Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Giveaway: Tempest by Julie Cross

Book One

This giveaway is now closed as of 2/2/12
I was tickled pink when the publicist, Tara, contacted me to offer one of the readers of this blog a chance to win a copy of Tempest, the first book of a series.

Time travel is the theme. Nineteen-year-old Jackson has to jump back in time to save his girlfriend, Holly, who was shot and killed. He's gone back in time before and  it was all in fun, but it's different this time. He was always able to return, but this time he's stuck. He can't get back to the present. He has to figure out some way to save Holly--and himself! The killers go back in time looking for him. He has a choice: be recruited or die. Jackson has to figure out his abilities, why the murderers want him and how it all factors into a decision that could possibly save the entire world.

Well, this book opens up a lot of questions and I want answers! If it intrigues you as well, just leave a comment telling me if you've read any other book that involves time travel. If you haven't, that's fine, just say so. Don't forget your email address so you may be contacted if you're the winner. That is all. The book will come directly from the publisher.

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only at publicist's request. It ends Thursday, February 2, 2012

My thanks to Tara and St. Martins Griffin for making this giveaway possible.

Tempest was released by St. Martins Griffin Press on January 17, 2012.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close...some thoughts...

As soon as I saw the preview trailer in the theater for this movie, I wanted to see it when it came out. I began to read reviews in the paper to see what people thought of it and was surprised to see really snarky comments. There were things like it's trying so hard to be an Oscar contender, it's overly sentimental, etc. Sometimes I am influenced by reviews, but I saw coming attractions again and really wanted to check it out, so I did. Here's a description from Warner Bros about what the film is about...

Oskar (Thomas Horn) is convinced that his father (Tom Hanks), who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has left a final message for him hidden somewhere in the city. Feeling disconnected from his grieving mother (Sandra Bullock) and driven by a relentlessly active mind that refuses to believe in things that can't be observed, Oskar begins searching New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father's closet. His journey through the five boroughs takes him beyond his own loss to a greater understanding of the observable world around him.

The film focuses on Oskar as he struggles to process his father's death. Oskar tries to hold on to his father as long as possible by pursuing a journey to discover the lock that fits his father's key. It looks at 9/11 through the eyes of a child that is intimately affected by it. I had no idea the film was based on a novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Yes, I understand some of the criticisms about it, but I think people tend to over think things. True they didn't show a lot of the father (Hanks) or the mother (Bullock), but the story was really about the kid and how he dealt with his loss. There were scenes of the child going about his day the morning of the event. It made me think so much of my own experience. I was in NY that day in a school and I remember exactly what room I was in and how I was facing the window when a teacher's assistant received a call from her daughter telling her what was going on. My first thought was: A plane hit the World Trade Center? How could the pilot not see that big building? Then the assistant screamed that another plane hit the second building. I just wasn't processing this. I thought: Didn't that idiot see a plane hit the first building?! After a few seconds, I realized something was very wrong. Watching this film brought me back to that day.

I loved the quirky twists and turns of the film. It's a little lesson in the geography and culture of New York City and the characters that populate the town. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close isn't a perfect film or radically profound, but it is a nice story of a little boy's loss; it makes one think about what it takes to overcome such loss. It will lead you to examine your own and the mortality of others.

What legacy do you want to leave?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tempest by Julie Cross. Is time travel the next theme in YA?

Book One
Tempest, the debut novel of Julie Cross has been getting some buzz. It's the first book in a trilogy and it plays with time--literally--as the teen main character is a time traveler of sorts. This isn't a common theme in YA...check out the description.

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.


Read the first 4 chapters of TEMPEST by Julie Cross now at

We won't have to wait long for the release. Tempest comes out Tuesday, January 17, 2012 by St. Martins Press.


Friday, January 13, 2012

And the Winner of The Night Swimmer is...

The Winner of The Night Swimmer is Jean Vogle! Please email me with your information so that I can pass it on to the publisher.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy Release Day and Book Giveaway: The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant

As soon as I saw the cover of this book, it intrigued me. It's lush, mysterious and haunting. I had to know what it was about. Here it is...

The Night Swimmer, Matt Bondurant’s third book, is a utterly riveting modern gothic novel of marriage and belonging, confirming his gift for storytelling that transports and enthralls.

It's a modern gothic tale of a young American couple who win a pub on the southernmost tip of Ireland.  While Fred dives into the life of a pub-owner, Elly finds the perfect place to pursue her passion, long-distance open water swimming.  She begins taking the ferry out to the island of Cape Clear, a desolate spot eight miles out in the Atlantic known for its roiling seas, rocky coasts, and an ancient clan descended from the Irish saints who have ruled the island for centuries.  Fred and Elly become more and more deeply embroiled in the island’s troubles—the mysterious tragedy that shrouds its inhabitants and a dangerous feud between an enigmatic farmer and a powerful family who has no use for outsiders.  

A film based on the author's prior book, The Wettest County in the World, directed by John Hillcoat (The Road) and starring Shia Labeouf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, and Guy Pearce, will be released on April 20, 2012 by The Weinstein Company.

The publicist is offering a lucky reader the chance to fall into the mystical world of this book. If you're interested in becoming that reader, just leave a comment about your impression of the story as it's described. That is all. Don't forget to leave your email so you may be contacted if you're the winner.

The giveaway is open to residents of the US only at publicist's request. It ends Friday, January 13, 2012.

The Night Swimmer released January 10, 2012 by Scribner.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cinderella as a teenage cyborg? Check out Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Book One
I received this ARC and I can't wait to dig into it. A lot of classic fairy tales are being re-envisioned and written with a modern twist. Cinder, book one of The Lunar Chronicles is a new spin on the old classic Cinderella. Check it out...

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

There will be an author event on January 9th as a Facebook/ Twitter party at 7:00 EST.

Vistit Marissa Meyer on her blog and learn where she'll be doing book signings:

Follow her on Twitter:

Cinder released January 3, 2012 by Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)


And the Winner of Switched by Amanda Hocking is...

Thanks for dropping in girls. I won't keep you waiting. The winner of Switched, the first book in the Trylle series is...

Sierra Cullen!!!

Congratulations, Sierra. Please email me your address so it may be passed on to the publisher. If the winner doesn't respond in 24 hours, another will be chosen in her place.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Release Day and Book Giveaway: Switched, a Trylle novel by publishing sensation, Amanda Hocking

Book One
Giveaway has ended as of 1/6/12

Hi guys! I'm happy to offer you a chance to get Switched, the first book in the Trylle series by Amanda Hocking. She's the twenty-something year old, self-published writer, that was so successful, a major publisher, St Martin's Griffin decided she was worth taking on! Now her books are getting a make-over and big push. Check out the books description...

When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.

Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…

As a special gift to readers, this book contains a new, never-before-published bonus story, “The Vittra Attacks,” set in the magical world of the Trylle.

The publisher wants you to learn what make her stories so compelling. They're making a copy of her book available for one lucky winner, right here at Writing is A Blessing. If you'd like the chance to recieve it, just leave a comment telling me if you've ever heard of Hocking before or read any of her books. Thats all. Please don't forget to leave your email, so you can be contacted if you're the winner.

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only at publishers request. It ends Friday, January 6, 2012.


Happy Release Day! A Review of A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

A Walk Across the Sun is the debut novel of Corban Addison. When I first learned of this book, the topic caught my attention as I've seen a number of documentaries on the the issue of human trafficking. I also recently read about this topic in the Fall edition of Columbia Magazine published by Columbia University. Check out the books description...

Corban Addison leads readers on a chilling, eye-opening journey into Mumbai's seedy underworld--and the nightmare of two orphaned girls swept into the international sex trade.

When a tsunami rages through their coastal town in India, 17-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her 15-year-old sister Sita are left orphaned and homeless. With almost everyone they know suddenly erased from the face of the earth, the girls set out for the convent where they attend school. They are abducted almost immediately and sold to a Mumbai brothel owner, beginning a hellish descent into the bowels of the sex trade.

Halfway across the world, Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke faces his own personal and professional crisis-and makes the fateful decision to pursue a pro bono sabbatical working in India for an NGO that prosecutes the subcontinent's human traffickers. There, his conscience awakens as he sees firsthand the horrors of the trade in human flesh, and the corrupt judicial system that fosters it. Learning of the fate of Ahalya and Sita, Clarke makes it his personal mission to rescue them, setting the stage for a riveting showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals. 

Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down.  And when I had to put it down, I couldn't wait to get back to it! The reader is sucked right into the incredibly sad misfortune of these two sisters. It's an adult book, but many parts read as YA because alternating chapters are written from the perspective of the sisters. The story progresses back and forth between the sisters, Ahalya, Sita and the lawyer, Thomas Clark.
 The author, Corban Addison has amazing writing skills. It's hard to believe this is his first book!  He actually is an attorney and has an interest in human rights issues. His expertise and passion certainly come across in the story. He expertly weaves the plight of the two sisters with the personal and marital crisis of Clark, the attorney, so not only are you on the edge of your seat as you flip through the pages to learn the fate of the girls, you also wonder what will become of Clark, professionally as well as in his marriage. This story will open your eyes to how prevalent the international sex trade is. It's often going on right in front of your eyes and you don't have a clue.
 A Walk Across the Sun is an amazing story filled with intrigue, tragedy, action and joy. You'll be thinking about it long after the last page is turned. It releases today, 12/3/12 by Silver Oak/ Sterling Publishing.