Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (83)

In My Mailbox (83)
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:

Love Lies Bleeding
Received a review copy of Love Lies Bleeding from the publisher. Sounds intriguing!

To what lengths would you go to keep a past buried? Samantha Moore is the golden girl - with a perfect job, a perfect man, a perfect life - until a random act of violence changes everything. Unconscious for two months, Sam awakens from her coma a different person - bitter, in constant pain, and forced to endure medications that leave her nauseous, paranoid, and struggling to keep a grip on reality.

Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn
Finding a review copy of Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn was a nice surprise in my mailbox! I like a good spy story every now and again, as it's a nice change from vampires and witches!

Matthew Dunn spent years as an MI6 field operative working on some of the West’s most clandestine missions. He recruited and ran agents, planned and participated in special operations, and operated deep undercover throughout the world. In Spycatcher he draws on this fascinating experience to breathe urgent, dynamic new life into the contemporary spy novel.

Spell Bound
Was thrilled to receive an ARC of Spell Bound, courtesy of Wunderkind PR, as I love her Otherworld series! Kelley is an awesome writer and if you haven't read her yet, what are you waiting for?

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she's powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

What did you receive in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Scavenger Hunt & Giveaway: Chosen by Paula Bradley

Shy and introverted Mariah Carpenter has concealed a hidden talent from childhood that, according to her mother, would brand her a freak. Now a fateful encounter has caused her secret skill - an extraordinary psychic ability - to become greatly enhanced. Suddenly, she has a purpose for her gift, as her vision gives her the ability to find kidnapped children telepathically. But is this a blessing or a curse?

My Thoughts:
This story had a unique concept in that a talent that Mariah had always considered a curse that she had to hide develops into a gift that she feels compelled to use. I do admit that I was expecting a different kind of story and it went down a path I wasn't expecting, but it was an enjoyable ride!

Scavenger Hunt!
Just before she slipped into a deep and dreamless sleep, she observed, again in a haze, the man smiling down on her. Clipping the metal tube onto his belt, his eyes betrayed not only sorrow but apprehensive.

He shook his head and pressed a button the belt.

Be sure to visit Curling Up By The Fire for the next excerpt!

Are you intrigued? Want to read the entire story yourself? Then be sure to enter my giveaway for a copy of your very own!

Giveaway ends 8/4/2011, 11:59PM EST

US mailing address only

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ARC Preview: Legend

I receive ARCs every now and again that won't be released for several months, but I don't want to have them just sit there and gather dust. Thought I would feature them to give everyone sort of a sneak peek at upcoming books. This feature was inspired by Shellie over at Layers of Thought.

Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.(Goodreads)

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (November 29, 2011)
ISBN-10: 039925675X
ISBN-13: 978-0399256752

You can learn more about Marie at her website and read an excerptof the story here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Turn of Mind

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Source: ARC provided by the Amazon Vine program

Rating:  4/5

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)

My Thoughts:
This was a fascinating book, in that it gives a glimpse into what it might be like to have dementia. Divided into four sections, there aren't really chapters but instead short snippets of Jennifer's life. She has her good days and bad, and we get some idea of what it must be like to be in her shoes. A strong, intelligent woman who isn't always sure what's going on. Has to be terrifying.

The main gist of the story is trying to discover who murdered Amanda, Jennifer's best friend. I was a little appalled at the police detective, who kept questioning Jennifer despite her condition. Seemed a little cruel at times, but there was a murder to solve. But still....the woman had dementia and had to relive the discovery that her friend was murdered over and over, as well as reliving the deaths of her parents and husband. Dementia is a cruel disease because so many memories, both the good and the bad, have to be freshly relived.

Didn't really care for Jennifer's son Mark, who took advantage of his mother's condition. Daughter Fiona was overwhelmed at times, but seemed to handle it better than Mark. Magdalena, her live-in caregiver, also seemed overwhelmed with caring for someone with dementia, as Jennifer tended to be difficult and liked to wander away.

As a former caregiver for someone with dementia, this insight into Jennifer's mind fascinated me. I know it's fiction, but Alice's descriptions really rang true!

Gave this one a 4/5 as Alice did such a great job with Jennifer! The murder mystery wasn't really the focus for me as I read, but was eventually solved. All of the characters were well rounded, even the ones I didn't particularly like. All in all, thought that this was a very good read and that Alice is an incredibly talented author!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Review: A Long, Long Sleep

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Source:  netGalley

Rating: 4/5

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for 62 years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose - hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire - is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes - or be left without any future at all.(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
This story could be a retelling of the old Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, in that Rose is the daughter of a very powerful man who runs a vast business empire, so she could be the princess. And she is woken with a kiss by a handsome young "prince" (grandson of a powerful man in the same company). That puts a slightly different spin on the story, but there's no evil curse sending her into the enchanted sleep. The reason behind her long sleep is evil, but we only learn of it gradually, which made it a little more horrifying in my opinion.

Rose led a very sheltered life, as her parents wanted to protect her from the threat of kidnapping. As her father was the head of a huge business empire, this fear seemed reasonable to Rose. Her only friend was a little boy who lived in the same building, who grew up to become her boyfriend. Rose changed schools often, for reasons which are eventually explained, so didn't really have the chance to make other friends. But her friendship with Xavier always seemed to be enough.

Now Rose is alone, trying to deal with an unfamiliar future while recovering from being in stasis for over 60 years. Her parents are dead, the current head of her father's company would rather she had never been discovered, and her body is having a hard time adjusting after the long sleep. On top of everything else, she finds herself attracted to the boy who found her. She takes refuge in her art, which has always helped her figure things out in the past, and her new dog Zavier. The dog and her artwork help, when suddenly Rose must face an unexpected threat which forces her to grow up fast and face down past demons!

This story was fascinating! We first meet Rose when she's discovered in the sub-basement, and gradually learn her life story. I enjoyed how the author didn't hit you over the head with details, but took her time in revealing the horrifying reality of her past. What really struck me was how Rose didn't realize that her life wasn't normal. And I liked seeing her mature from the sheltered girl who couldn't even pick out her own clothes. Yea Rose!

Gave this one a 4/5 as it was very well written, had interesting characters, and left me wanting more. Anna Sheehan is an incredibly talented writer and I'm definitely a new fan!

This book is scheduled for publication on August 8th, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I haz a ponder....about censoring reviews

Have come across a situation that I never expected and as it took me a little by surprise, wanted it throw it out there and get some feedback. After almost two years of reviewing on this blog, I've been asked twice within one month to only post my review if it was positive. In both cases, I didn't really care for the book and had planned to present my reasons why in what I hoped was a fair and balanced way. Neither party knew in advance that I hadn't cared for their book, so guess it was sort of a preventive measure.

My first reaction was that they had approached me, so no way was I going to change my review! But I did. I found myself softening my stance and rewriting my review several times. I finally caught myself, stopped, and decided to post what I had already written. As I hadn't completed the other review yet, I didn't bother to finish.

The thing is, I don't like to post so-called "negative" reviews. I try to find something positive to say about the book, no matter what rating I assign. I also don't want to post nothing but positive reviews, as I don't like every book I read.

My goal is to post honest reviews and explain why I may/may not have liked a book. I don't always succeed in this, but I try. Everyone has their own opinion about negative vs positive reviews, but I like to see a mix. These two requests, coming so close together, made me question myself and left me a little unsettled.

I can count on one hand the number of review requests I've made over the years. I can count on no hands the number of requested books I've actually received:  zero. My books come from the bookstore, email offers, the library, contests, and BEA. I can sort of understand someone asking for a positive review if I specifically requested a title, but if they approached me? That didn't sit well.

I'm a little upset that I changed my review because the person who originally made the offer asked that I not post anything negative. Left a sour taste in my mouth, and I almost want to stop accepting anything. It's not like I don't have enough books to read for the next few years (just ask my DH!). And there's always netGalley, who only asks that you submit a review and doesn't dictate terms.

Am curious how others have dealt with this? I don't want to trash the book, as the author didn't make the request. Also don't like mean reviews, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone who can actually complete an entire novel and get it published! I know that I could never finish a manuscript (not disciplined enough). I said, I'm not happy with my reaction and could use some advice.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ARC Preview: Blood and Other Cravings

I receive ARCs every now and again that won't be released for several months, but I don't want to have them just sit there and gather dust. Thought I would feature them to give everyone sort of a sneak peek at upcoming books. This feature was inspired by Shellie over at Layers of Thought.

edited by Ellen Datlow

When we think of vampires, instantly the image arises: fangs sunk deep into the throat of the victim. But bloodsucking is merely one form of vampirism. For this brilliantly original anthology, Ellen Datlow has commissioned stories from many of the most powerfully dark voices in contemporary horror, who conjure tales of vampirism that will chill readers to the marrow.

In addition to the traditional fanged vampires, Datlow presents stories about the leeching of emotion, the draining of the soul, and other dark deeds of predation and exploitation, infestation, and evisceration…tales of life essence, literal or metaphorical, stolen.

Seventeen stories, by such award-winning authors as Elizabeth Bear, Richard Bowes, Kathe Koja, Margo Lanagan, Carol Emshwiller, and Lisa Tuttle will petrify readers.... this anthology will redefine the terror of vampires and vampirism.

All You Can Do Is Breathe by Kaaron Warren
Needles by Elizabeth Bear
Baskerville's Midgets by Reggie Oliver
Blood Yesterday, Blood Tomorrow by Richard Bowes
X for Demetrious by Steve Duffy
Keeping Corky by Melanie Tem
Shelf-Life by Lisa Tuttle
Caius by Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg
Sweet Sorrow by Barbara Roden
First Breath by Nicole J. LeBoeuf
Toujours by Kathe Koja
Miri by Steve Rasnic Tern
Mrs. Jones by Carol Emshwiller
Bread and Water by Michael Cisco
Mulberry Boys by Margo Lanagan
The Third Always Beside You by John Langan
The Siphon by Laird Barron

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765328283
ISBN-13: 978-0765328281

Picked this one up at BEA, and was lucky enough to actually meet Ellen and get my copy autographed. I adore anthologies, so am really looking forward to reading this one! You can learn more about the very talented Ellen Datlow at her website.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Winner of The Men Who Walk the Edge of Danger contest!

Congratulations to the winner of the
Men Who Walk the Edge of Danger
3 book giveaway!

Pam S!

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

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (82)

In My Mailbox (82)
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. I'm going to be on a business trip for a couple of weeks, so loaded up on eBooks! Love netGalley!

For Review:

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente
by Catherynne M Valente

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland.


Dark Territory by J. Gabriel Gates
by J. Gabriel Gates

In the quaint town of Middleburg, an abandoned train yard and old railroad tracks form the dividing line between two rival gangs - the posh, preppie Toppers and the working-class Flatliners. When Raphael, the leader of the Flatliners, falls in love with Aimee, a Topper girl, the rival gangs prepare to do battle . . . but not with guns and knives. Their martial arts training dictates a strict code of honor, which all of the gang members adhere to. The only hope for peace between the rival gangs lies within the giant X formed where the railroad tracks cross. The awesome power contained in the X sends the Flatliners and the Toppers on a mystical quest to fight against malevolent forces that threaten the existence of Middleburg - and maybe the world.


The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
by Julie Kagawa

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.


Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates
by J. Gabriel Gates

Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her. Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse.


Supernatural Noir Anthology

Dark Horse once again teams up with Hugo and Bram Stoker award-winning editor Ellen Datlow (Lovecraft Unbound) to bring you this masterful marriage of the darkness without and the darkness within. Supernatural Noir is an anthology of original tales of the dark fantastic from twenty modern masters of suspense, including Brian Evenson, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Nick Mamatas, Gregory Frost, and Jeffrey Ford.


Soulless by Gail Carriger
by Gail Carriger

Without a morsel of exaggeration, its publisher describes this debut novel as "a comedy of manners set in Victorian London full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking." At the center of Soulless's "parasol protectorate" is Miss Alexia Tarabotti, a young woman who lacks not only a suitor but also a soul. And those are not her only problems: When she accidentally kills a vampire, it begins a series of events that she must set out to resolve without the help of any proper authorities.

Looking forward to seeing everyone's mailboxes this week!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: Overbite

Overbite by Meg Cabot

Source:  Review copy received from the publisher

Rating: 3/5

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.

My Thoughts:
Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure this is the first Meg Cabot I've ever read. I have several friends who love Meg, but none of her books ever grabbed my eye until this one showed up on my doorstep. While this is the second book in Meg's Insatiable series, it totally stood on it's own and I was never lost with either the character's or the plot.

Meena works for the Palatine Guard, a secret branch of the Vatican that hunts demons. Hired for her gift of knowing how someone will die, Meena spends most of her time on research. Meena seems a little naive for someone who works for an organization that hunts demons, and believes that the vampires retain some of their humanity and can choose to reform. Especially her ex-boyfriend Lucien, the son of Dracula. Needless to say, Meena's belief is not shared by her co-workers. Alaric Wulf is the most vocal in his dissenting opinion of the good vampire, as he seems firmly in the camp of the-only-good-vampire-is-a-staked-vampire!

Never really warmed up to Meena for some reason. Maybe I've read too many vampire books, but this one seemed to have too many cliches and this was a little off-putting. It was an okay story and I did enjoy reading it, but I didn't love it. Didn't really care for the ending either. Meg is a good writer and I think I'll try one of her other books, but this one just didn't do it for me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

eBook Challenge 2011 - Completed!

My first completed challenge of 2011!
*throws confetti*

This challenge used to be hosted by Alaine at Queen of Happy Endings, but is now hosted by The Ladybug Reads. While I'll never give up physical books, I love my nook! 

My goal was the Obsessed level of reading 20 eBooks, and I made it!
Here are the books I read for the challenge:

1.  Dark and Disorderly

3.  Angelfire
8.  Ascension
21. Summer's Crossing
22. Tower
23. Girl vs. Ghost
24. Double Cross
25. Aggies Nine Heroes
26. Confessions of a Call Center Gal
27. Zombie Mommy
28. New York to Dallas
29. Wild & Steamy
30. Naked City
31. Flip This Zombie
32. Eat Slay Love
33. Spider's Revenge
34. In The Dead Vol 1
35. Darkness of Perfection
36. Karma Girl Christmas
37. Touch of Frost
38. Kiss of Frost

Challenge Guidelines:
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

2. There are 7 levels:
  • Curious – Read 3 e-books.
  • Fascinated – Read 6 e-books.
  • Addicted – Read 12 e-books.
  • Obsessed – Read 20 e-books.
  • Possessed – Read 50 e-books.
  • Fanatical – Read 75 e-books.
  • Monomaniacal – Read 100 e-books.
3. Any genre counts.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1, 2011 and lasts until December 31, 2011, so there's still time to enter!

Think I'll keep track of the eBooks I read for the rest of the year and see if I can make any of the other levels. That's just for fun though, as I'm considering this a completed challenge.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ARC Preview: The Dark at the End

I receive ARCs every now and again that won't be released for several months, but I don't want to have them just sit there and gather dust. Thought I would feature them to give everyone sort of a sneak peek at upcoming books. This feature was inspired by Shellie over at Layers of Thought.

by F. Paul Wilson

Bound by his promise to Glaeken, Jack has refrained from making any direct moves against Rasalom. But things have changed so there's nothing holding Jack in check any longer. Other changes are occurring as well. Jack is healing at an accelerated rate - much like Glaeken did when he was immortal. This can only mean that Glaeken's time is almost up and when he dies, Jack takes his place.

Rasalom continues to plot against the Lady. Twice she has died and returned; a third time and she will be gone, leaving a clear path for the Otherness to infiltrate this reality. But Ernst Drexler, formerly Rasalom's go-to guy for logistical support, fears he will be left out in the cold when the Change comes. He forms an uneasy alliance with Jack, who is preparing to face their old enemy.

Meanwhile, Dawn Pickering is searching for her supposedly dead baby. The trail leads her to a mansion in a remote Long Island coastal town, where she discovers a truth she could have never imagined.

Now the stage is set for Jack's massive assault on Rasalom. Jack knows he's got just one shot. But it's not just a matter of taking out Rasalom: he also must safely retrieve Dawn's child and minimize collateral damage. So, he comes up with a foolproof plan.

But fools are always with us….

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (October 11, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765322838
ISBN-13: 978-0765322838

I am a huge fan of F. Paul Wilson, and think I've read everything he's ever written. Was beyond thrilled when I met him at BEA and was able to get a signed copy of what is supposed to be the last Repairman Jack novel! Ever! Will be sad to see the end of Jack, but looking forward to seeing what Wilson has in store for us next!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lori Foster Giveaway - Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series

Thanks to the generosity of Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting, I have the 3 books in Lori's hot new series available for an awesome giveaway! One lucky, lucky winner will win all three books!

WHEN YOU DARE by Lori Foster


Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped-and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure.

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she's uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful estranged father? The ex-fiancé who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all.

TRACE OF FEVER by Lori Foster


Undercover mercenary Trace Rivers loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned mission. First he'll earn the trust of corrupt businessman Murray Coburn, then gather the proof he needs to shut down the man's dirty smuggling operation. It's a perfect scheme-until Coburn's long-lost daughter saunters in with her own deadly plan for revenge.

With a smile like an angel and fire in her eyes, Priscilla Patterson isn't who she seems to be. But neither is the gorgeous bodyguard who ignites all her senses. Joining forces to plot Coburn's downfall, Priss and Trace must fight the undeniable heat between them. For one wrong move, one lingering embrace, will expose them to the wrath of a merciless opponent.



She may be aloof, and more pretty than gorgeous, but Alani Rivers is the kind of woman a hot-blooded mercenary can't forget, no matter how hard he tries. So when Jackson Savor wakes up next to the naked, sleeping beauty-with no memory of what happened-he knows he's been drugged. even if Alani doesn't.

After she was kidnapped, Alani swore she'd never trust another man again. Still, something about this strong, sexy hero with the tender touch makes her want to believe him. As Jackson hunts downs a mysterious intruder, he swears he'll move heaven and earth to keep Alani safe. But what really happened that night? And will the truth bring them closer than they ever thought possible-or put Alani squarely in harm's way again?

Open to US mailing addresses only, and books will be shipped directly from the publicist to the winner.

Please fill out the form to enter!

*Comments on this post will not be included in the July comment contest.
*Must fill out the above form to enter.
*Contest ends July 16th, 11:59p EST

In My Mailbox (81)

In My Mailbox (81)
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:

Savor the Danger by Lori Foster
by Lori Foster

She may be aloof, and more pretty than gorgeous, but Alani Rivers is the kind of woman a hot-blooded mercenary can't forget, no matter how hard he tries. So when Jackson Savor wakes up next to the naked, sleeping beauty - with no memory of what happened - he knows he's been drugged…even if Alani doesn't.

Things to Do In Denver When You're Undead by Mark Everett Stone
by Mark Everett Stone

For ten years Kal Hakala has been the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation's top man, the longest surviving agent in its blood-soaked history. There has been no case he couldn't crack, no monster he couldn't kill. Until a plague of zombies in Denver turns into an investigation of a vicious serial killer dubbed The Organ Donor. Fueled by rage and a hatred of all things supernatural, he dives headlong into the one mystery that could finally kill him.


Summer's Crossing by Julie Kagawa
by Julie Kagawa

This was a free download on my nook. An Iron Fey novella, which I've already read & loved!

A Midsummer's Nightmare? Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Summer Court prankster, King Oberon's right hand, bane of many a faery queen's existence - and secret friend to Prince Ash of the Winter Court. Until one girl's death came between them, and another girl stole both their hearts.

What goodies did you receive in your mailbox this week?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Hexed

Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Source:  my nook

Rating:  4/5

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty - when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II... (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Sometimes the second book in a series doesn't quite live up to the first book. No such worries in this one, as Hexed is every bit as good as Hounded, book one of the Iron Druid Chronicles! Atticus and Oberon are back and, while I have a serious crush on Atticus, I'm absolutely in love with Oberon and want to take him home with me to cuddle! Okay, an Irish wolfhound may or may not want to cuddle, but he's a seriously cool guy!

This one starts off with a bang, with Atticus being attacked on his front porch! He survives, and it turns out the attackers are a group of nasty witches that want to take over the territory. While Atticus doesn't seem to think that there is anything such as a good witch, he is willing to admit that there might be tolerable witches vs just plain evil ones. He decides he is willing to work with the remainder of the Polish coven in town in order to fight the new threat. He's grown to like the town and is tired of moving, so reluctantly decides to stay and help protect his home.

There are threats on several fronts:  the remaining demons that escaped in book one, evil witches who can fling a mean death hex, Bacchants who want to party like it's 1999, two goddesses taking an unwelcome interest in him, and noisy police detectives who have a feeling that Atticus isn't what he seems. Poor Atticus.

This was a fast, fun read full of action! Several mythological characters from different cultures show up and interact like it's no big deal. I loved that! Hearne is a very talented writer with a great sense of humor, who has come up with some great characters! Did I mention my love for Oberon? I want to learn more about Atticus and his friends, see him survive his latest adventures, and can't wait to read the rest of the series! If you haven't already, you really need to pick up these books!

Here's some links so you can read an excerpt of Hounded and Hexed, courtesy of Kevin's website. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review: Joe Is Online

Joe Is Online by Chris Wimpress

Source:  eBook provided by the author for review

In 1997 a 13 year-old boy with no friends called Joe went online. He decided the offline world was too harsh be real. With the help of an internet psychic called Magda Magenta, Joe unleashes a series of co-ordinated attacks on the world, beginning online and spreading into the offline world. He develops an online cult populated by people who've also been let down badly by the real world.

Nobody can trace their source until a quiet, shy professor in terrorism called Penelope Hunt discovers a link to Joe. She finds herself sucked into a conspiracy which transcends race and religion. With only a radical tele-atheist to help her, Penny decides to shut down Joe's activities, placing her own life in grave danger in the process.

CAUTION: 'Joe is Online' contains very strong language and adult themes which some people might find disturbing. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
This was a hard book for me to get into, as there were so many characters to keep track of. Seem to be having a problem with multi-character novels lately. I liked that it was told through emails, online chats, and web diaries, which made sense since Joe's powerbase was online. Too many characters for my taste though, and I admit that I got lost a few times and mixed them up.

Didn't really get to know Joe or understand why he did what he did. I guessed, but who knows if I guessed correctly? I wanted to sympathize with him as his upbringing wasn't the best, but other people have survived worse and gone on to lead productive lives. Joe is full of anger and seems to find nothing wrong with unleashing online attacks that eventually spill out into the "real" world. Don't think Joe is in the running for any Good Neighbor Awards!  *L*

Certain parts of the story were a little on the slow side for me and I found myself skimming some chapters, such as the emails from Joe to his followers and Penny's lecture notes. I'm easily bored and not a big fan of conspiracy theories or mysteries. But other chapters kept the story interesting enough that I wanted to find out what happened next! And I really liked how the author mixed things up and presented the chapters in different formats. So you'd have an email followed by a web diary entry followed by an online chat followed by a website post. Thought this was original, and a cool way to advance the story!

Think that this one would appeal to mystery fans or conspiracy theorists, as the author makes a pretty good case for online attacks. During certain parts of the story, I found myself wondering how no one has already done some of these things. Scary stuff! Don't think this one was really for me, but others would enjoy the story. You can check out the reviews on Goodreads here for another viewpoint.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Should I cheat on Hektor?

This is Hektor, my adored nook (sorry for the glare, but Hektor doesn't photograph well). I resisted his charms for a long time, then spent a little time with him and fell in love. Had a slow start to our relationship, then things picked up (with netGalley playing an important role). With such easy access to eARCs, Hektor and I became closer than ever. I even bought him a couple of different covers, so he would always look his best!

He's become my constant companion when traveling, and I now pack a second battery as back-up so we can spend more time together on the road (or in the air). I don't really need the bells and whistles of a NOOK Color or an iPad. I prefer his e-ink screen, which is easier on the eyes. And I want him for reading, not to play Angry Birds or check my email. I bought an eReader, and that's all I want.

Alas, there is a whiff of trouble in paradise. As much as I love Hektor, I've started flirting with another....

Yes, I'm attracted to Hektor's younger brother, nook the Simple Touch Reader. While it has the same e-ink technology as Hektor, it's all on one touch screen instead of having separate reading and touch panels. Incredibly lightweight, both devices have the same size screens. I know, because I measured (size does matter!).

The Simple Touch is faster, the battery lasts longer, and it's supposed to provide a more pleasurable reading experience. Seems to be made of sturdier stuff as well (younger men often are). So now I'm torn.... Do I stay with my first love, or move on to the new & improved model? Original classic vs younger, faster, longer lasting & more pleasurable (why does this sound slightly dirty)?

And if I do decide to bring him home, do I have to name him Paris? Hektor's younger brother? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


Barnes & Noble has upped the ante! Just found out that if I bring Hektor into a store and take little brother home with me, they'll throw in a SD card with free books! So very, very tempted now....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In My Mailbox (80)

In My Mailbox (80)
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:

Double Cross by Carolyn Crane
Received a eBook review copy of Double Cross by Carolyn Crane from Untreed Reads. Loved the first book, so looking forward to seeing what's up with Justine!

Justine Jones lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she was lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard, who gifts her with extraordinary mental powers - dooming her to fight Midcity’s shadowy war on paranormal crime in order to find the peace she so desperately craves.

And Jacki, Of Course by Amy Gerstin Coombs
Received an eBook of And Jacki, Of Course by Amy Gerstin Coombs for review from Untreed Reads.

Nora's grandchild is due to be born any minute. The occasion is marred by her son's mother-in-law, who never accepted Nora's partner, Jacki, as his other parent. Jacki tells Nora to stop dwelling in the past and dismisses her fears for the future. Can Nora forgive and forget? Should she? What will a mother do to hold onto her family? A short story from their Nibs short story line.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone has gotten in their mailboxes this week! And yea for Canadians finally getting their mail service back! I felt your pain, as I would go nuts without mail for that long!