30 June 2011

Winners!!



It's that time again. I have some winners for you guys. Sorry that the Midsummer's giveaway winner is just being posted now. Better late than never, right?

Thanks to everyone who entered, you guys are awesome!

Midsummer's Giveaway - $15 to the Book Depository -

Tiffany Drew


THREE winners of CUT By: Patricia McCormick (originally was two winners, but I'm giving away my copy as well) -

TheGirlOnFire27

Maria Smith/Maria

Renee Burnette

 

Again, thanks to everyone who entered. I hope you'll keep coming back to check out not only future giveaways but that you'll interact with posts in the comments section and that you find new and amazing books and authors to read and follow.

As always, winners are chosen via random.org unless otherwise stated. If you have any questions check my policy page or please let me know. All winners have been contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond or I'll have to pick another winner. If you see your name here, but don't have an email from me - be sure to check your spam folder OR email me to claim your prize!

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Haunting Violet By: Alyxandra Harvey
Walker Childrens Books (June 21st, 2011), 352 Pages.

Synopsis: Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?


What is your favorite thing about writing in the Young Adult genre?

I adore the YA genre. I love how complicated and simple it can be, how far you can carry a metaphor and how you can find real friends in the characters you read and write about. Adolescence is one of the many rites of passage from ancient cultures that are lost to us. I think it’s to our detriment that they are missing from modern life. And I think YA literature and fairy tales and the wonderful intersection of both provide that.

Haunting Violet takes place in 1872 England, with your love of history you must have had a great time doing research for this book. Can you tell us anything about how you came up with the idea for Haunting Violet and what is it about this time in history that you knew would be the perfect setting for your story?

The idea for Haunting Violet popped into my head when I was reading about fake séances in the 1870’s. I love research into historical details so I was reading without any particular goal, just gathering like a magpie. But I could really picture Violet reluctantly working for her mother and how confused she would be if she ever found out ghosts were actually real. Once I had that question in my mind, I just felt compelled to answer it. And I’ve loved anything Regency (Pride and Prejudice!) for as long as I can remember and I think that’s where my love of Victorian England actually began. It was a natural progression until I just fell in love with the entire 19th century.

And at the end of the day there was just no better time in history for that particular story. It’s as much of a character as Violet is.

Can you share with us a favorite line or two from Haunting Violet?

“I was secretly entranced with the idea of a lady novelist. I should dearly love to be one. Or maybe a goblin-fighting pirate queen. It was difficult to choose sometimes” Violet, Prologue

“Surely a waterlogged girl with bracelets of bruises couldn’t be ignored like a wallflower. She stood out. And not just because of the smell.
I must be coming down with a touch of the ague.
Or suffering the effects of bad beef.
Surely that was it. I wasn’t sure which was preferable: hallucinations or illness or an actual psychical encounter.
I chose bad beef.” Violet, Chapter 4

Have you ever had an experience with a ghost? If so, could you share with us what happened?

I live in a gently haunted house built in 1860. Many of our friends who visit , especially the skeptical ones, have stories of having their hair pulled or seeing people where there are none. A few have even refused to come back! Happily, I’ve never seen a ghost since I have to sleep in our house and I already have a rather active imagination. Although, I’m not convinced I haven’t seen a ghost dog walking around. But that’s okay, I like dogs.

Can you tell us a secret about one of your characters in Haunting Violet?

Colin knows more than you think.

If you could travel back in time to live in any one place in the past, what year and place would you like to experience and why?

A great question that might keep me up at night! I’d love to visit so many places.

I would especially like to visit Regency England, circa 1815. I'd like to run around in a pelisse and flirt with handsome men wearing cravats.

I'd also like to drop in to Iron Age Celtic Britain, England late 1100's, Ancient Egypt, Victorian London (and Yorkshire to meet the Brontes), Quebec around 1630 (to see my ancestors!)....

I'd also kind of like to kick Henry 8 in the shins and then vanish back home safely before he could cut off my head. Is that so wrong?

Besides Vampires and Ghosts, is there any other supernatural/paranormal creature you would like to someday write about?

Absolutely! I have a soft spot for werewolves. And shapeshifters in general, actually.

And I did accidentally write a zombie book (out in 2012/13 sometime). I say accidentally because I thought I was writing about magic but then the zombies shuffled into the story and everything made more sense.

Lastly, would you tell us what you’re working on next?

I have a Faery YA “Stolen Away” out in May 2012 and the fourth book in the Drake Chronicles “Bleeding Hearts” out later this year. I am currently working on #6 of the Drakes and a few secret projects...


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us Alyxandra! We hope you’ll be able to come by again soon.

Thanks so much for having me!



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29 June 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.


Title: Fury (Fury, #1)
Author: Elizabeth Miles
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 352 Pages (August 30th, 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: The first book in a paranormal teen trilogy featuring three beautiful, mysterious girls wreaking havoc on a small New England town. 

Sometimes sorry isn't enough.... 

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems... 

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend. 

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed. 

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay. 

Em and Chase have been chosen.


Title: Misfit
Author: Jon Skovron
Publisher: Amulet, 362 Pages (August 1st, 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: Jael Thompson has never really fit in. She’s changed schools too many times to count. The only family she’s ever known is her father, a bitter ex-priest who never lets her date and insists she attend the strictest Catholic school in Seattle. And her mother—well, she was a five thousand year old demon. That doesn't exactly help. 

But on her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a present that brings about some unexpected changes. Some of the changes, like strange and wonderful powers and the cute skater boy with a knack for science, are awesome. But others, like the homicidal demon seeking revenge on her family? Not so much. 

Steeped in mythology, this is an epic tale of a heroine who balances old world with new, science with magic, and the terrifying depths of the underworld with the ordinary halls of high school.



Title: Twisted (Intertwined, #3)
Author: Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin, 304 Pages (August 30th, 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD ADEN STONE HAS HAD A HELL OF A WEEK. HE’S BEEN:

Tortured by angry witches. 
Hypnotized by a vengeful faery. 
Spied on by the most powerful vampire in existence. 
And, oh, yeah. Killed – twice. 

His vampire girlfriend might have brought him back to life, but he’s never felt more out of control. There’s a darkness within him, something taking over . . . changing him. Worse, because he was meant to die, death now stalks him at every turn. Any day could be his last. 

Once upon a time, the three souls trapped inside his head could have helped him. He could have protected himself. But as the darkness grows stronger, the souls grow weaker – just like his girlfriend. The more vampire Aden becomes, the more human Victoria becomes, until everything they know and love is threatened. 

Life couldn’t get any worse. Could it?

Three supernatural titles I can't wait for! Witches, vampires, demons... just to name a few things that can be found in one or more of the books. What do you guys think of these three books featured in this weeks WoW?

*covers are always subject to change.
*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this post.

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28 June 2011

Review: Between By: Cyndi Tefft

Title: Between
Author: Cyndi Tefft
Publisher: Createspace/Self Published, 246 Pages (April 21st 2011)
From: the Author, Thank You!

Synopsis: It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water's life isn't alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven's siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.

Review: 4 Stars - Between is an emotional story set in the land of Between – hence the title. It’s about a girl – Lindsey – who passed away too soon but found something in the between. It’s about Aiden who’s been transporting souls to heaven for 300 years. It’s about fate and strength, it’s about pain and grief… and so much more.

Between is Lindsey’s and Aiden’s story told through Lindsey’s eyes. She has a great voice in the first half, but really takes hold in the second part of the story. Tefft has written a strong pair in these two characters and made their story and each of the characters extremely emotional and emotionally driven, which grasped on and didn’t let go.

Aiden has been around for over 300 years. He takes souls onto heaven, always the one being left behind. He’s very old fashioned and very Scottish - swoon. His history and aspects of the story, as he’s showing Lindsey via what he calls ‘casting’ made him into a character that felt so real and true. The story he told was rough and sometimes harsh, but it was his truth and the truth of a time so long ago.

The budding relationship between Aiden and Lindsey happened a little fast, and without much reason, however when you don’t know how much time you’ll get to spend with someone you love, the true reality of things tends to take a back seat and love takes over. At least that’s how I saw it through my eyes.

Tefft had me ready to pull my hair at when I was blindsided by something that happened in the book. It totally took me by surprise. Just when I thought I might have some idea what would happen, the rug was pulled out from underneath me and that was where I shed a few tears. It was pretty brilliant where plot twists and the story are concerned.

One thing about this book is, I’d say it has a YA and Adult tug of war feel going on. I can see it being one or the other, really either or. Lindsey is in college, though still a teen… and Aiden, well he might look as he did when he passed, but he’s still over 300 years old. If anything I’d recommend this to older teens and adults. I can see both enjoying this title.

I can honestly say that I didn’t know quiet what to expect when it came to this title. The religious aspect of the story was a bit more than I had imagined, but in the end it didn’t change what I thought or felt about the characters, the story or the book as a whole.( I’m not a religious person at all) By the end of the book, with the turn of the last page, I wasn’t ready for the story between Lindsey and Aiden to end. Lucky for me, Tefft is writing a sequel that I’m already eagerly waiting for. If you are looking for something totally different and ready to shed a few tears, don’t mind the added aspects of religion, then this is the perfect ready for you.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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27 June 2011

Interview: With Between Author Cyndi Tefft



Synopsis: It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water's life isn't alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven's siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.


Check out my review for Between Tomorrow!




How did you come up with the idea for Between?

I wanted to write a good versus evil story, but I thought angels and demons were overdone. So I started mulling over other ways to bring heaven into the equation without making the character an angel. The Transporter idea allowed me the flexibility to create a whole realm between heaven and earth where I could make up the rules.

I’m also a sucker for a good love story, so anything I write has to be heavy on the romance. I’d been reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and fell in love with Scotland, so that’s why the hero is Aiden MacRae, a Scot from the 18th century!

What was your favorite part of writing Between?

I loved talking through ‘what if’ scenarios with my friends and family as the scenes were taking shape in my head. They’d get really into it, though strangely enough, my hubby always dreamed up bad things to happen to Aiden. Ha! I’d go on walks along the waterfront during my lunch break at work and puzzle out where the story should go next.

Of course, the best part of writing (to me) is when a reader gets excited about your book and falls in love with the characters. Nothing tops that!

Would you be able to share with us a favorite line or two from the book?

I was suddenly reminded of exactly what I’d wanted to do with him on the picnic blanket. I jerked back from him, my cheeks aflame.
“You don’t hear all my thoughts, do you?”
He threw his head back with an uproarious laugh and I narrowed my eyes in my most menacing glare, which made him laugh harder. “Gracious, woman, what kind of thoughts have you been thinking that you don’t want me to know?” His eyes danced with naughtiness and I turned away from him in an embarrassed huff. He reached out and grabbed my arm, pulling me easily to him.

If you could host a lunch for three or four other authors and their characters, who would those authors and characters be?

Without a doubt, it would be the cast of Outlander (author Diana Gabaldon and the most delicious Jamie Fraser).

I’d like to meet Richelle Mead and her characters from the Vampire Academy series (though I’d like it best if I had some supernatural powers, too).

Of course, who wouldn’t want to meet the Harry Potter and Twilight characters in person (if only to compare them to their movie star counterparts)? I share Ronald Weasley’s petrifying fear of spiders, so we’d have that in common to talk about. And I want to know what Edward really smells like (almond, sunlight, vanilla, honey?). C’mon, glamour me!

Can you tell us a bit about your experience with being self-published?

There are definitely pros and cons to going this route. You get to be in control of everything (which is good) but you have to be in control of everything (which is bad)! I love that I was able to choose the title and cover for my book, which is not always the case for traditionally published authors. On the other hand, I don’t have an expert team of editors, formatting gurus, web designers and salespeople backing me up. It’s all up to me.

There is a ton of information online about self-publishing, but it takes hours to weed through it. And even then, so much of the process is trial and error. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it definitely has its rewards.

Do you have any must haves for writing? (ie, snacks, drink, setting, etc.)

Brian Crain’s piano music was always playing in the background. I must have listened to his album, Sienna, at least 1,578,756 times (give or take)! I usually wrote on my laptop in the living room on the couch, though sometimes I would retreat to the bedroom if I needed some peace and quiet. I work a full-time job, so I wrote in the evenings and on the weekends.

I try not to snack while writing because I am so focused on the story that anything I put in my mouth would be empty calories. I love Diet Pepsi and always had a glass of that at my side, though!

Would you be able to tell us anything about projects you’re currently working on?

After the launch of Between, I will jump into finishing the sequel, Hell Transporter. The first draft is about a third of the way done already, but I haven’t looked at it in a while. I’m excited about spending more time with Aiden and Lindsey, and fleshing out the next chapter for them!

Lastly, are there any tips, tricks or advice you could give to anyone looking into self-publishing?

It’s tempting to just slap together a quick cover just to get the story out there, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that a cover is the most critical piece of your packaging. You want it to be the absolute best that it can be. It may the only chance you have at grabbing a reader’s attention.

Hire someone to create the cover for you if you’re not a graphic artist. I used Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design and I’m thrilled with how they took my idea and turned it into something amazing. In some Waiting on Wednesday blog posts, followers have commented that they can’t wait to read it based on the cover alone!


It was great having you here today Cyndi! Thanks so much for stopping by. We hope you’ll visit with us again soon.

Thanks for having me on the blog!




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Don't forget to check back tomorrow for my review of Between!

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25 June 2011

Title: Dead Iron (Age of Steam, #1)
Author: Devon Monk
Publisher: ROC Trade, 352 Pages (July 5th, 2011)
 
Synopsis: Welcome to a new America that is built on blood, sweat, and gears...
 
In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle for the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides, cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother's death. Then he's offered hope that his brother may yet survive. All he has to do is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers-and now in the hands of an ancient Strange who was banished to walk this Earth.

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he's going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all...



ENTER TO WIN ONE FINISHED
COPY OF DEAD IRON!!

Here's the rules and how to enter... don't worry, it's super easy!

Fill out the form for your entry to count
You must be at least 18 years old to enter
This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Giveaway ends: July 16th, 2011


A huge Thank You goes out to Penguin/ROC for offering the copy to giveaway.

Thanks to everyone who enters and good luck to each of you. As always winners will be chosen via random.org. If you have any questions be sure to check my policy page or feel free to email.

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24 June 2011

Review: Moonglass By: Jessi Kirby

Title: Moonglass
Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 224 Pages (May 3rd 2011)
From: the Publisher, Thank You! (Amazon Vine)

Synopsis: From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead.

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

Review: 4 Stars - Jessi Kirby’s Moonglass is more than just sun, sand and sea. It’s about truth, healing and honesty. It’s about strength and love. Kirby fit many emotions into her book and did a wonderful job with her characters and what they were finally working to come to terms with.

When Anna is forced to move when her dad takes a new job, she has the typical teen reactions. She’s angry and hurt and wants to stay right where all her friends, her grandmother and her memories are. She’s one heck of a girl with some guts, let me tell you. She’s grown up with the beach on her doorstep, enjoying the sand as much as the ocean. Along with her guts and her strength she’s also grieving. Her grief runs deep, something she’s been contending with for years and being in the place where here parents met, being so close to where her mother spent her summers stirs up old emotions and old but ever present wounds soon begin to fester.

There’s heartbreak of many different kinds throughout Anna’s journey. Not just her past, but also the past of those around her, new and old and of the Cove she now calls home. Many of these things are part of Anna’s past, a past she needs to come to terms with, but doesn’t know how to face it. Sometimes things aren’t as they seem and other times – sadly - things have to get worse before they can get better.

The relationship she builds with Tyler came at a time that I think she needed it the most. It was a slow thing that happened at it’s own pace and didn’t feel rushed. Which is a great because more often than not these types of relationships can feel rushed in YA novels, and Kirby did a wonderful job in writing the two and their relationship at a realistic pace. Anna and Tyler have cute moments and some great lines back and forth. I did laugh at a few things Anna said, which also added to the story and helped to make her a more rounded character.

All in all, Kirby’s debut was not only well written, it was sweet and entertaining with realistic characters in a beautiful setting. It’s always thrilling to find a new contemporary young adult title and this one fit the bill perfectly! I have no doubt that many others will become a fan or Kirby and will be on the look out for new titles from her in the future, just as I will be. Enjoy!

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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23 June 2011

Title: My Blood Approves (My Blood Approves, #1)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: LuLu, 261 pages (March 17th 2010)
From: ebook purchased from Amazon.

Synopsis: Teenager Alice Bonham's life feels crazy after she meets Jack. With his fondness for pink Chuck Taylors and New Wave, he's unlike anyone she knows. Then she meets his brother, Peter. Even though he can't stand the sight of her, she's drawn to him. Falling for two guys isn't even the worst of her problems. Jack and Peter are vampires, and Alice finds herself caught between love and her own blood.

Review: 4 Stars - For some time now Amanda Hocking has been taking the self published world by storm, and I was quick to understand why. The first in her Vampire series – My Blood Approves – sets the stage with characters I was glad to meet, history and a back story that was mysterious, often thrilling and writing that flowed and kept my interest from beginning to end.

Alice and Jack are the two main characters within this title. However, they are far from the only note worthy characters. Jack’s family and Alice’s brother Milo make many appearances throughout. One major player is Jack’s “brother” Peter, which turned out to be an extremely interesting part of the story. Talk about throwing a wrench into the works. Alice and Jack have a friendship that builds from that first encounter, which allowed things start to come to the surface as to who Jack and his family really are. While Alice and Jack’s relationship is different from the beginning it’s the draw that Alice has to Peter that turns this story upside down. It’s not your typical love triangle, that’s for sure. Put into Alice’s shoes, I’d be drawn to both Jack and Peter as well. As for which camp I sit in, I’m torn myself.

The unique aspects of Hocking’s vampires and the interesting bits and pieces we learn of Jack and his “family” throughout the book made this title interesting and one that I didn’t want to put down. Thankfully when I did finish I was ready for more and had the next book set up to continues the saga and see where Hocking and her characters would take us next.

I always love it when I find a new book or series and being that this is a self published title was just the icing on the cake. Hocking is talented and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the publishing world.

FTC Disclaimer: I DID pay for this book and have NOT been compensated at all in any way or means for reading this book and or writing this HONEST review.

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22 June 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.


Title: Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls, #2)
Author: C.C. Hunter
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, October 2011
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: Kylie Galen thought her life was a mess before she went to Shadow Falls Camp. However, now that she's discovered she's not human, the problems presenting themselves are anything but normal.

She's determined to uncover the answer to her supernatural heritage, but with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about to die, her newly developed sixth sense telling her someone is watching her and a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, Kylie's quest for answers is on hold. As if her life isn't difficult enough, just when she's about to give her heart to Derek, he starts pulling away. When Lucas comes back, Kylie feels more conflicted than ever. Kylie's weekend with her mom should have been just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point. Discovering her heritage may not ever matter if she doesn't survive.


Title: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 336 Pages (July 26th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Acad­emy — a school of myths, magic and war­rior whiz kids, where even the lowli­est geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spar­tan guy in school, also hap­pens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jas­mine Ash­ton was mur­dered in the Library of Antiq­ui­ties. Then, some­one stole the Bowl of Tears, a mag­i­cal arti­fact that can be used to bring about the sec­ond Chaos War. You know, death, destruc­tion and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m deter­mined to find out who killed Jas­mine and why – espe­cially since I should have been the one who died...

Loved the first book in the Shadow Falls Series - Born at Midnight, so this was a no brainer must read for me. I can't wait to see what happens next to the characters. As for the second part of this weeks' WoW - Touch of Frost, sounds like a must read mystery wrapped nice and tight in a paranormal. Can't wait for both!


*covers are always subject to change.
*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this post.

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21 June 2011

Review: Trauma Queen By: Barbara Dee

"Just Picked" is a feature here at A Life Bound By Books. This is a place where I'll be spotlighting new (and old) childrens book or picture books for parents and new readers. It's a place to talk about books for a younger group and to try to help create a new generation of readers.


Title: Trauma Queen
Author: Barbara Dee
Publisher: Aladdin, 272 Pages (April 19th 2011)
From: the Publisher, Thank You!

Synopsis: Every tween girl knows what it's like to have a mom who can be a little embarrasing at times. But for Marigold, it goes way beyond embarrassing. Marigold's single mom is a performance artist, meaning she stages dramatic, wacky performances to express her personal beliefs. Things like wrapping herself in saran wrap for a piece on plastic surgery, or inviting people over in the middle of the night to videotape her sleeping. In fact, Marigold's mom's performances caused such a ruckus in their last town that the two of them, along with Marigold's little sister, have just had to move. Now Marigold's starting a new school, missing her best friend like crazy, and trying to fit in all over again in the shadow of a mom who's famous for all the wrong reasons. As if that's not bad enough, Marigold's mom takes on a new job--teaching drama at Marigold's school! Now all the kids know instantly just how weird her mom is, and Marigold's worried she'll never be able to have a friendship that can survive her mother.

Review: 3 Stars - Middle grade title – Trauma Queen by Barbara Dee was a cute story about a tween girl growing up extremely embarrassed by her mother – shocking right? Being embarrassed by your parents is something most everyone can relate to; even as we get older they can still manage to find a way to make us cringe. If you ask me, I think it’s in their DNA. For Marigold she doesn't think she’ll ever have a normal teen life. Her mom is a performance artist and does things such as wrapping herself in saran wrap for a piece on plastic surgery.

Marigold is more than hurt when her moms dramatic performances hit close to home and affect her relationship with her best friend. It’s so bad that her mother moves them away.

Being a teen girl is rough and Marigold goes through a lot in a short period of time. Moving away from her best friend, starting a new school while trying to keep everyone from finding out about her moms art, just to name a few things.

Marigold has lessons to learn at both home and from the new friends she makes. Dee was able to express and portray the feelings and issues of being a teen pretty spot on. It was easy to see through Mari’s eyes, while dealing with the crazy things life threw at her.

Her grandmother was just as a grandmother should be. She listened, was supportive, explained things in ways Mari’s mother couldn’t and talked about the past to give Mari a better understanding of just who her mother was. Mari’s little sister had her own wacky side – she liked to “Prairie Speak”. Yes, you read that correctly. I had to smile each time her little sister talked. It’s just something you weren’t expecting but became endeared to.

Dee made Marigold likeable and easy to relate to as we were a fly on the wall to Mari as she grew and changed from the first page to the last. If you ask me, the ending was perfect. I haven’t read many middle grade books, but this one was a quick read that flew by, with great characters, an entertaining and sometimes off the wall story.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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20 June 2011

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway!



Hello, and Happy Summer to Everyone!

It's time for another giveaway!
This hop is hosted by I'm a Reader not a Writer.
Thank you!

This one is quick and easy to enter, good luck to each of you.
Now lets get on with the good stuff!


ONE lucky winner will receive $15.00
to the Book Depository!


Here's the rules and the form to enter:

Please fill out the easy form below for your entry to count.
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Giveaway open: INTERNATIONAL! If The Book Depository ships to you, feel free to enter!
Giveaway ends: 12:01 AM (EST) June 25th, 2011





Thank you for stopping by and good luck to everyone who enters!

As always, if you have any questions, please check my policy page
or feel free to email. Winners are chosen at random
via Random.org - unless otherwise stated.

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Title: Blood Red Road (Dustlands, #1)
Author: Moira Young
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry, 512 Pages (June 7th 2011)
From: the Publisher/Amazon Vine Program

Synopsis: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Review: 4 Stars - Blood Red Road, by author Moira Young is one of the latest editions to the YA dystopian genre that’s taking readers by storm. The characters of Young’s dry and dusty world will stick with you long after finishing.

In the first few pages we meet Saba and her family - twin brother Lugh, little sister Emmi and their father - who live a meager life on the rim of a dying, if not pretty much dead lake. It’s a harsh life, as is any life within a dystopian world. They live day to day, waiting for rain that might not ever come.

Saba takes her strength from her brother. She follows his lead and works hard to do her part. Lugh is the golden boy – so to speak and does all he can for both of his sisters. Their father has been somewhat of a lost soul since their mother passed away years earlier. Then there’s the youngest child, Emmi, nine, who is just trying to find her way in the family.

When a big red cloud comes fast and furious across the dry lake bed, none of them could imagine what was about to happen next.

I thought that Saba was strong at the beginning of the book, but she’s a different person at the end. She was stubborn, hard headed and fiercely determined. To me, she’s the epitome of a heroine in the ever growing popularity in the dystopian genre. She faces everything with the same strength and stubbornness, but grows because of it and her family and the other people she meets along her journey.

Jack is one of those people she meets along the way. He’s a character to say the least. He challenges Saba and while the two tend to butt heads, there’s more to it than meets the eye. I loved Jack! It’s all about the push and pull to their relationship that I couldn’t get enough of. There is a bit of romance to the story, but it’s something that’s in the background.

The writing took me awhile to get use to. It wasn’t anything I’d experienced in other books to this extent. I’d have to say it was more the narrative of Saba that was a struggle at the beginning. Once I got use to it, it wasn’t anything I even noticed as much. However, it fits the characters and the world that Young has created.

All in all, Blood Red Road is filled with some amazingly strong characters in a bleak environment. Young’s story and characters are ready to take the genre by storm. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially fans of the dystopian genre. And for me, the long wait begins for the next book in the Dustlands series. Enjoy!

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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18 June 2011


"Just Picked" is a feature here at A Life Bound By Books. This is a place where I'll be spotlighting new (and old) childrens book or picture books for parents and new readers. It's a place to talk about books for a younger group and to try to help create a new generation of readers.


Title: Suryia & Roscoe: The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship
Author: Dr. Bhagavan Antle, Barry Bland & Thea Feldman
Illustrator/Photographer: Barry Bland
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., 32 Pages (April 26th 2011)
Age Range: 4-8
From: the Publisher, Thank You!

Synopsis: Who can imagine an orangutan being friends with a dog? Is it even possible?

With Suryia and Roscoe it is!

Dogs and orangutans rarely meet, and when they do, they are naturally shy around each other. But when Suryia the orangutan first meets Roscoe, a stray dog, they become best friends from the start.

Set on a preserve for rare animals, The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) in South Carolina, here is a true story of a remarkable friendship between two unforgettable animals.

Review: 3 Stars - Suryia & Roscoe is filled with cute pictures and the story of an orangutan and its dog and the two look like the best of friends. Yes, you read that correctly! It’s the pictures for me that are more what the book is all about. However, the preserve that they live on is the most important part of their story. Thought it’s not mentioned much, it’s there enough to get you thinking and maybe have kids asking more questions about the world and the endangered animals in it.

My niece is a huge fan of primates anytime she visits the zoo, so this book was a big hit with her. I’m always excited to share books with the kids in our family and this cute story about friendship is just another one that we can read together.
FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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17 June 2011

Title: Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill, 398 Pages (January 11th 2011)
From: Purchased on Amazon

Synopsis: A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Review: 4.5 Stars - Across the Universe by author Beth Revis was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s a story set in the future, aboard a spaceship with intriguing characters looking for the truth in a world of lies and a mystery that could change the course of their future. Revis writing, setting, characters and plot ebbed and flowed to make this one of those books that sticks with you, leaving you looking for more.

Right from the beginning we are thrust into an extremely vivid world and its characters. Amy, our main female lead is given a choice and it’s a doozy! Stay with her aunt and uncle on earth, or be frozen in a cryo chamber along with her parents in order to take the long journey to what’ll become their new home. Revis has a knack for writing a scene where you feel like you’re right there with the character, so when Amy makes up her mind, to be frozen along side her parents, after watching them go through the traumatic experience you feel the true emotion of the decision.

Being awakened early was more than a jarring experience for Amy. She’s now part of the living community on Godspeed. A community that doesn’t like change or anything that’s different. They are strict and have many rules that are so far removed from all that Amy knows, it’s a wonder she was able to cope as well as she did.

Elder is one of a very small group of people who go out of their way to befriend Amy. He’s in training to become the next ruler of the people on the ship. Amy gets under his skin. She teaches him about the real world and how things should be, compared to how they are. When he starts to question more and more about what he’s been taught, they start to uncover a mystery that’s much bigger than they expected. There’s feelings flowing between the two that are only lightly touched on, but I can see this blossoming into more in the future books yet to come.

With someone out to kill the people who are frozen, it’s a race against time to try to save her parents and everyone else and find and stop the person before it’s too late.

All in all, I was shocked on more than one occasion; however it perfectly fit in this dystopian story set in space. There’s a lot going on throughout the book, its mystery on top of mystery, built on a bed of lies. With all the twists and turns, it’s a thrilling, fast paced read that had me flipping the pages well into the wee hours of the night. I loved the characters and the setting. Revis knows her way around words, using them as brush strokes and the page as her canvas. I can’t wait for more from her in the future, I’m a HUGE fan! What’s up next for the author? How about the sequel – A Million Suns out 2012! I will be waiting and excited to read the continuing Sci-Fi story.

FTC Disclaimer: I DID pay for this book, and have NOT been compensated at all in any way or means for reading this book and or writing this HONEST review.

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15 June 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.


Title: Shattered Souls
Author: Mary Lindsey
Publisher: Philomel/Penguin, 336 Pages (December 8th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: Lenzi hears voices. She also sees visions--gravestones, floods, a gorgeous guy with steel gray eyes. She knows she must be going crazy, just like her dad did. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't do anything to help, and the voices just keep getting louder, the visions more intense. But when Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, everything makes sense.

Sort of.

He tells Lenzi that she's a reincarnated Speaker--someone who can talk to lost souls and help them move on--and that he has been her Protector for centuries. But instead of embracing her abilities, Lenzi struggles between her life as the girlfriend of a sexy musician and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. Yet time is running out; a malevolent spirit has been trying to destroy Lenzi for ages, and he will surely kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Her choices are clear: Destiny or normalcy. Alden or Zak. Life or death.

Title: As I Wake
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile, 224 Pages (September 15th 2011)
Preorder here: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble,
The Book Depository

Synopsis: What if you woke up and didn't know where you were?


What if you didn't know who you were?


And what if, when your memories started to come back--what if they didn't match the you that you're supposed to be?


Ava is welcomed home from the hospital by a doting mother, lively friends, and a crush finally beginning to show interest. There's only one problem: Ava can't remember any of them--and can't shake the eerie feeling that she's not who they say she is.


Ava struggles to break through her amnesiac haze as she goes through the motions of high-school life, but the memories that surface take place in a very different world, where Ava and familiar-faced friends are under constant scrutiny and no one can be trusted. Ava doesn't know what to make of these visions, or of the boy who is at the center of them all, until he reappears in her life and offers answers . . . but only in exchange for her trust.

And the amazing sounding books just keep coming. That's okay, I'm happy to add them to my wish lists. I'm excited for both of these too! Anyone else looking forward to either of these... or both?


*covers are always subject to change.
*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this post.

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14 June 2011

Hourglass is released TODAY from Egmont!
Happy Book Birthday!!



Synopsis: One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Interview with author Myra McEntire

How old were you when you started writing? And did you know you always wanted to be an author

Probably around eight, but seriously about thirty-mumble. And yes, I did always want to be an author.

Has time travel - or in Hourglass it’s time slip – always been something you knew you wanted to write about? And what was your inspiration?

No, it was a complete surprise to me. I just followed the story!

What was the hardest part in writing Hourglass?

Getting the ending right!

Was there something that happened throughout your road to becoming published that was a surprise to you?

I was surprised by how lovely other authors are. It’s such a giving community.

Without giving too much away, could you share with us a favorite line or two from Hourglass?

“Buttered biscuits and honey.”

Can you tell us a secret… something we might not know about one or more of your main characters? You don’t have to tell us names, maybe we could try to figure out what secret belongs to whom?

One of them LOVES bluegrass music.

Is there something you think every aspiring author should know?

No one is going to write the book for you. It’s you and the page, and when you’re serious about it, you’ll make the words come.

Lastly, what’s coming up next for you? Can you tell us anything about what we can be eagerly looking forward to?

I just turned in the sequel to HOURGLASS, and I’m playing around with a couple of new ideas. It’s all story soup right now!

Myra, thanks SO much for visiting with us today. It was great of you to take the time to stop by. I hope that you’ll be able to visit with us again soon!

THANK YOU!
MM


Find Myra Online:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Check out my review of Hourglass - HERE

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13 June 2011

Review: Hourglass By: Myra McEntire

Title: Hourglass
Author: Myra McEntire
Publisher: Egmont, 397 Pages (June 14th 2011)
From: the Publisher, Thank You!

Synopsis: One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Review: 5 Stars - Hourglass from author Myra McEntire is in one word – AMAZING! With exquisite writing and characters, McEntire is one of the newest rock stars to join the others within the ranks of the Young Adult genre. How can I sum up my love for this book?… I’ll try but I highly doubt my words will even touch the surface of my love for this book or will even comes close to what McEntire has done with her words.

Life for seventeen year old Emerson hasn’t been easy. She sees things that no one else can see, people from the past, ghosts from another time, which all started right after her parent’s death. She lives with her loving, caring brother and his wife who are concerned about these visions – as any one would be - and as a result her overall health. I was quickly drawn to Emerson and wanted to know – just as she does – the reasons behind why she can’t stop seeing people and places from a different time. She’s extremely caring and has a strength about her that made me in turn care about her as a character. Her strength makes her one of those characters that shows just how much she can hold her own and won’t take being pushed around. She has her fair share of great lines throughout the book – many moments that I ended up with a huge smile plastered on my face and even a few moments where I laughed out loud. And really, it’s all part of what makes a great book even better.

Her brother Thomas and his wife Dru only want the best for her and while they don’t understand what she’s going through, they try hard to find a way to help Emerson. Through many different people who have said they could help, she’s ready to give up. Her relationship with her brother and sister in law was close in many ways, yet distant in others. They each wanted to protect the other, as families do, but this one had more to loose due to all that had happened to them in the past with the death of their parents.

When Emerson’s brother comes to her with something else to try that could just help her, she’s against it. She’s tired and burned out on all the false hope. I mean I would be too if I was in her shoes, that’s when Michael, from the Hourglass institute walks into her life. He’s mysterious and gives us little to go by as to really who he is, but I can say he turns out to be an amazing male character.

While reading the book we chipped away at both Emerson and Michael to get to the root of who they really are. It was through their relationship – professional that it was, as the rules were laid out by Thomas – we find out more than just who they are, but also the what and the why of all Emerson’s visions. Michael might be a little older by a couple of years but nonetheless, the attraction is there. It’s one of those attractions that smolders and lingers, that you just wait with bated breath to catch fire and set off into a massive blaze. Darn those rules set by her brother!

There are tons of twists and turns throughout, it’s more than a rollercoaster ride that’s for sure! I can honestly say that I had no idea what was about to happen numerous times. I was shocked and10rilled over and over again and was always looking for the next helping after each chapter.

It’s easy to fall head over heals in love with this book, not to mention the characters. I did and still find myself thinking about the world McEntire has shared with us and of time travel. Without a doubt, this is a new favorite of mine that I’ll be able to read over and over again and look forward to more in not only this series but truly anything that this author writes, I’ll read it. If you are looking for amazing wrapped in nice warm blanket of epic with a double shot of win, look no further than this book, right here with the pretty cover. I’m so eager for the next book, I have no idea how I’ll deal with the wait.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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About Me

Hi, I’m Lisa and I'm a proud bibliophile.

I enjoy reading and reviewing a variety of different books within the Young Adult, "New Adult" & Adult genres/categories. If you have any questions or if you are an author or publisher and would be interested in promoting a book, please feel free email. You can find my email under the "mail" button or under the contact link at the top of the page.

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When I review I rate from 1 to 5 stars, 5 being the highest rating. I review based on many different things from the writing, to the story - to the characters and how I can relate to them or how they are developed. I also review based on if an author has worked their magic and was able to draw me into a story so deeply that I don't want to put the book down. If you would like me to review a book, please contact me or view my Contact Information and Review Policy for further details.

5 Stars - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!
4 Stars - I Really liked/Loved it.
3 Stars - I liked it/Was pretty good.
2 Stars - It was, eh okay.
1 Star - It just wasn't for me.

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