Monthly Archives: May 2012

Review: Colors Like Memories by Meradeth Houston

Title: Colors Like Memories
Author: Meradeth Houston
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: E-book
Source:  MuseItUp Publishing
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase:  MuseItUp Publishing
I received this novel free of charge from MuseItUp Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this ‘breath of life,’ she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It’s a job Julia enjoyed, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren’t enough, she’s now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia is not exactly the best role model for. If she can’t figure out a way to help her, Julia will lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

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Random: Honesty is really the best policy

This was an interesting novel to read.  Saries help individuals who are contemplating suicide. They are almost like guardian angels (including the wings) except they are not called that.

Julia, a Sary, was an interesting character. At the beginning, it felt like Julia wasn’t entirely devoted to her job as a protector to Marcy who is suicidal. Half of Julia was trying to do right by Marcy and help her not commit suicide but other half of Julia was distracted by her own emotional pain. Julia had to work through the pain of losing her other half, Derek. Edison, another Sary, was send to help her. When he is first introduced, I thought he was Derek reincarnated but I’m off. What happens to Derek is much more fascinating than that.

The process of working through emotional pain and the character’s finding their inner strengths is a long process. Julia spent her time with Marcy just lying about who she was because that is the rule of being a sary. Never be discovered. It helped Marcy to have a friend in Julia but Marcy needed honesty to move on. No, Marcy needed someone trust in her because that is what she was lacking. She didn’t have trust in her father, ex-boyfriend, or Julia. Maybe she just needed someone to rely on her because that is when she became strong and had a moment of realization that changed her life.

The world-building of the Sary left me wanting for more. Julia said it was her choice to become a sary but the blurb says a sary is the soul of a child that never took a breath. Doesn’t that mean that every child who died before their first breath is a sary or am I misunderstanding? I’m curious about the selection process because if the sary are chosen (and not made automatically), then what happens to those who are not selected? Plus, how are they teenagers if they died during what I assume is after childbirth? There some questions that hurt the novel because the world-building isn’t explained but overall, it is a decent novel that has logic to its world.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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40th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book

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Wishlist Wednesday # 16

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: Displacements by Thalia Chaltas

Home is supposed to be a place you belong. It’s supposed to be parents who are there and siblings who bug you and a life that feels comfortable. It’s not supposed to be an absentee mother or a drowned sister. But that’s Vera’s reality, and she can’t stand it anymore. So she runs. She ends up in an old mining town in the middle of the California desert. It’s hot, it’s dusty, and it’s as isolated as Vera feels. As she goes about setting up her life, she also unwittingly starts the process of healing and-eventually- figuring out what home might really mean for her.

What attracted me to this book is the cover. It is so YELLOW. The book is calling to be noticed and it worked. The novel doesn’t sound like what I usually read but I like that it is set in California and the search for the meaning of “home.” Could be good.

Mondays News Flash # 5

It’s been awhile since I have posted on the blog. I have actually been really sick for the past two weeks but I’m on the road to recovery (that’s why I’m writing this). I apologize for my absence and hopefully, June doesn’t disappoint. We are going to play catch up with the reviews of April and May, along with scheduled tour stops.

The winner for the Lure of Shapinsay has been chosen so congratulations to Christine. I hope you enjoy the book and your swag.

Let’s continue with great news. The Promo Post for The Bird with the Broken Wing was my 100 post. Out of 100 posts, my most popular post is Loving Hetalia: America with 4,668 views. It is not a book review but I love Hetalia and I’m so happy people are reading my Hetalia related article. My most popular review is All’s Fair in Vanities War by Elizabeth Marx with 70 views. Hmm, I’m starting to see a discrepancy here.

 

I also finished one of my 2012 Challenges, First in a Series hosted by Kathy at A Few More Pages. YAY, to celebrate I’m going to host a giveaway for one of the books listed there. Be on the lookout for that towards the middle or end of June. It will be international as well.

I think this is it for any news about what is going on with the blog.

Review: Hurricane by Jenna-Lynne Duncan

Title: Hurricane
Author: Jenna-Lynne Duncan
Series: Hurricane # 1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: E-book
Source:  Bewitching Tours
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amz/B&N
I received this book for Bewitching Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Adriana couldn’t decide what was worse—that Hurricane Katrina was heading for New Orleans, or that she might not survive her kidnapping to see its potential effects. She had trusted Hayden, even fallen for him, and now he and his brother Luke were taking her deeper and deeper into the Bayou. Why had two of her classmates, the mysterious Boudreaux brothers, kidnapped her? Why had Adriana’s dreams started predicting the future? Most importantly, would she make it out of the Bayou alive…
Please note that a portion of the sales from ‘Hurricane’ will be going to the New Orleans Area Habitat Humanity for Humanity.

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Random Thoughts: One of the few who is giving a bad review and it pains me because the book donates to Habitat for Humanity.

I honestly really wanted to like this book because I’ve heard great things about it but maybe it was just too much. This book just left me in the dust.

Let’s talk about what is good with this novel. The writing is fantastic. It is very detailed and descriptive. The start of the novel was highly intriguing and helped maintain suspense in the beginning of the book until the kidnapping happens. After the kidnapping, the book tends to go downhill for me. There was one bit of sunray in the novel and it was the complex and failed relationship between the main character, Ana (Adriana), and her father. It was a little heartbreaking to read the strain relationship between them.

The novel had great potential. It’s a kidnapping during hurricane Katrina. There are supernatural elements that should make the novel interesting but it just collapses on itself. The brothers, Hayden and Luke, who kidnapped Ana, well, their reasoning isn’t quite clear. They have to kill her to break the curse but why her, what is so special about her? Plus, what are they really? The brothers are not vampires but they are not completely human either. The supernatural is thrown in without explanation. What makes Ana special is never revealed until one of the bad guys claims she is a “Mixer.” What that is, I have no idea but I’m a guessing a half-blood.

I liked Ana before her kidnaping. She was fascinated by Hayden and then he kidnaps her so she declares her undying love for him. It’s like ‘Oh.” Actually, I don’t think I liked Ana very much. She was a little stuck-up with her condescending attitude but I sympathize with her because she came from a broken home. After her kidnapping, she gladly accepts to live with the brother’s family (not that she has any place to go…) and never questions why Luke wanted to kill her. She does have moments of brilliance where she is strong and tries to save Luke from being killed. She is willing to sacrifice herself to protect the brothers. Her bravery in those few moments is not enough for me to think of her as an independent female but Ana, you are on your way.

I really really dislike the love triangle between Ana, Hayden, and Luke. First off, what love triangle? Luke decides he loves Ana towards the end of the novel (never mind the fact that he wanted to kill her in the first place) and has has spent the  entire length of the novel making her feel inferior. Bear in mind, this is after Hayden and Ana have been together for awhile now. I just don’t get these types of romances. Let’s be honest, Luke has no chance with Ana because he was a jerk to her and no matter what anyone says, first impressions count. There is no second chance to correct the behavior especially if the word includes “I love you even though I acted horribly to you.” There is no point to them because as readers, we tend to know Ana is going to pick Hayden (unless he dies then Luke has a real chance) because Hayden was her first love.

Besides the love triangle, the one thing that really hurt the book (in my opinion) was the villain being Madame Delphine LaLaurie. She is important to the history of New Orleans and Duncan portrayed her as Scooby-Doo villain or a villain in a bad James Bond movie. The Madame reveals everything to Ana without Ana having any interest in knowing why she was being targeted. It is a bit disappointing considering the horror Madame Delphine inflicted when she was alive. It just reduced her character to a caricature. She is not as vicious in death as she was alive. Yes, she caused damaged but not to the extent where she was a worthy antagonist.

Will I read the second novel in the series? Uh, probably. The writing is really great but the characters are lacking in character. Not really looking forward to the love triangle. However, the second novel will probably provide an in-depth look at the new world that Ana is living in and what her role is. I really want to know what a “Mixer” so yeah, I’ll probably pick it up.

2.5 BB-Look for in the library

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39th in 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, First in a series, Where are you reading?-Louisiana

Promo Post: The Bird With The Broken Wing

Title: The Bird with the Broken Wing
Author: D.L Richardson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase: Amz/ B&N

Richardson can be found at her Facebook, Twitter, and Blog.

Blurb from Amazon:
Angels may not reveal themselves to mortals…

…but when the mortal Rachael’s watching over is hurting, how can she stay hidden in the shadows?

Guardian angel Rachael becomes trapped with the mortal she’s been assigned to watch over. Unable to watch him suffer, she decides the only way to free him of his inner demons is to break the rules about becoming involved, revealing her true identity, and applying divine intervention. But what choice does she have? Without her help, his soul will be trapped forever. Then a stranger appears, giving Rachael reason to wonder if his is the only soul in need of saving…

Review: The Annihilation of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski

Title: The Annihilation of Foreverland
Author: Tony Bertauski
Series: Standalone
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Format:  E-book
Source:  Author
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz
I received this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds. Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane. Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works? Together, they discover what it’s really doing to them.

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Random: Just because we may be headed nowhere, doesn’t mean we can’t turn around and head somewhere.

This was a pretty awesome novel to read. There is a sense of confusion at the start of the book but there are clues as to which direction the book might head into. It reminded me of The Island with Ewan McGregor. (And in a strange way, Digimon, the second season)

There is an uncertainty as to why the boys are in the island. Danny Boy and his friends appear to be healthy and happy while there are old men who are just creepy (the word “pedophile” ran across my thoughts every now and then). For awhile, I thought the boys were dead or in a coma because they were isolated in the island. What I liked though about the uncertainty is that it slowly begins to clear up the more Danny Boy goes into Foreverland and explores the alternate reality/computer program. We learn at the same time Danny Boy is learning. The inclusion of newspaper articles was really well done because they clarified the background of certain characters and added new questions about the purpose of the island. The articles also served as a connection to the outside world and proved that at least the boys were real people who had lives before the island.

The purpose of the island is chilling because the boys are being tortured physically before entering Foreverland where there is no pain. I’m not going to give it away but halfway through the book, Bertauski will lead the reader in the right direction. (I was half-right in my guess about the purpose of the island, yay).  There is this weird game that is played inside Foreverland that reminds me of a capture-the-flag game. The purpose is to win three times in a row so that the boys can enter Foreverland quicker for the next round. It serves the purpose of making the boys more addicted to Foreverland since they don’t have to go through the torture session.

Character-wise, I did like most of the characters. Danny Boy along with Reed are interesting characters. Danny Boy takes Foreverland and makes it his own while Reed refuses to enter the computer program. Reed has a strong backbone because he is tortured every single time that he refuses to enter Foreverland and it’s all thanks to a dream that warned him against the program. It is sad what happening to him but he gets his happy ending. The old men (all of them) kept their creepy factor all the way through the novel. The man in charge known as the Director was a megalomaniac who played God on the island. He wasn’t as creepy as he was disturbing because of his thought patterns. His reasoning for the island make sense on some level but he loses it in the end.

Overall, it was an entertaining novel to read. The concept of what is going to happen to the boys and their mind is in intriguing and disturbing at the same time. It raises an interesting concept of the separation between the mind and the body and which one can last longer when they are in conflict with each other.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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38th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Science Fiction, Self-published

Promo Post: Awaited by Lynn Rush

Title: Awaited
Author: Lynn Rush
Series: Wasteland # 2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon/B&N

Book Blurb:

Russell Leonard is a centuries-old Guardian who’s lost faith in his purpose. So when he’s charged with procuring the first female Guardian in over two centuries, he can only hope it’s the red-headed beauty who’s been haunting his dreams for months. And if it is, he intends to claim her as his. But when he finds his dream woman, Annabelle is mute and bears no Guardian’s Mark.

He soon realizes she’s been tainted by an ancient evil. Russell must somehow release the secrets trapped within this delicate soul to help her tap into the only weapon powerful enough to silence a millennia-old demon—her voice.

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Driven to write, Lynn Rush often sees her characters by closing her eyes watching their story unfold in her mind. Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake.

Rush holds a degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. Originally from Minneapolis, Rush currently enjoys living in the Arizona sunshine by road biking nearly 100 miles per week with her husband of 15 years and jogging with her two loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Lynn Rush can be found at her Website, Facebook, and Twitter

Review +Giveaway: Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

Title: The Lure of Shapinsay
Author: Krista Holle
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source:  Author
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz / B&N
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant.

Kait is awoken unexpectedly by a beautiful, naked selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure.

Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?

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Random: Brush on up on 19th century Scottish lingo because as readers, we need it.

Having never read anything about selkies, I was intrigued by the mythology and world-building of the book. It was interesting to learn more about selkies and the inclusion of crazy characters really helped the books. Selkie are seal-men.

One of the things that as readers we have to get use to is the vernacular of the novel. It is written in Scottish English so it is English but it a little hard to understand. Right at the start, the word “bairn” is used and I had no idea what it meant so I’m confused (and maybe you will too) about what is going on within the first three pages. It turns out “bairn” is a child or son but I kept thinking it was an animal. It is also problematic when Eamon, the selkie, refers to the child as a “burd.” It’s bad enough I have decipher Kait’s language to understand what she is saying but I have to guess around with the selkie’s language as well.  There are multiples word that are not commonly heard in American English so that’s a head up about the language. “Haud your wheest” is another phrase that I have not been able to figure out. I think it translates to “Wait a moment.”

Kait, I’m not sure if I like or I don’t like her. She is madly obsess with Eamon the selkie to the point where she nearly kills herself just trying to find him in the ocean. She is consumed with madness which makes her an interesting character because she is crazy. But she is boy-crazy and I don’t like women who define themselves by their male partners and that is what Kait is doing. It’s hard to believe she honestly cares for Eamon (at the start of the novel) because she is a madly obsessive with him. It felt like that she didn’t love Eamon for who he was but what he was. Kait is fascinated by the idea of a selkie, that’s what she loves. She is adamant in forming a relationship with him that doesn’t feel real. Even at the end of the novel, there is still a little lingering thought that she likes him because of what he is but most of their love feels real by the end.

Eamon’s thoughts on Kait and his not-obsession but interest in Kait feels more genuine than Kait’s interest in Eamon. He doesn’t go through the near-death experiences. He is more curious and tries to learn more about her. He adapts to her ways which is hard for him to do. I was surprised to learn how young he was. That is a shocker. A great deal of the novel deals with Eamon trying to live on land and do right by Kait. He has to change what he is in order to live with her which drastically change him as a person. The good thing is that Kait does see the change and worries about it (more about what it means for her instead of him) but she does see that her way is hurting him so she does right by him in the end.

The romance of the novel (for me) feels forced and riddled with a love obsession that appear to become genuine is the end so that is the good thing. We do learn the selkie are bound to the sea for good reason. Tipper is the prime example of what can happen to selkie who are land bound. She is crazy, a nice word for her. She keeps looking for her seal skin so she can return to the sea but she is having trouble finding it. She now hates being on land and is growing old (which selkies are not meant to grow old). If Eamon stays on the land, she is what he will become. Tipper is the warning of what is to come but it is through Tipper that Kait realizes her dream of being with Eamon.  She is a double-edged sword.

Overall, it was interesting story that details the path of an obsession to true love. At least two of the characters are borderline mad which always makes for a great book.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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37th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-published, Where are you reading?-Scotland

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GIVEAWAY TIME, INTERNATIONAL

Krista has kindly offer to a giveaway package to an international reader. This package includes a paperback copy of the novel, a T-shirt, bookmarks and bookplates. Sounds pretty good to me.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment answering the question “Do you like the ocean?” and leave your e-mail.

Giveaway ends with on May 25.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING.

Good luck!

Guest Post with W.J May of Rae of Hope

Let’s give a warm welcome to W.J May, author of Rae of Hope. May is here to introduced us to the world of tattoos.

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Tattoos

What’s your take on Tattoo’s?

Ink-art? Tramp stamp? Marine marker? Passing phase? Beauty art?

Or, are you comments along the lines of:
I would NEVER get one!
It looks nice on other people.
Should I get ONE more?
I don’t want one when I’m old with grandkids…

Rae of Hope, the first book in the Chronicles of Kerrigan is a story based on getting inked. At the age of sixteen, each of the students at Guilder Boarding School gets a tattoo– girls on their lower back, boys on the forearm. They refer to it as getting inked. Now, unlike us normal human beings who head off to the tattoo parlour to choose our design, these kids wake up with ink ark mysteriously appearing. To top it off, their ink gives them a type of supernatural power.

I’ve always been fascinated with tattoos – from the designs, the choices people make, the location, the size, the number of tattoos a person has, the reason for their ink art – all of it. I competed in athletics and one thing I always said was that if I made the Olympics, I would get the rings… well, I did represent my country (Canada) internationally but unfortunately not at the Olympics. I have many friends with those five wonderfully joined rings inked on their ankle, or calf, or wrist, or shoulder. It’s a wonderful sentiment – like a Marine’s marker (silly name I made up, but it does sound a little cool imo). It’s a mark well earned in my opinion.

For some, they are easily addictive as well.

With Rae of Hope – I wanted to give the characters something that people pre-judged before knowing who they were. A sixteen year old with ink across her lower back was more likely to be labelled a tramp before knowing any reason why a young girl had the tattoo. It created pressure and “judging a book by its cover” from the onset. Once you get to know the characters and story line you understand the importance of the ink and that pre-labelling is totally off. Hey, I had fun with the story and with coming up with unique tattoo (tatù in the book) that create unique abilities for my characters. I also love challenging readers to come up with a tatù that would be perfect for a villain – or a good guy too!

Regardless of your own personal opinion on ink art, it’s still fun to look and try to figure out the reasoning behind someone’s tattoo.

Hmmm… Now I’m curious if you could be a character in Rae of Hope – what tattoo would you have, and what supernatural ability would you possess?

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Thank you W.J May for stopping by and giving us an insight into tattoos and their importance in your novel, Rae of Hope. 

Blurb from Amazon:
How hard do you have to shake a family tree to find out the truth about the past?

Fifteen-year-old Rae Kerrigan never questioned her family’s history. That is until she accepted a scholarship to Guilder Boarding School in England. Guilder is an exclusive, 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 inked with a unique tattoo (tatu) on their sixteenth birthday. The tatu enables them to have supernatural powers particular to the shape of their ink-art. Both of her parents were inked, though Rae never knew, as they passed away when she was young. Learning about her family’s past, her evil father and sacrificial mother, Rae needs to decide if there is a ray of hope in her own life.

W.J May can be found at her Website, Facebook, and Twitter

Rae of Hope can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles

Wishlist Wednesday # 15

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: Half Way Home by Hugh Howey

Blurb from Amazon:
Five hundred of us were sent to colonize this planet. Only fifty or so survived.
We woke up fifteen years too early, we had only half our training, and they expected us to not only survive … they expected us to conquer this place.
The problem is: it isn’t safe here.
We aren’t even safe from each other.

I have mix feelings about the cover. The first time I saw it, I was like “Girl probably escaped from a serial killer in the woods.” The legs are dirty and looked like they have running for miles in the forest. Then, I read the blurb and was like “Yeah, I can see a survival element going on but it still screams serial killer to me.” The blurb does make the novel sound intriguing especially because it is a survival story and the entry makes me wonder what else is out there.