Monday, January 30, 2012

Must Read Monday

Fans of Fiction
Where Fans of Fiction host an awesome meme that allows us to share the books we love through acrostic poems.  It's my once a week shot at creativity!  :)

I have missed doing these since the holidays.  Life happened though, my daughter had surgery, my work schedule changed and things have been crazy.  But, here I am today, happy to be back.  

This week's topic:Favorite self-published book (or, if you don't have one, a book that is underpublicized that more people should know about)

Post apocalypse genetic
Experiment survivors share
Real physical and metal links with animal
Counterparts through mixed DNA.
Exiled and abused, Ardana's
Plan is to escape the Outskirts with her
Tiger, Rijan and their twin brothers.
Instead of redemption and acceptance
Only conflict and treachery are found.
Nothing is easy, especially trust.

This was one of my favorite reads from last year.  I loved this book and I love the cover too!  If you want to check out my full review, you can find it here

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Follow Friday!

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

Hummmm.  Oh, I know.  That would have to be the horror or zombie type books that scare me.  Yeah.  I am a wimp and I don't like to be scared.   I like to sleep and take showers without fear of attack.  I will absolutely not pick up a scary book.  Nope.  Not at all.  

How about you?  Do like them scary?

How To Date an Alien Review

High school senior Alex Bianchi's estranged father gets her an internship at Circe Operations Center to pad her college applications. But Circe isn't your typical military base. It's an alien-run operation center and not all of the aliens are friendly, especially the one that tries to kill Alex on her first day. When Ace, a dark-eyed Caltian, enters and saves the day, she can't help but be drawn to him. Can these star-crossed lovers survive when they're on the brink of intergalactic war?

It was just destiny for me to read this book.  Magan says it was written in the stars.  (tee hee)  Magan sent me an email asking me to review her book and then I won it from a giveaway on somebody else's blog.  See what I mean?  It was meant to be.

First off, I have to tell you that I love this cover.  I think it fits this book perfectly.  It's fun, light and you just know you will have some good romance coming.

I loved Alex.  She is such a normal girl, wearing glasses and toting a few extra pounds.  She blogs and she is working hard to get into a great college.  Her normal is perfectly juxtaposed with Ace, who is anything but normal.

Ah, Ace.  <sigh>  Oh, sorry.  Ahem.  Ace is awesome.  You should really read the book so you can sigh too.  He is heroic and super strong and hot too.  Well, he's cold.  But, he's hot.  You need to read it.

I had a really good time reading this romance.  It was all the things I look for in a good, happy, light chick book.  I loved the interesting take on aliens and even some of the deeper messages about prejudices and judging others to quickly.  I'm so happy I got to read this book.  

For all those who are interested, there was some infrequent, mild swearing in this book.

I had the chance to ask Magan a few questions.  Check this out!

Magan, thank you so much for agreeing to answer a few questions and for offering up a copy of your book to one lucky winner. I love sharing books with people. Especially ones I really enjoyed.

Obviously, your book is about aliens. Are you a Sci-Fi junkie? All Star Trek and such?

Truth be told, I'm deathly afraid of aliens. Maybe that is why the book was so easy to write because they scared the beejeesus out of me, so I tried to make them un scary. That being said, I still can't get enough of Fact or Faked Paranormal files and old Star Trek re-runs from the Shatner days. I may have nightmares, but I can't look away! 

Tell me about your inspiration for Ace. He's all kinds of alien hot and super swoon worthy! Seriously?! Yum.

It's kind of a funny story. Ace first ended up in my mind as just a squirelly guy with spiked hair, so I asked my good friend, Rachel, for some inspiration. She said she thought Adam Lambert kind of looked like an alien and intrigued and frightened her at the same time. Thus, my Adam Lambert obsession began.

YES, I do realize that he is gay, but if you've ever watched his video "For Your Entertainment" it will have you pretending he is a little bit of a straight alien.

Tell me about your ideal writing environment.

My life is all kinds of crazy. I finished up writing How to Date an Alien while pregnant and continued my edits while working full-time and an infant on my lap. The only time I really get to write is at work on my lunch hour or at night when I go to bed. The best way I work is without distraction. I put on my headphones, turn off the internet, and crank out a few thousand words. 

If you could put a theme song to your book, what would it be? 

There are so many that portray this book perfectly. The biggest one is probably ET by Katy Perry, as soon as that song came out I had so many people messaging me and saying "I think this is about your book!" Secretly, the other theme song is "If I had you" by Adam Lambert because there is a thin side between the dark side and the light side. 

I love the cover for your book. I think it fits your story perfectly. How did that come about?

I actually had a completely different idea, then I met with my friend and fellow DarkSide writer, GP Ching, and she said I should look for a cartoony background like HP Mallory. I contacted my cover artist Cassandra Marshall and said that I wanted something like HP Mallory, gave her a synopsis and she came up with the AWESOME cover. I couldn't have done it better myself! 

Are you working on another book?

In April I have a book that I co-wrote with a friend called "Life, Life, & Lemons," coming out. It is a contemporary YA about a girl whose dad gets laid off and she is forced to move from her sprawling brick home to a two bedroom apartment across town. Just when things start to get better in her new life, a dark secret from her old life comes to the surface and may destroy everything she has worked so hard to forget. It's a love story about overcoming obstacles and when to say 'screw the lemons and bail.'

I'm also hoping to have the second book in the My Alien Romance series out this June, titled "How to Break Up with an Alien." I do have a wonderful cover and I will be revealing that along with the synopsis shortly. Let's just say that not everything can always be perfect in a human and alien relationship.

Thanks for having me :) 

Winners for Ignite Giveaway

So happy to announce the FIVE winners for Ignite by Kaitlyn Davis.  Sarah, Sharmaine, Mary, Jolene and Candace are the lucky gals.  Thanks to all who stopped by and took the time to enter.  :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bittersweet Surrender by Diann Hunt

Carly Westlake is living the dream. She spends her days at a spa (okay, so she owns the place), she's dating a hunk, and she's surrounded by chocolate—milk chocolate, her favorite—that she uses for the chocolate facials that made her spa famous.
But when long buried secrets threaten Carley's business and her friendship with business-partner Tom, she fights like crazy to keep the dream—and the illusions—afloat.
It takes a miracle of grace to get Carley to finally make that bittersweet surrender to love and real life.
Carley Westlake mustered up all kinds of emotions for me in this book.  After reading of her of her struggles through cancer, having a mastectomy, and having her husband leave her, the compassion was just oozing out of me.  I was angry on her behalf!  I think every woman will be able to relate to Carley's feelings of loss and insecurity over losing her breast to cancer.  Such a real struggle for so many women.  I was totally rooting for Carley.  I wanted her to find love and feel valued again.
I think it was the chocolate that really sealed the deal for me with this book.  Please!  A chocolate spa?  I could just smell the goodness as I read.  Okay, maybe I could taste it too as I just had to grab me a little chocolate to go along with the book!  I think they should have put a bit of chocolate smell in those pages or maybe a scratch and sniff?  I love chocolate.  <sigh>  I think I bonded with Carley right away just because of that fact.
This was a very enjoyable read.  I was happy and satisfied in the end.  This is a Christian fiction book, but light on the Christian.  A clean read all the way around.  I picked this book through Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Cindy who random chose as the lucky winner for the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop!  I'm always so happy for giveaways.  Thanks for all of you who took the time to enter and to comment.  I loved reading what books you were dreaming of.  A lot of us are dreaming of the same books.  :)  And I got a few new titles myself.  Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review + Giveaway: Beyond by T.P. Boje

(from the author) Have you ever wondered where you go when you die?

Meghan is 16 when it happens to her. She wakes up on a flying steamboat on her way to a school run by Angels in a white marble castle. She meets Mick who helps her through a difficult time in a different world filled with heavenly magic. One day she finds a mirror in the cellar of the school and goes through it. She ends up back on earth where she meets Jason. But Jason is in danger and Meghan knows something important.  Soon she will have to choose between the two worlds.  The one she belongs to now, and the one she left.

Beyond is a Y/A paranormal romance and the first book in T. P. Boje’s Afterlife-series.

Picking up books by self-published authors can sometimes be a mixed bag.  I love that it is easier for authors to get some exposure and I love having a chance to read some great books that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to read.  There are some incredibly talented people out there writing.  T.P. Boje is definitely one of those talented people.

The mixed bag comes in where I run into editing problems mostly.  Generally speaking, self published authors haven't usually had professional edits done and that sometimes leaves me,  the reader, a bit frustrated and confused.  (I'm not saying this is always true, but I've run into this several times in my reviewing.)

So, with this book, I have a sort of mixed bag review.  As for the story itself, it was good.  I liked the ideas presented and the way the information unfolded to me.  I felt like I was pretty much in Meghan's shoes, learning everything when she did.  There were some great moments in the book.  One of my favorite ideas was the flying.  I used to have flying dreams all the time was I was younger.  There were some scenes in the book that totally reminded me of those dreams.

I enjoyed Meghan's sense of compassion and her kindness to others.  She is a character you cannot help but like.  She is a fabulous friend.  I'm curious to find out what happens with Jason in the next book.  The ending of Beyond left Jason in a sad place and I'm really hoping for something great for him in the next book.  

My biggest complaints are with the editing here.  I am not an editor nor am I an English major, but the frequent editing issues in this book were obvious even to me.  Sentence structures were odd, past and present verbs were used together in the same sentences, and there were quite a few typos. It was hard for me, as a reader, to get past those things.  There were a few places that I went, "what?!"  Things just didn't make any sense.  Meghan is a ghost and she learns she can float instead of walk.  She says in the book that once she learned to float, she never walked again.  But, then she sneaks out and tiptoes down the hall.  Do you need to tiptoe when you float?  The image in my mind just didn't jive.  Also, at another part, all of the new people sit at a table for dinner together.  Earlier, we were given exact numbers of how many people were included.  It was about 84 people total.  They all sat at the same round table together.  Wow, 84 people around one table.  That is a massive round table.  Can you picture that?  

I think Beyond is a good YA paranormal story and has a lot of potential.  T.P Boje has a talented and creative mind.  I admire her dedication to writing. I wish her much success with her books and her writing future.  

Therese has generously offered one ebook (INT/US) and one paperback copy (US) of her book for a giveaway.  That's two winners!  To enter, just leave a comment with a way to contact you if you win.  Let me know if you are INT or USA.  Giveaway will end 1/31/2012.

Here is a bit about T.P. Boje:  T. P. Boje is a mother of two, a stepmother of another two and a hardcore cartoon lover, Tim Burton enthusiast, and enjoys any movie the Coen Brothers have made (with the big Lebowski being her favorite strongly followed by Burn after Reading). She is also a writer of Y/A Paranormal Romance, fantasy and mystery. She is originally from Denmark but currently living in Florida, USA. Her books are translated into several languages.

To learn more follow her on Twitter @TPBoje, visit her fansite on Facebook or check out her web-page:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to my blog!  Thanks for stopping in for this hop, hosted by Martha's Bookshelf and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.  I love giveaway hops and I'm always dreaming of new books I want to read.  :)

Today I'm offering up a book of your choice for $12 or less from Amazon if you are US and The Book Depository if you are INT.  

To enter, fill in the form below.  One entry for filling the form and following me.  An additional entry for leaving a comment on this post telling me which book you are dreaming of.  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ignite by Kaitlyn Davis

From Goodreads:
"With one last look, one final search of the lines of his face for some sign, Kira turned and ran away from the sound of the man she loved laughing in the face of her death."

When Kira Dawson moves to South Carolina, she meets Luke, a blond goofball who quickly becomes her best friend, and Tristan, a mysterious bad boy who sends shivers down her spine. Kira knows they're keeping secrets, but when she discovers Tristan's lust for blood and her own dormant mystical powers, Kira is forced to fight for her life and make the heartbreaking decision between the familiar comfort of friendship and the fiery passion of love.

Ignite was an interesting YA paranormal book. The story had good pacing and I never felt my attention straying. I read through the book quickly and it left me wanting to know more about Kira and her newly discovered powers.

I enjoyed the characters. I especially liked how Kira's powers were that of light. She is a Conduit who loves the sunshine and warmth. (Maybe I'm a conduit too! I LOVE the sunshine.)

My favorite scene was up in the tower. (of course it was) And the sketch book. <sigh> How romantic.

The major drawback about this book, for me, was the language. There was a lot of profanity and mild language along with one use of the B word. A personal preference, for sure. And, one I especially express when it comes to YA books. The other drawback was the alcohol references. At one point the MC, a high school senior, says she needed a vodka. Really? That's scary.

Overall, a good book. I think Kaitlyn Davis is off to a great start. I congratulate her on a job well done and wish her much success with her writing career.

I love getting to know authors better. I feel like it makes their stories more personal. Kaitlyn was good to humor me with both the interview and the giveaway.

Where did your love for writing come from?

I honestly don't know! I've always loved telling stories and I have a very overactive imagination, so I think writing became the perfect outlet for that. When I was little, I forced my mom to duct tape construction paper together so I could write my books. Then, I would have readings and force my family to listen to me...thank goodness that's not on home video! 

What inspired you to write in the paranormal genre?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer! It is my all time favorite show and it definitely started me down a long path of paranormal obsession. I just love how your imagination is the limit with the fantasy genre - there are no constraints and you can let your creativity flow. I've already started thinking about what creature I want to create for my next series/stand-alone and I have a few good ideas. I couldn't resist one vampire filled series, but afterwards I want to venture into not-yet-written territory. 

Give me your ideal writing environment.  Do you have music playing?  Silence?  Food to eat?  At a desk?  On the couch?

Usually, I love sitting at my desk in complete silence with just the background noise of New York City - engines rumbling, sirens blaring, the wind whipping outside my window. But sometimes, if I am really trying to get to a certain emotion, I'll play music. I have so many iTunes playlists, but angry girl music and solemn blues are high on the list...who doesn't love a little Taylor Swift or Frank Sinatra? 

Who was the toughest character to write?  Why?

Definitely Tristan! I wanted him to be a little bit of everything - tortured artist, brooding bad boy, playful boyfriend. And, I wanted him and Kira to be forbidden yet easy, because I honestly believe falling in love is easy, and it's the stuff after that get crazy. You can't help how you feel about someone, and often times there is an instantaneous connection, be it lust or love, that you don't want to deny. That said, in the next three books, the honeymoon stage will be ending and their road will be getting much tougher. 

Any news for us on the next book?

I'm writing it now! I will tell you that you'll learn a lot more about the conduits and, my favorite part, Kira gains a new and unexpected power that will make things between her, Luke and Tristan very complicated, and definitely not in the typical love triangle way! 

Thanks so much, Kaitlyn!  It's been a pleasure.

You can find Kaitlyn here at her blog.
You can find Ignite at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

When a wedding reenactment turns real, this cowgirl suddenly finds she’s an accidental bride. Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite her hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but. Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high school sweetheart—the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit. Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busy body and an absent minded preacher, the wedding reenactment results in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she’ll lose her home. But if she accepts, she may lose her heart. Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

First off, I have to say that I really enjoy Denise Hunter's books.  She is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors.  She isn't an over the top kind of Christian author, but instead, has a way of writing that most people can relate to.

I love books set in the west, in small towns, on ranches, surrounded by beauty and mountains.  Especially when there are hunky cowboys to be found.

Travis is one incredibly patient man, I have to say.  Sometimes I found the amount of his patience to be a bit unbelievable, but hey, it's fiction and a girl can dream.  He is a hard working, generous man.  That's how we like them, right ladies?

I enjoyed the tension that built through the book.  It kept me hanging on and hoping.  This was a fun story with an ending that will leave you satisfied.  This was a quick read for me and filled my fix for a clean romantic distraction.

I read this book courtesy of NetGalley and Thomas Nelson, Publisher.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Follow Friday!

Q: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

Ha!  I don't have any unread books on my shelf.  But, I do have 29 in my baskets and one on the nightstand by my bed.  We aren't counting virtual bookshelves, right?  Because my Kindle has about 8 book waiting there.  I'm not sure if I should be happy there are so many books waiting for me or if I should be depressed that there are so many books waiting for me!  I'm going with happy.  :)

It's good to be back doing a follow friday.  I've missed doing it for quite a few weeks but I'm happy to be off work and home today to enjoy hopping around.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

From Goodreads:
 It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Wow, this book ended up being something that I wasn't expecting.  I had read other reviews for this book so I thought I had a pretty good idea what was coming but I was wrong.

The story starts off slowly.  Building, building until by the end I am devouring pages with gusto, oblivious to everything else.  I love books like that.

There were a lot of characters in this book.  I felt like I had to remember the whole village. But fortunately, each character had very specific personalities so it helped me keep them straight.

My one word for this book would be bloody.  I swear there was so much blood in this book.  It was a bit disturbing sometimes.  Well, I am a girl who really doesn't like blood anyway.  I always tell kids around me,  "Be careful, please.  I don't do blood."  There really was a ton of blood though.  Yucky.

I'm happy and satisfied by the end because I got enough resolution and I can imagine for myself all kinds of happily ever after scenarios.  

As far as content, there was some swearing and some crude language.  There was some violent scenes and as I mentioned before, lots of blood.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: First Date by Krista McGee

Summary:  Addy Davidson is the last girl in the country who wants to be on the new reality TV show to win a date to prom with the President’s son. She’s focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn’t even audition for it.
But she got selected anyway.
So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show… right before she realizes that the President’s son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him.
Addy’s totally out of her comfort zone—but that may be right where God can show her the most about who she is . . . and who she was meant to be.
This was like The Bachelor, only younger, rated PG and filled with very Christian theology.  In this younger version, girls were still catty with the exception of two who win the hearts of the American people on live reality TV.
I really did like Addy's character.  I felt for her and the situations life had dealt her.  Her determination was admirable.  I liked the fact that she wasn't perfect, she made mistakes, but she also worked to fix those mistakes.  Addy tried hard to be kind even when people didn't necessarily deserve it.  I'm a firm believer that if we were kinder and more considerate of each other (no matter what we believe or don't believe), the world would be such an easier and better place to live.  I think Addy was a good representation of this.
This was a fun, easy read.  I enjoyed the more modern approach with the sort of things that young teenage girls could relate to.  I read through it quickly and felt good about passing it on to my daughter.
I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Back To Life, Back To Reality

Things have been quiet on my blog for the past couple weeks.  I've enjoyed my holiday break with family and friends and lots of fun.  I hope you have too.  Today is the day though.  Back to life, back to reality.  Back to work.  Back to school.  Getting up early, packing lunches, homework, after school activities, dr. appointments.  Well, it was a nice break while it lasted!  Now we are looking forward to summer and a Disneyland vacation!

I've been reading lots of books, but I haven't really been reviewing them.  Hopefully today or tomorrow will change that.  I have a giveaway hop coming this month and at least two reviews with giveaways coming in the next couple weeks.  That will be fun!

I hope 2012 means a prosperous and good new year for everyone.  It is the Chinese year of the Dragon!  :)