Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: POISON by Bridget Zinn


It's been a while since I've done a Waiting on Wednesday post. This was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it's a great way to learn about new books coming out--or just great ones you can't wait to get your hands on. My selection this week is kind of special. POISON by Bridget Zinn is a long awaited read. I feel a personal connection to this book. Bridget died of colon cancer in May 2011. I contributed to an auction to help her pay her medical bills. She was always so upbeat and for a while it really looked like she was going to make it...and then she didn't. It saddens me that she isn't around to see her hard work come to fruition, but I'm glad she left a part of herself behind to share with all of us who love to read. Let's check out the description...

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she's the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

This story sounds so fresh. I'm really looking forward to reading it. A very cute pig?!? Now that's something you don't see in many YA romances! Can't wait to see how that plays out.

I hope you'll join me in reading POISON and giving Bridget's book a real shot at doing well.

POISON will be released March 12, 2013 by Disney-Hyperion.

Toodles to all my fellow book lovers....


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Book Two
If you haven't read the first book in this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I suggest you get on it--immediately! The writing is poetic, lyrical; the story--awesome! It's a fresh, original premise, filled with fantastical creatures and a intense love story that will leave you breathless trying to figure out how it's all going to come together.

The second book, Days of Blood and Starlight was a total surprise. First check out the description...

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou, finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is--and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. It's filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?
I was expecting a continuation of the love story essentially, but that's not what happened. This is about about war! It's not entitled Days of Blood and Starlight for nothing--emphasis on the blood! Hold your horses.  Don't let that scare you. I don't mean that the story is filled with unspeakable gore. Nothing could be further from the truth. But Karou has been betrayed and she's not taking it. She's intent on revenge and making the guilty parties pay--in the only way she knows how. I don't want to spoil your discovery, so you'll have to read the novel to learn how she does it...he he he....

Book One
As I implied earlier, the author took the story in a completely different direction--and I love it. She wrote the chapters from the perspectives of different characters beyond the two lovers, Karou and Akiva. This provides an opportunity to get to know old favorites better and meet new ones. I really enjoyed learning more about some of the unusual creatures in the story and getting a more intimate view of them--how they think, what they feel...The entire world of this story was fleshed out more. One is drawn into and immersed in it.

I'm already chomping at the bit to read the next book...*sigh*...I don't think Taylor is finished writing it yet...*double sigh*...but, I have something great to look forward to! I have a friend that I'm sending this book to as a gift. I gifted her the first book in the series now she's as hooked as I am, including her daughters...lol... All three are waiting for me to get it into their hands.

Make sure you don't miss out. I think it's been optioned for a movie. I don't know how they're going to get all these intricate plot points on the screen. Read it now! You won't regret it.

Toodles, ya'll


Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Celebrate the Life of a Beautiful Girl...

Sweetie sitting on my lap
I have a heavy heart today, but I'm fighting against it! The word of God says, "Rejoice in the Lord  always, and again I say, Rejoice." (Philippians 4:4) Tomorrow, December 10, will make a year that I lost my beautiful Sweetie. Her death remains a mystery to me as I don't really know what happened. She was found at the back door with mysterious wounds. I try not to think about it because it hurts me terribly.

Sweetie was such a gentle cat, the thought of her coming to harm brings me to tears. She was such a delight. I've decided to think of the good times with her and thank God that she was such a joy in our home for almost 13 years. We knew her from the day she was born and she never failed to bring us much laughter, fun and happiness.

Waiting for me to get out of the car.
I've lit a candle in her memory as a reminder of the wonderful light she was in our lives. I'll end this post with the words of my dear friend, Cheri. I've known Cheri since we were 11 years old. She wrote this to me a few days after Sweetie's death. They're perfect and capture exactly how I felt then and now:

"May God's Holy Spirit give you comfort and may you have cheer as you remember all the fond memories and times of bliss that your cat daughter gave you."

Amen, to that.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Movie Review: Anna Karenina




I never read the book, so I had no idea what this movie was about beyond a very basic knowledge that it was a love story of some sort. I loved the way it looked in the movie preview, so I decided to check it out.

For those of you who may be as clueless about the story as I was, Anna Karenina is married to a dutiful, but dull husband. She has an affair with the handsome Count Vronsky and tragedy ensues.

As soon as the movie came on the screen, I was confused. It started like a play on the stage and I didn't get it. I didn't know what was going on. As time progressed, it got better. I really began to get into the story, but those play-like elements continued to pop up and I found them distracting. They were interesting at times, but they kind of pulled me out of the story.

The story is an interesting contrast of the morals of the time and what they are today. A woman having an affair pretty much guaranteed the end of a life of any respectability. Today, sex without marriage is of little consequence to many.

The visuals of this film are stunning. That alone is worth the price of admission. Those play-like elements aside, I enjoyed this movie. Now I'm interested in reading the book...oh, and by the way, this is the first time I noticed that Keira Knightly has some rather crooked teeth! Lol...

Toodles, ya'll

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What a surprise! Movie Review: LINCOLN

Honestly, I don't know how to describe how I feel about this movie. It wasn't my intent to see it last night. I was coming out of Barnes & Noble and I saw a long line of people spilling out of the theater, waiting to go in to see LINCOLN. I saw the same thing last weekend when I passed by. My curiosity got the better of me. I had a free ticket, so I checked to see if I could use it for this movie and I discovered I could. I figured what the heck. Let's see what all the fuss is about. I had a good time just talking to people waiting on line and inside the theater before the film began. *shaking my head* And then the movie started...

Lol...I didn't have a clue about what was going to take place in this movie. I assumed it was going to show a lot of action, drama and war scenes from the civil war. Indeed, that is exactly the first scene that came on the screen when the movie began: a brutal, vicious fight scene. Yep. That was the first fight scene...and the last! Oh yeah. There was a war going on, but you didn't see it. You heard about it---through the characters---talking about it. I was not expecting that. Judging by the sighs coming from the audience, neither were a lot of people.

I hate to say this. I really do, but this movie bored me to tears! I hate to say this because it wasn't a bad movie. It was well acted and well-conceived. It just wasn't very entertaining. I mean, I learned a lot. It's great for understanding Lincoln's struggle to get the 13th Amendment passed to abolish slavery and getting a sense of the politics and the mindset of the American public at that time. Those are worthy goals. It took the viewer into the mind of Lincoln and gave a glimpse into his family life as a husband and father---totally cool---but there was a lot of talking---and I mean A LOT.  There were some funny scenes and at times, the political drama did have me on the edge of my seat, but such excitement was pretty sparse. I kept holding out for some war action, drama---something to get my blood pumping and it didn't happen.

I have such mixed feelings about this review because it's a good movie with an important message---especially during these political times when those in Washington are loath to compromise to get anything done. Lincoln was a master compromiser and pragmatist.

It's worth seeing. Just don't expect to see much action. It's a more cerebral film. If it were a book, it would be a literary one, not a commercial blockbuster. One thing is for sure: Daniel Day Lewis is a heck of an actor. He was Lincoln!  

Toodles, ya'll!







The winner of AT DAWN by Jobie Hughes is...

This is such a cool story. It's funny, it's sad, it's just darn good. Thanks for stopping by to learn about it. The winner of AT DAWN is...

M.C.V.  Egan!!

Please email me with your contact info so I can send the book out to you. Enjoy it! The winner was selected randomly. If I don't hear from her in 48 hours, I'll select someone else.

Toodles, ya'll!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: At Dawn by Jobie Hughes

I've been waiting for this book for a long time. Several years in fact, since the author's debut novel. Jobie Hughes is the co-author of the NYT bestselling YA book, I AM NUMBER FOUR. A movie of the same name was released as well. Some of you may be familiar with his rather sad tale. It tells of Hughes' collaboration with James Frey to write I AM NUMBER FOUR. Hughes was a graduate student in Columbia University's MFA program. He saw this as a great opportunity to get a book published and make contacts in the publishing world. Who knew the book would blow up and join the New York Times bestseller list and get adapted into a movie to boot?! The sad part is, Jobie can't use his own name on the book or publicly acknowledge he wrote it. It's all part of the contract he signed. If you're not familiar with what happened, you can read about it here in this NewYork magazine article: http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/69474/. If this isn't proof of how writers need an agent or someone with expertise to review their contracts, I don't know what is!

I've been anxiously awaiting his next literary effort, one he can put his own name on. At Dawn is it. It's not a YA novel, it's an adult literary story. Check out the description...

Caught in a riptide of haphazard underemployment, at turns violent and unpredictable and with no family or friends to speak of, Stratton Brown longs for the chance to escape his small-town past and build a new life. He sets out for Chicago, where he meets a new and fresh hell: a nine-to-fiver in a nondescript, meaningless company while falling headlong into an obsessive love affair with a woman he believes may be a bit too attached to her abusive ex-boyfriend. Is this all America has to offer its twentysomethings? He'll soon have to figure out that, beneath the gruff labor of building a new life, lies the presence of something much more true: a way past his violent childhood and a new path to the American dream.

This book is so different then his earlier effort, I didn't know how I would like it. I'm tickled to say, I freakin' loved it! Hughes has some serious writing chops. The protagonist, Stratton Brown has a lot in common with Hughes: they're both writers, both from Ohio and national wrestling champs. Does it sound faintly autobiographical? I met Hughes at a book signing and he acknowledges that there are parts of himself in the character. The question is, just how much?! I won't give away any spoilers, but there are some tough scenes, one that shocked me. I hoped they weren't part of the author's true experience!

At Dawn is a thought-provoking, introspective saga of a young man trying to get his life in order, but the flaws in his character, make it damn hard. I love how Hughes pulls the reader into Stratton's head and doesn't pull any punches. This story is stark and gritty. It's full of hard, knotty points, funny hysterical moments, philosophical meanderings and downright, moments of dread and unbelief. It'll leave you in tears too.

As a cat lover, one of my moments of pure joy was when the character, Stratton Brown made an observation about the cat in his life that was almost verbatim what I once said to someone. That was seriously, awesomely weird---and endeared me to this story even more. I made sure to wear my cat pin when I met the author and that got a good chuckle.  :-)

The experience with I AM NUMBER FOUR, left Hughes with a bad taste in his mouth to say the least. He's not so keen on writing another young adult book. I think that would be a serious mistake and pretty much told him so. He's proven his mettle in writing good, emotional stories in both the adult and young adult genres. The reading audience would be the losers if he doesn't make another go of it.

At Dawn is so well written, I want to give someone else the chance to read it and enjoy it. If you'd like to be that someone, just leave a comment. Don't forget your email. That is all.

Giveaway open to residents of the US, only---this time.

At Dawn was released October 16, 2012.

Toodles, ya'll!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Book Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I was fascinated. Who is that? And the title, Magisterium, it intrigued me as well. What does that mean? So, I looked it up. Imagine my surprise when I learned the definition: In the Catholic church, it's the teaching authority of the church. 

Huh?!?

How the heck is that supposed to play out in the story? I couldn't begin to imagine, but I was even more curious and interested to find out. Is this a story in which religion is a big focus? Check out the description...

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn's only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn't for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn's mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father's work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run---with only one place to go.

I don't know where to begin. This isn't an easy story to describe. Jeff Hirsch has created a world filled with magic, fantasy and wonder. I read his first book, The Eleventh Plague and loved his description of a gritty dystopian world. I was pleasantly surprised to see him delve into a fantastical world with mystery and magic.

Let me tell you, this is a story you have to read carefully. There's a lot going on and Hirsch plunges the reader right in the midst of it without any backstory. You do get some background dispersed within the narrative, but I found I had to re-read some segments more than once to get a clear sense of what was going on. Honestly, I'm still not sure if I visualized some of the scenes correctly...lol...the Rift is a kind of topsy-turvy world of weird creatures, magic spells and peculiar motivations. Throughout, I was keeping watch for that religious piece. I don't think I found it. I think the author has created his own definition of Magisterium and I do love that title. It's weird---like the story itself.

There is a very light touch of romance between Glenn and Kevin, but it's just a tiny element. This couple is going through so much hell in this story, they have very little time to focus on their feelings for each other. As a romance junkie, I might have been disappointed about this, but there is so much action and strange goings-on in the tale, I was totally caught up in it. I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next!

Magisterium is strange, mystical and at times, confusing story. I highly recommend it! It may not be the easiest story to understand, but it is highly entertaining...and kind of scary. If you've read it, I'm super interested in what your take on it is.

I'm not sure if this is a series or not, but the author certainly left room to continue the story, much as he did with his first book. If he continues on with either one of them, I'm in!

Magisterium released October 1, 2012 by Scholastic.

Toodles!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday...

I haven't done a WoW post in a while. Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it's a great way to learn about new books. This week, I'm interested in The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray. Check out what it's about...

A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when seventeen-year-old Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.
  
 At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.
  
   The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.
   
   If they play it right, then they'll be safe.
   
   But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

The cover caught my attention right away. It's so creepy. The premise is pretty creepy too: some old guy playing with people's lives like they're pieces on his personal chess board. It sounds like a story right out of the Twilight Zone! And on top of it, he's hooking up with one of them! Sounds pretty crazy. I don't have to wait to get it because The Dollhouse Asylum released October 22, 2012 by Spencer Hill Press!

Toodles, ya'll!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Interview with NYT bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz

The second installment in Melissa de la Cruz's original e-book series, Wolf Pact released October 23, 2012. I was curious as to why she decided to write a story totally in e-book form, so I asked her. This is what she had to say...

Why I Love Serialized Fiction by Melissa de la Cruz

I'm a huge fan of serialized fiction, to me they're like little TV episodes for a book -- tune in next week for the next installment! I actually started my fiction career by writing serial fiction. I wrote "Cat's Meow" which became my first novel as a weekly column for a fashion website called www.hintmag.com my friends and I started. I collected them into a proposal and then Simon and Schuster bought it as my first novel. After the book was published, Gotham magazine asked if I wanted to write a weekly serial for them, so I wrote "The Fortune Hunters" for a year. I sold it as a novel to Random House but I actually got too busy and wasn't able to publish it. (Maybe I still will one day, who knows!) 

So to me, going back to serial fiction is like coming home. WOLF PACT was not originally intended to be a serial or an ebook, but as I began to write it, I knew how IMPORTANT it was to publish it before the final Blue Bloods book came out, and how much of a richer reading experience Gates of Paradise would be with the wolves' back story and we decided to go e-book in order to bring WOLF PACT to the fans first. I wrote the novel as a novel, and when we made this decision, I had to figure out how to restructure it so it would fit the serial format. It worked out pretty well, because I'd laid out the book in four parts anyway, and from two POVs—Lawson and Bliss.

WOLF PACT was years in the making, but writing isn't a machine-like process, it took a long time for the story to gel and to discover how the wolves' story related to the vampires. Once you unearth it though, it always amazes me how well it fits, as if it was there all along. I always forget a writer's job is to hunt for the gem of the story in the idea. You have to keep chiseling away to find it. When you do, your work is done, and you turn it in.

         
Released 10/23/12
And don't forget, the series only cost $1.99 at Amazon and $2.54 for the Barnes &Noble Nook!

Toodles!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cover Love: A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourne

I ran across this book on another site and fell in love with the cover. It's in my favorite shades of color: aqua, sage green...I actually thought it was an old, vintage book, but it just looks old--on purpose! Look closely. You'll see what looks like creases in the cover!

I couldn't find much about what the novel is about. Only that it's set in the twenties and the protagonist on the cover goes to Africa in search of adventure or something. The author said the cover model allowed her hair to be cut just for the shoot of the book cover. Accommodating girl, she. No? Ha ha ha...

A Spear of Summer Grass releases April 23, 2013 by Harlequin Mira.

I hope you enjoy the pure joy of looking at it that I do.

Toodles!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In My Mailbox...

I may be drowning in books, but I can't resist a few more. I received a few really good ones in the mail and made a trip to the bookstore to continue my reading addiction.

Book two
I was tickled to get Dark Triumph--My Fair Assassin, book 2 by Robin LeFevers. If you read the first book, Grave Mercy, you know it's an awesome, gothic, YA that is most unusual and unique in its premise. When I finished it, I couldn't wait to learn how the saga continues and I give my thanks to Houghton Mifflin for giving me the opportunity. Dark Triumph releases April 2, 2013.

I was surprised to find Mila 2.0 in my box. It was my Waiting on Wednesday Selection not so long ago. The cover is so eye-catching. It's about a girl who was built in a secret science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do. Mila was never supposed to learn her true identity. She makes a run for it. It sounds like an action-filled romp full of intrigue. I can't wait to dig into it. My thanks to Katherine Tegen Books of HarperCollins for their swift generosity. Mila 2.0 releases March 12, 2013.
                                                                 
I ran across Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles and the premise sounded so good, I had to buy it. I'm a huge animal lover and I loved the idea of a young girl finding a wolf pup abandoned and nursing him through rough times. Nika, the girl, has lost her mother as well and I'm looking forward to learning how she and the pup bond and grow together...*sigh*...Doesn't the wolf pup on the back cover look adorable? The author works with troubled kids and has experience with wolves! Summer of the Wolves released March 8, 2012.

Lastly, I love home decorating books and I haven't bought any in a long while. I ran across this one, Romantic Style,  on my last trek to Barnes and Noble. The beautiful pictures are such an inspiration...


Did you get or buy anything interesting?

Toodles!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

NYT bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz releases her first e-book original series!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz has earned critical acclaim, literary awards, and legions of fans around the world for her highly addictive Blue Bloods YA series about a group of elite Manhattan vampires.  This fall, Hyperion will release WOLF PACT, a companion to the Blue Bloods, and the first original e-book series for both de la Cruz and her publisher.  

One of the great things about this series is the price: $1.99 on Amazon and $2.54 on B&N Nook!

Here's what Melissa has to say...

“When my publisher approached me to publish Wolf Pact in this format,” says de la Cruz, “I jumped at the chance.  Each part of the story is dependent on the next, and the wolves’ story had to be told first in order for the finale of the Blue Bloods series, Gates of Paradise (out January 2013), to make sense. The speed and convenience of this format allowed me to give my fans a richer backstory to finish off the series.“

Brimming with mesmerizing supernatural creatures, WOLF PACT Part I went on-sale October 2nd, Part II on-sale October 23rd, Part III goes on sale November 13, and Part IV on-sale December 4.  Each cliff-hanger ending will tantalize fans as they anxiously wait for the next installment to release.

Once enslaved in the darkest pits of the underworld, Lawson and his pack were destined to become Hounds of Hell. Escaping to Earth bought them a little time, but their old masters soon catch up with them and take away the one thing Lawson is desperate to keep hold of – the girl he loves. Now, Lawson needs to hunt the beasts he was running from if there's any chance of seeing her again. When Bliss, a mysterious ex-vampire, turns up to search for the Hounds, it seems she might hold information that will help. But will she be able to trust this insolent, dangerously good-looking boy when she knows that he has a wolf's soul?

WOLF PACT, a timeless and romantic story of love and loss, will delight both readers who are encountering Melissa’s storytelling for the first time and devoted and long-time fans who are eagerly awaiting Blue Blood’s dramatic climax in Gates of Paradise.  

Toodles, ya'll!
 

 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday Selection: FIREBLOOD by Trisha Wolfe

 
Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a wonderful way to learn about new books coming out. Check out Fireblood. Doesn't it have an amazing, crystal-clear cover?
 
Fireblood
To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control.

When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father's capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin.

Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult.

When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart's twisted world, Zara's path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara's hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father's evil nature, or they will take him out.

But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels' command and where the prince's heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she's truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart
.
 
Release date is October 8, 2013 by Spencer Hill Press, so I have quite a wait ahead of me *sigh*.

Toodles!


Monday, October 1, 2012

And the Winners of BLOGFEST are....

Thanks, guys for stopping in and making the BLOGFEST the success it always is. I wish I had a book to give to everyone. Let me announce the three lucky winners that did win. They are...


The winner of Wayne of Gotham is...

Adam!! 


The winner of Pure is...

Tanya!!


The winner of When it Happens to You is...

JHolden!!

Congratulations, winners! Please email me with your contact information so I can pass it along to the publicists. If I don't hear from you in 72 hours, I'll select someone else in your place.

Thanks again, all...until the next time...

Toodles!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Three Day Giveaway Only! BlogFest 2012. Three Winners for this, including a surprise signed book!

WELCOME TO BLOGFEST 2012!

This is an awesome opportunity to explore a lot of blogs, all of which are having a special BLOGFEST giveaway over the next three days. The master list of blogs is located at A Journey of Books.

I'll be giving away three very interesting novels. I'd like to thank the publicists and publishers for being so generous in providing the books for this giveaway. I like to keep things simple. For a chance to win any of the three books, just leave a comment with your email. That is all. Please don't forget your email. If you're a winner and you haven't left a way to contact you, I'll have to select someone else. Don't miss your opportunity.

I can't guarantee which one of the books you'll receive. The selections will all be made randomly, so be prepared and open to receiving any one of the three. Let's begin!

Book One
Pure by Julianna Baggott is the first book in a YA trilogy. Check out the description...

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.


Book two up for grabs is a signed copy of When it Happens to You by that 1980's icon, Molly Ringwald!  This is what it's about....

When it happens to you, you will be surprised. That thing they say about how you knew all the time, but just weren't facing it? That might be the case, but nevertheless, there you will be.

Molly Ringwald mines the complexities of modern relationships in this gripping and nuanced collection of interlinked stories. Writing with a deep compassion for human imperfection, Ringwald follows a Los Angeles family and their friends and neighbors while they negotiate the hazardous terrain of everyday life - revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all.

In "The Harvest Moon," a stay-at-home mom grapples with age, infertility, and an increasingly distant husband. In "Ursa Minor," a former children's television star tries to rebuild his life after being hospitalized for "exhaustion." An elderly woman mourns the loss of her husband and her estranged relationship with her daughter in "The Little One." In "My Olivia," a single mother finds untapped reserves of strength to protect her flamboyant six-year-old son who wishes only to wear dresses and be addressed as Olivia. And in the devastating title story, a betrayed wife chronicles her pain and alienation, leading to an eviscerating denouement.

As the lives of these characters converge and diverge in unexpected ways, Ringwald reveals a startling eye for the universality of loss, love, and the search for connection. An unflinching yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart,
When It Happens to You is an auspicious literary debut.

And the third book is a special little story: Wayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickman. Batman fans should really love this. And, despite the look of the cover, don't be confused. This isn't a graphic novel/comic book. It's a 304 page novel. Here's the description...

When the Batman begins to investigate the events surrounding his parents' murder, he will also uncover the darkest secrets of his family's past. No fan of the Dark Knight will want to miss this one-of-a-kind window into Gotham’s dark protector in this fast-paced thriller from New York Times bestselling fantasy writer Tracy Hickman. Readers of Kevin J. Anderson’s The Last Days of Krypton and Enemies & Allies will know that comic book characters pack a powerful punch when they enter the pages of a novel. Wayne of Gotham is no exception: as the DC Universe’s millionaire playboy journeys into the dark recesses of his own past, his is a journey that could spell the end for everything he holds dear—and the end of the hero he has become: the Batman.

Two men separated by murder: Thomas, the rebellious doctor and heir to the vast Wayne empire, and Bruce, his son, whose life is forever altered by witnessing his parents' murder. The slaying of Thomas and Martha Wayne is the torturous point on which Bruce turns to become Batman.
The Dark Knight's file on the case has long been closed, the foundations of Bruce Wayne's secret life secure in the simple genesis of a mugging gone horribly wrong.
These foundations are shaken, however, when an unexpected guest invades the grounds of Wayne Manor, raising questions about the event that ended the lives of the mother he loved and the father he worshipped, and sparked his unquenchable drive to protect and avenge.
To discover his real family history, Batman must face down old foes, his only confidant, and the evil heart of Arkham Asylum, and shoulder the new burden of a dark legacy.


GIVEAWAY IS OPEN TO US RESIDENTS ONLY, PLEASE, AT PUBLISHER'S REQUEST.


 After you leave here, you guys can make a stop at the next five blogs on the tour. For your convenience, here they are:

The Relentless Reader
Bookvisions
Jennifer Wells, Paranormal Romance Author
Hildie McQueen - Writing by Midnight
A Passion For Romance

Toodles!





Sunday, September 23, 2012

In My Mailbox...

It's been a while since I've made one of these posts. One book in particular that I received this week, The Diviners, motivated me. I was so tickled to receive it! I've wanted to read this since Libba Bray started writing it a couple of years ago and now it's finally here in print. I can't wait to see if it's as good as I hope it is. My thanks to Little, Brown and Co. for their generosity.

Another book I've been anticipating is At Dawn by Jobie Huges. If you're not aware, he's the true author of I Am Number Four, the YA novel that hit the NYT bestsellers list and became a movie. Jobie collaborated with James Frey of the A Million Little Pieces debacle, on writing the novel. If you recall, the author noted on the book is "Pitticus Lore", one of the novel's characters. Poor Jobie can't even use his real name or get any recognition for writing the darn book. The whole mess was written up in a huge article in the New York Times. It looks like he also lost out on a lot of the profits too. What a shame. I've been anticipating the book that he can put his name on and At Dawn is it. I really enjoyed I Am Number Four and I can't wait to sink my teeth into Jobie's new project. Thank you Sokft Skull Press.

The Shadow Society is already out in it's finished form and has a starred review, so I'm curious to check it out. My thanks to Farrar Straus Giroux for sending me the Arc. The Dark Unwinding is a gothic YA with hints of Jane Eyre. Can't wait to see what's going on here. Thanks Scholastic.

I've heard a lot about Pure and was surprised to receive a copy. My gratitude to Grand Central Publishing. The sequel is being released in February 2013. I've been intrigued by EVE since I first heard about it. Thanks to Deb and HarperCollins for sending that and it's sequel, Once.




Boy, do I have a lot of reading to do. Where am I going to find the time? I'll just have to get started and do my best. Anyone else get anything interesting?

Toodles!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Two Winners of The Kingmaker's Daughter by Phillippa Gregory are...

Okay, you lovers of Phillipa Gregory. I'm ready to announce the winners of her latest novel, The Kingmaker's Daughter. Are you ready? The winners are...

Bookish in a Box!!!

and....

Kritter!!!

Thanks for entering, girls. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Please email me with your contact info so I can pass it on to the publisher. If the winners don't respond in 48 hours, others will be chosen in their place.

Toodles!
                                                                 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Release Day! Book Review of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris.


Cat Crawford, just about to turn 16, is not in the mood to celebrate.
Her mother abandoned the family years ago, but the aftershock of her scandalous behavior still smacks Cat squarely between the eyes on a regular basis.
Her dad’s a great guy, but he’s married to a young, overly enthusiastic woman who can’t get it through her head that Cat isn’t interested in welcoming her into the family. What’s a girl to do when clueless step-mommy wants to throw a Sweet 16 party worthy of MTV? Escape—and fast. And Cat manages this feat better than she could have ever imagined.
An unexpected visit into a gypsy tent for a tea reading lands Cat in 16th century Renaissance Italy. She meets her ancestors on dear old mom’s side of the family and her first real crush—the scintillating Lorenzo.
Cat considers that this time-travel trip may not be so bad after all—until an older man sets his sights on her. Almost 16, Cat fits the bill for a Renaissance era wife—something she’s not keen on.
Can she get back to the future before she’s forced down the aisle?
If you judge this book by its cover, you may think it’s a fun, lighthearted affair—and it is, but it’s also so much more. The author excels at capturing a teen girl’s voice, especially one that’s ticked off, struggling with unfamiliar emotions, and trying to find her place in two topsy turvy worlds, both the real and the fantastical.
There are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments as Cat works her way through ancient times with all the cocky, funny wherewithal of a 21st century teenager.
The author did her homework when it came to recreating the era of the Italian renaissance. I went to Italy as a teenager and some of the scenes described, took me back to that time. I wanted to pull out a history book and review the renaissance time period. Readers are given the full flavor without feeling overwhelmed. There is a skillful blending of Cat’s modern sensibilities with those of her teenage Italian ancestors.  
As much fun as My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is, Ms. Harris has managed to touch on heavier topics, but not in a heavy handed manner: abandonment, parent-child conflict, and stepparent relationships.
The novel highlights the relationship between older men and brides who are essentially still children. This can provide a forum for thought provoking discussions about the roles of women during different times in history. 
Rachel Harris has skillfully crafted her debut novel. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century covers a breadth of issues, all in a fun-filled, throughly enjoyable package. Best of all, there's a neat twist to bring readers back for the next saga in book two. 
Buy it. Read it!
Toodles.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hey Phillipa Gregory fans! Book giveaway of THE KINGMAKER'S DAUGHTER. Two winners for this!

Long time, no see, guys! Life has kept me off the computer and out of the internet. I figured I'd mark my return by offering you a chance to receive the latest book by that historical-writing diva, Phillipa Gregory: The Kingmaker's Daughter. Check out the description...

Spies, poison, and curses surround her…. Is there anyone she can trust?
In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a novel of conspiracy and a fight to the death for love and power at the court of Edward IV of England.

The Kingmaker's Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the 'Kingmaker,' Richard, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth century England. Without a son and heir, he uses his two daughters as pawns in the political games and they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.



If you'd like the chance to be one of the two winners, just leave a comment saying what you love about Phillipa Gregory's books. If you haven't read her work, that's fine, just say so. Don't forget your email!

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.

My thanks to the lovely Kaitlyn of Simon and Schuster for making this giveaway possible.

The Kingmaker's Daughter released August 14, 2012.

Toodles!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Book One
I became a fan of Barry Lyga after reading his novel, Boy Toy. It's a tale that deals with the sexual abuse of a young boy by his teacher. Lyga told me he received a lot of flack for the book because of the graphic description of the sexual abuse. I didn't have a problem with it as was true to the story and as a counselor, I've heard a lot of cringe-worthy stories from children who were abused. It's real, it happens. Deal with it.

I Hunt Killers deals with another real-life entity: the serial killer. As Lyga was writing the book, I recall him talking about how much research it took as well as how huge his manuscript was.  He got the book deal at around the same time Libba Bray got hers for The Diviners. I couldn't wait to read them both. Check out the description of I Hunt Killers...

It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field.
Except for the body.

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, "Take Your Son to Work Day" was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminals' point of view.

And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo's Nod. Again.

As I read the story I felt I was in good hands. I was confident that Lyga had done his homework and I was getting an education somewhat, into the mind and machinations of how a serial killer goes about his business. But this in not just about the ways and means of a killer. Lyga approaches the story from a unique and fresh perspective: the killer's adolescent son, Jazz. It explores the horror of having such a man for a father; how it affects Jazz's sense of who he is and what he fears he will do.

The author fleshed out the characters so well. They each had a unique voice and persona. Jazz's best friend, Howie was laugh-at-loud funny. And Connie the girlfriend...well she made me wonder if the author had a black girlfriend because he was dead-on about the black girl's obsession with her hair! Lol...

I Hunt Killers is an exciting mystery as the reader tries to figure out, along with Jazz, who the newest killer in town is now. When the killer is revealed, I pondered on how the author deftly executed that plot twist. He had me scrambling back through the pages to make sure the killer was who I thought it was. Genius. It was a real study in constructing an intriguing plot.

The story concludes firmly, but is clearly leading to another exciting installment in book two. I can't wait!

I Hunt Killers released April 3, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Toodles!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness by Lili St. Crow

Book One
Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It offers us the opportunity to profile books we're anticipating reading.I recently discovered an interesting little story that I want to get my hands on. It's called Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness by Lilli St. Crow. The title pulled me in. Let's see what it's all about...

When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven - the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She's no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it's not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth...to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.

New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow thrilled legions of fans with her dark paranormal series Strange Angels. Now she has crafted an evocative update of Snow White, set in a vividly imagined world and populated by unforgettable new characters.
 

Snow White?! I don't know about you, but this description didn't strike me as anything like the classic Snow White. I guess the Seven has some connection to the seven dwarfs? Now I'm even more interested in finding out what the heck is going on here! Oh, wait a minute. I just looked at the cover again. That has some Snow White sensibilities: the white dress, the red apple...but that's as close as it gets. I wouldn't have made that connection if I hadn't read the description.

What do you think? Now I want to check out the author's Strange Angels series. Has anyone read it?

I've got a bit of a wait ahead of me; the spring to be specific.

Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness releases April 04, 2013 by Razorbill (Penguin)

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Sugar Chronicles (1)

Do you believe in the power of commercials? I didn't give it much thought until now, until said commercials swept me into a pit that I'm now trying to claw my way out of. Are you familiar with the Magnum ice cream bar? The actress, Rachel Bilson runs across the tops of cars in a traffic jam to get to one. I've watched those commercials for the longest time and I guess they were affecting me more than I realized. I went on vacation this summer and saw the bars in a store. They looked so good in the commercial, I decided to give them a try. Bad idea. I loved them. And now I'm hooked. I struggle not to buy them. They dance in my head, tempting me, teasing me, begging me to give them just one more chance!!! Argh!!!!

 I lost three pounds and put it back on because of those darn bars. At between 290-310 calories per bar--depending on the flavor, is it any wonder they're a diet destroyer?--especially if you eat more than one--which I hate to admit I did. Ugh!

I went to the supermarket yesterday and stood in front of the freezer, staring at the bars like a little kid. I managed to walk away...this time.

Toodles, ya'll

And the winner of BUNHEADS is...

It was my pleasure to host this giveaway. As I said before, I love the cover of this book and wanted to keep it just because of that, but I didn't want to deny someone else the chance to read it. It nicely delves into the world of the professional ballet dancer and brings that world to life. Now to the important part! The winner of the lovely BUNHEADS is....

Marce!!!

Congratulations, Marce! Please email me with your info and I'll head to the post office to get BUNHEADS your way. Enjoy :-)

The winner was selected randomly using Random.org

Toodles!

                                     
                                                                            

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Giveaway: BUNHEADS by Sophie Flack

BUNHEADS draws the reader into the professional world of the ballet dancer. The author is a former dancer with the New York City Ballet Company, so I know she drew on her real life experience to pen her tale. It was a delight. The healthy dose of romance added to the joy. Did you know that only particular dancer's can call themselves ballerinas? I didn't. BUNHEADS takes you along in the intimate journey of Hannah...

On-stage beauty. Backstage drama.
 As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?

The cover is gorgeous. The dancers are arranged like exotic, abstract flowers. I wanted to keep the book for that reason alone, but I have so many books and not enough room. I know someone else will enjoy it.

If you'd like to be that someone, just leave a comment with your email. That is all. The winner will be selected randomly. The giveaway is open to residents of the US, Canada and the Caribbean.

Toodles!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

My thanks to Jill of Breaking the Spine for developing Waiting on Wednesday. It's a great way to learn about new books. I also thank Entangled Publishing for sending me an Arc of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris. Check out the description...

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?


I can't wait to start reading this story. I'm curious to learn how the author meshes a modern teen into a world of sixteenth century sensibilities. The cover of the "old world" girl with the backpack is a great dichotomy and I want to know if it works in the literary sense. I also want to see how Cat handles the old creeper sniffing around her...lol...

What are you waiting to read this week?

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris releases September 18, 2012 by Entangled Teen.

Toodles, ya'll!

Friday, August 17, 2012

What would Bella do?!....

Kristin & Rob when times were good
I sure hope it wouldn't be making the choice that led to the debacle that poor Kristin Stuart finds herself in the midst of. You know, I always saw Kristen as kind of asexual, not exuding any real sex appeal to speak of. If anyone was the sex symbol it was Pattinson, albeit reluctantly. I first heard about this affair mess on that talk show, The Talk, with Julie Chen. Chen read Kristin's apology to Pattinson in which she said the "lip-lock" with her director was a momentary lapse of judgement and a one time thing. I bought it---until I saw those pictures.

It clearly wasn't something that happened once. You'd have to be a fool to believe that. I only posted a few, but some of the shots are so intimate, it's embarrassing to look at. The movie had long wrapped and been released. They had no need to be together. He called her and she hustled herself to meet him. Actually, it was the run-down, shabby neighborhood she drove to that attracted the photographer's attention. He decided to wait it out and see what the heck she was doing in a place like that. He's curiosity scored some major pics and broke up the king and queen of the teen scene.

Kristin & her director, Rupert Sanders
All this makes me think of a MTV Movie Awards interview that Kristin did with Pattinson in 2008. The interviewer asked if she and Pattinson had anything going on. Kristin's long-time boyfriend, Michael Angarano was standing to the side watching the interview. Kristin and Robert looked at each other in a very weird and pained way. I mean, it was striking to see. Robert looked so sad and they both looked upset. I viewed that interview several times to make sure I wasn't imagining things. Nope. I wasn't. I figured they either were really liking each other a lot and couldn't admit it, or they were secretly hooking up unbeknownst to anyone--including her clueless boyfriend Michael. It wasn't long after, that Michael was no where to be seen.
Kristin and Michael Angarano

I felt a bit bad for him. He had dated Kristin for several years and lost out to the hot, smokin' vampire co-star.

I guess Rob knows how he feels now...

Toodles, ya'll