Monday, February 28, 2011

Here we go again.....

So I am starting to wonder if all the authors in the series I read got together and decided to release on the same date a few times a year... Not really but it seems every few months this phenomena happens again. Releasing on March 1 that I want to read:

How am I supposed to choose!!?? I am also still trying to get through the Latest Melissa Marr book that was just released and still stay on top of finishing up my proposal for my dissertation... Luckily we are off all next week for Mardi Gras break so hopefully I can do some relaxing and catching up on schoolwork. Because I'll be honest I am a procrastinator and these books are the perfect excuse to do so :) I think I will just blindfold myself and pick one to download tonight. Unless anyone out there has read the ARC and has an opinion??

Sunday, February 27, 2011

On a Personal Note

My daughter's first birthday is this Sunday. I am soo excited to have her party and wanted to share her invitations with all of you! Her middle name came from the Looking Glass Wars series. We named her Alyssin after Alyss. Thus the theme of her first birthday is Alice in Wonderland. Our Carnival Ball (mardi gras) theme had Alice in Wonderland decorations that my mom is brining and we are doing a tea party theme. I think its going to be so adorable. My mother in law is even making a blue dress just like Alice in Wonderland with the white apron and everything. I'm curious what character you would consider/did name your child after? Check out the invitations below:

Cute Right!?

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

I saw this title on netgalley and was intrigued since it was Greek Mythology. I have always read the Greek and Roman myths and read Percy Jackson right after I finished Harry Potter. Here’s the description I got of the galley:

"EVERY GIRL who has taken the test has DIED.
Not it's KATE'S TURN.
It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess.
If she fails..."

I liked the aspect of trying to figure out who has been killing the previous girls that have tried the tests. Some failed during the tests and others seem to mysteriously die. It reminded me a little of Kimberly Derting’s writing as I spent a lot of my time reading trying to figure out what was going on and who was responsible for the murders. This added to the story and made it difficult to put down.

I really enjoyed the love story that evolved between Henry and Kate. I think as a couple they rank in my top 10 couples that I enjoy reading about. Their love is realistic and not a life or death devotion. It also evolves over the course of time. I think the fact that they are both somewhat broken adds to things. **Mild Spoiler** Henry is broken from his relationship with Persephone and Kate is broken from taking care of her sick mom. However, I think over the course of the series they will have many obstacles to overcome but will be able to heal one another in the process.

I have been very skeptical of the latest trend to retell stories. I really thought this was going to be a retelling of Persephone when I first picked it up but was pleasantly surprised to find it was not what I was expecting. The book releases 4/26/2011 and I highly recommend pre-ordering this one. I give it a 5/5 and think if you enjoyed Kimberly Derting’s style of plot you will enjoy this book as well.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

I have been waiting for this book for what seems like forever! I reviewed the previous book The Body Finder and recommend reading it prior to attempting the second book in the series.  Here’s the description from Amazon:

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.
Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.
As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

I have greatly missed Violet and Jay so I was really excited to download this book on release day. I spent the entire drive to the Mardi Gras ball we went to an hour and a half away reading this book.

I can tell you it was worth the wait. I like the introduction of Mike’s character into the story line. It brings a new level to the budding relationship between Jay and Violet. While Jay is utterly devoted to Violet in a way I’m sure no real guy is, he still has friends and Violet will still be jealous of anyone taking her spot as Jay’s best friend.

One of the things I enjoy the most about Kimberly’s writing is that she infuses an aspect of mystery in the story. You see some thoughts of a dangerous obsession from the perspective of the “stalker” (not really sure if that is the right term) then things begin to happen to Violet as someone is trying to get to her. I really like that I had a hard time figuring out who was causing the problems and had to keep changing my mind. It kept me interested in the story and unable to put it down.

I loved the fact that Violet comes to terms with who she is and her ability in this book. She doesn’t completely reconcile it. However, she begins to see the potential that she has to impact people and seems to accept that normal will have a different meaning for her. I think that will make her a much stronger character in the future books.

I am not sure what to think of the mysterious male agent with abilities that is introduced in this book. While it doesn’t appear that he and Violet have a romantic connection it seems possible that something might develop since they have an ability in common. I am hoping Jay is able to hang onto his girl :)

The only criticism I have for readers is that there was a “Bella” section to the story (I couldn’t stand to read most of New Moon while she was moaning over Edward). There is a period in this book where Violet experiences the same thing. If you aren’t one to want to read all the angsty parts of YA you can likely skip a lot of that and just focus on the plot.

Overall, I give this book a 5/5. It was so worth the wait. I am just sad that I now have to wait for the next book in the series. On a side note I LOVE the covers for this series they are amazing! Click the amazon link below to order your copy today!

Contest Winners!!

Congrats to Mandy Luminais of embrace your oddities for winning a copy of Meridian. You can check her blog out here

Also congrats to Caitlyn Turnbull for winning a copy of One Butt Cheek at A Time! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Essence of Re by Bonnie Lamer

I found this book through Book blogs and was pleasantly surprised with my first experience in Egyptian mythology/paranormal. Here’s the description from the author:

Eliana Brennan's life has already been turned upside down by her parents' divorce and a move to a new city for her senior year, but when she finds an ancient vial while on vacation in Egypt the real changes begin. Her body feels more alive than it ever has before and she is becoming stronger and faster and even the elements seem to bend to her will. In the midst of these changes, she meets Josh Klein and she experiences a love that has waited centuries to rise again but will she be able to learn to control her new abilities before she ends up hurting, or even killing, him?

I haven’t had much experience with Egyptian themed books so I was really interested at first in this book because it is very different. I have read the Percy Jackson books and several rewrites of Greek mythology made for YA. I was really excited to find that the story was also intriguing.

I liked Eliana’s character. I found her to be a little timid at times but completely assertive during a crisis. This made for an interesting main character. She is vulnerable and yet strong. She is concerned that she will hurt her loved ones but when the time comes and they are under attack she is frighteningly calm and handles the situation. I think I like this trait in her the most. I also like that Josh is a strong character but isn’t afraid of the fact that Eliana is stronger than him.  It is interesting that these characters don’t follow the typical male protects the female stereotype.

The things I didn’t enjoy was parts of the dialogue. I think I just must be jaded from so much writing for graduate school and the taboo on exclamation points. I don’t necessarily fault the author because I think it is a quirk of mine. I wish that so much of the story wasn’t focused on Eliana and Josh. I would like to have gotten to know some of the other characters a little better. Lastly, some parts of the story were a little slow. The time from when Eliana gets her powers until the main conflict is being built is a little slow.

I hope to see more from Bonnie and maybe a sequel to this book as we continue to see how Eliana is handling her new power. Overall I give the book a 4/5. 

Friday, February 18, 2011


I am sooo excited about this sequel to The Body Finder. If you haven't checked out my review of it you can do so here

Hopefully I will have a review of this book up after the weekend. I am going to a Mardi Gras ball out of town but I am hoping to read in the car if possible!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Don't forget to enter the contest to win a copy of:


Click here and scroll to the bottom to leave a comment and enter. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Witches Lottery by Krystal Mclaughlin

I ran across author Krystal Mclaughlin on book blogs. Here’s the description of her debut release The Witches Lottery from amazon:

When Sophia and Drew McKibben's parents are killed in a tragic car accident, they are shipped off to live with an aunt they never even knew existed. Believing that they are moving to a privately owned island just off of the coast of Mystic, CT to live alone with her, they are surprised to find a sort of under-aged bed and breakfast.

Sophia draws the attention of one of the locals, Falen, immediately. He always seems to know exactly what she is thinking, and to her frustration, everything she does seems to amuse him. When a newcomer to the island brings with him a sense of deja vu, she begins to ask herself the ultimate question: Am I going crazy?

Sophia's world starts to unravel when she notices her own brother acting just as abnormal as the rest of them. When she begins to realize that the life she left behind looks even more bizarre then the one she was forced to leave it for, she's faced with a decision to make: embrace the new life that has been given to her, or drown in the past. Either choice brings with it more secrets and deceptions to unearth. The problem now is that the two worlds may actually be more intertwined than she thought.

I truly enjoyed reading this book. The plot was very well done. There were several subplots happening and I wasn’t able to figure out the different turns the story took before hand. There is a major storyline and several other storylines that are also happening. It keeps the reader interested in the story. While the main story is happening to Sophia there are things going on with Drew and the other characters on the island that leave you wondering. 

The relationship between Falen and Sophia is interesting. It isn’t love at first site but it also isn’t a typical friendship that evolves. I love the way that Falen gets under Sophia’s skin and the way they seem to argue but still get each other. It makes their relationship seem real to me because it is more like real-life than fantasy.

I also enjoyed the break from the typical YA formula of a love triangle. Additionally, I liked the amount of suspicion that surrounds Sophia's interest in Teagan. He is mysterious and she has a gravitational attraction but instead of succumbing to the attraction instantly she is wary of it.

The things that I didn’t care for in the book is some of the dialogue seems a bit forced. Some of the exclamatory statements seemed a bit out of place. This is a minor issue that I had but it did detract from the story a little for me. I also found the beginning to be a little slow as everything was being set up. However, in the end you need to know the entire start of the story. So that was all forgiven by the middle of the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and look forward to Krystal’s future works. Her storyline is well thought out and I don’t think it will get old as further stories come out. In addition, there are many interesting side characters that I hope to see more of in later stories. I give this story a 4/5. You can find all news about Krystal at Also the sequel to The Witches Lottery titled A Dragon Forsaken will be out in March on Kindle and nook.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Interview with Amber Kizer & CONTEST!!

Amber Kizer writes two very different young adult series for Delacorte Press/Random House. The Gert Garibaldi series is contemporary, frank and funny following an American high school student through the perils of growing up. Her debut novel ONE BUTT CHEEK AT A TIME was included in the prestigious NYPL Best Books for the Teen Age 2008 list. The next book in the series 7 KINDS OF ORDINARY CATASTROPHES will be released April 2011.

The Fenestra series is paranormal, dark and follows a girl who shepherds dying souls to the afterlife. MERIDIAN has been translated in German, Spanish, Turkish and will be available in Australia, Malaysia, and New Zealand within the next year. The next book in the series, WILDCAT FIREFLIES, will be published in August 2011.

In addition to these series titles, the spring of 2012 will see the release of a stand alone dystopian, young adult novel also from Delacorte Press/Random House.

Amber has toured nationally, speaking at writers’ conferences, on television and radio, to educators, and to teenage readers. Recently, she was selected to present one of a few breakout sessions at the NCTE Assembly on Adolescent Literature at the Philadelphia 2009 Conference.

Her official website is and more about MERIDIAN can be found at  Gert can be found at She enjoys hearing from readers and can be reached at

Interview with Amber Kizer

      1. The idea of a Fenestra is so unique in YA lit. How did you do the research for the novel?

This book is very close to my heart--the idea came from sitting vigil as my grandparents died (about 18 months apart). They both had very different dying experiences, though in both cases, as a family, we chose to work with a wonderful hospice organization (St. Vincent’s Inpatient Hospice Care, in Indianapolis, IN).

With everything in life, I like to know as much as possible so I read and did a bunch of research on dying, the physical process itself, the psychological process, and people's near-dying experiences. 
For this story, I wanted to explore the idea that the "light" people talk about as they die is an actual person and what that might mean.

What if everyday of a person's life was that of being a window to beyond? I wanted to give a face to death that wasn't the Reaper's, wasn't something out of nightmares. And saying "God" is there in death doesn't say much--what does that mean really? How does that look?

And from a science aspect we’re all energy. Where does that energy go? And isn't a soul of any animal or plant worthy energy? How does that look? How does that fit with the major religions and cultural norms? And I also wanted to explore some organized religion as fear based--the idea that people hide behind religion because they're afraid or upset or angry. How does that twist what can be profound and comforting in faith? The mob mentality is so easy to manipulate if you're good at it--I wanted a character (Perimo) who was good at it and used it.

So the research was cultural, anthropological, history and religions of the world, science and myth. And because this is a series and death is something we all share, there is no end to the research I’m doing. It’s fascinating and I love learning.

      2. If you could pick a actor/actress/other famous person, who do you see in your mind’s eye for Meridian and Tens?

Honestly Meridian and Tens in my head are “real” people—I know exactly how they look, but I love hearing from readers and letting them fill in the blanks on who they’d cast to play them in the movie. I will say that I usually laugh when people say who’d they would cast—readers pick up on different details and focus on different things so there’s a huge variance and that’s exactly how I like it. That’s the best part about books—is that readers get to fill in the holes however they see fit.

    3. How many books are you anticipating for the Meridian series?

I know where this series ends, but how many adventures are between here and there? That’s not something I’m willing to divulge! I will tell you that I am currently working on #3 and 4 in the series. WILDCAT FIREFLIES #2 will be out in July 2011. SPEED OF LIGHT will be out summer/fall 2012 and will continue the series where FIREFLIES leaves off. COUNTING TENS is Tens’ book and chronicles his story from childhood to when he meets Meridian at Auntie’s and I’m thrilled to be able to bring that one to readers!

     4. What made you decide to write for YA?

Gert Garibaldi is the star of ONE BUTT CHEEK AT A TIME and the upcoming April 5th release of 7 KINDS OF ORDINARY CATASTROPHES. I was working on an adult romance project and this voice kept making editorial comments in my head (this is fairly common with writes and not indicative of mental illness!). I opened a fresh document and just decided to let the voice take over for awhile. I assumed I’d write five to ten pages and be done. She just took off and I fell in love with her voice and world view. She’s funny and smart and sarcastic. She also tackles taboos about what makes girls good versus bad and things that teenagers wonder about (like masturbation) but that girl books are usually afraid to touch. No pun intended! So I felt like there was a need and a niche for her. Luckily for me agents and editors agreed! There wasn’t a choice to write YA, it picked me! The genre is so wide open and has such wonderful content these days that it’s a pleasure to write the books that intrigue and inspire me. Plus I love teenagers—they are trying to figure out themselves and their place in the world and they are still open and exploring. It’s a great age group.

     5. Auntie is such a great character. I know I see someone in my own life in her character and really enjoyed being able to relate to the story through her. Was she based on anyone in real life?

Auntie is a conglomeration of many strong women—some I’ve know and some I’ve only read about. I drew from my grandmother for Auntie’s moxy and fight and my grandmother’s best friend for her looks and nurturing.  The scene of Meridian sitting by her side and looking at her hands comes directly from my vigil at my grandmother’s deathbed.

     6. What inspired the name Meridian for your main character?

Character names are very important to me and usually that’s one of the first things I know about a story—who is in it and what are they called? I knew Meridian’s name from the very beginning, but it wasn’t until we got to know each other (sounds strange to non-writers I know!) that I realized her name has all sorts of levels to it. Meridian can mean a midpoint like midday. It can also be the center of an object. It’s used when talking about the longitude of Earth. In Chinese medicine Meridians are the energy pathways used in acupuncture. So it can have many connotations—what the reader should take from that is that our Meridian is caught—she lives—in the middle of life and death.

     7. I see that you collaborated on a packet on your website for Middle School educators. Being a teacher myself I was curious how you got involved with that project?

My mother had taught middle school my entire life. So I’ve grown up in education and around students and teachers. My mother and I collaborated on the Gusty Girls Presentation and packet for the ALAN 2009 conference—combining our expertise makes sense!

8. The paranormal genre is really booming right now in YA lit. Do you see yourself ever writing a vampire/werewolf/shifter book

I wouldn’t say never but it would matter completely on the story itself—I wouldn’t decide to write a vampire or were book and then try to figure it out. It would have to grow organically from an idea, but the market is so flooded that I would want to write something fresh and new.

    9. Some authors have been doing some novellas or considering writing their books from another character’s perspective. Would you ever consider writing Meridian or a part of it from Auntie or Tens point of view?

I always know how a scene plays from all characters’ points of view, but unless it added something to the story it would feel cheesy to me to write the same events again from a different point of view. It feels like cheating to give readers something they know already only slightly tweaked! It’s a conscious decision which character I write from or if I write in third person—I pick the best one in my opinion in the first place!

Fun Facts

1. If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?


     2.  If you could eat anything in the world what would it  be?


     3. What is your favorite book(s) of 2010?

There are too many! I think the book that surprised me this past year was DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS about a girl and her hoarding mother.  I couldn’t put it down! The nonfiction I absolutely adored was called THE SOUND OF A WILD SNAIL EATING. I can’t say enough wonderful things about it!

     4. What is your favorite movie of 2010?

I watch a lot of movies; I think Karate Kid was one of my most favorite of the year.

     5. What is your favorite book turned into a movie?


     6.  If you could sit anywhere in the world and read a book where would it be?

Someplace warm with a fruity drink and room service.

     7.  What is your favorite NFL/College football team?

I’m a big Drew Brees and the Saints fan, but I also cheer on the Colts and the Bears. Not a huge college football fan though…college basketball on the other hand is the best!

********************** Contest*************************

Comment on this blog with your number of entries and what they are for to win a copy of Meridian or One Butt Cheek at a Time by Amber Kizer. The luck winner will be chosen by a random number generator.

+1 – What town is Meridian set in?
+1 – What is the fourth book in the series going to be called? (you will have to search Amber’s site for this information)
+1- Who is the main character in Amber’s other series One Butt Cheek at a Time
+1 – Follow my blog
+1 – Post a link on your blog to this contest
+1 – Post a link on your facebook, twitter, etc. It is 1 point per social networking site.

The lucky winners will be notified by February 21. Be sure to leave your email address. Good luck!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coming Soon!! & Friday Follow

Friday Follow

Friday I will post an interview with Amber Kitzer author of Meridian and the sequel Wildcat Fireflies. Be looking for a contest to go with the interview!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Storm Swept by Linda Palmer

So there are several indie books that I have read over the years. Storm Swept ranks really high on my favorites list. Here's the description from amazon:

When Jenny Jefferson agrees to help her sister open a B&B, she doesn't know that Jase Edwards will be working there, too. Jenny and Jase have history--an angry encounter at her sister's wedding four years ago. This time around their chemistry is as intense and supercharged as the lightning snaking down from the storm clouds overhead. Not even a mischievous house ghost can distract them from each other. But something far more sinister lurks in the shadows, and its eye is on Jenny. Can she and Jase unravel the mystery of the house's tragic past before history repeats itself?

I find this book to be really cute. It is a great book if you are looking for a fun quick read. It almost reminds me of some of the quirky ya romance books with a bit of a paranormal twist. Jenny is the level headed sister in the family. Thus she is always practical and has everything planned out. Jase is a laid back guy that has a not so good history with Jenny. They had a less than stellar encounter at Jenny's sister's wedding when she married Jase's brother. 

Since both of Jennie's sisters married and left their career/school plans behind Jenny feels all the pressure from her family to stick to the plan and not fall in love. However, love finds her. The twist in the story being that there was a tragic death in the B&B house and the ghost has decided to repeat the scenario. 

I think this was a great beach read or just a quick weekend read. The plot is simple but interesting. The romance is a little quick for my taste but is a really good one. I guess the two of them have history so things aren't as sudden as they look. I give the story a 4/5. Support independent authors and check this book out! It's also a really reasonable price for Kindle!