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Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Blitz + Excerpt + Giveaway: The X Factor

About the book:

It takes three mistakes to be swallowed up and spat out by the fashion industry.
You trust the wrong people.
You think you know everything there is to know about life.
You take drugs.

Maja started off as a regular 17-year-old high-school kid, fighting her inner insecurities while dreaming to become an actress like Marilyn Monroe.

At a party her boyfriend Klemen introduces her to a renowned modelling agent. He sees a special X Factor hidden insight her. And a great business opportunity for himself…

Fast forward a few weeks later. Maja’s charm and talent land her a modelling contract in the trendy and exciting fashion capital of Milan. She’s completely enchanted and determined to make it in the fashion world.

But things don’t turn out the way she had planned.

Exhausting long photo shoots, stressful fashion shows, strict dieting and wild parties start taking their toll on her soon enough. In desperate search for help Maja reaches out to her agent and other false friends from the fashion industry that emotionally and physically exploit her to the point where ‘Maja the Great’ is merely a shadow of her former self.

She starts battling drug addiction that ends up in a tragic event.

Maja has been finally swallowed up and spit out by the fashion industry with its endless traps. What price will the girl with the X Factor have to pay for her naivety?
The young adult novel The X Factor by the bestselling Slovenian author Ivan Sivec is based on a true story and takes the reader on a frightening journey into the world of drug addiction among teenager fashion models.

It started like this: 

“I’ll give you a fourteenth of an ounce,” Monica was unusually generous and understanding. “For extremely difficult times. Stop by if you need more. But be careful not to get used to it too much. Heroin, for example, is only meant for critical moments, but can otherwise ruin a person.” 

At the time she didn’t know the director was a drug trafficker. A true drug dealer. By selling drugs to models she lured their hard earned money into her own pocket. Business is business, of course. 

Everything in the world is about business. And exactly because of this Maja was now even more convinced that this was the first and the last time she would resort to the white powder. 

But destiny had other plans for her. 

Maja felt lost after the incident. She thought everyone was talking about her behind her back, that everyone was judging her. At the time she didn’t have a hunch about the fact that she was only an insignificant speck people can crush easily without any bad conscious. 

However, it all depended on whether this insignificant speck would allow others to crush her. 

But time ran by relentlessly. 

9th June 2004. 

A gala dinner. All the Crème de la crème of Milan society was invited. The models were keeping the guests company, but also the whole fashion show staff gathered. 

The fancy invitation that had a big red rose on the cover page said: 

After the very successful, attention-grabbing fashion show, our great fashion designer Riccardo invites his dear guests and co-workers for a gathering. The reception will take place on Wednesday 9th June 2004. “Wow, you’re Riccardo’s co-worker now!” Svetlana sincerely hugged Maja, after she showed her the invitation. 

They both knew the only reason why the great designer Riccardo was organising this reception was to easier sell his new designs. Amongst the cream of society in Milan were mostly moneybags that liked to show off with Riccardo’s creations in theatres, luxurious receptions and other events. 

Maja felt awkward because Svetlana wasn’t invited to the dinner party. 

“I’m not going anywhere without you. I don’t know anyone there.” “What do you mean?” Svetlana tried to comfort her. “You know the great designer himself! And the whole of Milan, actually the whole of Italy knows you, after all you were on the cover of the Italian issue of Bravo.” 

“They also know me because I stumbled at the fashion show,” she added bitterly. 

“That’s publicity as well.” 

Despite Svetlana’s convincing, Maja decided not to attend the gala dinner. Out of solidarity to her friend, but mostly because she was afraid that the reason why she fell was written all over her face, even though everyone accepted her stumble as if it was nothing special; as if things like that happened a thousand times before. 

And then the phone rang. 

“Hello, this is Monica.”

About the Author
In his rich and thriving career the writer, poet and publicist has written in many genres. His broad ‘repertoire’ includes historical novels and stories, biographies, psychological novels, adventure novels and travelogues, books with sporting themes, youth book series, picture books and books for the youngest readers as well as humorous stories. 

He published over 125 books and is one of the most popular Slovenian authors. 

As a poet he has written more than 2,500 lyrics for ethnic and entertaining music for which he received many awards. 

for more information!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: Beautiful Curse

Title: Beautiful Curse

Author: Jen McConnel

Reviewer: Aly

Genre: YA Romance

Book Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Mya Jones is cursed.

She is, hands down, the most beautiful creature on earth. But beauty can wound, and Mya finds herself reviled and shunned by her peers. If there is even a chance that she could start over, Mya longs to take it, no matter the risks.

So when the strange Mr. Merk offers her a new life away from home, Mya is hesitant but hopeful. Only she didn't count on the mysterious Ross, or her feelings for him.

BEAUTIFUL CURSE is a contemporary retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid.


Before reading Beautiful Curse, I was already interested in Greek Mythology, and so when I was given the opportunity to read and review Beautiful Curse, I quickly jumped on it! Although I did do a quick review of the myth of Cupid and Psyche because all of the details weren’t coming back to me as I thought they had. It wasn’t necessary to do so but I remembered the myth and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t confusing things if I happened to get lost. Which at no point did I. In fact I really didn’t need to do a quick catch up on the myth as the story was pretty much retold in Beautiful Curse. It was interesting seeing the tale retold in a bit more modern sense, especially seeing the reactions of the main characters. I loved how the author showed the emotions of the characters through their thoughts, although we are only given Mya’s perspective. I would have liked to see some of the story from Ross/Cupid’s point of view. It would have added something more to the book.

The writing itself was interesting and the plot as mentioned already was intriguing especially to someone who might have already had a knowledge of the myth of Cupid and Psyche although don’t let that stop you if you don’t know the myth. Even if I hadn’t known the myth, Beautiful Curse still would be an interesting story. 

I really enjoyed the take that the author had on the story, and the different ways she incorporated the Greek gods and the tasks assigned to Mya as well as the new characters that were introduced. It was different from the ancient myth and I think modernizes the myth for those who might not be interested in Greek mythology. 

I enjoyed taking the time to read Beautiful Curse and recommend it to anyone and everyone!


Goodreads | Swoon Romance |
Amazon | B&N |

About the Author
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.  Her fiction titles include DAUGHTER OF CHAOS (YA), THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY (NA), and the recently released sequel, HER SECRET INHERITANCE. Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Book Release Blitz: Wolf by Wolf

I am so excited that WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Ryan, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed finished copy of the book with a special WOLF BY WOLF pin! US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

A special intro from the author:

"Once upon a different time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death. Wolves howled up her arm. A whole pack of them--made of tattoo ink and pain, memory and loss. It was the only thing about her that ever stayed the same.

Her story begins on a train."

And so begins the story of Yael, a girl who can change her appearance to mimic any other female. A girl who must win a 20,000 kilometer cross-continental motorcycle race from Germania to Tokyo so that she can have an audience with Adolf Hitler. A girl who has every intention of killing him.

Whenever I describe the premise of WOLF BY WOLF to people, the reactions I get are quite similar. It's the "are-you-insane-or-are-you-onto-something" face: dropped jaw, squiggly eyebrows. I must admit, I felt many of those same feelings when I first started penning Yael's story. Alternate history + sci-fi + epic motorcycle journey felt like a strange recipe for a novel. But I pushed through my fears and kept writing, and I couldn't be happier with the result. I, for one, don't think I'm insane, but I'll let you, dear reader, come up with your own conclusion.

Happy reading!

Ryan Graudin

About The Book:


Author: Ryan Graudin

Release Date: October 20, 2015

Pages: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

About Ryan:

Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at www.ryangraudin.com.