Friday, July 18, 2014

The Saturday Spotlight Featuring Georgi Bond and Giveaway of Wide Awake in the Dreamscape

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week I have the pleasure introducing readers to:

GEORGI BOND
~Author of Wide Awake in the Dreamscape~


Children's Literature
by Georgi Bond- 2014

I started writing my first novel when I was 12 years old, and whilst I never finished that story, I knew that I would write a novel one day. Since university I've worked as a technical writer, copywriter, content writer and copy editor. But I never felt creatively satisfied. My mind kept wandering back to the idea of fiction writing, so I took a career break and dived straight in. Five years and multiple re-writes later, and after much editorial training and guidance from professionals, I was finally finished and satisfied with the end product.

I’m an avid reader of children’s fantasy fiction, so it was natural for me to write for this genre. I've never been comfortable with gritty or character-based adult themes, and writing for adults felt much too serious and restrictive for me. I much prefer to immerse myself in a younger fantasy world where my imagination can run free. It’s infinitely more fun and exciting!

I’ve always been interested in dreams, spiritual and paranormal ideas, supernatural powers and sorcery, and these themes fit perfectly into children’s stories. With Wide Awake in the Dreamscape, I wanted to create a modern, fast-paced fantasy adventure, something fresh, colorful and vivid. I felt that young readers would be interested in a story which successfully integrates modern themes such as online gaming and chat rooms, with traditional fantasy themes such as magic and monsters. 

I also wanted to touch on issues very relevant to young people, such as friendship and sibling relationships, bullying and its consequences, and finding the inner strength and courage to continue when everything seems hopeless. I would love for children to feel exhilarated and excited by my story, whilst also feeling inspired and motivated to feel brave and courageous in their everyday lives.


Georgi Bond was raised in rural Devon, England before going on to study archaeology and conduct postgraduate research at Durham University. Bond has worked as a technical writer, marketing copywriter and copy editor.

Her current home is the one she built for herself in Riga, Latvia, where she lives with her family.




GIVEAWAY

Today I have one copy of  Wide Awake in the Dreamscape to giveaway to one lucky winner. Paperback or ebook. Everyone is welcome to enter. Please fill in the copter for an entry.




Unlike her brother Alfie, 12-year-old Lily is not at all interested in video games. But when she wakes up in the middle of the night trapped in another world where monsters from nightmares are real, Lily has no choice but to immerse herself in a world far different from anything she knows. Lily must learn the rules and play the game. An unsuspecting Lily is suddenly transported into the Dreamscape, which is overrun by monsters from Colony, the latest online gaming craze which Alfie is entranced by. 

 Why does this shimmering, digital dreamland feel equally familiar and strange to Lily, as well as extremely dangerous? Inside the Dreamscape, Lily meets twins Felix and Serena, who are also prisoners of the game and have lost their brother to Colony. The threesome learns that Colony lures players in and takes over their minds, filling them with horrifying nightmares. Their brothers are possessed by “dreamons”, cunning and evil monsters from Colony. Lily realizes that it might be possible for video games to shatter the boundaries of time and space in order to invade the deepest recesses of the human mind. If Lily and the twins can’t find a way to defeat the dreamons, millions of Colony players, including their brothers, could soon find themselves enslaved to the game they set out to enjoy.

Thanks Georgi for being on the spotlight today. To find out more about this author, check out:

 www.GeorgiBond.com. 
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review~Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey


Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
June 10, 2014 by Harper
Hardcover: 320 pages
Review Copy (TLC Book Tours)
Warnings: Dementia, violence, mild language
5/5 Stars- (18&up)

In this darkly riveting debut novel-a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging-an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory-and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud-not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?


Thoughts

Does anyone remember the movie Memento? A story about a guy who has short term memory loss and writes notes to himself to remember things...trying to remember why his wife is missing...and why this weird guy is following him around. I kind of felt like I was diving into a very similar story when I started Elizabeth is Missing, one that involved an unsolved mystery of the disappearance of a loved one, one that collided with the past and present and one that dealt with the loss of memory, only in this case our protagonist is suffering old age dementia and not brain trauma. On one hand this book is a great mystery weaving a past and present tale together with flawless effort, but at the same time its a heartbreaking look into dementia, leaving readers with thought provoking questions and a dreadful sadness over this life robbing disease.

Taking this journey with Maud put all the frustrations of characters disease front and center, when she was upset, I was upset, when she was nervous, I felt nervous..and that's what fascinated and terrified me about this book; I truly felt the chaos inside Maud's head but I was able to piece it together, the thought of having to go through dementia without the rational of my mind intact would be horrible.

Those with family members or close ones going through this might find it difficult to read Maud's story, but I would certainly recommend it for its insightful glimpse into dementia and incredible discussion for readers afterwards.

An absolute brilliant book.


Emma Healey holds a degree in bookbinding and an MA in creative writing. Elizabeth Is Missing is her first novel. She lives in the UK.


Find out more about Emma at her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.




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Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Harper for review copy

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Chatting with Authors featuring Beth Hoffman and Giveaway of Looking for Me



Today Im super excited to welcome author Beth Hoffman to Tinasbookreviews for a fun chat and giveaway of her new book Looking for Me.


Hi Beth, welcome to the blog, to get things started please tell us how did you come up with the idea for LOOKING FOR ME?

I was sitting at my desk going through stacks of old photographs. The more I sorted, the more I thought about my family and my childhood on the farm—how simple and uncomplicated life was, how much I missed the old barn and the fields that backed up to woodlands.

I stared out the window and relived those days, and while I was caught up in the nostalgia, something flashed in my periphery. I turned to see a red-tailed hawk land on a tree branch. The morning light glaze across his pale chest, and just before he settled, he spread his rusty-red tail feathers. And then …WHAM! I had the beginning of my story.

Your book has dual settings of Charleston and Kentucky. What was it about those two settings that inspired you?


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The atmosphere of the story I want to create determines the setting. I need to feel connected to a location’s history and culture, and I love to explore opposites. The juxtaposition of Charleston’s refinement to Slade, Kentucky’s rugged wilderness intrigued me. Red River Gorge is wild and mysterious while Charleston is known for its gorgeous architecture and gentility. Historic downtown Charleston was the perfect place for Teddi to reach for her dream while Kentucky was ideal to hold her roots.


LOOKING FOR ME touches on the power of objects—through them we remember our past and face our future—what are some objects that have held meaning for you in your own life??

I treasure photographs, letters, and the old jewelry that’s been passed down from the women in my life. By nature I’m a neat-nut and about as opposite to a hoarder as anyone could be, so I’m not inclined to keep things unless they truly have strong meaning to me. I do think it’s important to keep things that hold memories like family heirlooms, books, photographs and letters, but there’s a fine line between keeping what is precious or sentimental, and overloading my basement and attic with stuff.


What do you love to do most in your free time?

My greatest joys are simple—spending time with my husband and our four-legged fur-kids, studying nature, working in the gardens, and reading. I also love to go antiquing with girlfriends, and just recently I’ve taken up photography. 

~Thanks Beth for stopping by today and chatting with me.


Beth Hoffman is the internationally bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Looking for Me. Before beginning her writing career, she was president and co-owner of an interior design studio. Beth lives, along with her husband and their four-legged fur-kids, in a historic Queen Anne home in Kentucky. Her interests include the rescue of abandoned and abused animals, nature conservancy, birding, historic preservation, and antiquing.

You can visit Beth’s website at: www.BethHoffman.net or Facebook: Twitter: @wordrunner

GIVEAWAY

Today I have one copy of Beth Hoffman's Looking for Me. To enter please fill in the copter. Open to all US residents. 



Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop. Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. 

When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chatting with Authors: Featuring Megan Abbott and Giveaway of The Fever


Today Im thrilled to welcome Megan Abbott author of The Fever to the blog today. Megan stopped by to share a few thoughts on social media and her book.


Teen Girls in a Hyper-connected World
by Megan Abbott -2014

When I was a teenager, there was no internet, no text messaging, no smart phones. And even then I distinctly remember feeling overwhelmed with the world of my peers, the everyday intrigues, arguments, and small and large betrayals among my friends and classmates. During the school day, we might pass long notes written feverishly during study hall, during overlong lectures, between classes. Notes stuffed in locker vents or passed from desk to desk, folded in intricate patterns. Rumors about hook-ups and break-ups and scandalous behavior. It was thrilling and exhausting.

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Each school day was filled with so much emotion and energy and pressure. And I remember in some ways not wanting it to end at three o’clock, but I also remember the relief of being at home, in my bedroom, lying on bed and reading, unwinding, unfurling. Just being myself.

In the evenings, other than maybe one of those mammoth phone calls one might have with a friend until the wee hours, the cord twirled tightly around my arm, the peer world was essentially “on hold” until the following school day. We all had time to just be ourselves, our private selves. That’s just not the case anymore for most teenagers. Texting, social media­—the peer world is potentially around the clock and it can be hard to shut off.

There are wonderful gifts the internet has provided—had I been able to go online as a teen I think I would have been thrilled to discover how many other people there were like me—people I couldn’t have found in my Midwestern suburban school. People who also liked film noir, true-crime, Hollywood screwball comedies, Shirley Jackson. But I also think it would have been much harder, more intense. More exhausting. To be fashioning a public persona (even if the persona isn’t that different from oneself) and cultivating it at all times because one potentially has 24/7 interaction with the world, one’s friends, one’s peers­—well, it seems so much harder to feel comfortable with oneself, to find oneself. To be free from the gaze of others. Or from our own self-judging, self-critical eye.

This was all on my mind as I wrote The Fever—and though it’s only a piece of the novel, it was a piece that was impossible to ignore. To be a teenager now is to understand, more than ever, that there are very few secrets you can count on keeping. To be a teenager now means you may feel like you have to constantly manage your reputation, your persona. I remember how hard this was to do when I was sixteen or seventeen. Hearing rumors about yourself, true or false or in between. Or even fighting a perception of yourself that you just felt wasn't true. Or desirable. They think I’m X, but I’m really Y and so much more.

But now rumors spread in an instant, with one text message, one Instagram shot. Cameras are everywhere, in every phone. In The Fever, technology has dangerous consequences. While it enables many things, it also generates fear, spreads like its own contagion. And I write this not as a luddite­—I love my smartphone, perhaps too much—but as someone who wanted to explore the dark edges of what certain human uses (and misuses) of technology can bring about. The smart phone isn’t the problem, of course. Nor the technology of the text message. The problem is how they can be used as a weapon, whether intentionally or not.

There’s a moment in The Fever when the teenage Eli Nash, the school’s reluctant hockey star and heartthrob, can’t find his phone. It’s alarming, unsettling and ultimately a powerful relief to him. Like a phantom limb, he keeps reaching for it and it’s not there. As much as I use my own phone now, as much time I spend charging it and typing on it, my head craned over it and sometimes even missing the world, I’m grateful that I lived my teenage years without it. I know myself too well to guess I’d be one of those “together” teens who can take or leave the world of social media, who don’t see their online life as critical and defining. I fear instead I’d be one of the teens who wake up with their phone on their bedside table, even under their covers with them. Who are always plugged in. Always connected.

How about you, and/or the teens in your life?

Megan Abbott is the Edgar® award-winning author of the novels The End of Everything Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep and her latest, Dare Me (July 2012).

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer, Los Angeles Review of Books, Detroit Noir, Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year, Storyglossia, Queens Noir and The Speed Chronicles.

Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan and received her Ph.D. from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University.

She is also the author of a nonfiction book, The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir, and the editor of A Hell of a Woman, an anthology of female crime fiction. She has been nominated for many awards, including three Edgar® Awards, Hammett Prize, the Macavity, Anthony and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Pushcart Prize.

GIVEAWAY

Today I have one Hardback copy of Megan Abbott's The Fever to giveaway to one lucky winner. Open to US residents only. Please fill in the copter for an entry.




The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.


Thanks Megan for stopping by today!  To answer your question, I find myself distracted a ton by my iPhone- while I love it, sometimes I have to just put it away for 24 hrs to disconnect. Im also grateful that I grew up without a cellphone and for sure without social media!!  Great questions to ponder.

To find out more about this author and The Fever check out:

GOODREADS
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