Friday, July 29, 2011

Follow My Book Blog Friday

Q. Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?
Well, I don't know that I have a tee shirt slogan that describes me, but I do love wearing tee shirts. Here is a recent tee shirt slogan that I picked up when we visited Pike's Peak in CO.  
Mine actually has pikes peak and the elevation on it too, but I couldn't find a picture of it anywhere.  :)  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

From Goodreads:
To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I am so glad I read this book.  It was all satisfaction to me.  I'm the kind of girl who likes things finished, all wrapped up, neat and tidy.  I like a good ending to my story but I like the tension and the wonder on the way there.  That is exactly what I got with this book.

I was a late bloomer on the Iron series front.  I only recently picked up the first book and while I liked it, it was the second book that hooked me.  The joy of coming into a series late is that you get to read all the books as fast or as slowly as you want.  In this case, fast worked out well for me.  :)

I will freely admit that I equally loved Puck and Ash for quite awhile.  This book really cemented me in the Ash love though.  I loved the whole book coming from the mind of Ash.  His journey was amazing, from the inside out.  And very satisfying.  Very.

At the end of the book, author Julie tells about this last book and how it came into being.  I'm so grateful it did because it really cinched the deal for me.  And the guide to the fey world at the end was so fun to read.  Laugh out loud funny.

This review sounds so vague.  But I really don't want to give anything away here if you haven't read it yet.  I'm just left feeling happy.  Like I've just spent the evening with family and friends, laughing and enjoying great food with chocolate at the end.  Satisfied.

For all my friends that care, there was swearing and a sex scene, though not described in any detail.
I sure would like to see Puck find some love and satisfaction though.  I'm still a fan of that guy.  :)  Love the cover here.  Don't you?  All the covers have been so pretty.

I read the Iron Knight courtesy of NetGalley.  We LOVE NetGalley!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

When their father disappears, Cinder and Ella find themselves left to care for the welfare of their mother and two younger sisters.  Their mother becomes increasingly unaware and distant as she works at her loom all day and all night long.  Soon the money is gone and Cinder is forced to find work elsewhere.  She heads to the castle in search of employment leaving Ella to care for the family.
Ella is frustrated by the home situation.  She feels underappreciated and alone.  Her own mother doesn’t even remember she exists.  Ella remembers the legend of the trees and decides to find her father, who she believes, is still alive because his tree is still alive.  Ella’s quest becomes dangerous and at times frightening but Ella is determined and strong and finds help in the most unlikely places.
There were so many things to like in this middle grade read by Melissa Lemon.  The similarities between this and the commonly known tale of Cinderella are not frequent or obvious.  One would really have to work at finding the deeper connections between the two, which I really liked. 
I enjoyed the personalities of both Cinder and Ella and could easily related the traits of both to people I know, and even myself.  Cinder is more compassionate and kind, soft spoken and willing to believe what people tell her.  Ella is more head strong, outwardly chafing at injustice and wrong doings.  She is more down to earth yet still has hope.
The discussion questions at the end of the book really helped me think about deeply about family connections between parents and children, siblings and how those connections influence how we act and react with other people.
I loved the multi-layered feel to this seemingly simple fairy tale.  It was an enjoyable read from start to finish. 
There is some mild peril and violence, one use of the word damn.
Cinder and Ella will be released in November of 2011.
I received this book courtesy of Net Galley for review.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Oh yeah, it's been vacation time! I'm having a lovely time in CA with my family.  Here are my girls and I at the beach, Natural Bridges, near Santa Cruz.
The good thing about vacations is more time to read.  The bad thing is less time to write reviews!  I'm going to have to play catch up for all the books I've been reading.  And I've been reading some GREAT books!

Also coming up is another blog hop which I'll be participating in.  I'm very excited! 

Hoping to get a review up tomorrow!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer so far.  Thank you all for stopping by and following along with me through books.  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: Called Home-Two Hearts Answer

From Goodreads:
Emma Benson's view of life was crafted by the death of her brother as a child, abandonment by her father and later, the man she trusted she would marry, until David Schlosser-back in town after years in New York writing best-selling novels-threatens her neatly tended life. Romance blooms. Emma and David eventually persevere in the face of tragedy, refusing to leave their dreams behind.

When I was first contacted by the author to review this book, she told me that although this is a sweet romance, the character, Emma, is not so sweet.  Boy, she sure wasn’t kidding.  Emma is bitter, rude and mean.  I was really put off by her character.  For a good part of the book, Emma states that she has reasons to be rude, but we don’t really know as a reader, what those reasons are.  They are very slow coming forth, and in the meantime, all I could think was, “wow, this is one witchy woman.”  Unfortunately, by the time I got around to understanding Emma’s background, I was too firmly in the “not so fond of Emma” corner.  I know firsthand that life can hand us all hard things.  Piles of hard things.  I’m not so sure that this excuses 
anyone from being polite and kind to others.

I will say that Emma did eventually have a change of heart and begin to act more kindly.  She recognized her fault and made an effort to undo the damage.

I guess that I would consider David to be the resident Saint in the book.  That boy just kept coming back for more and more.  I’m not so sure I was convinced at what he saw in Emma in the beginning that made him keep coming back, but in this instance, patience paid off.  David is quite a determined fellow.  I kind of like how he would just kiss Emma and then walk off, leaving her flustered and unsure.  It was funny.

I really wished a few times in the book that I had more background into both David and Emma.  Maybe some insight to life before the book started.  I got bits and pieces as the book progressed but I didn’t really get it fully, I guess.  Like the relationship between David and his parents, or David and his friends.  I think if could have understood Emma’s relationship with her brother and father better, I might have been more sympathetic to her plight.

The book was the perfect balance of romance and mystery for me.  The kisses were nice and steamy without crossing the line into something else which I, personally, really appreciated. 

My thanks to 
Gloria Schumann 
for allowing me to read and review her book.  She has done a good job here with a sweet romance that I was interested in from beginning to end.

You can find more about Gloria here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum

From Goodreads:
The future is uncertain. The battle to control the past has begun. The final book in the riveting Hourglass Door trilogy begins when Abby steps through the black door, and she doesn't dare look back. Though it means leaving Dante—wounded, bleeding, and possibly blind—she knows it is the only way to save her family and stop Zo from manipulating the river of time and throwing the future into chaos. In the end, Abby must face a final confrontation that will take her to the very origins of the hourglass door.

I have been waiting for a long time to see how this series ends.  It's been a great journey with Abby and Dante.  The trouble with waiting a year in between books is that you tend to forget some of the things that you read and it takes awhile to be reminded of where you left off.  Sometimes that isn't a big deal, but Lisa Magnum has such a way of writing.  It took me a few chapters to remember and get back into the world(s) of the Hourglass Door.

I really loved this last book.  It had all the things I was looking for and hoping for.  I love resolution and I love happily ever afters.  :)  I love that Dante and Abby are strong individuals but together they are even stronger, more powerful.  Together they are able to right the wrongs and turn chaos into peace.

I love that this series is clean and well written.  My thirteen year old daughter loved reading it too.  In fact, I was second in reading this book.  It was snatched right out of my hands the minute it came.  But, no worries because I knew it would be back in my hands the very next day.  And it was.  With a contented smile.

I'm anxious to see what Lisa comes up with next.  She is a fabulous writer.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: The Limit by Kristen Landon

Can you imagine a world where adults are given a spending limit and if they go over the limit, the government takes their children away to a workhouse to work off the debt?  Well, Matt can.  This is exactly what happened to him.  His parents were irresponsible with their spending and now he is paying for it.  Fortunately for Matt, his mathematical and problem solving abilities helped him test very high and he ended up working on the top floor with a posh room to himself, an indoor pool and even an arcade!  Matt starts to realize that things are not what they appear to be and is determined to unlock the secrets behind the workhouse but not everyone is happy with his snooping and escape attempts.  When Matt’s younger sister appears at the workhouse as well, he knows he has to do something to stop the madness.

I picked this book up at a book festival where Kristen Landon happened to be selling and signing books.  I thought her book sounded interesting and I’m always looking for new, great middle grade books to recommend to my kids and others so I picked it up.  I’m so glad I did.

Kristen Landon has done a great job at writing a middle grade novel that introduces kids to the dystopian genre.  The story moves along quickly.  I found Matt to be a very believable thirteen year old character, displaying traits typical to that age.  Booklist and School Library Journal give a recommended reading level of 6th-10th grade, and the book says ages 9-12.  I thought this was spot on.  The story is easy to follow and understand.  If you have a reluctant boy reader in this age group, this might be just the book for him.

Knowing and understanding that this is a middle grade book, the adult in me, in the end, still wished for more development and in-depth exploration into this idea.  What happened in society that people accepted the idea of limited spending enforced by the government?  And a consequence of having your children taken away if you go over your limit by even one cent?  Wow.  How did government gain such control?  Why did people just allow this to happen?  I almost wish Kristen Landon would re-write this book as a YA fiction and give me some more meat and potatoes!  J

The book wraps up nicely without leaving you hanging or wondering like so many YA or adult series.  That was kind of nice.  I especially appreciated that this book is squeaky clean and I can happily pass it on to any of my kids.

Here is a book trailer for The Limit
You can find out more about Kristen Landon here.

Winner of Forever!

Congratulations to Asenath who won my ARC copy of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater.  Thank you to all who entered the giveaway.  I wish I had a pile of books to give to you all!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last Day for Forever Giveaway!

Just a reminder that today is the last day to get in on the giveaway for Forever by Maggie Stiefvater!  I'll be notifying the winner tomorrow!  :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Freedom Hop Winner!

As always, my thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway here.  I appreciate the new follows as well as the old follows.  You guys rock.  I love giving away books.  It's such a happy feeling.  The winner of the Freedom Hop is June M!  Woot-woot!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: Solstice by P.J. Hoover

From Goodreads:
Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom. 

But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she’s drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she’s ever known.

I really want to talk about this book.  I hope some of you out there will talk with me about it...

When I first read this was a dystopian meets mythology book, I was so unsure how it would all come down.  I'm still not sure I would label it as dystopian because at the beginning, it seemed like it was, but then when you find out what is really going on, it really is more mythological.  Right?  Because the reasons for the Global Warming have to do with mythology.

Anyway, no matter how you label it, this book turned out to be one of the most compelling books I've read in awhile.  Talk about a page turner!  I polished it off fast and I've been thinking about it for days. I really loved the face paced nature and the tension in this book.  I enjoyed how the story gradually unfolded to me.  The underworld was fantastic and I swear I could picture it like a movie in my mind.  Having lived in AZ for years, I could even feel the heat!  :)  I thought Piper was a fabulous character, real and caring, yet strong too.

Here's my trouble with the book, and I realize that I'm not going to be in the majority with this way of thinking.  The dude in the underworld that grabs his penis and throws it around?  Really?  Was that needed?  All that talk about it was just unnecessary for me.  I didn't even think it needed to be there to accomplish the goal of the scene.  The other thing was when it talked about Piper's nipples getting hard when "he" touched them.  (wouldn't want to give too much away here)  Another thing I just didn't think was helpful to the book's progress.  I wouldn't want my young teenager to be reading that.  Can't we just leave it at kissing?

Ugh, for me, if you leave out those couple of things, I would be raving love about this book.  Those things just make it a bit icky for me.

Having said that, I will say that P.J. Hoover has a real talent for writing.  Her story here was such a good one and I really enjoyed reading it.  I love books that leave me thinking about them for days to come.  And I love when a book can pull me into it.  Not all books can do that.

And for my friends who care, there was implied sex, although not described in any detail in addition to the above mentioned scenes.

You can pick this e-book up for Kindle at Amazon for $2.99.  What a great buy!

So, tell me.  Have you read this book?  What did you think?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Review: Hot Ticket by Tracy Marchini

Juliet thinks she is the most un-cool kid in the whole 6th grade.  And now these things called Hot Tickets are showing up and everyone seems to be getting one but her.  Juliet is going crazy wondering where the Hot Tickets are coming from so she decides to make it her job to solve the mystery and figure out the person behind the social craze.  Certainly unmasking the Hot Ticket master will earn her a year’s worth of coolness.  Maybe she’ll even get her picture in the yearbook! 

I really enjoyed reading this middle grade novel.  Juliet is a fun, likeable character with a knack for getting into trouble.  Her take on 6th grade and the cool crowd is humorous.  There were several times in the book I found myself snickering.  My favorite line (because it’s probably one I can really relate to) is, “Cindy’s left ear is probably cooler than my entire body ever will be.”  It was fun to watch Juliet learn about friendships and how to treat others as she navigates through her 6th grade mystery.

I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  This is currently available as an e-book.  I read mine on my Kindle.  I am happy to now pass this book along to my kids.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

500 Followers?! Let's celebrate with a cheer and a Giveaway!

Sometime during my night of sleep, I hit 500 followers.  Wowza, how fun!  Thank you all for the follows and the comments here on the reviews I write.  It's so, well, nice of you.  I love reading and I love the book bloggers world here online.  It's the best.

Well, I'm just happy today.  And I'm going to cheer!  WAH-WHOO!  Yipee!  YEAH!

And since it feels like a party to me, I'm going to give away Forever by Maggie Stiefvater.
I won this ARC copy of Forever, read it in two days and now I'm going to pass it on.

From Goodreads:

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater.
In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

I have read all three of these books.  The story for me was good, it made me want to come back for more each time.  I really wanted to reach the end and have that closure.  And I got that.  While I wouldn't put this series on my  favorite list, it was good.

First, what did I like?  I liked the story of the wolves.  I liked how each book brought new layers to the characters.  This last book, Forever, was most revealing as far as personalities go.  I liked that.  There was no perfection in characters, just real people struggling to figure out what is right for them and how they can use the bad things life throws at them.

What didn't I like?  Well, I didn't like all the swearing.  That's just a personal thing.  I'm not a swearing kind of girl.  It just took away from the story for me.  I'm not an all out fan of the covers either.  Which means pretty much nothing.  Just saying.  :)

If you want to win my ARC of Forever, just let me know why in a comment, along with your email address.  You must be a follower to enter because that's why I'm having this giveaway!   I'll choose by random on Friday the 10th of July.

And one more cheer!  YIPEE!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom Giveaway Hop!

Of course I had to be a part of this giveaway hop!  This is my favorite time of year and one of my favorite holidays!  I like to keep my giveaways nice and simple.  Here's what I'm giving.

Your choice of a book, $12.00 or less from

If the Book Depository ships to your country, you can enter.

Here's what you need to do.  Give me a follow on GFC.  Leave me a happy comment with your follow name and email address.  That's it.  If you want an extra entry, you can leave a new comment on any of my reviews.  Leave me a separate comment letting me know which review you commented on.

Thank you all for stopping by!  Make sure you check out all the great giveaways!