Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

IN A GLANCE: A book with a message!

Title: My Life After Now
Author: Jessica Verdi
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Ebook ARC
Pages:  304 pages
ISBN #:  1402277857

GoodreadsBuy This
Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of. And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family? Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.

I have no idea how to really start this review, which is not something that happens a lot.  This book has one very powerful message and lesson to learn from it.  I'm so glad this author has taken on this topic in a teen book.  

This book focuses on a topic that not many authors tackle and like I said its very important for teens to read and hear this story.  Its about a teenager that contracts HIV from one mistake that she will have to pay for the rest of her life.  She struggles with it through out the whole book.  

This is one heartbreaking book, but even with all the heartbreak, I really enjoyed reading it and reading about Lucy and how she had to deal with everything.  So many emotions came over me as I read each and every page of this story.  One minute I was laughing and the next I was crying.  

I would have to recommend teenagers to read this book and I think it would be a great book to add to all the high school libraries.  


I would have to give this book a Ali's Bookshelf: 

 Plot: 20/20
Writing: 18/20
Characters: 18/20
Creativity: 18/20
Ending: 10/10
Cover: 10/10

Thanks so much Sourcebooks for letting me be part of this tour and review this great book.  It was a great read!!! Also sorry for this review going up a day late.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Guest Post by author Jessica Verdi

My Life After Now guest blog post #2

By Jessica Verdi


Theater is a huge part of Lucy's world and saturates the book in every way (the chapter titles are song titles from musicals). Jessica discusses how she believes the musical theme ties the chapters together, and her own love affair with musical theater!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog! I’m super psyched to get to talk a little bit about my new book My Life After Now.

To say I love musical theater is an understatement. I blast show tunes at all hours of the day and night, singing along at the top of my lungs—my neighbors must hate me. The bulk of my pre-writing years were spent on stage (and in NYC audition rooms). I’d always been into music (I sang and danced and played the violin from a pretty young age), but the moment I joined my high school drama club, I don’t know, something just clicked for me. Musical theater isn’t just about singing and dancing. It’s about emotion. It’s about telling a story that’s so big, so real, that words alone can’t contain it. No matter if it’s a drama or a comedy, the songs, belted out by a thirty-person chorus or a single actor under a spotlight, bring it all to another level.

When I set out to write My Life After Now, I knew I didn’t want my main character, Lucy, to be just a walking statistic. Like, she has HIV so that’s all we need to know about her. No, she needed to be a real person, with a very full life. And I also wanted to make sure I balanced out the darker moments of the story with lightness and joy. What better way to do that than to submerge Lucy in the world of theater? Throughout the book, Lucy is on stage, at auditions, studying her script, listening to show tunes, quoting plays, and so much more. The chapter titles are all titles of songs from musicals (“What I Did for Love, “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” and so on) because I felt like if Lucy were describing the chapters in her life, well, that’s how she would do it.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy Lucy’s story!

Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. Her favorite pastimes include singing showtunes at the top of her lungs (much to her husband’s chagrin), watching cheesy TV, and scoring awesome non-leather shoes in a size 5. She’s still trying to figure out a way to put her uncanny ability to remember both song lyrics and the intricacies of vampire lore to good use.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski

Review: Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski

IN A GLANCE: This book really surprised me!

Title: Dark Halo
Author: Christopher Kokoski
Publisher: BlackWyrm Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 322 pages

GoodreadsBuy This
In a town besieged by shadowy, demonic forces, a father races against time to save his family. Thirty-five-year old Landon Paddock has deserted his wife and daughter, abandoned his business, and secluded himself in his late parent's southern Indiana ranch. But he's barely lapsed into a drunken coma when a mysterious, winged stranger appears during a violent lightning storm, chasing him out into the maddening night with his estranged 15-year old daughter. As layer after layer of reality is dissolved by a series of violent encounters, the only way to survive might be for Landon to band together with the family he destroyed to make one last stand against a sinister army of unthinkable magnitude. Hope, family and redemption lay in the outcome.

 Dark Halo isn't like any other angel book I have read before and I have read a lot of angel books.  Yes I have a few things that I didn't like about it but all in all its a great book.  In the beginning Dark Halo grabs you by the collar and doesn't let you go till the end.  Yes it does seem a bit rushed toward the end like the author just wanted it to end, but the action and the plot are beautifully written.

I do think there is a bit to much fighting though, there are points in this story where I just wanted something else to happen than just the fighting, don't get me wrong I love fights with good vs. evil, but to much sometimes is to much.

I will say I love the family in the book, the way the author tells this story it really makes you want to root for them and cheer them on as they go through the story.  Even though I was rooting for this family, I think some more character development was needed.  I needed some more back story for the characters.

I really loved the writing for this story, the author really has a way with words and I would read more books by this author. 

All in all this is a good story and would recommend this book to readers who love action packed books.

What is she doing here? Veering toward the section of the street where the woman had disappeared, Landon looked up at the midnight sky, The Nothing that swallowed everything, half-suspecting a giant winged dog to swoop across his vision. He glanced back at the truck. Frank's pasty-white face peered out at him through the sliding window, frowning. Landon turned around, faced the alley and tried not to think about leaving his daughter passed out in the Ford. Frank would take care of her. He'd meet up with them later, when Katie was safely in St. Mary's, and the nightmare was over. He stopped that mouth of the alley, wary to rush in blindly. What is she doing here?

So I would give Dark Halo a Ali's Bookshelf

 Plot: 17/20
Characters: 18/20
Writing: 19/20
Creativity:  19/20
Ending: 5/10
Cover: 10/10

88 out of 100 = 3 1/2 Puppy Rating

Sunday, March 24, 2013

TBR List Revamped #1

So you read the title of this post correct, I am revamping my To Be Read List posts.  I've been thinking of this for a long time and I really want to combine some of my favorite posts and make them mine.  So what I want to do is combine my weekly updates, my weekly reading posts, and Showcase Sunday posts all together.  So this is what I have come up with.  My To Be Read Lists will be a weekly post with all these combined.  This post is my first week of doing this.  I got some of this idea by checking out several of my favorite blogs, I have combined their ideas into one and now this is my To Be Read List Weekly Posts. 
(Blog Credits: Fiktshun,and Books Biscuits and Tea,)

This week I got a lot of books thanks to Scholastic Press, going to a book signing and a book/author fair, and another PR agent as well.  So I have plenty to share with all of you.  Sit back and I hope you enjoy all these books.  

(These all came from Scholastic, thanks so much for these!)

I can't wait to read A Corner of White, its a book that I'm dying to read and The Last Academy sounds amazing and right up my alley to read.  I have already started The Look and I can't wait to share my thoughts on this book with all of you.  Gorgeous, is another book that caught my attention just by the cover and its even more beautiful in person.  All of these are books that I can't wait to read and share my thoughts about.  A huge thanks goes out to the great people at Scholastic that sent me each and every book they have sent me to read/review.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mini Me Corner Review: Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb by Ally Malinenko

So today, I have a great review for you.  I read this book with Samantha and can't wait to tell you all about it.  Below  you will find our review and our rating as well.  

MEET LIZZY SPEARE… …a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very not normal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert! It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare. Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!) Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud nearly five hundred years old. Could that be why the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s. But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in Shakespeare’s tomb? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago? In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters—in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guest Post: Day in the Life of author Ally Malinenko

So as you all know, Day in the Life is a Author Feature here on Ali's Bookshelf and today I have author Ally Malinenko to share with you what her day is like.  Enjoy!

The alarm goes off at 5 am. No wait, that’s not right. It’s before 5 am. My husband nudges me and I murmur five more minutes, please, just five more minutes burying my head under the blanket. Then June, the tabby cat, starts crying. And not your usual meows – these are ear splitting, I’m-dying-give-me-food-now-you-puny-humans sort of cries. Really intense End of the World Ragnarok sort of stuff.

            We stumble up and out of bed. Coffee on. Teapot on. Cat fed. Pee. Computer on. Radio on to classical station. Teapot whistles – oh teapot why must you be so loud! Out damned teapot! Out!
            Then I sit in my closet (literally) and write. Sometimes I write poems or stories, provided I managed to think of an idea since yesterday morning. Most times I go back to the current novel. I read through yesterday’s writing. June comes in. She climbs into the empty comic book box on the floor and curls up to sleep. Good. This lasts seventeen seconds. Then she’s trying to climb into my lap. I give in, reading through yesterday’s writing. She stands on my lap and meows at me. I bend my arms around her to rewrite stuff and wonder how one person can switch tenses that quickly. I catch typos. I fix them. 

Blog Tour: Bewitched by Mark Harris Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I have so many great posts for you.  So let's get to the next tour and giveaway.  Below you will find a great guest post and giveaway for the book Bewitched by Mark Harris.  Enjoy. 

When it comes to creative writing, I always start with a premise of some sort.  For example, I like to kick off the creative process with a “what if…” scenario. What if a Genie appeared to someone who was both deaf and blind? What would happen?  What if a vampire develops an allergy to certain blood types resulting in temporary amnesia?  What does he do when he finds himself covered in blood with a dead body on the ground?  And as much as possible, I hope to come up with a premise that has never been done before.
Currently, it seems like Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Wizards, and Mutants stories are saturating the market. Everyone wants to write a paranormal story using one of these standard twists. I can’t blame them; they add an element of excitement, and fear that can really super-charge a story. My book, BEWITCHED, for example is about…well, right, witches. But, like I tell my kids (who also want to be authors), there are no new stories, only new ways to tell them.

Blog Tour: The Beginning of the End Spotlight/Excerpt and Giveaway

So today I have two great books to tell you about.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy! 

Blurb Chemical Warfare has turned most of the world’s population into flesh eating Zombies. These are the accounts of two survivors. Kylee and Jade are on their way from one author convention to another. After saying goodbye to all their friends, they never dreamed the plane would land with them fighting for their lives. Jade Warwick has been preparing for the end of the world for years, but she never thought the world would end with zombies. The only thing salvaging her almost lost sanity is the fact that she is with her best friend, Kylee . With their first mission being to find their families, will the girls manage to save their families while trying to save each other?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Teaser Tuesday #32

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other  participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser. 

With each labored breath he took, Aster's chest rose and fell. He stared at the figurative disaster of his life.

So there is a little teaser of what I'm reading, what about you? What are you reading? How about a little tease.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Blog Tour: Nate Rocks Guest Post and Giveaway

So today, I have a great blog tour to share with you and a great guest post from author Karen Pokras Toz.  At the end of this post is also a great giveaway.  So enjoy! 

Karen Pokras Toz: A Day in the Life of...

My eyes flutter open as the smell of hot coffee drifts into the room.

“I had cook prepare breakfast for you this morning,” he says lovingly as he places the tray on the table next to the bed – his blue eyes fixated on my every move. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve scheduled a massage for you just after you get back from your lunch meeting at the Ritz. I know how busy your days can be.”

What? Your day doesn’t go like this?  Oh wait – mine doesn’t either!

My day usually begins between 5 and 5:30am, depending on what time my two cats decide to jump on my face. After dragging myself out of bed, the real fun begins – trying to get three grumpy, sleepy children awake, fed, and out the door before their buses arrive – one at 6:45, one at 7:30 & one at 8:30. It’s hectic, but I know that when that last little person gets on the bus at 8:30 – the day is all mine. At least until 3:30 when they start to file back in. It’s then that I go from writer to chauffer, tutor, chef (yeah right) & referee.

It's Monday...What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey!

Alright so its Monday...Again! But the fun part of my Monday's is this post.  I get to share with all of you what I'm reading this week.  So let's get started! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Hunted by Lorenz Font

Review: Hunted by Lorenz Font

IN A GLANCE: Totally had me begging for more. Can't wait for the next book!

Title: Hunted
Author: Lorenz Font
Publisher: Renaissance Romance Publishing 
Format: Ebook
Pages: 392 pages

Deep in the heart of New York City’s netherworld, a horrible disease is ravaging the vampire community. The Vampire Council is on a crusade to obliterate those infected, and Harrow Gates is target Number One. The unwitting source of the plague, he suffers from the same nightmarish symptoms as his victims. The world he'd been thrust into was cold, cruel, and intent on eradicating him, and the legions of afflicted vampires he created with his bite. A bounty hanging over his head, satisfying his hunger has become an enormous challenge for Harrow. The less he feeds, the more hideous and painful his lesions become. Constantly running for his life and learning new tricks to survive, Harrow is in no position to refuse when Pritchard Tack offers him a unique opportunity. Pritchard not only gives Harrow a new beginning, but also a purpose and a chance to rectify the chaos he created in the vampire world. However, the multi-billionaire has an agenda of his own. Jordan is a reluctant new vampire and a woman on a mission. After the demise of her family and her own transformation at the hands of Goran, the ruthless leader of the Vampire Council, her only focus is revenge. Constantly faced with one frustrating dead-end after another, a stroke of luck leads her to an underground facility that she suspects is the lair of the monster for whom she is looking. Upon learning more about the truth behind the secret bunker, Jordan must fight against her growing feelings of friendship and concern for the facility’s inhabitants. One man in particular threatens to pull her heart away from her sworn mission. There is something behind Harrow’s dark lenses that unsettles the hardened female. Once again, she trembles and hungers for something other than red-stained revenge. Is love strong enough to override her hate-fueled thirst for vengeance?

Blog Tour: Guest Post and Excerpt for Hunted by Lorenz Font

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Author Lorenz Font

So today, I am super excited about this post and my review of this great authors book.  (Which will be posted later today!) Right now though I have a great guest post from this incredible author to share with all of you.  Since I'm so excited about this book, let's get to it and check out this amazing post.


I’m excited, nervous and hopeful. And I’ve been getting a lot of those ‘feeling like I’m going to pee in my panties soon’ moments. 

Joking aside, I can honestly say that the reality hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m sure once it does, I’ll probably do the one thing that helps me when I get nervous or overwhelmed, grab a glass of wine and talk to my support group. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Trailer Tour: First Kiss by Ann Marie Frohoff and Giveaway

Book Trailer Release and Giveaway!

I am so excited to showcase this post today.  A while back I reviewed a novella that started this amazing book that I will be showcasing today.  So let's get to it to show you this new book trailer because I'm way to excited to put it off anymore. 

The book I'm so excited about it called First Kiss by author

Author, Ann Marie Frohoff, releases book trailer for her debut novel, FIRST KISS, book one in her edgy hard-hitting trilogy, Heavy Influence. You can find out more information on her book website at  FIRST KISS is due to release June 11th, 2013. You can get hooked on the series by downloading her prequel novella, SKID OUT, on Goodreads for FREE at

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