Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

It's time for another giveaway hop!  This one falls during one of my favorite times of the year.  Summer and the 4th of July.  I love my country.  I love my freedom.  I love reading. I'm so grateful to the men and women throughout history who have fought for, defended and honored those freedoms.  We have so many men and women serving our country today.  I give them my respect and gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

I will be giving away a book of your choice, you have the freedom to choose.  :)  It must be $12.00 or less.  If you are US, I will be shipping through Amazon.  If you are INT I will be shipping through the Book Depository as long as you are in a country they ship to.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the hop! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: Survival and Resurrection by A.M. Hargrove

"Maybe I was caught between the two worlds. I was having serious trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality."

While on a backpacking trip in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, nineteen-year-old Maddie Pearce finds her world has been thrown into a vortex and is madly spinning toward the impossible. Abducted by a mad psychopath, Maddie narrowly escapes with her life. But that is only the beginning. Her mysterious rescuer introduces her to a world that Maddie has difficulty accepting as reality. Will this strikingly gorgeous stranger be the key to her future or will she return to her mundane world, scarred from her experience? Follow Maddie as she is forced to make difficult decisions that carry her to mysterious places.

I recently signed on to be a part of a blog tour for the third book in this series and while it said it could be a stand alone book, I really wanted to check out these other books before I read the third book.  I'm really glad I did.

First off, let me say that Survival is FREE on Amazon as an ebook for download.  Check it out here.  (it is also available for most other e-readers.  You can find the links by clicking HERE.  This will take you to the author's website.)  I was super happy about that!  As soon as I finished it, I ran right back to Amazon to download the next book.  

It took me a little while to decide I liked this book.  I'm not sure why exactly but by the end I was fully invested and I wanted more.  Thank goodness I didn't have to wait a year for the next book!  I will say that this book was kind of odd in that it jumped from first to third person.  When it started it was first person and I have a harder time with first person POV. That may be why it took me awhile to get into it.  I will also say that it had some very similar ideas to Twilight.  I know, I know.  Comparing is sometimes mean.  This book wasn't Twilight, but it had some very similar themes.  You know, girl who thinks she is too ordinary, hot guy with all kinds of great extraordinary abilities (mind reading, strong, fast. . .), said hot guy has a hot family too.  He is smart and rich but being with said "ordinary" girl will put himself and his family in jeopardy but he is determined to do it anyway.  See what I mean?  I will say that the MC's of this book didn't really sound or feel like the characters in Twilight though.  The overall feel was different but I can't deny the similarities.

So, on to the next book, Resurrection.
"Maddie knew she was dying. Her life started to flash before her. She had visions of running down the soccer field, scoring a goal, eating her mother’s yummy, homemade, sticky cinnamon rolls, standing in her foyer listening to the police tell her father that her mother had been killed in a car accident. Each vision was disturbingly clear—as if it was happening again."

Rayn Yarrister, the first-born son and Leader of The Guardians, has been imprisoned on Vesturon for breaking their most sacred of covenants. He is suddenly jolted by Maddie's telepathic pleas for help, as her life hangs in the balance. Can he alert The Guardians in time to save his soulmate? Or will he face his trial alone and broken without his one true love? 

In Resurrection (Book 2), The Guardians of Vesturon are facing their biggest challenges as Earth is threatened by an invading species from a distant planet intent on destroying it for its resources. The Guardians, as protectors of the universe, have been assembled to defend not only Earth, but other vulnerable worlds as well. The Yarrister family is threatened by an unknown entity intent on discrediting them. Will they uncover this plot in time to save themselves from ruin? Will The Guardians succeed in stopping the Xanthians, or will Earth be invaded and ravaged by this marauding species?

I actually liked this book better than book one.  I think both books have excellent pacing.  I wasn't bored or skimming to hurry things along.  

I was glad to change scenery and be on a new planet in space.  Maddie really drove me nuts in this book though.  I wanted to throttle her.  It's hard to say too much because I don't want to give anything away.

As for content, there is mild swearing and some profanity.  There are some more graphic scenes of violence.  There is talk between characters about having sex.  Book two does imply sex between a married couple but there is nothing descriptive.  The author recommends 15 and up for this series.  She says, "  This book is suitable for young adults, aged 15 and older. It is recommended that parents inspect and review what their children are reading. "  That is a statement that I can respect.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.  It picks up with one of the hottie brothers and follows him, I do believe.  Look for my review in July/August.  

Oh, and one last thing.  There is a short story prequel, Beginnings, (also FREE).

You can find links for that on the author website.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities. To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High's resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special. Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat? More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him?
Zap!  Powey! (yes, I totally know Powey isn't a word but it sounds so good.  Especially after zap.)  Why haven't I read this book before now?  Where have I been?  Evidently I've been hiding under a rock or deep inside a cave. . . 

I'm feeling the love for this book.  I'm having all sorts of fantasies of having a supercharged, shocking power.  What, children?  You don't want to clean your room?  ZAP.  (giggle, giggle)

Man, Jaime is the queen of teen angst.  Yeah, she sure had a lot of reasons but I was seriously wishing she would just give poor Ryan a break.  That poor guy.  Jamie's journey back to the land of the feeling was enjoyable though.  I was really rooting for her.  

Ryan love?  Um, yes.  What a perfectly confident, determined, happy guy.  Lucky for Jamie because that girl seriously needed a friend.  You can read a short story called Kissing Jamie Baker on Kelly Oram's website by clicking HERE.  It's awesome.

Oh, and the book trailer.  Which is one of my favorites.

I had such a good time reading this book.  I literally just blew through it and at the end I sat there wishing it weren't over.  I'm looking forward to reading more from Kelly Oram.  I hear she has a new book coming out soon.  Yipee for us!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review, Interview & Giveaway of Candid by Michelle Pennington

From Goodreads:  Life is simple for high school senior, Sienna Whitfield. With a few good friends, a camera, and a dream, she has everything she needs to be happy. But when Jordan Rubio, the most popular girl at Haskins High, makes her mad, she decides to use the power of photography to right a few social wrongs. As if that doesn’t cause enough drama in her life, she realizes she’s falling for the new guy, Lee Franklin. Strong and protective, he’s just what she needs to survive the craziness she’s stirred up at school. If only she didn’t have to keep her feelings for Lee a secret from her mom…

So happy that Michelle Pennington asked me to take a look at her book, Candid.  One of the best things about the book blogging world is meeting new authors and discovering new books you might not otherwise have had a chance to pick up.

Sienna is in the middle of full blown high school drama. It really took me back to the days. (and honestly made me so glad I wasn't there anymore!) Sienna is a photographer and a blogger, two very awesome things. She is also a kind girl (mostly) who tries hard to please her teachers and mother. I enjoyed watching Sienna grow outside of herself to include others. She took a journey to self awareness and it was fun to watch.

So, honestly, the whole situation between Sienna and her mother was entirely frustrating to me.  I think that is saying something because I myself am a mother of both a teenage son and a teenage daughter.  My protective mother instincts often surface and I have to tamp them down to some degree, knowing that my kids need to make their own decisions.  I'm always hoping and praying that they remember the things we've taught them and make good decisions.  Sienna's mother is totally NOT like this.  She is controlling and yes, I think a bit crazy.  Good thing I had the chance to ask the author a bit about this.  (see interview below)

I really enjoyed reading Candid.  It was well done and had me invested in the story and characters.  I read it in warp speed, I think.  My teenage daughter will enjoy reading it too.  We are both hopeless romantics and if you want a knight in shining armor, it would have to be Lee.  He is seriously the sweetest hunk of Haskins High.

You can buy Candid here.

Michelle, I'm so happy to be able to ask you a few questions today. It's awesome getting to know authors better.

Okay, first question.  Is Candid your first published novel? No. I self-published another novel, Aglow, in October last year. It’s a Christmas romance, and interestingly, is still selling in June. It kind of cracks me up, but I’m not complaining.

What finally gave you the push to get the story in your head onto "paper"?
Well, honestly, the rewarding experience of publishing Aglow really motivated me to get something else started. I chose Candid because it was the story that was currently burning brightest in my head. Finishing the first draft is one of the hardest parts of writing because it takes so much dedication to get it all done. It’s also the most fun though – at least for me.        

Was there something specific that inspired you to write Candid? 
 Candid was inspired by the avalanche of photos I had to sort through when I was in yearbook in high school and a very vivid dream that followed me into real life.

I love photography and I love blogging so those two things really helped me connect to the main character, Sienna.  Do you have anything in common with Sienna?
I love photography too, but I’m not as focused on it as Sienna – so she’s way better at it than I am. I do tend to watch people like she does and see them differently than other people do. People watching is an important obsession to have if you’re going to be a writer. I call it being perceptive, but it’s probably just being nosy!

Describe your ideal writing environment. (Do you write early in the morning?  Late at night?  Food, no food?  Music playing or peace and quiet?)
I write best in the early morning at my kitchen table  when my kids are asleep or at school. I’m having to dig for writing time right now because it’s summer and my kids won’t sleep in. It’s driving me crazy! Even crazier than usual!

I'll admit I wasn't feeling the love for Sienna's mom.  I think calling her overprotective is an understatement.  After reading the character interview you did with mom on your blog (click HERE to read this), I realized that perhaps my frustration comes from not understanding mom's life and struggles.  Why didn't we get that information in this book and will we be learning more about this in a future book?
I really underestimated the reaction people would have to Sienna’s mom. It was probably because I knew her whole story so I cut her a lot of slack when she was crazy. I didn’t develop her character much in Candid because her story, so to speak, wasn’t important yet. The impetus for Sophia’s (Sienna’s mom) growth and change comes at the end of Candid. Luckily, we’ll get to learn more about her, along with Sienna, in the next book in the series.

I too am a hopeless romantic.  I love a good love story.  This book was the kind of story I feel good about handing to my teenage daughter because it isn't full of swearing, profanity or sexual content.  I thank you for that.  My daughter thanks you as well because she is the second generation hopeless romantic in my house.  :)  Was writing a "clean" book a conscious decision for you?
  I will never write anything else. Writing clean stories is a life time commitment for me. It isn’t easy to do because the balance between clean and realistic is a difficult one to find. So many people think that it is too unlike real life for characters to have morals and clean language because it is uncommon to them. My job is to give them a clean story that is so engaging they never miss it.

I'm looking forward to reading more from you.  Can you tell us what we can expect from you on the writing front and when?  (no pressure)
I plan to have Focused, the next book in the True Images Series, out this Fall. Over this summer, if my kids cooperate, I will also be completing some YA romantic short stories so look for those. I have so many projects I’m dying to get to, but I hope to start on a new twist on paranormal that I’m currently brainstorming. What could be new in the heavily saturated paranormal genre, you ask? Well, I’ll just say that my idea came from a plan to do a parody of some of the more popular story lines. It switched from a parody to flipping it on its head for an awesome new idea. 

My thanks to Michelle for participating in an interview and also for being willing to provide for a giveaway of Candid.  She's awesome, right?

So, the giveaway is for an e-book copy of Candid.  Therefore, it is open internationally for ALL followers.  :)  happy, happy, joy, joy.  Just fill out the entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Michelle Pennington has a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. To attain this degree, she studied Literature, Rhetoric, History, and Art. She married her sweetheart, Ethan, while still in college and developed a new penchant for skipping class to spend more time with him. Despite this distraction, she still managed to graduate Magna Cum-Laude.

Her love for the written word began at a young age. At four years old, she followed her mother around all day asking how to spell things. Her teen years were spent hiding in trees, on rooftops, and anywhere she could escape her chores for a while to read. Despite this aggravating behavior, her parents always encouraged her love of literature and her dream to write. Michelle is a hopeless romantic and an insatiable people watcher.

Currently she is a stay-at-home mom where she cares for her three children, who are at once adorable and exasperating. In the midst of the domestic whirlwind that is her life, she enjoys crafting, cooking, art, and reading. Visit her at and

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

From Goodreads:  One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Yes.  This book is every bit as good as they say.  I was doing a bit of hoarding with this book.  I really wanted to read it but I really didn't want to get to the end knowing I would have to wait another year to read the next book.  Oh, the cliff hangers.

It took me a minute to remember Divergent and get back into the feel of Tris and her world again.  I love that Insurgent picks RIGHT up where Divergent left off.  We literally don't miss a beat.

In Insurgent we get a closer look at some of the other factions.  It was so interesting to me.  All of the factions have awesome traits but it really is true that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.  We cannot become too lopsided in life.  We need parts of everything to find balance and order.  

I know there are lots of people out there who thought Tris was annoying.  Overcome by grief, heartache and guilt, Tris was struggling.  I actually liked Tris a lot in this book.  I think her struggles were realistic.  Watching your parents die and having to kill your best friend is not something you just get over with the turn of a page.  I think watching a character deal with the kinds of emotions that could potentially become debilitating and rise above them in the end shows true character and courage.  I think that is what I loved most about this book.  

Veronica Roth is an amazing writer.  She has created a world that I can envision and characters that I'm invested in.  I couldn't stop reading this book.  I loved the pull.  It is going to be an unbelievable long wait for the next book.  I love this series.

Content:  Some mild swearing and some moments of intense violence and torture.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

I had this book the day it was released.  I've been waiting for it.  It took me a little bit to get around to reading it and it's taken me even longer to get around to writing up a review for it.   I wanted to read it when I could be completely distraction free so I could savor it and enjoy it.  (no laughing) It's an awesome dream, but just not so realistic.  Which is why I finally gave up on the perfect moment and just read it.

I can't tell you how much I am enjoying these books.  I know there are lots of bloggers out there who aren't sharing the love for this series, but I am.

I love the setting.  Someday I'm going to get myself to Paris and see it with my own eyes.  <sigh>  (again with the dreaming)

The Revenants are so interesting to me.  I just love Vincent (oops, another dream) and his friends.  They have created a family and they take care of each other.  I can't say that I always love Kate, but she has her moments.  I did enjoy seeing more of Kate's sister in this book.  I'm hoping for a happily ever after ending for her too.

The ending was maddening though.  I seriously have to wait a whole year to find out what's next?!  To leave me hanging like that was just plain mean.  That's the problem for me with these series books that always leave you at a serious cliff hanger.  No bueno.  I just finished reading Insurgent (review to come) and it was the same thing.  A girl could go crazy with so many books leaving me hanging like that.

Well, at least the next book is the "third and final".  I can't wait to read it.  I love this series.

Content:  some mild swearing, violence and sexual situations (although no sex)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Uneasy Fortunes by Mandi Ellsworth

Battered by his past, Pete knows he has no business falling for anyone. But when time can’t heal a wound, love steps in to make it right. Based on a true story of the post–Civil War South, this gentle rustic romance will pull you in from the first page and leave you with a renewed hope in the power of real love.

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres to read.  I love that this book is based on a true story.  It makes it even better.

You will fall in love with Pete in this book.  Such a humble, kind and patient man.  So gentle.  I love how he proves himself to June.  He is steady and solid.  I sometimes wanted to throttle June but hurts manifest themselves in all kinds of ways.  Sometimes love is a proving ground and while I liked June okay and even admired her determination and resolve, it was Pete that I fell for.

The ending was all kinds of satisfying.  I loved reading a stand alone book that was resolved in the end.  I've been reading so many books lately that leave me hanging and waiting on the next book.  It was a relief to read this book and have that definite ending.

This is such a sweet love story.  It really does leave you with a good feeling.  I'm so glad Mandi asked me to be a part of the blog tour for her book.  I congratulate her on a job very well done.

Find Uneasy Fortunes at Amazon.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

I've seen so many reviews for this book.  They've been mixed, lots of comparisons to The Hunger Games and the Bachelor reality show.  While I can see how people would say that, especially about the Bachelor show, this book was more than that.

First of all, I really enjoyed this book from start to finish.  This was an eat it up kind of book for me.  I finished it fast and had no desire to stray.  (that means I didn't pick up another book while reading it.  hee hee)

Oh, and don't you love the cover?  I think it's so pretty.

America lives in a land using the caste system.  She is a 5 on a scale of 1-8.  That's pretty low on the totem pole and she and her family have to work hard to survive.  Life isn't easy and it definitely isn't pretty.  I found myself enjoying America.  She is kind and she thinks about other people.  When she makes a mistake, she knows how to apologize.  

While Aspen is such a hard working, good looking guy, he really didn't steal the show for me.  Well, maybe he did in those heart stopping kissing moments.  :)  Maxon on the other hand was really the guy I was rooting for.  His inexperience and self doubt when it came to the girls was endearing.  I know that given the chance that boy will be just as passionate and confident as Aspen.  He has all the makings of a great leader.  He has compassion and he knows how to listen.

I'm so happy I picked this book up.  Yum, yumma, yum yum.  I'm really looking forward to the next book!

As for content, there was mild swearing throughout and some steamy kissing.