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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Giveaway Hop

Yipee!  Another hop!  I love books and I love book blog hops.  I especially love November and Thanksgiving because it gives me a whole month to focus especially on the many things I have to be grateful for.  For this hop, it is my eyes that can see, my mind that can think, and using those together so I can read.

This time around, my giveaway is only US.  But later this month there is another blog hop that will be for INT too.  So, I am offering one lucky winner their choice of one of the following books.

Watched is a YA suspense novel.  Soft cover. You can check out my review here.

Indelible is a Christian Suspense novel.  Soft cover. You can read my review here.

Beautiful Darkness is a YA Gothic novel.  Hardback

A Creed in Stone Creek is an adult romance novel.  Paperback. (contains some language and sex scenes)

If you would like to enter this giveaway, all you need to do is follow my blog and leave me a comment telling me which book you would like if you win.  Please also include your email address so I can contact you if you win. Thanks so much for stopping by!  Happy Hopping!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Must Read Monday #4

Fans of Fiction
Here is my newest meme adventure, which I am really enjoying.  It gives me a few minutes to creatively focus my mind.  I missed it last week and I might miss it again, but I really hope I can keep up with this because it is really fun to write and it's so fun to pop around blog world and read other's writings.  Fans of Fiction are the hosts of this meme and you can find out more about them here.  Here's the scoop on what we are doing!

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: Contemporary/realistic fiction

Here is what I came up with for this week.
                   Getting Trevor to turn
            to thE dark side
                  sEems such a simple bet
   He is a geeK.

 But she is a Girl with issues
   seeded in vIolence and hurt.
           will heR manipulations succeed
        or will alL bets be off for love?
I just finished reading this book for my part of a blog tour coming up.  My review will be posted on Friday, but I loved this book.  It hit so many real life issues of troubled teenagers, as well as social and family relationships. And it all came back to love and understanding. Come back Friday and find out the details of why I loved this book.  :)  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Follow My Book Blog Friday

Q: Today’s Question is something new, an activity. We want to see what you look like! Take a pic with you and your current read! Too shy? Boo! Just post a fun pic you want to share.
Well, that's it.  So excited about reading this book.  I just started it last night! (But I wasn't going to take my picture last night!)  I'm so glad it's Friday.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Next Door Boys by Jolene Perry

From Goodreads: With her body still recovering from last year's cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas— not to mention the ever expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her— Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but delightful places.

This is an LDS fiction novel that I picked up on NetGalley.  (Don't we just love NetGalley?!)  I wasn't sure how I was going to like this book because I was afraid that it was going to get too drama-ish for me based on the whole cancer part of the story.  I tend to like to avoid books that deal in depth with hard, real life sort of stuff.  I live THAT life.  When I read, I want to escape.  I'm happy to say that this was for me, a perfectly happy balance of real life and romantic fiction.  The real life issues were there without dragging you down.

Even though Leigh thought her family to be overprotective, she also realized just how much they loved her and wanted her to be happy.  I thought Leigh's feelings of being smothered and overprotected were understandable and I felt like I gained some insight into how someone might feel in her situation. Cancer is such a hard thing and so many people struggle with it's effects.  It's such a crummy thing.

The characters all felt very real to me.  Imperfect people trying to do good and be good, making mistakes along the way.  Often it is those very mistakes that mold us into the better people we need to be.  I think it's experience and wisdom and that leads to empathy and understanding.  Hopefully.

The light and fluffy romance was fun and flirty but it was the slow developing romace that ended up being very satisfying in the end.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a pleasure to read.  :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winners, Winners, Winners!

I have 3 giveaways that ended yesterday.  I feel like it's Christmas! 
First, roro is the winner of Watched by Cindy Hogan! 
 Gayle has won a copy of The Alias by Mandi Tucker Slack! 
And Melora is the winner of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! 
 Congrats to all 3 winners and thanks to everyone who took the time to enter and comment.  I so appreciate you all.  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Blog Tour and Giveaway for The Kissing Tree by Prudence Bice!

From Goodreads: After five long years, Georgiana McLaughlin returns to the only place she’s ever considered home—the same place she stole a kiss from Ridge Carson under the community “kissing tree.” But this time he’s a man, and reconciling their past is just the beginning. You’ll find yourself applauding each new chapter filled with fun, romance, and adventure in this captivating, heartfelt tale of love, friendship, and finding your way back

Honestly, there was so much to love about this book!  I’m so happy to be a part of the blog tour for The Kissing Tree.  My thanks to Cedar Fort for providing the opportunity and the books.  One book for me, one book for you.  Awesome stuff, Cedar Fort!

I’m a fan of historical fiction, so this was right up my alley.  The story was filled with love and friendship, misunderstanding and reconciliations.  The small western town feel versus the proper society, big city feel was perfect.

Georgiana’s poor young heart was broken when she was forced to move away from her childhood home, her grandparents and her friends.  Her return journey home provides such satisfaction and mending but not without the bumps and bruises a fiery Irish temper can bring.  I love the friendship between Georgie and Sammy.  I have friends that even after not seeing each other for years, we can fall right back into that easy friendship that once was and pick up right where we left off.  Those kinds of friends are keepers, for sure.

Ridge is such a great character.  I love his playfulness and easy going nature.  And how swoon worthy to have a guy fall for you at such a young age and never get over it.  So sweet.  I love all the little things that make Ridge endearing.  Keeping a hair ribbon all those years, carving Georgie’s name along with his own in the tree,… Bice has done a great job of making the characters real and personable.

The one drawback for me personally, was the remembering.  Each character seemed to be doing a lot of “remembering” in order to tell the back story.  And while I realize that needs to be part of the story, there was so much of it.  It seemed like characters were remembering the same events and it got a bit long.  I found myself wanting to skim through instead of read those parts.

Still, having said that, I really did love this sweet story.  I love to sit down with a good historical romance and just enjoy myself with no worries of offensive language or sexual scenes.  It’s such a relief to me.  I left this book feeling good and uplifted.  My romantic heart was satisfied.  J 

SO, if you’d like to read The Kissing Tree for yourself, here is your chance!  Cedar Fort is offering one book for this giveaway.  This giveaway is open to both my US friends and my International friends.  (yipee!)  If you are a winner from the US, you have the option of a print book or an Ebook, and an International winner will receive an Ebook.  To enter, just leave me a comment telling me why you’d love to read this book, along with your email address so I can contact you if you win.  Giveaway ends Nov. 10th, 2011

The Kissing Tree will be released December 8th, 2011
You can find out more about Cedar Fort here.
You can purchase The Kissing Tree at Cedar Fort here.
You can also purchase The Kissing Tree at Amazon here.