Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Without Me by Megan Duke (The Mind Breaker Accounts #1)


Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mind?


For 21-year-old Denni, there is no doubt in her mind that Amos is the one. That is until Jack manages to catch her attention. When she discovers it isn’t just a crush causing this stranger to intrude her thoughts, a secret world of mind control is unleashed around her. It is revealed that both Amos and Jack belong to a special breed of humans called Mind Breakers, and over time Denni learns that the last two years of her life have been controlled by their influence. Soon she realizes that the people she thought she knew, and the life she has most recently grown accustomed to, might not have ever been real in the first place. Her thoughts, emotions, and physical actions are all at stake.


**I received an ARC of Without Me from the author. All opinions are my own**

Remember when I was part of the blog tour for the release of Infinite Limits by Megan Duke? Well, Megan’s done it again with her new book. Without Me is the first novel in her upcoming Paranormal Romance/NA series, The Mind Breaker Accounts. The first book is the story of Denni and her discovery of a secret group of humans called Mind Breakers. These are people who were given a drug at birth and can now influence and control others’ thoughts and actions, with very few limitations. At the beginning of the book, Denni meets Jack, one of the original seven Mind Breakers. Jack reveals that the last two years have been a lie created by her boyfriend, Amos Beckett. When Denni is unwillingly given a form of the original MB drug, she and Jack go on a search to find out why she was chosen. Along the way, they meet the rest of the original seven and must figure out who they can trust.

I was blown away by Without Me. This is paranormal romance done right, with just the right amount of emotion and action mixed with well-written characters. I give it 5/5 stars! Check it out on Goodreads here or preorder it here. I can't wait to see what happens in the second book!



Favorite Quotes:

“None of this would have happened without me,” I say. “My own choices are what started it all.”  -- pg. 4, Denni

“She’s lost,” he speaks quietly. “Her world’s been scarred and the vision around her is unclear. In everyone else’s mind, she’s perfect, but she can’t see that because she’s surrounded by imperfections. In all reality, she wishes to see what they see. She wishes to see beauty and not damage.” -- pg. 96, Jack

“Cox wanted us to be a sort of secret weapon. We could help settle negotiations between countries at war. We could stop crime and keep everyone safe. We would be the answer to the puzzle of world peace. It sounded great, ya know? I mean who wouldn’t want something like that? We’d be creating our own utopia. But it didn’t stay that way.”  --pg. 124, Jack

“This wasn’t fate. It was forced upon us. If they wanted this so badly, then I’m going to give it to them. I’m going to show them exactly what they created.” -- pg. 152, Liz

“We were brainwashed. We were brainwashed into believing that who we were and what we could do had a purpose. We were meant to use it. We were all tricked into thinking we were heroes, when really Cox wanted us to be villains.” -- pg. 221, Jack


It’s their fault. If human nature didn’t propel us to be selfish and never satisfied with what we have, this never would have happened. Innocent children would have never been born into a life predetermined for destruction. Families wouldn’t have broken apart. No one would have had to die for something that wasn’t his or her fault. -- pg. 251, Denni

Q&A With The Author


Q: You wrote the first two books of The Mind Breaker Accounts when you were 17, and just recently took them off the market to rewrite. What inspired you to do that?


A: This series is something I’ve kept on the back burner for a long time. It originally started as a contemporary novel, but it slowly developed into something much bigger. I think in a way it intimidated me. That’s why I kept changing it and putting off taking it seriously. I self-published the first 2 books in 2012, just to see what happened, and at that point no one knew who I was. My family and friends bought copies, but it never went any further than that. After publishing Small Circles, I learned a lot about writing and publishing. I decided to take The Mind Breaker Accounts down and approach it with a fresh and newly educated perspective. The original version of this series is terrible. I promise. I know so much more now and feel ten times more confident as a writer. This was basically a project 3 years in the making.


Q: The second book of the series comes out this August! Are there any non-spoilers you can give us?


A: You will hear from more characters in book 2, including Alivien and Liz. There are also several new couples you will be introduced to.


Q: You’ve gone from writing your YA series, Small Circles, to the Mind Breaker Accounts, which is Paranormal Romance/New Adult. Do you feel your writing style is different when writing New Adult, versus Young Adult?


A: I honestly don’t know. Writing NA is not that much different than writing YA. You have a lot less restrictions when writing for an older audience, so I felt as if I had a bit more freedom. However, going from contemporary to paranormal is a huge stretch. People that read the original drafts of TMBA said that it read like a contemporary but still tossed in bits of action and excitement along the way. I was worried about that at first, but then I decided to roll with it and keep the contemporary feel. Maybe that’s my style: making even the paranormal feel somewhat realistic.


Q: And finally, describe Alivien Basinger, character of the day, in a few sentences.

A: Alivien is a fireball. I like to think of her as a grenade with the pin just pulled. She’s always seconds from going off, but she still has a disturbing calm about her. She’s brutally honest and tough. She’s strong and has a very dominant presence amongst the other characters.



More about the character of the day:


  • Name: Alivien Renae Basinger
  • Hair: long, red
  • Eyes: blue, navy
  • Dreamcasting: Emma Stone
  • Powers: controlling people, objects, and elements without contact
  • Born in Virginia, but lives in Boston after the trials
  • Her stepsister is FBI Agent Echo Rendez
  • She is one of the original seven Mind Breakers, but did not continue training after the trials
  • Her closest friend of the group is Jack Touns

You can keep up with the tour by checking out Living In A World Of Book Quotes tomorrow!

Lainey

Monday, April 27, 2015

Recipe: Healthy 3 Ingredient Chocolate Bites (With Coconut Oil)


Back in my February/March Favorites post, I talked about my healthy 3 ingredient chocolate bites. Today I'm finally sharing the recipe! The recipe takes a healthier approach to your average chocolate, thanks to the magic of... coconut oil (Here's a great reference post about the benefits of CO). Obviously, your tastes may differ from mine, so feel free to adjust the amount of each ingredient to your preference.

Ingredients:

1 cup unrefined coconut oil

- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (1:1 ratio of coconut to cocoa for milder chocolate; add more cocoa for stronger taste)

- sugar, to taste. (You can use either refined white sugar or raw sugar. I used raw for this batch.)

- Optional: 1 drop peppermint essential oil -or- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract


Combine your ingredients in a glass bowl and melt either in the microwave or a double broiler/bain marie. Once it's liquid and mixed, pour or spoon your delicious chocolate into an ice cube tray, and put it in the freezer to harden. Wait an hour, pop your chocolate bites out of the tray, and enjoy!

If you try this recipe, let me know in the comments about how you liked it, or any changes you made to it!

Lainey

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

February/March 2015 Favorites

I feel like I've abandoned this blog lately! Don't worry, I've got some great posts lined up for the next few months.

Remember how I planned to do monthly favorites posts this year? I'm still doing that, but since I only had one or two favorites in February, I decided to put my February and March favorites into the same post.


Back in mid-February, I read the Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor on the recommendation of Megan Duke (who loves the series so much she has one of the the quotes as a tattoo). I was blown away! I tend to stay away from Paranormal YA, simply because a lot of authors put too much emphasis on the supernatural aspects of their characters, without bothering to create a realistic setting for the story. Daughter of Smoke & Bone doesn't have this problem. Everything about it pulled me in from the beginning, and it has everything you could want from a good series: 3-dimensional characters, romance (but not so much as to overpower the message of the story), character development, humor, and yes, loss. 5/5 stars!


My next favorite is something I'm really excited about - my healthy 3 ingredient chocolate bites! They're delicious, especially with strawberries, they only take about 5 minutes to make, and they're super healthy! Bonus: you can make as many or as few as you like. Full recipe coming soon.


I'm a big Disney fan, and when I finally got around to watching Big Hero 6 with my favorite kiddo, I loved it. There was plenty of action, but also some really emotional moments that had me tearing up. I'm a baby; at one point Mackenzie reached over, patted my shoulder, and said "It's not that sad, Lainey. Baymax comes back". It's a great movie, whether you watch it with kids or by yourself.


A few weeks ago, in an effort to cut down on the number of toxins I willingly put in my body, I purged all of my makeup. All of it. Everything that had a rating higher than a two on the EWG Skin Deep Database was either chucked into the trash bin or passed on to one of my friends. As you can imagine, that left me in need of some new, all natural makeup. After doing some research, I decided to take a chance and buy the Southern Belle Cream Foundation, Concealer, and Mineral Powder Foundation (plus some samples) from Cowgirl Dirt. All of their products are completely natural, and they're great! Since I've started using Cowgirl Dirt instead of my chemical laden products, my skin has cleared up drastically, and I need far less makeup.

 (hey, short hair!)

My last favorite is this Stripe It Lucky Skirt from Modcloth. I snagged this last month on sale for $20, and since then I've started wearing it with everything. I like that I can dress it up with heels and a blazer, or dress it down with Converse and a henley, plus it's adorable without being too preppy!

What have you fallen in love with this month? Let me know in the comments.

Lainey

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 2015 Favorites

I'm thinking about doing monthly favorites posts this year! This is the first one and if it goes over well, there will hopefully be more. My favorites could range from books to lipstick to technology - just anything new that I've enjoyed in that month. Let's get started!


The first thing I've been loving lately is taking Polaroid pictures with my new Fujifilm Istax Mini 8. I got the camera as a gift for Christmas, and I've been having a lot of fun taking photos of the people and things around me. There's something really satisfying about taking a photo and instantly seeing it pop out of the top of the camera. If you're looking into buying a Polaroid camera, I recommend this one. It doesn't have a lot of fancy features, but it's cheap and takes great photos.


I'm a big fan of Fall Out Boy and their new album, American Beauty/American Psycho, didn't disappoint. Up until now, my favorite FOB album has been From Under The Cork Tree, but it's possible that AB/AP has taken that place. It's very different from their past albums, and yet, it's still distinctly Fall Out Boy. Favorite tracks? "The Kids Aren't All Right" and "Novocaine".


I recently fell in love with Frostbeard Candles after I ordered one of their candles on a whim for a friend's birthday, and then went back and bought different scents for everyone on my Christmas list. The two I bought for myself - Old Books and Don't Panic (Fresh Towel) are both fantastic and accurately named. Also, because they're soy candles, they burn clean (so you can reuse the jar) and are better for the environment. I've already burned through half of Old Books, I love it so much.


MyFitnessPal is an app I've been using for about three months now to get healthier, and I love it. Entering in what you eat forces you to realize if the choices you're making are good ones, and it's really simple to use: just tap the add button, and select what you want to enter (food, water, current weight, or exercise). The app gives you a recommended amount of calories per day based on your start weight, height, activity level, etc. and all you have to do is select the meal you ate, and search for the what you had or scan the barcode. Then it will show how many calories you have for the rest of the day. If you exercise, it lets you enter the workout you did and for how long. You can also track your weight over time; for instance, I've lost 14.6 pounds since October, and I'm so proud of myself for that.


My last favorite for this month is a book: The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson. The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Clare both hold a place in my book-loving heart, and Magnus Bane happens to be my favorite character from those series'. So when I heard there was a book dedicated solely to Magnus, and I had a Barnes and Noble gift card? I was all over that. I went into this book expecting it to be one long story about a single event in Magnus' life, but it's actually a collection of short stories about different events from different time periods. I thought it was amazing. The book answered a lot of questions I had about the character, while still making me laugh the whole time (and yes, maybe cry once or twice). 5/5 stars for you, Magnus Bane. You go, Magnus Bane.

Lainey

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Secret Diamond Sisters Tag



My friend Jaclyn from Living In A World of Book Quotes tagged me to do the Secret Diamond Sisters Tag for Michelle Madow's book, The Secret Diamond Sisters. Now, I haven't read the book yet, but you don't have to read it to do the tag. All you have to do is answer the questions based on each sister in the story and tag some fellow readers!

image

Savannah

Glitter and sparkles? In moderation.

First thing you would buy with a BlaAmEx (Black American Express)? Probably a car.

What color would you dye your hair? I don't dye my hair, but if I did, black.

One word to describe your feelings toward volleyball? Fun

Nick or Damien? I have no idea who either of those people are, so I'm going with not applicable.


Courtney

Favorite book? I have a lot of favorites, but if I had to pick one, I'd say Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Which charity/foundation would you donate/volunteer to? I donate to the Harry Potter Alliance and Kiva.org whenever I can! Both do a lot of good work that I support.

Dream vacation? London.

Dream university/college? Not sure.

What color are your favorite pair of flip-flops? I prefer my blue TOMS to flip-flops.

Peyton

Favorite bad boy or villain character from a book? Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. He's not the main antagonist of the series, and arguably, he's not a villain. More of a scared, misguided student forced to step into the role of villain. But I digress.

Worst thing you've ever done to a book? I unknowingly left my old copy of The Hound of The Baskervilles in the rain for almost an entire day. Needless to say, I bought a new copy.

How long will it take you to wake up in the morning? Give me an hour if I don't have to get up. I can wake up pretty quickly if I absolutely have to, though.

Favorite type of coffee? Tea. (I don't drink coffee)

What are you doing at 1 in the morning? Sleeping. Possibly reading.

Thanks so much to Jaclyn for tagging me! I'm tagging Ellie from Lace It Up Love.

Lainey