Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge #3 - Pages (done)

Charlotte over at Charlotte's Library is hosting a Make Some Pages Mini-Challenge, explaining how to create themed pages on your blog. I already have a page for all of my reviews, alphabetical by book title. Also have a page for my current challenge progress. After seeing all of the great pages Charlotte has, I was inspired to try something a little different! But what should I do?

*inspiration strikes*

With BEA coming up in a few months, I gathered all of my old posts together and created a My BEA page. I know I love reading anything and everything about BEA, so hope someone gets a kick out of my experiences. 

I'm thinking about have a separate page for each of my challenges, where I can track my progress instead of cluttering up my sidebars. And I may be doing an About Me page, as there seems to be some interest. If nothing else, I can explain my blog name (there is no Alexia). Still mulling that one over, but I'm pleased with my new theme page!

Any other suggestions for themed pages? I've gotten so many great ideas this weekend, and I'm always open to new suggestions! 

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge #2 - Pinterest (done)

Have finished my first mini-challenge and completed a few of my smaller goals, so time to move on to my next challenge! Like several of you, I signed up for Pinterest when it first came out. Don't go there much anymore and don't really understand what exactly it's for, so thought the Pinterest Mini-Challenge hosted by Joy's Book Blog would be a great way to figure things out!

This mini-challenge explains how to sign up and use Pinterest for, among other things, promotion of your blog. Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where people pin interesting pictures they have seen around the web. Aside from being a fun, visual way to collect images and ideas, Pinterest is proving to be an excellent way to market websites!

Are you on Pinterest? If you like, you can check out my boards at Alexia561. Hopefully, by the end of this challenge, they will be awesome!

Wish me luck!

UPDATE - Done! I added a "Follow Me On Pinterest" button on the right sidebar, pinned several helpful posts to help me utilize Pinterest in the future, and created a few boards to promote my blog. Also pinned all of my 2012 book reviews. Think I'm off to a good start with Pinterest!

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge #1 - Comments (done)

Time for my first mini-challenge, How To Build Readers for your Blog Through Commenting, hosted by the lovely Sheila at Book Journey!

For this challenge:
  1. Comment on at least 20 blogs during Bloggiesta
  2.  Let Sheila know one thing that you are hoping to learn or accomplish during Bloggiesta
I think I can do that, plus I always find awesome new blogs during Bloggiesta, so it's a win-win! I'll come back and update this post once I've done my twenty!

UPDATE - Done! Was easier than expected and I found several fun, new blogs along the way! Of course, my to-do list grows with every new blog I visit! Oh well.....lots of good ideas out there! :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

It's Bloggiesta Time!

Happy Bloggiesta!

Can you believe that it's Bloggiesta time already? Time flies, doesn't it? Bloggiesta is where we all get together to work on our blogs, have fun with mini-challenges, and share helpful hints and tips to make our blogs shine! It's hosted this year by Suey at It's All About Books!  and Danielle at There's A Book

So to get the party started, here's what I want to accomplish this weekend:

  1. Update my reviews on Amazon,, and Goodreads
  2. Clean up my sidebars
  3. Change my blog design
  4. Get my non-book blog up and running
  5. Participate in mini-challenges
  6. Catch up on my reviews

I had several other things that I wanted to do for my blog this weekend, but plans changed and I found out I need to go out of town next week for business, so won't be able to devote as much time to Bloggiesta as originally planned.

Are you participating this year? If so, any other goals I should consider? 

Looking forward to a great weekend of Bloggiesta fun!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Revealing Eden

Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? 

In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. 

My Thoughts:
Eden lives in a post-apocalyptic world, where her light skin makes her vulnerable to sunlight and it's harmful radiation. In this world, the darker you are, the safer you are. 

Eden is a blue-eyed blond, which makes her undesirable in this new world. Called "Pearls", Eden and others like her cover themselves with a coating of Midnight Luster, to hide their white skin and light hair and eyes. If they don't, they risk dying from a condition called The Heat. Not 100% sure what that is, but that's what killed Eden's mother and it sounded painful.

Eden's father is a brilliant scientist who is on the verge of a major discovery. Eden unwittingly jeopardizes his experiment and they have to live with the consequences. 

I found myself losing patience with Eden at times, as she sometimes acted a little self-centered and childish. Had to keep reminding myself that she was a teenager, who grew up in a society that treated her as a second-class citizen. She actually behaved like a teenager, not the usual supergirl of YA fiction. I grew to really like Eden because of this!

Just have to mention the cover of this one, as normally I ignore covers since they have little or nothing to do with the story (how many times has the cover model had the wrong color hair? hmm?). At first, I thought the girl's face was half in shadow, but after reading the book, I realize that this is what Eden looks like both with and without the Midnight Luster coating! Brilliant! A cover that actually has something to do with the story! Even the big cat behind her makes sense! Kudos to the cover artist!

Gave this one a 4/5 as I really enjoyed the story. Had interesting characters, was well-written, and I even liked the characters who weren't all that likable and who annoyed me. Looking forward to the sequel, as I want to see what happens next for Eden and her new friends!

Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (and a special thanks to Shellie at Layers of Thought, for spreading the book love!)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In My Mailbox (108)

In My Mailbox (108)
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:
I've worked with Untreed Reads before and have always enjoyed their books, so couldn't pass up a chance to read an anthology based on the old Grimm fairy tales! Love fairy tale mashups, and this looks like a winner!

Grimm Tales edited by John Kenyon
edited by John Kenyon

GRIMM TALES is a collection of stories by some of the top names in online crime fiction, all based on classic fairy tales. As novelist Ken Bruen writes in his introduction, "Ever imagined what would have come down the dark pike if The Brothers Grimm were more Brothers Coen and wrote mystery?"

Really enjoy short stories (if they're done well) and Untreed Reads knows how to do them right! This one sounded too intriguing to pass up!

Supreme Reflections by Joe Pfeffer
Supreme Reflections by Joe Pfeffer

A young writer travels to Mexico for inspiration, where he meets an elderly American couple with a colorful history. He has no idea how colorful until the wife excuses herself and her husband tells the writer a shocking secret about his wife. But is it true? Supreme Reflections is a short story of how people replace the real world with fantasy, then spend their lives trying to make their fantasies real.

I love the Eve Dallas series and read them almost as soon as they come out! Downloaded this one at lunch one day and have already finished it! Another great Dallas/Roarke story!

Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb
by J.D. Robb

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no party girl, but she’s managing to have a reasonably good time at the celebrity-packed bash celebrating The Icove Agenda, a film based on one of her famous cases. It’s a little spooky seeing the actress playing her, who looks almost like her long-lost twin. Not as unsettling, though, as seeing the actress who plays Peabody - drowned in the lap pool on the roof of the director’s luxury building.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?
Leave me a link and I'll stop by to drool over your new goodies!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning Book Giveaway Hop

It's time for some Spring Cleaning!

March 20th is the first day of spring, the perfect time to remedy an overflowing bookshelf! I have three options for you, as my shelves are fuller than full and I'm tired of tripping over stacks of books on the floor! Have two sets of anthologies and one set of full length novels (titles linked to Goodreads).

Set #1 
Dates From Hell
Holidays Are Hell
Weddings From Hell

Set #2 
Dead of Night
Mysteria Lane

Set #3
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
Thunderbird Falls by C.E. Murphy

There will be three winners, so pick your favorite!

US shipping addresses only
Must be 13 or older to enter
Winners will be chosen by
Giveaway will close March 25, 2012 at 11:59PM EST

Be sure to check out the rest of the hop participants!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Book Review: and she was

by Alison Gaylin

On a summer afternoon in 1998, six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a barbecue in her small suburban town . . . and vanished.

Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector has a rare neurological disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life. A blessing and a curse, it began in childhood, when her older sister stepped into a strange car never to be seen again, and it’s proven invaluable in her work. But it hasn’t helped her solve the mystery that haunts her above all others - and it didn’t lead her to little Iris. When a local woman, Carol Wentz, disappears eleven years later, Brenna uncovers bizarre connections between the missing woman, the long-gone little girl . . . and herself. (book blurb)

My Thoughts:
The book blurb reminded me of the TV show Unforgettable, where Detective Carrie Wells remembers everything she sees. In fact, that's one of the reasons I wanted to read this one! Brenna Spector is a little like Carrie, only her memories don't seem to be as controlled and she can sometimes drift away into the past. While fascinating, this ability also sounds like an incredible burden. Some things are better left to hazy recollections, softened by time.

Brenna is an investigator who specializes in missing persons. While I kept comparing her to Carrie Wells at first, she soon became her own person. She seemed more vulnerable than Carrie, maybe because she had less control over her memory? While reading, I wasn't sure if I liked Brenna or not, but wound up liking her by the end and wanting to learn more about her and her life!

The mystery itself is rather strange. Carol Wentz blames herself for the disappearance of a little girl eleven years ago and has been obsessing about it ever since. That didn't ring true for me, as it wasn't really Carol's fault and I didn't believe that she would do some of the things she did. Then Carol disappears, and her wallet is found in the missing girl's old house. Curiouser and curiouser....

Found myself more interested in Brenna, her struggles with living with her Super Memory, and how it affected both her personal and professional life than in Carol's disappearance. I didn't really like Carol, Carol's husband, or any of the other characters involved in the disappearance and just wanted to get back to Brenna. Because of that, I gave this one a 3/5 as while I liked it, the main plot kept getting in the way! Really liked the main character, but didn't care about the mystery. Does that make sense?

ARC received via the Amazon Vine Program

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Choose my next read (2)

Between my teetering pile of TBR books and the fact that I'm running out of room on my bookcases, it's time for some drastic measures! So have decided to ask for your help in choosing which book to read next, then I'll give the book to one of the participants once I've finished reading it. 

My March Read:

The Night Circus was chosen by an overwhelming 50% majority! chose the winner, and I've sent Melissa an email confirmation so I can ship her the book once I'm done. And now if you could help me choose my April read?

US shipping addresses only
Must be 13 or older to enter
Book recipient will be chosen by
Survey will close March 31, 2012 at 11:59PM EST

Thanks for helping me out!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In My Mailbox (107)

In My Mailbox (107)
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:
Really enjoyed Fat Vampire, so wanted to give Cold Cereal a try. Adam Rex has a strange sense of humor, and I like that in an author!

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex
Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

Cold Cereal Facts: 
Serving size 1 
chapter Number of servings 40
Primary human characters 3

I know, I know, I broke my book buying ban again.... But I love this series and absolutely couldn't wait to read what happens next with Anna and Charles! They're one of my favorite urban fantasy couples, and if you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for???

Fair Game  by Patricia Briggs
by Patricia Briggs

Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Devil's Luck

Devil's Luck by Carolyn Crane

No wager is too outrageous for Simon Fitzgerald, the most reckless of the Disillusionists. 

Fawna Brady is tormented by the destinies she sees for those around her. To Fawna, knowledge of the future is a cage she’d do anything to escape.

Simon’s defiant attitude toward destiny captivates Fawna, but will her love destroy him? And will Simon rush headlong into the delicious doom she offers?

My Thoughts:
Really enjoying The Disillusionists series, and this short story is a welcome addition! It's about Simon and Fawna, both awesome characters mentioned all too briefly in the other books. I always wondered about Simon's background, and am pleased with the details Carolyn provides. And Fawna! Would love to see more of her in the future!

Simon thumbs his nose at fate and doesn't want anything to do with Fawna's ability to see into the future. His total refusal to let destiny have any impact on his life fascinates Fawna, and proves oddly irresistible. Used to feeling trapped by her gift, Fawna can't resist the taste of freedom that being with Simon provides.

The thing that really struck me about this story was their passion. No, not that...I mean their passion for living! They seemed to be having so much fun that I wanted to jump in and join them! Simon's recklessness seems appealing rather than foolishly dangerous, and I loved watching Fawna throw caution to the wind!

This was a fast read that totally left me wanting more! Loved the characters, it had a fast-paced plot that benefited from Carolyn's talented writing. Definitely recommend this series to anyone who's looking for something a little different than your usual urban fantasy read!

ebook provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bloggiesta 2012

It's Bloggiesta time again! I've learned so much from these events in the past, so was excited to find out that Suey at It's All About Books has taken over hosting duties from Natasha! This is a fun way to polish your blog, learn new tips and tricks, and make new blogging buddies!

If you decide to participate, here's what you can expect:
  • to spend time that weekend (as much or as little as your schedule allows) working on your blog
  • to create a to do list to share on your blog and link up with other participants
  • to hopefully participant in several mini challenges and learn something new
  • to connect with other participants through blog hopping or twitter
  • to make new blogging friends!
  • to come away at the end of the three days with a spiffed up blog!
It's March 30-April 1st this year. For more details and to sign up, check out Suey's post here.

Hope you can join us! Now where did I put those maracas....

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gone Reading International - Coupon offer!

I was recently contacted by a philanthropic startup, Gone Reading International, which markets a line of products for book lovers and readers. They donate 100% of the after-tax profits to fund new libraries in the developing world. Their mission statement says that they want to spread the magic of reading, which I think is a great and noble cause!

fun bookmark!

In order to spread the word about their mission and to bring reader's attention to their newest products, the founder has very generously offered a 25% coupon for you, my readers! They carry bookmarks, book journals, book lights, and there are even a few bookish games! The pink Gone Reading picture above is from one of their t-shirts, which I love!

another fun t-shirt design!

So please stop by their website and check out their full range of products just for us, the book lover! I've got my eye on a few bookmarks and shirts, so will have no trouble taking advantage of this coupon! And it's for a good cause, so it's a win-win!

Coupon ALEXIAS25
valid for 25% off all purchases (excluding bookends)
coupon expires April 1,2012


Saturday, March 3, 2012

In My Mailbox (106)

In My Mailbox (106)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Sadly, my new book ban is not doing well, as I keep being tempted by awesome titles! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Love Julie's Iron Fey series, so jumped at the chance to review her newest vampire series! Sounds like another good one! Thank you Media Masters Publicity!

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa 

You will kill. The only question is when.

Love Carolyn's Disillusionist series, so very happy to receive an eBook short story about Simon as a subscriber of Carolyn's newsletter! Sounds awesome, just like Simon!

Devil's Luck by Caroline Crane
Devil's Luck by Caroline Crane

There's a thin line between love and doom.

This one sounded too good to pass up, so couldn't resist this offer from PTA Reviewer Rewards! Set up like a magazine, complete with ads, I can't wait to read this unique book! 

Dating the Undead

They're drop-dead handsome -  and we're not kidding!
Welcome to the first and only guide devoted to loving the immortal man in all of his furry, feathery, fiery glory. Here is a forbidden-fruit salad of features, fiction, fashion, and more....

What did you receive in your mailbox?
Leave me a link and I'll swing by to check it out!