Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Who reads a book set on her new Nook in two days? This bitch.

So, it seems like forever ago that I got a really good deal on the Vampire Wardens box set from Lisa Renee Jones and then my Nook died. Well, it didn't die, die, but it needs a new battery and when I looked at the price I laughed a maniacal laugh and decided I would sell Matt's kidney if I had to so I could get a new  Nook.

And then as it turns out, Matt got me a new Nook HD tablet for Christmas and he still has both kidneys so yay! I can use a kidney for something else. But I immediately got into these books because they sounded good, looked like short reads, and I'm all about that right now.

VW&WW

So, I have only read the Vampire Wardens set, and I'll start the Werewolf Society one later. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll probably start it tonight. But here are my mini reviews for the first set.

Hot Vampire Kiss: The werewolf population is entrenched in a century long civil war, and now they are plagued by a virus that is turning wolves into killers. The Brooks brothers pursue one such rogue werewolf to Temple, Texas. It is in Temple that Evan encounters a beautiful nurse named Marissa who instantly melts the hundred years of ice running through his veins. When she is brutally attacked by the wolf, he breaks the rules of the Vampire Council and uses his blood to save her. Now, if he doesn’t kill the wolf by the next full moon, Marissa will become a killer wolf, and he will be sentenced to death.

Hot Vampire Seduction: The underground vampire population of Austin, Texas has taken to hosting orgies with human women who’ve been forced to indulge in a new aphrodisiac.The drug, Blood Red, is a mixture of a rare type of werewolf blood and that of a vampire. Blood Red creates an insatiable desire for sex in the user to the point of pain in the absence of pleasure. Sometimes that pain leads to death.
Vampire Warden, Aiden Brooks, has spent more than a hundred years enforcing the laws of his race, and life has taught him that anyone that he allows into his world ends up dead. Despite knowing this all too well, having painfully loved and lost in his past, when his search for the creator of Blood Red places coroner Kelly Riggs directly in both his path, and that of a dangerous clan of vampires, his desire for her goes well beyond offering her protection. He’s drawn to her bravery, seduced by her feisty spirit and beauty, but he is determined to resist her, fearing he will put her in harms way. But Kelly is already on the radar of the enemy, and when she gets too close to the evil vampire clan’s secrets, she is given Blood Red. Now Aiden’s hunger for her might be the only thing that can keep her alive but who will save her from him?

Hot Vampire Touch: In blood they will find destiny and the eternal bond of passion…
A Vampire Warden betrayed by a werewolf he loved, turned into something not Vampire or Wolf. The woman – the wolf – who will heal him…if he doesn't destroy them both first.

OK, so each book centers around one of three brothers who were turned into vampires against their will but have become vampire wardens. Evan, Aiden, and Troy (in order). I should also tell you that each book stands alone, you don't have to read them in order, but I really think it's better if you do. Every story kind of rolls into the next and the larger story forms and you really get into them. They are fast reads and they are all super good romance stories with the paranormal aspect to them that you know I like. All three of them have suspense and each book gives you hints on what to expect in the next one and that will keep you reading through the night while your husband snores next to you. 

I have read a few books by Lisa Renee Jones now and I really like her. You can rely on her to give you an intriguing story with a little suspense, but really great romance and sex scenes. The sex scene towards the end of Hot Vampire Seduction is hands down, the most peculiar circumstances around a scene that I have ever read. Seriously. You should read it just to see what I'm talking about. 

Overall I really liked them. I liked all three main characters with their flaws and warped guy thinking and the women that ultimately change them. I liked all of the characters and you know I'm picky about my characters. So if you are looking for a good ebook set for your new reader, pick this one up. They are fast reads that will keep you entertained. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Never Hug a Nun (and giveaway)

Now, knowing me you are probably thinking I'm going to talk to you about a valuable life lesson. But you would be wrong. Instead, I'm going to review a book I think most of you will appreciate.

Never Hug a Nun - Kevin Killeen


From first crushes and cafeteria lines, hidden forts and secret passwords, learning the Cub Scout oath and robbing the Ben Franklin, to hanging out on the train tracks, running from the police, enduring stuffy classrooms and, of course, dodging projectile vomit, Never Hug a Nun laces the reader into the Keds of young Patrick Cantwell—a boy who really wants to be good, but who, like his hero The Wolfman, always seems to fall short.
Set in Webster Groves in 1966, the story takes readers on a laughing, head-shaking, I-remember-doing-that-stuff ride through the rigors of practicing good penmanship, the rites of spring kickball, unsupervised summer days filled with Velvet Freeze daydreams of starting a band at least as good as The Beatles, and, finally, to those dying seconds when a boy reaches out bravely to hold the 220-volt live wire of a girl’s hand.
I have read a lot of books recently that are serious undertakings with lots of pages, but this is under 200 pages and was hilarious. Seriously- I haven't laughed this hard reading a book in awhile. I think the reason I loved this book so much is I remember the hijinks I participated in without my parent's knowing what was going on. Like that time my brother and I got our best friends and we had a crab apple fight in the park. But then Travis's apple hit Jessica REALLY hard and she had a bruise. Which turned out to be hilarious as adults because when I found out Jess had to have a heart transplant, I told Travis it was because of that apple and he fucked her up. I think he believed it for a second but then realized I was just being an asshole. 
Or that time we stole all of the Sheet Rock out of the neighbor's house, busted it up, and discovered it's like chalk on the road. Travis and I decorated pretty much all of Balsam Avenue with it and then totally lied about it when our parents asked. But stupid criminals we were, we wrote our names all over the road. It's like leaving your ID at a crime scene. We spent an entire Saturday washing the road. As an adult I don't know how that other kids' parents didn't kill us now that I know how much Sheet Rock costs. 
But that's why I loved this book. We all have hilarious childhood stories that are really some of the most formative experiences of our lives. Good or bad, we all have one story that will end with, ".. and I never did that again!". One of my favorite lines from the book was this one (this is after the jumped onto a train): 
"The bridge and the fort and the golfers and the boredom of the hot summer day slipped away behind them as they rolled toward downtown Webster- afraid, excited, yelling SHIT to each other with lady cigar breath, holding in nervous pee, going places at seven miles an hour." 
I don't know why I love that line so much but I totally get it. You know how as a kid you are such a bad ass in your own mind but as an adult you realize what an idiot you really were. But it didn't matter because it's what life was about back then. I also love that the book is set in the 60's and there are so many Catholic school references that you just really love Patrick. You know he wants to be a cool kid, fall in love with Ebby, and just not piss off a nun. 
Oh I loved this book. I really needed something to remind me of the stupid things I did as a kid, the good times with my brother, and just not be so serious and stressed out before the holidays. Totally the perfect remedy. I seriously encourage you to read this book especially if you're older than me because I bet a lot of the social references will make more sense to you or you'll at least totally know what they are better than I. But even if you don't, don't let that deter you. You will really like this one. 
So let's give one away! YAY! Open to US/Canada only.. sorry lambies from other places! 
  • Must be a follower through GFC. 
  • Leave a comment with your email address. I'm not psychic, peeps. 

But in case you don't win because you probably won't, you can buy it HERE. You can read an excerpt of it HERE and then see what other tour stops are saying HERE.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kiss of Surrender

OK, full disclosure. When I signed up for this book I did it solely because the main character was hot on the cover and it was a weird concept of vangels, which are vampire angels. Right? You're intrigued, aren't you? I knew you would be.

Kiss of Surrender - Sandra Hill


It’s not easy being a Vampire Angel.
No one knows that better than Trond Sigurdsson. In the centuries since he last went out drinking and wenching with his Viking buds, Trond has been a gladiator, a cowboy, a ditch digger . . . even a sheik. But now he’s the baddest of them all: a kick-ass Navy SEAL kicking butts of terrorist immortals with the help of his hotter-than-Hades female partner, police officer-turned-Special Forces operative Nicole Tasso—whom Trond dearly hopes to “partner” with very shortly in a whole different way.
The “cop” part of Nicole tells her there’s something bizarre about her gorgeous godlike teammate. But her “all-woman” side can’t help wondering how great it would be to have a virile Viking in her bed. Trond has secrets galore, but Nicole feels certain she can dig them out—and really get to the heart of this powerful, unnerving stranger whom she may be risking her soul to love.
OK, so first off I have to be honest and tell you I'm not loving Nicole. She's kind of a know it all bitch. I immediately liked Trond and knew how the story would end up with Trond and Nicole but who cares- it's such an interesting take on paranormal romance. 
I will say that the first entire half of the book was very tedious for me to trudge through. You get a lot of background information about vangels, how Trond become a vangel, some information on Nicole, and then a LOT of military lingo that was almost too much for me. I really almost said forget it when I felt like it wasn't moving fast enough. But fast forward they go on their mission and bam- I am all in. It goes fast at that point I thought and that was OK. I also realized at an early point that this must be book two of a series because Trond referred to his "brother" being married already so I had to look this up and yes, this is book two. But don't worry! You can totally jump in at this point and not feel like you have no idea what the hell is going on. It just makes you want to read the first one and the third one that is coming soon. 
I will also say that I liked the humor infused in the book. Trond is kind of cheeky and I like it. The "almost sex" scene in the book is kind of steamy and I kept having to flip back to make sure I didn't miss the almost sex turning into actual sex but no, I did not and the almost sex scene is just as good as any full sex scene. Well done, Sandra. But can I just say that I hope things turn out well for Zeb? Zeb is kind of a bad guy, but trying to not be a bad guy and secretly hoping for redemption. I like Zeb.  I liked Zeb from the beginning and I really hope things turn OK for him. 
Check out Sandra's website HERE to see all of the other books that she has. 


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Whisper of Crows

What a fantastically weird, and creepy ass book. How's that for a beginning sentence?

Whisper of Crows - Jameson Hesse
Whisper of Crows
Kanaan James is a disturbed teenage boy obsessed with his childhood friend Abigail Caulfield. A horrible car accident leaves Abigail stricken with amnesia and Kanaan, desperate for her attention, convinces her they are soul mates, running from the law. In the midst of a passionate love affair, while hiding in an old abandoned house deep in the woods, Kanaan is forced to test the boundaries of his own humanity.

Can I just say that reading this right before bed was an absolutely terrible decision? Because the first three chapters are creepy, bizarre, scary and tragic all rolled into one. You will have some bizarre dreams and you will be a little hesitant to pick it up again. 

But do pick it up again because you won't be disappointed. 

This entire story was all over the damn place but it almost has to be because Kanaan is a really messed up kid. He starts off being anally raped with a stick, and his stepfather rapes him and yeah. It's a really twisted story about this kid who is abused in pretty much every way and it makes you wonder how the hell is he NOT a nut job? Then the love of his life, who doesn't know she's the love of his life, dies but not really- turns out she just has amnesia, but then she really does die and it's just like, WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING HERE??? 

I was literally on edge for the entire duration of this book because I didn't know what the hell was going to happen next. Would Kanaan just go completely nuts? What the hell is up with Abigail? Why is he surrounded by so many pedophiles and most importantly- what kind of ending is this? Do they die? You just leave me hanging on a cliff here. I also felt like maybe this is a little like the movie Inception where it's a dream inside of a dream. Maybe none of it was real or maybe only part of it was. I read one of the quotes listed in the beginning of the book and it kind of sums up the entire story: 

"Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

Does that make sense? It's kind of fucked up if you really think about it. 

And my god- the whole father or stepfather thing? WHAT?! 

I feel like if this were a movie it would make you leave that theater thoroughly scared and confused. I think you should read this just to give me your take on it. OH, but what else was intriguing was the concept of when you make one really bad decision, is it really just a fast skid into the depths of evil? Is redemption even really possible when you've gone down the wrong path far enough? And is what happens to Kanaan in the end karma or just another tick of bad things that happen to a person? I don't know. I still don't know three days after reading it. I feel like I have to re-read this to get my brain to fully wrap around it. This book sticks with you. 

Check out Jameson's website HERE as well. And then read the book and tell me if you are absolutely as creeped out by it as I am, in the best way possible. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Phoebe Pope & the Year of Four

Holy crap balls, do I have an AWESOME book for you to buy. And buy for all of your favorite friends. Seriously. Grab your credit cards and come back. 

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade
Pump Up Your Book Presents Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four Virtual Book Publicity Tour



The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .
Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above. As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father's recent death weren't enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe's heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth. Now Phoebe's lessons about Shaper's enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star's glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe's caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn't know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself-and her secret power-to get to the truth and to stay alive.

I know I'm going to get a lot of grumbling, but I don't give a damn. This book, for me, felt a little Harry Potter to me. I'm not saying that this is as epic as Harry Potter, but I'm saying I felt like there were a lot of similarities so just shut up and put down your weapons. Between Phoebe's dead parents, her going to a special school to harness her skills, the professors with secrets, the drama between specific students, and the uncertainty of what the hell is going on, I read this while a movie of it played in my head. And I loved it. 

I love Phoebe- she's smart, she's cautious, it's like she knows something just isn't right and while she doesn't know what it is, she's playing her cards close to her chest because essentially- she doesn't know who to trust. Phoebe is kind of a freak because she's not a full shifter- she's a Hypha. Hypha's are half human, half shifter. Basically nobody knows what she'll be when she goes through Conversion (when they find out their shifting creature) and so you have that plot line throughout. I love how Phoebe's secret power is a kind of a mix between mind reading and being able to pick up on emotions and know whether they are genuine or not. At first I felt like that was the dumbest secret power ever UNTIL the book starts rolling and then it totally makes sense and I can see how the Vigos (bad guys) would want to harness that. TOTALLY GET IT. 

I absolutely could not put this book down and found myself reading it when I really should have been you know, helping my kid with homework or sleeping. I didn't sleep for an entire night because this book is consuming. 

I still don't know how I feel about Colten and his little secret, but I feel like as much as I want to not like him... I'm going to reserve judgment for the sequel. Because I'm just putting it out there, there better be a sequel because there are too many loose strings. I need answers, dammit. 

But I absolutely think you should pick this book up if you are at all a fan of YA paranormal. I really think you'll like it and I hope that when the sequel comes (because I'm being an optimist, just one step below of demanding one while waving a pitchfork) that I get to review it. 

Jingle Ball. And why Psy is a diva.

So last Tuesday I drove down to St. Paul to hang with my friend Amy and then go to the Jingle Ball concert. One lesson we learned is that we were hands down some of the oldest people there without children we were in charge of.

Second is that children can't dance. I mean, I'm not saying I was a dancing dynamo when I was 15 but I can tell you I could dance better than someone who appeared to be epileptic.
So the Jingle Ball had a ton of acts, each playing four songs each with the exception of Ed Sheeran, but more on him in a bit. First up was Conor Maynard.
Conor Maynard needs auto tune like Lindsay Lohan needs crack. Girls were losing their crap and I don't get it. I really don't. But fast forward to know and I hear his one song on the radio and I find myself loving it and itching to buy it on iTunes and I need to stand strong.
Oh, and can I just say, parents of America? It is never OK to let your daughters under 18 leave the house in silver stripper booty shorts and elf socks under the surmise that it's cute and holiday like. It is, but your daughter looks like a hooker on a lunch break.

Next up was Ellie Goulding who I love. She was excellent even when the sound people for whatever reason screwed her music up during her last song. You know a good artist when they can sing their song a capella and it's still great. So we had an a capella version of Lights and it was really good. Plus she's British and she just has the cutest accent and you could just eat her up.
X factor contestant Cher Lloyd was next. Admittedly, I really liked her on the show and would watch her recap performances online but I'm not feeling the white girl rapper route she's got going on. I do like her song Swagger Jagger but everything else is just meh for me.
Oh good god I had to sit through Owl City. I don't understand why girls were losing their shit over Owl City- Owl City sucks. They suck hard.
But YAY! One Republic played and I saw them open for Maroon 5 awhile ago and I thought they stole the show then and did a thousand times better than Maroon 5 did and I feel like they are great live. They put on an energetic show. I am super excited for their new album and I really hope they tour alone because I will be there screaming my face off like I was a 12 year old at a Bieber concert.
Ed Sheeran. I don't get it, bitches. Sure, he's a ginger and that automatically makes you feel sorry for him because you know the ladies aren't chasing him down until they realize he writes sappy love songs. Then you're all over him and wondering if he could dye his hair. But no. He only sang three songs because he rapped for a really LONG time to the point where I had Amy check to see if my ears were bleeding. Gingers shouldn't rap. <-- lesson.="lesson." life="life" nbsp="nbsp" p="p">
Then Train came on and here's something random- who knew Train was popular with the tween and teen crowd? Because I think Train and I think people my age and older. I'm not even a Train fan but dammit- you can't not sing along with Meet Virginia and Drops of Jupiter no matter how hard you try. Cool thing about Train though is that they throw out a LOT of autographed stuff during their set. They also pull people on stage and Pat (the singer) sounds exactly the same live as he does on an album. Which, I really have to give props to that because that's respectable. Most artists can't do that which is why they don't sing live.
Life lesson teens- do not leave your cell phone and purse in your seat in a large arena. Amy and I both wanted to take your stuff and teach you a valuable lesson about theft. Especially when you had boys texting you for boobie pictures- you're lucky we didn't text back asking for pictures of himself first.
Psy. Oh god damn, where to start with Psy? First off, I bop along to Gangham Style just as much as the next person. I can't speak Korean but who cares, it's fun to drive to. He was slated to close out the show and we figured he'd sing it once and we could get on the road.
Dead wrong. Oh, were we wrong.

He sang it once and everyone danced and had a good time. Then he wants to sing it again. But with the lights on so he can see us dancing. So he starts yelling at the lights people to turn on the lights like a total asshole. So finally, they do it. Backup dancers come back on stage and here we go.

Only for him to stop MID SONG because the crowd wasn't dancing enough. Which, no kidding dumbass, it's well after 11 and people are trying to leave. So he does the song for a third time and it's just like, we're over it. Go back to Korea.


I don't remember what time we left but I do know I didn't leave that parking ramp until 11:45 and I felt like that was kind of unbelievable.

On the way home though, I was speeding. Very obviously doing 87 in a 70 and I thought I was the only car on the road. Until a State Trooper very clearly does a U-turn through the trees and pulls me over at 1:30 in the morning outside of Moose Lake which is like 45 minutes or so from my house. If you're speeding. Maybe closer to an hour if you were doing the speed limit.

So I got myself a happy little $125 speeding ticket, my first ever. He kept flashing his light in my face because my eyes were clearly bloodshot from exhaustion and I wondered it he was going to give me a field sobriety test. Which I always fear because A) I can barely walk in a straight line as it is and B) I can't recite the alphabet backwards. I also worried that my engine would spontaneously combust while being pulled over for speeding. At least it'd be caught on camera, right?

So YAY! My Christmas gift was a donation to the State of Minnesota courtesy of a speeding ticket. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Shuffle Up And Deal

An unexpectedly great and funny book. YAY!

Shuffle Up and Deal - Susan DiPlacido
Pump Up Your Book Presents Shuffle Up and Deal Virtual Book Publicity Tour
When Izzy and Nick meet in embarrassing fashion at a Las Vegas poker tournament, Izzy's secret dreams turn into a public nightmare. But despite her humiliation, she may have finally sparked Nick's interest in something other than cards. Before long, Nick takes a gamble on Izzy and raises the stakes when he offers to help her sharpen her game. But Izzy's convinced that Nick is bluffing and will fold his hand after he's had her on the flop. But a string of outrageous proposition bets and steamy trips on the poker tour, from Los Angeles to Miami, make these two fierce competitors realize that it may be time to put all their chips on the table. Will Izzy and Nick pair up? Or will they lose it all if they go all-in for each other? Sit down, ante up, and hang on, as Nick and Izzy get ready to Shuffle Up and Deal.

Can I just say that I absolutely love Izzy? Because I feel like her and I would be good friends if she were you know, a real person. I wasn't sure if I would like this book considering I know nothing about poker but as it turns our, I totally loved the book. And I laughed a lot, mostly at Izzy because she is just the least graceful person ever. 

The only thing I didn't love about the book? The poker terminology, puns, and euphemisms. Sure, you kind of expect a few, but there were actually a lot of them and I feel like that would maybe turn off a reader. 

But don't let that stop you! Seriously, don't turn away. 

From the beginning of the book where her boyfriend of the moment walks out on her, to the retainer, to her bitch of a step mom, to Nick, to her in a tournament, all of it- it's good. It keeps you going through all 417 pages because you are rooting for Izzy and hoping that Nick doesn't turn out to be a too-good-to-be-true-douchebag. Which, I can't tell you if he does or not, but let's just say I was satisfied with the ending! 

It is an erotic romance so you can clearly expect sex and I actually kind of loved those scenes. Sure, some is a bit... much, but in others it's kind of how I guess I would react if I were Izzy. There's a part in the book where they are with another couple and I was equally curious, horrified, angry, and laughing. That's a testament to Susan's writing and I really enjoyed it. I really want you to read it and then tell me what you think. Just ignore the poker references. HA! 

This book is another one I'm reviewing for Pump Up Your Book and I have to say, some of my favorite books this year are either self published or published under very small publishing houses and that's kind of great. I had a reader ask me the other day why I do this and it's simple- because there is a LOT of talent out there that should be recognized more and Susan is one of them. I am really excited to see what she's working on next. Check out Susan's website and her blog!




If you go HERE you can enter to win a Kindle Fire HD! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blissful Lies

I am going to feel like a terrible person, but you know I'm nothing if not honest.

Blissful Lies - Jennifer Brown Thomas
Blissful Lies
Blissful Lies tells a heart-wrenching story exploring the enviable bonds of five best friends who, in the midst of growing up together, are just starting to realize how much they still have to learn about life. They quickly find the limits of their relationships are tested when secrets and lies rapidly interrupt their picture perfect existence, threatening the stability of years of friendship. At the center of their universe is mother to one group member and Brown-Thomas University Chancellor, Addison Hamilton. Uncertainty in her own life leads her down a path of no return as she finds herself a little too involved with someone many years her junior. While each person is forced to take responsibility for their hidden secret, they wonder if ultimately, it's just too much to move forward as the 'family' they once claimed to be. Join us on the journey, which allows true love to surface despite obvious obstacles, fearful hatred to emerge with a vengeance and betrayal of even the most loyal of friends. As lives are left in tattered pieces, everyone is forced to choose.... Will the group fall apart at the seams or will the strong bonds of everlasting friendship withstand the fire of deceit?

Full disclosure here, I have never seen the show Gossip Girl but the entire time I'm reading this I'm thinking this has to be exactly like it. I also have to say this is probably the first book I have ever read that I hated every character. And I mean every character. I also knew what was going to happen within the first couple chapters and I really wanted to be wrong. I think the other major stumbling block for me was the relation ship between Addison, mother to one of the group members, and Jackson, the best friend of Addison's son. It's very Mrs. Robinson and that was an immediate turn off. I had such a hard time believing anything in the book and I felt myself wanting it to be so much more. 

The ending... it just felt too far fetched. There's a fire, someone dies, the person who does it... I don't know.  I just felt so let down and I hate that. I hate reading a book that actually is a fast read as it's only 213 pages, only to find I didn't like it. The other thing is the writing... didn't feel real. The speech between characters felt stilted. At one point you're reading about the group of characters at the beach and then it totally switches the scene and characters to the burned down remains and detectives figuring it out. No new chapter, not even a break in the page, just a new paragraph. It's weird, and it's hard to read when you just switch back and forth like that. 

I would never ask you to take my opinion over yours, and if the book synopsis pulls at you, I want you to read this and tell me what you thought. Truly. 

There are some pretty major giveaways happening with this book tour and you should take advantage of those. 
"http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2bf06719/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, there is a book trailer as well as a movie trailer:





Owlet

You want a really good book with a very cool story line? Thank me later.

Owlet - Emma Michaels
Owlet (Society of Feathers, #1)
Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the fa├žade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.


Everything about this book I loved. I loved the cover, I loved the writing, I loved Iris, I loved how it's a different story from any other paranormal book I've read and I loved that I could not put this down at all. I flew through this book so quickly that I actually had to go back and re-read a few sections because I felt like I missed something. 

So basically you have Iris, who has health issues and a caretaker, really has no idea who she is. There are so many secrets about her, her family, why things are they way they are now, and that all comes to a head in the book. She finds out that her caretaker is really her aunt and her dad has essentially hidden them because otherwise they would be hunted and killed. Which, kind of dramatic, but in a good way. Then in order to help her figure out who she is, her dad sends her to this island where she learns a LOT about her history and her mother, who she thought died during childbirth. That's actually not the case but I won't spoil it for you. Then we have Falcon, who is Iris' love interest and it's like a soul mate type situation and there's a lot that happens with him. And I have to say, it's kind of rare for me to really like the bad guy in the story but in this case I kind of do. Mostly because it's creepy, but kind of what you'd expect should this be a real story. Does that make sense? 

I absolutely loved this book and I am VERY excited to read other books by Emma Michaels. For it being a YA book I felt like it was really well written and the story kept you there.  You kept reading because you wanted to know what in the world was going on. The only thing I felt like I didn't totally get closure on was why does she have amnesia? Is it because of the asthma attack? I actually plan to re-read this to see if I missed something because as I think back I don't really understand how she got amnesia in the first place.And I suppose it doesn't really matter- the story isn't lacking without that information- but curious minds want to know. 

There is a giveaway happening for this blog tour so you can be a possible winner. 

"http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2bf06710/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


What's really cool about this is that there is a read along of this book going on, so if you want to read an excerpt of the book, you can stop at each of the tour stops to read an excerpt!

Here is the excerpt for my tour stop:

“We will see if you forgive him or not after I tell you. Sweetheart, Falcon scared you because he was sent here to do more than just scare you. Wait! Now I know that is scary but you have to understand what happened. There was a man named Caleb who took Falcon when he was very young, almost a newborn. He took him from his parents and he raised him as his own child. But, because he wasn’t his own child he treated him differently. He tried to change him and make him someone he wasn’t.”

“Why?”

“That, my dear, is something that I don’t know or understand. Not yet. Maybe one day, but honestly I hope I never understand Caleb, or any man who can send a child to, well, right now we are talking about Falcon and that is something I can understand. He has a family, an extremely large family called the Stryx, and the closest members of his family are called the Eyrie. He was told by Caleb that if he did not hurt you he would not get to be a part of that family anymore.”

“But he didn’t hurt me. He just scared me.”

“Exactly. So by not hurting you he, in fact, protected you from harm and lost his family because of it.”

“Is that why you asked him to stay?”

“I asked him to stay because he needed a home. My father, your grandfather— they always taught me to open the door and let someone in if they were truly in need, and you aren’t at risk anymore. Falcon couldn’t help what he did, he is so young and all he knew was...I could never make him go back to that. Not after your grandfather saved me from that life by being such an amazing dad.”

“Is he going to stay?”

“That is up to him and you. He refused to hurt you but I don’t trust him yet.”

“Should I trust him?”

“I don’t know. I do know that you should see if you can forgive him. He did a brave thing and gave up his family for you, a very large family, and one day I will explain more about them. But, for now let’s start with getting to know Falcon. All of us. Your father is the one who asked me to, and now I am asking you to try as well.”

“Okay. I will try to forgive him but I won’t trust him yet.”

**

I really hope you check this book out I really think you would enjoy it even if YA wasn't one of your favorite genres!

Winter's Magic

I have a flurry of book reviews for you this week so get your reading lists out!

Winter's Magic - Cynthia Gail
Pump Up Your Book Presents Winter’s Magic Virtual Book Publicity Tour + $50 Visa Card/eBook & Swag Giveaway

Beth Sergeant and Nick Chester come from opposite ends of the social food chain. While he sees a beautiful woman without an agenda, she sees a wealthy playboy. Can he convince her to let go of her insecurities and take a chance on love, when challenges from his past force her to reveal her most guarded secret?
Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of NashvilleTennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.
After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.
Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.
I feel like it's not a very well kept secret but I am kind of a sucker for romances. I always have been but it seems like I go on these kicks where it's basically the only thing I am interested in reading, so when I had the opportunity to read this one I jumped on it. 
And I kind of loved it. 
Who doesn't love a romance between two people who are pretty different and it all just comes together and it's great? It kind of gives me hope that when Robert Pattinson realizes Kristen Stewart is always a cheater, a loser, and has too big of a chin, he'll come to his senses and realizes I'm perfect. Except that I'm married but that's just details. 
I really felt like I could relate to Beth because I guess if I were in her shoes I would probably be just as skeptical about Nick. I think anytime you have a guy who is clearly a man whore or even perceived as a man whore, any woman would be hesitant to becoming the next notch in the belt. But even with that, there are plenty of romance novel worthy scenes and then of course, the dramatic past coming back up. Except that that drama wasn't as big as it was played out to be? When I'm reading it I kept thinking, "Ok, so that's not really a big deal? Why is this is a big deal?" It's a downside to being a rather practical and logical person in real life. 
I will say this book hooks you right away and there is enough going on to keep you to the end. The only thing that I was mark as a negative is that I'm starting to really hate female lead characters being so insecure. Now, I understand in real life most women are insecure about something but to be just an insecure individual all around? Annoying. Grow a back bone and embrace what you have, women. 
I will say that if you know someone who really likes romances novels and you  haven't gotten them anything, pick this one up- they won't be disappointed. 
Also, you can enter a giveaway! To enter, simply leave a comment on my blog and then head HERE to enter the Rafflecopter. Up for grabs is a $50 Visa gift card and four copies of Winter's Magic ebooks. So you could get a Christmas gift for someone for free. YAY! 
Check out Cynthia's blog as well HERE


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Brachman's Underworld

You know I'm always game for a book outside of my comfort zone and I really took a risk on this one. But I'm glad I did because this book is unique. I can honestly say I've never read anything like it.

Brachman's Underworld - Vlad Vlaslyn

Delilah Brachman just died and now she has six days to dodge her fate or she'll perish for all-time. She's become an "In-Betweener," someone whose judgment has yet to be decided, and she's drawn a ticket for the Tuesday Train, the most damning ticket of all. She struggles against the demon Noc, whose cunning mind masks a childlike loneliness it will do anything to quell, and against Honest Jack, the idealist tyrant who uses torture to get his way. Meanwhile, Delilah begins to care for a man that her real life never prepared her for. Will she overcome the demons in her past, or will the life she led condemn her for all-time?

So nothing is more uncertain than death. Nobody truly knows what happens to us when we die. Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Either way, I'd like to think there isn't an underworld because as I really got to thinking about this as I read, it was terrifying. 

Delilah is kind of a bitch. She starts the book off being absolutely awful to her dying father and then throughout we find out how she has become an in-betweener. I didn't like her so much and honestly I had no idea what I wanted to happen for her. 

This book was not a fast read. I really struggled through it. I don't know if it's because it's outside of my normal comfort level or because it's a heavy story. And it's not just that the story line is heavy, but there is a LOT of information to kind of keep in track of. None of the characters were super easy to connect with, but they are all interesting enough to keep you going. And honestly- there is enough going on throughout the story that you don't get bored waiting for something interesting to come along. 

And then while I knew what choice Delilah was going to make, I was at least pretty certain, I was still surprised. I didn't know how I felt about it. I do know I was scared for her because again, it's all so unknown and what if this is really how it is when you die? Let's just say I had some screwed up dreams for a few days and so if you scare easy or have nightmares- do not read this book before bed. Can I also just say the mental picture of Noc, Nobu and Honest Jack I had in my head? Terrifying. So damn creepy. And then hearing about "the grimes" and how the people basically sound like zombies and they prey on "newcomers" and yeah. Freaking stuff, people. 

But if you really like death books, things that are little more science fiction, I think you're going to really like this. If nothing else, it kind of gets you thinking about death and what we might face. 

These Things Happen.

I'm glad I didn't write this review immediately after finishing the book because this is one that kind of needs to sink in for a day or two (or more) before you think about it out loud.

These Things Happen - Richard Kramer


THESE THINGS HAPPEN takes place right now, even as we speak … it’s the tale of a modern family, set among Manhattan’s progressive, liberal elite, the adults all prominent in their professions, rearing their children to be the same, confident that nothing much can harm them, ever. The story starts when WESLEY BOWMAN, 16, sharp and funny and defiantly individual, moves downtown from his book editor mother’s home on the Upper East Side home to live with his father and his partner for the fall term of school; Wesley, becoming a man, feels the time has come for him to more closely know (his words here) the “man from whom I did, actually, spring.” Kenny, who came out after his marriage to Wesley’s mom ended, is a much-honored gay-rights lawyer, a regular on Rachel Maddow, Charlie Rose, a frequent contributor to the Op-ed page of the New York Times. But Wesley, when he moves in, finds his father distant and inaccessible; he has much more luck connecting with his father’s partner, George, a former actor/dancer who now runs a theater district restaurant. George is present, genuinely interested, fully at ease with himself; all the things Kenny is not. He and Wesley become like father and son, really, and not because George is in any way trying to supplant Kenny. It’s just that these things happen. Then everything changes. When Wesley’s closest friend surprises him and everyone else when, after being elected class president, he comes out at the end of his acceptance speech. The two boys find themselves at the center of an act of violent, homophobic bullying (even though Wesley is straight). Within the family, tolerant facades crumble as George, suddenly, becomes suspect. Wesley’s mom values and cares for him, and has worked to have a relationship with him, as she suspects this will assure the presence of Kenny in Wesley’s life. But, now, with Wesley in the hospital being held for observation (“When did I,” she wonders, “turn into someone whose kid is held for observation?”) isn’t it her duty to wonder and worry about what might have been going on when her back was so progressively turned? Did she fail to keep her son safe? Does she, indeed, know him? Does she know George, so delightful and pleasing, an author of agreeable evenings? And, more worryingly, does this accomplished, insightful, deeply curious woman really, in the end, know herself?
These Things Happen is a sharp, laugh-out-loud funny, ultimately deeply moving story about the way we live now and the alertness and awareness we have to cultivate in order to do it. It’s about the assumptions we all unknowingly hold that we take in from the culture around us, no matter how free from “all that” we think we might be; the received convictions just beneath the surface that need only the right spark to catch fire. In this novel that fire burns its way through the stories all the characters tell themselves about themselves; no one is who they were at the start, and all must find the courage to truly, for the first time, face who they are.
I will tell you up front that I didn't think it was laugh-out-loud funny but it was humorous in some parts. Never once through the book did I laugh and think that what I just read was really funny. I will say it is a fast read and the story is actually fast. Does that make sense? It's not drawn out, the story happens within a few days and you just keep plucking along. 
If you don't like books that switch from character point of view's then you will hate this book. Every chapter it's a different character you're reading from and admittedly, even I got confused and had to keep referring to which character I'm on at several parts of the book. But overall? I liked the characters. I felt bad for Wesley who, while trying to be a good friend to Theo, asks his dad Kenny and partner George some questions about being gay. This in turn makes them wonder if Wesley is gay and basically using Theo's gayness as a cover. I will say Wesley's dad Kenny is a total ass. It makes me wonder- how do you not know that you are basically ignoring your child? I mean, really? Jerk. Then Wesley's mom is a piece of work. I loved, loved, loved how she basically comes to realize she's a racist homophobe because hello- that's what she is. I don't think she or Kenny have any idea on how to be a parent to Wesley who is really misunderstood. They refer to him as a brat and rude but if you take a step back, the poor kid gets no attention. He would basically feel unwanted and I can see why. I liked George the best, Kenny's partner. He's confused but he's trying to do the best he can to be the bridge between Wesley and Kenny. Neither of them see that and in the end, I'm left feeling the worst for George. Because I think Kenny can't give George what he needs/wants and I think it's because of Kenny's insecurities with being gay himself. 
But my biggest complaint of the whole book? How the characters speak. It drove me nuts. I know a lot of people, I've spoken with a lot of people, and not one person has ever spoken like that. Ever. I kept thinking that writing dialogue is probably difficult anyways because the voice you give the character has to hold through the whole book and it has to give you an idea of who that person is. I can't even describe it to you but I now wonder if all of the comma usage is to blame. Hmmm. Maybe I should try reading it visualizing commas aren't there. There's a thought. 
Overall? It was good. It isn't the best book I've read, it wouldn't make a Top 20 list for me, but it was a fast read and it had a theme people could relate to. Think of what you would do if you had a son, who may or may not be gay, and is the victim of a gay bashing with his friend, and now every one's role in the family is essentially questioned. And then read. 
Richard is on Twitter and on Facebook - check him out. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Librarian

Book review time! I have a TON of book reviews coming for you in the next week or so, so if you have books to buy for people on your holiday lists- take notes.

Speaking of? Olivia's school is hosting our first ever Barnes and Noble book fair as a fundraiser. I'm super excited, it's kind of my baby, and I'm even more excited that YOU can help! That's right- even though you obviously aren't going to drive to Duluth, Minnesota to buy a book so we get 10% of the sale, but you CAN buy online! If you go to www.bn.com, load up your shopping cart full of fun and awesome books, toys, etc. When you check out, make sure you click on the box saying that this is a book fair order, and type in ID: 10906642. Then bam- you just supported a school and bought some awesome gifts.

But let's talk book reviews.

The Librarian - Logan Belle
Bettie Page Presents: The Librarian

Inspired by the story of the iconic Bettie Page, Logan Belle’s sizzling erotic novel explores the transformation of Regina Finch from shy librarian to the object of one powerful man’s all-consuming desire.
Regina Finch, brilliant and bookish, has worked her way up to her dream job as a librarian at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. But her discovery of the sordid sexual adventures of a rakish, young scion among the hallowed halls and sacred stacks of the library unleashes a confusing blend of repulsion and desire that threatens to consume her. It is only through her discovery of Bettie Page, and Page’s own sexual awakening that Regina can hope to discover her sexual prowess and seduce the man she loves.
I absolutely loved this book. You hear me say things are a fast read and this one was. I kind of like how nerdy Regina is and how she is so not what you expect to be the girl who gets the hot guy. I also loved the fact that she wants to be a librarian because I'd love to be one too. Had I known how much I would grow to love books I feel like I would have a different career. And I feel like had I been pushed more in high school to read, I would have taken a much different route in life. Sadly though, kids aren't encouraged to love reading right from the get go and learn how amazing libraries are. *sigh*
Anyways. 
I loved this book. I really liked Sebastian but I feel like we don't learn about why he's such a freak so that makes me hopeful for a sequel. I will also say that I feel like the ending was rushed? I'm not against a rushed ending but the book ended with such a cliff hanger that I sat there thinking, "Really? That's it? Where are the rest of the pages?!" because I felt like Regina and Sebastian were just at the spot where it gets good. Not that they didn't have interesting scenes and the development of something important, but I felt like it could have gone so much further. Basically there were so many loose ends at the end of the book that I really feel like if there isn't some kind of follow up, that it would be a huge disappointment. 
I love how naive and awkward Regina is and I love how her friend/roommate Carly is trying to help her with both of these. And while this isn't really what I expected for a BDSM novel, I did really like the romantic scenes because I feel like I really could have related to Regina in a lot of ways and so I just really liked her. So I am basically pleading with Logan Belle to give us a follow up. I cannot stress that enough. But in the end, I do recommend this book and I look forward to reading more of Logan's work. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

That time when I was offered a mustache ride.

So this past weekend was a super fun weekend out with friends for their birthdays. I kind of get excited when my friends have birthdays because it's an excuse to go out AND I get to buy presents.

Three couples were all going to meet on Saturday at the Shout House in Minneapolis for dinner, drinks, and shenanigans. Obviously all three were had. It was supposed to be Matt and I, with Tammy and Chad (who we shared a hotel room with) and then we were all going to meet Emily and Cory. Good stuff. So on Thursday I was at work and our work study Amber pointed out that St. Louis Park (suburb of Minneapolis and subsequently where our hotel was) was pretty much ghetto. She then texted me a crime map that had a disturbing amount of dots. Fortunately for us, it ended up being in a really nice neighborhood near some pretty cool stuff and the hotel was nice.

Oh except for the fact the hallways smelled like the inside of a dumpster. But other than that, it was totally fine.

So here's a tip- if you are going to go to the Shout House I recommend that you get a reservation and then get there before 5. Because we were there around 4:15 and yeah- line already.
 I also recommend that you not even bother with food. It's typical bar food but your waitress isn't going to be very good and it'll take you almost 30 minutes to get your Coke. Not to mention the hour to get your chips and salsa. And then bring you your burger with no ketchup. And then not come back. And then, on top of it all, get everyone's bill wrong. BUT, the plus side is you'll walk out not paying for your husband's beers.
 But the best part, besides hanging out with some of my favorite people and singing along with the pianists and being some of the youngest people there, is that you will see pregnant people drinking beer!
Now some of you might be like, "Oh Sara- she clearly had a sandwich, that's why her belly is like that." And then I will say no, because when she turned a little more, clearly a 3-4 month old belly. I told Tammy I should start carrying around pamphlets on fetal alcohol syndrome or something.

Oh and then there was that awkward moment when a super huge guy with a porn mustache came over, in front of Matt, to tell me that he thinks I'm really hot and him and his friend Ben want to meet me. Of course, the rest of the people at the table crack up because hello- this not only happens all of the time, but this time Matt was RIGHT THERE. So I say that I didn't think my husband would appreciate if I did that, and he proceeds to tell me I'm really pretty, then says he's going to shake my husband's hand. So he does, and I'm standing there like, what the fuck, and he apparently tells Matt he's a really lucky guy and he should keep an eye out. Matt of course says nothing because he's deadpan on everything all of the time, and my friends crack up and keep teasing me about maybe taking a ride on the mustache. Because his friend also had a porno face thing going on and it wasn't working for either of them. But at least I can say I'm consistent when it comes to attracting the best the crowd has to offer.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Laws of Love

Raise your hand if you  need a really quick book to read? Like read-it-in-one-sitting and it's really good kind of book?

Then put your hand down because you look ridiculous and just buy this book.

The Laws of Love - Lisa White


Because having it all does not necessarily mean having it all at once…
In a small, Virginia town where fly-fishing is the favorite pastime and Hampton Steel is essentially the only employer, Associate General Counsel Livi Miller believes she has reached the top rung of Hampton Steel’s corporate ladder. With her alcoholic boss retiring soon, Livi is the presumptive heir to Hampton Steel’s general counsel position. However, in the midst of proving herself promotion-worthy, Livi’s high school sweetheart, Jake Cooper, returns from Iraq and causes long-lost butterflies to alight in Livi’s emotionally charged stomach. The resulting loss of her promotion to slimy newcomer Edward Winston combines with her rekindled feelings for Jake to place Livi on track to choose between her career and her heart.
If she chooses Hampton Steel, she saves her hometown. If she chooses Jake, she saves her butterflies as well as herself.
I know I've talked about romance novels having really lame women as leads and how this drives me insane. Because most women worth knowing aren't falling over themselves in despair and broken hearts, their entire life doesn't revolve around some guy, and they aren't afraid to do for themselves. Which is exactly how Livi Miller is in this book. I absolutely loved her and I really liked her common sense approach to her alcoholic boss, the work drama, and Jake. 
Which I'm going to say it- I kind of didn't like Jake. Because he was kind of a jerk to Livi and I was afraid he wouldn't come around and just end up being a jerk forever. He's a well written character and he's what you expect he would be like if he were a real person, but I just didn't like his "me or your job" attitude. I mean, it's 2012, women can work, buddy. 
And I wish I could tell you how THAT ends up but it kind of ruins it for you. But the book reads fast and it's listed at 147 pages but I'm telling you, you'll fly through it. I will say some of my favorite parts are their reminiscing. But the downside is that with it being a short book I feel like some parts were rushed. A few passages could have had a little... more to them, but I don't feel like the story is less good because it's not as long. Everything felt finished to me, and that's more than I can say for some other books I've read with hundreds of pages. 
Overall? Good, solid read. It'd make a fun holiday gift for a friend or stocking stuffer. (What? You don't stock stockings with books? You should. Loser.)
Lisa has a website, a Facebook, and you can see what other tour stops are saying about her book here

Friday, November 9, 2012

Back To You

So a few weeks ago I was asked to review this book and to be honest, I didn't put a whole lot of thought into it before I got it. Then I got the book, and I re-read the synopsis and totally thought this was one that I would really like. As it turns out, I absolutely love it.

Back To You - Priscilla Glenn
Back to You
When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgment, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her. Or that it would end so painfully. Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation. As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?

So you know I don't say it much but I absolutely loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the entire thing. A lot. I finished this baby in a matter of hours because I could not stop. 

Basically this story bounces back from present day, their high school years, and a few chapters of Michael's childhood. And I know some of you are like, "Dammit Sara, I hate when books do that!", and to that I say shut up because it's done really well in this book. No extra thinking is involved, it flows really nicely and naturally. The other really great thing about this book is that Priscilla doesn't put a bunch of unnecessary information and detail. You know I hate that. 

And I found myself rooting for Michael and Lauren the entire time. Sure, Michael has seriously major childhood issues that he carries into adulthood, granted. And Lauren tries really hard to help him and be supportive but she misinterprets everything he does. And because both of them are young, and clueless, their friendship and budding relationship, goes to hell. And Michael admittedly does something kind of douchebag but I totally get why he does it, and he didn't do it to be a douchebag. He thought he was doing the right thing but in a high school girl's world, it's totally horrible and awful. 

I also loved how Michael has his own daughter and is a really great dad. He's doing everything he can for his daughter and it's really kind of great. And I love that he just took to it right away where most guys in his shoes would run the opposite way from a newborn. 

Overall? It's a really great love story that isn't over the top, it doesn't have mushy scenes and I kind of wish I had a Michael. I'm just saying. I absolutely loved this story and I think you'll really like it.