Traditional vs. Self-Publishing by Cindy C Bennett

Up until a year or two ago, most readers were unaware of the difference between traditional and self-publishing. One simply chose a book, read it, and then judged it based on the quality of the story. Then self-publishing exploded and with it came a slew of both amazing books from new and established authors as well as some less-than-stellar books.

Traditional publishing means a book is published through an established publishing house. Self-publishing means the author has chosen to bypass a publishing house and do it on their own. I’ve published my books both ways. Geek Girl and Rapunzel Untangled are both published through Sweetwater Books, and everything else I’ve self-published. I love that self-publishing has given the world some fantastic authors who might otherwise remain silent. Because of my experience, I’ve learned quite a bit about the pros and cons of both methods.

I actually self-published Geek Girl originally because I was worn down by all of the agent rejections. However, I knew nothing of marketing a book so I began looking for a publisher who would accept a previously self-published book. In the meantime I self-published Heart on a Chain. Then Sweetwater Books, a subsidiary of Cedar Fort, sent me the spirit-lifting acceptance letter. I’ll admit it—I felt somehow justified, legit, vindicated, like an authentic author for the first time, no matter how many copies of my books I’d already sold.

That’s when I discovered some of the cons of traditional publishing. It takes months for your book to go from acceptance to publication, whereas with self-publishing you can be in print within a few weeks of final editing your manuscript. It was 9 months for Geek Girl, and that’s very fast for a publisher. Sometimes it can be up to 2 years before your book sees the light of day. It requires patience for sure. As an author, it takes a leap of faith to hand your baby over to someone else to mold. You have little to no say on the cover, book layout, sometimes the title and even content can be changed by the publisher.

However, a publisher can do things for an author that as of yet a self-published author can’t do for themselves. My publisher was able to put my books on the shelves at places like Costco and Barnes & Noble. A self-published author doesn’t have a prayer of getting their books in either of those stores. Plus, there’s a certain validation that comes with having been accepted by a publisher. Because of the way I published, I don’t have an agent (which I’m grateful for since that’s one less person taking a slice of the pie) so I can’t really speak to what it means to have an agent and publisher both.

Other than being on bookstore shelves, some of the disadvantages of self-publishing are that it can cost you some money up front for things like editing, a cover, formatting, and book layout unless it’s something you know how to do on their own. There are ways of doing those things cost free, but it’s a matter of making the choice to spend the time to learn. Some advantages are much faster publication, more creative control, and a higher royalty percentage.

As far as marketing your book goes, it’s equal work for both traditional and self-published books. As an author, you are your marketing team. If you are willing to put in the time and hard work—and you’ve written a good book—you’re going to get your title out into the world and into your reader’s hands. If you don’t, and just sit back and wait for others to find your book, it’s probably going to languish in oblivion.

If you have a book ready to publish, I suggest you study both routes and decide which is best for you and your future as an author. Go into it educated and informed, with the understanding that both ways have pros and cons, and neither one is the magical answer to putting you on the bestselling list—but both can lead to the bestseller list if you have the talent and are willing to put the work into it.

Thank you Cindy for this amazingly informative guest post.

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.)

Book Review: Beautiful Beast

20130208-103127.jpgTitle: Beautiful Beast

Author: Cindy C. Bennett

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Calli is cursed by her beauty.

Though she knows it’s cruel, Calli agrees to accompany her friends to Monster House where it is rumored the beast howls at the moon each sunset. When she hears him for the first time, her heart is wrenched by the anguish she hears in the sound.

Facing trespassing charges for her folly, Calli is forced to move into Monster House where she is to befriend the beast. Using the bribery offered by his father to gain some desperately needed money for her father, Calli accepts his terms. Horrified but trapped by her circumstance, Calli steps inside the doors of the great house to face the unknown.

Alex is cursed by his beastliness.

Alex believes Calli has bribed her way into his home in order to get a look at the beast of Monster House, and is determined to hate her. He isn’t prepared as she batters down the hard walls of his soul with her kindness and humor.

Alex allows Calli into his inner sanctum, sharing with her the most private parts of his heart. But when he finds out the truth, will her love be enough to convince him of her true feelings, or will she lose him forever?

Note From the Author:
Beautiful Beast is the first short story for Enchanted Fairytales, an anthology of modern day fairytales told as if the original fairytale does not exist. Beautiful Beast is the contemporary story of Beauty and the Beast. I have long been fascinated by fairytales, and have wanted to write re-tellings of some of my favorites. So, I decided to do something about it.

New short stories in the Enchanted Fairytales will be released approximately bi-monthly (every two months) in eBook format if all goes according to plan. When all the fairytales are completed, they will then be compiled into a single anthology and will be available as both eBooks and in printed form.

I consider them the lead up to my full length Rapunzel novel to be released by Sweetwater Books in February 2013. I hope you enjoy them!

My Review: Let me be honest. In my childhood I was one of those girly girls completely in love with fairytales. Pocahontas, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and yep you guessed it Beauty and the Beast were among my favorites. So you can already imagine my joy in being able to snuggle up to a modern interpretation of one of these fairytales.

So here’s my take on Beautiful Beast: it is a short story that somehow manages not to feel like one. It has great character development and the storyline is also well set up and well developed. The characters felt real and I in particularly really liked Calli. She was strong and stubborn yet sweet, funny and humble. Alex is haunted by his past and his story is sad and turns out to be pretty heartwarming. The romance between these two was quite beautiful as was their friendship.

I love Bennett’s interpretation of this classic. This is, hands down, one of the best YA short stories I’ve ever read. I would recommend this read to those of you who enjoy happy endings, romance and/or fairytales.

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

Author Spotlight: Cindy C. Bennett

Cindy C. Bennett is the published author of countless works including Geek Girl, Heart On A Chain and her anticipated upcoming release of Rapunzel Untangled. She won me over with Heart On A Chain (see review here) and I’m really excited to be spotlighting her and allowing you guys the opportunity to get to know her and her work. You can read her full bio here but below is an excerpt to hold you over:

I write contemporary YA, though I am currently working on a book which dips a tiny toe into the paranormal. I have four amazing kids – two boys, two girls. I’m married to a man who makes it possible for me to pursue this crazy dream. I live in Utah, have my whole life, and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I started writing a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . no, wait, that’s Star Wars’ intro, not mine. I did start writing a long time ago, that part is true. I can’t remember when I started making up stories and putting them down on paper, it seems I always have. Then, in high school, I had an amazing English teacher, Mr. Bickmore, who really expanded my passion for writing. Every day as we came into class, he had a “ten-minute writing” assignment, which is exactly what it sounds like. I looked forward to that ten minutes each day like you can’t believe. He taught me a love of pure, creative writing, and a love of great literature. (Who knew Romeo and Juliet begins with two pages of dirty jokes?)

cindy bennettThen at some point, YA became a popular genre, and, having two teen daughters, I found my house inundated with it. So I read many of the books, and fell in love with them. I mean seriously, who doesn’t have a crystal clear remembrance of that time in your life: the awkwardness, the insecurity and drama – the flush of new love. A few years ago, I began writing Heart on a Chain. And I found my niche.

I followed the completion of that manuscript with Geek Girl. My daughters encouraged me to publish them. I decided Geek Girl was the easier sell, so I began writing the dreaded query letters. In the meantime, I joined an online critique group from a real editor, telling you whether your first page would capture the attention of an agent, and subsequently a publisher. I received high praise for my first page, and with renewed enthusiasm began sending out even more query letters, deciding the original agents who had rejected me didn’t know what they were talking about.

I resubmitted the dreaded query to the ones who would even take a look, received a couple of rejections, and then (cue angelic music and light from the heavens) I received an email from Cedar Fort Publishing, saying they wished to publish Geek Girl.

In the midst of this wonderful insanity, I’m still being a mom, helping my husband run our cabinet business, co-hosting a podcast with my son called The RyTime! Geekcast, where we talk all things geek, along with the time I spend volunteering with a group of girls ages 12-18. Jeff, Cami and I have added another author to our little group, Kimberley Patterson, as we all work on our next books together. I could use a clone of myself to double my time!

We have a lot of great things planned for this spotlight but in the mean time to find out more about Bennett or interact with her visit her on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog.