Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blog Tour Guest Post: Sherri Hayes & Giveaway

Please welcome Brianna, the heroine of the Finding Anna series, on Ruby's Books (read my reviews for Slave and Need).


How do I (Brianna) feel about being freed?

Lost? Confused? I don’t always know how to feel about not being a slave anymore. There are all these decisions, and I don’t know how to make them. Stephan helps me a lot. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

At one point, I wanted to be a teacher, but I don’t know if that’s possible anymore. Stephan says it is, but I’m not sure. I don’t know if I could stand up in front of a room full of kids, people, let alone teach them something.

I’m also afraid that one day, I might lose Stephan. He’s the one person that I feel completely safe with. I want to be what he needs me to be, but sometimes, I’m not sure I can. All I can do is try, and hope it is enough. Hope that I’m enough.

Giveaway Time!! 

I have two (2) ebook copies of Need to give away. All you have to do is fill out the form below. Comments are welcome, but you have to fill the form to enter the contest.You have until August 8 (Wednesday) to enter. I will announce the lucky winner on Thursday, August 9. Be sure to check back here to see if you won. I will be emailing the winner as soon as possible to let him/her know how to claim the prize.

This giveaway is open internationally!

NOTE! Winner must respond to my email in 72 hours, or a new winner will be chosen.

Please read the Giveaway/Contest Policy before entering.

Blog Tour Book Review: Need by Sherri Hayes (+18)

Author: Sherri Hayes
Series: Finding Anna #2
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 5 cups
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publishing date: July 26th 2012
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

As Brianna comes to terms with the realization that she is no longer a slave, she must figure out what she wants for her life. Forgetting her past isn’t an option. It is an integral part of who she is now, and it will forever shape her view of life. The one thing she knows is that she cannot imagine her life without the man who saved her, but can she be what he needs?

Stephan never imagined falling in love with the woman he rescued, but the thought of her no longer being part of his life is physically painful. The scars from her past continue to haunt her, and he is helpless to stop them. All he can do is try to help her work through the traumas of her past. Can he be everything she needs and help her move on?
The two must figure out how to navigate not only their relationship with each other, but also the outside world. A friend from Brianna’s past shows up where she least expects them, and Uncle Richard continues to enforce his well-meaning agenda to get Brianna more traditional help. As forces, both friend and foe, threaten to tear them apart, Stephan and Brianna have to navigate the turbulent waters and find what they need in each other.

Need picks up right where the first book in the series left off, with Anna trying to figure out how to live her life as a free woman and trying to get to terms with what happened to her.

I liked this book better than the first one. First of all, while the emotional roller-coaster was still very much present, there was a big development in Anna and Stephan's relationship, more so than in Slave. I kept hoping they'd get past one point and when they did, I was very happy for them.

Second of all, we get to see Anna improve more and more. She still has a long way to go and I'm not very sure she'll ever be able to act, feel and think like any other normal woman, without her traumatic past, but I'm sure she'll get even better. I liked the fact that not once Stephan lost his temper with her, even when her reactions hurt him. I think that's one of the reasons I like him, his ability to understand Anna and his willingness do to anything for her.

We get to meet a friend from Anna's past and I'm curious about him. I'm not exactly sure what my feelings for him are, since we got only brief glimpses of him. I think Cal Ross really cares for Anna and maybe he'll play a big part in her future.

The book ends with a major cliffhanger and I really want to know what happens next. I'm curious what will happen in the future with both Anna and Stephan and if a certain someone will get what he deserves.

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Cover Love (23)

Rabid Reads - Cover Love

This feature is hosted by Carmel @ Rabid Reads. The rules are very simple. Choose a cover (or two, or three), preferably new-ish, and share what you like about it. Grab the graphic or don't just so long as you link back.

My pick this week:

I love the green eyes - red mask combo. Ant she looks so mysterious. I wonder what the series is about.

Red Dawn - J.J. Bonds

What is your Cover Love this week?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Author Interview: Resa Nelson

Please welcome Resa Nelson. She's the author of one of my favorite series, The Dragonslayer (my reviews: The Dragonslayer's Sword, The Iron Maiden, The Stone of Darkness).


1. Thank you for stopping by, Resa! Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks so much for hosting my tour, Ruby! It’s wonderful to be here. I’ve been writing my whole life, and I can’t imagine not writing. The easiest way to explain it is that writing is like air – I can’t imagine how I would live without it. Outside of writing, I’m a big fan of museums, ballet, movies, and Broadway musicals. I’ve always loved nature and animals. One of the strangest things about me is that if I want to get a really good night’s sleep, the best thing to do is watch a really scary movie! I’m not sure why or how, but it always works like a charm.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?

When I was in the 2nd grade I had a class assignment (with two of my favorite classmates) to rewrite and draw pictures of a well-known children’s story. We chose The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens. My memory of it (which may or may not be accurate) is that we were a big hit with our teacher and the whole class. So that taught me all I needed to know about the power of the written word. I was hooked!

3. What’s your favorite book?

This probably changes all the time. My favorite book that has shaped me the most is The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I was a child during the Civil Rights Movement, and it made a huge impact on me. I read this book when I was in high school, and it was the first time I’d witnessed someone taking charge of his life and deciding who and what he wanted to be. Every so often, Malcolm X would evaluate himself and his life—he’d keep the things he liked about himself but he’d change the parts he didn’t like. When I first read that book, I decided that’s how I want to live my life, and that might be the biggest force behind my Dragonslayer series because that’s what my main character does: she constantly decides who she wants to be and then takes action to make it happen. On a lighter note, when it comes to favorite novels, I love The Hunger Games!

4. What do you do when you’re not reading or writing?

I live near Boston so when I want some adventure, I go into the city to go to museums and plays or just walk around and enjoy the day. Although I must confess I’m a reality TV junkie. I’m not interested in dating shows, though. My favorite reality TV show is The Amazing Race because I’m a big fan of travel. I love the way that show honors different countries and cultures and how it strives to immerse the contestants in history and customs of the host country. I also love shows like America’s Got Talent. When someone has real talent and the audience embraces them—especially if they look like someone who might be shunned or ignored in real life—I get the best kind of chills. When I watch these shows, I often feel like I’m seeing the best side of humanity.

5. What’s your favorite and your least favorite part of the writing process?

I love the very beginning of a project. I recently finished writing the last book in my Dragonslayer series, so I’m thinking about what to do next. I’m spending the summer brainstorming and figuring out what the next book I write will be. It’s so much fun to not know! It feels like a real adventure. And as you might guess from what I’ve just said, my least favorite part is the very end of the editing process. It’s important to me to be sure everything lines up in terms of plot and continuity and all kinds of things. But … wow! What a tedious process!

6. Are you a plotter or a panster?

Ruby, thank you for bringing a new word into my life! I’d never heard “panster” before and had to look it up. I think I’m a weird hybrid. First, I need to think through the story and understand it in a general, loose kind of way. I do need to know certain points in the book before I write it – the beginning, a few points in the middle, and the ending. But when I write, I’m more of a panster. For example, I tear up paper into little squares (about 1” x 2”), and I use each square to note what I want to accomplish in each chapter. But I usually just write a few words on each square and never more than a couple of sentences. The goal is to write down what I want to accomplish in each chapter. Then I stack them up. (Sometimes I reshuffle them as I’m writing the book.) But when I sit down to actually write a chapter, something in my brain takes over and I feel like I’m watching a movie and writing down what I’m seeing. It’s weird. But really, really fun.

7. If you could be anyone of your characters, who would you be and why?

I’d really like to be the main character in my Dragonslayer series, Astrid. OK, the truth is that I probably am Astrid. I see so much of myself in her. For one thing, she’s a blacksmith who makes weapons. When I was researching the first book, I took a course in blacksmithing. Afterwards I found out that I come from a long line of blacksmiths! It turns out there are three generations in my family who are blacksmithing today. Honestly, I think it must be some kind of genetic memory that made me want to write about being a blacksmith. Oh, and I also took courses to learn historically accurate ways to use medieval weapons, which was incredibly fun. I was even a weapons demonstrator at a museum for a few years! Working with weapons was odd because I’m a pacifist (like Astrid), but I really like using swords (also, like Astrid).

8. We know that The Dragonslayer series is close to an end *sniffle* What are your plans after finishing this series?

I’m sniffling, too! Honestly, I had such a difficult time starting the last book. I felt like I was trying to force myself to write it. But then I figured out it was because I didn’t want the series to end (even though it needs to), and from that point on I was fine. My next book is going to be soft science fiction (maybe science fantasy) blended with mystery and action/adventure. But a woman is the hero—my mission as an author is to write about women who are strong, smart, and courageous. That’s what you can expect to see in any novel I write.

9. Can you tell us what to expect from book 4 of The Dragonslayer series? A little detail about Astrid’s future? 

Poor Astrid! I’ve been so horrible to her! But she’s tough and she’ll figure out how to deal with everything I’ve thrown at her. Throughout the series I’ve been tight-lipped about the dragons and what they are and where they’re from. So Book 4 spells everything out. There are a lot of big surprises. Book 4 draws upon all of the books in the series in big ways and in small details. There are lots of clues planted in the first three books, and Book 4 pulls them all together. Astrid discovers new things about herself—and I didn’t even know one of those things until it happened! Different characters have to take different paths for different reasons. Astrid has a surprising change of heart about one character in her life. And she has one very big decision to make about who she wants to be. There are some new characters that play very important roles. I’m over-the-moon excited about Book 4. It’s coming out in November, and I can barely stand the wait!

Thank you for stopping by, Resa! 


Synopsis for The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Book 1)

For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover--the dragonslayer--disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.

Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.

Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?

Synopsis for The Iron Maiden (Book 2)

Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it’s her duty. She’d rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?

Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer’s sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.

In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn’t a decision she can make just once. It’s a decision she must make every day.

Synopsis for The Stone of Darkness (Book 3)

In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.

Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.

Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.

Author Bio:

Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.

Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.

Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."

Resa lives in Massachusetts.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blog Tour Book Review: The Stone Of Darkness by Resa Nelson

Author: Resa Nelson
Series: The Dragonslayer #3
Publisher: Mundania Press
Publishing Date: May 29th 2012
Source: review copy offered by the author
My Rating: 5 cups
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago. Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them. Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.

If I loved the first two books in this amazing series, let me tell you that I adored The Stone Of Darkness. I feel like I can't actually describe how much I loved this book.

I loved how we get more subplots at the same time. There aren't too many though and they don't take up much time, but they do keep the reader wanting to read and needing to know more about them. We get to see the dragons again and we get to understand more about them, about their ways and about dragonslayers in general. One thing that I loved was getting a little bit of the history of dragons and I understood them a lot better than I did in the previous novels.

Astrid is changed. While more mature and more used to her role as a dragonslayer, she still has a lot to learn about herself and about her family history and about people in general. I think there were things that happened in this book that she needed to go through in order to understand herself better. There are a lot of questions that find answers in this third book and there are so many more new and old questions that need answers, not only about Astrid, but about anything I thought I new about this world.

There's action, suspense, humor, a little bit of romance, mystery, anything I could have wished for. And the one thing that made me completely adore this book was that I was so focused on what was happening, I never imagined the ending was going to be like that. I have no idea what I was thinking the ending was going to be like, but I was surprised. Now, of course, I'm sitting here biting my nails, waiting for the next one.

Anyway, if you haven't checked this series out (shame on you!) do it now!!! It is good :D

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest Post: Ellen Cardona

Please welcome Ellen Cardona, author of Brownie Fix (read my review here)


Writer’s Procrastination

Some people think that writers just write a steady stream of words, and it turns into a novel. That doesn’t happen to me, not even on a good day. If I’m going to jump into a manuscript or edit for a long period of time and be committed to it, the first thing I do is procrastinate. I’ll do it for a couple of weeks that turns into a month until I just can’t stand the pressure of it anymore and have to start writing.

Here’s a recent day when I procrastinated. Of course, my normal procrastination schedule was thrown off because my kids have started summer break:

Wake up at 4:30: Write. No way. I go out with my running buddies to burn off the guilt that I’m not writing.

7:00-8:00: Eat breakfast and watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer because the kids are on summer break and are asleep. Maybe Buffy will give me inspiration?

8-9:30: pull up manuscript that needs editing and stare at it. Check emails and Facebook and realize that I’m exhausted because I got up at 4:30 to go run. Sleep.

10:00-11:00: pick up house, clean it, stare at manuscript, check and answer emails, do a blog post to release the guilt that I’m not working on my manuscript. Get one child ready for swim lessons and yell at teenager to get up from bed.

12:00-1:00: Go to Power Yoga to release more guilt and pressure from not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

1:00-2:30: Get changed, dressed, hair and make-up done so that I’ll feel better so that I can write.

2:30-3:30: Realize I can’t write because I have to get kids from summer activities or I’ll usually tell them to go find something to do, even though I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

3:30-4:30: Stare at computer.

5:00-9:00: Chauffeur duties for kids’ activities and will bring laptop to edit manuscript but spend time gossiping and completely zoning out.

9:00-11:00: Spend time with the family and husband.

Ok. This is a slight exaggeration, and all my days are not like this one. Sometimes, I substitute brownies for yoga, and I don’t get up at 4:30 every morning. I actually do have a part-time teaching job, and sometimes my family will eat dinner at the table.

This sounds absolutely nuts, but it’s normal for me. No wonder people think writers are crazy. Hmm. That manuscript is still waiting . . . I’ll think I’ll make some brownies.


Author Bio:

Ellen Cardona wrote Brownie Fix to help deal with the postpartum depression she experienced after one of her pregnancies. Through her writing, she found that postpartum depression was real but conquerable, especially when one has the help of some dark chocolate and even darker humor.

When Ellen is not writing, she teaches literature to college freshmen and attempts to help them understand the writing process, though they think she’s crazy because of her love for literature and writing.

Ellen graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a PhD in Humanities with a specialization in Literature. Even though she has published several academic works on Ezra Pound, she could not ignore her true passion as a fiction writer.

Ellen lives in Richardson, Texas and continues to learn daily from her husband and two children. In good times and bad, she still enjoys her brownies.

Connect with Ellen!
Twitter:!/ellencardona <> <>

Email: elle (at)ellencardona(dot)com

Blog Tour Book Review: Brownie Fix by Ellen Cardona

Author: Ellen Cardona
My Rating: 4 cups
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

Chocolate. Love. Sex. Really, what else could a woman want in life? For Persey, the heroine of Brownie Fix, her days are fun-filled until what is normally one of life’s most fulfilling experiences, the birth of her son, leads her straight into a dark state of post-partum depression.

Wandering in her own post-partum hell, Persey meets people that are absurd, like the swinging neighbors who want a little more than a cup of sugar and a group of mothers who become whipped up in worship to a climactic furor. On top of the madness, she keeps seeing a yellow-toothed old man who acts like he wants to breastfeed from her. Or is it her imagination? Add the voices in her head that become louder and louder, and it's little wonder that Persey reaches for brownie mix to soothe her insanity.

Buckling under the pressure and lack of sleep from motherhood, Persey experiences the five stages of grief that lead her to uncover a buried secret, and gradually she begins to heal with the help of her family, friends, and, of course, brownies.

This is one of those situations where you definitely shouldn't judge a book by it's cover/blurb. When I first started reading Brownie Fix I thought I was going to learn about some funny adventures of a new mom, along with the tragic story of a postpartum depression.

What I got instead was the story of a woman struggling with a very serious problem and only very few actually funny moments. It was an uncomfortable read for me, but at the same time it kept me going, it kept me wanting to know how and if Persey gets better.

What I loved was how the chapters were tied together depending on the stages of depression. And it showed in the story too, the differences between where she was at the beginning of the story and where she was  halfway through.

The book is fast paced, but that doesn't mean it's less emotional. Trust me, I felt like I was on a roller coaster while reading it. Once I started to understand a little how Persey's mind worked, I felt all her ups and downs like I was a part of her somehow.

I think in the end Brownie Fix is a story with a happy ending. And I think that while it's not an easy read, it definitely is an interesting one and it gives you something to think about.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Review: Slave by Sherri Hayes (+18)

Author: Sherri Hayes
Series: Finding Anna #1
My Rating: 4 cups
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publishing Date: July 28th 2011
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

Stephan has lived the lifestyle of a Dominant for five years. After several rebellious teenage years, it gave him the stability and control he had been seeking after his parent’s death.

As president of a not-for-profit foundation, he knows what his future holds and what he wants out of life. All that changes when a simple lunch with his college friend and Mentor, Darren, leads him to buying a slave.

Thrust into a situation he never thought he’d be in, Stephan can’t walk away. He is compelled to help this girl in the only way he knows how.

Brianna knows only one thing, she is a slave. She has nothing. She is nothing.

Can Stephan help Brianna realize that she is much more than just a Slave?

You know how sometimes you read a book that manages to have this unique hold on you, both mentally and physically, that you feel drained after reading it? That's how I feel right now after reading Slave. It's not the bad kind of draining, it's just a testament to how much I loved the story. Maybe that's why I find it a bit hard to review it. 

The one thing that I'm completely grateful of is that we get both Stephan's and Brianna's views in this story. I think I would've been a mess had one of those be missing. Another thing that I found really surprising, in a pleasant way, was that this was one of those books that make you want to read each and every word carefully.

The emotional journey you take while reading this story is also pretty amazing. I know I felt anger each time Stephan discovered more and more about Brianna's traumatic experiences, or I felt such a tenderness towards her that I wanted to be able to help her in some way. I also wanted to cry a few times. And I like the fact that by the end of the book we get to see an improved Brianna. She's not done recovering, that's for sure, and I am also sure of the fact that it won't be an easy period, but she was a little better than when the book started.

I loved both Stephan and Brianna and I cannot describe to you how much I need to read the next book and find out what happens to them. I have the sneaky suspicion the second book, Need, is going to be even more interesting and emotionally engaging. And I'm ready for a certain someone to receive what they deserve. Well, actually several someones.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Cover Love (22)

Rabid Reads - Cover Love

This feature is hosted by Carmel @ Rabid Reads. The rules are very simple. Choose a cover (or two, or three), preferably new-ish, and share what you like about it. Grab the graphic or don't just so long as you link back.

My picks this week:

 I didn't have time to read Infamous unfortunately, but I know for sure I'll like it. Also, the blurb for Inferno sounds great. So I can't wait to read this one. OH, why I liked it? The firey background. Though fire scares me, I love the way it looks from faaar, faaaaar away. So it's safe to ogle at the flames in a picture :D

Inferno - Sherrilen Kenyon

 Do I have to say why I love this cover? Well, first of all, the background ('cause that's the first thing I noticed, not the hot, almost naked guy *giggles*) makes me feel a little chilly. And given the hot weather in my neck of the woods, I need some cool air. (really, it's like living in a very hot oven. It's not fun!). Then there's the hot, almost naked guy :P Which I'm convinced is Paul Marron. And nothing you say can convince me he's not. :D

Thrown by a Curve - Jaci Burton

I haven't read any of the books in this series, but I do admire their covers. I think this is the prettiest one, actually. I like the light coming out of the book, like a secret passageway has been opened. And her dress is pretty too.

Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare

What are your picks this week?

Book Review: Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith

Author: Helen Smith
My Rating: 4 cups
Publisher:  Tyger Books
Publishing date: May 1st 2010
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

After her husband leaves her for another woman, twentysomething Londoner Alison Temple impulsively applies for a job at the very P.I. firm she hired to trap her philandering ex. She hopes it will be the change of scene she so desperately needs to move on with her shattered life. At the all-female Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Investigation, she spends her days tracking lost objects and her nights shadowing unfaithful husbands. But no matter what the case, none of her clients can compare to the fascinating characters in her personal life. There’s her boss, the estimable and tidy Mrs. Fitzgerald; Taron, Alison’s eccentric best friend, who claims her mother is a witch; Jeff, her love-struck, poetry-writing neighbour; and—last but not least—her psychic postman. Her relationships with them all become entangled when she joins Taron for a road trip to the seaside and stumbles into a misadventure of epic proportions! Clever, quirky, and infused with just a hint of magic, this humorous literary novel introduces a memorable heroine struggling with the everyday complexities of modern life.
One of the first things that came into my head after reading this book is "What a brilliant opening!" Seriously, you have to love a heroine saying this:
"I'm waiting for Mr. Wonderland and when I find him I'll get married. Until, then I'm staying single."

It's such a smart answer to anyone bothering you about your personal life, right?

Then there's the cover. I love the red, black and white and how they look together. It's like a mystery, making me wonder how colorful London - and the world in general - would look like if I looked at it from Alison's POV. And I can honestly say Alison's view of the world is quite unique. Afraid of letting her guard down with another man, due to her cheating ex husband, she'd rather live in a pseudo-relationship than trying to see if a real relationship would actually work. She's afraid of rejection, though I can hardly blame her. Her job isn't helping either. As a female P.I, she's mostly hired to prove an estranged husband or boyfriend is a cheater. At some point she gets a "secret mission" to check out some company dealing with genetically altered vegetables.

Besides Alison, we get to meet some interesting characters. We have Taron, Alison's friend, who is one of those unique friends. Taron is the kind of person who will either drive you mad or make you a happier person. She thinks her mother is a witch and she believes in horoscopes, witchcraft and things like that. I do believe she's the type who can make a really sad person to smile. Then there's Mrs. Fitzgerald, Alison's boss. She seemed like the motherly type. For some reason, she left me thinking that she cared for each and every woman she met through her agency, be they employees or women hiring her for different reasons. And many other characters that I won't talk about, because then I'll probably give some unwanted spoilers :P

There are some funny moments in this book too. I actually laughed out loud a few times.

I felt as though the ending wasn't exactly the way I had hoped it would be. There was some suspense regarding Alison's job and one of her marks and I was waiting for something more spectacular to happen. Then again, maybe it was the right ending for Alison, proving that not always you need a big "boom" at the end of a frightening experience. Though I did see Alison grow up as the story progressed.

Anyway, if you love chick lit, you might want to check this out. I know I really enjoyed reading this book!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (YA)

Author: Anna Banks
Series: Of Poseidon #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publishing Date: May 22nd 2012
My Rating: 3.5 cups
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

First of all, let me tell you how much I love the cover! It's just gorgeous, though I would have wanted to see Galen represented there as well. Though the fact that the girl has bubbles around her and (I'm assuming) she's swimming is the number one reason why I wanted desperately to read this book. Okay, now that I got that out of the way, I can go on with my review :P

The book starts in a pretty sad way. I was almost in tears after the first few pages. Thank God there was Galen to help get me out of that mood LOL! While I like a book that doesn't stall too much in the beginning, I felt as though the first chapters were a little too sad.

Speaking of Galen. He's a hottie. And a prince :D He's also a sort of ambassador between Syrenas and humans. Though for someone with his role, I felt as though Galen lacked a certain level of people skills. His knowledge about humans and their culture was at times too low for my tastes. But he makes up for that by being hot and cute. Oh, and really considerate at times. And patient with Emma, patience that I feel I couldn't have had with her.

Emma doesn't know about her being a Syrena. She thinks she's just a normal girl, that went through a rough summer. What struck me as completely odd was her relationship with her mother. At times I felt as though they were more like friends than mother and daughter. It wasn't that they were friends the fact that sort of bothered me, but the fact that Emma's mom acted more like a teenager sometimes. And other times I could really feel that she was a good mother and that she loved Emma and wanted to be the best mother for her, so maybe acting like a teenager was a way for her to keep Emma close I guess.

There were some funny scenes in this book. Very funny and they made me laugh a lot. I loved Emma's snarky remarks. Galen had a few of those funny moments. I also liked the mythology of this world. It was really interesting and seeing how both Triton and Poseidon are part of this world and explaining the difference and all that.

The ending blew me away. There was a moment when I thought that that could be the ending, but then I thought "nah, it can't be". So in a way it took me by surprise. And the ending is more abrupt and forceful than I expected. It sort of stays true to the beginning of the book. And it was teasing enough to make me want to read the next one. I'm curious about the next book in the series. Will we be getting Galen's POV this time, or continue with Emma's? I'd love to have a series with alternating POV. I felt like we were in Emma's head too much, I'd like to see most of the action told with Galen's words and feelings. Also, I want to see the cover :D

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Cover Love (21)

Rabid Reads - Cover Love

This feature is hosted by Carmel @ Rabid Reads. The rules are very simple. Choose a cover (or two, or three), preferably new-ish, and share what you like about it. Grab the graphic or don't just so long as you link back.

My picks this week:

I like the background colors a lot! Also, she has sparkles in her hair! That's cool. Oh, and the font used for the title is so pretty! I wonder if the heroine is anything like the girl in the picture though...

Innocent Darkness - Suzanne Lazear

 This is such a simple cover. Maybe that's why I like it. Although I'm not particularly fond of the pinkish-violet glasses, I love the angel-devil sides on the lenses. Though I'm not exactly sure about the mustache. But I do like the cover :D

Hollywierd - Terri Clark

What are your picks for this week?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: Haunted by Kelley Armstrong

Series: Women of the Otherworld #5
My Rating: 4.5 cups
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: May 26, 2005
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

Eve Levine -- half-demon, black witch and devoted mother -- has been dead for three years. She has a great house, an interesting love life and can't be killed again -- which comes in handy when you've made as many enemies as Eve. Yes, the afterlife isn't too bad -- all she needs to do is find a way to communicate with her daughter, Savannah, and she'll be happy.
But fate -- or more exactly, the Fates -- have other plans. Eve owes them a favor, and they've just called it in. An evil spirit called the Nix has escaped from hell. She feeds on chaos and death, and is very good at persuading people to kill for her. The Fates want Eve to hunt her down before she does any more damage, but the Nix is a dangerous enemy -- previous hunters have been driven insane in the process. As if that's not problem enough, the only way to stop her is with an angel's sword. And Eve is no angel. . . .

Oh Eve! You broke my heart. I actually didn't expect that. I thought I'd see a somewhat cool demon-witch-ghost that was scary as hell, with a heart as black as night and a major bitch. Yes, I had misconceptions and yes, I'm ashamed of that.

From the second book of the series, Stolen, we know Eve was a "bad witch", one that used black magic to get whatever she wanted and she used her powers to help the wrong people, the ones that payed the highest price for her services. We also know that she's Savannah's mother. What that book and the other 2 following books don't show you is that Eve is capable of love, she knows what's right or wrong, she is capable of suffering and she would do anything for her daughter. Also, she is an honorable woman, even though she is kind of bad *grin* - once she makes a promise, she keeps it no matter what. She's also vulnerable. Now, don't think she isn't bad-ass, because she is and she can kick major ass. She's just very, very complex. And not what I expected.

I loved that we get to see her getting a second chance at love. And with the love of her life, Savannah's dad. Kris was also surprising. Though I was expecting him to be more...Cabal-ish? Mean? Different from the other sorcerer and Cabal relative, Lucas Cortez.

There's one thing that made me too sad and the reason I can't give this book the highest rating: the ending. It didn't feel like a happy ending. I know, I know, the bad guy is captured and punished, Kris and Eve get back together, nobody dies and Eve gets to redeem herself. But I felt it was bittersweet. The very last scene left me kind of raw and on the verge of tears actually. And it wasn't in a good, "oh, I so understand what this character is going through" kind of tears, it was more along the lines of "crap, this is so unfair! *sniff*sniff*". That's basically the only thing that I wished was different. Other than that, I loved it and I hope there's another Eve/Kris story in the next books/short stories.

Now I'm off to read Broken. (I wanted to wait, read one book per month, for the entire duration of the Women Of The Otherworld reading challenge BUT: 1. I can't wait a month to read the next one, I love this series so much and 2. I'm ready for a certain someone and a certain hot male to get together, which I hope will happen in Thirteen. )

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cover Love (20)

Rabid Reads - Cover Love

This feature is hosted by Carmel @ Rabid Reads. The rules are very simple. Choose a cover (or two, or three), preferably new-ish, and share what you like about it. Grab the graphic or don't just so long as you link back.

My picks this week:

From Notting Hill with Love... ActuallyCartoonish cover *sigh* I love those.

Kill Me Softly

This is a creepy cover. The bloodied rose gives me goose bumps. I wonder who gave it to whom and why. I do want to read this book. :D

What are your picks this week?

June In Retrospect

Sorry I'm late with this post, guys! I had some stuff going on, but I'm here now.

June was a little slow, or so I see it. Here are the books I managed to read this month:

  1. Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong
  2. Industrial Magic - Kelley Armstrong
  3. Haunted - Kelley Armstrong
  4. Cinder - Marissa Meyer
  5. Evermine - Hailey Edwards
  6. Eversworn - Hailey Edwards
  7. The Stone of Darkness - Resa Nelson
  8. Of Poseidon - Anna Banks
I didn't manage to read as much as I wanted, but I'm hoping July will be more productive. I am behind with my reading and my reviewing, I know. I'll work hard this month to fix that.

Books I reviewed this month:

  1. Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong
  2. Industrial Magic - Kelley Armstrong
  3. In Love With An Angel - Federica Bosco
  4. Cinder - Marissa Meyer
  5. Evermine - Hailey Edwards
  6. Eversworn - Hailey Edwards
  7. I've Got Your Number - Sophie Kinsella
  8. A Hint Of Frost - Hailey Edwards
  9. Stolen - Kelley Armstrong

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