Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spotlight: Spelled by Betsy Schow Feature + Giveaway


By Betsy Schow

Sourcebooks Fire

June 2, 2015

Advance Praise for Spelled:

A cute adventure with romance set in a world full of fairy-tale mash-ups. Readers will love Dorthea’s evolution from spoiled princess to strong, confident heroine… For Oz fans, this work is a great clean-read alternative to Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die.” -School Library Journal

“This wickedly funny, fast-paced adventure has it all: brains, courage, and heart. (Plus a kickin’ pair of heels.) .” --Jen Calonita, author of The Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Fairy Tale Reform School series

“Fairy tale survival rule #1, do NOT read this book late at night. You will wake up your entire family with loud laughter. Fairy tale survival rule #2, if you love the Wizard of Oz, clever fairy tale mash-ups, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen until the very end, you MUST read Spelled.” --J Scott Savage, award winning author of Farworld, Case File 13, and the Mysteries of Cove series.

A hilarious and snarky reimagining of the world of Oz, along with many other fairy tales injected throughout, "Spelled" is one fabulous read…Kick off those silver slippers and tuck in with this wonderful tale!” —Senator Sipes, Lil Book Bug (Palmdale, CA)

Book Info:

Talk about unhappily ever after. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.
Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving Dorthea with hair made up of emerald flames and the kingdom in chaos. Her parents and everyone she loves are stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed-off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.
Amazon | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kindle |  Nook
Betsy Schow:

Betsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with nonprofits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals.

Excerpt from Spelled:
Most of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered.
Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life. He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes.
Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.”
The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move.
I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.”
“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.
In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”
Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.
I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me.
Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone.
After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better.
Until he opened his mouth again.
“Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?”
Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are.
And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.
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**Please note this giveaway is being hosted by the publisher, NOT Melissa's Midnight Musings

Friday, May 15, 2015

Flying Away For A While

I'm getting ready to fly up to Vancouver B.C. to see my husband for the first time in about 7 months. I'll be leaving later this morning and I can't wait!

Unfortunately I will be a bit of a zombie seeing as I just finished up a stretch of working 7 days in a row.

Although it won't be a long trip, just six days,  I'm super glad to get to spend time with him for at least a little while. This whole long distance marriage thing is hard. I probably won't read a whole lot while I'm there, but I do have plenty of books on my Kindle if I do decide to take a reading break.

I have one upcoming post scheduled that includes a giveaway being hosted by the publisher so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Sound of Glass by Karen White

The Sound of Glass

Title: The Sound of Glass
Author: Karen White
Publisher: NAL
Published: May 12, 2015
Format: E-ARC
Pages: 428
Dates Read: April 26-May 03rd
Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: 4 Stars
Snippet That Stuck With Me:
"You are so much stronger and braver than you think you are....You are strong at the broken places Synopsis:
The New York Times bestselling author of A Long Time Gone now explores a Southern family’s buried history, which will change the life of the woman who unearths it, secret by shattering secret.

It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life—and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death—Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old half-brother.

Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country

Melissa's Musings:

This book is filled with a lot of layers. The stories of each of the different characters all intertwine in their own unique way. The story is made up of equal  parts intrigue, mystery, love, family growth and forgiveness.

My favorite character was Merritt. She is very rough on the outside, and keeps to herself a lot. She moved to the South to start over, to get away from years of bad memories, to get a fresh start since the death of her husband. What she didn't bargain for was to end up living with her much younger stepmother and her ten year old half brother Owen.

The interactions between Merritt and Owen are very sweet, because even though there's such an age difference between them, they are a lot alike. Which makes sense, since they're siblings. As a reader you get to experience them open up and relax a lot throughout the book.

I like the softer side of Merritt toward the end of the novel. It makes her relationship with Gibbes all that more believable.

When I first read the inklings of the relationship between Gibbes (Merrit's husband's younger brother) I thought it was going to end up being ridiculously corny. Thankfully the progression of their relationship was natural. It was unforced, and it didn't feel like insta-love.

The writing is nicely paced for the most part. Though, it did feel overly simplified in some parts but there were other more descriptive sections that made up for it. I especially like the metaphors regarding the sea glass, particularly that the sound of the wind chimes in Merrit's inherited house are clapping to welcome her.

The sound of glass comes up as a descriptive theme throughout the novel and I feel that the comparisons are fitting to Merritts growth as a character, being that there are spots in the book where it's mentioned that just because it's glass doesn't mean that it's necessarily as fragile as you might think, and that it's weathered a lot of turbulence through years tumbling in the sea.

There's also mystery surrounding a plane crash and the interconnectedness of Merritt and Cal's families at an earlier time  which gave me chills.

I do have to put out one warning for people that may be sensitive to it. This book does deal with the topic of physical/emotional abuse.  It's not overly dramatic, but it is described in a few scenes, so beware of that if it's something that may be sensitive for you as a reader.

There are a lot of good hearted quotes from Merritt's stepmother Loralee. I'm rather ambivalent about these. At first I thought they were corny and silly, but then they seemed to get more mature as the book progressed, so they kind of grew on me.

Overall, this is a book that I would definitely recommend.