Friday, July 30, 2010

We love book mail!

So my children were napping just now and, of course, my dogs start barking. I'm trying to shush them and realize that a package was just left on my porch by the UPS lady. I rush out to thank her and grab the package and found the best surprise! Bloomsbury sent us an amazing package of books to review! Take a look:



They sent us:

  • Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin;
  • No and Me by Delphine de Vigan;
  • Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman;
  • Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry; and
  • The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Thank you Bloomsbury! We can't wait to get started reading and reviewing these!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Author Interview: Simone Elkeles

These last few weeks have been packed with interviews from some of our favorite authors and Simone Elkeles is no exception to that. In fact, Simone was the very first author to agree to an interview with us but due to both of our schedules we have just now been able to post it. We are so excited to finally share this interview with you all.

To say that we are in love with her Perfect Chemistry and Leaving Paradise series is a massive understatement, and we are anxiously waiting for Return to Paradise that will be available in September.

So without further ado, enjoy!

BCM: Are the characters in any of your books based on people you know in real life?

SE: Some of them are, but not all. I came up with the name Alex from a guy who worked at the printer I used to go to. Alex the guy is based off of this guy who works at my bagel store. He's really charismatic and definitely has "swagger" like Alex in my book. His name, interestingly, is Luis. Sometimes I just come up with names off the top of my head, and other times I look at baby name books for inspiration.

BCM: What gave you the idea to write the Perfect Chemistry trilogy? Had you planned to write about each brother from the beginning or was it something that just came about after PC was written?

SE: Ever since I wrote Perfect Chemistry, I thought it would be amazing to write about all three Fuentes brothers. When I sold Perfect Chemistry, though, I wasn’t sure I’d get to write a trilogy or even a sequel/companion novel. When my editor Emily Easton at Walker said that fans definitely wanted another Perfect Chemistry novel and weren’t ready to let my characters go, I was so excited. I didn’t want to have Brittany and Alex be the main characters because their story was already written – I wanted to let Carlos and Luis have their own stories. I’m so happy that I get to write a trilogy, so all three brothers can have their own story!

BCM: In the PC trilogy, you have a lot of details about gang activities. How did you research for this?

SE: I heard that suburban gangs were on the rise, and wanted to explore how a gang member in the suburbs would deal with being interested in someone from “the other side of the tracks.” I interviewed suburban gang members as well as police officers who work in the tough neighborhoods in Chicago. When I have book discussions at juvenile detention centers, the boys always share tidbits of information with me that I’ve used in my books. Other stuff I just make up on my own. Since I don’t know Spanish I had to rely on other people to help me with it. That was really tough for me. What surprised me is that some Latino boys who live in tough neighborhoods have to sprint home for fear of getting beaten up by rival gang members. They have to stick together in numbers for protection, which is so sad. This isn’t everywhere and I hope it’s not common, but it did disturb me. I don’t want any teen to feel threatened because of their race.

BCM: Have you gotten feedback from actual gang members that have read your books? If so, what were their thoughts?

SE: Yes! And it is so surreal. I've actually had gang members contact me and tell me that they wanted to change their lives because of my book. They want to be more like Alex. There are few things that have ever made me feel as good as hearing that!

BCM: Do you have a favorite character in the series? If so, who?

SE: There is no way I could choose. That would be like choosing between my children; it would be impossible. I love them all!

BCM: Which couple do you connect with most?

SE: I love all of them for many different reasons. My life kind of mirrors Amy and Avi’s relationship. I love Alex and Brittany’s relationship so much, because they have such a strong bond that is unbreakable. I love that Maggie and Caleb can’t be fully “healed” without the other and Carlos and Kiara entertain me because they challenge each other all the time. I can’t pick just one.

BCM: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

SE: Unlike most authors I know, I hated reading as a teen and hated English class. I got B’s and C’s in English class most of the time. I have a master’s degree in Industrial Relations from Loyola University-Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Psychology. I’ve never taken a creative writing class in my life. I fell in love with reading as an adult – specifically romance novels. I was so in love with them, I started writing them. Once I started writing for “myself” and not a teacher or for a grade, I realized that I loved writing and never wanted to stop. I pretty much taught myself how to write, because they didn’t teach me how to write a book in my regular English classes. Writing is the best profession and now I can’t imagine doing anything else! I know I still have a ton to learn about writing and when I read books I love I think “I wish I could write like that!” I’m always working on my craft and hope I can get better and better with each book.

BCM: Do you have a designated amount of time each day set aside so you can write? How do you fit it in?

SE: I write whenever I feel inspired. I rent an office so I can get away and not deal with the phones or laundry or dogs, etc. I write when my kids are in school and when they’re sleeping when I’m not on deadline. When I’m on deadline, I write when my eyes are open.

BCM: Is there any advice you can give to those of us who are aspiring authors?

SE: Keep writing and never give up. Shock the reader and shock yourself. Make yourself uncomfortable by putting your characters in impossible situations. It’ll make your book a better book, and you’ll tap into that creativity!

Everyone here at BCM would like to extend a huge thank you to Simone for this interview. Thank you!

If you haven't yet read our reviews of Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction, just click on their names and you can see why we love them so much.

Learn more about Simone and her books by checking out her Facebook / Website

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fiction

The Story:
This follow up to Perfect Chemistry centers around middle Fuentes brother Carlos.
Carlos looked up to his big brother, Alex, and he aspired to be just like him. When Alex was jumped out of his gang, so he could have a normal life with his gringa girlfriend, Brittany, Carlos vowed to not let that happen to him. He was helping to take care of his family in Mexico, albeit unlawfully.
When Carlos is sent to Colorado, to live with Alex, for a chance at a better life, he rebels. It is not the life he is looking for himself.
Kiara is nothing like any of the girls who Carlos knew before. She isn't from his world. But he finds himself drawn to her, and the way she stands up to him, even though she is intimidated by him, and the life he has led.
By chance, Carlos finds himself living at the home of one of Alex's professors, who just happens to be Kiara's father. Even though Carlos doesn't feel he fits into this family that is world's away from where he grew up, he finds himself trying to protect them from his past when he finds out that even living as far away as Colorado can't keep him away from the Mexican gang he was in.
Can Carlos make a new life for himself with the girl he loves, and feels he doesn't deserve? Or will his past come back to reclaim him into the life he was trying to leave?

My Review: Rules of Attraction, like Perfect Chemistry, is another story in opposites attract. I didn't think I was going to like this book as much as Perfect Chemistry, in a been there, done that, kind of way. And I didn't think that Carlos would be able to live up to Alex.
I was very wrong. This book was so well written, and enthralling, I could not put it down. I finished it in a day. The characters are so real, and I found myself drawn as much, if not more, to Carlos, as I was Alex. I found myself really rooting for him and hoping that things were going to work out for him. Carlos was hard core on the outside, but on the inside, he was insecure and felt that he didn't deserve, or was good enough, for everything he was getting, including Kiara.
Simone Elkeles is an amazing writer. She brings so much life, and truth, into her characters and stories, that I can't help but become sucked into the story, at the expense of everything else around me.

Rating:








And the WINNER is...


The winner of our Minder SWAG is....

MICHELE L.

Congratulations Michele!! We have just sent you an email and your swag should be in the mail soon. :)

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who entered this giveaway. If you didn't win this time, hang in there. We are hosting some amazing giveaways in the next few days so definitely check back.
The winner was chosen using Random.org

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fiction

The Story: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created "perfect" life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

My Review: Perfect Chemistry is a new look at the old saying that opposites attract - but way more fun. Brittan Ellis has it all. She's the most popular girl in school. She's beautiful and has the admiration of every guy in school. She gets perfect grades and her family is wealthy. She takes pride in how perfect she is and she's not going to let anything change her plans. 

Alex Fuentes couldn't be more different. He is the most feared guy in school and being a member of a dangerous gang certainly contributes to that image. Everyone gives him a wide berth and he's definitely not someone Brittany would associate herself with. But when they are forced to work together as partners in chemistry class, all that changes. Their differences cause them to clash and you'd think they couldn't stand each other - except for the undeniable chemistry they have for one another. A relationship between perfection and danger can't really exist, can it?

Perfect Chemistry is unputdownable. It's fun, sexy and a book I'll be reading again and again.

Rating:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer


The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Release Date: May 6, 2008
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Sci Fi

The Story:
Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind with visions of the man Melanie loves—Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.


My Review: This is the 2nd time I've read this all the way through. When The Host first came out two years ago, I was all excited, another book from Stephenie Meyer. I loved the Twilight Series and wanted more by her. Well, I should have first waited to read the Host. I started reading it and hated it. I was confused, but then I still had vampires and werewolves on my brain. Last year I picked it up again and loved it. It's a different sci-fi, geared towards adults more so than teenagers. I started to feel bad for Wanda, though she was the invader. If you want a break from the vampires, and you still want something by Stephenie Meyer, then you need to read this book! I hope to see more books by her!

Rating:


For more information about Stephenie Meyer visit her website.

Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Release Date: May 1, 2010
Publisher: Chicken House Publishing
Genre: YA Fiction

The Story: Gemma was a typical British city girl on vacation with her parents when her life was stolen away from her. One moment she was in line at the airport ordering a coffee and the next she had been drugged and whisked away to the Australian outback by an oddly familiar stranger. Her captor, Ty, is charming and attractive and not at all like the terrifying kidnapper you would imagine. The barren landscape of the desert is a stark contrast to the city life Gemma is used to and more than once she tries to escape with no success. She learns that Ty is not really a stranger at all and has been watching her for years. She begins to remember him and is frightened to find herself having feelings for him.

My Review: Stolen is written as a letter from Gemma to her captor and is frightening and intense. Through the letter Gemma recounts her time spent with Ty in intimate detail. This style of writing really puts you in Gemma's shoes and lets you experience her emotions as if they were your own. Her descriptions of the desolate outback are both depressing and beautiful. Even as the weeks pass, Gemma is a strong heroine who refuses to give up hope that she will see her family again. Over time she learns more about Ty and Gemma begins to find it difficult to view him as evil. Her feelings for him begin to cloud and she's no longer sure of the right and wrong way to feel. Stolen is suspenseful and grabbed me from the first page, not releasing me until its end. Lucy Christopher has written an absolutely stunning debut novel. I highly recommend Stolen.

Rating:



Learn more about Lucy Christopher through her Website / Facebook / Twitter

Lucy and her amazing publicist are going to be giving us a copy of Stolen and a signed bookplate to give away so be sure to check back for that. You definitely want this book!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In My Mailbox - Take 4

All of us here at BCM are so excited to be a part of the awesome list of blogs who participate in the "In My Mailbox" meme. In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren so make sure you check out her book blog for a list of many of the blogs participating. She also has some helpful information on how to participate on your own blog. Click HERE to find out more.

This is a weekly meme where we will post any books (and other things) that we have received in the mail, bought, loaned from the library, etc. It's not limited to just books. It can be anything we have just gotten and are excited about.

So this week we are excited about the following:

Sasha received Fangland by John Marks as part of Crazy Book Tours, so be sure to look for her review of Fangland coming later this week!



Kendra received Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles, and two CD's: Fantasies by Metric and Horehound by Dead Weather. We will be posting our reviews of Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction this week, along with our interview with Simone Elkeles. In case you didn't already know this, Simone is all kinds of awesome. We can't wait!



I received Sea by Heidi R. Kling, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, and Before I Die by Jenny Downham.



So what do you think of the books? Anything you want to read a review for first?

Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Interview with Lauren Oliver and Giveaway

If you haven't yet read Before I Fall, you should go out and get it ASAP. It's an amazing book and some may say it's even worth getting hit by a car for - but you'll have to read this interview with Lauren to find out more about that.

Read our review of Before I Fall HERE and now on to the interview!


BCM
: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

LO: Hmmm. That’s so broad! Well, my name is Lauren, and I live in Brooklyn, and I write (obviously). I love ketchup, pasta, and chewy textures. I don’t like fruit, fast food, or crunchy textures (like chips or crackers). I can’t stand the smell of gasoline but I don’t mind the smell of skunks. When I was young, I thought the word for nostrils was “snozzles.” I don’t know why.

BCM: Have you always wanted to be an author or is that something that came about later?

LO: Well, I mean, I’ve kind of always written. That has just been a big part of my life. I didn’t necessarily always think of it as a “career,” though. For a long time I wanted to be a ballet dancer.

BCM: Where did your inspiration for Before I Fall come from?

LO: From a bunch of places, really, but I definitely started with the idea of Sam as a character. I wanted to portray her evolution and growth, and I tried to think of a mechanism that would enable me to show that.

BCM: The main character, Sam, starts off as a very unlikeable character, but also a very realistic one. Were you worried that readers wouldn't be able to connect with her at first?

LO: Absolutely. I still worry about that. And, you know, some people don’t. But I tried to thread in hints that the book would be about her change—that it would have to be. And ultimately, I think it’s important to trust your readers.

BCM: Was there one character or one moment that was particularly difficult for you to write?

LO: It was hard for me to write all of Day Four. Samantha is at her rock-bottom on that day; it was hard, and depressing, to be in that place with her. It felt, you know, like rock bottom!

BCM: Do you have any literary heroes? If so, who are they?

LO: Tons. Too many to list, but I’ll do so anyway: Richard Price, Ian McEwin, Gabrial Garcia Marquez, Flannery O’Connor, Marilynne Robinson, Roald Dahl, Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Jeffrey Eugenides. All very different, of course, and all absolutely tremendous in their own ways.
BCM: What are the last three books you've read and loved?

LO: The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly; Pretty Monsters, by Kelly Link, and On Writing, a seminal non-fiction book on the craft of writing by Stephen King.

BCM: Do you have any funny fan stories you can share with us?

LO: Hmm. Well this isn’t exactly funny but a fan wrote me recently to say she had been biking to the library to pick up a copy of Before I Fall and she was hit by a car (she was totally fine, thankfully, although her bike got kind of messed up). Anyway, the last line of her email was something like: “Your book was totally worth being hit by a car for!” I thought that was pretty funny. I had definitely never gotten that as a compliment before.

BCM: What is the best advice you can offer someone aspiring to be an author?

LO: Write! It sounds mundane, but really, cultivating the habit of writing every day is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a young writer.

BCM: We know that you have your second book, Delirium, coming out in February. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

LO: Of course. Delirium is very different from Before I Fall but I’m equally excited about it. It’s a dystopian Romeo-and-Juliet story, essentially. It takes place during a time in which love has been diagnosed as a contagious disease; scientists have figured out how to cure it, and a cure is mandatory. But you’ll have to read it to find out what happens beyond that, because I’m not telling! ;)

Ok, so now you want to read Before I Fall even more, right? Well, you're lucky because we are giving away one copy of Before I Fall and two SIGNED bookmarks! One lucky follower will win a copy of Before I Fall and a SIGNED bookmark and another lucky winner will win a SIGNED bookmark. To enter fill out the form below. You must be a BCM follower to enter. Giveaway limited to U.S. residents unless you have someone that can ship it to you. As always, you can earn an extra entry (each) for tweeting, facebooking and blogging this giveaway. However, if you add our button to your blog, you will get 3 extra entries. Please be sure to leave the links. Giveaway ends Sunday, August 1st at midnight EDT. Winner will be announced on Monday, August 2nd. Good luck!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: YA fiction

The Story (as taken from HarperCollins): What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My Review: Before I Fall is a fascinating and heart wrenching story of Samantha's Kingston's last day - relived seven times. Samantha isn't the nicest girl in school but she's certainly a realistic one. She's popular, has the most popular best friends and has the boyfriend that every girl wants. And then she dies. It's in the seven days that follow that Sam sees herself and those around her as who they really are. She relives each day differently and each day becomes more important than the day before. When Sam learns what really happens on the night she died, she also learns that so much about her life is connected to that moment. Before I Fall is a beautifully written story and one I could not put down. It is absolutely one of the best books I've read in years. A definite must read!

Rating:



Check out more about Lauren Oliver and her books: Blog / Twitter / Facebook

And be sure to check back here tomorrow as we post our interview with Lauren and a great giveaway as well!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interview with Kate Kaynak and Giveaway!

I loved reading Minder and we are lucky enough that Kate Kaynak agreed to let us interview her! So without further interruption-

BCM: Which of the skills from Ganzfield do you wish you had?

KK: Hmm...If I had to pick one it'd either be remote viewing (RV) or mind control (charm). I have three little kids at home, and it would be great if I could get them to do what I say--or at least find out where they put my keys.

BCM: Some authors get ideas for names from those they know in real life- was this the case for you?

KK: Absolutely! Most of the bad guys are named after my ex-boyfriends.

BMC: Do you have a favorite character?

KK: I think I have three. I love writing from the inside of Maddie's head; I have a major book-crush on Trevor, and Drew just cracks me up.

BCM: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

KK: Yes--since college. I've tried several times over the years since to write novels. I actually completed my first in 2007, but Minder was the first good novel I've completed.

BCM: Did you have anyone in mind as you were writting Maddie?

KK: Actually, Maddie's a pretty close characterization of myself at sixteen. Writers often have one character who channels their own thoughts about the novel. Jane Austin had Elizabeth Bennett; Jim Henson had Kermit the Frog, and mine's a killer telepath from 'Jersey.

BCM: With three young children, how do you find the time to write?

KK: During the day I daydream about the book, running the next scenes through my head from different perspectives. Once the kids go to sleep, I write them down.

BCM: How did you make the jump from a Psyc degree to author?

KK: I taught psychology for many years before my kids were born, primarily for the University of Maryland. I always thought I was too tired from my job to write. It turns out, though, that I'm even more exhausted as a stay-at-home mom, but I need the intellectual stimulation of writing to keep my sanity while constantly immersed in the world of three preschoolers.

BCM: Does your degree help with writing?

KK: Actually, I used a lot of psychology in Minder and the other Ganzfield books. For example, all the "sleep issues" are based on the actual psych research, and I do my character development based on the motivational values system (MVS) developed by Elias Porter.

BCM: Do you have any advice for budding writers?

KK: I think the hardest thing for all writers--both new and experienced--is realistically appraising our own work. We have every nuance of the story in our heads so clearly that we don't know what's coming through on the page. So, if you're an aspiring writer, make sure that you get tons of feedback--both from other writers and from members of your target audience. I went through over a dozen revisions of Minder before I submitted it to my editor, and she still found things to fix on nearly every page.

BCM: How many books are you planning for this series?

KK: I have three completed now. Adversary comes out next month, and Legacy will be released in January 2011. I'm working on an early draft of the fourth. I think I'll have at least six before the existing major arcs of the series play out, and I have a few ideas for additional directions after that.

BCM: OK, when reading about the connection between Maddie and Trevor- Do you believe in soulmates?

KK: In a way. I believe that there are some people out there who we have the potential to connect to on a deeper level. Once we meet one of these people, if the relationship deepens, that person becomes our soulmate.


Everyone here at BCM would like to extend a huge thank you to Kate for the opportunity to interview her and for allowing us the honor of hosting such a great giveaway of her books. Thank you, Kate!

To enter to win a Minder SWAG, fill out the form below. You must be a BCM follower to enter. Giveaway limited to U.S. residents unless you have someone that can ship it to you. As always, you can earn an extra entry (each) for tweeting, facebooking and blogging this giveaway. However, if you add our button to your blog, you will get 3 extra entries. Please be sure to leave the links. Giveaway ends Tuesday, July 27th at midnight EDT. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, July 28th. Good luck!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Minder by Kate Kaynak


Minder by Kate Kaynak
Release Date: June, 2010
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: YA paranormal


THE STORY: Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place.

Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control.

A stray thought can burn a building to the ground.

And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey. Especially once she meets the man of her dreams...


We love Kate and Minder so much we decided to each share what we loved about the story with you. Below are our reviews:

Nicole: I love this book! But then again, I seem to love the paranormal books. I really like the RV guys, the remote viewing. Being able to see and connect with those I love, just to make sure they are doing all right, would be awesome. I liked how we are able to see, and feel even, how Maddie is struggling with her ability. But I must say, my favorite character so far is Trevor. He's like the gentle giant, that can move things with his mind and drive with no actual hands on the wheel!

Sasha: My personal favorites are the “charms” who can basically convince anyone to do anything by just giving them a vocal command. Can you imagine teenagers with this ability? Then of course there’s Trevor who can move things with his mind. He and Maddie find that they share a special connection.

This story was entertaining. The love story was sweet and endearing. Maddie is intense and doesn’t always do or say the right thing. She is very powerful and must find a balance for that power. Who hasn’t wished for some mind reading abilities? There was some action towards the end that had me turning pages faster. I am looking forward to the sequel.


Julie: I enjoyed the characters of Minder, though the plot sometimes left me befuddled as I often felt I "missed something." Despite my bafflement, I look forward to seeing what happens in future installments. This book is a light, fun read with a somewhat comic-book feel to it. I believe this author is off to a good start, and I am interested to see what comes next.

Cindy: Minder is a story about a sixteen year old girl who finds out she has the special ability to read minds. She's whisked away to New Hampshire to attend a secret school for others like her. In a matter of days Maddie learns there are many other talents besides mind-reading and some of them are very dangerous. She finds herself falling in love with a boy she just met and trying to figure out what is right and wrong when it comes to using her ability is harder than she imagined. The author creates a world in Minder that is so easy to get lost in that I had to remind myself that there really isn't a Ganzfield. But then again, would we really know if there was? Minder is a very fun read and am super excited about book two coming out later this year.

Kendra: I loved this book! The characters are great. I love Trevor (added to the list of my fictional crushes. LOL). I like that Maddie is just a typical teenager trying to live with her "gift". She wants to do what is right, but sometimes can't help but do something not so on the up and up. Usually she feels bad about it though, unless she thinks that someone really deserved it. I enjoyed reading about the different abilities within Ganzfield, and how they interacted with each other.
Even though everything is working out for Maddie so far, I keep feeling like there was something that I was not seeing, something malicious that will come out later on. Everything right now seems too good to be true, and it is definitely keeping me on my toes.
And is anyone else curious as to why we never actually "see" Seth? He communicates with Maddie through his telepathy, and doesn't come near her because she is too "loud", but I wonder if there is anything more to it?
I am really looking forward to Adversary, and cannot wait for it to come out!

Favorite Quote(s):

"Bad Maddie. Mean. No biscuit."

Collectively, we give Minder:



Find the author, Kate Kaynak on Facebook / Twitter / Website

And be sure to check back tomorrow as we'll be posting our interview with Kate and an amazing giveaway too!

And the WINNER is...


The winner of our signed Heavenly and Penitence giveaway is:

MARLENE B.

Congratulations Marlene!! We have just sent you an email and your books should be in the mail soon. :)

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who entered this giveaway. If you didn't win this time, hang in there. We are hosting some amazing giveaways in the next few days so definitely check back.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Trailer: Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Angie Frazier's Everlasting is getting a ton of great reviews throughout book blogs and nearly everywhere you look. It's certainly grabbed my attention and I am extremely excited that I will be meeting her later this month at The Toadstool Bookshop in Milford, NH.

Everlasting now has it's own book trailer and you can check it out below. I hope you love it as much as I did!

Also, be sure to check out Angie's Blog for a chance to win an amazing YA prize pack!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review: Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary by Bill Drover


Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary by Bill Drover
Release Date: May 3, 2010
Genre: Memoir

One of the things I love about Books Complete Me is that we do not read, and therefore, do not review just one type of book. We may find ourselves reading more of one genre at times than others, but in the end we all are searching for a book that will touch us in a way that others books haven't. Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary is one of those books for me.

The Story: This memoir is written by Bill Drover, a successful businessman who had it all: a fairytale marriage to the love of his life and a good job that provided them with a big house and nice cars. Despite their corporate achievements, Bill and his wife, Jeannie, struggled to gain the thing they wanted most - children. After ten years of trying to conceive a child they were finally given the good news that they were expecting twin boys. The first two years were what you would expect for parents of twins: feed, burp, change, sleep. When the boys were two, however, Bill and Jeannie noticed that Nicholas seemed to be progressing much differently than his brother Joseph was. After seeking help from professionals, they were told why. Nicholas has autism.

Bill shares his story of how he and his wife struggle every day with making life better for Nicholas but also how Nicholas has made life better for them. When the economy took a turn for the worse, Bill took the opportunity to take all of his written thoughts and turn them into this heartfelt and inspiring memoir that will remind you to take a moment and appreciate all of the unsung heroes in our world.

My Review: Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary was a book I immediately knew I wanted to read when I was approached about it. My own husband works in a school for children with severe autism and other severe mental disabilities, so agreeing to read and review this book is more of an honor for me than any other book I have read. The author gives us an intimate view into the world that he and his wife live everyday. There are struggles but there is also joy. There is the unknown but there is also the gift of having one another to hold onto for the ride. Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary is not only a tale of what it is like to have a child with autism, it is also a tale of how true love can overcome anything. It has inspired me to make sure the angels in my own life know they are appreciated and I encourage you to do the same. Too often we overlook the ones who truly deserve our gratitude - the angels among us who really are extraordinary. I really enjoyed this book and am grateful that I had the opportunity to review it.

Rating: 4 Stars

You can purchase Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary at Amazon and at Dorrance Publishing's Online Bookstore.

Get to know the author, Bill Drover by contacting him directly at his Facebook Page.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks


I told myself that I shouldn't read any more of Nicholas Sparks' books. They always make me cry. The Lucky One was no exception.

Logan joined the marines after graduating college. He and some buddies were part of the same unut and deployed to Kuwait. While stationed there, he finds an old picture of a pretty gal. His close buddy, Victor, tells him it's his lucky charm. After three tours of duty, they head home. Victor tells Logan that he needs to set things right, by contacting the lady in the picture.

Beth has a sweet boy, Ben, whose father, Keith, is the deputy sheriff. Keith's family owns the small town, as well as Beth.

Once Logan sets off and finds the lady in the picture, Beth, he realizes what he needs to do to set things right.

I was on a roller coaster reading this. I love trying to predict what will happen, and it was difficult! I was guessing wrong almost all the time. The Lucky One is a beautiful book about romance, trials and standing up for yourself. I loved it!

Rating:

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