Monday, October 29, 2012

Broomsticks The Halloween Spirit by Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker Review

Broomsticks The Halloween Spirit by Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Summary from Amazon:
Halloween has always been a special day for kids, especially when those kids.. ARE WITCHES! All the students at Asher School for Gifted Children are excited about the school's annual Halloween party. Everyone, that is, except for Maggie when she learns the party is being held in a haunted theater! Join magical nine year olds, Stamp and Pocky, in their second adventure full of thrills, chills, and things that go pirouette in the night! Will Stamp and Pocky meet a real ghost? Will the snotty Snodgrass twins ruin everyone's fun? And will the town of Maysville ever be the same after Stamp's first try at trick-or-treating? You'll be in the spirit and even believe in talking pumpkins as Stamp and Pocky kick some Halloween magic in their most bewitching tale yet!

This is only the second book in the Broomsticks series but already it's a favorite of mine. It's for the younger of the MG set, those just starting off reading chapter books or maybe a little older. No romance, just good old fashioned friendship. Stamp, if you'll remember from my review of Broomsticks is a witch, nine years old with a goatee and a familiar, Blevins that can change his appearance. He is the only one Pocky, a witch raised as a mortal, knows that can teach her about being a witch. Pocky lives with her grandmother and she knows nothing about being a witch. Both Stamp and Pocky attend mortal boarding school, Asher School for Gifted Children during the week, but then go home on the weekends.

So, we have a paranormal series for early MG readers. Again I ask you, HOW GREAT IS THAT?  

This story is about Halloween and Pocky teaching Stamp about the way mortals celebrate Halloween. He is supposed to be having a feast at his parents' place and not there to participate, but plans change at the last minute. Costumes and trick or treating, scaring people are very confusing to Stamp until he gets the hang of things. In the meantime it's funny to Pocky and the tricksters.

Pocky and her friends, Maggie and Brooklyn get to decorate the old town theater that has been closed for years for their school Halloween Party. Maggie is very hesitant because she believes the rumors about the theater being haunted and it does sound like the perfect place for a ghost. And of course, since Pocky knows witches exist, she knows ghosts just might exist as well. It could prove to be a really interesting Halloween.

This book is not scary except maybe for the very young and the highly suggestible. Otherwise I would say anyone 7 and up could read and enjoy this story. It's perfect for Halloween and even manages to throw in a little history lesson about how Halloween came about. Better than the first one since I knew the characters and no world building was necessary, the authors only had to concentrate on the story. This is a series I'll be sending to my niece this week so she can have them read to her. 

I've found that both the Broomsticks books have sweet lessons in them about friendship and being kind but they don't beat you over the head with the message. And if they aren't doing that to me as an adult, they definitely won't for children. I don't think it's ever wrong or too early to teach kindness to our children. These books show you how you can have a lot of fun and still be kind, that the two aren't mutually exclusive. I get a  good warm feeling after I read these books.

I did receive my copy of the book from Diversion Press, Inc for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for my review.

Please contact Diversion Press if you'd like to review this or any of their books. Diversion Press Inc.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa Review

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary:
Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.
That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.
This novel is one of Julie’s books that will have you demanding for the second one as soon as you finish your read.

*************************************************************************************************************WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD***************************
*********YOU NEED TO HAVE READ ALL OF THE IRON FEY SERIES INCLUDING*********
**********************IRON PROPHECY TO READ THIS REVIEW**********************

First thing you need to know is that this is not a book about Ash, Meghan and Puck. Though they make a brief appearance in the book, this is not their story. This is the next generation and if you go in with that expectation, you will be terribly disappointed like me. I had to adjust my perspective to enjoy the story.

It starts with Ethan with and all his protections and wards against faeries. He's starting a new school with the added burden of the reputation of being a bad boy. All kinds of stories swirl around him from him being an arsonist to stabbing a teacher. None of it is true in complete, just the faeries toying with him. He meets a half breed at his new school making deals and bargains with his fellow faeries and Ethan tries to warn him about making deals with faeries. Then he disappears. And a friend gets dragged into the the lethal faeries chasing him and they end up in NeverNever.

Ethan is angry. Mad at Meghan for leaving his family and choosing the fae over his family. Hating Ash for stealing his sister. He doesn't understand why she doesn't visit more often. He feels forgotten. And he's not very forgiving about it. He has a thing or two to say to Meghan when he gets to the Iron Kingdom. But first he and Kenzie have to get there. Grimalkin is their guide and they must travel through the Wyldwood. Kenzie, instead of being the shrieking hysterical mass I would be, is very accepting of everything she sees and experiences in the NeverNever.

When they have to fight Faeries in the real world and things seem hopeless she's like a ray of sunshine, and the sullen, angry Ethan becomes a bit more of a champion for her. He wants to survive so he can have a relationship with her. Of course, he's not a faery so he has no magic to fight the faeries, but he does have the ancient art of Kali that he has been practicing for years that combines martial arts with weapons for defending oneself. And Ethan is pretty damn good at Kali with a stick and nothing else beating down lindwurms and glamour sucking faeries with claws!

There are the usual battles with the child of Meghan and Ash, Kierran, along on this quest with them. The fae are scary, feeding off the glamour of the fairies. They stick with the half fey and exiles for now, but the only ones completely safe are the Iron Fey and humans. Kierran is not really revealed to us much in this book. He's a bit like Puck in that he only tells part of the story on their adventures. But he isn't funny like him. Ethan, I kept picturing as a brooding Taylor Lautner. (New Moon was on this weekend.)

I really didn't like Ethan even though I understood his anger and he came to terms with it in the end. Even though the story was told from his point of view, I didn't feel as if I got to know him. So I'm waiting to see if maybe it was just that I was missing the camaraderie from Meghan, Ash and Puck. Kierran and Ethan barely know each other and Kenzie is brand new as well. Maybe the three of them will have a grand adventure and I'll feel that kinship I always felt before, like the Three Musketeers. Maybe I wasn't supposed to feel it. Maybe this is going in a very different direction considering the Iron Prophecy and the way Kierran behaved with the Forgotten Queen. I'll have to see.

As far as the new fey, The Forgotten, I have some theories about where they come from and what may happen from here. The threads of the next novels are dangling there in front of us. The Iron Prophecy still present in our minds as Ethan and Kierran interact. It will only be a matter of time before the time presents itself.

The writing was Julie Kagawa  all the way, making the human world seem more mystical and haunting. The words are always image inducing and surreal so that the most mundane place can seem like a magical place.
I envy her writing style. Just remember, This is not the story of Meghan, Ash and Puck. Enjoy!

Heather
I received a copy of this novel from the Publishers via Net Galley for review. This in no way influenced my review. I received no monetary compensation for my review.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay Review

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay
Sequel to Juliet Immortal
Amazon, Kindle,Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary
Okay, before you click on the Goodreads Summary, let me tell you, I didn't read the summary before I read the book and I'm so glad I didn't because there were so many more surprises for me because of it. I'll give you my summary that will not give away the surprises and therefore you're reading enjoyment will not be diminished. 

For 700 years Romeo has been a bad dude. He kills true lovers ruthlessly turning them into agents for the Mercenaries who are immortal and otherworldly strong. He hasn't felt, tasted or touched anything since the night he tricked Juliet into killing herself. But he saved her from the hands of the Mercenaries and now he's a shriveled skeletal thing just waiting to become a lost soul. But the Ambassadors of the Light want to give him a chance to redeem himself. He's got one shot. With a girl he's already killed. And who wants to kill him. But this is Romeo, no one can resist his charms. Or can they?

Now that's not the whole story, a romance, there is a lot more involved and if you haven't read Juliet Immortal just stop right here and go read that first because none of this will make any sense. This is one of those tricky novels. You have to think. It's got parallel universes and alternate realities and you have to reconcile what's happening in this one to what happened in Juliet Immortal. I think I got it. I did a pretty good job though things got a bit hairy for a little bit. This book is complicated. But it is so great to read.

As I wrote above, Romeo has been a bad, bad boy for centuries battling true loves coming up against Juliet many times. But he takes his shot at redemption, not exactly believing he has any shot at salvation after all the many things he's done. But it's a really incredible twisty turny plot and if you think you can predict it then you are a better reader than I. Romeo, after living 700 centuries has seen it all so doing whatever it takes to get Ariel to fall in love with him is not a problem. However, he's in a tough situation at the very beginning when he enters the body of the boy she's with and he realizes the boy has made a major blow to her ego and self esteem. She is so furious she's willing to drive them over a cliff and she yanks on the steering wheel. He's able to actually salvage this date. Romeo's got skills!

Ariel is complicated. Friendless except for Gemma who disappeared two weeks ago she's known as the Freak. She was burned in an accident as a child and not only does she have scars, but when she gets really angry, she hears voices, sees ghosts, monsters, they take over her body and she passes out and loses control of her bodily functions. Yeah, that doesn't make you popular. And we all know kids can be cruel.
So she has a major dose of "I don't believe a word you're saying" and mistrust and doubt when the school bad boy shows interest in her. Then he pulls the stunt and she is livid. But as I said, Romeo's got skills!

Of course, Romeo has a time limit with which he has to work with, three days to make Ariel fall in love with him. Yes, now I know what you're going to say, insta love, but just read it. It sure doesn't feel like three days. And it really is well written. No wasted words, yet some real beautiful phrases. 

Here were some of my favorites:
 This is Romeo- "Her laughter dances through the night, making the stars shine brighter. The happiness in             it surprises me. I think it surprises her as well. She pulls in a breath swallowing the sound. The absence of         her amusement makes the quiet seem...emptier than it was before. " (p.47)

I liked the irony in this. Again this is Romeo-"I stopped reading books a while back" (he told Ariel) Like, two hundred years back, when my ability to empathize with man's condition deteriorated to the point where I couldn't understand why the characters were making the choices they did, or why I should care if they lived or died or found their happy ending." (p 126-127)

And lastly, from Ariel-"I'm afraid," she whispers, and I know she isn't talking to Romeo anymore. And that's the only thing you have to lose, I say softly. There's no need to shout. The truth is as loud at a whisper as at a scream." (p.337).

There is a lot that goes on in this novel and you have to pay attention but none of it will make sense if you haven't read Juliet Immortal which I highly recommend. I read it last year, but didn't review it except a very short review on Goodreads. It was a really great book. I'm definitely going to get the hardback of Romeo Redeemed to have with my copy of Juliet Immortal. They are both spectacular spins on the Bard's tale of Romeo and Juliet.

I read the E-ARC of this through NetGalley from the publisher Delacorte Books for Young Readers. The review is my honest opinion and was in no way influenced by this. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review.

Heather

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Assassin's Curse Review by Cassandra Rose Clarke and Cover Reveal

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher Strange Chemistry
Read ARC
Available NOW
Amazon, Kindle, Audible, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary:
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her. 

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

Well considering my condition lately, I'd say this book must be pretty special if I was able to read it in two days. Granted it was smallish, only about 270 pages, but the book was small, too, but really it was the story. I loved the characters and when you love the characters, for me, you love the story. You jump right in with both feet into the heart of the trouble, Ananna (hated that I could never figure out how to pronounce her name) is in the middle of being handed over to be married off in a deal between two pirate clans. She's 17 and yeah, the guy is cute, but Ananna is INDEPENDENT! She wants her own ship and this guy is not gonna let her be INDEPENDENT or even independent. So what does Ananna do? What any self respecting pirate does, she steals a camel and high tails it out of there!

Of course, that's when the real trouble starts. The Hariri clan, the clan she was supposed to marry into, is pissed off and they send an assassin after her. Some magic happens in unexpected places and all the sudden she and the assassin Naji are bound to each other. Or rather, he's bound to her. The rest of the story is their adventure to find a cure to his "curse". 

Now Naji is a bit of an enigma. Sometimes you get a glimpse of the boy he must have been before he became a Jadorr'a, joined the Order. He seems good and as if he might even like Ananna. But then his mask goes back on, figuratively speaking and he's this hardened assassin who practices blood magic and who everyone but Ananna is scared of. But that doesn't mean she's immune to his mercurial moods. As soon as he drops his guard and she sees that kinder side, she warms to him. Then quick as a snake strike, he wounds her with his words again. It's painful sometimes. I hope we get to hear the story from his side in the next book. He is much more refined than Ananna, but he isn't the big hero you'd expect. He has his butt saved many times by Ananna which I loved! He never gets macho about it though and I like that about him.

And then there's Ananna, Ms. Independent. Her language is coarse. She's a pirate, born and raised on a pirate ship. She has a very little of water magic in her being mostly practical, but those are the skills that keep her and Naji alive. She can wield a sword, make a fire, catch and clean fish, find water, and build shelter. Oh and she's the best thief in the Empire! She also can talk her way in or out of just about anything. Except this curse.  She is undereducated in comparison to Naji when it comes to University, but she more than compensates for it in practical matters. I love how she saves Naji over and over and takes care of him, but she never thinks the lesser of him for it. I totally love her character! 

I think this is a really fantastic debut! These are some of the best characters I've seen in YA fiction this year. Completely flawed yet totally lovable. Strong, guarded, stubborn, independent. All these words could fit both characters. And then the various adventures they go on are icing on the cake. Yes, this is definitely a series. But it's not a cliffhanger ending. Still, I can't wait for the next one to come out.  You definitely want to read this one!

I received an ARC of this novel from Strange Chemistry for an honest review. I received no compensations for my review. All opinions in this review are my own. 

I also happen to get the work in progress cover for the final book in the series (yeah, I'm disappointed there will only be two as well.) But I get to share it with you below.
Let me know what you think, this is the wraparound cover.


Heather

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine to highlight books we are greatly anticipating the release of and I can tell you, I have been waiting for this one since I started blogging in 2010.
I met Shah through our common bond of Bipolar Disorder and then she had all these weekly memes I was a part of and finally she got serious and is getting ready to release her first book. Without further ado....

An unusual young woman and fledgling journalist, Luna has various restrictive oddities, all of which prevent any kind of physical intimacy. Abusive parents take pleasure in Luna’s misery and isolation, yet Luna strives to make them proud, to finally earn their elusive love – something she craves almost as much as the painless touch of a lover.

When she learns of a tragic story involving the kidnap of baby Esta, she jumps at the chance to investigate, dragging her Shadows along for the ride within the murky depths of her mind.

Meanwhile, a dark stranger visits Luna’s dreams and stalks her reality. In lieu of the real thing, their intimate moments excite rather than terrify. Nestled within his presence, she begins to sense an urgent message of danger – a message she struggles to interpret, until they finally meet….

Her investigations lead Luna to a vibrant seaside town, hiding copycat aliens and an underworld of Supernaturals. Here, she comes face-to-face with her own, terrifying identity. Confronted with life-changing decisions and the harshest of truths, Luna questions her sanity, searches for logic, feeling deceived by both.

Is Luna trapped in a newfound supernatural world, or within her own delusions? And will anyone care enough to save her?


The publishing date, if all goes according to plan is to have it out by the end of this year 2012! But you can always check Shah's website for information. Contacts are below. This book is considered New Adult, not YA.

“Will finding Esta be the beginning of Luna’s
journey, or the end?”

This is a totally awesome Trailer!










BIO



In November of 2010 Shah found herself in Dubai, having moved from the UK for her husbands new job (he flies big planes). With no job or friends, she had a lot of time on her hands and decided to take the advice of other online writers and bloggers who she’d met through webook.com, to build a blog of her own. Her first blog, WordsinSync was born, which became Shah Wharton’s WordsinSync. Through blogging she met many authors and readers, many have helped her to put imagination into words, not only via poetry, but also short stories and now novels, learning the craft from the awesome advice of her online peer-group, word by word. She recently published a short story called The Dead Party – a political satire featuring zombies, and two poems published in anthologies.
Her passions include blogging, writing, reading, movies, photography and image enhancement, music, theatre, travel, and fine dining. Her newest passion is a huge German Shepherd puppy - Bobby is both stimulating and demanding.
Her favourite genres include anything dark with fangs and/or that will make her squirm or jump or scream out an expletive.  She is an avid Kindle abuser and adores the indie writing community and being part of the e-publishing revolution.


Contact Details

General blog: http://shahwharton.com/








Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan Review

Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary:
On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives.
The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.
Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.


I found this book a bit confusing at first as I was reading. The language is somewhat ancient or of a different dialect so that it's hard to understand at first and I didn't fall into the rhythm of it or the meaning of it for quite some time. The second chapter is especially confusing because it occurs the longest back in time and the language is hardest to understand. The names and nicknames are hard to catch and whereas Misskaella's brother's and sisters have names like Billy and Ann and Bee she has this name. There is nothing to signify the change in time periods so I was left a bit floundering only realizing it because in the first chapter Misskaella is called an old witch as she sits on the beach weaving a blanket of seaweed and the young boys are all scared of her. In the second chapter she is a young child and you discover how she grew up to be a witch but she is still not that old woman. She doesn't become her until later in the story, another chapter.

I will say though that the story, a selkie or mermaid story, is one of the most genuinely unique I've ever read. Not only that, but the characters that the chapters focus on, you really get to know them and understand them. Some you may like, some you may not. Daniel Mallett is my favorite, I think he'll be yours too. The absolute love he has for his mother, so unselfish is unbelievable. At the lengths all the boys will got to secure their mothers' happiness was so beautiful. Once I understood time and place the language came together for me and I went back to understand the first chapter. It didn't take long for the story to come together when I read the first couple of pages again and got names and what the boys were doing. I knew exactly the time and place it was happening.

The language is lovely, once you understand it. The descriptions are seemingly in a foreign language, but they are in English. It's just the way the words are put together that makes the familiar seem new and foreign. The entire time I read this novel I could only think of barren, windswept, bleak landscapes. A small town of only a few buildings. The men made their living by fishing. A sense of foreboding always hung over the story like you knew that something terrible would happen, you were just waiting for it.

It did feel longish to me, but then I don't know what part I would have cut out. It was all so necessary to the story. That may have just been me. I enjoyed it very much especially that there was a little secret revealed at the end. Even old Misskaella had a few secrets up her sleeves.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone that enjoys historical novels, mermaid/selkie/siren tales. It's definitely PG. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley for review from Random House Publishers.
This in no way influenced my review. I was not compensated for my review.

Heather

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence Review

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble
Goodreads Summary:
For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.
Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself. 

Okay, I read this book looking for something new and fresh, something really different. That's what dystopians are supposed to be, right? You can create any kind of world you want. Well, the world was different. People live high above the streets in the Aeries, kind of like birds, above all the trash and grime and real world. No matter that the city is slowly drowning. It doesn't bother them because they live high above it all. Aria Rose, eh, I couldn't get behind her. I felt like she was such a people pleaser for so long before she finally opened her eyes. I mean come on, how many times do you have to see certain things to put two and two together. I could tell from the summary what was going on. And by the way, they should never put that much information in the summary. It just kind of ruins the suspense for the reader.

So I was annoyed with Aria Rose. Thomas is a total tool. Aria's brother, no her whole family should be dropped off the side of a bridge. Her dad is the most ruthless man I've seen yet. Family means nothing to him. I guess because it took so long for Aria to figure things out, I was just too impatient with the story. The last part of the book was totally unexpected and redeemed the book for me somewhat, but reading through so many pages and yelling, "Come on!" was entirely frustrating.

I do want to note that I have had trouble completing books and enjoying them lately due to my mental status and this could have completely affected my reading of this book. I really didn't want to review this book but feel obligated because I took a copy from NetGalley. So, I really wouldn't take my opinion as a really unbiased one regarding this book. I think I'd have been annoyed at anyone at that point in my reading. So before I post it anywhere. I'm going to read it again and see if my opinion changes. I'll let you know soon. I read this about a month ago. I'll give it a few weeks and see how I feel.


I noticed Supernatural Snark did a great review of Mystic City. You might want to read her review before you decide if you want to read it. We are generally on the same page as far as books go.  I very much feel this was more about me than the book. Heather

Uh, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm not really blogging right now. I'm finding it a bit overwhelming at the moment. Thanks for understanding (that is I hope you do.)


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Serpent's Ring by H.B. Bolton Blog Tour and Giveaway w/CBB Book Promotion


I am happy today to bring you a review and giveaway of The Serpent's Ring, a novel with dragons, trolls, labyrinths and Norse gods and goddesses. Oh, and Evan and Claire the hero and heroine of the story. It took me a little bit to get into the story, but once the brother and sister got into Asgard, the story really takes off and Evan, Claire and their imp friends Dunkle and Barfel have to fight off, trolls, fight to keep their ship from hitting jagged rocks as Evan is drawn to a siren, battle giants, a dragon, pick up a hero....Well, that's just in the first few pages. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. There's a reason that heroes and heroines are young, all the energy, enthusiasm and lack of sleep. Old people just can't do it!

Anyway, it was a bit of a slow start even with some adventure thrown in, but as the plot got more complex, things got interested. I certainly learned a lot more about Norse mythology, though the book claims to be "loosely based" on Norse mythology. I still learned some things and found it very interesting. The brother and sister had a typical relationship in the beginning, Evan being 14 and Claire 16, but they seemed a bit older for their age. Under their circumstances, they had to be more mature, but still some sibling rivalry poked through often even in the heat of the battle. It was nice to see though at the end of the story that both of the kids had grown, in their relationship with each other and as people.

There was a definite message that the plot line took- the environment. Aegir, the god of the Sea in Norse mythology was angry with the people of Terra (Earth) over an oil spill on a coral reef. It was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back. He was tired of having his seas polluted with trash and oil spills and other toxins. We are not good stewards of earth. Aegir's solution, a Noah size flood. Wipe us out and start all over again and thanks to a nosy Evan and a little mistake, Aegir has just what he needs to do it. Yep, you guessed it, The Serpent's Ring. Jormundgand, the serpent that is so big it surrounds the Earth and swallows it's own tail, is depicted on the ring, and if given the ring he will no longer swallow his tail and the Earth will flood, wiping the Earth clean of everyone and everything to start all over again. So Evan and Claire have a pretty big quest to accomplish for the first time out.

They met interesting creatures and places, learned unique things about themselves. Was it accidental that they were the ones that were on this quest? And will they see Asgard again when they finish this mission? Will they finish mission? Can they talk Aegir out of his wrath? He isn't known to be a lover of humans. Why send humans to try to dissuade him? And what can one boy do against an all powerful God of the Sea?

I really enjoyed the story. I think it's definitely for the younger YA, to older MG crowd. There is a bit of romance in it, but very G rated. I felt myself smiling a lot towards the end because I knew some of what would be coming and I knew it would be bittersweet. I liked that some of the story was told from Evan's point of view. Always love to hear from the guys.

Here is the cover and the book blurb and just to let you know there is a nice little guide in the back of the book with references for who is who even though it wasn't hard to understand, but maybe the younger set would find it useful.

The Serpent's Ring by H.B. Bolton
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble
Goodreads Blurb:
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum ... that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods. 

Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.


And now, a little about the author:
Here is a lovely picture of H.B. Bolton  and all her links:

Website: http://www.hbbolton.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/h_b_bolton
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HBBoltonAuthor
Author on Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6150459.H_B_Bolton

And pictures of what you can win in the giveaway.
A copy of the book which you see above so a picture is redundant and this nifty little rune box along with signed bookmarks.

You can go here to see the other blogs holding their own giveaways and reviews and what not.



I even found a trailer to share with you! (sorry such a jumbled post, just how my thoughts are these days.)

And now for the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 5, 2012

Going Under by Georgia Cates AToMR Blog Tour and Giveaway


Welcome to the Going Under Blog Tour brought to you by AToMR Tours.

Here's a little about the book:
Going Under by Georgia Cates
Jessie Boone is a self proclaimed bad boy and doesn’t march to the beat of anyone’s drum, but his own. Growing up in less than desirable circumstances has made him no stranger to the hard knock life and his determination to leave it behind is fierce. When he finds himself transferred to East Franklin High School, he sees his opportunity to use his athletic ability to snag a college football scholarship, but Forbes Henderson, the player Jessie means to replace isn’t giving up his spot willingly. In fact, Forbes is willing to go to extreme measures to retain his place as first string quarterback. When Forbes’ malicious plan to injure his replacement fails, Jessie is furious and determined to show him he messed with the wrong person; not only is he going to take the position of first string quarterback, he’s going to take his girl, too.

Claire Deveraux is perfection at it’s best. She is beautiful, intelligent and unaware she just became Jessie Boone’s conquest as revenge against her boyfriend, Forbes Henderson. Like her flawless performance as the perfect daughter and student, Claire’s production of being the perfect girlfriend has everyone fooled, except Jessie Boone, and she fears this tattooed bad boy will see her secret desire to explore his crude threats and promises to rock her perfect world. If she decides to give in to one uninhibited moment with Jessie, will she learn too late that it was all an act of vengeance or will Jessie learn the taste of first love is sweeter than that of revenge?

Here is a link to the rest of the Tour where you can check out reviews, excerpts, interviews and other fun things.

And for the two giveaways you can enter below:



a Rafflecopter giveaway


and

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good Luck!
Heather

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter A Review

Alice in Wonderland (The White Rabbit Chronicles)    by Gena Showalter

Amazon, Kindle, Audible, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound

Goodreads Summary:

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.

I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.


Okay, so Gena Showalter has already been dabbling in the YA world with her Intertwined series (hmm I need to finish that series). It was pretty tame, at least the first one was for Gena Showalter. But maybe she was just testing the waters. This one, this one has all the sizzle YA can handle along with the signature fights and strong female characters she's known for. And yes, it's got drama, but this is high school, who doesn't have drama in high school?

First, I didn't know if I was going to like Ali, but oh yes, I loved her from the start. Whether she was indulging her little sis Emma or talking to her friend Kat she was sweet and caring or dishing it right back. Anyone else would have fallen apart from the loss that Ali suffered and the subsequent developments, but she was almost stronger because of it because she finally, belatedly understood her father. And wow, what a nightmare he had been living. Now Ali keeps the night time watch.

An unusual connection with bad boy Cole freaks them both out for several days in a row, but Ali becomes a bit obsessed with him, trying to figure out what is happening. And that's when her world goes completely crazy. Trying to tell Cole what she sees without actually telling him is almost impossible but she doesn't want to sound....well, like her dad. She regrets all those times she thought he was crazy.

Gena Showalter does a nice job of balancing Ali's loss with the discovery of her new world, new friends and allies,  and a new romance. No insta love!! I never expected anything less from such a seasoned romance writer. The lore around the zombies is...well it's not as creepy as I usually find zombies. I actually found it interesting and I can't wait to learn more.  It seems there will be more heartbreak to come, but one thing was put to rest for which I was glad.

Cole is not the bad boy everyone thinks he is, but because of his "hobby" zombie fighting, he's always bruised and broken as are his friends, so assumptions are made that he is in a fight club of some kind or always getting into fights. He actually leads a ragtag band of zombie slayers. Other notable characters are Frosty who is in love with Kat. The barbs Kat throws at Frosty could probably slay a few zombies even though she knows nothing about it. She is a fantastic side character. 

Oh and the villains! There are more than the zombies! A company that collects the zombies the slayers slow down and do horrible experiments on them. And they have recruits in high school. Lots of lies and betrayals. But like I said, it's high school, always drama.

I had so much fun reading this novel! I cannot wait for the next one in the series. I feel like there was closure but plenty was left open for the next book and the next. I'm glad I purchased this one so I can read it again. I love books with just the right amount of romance, friendship, heartbreak and zombie killing. This one had everything! I highly recommend this one for an enjoyable read.

Oh, I did forget to mention the Alice in Wonderland references. I loved searching them out! There were several, some more obvious than others and it was fun to see where they led. I'll be looking forward to more of that in the next novel. You'll definitely see the white rabbit!

I'd recommend this one for the older crowd, 15 and up just for the sizzle in the romance and some suggestive talk. I purchased my copy of the book for my own enjoyment and review.

Heather

In case you haven't noticed, I'm not really around these days. I'm taking a little break, getting a bit of a tune up in the medication department. I'm trying to honor my commitments and that's about it until I feel more like myself. That's why I'm not responding to comments or hopping around to your blog. Don't feel slighted, I'll be back in a bit and not so testy and irritable. You might even like me more! I know I will! I'll be back!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan A Review

Every Day by David Levithan
Amazon, Kindle, AudioBook, Audible
Barnes and Noble
Goodreads Summary:
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Have you read Every Day yet? It was really unexpected for me. I had no idea that this concept, a soul that slips in and out of a body day after day, a different body, never the same one twice, I just didn't expect it to be able to impact me like it did. You too? What got you? For me it was A's ability to exist  as anyone. Girl, boy, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, jock, nerd, gorgeous, ugly, morbidly obese, plain, smart,caustic, suicidal. That, that was the one that broke through all my barriers and put me right there in the story. A has to experience all of these people's lives as they are. He can't change them in a day. So when he wakes up in the body of a girl that is deeply depressed he talks about his past experiences being in a body that is fighting mental illness. (I use he and yet there is no gender, only that of the body A inhabits each day.) That's the part that gets me. It's the page and a half before, that describes what mental illness is. It was an "Aha moment" for me and I've lived with mental illness my entire life (since 4th grade). I actually bought the book so I could quote the page so forgive me. This is paraphrasing pages 116-117


Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality.
It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over.
I know how wrong this is.
....the cause of the feelings was a matter of chemistry, biology.
It is a hard cycle to conquer. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things.
But I have seen that strength over and over again.
I have to keep reminding myself---this is not me. It is chemistry. It is biology.
It is not who I am. It is not who any of them are.

Now, you might want to know why did that pull me into the story? Because I could identify with the character A had become. I knew exactly what A was talking about though I'd never considered myself strong. The "Aha Moment" was Chemical Imbalance=Feelings. It's incredibly hard to understand and yet I have to remind myself that's what it is when that little tape starts playing telling me all the negative feelings and the downward spiral starts. Chemicals, that's what causes that. It's still hard to believe even though I live with it. But more than that. Someone understood me. A knew who I was, am. A has lived my life probably several days. And it almost made me cry that someone understood what every day is like for me. I don't know how David Levithan knew the right words, but he said what I wish I could have said so many times. Only he got the words so perfect.  It reads like poetry to me it's so true and beautifully stated.

So, I identified with A about a third of the way through. But, actually, I'd already started identifying with him much earlier. How can you not identify with someone who is everyone and no one? I admired the hell out of A. For never caring what kind of relationship A was in.  The how and why was less important than the lesson. A just accepted anyone. Wanting something for himself/herself, some sameness, it would seem that wouldn't be too much to ask. And to want and love something so much, was amazing to read about. There is a slight bit of mystery in the book, and the ending is a bit heartbreaking but you know it's coming. There just isn't another answer because A is all giving, unselfish, and in the end, all accepting of the situation of it's life

I challenge you to read Every Day. Find your Aha Moment. See which character you identify with, or maybe characters. And maybe see the world through A's eyes. Seeing the similarities in us all, instead of the differences. Find your Every Day in the book. There may be a passage in there or two that speaks to you as much as the one about mental illness did to me. There are a lot of Every Days. When you find yours, share it with me.

This book is recommended for YA readers and adults. I received a complimentary copy of the ARC from the publishers for review from NetGalley, but I also purchased my own copy.
I highly recommend this novel.

Heather


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