Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Wedding Cake Girl, by Anne Pfeffer


Seventeen-year-old Alexandra spends so much time helping others realize their dreams that she never has time for her own. An expert ocean diver and reluctant maker of wedding cakes, she longs to leave roses and frosting behind to study oceanography. Alex’s mother won’t have it—needy and dependent, Mom can’t run the family wedding cake business on her own.

No matter what Alex does, things only get worse for her. When she saves a man's life while scuba diving and becomes the local hero, Mom's angry with Alex for going diving at all. Mom discourages Alex's new friendship with Jeremy, a fun and insanely wealthy boy who happens to have a secret. Then, Alex's best friend, Zack, a hunky island guy, starts to take an interest in her as well. The problem is, he's dating another girl.

As Alex struggles to learn where she stands between her two difficult and confusing Prince Charmings, it occurs to her that maybe what she really needs is a Prince Charming for Mom. If she doesn't do something fast, they'll bury her in her "Sue's Wedding Cakery" apron with a spatula in her hand.

The Wedding Cake Girl features a colorful island setting, dangerous underwater diving adventures, a family of billionaires, and lots and lots of buttercream. The book is Alex's journey toward not only finding love, but learning how to step forward and take control of her own life, a rite of passage that faces all young readers.


I really enjoyed this book.  It wasn't perfect, but it was a really cute story about a girl who just wants to have a normal life.  She is an avid diver that lives on a small island just off the west coast.  

I fell in love with the island that Alex lived on.  It was so beautiful and so well described, I started to think that it was a real place.  Although I found Alex to be a little whiny sometimes, I generally liked her and could sympathize with her.  She has absolutely rotten luck with most aspects of her life, and everything she does seems to just make it worse. 

One of the things that I really liked about this book is that it wasn't the typical teen romance.  It was more realistic and less predictable than the vast majority of books out there.  Alex was interested in three different boys over the course of the story.  It wasn't a "decide your eternal fate right now" type of romance.  Although Alex's love life was a big part of the book, it wasn't all consuming or over the top.  The book was about figuring out life, making big decisions, and hopefully finding a guy along the way.  

I loved Jeremy.  I thought he was a fantastic friend and an all around good character.  Zack was more of a tossup.  My attitude toward him tended to follow the feelings of the main character.  Sometimes I loved him and sometimes I didn't.  

Just one word of caution about the romances that happen in this book.  There is a point in the story when Alex goes too far with her boyfriend.  They don't go ALL the way, but far enough that I started to wonder if I was going to have to skip a page or two.

Overall, I found this story to be delightful and entertaining.  I love the cover.  It is pretty and whimsical, and it portrays the feeling of the book well.

File Size: 365 KB
Print Length: 202 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Author Bio: 

Anne Pfeffer lives in Los Angeles near a large rotating neon chicken head with her daughter and her dachshund Taco.
Twitter: AnnePfeffer1

Interview With the Author:

1.    What inspired you to write The Wedding Cake Girl?

First, I adore Catalina Island and thought it would make a fun, beautiful setting for a book. It was the model for my fictional Santa Rita Island. 

            I was married on Catalina, and my wedding cake was made by a lady who lived in town and made most of the wedding cakes on the island.  This was many years ago, and I think that woman has long since left the island. I never got to know her, and she as a person was NOT—repeat, NOT – the model for the crazy Sue Marshall.  But her job, of course, was. She was the Wedding Cake Lady, and from there I came up with Alexandra, The Wedding Cake Girl.

2.    Will there be a sequel?

A lot of people have asked for one, and I like to please my readers. So I’m thinking about it.  But I need a good story.  Let’s just say I’m seriously considering it!

3. What do you enjoy most about writing Young Adult novels?

 I think teen books are more hopeful and forward-looking than many books for adults. Teenagers have their whole lives ahead of them, which is both scary and exciting.  I like writing stories about kids who grapple with knotty every-day problems and who learn in the course of the book who they are, what their skills and passions are, and what they want to do with their lives. And if my fictional characters can do those things, maybe at least a few of my readers will believe they can too.

4. Are you working on anything new?

 Yes.  It’s called Girls Love Travis Walker.  It’s a New Adult book, about a nineteen year old high school drop-out.  It’s much grittier than The Wedding Cake Girl – about a guy who could be described as a player, but who’s working hard to save himself and his mother from eviction. It will have a hot romance, and Travis will learn some lessons along the way.  It will also feature fire fighters!  

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Learn how to write.  There’s a lot of specific craft that distinguishes the professional writer from the amateur.  In my early days, I would dash off these things I thought were brilliant, then ship them off to free-lance editors who would beg  me – I mean, BEG me – to take writing classes.  As one editor put it, “In good conscience, I must advise you to invest in writing classes instead of hiring me – although God knows I need the money.”

So I listened and took many, many hours of writing class and underwent (still undergo) many, many hours of critiques. I personally think you have to like writing – or need to write. The process of creating a book is so long, you have to like it in order to get through it.  And I do like it!   


Someone with a whimsical imagination must have named the streets in Paradise. I head down
Cinnamon Street to Carousel Avenue and turn left. It takes me all of one minute to get to Dizzy's Dive. Fishnets full of carefully preserved sea life cover the walls. Amidst the motionless crabs and swordfish, a soccer game blares from ten TVs. Brazil's playing Italy.

I squeeze my way through the tables. Zack's already sitting at the counter. Technically, since Dizzy's is a full-fledged liquor-slinging establishment, Zack and I are not allowed on the premises. But seeing as how Dizzy Malone is Zack's uncle, and Spike Malone, Zack's dad, is Chief of Police, there's no one to turn us in or arrest us. Zack and I have been hanging at Dizzy's since we were little, slugging down sodas and sitting near Dizzy at the bar, where he could keep an eye on us.

Zack listens to the person beside him, grinning broadly, his smile white against his tan. I love the way he's always himself, always calm and centered. A couple of girls walk by, checking him out, but he's waving to me.

It's okay if Zack's with Rosie, I try to convince myself. After all, I was the one who stupidly said it was better to be just friends.

Three months ago, Zack and I went mountain biking and stopped to rest on a hillside. I lay in a patch of sun with my eyes closed, while Zack walked around nearby. I heard him rustling in the grass, but didn't know what he was doing until I sat up, opened my eyes, and found him holding out a bunch of wildflowers. To me.

I leaned forward, admiring the island poppies and Arroyo lupine in his hand. "The flowers are great this spring, with all the rain we've gotten!" Then I looked up.

He had a half-embarrassed, half-determined expression on his face. "They're for you," he said.

"Oh!" In shock, I took them and sat there, looking down at them, not knowing what to say.

"I thought that maybe I should ask you out on a date. That is," he added, "if you're interested." He put on this "just-kidding" expression that masked the shy and serious Zack underneath and gave him an escape route if needed.

But the word "date" meant one thing: my mother and her men. I would never live in that world or let it touch what I had with Zack.

"I don't do dates!" The words flew out of me. I scrambled to my feet, the flowers falling from my hand. "Your friendship means too much to me."

"Yeah, I know, me too," he said, suddenly busy brushing off his shorts with angry little strokes.

"Zack, I...." I knew I'd hurt him, but I didn't know how to undo what I'd done. "Now I've dropped your flowers!" I wailed, trying to pick them up out of the long grass.

"Don't worry about it." He stalked off toward his mountain bike.


"Forget it." He asked Rosie out the very next day.

I haven't been able to fix my mistake. We're still friends and diving partners, but it's not the same.


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*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*


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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: Parallel (Travelers Series #1), by Claudia Lefeve

Destiny has a way of catching up.

Saddled with powers she doesn't understand, Etta Fleming's world is turned upside-down the day she meets Cooper Everett, the man who transports her to an alternate reality. A reality she was meant to be a part of.

One minute, she's an orphan living at Dominion House for Girls, an institution for delinquent foster kids, then finds herself attending the exclusive Dominion Hall Academy.

Plucked from the only world she's ever known, Etta now has to deal with an aunt she never knew, a boyfriend she doesn't know, and a best friend who can't know.

PARALLEL is the first book in the Travelers Series.


This was a fascinating story.  The concept was completely new to me.  I have never read a time traveling/reality jumping book before.  

I dove right into the story and enjoyed all the twists and turns until the very last page.  Etta seemed a bit like every other YA heroine, but the concept behind the book was interesting enough that it didn't bother me too much.  There was a bit of a love triangle, most of which I found unrealistic.  I really liked Cooper, but I just didn't believe that after meeting him a couple times Etta would be trying to decide between him and a guy that she's had a crush on for years.  

Cooper is mysterious, handsome, and generally just a good hero.  I fell in love with him as Etta's obvious preference for him emerges and as his character develops.  

The part I liked the most was when Cooper takes Etta to another reality and dumps her at her Aunts house and essentially tells her "good luck".  She has to maneuver her way through a world where everyone has memories of her, and she knows nothing about them.  It was interesting to speculate what it would be like in that situation.

My biggest complaint was the editing.  Typos and spelling mistakes galore!  There were sentences with two or three typos in them.  I found the explanations of the alternate realities and various versions of the same person to be confusing.  Interesting, sure, but confusing.  And I wasn't really all that fond of Etta.  I wish she had been more likeable.  

This was the first book in a trilogy.  It is FREE for Kindle readers right now, so if time/reality travel is a genre that you like, this might be worth checking out.

File Size: 255 KB
Print Length: 266 pages
Publisher: Sugar Skull Books; 1 edition (August 26, 2011)
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Book Review: Hide in Plain Sight, by Marta Perry

She couldn't turn her back on her family in their time of need. So when her sister was injured, financial expert Andrea Hampton traded the big city for Amish country to help turn her grandmother's house into an inn.

But life with the Plain People took a treacherous turn when a string of accidents and pranks threatened her family. Someone didn't want the secrets the old house harbored to come to light. Trusting anyone-- even the handsome carpenter who seemed so genuine--was a battle for Andrea, but her life depended on her ability to find the truth.


This book was obviously written by a seasoned author.  In some ways, it is a good thing because it gives a reader a certain amount of security in knowing that they are going to be consuming a well written novel.  In other ways, it is a bit disappointing.  The story seemed a bit formulaic and unoriginal.  It seemed like it was novel #30 for this author, and she has gotten into the habit of switching character names and location, while essentially writing the same book over and over.  

Now don't get me wrong, it was a very well written novel and a good story.  I would happily read another book written by Marta Perry.  The romance was perfectly clean and innocent.  I didn't have to worry about anything questionable popping up.  There were secrets, suspense, and suspicion milling around the story.  I loved all of that.  Plus, the book is FREE for Kindle readers right now.  

For a free book, it was definitely worth reading.  It only took me a couple of sittings to read it.  There was nothing too heavy or weird in it.  All in all, it was an enjoyable experience.

The main character was likeable and mostly believable.  I could empathize with her as she struggled to figure out the best way to take care of her family members.  I liked Cal, the handsome carpenter that shows interest in Andrea.  I didn't like the theme of big city life and ambition being incompatible with a Christian lifestyle.  I also didn't really buy into the whole issue that Andrea had with her grandfather.  If I were in Andrea's shoes, I would be more angry with my father for abandoning the family, and with my mother for being irresponsible.  While neither of those things seem to bother her, she has a hangup about how her grandfather let her mother take her sister and herself away from the farm.  It just didn't strike me as realistic.

Like I mentioned before, it seems like Perry has fallen into what I like to call the "Louis L'Amour trap".  It's where an author has found a formula that works for their stories and they stick to it like glue.  This was my first Marta Perry book, but I just have this feeling that when I read another one, it will hold a LOT of similarities to this one.

File Size: 335 KB
Print Length: 247 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense (August 1, 2012)
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

And The Winner Is...


Congratulations to Stargazer for winning a free copy of The Cinderella Project!  You will receive an email with instructions on how to claim your free book.

Thank you to everyone that participated and made this giveaway a success!  We love our readers! Pin It

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: Witch Born by Amber Argyle (Witch Song #2)

From Goodreads: 

Brusenna thought it was finished.

She defeated the Dark Witch, saving the Haven Witches from imprisonment and death. She found love and a place to belong.

She was wrong.

Haven is not the sanctuary it appears to be. Even love is in danger of slipping away like water through cupped hands.

Some things can't be saved.

A new threat merges with the old as the Witches’ dark history begins to catch up with them. Only Brusenna knows the extent of the danger and how to stop it, though doing so might cost her everything.

Including her life.

Will Brusenna be required to make the ultimate sacrifice?


Second books in a series are always tricky. The first can be a home run, and the second has such high standards to meet that, on its own its good, but as part of the series its a stinker. Or, the first can be just average, nothing great, and the subsequent books get better and better. The trick is then luring readers into being interested.

Witch Born was kind of a mix of the two. Witch Song (book 1) was excellent, and Witch Born was equally awesome. We see Senna as a stronger character in a lot of ways. We see Joshen as stronger in some ways, and yet not as strong in others. And Senna's mother seems to have crumbled a little bit as a person, but not as a character. We are introduced to a lot of new characters that you hate to love but love them regardless.

The book was filled with mystery and intrigue. There were definitely a few plot twists that surprised the heck out of me. In short, I was completely enthralled and engrossed for the days I was reading Witch Born.

It was more mature than Witch Song, simply because Senna and Joshen are more mature. Don't misunderstand, Witch Born is still very clean. No swearing or sexual content. Just some kissing and a few instances where Senna realizes she's not completely modest in her shift. And, of course, some fantasy violence.

The ending was good in showing that all endings can be happy, but there is no such thing as a perfect happy ending. Not to mention it makes me excited for the future of the series.

My only complaint, which may not qualify as a complaint but more as an observation, was that since it's been so long since I read Witch Song, I was sometimes lost. Ok, there were a lot of times when I was a little lost. I felt a tugging in my memory where I thought, "OK, I think this was important in the first book...but I don't remember." Or, "Who?" It frustrated me simply because I think I would have emotionally connected to the book a little better if I could remember the details from the first one. It might have been nice if the author could have given a few more prompts instead of just expecting the reader to remember everything. However, that is very tedious to write, and can be boring to read through if you recently read the first book.

My advice is just make sure you remember Witch Song before reading Witch Born. But make sure you read Witch Born! It was definitely worth it, and I cannot wait for the third book. It might be a while since Witch Born was just released yesterday. :)

And PS. I know you love that cover as much as I do.

PPS. I just found out this could be the final book in the Witch Song series, which makes me very sad. Though the ending was left open for more, I can see how it would be a goodbye as well. And if that's the case, I'm satisfied. Though if you're reading this Amber Argyle, I'd be a lot MORE satisfied if there were three books in the series. I'm just sayin'. 

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Starling Books (September 5, 2012)
  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • Source: Author for review
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