Monday, January 31, 2011

Today is the BLOG TOUR stop of...




The Author: Cara Elliott

If you were planning a dinner party and you can invite the following: 1 celebrity, 1 character from You Killed Wesley Payne [Sorry, sorry! Argh, me being me, of course, forgot to change the title... meant to say To Tempt a Rake but Cara was lovely enough to ignore my mistake--thank you Cara!] 2 writers (one dead & one alive) and 1 musician. Who would they be and would they get along?

Oh no, I guess I’m going to reveal that I’m not on the cutting edge of Pop Culture! Sorry, I haven’t read You Killed Wesley, so can’t really choose a character from the book to invite to dinner. But the idea of putting together a special guest list for a supper party is always a fun one!

So, I’m going to take a little artistic license and change the categories slightly. For me, the dream party would involve gathering a team of creative people to collaborate on making a film version of To Tempt A Rake. To start with, I’d ask Clint Eastwood to write the screenplay and direct the movie (and seeing as he’s a great jazz aficionado, he could help with the music as well.) But I’d also bring in Beethoven to help him, seeing as some of the book’s scenes are set in Vienna. (Beethoven actually composed some of the music for some of the actual historic parties that are mentioned in my book.)

Okay, now to round out the table with the stars of the movies! I would ask Keira Knightley (in her Elizabeth Swan ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ persona) to play my heroine, Kate. She has just the right swashbuckling, kick-ass attitude for the role. The last invitation is reserved for the hero of the movie—so, who would I ask to play my hero? I can answer that in a hearbeat! Johnny Depp is the perfect person to play Marco!

And yes, we would all get along famously . . . especially Johnny and me.

Check out Cara's website and Facebook for more info about her and her books.


The Book: To Tempt a Rake
(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

Kate Woodbridge has spent most of her life sailing to exotic ports around the globe, acquiring an expertise in botany, along with a few less ladylike skills. So when a deathbed promise to her parents brings her to London to seek reconciliation with her grandfather, the imperious Duke of Cluyne, she feels like a fish out of water. Her outspoken views and fiery temper tend to set off sparks in Society-especially with the rakish Conte of Como.

A devil-may-care rogue, Marco finds the alluring and mysterious Kate a tempting target for his flirtations. But when murder strikes at the duke's country house party he begins to suspect that she's hiding a dark secret. He has his own clandestine reasons for offering to help her prove her innocence . . . And so begins a journey of dangerous deception that leads from England to the glittering ballrooms of Vienna, where Marco and Kate must duel with a deadly villain . . . and their own explosive attraction.



Do you want to win your very own copy of To Tempt A Rake?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!
Today, we have author Sean Beaudoin stop by on our blog to chat with us. His book (which I'm currently reading) You Killed Wesley Payne is coming out tomorrow (February 1). Please join us in welcoming him.

Hi Sean! If you were planning a dinner party and you can invite the following: 1 celebrity, 1 character from You Killed Wesley Payne, 2 writers (one dead & one alive) and 1 musician. Who would they be and would they get along?
Celebrity: The three-headed Kardashian
Wesley Payne Character: Kurt “Dead Elvis” Tarot
Living Writer: Christopher Hitchens
Dead Writer: Dorothy Parker
Musician: Elvis
Total chaos. Thrown food. Broken furniture. Dessert canceled. Ambulance called. Then everyone goes down to the basement and hammers out the music and lyrics for a brand new Broadway musical called Midnight at Noon. It breaks all box office records, they split the proceeds evenly, and then move together into the old Friends apartment over Central Park.

Classic pulp noir (literary or film) mash up: which two and how will the characters get along?
Robert Mitchum from Out of the Past squares up against Orson Wells from Lady From Shanghai, in the new, leaner, Out of the Lady From the Past, Into a Shanghai Fist. Mitchum wins, easy. Orson cheats, still loses. After, they share a glass of Paul Masson overlooking the Danube, and tell stories about what it was like to be alive sixty years ago.

Your craziest high school story (or craziest thing that happened to you in high school).
The top twenty-six craziest things that happened to me in high school are all stories that would be unwise to share in this forum. However, here is number twenty-seven:

It was a hot day. My friend A-dog and I had sort of had it with school and it wasn’t even lunch yet. There was history class, and then an algebra test the period after that. A-dog goes “let’s go jump off a bridge.” I looked at him and said “Okay.” We snuck outside, jumped in his black Cougar, roared across town, parked by the rocks under the highway bridge, and then climbed under the metal buttressing, all the way out over the river. It was a long way down. I was starting to wish I’d opted for history class after all. A-dog jumped. Disappeared. Finally, his tiny head bobbed in the water. I closed my eyes and stepped off. I could have written three fairly complicated chapters in the time it took to hit the current. Then I was below, down by the mossy cement base of the bridge, where everything was green, old cars and tires and cans rusting along the bottom. I remembered you have to breathe, and kicked to the surface. A-dog laughed at me, the look of terror on my face. We floated downstream to the Cougar, roared back to school, snuck in, and just made math class. Sitting at our desks, dripping wet, we both took the test. The teacher just shook his head. It was a hot day. He’d had it with school, too.

jlondon Cliques and your thoughts about them.
If “clique” can be taken to mean “a hurtfully exclusive gathering you’ll find out five years later was full of people you didn’t want to hang out with anyway,” than I think it can pretty safely be said I’m not real big on them. On the other hand, cliques can also just be a bunch of people who like the same bands, or hate the same football players, or who dig chess or reading or World of Warcraft. So, they’re pretty useful too. Elementally, as animals, we seem to like to pair off. If lemurs do it, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves for doing it as well. In my experience, high school was a three-act drama spread out over four years. Without the cliques, no matter how dire the snobbery seemed at the time, it probably would have made for a less interesting storyline.

Check out Sean's website for more info on his books, himself and to read his blog. I'll be posting my review of You Killed Wesley Payne soon but before then see other reviews on Goodreads.

Okay... GIVEAWAY time!

Thanks to Angelo and Blog Reach Solutions (BRS), we have a signed copy of Going Nowhere Faster (Sean's first book) to giveaway. To enter simply fill out the form below:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In Our Mailbox (Jan. 24-30)

Sunday, January 30, 2011 with
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance to show off their book haul for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

My order from Barnes and Noble came this week and I'm very eager to read the books especially Melina Marchetta's Saving Francesca and Julie Jame's Just the Sexiest Man Alive. Julie James is my favorite contemporary romance author and if you love romantic comedy type of reads, you must pick up one of her books (my personal fave is Practice Makes Perfect).

We didn't think we'd get any review books this week but Mad Love and Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance came on Friday. I am very excited for Jenna and Jonah (I featured it in a "Book I Covet" post a while back) because it sounds like a fun book and it's one of those alternating perspective books and I love reading those.

Here's a snapshot of the books:

For Review

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
(A big THANK YOU to Walker Books and Kate for sending us the books.)

Bought
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James


What did you get this week?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Deadly Heat & Deadly Lies by Cynthia Eden

Saturday, January 29, 2011 with
Labels:
Today is the BLOG TOUR stop of...


You're all in for a treat! Read on for a chance to win BOTH Deadly Heat and Deadly Lies.

The Author: Cynthia Eden

Some Random Facts About Cynthia…
(taken from her website)

Favorite Fictional Characters:
Dracula, Lois Lane, Buffy, and Wolverine

Favorite Films:
The Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Friday the 13th, Underworld Evolution, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Hellboy

Astrological Sign:
Gemini…ah, she of the twin faces…

Addictions:
Chocolate and Romance Novels

Literary Agent:
Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency

Family life:
Cynthia lives with her husband, Nicholas, and her son, Jack. For more information about Cynthia and her writing, please visit her blog.

Also, check out Cynthia's Facebook and Twitter for more info about her and her books.


The Books:
Deadly Heat
& Deadly Lies

(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

Six months after her lover died in an arsonist's blaze, firefighter Lora Spade calls in the FBI's elite Serial Services Division to track the elusive killer. When Special Agent Kenton Lake is lured into a violent inferno, Lora pulls him to safety and is stunned - not by the fire, but by her own searing attraction to Kent. For the first time in months, she longs for something other than vengeance.

Kenton's interest in Lora should be purely professional. But one fleeting kiss and he can't get her out of his mind. Her combination of strength and vulnerability makes him want to protect her, and that means solving this case - and fast. For even the passion igniting between them can't hide a terrifying truth: Lora is the next target in a murderer's sadistic, fiery game.


**Deadly Heat was released on January 25, 2011.**

***

FBI Special Agent Samantha Kennedy is haunted by memories of the serial killer who abducted her. To keep the darkness at bay, she pretends to be a different, more confident woman. This Samantha doesn't fear every unknown face. So she throws caution to the wind and shares a night of unbridled passion with a handsome stranger.

One night isn't enough for successful entrepreneur Max Ridgeway. He wants more of the sexy, smart, mysterious woman who slipped away before dawn. When they meet again, their attraction is undeniable-until his stepbrother goes missing, and Max realizes that Samantha isn't who she seems. But they must trust each other to trap a ring of bloodthirsty kidnappers before the nightmares that terrorize Sam become irrevocably real.


**Deadly Lies will be released on February 22, 2011.**


Do you want to win BOTH Deadly Heat & Deadly Lies?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 sets to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Leslie's Review: Blue by Lou Aronica

Thursday, January 27, 2011 with
laronica ARC: 394 pages
Publisher: The Fiction Studio

Release Date: January 8, 2011
ISBN:
978-1936558001
Source of my copy: author
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them. Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed.


Leslie's Review:
If you want to be whisked away to a fantasy land, you should read Blue. I really loved the fantasy land, Tamarisk, that I wish I could go there myself with Chris and Becky. Tamarisk is a make-believe land that Becky and her dad, Chris, made up when Becky was younger. But reality and fantasy collided when Tamarisk developed a life of it's own. But there is something terribly wrong going on and Miea, the queen of Tamarisk, wants to save her dying land.

I really liked how Tamarisk played a part in bringing the characters in the book together. I think, because of Tamarisk, Chris's relationship with his family was strengthened once again after all the years they haven't been so close. I loved seeing Becky and Chris's father-daughter relationship evolve and improve and Chris and Polly (his ex-wife) also got closer. It was enchanting to read about Becky and Miea become such close friends that they're practically sisters. I thought the author did a great job bringing all the characters together. The story is told through Chris, Becky and Miea's perspective and I thought they were all well-developed and each of them had their own voice and personality and struggles. Out of all the characters, though, I really admired Becky. I really related with her since we were both the same age and I liked her vibrant and hopeful personality.

It took me awhile to finish this book because of my hectic schedule and because the book was pretty thick and there were some slow parts. But when I finally finished it I was blown away. This book was a fantastical read with great imagination, well-developed characters and beautiful world building. It's also emotional, moving and will lift your spirits in its hopefulness. Though not quite a teen or an adult book, I recommend it especially to those who love a good fantasy novel. 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book I Covet: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 with
Why I covet this book: First of all, the cover is gorgeous. But besides that it has everything I love in a contemporary young adult book: teen angst, a mysterious boy, romance...

Oh, and according to the author on Goodreads, the whole story happens in 24 hours. I haven't read a young adult book set up like this before.


daybeforeThe Day Before by Lisa Schroeder (out June 28, 2011)
Sometimes there's no turning back.

Amber's life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of her family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell that he's also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she's drawn to him. And the more she's troubled by his darkness. Because Cade's not just living in the now--he's living each moment like it's his last.



Do you covet any book(s) this week?



"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

heartwithjoy Trade Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Canterbury House Publishing

Release Date: Sept. 1, 2010
ISBN:
978-0982539637
Source of my copy: author
Synopsis (from Amazon)

In Heart With Joy, fifteen-year-old Julian Hale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Venice, Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years. While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.
Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon. This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before. Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart. And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store. By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.
Heart With Joy is an uplifting coming of age novel about cooking and bird watching, about writing and pottery, and about falling in love and the sacrifices we all make. But ultimately, it’s about the importance of following your heart and trusting that it will take you where you need to go.

Michelle's Review:
The blurb above does a good job summarizing Heart With Joy so I'm not going to reiterate it again. The story was told in first-person perspective through 15-year-old Julian. He was very likable and you can't help but feel for him in the beginning after his mother left and he wasn't sure how to talk to or act around his dad. It was great reading how their father-son relationship changed throughout the book. I also liked that Julian's hobby is cooking and how it became more than a hobby as he gained more confidence in his cooking and experimented with recipes. But as much as I liked Julian, I thought he was too... perfect. I kept thinking as I was reading this book that Julian is the kind of son I want to have (you know, if I decide to have kids): sweet, understanding, thoughtful, wakes up at the crack of dawn to help little old ladies feed birds and walks the cat (yes, I said cat), would rather stay home and cook for dad than go out with friends... Hmm... maybe I'm being a cynic.

The other characters were great too, like Julian's neighbor Mrs. Peters. She was a sweet old lady whose hobby is bird watching and gave Julian milk and cookies as well as a new appreciation for birds, and Tia, Julian's love interest who shares his passion for cooking. The only character I didn't like was Julian's mom. I don't know if she's supposed to be a sympathetic character but I found her to be self-serving and selfish--I wouldn't have been as forgiving and understanding as Julian if I was in his situation especially if after finding out what she did before she left for Florida.

If you're looking for crazy twists and surprises you won't find it here. It's just a simple, straightforward story about finding that [sometimes elusive] something that makes you happy and fills your heart with joy. Besides that, it's also a story one's relationships, about family, friendship, love and forgiveness, and even death and loss. I love coming of age stories and Heart With Joy was a refreshing, feel-good kind read with wonderful characters. I thought the writing was great as well--it's understated but it will sneak up on you, grab you and make you care for the characters and leaves you satisfied after you read the last page. 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, January 24, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt

Monday, January 24, 2011 with
Labels:
Today is the BLOG TOUR stop of...




The Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance. She also writes deliciously fun contemporary romance under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in central Illinois with three untrained dogs, two angelic but bickering children, and one long-suffering husband.

Check out Elizabeth's website, Twitter and Facebook for more info about her and her books.



The Book: Notorious Pleasures

(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)
**Notorious Pleasures comes out on January 25 (tomorrow!)**

Their lives were perfect . . .
Lady Hero Batten,the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a womancould want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn'tbother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .

Until they met each other.
GriffinRemmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it thatway. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows heengages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes aninstant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with hercharities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society,let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soonsparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worldsto come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemieslay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people findperfect true love?



Do you want to win your very own copy of Notorious Pleasures?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!
Today is the BLOG TOUR stop of...




The Author: Sophie Gunn

Sophie Gunn grew up in suburban Philadelphia, but raced to New York City as soon as she got the chance. After four years at Columbia University, she worked at several of Manhattan's top advertising agencies as a copywriter, penning ads for Pepsi, BMW, Sony, and other major brands. When her husband got a job in a tiny town in upstate New York, she knew her ad career was over. So she opened a computer file and typed, "Chapter One." Now, she's back in Philadelphia, six blocks from where she grew up, with her two cats, two kids, and one husband, writing what she loves and wondering why she ever left.

Check out Sophie's website and Facebook for more info about her and her books.


The Book: How Sweet It Is
(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that no white knight was coming to save her. A hardworking waitress at the local diner, she's raising her daughter to be like the independent women in her "Enemy Club"--high school rivals turned best friends, promising to always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but!

Yet part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man's help, just for small stuff, like fixing up the house. Her fairy godmother must have been listening, because Dante "Tay" Giovanni soon appears. He's sexy, kind, and offering assistance--no strings attached.

Slowly, steadily, Lizzie's heart opens. But the grip of the past is fierce, and nothing in life is ever really free. Tay has his own tragedies to overcome, but if he can, he'll fix more than Lizzie's home. He'll show her just how sweet it is to be loved by him.



Do you want to win your very own copy of How Sweet It Is?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In Our Mailbox (Jan. 14-22)

Sunday, January 23, 2011 with
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance to show off their book haul for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

I don't know about Leslie but I was in a reading slump all week last week and I'm still reading Delirium. It's really good and I'm liking it a lot but I just couldn't sit still and concentrate for a long period of time to read it. It maybe because second quarter report cards were due, there were parent-teacher conferences last week and an all-around crazy week. We realized we haven't posted anything since Wednesday but Leslie and I promise to make up for lost time this coming week here on the blog.

Last week, we were lucky enough to receive a few books this week. I'm especially excited for The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta because after reading and loving Jellicoe Road, I've been wanting to read more books by her. Leslie and I are also eager to read Across the Universe but after all the buzz we're a little nervous because we have high expectations for it. Alright-y, here's our "in my mailbox":

Young Adults

Across the Universe by Beth Revis (bought)
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (for review)
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney (for review)
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher (for review)
(A big THANK YOU to Flux, Candlewick and Sourcebooks Fire for sending us the books.)


Romances

Taste Me by Tamara Hogan (for review)
Deadly Heat by Cynthia Eden (for review)
Deadly Lies by Cynthia Eden (for review)
It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare (for review)
(A big THANK YOU to Hachette/Forever and Sourcebooks Fire for sending us the books.)


What did you get this week?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book I Covet: Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 with
Why I covet this book: It sounds like a book that's full of heart-pounding action (in the way of The Hunger Games series) with a kick-ass heroine set in a post-apocalyptic world full of danger and darkness.

That cover... perfect fit for the blurb!

And speaking of... that blurb has me wondering: Who is Aidan? The love interest? Who are the Sweepers? Why are they looking for Lucy? What's so special about her? Is there hope for survival in this world?

WANT!!


ashesashesAshes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari (out June 2011)
A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.





"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Monday, January 17, 2011

GIVEAWAY: My Immortal Assassin by Carolyn Jewel

Monday, January 17, 2011 with
Labels:
Today is the BLOG TOUR stop of...




The Author: Carolyn Jewel


When not writing, Carolyn Jewel is a Database Administrator. She lives in northern California with her son, three cats, a border collie, several chickens, and some sheep.

Check out Carolyn's website for more info about her and her books as well as Twitter and Facebook.





The Book: My Immortal Assassin

(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

TEMPTED BY REVENGE...
Grayson Spencer is hellbent on killing the dark mage who destroyed her life. But when her attempt fails, she is forced to turn to Durian, a feared demon and expert assassin. Newly armed with powerful magic she's barely able to control, she'll do whatever it takes to complete her mission--even surrender to a dangerous fiend whose eyes promise unimaginable pleasure.

BOUND BY DESIRE...
Sworn to protect all mages, Durian can't let Gray threaten the uneasy peace among demons, humans, and mages. So he proposes a deal: He'll train Gray to master her gift if she'll bind herself magically to him, submitting to his control. As Gray's powers intensify, so too does Durian's hunger for this fierce, irresistible woman. When the dark mage makes a final play for Gray, will the passion she and Durian share be the key to their survival or the seed of their destruction?



Do you want to win your very own copy of My Immortal Assassin?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In Our Mailbox (Jan. 1-13)

Saturday, January 15, 2011 with
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance to show off their book haul for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren. Click on the link to check out what other book bloggers got in their mailbox this week and join in on the fun!

Been a while since I did an IMM post but I bought myself a bunch of books on Amazon as a late holiday present for myself and they finally came! I'm especially excited for my first Cassandra Clare book--Leslie is a huge fan and I've heard so many great things about her series.


Bought
Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

For Review
All That's True by Jackie Lee Miles
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
The Lo-Down by Lo Bosworth
(A big THANK YOU to Little Brown, Simon & Schuster and Sourcebooks for sending us the books.)

Other Books Mentioned
The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (won)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (currently reading)


What did you get this week?
srowe Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Language: English
ISBN13:
9781402241956
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Trinity Harpswell is a cursed Black Widow-death and mayhem are all part of the job description. If she can manage to go just one more week without accidentally killing someone, she'll break this killer curse and put her Black Widow days behind her. When sexy Blaine Underhill III shows up at her door and asks for her help rescuing his friend from the clutches of Death's evil grandma, Trinity gets pulled into a daring high stakes adventure. As Blaine and Trinity join forces to take down a series of underworld assassins, they may just learn that love is the deadliest game of all.

Michelle's Review:
Our heroine is Trinity Harpswell and she was cursed when she was very young--she is a Black Widow and knows how to kill anything. The problem is that every time she falls in love she ends up killing the guy. But she hasn't killed in years and if she gets through the next week without killing anyone, she breaks the curse and finally live a normal life. Unfortunately, her dad was kidnapped and the only way to save him is to kill. Enter Blaine Underhill and his friends. They are prisoners of Angelica, Death's grandmother, whose husband left her and had ever since tried to turn men into "good" men by torturing them. To escape evil Angelica and save their friend, they need a black widow to know the exact way to kill her. Trinity and Blaine make a deal--he's going to help her if she helps him. It's not going to be an easy week for Trinity. Can she save her dad, break her curse and find her happily ever after?

This is my first Stephanie Rowe book and I have to say it wasn't bad. I liked the romance aspect of the story--I thought Trinity and Blaine were quite likable and watching them come together was great. Sometimes, though, I found myself rolling my eyes at Trinity because she gets a bit much with her whole anti-killing thing. The plot gets a little confusing because the point of view often changes between the characters and you have to keep up as there are a lot of sub-plots but it's basically a wild slapstick comedy. This being the first book in the series, the author also had to "build" the world--which I thought was interesting so hopefully we will get to explore it more as the series goes on. Overall, it was funny (I found myself laughing at some parts), it had plenty of action and great, sometimes weird, characters. If you like humorous paranormal romances, you might enjoy this book. 3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Leslie covets this book: I LOVED Kim Culbertson's previous novel Songs for a Teenage Nomad so I'm really excited to read her next book. I think Instructions is going to be just as awesome as Songs.

dwhitneyInstructions for a Broken Heart [blurb taken from Goodreads]
Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.
This book comes out on May 1, 2011. For more info visit Kim Culbertson's website.


************


Why Michelle covets this book: I read If I Stay a few weeks ago and the story of Mia, her family and Adam still hasn't left me. I am dying to read Where She Went and find out what happened to Mia and Adam 3 years after If I Stay. April can't come soon enough, I'm so excited!!

kdertingWhere She Went (If I Stay #2) [blurb taken from Goodreads]
It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
This book comes out on April 5, 2011. For more info visit Gayle Forman's website.



"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Today is the BLOG TOUR stop of...




The Author: Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a card-carrying Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent (free) trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty year career with the airlines. Bi-lingual, she flew international all those years, working her flights as foreign language speaker. Her flying career allowed her to see the world, but it was always to Scotland that she returned.

Now a full-time writer, she’s quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She spent fifteen years living in Europe and used that time to explore as many castle ruins, medieval abbeys, and stone circles as possible. Anything ancient, crumbling, or lichened caught her eye. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity as each trip gives her inspiration for new books.

Check out Sue-Ellen's Hachette page to read her full bio and website for more info about her and her books.


The Book: Sins of a Highland Devil
(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

The first book in the Highland Warriors trilogy, in which three heroes make a pact to insure that a rival clan does not take over their Glen of Many Legends. At the same time, three women plot to marry these heroes to insure peace.

In SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL, James Cameron is concerned when the King's decree states all three neighboring clans must have a battle to the death in order to lay official claim to the scared Glen of Many Legends. James attempts to make a pact with the heads of the other clans to fight this decree. But he ends up fighting his own fierce desire when coming head-to-head with Lady Catriona of the opposing MacDonald clan, who has her own plan for peace.




Do you want to win your very own copy of Sins of a Highland Devil?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!
choker ARC: 240 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: Jan. 4, 2011
ISBN:
9781442412330
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Simon & Schuster)

Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her "Choker" after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria. Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.
But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?

Michelle's Review:
Choker was a dark, creepy read that reminded me of some of R.L. Stine's Fear Street book series that I devoured one after the other in middle school. I felt for Cara's character in the beginning--she had very low self-esteem, she had no friends, the popular girls in school were cruel to her, her parents were often too preoccupied with their jobs and she pretty much just felt like a useless appendage. When Zoe came along, Cara finally had someone to confide in and, with Zoe's help, finally gains some self-confidence. But the "honeymoon" period of their friendship was short-lived and Zoe became jealous of Cara's new life. Zoe had a controlling and a volatile personality but besides that you know that there's something not right with this girl. Other secondary characters included the love interest, Ethan, who was your typical popular jock but he had a history that made him sympathetic to Cara and I understood why he might have been drawn to her. There were also Cara's parents who I didn't like right from the start--seriously if they already knew about their daughter why would they neglect her like that? Haha, I blame them for what happened to Cara in the end.

The plot was evenly paced for the most part and the author kept the dark and eerie mood until the last page. There was a huge twist in the end and I guess it's one of those you-figure-it-out-early-or-you-don't-types. I kind of figured it out early on but it didn't lessen the impact of the big reveal. If you don't figure it out, it's quite shocking. This book is the author's debut novel and I thought she did a good job--besides it being a really creepy read, it explores bullying and an unhealthy, sometimes abusive friendship. Change up your contemporary read and check out Choker--this novel with its disturbing characters and frightening plot will keep you reading into the night. 4 out of 5 stars
Okay.

Get ready.

This post is going to be all about Across the Universe.

I have never been more excited for a book release since Mockingjay but I am for ATU. I'm not a big fan to sci-fi but this book sounds nothing like I've read in a while. I pre-ordered it months ago on Amazon but unfortuately I won't be getting my copy until the 18th. So, I'm trying to keep my anticipation up by participating in ATU-related activities. I signed up for the Penguin Teen ATU blogger project where they basically have us talk and share info about the novel and to let everyone know that it's being released today 1.11.11 (well, in 49 minutes because it's only 11:11 PM Hawaii time right now; it's already officially 1/11 in the mainland)... So here I am doing that.

Okay, before I get into all the cool videos, websites and such, here's the cover (clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon) and the blurb:

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.



Book Trailer
:


Never-Been-Seen Before (until now) Author Video
:
In which Beth Revis explains her inspiration for and the different levels of the spaceship Godspeed.


To find out more about
ATU online:
You can check out the ATU's own Facebook page, the Penguin Teen website, Twitter and Facebook, Beth Revis’ author website, blog and Twitter. And of course the

Across the Universe website
(Penguin Teen promises it to be extra awesome once it goes live on 1.11.11 because there you can explore Godspeed! From watching Beth's video above I'm super excited to check out the Feeder Level. She describes it as having rolling hills and pastures as well as the "city" where the people aboard the ship live.)



Wanna read ATU?

Now that you're all excited for ATU, you probably wanna read it right NOW. Well, thanks to io9, from 11:11 AM Eastern to 11:11 PM Eastern on 01.11.11 you read a 111 page excerpt! Woo-hoo!!

Okay, that's an Across the Universe overload right there. With all the buzz surrounding this book, I sincerely hope it delivers. Reader friends, let me know your thoughts about this book especially if you read it already or if you're just as excited as me. Have a great Tuesday! :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

GIVEAWAY: How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

Monday, January 10, 2011 with
Labels:
Today is the BLOG TOUR stop of...




The Author: Vicky Dreiling

Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.”

When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and most of all, long lunches with friends. She holds degrees in English literature and marketing. A native Texan, she shares her home with her daughter and a spoiled mini-lop rabbit that lives in a slightly gnawed cardboard cottage.

Check out Vicky's blog and website for more info about her and her books.


The Book: How to Marry a Duke
(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary--nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met...

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife--she'll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.



Do you want to win your very own copy of How to Marry a Duke?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!
trickstersgirl ARC: 281 pages
Publisher: Houghton Miffilin Harcourt

Language: English
ISBN:
978-0547196206
Source of my copy: Publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die. The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying. Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.


Leslie's Review
:
The beginning of this book was a bit slow. After reading 30 or so pages, I would find myself skimming ahead. But I kept reading and the action did eventually pick up. The plot got really interesting and thrilling. I really liked how Raven and Kelsa traveled through the futuristic America and Canada to get to their destination, Alaska. I got to really "see" the world the author created.

The book was told in limited third-person through Kelsa so I got to know her better than the hero, Raven. I liked Kelsa--she was resourceful, brave and clever but a bit of a control-freak. She had the talent to be able to heal the world of the terrible plague that took the life of her dad. I found that and the process really intriguing and special about her. Raven, on the other hand, I felt didn't really got to know and I didn't know what to make of him just through his actions. All I know about him was that he was a beautiful boy and a mythological creature that has been around for over thousands of years. He can shape shift into different forms, has magical powers and he has been around for a long time. He didn't like humans and thought them careless and foolish. But as he spent more time with Kelsa he found her to be a good friend--that's all they are pretty much to each other by the way: friends. So, if you're looking for a romance between the two main characters you won't find it in this book.


I would've liked more of a chemistry or natural tension
(not necessarily romantic) between the two. The plot was interesting, like I said, but not sure about the characters. If you're into adventure and magic in your reads, by all means, check out Trickster's Girl. 3 out of 5 stars
It's time to announce the winners (chosen by random.org) for Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings. There were 81 readers who entered with a total of 419 eligible entries. Thank you all for entering and spreading the word. Without further ado...

realmermaids
The 2 lucky winners are...

Maureen (mce1011)
Lu (lusravesandrants)


Congratulations winners! I will email you all in a bit for your info or email me at chelleyreads AT gmail DOT com with your US or Canada address in the next 72 hours.

Thank you all for entering! Those who didn't win this time around, don't despair--there will be 2 new giveaways posted this week. Just check out our left sidebar. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

otherwordsforlove ARC: 354 pages
Publisher: Random House

Release Date: January 11, 2011
ISBN:
978-0385739016
Source of my copy: Publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York—and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?


Leslie's Review:
Shy and quiet Ari has always felt invisible at her Brooklyn high school and out-shined by her best friend Summer. But when Ari received an unexpected inheritance, she transfers to an elite Manhattan prep school and befriends wealthy student, Leigh. Leigh introduced Ari to the glamorous New York lifestyle as well as her handsome cousin Blake. She thought she has no chance with him but surprisingly he asked her out. Soon Ari's life was filled with love and excitement she hasn't experienced in a long time--until Blake pulls away when misfortune strikes his family. As she tried to recover from the breakup, Ari began to doubt if what they had was true love.

Other Words for Love was enjoyable and fantastic. Every time I picked it up, I would always find myself so sucked-in by Ari and her story. By the time I had to stop reading, it took me awhile to come back to reality. I think it was because the plot and characters were to vivid to me, especially because I could really relate to Ari. The book was in first person and I really got to know her. She and I were so similar--the quiet personality, the feelings of invisibility, and how she felt out-shined by her friend. The thing that I loved overall, though was her growth throughout the book. She became a wiser and a more confident adult and I rooted for her. The other characters in the book were also well-developed. My favorite was Leigh who a better friend to Ari than Summer was.

As for the bittersweet ending, I wasn't really satisfied with it at first because I expected something else. But as I thought about it more I realized that it was for the best because in life not everything ends in a happily ever and it was a great conclusion to the book nonetheless. Overall, I thought Other Words for Love a wonderful and well-written contemporary YA novel with a plot that kept my attention and great characters. I really liked this book and I recommend this to everyone who loves contemporary YA and stories about first-loves. 4 out of 5 stars