Friday, December 16, 2011

Please Note

Please note that I will not be taking any more review requests for the next few weeks. I have been backed up for a long time; I am trying to get caught up. Please wait until January 15th to request a review.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blood Drive Giveaway WINNER!


Last Tuesday, I interviewed Traci Houston, the author of Blood Drive. The publisher send finished copies of this new hot vampire novel to every blog on the tour so we could give them away.

I had 3 entries for my giveaway of the novel and I used random.org to pick a winner.


Comment #3 was left by Vivien (deadtossedwaves@...). Congrats to Vivien!

It is the winner's responsibility to check their email (including junk/spam folders) and respond within 48 hours, or another winner will be drawn.

To the 2 of you who didn't win, remember: you can download it on Amazon now!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blood Drive Tour: Interview with Traci Houston


For today's stop on this tour, I am interviewing Traci Houston, the author of Blood Drive! Be sure to read through to the bottom of this post.

1. How did you come up with the idea for Blood Drive?
Blood drive evolved overtime. I’ve said many times that I’m a big fan of ‘what if’. When I began reading vampire novels questions would pop up in my head. One day I picked up a pen and began answering them. I read quite a bit of romance too and was sometimes annoyed by the heroine. I can’t stand it when the heroine is whiny or weak. When she cries for pages about how she isn’t able to be with her love. I wanted Cara to be her own person, not an extension of the man she’s with. I wanted her to be real.

2. Without spoiling anything, what is your favorite part of the book, and why?
My favorite part of the book isn’t a particular scene, it’s the characters when they are all together and the way they interact with each other. Even if they’re fighting, I like the way they play off one another, nag, defend, and annoy. I like the idea of a cohesive unit. One that can’t be interfered with by outside forces. I didn’t want a love triangle, the tension is sometimes delicious but I didn’t want it for these characters. I didn’t want a traitor in the ranks because I wanted them to always be there for each other. These friends will never turn their backs on each other and never betray one another.

3. Do you have a playlist, or just a few songs in particular, that helped you write Blood Drive?
Blood drive was written to three cds. 3 Doors Down, Matchbox Twenty and Lifehouse. I played them as loud as I could without bringing the walls down. I like all types of music but I’ve found I write best to rock. I appreciate music that had a story and the three bands that I mentioned have a talent for making me see the music. See the story they’re trying to tell.

4. Tell us a little bit about your writing history. When did you first realize you enjoy writing, when did you decide to get published, etc.
I always dabbled at journaling when I was young but I never remembered to do it every day. In middle school I wrote a little poetry and when something upset me I would take out all my frustration on a piece of unsuspecting piece of paper. As a sophomore we had to do a report and I chose to do it on stars that died tragically, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and James Dean. I loved writing that paper. I liked the way I was able to put the words together and make them flow and evoke emotion. My English teacher entered into a contest and I never saw it again, it saddens me to this day. When I was seventeen I started my first book, Eternity. It still has no ending but I keep it sitting on my desk because someday I’ll find the words for it.

5. What was on your summer reading list?
I have a huge library, so this summer I took to organizing my books. As I was doing it I came across a few favorites and started re-reading them. Fear Nothing and Seize The Night by Dean Koontz. Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Public Secrets and Sweet Revenge by Nora Roberts. Next on my list is Simon R Green’s, The Spy Who Haunted Me. He’s also got a fabulous series about a Private investigator in a very interesting place called The Nightside.

6. Anything else you'd like to share?
I’d just like to say thank you to everyone for all of the support and positive feedback for Blood Drive. There’s always a little doubt when it comes to how others will like your work, I was terrified, but so far most everyone has enjoyed it so I’m thrilled and for the few that didn’t, I’m okay with that too. Not everyone likes the same thing. I just try to take what I can from the criticism and use it to be a better writer.

Thank you, Traci!


You can read my review of Blood Drive here, then download it on Amazon, and then go to Traci's facebook to tell her how much you love her debut novel.



If you've been following the blog tour since the start, you've already had 6 chances to win a finished copy...
Here's your 7th chance! Just leave me a comment with your email address.

Becoming a follower is not required; US and Canada only, please. If you do not include your email address in your comment, your entry will not be counted. Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST on Sunday, October 23. Winner will be drawn using random.org, posted here, and emailed on Monday, October 24th. It is the winner's responsibility to check their email (including junk/spam folders) and respond within 48 hours, or another winner will be drawn.


UPDATED! This giveaway will now end 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, October 25th. Winner be drawn, posted, and emailed on Wednesday, October 26th. Thanks!



Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review: Blood Drive



Blood Drive by Traci Houston

When a group of vampires rises from the dark of the humid Miami summer and murders her partner, officer Cara Evens gathers a group of allies with their own unique abilities to avenge her partner's death and save the city. To succeed she'll have to accept her own changing abilities, ignore her lust for a vampire and hide the one thing her enemies need to kill them all. [Source]


I joined this blog tour for 2 reasons. 1, I love a good vampire novel as much as the next person. 2, this novel is Traci Houston's debut novel, and I love to support new authors.

When the book opens, we meet Cara, our leading female, right away. After she finds her partner murdered, she takes on the mystery of discovering the truth about his death. She quickly realizes that there is more involved in this case than just a simple murder. When she meets Jonathan, a part of her that she was trying to hide suddenly resurfaces.

Cara must now learn to control her powers, while still trying to solve her partner's murder. As if that wasn't enough, there is the small matter of Jonathan, the vampire who is distracting her with lustful temptation.

Luckily, there are others out there like her, others who have powers beyond a normal human. They must all learn to get along (like first graders) and use their powers together to stop Christian, the vampire who is trying to basically take over the world. He wants something that Cara and her friends have, and he has resources that they don't have. If the otherkin can't collaborate and accept each other (and themselves), then Christian will enslave the human race and allow vampires to rise to power.

I love Cara as a character. It is so rare for female leads to be powerful and confident, while still feeling human emotions. Cara has her inner struggles, for sure, but she doesn't let them interfere with her goals. More importantly, she doesn't let passion take control. She keeps her focus on what is important.

What I didn't like: some of the powers of the otherkin are not fully explained or developed, merely mentioned in passing. Additionally, I felt that the middle chapters were drawn out, while some of the fight scenes were rushed. The abrupt ending turned me off a bit, as well.

Overall, I gave this novel 4 stars because I really like the complexity of the group, and how they interact with each other. They all seem to counter each other's strengths and weaknesses, and they are all truly loyal to each other. While vampirism is the underlying platform, themes like friendship, tolerance, and acceptance are interwoven within the plot to make this quite a contemporary novel.

Rating:



I received an ARC of this novel to read for a blog tour.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Blood Drive" Blog Tour!

I am so happy to announce that I am a part of a blog tour that kicks off TODAY! The book is Blood Drive: A Vampire Novel, the author is Traci Houston, and the publisher is Writers of the Round Table Press Inc. Click here for the Goodreads description.


This blog tour is being hosted by Once Upon A Twilight. Here is the schedule of posts:

10/10 OUaT - Review
10/11 At Random blog - Interview
10/12 Bibliognome - Review
10/13 See K Read - Tens list
10/14 Me, My Shelf and I - Review (I'll also be posting my review.)
10/17 Good Choice Reading - Review
10/18 I Heart Reading - Interview (That's me!!)
10/19 Panda Reads - Review
10/20 The Garden of Books - When I'm not writing
10/21 The Secret Life of an Avid Reader - Review

So come back on Friday for my review, and then again next Tuesday, October 18 for an interview with Traci Houston. I'll also be giving away a finished copy of Blood Drive that day, so exciting!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2 truths and a lie

my mom got a nook color.

I'm not one single bit jealous.

I will never buy myself an e-reader.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One

One.


One book I am currently reading for review.

One book tour that will be stopping here in October.

One book giveaway that I have entered in the past few weeks.

One review that I should have written last month and STILL haven't.

One really bad book blogger.

One demanding job.

One new wife.


That's me!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Guest Bloggers Needed!

I know I am going to be busy during the week leading up to my wedding, not mention that I'll be gone for a week during my honeymoon. Thus, I am looking for guest bloggers for this book blog and for my main blog -Artistically Amy- for the weeks of August 15th and August 29. Please let me know if you are interested!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Review: Firelight


Firelight by Sophie Jordan

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.. [Source]


Amazing. What else can I say??

I didn't jump in this bandwagon until a couple weeks ago, mainly because I was trying to wait for the paperback version to be released. But then I was offered the chance to review the sequel, AS LONG AS I read and reviewed Firelight first. So I bought it and I read it. And I loved it.

Commence jumping on bandwagon.

Now I am a fan.

I *might* be living under a rock, but I haven't really read very many YA novels about dragons lately, let alone YA novels about draki. That usually makes me want to read something, that little bit of uniqueness. Before reading, I had to turn to my geeky, loves-all-things-sci-fi-and-paranormal fiance to explain what draki are.

I was hooked from page 1! The rising action that occurs right away drew me in and left me breathless. I personally don't like when novels take 3 or 4 chapters to build up and get interesting, so this novel earned points quickly.

Also, I love how the author introduces characters seamlessly and naturally. I didn't feel as though names of characters were being thrown around just for the sake of having them there. Each character, even the secondary ones, served a distinct and unique purpose.

As if I wasn't on the edge of my seat while reading, the author then threw this crazy little twist in, smack dab in the middle of a major conflict. Just when I was expecting some sort of resolution, I was given more questions.

Some of the foreshadowing was a bit obvious, which I don't usually like. However, at times, in this novel, it served to peak my interest even more, therefore keeping me reading.

I love Will and Jacinda as a couple. So wrong for each other, but so connected. I can't really explain how much I love them together.

Holy open ending, Batman! If I had read this novel when it was first published, I honestly would have been seriously angry with the ending. However, now that I have the sequel firmly in my grasp, I'm okay with it... But ONLY because I have that sequel, literally waiting on my coffee table.

Rating:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer







Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer hits stores everywhere 9.27.11. Pre-order your copy here. Download the widget here. Enter to win an Advanced Reader’s Copy here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review: Shatter Me


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. [Source]


I was able to read and review an ARC of this novel through OUaT tours (see button below my rating).

Let me preface my review by saying that I have never watched (or been remotely interested in) X-Men. So I came into this novel clueless and not knowing anything about Rogue or her specific powers. Thus, I didn't quite understand Juliette's power until I read further and did some indirectly related research.

Okay, back to the review.

This novel is about Juliette, who has been in jail for 264 days. Before she was lucked up, she was poked, prodded, tested, examined, and questioned extensively. Before that, she was shunned, teased, ignored, and exiled. All because of the mystery of her touch. It causes pain, torture, and death.

The world outside the jail where Juliette is being held is not the world we know now. In Juliette's world, there is no green, and the weather is erratic. Animals and plants have mostly died off. The Reestablishment is trying to regain control over society in order to return the world to the way it used to be, or so Juliette thinks.

When a strange man, Adam, is locked inside Juliette's cell, she learns that the Reestablishment is lying. Rather than return to society to the way it used to be, they are trying to create a new society, a new way of life. Adam and Juliette reforge a bond that had been created long ago. With this new friendship, and as her life dramatically changes, Juliette must look inside herself to become who she was meant to be. She must learn to accept her mysterious condition as a power, not a curse, and she must live freely, rather than locking herself up inside her own self.

I loved this novel from page 1 to page 342, start to finish. I was instantly enthralled in Juliette's world. I couldn't put the book down! Juliette is a likable character; she is smart and strong, even though she doesn't truly realize it yet. Her childhood was sad and lonely; my heart ached for her.

Adam was so lovable, despite the fact that I truly didn't trust him until I met his younger brother. My heart ached for them, too.

Actually, now that I think about it, my heart ached a lot while reading Shatter Me. I think it had to do mostly with the author's writing style. It's not easy to read poetic/lyric narratives, but that style always seem to trigger my emotion more than simple dialogue or descriptions. Tahereh Mafi's comparisons and descriptions were magical and fluid. I saw everything that Juliette saw, and I felt everything she felt.

Warner is that kind of character that you hate to love, and love to hate. He was very well-written, although not developed yet. I am anxious to read more about his motivations, what makes him tick.

The last 7 chapters provide more of a resolution to the conflict, but they do not wrap up the novel in the least. Far from providing closure, I was left with more questions, wanting more, needing more. Castle has gathered together some powerful people, and I need to know his plan. This entire novel was most certainly set up for a sequel, and I am more than ready for it to be written.


Rating:



Thursday, July 14, 2011

july14 - giveaway of a signed ARC

The Bookish Type is giving away a SIGNED ARC of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater!

Seriously squee-worthy.

Not to mention, she wrote a fabulous review.

CLICK HERE.


(Or don't... because I want to win.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Mini Challenge 5

This fifth challenge is being hosted by Wicked Awesome Books.

Here is the challenge information:
We all enjoy a good love story (don't deny it!), but sometimes the two (or three or four) characters involved in a love story struggle so much, that I just want to say, 'hey, _____ would be so much better for you!' So in the spirit of matchmaking, I'm setting you with the task of playing cupid and shooting your arrows at two characters from different books in, what I'm calling, LET'S PLAY MATCHMAKER!


Ack, I used to be good at this...

What about Lena from Delirium and Simon from The Mortal Instruments? I know Simon already has 2 girlfriends, but he and Lena are both shy and humble and quiet. They do what they are told to do and don't try to cause problems. I think they'd be so cute together!

*I also haven't read CoFA yet, so if Simon changed at all in that book, please don't burst my bubble.


Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Mini Challenge 4

This fourth challenge is being hosted by YA Bliss.

Here is the challenge information:
So, for this one you will have to post on your blogs (I will accept posts on twitter if you dont have blog, just include @YABliss in your tweet!) your top 3 LOVE TRIANGLES.

In my opinion, a well done love triangle should be one where the choice is not clear, where you can't help but being torn yourself between both characters and you are uncertain as to which will end up being 'the one'. So if you were, lets say Team Mr. Obvious from book 1, and he ended up getting the girl and you were stoked about it because you hated Mr. Wrong all along, that is NOT a good love-triangle. That is merely A love-triangle. Got it?

I cant wait to hear your picks! To be fair and since I know these are hard to come across, if you cant think of three, two will do.


Oh. Em. Gee.

This was hard.

1. Edward vs Jacob in the Twilight Saga. Vampire babies or werewolf puppies. I was on the fence for the whole series! Even now that it's over and done with, I kinda wish we could have seen more of what life would have been like if Bella had chosen Jacob.

2. Jared vs. Ian in The Host. Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat for this entire novel. And even though I was happy about the ending, I had originally picked Jared.

That's all I have! I refuse to include any characters from the House of Night saga because, seriously... That's like an octagon with all of Zoey's flings.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Mini Challenge 3

This third challenge is being hosted by The Bookish Type.

Here is the challenge information:
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it:

Pick any book from your readathon pile and write a fake synopsis based solely on the cover. The synopsis does not have to be related to the actual book at all, just the pretty, pretty cover.


Well, here's the thing. I am hardly ever not quite organized enough to be doing this read-a-thon properly. I didn't plan out the books that I'd be reading, so I don't have a read-a-thon pile.

The book I am currently reading is an ARC and doesn't have a cover yet... I can't exactly write a synopsis based on a blank page. So, I'll have to pass on this challenge.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Mini Challenge 2

This second challenge is being hosted by The Musings of ALMYBNENR.

Here is the challenge information:
I have chosen twelve books that I have read and enjoyed and chopped up the book cover images. All you have to do is correctly identify all twelve book covers from left to right, number one being in the top left corner and number twelve being in the bottom right corner.

Once you’re sure you have the right answers, fill out the form below. There will be a space for you to list your answers, in order. Don’t worry, there’s a giveaway associated with this mini challenge! Out of the people who correctly identify the covers, one person will be randomly chosen to win any one of the books used in this challenge from The Book Depository (that means, as long as they ship to your country, you can win…check here)!

You can see the collage of cropped book covers HERE and try to list them all. I won't be listing all of my guesses here because I don't to give away any answers if I have them right. Good luck to the other participants!


Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Mini Challenge 1

This first challenge is being hosted by IB Book Blogging.

Here is the challenge information:

There are so many YA books with mythology in them, that I decided to do a challenge based on that common theme.

There will be two winners today. The winners will each get to choose from four mythology books that I have in my giveaway pile. They include an ARC of Die for Me by Amy Plum, an ARC of Wildefire by Karsten Knight, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini, Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton. That sounds awesome, right?? You can post your response to the questions on your blog, twitter, or facebook. Winners will be selected at random from each linky after the read-a-thon ends on July 13th at 11:59 p.m. Make sure to answer both questions and put your link to the answers in the linky below Question 2.



Mini Challenge Question 1:
What is your favorite type of myth (Greek, Roman, Egyptian etc)?

Mini Challenge Question 2:
What is your favorite book with some type of mythology in it?


My answers:

My favorite type of myth is Greek. I'm not sure why. Basically, I enjoy all types of myths, especially Native American and Egyptian. But I have this book about Greek gods and goddesses that I devoured when I was a kid, and the stories just speak to me.

My favorite book with some type of mythology would be that book I devoured when I was a kid! The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki. I haven't had a chance to read the Percy Jackson novels yet, but I am hoping to get around to it.


Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Monday, July 11, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Starts Today!

Well, it actually started already. But I've been uber-busy all day. So I didn't get to update this morning like I had planned.

I've been reading on my laptop (I ♥ nook for pc) during downtime. I've also been reading blogs intermittently, if that counts.

I'm honestly not sure what I'll be reading tonight, since all of my current books being read for review are on my laptop, which I usually don't bring home during the week. I might just grab a random novel off my TBR shelf.

Here's hoping for a better update tomorrow!

Also, if you want to join in, go to Pure Imagination, Reading Angel, or Candace's Book Blog.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guest Post: Graham Parke on Publishing

Author Graham Parke is giving away several COOL prizes for the summer! Read his thoughts on getting published. Then check out his website for more information on the giveaways.
__________________________________

Is It Like Listening To You Talk?


As you probably know, to become an internationally best-selling author, you need to sell three books. This is not an easy task, but once you’ve managed to rack up these three sales, the rest is more or less a done deal.

Now, these sales themselves will not put you on the best-seller lists. They won’t even put you within a million spots of the bottom of the lists, but what they will do, and what they do every time, is spark a slowly growing buying frenzy that will get you there.

These three people will love your book, they will tell another five people, who in turn tell another seven. Within roughly four-and-a-half weeks, you finally make your first million.
That’s how it happens. Every single time.

But, how does an author tackle this monumental task? Where does he find these three readers?

I myself was quite lucky. When my novel appeared on Amazon I already knew over five people! What’s more, some of these people even liked me... somewhat. So I set out to become an internationally best-selling author by convincing at least three of these five people to buy my novel.

I started with my mother. Of all the five people I knew, I probably knew her the longest. I showed her my Amazon page and she nodded approvingly. She did not, however, make any attempts to buy a copy. So I logged on for her, navigated back to my novel’s page, and left the mouse pointer conveniently positioned over the BUY button.

She read the novel description again, searched-inside-this-book, and nodded some more. When I asked her if she’d like to buy a copy, she scrunched up her nose and said;

‘But what if I don’t like it?’
I told her not to worry. ‘It’s a really good book,’ I said. ‘I should know. I’ve re-written it like 50 times. It’s really funny and interesting.’
My mother wasn’t convinced. ‘I’m not really into comedy writing, though,’ she said.
‘It’s not just a comedy,’ I pointed out. ‘It has a real story; it’s a mystery. And it has twists and turns and believable characters.’
My mother hesitated. ‘Maybe I should just play it safe and buy another Stephen King novel…’

I ended up having to offer a personal money-back guarantee, and purchase a copy using my own credit card for the time being, but she finally cracked. I’d made my first sale!

Next, I prodded my wife. Although she did like words in general, she wasn’t sure she was up for reading and entire book full of them. ‘Is this like your usual stuff?’ she wanted to know.
‘What usual stuff?’
She shrugged. ‘I don’t know. Is it like listening to you talk?’
‘What’s wrong with they way I talk?’
‘Nothing. It’s just, well, sometimes you talk a lot of nonsense.’
I waved it away. ‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘I am much more interesting and ‘telligible’ on paper.’

Long story short; my second sale is almost in the bag. Now I just need to find one more person to buy my novel, and I’ll be set for life!


Check out the Summer of Gomez!


Get free books and win a Kindle or iPod.

As reviewers have been calling “No Hope for Gomez!” the perfect summer read - light, fast, fun - I decided to give this summer's Gomez readers some exclusive content and the chance to win prizes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review: Across Eternity


Across Eternity by Aris Whittier

Born a genius; education, wealth, and prestige came easy to Logan Richards. Actually, there wasn’t much that Logan couldn’t learn or acquire. However, he knew there was more to life than money and power. Logan was determined to find the woman who he'd dreamed of his entire life and know what it was like to love her before he died.

Amber Lewis, a waitress for a five-star restaurant in, Dana Point, California, was overworked, stressed, and wary of life since her sister, Heather, had passed away. Then, one evening while working she fell hopelessly in love with Logan Richards, a chivalrous man who felt deeply familiar.

For Amber, it was the beginning of a voyage of self-discovery and renewal. For Logan, it was the completion of life. For each of them it was the deepest sort of love. [Source]


Across Eternity is the story of Logan and Amber as they rediscover their love for each other. They have been lovers in many different lives and time periods. In this time period, Logan is a wealthy, wise, good-looking older man, and Amber is a young, vibrant, waitress who hasn't quite discovered her true self yet.

As their relationship develops, it takes Amber longer to comprehend the full depth and scale of their love. Due to Logan's sizable amount of assets, they spend long days alone, with only each other for company, and they are able to travel around the world. Overall, their relationship only spans a few short months, although they both grow and develop as if they had spent years together.

I liked Amber as a character, as she was easy to relate to; her thoughts, actions, and motivations were easy to understand. The author did a splendid job turning Amber into a real person; every emotion that she felt came off the page. I truly felt what she felt.

The twist at the end was quite unexpected. When Logan first made his announcement in the kitchen, I was honestly devastated, and confused. The twist explains his reasoning, even if I was disappointed by it.

I gave this novel 4 stars because I believe that Logan's infertility was unnecessary. Giving Amber a child would have been another unexpected twist, one to make the ending a little less harsh. Regardless, I did enjoy this novel! It was sweet, and yet suspenseful. I love how the author naturally created the sexual tension between Amber and Logan, and was able to build it for two-thirds of the novel before they finally made love. I wholeheartedly agree with the reviews that tout this novel as a transition from YA to adult romance.

Check out the author's blog HERE.


Rating:



I was contacted by the author and sent a free ebook to read and review.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Review: Linger


Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget. [Source]


After my exhilarating experience reading Shiver (click here for my review), I was *slightly* disappointed by Linger. It didn't flow as easily as Shiver, and one of the new characters (Cole) really irked me. Also, having the point of view of 2 additional characters made it a bit more confusing.

Sam was just as sweet and honest and lovable, while Grace seemed much more mature and independent. She also seemed to be slightly more reckless. Isabel is my new favorite secondary female character; that chick is strong-willed and ferocious. Rawr. As for Cole, the reason he irked me is because I can't stand guys who act like the world revolves around them. Dude, show some sensitivity.

I was devastated when Grace escaped, but I understand why she had to, and why Sam had to be the bad guy in her parents' eyes. It doesn't matter to them how he acts or what he does. It matters what their daughter does. The ending, with Sam's wish and his fierce, quiet determination, had me swooning. Just like with the end of Shiver, when I couldn't wait to read Linger, I now can't wait to read Forever!

Rating:



I won a free ARC of this novel in a giveaway.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review: Redheart


Redheart by Jackie Gamber

Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side. Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land.

As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship. Riza Diantus is a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village, and when she finds herself in peril, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. Yet to do so means he must confront his past, and embrace a future he stopped believing in.

A tale of friendship, courage, and ultimate destiny, Redheart invites readers to a wondrous journey through the Leland Dragon Series. [Source]


I received this novel for review from the publisher. I was also granted a guest post from the author. CLICK HERE to read Jackie Gamber's thoughts on dragons in YA novels.

Redheart is a YA fantasy novel about dragons. Considering most YA fantasy novels these days are about vampires, I was pretty excited about a little, shall we say, change of scenery. Dragons!

Kallon is our main dragon character; Riza is our main human character. They meet, unexpectedly, and form a shaky friendship. Neither one of them seems to really get along with the rest of their kind. They are both lonely and hurt, unknowingly waiting for each other.

Their friendship takes an interesting journey around the Leland Province, to places that neither of them have ever been, especially Riza. They spend time together, and time apart. Each of them feels pain at the other's sufferings. They both sacrifice much for the other, culminating in the ultimate sacrifice at the very end.

From the very start, I had a feeling about Riza. I just knew something would happen to her; she would change. Orman Thistleby, who is Kallon's wizard friend, even hinted that something about Riza was different. Hence, the ending was not much of a surprise to me.

Jastin Armitage, human dragon hunter, and Fordan Blackclaw, leader of the dragons, both made my blood boil. Particularly Jastin. He was rude, obnoxious, self-righteous, and vindictive. I was glad to see him humiliated at the ending. He deserved it for everything he did to Riza and Kallon.

Throughout this novel, I was very pleased that it actually followed the basic elements of story grammar. The rising action was thrilling and left me on the edge of my seat, yearning for the big climax. There was enough of a resolution to give me some closure while still leaving me excited about the sequel. Speaking of, I really can't wait for the sequel! Big changes are coming to Leland Province, for both humans and dragons alike.


About the author: Jackie Gamber is an award-winning freelance editor, as well as award-winning author of the fantasy novel Redheart, available now through Seventh Star Press (www.seventhstarpress.com) and ebook at a special rate of $1.99!


Rating:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guest Post: Jackie Gamber

Dragons and YA Fantasy – Playing with Fire?



By Jackie Gamber, Author of Redheart




Dragon mythology has the distinction of being found in nearly every culture from ancient to modern, in all parts of the world. Asia, South America, Europe, even Australia; images of scaled and serpent-like creatures seem to inhabit the collective psyche of humans everywhere.

In asking ourselves why, we struggle for an answer; dragons just seem true to us. Sure, they’re long gone now. Extinct, one way or another. But if we examine our history, our art, and our written language, dragon representations across culture are too common. Too familiar. Too coincidental. Dragons must have existed once upon a time. Didn’t they?

At least one thing is certain. Dragons have existed, still exist, in our imagination.

And in our literature.

In our imagination, dragons are free to evolve, develop, and grow into personalized symbols. Fire can destroy, but can also cleanse. Scales are a toughened shell against the world, or a protective armor. Claws dig, or climb. Wings carry or evade.

How we perceive dragons, either communally or individually, becomes how we believe them to be. Let’s say if dragons did exist, to us they would be killers. Or monsters. Or pets. Or friends.

In this way, as with so many mythological beasts (vampires, werewolves, or slimy bog creatures) dragons can come to represent parts of ourselves. Our untamed human nature. Our wild side. Our monster within.



What better place to explore this theme than in Young Adult literature? Young adults are in the act of becoming. An evolution in themselves, busily examining values, trying to settle on just how they see the world, and their place in it. They know the struggle with the beast on an intimate level.

If you’re a teen, you’re on a first name basis with your monster.
So how do we face the dragon? Is it a beast to be slain? A monster to be destroyed? A strength to be unleashed? Do we battle with our wild nature to the death, or nail it with a tranq gun and drag it off into the brush?

The best part of YA fantasy (classic or otherwise) as that we’re able to investigate all those options. Whether our dragon is a skin to be shed, as with C.S. Lewis, or a beast of burden to be ridden, as with Anne McCaffery, or a bully to be outsmarted, as with J.R.R. Tolkien, we can see each dragon as the author sees it. We can regard how a master storyteller deals with his or her dragon, and we can take notes.


Jackie Gamber is an award-winning freelance editor, as well as award-winning author of the fantasy novel Redheart, available now through Seventh Star Press (www.seventhstarpress.com) and ebook at a special rate of $1.99!


A veteran of the USAF, she is now, among other things, a rosarian, a professional BookTaster, and an avid believer in imagination. Visit Jackie and her BookTastings on the world wide web at www.jackiegamber.com





Many thanks to Jackie Gamber for vising my blog! Come back tomorrow for my review of her novel, Redheart.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Signups are OPEN!

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon


The second annual Once Upon a Read-a-thon is coming up soon! This read-a-thon is being hosted by Pure Imagination, Reading Angel, and Candace's Book Blog. It runs from 12:01 am on July 11 to 11:59 on July 13th.

I am super-excited about this because this read-a-thon last year is the very reason that I started a book blog. I'm hoping to read more this year than I did last year, depending on my work hours.

Anyway, CLICK HERE to sign up!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: Davi


Davi (Tales of Suruale, #1) by Roy C. Booth, Brian Woods

Humans and dwarfs have been at odds for generations. When human blacksmith Davi is sent to the Dwarven King to reopen the local trade routes, he finds himself more at home with his enemies than he ever did with his own kind. [Source]


One of the authors sent me this free ebook to read and review.

Davi is a short, sweet novella about the human of the same name. Sent from his home on an impossible quest, he chooses his own path. He uses his humble personality and his unique talents as a master smith to befriend the dwarfs and to create a new life, a new family.

At a few points in the novella, I was nervous for Davi. I didn't trust the dwarfs and I thought for sure that they were going to turn on him. But they didn't. They accepted him as a brother, they appreciated his talents and his presence, they healed him when he was wounded, and they even allowed him to take on a dwarven wife.

As a I said earlier, this is a short and sweet novella. It's a quick read for someone who enjoys this branch of fantasy but isn't quite ready for LotR.

Rating:

Guest Post: Graham Parke


It's the Summer of Gomez!



Get free books and win a Kindle or iPod.




As reviewers have been calling “No Hope for Gomez!” the perfect summer read - light, fast, fun - I decided to give this summer's Gomez readers some exclusive content and the chance to win prizes.


About No Hope for Gomez!





It's the age-old tale:

 -   Boy meets girl.
 -   Boy stalks girl.
 -   Girl already has a stalker.
 -   Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

  
We've seen it all before, many times, but this time it's different. If only slightly.

    When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. 


What Gomez isn't ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, the phone-sex salesman who hounds him day and night, the super sexy lab assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science.

   But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced delusions, he decides it's time to go underground and work out a devious plan.
Read a chapter.

Nominated for Book of the Year by both ForeWord Reviews and USA Book News, here's what reviewers have to say about "No Hope for Gomez!":

“Extremely witty and clever writing.” -- California Chronicle

"An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers' film in book form." -- BookReview.com

"A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!" -- Reader Views

"A Party for your Brain!" -- Warren Baxter

Warning: clinical studies have shown that reading this novel is likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex and elevate your random luck by about 9.5%**

(** These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

With every cool summer party comes a gift bag, so here's just some of the stuff all summer readers will get:

  • Exclusive new story collection

  • No Hope for Gomez: The Lost Chapters

  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook

  • Signed hi-res poster + bookplate



Additionally, several lucky readers will win a prize. I'm raffling off a Kindle, an iPod Nano 8GB, and five exclusive spin-off paperback novels that are not available elsewhere!

All you have to do to have a "Summer of Gomez", is get the book from any store before July 12th 2011 and forward your receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com.(Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE)

Every purchase counts as an entry so increase your chances by stocking up on some extremely cool birthday presents ;)
Points towards additional entries are gained by getting your friends to join in, and tweeting/blogging/face-booking (is that a verb?) about the summer of Gomez.



Bio:

Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

www.grahamparke.com
www.grahamparke.blogspot.com
GoodReads
Facebook

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway WINNER

The winner for the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway has been chosen using random.org.



Comment #289 was left by Tarissa (purplelilskye@...)

Congrats to you, Tarissa!

The winner has been emailed, and must respond with 48 hours, or a new winner will be drawn.



*Please note: I cannot be held accountable if my email to you regarding winning a giveaway goes into your spam folder. Using your email address as a primary source of contact for a giveaway means that you are responsible for checking your email folders, including your spam.

april 27 - 1000 follower giveaway

Amber from Down the Rabbit Hole is having an AWESOME giveaway for reaching 1000 followers on her blog. She is going to be giving 3 lucky winners the chance to pre-order some exciting titles.


I'm particularly excited about Forever by Maggie Stiefvater.


CLICK HERE to go enter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway!



Welcome to the i heart reading giveaway in the
Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop!



I am going to be giving away a $15 Amazon email gift card.


How to enter: Comment on THIS POST ONLY with your email address and your means of following. You MUST be a follower, either through email or GFC, so be sure to specify your means of following.


This giveaway ends on Monday, April 25, so the winner will be chosen using random.org and posted on Tuesday.

Here are some more blogs giving away Easter Eggstavaganza prizes.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 2011 Photo Hunt!!

The list for the April 2011 Photo Hunt has been posted!




1. Animals
2. Bedroom
3. Best from April 16 or 17
4. In Fashion
5. Lawn & Garden
6. Lazy
7. Playtime
8. Rain & Water
9. Silhouette
10. Something Tiny
11. Something Huge
12. Texture (can be real or processed)

Please feel free to snag this image to post on your own blog to encourage people to join in! You can sign up HERE. The inlinkz will be open until April 8. Please spread the word!

As it says above, ALL photos must be taken between April 1 and April 30. If, at the end of the month, you’ve missed a theme, you are allowed to use a total of TWO archived photos. However, archived photos will NOT be considered when the judges pick their favorites.

At the end of month, please gather all of your photos and post them online on one post or gallery on a blog/flicker/photobucket/whereever! A new inlinkz will be posted on May 1 so you can add the direct link to your photos.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Completely Random and Unscheduled Hiatus

Yea, that's why I haven't been around. I got back from vacation halfway through January, and I was so anxious to read and write reviews. But I was suddenly inundated at work, and my wedding planning was is taking over my life, and then I decided to take a college course for professional development (even though I already have my Master's degree).

Now, work is a little bit less busy, and the class is over. I'm still a slave to planning my wedding, but it's more manageable now that my priorities have shifted a little bit. Basically, over the past 2 months, I spent all of my time at work or at class or sleeping. I need to spend more time with my fiance, and at home. Our little condo is a disaster because I hardly did any laundry or cleaning the past few weeks.

I'm trying to spend more time with Jon, and get back to my cleaning schedule at home. That being said, I've organized my bookshelves and I need to empty my TBR shelf. It's busting at the seams. I also want to go back to reading books for review. So, to authors: please email me!

And to my followers: Please stick around! I won't leave you hanging again.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review: Deadly


Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping turn-of-the-century New York. Every week more people fall ill, and despite thorough investigation, there's no cause in sight. It's not until the city's most unlikely scientist -- sixteen-year-old Prudence Galewski -- takes a job as an assistant in a laboratory that the evidence begins to fall into place. It seems one person has worked in every home the fever has ravaged: Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant dubbed "Typhoid Mary" by the press. Includes a historical note by the author. [Source]

I received this book for review through 1 ARC Tours. I chose to join this tour because I wanted something new to read (as if my TBR list isn't long enough) and because the author lives locally near where I live. I love to support local authors and artists.

I am not much of a science fiction fan, so I was a bit nervous about reading this book. I am also not a SCIENCE fan, so the thought of reading about viruses and laboratories made me a bit queasy.

Luckily, because this book is written during the 1900's and through the eyes of a teenage girl, so the scientific terms were kept to a minimum. There were many hand-drawn illustrations included, such as a model of a microscope, that added the whole feel of the novel. As Prudence progressed in her job, the illustrations became more and more complex.

Prudence was a very likable character. I truly felt bad for her when her friends didn't understand her, and when her mother tried to prevent her from getting her dream job. I was so happy for her when her mother finally stood up for her!

The beginning of the book was a little slow; however, that's because Prudence's life was slow at the time. I like that she didn't despair or get too whiny. I was also very pleased with her self-control later on when she discovered her feelings for a certain man. Despite her one little mishap, she was humble and modest.

Rating:

Friday, February 18, 2011

february 18 - 666 Follower Giveaway

Amanda Leigh, aka Not-Really-Southern Vamp Chick, is having a HUGE giveaway to celebrate reaching 666 followers! There are going to be at least 3 winners, and she has a HUGE stack of books to give out.


CLICK here for more info!

but don't enter. i want to win.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reading Resolutions and Books with Love Giveway WINNERS

The Reading Resolutions Giveaway winner was chosen using random.org.



Comment #97 was left by jacmom (jacindahinten@...). Congrats jacmom!




The Books with Love Giveaway winner was also chosen using random.org.



Comment #55 was left by Joy Tamsin David (joy glee g@...). Congrats Joy!

Each of you has won a $15 amazon email gift card.

Both winners have been emailed, and must respond with 48 hours, or a new winner(s) will be drawn.



*Please note: I cannot be held accountable if my email to you regarding winning a giveaway goes into your spam folder. Using your email address as a primary source of contact for a giveaways means that you are responsible for checking your email folders, including your spam.

Books With Love Giveaway is OVER!

The Books With Love Giveaway Hop is over! Thanks to everyone who entered.

The winner will be posted tonight, along with the Reading Resolution Giveaway winner that I never posted in January.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A favor...

HarperTeen (a publishing company) is having a contest on fb around the new book by Lauren Oliver, Delirium. I read an ARC of this novel back in November, and absolutely loved it! I haven't published my review of it yet, but I did give it 5 out of 5 stars.

The contest is all about showing off what you love. I'd love you all forever and ever if you would please go vote for my entry! CLICK HERE. All you have to do is Like my entry, and you can vote once per day.

Please please please!

CLICK HERE to see my entry and Like it!

Thank you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Books With Love Hop!

Once Upon a Twilight

Welcome to the i heart reading giveaway in the
Valentine's Day Books With Love Blog Hop!



I am going to be giving away a $15 Amazon email gift card so you can buy some books you love.


How to enter: Comment on THIS POST ONLY with your email address and your means of following. You MUST be a follower, either through email or GFC, so be sure to specify your means of following.


This giveaway ends on Wednesday, Feb 16, so the winner will be chosen using random.org and posted on Thursday. If you entered my Reading Resolutions Giveaway back in January, that winner will also be posted at the same time.

Here are some more blogs giving away Valentine's Day prizes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year's Reading Resolutions Giveaway...

The winner for the New Year's Reading Resolution giveaway will be posted this weekend when I get home. Saturday, possibly?

Patience please!

Thank you. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Reading Resolutions Giveaway!



My reading resolution for this year is to read. Plain and simple. I had been reading regularly in the fall, but I got into a bit of a funk around Thanksgiving. I was feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of books that were on my TBR list. It was easy to stop reading and start letting my TBR shelf get dusty, especially with the holidays making me busy.

So, for 2011, I want to get my reading groove back. That's all!


To celebrate the start of a new year, this giveaway hop is being hosted by Candace over at Candace's Book Blog.

I am giving away a $15 amazon email gift card.

How to enter:
Comment on THIS POST ONLY with your email address
and the answer to this question:
What is your reading resolution for 2011?

You must answer the question in your comment in order to be eligible for this giveaway. You do not have to be a follower, although I would appreciate if you would follow me anyway.

Here is the full list of blogs that are participating:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Please be forewarned:

I am leaving today for a week-long trip to Florida with my fiance and his family. After that, we are driving to Tennessee to see some friends.

We'll be heading home to NY on Sunday, the 16th. I'll be checking in periodically, but I don't think I'll be posting much (or even at all) until after that, with the exception of a giveaway that starts tomorrow.

Thanks (in advance) for not deserting me while I am gone!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Potter-Thon!



Pure Imagination is hosting a Potter-thon this month!! You are welcome to sign up and join us in reading (or in my case, rereading) the whole series!

Potter-Thon

Click on the button to sign up.


I am reading another book for review, and I am going to be on vacation for 2 weeks, so I won't be reading the series until the 2nd half of the month. I'll be sure to post when I start!
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