Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

I recently heard about a YA writer named Ally Carter on Clean Teen Fiction. My library happened to have one of Ally's books, Heist Society, so I decided to give it a try.

For as long as she can remember, Katarina has been a part of the family business—thieving. When Kat tries to leave “the life” for a normal life, her old friend Hale conspires to bring her back into the fold. Why? A mobster’s art collection has been stolen, and Kat’s father is the only suspect. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

The only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

Heist Society was a lot of fun. It reminded me of the Ocean's movies (which I really enjoy), except with teenagers. Kat seemed much older than 15-how could she not be mature beyond her years with her upbringing? I really liked her, which in a way is crazy because she's a thief.

You are rooting for the bad guys in this book, but it was sort of a battle between two evils. There was definitely a greater evil and a lesser evil, and you wanted the lesser evil to be victorious! Kind of like Robin Hood.

This was an enjoyable read that was clean, with the possible exception of one part where Kat is ogled when her disguise makes her team very aware that she's a girl.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Kat and her crew's story in the next Heist Society novel.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spread the Love Contest for Athena Launch

The Newport Ladies Book Club authors have another Spread the Love Contest going on their blog right now in honor of the upcoming release of Athena. This is a great series that shows the importance of friendships in our lives, and it is told from four different perspectives (and it sounds like more will be coming next year). I'm really excited to see what Heather Moore has done with Athena!

Athena's release date is in November, but if you can make it to the Ladies Night at the Fort Union Deseret Book on October 6th (between 6:00-8:00), you can purchase your copy of Athena early! It sounds like it will be a great book launch and a really fun evening with lots of authors, artists, refreshments, etc.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn't have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep (although I eventually did at my husband's pleading).

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is a modern-day Cinderella story told from the stepsister's point of view. It is hilarious! I laughed so many times at everything from words like lustalicious and guyliner to the crazy situations Mattie put herself in.

Even though there were a lot of laughs, there were also some deeper emotional parts where I really felt for Mattie.

This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It's a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it. I'm looking forward to more books from Sariah Wilson.

About the Author

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers). 

You can follow Sariah on her website, Facebook, and Twitter


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

*Thanks to Sariah for sending me an e-copy to review.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena

Loyalty's Web was an exciting read that I didn't want to put down. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, especially when it includes a nice romance. This first novel of Joyce DiPastena's includes all of that and more.

The setting is twelfth-century France, and while I did get a bit hung up on some of the French names, the historical setting, along with Heléne de Laurant's story, kept me engaged.

I loved how Heléne didn't fit the mold of women in her time period. She preferred sneaking away to shoot her brother's longbow (dressed in his clothing) to more "appropriate" activities. She was determined to right the wrongs around her-what's not to like about that?

I enjoyed the other characters too. There was a wide range of personalities (some enduring, some repulsive), and the combination of everyone made for a great story.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: Downsiders by Neal Shusterman

I've read several Neal Shusterman novels, and with each one I can't help but wonder how he came up with the story. What an imagination!

Downsiders tells about life under New York, in tunnels that, according to the Downsiders (those living underground), have always been there. Some Downsiders aren't 100% content with never venturing Topside though, and one day Talon's curiosity gets the better of him. He meets Lindsay, and their lives are forever altered by their exposure to the unknown.

Downsiders isn't my favorite Shusterman novel (I could put it down for a day or two at a time), but it was interesting.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Posting on Wattpad by Misty Moncur

I received an email from Wattpad letting me know that Misty Moncur has started posting book seven of her Daughter of Helaman series. It is called In Enemy Arms, and I am very excited to start reading it.

Misty is an excellent writer, and I highly recommend this series. If you haven't checked it out yet (or Wattpad for that matter), head on over and see what you've been missing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Caribbean Crossroads by Connie E. Sokol

New college grad Megan McCormick just got dumped. Hard.

Swearing off men and relationships, Megan is coaxed into performing on a cruise ship where she meets the star performer, Bryant Johnson. Handsome and charismatic, he looks like trouble, but she can't deny the intense attraction between them.

Urged to find a wife and run the family lumber business, Bryant is torn between his family's expectations for his life and his own. However, when he meets spunky, but love-skittish Megan McCormick, settling down doesn't look so bad.

Just when Megan begins to trust again, and Bryant makes some big decisions regarding his future, her former fiance returns with a malicious surprise, taking Megan and Bryant to their own CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS.

I read a review for Caribbean Crossroads that said you will either like it or love it. I completely agree (especially since talking to my sister who fell in the latter category).

I really liked Caribbean Crossroads initially. When I thought the nice ship romance was about to be wrapped up, I checked to see how much was left (progress is not as obvious with an e-book). Much to my surprise I saw that I was only on Chapter 11 (of 23).

The following 10 chapters were frustrating for me because Megan's last relationship wound wasn't healing. Even though it was a defense mechanism, she was very mean to Bryant. I really wanted him to move on and find someone else that wasn't so much work.

Thankfully, there was a happy ending. And Sokol deserves points for being able to bring out emotions in her readers (even if my predominant emotion for half the book was frustration).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Fire by Night by Lynn Austin

The drama of the Civil War unfolds through the eyes of two very different Northern girls. Lovely Julia Hoffman has always enjoyed the carefree life of her well-to-do family, but when she fails to attract the attention of Rev. Nathaniel Greene, a fierce abolitionist, she determines to bring meaning to her empty and shallow existence. When she becomes a Union nurse, her eyes are opened to the realities of war and suffering. She also meets Phoebe, who has entered the army under false pretenses--and whose journey to understanding herself, as well as the tumultuous world about her, is revealed with sensitivity and drama.

Lynn Austin is the author of one of my favorite books, A Proper Pursuit, so I am always happy to read more of her work. She does an excellent job writing historical fiction. I loved the enlightenment I gained about the Civil War through reading Fire by Night. Right off, readers join the spectators at the battle of Bull Run. I can't imagine having a desire to witness war like it was a form of entertainment, but it really happened!

The characters were excellent, especially their transformations. Julia and Phoebe had very different journeys, but they both overcame some of their biggest internal battles. I really enjoyed Dr. McGrath's character too. He was very hard to like initially, but his story was also a great one to discover.

This was an excellent book, even though my desire to find out what would become of Julia and Phoebe moved much faster than the pacing of a few parts in the second half.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: The Cinderella Project by Stan Crowe

Committed to saving his marriage before it starts, doctoral student Nick Cairn embarks on a project aimed at finding the secrets of everlasting love. But when Moire DeLanthe, a smart and sassy research assistant, enters the picture, his Happily Ever After is put to the ultimate test.

I learned about The Cinderella Project a couple of weeks ago during its blog tour. The cover caught my eye (how could it not-kudos to the cover designer), and the reviews I read had wonderful things to say about it.

I really liked The Cinderella Project, and I think a lot of the reason was because it was so different from others in this genre. It is written from the male point of view by a male author. Although not the norm, it worked very well for this story. Also, Nick is such a fun main character. He has very appealing qualities for a romantic lead, but he's also somewhat . . . nerdy? His occasional scientific responses made me laugh out loud.

Physical beauty was only skin deep. It was nothing more than the product of a properly shaped skeleton overlain by just the right proportioning of muscles. Her slightly-lidded eyes needn't be mysterious if one just understood that she was merely relaxing her orbicularis oculi. Her lips might look pleasant as she smiled, but that only meant that her incisivi labii were shaped in a balanced symmetrical way that indicated good overall health and muscular development. She was a healthy specimen, sure. That meant she probably had lower health insurance premiums. Right. Nothing more than show. Nothing.

Not to worry, there isn't a lot of medical terminology in this novel. The usage is rare and well done.

Nick's project was so different. His experiments (which included reading lots of romance novels and watching romantic movies, in addition to conducting experiments on couples in love) provided a hilarious mental picture.

The glimpse into graduate school life was really interesting. Long hours and living on a very tight budget really brought out the struggle and sacrifice that is including with earning a doctorate degree. But that sounds much too serious. It was included and gave a great picture of Nick's life, but the overall book is fun and entertaining.

I highly recommend The Cinderella Project. It's a great, clean romance.

*Thanks to publisher Breezy Reads for sending me the e-copy for review.

Purchase the Book

Giveaway Winner: Demons ebook by Heather Frost

Good Morning! Thanks to those who entered the Demons giveaway. It appears to be unanimous . . . people would rather go to heaven over becoming a guardian. Have to say I agree.

The random number generator picked entry number 7:

Congratulations Jessica! Just let me know what email address you want the ebook sent to.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Going Social

There are times when I come across great info about books (giveaways, freebies, release dates, etc.) that I want to share, but a blog post seems a bit much. Such occasions have helped me get with the program, and I am happy to report that Literary Time Out is now on Facebook and Twitter! Click the links to see what you missed yesterday, and feel free to Like and/or Follow.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reality Check

Over the past few months I've read several blog posts about Reality Check, and I was able to read an excerpt on the publisher's website. With these little glimpses I was excited to get my hands on a copy. The idea of being on a reality dating show is not new, but having friends apply for you (without your knowledge) was a fun new take on the idea.

Lucy isn't your typical reality dating show contestant. First, she didn't apply for the show. Second, she doesn't think she has a chance, and is just in it for the adventure. She is pretty, but she's not the type of girl to flaunt her assets. She's competitive (how could she not be with a bunch of brothers?), but she's nice, and isn't about to lower her standards just to make herself seem better than the other contestants.

I really felt for Lucy when she was burned a few times (all for ratings/money). Even though Lucy's an adult, I think the peer pressure would have been hard to deal with. She was the odd one out, but she stayed strong.

I was pleasantly surprised by the twists near the end. I thought I had it all figured out, but I didn't, and that was a good thing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I got a heads up that Watched was free in the Kindle Store, so after I verified that it was clean (via a trusted reviewer on Goodreads), I "bought" it and got busy reading.

Watched is about an almost 16-year-old girl that won a scholarship to attend a political program in DC over the summer. At home Christy doesn't have many friends, and most kids her age are turned off by her brilliance. She's excited for a clean slate with new kids in DC, and she makes some poor choices in order to fit in. She and some of the other kids witness a horrible crime, and spend the rest of their trip trying to figure out who to trust in order to stay alive.

The story was pretty intense and entertaining, even though there were a few aspects that were hard to believe. Hogan created some characters that I'm looking forward to learning more about.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dead Running Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Dead Running giveaway. If you didn't read the entries, you should definitely take a few minutes to read them. Good stuff!

There were so many great embarrassing exercise stories that it would have been hard to pick one, so it's a good thing I use a random number generator to select the winner. And the lucky winner is . . .

Congratulations Mary! Send me a message via my Contact page and let me know what format you would like your prize (print, Kindle, or Smashwords). If you want a print copy, make sure you include your mailing address in the message.

Thanks again everyone! Be sure to enter the Demons giveaway by September 13th.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Demons Blog Tour

I am happy to be one of the stops on this fourth day of the Demons Blog Tour.

Demons are not just killers, they are also masterminds.

Kate’s life is far from normal. She can see Auras, her boyfriend is immortal, and her powers make her a target. But now that the Demon Lord is hunting her, things are about to go from dangerous to truly deadly. Packed with action, mind-blowing plot twists, and characters you can’t get enough of, this is a fast-paced, heart-pounding read from cover to cover.

I was concerned that I might be totally lost reading Demons without having read Seers (the first book in the series), but Demons stood on its own feet! This isn't in any way a recommendation to skip Seers if you can get your hands on a copy though. I was able to read Seers after the fact, and it makes Kate, Patrick and the other characters even more endearing than they are in Demons. And yes, I just used the word endearing for a book about demons, but there is so much more to the book than the demons.

As a Seer, Kate has the ability to see auras (colors around people that indicate their mood, and if they are human, demon, or guardian). She and her two guardians (Patrick and Tony) are constantly on their toes battling and/or dodging the enemy (both demons and humans).

Frost's demons, while definitely bad guys, didn't illicit unsettling, dark feelings (a major bonus-I like conflict, but don't want to be weighed down by evil).

The romance between Kate and Patrick was sweet. There are several kissing scenes, but they never let their passion go overboard.

The ending was intense! A definite cliff-hanger that makes me eagerly anticipate Guardians, the final book the in trilogy.

I was very impressed with Heather Frost's writing, even more so when I learned how young she is. Her story was compelling and the characters were excellent!

Interview with author Heather Frost

How did you come up with the idea for this series?

I started thinking about guardian angels, and what life might be like for them. How they got there, what they do, that sort of thing. Those thoughts simmered for a couple weeks, and then suddenly, in a single moment while making up some lunch, everything fell into place. Demons, Guardians, and Seers—the inspiration was undeniable. Kate Bennett, my main character, was the last to climb on board, and then I started typing, and didn’t stop until all three manuscripts were complete.

I am so impressed that you've had two novels published while in college! How do you find the time to write and work on your degree?

I don’t sleep. :) Just kidding, I love my sleep. Nothing could keep it from me! Actually, I just do a lot of writing during the summers and weekends. I wrote the entire Seers Trilogy (over 600 pages) in a summer, so during the school year I’m mostly polishing, editing, and marketing my books. Don’t get me wrong, its still a huge juggling act. But it’s nice not having to write from scratch.

What do you plan on doing once you graduate with your BS in English?

I plan to devote more time to writing. I have so many stories clamoring in my head, demanding to be written. Not to mention plenty of already written novels, just asking for a little bit of attention, so they can have their chance at publication. All of this while keeping up a day job, of course . . .

What is the expected publication date for the final book in this series, Guardians?

Fall 2013.

Who is your favorite character in your books, and why?

Picking a favorite character is terribly difficult. But a favorite is definitely Lee. She’s just an awesome best friend, and an incredible girl. She’s brave enough to be herself, no matter what, and I really admire her for that. And of course she’s just plain funny. What’s not to like about Lee?

Are there any books that you would recommend as must-reads?

I can tell you some of my favorite books, sure. “Jane Eyre”, by Charlotte Bronte; “The Scarlet Pimpernel”, Baroness Orczy; “Harry Potter”, J.K. Rowling; “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”, Rick Riordan (I’m such a kid at heart!).

Do you like having books you enjoy made into movies? What is the best/worst adaptation you've seen?

It depends. I’m usually skeptical when I first hear a book is coming out as a movie, but I’m more than happy to give it a chance. Best book to movie: Hunger Games. Wasn’t that breath-taking? I loved every second! Worst book to movie? . . . Eragon comes to mind . . . But sometimes—very rarely—I love both the movie, and the book, even though they’re different. The Harry Potter series fits into that category, definitely.

If money were no object, where would you like to go, and what would you like to do while you are there?

I’d love to travel all over Europe, starting in Ireland. I’d try to see absolutely everything, but at my own pace, no rush. I think that could eat up a few years of my life, easy.

Do you have any unusual habits while you write?

Aside from talking to myself, nothing really comes to mind. I love listening to music.

Heather, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions!


Heather has offered an electronic copy of Demons to one Literary Time Out follower. The giveaway will be open through September 13th, and the randomly selected winner will be posted on September 14th. To enter, make sure you are following via Google Friend Connect, and then comment below by answering the following question:

If you were given the choice at death of being a guardian (immortality) or going to heaven, what would you choose?

You can earn extra entries by sharing on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Leave a comment with the link for each entry.

About the Author

Heather Frost was born in Sandy, Utah, and raised in a small Northern Utah town. She is the second oldest of ten children, and she has always been an avid reader and writer. She graduated from Snow College and is currently attending Utah State University. She enjoys playing the flute, listening to all types of music, and watching a wide variety of movies. Ever since she wrote her first short story—at the age of four—she has dreamed of one day becoming an author. Demons is her second published novel. Visit to leave her a message, or learn more about her and the Seers Trilogy.

You can also follow Heather on Facebook and Goodreads.

Pre-Order Demons

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Count Down to Love Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for the e-copy of Count Down to Love by Julie N. Ford. I had a great time reading about the reality/TV show you'd like to be in.

And the lucky winner (selected by a random number generator) is . . .

Congratulations Tarah! Let me know the email address you want the book sent to.

Everyone, be sure to enter the Dead Running giveaway, if you haven't already. That is open through September 9th, and tomorrow a new giveaway will be up for the soon to be released paranormal novel, Demons, by Heather Frost.


I recently learned about a book called Demons, and jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour. The only "problem" was that it is the 2nd book in the series, and I hadn't read the first book, Seers. I couldn't track down a copy at nearby libraries, so I just went ahead and read Demons. It was an excellent book, and it even did well on its own (see my review tomorrow, along with an author interview and giveaway).

In addition to a great story, I really liked Heather Frost's writing style. So, even though I knew what was going to happen, I couldn't resist reading Seers when I got the chance.

SeersThis paranormal YA novel follows Kate, a 17-year-old who is trying to cope with the loss of her parents, along with a major physical change since the accident that took her parents' lives and nearly took her own. She can now see auras (colors surrounding people that indicate their emotions). Her best friend, Lee, is the only one who knows about her new ability, and she is a major strength for Kate. But Kate soon learns that the support she needs is way over Lee's head, and she has to trust the Guardians that have come to protect her from the Demons that want her.

I really liked the idea of this story. Sure, guardian angels and demons aren't a new idea, but Frost's portrayal of them was unique. I really appreciated the lack of wings (call me crazy, but I like the idea of wingless angels), and the way guardians and demons come to be. I also loved the personalities that each character had. They were so different, but they all meshed well for a great story.

I also loved that this book is clean. There are plenty of intense moments, but you don't have to worry about foul language or out of control passion. Even the violence is tastefully done.

A great start to a great series!

*I received an e-copy of Seers in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Lady in the Making

A Lady in the Making by Susan Page Davis was a very enjoyable story that takes place in the mid-1850s. It is complete with stage-coaches, outlaws, misunderstandings, and hidden affections.

When Millie Evans boards the stagecoach, she’s determined to leave her past—and her brother’s gang—behind to start a new life. Instead she finds herself face to face with David Stone, the man she and her brother once tried to swindle out of his fortune. Millie attempts to explain her regret—but David remains unconvinced even as he sees proof of Millie’s changed heart. Can Millie prove she’s changed in time for David to save his own life? Or will mistakes from the past prove too much to overcome?

I really liked Millie and David. The past that they shared definitely was impeding their future, but it was fun to travel with them and see some changes.

I was a bit impatient with the chapters from Peregrin's point of view. They were important to the story, but many of them were longer than I wanted.

This is the third book in the Prairie Dreams series, but it was fine as a stand alone. It sounds like the main characters in A Lady in the Making play a small role in the other two books. I was impressed with Susan Page Davis' writing, and happy that it was clean without being preachy. I will definitely try to find more of her work.

A Lady in the Making is scheduled for release on October 1, 2012, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for letting me read the ARC.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dead Running Review & Giveaway

Cassidy Christensen is running.

Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.

Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable.

Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.

With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she'll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.

Dead Running was an entertaining read that kept me guessing. I really enjoyed not knowing who to trust for most of the story. I also liked that even though parts of the story are creepy, Checketts kept things from being too serious with humorous situations.

Cassidy has a very quirky personality. One minute I was laughing at her hilarity, and the next I was cringing in embarrassment for her. She and her best friend, Tasha, are surprisingly boy crazy for their age, and Cassidy keeps things light with her amusing nicknames (ie. Dr. Tattoo and Nasty Muscle Man).

Running isn't my favorite exercise (by any stretch of the imagination), but Checkett's made the running and training aspects very interesting (she even made running a marathon seem like a possibility for an almost non-runner like myself . . . good thing it's not on my bucket list or I might be tempted).

About the Author

Cami Checketts is an idealist who dreams of helping children around the world but can't keep up with the four in her own home. Cami lives in a beautiful valley in Northern Utah where she enjoys running, biking, and swimming during the two months of the year it isn't snowing. A portion of the proceeds from Cami's books will be donated to The Child & Family Support Center. For more information on this worthy cause, please go to

You can follow Cami on her website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.


Cami has offered a copy of Dead Running for one of my followers. To enter, make sure you are following Literary Time Out (using Google Friend Connect), and then comment on this post by sharing an embarrassing exercise moment (or favorite way to exercise). The winner will be posted on September 10th and will get to choose between a print, Kindle, or Smashwords version.

You can earn extra entries by sharing this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Just come back here and comment for each extra entry (include the link to your post).

Purchase Info

You can buy Dead Running on Amazon (print or Kindle version) or on Smashwords. The eBooks are an especially great deal, but either way helps a very good cause.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Happy September

This year is just flying by. I'm so grateful for the rain and cooler temperatures we are having right now!

If you are looking for some free books to add to your e-reader this fall, Bethany House Publishers has its September E-book Specials posted. I've read a few of them (The Widow of Larkspur Inn, Secrets, and Talk of the Town). The details are a little fuzzy since I read them quite awhile ago, but from what I remember, they were all clean and enjoyable. I can't speak for the other September Specials, but I would recommend checking the reviews to see if they might interest you.