Saturday, December 31, 2011

Enduring Light Winner!

Congrats to Alysia who won a copy of Enduring Light by Carla Kelly.  I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Cold River by Liz Adair

From Goodreads:  Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run any school district - until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northwest timber country. She's determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.

I'm so happy to be a part of Tristi Pinkston's blog tour for Cold River.  I always find some great books through blog tours.

I thought Mandy was a very likable character.  She is greeted with lots of hostility and misunderstanding yet manages to keep her chin up.  Her determination to change what she views as sub-standard is met with open opposition.  Small, tight knit communities are like that.  (I should know, I live in one!)  Changes are slow in coming and most people don't like them.  Mandy goes around offending people as she tries to make changes.  She earns herself a few enemies but she also begins to earn herself some friends.

One thing I did love is how Mandy appeared so human to us.  She wanted to give up.  She wanted to just pack it up and leave.  Death threats are scary and who needs that?!  In the end though she picks herself up and keeps trying.  That is admirable.  That is real life.  Bad things happen, people don't like us, but we pick ourselves up and keep going.

Overall, a very enjoyable read by Liz Adair.  This book said "romantic suspense", I think.  I didn't find it very romantic, but I would probably classify it as a "cozy suspense".  It was well written, easy reading.  It had some light suspense, but nothing over the top that kept me awake at night.  

You can find the author, Liz Adair at
You can purchase Cold River at Amazon here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On Tour with Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

From Goodreads:  I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Wow, this was a fun, fast paced read for sure.  I pretty much had it devoured in one 24 hour period.  By the end I was so caught up in the story I was all tense and worked up.  I suddenly realized it and laughed at myself.  I really shouldn't read late at night like that.  :)

I can't say that I was surprised at anything, I had everyone pegged from the get go but it was still a great read.  I enjoyed Llona's journey from "blend in and go unnoticed" to "I'm going to take you down".  It's amazing how loving and caring for others can empower you and make you stronger.

I wanted a bit more romance, a bit earlier, but I'll take what I can get.  There was one scene that was a bit disturbing that involved a death.  I didn't like how that was laid out for me so graphically.  

I'll be looking forward to the next book because I was sure left hanging, wanting more at the end!

If you want to find out more about Fractured Light or it's author, here are some links that will take you there!
Author Blog:
Author Website:
Author Facebook:
Book Poster page:

My thanks to Cedar Fort for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour.  You can find a calender with all the blogs taking part in the tour here.  See what others are saying!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Must Read Monday #10

Fans of Fiction
If you haven't checked this fun out yet, you really should.  Fans of Fiction have started something with Must Read Monday that is unique and challenging.  

The goal of the Must Read Monday is to find share your love of great books with others in the hopes that they'll add a new title to their To Be Read list. 

Your job is to create intrigue for other hoppers. What makes your book so swoon-worthy? What do you absolutely have to mention so they'll read it?

On your post, you'll make an acrostic puzzle (think of it as an overview/book blurb type of thing).

For specific ways to build your puzzle, click here, but pretty much any style of acrostic is welcome.

When you leave comments on other posts, be sure to mention whether you're adding that book to your TBR pile, and what part convinced you to do so.

It's all about powers of persuasion, people:) You might have to think a little, but channel that inner-creative goddess (or god).

This week's category: Best rainy day read (you could think snowy day read, if you prefer!)

I can totally get into this week's category because that's life for us right now. Snowy days! My favorite kind of book to curl up with on a wintery, cold day is a book with some love in it. Marcia Lynn McClure is one of my favorite romance writers because boy, can she write a kissing scene like nobody else. Her books are clean (meaning no sex) which is something I, personally, appreciate. Today I have chosen my favorite book by this author.

Kissing Swaggart Moretti
Is at the top of Poppy Amore's
Secret life to-do list.
She has harbored a crush,
In truth, since her freshman year of high school.
Now working with Swaggart at the 
Good Ol' Days Family Restaurant

Cements Poppy's attraction and desire.
Oh, but that man is HOT!
Unrequited love
Secrets of the heart
Is it too late or can a girl still hope?
Next order up...
Swaggart Moretti! YUM!
So, there you have it.  My favorite kind of book for escape on a cold, snowy day.  Oh, and just for the record, this is not about cousins that kiss.  That would be just wrong.  You have to read the book to understand the title.  Just trust me on this.  :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

On Tour: Enduring Light with Author Interview and Giveaway!

From Goodreads:  She leaned toward him and rested her elbows on the brass rail at the foot of her bed. “All right, cowboy, just when did you fall in love with me? I’m definitely curious now.” He regarded her in the moonlight. “I knew I was a no-hoping goner when I caught that ridiculous hat of yours on the platform at Gun Barrel.”

Julia sucked in her breath. She tried to be severe. “Mr. Otto, nobody falls in love that fast!”

“I did,” he said simply, as he left her room.

Julia Darling is finally able to marry Paul Otto for eternity. But it’s a harsh world for a rancher in turn-of-the-century Wyoming, especially a Mormon rancher. When alienation and threats begin, Julia must prove she’s her husband’s equal in strength and endurance as she learns to let go of scars on the outside and inside.

Bestselling author Carla Kelly has woven a new story of a determined rancher, his wife, and how they discover the depths of love.

I'm so happy to be a part of this blog tour for Carla Kelly and book, Enduring Light.  My thanks to Cedar Fort for providing a copy for review and a copy to give away.  If you want to check out all the blogs participating in the tour you can find them here.

I had the opportunity to ask author Carla Kelly a few questions.  She was so kind to humor me.  After reading Enduring Light I was full of questions!

One of the things I love the most in this book is the genuine and open physical attraction and desire between Paul and Julia. You've done it tastefully and cleanly. You don't find a lot of books that can do that. Can you tell us a bit about writing such a relationship?

It wasn't hard to write because I was constantly reminding myself how much these two know and respect each other. With that respect comes circumspection, I think, at least in writing. Any writer worth her salt will tell you that a sensuous ankle, well-described, is far more potent than a page or two of burning burning graphic sex. Far more. I also reminded myself that the sexiest guy alive is the guy who washes dishes (Paul does), and changes diapers (Paul will). Also, by the beginning of the 20th century, sex was starting to come out of the Victorian closet, so to speak. People have always enjoyed sex (I've read some sizzling Civil War and Indian Wars letters), but they were reticent to talk about it. By 1909-1911, people were coming more to resemble us. That's why I'm finding it a fun era to write about.
Let me add that I enjoyed the challenge of writing a book about a newly married couple - making it sexy without being prurient. I think I succeeded. We'll see what the readers say.

In this book, Julia Darling is recovering from injuries in a fire. She lost her hair in fire and it's now growing back in curly! Have you known someone that this happened to? 

Well, when I was a little girl, I chopped off my hair and it came back in curly. Don't know why. My hair is pretty straight now, except that the ends still have a nice curl. I was thinking of that. (And also, things can happen in Romancelandia, eh?) The fun thing about this book is we see the characters with some of their flaws - Julia is definitely vain (she frets over her hair, and later, the fact that she can't button her skirts). Paul is proud, and he goes through some humbling experiences.

I knew a girl in college who had her hair burned off when her brothers tried to play a prank and it went bad.  Her hair grew back in curly!  :)

You include recipes in the back of your book for many desserts and dinners mentioned in your book. Are you a cooking extraordinaire like Julia?

I'm a good cook, but hardly a dedicated, great one like Julia. Maybe it's wishful thinking. I based much of the research for that on a wonderful history book called Perfection Salad, about the domestic science movement. Fannie Farmer was a major player in that movement, with her exact measurements, etc. I have a facsimile edition of Miss Farmer's famous 1896 cookbook which is fun to just read through.

In more than one part of the book, my stomach was literally churning over the details of the roundup dinners. Have you actually eaten and/or prepared Rocky Mountain Oysters or Sonofagun Stew? (Ew, yucky, yucky, yucky!)

Nope. I know enough about cowboy cooking, though, to know I never want to eat "The Gentleman from Odessa." SOB stew took its name from whatever state it was cooked in. I'm a Texan by experience (lived there a while, visit when I can), so it's Gentleman from Odessa for me. In Wyoming's case, it would have been called "The Gentleman from Cheyenne."

Thanks, Carla for sharing your time with me.  It's always fun to get to know authors better and make things a bit more personal.

Thank you, Aimee. We'll do this again.

I really enjoyed reading Enduring Light. Cedar Fort has generously offered a copy of Enduring Light to one lucky reader! This giveaway is open to everyone. If you are INT, you will receive an ebook copy, if you are US you have the choice between an ebook or a print copy. To enter, leave me a comment along with your name and email address so I can contact you if you win. Giveaway ends December 30th, 2011.

And here are lots of fun links to click on. They will connect you with the author, the book and the publisher!

Author Blog
Author Facebook:
Book Poster page:
Publisher Blog
Publisher Facebook
Publisher Twitter!/cedarfortbooks
Publisher GoodReads

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: Slayers by CJ Hill

From Goodreads:  Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

Woo hoo!  Yeah.  Now that's what I'm talking about.  Happy, happy, happy.

I figured when I read about this book, knowing who the author is, that I would enjoy this book.  But even with that I was pleasantly surprised!  This was a good bit of book and I really, really liked it!  My daughter actually got to the book first as I had to finish up another book I was reading.  She handed it back to me the next day and said, "this was a really good book, mom.  We should buy this book.  When is the next one coming out?"  (I requested this book from the library.)  If I was an author, that would be one of the greatest compliments.  I totally back her up on those statements.  It was a really good book.

I loved the whole idea of the book, the dragons, the descendants from ancient knights, the super abilities passed down.  It was so fun.  The story pulls you in from the moment you begin reading.  I polished it off in a day because I just couldn't put it down.  (sorry, family)  I liked that I had some resolution at the end of the book, but there was enough left open that you really want the next book soon.

I loved how these kids are cool on their own, but when they work together, they are amazing.  One alone could never defeat a dragon, but all of them working together, covering each other's backs, can accomplish great things.  

Visualization is big for me.  I like to be able to see the whole book in my mind like a movie.  I'm telling you that this was a good movie for me.  :)  This book was what I would term "family friendly".  I have no qualms handing it over to my kids or anyone for that matter.  Which earns another big thumbs up from me.  I love that.

You gotta check out this book.  I hope you love it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

I've been wanting to read this book for awhile.  I saw some positive reviews for it and the cover is so pretty!  I finally got my chance and well, here I am!  :)

First off, I love when a book captures you from the very beginning and makes you want more the whole way through.  That's how this book was for me.  I was anxious to keep reading and bummed when I couldn't.

I have a soft spot for settings in England.  It's the place of my people.  My grandparents were born, raised and married there before coming to America.  I wish they were still here to ask them if they ever heard Faerie stories.  I don't remember them telling me any.

This seemed to me to be a fresh take on a genre that is getting overloaded.  I enjoyed Tiki's character.  She has compassion and love for her "family".  Her loyalty to them is admirable.  And of course, I love Rieker.  A handsome protector with a haunted past.  Um hum, serve him up on a platter.

Overall, a very enjoyable read.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

There was quite a bit of mild swearing with the English amplifier "bloody" attached to it.  (bloodly hell)  You get the idea.  Which honestly made me a bit sad because this is a book my daughter would LOVE but I'm not setting it in her hands because of the language.  Sad, sad, sad.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop!

Coming December 2nd-6th
I love the title of this hop!  I am a book lover for sure and I love sharing a good book.  Which is exactly what I'm going to do for this giveaway.  I recently read The Magi by Kevin M. Turner.  I was impressed with his book and honestly, with him.  I really want to share his book with as many people as will listen to me.  :)  When I approached Kevin with a giveaway request, he was all in.  And I mean, ALL in.  'Tis the season!  So, we will be giving  10  20   EVERYONE e-books of Kevin's book, The Magi.  All you need to do to receive the book is leave a meaningful comment about Kevin's book along with your email address.  That's it!  (woot!  yeah!  Happy dancing...)    

Thirteen-year-old Elijah Hawk has been on the move ever since the night his family was murdered.  His unique sense of instinct saved his life on that horrible night, but he has the feeling that since then, he is being followed.  Suddenly, during a rather awful stay at a northern boarding school, Elijah stumbles upon a secret world.  The world of the Magi. 

He learns that the Magi are a simple people with a very complex power which they agree to let him train with as long as he promises to use it only to protect others.  But when a powerful group of men storm the Magi city and demand that Elijah be handed over, who will protect him?

Honestly, this book was a pleasure to read from beginning to end.  It starts off with a bang and keeps right on moving.  Here are some of the things I loved about this book.

I really liked Elijah.  He seems to be a typical teenager, still growing, still developing.  The moments when I sensed Elijah's insecurities were the moments when I felt most connected to him.  I felt like Elijah was a kind kid, easy to get along with, which was refreshing.

I really enjoyed the growing relationships between Elijah and his new friends and family and the sense of loyalty that came with that.  The book was good to focus on the collective being stronger than the single and that was demonstrated several times when people worked together to accomplish something big.

This was a quote I found funny.  Maybe as a mom who cleans bathrooms, I can relate.  It goes, "no matter how well he cleaned those bathrooms, he never wanted to be known as the toilet master."

But, my favorite quote was this.  "The soul is the fingerprint of the Creator.  Once a soul connects to another soul, they unite and become one.  So if your soul is able to access the soul of an element, you can control that element the same way you would control your own body."  Cool stuff.

You can tell that the author, Kevin Turner, is a teacher.  I felt like some of the best moments were those when Elijah was being instructed by his mentor.  It sounded very teacher-ish in the best of ways.  Kevin tells on his blog how The Magi came to be.  Frustrated by kids who didn't want to read or who couldn't find books they wanted to read, Kevin set out to find out what those kids were looking for in a book.  Eventually, from those ideas came the plot to The Magi.  Kevin says, "For almost half a year I worked on constructing a plot that eventually became The Magi, making sure I stuck to the requests of my students.  I may have initially written it for my students, but if it's good enough, I hope to be able to contribute something fun for kids, teens, and adults everywhere."  

I would say to Kevin, thank you.  And mission accomplished.  I think The Magi is a fantastic book filled with exactly the kinds of things kids (and adults) love to read about.  I love that this book is family friendly.  And I love that Kevin is the kind of teacher who cares and wants to make a difference.  I'm looking forward to the next book!

You can find out more about Kevin here on his blog.
Follow The Magi series on Twitter here or Facebook here.
You can buy The Magi on Amazon or Smashwords.

Happy Hopping!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Michael Vey, The Prisoner of Cell 25

From Goodreads: My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story. To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive.

This is a new thing, right?  For any of you Richard Paul Evans fans, this book isn't exactly his normal.  It would appear he is breaking out of his emotional, tear jerking, love filled stories to try his hand at YA paranormal-ish fiction.  This intrigued me.  I had to read this because I wondered if he could pull it off.  I have read almost all (I still have one in the stack waiting for me) of Richard Paul Evan's books.  He has a lot to live up to.

Was this in typical RPE fashion?  Not really.  But, for a YA market I think that was on purpose.  Do I think he pulled it off?  Yes.  I do.

The book had a slow start for me but it picked up quickly and by the middle I was really into it.  The story came together well and I enjoyed the character development.  There was humor and a whole lot of shocking.  :)

At one point the book says that 9th grade is the armpit of life.  That kinda made me snicker.  I would say 8th grade was that for me, but close enough.

I like how RPE pulled Tourette's Syndrome into Michael's character.  It was believable and not over the top but at the same time make Michael seem more human and endearing.

Overall, a good read.  No swearing or sexual scenes that as a mother I would be hesitant to let my kids read.  I call it "clean".  I'll be looking forward to the next book in the series, Rise of the Elgen.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Must Read Monday

Fans of Fiction

Must Read Monday is one of my favorite new things to do.  I'm having such a good time.  Even though every Monday I think,"Oh no, I'm going to have to use my brain this morning.  Am I really up for this?!"  :)  I do love the challenge of making an acrostic puzzle and I especially love hopping around to see what my new friends have written.  Such creative bloggers!

If you want to join in the fun, head over to Fans of Fiction and read up on the guidelines and sign right up!

This week's category: A book that made you laugh out loud.

My first response was "oh no."  There really aren't many books that make me laugh out loud.  I smile a lot, but laugh out loud?  Not so much.  I knew that this was going to be a hard one for me.  I finally came up with this though.  It's been awhile since I read this book but when I saw it, I remembered how funny I thought it was. 
Zita the Spacegirl

                                                         fInds a device
                                                      wiTh a big red button
                                         sitting in A hole

                                                 WhaT does she do?
                                                       sHe pushes the button!
                                             and prEsto! Her friend

                                  to a strange Planet
                                    full of humAnoid chickens,
                                           neurotiC robots and
                                                  a friEndly con man.
                                                 The Girl must become
                                                    an Intergalactic
                                          Or all wilL be lost.
Zita the Spacegirl is a graphic novel by Ben Hatke.  It is a fun for all ages kind of book.  Here is the link to my review

Gratitude Giveaway Winner

Wow, I think that was the biggest hop ever!  My followers jumped over the 1000 mark.  I hope some of you will be back regularly to check out the reviews.  :)  My thanks to all of you who entered. 

Congrats to Isolabella who the powers of random selected!

True Random Number
Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Hopefully everyone out there had a great, safe Thanksgiving holiday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: Tiger's Voyage

In the third installment of the Tiger series, Kelsey Hayes pushes through the pain of lost love and strengthens her friendship with Kishan. Despite his strong feelings for her, Kishan has agreed to be her ally in helping her reunite with the man she still loves. Together, they seek to help Ren regain his memory and begin the search for the third magical gift—an object of power that will help break the curse that causes them to live part of their lives as tigers.

They board a luxury yacht and seek Durga's aid once again, who supplies them with her golden weapons. With Nilima, Mr. Kadam, Ren, and Kishan at her side, she soon learns that the task ahead will be even more difficult than the others. Confronting a dark magician, multiple dragons, and terrifying denizens of the deep seems easy when compared to facing the daunting task of stitching up her heart. Just when she thinks she's ready to set her feet on a new path, she is yanked back with a jolt to the one she's determined to leave behind.

The jarring tug-of-war that ensues for Kelsey's heart leaves her anxious and confused. Combined with the stress of almost being killed every other day, it would appear that saving the tigers is almost more than she can handle. Still, she presses on, knowing that a choice is looming on the horizon. One she cannot put off making for long.

Tiger's Voyage is an irresistible romance with a barrage of action on the high seas, where a reader will find a treasure chest full of dragons, sea monsters, knights in shining armor, fabled weapons, and enduring love. The tropic waters of India create the backdrop for the latest installment in the tiger series. This novel, a multicultural take on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, delves into the complex emotional turmoil and pressure associated with not only making the best choice for a nation but also the best choice for yourself.

That was one long summary, huh? (From Goodreads) It leaves very little explaining for me to do about the book, and lots of room for opinion. tee hee.

I love the cover. It's so cool. The dragon, the tigers, the colors. Love it.

I think I have been waiting for this book forever.  Well, it felt that way.  I think I shut the last book feeling seriously angry.  Deprived.  The injustice of it all.  That's why I needed this book.  

Colleen Houck has such a fabulous way of writing that really just pulls you in.  The stories stay in my mind long after I have closed the book.  I'm caught up in the world of Kelsey and her tigers.  I love this series.  My daughter is over the moon about them.  (she is a romantic teenager...)  I loved the dragon element in this book.  That adventure was so fun.  Different worlds, different challenges.  I think that one thing I love about Houck's writing is that she has a way of telling that allows me to paint such vivid pictures in my mind.  I can see the places she talks about.  It's like a movie in my head.  A really good movie.  :)

I have to say that I'm ready for resolution now though.  It's been 3 books.  Big, thick books.  I need resolution between Kelsey and her men.  Love triangles are not my favorite because somebody always gets hurt.  I don't like that.  I'm not sure I agree with Kelsey's decisions, but I'm not Kelsey.  I'm ready for the next book and I'm waiting.  6 months will feel like forever.  Again.  But, praise and adoration for Colleen Houck.  She is fabulous.  May she always write awesome books for her devoted fans.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Must Read Monday #6

Fans of Fiction

The goal of the Must Read Monday is to find share your love of great books with others in the hopes that they'll add a new title to their To Be Read list.

Your job is to create intrigue for other hoppers. What makes your book so swoon-worthy? What do you absolutely have to mention so they'll read it?

On your post, you'll make an acrostic puzzle (think of it as an overview/book blurb type of thing).

For specific ways to build your puzzle, click here, but pretty much any style of acrostic is welcome.

When you leave comments on other posts, be sure to mention whether you're adding that book to your TBR pile, and what part convinced you to do so.

It's all about powers of persuasion, people:) You might have to think a little, but channel that inner-creative goddess (or god).
Wow, so nice of Fans of Fiction to feature my acrostic from last week.  Thank you!  Everyone does such a good job every week.  I love Mondays.  I'm afraid my creative juices have left me this morning so I didn't really come up with anything too impressive. 

This week's category: Fantasy (or some book with fantastical elements)

                                                       This amaZing
                                                                   StOry is
                                                                    wRitten completely in
                                                         sing sonG  rhyming couplets
                                                                fantAstical creatures
                                                                    a Magical land
                                                           humor And suspense
                                                                        Zany illustrations
                                                             This bOok begs
                                                To be read alOud
I loved this book.  It is so fun to read out loud.  Seriously.  Read it to yourself, your cat, your kids, your boyfriend, whoever.  It made me laugh.  What kind of a brain can write a full blown book (284 pages) in rhyme, anyway?  Crazy brilliant!  And did I mention fun?  This book uses different fonts to accent different words.  Again, so fun.  You've really got to give this book a look.  Here is my blog review on this book.  And just in case you want a sample:
"Here is a story that's stranger than strange. Before we begin you may want to arrange:
a blanket,
a cushion,
a comfortable seat,
and maybe some cocoa and something eat."
Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Monday to ya'll!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Geek Girl Winner!

Congratulations to Pen to Paper (you can check out her blog here) who won the giveaway for Geek Girl!  I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.  I wish I could give all of you copies.  Thanks everyone for entering.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway!

Thank you, thank you to all my friends and followers.  I appreciate all the support and comments as I blog about the books I'm reading.  This giveaway is my way of saying thanks to you.

I am giving away a book of your choice, up to $12.00!  Open Internationally.

If you are US, I will be going with Amazon.  If you are International, The Book Depository (as long as the Book Depository ships to you).

All you need to do is follow me on GFC.  Leave me a comment with your follow name and email address so I can contact you if you win.  That's it!  This hop runs from Nov. 17th through the 27th so you have lots of time to stop by all the blogs participating.  There are so many!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I hope the holiday finds you with much to be thankful for.  :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: Bitter Blessings by Christine Mehring

(From the back cover)  After the tragic death of her mother, everything seems to spin out of control for Megan.  Taking care of her grandmother-who refuses to receive help from anyone-and her two younger sisters, Megan must depend on her best friend Adam to get through these hard times.  But when she discovers an old family secret, Megan must choose between trusting her family and following what her heart tells her to be true.

First off, let me say that I am grateful to be a part of the blog tour for Bitter Blessings.  Second, before the actual review, I have to say I love the cover for this book.  So pretty!

Okay, so the title of this LDS fiction book, Bitter Blessings, both intrigued me and made me a bit hesitant.  Bitter Blessings doesn't exactly sound happy.  It's sort of a contradiction in and of itself.  But, the more I thought about it and the farther I got into the book, the more I realized that a lot of the blessings we do receive are the result of something hard and maybe even bitter beforehand.

Megan and her family deal with so many real life issues.  Life really seems to dump the hard on Megan's shoulders.  She had such a weight to carry.  I loved how hard she tried to keep it all together.  Her love for her family is obvious.

Adam, to me, was all that I wish to be.  He was a good friend, loyal and steady.  He reminded me of the song "Lean On Me", you know the one?  "Lean on me.  When you're not strong.  I'll be your friend.  I'll help you carry on.  Sometimes in our lives.  We all have doubts.  We all have sorrows.  But, if we are wise, we know that there's always tomorrow."  Adam didn't preach his beliefs, he didn't force religion or anything else.  He was just there.  Living what he believed and loving his friend.  I think I love Adam.

I loved the AZ setting for this book.  I lived in AZ for quite awhile and I could totally relate to the Monsoons, the heat and letting the hot air rush out of the car before you got into it so you didn't die in there!  I had a dish towel in my car too so I didn't burn my hands on the steering wheel.  :)

I saw a video clip as I was reading this book urging us to believe the best in people before believing the worst.  Giving people the benefit of the doubt.  One of the initial problems in this story came because someone was willing to believe things that were bad before really knowing for themselves.  They believed what someone else told them and acted on that before finding out for themselves.  It changed the lives of so many people, and not for the better.  I wonder how life and relationships would be changed if we just assumed the best before we assumed the worst in people.

This was a quick read, I polished it off in a day, and I really enjoyed my journey with Megan and Adam.  It was real and touching.

You can purchase Bitter Blessings on Amazon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Must Read Monday #5

Fans of Fiction
The goal of the Must Read Monday is to find share your love of great books with others in the hopes that they'll add a new title to their To Be Read list.

Your job is to create intrigue for other hoppers. What makes your book so swoon-worthy? What do you absolutely have to mention so they'll read it?

On your post, you'll make an acrostic puzzle (think of it as an overview/book blurb type of thing).

For specific ways to build your puzzle, click here, but pretty much any style of acrostic is welcome.

When you leave comments on other posts, be sure to mention whether you're adding that book to your TBR pile, and what part convinced you to do so.

It's all about powers of persuasion, people:) You might have to think a little, but channel that inner-creative goddess (or god).
This week's category: A book so powerful that it changed you in some way. 
Here is mine for this week:
                                                       Soviets Barge into her home
                                                                   tEaring her family apart
                                        She is forced onTo a train car
                              What is a human life Worth?
                                                   Her brothEr was worth
                                                         A pockEt watch.
                                                                  ANd her father?

                                                        To deatH
                                                                      At a prison camp

                                                         Shipped Off to Siberia
                                                                 Lina Fights for her life

                                           Sketching messaGes in her art
                                                          With incRedible strength, hope
                                                                         And love
                                                  For her familY and her people
This book, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, really did change my heart.  It moved me and it touched me.  It was one of my very favorite books this year. Here is a link to my review.  Everyone should read this book.  I loved it.  LOVED it.
Thanks to Fans of Fiction for hosting this meme.  It's such a creative, fun way to start out the week.  Thanks for stopping by today.  Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Winners, Winners!

I'm a little slow announcing the winners from this last week.  I've been up to my ears busy!  My friend random picked my winners and today he did the awesome-est thing!  He picked two gals with the same name but spelled differently!  :)

Congrats to Ashley, winner of the Giveaway Hop. She has won her choice of one of my listed books!

And Ashlee has won a copy of The Kissing Tree!  Yipee!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the hop and in the giveaway for Kissing Tree.  I heart my followers!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Geek Girl Review, GIVEAWAY and Blog Tour

From Goodreads:  Jen's life of partying and sneaking out has grown stale. So on a whim, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a goody-two-shoes geek, into a "bad boy." As she hangs out with Trevor, however, she finds it's actually kinda fun being a geek. But when Trevor finds out about the bet, Jen must fight for the things she's discovered matter most: friendship, family, and, above all, love.

I think this was one of my more favorite contemporary YA reads in awhile.  I'm so glad I was able to be a part of the blog tour for Geek Girl.  My thanks to Cedar Fort for providing the opportunity.  They are also generously providing for the giveaway!  THANKS!

Wow, life has dealt Jen many cruel blows.  My heart went out to her and the many like her who suffer from such uncontrollably difficult things.  As a young child Jen endured physical and mental abuse.  Her mother left her behind with a horrible excuse for a father.  Her mother ended up in prison so Jen was placed in the foster care system.  No wonder this girl guards her heart with anger and trouble.  

Enter Trevor who seems to envelope all that is good and wholesome.  I love how polite and accepting he is.  He is willing to assume the best in everyone which is a rare thing, I've found.  It's exactly how I hope my son treats others.

I found the developing relationships with Jen, her family and Trevor to be endearing.  I could feel the struggle Jen had as she wanted to be loved but was so afraid of being hurt and abandoned again.  The emotional transformation as well as the physical transformation Jen makes is genuine and sweet.

The thing that makes this book work for me is that I can find bits and pieces of me and my life in there.  Insecurities are a part of us all, I think.  And while I was fortunate to grow up in a house full of safety and love, I know many who were not so fortunate.  This world can be so cruel and ugly.  But it can also be good and kind.  Love is out there and there are so many people who try to make a difference in the lives of these kids who are hurt and scared.  The social labels we put on people, especially as portrayed in high school are also very real.  My kids talk about social groups from school too.  

I know this book touched on so many heavy, sad topics.  But, for all that, it was still hopeful and happy and fun too.  It was real but not overdone.  The happily ever after wasn't easy and it didn't just fall together.  Jen made mistakes and I liked that there was an accountability for that.  This book left me feeling like love can make a difference.  Helping and understanding people takes effort, but it is worth it.  I loved reading this book and I applaud Cindy Bennett for a job well done.

You can find out more about Cindy Bennett here.
If you are interested in reading what others think about Geek Girl, you can find a list of participating blogs here.

This giveaway is open to everyone!  Yipee!  If you are US, you can have either a print copy or an ebook.  International can win an ebook.  To enter, leave a comment letting me know why you are interested in this book, as well as your email address so I can contact you if you win.  Contest ends 11/18/2011.