30 July 2012

I don't know about you guys, but I'm SO EXCITED for book four in the Soul Savers series - POWER by my author friend Kristie Cook! These characters & story have been amazing! I've loved everything about them from the beginning and I'm always biting my nails down to nothing when I get to the end of each book. I mean seriously, waiting for these always kills me!! So, you could say that I did a bit of jumping up and down to see the cover for Power. What do you guys think? Yep, tough chick & evil B.... Yep, there's BOTH! Not to mention some pretty nice drool worthy boys too.

While this series isn't YA, I think it would be considered - at the beginning at least - as New Adult & Adult. I highly recommend this series and think you should ALL go buy the books NOW! There are links below where you can order, which you know you want to.

Here's a sneak peak into chapter 1 from Power:

I never heard the rest of Tristan's sentence—what he didn’t want me to think. The handsome guy thought I’d nodded to him and had me by the hand, stumbling over his own feet as he dragged me to the dance area. As soon as we stepped onto the sunken floor, his hands were on my hips, pulling me close to him. For a brief moment, I forgot about all the mind signatures, the twirling lights and pounding music and could only think about how strange it was to be that close to a man other than Tristan.

But only for a brief moment. Before I could even do anything, a growl ripped through the music—or maybe just through my head—and Tristan was suddenly between the guy and me, his back to me and his arms out protectively. The drunk guy swung without even looking, and Tristan caught his wrist in mid-air. With the pain of the grip, the guy finally looked up into Tristan’s face. His eyes grew wide and his Adam’s apple bobbed as he gulped. He gave me an apologetic frown as he carefully stepped away from the dance floor.

Tristan turned back to me and wrapped his hands around my waist, pulling me to him as he swayed to the music. I looked up at him with a raised eyebrow.

“You can talk to girls all night but I can’t dance once?”

His nostrils flared. “There’s a difference. His hands were all over you.”

“I had things under control.”

He leaned closer to me and growled in my ear. “I didn’t like it!”

Kristie, you are SUCH A TEASE!!!! I need this book like I need air. You guys have NO idea what you're missing! Oh, and I just so happen to be a character too. This still makes me squee and giggle like crazy. LOVE IT! So, if you are looking for an amazing series of books to read, you have to check out the Soul Savers Series now!

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27 July 2012

Today we have author Jennifer Shaw Wolf with us to round out our week dedicated to standing up against abuse of any kind. While Jessica and I have taken the last week to talk about the sensitive subject with some generous authors, a week is never enough. Use these days, posts and tools to help prevent an abusive relationship. Use these words in these posts & books to continue talking. Never stop talking!

What made you decide to share a story involving relationship abuse?

This is honestly one of the hardest questions I’ve had to answer in an interview. I had to think about it for a long time because I didn’t start out to write a story about relationship abuse. I just wanted to write a story. As I was writing, it evolved into a story about relationship abuse. There were times when I had to sit back and ask myself if this was really the story I wanted to tell. I kept thinking, “Who am I to write about such a hard subject?” In retrospect, I’m glad BREAKING BEAUTIFUL came out the way it did. Allie is a fictional character, but I hope her story can help someone who is real find hope, find help, or stay safe.

What do you think teens should know in order to stay safe in a relationship?

I wanted to make sure that this was sound advice, so I turned the question over to a professional. The capable ladies at SafePlace*** women’s shelter in Olympia, Washington were happy to help. The following question was answered by their Community Services Coordinator, Michelle Dixon-Wall.

Maintaining individuality is a challenge for teens if it is against the grain of their peer group. Feeling pressured to change or conform is a regular occurrence in middle and high schools. This means that when we are teenagers, we are more susceptible to change to meet the needs of our dating relationship or our sweetie's expectations. We are more likely to stay in relationships that are not really working for us because "everyone has a BF." We are inexperienced in relationships of all kinds. Even our friendships can be abusive and manipulative (i.e., gossip, rumors, the constant breaking of trust, the many pains of not being popular.) Staying true to oneself can help keep us out of abusive relationships. To stay safe, we have to focus inward-- focus on our gut feelings and meeting our own needs and desires. Adults and parents often perceive teens as selfish but in reality they have given of themselves completely to the whims of their peer groups.

Teens need to recognize that extreme jealousy and threats of desperation or suicide are BIG warning signs and not romantic Twilight notions.

***Note: Here is the website for SafePlace of Olympia. http://www.safeplaceolympia.org/ SafePlace is the shelter that I did a donations drive for in conjunction with my book launch. They have been very helpful and supportive of me during my launch and also for this interview. The people there are truly angels.*** 

What do you hope teenagers take from reading BREAKING BEAUTIFUL?

I want teens to be aware of the horrors of abuse, so they can avoid that situation, or be able to recognize it if a friend might be in a bad relationship. Ultimately I would like any of my writing to help teens realize that no matter what situation they may be in, there is hope, and there are ways out.

There was a lot of mystery in this book as well. Why did you decide to include the fact that Allie was struggling with remembering the night of the accident?

I’ve always loved a good mystery and I think that wrapping an important message in an interesting story is a great way to learn about important issues and be more empathetic. I also felt Allie’s slowly returning memories was the right way for story to unfold. After everything that happened to her, I could see her shutting down that part of her memory to protect herself. She needed to relive her past a little at a time. She needed the chance to get stronger before she could really face what happened the night of the accident.

What was the most difficult part in writing this book?

The flashbacks of the abuse were definitely the hardest pieces to write. I wanted to make it real, but not overly dramatic. I had to show why Allie was so broken, but also why she thought she was in love in the first place. I wanted to make it into a real portrayal of abuse and of an abuse victim. I agonized a lot about whether I was overdramatizing or making light of a serious situation.

What were some startling statistics you found during your research?

The actual stories struck me more than the statistics, especially those from parents who had lost a child to some form of relationship violence. I remember coming across one on youtube, late at night, when I was looking for something else. It was a mother and father from the UK who were talking about their daughter’s murder. I could see them aching with guilt that they hadn’t realized what was happening to their daughter. (Unfortunately I can’t find the clip.)

The statistics are pretty disturbing too. Here is a good compilation that I found at loveisrespect.org (http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/dating-violence-statistics)

          •    Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
          •    One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
          •    One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
          •    One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
          •    Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence -- almost triple the national average.

How has writing this story affected you and/or those around you?

Through writing this story I’m definitely more aware of stories of abusive relationships, whether they’re in the media or whispered about behind closed doors. I heard a story just yesterday that cut me to the core. Right after I finished BREAKING BEAUTIFUL someone close to someone who is close to me was murdered by an abusive spouse. That definitely made me step back and look at what I had written.  At that point I decided to do more research to be sure my portrayals were accurate and that I wasn’t belittling a serious issue. My heart aches for victims of abuse, and for anyone who feels helpless in the situation they’re in.

I’m also more aware of how teens and relationships are portrayed in the media. The sulking, jealous, obsessive, romantic hero you see in many books and movies is not the best role model of a healthy relationship.

And lastly, if you could, would you share what are your hopes for Allie would be if she was sitting in front of you right now?

I would want her to know that there is help available and that she isn’t alone. I would want to tell her that she has the right to move on with her life and be happy, no matter what happened in her past. I would want her to know that she is strong and beautiful and worth being treated with respect and love. (This is a message I would like to send to my daughter and all teenage girls.)

Title: Breaking Beautiful
Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Publisher: Walker Children's, 354 Pages (April 24th, 2012)
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Synopsis: Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

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26 July 2012

Hello again and welcome to day four of our "Stand Up Against Abuse" Week. What Jessica (Confessions of a Bookaholic) says in the banner above is true. Relationships Shouldn't Hurt. It's been a great week talking about such a sensitive subject that needs more attention. I hope that through the last four days we were able to make a difference in even just one persons life. Remember, this is only the beginning of the discussion. Do the most important thing of all... JUST KEEP TALKING! Enjoy the second to the last day and remember the important information you'll find in today's post. Thanks.

Resources & Signs of Abuse from author Holly Cupala

What are the resources for teens that you would recommend? (websites, phone numbers, groups, etc.) -

One thing I learned that really struck me as I researched homelessness and relationship abuse for DON’T BREATHE A WORD was that wanting to leave bad habits is not a motivation to quit—finding purpose and meaning is. One better choice can make the difference between a hopeful outcome and a grim one.

There are some wonderful organizations, both locally and nationally, to help teens in abusive or dangerous situations:

The National Runaway Hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY, is dedicated to helping teens stay safe and off the streets.

LoveisRespect.org is such a great site with info on relationship warning signs and getting help, and they launched a dating abuse hotline: 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 77054.

Glamour Magazine launched the Tell Somebody campaign, including 10 Surprising Warning Signs You’re Dating an Abusive Guy.

What do you feel are the top warning signs that a person may be abusive?

Some of the warning signs? When you feel bad or sad or small or ashamed whenever you’re around that person. When it’s all about them. When they aren’t interested in what is important to you. When they blow off your concerns about their behavior. So many more, but it can be so hard to recognize when you’re in the middle of it.

Abusive relationships aren’t just about physical abuse—abuse can be verbal, emotional, and psychological. If you sense you are in a relationship that hurts you or demeans you, listen to that inner voice. Tell a friend, get help. An abuser’s words have power, and so do yours.

 Resources & Signs of Abuse from author Angela Carling

Hi there, my name is Angela Carling and I am the author of Unbreakable Love(a tender love story) and Shackled(a powerful story of love and control). I dedicated Shackled to my sister who survived an abusive relationship. There is a post on my blog if you want to know more about that http://www.angelacarling.blogspot.com/ Today the lovely lady that hosts this blog has asked me to provide information that I might have found when researching Shackled. Before I pass on the actual websites and phone number I need to warn anyone who might use the information below to get help- that they should avoid using any computer that your abuser might have access to because the abuser can check your viewing history putting you in further danger.  These websites recommended making phone calls or doing research on a friend or families computer, maybe even going down to the library to use their computers, so please be careful.  That is why I have listed correlating phone numbers with each website below (if I could find one). Without anymore blabbing from me, here are several resources to help you learn more or get out of an abusive relationship. All my love and the best of luck to each of you.

This was the most comprehensive website I found. It also gives hotline numbers for men, in addition to women. I also liked that it had a nationwide map(USA) of all the shelters available.


This was an excellent catch all, easy to remember hotline 1-800-799-SAFE. Below is the correlating website.


This site provides legal help to abuse victims.  The phone number is 1-800-427-1460.


This website provides guidance and assistance all over the world and for almost all languages. The toll free number is 1-800-799-7233 and it is available 24hours a day 365 days a year!


This site is awesome to help you find an immediate, emergency shelter and protection, anywhere in the U.S.


My focus today is on Shackled and even more specific, the why behind Shackled.  While this saucy little story definitely addresses the patterns and traits of abuse, it does not wallow in the darkness of it.  Instead, I wrote the book hoping to show my readers how to punctuate the problem before it gets out of control.  Let me explain. I have a psychology degree and in my field of study, we learned goofy words like PUNCTUATE. Most negative behaviors are actually part of patterns that go round and round until they destroy us. Just like a period marks the end of a sentence, when we punctuate a problem or bad behavior, we mark it mid pattern and stop the destructive cycle. See all that money on college wasn’t wasted after all. In Shackled, we walk in Lucy’s shoes, breath Lucy’s breaths and hear Lucy’s every thought.  While Lucy’s experience is fascinating to read about, it also teaches us the critical warning signs of abuse. While I hope you read Shackled (it has a very cool, surprising ending), I also want to list here, the five most important signs of abuse to watch for.  If you are in a relationship and you see any of these signs, it may be time to look seriously at your relationship and decide whether it is healthy. In other words, punctuate the pattern.  If it is not a healthy relationship, get out!!!! Abusers can’t hurt us if we don’t let them. In fact, ironically, they are powerless without you as a victim, so don’t fuel their sickness. You are powerful and precious, and deserve to feel safe and respected. Oh yeah, warning signs. Here they are.

1.    Abusers typically come on very strong at the beginning.  They can be charming and often tell you they love you earlier than you would expect.  They “sweep you off your feet” and ask for a commitment early in the relationship.

2.    Very intrusive or controlling-an abusive person must know where you are all the time. They also want complete control even over simple things like what you wear or how you spend your money.

3.    Won’t take responsibility. It is always someone else’s fault that an abuser is angry or upset. Abusers are famous for turning it around on their victims and making it “their fault”

4.    They isolate you from others, particularly family and friends, often insisting you spend all your time with them. They are very jealous and constantly question you. They call is showering you with attention. This gives them more control and keeps you subdued.

5.    Abusers often use intimidating body language and/or some form of belittlement. This may include anything from rolling their eyes when you talk to actually calling you stupid or hitting you. Anything to make you feel lower than them. This can happen in public or in private.

I hope this was helpful. I hope everyone reading this can find the sweet gift of a healthy relationship in your lives. Thanks for your time and I wish you all the best!

 Resources & Signs of Abuse from author Jennifer Shaw Wolf

The answers to these questions are also from Community Services Coordinator, Michelle Dixon-Wall, at SafePlace.

What are the resources for teens that you would recommend? (websites, phone numbers, groups, etc.)




What do you feel are the top 5 warning signs that a person may be abusive?

1. Extreme jealousy, possessiveness- At the beginning of a relationship an abusive person will always say that jealousy is a sign of love.  Jealousy has nothing to do with love; it’s a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust. An abusive person will question you about who you talk to, accuse you of flirting / cheating or be jealous of time you spend with family, friends, or children.  As the jealousy progresses, an abusive person may call you frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly.  An abusive person may refuse to let you work or go to school for fear they will meet someone else, or even do strange behavior such as checking the car mileage or asking friends to watch you.

 2. Controlling behavior- At first, an abusive person will say this behavior results from concern about the your safety, your need to use your time well, or to make good decisions, etc. An abusive person will be angry if you are “late” coming back from the store or an appointment.  An abusive person will question you closely about where you went or who you talked to.  As this behavior gets worse, the abusive person may not let you make personal decisions about the house, clothing, or going to church.  An abusive person may keep all the money or even make you ask permission to leave the house or room.

 3. Quick involvement- Many people who have experienced abuse knew their abuser for a short time before they entered a relationship with them. An abusive person comes on like a whirlwind, claiming, “You’re the only person I could ever talk to,” or “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.”  An abusive person will pressure you to commit to the relationship in such a way that later you feel guilty if you want to slow down the involvement or break it off completely.

 4. Blames others for their problems and/or feelings- An abusive person will blame you for almost anything that goes wrong. The abusive person will tell you, “You make me mad” or “You’re hurting me by not doing what I want you to do,” or  “I can’t help being angry.”  It is really the abusive person who makes the decision about what they think or feel but they will use those feelings to manipulate others.  Less obvious blaming statements are claims that “You make me happy,” or “You control how I feel.” An abusive person is easily insulted and claims that their feelings are “hurt” when really they are very mad. An abusive person will “rant and rave” about the injustice of things that have happened – things that are really just part of living such as being asked to work overtime, getting a traffic ticket, being told some behavior is annoying or being asked to help with chores.

 5. History of violence- (criminal or not) This person may say they have abused people in the past but that the person made them do it.  You may hear from relatives or ex-spouses/partners/dates that this person is abusive.  If someone has been abusive in the past, they have the potential to be abusive again (unless they have done intense interpersonal work with a professional around their abusive behavior.)  Abuse can appear much later than the warning signs. Situational circumstances do not make a person abusive or prevent a person from acting abusively (i.e., they are sober now, they were unemployed then, etc.) Physical / emotional violence in general is a warning regardless of the relationship with the person on the receiving end of the abuse- being violent with animals, children, other people, neighbors, gang related violence, or sexual assault. Emotional violence can also include racial slurs, sexist remarks, homophobic comments- blame or hate for those different than themselves.

We can't thank Holly, Angela & Jennifer enough for taking the time out of their busy schedules to talk about something we should all be talking about more. Abuse isn't going to simply go away if we don't walk about it. Talking about abuse is something we need to do to empower those with a way to fight against it. Talking is the first step. This week has been all about the first step. Lets all continue to take further steps in prevention together.

Remember to check out THIS PAGE to sign up to win a copy of the three books mentioned during "Stand Up Against Abuse" week. Help spread the word about the links and phone numbers listed on that page AND this page as well.

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25 July 2012

Today we have author Angela Carling as our guest in Standing Up Against Abuse. It's a pleasure working with her and having a chance to talk to her about about Abuse and how to help prevent it. Another author standing up... how about you? Are you standing up with us too?

What made you decide to share a story involving relationship abuse?

I go to a lot of Jr. High and High schools. I think teenagers are amazing! At the same time, I know they are also extremely vulnerable.  They don’t always know what is normal in relationships because it’s the first time they’ve experienced it. In short, I wrote about relationship abuse because if a boy or girl knows what’s not right or normal, they can get out of bad relationships before they become it becomes long term or even reaches marriage. In short, I wanted to lessen the pain for all those beautiful, smart girls out there that might be caught unaware.

What do you think teens should know in order to stay safe in a relationship?

First, get educated. Know what is healthy and what is not. Next, set your boundaries and stick to them.  For example, if your boyfriend wants you to do something you are not ready to or don’t feel comfortable with, tell him and then stick to it.  Either he will respect how you feel or he’s not worth the hassle. This is the only way Real lasting love will grow and isn’t that what all of us hopeless romantics really want. Third, if you are belittled or controlled in any way, get out of the relationship as soon as you realize it’s not good. You have control over your choices and especially your body, and no one has the right to take that away.

Was the process of developing the idea of this book emotional for you? Were you ever afraid of getting too graphic with the details? 

Yes, this book was emotional, partly because my sister was beat repeatedly by an abuser and partly because I know there are beautiful, talented women out there who are needlessly suffering. In fact, sometimes when I was writing I would have to take a break because my heart and sometimes my stomach would ache. That being said, I never intended to make this a graphic book about abuse. I hate that stuff. This book was written to, in sneaky way behind-a-super fast paced-and-majorly-engaging storyline teach you what to run from so that you never even got close to the graphic, abuse stuff. That is what inspired me as I wrote this story. I see Shackled as very hopeful and empowering story and hope you do too.

What do you hope teenagers take from reading SHACKLED?

I want them to know that true love, aka good healthy relationships do exist and not to settle for anything less!!!

Title: Shackled
Author: Angela Carling
Publisher: Acacia Publishing, 204 Pages (June 1st, 2012)
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Order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: After shy, quiet Lucy and her family move from their small hometown in Minnesota to Seattle, Washington, she is surprised when Ryan, the most popular boy at school asks her out. Soon, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance and her na├»ve and trusting nature allows her to fall head over heels in love with her too-good-to-be suitor. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself enraptured by the excitement of her new relationship, leaving her blinded to the warning signs of danger ahead. Can her fairy tale romance last, or will she find that her prince charming is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Find Angela Online: 

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Shackled Book Trailer:

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"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.

Title: Rebel Heart (Dust Lands, #2)
Author: Moira Young
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry, 448 Pages (October 30th, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Pre-order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: The Tonton have been defeated. Lugh has been rescued.
The heartstone has brought Saba and Jack together.
Now, Saba and her family head west to meet him and start a new life. All should be well.
But shadows of the dead are stalking Saba.
And another kind of shadow is creeping over the dustlands.
Then a messenger shows up.
With news of Jack.

Title: Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2)
Author: Mike Mullin
Publisher: Tanglewood Press, 400 Pages (October 14th, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Pre-order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

Title: The Diviners (Diviners, #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Little Brown, 608 Pages (September 18th, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Pre-order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

Another three books this week. Two are sequels and one is the beginning of a brand new series. I LOVED the first two books in each series for both Rebel Heart and Ashen Winter. They were both some of the best books I was lucky enough to read in 2011. That made these books automatically set at the top of my must read list. And then for The Diviners.. I read my first book by Libba Bray last year - Beauty Queens, and loved it - and I am really excited to read more from her. I know she has other books out prior to Beauty Queens, but this new one sounds thrilling!!! I know I can't wait. Anyone else have these three titles on their must read lists?

*covers are always subject to change.

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24 July 2012

Today I'd like to welcome Holly Cupala and send a HUGE thank you to her for her participation in
this years Stand Up Against Abuse Week. The more people talking about abuse, the more people who might be empowered to stand up for themselves when facing any type of abusive relationship. Talking about abuse and how to prevent it is the first step in fighting it and with authors such as Holly we can all stand together.

What made you decide to share a story involving relationship abuse?

When I first started writing, I didn’t realize I would write about abuse…but then this character, Asher, showed up. He was seductive, and powerful, and cruel. He became the backstory of Joy’s desperate escape to the streets of Seattle, where she meets up with homeless teens with secrets of their own.

What do you think teens should know in order to stay safe in a relationship? 

I think we tend to seek out people who mirror our opinions of ourselves. If a boyfriend treats us badly, we may believe on some level (though probably not consciously) that we deserve it—otherwise why would we stay with someone like that? This goes for friendships, too. So my advice would be to have a great relationship with yourself before getting into a relationship with someone else. You’ll be much more likely to attract a person who respects you and cares about you for something that will last.

What do you hope teenagers take from reading DON'T BREATHE A WORD?

Power is a big theme in DBAW—Asher has power over Joy, and she thinks to survive on the streets she must develop a power of her own. She sees that kind of authority (she calls it “street powers”) in the homeless friends she finds—Creed’s power is through his music. Santos can talk his way out of anything. May has the power of disguise. But at some point all of those powers fail, and what’s left is survival skills. Joy discovers her words have power. She finds the courage to speak, and that makes all the difference for the survival of her friends. I hope readers will realize they have that kind of internal resource as well.

Was the process of developing the idea of this book emotional for you? Were you ever afraid of getting too graphic with the details? 

Writing DON’T BREATHE A WORD was exhilarating. I loved those characters! I could hardly type fast enough to get their story on the page. I fixed it up and proudly gave it to my husband, my first reader and unfortunately a good one, who said, “Ok…so this boyfriend? He’s a jerk, but he’s not abusive. I don’t get why she’s running away.”

That’s when I had to dig deeper to find the emotional juice that came so readily for my first book, TELL ME A SECRET. What I realized was that I did have the experience. Cruel, seductive Asher had come from my own life. Of course I didn’t want to go there, but I had to. I had to in order to tell Joy’s story. And I wrote about that relationship in DEAR BULLY: 70 AUTHORS TELL THEIR STORIES. There are no emotional shortcuts, not if I want to write as honestly as I can.

What were some startling statistics you found during your research?

When I first started making notes for DON’T BREATHE A WORD, I didn’t know if my ideas would fit into the reality of what teens actually experience on the streets…so I did a lot of independent research and took a class at New Horizons (the shelter in the book) on working with homeless teens. Just a few things I learned:

          •  The three most typical outcomes for homeless teens: they go home, they get off the streets, or they die.
          •  Rain, cold, and mold are a big problem in Seattle. A lot of kids get sick, and clean, dry socks are a big deal.
          •  A lot of homeless teens have pets for protection and love.
          •  Kids are usually running from something (like trauma or abuse), not running to the streets.
          •  Abuse on the streets is common. One statistic is that within 72 hours, most have been approached or assaulted.
          •  Wanting to leave bad habits is not a motivation to leave the streets—finding purpose and meaning is. One better choice can make the difference between a hopeful outcome and a grim one—I tried to capture that with the ending of DBAW.

I was also really surprised when the ideas I already had for the story (like street names, ideas of justice, and banding together for family and protection) were confirmed by real life. I guess some things are universal.

How has writing this story affected you and/or those around you?

This book has had such an amazing and personal response from readers that it inspires me to keep writing! Right now I’m working on a third YA involving secrets, romance, and a shocking conclusion.

And lastly, if you could, would you share what are your hopes for Joy would be if she was sitting in front of you right now?

My hope is that she would take her experiences, both with Asher and on the streets, and use them for good in the world. She talks about living close to the ground but not on the streets, having skills to be able to help people. After she finds her voice, she begins to find ways to do just that. (And being her author-mom, I’m very proud of her!)

Title: Don't Breathe A Word
Author: Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperTeen, 299 Pages (January 3rd, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words—tender words, cruel words—until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Find Holly Online:

Website | Don't Breathe A Word Website |Twitter | Facebook

Two chapter sneak preview:


Don't Breathe a Word Book Trailer:

 *I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this post.

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23 July 2012

Hey everyone! This is the 2nd year for the week-long feature Stand Up Against Abuse. This year I was asked by my best blogging friend Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic to be her co-host! 

We will be posting interviews with 3 fabulous young adult authors and featuring their books. Each book has a theme related to relationship abuse. As Jessica mentioned last year, young adult books have the ability to alter the life of the person who reads them. Teens or adults can see similarities in a book that can allow them to maybe notice that their own relationship isn't healthy. They may finally get the courage to break free from violence. These books show warning signs, consequences, and the ultimate downfall that can occur do to relationship abuse. It may also provide the guidance a friend may need in order to seek help for someone else. 

All this week we hope to highlight these things and inspire people to pick up these books, and others, that carry a strong message. We would really appreciate it if you could help spread the word in any way possible. Post the button on your sidebar, write a blog post with the resources and links, tweet about these books, tell a friend -- anything at all. One small act may encourage someone to take action.

Young adult books can save lives!

Authors Holly Cupala, Angela Carling, and Jennifer Shaw Wolf  will be here answering some questions and they have offered up copies of their newest books.

In order to spread the word about this topic, we will only be offering extra entries for links on twitter and/or blogs that link to this page. I will update this page throughout the week and link the author interviews. In addition, this page will contain the important resources that individuals can use in case they are in an abusive relationship.

Please help spread the word about this topic and share the links on this page. 
You can grab the button below by copying the code. It will link to this page. 

Interviews Coming Soon!
Holly Cupala
Angela Carling
Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Phone Numbers

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline


The Hotline- www.thehotline.org

Teen site- www.loveisrespect.org

Break the Cycle- www.breakthecycle.org


  • 1 winner will win SIGNED copies of Don't Breathe a Word, Shackled, and Breaking Beautiful. 
  • You must be at least 13 (or have permission) to enter. 
  • Name and email must be provided.
  • Extra entries are possible and links must be provided.
  • Contest is US only and ends August 6th.
  • Once contacted, the winner will have 48 hours to respond.
  • The form must be filled out to enter.

NOTE: This is the same form you will find on Jessica's blog (Confessions of A Bookaholic) as well. Please only fill it out once! 

First off, I have to say a HUGE thank you to Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic for asking me to co-host the amazing event she's put together to. If only one person is helped or is able to help someone else or even helped to feel not alone by these authors and their books, by these posts then in my eyes I'd view it a huge success. 

Thank you to our three authors - Holly Cupala, Angela Carling, Jennifer Shaw Wolf for writing these books and for taking the time to be part of an event and subject matter that needs a loud voice. It's because of you that it helps to get it.

Another thank you goes out to the authors and publishers for donating the copies of these titles provided in the giveaway.

And last but not least, Thank you goes out to our readers. Good luck to each of you who enters. If you have any questions please feel free to email.

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20 July 2012

Title: Glitch (Glitch, #1)
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 371 Pages (August 7th, 2012)
From: the Publisher via Amazon Vine
Format: ARC
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

Review: 3 Stars - Glitch by author Heather Anastasiu is the first installment in the trilogy bearing the same name.

The people, (if you can still call them that) live underground in a suppressed and highly controlled society. Everything is regulated and there are no emotions. Everyone is “Linked” into a network from the beginning where everyone is stripped free from their humanity. They are 100% controlled, from where they live, who they marry and have kids with, to what they eat. It’s a sad, sad life to be forced into. But what if that’s the life that was chosen by the people who came before you? And what if there was a chance you could break free? What if it’s a malfunction, or as they call them “Glitch” that makes you an anomaly?

These are the questions few people have to face in this world. It’s scary to be an anomaly when everyone is programmed to report you. Zoe is terrified when she starts to glitch. I couldn’t even imagine being a teen and having that huge flood of emotions come rushing at you. Things you have no idea what they are, or why you are feeling the way that you do. And then on top of it to also find out you have an even bigger secret you don’t want getting out… It would be such a whirlwind to me; I wouldn’t know how to react.

So, first things first… I’d like to say that I’ve been DYING to read this book for months now. The whole idea about people living this way, people that are more or less cyborgs, which they are never called by the way. I just had to know more. I liked the story, felt eh about the characters, but I could see such potential, more at the end of the book with the twists and turns than my initial reaction at the beginning.

I felt the characters were a bit off. Yet, while I was reading I had to remind myself that while they were teens, they were teens who had never felt any types of emotions before. In a sense they were younger in age emotionally then they appeared physically. They were pretty juvenile to say the least. Even Adrien was odd. He felt so much older and wiser then his teen years too. It was such a stark contrast that made me have to remind myself that they both came from such different places and was raised so differently that they would be like night and day. Yet, it just didn’t feel right.

The whole insta-love didn’t work for me at all. For Zoe, just learning what all these emotions she’s feeling are, I can’t see anyone in her position just jumping straight into falling in love with someone. I thought of her being more cautious as she was with Max.

Speaking of Max, he creeped me out! Did anyone else feel this way about him?

The writing was okay. Again, I felt that the best part was the last quarter of the book. I liked the twists and turns and felt that those were key points in the story for me. I liked the twist with Molla as well and I’m eager to see how her story line plays out. I just hope that Anastasiu gives us more of her in the next installment.

All in all, I found things that were okay and while I could see reasons for things happening throughout the story and the characters, I was left a little flat while reading. It just didn’t blow me away as I was thinking it would. I am glad that I did read it for that last part of the book, which has made me eager to read the next one to see what happens further on into the story, which is important when reading a beginning of a trilogy. The wanting to see what happens next.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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FTC Disclaimer:

In accordance with FTC Guidelines, I have not received any monetary gain for any information posted within the pages of this website/blog. Any and all information has been provided by the publisher, author and or publicist for free. Content is also based on purchases made by myself or of my guest reviewer(s). Any and all opinions expressed within the pages of this website/blog are solely my own or those of the authors of any and all guest reviewers(s) or guest bloggers.

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About Me

Hi, I’m Lisa and I'm a proud bibliophile.

I enjoy reading and reviewing a variety of different books within the Young Adult, "New Adult" & Adult genres/categories. If you have any questions or if you are an author or publisher and would be interested in promoting a book, please feel free email. You can find my email under the "mail" button or under the contact link at the top of the page.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Authors, Publishers & Publicists

Have a book you'd like me to review or Promote? How about doing an Author Interview? Or maybe a Guest Post? Great! I'd love to! For more information about having your book reviewed here, please follow this link for more information:

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Guest Reviewer Jenny

Guest Reviewer Jenny
Click for info & links to her reviews!

My Ratings

When I review I rate from 1 to 5 stars, 5 being the highest rating. I review based on many different things from the writing, to the story - to the characters and how I can relate to them or how they are developed. I also review based on if an author has worked their magic and was able to draw me into a story so deeply that I don't want to put the book down. If you would like me to review a book, please contact me or view my Contact Information and Review Policy for further details.

5 Stars - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!
4 Stars - I Really liked/Loved it.
3 Stars - I liked it/Was pretty good.
2 Stars - It was, eh okay.
1 Star - It just wasn't for me.


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