Book Budget No. 6

Captain Christopher Phelan has been corresponding with the beautiful golden-haired Prudence Mercer while he was away fighting in the Crimean War. What he doesn't know, however, is that the woman who wrote to him is actually Prudence's best friend, Beatrix Hathaway.

Upon his return home to Hampshire, it becomes clear that Christopher's experiences in war have changed him. In this scene, Beatrix and Christopher argue over the dog he brought back with him, a regimental mascot named Albert . . .

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book--an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not one of them, but they are her family--and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Blogger Interview: Books with Bite

About the Blogger:

A twenty-something year old YA Reader who just loves to blog about them!

About the Blog:

I am just a girl who made this blog to books with bite. Basically anything paranormal. I just love these books! They always keep me entertained. Don't get me wrong, I love other Ya books as well but these are just my favorite. Since I have been recieving offers to read and review other YA books, I will do those as well.

I love to do book reviews because well I love talking about the books that I have read. I find that when I talk about the books, I get other people interested and want to read the book as well. Unless of course you are like my husband, who hates to read and likes for me just to tell him what happens instead of reading it. Which of course I don't. I love to talk. LOL.

Also this website will have a little insight of my life. Me. Savannah. The daughter, The sister, The wife, The mommy, etc, etc....

I hope you will enjoy it, follow me and I will follow you!


How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging for a little over a month now. I didn't expect for my site to grow so large in such a short time.

Why did you decide to blog?

I decided to blog because my husband thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts with those who also like to read. I always talk about the books I've read, and sometimes I would bore him. LOL.

What books do you blog about and why?

I blog about Young Adult Literature. Mostly paranormal. I blog about these because this is what I love to read. I love the drama, the plots, and of course those unexpected moments. Like when you find out that person is something more than what they thought.

What memes can be found on your blog?

I have three memes going on. The first is called Supporting my BOD (Book Obsession Disorder). Like other reader, I spend a ridiculous amount of money on books. The other is called Just Release It Already! I am super excited person. Always happy and bouncy so this title fits me perfectly. Its based on books that I want NOW! Seriously? Just release it already!!! I also have Blog Hopping Friday. This is where I participate with Parajunkee and blog hop finding other blogs who are just like me :)

What is your review style like?

Hmm, I like to tell the reader what goes on in the book and straight to the point. To me when I get a book, I want to know whats inside. As you can tell, I am not one for waiting. I always wanted my Christmas present the day before or unwrapped them a midnight. I want a clue to the book. Something to capture me to read this book. So that is how I review. I tell you the exciting parts and of course what I think about it.

If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Catchy. I designed my blog so that people would find it interesting. One thing I learned about blogging is that you need a catchy blog. Something to catch the readers eye. Just like when you go to the bookstore and you see a cover that grabs your attention, that what I did. And then of course have good reviews, contests, etc.

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

My advice would be not to be afraid to try something new. When I was designing my blog for the millionth time, I was nervous. I wasn't sure whether it would work or not. My husband was like, "just try it." I am not a risk-taker. I always like to stay somewhere safe. I never like to play games. So change my blog was a challenge for me. But hey, in the end, it totally worked out.

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

I use different promotions. Contests, blog hopping, etc. The one that works the best is blog hopping. Other people want to find other people who blog just like they. And I love getting to know the other bloggers. I have so many knew friends now!

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

Hmmm, it would be that reading is great! I love to read and the experience of reading is something that no one can take away from you.

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

Readers can look forward to more contests, reviews, up to date information, new and up-coming books.

Blogger Remarks:

Thank you so much Savannah for being the first among my new series of blogger interviews. I am an avid reader of your blog and feel honored that you granted me this interview. For more on Books with Bite, you can click on the blog button featured at the top of this post. Next week, I interview Precious from Fragments of Life.

Radiance ARC Giveaway

Hear ye! Hear ye! Oh, dear readers, it's contest day once again, and I have a good one for you. Any fans of Alyson Noel out there? Well, now is your chance to win an ARC of her latest novel entitled Radiance. I for one am not much of a fan, but I'm always happy to pass the news along for those dying to read this book.


Riley Bloom left her sister, Ever, in the world of the living and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. Riley and her dog, Buttercup, have been reunited with her parents and are just settling into a nice, relaxing death when she's summoned before The Council. They let her in on a secret—the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure; Riley has to work. She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a curious boy she can't quite figure out.

Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth for her first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But he's never met Riley...

So, head on over to Savy's blog Books with Bite and enter now.



Author Interview: Ken Howard


It is the story of a black American teenager, who on the death of his father has to travel to a remote Scottish island to bury him. There, he finds himself in the midst of ancient feuds that put his very life at risk. It is an adventure story, but also concerns loss and maturity - what we are and who we can become.

This pacey story starts in Los Angeles, where Jamie MacDoran lives with his African-American mother Marcia and Scottish father James. When his father dies suddenly, Jamie discovers the ancient lineage that his father - and now Jamie - are part of. He travels to the Scottish island of Doran to bury his father. In the family's dilapidated castle, under the watchful eye of his cold, estranged grandmother, Jamie must decide whether to turn away from his heritage or delve in deeper.

Author Info:

Ken Howard was educated at University College School, London and Edinburgh University. He trained with Granada TV and for several years in the Drama department of BBC TV. His directing career has spanned drama, documentary and the arts with a particular emphasis on childrens programming. Braveheart and Today I Am a Man both won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Childrens Programme and were followed by Youve Got A Friend on childrens imaginary friends, Listen to Me,about deaf children, and Open Mind dealing with child psychotherapy. Ken wrote and directed the award-winning BBC dramas A Penny For Your Dreams, John Lennon: A Journey in the Life and Sunny Stories on Enid Blyton. He has won and been nominated for many of the most prestigious broadcasting awards, including Emmy and BAFTA.

Ken is also a celebrated composer with over 40 international hits and many million-selling discs to his credit and was the first British writer to write hits for Elvis Presley. West End musicals include The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Mardi Gras and Matilda. Numerous TV scores include Miss Marple, The Flame Trees of Thika, Shadowlands and By The Sword Divided.

He co-devised the board game, Sophie's World, for his company, Sophisticated Games, which also publishes the million-selling Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Beowulf, Ingenious, Callisto and Golden Compass games. He is a director of Landseer Productions in London.

Ken lives in London and California, and enjoys hiking in the desert, swimming in the ocean, and playing tennis.


1. When did you decide to start writing?

I have always written since I was small, running school newspapers and later a national magazine, AXLE, and a good many articles in UK newspapers. When I became a TV director I also wrote my scripts for my own BBC TV dramas such as A PENNY FOR YOUR DREAMS, JOHN LENNON: A JOURNEY IN THE LIFE and SUNNY STORIES about Enid Blyton. In fact THE YOUNG CHIEFTAIN started life as an idea for a TV drama that was developed by Granada TV and Disney. At the last moment Disney balked at the idea of the death of the father - strangely in view of THE LION KING! - and I resolved to turn it into a novel.

2. Why young adult?

I have made many TV films for youngsters, many with controversial social themes and THE YOUNG CHIEFTAIN touches on several areas that really interest me - bereavement, mixed-heritage, leadership etc.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

Not really. I have always felt that works have a natural length at which they work best. THE YOUNG CHIEFTAIN is almost 300 pages, but I think it moves pretty fast, and I hope will keep the reader engaged until the end.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

I love words and am fascinated by the job of trying to find the exactly the right ones to express and idea or an emotion. I think that's why I enjoy songwriting so much (my other career that has led to number one hits and musicals etc) because you are forced to compress a great deal into a very small space. You know when you have got it right.

5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?

Wow! that's a hard one. Perhaps "life-changing"? - certainly for Jamie, the hero, and who knows, maybe for some readers too. It is certainly about what we are and who we can become.

6. Why did you decide to make your main character a black American teen?

I knew of a real-life situation where a young English boy became the Chieftain of a Scottish clan - and it struck me that it would be really interesting if the boy was the American son of a black mother and a Scottish father - the Chieftain of a clan but estranged from his family. When his father is killed, Jamie has to travel to bury him on a remote Scottish island. His unexpected appearance ignites many issues, of identity, race and courage and fuels the adventures in the book. In creating Jamie, I was obviously influenced by Obama's extraordinary rise to the American presidency and the message that sent to the world. I am very aware that there is a huge readership, in this country and elsewhere, of mixed race kids and adults, who have almost no role-models in the fiction they read. Maybe when they see a kid like Jamie, like themselves, become someone he never knew he could be - they too might think, "yes, I can."

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

I hope it can be enjoyed as a page-turning adventure story, but also stimulate some thought about the larger issues it raises.

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

Book publishing was a very new field for me and I had absolutely no idea where to start. Luckily I met Sheila Ableman, my excellent agent, at a party. She said she didn't deal with teen fiction but asked to read the book. She was really excited by it and asked if she could show it around, and Tamarind Books, a division of Random House Children's Books, luckily shared her enthusiasm. They have long specialised in books for a multi-cultural society and we are having great fun in working together on promoting THE YOUNG CHIEFTAIN. It's a real learning curve for me.

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

Hang on in there!

Blogger's Remarks:

Ken, thank you so much for giving us your time. Best wishes in the launch of your novel. THE YOUNG CHIEFTAIN will be published September 2nd. There will be a book launch at Waterstone's in Hampstead High Street on the 15th September at 7pm. For those who want to know more about Ken, you can visit his blog.

Blog Rundown

Dearest readers, this is a special post outlining my blog rundown, as mentioned in the title.

A couple of weeks ago, this blog has only featured reviews. But, since then, I have decided to add different daily posts for your reading delectation. That, and I read slow, so really, once a week is the best I can do for reviews. Bad of me, I know. Sigh. Will learn to read faster.

Mondays will contain any Special Posts. This will cover posts from yours truly and other bloggers that I invite to guest blog for Reads, Reviews, Recommends. This might not be a consistent thing, but you'll know when it's a special post by the picture that comes along with it. Points to the left. Anyway, if anyone wants to add a special post here on Reads, Reviews, Recommends, just email me and we'll see what we can do.

Tuesdays are Personal Review days. This is when I post any book review I have written over the week. I usually write the review the moment I finish a book, so look forward to Tuesdays, dear reads, for that is the day you find out what I think of my current foray between the pages.

Wednesdays are for my Author Interviews. This is a new section that I've started because I've realized that I've met so many authors online now. Okay, too many "I've" in that sentence. Anyway, if you are an author who wants to be interviewed, just send me an email and I'd be glad to interview you.

Thursdays are reserved for contests. Any contests I might have or contests that I stumble upon during my blog visits are featured here. This might not be a consistent thing, too. But, if you have a contest on your blog or know of a contest that you want to be featured, let me know and I'd be glad to post something about it on this section of the site. Speaking of which, the Eclipse OST contest is still on. Click here to enter.

Fridays are for Blogger Interviews. This is another new section that I thought of starting. There are so many great bloggers out there that deserved to be interviewed. I read so many of them avidly, which is why I would like to spend some time featuring them here. Spreading the word is always good.

Saturdays are for my Book Budget. This section features the books I have bought or have been given for review. These posts contain the book cover, the synopsis, and if there is a book trailer, that too. I always love to share with everyone what books I have currently waiting to be read.

And on Sundays, the blog rests.

I hope to hear from you, dear reader, during any of these days. And, I also hope that you enjoy what I have to offer in these sections. Always let me know what you think. Opinions matter...they move minds and change hearts.

Kate Evangelista

Thomas E. Sniegoski's The Fallen, Volume 1

I have a special treat for you, dear readers. A great friend of mine has given me the honor of reviewing Fallen. I gave her the book as a thank you for helping me beta read for my own novels, and she fell in love with the story. I asked for a review and she has delivered in stellar fashion. She's a writer and a musician too. After reading her review, take the time to visit her prose and music sites. So, without further adu, I give you Fallen as reviewed by Noey Pico.

It's the eve of his eighteenth birthday and Aaron is experiencing dreams of a disturbing nature. In the darkly violent and chaotic dreamscape, Aaron is an armor-clad warrior in the midst of a bloody conflict. He can hear the sounds of weapons clanging, the screams of the stricken, the pathetic moans of the dying, and another sound he cannot quite discern. But as he gazes upward, he suddenly understands, watching as hundreds of armored warriors descend on the battlefield from the sky above. It is the sound of wings beating the air unmercifully.

The flapping of angels' wings.

Synopsis for Book One: The Fallen

Orphaned since birth, Aaron is suddenly discovering newfound -- and sometimes supernatural -- talents. But not until he is approached by two men does he learn the truth about his own destiny, and his role as a liaison between angels, mortals, and Powers both good and evil, some of whom are hell-bent on his own destruction...

Synopsis for Book Two: Leviathan

Aaron is on the run from the Powers that killed his foster parents and took his younger brother, Stephen. With his dog, Gabriel, and Camael, a former Powers' commander, he is drawn north to a small town in Maine. Here, Aaron, who still hasn't accepted this newfound heritage, finds comfort in the isolated, tight-knit community.

But when Camael and Gabriel go missing, and their landlady suddenly attacks Aaron, he is forced to learn more about the War in Heaven and the many Powers that are fighting for dominance... of humankind.

A Review:

I love getting book recommendations from friends because they bring stories I wouldn't have otherwise known about to my immediate attention. Case and point - I hadn't heard about Sniegoski's The Fallen until Kate brought it to mine. She'd given me the first omnibus volume as a gift, and from the moment I caught sight of the cover under the newly-torn wrapping paper that hid the book from view, I can, in all honesty say that I could not wait to read it.

As you can see from the synopses posted above, The Fallen chronicles the journey of Aaron Corbet, a regular teenaged boy living in a small town whose concerns initially have to do more with figuring what he would like to do once he graduates high school and how not to blush each time he crosses paths with the girl he likes. Unfortunately, for Aaron, his life takes a drastic turn (for the worst?) when he finds himself with the newfound ability to speak and understand tongues -- and yes, I know it sounds very biblical.

The fact of the matter is, biblical is not too far from the truth of things. Aaron is a Nephilim -- the child of a mortal woman and an angel, and this accounts for his ability to understand and speak foreign languages like Brazilian (which is what the girl he's crushing on speaks) and other foreign languages -- and yes, even Canine.

As a reader, I haven't really come across that many stories wherein the hero is of angelic origin. Most of the ones I have and remember reading were from well back in the 90's, when the trend for angels back then were mostly of guardian-angel ilk.

The Fallen is not that. As my Dad once mentioned to me, there is actually no place in the Bible where angels are described as beautiful, peaceful guardians hovering protectively over children. What they are described as are Messengers, and the most memorable appearances where they make their appearances are those where the places they go to find themselves dealing with either death or destruction. In the Old Testament, the final plague that God sent was the death to the all the firstborn in houses unmarked by those who knew that the final plague was coming. If you've ever seen Disney's the Prince of Egypt, pay close attention to the light that starts up in the sky and then runs through the city like a mad wind with a mind of its own. Yup, you got it: Angel.

Pretty heavy, I know, but I think that's what drew me into the story most of all. The conflict between Good, Evil and the gray areas found in between is a theme that crops up in a lot of stories. Sniegoski's The Fallen understands this trope and ties his hero's story with that of the Fall, when rebel angels took up arms against the All Father, lost in the war and were consequently banished from Heaven.

Now while I've yet to read the second volume of the omnibus set (Kate's got me reviewing that one too, by the by) containing Books 3 and 4, as a reader I find myself deep enough into the story to know that this is not just Aaron's story, though he is right in the thick of things. Perhaps we can say that this is a story about Choice, and Aaron, as the main character, serves as the medium by which we, the readers, find ourselves considering questions like: What is Good? For that matter, what is Evil? Is it as simple as telling black from white, because then, what about the various gradations of gray that lie in-between? Is it possible that something good could end up serving evil as well? If one is good, does that mean they are completely immune to doing evil?

Well, don't look at me. I don't have the answers -- but if you'd like to talk it over a cup of coffee, chocolate or tea, let me know and we'll set something up.

Sniegoski's characters are strong, distinct and memorable, and whether they be the (percieved) good guys or the (again, percieved) bad guys there is something in them that makes you -- or well, me, as a reader, want to understand more.

There is Gabriel the dog, who worms his way into your heart with little to no effort at all, and then Camael, the uptight, former leader of the Powers who develops a rather endearing addiction to french fries. There is Verchiel, current leader of the Powers - devoted to the Creator, singly-focused on ensuring the eradication of every Niphilim in existence as they are a stain in the Almighty's Plan. There is Vilma Santiago, clearly Aaron's love-interest, who I have to wonder what role she'll play given that there are two more books to go. And then there is the Morningstar -- yup, that Morningstar. But I won't elaborate on that. After all, the point of this review is to get you guys to hunt up the books and read as I did.

The Fallen is a read that will have you turning pages and running through chapters until you hit the back cover and either (a) be incredibly glad that you are lucky enough to have the last two books sitting, unopened on your shelf, or (b) you could be like me, going through each and every bookstore in the city, frustrated that all current copies of these books are ridiculously unavailable.

I finished the book in two days (not for want of putting it down, but I do work and also have to sleep), and this is not because the writing is complicated, because it is anything but. It is a book that you find you want to pace yourself, because it is a read that encourages you, as a reader, to pause, consider and think.

If you're a fan of any sort of mythology or books that springboard from mythology, you will definitely enjoy this read. If you aren't, I am totally willing to take the blame for any interest sparked; And finally, if you're a fan of strong character-driven writing balanced with a plot that makes you want to guess, this is definitely worth the buy.

Win an ARC for Torment

I'm sure many of you have already read Fallen by Lauren Kate. If you haven't, I have a review right here. For those who have read Fallen and can't wait for the second book, here's a chance for you to win an ARC. 

Lynsey from Narratively Speaking is giving away an ARC of Torment and the contest is international. So, what are you waiting for? You can click here to enter. 
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