Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NetGalley April Update

You guys are amazing! 

I'm so happy everyone is as excited as I am to be reading our lovely NetGalley books in April!

Check out my original post for information on joining in on the fun.

25 people have signed up (actually 31 as of this post) so as promised I've added another winner!

So now, 2 winners can choose any book under $15 from the Book Depository
Open internationally if the Book Depository ships to your country

I'll add another winner if we hit 50 sign ups!

Also, I never said how or when I would pick the winners :)
Winners will be picked the first week of May and I'm hoping I can get everyone who signed up to do a wrap up post / comment list or form or something or other so we can all see what everyone got read in April.

My first Netgalley book, which I will begin on Friday the 1st (no fooling :) is 

What will you choose first?

*****************************************************
Just wanted to say 'HI!' to my new followers (thank you again guys!!!)
If you haven't seen them already, I have a few other contests to check out
Japan Relief Donation Swag Giveaway (which only 1 person has entered!)

Book Review: Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
Pages: 352
Series: no
Acquisition: BEA10

Summary:
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin? (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
A bit more mature than other YA paranormal books out there. The characters were older - college age. I've heard some YA authors say that it's almost impossible to get a book published as YA if the characters aren't in high school or younger. I don't know how true this is but in the case of Hold Me Closer Necromancer, I think the older age of the characters worked to the book's advantage. There was less teenage angst and more real world problem solving which was kind of refreshing

Lots of kick ass paranormal characters - werewolves, necromancers, witches, ghosts, fey -- and NO vampires ;) The human characters were pretty cool too. Sam has some true friends. Friends who would do just about anything for him. They added a level of depth to the story that really appealed to me.

Most of the book is from Sam's first person, point of view. But chapters that he wasn't involved in were in third person. It wasn't as confusing as it may sound. I actually really enjoyed it because I got, not only Sam's perspective, but also those of the supporting cast.

Final verdict:
I'm glad it is a YA book because otherwise I might not have read it. I could also see this book working for an older audience.  There was one sex scene but it wasn't at all graphic or detailed. Some drinking, but nothing over the top. Like I said, it totally worked for me. Might not for others but I really enjoyed it.

A YA paranormal tale with a little something different. I'm a fan!

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Henry Holt
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In which I declare April to be - NETGALLEY MONTH! With prizes ;)


I've been talking about this on Twitter for the last couple of days so it's time for the 'official' post ;)

For those that don't know, NetGalley is a way for publishers to share their digital galleys securely to readers. Bloggers, librarians, booksellers -- TONS of people use NetGalley and I for won think it's brilliant!

I've been a member for a while now and because they are so very brilliant, I seem to have amassed a very large number of galleys that NEED TO BE READ! 
Well, not need but certainly want! Why else would I have requested them?

So, with Nook in hand, I have declared April to be 

NETGALLEY MONTH!!

During the entire month of April I plan to read as many NetGalley books as I can. 
Depending on publisher requests, and release dates, not all reviews will be posted in April but I'll be reading them!

Are you a member of NetGalley and want to join me in April?
As promised on Twitter, THERE ARE PRIZES!!

Rules to enter:
*Make your own post declaring April NetGalley month linking back to this post

OR

*Tweet the following:
@NetGalley April as been declared! I'm joining @WilowRedHouse for a chance to win some awesome prizes-will you join us? http://bit.ly/fzxPRE

*If you don't have a blog or Twitter - post it to Facebook with a link

*If you don't blog, tweet or FB but still want to join in - send me an email  at WilowRaven[at]yahoo[dot]com

AND THEN

*Leave a comment below with the link to your declaration!

What are the prizes you ask?

*1 winner 2 winners can choose any book under 15 from the Book Depository
Open internationally if the Book Depository ships to your country
AND!
1 US winner will receive ARCs of The Hunt of the Unicorn by C.C. Humphreys and The Queen of Water by Maria Virginia Farianango and Laura Resau -- courtesy of ReganStar from Star Shadow Blog!

More winners will be added if I get more then 25 people 50 people 75 people to sign up.

Sound good?

***This just in - I got an email from NetGalley today stating that the Kindle button is back for MOST publishers!! We are all asked to be patient as not all publishers have enabled it and the traffic to the site is rather high today so loading times might be a little slow***

ADDED on 3/30 -- I'll pick the winners the first week of May - I'm hoping I can get all of you to post or comment with all the books you got read but we'll see :)

ADDED on 4/8 -- Use the hashtag #NetGalleyApril on Twitter so we can all see what eveyrone's been reading :) and stay tuned for a possible twitter chat night

So, I ask again - WHO'S WITH ME!!!

Happy Reading everyone :)

Can you tell me?

In the course of blogging, learning the ropes, trying to get a handle on Twitter, I have discovered that I have a lot of questions about random things.

Occasionally, I'm going to pose a question to you. Something random but bloggy / social networky / techy in nature most likely. (what? those are all real words, I swear)

I'll post up answers in a few days - cause, maybe you don't know the same things I don't know...you know?

This week, I ask you:

Bloggers, how do you cross post to other social network sites? Specifically, how do you publish your blogs posts to your twitter and Facebook feeds? 

I've discovered a few ways but I want to know what you guys do....so...wanna tell me? ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

Links are to Goodreads

Future Release
April 12 2011 from HarperCollins
Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.
It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark. (from Goodreads)


Already In Stores
September 2010 from Bloomsbury
When a mysterious piece of jewelry and a strange visitor arrive in the jewelry shop where she works for her evil aunt, Lucinda's course takes a surprising turn. With the help of the Amaranth Witch, a young (and harmless) con-artist, and a prince, Lucinda uncovers secrets about her own royal past. A strong seller in hardcover, this original fairytale marks an exciting debut from a lyrical new voice. Can one magical momentlead to happily ever after? Julie Berry grew up in western New York. She holds a BS in communications from Rensselaer and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She now lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband and four young sons, and works as a director of software sales and marketing for a technology startup. This is her first book.(from Goodreads)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Review: The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black by Eden Unger Bowditch

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
Pages: 320
Series: 1st in the Young Inventors Guild trilogy
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
In 1903, five truly brilliant young inventors, the children of the world's most important scientists, went about their lives and their work as they always had.
But all that changed the day the men in black arrived.
They arrived to take twelve-year-old Jasper Modest and his six-year-old sister, Lucy he with his remarkable creations and she with her perfect memory from their London, England home to a place across the ocean they'd never seen before.
They arrived to take nine-year-old Wallace Banneker, last in a long line of Africa-descended scientists, from his chemistry, his father, and his New York home to a life he d never imagined.
Twelve-year-old Noah Canto-Sagas, already missing his world-famous and beloved mother, was taken from Toronto, Canada, carrying only his clothes, his violin, and his remarkable mind.
And thirteen-year-old Faye Vigyanveta, the genius daughter of India's wealthiest and most accomplished scientists, was removed by force from her life of luxury.
From all across the world, they've been taken to mysterious Sole Manner Farm, and a beautiful but isolated schoolhouse in Dayton, Ohio, without a word from their parents as to why. Not even the wonderful schoolteacher they find there, Miss Brett, can explain it. She can give them love and care, but she can t give them answers.(partial summary taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
A fabulous read! I've seen it described as young adult but I would put this one more in the middle grade category. I can really see 8-14 year olds loving it! I know I would have if I had read it at that age.

Also, I very much feel in love with Jasper, Lucy, Wallace Noah and Faye. Five very unique and very special children thrown together under almost unbelievable circumstances.  They have to find a way to work together and they do. There are a lot of heartwarming moments in this story and the love and compassion between the children and their parents and caretakers was a pleasure to read.

Have to say, I wasn't to fond of the 'mysterious men in black'. I have no idea what there deal is. Their appearance and mannerisms were a little too silly for me. The Atomic Weight of Secrets is the first in a series so I assume more will be revealed about these strangers in subsequent books.

Final verdict:
I'm a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. You see, when a story has so many interconnected pieces, I really need them to fit together in the end. A complete package as it were. In The Atomic Weight of Secrets, we get a lot of tiny pieces. A lot of bits and bobs of intrigue and mystery and family and a ton of the unknown. AND, they all don't quite fit together in the end. BUT, it actually really worked for me. I found myself drawn into the secrets behind it all.

A warm, fun read. Fans of middle grade books, especially mysteries and historic tales, I think will really enjoy The Atomic Weight of Secrets.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Bancroft Press
Goodreads

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In My Mailbox - March 26, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Busy, happy weekend full of family and fun for me :)

Sorry for the lack of real pics this week - lots of cleaning left to do around the house today.
Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Here's what I got!
Links are to Goodreads

For Review:
Big thanks to Katie + Sourcebooks

From PaperbackSwap:
I love this book and had to have my own copy!

For Review:
I already received an ARC of this book so I'll probably hold a giveaway soon.


So, what's in your mailbox?

Sequel Saturday

Sequel Saturday is hosted by Elie from Ellz Readz :)

A special post to celebrate all the great sequels coming out! 
They have not been forgotten :)

This week, I picked:
April 8, 2011
Harcourt Graphia

Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world. (from Goodreads)

For my review of Hunger (Book 1) - click here
Hunger was a very unique read for me so I'm curious to see how Rage plays out.
How about you? Have you read Hunger? Will you be reading Rage?

Thank you Elie for starting this meme :)
If you'd like to participate, feel free to do your own post and then head over to Ellz Readz to leave the link so others can see what you picked.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Japan Relief Efforts Book Auctions + Swag Contest

The devastation to Japan is almost unbelievable and there are so many ways we can help. 
If you haven't already donated (of even if you have), please consider participating in one of these auctions.

So so SO many authors, readers, publicists, agents, and editors have donated their time and books and critiques and so very much more!

With so many great items up for auction, even if you only have a small amount to give, these sites are worth checking out.

PLUS!
If you do decide to bid / donate to one of these auctions, or if you have already made a donation, leave a comment. In a few weeks I'll pick a random comment and send the winner a bunch of swag (open Internationally!). Honor system here folks. I also ask that if you have already entered a like minded contest on another blog (like this one) that you don't use the same donation to enter yourself in this contest. Sound good?

************************************************************************

Write Hope -- http://write-hope.blogspot.com
"A group of Kidlit writers who plan to auction kidlit books, critiques, and other prizes for donation to Save The Children's emergency relief fund"

At the end of the auction all proceedings will be donated to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Children Emergency Relief Fund


*************************************************************************

Children's Authors & Illustrators for Japan -- http://kidlit4japan.wordpress.com
"For three weeks, beginning on March 21, Kidlit4Japan will feature a children's and YA literature auction to benefit the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan."
"Items include signed books, advance reader copies, artwork, critiquing services, book-related swag, author visits, or the chance to name a character in a book"

Winning bidders will send their donations directly to the UNICEF U.S. Fund

*************************************************************************
Writers for The Red Cross -- www.writersfortheredcross.org
This online event celebrates Red Cross Month (March 1-31). A portion of the donations collected will be sent to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
They are "auctioning off publishing-related items and services donated by authors, publicists, agents and editors".

*************************************************************************
Genre for Japan -- http://genreforjapan.wordpress.com
Set up by "members of the speculative fiction community with one goal: to do what we can, however small."

Auctions start on March 28th and all proceeds will go to the Japan Tsunami Appeal run by the British Red Cross

*************************************************************************
Richelle Mead's ebay auctions to help disaster victims

Richelle will be auctioning signed books through ebay's Giving Works programs with 100% of the proceeds going to either the American Red Cross or Save the Children.
ebay listing page -- her new seller account is "booksthatgive"


If you know of any other relief effort book related auctions that aren't listed, please email me at WilowRaven[at]yahoo[dot]com and I'll add them to the list.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Pages: 358
Series: 3rd in the Iron Fey series
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Started off a little slow for me. It took me a while to really get into the story and this was a little frustrating because I absolutely loved books 1 and 2. BUT! I really didn't have anything to worry about because by the end of The Iron Queen, I was breathless. I was elated and I was heart broken. I was flipping pages as fast as I could and I was slowly taking in each word, not wanting it all to end.

OMG! And that ending!

For some reason I thought The Iron Queen was the final in the series. I was wrong and I'm glad I was because after finishing it I realized how much more story there is out there that needs telling.

For team Ash fans out there - you will not be disappointed. But I have to say, as a member of Team Puck I was very happy with the way the story line is playing out. I still have no clue what will happen to these beloved characters in the end but looking forward to the ride!

Final verdict:
A must read if you've read books 1 and 2. If you haven't yet picked up this series and you’re a fantasy fan - you really should. A lot of hype surrounds this series but it is very well deserved.

Overall Rating:
4.5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
The Iron King -- My Review
Winter's Passage (ebook short story)
The Iron Daughter -- My Review
The Iron Queen
The Iron Knight - November 2011

Linkage Love:
Harlequin
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tidbits:
*Book 4, The Iron Knight is said to be "Ash's story" - oh baby!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

FREE e-Book Alerts

Digital words aren't for everyone and I don't think they will EVER take the place of printed books but for those of you, like me, who have grown to love them here are my latest finds!

The links below are for complete books (not chapter samples or previews).  Some might be available for only a short time and some are only available on certain platforms so make sure to read all the fine print : )

Turned at Dark (Shadow Falls #0.5) by C.C. Hunter
A prequel / bonus story to Hunter's Born at Midnight, book 1 of the Shadow Falls series
Also available from iBooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch


Fallen from Grace (Dark Passage #0.5) by M.J. Putney
A prequel / bonus story to Putney's Dark Mirror, book 1 of the Dark Passage series
Also available from iBooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch



Have you noticed that these e-book bonus stories are all the rage now?
How do you feel about them?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

Reading Level: Young Adult - Adult
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Pages: 320
Series: sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.
The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating “unmentionables.” But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
The Bennet family is back! Now, with more zombies!

Ok, maybe not more but most defiantly, a more interesting assortment of the undead will greet you in this sequel to the now famous mash-up.  Did I love it as much as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Yes! Even more so!

Ever wonder what happened to Elizabeth Darcy and her sisters after Pride and Prejudice? Did you really like the idea of a zombie infested England were every day citizens such as the Bennet family has taken up the deadly arts to defend both home and country? Thought so! You must read this book then - in a word - fabulous!

I'm not kidding - I simply loved this story. Elizabeth and her sisters (save for Jane who is home safe and sound with her beloved Mr. Bingley and their hoard of children) are unexpectedly thrown into, not only a family emergency of the highest order, BUT a seedy political plot that stands a chance of ruining all of England! Dun dun dun!

Final verdict:
All the characters I had grown to love, and hate, in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are back! More action, more mystery and more romance really made this book one of my favorite reads of 2011 so far.

Elizabeth and her sisters, Mary and Kitty, along with their father Mr. Bennet are in London. Working to save poor Mr. Darcy's life - or so they think. Throw in some ninjas, Mr. Darcy's despicable aunt, Lady Catherine and her deplorable daughter Anne and the entire city of London (complete with an uncontrollable zombie infestation) and you get a marvelous story!

If you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I think you will really like this sequel. Even if you've only read the original classic, I think you might enjoy Dreadfully Ever After. The Bennet family, like you've never seen them before...with ZOMBIES - mwahahaha!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
Dawn of the Dreadfuls (prequel)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - my review
Dreadfully Ever After (sequel)

Linkage Love:
Quirk Books
Goodreads

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Reading Level: Young Adult - Adult
Publication Date: April 2009
Pages: 317
Series: 1st in the mash-up series
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
An expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.
What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead.
Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Ok, confession time. I don't actually remember if I've ever read Pride and Prejudice before. I think I did...in school maybe? I knew the story...but maybe I saw the movie?

In any case, reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a true pleasure. Some cringe at this classical mash-up but I, think it's fabulous! All the wonderful prose, word building, and beautifully told storyline of the true classic but WITH ZOMBIES!

For example, the original, as Jane Austen wrote it, starts like this:
"It is truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
And now, with ZOMBIES!
"It is truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, page 7)
Ah! I love it!

Along with the addition of zombies, the characters of the Bennet sisters are altered. They are not simple girls in want of husbands but rather they are warriors. Trained in the deadly arts from a very young age, they are servants to their country and crown, helping to rid England of the unmentionable menace.

For example, in the original story, shortly after meeting Mr. Darcy for the first time and being insulted by his assessment of her, Elizabeth Bennet reacts like this:
"Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings toward him. She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous."
The Elizabeth in the zombified version is not so mild mannered:
"As Mr. Darcy walked off, Elizabeth felt her blood turn cold. She had never in her life been so insulted. The warrior code demanded she avenge her honour. Elizabeth reached down in her ankle, taking care not to draw attention. There, her hand met the dagger concealed beneath her dress. She meant to follow this proud Mr. Darcy outside and open his throat.  (pages 13-14)
Again - love!

Final verdict:
It really was awesome seeing Elizabeth and her sisters kick some zombie ass. And with sometimes as little effort as they would afford the tying of a shoe or the squashing of a bug.

Having no strong memories of Jane Austen's work I was very happy to discover her world, still fully intact, with all it's complex and fascinating characters but again, with a little something extra.

Die hard fans of Austen's world might not appreciate seeing their beloved classic overrun with the undead but it would be hard to deny the hard work that was put into this book. While keeping everything people love about the Bennet family's story, Seth Grahame-Smith as managed to still tell the original tale but with more action and intrigue then I would have thought possible.

I was a little skeptical at first but I have to say, I'm now a fan. I recommend this one to both fans of the original and others, like myself, who probably never got around to reading it in the first place :)

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
Dawn of the Dreadfuls (prequel)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Dreadfully Ever After (sequel)

Linkage Love:
Quirk Books
Goodreads

Lemniscate Release Day - Chapter 1 + Prizes

Happy Release Day Lemniscate! 

Book 2 in Jennifer Murgia's Angel Star series comes out today :)
As you may recall, in preparation for this joyous event, some bloggers (myself included) participated in a Quote Hop!
Possible prizes were mentioned ;)


If you commented on my Quote Hop post OR if you comment on this post, you will be entered for a chance to win copies of both Angel Star and Lemniscate or a beautiful double wing necklace.

Also, in celebration, Jennifer has released into the wild (via some very wild book bloggers :) Chapter 1 of Lemniscate!

Read it below, comment and on this Wednesday Jennifer will pick the winners!

Are you ready?

Here it is!
*************************************************************************

Chapter One

     It had been raining for three days straight. I rolled onto my side to face the window towards the bit of light glowing behind the thin skin of my eyelids and grew excited for a moment, thinking today the sun might finally make an appearance. I should have known better. Under normal circumstances I would have been more than happy to cinch my covers in closer, keeping the warmth in as long as possible, thawing my flannel-wrapped arm after mercilessly sending it out into the open to slam the snooze button. But not today. 
     I opened my eyes to Garreth standing at the glass, his skin reflecting back a pale glimmer against the dry side of the window. My warm light on the bleakest of Monday mornings was tracing the crooked lines of water with his finger, seemingly deep in thought.
     “Writing love notes to me on my window?” I mused out loud, stretching my cramped legs toward the bottom of my quilted bed. I propped myself up onto my elbow as he turned around, his striking blue eyes reminded me of his perfection.
     Each day I’m astounded to find him here with me.
     My angel. My guardian. My boyfriend.
     Garreth has been earthbound for months now, choosing to live the life of a mortal just so he can spend each and every waking moment with me. It’s not that he’s giving up an extraordinary existence, he’s just trading part of one for another. He’s still my guardian, still here to protect me. True, there isn’t anything human about him besides the charade he plays for others, and his looks, which, now that I think about it, aren’t quite human either. I remember the irregular heartbeats I felt the first time we met at school last spring. The way I would feel all weak and fluttery. Words can’t describe what he means to me. My mother would call it unhealthy and irrational if she ever learned the true depth of my emotions. Anyone would. 
     Garreth’s aura isn’t like the average guy running around my school or at the mall. He’s pure. Surreal. And his heart beats only for me. I should feel important and flattered, I know. But honestly, it makes me uncomfortable. Why anyone would give up the freedom of roaming the heavens to be stranded here is beyond me.
     Especially for me.
     “You’re awake,” he said, walking slowly to my bedside. Sitting down and looking deeply into my eyes, Garreth bent to kiss me good morning. His hand rested gently on my cheek, allowing me to feel the exceptional warmth of his skin, his soft touch nearly lulling me back to sleep.
     “Oh, no you don’t. It’s time for you to get up.”
     “Please tell me it’s Saturday,” I murmured, forcing my face into my pillow.
     “Unfortunately, it’s Monday and unfortunately again, we have a calculus test today.” Garreth nudged my ribs and I couldn’t help giggling.
     “Ok, ok! I’m up!” I smiled into his chiseled face. He looked as handsome as always. His sandy hair, tousled as usual, hung seductively over his brilliant blue eyes. My eyes traced the strong bridge of his nose, which led to his perfect lips, and I let my eyes rest there for a few minutes. Picking up on my thoughts, he bent lower. I could smell the warmth of his skin, fragrant and spicy, as if he’d just showered with an amazing fragrance not yet discovered and bottled. It was his scent, an incense of sorts that belonged only to him and gently surrounded him like his aura. It made me dizzy, but I loved it. I closed my eyes as his lips rested softly on mine and my arms wove up and around his neck to keep him longer.
     “Test? Remember?” He grasped my hands, still clasped behind his neck, and uncurled my fingers with a gentle strength, bringing them to rest at my sides. “Later . . . later you can kiss me and not let go,” he whispered softly into my hair and then stood up.
     “Of course you’ll ace this test. You have infinite knowledge.” I was being sarcastically playful, and Garreth rolled his eyes.
     “I’ll make sure I get a few wrong.”
     “Gee, thanks,” I responded.
     I could hear my mother stirring down the hall. Within minutes she’d be padding softly in this direction to her shower and stop at my door along the way, urging me to wake up. She’s not aware that I’m usually up by this point, nor is she aware that Garreth is the one to wake me before she ever gets the chance to.
     A dresser drawer scraped shut, usually Garreth’s clue for a silent, celestial exit, knowing twenty minutes from now he’d be knocking on the kitchen door to take me to school. I kissed him goodbye with one last chance to see the blue of his eyes sparkle like diamonds. Like clockwork, my mother’s knuckles rapped at my door.
     Only twenty minutes longer.
     That’s all I have to wait.
     Twenty minutes.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In My Mailbox - March 19, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

A bunch of books came this week! With almost everything coming on Monday, it's probably the most mail I will ever receive in one day! 

Links are to Goodreads :)

To start - I got some RAK books! Don't know what RAK is? CHECK IT OUT!! 
One from last year that slipped past me!
2011 Debut (woo hoo!)
Big big thanks go out to Tishia from Paranormal Opinion and Cynthia from A Blog About Nothing - thanks for spreading the book love girls!

For Review:
This is my second copy so I'll be GIVING IT AWAY SOON!
Big thanks to Jennifer + Ben Bella Books

For Review:
*Hourglass by Myra McEntire (May 2011 from EgmontUSA)
*Family by Micol Ostow (April 2011 from EgmontUSA)
*Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (May 2011 from Simon and Schuster)
*Percival's Angel by Anne Eliot Crompton (March 2011 reprint from Sourcebooks)
Big thanks to Jenny + Goodman Media, EgmontUSA, Regal Literary + Simon and Schuster, Katie + Sourcebooks

From NetGalley:
This is about 2 months worth of books!
I dedicated the rest of March to only reading NetGalley books - I've failed so far so I'm extending it to April.
APRIL will be NETGALLEY MONTH for me!

*In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane (March 2011 from Harlequin)
*Bumped by Megan McCafferty (April 2011 from HarperCollins)
*The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (April 2011 from Harlequin)
*Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin (May 2011 from Disney Hyperion)
*No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe (May 2011 from Thomas Nelson Pub)
*Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi (May 2011 from Disney Hyperion)
*Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly (May 2011 from Candlewick)
*Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (May 2011 from HarperCollins)
*A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan (Aug 2011 from Candlewick)
Big thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Disney Hyperion, Thomas Nelson and Candlewick


So, what's in your mailbox?

Sequel Saturday

Sequel Saturday is hosted by Elie from Ellz Readz :)

A special post to celebrate all the great sequels coming out! 
They have not been forgotten :)

This week, I picked:
July 12, 2011 
EgmontUSA

After losing her sister and finding out who- or what- she really is, Vanessa returns home for her senior year. Everyone at Hawthorne Prep has questions about her tragic summer, but knowing who to open up to is impossible. As she walks the halls without Justine for the very first time, Vanessa has more to worry about than just making a new life for herself.
Because the sirens are out for revenge. To protect herself and the ones she loves, Vanessa must call on powers she believes she has but does not know how to use. To learn, she'll have to seek help from the only person who truly knows her. But first, she must admit the truth about her real identity. (from Goodreads)

For my review of Siren - click here
I loved Siren and it ended with a lot more of the story left to be told so I am supper excited for Undercurrent.
How about you? Have you read Siren? Will you be reading Undercurrent?

Thank you Elie for starting this meme :)
If you'd like to participate, feel free to do your own post and then head over to Ellz Readz to leave the link so others can see what you picked.

Winners!


I have picked the 4 winners of my 2010 ARC contest

Congratulations to:

justpeachy36 (Prize Pack 1)

Mona G (Prize Pack 2)

Betty McBroom (Prize Pack 3)

Shadowgirl (Prize Pack 4)

I have emailed you all. If I do not hear back from you by 3/23 I will pick new winners.

A big thanks to everyone who entered!!

*****************************************************
If you haven't already, check out my current contests
Lemniscate Quote Hop - ends March 21st
Haunted by Joy Preble - ends March 25th

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FREE e-book Alerts

Digital words aren't for everyone and I don't think they will EVER take the place of printed books but for those of you, like me, who have grown to love them here are my latest finds!

The links below are for complete FREE books (not chapter samples or previews).  Some might be available for only a short time and some are only available on certain platforms so make sure to read all the fine print : ) 


Necromancer: A Novella by Lish McBride
A short story companion to Lish's Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
Also available from iBooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch


Remedial Magic (Faeriewalker 0.5) by Jenna Black
A preview story for Glimmerglass
Kindle / Nook
Also available from iBooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch


Retro Demonology (The Demon Trappers 0.5) by Jana Oliver
A Demon Trapper's bonus story
Kindle / Nook
Also available from iBooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review: Beautiful Dead: Summer by Eden Maguire

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 1, 2011 (reprint)
Pages: 288
Series: 3rd in the Beautiful Dead series
Acquisition: received ARC for review

Summary:
Six months have passed since the last Ellerton teenager died, but Darina is still traumatized by the stabbing of her own beloved Phoenix. But there's work to be done as Darina must now turn her attention to the shooting of Summer Madison - the beautiful and gifted, singer-song-writer with a heart of gold. It's been nearly a year since the random shooting in a shopping mall caused Summer's meaningless death.
Summer left behind recordings of her wonderful songs and a deep sadness amongst high school friends. Now Darina must act as Summerās agent to track down the psychotic killer in a clear search for justice. With the sound of Summer's music constantly playing inside Darina's head, recalling the wonderful months when she was alive and performing her first gigs, Darina, Phoenix and the Beautiful Dead are determined to catch the crazed killer. And all the while Darinaās love for Phoenix continues to beat ... (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
The third Ellerton teen to die was Summer Madison. Beautiful, talent Summer who everyone loves. Darina is once again partnered with the Beautiful Dead. She does it willingly. Anything to be with Pheonix for just a little longer.

The silence she is forced to keep is tearing her apart. She barely goes to school. Hardly ever sleeps or eats and yet she can never give up. Giving up means eternal damnation for those that she loves. Those that she lost.

Darina is a wreck. Nothing - and I mean NOTHING good ever happens to this girl. She literally has no reason to smile.

What a freaken roller coaster ride this book was!  Some very shocking things happen. Heart wrenchingly socking. As if loosing Pheonix wasn't bad enough! As if being at the mercy of Hunter wasn't more then any person, living or dead, should ever be forced to deal with.

Final verdict:
Oh man, I couldn't stop reading. Tragic and sad but also full of mystery and intrigue. Eden Maguire has sucked me into the world of the Beautiful Dead and like Darina, I can't and don't want to fight back.

Happy endings in this series? Some. But if you're looking for something edgier the Beautiful Dead are for you.

One more book in the series? I can't imagine a happy ending for Darina but like her, I still have hope.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

The Beautiful Dead Series:
Jonas
Arizona
Summer
Phoenix

Linkage Love:
Sourcebooks
Goodreads

Monday, March 14, 2011

Giveaway - Clarity by Kim Harrington

This books was awesome and I can't wait to share it!

Prize pack 1:
Copy of Clarity, signed bookmark, signed bookplate

Prize pack 2:
Signed copy of Clarity, bookmark, sticker

DETAILS:
*2 winners (US only) 13 years and older
*Ends April 4, 2011 at 11:59pm EST
*Fill out THIS FORM to enter

****************************************************
If you haven't already, check out my other contests:
16 2010 ARCs for 4 Winners - ends March 18th
Lemniscate Quote Hop - ends March 21st
Haunted by Joy Preble - ends March 25th

Author Event: Kim Harrington Clarity Release Party

A few weeks ago I was attended my first ever Author Signing Event!
Kim Harrington held the release party of her debut book, Clarity at the Tatnuck Bookseller.
My boyfriend and daughter came with me -- my adorable 4 year old took the picture above of our pre-signed Clarity copy :)

I got to meet Kim:
 
Such a sweet person! 
(and that's me smiling like a fool :)

Heard her speak:
 
She was awesomely funny.
And she read aloud from Clarity - so amazing hearing Clare's voice through Kim.

There was also cake!
My daughter's favorite part of the day, I'm sure :)

I also got to meet other bloggers who live in my area. I had no idea there were so many New England bloggers. I spend some time talking with Cindy from Books Complete Me and Nikki from Wicked Awesome Books. Two very awesome ladies that I hope I will see again at future book events.
I also met Danielle from Frenzy of Noise and Gail from Ticket to Anywhere. AND there were a bunch more bloggers there!

So many people turned out for Kim that Tatnuck SOLD OUT of her book! (70 copies I believe)

Some local authors even came by:
Kim Harrington with Leigh Fallon, debut author of The Carrier of the Mark due out in the Fall and Karsten Knight, debut author of Wildfire releasing July 26.
Both Leigh and Karsten were supper nice and I'm really looking forward to reading both their books.

So, I have to say, my first Author Event was a roaring success!

If you live in the New England area and weren't able to make it to Kim's release party, she'll be at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley next weekend. Check her blog for more info.

Want your own copy of Clarity? Later on today I'll be hosting a giveaway for two copies (one signed!) plus some Clarity swaggy goodness!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox - March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

A late Sunday IMM post this week. Been hanging around the house today relaxing after a wonderful day spend with family yesterday :)

A pretty good week for me! I really don't know how people put themselves on book buying bands...I mean, I understand it but I don't think I'll ever have that level of self control! hehe

Book links are to Goodreads

For Review AND From an AWESOME BLOGGER!
Sandy from Pirate Pirate Penguin Read's sent me this one because like previously stated SHE IS AWESOME!

Couldn't pass up the chance to review this one since so many bloggers have been raving about it

Big Thanks to Sandy :) and Kate + Bloosmbury

Bought (because I have no self control)
My collection is now complete! This fifth, and final book in the Wicked Lovely series was one of my favorites so far this year.

I actually won a copy of this one after pre-ordering it so I'll be giving this one away pretty soon :) 

Won
Swag pack: signed Possession bookmarks, and bottle cap key chain, signed Momento Nora bookmarks, Across the Universe bookmarks and a signed Across the Universe bookplate!
Won from Page Turners
Big Thank you guys!

So, what's in your mailbox?

Friday, March 11, 2011

CSN Preferred Blogger

Did you know CSN has swing sets for kids
I am so excited about this! 
Now that my daughter is a little older, we want to upgrade her swing set a bit. 
She really wants a ship's wheel and her set really needs some new swings.
There are so many to choose from - I can't wait to do a little shopping :)

I've had nothing but good experiences with CSN Stores and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending them. 
And while I really really want to get a new bookcase, I think my next purchase will be for my daughter :)