Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Ginny is quiet, shy, and all alone on an international flight with nothing but a stack of letters as a guide.

Following strict instructions by her aunt, Ginny must follow a series of clues and complete tasks before she can open the next letter. Her journey takes her from London to Scotland. Rome to Paris to Amsterdam to Greece, and a few other places in between. She meets people who change her life, and she touches theirs in return.

Along the way, Ginny learns the secrets of her aunt, learns about life, love and herself.


The Pros: This was a fun, witty, interesting read. Ginny's quirky, artsy aunt promised to always be there for her, but some lessons we learn the painful way. And some promises can never be kept. I loved following Ginny's story. I could actually picture myself in the exotic places she visited. For the first time, I wished that I had the guts to travel Europe.

I love the life lessons in this story. I loved watching Ginny come into her own and realize many things. 13 Little Blue Envelopes has the perfect amount of humor, sadness, and redemption.

The Cons: As Ginny says, drinking is the European way to say, "hello." Even so, Ginny is seventeen, and her cohort, Keith, is only nineteen. This doesn't stop them from drinking semi-often with no objections.

The In Between: There is so much packed into this book, and it's done really well. However, there were a few things, even characters, that were set up to be important, but they just disappear. It was a little jarring and I found myself a little confused at times.

Bottom Line:

I recommend this book. It was witty and entertaining. I loved the fluid dialogue. I am definitely looking forward to diving into the sequel and finding out what happens with...well, I guess I can't tell you. But trust me, you'll want to read the sequel too.

Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (September 26, 2006)
Source: Local Library Pin It

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Jacinda is a draki; descended from dragons, she is able to change from human from to draki. But Jacinda is special: she's a fire-breather. The first in her pride for generations. Her mate has been chosen, her future is sealed. She has no say in the matter. Craving freedom, she breaks the cardinal rule of the draki: only fly under the cover of night. Her decision places her directly into the hands of hunters.

But Will, the beautiful, kind hunter, finds her...and saves her.

In fear of the pride's cruel punishment and forced to flee into the mortal world with her mother and twin sister Tamra, Jacinda feels the aching crush of losing everything she's known. Her inner draki is in grave danger of dying the longer Jacinda stays in human form; something her mother and sister are encouraging.

The one thing that stirs the draki to life, and dangerously close to the surface, is Will. He is a hunter, and she must never forget that. For both their sakes, Jacinda tries to avoid him, but her heart, and Will, won't let her.

Now she is at the heart of the hunter's den, and Will has a secret of his own. Can Jacinda protect the draki's most sacred secret (their ability to take on human form)? Or will Will be her kind's undoing?


The Pros: I was fascinated and couldn't put this book down. The story is rather intriguing. Yes, it's a paranormal romance, but I think it has a different edge to it. The writing is fluid and strong. First person, present tense is sometimes difficult for readers, but this is easy and flowing.

There was a point at the end when a plot twist was revealed and I was deliciously surprised. A few mysteries from earlier on clinked into place and I thought, "Well done!"

The romance is satisfying, to say the least. :)

The Cons: This is a love story, first and foremost. Now, I adore love stories (and this one definitely makes your heart flutter), but I think the author did herself an injustice here. The main focus is on the romantic connection between Will and Jace, when I think that aspect could have taken second seat to the amazing storyline and it would have made for a stronger novel.

The Middle Ground: I loved the descriptions of Jacinda manifesting into draki form, but really, that's her only description we get. We learn she has red, frizzy hair. I actually don't really even know how big her draki is. I assumed it was bigger than her human size, but when she has to manifest in a bathroom stall, there's no mention of the stall being to small for her. So, though I like the manifestation descriptions, I wish I'd be able to clearly "see" what she was changing from.

Bottom Line:

I recommend this book. The love story, though very strong, was awesome. The concept is fascinating, and I'm really looking forward to reading the next installments. Why, oh why, didn't I wait until all three books were published before I started reading?!

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HaperCollins; 1 edition (September 7 2010)
Source: Public Library Pin It

Teaser Tuesday -7-

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I literally finished my current read last night at 11:00, and since I'll be doing a review soon, I don't want to do a TT on it. So, you get a teaser from the next book on my TBR pile. And the only reason this one is next (I've gotten some great books in the mail lately) is because it's due back at the library soon. :)

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, page 180

"Here we go," he said, indicating the dark expanse of mountains and trees on his side.
"Here we go what?"

I have no idea what that means since I haven't even started the book yet, but hey, it should be good. Right?

Your turn. Post a comment with a link to your teaser or post the teaser in the comments if you don't have a blog.

Happy Reading! :)
Pin It

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Gifted is Now Available for Purchase

I want to feel happy. I really do. My book is now released for all to read! So why do I have emotions other than pure joy coursing through my veins?

1. My son was up all. night. long. coughing and sneezing. Poor kid is sick and that is never fun for moms. Especially moms who are trying to get everything in order to release a book at midnight. That aside, though, it's a constant battle between am I doing too little or too much? Should I let him cry it out or put him in bed with me? Does he need Tylenol or a breathing treatment...or neither? Kids don't come with how-to manuals. And because he isn't sleeping well, he got up bright and early this morning.

2. Though my book is now available...but it isn't available on yet. Why? I don't know. I think it's because Amazon likes to have the books on hand so they can ship them via 2 day shipping or next day. I think I'll have to wait until Amazon has a shipment of books before The Gifted will be available on their website. (I have a query in to the publisher and I'll get answers soon. I hope.)

Would this have been good information to know beforehand? You betcha. I could have planned accordingly and not spread the word that fans and readers could get their hands on a copy on March 28th. So, I'm a little frustrated, dog tired, and nursing a sick little boy back to health.

Chocolate for breakfast, anyone? Don't mind if I do.

And please, don't think just because The Gifted isn't on Amazon you can't buy it. You can purchase it now if you'd like! And I'd love it if you did. Buy your copy here and make one tired momma a very happy woman.

If you've already purchased a copy (I know some of you have!) let me know and I will publicly sing your praises and kiss your feet! Hypothetically speaking, of course. Pin It

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A couple of things.

First of all, I woke up this morning to a fantastic surprise! An email from fellow Author (with a capital A) - Allie Burke. She has a three-book series, The Enchanters, and I won book one of the series: Violet Midnight. I'm beyond thrilled. I've been wanting to read this book for a long time now.

Thanks Allie! (Check her out and give her some blog love.)


Second, I got a cool email today from O'Dell at BookTwirps. I've been picked as an official judge in the YA New Summer Reads Competition!

Authors - do you have a YA book released between January 1, 2011 and August 1, 2011? Then this is your chance! See the submission guidelines here. Good luck! I actually considered entering The Gifted, but since I'm a judge in the category, I think it wouldn't be too fair. :)

I'll keep you updated with progress and reminders. I'm very excited about this opportunity. It's an honor.


Third, I got a knock on the door tonight, and was presented with another surprise. In honor of my book release, my friend brought me a cake:

(I'm the cutie on the right. I didn't even photoshop this picture at all, so you get to see my big toothy grin.)

Isn't that amazing?! She even used the colors of my book cover and the copied the cover's embellishments. Wow! Now THIS is friendship. Can you see there are even pages and a book mark? She is so sweet and fantastic.

Thanks, M! You're amazing.


And lastly...

TOMORROW (3/28) IS RELEASE DAY!!!!!!!!!! (Insert never-ending happy dance here)

That means I'll be up until well after midnight tonight making sure everything runs smoothly and that The Gifted shows up on Amazon and on the estore via the publisher's website. Luckily, my sweetheart let me take a nap today while our little guy was asleep. And hey, if I get drowsy, I've always got cake to keep me occupied! :) (That and Firelight)

See, lots of really exciting stuff! Sorry I crammed it all into one post, I just didn't think I could wait on any one of them. Pin It

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In My Mailbox -3-

Thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this weekly meme.

Please check out other book blogs and find out what readers are...well, reading. :)

 Want to participate? Post about books you've bought, checked out from the library, received for review or as a gift, etc. Books don't have to arrive via your mailbox.

Ready? Ok, here we go. (Insert me rubbing my hands together in anticipation.

From my mailbox:

The Keys of Fate by Tina M. Randolf
How I Planned Your Wedding by Susan Wiggs
Probability Angels by Joseph Devon
Beautiful Artifacts, Heartbreaking Relics, by Joshua Boeringa
Dread of Night, by Joshua Boeringa

From the local library:

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

From NetGalley

Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Medieval princess wants to be a knight and accidentally ends up in modern-day California. What's not to like?

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan

I love fairytale retellings, so I'm really excited about this one!

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

This one looks interesting since I live close to Yellowstone National Park.

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

At first glance, this does not look like my kind of book. But it's about fighting back against the mean girls, so it caught my fancy. :)

The Trickser's Girl by Hilari Bell

Two words: dystopia and magic. Ok, technically that was 3 words, but I'm not counting "and".

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

I'm predicting a tear-jerker.

Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

A love triangle involving a ghost - sounds intriguing. What is it with me and death? I swear I'm not obsessed. Scout's honor.

So, that's what I'm reading. Thanks so much to the authors for sending me their books. Thanks so much to publishers via NetGalley.

Your turn. What's in your mailbox this week? Pin It

Blog Award

My blog has been awarded. Thank you Evie!

I am supposed to link you back to Evie, tell you 7 interesting things about myself, and then pass the award to 7 other bloggers.

1. We used to own sugar gliders. They were the cutest pets we've ever had. Not a hard feat considering the only other animal we've had are fish. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to everything with four legs and hair. That may or may not include some humanoids.

2. I am the second oldest of 10 children. The youngest is a week old. Before you start envisioning the Duggars - and I love the Duggars, so I'm not dissing them - let me tell you the youngest four children are adopted.

3. I live in a teeny tiny town, and I adore it. Ok, so we're not teeny tiny, but we're pretty small. I just love the small town feel.

4. It took me five years to convince my husband to take me to Disneyland. He finally did and we loved it! We hope to go back in a few years with our little boy.

5. I spent a summer in Ecuador volunteering in orphanages. It was a life changing experience. I cried for months when I got home. My only regret was being so homesick while I was there.

6. I have gone horseback riding in the Andes Mountains. This goes along with numbers 1 and 5. I was so allergic to the horse that I had hives underneath my eyelids. And the only reason I got the opportunity to go was because I was in Ecuador.

7. My husband and I have been married for almost seven years. We met in college, graduated the same year with the same degree, we both love small towns, and we both like old John Wayne movies. Other than that, it's safe to say opposites attract. :) We are the proud parents of a little boy who just happens to be adopted.

Ok, so was that relatively painless?

On to the bestowing of the award. I realize a lot of blogs are award-free, and I can now understand why. This was a little difficult.

Check out these stylish blogs and give them some love.

Em at In Which Em Reviews Books
Ottilie Weber
Talia Jager
Lea at LC's Adventures in Libraryland - this is a brand new blog, but I already adore it.
Maggie at Mommy's Always Write
Jamie at Fantasy Book Chick
Gabby at ...and the rest is still unwritten

These are obviously not the only amazing blogs I follow. Thanks again, Evie, for thinking I have style. Pin It

Friday, March 25, 2011

Guess what I'm doing?

I've been up since 6:45 - and trust me that's a hardship! - writing letters and addressing envelopes to my reviewers. A box of ARC copies should be arriving today, and I want to have everything ready to just shove the book in envelopes and skip on down to the post office.

I don't know about you, but I cannot believe that my release date is in three days!

I'm so nervous, my stomach is doing gymnastics. Wish me luck. I doubt I'll get any sleep between now and Monday.

Ok, that's a lie. I'll probably get lots of sleep (since I'm a momma bear without it), it just won't be as savor-able. :)

Oh, and by the way, I have over 1,000 readers entered to win my giveaway on Goodreads! If you go to the giveaways page and sort the giveaways by most requested, I'm on page 2! That, my friends, feels pretty good. Pin It

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Alex is not your typical teenage kid. He's an assassin, an elite killer sent to stop the world from being invaded.

Willow is not your typical teenage girl. Not only is she a gifted mechanic, she also has psychic capabilities.

Living in a small town with her Aunt and mentally void mother, Willow is shocked to discover that Alex has been sent to kill her. And he's not the only one who wants her dead.

Alex is the best of the best, so why doesn't he follow orders? Something about this mission isn't right. Willow may seem like the enemy, but she doesn't act like one. In fact, it's almost like she doesn't realize who, or what, she is.

When Alex decides, against his better judgement, to save Willow instead of kill her, they are plunged into a cross-country journey to flee the enemy and find a way to stop them for good. Along the way, something neither of them expected, or wanted, happens. They fall in love.

Now Alex must do whatever he can to keep Willow safe. In this war, the enemy is deceivingly beautiful, the victims are oblivious to their destruction, and the odds are impossible.


The Pros: This was a highly intense, fast paced, must read book. The story was fascinating and disturbing. The characters were entertaining and the dialogue was just about perfect.

I read this book in a day, which is not a huge feat for me, but the book is over 400 pages long. I stole every spare second to finish the story because I just couldn't stop.

The Cons: There was a lot of taking the Lord's name in vain and using it as an expletive. Multiple times on nearly every page, and it went past irritating and became offensive. There was a little more swearing than I appreciate. Alex tends to drink more than I think is appropriate for a seventeen-year-old boy.

The Middle Ground: This book is dripping with romance. The attraction between Willow and Alex is almost instantaneous, but they both fight it for a while. Once they realize it's a losing battle, the walls come down and the flood gates open. Most of the time it's sweet and perfect, but sometimes it's just irritating.

I try not to include spoilers, but this is probably a spoiler. So stop reading if you want to be surprised.

The enemy is Angels. They have come to earth to feed off of humans, feed off their auras and energy. The humans are then grateful they've been touched by an angel. After, they have Angel Burn, a condition where their body deteriorates via cancer, MS, and a slew of other medical conditions (including instant death by massive heart attack or stroke). At first, I was wildly uncomfortable with the idea that angels are evil. But the further into the story I got, the more I realized that these beings may look like "angels," but they're really a sort of alien. There is no mention of them coming from heaven. They're not, in any way, connected to God or heaven or religion. Oddly, that made me feel a lot better.

Bottom Line:

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Fantastic supernatural read. Especially if you're into a good mix between action/adventure and paranormal romance.

This book was provided by the publisher, Candlewick, via NetGalley. I received no compensation for my time or review. Pin It

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

Elaine of Shalott has many brothers. Almost 350 of them. When Elaine's mother was murdered by Saxons, Elaine's father had no choice but to bring his frightened eight-year-old daughter to the army camp where he lived and served under Arthur.

Elaine grows wise and strong in the camp and becomes a friend, sister and nurse to the men as they return from battle after battle. But she'd like to be more than friend or sister to the handsome Lancelot. And Lancelot seems to reciprocate the feelings...until Gwynivere shows up.

After nine years as the lone woman in a camp of men, Elaine is eager to make a female friend! But Gwynivere is cruel and mean spirited. Not to mention Lancelot is bewitched by the woman. Elaine's heart is broken, but the mischievous and dashing Tristan is always by her side to steal a laugh or two and lift her spirits.

As Arthur's camp readies to march to battle, and leave the women behind, Elaine must do whatever she can to ensure that her men, her brothers and friends, come home safely.

And the cost very well could be her life.


(Warning, this is a review only kinda sorta. It's more me sitting here, hugging the book to my chest and begging you to go read it. On with the kinda sorta review.)

Now this is my kind of story.

Exhibit A: King Arthur.
Exhibit B: the Lady of Shalott.
Exhibit C: Tristan. The Tristan, from Tristan and Isolde!
Exhibit D: It's a heart-warming love story.


Song of the Sparrow is written in verse, meaning it's creatively constructed almost like a song or poem. This takes about two pages to get used to, and that's it. For me it was the fact that I felt like it should rhyme or something. While this seems a little bizarre, it's fascinating! It is amazing what this allows the author to do. For example, on page 57 it says: (the dialogue is in italics in this book)

Return to...
soon, I tell him.

See what she was able to do? Oh. I love it.

Moving on.

I really can't say too many good things about this book for fear I'll give away the whole thing and you won't have to read it. And I promise you, you want to read it.

The book is thick and intimidating, but it's actually a very quick read since each page contains a single column of writing.

You will love Elaine, headstrong, proud, caring, loving, brave and witty. She literally risks her life to save her country and her family, and she is greatly rewarded in the end. I'm going to stop now and say go read this book. Get it from your library, borrow it from a friend, steal it from...never mind. Don't steal. Borrow. That's a better idea. Then come back here and tell me what you think. Pin It

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday -6-

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I don't usually share just two sentences. I usually share two passages. :) In this case, the two passages are one after another, so it looks like one.

Here's my teaser:

Elaine, I remember the first time
I met you.
You were so young,
so scared. It nearly broke
my heart to see you so.
I look up at him, tears in my eyes.
Morgan sits beside me and squeezes my hand.
Those were bad days, I whisper.

Song of the Sparrow, by Lisa Ann Sandell, page 153. I've read this book before, and I loved it! Be sure to check back in a few days for my review.

Leave a link for your TT, or leave your TT in a comment if you don't have a book blog.

Pin It

Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner

Gen, named after the God of Thieves, Eugenides, is a thief. He's worked hard to build his reputation and flaunts his accomplishments. That's how he's landed himself in prison.

When the magus, the king's right hand man, appears with a proposition, Gen can't help but be interested. Especially since it means he gets to leave prison.

He embarks with his new companions on a journey across the countryside, in search of a mythical treasure. Entire hunting parties have disappeared on the same journey. The catch? Gen must do what no one else can. He must steal it.

And that's the easy part.


I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Gen is nonchalant, cynical, and sarcastic as the book begins. By the end, he's someone you'd want on your team if you were facing danger.

There were plot twists and turns that were exciting and kept me turning the pages (always a good thing). I love it when a book can make me gasp in disbelief. The end was ironic and fulfilling.

I highly recommend this book. It was somewhat refreshing to read a book that wasn't dripping with romance. Don't get me wrong, I am a hopeless romantic! But it was pleasant to remember the complexities of human relationships are not limited to love and lust, but also friendship, trust, honor, betrayal, and loyalty.

This is marked as YA, but I think readers of all ages will enjoy it. I'm really looking forward to the other books in this series.

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Kindle Giveaway - Reminder

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a Kindle! Want more chances to win? click on the link below and comment on all the participating blogs.

Want even more chances to win? Right now there are 42 blogs participating. If there are 50 or more blogs signed up, Moira Rogers will generously add another Kindle to the giveaway (as well as $50 to the blog owner of the winning comment.)

What are you waiting for? Sign up your book blog! Spread the fun. And don't forget to visit all the blogs and enter to win.

Thanks Moira Rogers!!

Wilder’s Mate Kindle Contest
Want to win a brand new Wi-Fi Kindle 3? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, and you can have your chance! For more chances to win, visit the main contest page. Every participating blog you visit gives you another chance to win!
This post is part of Moira Rogers’ Wild Web Adventure Promo. For full rules and disclaimers, or to hold your own kindle contest, visit the contest post. Winners will be chosen during the first week of April.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

In My Mailbox -2-

 IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Please check out other book blogs and find out what readers are...well, reading. :)

 Want to participate? Post about books you've bought, checked out from the library, received for review or as a gift, etc. Books don't have to arrive via your mailbox.

This week I have a LOT in my mailbox!! So, without further ado, here we go.

Bumped, by Megan Mccafferty.

You may or may not know this, but my son is adopted. Still, I was morbidly curious about this book. I am looking forward to reading it.

Starcrossed, by Josephine Angelini.

Myths, legends, dreams, demigods, fate...what's not to like?! Can't wait.

Hereafter, by Tara Hudson.

Amelia is dead...already I like it. Not because I have a strange fascination with death, but because Pyper died once. Besides, it's paranormal romance. That's always interesting.

Die for Me, by Amy Plum.

Another book about death...oy. Maybe I do have a problem? I can't help it. The book sounds interesting!

The Last Little Blue Envelope, by Maureen Johnson.

Following a treasure hunt of mysterious letters. Sounds fun and exciting. (See, no death.) This is a sequel, and I have yet to read the first in the series. But I will!

A Tale of Two Castles, by Gail Carson Levine.

I've read a few of Gail Carson Levine's books, and I am really excited to read this one as well. I know nothing about it, but I'm excited. :)

Angel Burn, by L. A. Weatherly.

More paranormal with deams and gifts. I guess it's my lot in life to love these kinds of books. Sigh. Oh well.

Don't Breathe a Word, by Jennifer Mcmahon.

Look! Fairies. Not death. Awesome.

Read more about the Queens of All the Earth here on Goodreads. I've actually just started this one and so far so good.

Meant to Be by Tiffany King.

Social outcast, special powers, handsome dream boy...all the necessary elements of a good book.

Phew. You still with me?

So, what do you think? I think I'd better stop blogging and start reading!

What are you reading? Pin It

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Grace Divine is the daughter of Pastor Divine. Her older brother, Jude, is as close to a saint as a teenage boy can be! (He volunteers at the shelter three days a week.) Their family is about as perfect as they come.

But they have a dark secret. Three years ago, Daniel, Jude's best friend, disappeared, and Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now, Daniel is back and Grace is torn between her love for Daniel and her love for Jude. Caught in a web of lies and mystery, Grace doesn't know who to believe or if she can save Daniel.

One thing she does know for sure, is the answer might mean losing her soul.

I was so intrigued by this story. I didn't know anything about it (the book description is deliciously enigmatic), and I hadn't read any reviews. I'd only heard it was good. And boy was it!

The writing is pointed and realistic. The story line jumps from present day to memories, but it's done seamlessly.

I don't want to give away too many secrets, but there were a few times I thought the love story and plot were slightly Twilight-ish, but it worked. I also loved that Grace and Daniel had a history and it wasn't love at first sight.

I'm so excited to read the second book in the series!

Pin It

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Savannah has it all. She has the looks, the popularity, the hot boyfriend. Never mind that Hunter is a little on the brainy side and Savannah is, well, not. When Savannah's older, nerdy sister, Jane, steals Hunter, Savannah is devastated. 

Enter Chrissy Everstar: a teenage fairy doing an extra credit project because she only scored Fair in Godmother school.

Chrissy grants Savannah 3 wishes, but there is a reason Chrissy only Fair. First she sends Savannah to the Middle Ages, twice. Then she sends a boy from Savannah's school back through time and leaves him there to become a prince. It's up to Savannah to rescue the knight in shining armor.

The story that ensues is full of fun, hilarious dialogue. Savannah shows the reader not all smarts come from books, and not all attraction comes from looks.

I loved every second of My Fair Godmother, and I am earnestly looking forward to My Unfair Godmother.

Pin It

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stop everything!

The mail came about an hour ago. I picked up my little boy (who gets grumpy if I check the mail without him) and flew out the door. No coat, no shoes for the little man, just pure adrenaline.

What did I find in my mailbox?


That's me with a copy of my book. Aaaaahhhhh. It looks great. I'm so happy!

Now, back to work. It needs one more run through before publication. If I disappear for a few days, you'll know why. Pin It

Love me some Janette Rallison.

Hey readers. One of my favorite YA authors is Janette Rallison. She's one of the few authors who makes me laugh out loud every time I read one of her books.

She is celebrating the release date of her new book, My Unfair Godmother (Fair Godmother #2), with a month of giveaways. Woohoo! I cannot wait, and I've been dying to win a copy of this book. Here is my chance!

Want more information? Check out her blog HERE. You'll be glad you did. She's pretty funny. Pin It

In My Mailbox -1-

I wanted to kind of sweep my negative review under the rug (I hate doing that to an author!). So I decided to participate in a weekly meme by The Story Siren called In My Mailbox.

The idea of IMM is to post any books you've bought, received as a gift, checked out from the library, or received in the mail to review. However you get them, post them.

In my case, it's almost always the library. Up this week?

Dark Divine by Bree Despain:

I'm really excited about this one. I'm already on the waiting list for #2.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell:

I read this a few years ago and just loved it to pieces. This is a re-read, but it will be so enjoyable. Besides, last time I didn't post a review.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner:

This is a recommendation from a good friend. I'm really looking forward to it though, as I've heard good things about the whole series.

And that's what's in my mailbox...or rather, in my library bag on the table.

What are you reading? Pin It

Review: Erlina of Whispering Pines by J.J. Burgess

Erlina Andersen has known much tragedy in her short life. Her mother was killed when she was a young child. Her father was lost at sea when she was eight. She was raised by her iron-fisted grandfather. Her husband was an unfaithful gambler who died young and left her and her two young children buried in debt.

And that's where our story begins.

Upon learning she is penniless, Erlina also learns her grandmother secretly left her an inheritance: an estate called Whispering Pines.

Erlina moves her children and two faithful servants to their new home in Australia and quickly learns the demands of running a household are more rigorous than she imagined. She dreams of racing her prized stallion, but the locals will not so much look at her as consider to allow her to participate in a man's sport.

Enter the Cairds: the Scottish family that bought Erlina's previous home. Jason Caird, the master of the house, is so intrigued by the previous owner, he seeks her out.

Jason is captivated by Erlina, but Mrs. Andersen does not return his affections. She shouldn't snub him too quickly. There are many family secrets that seem to rise like mist and swirl around Erlina.

And Jason might just have the answers she's looking for, even concerning the whereabouts of her father.


I was pleased with the story. It was interesting and intriguing. There were many twists and turns, especially near the end. Well done.

It took a little time to get into the book, but mostly it took time to get used to the author's writing style. There were far too many exclamation points, which was distracting.

I was often confused. I was confused by the characters (who was speaking, who was who since there were few introductions). I was confused by the plot. I was confused when the characters were discussing something vitally important, but I, as the reader, had no information about it. I often had to reread passages to see if I'd missed something - and usually I hadn't. I was confused by the point of view. Books are usually written from a single character's POV, sometimes alternating between two characters with a very distinct transition. In this case, we were told what every character thought and felt. It was confusing and overwhelming.

I felt that there was too much telling, and not enough showing. For example, the author writes, "they conversed." Instead, I would have liked to read what they said. There were many scenes that had so much potential, and I felt completely let down. There was a fantastic racing scene that the second half of the book works into...and the scene is about two pages long. There is also a marvelous wedding that is described in a page and a half. The author had one great example of showing instead of telling. A young carriage driver enters the room, removes his hat and twists it in his hands as he speaks to the mistress of the house. Clearly he was nervous, but no one had to tell me. I figured it out by the clues the author gave me.

The romance aspect was completely lacking. Jason did his best to care for Erlina, and she never gave him so much as a second glance. I would not have even considered this a romance if it hadn't been categorized as such on the publisher's website. The ending was even left wide open for a sequel. Or at least another chapter.

I felt like the author had so much more to give. This book really could have been amazing! The author is very talented, but she needs a good editor to help her reach her potential.

I desperately wanted to give this book 3 stars, but I just couldn't given the confusions and lack of showing.

I received a complimentary copy of Erlina of Whispering Pines as a member of the    
    Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team.  Visit
    to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team. To purchase the book,
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rock bottom rating - It's not my fault!

This may come as a surprise to you (insert sarcasm here), but as an author, I sometimes have this horrible feeling that all my hard work has been for nothing. In the dark hours of night when I have nothing to do but listen to the sound of my own breathing, a sickly fog starts to creep into my mind and whisper things like:

Your book stinks.
No one is going to like it.
You shouldn't have bothered.

It's terrible! I feel like Gollum in Return of the King in which he tells himself nobody likes him and he doesn't have any friends.

Well, Friday, I felt like the cosmos were working together to prove me right. I went on Goodreads to check out how many readers had entered my giveaway. My jaw almost literally hit the floor when I saw my book rating: 1.8 stars.


I only have 4 and 5 star reviews!

I checked, and checked, and checked again. Yep, I still only had 4 and 5 star reviews. I thought maybe it was just a technical glitch, so I walked away from the computer. Two hours later I came back.


I wanted to cry. I shrieked and called my husband over. He was confused and a little heated up about it. "You need to email them," he told me forcefully.

"No, no, no. It'll be fine tomorrow," I said with the end of my sentence curling up into a question.

Well...Saturday it wasn't better. It fluctuated varying degrees of awfulness. It was as low as 1.18 and as high as 1.4.

And 1.4 is where it stands today.

I emailed them last night, totally horrified that I had to ask them, "Could you please make me look like I don't suck?" But really, it's not a good thing to have it look like your book is less than 2 stars. It hasn't been released yet. At least give people a chance to read it before they decide to throw me down the stairs!

Goodreads responded and said they're moving the code that calculates ratings from one place to another and have had a few things go awry.

Yeah, like my book rating!

They said I just needed to be patient.

In the meantime, I biting my nails hoping no one really looks at the one little red star. I can just hear it now, "Wow, this must be really bad."

It's not! I promise it's not that bad! It's actually pretty good, if I do say so myself.

So spread the word - as in, just keep in mind - The Gifted doesn't deserve 1 star. That's a technical glitch. AKA, the universe playing a hideous, horrible joke on me. Pin It

Saturday, March 12, 2011

eReader Giveaway

Want to a chance to win an eReader?

Check out the Bibliophilic Book Blog for details.

Anyone over the age of 13 can enter. Follow Monica's blog when you enter. It's not a requirement, but it's appreciated.

What can you win?

An eReader of your choice!! Or a gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Neither can be more than $200. All you have to do is go to Bibliophilic Book Blog, fill out the form, follow (hopefully), sit back and relax. Head back on March 15th - Bookmark Day - for more chances to enter.

Thanks Monica for a great giveaway!

Here's my question: What kind of eReader will you choose? I have my heart set on a Kindle.
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Dragging my feet through mud.

Last night it rained. With the rain, came horrible wind. With the horrible wind, came a jolting crash. Upon inspection, my husband found that our back gate had torn off it's hinges, crashed against the house, and smashed against the drain pipe.

It was nearly 11 o'clock, rainy and windy,and we were out there (in the mud) trying to fix the gate. At one point, I tried to take a step back, but I was stuck. I'd been standing so long in one place, I'd sunk enough that I didn't notice, but enough that I couldn't take a step.

It was cold and miserable. For a split second I debated leaving my boot in the mud and running inside. Instead I tugged and pulled until I was free, then danced around in the snow to generate some body heat and clean my boots.

Changing gears.

I devour books. Most of you will know what that's like. I read a book in a day or two. Three if I'm really busy. I'm just a fast reader and the master of reading while I cook dinner.

There is a book that I have been  reading for a month. A month! OK, that's an exaggeration. It's only been about three weeks. But in book years that's like months. The story isn't interesting, the writing is confusing, the characters are always yelling at each other. I literally dread picking it up. But I have an obligation. I have to read this book because it was sent to me for the sole purpose of reviewing.

I have literally been trudging through this book for weeks, and I'm only on page 45. That's about 1/4 of the way done, and I have to read and review this book by the end of the week to meet my deadline.

I feel like I did last night. I'm stuck in the mud of this book, and for more than a split second I've debated leaving a review that says, "I can't even finish this!"

On the other hand, I'm an author. I know what it's like to pour my heart and soul into a book in hopes that someone else will appreciate the story as much I do. As an author, I would literally be devastated if someone told me my hard work was too terrible to even finish.

So, for the sake of the author, and in hopes of finding the gem hidden within, I'm going to pull my boot out of the mud and keep reading. Pin It

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So...why aren't you reviewing books?

I'm a little behind on book reviews. My goal this year is to read 100 books. That's about 8 books a month. Which is about 2 books a week. Should be easy, right?

So, why haven't I been posting lots of reviews?'s a long story. Basically it boils down to the fact that I get all my books from the local library, and a certain little boy who shall remain anonymous (but he's about 2 1/2 feet tall and calls me mom) threw away the case to one of the DVD's we checked out from the library. He has a nasty habit of throwing valuables in the garbage. Now I owe the library ridiculous amounts of money to replace the entire DVD, and I can't check out books until it's paid.


Don't worry, though. I'm off to the library today (as soon as I change out of my bathrobe) to pay the fine and pick up my reserved copy of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. Can't wait!

By the way, welcome to all my new readers! I've had a few more readers thanks to Goodreads and Book Blogs. Welcome, welcome! Thanks for stopping by.  Pin It

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Giveaway on Goodreads

On Thursday, March 10th, 5 copies of The Gifted will be up for grabs. Goodreads is hosting a giveaway that runs from March 10th to April 1st.

You will need to be a Goodreads member to enter this giveaway.

Once you are signed up, you can click on the button below to enter the giveaway. You'll just need to enter a mailing address. Sorry, only one entry per household. Tyler and I have tried to enter the same giveaway before and we couldn't because our addresses are the same. Goodreads will send an email to the winners on April 1st.

Good luck!!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Gifted (Paperback) by Deborah Andreasen

The Gifted

by Deborah Andreasen

Giveaway ends April 01, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

If you still have questions, leave a comment or send me a message and I'll walk you through it. Pin It

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: The Princess and the Snowbird

She is endowed with aur-magic beyond anything anyone has seen before.

He has no magic, and is shunned by his village because of it.

Liva is the daughter of the Hound and the Bear who spent their long lives protecting animal magic and those who hold it. Jens has lived his life being beaten, ignored and persecuted because of his lack of magic. They seem the most unlikely of pairs, but theirs is a love that transcends magic.

Liva must live up to her heritage to protect and save magic, and Jens, who is immune to it, is the only person who can help her. Together, they must track down and stop the Hunter from mutilating and killing other humans with aur-magic.

This is the third installment in Mette Ivie Harrison's Princess trilogy - I don't know the official name. The love story in this was probably my favorite because it came so early on in the book and was not really a surprise to the characters. But as far as story content, I think it was a little lacking from the other books.  It was still a beautiful book, and it wasn't as long as the others. That works both for and against it.

Definitely worth reading though.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Amy is a 17-year-old girl cryogenically frozen aboard the ship Godspeed. She and her parents are making a 300 year trek across the universe to Centauri-Earth, where a team of scientists and military specialists (also frozen) hope to create a new world.

Elder is a 16-year-old boy, the youngest person aboard Godspeed. Someday, sooner than he'd like, he will take over Eldest's position as leader of the ship and it's monoethnic residents. Every person has the same dark hair, same olive skin, and the same almond shaped eyes: the result of being aboard Godspeed for centuries with a limited gene pool.

Elder hasn't been properly trained for his role as leader. Eldest is too distracted and busy to teach Elder what he needs to know, so Elder is left to his own devices. He stumbles upon a sub-level of the ship; a place he didn't know existed. There he finds a girl with hair so vibrant red and skin so white - he didn't know those colors were possible in a person! - he is irresistibly drawn to her.

Then something terrible happens. Someone unplugs the girl and she almost dies in her cryogenic chamber. And she's only the first. A string of murders and attempted murders slices through the frozens of Godspeed.

When Amy is violently awoken from her cryogenic state, she discovers they are still 49 years and 266 days away from Centauri-Earth. By the time they reach the planet, she will be older than her parents...if she's still alive. Gliding through space in a crowded ship, Amy has never felt more alone.

But, there is Elder.

Amy and Elder must hurry to discover the web of lies and secrets aboard the ship if they have any hope of saving the frozens, including Amy's parents, the future of mankind.

First of all, let me just say...there had better be a sequel! I seriously loved this book. It's very sci-fi, but enjoyably so. We get to see things from Amy's point of view, so she describes them using objects we can imagine (like a Post It note).

I found that the characters were so real and yet so flawed that they were believable. The mystery is intriguing and kept me turning the pages almost faster than I could read them.

I was surprised by how much this book got me thinking about human nature and the motivation for doing what's best - or at least perceived to be best.

Content caution: The residents of Godspeed have a mating season, called Season, so for a section of the book there is frequent mention of sex, and some description. There is also one moderately graphic attempted rape scene.

I found that even though Elder is the future leader of the ship, and takes that responsibility seriously, he's also a hormonal teenage boy.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review: How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

In Charlie's world, people have invisible little creatures that help them in ordinary ways. Like the never being late fairy, the loose change finding fairy, and the never getting lost fairy. Charlie is 14, and she has a parking fairy. Any car she is in will always find the perfect parking spot, no matter what. This might be useful, if she could drive, but certain aspects of it are down-right torturous. Like the fact she's always being "borrowed" by friends and relatives, or that she always smells faintly of gasoline. But worst of all is one of the biggest bullies in school kidnaps her repeatedly and forces her sit in the car so he can drive around all night and get good parking spots wherever he wants. Why couldn't Charlie have been blessed with a shopping fairy like her best friend Rochelle?

Enter Fiorenze. Her fairy? Every-boy-will-like-you. It's hard to have gentle feelings toward the girl who attracts every boy at their elite sports oriented school, but when Fio starts strutting around with the new kid, Stefan, on her arm, things get ugly. Did I mention Stefan is Charlie's crush?

Unfortunately, Fio's parents are world-renowned fairy experts. If Charlie has any hope of getting rid of her fairy, she'll have to work with the enemy. At first it seems like teeming up with Fio is going to be as bad as being kidnapped and enduring hours of parking. But soon Charlie finds she and Fio have a lot in common.

This was a fun, quick read. I fully expected it to be a middle-grade read, but I was surprised that it was more mature (simply because the characters acted like miniature adults). The school Charlie and her friends attend is strictly sports oriented. Even though I am not a sports fan at all, I found it very easy to relate to the characters and care about the struggles they dealt with. How to Ditch Your Fairy is set at some point in the not-entirely-distant future, so there are some technological aspects that were mentioned, but not really explained. I understand that going into tech details may have distracted from the book, but a few explanations wouldn't have hurt either.

I felt like the teen characters were level headed and deep thinkers. It was refreshing not to read a novel that centered on drugs and alcohol and sleeping around. There is no "real" swearing in this book, but a lot of light, made-up curses. Just be careful, you might end up using doxy and torpid without meaning to.

(For your convenience, there is a guide at the back of the book with a list of known fairies, as well as translations for words like doos, astral, and hoick.)

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Giveaway Winner: The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

Congratulations to the winner of and ARC of The Oracle of Stamboul, by Michael David Lukas:


The winner has been contacted.

Thanks to everyone who entered! You know, all three of you. :) Thanks for your interview questions. Look for the answers, coming soon, on my website: Pin It