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

Monday, June 30, 2014

FaceOff Blog Tour

FaceOff Blog Tour - Alexia's Books and SuchFaceOff anthology

Review copy provided by Meryl L Moss Media Relations in exchange for an honest review

Ever wonder who would win in a fight if the most popular thriller characters were paired against their most worthy opponents? 

For the first time ever, fans will know who comes out victorious in FACEOFF, an eleven-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers. But just when you think you know what happens, FACEOFF will keep you guessing throughout these eleven electrifying stories. FACEOFF is star-studded and is sure to be a fan favorite. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Anthologies are a particular favorite of mine, and this collection is incredibly unique! Not only are all of the authors already well-established, but their characters would never have met if it weren't for the International Thriller Writers (ITW). To avoid possible disagreements between rival publishing houses, all of the stories were donated and all proceeds go to ITW. Very clever, as this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration!

While I've heard of all of the participating authors, I haven't read them all and that's an oversight that will soon be corrected! I think I'm most intrigued by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child's Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. Can't say I've ever run across anyone quite like him ever before!

While all of the stories were interesting and well-done (as expected, as these are all talented writers), some of them stood out for me:

Good and Valuable Consideration, featuring Lee Child's Jack Reacher and Joseph Finder's Nick Heller, was one of my favorites. I'm a big Jack Reacher fan, and this story was totally believable and flowed nicely. I could totally see these two meeting in a bar, teaming up, then going their separate ways!

Pit Stop, featuring Raymond Khoury's Sean Reilly and Linwood Barclay's Glen Garber, was another stand-out. Reilly is on the trail of a seriously bad guy and poor Garber is in the wrong place at the wrong time. While both of these men are strong characters, I really fell in love with Garber's daughter Kelly and think she's the star of this story! While Reilly is the professional, Kelly is the one who ultimately saves the day. What a girl!

Gaslighted is the story I mentioned earlier that introduced me to Special Agent Pendergast. A collaboration between Preston & Lincoln and R.L. Stine, it's definitely different! An elegant FBI agent co-starring with an evil ventriloquist dummy? Sign me up! And what's even more astounding is that it works!

This is an amazing collection of incredible stories, featuring characters who would never meet otherwise! If you haven't read some of these authors, it's a great introduction to their characters. I love thrillers, and think I have found some new favorites!

Fifth Avenue Trilogy Blog Tour + Giveaway

Blog Tour arranged by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.

Avenge Me by Maisey Yates - Alexia's Books and SuchScandalize Me by Caitlin Crews - Alexia's Books and SuchExpose Me by Kate Hewitt - Alexia's Books and Such
· Avenge Me by Maisey Yates (Harlequin Presents, June 2014)
· Scandalize Me by Caitlin Crews (Harlequin Presents, July 2014)
· Expose Me by Kate Hewitt (Harlequin Presents, August 2014)

Austin, Hunter and Alex were inseparable during their school days, but the sudden death of their good friend Sarah Michaels tore them apart. However, her death was not as it seemed. Under the many falsehoods lies a corruption so sordid that New York’s elite would never believe it.

Now in positions of wealth and power, these men vow to use their influence to bring down the man responsible - Jason Treffen, an infamous philanthropic billionaire. With a plan in place, Austin, Hunter and Alex are ready for anything - until three very different women enter their lives, making them question their motives for revenge. 

My Thoughts:

It's been awhile since I've read something by Harlequin Presents, but I used to be a subscriber and couldn't get enough of them! They've changed a little over the years, as I don't remember them being so...detailed? Graphic? Descriptive? That took me a little by surprise, but the overall stories were still good.

The first story in the trilogy, Avenge Me, was my least favorite. It's hard to enjoy a romance when you don't like the hero, and I didn't like Austin at all. While both Austin and Katy made it very clear that their sex life was consensual, he did something soon after meeting her that was so incredibly arrogant that it immediately got my back up. He basically ruined her life, although he claimed that he did it in order to protect her. And while I guess he was supposed to be conflicted and tortured, he just struck me as a spoiled, rich, arrogant man used to getting his own way. I did not like him, so couldn't really enjoy the story.

The second book, Scandalize Me, was a little better. While Hunter starts off as a bit of a jerk and I didn't like his actions during his first meeting with Zoe, he eventually grew on me. Turns out that Zoe knew Sarah and wants revenge on Jason as well. I enjoyed how Hunter and Zoe gradually opened up to each other and healed each other's wounds.

Expose Me, the final book of the trilogy, was the strongest IMO. While Alex is no Prince Charming either, at least he isn't a total jerk to Chelsea. She's just as damaged as the other two women, but has made something of herself and, after meeting Alex, is ready to take a chance on love. A true survivor, I think I liked Chelsea the best.

All three of these men were on the arrogant side, but guess that's expected when you're a rich and handsome Manhattanite? I enjoyed their plot to get revenge on Jason Treffen, who deserves everything they've planned! I would have liked more flashbacks of Sarah, as she seemed to have had quite an affect on all three men. I also would have liked an epilogue or something at the end in order to wrap everything up as I felt the ending was a little abrupt, but did enjoy how the three stories were intertwined.

Just a quick heads up - these are classified as romances and while not as intense as erotica, there are several sex scenes and description, adult language.

Giveaway:

I received a fabulous Summer In The City Essentials Kit for taking part in the blog tour, and Meryl L Moss has kindly provided a kit for one of my lucky readers! Full of amazing fashion and beauty items, you're sure to find a new favorite!

 photo 018.jpg photo 020.jpg

US shipping addresses only. Contest ends July 7, 2014 at 11:59PM EST



*Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Write On Review-a-Thon wrap up


The Write On review-a-thon is a monthly event created and hosted by Brianna at The Book Vixen. It’s 2 days dedicated to getting reviews done, whether you have one review to write or 30+. This edition of the review-a-thon took place all day Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th.

Didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but still managed to get a few reviews written:

  • FaceOff
  • Avenge Me/Scandalize Me/Expose Me trilogy
  • Frozen
  • Then and Always
  • Divided

I really need to work on writing my reviews as soon as I finish a book, but when I inevitably forget I know that I can catch-up with Brianna's monthly review-a-thons!

    Saturday, June 28, 2014

    My Book Haul 6/28/14

    My Book Haul

    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:

    The synopsis of this one sounded too intriguing to pass up! From her parent's unique profession to the hint that her sister may have been involved with their disappearance, I couldn't resist this one!

    Help for the Haunted - Alexia's Books and Such
    Help For the Haunted by John Searles

    It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.


    ***

    Lori Foster is one of my go-to authors, where I know that she'll deliver a good story with interesting characters. Excited to read Cannon's story, as I really liked him in earlier books!

    No Limits - Alexia's Books and Such
    No Limits by Lori Foster

    A surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he's never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster…




    What did you receive this week?


    Friday, June 27, 2014

    Book Review: Tales of the Hidden World

    Tales of the Hidden WorldTales of the Hidden World by Simon R. Green

    eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

    Seventeen delightfully unexpected stories from Simon R. Green - including a brand new adventure of the Droods - take us deep into the Darkside, embroil us in the Secret Histories, and lead us into the shadowy places where monsters and demons roam. Welcome to the worlds of Simon R. Green. (Goodreads)

    My Thoughts:

    Short stories and anthologies are a particular favorite of mine, but seem to be remarkably hard to pull off. Green proves that he's a master, as this collection is amazing! While the famous Droods do make an appearance, the rest of the stories are with new characters and situations, and left me wanting more!

    While I enjoyed all of the stories, I particularly liked Dorothy Dreams, which had a nice twist to Dorothy's story from the Wizard of Oz. It's All About the Rendering is another standout, about the caretakers of a house that stands on the border between reality and fantasy. A sanctuary for those who need it, there are also those who wish to destroy it.

    Food of the Gods is another one that stayed with me. It reminded me of another story at first, but had a unique twist at the end that I didn't see coming. I could see Solder, Soldier as a movie, one that I'd pay to see! It just struck me as something for the big screen.

    Some of these stories are new and some are from when Green was just starting out. I enjoyed them all! Even the short Death Is A Lady, which was only a few paragraphs long. Talk about your short story!

    A nice introduction to Green, but a somewhat different writing style from his series. If you like short stories, I think you'd like this collection!

    Monday, June 23, 2014

    Review: I Am The Mission

    I Am The Mission by Allen Zadoff - Alexia's Books and Such I Am The Mission by Allen Zadoff

    Review copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

    He was the perfect assassin. No name. No past. No remorse. Perfect, that is, until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders. Now The Program is worried that their valuable soldier has become a liability.

    And so Boy Nobody is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to prove his loyalty.

    His objective: Take out Eugene Moore, the owner of an extremist military training camp for teenagers. It sounds like a simple task, but a previous operative couldn't do it. He lost the mission and is presumed dead. Now Boy Nobody is confident he can finish the job. Quickly.

    But when things go awry, Boy Nobody finds himself lost in a mission where nothing is as it seems: not The Program, his allegiances, nor the truth.

    The riveting second book in Allen Zadoff's Boy Nobody series delivers heart-pounding action and a shocking new twist that makes Boy Nobody question everything he has believed. (Goodreads)

    My Thoughts:

    Since I really enjoyed the first book in this series (check out my I Am the Weapon review), I was happy to receive an email invitation to review I Am the Mission

    The story picks up soon after the end of book one. Confused by his feelings during the last mission, Boy goes off grid to try and sort out his thoughts. But apparently agents of The Program aren't allowed to simply disappear and they soon track him down. 

    Thrown into another new mission without his usual prep time, things don't go as planned and Boy must rely on his instincts and training in order to get the job done. Unfortunately, nothing is as it seems.

    While trying to take out his target, Boy's doubts about The Program return and he isn't sure which way to turn. Then something happens that results in even more questions. Needless to say, things are not going well for Boy. 

    This is another great read and I'm already looking forward to book three! Interesting characters, both old friends and new, really make this story believable. Thought it was a well paced storyline with a realistic premise and I was never bored!

    Not very happy with the abrupt cliffhanger of an ending, but it did set the scene nicely for the next book. I really like Boy and while I don't always agree with the choices he makes, they're understandable considering his background. 

    Don't let the fact that Boy is a sixteen year old trained assassin put you off reading this series! There's nothing overly descriptive and most of the violence is presented in a matter-of-fact way. As someone who can't watch horror movies because I get queasy, trust me when I say these are well worth reading!

    Sunday, June 22, 2014

    Write On Review-a-thon #5

    Write On Review-a-Thon
    The Write On review-a-thon is a monthly event created and hosted by Brianna at The Book Vixen. It’s 2 days dedicated to getting reviews done, whether you have one review to write or 30+. This edition of the review-a-thon takes place all day Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th.

    I'm not sure yet which reviews I'm going to focus on, but know I'm in a constant state of catch-up so sure I'll have several to complete!

    Review-a-Thon Details:


    • Reviews can be of the written variety or in video format.
    • This event is not limited to book reviews. If you write/vlog reviews for movies, super cool gadgets, or anything else, you are welcome to participate.
    • To participate, create a post on your blog with a list of reviews you need to complete. Don’t forget to grab the official blurb and event button. If you don’t have a blog, you can announce your intent to participate via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) with a link back to the sign up post so others can join in as well.
    • Add the DIRECT LINK to your sign up post to the linky. The sign up linky will be open until 11:59 pm PST on June 27th.
    • On June 27th, get working on those reviews!
    • There will be a wrap-up post linky on The Book Vixen on June 29th.

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

    My Book Haul 6/21/14

    My Book Haul

    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:

    I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so very happy that I was approved by NetGalley to review the sequel!

    I Am the Mission - Alexia's Books and Such
    I Am The Mission by Allen Zadoff

    He was the perfect assassin. No name. No past. No remorse. Perfect, that is, until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders. Now The Program is worried that their valuable soldier has become a liability. And so Boy Nobody is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to prove his loyalty.

    Received:

    I received this book in my June PopSugar Must Have subscription box. This is the second book I've received in this subscription, but the first one I think I might actually read.

    The One & Only - Alexia's Books and Such...
    The One & Only by Emily Griffin

    In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty - and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.



    What did you receive this week?


    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Blog Tour: Portals

    Portals blog tour - Alexia's Books and Such...
    Anthologies are one of my favorites, as it's a great way to discover new authors! I don't think I've ever read a collection featuring portals before, so was excited when I received the opportunity to take part in the Portals Blog Tour. And the icing on the cake is that I actually know one of the authors! Anna Simpson, aka Emaginette, is someone I "met" online awhile ago and I'm honored to review her story. 

    Portals blog tour - Alexia's Books and Such...
    Portals anthology

    No matter what world you call home, or what your station in life, 
    there are just some paths that weren't meant to be tread.

    Maronda’s Quest by Christy Thomas
    Maronda's family has been blessed by guarding the Portal of Life. They enter the portal when they come of age and find their true love. Despite her Ma's assurances, Maronda is worried that her quest will be different and quite possibly dangerous. She never imagined that Lenox would follow her.

    This was a good choice for the first story, as I enjoyed getting to know Maronda and admired her determination to train with the men and be independent. Her childhood friend Lenox doesn't want to lose his True Love, so follows her into the portal to help. While I enjoyed the story, I'm not sure if it would count as a temporal paradox or not. Not nerdy enough to figure it out, so will just sit back and enjoy!

    Mexmur, the Huntress by Anna Simpson
    Another strong female character, determined to be independent and take care of herself. My favorite kind of MC! Mexmur is the daughter of the King's Huntsman, who died in an accident. Once she comes of age, she wants to assume her Da's old position and take care of her Ma. She never imagined that the King would send her through a magic portal on a quest to return magic to their land. Or that she'd wind up hunting dragons with the Prince.

    Mexmur proves that he Da taught her well, even though she's in a strange land with unfamiliar creatures. The Prince, at first obnoxious, proves that he's not totally useless and gives Mexmur important information about their quest. And the dragons! I love dragons, and Simpson doesn't disappoint. Good story with interesting characters and a satisfying ending. Well done!

    Entrance of Lost Souls by Echo Shea
    Gladys is a guardian to the entrances between worlds. Passing through a portal isn't much fun, but she's on the trail of a banshee who kidnapped a little girl and doesn't have much choice. Life isn't easy for a guardian troll.

    The author packed a lot of story into a short amount of space! I really liked Gladys and thought this one had an interesting plot. I haven't read too many stories with trolls and/or banshees, and this was a good one!

    Where Once were Hearts by Havva Murat
    This was an odd little tale of a down-on-his-luck gentleman named Bartholomew Battlesby. Having frittered away his fortune at cards, he decides to seek out his only remaining relative, a distant cousin. Showing up unannounced at his cousin's estate, Battlesby finds Cousin Horatio dead and a beautiful woman ruling the roost.

    While I love fantasy, I couldn't get past one major plot point and it sort of ruined the story for me. Magic is all well and good, but my logical mind dug in her heels and wouldn't let me accept the fantasy, so I couldn't enjoy the story.

    Ordinary World by Laurie Treacy
    Amy is suspicious of her new neighbor, a creepy little man she's nicknamed Mr. Oily Hair. No one seems to take her suspicions seriously, but she's sure that he's not only a creep, but an evil creep.

    I feel that this one would have worked better as a longer story, as there was too much thrown at us in too short a time. The first part of the story was nicely paced, then the last part was too jam-packed. And I would have liked to learn more about Amy, her family, and what happened after her mother's surprise announcement.

    The Lunatic Queen by Michael Siciliano
    An evil moon witch has taken over the land and cast it into perpetual night. Without sunlight, the land is dying. Two teens come up with a plan to kill the Night Queen when she's at her weakest, when the two moons are down. But you know what they say about the best laid plans....

    I liked this pair of rash teens, determined to save their land. Their plan is a little naive because the witch is pretty powerful, but the good thing about the young is their bravado sometimes wins the day! I liked how they got help from an unexpected source and that there was a library. You hardly ever see libraries in fiction for some reason, but this one proved useful. While the ending was a little sad, it was a satisfying conclusion to this collection.

    Conclusion
    Short stories aren't easy, but this collection is unique enough to be worth reading. Some of the stories could have been a little more polished, but they were all interesting in their way. My main complaints had to do with logic and the limits of magic, nothing else. Will be curious to see what the other tour participants have to say and compare notes.



    Portals blog tour - Alexia's Books and Such...

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    Christmas in July Book Swap

     photo swap.png
    Was excited to see that The Book Monsters are hosting a Christmas in July Book Swap! I had so much fun with my recent Reddit Gift Exchanges that I couldn't resist signing up for this one too! Looking forward to getting my match and picking out the perfect gift!

    Swap Details:

    Send at least 1 book and something else fun for your partner that they would like. The package must include a book from their wishlist. If you want to send them a second, that is at your discretion.

    Dates:

    • Sign-Ups Start: Monday, June 16th at 12AM
    • Sign-Ups End: Monday, June 30th at 12AM
    • First Post MUST be Posted by: Tuesday, July 1st at 12AM
    • Partners assigned: Wednesday, July 2nd
    • Packages Shipped: Friday, July 18th & Saturday July 19th
    • Show-Off Linky Opens: Wednesday, July 23rd
    • Show-Off Linky Closes: Friday, August 1st

    Christmas in July Book Swap Rules:

    • After being accepted, you must post on your blog saying you’re participating. Post must include the button/link back to the sign-ups and must be posted by July 1st.
    • Packages must include at least 1 book and 1 other item from your partner’s wishlist.
    • Send things that fit your partner’s preferences.
    • Packages must cost $10-$20 before shipping, to ensure relative value.
    • You must respond to emails from the swap hosts within a timely fashion.
    • Packages MUST be mailed on or before July 18th/19th.
    • You must send a tracking number for your package to your partner and to us at The Book Monsters.
    • Please post and link up your swap reveal post.

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    My Book Haul 6/14/14

    My Book Haul

    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:

    I'm a huge Dean Koontz fan, so very excited that I was approved by NetGalley to review this one! He has yet to let me down, so can't wait to read this one!

    The City by Dean Koontz

    The City by Dean Koontz

     The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.

    ***
    Some of my favorite authors are in this unique anthologies, so am thrilled to be part of the upcoming blog tour by Meryl L Moss Media Relations! I also received a blog tour badge with the author's signatures on the back. Very cool!

     photo faceoff.jpg
    Face Off anthology

    Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci and including stories by Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, and more, this one-of-a-kind anthology pulls together the most beloved characters from the best and most popular thriller series today. Worlds collide!

    ***

    I've read Chevy Stevens before, so am excited to review her newest book. Read an excerpt online and it hooked me from page one, which is always a good sign!

     photo thatnight.jpg
    That Night by Chevy Stevens

    As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent
    complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

    Swapped:

    I joined a bookmark exchange on Reddit.com and received a lovely handmade bookmark! I collect bookmarks, and this one is awesome!

    bookmark
    Beautiful quote from Stephen King, complete with cool dragon drawing!



    What did you receive this week?

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    The Given Blog Tour + Giveaway

     photo given.jpg
    The Given by Vicki Pettersson

    eARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

    After learning his wife survived the attack that killed him fifty years earlier, angel/PI Griffin Shaw is determined to find Evelyn Shaw, no matter the cost. Yet his obsession comes at a price. Grif has had to give up his burgeoning love for reporter Katherine "Kit" Craig, the woman who made life worth living again, and dedicate himself to finding one he no longer knows.

    Yet when Grif is attacked again, it becomes clear that there are forces in both the mortal and heavenly realm who'd rather see him dead than unearth the well-buried secrets of his past. If he's to survive his second go-round on the Surface, Grif will have to convince Kit to reunite with him professionally, and help uncover decades of police corruption, risking both their lives... and testing the limits to what one angel is really willing to give for love. (Goodreads)

    My Thoughts:

    While I've read several of Vicki Pettersson's Signs of the Zodiac books, I haven't read her Celestial Blues series and didn't realize that this was book #3 of a trilogy. Luckily, the storyline was easy to pick up and Pettersson does a great job of providing just enough background that I never felt lost or confused.

    Grif is part angel/part human. Determined to find out who was behind his murder fifty years ago and what became of his wife, he's been allowed to return to Earth in the hopes that he'll then be able to move on. He never planned on falling in love, nor did he plan on losing his new love because of his obsession with the past. I'm sure that previous books would fill in the gaps, but I had enough details to feel his pain.

    Grif and his ex-love Kit are both fascinating characters. The two of them make an interesting couple, as Grif actually lived during Kit's favorite time period. She may be Rockabilly in spirit, but Grif is the real deal.

    After being manipulated by Grif's angel boss into breaking up with him (this happened in a previous book?), Kit is still devastatingly heartbroken six months later. Meanwhile, Grif's heavenly bosses are losing patience with him and give him a deadline to solve his murder. Grif may also have bent the rules one time too many.

    Working against the deadline, Grif also wants to keep Kit safe. Thrust back together in order to solve his murder before time runs out, they manage to open up a huge can of worms and find themselves in big trouble.

    Really loved the plot of this one! Full of interesting characters with a quick pace and great plot, there were a few twists I never saw coming. I now want to go back and read the first two books! And what a great ending! I'm sorry I didn't discover this series sooner, as Pettersson has come up with another winner!

    About the Author:

    Vicki Pettersson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Signs of the Zodiac novels, a six-book urban fantasy series set in her hometown of Las Vegas. Though she'll always consider that glittering dustbowl home, she now divides her time between Vegas and Dallas, where she's learning to like good Tex-Mex (easy) and the Dallas Cowboys (easier than you'd think). THE GIVEN is the third novel in her supernatural noir trilogy, Celestial Blues.

    The Giveaway:

    The publisher is giving away three copies of THE TAKEN, the start to the Celestial Blues trilogy. US shipping addresses only.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Review: Buzz Books YA 2014

    Book Review:  Buzz Books YA 2014 - alexia561.blogspot.com
    Buzz Books YA 2014

    Review copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

    This inaugural edition of Buzz Books: Young Adult provides substantial pre-publication excerpts from more than 20 forthcoming young adult and middle grade books. Now everyone can share the same access to the newest YA voices the publishing industry isbroadcasting  for the fall/winter season. At the end of most excerpts, you will find a link to the full galley on NetGalley!

    You will find a full range of YA titles previewed here - dystopian, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, humor, literary and more - and you will even find some works for tweens and middle-grade readers. As always, many are sure to make bestseller and “best of” lists.

    In addition to the excerpts, there’s a great round-up from Publishers Lunch of dozens of noteworthy fall/winter YA books to add to your must-have list. (Goodreads)

    My Thoughts:

    Really love these collections, as it's a great way to sample several of the upcoming buzz-worthy titles! This is the first all YA collection, which is one of my favorite genres! I read at least part of each story, but moved on to the next if it didn't grab my attention.

    Here are the ones that grabbed my attention and have been added to my wishlist:


    Some of these I've already heard of, but several are new to me and I might not have picked them up otherwise. That's why I love these samplers! What new YA reads are you looking forward to?

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    First rule of book blogs: THERE ARE NO RULES!!!

    Einstein - Alexia's Books and Such...
    Your argument has been rendered non-relativistic

    First rule of book blogs:  THERE ARE NO RULES!!!


    Sorry for shouting, but this is one of my pet peeves and I just came across yet another blog post talking about the rules for book blogging and I started shouting at my poor laptop! I think I scared my dog:

    Alexia's Books and Such...
    Not really. This is an old picture, but isn't she adorable?

    Dear Well-meaning Blogger, you are not the Blog Police and you do not get to lay down a set of rules for everyone to follow. There are no freaking rules! That's what makes the blogosphere so wonderful!

    Do you want to post every day? Great! Want to post once every other month because you're incredibly busy and don't have the time? That's okay too. Post memes three times a day? Good for you! Post nothing but cover reveals and book blasts? Whatever floats your boat. It's your blog, so you can do whatever you want! That's the freedom of book blogging!

    Freedom! - Alexia's Books and Such...
    @Braveheart

    So enough with the lists of Do's & Don'ts for Book Blogging. I understand that you probably just want to help out new bloggers, but your posts are coming across as rules set in stone. Let me reiterate: There Are No Rules!

    Let new bloggers find their own voice! If they have questions, let them know that you're more than happy to help them out but please, please, please stop trying to write the Ten Commandments of Book Blogging!

    Post whenever you have time and whatever you want. Write long reviews, short reviews, or no reviews. Pimp your blog six ways to Sunday or wait to be discovered. Use a basic template or hire a web designer for something custom and unique. Join memes and read-a-thons and blog hops and giveaways and book tours. Or don't. It's your blog, so do whatever makes you happy!


    No Rules! - Alexia's Books and Such...

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Book Review: Sea of Shadows

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    Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

    ARC received via Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

    Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn were marked at birth to become the Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood, beginning with their sixteenth birthday. Trained in fighting and in the secret rites of the spirits, they lead an annual trip into the Forest of the Dead. There, the veil between the living world and the beyond is thinnest, and the girls pay respect to the spirits who have passed.

    But this year, their trip goes dreadfully wrong. (Goodreads)

    My Thoughts:

    Ashyn is a Seeker, who finds the spirits of the dead and puts them to rest. Her twin Moria is a Keeper, who protects the empire from unsettled spirits.

    On Ashyn's very first solo trip into the Forest of the Dead, something goes horribly wrong. When the signal flare isn't sent at the agreed upon time, Moria joins a search party to find out what happened.

    Members of Ashyn's group start disappearing during the Seeking, and then Ashyn is briefly taken hostage by some surviving exiles. They are attacked and stumble upon the search party while fleeing. Then the search party is attacked. Only the twins, one of the exiles, and a guard make it back to the village alive. The village is attacked soon afterwards.

    The twins are separated during the attack and both decide to make their way across the Wastes, heading towards the nearest village for help. Unfortunately, things do not improve on their journeys.

    What an exciting story! I love the world that Kelley has created, and the twins are both great characters! Ashyn is the quieter twin, while Moria is fiery and impulsive. They are both strong in their way, but a little out of their depth as they are still only teenagers.

    The story was well paced, with lots of action and an interesting plot. Kelley is one of my favorite authors, and she doesn't disappoint with this new series!

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    My Book Haul 6/7/14

    My Book Haul

    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:

    I love the buzz book samplers, and very excited to see one devoted to Young Adult titles! Thank you NetGalley!

    Buzz Books YA 2014
    Buzz Books YA 2014 

    This inaugural edition of Buzz Books: Young Adult provides substantial pre-publication excerpts from more than 20 forthcoming young adult and middle grade books. Now everyone can share the same access to the newest YA voices the publishing industry is broadcasting for the fall/winter season.

    ***

    This is one of the titles that caught my eye from the last buzz books sampler I read, so very happy to receive it via Amazon Vine!

    The Bees
    The Bees by Laline Paull

    The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.

    ***

    One of my blogging buddies has a short story in this anthology, so very excited and honored to be part of her upcoming blog tour! You rock, Anna! 

    Portals anthology
    Portals anthology 

    No matter what world you call home, and what your station in life, there are just some paths that weren't meant to be tread.

    Swapped:

    I took part in a Reddit gift exchange and received the below. He saw that I was a reader so sent me one of his favorite books. Also sent me a Dr. Who item from my Amazon wishlist. I always love discovering new authors and seeing what other readers love, so excited to read this one! And Dr. Who! Yea!

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    Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

    Penpal began as a series of short and interconnected stories posted on an online horror forum. Before long, it was adapted into illustrations, audio recordings, and short films; and that was before it was revised and expanded into a novel!



    What did you receive this week?


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Book Review: The Immortal Crown

    Book Review:  The Immortal Crown by Richelle MeadThe Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

    Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

    Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect - special humans marked by the divine - are turning against one another in bloody fashion. (Goodreads)

    My Thoughts:

    This is the second book in the Age of X series. While the first book was really good and will give you a more in-depth understanding of the characters and what's going on, I don't think you'll be lost if you start with this one. 

    Mae is a member of the Praetorian Guard, an elite unit of so-called supersoldiers. On special assignment with religious investigator Justin, their job is to look into supernatural sightings and determine if any threats are present. Raised to believe that there are no gods, they've both seen enough to know better. Loved that the tough-as-nails soldier was a woman! And that she was protecting a man. Nice change of pace!

    The story alternates between Mae & Justin on their mission, and Justin's ward Tessa back home. 

    Mae & Justin accompany a diplomatic group to the neighboring country of Arcadia. While their homeland does not believe in gods, they find Arcadia to be a land ruled by a strict god. A very strict god, who preaches that females are second-class citizens with no rights. I did not like this god.

    Turns out that Mae had an ulterior motive for wanting to go on this mission. It was a legitimate reason, but I wish she had told Justin before almost causing an international incident! 

    Tessa's story was almost as intriguing, as she is enrolled in a new school and has started an internship with a somewhat disreputable journalist. Tessa is incredibly smart and learning to trust her instincts, so I have high hopes for her future!

    Really enjoying this series, and love the evolving relationship between Mae and Justin! Also love Justin's two "advisers", who never fail to chime in, whether Justin wants them to or not. I like that the gods are real and sort of scrimmaging for a foothold in the world. Really like the little twist at the end, and looking forward to seeing how that turns out in the next installment!


    Monday, June 2, 2014

    May Wrap Up

    library-6

    It's a brand new year, so thought I'd try some new things on the blog. My theme for the year is Discipline, so hoping that monthly wrap up posts will help keep me on track!

    Books read

    In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I need to read 8.33 books per month. According to Goodreads, I've read only 6 books this month:

    1. Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
    2. Tales of the Hidden World by Simon R. Green
    3. Divided by Elsie Chapman
    4. One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
    5. Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredeth
    6. Frozen by Erin Bowman

    Commenting

    Another uneven month. I'll go a few days where I'm a commenting fool, then have a dry spell. Consistency seems to be a problem this year, not sure why.....

    Overall

    May was not a good month for me overall. Realized that May is my blogoversary, not April as I previously thought. Think I got it mixed up with my April wedding anniversary, but all evidence points to my blog starting in May. Feel like a total doofus for not knowing. Major duh! Was going to write a special post to commemorate my five year blogoversary, but never got around to it. *sigh*

    Was looking forward to taking part in Armchair BEA, but didn't get beyond writing the first post. Didn't manage to visit other participants either. Another sigh.

    It seems weird to think that June is already here and half the year has come and gone. Where did the time go?


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