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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blog Tour: Hellfire & Damnation II

Hellfire and Damnation II by Connie Wilson

Hellfire & Damnation II by Connie (Corcoran) Wilson is another tour of the 9 Circles of Hell described in Dante's Inferno. It picks up where the first collection of short stories left off, using the framing device of the sins punished at each of the 9 Circles of Hell in Dante's "Inferno."

Check out the other stops on the blog tour.

My Thoughts:
I'm a sucker for anthologies, so jumped at the chance to take part in a blog tour for a collection of short stories inspired by Dante's Inferno. I've read a few different versions of Inferno, but short stories based on the different levels? How could I resist?

The stories are divided according to the nine circles. There are eleven stories, so some circles have more than one story. I liked that Connie includes a description of each circle, as I couldn't remember what the middle levels were (been awhile since I read  Dante's Inferno).

The first story, Cold Corpse Carnival, was a great way to start off the collection! It reminded me of an old-fashioned horror movie, where it sets the stage and then lets your imagination provide the terror. I could see this as a film, complete with ominous music at the end!

The second story, The Shell, was absolutely horrifying. Very intense subject matter, and had me on the edge of my seat! Another standout was Room Service, because one of the characters is an author on her way to BEA. Nice! And A Bridge Too Far had a nice tip-of-the-hat to American Idol type shows.

Short story collections are tough because some will be hit or miss. While I really liked several of the stories in this collection, had deja vu on a couple and one fell flat for me. Overall though, I enjoyed the collection and was impressed that one author could write in so many different styles!


eBook review copy received from Premier Virtual Author Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Book Haul (10)

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I was in need of a new way to showcase titles, and 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. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Received this from Goddess Fish Promotions for a blog tour in December. Sounded too interesting to pass up, as I love the idea of aliens conquering Earth through mind control!


by Trisha Leigh

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots. Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all....


Gifted:
My friend Tammy (Bo's Book Nook) is the bestest, most wonderful friend in the world! She knows how much I love Dean Koontz, so dropped off an autographed copy for me! Isn't she the best? I have signed bookplates from ole Dean, but this is my first autographed book! Love you T!

by Dean Koontz

Do you dare step through the red door? Spencer Grant had no idea what drew him to the bar with the red door. He thought he would just sit down, have a slow beer or two, and talk to a stranger. He couldn't know that it would lead to a narrow escape from a bungalow targeted by a SWAT team. Or that it would leave him a wanted man. 


What did you receive this week?


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blog Tour Excerpt & Giveaway: Run the Risk

Run the Risk by Lori Foster

 When Detective Logan Riske goes undercover to find Pepper Yates, a potential link to his best friend's unsolved murder, he vows to gain her cooperation by any means necessary. But the elusive beauty is more suspicious - and in far more danger - than he expected. And the last thing Logan needs is to start caring for her….Pepper has spent years dodging the corrupt club owner who will stop at nothing to keep her silenced. She can trust no one, not even the handsome new "construction worker" who's moved in next door. The heat between them is undeniable. But will surrendering to passion bring her the safety she so desires - or will her feelings for Logan draw them both into a killer's crosshairs? (Goodreads)


Excerpt:

Grudgingly, she said, “Sue.”
Now more amused, he admitted, “I know.”
“Beg pardon?”
“You manage the building, so I already saw your name on my rental agreement.” He tweaked her chin again. “But I wanted to hear you say it anyway.”
Her huff of affront did nothing to get him out of her doorway.
“So.” He looked up and down the hallway. “You’re a woman alone, and this isn’t the best apartment building, or the best neighborhood.”

My Thoughts:

Since I enjoyed Lori's Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series so much, was excited when BookTrib offered me the opportunity to review her new Love Undercover series!

Run the Risk introduces us to Detective Logan Riske, who has Pepper Yates under surveillance in the hopes that she will help him find justice for the murder of his best friend. Undercover as a construction worker, Logan has no idea that Pepper has a few tricks up her sleeve as well!

While I understand that Logan was undercover, it bothered me a little that he was going to use Pepper in order to get to her brother. Because of this, I was glad to see Pepper stand up for herself and not let herself be used! But does a relationship built on lies have any chance at all?

This series has potential, but think the the Men Who Walk series is a hard act to follow. I liked Logan's partner Reese, maybe because he rescued an abandoned dog? And what's up with Reese's neighbor Alice? I did enjoy the story, and am curious to see if Reese and Rowdy get their own books, as I really liked these guys!

***

As a special treat for Lori’s loyal fans, BookTrib is doing various giveaways and contests to celebrate the release of RUN THE RISK and the launch of her new “Love Undercover” series! Check out the tour and enter to win fabulous prizes!

http://booktrib.com

BookTrib has generously offered to send a copy of Run the Risk to one of my readers! Interested? Just fill out the below form with your name and email address, and that's it! US/Canada addresses only please.




Contest ends October 31, 2012 at 11:59PM EST
US or Canadian shipping addresses only
Book will ship directly from BookTrib
Winner will be notified via email


Monday, October 22, 2012

We interrupt this program....


This is my life at the moment.

We're in the middle of packing everything up to move down south.

Just confirmed our closing date and have scheduled the movers, so I'll be focusing on packing up the rest of the house as OMG IT'S THIS SUNDAY!

Mild panic attack....

Anyway, moving will be my focus for the next few weeks. Have a few posts already scheduled, but DH is threatening to confiscate my laptop. 

I'll miss you!



Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Book Haul (9)

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I was in need of a new way to showcase titles, and 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. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
I'll be taking part in a blog tour next month, so received ebook copies of the Darkness Falls series by Krystal Wade. Thanks to Kismet Book Tours, I've discovered a great new series I hadn't heard of before! Kate sounds like my kind of heroine, and I'm looking forward to reading these!

Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade

"There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most." - Katriona Wilde. Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she's ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out.


Wilde's Army by Krystal Wade

"Hello, Katriona." Those two words spark fear in Katriona Wilde and give way to an unlikely partnership with Perth, the man she's been traded to marry for a favor.

***

This was a nice surprise in my mailbox! There was no note so I'm not sure where it came from, but it looks interesting!


Guardians of Stone by Anita Clenney

Kendall Morgan is a human bloodhound. Spending her childhood hunting relics with her ambitious archeologist father, she knew the two of them shared a sixth sense for the history and location of objects - sometimes even people. What she didn’t know was that their paranormal gift could ultimately be their undoing.


Purchased:
Saw this one mentioned as a nook freebie by Melissa of My World...in words and pages. The cover looks familiar, but I can't remember reading it. It was free, so no worries if it's a duplicate.

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.


What did you receive this week?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bigger isn't always better....just saying.

 
Saw an interesting discussion post by Krista over at Nawanda Files about whether or not the size of a book matters. This hit home with me because I recently had my arm twisted over a chunkster book.
 
The Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurts is well over 800 pages...scary huge! My friend Tammy and the publisher rep ganged up on me at Comic Con and told me I really needed to read this one....arm is still sore from all the twisting! *L*
 
Chunkster books are a little scary to me. They demand a huge commitment of time, where I could easily read 2-3 smaller books. I still haven't read Under the Dome despite stellar reviews, just because it's so huge. Even my DH has read it! Took him a few months, but he read it!
 
Conversely, book height doesn't really bother me, unless it's just out and out odd. Hardcovers, trade paperbacks, and mass market paperbacks are fine so long as they're at industry standard. What I don't like is when there's a slightly taller than normal mass market, or a smaller than usual hardcover. That messes up the aesthetics of my bookshelves.
 
I also don't like it when a series starts out one way, then switches halfway through. I like my series to match! If it starts out in mass market, don't switch to hardcover or trade! Consistency please! Yes, I'm anal that way. :)
 
So how about you? Am I the only one afraid of chunkster books? Do overly tall books make your eye twitch? Is it a point of honor that your books be a certain length? Does size really matter?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Book Haul - NYCC 2012 Edition

 
Thanks to my awesome friend Tammy (Bo's Book Nook), I got to experience Comic Con on Friday! Despite not being a book convention like BEA, I still managed to bring home two totebags full of awesome! And thank you Suvudu for the second tote! I only brought one bag with me, as I had no idea what to expect.
 
So without further ado, here are the books I picked up at Comic Con:
  
 Autographed books
 
Beneath a Rising Moon by Keri Arthur
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
False Sight by Dan Krokos
Rise by Andrea Cremer
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
Blades of Winter by G.T. Almasi
Tempest's Fury by Nicole Peeler
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
 
 Un-autographed books
 
The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist
Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman
Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer
Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher
Bard's Oath by Joanne Bertin
The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb
Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
Skinwalker by Faith Hunter
Firelight by Kristen Callihan
A Kingdom Besieged by Raymond Feist
 
 I picked up a Comic Con shirt to commemorate my visit!
 
 Also bought a Hard Rock shirt, but camera is acting up so I don't have any pictures. It's the regular New York Hard Rock shirt on the front, with NYCC pictures on the back.
 
Be sure to check out my I Came, I Saw, I Comic Conned post!
 
Happy reading!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Came, I Saw, I Comic Conned


Thanks to my awesome bud Tammy (Bo's Book Nook), I got to experience my very first New York Comic Con! Her DH couldn't make it, so was thrilled when she asked me if I wanted to use his ticket!

Please keep in mind that my main knowledge of Comic Con comes from The Big Bang Theory. I hope I didn't embarrass Tammy too, too much but yeah, I got my bookgeek on!

We arrived before the doors opened. Unlike BEA (my main comparison), they made us wait outside. There were an awful lot of people. Hordes of people. I was part of a horde. Cool. Aside from being divebombed by a dragonfly, the crowd was pretty calm. They opened the doors a few minutes late, and we all swarmed the escalator.

Unlike BEA, I didn't really have an agenda. I had printed out some signings and booth numbers for the publishers (thank you Lexie, as you are the Queen of Cons!), but that was it. I walked right by the Kim Harrison booth signing as I was expecting a huge line. I asked the publisher rep if there was a charge and she said the autograph was free but I had to buy the book. Big difference from BEA, where everything is free. As I'm not really a graphic novel fan, I reluctantly passed.

The book publishers weren't that far apart and we picked up signing schedules for the day. After walking by an unadvertised signing, we made sure to make frequent passes throughout the day. The publishers also put out free books periodically, some scheduled and some not. I truly, madly, deeply love publishers for this!

One of the booths I really wanted to visit was the Doctor Who store. Saw this really cool Dalek statue! There was also a little girl sitting behind the counter. At first glance, I thought she was the child of the booth owners and coloring or something. Embarrassed to see the sign that she was the child actor who played the young Amelia Pond in a few Dr. Who episodes. Oops! She was selling autographs for $25 and would pose for pictures for $10. And there was a line! A line for the little girl who played Amy Pond as a child! The first of many odd things I saw at Comic Con....

On one of our publisher aisle passes, we saw that the line for Andrea Cremer was really, really short, so we jumped at the chance for an autograph! Another big difference between BEA and NYCC - huge lines for artists, not so huge lines for authors.

Wandering the rest of the floor, saw this awesome mural of Neil Gaiman's Sandman!

Like BEA, some of the big distributors had giant signs hanging from the ceiling. Tried to get some pictures of the crowds, as this place was seriously packed! If it was this crowded on Friday, can't imagine what the weekend will look like!

Love this girl's wig!

Tammy didn't have a chance to have breakfast, so we went outside to grab some hot dogs. The food inside the Javits Center is outrageously expensive. Long lines at the first two carts, so walked down the street to some carts with no lines. Love real NYC hot dogs!

Finally got to meet Nicole Peeler! Love this woman! And guess who was in line with us? Kevin Hearne! What an incredibly nice guy! I was trying to eavesdrop on his conversation to find out the scoop on his next book, but sadly, no spoilers.

Finally remembered to take some pictures of the people in costumes! I was so busy gawking most of the day that I forgot I had my camera with me. Wish I had a picture of the girl in the Dalek dress! Or some of the Poison Ivy costumes we saw! Or the guy with the hairy legs dressed as Alice in Wonderland! :o

I am a bookgeek, not a comic geek. That's my only excuse for thinking that this guy in a Hawkeye costume was a purple Green Arrow....

The awesome Kevin Heane! Such a nice guy! He chatted with each fan and thanked us for reading his books. I already loved Atticus and Oberon, but now I love Kevin as well!

Not sure who this guy is, but points for coolness!

Did I mention the huge crowds? This place was crazy-packed!

Even superheroes need a helping hand every now and again!

Forgot to mention another big difference between BEA and Comic Con - the autographing area. Several of the tables required tickets, and they weren't cheap! And you had to bring your own items to sign. At BEA, the authors would sign books or bookmarks or some other provided swag. Waited in line before realizing we had nothing for them to sign. I thought there would be books provided for purchase at the table. Nope. At Comic Con, it was definitely Bring Your Own!
So all in all, I really enjoyed the whole Comic Con experience! Loved all the costumes, and was amazed at how much skin was on display. People were more than happy to pose for you, so disappointed that I kept forgetting to take pictures. And the books! Not as many as BEA of course, but more than expected. So glad the publishers had totebags for us!

Thank you for letting me go with you Tammy! I had a blast!

Here are a few other Comic Con posts for your reading pleasure:
The Qwillery
The Qwillery Part 2
The Qwillery Part 3
Kevin Hearne Day 1
Kevin Hearne Day 2
Kevin Hearne Day 3
Books of Love
Poisoned Rationality


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino


"Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling" is a Victorian Gothic tale about family ties, the realm beyond the living, and the price you pay to save those you love. (Goodreads)

This is one of those books that I would not have picked up on my own, as I'm not a huge Victorian Gothic fan. But thanks to BEA, I met the author at a publisher party and was impressed. Very impressed! I mean, how could you not like a man who is both a Neil Gaiman and Doctor Who fan? Please! He had me at Neil Gaiman...

So, interest in the author leads to interest in reading his book. Very happy that it did not disappoint, because how embarrassing would that be?

My Thoughts:
Charlotte is governess to the two Darrow boys. Seems to be SOP that a Victorian lady who has fallen on hard times becomes a governess. Charlotte has fallen on very hard times, losing both parents as well as her husband. Just who is the shadowy figure she glimpses at the moment of their deaths? Is someone stalking Charlotte? Is someone deliberately murdering her loved ones, or is it a figment of her imagination? *cue ominous music*

When the Darrow family nanny is brutally murdered, Charlotte steps in to fill that role as well. Things become a little bizarre after the murder, as Charlotte and the boys discover the House of Darkling in The Ending, a mysterious place with strange inhabitants. The strangest inhabitant is Lily Darrow, the boy's mother. The boy's dead mother.

Charlotte soon finds herself in a battle of wits with the master of the House of Darkling. Not exactly sure what the stakes are or if there are any rules, Charlotte knows that she must do her best to protect the boys at any cost. As for the handsome Widower Darrow, well, isn't it SOP for the master of the house to fall in love with the governess? Not that there's anything wrong with that....

Enjoyed the overall story, as I found it both original and interesting. The supernatural element kept me intrigued enough to want to stick around and see what happened next. Found myself more interested in the characters in The Ending than the "real" people in the village, but I'm a sucker for monsters and otherworldly creatures.

While still not a convert to Victorian Gothic, I did like this story. The author definitely has talent and it's hard to believe that this is his first novel, as the words flow smoothly and the story is well polished. Will be curious to see what he comes up with next!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

by
Julie Kagawa

Don't look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.That is Ethan Chase's unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs - including his reputation - begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he'd dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister's world - the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My Thoughts:
The Iron Fey series is one of my favorites, as I love how Julie incorporated an entire new realm into the Nevernever (fairyland). So you can imagine how excited I was that she decided to continue the saga with Ethan's story!

Sad to see that Ethan has grown up to be a bit of a jerk. But it's not really his fault, as the Fey have made his life miserable enough that he's had to come up with some rules to try and help him survive. Unfortunately, those rules practically guarantee that he won't have any friends and will keep getting in trouble. Plus, his poor mother worries.

At a new school (not the first one), Ethan tries to keep his head down, but trouble still manages to find him. Despite everything that's happened, Ethan is a good kid who can't ignore when a half-fey is being bullied. He steps in, and starts down a road never expected.

Really enjoyed revisiting this world, and loved getting to know Ethan in more detail. And Grim! Love that cat! Plus we're introduced to Kenzie, an amazing girl who won't take no for an answer and wants to find out what makes Ethan tick. Really enjoyed her character! So brave and resourceful and funny, and I'm hoping she sticks around.

Julie hasn't lost her touch and she continues to come up with great plots, interesting characters, and awesome writing! What can I say, I'm a huge fan!

This is an exciting new spin-off of the Iron Fey series, and I can't wait to see what happens next for Ethan, Kenzie, and Kerrian!


eBook provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: Foretold anthology


Foretold anthology

Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate? It's human nature to wonder about life's twists and turns. But is the future already written - or do you have the power to alter it?

From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life's unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction's brightest stars. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
This is one of those books that made me fall off my book buying ban again, as how could I be expected to resist such an incredible collection of authors? That being said, I found this a mixed bag, as some of the stories did not live up to my high expectations.

Short stories are not easy to write, as you have to pack a lot of punch into a limited amount of words. We already know that these authors are talented writers, but some of the stories work better than others.

My biggest complaint is that several of the stories didn't seem to fit the theme of this anthology. I was expecting more stories about seers, oracles, fortune tellers, psychics, etc.

Here's a quick recap of my impressions:
 
Malinda Lo -
Had mixed feelings about this one. It's sort of a tale of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but with a twist. Different enough that I liked it, despite a few cliches.
Lisa McMann  -
This was one I didn't really care for. Didn't really "get" it or enjoy the story. Next!
Kami Garcia -
This one had it's good points, and I liked that it was told from the point of view of a fortune-telling grifter. Big John was a little confusing, but overall I enjoyed it.
Margaret Stohl -
Didn't really care for this one and it just didn't work for me.
Laini Taylor -
This was one of the better entries, as I really enjoyed the mythology she wove involving dreamcakes and the phantom of your future husband.
Michael Grant -
This story was a little silly. And I don't really see the tie-in with the theme of the anthology.
Saundra Mitchell -
Really enjoyed this one! From the mythology created to the characters to the plot. Very well done!
Richelle Mead -
A Rose and Dimitri short story. Fans will not be disappointed! 
Matt de la Pena  -
Didn't really care for this story. Another self-fulfilling prophecy, but I can't see a 16 year old girl being that paranoid to begin with...
Meg Cabot -
Liked the twist in this one! Add it to the plus column!
Heather Brewer -
Not really sure about this one. Don't really understand what the town of Misery is, but I have my suspicions. And it's a tenuous tie-in for the theme, but a well-done story!
Diana Peterfreund -
Another really good entry! This one is about a cult preparing for their ascention into Heaven, and the aftermath when things don't turn out as planned.
Simone Elkeles -
I enjoyed the story, but don't think it fit into this anthology.
Carrie Ryan -
I enjoyed the story and liked the world Carrie created, but again, I don't see how it fits the theme.

Gave this collection a 3/5 rating as I liked it, but didn't think it lived up to the theme. I'd recommend borrowing it from the library instead of buying, as it was expensive for an eBook.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Updated my header!

What do you think? It's much larger than my previous header, but I really like the picture. Have been playing with it off and on since March, and finally decided to just go ahead and update.

Please let me know if it needs some tweaking, as I'm not exactly a blog design expert. Any and all feedback is much appreciated!

Thanks!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bloggiesta Finish Line



Another Bloggiesta has come and gone. Didn't get as much accomplished as I had hoped, but even though the weekend is over I can still work on my list, right?

So, how did I do? Not very well... :(

Original goals:
  • update my pages
  • write at least 3 posts as backup
  • catch up on my reviews
  • participate in at least 2 mini-challenges
  • organize my Google Reader shelves
  • update my reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Pinterest
Added goals:
  • clean up my emails
  • organize Goodreads shelves
  • have at least two weeks of posts scheduled

Mini-Challenges:
  • get organized by scheduling posts, making lists and using templates
  • Blogger Journal and Calender
  • a nifty little app called Pocket
  • how to use Evernote to get and stay organized
  • organize our books in a spreadsheet using Microsoft Access
  • 20 (plus) Discussion Post Ideas to get our creative juices rolling
  • Step Out of Our Blogging Comfort Zone!
  • Use a Website Grader
  • Get Personal and write posts about ourselves.
  • Six Techniques to Revitalize Old Content
  • Catch up on Reviews!
  • Give and Get Great Guest Posts
  • Build Your Blog Audience
  • Gravatars & Favicons
  • Feedburner and how to switch to a new RSS Feed
  • tips for setting up Guidelines and Policies
  • Basic Photo Editing skills

I snuck in one more challenge late last night:  I found out about a nifty little app called Pocket from The Book Vixen. And I created a Page for all of my blog goals, sort of a perpetual Bloggiesta that I can keep working on until I'm able to cross all of the items off of my list.

Did you participate in Bloggiesta this weekend? If so, what was your favorite part? Make any new blogging buddies? I know I had fun, and got lots of great ideas!

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