Thursday, June 30, 2011

Comment Contest - BEA Giveaway #2

While BEA is now behind us, I still want to share some BEA love with everybody! Inspired by Sheila over at Book Journey (who is awesome btw), I decided to try something a little different:  a comment contest!

For the month of July, I'll keep track of all comments made during July, and the reader with the most comments wins! Will also pick a few random commenters who can choose something from my prize page.

Valid comments only please, so short generic comments like "thanks" and "great mailbox" will not be counted. I'm looking for actual comments, somehow relevant to the post in question. That's it. No need to follow or tweet or like, just comment.

The BEA prize will only be available to a US mailing address as I'm paying for shipping and am on a limited budget, but if the Top Commenter is international, we'll work something out. The random commenter's prize will be open to everyone.

What can you win? Glad you asked! I'm offering the following BEA goodies:

Autographed (unread) copy of Jennifer Lynn Barnes Trial by Fire

Shirt & chapter sampler of Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare.
The shirt is a lightweight Hanes t-shirt, 100% cotton, size large.

Unread ARC of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Cool Workman Publishing tote

Additional random BEA swag, such as bookmarks and buttons and pens and such....

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

The small print:
*Main prize available to US mailing addresses only (alternate prize TBA later if winner is international)
*Random commenter prize open internationally
*Valid comments will be tracked from Friday, July 1st, 2011 through Sunday, July 31st, 2011, 11:59PM EST
* The main prize will be awarded to the reader submitting the most comments
*The additional winning names will be picked using a random number generator
*The winners will be announced no later than Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011, and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address. Should they fail to respond in the given time frame, new winner(s) will be chosen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog Tour: The Hypnotist

The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose

Source: Review copy provided by Pump Up Your Book

Rating:  3/5

In Vienna a clandestine robbery inside a locked library leads to a brutal murder. A 1,500-year-old sculpture holds the Metropolitan Museum of Art hostage. A young woman’s fatal accident gives two lovers a chance to meet again, against all odds. A centuries-old massacre in Persia has modern-day repercussions in Iran. In New York City a Matisse masterpiece surfaces after twenty years, mutilated and vandalized.

A modern-day reincarnationist is hell-bent on finding tools to aid in past life regressions no matter what the cost - in dollars or lives.

Everything rests on the shoulders of Lucian Glass, special agent with the FBI’s Art Crime Team, who himself is suffering from the aftermath of a brutal attack, impossible nightmares and his own crisis of faith.

If reincarnation is real, how can he live with who he was in his past life? If it’s not, then how can he live with who he has become in the present?

My Thoughts:
This is listed as book #3 in Rose's Reincarnationist series, but I think it stood on it's own pretty well. I love books about reincarnation, so was happy to accept this review copy! That being said, I have mixed feelings about the story. There were so many characters whose lives intersected throughout the ages, and I don't know that I believe that we keep coming back with the same souls over and over again. To be honest, I'm not really sure what I believe, but to be stuck with the same people throughout all eternity? I just don't know...

There were several characters in this book, and at times I had a hard time keeping track of who was who, both in this life and previous lives. You know how they say that too many cooks spoil the broth? Well, too many characters seem to spoil the story for me. If I need a scorecard to keep everyone straight, well, that sort of ruins the fun for me.

The main story seems to revolve around Lucian Glass, a special agent for the FBI. Never thought much about the FBI having an Art Crime Unit, but guess it makes sense. At times I found myself more interested in the details of his job than his experiences with reincarnation!

He's trying to solve a case involving Memory Tools, which are said to aid in recovering memories of past lives. Well, that's just part of the case, as there's also an ancient statue, destroyed paintings, an old murder case, and a few other loose ends. Lots going on in this one, but it all tied together by the end.

Ultimately gave this a 3/5 rating as it was an interesting read and Rose is a talented writer, who kept pulling me back into the story. As I mentioned before, there are several characters to keep track of, which I sometimes have a problem keeping straight. Guess that makes me a lazy reader, but I'd rather not have to take notes in order to keep everything straight. Might have been an easier read if I'd read it straight through, but this was one of my lunchtime reads, so I only read it for an hour a day and it took awhile to finish.

Think this would be a great book for someone who likes several different plotlines interwoven throughout a story, as well as those interested in reincarnation, mysteries, and/or history. You might even learn a thing or two while reading!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My first guest post!

I'll be hanging out over at Wordsmithonia today, while Ryan takes some well-deserved time off. Ryan is an awesome blogger! I love his Favorite Fictional Characters meme, he writes great reviews, and I was honored when he asked me to do a guest post for him. So please stop by, say hello, and let me know what you think of my taste in music!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (79)

In My Mailbox (79)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a great way to find new titles and discover great new authors! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Overbite by Meg Cabot
Overbite by Meg Cabot

Meena Harper has never rebuffed the love of a god (unless you count the prince of darkness). But she’s always felt as though her gift was a curse, because no one’s ever believed her when she’s told them they were going to die . . . . Until now.

Killer Move by Michael Marshall
Killer Move by Michael Marshall

The electrifying story of a man on the fast track to success who finds that his life has been chillingly "modified" by someone, somewhere with a very different master plan for his future.

Betrayal of Trust by J.A. Jance
Betrayal of Trust by J.A. Jance

Seattle investigator J. P. Beaumont uncovers a dark and deadly conspiracy that reaches deep into the halls of state government, in this latest thriller from New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance.

Thanks to William Morrow for the review copies! Love trying new genres and, believe it or not, I've never read Meg Cabot. Can't wait to dive into these!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Guy Next Door

It's not a secret that I love anthologies! They're the perfect quick read that will introduce you to new authors and let you check in with old favorites. The Guy Next Door is a small anthology as it only has three stories, but it's worth picking up!

Ready, Set, Jett by Lori Foster
This story was the reason I picked up this book, as I'd just finished reading When You Dare and wanted to learn more about Molly's sister. Of the three, I think this was my least favorite. Natalie and Jett's relationship didn't ring true for me, as they seemed to just be using each other for sex. I prefer watching a relationship develop as opposed to a play-by-play account of the action. Too many details spoil the mood, as I'd rather things be left to my imagination. Granted, Jett decides he wants to move their relationship forward, but the story just didn't gel for me.

Gail's Gone Wild by Susan Donovan
This story was my favorite of the three! Gail accompanies her teenage daughter and friend on Spring Break to the Florida Keys. Loved that the heroine of this was not only a mother, but the mother of a teenager! Don't see that very often! Enjoyed watching Gail warm up to Jesse, and liked that Susan left things to my imagination and didn't try to cram too much into a short amount of space. Loved that Gail had a Spring Fling on Spring Break!

Just One Taste by Victoria Dahl
Enjoyed this story as it didn't have the usual HEA ending, but instead left me wanting more. Eric is the good brother, who always does the right thing and has to take care of the family business as well as keep an eye on his siblings. Beth is a good girl who just happens to own an Adult Store. Taking advantage of wrong first impressions, they manage to have a good time together. Loved the ending, and can't wait to read more about these characters!

Gave this a 4/5 as I enjoyed the stories and would recommend it to anyone looking for new authors or a quick read. Keep in mind that it is an adult romance novel and all of the stories include sex scenes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review: Happy Birthday To Me

Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe

Source:  eBook provided by the author

Rating:  4/5

Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he's aging a whole year of his life with each passing day. High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game on the horizon. That's what happens to Cameron, a mischievous pretty boy who has never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.

It starts with a slowing metabolism, followed by gray hair, wrinkles, and a painful back. Within days his girlfriend dumps him, his plastic surgeon father forces him to get a facelift, and his terrifying high school librarian develops a crush on him. All he wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition.

How will he cope? Will he even survive? He's faced with the greatest challenge of his life, and there's no way of knowing if he'll live to see graduation, or even the next day!

My Thoughts
This book was incredible! It pulled me in and made me cry in places, which hasn't happened in quite awhile. I LOVE it when a book makes me cry! Means the author has done their job and made the characters and story come alive for me!

To be honest, Cameron is a bit of a jerk. Too cute, a sports star, dating the popular gorgeous remember the BMOC at school, right? Yep, that's Cameron. Everything in Cam's life is perfect, until one day, it's not. He doesn't even notice that he's aging at first, and is more excited than worried when he finally grows a beard. Sure it grows in freakishly fast, but he's so happy to finally have facial hair that he doesn't worry. But then he wakes up one morning and his six-pack is gone. What the heck? One emergency liposuction session later, and Cameron is ready to go! Hello? If I woke up one morning with an extra 50 pounds, I wouldn't be worried about lipo, but would be heading to the Mayo Clinic ASAP!  :o

Cameron's body keeps changing at an alarming pace. After extensive testing, Cameron and his parents receive the shocking news that he seems to be aging one year every day. His mother does not take this news well, and even reminds the doctor that they're not in an episode of the Twilight Zone. This line made me laugh, as I think I would react the same way if someone told me my child was aging an entire year every night.

Rather than seek further medical attention, Cam decides he just wants to finish his senior year of high school and try his best to do normal things until his time runs out. An odd choice, as I doubt I would want to finish school in his shoes, but it's his life and his decision.

Really enjoyed this story, as Cameron learned what was really important in life as he came face to face with his own mortality. It's true that some people don't really learn what's important until faced with life-changing situations. Is Cameron perfect? No. That's part of what made the story so compelling. Same with his parents, who have to face the fact that their child will in all likelihood die of old age right before their eyes.

Had a little problem with the ending of the book and the explanation about Cameron's condition as it just didn't ring true for me, but enjoyed the book otherwise. Didn't really like the school librarian as she seemed a little like a caricature, but the rest of the cast were good. Especially Cam's father, who used to focus too much on what people looked like instead of what was inside, but that was understandable since he was a plastic surgeon!

All in all, thought this was a good read. The author drew me in and made me believe that someone could age an entire year overnight, every night, and would die of old age before his 18th birthday! I grew to care about about Cameron and believed his story to the point where it brought tears to my eyes. Now that's a good story! :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In My Mailbox (78)

In My Mailbox (78)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever
Received a review copy of Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. from the Amazon Vine program. Sounds like a fun read!

For Jane Jones, being a vampire is nothing like you read about in books. In fact, it kind of sucks. She's not beautiful, she's not rich, and she doesn't "sparkle." She's just an average, slightly nerdy girl from an ordinary suburban family (who happens to be vampires.) Jane's from the wrong side of the tracks (not to mention stuck in the world's longest awkward phase), so she doesn't fit in with the cool vampire kids at school or with the humans kids. To top it all off, she's battling an overprotective mom, a clique of high school mean girls (the kind who really do have fangs), and the most embarrassing allergy in the history of the undead, she's blood intolerant. (Goodreads)

Chosen by Paula Bradley
Received a review copy of Chosen by Paula Bradley from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc. Sounds like a good read!

In Paula Bradley’s heart-pounding debut novel CHOSEN, Mariah’s faith, perceptions, and sanity are put to the test. After a suicide attempt, her powers can no longer be concealed. Mariah thought the woes of her powers would be extinguished by taking her life, but somehow a mysterious being saves her and sets her on a journey. The supernatural rescue enhances Mariah’s extrasensory power so much that she becomes a person of interest to the FBI, another government agency, and the media. She can’t escape the intensifying outer turmoil and she quickly finds herself tormented by nightmares and an obsession of trying to find the ambiguous character that haunts her dreams. This page-turning thriller is a trip for the reader as well as the gripping danger and unexplained happenings challenge their own beliefs on the nature of faith and the value of discovery. Is Mariah’s gift a blessing or a curse? You decide! (Goodreads)

Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank
Received Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank as a surprise from the publisher. Might be an interesting summer read!

Home is the place that knows us best. . . . A woman returns to the past to find her future in this enchanting new tale of loss, acceptance, family, and love.

The Devil Colony
Also received a review copy of James Rollins' The Devil Colony from the publisher. Not sure about this one, but it might be another beach I'll give it a chapter or two to see if it's my cup of tea. ;)

Deep in the Rocky Mountains, a gruesome discovery - hundreds of mummified bodies - stir international attention and fervent controversy. Despite doubts to the bodies’ origins, the local Native American Heritage Commission lays claim to the prehistoric remains, along with the strange artifacts found in the same cavern: gold plates inscribed with an unfathomable script. (Goodreads)

Get anything good in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Winner of my BEA Giveaway # 1

Congratulations to the winner of
BEA Giveaway #1!


I've sent Diana an email confirmation and am just waiting for her response.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ruby Red Giveaway! - CLOSED

winner - Sarah R.

Thanks to the generosity of Zeitghost Media, I have one copy of Ruby Red available for a lucky reader! This is the first book in bestselling author Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red Trilogy!
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Pretty cool trailer, right? Interested in winning a copy of your very own? Just fill out the below form and you're good to go! US/Canadian mailing addresses only.

The small print:
*Open to US/Canadian mailing addresses only
*Must be at least 13 years old (or have parental permission) to enter
*Entries will be accepted from Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 through Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 11:59PM EST
*The winning name will be picked using a random number generator
*All entries must be submitted using the form on this post. You MUST include your mailing address, as this will be forwarded to the publisher immediately
*The winner will be announced and their mailing address forwarded to the publisher no later than June 16th, 2011

Good luck!

Monday, June 6, 2011


This is Didi.

This is the last picture taken of her, as we had to have her put to sleep this weekend. She was on thyroid medication and I thought she was getting better, then she went downhill fast. Her vet agreed that she was suffering and that we needed to do what was best for her. Doesn't make it any easier, but the look on her face convinced me that she was in pain.

She would have been with me 12 years next month. She was not our first pet, but was with us the longest and was an incredibly sweet girl. I brought her home from the shelter in a misguided attempt to provide a friend for my other cat, Salem. Salem was not happy and I'm pretty sure she never forgave me, but Didi never gave up trying to make friends with her. When Salem passed away, we grieved together.

Didi was my reading buddy. She would curl up next to me on the couch, draping herself over my lap so I could cuddle with her. Going to be strange to read without her curled up next to me. It's strange being at the computer without her on my lap, trying to help me type.

It's harder than expected to deal with. The little things get to me....I'll check to see if she needs fresh water, only to see that her bowls are gone. I'll automatically look down to make sure she's not at the door as I'm going out. I still look for her. It's hard.

I'm going to take some time off. I have some posts already scheduled, but need time to deal with the loss of my baby girl. I'm a little embarrassed that it's hitting me this hard since I'm supposed to be the strong one, but my heart is broken.

She was a very good girl and will be missed....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

In My Mailbox (77)

In My Mailbox (77)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
Received a review copy of Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante from Amazon Vine. Looks like a good read!

Is the perfect murder the one you can't forget or the one you can't remember? Dr. Jennifer White, a brilliant former surgeon in the early grips of Alzheimer's, is suspected of murdering her best friend, Amanda. Amanda's body was found brutally disfigured - with four of her fingers cut off in a precise, surgical manner. As the police pursue their investigation and Jennifer searches her own mind for fractured clues to Amanda's death, a portrait emerges of a complex relationship between two uncompromising, unsentimental women, lifelong friends who were at times each other's most formidable adversaries.(Goodreads)

Looking forward to seeing all the great IMM posts this week!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Review: Graveminder

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Source:  ARC provided by the publisher

Rating:  4/5

Melissa Mar is known to young adult readers as the author of the popular faery series Wicked Lovely. Her debut leap into adult fiction lands her in the small community of Claysville, a town where the dead walk free unless there their graves are not properly tended. Into this eerie maelstrom, Rebekkah Barrow descends as she returns to a place that she once believed she knew. Kelley Armstrong justly described Graveminder as "a deliciously creepy tale that is as skillfully wrought as it is spellbindingly imagined." A new genre author to watch. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Rebekkah has itchy feet and can't seem to settle down anywhere. She moves from place to place, as she never quite feels at home in any one location. The only home she really has is with her grandmother, who she visits periodically. Unbeknownst to Rebekkah, her grandmother is a Graveminder, tasked with keeping the dead at rest and their town safe. Rebekkah is her heir, but her grandmother wanted her to have a taste of freedom and kept postponing telling Rebekkah of her destiny. Suddenly, her grandmother is gone and Rebekkah faces the strangest on-the-job training anyone has ever known!

Helping the Graveminder with their duties is the Undertaker. Like Rebekkah, Byron wasn't told of his destiny until it was almost too late. They learn that the Graveminder and Undertaker are tied together, which may explain their lifelong attraction to each other. With no time to figure out their feelings for each other, Rebekkah and Byron must work together to deal with the threat to their town and figure out why the dead are suddenly so restless.

There are actually two mysteries in this book:  why are the dead suddenly so restless, and what exactly are Rebekkah and Byron supposed to do to help? Unfortunately, the Graveminder's journals that her grandmother promised would answer Rebekkah's questions are missing, but at least they have the Undertaker's books. They are running out of time, as more and more residents are being attacked. I loved that I got so caught up in the story that I worried about what would happen next!

This was a great read! Haven't read anything similar to the graveminder/undertaker premise, and I really liked how Melissa kept us guessing. I enjoyed the relationship between Rebekkah and Byron, and understood her confusion even though I didn't agree with her hesitation (who wouldn't want a guy like Byron!?). Gave this a 4/5 as it was a great read, kept me guessing, and introduced me to something original, which I love! Melissa is a very talented author, and now I want to read more of her books!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Reading Challenge Check-In (4)

I'm trying to keep a closer eye on my reading challenges this year, so will try to do monthly check-ins in order to keep on track. So far, so good!

100 Books In A Year Challenge

46/100 books. 46% complete

Outdo Yourself Challenge

46/100 books. 46% complete

What's In A Name Challenge

3/6 books. 50% complete

Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge

20/24 books. 83% complete

Off The Shelf Challenge

3/30 books. 10% complete

eBook Challenge

16/20 books. 80% complete

A-Z Challenge

19/26 books. 73% complete

Debut Author Challenge

11/12 books. 92% complete

How is everyone doing with their yearly goals so far? I think I'm still doing okay, as my goal was to read a minimum of 8 books a month, but I'm still neglecting the Off The Shelf Challenge for some reason. Maybe once some of my other challenges are complete, I'll be able to concentract on that one...