Friday, May 31, 2013

COVER Reveal: Wild Cards by: Simone Elkeles!

Hello, my lovely Muses!

Some of you in the blogasphere have probably already had the chance to drool over this yummy  cover. If you haven't, then you are in for a treat. Simone Elkeles is a NY Times & USA Today's bestselling author, best known for her amazingly hot, addictive Perfect Chemistry Series. And I am honored to call her a friend. She is one of the most down-to-earth people you would ever want to meet and she absolutely loves her fans.

Anyway, enough of my gushing! Simone has been busy working on her new book series and I couldn't be more happy then to share with you a little information about the first novel called Wild Cards. It hits book shelves this fall, October 1st! Here is the cover and synopsis:

Synopsis: After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

MY THOUGHTS: I like that the cover has that distinctive Simone look-- if you have read books by her then you know what I mean. Yet it still looks different and sexy. And I am already sold on the book synopsis. So what do you think?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2) by: Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
ISBN: 0373210639
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Theme(s): child abuse, addiction
Length: 480 pgs
Binding: Hardcover
Published: 28 May 2013; Harlequin Teen

Synopsis: If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all..

My Rating: 

My Review: What can I say about Dare You To without my review sounding redundant? From some of the reviews I have already read, I think other die hard Katie McGarry fans are walking away from this highly anticipated sequel feeling the same way I do. Dare You To confirms a few things. One, Pushing the Limits, book 1 in the series, was not a fluke. Some authors write amazing debuts but have trouble delivering the same impact with their sequels. I'm happy and relieved to say that Katie McGarry won't be going anywhere but to the top. After reading Dare You To, there is no doubt that she is an amazing writer, that she knows how to write characters so well that they feel like they are right in front of you, and most of all, she has the ability to evoke strong emotions. In Pushing the Limits, I was in a constant state of tears and felt a heaviness in my chest. In Dare You To, I felt a range of emotions, everything from exasperation, frustration, to outrage. However, there were a few minor issues I had with the book that kept me from giving it a perfect 5 star rating.

First, here are a few things I loved about Dare You To. I like that Katie McGarry used alternating point-of-view to tell Beth and Ryan's story. Considering the fact that they are so different and that McGarry had a huge job to do in convincing us readers that they belong together, it was almost essential to use this so we can get in both of their heads. Because let's face it. If you've read Pushing the Limits, then most of you, like me, wanted Beth to get with Isaiah. So being able to get to know Ryan personally and to see how Beth truly felt about Isaiah did help me to cope with the fact that this was Beth and Ryan's story, not Beth and Isaiah's.

As she proved in Pushing the Limits, McGarry has no problem pushing boundaries. There are so many authors out there that take on controversial topics but fail in the execution because they are too worried they might offend someone or they feel they need to tone it down for fear that publishing companies will pass them by. Not McGarry. When she commits to a tough topic, she runs with it and stays true. Beth's story is not easy breezy to read-- she has had a very rough childhood. Imagine growing up with alchoholic/drug abusing parents. Imagine your own mother telling you that she hates you, that it's your fault that your father left. Imagine watching your mother get beat over and over again by different boyfriends and then they start beating on you. It would mess up any child. So Beth curses, and she smokes weed to take the edge off and to forget painful memories. Does this mean she is a horrible person? Absolutely not. But if you think this book sugar coats anything, you are wrong. If you are sensitive to cursing, drug use, drinking, and sexual situations, then I suggest you toughen up and go into this book with an open mind. Because this is where Katie McGarry truly shines as an author. She brings a gritty, realistic quality to her writing, just like NY Times & USA Today's Best Selling Author Simone Elkeles is known for in her Perfect Chemistry series. And this is why teens and adults alike are dawn to their novels time and time again.

Lastly, I can't move on until I mention one more important factor that Katie McGarry is a master at and that is creating memorable characters.  I know I and other reviewers keep going back to where it all started, book 1, Pushing the Limits. Here is the dilemma. If you are just jumping on board and haven't read book 1, a part of me rather you just read Dare You To first. Sounds weird I know, but I think I myself would have had a much easier time accepting Beth and Ryan's relationship without knowing what happened between Beth and Isaiah in book 1 (oh and trust me, there is a scene in book 1 that is burned on the back of my eyelids that had me thinking WITHOUT A DOUBT that Beth and Isaiah would be together). But then on the other hand, to fully understand Beth, and who she considers her family--Isaiah and Noah, you need to go back to the beginning. That being said, I love that Katie McGarry added in a few scenes with Isaiah and Noah (my heart was pounding when they came to Beth's rescue earlier in the book) and most of all, that one scene with Noah and Echo. This couple burned up the pages in Pushing the Limits and I think the author knew how much fans were hoping for a little Noah and Echo action. There definitely was a scene stealer and that was when Beth took Ryan to one of her kind of parties. In the back yard, Noah was lying in a hammock with his girlfriend Echo and when Noah noticed Ryan staring too long at her, he threatened him to keep his eyes to himself. So incredibly sexy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will see more of them in book 3.

Now to what I had issues with. It's sort of hard for me to focus on just one thing that bothered me about Dare You To. I feel like it is the culimination of a bunch of little things that caused me to drop my rating down to 4 stars. A part of me may still not be completely sold that Beth belongs with Ryan, but that doesn't mean by the end of the book I think she belongs with Isaiah. Sounds weird, I know, but I guess as much as Ryan is a likeable, relatable character with his own set of issues, he just isn't as memorable like Noah and Isaiah are. The heat that I felt between Noah and Echo is not the same thing I felt between Beth and Ryan. But if I sit back and think about it, every relationship is different and so is how love is expressed with other couples. Some people love widly and passionately while love grows slowly and quietly with others. So who am I to say that what Beth and Ryan feel is wrong?

My major issues lie with things being left unresolved between certain characters. Without divulging too much, things with Ryan and his dad felt...unfinished. I know that in real life, not everyone has perfect relationships with their parents, so I wasn't expecting a fairytale ending. But we never really get to learn why his dad feels the way he does about his oldest son, Mark, and Ryan. Enough said about that because I don't want to spoil anything.

Beth's relationship with her Uncle Scott and his wife, Allison, also fell a little flat for me. I wanted to find some redeeming qualities for Allison, Scott's wife. Yes, there is the little scene at the end where it looks like Beth and Allison may have buried the hatchet, but we never really get to know her. I get that Scott himself had a rough childhood and the easiest way for him to keep the demons away was for him to move away and be with someone who wouldn't remind him of his troubled past. But I would also like to think that Allison has a big enough heart that she would love Scott, shady past and all. Unfortunately, most of the book she acts like an uppity b*tch!

Now to Beth's uncle, Scott. We learn that Scott didn't have an easy upbringing himself  and he knows what it's like to struggle. Beth remembers when her uncle used to wear baggy pants and talked like a gangster. So what bothered me was all the stipulations he put on Beth when she comes to live with him. I get the no drinking, no drugs, even no smoking cigarettes. But making her change her clothes (she likes to wear ripped jeans and tank tops, like that is a crime!) and not allowing her to buy black hair die??? I wouldn't even consider Beth "goth" but trust me, I work in a school and I see kids wearing worse clothes than ripped up jeans. My point is, I think Scott and Allison spent way too much time on Beth's outward appearance rather than focusing on her inner issues. Scott obviously knows she has been through some major trauma. And when you find out one of the reasons why Beth likes to die her hair heart really did hurt for her. I guess what I am trying to say is, I was waiting for a huge heart to heart conversation between Scott and Beth but it really never happens. I wanted Beth to finally break down and let out all of that pain because keeping that sh*t in is nothing but poison.

Dare You To is a solid sequel that really leaves no doubt as to how talented Katie McGarry truly is. Even though I felt there were a few things left a bit unresolved, I can somewhat accept that because life doesn't always fix itself right away. It may take years before Ryan's father finally comes around to accepting both his sons' choices. It will probably take a lot of time for Beth to break the chains of guilt and responsibility she has had on her shoulders, and Ryan will have to find patience because Beth still has a lot of issues to sort out. I myself have to remain calm and patiently await Crash Into You, book 3, which is Isaiah's book. Because I'm not going to lie, things were left unresolved between Beth, Isaiah, and Noah as well. For thematic reasons, I get why because it is a given that Isaiah has to work out his feelings for Beth and I am sure she will make quite a few appearances. But I can't help but feel that Beth owes Isaiah, Noah, AND Echo an apology. There were quite a few times when I wanted to shake her because the boys wanted a better life for her, they loved her that much. And how many times does Echo have to prove herself to Beth?  But we never get that moment of epiphany from her. But I just have to keep reminding myself  that it's going to take time for Beth to sort out her issues. After all, how can you recognize and accept love if you can't respect and love yourself?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day & My Picks of the Week! (28th May 2013)

 Hello, Muses!

I simply want to wish everyone a happy, safe Memorial Day. As May comes to a close, enjoy these new releases in books, movies, and tv series! Oh, and if you haven't already, enter for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks. The Giveaway ends Wednesday, May 29th! Go HERE to read the author Q&A and scroll down that post to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

Best Wishes,

BOOKS (28th May)


Avenging Angel (The Fallen, #4)
by: Cynthia Eden

With a messed up family background and a tendency to grow claws and fangs, Tanner Chance isn’t exactly the boy next door. But he’s a decent cop, and he keeps himself on the side of the good guys. Convenient, because when he rescues a survivor of a horrific shifter attack he finds himself instantly smitten—with an honest-to-goodness angel, as innocent as she is irresistible.

Marna may be angelic, but she’s not stupid or weak. She can take care of herself. Tanner is more temptation than protection anyway. Or so she thinks, until someone wearing her face starts taking out some of New Orleans’ more unsavory paranormals. With police and predators both gunning for her blood, Marna has no choice but to trust Tanner…even though what’s sparking between them is hotter than anything holy

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard, #2)
by: Christina Lauren

A charming British Playboy. A girl determined to finally live. And a secret liaison revealed in all too vivid color. Book two in the NYT Bestselling series.

Escaping a cheating ex, finance whiz Sara Dillon's moved to New York City and is looking for excitement without a lot of strings attached. So meeting the irresistible, sexy Brit at a dance club should have meant nothing more than a night's fun. But the manner--and speed--with which he melts her inhibitions turns him from a one-time hookup and into her Beautiful Stranger.

The whole city knows Max Stella loves women, not that he's ever found one he particularly wants to keep around. Despite pulling in plenty with his Wall Street bad boy charm, it's not until Sara--and the wild photos she lets him take of her--that he starts wondering if there's someone for him outside of the bedroom.

Hooking up in places where anybody could catch them, the only thing scarier for Sara than getting caught in public is having Max get too close in private.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Blue Blazes (Mookie Pearl, #1)
by: Chuck Wendig

Meet Mookie Pearl.
Criminal underworld? He runs it.
Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it.
Nothing stops Mookie when he’s on the job.
But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something’s gotta give…

The Blue Blazes – the first in a new urban fantasy series in which lovable thug Mookie Pearl must contend with the criminal underworld, the supernatural underworld, a new drug that makes the invisible visible, and a rebellious teen daughter who opposes him at every turn.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Darkness Avenged (Guardians of Eternity, #10)
by: Alexandra Ivy


As the demon world celebrates the defeat of the Dark Lord, the vampire Santiago’s mood remains bleak. He still yearns for the sensual, raven-haired Nefri, who has inexplicably disappeared. But brooding for Nefri is a luxury that Santiago does not have. His traitorous sire, Gaius, is unleashing a violent scourge upon the mortal world, and Santiago must stop him before it’s too late...


To her dismay, the all-powerful Oracles have sent Nefri on her own mission to find Gaius, and failure is not an option. Nefri’s search leads her to the vampire’s abandoned lair—and straight into Santiago’s path. It’s clear Santiago intends to seduce her, but then an ancient, banished evil reappears, threatening to thrust the world into a madness it cannot survive..

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Darkness Bred (Chimney Rock, #2)
by: Stella Cameron


Ever since shapeshifter Elin escaped to Whidbey Island, danger has stalked her every move. Her human traits, combined with her unique supernatural gifts, make her a prized being to be possessed . . . or destroyed. It is only the passionate attraction she shares with werehound Sean Black that gives her hope for her future-if she can elude the lethal predators who are hot on her scent.


Sean knows that Elin, with her delicate beauty and seductive powers, is his one perfect mate. The woman who can restore his humanity and make him stronger than ever. He'll need that strength and more to protect her from those who wish to destroy him and everything he desires. For Sean carries a secret that binds him to an enemy from the past and to a darker, deadlier force-a malignant evil that is hunting the women of Whidbey Island . . 

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Forever (World of the Nightwalkers, #2)
by: Jacquelyn Frank

After being brought back from death, police officer Jackson Waverly receives the shock of his life: he has become host to a Bodywalker, a spirit that is reborn in flesh and blood, and part of a proud, ancient race that uses its extraordinary gifts to battle dark, evil forces. Jackson’s spirit is a powerful one—none other than the Egyptian pharaoh Menes, who longs to reunite with his eternal love, the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.

While Menes is obsessed with finding the perfect vessel for his queen, Jackson cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses most in Jackson is intense desire, which is exactly what Menes is looking for. To fight a great enemy, pharaoh and queen must join; but to host Hatshepsut, Marissa will first have to die. Fate has given Jackson a profound choice: save Marissa from Menes’ plan or keep an entire species from the brink of extinction.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Freefall (Aftershocks, #2)
by: Jill Sorenson


Park ranger Hope Banning's plans for a little R & R are put on hold when a plane crashes at the top of a remote mountain. Hope will have to climb the summit and assess the situation. And the only climbing partner available is Sam Rutherford--the enigmatic man she spent a night with six months ago.


Ever since Sam lost his girlfriend in a falling accident, he insists on climbing solo. But Hope and any potential survivors need his help. As Sam and Hope set out on an emergency search-and-rescue mission, he realizes the sparks still sizzle between them. And when they learn a killer is among the survivors, they must place their trust in each other for a chance at happiness.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

SEAL of Honor (Hornet, #1)
by: Tonya Burrows

It’s a good thing Gabe Bristow lives and breathes the Navy SEAL credo, “the only easy day was yesterday,” because today, his life is unrecognizable. When his prestigious career comes to a crashing halt, he’s left with a bum leg and few prospects for employment that don’t include a desk.

That is, until he’s offered the chance to command a private hostage rescue team and free a wealthy American businessman from Colombian paramilitary rebels. It seems like a good deal—until he meets his new team: a drunk Cajun linguist, a boy-genius CIA threat analyst, an FBI negotiator with mob ties, a cowboy medic, and an EOD expert as volatile as the bombs he defuses. Oh, and who could forget the sexy, frustratingly impulsive Audrey Van Amee? She’s determined to help rescue her brother—or drive Gabe crazy. Whichever comes first.

As the death toll rises, Gabe’s team of delinquents must figure out how to work together long enough to save the day. Or, at least, not get themselves killed. Because Gabe’s finally found something worth living for, and God help him if he can’t bring her brother back alive

Release Date: 28th May 2013


Goddess (Starcrossed, #3)
by: Josephine Angelini

After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.

To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.

In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Life on the Preservation
by: Jack Skillingstead

Inside the Seattle Preservation Dome it's always the Fifth of October, the city caught in an endless time loop. "Reformed" graffiti artist Ian Palmer is the only one who knows the truth, and he is desperate to wake up the rest of the city before the alien Curator of this human museum erases Ian's identity forever. Discover the reality bending SF of this new author in this astonishing story.Inside the Seattle Preservation Dome it's always the Fifth of October, the city caught in an endless time loop. "Reformed" graffiti artist Ian Palmer is the only one who knows the truth, and he is desperate to wake up the rest of the city before the alien Curator of this human museum erases Ian's identity forever. Outside the Dome the world lies in apocalyptic ruin. Small town teenager Kylie is one of the few survivors to escape both the initial shock wave and the effects of the poison rains that follow. Now she must make her way across the blasted lands pursued by a mad priest and menaced by skin-and-bone things that might once have been human. Her destination is the Preservation, and her mission is to destroy it. But once inside, she meets Ian, and together they discover that Preservation reality is even stranger than it already appears.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Of Triton (Of Poseidon, #2)
by: Anna Banks

In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Sky on Fire (Monument 14, #2)
by: Emmy Laybourne

The world hasn't ended...yet.

In this sequel to MONUMENT 14, the group of survivors, originally trapped together in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, has split in two. Most of the kids are making a desperate run on their recently repaired school bus for the Denver airport where they hope to reunite with their parents, be evacuated to safety, and save their dying friend.

But the world outside is dark and filled with dangerous chemicals that turn people into bloodthirsty monsters, and not all the kids were willing to get on the bus. Left behind in a sanctuary that has already been disturbed once, the remaining kids try to rebuild the community they lost. But when the issues are life and death, love and hate, who can you really trust?

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Wild Awake
by: Hilary T. Smith

Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

Release Date: 28th May 2013



Dark Skies
Directed by: Scott Stewart

Starring: Keri Russell, Jake Brennan

From the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister comes Dark Skies: a supernatural thriller that follows a young family living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Generation Um
Directed by: Mark Mann

Starring: Keanu Reeves

After partying in New York City last night, John and his beautiful girlfriends Mia and Violet form an intimate bond as their deepest secrets from their past are revealed. Friendships are tested and compromises are made as these three friends prepare to do it all again tonight.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Little Things
Directed by: Neil McGregor

Starring: Kathryn Beck

THE LITTLE THINGS is an indie rom-com with a supernatural twist. It tells the story of Dee (Kathryn Beck), a woman who believes she has the gift to alter peoples destinies... provided she never leaves her home.

However, when her powers are threatened by the possibility of eviction, her only hope is Mitch (Chris Hillier). Her first love and the first life she affected with her special gift, but he may not be so willing to help, when he finds out his entire life has been manipulated. 

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Directed by: Cate Shortland

Starring: Saskia Rosendahl

Left to fend for themselves after their SS officer father and mother, a staunch Nazi believer, are interred by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II, five German children undertake a harrowing journey that exposes them to the reality and consequences of their parents' actions. Led by the eldest sibling, 14-year old Lore (striking newcomer Saskia Rosendahl), they set out on a harrowing journey across a devastated country to reach their grandmother in the north. After meeting the charismatic Thomas, a mysterious young refugee, Lore soon finds her world shattered by feelings of both hatred and desire as she must learn to trust the one person she has always been taught to hate in order to survive. Lush cinematography and an evocative, haunting mood infuse this unconventional take on the Holocaust legacy with unforgettable impact. 

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Numbers Station, The
Directed by: Kasper Barfoed

Starring: John Cusack, Malin Akerman

After his latest mission goes disastrously wrong, veteran CIA black ops agent Emerson Kent (John Cusack, 2012) is given one last chance to prove he still has what it takes to do his job. His new assignment: guarding Katherine (Malin Akerman, Watchmen), a code operator at a top-secret remote CIA "Numbers Station" where encrypted messages are sent and received. When an elite team of heavily armed assailants lays siege to the station, Emerson and Katherine suddenly find themselves in a life-or-death struggle against an unknown enemy. With the station compromised and innocent lives at stake, they must stop the deadly plot before it's too late.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Directed by: Minh Nguyen

Starring: Porter Lynn, John Ruby

Desperately seeking to save his marriage, Brendan goes to the nail salon every day where Tam does more than scrub his hands clean of the oil stains from working as a mechanic. She offers him advice on how win his wife's love again. But soon, they find themselves drawn to each other, an attraction which becomes harder and harder to resist.

Release Date: 28th May 2013
Website | DVD 


Covert Affairs: Season 3

Starring: Piper Perabo

Everything changes for savvy CIA operative Annie Walker (Piper Perabo, Looper) in season three of the hit series Covert Affairs. Reassigned to a new and even more covert division of the Agency, Annie takes on missions that become personal and finds herself on dangerous forays into inhospitable territory, while a series of explosive revelations force her to question her role and what (and who) matters most. From the producers of The Bourne Trilogy and co-starring Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty), Kari Matchett (Leverage), and Peter Gallagher (The O.C.), watch all 16 action-packed episodes back to back and uninterrupted of the pulse-racing series that "will keep you at the edge of your seat" (Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express News). International shooting locations this season include Moscow, Paris, Barcelona, Morocco and Puerto Rico.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Longmire: Season 1

Starring: Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips

To close murder cases under open skies he's your man. Out of bestselling author Craig Johnson's mystery novels strides Walt Longmire the charismatic and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County and the world-weary yet dedicated lead character of this spellbinding hit series. Struggling since his wife's death a year ago and at the urging of his attorney daughter Walt knows he must turn his life around. Aided by a new female deputy and his oldest friend he becomes reenergized about his job and running for reelection though an ambitious younger deputy is a rival candidate for the job. And despite the dark secrets and tangled relationships that pervade this 2-Disc 10-Episode Season One Set he doggedly solves the big crimes of Wyoming's big sky country.

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Red Widow: Season 1

Starring: Radha Mitchell

From Melissa Rosenberg (writer of the Twilight franchise) comes a compelling new drama about the lengths one mother will go to protect her family amidst a dangerous journey to discover the truth behind her husband's murder. Housewife Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell) adores her husband, children, and their idyllic Northern California life together. But beneath the suburban dream lies a dark and dangerous world, and when life presents unforeseen tragedy, the perfect facade comes crashing down. Now Marta must drop all illusions, embrace her new reality, and dig deep to discover reserves of courage, resilience, and ingenuity she never knew she had. 

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Suits: Season 2

Starring: Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams

Hotshot attorney Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht, Love and Other Drugs) and legal prodigy Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams, Luck) - who actually doesn't have a law degree - return as the dynamic duo in season two of the hit series Suits. Harvey and Mike continue to hide their secret as they deal with the ominous return of founding partner Daniel Hardman (David Costabile, Breaking Bad), juggle demanding caseloads, and tackle dramatic developments in their personal lives. Co-starring Gina Torres (Gossip Girl), Meghan Markle (Horrible Bosses), and Rick Hoffman (Samantha Who?), watch all 16 episodes back to back and uninterrupted of the series critics call 'among the most enjoyable shows on TV' (David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle). 

Release Date: 28th May 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Author Q&A With Matthew Dicks & a Giveaway!

Hello, my Muses!

Instead of a book review, I wanted to treat everyone with a Q&A and a Giveaway. Awhile back I reviewed Matthew Dick's novel Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend (which you can view HERE) and was so blown away that I just had to talk to him about it. He was not only gracious enough to answer my questions, but also sent me a signed hardcover copy of his novel to give away to one lucky winner!

This Interview & Giveaway should have been posted on my blog months ago, but as some of you may know I ended up getting very sick last fall and I went on a hiatus. While it frustrates me that I didn't get this posted closer to the book's release date, I believe that sometimes things happen for a reason. Maybe this post will catch the interest of someone who hasn't heard about Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. Or maybe it will give previous readers a different way to look at the novel. Either way, I am absolutely thrilled to share this unique Q&A with everyone.


P.S. Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom so that you can enter for a chance to win an autographed hardcover copy of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks!

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Imaginary friend Budo narrates this heartwarming story of love, loyalty, and the power of the imagination—the perfect read for anyone who has ever had a friend . . . real or otherwise Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He's been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear. Max is different from other children. Some people say that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, but most just say he’s “on the spectrum.” None of this matters to Budo, who loves Max and is charged with protecting him from the class bully, from awkward situations in the cafeteria, and even in the bathroom stalls. But he can’t protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, the woman who works with Max in the Learning Center and who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy. When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable and kidnaps Max, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save him—and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max’s happiness or Budo's very existence. Narrated by Budo, a character with a unique ability to have a foot in many worlds—imaginary, real, child, and adult— Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend touches on the truths of life, love, and friendship as it races to a heartwarming . . . and heartbreaking conclusion.

Go HERE to read my previously published review for Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend.

About Matthew Dicks

MATTHEW DICKS is a writer and elementary school teacher. His articles have been published in the Hartford Courant and he has been a featured author at the Books on the Nightstand retreat. He is also a Moth storyteller and a two-time StorySLAM champion. Dicks is the author of three novels, Memoirs of An Imaginary Friend, Something Missing and Unexpectedly Milo. He lives in Newington, Connecticut, with his wife, Elysha, and their children, Clara and Charlie. 

Q&A With Matthew Dicks, Author of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend 

 1. How did you come up with the idea for Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend?

The idea for the book originates back in childhood. When I was about ten years old, I was speaking to my mother about a trip that we had made to Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island. I was reminding her of an afternoon spent in the Japanese Gardens, and how Johnson Johnson and I played tag on the connecting islands in the middle pond.

"Matt," she said. "You know Johnson Johnson wasn't real. Right?"


"You know Johnson Johnson was your imaginary friend. Right?"

"No," I said, thinking my mother was crazy. "Johnson Johnson. The boy who lived with us for a while."

"Matt, there was no Johnson Johnson. He was imaginary."

"No. Johnson Johnson. The boy who lived with us. Like Jessica."

Jessica was a foster child who had come to live with my family for about six weeks, and she was one of several children who my parents would take in from time to time when I was young. In my mind, Johnson Johnson had been just another one of these kids. The first of them.

But it turned out that Johnson Johnson was not real. I had made him up. Even with a brother and a sister, I had somehow needed someone else to keep me company, and so I invented Johnson Johnson, who my mother had always assumed was named after Johnson & Johnson's baby powder. 

I couldn't believe it. Years later I would watch the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a story about technology that allows people to erase unwanted sections of their lives, and I instantly understood the concept and sympathized with the characters. In a single stroke, hundreds of memories of my childhood had been altered forever. The boy who I thought had accompanied me to all of my early adventures had suddenly been erased, and for weeks afterward, I would find my mind stumbling upon memories in which Johnson Johnson still existed. Memories in need of erasing.

I mentioned this to a fellow teacher a couple years ago, and she said it would make the basis for an excellent book. I thought she was crazy, but my agent and wife agreed, so I began writing. I promised to give the book an honest effort for the duration of the summer, but if August was ending and I was not happy with the result, I would shift gears.

It took me one day to realize I had a good story in the works.  I have learned to always listen to my wife and agent.

2. When creating the world and mythology of Imaginary Friends, were you aware of the similarities between "ghosts" and imaginary friends? If so, what was your thought process in keeping a clear distinction between the two?

Budo addresses this issue at one point in the book. Ghosts, he explains, were once alive. Imaginary friends were never alive. This also means that ghosts would presumably have a firmer grasp on the real world, having occupied it in a traditional way at one point. Imaginary friends are more prone to confusion and misunderstanding.

3. So there is a little controversy over Imaginary Friend  having difficulty finding a specific audience. To clarify, do you consider the book to be a Young Adult novel, an Adult novel? Neither or both?

I wrote the novel for adults, and while I think of adults as my primary audience, I can certainly see this book crossing over into the YA market as well.

4. Some people have picked up your book because they think the main focus of the novel is about a child that has a form of Autism or Asperger's but in fact, Max's diagnosis is never specifically stated. Can you talk a little bit about that and what you hope readers will get from Imaginary Friend?

My first and foremost goal with any book that I write is to offer readers a good story that will keep them turning the pages and entertained throughout. Any themes that derive from the work come later and often by accident.

That said, I've always been interested in the idea that we encourage children to be themselves and reject peer pressure, but when these children choose to be different and eventually grow into adults who do not conform to our mainstream idea of a normal adult, we punish them for it. Being yourself takes a great deal of courage. In Max's case, he has no choice. Being himself, as different as that may be, is all that he knows how to do, and to go out into the world each day, so different than everyone around him, is an act of courage that we often fail to recognize. Budo calls Max the bravest boy in the world, and I am inclined to agree with him. 

5.  I am aware that Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend was published overseas first, in countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. What kind of reception has Imaginary Friend received in other countries? How about so far here in the United States?

The reception abroad was been amazing. I hear from readers overseas every day about the book, and so far their reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. People identify with many aspects of the book. Some recall imaginary friends from their childhood. others see aspects of their own children in Max. Many have fallen head over heels in love with Budo and his allegiance to Max.

6. Let's talk about the cover art for Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. I noticed my ARC copy (which just so happens to be my favorite) is different from the cover on which I am assuming is the final artwork the publishing company went with. I know many times authors do not have a whole lot of control over the art department. Can you explain the process through your own experience? Also, which cover do you like the most?

St. Martin's Press actually involved me a great deal in the choice of covers, and I couldn't be more grateful. As with most books, there were several options in play at one point, and each one of them was sent my way for feedback and suggestions. Also, because the book is being published in 14 different countries, I have also had a chance to see many of the covers from those those markets as well, so I've been lucky to see several visual interpretations of the book. Ultimately we decided on the cover that we thought would appeal to the greatest number of readers, and it was one of my favorites as well.

7. I pointed out in my review some parallels I noticed between your theme of childhood vs. growing up and the theories Romantic poet William Wordsworth had about childhood. In a nutshell, he believed that children are the closest to God and heaven because their imaginations and spirit haven't been tainted by the responsibilities and sometimes ugly process of "growing up." Are you familiar with Wordsworth and his ideas about childhood? Do you agree or disagree with him? 

Oddly enough, I recall this discussion from my college days, and though I can't remember how I felt about it then, I'm not inclined to agree with Wordsworth today. I have always viewed children as less experienced adults, deserving of all the respect and accountability of an adult. I suspect that this attitude comes from my years of teaching, but I also look back on my own childhood and am able to see a clear line between eight year old version of myself and today's version. There is no magical transformation that takes place between childhood and adulthood. Me is me is me, all the way through.

8. My absolute favorite character is Oswald! And in my review I mentioned how Oswald reminds me of the "mean/misunderstood" ghost in the movie "GHOST" starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg. Were you aware of this? And do you have a favorite character in your book?

I know the character you refer to from GHOST, but I had not thought about him at all while writing the book. It's an interesting parallel, though.

Asking me to choose a favorite character is cruel, because I love so many of them, including Oswald. If I were forced to choose, it would probably be Budo, which is a boring answer, I know, but also an honest one. Of all the characters in the book, I know Budo the best, and I admire his allegiance to Max despite the dangers that it may bring.

9. I noticed you are a teacher. When do you find the time to write and are you open with your students about your writing career? What do they think?

I don't sleep very much, and I tend to write within the cracks of life. Ten minutes here. Thirty minutes there. Writers who are too precious with the time and location and beverage required in order to write tend not to write. If you want to write, you always find time.

As for my students, I share a great deal with them about the writing process and my ongoing career. I try to treat them as honest-to-goodness authors, with all the benefits and expectations that come with the job. I want to give them a glimpse into the business of books in hopes that they may be inspired to continue writing beyond the classroom. And they are fascinated by the process. They can't get enough of it, always demanding that I share recent news or tell them a story about something that has taken place as a result of my career.

10. So what are you working on now? 

My new book is the story of a woman who is bullied in high school and suffers one especially traumatic event which she believes changed the course of her life forever. Twenty years later, through a confluence of events, she decides that it is time to return to her hometown and confront the bully who treated her so badly in high school and finally have her comeuppance. It's a story about finding the perfect comeback a little too late, and it's also a book about how often we mistake a person's life as perfection when there is often a much more complicated story underneath.  


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