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The Gathering

    Blogoversary Guest Post: Lucy of Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf

    Well, time marches on and my blog is now practically three…. Okay, maybe not that much time has passed. But as the weather took a turn for the freezing, it feels a little bit like winter. Which makes it seem like ages since my blogoversary.

    But I still have some seriously awesome bloggers’ advice to share. So the celebrations shall continue on!

    And today it’s Lucy of Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf‘s turn on the blog to share some her blogging experiences and to offer advice for those bloggers just starting out.

    For just a little background….

    I “met” Lucy on Facebook. We both began blogging around the same time two years ago. So our blogs sort of “grew up” together. I loved her blog’s design. It was dark and gorgeous and I loved stopping by to stare at it… and of course to read her posts.

    Lucy is a huge fan of the paranormal. And while I didn’t, at that time, venture into those non-YA reads, I loved to see what she got in her mailbox, to take a peek at her bookshelf photos and to check out her thoughts on some of those books that did appeal to me.

    And I loved reading the author interviews she posted on her blog.

    Lucy is one of the nicest bloggers I know. She is passionate about the books and authors she loves. And she’s way more courageous than I am. From very early on she approached authors for interviews and posted some seriously awesome ones on her blog. I could never have imagined approaching an author with a request like she did. I still can’t….

    Lucy was one of the very first bloggers I got the chance to know. And I’m so glad that she is still here, blogging strong, and very much a part of this community. Because she is one of those bloggers that makes this community awesome.

    But now let me stop blathering on and pass my blog over to Lucy.

    Hello fellow book lovers!

    I’m Lucy from Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf, and Rachel has kindly invited me to share blogging tips that I wish I would have received earlier on when I started blogging.

    ~~~

    Before I begin, I’d just like to say a quick thank you to Rachel for being such an awesome blogger friend. She’s always willing to answer any questions that I have (blog related or not) and she is just simply amazing. Rach, I adore you and you are definitely a blogger that I look up to and aspire to become. *HUGS!* Congratulations on your two year blogoversary!!!

    ~~~

    When I began blogging two years ago, I had so many questions about what I should do and what I should know about blogging, just like anyone would have when starting out. Over the last two years of blogging, I can say that I’ve definitely learned a lot, and although I have been blogging since 2010, the truth is, I’m still learning…

    ~~~

    I’d like to share some of my personal blogging experiences as well as some general tips that I hope will help all bloggers that are starting out.

    ~~~

    In the first few weeks after having created Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf, I received the following piece of advice: “have a vision for your blog, know what you want to accomplish with your blog, and translate that to your readers”.

    The underlying message in this piece of advice is that having a blog and what you decide to do with it is a personal choice which shouldn’t be based on what others are doing or what others want. You are creating a blog for yourself and that you should have fun and enjoy doing. I’ve learned that once blogging starts revolving around what others want or expect to see, all the fun will be taken away, and blogging will end up becoming a chore.

    So, my first personal piece of advice is, do what makes you happy, then worry about the rest. If you love all book genres, don’t stick to one, share your thoughts on all types of books. Why limit yourself to one genre, when you like more than one? If you don’t want to just stick to book reviews, incorporate other things to make it fun.

    ~~~

    The next experience that I want to discuss goes hand in hand with what I mentioned above. Deciding what you want to do with your blog may not be so clear cut at first, ideas will come and go, and it may take time to realize what you truly want.

    Over the last two years, I’ve developed different ideas and blogging habits that didn’t really reflect what I initially envisioned my blog to be. Recently, I’ve been playing around with the idea of either incorporating posts about another non-book related passion that I have, or creating another blog that focuses on it. After a lot of thought and consideration, I decided it would be best for me to create a different blog to keep my two different passions separate.

    So my second personal piece of advice to you all will be that once you decide on what theme, idea, or vision you have for your blog, remember that it isn’t set in stone, and you can always change it or create something new as time passes.

    ~~~

    I’d like to end this post by mentioning that it’s really important to have fun, keep an open mind and don’t limit yourself, because some of the best ideas could be ones that you dismiss earlier on.

    Lastly, if you have any questions that you can’t find answers to, don’t be afraid to ask as there is always someone willing to help.

    You are so right, Lucy. You have to love what you’re doing and all the rest of it will fall into place. And I absolutely agree with your second piece of advice. Nothing is set in stone. If you want to make changes down the line make them. Even though it’s hard to shift gears.

    You can’t be happy if you feel “stuck” by a certain format, a certain style or a certain way of doing things. If you don’t have time to do them anymore, move on. If you don’t love creating those posts or reading those books, you need to find posts and books you do love. Which brings it right back to your first tip – do what makes you happy.

    Thank you so much for sharing your blogging experience and your advice. You and your blog totally rock! And it’s been so absolutely wonderful getting the chance to know you these past two years!

    And… for those of you who have not yet “met” Lucy, you can find her here…

    I know that Lucy is a huge fan of author Kelley Armstrong. She has this amazing reading challenge for the author’s adult series going on all year. But as this is a YA blog I am keeping the giveaways YA.

    And so, to ONE winner, I’m offering up a copy of the first two books in Kelley Armstrong’s Darkness Rising series – THE GATHERING and THE CALLING.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway rules apply. (See my giveaway policy if you have any questions.)
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    The Extras: June

     

    Back with another “Extras” post. As some of you may already know…

    Whenever I find either a legal free download, an excerpt or sneak peek of a book online, I try to link to it in a related post or include the link in my sidebar (to your right).

    But once a month I’ll pop them into a post for a “one-stop shop” with a brief description. You may have previously seen some of these in my sidebar and one or two may still be lingering, well here they are once more in case you missed them. (My sidebar tends to have a LOT of info.)

    We have a few peeks at upcoming releases, just released books and some of them are just items that have been offered for free for awhile but you might have missed.

    And yes, I know it’s not June yet, but it’s a monthly post that I do around this time each month in anticipation.

    Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma will be released on June 14, 2011.

    I love this cover and think it is beautiful and so captivating. The colors are just amazing. But apparently the story is dark and haunting, in stark contract to this bright and vivid cover.

    I haven’t yet read the sample chapters, as I don’t want to have to stop reading this book once I start, but I can’t wait until it’s released in June.

    Scribd is giving readers a peek at the first four chapters, HERE.

    The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross was released on May 1, 2011. It is a prequel novella to The Girl in the Steel Corset which will be released on May 24th in hardcover format and as an eBook on June 1st.

    It is being offered as a free eBook download from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Of course I downloaded both versions for my eReaders. I’m excited to get a peek at the story prior to the full-length novel’s release.

    I will be reading this eBook just prior to reading The Girl in the Steel Corset and can’t wait to find out more about the world the author creates in this steampunk novel.

    I think the cover for The Girl in the Steel Corset is absolutely stunning and is what drew me to the book in the first place.

    Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini will be released on May 31, 2011.

    I am really excited to read this book and have refrained from checking out the excerpt as I also want to read this in full.

    This is another book with an absolutely gorgeous cover. And it seems like a lifetime since I’ve read a book about Greek mythology, so I’m really looking forward to start reading this one.

    Yet again, the awesome HarperTeen is giving readers a long look inside at the first 99 pages HERE.

    Graveminder by Melissa Marr will be released on May 17, 2011.

    Author Melissa Marr has written a creepy and disturbing-sounding novel in Graveminder and I cannot wait to read it. Graveminder is not a young adult title, but I’m not a young adult so it’s perfect.

    Even this cover is super creepy. And I did check out the excerpt and now really can’t wait until this comes out next week.

    The publisher, William Morrow, is giving readers a look inside, HERE.

    Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout was released on April 19, 2011. It is a prequel novella to the author’s upcoming book Half-Blood which will be releasing on September 15, 2011.

    This is an amazing book and leads right into the full-length novel. Daimon is not one of those short eBooks that just tease you with a few pages. This has a real storyline that gives you a great sense of the characters and even gives you a peek at the beginning of full-length book.

    As of May 10th, the folks at Spencer Hill Press have made this available for free download in multiple formats. CLICK HERE to download.

    ***

    And for one more chance to take a peek, here are a few books that are available now.

    Illusions by Aprilynne Pike was released on May 3, 2011. It is the third book in the Wings series.

    I adore this series. It’s sweet and fun and has a love triangle that will drive you mad.

    I don’t recommend reading this excerpt if you haven’t read the first two books in the series. But if you have, it gives you a nice peek.

    The folks at HarperTeen are giving readers a chance to look inside, HERE.

    Divergent by Veronica Roth was released on May 3, 2011 and is the debut novel for the author.

    I can’t wait to start reading this book as it’s had such high praise. I have not checked out the excerpt as I do own the book, which I will be reading soon.

    As always, HarperTeen is offering a peek inside, HERE.

    The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson was released on April 26, 2011.

    This book is a great follow-up to 13 Little Blue Envelopes and continues the story a few months after the first book ends.

    HarperTeen is giving readers a sneak peek HERE.

    (I just love HarperTeen’s Browse Inside section on their site and stalk it regularly.)

    Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell was released on April 26, 2011.

    I have not checked out this young adult series by the author, but I know it’s quite popular and I think this cover is adorable. What girl doesn’t want a quilted, pink clutch purse?

    Once again, HarperTeen is offering a look inside at the first 99 pages HERE.

    The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong was released on April 12, 2011.

    This is a new series by the author in the same world as her Darkest Powers series which will, at some point, cross over with that one. I can’t wait. I loved that series and am really enjoying this new one.

    An excerpt is available on the author’s website, HERE.

    The publisher is offering a longer excerpt on their website. CLICK HERE to read.

    Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter was released on March 29, 2011. It is the first book in her new Shadow Falls series.

    I think this is a great new series by this author. I can’t wait until the second book, Awake at Dawn, comes out this fall – in October.

    For those who have read it and want to check out some deleted scenes, CLICK HERE.

    I don’t recommend reading it if you haven’t yet read the book.

    Turned at Dark by C.C. Hunter was released on March 15, 2011. It is a bonus story in the Shadow Falls series.

    What I like about this prequel novella is that it gives you a peek at a secondary character from the series, Della, and the events leading up to her arriving in Shadow Falls.

    It’s a nice, quick read and you don’t have to have read Born at Midnight to enjoy it.

    It is currently available as a free eBook download from Amazon. To download, CLICK HERE.

    Fallen From Grace by M.J. Putney was released on March 15, 2011 and is a bonus Dark Mirror short story.

    I haven’t yet read Dark Mirror so I’m not certain whether this can be read without having read the full-length book. I own both books, but to be on the safe side, I’ll be reading the full-length novel first.

    It is currently being offered as a free eBook download from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    It’s a freebie, so of course I had to download and can’t wait to check it out.

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    Review: The Gathering

    The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong was released in the U.S. on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 in hardcover, eBook and audio formats. It is the first book in the Darkness Rising trilogy set in the same world as the Darkest Powers trilogy.

    It is currently available online at Amazon in all formats and at Barnes & Noble in hardcover and eBook formats.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 368 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    Strange things are happening in Maya’s tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya’s home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

    It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.

    ***

    The small town of Salmon Creek on Vancouver Island, Canada, with a population of 200, is nestled into the surrounding wilderness, hidden far enough away from civilization to discourage most outsiders. Summers bring in a few tourists looking to commune with nature, hike through the plentiful forests and observe the local wildlife.

    In general, though, Salmon Creek is pretty isolated. Which is perfect for a company town built solely for medical research, and just how the St. Cloud Corporation wants it.

    Although miles from the nearest town, the residents do not want for much. Their needs are met by the company. Its citizens are happy – even the seventy younger members of the community. And in a world where the young are generally in a state of unrest, this is pretty extraordinary. But signing a contract with the St. Cloud Corporation is a contract for life – hardly anyone is allowed out of their agreement.

    While there are few secrets between the residents, there are many secrets about what goes on behind the closed doors at St. Cloud. Corporate espionage is always a risk for medical research companies and residents know to be on high alert for outsiders who ask questions and a plan is in place on just how to deal with them.

    But when a stranger arrives who starts asking questions about the local high school students – their background, who their friends are and what activities they participate in – Maya begins to have questions of her own, like how it was possible for her best friend Serena, captain of the swim team, to drown, especially when it looked like she was being pulled under?

    There is something definitely something going on in Salmon Creek and Maya wants answers.

    ***

    The Gathering is a charming and seductive story that will pull readers right in with its easy flow and will leave them begging for the next installment. Questions and suspicions are raised right from the prologue and will continue to grow as the story progresses, leaving readers with only a hint of what may come.

    Author Kelley Armstrong has created what appears on its surface to be a straightforward story, with everything right out in the open for the reader to find, but in actuality is one that is far more intricate, with many elements woven in that might not be discovered on first glance. And as this is a series, many of these discoveries will have to await the future books for everything to come together and become clear.

    The main character, Maya, is strong, smart and self-assured. She knows what she likes – her friends, the animals she cares for, the outdoors – and is less than forgiving of those that have done her wrong.

    So when bad boy Rafe sets his sights on her, Maya is quickly suspicious. But when he shows her a side of himself that he hasn’t revealed to anyone else, one that is honest, she breaks all of her rules about not falling for boys she goes to school with.

    Maya’s friends warned her about Rafe, and even she knows the risk she’s taking by giving her heart to him, but she feels a connection with him that she hasn’t felt with anyone else. His being new to Salmon Creek might be a part of it, but her pull toward him is much stronger than the novelty of a mysterious outsider.

    But he’s definitely been hiding something and what he reveals about himself and what he knows about her is more shocking than Maya would ever have guessed.

    This new series by the author is fast-paced and riveting and is off to an exciting start. The Gathering gives readers insight into the characters and world as it develops the story that will carry into subsequent books in the series. A few perfectly placed elements are included that begin to link this series with the Darkest Power trilogy and which will eventually fully connect the two.

    This is yet another fantastic series by author Kelley Armstrong and one that should not be missed. It can be enjoyed by readers of almost any age, as long as they don’t mind being teased along through a book or two until all answers are revealed.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong’s writing. I loved her Darkest Powers trilogy and I already love the Darkness Rising trilogy. One day I am going to sit down and read every single one of the books in her adult series. I’m not sure how soon that will be as there are a lot, but I will do it.

    She just has such an easy, comfortable style to writing that draws me in and then after I’m settled she slowly starts piling on the questions and building up the tension until by the end my mind is racing trying to think of all the possible outcomes, what everything means and what exactly is going on with the characters I thought I knew so well throughout the story.

    She did exactly that here and more. The prologue started me right off with so many questions. I then had to settle back in to wait as I was introduced to the characters, learned more about the world and piece-by-piece the puzzle started to get filled in. But in The Gathering it felt as if the more pieces I was given the bigger the puzzle turned out to be.

    And so I wait. For what? The next book in this series which isn’t out for another year. Ah, the torment! Once again, Ms. Armstrong, you have left me with a head filled with questions and nowhere to look for answers. I just knew I should have stockpiled the books until all three were out, but I just don’t have that kind of willpower.

    This was such a fun and fast read and it left me wanting oh so much more. And the more I think about it, the more “aha” moments I have. I can’t wait until book two.

    ***

    The second book in the series is currently entitled The Calling and will be out in 2012.

    To read an excerpt from the Darkest Powers website, click here.

    To read an excerpt of the first nine chapters from HarperTeen, CLICK HERE.

    Book trailer for The Gathering:

    This review is based on an ARC I received through a trade although I did purchase the eBook on release date.

    Note: This book was so fun and easy to read and yet this was probably the most tricky review I’ve had to write and one that took me the longest because I did not want to reveal any spoilers, comment on anything I discovered or mention any of the questions I had so that readers could find out everything for themselves.

    And it seemed that every road I wanted to venture down ended up revealing something so I had to keep writing and re-writing and re-writing.

    Also, much of this story sets up the series and so I was concerned about being misleading about what are actually the main points in this story and what is simply a build-up for books to come. In the end, I cut out more than half of what I planned to say, and decided to leave off my summary as it gave away too much.

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #15

    Below are the YA books coming out this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of April 12th-April 18th that I have pre-ordered.

    Insight is the debut novel for author Diana Greenwood. It will be released in the U.S. on April 12, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Zondervan, the print edition is 224 pages.

    Insight is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com. It wasn’t one of my original picks, but I noticed it on the list and added it to my pre-orders.

    I love the idea of being able to get glimpses into the future. But just the idea. The reality of it, maybe not so much. It’s one of those abilities that seem like it would be the best thing ever, but in actuality is much more complicated. Sure, you might be able to change the future, but if not, then you might know things that were better left unknown, like when you were going to die.

    This is what first appealed to me about Insight, which is the story of a family with secrets and a girl with the ability to see into the future. I’m hoping that those glimpses help rather than harm, but that remains to be seen. Insight is a book I’m definitely looking forward to reading soon.

    To read an excerpt from chapter one on the author’s website, CLICK HERE and then click on “read an excerpt.”

    To read a longer excerpt from Barnes & Noble, CLICK HERE and click on the “features” tab.

    Check out the book on Goodreads and you can enter there for a chance to win a copy through April 15th.

    Book trailer for Insight:

    The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong will be released in the U.S. on April 12, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is the first book in a new series called Darkness Rising. It is currently available for pre-order in both formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 368 pages.

    I won’t go into all the reasons why I’m excited for this book’s release, as I’ve already spotlighted it in my Book Watch post in March, but I’ve read the advance copy I have of the book and it did not disappoint. I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished copy.

    I also had a chance to meet the author at the RT Convention and I attended a panel she was on and her creativity and enthusiasm for her craft make reading her books even more exciting.

    I cannot wait to see where this series goes and I wish I didn’t have to wait so long for the next book.

    To read an excerpt from the Darkest Powers website, click here.

    I’ve already posted the latest trailer on my Random Thoughts post and have the original trailer on my Book Watch post, which I’ve linked above, so I won’t include it here. But feel free to check out either post to watch the trailers.

    Enclave is author Ann Aguirre’s young adult debut and the first book in the Razorland series. It will also be released in the U.S. on April 12, 2011. It is currently available for pre-order in hardcover, audio and eBook formats at Amazon and in hardcover and eBook formats at Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Feiwel & Friends, the print edition is 272 pages.

    Enclave is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com. It wasn’t one of my original picks, but I received an advance copy of the book through a trade and per the reviewer’s recommendation I’ve added it to my to be read list.

    Before adding it to my pre-orders I made sure to check it out for myself. The description is really cool. I sort of get the vibe of Road Warrior meets I Am Legend and those are two films that are definitely up my alley so this book sounds like it will be a great read.

    I didn’t get to read my ARC in advance of release date, but I hope to read it this week or next.

    To read the first two chapters from the author’s website, CLICK HERE.

    An excerpt is also available on Barnes & Noble HERE and then click on “features.”

    Book trailer for Enclave – warning: contains some violence:

    ***

    I’m so grateful that this is such a quiet week for books. I just went to the RT Convention and have heaps and heaps of books and can use a quieter week with a few less books to add to the pile.

    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And please let me know if I missed purchasing something that is a “must read.”

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    Book Watch: The Gathering

    The Gathering is the first book in author Kelley Armstrong’s new series entitled Darkness Rising. It will be released in the U.S. on April 12, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats.

    It is currently available online for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 368 pages.

    ***

    I cannot wait to read The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong. You may not know it here on the blog, as I don’t have a single book reviewed for this author, but I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series. If time ever permits, I hope someday to read all of her adult series books, too.

    I was so sad when the Darkest Powers trilogy ended. I could not get enough of Chloe and the other characters and the world, but was happy to find out that it wouldn’t be goodbye forever. Which is such a relief as I feel there is so much more story to tell and I still have so many questions.

    The Gathering is the first book in the Darkness Rising trilogy set in the same world. There is more big, bad Edison Group, but in this book we get to meet different characters who have been subjected to different experiments.

    And according to the author’s website, this may not be the last we hear from Chloe. On her FAQ page it states: “Kelley intends to join the two groups of characters, but that won’t happen until at least the last book in this trilogy.”

    This is such good news for me. You don’t know.

    AND – if Wikipedia is correct – they state that Kelley Armstrong has signed a contract for a third trilogy in this same world.

    The Gathering does not look like it will disappoint. Bad boys, danger and secrets sounds like the perfect recipe for a successful new book.

    ***

    The second book in the series is currently entitled The Calling and will be out in 2012.

    To read an excerpt from the Darkest Powers website, click here.

    Goodreads description:

    Strange things are happening in Maya’s tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya’s home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

    It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.

    ***

    Book trailer for The Gathering:

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    The Trailers: April

     

    They’re back! For those times when you just need a short break from reading. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few amazing book trailers for just some of the upcoming books releasing this April.

    April 5th is a HUGE day for releases!

    ***

    Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

    Release date: April 5, 2011

    (HarperTeen)

    ***

    Where She Went by Gayle Forman

    Release date: April 5, 2011

    (Penguin Young Readers)

    ***

    Red Glove by Holly Black

    Release date: April 5, 2011

    (Simon & Schuster) This is a White Cat trailer which teases Red Glove

    ***

    City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

    Release date: April 5, 2011

    (VLC Photo Productions) This is the CoFA teaser trailer

    ***

    Plague by Michael Grant

    Release date: April 5, 2011

    (HarperTeen)

    ***

    The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

    Release date: April 12, 2011

    (Book Lounge)

    ***

    Enclave by Ann Aguirre

    Release date: April 12, 2011

    (Macmillan Childrens)

    ***

    Defiance by Lili St. Crow

    Release date: April 19, 2011

    (Penguin Young Readers) – I love this trailer!

    ***

    Bumped by Megan McCafferty

    Release date: April 26, 2011

    (HarperTeen) Author discusses Bumped – not a book trailer but had to include!

    ***

    Abandon by Meg Cabot

    Release date: April 26, 2011

    (Meggin Cabot) Author discussed Abandon – not a book trailer but had to include, too!

    ***

    We hope you enjoyed the lovely distractions. Stay tuned…we’ll be back with our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

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