Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Promises by Carloyn Twede Frank

From Goodreads:  Hattie is barely twelve when her pa’s “business adventures” disrupt her family and move them to the new town of Tropic, nestled in the shadows of old Ebenezer Bryce’s Canyon. Her pa views the town as opportunity. Hattie is hopelessly shy and views it with apprehension; she dreads the task of making new friends. More than anything else, Hattie wants to be like her father—not afraid of meeting new people, talking to strangers, and standing up for herself. So it is with trepidation that she accepts her pa’s challenge and promises to make new friends.

Hattie forms more promises as she struggles to make friends, finding companionship in places she wouldn’t have expected and learning that there is a difference between complaining and standing up for oneself.

Promises is a heartwarming story of friendship with a touch of mystery and adventure set in the days before Bryce Canyon became a national park. Drawn from the memoirs of Hattie Adair Jolley and her children, it is a realistic glimpse into the past and a delightful story for readers ages eight to eighty.

I think the summary really gives you the whole run down of this story.  "Promises is a heartwarming story of friendship...and adventure."  That is exactly how I would sum up this story.

I spent quite a few of my early years, up until I was about 8 years old, living in Southern Utah very near Zion's Park.  The setting of this book was around the area of Bryce Canyon.  If you've never experienced the beauties of Southern Utah, you really should.  The red rocks of the area are so beautiful to me.  Even now, after decades of being away, when I happen to drive through that area, or see pictures even, I feel like I am coming home.  

I also had a dry wash running right behind my house.  My mother beat into my head the dangers of that wash because you never knew when it was going to fill with water from a rainstorm up in the mountains.  This was another part of Hattie's story that I related to.

 The scenery along with the daily life of the early pioneers to the southwest were interesting and so easy to picture in my mind.  I really enjoyed following Hattie through her life.  She had many experiences that tugged at my heartstrings.   Watching her grow up and find her voice was very sweet.

What a great middle grade historical fiction book.  I'm so glad I had the chance to read it.  My thanks to Carolyn for thinking of me.

You can find out more about Promises and Carolyn Frank by clicking here.
You can purchase Promises in paperback or on the Kindle by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Giveaway and Review for The Hollow of Mont Noir

From Goodreads:   Allison Spencer was no stranger to the paranormal. An animal empath, she had the unique capacity to sense the feelings of animals around her - an ability she liked to call "Crittervision." She had never met anyone else with unusual powers and had gotten used to the fact that she was just an eccentric in a world full of normal people.

Allison lived an otherwise ordinary life and was looking forward to finishing high school along with her friends and her boyfriend in her hometown of Ocean City, Maryland. But when her older brother, Logan, suddenly disappeared from a small college town near the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, Allison's entire world was turned upside down.

Logan still hadn't been found after several months, so Allison's parents decided to move the family to the Hollow of Mont Noir, New York to look for him themselves. In addition to leaving behind her home and her friends and being dumped by her boyfriend, Allison suddenly had to deal with life in a small town, a strange creature that seemed to be stalking her, a new school full of cliques and cattiness, parents who were preoccupied with her missing brother, and an illogical fascination with an outcast boy who didn't talk to anyone at school.

As Allison settled into her new home, she began to realize that not everything - and everyone - was what they seemed. She soon learned of the existence of supernatural creatures living side-by-side with humans and was faced with a whole new set of questions - and some shocking answers - about herself and her family.

One of the best thing about being a book blogger is getting to read books I maybe otherwise wouldn't have known about or wouldn't have selected on my own.  I love reading.  I'm grateful to Jennifer Kray for sending me her book to read through.  She is so generously offering up an e-copy of her book here for a giveaway too.  :)  Thanks, Jennifer.

So, let me first say, I liked The Hollow of Mont Noir.  It was easy to read and get into.  Allison is an unusual girl with an unusual ability.  I really had to appreciate her kindness and desire to treat others with respect even when she didn't feel like it.  Allison is an easy character to like.

As I was reading I had a few "Twilight-ish moments".  Some things in this story were just very similar to Twilight.  I'm not saying that is good or bad, it just is.  The main make character reminded me of Edward because of his very proper way of speaking and his formal way of presenting himself.  He is untouchable and unapproachable at school.  Then we have the wolf aspect.  Allison has a visitor in her room at night and leaving early before the parents can catch wind.  Allison also gets it in her mind that she wants to be "turned" and seems determined to find out how the process happens and who can do it.  See what I mean?  A few Twilight-ish elements.  

I found the Allison's whole family dynamic interesting.  When her brother goes missing, her parents do whatever they think it takes to search for their son.  It had me wondering what I would do in a similar situation.  Her parents have different ways of coping and I just found it interesting.  Allison sort of gets lost in their preoccupation with finding their son.

There are obviously a lot of unresolved issues in this book and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series to see where everything is going to go.  Even for all those unresolved issues though, I still felt like I had some resolution at the end of the book.  I didn't feel like I had been left hanging out off a cliff.  That was nice.

You can purchase this book at Amazon or Smashwords.

Jennifer Krey resides in New York State with her wonderful husband and two adorable little boys. She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys swimming, cooking, and reading, and her favorite things include ice cream, sharks, and ebooks. Jennifer also likes to write in her free time.

If you'd like a chance to win this book, just enter in the rafflecopter below.  I really love these because you don't have to leave your information sitting out there for everyone to see.  This giveaway is open to all US and INT readers.  Giveaway will end April 10th, 2012.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

From Goodreads:  Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl...

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction.

Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

I've been waiting to read this book.  Waiting and hoping I would like it as much as the many, many reviewers out there who just raved about this book.  It's because of those many book bloggers that I picked up this book.  I was a little late catching the Cinder train (think caboose here) but I'm fully aboard now.

I have a lot of love for this book.  I've just now finished it and I'm still thinking about it.  I want to read more right now.  But, I can't.  I have lots of unanswered questions.  So many things I want to know more about.  I'm really hoping that the next book gives me some more depth and understanding into the world of Cinder and Lunars.  I feel like we've just barely scratched the surface with this book.  

This was a great book.  It took me a bit to really get into it but when it picked up, I really became invested.  I couldn't put the book down.  I dished out a few dirty looks to my kids as they kept interrupting me.  My teenage daughter will fully understand once I hand this book to her and she starts reading it.  :)

So, back to the love. . .   

Loved Cinder.  A Cyborg Cinderella?  Um yeah.  Let's go there.  Loved her smarts, her wit and her loyalty.  Loved her wrench and screwdriver.  Loved her compassion.

Loved Kai.  Loved his devotion and his self doubt.  It made him human, someone I could relate to.  I loved his persistence too.

Loved Iko.   She is an awesome sidekick.  

Oh, and loved the font for the title and chapter headings.  It's awesome!

So, there you have it.  Love for me.  With the hopes of more depth and understanding to come.  If only it could come soon.  The wait is killer.

Content:  There are a few instances of mild swearing.

The Turning Tides by Derrolyn Anderson

From Goodreads:  Marina has been through a lot in the past year; she knows what she wants, and she decides to take matters into her own hands to get it. When a twist of fate takes her away from Aptos, she returns to find that her whole world has changed once again. A fortune teller’s ominous prediction seems to be coming true, people around her aren’t who they appear to be, and to top it all off, she’s being followed again.

Marina and Ethan only want to be together, but find they are being torn apart by their very natures. Can they overcome a final obstacle to build the future they dream of?

Right here and now I'm going to give a huge sigh of relief.  PHEWWWWWWWW!  That is what happens when you finally get to the end of a series you have been waiting for.  It's over.  Am I glad?  Am I sad?  Yes and yes.

Marina has been on quite the journey.  Poor Ethan has been through the wringer.  I was so ready to snuggle down with the 4th book in Marina's Tales and find the last chapter, the resolution.  So, for that I was glad.

But how sad it is to come to the end of the road with characters you've become attached to, right?  I had to say goodbye to Ethan.  Oh, and Marina.  Right.  :)

The Turning Tide was a great book to end on.  I loved the tension and the bit of action there at the end.  Very nice.  I felt so satisfied in the end, like everyone was where they were supposed to be.  Happily Ever After.  It made me happy.

Derrolyn has been so kind to send me her books to read and review.  She is so generous and I wish her much success with her writing.  If you love romance and a bit of the paranormal (mermaids especially) you will want to pick up these books.  You can start with book one, Between the Land and the Sea, which is only .99 cents on Amazon right now.  Or, if you are ready for The Turning Tides, you can find it here for just $2.99.

Content:  There is some mild swearing.  There is also implied sex between unmarried teenagers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

From Goodreads:
 Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

Okay, so I actually listened to this book on my Ipod, I didn't read it.  I'm not sure what sort of difference that made for me with this book.  This wasn't the book I was expecting it to be.  I thought it would be a fluffy, romantic, love story.  That is sort of what the title and synopsis leads you to believe, right?  Well, it does have some of that in it, but it was more than that.

To me, it was Hadley's life story, all bound up into 24 hours in her brain.  The trip Hadley is on to London is for her father's wedding to someone other than her mother.  Even though Hadley does meet a super smart and funny Oliver and they begin something on the plane ride, I felt like this book was more of an emotional journey for Hadley and her parents.  Hadley begins to reconcile her past, her feelings and the future.  

Now, don't get me wrong, I really liked the book.  I found it touching and real.  It just wasn't what I was expecting.  I'm glad I gave this book a go.  I debated about it for awhile but it got lots of good reviews so I decided to take a chance.  :)

Content:  There is a few instances of mild swearing.

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop

Are any of you spring cleaning yet?  I had a couple days of spring cleaning weather last week and then we got more snow yesterday and today.  :(  I did manage to get outside and clean out my flower beds.  I have tulips starting to emerge.  That's happy.  So, in the spirit of spring cleaning, I'm offering you some of the books I have piling up around here.  Here are the ones you can choose from:

1.  A Creed in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller (this is a romance, not "clean" or "sweet")
2.  Night Road by Kristin Hannah
3.  Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
4.  Breath of Angel by Karyn Henely
5.  Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann
6.  The Princetta by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Because I will be mailing out these books to winners, this giveaway will be for US residents only. I will pick two winners and let them pick the book of their choice.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Endure by Carrie Jones

From Goodreads:  Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .
Unexpected turns, surprising revelations, and one utterly satisfying romantic finale make Endure a thrilling end to this series of bestsellers.

I've been following this series from the start.  How completely AWESOME that I got to read this, the final book in the Need series, early thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley!  Yipee!

Have you been reading these books?  They just keep getting better and better.  I think this last book was seriously my favorite.  Why?  I think it was good to finally have resolution.  I'm a girl who like resolution.  I got bits and pieces of resolution all the way through the book.  Oh, and the very satisfying ending really helped.  I was VERY satisfied.  

I feel like Zara really grew up in this last book.  She finally found her place and was able to balance and reconcile all the different parts that make up Zara.  I like Zara's spunk and especially her loyalty.  Time and experiences can change people; their perceptions, their ideas, their feelings.  Not in a bad way, just in a real life sort of way.  This was true for Zara and everyone around her too.

The action was super built up by the end.  It got my adrenaline pumping and made the final climactic build-up really good.  Such a romantic ending.  <sigh>  

I read through this book so quickly.  It was good.  Endure will be released in May 2012.  If you haven't started reading this series yet, now is a good time to start!  You can get through all the books right away and not have to wait forever in between like I did.  :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bourne by Lisa T. Bergren

BOURNE, a novella (1/3 the length of a normal novel), picks up right where TORRENT left off...Find out what has happened to men returning from the battle, gravely wounded, to the Betarrinis, fighting for the men they love, and just who is hunting them next...

The River of Time Series--a Top 10 Pick for over 20 YA book bloggers in 2011! If you like romance, adventure and a dose of medieval Italian culture, you'll love WATERFALL (book 1), CASCADE (book 2) and TORRENT (book 3). Hint: They’re not just for teenagers.

I picked this novella up the day it was released.  (Yes, all other books were shoved off to the side.  No matter how good they were.)  Of course I polished it off in no time flat. It is a novella after all.  Plus, it was just so good to be back with all my favorite characters from this series.  River of Time is one of my very favorite series of books.  I love them.  If you haven't read any of these books yet, you really should give them a shot.  They are full of awesome-ness.  

And Luca?  Come on.  Does that guy deserve some awesome himself or what?!  I love Luca.  I was so glad to see him again in this novella.  The only trouble with Novellas is that they leave you wanting MORE.  <sigh>  I want more.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Olivia by Julie Wright (The Newport Ladies Book Club series)

From Goodreads:  The Robbins household looks perfect from the outside: no dust, no stains, no wrinkles. Yet a glimpse into its heart reveals no laughter, no closeness, no joy. Olivia thinks that if she keeps everything tidy and serves delicious meals on time, family life is bound to get better. But when her husband, Nick, misses their anniversary, she realizes no amount of domestic success will compensate for failure in their marriage, or for her own failure to develop her identity, always busy as a mother, wife, and neighbor, she has forgotten how to be a unique and vibrant individual. Determined to make a change, Olivia joins a local book club, where she nurtures new friendships and explores new ideas. But her growing confidence falters when Nick declares his independence, and while her new friends lovingly encircle her with support, only Olivia can reach into the depths of her fledgling self to find the faith, hope, and love her troubled family needs.

I am so intrigued by the concept behind this series of books.  It's one of the main reasons I signed on to take part in reviewing The Newport Ladies Book Club series.  The genre here can best be described as Women's Fiction.  The idea is that these four authors have joined together to write about different women in a book club.  The stories happen simultaneously but we get to focus on one lady at a time in each book.

Olivia is the first book and the first character we really get to know.  I love the cover of this book.  It really fits the Newport feel and well, I can't help but be attracted to blue.  It's my color.  :)  Plus the beach is my favorite place.  I love the sounds and smells of the ocean side.

I really loved following Olivia through the process of self awareness.  She has become so wrapped up in making her home and family the ideal that she has forgotten that her own soul is equally important in that whole "ideal" scenario.  The book seemed to be made of very real life type stuff.  It was easy to relate to and it was easy to find a bit of myself in there too.  Olivia begins to discover herself again but I like that it wasn't entirely selfish.  She finds bits of herself by helping other people and by allowing others into her heart.  Change always takes courage and Olivia finds that courage.  It was satisfying. 

We get a glimpse of the other ladies in the book club who will be coming up in future installments of The Newport Ladies Book Club and I'm really excited to read their stories in depth.  

You can find out more about this series by clicking HERE.  This is the official website and explains in greater detail the ideas and inspiration behind The Newport Ladies Book Club.  You can also find out more about the authors there.

Here is the trailer for the book:
Nice trailer, huh?  I'm so excited to follow this series.  It's going to be great, I think.  My thanks to these ladies for letting me be a part of sharing their books with you.
You can find Olivia for purchase at Amazon in print or for the kindle, Deseret Book, Seagull Book, and Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lunar Love Giveaway Hop

I think this blog hop theme is so fun.  I'm over the moon about it.  tee hee.  Okay, so both of the books I am giving away have a picture of the moon on them.  These are both books I enjoyed reading and I hope you will too.  
First up is The Light of the Lover's Moon by Marcia McClure.  She is one of my all time favorite romance authors.  Man, does she know how to write a kiss.  This romance is clean, which is how I prefer to read them.  :)

Next up is How to Date an Alien by Magan Vernon.  This is more like a romantic comedy with an out of this world twist.  Lots of fun to read.  (There is some language content in this book)  You can read my review of this book here if you are interested.
I am giving away one copy of each book.  So, TWO winners!  Both books will be given as an ebook because I want to keep the giveaway open to all INT followers too.  If you don't have an e-reader, you can download the books and read them on your computer.  While you are here, check out my other giveaways located on the right of your screen.  :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: Caller ID by Rachelle J Christensen PLUS enter to win a camcorder!

From Goodreads:  When twenty-three-year-old Courtney Beckham is abducted near her home, the search turns up more than just a kidnapping crime. FBI agent Jason Edwards investigates the ten-million-dollar ransom and stumbles upon something he wasn't meant to find. When Courtney catches a glimpse of the caller ID in her kidnapper's home, what she sees turns her world upside down.

I totally knew I was in for a good ride when I signed on to be a part of this blog tour for Caller ID.  I read Wrong Number, also by Rachelle Christensen, and enjoyed it so I knew this would be good.

The story starts off by telling us how someone had been murdered in the woods the previous year.  Courtney's dad is always telling her to stay out of the woods so when she decides to take a ride into the woods on her horse, my heart started anticipating.  I tried to tell Courtney, "Do NOT go into those woods."  "Oh, do NOT follow that little dog into the woods."  "DO NOT DO IT!!!"  Seriously?  Nobody listens to me.  

I was fully invested from the beginning to the end of this book.   Courtney was very resourceful and um, flexible.  If I had been where Courtney was I would have totally died because I cannot contort my body in those ways.  Wait a minute, this is fiction, so never mind.  I totally could have been just as resourceful and flexible.  In fact, I probably could have done it 20 minutes earlier than her because in fiction, I'm way smart too.

The story moved right along.  It was interesting and kept my mind wondering how all the pieces fit together and it kept my heart beating just a bit faster than necessary.  Which was good because I totally counted that for my workout for that day.  Who knew reading could also be a workout, right?  And yes, I totally did read this book in one day.  It was that good.  :)  Check out this book trailer and let me know how you liked it.  I thought it was perfect for the book.

I'm so glad I got to read this book and be a part of this blog tour.  My thanks to Cedar Fort for providing the opportunity.  You can check out all the blogs participating in this hop here.

Find out more about Rachelle J. Christensen at the following places:
Author Website:
Author Facebook:

"To celebrate the release of CALLER ID, Rachelle is hosting a contest for a new Ultra Flip Video Camcorder (4GB memory, Records 120 minutes Value $149.99) and other great prizes. You can enter to win between now and April 14, 2012. Winners will be announced and notified April 16, 2012.

For how to enter, click here.

Join the Book Bomb effort taking place Thursday, March 22nd. Click here for details."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Emerald City by Alicia Leppert + GIVEAWAY!

Olivia Tate is a broken shell of a girl haunted by the tragic events that fill her past. She has closed herself off from the world, each day grasping at something—anything—to live for. Convinced there will never be a way out, she seeks solace in the depths of her medicine cabinet. When she wakes up days later in the hospital she is introduced to Jude, the quiet stranger responsible for saving her life. She never could have guessed then that her mysterious rescuer would end up saving her life a second time, while simultaneously turning her world upside down. A modern-day romance with a twist, Emerald City has a little bit of something for everyone!

I'm so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Emerald City!  My thanks to Cedar Fort for allowing me to participate and for providing for the giveaway.  Cedar Fort is an awesome publisher to work with.  

Doesn't Emerald City have a pretty cover?  I really like it.  The line on the front is so true, too.  I think that one line is perfect for the story of Emerald City.

I think I forgot what this book was about in the time between when I signed up for the blog tour and the day I actually read the book.  I was a bit surprised when I started reading it.  It wasn't what I was expecting.  That's not a bad thing.  I kinda like good book surprises.  :)  

I would call this book "real life drama with a paranormal twist".  Olivia has been dealt a sad and difficult hand in life.  Her story is really heart breaking.  I felt so much sympathy for her.  She was so sad and lonely.  Her life had become almost no life at all as she was wasting away to nothing.  Which leads me to my favorite thing about this book.  In her darkest, worst moment, someone steps in with some light.  A small kindness, followed by another, followed by another that ends up making all the difference in the world to Olivia.  Isn't that what can make all the difference to any of us on any given hard day?  A small kindness can change everything.

Olivia goes from a shell of a person to someone who believes she can maybe survive.  Then when she is surviving, she starts to believe that maybe she can find some happiness somewhere.  It starts a chain of events that move Olivia to a better place.  A place where love is found.

I loved the transformation for Olivia.  I love that she found hope and light and love of life again.  Of course Jude, the rescuer and friend, is at the center of Olivia's transformation.  He ultimately shows us how showing kindness and love can change a person's whole life.  What a good, good man.  <sigh>  Jude.  (that was my romantic heart sighing)  At first I was like, "what's up with Jude?!"  And then a bit later I said, "Oh, that's what's up with Jude."  Just wait until you find out what's up with Jude.  :)

So, if you'd like to read Emerald City, enter the giveaway!  Cedar Fort will be giving away a copy of Emerald City ~ ebook to INT readers, print or ebook to US readers.  To enter just leave a comment with your email address.  Giveaway ends March 15th.

Here is a link that will take you to the author, Alicia Leppert's, website.  You should pop over there and check her out.  She tells a very funny story there about bidding for her new book on ebay.  It is classic.  You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.