Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Night Date Night

Friday Night Date Night is a feature on my blog that showcases movie reviews (mostly movies that were adapted from books). Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of relaxing at home.
Winter's Bone
When browsing through Netflix I came upon this movie and decided to give it a try.  Winter's Bone is based on the book with the same name by Daniel Woodrell.  Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is the main character and she's burdened with raising her two younger siblings when her dad runs off and leaves their home as collateral for his bail. 
This movie was not for me.  The acting was good, but the whole thing was sad and depressing.   Maybe it was the mood I was in, but I wanted to be entertained and this movie just made me feel sad and hopeless.  It was, however, interesting to see the harsh reality that some people live in and how it's almost their own culture in the deep Ozarks.  Someday I'd like to learn more about this culture, but I guess I was expecting a little more action and adventure.    
I definitely think this is a movie you need to be in the right mood to watch, but it would make for a great discussion after watching it. 
Has anyone else seen it?  What did you think?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

It's the 30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week!  How cool is that...30 years of celebrating the freedom to read whatever we want!  To celebrate I've joined the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and I Read Banned Books

On to the prize...I'm giving away one of the frequently challanged books of the 21st century of your choosing.  

Giveaway Rules:

The contest runs until Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 11:59pm (CST)

You must be 13 years of age or older to enter

This contest is open to participants both from the US and Internationally

Once the email is sent to the winner they will have three days to respond or a new winner will be chosen
Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review of Better than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts

Title: Better Than Chocolate
Author: Sheila Roberts
Published by: Harlequin
Pages: 372
Source: Little Bird Publicity/Author
Format: Paperback ARC
Available: September 25, 2012
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from GoodreadsSweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it? After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They'll have a chocolate festival! Time's running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town's behind them, so everything's bound to go smoothly….

Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother's attempts to help aren't helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It's enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake's also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there's something even better than chocolate.

I love chocolate!  So when I came across this title I was instantly intrigued, because there is only a couple things I can think of that are better than chocolate and I wanted to know what Sheila Roberts thought was better than chocolate. 

If you are looking for a light, cute read this is your book.  You will instantly fall in love with Icicle Falls and all it's quirky residents.  Samantha can sometimes be pushy and overbearing, but she's got a company to save.  I can't imaging the pressure on Samantha's shoulders and while at times she acted irrationally I think I would have too, especially towards Blake.  While reader will love Blake from the instant they meet him, it is easy to see why Samantha blames him for everything.  It seems like he is in the way of saving Sweet Dreams and in turn ruining her life.  I loved to see Blake struggle, not only with Samantha's wild mood swings, but also how to make things right.  He's genuinely a good guy and we need more of those around.

The rest of the characters are just as fun.  They are unique and each bring their own spin to the story.  We do get to see into Samantha's family a bit, but I'm sad to say not as much as I wanted.  There are some loose ends, especially involving her sisters that I want answered.  I'm not sure if there is going to be another book or not, but there should be.  I want to know what happens to Cecily and Bailey's love lives.  These sister need some luck in the love department..  

The story itself was intriguing and hard to put down.  There was so much detail about running a chocolate factory and how it was built and passed down through the family.  I loved hearing about all the different candies and other creations that were made with chocolate.  The chocolate festival that Samantha and the town organized sounded amazing, but I think I would need a gallon of milk and some serious exercise after a weekend there.  To make sure that you didn't feel left out of the goodie fun, the book features some of the recipes of the creations talked about throughout the story.  I love when authors include recipes when they talk about interesting food.  I'm super excited to try the Lavender-White Chocolate Scones.  Don't they sound wonderful?

Whether you're in the mood for something sweet or just a fun read, try Better Than Chocolate.  Oh and if you make any of the recipes in the back make sure to send some my way! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Launch: Uncontrollable by S.R. Johannes

Released today: Uncontrollable by S.R. Johannes

Book Summary
As 16-year-old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program".

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants.

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.

Little does she know, she is being hunted too.

News and Giveaways!
Uncontrollable is the second book in "The Nature of Grace" series by S.R. JohannesUntraceable, the first book in the series, has won and been nominated for several awards including Winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award (YA), 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (YA Nominee), and a finalist in The Kindle Book Review's "Best Indie Book of 2012 (YA)".
Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."

 If you like a page turner, you will love this series!

 Head over to Mundie Moms for a Big Uncontrollable Launch Party with tons of prizes and then over to SR Johannes blog for even more.

To continue on with the blog tour, check out the line up! Where SR talks about anything from marketing to writing to her books to personal interviews and giveaways.

Author Bio
S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes.  Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.

S.R. Johannes is a winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards (Young Adult) and was also recently nominated for 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (Young Adult). Untraceable was also recently named a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Indie Book of the Year (YA)

After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Night Date Night

Friday Night Date Night is a feature on my blog that showcases movie reviews (mostly movies that were adapted from books). Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of relaxing at home.

Sticking with my theme of Marvel characters I decided to check out the movie Thor.  Now I've heard some good and some bad things about Thor (both the movie and the character) and I wanted to check it out for myself.  While others may portray Thor as arrogant and impulsive, this movie not only shows that aspect of his life but also shows how he grows as a person and a future king. 

As for the movie itself, I wasn't a fan.  It was darker than I expected and I wanted more comedy and romance.  There was a lot of fighting and it was more Sci-Fiction/Fantasy than I'm used to.  However, I love how all of these Marvel/Superhero movies seem to set the scene for The Avengers.  I really like how all The Avengers had their own movies first and parts of their movies contain background for the movie The Avengers. 

One good thing about Thor was Chris Hemsworth.  Yikes he is major drool worthy in this movie, especially when his shirt is off and I'm kind of digging the longer shaggy hair.  He played the part of Thor well and I was easily convinced he was the almighty Thunder God.  The acting was great in this movie, the plot just wasn't for me. 

However, I still suggest seeing this movie if nothing else at least for the tie-in for The Avengers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday's Name Game: Cecily from Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts

When I first started blogging I did this feature called Thursday's Name Game and as I was going through my posts I realized that I had a lot of fun putting the posts together so I thought I'd try it out again.

Essentially I just take whatever book I'm reading, pick a character and research a little about their name. So here it goes...

Name: Cecily
Gender: Female
Character From: Better Than Chocolate

Origin of Cecily:

Latin and thought to represent Saint Cecilia.  (I've also read it means dim-sighted or blind, but I'm not a fan of those so much) 

Places named Cecily:

Cecily, a fictional Alaskan town from T.V. show "Northern Exposure"
Characters named Cecily?

  • Cecily Giraffe, a character in Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys by H.A. Rey.  This was the first book to feature the infamous Curious George.  
  • Cecily Temple, a character from "The Gemma Doyle Trilogy" by Libba Bray
  • Cecily Cardew, a character from Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Ernest"
  • Cecily, an alias for Halfrek a vengeance demon from the show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Have you heard of these gals?

  • Cecily von Ziegesar, author of the "Gossip Girl" series
  • Cecily Neville, Duchess of York

Do you know of anyone named Cecily or any famous Cecily's I am missing?

*adapted from

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review of The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Title: The Eleventh Plague
Author: Jeff Hirsch
Published by: Scholastic Paperbacks
Pages: 288
Source: Won
Format: Paperback ARC
Rating: 2.5

Summary from Goodreads:  In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.

Jeff Hirsch makes a name for himself with his debut novel The Eleventh Plague.  I hadn't heard much about this novel, so for once I felt like I was completely looking at a novel with fresh eyes.  While the premise of this story was entertaining, it wasn't as original and unique as I was hoping.  This seems to be a reoccurring theme and while I do enjoy dystopian novels I want ones that catch my attention or bring something new to the table.  

Stephen is an enjoyable character that is loyal and a bit of a rule breaker.  After coming to Settler's Landing he wants to start over, but he has trouble trusting others and can't seem to go of his past.  Jenny on the other-hand is a fantastic character.  She’s charismatic, spunky and full of life.  She's got an edge to her and you can tell she's completely comfortable with who she is and what she wants.  I'm actually kind of in awe of her and wish I could be as confident as she is.  Jenny's a bit of an outsider too so when she teams up with Stephen trouble is sure to ensue.

The other characters were not very memorable.  I did like Jackson, Derek, and their quibbling along with the rest of the teenage characters was fun.  It was nice to see light-heartedness in this hopeless world.  One thing I did really enjoy about the story was when the teens got together and played baseball.  It seemed such an ordinary thing to do and I loved that they kept up a small amount of normalcy despite the disarrayed world around them.   

As for the writing, I enjoyed the style though it was a bit simplistic.  It was an extremely fast read and when it was over I felt that it was almost too short.  I think there could have been more detail and pages devoted to certain situations and feelings.  I felt that the romance was a little rushed and I wanted to know not only what the characters did, but also how they felt. 

The Eleventh Plague
was a bit darker than I was expecting, but not so much that it shifted to horror.  While this book didn't do it for me, I'm interested to see what Jeff Hirsch comes up with next. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review of Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

Title: Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes
Authors: Various
Published by: Month9Books
Pages: 340
Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Format: ARC ebook
Available: October 16, 2012
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from GoodreadsIn this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall.

When the weather starts getting colder and the leaves begin to change, I know fall is almost here.  And what is a better way to bring in fall than to read Two and Twenty Dark Tales?  If you thought you knew your nursery rhymes before, you were wrong.  

Each story starts out with the original rhyme that the dark tale was concocted from and then delves into it's haunting rendition.  The writing was exceptional and each story was completely different and unique.  Some ended happy and others did not, but they all offered a history to the rhyme you never would have imagined.  It was fascinating to discover how each author incorporated the rhyme and what they would come up with.

For me, some tales were confusing and they often felt a bit rushed.  Others though were wonderfully put together and they seemed to capture my complete attention in a short few pages.  After reading certain stories I felt that I had read a novel for how rich and detailed they were. 

To highlight a couple of my favorites... 

Boys and Girls Come Out to Play by Angie Frazier.  A great story about children responding to a witch's call.  This was my favorite story in the anthology. It was hauntingly and beautiful.    

Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling.  A bit of a dystopian novel about a mother and her many children that live in a shoe-box sized apartment.  While I didn't quite understand what was going on in the outside world, I loved the main character and how she took charge.  

Those Who Whisper by Lisa Mantchev.  A girl gets cast off from her village and lives in the woods with the help of the animals which whom she can communicate with.

The Well by K.M. Walton.  How did Jack and Jill fall down the hill?  This is a great story with lots of sibling rivalry and what it will cause you to do. 

Whether you pick and choose which stories to read or read them all, these dark retellings will pleasantly catch you by surprise and have you craving more.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Night Date Night

Friday Night Date Night is a feature on my blog that showcases movie reviews (mostly movies that were adapted from books). Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of relaxing at home.
I'm not much of a comic book reader, but I love Superheroes!  I also love alpha males who are a bit cocky and who's a better superhero than Iron Man...or at least when Robert Downey Jr. is playing him.  
Iron Man 2 was not quite what I expected in an action movie.  There are more emotional situations than I'm used to in a superhero movie, but I think that made me connect with the characters more.  I actually felt bad for Tony Stark at times and was a bit worried about him.both the hard and soft side of a these fun comic book characters. 

But don't fret, this movie had it's fair share of action too.  The fight scenes were bigger than the first movie and the special effects were out of this world.

With a star-studded cast and a fun story, this is a movie you won't want to miss.  


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review of Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

Title: Kiss of Midnight
Author: Lara Adrian
Published by: Dell
Pages: 402
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads: He watches her from across the crowded dance club, a sensual black-haired stranger who stirs Gabrielle Maxwell’s deepest fantasies. But nothing about this night—or this man—is what it seems. For when Gabrielle witnesses a murder outside the club, reality shifts into something dark and deadly. In that shattering instant she is thrust into a realm she never knew existed—a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and a blood war is set to ignite.

 While some people are over vampires, I still love them.  I think it's amazing that an author can take this classic idea of vampires and change the lore to make it their own.  We have born vampires, blood-made vampires, sparkly vampires, men only vampires, warrior vampires and a personal and sexy vampires.  Maybe I came upon this series too late, but for me something was missing.  I wanted more from Kiss of Midnight and the start of the Midnight Breed series.  

Gabrielle is a character that even after reading the book I don't fully feel like I know.  I never really connected with her.  I loved that she was a photographer and she seems to have a unique ability (or curse depending on how you see it) of her own, but what about who she was as a person?  The one insight into her personality was her reaction to vampires.  she wasn't all accepting at first when she found out about vampires. She was shocked and a bit horrified, but was willing to listen to reason.  I felt her reaction was better than some I've read in literature of instant acceptance and worship.  

Lucan on the other-hand is mysteriously sexy and I want to know more about him.  He was kind of aloof and protective which I feel is why we didn't get to know a lot about him until the end of the story.  However, I did feel that Lucan and Gabrielle made a wonderful couple.  I thought their personalities complimented each other well and I liked how despite the early physical relationship it took them a little bit to realize their feelings for one another.  

The writing in Kiss of Midnight was good.  The action scenes were fast-paced and exciting while the intimate scenes were steamy and sexy.  Even though I didn't connect to the story right away, the ending left me shocked.  I can see how this series could become addicting if all the books end the way Kiss of Midnight did.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Published by: Atria Books
Pages: 276 pages
Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads: The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand. Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Beautiful Disaster offers an explosive twist on the "good girl" meets "bad boy" story line.

Abby Abernathy is running from a sordid past.  She's changed her life around until the night she runs into Eastern University's bad boy.  I loved Abby.  She was spunky, bright and could put Travis in his place.  I love a main character with personality and who can dish it out with the best of them.  At times Abby makes some questionable decisions, but hey she's in college...give her a break.  Plus, I love the added intrigue of Abby's past.  She's not your typical preppy freshman, instead she's full of mystery you want to uncover. 

Now Travis on the other-hand, you just want to uncover in general.  He's smoking HOTT!  However, he's quite volatile inside the fighting ring and out.  While he tries to reform himself of his playboy tendencies, I'm not quite sure I'm convinced.  In fact, at times Travis and Abby's relationship was unhealthy and a little troublesome.  
The passion in this novel leapt off the pages.  I was so hooked by this story that I didn't want to set it down.  I read it in two days, and it easily would have been one but since I was on vacation with one of my besties I thought I shouldn't ignore her the whole time.  The story is intense and at times Abby and Travis were like a train wreck where you want to, but can't make yourself look away.   

This is a novel is a bit shocking at times, but overall an intriguing read.  Plus the author is releasing the story from Travis's point of view next year so  make sure you check out Beautiful Disaster first!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Seven Books That Make You Think
(About the World, Life, People, etc):

1. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson.  This book had me talking to everyone about medical ethics and what they would do in the same situation.

2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  I have worked with HeLa cells before so it was interesting learning the story behind them and the ethical issues that went with obtaining and marketing these cells.

3. Thirteen Reason Why by Jay Asher.  How do your actions and words affect others?  Jay Asher shows how sometimes the smallest thing affects others greatly.

4. The Life you Longed for by Maribeth Fischer.  Dealing with the aftermath of a mother's selfish mistake while in the middle of fighting her child's deadly and mysterious illness. 

5. Hate List by Jennifer Brown.  Another book where people's actions affect others and dealing with the blame of a horrible incident. 

6.  Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  What will love drive you to do? 

7.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  If almost everything you cherish was taken away from you, would you choose to stay or leave?

That's all I can think of, but I'm excited to read your choices.  I love books that make me think!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review of Switched by Amanda Hocking

Title: Switched
Author: Amanda Hocking
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Published by: Brilliance Audio
Length: 8 sound discs (8 hr., 49 min.)
Source: Libary
Format: Audio
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from GoodreadsWhen Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She's not the person she's always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel all because of Finn Holmes. Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken...though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she'd ever admit. But it isn't long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth and he's come to take her home. Now Wendy's about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that's both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she's meant to become...

Do you ever read a novel and have mixed feelings about the whole thing?  Switched had me all over the board with my emotions.  I loved the uniqueness of the novel and I loved the plot, however I couldn't stand the main character, Wendy, and the vagueness at time drove me nuts.     

Wendy is not only a changeling switched at birth with a human child, but she is also a troll (more commonly called Trylle).  This is my first troll story and while I may have had preconceived notions about trolls (ugly, hairy feet, short and lumpy), they are not at all what I expected.  In fact, they are gorgeous and most have some sort of magical power.  I tried to like Wendy, I really did and there was a moment or two in the middle of the story when I was warming up to her and then she'd blow it again.  Wendy is the type of person who depends on others too much.  She depends on them to do her work, to teach her, to defend her.  I want my heroines to be fierce and to not sit on the sidelines and watch.  Ugh. 

The story itself was wonderful.  While it had elements of other common themes, Amanda Hocking took them and made them her own.  It was exciting, adventurous, a bit scandalous and fun.  I loved learning about the Trylle world and well I felt they kept Wendy in the dark a lot (but then expected her to know everything) it was still interesting to see her fumble her way through her new position.  

I did enjoy listening to this book.  Sometimes when listening to an audio book where the main character is a teenage girl her voice can either sound too young, or too "valley girl."  Therese Plummer had a nice mix of sounding not to young, but also not too grown up.  Plus the audio book gives you this extra story at the end, so it's kind of like getting a two for one deal.  How cool. 

Because I enjoyed the story and i really liked some of the other characters in this novel, I think I will read the next in the series.  However, I hope Wendy goes through some bootcamp or something and gets her act together.       

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review of Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi

Title: Willow Pond
Author: Carol Tibaldi
Pages: 318
Source: Author/Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3 stars

Summary: As the Roaring Twenties crumbles into the Great Depression, Virginia Kingsley, owner of New York's swankiest and most popular speakeasy, Baccanal, learns her baby nephew is kidnapped. Is she somehow involved? His movie star father and her neice must set aside their differences to work with Virginia and her shady contacts to find the stolen child. A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who befriends the mother may hold a key to the mystery. 

What a roller-coaster of a ride.  Willow Pond is filled with scandal, deceit, gangsters, tears and hope.  A heartbreaking tale about the kidnapping of a young boy and the aftermath that ensues.  With mystery and intrigue, it's hard to pin down exactly who was involved in the kidnapping and the roles they played. 

Laura is devastated by the loss of her son.  She wants him found, but is not quite sure how to go about it.  This was a trying time for her and I'm sure she is completely broken, but she also makes some rash decisions.  She falls into a new relationship fast and at the first sight of an argument gets selfish and childish.  I did like Laura in the beginning of the novel, but after a turn of events I couldn't stand her.  I thought she was acting ridiculous and spoiled.  There wasn't much depth to her; in fact, instead of connecting with her more as the novel continued I was put off by her. 

The rest of the characters I really enjoyed.  They were lively and complex which made their parts of the novel so much more interesting.  I loved how determined most of the characters were.  They took things into their own hands instead of waiting around to see what could be done.  This made the novel more interesting as there were multiple people hunting down the kidnappers, with false leads, death, more kidnapping and pure craziness that it was delightful. 

I, personally, am fascinated with "the Roaring Twenties" and while Willow Pond did feature Speakeasies and some gangsters I wish there would have been more of this in the story.  I loved the setting and wish that it would have been a greater focus in the novel.  This could just be me though and my insane desire to be a flapper.  Maybe I was one in a past life and I'm hoping for a return to the lifestyle. 

While I did enjoy this book, I still felt like it was a bit disconnected.  It would jump in time and between people and I often had to take a minute or two to orient myself.  Even with some of it's glitches, it's still a great story and a very interesting read. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review of To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory

Title: To Kill a Warlock
Author: H.P. Mallory
Pages: 210
Source: Obtained free from Amazon (July 3, 2012)
Format: ebook
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: The murder of a dark arts warlock.A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch.

Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world.

When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim.

To Kill a Warlock is a hilarious read that is pure enjoyment.

Dulcie is a fun character. She's spunky, quirky and really wants to be a romance writer...oh and she's also a fairy. Dulcie is somehow corralled into working with this gorgeous stranger to catch a murder, and her life gets flipped upside down in the process. While the situation may not be ideal, Dulcie is the type of character to do what is needed of her, even if it means red leather, and black feathers.  I did really liked Dulcie as a character, but I wish she would have had a little more depth.  She was funny, but I felt like by the end of the novel I never really got to know her. For me, if I don't feel attached to the main characters I have a hard time connecting with the rest of the book.

H.P. Mallory made sure to not forget any paranormal creature as she was writing To Kill a Warlock. We've got vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches, loki and even a gnome. I loved the interesting mix of paranormal creatures and the plot that intertwined them all was easy to follow and kept you wanting more.  There are some fun scenes where Knight is partially possessed by the creatures blood and he becomes quite the horny teenage boy.  I was literally laughing out loud and could feel Dulcie’s frusteration. 

To Kill a Warlock was a fast read that quite entertaining.  It is one of those reads I would consider "mind candy", but hey who doesn't like a treat every now and then?  If you're looking for a book that's light, fun and easy to get lost To Kill a Warlock is the perfect choice.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Q&A with Katie McGarry Author of 2012 Debut Novel Pushing the Limits and Giveaway!

Q&A With Katie McGarry

Q: What was your inspiration for writing Pushing the Limits?
A: I had two main inspirations: One, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a story in which my characters felt strong enough to leave their pasts behind and create new futures for themselves. The first scene I ever saw in my mind was Echo and Noah leaving town after graduation. Two, I wanted to write two characters who were facing over- whelming issues and who, through battling these issues, found hope at the end of their journey.

Q: How did you come up with Echo’s name?
A: Echo went through several name changes as I wrote the man- uscript. For a while, she had a very normal name, but it always felt off. It wasn’t until I looked at Echo from her mother’s point of view that I found her name. Echo’s mother loved Greek my- thology so it made perfect sense that she would name her chil- dren after the myths. I read several Greek myths and the mo- ment I found Echo’s, I fell in love. Echo, to me, was the girl who lost her voice. Thankfully, she finds it by the end.

Q: Which character is the most “like” you?
A: All of them. I gave each character a piece of me (though some have larger slices of me than others). Overall, I’d say I’m a strange combination of Echo, Lila and Beth. Echo has my need to please, Lila has my unfailing loyalty to my friends and Beth encompasses my insecurities.

Q: Did you experience friendships with Grace types when you were in high school?
A: Yes. And the more people have read this story, the more this question comes up. Grace has struck a stronger nerve in people than I ever would have imagined. It seems most of us have un- fortunately experienced a relationship where a person wants to “like” you and wants “be your friend,” but only if it serves their needs. In case anyone is wondering, that isn’t friendship.

Q: Are there any parts of the story you feel particularly close to?
A: Yes. The relationship between Noah, Isaiah and Beth. Beyond my parents and sister, my nearest family members were over fourteen hours away. My friends became my family. The peopleI grew up with were more than people I watched movies with or talked to occasionally on the phone. These were people with whom I shared life’s most devastating moments, but also my hardest laughs. These were people who I would have willing- ly died for and I know they would have done the same for me. They shared my triumphs with smiles on their faces and con- gratulatory hugs. They held me when I cried and offered to beat up whoever hurt my feelings. These were also the same people who were more than happy to get in my face if they thought I was making a wrong decision.

Q: Did anything that happens to Echo happen to you?
A: Sort of. I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. It felt very strange to have no memory of an incident that other people knew about. It was even strang- er to have injuries and not have an inkling where they came from. In college, I finally remembered the incident when a dog lunged at me. I relived the horrible event and sort of “woke up” a few minutes later to find myself surrounded by people I loved. Even though I “remember” the incident, I still don’t remember the whole thing. I only see still frames in my mind and there is no blood in any of the memories.
About author Katie McGarry
 Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and she remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and is a   secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour  and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. Katie loves to visit schools and talk to teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach.

Check out my review of Pushing the Limits here!
Giveaway Rules:
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Review of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:  No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that  horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. Echo and Noah couldn’t be more different, but they find themselves united by a common goal: to sneak into their court-  ordered social worker’s case files in order to learn the truth about themselves and their families. What they didn’t count on is falling in love -- and now Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

I crave a good love story.  The heat, the passion, the drama...I live for it.  Katie McGarry's debut novel, Pushing the Limits, satisfied that need and more. 

Echo and Noah are an unexpected, yet deliciously scandalous and completely right couple.  They are opposites on the outside, but share so much pain on the inside.  I loved how unique these characters were.  They were not your typical "popular cheerleader and sexy bad boy" couple, instead they had depth and an array of problems that haven't really been touched on much in the YA world.  They were refreshing and while at times you felt sorry for them, or wanted to strangle them, by the end you will admire their strength and who they've become. 

As crazy as it sounds, I absolutely loved exploring the traumatic experiences that plagued Echo and Noah.  Looking into their therapy with Mrs. Collins and how each of them dealt with their situations and waring emotions was fascinating.  I have no experience with their issues and it was interesting to see different techniques that their counselor used.  I liked how unconventional Mrs. Collins seemed and how she seemed to really care about Echo and Noah, not just with overcoming their issues, but also about them and their everyday lives. 

The writing was good, but at times seemed a little disconnected.  However, I loved the alternating points of view between Echo and Noah.  I loved seeing both sides of their times together and also how each person dealt with their circumstances.  They are intriguing people and getting a look into both of their thoughts added immensely to the story.   

Overall this was a great book that I really enjoyed!