Monday

Manic Monday Recaps (Week 1/31/11)

Hello friends!  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  I sure did.  I spent quality time with my family and the rest of my time I spent cleaning and picking up after everyone.  What can I say, the weekends are when I read the least.   C'est la vie.

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Last week I read the following:
- Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
- Vesper by Jeff Sampson
- Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier
- These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

I reviewed the following:
- Beauty's Punishment by A.N. Roquelaure [review
- Timeless by Alexandra Monir [review]

Have a great week friends.  Happy Reading!

Thursday

Timeless by Alexandra Monir


Title: Timeless
Author: Alexandra Monir
Pages: 288
Genre: YA/ Fantasy
Source: Different Area Codes ARC Tours

I absolutely loved the premise to this book!  When tragedy strikes, Michele has to leave the life she's always known behind to move across the country to live with her unknown, wealthy grandparents in their opulent manor.  There she discovers a diary that takes her back in time to the year 1910 and the boy with the striking blue eyes that haunts her dreams. 

Michele, as well as the other characters in Timeless, were very likeable and charming. I loved the descriptions of present day New York to that of the earlier 1900's.  Ms. Monir had to have done her research because she captures each time frame - whether it be the 1910's, 1940's or even present day, perfectly.  The culture, the landmarks, the references.. it was all there. The romance between Michele and Philip (the blue-eyed dream boy) was one that transcended time.  It did feel a bit rushed, but I understood why they felt as if they'd always known each other.  I also really loved the song lyrics that were scattered throughout the chapters.  They flowed so well with the story.  I could hear the songs in my head as I read them - they truly enhanced the story. 

As always, the only (slight) problem that I have with time traveling novels - I can never get the time frame right.  I have a hard time adjusting to the quick changes of time and therefore confusion ensues.  At least that is the case with me.  Although I didn't suffer too much of this while reading Timeless, there was a time or two where I had a hard time getting back in the proper mindset - according to the year Michele found herself in. Aside from that small challenge, I have no other complaints about this lovely story. Well... I also didn't like that cliffhanger ending - but I'll remedy that once the sequel is released.

A lovely story riddled with romance, time travel and magic.  Unforgettable.

My Rating:

Wednesday

GIVEAWAY: How Sweet It Is

Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that no white knight was coming to save her. A hardworking waitress at the local diner, she's raising her daughter to be like the independent women in her "Enemy Club"—high school rivals turned best friends, promising to always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but!

Yet part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man's help, just for small stuff, like fixing up the house. Her fairy godmother must have been listening, because Dante "Tay" Giovanni soon appears. He's sexy, kind, and offering assistance—no strings attached.

Slowly, steadily, Lizzie's heart opens. But the grip of the past is fierce, and nothing in life is ever really free. Tay has his own tragedies to overcome, but if he can, he'll fix more than Lizzie's home. He'll show her just how sweet it is to be loved by him.


GIVEAWAY: I have 3 copies up for grabs thanks to the folks at HBG.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.); and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: Books will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada and no P.O. Boxes please.  If you are international and would like to enter, please make sure you have someone in the US or Canada willing to receive the books for you. Winners will be drawn Saturday, February 12.

GIVEAWAY: How to Marry a Duke

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary--nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met...

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife--she'll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.


GIVEAWAY: I have 3 copies up for grabs thanks to the folks at HBG.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.); and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: Books will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada and no P.O. Boxes please.  If you are international and would like to enter, please make sure you have someone in the US or Canada willing to receive the books for you. Winners will be drawn Saturday, February 12.

GIVEAWAY: Kat, Incorrigible

Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society--if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother. She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings--saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles--find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!


GIVEAWAY:  I have 1 ARC up for grabs! 

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, my spiffy All About {n} button, etc.) Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open internationally! Winner will be drawn Saturday, February 19

Tuesday

Bookase of the Week - Starring... Rebecca Rasmussen

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In today's Bookcase of the Week feature, it is with great pleasure that I bring you author Rebecca Rasmussen's bookshelves. I originally met Rebecca on Twitter and have since then become pretty much one of her stalkers since I now follow her via Twitter, Facebook and her blog.   She has an upcoming novel titled The Bird Sisters that I can't wait to get my grubby 'lil hands on.  Rebecca agreed to participate and show us her bookshelves, so without further ado, here is what she had to say:

This is the bamboo eco-friendly desk where the writing magic is supposed to happen. I have it all set up with a handful of my favorite things: birds, flowers, jade plant, picture of my momma rubbing my shoulders after a track meet in high school, my beautiful Macbook, and a paperweight from a dear friend. The reality is that I actually get more writing done at the coffee shop on the corner of North & South Street and Delmar in St. Louis. Probably the main reason for this is my lovely four year old daughter. Even now, she is tugging on my arm (in the cutest way possible!) singing, "Raindrops on rose and whiskers on kittens."
This next picture and all of its abundance makes my husband crazy. His motto: "Don't you think it's a little unreasonable, Rebecca? It's pretty hard to dust the leaning tower of Pisa." My motto: "If it doesn't tip over, it's not too high." This little nightstand I've had since college has more than paid for itself in terms of the heavy load its had to carry over the years. This is the place where my most beloved books go. I have been having great reading fortune lately, so the pile is growing taller and taller. One day it will fall, and then I will have to find a new system. Right now, though, it is glorious! (p.s. That dear friend who gave me my bird paperweight also has a book in the Pisa pile!)
Last but not least, the first runner up in places to hold books: the trusty old bookshelf in the living room! It's short and sweet and is overstuffed just like everything else books-wise in our house. But I love it for two reasons: 1.) Because my grandmother bought this shelf for me and she, along with her family history, are the whole reason I wrote my first novel and 2.) it's right by the door and manages to hold not only books, but also keys, hats, mittens, rubber bands, candles, a once in a while sock or two, and maybe even a cup of my favorite jasmine pearl tea if I am hurrying out the door.
Thank you, Nely, for having me on Bookcase of the Week. I am a starstruck fan of yours, so this has been really special for me! xoxo Rebecca.



Tell me Rebecca is not the sweetest thing evah.   She is always so sweet, friendly and always has an encouraging word.   I'm sure many of you know her already, but for those of you who don't please visit her at her website, blog and twitter.

Oh, and did I mention that she has a book coming out in a couple of months?  Well, she does.  The Bird Sisters is scheduled to release April 2011 so make sure to mark your calendar and order yourself a copy. 


Monday

Oh Gosh! I did it again!

Sorry guys... it seems like I totally forgot to pick winners for some of my December giveaways. I blame it on my shameless laziness.  I haven't posted giveaways this month and I'm finally getting ready to so and then I noticed my outstanding giveaways... ma bad!  So here goes:

Unbearable Lightness 

The Dressmaker

Steamy Reads for Stormy Nights Giveaway

Vixen

Wither

Winners were chosen using randomizer.org. I will be sending out e-mails within the next couple of minutes, so be on the look out for it. You have until Friday to get back to me, if I haven't heard from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.

Sorry about the confusion friends.  I promise more giveaways will be up this week!

Beauty's Punishment by A.N. Roquelaure

Title:  Beauty's Punishment
Author: A.N. Roquelaure
Pages: 256
Genre: Fiction / Erotica
Source: Library

Beauty's Punishment is the sequel to The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.  The second in the trilogy and just as full of bondage and kink as the first.  

It has been almost a year since I read The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and I figured, why not read the next in the series.  I can't really say I loved the first but I was intrigued in finding out where our poor innocent Beauty's adventure would take her.  

**Some spoilers**  
We know at the end of the first book, Beauty finally grew a back bone stands up to the Prince and ends up being banished and carted off to the village along with rebel Prince Tristan.  A much worse fate than being spanked, tied up, and being the sexual playthings of the royals... now they'll be done all that and more but by the working class citizens in the village.  They'll have to endure labor at the hands of new masters/mistresses and enjoy none of the pampering they received in the castle.

**Spoiler free**
Here we have alternating chapters between Beauty and Tristan.  Beauty almost felt like a secondary character in this one - since Tristan's chapters were a lot more graphic and intense than hers.  Since I already knew what to expect, I wasn't surprised by the BDSM scenes, but nevertheless I still read in a sort of repulsed/fascinated way.  Does that even make sense?  I'm curious to see where the story will go.  What will happen to Beauty next? 

In the end, there were some aspects of the story that I did like and I found it interesting, if somewhat disturbing.  Ms. Roquelaure/Rice really knows how to push the boundaries - she makes you feel uncomfortable and has you questioning these characters motives.  But at the same time she explains the mindset of a sex slave - why they endure their "punishments" without trying to escape. 

My final say:  refrain from reading it in public since you don't want anyone to question why you have a permanent blush on your face, not to mention the constant looking over your shoulder to make sure no one is peeking.  This is definitely not your everyday erotic novel and it is not for the faint of heart.  If you're into smut, and really, every once in a while, it doesn't hurt, then this is by far one of the smuttiest books I've read. 


My Rating:

So Many Books, So Little Time [12]

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Here are some of the books that I discovered this week scheduled for release that I cannot wait to get my hands on. I will pay, beg and maybe even stand in line somewhere to get these.

Dust & Decay
by Jonathan Maberry
Releases 2011 (I think maybe August)

Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.

Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?

In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.
I Am J
by Cris Beam
Releases 3/01/11

"Hola, Jeni."

J spun. His stomach clenched hard, as though he'd been hit. It was just the neighbor lady, Mercedes. J couldn't muster a hello back, not now; he didn't care that she'd tell his mom he'd been rude. She should know better. Nobody calls me Jeni anymore.

J always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a "real boy" and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible - from his family, from his friends...from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he's done hiding - it's time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.

An inspiring story of self-discovery, of choosing to stand up for yourself, and of finding your own path - readers will recognize a part of themselves in J's struggle to love his true self.
Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray
Releases on 5/24/11

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island. 

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.
Starcrossed
by Josephine Angelini
Releases on 5/31/11

How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

Haunting Violet
by Alyxandra Harvey
Releases on 6/21/11

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?
Dark Taste of Rapture
by Gena Showalter
Releases on 8/23/11

Beautiful Noelle Tremain has just completed AIR training and successfully navigated her first mission. Life is perfect. Until her best friend is turned into a vampire, destroying her day life, and she’s partnered with Hector Dean, destroying her nightlife. He’s the sexiest, most powerful man she’s ever met, able to atomize his arms and punch through anything – but he’s also emotionally distanced, determined to remain alone. So, to stay on top of their case, she might just have to find a way on top of him.

Oh, the naughty things a girl will do for her job . . .
Shattered Souls
by Mary Lindsey
Releases on 12/8/11


From Publishers Marketplace:

Mary Lindsey's SHATTERED SOULS, a dark and dangerous forbidden love story about a Speaker who helps lingering ghosts pass to the spirit world and the Protector who has pledged to serve her, to Jill Santopolo at Philomel, by Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World).


These are just some of the one's that I'm looking forward to. Which books are you dying to get your hands on?

Manic Monday Recaps (Week 1/24/11)

Hi friends! I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  As always, mine was too short!  But I did get the chance to go see No Strings Attached with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman and it was awesome.  Friends (played by Ashton and Natalie) are looking for a "no strings attached" relationship which they enjoy until they begin having deeper feelings for each other.  The perfect romantic comedy with witty dialogue, a great cast and some very funny laugh-out-loud moments.  Plus Ashton is so hawt!  Don't miss it.


Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Last week I read the following:
- Stay by Deb Caletti
- Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning
- The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
- Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis 

I reviewed the following:
- Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King [review]
- The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts [review]

It's still slow on my end.  But working on it.  I'm trying to challenge myself to reading one more book than the week before until I reach 6-7 books a week again.  I'm still in a slump.  ugh

Have a great week friends.  Happy Reading!

Saturday

IMM Vlog [13]



FOR REVIEW
- Demons are a Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom
- Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning
- Vesper by Jeff Sampson
- Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
- The Girl Who Was on Fire by Various Authors
- You Killed Wesley Payne

PURCHASED
- What Matters Most by LuAnne Rice
- Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Have a great weekend!

Thursday

The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts

Title: The Snow Globe
Author: Sheila Roberts
Pages: 176
Genre: Fiction / Holidays
Source: Newman Communications
On a blustery afternoon, Kylie Gray wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe.  “There’s a story behind that snow globe,” the antique dealer tells her.  The original owner, he explains, was a German toymaker who lost his wife and son right before Christmas.  When the grieving widower received the handcrafted snow globe as a Christmas gift, he saw the image of a beautiful woman beneath the glass—a woman who would come into his life, mend his broken heart and bring him back to the world of the living.  For years, the snow globe has passed from generation to generation, somehow always landing in the hands of a person in special need of a Christmas miracle.

Kiley could use a miracle herself.  This year, all she wants for Christmas is someone to love.  A hopeful shake leads her on an adventure that makes a believer out of her. When Kylie shares the story of the snow globe with her best friends—two women with problems of their own—they don’t believe it.  But they’re about to discover that at Christmastime, sometimes the impossible becomes possible and miracles really do come true. {via GoodReads]
Kiley, Suzanne and Allison are three best friends out shopping for Christmas presents when Kiley wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe.  A snow globe that has been passed down through  the years to anyone seeking a miracle.  Kiley is in need of said miracle.  She's in the slumps after recently losing her job and, even worse,  her fiancĂ© to none other than her sister.  Suzanne is not really looking for a miracle.  She has everything she needs.  The perfect home, a successful career, and a husband and daughter that are picture perfect.  Her biggest problems are finding the perfect decorator to get her home decked out for Christmas and convincing her daughter that a dog is not something their family needs.  Allison finds herself alone for the holidays.  She feels that her family is too crazy and rambunctious for her and the only person that she could really relate to, her grandmother, recently passed away.  Three women... a snowglobe and the possibility of finding just what they need this holiday season.

The Snow Globe almost reads as three short stories with a few common threads.  Although the girls share their friendship and, of course, the snow globe, they each have their own story to tell. 
I always expect magic and miracles throughout the holidays and that is exactly what you'll find in this little book.  Although I would have liked to get to know the girls some more, I still enjoyed their heartwarming tales.  This is the perfect book to cuddle up with, grab a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa and you are set.  

If you're looking for a quick, light holiday read (that can truly be read any time of the year) this is a great choice. It's also perfect, since it's only 176 pages long, to fit in between the wrapping, cooking, decorating and shopping.  

My Rating:

Wednesday

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Author: Stephen King
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction / Horror
Source: Purchased

As someone who has read Stephen King since her Junior High School days, I might be a bit biased on my reviews of his books.  For some reason, I especially enjoy his short story/novella compilation books.  Which is a big deal, considering I don't normally "do" short stories.  But Mr. King expertly finds a way of getting the full gist of his story even if he is confined to a small word count.

Full Dark, No Stars consists of four stories.  They are dark, strong, terrorizing, graphic (really graphic, at times), scary... well exactly what you would expect from Stephen King, I would think.

1922 - Reads like "classic" Stephen King.  It has an old world feel to it... this might be since it's set in the early 20's, in an isolated farmhouse in Nebraska.  Wilfred James is making a confession as to the murder of his wife, Arlette, and how the consequences of his actions and ensuing guilt changed his life and that of his young son (who he manipulated into helping with the murder).  A very creepy story full of creaking floor boards and rats, lots and lots of rats.

Big Driver - Features Tess, an author who after giving a reading and signing at a local bookstore decides to take a shortcut home when a flat tire causes an unexpected delay. After being raped, beaten and left for dead, she manages to escape but decides to take matters into her own hands.  A tale of vengeance... my favorite.  I find these types of stories much more sinister and scary since they are the stories we hear of in the news. Tess didn't want the backlash of reporting to the police the crimes committed against her so she decides to seek her own justice.  With a few unexpected twists, I was at the edge of my seat reading this one. 

Fair Extension -  This one held the most WOW for me - it was also the shortest in the group.  It is the simple story of  Dave Streeter who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  On a random meeting with a stranger he is offered a "fair extension" in life - at least for the next 15 years.  The only draw back, he has to choose someone else to get the short end of the stick... or his misfortune.  I loved the way that this story was told.  It was stark, blunt and told in a voice that I found to be bitingly cold.  I almost didn't want this one to finish.        

A Good Marriage - or is it?  Darcy and Bob have been together for 25 years.  They live in a lovely home, empty-nesters now, since their children have left home in pursuit of their own goals. They are comfortable with one another, they rarely disagree and know and understand each other perfectly.  Things might be a bit dull now but otherwise they are content with the lives they've shared.  At least Darcy feels this way, until she discovers a horrifying secret that her husband has been keeping.   This story gave me chills.... to think you know someone only to find out that they are a complete stranger.  Goosebump-inducing!

This may very well be my favorite Stephen King book.  Mr. King's focus on everyday topics - whether it be the consequences of a bad decision, getting a flat tire on a remote street, being jealous of a friend's good luck or the discovery a spouse's dark secret - made this a much more horrifying read then ones with paranormal aspects.  Each story was amazing - the plot and characters were very well done in such short stories.  I was fully gripped within each of the four worlds depicted - I was haunted along with Wilfred, abused along with Tess, seduced by greed along with Dave and disgusted and shocked in Bob along with Darcy.  These are ordinary people meeting extraordinary circumstances - yet they were believable. 

If you're looking for a good scare, this is the book for you.  If you're a long time fan of Stephen King - well, don't hold off on reading this one - he is at the top of his game here.  And, if you've never read Mr. King then this is the perfect book for you to start on.


My Rating:

Manic Monday Recaps (on Wednesday)

Hi friends!  Well it seems that with a hectic Monday off from work (which I used to clean house from top to bottom and organize bookshelves and kids' rooms) I never got around to posting last week's recap post.  Then to top it off, I had a busy day here at work yesterday so I never got around to reviewing anything, etc.  I suck!  So without further ado:

Here's what I plan on reading this week: (or whatever's left of it)

Last week I read the following:
- Switched by Amanda Hocking
- The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
- The Poison Eaters by Holly Black
 
I reviewed the following:
- Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton [review]
- Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky [review]
- Unearthly by Cynthia Hand [review]
- The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa [review]
- Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell [review]

I've started off at a slow pace this year reading only 3-4 books a year.  I've been lazy.  I'll have to work on that. lol

Have a great week friends.  Happy Reading!

Tuesday

Bookcase of the Week - Starring... Tynga of Tynga's Reviews

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On this week's Bookcase of the Week it is with great pleasure that I bring you Tynga of Tynga's Reviews bookcases.  I've been following Tynga for quite some time now - her blog is full of all sorts of paranormal and urban fantasy yummy-ness.  I asked Tynga a few weeks back to participate in the feature and she got back to me saying that she would like to give us a virtual tour of her bookcases.  Needless to say I'm all for unique and creative bookcase tours - so I was definitely all for it.  Here is what Tynga sent us:


Tynga, I loved the tour!  I can't believe you even took us to work one day - haha.  Very unique and original idea.  I was very impressed by your TBR pile.  It's just like mine - since I now have a complete bookcase dedicated to the many, many books I have to read.  Thank you so much for playing along and bringing us inside your home.  Good luck on your upcoming nuptials!  This must be a very exciting time for you. 

For those of you who haven't passed on through to Tynga's yet, please visit her here (tell her I say HI!)

Sunday

So Many Books, So Little Time [11]

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Here are some of the books that I discovered this week scheduled for release that I cannot wait to get my hands on. I will pay, beg and maybe even stand in line somewhere to get these.

Evenfall 
by Liz Michalski
Releases on 2/01/11

In life, Frank could've had any woman he wanted.

In death, he'll try to win back the one that mattered...

Frank Wildermuth always regretted a mistake he made as a teenager: choosing Clara Murphy over her sister Gert. And like a true Murphy woman, Gert got on with her life, never admitting to heartbreak. Not even now, decades later, with Frank dead-dead, that is, but not quite gone. Now, Frank's niece, Andie Murphy, is back in town to settle his estate, and she sees that things have changed in Hartman, Connecticut. Aunt Gert still drives her crazy, but Cort, the wide-eyed farmboy she used to babysit, is all grown up-with a whole new definition for the word "sleepover." Even freakier are the whispers. Either Andie's losing her mind, or something she can't see is calling out to her-something that insists on putting right the past.
Miles from Ordinary
by Carol Lynch Williams
Releases 3/15/11

Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control.... 

“No one can get inside the head and heart of a 13-year-old girl better than Carol Lynch Williams, and I mean no one," said James S. Jacobs, Professor of Children's Literature at Brigham Young University, of her breakout novel, The Chosen One. Now this award-winning YA author brings us an equally gripping story of a girl who loves her mother, but must face the truth of what life with that mother means for both of them.
The Peach Keeper
by Sarah Addison Allen
Releases on 3/22/11

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.
Lover Unleashed
by J.R. Ward
Releases on 3/29/11

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself--only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can--but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?
Dead Reckoning
by Charlaine Harris
Releases on 5/03/11

"With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit - and the twisted motive for the attack. But her attention is divided. Though she can't 'read' vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his 'child' Pam well - and she realises that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot -which is much more complicated than she knows. Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human - and that there is a new Queen on the board . . . "
Imaginary Girls
by Nova Ren Suma 
Releases on 6/14/11

Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home two years later, a precarious and deadly balance waits. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Imaginary Girls is a masterfully distorted vision of family reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, laced with twists that beg for their secrets to be kept.
These are just some of the one's that I'm looking forward to. Which books are you dying to get your hands on?

Saturday

IMM Vlog [12]



PURCHASED
- The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
- Torn by Amanda Hocking
- The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
-A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
- Tangled (The Junior Novelization)
 
GIFTED
- You Dropped a Blonde on Me by Dakota Cassidy
 
FOR REVIEW
- The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
- These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
- The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
- The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor
- The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
- Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
- Angry Young Man by Chris Lynch
- The Poison Eaters by Holly Black 
- Stay by Deb Caletti
- Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

Have a great weekend!

Friday

Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

Author: Hilari Bell
Pages:288
Genre: YA/ Dystopian
In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obsessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.

The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but  human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.

Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet. [via GoodReads]
I really liked the premise of this book - it's a dystopian with paranormal elements - which I found very unique and what actually seduced me into wanting to read it.  But sadly I had a hard time getting into the story.  For me, it started off really slow and I kept having a hard time picking it back up if I needed to stop reading for whatever reason.  While I did find Kelsa and Raven's journey to be interesting as well as learning about why the Earth is slowly dying, I still had a hard time connecting with the characters.  Some of the situations and reactions just didn't feel credible or relateable enough for me to actually feel any type of connection with them.  The interaction between Kelsa and Raven felt forced and while I do enjoy books where the main protagonists are not involved romantically, the lack of romance left the friendship feeling stiff.  I also had a hard time with the authors take on global warming and going green.  While I'm all for going green and saving the planet, I think her message was a bit repetitive, even preachy at times. 

I always finish a book no matter how much I have to struggle through it, but sadly, I really had to put effort into finishing this one.   I've read various other reviews to see how other fellow bloggers/readers are feeling about Trickster's Girl and I see a lot of mixed reviews.  So my final word would be enter at your own risk... you might just be one of the readers who loves it.  

My Rating:

Thursday

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Author: Julie Kagawa
Pages: 368
Genre: YA/ Paranormal
Source: NetGalley

**May contain spoilers for those who have not read previous books**  [Shame on you!! What are you waiting for?]

In the Iron Queen we find Meghan contemplating returning back home to her mother, stepfather and little brother.  She dreams of returning to her normal life and away from the dangers of the Never Never.  She has even gotten as close as her front door, but she knows she can't stay for long, not without putting her family at risk.  Instead, she and Ash are swept back to Faery and the imminent threat of the Iron King.  The NeverNever is suffering gravely and the Winter and Summer Courts have formed a delicate alliance with one common goal in mind... the destruction of the Iron King.  Luckily Meghan has done a lot of growing up since the first book in the series.  She understands the role she plays in the bigger scheme of it all and is not reluctant in taking charge.

Wow, Wow Wow!  I keep reading the word EPIC in reviews and I must admit that the word EPIC really does fit in decribing the awesomeness that is The Iron Fey series.  It may very well be one of my favorite YA series.  Ms. Kagawa surpasses my expectations with every book she writes.  I can honestly say that I have no complaints (not one!) about this series.  In each and every book you fall even more in love with her characters, her world building, the action gets more intense and the romance gets more provocative.  

Meghan has shown so much growth throughout the story.  In The Iron Queen you can't help but feel proud of who she's become.  She's brave, smart and tough. She sees a challenge and she takes it by the reins.  The girl has some serious guts.  With the help of her loyal friends:  Grimalkin (who always comes through when they're in a pinch), her bitter yet always the BFF Puck, Ash (her Knight in shining armor), and some new friends they make along the way, they will set out to save the NeverNever.  I also want to make note (and this is the pure FanGirl in me) Ash was phenomenal in this book.  His icy cold demeanor from the previous books has warmed up and he's all-melty and yummy throughout this book.  The love between him and Meghan is downright sigh-worthy. 
 
In the end, I laughed, I cried, I stayed up late into the night reading it and when I finished it , I opened the first page and re-read it again.  I really can't gush about it any more than I have.  This is definitely a winner.


My Rating:
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