Saturday, February 25, 2012

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter







Title: Goddess Interrupted
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: March 27, 2012


   My Rating:
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From Goodreads:

Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.


  My Review
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I love it when the second book in a series not only measures up to its predecessor, but, in some instances, surpasses it. For me, this is one of those instances. I liked The Goddess Test, but I loved Goddess Interrupted. I loved the fast-paced action the story provided and I really enjoyed exploring some answers to questions I had from the previous book. Most of those questions surrounded one person in particular: Persephone! I’m so excited we got to meet her in book 2. I was quite prepared to hate her, but I couldn’t. Not even a little.  

The supporting characters in this series are phenomenal. All of the little details that the author includes are nothing short of amazing. I find myself quite mesmerized with these gods and goddesses. The vivid details and imagery of the underworld were thrilling and, at times, sobering. Ruling the underworld is not a job I envy. 

Now, I’m still a big James fan, and I still want to smack Henry at least once a day, but I love that Aimee Carter can make me feel that way. I wanted to shake and hug Kate... sometimes simultaneously. And Henry. What. The. Hades??  Did I mention the smacking? And then after making me feel that way.... he says these things! All these can't-mention-it-would-be-too-spoilery things! And I melted into a complete, utter melty mess.

The ending came too soon and brought with it an incredible cliffhanger that may or may not have left me wailing, “Noooooooooo!” Oh, Aimee Carter, you sneaky little genius, you! You know you’ll have me counting down the days ‘til book 3. Well played.

An ARC of this book was provided by Netgalley for review.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway of The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox







Title: The Magic Warble
Author: Victoria Simcox
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Publication Date: February 1, 2009

Rating:

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From Goodreads: 
Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and the evil Queen Sentiz.

In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she's honored as "the chosen one," the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz's control. But it's not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous "Magic Warble," in its final resting place. She must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen's "zelbocks" before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, and an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.



As the mother of a 12-year-old daughter who loves to read, it can be quite difficult to find appropriate reading material for her. I can’t allow my “tween” to read all of the YA books that she would love to, due to content that is still too mature. So, I was thrilled when Victoria Simcox contacted me about reading and reviewing her book, The Magic Warble, a beautiful fantasy book geared toward middle-graders. I applaud Ms. Simcox for writing a book that contains no profanity, violence, or other inappropriate content. What it does contain is an enchanting story with positive messages and positive role models. This is a wonderful, wholesome book that is also exciting and fun for kids of all ages. My daughter says she would also have enjoyed it before she became a middle grader, so I believe it is quite appropriate for elementary age. Since I haven’t been a middle grader for, *clears throat* um, quite some time, who better to finish the review on this awesome book than my very own and most favorite middle-grader in the world? Here is what Katertot thought about The Magic Warble:

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Katertot’s Review:

Kristina Kingsly, a twelve-year-old girl who receives a mysterious gift from her teacher before Christmas break, is awoken one night by a buzzing noise coming from somewhere in her bedroom. The gift she was given by her teacher, Miss Hensley, came in some sort of hatbox, and she had carelessly tossed it under her bed the day before when she couldn’t open it. But now, as the buzzing seems to be growing louder… and seems to be coming from underneath her bed… Kristina pulls out the box and opens it, only to find a tiny, silvery, tarnished ball. What kind of gift is that? Just as she is about to go back to sleep, she suddenly finds herself in a different place! Not like one of those times when you close your eyes and feel like you’re somewhere else… she literally appeared in a beautiful garden in a pile of leaves. Afterwards, she learns she is the “Chosen One,” brought to this land, Bernovem, to place the little tarnished ball… or the Magic Warble… in its resting place.

Currently, Bernovem is ruled by the tyrant Queen Sentiz. She knows Kristina is attempting to place the Magic Warble in its resting place and is bound and determined to kill Kristina and Werrien (the boy who is helping Kristina on her mission), take the Magic Warble, and destroy it, also destroying the only chance Bernovem has of being saved.

While this book was very exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat, it also really touched my heart, especially when dealing with certain matters near the end; however, I can’t say any more without giving away too much. I’ll be honest, I cried near the end, and I agree with my mom - she says, “You know you’ve read a great book when it brings out that kind of emotion in you.”

This book is absolutely wonderful - 5 stars! Victoria Simcox is incredibly talented. I enjoyed her writing thoroughly and adored all the characters! Fairies, gnomes, dwarfs, AND talking animals? I’m hooked! The cover also intrigued me… what a beautiful book! A spectacular read by a spectacular author, The Magic Warble is a new favorite of mine! I will most definitely be reading the sequel, The Black Shard, as soon as possible!

About the author:


Victoria Simcox resides in western Washington with her husband, children, and their pets. Aside from being an author, she is an elementary school art teacher and a home-schooling mother. Her hobbies include reading, painting watercolors, and hiking. To find out more about this lovely author, you can find her here:

Her blog:  Victoria Simcox
The Magic Warble on FB: The Magic Warble
Twitter:  Victoria Simcox








Victoria was also generous enough to give away a copy of The Magic Warble to one lucky winner. US residents will have the choice of hard copy or e-book.  For International readers, she is giving away an e-book. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and thank you so much for entering!

You can purchase an e-book of The Magic Warble here for only $2.99



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Guest Review of Entwined by Heather Dixon

My lovelies,
Due to some medical issues, I've been under doctor's orders to have "limited reading / computer time."  To say that such an order has been difficult to adhere to is more than putting it mildly.  So, to help me out, I have a very special guest reviewer on the blog today.  What makes her so special?  Well, she's extremely sweet, loves books, and... I gave birth to her.  I suppose that would make me biased, but I love her tons, and I hope you like her review as much as I do.  So, without further ado, I am turning my blog over to my Katertot for the day:



Title:    Entwined
Author: Heather Dixon
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: March 29, 2011

       Rating: 
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From Goodreads:

Confined to their dreary castle while mourning their mother's death, Princess Azalea and her 11 sisters join The Keeper, who is trapped in a magic passageway, in a nightly dance that soon becomes nightmarish.



Katertot's Review:

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Azalea, a beautiful princess, eldest among eleven sisters, is saddened and troubled after losing her mother, which means two things: her most beloved friend and guardian was gone, and she would be caught in mourning, which lasts for one year. The windows would be covered in thick curtains, and everything (dresses, shoes, even the curtains over the windows) was to be made black - dark and dreary… especially the moods of those living within it all. The worst thing of all about mourning? No dancing. This is the cruel and unusual punishment to the twelve princesses, who love dancing more than anything on earth. Azalea looked forward to every ball and event, which were not allowed during mourning.
One day, after an encounter with Lord Bradford (*swoon*), Azalea learns that the so-thought boring old castle contains secret passages that may be opened by rubbing silver against a certain mark when found on brick - the D’Eathe mark, to be exact. When Azalea finds that mark in her and her sisters’ bedroom, she discovers a silvery, fantasy-filled, absolutely breath-taking landscape… with a pavilion for dancing. The girls are intrigued, but are not sure what to do about their discovery - should they come down here and dance, breaking rules with every twirl and spin they make? Or should they do the right thing, pushing the secret passage out of their minds? They should ignore it and turn back, with never a thought of it again. However, you can guess just what they actually do. Dancing every night is amazing… and the one thing that makes it so wonderful and dreamy? Hiding it, and the King knowing absolutely nothing about it. Keeper, the, well… keeper… of the forest, is so welcoming and warm at first, acting as if he really wants them there, enjoys their happiness of dancing as if it’s his own. However, in the forest of silver and dreams and happiness swirled into an icy wonderland, things are not what they seem. Keeper begins, one night, acting very strangely. The next thing the girls know, their belongings are missing… a thimble, a ribbon, and other trifles such as these. Soon after, Azalea discovers Keeper has taken these things, and soon, takes something not-so-trivial from Azalea herself: her mother’s brooch. Azalea promises him two things: to help free him from this landscape (he is trapped forever without her help), and to never refuse him another dance. Will Azalea be able to dance her way out of this one?

I just have to share my favorite characters in the book:


Clover - she is Azalea’s shy, kind, sweet sister. I love her, and she is the kind of person who just can’t seem to say anything bad about anyone. Clover is someone you just need to have in your life. I wish the world was full of Clovers!

Flora and Goldenrod, Azalea’s younger sisters, are twins. They make the story interesting - they’re adorable. Quirky, funny, lovable, and extremely close-knit.

Lord Teddie… he’s hard to describe. He’s the kind that makes your heart flutter a bit, but not in the way like he’s handsome or dreamy, but like he’s just a big sweetheart. I love him because he is always in good spirits - always happy-go-lucky, but never seems to get on your nerves.

Mr. Pudding!! I love Mr. Pudding, because he reminds me so much of my grandfather. So sweet and gentle, and so tender-hearted. This quote is one of my favorites - he is locking up the ballroom so the girls cannot dance during mourning:
“Seeing the younger girls start to tear up, he gave them his lamp and promised to send biscuits and tea to their room, nearly crying himself.”
Fairweller… oh, Fairweller. He does not really become a favorite character of mine until the end of the book. I mean the very end. The next-to-next-to-last chapter. He is in love with one of the sisters, and acts differently then, which made me like him just a little bit. However, the King, the girls’ father, does not really approve of Fairweller being in love with one of his daughters, so, when he finds out, he A. punches him in the face, and B. fires him from being Prime Minister. I love this quote as well:

“Fairweller removed his coat and set it over [spoiler] shoulders; the King threw it off and put his own coat over her shoulders."


Mr. Bradford… he is so kind, sweet, intelligent, and absolutely lovable, and right from the beginning, you can tell how much he loves Azalea and is drawn to her. He is my favorite character in the book - by far. I looked forward to every time Azalea and he would meet. This quote makes me giddy:


“‘You know,’ said Azalea as he helped her to her feet with a strong arm, smiling nearly as crooked as his cravat. ‘One day you’ll rescue me, and I’ll actually look nice.’

You always look nice,’ said Mr. Bradford.

Azalea could have kissed him.”

*Don't read this, Mom*: ( I know I could have kissed him!)

Entwined by Heather Dixon is a wonderful tale of romance, humor, and action… all stirred up into one gorgeous, extraordinary book. I loved this book so much that when I finished it, I kept flipping the blank pages for more. Although the book finished with a lovely ending, it left me wanting more… which, of course, is a great sign you’ve read a wonderful book! I highly recommend this book to kids and adults of all ages!

As Bramble would say…Toodle pip!






Thursday, February 16, 2012

Only One Day Left!


Did you seyz.... ZOMBIES????

funny dog pictures - Goggie Gif: Did U Seyz Zombies?!

One day left to enter the zombie-licious three-book and super swag giveaway:

Thanks so much to all who entered the Zombie-licious Giveaway and followed my blog.  The response to this giveaway was overwhelming!  Congratulations to Rachel on winning. 

I have three more giveaways planned in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned! 

I tried to follow every blogger who followed me, but if I missed your blog, please don't hesitate to leave a comment with your blog link.  I love making new blogger friends!

Thanks again,
Cheles

Monday, February 13, 2012

Defending Jacob by William Landay





Title: Defending Jacob
Author: William Landay
Publisher: Random House/Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 31st, 2012

   My Rating:
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From Goodreads:
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive. Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.


My Review:

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I’m not a huge fan of courtroom dramas. I bore very easily with too much legal jargon and lawyer persona. So, the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed Defending Jacob and experienced such an internal battle over what I was reading is a testament to William Landay’s brilliant writing and his very compelling story.

The story is from a father’s POV - a father whose son has been accused of an unspeakable crime. A father who just so happens to be the assistant district attorney handling the case and who provides the reader with first hand knowledge of what such an accusation does to a family - not to mention the toll it can take on marriage, career, and even friendships. I wrestled back and forth with the question of, “Did Jacob do it, or didn’t he do it?” I came to my conclusion early on, so one would think I might lose interest in the book... but not even close. There was quite a surprising twist in the story that literally left me with my mouth hanging wide open. I love a book that can do that!

How many times have we been guilty of watching a case play out on TV where a child has been accused of a crime, and a small (or not-so-small) part of us can’t help but wonder where the parents went wrong? How did they raise a child to where they would find themselves in such a predicament? This book really demonstrates how incorrect such assumptions can be. It describes an instance in which the parents did nothing wrong; they were good and loving parents who raised their son in what society would deem the correct way, yet they find themselves being ostracized in their community. Jacob, a handsome, smart, and good boy, finds himself a social pariah. I couldn’t help but feel compassion for him and his family.

Never have I given more thought to the Biblical saying, “The sins of the father are visited on the children,” than I did while reading this book. But to say more would reveal too much, thus robbing the reader of the book’s shock value. I will just say that this was a great read and a thought-provoking story, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in legal thrillers (and even to those who don’t normally enjoy this particular genre). I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this book since I put it down. I’ll definitely be interested in reading more by William Landay.

An ARC of this book was provided by Netgalley for review.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day Giveaway




In celebration of Valentine's Day and the February 28th release of Pandemonium, I'm giving away a brand new paperback of Delirium.

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Delirium is one of my favorite books and (in my opinion) one of the most romantic books that I've had the pleasure of reading.  It's the story of a dystopian world, where love, aka Amor Deliria Nervosa, has been ruled as a disease.  The government requires that all teenagers be cured of the deliria to keep society safe. But 95 days before her treatment, Lena Haloway falls for a boy and is forced to make an extraordinary decision. See my review of this incredible book here, and fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win!

"Love. It kills you both when you have it, and when you don’t.”



Monday, February 6, 2012

Significance by Shelly Crane





Sometimes what you always needed walks up when you least expect it...

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I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of soul mates. When I read a certain popular series (that which shall not be named), I was intrigued, but hesitant at the idea of imprinting. I wasn’t pleased with the way it was handled in that particular series. Then, I read Significance. It was as if author Shelly Crane reached into my brain (and heart) and said, “Here you go... this is what you want.” And boy, was it ever. The romance... oh, the romance. Be still, my heart! I think I tingled from the top of my head to the tips of my toes the entire book! Sah-woon.

“His eyes opened and he smiled at me like he understood everything, like I was everything.”

Seventeen-year-old Maggie has had a rough year, to say the least. Her mom deserted them, her brother is struggling in NY, and their dad is pretty much a zombie, making their father-daughter relationship non-existent. Her boyfriend Chad dumped her for his football career, and her grades have taken a major hit. When cute, funny Kyle asks her out for the umpteenth time, she finally says “yes.” She may not be interested in Kyle romantically, but she doesn’t want to sit home alone on their graduation night, and she could use a friend. On the way to Kyle’s house, Maggie sees an oh-so-cute boy about to cross the street. Correction. What she actually sees is the oh-so-cute boy about to step into oncoming traffic! With quick reflexes and strength she didn’t know she possessed, she pulls Caleb out of harm’s way, never suspecting that both of their lives are about to be changed forever. Caleb just happens to be Kyle’s visiting cousin, and their family? Well, they are much more than the average family. They are part of a supernatural group of humans called Aces. When Caleb and Maggie touch, they get a jolt of energy followed by some incredible visions, and Maggie is thrown into a world she never knew existed. Caleb imprinted on Maggie. She is what they call his Significant. She is his soul mate, and he is hers.

 “'I saw something in you that I couldn't live without. I chose you, inside of me, and you chose me. It's not one sided, it only works when both people choose the other. You are perfect for me in every way.'”

Sigh. Not only are they perfect for each other, but they literally feel each other’s heart beats. They need one another’s touch to survive.

“'But... we will always be drawn together. We'll always crave each other. We'll always be in tune with each other, physically and mentally. There is nothing that can change or break that. And even if there was, I wouldn't want to. Not for the world.'”

This book is guaranteed to get your swoon-inator humming and your toes curling towards the heavens. Caleb is just...well... beautiful. Inside and out. He is exactly what Maggie needed, and vice versa.

“...his arm came around to hold me to him just as instinctively. It felt perfect, like it was right where I was meant to be.”

But it’s not all fun and romance, because there’s another group of Aces who are none-too-happy about Caleb and Maggie's imprint or what it means for their clan.
I adore Kyle - he is so funny and so very unwilling to give up on Maggie. You just have to admire that kind of dedication. Then, there’s the Dad who finally decides to give a damn, the ex-boyfriend who realizes he made a huge mistake, and the very protective older brother - all of whom seemed destined to make poor Maggie’s life crazier than it already is! Throw in a group of supernatural bad guys and an incredibly huge, loving, but slightly eccentric family, and you have one very entertaining, heart-warming, and exciting story.

I was super impressed with all of the supporting characters in this book and how the author made each one of them genuinely fascinating. I love the details of the abilities that she gave to Caleb’s family members as well as the other clans. It was nothing short of spectacular, and I want to immerse myself in learning everything about Aces. And Gran... who wouldn’t love Gran?

“'Gran, I'm only gonna ask this once. Please don't have sex talks with me, ok? Especially with Maggie in the room. Do you think we could do that?'”

I had been hearing a lot of buzz about Shelly Crane, and now I know exactly why. I can’t wait to read more from this incredibly talented author and more about Caleb and Maggie.

“You don’t love people for what they can give you. You don’t love them because of what they do for you or how good you make them look. Love is blind, love does not boast, love is not vain.”

A huge thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rae of Hope by W.J. May


Title:  Rae of Hope
Author: W.J. May
Source:  Ebook
Publication Date: September 5, 2011

My Rating: ❀❀❀❀







From Goodreads:

How hard do you have to shake a family tree to find out the truth of the past?

Fifteen-year-old Rae Kerrigan has never questioned her family’s history. That is until she accepted a scholarship to Guilder Boarding School in England. Guilder is a very unique, gifted school. Rae has no idea what she is getting herself into or that her family’s past is going to come back and taunt her. She learns she is part of an unparalleled group of individuals who become marked with a unique tattoo (tatù) on their sixteenth birthday. The tatù enables them to have supernatural powers particular to the shape of their marking. Both her parents were marked though Rae never knew, as they passed away when she was young and never told her. Learning about her family’s past, her evil father and sacrificial mother, Rae needs to decide if there is a ray of hope for her own life.


My Review
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Rae doesn’t remember what started the fire that took her parents lives and led her to live with her aunt and uncle. It’s nearly 10 years later, and that night is still one big question mark. When she is accepted into the Guilder Boarding School in England, she hopes she will finally receive some answers. Turns out, they’re not the answers she expected. Rae soon realizes that Guilder is no ordinary boarding school. It is a school for the gifted... the supernaturally gifted. Her classmates all receive tattoos, or ‘tatus,’ on their sixteenth birthdays. Tatus that come with special powers and great responsibility. And Rae’s sixteenth birthday is only months away. Along with that unexpected shock comes the revelation that both her parents were inked and gifted and that her father may not have used his powers for good - not exactly the sweet sixteen she had in mind. Even worse? All eyes are on Rae, scrutinizing her every move, but never asking the one question they all want to know: What exactly did she inherit from her father, and what will she do with whatever gifts he passed on to her?

“‘You can’t undo the past. The sins of the father are the sins of the son, or in this case, daughter.’”

Will Rae be able to prove them wrong? Rae of Hope is a coming-of-age story with a paranormal twist. Kudos to W.J. May for creating such a different and intriguing young adult story.

I really enjoyed Rae’s classmates. They were all rare individuals, and it was so much fun learning about their different inks and what abilities they possessed. They had great interactions with one another and were very well-developed characters. I found myself suspecting every one of Rae’s peers as the potential “bad guy,” only to be completely shocked when the antagonist was revealed! I love being surprised, and I really enjoyed this unique story. It had a very X-men-meets-House of Night feel, while still maintaining its wonderful originality. I definitely look forward to the next installment and to finding out what happens to Rae and her friends.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.