Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Adding to the Stacks #2

I'm feeling like I might be smushed beneath all the great books I've gotten lately. These are from last week.  Very close to finishing Follow Me and A Little Bit Scandalous already. Go me!

e-galleys via NetGalley:


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers!) 
Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange (thanks to Bloomsbury!)
Follow Me by David Platt (thanks to Tyndale House!)
Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe (thanks to Brian Rowe!)

Print copies from publishers:

The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown (thanks Atria!)
Siege by Simon Kernick (thanks Atria!)
Margot by Jillian Cantor


The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman #1/3) by Ben H. Winters (thanks to Quirk Books!)
Countdown City (The Last Policeman #2/3) by Ben H. Winters (thanks to Quirk Books!)

e-galley from publisher for review:

A Little Bit Scandalous by Robyn DeHart (thanks to Entangled!)

Hope your haul was epic too!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

ALASKA stop on the 2013 Reading Road Trip + Giveaway

Welcome to the Alaska stop on the 2013 Reading Road Trip. Hosted by Britta at I Like These Books and Hafsah at IceyBooks, the Reading Road Trip is a fun way to learn about the different states and the books about and authors from each.

So why is the Florida girl hosting Alaska? Because if there was one state in the whole country that I'd love to visit, it is Alaska. The cold. I would love the cold!

A few facts:
  • The Capital is Juneau
  • Was purchased from Russia for approximately two cents per acre!
  • Became a state in 1959
  • 663,300 square miles
  • Has a population of 731,449
  • The current governor is Sean Parnell
In searching for facts about Alaska, I found that there are a lot of hockey players AND porn stars from that state. The hockey players I get....the porn stars because it is really cold? Just sayin'. 

Giveaway! Winner's choice of a book set in or by an author from Alaska. Open internationally to anyplace that the Book Depository ships to. One entry for stopping by. There are extra entries for those of you who follow me on Twitter and/or Bloglovin' or am my friend on Goodreads.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Last Dance by Kiki Hamilton {Blog Tour + Giveaway}

Title: The Last Dance
Author: Kiki Hamilton (website)(Twitter)
Pages: 268 pages
Source: author for blog tour (click here for the entire tour)
Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Publisher: Fair Wind Books
Rating: My heart zings~


I received a wonderful personalized and autographed copy of The Last Dance for this blog tour as well as a few bookmarks. The author's little trademark sentiment "I hope your heart zings" sums up this book for me. It is such a sweet little book.

At 256 pages, it is a fast read but it is loaded with heart. Kellen is the school's star quarterback. An injury leaves him relearning how to walk and talk. He has near perfect grades so to keep up he is assigned a tutor, Ivy Ly. Ivy is an accomplished musician on her way to an Ivy League school. Her parents are grooming her for medical school but her secret wish is to study music. Mira is Ivy's best friend and she is obsessed with Kellen.

Although I knew pretty much where this was going from the very beginning, I enjoyed the story very much. Ivy and Kellan are both quite likeable and Mira is a complete hoot. I loved that Kellan is a smart jock and not a dumb one. He does very well in school and in sports and is still loved after his accident when he thinks that he's not worth anything.

Hamilton speaks to a very real issue in sports - especially hockey and football - a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. It is a disease resulting from trauma to the brain. As a mother of two sons, I was especially interested in this condition. It is wonderful that the author has given a voice to this disease through a sweet story. It makes you think.

The secondary cast of characters were also well done. Kellan's ex-girlfriend, Laurel, is a character that I love to hate. She is a mean girl cheerleader but isn't just a cardboard cutout character. CJ, Brandon and the others are also well written and a good part of the book. 

The romance was nice and not overdone. Very believable in both progress and troubles.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to other fan's of YA contemporary. Mixing seriousness with hope and made my heart zing.

About the Author:

Kiki Hamilton is the author of THE FAERIE RING fantasy series and the YA contemporary novel, THE LAST DANCE. She believes in magic and the idea of hidden worlds co-existing with our own. Kiki lives near Seattle, though she dreams of living in London one day. Visit her website.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

ARC Envy (7)

Every week several of my favorite bloggers post vlogs or whatever of all the great book hauls they've received for the week. Since I'm a tiny little fish in the huge book blogging pond, my mailbox isn't stuffed with all the great ARCs that they get. Dana's ARC Envy is my way of highlighting an ARC that I *wish* had been sent to me too. 

Title: 3:59
AuthorGretchen McNeil (website)(Twitter)
Publisher: Harper Teen (website)(Twitter)
Expected Publication Date: September 24, 2013

Judging a book by its cover:  Oooh, creepy. Me likey.

Know anything about the author?  Have another of her books, Ten, on my wishlist too.

Why do I want it?  One word...doppelgangers.

Summary from Publisher:

Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend, Nick, has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse. Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror—Jo.

Josie and Jo are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that briefly overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's fabulous life, Josie jumps at the chance to cross through the portal and switch places for a day. But Jo's world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there's a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it's too late?

From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had—and how they just might kill you.

What ARC are you envying this week?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Little Visits at Bedtime by Dr. Mary Manz Simon

Title: Little Visits at Bedtime
Author: Dr. Mary Manz Simon
Pages: 224
Publication Date: July 20, 2012
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House (website)(Twitter)
Source: Publisher for honest review
Rating: very cute!

One of my boys' favorite things to do is unwind at night by reading stories. When I saw Little Visits at Bedtime I immediately requested it to read and review. Adding it to my new Kindle just made it even more fun for the boys. They get to "turn the pages" by hitting the screen so they are super involved in the stories.

Recommend for kids ages 3 to 7. The book contains 105 short devotional and a prayer. We don't use the prayer included because we do "prayer requests" instead but one of the tips in the book is extend the prayer to include items of importance to your particular child. 

Each day takes about 10 minutes to read the devotional and answer the included question and that is for both boys. There is always more discussion that can last as long as I'll let it. My boys can gab. 

I love that they are not dated so that if we miss a day or want to do more than one story, we can pick up where we left off. The stories are cute and are very relevant. There is a good mix of stories that I would consider more girlish and more boyish. I have changed around a bit of the story to keep it more interesting for my kids and that works well. 

So many teachable moments are in Little Visits at Bedtime. They learn about kindness and sharing and God's love for them, friendship and animals. Lots of things that they are already interested in.

I would highly recommend this to parents of little ones. If you are looking for another great, short devotional book, Little Visits at Bedtime is a great choice.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Solstice High Guest Post from author Ardash Vartparonian

If you missed my review of Ardash's book, check that out here. But today I'm turning over the blog to him. I asked him...what was your inspiration for the story? Here's his answer. Enjoy!

If I’m being honest the whole inspiration for my novel was based off of a daydream. I remember I was in History class, and we were discussing something like the USSR post-Stalin, when I looked out the window by my desk and saw a pigeon on the window-sill. My mind used to wander a lot back then, and it still does many times, but my imagination would take me to all sorts of places. I remember looking at the pigeon, at how content it was and how amazing it would be to fly, and thinking: what if suddenly, in the middle of this class-room filled with teenagers trying to take down notes on the USSR or pretend to be awake or hope to suck up to the teacher by answering some tough question, what if someone suddenly had wings bursting out of their backs?

I was a big romantic, and in my head I had this vivid, sweeping image of a boy sort of blossoming wings in the middle of the class and the half-second of awe and wonder it would inspire… Before it all turned to absolute chaos and mayhem. Beautiful one second and terrible the next. There was a fine line between beauty and horror. I’m quite sure the whole novel started off based on that one image, and then more and more layers were built up off of that.

The more I thought about this image, the more I thought about what it would mean to a teenager, or how I would feel if that happened to me. I know writing about kids with super-powers had been done to death, but I felt in a way that by channelling my own feelings at the time I’d be a step closer to writing about how my teenage characters would feel and react when things happened to them just because we were the same age. I don’t mean that my age gave me an advantage, but what I am saying is that my age gave me a different perspective from people who are older trying to recreate what it’s like for someone who is in their late teens. 

That’s how it started, and then it became a sort of avalanche of questions and answers in my head. What if there were more people with different abilities? What would the abilities be? What would you do? And, maybe most importantly, what would you feel? If nothing else, in my novel I try and convey the sense of uncertainty, dizziness and that fine line that separates joy and terror. The whirlwind of emotions one experiences as a teenager goes hand-in-hand, I believe, with this sort of novel; you might not be developing super-human abilities that make you question what you are or what’s going to happen next or how you fit in within regular society but you will be asking yourself those same questions solely because of being a teenager. It’s such a turbulent time in one’s life, more so for some than for others I’ll admit, but
there’s always that hint of panic at the uncertainty of the future, discovering other sides to your own self that you never knew and scared of the fact that you realize you’re growing up. Developing super-powers and being a teenager aren’t really that different when it comes to one’s frame of mind; it leads to the same questions being asked, and being forced to take a good look at yourself.

I had plenty of inspiration coming my way from my own experiences at school; many of my friends who’ve read my novel have recognized certain circumstances or events that took place in real life. The school itself is physically based on my old high school, as were certain characters. I had this place and these people I knew in real life and I thought, okay, let’s build on this. So I exaggerated here and there and invented quite a bit to make it an original piece of fiction, but the founding blocks (removing the super-human powers) are kind of firmly based on real people, places and situations.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Solstice High by Ardash Vartparonian {Blog Tour}

Author: Ardash Vartparonian
Pages: 353
Source: Author for blog tour
Find it: Amazon (paperback) B&N (paperback)
Rating: Entertaining and fun

On their first day of Senior year, friends Matt, Rochelle, Daphne and Jonas are involved in an accident that leaves them with superhuman powers. Secrets are hiding in the halls of Solstice High as they uncover that their principal is not what he seems.

This was a fun and entertaining book. Ardash began writing this when he was a teenager which is pretty darn impressive. The story is told through each of the teenagers by alternating chapters. Usually this annoys me but each voice was pretty easy to recognize. I loved all the cultural references, both past and present. It will date the book pretty quickly but it was a fun way to explain different things.

The characters were well developed although a bit cliche. There's Matt, the gay guy who is as much of a diva as Mean Girl Rochelle. Rochelle is queen bee at the school because she is feared. She has no reason to be mean, she just is. Daphne is the typical emo, dark, angry girl. And Jonas is the good looking jock that is in love with Rochelle. 

Each has things going on in their lives that they are trying to break free from or to work through. The addition of these unwanted "powers" are hard for each of them to handle. There was a good process of them learning to control their powers and I thought that it was a great part of the overall story.

There was a lot of action and a bit of mystery. A quick read that was entertaining. The ending felt a bit rushed since there was so much build up but it was satisfying.

I'd recommend this to sci fi fans. Think X-Men in a high school. Definite fun.

Come back tomorrow...Ardash takes over my blog to answer a question for me!

About the author:

Ardash Vartparonian was born in London but raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the age of 18 he began his debut novel, Solstice High, and continued writing throughout his last year of school and first year of university, where he moved back to the UK to study English Literature at Edinburgh University. Now a fourth year student, Ardash enjoys going out with his friends, watching horror movies and reading fantasy books while trying to keep up with his university work.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Title: The Shining Girls
Author: Lauren Beukes (website)(Twitter)
Pages: 368
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Mulholland Books (Little, Brown & Company's suspense imprint) (website)(Twitter)
Rating: amazing and disturbing
Source/Format: library, hardcover

Time traveling serial killer. I could really end the review here. Just sayin'.

I'm not sure where to even start with this book. It's one of the most unique books I've read. Megan from Book Brats talked about this one on Twitter and I was so intrigued that I immediately requested it. I usually agree with all of her thoughts on books and this one sounded so amazing.

Harper is the serial killer that has a special house that allows him to skip through time. His victims "shine" out to him and he always meets them when they are younger and then kills them when they are grown. He often leaves something with them that he collects later or he tells them that they will see him again.

Creepy as h-e-double-hockey-sticks. 

Kirby is his victim that lived. Only he doesn't know it right away. The story is told in flash-backs, flash-forwards and by the different characters. At first it confused me because I kept thinking that Harper should be a girl and Kirby should be a boy and I couldn't keep the dates straight but after a while, I just let go and went with it without worrying about all that.

Kirby's attempted murder is alluded to and we know that something happens to her dog but the actual scene of her attempted murder and hearing what actually happens to her dog was almost more than I could take. Had to put the book down for a while after this scene. So if you, like me, can't take animals hurting, be warned. It's brutal and heartbreaking.

She begins a huge investigation into all the murders that have the same or similar MO and begins to think that something really weird is going on. Things are not like they should be but she begins to doubt herself.

A huge cast of interesting characters is both overwhelming but well developed. Dan, one of the main characters, is one of my favorites. He's an older, sarcastic man who barely keeps up with Kirby. Their relationship is sweet and complicated. He gives her a bit of balance when she's going off the rails trying to find the man who did this to her.

I was a bit put off with the reoccurring language but I am sure it could be argued that it was necessary. If you are being murdered, you probably aren't going to burst out with "well, shoot!" The Shining Girls is both scary and literary. The writing was almost lyrical and Beukes has a way of phrasing things that made me re-read whole passages just for the way it was written.

This is my first experience reading Beukes, but it will not be the last. If you enjoy murder and mystery and want something different, The Shining Girls might be a really great fit. Time traveling serial killer. Again...what else is there to say? Awesomeness. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

ARC Envy (6)

Every week several of my favorite bloggers post vlogs or whatever of all the great book hauls they've received for the week. Since I'm a tiny little fish in the huge book blogging pond, my mailbox isn't stuffed with all the great ARCs that they get. Dana's ARC Envy is my way of highlighting an ARC that I *wish* had been sent to me too. 

Title: The Paradox of Vertical Flight
AuthorEmil Ostrovski (website)
Publisher: Harper Teen 
Expected Publication Date: September 24, 2013

Judging a book by its cover:  Quirky. Seems to match the book well.

Know anything about the author?  This is a a debut.

Why do I want it?  The title rocks. I love different titles. Sounds like one of the quirkiest, most original books I've ever heard of. Haven't read many books about teenage parents - especially dads. 

Summary from Goodreads:

What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old philosophy student, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma's house? This debut novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.

On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack's ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn't spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma's house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. Even this one. Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth.

What ARC are you envying this week?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry (website)(Twitter)
Pages: 392
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Source: Library
Rating: Wowsers, I loved this one too!

Summary from Goodreads:

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

After reading and loving Pushing the Limits, I immediately began reading Dare You To. I don't usually read books by the same author back to back but Pushing the Limits gave me all.the.feels.

This one centers around Beth and Ryan. Beth's home life is miserable, sad and dangerous. Ryan's life is almost perfect. When she is forced to move in with her uncle, she meets Ryan. He and his baseball player friends have a series of dares and that night's dare is to get the phone number of different girls. Beth is Ryan's dare.

When we meet them they are both unlikeable. Beth is brash and rude. Ryan is hitting on her for a dare. They are both flawed in their own ways. I enjoyed how they grew up over the course of the book.

Although I actually liked Noah and Echo better as characters, I thought that Ryan and Beth's story was deeper. Her tell it like it is attitude and his always have to win attitude made for great banter. 

Once again, McGarry touches on hard issues but she does it with a matter of factness and a grace that makes the toughness of the issues easier to process. I love how raw and emotional her books are. Teenage life isn't always easy and she speaks to that with a great amount of hope.

Dare You To has sealed McGarry as one of my very favorite authors. I won't even look at the summary to know that I'll pick it up and read it. Although I was a bit worried that Dare You To would not live up to how much I loved Pushing the Limits, in some ways it even surpassed it. If you're looking for a heart pounding, emotionally compelling raw romance, Dare You To will not disappoint.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lifting the NetGalley Ban

I have been on a self imposed NetGalley ban for months now. I would request them, be approved and then dread reading them on my computer or phone. So I made myself stop requesting them.

Then I received my Kindle and the ban has been lifted! Still trying to keep the requests to a minimum and only request those that I really, really want to read and review but I am really excited about being about to request again.

Isn't it fun to get that email saying that you've been approved?

What's on your NetGalley reading list?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Genres and Reading What We Want

I am in my early 30s. Fine...I'm in my LATE 30s and I read a ton of YA. Sometimes I get flack for it but you know what? I don't care. At all. As a matter of fact, I think that if more people gave it a chance, they'd enjoy it. There no age limit to a well written story. I don't care if the characters are 12 or 18 or 38 or 68. I just care that I like them and that I am interested in what happens to them.

I think that it is a shame that we have reading "guilty pleasures"...sounds like we SHOULDN'T like something. Whether you enjoy Christian fiction or go to the opposite end of the spectrum and erotica does it for you, does it really matter what you read or does it matter that you ARE reading?

I wish more of us cared less what other people thought of our reading choices, and spent that time finding really great books to read instead.

Talk back to me. Do you ever get grief for the type of books you read? That you DON'T read?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
Author: Katie McGarry (website)(Twitter)
Pages: 392
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Source: Library
Rating: Wowsers, I loved this!

Ok, ya'll, if you've read my blog for even one minute you know that romance But everyone and their sister told me that I needed to read this book and that if I gave it a chance, I'd love it. 

I was giving it 25 pages and then I was bailing...

Or not. 

Wowsers, I loved this book. Intense doesn't even begin to describe it. It was an emotional roller coaster ride that I didn't want to get off of. I was thinking that I'd hate to read a story about "Echo" but her name grew on me. It fit her. It fit her character. She was so broken. So everything. 

And Noah. Great day, why is every male character named Noah, incredibly hot? Forgetting the fact that he would be technically young enough to be my son, I wanted him for myself. Or maybe his older brother. Wink.

McGarry alternates chapters between the perspective of each of them and I was wowed by how different they sounded. Alternating perspective is hard to pull off but she did it well. When Noah started calling her his siren, I wanted to melt into a puddle. He was flawed and not always the best guy in the world but he was real and he was trying.

I enjoyed how the characters really came into their own throughout the book. It was believable that they would struggle. It was believable that they wouldn't always get what they want. It seemed truer to life than other YA books I have read in the past. The wonderful character development was just icing on the cake.

I really didn't expect this to live up to all of the hype but it really did. The writing is well done. The all important dialogue was great. The secondary characters were well done as well. I know that there are companion novels and I really look forward to reading more about them. They gave me all the feels.

While I think that fans of romance are obviously the targeted audience, I think that those like me who tend to shy away from romance can and will enjoy this one as well.

Friday, July 12, 2013

ARC Envy (5)

Every week several of my favorite bloggers post vlogs or whatever of all the great book hauls they've received for the week. Since I'm a tiny little fish in the huge book blogging pond, my mailbox isn't stuffed with all the great ARCs that they get. Dana's ARC Envy is my way of highlighting an ARC that I *wish* had been sent to me too. 

Title: Crash into You (Pushing the Limits #3)
AuthorKatie McGarry (website)(Twitter)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Expected Publication Date: November 26, 2013

Judging a book by its cover:  Oh Isaiah, feel free to crash into me anytime.

Know anything about the author?  She's amazing. That is all.

Why do I want it?  I recently finished Pushing the Limits and am currently reading Dare You To. Katie will be an auto-buy author for me until Dare You To sucks at  the end and I'm thinking that's not going to happen.

Summary from Goodreads:

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane 

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind. 

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look. 

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

What ARC are you envying this week?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Changing it all up

In the half a year that I've had this particular blog, I've changed up how I've done stuff several times. I've tried different things - some have worked, some haven't. I've met some really great people and have participated in great tours and book blitzes, read-a-thons and challenges.

It's started to feel like it's work though. Setting up posts takes me quite a while and I've stopped enjoying it as much as I did. I have events scheduled for the end of the month and have thought about just stopping the blog after those go live.

I haven't been reading or commenting on other blogs for a few weeks because I just don't have the desire or the time but yesterday I read a couple of them and it got me to thinking. 

I'm completely changing up how I do this blog and I hope that those of you who read frequently will stick with me:

Saturday and Sunday posting is being officially dropped from the schedule.

I generally read 2 books each week so that will be the average number of reviews each week.

I love ARC Envy and will keep that for as long as I want but...

I am no longer requesting ARCs. GASP. I want to get a handle on the ones that I've already received before I get anymore.

I'm also taking a break from all the events.  No more blog tours or book blitzes or cover reveals or challenges or read-a-thons or challenges, Top Ten Tuesdays or whatever.

My hope is that my blog will get better. That my reviews will be even more informative and thoughtful. That it will be a true reflection of me. Doing it "my way" will make it less work and more fun for's hoping anyway.

Thoughts? What have you given up or done differently from "the norm"? I'd love to know.

Friday, July 5, 2013

ARC Envy (4)

Every week several of my favorite bloggers post vlogs or whatever of all the great book hauls they've received for the week. Since I'm a tiny little fish in the huge book blogging pond, my mailbox isn't stuffed with all the great ARCs that they get. Dana's ARC Envy is my way of highlighting an ARC that I *wish* had been sent to me too. 

Title: Losing Hope (Hopeless #2)
Author: Colleen Hoover (website)(Twitter)
Publisher: Atria Books 
Expected Publication Date: July 8, 2013

Judging a book by its cover:  He's cute but not how I picture Holder. At all.

Know anything about the author?  Not really. I should follow her on twitter.

Why do I want it?  I'm reading the first one right now and want to see what happens. Actually by the time this post goes up, I might be finished.

Summary from Goodreads:

In the follow-up to Colleen Hoover’s #1 New York Times bestseller Hopeless, the charming and irresistible Dean Holder tells the passionate story that has melted thousands of hearts.

In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery. 

Still haunted by the little girl he let walk away, Holder has spent his entire life searching for her in an attempt to finally rid himself of the crushing guilt he has felt for years. But he could not have anticipated that the moment they reconnect, even greater remorse would overwhelm him…

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs.

What ARC are you envying this week?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Blog Tour Arrow of the Mist by Christina Mercer

Title: Arrow of the Mist 
Author: Christina Mercer
Publication Date: March 21st 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy
Buy It: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

About the Author:

Christina Mercer writes fiction in addition to mothering two young adults, a pack of large dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees. Her varied interests prompted her to study creative writing, earn her official degree in Accounting, become a CPA, acquire a certificate in Herbal Studies, and keep honeybees. She took Writer’s Best in Show at the 2012 SCBWI CA North/Central Regional Conference and was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakout Novel Award Contest. You can find her at her website or working as the Reviews Director at Indie-Visible 

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Granda Luis halted and turned Dobbin to face his troop. The chilled air tugged at his cloak and swept through his winter white hair. His eyes shone from his face and the young trio drew their horses back a few steps.

“We’ve a straight and narrow trail ahead. We’ll go in single file—”

“A narrow trail?” Lia cut in. “But, I thought it’d be some kind of, well, secret passage or something. How is it that only you and Grandma made it through the fog safely? Why didn’t others just follow behind, track your steps?”

“There were many who tried.” His voice turned morose. “Even after all m’warnings. Men hovering in the wooded outskirts, creeping in the grasses, waiting till I was snug enough within the fog before charging in behind me, their lives over before I could utter a word. Because you see, as with most gates, there are guards.”

Lia’s eyes widened. She cast a glance at Wynn, whose jaw hung, and at Kelven whose face was like stone. 

Granda Luis added, “But not to worry, our passage was assured long ago.”

Lia opened her mouth, but held her tongue as Granda turned Dobbin around and headed him toward the perilous boundary. Guards? How is that possible? The notion of it chilled her like an icy deluge. Then the words from the Grimoire echoed inside her head: 

Fogged, bogged gates of Brume, barrier to my home;
Timeless, faceless watchers loom, but I am allowed to roam.

“Come on, Dobbin. ’Tis all right, boy, steady now,” Granda Luis cajoled. Dobbin snorted and flipped his head up and down. “I was afraid o’this. He’s strong as a bull, but nervous as a cat, nothing like his fearless sire who’d brazen out the fog without a wink. Come on, boy, walk!” He struggled to move Dobbin forward, but the animal reared and the other horses backed away.

Kelven rode up and neared the anxious horse. “Luis, sir, I think I can help.” He dismounted Koby and commanded him with a mere nod, and his mount stood stock-still.

Kelven approached Dobbin and whispered words that Lia couldn’t make out. He placed one hand on Dobbin’s muzzle and used his other to caress the sorrel-colored mane. Dobbin settled, finally stilled, and whinnied softly. Lia reveled in Kelven’s poise, her fears ebbing like a receding tide.

Kelven reached into his leather jerkin and brought out a carrot, feeding it to the calmed animal while he stroked his coat. “If you’ll allow me to lead as we go through this fog, we could pull him through to the other side. He’d feel better, I think, following another horse in.”

With his brow knitted, Granda Luis replied, “All right, but listen to me carefully; you must stay to the trail, keep your eyes to it at all times, as that’s the only way to ensure we don’t get lost in the mists. I’ll be stopping us mid-way to leave a few offerings.”

Well, that might explain the separate pack of ale and bread, Lia surmised. Then she shuddered to think about what sort of creature could subsist in the fog.

Ropes connected the small band, led by Kelven astride his horse Koby, with Wynn and his dapple-gray Nolan bringing up the rear. The procession eased into the mists, and the air turned frigid, like the breath of a cave.

Merrie’s ears twitched and she snorted. Light dimmed to mere shadows and Lia barely made out Dobbin’s tail swishing in front of her. She pulled her cloak tighter, leaving only her face exposed to the chill. The wall of fog enveloped them, with only the horse’s rhythmic hoof beats to break its eerie silence. 

No turning back now, Lia thought.