Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Small town Storm - Elise K. Ackers

Today's Destiny Romance spotlighted and reviewed on "The Phantom Paragrapher" thanks to Netgalley is Elise K. Ackers' release "Small Town Storm".
Review: Small Town Storm - Elise K. Ackers - August 2012
Did you enjoy that movie "The Sixth Sense" ? In a way this book first reminded me of the movie as we learn that the main character's mother tried to kill her overtime by posioning her food and lacing it with arsenic . Nineteen years ago Erica's mother Alicia was convicted of trying to kill her daughter, that night Erica left behind the one person in the world that she cared about - best friend Jordie Hill. Now flash forward nineteen years, the pair of them have somehow found their ways back to their hometown and are both again in their own ways wanting answers about what happened that fateful night. Jordan has grown up to become the Chief of Police and Erica a Veternarian. Though it seems that trouble cannot stay away from Erica as members of the community and her past start to turn up dead and Erica ends up looking like Murder Suspect #1. With the help of Jordan , can the two move past their history and work together to find out who is framing Erica ? Can the duo solve the crime before the pair of them end uo being next on the murder list ? Unlike the first one of Destiny's collection "Wish by Kelly Hunter" - Small Town Storm though they both have a mystery angle , does read a bit more darker and if serial killers and chopped limbs aren't your cup of tea then you might be suited more towards something else but me , I just love my serial killer books, putting Small Town Storm as a Five P Read.

Guest Post - Gina Linko ( Author of Flutter)

Today's Guest Post Author is "Gina Linko" author of the Teen Fiction book "Flutter". Click here to check out "The Phantom Paragrapher's" thoughts on her book :
Guest Post - Gina Linko :
Way back when the Internet was just learning to sit up on its own and I was still wearing my 90s leopard-print Doc Martens, I taught seventh grade language arts. I was good friends with the fabulous librarian (seriously, folks, aren't librarians just the best!) and that was when I spent a lot of time reading young-adult literature. My students gobbled up books by Joan Lowery Nixon and Christopher Pike, and lots of other talented authors. They loved books with a little mystery, horror, suspense.
And in my grown-up life, I LOVED to read Stephen King and Dean Koontz. My favorite, favorite stories were the ones that involved normal, everyday people -- contemporary -- but then something just a tad beyond the normal enters in. Then the reader, along with the characters, has to struggle with this newly ascertained slice of science fiction, and the good writers make you believe in it, make you feel like it is possible. They make you think that maybe that could happen. Maybe science and the laws of our natural world could stretch and bend and leave a little loophole for something extraordinary ... and maybe even a little creepy. I mean, we've all been there, right? Reading at two in the morning, with the lights off, starting to hear all the noises in the house, seeing shadows around every corner, wishing we would've just went to sleep already! But, no, we're up reading and we're freaked out. (And loving it!) Those are the best books EVER.
One of my favorite Stephen King books is The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I think it could easily be YA, with a young protagonist, who gets lost in the woods. It is such a thrill-ride, with just a dash of the speculative. I love this book because it is exactly my favorite kind of story. Believable and normal in all its details, with just a little twist, written is such a way that you are able to suspend belief, because it's woven into the story in such a way, that it actually makes sense.
Another of my absolute faves when I was a teen was Watchers by Dean Koontz. I mean, who couldn't believe that a golden retriever might possibly have enough intelligence to spell things out with scrabble tiles and actually communicate with you? We want to believe that.
Because isn't that what is really exciting and sometimes scary about this world? That we don't have it all figured out yet? That there are still some mysteries out there? That maybe, maybe, ... the next big scientific discovery will be something right out of a YA speculative novel?
In that little pocket of uncertainty, where things seem implausible but not impossible, that is where I like to write. And, yes, I do believe it is science fiction to a degree, but I like the term speculative better, because as my agent once told me, "the best thing about your stories is that they seem like they could really happen." (And there is no better compliment than that!)
So, in Flutter, I hope that I've woven together sci-fi elements, romance, and a mystery, because these are the things that my students -- and really I -- love to read about.
In Flutter, Emery Land is a normal seventeen-year-old girl, with a totally abnormal secret. She has seizures, but they're not seizures; she is time-travelling, yet no one believes her. She calls it looping, but all of a sudden, her loops start to evolve and intertwine with her real life--her home loop. That is when things start to get interesting, setting her out on an adventure to save herself and to solve the mystery of her loops.
Of course, Emery meets a boy. A boy that has secrets all his own. Because along with the creepy what-if, sci-fi factors in stories, I love falling in love. Reading about falling in love. Falling in love with my characters. It's the best part. And I wanted to really explore what it means to fall in love, and why we are attracted to other people. What is the origin of that pull? Why do we feel so connected to others? But this love-story is star-crossed, time-crossed, and complicated from the get-go. (But aren't the best ones always?)
When I first had the initial BAM! moment of the idea for FLUTTER, it was all about the ending. It's a didn't-see-that-coming, knock-your-socks-off shocker, I hope. Because I know that teen readers are SMART, and they want to have a mystery within a mystery within another mystery to try and figure out. They don't want to be able to figure it all out on page 15 or even 115.
I hope you will love reading Flutter, as much as I loved writing it. It is, to me, the exact kind of book I love to read.

Review:Hunting Lila - Sarah Alderson

Looking for a teen book to read ? Heading into the Summer break and need a good book to lay at the beach and read ?
Review: Hunting Lila - Book #1 - Lila Series - Sarah Alderson- August 2011
Imagine if everything you knew soon turned out to be wrong as you discover that someone you love so much was who you had been taught to kill , to destroy and hunt ? Our story starts with Lila being mugged and her powers seeming out of control , she then catches a flight from her home in London to LA where her brother Jack and his best friend Alex reside , they are Black Ops. Though not the black ops that we all learn about , their unit has been taught to hunt certain people who have the abilities that other normal human beings don;t have from telepathic skills to mind reading or telekinesis . Lila is one of them and soon she will discover that her brother has been hunting and killing people just like her . What happens though when it is leaked in Jack's Unit that Lila is one of them ? Will Lila be on the run alone or will Jack and Alex question everything that they have ever been told and learnt and prepare their mission to save Lila ?
A fun and action packed story and a great start to a series by Sarah Alderson - Look out for Losing Lila and Catching Suki ( Suki is a mind reader who is introduced in Hunting Lila).

New Indie Books Outlet - Grub Street Reads

Two women have decided to embrace the wonderful world of Indie Publishing and came up with the brand name of Grub Street Reads which you can check out more information at
Can Two Girls Change The Way You Choose Your Next Book?
By Jessica Bennett
 As one of the two girls mentioned in the title, I hope the answer is ‘yes’. But more on that in a moment. First, let’s talk about a few small changes you – savvy reader – have probably noticed in the book world over the last couple of years. For instance, you may have noticed that the whole pages/ink/cover/physical mass trend is so yesterday. Today, many of you probably read some or the majority of your books on a Kindle, Nook, iPad or even on your phone.
 Another trend is that ebook prices are falling faster than the Queen of England when she decides to go sky diving. No longer do readers have to shell out $24.99 for a hardback or $12.99 for a paperback. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are practically bursting with ebooks for $4.99, $2.99, $0.99 or even books for free.
Getting books for almost nothing and/or free…hmmmm, there couldn’t possibly be a catch, right?
Sorry to disappoint, but there’s always a catch. Many of those cheap new books are self-published, which means quality is always a question.
Online publishers have made it exceedingly easy for authors to self- publish their novels (trust me, I’m a self-published author). Many choose to price their books low, which is a good thing for your wallet. Unfortunately, when anyone can publish their book, anyone can publish their book.
That means your mechanic can finally release his 500-page ninja space opera into the world, and your Uncle Barry can self-publish his coming-of-age story of a young, dyslexic sea crab that tries to pursue an impossible relationship with a particularly attractive coral reef.
 You love your Uncle Barry (who doesn’t), but geez. A dyslexic sea crab? You might be able to get through it because Uncle Berry once changed your diapers, but what about all the other people in the world who shell out $2.99 for his underwater masterpiece?
 Here’s the sitch: there are a ton of great indie books on the market (I’ve read a lot of them), written by talented authors who are consummate professionals despite the lack of a big publisher’s stamp of approval. However, there are also a lot of what I like to call “hobbyist” writers. These guys are great in their own way. They’re passionate. They want to write. They should…just not for the masses in most cases.
So how do you choose your next book? There are a lot of “Uncle Barrys” on the market, luring you in with low-priced ebooks, enticing covers and good reviews on Amazon posted by sympathetic family members and friends.
 It may be easy to just swear off indie novels altogether, but then you might be missing out on some of the best new authors in the biz (and great savings, since most traditional publishers still price their books in the $9.99 - $24.99 range). All you have to do is figure out how to distinguish the good from the bad and the ugly.
 So, let me and my business partner, Leslie Ramey, help. We are like you, voracious and passionate readers who want to support the indie book movement and find great new books that can sweep us away. That’s why we created Grub Street Reads, a funky little company that is seeking to establish the quality standard in the indie book market. Our premise is simple. We believe that there are certain core storytelling components that are shared by all good books regardless of genre or any specific plot points. These are things like well-developed characters, a consistent plot, strong pacing, and few (if any) grammar mistakes.
 Those books that pass our evaluation standard receive our endorsement in the form of a seal they can put on their book’s cover. We also include them in our endorsed book library, a convenient location where readers like you can find great indie books. We offer books in almost every genre of fiction, and our library grows every week as more and more authors submit their books for our evaluation.
 The changes occurring in the book world may feel abrupt and even a little overwhelming, especially if you’ve been burned in the past by indie books that turned out to be not only low-cost, but also low-quality. Have faith. Stop by the Grub Street Reads Endorsed Book Library to find great indie books that have each passed our careful evaluation. No guesswork. No coming-of-age sea crab stories. Sorry Uncle Barry.
 What do you think of the concept of Grub Street Reads? Have you ever been burned by a bad indie book? Do you think the indie book world could use standards? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

Review: Wish - Kelly Hunter

Proud to have on my blog and introduce it to the world is Australia's new Penguin Digital Imprint - "Destiny Romance" which will help launch many new Australian authors into the world of books and publishing.
As a member of Netgalley , I was lucky enough to be able to read and review a few of the new books in this imprint.
Today's one is by Kelly Hunter and is titled "Wish".
Review: Wish - Kelly Hunter - October 2011
Set in rural Australia in a small country town , we meet single mother Billie Temple and her son Cal . Billie has just arrived in town after recieving a job to manage the local pub. It seems though that their has been a bit of miscommunication as the landlord of her new house expected a male and definitely wanted someone with no kids.  Now Billie must help sway landlord Adam's ways as Billie and her son have nowhere left to go. With a bit of city know-it-how, Billie starts to rally around the locals and soon turns the pub into a booming place to be but soon strange things will start occuring from slashed tyres to trampled roses to vandalism. Is somebody out to get Billie ? Do they want her as faraway from this town as possible ? 
A quick read at 97 pages, Wish will keep you on your toes as you try and decipher who is doing the vandalism and why ?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Mother of Pearl - Kellie Coates Gilbert

Do you have a hankering to read an Edgy Christian fiction novel ?
Prepare to be surprised when you read Kellie Coates Gilbert's book "Mother of Pearl".
Review: Mother of Pearl - Kellie Coates Gilbert - September 2012
Have you ever judged a book by it's cover and thought hmm that looks like a good book but then once you get into you realise that you are in for a ride because the content of the story is far grittier than you ever imagined ? That's what happened to me with Mother of Pearl, from the cover it looks like quite a posh- upperclassmen novel as we see a mother in a suit and the greens of a field and a rugby ball to the side. Mother of Pearl first introduces us to school guidance counsellor Barrie and her family including daughter Pearl and son Aaron , we then read as Pearl is becoming more and more rebellious, acting out etc and coming home drunk. One night which should have been the happiest day of her life, Barrie is presented with the news that her shining star and daughter Pearl has been killed in a car crash and soon Barrie's straight and narrow life comes crashing down and she lashes out to find someone to blame . It turns out though that Pearl was hiding a dark secret, she was pregnant and then what happens next is one mums race to find out not only the truth and what her daughter went through but also to bring her daughter's lover to justice as he turns out to be an authority and school figure. Can Barrie keep up the trials that she brings to discover the truth or will fighting for the truth, pull her husband and son away for good ?
Mother of Pearl encountered a twist I never imagined but in saying that it was a great twist as it made me want to keep reading the book and also ended up being a story that pulled at your invisible heartstrings causing emotions to be stirred up. I do advise that if you have or no someone that has been involved in a Student/Teacher relationship that has gone to trial etc this book may be a bit too close for comfort.

Review: One Tough Chick - Leslie Margolis

Looking for a great role model for your tween daughter ?  Check out the Annabelle series  by Leslie Margolis and the best thing about this series , is that you don't have to read them in order.
Review: One Tough Chick - Leslie Margolis - January 2013
After completing a book on puppy training with her dog Pepper, it seems that Annabelle has learnt that taming guys is almost the same thing and we see as Annabelle puts on her tough exterior and becomes nicknamed throughout the novel as "one tough chick". In this book without giving too much away we read as Annabelle gets her first boyfriend Oliver , and talent show fever has hit her school and Annabelle has been chosen to become a judge , but what will happen when the other contestants start to shower and try and kiss up to Annabelle, will her final deciding on who wins be swayed with bribes ? Something is up with her parents, are they breaking up or will there be a bigger announcement of news ?
Find out in this quick and easy tween read, appropiate for girls aged 11-16+.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Pushing The Limits - Katie McGarry

Looking for an edgy teen fiction ? Something that does push the readers boundaries of normal teen fiction?
Review: Pushing the Limits - Book #1 Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry - July 2012
Two teens from opposite sides of the tracks fall in love with the whole world against them ? Sounds familiar ? It has an almost Romeo and Juliet feel to it as we meet two teenagers Noah Hutchins and Echo Emerson, both have been delegated to go along to their guidance counsellor's new guinea pig programme, here they will be counselled in school by Miss Collins. Both have lost someone they cared for and now are struggling to move forward , for Echo her family has been a strong issue with an overbearing father, a brother who died in the Marines, a new stepmother who used to be her babysitter and of course the main reason she is in therapy - we learn her mother tried to kill her and Noah Hutchins - bouncing from Foster home to foster home, he lost his parents in a fire and now he has been separated from the two people he loves most in the world and left with only supervised visitations - his two younger brothers Tyler and Jacob. Now the pair have been spending lots of time together due to Miss Collins pairing them up for tutoring, though what could this duo have in common besides her as Noah is the resident bad boy and Echo- a former Miss Popular.  Pushing the Limits is all about that in seeing the limits that one person can go to save or care about the ones they love and that sometimes when the going gets too tough, you have to break down that barrier and push through as hard as you can. 
Pushing the Limits touches on quite a few edgy content topics like Death, Mental Illnesses , Violence, Foster Families etc . I love reading about this stuff and cannot wait for Book #2 Dare to You which focuses on Noah's Foster Sister Beth's story.

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