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Saturday, December 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (99)

In My Mailbox (99)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's been a great year, and I've discovered several new authors thanks to the IMM posts! It's one of my favorite memes, and I'm looking forward to full mailboxes in 2012! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Love the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep, so was thrilled when she sent me an eARC for the next title in the series! Can't wait to see what happens next with Gin and her friends!

By a Thread by Jennifer Estep
By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.

***

Really enjoyed Lori's Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series, so was very happy when Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc offered me the opportunity to take part in a blog tour book #4!

A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster
A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster

Spencer Lark already knows too many secrets about Arizona Storm, including the nightmare she survived and her resulting trust issues. But in order to expose a smuggling ring - and continue avenging his own tragic past - the bounty hunter reluctantly agrees to make Arizona a decoy. Yet nothing has equipped him for her hypnotic blend of fragility and bravery, or for the protective instincts she stirs in him.



Swag:
Love Carolyn Crane's Disillusionist series, so was thrilled to receive trading cards featuring the main characters! I couldn't get a decent shot of the cards (too much flash glare) so copied a couple from her website. You can see all of the cards here. Trust me, they're awesome!

trading cardstrading cards

***
Got this gorgeous bookmark through the Holiday Bookmark Exchange hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader. Thank you Felicia! I love Paris, so this bookmark is perfect for me!

bookmark

Purchased:
Heard good buzz about this title around the blogosphere, so chose this when I needed another book to kick me over $25 for free shipping. Hey, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla
Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla

In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind - an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.


What did you receive in your mailbox?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pick Your a Thon Mini-Challenge #3


Organizing Upcoming Reviews

Mini-challenge #3:  work on organizing your upcoming reviews of books you haven't read. Create an organizer... update... reorganize. The choice is yours. We'd like to see what you do to organize and how you think you'd improve it.

I'm not much of an organizer, as I tend pick up and read the next book in my TBR pile instead of sitting down and writing my review like a good, little reviewer. I've tried a spreadsheet with my requested and received books listed, but it's gotten a little unwieldy. I tried writing the titles for review in a notebook, but that didn't work either.

Right now, I'm setting up a rough draft of the review with the book synopsis and then scheduling them. This serves as a reminder that I need to write the review before a certain date.  That seems to work a little better, but still depends on me checking my unpublished blog posts.

Kate mentions a blog calendar, which I think I might try. If I schedule them in a calendar, maybe that will remind me to get busy! I know I depend heavily on my Outlook calendar at work, so maybe the Google calendar for my blog would work just as well.

Curious to hear what works for others, so please let me know if you've got any helpful hints!

Pick Your a Thon Mini-Challenge #1

Goals, Goals, Goals!


What is an event without some goals? While we all may be focusing on different things, our main goal is the same: to get that pile down.

For the first mini-challenge, we are focusing on getting ready for the New Year. But before we get to the big picture, let's start off with our plans for this week.

What book(s) are you starting with?
Going to start with the books I read but never got around to reviewing over the summer

I hope to review:
At least 10 books

Books I hope to review (or at least will try to get to):
Haven't made up my mind yet, as I'm embarrassed to admit that I have a whole stack of unreviewed books!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pick Your A Thon

 

Kristen and Kate over at The Book Monsters have been debating and debating... read-a-thon or review-a-thon? After much discussion, they decided: why can't we have our cake and eat it too? I mean we both need to work on something: Kristen with reading. Kate with reviewing. And what a better time than now to do it!

Date: December 28th to January 3rd

Goal: You pick! You can participate in a review-a-thon... a read-a-thon.. or BOTH, if you are feeling really adventurous.

I'm horribly behind on my reviews, so will be participating in the review portion of this Pick Your A-Thon. Want to join me? You can sign up here.

Wish me luck!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: The Future of Us

by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
This is one of those stories that is so incredibly good that you simply can't put it down! Loved the whole idea of seeing your future via Facebook posts! And how the smallest little thing can have huge ramifications on your future. Who knew that making a simple declaration would change who you would marry or where you would live? Emma doesn't want to live in Ohio? Done! Fascinating concept!

Really enjoyed how the chapters alternated between Emma and Josh, giving us their viewpoints as well as some of their Facebook posts. Facebook is such a normal part of life now that you forget how strange it would seem to someone from 1996.

Emma and Josh are both well drawn characters and I liked them both. While I was happy that Josh's future seemed to turn out great, I admit to being worried about Emma and her future(s). I understand how she would want to change what she perceived as an unhappy fate, but Josh was right in pointing out that it wasn't a game. The smallest little ripple could change everything, including future children! A little scary if you think about it! But would I be able to resist trying to change things? Probably not!

Gave this one a 5/5 as once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! I really liked the characters, the plot was fascinating, it was well paced and well-written, and I really really loved everything about it! Can't wait to read more by these authors and have already added their previous books to my wishlist! Definitely a must read!


ARC received from BEA

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Short Story Review: Doodling

Doodling by Jonathan Gould

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world. Actually he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
This is a short story and a fast read at only 37 pages. It's fast and fun and I was taken by the idea that the world is moving so fast that people are being flung off into space left and right!

While Neville first assumes that he's alone, he explores the asteroid field he's found and discovers an amusing assortment of other refugees. No mention is made of the fact that people are living on asteroids in the middle of space and are able to easily move between them, which was a fun twist.

There is the girl sunbathing on the aimless asteroid, the bikers, and the party couple. I really liked Helen, who must constantly tend her garden so she doesn't lose it. How can you stop and smell the roses if they need constant attention? And what's up with the toaster people?

You can read this book as a light romp, or look for the hidden depths and try to figure out any allegorical meanings behind Neville's adventures. Curious to see what others thought of this one, so please let me know if you've read it!


I received a copy of this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Secret Santa Goodies!



I adore Secret Santas, so signed up for two this year!
I love shopping for fellow booklovers, and hope that they are as excited as I am to get book goodies in the mail! There's nothing like the feeling of seeing a box sitting at your doorstep, and I wanted to share with you the awesome gifts I received. Wish I had been as creative, but there's always next year... ;)

Surprise #1
I've been wanting a copy of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer for ages, so was thrilled when I received a copy in my first Secret Santa gift box! Love the name of this one, and the Elton John song runs through my head every time I see it. Every. Single. Time. And what can I say about Sirensong except that Jenna Black is made of awesome! There was major squeeing when I opened this box! And yes, there was a happy dance too. Not to mention the chocolate. Did you see the chocolate? I <3 chocolate! Thank you PNR Bookworm!

Surprise #2
Not familiar with Deceived by the Others or Under Attack, but I read the synopsis for both books and they look like great reads! I've heard of L.J. Smith but haven't read her yet. Dark Visions was a little scary looking at first because it's so huge, but it's actually 3 books in one, so think it will be a great introduction to her work. I love discovering new authors through my fellow bookaholics! Included in my gift box was a weekly planner for 2012, a gift box of Starburst, and awesome bookmarks. I love bookmarks! Love Jennifer Estep, so was happy to get four of hers. And the penguin bookmark is just too cute! Don't know how Kels at Kelsey's Book Corner knew I collected bookmarks, but thank you so much! 

Surprise #3
As I may have mentioned once or twice, I love bookmarks. So when I saw that Missie B over at The Unread Reader was having a Holiday Bookmark Exchange, I couldn't wait to sign up! Received a cute Yertle the Turtle bookmark and a gorgeous one featuring the art of Jessica Hamilton. And how awesome is it that Missie has bookmarks for her blog? What a great idea! Thank you so much!

Had a blast with the Secret Santa and bookmark exchanges! Love getting surprises in the mail! Hope that my recipients are as happy with their surprises as I am. Let me know if you received any Secret Santa gifts, as I'd love to check them out!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sneak Peek: Icarus

by J.S. Chancellor

Book Description:
“Don’t get me wrong; immortality does have its perks. Take dieting for example - kind of hard to do when you’ve only got two choices: fresh blood and slightly less fresh blood. The media makes it all out to be glamorous. Romantic, even. But the books, movies and witty television shows have it wrong. Especially the ones that make a big to-do about not being wrong (you know, the ones that spell vampire Vampyr, like it’s original).

And don’t think for a second that I was turned in some amazing, soul-binding, body-meshing way either. I don’t think my libido is damaged enough to forget that kind of rendezvous. Though, to be honest, I don’t recall anything about it. As soon as you’re turned, as soon as anyone is turned, the powers that be rush in like witness protection agents and whisk you off, never to see your family or friends again. Your life changes in ways you never imagined that it could.

Like the fact that I was kidnapped last night. Totally didn’t see that coming. Not being the Covenant-level assassin that I am (did I mention that already? I didn’t get much of a choice in that either—the profession I mean). Oh, and get this … the creeps who grabbed me claim that my mentor/should-have-kept-it-professional boyfriend Trinity is the vampire equivalent to the anti-Christ.

Nice. And to think it’s only Tuesday.

But wait, it gets better. See, there is one fact about vampirism that everyone gets correct - our bodies can’t biologically process natural light. Past that, all I know is that if I don’t partake of my usual dose of Icarus every seven days (provided via injection by the powers that be), I’ll lose my existence as I know it. It allows me to bask in the sunlight, keeps us from exploding into flames and I’ve heard rumors that it’s what makes us immortal. You know, little things.

Now, since Head Creep removed the dosing disc from my arm, whether I had anything to do with it or not, I’m guilty of betraying High Coven. This fact not only sucks (pun intended), it means I’ve been condemned to death.

An assassin … condemned to death. Seems like kind of shitty deal if you ask me.

I don’t care that Head Creep is hot enough that he gives Christian Bale a run for his money. He claims that Icarus is part of some massive conspiracy, that vampires are a perverse mutation of beings from another universe, and that Trinity (along with some dark army he’s supposedly in charge of) plans to exterminate the human race. Of course, he says this will occur in less than a week. And damn, wouldn’t you know he’d kidnap me on day six of my dose?”


Sound intriguing? Be sure to follow hashtag #Icarus today for Twitterview with author @Jschancellor to celebrate the book's release! You can ask questions and discuss the book and just basically hang out with the author. Should be fun!

J. S. Chancellor
Genre: Fiction | Fantasy | Paranormal | Romance
Paperback: 314 pages
ISBN: 9781936850372


Saturday, December 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (98)

In My Mailbox (98)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.


For Review:
I don't usually read medical thrillers, but the excerpt pulled me in and made me want to give it a try. It doesn't sound like the same-old same-old thriller. Will have to see if the whole story is as good as the excerpt. Fingers crossed!

The Immortalists by Kyle Mills
by Kyle Mills

It’s a question microbiologist Richard Draman thought he’d answered when he walked away from his career to focus on curing a genetic defect that is causing his daughter to age at a wildly accelerated rate. But now he and his wife Carly are being forced to come to terms with the fact that eight-year-old Susie’s time is running out. Then they receive an unexpected gift: startling new research into the fundamental secrets of life that could be the miracle they’ve been looking for...


New Additions:
I remember seeing this around the blogosphere, so decided to give it a try when I saw it on the loaner shelf at work. This is the second book in the series, but I think I'll be able to pick it up without reading book one. Shape shifting brothers? Sounds intriguing!

Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck
by Colleen Houck

Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. But danger lurks around the corner, forcing her to return to India where she embarks on a second quest--this time with Ren's dark, bad-boy brother Kishan, who has also fallen prey to the Tiger's Curse. Fraught with danger, spellbinding dreams, and choices of the heart, TIGER'S QUEST brings the trio one step closer to breaking the spell that binds them. (Goodreads)


Get anything good in your mailbox this week?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: A Karma Girl Christmas

A Karma Girl Christmas by Jennifer Estep

On Christmas Eve, Carmen, as Karma Girl, is assigned to guard toys, clothes, food, and more that are intended for needy children and their families. But an ubervillain also has his eye on the toys and plans to steal and then sell them to the highest bidder. Carmen will have to use all her empathic powers just to stay alive, not to mention make sure Christmas is a happy one for all the kids who are counting on her. It's all in a night's work for a superhero ...

My Thoughts:
Jennifer Estep is one of those authors who I'll read anything she writes, as she's incredibly talented with an awesome imagination! Love her Elemental Assassin series starring the Spider, and looking forward to starting her Mythos Academy YA series. This short story is from her Bigtime series, which is more humorous than the Spider books but just as good.

Karma Girl is the newest member of the Fearless Five so as the rookie, she gets the job of guarding the giant charity Christmas tree and presents on Christmas Eve. Expecting a dull, uneventful evening, she is surprised by an unexpected villain with dastardly plans of his own! (cue evil laughter)

Really enjoyed this one, as we get to know Carmen a little better and are introduced to a new villain (or two). Since it's a short story at only 14,000 words or so, it made for a fast, fun read. I don't usually like seasonal stories, but this one was too tempting to resist! While I was saddened to learn that the Bigtime series was dropped by Jennifer's publisher, I hope that she continues to write the further adventures of the Fearless Five in eBook form! Love these guys!


This eBook is from my personal nook library

 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas

There's nothing more enjoyable than Christmas shopping...except maybe a root canal. Ha! Gotcha! Thought I was going to get all mushy and Christmasy on you, didn't you? Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of shopping. Especially around the holidays, as the crowds really annoy me. I seem to be more Grinch than Santa if I have to fight my way through the malls this time of year, so thank the gods for online shopping! No crowds, no pushing and shoving, no annoying muzak...nirvana for the Christmas shopper! So in the interest of helping out my fellow Grinches, thought I'd share some awesome online finds with you!

Etsy is an incredible find for the online shopper! One of my favorite shops is Haut Totes, where I ordered this gorgeous necklace. Loved it so much that I got one for myself! Melissa, the designer, is incredible! She did a custom design for my mother last year that earned me Favorite Child status! I've ordered tote bags and cosmetic cases from her as well, and they're all gorgeous!


Found a unique site for personalized gifts when I was approached by Easy Canvas Prints to review their product. You can choose from stock photos like the one above, or upload one of your pictures and have it turned into a canvas print. I've ordered two personalized prints as Christmas gifts and couldn't be happier with the results! And Trafalgar Square is one of DH's favorite places, so am considering buying the above print for his birthday. Shhhh, don't tell him!


I recently won some shirts from Crazy Dog T-Shirts and I love them! They are soft and comfortable and there are so many different designs that it will be hard to pick just one! Hey, I wonder if they have a Mom Likes Me Best shirt???


Cafe Press is another great site for finding unique gifts! I love this Dark Side mug! You can choose from a wide variety of shirts, mugs, totes, and other gifts, or you can create your own! Several authors have offered designs thru Cafe Press as well, so it's perfect for the book lover!


An eReader! I love, love, love my new nook Simple Touch from Barnes and Noble! It's funny because I was very anti-eReader when they first came out, but I've gone to the dark side....hey, they had cookies! Sorry, I couldn't resist. *snicker* Anyway...I'll never give up my love of physical books, but an eReader is awesome for travel and to review eARCs. NetGalley and Galley Grab have an incredible number of eARCs for review. And with my nook in my tote, I'll always have something handy to read!

  Hope this has given you some ideas for the holidays. And if you know any other great stores out in the blogoverse, please share!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (97)

In My Mailbox (97)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. This is one of my favorite memes, as I'm always discovering new, drool-worthy books thru IMM posts! I've included links if you want more information.

For Review:


Stories to Enjoy by Tom Mach

Received a copy of Stories to Enjoy by Tom Mach for a blog tour next year. I really like short stories, so am looking forward to reviewing this one! Received a copy of the eBook from Goddess Fish Promotions.


Contest Wins:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Was thrilled when I won a copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer from Sheila at Book Journey! This was one of the hot titles at BEA this year, but I never got hold of a copy. Can't wait to read it, as I've heard nothing but good buzz about this one! Thanks Sheila!



Purchased:


Trance
Love Kelly Meding's books, so bought Trance, book one of her newest series! I've been on a book buying ban and was doing really well, but I needed something to push me over the $25 total so I could get free shipping. The book was cheaper than the shipping and all  of the other books were presents, I swear! *blinks innocently*


Recycled Woven Journal
Couldn't resist this Recycled Woven Journal when I saw it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble! I love journals and am always on the lookout for new ones, and I love the idea that this is 100% recycled! The cover is from old newspapers and the pages are printed on recycled writing paper. Very cool!


Looking forward to seeing what everyone received this week!
Still plenty of time for sending Santa updated book wishlists!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Book Review: In The Forests of the Night

In The Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton

Source: eARC provided by the author, via NetGalley and ARC via Amazon Vine

Rating: 4/5

Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have rescued Tea's and Aiden's father and have made it out of Mag Mell alive, bringing a few new friends with them. But The Dark Man's forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Teagan soon realizes that she is not the target of the goblins. In fact, the goblins call her princess, and call her to come out and play. Something is happening to her, and she suspects it’s an infection she picked up in Mag Mell. An infected cat-sídhe becomes her test subject, and Teagan is determined to cure it of the sickness that seems to rot its flesh. If she can find a cure for the cat-sídhe, then maybe there is hope for her.

Meanwhile, Kyle and Isabeau, Teagan’s goblin cousins, show up in her school, disguised as a substitute teacher and a foreign exchange student. They are sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive. Once awoken, it will burn away every other aspect of her being, leaving her pure and solely goblin. When the process is complete, she will belong to Fear Doirich, the Dark Man. It is just a matter of time. In the meantime, Kyle and Isabeau are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Teagan’s family and friends.

Tea knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn to be hunted to the death or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her, but as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her - that’s destroying them all - has a name: Fear Doirich.

And Teagan Wylltson is not going to let him win. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
I received this book as both an eBook and a physical copy. Glad I did, as this one is a keeper! This is the sequel to Tyger Tyger, which I reviewed here. The story picks up shortly after the end of the first book, with Teagan trying to come to terms with what she learned in Mag Mell.

Teagan is an interesting character. She is kind and caring, as shown by her love of family and work at the zoo. But she is also a teenage girl with a boyfriend and is not perfect, which is a huge relief! I really like her BFF Abby, who provides much needed comic relief but is fiercely protective of Tea! And Finn! What can we say about Finn except *sigh* what a cutie! A true hero in the making!

Afraid that she has evil growing inside her now that her goblin self has awaken, Teagan isn't sure who she is any longer. Desperate to protect those she loves, she comes up with a dangerous plan. Can Finn stop her in time? Will he even find out what she's planning? Hey, this would make a great movie!

Gave this one a 4/5 rating as I loved the characters, the writing was awesome, and it was never boring! The ending was satisfying, yet I sincerely hope that there's more as I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In My Mailbox (96)

In My Mailbox (96)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Really excited to receive this one! I had requested it from NetGalley, but it expired before I could read it. Thank goodness it was available from Amazon Vine, as it sounds like an awesome read!

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.
And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.



Contest Wins:
Was really excited when I found out I won Melissa's Crazydog T-Shirt contest over at Must Read Faster! The designs are awesome, and it was incredibly hard to pick which one I wanted! Had my eye on the Zombie Outbreak Response Team shirt, but they were having a Cyber Monday sale so I got the two shirts below instead. I simply can't resist a deal! Of course, I'll probably go back and order my original choice as well, as these shirts are incredibly soft and comfortable and well-made! I'm in love! *L*

Crazydog T-ShirtCrazydog T-Shirt
What do you think?



From the Library:

The Affair by Lee Child
by Lee Child

This one was a surprise! I was dropping off some movies and saw it sitting there in the new arrivals section. I hadn't put one on hold because I thought it would be months before I could read it, so grabbed it before anyone realized it was sitting there! I love, love, love Jack Reacher, and can't wait to read this one!



What did you get in your mailbox this week?
Leave me a link so I can check it out!

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