Early Review Tour: MELT by Selena Castrovilla

Author: Selena Castrovilla
Publisher:Lasy Syllable Books
Publictation Date: November 6th 2014
Blurb Description: MELT is a brutal love story, set against the backdrop of The Wizard of Oz. Sixteen year old “good girl” Dorothy just blew into the small town of Highland Park – where the social headquarters is Munchkinland (Dunkin’ Donuts.) There, she meets Joey – a “bad boy” who tells no one about the catastrophic domestic violence he witnesses at home. Can these two lovers survive peer pressure, Joey’s reputation, and his alcoholism? And then there’s his family's secret – about to be unleashed.

Told in dual first person, Joey's words are scattered on the page - reflecting his broken state. Dorothy is the voice of reason - until something so shattering happens that she, too, may lose her grip. Can their love endure, or will it melt away?

MELT is based on true events. It is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance. It will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul


”When you think about it, the words don’t count for too much anyway, it’s the intentions behind them that do. And this was like we were skipping past the words because we didn’t need them.”*Quotes subject to my ARC*

And Melt was filled with them. Beautiful, thoughtful lines that is. From the time you read the synopsis, you know that this going to be one of those books- haunting, deep, and soulful.

Dorothy- asked many times if named after the wizard of Oz protagonist- meets bad boy Joey. Literally a bad boy- time in prison, drinking and just the reputation that goes along with it. The porcelain doll with the boxer: one of the most unexpected relationships.

And yet, sparks fly and the most unusual of people find solace in each other- the best kind- a special sort of togetherness and a love that must defy all odds to succeed. Even the most dangerous of all- Joey’s own father.

This book is VERY addicting. From the minute when you flip it open, with Joey telling you about how his everyday life goes- so perfect on the outside right down to the flowerbeds and so dysfunctional on the inside you know this is going to be one hell of a book.

The one thing, okay, two things I didn’t like were: The Insta-Love. Oh. God. How much I hate it when this happens. He looked at her, she looked at him across a crowded Dunkin Donuts outlet and they knew- right then, that this was it. Oh, and the book had no element other than the two of them. Well rounded, it was not.

My second would be the way abuse was handled- like something you would never have control over- nothing to be done about it. I understand that it is something almost impossible to get the strength to fight but as a book aimed towards teenagers, there should have been something uplifting or hope delivering about it.

And despite all of it, Melt is still a book I would read again- but maybe not compulsively.

My Verdict:

A Good Book- addicting, haunting- but one that could have been Great! 

**A Huge thanks to the author and Jen Halligan PR for making me a part of this early tour!**

The Summer Of Shambles by Ebony McKenna- GIVEAWAY+ Guest Post+ Review

Author: Ebony McKenna
Publisher: Egmont
Publishing Date: April 5th 2010
Blurb Description: Dive into this wonderfully witty young adult series from author Ebony McKenna, set in the far off European country of Brugel.
15-year-old Ondine is struggling to fit in at Psychic Summercamp and doubts she possesses any of her family's magical abilities. She resolves to leave, determined to follow her own path and be a normal teenager. Whatever normal is in a place like Brugel.

On the way home Ondine is shocked when her pet ferret Shambles starts talking - in a cheeky Scottish accent no less! He is in fact a young man trapped in a witch's curse. When he briefly transforms into his human self, Ondine is smitten. If only she can break the spell for good, Shambles can be handsomely human on a full-time basis.

During the summer, these two misfits uncover a plot to assassinate a member of the royal family and discover a secret treasure that has remained hidden for decades. This attracts the attention of the arrogant Lord Vincent, and Ondine can't help being drawn in by his bad-boy charm. 
With so many demands on Ondine's attentions - and affections - normal has never seemed so far away.
The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series. Fans of The Princess Bride or the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series will love this delightfully quirky fairytale.


Ferrets as heroes

It feels like I’m telling an enormous fib, but I never set out to write a novel about ferrets. The idea that kicked off the Ondine series centered on a teen girl with a pet on her shoulder. The pet jumped onto the ground and changed into a Scottish lad in the moonlight (with fireflies darting all around).

Initially - and this is the proper truth - the pet was a rat and not a ferret.

Then the little voice in my head said, “Rat’s have been done. What about a ferret?”

I’ve never had a pet ferret, so I didn’t know much about them. This, as it turns out, was a blessing. By the time I’d finished the first draft, Shambles the ferret had spent most of his time darting about, getting lost, eating too much, raising a stink and being all kinds of hilarious. Real ferrets spend about 80% of their time sleeping. Probably for the best that I didn’t know that. It would have made Shambles pretty dreary!

Ferrets are made for comedy; racing down drainpipes, scampering about, sleeping in a tangled knot. In real life, they have also been used in construction. In the 1960s, Boeing used ferrets to run wiring through the tight spots in aircraft construction. This enterprise did not last very long, as the ferrets sometimes fell asleep in those inaccessible spots and not come out for hours. 

Ferrets were also used at the Millennium Dome in London. Organizers had an immovable deadline - December 31, 1999. It was impossible to use rods and poles to shove electrical wires through the tunnels under the stage. Enter the ferrets fitted with snug nylon harnesses. Owners attached cables to the harness and the ferrets were set into the tunnels - lured out the other side with some choice cuts of meat. (This would have circumvented the ‘falling asleep’ problem that caused Boeing so many headaches.) 

The name ferret comes from Latin, which means ‘little thief’. It’s only a tiny step from there to imagine ferrets being awesome at espionage, what with being able to slink about like they do. Suddenly the teenage girl in my head was warning a local Duke about a threat to his life - with a ferret wrapped around her pretending to be a scarf. Everything started coming together after that.

I wanted a truly sexy hero for my teen girl as well. He had to be funny, a bit rude and full of adventure. So he pretty much had to be Scottish because Scots are the funniest people on earth. From there, it felt like a great fit to have a lad trapped in a ferret’s body as a form of punishment.

To be a true hero Shambles the ferret had to be heroic. Many times when he was heroically stupid he made me laugh out loud. Without giving away spoilers, Shambles (or Hamish the lad) grows to love Ondine, and understands that he needs to be good enough for her. This gives him the chance to step up and be a proper hero.



A fairy tale retelling- that makes you feel like you’re riding with Cinderella in the carriage to the ball or singing with the animals like Snow White- with a modernized, hilariously unique twist- The Summer of Shambles is one book you CANNOT miss!

Ondine is your perfect teenager- craving romance, freedom a little bit of drama and more that a bit of magic all while searching for her individuality. She has fights with her mother, sisters, arguments that finally land up in her winning with her father- and now, a talking ferret that she can’t stop thinking about!

Shambles was simply brilliant- a Scottish ragamuffin with a conscious and so, SO delightful! He comes off as a rouge in the beginning but not too much after you see what an absolute darling he can be! When he does turn temporarily into a man, all of this gets even better!- I LOVED every minute of the romance between Ondine and Hamish!

An assassination plot, a gorgeous, sneaky prince, a ferret that can’t remain a man, a fun loving, all around crazy family, a whole boatload of romance!- READ IT!

My Verdict:

If you’ve ever read a fairy tale, this is the perfect YA book to make you feel the same way!

BLOG TOUR: Crane By Stacey Rourke- Excerpt

Crane by Stacey RourkeLegends Saga Book 1

The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?
About Stacy Rourke
There is nothing worse than being put on the spot and asked to talk about yourself. For me it brings back that inevitable moment in a new school when the teacher would ask me to stand up, introduce myself and tell the class something about myself. I was always worried I would blurt out something stupid that I would get teased for. Something like, “My name’s Stacey and I like pickles!” Then for the rest of the school year I’d be known as the Pickle Girl and let’s be honest, no one wants that. So to avoid such a faux pas I will simply say that I love to write. It allows me to get my crazy out just enough that I can function as a normal member of society.


Dangerous, legendary and all around brilliant, Crane is the perfect, chilly read!

Told in two POV’s, Crane seamlessly flows from the time after the Revolutionary War to the bustle of cars today, both in a little, picturesque town called Sleepy Hollow (yeah, I think of the show too!) with each character telling you a little more- giving you one more piece of the puzzle- but just little enough to have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

Centuries ago, the headless horseman rode, faster than light on his steed as black as night, claiming the heads of the innocent and even the not so as his own. Until the ultimate sacrifice was paid, lovers torn apart, brothers in spirit separated and everything returned to the quiet.

Right now, looking for a fresh start, after her pompous ex-boyfriend broke her heart and stole her refrigerator (No, I’m not joking!), Ireland (Awesome name, by the way) is the first Crane to set foot into a town that does everything it can to live up to its name, becomes everything but. Beheadings, warnings in blood and a senile old man this book is everything you could ever want to read and more!

Scary, with the ‘I must see what happens next- it is essential for sane thought’ element combined with one of the most fun and flirty chemistries I’ve read about in a while, Crane is just. Plain. Awesome.

And, how can I forget, you’re always left thinking, how can you kill someone who is already dead?

My Verdict:

Just. Read. It!! 

Blog Tour: How To Get Ainsley Bishop To Fall In Love With You by T.M.Franklin- Guest Post and Review

AinsleyAuthor: T.M.Franklin

Publisher: The Writers Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publication Date: June 12th 2014
Blurb Description: Seventeen-year-old Oliver Wendell Holmes (Yes, his parents are just that peculiar, but his brother's name is Sherlock, so it could have been worse) knows that he's different. He's quirky, awkward, and he's okay with that. Oliver also likes making lists-meticulous procedures for achieving his goals, step-by-step. Whether it's "How to Get an A in Chemistry" or "How to Get Accepted to MIT," he has a process, and it's worked for him so far. He doesn't even care that the popular kids mock him. Oliver's got his eye on the prize.

So when he decides it's time to declare his feelings for Ainsley Bishop, the girl of his dreams, it's only natural for him to make a list-a point-by-point strategy to win her heart. He knows it will take a grand gesture for her to see all he has to offer, and her approaching birthday provides the ideal opportunity for Oliver to put his plan into action.

Finding the perfect gift is a challenge Oliver meets with his usual dogged determination. He'll need to watch her carefully for clues to pinpoint exactly what he should give her. And along the way, he might just learn that what Ainsley really needs is not quite what he expected.

Ainsley Blog Tour

Ainsley is available now!

Amazon |Barnes & Noble |iTunes |Kobo | TWCS


T.M. Franklin
T.M. Franklin started out her career writing non-fiction in a television newsroom. Graduating with a B.A. in Communications specializing in broadcast journalism and production, she worked for nine years as a major market television news producer, and garnered two regional Emmy Awards, before she resigned to be a full-time mom and part-time freelance writer. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards.

In addition to MORE and its sequel, The Guardians, Franklin penned the Amazon best-selling short stories A Piece of Cake andWindow, which also won a Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Award for Short Story/Fantasy. Her new YA romance, How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, is Franklin’s first love story without a paranormal or fantasy element, although she believes love is the best kind of magic.
TWELVE, the final installment in the MORE Trilogy will be released in the fall of 2014.
Connect with T.M. Franklin


GUEST POST: Fitting In and Standing Out

By T.M. Franklin
Stressed teen
We’ve all heard it – being a teenager before is harder than is used to be. There’s increased pressure to perform, more competition to get in college, and no guarantee of a job, even if you do get a degree. On top of that is all the social pressure. And as the mother of a teen, it does seem to me like they have it tougher than back in my day (I say, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man.)
MIT. The Land of Opportunity.

Kids today live in a world that’s faster and smaller than ever. News comes at them in an instant, communication is lightning fast and distilled to 140-character blurbs. Social media makes it easier than ever before to meet people, but it also makes it easier than ever before for someone to criticize or mock them. Anonymity makes cyber-bullying a very real threat – and one that can be just as devastating as the getting-pushed-into-a-locker kind.
Every teen wants to have friends, and the characters in How to Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You are no different. They deal with the pressure to fit in, however, in very different ways.
Oliver is very aware he’s not part of the popular crowd. He’s smart and funny, but a loner with only one true friend, Viney Palmari. The popular kids make fun of Oliver, but he really tries not to let it bother him.
I knew what people said about me. Geek. Freak. Nerd. The words stung, sure. It wasn’t like I didn’t have feelings, after all. But I also knew what so many of my classmates couldn’t seem to wrap their minds around. High school was four years of torture before life truly began. I understood that college was where I would one day shine, where I would find myself, and high school was simply a stepping stool to get me where I wanted to go.

So I ignored the insults as much as I could and kept mostly to myself, with the exception of Viney, of course. I kept my head down and my eyes on the prize.
Except . . .
Except when it came to Ainsley Bishop.
- How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, Prologue
I really wanted to write a story about a boy who was quirky and different, but was okay with that. I wanted Oliver to be a guy who doesn’t have to change or go through some kind of makeover to get the girl. I wanted him to realize that he just has to be true to himself, and people will come to realize what a great guy he is… including Ainsley.
As for Ainsley, she deals with things a little differently. Where Oliver focuses on his own goals and dreams, Ainsley puts other people’s needs – including her boyfriend, Ian’s - before her own.
Her eyes flashed, and she sat back, crossing her arms over her chest. “It’s not that big a deal, Oliver.”
I nodded. “Sorry.”
I glanced up at her, and her eyes softened. “No, I’m sorry. I guess I don’t think it’s that important. Not really.”
“It is,” I said quickly. “If it’s important to you, it’s important.”
Ainsley sighed and leaned forward on the table. “I just don’t want to make a big deal about it. If it means so much to Ian, why shouldn’t I give it to him?”
I was in untested waters, felt like the ground was moving beneath my feet. Ainsley seemed to actually be asking my opinion about something—something that meant something to her—and I didn’t want to let her down.
“I think . . .” I hesitated, but Ainsley was watching me with wide, expectant eyes. “I think it’s nice to do things for people you care about,” I said. “But I also think there are times you need to do things for yourself—to make yourself happy. And the play is something that’s important to you, so maybe . . . maybe Ian should be the one to give in to you? He’s not the one who’s going to be on that stage, you know? I mean, it’s your name in the program, right? It’s your responsibility. Shouldn’t it be the way you want it to be?”
Ainsley chewed on her lip, her gaze falling to the tabletop. “I don’t want to disappoint him,” she said quietly. And that one sentence, those seven words, spoke volumes about her. About why she shrugged off college. About why she seemed to think her own goals didn’t matter, or at least weren’t as important as other people’s.
- How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, Chapter 5
Of course, Oliver’s going to do what he can to help Ainsley realize that her own dreams are important too. And I have a feeling he’s up to the task.

**My Review**

This is the CUTEST book I’ve read ever since I flipped open my first Meg Cabot book (think Teen Idol), all those years ago!

Well, I’m not going to go into the actual story line of this book- there is just no fun. (What would be the point of me telling you this happens and then that?) I am, however, going to talk about the brilliant characters!

This book has so many aspects that had me laughing out loud or just going ‘aww’ in my head! The funniest character, by far, was Oliver’s brother- Sherlock! He has deducing habits, a pet goldfish named Watson (which is kind of ironic- you know because Goldfishes have a fifteen second memory span) and uses words he doesn’t fully understand! He was by far my favourite!

Ainsley Bishop. The first time you meet her, you think she is kind of, well, a ditz or a doormat to be more specific- but thank god, she realises it and tries to change! She is an abnormally nice person, smart-ish but you just can’t help liking her. Somewhere in the middle, she starts getting nerves around Oliver and it is just SO cute!

Oliver is a stand-up guy- nerdy, awkward, nervous, and so ridiculously sweet you can’t help empathising with him! His parents, with their own love story, his best friend and the whole perfect gift debacle will have you smiling and wishing you were right there, living it! Another aspect of this book that I loved was the fact that there were barely any 'mean' characters- that seem to be there in all high school romance books!

HTGABTFILWY is one of the best books I've ever read. It was really easy to get into- with not even a single flaw! 

My Verdict:

A sweet, simple, laugh out loud and all around perfect YA read!

Elixir Bound by Katie Carroll- Review, Interview and Giveaway

Author: Kaite Carroll
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Publication Date: August 31st 2012
Blurb Description: Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone. 

It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


We would love to know more about you:

1. 5 very weird things about you:
--I can kiss my own elbow, which I’ve heard makes me a princess.

--For the past year I’ve been doing this thing called grounding where I go outside and put my bare feet on the earth. I try to do it every day, even when we had feet of snow and sub-freezing temperatures this past winter. 

--As a kid, I used to refuse to eat mac ‘n’ cheese with that fake orange cheese. 

--When I was three, I insisted that I was a boy because I wanted to play baseball for the New York Yankees. 

--I asked my husband to give me one more weird thing, and he say I eat peanut cups weird because I like to eat the chocolate around the edge first and save the middle for last.

2. If you were to be Guardian of something (say an Elixir), would you accept? How would you feel?
I’d like to think that I would accept for the good of the world or some other noble reason. But I definitely wouldn’t want it sprung upon me like happens to Katora in ELIXIR BOUND. I like to have all the information at hand and have time to think things over before making really big decisions like that. And if it would put my family at risk (especially now that I’m a mom), I might say no. Family always comes first for me.

3. 3 books you would love to call yours:
Oh, there are so many. I’ll try to stay away from the super obvious (Harry Potter!). I’d have to go with GRACELING by Kristin Cashore (one of my favorite YA fantasies), THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson (a fabulous contemporary YA), and pretty much anything Maggie Stiefvater has written.

And now, onto your masterpiece:

4. Briefly describe all the characters undertaking the quest- and which one your favourite is:
Katora, the main character, is stubborn, independent, and introspective. Kylene, the younger sister, is sensitive, giving, and not afraid to show her emotions. Bhar, the younger brother, provides some much needed comic relief but is also immature. Hirsten, the love interest, is meticulous, insightful, and supportive (oh, and has really soft lips). Palafair is of the miniature demick species and is the father figure of the group. Zelenka, also of the demick species, is fierce, brave, and not afraid to speak her mind. 

It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but I have to go with Kylene because she is based on my little sister who passed away at the age of 16 and was the inspiration behind me not only writing ELIXIR BOUND but becoming a writer at all.

5. Your favourite line and scene from Elixir Bound:
Man, these are tough questions. There are some nice descriptive lines in the book that I’m kind of proud of, but I’ll go with something a little philosophical. As Katora contemplates whether or not to become guardian of the Elixir, she finally confides some of her fears to Hirsten, and he says, “I’m sure there are all kinds of forces that play a role in what happens to each one of us. And there’s no way for us to know what’s really in our control.”

I love the scene in chapter five where Katora, her siblings, Hirsten, and Palafair are sitting around the fire telling stories. It’s early in the journey and the night before Katora’s two older sisters are to return home. The mood goes from silly, where the siblings reminisce about their crazy childhood teasing each other, to more serious as they look forward to the dangers of the journey and being in Faway Forest (with a nice kissing scene right in the middle). So much of that scene was inspired by my own childhood growing up in a large family. It was fun to be able to incorporate that stuff into the story.

6. What's after Elixir Bound for you?
I’m working on a follow up to ELIXIR BOUND, more of a companion story than a second in a series, called ELIXIR SAVED. Right now it’s still in the drafting stage and is told from three different points of view. Two are well-known characters from BOUND, Kylene and Zelenka, and one is a new. It’s turning out to be even more epic in scope. Right now the tagline is “Each saved by the Elixir, three survivors must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice with their second chances at life.”


Stunning and brilliantly conceptualised, Elixir Bound is The Lord of The Rings with a YA fiction twist.

Reading the synopsis, I didn't expect much- for the book to be lacking in some way- and I received a very pleasant, unexpected surprise. Elixir Bound can be described in one word- Amazing!

Okay, fine. I have a lot more to say. Reasons why Elixir Bound has my 5-starred review:

1. Brilliant Descriptions:

In loads of adventure/ quest-y books, you find descriptions to be lacking, leaving too much to the imagination- that lots of people hate doing. Well, I can say with absolute certainty that Elixir Bound is not one of those books. I quite literally felt like I was in the book- especially in all of the major scenes- the Tilli Demick, Yesalda but the best by far was when Katora reaches the field where the flowers of the Elixir are grown. Carroll's ability to envision scenes in uncanny.

2. A Realistic Heroine:

Pretty, capable and sure- that's what heroines are these days. Perhaps they have minor doubts but never anything to deter their self confidence. Katora Kase is the exception. I could literally feel myself mirroring her thoughts, both moral and practical, on her quest to find the Elixir flowers. I loved the way the author expressed her feelings of doubt, anger, love and strong headedness- so believe able

3. A book not centred around a guy:

Don't get me wrong- there is a guy- but refreshingly, this book was not just about what one guy thought about Katora, or whether or not he liked her. Hirsten is sweet sincere and a bit of an introvert. It was pretty much the cutest story ever, which didn't eat up the spotlight, which I really liked.

My Verdict:

Undoubtedly a must read- for all lovers of YA Fiction!