Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Wizard's Lot by A.M. Justice (Plus A Look Back at Blade of Amber)

  Not too long after I first started blogging, I was approached by author A.M. Justice to read and review her first book, Blade of Amber. I immediately fell in love with the story and Ms Justice's writing and I never looked back. I often private messaged A.M. telling her how much I loved her book over and over and OVER again.
  I'm pretty sure she quickly got tired of my persistent messages! (Joking, I know authors appreciate positive feedback every chance they get it.)
  I fell so in love with Blade of Amber, I named it one of my top five (six, really) favorite books of 2013. (If you'd like to check out the whole list, click here!)
  Long story short (decently short, sorry, I tend to go into extreme detail when I tell stories), I fell in love with A.M. Justice's writing, and when she asked me to review A Wizard's Lot (book two in the Woern Chronicles) I was more than happy to oblige.
  I'd be lying if I said that A Wizard's Lot didn't live up to my expectations.
  Things are chaotic in this continuation of the Woern chronicles for main characters Vic, Bethniel, Ashel, and Earnk, and in one specific case, tragic as well. And if you thought that Lornk Korng's story was over, you are dead wrong. You will most definitely see more of Lornk in this next installment.
  As I read on in A.M. Justice's A Wizard's Lot, I was shocked and incredibly impressed with the way she phrases things and writes. Her storytelling is pretty impeccable, if I do say so myself.
  Also, another thing I adore about these books (there are many, many things, but I'll just name a few...), is Vic, Blade of Amber and A Wizard's Lot's main character. She's independent, not reliant on anyone else, she's strong, she faces her fears, and...well, to put it bluntly, she kicks ass. Literally and figuratively.
  If you're looking for an action based series with a deep and intriguing plot, these books are the books for you.

Book                                   ebook

Book                                  ebook

Friday, March 28, 2014

Entangled Souls by Felicia Tatum

  Words cannot express my love and adoration for Felicia Tatum's Scarred Hearts series...but I'll try.
  Just when I thought I couldn't love Francesca and Cade from Mangled Hearts and Entangled Souls more, I'm proven wrong by their eternal love for each other. No matter which life crisis is bringing them down, they always find a way to defy the impossible. Francesca and Cade are MFEO (from one of my favorite movies, Sleepless in Seattle), Made For Each Other.
  Which of course is a no-brainer since Felicia Tatum did, in fact, make Francesca and Cade for each other. I just thought I'd point that out.
  Entangled Souls picks up right where Mangled Hearts left off. If you haven't yet read Mangled Hearts, I won't spoil anything for you, but I will say that Francesca and Cade's worries are not yet over.
  Over the years, I've gotten a bit tired of romances and romantic type books. I feel almost as if it's the same plots and the same stories written over and over again. But with Felicia Tatum's work, my faith in romance is renewed every time I pick up one of her books.
  I also often get irritated with secondary characters and main female characters; their personalities either bland or irritating, but in the Scarred Hearts series...I just don't ever get that feeling.
  It's almost as if I'm shocked at how much I love this series every time I start one of the books. I feel like I have to private message Felicia on Facebook every five minutes to remind her how incredible she and her characters are.
  I love Felicia Tatum, I love her books, and last but not least, I love Francesca and the love of her life, Cade.

Book                                 ebook

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For Now After the Quake - A Father's Journey by Kevin Kato

  For Now After the Quake is the story of Kevin Kato and his survival during the terrible earthquake that hit Japan on March 11th 2011. Kevin, who was living in Fukushima with his wife and two sons, tells his readers about his experience with fighting for survival, and evacuating from Japan- his home- as everything shakes and breaks around them. Power plants are being knocked out, and normal rain turns to acid.
  This turn of events, which seems like it only happen in movies, is now happening right before Kevin's eyes.
  This story is an incredibly inspiring one... No. No, this book is not a story, and these people are not characters. This book is real life and real experiences, and as you read, it will break your heart to know that these horrific events are possible...and happened about three years ago.
  This book is very small, but it leaves a huge impact. As you read, you become entranced with his history and what was occurring in 2011. You don't even realize you're quickly finishing the book.
  Writing this story was absolutely brilliant. I predict that this book, Kevin's tale, his work with the relief fundraisers, and his dedication will get the word out about the Japanese tragedy more than anything else sure has affected me greatly.
  Kevin has now dedicated his life to helping those who are still in need. The proceeds from buying paper copies of "For Now After the Quake" all go to a fundraiser for Japanese relief. Those who were affected by this horrible quake are, to this day, still suffering. It's truly tragic.
  So Kevin is reaching out to readers like you, who might purchase the book, write reviews, tell their friends, and spread the word about his story. His participation in the fundraisers, his dedication to his family, and his commitment to the suffering strangers around him is truly an inspiration.
  Please take the time to check out Kevin's book and the information for the earthquake funds and relief projects listed below.

Buy the book:

All proceeds to go Japanese relief.

Book                                ebook

Buy it on Barnes and Noble here.

Kevin has been working with Catholic Relief Services, who have been assisting his fundraising efforts. 
Here is a video of a traveling daycare for children in Fukushima: 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Angela's Ashes, 'Tis, and Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

  Frank McCourt was not only an amazing author, he was an amazing man and human being altogether. While I was reading the trilogy (I guess you could consider it a trilogy of memoirs), I knew what I was going to say about his books. He was incredibly intelligent, and his writing was unique. (His way of not using quotation marks gives his stories a certain special quality.) What happened to him in his life is sad and remarkable at the same time. I knew what I was going to say, I just knew it. Although I seem like I know what to say and where to say it in this mind is actually blank. My sweaty palms and rapidly beating heart is the only proof I have that I actually read the books. I have no words...I only have feelings and emotions.
  But I'll power on. I will come up with a good enough book review for this "trilogy" to convince you to read them. I can't guarantee you'll feel as I did once you finish the third book, Teacher Man, but please try. Don't live your life without reading Angela's Ashes, 'Tis, and Teacher Man.
  With that being said, I've decided to start this review with the author, not his books.
  Frank McCourt grew up being self-conscious and was always concerned about people thinking less of him. Through his books, I felt that it was his goal in life to make an impression on people and change the world (which he did in part through teaching). In Angela's Ashes, we meet Frank, who grew up in Ireland, after leaving New York, his birthplace, when he was four or five. He and his family were incredibly poor, and always tried to make the best of what they had. Frank grew up, took horrible jobs and saved money with the hope that one day he'd leave his home and go back to New York. This is where we start the second book, 'Tis. We follow Frank as he grows up into adulthood. Teacher Man is the third book, and where Frank tells his readers (anyone who'll listen) about his teaching career, the kids (and adults) he has taught, his life after Ireland, and what life has in store for him next.
  Now, I'm incredibly sad and regretful to tell all of you that Frank McCourt passed away five years ago from cancer. My mom informed me of this just as I was reading Angela's Ashes.
  I've read many books where the author has passed and in some cases, JUST passed, but none have affected me as much as Frank McCourt's death. I finished Teacher Man, and as soon as I read the last line, I burst into tears. At 2:30 am. It made me beyond sad to know that Frank McCourt will never write about his life ever again. This man deserved thirty plus more years than he received and it is completely unfair.
  But as I sit here now and think (yes, my review is finally coming together!) I realize that this is what he would want. He would want people to connect with his story and read about his life, maybe hoping that somehow his story would change people for the better and that they could also make a difference in the world.
  Angela's Ashes has always been talked about. Everyone says that it's wonderful and it makes them cry. And I know that you might have the urge to say, "Oh, yes, I'll put it on my To Be Read list!" and never truly read it. For some, Angela's Ashes will always be on their To Read pile, shelf, or both.
  So, as The Literary Connoisseur, I'm telling you this now: Read Angela's Ashes, read up on Frank McCourt, and don't give up until you've finished 'Tis and Teacher Man. Even if it doesn't affect you like it did me, read it for Frank's sake. His story must be told.

Angela's Ashes

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Teacher Man

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mellifica: Devastating First Love by Melissa Mayberry

  Everything seemed absolutely perfect for Melissa Quinn. She's just turned sixteen, she has the perfect boyfriend, the perfect teen life, and the perfect birthday celebration...until Arien Hart shows up. When Melissa's cousin brings his friend Arien along to Melissa's birthday party and to church camp meetings, Melissa is more than irritated. Arien is creepy, stalker-ish, and...completely irresistible.
  Soon Melissa falls for Arien- and leaves her boyfriend Sandy behind.
  This book had me clenching my fists in frustration from the very beginning. I kept shaking my head and cringing at the choices Melissa (or Mellifica as Arien calls her) was making. I was positively furious.
  From what I've read, Devastating First Love is loosely based on the author's life as a teenager and...oh my gosh, I can't even imagine the (excuse me) hell she went through.
  Chapter after chapter I just thought, "There is no way that this plot could go any more downhill!" I was wrong. Every time.
  I was just so frustrated and angered the entire way through! Every chapter, I kept sighing and saying, "What is going on here?!"
  But eventually I finished it...and I just sat there, not knowing what to make of it. It irritated me, I was beyond angered and frustrated, I wanted to scoff, sigh, roll my eyes, and PLEA for it to be over (the devastation- not the book)...but, I kept thinking about it. I couldn't stop!
  All night I thought, "What did I just read? Is this for real?" And to this day, I still feel the same way. It angered me, and I kind of hated it, but I can't stop thinking about it.
  As I sit here and and reflect back on the book, I've realized what it is that's got me stuck on this story. Mellifica: Devastating First Love is my very own Arien Hart.

Book                                  ebook

Saturday, March 15, 2014

An Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Marissa Meyer

I am so very proud and honored to say that I had the most absolute pleasure to "sit down" with best selling YA author Marissa Meyer, and interview her about her work. I am a HUGE fan of hers, so doing this interview was just a dream come true. She is an absolute delight to talk to, to interview, and to meet. (I've done so twice!) So without further ado, everyone, here's Marissa Meyer!

An interview with author Marissa Meyer:

The Literary Connoisseur: As a writer of Fanfiction yourself, how would you feel knowing someone was writing fanfic about your characters? 

Marissa Meyer: I LOVE it!! When I first found out that there was Lunar Chronicles fanfiction, I was like a kid on Christmas. I was so giddy. I still get giddy when I think about it. Although I can't allow myself to read the fanfiction based on my own novels, largely because I don't want them to influence my own plans for the series, I really love knowing that it's out there. It's such an enormous compliment to know that readers want to continue to spend time with these characters and that they've been inspired to create something on their own.
 The Literary Connoisseur: You base your books off of old fairy tales...What is your favorite classic fairy tale? 

Marissa Meyer: I don't really have a #1 favorite, though I tend to be drawn to those that people THINK they know - largely because of Disney - but that in actuality have very strange things about them. Such as how Cinderella's stepsisters mutilated their own feet to try to fit the slipper, or how Sleeping Beauty's prince took advantage of her while she was sleeping and she didn't wake up until after she gave birth to his kids. Bizarre things like that. I think it's fascinating to see how the stories have changed with time.
The Literary Connoisseur: Are you planning on writing more stories after The Lunar Chronicles are finished? 

Marissa Meyer: Absolutely - I hope this is just the start of a long writing career! My first non-Lunar Chronicles book will likely be out in the fall of 2015. Titled HEARTLESS, it's a prequel to Alice in Wonderland focused on the Queen of Hearts. After that I have an idea for a contemporary action/adventure series that I'm really excited about.

The Literary Connoisseur: How do you feel knowing your books are so loved and adored? 

Marissa Meyer: You know, it's a very strange thing. When people talk about my books, it's difficult for me to take credit for it. I feel like people are talking about someone else's books, not mine, like I'm listening to them compliment someone else's work. When I'm writing, I still tend to forget that anyone is ever going to read this stuff, so then it's strange when all the sudden it's out in the world and readers have THOUGHTS and FEELINGS. of course, it's wonderful and I absolutely love meeting readers, and I'm SO happy that they're enjoying the books - but it never feels "real."
The Literary Connoisseur: If you could say anything to aspiring authors, what would you say? 

Marissa Meyer: Have fun with it! Write the stories that you're passionate about. Don't worry about marketability or trends or publishing - all that will come with time. Your first focus should be on telling the stories that you can't get out of your head and having fun with those characters and that world. There can be a lot of heartache and struggles that come with the writing life, but if you're doing what you love first and foremost, you'll be able to weather them a lot easier.

About Marissa: 

Marissa Meyer lives near Seattle with her husband and their three cats. She's a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, color-coordinating her bookshelf...) and will take any excuse to put on a costume. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Marissa's Books:


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Book                                ebook  

To find more about Marissa Meyer,

check out her website here,

her Facebook page here,

her Lunar Chronicles Facebook page here,

her Wattpad stories here,

her Goodreads page here,

and her Amazon page here!

I actually had the pleasure of meeting Marissa...


And she was also kind enough to thank her bloggers in her new Scarlet paperback...

Before I saw her last month

After last month <3

Yeah, she's pretty awesome!


Well, I don't know about you all, but I had an absolute BLAST! If you can, check out Marissa Meyer's tour dates, and if she's coming to a town near you, go and meet her! She is absolutely amazing, and the sweetest. 

Also, pick up a copy of Cinder if you haven't already. Not only is she cool as a cucumber, her books are amazing as well!

I wish you all the best, sending you all hugs, and Happy Reading, my lovely Lit-Wits!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  By the time I started Fangirl (and only after reading Eleanor and Park, one of Rainbow Rowell's other novels) I was already a fan. Her writing is incredible, and I knew that no matter what I read by her, I'd love it.
  I was right.
  This book is called "Fangirl." FANGIRL. What every cool girl my age is. Whether you're a fan of Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Supernatural, or...yes, even My Little Pony, you're a fangirl. That's what this story is about, a fangirl named Cath.
  Cath is now attending her freshman year of college, and although she's not accustomed to this way of life yet, she has her fandom, Simon Snow, and that (and her fanfiction) is all she needs in life. Cath learns life lessons that every young adult has to learn, she makes new friends, and- of course- continues to obsess over Simon Snow.
  Simon Snow is the fictional equivalent of Harry Potter, and how Cath feels about Simon Snow, I have felt and continue to feel about the Harry Potter fandom. So I'm sure you are now aware of how much I connected to this book.
  Fangirl didn't have the emotional turmoil that Eleanor and Park had, but it had double the humor, and it had more relatable main characters- for me. Eleanor was tortured, sarcastic, and cynical, whereas Cath is dorky, awkward, and sarcastic (in a slightly different way). They both have their positives, and they both have their irresistible charms.
  As I said in my previous book review (scroll down if you haven't read it yet), Rainbow Rowell is absolutely incredible. Beyond amazing, light-years from awesome, and a lifetime away from good- she is positively exceptional.
  I didn't expect Fangirl to affect me as it did. It was so fluffy and incredibly fun to read, I didn't expect to get so emotionally tied to the story. But (and don't worry, nobody dies, and there are no spoilers) the ending had me in a puddle of tears. It was...It was emotionally satisfying.

Book                          ebook  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

  I have finally found an author who measures up to John Green's brilliance. Rainbow Rowell has created one of the most incredible and meaningful YA relationships since Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars.
  Look out Hazel and Gus, Eleanor and Park are coming for your first place prize.
  Eleanor is an overweight red-head, who grew up in one of the most horrible family situations possible, and is now a new student in a school where she is constantly bullied. Park is a normal boy. He excels in school, he has a loving, quirky family, and he is positively precious and adorable. But there's one thing that makes him different from all of the other boys in school.
  He's fascinated with Eleanor.
  Together, they make one of the most beautiful book couples I've ever discovered. Eleanor and Park are in my top ten all-time favorite literary couples. Top two if it's YA literary couples.
  Rainbow Rowell writes with a kind of poetry that I've only read in books by John Green and Ally Condie. Their style of writing, and putting things into words is almost magical, almost as if every sentence needs to be savored and contemplated. I cannot gush enough about Rainbow Rowell. She is stunningly incredible, impeccably talented, and a positively beautiful writer.
  I love to take my time when I read her books (I've just finished Fangirl). I don't want them to end! I always look forward to when a book ends, not necessarily because it's bad, but because I want to know what happens! But with Eleanor and Park...I missed them the second I read the last sentence.

  Just in case you need more convincing that it's amazing, read this: 

Still need more convincing? 
Read it. I beg of you- READ IT.

Book                         ebook

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Literary Connoisseur's Shout Out of the Day- 3-4-14

The Literary Connoisseur's
Shout Out of the Day

There are some books that stick with you forever, books that are so sweet and memorable, you can't help but miss the characters, and long to be back in the story.

One of the most memorable Indie books I have ever read is...

~Mangled Hearts by Felicia Tatum~

It's beautiful, emotional, and Felicia is master with words. There is absolutely no way that I can put into words the beauty that's in this book, I can only encourage you to read it. Read it. It's beautiful, and I give it my full endorsement.

Book                        ebook

Now, if you've read Mangled Hearts, do not fret, Francesca and Cade's story is not over! Look for more of them in...

Entangled Souls by Felicia Tatum

Book                       ebook

Monday, March 3, 2014

Love Burned Deep by Nickie Nalley Seidler

  Having a perfect marriage with a charming and gorgeous firefighter seems like the absolute most perfect fairy tale, right? Wrong.
  Rachel has been helping her husband battle his demons ever since their relationship began. Through his horrible drug addiction she was there for him. She was his shoulder, his cheerleader, and his entire support. They are in love, and they will always be in love. Forever.
  But someone else is saying the same thing. Cody has a past relationship that keeps showing her ugly face every time Rachel turns around. Everything is working out just fine...until a problem named Angie shows up.
  Everything is not so perfect anymore.
  When I started Love Burned Deep, I expected it to be the same size as Taking My Love (the short story I read just before I read this one), or even longer. Little did I know that Love Burned Deep was going to take me even less time to finish!
  That being said, I loved Love Burned Deep more than I did Taking My Love. I don't know why exactly, but I have a feeling it was because it was so dramatic and fast-paced (emotionally) that I didn't have time to get irritated with any of the characters (besides the intentionally annoying ones) or bored with the story.   Neither of the plots in Ms Seidler's stories were boring at all, but Love Burned Deep was just so...I don't know how to describe it. There was so much going on that before I knew it, it was over.
  As I said before, I really liked Love Burned Deep (even more than I did Taking My Love). It was very, very good and it had me very interested and excited throughout.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Taking My Love by Nickie Nalley Seidler

  Taking My Love by Nickie Nalley Seidler is the emotional story of what a long-time boyfriend can do to you when he packs his bags all of a sudden, and leaves you in the dust. Evelynn is shocked, angry, and downright depressed when her boyfriend of four years, Danny, leaves out of nowhere. But thankfully she is not alone. Her best friend Clark is there to comfort her...and give her what Danny never could: True love and a long-lasting relationship.
  Taking My Love is not the ordinary romantic novel size, but about half (or even a quarter) of it. It will honestly take you no longer than an afternoon to read it.
  I loved the intensity and intrigue that Taking My Love shares with its readers. It had me wanting more and eagerly flipping (or in my case, clicking) to the next page.
  Although, I DID get irritated with some of the characters at certain points. It's honestly not hard for a character to become irritating to me, but I was so focused on what was going on in the story, I didn't pay too much attention to its imperfections.
  Along with the intriguing cliff-hangers that are interesting enough to get you sucked into the story, there were a few twists and turns that had me saying, "Holy crap!" out loud.
  This little novel may not be your cup of tea, but it's a quick, fun read that will- at the most- take you a day to get through.
  (Now in addition to Taking My Love, I read Nickie's second little novel, Love Burned Deep, and I cannot wait to write about that one.)