Review “The Forever Girl” Rebecca Hamilton

Title: The Forever Girl
Author: Rebecca Hamilton
Publication Date: January 26, 2012
Publisher: Immortal Ink Publishing
Source: Rebecca Hamilton

From Goodreads

Sophia Parsons’ family has skeletons, but they aren’t in their graves…

Solving the mystery of an ancestor’s hanging might silence the clashing whispers in Sophia’s mind, but the cult in her town and the supernaturals who secretly reside there are determined to silence her first.

As Sophia unknowingly crosses the line into an elemental world full of vampire-like creatures, shapeshifters, and supernatural grim reapers, she meets Charles, a man who becomes both lover and ally.

But can she trust him?

It’s not until someone nearly kills Sophia that she realizes the only way to unveil the source of her family’s curse: abandon her faith or abandon her humanity. If she wants to survive, she must accept who she is, perform dark magic, and fight to the death for her freedom.

There are a lot of paranormal factors in The Forever Girl that readers will recognize from other novels of its kind. What sets this novel aside from others is the way that all of these elements are integrated together.
The reader is introduced to two different stories lines that flow right along side each other. Sophia Parson hears a white noise of voices in her head that she can’t tune out, when she starts looking into her ancestor, Elizabeth’s past, she will discover that her life is more than just hers. The second involves her best friend Ivory, and the introduction of Charles, a man she meets at a club Ivory takes her to.
One of my favorite things about The Forever Girl was how she described Sophia’s beliefs. I have a feeling that a lot of people who immediately veto this book will do so because the protagonist is Wiccan, I love the way that Hamilton really tries to explain and show how this system of beliefs is different from the stereotypical view of the religion. Wicca is a modern pagan religion that many people associate with evil. From reading the book I can say that Sophia is anything but evil, in fact there are many times in the book where her great and kind personality show through.
There were a few familiar elements in The Forever Girl but Rebecca Hamilton was able to make everything her own to create an entirely unique twist of events. I LOVED the way that Hamilton spun together so many different elements so perfectly into one story. I cannot wait to see what happened with Sophia and with Charles. I also loved Ivory’s story, when we finally got to discover what a forever girl is! I give this book four stars!


Between Shades of Gray Blog Tour

Welcome! To the very first blog tour I have ever organized! I am so excited to get to kick this off, its been almost four months of planning and many many emails. I would first like to thank Ruta Sepetys for allowing me to honor her book in this way. You may recognize her from this post that I wrote about a book club event that I was able to meet her at in December.
Ruta Sepetys was the very first author that I ever emailed after reading her book. I couldn’t sleep that night and then I found myself hunting down her information because I had to let her know how much her book, Between Shades of Gray, affected me. I have gotten to see Ruta in person twice and I hope that you all will take a look at her tour because she is really an author you need to read and meet.

In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina’s father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.

Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by documenting their experience in her art and writing. She risks everything to use her art as messages, hoping they will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive.

It is a long and harrowing journey, and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

Between Shades of Gray is a riveting novel that steals your breath, captures your heart, and reveals the miraculous nature of the human spirit.

Ruta was so amazing and agreed to an interview with me! Back in August I was able to see her for the first time at the Ash2Nash tour and soon after that is when I emailed her for the first time. I never thought in three million years that I would be hosting a blog tour for her right now. I am so HONORED!

1) I had the privilege of getting to see you at the Nashville stop of the Ash2Nash tour where you told the story about your family’s experience during World War II. The silence that filled the room when you were done really spoke to everyone’s shock, how did you react when you were first told about what happened? Had you had any idea before about the fate of your relatives?

RS – Just like you, I was shocked. I knew that my father and grandparents had left Lithuania and I knew that the country had been Soviet occupied for fifty years. But I didn’t know that some of my grandfather’s extended family had been deported to Siberia. I was stunned and felt ashamed that I wasn’t familiar with my own family’s history. It inspired me to try to give voice to the people who experienced Stalin’s terror but would never have a chance to tell their story.

2) In the story, Lina’s mother reminded me so much of my own mother, and her brother of my own little brother. As I was reading I could not help but imagine myself as Lina, and of how I would react in her situation. Did you put yourself into Lina’s position while you were writing and was this story difficult at times to write? Was it your intention to write a character that was easily relatable to the youth of today even though our experiences are so different?

RS – The story was definitely difficult to write because I knew that the horrific things I was describing actually happened to people. Many of the survivors I interviewed spent their teen years in Siberia and their stories were so compelling. The teens’ will to live was incredibly strong. The story started percolating in my mind immediately: One girl. Her dream of freedom. A voice to bring this secret out of the dark.

I was never really able to imagine myself as Lina because I met people like her and knew that I didn’t have that kind of strength. I wish! But I absolutely thought about what it would be like to be deported. I was constantly plagued with the question: Would I survive?

3) The characters in Between Shades of Gray are all so strong and well developed. We get to see a lot of their personalities in the story. Were any of the characters in the story based or inspired by people you knew or heard about in real life?

RS – Thank you! Yes, some of the characters were inspired by real people. The mother, Elena, is a combination of my mother and my older sister. The character of Lina has many qualities of a woman, Irena, who was a teenager in Siberia and helped me with my research. And the doctor who arrives at the end was someone that I read about in the memoirs of Dalia Grinkeviciute, a woman who was deported to the Arctic.

4) I’ve been watching your European book tour on your FaceBook page and you’ve gotten to go to a lot of really cool places. You have been able to visit a lot of nations that were directly affected by the events that you have described in this book. What is their reaction to this book? Has there been any apprehensive reactions or negative feedback from people who were used to the silence?

RS – It’s been such an honor to tour so many countries for the book. My visits to Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland were very emotional. I met people who had experienced the things I wrote about.This part of history belongs to them. I tell people, I wrote the book, but it’s not my story. The story belongs to people who experienced Stalin’s terror. So meeting the real heroes in these countries was very emotional for me. I cried so much that I now have a reputation for crying! On my last visit to Lithuania people were introducing themselves,saying, “Now, don’t cry, Ruta.” But I can’t help it. Everyone has been so supportive and gracious.

5) Looking on your website I saw that Between Shades of Gray has been published in 28 countries. Did you think that this book was going to be this popular and impact as many people as it is in that many nations? Has it been overwhelming at all?

RS – The foreign sales have been the biggest surprise of all. I scarcely believed that a US publisher would publish the book. And now to have this part of history published in nearly 30 countries…it leaves me speechless. See, I’m going to cry again!

6) You are amazingly talented as a writer; did you take any creative writing classes while in school? What would you recommend to any aspiring authors who might be reading this?

RS – Aw, thank you! Actually, my degree is in finance. I know, kind of bizarre for a writer! I dream of one day getting an MFA and am currently looking at different programs. In terms of advice – if you’re looking to write for children or young adults I absolutely suggest joining SCBWI ( SCBWI is a fantastic resource for both published and pre-published authors. I would not be a published author without SCBWI. But my general writing advice?


Read and read and read. Get a sense for structure, rhythm and flow. Examine books you love and determine why you love them. And lastly, try to find a local writing group so you can share your work with others.

7) On your website it said that you did not learn to speak Lithuanian as a child, do you speak any of it now?

RS – Sadly, I don’t speak much Lithuanian at all. I can muster “taip” (yes) and “gerai” (okay) but I can’t follow a full conversation. Not speaking Lithuanian is one of my greatest regrets. So I’m trying to learn now!

8. Your website is probably the coolest author website that I have ever seen how did you come up with the design of it?

RS – I wish I could take credit for the site but I can’t. My dear friend, Niels Bye Nielsen, is a film composer from Denmark. He also happens to be an incredible designer. He designed the site. My pal Jeroen Noorduis from Holland is an insane programmer. He did all the programming and is the webmaster. Priscila Bara, an artist from Brazil, put together the paper dolls and other bits of whimsy. So it was a global effort and the credit should go to them!

That’s it for the interview but I had a few things left I wanted to say. I really appreciate that you take the time to respond to my emails and I just want to say from the bottom of my heart thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions. It really means a lot to me that you would take the time out of your busy schedule to do an interview with me.

RS – Hannah, I really appreciate YOU! You have been such a champion for “Between Shades of Gray.” Because of you, several schools are now studying this part of history. I can’t tell you what that means to the people in the Baltics. Crimes against humanity must never be swept under the rug and thanks to you, readers are picking up the book. My sincere and heartfelt thanks to you.


Here is the schedule for the rest of the tour! Be sure to check out all of the sites because there are so many awesome giveaways.

March 29: Hannah- Intro
The Book Vortex
Interview with Ruta

March 30: Mundie Moms
Mundie Moms
Interview with Gavin

March 31: Jamie/The Hot Author Report
The Hot Author Report
Interview with Ruta

April 1: Brielle/Awesome Bookworm
Awesome Bookworm
Interview with Ruta’s Editor

April 2: Sara/Through the Looking Glass and Back Again
Through the Looking Glass and Back Again
Character Interview- Lina

April 3: Marla/Starting the Next Chapter
Starting the Next Chapter
Interview with Ruta

April 4: Hannah/The Book Vortex
The Book Vortex
Wrap it up. Announce all giveaways on all sites.

Don’t for get that you can all “like” Ruta’s FaceBook page.
Or visit the Between Shades of Gray website.

The paperback Between Shades of Gray will be released on April 3 and I hope that you all go out and pick one up! If you head over to the Few and Far Between section you will see what I’ve got for all of you! Some cool stuff!


The Near Witch Blog Tour

Hi everyone!

I am so unbelievably excited to get to share some news with you tonight! As you all know I have a blog tour starting on the 29th, the first one that I have ever organized. I was asked by one of the bloggers whether or not I would be planning any other tours and it wasn’t really something that I had thought about. Until a few days ago.

Tonight I am SO excited to announce a blog tour for Victoria Schwab! To celebrate the paperback release of her novel The Near Witch on May 15, 2012.

Sixteen-year-old Lexi, who lives on an enchanted moor at the edge of the village of Near, must solve the mystery when, the day after a mysterious boy appears in town, children start disappearing.

About Victoria
Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes,” “like,” and “y’all.”
She also tells stories.
She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

You may remember Victoria here on this site by this post, this post, this post, this post, and this post. As well as all those The Near Witch was also the very first book ever given away on this site! So I am so honored that Victoria would allow me to host this!

The tour will be running from May 8-17. Everyone who would like to participate will get a day and on the 15th, which is the release day, everyone is invited to post in honor of the release.

If you are interested in signing up please email me with the following information:


Your Name
Blog Name and link
Preferred day

Please list your top three days and I will try and match you with the day that you want but please keep in mind that if more than one person requests I do need to go with who emailed first.

I would also like to note that I do not have review copies to give to you all. So hopefully you have read the book but if not you can still join I just do not have the resources to send a book to you. You can purchase one yourself or I can come up with an activity for you that can be done without reading yet.

As soon as I get everyone in order I will start emailing you with your date and your activity for that day. =D

Review “The Peculiars” by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Peculiar books

Title: The Peculiars
Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Netgalley

There is something about Peculiars that readers will find fascinating. They may not be able to identify it at first; it’s a feeling in the gut that makes a person keep flipping through the pages. It’s a moment where the eyes can’t move fast enough over a page in the anticipation to find out what happens next. The Peculiars will satisfy the readers every craving for mystery and adventure while allowing us to fall in love with the main characters.

The Peculiars centers around 18 year old Lena, a girl raised in the City by her mother and grandmother. Upon the arrival of a present from her mysterious absent father Lena embarks on a journey that will change her life far more than she could ever have imagined.

The action starts off right away with an incident on the train and then seems to slow down into a mystery book as soon as Lena arrives in a town on the edge of Scree, a territory of uncharted wilderness where the Peculiars live. There she gets involved with a Marshall intent on using her for his own purposes and Mr. Beasley, the quirky owner of Zephyr House.

After Lena teams up with Jimson, the new librarian, The Peculiars begins to speed up again and swerves back into an adventure novel. From there it is a whirlwind of events that will leave the reader wanting more and more very second of the way.

One of the things that I loved about this novel was the perfect blend of action/adventure and mystery. We get to watch Lena on a journey to discover her who is and in the end it is the character of Jimson who makes her think about who she really is. McQuerry makes a strong message throughout the story forcing the reader to ask themselves the same questions that Lena is asking herself. Are you who you are because of who you were born to, or what your gene pool is, OR are is what makes you YOU entirely based on your own self. Is Lena’s personality dependant upon whether or not she is part Goblin or is it dependant upon her personality and her character?

I am not entirely sure if this book is part of a series or not but I will definitely be looking forward to anymore books that Maureen Doyle McQuerry writes. I will give this book four stars! And just a sidenote, don’t you guys just LOVE that cover!

The Peculiars