Adult Historical Fiction Review: Find Out What It Means To Be "Benjamin Franklin's Bastard"

Benjamin Franklin's Bastard: A Novel
Title:  Benjamin Franklin's Bastard
Author:  Sally Cabot
Format:  E-galley
Length:  368 pages
Publisher:  William Morrow
Rating:  5 stars

Benjamin Frankiln’s Bastard by Sally Cabot is an absorbing and compelling work of literary historical fiction that brings to life a little-known chapter of the American Revolution — the story of Benjamin Franklin and his bastard son, and the women who loved them both.

William Franklin, the son of Benjamin and his favorite mistress, Anne, is raised by Deborah, Benjamin’s wife. A steadfast loyalist, he and his father cannot reconcile their wildly disparate views, causing a rift in the bond both thought unbreakable.

Fascinating and heartbreaking, Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard is a gripping tale of family, love, and war, set against one of America’s most fascinating periods of history.  -Goodreads


My Thoughts
Benjamin Franklin is a man known for many things:  ingenuity, statesmanship, and scholarly pursuits being but a few.
The tale told in "Benjamin Franklin's Bastard" is the lesser known one of Ben Franklin as: man, lover, husband, and father.  The Benjamin glimpsed here is far removed from the man chronicled in America's various histories.  This is Ben as seen through the eyes of the women and little known illegitimate son who knew and loved him.

The love story found between these pages is filled with enough passion, deceit, secrets, scandal, and love to rival the steamiest of romance novels.

Unfolding as more of a love triangle than anything else, the stories of Anne, Ben's long-suffering mistress and Deborah, his wife, paint Mr Franklin's life in a palette both sordid and somber.  Your heart goes out to both of these woman in equal measure as you travail with them through the highs and lows of their fascinating, albeit rather unfortunate existences.  

For Anne, it's the hard scrabble life of the working poor; made harder still by her ill-fated tryst with the up and coming young Franklin, and by extension, their son William.
Deborah fares no better in this ordeal; although outward appearances might lead one to assume otherwise.
Finding herself wooed, bedded, and than abandoned by Ben.  Deborah is forced to marry by her mother.  Seeing her marriage as the untenable situation that it is, she makes the shocking and socially unacceptable choice to leave her cad of a husband.
When Ben comes back into her life with a heart full of professed love and the offer of marriage that will restore her to respectability; Deborah gladly accepts.  Little Does she know however that the price for her yes is the baby of her husband's mistress.

Enter William...

Son despised by the mother raises him and longed for by the mother who bore him.
He is truly loved by his father, but never secure in his place in the family.  A boy, who through no fault of his own, and despite all that he achieves, never finds the acceptance that he so craves.

This is a story that while at times hard to read, you will find hard to put down.  There is never a dull moment, and each of the stories told in this book compliments the others.  Sally Cabot writes on par with the likes of Margaret George; breathing new life and nuance into the story of a man that many know of, but few actually know.




                                                                                 

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This Book Is Definately "What Happy Looks Like"

This Is What Happy Looks LikeIf fate sent you an email, would you answer?

Title:  This Is What Happy Looks Like

Author:  Jennifer E. Smith
Format:  E-Galley
Length:  416 pages
Publisher:  Little Brown and Co.
Rating:  5 stars
 
When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?  -Goodreads



My Thoughts
Jennifer E. Smith does it again with this simple tale of love, life, secrets, and emails gone awry.
"This Is What Happy Looks Like", is a refreshingly simple tale of two teenagers who find each other through the happenstance of a mistyped email address, becoming friends first, and then more.

The thing that makes this book work is it's "it could happen to you" factor.  It is so easy to become Ellie or Graham, seeing and experiencing the world as he or she would.  These two young people are two hearts looking for love that is honest, true, and judgement free.  Things that because of their lives, and in the case of Ellie, her past; they both believe to be beyond their reach.

Until that first email...

This is a very enjoyable and hopeful read that will make even the must jaded of hearts a believer in love conquering all.  Graham and Ellie's story stands as proof that sometimes people are "just meant to be together".

I recommend this book to anyone who has ever cried at the end of a Meg Ryan movie.  Anyone who loved "The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight".  Anyone who is just the least bit curious as to "what happy looks like".


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I'm A Reader Not A Writer Book Tours Presents: The Puppet Spell

Tour Schedule



The Puppet Spell

Unlike her rebellious sister Lucinda, fifteen-year-old Lexa prefers to spend her free time playing video games, fighting the forces of evil with her partner-in-crime Marlon. But when Lucinda steals an invisibility potion from their uncle’s storeroom, she unleashes chaos into their lives. Lexa and Marlon find themselves catapulted into a world far more dangerous than any video game, full of misleading illusions, sinister Conjurors and deadly Fey, and threatened by a man with a grudge known as the Puppeteer. Accompanied only by Lexa’s uncle’s unreliable (and rather dangerous) Chimera, Lexa and Marlon must navigate this world to find Lucinda- before they too fall under the spell of the puppet master...


My Thoughts

This book is the perfect blend of the fanciful, the sinister and the dramatic; without having to sacrifice it's whimsy and wonder in the process.  Written in the vein of great fantasy such as Narnia, Never ending Story, and Pan's Labyrinth; the world that Ms. Adams Has crafted within the pages of this read is truly fantastic.

All of her characters are  strong and well expressed.  I say all, because often times when you have human characters who are transferred into magical lands, they sometimes wash out in comparison to the fae, goblin, or whatever they might encounter.  This was far ffrom the case with Lucinda, Lexa, and Marlon.  They manged to prove time after time that they were the stuff of great stories.

This is a very fast paced, edge of your seat story coaster.  Full of evil plotting, fae politics, intrigue, mystery, and just a few regular baddies thrown in for good measure; there are plenty of challenges facing Lexa and the gang in their quest to save Lucinda and break the spell of the Puppet Master.


Praise
'OMG, my hat goes off to Miss Adams. "The Puppet Spell", is a mind-bogglingly crafted novel...I love the intricate web that is interwoven throughout the story. It leaves you wondering what's real and what has been created from the mind of Adams. It's Harry Potter meets The Matrix. It's a fast-paced story that left me gripping the end of my seat waiting for the next scene to start. Adams's debut novel is a must have! Its original take on magic and other worlds will have you placed under a spell of its own.' - YA author Elle A. Rose (Amazon review)

'Adams has crafted an entertaining fantasy tale with some nicely creepy moments. This novel is aimed at a young audience and should be extremely well received...a brilliantly written adventure story.' - Fantasy author Sharon Stevenson (Amazon review)

"it is easy to see that you are a very gifted writer. I am so impressed by your talent and the story. It has appeal not only for kids but adults as well. I think you will go far with this. Six stars!" - Authonomy review

"You have a wonderful narrative voice for children’s literature." - Authonomy review

"To me it felt like a mixture between Narnia and Dr Who, whilst at the same time being very original and not easy to predict." - Authonomy review

"You have a great idea and have written it wonderfully! The writing is clean and consice, with no words wasted. Your settings and circumstances are described vividly and placed me in the story. All of the characters have distinct personalities and their quirkiness is fresh. You are obviously very talented! This story is put together incredibly well. Highly marketable, very highly starred, and most enjoyable." - Authonomy review

"High stars from me – this is one of the most satisfying reads in this genre I’ve come across in a while." - Authonomy review



Read Chapter One:
http://throughthegateway.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-puppet-spell-teaser.html


Purchase
Amazon * Kobo

Goodreads




Author E.L. Adams

Emma is a 21-year-old author from Birmingham, UK. When she isn't reading voraciously, studying, or taking every opportunity to travel, she can be found in front of her writing desk.

Having aspired to be a writer since the age of ten, Emma aims to give life to her (admittedly bizarre) daydreams, through creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel THE PUPPET SPELL, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of traditional fantasy, mythology, and video games.

When not living the crazy life of an English Literature with Creative Writing student at Lancaster University, Emma reluctantly resides in the attic in her parents' house in Birmingham. Local rumour is that she is working on a dark fantasy series for mature young adults featuring demons and other assorted night terrors.



Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends 3/10/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and 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 Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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I'm a Reader Not a Writer Book Tours Presents: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back


The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson 

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.  -Goodreads
                                                      

Purchase
My Thoughts
This fun and heat warming read is what you get when you blend two parts Cinderella with one part John Hughes.  The super-hot object of Mattie Lowe's non-prescription glasses clad eyes is even named Jake, (a la Sixteen Candles).
But I digress...
Mattie is a perfect example of a person who can't see her own forest because she is too busy staring at other people's trees.
She is a wonderful, smart, and beautiful girl in her own right, who has a few issues.

Ok...Ok...I have to stop myself here before I start telling the story.    
This book is a fun and well written story that is full of the very much needed message of "you are special" that so many princesses, both young and old. seem to need these days.

While it is true that Mattie is very judgmental of herself and others.  When you start to explore the relationship that she has with her mother; you come to realize that she is just parroting a lot of what she internalizes from her mother.
Pair that with what she goes through with "mean girl" du jour  Mercedes Bentley, (No, that is not a type-o.  She is actually named after two cars.) and the long shadow cast by Ella and you've got "every girl" who at some point in her life has felt some how less than.


Not to worry though, Mattie does get a big dose of "girl power"by the end of this read.  With the help of her friends, and her "not so evil after all sister", she comes to like herself just a little more.
This is a very good, clean, Contempory YA Romance that I would recommend to every girl who needs the recipe for creating their own "happily ever after."

Praise

“My top pick of 2012 YA… This book is just. plain. fun.”

~Jordan McCollum, author of Saints & Spies and I, Spy
“Sariah Wilson's new book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, is hilarious…What follows is a story of fun and romance with some good non-preachy life lessons thrown in.  The voice in the main character, Mattie, makes the whole thing.  I thought it was definitely a book I'd recommend to anyone with teenagers or who just want to read a good teen romance.”
~Julie Coulter Bellon, author of All Fall Down and All’s Fair
“Sariah [Wilson] has written one of the funniest stories I've read in such a long, long time. I literally couldn't put it down. Yes, my poor Kindle's battery died and I was attached to a short power cord, contorted in a very uncomfortable position while I read to the end…. Sariah Wilson captured the back-biting, insecure, hormone-driven, clique-riddled high school atmosphere so perfectly you'd think she never grew up. I dare you not to laugh as you read this witty and oh, so, romantic story.”
~Debra Erfert of Windows into Writing
“Sariah Wilson writes like the best of/most popular YA teen fiction/teen romance authors - Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Susanne Collins, Cassandra Clare.  She sucks you in and never lets you go.  I finished the ~194 novel in one night because I just couldn't go to sleep without knowing the ending!  I hope that Sariah comes out with more novels, I know I'll be re-reading this one all the time!  She's extremely talented and needs to be talked about.  I highly recommend The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! to anyone (over the age of 12) who wants a YA novel that's a real modern-day fairy tale.”
~Hilary at Novel d’Tales
“This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn't have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep…This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It's a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it.”
~Andrea of Literary Time Out
The book is wonderful.  It’s quirky and fun.  The story makes you laugh and you fall in love with the characters right from the beginning…This is a well-written book.  It is one that will make you smile and sigh as you remember your first love.  And it has a moral…be yourself, believe in yourself and maybe, just maybe, your fairytale will come true.  Pick up this book.”
~Ana of The Book Hookup


Author Sariah Wilson

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).



Tour Schedule





Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/5/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and 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 Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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YA Bound Presents: Broken Wings Blog Tour


Welcome to my stop on the Broken Wings blog tour hosted by YA Bound. Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule!



Broken Wings (Angel Eyes Trilogy #2)
Author: Shannon Dittemore
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Format: Paperback/ebook
320 pages

Goodreads Description:

Giant angels with metal wings and visible song. A blind demon restored from the pit of darkness. And a girl who has never felt more broken.

Brielle sees the world as it really is: a place where the Celestial exists side by side with human reality. But in the aftermath of a supernatural showdown, her life begins to crumble. Her boyfriend, Jake, is keeping something from her—something important. Her overprotective father has started drinking again. He’s dating a much younger woman who makes Brielle’s skin crawl, and he’s downright hostile toward Jake. Haunting nightmares keep Brielle from sleeping, and flashes of Celestial vision keep her off kilter.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s been targeted. The Prince of Darkness himself has heard of the boy with healing in his hands and of the girl who sees through the Terrestrial Veil. When he plucks the blind demon, Damien, from the fiery chasm and sends him back to Earth with new eyes, the stage is set for a cataclysmic battle of good versus evil.

Then Brielle unearths the truth about her mother’s death and she must question everything she ever thought was true.

Brielle has no choice. She knows evil forces are converging and will soon rain their terror down upon the town of Stratus. She must master the weapons she’s been given. She must fight.


But can she fly with broken wings?
 







My Review
Shannon Dittmore's "Broken Wings" is the second installment in the Angel Eyes trilogy.  This story finds Brielle struggling to regain her sense of security after the celestial battle that ended the last read.
Normalcy and peace seem to elude her at every turn however, as she is presented with problems at home, in her love-life, in her dreams, and in the spirit realm.  
"Broken Wings" is a very enjoyable read, which though it is written in a decidedly Christian viewpoint; does not come off as preachy or overly biblical.  The dual storyline featuring Brielle and Jake in the natural world and the angels and demons of the spirit realm, provides the variety needed to maintain reader interest in spite of a lack of physical conflict.  Most of the drama that occurs in  this book, does so on an emotional and mental level as readers come to learn more about Brielle and Jake as people.  This is often what happens in the second book of a trilogy.  This book is not one that is meant to be read as a stand alone; due to the fact that a great deal of the character introduction and plot direction is established in the first book.
This is a very enjoyable "clean" read, that uses setting and tone in new and beautiful ways to build worlds that welcome readers.
By the time this book ends, there is no doubt that the third book is a shoe in for your TBR pile. 





 Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes Trilogy #1)

Release Date: May 29, 2012
Format: Paperback/ebook
336 pages

Goodreads Description:

Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .

ANGEL EYES

Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.



About The Author

Shannon Dittemore has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a focus on youth and young adult ministry. The daughter of one preacher and the wife of another, she spends her days imagining things unseen and chasing her two children around their home in Northern California. Angel Eyes is her first novel. 

Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Pinterest


This tour is brought to you in cooperation
with:


***GIVEAWAY*** 

(1) Print copies of Angel Eyes and Broken Wings (US Only) (5) Print copies of Broken Wings (US only)

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Book Blast: Baked Alaska


Baked Alaska by Josi S. Kilpack

An Alaskan cruise is the setting for amateur detective Sadie Hoffmillers latest adventure. Sadie plans to spend time relaxing with her two grown children, Breanna and Shawn, and her boyfriend, Pete, while enjoying the luxury and cuisine of an elegant cruise ship and helping to plan her daughters upcoming wedding. But even as the crew prepares to leave port, Sadie has suspicions about the voyage ahead and the relationship between her normally easygoing son and a mysterious female passenger he obviously knows but refuses to discuss. When the woman is discovered unconscious during the second night at sea, Sadies apprehension escalates. Over the last few years, Sadie has developed an extreme dislike for secrets and it would seem her son is keeping one from her. *Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadies Virtual Test Kitchen.




Praise for Baked Alaska
Josi Kilpack has done it again. You would think that all these events that occur in Sadie's life wouldn't be natural, but Josi Kilpack has a way of making you believe that it just "happens" and it is normal. I have grown to love Sadie's character, even if she is a busybody, you can't help but cheer for her as she attempts to solve a mystery or crime. One of my favorite series. :)
~Goodreads Reviewer Lacey McNeill









Author Josi S. Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack grew up hating to read until she was thirteen and her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began her first novel in 1998 and hasn’t stopped since. Her seventh novel, Sheep’s Clothing, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Mystery/Suspense, and Lemon Tart, her ninth novel, was a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist. Josi was the Best in State winner in literature for 2012 and currently has two books (Banana Split and Tres Leches Cupcakes) as finalists in the 2012 Whitney awards.

Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her family.




Tour Schedule




Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/17/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and 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 Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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Middle School Is Scarier Than Ever With "Professor Gargoyle"

Professor Gargoyle (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School, #1)Title:  Professor Gargoyle
(Tales From Lovecraft Middle School #1)
Author:  Charles Gilman
Format:  Ebook
Length:  168 pages
Publisher:  Quirk Books
 

Every volume in the Lovecraft Middle School series is fully illustrated and features an original lenticular portrait on the cover. Display them on bookshelves—and then watch the cover characters morph into monsters as you pass by!

In Professor Gargoyle, we’re introduced to 11-year-old Robert Arthur and the strange world of Lovecraft Middle School. It’s a brand-new state-of-the-art facility—so why do so many creepy things keep happening? Why is the science teacher acting so strang

ely? And where are all the rats coming from?

As Robert explores with his new friends Glenn and Carina, he discovers that the school may be a portal to another world.  -Goodreads

My Thughts 
There are strange things going on at Lovecraft Middle School; and Robert Arthur is right in the thick of things.
Between the rats, giant squids in lockers, and portals to other dimensions, one never knows what to expect from one page to the next.
This is a very easy story to get into and the 168 pages seem to fly by.  This is the perfect read for mid-grade ghouls and goblins.  The action never lets up and each scene is more descriptive than the next.  There is just enough scare for goosebumps, but not enough for bumps in the night.  There are also wonderful illustrations.
The only negative to this read was the fact that the ending was a little rushed.  A few more pages or a chapter or two would have made for a more complete end.

The second book is "peeked" at the end of the first and appears to pick up where the first stopped.  Hopefully this will help smooth some of the rough edges of the first read.







                                                              

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Book Blast: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson 

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.


Purchase


Praise

“My top pick of 2012 YA… This book is just. plain. fun.”
~Jordan McCollum, author of Saints & Spies and I, Spy
“Sariah Wilson's new book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, is hilarious…What follows is a story of fun and romance with some good non-preachy life lessons thrown in.  The voice in the main character, Mattie, makes the whole thing.  I thought it was definitely a book I'd recommend to anyone with teenagers or who just want to read a good teen romance.”
~Julie Coulter Bellon, author of All Fall Down and All’s Fair
“Sariah [Wilson] has written one of the funniest stories I've read in such a long, long time. I literally couldn't put it down. Yes, my poor Kindle's battery died and I was attached to a short power cord, contorted in a very uncomfortable position while I read to the end…. Sariah Wilson captured the back-biting, insecure, hormone-driven, clique-riddled high school atmosphere so perfectly you'd think she never grew up. I dare you not to laugh as you read this witty and oh, so, romantic story.”
~Debra Erfert of Windows into Writing
“Sariah Wilson writes like the best of/most popular YA teen fiction/teen romance authors - Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Susanne Collins, Cassandra Clare.  She sucks you in and never lets you go.  I finished the ~194 novel in one night because I just couldn't go to sleep without knowing the ending!  I hope that Sariah comes out with more novels, I know I'll be re-reading this one all the time!  She's extremely talented and needs to be talked about.  I highly recommend The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! to anyone (over the age of 12) who wants a YA novel that's a real modern-day fairy tale.”
~Hilary at Novel d’Tales
“This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn't have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep…This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It's a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it.”
~Andrea of Literary Time Out
The book is wonderful.  It’s quirky and fun.  The story makes you laugh and you fall in love with the characters right from the beginning…This is a well-written book.  It is one that will make you smile and sigh as you remember your first love.  And it has a moral…be yourself, believe in yourself and maybe, just maybe, your fairytale will come true.  Pick up this book.”
~Ana of The Book Hookup


Author Sariah Wilson

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).



Tour Schedule

Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/5/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and 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 Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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"Destiny Rewritten" A Beautifully Bohemian Book

Destiny, RewrittenTitle:  Destiny Rewritten
Author:  Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Format:  E-galley
Length:  176 pages
Publisher:  Katherine Tegan Books
Rating:  4 Stars

Des·tin·y: |destinÄ“/
(noun) The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.

Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn’t even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then a seeming tragedy strikes: just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she accidentally loses the special copy of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily’s understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.

In her third novel, Kathryn Fitzmaurice again weaves a richly textured and delightful story about unexpected connections, about the ways that friends can help us see ourselves for who we truly are, and about the most perfect kinds of happy endings: those that happen just on time.  -Goodreads


My Thoughts
Destiny Rewritten is a case of a book that contains a message that is far more complex than it's middle grade label would lead one to believe.  This is the lyrically meandering tale of a girl, a book, and the loss through which she finds herself.

Emily's life has been planned for her since before she was born.  Her mother has convinced her that she is fated to become a great poet.  Emily however, is far more fond of the passionate paragraphs of Danielle Steele.
The loss of the book that contains the moments of her life as written in the margins of her namesake's poems by her mother, is the catalyst for what becomes the scavenger hunt for her destiny. 

This book is one that is truly made great through the sum of it's parts.  There are many times when it seems that the piece of the puzzle that you, as the reader are being shown doesn't fit, but a few pages later you see that it's just right.
There is a natural tendency to want to shake her mother, and tell her to be straight with Emily.  If that were to happen however, this book would be about two chapters long.
It is the fact that her mother is so vague about the important details of her life, that makes her quest for the book and the self determination that results so important.
 
The one drawback that this story has is it's tendency toward literary loading.  It is choc full of literary references that the average 6th-8th grader could find a bit boring.  Emily's cousin Mortie, along with a host of quirky support characters provide both comic relief and points of interest that somewhat remedy this.


Though the course of this book seems to wander, rest assured that the journey is a beautiful one that is well worth the time.

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See How Sweet Magic Can Be With a Bit of "Bliss" and "A Dash of Magic"

Bliss (The Bliss Bakery, #1)Title:  Bliss
(The Bliss Bakery #1)
Author:  Kathryn Littlewood
Format:  E-Galley
Length:  374 pages
Publisher:  Inkhouse
Rating:  4 Stars

Rosemary Bliss's family has a secret. It's the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Singing Gingersnaps.
Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke locked away while their parents are out of town, but then a mysterious stranger shows up. "Aunt" Lily rides a motorcycle and also whips up exotic (but delicious) dishes for dinner. Soon boring, non-magical recipes feel like life before Aunt Lily—a lot less fun.
So Rose and her siblings experiment with just a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke. A few Love Muffins and Cookies of Truth couldn't cause too much trouble . . . could they?
Kathryn Littlewood's culinary caper blends rich emotional flavor with truly enchanting wit, yielding one heaping portion of hilarious family adventure.  -Amazon

My Thoughts
Rosemary Bliss and her family literally make magic in the kitchen of the Bliss Bakery, in the town of Calamity Falls.  This is the side-splitting tale of what happens when the parents leave the baking to the kids.

This is a wonderfully imaginative tale that early to middle grade children will love.  Rosemary is at the stage in her life where she is old enough to do some things at the bakery, but not old enough to use magic to bake.
She also feels like the wallflower in a family full of roses.  Stuck between her older brother, Thyme, younger brother, Sage, and baby sister, Parsley; Rose is out to prove that she can stand out in the kitchen.
Seeing the town of Calamity Falls and it's kooky cast of characters through the eyes of young Rose, and having a front row seat for all of the happy accidents that the kids' baking causes is a reading treat.  Don't think however, that there are not lessons to be learned along the way.  The Bliss children  realize the importance of principles such as:  teamwork, honesty, following directions, and forgiveness.
The helpful (not so much), villain of sorts found in the character of Aunt Lily; provides just the right dash of bitter to the kids' sweet.
She also provides the "cliff-hanger" ending that is a wonderful segue to the next book.



A Dash of Magic (The Bliss Bakery, #2)
Title:  A Dash of Magic
(The Bliss Bakery #2)
Author:  Kathryn Littlewood
Format:  E-galley
Length:  384 pages
Publisher:  Kathrine Tegen Books
Rating: 4 Stars
That’s why she challenges her aunt Lily to an international baking competition in Paris: If Rose wins, Lily agrees to return the Cookery Booke that she stole. If Rose loses—well, the consequences are too ugly to think about.

But Lily isn’t playing fair—she is using a magical ingredient to cheat. The only way for Rose to compete is for her to find magical ingredients of her own.

Together with her long-lost grandpa, his sarcastic talking cat, and a turncoat French mouse, Rose and her brothers must race around Paris to find essential—and elusive—magical ingredients to help her outbake—and outmagic—her conniving aunt.

Rose has to win or the Bliss Cookery Booke will be lost to her family forever.…  -Goodreads


My Thoughts
Rose and her family are off on another "sweet" adventure.  This time it involves the whole Bliss clan.
Mom, Dad, and Grandpa Balthazar are all headed to France to face Aunt Lily in a cooking contest.  The prize...ownership of the Cookery Booke.
This book is written so that it may stand on it's own.  There is a lot more travel and action of that sort in this read.  The fun takes place outside of the baking competition however, that is where the story tends to get a little predictable.
The cast of characters, both magical and not, is where this book shines.
The villainous Aunt Lily really gets to show her true colors this time around as well, and it is very nice to see her get what she has coming.
This is a very good read.  Not quite as funny but just as yummy as the first.


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See The Beauty in the Many Faces of Pretty Girl-13

Pretty Girl-13
 Title:  Pretty Girl-13
Author:  Liz Coley
Format:  E-Galley
Length:  352 pages
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen
Rating:  5 stars

Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn't know.

But there are people who do—people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing-and ultimately empowering-page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.  -Goodreads


My Thoughts
Liz Coley's "Pretty Girl-13" is not your typical YA read in any sense.  This journey into the life and mind of kidnapping survivor, Angie Chapman, and the lives of the "alter" personalities that her psyche split into as a way of helping her to cope with the horrors that she was forced to endure during her 3 year captivity; will enthrall readers from page one.

This book is not one story but several: Angie's story pre-kidnapping, Angie's story point of view during the kidnapping, Angie's story post kidnapping, and the stories of her "alters".
Meeting each of the "alters" and experiencing Angie's life through their eyes and in their voices, gives this story a raw, almost biographical feel.

Ms. Coley manages to present difficult subject matter with a perfect balance of realism, and care that, while helping to make the subject matter palatable for a younger audiences; in no way diminishes the power of her message.
While it is true that much of the book is very emotionally taxing.  This read does end on a hopeful note, as Angie, her family, and her "alters" find their way to hope, forgiveness, and understanding.

 


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See Brilliance of a True Steampunk Fairytale With "Innocent Darkness"

Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles, #1) Title:  Innocent Darkness
(The Aether Chronicles Book 1)
Author: Suzanne Lazear
Format: E-Galley
Length:  308 pages
Publisher:  Flux Books
Rating:  5 stars

 Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.  -Goodreads

My Thoughts
In a time when being a "proper lady", wife and mother seems the pinnacle of achievement that any girl worth her salt can strive for.  Magnolia "Noli" Montgomery Braddock possesses that certain "spark" that  drives her to do MORE.

Noli is a girl that one can't help loving.  Her quick inquisitive mind, zest for life, and indomitable spirit are enough to draw readers to her without the slightest hesitation. When these traits are coupled with an unspoiled wide-eyed innocence...what more is there to want?
The story of Noli's inventiveness landing her afoul of the law and her subsequent removal from friend, mother, and home is enough to set one's blood boiling.  Then to discover that she. and girls like were sent to a "finishing school"/house of horrors to endure electroshock, sensory deprivation and worse.  Insane!
  
It gets better...

It seems that the same spark that gets our Noli into so much trouble, just may be her ticket out of some.
Her spark may be the key to saving the dying Otherworld; where fearie and magic reign supreme.
Her ticket...a mysterious stranger with golden eyes and sweet promises and...a wish.

This book has everything that a lover of steampunk, underdogs, drama, romance, passion, mystery, and faearies could ask for.
No one in this read is who they seem to be.  Noli is not sure who she can trust with her life, her body, or her heart.  While her struggle for understanding is in full swing; there are also revelations of lost birthrights and severed family ties involving Noli's unassuming boyishly beautiful best friend V.
V it seems, holds just as many answers to the goings on in Otherworld as Noli has questions.  He may also be the only one to save her body and soul.

If she can trust him.

This book is full of action, but not in the physical sense.  The action here is more mental.  With the characters and the reader trying to stay at least one step ahead of the baddies at all times.





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DNF Pile: "When We Wake" Is More Sleeper Than Keeper





When We Wake
 
 Title:  When We Wake
Author:  Karen Healey
Format:  E-galley
Length:  304 pages
Publisher Little Brown & Co
Rating:  DNF
Time of Surrender:  44% Complete


My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027--she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.
But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies--and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.
Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity--even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?
Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.  -Goodreads


My Take on Things

Tegan is 16 and loves her life in 2027.
Until she dies, 
is frozen,
and is revived in 2127.

She is the first successful revive in a program 
hoping to use what they learn from her case to
bring back soldiers that have died in combat.

I really feel for Tegan and her loss.
What I don't like is the obsession that she seems to
have with The Beatles.
Not only are the chapters in the book Beatles' songs,
the book is peppered with Beatles trivia as well.
 ENOUGH ALREADY!

Then there is the replacement of the lost love from 
Tegan's past with an almost clone.
WHAT???

What I did like however, was the brilliant
stand that the author took on  the social and 
environmental issues that plague society.

All in all, this is not a bad book.
It just needs to be a lot more story
and a lot less 1960's peace rally revamp. 

My Rating:
  

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