Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: Pride and Popularity - Jenni James

Do you love Jane Austen ? Are you a fan of modern renditions of classic novels ?
As reader's know, I am a huge fan of renditions and one of my most favourite set of renditions are ones based on the stories of Jane Austen.
Review: Pride and Popularity - Book #1 The Jane Austen Diaries - July 2011
Do you always find it interesting when you read other people's reviews on books ? Especially if it is a book that you enjoyed ? For me, whenever I review a book, I always like to check out the one-two star reviews on Goodreads as I sometimes can't believe that people waste all that time to write a negative review.
I will admit as soon as I read the Jane Austen part and that it was a modern rendition of one of her tales, I was immediately hooked and knew I just had to read it. I Paula Phillips am a sucker for two things that this book had 1) It has a Jane Austen Connection and 2) It is a rendition novel.
Pride and Popularity starts off with newcomer Chloe Hart and the setting is her and her new friends Alyce and Madison at a Basketball game and the pair of them are fawning over the hottest guy in school Taylor Anderson. Chloe, not really that impressed soon joins the fan club as he introduces himself to her. The novel then flips forward three years and Chloe is Number #1 on the I hate Taylor Anderson Campaign. One more year and she is out of there for good and no more Taylor. Though it seems that this year is all about Taylor as he turns up in her Art class.  This book made me laugh in places as the main character Chloe has a thing where she substitues swear words for silly words like sugarplum fairies and chickenbutt :) . Without giving too much of the story away as we all know the tale of Pride and Prejudice, to get the gist imagine Pride and Prejudice in the 21st Century and instead of Regency England , think your local high school.
This is a series that I look forward to reading the remaining books and seeing how the other renditions pan out.
A rundown on Characters and How they Relate to Pride and Prejudice:
  • Chloe "Elizabeth" Hart - Elizabeth Bennett
  • Taylor "Darcy" Anderson - Will Darcy
  • Zach - Charles Bingley
  • Zach's stepsister Emma - Caroline Bingley
  • Alyce - Jane Bennett
  • Cassidy Hart  - Lydie Bennett
  • Madison - Charlotte Lucas
  • Collin Farnsworth - Mr.Collins
  • Blake Winters - Mr. Wickham
  • Taylor's four-year old sister Gracie - Georgina Darcy

Review: Fangtabulous - Lucienne Diver

Looking for a new fashionista Vampire series to read ?
Have you read Lucienne Diver's series Vamped ?
Are you a fan of Katie McAllister's or Jaz Park's Vampire books , if so you will enjoy this read ?
Review: Fangtabulous - Book#4 Vamped Series - Lucienne Diver - January 2013
When I first saw this book , I thought Lucienne Diver had created a new series as I remember years ago reading her book Vamped. To my surprise it is the same series and is Book #4 . Way back in Vamped we meet High school student Gina who had become a vampire and she wasn't going to let it stop her from enjoying the perks of eternal life and her current life starting with of course getting a whole new wardrobe. It seems that Gina has now adjusted to life as a Vampire and years later in Fangtabulous, she is now on the run from the  Feds where she once worked as a spy and hanging out with her Vampire family and some of the same characters from her earlier books. It seems that Gina and her friends/family are on the run and the best place to hide due to a friend of a friend reference is the town of Salem , Masschuettes - yes that Salem where they held all the Witchcraft trials and Puritans lived centuries ago. It seems though, that their is evil and not the ordinary type of evil but something killing people in Salem . It turns out to be the spirit of one of the Salem Trial Inspectors and if Gina and her friends aren't careful, they may very well too end up on his list of victims. Can Gina and her friends not only solve the crime, but try and stay under the radar from police as they were on the run in the first place and of course , can Gina and best friend Macy keep their fashion uptodate or will they have to abandon their usual outfits and go undercover dressed as Quakers and Puritans to fit in ?
Find out in Fangtabulous. A novel that fans of Katie McAllister's books will love and enjoy as it follows in the same tradition.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner - Dalya Moon

Looking to discover a new Indie Author ?
Have you read "Practice Cake" by Dalya Moon ?
Get ready for her teen book which was recently renamed "Charlie" and reprinted with a new cover.
Review: Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner aka Charlie - Book #1 Snowy Cove Series - 2011
Going through my Kindle reads is like a lucky dip as I have so many on there to choose from. Today's read is Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner , another great cover and the write-up sounded interesting. The year was 1988 and Charlaine aka Charlie Woodchuck is about to enter the ninth grade. Fed up with the fact that electives aren't equal e.g Boys can't take sewing and cooking and Girls can't take metalwork or woodwork aka shop class. Charlie decides to take a stand and sign uo for the woodwork elective under the name Charlie Woodchuck. Suprisingly , she slips through as they assume she is a boy and Charlie is now enrolled in Shop class. This book has two different storylines , the first is Charlie's stand at taking Shop Class and her by taking the class we read as she puts her activism skills to the test and sets the way for equal rights in choosing electives. The major step though is will Charlie be able to back up her plea with evidence as she takes it to the PTA and the Board of Trustees ? The second storyline follows Charlie as she learns about Genetics in science and this classwork leads her down the road to discovering she is in fact adopted. Can Charlie find out from her parents who her real family is ? Does Charlie have another family out there , that she doesn't know of ?
Charlie Woodchuck is a good story but I did find in places the book quite hard to follow as it does jump about from one thing to another and you feel at times that crucial parts are missing. I would however , think it would be awesome if their was a second book written which followed Charlie as the book was left hanging and I was like Ok , does she tell or not ?
A good read and definitely a book for the 11 - 16 year olds as any older could find themselves getting frustrated as they read the book.

Review: The Dirt - Lori Culwell

Looking for a new teen read ? Something nice and light ?
Wanting to discover a new Indie author ?
Review: The Dirt - Lori Culwell - November 2011
Going through my Kindle and reading all the books on there, I thought I would start from the bottom up and isn't it funny that if you buy so many books , you often don't even remembering purchasing the book :P. When I saw this book, I thought hmm I must have brought it because I love the cover and it reminds me of an Upper East Side Book. It was an awesome read and it's a shame that it was a one-off as I would love to have read more books and it does have the potential for more tales.
The Dirt by Lori Culwell focuses on the Whitley Family and is told from the POV of main character Lucy Whitley. We learn that Lucy, the brains of the family can't wait to escape her family and head to boarding school where she will not have to be part of "The Whitley Scandal" and live her family dramas. All goes to plan until the day of her dad's wedding to their stepmother Lisa . As Mr .Whitley and Lisa are about to say "I Do" , an uninvited guest arrives and stops the wedding. The guest turns out to be Megan Whitley , who nine years ago disappeared off the face of the earth with the girls mother Julia. Now the wedding has been postponed and the whole family are under surveillance as the FBI are investigating the return of Megan and if she is in fact who she says she is. So the Whitley family has to go into hiding and brave the wilderness . Join Lucy and her sisters Sloane - Miss Popular and Homecoming Queen , Frankie - the baby of the family and definitely the outdoorsy one of the siblings and of course Megan - the newest addition who is a Goth, Vegan etc. Can the Whitley family get along together for once or will spending time with each other , reduce them to tactics of Blackmail and revealing Dirt on each other once and for all.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: At Every Turn - Anne Mateer

Did you enjoy the Lake Manawa series by Lorna Seilstad ?
Have you read Wings on a Dream by Anne Mateer ?
If so, get ready for Anne's newest release "At Every Turn".
Review: At Every Turn - Anne Mateer - September 2012
Do you love reading historical novels , books set in the late 1800's/ early 1900's ? Christian fiction about strong women that don't nessecarily bend to societies rules as they want to make something of themselves and not just become another statistic as a housewife or society wife ? I love reading novels like this as it shows that out there, women are still independent in a way and that anything a man can do , as the song goes we can do better or too in this case. At Every Turn tells the story of society girl Alyce Benson, her father owns Benson Motors and races cars. When a group of missionaries from Africa comes to Alyce's church and talks about the children, Alyce is instantly captivated by the cause and decides that she can help raise them the money. Soon, though Alyce will discover that getting the money together isn't an easy task and that in order to raise the money , she will have to be crafty and this means being allowed to do the one thing she loves most in the world and the one thing that unfortunately women aren't supposed to do ... She is to race her father's cars ,with the help of the family mechanic Webster Little - Can Alyce achieve her goal ? What happens though , when Alyce soon discovers , that there are dishonest people in the world and when rumours start floating about Webster Little and Mr Trotter - her fathers assistant , who can she trust ?
Find out in another awesome and interesting historical christian fiction novel "At Every Turn" by Anne Mateer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

VBT# Twang - Julie Cannon

Today readers we have author Julie Cannon and her country western read "Twang" here on The Phantom Paragrapher with a thanks to Pump Up Your Books.
Synopsis : Twang - Julie Cannon -October 2012
Twenty-three-year-old Jennifer Clodfelter believes she is destined to be a country music star. When her passion, determination and homemade demo tape were rejected by every music label in Nashville, she refused to give up. In just three years, a combination of guts and raw talent have propelled her on a journey of fame beyond her best dream. Now Jennifer has all she ever wanted, only to discover that there is a dark side to the glitz and number one hits. She will have to decide whether to sing her pain to a loving audience or find the courage to face the music in the private studio of her heart.
YOU CAN’T BE HAPPY AND WRITE A GOOD STORY  by Julie L. Cannon, author of Twang
The human brain craves stories. We read in order to understand life. We read to find out how others wrestled, struggled, and survived, how they found hope in the valleys. If we can read how someone clung to their dreams when they were met with adversity, it gives us courage to cling to ours.
A writer’s most powerful voice comes from their deepest wounds. Writing teacher Donald Maass said something I keep by my keyboard, “These novels change us because their authors are willing to draw upon their deepest selves without flinching. They hold nothing back.”
When I was a junior in college, the bicycle I was riding was struck by a car. While visiting various neurologists because of a traumatic brain injury, I saw folks sitting in wheelchairs, staring vacantly with drool running out of their mouths, and I knew, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Time passed, and after much therapy, I started asking a lot of questions about life. It was a brand new, earth-shaking experience that blew the door wide open to my soul. I’m sure you’ve heard people say it was their suffering that made them see things differently. That in the depths of despair, the valley, they discovered that what they’d once lived for, what they’d put their hope in, was no longer enough. This was true for me, and now I’m out to share this through my books. My characters find grace, even beauty in the ugliest memories and events.
I love telling stories and I love country music. Conway Twitty says, “A good country song takes a page out of somebody’s life and puts it to music.” As I began writing Twang, I devoured the stories of country music stars. One comment I came across constantly is  - “You can’t be happy and write good songs.” Every article by a musician had some comment about how their great songs sprung from those tortured times in their past. Brad Paisley said, “As a songwriter, heartbreak is important.” I thought about that old axiom I learned in writing classes - stories about happy people are boring. I had the formula for a successful country song and a good story. 
I brought Nashville hopeful Jennifer Clodfelter to the page. A 22-year-old woman from Blue Ridge, Georgia, she’s running to Music City and away from her past. One thing that amazed me when I went to Nashville for research is that there are many so-called ‘gentleman’s clubs’ there. I was told this is because a lot of wanna-be female singers work there to pay their rent, buy food while waiting for their big break.  I included this in Twang, and I added a lecherous father, a beautician with a tattooed past, and a manager who’s hungry for blockbuster hits at the expense of his client. Jennifer is determined to leave her ugly past in the past. She terrified to use those hurtful things to write songs.   
 I wrote Twang to show how cathartic it is when we finally do look those painful memories in the eye. How God can redeem the seemingly unredeemable. This novel shows how a wounded country music diva uses her pain to create powerful hit songs that touch others’ lives. 
About the Author:
Julie L. Cannon is a bestselling author, speaker and teacher. She believes that using your memories to write autobiographical fiction is both cathartic and powerful, and when Julie isn’t busy writing, she can be found leading memoir workshops, encouraging others to encourage others on this journey called Life. Julie has captured many awards in the ABA as well as the CBA. She loves growing flowers and listening to country music at her home off Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville, Georgia.
Her latest book is the Christian fiction novel, Twang.
You can learn more about Julie L. Cannon at www.julielcannon.com.
Friend Julie L. Cannon on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JulieLCannon.
Become a fan of Julie L. Cannon at Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JulieLCannon
Purchase your copy of Julie L. Cannon’s Twang at Abingdon Books:  http://www.abingdonpress.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=7213
Pick up your paperback copy of Julie L. Cannon’s Twang at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Twang-Julie-L-Cannon/dp/142671470X
Pick up your copy of Julie L. Cannon’s Twang at B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/twang-julie-l-cannon/1108857096


Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: G'Day USA - Tony McFadden

Wanting a Young Adult novel ? One that is a crossover for both Teens and Adults ?
Do you love a good murder mystery with a bit of Hollywood chucked in the mix ?
Review: G'Day USA - Book #2 Ellie Bourke Series - Tony McFadden - February 2012
So while waiting for my hair to set from getting it dyed, I decided to grab my Ipad and read a book from Kindle and I thought why,not go to one of the earliest ones it seems I downloaded as I have so much on there and it turned out to be G'day USA.  Now this is Book #2 of a series, but as I had'nt read the first one - you always tend to be a bit wary as you wonder if you can read the story still and have a clue what is happening. Lucky for me, Book #2 can be read as a stand-alone novel. It does however make references to Book #1 G'day LA , but if you are like me , then it is easy to fill-in-the blanks of what is happening. 
G'day USA tells the story of up-coming Australian actress Ellie Bourke . She is about to premiere in a new film called "Blood Thunder" everything is starting to look up finally especially with the guy who killed her best friend behind Bars. Though it seems , that the fame and happiness is short-lived as her friends Killer is released and then a few days later he is murdered and it seems that all the evidence points to Ellie . Scared and frightened, she knows that she was set up. So can Ellie find out who killed him and set her up before it's too late ? It looks like though, that the Killer is hot on Ellie's trail and she's his next victim. How many people will the Killer leave in the way before Ellie is captured ? When the killer turns out to be someone Ellie knows and trusts, who can she turn to for help or is she alone ?
Find out in this awesome indie novel by Tony McFadden , a novel that will keep the reader wanting to read and find out who Killed Sweeney and is setting up Ellie and the million dollar question is WHY ?????????????

Book Release : Romeo Redeemed - Stacey Jay

Have you read "Juliet Immortal" by Stacey Jay ?
Did you enjoy it and are now wanting to read Romeo's story and listen to his side of things ?
Check out Book #2 in the Juliet Immortal Series.
Synopsis; Romeo Redeemed - Book #2 Juliet Immortal Series - Stacey Jay - October 2012
All will be revealed for fans who have breathlessly awaited the sizzling sequel to Juliet Immortal. This time Romeo takes center stage and gets one chance, and one chance only, to redeem himself.

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.

Review: The Proper care and Maintenance of Friendship - Lisa Verge Higgins

On the lookout for a good chicklit novel ? Love novels about the sisterhood of friendships ?
Have you read Lisa Verge Higgins , book "One good friend deserves another" ?
Review: The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship - Lisa Verge Higgins - January 2011
I first read Lisa's book "One good friend deserves another" and I loved it so much. It made me feel in a way a bit sad as I would have loved a group of friends like that but as I spent so much time moving around, it just didn't work out. Thank goodness, now though for the internet as I do have a great group of friends online who I can chat to about anything and have a set of good laughs.  I enjoyed Lisa's book so much, that I decided to check out what else she had written and came across her earlier book "The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship". In this book we meet four friends Rachel , Jo, Kate and Sarah - they meet when they were younger and now have moved on with their lives but always stayed close.  This novel is all about facing your fears and finding out who you really are and what you are capable off.  The novel starts off with Rachel passing away and the three remaining friends recieving letters , each containing a dying wish from Rachel and a list of instructions for them to complete that wish. For Kate, now a mother and wife - her whole life is planned and mundane at times. Prior motherhood Kate was the life of the party and now in order to pump that spice back into her life,  Rachel has challenged her to go sky-jumping. In going sky-jumping will Kate re-discover her passion in life for adventure but at the same time will she lose her marriage as she starts to wonder - What If and is she really happy in her life ?
Sarah, has only ever loved one person in her life and for the past fourteen years she has been holding a place for him in her heart , Rachel challenges Sarah to go and find him and to see whether it is true romance or time for closure. When Sarah does find him , the chemistry is still sizzling , but is it real or just in the moment ? It seems Sarah has captured the eye of fellow work colleague Sam ? Is Sam her Mr. Right ? and last, but not least Jo - she is the least likely one of them to ever have children , but she has deep down in her the mothering instincts. Will Jo readily accept Rachel's wishes as guardian of her daughter Grace ?
Find out all this and more in the amazing Sisterhood novel of "The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship" by Lisa Verge Higgins and if you haven't checked out her other book "One good friend deserves another" do so.

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