29 March 2013

Blog Tour: The Practice Proposal (Suddenly Smitten #1) by Tracy March (Interview + Kindle Giveaway)

I'm so excited to have Tracy March at the blog today! Her debut novel, The Practice Proposal was released early this month by Entangled Publishing's Bliss imprint and it's been receiving raving reviews! Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite! You can follow the tour here.

Thanks for being here today Tracy :)

The Practice Proposal (Suddenly Smitten #1) by Tracy March.
Audience/Genre: Women/Contemporary Romance.
Publication: March 11th, 2012 by Bliss, an Entangled Publishing Imprint.
Liza Sutherland isn’t looking for love. Not from a charity-auction date she didn’t even bid on and especially not with Nationals first baseman Cole Collins, the guy she obsessed over as an awkward teenager. She won’t get involved with a notorious player, no matter how attractive Cole is.

Cole Collins is up for contract renegotiation, but after too many late-night parties, he’ll need some positive publicity before he can make the roster. His agent, Frank, pitches Liza as the perfect prop…only Cole didn’t account for Liza no longer being just a teenager with a crush. She’s gorgeous and smart and he’s instantly hooked.

When Frank makes Liza a deal she can’t refuse—a bet she will fall in love with Cole or a cool half mil goes to charity—the game is on. But neither bet on the real feelings that surface. Could a fake fling turn into an official forever?

How did the idea for The Practice Proposal first come about?

I’m an avid baseball fan. I watch a lot of pro baseball on TV and in person (if I’m lucky!)—especially Washington Nationals games. I started wondering if some of the very attractive, fit, rich, single players have a challenging time finding true love. Considering all the reasons women have to chase them—fame, money, glamorous lifestyle—how would one of those guys really determine if a girl was genuine and loved him for himself? This thought triggered the what-if questions that ultimately turned into the story in The Practice Proposal.

Describe The Practice Proposal in 3 words.

Heartwarming, flirty, fun!

Are any of your characters based on someone you know in real life?

No, but I know authors who advise people to beware of that! ☺ Cole Collins, the pro baseball player in The Practice Proposal, has some of the positive character traits of my favorite real-life baseball player, Michael Morse—sportsmanship, team spirit, love of the fans, and a quirky sense of humor. I’ve never met him in person, but he has tweeted me a couple of times!

What are some of your favorite books that you’ve read recently?

My love of reading is what got me interested in writing, yet now that I’m writing, I don’t get to read as much as I’d like. Even so, I still make time to read while I’m on my Nordic Track, and sometimes before I go to bed (if I can keep my eyes open!). I recently read The Taker by Alma Katsu and was blown away by its epic feel, its amazing characters, and its incredibly haunting story of eternal love, betrayal and atonement. I also read The Reckoning, the second book in the series, and I can’t wait for the final book to release.

Are you a quote person? If yes, please share one of your favorite quotes (from a book) with us!

Tana French is one of my favorite authors. She writes literary mystery, and this quote is from her incredible book, The Likeness. “I wanted to tell her that being loved is a talent too, that it takes as much guts and as much work as loving; that some people, for whatever reason, never learn the knack.”

In your mind, which actor/actress best resembles Cole and Liza?

I envision the super-hot Jessie Pavelka as Cole, and Minka Kelly as Liza.

If you could live in any city in the world, where would it be?

I don’t think I could pick one! I enjoy traveling to different cities, states, and countries. My dream would be to pick some wonderful places in Europe, South America, New Zealand, the United States and other magical places, and live there for a year or so, experiencing the culture and learning the language if it’s different. Then I’d move to the next place and start all over again! ☺

Any favorite movies/TV shows? Do you get any inspiration from them?

Like I mentioned before, I watch a lot of baseball (I have to restrain myself because there are so many games!), so I’ve gotten inspiration from that. I’ll watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette if it’s in season. I’m always amazed and amused by what happens on those shows, and some of the characters might spark an idea for me. Otherwise, I don’t watch a lot of television. Once in a while, I’ll tune in to HGTV, but I have to be careful because I could watch House Hunters, Love It or List It, Property Brothers, and lots more shows on that network for hours! My husband and I enjoy watching TV series shows on Netflix. We’ve just finished watching the first season of Downton Abbey and we’re hooked!

Do you have any other book(s) you’re working on? If yes, please tell us a bit about them.

I write contemporary romance and romantic thrillers. My award-winning debut romantic thriller, Girl Three, releases in print and e-book on April 30th. Here’s the set up:
Bioethicist Jessica Croft, estranged daughter of a federal judge, has avoided the players, power, and passions of Washington, DC. But when her sister’s suspicious death is classified as natural, Jessie resolves to expose the murderer. Pursuing elite suspects on both sides of the stem-cell-research debate leads her to security consultant Michael Gillette, who knows more about her sister than he’ll admit.
Michael has a vested interest in Jessie’s plight. Her sister died on his watch—while he wasn’t watching. His plan to find her murderer becomes complicated when Jessie’s father hires him to protect Jessie, and his interest turns from professional—to romantic.
Jessie and Michael must unravel a mystery rife with political agendas and deceit. When confidential papers reveal a fertility scandal surrounding the enigmatic Girl Three, the two realize the danger of exposing the truth. Who is Girl Three? And will the murderer kill again to keep a secret?

I’m also working on the second book in the Suddenly Smitten series (that began with The Practice Proposal) and it’s scheduled for release this fall!

Thanks for inviting me to hang out with you and your readers today, Anjana. It’s been fun! Happy reading, everyone! ☺

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Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her career in the pharmaceutical field, and her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after.

Look for Tracy's contemporary romance debut, THE PRACTICE PROPOSAL, in March 2013, and her romantic thrillers, GIRL THREE, in April 2013, and A SHOT OF RED in spring 2014, all from Entangled Publishing.

Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its.

Tracy lives in Yorktown, Virginia, with her superhero husband who works for NASA. They recently spent two years living in Washington D.C., and enjoy visiting often—especially when the Nats are in town.

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26 March 2013

Georgetown Academy: Book One by Jessica Koosed Etting, Alyssa Embree Schwartz

Georgetown Academy: Book One by Jessica Koosed Etting, Alyssa Embree Schwartz.
Audience/Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary.
Publication: October 24th 2012 by Coliloquy, LLC.
It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

Reviewed by Kelly.

My first thought was a cross between "Mean Girls" and "90210". The drama here is only secondary to the politics these teens go into. It's all about the social or rather political ladder these teens climb in order to emulate their parents. Ugh! I would not want any part of this kind of life!

I grew up in this area and know all the spots they go to. I lived in PG county and this is in Montgomery County where all the rich people live. I always felt inferior growing up as the news always made us look bad and Montgomery County look good. I so see how these kids can be snobby and have a "I'm better than you attitude". It gave me the chills, as it kind of reminded me of then.

Anyway, to get back on track here, this book is unique in that you get to a point and you decide who you want to follow from that night. It kind of keeps you a little out of the loop on the rest of the gang that night. I chose Ellie and I couldn't handle the drama that was her life. She lives with her mom. Her parents are divorced.

I still want to go back and follow everyone. I got the jest of what may have happened that night, but gotta go back and pick the others so I can be up to date on all the dirt!

Ok, this is a little different way of reviewing, but, this is the way it felt; (inhale breathe)

Ellie lives with her mom, who, like all the others in her school, is in politics or journalism. Ellie's boyfriend is Hunter. Hunter is a passivist and is sweet. He seems to have Evan on his mind. Hmmm... Ellie used to have Gabe as her boyfriend whom she hasn't seen for a long time, she believes he betrayed her and she hasn't seen him since, but now he is going to her school. Gabe used to rock her world and if she admitted it,he still does. The betrayal is from the thought that Gabe's dad had a hand in Ellie's parent's divorce. Brinley is supposedly Ellie's best friend but has been acting strange lately. She is taking Adderall by her drug supplier in school. Brinley's brother seems to know something is up. Ellie meets the new girl, Taryn, at school. She makes friends with her. Taryn likes Gabe who still likes Ellie who won't talk to him. Gabe finally talks to Ellie at a party and things get heated up between them as he clears up the misunderstanding. But then Ellie tells him she can't be with him because she has a new boyfriend.So Ellie pushes him toward Taryn. Ellie is jealous but doesn't do anything. Meanwhile, Hunter continues to talk to Evan and hmmm... Add this to all the politics their parents are going through that the kids going here seem to feed off of and you have scandal. Anyway, things always seem to have a way of coming around and the ending just keeps the story going like a soap opera! Wheeww!! That was done in one breathe!

After I go back and dig up everyone else's dirt,I am off to the next book! If you like scandal and drama, this book is for you!!

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17 March 2013

Wool (Wool #1-5) by Hugh Howey

Wool (Wool #1-5) by Hugh Howey.
Audience/Genre: Young Adult/Dystopia.
Publication: December 3rd 2012 by Century (Random House).
An epic story of survival at all odds and one of the most anticipated books of the year.

In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo.

Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.

To live, you must follow the rules. But some don't. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism.

Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside.

Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.

Reviewed by Pragya @ The Reviewing Shelf

The world of Wool…ah, how to describe it? It’s mind-blowing, mesmerizing, deceptive, intriguing, complex and way beyond imagination. I marvel at the whole construction of it - almost impossible yet so alluring in its magnificence.

The story captures one’s interest right from the word ‘go’. It does take some time getting used to though, understanding it all. The characters are really well done and I felt for each of them throughout.

The plot takes one by surprise due to its powerful storyline and uniqueness. The way in which the story unfolds is also very well done. Though the story progresses painfully slowly at times (a pace-loving reader would quit) and it requires patience to slug on, you’re nevertheless rewarded as the pace increases the further you go. And the beautiful web the world of wool has knit draws you in by its sheer magic.

The plot and the characters are the major strengths of this book. Though personally, I was a little put-off by the pace of the book at times, I decided it was just a minor irritation to ignore in lieu of the larger good (which was the captivating story).

Overall, though it took me an absolutely crazy amount of time (two months) to finish this book, I would say I came out rather pleased with how the story developed and I eagerly look forward to the next in the series.

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12 March 2013

Cover Reveal: Prophecy Girl (Angel Academy, #1) by Cecily White

Prophecy Girl (Angel Academy, #1) by Cecily White.
Audience/Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal.
Publication: April 2nd 2013 by Entangled Teen.

Amelie Bennett. . . . Ending the world, one prophecy at a time.

I was born to slay Crossworld demons.
Big black flappy ones, little green squirmy ones. Unfortunately, the only thing getting slain these days is my social life. With my high school under attack, combat classes intensifying, and Academy instructors dropping right and left, I can barely get my homework done, let alone score a bondmate before prom.
Then he shows up.
Jackson Smith-Hailey. Unspeakably hot, hopelessly unattainable, and dangerous in all the right ways. Sure, he’s my trainer. And okay, maybe he hates me. Doesn’t mean I’ll ignore the wicked Guardian chemistry between us. It’s crazy! Every time I’m with him, my powers explode. Awesome, right?
Now my teachers think I’m the murderous Graymason destined to bring down our whole race of angelbloods. Everyone in New Orleans is hunting me. The people I trusted want me dead. Jack and I have five days to solve the murders, prevent a vampire uprising, and thwart the pesky prophecy foretelling his death by my hand. Shouldn’t be too difficult.

Getting it done without falling in love. . . that might take a miracle.

Man, I love this cover. Especially the font used for the title. What do you think? Here's an excerpt and a chance for you to win an e-ARC of Prophecy Girl!


Matt had snapped the leg off his chair and swung it at the air, Alec Charbonnet’s head seemed to be bent in prayer, and Lyle, in an unlikely show of heroism, held up his Theories textbook to shield a whimpering Channeler behind him. In the distance, I could hear Marcus shouting evacuation orders, but, for the most part, it was just screams. High-pitched, horrible screams.

“Lisa!” I yelled. “Get Katie and get out!”


“I’m right behind you, I swear. Go!” I wrenched my arm out of Lisa’s grip, desperate to find some foothold in the madness.

So far, only lesser demons had come through—small creatures that scratched and bit with nasty precision but rarely killed. Under normal circumstances, they were about as threatening as a swarm of winged ferrets.

Except this was far from normal.

Through the haze, I watched Jack raise his sword in a defensive arc. His face held no fear as he parried the demon attack, deflecting blow after blow. Bright streaks of crimson appeared on his cheeks, his shirt shredded to bloodstained ribbons. He swung his blade with the force of a battle-axe, sheets of black ichor spreading down his hands. Yet as fiercely as he fought and as much damage as he inflicted, I knew it wouldn’t be enough. Until that gate was closed, the demons would keep coming.

And they’d get bigger.

We’d been warned to expect hand-to-hand combat challenges, the occasional loose fiend, trainers lurking behind corners to pounce on us for “training purposes.” But untamed demon hordes and blasts of hellfire?

No way.

Somebody had to do something.

I squinted against the heat and lifted up my hands. “Exitus,” I yelled weakly. The swirl of heat and fire tightened in my fingers for a second, then went slack.

“What are you doing?” Like a shot, Jack’s head snapped in my direction.

“I’m helping,” I shouted from my hiding spot behind the chair.

“You’re irritating them. Go away!”

“I’m irritating them?” I mumbled as he sliced through another demon wing.

Much as I ached to argue, I had to give him snaps for honesty. It was true, I sucked at the channeling thing. Once, I had tried linking power with Lyle during Fundamentals class last year. Total disaster. It had taken a solid month for his eyebrows to grow back.

Still, did Jack really expect me to sit and do nothing? He was getting slaughtered. Alone. Smalley and the rest of the faculty huddled near the exits. Even the trainers, who were allegedly hired for stuff like this, bustled safely toward the back.

I watched as another charcoal-skinned demon slid through the opening, its serrated teeth snapping at the air.

“Jack! Behind you!”

He turned in time to see the thing flying at his back. With inhuman speed, his sword came up in a glittering sweep to slice through its neck. Black blood spilled across his chest as the monster crashed to the floor in a stringy heap…just as two more like it hurtled through.

It was insane. Why was no one fighting?

Marcus and Daniel had funneled the last Channelers through the exits and were circling back to collect the Watchers and senior faculty. I recognized what they were doing. It was standard protocol for a rift-kill. First, they would clear the room and ward all the vulnerable points of exit. Only a small contingent would be left inside, one or two bonded pairs. When the demon flow had cleared, the Watcher would launch a charmed explosive device, etched with glyphs powerful enough to collapse the gate from the other side. We’d seen it a hundred times in training videos.

But this made no sense.

If I left the room now there would be no Channelers. No one to shield him when the gate collapsed.

Terrified, I stood and pushed through the demon horde to where Jack fought, his sword slicing the air like a whip. My chest was taut, and, with every step, heat seemed to billow up inside me.

“Give me a weapon,” I yelled.

“Bennett, I told you to get out of here. That’s an order!”

“I’m not leaving you. Give me a sword and let me fight, or give me your hand and help me channel.”

His eyes were dark with fury as he whirled. “It’s not your fight.”

“You’re going to die.”

“Bennett, for the last time,” he said, thrashing at the blackskinned horde. “Get! Out!”

With a final hacking swipe, he flipped his sword to the opposite hand and made a grab at my arm. I’m not sure what he intended—to push me back, or maybe march me to Smalley’s office for a quick disciplinary lecture. Whatever his intention, it vanished the instant his hand touched me.

It was as if I’d been electrified, like a toaster oven suddenly plugged into the wall. All the power from the rift hurtled toward us, raw and hot and terrifying. I lifted my free hand again, black flames lapping at my outstretched fingers.

“Exitus! Concedia! Incendia!”

Every command I could dredge up from last year’s Defensive Fundamentals class sprang to my lips. White and gold sparks flew out of my fingers and a hot wind blew, whipping the curtains into tight little circles. It felt like someone had injected liquid flames into my veins, as if the building and everyone in it were suddenly bleeding fire. Crossworld energy swelled inside me, blackening my heart and everything around it.

“Holy hell!”

Jack ripped his hand off my arm but it was too late. Energy hung between us, thick and ropey ribbons of light. I could feel my power reverberating off his. My eyes slammed shut as a whip of heat cracked across my face, the darkness intensifying. Every instinct told me to duck, to run, to hide. But I didn’t. If I let go of the channel, the gate would open again, and I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t let him die.

With an ungodly grunt, Jack launched himself at me, his weapon clattering to the floor beneath an acidic wave of black flame. The dull ache of impact ripped through my shoulder as we hit the ground and began to roll. Maybe it was instinct, maybe cowardice, I don’t know. But as soon as I felt him on top of me, I melted. My body sealed itself to his, every part of us fitting together like pieces of an ancient puzzle. Every hard plane of his chest, every inch of his warmth against me…even the smell of him, all sweat and soap and salty blood.

He felt like home.

Crossworld energy stretched across my soul as he tucked me beneath him. Somewhere in my ribcage I could feel my spirit suffocating, helpless and weak. I wanted to will the flames into submission but my control was gone.

I was drowning.

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Cecily Cornelius-White, Psy.D. makes a habit of avoiding boredom whenever possible. She has enjoyed careers as a hand model, GAP salesgirl, movie projectionist, psychotherapist, yoga instructor, university professor, artist, dance choreographer, eating disorders specialist, psych diagnostician, book reviewer and copy editor. None of which are as much fun as writing novels.

She currently lives in Springfield, MO with one husband, two FABULOUS kids, and a schizophrenic yet well-mannered cat. She can swear in Klingon, take down an alien aggressor using only her mind (or a pair of chopsticks), and kill giant spiders without getting schmutz on her shirt.

When not singing to herself, she spends time creating new worlds and thinking up ways to make this one better…

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