Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blog Tour: The Battle For Princess Madeline by Kirstin Pulioff Guest Post & Giveaway!


On Tour with Prism Book Tours...


The Battle for Princess MadelineThe Battle for Princess Madeline
by Kirstin Pulioff
156 pages
Published May 29, 2013

The Kingdom of Soron bustled with activity as preparations for the Fall Festival began. Lively merchants, hardworking farmers, and musicians eagerly awaited this event of harvest and joy. This year’s festival was even more important, as they celebrated Princess Madeline’s betrothal to her knight champion, Daniel.

Celebration quickly turns to disaster as Prince Paulsen returns with curious demands, either Princess Madeline will be his, or no ones. Rejection turns to obsession and battle is declared.

In a tense struggle to decide her future, Princess Madeline must choose where to put her trust… in the king’s tried and true plan, the wizard’s cryptic messages and maps, or her own sense of bravery. Follow Princess Madeline on this adventure as she battles evil in an attempt to create a future of love and magic.






Lessons Learned by Princess Madeline

Every story has a moral, a lesson, or a take home message.  Here are three lessons to learn from Princess Madeline and her adventures.

1.      Take care of your clothes…A dress can just be a dress, but sometimes they can be more.  What started as a lavish gift from her father, turned into something she could have never imagined.  When clothes are taken care of they can make an impression that spans generations.

2.      Never take things from strangers…My parents taught me to never take candy from a stranger, and in this book, you quickly learn never to take gold from a stranger… even if she is the Princess.  When greed outweighs fear, sometimes bad things can happen…

3.      Keep a dream journal…Sometimes wisdom can come to you in the most unlikely of places, and you never know where it will lead.  Make sure you are paying attention when your dreams guide you, and recognize the difference between fantasy and reality.

Of course, these are fun examples from the book, but there are more serous themes as well. This coming of age fairytale balances the fantasy with the reality- acknowledging the recklessness, spontaneity and struggles of growing up, against the realism of consequences, taking responsibility for your actions and learning to trust yourself.


Happy Birthday Kirstin on May 27th!!

Kirstin PulioffKirstin Pulioff is a storyteller at heart.   Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to follow her dreams and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Forest Management.  Happily married and a mother of two, she lives in North Plains, Oregon, and enjoys being a stay at home mom.  When she’s not writing, she is busy with her kids, church and the family business.




Madeline's story begins...

The Escape of Princess Madeline
The Escape of Princess Madeline
by Kirstin Pulioff
ebook, 66 pages
Published November 5th 2012 by Malachite Quills Publishing

Premise:

The Kingdom of Soron is known for many things, its rolling landscape, haunting history, fiery sunsets, and its beautiful princess. Princess Madeline woke on her sixteenth birthday to realize that her future had been planned out, a life full of privilege, royalty, and boredom... a life with a husband and knight champion that she did not choose. Using her charm, strength and stubbornness, she defies the King at every turn, determined to keep her freedom on her terms.


Freedom quickly turns to disaster as she finds herself seized by a group of wandering bandits. With the kingdom in turmoil over her capture- her Knight Champion eager to prove himself, a group of dedicated suitors determined to win her hand, and a group of exiled wizards join forces in the hunt to rescue her. Follow Princess Madeline in this adventure to find freedom and love.

Get The Escape of Princess Madeline
for FREE MAY 29 - 31

Amazon:

Tour-Wide Giveaway:

International Giveaway. Must be 13 to enter. See below Rafflecopter for more details. Available to WIN:

* Autographed set of both: The Escape of Princess Madeline & The Battle for Princess Madeline
* Autographed copy of The Escape of Princess Madeline
* Autographed copy of The Battle for Princess Madeline
* 5 eCopies of The Battle for Princess Madeline
* $25 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 13 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced on Rafflecopter and Grand Finale posts as well as emailed and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kirstin Pulioff and Burgandy Ice & Colorimetry as Prism Book Tours. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


The Tour:
5/27 – LAUNCH!
5/28 – Book Deep in Cliffhangers
- I Am aReader, Not a Writer
5/29 - Geo Librarian - Review
- Novels,News & Notes
5/30 – Dee’s Reads – Review
- Tressa’sWishful Endings
5/31 – Green Mountain Couple – Review
6/2 – JoJo’s Corner - Review
6/3 – Mel’s Shelves – Review
6/4 – Books for Kids – Review
- TheBookish Daydreamer
6/5 – Books for Kids – Review
6/6 – MisAdventuresof a 20-Something Year Old Girl
6/7 – Mel’sShelves - Review
6/9 – Wonderings of One Person - Review
6/10 – Cassandra Lost In Books – Review
- Jessie’sBook Place
6/11 – Backing Books – Review
6/12 – Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile - Review
6/13 – Fluttereal Flight - Review
- MySeryneti
6/14 – Grand Finale Blast!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Candace Reviews Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published: June11th, 2013 by Balzer & Bray
Source: Amazon Vine
 
Find the author:

Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?

There's so much about this book to love. Once I heard about it it was one that I knew I HAD to have!  The things that really caught my eye were the time period (1920's) and setting (NYC) and the subject (magicians, mediums and mentalists).  So all that was left was for the characters to be great, the romance to work and for the story to pull everything together in a way that makes the book actually enjoyable to read.  And wow, I found myself really loving this book!

Anna was a character that I found myself liking right away.  She's a magician, or an illusionist and does a show with her mother, a mentalist.  She's very good at what she does which makes her mother somewhat jealous since she's good, but she wants to be the star of the show and doesn't want anyone to steal the spotlight.  But Anna loves her mother unconditionally and stands by her side.  Anna is more than just a magician or illusionist though, she may have actual real gifts, which she discovers during a seance her mother holds.  Some of these 'abilities' she's known of, but new things keep manifesting and she's discovering new things about herself.  She's not sure what to think of all of it but is very curious to learn more, which brings her into some difficult situations.  She's pretty street smart though and knows better than to just trust anyone.  When she starts having some visions and a forbidding feeling, she feels like she's just waiting for something awful to happen. 

This leads to the mystery.  We know something might happen because she has these visions so through the story we're right with her, looking over her shoulder, being suspicious of everyone.  And I was pretty happy with how the mystery played out.  I didn't guess, at least not for sure, until the end.  And I felt like the clues dropped were pretty perfect, enough to get the curiosity up. 

There's a romance in the book and what could be construed as a love triangle.  If you do call it a love triangle, it wasn't one that really bothered me.  I felt like it was clear who she liked of the two and that she was somewhat pushed into situations with the other and while she had fun, she clearly wasn't 'feeling it'.  It was a slow romance for sure as things didn't progress much.  They slowly got to know each other and came to care for each other.  This is something I'm anxious to see in the next book. 

I feel like there's so much to talk about in this review and it's getting so long, so I'm going to cut it short and just say that I really loved the whole feel of the book.  It took me a little to become completely submerged, but once I did I read nearly straight through.  According to GoodReads this is the first in a series and I will be eagerly awaiting the next!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Candace Reviews Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb @Lwhitcomb23

Under the Light (Light #2) by Laura Whitcomb
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published: May 14th, 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: ALAMW
 
Find the author:
Website  | Twitter
 Helen needed a body to be with her beloved and Jenny needed to escape from hers before her spirit was broken. It was wicked, borrowing it, but love drives even the gentlest soul to desperate acts.

When Jenny returns to her body, she finds that someone has been living her life while she was away. She doesn’t remember being Billy’s lover or defying her family. But now she is faced with the consequences. And Helen, who has returned to warn Jenny—to help her—finds herself trapped, haunting the girl she wished to save.

In this captivating companion novel to A Certain Slant of Light, the love story between Jenny and Billy begins out-of-body—where they can fly and move the stars--and continues into the tumultuous realm of the living, where they are torn away from each other even as they slowly remember their spirits falling in love.

It's been years since I read A Certain Slant of Light and I found myself being concerned about whether I would be confused with this book.  I remember only a few things about it, but as I read Under the Light I began to remember A Certain Slant of Light and it all came back to me.  Initially I didn't remember who Jenny was, but she's the one who's body Helen took in A Certain Slant of Light.  So it's more her story, but Helen is still present and tells a bit from her side as well.

Jenny's family is super religious and her spirit was being broken by her father.  He read her diary and then took everything important to her away.  This is where Helen comes in.  So we see where Jenny went when out of her body but a good portion of the story is when she comes back and how things play out with Jenny and Billy (who was Helen's lover but whose body was taken by another ghost) and how they have this thing that connects them but they don't remember each other.  It's also about Jenny and her family.  Her super religious and over the top father and the mother who is lost herself but only knows one thing, religion.

I liked Jenny a lot and really felt bad for her.  I wanted her to stand up for herself and find her way and we got to see that happen.  It was slow, she didn't change over night, but she found her footing and found  her voice.  She ended up being very strong.  We also get to know Helen's past and how she died, which was very interesting and I was glad to know more about her.

I really love the concept of ghosts in these books and think that the author did a great job of making it all very believable.  I believe in ghosts and have interacted with them myself, so this was something I did connect with.

Laura Whitcomb has a very lyrical writing style.  It's more along the literary lines of things, which I don't usually like, but quite liked in this book. The story was easy to read and once I got into the rhythm of it I didn't put it down once.  I read nearly the entire thing before bed and didn't stop reading until I finished.  

While this is a companion novel and you don't have to read the first book, I do encourage you to do so.  You'll understand things much better and you'll enjoy it more as things regarding Helen will make much more sense.  I very highly recommend this series to fans of YA books with ghosts (not scary) and contemporary since the contemporary theme was very important in this one. 

Disclosure: I received this book at ALAMW.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Prize (Review) by @LarsDHHedbor

The Prize: Tales from a Revolution: Vermont
by Lars D.H. Hedbor
Released: July 2, 2011

Caleb's father is serving with Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys as the long-anticipated open war against the British rages up and down the length of Lake Champlain. Between his duties on the family farm and constant worry about his father's safety, the young man's attentions are already fully occupied when a fateful encounter with an unlikely neighbor changes everything. Pulled into new intrigues and new friendships, Caleb finds himself on a path that changes his life - and which will affect the outcome of the whole war.
Not long ago, I was at Jan's Paperbacks for their grand re-opening.  They had brand new fixtures and great food.  They also had a bunch of local Portland authors.  Authors who wrote mystery, romance, young adult, etc.  It was a great event and I hung out with T.J. Brown, ate some tasty food and mingled with several of the authors.  Two of the authors were Lars Hedbor and Bryan Gregory.  If you have met me, you know I enjoy giving people a hard time.  I proceeded to question them both about their Author Websites and gave them ideas for what they could do to make the sites more reader friendly.  Even after all that Lars was still okay with me enough to let me read his book and give my thoughts on it.

I love historical fiction and it intrigued me that The Prize was based on real life details that Lars had researched.  There was even a map included at the front of the book which I used to see where Caleb was canoeing to as the story went on.  Not only did I enjoy learning what happened with the British as the colonists fought to be independent but Caleb's family was integral to the storyline.  I learned about how families would have lived and supported themselves during the time period.  Caleb is a teenager who is sharp and keeps track of where the British are and reports to the men in town who are in charge of the Green Mountain Boys.  This story is also fun because there is a surprising storyline that happens between Caleb and a neighbor.  Well I should say neighbors.  I don't want to give away the part that greatly surprised me but when you read this book you will really enjoy it.  There is a great deal of adventure and mishaps.  Caleb can be pretty clumsy!  I'm really excited for Lars' next book 'The Light: Tales From a Revolution – New Jersey'.  Lars definitely took me right into the time period!  Check out 'The Prize' and see what you think!

Oh and you will read a lot about Caleb in a dugout.  I wondered what one looked like. So here is a photo I found.

Caleb ends up building a canoe.  Here is what that looks like compared to a dugout.

Keep those pictures in mind while you read!

Lars Hedbor is an amateur historian, linguist, brewer, fiddler, astronomer and baker. Professionally, I am a technologist, marketer, writer and father. You can find him online at his Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and all opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid or influenced in any way. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blog Tour: Guest Post by R.R. Russell




 Deep in the heart of a mist-shrouded island, an impossible secret is about to be discovered.

Twig is used to feeling unwanted. Sent to live on a pony ranch for "troubled" girls on a misty, haunted island, Twig is about to discover the impossible — someone who needs her.
Jolted awake from a bad dream, Twig follows the desperate whinny of a terrified horse out to the stables. There in the straw is a bleating little scrap of moonbeam. A silver-white filly with cloven hooves and a tiny, spiraling horn.

A baby unicorn.

Now Twig knows what secret is hiding in the island's mist: the last free unicorn herd. And a mysterious boy named Ben who insists that this impossible creature is now Twig's to care for. That she needs Twig's love and protection. Because there's something out there in the deep, dense shadows that's hunting for them...

Wonder Light takes place on a mist-shrouded island in the Pacific Northwest—not unlike the islands Russell explores with her own family. In this post, Russell discusses why she was so inspired by this unique setting and why it was the perfect setting for the characters and creatures in her book.
Wonder Light takes place on Lonehorn Island, a fictional island in the Pacific Northwest. It’s been abandoned for generations, but now the Murleys, long-time foster parents, have carved a home out of the shadowy cedars and filled it with unwanted girls. Twig, a skinny, lonely girl, joins them.
Like Twig, Lonehorn Island wants to be left alone. With rocky shores shrouded in mist and crashing waves that threaten Twig not to come any nearer, the island hides powerful secrets—secrets that, if discovered, will change the island and everyone on it forever.
This mysterious island was inspired by the Whidbey Island area in Washington State. There, jagged rocks and cliffs rise from the beaches. Red-barked Manzanita trees and juniper cling to the top of the rocks along the edge of the island, but the foliage quickly transitions to thick evergreen woods, primarily cedar, Douglas fir, hemlock, spruce, yew and alder.
My family likes to camp at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island, and from there we can see some of the many small islands off the Coast of Washington. Those islands, often encircled by mist, inspire so many questions. Does anyone live there? Who owns them? What sorts of things could be hidden on a small, private island, draped with mist?
Mysterious creatures? Maybe even unicorns?
Who better to discover such secrets than a girl who wants nothing to do with anything fantastical? A girl who wants only to stay safe in her shell with her own secrets for company.
There on Whidbey Island, I wrote the opening of Wonder Light. In the whip of the island wind, characters began to whisper to me. Twig Tupper and Lonehorn Island—just as much a character as a setting. And of course, the island’s greatest secret—unicorns. Wild and pale as the island’s mist.


R.R. Russell lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. She grew up traveling the world as an army brat and now travels the country as a coach with a non-profit judo club. She loves to read and draw, and like Twig, once spent a lot of time sketching unicorns. Visit her at rrrussellauthor.com.