Despite their digital prowess, teens still prefer print over ebooks


With my own YA novel coming out in 2016, I’ve been doing some research into what format teens prefer to read books.  Overwhelmingly, the surveys and the polls show teens still prefer to read print books over their digital counterparts by nearly 73%.  That’s  a huge number.

Voxburner recently conducted research for The Bookseller surveying 900 young people in the UK on their prefered method of reading. Overwhelmingly, nearly three-quarters of the young people surveyed said they prefer the print form. This is not the first survey to show these results.

Despite their digital prowess, the research continues to show time and time again that people in the 16 – 24 year old age group prefer the feel of a real book. They want to touch it, hold it, see the creases in the spine. It’s holistic. It’s real.

There are also two other determining factors:

  • Price; and
  • Ownership

Most young people do not have tablets or ereaders. They still get the majority of their reading material in paper from either schools, bookstores or libraries. They don’t have a lot of cash for the most part, and when they do, they aren’t going to fork out their money on a digital book that costs almost as much as their paper counterparts. They’d prefer to plunk down their cash for something they can share, and let’s face it, you can’t share an e-book unless you have a compatible device and a license that says you can do so. Paperbooks make their rounds. Trust me. As a teen, my friends and I swapped books all the time. It was great!

Ownership is huge with teens. They like to feel what they have is theirs. Even teens know that when you purchase the digital variant of a book, you are merely licensing the title and it is not actually yours to keep. The printed version, however, can be yours forever, for relatively the same price, so why not own instead of lease?

I spoke with a few YA authors over the weekend to get their feelings on this newest survey. Some have their books only releasing in eb0ok while others have the best of both worlds with ebook and print.  Four of the authors I spoke to weren’t aware of the surveys and are a little worried that their books will not reach their target audience. Two of those four said they might have signed too soon with their publishers who only print in digital format. Two other authors aren’t worried at all. Their books are getting published by a real publisher so it doesn’t matter what format it’s in.

Personally, I want to see my YA novels in print. Always have. Always will. The feeling is seeded way down deep in my gut. But whether print or digital, there is still a lot of hard work that goes into promoting a book, and unfortunately, authors are having to bear the majority of the marketing.

This also terrifies me. I’m not a marketing guru. The thought of what to do and how to do it paralyzes me.  I need to reach my market, which might be kind of hard to do seeing my trilogy is YA epic fantasy with the romance factor being about almost nil of the storyline. Girls like the romance, but I didn’t want to write another teen romance. I wanted to give them something different. Something epic. Something that wasn’t filled with page after page of sappy.  I think I have succeeded in that. In fact, I think I’ve written something teen boys can sink their teeth into. Think Narnia meets Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings.  Sort of. I can only hope that I can create the buzz early with my novels so they will reach their intended audience no matter what format kids read. I really do think they’ll enjoy the adventure.  After all, it has dragons, and who doesn’t like reading about dragons, right?

 

 

 

The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl


It is rare that I find a book that has a cover I could stare at for hours and never tire of.  This book happens to have one of those covers.  It’s just stunning in more ways I can mention.

It’s even rarer still to have the pages within those covers turn out to be just as fantastic as the cover itself.  This one will definitely be added to my printed collection.  I hope you add it to yours as well.

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing the first chapter for

The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

The Perilous Journey

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.

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Title: THE PERILOUS JOURNEY OF
THE NOT-SO-INNOCUOUS GIRL
Publication date: 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Leigh Statham

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl

Leigh Statham

Chapter One

Marguerite held the brass cricket gingerly in her hands. She kept it tucked under the table while she turned it over, her fingers blindly memorizing every feature. She knew it was childish for a sixteen-year-old to have a favorite toy, but she couldn’t help it. The design fascinated her. Occasionally she would trip the mechanism and the cricket literally sprang to life, launching itself against the underside of the table with a loud knock.

“What was that?” Madame Pomphart cried.

Marguerite caught the little metal bug with one hand and tucked it into the folds of her skirts. “Nothing,” she lied.

“I heard a noise.” The sour-faced governess slapped the desk with her pointer and stepped closer. “What are you hiding?”

Marguerite didn’t flinch. “You must be hearing things again. You are getting rather old.”

Madame Pomphart swung her pointer, making sound contact with Marguerite’s shoulder.

“Ah!” Marguerite grabbed her shoulder and jumped to her feet, knocking her chair over. She quite forgot about the little toy cricket which launched right at the governess’s face.

“What? Oh!” Madame Pomphart batted the air and stumbled backward, dropping her stick as the cricket ricocheted off her nose and landed at Marguerite’s feet. “How dare you bring vermin into my classroom? Your father will hear about this. Lord Vadnay will not be pleased!”

Marguerite scooped up her prize and ran for the door, grateful for the chance to escape.

“Get back here or you’ll receive double lashings!”

It was too late. Marguerite ran much faster than her teacher and was already halfway down the wide corridor. Lined with portraits of long-dead relatives and her father’s collection of modern weaponry, each display tempted her with thoughts of challenging the governess to a duel. She could easily scoop up one of the automated cat-o-nine-tails and turn back to the classroom. She rather fancied the idea, actually. But it wasn’t the right time or the right way to handle her heavy-handed caretaker, and honestly, she wasn’t quite brave enough to do more than talk back—not yet.

Her fear began to lift as she lightly descended the grand curving stairway to the ballroom, sprinting over the marble tiles and through the large doors to the gardens. The French summer sun blinded her. Marguerite blinked as she continued to run around the fountain filled with automated koi. A servant perched on the edge of the large pool, brass fish in hand. Its tail clicked furiously back and forth as he tried to oil it. The late-summer roses bloomed bright with color all around her. Butterflies seemed to flit merrily on every blossom, cheering her on. Human and automaton servants worked side by side grooming the large hedges … They jumped out of her way and bowed. None of them seemed surprised to see the young lady of the house running out of doors and they all knew where she was headed.

She tried to slip away to the cool shelter of the small glen beyond the lavender fields every chance she could, but since her father came up with the idea that she needed to be a “real lady,” it had become more difficult to sneak away.

At this point, she could have stopped. Pomphart wouldn’t follow her now, but it felt so good to move quickly after being at a table all morning. Her heart beat like an auto-hammer in her chest by the time she reached the work fields. More automatons and human servants stopped and bowed to the master’s daughter. Marguerite paid them no attention.

Finally reaching the small grove of trees, she flopped merrily on the soft grass and took a deep breath, then giggled to herself. She was safe, for now. The wind picked up and tousled the leaves overhead, sending bits of sunlight swimming wildly around her. The grass outside the glen rustled under the heavy thud of work boots: Claude.

“Hullo!” His voice sounded merry as he peered through the low branches that poked and tickled at the earth, surprised to see her there so early. “How’d you manage to beat me?” His wavy, light brown hair was just shaggy enough to soften his strong jaw and angular nose. His cheek was smeared with gear oil, right up to the corner of his smiling blue eyes. He was too tall for his work trousers and his chest had grown too broad for his cotton shirt. The buttons tugged a bit, but he wasn’t the type to care about his clothes. He pulled his welding goggles off of his head and wiped the sweat on his brow with the arm of his shirt.

“I ran.” She smiled wickedly.

Claude flopped down in the grass beside her. “That’s not very ladylike, and Pomphart doesn’t usually let you out till half past.”

“I had to run after this marvelous toy you made for me attacked her.” She held up the cricket like a prize gem freshly plucked from the earth.

“Marguerite!” he cried. “I asked you to keep it safe, not use it to get yourself tossed out of ladyhood!”

“It was an accident. I swear. The lessons are just so boring. I needed something to do, so I had it under the table. She’s such a brute. You should have seen how she hit me with her blasted pointer.”

“She struck you again?” his face turned dark.

“Yes, but it’s nothing, just a welt on the shoulder.” The last thing she wanted was to be the damsel in distress.

“Still.” Claude’s brow furrowed. “It’s not right. Ladies don’t strike other ladies. Please keep good care of that little bug. It took me a long time to build and I didn’t record the plans. I may need to borrow it back someday.”

“All right.” Disappointed at his lack of enthusiasm for her naughtiness, she carried on. “But you should have seen her face! If only I could have a portrait made of that. I’d hang it over my bed and have a miniature made to keep by my heart.”

A nasally voice attached to a pointy-faced, pale girl in bright pink skirts burst through the cool glen. “Whose miniature are you keeping by your heart? You haven’t even had your ball yet.”

“Hello, Vivienne.” Marguerite sighed without enthusiasm.

“Marguerite has just sealed her doom,” Claude chimed in. “She threw the cricket I made her at Pomphart’s face today, so there may not be a ball.”

“That’s rubbish! I did no such thing. It just got away from me and bounced right off her nose.” Marguerite laughed again while recalling the image, but Claude’s words made her a bit nervous.

“Oh dear,” cried Vivienne. “What are you going to do?”

Of course Vivienne would make a big deal out of it, Marguerite didn’t expect anything less from her childish neighbor.

“I’m not sure. That’s why I came straight here.” She turned pointedly to Claude. “I thought you’d want to celebrate my freedom and take the rest of the day off.”

Claude was quick to reply, “I’m afraid I can’t. Lots to be finished at the forge and I am on stall-mucking duty with the bots.”

“What do you possibly have to finish at the forge that’s so important?”

Claude raised his eyebrows at her. “A certain girl’s father has requested automatic serving dishes made of twenty-four-karat gold for her introduction to society.”

“Oh my!” Vivienne drew a dramatic breath. “How elegant. I so wish I were old enough to come.”

“Don’t worry,” Marguerite patted the girl’s knee, “I’m sure you can borrow them for your own ball.”

“Marguerite … ” Claude hissed at her.

It wasn’t a very kind thing to say, but Marguerite had never been very fond of Vivienne. She mostly endured her company because she was the only girl within a hundred miles that was close to the same age and station as Marguerite. That, and Claude had insisted she be kind to her.

“You’re right, Claude.” Marguerite smiled in repentance. “I’m sure your father will have loads of wonderful things for the guests to marvel at when your time comes, Vivienne. Still, it would be nice to have both of you there. I suppose I will be forced to talk to strangers.”

“I can’t believe you’re not excited!” Vivienne chattered. “New dresses! Handsome suitors!”

“I am excited,” Marguerite cut her off, “to have it over and done with! Dressing up might be fun, but dressing up to catch a man is not my idea of a good time.”

“Don’t be vulgar.” Vivienne blushed. “It’s not like that at all.”

Claude cut in, “I’d love to stay and discuss this matter with you girls, but I do have a few chafing dishes waiting for their motors in the shop.”

Marguerite tensed at the thought of not only being left alone with Vivienne, but also being without Claude’s protection should Pomphart come looking for her. “Do you think I could come help you at the forge today?”

“Not if you want me to get anything done.” Claude smiled merrily.

“Stop it! You know I’m a whiz with gear-work.”

“When you are actually interested in the work, yes, but I’m afraid that auto-spoons and brass tureens would bore you to death.”

Marguerite tried to make her eyes look large and beseeching, but she knew it was no use.

“No. But you can walk me there. I forgot my lunch anyway,” Claude said as he reached to help Marguerite up.

“I didn’t exactly have time to grab a snack as I fled the dungeons,” Marguerite quipped.

“Oh! I know!” Vivienne was bursting. “Let’s have lunch in town today. You’re not going back to your lessons are you? And Claude is busy with work. It will be such fun girl time!”

Marguerite sighed, but Vivienne was right. There was no way for her to return to the estate house without being trapped by Pomphart, and she had nothing to do if Claude insisted on finishing his chores. Still, she was uneasy about the idea of being on her own with Pomphart’s wrath hovering around an unknown corner waiting to pounce. The woman was ruthless when no one of importance was watching. She had a way of getting Marguerite off on her own and exacting whatever form of punishment she felt was suitable for the crime. Marguerite tried to complain to her father, but he wouldn’t listen, he thought Marguerite just didn’t want lessons anymore.

Claude knew all of this and sensed her fears in her quiet gaze.

“Come with me, both of you. I have someone I want you to meet.” Claude smiled.

Marguerite jumped up at his tug, tossed her wavy brown hair, and set her skirts aright, glad someone was helping her make up her mind. “Very well.”

“Hooray! Oh, I know just the place,” Vivienne said. “There is a new little patisserie I saw the other day I’ve been aching to try.” She skipped up the hill ahead of the other two, babbling on about buns and cakes and half sandwiches.

Claude reached for Marguerite’s arm and squeezed a bit. He used this gesture when he was about to chastise her, but she didn’t think she’d been that rude to Vivienne. The girl got on her nerves with every word, but her intentions were good and Marguerite wasn’t cruel by nature, just impatient.

“What?” she hissed.

“I have some news, but I wanted to tell you first.”

“Oh?” Relieved not to be in trouble, but also perplexed, Marguerite wished more now than ever that Vivienne would just skip into oblivion with her bouncy blonde curls and scattered thoughts.

“Yes. You know how we spoke a few weeks ago about my plans?”

“Did you find a position in Paris?” Marguerite could scarcely contain herself. Her friend was so talented, and she knew better than anyone that he was wasted working as a bondservant on her father’s estate. If he could secure an apprenticeship in Paris he could come back to La Rochelle as a master tradesman. Plus she could visit him there. Still, apprenticeships were hard to come by.

“No, I think it’s better than that.”

“What could be better than Paris?” In her mind, crowds of well-dressed ladies paraded down glittering avenues while the latest autocarts passed by in a blur of technology and innovation. Paris was the hub of all things Marguerite admired.

“I’ve signed into His Majesty’s service. As of next week, I’ll be an official member of the Royal Corp of Engineers.”

“You what?” She was stunned. It took her a moment to sort out her emotions. How could he have made this type of decision without consulting her? They had shared everything since they discovered each other as bored children on the estate a decade ago.

“I knew you’d be angry with me for not telling you beforehand, but an opportunity just presented itself and I knew it was right—I had to take it.”

“No, I’m not angry at all. Just shocked. You know how my father feels about the military.”

“But you see, that’s just it. I won’t have to worry about your father anymore, I won’t owe him anything. My first assignment is to New France.”

“Are you two coming or not? I’m starved!” Vivienne had doubled back when she realized she was talking to herself.

Marguerite wasn’t sure she could eat or talk at that moment. She wasn’t sure she could even take another step.

 

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

L. Statham

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

Connect with the Author: Website |Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

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The book will be sent upon the titles release.

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My novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, picked up by film maker


Yep, in my dream last night, my novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, was picked up by none other than Peter Jackson himself. See, he likes dragons and destroying things and when he read my novel, he knew he had to put it on the big screen.

Needless to say,  I was overjoyed, as was my publisher.

Of course the film was a HUGE success and was up for 9 Academy Awards.  All of the authors from Month9Books and its imprints were there at the theater.  We were all dressed to kill and we made such a lovely bunch of giddy authors. My daughter, Heather Jessup, who is a real-life costume designer, did all the costumes for the film (I told Peter I wouldn’t allow the film to be made without my daughter as the CD. Let me tell you, she was stoked beyond stoked.)  Heather won an Academy Award for her role in the film. The film won a couple of other awards for musical score and set design, but I woke up before I found out if it won Best Picture.

Dreams. Ya gotta love them. And until my dying breath, this will be the next major dream I will see come true. Don’t believe me?  Just watch and wait.  Peter Jackson, if you’re out there … I’ve got my eye on you.  🙂

So, tell me. What is your BIG dream?

4-For-Friday Blitz – presented by Month9Books with Giveaway


4-for-Friday-Banner

Welcome to the 4 for Friday Blitz for Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil, Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton, Avian by Nicole Conway, and Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki, presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.

Crown-of-ice-Cover

Thyra Winther’s seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s desire, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.

CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.

 

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Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Vicki Weavil 11

Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing an visual arts university. Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

 

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumbler

Fire-in-the-Woods-Cover

When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.

But her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met?

Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can’t get caught.

Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part. After all, she can’t really fall for a guy who’s not exactly from here.

As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

 

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Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Jennifer M. Eaton

Corporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.

Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.

Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

 

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Avian-Cover

What kind of power is lurking inside him?

After a year of training to become a dragonrider, Jaevid Broadfeather has been sent home to rest during a three-month interlude. But when he returns to find the king drake has chosen Beckah Derrick as his new rider, Jaevid realizes something big is about to happen. Every fiber of his being is pushed to the breaking point as Jaevid battles through his avian year, preparing for the final graduation test of the battle scenario. But there is more standing in his way than a few pushups and fancy sword moves.

Jaevid must face a new fear as he is tormented by a gruesome nightmare of a mysterious gray elf warrior murdering the royal family of Maldobar. It seems obvious to him that this is some kind of message about how the war started long ago—until Felix assures him the king is very much alive. With his strange powers growing stronger by the day, and that violent dream replaying in his mind every night, Jaevid no longer wonders if he will pass his avian year or not . . . he wonders if he will even survive it.

The truth will soon be set loose.

 

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Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

NicoleConwayPhoto

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book.

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

 

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Branded-Cover

Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society.

To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.

Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.

Constant darkness.

Brutal and savage violence.

Excruciating pain.

Every day is a fight for survival.

But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

 

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Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

 

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumbler

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

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Book Review – Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton


I rarely give a five-star rating to a book, but I couldn’t bring myself to give Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton anything less. Before I give you my review, here’s a little bit about the book.

cover

Title: Fire in the Woods

Publication date: September 2014

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.

But her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met?

Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can’t get caught.

Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part. After all, she can’t really fall for a guy who’s not exactly from here.

As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

Now, onto my Review. Make sure you read all the way to the end to enter a Giveaway and earn a chance to win a very special present.

My Review

Let me start out by saying I don’t read a lot of Science Fiction. in fact, I don’t read any science fiction, but I LOVE Sci Fi movies and t.v. shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, Independence Day and most recently on t.v., Extant. Why do I like them? Because there are these little guys running through the plots

So, I suppose it’s no wonder I really enjoyed Fire in the Woods because it also has aliens, but they don’t look like this little guy.

No, the one in particular in Fire in the Woods is a hottie. You know. Tall, dark hair, turquoise eyes and to top it off, he’s incredibly innocent which just makes him as charming as an alien can get.  It’s no wonder our heroine, Jess, falls head over heals for the dude, especially since he takes on the form of a teen idol heart-throb actor that is burned in her recent memories.

What did I love about this book?

First of all, the pacing.  It’s quick. I barely had time to recuperate from one scene before a new one started.  For a YA read, this is very important because teens tend to like quick-paced books. There is no let up from the beginning to the end. What a roller coaster ride.

Next, I really enjoyed the voice of the main character. Jess is a typical teen. One moment she’s strong and knows what she wants, the next she’s scared, unsure, but determined. Once she gets something in her head, she doesn’t let it go. She has to see it through no matter what the consequences, even if it ticks off her military-tough dad. All that is important is that she stands by her principles and does what she thinks is right.

Our alien, David, is scared. All he wanted to do was earn points in his own father’s eyes, and as the story progresses, the reader falls deeply in love with his character, his faults, and more importantly to do what is right by his people and Jess’.

Too bad there are grown ups involved – both alien and human – who think they know better than the kids, and get in the way, and almost destroy everything Jess and David have built.

The book touches on so many issues like parent/child relationships, interspecies relationships and following your conscience and what you know is right no matter what anyone else says, does or believes.

Beneath all the running and explosions and fire and possible world annihilation, there is a sweet little romance theme that will keep girls turning the pages.

What I didn’t like?

At times I wanted the book to slow down a bit so I could catch my breath. Sometimes I felt rushed to get to the end, but not enough to make me stop reading.

I wish there had been a bit more time to develop the relationship between David and Jess. It seemed too quick and easy that Jess fell in love with someone she didn’t know. She also seemed too accepting of the whole alien thing, but not enough that I couldn’t suspend belief.

I would have liked a bit more of a tease at the end, creating a desire to HAVE to read book 2. As it was, the storyline wrapped up quite well, but I didn’t get a sense of urgency that I HAD to return to find out what happened next. Of course, the snippet in the back of the book for Book 2 – Ashes in the Sky – solved that issue and has me salivating like Pavlov’s dog for more.

So, to sum it up, if you like YA, science fiction, action-packed adventure, and romance, you’re going to love Fire in the Woods. It’s an un-put-downable book that will have you thinking about its many messages for several days after you read it.

I was given an ARC of the book from Month9Books in exchange for an honest review. I also read this as a beta reader and thoroughly enjoyed watching this novel grow from infancy into the fantastic novel that it is.

And now for the:

GIVEAWAYS!!!

Winner will be drawn October 25, 2014

Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton (INT).

One lucky winner will win One (1) custom-made necklace (used as inspiration for the necklace in Fire in the Woods).  Adjustable chain from 10 to 12 inches. T (US ONLY)

Necklace

All you have to do is go to the Rafflecopter link below and enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e229/

Book info

Anything and everything you want to know about Fire in the Woods is below, including links to where you can purchase.

Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

jennifer eatonCorporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.

Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.

Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

Author Links:  Website  | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

 

Cover Reveal: Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Where the Staircase Ends

After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.

Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable — unless the staircase breaks her first.

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Title: Where the Staircase Ends
Publication date: April 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Stacy Stokes

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Stacy-stokes-300x200

Stacy Stokes attended the University of Texas at Austin and The Wharton School of Business. She grew up in Dallas, TX, and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband. WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is her first novel.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter

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(Winners will receive their book on release day)

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THE ARTISANS – a cover reveal and giveaway


I have been waiting sooooo long to share this new young adult novel with you.  For those who have followed my blog for a while, you know I am a HUGE fan of author, Julie Reece.  She wrote this amazing novel, CRUX, and I’ve been waiting patiently for her next literary masterpiece.  Well, it’s coming your way in May 2015. Today, however, I get to share the cover with you and a little info to wet your appetite.  Are you ready?

 

M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

The Artisans by Julie Reece

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

The Artisans

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old RAVEN WEATHERSBY gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

The Artisans is a delectably rich, layered and dark YA Southern Gothic inspired by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic Beauty and the Beast.

“The Artisans has all the elements I love – spooky intrigue, strong friendships, and a romantic tension to be savored.” ~ Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy.

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Title: The Artisans
Publication date: May 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Julie Reece

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Julie Reece

Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.

Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake is a sizzling Y.A. read


I recently received an ARC of INTO THE FIRE by Ashelyn Drake from Month9Books, and I have to tell you, I found it difficult to put down.  Wow.  What a great read! What’s it about?  Take a look:

Into The Fire (Paperback)
ISBN: 1939765005 (ISBN13: 9781939765000)
format: Paperback
Publish Date: September 9th 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC

Back cover blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

***

My Review

I have to say, I love covers and this one really drew me in, but it was the blurb that made me want to read this book.  I found the entire concept super cool – people who are descendants of the mythical phoenix. I was intrigued to see how the author wove this story.  I was not disappointed.

The story opens with Cara’s brother going through ‘the change’ and Cara wondering what it will be like for her, in one month’s time, when she must do the same. It is heartbreaking for Cara to watch because she and her brother were very close, but he won’t remember her after he is reborn the first time. The thought of “losing” her brother and of losing her own memories is too much for her to deal with, so she resorts to ‘escape’ mode, retreating to her favorite place where she can think and come to terms with what is happening to her and her brother. There’s just one problem.  There’s a new guy named Logan invading her safe zone, and he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Neither Cara or Logan want to be attracted to each other, but the phoenix ‘imprint’ is strong, and before we know it, Cara and Logan are so far involved with each other, that nothing can tear them apart – except for maybe the Hunter who wants to kill her and steal her essence. Though I suspected the ending about 2/3 of the way through the book, I still enjoyed the way the author pulled it all together, and I LOVED the last line of the book!

INTO THE FIRE is told from both Cara’s and Logan’s POV. This is great because I got to understand Logan and Cara from both in an insider’s and outsider’s perspective. Understanding both of them and their motives made it very easy to fall in love with them as a couple and continue to root for them through the entire story.

I did have some minor issues that kept me from giving the story five stars.  I really wanted to understand more about these human phoenixes and how Cara and her kind came into existence. I would have liked to have seen some interaction between Logan and his father instead of being told what the relationship was.  A scene here, a scene there would have done wonders for increasing tension and really feeling Logan’s suffering.  There also was the whole ‘imprint’ thing.  I understand what was going on, but every time I hear that term, I think of the #Twilight series. I hate reading a book only to roll my eyes and say to myself “Seriously?” I really do believe it’s time for authors to come up with a different term that doesn’t make their readers jump out of that book and think of another.

Overall, INTO THE FIRE was a quick, exciting read and I highly recommend it to those who love young adult urban romances. I will definitely be standing by to read the next book in the series.

Thank you Month9Books for an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Cover Reveal: VESSEL by Lisa T. Cresswell and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals


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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

VESSEL by Lisa T. Cresswell

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

LCresswell_Vessel_M9B_eCover_1800x2700

The sun exploded on On April 18, 2112 in a Class X solar storm the likes of which humankind had never seen.

They had exactly nineteen minutes to decide what to do next.

They had nineteen minutes until a geomagnetic wave washed over the Earth, frying every electrical device created by humans, blacking out entire continents, and every satellite in their sky.

Nineteen minutes to say goodbye to the world they knew, forever, and to prepare for a new Earth, a new Sun.

Generations after solar storms destroyed nearly all human technology on Earth, humans reverted to a middle ages-like existence, books are burned as heresy, and all knowledge of the remaining technology is kept hidden by a privileged few called the Reticents.

Alana, a disfigured slave girl, and Recks, a traveling minstrel and sometimes-thief, join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race. But when Alana is chosen against her will to be the Vessel, the living repository for all human knowledge, she must find the strength to be what the world needs even if it’s the last thing she wants.

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Title: Vessel
Publication date: May 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Lisa T. Cresswell

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Lisa T. Cresswell

Lisa, like most writers, began scribbling silly notes, stories, and poems at a very young age. Born in North Carolina, the South proved fertile ground to her imagination with its beautiful white sand beaches and red earth. In fifth grade, she wrote, directed and starred in a play “The Queen of the Nile” at school, despite the fact that she is decidedly un-Egyptian looking. Perhaps that’s why she went on to become a real life archaeologist?

Unexpectedly transplanted to Idaho as a teenager, Lisa learned to love the desert and the wide open skies out West. This is where her interest in cultures, both ancient and living, really took root, and she became a Great Basin archaeologist. However, the itch to write never did leave for long. Her first books became the middle grade fantasy trilogy, The Storyteller Series. Her first traditionally published work, Hush Puppy, is now available from Featherweight Press.

Lisa still lives in Idaho with her family and a menagerie of furry critters that includes way too many llamas!

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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BRANDED (a sinners series) – Review


Ok, so I just finished this Y.A. book based on its amazing back cover copy:

Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society.

To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.

Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.

Constant darkness.

Brutal and savage violence.

Excruciating pain.

Every day is a fight for survival.

But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

***

my review1

I can’t help it.  I love dystopians and this one had my interest piqued.  Sadly to say, despite the gazillion 5 star reviews on Amazon, this story fell flat to me on many levels.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There were things I liked about the book, but overall, I felt it lacking.  I’ll try to explain.

The book opens with a killer scene.  Literally.  Well, it could have been if the guards didn’t break down the door to our main character, Lexi’s, apartment and make her haul butt down the fire escape.  This scene had me riveted to my seat.  I ran with her, my lungs hurt, my throat went dry, but when she’s captured and taken to “The Hole”, my reading journey thunked like a rock in a tin pail. Why?

Because from this point on, the story is filled with so many inconsistencies and plot holes, it lost its buoyancy with me and sank. I’ll try to explain.

There are two places that are focused on in this book:  High Society and The Hole.

Lexi lives in High Society, but we don’t know where this is. Is it a former New York with all its high-rise buildings? Who are her parents and how are they rich or influential enough to live there? We find out snippets later, but not enough to satisfy the gazillion questions swirling in my head.

The Hole is located miles away from High Society.  It is a prison for people who are guilty of one of the seven deadly sins. Apparently, there are those who are so pure, they would never be found guilty of committing a deadly sin.  Lexi isn’t one of them. She is given the blue brand around her neck for lust, but we never find out exactly what she did. It really irritated me to no end to get to the end of the book and never find out exactly what she was accused of and why. It’s implied. There are even fingers pointed at someone close to Lexi, but the truth is never revealed.  Irritating.  So irritating.

When Lexi finally reaches The Hole after hours of being on the road, there are others ‘checking in’ but where did they come from? Are there lots of prison trucks rolling in?  And how big is this prison if it houses all the captured sinners?  Is it a former huge city like Chicago turned prison camp? Who exactly is this Commander that runs the joint? We don’t know. What we do know is he has lots of guards that will do anything he wants. I do have to say there were a few intense scenes that take place within The Hole.  One of the worst was an execution scene that was quite graphic, but it was over with the snap of a finger and there were no lingering effects on Lexi.  It was like “Oh, that was bad,” and then she was off doing something else.  I found this unrealistic and jarring.

To make things worse for me, Lexi is given a love interest right off the bat when she arrives at The Hole.  His name is Cole and he’s a guard.  Now guards are forbidden to love sinners, so you can see where this predictable plot is going. Cole is a nice enough guy but his character is never really developed enough for me.  He seems so two-dimensional and we never learn anything about his past. In the beginning, he’s this hard-ass, this ‘bad boy’ we find in young adult novels (it is a draw, I have to admit), but then he turns into this love-sick puppy over Lexi and I’m not buying the story.  I mean, why does Lexi have this personal guard in the first place? None of the other prisoners have a personal guard to protect them, why her, and why is everyone so accepting of this? I asked this question even more as I got toward the end of the book. Cole just seemed too convenient of a character.  A catalyst to get Lexi from point A to point B.  I thought Cole’s Great Dane, Zeus, was more fleshed out as a character than Cole.  Ruff.  I know.

3/4 of the way through the book we meet Keegan, Lexi’s brother.  Talk about another ‘convenient’ character.  Keegan disappeared from High Society when Lexi was young, but she never knew where he went.  Lo and behold, he ends up in The Hole, but not in the way we expect.  And boy, let me tell you, he and Cole don’t get along, which was another big turn-off for me.  Ok, so I get Keegan is Lexi’s brother and under normal circumstances, I could understand the “big brother’ complex, but for crying out loud, he hasn’t seen his sister in years, and he’s going to start coming off as big, bad Leroy Brown the second he realizes Cole and Lexi are an item?  The relationship between Keegan and Cole is ridiculously childish, like two grown up bullies fighting over their corner of a sandbox. It was the same repetitive poke – poke back, “I’m going to hurt you” – “Not if I hurt you first” kind of bantering and there was no reason for it.  At least not one that is explained.  Keegan tells Lexi several times that Cole is not to be trusted but we never find out why because Keegan vanishes from Lexi’s life again before he can spill the beans.  Ah, yes, another piece of the puzzle that is never found.

And I haven’t even gotten to Lexi’s character.  For a heroine, I found her character lacking. She starts off as this strong, brave character, running from the guards. She puts up a hell of a fight, and then she turns into this whiny little brat.  I mean all-the-time whiny. When she wasn’t whiny, she was puking. When she wasn’t puking she was crying.  Geez, girl, you’re supposed to be the heroine! Where’s your backbone?  I mean, characters are supposed to grow as they progress through a book. Lexi, I feel, went backwards. Even when she tried to show strength, she failed.

As for her relationship with Cole, she claims she’s innocent and didn’t deserve getting branded, but she never tells Cole (or the reader) the truth about what happened. There are disturbing revelations about her dad that I found a bit creepy, but nothing was really ever explained.  On top of that, Lexi’s relationship with Cole has a little heat to it in the beginning, but then it fizzles and pops.  When they should have been a real team, a true love dynamo, the relationship fell flat. The fire burned out. I became totally uninterested in knowing what became of them as a couple, which is sad because YA books usually have this Happily Ever After or at least, a Happily for Now arc, but this one bombed for me. And good grief, some of the lines that rolled out of Cole’s mouth were so cheesy and gooey, I just rolled my eyes.  I think there were even a few times I said, “Oh my gosh, come on. You’ve got to be kidding me!”  It was if I was reading a middle grade book about two 12 year olds finding love for the first time. Her relationship with her brother was irritating and lacked maturity. There was a level of growth in Lexi during the scenes with Alyssa.  I wished that had continued throughout the book.  Again, Alyssa coming into Lexi’s life was a bit ‘convenient’.  Other than helping Lexi grow as a person, I didn’t see a reason why Alyssa was in the story, especially since I felt Lexi reverted back to her childish ways after Alyssa and Lexi split ways.  Over all, I found Lexi to be a hot mess and completely annoying.

The ending felt rushed to me and I felt some things were thrown in for unrealistic shock value.  I didn’t care for it.

There were also some inconsistent time element issues I had. One day, Lexi would be in pain. The next day she was fine. One minute she had bruises, the next minute they were gone. Lexi traveled by hours in the dark from High Society to The Hole, and as they traveled the air grew warmer, yet when she stepped from the transport vehicle, it was still dark and the air was cool. (how she could tell the air grew warmer while sitting inside a prison transport truck was confusing to me).  Over all, I felt like the authors dribbled crumbs along a path and enticed me enough to follow.  Sad thing is, I really thought I’d find a bag of goodies at the end, but all I got was a glass of milk and a crumbled sugar cookie. Sad to say, I will probably not read the next book in the series.

I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

I was given an ARC of Branded in exchange for an honest review.