Real Life Issue…Guest post from Laura Kreitzer

Hello Literary-Folk!

My name is Laura Kreitzer, and I’m the author of the Timeless Series and the Summer Chronicles. This week I would like to alert everyone on a colossal crisis that’s gone unnoticed in the world: human trafficking. That’s why I’ve asked hundreds of blogs to be involved with spreading the word on this issue that’s become close to my heart.

As an author, and someone whose life is put in the spotlight, I keep most people at a distance. Only a handful of my friends know the whole me and the events from my past. But this week I’d like to share with you a part of myself that the outside world doesn’t see (and a part of me I don’t like to share). I was emotionally abused for five years by someone I thought loved me, my mind beaten into submission. Though the turmoil I went through doesn’t penetrate as deep as someone forced into slavery on the worldwide market for human trafficking, I can sadly relate in some ways: imprisoned, my life dictated down to what I wore, ate, where I went, whom I spoke to, where I worked, when I slept, bending to his every whim. He did not sway, even when I cried through some of the more traumatic things he had me do. I was a slave in my own home. In my desperation for freedom, I held out a gun and asked him to just end my suffering. I was desperate.

I can’t even imagine how many women (and men) in the world are in a similar situation. What’s even worse, I had it mild compared to the children that are sold for labor or sex. Surprisingly, the good ol’ U.S.A. is reported to be the host to two million slaves. Did you know this? Because I certainly did not; not until I was preparing to write my newest novel: Phantom Universe. The main character, Summer Waverly, was stolen as a child and sold as a slave to the captain of a modern-day pirate ship. From a loved child who only knew “time-out” as punishment, to being whipped into silence was something I knew nothing about. So I researched deeply into human trafficking and the psychological effects of torture of various types that one would endure in these circumstances. I felt shaken at my findings and knew I had to tell Summer’s story. (Read a sneak peek here.)

A storm began to brew in my mind; transforming, morphing, twisting, and expanding into this massive, black cloud. I had to bring this tragic atrocity to the forefront. My own emotional experiences, mixed with the research I did on human trafficking, made me feel an intense connection with Summer, and to all women who’ve been through this kind of brutality. The cloud ruptured and rained all over my computer one day. It took one month to write Phantom Universe, the first in the Summer Chronicles. I was so consumed by the story that I wrote nearly nonstop, only breaking for necessary tasks like eating, showering, and occasionally—very occasionally—sleeping.

Though the book I’ve written would be classified as Science Fiction, or as I’d like to call it, Dystopian, the emotions and psychological aspects are not Science Fiction—they’re real. Reviewers have said many amazing things about Summer, this character who is so real in my mind and who I cried along with as the words poured from my soul onto my screen.

“I admired Summer’s strength and ability to adapt,” says CiCi’s Theories. “I felt tied to her emotions,” Jennifer Murgia, author of Angel Star admits. And Tahlia Newland, author of Lethal Inheritance, remarks, “Summer is strong and smart in mind [. . .]”

Through her overwhelmingly horrendous past, Summer goes on more than just a physical journey in Phantom Universe, she goes on a psychological one as well; growing beyond her mute state to persevere and survive in a new world beyond the whip she’s so frightened of.

Now that the release date is here, I’m excited and terrified to share this story with everyone. I’m emotionally tied in every way to the words I’ve written, because they’re more than words. More than just a story on a page. Beyond the fictional aspects, there’s a real issue that needs to be addressed: human trafficking must be stopped. We shouldn’t sit idly by while this continues to plague us. Our world’s children—our nation’s children—are being affected. It’s time we take action!

Earlier this month Phantom Universe hit Barnes and Noble’s top 100 Best Selling list. I’ve decided to donate 10% of my sales from Phantom Universe, until the end of February, to the DNA Foundation.

“DNA hopes to help abolish modern day slavery, deter perpetrators, and free the many innocent and exploited victims. We are committed to forcing sex slavery out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

Freedom is a basic human right and slavery is one of the greatest threats to that freedom. No one has the right to enslave another person.”

—From DNA Foundation’s Website

I ask that you spread the word to everyone you know. Look around on the DNA Foundation website and find a way to get involved in ending human trafficking. Take action today. Everyone has a voice—you have a voice. Will you have the courage to use it?

February 15th, 2011 Books, Events, Guest Posts, It's Hot 5 Comments

We Have Some Winners!!!!

Yippee! Yahoo! Thank you to all of you who entered both the Follower With Love and the To Die For giveaways! I am so excited to announce the WINNERS!

The winner of the copy of To Die For by Christopher Pike is………..

3….Vivien

Congratulations!!   Thank you Scholastic for offering the copy of To Die For!

The winner of the Follower With Love blog hop giveaway Twenty Boy Summer package is………

NFMGirl

Congratulations!!

Both winners have been notified via email and will have 48 hrs to contact me with mailing information or another winner will be chosen!!


February 14th, 2011 Giveaway Winners! 0 Comment

Books With Love Giveaway!

Guess what? I am doing another giveaway! This giveaway is part of Once Upon a Twilight and Good Choice Reading‘s Books With Love Giveaway Hop!

I will be giving away I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder, a ruby red diamond (no, not a real one) paperweight aka desk bling, some book bling and a little chocolate love! Oh and a whatever else might find its way into the box!

All you need to do is leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite love story is. Leave a separate comment for each of the following for additional entries: follow of my blog with GFC (+1), follow me (@cicistheories) on Twitter (+1), tweet about the giveaway (+1) be sure to @cicistheories!

This contest is now closed! Winner will be announce soon!

Thanks for taking part!!

Happy Valentine’s!
Love,
Cici

February 14th, 2011 Giveaways! Yeah! 176 Comments

Follower Love Giveaway!

Oh my, oh my!  It is a giveaway!!  This fabulous blog hop event is being hosted by I am a Reader Not a Writer

200 blogs have linked up here to host a book related giveaway, so all you have to do is go through the list and enter each blog’s giveaway!  A little hint to make it easier…print off the list of blogs in the hop and cross them off as you enter them!  Enjoy and good luck! 

To enter to win TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler, a $10 gift card to your choice of Barnes and Noble or Borders and some book bling and Valentine goodies!
*must be a follower of my blog*
Contest is now CLOSED….Winner Announced Soon!!!

February 7th, 2011 Giveaways! Yeah! 8 Comments

To Die For…2 Novels…AND Giveaway!

To Die For
by:  Christopher Pike
Ages 14+
Paperback
5.2(L)  x  0.2(W)  x  8.0(H) inches
Item #:SSO9780545264341
Weight (lbs): 0.2

copy for review provided by Scholastic

Description:

 courtesy of Scholastic:

This juicy volume features two classic Christopher Pike thrillers: SLUMBER PARTY and WEEKEND. In SLUMBER PARTY, mysterious events begin to unfold around a group of friends vacationing at a ski resort. As they become snowbound, things heat up…for the killer in their midst. In WEEKEND, another group of friends partying at a remote tropical beach manor are forced to confront an ugly event in their past – or suffer violent consequences in the present.
In each of these dream-vacations-gone-bad, not everyone is who they seem, and someone is bloodthirsty….

This double feature of romance, betrayal, and horror is to die for!

My thoughts…

I am a cover junkie…I will judge and buy a book for its cover, I do that with the titles too.  I know, there’s a cliche’ out there about that, but I believe in love at first sight too.  I really liked the cover and then I read that there were two novels in the book and was a little disappointed.  I was worried I wouldn’t get enough story.  I was worried over nothing.  Even though they were shorter than I like, they were both good. 

The first of novel in the books was Slumber Party and I really enjoyed it.  Of course, my timing was impeccable for setting the perfect scene.  It was all too real to read about the girls’ ski trip and the blizzard while home bound by the big blizzard of 2011 myself!   Thank goodness my only concern was whether or not I had enough chocolate and not whether or not I was going to be the victim of a murder!  It took me a few pages to get into it and to get all the characters and their stories straight, but once I got over that little hump, I really got into the mystery of the story.  I really started to think outside of the box and get on board with Lara’s suspicions of pyro-kinetics and spontaneous human combustion.  I suspected everyone of the girls, and boys, in the evil-doings that were beginning to happen at the “slumber party”.  I started to feel certain unease about each character as they made thier way through the story, even before I knew what the story actually was.  I really enjoy reading stories that grab me and keep me guessing and wondering.  I do not like a predictable book, and Slumber Party  certainly was not predictable. 

The second novel was Weekend.  It was equally intriguing, although a bit similar to the previous novel.  Which isn’t neccesarily bad.  I did really enjoy the addition of the “holy man”.  It certainly added an element of mystery and certainly became an integral part of the story.  It set a very unique setting for me and tied into the story nicely.  It was very imaginative and creatively written.  I was thoroughly surprised by the ending.  I absolutely love being surprised by a story’s ending! 

Overall, both Slumber Party and Weekend were great reads.  They both could have started off with a little more character clarification and information, but other than that both were suspenseful and enjoyable reads.

Thank you to Scholastic for providing the book for review!

**GIVEAWAY**

Is now CLOSED…Winner announced soon!!

Leave a comment to be entered for your own copy of To Die For, courtesy of Scholastic Books…

February 5th, 2011 Books 14 Comments

This week on Cici’s Theories…

A couple of things coming up this week…

  • FEBRUARY!  I love February, aside from it being cold it is the month of my favorite color-RED!  It is the month of LOVEand all around us there are hearts, chubby little cherubs, x’s and o’s and of course the other ex’s and oh’s too…but who doesn’t love Valentine’s?  I love making the cute little boxes with my kids and enjoy them reading their little cards from classmates and friends…just puts a smile on my face and warmth in my heart!  OH, and lastly, little Necco conversation hearts-YUM!
  • Photos will be posted for Two, yes TWO giveaways for the month of February!!  Hoping you all will share with my site with your friends! 
  • A great chance for you to get YOUR questions answered as I look to you for unique questions for two, yes TWO author interviews (and more GIVEAWAYS) that are coming soon!!
  • HUGE, HUGE snowstorm is making its way across the country and I am told it will be making a guest appearance here in Oklahoma City.  How much snow?  Well, it is hard to say, if you aren’t happy with the total one weatherman is predicting, all you have to do is change the channel and you can take your chances on his total…
  • My review of To Die For will be posted.

It is going to be a busy week, but it should be loads of fun!

The Water Wars

The Water Wars
by: Cameron Stracher

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • 256 pages
  • Publisher:Sourcebooks Fire (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402243693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402243691
  •  

     

     

    Summary from Amazon:

    Would you risk everything for someone you just met?

    What if he had a secret worth killing for?

    Welcome to a future where water is more precious than oil or gold…

    Hundreds of millions of people have already died, and millions more will soon fall-victims of disease, hunger, and dehydration. It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drinkable water is now in the hands of the powerful few. There are fines for wasting it and prison sentences for exceeding the quotas.

    But Kai didn’t seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drinking water from a plastic cup, then spilled the remaining drops into the dirt. He didn’t go to school, and he traveled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-something the government is keeping from us…

    And then he was gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Was he kidnapped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only questions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-and the truth-before it is too late for all of us.

    My thoughts…

    The Water Warsby Cameron Stracher was a well-written, gripping novel about times we can only hope we don’t encounter.  Stracher brings to light, through a fictional platform, what the future could possibly hold if we don’t become more aware of our over use and waste of our natural resources.  It certainly was a gripping tale as Vera and her brother Will, travel across the country on a journey that they don’t even know where they are headed or who they can trust. 

    The two kids seemed somewhat sheltered from the reality outside of their small town, or compound as I thought of it.  The only real information they received was from school and from media, both of which seemed to be a little too controlled by the government.  When Kai comes into the picture, so much seems to change for Vera and Will and their whole family.  Kai’s entrance into their lives is like a dessert bloom.  He gave the kids and their dad something to look forward to for a change.  Gave them hope and somewhat of a new lease.  Before they knew it, their world was turned upside-down.

    Some of the points that were made throughout the story were a little over-the-top on getting the environmental point across, but overall, I thought the message was a good one to try to drive home (assuming the over-all message of the book was a little more enviro-awareness).  I do believe that the other message that I received from The Water Wars was that we should also be aware of the amount of control we allow ourselves to lose to governmental powers. 

    I believe that the book is a great book to introduce discussions on both, environmental and governmental issues with children and even older peer groups.  It certainly would be a great book for teachers to use in the classroom.  Certainly would recommend for parents to read with their children and open the floor for a multi-faceted discussion!

    January 28th, 2011 Books 2 Comments

    HELLO to “Good-bye To All That”

    Product Details

    • Pub. Date: July 2010
    • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
    • Format: Paperback , 298pp
    • Sales Rank: 552,411
    • ISBN-13: 9781416571353
    • ISBN: 1416571353

    Synopsis *

    When her Hollywood career goes haywire, a young woman must say good-bye to all that . . . or must she?

    Raquel Azorian has worked her way from temp to executive assistant and is this close to a promotion to junior marketing exec at Belmore Corporation, the media behemoth she’s devoted herself to. She’s learned to play the Hollywood game—navigate office politics, schmooze the right people, avoid the wrong ones, and maintain a sense of decorum even in the craziest of times. All she needs is for her boss to sign her promotion memo. Instead of putting pen to paper, he suffers a very public meltdown that puts not only his professional future but also Raquel’s on the line.

    Getting to the next rung on the Belmore ladder will require every ounce of focus, but that’s not going to be easy. Raquel’s mom has decided to leave her husband and move into Raquel’s apartment, and her older brother seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into depression. Raquel has to keep her job, stop her parents from divorcing, and save her brother. In the chaos of juggling so much, she finally reaches a breaking point: there’s just not enough time for everything or for everyone. She’s going to have to choose—success at work or happiness at home. But then a chance encounter at a bookstore café leads Raquel to start planning her own Hollywood ending . . . on her own terms.

    *from Barnes & Noble

    My Thoughts

    “Good-bye To All That” was my introduction to author Margo Candela and I must say, I am hooked!  I really enjoyed my introduction to her writing.  I really liked the main character, Raquel Azorian, she really is a quite likable character.  Raquel is a very hard working woman, trying to make her way up the corporate ladder in a cut-throat industry.  She plays by all the rules, written and implied.  She does it all.  She’s a shoe-in for the promotion she’s been eyeing.  Who would have thought things would have gone the way they did.  Even when her world started to unravel, she was doing all she could to hold it all together without breaking a sweat. 

    Raquel’s work life is pretty much her only life.  Her family life, well…I think her work life is her only salvation from that craziness.  Her family absolutely cracked me up.  As crazy as they were, they seemed all too normal for this day and age.  A constantly complaining mother, a retired father who finds other things to do so he doesn’t have to deal with the constantly complaining mother. A brother trying to do the right thing by the now wife that he ‘knocked up’.  Raquel and her ‘non-life, life’ become somewhat of a distraction for her family and their daily dysfunction, especially so for her mother and June Cleaver wanna-be sister-in-law.  Raquel is too busy hanging on to her career and any hopes of her promotion to deal with her family’s domestic drama.  I really like how they all kept her in the epicenter of it all and she did everything and nothing at the same time to keep them all happy. 

    The way things went for Raquel at Belmore I NEVER would have predicted.  Believe me…I tried!  I thought I had the story nailed as soon as Bert began his little breakdown.  Boy was I wrong!  I never, ever would have predicted the outcome that Margo Candela so brilliantly wrote!  Each character was so easy to envision for me.  Who hasn’t worked with a jerk like Randi Fuller?  Oh my word, I wanted to punch him every time he came into a scene.  I really didn’t know who Raquel should trust as things started to get complicated for her at Belmore.  I began to wonder if Kyle was setting her up or if Frappa was maybe stabbing her in the back.  I knew that Randy Fuller was out to get her and get her bad, but I had my suspicions that there might be others.  I was so relieved that what I had thought I had predicted turned out to be so far from what actually happened! 

    I can’t wait to see if Margo will continue with Raquel’s story!  I can totally see a bright future for Raquel and would absolutely love it if she encounters some of her Belmore pals along her way up!  I have already conjured up scenes with Raquel and Kyle…we all know his marriage is a sham anyway!  Wouldn’t it be great to see Randy and Raquel cross paths again.  Let’s certainly not forget Bert, Matthias and Rory! 

    “Good-bye To All That” was a wonderful read.  A refreshing break from predictable, standard modern women’s fiction.  I highly recommend you grab a copy, get cozy and let “Good-bye To All That” take you out west to get lost in the inner workings of Hollywood and all the good juicy things you don’t find on gossip TV! 

    “Good-bye To All That” is a great book for book clubs to enjoy together, it will certainly leave you all with more than enough to talk about.  I have to be upfront and say that due to some language and sexual content, I do not recommend this book for teens or those who are not comfortable reading such content.

    January 23rd, 2011 Books 1 Comment

    Welcome to Phantom Universe

    Phantom Universeby Laura Kreitzer

    Phantom Universe is the first in the Summer Chronicles, a new series by author Laura Kreitzer. (You might have previously read her Timeless Series.)

    ISBN 10: 0982903340
    ISBN 13: 99780982903346

    Summary: Sold into slavery to pirates at the young age of four, Summer learns to survive the rough seas of subterfuge and thieves through silence. When the ship she’s lived on most of her life is destroyed, Summer finds herself washed up on the shore of a new world, a phantom universe full of the bizarre and extraordinary. She meets Gage, the one boy who understands the girl with no speech. But when their lives are put on the line, will Summer finally call out? Or will all be lost in the fathomless depth of silence?

    My Thoughts…

    When I first started reading Phantom UniverseI had no idea what to expect. This is the first book of Laura Kreitzer’s that I have read and I must say, I look forward to reading more from her. Phantom Universeis not my typical kind of read. Normally, I look for the more traditional love story. You know, girl falls in love, which is forbidden, they encounter drama and some obstacles, but in the end they find each other and live happily ever after. Well, although Summer does find a romantic interest, her story is anything but typical. I really got wrapped up into Summer’s story. I could not believe how much her back-story tugged at my heartstrings. Maybe it was the mother in me and the fact I couldn’t imagine being separated from my daughter, not knowing her fate.

    I admired Summer’s strength and ability to adapt to every situation that she was put in. I found myself looking at my daughter and wondering if she would have the strength to endure all that Summer went through. I am not sure that I would have the strength to endure what Summer went through. While I was reading I wanted to tell her to just talk, tell her story…reach out and be saved!  But where would the story be in that, right?

    It took me a little while to figure out exactly what had happened to Summer and Jaden when they found themselves being encountered by military patrol, but when I finally got it, it actually didn’t seem too far-fetched. I tend to be get a bit disinterested if things get too quirky, but Laura had written the story so well that I was really wrapped up in Summer’s story and could imagine every scenario in the book.

    I also really enjoyed the supporting characters and would have liked a little more of their stories, especially Landon’s. I am really hoping that in the books yet to come Landon’s story, as well as the other friends in Summer’s life, will be disclosed. I was really looking forward to getting to know Landon a little bit more, he really seemed like an interesting guy, and I couldn’t help but wonder how he ended up in the same situation as Summer. If his past was like hers and if maybe he always knew they had a common bond other than slavery. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get more of Landon.

    Look for Phantom Universeto be released on February 15, 2011. You can pre-order your copy now from http://laurakreitzer.com/summer-chronicles/purchase on her personal website. Be sure to look for more from Laura, Foresaken Harbor will be next in this series…sure to not disappoint!  Her Timeless series will also be sure to be a good read and I can’t wait to break into it!

    Anna and the French Kiss

    Anna and the French Kiss
    by: Stephanie Perkins
    Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
    Date: December 02, 2010
    Age:12 and up

    Summary
    Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
    As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?

    My Thoughts

    When I was looking for a great book to break in my new reader I just couldn’t resist downloading Anna and the French Kiss.  I have been reading so many great tidbits about it, that it certainly did not disappoint.  From the very beginning I was drawn into the life of Anna Oliphant.  I was able to feel the Paris experience through Anna and her friends.  I don’t know how Stephanie managed to do it, but she was able to paint a vivid picture of Paris in my mind.  Not only of Paris, but of each individual character as well.  I identified with each and every character.  I felt like I was back in 19…something, something…daydreaming of such an opportunity like Anna had and being whisked off my feet by young love (with a great accent, I might add). 

    One of the greatest things I liked about this story is that it wasn’t love and first sight.  It wasn’t a painful, forbidden love that so often is the root of romance.  There was a lot of acceptance and friendship at the base of all relationship bonds in this book.  Anna and her girlfriends were not waiting for their knight in shining armor to sweep them off their feet and forever be their protector.  The female characters were conflicted, facing many dilemmas that a young woman may face, but they leaned on each other, their male friends, and often stood on their own, showing great independence, maturity and strength.  All these characteristics that are so important for young women to see as examples and execute in their own lives. 

    I also love how the young men in Anna and the French Kiss are not the stereotypical hero.  They struggle to find themselves as well and aren’t as predictable as so often young male characters are.  It was very refreshing to read a book that was so easy to get lost in, but yet so very real and believable, and all the while drawing you into its fairytale and young love. 

    While reading Anna and the French Kiss, I wanted to turn back time and then jet off to Paris myself.  I found myself rooting for true love and getting so involved in the story, like I was right there with Anna and St. Clair!  What an exciting way to rejuvinate young spirit and refresh memories of a time when life was a bit more carefree and whimsical.

    There were only a few things about the book that I didn’t particularly like.  One was the cover…I am a total cover junky!  I like to look back at the cover at various stages of reading to see how closely it relates to my vision of the book.  The girl on the cover did not depict any of the characters, most especially Anna, so I felt it was a bit disjointed.  I also would have liked a few 100 more pages or so!  I was left wanting more of Anna, her friends, scorching accents and much more Paris!

    I love, Love, LOVED Anna and the French Kiss.  I found it to be a great book to kick off the New Year with!  To be quite honest, I actually wanted to stay home and read it rather than to go ring in the new year with friends, it was that good!  I couldn’t imagine a better book to initiate my new website with!  Kudos to Stephanie for an awesome read!!

    January 4th, 2011 Books 3 Comments
    ad ad ad

    Flickr Images

    flickrRSS probably needs to be setup

    View All Photos

    Google Connect

    Melissa Foster
    The Well-Read Wife
    I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
    The Blog Dare on Bloggy Moms

    SITS

    Women Online
    Colleen's bookshelf: to-read

    Of Mice and MenAnimal FarmWhere the Sidewalk EndsThe Great GatsbyThe Catcher in the RyeTo Kill a Mockingbird

    More of Colleen's books »
    Colleen Cook's to-read book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists