Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: Eden's Root

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Eden's Root
Author: Rachel E. Fisher
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 371
Release Date: April 8, 2012 (first released Dec 17, 2011)
Source: Author
------------------------------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Nothing of note
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HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a well-written, and eerily believable dystopian story line.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
The year is 2033 and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional.

What struck me most about Eden's Root was the realism of the plot. I'v read my fair share of dystopian books. Books where worlds crumble, and zombies reign. However none of that scared me as much as Rachel E. Fisher's story did. Books about an apocalypse that humankind brings upon itself hit eerily close to home. The fact that someday we might go too far and cause our own starvation is a terrifying thing to imagine.

It was simple to fall in love with Fi as a character. Though I loved all the characters, she was absolutely my favorite. Strong, intelligent, loyal and thoughtful. Fi is an amazing girl! Forced to be a leader in a world where food is quickly becoming scarce, and people are dying of starvation, she doesn't back down. Despite being only 14 years old! I found myself rooting for her throughout the story. Cheering for her every time she succeeded, and near tears when things went south. There's no doubt in my mind that I loved this story all the more because of her character.

The other element that really hooked me was the idea of Family. Fisher's story enforces the idea that people other than your relatives can become your family. You have the family that you're born with, and then you have the family that you choose. In some instances, like in Eden's Root, it's a mixture of both that keeps you going. It's ideas like this that kept the story refreshing. Even the love interest in this story is perfectly done! There's no love triangle here, just a perfect match between a boy and a girl.

I've thought of this book often since reading it. It was a slow burn, and one that stayed with me well after I finished. The power of Eden's Root admittedly snuck up on me. Have you ever had a book that changes your way of thinking? Rachel E. Fisher's book did that for me. It made me more aware of what I put into my body, and how we treat the world we live in. Looking for a book that will hook you and then keep you thinking about it? Eden's Root is your next read.


Ms. K did the reading.
Jessica turned thoughts into a review.









FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: Emerald Isle

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Emerald Isle: A Fascination Island Book
Author: Kate Hinderer
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: PDF; 181
Release Date: July 16, 2012
Source: Author
-------------------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Nothing of note
-------------------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers looking for a fun, lighter read as their next pick.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
To escape a bad break-up and fighting parents Audyn takes a job as a lifeguard at Fascination Island. The posh five-star resort lives up to its name in every way, including the strange rules the owner has about entering the water at night. Despite declaring it a boy-free summer, it isn’t long before the shy, endearing Levi and the mysterious, tattooed Tristan begin vying for her attention. When Levi tries to push his advantage and Tristan comes to the rescue, Audyn realizes there is more to both these boys and the island they inhabit. Suddenly, she’s forced to acknowledge a reality she’d never considered and to pick a side in the conflict that has been waging for decades.

Audyn's life has taken a sour turn. Her latest boyfriend cheated on her with a best friend. She's feeling down in the dumps. What else is there to do but get out of town? Calling in a favor, Audyn runs from her home in New York to Fascination Island. A land where the wealthy come to play, and she can just get away. Little does Audyn know what awaits her there!

It's a little hard to review this book fully without giving anything away, but I'll do my best! Audyn is a likable character. The thing that made me like her most was watching her grow during the book. Learning to accept things from both sides, it was this growth that helped her ultimately in the story. I also rather enjoyed her job on the island. The rules made things interesting, and kind of added an element of suspense to the story line. I was always waiting to see what would happen next.

Unfortunately the book moved a little slow for me. At only 180+ pages, I was surprised that I felt that way. I honestly believe it was due to the fact that there is a lot of dialogue between characters. It tends to eat up the pages. The twist in this story intrigued me, and I liked the feud, but the boys themselves really didn't draw me in. Since I didn't feel much for either one, I wasn't really committed to their struggle. Only my opinion, as you know! I know that other readers will find plenty to love.

The good part about it all though is that Audyn shines the farther into the story that she gets. The more that she learns, the further she delves into the secrets surrounding Fascination Island, the more I liked her. Hers is a character that has heart. It's so nice to see a girl who can be a hero! So ultimately, despite what I mentioned above, I did enjoy the overall story. I just wish that it had drawn me in a little bit more.

At the end of the day, Emerald Isle was a book that I did actually end up reading the whole way through and enjoying. I'd recommend it to readers who like a lighter read, with a slight paranormal twist. You won't get more out of me than that. If you want to know what happens, you'll have to find out for yourself!




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coming Soon on HDB... 7/29/12


Hello again!

I've decided to start this new event, once a Sunday, to keep you updated on what is coming up in the week! Let's just say it will also keep me honest to make sure things go up...

Win/win right?

Let's kick things off!

**********

MONDAY

Monday brings you a review of Emerald Isle by Kate Hinderer. What is the secret behind Fascination Island? You'll find out!


TUESDAY

Ms. K (my lovely ghost reader) reviews Eden's Root by Rachel K. Fisher on Tuesday. She loved this one! Will you?


WEDNESDAY

What did I read in the month of July? Here's your chance to find out!


THURSDAY

Thursday brings a review of one of my favorite reads of the year. *swoon* If I Stay by Gayle Forman is gorgeous!


FRIDAY
Book Blogger Hop

Time to do some hopping! I'll answer Jen's question, then head on over to visit some new blogs and see what everyone else thinks!


Friday will also bring a review of Tools of Prophecy by Michael A. Rothman! I read the first book, Heirs of Prophecy a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. This is my review of the sequel!



SATURDAY

To round out the week, I'll be reviewing The Lost Saint by Bree Despain on Saturday. It took me forever to get to reading this, but I am so glad that I did. Loved it!

**********

That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by today, and hello to my new followers! I hope I make you glad you chose to follow me ;).

Until next week...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Blogger Hop! Let's hop!


Book Blogger Hop

It's that time again! WOOHOO FRIDAY! Time to share another awesome fact with you, my dear readers, and do some blog hopping. Don't you love discovering new reads?

Thanks once again to Jen at Crazy-For-Books for hosting! Don't forget to click the button and join on in.


Today's question is:
What’s the ONE super-hyped book you’ll NEVER read?

Honestly? Okay, don't throw anything at me but it'd probably have to be The Vampire Diaries series. *ducks* I know, I know. EVERYONE loves them. Plus the television show. I've tried picking up The Awakening twice and I just couldn't get past the first few pages. I love vampires. I love YA. I'm just not feeling the books. To each their own, right?


What about you lovely readers?
Have a book that you'll probably never read, despite the crazy buzz?

Don't forget, if you stop by leave me a comment! I'll return the favor and visit your blog as well!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A hug for all of you!

Bear Clip Art

Hi all!

This is me giving you a big hug, for a lot of reasons really, but mostly for being patient with me. I know things have slowed down a lot and, despite the ravenous pace at which I'm reading, reviews are behind. Thanks for believing in me!

I'm working a week of 10 hour days, so needless to say I pretty much only sleep at the end of the day.

I'll work to catch up this weekend and get your more awesome reviews next week.

In the meantime, don't forget to check out the reviews this week AND enter to win a copy of Anna Carey's ONCE!

*hugs times a million*

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review: Frost


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Frost
   *Series: The Frost Chronicles #1
Author: Kate Avery Ellison
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 194
Release Date: April 18, 2012
Source: Author
----------------------------------------
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers looking for a creepy, but intriguing new type of read.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N
In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?

Honestly? The synopsis pretty much sums it up. What it can't show you though, is how addictive Frost is as a read. I went into this story with absolutely no expectations. I just wanted to be entertained. Mission accomplished Ms. Ellison. Mission accomplished.

First off I have to praise the world that Kate Avery Ellison builds in this story. The Frost is an unforgiving world. One that mixes stunning beauty with utter terror. From the very first few pages I felt the palpable feelings that Lia was. To live in a world where one wrong choice will cause your destruction is amazingly creepy. I felt for Lia, even before I knew that much about her.

However once I did get to know her better it just cemented my feelings! Here is a girl who has lost her parents, lives in a icy world, and yet still manages to keep the remainder of her family together. Lia isn't a shrinking violet. She doesn't let others boss her around. Lia is a character who gets things done. We need more of those! In fact, even when Gabe came into the picture, she constantly kept her family at the forefront of her thoughts. I loved her for that.

I can sum up for you the very small reasons that I only gave this book 4 stars. One I know for sure has to do with the fact that this is the first book, and that is the lack of closure I felt about some of the events in the book. I so wanted to know more about the monsters and about the rest of the civilizations that lived around Lia. The other was the relative insta-love between Lia and Gabe, but in all honesty I was pretty ready to forgive that right away. They are adorable. It's the truth.

So long story short, I really enjoyed this read! It has a little bit of everything, and Lia's character will always keep you guessing as to what is coming next. Frost is well worth your time! Especially if you are a reader who loves strong characters and gorgeous world building. If you're ready for a new read, I say give this one a shot. Just be prepared to read well into the night.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Win a copy of ONCE by Anna Carey!



Ready to win one of the most anticipated books of the year? If you are a fan of Anna Carey's Eve, you'll love the second installment. Eve is back in Once.

When you're being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.

Thanks to Harper Collins, I am able to provide you lovely people with a chance to win a copy of this book! Isn't that fabulous?

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. 
You must be a resident of the U.S. to enter, or a have a U.S. mailing address. 
A winner will be chosen on July 30, 2012! Good luck!



Book Review: Once

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Once
   *Series: Eve #2
Author: Anna Carey
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: Hardcover; 368
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Source: Publisher
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
-------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fans of Eve, or readers who enjoy dystopian fiction.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
When you're being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.

In this breathless sequel to "Eve," Anna Carey returns to her tale of romance, adventure, and sacrifice in a world that is both wonderfully strange and chillingly familiar.

Eve is back, and finally settling into a comfortable routine. Califia is finally becoming her new home. That is, until she figures out their true motivation for letting her stay. Anna Carey quickly reacquaints her readers who the world that she built in the first book. Eve's world is one that holds both beauty and danger. From the beginning I was able to slide right back in with the story line, and I have to say that I really loved the descriptive writing in this book! Carey shows her prowess at writing vivid scenery that just bleeds off the page. Califia and the City were in my head the entire read, and it was easy for me to see what Eve saw. That, above anything else, is what I really loved about this book.


However, sadly, that's really where my love for this book stayed most of the time. Eve herself drove me crazy. In the first book I was willing to forgive her a lot, especially because of her upbringing. In Once we see a new Eve. One that is more of an individual and actually a lot stronger. When she first came into the story I was impressed. Then, as time wore on, she kept making mistakes that were selfish and frustrating. It drove me mad. I am certain there will be others that disagree with me, and that's okay. It's just that I personally couldn't stand her the majority of the book.


On top of that Caleb, my favorite character, really doesn't get much face time in this installment. The boys that he left behind aren't really mentioned at all either. In fact, Caleb seemed really washed out to me. Story wise, his whole existence revolves around seeing and being with Eve. No matter what the consequences. I know this can be sweet. I know that it works well in a lot of other stories. For me though, this felt forced. I missed Caleb from the first book. A lot.


The twist that Once brings to the table definitely does make this worth a read though. Especially if you were a fan of Eve. Again, I won't go too into detail so that way I don't spoil it for you. Still, it was a great addition to the story! I have to give credit where credit is due. It was this new development that kept me reading on to see what would happen next.


At the end of the day I have to admit that Once wasn't my favorite read, but I do see a lot of potential. Eve can be a strong character when she tries. Caleb is adorable and swoon worthy. Best of all, it is the world itself that will really draw you in. Fans of Eve, as well as fans of dystopian fiction, really need to give this story a shot.  

Other books in this series:
Eve (Eve #1)




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book Review: Eve

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Eve
   *Series: Eve #1
Author: Anna Carey
Publisher: Harper
Pages: Hardcover; 318
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Source: Library
--------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
--------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fans of dystopian fiction, readers who enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Where do you go when nowhere is safe?

Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth's population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school's real purpose--and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she's ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust . . . and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

After realizing that I somehow managed never to actually write a review for Eve, I rushed to borrow a copy from the library. Having the sequel, Once, in front of me reminded me that I had a blurry remembrance of events past. I think it's important to let you know that, as a re-read, I had certain biases already. Still, I made sure to clear my mind and just sit down to enjoy a good story. It was time to get lost in a book.

My first impression of the book was, once again, really great. I found myself trapped inside Eve's world. A world of oppression. A stifling world, that is built on a basis of lies and deceit. Even before I reached the climax that I knew was coming, I had already fallen for the world that Anna Carey built for her readers. It's hard not to forgive Eve for the way she acts when you see how she was raised. Eve's society brainwashes women into mindless drones. It's terrifying and fascinating all at the same time.

That being said, I was able to feel for Eve a lot more this read through. It's true that she can be selfish, quite often in fact. Remembering her background helped me step past that and enjoy the rest of the story. It's Caleb who really made me fall in love though. Here is a boy that, despite everything else in his world, wants to help a stranger. I'll admit I swooned a bit. After all, who wouldn't fall in love with a guy who is willing to put his life on the line for you? His story, and the stories of the boys he protects, are what really kept me reading on.

The ending broke my heart in two, even though I knew it was coming. If you haven't had a chance to read Eve yet, you should know that there is a heart wrenching cliffhanger. It will make you come back. I promise. So, at the end of the day I actually liked Eve a lot more this time around! Enough to warrant it a whole extra star. Fans of dystopian fiction will fall in love with Anna Carey's new world, and the heart of the story will keep you coming back for more.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Children's Book Review: My Monster Burrufu



Media Type: Ebook
Title: My Monster Burrufu
Author: Alberto Corral
Illustrator: Alessandra Sorrentino
Publisher: Petite Grande Idee
Pages: Paperback; 102
Release Date: April 4, 2011
Source: Amazon
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Recommended to: Parents looking for a good sized chapter book to share with their children. Great bedtime book!

Difficulty Level: This would be perfect for readers transitioning from picture books to lengthier chapter books. The vocabulary is not too complicated, and there are still plenty of illustrations.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Seven-year-old Olivia has just moved to a new house—the same house where a lonely monster named Burrufu lives hidden in a secret attic. One night, unable to resist the smell of delicious cookies, Burrufu sneaks out and is discovered by Olivia. The two soon learn that you can find friendship in the most unexpected places.

My Monster Burrufu is a story of overcoming fear, a curse, and a most unusual monster who learns from a little girl how to trust his heart.

We meet Olivia as she is moving to the country. Her father, a writer, is looking for quiet place to write and a big, old Victorian house is just the ticket! What will Olivia discover in her new home? Will she be happy? She's not sure, but one thing she definitely didn't expect to find was a monster...

Alberto Corral does a very nice job of creating a young girl character who children will fall in love with. She's sweet, kind, giving, and makes some amazing cookies! Best of all, she's the bravest little girl I've ever known. When she hears noises coming from upstairs does she run away? Oh no, not Olivia! Instead she sets a trap, and the magic begins.

Alessandra Sorrentino draws the pictures in My Monster Burrufu and the illustrations are just gorgeous. Olivia is so tiny compared to her big, fuzzy friend. The pictures with the two of them were my absolute favorite! I see many a child listening with wide eyes to the story that Alberto Corral so expertly weaves, and giggling out loud at the pictures that accompany it. Let me tell you, adult or not, I loved the balance between the story and illustrations! I was smitten.

This story is adorable, heartfelt, and teaches a very important lesson. Olivia and Burrufu show that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, you can be a very special person! The two of them teach children how to respect others differences and love them for who they are. Too cute! Seriously. If you are looking for a fun read to share with your little one, especially at bedtime, pick this book up. It's sure to steal you heart!


Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick Update



Hi lovely readers!

You may have noticed that I've been pretty scarce this week, so this is me letting you know that I'm not gone! Our wedding is a mere 3 months away (I know, I'm excited too!) and this just happens to be crunch time week. Registries had to be made, invitations addressed, millions of envelopes licked...bleh. Well anyway I'm still here, just a little busy. Don't worry! Next week will go back to normal.

That being said please make sure to stop by tomorrow and Friday! Tomorrow my review of Once by Anna Carey (follow up to Eve) will go up, and Friday you'll have a chance to win a copy of the book for your very own!

See, I still take care of you all ;)

Much love,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TV Shows and The Emerald Isle: A guest post by Kate Hinderer + goodies!




Good morning lovely readers! If you're just stopping by for the day, please make sure to welcome Kate Hinderer! She is the author of Aurora Undefined (which I loved last year) and now of the upcoming book The Emerald Isle.

To escape a bad break-up and fighting parents Audyn takes a job as a lifeguard at Fascination Island. The posh five-star resort lives up to its name in every way, including the strange rules the owner has about entering the water at night. Despite declaring it a boy-free summer, it isn’t long before the shy, endearing Levi and the mysterious, tattooed Tristan begin vying for her attention. When Levi tries to push his advantage and Tristan comes to the rescue, Audyn realizes there is more to both these boys and the island they inhabit. Suddenly, she’s forced to acknowledge a reality she’d never considered and to pick a side in the conflict that has been waging for decades.
I can tell you that Kate Hinderer is a wonderful Indie author! You should definitely check out both her books! In the meantime though, it is TV week here on the blog. Check out Kate's picks for TV inspiration, then make sure to scroll on down to the bottom for giveaway info. Enjoy!

*****


TV Shows and The Emerald Isle

Hi. I’m author Kate Hinderer and I’m pleased to be guest posting for the day as part of the book blog tour for The Emerald Isle. For this stop on the tour, I figured I would talk about the TV shows I watch and how that impacted the book I wrote, or perhaps it was the other way around.

Growing up I had an obsession with ER and then with American Idol in its early days. But to be honest, I was never one to be faithfully watching TV shows. I’d catch a couple episodes of a popular show while babysitting or at a sleepover. But it wasn’t until recently that I started being a regular viewer.

When I started writing The Emerald Isle I wasn’t much into paranormal shows. I knew what I wanted to say, the story I planned to write. I knew the characters and the mysterious elements. But what I didn’t know was the aura that I wanted to surround the place and the happenings.

I started watching The Vampire Diaries… now I’m a little obsessed with Damon and Elena. I loved the idea of paranormal in the midst of small town life. I liked that mix of contemporary with fantasy. It was something I wanted to capture in Fascination Island.

I’m also loving Once Upon A Time. Again magical mixed with normalcy. Seeing a trend here? I also love Emma’s character. She’s tough as nails and is fierce. She doesn’t back down and she isn’t a weakling. I wanted Audyn to be strong all on her own and not have to rely on someone else for strength in the time of crisis.

In January, as I finished the edits of the book, I became hooked to Jane By Design. It doesn’t have paranormal elements, but Jane’s character is just so stinking adorable, as is her best friend, Billy. I love creating a male character that can be a friend to the main female character. Tim is that character in this book.

I’m also a huge fan of suspense and mystery series. I love Lie To Me (I’m totally bummed it’s off the air), NCIS: Los Angeles, Law and Order: SVU, etc…


*****

Thank you so much for stopping by Kate!


Giveaway info time!
On Kate's other blog, ModlyChic, she is offering up a fabulous prize pack. Seriously, go enter. You can win:

  • A $50 giftcard to Shabby Apple (spend it on a bathing suit or a dress.)
  • A $25 giftcard to Amazon
  • A great pair of sunglasses from MimiBoutique
  • A bag of your choice from BambooBlue
  • A collection of YA books to read on the beach


Good luck! Also don't forget to leave some love for her either here, or there. We all know the comment love makes the world go round ;). Thanks for stopping by.

 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Watching TV with Lisa Stasse and your chance to take home a copy of her book!



Hello dear readers! Guess who is in for a treat today? Yes, YOU! Lisa Stasse, author of The Forsaken, is here today with a guest post and a giveaway. You heard it right. You get to learn more about her and enter for you chance to take home a copy of the book!

A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

There you have it. Intrigued? Enjoy Lisa Stasse's awesome guest post below, and make sure to head on down to the bottom and enter to win!

*****

WATCHING SOME TV SHOWS WITH LISA M. STASSE
(author of The Forsaken, available now from Simon & Schuster)


So I realized I'd written a lot about books and music in some of my guest posts for other blogs, but for some reason I'd never got around to talking about TV shows. I should mention that I'm a huge fan of TV, movies, and pop culture stuff in general. Movies and TV are probably as big an influence on my writing and storytelling as books are. So I thought for my guest post I'd list some of my favorite shows. These aren't like, my favorite shows EVER or anything like that. Just a bunch of relatively recent stuff that I've seen and enjoyed and/or ones that have influenced me along the way.

1. LOST (One of my favorite TV shows--especially the first 3 seasons, although I hung in there until the end! But I really loved those first 3 seasons the most. Great characters, great storylines, great relationships, great ideas. And those flashbacks! For a while it was one of the best shows around).

2. MAD MEN (Definitely not an influence on my writing, but still a great show. I almost quit watching after the first half of the first season because it was so slow, but my husband convinced me to keep going. I feel like the show just gets better and better over the years. Don Draper is such a great example of a really screwed-up character who remains completely watchable and charismatic).

3. FIREFLY (why why why did this get canceled?? This has got to be the best show that ever got cancelled so quickly, or at least one of them. Joss Whedon is amazing--and it's great he finally got tons of success with THE AVENGERS. But I love FIREFLY way more. SERENITY was awesome too. Nathan Fillion is one of my favorite actors. I could watch him in anything).

4. BREAKING BAD (The weirder and darker and crazier it gets, the more I like it. Some of the storylines don't really work for me, but the characters/acting make up for it).

5. TRUE BLOOD (addictive!!! I don't think I need to even explain why this show is so much fun!!)

6. DOWNTON ABBEY (One of my favorite new shows. It's SO good! I love the setting and the characters. I could sit and watch this one endlessly. I've already watched the first 2 seasons three times each. I can't wait for the next season!)

PS. THE GUILTY PLEASURES: okay, okay so if I'm totally honest with you all (and myself), I should also admit that YES I often watch Jersey Shore, Real Housewives, Gossip Girl, and random reality stuff on MTV and elsewhere! Sometimes bad TV can be a lot of fun too!

THANK YOU JESSICA FOR HAVING ME ON YOUR BLOG!!! :)

*****

Thank YOU Lisa for stopping by! How much do you all love the shows she picked? Seriously. I'm all about Mad Men. Mmmm....20's era dressed men.

*ahem* Now...it's GIVEAWAY TIME!

Up for grabs is a finished copy of The Forsaken.
Open Internationally!
Giveaway ends July 22, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: 15 Seconds



Media Type: Print Book
Title: 15 Seconds
Author: Andrew Gross
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: Hardcover; 336
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Source: TLC Book Tours
-----------------------------------
Genre: Thriller

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love a good thriller/suspense with plenty of action!


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Henry Steadman is a successful Florida plastic surgeon on his way to deliver a keynote address at a conference when his world falls apart. Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed, and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but after it subsides, and Henry is about to move on, the officer is suddenly killed in his car and there is only one suspect: the very person he was about to arrest not ten minutes before. Henry! When a second friend turns up dead, Henry realizes he's being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name.

15 Seconds is a story of how even the best of lives can be destroyed in just an instant-- and of an innocent man, framed for murder, who has to save the person he loves the most, and who cannot go the police to clear his name.

15 Seconds is a book that starts fast and keeps going. I'm generally not a big fan of thrillers, but this one drew me in. 19 year-old Amanda has a life that is anything but easy. High on Oxy, and trying to escape her problems, she makes the fatal mistake that will change her life forever. Henry Steadman is on his way to deliver a keynote speech in what he hopes to be a life turning point. Little does he know what type of turning point lies ahead. I wasn't sure how Amanda and Henry's stories were connected, but I can tell you that I wanted to find out.

I read madly through the first half of this book, hanging on every word. Andrew Gross knows just how to build suspense throughout the story. It's definitely tough not to keep reading on. Love getting lost in a book? Here's one that will do that for you. Trust me. Despite the fact that I sometimes felt a bit confused by the web of events, the story was so immersive that I just couldn't stop reading. It was like watching a car wreck, but being unable to look away. You have to know what happens. 15 Seconds is pure adrenaline.

Add in gripping and believable characters, and you have a book that is hard to put down. Henry, Carrie and Amanda all have their own unique backgrounds and personalities. I'd have to say that Carrie is my favorite. Faced with the choice between helping someone she barely knows, and keeping a safe distance, Carrie chooses to be a hero. She definitely kicks butt! Even the secondary characters are fabulously written. I'll say this, Gross knows hows his character building.

The one qualm that I had was that the story slowed significantly as it neared the end. Plus the closer I got the more I was able to see what was going to happen before it did. Not necessarily a bad thing! Trust me, I still definitely enjoyed this read. If you are a thriller fan, or if you are looking for a great place to start, get your hands on a copy of 15 Seconds. Then, hold on tight.

 

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

DOOMED has a cover!



You may or may not know this (it probably depends on how often you read my ramblings here) but I love book covers! They are like the eye candy of reading. Who can resist?

I'm happy to share with you a brand new book cover courtesy of the wonderful Tracy Deebs! You might know her from the Tempest series, that starts with Tempest Rising. Well today? Today Tracy Deebs dives head first into the dystopian genre with her new book Doomed. Complete with a gorgeous cover...


Beat the game. Save the world.

Pandora’s just your average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, surfing Facebook and e-mailing with her friends, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring twelve photos of her as a child. Unable to contain her curiosity, Pandora enters the site, where she is prompted to play her favorite virtual-reality game, Zero Day. This unleashes a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there is no Internet. No cell phones. No utilities, traffic lights, hospitals, law enforcement. Pandora teams up with handsome stepbrothers Eli and Theo to enter the virtual world of Zero Day. Simultaneously, she continues to follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father, her one key to saving the world as we know it. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.

Maybe it's just my video game addled mind at work, but wow does this sound fabulous! Plus I'm kind of in love with the girl on the cover. She looks so...well in all honesty she looks like the type of girl who can kick your butt and save the world at the same time. Perfection, am I right?

Below is a mini excerpt, in case you need further proof as to why you should add this to your reading list. Before you read, thanks for stopping by and don't forget to leave a comment for Tracy!


EXCERPT:

“That’s not the really puzzling part,” Agent Lessing finally continues. “Especially if you insist on your innocence in this matter, how is it that starting at seven-fifteen this morning, someone from this IP address opened the twelve different sections of code that make up this worm and uploaded them onto the internet, one by one?”

Emily gasps and I want to protest. I want to tell the FBI agent that she’s crazy. That I have no idea what she’s talking about. But the truth of the matter is that suddenly I do. I know exactly what I was doing at seven-fifteen this morning.

The tentative fairy tale I’ve been building in my head all day—the one I wasn’t even aware of until right now—collapses. I swear, I feel it shatter and my stomach, though close to empty, chooses that moment to revolt.

I spring up from my chair.

“Hey, you can’t go anywhere. Sit back down!” Lessing tells me firmly, reaching into her jacket and pulling out her gun.

I don’t stop; I can’t. Even so, I barely make it to the trash can in time. I don’t know how long I sit there, puking my guts up, but by the time I finish, Lessing has put away her gun. Emily is looking at me in dismay, while Mackaray and Lundstrom—who rushed in at Lessing’s alarmed shout—are wearing identical expressions of smug triumph. Even Lessing seems satisfied, and I know it’s because I’ve blown it big time.

It’s pretty hard to protest your innocence when you get so upset by what they’re telling you that you hurl.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: The Forsaken

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Forsaken
   *Series: The Forsaken #1
Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: Hardcover; 375
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Source: Author
------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
-------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy dystopian stories and are okay with some violence.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

After finishing The Forsaken, days later I am still thinking about that story. I always consider that a good thing. If a book causes me to remember it well after I finish it, that means it made a pretty significant impact. Still, my thoughts on Alenna's story are very jumbled, and slightly torn. This book feels a lot like many of the other dystopian novels out there right now. In fact, it is almost like a mix of a few of them. A hybrid if you will. Not a bad thing, just not anything that really wowed me. I'll do my best to explain.

On the one hand, I really did enjoy the world that Lisa M. Stasse builds for her characters to inhabit. The U.N.A. is a sinister government. One that has no qualms with reducing its people to numbers. To them, people are meant to be controlled. Kept in line. I liked this! I suppose it's because I can actually see this happening at some point, but for me it is pretty terrifying. "The Wheel" was also a nice touch. A lush area with so much beauty, and yet so much possibility for violence.

The first thing that I found a tough about The Forsaken was the fact that I didn't fall in love with any of the characters. Alenna as okay. I liked her back story, and I did appreciate the fact that she was so positive despite everything that she had been through. However I just didn't really feel that much emotion for her either way when it came to surviving. In fact, when the story picked up and things started happening to her, I just kept feeling like I wasn't invested in Alenna's story at all.

Couple this with the fact that there are portions of this book that move slowly, and you can see why I feel so torn. I was struggling to latch on to something. I really wanted to feel emotion for the characters in the book, but I couldn't find a foothold. By the time I reached the end of the story, I finally felt like I had uncovered something to keep me coming back. The U.N.A. is sinister all right, and their ultimate plan for these kids is just awful. Once I knew that, I knew I'd be back for more, no matter what.

Let's be honest. I didn't love The Forsaken, but I did like it. Especially after I read the ending. As a reader, I am extremely character driven. So I know that the majority of the reason this book failed to hook me is because I just didn't feel invested. The story line is solid. There are plenty of reasons to hate the government in this story. Overall it just fell in the middle of the spectrum for me. I definitely suggest you give it a shot! If you are a fan of dystopian especially, this might sate your need for a new read!




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, July 9, 2012

An Interview with Brendan O'Keeffe



In case you missed it, yesterday I reviewed Andor Awakening by Brendan O'Keeffe. For all you fantasy lovers out there, this is a book that you need to read! Pure, amazing, self-published goodness.

War is everywhere.

Shae is consumed by a vicious war between the human Imperium and a brutal race known only as the Raz. Humanity stands on the edge of destruction as the Razian forces advance city by city, burning everything in their path. Waking to find no memory of his troubled past and haunted by the implications of his abilities, Andor must find his place in this violent world, discover who he was, who he is, and what all of this means for Shae...

Loved it! Make sure to click the book cover and add it to your TBR.  Brendan was kind enough to stop by the blog today to answer some of my interview questions! He also brought along a giveaway, so read on down to the bottom, and enjoy!

*****

1) If you had to pick just one genre of books to read for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

Fantasy. It’s quite possible that I’ve ended up writing fantasy mainly because I love reading it so much. For me, fantasy novels often have the most time invested by the author in their created universe; an awful lot of it will be completely new. There is always something that I haven’t envisioned or imagined yet in a fantasy book somewhere out there and it offers a chance to explore strange and mesmerizing new worlds.


2) What is your favorite part about being an author?

The writing itself. When I write, it gives me a chance to express the cacophony of ideas and thoughts bouncing around in my mind into something far more coherent and beautiful in written form. The only true boundary in writing is really how far your imagination can stretch, which means that writing is one of the purest forms of creation there is. And what’s not to love about that?


3) Do you have a favorite character? It can be your own or from another book!

I devour so many books, T.V shows and films that singling out a character from one of those would be a nightmare. From my own book, it would have to be (probably unsurprisingly!) the main character, Andor. He is probably the character that I relate too the most, and out of all the characters I shape and create, he probably holds the strongest ties to my own personality, but is also entirely unique. I become very attached to the characters I write about and I’ve been writing about Andor for over six years now.


4) If you could visit any fictional land where would you go?

I would love to visit Middle Earth. Tolkien created such a vast, believable place, with such a vibrant mixture of cultures and backdrops that I don’t think I would ever tire of exploring the Shire, or the plains of Rohan. Of course, I might not be so excited to visit the fiery paths of Mordor or Shelob’s Lair, but, as they say, variety is the spice of life!


5) Do you have any new projects coming up?

Several.

I like to have a lot going on all at once, and struggle when I tie myself down to a single piece of writing. I’m 
toying around with a few ideas for a compendium of short stories about Shae from some fresh character perspectives, all of which would tie back into the storyline of the main Shae Series. That’s a lot of fun and a real breath of fresh air. I almost felt as if some of the characters didn’t get the chance to live up to a lot of their potential purely because they barely touch upon the main storyline, or only appear very briefly- the short stories allow me to explore what Shae is like for them, and show the reader the complexities of these less well-known people.

And of course, I’m working on Andor: Wolfblood, the sequel to Andor: Awakening. It’s great to be able to really get to work on fleshing out my characters and the plot now that I’ve set the scene and the pace with the first book, and I can’t wait to let the readers see what I’ve been working on...

*****

Now a GIVEAWAY!

Up for grabs is your own digital copy of Andor Awakening (in your choice of format) along with a limited edition prequel called Rebirth! This prequel you can only get straight from Brendan! You lucky ducks you.

To enter, fill out the form below! A winner will be chosen on July 17, 2012. Open everywhere.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Book Review: Andor Awakening

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Andor Awakening
Author: Brendan O'Keeffe
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Kindle; 210
Release Date: March 15, 2012
Source: Author
--------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
--------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love fantasy that immerses them in the world with great descriptions.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon
War is everywhere.

Shae is consumed by a vicious war between the human Imperium and a brutal race known only as the Raz. Humanity stands on the edge of destruction as the Razian forces advance city by city, burning everything in their path. Waking to find no memory of his troubled past and haunted by the implications of his abilities, Andor must find his place in this violent world, discover who he was, who he is, and what all of this means for Shae...

Can I just start by saying that once again I'm blown away by the Indie author movement? It seems every time I turn my head, there's another fabulous self-published book for me to read. It just goes to show that it doesn't matter how it gets published, it matters how well it is written.

Andor Awakening sated my recent deep need for some good, old-fashioned fantasy. You know the kind. A sweeping world, filled with small towns and bustling cities. Described beautifully so that you can almost see yourself walking down the cobblestone paths. A bloody war that is sweeping over the land. The epic battles, filled with an even amount of might and magic, that are a part of the aforementioned war. These are the things that keep me coming back to the fantasy genre, and Brendan O'Keeffe reminded me of all of that.

I absolutely loved Andor and his companions. They are the epitome of what it means to be a warrior. Brave, strong, loyal. The type of people who I would be more than happy to have surrounding me. Written so perfectly, that I could picture them in my mind. Andor especially really shines in this story, which makes sense as he is the person we follow. Waking up with no knowledge of where (or who) he is, the reader tags along as he discovers his broken past and his uncertain future. To say that Andor is brave is actually a bit of an understatement. I won't spoil, but let's just say that the sheer determination he shows is enough to put him in my book of favorite characters.

What really pushed me over the edge into loving this book were the perfect descriptions. You might have noticed that I opened up with that above. O'Keeffe knows just how to give you enough to keep you immersed in the world of Shae, without being overbearing. I found myself walking the same paths as the characters, cringing at the bloody battles that they faced, and even feeling my breath taken away when a perfect kiss ensued. Let's be honest. The most important part of a fantasy novel is feeling like you're a part of it. Andor Awakening will give you that.

Despite a few minor grammatical hiccups, this book is also very well edited. You might catch them while reading, but I know that on my end it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the story. I am so thrilled to have found this new author and a new series to love! To all my fantasy loving friends out there, please go pick up a copy of Andor Awakening. You'll quickly find that you should have done it long ago.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Book Review: Glimmer

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Glimmer
Author: Phoebe Kitanidis
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: Hardcover; 352
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Source: The Teen Book Scene
-------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
-------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love a good paranormal read with plenty of twists and turns!

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?
And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?

When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

Looking for an out of the box read? I'll happily start this review by saying that this book will satisfy that need. Phoebe Kitanidis has done it yet again, writing a book that will keep you reading well into the wee hours of the morning. My attention was caught instantly by the fact that these two teens wake up in such an odd situation. I kept wondering how they could have completely forgotten everything. As I read on I realized that things were just a little too perfect in the town of Summer Falls.  Ghosts, mystery...heatnaps? Oh yes. That's what you'll find inside Glimmer and so much more!

This story is told in alternating points of view, which actually works really well in the overall flow of things. Both Elyse and Marshall are vivid characters with just enough difference in their voices to make them easier to discern. Which is important, because a lot of times they will have the same thoughts. It's eerie, and slightly sweet. Still, what I loved was watching their struggle. As Elyse and Marshall discover who they once were, they realize how much they dislike those people. The reader gets to follow along as they figure out how to fight back and become better.

In case you're worried that Glimmer is all ghosts and no romance, let me assure you that there is a romance here. It just so happens to be a beautifully broken one. Here we have two people fighting to figure out where they came from, while working together to figure out where to go next. Elyse and Marshall have a lot of tough moments in the story (and some creepy ones as well), but Kitanidis balances it out with a bit of sweetness too. These two have their fair share of adorable moments together, and it makes everything even more worthwhile.

I'd love to say more, but I don't want to give anything away! The ghosts in this book are especially fantastic and different, but if I say more you won't have that part to uncover. So instead I'll just say that this is a read that is well worth your time! If you are looking for something outside the box. If you need a paranormal that strays away from the usual zombies, vampires and werewolves, pick up a copy of Glimmer. Just be prepared to read all night.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: The Return



I realized the other day that I haven't done one of these in forever! I'd been so packed with reviews and scheduled posts that I haven't had a chance to participate in any memes at all. So I'm making a comeback. Here we go!

Book Blogger Hop

If you could be a character from any book, who would you be?

Oh my gosh, how do I answer this question! So tough. 


If I could be any character, I'd go with Allie from Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules for so many reasons! First off she kicks some massive butt in that book. You want a girl who can hold her own? That's Allie. Plus she has a samurai sword. Oh and did I mention that she is a vampire and has those powers? She's sarcastic, witty and downright awesome.

Yeah, I'd be her.



If you stop by, don't forget to say hi in the comments! I'll return the favor and visit your blog too! Happy Friday!


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