Monday, February 18, 2013

[Blog Tour] A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr: Review, Guest Post, Tour-Wide Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword, #1)A Cast of Stones
by Patrick Carr
Paperback, 400 pages
Expected Publication: February 1st 2013 by Bethany House Publishers


In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone's search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom. 

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.

Available 2/1/13:

About the Author:

Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

Awards: ACFW Genesis Competition 2010 Finalist for “A Cast of Stones” in Speculative Fiction.

Find & Follow:


My thoughts: Patrick Carr’s debut novel, A Cast of Stones, is the first book in The Staff and the Sword series. It is an epic medieval tale of a boy who turns into a man and learns about himself while going through an dangerous odyssey.
I'm a difficult reader to please within the fantasy/medieval genre, because I'm not really into it. It is pretty hard for me to wrap my mind around new worlds so full of things I've never heard about or that are completely made up. Before, I only had fully accomplished that with Patrick Rothfuss' book, The Name of the Wind. Now I'm pleased to say that A Cast of Stones is another one of the rarities  that manages to captivate me with its world and that Patrick Carr is definitely one to watch.
The first pages of this book were tough. The mean character, Errol, a nineteen-year-old  boy stars off pretty low on the awesomeness scale. I mean, he's a drunk and after spending all he had in drinks, he goes around begging for food. But then he was given a mission, he has to deliver a pretty important message to an hermit priest who lives in the middle of nowhere.  The journey sounds hard enough but Errol had to fight for his life while trying to make it to the priest house. 
Errol is a character you grow fond with. Little by little you learn a lot about him and why he's like that. He definitely evolves through the book, learn things about himself he wouldn't even dream of in his wildest dreams. He's gifted and his gift puts him a lot of danger, but it is like he's been given a reason, a purpose to fight and man up, which he does.
Our protagonist -with the help of his friends- goes from being the drunk of a tiny town who doesn't even know how to read to be one of the most important pieces in the King and Church side of a fight that has been going on for a while now. 
Patrick Carr creates a world so believable and character so deep you feel like you are living everything along with them and it is really easy to get caught up in the story. The writing is precise, full and diverse, no repetitive words or redundant paragraphs. It is pretty perfect, at least from my point of view.
I think Carr is a bright mind to keep an eye on and I would most definitely read the next book on this series.


I would recommend it for: Everyone. Especially for fans of the fantasy genre. It is definitely a MUST read.

Guess Post


The most important visual for the church was for my main character, Martin Arwitten. The name itself is a play on words. I borrowed the first name from Martin Luther and took the last name from the village where he wrote his works, Wittenburg. From there it seemed natural that I use the following image.

My sister, Ramona, is my alpha reader. She gets everything I write even before the first set of edits. Why she’s willing to read the very first draft is beyond me, but she’s been so helpful and encouraging. When she first started reading “A Cast of Stones” she said that the character Martin reminded her of the skipper from Gilligan’s Island. Here his picture.

I was really happy with that. She’d never seen the picture I’d used to describe my character. I took that as a sign that my characterization was pretty accurate.

Tour-Wide Giveaway:

Grand Prize (USA & Canada):  Print copy of entire series of three books (#2 & #3 as they are published) + A Cast of Stones Mug + Lend your name to a character in book #3!!

2nd Prize (USA & Canada): Print copy of A Cast of Stones

International Entries: eCopy of A Cast of Stones

Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Burgandy Ice @ Colorimetry and sponsored by Bethany House & the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Only on this Tour... the author shares the Creation, his Goals, some Visuals and Excerpts on each of these mini-themes:

The Herbwomen of secret lore
The World of The Staff & the Sword
The Readers of the cast lots
The Watchmen, elite warriors
The Clergy of power

Catch the entire Tour!!

1/23 - Backing Books - Herbwomen
1/24 – Christian NovelsReviewWorld
1/25 – I Am a Reader, Not a WriterReaders

1/27 – Reads to ReelsWatchmen
1/28 – LDS & Lovin’ It - Clergy
1/29 – Proud Book Nerd - World
1/30 – Open the Page - Herbwomen
1/31 – Wonderings of One PersonReview - Readers

2/3 – Simple Wyrdings - Watchmen
2/4 – Bookworm Lisa – Review – Clergy
2/5 – Passion & LifeReaders
2/6 – Kari’s Crowded Bookshelf – Review Herbwomen
2/7 – Coffee, Books & Me - Readers
2/8 – Backing Books – Review – World

2/10 – Letters to the Cosmos - Watchmen
2/11 – Jill WilliamsonReview – Clergy
2/12 – ADD Librarian Herbwomen
2/13 – Worthy 2 ReadReviewWatchmen
2/14 – Hey, Tara!World
2/15 – Pieces of WhimsyReview - Readers

2/17 – CTF DevourerReviewClergy
2/18 – Pause Time - Readers
2/19 – A Backwards StoryReviewWorld
2/19 - Christy’s Cozy CornerHerbwomen
2/20 – Min Reads & ReviewsReview Watchmen
2/21 – FINALE BLAST, Winner announced

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For the Love of Swoon Hop (INT)

Valentine's Day... You can feel the love in the air and everything seems so beautiful. It is the perfect timing for a book that make you swoon, don't you think? 
This giveaway is hosted by  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Book Hookup and runs since February 14th until February 20th, so make sure to enter while you still have time. 

What's up for grabs?

This time I'll be giving away to one lucky winner, one e-book copy of a book a lot of us were waiting desperately. This book continues the story of a romance worth swooning about. And a male hero who everyone will die for. I'm talking about the third book of the Bloodlines series, The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead. 

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

How can you enter?

This giveaway is International. 
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
The winner will be notified by email as soon as the contest ends and will have 48 hrs to reply, otherwise a new winner will be chosen, so please don't forget to leave your contact information in the form.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

[Review] One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: One Night That Changes Everything
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: July 6th, 2010
Source: I purchased a copy from a local bookstore.
Blurb from Goodreads: Eliza is in a full-blown panic. Her notebook has been stolen—the one that lists everything she wants but is afraid to go after. And the absolute worst person in the world has it: her ex-boyfriend, Cooper.
Like it’s not enough Cooper was lying to Eliza for their entire relationship, now he and his friends are blackmailing her. They’re giving her just one night to complete the most humiliating tasks on her list or they’ll post her secrets online—including the ones that aren’t just about her.
Eliza’s sure of only one thing: she isn’t going down without a fight. Cooper may have what’s left of her dignity, but she’s not the only one with something to hide …
A hilarious and sweet teen novel by Lauren Barnholdt, the author of Two-Way Street.


Thoughts in general: I don't know how I managed to finish this thing... 
This book was really infuriating. I really wanted it to be good because I've had it on my shelf for a long time now and I was just waiting for the right opportunity to read it, and this was definitely it... I mean, it was a hot day of summer and I had nothing better to do than enjoying a light and funny read.
I loved the description from the very beginning. I though it was genius this thing with the secret notebook in which you have written all your deepest fears and then have it stolen by a creepy group of boys that are pissed at you and willing to make your life a living hell by posting the whole thing online if you don't follow their instructions and do the very things you listed on that notebook as your fears. And on top of that, your ex-boyfriend is the one who got you involved in this whole mess to begin with, so that makes things pretty interesting... at least that's what I though.
No such luck. 

Overall, this was a huge disappointment and I wasn't even trying hard to pick a book with great content! I just wanted a good light novel... and got this mess. I'm really sorry because I've read some of the other books of the author and I did like them quite a lot and that was the reason I buy this book.

Characters: Lets see... The protagonist, Eliza, is the most annoying, self-centered, whinny, bipolar and stupid girl you could ever find. From the very beginning she complains because her such-called friends don't pay her enough attention because, guess what? They have problems too, who would have thought that the world doesn't revolve around Eliza? Then she won't quit whinnying because her (ex)boyfriend screwed up but at the same time she keeps remembering how awesome he is and dying to be with him again. On top of that she'll keep yelling at him that everything is his fault and even when it is crystal clear that he's trying to explain himself she won't hear him out. She'll just keep complaining at him about some girl who someone told her was his new girlfriend... even when he's telling her that's not true... even when he doesn't have to explain himself to her since they are no longer dating... But she'll act all jealous anyway because she can. Besides she keeps judging left and right and she isn't better than anyone since she hook up with her sister's boyfriend, even when her sister is supposed to be like her best friend and everything. 

Her friends are no better. First we have Marissa, who is stupid and selfish too, because she keeps following a guy around (literally) even when it is oh-so-obvious that he just want her as a backup plan and just to hook up occasionally. But in her mind, they're dating so that makes it ok if he just called her whenever he feels like it and then leave her waiting for him and when he finally calls she's supposed to leave everything, including her friends, to go after him, what she does actually more than just once.

Then there is Clarice, who is kind of a teaser. I don't know if she's really stupid or a real slut. I mean she's naive, ok I got that. But you have to be stupid to think that a guy you picked up in a club and invited you at his apartment wants to "just talk" and then feel offended when start acting weird when he realizes that you're not gonna sleep with him (if that was never in your plans you shouldn't have gone with him to his apartment, Jeesh! He's a stranger! And unless you are looking for a one-night stand... well you should know better!). Beside when most needed she just left her best friend with her ex and takes the car with her! 

With that kind of friends who would even need enemies!

The guy, Cooper, the ex-boyfriend involved with this group is frustrating too. Because he clearly screwed up and then he's trying to make things right but doesn't realize that the only thing he needs to do is break up with this scary group of jerks! And just keep trying to help Eliza with the task that the idiotic Tyler (president of this group) set up for her and telling her he misses her while he tries to hide because he doesn't want them to know he's talking to her or see them together. 

Plot: Well, the plot is supposed to revolve around this famous notebook... I had all my faith put in that thing and that was the reason I kept reading, but I should've known that if the author of the notebook was such a pain in the ass, the notebook couldn't be that interesting. And it wasn't. The list of thing that were written in there were just silly and super simple. I though we'll have the protagonist doing something really extreme like I don't know... jumping off a bridge or doing some of this extreme sports of some sort. Or at least something funny like I don't know trying to win an argument with a total stranger or make them laugh or something! But again, no such luck... I  also liked the idea of this group of mean boys, the 318, but there was so little about them. I think the author could have done great things with this idea, it would have injected the mystery factor to the novel, but it wasn't treated the right way. 

Writing: Aggh... The protagonist is so annoying and since the story is narrated from her point of view, you just have to suck it up and keep reading her stupid thoughts. I feel like the author tried too hard to sound like a teenager and it felt more like I was reading the point of view of a four years old. Besides, the writing in general was really poor, it was repetitive and pretty basic. 
Besides I noticed that the title of the book didn't really fit the story, because "that" night didn't change much of anything, not really.

I would recommend it for: If I'm being honest I wouldn't recommend this book. If you want to give it a try, be aware of the many flaws it has.