Giveaway: Holly Nather Trilogy

Visions (Holly Nather Trilogy #1)
Author Sara Daniell and I have decided to team up and do a giveaway with her two novels in the Holly Nather Trilogy!  The winner will receive their choice of a Nook or Kindle version of both books (they will receive book #2 when it comes out April 30th).  Her first book Visions is one of my favorites.


"It is Holly's first year in college and the most exciting thing in her life is her classes. She doesn't have any luck with dating and doesn't have many friends.  Her life is terribly boring until she receives a text message from a unknown person. Life as Holly knows it will forever change by responding to that one single text. She isn't too thrilled but will soon find herself falling in love with a complete stranger from another world." -goodreads    
Read 5 star my review.                                               
a Rafflecopter giveaway

         
Book 2 Secrets will be available April 30, 2012!

Weekly Event: Shelf Candy Saturday (#1)









This is a meme hosted by fivealarmbookreview.com where we celebrate cover artists who have designed captivating cover art.  To participate click the link above for details.







Smokeless Fire
For the last two years Ari Johnson's life has been anything but normal, and on her 18th birthday, when her friends surprise her with a gimmick genie claiming to grant wishes, Ari discovers the truth. The tragic and strange occurrences surrounding her 16th birthday were not coincidental and her life is never going to be the same again.  Ari's real parents are not normal. They are not loving. They are not human.  They are myth.  They are Smokeless Fire.  They are Jinn. 


Cover Artist: Claudia McKinney
Facebook/Work
Claudia has designed book covers for many publishers including Random House, Llewellyn, Simon & Schuster.  Right now she is working on designing a website for a best seller romance author.  I've taken a look at some of her work and it is fantastic.  It's the kind of art that gives you goose bumps.  I chose this book cover because I loved the colors. The green at the top kind of looks like smoke which makes you wonder why it's called Smokeless Fire then.  I love the flames at the bottom too.  It also makes you wonder why the girl doesn't look scared even though she is engulfed in flames.


What do you think of Claudia's cover?  Leave a link to your Shelf Candy post and I will check it out.

Weekly Event: Follow Friday (#2)




This meme is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read.  It is a 
great way to meet fellow bloggers and gain new followers.  Each participant will answer the week's F&F questions.  And each week a blogger will be Featured on the host's website. 

This week's featured blogger is Justin & Jenni from:
                     Alluring Reads                       




This week's question:

Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?

Before I began blogging I used to only read one book at a time.  But now when I participate in blog tours I have deadlines, so I find myself reading up to three books at a time.  I make sure they are different genres though.  So for example, at one point I was reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(Adult Fiction), Charmed Thirds(Chicklit/YA), and Oppression(YA Fantasy).  I had no problem reading these three at the same time because the voices of the main characters in each book were so different.  I also usually have one ebook on the side so I can have it with me on my phone at all times.  How many books do you read at one time?

Leave comments with a link to your Follow Friday/Feature & Follow and I'll be sure to check it out! 

Teaser/Tune In Tuesday (#2 & #1)


 
I just finished these two books yesterday.  They were surprisingly really good!  I was listening to my iPod on shuffle and came across two songs that really reminded me of these books.



Tune In Tuesday is weekly event, hosted by Ginger at GReads!.  Each week we combine our love for music and books.  During the month of March Ginger has asked that we post songs that remind us of a book or whatever book we are currently reading. 




I think this song shows the love/hate relationship that Caleb & Maggie have.  Through all their lies and avoidance of each other they still have passion and love somehow.  And I think it's funny that Caleb lived in Chicago and one point.  


I think this song is more for Maggie in the second book.  She's too careful with life after the accident leaves her crippled.  She's hiding from everyone and anything that can hurt her.  She's avoiding and denying her feelings.  But slowly she gets more strength and courage and goes after what she wants.  Instead of hiding her pain and pretending she's okay she starts learning to forgive and love with Caleb's help and starts living again.

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

 

Title: The Iron King


Author: Julie Kagawa


Publication date: February 1, 2010


# of Pages: ebook- 825


My Rating: 3/5 Stars




Barnes&Noble/Amazon/Goodreads
Good Reads Summary:
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. 

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. 

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. 



My Review:

þ Magical world w/ faeries and new creatures
þ   Action
þ A touch of romance
þ A great ending

    I have a love/hate relationship with this book.  It seemed like one chapter I loved it and then the next I was bored and had to reread the page.  I think I preferred the scenes that had action and romance to the ones that were lots of description.  Obviously there needed to be lots of description because this is a book with a new world in it, but I found myself fighting the urge to skip past all the description.  The other thing that bothered me was that this world didn't feel original.  This world, although ruled by faeries, was much like Narnia.  First of all, they got to the world by going through a closet.  Narnia they use a wardrobe, but still that's very close.  The main character, Meghan, has a guide when she first gets the forest, much like Narnia also.  Some of the faeries used ice and I'm pretty sure a queen in Narnia used ice as a weapon.  This book also held a resemblance to Alice in Wonderland.  Meghan meets a talking sly cat and as much as I tried I couldn't stop picturing him as the Cheshire Cat.

    Aside from all the similarities I was able to enjoy it because the characters where interesting.  Meghan is a very normal teenager.  She's just trying to get through High School and get her drivers permit.  At first when she is thrown into this new world she relies on others to save her, but soon she begins to realize her own inner strength.  Robbie, her friend is kind of like a golden retriever.  He's always there to save the day and he's funny and nice, a loyal companion.  Ash is the prince of everyone's dreams.  He's mysterious, charming, a good dancer, brave, and handsome.  I enjoyed him the most I think.  Although I don't remember the author describing him so I kept picturing him in a typical prince outfit (much like the once Cinderella's prince wore).  Somehow I don't think that's what he was wearing, but I just couldn't picture him in jeans and a hoodie either.  There were lots of new creatures that were fantastically scary.  I would never want to encounter them, but I enjoyed reading about Meghan fighting them off in the woods.

    The book ended with so many questions unanswered.  The author definitely set it up well for a series.  The second I was done, despite my apprehensions, I went on the library website and took out the next book of the series.  I just needed to know how certain parts of the plot would be resolved.  The author definitely succeeded in drawing the reader in with a cliffhanger type ending.  I wouldn't recommend this book to all my friends, but I do suggest you add it to your to read list and read it when you have time. Read the rest of my review here.            

Weekly Event: In My Mailbox (1)

 
I don't want to get carried away with memes, 
but I don't do every single meme each week.  So here is another one hosted by The Story Siren 
where you showcase books you received from authors, borrowed from the library or friend, or bought that week.
From the author for review: Stay Tuned
From the library: Leaving Paradise & Iron Daughter
From a friend: Ender's Game & Airhead

I'm don't know where to start first since they all sound good.  Any suggestions?  
What did you get in your mailbox this week?



The Hunger Games: Age Appropriateness?

 
How young is too young?
   I read the books and have seen The Hunger Games movie twice already.  At the premiere Thursday I noticed a lot of young children/teens in the audience.  I didn't think much of it at first.  I was 8 when I first saw Titanic and I wasn't upset by the floating mannequins in the ocean then.  So why would this be any different for these kids?  But as I sat crying during the Rue scene I couldn't help but think that those kids shouldn't be watching it.  I know you need parental supervision to see it because it's technically PG13, but should there just be a set limit like no one under 13 can see it at all?  And should there be an age limit on who can purchase the book?  

I think if a new law was placed to prohibit children under a certain age to see it there would be an uproar like the SOPA incident.  Society freaks out when there is any censorship.  But if parents aren't doing their job and researching what their kids are seeing before they go to the movies, then should the government act as the parent and decide for them?  What about with books?  I find it strange that a 13 year old can't rent a rated R movie without being carded, but can borrow any book they want from the library.  I'm usually against censorship, but seeing those young kids in the theater really made me think.   

For me the actual violence of the movie wasn't too upsetting because it was done very well.  The camera shots were quick and slightly shaky since it was from Katniss' point of view so you didn't see everything too clearly.  It also didn't show the tributes lying dead for too long.  A quick glance at them lying on the ground and then it panned away.  There wasn't too much blood either.  I felt reading about their deaths was wayyyy worse.  I remember almost throwing up while reading because I was so disturbed by the descriptions and how cruel it all was.  Somehow it didn't have the same effect on me on the big screen.  Maybe it was because my generation has become numb to watching violence (don't get me started...that could be a whole other post lol).  

I wonder if the violence was too much for those kids though.  And not just the violence, but the emotional rollercoaster Suzanne Collins takes the audience on.  When Katniss volunteers for her sister all I could think about was my big sister and how she would have probably done the same.  As Prim is being ripped away from her sister's arms I had to remind myself that I was in a public place and forced myself to hold back my tears.  And I know I am not the only one.  I heard sniffles all through out the theater.  So if a 22 year old like me was finding the movie very emotional I can't imagine a 10-15 year old processing it.  

What do you all think?  Do you have children or siblings who saw it?  What age do you think is appropriate for them to read and see materials like this?

Here's what some other people think: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/604080-appropriate-for-what-ages          

Author Interview: Jessica Therrien


Jessica Therrien I had the pleasure of interviewing debut author, Jessica Therrien, this week.  Her novel that just hit shelves last month is called Oppression and is the first in her series Children of the Gods.  To read more about Jessica visit her blog!  Or to read my 5 star review of her book click here.

I want to thank Jessica for taking the time to do this interview.  She has been busy with her blog tour for Oppression and events like WonderCon and still found the time to visit my blog!  Let's get started.


Do you have a favorite part or quote from your book Oppression?

For some reason, this is always the passage that stands out for me. I think it’s because I was actually in a car accident like this one…
It was two o’clock in the afternoon, but the day was dim. The sun had been swallowed up by the all-consuming white. I was gazing out the back window as it happened, trying to judge the visibility through the whiteout. I couldn’t see far, just beyond the edge of the fence that ran alongside the road.
“Richard, slow down!” my mother shouted. The words triggered the incident like she had seen it coming. The car drifted into the next lane, and I felt the loss of control as the paved road became slick ice. My body stiffened in response to the awkward gliding sensation, and I braced myself for the impact. Every second of the slow motion tumble seemed an eternity as I prepared for the last moments of life. I clung to those seconds, taking in the final images that my eyes would see, and listening for the closing lines that would mark the end.
“Ellie!”
My mother’s panicked voice rang out in the hollow silence of the cab with a sort of knowing uncertainty just before we hit.
***
It had been thirty-nine years since the accident, and still these photos stirred up the last memory I had of them. I stared down at the faded pictures, the delicate paper worn on the edges. I would never forget. The last words of my parents, the flickering image of a deep red that stained the snow like an open wound on the skin of the earth, and the crumpled Cadillac flipped over in the bank.

Some of your characters have special abilities.  For example, one character has healing powers.   If you had a special ability what would it be?

I would love the ability to fly...how cool would that be?!

In your book William asks, “If you could sum up your whole life into a single flavor, what would it be?  What do you think your life would taste like?”  What would your answer be if he asked you?

My answer is going to sound weird unless you know me. I LOVE lemons with salt…so much that it’s actually a problem. I need to stop eating them! Oddly enough it fits perfectly. A little sour, but with enough salt (love), it’s the best thing ever.

What book(s) have most influenced your life?

Harry Potter was very influential. I used to think I hated reading. I’d pick up my mom’s books and wonder why I couldn’t get through them. Turns out she loves to read depressing books…
When I read Harry Potter, I realized I actually LOVED to read, I just hadn’t found my genre. It opened up a whole new world to me. I love anything paranormal or fantasy related.
My most recent favorites are Blood Red Road and Divergent J They really inspire me.

Review: Oppression by: Jessica Therrien


Title: Oppression

Author: Jessica Therrien

  • Publisher: ZOVA BOOKS

  • Publication date: February 28, 2012


    # of Pages: 
      Nookbook 339


My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Goodreads Summary:
    Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Among so many of her kind, she should not be very remarkable--except for the prophecy. Some believe she will put an end to traditions, safeguarded by violence, which have oppressed her people for centuries. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning--and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.
My Review:

þ Romance
þ   Super powers þ Strong characters
þ Action packed

This book has the easy and delicate romance of Delirium, the super powers of Shatter Me, and a strong lead Heroine like The Hunger Games.  More importantly it has one huge difference that makes it uniquely extraordinary.  The main character, Elyse is a Descendent of the people the Greeks believed were gods.  Forget vampires and werewolves, this series is on a whole new level, unlike anything else I have ever read. 

Read the rest of my review here.


Weekly Events: Top Ten Tuesday #1

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  
All you have to do is add a link back to the hosts page and compile your top ten list of the week.  
Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List






1. Insurgent by: Veronica Roth comes out May 1, 2012.  I have one of those count down widgets for this book that is how excited I am.  And yes I do frequently check the widget to see how many days are left.  I've never pre-ordered a book before, but I kinda want to for this one.







2. Pretty Amy by: Lisa Burstein hits the shelves May 15, 2012.  The author and I follow each other on twitter and I always see her tweets about this book.  I'll admit it's not something I would have picked off the shelf on my own, but after reading her posts about it I'm intrigued.








3. Blood Red Road by: Moira Young has been out for almost a year.  A few months ago when I joined Goodreads and started blogging I saw so many people recommending this book.  The library hasn't had it in, so I've had to wait.  It's not something I'd usually read so I'm hesitant to just buy it, but if so many
people are saying it's 5 stars it's gotta be good right?!





4. Brightest Kind of Darkness by: P.T. Michelle came out awhile ago, but the next book in the series Lucid is coming out this spring 2012 so I have to start reading this one soon!  The synopsis sounds kind of like final destination with one person changing fate.  Definitely caught my attention.





5. I've Got Your Number by: Sophie Kinsella came out in February 2012.  I love this author.  I read anything and everything she writes (except the shopaholic series).  This is the perfect spring chicklit book to read while sitting outside sipping some ice tea (as I pretend to have a wrap around porch with a view of a beach in SC rather than a gravel patio in NJ looking out at some deer in a backyard)...I need to move.



Review: Under the Never Sky by: Veronica Rossi



Title: Under the Never Sky

Author: Veronica Rossi
·        
Publisher: HarperCollins
·        
Publication date: 
January 3, 2012

       # of Pages: Hardcover- 375 
   
My Rating: 5/5 stars:  

    

Goodreads Summary:
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

My Review:

þ 2 New Worlds
þ   2 character perspectives
þ A highly unique love story
þ Action packed

   I had a poll on my blog asking voters to chose which book I would read & review next.  This book won.  I was hesitant to read it because the cover of the two people spooning in front of a moon didn't really appeal to me.  But I trusted that the people who voted wouldn't steer me wrong so I got it out of the library.  The hardcover I got was the new cover with the girl emerging from a forest with the sky lit up behind her (the cover I used on this review).  
    
    The first five chapters I thought to myself "this book is terrible.  I'm going to give it 2-3 stars". As I got almost halfway through the book I thought "Okay so maybe this is getting better, but it's still not amazing.  Maybe 4 stars."  As I got to the last 3rd of the book I was thinking "I can't put this down.  I need to find out the ending now!  This is 5 stars!"  And here's why it's 5 stars:  Read the rest of my review here.



Weekly Event: Musing Mondays


She posts a question each Monday for bloggers who are participating in this meme and we answer them.

March 19, 2012
(#2)
This week's musing asks:
I think if the book was published by an actual publishing company and the cover was terrible I would not want to read it.  They have the people with skills and materials to make great covers so there really is no excuse.  However, I have read books by self published authors that have covers they have made themselves.  I know they are not professional graphic design artists so I don't judge their covers at all.  I go by content of the summary for selfpub books.  In general though if the description really interests me I usually still add it to the bottom of my loooonnng To Read List.

Read my past Musing Monday posts here
Feel free to comment below with a link to your Musing Monday post!

Review: Pandemonium by: Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium   Author: Lauren Oliver   Publisher: HarperTeen
 Publication date: February 28, 2012   # of Pages: Nookbook- 384  
  • My Rating: 4/5 Stars

    My Review:

    þNew characters
    þA deeper look at The Wilds 
    þLove
    þCliffhanger ending

       Like Delirium, this books begins very slowly.  The end of the first book Lena has just gotten to The Wilds.  Each chapter in this book rotates between (then) when Lena is first arrives at The Wilds and (now) when Lena is living in New York City.  At first I really didn't like this structure.  I found it confusing and annoying.  However, once I got used to it I saw how it was kind of necessary.  Lauren Oliver was able to give us two books in one basically.  She was able to tell us the necessary story of how Lena's beginning time in The Wilds made her learn how to survive, even if that meant becoming cold and fierce.  We need to see this part of her journey to understand why she says and does certain things in the (now) chapters of the book.  I think if it was just a book of when Lena first gets to The Wilds it would have been very boring.  I found myself on the edge of my seat mostly during the New York scenes.  Read the rest of my review here

Weekly Event: Feature & Follow Friday #1


This meme is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read.  It is a great way to meet fellow bloggers and gain new followers.  Each participant will answer the week's F&F questions.  And each week a blogger will be Featured on the host's website. 


This week's featured blogger is JoAnne from:
                       

This week's question:What is the best book you've read this month?  What is the worst book you've read this month? 



I enjoyed this book the most because I picked it up off the shelf with no expectations.  I hadn't really read reviews, but I had seen people on Goodreads.com saying that they liked it.  And the cover really fascinated me.  I was so wrapped up in this book trying to solve the mystery.  I could not put it down.  I just had to know who did it.  I love when books surprise me!




This book I am still reading.  I don't hate it, although some parts are a little too repulsive.  I had seen the movie and knew parts of it would be disturbing, but I loved the two main characters and the mystery aspect of the movie so I decided to try the book anyway.  Since I have seen the movie, it's a tad boring because I already know how it will end.  I thought usually movies change things around, but so far this book is almost verbatim of what was on the big screen.  Everyone tells me to stick with it so I'll keep trying.



Take a look at my past Friday posts!
Leave comments with a link to your Follow Friday/Feature & Follow and I'll be sure to check it out.  Also scroll down to read author Sara Daniell's first blog interview!



Author Interview: Sara Daniell


Do you like romance, magic, humor, and a hot prince with a sexy smile?  Yes please!  If you also answered yes then this is a book you won't want to miss!


Meet Sara, author of Visions (Holly Nather Trilogy #1).   We met on bookblogs.ning.com and  I was instantly curious about her debut book that she self published.  After reading Visions in only two days, I am excited to recommend her book to you!  Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Sara so you could get to know a little more about the author behind this exciting new trilogy.


Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

You’re blog is awesome and your reviews are great. Thank YOU for taking the time to read the first book to my Trilogy.  It means the world to me. Anyway, I am a 26 year old mother of 2 girls, spoiled wife for almost 9 years, self-published author, teacher, currently in college, saved by grace, sarcastic (extremely), I love to laugh, and I hate fighting unless it is for something I believe in. Writing is my passion even if people hate what I right.


What book has influenced your life the most? 
I would not be where I am today if I had not read the truths in the Bible.  I call it my handbook for life. 



What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading Existence by Abbi Glines.  So far it’s great. I saw this book on your blog and it caught my attention. I’m a sucker for good vampire books. 


I can't wait to read that one too.  As a self-published author, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?  What was the hardest part of self publishing?
Advice for aspiring authors…..oh there is so much! Be proud of your work, even if others hate it.  Don’t get upset when people don’t like your work.  It hurts and sucks, but remember that there will be people out there who do enjoy it. Take all critisim, good and bad, to help you grow as a writer. 

The hardest part of self publishing for me was to actually publish my work.  I wasn’t confident in myself.  I was confident in my work, but not in me.  I didn’t think I could take the criticism.  But then, one day, I decided to go for it.  Good or bad, it didn’t matter.  Bottom line, I love to write and want to share it with anyone and everyone who will take the time to read it.

What was your inspiration behind the character Luke, the magical prince?
Mysterious guys rock.  Luke is mysterious and has many secrets that you will find out about later.  I wanted Luke to be unpredictable but a little predictable at the same time.  I wanted to create a character that would hold the readers attention and draw them in.  It was important to me that the reader had no problem seeing why Holly fell for him.  


Feel free to leave questions or comments for Sara and I'm sure she'd be glad to answer them.

Review: Visions by: Sara Daniell



Title: Visions

Author: 
Sara Daniell

  • Publisher: 
    Sara Daniell

  • Publication date: March 1, 2012


    # of Pages: ebook (ibooks/ipad) 182
      
  • My Rating: 5/5 Stars 


    Goodreads Summary
"It is Holly's first year in college and the most exciting thing in her life is her classes. She doesn't have any luck with dating and doesn't have many friends.  Her life is terribly boring until she receives a text message from a unknown person. Life as Holly knows it will forever change by responding to that one single text. She isn't too thrilled but will soon find herself falling in love with a complete stranger from another world."

My Review:
þ Romance
þ    Humorþ    Fast pacedþ    Relate-able charactersþ    Magic
It’s so refreshing when an author can write about a new world without the use of vampires, werewolves, witches, and all the other magical creatures that have been played out so many times. Sara Daniell has created a world that is relatable to ours, but infused with a splash of magic. Yet unlike some books involving magic, you don’t need a separate dictionary to look up magical terms.  For complete review click here.

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