Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Almond Tree

 

Almond Tree tourTour Schedule

Almond Tree Book CoverThe Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Publication Date: December 2013

Genres: Fiction, Coming of Age
“An epic drama of the proportions of The Kite Runner… Grabs you from the first page… A gripping and compassionate work of fiction”
—Huffington Post

The unforgettable story of a young Palestinian boy whose mathematical gifts allow him to escape the difficulties of life as an Arab Israeli, The Almond Tree is a beautifully crafted debut novel written by a Jewish American woman from the perspective of a Palestinian Muslim male. It is about the power of love, the price of hatred, and the possibility of redemption.

Even as a young boy Ahmed Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Coming of age under Israeli martial law, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other.

On Ahmed’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality.

With his father imprisoned, his family’s home and possessions confiscated, and his beloved brother Abbas succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ahmed must find a way to care for his family and find a better future for himself. Gifted with a mind that can solve mathematical equations, he uses his intellect to take an inspiring journey that will lead him from his war-torn homeland to a life in America he could never have imagined for himself.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of half a century of conflict, The Almond Tree is a powerful novel that allows us to walk in one extraordinary Palestinian’s shoes and see the world through his eyes.

“Corasanti’s accomplished debut novel offers a humanistic look into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…Sensitive, moving…” —Kirkus Reviews

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Book Blast- The Moon Sisters on Sale

A beautiful coming-of-age novel about two sisters on a journey to forgive their troubled mother, with a sheen of almost-magical realism that overlays a story about the love of a family, and especially between sisters…

The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh

Release Date: March 4th, 2014/ 336 pgs.
Genres: Mature Coming of Age, Family Drama

 

Book Description halfsize

After their mother’s probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz attempt to move on with their lives. Pragmatic Jazz takes a job in the same funeral home that handled her mother’s body, while spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds and taste words—wants to travel to the remote setting of their mother’s unfinished novel to see the will-o-the-wisp lights that she’d written about. A reluctant Jazz agrees to go with Olivia, and as they journey toward the wisps, their acceptance of their mother’s death becomes as important as their journey to understand each other and themselves.

On sale through May 23rd…
Pick up your e-copy of The Moon Sisters for $1.99!

Random House * Kindle * Nook * iTunes * Google

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Release Day, Review & Giveaway for State of Rebellion (Collapse Series # 3)

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State of Rebellion (Collapse # 3) by Summer Lane

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Publisher: WB Publishing http://writingbellepublishing.com/

Release: January 24th, 2014

Goodreads Link

Genres: YA, NA, Post-apocalyptic, dystopian fiction

Book Description halfsize

Everything has changed.

After a devastating ambush that left the militia group Freedom Fighters struggling to survive, Cassidy Hart has been lucky to escape with her life.

Along with her Commander and former Navy SEAL Chris Young, she’s made a shocking discovery concerning the whereabouts of her father. The militias have moved further into the mountains. And the secret that is kept there will come with a price.

But when the National Guard arrives, Cassidy is faced with a choice that will force her to decide between friends and family. Omega is getting stronger. The fight for freedom looms on the horizon.

It’s all or nothing.

And Cassidy has no intention of giving up.

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Review of Dragontamer’s Daughters: Part I: Pearl

Dragontamer Daughters part 1

Release Date: June 2012

Genres: YA, Fantasy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15755116-dragontamer-s-daughters-part-1?from_search=true

Dragontamer’s Daughters: Part I: Pearl by Kenton Kilgore

Book Description halfsize

“To-Ho-Ne calls Mama ‘Princess, ‘” Alijandra whispered. “If she’s a princess, doesn’t that make us princesses, too?” “We aren’t princesses,” Isabella whispered. “Princesses live in palaces, not…not here.” “Here” is the unforgiving high desert in the Old West of an alternate Earth. Isabella-who is almost 13 years old-and her sister Alijandra-who is almost 8-scratch out a meager life with their parents. Their home is a shack deep in the lands of the Diheneh, the indigenous people, far from the family’s former country of Ysparria.

Isabella dimly remembers a better time, years before, when they were rich and respected because their father caught, tamed, and trained dragons for Ysparria’s armies. But now their father is an outlaw who spends many weeks away from home on futile efforts at prospecting. Their mother, aided by the old native woman who raised her, struggles to grow food, earn money, and keep Isabella and Alijandra safe.

Into their lives comes a small, wingless dragon from far away. Finding the dragon near death after a fight, the girls take it home and begin tending it back to health. Alijandra calls the dragon “Pearl,” after its tiny white eyes. While Pearl heals, the family begins to learn where the dragon came from, as well as the strange and terrifying powers it possesses. As the family ponders what to do with Pearl, they learn that the hunt for the former dragontamer has intensified. At the same time, Pearl grows more and more compelled to complete the mysterious journey that brought her to these lonely lands.

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Character Spotlight & Giveaway for Discovery

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Discovery by Jennifer Collins

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Book Description

Fans of Twilight will be immediately drawn into Discovery, a gothic, young adult urban fantasy. This supernatural coming-of-age romance deals with themes of equality for all and staying true to yourself. It’s a dramatic tale of transformation, magic and forbidden love. First in the Altera Realm trilogy, Discovery follows compelling characters Syney and Hunter in a war between races as they fight for equality. The young adult supernatural genre has fast claimed the hearts of readers everywhere and Discovery will too. High school and college aged readers as well as adults will be enthralled by this fantastic journey. Each book in the Altera Realm trilogy takes place over the course of a tightly-packed year in the life of Syney Andrews and leads seamlessly into the next, culminating in a gripping climax.

Meet Syney Andrews. Syney’s life is ordinary until a chance encounter with a carnival psychic informs her that she will be embarking on a great adventure surrounding her real parents. Syney hasn’t given herself the luxury of thinking about her so-called family that abandoned her. All she’s got left of them is an amulet, the only thing found on her as a baby. The amulet is more powerful than she knows. It breaks a spell that sent her over 100 years into the future in the Human Realm.

The Altera Realm has been at war for well over a century. Altera is connected to the Human Realm by a portal and no human knows it exists. It is home to the five old and great races. There are the Magic Users, Lycins, Vampires, Daemons, and Shifters. Each race is an entity of their own with it’s own life purpose, rulers and guarded secrets. Syney is a new face in Altera Realm who’s about to shake everything up. She’s a human-raised, 18-year-old who is about to challenge everything about the old laws and traditions. The Realm will never be the same again.

An old prophecy tells that peace can only be accomplished through the gracious Vilori Queen. What will happen when Syney Andrews is thrust into that role? After all, she’s human-raised! No one is prepared for the consequences. Things are only going to get harder for Syney, who is feeling a strong attraction to Hunter, from a banished family—and another race. Who can Syney trust, if anyone? Will she go against the law forbidding interracial marriage? Or will she fight to the death for her love, Hunter? Readers will be on the edge of their seats as they find out.

 GoodReads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17936892-discovery?ac=1

Character Spotlight: Hunter 

Age: 120

Race: Lycin

Position: Royal Protector

Allies: Syney, Leaf

Enemies: Mellisandrianna

Being named the Lost Vilori’s Protector is a surprise to everyone, including Hunter, who was never even formally trained as a Royal Guard.  That’s not to say he wasn’t happy or ready to take his place in the Palace.  His growing feelings for Syney, however, may put a dent in his plans for the future.

Here are three things you should know about Hunter.

1. He’s not entirely comfortable in the Palace. According to Village laws, banished Lycin families aren’t eligible for Royal Guard service, and since his family is, Hunter was never legally allowed to train as a Guard.  He was raised in a Wall Town, the farthest from the Palace, which led to a distrust of most Magic Users.

2. He takes his job very seriously. Hunter knows being a Royal Protector is a gift and doesn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize it.  This comes in competition with Syney’s annoying ability to go against the queen and most Palace rules.

3. Opposites attract.  Syney is the farthest from Hunter’s ideal woman.  She’s loud when he is silent.  He is guarded while she is open to so many new people.  It’s amazing how they overcome all of their differences to find love with each other, which is against the law.

 

About the Author

Discovery, part of the Altera Realm trilogy is Jennifer Collins’s first foray into the world of gothic young adult fantasy fiction.  She holds a BA in English with concentration in Creative Writing from Montclair State University and completed a certification program at Kean University for teacher of English K-12 in New Jersey. She enjoys being a high school English teacher at the Plainfield Academy of Arts and Advanced Studies, a public performing arts middle school and high school in the urban inner-city school district of Plainfield, New Jersey. She currently lives in Colonia, New Jersey, with her husband, Robert, and her handsome cat, Dr. Daniel Jackson.
 

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Review of Upcoming Release True by Erin McCarthy

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Pre-order from Amazon: True

Release Date: May 7, 2013

True by Erin McCarthy

Book Description (from Amazon)

A New Adult novel from USA Today bestselling author Erin McCarthy

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost… 

Book Review

I just finished the most wonderful story

This is my first time reading Erin McCarthy’s work and wow! I am impressed. I read this book in one day, and that’s unusual for me. Rory Macintosh’s witty point-of-view is what kept my initial interest; then the unlikely relationship that emerges between Rory and Tyler Mann just took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride that was so worth it!

College years are tough, and apparently, today, being a virgin doesn’t help your social status one bit.  The story introduces readers to twenty-year-old Rory, whose virginal status becomes public knowledge at a Friday night party.  Rory isn’t a social butterfly compared to her roommates, Jessica and Kylie, and she’s never had a boyfriend. Rory’s always been focused on her academic studies and obtaining a medical degree, but it isn’t as if she doesn’t want to date or even have a make out session with a guy; she just hasn’t met anyone whose interested. However, when a drunken guy tries to sexually assault her at this party, Rory is rescued by the local tattooed, pierced Tyler, who intervenes.  Still in shock from the incident, Rory inadvertently confesses to her roommates and everyone around that she is still a virgin.

Having had too much to drink and being in a dangerous neighborhood gives Rory an incentive to accept Tyler’s offer to drive her home. She is initially intimidated by him, but as they talk during the drive, she begins to realize that he’s not so different from her after all.  Because they each come from families where the physical expression of love and affection was rarely shown, they both keep others at a distance. She starts to relax around him until he begins to question her about her virginity.

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Her defensive response elicits a laugh for him making her feel that he doesn’t see her as a “freak.” Rory often feels out of place because of her social awkwardness and her inability to always understand the dynamics of human behavior.

She reminds me of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory who is well-known for his dispassionate, scientific-like observation of others.

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The story is told from Rory’s-point-of-view, and her insightful observations, witticism, and sarcasm bring realness to her character on a level that resonated with me. She is WYSIWYG: (what you see is what you get). There is nothing superficial about her. She’s logical and methodical, and at times too literal in her thinking, and she doesn’t always feel inhibited about sharing these thoughts either.

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However, Rory is never mean-spirited; she tries hard to see the good in people, which makes her such a likeable character. McCarthy’s writing is refreshing and entertaining in her portrayal of Rory and in the playful bantering with Tyler as they become friends.

At first Rory is suspicious of Tyler. Instead of just dropping her off at her dorm after the night of the party, he stops by to check when she has a massive hangover; he drops by to see her at work, and he suggests they study together, and just hang out.

She could never imagine that Tyler, would be interested in her, yet his flirting and sexual innuendo suggest otherwise. When he finally lets her know he wants to move beyond flirting, she finally gives in being swayed by his memorable kisses.  She even expects that making out with him will lead to sex, but instead he takes her home. His behavior doesn’t fit with his reputation as a one to have casual sex with no strings, and she feels a sense of rejection that he didn’t try harder to get her into bed.

Thinking that Tyler and Rory have slept together, Jessica and Kylie drunkenly discuss the deal the financial deal they made with Tyler to have him “de-virginize” her. When Rory overhears their conversation, she is devastated by the news. Her pain is so heart-wrenching, I ached for her.

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She lets her friends think Tyler fulfilled his end of the bargain and doesn’t expect to hear from him again. Surprisingly, Tyler continues to text her and makes efforts to see her, expressing his disappointment when she avoids him. She has a hard time reconciling this warm-hearted, seemingly genuine guy with the one willingly took money to seduce her.

When Tyler takes her to his house unexpectedly, thinking there is an emergency, Rory begins to have a deeper understanding of Tyler’s true character. He lives in squalor with his younger brothers and alcoholic, drug addicted mother. He carries the burden of taking care of his brothers while working and going to school to get a degree as an EMT. This isn’t his ideal career choice, but he knows it will enable him to secure a decent job and be able to take his brothers away from their dysfunctional living situation.

Rory admires Tyler’s protective nature of his brothers and his perseverance to overcome such overwhelming obstacles. Seeing Tyler in this vulnerable state, feeling ashamed and embarrassed, is a primary factor in solidifying their relationship into one of more than just friendship.

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Like Rory, I just wanted to wrap my arms around Tyler and his brothers and hug them for what they have to endure.

As they continue to spend time together, Rory realizes she’s fallen in love with Tyler and she’s ready to take the next step in becoming intimate with him. When she blurts out that she loves him, Tyler decides to bolt.

As they continue to spend time together, Rory realizes she’s fallen in love with Tyler and she’s ready to take the next step in becoming intimate with him. When she blurts out that she loves him, Tyler decides to bolt. Yet, Rory bravely tracks him down and just lays it all on the line, her hurt, frustration, insecurities, and her desire for him. Her boldness compels Tyler to be just as forthcoming, and he reveals his true motivation for the bargain he made with her roommates, as well as the love he feels for her, even though he doesn’t feel worthy of her love. Their raw honesty with each other is so refreshing to me.

As we all know, when the conflict ends, the story ends, and it isn’t time for that to happen. While Rory is home for Christmas break, she receives shocking news that Tyler has gotten himself into serious trouble, with serious consequences that will change his life and the future of their relationship.

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This is a powerful, believable story that sucked me in from the beginning and didn’t let go until the very end. I have to admit, I wasn’t satisfied with ending. I wanted an epilogue; I wanted something more.  Actually, there’s nothing  wrong with the ending. In fact, it’s appropriate considering that this looks to be the start of a series with Jessica’s story the focus of the next book. I’m sure the continuing thread of their relationship will be incorporated into her story. I just wasn’t ready for the experience to be over.

I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Group/Signet Romance via NetGalley for an honest review.

Rating

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About Erin McCarthy

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult, and adult romance. Erin has a special weakness for New Orleans, tattoos, high-heeled boots, beaches and martinis. She lives in Ohio with her family, two grumpy cats and a socially awkward dog. (from Goodreads)

Author Links

Erin McCarthy Website

Twitter

Goodreads Profile

Facebook

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Music to Complement the Book

Sound Garden “Truly, Madly, Deeply”

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