Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Book Haul (22)

Alexia's Books and Such

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I 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:

This was a nice surprise in my mailbox the other day. Supposed to be a big summer blockbuster, so excited to read it!

Alexia's Books and Such
The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan

Michael Crichton meets The Time Traveler's Wife in this powerful debut novel in which a man, frozen in the Arctic ice for more than a century, awakens in the present day. (Goodreads)

Contest Wins:

Not sure how this got lost in the shuffle, but this one is too cute to ignore! Won an ARC of Substitute Creature from the Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers 4 year Blogoversary bash! It's due out at the end of September and I'm looking forward to reading it, as I love the quirky titles from Quirk Books!

Substitute Creature
Substitute Creature by Charles Gilman

The latest adventure in the Lovecraft Middle School series features more adventures, more outrageous monsters, and another terrifying lenticular cover! (Goodreads)

Gifts:

Received an awesome box full of goodies from Tammy over at Bo's Book Nook! She was nice enough to pick me up a few things at BEA, forever cementing her status as BFF! Have I mentioned that she was the one to take me to my very first NY Comic Con? Can you see why I love this woman?

Alexia's Books and Such
BEA ARCs:
Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
Relic by Heather Terrell

BEA shirtBEA shirt
Not only did she send me some ARCs, but Tammy also sent me a couple of awesome shirts!


Grimm comic
Tammy even remembered me on Free Comic Day, picking me up an awesome comic from one of my favorite shows! 




What did you receive this week?


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

A strange thing happened when I started reading this book:  I heard Neil's voice in my head. It was the oddest sensation, as though I was listening to him narrate the audio version. This has never happened to me before, and it was more than a little disconcerting. Thankfully, it was only during the prologue and the characters took over once the story began in earnest. A very odd, but somewhat magical experience.

I tend to read Neil's books more than once, as I always seem to miss something the first time round. After only one reading (so far), I can absolutely recommend this book!

The main character of the story is a seven year old boy, but he seemed remarkably mature and accepting for his age. His family falls on hard times and needs to take in a lodger, so he loses his bedroom and must now share a room with his little sister. One of the lodgers steals the family car, commits suicide, and sets off a chain of events best left undisturbed.

It's an engrossing tale of a little boy who is thrust into an adventure, complete with monsters. As a huge Gaiman fan, I love his writing, plot pace, and character development. And this story has it all! I especially loved the Hempstock women, who lived in the farmhouse at the end of the lane. Daughter, mother, grandmother. Maiden, mother, crone? You never can tell with Neil, which is another reason I love his writing.

I really enjoyed this story, and am looking forward to rereading it and discovering any hidden depths that I may have missed the first time. Or not, as sometimes a story is simply a story. Either way, it's a good read!


Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions: Ever BEA?


Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth and Pam at Midnyte Reader,  a new question is posted the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month to answer, comment on, and discuss. 


This week's question:

BEA, ALA. Have you ever been before? If you've been before, share your experiences; both pro & con. If you haven't gone before, do you participate in online events like Armchair BEA? Do you hope to go one day? Do you feel too intimidated to go? Are you jealous of the big book hauls and tweets during the events?


I've been fortunate enough to attend BEA three times, but wasn't able to make it this year so participated in Armchair BEA instead. ABEA was fun and I met several new bloggers, but I wasn't able to participate as much as I would have liked.

BEA can be overwhelming, exhausting, crowded, and frustrating, but it's also the absolute BEST time I've ever had! The first day seems to be the craziest, then things settle down for the remainder of the show.

Pros - exposure to upcoming titles, meeting your fellow bloggers, networking with publishers, more totes than you'll know what to do with, and meeting awesome authors! Also, you will have no problems falling asleep at night!

Cons - your feet will be killing you no matter what shoes you wear, not enough time to do everything you want, poor wi-fi, you will hurt all over, and you'll find that impulse control can be challenging when faced with free books.

Was I jealous of all the hauls and tweets during BEA? A little bit, but that was because I had to sit it out this year and felt like I was missing all the fun. I'm a little surprised I haven't seen more BEA posts, as I've had to go searching for them. Seems like my part of the blogosphere didn't have as many people attending as in years past. Part of the reason I keep bugging Tammy over at Bo's Book Nook to post her BEA adventure in detail is so I can live vicariously through her! Ha! 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Book Haul (21)

Photobucket

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I 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:

This was a nice surprise in my mailbox, as I already pre-ordered a copy. Love Neil, love surprises, and love the sound of this one!

Neil Gaiman is god

The Ocean At The End of The Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark, from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman. (Goodreads)

***

I've worked with Meryl L Moss Media Relations on several other blog tours and they're always great to work with, so decided to take a chance on this book. Outside my normal comfort zone of urban fantasy, but Marilyn was a fascinating woman so couldn't resist!

EZ Friedel
Marilyn's Red Diary by E.Z. Friedel

Marilyn's Red Diary is shocking, funny, scandalous and sad but always brutally honest. Marilyn Monroe is caught between intellectual giants - her award-winning playwright husband Arthur Miller and her dashing politician boyfriend Jack. Then along comes Jack's fiery brother Bobby. The world's dream girl relates her intimate adventures with many of the era's who's who. Marilyn's Red Diary is a touching portrait of a hard-working, extremely bright woman, trapped in her own sensuality and, tragically, born far ahead of her time. (Goodreads)

NetGalley:

Jennifer Estep. Need I say more? :)

Jennifer Estep
Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep

Just when it seems life at Mythos Academy can’t get any more dangerous, the Reapers of Chaos manage to prove me wrong. It was just a typical night at the Library of Antiquities - until a Reaper tried to poison me. The good news is I’m still alive and kicking. The bad news is the Reaper poisoned someone else instead. (Goodreads)


***

This one has been generating quite a bit of buzz and the synopsis sounds intriguing, so thought I'd give it a try. I really shouldn't log in to NetGalley anymore. I know I've said that before, but it keeps sucking me back in!

Dawn Metcalf
Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

Some things are permanent. Indelible. And they cannot be changed back.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…THE TWIXT (Goodreads)


***

Several bloggers mentioned picking this up at BEA and it sounds fascinating! Sort of like a Reverse Rapture. Looking forward to reading this one!


Jason Mott
The Returned by Jason Mott

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction. (Goodreads)




What did you receive this week?


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Evidence of Life

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel

On the last ordinary day of her life, Abby Bennett feels like the luckiest woman alive. But everyone knows that luck doesn't last forever.… 

As her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey's hair, reminds Nick to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye.

For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all - a perfect marriage, a perfect life - until a devastating storm rips through the region, and her family vanishes without a trace. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Something horrible happens to Abby's family; her husband and daughter vanish during a camping trip. Abby receives a tearful phone call from her daughter, then nothing. They are simply gone.

Because of the storm, it's assumed that they were caught in the flood and didn't survive. But Abby is convinced otherwise. Is her family still alive? Why won't anyone believe her? Has someone been in her house while she was gone, or is she imagining things?

While I have no idea how I would react in Abby's place, I wasn't able to connect with her. Couldn't really connect with anyone in the book for that matter. Despite everyone telling Abby she had to move on and accept what had happened, she clung to her belief that her family was out there somewhere. I was never 100% sure if she had any proof or if she was just hallucinating.

The story took a twist that didn't really ring true for me. It may have been due to my expectations of where the story was going, but I wasn't able to lose myself in the plot and go with the flow. With each new revelation, I was left scratching my head. And sad to say that I didn't like the discovery of where her family went, nor did I like the ending.

This wasn't a bad book, just not my cup of tea. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, didn't really like Abby or how her family/friends treated her, and didn't care for the ending. I know others have given it great reviews, but I think it was just an okay read.

Have you read this one? Were you able to connect with Abby or did you find her too helpless and annoying? What did you think of the ending? I'm curious to hear what others thought, as maybe I've just been away from the thriller/mystery genre too long.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Dear Google Reader, I wish I knew how to quit you

Alexia's Books and such
@themetapicture.com
Google Reader keeps trying to break up with me, but I'm still in denial. I keep getting notices that it's leaving, but I'm hanging on like a heartsick girl who doesn't want to admit it's over.

I know that I should be looking for a replacement, but I never was any good at rebounds. My first love will always be Google Reader and the others just don't measure up. While I've already imported my RSS feeds to both Feedly and Bloglovin' and know that I should be using them now, I keep going back to Reader.

It's sad really....

How is everyone else coping? I've played around with both Feedly and Bloglovin' but aren't really comfortable with either one. Email subscriptions aren't an option for me because my email box is already out of control. Can't just bookmark all the blogs I follow because my bookmark list is already crazy. *sigh*

Maybe July will come and Google will tell us it was all a big practical joke? That they were just punking us? I wouldn't mind, and would totally forgive them! Yeah, I'm totally the lovestruck girl who refuses to admit her boyfriend is a giant douche bag who is leaving her.....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Parlor Tricks by Jennifer Estep - FREE Download and ebook Sampler!

Just found out that one of the short stories from Carniepunk is being offered for FREE, along with samples of the other stories! I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Estep, so excited that they picked her story from the anthology to showcase! Can't beat free, so be sure to check it out as soon as possible, as I'm not sure how long this promo will last!

by

Come one! Come all! Witness Gin Blanco - aka the Elemental Assassin, aka the Spider - go toe to toe against the Esmerelda the Amazing's Wheel of Death and some dangerously creepy clowns! Only at The Carnival of Wondrous Wonders!

A free story from the forthcoming Carniepunk urban fantasy anthology starring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, and Rob Thurman, and also includes Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Gay, Mark Henry, Hillary Jacques, Jackie Kessler, Kelly Meding, Allison Pang, Nicole D. Peeler, and Jaye Wells. Samples of all fourteen tales are included to tantalize and to tease. Come to the Carniepunk midway and explore the creepy, mysterious, magical world of traveling carnivals today! (Goodreads)

Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Claiming my bloglovin blog....

Have to post this in order to "claim" my blog on Bloglovin

Carry on....nothing to see here....move along now   :)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: Gameboard of the Gods

Alexia's Books and Such
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Richelle Mead is a very talented writer with two series already under her belt, but I think that this might be my new favorite!

This is one of those stories with multiple narrators:  Mae, the no-nonsense Super Soldier; Justin, the disgraced former Servitor who used to investigate religious extremist groups; and Tessa, Justin's protege who he brought back with him in hopes of giving her a better life (while repaying a debt to her father). Multiple narrators can sometimes be confusing, but Mead is talented enough that the story unfolds smoothly.

Had a hard time picking a favorite character, as they're all so interesting! Justin hears the voices of two ravens in his head, who keep him company and try to convince him to follow their god. He is either crazy, or has to come to terms with the thought that religion might not be as fictional as he believes. Mae presents a cold, professional front, but there's more going on than she wants to reveal. And Tessa is a breath of fresh air! A teenager from Panama, she brings an unbiased eye to everyday life in the RUNA and is smarter than expected.

I found the interaction between the characters just as interesting as the mysterious case Justin is brought back to investigate. The RUNA is also a fascinating place, as Tessa helps us to realize that a land without religion still manages to find things to worship.

Really enjoyed this one, and parts of it reminded me of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I think it was the talk of what happens to the gods when no one believes in them anymore. Mead has come up with a great new series, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next for Justin, Mae, and Tessa!


*ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions: Participation Problems


Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth and Pam at Midnyte Reader,  a new question is posted the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month to answer, comment on, and discuss. 


This week's question:

Does participating in book tours/cover reveals and author guest posts drive traffic to your blog? What type of problems have you encountered when hosting them? (please keep it civil - no names or calling specific people out) As a blog follower, are you ever turned off by these kinds of posts? How much publicity is too much?


I've taken part in a few book tours, book blasts, and cover reveals, but they don't seem to bring any traffic to my blog. Sometimes they seem to reduce traffic, as even my regular readers don't stop by. It would be different if there was only a few participants, but when a blog tour covers the entire month, with 2-3 posts every day, it becomes off-putting.

It seems that the promoters aren't as selective as they used to be and my Reader is full of the same books being promoted. While I agree that publicity is important, inundating the blogosphere is more of a turnoff for me than peaking my interest. I've grown to really dislike book blasts especially, as they are nothing but annoying!

I've decided to cut back on my participation since there's no real benefit for me or my blog. Unless it's a title I'm dying to read or unable to resist, I can wait for the book to come out and buy myself a copy.

How about you? Do you think blog tours and cover reveals are worthwhile? Am I doing something wrong? Even when I visit the other participants, it still doesn't increase traffic. *sigh*

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Armchair BEA Wrap-up


On this final day, we're encouraged to wrap-up the week with our favorites and highlights of the week. Did you learn something new? Did you connect with a new-to-you blogger? What was your favorite discussion topic? Do you have ideas for future years?

Hard to believe that Armchair BEA is over already, as the week seemed to go by really fast! Despite my best intentions, I didn't post every day or visit as many of the other participants as planned. One good thing about blogs is that there's no deadline on reading posts, so I plan to catch up on all the ones I missed! 

The discussion topic I liked best was about ethics, as I was happy to see that so many of us were on the same page and had the same basic beliefs about plagiarism. And I'm looking forward to reading everyone's posts about book recommendations! I probably shouldn't as I have more than enough on my TBR pile as it is, but I can't resist discovering new authors! Yeah, it's a sickness....book-itus!

So while I was sad that I didn't get to attend BEA this year, I had a blast taking part in Armchair BEA! Thanks to all the awesome organizers, as you guys did a great job!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Book Haul (20)

Photobucket

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I 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.

For Review:

Richelle Mead is one of those sure-thing authors, where you know that no matter what she writes, it's going to be good! Couldn't resist accepting a review copy of her brand new series, and it sounds amazing!

Alexia's Books and Such
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense. (Goodreads)

NetGalley:

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a sucker for anything with Jennifer's name on it. I don't even have to read a synopsis, but it's an automatic WANT! Doesn't hurt that this is a great series!

Alexia's Books and Such
Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep

I’m Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was - until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost. Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I’m fine, that Loki and the Reapers don’t have a hold on me anymore, but I can’t risk it. I can’t risk hurting Gwen again. So I’m leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away. I know Gwen wonders what’s happening to me, whether I’m safe. I can’t tell her, but this is my story… (Goodreads)

***

As soon as I heard about this anthology, I knew that I had to have it! With stories from some of my favorite authors, it's a can't miss collection of awesomeness! So happy when NetGalley approved my request!

Alexia's Books and Such
Carniepunk anthology

A star-studded urban fantasy anthology featuring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Estep, and Kevin Hearne, whose stories explore the creepy, mysterious, and, yes, sometimes magical world of traveling carnivals.


Purchased:


Saw this one features by Melissa over at My World....in words and pages and had to immediately download a copy for my nook! We have similar tastes, and she always manages to find the most interesting ebook freebies!

Alexia's Books and Such
Hunter's Blood by Marianne Morea

This fast paced short story sets the beginning of the Cursed by Blood Saga. The novella also includes the first four chapters of book two... (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?