August 31, 2009

Blog Tour, Author Q&A and Giveaway: The Blue Pen by Lisa Rusczyk

WINNERS: Stacie and Pam in Canada, Elisabeth from all over the place LOL and Joanne from Connecticut

Lisa's Blog
Link to my review

Q&A with Lisa Rusczyk

Lisa, welcome to Reading With Monie and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

1. Please tell us a little about your background and your book, The Blue Pen.

I was mainly raised in Northern Alabama. I moved to Phoenix for seven years and recently moved back to Alabama. I'm thrilled to be out of that desert heat.

My book was written when I was in Phoenix. I wrote it on and off for five years. I don't know why it took so long to write because I had written other books in between. I've started and not finished plenty of stories, but this one kept asking me to write it. It tells the story of a magazine writer, Parker, who interviews Cleo for her life story as to how she became homeless. I started writing it as a short story by hand, but it grew into a novel.

2. How did you come up with the title?

The title is the name Cleo gets as a performer at the improv club she goes to. Because the book is about her, I named it after her improv name.

3. Do you base any of your characters on people you know?

I didn't base any of these characters on people I know, but I had images of certain people when I wrote it, which could have influenced some of the characters' behaviors. For example, I pictured Parker looking like my favorite Philosophy teacher in college. Maybe some of his characteristics came through in Parker.

4. What actors would you choose to play Cleo and Parker if The Blue Pen was made into a movie?

What a fun question! I picture a younger, brunette Glenn Close as Cleo and Edward Norton as Parker.

5. I LOVE ED NORTON!! Do you schedule your writing time daily or do you just write when the ideas come?

I ususally write something every day, but mostly at different times. My favorite time to write is in the morning. Then there are those days when no writing gets done at all. Luckily, there are always ideas, just not always good ones!

6. What's the biggest obstacle you face when writing and how do you overcome it?

I guess that would have to be when I get stuck as to "what happens next." I don't outline, so I write where the story takes me, and I often write myself into a box doing that. To get out of it, I'll read the entire manuscript from beginning to where I'm stuck and usually I find out what do write next and can continue.

7. Do you have someone you share your work with as you go along or do you wait to the end to reveal it?

I have always waited until I was finished to let others read the books I write. Lately, though, I've been sharing portions of a novel I'm working on now with my boyfriend Mikie because we came up for the idea together. It's been pretty fun doing it that way.

8. Who are your favorite authors and is there a book that has most influenced your writing?

I've become a huge John Steinbeck fan of late, but read a ton of Stephen King and Dean Koontz over the years. I also enjoy most of Jonathan Kellerman's novels. My favorite book of all time is Watership Down by Richard Adams, and think that has influenced me.

9. What is your best reader or fan story?

My ex-mother-in-law read all of my books for me and would give me great critical feedback, as well as help check for mistakes. She always pumped my ego up to write more and better.

Also, I offered my book as a freebie on the Amazon Kindle forums in exchange for possible reviews. One of them is now my friend on Facebook, which I thought was just great.

10. What book are you currently reading?

I am reading a few things right now. Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein, Blue-Eyed Son by Doyle Sinclair and Darkness Within by Steven Pajak.

11. What books do you have in the pipeline?

I have three I'm picking at recently. Because I have three more books scheduled for release with my publisher, two urban fantasy novels of a series definitely for October (Sam the Night Person) and November (Full Moon in December), I'm working on a sequel to the young adult fantasy called A Dream of the Past. I'm not sure when that one will be released, but I'd like to at least be on the way to having the intended sequel done by that time.

I'm also working on a novel of twins who write journals together and both develop mental illness. Thus reading the above novel about twins.

The main focus lately has been on a middle grade novel about cats. It's pretty much fantasy, too, but I adore cats and I'm using my own cats as the main characters. It's been a blast to write.

Thank you Monie for taking the time to write out such thoughtful questions. I enjoyed answering them and will be happy to answer any reader questions. Also, feel free to stop by my blog anytime!

Product Description:
Parker didn-t expect to find his next great magazine story sleeping off a hangover in the back seat of his car. The homeless woman, Cleo, says she never wakes after dawn, which makes Parker curious. His intuition for finding a unique story is buzzing after meeting Cleo, and he decides to interview her to find out what drove her to live on the streets.

Cleo explains how the early death of her first love set the path for her life. She withdraws from the world after he dies, only to re-enter it by going to a strange club called the Beacon. At the underground club, the patrons channel spirits on the improv stage and share psychic readings in the room behind the beaded curtain. While Cleo describes her spiritual awakening, Parker wonders if she actually fell prey to mental illness.

Because of a first article Parker wrote about Cleo, another reporter is after the story, blackmailing Parker to give it up. Parker must decide how to keep his story and not let Cleo down in the process.

Now for a quick and fun giveaway!! Lisa has graciously offered everyone a chance to win one of five e-book copies of The Blue Pen. Three will go to the first three people who leave me a comment saying "I want to read THE BLUE PEN!!" and the remaining two winners will be selected from anyone who leaves any comment on this post by midnight on September 6th. Easy right? And remember you don't have to have an e-reader to read this book. Your digital copy will be in pdf format to either print or read on your computer or any phone with an e-reader app. Open worldwide.

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August 29, 2009

Review: Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost

Tammy Jo Trask comes from a family of witches but Tammy Jo herself has no magic in her whatsoever. Her family always thought she was a late bloomer but at twenty-three she’s already given up hope for good.

The one paranormal thing going for her is her ability to see the ghost of her great-great aunt Edie who lives in an heirloom locket. The only other person in their small town who can see Edie is the gay hair-dresser Johnny Nguyen so its easy to believe that her ex-husband, who is currently on-again, Zach thinks she’s nuts.

When Tammy Jo’s locket gets stolen in the middle of a city-wide crime spree, she has no choice but to turn to the only other magical being in their town, Bryn Lyons for help in locating the locket before Edie’s next appearance in less than a week. Normally it would be great that she has someone with power to turn to but Zach and Bryn hate each other and Bryn is on “The List of Nine” . It’s the list of families Tammy Jo and members of her family aren’t supposed to associate with for fear of the family being destroyed for all eternity.

Now Tammy Jo has more to think about than their macho egos. She has werewolves chasing after her and she feels a small tingle of power that suspiciously feels like she’s finally inheriting her family magic after all.

Tammy Jo is such a flaky nut. She’s hilarious at times and brilliant at other times. She has a lovable personality and the wit to match. The love triangle between her, Zach and Bryn is cute. Two good looking men who will do anything for Tammy Jo makes for a wonderful side story.

This is a great paranormal read and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Barely Bewitched.

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August 27, 2009

Blog Tour & Review: Babydoll by Allyson Roy

Allyson Roy's website

When three up and coming fashion models are murdered the police think they have found their man when a witness puts photographer Angel Morales at the scene of the third murder. 100% sure of her brother’s innocence, Benita “Binnie” Morales enlists the help of her roommate and best friend, Saylor Oz, on a quest to find the real killer so her brother is set free.

Something about the murders rings a bell with Saylor and as she goes over the cases again she remembers. The MO of the killer is one that she’s seen before, in a vintage porn movie called Bad, Bad Babydoll.

Convinced she’s onto something Saylor takes the information to the investigator working with Angel’s lawyer. Needless to say he’s not interested in her theory so Binnie and Saylor do a little investigating of their own which leads to them being taken into police custody and being hunted by a pair of stoned drug dealers.

But all this investigating may have triggered the real killer to come after Saylor when she takes on the persona Babydoll during fashion week.

Babydoll was total blast. Saylor is quite a character. She’s a sex therapist that’s small in stature but has a large appetite for sex herself. Who else would dare to pull out and autograph a rather large **cough, toy that resembles a certain part of the male anatomy, cough** on live TV? LOL And don’t even get me started on Saylor’s eccentric aunt Lana that likes to fly on nude airlines and Binnie’s pet bird that likes to talk dirty.

Second in the Saylor Oz mystery series after Aphrodisiac, Babydoll definitely stands alone and I can’t wait to read the first (which sadly I didn’t remember I had on my to-be-read shelf until I read the sneak peek of it at the end of Babydoll) and next book in this series. This is a recommended read for anyone who loves mysteries with a romantic twist.

About Allyson Roy
Allyson Roy translates into Alice & Roy, husband and wife collaborating authors. Roy, a graduate of the University Of The Arts in Philadelphia, has a background in theater, art and standup comedy. Alice, dancer/choreographer/teacher, double majored in dance and philosophy at the State University of New York. They spent many gypsy years living and working in the different neighborhoods of New York City and Philadelphia. Aside from being marriage and writing partners, they are also best friends, which is reflected in the heartfelt, go-the-distance friendship of their two main characters.

More Tour Stops:
Tuesday, August 18th: The Eclectic Book Lover
Wednesday, August 19th: Jenn’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, August 25th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, August 26th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Monday, August 31st: Bookluver-Carol’s Reviews
Wednesday, September 2nd: Chick With Books
Thursday, September 3rd: Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic
Tuesday, September 8th: GalleySmith
Wednesday, September 9th: Bookgasm
Thursday, September 10th: I’m Booking It

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August 26, 2009

Giveaway: 250 Custom Greeting Cards from

Winners: Beth and Heather

My awesome blog sponsor is at it again. This time they are offering TWO lucky readers the chance to win 250 7" x 5" Custom Greeting Cards (half-fold, 10 pt cover with matte or gloss coating, full color outside and blank inside).

I plan on using my Custom Greeting Cards as thank you notes for the apartment community where I work.

Here are a few more great ideas for your own custom greeting cards:
  • Take a nice abstract picture and use them as note cards for any occasions

  • Party or event invitations

  • Promote your blog or business

  • Special occasion announcements

  • Holiday cards
There are so many ways to use these cards that the possibilities are endless. And remember also does Custom Postcards if you want something easier to mail.

For your chance to win simply tell me how you would use the Custom Greeting Cards if you are selected as a winner. Please be sure to leave me your email address if it's not in your blog profile.

This giveaway is open to US residents only and winners must pay shipping. Winners will be selected on September 2nd and have 48 hours to respond to the winning email or a new winner will be selected.

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Review and Giveaway: Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson and Ned Rust

WINNERS: Melissa in New York, Ms J. Evans in Canada and Amanda in Illinois

Product Description:
All's quiet in the small town of Holliswood, the television sets a-glow in every home. But not all is as perfect as it seems.

A terrifying outlaw has just arrived in town, with the goal of throwing it into chaos--and filming the pandemonium for the fellas back home.

Only one person can stop him and his thugs from destroying the city and everyone living there. Daniel X assembles an all-star team of his own creation, but not even he could imagine the enormity of this made-for-TV-villain's powers.

My Review:
In this second installment featuring the alien hunter Daniel X the plot doesn’t vary too much from book one. Daniel, an alien himself, is after the #5 alien on the list of very bad aliens leading up to the #1 alien who killed his parents. The method of chasing down and exterminating this alien varied a little but the story was essentially the same as the first book. I would still recommend this for young boys who love to read and I will be reading or listening to the next in the series.

  • To enter to win one of three copies of this audio book, tell me the title of one of your favorite reads from when you were growing up. The book that I always remember reading was actually a series from John Christoper: The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire. I read the prequel When the Tripods Came later on in life and have always remembered these books. Also please be sure to leave me your email address if you don't have a blog or it's not in your Blogger profile.

  • For an extra entry, Tweet about the giveaway using the message below and leave me the Tweet link or your Twitter name in a seperate comment. Extra Twitter entries can be done once a day just be sure to leave a new comment each time you do.
  • @monie_g Win Daniel X: Watch the Skies at Reading With Monie ReTweet

  • For another extra entry follow or subscribe to my blog. If you already do, just post a comment letting me know.

  • Open to US and Canada only, no PO boxes please. One main entry per household. Twitter entries can be done once a day. Giveaway ends September 7th and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email or a new winner will be selected.

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    August 25, 2009

    Review: Goody Goody Gunshots by Sammi Carter

    Coming home from her brother’s house late one night, candy shop owner Abby Shaw, almost runs into a man limping across the street. Shaken, Abby takes a second to ensure she didn’t hit the man. Once that is clear a spark of anger is building up steam but before she can yell at the man to be more careful gunshots ring out and the man is hit. Now scared out of her wits Abby returns to her brother’s house to call the police and get her brother. When they meet the police at the scene of the crime, there is nothing. No body, no blood and no sign of foul play.

    Unable to prove what she saw Abby is dejected until she sees the man she almost hit a few days later. But trying to track him down is attracting all kinds of unwanted attention and pretty soon a body turns up and imagine everyone’s surprise when it’s the man Abby almost hit.

    Goody, Goody Gunshots was much better than the previous book in the series Peppermint Twisted. With cozies it gets pretty unbelievable when the main character keeps stumbling upon bodies and solving the murder each and every time but this one was a little different. Abby didn’t find the body. Yes she was nearby but she didn’t find it. And she didn’t start investigating the murder against the advice of her cop boyfriend she merely tried to find out who the dead man was. I enjoyed seeing this difference after her aggressiveness let me down in Peppermint Twisted. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment, Sucker Punch .

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    August 23, 2009

    Review: Intertwined by Gena Showalter

    Aden Stone is not your average sixteen-year-old. He has four human souls living inside him and each one has a special gift. One can time-travel, one can see the future, one can raise the dead and one can posses the body of another human.

    Life with these voices inside his head has lead to one adoptive family after another along with time in and out of institutions. In his current home, a ranch for troubled boys, Aden’s greatest wish is to attend the local high school instead of being home schooled. This is because a chance encounter with a local girl named Mary Ann Gray has given Aden a highly sought after moment of quiet. Somehow being around Mary Ann silences the voices inside his head.

    Strangely drawn to each other yet repelled at the same time Aden and Mary Ann soon meet another pair, Victoria and Riley. It seems as if they also special abilities and the four become friends with something in common.

    Intertwined was an outstanding paranormal young adult read. It had unique storyline with well developed characters. It was never predictable and very different than most paranormal books out there. Filled with supernatural creatures, Showalter gives just enough detail about each type that its easy to keep them and their powers straight.

    At 442 pages Intertwined is filled with so much adventure that the pages flew by and I finished it within 2 days. The story of one of the voices is resolved in the end and I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment of Aden's story. I recommend this book for anyone who loves young adult and paranormal reading.

    Reviewed for I Just Finished

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    August 18, 2009

    Blog Tour & Review: Bleak History by John Shirley

    BLEAK HISTORY, already optioned for a feature film, is an original dark and gritty urban fantasy novel by the acclaimed and award-winning author John Shirley. In near-future New York City, bounty hunter Gabriel Bleak, a man blessed and cursed with the ability to communicate with the dead, is relentlessly hunted by a clandestine government organization with mysterious links to his past. Now Bleak and other members of the Shadow Community--a slowly growing underground group who all have supernatural abilities, and who all considered a threat to national security--must uncover the looming danger brought about by those at the upper echelons of power--a return to the dark ages…and quite possibly a capitulation to the demonic.

    My Review:
    Bleak History was definitely a surprising read for me. I was expecting a paranormal/urban fantasy that is pretty similar to a lot that I’ve read recently but Shirley really kicks it up a notch with Gabriel Bleak and the ShadowComm members. It’s really different than any urban fantasy that I’ve ever read. There is a lot of detail in the numerous characters and the story has a lot of depth. It isn’t the usual puff piece that has every cliché in the genre. And the book has its own unique theories about the paranormal and spiritual afterlife. I especially loved the ending which I of course I won’t divulge ;)

    I really enjoyed the way Gabriel wasn’t your average hero. He was just a guy trying to get through life with an amazing talent. The only down side to the book for me was the overwhelming number of different terms and groups that Shirley imagined for the book. It got a little confusing at times but once I was about a third of the way through the book it became easier to remember what was what in the story.

    I recommend Bleak History for anyone who loves reading Urban Fantasy.

    More Tour Participants:
    I Heart Monster
    Debbie’s World of Books
    Sci-Fi Guy
    A Journey of Books
    Simply Vamptastic
    Starting Fresh
    Booksie’s Blog
    Falling Off The Shelf
    Patricia’s Vampire Notes
    My Friend Amy
    Cheryl’s Book Nook
    Morbid Romantic
    Drey’s Library
    Temple Library Reviews
    Jeanne’s Ramblings
    Never Not Reading
    My Guilty Pleasures
    Fantasy Freak

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    August 14, 2009

    Review: Romance at the Edge: In Other Worlds - Anthology

    Product Description:
    A possessive cyborg captures a mutant thief come to steal a priceless Rock; he'll let her have it, if he can have her…for three days and three nights.

    A Dominant soldier demands repayment for rescuing a high society lawyer from certain death at the jaws of a giant saurian. She's dreamed of a man like him; he's starred in her wickedest fantasies. Now she has to submit…or else.

    A loyal, traditionalist male desires a Royal fem determined to live by the old, matriarchal ways. He'll claim her; she'll claim him; they'll claim each other. Once they settle the question of who's on top.

    An Earth yet to come, an Earth that may never be, and a planet far, far away… In Other Worlds, featuring erotic romances from NY Times and USA Today bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson, USA Today bestselling author Angela Knight, and introducing Camille Anthony.

    My Review:
    The only reason I selected this to read was because I'm a huge MaryJanice Davidson fan but I enjoyed all three stories in the book.

    My favorite was of course MJD's Beggarman, Thief. I just love her snarky heroines and easy to love heroes.

    Keep in mind that all three of these stories are all hot and steamy Erotic Romance stories. And although the acts in Stranded by Angela Knight are not my cup of tea the story was still very enjoyable.

    Camille Anthony finished up the book with Light on Her Toes. This was my least favorite of the three. The alien terms where hard to get through even though there was a glossary at the end. It just seemed too much work for a quick anthology but I ended up liking it.

    I recommend this one for anyone who likes their romance a little spicy.

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    August 13, 2009

    Giveaway: Dark Hunger by Rita Herron

    WINNERS: Crystal in Kentucky, Linda in Texas, Lorraine in Canada, Cheryl in Indiana

    Author's Website

    Reporter Annabelle Armstrong will go to any lengths to deliver a story, even track down Quinton Valtrez, a man she believes is a coldhearted assassin. Quinton has fought his demonic powers since he was a child. Now using his gifts for the good of national security, he can't let himself be distracted by the beautiful, determined Annabelle. A wicked enemy is out for vengeance, a demon who wants to draw Quinton into a life of pure evil and is willing to use Annabelle as bait. To save her, Quinton must achieve the near impossible: tame the sinister force that is both his inheritance and his curse before it claims him forever.

    “The chemistry between Annabelle and Vincent practically leaps off the page and leaves the reader hungering for more.” –

  • To enter to win one of five copies leave a comment here telling me what your name would be if you were a demon. Mine would be Monstro. LOL

  • For one more extra entry, Tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link in a comment. For your convenience, you can use the "share this" link on the bottom right of this post. Twitter entries can be done once a day.

  • Giveaway ends August 25th and winners have 48 hours to respond to the winning email or a new winner is selected. Open to residents of the US and Canada only. No PO Boxes please.

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