Friday, March 30, 2012

Contest Feature Friday #4- A Cupcake and a Latte Signed copy of The Calling

This week I thought that I would share with you all something that is super awesome. I
personally am a big Kelley Armstrong fan and as a fan of books in general I love signed
copies!  So how excited was I to learn that Wendy from A Cupcake and a Latte was doing a
Giveaway for a SIGNED copy of The Calling by Kelley Armstrong!!!!!
I know right?! Super freaking happy dance type excited!!!

Maya and her friends--all of whom have supernatural powers--have been kidnapped after fleeing from a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set, and after a terrifying helicopter crash they find themselves pursued by evildoers in the Vancouver Island wilderness.

If you haven't seen the trailer for the book you can check it out here:

So if you would like a chance to win a copy of this book head on over to
A Cupcake and a Latte  and enter today!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Fire Stones by Kailin Gow

Mackenzy Evers can't believe how close she is with Chance now that they've finally allowed themselves to be with each other. But her past with Varun and her quest for the goddess Vesta's magical stones can tear her away from him forever.

  This is book 2 in Kailin's Fire Wars series and let me tell you it did not disappoint me either.  Kailin has a way with these books and when you open them everything draws you in and you become part of it all.  This book you have all the same characters that you had last book but with a little more information and A LOT more action.
  Mac has made her decision.  She is with Chance and no attraction to anyone can change that, right?   Even the strong Mac has to make hard decisions and she is stuck with many of those in this book.  Between her wanting to find out if she is really the goddess Vesta or not and having Varun trying to tell her that it is the sea she belongs with you really have to wonder at times how she remains sane.  I really admire Mac for putting her foot down and trying to remain with just one when her heart pulls her two ways.  She doesn't want to be one of those silly girls that can't make up her mind and creates a love triangle.  Try as she may to explain this Varun wont give up on her and her heart wont give up on the hope of him either.  I wish it were more simple than that for her but becoming one of the most important Goddess's ever isn't going to be easy right?
  Chance is around a lot more for this book and I have only grown more attatched to the hottie Fire God.  Seeing he comes from fire he has so much passion but I guess with it comes the moods.  Although he has managed to tone down the mood swing a lot from last book, he still has his moments.  How can you blame him though.  When you know that the love of your life, your other half has left you before and seems drawn to again?  I can't even express how Team Chance I am.  He may be possesive and moody but my gosh is this boy ever worth every word that is written about him.  There is no amout of Chance that could be too much. Two pages to really watch for with Chance and Mac here: 96 & 163.  Not that far apart I know but you will love it!!

  Varun... I like him but he just isn't Chance.  he loves Mac but is trying too hard to convince her of what she doesn't want.  I guess somewhere in her heart she knows that he has a place there too but that is what she is trying to avoid.  He is Water King so for all purposes he is the opposite of chance.  He doesn't have the passion but a smoother love and he is a much calmer personality.  I think part of that is why Mac feels such a pull to him.  Wouldn't you want someone around that could make you feel less stress with just a touch of their hand?!  Overall Varun rather than being a little more insistant is the same person that was in book 1.  Not complaining he's hot for sure but he just isn't Chance.

    The Post Erosion world in this book kind of stands out a little more.  Kailin has done such an amazing job with this dystopian type world because realistically it could 100% happen and many people believe it will.  A world where the water has taken over and the land is far and few between.  The landscapes that you read/see are just breath taking and I can't stress enough that you can actually see with almost perfectly where you are and how wonderful this different new world is on Eros Island.  I specify there because from what Mac says most of the world isn't as fortunate as this island and maybe that's why I love it so much.

 The entire Mac, Chance, Varun thing really does come to a peak in this book. I really want to go on about it but I keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible. I have to tell you that the choices that Mac starts to make is going to effect everything and everyone. She will break someones heart and the ending of this book will leave you begging for more. Overall this was an amazing book!! Once again Kailin Gow has managed to create a world that you easily slip into and don't want to leave.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

#YABookChat feature Author Chelsea Cameron & Mini Review on Nocturnal

Seventeen-year-old Ava-Claire Sullivan isn't one for doing the expected. Especially when she finds out her mother's cancer is terminal. After a crying session in the local cemetery where she's attacked by one strange guy and saved by another, she doesn't call the cops. Because those guys definitely weren't your average hooligans.

And the one who sort-of saved her? Well, he's odd. He doesn't seem to breathe or smile or have anything better to do than wait in the cemetery for Ava to come back. Which she does. Call it morbid curiosity. Even after her warns her that he's dangerous, she can't stop wanting to see him, talk to him, be with him.

There's something about Peter that provides a much-needed escape from her mother's diagnosis and her tenuous relationship with her father. Even her best friends Jamie and Texas don't know what it's like to face death. But Peter does. He already has. He also made a promise a long time ago that could destroy both of them.

When everything in your life is falling apart, what are you willing to give up to hold onto the one thing that could last forever

   Ava is living with a lot on her plate right now.  Dealing with her mothers sickness and the inability to share it with her two closest friends Tex and Jamie.  Not because they don't want to hear it but because she isn't ready to talk about everything that is going on at home.  Instead she takes to the cemetery.  The dead listen but don't ask her anything or anything of her.  What happens when she goes one night and it isn't only the dead there does she realize how dangerous the night can be.  Terrified or not she wants to see the guy that saved her from the one that was going to destroy her.

  I'm not telling you the twist here but lets just say that i was totally did not expect it.  I walked into this book expecting another vampire book(not that it is a bad thing).   However when it got to reveal time I had to read over the sentence a couple times just to make sure I caught it right.  I loved that it wasn't all a tortured secret and he just showed her.  It's just the couple little things that really set this book apart and I loved it.  I want to say so many of the little things that made this special to me but I don't want to ruin it for all of you.  

  Peter (our man in question) is kind of the typical mysterious guy.  There is differences but mysterious all the way.  He never talks too much, actually he doesn't really talk.  The questions that Ava showers him with are answered in the most simple way possible.  He doesn't over do it or try and make excuses for everything and anything.  His lack of answers does cause some irritation every here and there but I chalk it up to he is a guy!

  Tex (Texas Sarsaparilla Anne Hamilton <3 the name) is a very out going and loving.  Like all good friends though when something is being hidden she can sense it.  For the most part Tex just tries to support and be patient but that can only last so long...  The question is what do you tell your best friend when you aren't even sure what's going on yourself? 

  My biggest problem in the book is that she really lets Jamie down when he needs her the most and then he just seems to disappear for a good chunk of the book.  I really thought that he was going to be more and really felt that Ava let him down.  I totally get that there is a lot of stuff going with her but I hate that he just seems to drop off the face of the book.  I will admit though that I am super looking forward to the next book.  I am not saying that this book is slow but it picks up some major momentum at the end and then ends.  I feel the need for more and can't wait to see what Chelsea does with the next book!!

You can purchase Chelsea's book on Amazon

A little info on Chelsea: 
Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA writer from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, vacuuming and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head.
She is hard at work on the sequel to Nocturnal, entitled Nightmare, due out in March 2012, as well as a series about ghosts and another series about things that go bump in the night. She's also a social networking fanatic. Find her on twitter: or follow  Chelsea's Blog

Waiting on Wednesday: Starling by Lesley Livingston

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I am totally looking forward to Lesley Livingstons newest Starling

"Love is just the beginning... of the end."

Mason Starling is a champion fencer for Gosforth Academy, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Until now. When a ferocious storm rips through Manhattan and unleashes terrifying creatures onto Gosforth’s campus, Mason barely escapes alive. Without help from the mysterious stranger who appeared in the midst of the storm, she might not have made it at all. But now, in the aftermath, Mason’s life begins to spin dramatically, mystically out of control, and the only one who seems able to help her is the stranger who can remember nothing but his name: Fennrys Wolf.

As Mason and Fenn uncover more about Fenn’s past and the strange events that surround them, they realize that Mason’s family — and its dark allegiance to the ancient Norse gods — is at the center of everything. A predetermined fate seems to be closing in on Mason, but is it possible to change one’s destiny?
Expected publication: August 15th 2012 by HarperTeen
I personally LOVED Lesley's Wonderous Strange novels and can't wait to see what
she has turned out this time!!
What are you waiting on this week!? Please feel free to leave a link here and
I will be sure to visit you WoW.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

#YABookChat Author Tiffany King & Mini Review on Meant to Be

Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept and without any real friends; the one exception being the boy that visits her each night in her dreams.

Krista’s emotions are put to the test when a move to California triggers a devastating change to her fantasy world. The nightly comfort that the boy provides has now become a recurring nightmare as he is taken from her by an unseen force.

Struggling to appear normal, Krista enrolls in a new school and finds it to be nothing like she thought. Her new life is sent spiraling out of control from a strange connection with a boy, Mark, who claims to know all her secrets.

As Krista begins to explore the emotions that Mark evokes in her, secrets about their mysterious past and their predestined purpose threatens to separate them just when they have found each other.

  Krista is emotional to say the least.  Her parents had to learn to keep their emotions in check to protect her and monitored as much of her life as they could.  Not because they were controlling but out of concern and love.  Heck Bambi had her out of it for weeks with sadness and even though she loves her parents she never really feels like she belongs.  Her father passing and a big move to Santa Cruz turns her world around and starts a series of events that seems to simply be destiny.  
 Her destiny includes some awesome characters.  Sam being my favorite and of course Mark.  Sam turns out to be just like her in so many ways that they start to write it down to try and find out what is going on.  They are too different in characteristics to be related but there has to be something that makes them so much the same.  When she first see and touches Mark she feels something so different for him and immediately feels a connection that she wants to deny.  However once she gives in a little and lets herself be around him they have such a strong connection you can't call it anything but beautiful. 

  Sometimes I can't handle the 'insta' love and I find it annoying that they don't know each other yet fall madly in love.  However Krista and Mark had something a bit more than that to me and I found more of a connection than a forced love.  No matter what they do things just don't seem right without the other and they balance each other out.  I would like to mention that it isn't only them that feel this.  There is more and that makes it a little easier to feel the connection and not be overwhelmed by the instant love.
  My biggest love in this book was the dreams.  I can't get into a lot of detail without spoiling some of the book for everyone but trust me pay attention to the dreams!!  There is so much to love in this book.  Really the characters the story and the world you learn about is a lot of fun.  Every now and then I had a minor issue with the pacing but seriously not a big issue!! I think that Tiffany King is going to kick some serious Indie butt with this series!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel. Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

Publisher: Dial Books
Published: 20 March 2012
Format: Hardback 448 pages

I don't even know where to begin with this book.  Even after sitting for a day looking over notes and trying to figure out what to tell you guys I can still mostly come up with WOW!  I am at a loss for words really .  Michelle has created an enchanting and exhilarating read.  Once you start there is no going back and every page will just pull you further into the story and a new world.  The characters are vivid, enchanting and you will feel the need to know them and want to learn more to be closer to them.  There is a slight Steampunk feel to this book and I love that!! I also love that it doesn't take over the book but enhances it.  I wish so much that I could tell you more with spoiling it for you all and will do my best to keep it as spoiler free for you as possible.
  The protagonist Helen is probably one of my favorite kick butt females EVER.  Loosing her parents and the life she knew was only the end of what she knew and the door into the unknown future for her.  In the face of danger she may start to loose composure but has no problem pulling it back together and getting what needs to be done, done.  This really helps when she has to escape her burning down home and find her way to Griffin and Darius Channing.  It is only here that she bit by bit learns what she really is and moment she learns what her true destiny is Helen really does step it up.  What she felt was an isolated life has actually trained her to be what she was to become.  There is no doubt in my mind and never was that Helen was going to be what she was supposed to be.  Even when she was distracted by Griffin and Raum (I mean I can't blame her) she was trying to figure out what she was supposed to be doing. 
  Griffin and Darius Channing are quite remarkable brothers and are not to be over looked in this book.  Darius is the older brother and is nothing if not stubborn and strong.  You can't help smile at his smart arse remarks when it comes to all things Helen.  He does not take it easy on her just because she is younger or because she lives what him and his brother went through more freshly than him.  However this is a massive advantage that Helen doesn't really know she has because even if Griffin cares for her a little tough lovin' is what she needs to be able to make it.  Darius knows this (well that and he just seems bothered by her).  Though Darius is more of the type of character that I am normally drawn to and favour I was surprised at how I came to love him but not in the way I thought I would.  Would I want him with Helen... NO.  Would I want him with me... YES.  However if I am honest with myself Anna is his match and it totally works :)
  Griffin... Mmmmm Griffin.... Well with that a little out of my system Griffin is such an awesome match for Helen (even if I do want him for myself).  He from the get go seems to care for her.  Even before he truly knows her or who she is there is a soft spot for Helen in Griffin's heart.  Out of the two brothers he is the more flexible and understanding one.  When it comes to Helen he is nothing but affectionate and the few times he gets upset with her it doesn't take much to bring him around and back to her.  When it comes down to it Griffin is tough and can kick some serious butt, but for the most part his main concern is protecting Helen and nothing else.  Griffin is the one that I believe Helen belongs with 100%.

  Raum is not really a good guy nor is her really a bad guy.  Well I guess he's kind of the bad guy but it's not like he really wanted to be the bad guy.  Raum comes from a hard childhood and doesn't have much left for him.  When he comes back to life in this book you find out that he has a history with Helen although neither of them realize it when everything starts happening.  When the realization comes it's like everything changes.  Raum is not immune to Helen or her kindness any more than Griffin is but their is a much more difficult and complex relationship.  I really do love Griffin but that is for Helen.  I would be lying to you if I said that I had started out with the most affections towards Raum because I hadn't.  However with time to reflect I adore Raum on an entirely different level.  With what he went through and who he became in the end you can't help but adore him.  Given the choice I now stand with Raum.

  The setting in Victorian London is wonderful!  Michelle did such a wonderful job in making the world come to life and then added a very slight steam punk edge to it.  I say very slight because to me wasn't really a big part of the book just a few minor things that gave it a bit of the twist.  I loved each time a new setting came up, as you learned more about the world and got a feel for the different areas. This is a seriously unique world that has been created and you will wish that you could set foot in it, even for just a moment.

  I can't say I had any problems with this book at all.  The pacing was wonderful and with every page turned I just fell more in love.  There was action right from the first chapter and you weren't left wondering when the story was going to start. To me there wasn't a dull moment, every moment that they were not fighting to save themselves, there was some form of action going on.  Not the physical kind but sometimes emotional and psychological kind.  The characters were well developed and really came alive and I can't help but hope that we get more of them soon. Overall  Michelle Zink has created a captivating and tantalizing read that you wont want to put down.

Normally this is where I put my rating out of 5.  So where is it you may ask.
To be honest I couldn't get over how much I loved this book even after all of
hype surrounding its release.  Normally I end up enjoying the book but let down
because it wasn't what I had hoped.  HOWEVER this book has exceeded my expectations!
So I would like you to leave this page knowing that I feel this book deserves more than a
5/5 & go forth and buy it!!!

You can purchase this book from any of the following places:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Imm #8 March 18-24

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. If you
are interested in doing your own IMM or just looking to hop around all the
different IMM's head on over there!!

I am super happy to say I had another AMAZING week!! I have to thank so many wonderful
people for this because honestly without them I wouldn't have anything to show you!!

I was super excited when I won a signed copy of Meant to Be by Tiffany King
on twitter and after devouring that one she was kind enough to gift me
Forgotten Souls from Amazon as well!! <3

I have had Darkness Becomes Her & A Beautiful Evil on my wish list FOREVER!
I won a copy signed copy of A Beautiful Evil from Kelly Keaton, while on a chat hosted
by Yara on her blog Once Upon a Twilight.  Thank you both so much. This lit a bit of a fire
under me and I hurried out and bought Darkness Becomes Her.

I won Bewitching from Figment Fiction on Twitter
Dark House from the author Karina Halle on twitter as well

Various Swag from:
The Vicious Deep from Zoraida Cordova
Kelly Keaton sent a nice little note pad with my book
Illuminate and Of Poseidon from Michelle at The Passionate Bookworm (note
this actually came with the book 2 weeks ago I just kept forgetting SORRY)
Postcard and signed book mark from Kymberlee Burkes Miller on Facebook

For Review:

I bought (physical copies):
Crossed by Ally Condie
Desire by Kailin Gow
Accordance by Shelly Crane

Free Ebooks:
Descended by Blood by Angeline Kase
Anathema by Megg Jensen
The Initiate by Megg Jensen
The Mers- Ami Blackwelder

I think this will probably be my last big mailbox for awhile.  I am on a bit of a book buying
ban (unless my gift cards allow me to buy lol).

Thank you all so much for stopping by my mailbox!! This is my mailbox
what did you get in yours this week?! Please leave a link so I can make
sure to visit you as well!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Contest Feature Friday: Fire Star Book: March Break Madness!!

May from Fire Star Books has been a regular with me since I started my #YABookChat in late Nov. 2011 and is such a wonderful person!! I know that doesn't relate to a contest but I thought you all should know anyway!! Back to the task at hand I guess what I really want to tell you about is her March Break Madness Giveaway!! This runs right up until April 16 and the prize... You guess it an ENTIRE box of books!!! If you are anything like me this is totally mind blowing and exciting!! These are her terms:
  • Giveaway is International!
  • Must be at least 18 to enter (or 13 and up with parent permission)
  • One entry per person
  • Giveaway ends April 12th at midnight
    Winner will be selected via rafflecoptor and contacted through email. The winner has 48 hours to respond before the prize is forfeited and a new winner is selected.
  • Sounds super easy right?! Plus is INTERNATIONAL!! AWESOME!!!
  • So if you are interested in an ENTIRE box of books head on over and visit May at
    Fire Star Books (clicking name takes you right 2 contest)

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    REVIEW: The Fire Wars by Kailin Gow

    A dystopian romance that takes place on an island and is the melding of mythologies from two different cultures.
      Her destiny was written in the books...but can she change a course that has already begun thousands of years ago?
      Mackenzy Evers had moved with her mother from Angel Island to Aeros Island during her senior year. What can be worse than to finish her senior year at a new school?
      Living during the post-Erosion period on Earth where there is less land than before, Mac is happy to discover an island of rich beauty and lush landscapes, not to mention mysterious handsome boys and an ancient prophecy that is set to come true in Mac's lifetime.
      Chance Cutter claims she is his Queen, his goddess to his Fire King, whom he had been searching for years. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, yet why does he seem to hate her? And who is she really?

    Edition: Paperback, 262 pages
     Released: October 17th 2011
    Published by The Edge Publishing

       I have been super about this book since I first spotted it on Kailin Gow's blog!! I mean a dystopian book that is filled with Gods and Goddess how could I not be excited!  It took awhile to figure it out but finally I managed to get it from The Book Depository and there was no going back from there!! This book was a fantastic read with great characters and a vivid and very possible new world in it.  The God/Goddess edge to it is what really made the book though.  As the title suggests there is you fire gods but you also have you water ones as well and everything divides from there.  I wont go into too much detail as I don't want to ruin any of the book for you but so much of this book relies on our protagonist Mac and the role she may or may not play. 

      Upon her arrival nothing seems to be foreign to her but rather she feels like she is home.  Which even to her is strange as she has just arrived and had to leave behind all of her friends and the place she has lived for years before this.  She is almost immediately introduced to Chance Cutter who is not at all the nice guy she thought he might be upon hearing of him but he makes up for it in sheer attraction! Varun Cutter though not lacking in looks is the complete opposite of his cousin and is sweet and seems to calm Mac with his touch. I really enjoyed Mac for the most part.  The girl was thrown into this world that she had no idea existed and almost right away had accepted her role.  With the exception of feeling maybe she went a little nuts on the way but I liked that she did as it made her a little more real to me.  Acceptance is key but questioning makes her real.

       I for the most part was as torn as Mac was when it came to Chance and Varun.  Going into this book I had watched the trailer and knew that there was bound to be some hot guys but I was not prepared for the level these guys were on.  Varun on page 92 total swoon and Chance on 114 infuriated me in an I want more kind of way!! There is no point in saying that I wasn't torn between the two guys just as Mac was.  They both know how to raise your pulse at any given scene!!  However I will say I felt a much stronger pull to Chance and if told to choose a team it would be Team Chance ALL THE WAY!!

      This book is a step outside of the normal dystopian with its mythological twist but is a better book for it. Anyone that loves a good mythology will adore this book!!  The dystopian edge was just a bonus and I know that it is a very popular genre right now so in a competitive and growing market this book will have no problem standing out and raising the bar.  Kailin Gow has done a wonderful job and I can't wait to start Fire Stones very soon!


    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Waiting on Wednesday: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    This week my pick is Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama:

    Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

    Hardcover, 295 pages
    Expected publication: September 4th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
    I would like to point out that this is another AMAZING release that is set to launch on my
    Birthday :) I have found a couple really awesome books that will be must haves for that day!!
    However I don't just want this book because it releases on my birthday but because I love a
    good mermaid story.  For so long they had faded into the back ground and they are really
    making a strong come back now!!
    This is what I am waiting on this Wednesday what are you waiting on?!
    Leave me a link and I will head over and check it out!!


    First Day of Sun Tour Guest Post: Sheryl Steines

    About the Author

    Sheryl Steines' mind is chaotic and surprising and it shows in her writing. Never one to sit back and see what may come, Sheryl is driven to write everyday. Somehow, amidst the chaos, she finds the time to volunteer and give talks to book clubs and students about her writing. She even walked the Avon Breast Cancer walk two years in a row.
    Sheryl's series Annie Loves Cham is full of surprises and mystery. Refusing to be restricted by genre Sheryl has taken the characters she loves and set them in new situations which test them and their friendships. The second book in the series is set to release in late summer 2012.
    Sheryl can be found on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog. She also encourages her readers to email her and let her know what you think of Annie and Cham!

      Now I am lucky to say I have the chance to post this awesome guest port for this tour! Please take some time read it and then read all the details of the tour!! There is prizes and I totally do not want you to miss out!!!


    The Strong Female- Sheryl Steines

    I am always amazed to hear that, in the year 2012, women are still talking about strong female characters. It’s funny that we’re always surprised when one comes along. Even in Hollywood, actresses still can’t find roles to sink their teeth into. As a reader, I look for characters that I can relate to in some way; a character who is more than a damsel in distress but less than an unfeeling, mean, witch. I’m putting it gently, but I’m looking for someone, who when facing a problem, doesn’t necessarily need a man to bail her out–a woman who can take care of herself in spite of her vulnerabilities. Because in reality, women are multi-layered and complex. We don’t fall to one end of an extreme or the other.
    When I was younger, I started reading Danielle Steele, but I couldn’t read her for long. Her female characters were far too needy and always put themselves in a position of requiring a savior. Even as a child, I couldn’t help but wonder why these characters always needed a man to improve their lives. Why couldn’t they simply take care of themselves? It seemed as though female characters fell into two camps, and only two. They were either villains, witches, someone to be hated and despised, or they were weak, pathetic, your classic damsels in distress. Why is fiction lacking real women, women who can simply be human and celebrate all that they are?
    As I got older, I found myself drawn to shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I saw in Buffy a strong character. Yes, she could kick ass, kill the vampires and fight the demons. She also had a brain, could plan, and could save the world each week. But she wasn’t uni-dimensional. She also has a side that liked clothes, shoes and boys, a side that was feminine, a little vulnerable; a side that, okay, sometimes needed to be saved. She was a complex female character, real and human, a character with whom I could definitely relate.
    The strong female character isn’t a caricature or stereotype. She’s not a total wimp like Snow White, and she’s not a total monster like the evil queen. She falls somewhere in the middle. She’s reactive, emotional, human, sexual, confident and sometimes unsure of herself.
    When I originally wrote my character Annie Pearce in The Day of First Sun, I wrote her as a no-nonsense person, strong and smart, the girl who could survive on her own. But she didn’t feel genuine. As the story unfolded and changed, I rewrote her, gave her friends and family with whom she could interact. I gave her feelings, gave her stress. I let the other characters take charge once in awhile and offer some support. I melded two halves into one woman–a strong woman, who can take care of herself and ask for help when necessary. We’re not perfect, so why should our characters be? Instead, why can’t we make them simply authentic?
    Charlize Theron made a really compelling comment regarding her character in the movie Young Adult. She said, “Women are usually either really good prostitutes or really good mothers. Maybe women are finally getting the chance to play more honest characters,” Theron said. “We usually don’t get to play bad hookers or bad mothers — or anything in between.”
    Maybe it’s time to be a little more real and a little more honest.

    As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Day of First Sun eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
    All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
    To win the prizes:
    1. Purchase your copy of The Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
    2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
    3. Visit today’s featured social media event
    Help my blog win:
    The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.
    About the book: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.
    About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    #YABookChat Authors of the Week: D.T. Dyllin & Stacey W. Benefiel

    So this will be a two part post today because I have 2 awesome authors to talk about
    this week!! We have D.T. Dyllin at 9pm EST and Stacey W. Benefiel at 9:30pm EST.
    Now those are just the best rounded off times because to be honest sometimes we
    carry things on a little longer than that. So I wont write anymore about this but lets get to our
    authors shall we.
    D.T. Dyllin author of Enemy Through Gates

    P. J. Stone, like most eighteen-year-old girls, is a little boy crazy and somewhat obsessed with finding the perfect boyfriend. Some days she feels like she might be the last remaining virgin in her entire high school, and maybe even the entire tri-state area.
    After a traumatic night at a friend’s party, P. J. realizes what she truly wants has been right under her nose all along. Bryn O’Bannon, her best friend and partner in crime since age five, is head over heels in love with her, and she feels the same about him.
    But P. J.’s life isn’t that simple. She’s a member of a separate society that exists secretly among the rest of the world; the society raises gifted individuals to protect the world from interdimensional interlopers, and P. J. was taught to put duty before her heart. She is expected to choose a suitable mate in order to perpetuate the Seer line. Unfortunately, Bryn is a Guardian and is forbidden to date—let alone mate with—a Seer such as herself.
    As if figuring out her love life isn’t complicated enough, P. J. begins having visions of a threat to her world only she is able to perceive. Now, she must concoct and execute a plan to avert world disaster while at the same time avoiding the dissolution of her love life.

      I know sounds awesome right!! I can not wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!! P.J totally sounds like the type of protagonist that I love and seriously want to know more about Bryn!! Lucky for you guys that just by reading this and attending the chat you can WIN A PHYSICAL copy of this book!! Um... total yay! The only restriction is that it is US/CAN only. Sorry international peeps.  I also got to ask this wonderful lady a few questions so that I had something to share with you!

    Mini Random Author Interview:
    Me: Why did you choose to become an author?
    D.T.- I’ve always been a writer of some sort, whether it was short stories, poetry, songs, or now novels. I made the jump to novels when songwriting no longer seemed to satisfy me creatively. When writing a song, it’s like creating a snap shot version of a character’s emotions at a particular point in their lives. In my head there was a before and an after, but I couldn’t share all that went into the creation of a character within the context of the song. Eventually, the characters I created had too much to say, and not enough time to say it in a 3-4 minute platform. I was left feeling like my creations were unfinished and incomplete. That’s when it became clear to me that my characters needed to have their stories truly told, and that it was time to move on to a different medium

    Me: What MUST you have when you are writing?
    D.T.- When I'm writing I MUST be sitting somewhere comfortable. I know it seems pretty basic, but I used to have this awful computer chair that drove me crazy! I never got anything done. But now that I do all my writing on my lap top I usually sit on the couch. So much better! :)

    Me- What can you NOT leave the house without?
    D.T.-  I CAN NOT leave my house without sunglasses! I have them stashed all over the place for emergency eye blinding prevention. I have really sensitive eyes and anytime I'm outside even when it's over cast, if I'm not wearing shades, then I feel like I can't see properly. And that sucks because I have amazing eye sight. I can read & see things from really far away...if I have my shades! I always complain about things being too bright all the time. I'm like a friggin' Mogwai...Bright Lights! Just call me Gizmo. ;)

    Me- If you could co-write something with any author who would it be?
    D.T.-  If I could choose any writer to write something with...hmmm...I think it would be Anne Rice. She first introduced me to the wonderful world of vampires when I was in elementary school and I've been captivated ever since. (I read a tad beyond what was considered age appropriate.) I was obsessed with vampires before they were considered cool and got made fun of a lot for it. I even read The Vampire Diaries back when they were first published in the early 90's. Most people don't realize they first came out then. Anyways...I owe my life long love of vampires that eventually developed into everything supernatural all to Anne Rice. Working with her would be amazing! Btw...I've seen & read almost every vampire movie/book out there up until recently. I'm filled with ridiculous trivia facts about all the different lore. I'm pretty hard to stump.

    Me- Fav food?
    D.T.- My favorite food is ice cream. They were my first words...well actually it was "Mice Mice" but that's what I called ice cream when I was little. My all time fav. is Haagen Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip. Can you say mouth-gasm!

    I can't even tell you guys how many times I laughed or smiled while reading the answers to my questions.  Not going to lie when she answered my last one I am super glad that I wasn't drinking!
    You can find D.T.- On Twitter, Her Blog, Facebook (Click on any of the ways to be taken straight there, I am all about the easy!!) Also there are MANY different ways to order this book that looks super promising and they are all listed in the blog :)
    Now on to part 2!!

    Stacey W. Benefiel Author of the Zellie Wells Trilogy

    Mini Review: Glimpse(Zellie Well #1)

      I had read a short story of Stacey's that came from Avery (Zellie's boyfriend) and I loved it!! This book was no different for me.  Despite the fact that I learned it was difficult writing Zillie for Stacey at times, you really couldn't tell!  This book was written really smoothly as far as I was concerned and gave me quite a few laughs. 
      To say the least Zellie is rather quirky at times and full of personality.  At her 16th borthday party she begins to see things.  Not like ghost or any form of dead people but the future.  To start it's really a glimpse of what will be a persons end and to say the least it is a shock.  Her first thoughts are to tell her BFF Claire but it doesn't quite come as easily as she had hoped it would.  She tells her mom before anyone and doesn't like how that turns out really at all.  She holds back telling her friend and boyfriend until a certain circumstance forces it out of her and the results are not so awesome.  However Claire is AMAZING! I think she is the best BFF/Sidekick (as she likes to call herself) ever! She is so freaking loyal and I don't think there is a bone in her entire body that could be not loyal to Zellie! She even leaves with Zellie and her sister Melody for the summer as to continue to help and support her!
      For the first bit of the story you don't get to see/know much about what Zellie and her family can do.  It is a lot of character building and getting to know your surroundings.  I know that doesn't sound all that great but Stacey actually made it totally rock at the same time.  Sometimes I feel authors either take too long or don't outline their characters well enough because of not wanting to drag it out.  This was a wonderful surprise that I still wanted to read more and more even without fully knowing exactly where everything was headed and trust me there was so many ways that it could have gone! The way it went was awesome though!!
      This book completely met my expectations and was a lot of fun to read!! I would like to leave you with a few humerous Zellie moments that I just can't resist sharing:
     Zellie on first kiss with Avery- "...I didn't think the whole "dry hump as a first kiss"
    experience was normal."
    Melody on Zellie getting ready- "What are you doing in here? It smells like a freaking Bath and Body Works exploded!"
    Zellie on Avery Comment- "If I had to get up at five every morning and loofah the bejeezus..."

    There is more than that but I didn't want to keep you all day.  However those were my 3 fav. Zellie moments!! You can find Stacey On- Twitter, Facebook and Her Blog.

    Hope you all enjoyed the post and hope to see you tomorrow Wednesday March 21
    at 9pm EST.  Make sure you use the hashtag #YABookChat and are following me-
    @Tiff_Mahaffy, D.T.- @DTDyllin and Stacey- @Stacey_WB for the best coverage!!


    Monday, March 19, 2012

    50 Follower Giveaway!! As Promised!!

    You Guys ROCK!! I started blogging on Feb. 4 of this year and am already up to
    53 followers!! Do you have any idea how exciting that is for me?!  I started this thinking
     that I would be lucky to have 1 follower but it has kept on growing!!!  I want to thsank
     you all for the super support! A special thanks to MaryAnn from Chapter by Chapter! Truly I
    think my blog would be a mess without all the times you let me bug you!!

    So as a thank you I have put together a Giveaway!! I am trying Rafflecopter but please
    bare with me as it confused me a lot lol! This will run from March 19 until April 19.
     Rather than being a follower EVERYTHING else is optional and you only need
    to do what you want :) Thank you all so much <3

    Clockwise by Elle Straus has a NEW COVER

    In case you guys haven't been with me from the start I read Elle's Clockwise and loved it!!
    I loved the cover it had as well but she has come out with another eye catching cover!! It is so brilliant and pretty.  Elle has let me post it on my blog YAY!!!  Along with the new cover you
     can also read a chapter sample and trust me you will be hooked!!
    So without further delay the new cover:

    Isn't it cute?!  So seeing we aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover why don't
    you read the first chapter and then rush off to buy it?!

    EVERYONE HAS TO LIVE with something.
      For instance, my hair is the unmanageable kind of curly, the color of burnt toast. Imagine waking up every morning looking like the Lion King, or having to spend a disproportionate amount of your allowance on hair products that don’t deliver. Like the ones under my bathroom sink. Row after row of half-empty containers of mousse, gel, and hair tamer standing dejectedly like the third string of a basketball team that rarely gets to play.
    The thing is, I would be fine with rag mop hair, truly, if only I didn’t have this other issue: uncontrolled time travel to the nineteenth century. I’ve never met anyone else with the same problem, either, so that also classifies me as some kind of freak.
    On the upside—like a blind girl who ultra develops her other senses to compensate for what she can't control—I’ve picked up a few extra skills along the way. One survival reflex I’ve nurtured is how to be quick on my feet. I have good impulses, you could say.
    Well, normally, this is an upside.
    Until a second ago.
    I was sitting with my best friend, Lucinda, on the sidelines of the football field. As usual, we were watching the yummy football players, rather than the scrimmage going on because really, who cared about the actual game? Despite the glare of the setting sun, I saw the brown speck hurtling towards me.
    Impulsively, I jumped up and thump, Nate Mackenzie’s football, signed by the famed Tom Brady himself, was in my arms. I couldn’t believe it. I’d caught Nate Mackenzie’s ball!
    Gingerly, I raised my head. Sauntering across the field, with all his hunky hotness, was the cutest boy in the school, the most valuable senior varsity football player of Cambridge High, and the love of my life. He stopped right in front of me.
    “Good catch.” His rugged and manly voice lassoed me. He'd said, good catch. I couldn’t move or take my eyes off his face. The way the sun glistened off his sweat, emphasizing his strong jaw and the brightness of his blue eyes, brighter still because of the contrast of his dark, shaggy hair…
    “So, can I have my ball back?”
    My hands gripped his football with sticky sweat. The ticker tape in my brain searched for the right response before flashing ERROR in red neon twelve-point font.
    “Casey?” Lucinda nudged my back. With a slight swivel of my head I saw her expression. Mortification. Give the dumb ball back! Did I just have an aneurysm? I felt woozy, like throwing up. I imagined myself vomiting all over Nate’s feet.
    Unbelievably, there are some things worse than puking in front of the football team. A wave of dizziness threatened to wash me away into black nothingness. But I couldn’t be so lucky to just faint. It was happening. Oh no. Not here. Please, not in front of Nate Mackenzie.
    In an instant, my world brightened like a nuclear blast as I spiraled through a long white tunnel. When I opened my eyes, he was gone. Nate was gone and so were Lucinda and all of Nate’s football team.
    I stood alone, in the middle of a lush forest painted every shade of green. My lungs filled with the sweet scent of undamaged air, my skin tingled with warm humidity. The furry and feathered inhabitants squealed and chirped with enthusiasm. I heard an unwelcome whistling noise and a pop. Nate’s ball, still in my hands, had an arrow sticking out of it.
    So much for quick thinking and quick feet. I jumped behind a tree and hid as a couple of kids, maybe ten and twelve, cantered by on horseback.
    “You missed it!” teased the older boy. The fortunate squirrel scurried up the tree, its little feet loosening bits of bark that rained down on my head. I could have been killed or at least drastically injured, but all I could think about was Nate’s football. The air seeped out as I tugged on the hand-whittled arrow. I slid down the side of the tree and groaned.
    Tom Brady’s signature had a puncture hole right in the middle of it. I gripped the flattened ball as I stomped through the brush, pushing scratchy branches away from my face. Why did this have to happen in front of Nate Mackenzie? Why?
    Pack your bags, self-pity. I was cursed with time traveling. I was a slave to it with no control over when or in front of who it happens, and as far as I knew there was no cure. Not that I had anyone to ask about it. I just had to survive, which fortunately, I'd gotten pretty good at.
    I soon came to a wide dirt road scarred with uneven grooves ground in by irregular carriage travel and dotted with hazardous looking empty potholes. I imagined they filled up unattractively with muddy water when it rained. A waist-high rectangular stone marker, leaning slightly like a wounded soldier, had the miles to Cambridge MA etched in it. Good. I knew where I was.
    Time travel, as expected, is fraught with complications. The immediate one is what to wear. Or more like what not to wear. As in blue jeans and sneakers I needed to ditch ASAP. I slipped back into the dense covering of the forest and kept hiking. The second immediate problem has to do with food and drink. Let’s just say that to solve these problems, you have to get creative.
    I recognized a thick grove of lilac bushes and pushed my way through to the center, where a patch of wild grass opened up like a bald spot on the top of an old man’s thick crown of hair. When I travel—and this started when I was nine years old—I always end up in the same locale. The actual spot on the planet Earth stays the same; just what is on it is different. In the future, this is the location of my neighborhood.
    I lifted off a thatch of twigs to expose a deep hole; one I had proudly dug myself having borrowed a shovel from a neighboring farm. Inside was a hatchet, spotty with rust, a piece of flint, a rugged slingshot and two musky smelling burlap bags, which I pulled out, one at a time. The first had food—dried beef, raisins and a jar of well water. I opened the jar, took a drink and grimaced. Stale. The second bag had clothing: a long ivory cotton dress with tiny bluebells hand stitched in a scattered pattern, ladies boots that looked like figure skates with the blades off, a pair of trousers, a pair of men’s boots, (yes, my feet were big enough to wear men’s) and a boy’s cap. I’d borrowed these during various trips, and hoarded them away for the “future.”
    A stumpy, fallen log, green with moss and partially hollowed out by ants, served as a bench. I rested against it, laying Nate’s ball on the ground. I stared at it hypnotically, until I was lulled into a deep daydream, back to the football field at Cambridge High. This time I did everything right.
    Nate says, Good catch, his eyes admiring me and my obvious, though previously hidden, athletic ability. I say, Thanks, and smile back with confidence, my hair perfectly tamed and my jeans fitting me exceptionally well. And most importantly, I give the ball back, offering it like a prize, our fingers lightly brushing in the pass. Nate throws it far and long, glancing back to see if I am still watching him.
    I screamed. A garter snake had slithered over my hand. I jumped to my feet and did a little impromptu rain dance. I wasn’t even afraid of garter snakes, it just startled me. My heart settled back to normal speed and I shook my head, trying to clear it. Focus, Casey. Sometimes it was difficult separating my two crazy worlds. I so didn’t feel like being here in my alternate universe, the year 1860.
    I put on the trousers. Fortunately, the fashion for boys in the nineteenth century was loose and baggy, so no need to lie flat on my back to wrestle with a zipper (which wasn’t invented yet, anyway). Picking up Nate’s ball, I tucked it securely under my shirt. I had to make sure the ball came home with me when I went. It served a second useful purpose, adding the illusion of boyish thickness to my waistline. A bit of twine made for a functioning belt.
    Shoot. The pant legs ended at my ankles. Okay, I forgot to add to my list of imperfections, (chronic bad hair days, the time travel thing, paralyzing crush on a way unobtainable hottie) that I’m also overly tall. Not graceful catwalk model tall or academy award winner beauty tall. More like ostrich tall. Without the feathers. Long limbs with knobby knees and elbows.
    I pushed my hair behind my ears and into the cap. I hadn’t picked up the habit of wearing make-up because a) a bare face aided me in my attempts to blend in and b) it was a liability to me when I traveled and wanted to pass myself off as a boy. I practiced at lowering my voice: Hello, my name is Casey.
    I cleaned up my stash and worked to wipe out the evidence of a human visitation. I decided to head for the Watson farm, to see if Willie Watson would hire me again. It was grunt work, cows and chickens and the like, but it gave me a way to make a bit of money and get food. There were also a ton of kids and I could easily get lost in the mix.
    At the main road I turned east towards Boston. Mid autumn leaves shook in the cool breeze causing goose bumps to pop up on my arms in defense of the chill. I rubbed them vigorously with my long fingers. Behind me I heard the growing rhythmic clip clop of a single horse and cart. A young man with a mass of red curly hair came to a stop at my side, stirring up a minor cloud of dust. I recognized him despite that fact he had filled out since the last time I’d seen him and unfamiliar stubble now shadowed his face. It was Willie Watson.
    “Can I offer you a lift?” he said.
    It was show time. I lowered my voice. “Willie?”
    “Yeah, it’s me.”
    He cupped his hands over his eyes to block the sun. “I hardly recognized you. You’ve gotten so tall.”
    “I’ve heard.”
    “Where you off to?”
    I shifted my weight, in a manly (I hoped) way. “Well actually, I was wondering if I could work for you again.”
    Willie nodded. “We can always use an extra hand. Get in.”
    I shared the back of the cart with a bale of hay and a little goat with a gray beard. Willie snapped the reins, the initial thrust tossing me to the back end of the cart where I settled in for the ride. I was happy to get out of the long walk to the Watson’s farm, not too happy about hitching a ride with a goat. It sensed my discomfort and immediately reached over to nibble on my shirt. I swatted the air between us. “Back off!”
    Willie called over his shoulder. “What happened to you? You just took off last time without saying anything.”
    I had my cover story ready. “I had to get back to Springfield. Family stuff. But my ma just had number thirteen so Pa sent me out to work again.”
    “Aye, I understand. My own mother is kept to her room with number ten.”
    I’d first met Willie when we were both twelve. He’d caught me stealing eggs from their chicken coop. Not my finest moment, I admit, but I plead desperation, driven to petty theft due to the fact that I had crossed off day eight in the past. Up until then, my trips had usually only lasted a couple days, but that summer things changed. Hungry and panicked, I’d thought I was stuck in the past forever, never to return home, never to see my parents or my younger brother, Timothy, ever again. I'd crept like a fox at dawn to the nearest farm.
    Thankfully, that was the Watson farm, and the Watsons had turned out to be the nicest and kindest people I’d ever met. Anyway, Willie had caught me with my hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. “You gonna eat those raw?” he'd said. I hadn’t thought about that. I'd shrugged, too stunned and frightened to say anything of intelligence. “We have hotcakes in the kitchen, you can come for breakfast.” The thought of eating with all those Watsons was just too scary. My face must've reflected that, since Willie went on to say, “That’s okay, I’ll bring you some. Wait for me on the dock.” I'd nodded and watched in silence as Willie gathered the eggs before leaving.
    I'd made my way to the small lake situated in the middle of the Watson farm, thinking that I was either going to get a yummy breakfast or Willie was going to return with a gun and take me to the jail house. He'd showed up with breakfast. “Thanks,” I'd said. Willie’s voice hadn’t yet changed so he didn’t think twice about my high pitched squeakiness. I ate the warm and sticky pancakes with my dirty bare hands. I'd tried to imagine what I looked like to Willie. I hadn’t showered in ten days, my hair was grimy and in hysterics. Just like those kids in Lord of the Flies after a few weeks without parents to boss them around. He never snitched on me about my chicken house raid and got me a job pitching hay. I’d stayed in the past for a full three weeks, and from that point on the ‘rules’ of time travel had altered. Now, I never knew how long I’d be gone.
    We rode the rest of the way to the farm in silence. Well, except for the goat, ba-aa-ing and nipping at my pant legs.
    I rubbed my butt when we arrived, though the bumpy ride was appreciated by both me and the goat.
    “I could use help milking the cows and keeping the barn clean,” Willie said, pointing to the prominent red out building behind the stately family home. “You can sleep in the loft, like last time,” he added. I strutted away, concentrating on my gait, mimicking my brother’s boyish walk. Swiveling hips would get me into big trouble. Times like this made me thankful for my poached egg sized breasts. Just call me Mr. Casey.
    Someone watched me walk across the yard. Of course, there were plenty of people around, other workers, Watson kids playing tag, but I felt his eyes on me. Cobbs. He was shorter than me now, but beefy like a boxer with a round beer belly popping out. His face was pink and shiny and his dark beady eyes scanned my body.
    Ew, what a perv. I’m a boy, weirdo! Or could he tell I wasn’t? Did he remember me from before? Either way he was a creeper. I let my gaze fall to the ground and kept walking, away from the barn. When I was sure Cobbs was out of sight I circled back and slipped into the barn, climbing the ladder to the loft. I hid in the pokey straw and even though it was only dusk, I immediately fell asleep.
    The tiny irritating saw of a mosquito buzzed near my face, and I flapped my hands dramatically. A rooster crowed and I sighed, disappointed I was still in the past. Not that I would travel in the night. I never traveled while sleeping. Ever. Didn’t know why. Some kind of time travel law.
    And I was hungry. Better go milk me some cows and earn my breakfast. A dozen Jersey cows lined up in a row. Grabbing a tin pail and wooden stool, I settled in under Betsy One. I called them all Betsy: Betsy One through Thirteen.
    Willie joined me. “Mornin’, Casey.” He grabbed a short three legged stool like the one I sat on, and plopped a pail under Betsy Three. It had been a while since I'd had to milk a cow, and honestly, I never did get the hang of it. First of all, cow teats are like short slippery ropes. Kind of gross to touch. And you have to pull on them just so, sort of a milk-releasing-rhythm. The cows get fully irritated when you don’t get it right.
    Thwap, thwap, thwap. The sound of milk shooting into a metal pail. Unfortunately, not my pail. Willie was showing me up.
    I peeked around the back end of Betsy One, spying on Willie’s Olympic cow milking performance. Betsy One didn’t like my peering around her rear end, and wacked me hard with her tail. Kind of like getting smacked with a bull whip, but one covered in fir.
    “You okay, Casey?” Willie called. “Uh, yeah, fine.” I mimicked Willie’s timing, one, two, three, four, and thankfully the milk started to shoot out.
    By the time I finished my fifth cow, (meaning Willie whipped my butt by milking eight), my forearms burned and throbbed like mad. We carried the pails to the kitchen where the Watson kids poured the milk into jars so the older boys could make deliveries in the neighborhood.
    The eldest Watson kid, Sara, oversaw the whole operation. Her red hair was parted down the center and two braids close to her face looped up like crimson handles. Though fashionable for this century, not a very becoming look as far as I was concerned. It seemed like she had a large lampshade under her skirt, the way it spread out at the bottom, and since women didn’t normally wear hoops while working at home, I assumed that she must be about to go out. When she saw me, she propped her hands upon her waist.
    “Willie,” she called. “Who do we have here?” She didn’t remember me because Willie, and his father when he was around, took responsibility for farm staff. She, when her mother was ill or with child, controlled the kitchen and house staff.
    “Ah, you remember Casey Donovan? He’s worked here before.”
    “Really? I don’t recall.” Sara pinched her eyebrows together. Then she called out,
    “Duncan, Josephine, Charlotte, Abigail, Jonathon!” A collection of kids with either curly red or brunette hair entered the room.
    With the guidance of a stout and bright faced woman named Missy, they went to work bottling the milk, careful not to get knocked to the ground by Sara’s hoop skirt.
    Willie left and I turned to follow, but she cleared her throat, stopping me. I waited to be dismissed, but she held my gaze. She got right to the point. “How old are you?”
    “Uh, almost sixteen.”
    “Do you shave, Casey?”
    “Uh,” My hand jumped to my chin. “Sometimes. I’m a late bloomer. It runs in my family.”
    “I dare say. Did you spend the night in the loft?”
    “I think so. I fell asleep shortly after my arrival yesterday. I don’t remember seeing anyone else.”
    “That’s a relief,” she said.
    “Why is that?”
    She removed her apron and smoothed out her skirt. Then she looked me straight in the eye. “Because Casey Donovan, I believe that you are a girl as surely as I am one.”
    You can purchase Clockwise on Amazon and you can get it in both Ebook and Paperback format!!
    Also if you have a minute please check out my review here or leave a little comment love here for this new cover!!
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