“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” ~ Mark Twain

Monday, July 30, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Blog Tour: Line Between Here and Gone

The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane

The man she loved is gone forever. The child she lives for could be next. Each day is a struggle for Amanda Gleason's newborn son as he battles a rare immune deficiency. Justin's best chance for a cure lies with his father, who was brutally murdered before Amanda even realized she carried his child. Or was he? One emailed photo changes everything, planting a seed of doubt that Amanda latches on to for dear life: a recent photo of a man who looks exactly like Paul. Could Justin's father be alive? The mother in her is desperate to find out. But tracking down a ghost when every second counts is not for amateurs. Forensic Instincts is the one team up for the challenge. (Goodreads)


Excerpt
Everything was in there. And it wasn’t just an idea anymore.

She pressed a speed dial number on her phone - a call to her oldest and dearest friend, Melissa, who lived in Manhattan and who would never let her down.

Sound interesting? Follow along on the tour for more exciting excerpts!

My Thoughts
This is not the first story I've read featuring the Forensic Instincts team, and I hope it won't be the last! Really enjoyed seeing the team again, and love how they somehow manage to pull off the seemingly impossible!

Amanda is facing a horrible situation that no mother should have to face - her infant son suffers from a rare condition that is terminal without a stem cell transplant. With no matches to be found, his best hope lies with the child's missing father, who was presumed dead. Amanda receives a photograph showing Paul may still be alive, and so begins a mother's desperate race to save her child's life.

Really loved how the team banded together to try and help Amanda find her baby's father and try to save his life! While I understand that Amanda was frantic, I found myself more interested in the team. Really like these guys, and love how they work together to get the job done!

Another great installment on what it turning out to be a great series! Can't wait to see what the team tackles next!
 

Review copy provided by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Book Haul (2)

I was in need of a new way to showcase titles, so was taking various candidates on "test drives" the past few weeks. Finally decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve.

This is a few week's worth of books, as I was on a short sabbatical...

For Review:

This was a nice surprise to find on my doorstep! I met the author at the pre-BEA HarperCollins party and was impressed that he was not only a Dr. Who fan, but also loved Neil Gaiman! We had a nice chat, and I made a note to buy his book when it came out as it sounded so intriguing. Plus, he's a fellow geek, and we need to support each other!

by Michael Boccacino

Love the author's Twitter description for his book:  Think of it as 2 cups Jane Eyre, 6 oz of Lovecraft, and a tbsp of Tim Burton. Serve with ice cream.

***

Was contacted by TLC Book Tours about a review offer for a short story to be included with one of Debbie Macomber's books. I enjoy Debbie's books and love short stories, so thought I'd give this one a shot.
Family Affair by Debbie Macomber
with
The Bet by Darlene Panzera

***
This is the one that got away. Tried several times, but was always too late to snag a copy at BEA this year. Was very, very happy that Edelweiss approved my request for a review copy!

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else - two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

***

This was a nice surprise in my mailbox, as I have no record of requesting it and it's not my usual sort of read. Karma brought it to my doorstep, so I'll give it a look.

by Kiana Davenport

Thrust into the savagery of the Civil War, a Chinese immigrant serving in the Union Army, a nurse doubling as a spy for the North, and a one-armed Confederate cavalryman find their lives inextricably entwined.

***

This showed up on my doorstep with no note and no explanation. The book gods are being good to me this month!

Stolen Prey
by John Sandford

Lucas Davenport has seen many terrible murder scenes. This is one of the worst. In the small Minnesota town of Deephaven, an entire family has been killed - husband, wife, two daughters, dogs.

There’s something about the scene that pokes at Lucas’s cop instincts - it looks an awful lot like the kind of scorched-earth retribution he’s seen in drug killings sometimes. But this is a seriously upscale town, and the husband was an executive vice president at a big bank. It just doesn’t seem to fit. Until it does. And where it leads Lucas will take him into the darkest nightmare of his life.

***

Lori Foster is an old favorite, so couldn't say no when I was asked if I wanted to take part in her latest online book tour!

by Lori Foster

Nothing can shake a cop from pursuing justice-except a beautiful witness marked for death, in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster's sexy new series...

What did you receive this week?


Friday, July 27, 2012

Giveaway: Beach Season (US only)

Win a copy of Beach Season!

Sounds like a great beach read, doesn't it?
Now you can win my gently read review copy by filling out the below form! Contest ends August 9th.

Earn extra entries by leaving a comment on my review of Beach Season and/or by leaving a comment on this post with your favorite beach-related memory! I love the beach, and one of my favorite memories was the first time I tried to build a sand castle. Hey, I was just a kid and no one told me you build the moat last!  ;)



  • US shipping addresses only
  • Must be 13 or older to enter
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen
  • Giveaway will close August 9, 2012 at 11:59PM EST

Good Luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Beach Season Anthology

Beach Season
A collection of four novellas set at the beach, making for the perfect summer beach read!

June's Lace
Really enjoyed this story of a woman rediscovering her old self. June had an unconventional childhood, raised by hippie parents. Wanting to be "normal" she basically turned her back on the wild, free part of herself, became a lawyer, and married another lawyer. She was miserable.

Trying to recapture the Old June, she starts a business creating unconventional wedding dresses. June is artistic and smart and a free spirit. Why anyone would want to bury that part of themselves is beyond me. Really liked this woman! And her family! Loved her family!

This was a great start to this collection, as June and Reece are wonderful characters! Slightly too many oddballs in this story, but they were all lovable! But I would like to see more of Leoni and Morgan, as that little girl almost broke my heart and deserves a happy ending.

Second Chance Sweethearts
Didn't really care for this story as much, as it felt dated and wasn't as smooth a read as the others. Thea is supposed to be 34 and her landlady Alice is supposed to be 53, but neither acts their age. For some reason, Alice seemed more like a 73 year old, as 53 seems too young for a twice-widowed Frank Sinatra fan! This bothered me.

Neither Thea or Hugh appealed to me and didn't seem well rounded. Maybe important details were left out of the story due to editing or something, but the story seemed incomplete. I did like Alice and her cat Henrietta, but even the cat acted out of character at one point. This one just wasn't my cup of Lipton tea (Thea's drink of choice).  :)

Carolina Summer
At first, I rolled my eyes as yet another damsel-in-distress story seemed to be taking shape, but I was soon caught up in the story and it wasn't anything like I expected!

Really enjoyed getting to know Jane and Coop, and think they made a great couple! Despite first impressions, Jane was not a helpless female (those really annoy me) and I admired her initiative and ability to think on her feet. And Coop! There's that spark I was looking for!

This was a well-done, polished and well rounded story. Loved the description of the town almost as much as I loved the characters, as it sounds like a great place! Would love to read Rusty and Kailani's story next!

The Brass Ring
This one was my third favorite of the collection, as I couldn't really relate to the beautiful Dr. Shawna or the handsome semi-famous former tennis pro Parker.

They are a golden couple who seem to have it all, but then it all comes crashing down when Parker is in a horrible accident the night before their wedding. Who knows how they would react to that kind of news, but Shawna behaves admirably while Parker lashes out because of his injuries, both physical and mental.

Felt that the length limitations on this one hurt the story, as we didn't get to know the couple before the accident, so couldn't really appreciate what had been lost or Shawna's anguish. And I didn't really care for the ending, as it tied things up too neatly for my tastes. Still a good story, I just liked two of the others better.


Review copy provided by BookTrib in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Press Release - Kelley Armstrong's THIRTEEN: Wish the Otherworld a Fond Farewell

The Epic Finale to the Otherworld Series
from #1 New York Times bestseller
KELLEY ARMSTRONG


In 2001, Penguin published a story by an unknown author about a brash and independent, but fragile, young woman named Elena… who happened to be a werewolf. Bitten was the first installment of what would become the bestselling Otherworld series, and it introduced a fresh voice to the burgeoning urban fantasy scene - one that prized depth of character and narrative clarity over flashy magic and superpowers.

In her Otherworld series alone, Kelley Armstrong has published twelve installments, ten of which were New York Times bestsellers. On top of her Otherworld series, she has balanced two New York Times bestselling young adult series, along with numerous novellas, anthologies and short stories. Rights to Armstrong’s novels have been sold in over twenty countries worldwide, and her peers, critics and fans have sung her praises since the beginning. Charlaine Harris raved, “There is never a slow moment… or a false line in Armstrong’s writing.”

It’s clear that her legions of devoted fans would agree: Eleven years later, Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series is just as popular as ever, with relatable, unique, and beloved characters we’ve all come to adore—which is why it is so hard to say goodbye.

THIRTEEN (Dutton; July 24, 2012) will mark the final installment in the Otherworld series—something fans have been awaiting, and dreading, since the beginning. Featuring every single character—living and dead—since the first book, this stunning conclusion is the perfect farewell for Kelley’s fans.

The previous two installments, Waking the Witch and Spell Bound, reintroduced readers to Savannah Levine—the supernatural wonder girl of the Otherworld—who first appeared as a feisty twelve-year-old in the series’ second book, Stolen. Half-witch, half-sorcerer, Savannah’s remarkable power and pedigree have placed her in the crosshairs of a dangerous new group: the Supernatural Liberation Movement. They’ve kidnapped her brother, left her battered and bruised, and endangered the lives of her best friends, but when Savannah realizes just how far this fanatical sect is willing to go to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing, she must summon a strength she never knew she had.

Uniting Savannah with Elena, Clay, Adam, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and dozens of other characters from her past in the ultimate battle for the fate of the Otherworld, Armstrong’s finale is both gripping and deeply satisfying. Although predominantly in Savannah’s voice, THIRTEEN features chapters narrated by Jaime, Elena, and others, allowing readers one final moment with the distinct voices of their own favorite characters.

With the first-ever simultaneous on-sale date worldwide, July 24, 2012 will mark the bittersweet end of an era. Don’t miss your chance to wish the Otherworld a fond farewell.

Kelley Armstrong is the author of the New York Times bestselling Otherworld series, as well as the #1 New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy Darkest Powers and other titles. She lives in rural Ontario with her family.


On-Sale: July 24, 2012
Dutton | $26.95
ISBN: 978-0-525-95283-1
(also available as an e-book)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Taking a short break....


Going to take a break

Life is a little hectic these days

Have some posts already scheduled, but stepping away from the blogosphere to try to reduce the overall stress levels

Hope to see you soon.... 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stacking The Shelves


I find myself in need of a new way to showcase titles, so am "test driving" different alternatives. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve.

This week's test drive is with Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews. I really enjoy Tynga's blog and love that she includes updates about her new baby, who is just the sweetest thing! Too cute!

For Review:

Received an offer to review this book from the author. While I've really cut back on the number of review requests I'm accepting in my hopeless quest to whittle my TBR pile down to manageable size, this one sounded too unique and interesting to turn down!

 
by Kristine Ong Muslim

We Bury the Landscape is an exhibition of literary art. Ekphrasis, collected. One hundred flash fictions and prose poems presented to view. From the visual to the textual, transmuting before the gallery-goer’s gaze, the shifting contours of curator Kristine Ong Muslim’s surreal panorama delineate the unconventional, the unexpected, and the unnatural. Traversing this visionary vista’s panoply of “rooms of unfinished lives,” the reader unearths and examines and reanimates - revealing the transcendent uncanniness that subsists underfoot.

***

This was a nice surprise from William Morrow! I thought that they didn't mail out surprises any more, but any day that there's a book waiting on my doorstep is a good day! This one sounds intriguing, and the synopsis reminds me of The Slap.

by Christopher Wakling

"This is a story about a terrible thing which happens to me. I have to warn you that nobody is bad or good here, or rather everyone is a bit bad and a bit good and the bad and the good moluscules get mixed up against each other and produce terrible chemical reactions. Did you know cheetahs cannot retract their claws?"


What did you receive this week?
Leave me a link and I'll be sure to stop by to check them out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review Copy Cleanup

Decided to participate in the Review Copy Cleanup next month, as my TBR pile is getting out of control. It's hosted by the lovely ladies at Nyx Book Reviews and Books, Bisquits, and Tea. Usually fail at challenges, but hope springs eternal!

 
The Guidelines: 
  • The challenge runs from August 1 to 31
  • To sign up, just fill in the Mister Linky here. Link to your sign up post directly please! The Linky is the same for both blogs, so you only have to sign up once
  • The sign up is open until August 15, 2012
  • When you post your sign up post on your blog, either include the challenge button with your post or link it back to this article so that people know where to sign up. Thank you!
  • Every book you received for review counts towards the challenge, both ebooks and hard copies, including all genres and lengths
  • You don't need to follow the two hosts in order to be able to sign up for the event (although it's appreciated)
  • Feel free to use the #RCCleanup hashtag on Twitter for your RCC related tweets or join in the Twitter party at http://tweetchat.com/room/RCCleanup and meet lots of awesome bloggers (:
  • The dates of the readathons and Twitter parties will be announced closer to the RCC

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Blog Tour - An American Family by Peter Lefcourt

An American Family by Peter Lefcourt

The sprawling narrative of five siblings, born in the 1940’s, beginning on the day John Kennedy was shot and ending on 9/11. Between these two iconic dates, we follow the fortunes, love affairs, marriages, divorces, successes and failures of the Pearls, an immigrant Polish-Jewish family, from the Lower East Side of New York, to Long Island and beyond.

This book is a little different than my usual read, but thought I'd highlight it for anyone getting tired of my usual werewolves and urban fantasy diet. :)

You can read more excerpts on the Scanvenger Blog Tour and enjoy the author's thoughts on scripts vs. novels in the below post. Enjoy!

Excerpt
It was a little early for that. Michael was not even 21 yet, and Naomi was a year younger. Still, he could see it working out. She was smart, hard-working and nicely put together. When he brought her to frat parties he could see the guys checking her out.

In the kitchen, he hefted the heavy tub onto the counter, where Delroy, the hired black dishwasher, worked.

“Them boys don’t never stop eating, do they?”

“They’re growing boys, Delroy.”

“Yeah, well they can grow this.” And he took one of his hands out of the tub and cupped his genitals. As he said that, he raised the volume on the radio, an FM jazz music station out of Ithaca. A funky sax solo came out of the Westinghouse portable over the sink.

“Gerry Mulligan.”

“He’s pretty cool.”

“For a white boy…”

Then two things happened at once. From the dining room he heard someone shout, “Mickey. More rice pudding.”


Scripts vs. Novels: Peter Lefcourt’s Take on the Similarities and Differences

The similarity pretty much begins and ends with the fact that both careers involve writing. But that’s about as far as it goes. As many other writers, I came to Los Angeles with the intention of making enough money to finance my lifestyle as a novelist. As it turned out, I found that television writing was not only lucrative but a good apprenticeship in the art of story-telling. You learn how to tell a story economically, which is an invaluable skill in fiction writing. And you learn how to write to a deadline. On the other hand, you soon learn that in Hollywood the writer is a fungible element in filmmaking, summarily replaced by another writer when he/she offers resistance to all the “creative” input from directors, studio execs, producers, and actors. You are, essentially, a hired gun, at the beck and call of others – a well-paid hired gun perhaps, to be sure, but one with very little control over the product.

Moreover, there is very little “voice” in screenwriting. In books it is often the way you tell a story and not the story itself that compels readers. I am drawn to language and voice; and with the possible exception of a facility for dialogue (a skill that is almost impossible to teach: I learned how people talk driving a cab in New York in the sixties – an education worth more, in my opinion, than a PHD in Creative Writing) -- these elements are not valued in screenwriting.

Nevertheless, Hollywood has allowed me the wherewithal to travel a great deal, to perfect the craft of story telling and, ultimately, to reinvent myself as a novelist and have both careers mutually reinforce each other. I’m not sure I would have succeeded in one without the other.

The Author:
Peter Lefcourt is a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, where he has distinguished himself as a writer and producer of film and television. Among his credits are “Cagney and Lacey,” for which he won an Emmy Award; “Monte Carlo,” in which he managed to keep Joan Collins in the same wardrobe for 35 pages; the relentlessly sentimental “Danielle Steel’s Fine Things,” and the underrated and hurried “The Women of Windsor,” the most sordid, and thankfully last, miniseries about the British Royal Family. He is a 30 handicap golfer, drinks too much good wine, and has never been awarded the Nobel Prize for anything.

Review: Why We Broke Up

by Daniel Handler

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

My Thoughts:
This is one of those books that made me realize that I need a plot. I need a reason to continue reading a story, so need something to move the story forward. There was nothing really wrong with this book, but I was left scratching my head at the end of it wondering what just happened. I need a plot.

Min and Ed broke up. Min had a box full of mementos from their time together, which she is returning to Ed. She is also writing a letter, explaining each item in the box. Each chapter discusses one of the items. That's it. Hence, the head scratching.

If nothing else, the story is unique.

I didn't really like Min, who is supposed to be different and artsy and her own person, but I got the impression that she was also pretty. Why do main characters always have to be pretty? Why can't they be artsy and different and average looking, but the love interest adores them for their uniqueness and thinks that they're beautiful? pffft

Anyway, I kept reading this because I held out hope that something would happen. Anything. That the entire book wasn't just an inventory of the souvenirs and their stories. I was disappointed. And to be honest, I still don't know why they got together, much less why they broke up.....

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