Monday, 26 August 2013

My Rockstar: Louise Rozett AND an amazing giveaway!!!

So, here is one of my favorite authors, Louise Rozett, who you are already familiar with.  She is the author of an amazing series called Confessions.  So far, two books have been released (Confessions of an Angry Girl and Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend) and both the books are great.  I really can't wait to hear more of Rose Zarelli in the next installment.

You want to know why Louise is my rockstar?  First is pretty obvious, she is an author, well, an amazing author.  You have to see how she ends her every chapter in the Confessions series.  I am a big fan of those endings.  And then there is the portrayal of high school drama in a way that you want it to.   Well, you will believe me when you read her books..

And she is here, in "Books Are Magic", giving us a great guest post and still greater giveaway.  Enjoy!!!

In My Habitat

- Guest Post by Louise Rozett

Hello! I guess it’s a cliché to write about how much you love your desk and chair, and your dog (or cat, or fish, or turtle, etc.), but there’s a reason why these are the first things writers think about when they think about where they write. If you don’t have the right desk and chair, writing can literally be painful! And writing is SUPER solitary, so it’s nice to have some company and inspiration, which I think is what pets often are for writers.

Anywhooo, now that I’ve told you what a cliché I am...I’m very excited to be telling you about my NEW favorite place to write! 2013 has been a difficult but exciting year for me, and I’ve spent most of it in Los Angeles, staying with friends and subletting lots of different places, but now...finally...I have my own place again. My dog Lester and I live in a very cute, teeny-tiny house (I call it the Hobbit House) that has...wait for office. I have never had my own office before and it is FANTASTIC! Here you can see my “desk,” which is actually an old farmhouse table (or so I was told by the woman who sold it to me), and a vintage 1950s chair. I will confess to you that these are pretty much the only pieces of furniture I have right now, but I love them, and I feel that they make me VERY creative! (Or they distract me, because I spend a lot of time thinking about how much I like them. Not sure which it is.)

(Okay, wait, I do have more furniture than the desk and the chair. The white cabinet is the first piece of furniture I bought, and I got it at a yard sale—what a find! Then underneath that is an awesome piece of “trampware,” which was explained to me as furniture made during the Depression from any kind of scraps people could find. This tiny bookcase was decorated with pieces of a picket fence.)

One of the greatest things about Los Angeles is the canyons—there are all sorts of amazing canyons with fantastic hikes. Because LA is a city where a lot of people have jobs with unusual schedules, there are always people hiking, any time of the day. My favorite time to hike is around 7 pm, because the sunsets are stunning. Usually, I listen to podcasts when I hike—my current obsession is Mark Maron’s WTF podcast (which is mostly about comedy but also about acting and music and writing and being creative in general). Also, I recently started listening to RadioLab, which I love (when I can follow it—those guys go DEEP into physics and astronomy and chemistry sometimes), and of course there’s the brilliant old standby, This American Life. But sometimes, if I really need to think something through, or if I want to feel a little more connected to the world and the natural beauty of the canyon, I’ll go without headphones. (Yes, I feel a little naked without them, which I find disturbing. It shouldn’t be weird to not have things plugging up your ears.) Anyway, if you look at this picture of a bookshelf that is currently serving as a shoe rack because most of my books are still in storage back east, you’ll see my hiking boots at the bottom right! (You will also see that Lester has taken chunks out of my two pairs of clogs. Nice, Lester—thanks.)

And then, of course, there’s my greatest, most favorite distraction—Lester. Lester seems to understand when I need to hole up and write and not be disturbed. And sometimes he respects that, and sometimes, well, he doesn’t feel like respecting that, and he decides to shred one of his toys so I’ll come running into the room. (Other times he just needs to go outside and take care of business. Can’t blame him for that.) Lester is a treat to be around, and he’s also deliciously squeezable. I can waste hours of the day lying on the floor, squishing him—his cute face, his giant paws, his stretch-limo belly—while he’s trying to sleep. I’m sure it’s annoying. Actually, maybe when he gets annoyed with me, he’s telling me to get off my butt and get back to my desk.

And eventually, I do. I go back to my 1950s chair, and I sit at my farmhouse desk with the view of the morning glories out the window, and I try to write, and I feel really lucky that there’s something in the world that I love to do.


Louise is giving away one copy of her latest release "Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend" to one lucky winner from U.S.

Enter the giveaway through Rafflecopter.  Giveaway ends September 7th, 2013!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Review: Surface by Tiffany Daune

If you know about me, you would also know 'mermaids' is one of the words that will make me read a book.  When I picked up this book, I was excited and I am still more excited to read the next novel in the series.

Original Title: Surface
Series: Surface #1
Author: Tiffany Daune
Publisher: Noble Young Adult
Release Date: February 2013
Source:Xpresso Book Tours
Genre: Fantasy

Bound to the water bound to land, a Siren’s soul will never be safe on either side of the ocean’s surface. Hidden beneath the rolling waves lies the secret to Theia’s past and as she unveils each haunting truth, she realizes the last seventeen years of her life have been a lie. Now, drawn into a mysterious new world and with nowhere to turn, Theia must place her trust in Luc, a beautiful boy who stops her heart with each dazzling smile, but even his unearthly charm can’t hide the truth—he has secrets— dark secrets binding him to his world—an underwater world where Theia will never belong—a world determined to destroy her soul.


The story kicks off with Theia being kidnapped and dumped in the ocean.  After being bitten and thrown off by 'evil' mermaids, she is saved by a beautiful Artagasian named Luc.  Luc takes her to his underwater home and treats her injuries.  The fact that she shares a history with Luc and the mystery that she can breath under water makes this side of the story more interesting.

Meanwhile, Luc's sister, Celeste and her friend Angelique go to the surface and make friends with humans, even when she knows that she has only a meagre life span of nearly 4 hours above surface.  Not only that, Celeste is falling in love with Reid, a human, which is forbidden by the Artagasian laws. 

Meanwhile, Hugh is trying to kill Theia for her blood.  I know I am not making much sense here, but you will have to read the book to learn more..

The best thing about this novel is the world building.  It was just perfect, to create a history for the Artagasians and bringing in mermaids as evil.  I loved the plot as well and 'some' of the characters. 

We all have characters that we hate and love in all the books.  I hated Celeste the most in this book.  She is so egoistical, that I want to pummel her.  The character that I loved the most are Dumas and Madeleine.  Their sacrifice and affection towards each other make me want to hug them and console them.

And yes, coming to the other not-so-good parts..  I can't understand the insta-love between Theia and Luc.  I just don't get it.  How did that happen?  Please don't give me this soulmate thing.  See I am a romantic, but even I know that the readers can't just accept an insta-love without reason as soulmate thing.  And did I tell you that I hate Celeste?  I just HATE her.

Apart from these two major problems, I loved and enjoyed this book.  It's fast paced and the world and plot just sucked me into it.

I will definitely read the next book..


1. Surface - Buy @ Amazon
2. Landlocked - Expected publication July 30th 2014

Friday, 23 August 2013

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Diamonds and Toads: A Modern Fairy Tale by K.E. Saxon | Review

Hmm, I am still thinking of what I would rate this novel.  Actually, I am still thinking whether I liked it or not..

Maybe, I will come to a conclusion at the end of this review.

Original Title: Diamonds and Toads: A Modern Fairy Tale
Author: K.E. Saxon
Publisher: Passion Flower Publishing
Release Date: September 23rd 2011
Source:Review copy from the publisher
Genre: Fantasy, Erotica, Fairy-tales

Sugar and spice and everything nice...and, oh yes, naughty—times twice. 

Together, sweet Delilah and wicked Isadora make the perfect woman. But the Perrault family fairy is a troublemaker and imbues diamonds upon one sister and toads upon the other. Now up is down and down is up in a world where no good deed goes unpunished. Leather, blindfolds, and handcuffs purge sweet of all reserve. A few misspoken words of lust gives wicked a whole new meaning. 

Once upon a time, there were two sisters, one cursed and one blessed by fairy magic… 

Bibbidee-bobbidi-boo, They’re naughty. How about you?


Delilah and Isadora are step-sisters in the Perrault family.  While Delilah is innocent and shy, Isadora, with her typical model-like body, is so outgoing, but mean to others.  The fate of these two sisters is decided when the Perrault family fairy blesses Delilah with diamonds and curses Isadora from the power of speech.

Actually, I think both the sisters are blessed, but differently, based on their attitudes.  Because it lead to good things in the end.  The sisters are strong and lovable.  Each have their reasons for being who they are.  And I was able to understand their positions well, because most of us are facing/hearing those issues often.  I enjoyed the way with which the author brought out both the stories in one situation, like during the marriage of Delilah, Isadora is already cursed, and the readers didn't know about it yet.

When I picked up this novel, I seriously didn't expect the plot to be like this.  What I explained above is not the story actually, it's the base.  The main story contains erotic contents as well.  Well, I am not complaining about that.  But, I think the title is the problem for me.  I am reading erotica in a fairy tale.  That statement sounds bad, right?  That's exactly my problem with the book.

Still thinking..

Did I like the book?  Yes
Do I have anything that I don't like?  Yes - the title and the guilty feeling that I have
Do you want to read more about this?  While I enjoyed this novel, I don't think I want to read it again or even read more about it.

The rating is 3.5 stars then.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Jack Canon’s American Destiny (Excerpt) by Greg Sandora

Change is seldom easy, but moving into our new offices the final year of the  campaign was anything but hard. Sandy decorated our campaign offices with style,  comfortable furnishings, light- colored woods, and plenty of glass. She said her  taste was as big as my pocketbook, and lucky for us, friends of the campaign had  donated plenty of cash to do the job right.Sandy popped her head around the door. Dressed in a black skirt and form-fitting zebra print blouse, she carefully positioned the toe end of her  black stilettos toward the floor to keep the door from closing. I could just see  the faint line between her toes as her foot was flexed.
We had a tight spring closer installed right after one of my senior staff  accidentally left the door ajar. There are a lot of sensitive issues discussed  in here we would never want the rest of the office to know.
“Jack, you’ve got senior staff in 20 minutes.” Sandy’s voice had an almost  musical quality. She rarely spoke to me in anything but the most dulcet tones, a  trait which matched her pleasing personality.
“Hey, Sandy,” I jumped up from my seat and moved quickly towards her.
“Come with me; I want to show you something.”
“What’s going on, Jack? You seem excited.”
I didn’t answer – instead I led her gently by the arm toward the seventh  floor elevator. We passed several staff members busy working at their desks,  each calling out like dominoes, one after the other, “Hey Jack.” I smiled and  gave thumbs up as Sandy and I hurried past.
“Damn, the elevator’s busy; let’s take the stairs.”
“Do we have enough time, Jack?” Sounding concerned as we turned the corner.
Ignoring the question, I pushed open the door and started down the steps.  Sandy had one hand gripping the cold metal railing and her other digging into my  arm for support, luckily she had short nails. A couple of years ago, I mentioned  I didn’t like the plastic ones she was wearing. The next day she came into the  office, plopped both hands down on my desk, and said, “I cut my nails, Jack!”

Thursday, 8 August 2013

In My Habitat ~ Guest Post by Elisabeth Wolf ~ Author of "Lulu in LA LA Land"

Today, I am very happy to have Elisabeth Wolf here with us.  She has written an amazing middle grade book, "Lulu in LA LA Land".

And Elisabeth has written an amazing guest post for us as well.  Enjoy the guest post and the amazing pictures!


- Guest Post by Elisabeth Wolf

Here’s what I need to write when I want to write my best: a long table; a view of nature; soft quiet or bird song; my dog, Winnie.  I wrote Lulu in LA LA Land sitting in three different places:  my dining room in Pacific Palisades, California; my parent’s dining room in Cambria, California; The Perch in Kennebunk, Maine.  Each of these places has a long wooden table where I can write and look out windows.  Oh, and Winnie always lies nearby.

Here are pictures of the three places I write.

This is my dining room in Pacific Palisades.  Outside the window is a native garden that I planted.  In the background you can see the “V” shaped trunk of a huge Sycamore Tree and on the right side are red leaves of a Western Red Bud Tree.  Both of these trees start losing their leaves in September and grow new ones around March.  I can judge how VERY long I’ve been writing by watching the leaves come and go.  Also, since I mostly grow native plants (meaning plants that have been growing in my neighborhood long before people ever built houses there), my garden attracts local birds.  Watching hummingbirds, finches, and scrub jays, I feel like I have visitors throughout the day while I’m working.  My main character, Lulu, grows native plants and watches birds.

This is my parents’ dining room in Cambria, California.  Their backyard overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  I have spent zillions of hours looking out those windows and watching fog (as you can see now), sea otters, pelicans, gulls, dolphins, fishing boats, and smashing waves.  In my story, Lulu worries about trash in the seas and spends time arranging beach clean ups.  Well, now you can see exactly how and why I wrote about that!

Here is where I am right now.  All summer I live in a small coastal town in Maine.  My old house is on three floors, and I write on the top floor.  I named the house The Perch.  I’ll show you why.  Here’s what I see from my desk:

I sit up high near the top of an old Oak Tree.  While I write, its leaves wiggle at me.  If I stare long enough, the dark and light green lichen and mosses growing on the trunk form a pattern.  Mostly, I listen to lapping waves and rustling leaves and watch the tide go way out and then come way back in. If the ocean breeze reaches as far and high as the open windows across the front of my writing table, I sometimes smell dried fish and seaweed.

My son, Philip, is 15 and works down at the cove you see in the distance.  His job is rowing little kids to a nearby island.  I watch him steadily stroke across the water until I lose sight of him behind the Oak branches. Lulu talks about protecting old trees. .  His job is rowing little kids to a nearby island.  I watch him steadily stroke across the water until I lose sight of him behind the Oak branches. In my book, Lulu talks about protecting old trees.  When you read this section, think about the Oak you see here.  Staring at and wondering about this tree and other huge old trees inspired me to write that part.

There are two other things you should know about my writing world.  First, I can’t write hungry.  If I try, all I do is think about food.  So, during the time I work, I get up and go to the kitchen lots of times.  I love chocolate and can eat it any time of day.  In my kitchen I keep bowls full of whatever fruit is in season.  I’ll devour fruit all day long.  I just ate a nectarine.  Lulu loves farmers’ markets and that’s where I always go to buy fruit.

Second is Winnie!

He keeps me company when I write – even if it means he lies under my table for hours (like in this picture). Or, in the picture below, he guards the entrance of the third floor of The Perch.  Rarely, does anyone climb up all the stairs to look for me when I am writing, but if anyone tries, they have to get past Winnie!  Of course, he’s not fierce at all.  He’s loveable and would do anything for a belly rub.  Lulu has a Pug, named Watson.  Watson waddles about being silly and smelly.  Lulu loves him anyway.  When you read about Watson, think of Winnie (who isn’t smelly or silly but is always sandy and dirty).

Most of all, when I write, I surround myself with what makes me happy and secure.  Actually, now that I think about it, I try, as much as possible, to fill my life with what makes me happy and safe.  I hope you do too.


Elisabeth, thanks for stopping by!!!  "Books Are Magic" wishes you all the best for all your future endeavours.

Lulu in LA LA Land by Elisabeth Wolf | ARC Review

Have you ever doubted that you are not spending enough time with your family?  Worse, do you have your priorities wrong - something over family?  You should read this...

Original Title: Lulu in LA LA Land
Author: Elisabeth Wolf
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: August 6th 2013
Source: ARC from publisher
Genre: Middle Grade

Lights! Camera! ACTION! Lulu, a soon-to-be 11-year-old living in Los Angeles, prefers gardening to primping and homemade guacamole to five-star restaurants. You'd never know that Lulu is the daughter of Hollywood's A-List power couple. This year Lulu is determined to throw the kind of birthday party her glamorous parents might actually attend (which means Watson the pug is not invited). But it's so not Lulu. Should she morph into the Tween Queen of Tinseltown or stay true to her book-loving, mis-matched socks self?

Fall in love with Lulu as she tells her story in an innovative script-novel hybrid. After all, everyone is LA is writing a screenplay!


11-year old Lulu has everything.  She is the second daughter of Hollywood's most famous director mom and actor dad. Obviously, she have no problem with money as well.  Lulu don't like all this LA things like shopping, make-up, etc.  She is content with cleaning the beaches, gardening with her best friend Sophia, dressing all things orange and reading every possible book at hand.

But, her one problem is her time with her parents.  So, when her birthday arrives, she is so determined to make her parents come for her birthday party, which they have never attended so far.  She is even ready to work with her Queenbee sister, Alexis, to plan the Spa-tacular party, which her parents will like; even accepting to give up her favorite color, orange, for the invitations.  But, everything shatters, when her parents were nominated for Oscar and the Oscar award ceremony is happening right on her birthday.  So, how is smart Lulu and the Queenbee Lex going to pull out this thing?

I loved this plot.  It's more important to today's men and women.  They never understand that "spending time with children is more important than spending money on children".


I know money is important; but not more than your family and definitely not more than your children.  That message was well provided and received as well.  It will be a whip-lash to the parents who leave their children at home without proper care and a reminder to others that this situation should never occur to our own children.

The characters were so adorable.  All of them.  Lulu, Lex, Sophia, Jenna, Elena (Lulu's momny - mommy+nanny), Lulu's parents and her dog, Watson.  I left a few, because I don't want to explain the whole story here, but I like those characters too.  Everybody has that bond of family and friendship in them, that I can't help loving.

The writing is okay for me; not so good or bad.  It could be improved; but seeing this is a debut, this is a good effort on her writing.

I especially loved loved loved the ending.  It was written so delightful that I felt so happy even hours later. Keep it coming, Lulu!

This is not just a children's read.  It's for adults as well, adults who 'should' care more about their family more than anything -- ANYTHING.

Recommended for all ages!

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