Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hiatus

My blog will be going on a break for about a month.  Tomorrow I fly to Asia for two weeks.  We will be going to Hong Kong and Tokyo on a girls trip.  Then I fly back here on Monday, July 9th.  On Tuesday, July 10th, hubby and I take our puppy up to my parents house in Jacksonville (about a 2 1/2 hour drive) and then Wednesday morning, July 11th, we fly to Denver for a week!  I am going to be exhausted!  So the blog will pick back up on July 19th or 20th!

In My Mailbox- June 25, 2012

In My Mailbox: Here's what came in my mailbox the past week (I am doing this a day early since I am travelling to Asia tomorrow!)

WEDNESDAY
You Dropped a Blonde on Me (Ex Trophy Wives #1)- Dakota Cassidy--PaperbackSwap









Burning Down the Spouse (Ex Trophy Wives #2)- Dakota Cassidy--PaperbackSwap








SATURDAY
Once (Eve #2)- Anna Carey--from publisher for review

The Sunday Salon- June 24, 2012

The Sunday Salon

I've spent the past week getting ready for my trip tomorrow.  I'll be in Asia (Hong Kong and Tokyo) for two weeks.  I'm so excited, but a little nervous.  At least when I went to Europe, the letters looked the same and some of the words were similar.  But now, nothing will be familiar!  But we are going to have so much fun!

I finished and reviewed the following books in the past week:
Bite by Laurel K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, Angela Knight, and Vickie Taylor
 










Flock (Stork #3) by Wendy Delsol










I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge!: Bite
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 50, 51
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 3
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 53
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 47


I am currently reading Just Say Yes by Phillipa Ashley and up next is Once by Anna Carey.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review- Flock

I finished reading Flock (Stork #3) by Wendy Delsol last night for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Having barely survived an eleventh grade of adventures rivaling any mythological tale, human Stork Katla Leblanc is hoping for an ordinary senior year. But when two Icelandic exchange students turn up at Norse Falls High, an uneventful school year seems out of the question.

Although tricked into the initial deal, Katla is constrained by a celestial bargain that puts everyone—including her boyfriend, Jack, and best friend, Penny—at risk. She’ll have to use her wits, her wit, her soul-delivering powers, and a few out-of-this-world colleagues to fend off a disaster of epic proportions.


I really enjoyed the first two books in the Stork trilogy so I was excited to read this last one.  And while it wasn't my favorite of the trilogy, I definitely enjoyed it.

Once again, I just loved Kat.  I still love her humor and kind of sarcastic streak.  And I love that she does what she thinks is right, even if it's not exactly what she's supposed to be doing.  And I still like her relationship with Jack (although we don't get too much of him in this book).  I think it still seems like a real, teenage relationship.  I didn't remember Penny from last book (oops) but I enjoyed her.  And I loved the little secret we get about her at the end.  I didn't remember Marik or Jinky either, but I can't forget them now!  I love that everyone loved Marik.  I too thought it was one of his special powers but it turned out that was just his personality.  And spunky little Jinky was fun too.  She had a soft side buried way down there.

I do have to say that the main action of the story towards the end got me a little confused.  I had a hard time following what was happening and why but I think I got the gist of it by the end.  And there's a surprise that happens at the end that I wasn't expecting but I like it.  It ended the trilogy nicely and doesn't leave me wondering what was going to happen next.  I liked that I got all the answers I need!

I enjoyed this trilogy.  It was a great take on Norse fairy tales and while I'm sad to see it end, I was happy with it!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Flock will be released on September 11, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 51

2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 53
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 47

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review- Bite

I just finished reading Bite by Laurel K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, Angela Knight, and Vickie Taylor.

From Goodreads:

Feel the Touch of Darkness. . .

Follow a vampire who can be as deadly as her prey. Meet a down home southern girl who's found out, much to her chagrin, that vampires are her type. Feel the euphoria of fear in the shadow of a reluctant Queen of the Undead. Step closer to the hot-blooded edge of passion as a strange new mythology of the night is unveiled.

The bite is back in vampire fiction as today's most provocative authors of vampire fiction cast their irresistible spells on you . . .

The brightest and hottest authors—including New York Times best-selling authors Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris—tell all-new tales featuring their best known and loved characters.

* From Laurell K. Hamilton, a never-before-published Anita Blake story in which Anita, temporarily separated from her vampire lover Jean-Claude, must go to him for help on a case. Where she finds herself once more falling under his erotic spell...

* A brand-new, Southern Vampire story by Charlaine Harris features Sookie Stackhouse and the vampires who have come to define her romantic life, and have ended her hope of a normal one...

* Newly crowned Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor reluctantly assumes her royal duties in MaryJanice Davidson's brand-new novella.

* Introduced in the anthology Hot Blooded and the romance Master of the Night, Angela Knight has created a fascinating universe melding Arthurian lore with erotic vampirism...

* Finally, in the romantic novella "Blood Lust", popular romance
author Vickie Taylor brings her own unique spin on vampires...


This is going to be a short review because it's always hard for to write about anthologies.  It's hard for me to go deeper into short stories.

I've only ever read books by Charlaine Harris and MaryJanice Davidson before.  So while the other short stories were interesting and fun, I wasn't completely into their world.  I enjoyed reading MaryJanice Davidson's story.  It took me a couple of pages to get where Queen Betsy came into play.  But I so love her.  She's the first paranormal character that I loved and got me into my paranormal phase.  As for Charlaine Harris's story...it was interesting to read more about Sookie's cousin Hadley.  I got a little bit more of a back story than we got in the novel.  

Overall, fun stories to read!

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge!: Bite
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 50
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 3

 *FTC Disclosure: I traded this book with a friend.

Waiting on Wednesday- June 20, 2012

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Girl of Nightmares (Anna Dressed in Blood #2)
by Kendare Blake
Publication Release Date: August 7, 2012

From Goodreads:

It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong... these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor

Monday, June 18, 2012

In My Mailbox- June 18, 2012


In My Mailbox: Here's what came in my mailbox the past week
TUESDAY
Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin #4)- Jennifer Estep--PaperbackSwap










Identical- Ellen Hopkins--PaperbackSwap









WEDNESDAY
Happily Ever After- Harriet Evans--from publisher for review









THURSDAY
One Good Friend Deserves Another- Lisa Verge Higgins--from publisher for review

The Sunday Salon- June 17, 2012

The Sunday Salon

On Monday, my hubby and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary!  I can't believe the time has gone by so fast!  We stayed the night at the concierge level at the Grand Floridian.  We stayed there the night of our wedding last year too, but everything was so crazy that we didn't get to enjoy it.  And we went to dinner at Victoria & Alberts, the most expensive restaurant on Disney property.  They just got their 5 star rating again.  The food was soooo good but I was so stuffed.  There were 7 courses.  I felt like I was on Top Chef.  It was definitely a once in a life time experience!

I finished and reviewed the following books in the past week:
 Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Spark (Sky Chasers #2) by Amy Kathleen Ryan










I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 48, 49
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 41, 42
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 45, 46
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-10
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 13

I am currently reading Flock by Wendy Delsol and if I don't get any tour books, then up next is Just Say Yes by Phillipa Ashley.

Book Review- Spark

I just finished reading Spark (Sky Chasers #2) by Amy Kathleen Ryan for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancĂ©? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end...


I remember the first book in this series, Glow, reading like it would be a perfect movie.  And I felt the same way about Spark.  I could so easily see it being transferred to the big screen.

Once again, there was some religious stuff in this book.  And it was like Kieran was leading a cult.  But I think that was to show that he was slowly sort of becoming like Anne Mather, the leader on the New Horizon ship.  And while I think I liked Kieran at least a little bit in the first book, I could not stand him in this book. Such a jerk and so cocky. 

Now Seth on the other hand.  I saw him become more real and I felt more sympathetic to him in this book than I did in the first one.  And I wavered on Waverly (no pun intended).  Some times I liked her and some times I felt she had become too hard and cold.  I came to like some of the other kids as well.  Arthur and Tobin among others.  They had to grow up too quickly and even though they were sided with Kieran, they still seemed to have a heart and want to do what was best.

I think there definitely has to be another book in this series.  There are too many questions left hanging (what happens to Seth?  what happens to Waverly and the other kids?)  I'll definitely be picking up the next book, if there is one.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Spark will be released on July 17, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 49

2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 42
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 46

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Contest Winner--Fated

I didn't hear back within 48 hours from the previous winner, so I am picking a new one!

According to Rafflecopter,


Donna

has won a signed copy of Fated by Alyson Noel! Please email your address to me at belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com by Tuesday at 2pm and I'll have your book mailed out to you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Contest Winner- Glass Houses

I'm really late in announcing this, but...

According to Rafflecopter,

McKenna

has won a copy of Glass Houses by Rachel Caine and a bookmark from Black Dawn! Please email your address to me at belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com by Sunday at 4pm and I'll have your book mailed out to you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Contest Winner- Fated

According to Rafflecopter,

Pat

has won a signed copy of Fated by Alyson Noel! Please email your address to me at belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com by Saturday at11pm and I'll have your book mailed out to you!

Book Review- Over You

I finished reading Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus for an Around the World ARC Tour yesterday.

From Goodreads:

After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.

Brilliant at bringing humor to the trials and tribulations of the lovestruck, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have crafted a tale that will resonate with any girl who has ever been in love or had her heart broken. It brims with smart observations, features a pitch-perfect teen voice, and will attract fans of Jenny Han, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Barnholdt. Readers are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp spin on breaking up, making up, and getting even.


I was excited to read this book because it is by the same authors as The Nanny Diaries, and I enjoyed those books.  Unfortunately, this fell a little on the blah side for me.

I felt like a lot of this book was corny and immature.  There were just a lot of times I rolled my eyes.  There was something about the writing and the dialouge that just left me wishing it were different.  And I had a problem with the fact that Max's mom was perfectly okay with her dropping out of high school, getting her GED and then not doing anything.  Her mom didn't know about her company, but she wasn't working a side job or taking college classes.

That being said, I like the idea of an Ex, Inc.  I definitely had my heartbreak and could have used something like that.  (Although I don't think it's that easy to get over a loved one).  But I could feel Max's heartbreak and I knew what she was going through. 

On the other hand, some of the characters didn't do it for me.  Ben?  Yeah, don't get the appeal in him.  He just seemed boring.  I liked Max some of the time and some of the time I felt myself rolling my eyes at her.  My favorite character was definitely Zach.  I just loved his character!

Overall, not a great read but not a horrible one either.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

Over You will be released on August 21, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 48
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 41
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 45
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-10
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 13

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

In My Mailbox- June 11, 2012


In My Mailbox: Here's what came in my mailbox the past week

MONDAY
Hourglass (Evernight #3)- Claudia Gray--PaperbackSwap

The Sunday Salon- June 10, 2012

The Sunday Salon

So I completely forgot to do the Sunday Salon post on Sunday!  I'll just pretend like it's Sunday now!  We had our 1 year anniversary shoot with the wonderful Regina Hyman Photography.  She did our engagement pics, our wedding pics, and our Magic Kingdom Bridal Portraits.  She is simply amazing!  She already sent us a sneak peak.

I can't wait to see the rest!

I finished and reviewed the following book in the past week:

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers










I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 47
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 40
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 44


I am currently reading Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan and up next is Flock by Wendy Delsol.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review- Lies Beneath

Early this morning, I finished reading Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown for a Teen Book Scene Tour.

From Goodreads:

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

I usually have problems reading stories with guys as the main character, but I didn't really with Lies Beneath.  I think it was because it showed that Calder had emotions while still having a "guyish"ness about him (yeah I just made that word up).  Anyways, he didn't seem off-putting and cold, which is a good thing.  And I really liked Lily.  She was unique and true to herself and didn't care what anyone thought.

I think the premise of the story was interesting--that merfolk always keep their promises or at least the promises must be fullfilled.  And surprisingly, I liked that it was dark (usually I don't like stories that are too dark).  I think my one complaint is that Calder was immediately in love with Lily.  Too unrealistic!  But that's okay.  I still enjoyed the story none-the-less.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Lies Beneath will be released on June 12, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 23
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 20
2012 Debut Author Challenge: 5
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 20

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Teen Book Scene.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Review- This Is Not a Test

I finished reading This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers last night for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

When I first saw that there was going to be a zombie book written by an author who I usually thought wrote contemporary books, I jumped right on to wanting to read it.  Unfortunately, it didn't do much for me.

I'm left with feeling like there were things missing from the story.  Sloane is in her house with her father, who abuses her, and she's scared of him, then all of a sudden there's a zombie through her window.  It's never explained if this is the first that Sloane has heard of zombies, or if zombies were starting to become common.  And it's never explained how this zombie-ness came to be.  Then at the end, the book just kind of stops.  It's not like there was a cliffhanger where you were left wanting more.  It just seemed to end.

Then there's the characters.  I felt bad for Sloane because of her home life.  I really did.  But I didn't really like her for some reason.  I didn't really feel that she had any redeeming qualities, which is hard for me to say about someone.  Then you had the other students trapped in the high school.  Cary and Rhys were pretty okay guys.  But Harrington, sorry to say it but he just seemed like a baby.  I get that he's young, but the way he was portrayed made him seem like he was 8, not 15.  Then there were the twins--Trace was just a first class jerk for most of the book.  The only time he was decent was when it came to his sister.  I liked Grace.  She seemed like a nice girl. 

And the plot.  When I think of the book on the whole, I think it's more boring where they just sit around a lot because they're trapped and there's not a lot of action.  And I usually like more character books.  But this one wasn't such a great example.  But then I think back to parts of the story and there was action parts here and there.  They just don't stick out when I think of the whole.

So yeah, reading my review back it sounds like I hated the book.  Which I didn't.  I just didn't care about it, plain and simple.  I'm indifferent.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

This Is Not a Test will be released on June 19, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 47
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 40
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 44

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In My Mailbox--June 4, 2012


In My Mailbox: Here's what came in my mailbox the past 2 weeks (apparently I forgot last week and almost forgot this week!)

MONDAY
Much Ado About Vampires (Dark Ones #9)- Katie MacAlister--PaperbackSwap









Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #4)- Chloe Neill--PaperbackSwap










One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress #6)- Jeaniene Frost--PaperbackSwap









TUESDAY
Summer of Secrets- Alison Lucy (from publisher for review)









SATURDAY
Kill Me Softly- Sarah Cross--review for an Around the World ARC










Beautiful Chaos- Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl--Bookmooch









TUESDAY
When You Were Mine- Rebecca Serle--review for an Around the World ARC Tour









This is Not a Test- Courtney Summers--review for an Around the World ARC Tour








FRIDAY
Mathilda Savitch- Victor Lodato--Bookmooch









SATURDAY
Over You- Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus--review for an Around the World ARC Tour









Spark (Sky Chasers #2)- Amy Kathleen Ryan--review for an Around the World ARC Tour









Flock (Stork #3)- Wendy Delsol--review for an Around the World ARC Tour










Shut Up- Anne Tibbets--from author for review


The Sunday Salon--June 3, 2012

The Sunday Salon

The school year is wrapping up!  I'm late on posting this, it's actually Tuesday, so I only have 2 days left with the kiddos and then 2 days of post planning.  I cannot wait!  Since this was supposed to be done on Sunday, I'm going to pretend that's what day it is.

I finished and reviewed the following book in the past week:
Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino










I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 44
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 41

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 2

Since then I read Fated by Alyson Noel and When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle but I'll post about them next week.  I am currently reading This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers and up next is Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.