The Week's Entrée #21


Happy Monday everyone! The Chef and I are starting the week a bit sick *sniff!* but we think we're getting better every day that goes by. Nothing like chicken soup for the soul, eh? :)

Since I'm here trying to contain the sniffles, I'll keep this post short and sweet.

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Books I Bought, Won or Received:

{Bought}

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Published: May 3rd, 2013/ Mira Ink 
Genre: YA Paranormal
 In Allison Sekemoto's world, there is one rule left: Blood calls to blood 

She has done the unthinkable: died so that she might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie's birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever-and possibly end human and vampire existence. 

There's a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago-and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time. 

Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.
I needed to buy this book after finishing The Immortal Rules last Saturday. It was so good and I needed MORE. Might continue with Allison's story one of these days...

*****

The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow
Published: February 25th, 2014/ Harlequin Teen 
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Savannah. Courtney. Peyton. 

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.
I've been dying to get my hands on this book since it came out! I just love that cover and the synopsis sounds fabulous. Hope I can read it soon!

*****
To Read This Week:


This week I'll finally read To The Sea by Deirdre Riordan Hall. It's a NA Contemporary Romance book about a young woman who loses her husband in a car accident and tries to move on by finding solace in the beach waves. It seems like a nice read so I can't wait to take the plunge.

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And that's it for this edition of The Week's Entrée. What book(s) are you planning to read this week? :)

Book Review: Drawing Amanda by Stephanie Feuer

Title: Drawing Amanda
Author: Stephanie Feuer
Illustrator: S.Y. Lee
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Hipso Media
Published: June 15th, 2014 
Page count: 309 pages
Format: eARC
Source: From publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you!).
Book Summary:
DRAWING AMANDA is set in the under-parented, high-expectation world of a Manhattan international prep school. Fourteen-year-old budding artist Inky Kahn is still smarting from the death of his father. He thinks he’s found his big break when he bonds with the developer of a new computer game and snags a coveted drawing assignment, for which he uses his secret crush–Amanda–as a model. 

But unbeknownst to Inky, the developer has a dangerous past, and is using his computer game to lure and stalk teenage girls. And Inky has inadvertently led Amanda right into his path. Blinded by his own ambition and sulking from his father’s death, Inky hides from the truth. Will Inky, with the help of Rungs, his cybergeek pal, discover the treachery in time and save Amanda before the creep ensnares her–or anyone else?

     *The Reader's Review*

     My rating: 4/5 stars

Drawing Amanda is such a creative book! It mixes the wonderful elements of a well written story and fantastic illustrations that resemble important pieces inside the book. Have you seen the cover? It's so cool. Wish I had it in print to place it in my bookshelf. I love how it speaks volumes of what this book is about as it show's perfectly how the artist (Inky) is drawing the girl (Amanda), and without him noticing, another hand is trying to take away the drawing.

This book is like the perfect example of what could go wrong when chatting online with strangers. And  even more when the targets are kids and teens. It's so easy to feel comfortable sitting behind a computer and pouring your heart out to someone else without having to look at their reactions, but you may never know what their full intentions are until it's too late sometimes.

This happens to both Inky and Amanda as they struggle to find an escape from their pains and troubles. When they find out about "Megaland", an interactive game in development for girls, they feel the developer truly understands them and are willing to help him out with his game. Inky doesn't know Amanda is using the game too since they didn't know each other that well at first, and as he starts having feelings for her (and she hints that she thinks he is the developer of Megaland) Inky and his friend Rungs start to realize that they may have stepped into a dangerous trap.

While Inky and Amanda were great characters that I wouldn't mind getting to know better another time because they're smart and talented kids, I think Rungs is the special character that needs to be credited. He was the one that managed to uncover the whole deal behind Megaland with his amazing computer skills and, in my opinion, the true hero of this story. Without him, I shudder to think about what could have happened to Amanda, and Inky for that matter.

I'm really pleased with how this book turned out to be. I think the author and the illustrator both did a great job with Drawing Amanda that from now on I'll be paying close attention to what they do next. A big thumbs up and a yes! to "Do I recommend this book?".


Book Review: Slip by Leslie J. Portu

Title: Slip
Author: Leslie J. Portu
Series: Slip #1
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing
Published: June 8th, 2013 
Page count: 394 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: From author in exchange for an honest review.
Book Summary:
Of late, Vivien Allen’s life has cruised safely on autopilot. And safety is exactly what she clings to. Heaven knows her sixteen years have been struck with enough drama to last a lifetime. Yet while the status quo provides a sense of comfort, Vivien can’t ignore the small voice inside that yearns for something different. As junior year begins this longing is answered in the form of Christophe Laval, the young and fabulously different new French teacher. Before long an exciting yet indefinable friendship develops which complicates things considerably as she suddenly finds herself falling for Declan Mieres, the senior star lacrosse player. The need to hide the two sides of her life becomes increasingly difficult, the omissions and half-truths weighing on her conscience. When at last she resolves to change her ways, the truth is far more frightening than any lie.

     *The Reader's Review*

     My rating: 4/5 stars

Slip is all about how the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" can be applied to people. It shows how no one is who you think he/she is even when you've spent countless of hours with them. How us, humans, are so easily swayed that we're the easiest prey in the animal kingdom. Tell us a few sweet words, exactly the ones we want to hear, and we lay down ourselves willingly at someone else's feet. We may do things with the best intentions, but not everyone is that way, and that's when things can get dangerous.

The plot of this book is good and at times surprising (won't give anything away). I often felt the need to rub my arms to shake the chilly feeling away. I knew from the start who the bad guy was, but that didn't stop me from being creeped out by how this person weasels himself into Vivienne's life. The tension is very slow to build up and at times I did question if the book was heading to where I thought it was going because Vivienne is oblivious to what is really at hand, but it's there if you pay close attention. This book isn't a suspense book though, the most part is actually full of normal teen drama and what it implies of being in a relationship. A gold mine full of great advice (thanks Ms. Hove!) .

But get prepared to be annoyed by Vivienne as well. I think this book has one of the most infuriating main characters ever. Oh, I yelled a lot with this book. At times I just wanted to jump inside and shake some sense into the girl. I couldn't believe how naïve Vivienne was. She had this serious problem of not trusting her instincts and ignoring the warning bells from her mind, not to mention her knack of pushing away the people who actually care about her, and instead, letting inside the wrong ones.

I didn't actually hate Vivienne, but she wasn't my favorite. On the other hand, I think the rest of the characters were quite interesting. I loved how they proved me wrong and made me change my mind about them when they turned out to be so much nicer and more important to the plot from what I was led to believe. Declan is a super sweet guy and even his best friend, Nathan, is not that bad. I hope you get to meet them and see what I mean. 

The way Slip ends left me with mixed feelings and a huge concern for the characters. I do believe they deserve a break after all they've been through, but sadly, things are not over for them yet. And, again, the thought about it creeps me out. I shudder to think what's in store for them in the next book because, I don't know how it can get crazier than what I read here. The worst part? Things like this do happen in real life. Will be keeping my eyes open much more thanks to this book.


The Week's Entrée #20


Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by to another edition of The Week's Entrée. I'll try to keep everything short and simple this time since I have several new books to share with you today. But first...

Did you hear the news?

Strange Chemistry is closing for good.


Four days ago, Angry Robot Books (owned by Osprey Publishing Group) announced that Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A will be closing effective immediately due to these imprints "not making the cut". These are very sad news for the authors working on both of these imprints and for us readers alike. All book contracts have been canceled, meaning that we may not see anytime soon the books Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A were going to publish, unless the authors find another publisher or decide to self-publish. 

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen, Some Fine Day by Kat Ross and Essence by Lissa Ann O'Kane are among the books and authors that have been affected by this news. My heart aches for them since I loved these books so much. I now understand so many things concerning these titles and let me tell you, all of the authors that worked with Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A have fought teeth and nails to get their books into our hands, even when they felt the doors were closing on them.

I think all of Strange Chemistry's and Exhibit A's titles are still available for purchase, so if you want to go check them out before they are taken down, that would be so awesome. The authors need all of the support they can get.

I'll miss you Strange Chemistry. 

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*Sigh* With the sad news out of the way, let me show you the big haul of books I got last week.
Books I Bought, Won or Received:

{Bought}

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Published: April 24th, 2012/ Harlequin Teen 
Genre: YA Paranormal
To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for… again.

Enter Julie Kagawa's dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins. 
I already owned The Immortal Rules as an iBook (got it free) but since I saw the ebook on sale on the Kobo store, I just had to have it for my ereader.

{Won}

Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock
Published: April 29th, 2014/ Spencer Hill 
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
The summer of her dreams is about to get a reality check.

They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.

But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?
*****

Camp Payback by J.K. Rock
Published: April 29th, 2014/ Spencer Hill 
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she's headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall. 

Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn't seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex's trouble-magnet personality and Javier's need to stay in the background don't mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry. 

With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too? 
I won both of these ebooks from the author on the Chapter by Chapter Book Rave online pàrty on facebook. I couldn't believe my luck when I found out I had won them! They look pretty cool. 

{For Review}

Playing Nice by Rebekah Crane
Published: January 22rd, 2013/In This Together Media 
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Martina "Marty" Hart is really nice. At least, that's what people think. 

It's Marty's junior year at Minster High. Minster's a small town where making great grades, smiling pretty, helping old people, running the new-student Welcoming Committee, and putting up decorations for all the dances--including the totally awful Hot Shot fall hunting celebration--gets you ... what? Marty's not sure. Instead of dreaming about a sororities-and-frats future at nearby University of Michigan, she's restless, searching for a way out of the box her controlling mother and best frenemy Sarah have locked her in. When Lil--don't call her Lily!--Hatfield transfers to Minster, Marty gets her chance. Lil's different. She smokes, wears black, listens to angry punk records, and lives in a weird trailer with her mother. Lil has secrets--secrets that make her a target for all the gossiping and online bullying Minster can muster. But so does Marty. And Marty sees something different in Lil. Something honest. 

Something real. 

PLAYING NICE is the achingly true story of a girl who's been following the rules for so long she's forgotten who she was when she started. It's about falling in love with the wrong people and not seeing the right ones, about the moments in life when you step out of line, take a chance ... and begin to break free.
I was sent this book (digital format) by the publisher since I enjoyed Rebekah's other  book, Aspen. I might have danced the conga for a few minutes there to shake off my excitement.

From Netgalley...

Feuds by Avery Hastings
Pub. Date: September 2nd, 2014/ St. Martin's Griffin 
Genre: YA Dystopian
In this breathless story of impossible love, perfection comes at deadly a cost.

For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.

Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.

Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world...in Avery Hastings's Feuds.
*****

The Good Sister by Jamie Kain
Pub. Date: October 7th, 2014/ St. Martin's Griffin 
Genre: YA Contemporary

The Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Their small, Northern California town is filled with free spirits and damaged souls seeking refuge from the real world. Without the anchor of authority, the three girls are adrift and have only each other to rely on.

Rachel is wild. Asha is lost. Sarah, the good sister, is the glue that holds them together. But the forces of a mysterious fate have taken Sarah’s life in a sudden and puzzling accident, sending her already fractured family into a tailspin of grief and confusion. Asha has questions. Rachel has secrets. And Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there.

Pretty stoked when I saw that St. Martin's Griffin had approved me to view both these titles on Netgalley! The premises sound downright good and I can't wait to read them.

*****
To Read This Week:



I'm currently reading The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa and Love Unfeigned by Nadine Keels. Planning on reading a third book this week too and writing plenty of reviews that needed to be written a long time ago. Gotta blame school and work for that, okay? ;)

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And that's it for this edition of The Week's Entrée. What book(s) are you planning to read this week? Any thoughts about Strange Chemistry's closing? :)

Book Review: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Series: Birthright #1
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Published: March 29th, 2012 
Page count: 352 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Book Summary:
Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embroiled in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father’s relatives aren’t so keen to let them go. When Anya’s violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya’s mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.

Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win’s father wants to be mayor, and he can’t risk having his ambition jeopardized by rumors spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist...

     *The Chef's Review*

     My rating: 5/5 stars




Oh my gosh, this book!!! It's so amazing, I don't even know where to start or what to write. I feel that I should do a kickass review, one that would do this book justice, but the words won't form themselves. Actually, the only thing going on around my mind is: IT'S REALLY GOOD.

It's weird how you get to enter into this world.The book is dystopian, from a not so far future (2082), and it talks about living in a society where you don't get new clothes, water is expensive, cars are limited and so on so forth, but what struck me the most was that CHOCOLATE IS ILLEGAL. Gah, what's wrong with this world?

The main character here is a girl named Anya, who belongs to an illegal Chocolatier family. She lives in New York city along with her brother, sister and grandmother. When she was little, her mother died in a car crash and her older brother, Leo, was left with brain damage. Her dad was assassinated in front of her and her little sister, and thus they became orphans. Anya takes full control of their lives, which is not an easy thing to do since her grandmother, their guardian, becomes old and ill. She tries to live a normal, risk-free life, but it is almost impossible due to her family's background. Anya faces imprisonment, forbidden love, family drama and everyday life difficulties.

I guess what I was drawn to this book the most was Anya's way of thinking. You get to see her train of thought and reactions to all situations thrown at her. She doesn't exaggerate anything, it's plain and it's simple. A very cool character overall.

So yeah, I think this book is a must.

ARC Review: Feather Bound by Sarah Raughley

Title: Feather Bound
Author: Sarah Raughley
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Published: June 5th, 2015 
Page count: 300 pages
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book Summary:
When Deanna's missing friend Hyde turns up at his father's funeral to claim his corporate empire and inheritance, she is swept into his glittering world of paparazzi and wealth.

But re-kindling her friendship and the dizzying new emotions along for the ride are the least of her concerns. Because Deanna has a secret - and somebody knows. Someone who is out to get Hyde. And if she doesn't play along, and help the enemy destroy him...she will be sold to the highest bidder in the black market for human swans.

Now Deanna is struggling to break free from the gilded cage that would trap her forever...

Feather Bound is a dark debut reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez's A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, and the twisted truth behind the fairy tale of Cinderella.

     *The Reader's Review*

     My rating: 3.5/5 stars
Well ... Feather Bound is a nice read. I think it had a lot of potential because, come on, human swans? That's totally cool and so different from the same old shape-shifters we read on a daily basis. It's only that this book felt like if it were the sequel instead of the first book in a series. It lacked world-building, the background story needed more development, and the characters, although likeable, didn't cover for everything else.

When we first meet Deanna, it seems as if she was only leading a very hard life (economically speaking) with her family. After her mother's death, her father lost his important job and ends up with a meager one that hardly helps out to run the house. But after she goes to her "dead" friend's father funeral, we get to know in a colorful way that in her world exists "human swans,"people whose feathers can give you full control over them if you manage to get hold of one. 

Do you see what I was talking about the interesting concept? This world is dark and works quite differently. People use the swans to do their bidding, they see them nothing more than animals, as slaves actually. But the thing is that I wasn't pleased with the way everything was explained. I needed more information about the works of the swans. We only get a tale for how they first came to be, and that's it. The other things are just there for us to guess. 

Now, heading over to the other part of the equation, Deanna's dead friend turns out to be very much alive and not buried underground as she was led to believe for several years. The guy comes back in full swing and, besides from taking over his father's company, he also wants to win Deeana's heart back.

The romance between Deanna and Hyde (that's the guy's name) was pretty good. It was the best part of the book and the thing that kept me going. I liked how Deanna at first didn't cave in that easily to Hyde's charms even though he was always sweet with her. She had self-respect and liked to get answers before making her choices, and wasn't swayed much with Hyde's money. Although it is Hyde's money the thing that makes her life dangerous later on. That guy seems to make new enemies every time he breathes!

This book may not be the best book out there, but it does make for a fun read if you're not bothered with its world-building. If you get to the end of it, you will be amused with what it has in store for some of the characters and, at least, it finishes off with a nice bang.

Guest Post & Giveaway with Prissy Elrod

Today, I'm happy to have on the blog Prissy Elrod, author of Far Outside The Ordinary! She has written for us a wonderful guest post about what makes her book extraordinary (oh, you're going to love it)  and because she is awesome, she has also provided a copy of her book to give away!

But before you head on to read the guest post and giveaway, take a look about her amazing book:


Far Outside The Ordinary by Prissy Elrod
Published: April 1st, 2014/ Leather Leaf Publishing
Genre: Non-Fiction (memoir)

If anybody had told Prissy, a conservative Southern housewife, she would one day be driving around town with a stoned, drunk black man named Willie in her backseat while she begged—no, ordered—him into her house for the night, she would have told them they were nuts. But it happened.

An emotionally honest account, Far Outside the Ordinary chronicles the period in Prissy’s life when, during a routine physical, her fifty-yearold husband is given less than a year to live. Southern black caregivers move into her home and work around the clock to aid her family. Soon, Prissy finds herself a spectator in her own home, observing events far outside the boundaries of her once ordinary life.

Far Outside the Ordinary is also a story of happily ever after, a romantic fairy tale. When her high school boyfriend reappears in her life, Prissy learns love has no expiration date. Sometimes a second chance at love can come disguised, and when least expected.


{ Guest Post }


Extraordinary is an adjective, as we all know. Far Outside the Ordinary is a story told with a series of happenings occurring in a small time line.  Each one of these events are out of the ordinary on their own. But, when woven together, they became extraordinary.

On an ordinary day, during my ordinary life, the earth shifted under me. My balance, once solid and grounded, was lost. 

Specifically though, this book is about a Southern woman who refuses to let a terminal cancer diagnosis steal her husband. When Western medicine gives no hope, she turns to unconventional Eastern practices. Extraordinary practices!

Later, when hope is lost, she invites a Southern black man, a caregiver, to move into her home and help with her failing husband. Soon, events outside her once very ordinary life begin to occur. However, I think it was the ending that gave me the idea for the title.

This is not a book about cancer, though it is the topic. It is a book about love, the many facets of love, and how it is found in so many unsuspecting places. It is also, as many have described, a Cinderella story, a book filled with tragedy, drama, humor and romance, all bundled together as one. 


When writing Far Outside the Ordinary I wanted it to seem as if I was sitting next to someone, telling the story, not writing for a reader. It had to be real, just as if they were piggy-backed atop me and hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching, all sensed through my story telling.


Since the book launched five weeks ago, I have received countless letters, phone calls, emails, tweets and Facebook messages. Some from perfect strangers. Each person telling me they felt as though they were right there, how this book impacted them. I think I succeeded in sharing my story, perhaps exceeded. That alone makes it extraordinary to me!

About the Author }

I’ve been asked over and over, "Is Prissy really your name?" Yep, officially, though not legally. It’s all I remember ever being called. Daddy thought I would have a hard time spelling Priscilla, and shortened it to Prissy when I was only six hours old. An artist at heart, I eat organic food and own an excessive amount of skin care products. Anthropology, Starbucks and Whole Foods are all you really need in life. That and my wonderful husband and treasured family all living within four miles of me in beautiful Tallahassee, Florida.

To get this story down on paper was an exercise in courage. It took four years to write, three computers, two espresso machines, 48 how-to writing books, a Florida State University memoir-writing class, 24 blog subscriptions, a half-dozen periodical journals, 14 revised drafts. I didn’t let anybody read it for the first three years. Finally, I sent the manuscript to a Pushcart Prize–winning writer in Texas, and hired him to read it and tell me if it was any good.


Social Media:



Giveaway }

Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of Far Outside the Ordinary by Prissy Elrod. If you live in the US, you can choose from a paperback or eBook, and if you're international, you can win an eBook copy. Giveaway ends June 24th,  good luck!

The Week's Entrée #19


Hello and welcome once again to another post of The Week's Entrée! 

I really don't have much to share this week about the blog so this post will be pretty simple. The Chef and I (yes, you heard me) will be talking about the new books we got this week and what we're going to read. Hope something catches your eye!

Books We Bought, Won or Received:

{For Review} 

*The Reader*


Tesla by Mark Lingane
Published: December 30th, 2013/Insync Holdings Pty Ltd 
Genre: Sci-Fi/Steampunk
Cyberpunk vs Steampunk: the battle is on.

It is one thousand years since nuclear war wiped out civilization in the northern hemisphere. The planet slowly heats, and water becomes a rare resource. Out of the ruins of a devastated civilization arises a new breed of people - those who control magnetism, Teslas.

Sebastian, a young orphan boy from a quiet rural town, is hunted by strange part-machine, part-human people. His only hope is Melanie, an angry, dying teenage girl who is dragged into the adventure and sets out to deliver him to the Steam Academy, even if it’s just to stop him talking. Seb must confront an unknown past and fight against everything he believed in. And occasionally wash his hair.
Mark Lingane sent me a review copy of Tesla a few days ago and I'm pretty hyped to check it out. I've never read a steampunk book before so this will be the book that'll tell me if it's a yay or nay genre for me.


Render by Heidi C. Vlach
Published: May 7th, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
They built new homes under mountain maples, hoping for luck. But for the aemets — the insect-like folk of Aloftway village — there has been much work and meagre reward. After poor harvests and a brush with forest fire, now wolves are striking down folk who venture into the forest. Without a precedent in their legends to guide them, all aemetkind knows to do is hope and pray.

Rue is a young aemet coming of age in this troubled community. Named after a lucky plant, she has never cared much for luck. She believed from the start that it was folly to move here, and when fellow aemets start turning up dead, Rue is through waiting. With her chemistry skills, her keen mind and a guard dog at her side, Rue promises herself that she’ll solve Aloftway’s problems. But she’ll need help from Felixi, a game hunter of the dragon-like korvi race — who knows more about the wolf attacks than he’s willing to share.
Many thanks to Heidi for providing an e-copy of her book to review! The Chef will be reading this book first since she called dibs on it (the author won her over with the mention of food) and since I have tons of other books to read, I'll let her have it just this once. I can't wait to hear what she thinks of it!

*The Chef *

I'm taking over for a bit!!! Ahem, these are the books I was approved to review on Netgalley.

Writing In The Kitchen by David A. Davis
Publication Date: August 1st, 2014/University Press of Mississippi 
Genre: Non-fiction/Essays

Scarlett O'Hara munched on a radish and vowed never to go hungry again. Vardaman Bundren ate bananas in Faulkner's Jefferson, and the Invisible Man dined on a sweet potato in Harlem. Although food and stories may be two of the most prominent cultural products associated with the South, the connections between them have not been thoroughly explored until now.


Southern food has become the subject of increasingly self-conscious intellectual consideration. The Southern Foodways Alliance, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, food-themed issues of "Oxford American" and "Southern Cultures," and a spate of new scholarly and popular books demonstrate this interest. "Writing in the Kitchen" explores the relationship between food and literature and makes a major contribution to the study of both southern literature and of southern foodways and culture more widely.

This collection examines food writing in a range of literary expressions, including cookbooks, agricultural journals, novels, stories, and poems. Contributors interpret how authors use food to explore the changing South, considering the ways race, ethnicity, class, gender, and region affect how and what people eat. They describe foods from specific southern places such as New Orleans and Appalachia, engage both the historical and contemporary South, and study the food traditions of ethnicities as they manifest through the written word.

This was my first Netgalley approval!!!! I know this is not the typical book you see here on the blog, but I hope you won't mind (and Melissa either) to hear about this type once in a while. I love cookbooks and food related books, they really help me out in my career and they are so interesting. I will read it soon. 

Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear
Publication Date: July 8th, 2013/Tundra Books (Random House Canada Limited)
Genre: Childrens / Food

Julia and Simca are two young friends who agree that you can never use too much butter -- and that it is best to be a child forever. Sharing a love of cooking and having no wish to turn into big, busy people who worry too much and dawdle too little, they decide to create a feast for growing and staying young. A playful, scrumptious celebration of the joy of eating, the importance of never completely growing up, and mastering the art of having a good time, "Julia, Child" is a fictional tale loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the very real Julia Child - a story that should be taken with a grain of salt and a generous pat of butter.

Yeees! A book inspired by Julia Child! Oh I know it's just a children's book but I love everything that's related to Julia Child. So happy I was accepted by the publisher to view this title! I can forsee cuteness overload in my future when reading this book.

*Ends my takeover!*

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Okay, now that I have the blog back in my command, read about what's on our tbr pile this week!

To Read This Week:





Love Unfeigned by Nadine Keels keeps being on the tbr list since I couldn't read it last week like I planned to, but I promise, this week is THE week. Then up next is The Last Island by David Hogan. Must read all the review books!

The Chef says she'll be reading Render by Heidi C. Vlach this week (yay!).

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And that's it for this edition of The Week's Entrée. What book(s) are you planning to read this week? :)