Friday, March 30, 2018

Blog Tour- Crossing the Line by Ellen Wolfson Valladares

Check out my stop on the Crossing Line blog tour!

Crossing the Line
by Ellen Wolfson Valladares
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Release Date: March 6th 2018
WiDo Publishing


Laura, who died thirty years ago, enlists the help of a tenacious high school reporter named Rebecca, who is very much alive. Rebecca, although skeptical and conflicted by her supposed encounters with a spirit, determines to learn the truth about Laura’s tragic death. As the clues unravel and their worlds collide, Rebecca finds herself at a dangerous crossroads.

Laura, now pulled back into everything she left behind when she died – her old high school and memories of her life and death—has been in training for this exact moment. And nothing means more to her than succeeding at her assignment.

It is her one chance to make sure that what happened her does not happen to anyone else, and especially not to her new friend, Rebecca.

Buy Links: Amazon

Fun Facts: “Behind the Scenes” of Writing Crossing the Line
By Ellen Wolfson Valladares

1.      Novel Setting – The story takes place in St. Petersburg, Florida. That’s because that’s where I grew up and went to high school. I still have a lot of family there and visit fairly often.
2.      Novel Length – The original manuscript was over 113,000 words and had to be pared down to 90,000-ish during the editing process. Ouch! But it all turned out okay and maybe even better in the end. The editor was terrific in allowing me to choose what I would take out, so I was able to maintain the integrity of the story.
3.      Remembering the 80s – As I started to write Crossing the Line, I wanted to look in my old yearbooks for inspiration since I graduated high school in 1983 like the character Laura did. I could not find the yearbooks though. A big thanks to my cousin – whose name just also happens to be Laura – for letting me borrow her yearbooks for a couple of years until mine finally showed up.
4.      Speaking of names -- The character Laura is not based on cousin Laura. I just borrowed the beautiful name. The name Rebecca also happens to be my niece’s name, but the character again is not based on her. I really do give a lot of thought to the names I use in my book, so my cousin and niece should take it as a compliment that I chose their namesakes for my two main characters, who I’ve grown to love. I also love to throw in names sometimes just for fun as “Easter Eggs” for my friends or family.
5.      High School Reunion – In the book, I write about Laura’s 30th high school reunion. It so happens that just as I was wrapping up my first draft of the book, I attended my own 30th reunion in St. Pete. That was great inspiration for more details in the book.
6.      An example that made it to the book – At the reunion, one of my friends was reminiscing about a guy coming to her house with roses covering the hood of his car. That inspired a scene with Rebecca’s love interest, Tyler.
7.      The Ouija Board – I know the Ouija board freaks a lot of people out, but it was a scene that came to me with the original inspiration of the book, so I knew it belonged there. Meanwhile, much like the yearbooks, I went hunting for the original Ouija board I had as a kid, so I could describe it accurately. I did find it buried in my parents’ garage and brought it home for inspiration. It only came out for observation – I never played with it! And another fun fact -- it’s now with my son Michael in Boston, who is using it as a prop in the amazing trailer he’s filming for Crossing the Line

About the Author:
Ellen Wolfson Valladares is an award-winning writer/author, workshop facilitator, community volunteer, and mother. A native Floridian, she grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. She has worked as an editor, public relations professional, and freelance writer. Her newest release, Crossing the Line from WiDo Publishing, is a young adult novel about a teenage spirit from the 1980’s who befriends a current-day high school girl in the hopes of preventing a similar tragedy from occurring again.
Her first book, a middle grade novel entitled Jonathan's Journey to Mount Miapu, received several awards, including a Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the 2009 Coalition of Visionary Resources Visionary Awards Book of the Year award. She also has a meditation CD, entitled “Healing and Manifestation with the Archangels.”
After her first child was stillborn in 1995, Valladares became dedicated to helping families suffering a similar loss. She volunteered as a peer counselor to help bereaved moms, ran a support group called “Surviving Pregnancy After a Loss,” and helped create and run an annual event for grieving families. In addition, she is a past president of the Board of Directors of Healthy Mothers-Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County, Inc.
Valladares has also taught numerous workshops in the South Florida area on a variety of metaphysical topics, including angels, intuition, meditation, and life purpose.
Today, Valladares continues to work as a freelance writer. Currently, she writes for several alumni magazines at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and a member and former Board member of the Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA). She also enjoys working as a college essay coach for high school students and helping other writers realize their dreams.

She has been married to her husband, Manny, for close to 30 years (May 2018) and they have two sons, Gabriel and Michael, two dogs, Flash and Chili Pepper, and a crazy cat named Zelda. They live in Weston, Fla.
Author Links:

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Review- My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

 My Sister's Keeper on Goodreads


Now a major film. Sara Fitzgerald's daughter Kate is just two years old when she is diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. Reeling with the helpless shock of it, Sara knows she will do anything -- whatever it takes - to save her child. Then the tests results come back time and again to show that no one in their family is a match for Kate. If they are to find a donor for the crucial bone marrow transplant she needs, there is only one option: creating another baby, specifically designed to save her sister. For Sara, it seems the ideal solution. Not only does Kate live, but she gets a beautiful new daughter, Anna, too. Until the moment Anna hands Sara the papers that will rock her whole world. Because, aged thirteen, Anna has decided that she doesn't want to help Kate live any more. She is suing her parents for the rights to her own body.

Release date: June 11th 2009
Published by: Hodder Paperbacks
Page numbers: 407


How do I even review a book like My Sister's Keeper? I had been procrastinating writing this, but then I thought, let's just give it a go and get it over it. But guess what? I have been staring at my black screen for the past five minutes. I have no words to describe the journey that this book has been. I am a 100% sure that my words won't do justice to this marvel. But here goes nothing.

My Sister's Keeper is the story of the Fitzgerald family, where Kate is diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of two, and her only chance at survival is a major bone marrow transplant, for which her parents give birth to another baby who is designed to help Kate. And so, we have Anna. Kate and Anna also have a bother, Jesse. The three siblings were incredibly and realistically portrayed and any intense moments between siblings brings tears to my eyes. This novel wasn't any different. I found myself sympathising with Kate, supporting Anna and trying to understand Jesse.

But there's so much more than the story of a family and their hardships to My Sister's Keeper. This book is about science, medicine, law, justice and what not. I did find it to be a wee bit slow at the very beginning, but once it picked up pace, I was engrossed in it to the point that I both wanted to know the end but didn't want the story to be over. Speaking of the end, I found it both satisfying and disappointing. It wasn't predictable per se, but I did have this ending in mind somewhere along the way. However, it was a medley of coincidences which I always find a tad bit hard to believe. But when everything comes together in the end, it's deeply satisfying.

I don't suppose this review is going to be of any help to anyone. All I would say is that this book is a roller coaster and an emotional one at that. I understand how and why readers can both love and hate it. I, for one, have a bunch of mixed feelings, leaning more towards the positive of course. But this is one of those books that, the longer they stay on your mind (oh, and trust me, this one will), the more youe feelings change as it makes you think.

Buy the book: AMAZON

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday #229

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spines, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating. 

Zombie Abbey by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Publication date- April 3rd 2018 

Goodreads Summary:

1920, England

And the three teenage Clarke sisters thought what they’d wear to dinner was their biggest problem…

Lady Kate, the entitled eldest.
Lady Grace, lost in the middle and wishing she were braver.
Lady Lizzy, so endlessly sunny, it’s easy to underestimate her.

Then there’s Will Harvey, the proud, to-die-for—and possibly die with!—stable boy; Daniel Murray, the resourceful second footman with a secret; Raymond Allen, the unfortunate-looking young duke; and Fanny Rogers, the unsinkable kitchen maid.

Upstairs! Downstairs! Toss in some farmers and villagers!

None of them ever expected to work together for any reason.

But none of them had ever seen anything like this.

I have previously read and love Lauren's works, so I'm super pumped that the author has a new book coming out! 

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Teaser Tuesday #88

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along!

“People like to say love is unconditional, but it's not, and even if it was unconditional, it's still never free. There's always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won't be happy unless you are ... I just don't want that responsibility.” 


I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Review- Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent


Bound by blood, condemned by fate

As a bloodtracker, Liv is extremely powerful. And in a world where power is a commodity that can get you killed, Liv's learnt to survive by her own rules.

Rule number one? Trust no one.

But when a friend's daughter goes missing, Liv is bound by a potent magical oath. She can't rest until the child is safe.
And that means trusting her dangerous ex, Cam.

A sinister prophecy tells that she and Cam will be the death of each other, yet Liv's tired of being a slave to destiny. She's ready to play the forces controlling her world at their own game.

No matter what the cost.


I had Blood Bound lying on my shelf since a long time and I am glad that I finally decided to pick it up. I have read Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series and I had really liked it so I was curious to see if I would like her adult books as well. Rachel Vincent has a created a unique world in the Unbound series and I was really fascinated by its whole concept.

Liv is a blood tracker. She can track anyone by touching their blood but she has her limits as well. In the world of Blood Bound, theCity where Liv lives is dominated by two syndicates. In Liv's world she can trust no one for various reaons.At first I couldn't understand why Liv had complicated her own life but slowly we started seeing her reasons and why she thought she was doing the right thing.

Then we have Cam. Cam and Liv were in a relationship six years ago. Then all of a sudden Liv left Cam and Cam was left to pick up the pieces of his own heart. We can clearly see since the first page that Cam and Liv have all these unanswered questions between them. There is this tension between them and all Cam wants to do is get close to Liv again.

When Liv's friend's daughter goes missing, Cam and Liv are forced to work together. Cam and Liv definitely had chemistry but this book was definitely more focused on the bindings of the blood and how the world operated. I found the concepts interesting but I definitely needed something more to tie it up all together nicely. We also get to meet a bunch of characters whom I expect will play major roles in the next books.

Rachel Vincent's writing style is really nice. There are a lot of things which are inter connected. Some knowingly, some unknowingly.I also wasn't a fan of the ending. While I can't say I loved Blood Bound I am definitely interested enough to give the next book a try. Blood Bound was an okay read. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Blog Tour- Can Dreams Come True by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Can Dreams Come True?

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: March 20th 2018
Clean Reads


Cecily has always had a huge crush on singer Andrew Holiday and she wants to be an actress, so she tags along when her friend auditions for his new video. However, the director isn’t looking for an actress, but rather the girl next door—and so is Andrew. Cecily gets a part in the video and all of Andrew’s attention on the set. Her friend begins to see red and Cecily’s boyfriend is seeing green—as in major jealousy. A misunderstanding leaves Cecily and her boyfriend on the outs and Andrew hopes to pick up the pieces as he’s looking for someone more stable in his life than the models he’s dated. Soon Cecily begins to realize Andrew understands her more than her small-town boyfriend—but can her perfect love match really be her favorite rock star?

About the Author:

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is also the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series (True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, and the soon to be released, Landry in Like) and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Author Links:

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Blog Tour- Magnetic by Carissa Miller


Genre: YA Mystery/Romance

Release Date: September 2017


When Elle Christiansen's rebellion leads to her father's expulsion from a parsonage in small-town Ohio, the forlorn pair is forced to move to Oklahoma to live with an aunt neither of them has ever met. Here she encounters her aunt’s neighbor—Maverick Mason, the quietly confident son of a wealthy oil tycoon who infuriates her as much as he inexplicably draws her in…

Maverick slowly gains Elle’s trust and coaxes her out from the seemingly impenetrable walls of self-protection she erected around her heart when her mother was murdered. He convinces Elle to confide the secrets of her tortured past: that she saw her mother's murder before it took place, and she was the one who found her, bleeding to death at the end of a lonely dirt road. Together the unlikely pair begins to unlock the secrets of not only Elle’s sordid past, but her mother's and grandmother’s as well, to uncover decades of greed, corporate corruption, lies, and murder. Quickly, the sobering realization hits: if they do not solve her mother’s murder, Elle will undoubtedly suffer the same fate. As she continues her journey toward truth alongside the boy she is magnetically drawn to in a way both frightening and uncontrollable, Elle finds the road she is most afraid of going down—that one lane dirt road where her mother was murdered—just might be the only place she can truly find redemption.  

Magnetic tells of the enduring pain of living with unsolved violent crime. Inspired by debut author Carissa Miller’s true-life events, it’s a haunting account of a young girl’s struggle in the aftermath of shattering loss. With an unraveling love story, puzzling mystery, unexpected twists and turns, and a gripping pace that will keep you turning pages, our heroine takes you on her journey as she learns one of life’s great lessons: facing your fears instead of running from them, is the only way to truly find freedom.

A Note from the Author:

Carissa Miller was inspired to write her debut novel—Magneticbecause of her firsthand experience living with the trauma of an unsolved violent crime, her mother’s attempted rape and murder that remains unsolved to this day. Carissa never intended to publish Magnetic until her children found it on her computer, started reading it, and fell in love with the story and the characters, Maverick and Elle. With her children challenging her and cheering her on, telling her that she couldn’t give up because the world needed to read Elle and Maverick’s story, Carissa finally edited and published Magnetic two years after they found it on her laptop.

About the Author:

Carissa Miller writes a lifestyle and design blog called CC and Mike, where she and her husband blog about their experiences designing, building, and flipping houses in the Midwest. She was inspired to write her debut novel–Magnetic—because of her firsthand experience living with the trauma of an unsolved violent crime, her mother’s attempted murder. When she’s not writing, blogging, or designing, Carissa loves Oklahoma summers on the lake with her husband and three children, going to Oklahoma State sporting events and cheering on the Cowboys, and traveling cross country with her family in the RV she and her husband renovated. Carissa laughs loudly, loves with her whole heart, tells it how it is to a fault, and enjoys living life to the fullest, every moment of every day.

Author Links:

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