Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1 Give@way: A Merman's Kiss by Laura Lond



The old legend says that a merman’s kiss will make a girl pretty and bring her luck. One poor working girl is desperate enough to try it. She is warned that she must do everything exactly as she is told… but never warned about the effect it might have on the merman.

Laura Lond has generously offered to giveaway 3 e-copies of her novel, A Merman's Kiss. Please be sure to check her out on Facebook, Goodreads, Website, and Amazon.

Please fill out this form to enter the giveaway.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

0 Review: The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner

Title: The Man From Primrose Lane
Author: James Renner
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Hardcover, 367 pages
ISBN: 978-0-374-20095-4
Genre: Mystery

Summary:
A mind-bending, genre-twisting debut novel In West Akron, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known only as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day in 2008, someone murdered him.
Four years later, David Neff is a broken man. The bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, Neff went into exile after his wife’s inexplicable suicide. That is, until an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens.” Soon Neff finds himself drawn back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. But the closer he gets to uncovering the true identity of the Man from Primrose Lane, the more he begins to understand the dangerous power of his own obsessions and how they may be connected to the deaths of both his beloved wife and the old hermit.


My thoughts:
The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner starts off with the gruesome murder of a recluse that had the odd habit of always wearing mittens. For years after the murder, David Neff, author of a best selling true-crime book, is asked to look into the man from Primrose Lane's mysterious death. Neff agrees and then the mystery begins to unfold. Neff is aghast to find that his deceased wife is somehow mixed up in the murder. Furthermore the clues are leading back to the horrific case he thought was closed years ago. Neff is driven by obsession, determination and compulsion to put all the pieces together before it's too late.
The Man From Primrose Lane is a hauntingly good read. The story consists of a few disturbing details, such as the crimes of pedophiles and murderers, that are at times hard to read but it also makes the story line more dramatic. Renner doesn't go into too much detail concerning these crimes but enough to make your skin crawl. The story is told through flashbacks and real time. This method adds to building suspense in the novel. 
This is definitely one of the more interesting books I've read in some time. The ending wasn't at all as I expected. It has a twist that will leave your mind whirling. Renner will leave you speculating and gauging not only how the book would end but also as to who the real criminal in this book is.  The Man From Primrose Lane is more for older audiences. 
My rating:
Visit these sites to find out more about the author:

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. This in no way influenced my opinion.




Monday, February 27, 2012

3 Derek the Ghost Guest Post



The Importance of Middle-Grade Fiction
Or
Why Reading my Book Series Scary School is Guaranteed to Turn your Kid into a Well-adjusted, Ivy League-bound, World-beater Dynamo

By Derek the Ghost

            Let’s start off with this question. Why is reading important for children? Wait. I have better question. Why is absorbing a story in the form of text considered a superior means of story-absorption as opposed to pictures and sound through a television or movie screen?

            Back in the olden days before TV and movies, reading was the numero uno form of self-entertainment. However, like TV of today, using books to take in fictional stories was considered a highly frivolous activity. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only form of reading not considered frivolous was reading the bible.

            So why did the cultural paradigm shift? Television and movies became the dominant form of story dispersion, and suddenly books became the underdog. When books became the underdog, they went from frivolous to intellectually elitist practically overnight. You could argue the same thing happened with theater.

            So, are you actually smarter because you read, or is it just our culture’s perception of reading that merely makes you appear smarter?

            Here’s the answer. You’re actually smarter. 

            It goes without saying that reading requires a basic education. But more importantly, it requires that the brain function in a heightened state of stimulation called Alpha Mode. During Alpha Mode there’s an innumerable amount of split-second decisions taking place. The brain is constantly deciphering letters and interpreting their meaning while at the same time forming imagery to correlate with each phrase. It requires a lot of sub-conscious brain energy and millions of electrical reactions.

            Because reading requires so much brain energy, the brain becomes tired quickly and wants to switch to Beta Mode. Beta Mode is when you are spacing out, vegging out, or just hanging out. You are essentially on autopilot, just taking things in, but not actively participating. When you are driving a car, you are usually in Alpha Mode. But when you suddenly look up and realize you’ve driven ten miles past your freeway exit, that’s right… you switched over to Beta Mode, buster.

            The good news is that reading is like running. When you first start running you can only run a short distance before getting tired. Reading is the same way. The more you read, the more “brain exercise” you’re getting, and staying in Alpha Mode for longer stretches without getting tired becomes much easier. This effect bleeds over into all facets of life. You’ll be able to study longer and more effectively, retain more information, and work more thoroughly and patiently for extended hours. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did this better than anyone.

            Now let me ask you this: Why were kids who had never read anything longer than a 150-page Goosebumps book so eager to read a 750-page Harry Potter book? And why were they able to do it so effortlessly, when reading just one chapter of a schoolbook feels like a Herculean labor?

            Because they loved it. Reading Harry Potter was as enjoyable to most kids (if not more so) than playing video games or watching cartoons. The pleasure of reading those books caused kids’ brains to squirt dopamine into their system, making them feel euphoric and self-confident. There’s something books provide that all their other forms of entertainment cannot – a deep, almost familial bond with the characters. Only books can create that on such a profound level. Remember Kathy Bates in Misery? That’s the dark side of it, but I don’t think anyone went bat-#$#@ crazy when Friends was cancelled.

            The great thing about Harry Potter was the after-shock it created in the middle-grade and YA book market. Kids were addicted to the book. The pleasure they got from the suspense, humor, mystery, and triumph had shot buckets of dopamine into their systems and no other form of entertainment could match that natural high. So, the middle-grade and YA book market exploded with kids seeking their next fix. When the Harry Potter fans grew up, they were naturally attracted to edgier, more adult fare that reflected their changing selves, and the YA market skyrocketed, heralded by Twilight and now The Hunger Games.

            Which brings me to my book series, Scary School. With these books, I had only one goal. I was not trying to write to the best middle-grade series ever. I wasn’t trying to win any Newberry medals for literature.  All I wanted to do with the Scary School series was make kids laugh. That’s it.

            With my background in comedy writing, I felt that I could maybe write the funniest (not the best) middle-grade book ever. Go big or go home, right? I wanted to have at least three laugh-out-loud moments on every page. Did I succeed? You’ll have to tell me, but the most often used words in the reviews of the book have been “hilarious” and “laugh-out-loud funny.” So far so good.

            What will happen when your kids read Scary School will be something very magical. It may very well be the first chapter book your kid reads as well as the first chapter of a life of profound and meaningful achievement. It may also be something a reluctant reader gives a shot because it actually looks fun with that zombie skateboarding kid on the cover. Maybe the only reason your kid gets it is because I’m signing copies at the local bookstore, so you think it would be neat for your kid to have a signed book. Let’s play out that scenario:       
            I sign the inside jacket of Scary School Book One and write him or her a special message with a funny drawing. Your kid is much more excited to receive it than you thought he/she would be.
           
            That night, you hear laughter from across the house late at night. Your kid is supposed to be asleep but is staying up in bed reading Scary School. You figure that’s okay, so you let him/her keep reading, and you keep hearing laughter until midnight. The laughter is forging an imprint on your kid’s brain that reading=fun.

            After finishing Scary School, you child will seek out more books to try and recreate that boisterous experience.

            In the process, the child will continuing growing up, always reading and seeking that next great story. While other kids are watching TV and living their lives in Beta Mode, your child’s brain will be in Alpha Mode 1,000% more often. The heightened brain stimulation for long hours will increase your child’s cognitive functioning far past his/her peers. Not only that, your child will be armed with amazing moral and practical lessons learned throughout the Scary School book series that helps him/her adjust to new situations, treat people with respect and kindness, and fuel him/her with a yearning to make the world a better place.

            This leads your child into doing community service, building the next great invention, and becoming class president.

            Harvard and Yale both offer your child full scholarships, but he/she chooses to cash in on his new invention money and attends Oxford because Scary School taught him/her the value of seeking adventure and meeting different kinds of people from all over the world.

            You don’t miss him/her as you otherwise might have because in the future there’s holographic communication where it seems like you’re actually sitting and talking in the same room together.

            After graduation, your child comes back home where he/she is probably a DA, a famous architect, a prodigious scientist, or CEO of that hot new startup. He/She comes over for dinner one night and puts a knapsack down on the sofa. It falls over, and amongst the futuristic gadgets, you notice an old, dusty copy of Scary School – that book your child read in one all-nighter back in middle school. That book purchased on a whim because the author happened to be signing at the store. You open it up, and read what is says where I signed the inside of the jacket:

Dear (your kid’s name), Have Fun at Scary School! – Derek the Ghost

***

For more info the Scary School series, fun and games, and even tour the school and meet the students and faculty, please visit www.ScarySchool.com  Scary School #2 – Monsters on the March will be released June 26, 2012 online and in bookstores everywhere.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

3 Marie Harbon Guest Post,Character Interview, and Give@way


‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’ is the beginning of a five part sci-fi/ paranormal series, spanning decades, time, space, alternate dimensions of reality and the lives of five people, asking some pretty existential questions along the way.
What is Seven Point Eight? Well, it’s the most powerful number in the universe, the number that connects everything.
A long time ago, our ancestors lived in a very different world from the one we inhabit today.  We understood the language of the Earth, the stars, the sky people and we knew of the Number.  This was a moment known as The First Time.  But over time, we forgot all of this and the wisdom of the Number was lost too. We walked through life asleep, ignorant of the truth.
There lies within us the hope that we can re-connect with this deeper truth.
It is time to wake up....
 In the first book of the series, a physicist begins a quest to measure the soul but soon finds himself drawn into the world of the enigmatic Max Richardson, where research is sold to the military at the highest bid. However, he soon discovers another purpose when an extremely talented young psychic enters his life. He devises a project
and builds a team to stretch the frontiers of exploration, only to make a reality-shattering discovery...
 The tale begins in the 1940s, unfolds during the 1960s; an era of social and spiritual transformation and reaches its conclusion in the modern age.
It interweaves the human dramas of love, betrayal, bitterness and above
all, courage in a world where everyone must face their own dark shadow.
 Written in the style of a TV series, this is for those of you who love clever and
intriguing story lines 'Lost' and 'Fringe' style.
 This is a great read for fans of the paranormal, big sweeping epics, metaphysics, science fiction, contemporary fantasy, alternate realities and new age/spirituality.
It's also highly suited to Young Adult readers, who like sci-fi along with their paranormal, or those who like a more challenging read.
Character Interview

Being part of a major five part epic is no mean feat, but Tahra Mamoun took time out of adventuring in The First Chronicle to discuss her role in the book.

Name: Tahra Mamoun
D.O.B./Star sign: 7th Nov 1944, Scorpio.
Profession: I work at The Institute for Max Richardson as a psychic spy, helping out in the Cold War with my remote viewing abilities.
Celebrity/person lookalike:  On the book cover, I’m represented by New Mexico actress Monique Candelaria.
Qualities: I would describe myself as passionate, courageous, driven, adventurous, dedicated, devoted and emotional.
Likes: Exploring and knowing that there’s more to life than what we can see with our physical eyes. I also like to share that with others, and be a part of something big and exciting.
Dislikes: People who try to control me, those who bullied me as a child, not being accepted for who I am.

What is your mission, or your dreams/ambitions in the book?
In my childhood, I had dreams of doing something special with my life. I was always fascinated with space and exploration, so using my remote viewing capabilities to see beyond our world is an ideal way of achieving that goal. My dreams become very tied into the OOBE project that I undertake with Dr Paul Eldridge. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.

Which is your favourite scene in the book and why?
I would have to say that my life really kicked into gear with the OOBE project. My favourite scene involves a visit to an alternate dimension of reality, where Paul and myself meet with the therianthropes, ancient teachers of mankind. It was such an extraordinary experience.

Which did you find the most challenging scene and why?
Although the two scenes with the quantum fire angels disturbed me somewhat, I’d have to say the scenes where I interact with Max are the most difficult. While he intrigues me, and gives me the strangest butterflies in my stomach, I find him controlling and distant much of the time. He makes me feel so angry sometimes.

Can you tell us about the relationships between yourself and the other two main characters of your time?
My relationship with Max is fraught with conflict. I truly appreciate that he removed me from a repressive and unhappy environment, and he opened up my possibilities in life but he is a dark character with much to hide.
Paul, however, is very different. He’s warm, supportive and open about himself, and the OOBE project is our common ground. I’m honoured to share this adventure with him.

Thanks for letting me drop by. I must prepare myself to face a difficult road in The Second Chronicle now.

To read an interview with Monique Candelaria and find out how she is like Tahra, please visit www.marieharbon.com
You can purchase the book from Amazon, or Amazon UK.
To celebrate the release of the 2nd edition of ‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’, I’m offering an ebook to a lucky winner. The format will be Kindle, although there is a PDF as an alternative.
Furthermore, I’m running a Facebook promotion from Feb 26th – March 11th.
Like the page, leave a comment on the link for one entry to be in with a chance of winning a $50 Amazon gift card. Share the link on the page for an additional entry. I’ll also be giving away 5 ebooks!
Thanks for having me, To ReadOrNot To Read 

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

2 Best Picture Nominees Before They Were Movies

The 84th Academy Awards will air on February 26. Some of the nominees for Best Picture are also much loved books. Not all the movies fall into this category but here are the movies that do. Which picture do you think will win? Which picture is the best book to movie adaptation?

Title: The Descendants 
Author: Kaui Hart Hammings
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: May 15, 2007
ISBN-13: 9781400066339 

Title: Extremely Loud and Incredible Close
Author: Jonathan Safron Foer
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 4, 2006
ISBN-13: 9780618711659

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stokett
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780399155345 

Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author: Brian Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: March 1, 2007
ISBN-13: 9780439813785

Title: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Author: Michael Lewis
Publisher: W.W. Norton and Company
Publication Date: March 17, 2004
ISBN-13:9780393324815

Title: War Horse
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
ISBN-13: 9780439796637


Friday, February 24, 2012

0 Review: In the Lion's Mouth

Title: In the Lion's Mouth (January Dancer #3)
Author: Michael Flynn
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2285-2
Genre: Space Opera


Summary:
It’s a big Spiral Arm, and the scarred man, Donavan buigh, has gone missing in it, upsetting the harper Mearana's plans for a reconciliation between her parents. Bridget ban, a Hound of the League, doubts that reconciliation is possible or desirable; but nonetheless has dispatched agents to investigate the disappearance. 
The powerful Ravn Olafsdottr, a Shadow of the Names, slips into Clanthompson Hall to tell mother and daughter of the fate of Donovan buigh. In the Long Game between the Confederation of Central Worlds and the United League of the Periphery, Hound and Shadow are mortal enemies; yet a truce descends between them so that the Shadow may tell her tale. There is a struggle in the Lion’s Mouth, the bureau that oversees the Shadows—a clandestine civil war of sabotage and assassination between those who would overthrow Those of Name and the loyalists who support them. And Donovan, one-time Confederal agent, has been recalled to take a key part, willingly or no.


My thoughts:
In the Lion's Mouth by Michael Flynn. It's the third in the January Dancer series but for the most part it can also read as a stand alone novel. I have not read the first two novels in the series so I went into this book completely blind about the story line and characters.  I think if I did read the first two books I would have been better prepared for In the Lion's Mouth. However I did manage to keep up with what was going on.
Donavan buigh is a hard character to explain. He's not one man but rather a infusion of several different people. At first I thought he was schizophrenic because he heard voices in his head but it turns out these voices are actually people joined together with him due to a scientific procedure. He also is having memory problems as well. Remember this is science fiction so things can get a little crazy. 
Donavan is being taken against his will by the Shadow, Ravn Olasfdottr. She's also the narrator of this tale. Ravn is one of those characters you can't tell which side she's playing for. The story line in this book is very fast paced.  It's also very interesting and entertaining. 
Overall this is a good story. If you like science fiction and space operas then check this book out. I would recommend maybe starting at the beginning of the series to get the whole picture but if you wanted to start in the middle then you wouldn't be too lost.
My rating:
Check out this site to find out more about the author:

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

1 Give@way Secrets by Aris Whittier


Ashley Dawson has a gift—she can communicate with spirits. Her life profoundly changes when she is urged and guided, by a spirit, to the house of Nathaniel Marshall—a man who doesn’t believe Ashley’s bizarre accusations and makes no attempt to hide it.
When Nathaniel discovers a cunning man who disappears as quickly as he appears is stalking Ashley, his fear for her safety consumes him. Their terror is taken to a new level when several murders throughout the city surface.



Thanks to Aris Whittier I have an ecopy of Secrets to giveaway! Please fill out the form below to enter. 



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2 Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

Title: Fracture
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Walker and Company
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
ebook
ISBN: 978-0-8027-2309-3
Genre: paranormal, young adult


Summary:
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal.


My thoughts:
Delaney Maxwell died. She died and through the miracle of modern medicine she also lived. However things are different than they were before. Many strange unexplained things start to happen to her. At first she thinks it might be from the trauma she suffered but things don't add up. Everyone around her is acting differently since her accident including her best friend, Decker Phillips. Everything really starts getting complicated when she meets a strange boy named Troy.
Fracture by Megan Miranda has a slow start. It wasn't until a few chapters into the book when I really started connecting with the characters and story. This story is different from a lot of the books for young adults out there. Delaney comes back from the dead. That evokes a whole thought process of 'why me?', and 'What does it mean?'. Fracture also covers themes such as death, letting go, relationships and more.  
Delaney has a great deal to think about in this novel. She goes through quite a bit trying to figure out what the right thing to do is. If she can change what's meant to be. There is an interesting and deep aspect to this book. It really speaks to the heart and conscious. However I can't tell you more without spoiling it for you. 
The story line has a slow start but picks up and then takes off. There is also mystery, romance, and a little teen angst included in this book. The mystery aspect really made this book a page turner. Overall I like this book and would recommend it.
My rating:
Check out these sites for more information about the author:

*I received an ecopy of this book from netgalley and Walker & Company for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my review.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

6 Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference

It's that time of year for the Book Bloggers and Publishes Online Conference. I attended last year and I'm looking forward to it again this year. It runs from March 7-11. I really love that you can get tons of information without having to travel and I can listen to the panels around my busy schedule. If you've not heard of BBPOC or you want to register to attend, click here. Some of the panels I'm looking forward to are: Negative reviews, Online Safety, Working with authors, and the guest speakers.


0 Review: Tenderfoot by Amy Tupper

Title: Tenderfoot
Author: Amy Tupper 
Publisher: Smashwrods
Publication Date: April 16, 2011
ebook
ISBN: 001128403X (ISBN 13: 2940011284038)
Genre: paranormal, fantasy

Summary:
Two hundred and fifty years ago, a mythical figure of Scandinavian folklore was born. The Fossegrim spent decades playing his fiddle in a waterfall, rewarding those who brought him gifts with musical abilities. But times change. Today he will cross an ocean to follow Julianna to college. As a freshman in Chapel Hill, she has no idea what she’s in for. And that’s just campus life. A world traveler, Jules is street-smart but the wounds from her mother’s unexpected death fester.
And then it begins. When her powers manifest after her 18th birthday, Nicholas makes contact. He bides his time as desperation brings her closer, slowly revealing her family’s secret piece by piece. To Nick’s dismay, Jules falls in love with ambitious Andrew, a collegiate fencer who is always in the right place at the right time. The distraction interferes with her training as time grows short. On Halloween, Nick pushes Andrew too far and Jules runs from them both. On her own again, has Jules learned enough? For Nick isn’t the only creature who crossed the ocean to follow her…

Nancy's thoughts:
Juliana, a world traveler, of Scandinavian decent is headstrong and a survivor. Still cold with anger and grieving the untimely death of her mother, she just turned eighteen and is now a freshman at UNC. Strange things are happening to her that she does not yet understand. Is she going crazy, or was there another explanation she has yet to find out? 
Nick is a Flossgrim, a mythical figure of Scandinavian folklore, who has crossed the ocean to help her come to terms with and develop her newly acquired gifts. He has a tendency to be obnoxious and sarcastic. He is handsome and he knows it.
Andrew, a Prince Charming of sorts, is on the fencing team. Average looks, but there is something about him that Juliana can't seem to shake. She is drawn to him, at times almost obsessed with him.
Tenderfoot is filled with Swedish Folklore, College high jinks, mystery, and magic. I like this book. It was a little slow for me at the beginning, but I was up for the ride. Tenderfoot has plenty of twists and turns, some predictable, some very surprising.
I liked the fact it was set on a college campus. The buzz of campus life and interaction within her dorm really made this story enjoyable. The characters were three dimensional and very entertaining. The storyline was plausible and flowed like gentle river on a summer’s day.
What I didn't like was the abrupt ending and the fact I have to wait for book two. Hurry up Amy Tupper, I’m anxiously waiting to find out what happens next!!!
Nancy's rating:
Check out these sites for more information about the author

*An copy of this book was provided by the author for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Monday, February 20, 2012

1 A few announcements......


Hello fellow readers! I have a few announcements to make today. The first announcement is an exciting one. To Read or Not To Read is expanding. Two additional reviewers, Nancy and Eva will be joining this site. Look for their reviews coming in the next few weeks.

You may have heard the rumor that google is discontinuing their google friends connect feature for non-blogger blogs in March. Google is really trying to push Google+. I've joined Google+ but I'm still getting familiar with it. Google hasn't announced any plans to get rid of GFC for blogger blogs but it's definitely a possibility that it will happen as well. To make things easier I've signed To Read or Not To Read up for Linky Followers. It's an alternative to Google Friends Connect. It's FREE. All you need to do to sign up is create an account. It takes less than 5 minutes. I also signed up for Networked Blogs. Don't forget you can also subscribe via email or rss. Just check out the side bar for your preferred way to follow.

Another change is the Karma badge in the left sidebar. If you like what you see on To Read or Not To Read, please let us know by giving us karma. All you need to do is click on the green button. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks for your time!


0 Excerpt from Witchful Thinking by H.P. Mallory

Witchful Thinking by H.P. Mallory goes on sale February 28. Random House has given us a sneak peek at this new novel. Check it out:


Jolie thinks she’s seen it all, but life continues to spring surprises. The latest shocker? She’s just been crowned Queen of the Underworld. Jolie may possess a rare gift for reanimating the dead, but she doesn’t know the first thing about governing disparate factions of supernatural creatures. She can barely maintain order in her own chaotic personal life, which is heading into a romantic tailspin.

First there’s sexy warlock Rand, the love of her life, from whom Jolie is hiding a devastating secret. Then there’s Sinjin, a darkly seductive vampire and Jolie’s sworn protector—though others suspect he harbors ulterior motives. As the two polar opposite yet magnetic men vie for Jolie’s affection, she must keep her wits about her to balance affairs of state and affairs of her heart. Overwhelmed, under pressure, and longing for love, Jolie decides it’s time to take charge—and show everyone that this queen won’t take jack.



Witchful Thinking: A Jolie Wilkins Novel by H. P. Mallory (Free Excerpt)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2 Follower Love Give@way Hop winner



Thank you for your patience while I added in all the extra entries for the Follower Love Giveaway Hop. After all the extra entries were counted, we had a total of 1158. I believe this is a record!  Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered this giveaway and for those who decided to follow as well. I really appreciate it. Anyway on to the part that you really want and that's the winner of the giveaway.
To
GABY

Congrats Gaby. I've sent an email your way. Please check your spam. You have 72 hours to claim your prize or I'll pick another winner. 
*The winner was chosen using random.org



5 Review: Scary School by Derek The Ghost

Title: Scary School (Scary School #1)
Author: Derek The Ghost
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Hardcover, 237 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-096092-5
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal
Summary:
You think your school's scary?
Get a load of these teachers:
"Ms. Fang," an 850-year-old vampire
"Dr. Dragonbreath," who just might eat you before recess
"Mr. Snakeskin"--science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie
"Mrs. T"--break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry "Tyrannosaurus rex"
Plus
Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose
The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch
And
The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost
Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends--including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf--and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky.


My thoughts:
Scary School by Derek The Ghost is a wonderfully spooktacular book about middle grade students who attend an unusual school run by the things that go bump in the night. Not all the students are human themselves, some are very extraordinary. The school is run by Principal Headcrusher whose dream is to unite regular students with scary students. Derek The Ghost is the tour guide or narrator for this novel. He gives an up close and personal tour of not only the grounds at scary school but also the student body and faculty. Through this tour Derek gives the inside scoop and behind the scenes information that you'll need to know to survive Scary School. 
Scary School is an attention grabber right from the beginning. The author mixes humor, wit and a lot of imagination to make this book a great read. This book has every kind of supernatural creature you can think of and even some you can't. Scott Fischer's illustrations really help bring the characters to life. Scary School will appeal to both girls and boys alike as well as kids of all ages. This book is highly entertaining. Another think that impressed me is the interactive website that goes along with this book. It has quizzes, take a tour of Scary School, games and even the theme song to Scary School. 
I asked my children to read this book with me because it's a book geared towards ages 8-12 and my children fall right into that age group. My kids have different interests so I was so thrilled that it appealed to both of them. They had a lot of fun reading this book. They really liked the teachers as well as the students. My son really liked Dr. Dragonbreath and his rules. My daughter likes Petunia and Lindsey. They both thought it was a funny book and had a great time reading it. I asked if they would like to continue reading the series and they both enthusiastically responded with a yes. The second book, Scary School #2: Monsters on the March is scheduled to come out in June 2012. 
My rating:
To find out more about this author visit:



*I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. This in no way influenced my opinion.


Friday, February 17, 2012

2 Cover Reveal: Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut


Finn Finnegan
Finn (not bleedin' Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.

Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn's survival. Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of "fighting Irish." 

Title: Finn Finnegan
Author: Darby Karchut
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (www.SpencerHillPress.com) 
ISBN: 978-1-937053-32-1 
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Formats: Paper, e-book 

Genres: Middle Grade/Young Adult, Fantasy




0 Five Days of Romance, Day 5: Review Mr. Darcy's Undoing by Abigail Reynolds

Title: Mr. Darcy's Undoing
Author: Abigail Reynolds
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: October 1, 2011
paperback, 319 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-4022-4094-2
Genre: Regency Romance


Summary:
A passionate new Pride and Prejudice variation explores the unthinkable-Elizabeth accepts the proposal of a childhood friend before she meets Darcy again. When their paths cross, the devastated Mr. Darcy must decide how far he'll go to win the woman he loves. How can a man who prides himself on his honor ask the woman he loves to do something scandalous? And how can Elizabeth accept a loveless marriage when Mr. Darcy holds the key to her heart? As they confront family opposition and the ill-will of scandal-mongers, will Elizabeth prove to be Mr. Darcy's undoing?

My thoughts:
Abigail Reynolds is well know for her 'what if' alternate versions of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. She takes the beloved characters of Austen and twists and turns the story to shake up their path to love. In Mr. Darcy's Undoing Reynolds picks up the story following Mr. Darcy's disastrous proposal. Elizabeth returns home to Longbourn and realizes that it will fall upon her to make a good marriage to help her family in the event that her father passes away. Elizabeth accepts the offer of a long time friend, Mr. Covington. 
Mr. Darcy realizes the mistake he's made in his actions towards Elizabeth and her family. He decides to try to rectify his actions by proving to Elizabeth that he's a changed man. However when he shows up in Herfortshire he realizes that he might lose Elizabeth forever. 
Reynolds takes this classic story in a new direction where she covers themes such as jealousy, sacrifice, love, and forgiveness. She also turns up the heat in the sensuality department between Elizabeth and Darcy. Although parts of this novel are a pure delight there are aspects of this book that are slightly lacking. Mr. Darcy has seemed to throw his principles to the wind and give up all his propriety. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth's personality did a complete one-eighty. I'm a huge fan of Abigail Reynolds but this book is not my favorite. 
My rating:
Find out more about this author by visiting:

*I received a copy of this book from the author for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my opinion. 


Thursday, February 16, 2012

4 Five Days of Romance, Day 4: Soulless audio book review

Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Narrator by: Emily Gray
Length: 10h 52min.
Publisher: Recorded Books
Released 6-22-10
ASIN: B003TLSM20




Summary:
Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit—and werewolves—in Gail Carriger’s delightful debut novel.Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.

My thoughts:
I had read and reviewed Soulless by Gail Carriger previously on this site. Click here to read my review of the book. Even though I loved Soulless I had not continued on with the series right away. Since a year had passed I decided I wanted to 're-read' this book.  I downloaded it from audible and was not disappointed.
Emily Gray narrates this fantastic book. She really seem to capture the wit and humor of Alexia Tarabotti. Listening to this novel brought to life the words of Gail Carriger. Gray reads how I imagined Alexia to sound in my head. I especially liked hearing the heated exchanges between Alexia and Lord Maccon read aloud.  There are some blush worthy scenes in this book. Gray does a fantastic job with giving each of the characters their own voice. This is definitely one of the best audio books I've come across.
If you've not had the chance to read Soulless yet you need to. It has mystery, romance, werewolves and steampunk. It's a highly enjoyable book.
My rating:
Find out more about the author by visiting:



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

0 Interview with Adele Griffin & Lisa Brown, Authors of Picture the Dead


Today I have the pleasure of having Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown authors of Picture the Dead here to answer a few questions. I hope you enjoy this interview:

These are answers from Lisa Brown
1. What inspired you to write about this time period.
LB: It was this amazing show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005: “The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult.” It was an exhibition of spirit photographs from the 19th and early 20th centuries; that is, photographs of ghosts. The mania for contacting spirits seemed to go hand and hand with the US Civil War: a time where so many people were dying so very far from their homes. It was spooky, and at the same time, emotionally realistic.
AG: Lisa and I had been having a lot of conversations about gothic ghosts, haunts on the moors, ghouls in crumbling estates. And we wanted a visual component—which was specifically inspired, as Lisa notes, by that wonderful MET exhibit on Mumler and Spiritualist photography.

2. Do you believe in ghosts?
LB: I believe that there are things in this world that we don’t understand.
AG: Yes!

3. What books/authors inspired you to become an author?
LB: Edward Gorey has to be number one with a bullet, for me. He was not only an illustrator and a writer, but a world-creator. For this book in particular, however, I went back to the historical fiction and fantasy of my childhood: Elizabeth George Speare (The Witch of Blackbird Pond), Richard Peck, Susan Cooper.
AG: I loved the Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I also wanted to be named Daphne du Maurier so it was a whole identity thing.


4. Do you have any advice for young writers?
LB: Read. A lot. And learn how to read like a writer: not just for fun, but with an eye towards stealing things that will make your own work more interesting.
AG: I’ll second Lisa! Read, read, read. Anything you can get your hands on. Some of my first “real” books were my mother’s pulp novels back in the 70s and I was a hooked—they made a lifelong reader of me.
If you could travel back in time, where/when would you go and why? 
New Year’s Day, 1947. My grandmother’s wedding day to my grandfather. She’d been a war widow and my grandfather was the first person who could make her laugh.


5. If you could travel back in time, where/when would you go and why?
LB: I like to think about times of war, they seem so much more intense than peacetime. But that said, I am glad that I never had to live through a war like the Civil War, or either of the World Wars. So I guess I’d like the 1920s, with that peacetime explosion of art and culture. I’d miss antibiotics, though. And the Equal Rights Amendment. The 1880s have an appeal, as well. I’m fond of a corset and a bustle.
AG: New Year’s Day, 1947. My grandmother’s wedding day to my grandfather. She’d been a war widow and my grandfather was the first person who could make her laugh.

6. What are you working on now?
LB: I’m finishing up paintings for a picture book by Lemony Snicket, starting illustrations for a new picture book by author Cathleen Daly, and continuing to work on a graphic novel about conjoined twins in an early 20th century circus sideshow.
AG: I have a novel coming out this October with Knopf called All You Never Wanted, about a pair of sisters whose lives do not end happily ever when their mother remarries a very rich man.

7. What was the hardest part about writing your book?
LB: Having to kill off a favorite character. It turned out to make more sense that this character was dead before the book even began, and that broke my heart. He was such a lovely boy.
AG: We had so many great pieces—characters, plot moments, visuals. Fitting it all together was a challenge. Things were tossed and lost. Like our cute boy, as Lisa notes. R.I.P.

8. What do you do when you're not writing?
LB: When I’m not writing, I’m drawing. When I’m not drawing, I’m reading. When I’m not reading, I’m tweeting and looking at other people’s art online. And at the same time that I’m doing all of the above, I’m drinking coffee.
AG: These days I am often listening to the plot-heavy books straight from the imagination of my four-year-old child. They are very long, with illogical twists and turns. I would not say she has the editing piece yet.

9. What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
LB: I was thrilled to find such a wealth of historical information online. Not just history-books type information, but tons and tons of primary sources: photographs, letters, journal entries and newspaper articles. It was like my computer became a time travel portal.
AG: With Picture the Dead, I was surprised by how many Civil War buffs are out there—ready to share. More personally, with both the hardcover and the paperback, the bound book was such a gift. The book was a long time in the making so just that heft of it  . . . ah.

10. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
LB: Come on over to our new and improved www.picturethedead.com… pretty soon it will have an interactive component where you can post your own real-life or imagined ghost stories. Boo!
AG: What Lisa said. Ghost tumblr! Also, Picture the Dead is brand spanking new in paperback and I can honestly say that it’s the prettiest paperback I have ever held. Go check it out for yourself. It’s something!

Thank you so much to Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown for answering my questions. Don't forget to check these sites out to find out more about these authors:
Adele Griffin
Lisa Brown




 

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