Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 123: Acting Like a Favorite Character

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

Have you ever found yourself
acting like a favorite character
in a novel? If so, which one?

(Submitted  by Maria @ 

My Answer

In my case, it's not so much acting like a favorite character, as it is coming across literary characters whom I have been able to relate to because I already shared some character traits with them, or already acted in ways that were similar to them (or wanted to do so).

I remember wanting to act like Tom Sawyer, when I was around 10 or 11 years old. Those were my "tomboy days", and oh, how I wanted to do all the stuff Tom did, and to have a friend like Huck Finn, to share adventures with! Alas, there was no way I could even hope to have such adventures....

Another of my childhood literary heroes was Jo, from Little Women. In fact, I even strongly felt that we were somehow related, or should have been, because I felt and thought the way she did, most of the time.  I, too, wanted to be a writer, and act as decisively as she did. I, too, wanted to march off to war, and act as courageously as she did. (That was before I knew about the harsh realities of war. I am now a pacifist. Lol.) And, of course, I was into books, too.

Then there was "Scout" Finch, from To Kill A Mockingbird. I must have read that book around the age of 13. Needless to say, I greatly admired her! However, I seriously doubt that my parents would ever have tolerated me getting into any fights at school, even if it was to defend a sibling. Lol. She was definitely another kindred spirit, though.

Around the age of 18, I met Jane Eyre for the first time. I was not that much of a tomboy anymore, so I fell head over heels in love with Edward Rochester, and, of course, I wanted to BE Jane! I wanted to be as forthright as she was, as well as just as firmly determined not to give up my own self because of a man. However, I also wanted to experience a passionate, turbulent love relationship. I wanted to have a man fall for me as hard as Rochester fell for Jane. I wanted the best of both worlds -- being my own true self, as well as having that passionate relationship. And it would have to be a relationship of equals, too.

Several years later, there was Bella Swan, from The Twilight Saga. I'm pretty much of a klutz, as I don't have any talent for sports, just like Bella. (But I can walk without falling, most of the time, lol.) 

I could relate to this character quite well, as I did tend to be insecure, even though I was well into adulthood when I came across her. I also still had a tendency to swoon over a guy I happened to have a crush on, just like a teen! I actually enjoyed reading Bella's descriptions of Edward's perfect physical attributes, and how he looked like a sculpted Greek god. And when I came across the famous meadow scene, in the first book, Twilight, well, I just about thought I had died and gone to heaven....sigh.... That line about the lion falling in love with the lamb, well..... it just did me in!

Ah, but I also admired the Bella who, transformed into a vampire, became a formidable force in her world! She nearly single-handedly dealt with the evil Volturi clan herself, and joined Edward and the other Cullens in a fierce battle of wills with these horrible vampires! She was also very protective of her daughter, Renesmee.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention another more recent literary heroine -- Hermione Granger. Sometimes I wish that the Harry Potter series had been the Hermione Granger series..... Hermione is someone to greatly admire. She's very smart, very bookish, and yet, she can think on her feet in a pinch. Plus, she's loyal to her friends, and doesn't flinch from any adventure, joining in with Harry and Ron as much as she can. I think that she's definitely a role model for young (and not so young) girls! 

When I put on my Gryffindor robe and wave my illuminated HG wand around, I can almost BE Hermione. Watch out, Voldemort! You have to deal with ME if you want to get to Harry! Hah! (I can see myself saying this to a mean boss, pretending that the boss is Voldemort....hee, hee!) Wingardium leviosa!!

I think I can not only relate to all of these literary heroes/heroines, but also learn something from each. That's why they all resonate with me so much. It's their inner qualities I admire, and want to emulate. I think that they all also reflect different facets of my personality, although these facets are not as well-developed in me as they are in these characters. 

It would be interesting to actually pretend to be one of these characters for one day. I have never done this, to be honest. I'm sure many of the people I deal with every day would get a huge surprise! Lol.

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday, No. 53: Love Scene, Take Two, by Alex Evansley

Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!

To all my readers and visitors, may you have a wonderful day full of love, smiles, and lots of happiness!! 

And, of course, I just had to feature a romance novel today!!

This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings, and inspired by "Waiting On Wednesday", which used to be hosted by
 Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

For more information, please click HERE.

As in the previous meme, this one showcases future releases  we book  bloggers 
are eagerly anticipating!!
There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!

Here's my choice for this week!

 Love Scene, Take Two
Alex Evansley
Hardcover, 368 pages
Swoon Reads
     June 12, 2018      
Contemporary Romance,
Young Adult Fiction


 Teddy Sharp is kinda famous, and if his latest audition for the lead in the newest YA blockbuster works out, he’ll be REALLY famous. But even being kinda famous doesn’t keep your flights from being cancelled.

Stranded in a small North Carolina airport, he figures his weekend is ruined, until Bennett Caldwell, the author of the very book series he just auditioned for, takes pity on him and invites him to stay at her family’s lake house. Bennett is unlike any girl Teddy’s ever met before, and somehow they just seem to click. But the internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy's last relationship… gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.


Why I can't wait for this one!

This sure sounds like a SUPER cute romance novel that's PERFECT for a summer read, right by the seashore! (I would read it underneath a HUGE umbrella, too, because I'm definitely NOT a sun worshiper! Lol.)
I couldn't have picked anything BUT a romance novel today! This is a day for sighs and giggles, as you snuggle up to your significant other, or have fun club-hopping with your best friends! 
I love this plot! The rising movie star and the author! Star-struck romance, I'm pre-ordering you!!

Alex Evansley is a twenty-something-year-old writer from North Carolina. After earning a BA in Political Science from the University of South Carolina, she realized she wanted nothing to do with politics or becoming a lawyer, and decided to focus on writing stories instead. 

Her special talents include putting on workout clothes and not working out, sleeping during the day, losing socks, and procrastinating aforementioned stories. Love Scene, Take Two
 is her debut novel.

What do you think of my
choice this week? 
Please leave a comment and
let me know!


Monday, February 12, 2018

Tour Review/Giveaway!! Of Sea and Stone, by Kate Avery Ellison

Welcome to the Of Sea and Stone
Blog Tour, sponsored by 
YA Bound Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring a review!
There's also a tour-wide giveaway!

Of Sea and Stone
(Secrets of Itlantis, Book 1)
Kate Avery Ellison
Digital Edition, 260 pages
Kate Avery Ellison, First Edition
February 2, 2014
Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction,
Young Adult

All her life, clever Aemi has been a slave in the Village of the Rocks, a place where the sea and sky meet. She’s heard the stories about the fabled People of the Sea, a people who possess unimaginable technology who live below the waves in the dark, secret places of the ocean. But she never dreamed those stories were true.

When a ship emerges from the ocean and men burn her village, Aemi is captured, and enslaved below the waves in Itlantis, a world filled with ancient cities of glass and metal, floating gardens, and wondrous devices that seem to work magic. To make matters worse, her village nemesis, the stuck-up mayor’s son Nol, was captured with her, and they are made servants in the same household beneath the sea.

I purchased the Kindle Edition of this novel, and am genuinely enthusiastic about it, so much so that I intend to purchase the paperback as soon as I possibly can!!

I have always loved stories about the sea, so, when I first saw this beautiful cover, I signed up to review this book right away! 

To my great delight, I was immediately hooked, and swept up into a very imaginative tale, based on the legends (some say they're true stories) of the mysterious land of Atlantis. However, this is not quite Atlantis, but a kingdom named "Itlantis", an underwater kingdom. Still, there are references to the legendary Atlantis with the mention of an ancient cataclysm that killed many people, forcing others to build a magnificent realm underneath the seas. So Ellison is really extrapolating as to what could have happened to Atlantis when it sank into the ocean. Thus, this new kingdom is now named "Itlantis", to differentiate it from that other fabled kingdom. I think this is brilliant, and makes a lot of sense.

It's not only the great characters, but the masterful world building, as well, that makes this novel such a captivating story! Ellison's descriptions of the cities of this underwater realm are beautiful and magical, as well as very believable. And their names are so wonderful too -- Celestrus, nicknamed "The Jeweled City", and, as described by one of the secondary characters, the "seat of learning and the arts"; Primus, Volcanus.... I loved the detailed descriptions of the various places in the story -- the beautiful gardens, encased in spheres, the arches and fantastical architecture of the cities, the way the sea was integrated into each and every feature of the people's homes and other buildings..... I actually felt as if I, too, lived there, as if I were walking the streets, taking in all the lovely sights, seeing, up close and personal, schools of fish floating by the transparent walls of the buildings.... In short, this was a truly enchanting experience!

Here's an especially evocative description of the gardens of Celestrus:

"They were so beautiful, like pearls. The sunlight made their surface sparkle, and I could only faintly see inside to where plants were growing and waterfalls were splashing. I saw people in rich robes with elaborate hairstyles watching our ship pass as it swept over the top of one of the orbs and then beneath another."

The characters more than lived up to the setting they were so skillfully placed in, too. I immediately liked Aemi when I met her! She's an extremely intelligent, very observant young woman, unjustly enslaved, and mistreated by her young mistress, who is nothing better than a rich, spoiled, brat. And Aemi is very skilled with a spear, which made me like her even more! She bravely steps up to help her friend, Kit, during a spear-throwing contest, and stoically bears the consequences. She's a true and loyal friend. 

It took me a while to warm up to Nol, who was kidnapped right along with Aemi, and placed as an "Indentured" in the same household with her. He was initially arrogant, and he and Aemi totally disliked each other. It didn't help that he initially liked the vapid, shallow Tagatha, whom Aemi had to serve as a "thrall" (the name given to slaves in this book). However, Nol did change and grow throughout the story, and thankfully, began to see Aemi as the brave, intelligent young woman she really was. So, from being "frienemies", they went on to something more.

I have always thought that secondary characters are so important to a novel as to either make or break it. In this case, these characters were just as well-drawn and interesting as the two leads. My favorite was  Merelus, the scholarly diplomat in whose household Aemi and Nol were placed. He is a kind, benevolent man, whose whole life is based on the pursuit of knowledge, to be used for the benefit of his people. And he is a kind master to both Aemi and Nol. He even takes a special interest in helping Aemi advance her own knowlege.

There were more wonderful secondary characters, such as Tob and Mella, Aemi's fellow servants, and good friends. Tob had a rather comical streak, as he was always asking questions, and they weren't always tactful ones, either. Mella served as his "filter". It was really pretty cute, and, although they were labeled as friends, I always saw them as a couple. Tob was very caring with Mella, and she with him, in spite of constantly chiding him for his blunt way of asking indiscreet questions. Their relationship was endearing as well as funny.

Another secondary character I really liked was Lyssia, Merelus's daughter. She was not talented as a scholar, the way her father was, but she was very kind-hearted, and immediately struck up a friendship with Aemi, one that was sincere, too, and not based on whatever Lyssia could get out of Aemi. In some passages of the book, these two were more like sisters than mistress and servant. And Lyssia was such a welcome contrast to the arrogant, abusive Tagatha!

Right along with Tagatha, there was another secondary character I totally hated, and that was Crakea, the "doumeu", who was in charge of the kitchen in Merelus's house. Aemi was assigned as her assistant, something that Crakea disliked. In fact, she always disliked her assistants. She was always afraid of the possibility that someday, one of them would take her position in Merelus's household. This woman treated Aemi in a totally despicable manner from the moment the two of them met, and I cringed and gritted my teeth in anger each time I was a mute witness to this abuse. 

This novel also presents a very interesting political system. The Itlantians are "ruled" by a Senate. It's an egalitarian system, though, as regular citizens may bring suggestions before the Senate, addressing them as equals in meetings whose purpose is to discuss government business in a democratic manner, as the Senate members are not considered at all "better" than other citizens who hold no political office. This was fascinating and I loved it! There was no dictatorship here, but a rule by those most qualified to lead, as it should be. 

There was also some political intrigue in the plot of this enthralling novel. The Itlanteans had been at war with a rival kingdom, the Dron, and Merelus was actively involved in seeking peace. When  a sudden crisis arose, possibly involving this enemy, our heroes were forced to work together in order to survive. This part of the novel was sad, and I nearly cried. Thankfully, Ellison had created very resourceful, courageous characters who rose to the occasion, and whose resourcefulness and loyalty to friends, family and country was truly admirable!

This is the first book in a totally intriguing, exciting series which I fully intend to read in its entirety! Ellison has crafted a magicallyenticing world populated by enchanting characters, and one that made me turn pages until I had read every last word! (One night I actually stayed up until 5:00 AM!) Kudos to Kate Avery Ellison!


Purchase Links -- Digital Edition

 This exciting novel is also available 
in a trade paperback edition!
Coincidentally I featured this  gorgeous cover 
in a "Shelf Candy Saturday" 
post in 2014!
You can access it HERE.

Of Sea and Stone
(Secrets of Itlantis, Book 1)
Kate Avery Ellison
Trade Paperback, 258 pages
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
February 18, 2014
Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction,
Young Adult Fiction

Purchase Links -- Print Edition

I'm the author of the Frost Chronicles, an Amazon bestselling series and source material for the adventure app game Frost by Delight Games, as well as numerous other fantasy and science fiction novels. I love putting a dash of mystery in everything I write, an ode to a childhood spent reading Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes. I can’t resist adding a good twist in the story wherever I can.

I wish I could live in a place where it’s always October, but until that’s possible, I make my home in humid Atlanta with my husband, children, and two spoiled cats.


To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 122: Meeting Authors!!!!!

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

What authors have you met,
and where?

(Submitted  by Elizabeth @ 

My Answer

I have definitely been lucky enough to meet some authors in the last few years! All of them have been YA authors, too.

In August of 2007, I met Stephenie Meyer, the author of my beloved Twilight Saga. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of her, but I do have the copy of Eclipse that she signed for me. (See the picture below.) This book had just been published, too. Stephenie did a presentation and signing at the Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center. (Coral Gables is a small city surrounded by the much larger city of Miami. It was originally a planned community created by George Merrick during the 1920s land boom. -- Source: Wikipedia) There were SO many people there! Most of them were teen girls, and some were accompanied by their mothers. But there were some adult fans present, as well.

In 2011, three YA authors came to a Coral Gables Indie bookstore -- Books and Books! This is a beautiful bookstore, located in the heart of downtown Coral Gables. The three authors were Maggie Stiefvater, Meg Cabot, and Libba Bray. I met Stiefvater and Cabot, and bought the books they were presenting, as well. Maggie's book was Forever, and Meg's was Abandon. If you'd like to read the entire post of that event, click HERE.

Here I am with Maggie Stiefvater.

   Meg Cabot and I.   

In November of 2013, I attended the annual Miami Book Fair, which takes place in downtown Miami, on the grounds of Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus. Of course, I had a BLAST!! Plus I bought several books! I also met three more YA authors -- Kami Garcia, Alex Flinn, and Holly Black. I bought Beautiful Redemption, by Kami, and Towering, by Alex. If you're interested, you can access the entire post of that event HERE.

Kami Garcia and I smiling for the camera!

Alex Flinn meets Maria the Book Addict!

Holly Black and Maria Behar love books!!
And Holly writes them, too!

In November of 2015, I again attended the Miami Book Fair, and this time, I met Melissa de la Cruz! She was presenting her new book, Isle of the Lost, which she signed for me!! YAAAAY!!! Interested in reading more? Click HERE!

Of course, a TRUE bookworm (btw, I've heard that we should now call ourselves "book dragons", instead of "bookworms") is NEVER satisfied with meeting just a few authors. We will ALWAYS want to meet more!!! So I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to meet more authors -- whether of YA or adult fiction -- at the next exciting book event in my area!! 

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!