Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Most Likely to Succeed Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Most Likely to Succeed blog tour! Today I'm sharing a quick interview I did with the author - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the links/banner below.

Most Likely to Succeed (Superlatives #3)
Author: Jennifer Echols
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse

In this sexy conclusion to The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Sawyer and Kaye might just be perfect for each other—if only they could admit it.

As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed—or will it be their favorite mistake?

1. What inspired you to write Most Likely to Succeed?
My high school class voted me Most Likely to Succeed and Most Academic! I was horrified. I thought of myself as an artsy person, and I didn’t want to be seen as a nerd. This really got me thinking about how we view ourselves, and how that often doesn’t match how other people see us. And that can inspire us to make a change, for worse or better.

2. Why did you choose to write YA contemporary romance?

I really love this genre and always have! I don’t think there’s another good reason to write. There are a lot easier ways to make money.

3. Favorite author/book?

This is such a tough question, but my favorite-ever YA contemp is probably still Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn.

4. Any tips for aspiring authors?

Like the title of my blog, Don’t Forget to Write! We writers can get caught up in posting on social media and chasing the next publicity craze. None of it matters if you don’t have great stories to sell, so that should always come first.

5. What's up next for you?

For the first time in a very long time, I’m not sure! All the editors who have purchased my books in the past have left my publisher, so I’m at a bit of a loose end. I’ll just have to keep writing the books I want to read and crossing my fingers, and maybe someone else will like them, too.
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Follow the Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.

US Only!

If the winner has one of the Superlatives book, he/she can choose another book instead written by Jennifer Echols.

Review: Frozen in Amber by Phyllis Ames

Frozen in Amber
Author: Phyllis Ames
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: DAW Mass Market


Amber Treganis constantly reinvents herself. New clothes, new hairstyle, new car—anything she can do to exert a level of control over her life. What she can't control is her shape-shifting other self: the WerCougar that sinks its claws into her brain during the three nights surrounding the full moon.

Though she is a natural-born shifter from a prominent WerCougar family, Amber has been unwilling to change into her cat form ever since a terrible tragedy cost her the man she loved. And she has little patience with Wers of any species who embrace their otherness more than their humanity. She focuses on her life as a defense attorney in Mt. Hood, and stays out of Wer politics.

But after a blurry night of hunting, Amber begins to notice changes in her transformation. When she hears rumors of research to discover a treatment for shifting, she suspects she may have been unknowingly given the experimental therapy.

With the help of Adler, a WerEagle active in community politics, Amber tries to hunt down the truth about this cure, while staying off the radar of the FBI, which tracks and manages Wer communities in secret.

But Amber doesn't realize how much she depends on her Wer sense until, one by one, they begin to fade. And Amber is left increasingly ill—and increasingly human. Can shifter who is losing her abilities survive for long in either human or Wer society?


Frozen in Amber is a fantastic urban fantasy novel that centers on our main character - Amber - who is also a WerCougar. After a terrible tragedy that happened several years before, Amber only shifts into her other form when absolutely necessary. She places all of her time, energy, and focus into her human life as a lawyer. During one of the rare occasions when Amber shifts into her cougar form, she has terrifying glimpses of her memory from that night. Things were very different than normal. Amber was being hunted by humans, and she remembers a sharp pain followed by her body being paralyzed and being hurt by hands grabbing at her. After hearing that one of her firm's clients has developed a possible Wer cure, Amber begins to piece together the mysteries of that night in the woods - and comes to the conclusion that she was targeted and given this treatment without her knowledge. Teaming up with Adler, a WerEagle, Amber goes on a mission to learn more about this so-called cure - all while staying off the FBI's radar. As time passes, Amber begins to lose more and more of her Wer abilities and senses, causing her to realize just how much she actually relies on them. Not only are her Wer attributes disappearing, but Amber is becoming more ill each day along with turning more human as well. Will Amber and Adler be able to figure out what this cure really is before it's too late? Does Amber hate her Wer self enough to let the treatment turn her completely human? 

It's been a really long time since I've read any books about shifters. I was a bit wary of this book before reading it - I've never been a huge fan of shifter fiction. Don't get me wrong, I like to read it - but I prefer other paranormal beings to shifters and tend to gravitate towards those kinds of books. I'm glad that I decided to give this book a shot, because it was nothing short of amazing. You'd think it would be hard to slip inside a world where there are all types of Wer creatures hiding among humans - but somehow that's precisely what the author managed to accomplish. I found myself transported into Amber's world from the very beginning of the book and I didn't emerge until after I had read the final words. There's something about the author's writing style that made it so easy to fall into this alternate world. The story had vivid imagery and incredibly detailed descriptions that seriously brought this world - and novel - to life. I could easily close my eyes and see myself alongside Amber as she experiences everything in the book. There was another aspect to the writing that I can't quite put my finger on - I don't know how to describe it. All I can say is that the fast pace of the story coupled with the author's intricate writing style made this book feel so natural to read. It felt like it flowed naturally - not hurrying along, although there was lots going on and the pace was fast. There's just something about it that immediately caused me to integrate myself into the story and it all felt so amazingly natural. That's some serious talent - if you can create a world full of paranormal creatures and then have the reader just slip inside of it without really knowing that it happened. 

The writing style was definitely a huge part of my experience with the book, maybe even more so than the plot itself. I think the author could have written the weirdest science fiction/dystopian novel ever - and I would have happily immersed myself inside of that world without even knowing it was happening. Another major aspect of the book and writing was the point of view that it's told in. It's written in the first person from Amber's perspective - and I honestly don't think it could have been done any better. I sound like a broken record when I talk about the importance point of view and my belief that first person is almost always the best choice. The reader gets to know the narrator on such a deep and personal level this way, which only heightens the realism of the characters and the book itself. I loved getting to experience the everything that happens through Amber's perspective. We also get a peek inside of the main character that is normally inaccessible to us - we learn so much about them, from their hopes and dreams to their fears and weaknesses, emotions, memories, and so much more. I loved getting to watch Amber's character change and grow throughout the book, and being able to see it happen from her own perspective was fascinating.

The plot of the book was pretty original - as far as I know. It was something new to me, but I'm not a huge reader of the genre - so I don't know if this has been done before or not. The idea of a treatment that had the power to change shifters back into human form permanently was intriguing and I wanted to know as much about it as I could. Along with this aspect of the story comes the underlying topics such as ethics, being able to choose who you are/want to be, and lots of political concepts too. I loved that there was a deeper level to the novel - the main story line would have been great on it's own, but the addition of these more serious topics that apply to us as a society created a whole new tangent that makes the reader stop and ponder things over a bit. The plot was enjoyable and I was reading as fast as I could to see what was going to happen next and what was going to become of Amber and this cure. The author blends several genres to create a riveting novel that I couldn't stop reading until I finished. Once I was in Amber's world - I wasn't coming back out until I read the final words. I very highly recommend this book to fans of shifter novels and urban fantasy - as well as those who enjoy fantasy, paranormal fiction, action, adventure, and some suspense!

Phyllis Ames loves tramping through the forests of the Pacific Northwest with a camera and binoculars. Her most treasured moments are catching sight and photos of elusive white-tailed deer, bear cubs, coyotes, and cougars. She is more afraid of things that go bump in the night than the shadowy depths of forest trails. 

 *A huge thank you to the wonderful people at DAW for sending me a copy of the book for review!*


Book Blitz + Giveaway: Scratched by Marie Long

Scratched (The Anderson Brothers #2)
Author: Marie Long
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 4, 2015


Twenty-four year old Kevin Anderson lost the opportunity to end his senior year at the University of Washington as the Huskies’ all-star point guard, and sought out one last opportunity to put his extraordinary basketball skills to use: by training for a chance at the pros.

But when he’s not on the court, Kevin has only two things in his life that gives him happiness: spinning records at the local clubs, and Trinity Brown.

Trinity attends almost every one of Kevin’s deejay gigs, but Kevin is uncertain if her love for him is genuine or a fangirl’s simple admiration. Kevin takes that chance and hopes that she will see beyond the celebrity persona. But when fall classes start up again, their busy schedules press their relationship.

Kevin doesn’t want to give up on her–on them. He hopes the happiness they had will rebound once more.

But when he learns the truth about Trinity, Kevin must decide if it is worth everything–and everyone–he cares about to save her, or forfeit this exhausting game of love.


10 Things I Wish Every Aspiring Writer Would Know

I’ve been writing books for a while, and met some great people along the way who have helped me shape my journey into the publishing world. I’m all about paying it forward, and giving back to those who have helped me reach this point in my career.

So here is a list of things I wish every aspiring writer would know. But as Levar Burton from Reading Rainbow says, “you don’t have to take my word for it.”

1. Do more reading than writing.
No, seriously. This is especially true if you’re just starting out. Read lots of books in the genre that you want to write about. Learn about what works and what doesn’t. Dissect these stories until your eyes bleed and your brain explodes. What about the story held your interest? What’s a common pattern you’re seeing with the books you like?

Photo credit: Maria de las Mercedes (creative commons by-nc-nd 2.0)

2. You’re not going to get rich quick.
Those success stories you read online about authors quitting their day jobs because they earned millions from their writing account for only less than 1% of all the authors out there. Writing is a competitive game. Don’t chase the money. Write because you enjoy telling a story and the money will come. Most of all, your fans will appreciate you so much more.

3. Stay focused.
With so many distractions in the world, it’s hard to stay focused on your work. But there is no greater feeling than that of accomplishment when you write ‘The End’ on the last page. Challenge yourself to stay motivated to finish what you start. Keep writing. A focused writer is a successful writer.

4. You’ll turn into a schedule freak.
You will be surrounded by calendars, reminders, alerts, and other notifications for deadlines, book signings, critique group meetings, conferences, and other events related to writing, publishing, and marketing your book. It can be overwhelming at times.

5. You’ll need to do a lot of things yourself.
Whether you’re self-published or published traditionally, you will need to know something about advertising yourself and your book. Unless you’re as prolific as J.K. Rowling you’re going to need to do most of this yourself. No one is going to do it for you. There’s a misconception that traditional publishers will do all the work for you and you can just sit back and reap the rewards. Think again!You’ll have to stand out among millions of other authors vying for the same attention as you. In addition to marketing your finished books, you have to continue writing your next one. That means organizing your time wisely (see #4). It’s an exhausting venture. Are you up for it?

6. Have a good support group.
You’ll be overwhelmed and stressed out at times, but having a support group will help alleviate some of this. A support group can be anyone: your family, your friends, other writers. Not all of us are self-motivators. But having someone there to give us a good kick in the pants when things get rough is something every author needs in their corner.

7. Research the industry.
The publishing industry is always changing. Successful authors make it a point to stay abreast on the latest happenings. For example, which publishers are engaging in shady practices? This is very important, and I’ve seen so many aspiring authors fallen prey to ‘vanity’ publishers and others who have engaged in unethical behavior at the authors’ expenses. It’s very easy to fall victim to these glamorous advertisements that promise your book on bookstore shelves. But the reality of it is, shelf space is limited, and if you’re not a prolific author like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, or Suzanne Collins, chances are, your book will not appear on those shelves.

8. Have patience.
Writing the perfect story takes time, so don’t rush perfection. If you are an aspiring author, take the time to make your debut work the very best it can be. That means lots of editing, lots of rewriting, lots of everything. You want to make a good first impression, so don’t just rush a book to market. Reviewers will pick you apart.

9. Learn to network.
Networking is one of the most important things authors need to engage in. The term “It’s about who you know” rings so true in this industry. Authors love to support and promote each other, and you’ll never know who may be looking at your book. Getting on good terms with people in the publishing industry can open up so many doors that you weren’t able to open by yourself.

Photo credit: Kevin Dooley (creative commons by 2.0)

10. You’ll need to have thick skin.
I saved the best for last. I think this is the single most important thing every aspiring author needs to know. Not everyone is going to like what you write. You’ll get hecklers and snarky one-star reviews. You can’t take these reviews personally. All you can do is hold your head up high and keep writing. Check Amazon or Goodreads sometime and see how many people hated the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Divergent books. But those reviews hasn’t stopped the authors from writing more books, and it shouldn’t stop you, either.

Good luck and keep writing! 
Marie Long is a novelist who enjoys the snowy weather, the mountains, and a cup of hot white chocolate. She’s an avid supporter of literacy movements like We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Marie has shared a fondness and interest in the New Adult genre since its popularity boom in 2009. And now, as both a reader, and debut RWA author of New Adult fiction, Marie dreams to keep this fascinating genre going strong.

Author Links:
Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
Blitz Wide Giveaway: (1) iPod Shuffle + $15 iTunes Gift Card - Open to US/CAN only!


Release Day Blitz + Giveaway: Hot in the Hamptons Series


Today is the release day for the books from the HOT IN THE HAMPTONS series! This series includes the titles SUMMER DREAMING by Liz Matis, SUMMER TEMPTATION by Wendy S. Marcus, and SUMMER SINS by Jennifer Probst.

Check out the information below for buy links and a giveaway for each of the titles from the series.

Backlit Sexy Blond Girl In White Bikini


Book Blurb:

I’m looking for a hero. Not.

You’d think as a new college grad I’d be looking for the perfect job and the perfect man. Well, I’m not. Summer is here and instead of plotting my future, I’m playing in the Hamptons with my two best friends. Sun and sex is all I’m looking for. Then I meet Sean Dempsey, my fantasy lifeguard in the flesh. But he is more than just a hot bod with a whistle. And after he makes a daring save, I’m thinking a hero is exactly what I’ve been looking for all along.

To the rescue...

By day I guard the beaches in the Hamptons, by night I’ve had my fair share of summer flings. Then I meet Kelsey Mitchell, a girl with eyes like the setting sun and I burn for more. Something I have no right to ask of her...forever.

Love burns hotter in the Hamptons. Come play.


Portrait of a beautiful woman in bikini


Book Blurb:

Meet Leigh DeGray...

After graduating college with honors and landing the job of my dreams in New York City, I’m off to The Hamptons to spend the summer with my two best friends.

My life seems perfect, right? It’s not. The truth is, I have a secret that may make the future I’d planned so carefully completely fall apart. A hot summer romance is the absolute last thing I’m looking for... Until I meet a man who tempts me like no other and shows me a hot summer romance is exactly what I need.

Meet Nick Kenzy...

After two years of working my ass off as a Wall Street analyst, I’m out of a job, with no warning, no thank you, and no severance. Am I angry? You’re damn right I am. So when I head to the Hamptons for the weekend to spend time with my granddad, I plan to regroup and relax before I return to the city to hit the job search hard. I don’t need any distractions. Then I meet Leigh. Suddenly, a summer temptation makes me question everything I want for my future...

Love burns hotter in the Hamptons. Come play.


summer sins by Jennifer Probst 300dpi

SUMMER SINS by Jennifer Probst

Book Blurb:

Summer fun before my wedding...

I have one goal this summer. Hang with my besties for some much needed sun, sand, and relaxation while I put the final touches on my idyllic wedding. I didn't count on meeting a smart-mouthed, bad boy biker whose gaze burns hotter than a beach bonfire. I never planned to lose myself, body and soul, and question my entire future. Now, I have to make a choice that’s tearing me apart, and could shatter the lives of the two men I love...

Turns into summer sins....

I have one goal this summer. CHILL. Do nothing. Nada. I need simple before I have to head into Manhattan to take on a high powered position on Wall Street. I didn't count on a dark haired, inky- eyed spitfire who'd spin my world upside down, or make me burn for things I never thought I wanted. I vowed to make her my summer fling, but had no idea she was claimed by another. And now that she possessed not only my body but my soul, the stakes are too high for me to lose her...

Love burns hotter in the Hamptons. Come play.




SUMMER SINS by Jennifer Probst






Liz Matis:
Jennifer Probst:
Wendy S. Marcus:


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