Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Guardians of the Grimoire

Guardians of the Grimoire (Volume 1)
Title: Guardians of the Grimoire
Author: Natasha Slight
Series: The Grimoire (Book #1)
Format- ebook
Publisher- Natasha Slight
Published- November 29, 2011
Pages- 367
Source- CBL Book Tours

"Rumors have spread among the immortals of a book that controls all the magic in both the human and spirit worlds. So what is the Spirit Mother to do when Kaël, a corrupt spirit, attempts to steal the Grimoire from her temple?

With no other option, she instructs Gaïa, a benevolent spirit, to hide the Grimoire in the human realm and to train three young girls in becoming the new guardians. Kerani, Tiluvia, and Cesca are awakened to their destinies, and thrust into a perilous journey as they race to Gaïa’s island. Accompanied by the Kal’rana sisters, the girls discover the magic that lies dormant within them. But fate plays a cruel twist on them, as their magical abilities are unleashed before they are ready, and disastrous consequences follow suit.

In a land shrouded in magic, and filled with as many friends as there are foes, will the girls be able to fulfill their destinies? Or will the balance of magic be thrown into chaos?"

Kaël is trying to escape from his level of the spirit world. He is determined to get his hands on the Grimoire - the ultimate book of magic that in the wrong hands could destroy the world. To make sure that the book is safe Spirit Mother tasks Gaia to give the keys that is in actuality an amulet split three ways to the guardians that have been chosen. They are all but young girls but when they become of age their destinies will begin. They will have the responsibility to keep the book out of the evil hands of Kaël who will go through any means to obtain the book even if it's putting family against each other.

Kerani is one of the guardians and her birthday is about to come up. Her Uncle, the king, decides that it is time for him to find a suitor for her. He comes up with this competition. Any man that defeats Kerani in a sword fight gets her hand in marriage. There is one person that everyone's hoping to see her with and that is Valconius, an equally brash and stubborn person as Kerani is. I admit that I was interested in the possibility of a romance so I was anxious to see where that went. It was complicated I will just say. There's no real romance in here at all which is okay because I liked the focus on just the guardians and their supposed destiny. I feel like I connected with Kerani the most. I don't know if it's because she was first introduced sword fighting, the fact that she's a princess!, or she has the toughest attitude out of the three. She's the take no prisoners heroine type that I love seeing in any book I read. I couldn't get enough of her character. Her personality is what makes it so amusing with what her power turns out to be. 

All three guardians have powers but they are untapped but still powerful. That is why they were chosen as guardians. They all have these protectors in their lives but they don't really know they are protecting them. They feel more like family to them. There was a very close group girl power thing going on that I really enjoyed. I don't know why but there "quest" as I like to call it to protect the book and the keys reminded me a lot of Legend of the Seeker. It might be because I watched a whole season in a matter of days but I do feel the adventure and camaraderie coming from these girls. It was fun to see all the powers, fights, and chases they all got into. I did think it was a bit weird that they accepted all of this all of a sudden. I guess seeing Gaia convinced them right away but I don't remember reading any doubts or hesitation. I frankly would be thrilled if I had untapped powers, not so much the "people with large pointy swords are after me" part. What I mean is that no matter what strange things were happening to you or people telling you things I would think I would question at least once unless it was blatantly clear that something was going on with me which I don't feel it was on here. There were also parts where I thought things could have been a little slower at some points which is weird to say considering how lengthy this book is. Hmm... I guess I wanted to connect more with the two other main characters in the story. There were moments where you saw who they were and what they were about but I don't know. They didn't connect for me. I think it depends on you.

Tiluvia is another guardian whose Aunt Edwina is unbearable. She's a greedy old hag is what she is. I thought she was just very strict with where Tiluvia went and how she acted because she wanted her to get married just like the King wanted to do for Kerani but no. She's just really greedy and I hope I never see her again although I could see where that can cause some drama. Tiluvia's power was really unexpected, really all of them were, it's just very different... I think out of all the guardians I didn't feel like I know her the most. I know her I just don't... know her. Connect with her is better phrasing. I do see potential for her to be strong like Kerani is to my eyes now. I also believe Cesca can be that strong and is on her way. At first she seems like this timid type that just follows the leader but don't let her innocent face fool you. You mess with her once and you won't mess with her ever again. I'm really excited about her character the most. I see so much potential for her and I want her to take some initiative. I see so much potential in all of these characters. I feel like the next book will ensure them a place in my heart. I told you I liked them!

You would think a guy like Valconius would know when to listen. He's so stubborn it's just beyond belief. When a girl is stubborn it's supposedly this huge problem but really when you see a guy with those qualities you know he's going to be trouble. I don't really know what to make of him. I thought he would go one way in the story but now he's going to be like Darth Vader or something. It's just a really crazy situation which doesn't mean I don't like it. More than anything I want to see more of what goes on with him and his interactions with the girls. I hope he goes the way I want him to. I really hope he doesn't listen to only his emotions and not his head. He needs to think! He's... ARGH! There is so much potential for you! Don't mess it up. All of the characters I can see as one of the strongest point of this story. I also believe the Legend of the Seeker-esque adventure really does wonders for the book. And of course the powers excite me. This book was totally not what I expected. I expected witches or something... I don't know. It has this very old feel to it but in a cool way. I would just really say that I want to see a little more caution with how characters react or don't react with certain events that happen to them. Other than that this book was a treat. I've been in a very magic type of mood lately so this is just what the doctor ordered.

To purchase Guardians of the Grimoire go to:

About the Author

Natasha Slight

"Natasha Slight lives in Montreal, Canada with her husband and two daughters. Although, she has an aversion to -20 degree temperatures, she keeps warm and cozy, while writing in her home office. Being a stay-at-home mom and an avid reader and collector of books for many years, she traveled frequently, following her husband and his work. The settings in the stories she writes are enriched with details she has gleaned from her travels around the world. Armed with a quirky sense of humor, Natasha writes to inspire, tap into the mind, and unleash the imagination within. Guardians of the Grimoire is her debut novel."

For more info about Natasha Slight and her books go to:


Thanks to the author & CBL Book Tours for providing this giveaway!

CBL Book Tours

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Blast: Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan

"How can love mend a heart full of hate?

Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers. While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly's life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings."

Fields of Elysium is a suspenseful, romantic tale full of forbidden secrets, unimaginable danger, deception, and the never-ending fight for true love."

About the Author

A.B.Whelan is a Hungarian born, American writer. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Southern California.

While growing up in a wealthy Eastern European family, she had a chance to travel Europe. Later as an adult, she visited Africa and the Middle East and lived in Ecuador and in Crete.

For more info about A.B. Whelan and her books go to:

To purchase Fields of Elysium go to:

$50 Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash plus a gift bag of one signed copy of Fields of Elysium, a scrabble-tile pendant with a butterfly image on a chain necklace, and a fridge magnet.

Ends 3/11/13

Click here to go to the giveaway!
(Since this giveaway is super long you can just click and go to the rafflecopter giveaway)
*Gift bag open to US only. If winner is International they will receive the gift card or paypal cash*

Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & the author for this giveaway!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

Chasing JupiterTitle: Chasing Jupiter
Author: Rachel Coker
Stand Alone
Format: Hardcover
Publisher- Zondervan
Published- December 26th, 2012
Pages- 216
Source- Zondervan

"Scarlett Blaine's life in 1960s Georgia isn't always easy, especially given her parents' financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli's hippie lifestyle. Then there's her brother, Cliff. While Scarlett loves him more than anything, there's no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be. Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer's son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett's view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she's lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother's dream."

It's the Summer of 1969 and Scarlett Blaine's life is changing right before eyes. Scarlett has always been the responsible one even making meals because her mother stopped cooking. She has to take care of her Grandpop Barley who's obsessed with peanut butter and her brother who's very different too. All the while her parents' arguing becomes more intense which her sister isn't helping by dating a boy named Ziggy and being out at all hours of the night. There is one silver lining. The serious but sweet Frank who saves animals whenever he cans and suddenly takes a liking to what her and her brother are about to do - build a rocket to Jupiter.

It all starts with a list. Scarlett is a 16 year old who loves her little brother Cliff who's a bit odd which makes her more protective towards him. I'm pretty sure he has autism based on how sometimes he doesn't liked to be touched and how he knows all of the dates of the Spanish Civil War. He also likes speaking Spanish too but only knows the twelve words his sister learned. It was kind of funny him saying some Spanish words here and there but a little annoying that sometimes he would just say uno, dos, tres. I mean I'm a Hispanic that doesn't speak the language but it's not hard to learn up to ten. That's just me. I thought Cliff was the brightest spot in the whole story. He's genuine and acts mostly like any other kid just with better interests. All those other kids are boring compared to him. In this story is another situation of parents or others thinking something's wrong with Cliff and wanting to fix it. I think even if their parents knew he was autistic (did anybody even know autism existed in 1969?) they would treat him the same. "Why can't we fix him?" You know why? Because he isn't broken. People... 

The list. The list is a birthday list that Cliff modifies two times. One of the modifications includes a rocket so that Cliff can be the first person on Jupiter. I don't know why people would find that odd at all. Have you ever met a child with imagination? Apparently not. Anyways Scarlett makes a promise that she will make him a rocket. She will do it by selling peach pies (always made me hungry thinking of them) and using that money to get supplies to make her rocket. One thing she did not expect on this adventure was the help of Frank who she has a crush on and he in turn has a crush on her older sister Juli. Juli the one who has changed dramatically and has become this sort of hippie rebel. I seriously think that Juli shouldn't have been represented as the bad guy. Just because she goes to a different beat then her parents why does that mean that she has to do things that are wrong? She was obviously misunderstood but was portrayed in a bad light which I thought was a mistake to do. She's oblivious to Frank too which Scarlett points out in her head all the time but doesn't have it in her to tell Frank how she feels about him.

I thought Scarlett was a little bit immature. She was very protected in the world she lived in. I think because of that she reminded me a little bit of me so I was able to relate to her some. I did see her as a teenager who needed to find her way too so don't think that she was all immature in my mind.   She took care of a lot of things that she was unappreciated for. I mean she's sixteen cooking for her family all the time. What's up with that? She doesn't need to be doing that. It's nice if she would help out sometimes with the cooking but all of the meals? Seriously? It never got cleared up why her mother stopped cooking either. I thought it was this big thing but maybe I missed it in the story. I also thought that her parents weren't cleared up too. They fought a lot about bills and a political party that the father wanted to donate money to. I know the author probably wanted to keep that story in the sideline because it's not what she wanted the story to focus on but I think that part of the book could have helped enhance the story. 

Scarlett went to Mrs. Greene for advice. I thought Mrs. Greene, Pastor's wife, was a really warm and caring woman sometimes. There was this one moment where she overreacted with something that I thought was ridiculous for an adult to get all upset about. It did emphasize how Scarlett felt that adults fought too much and they didn't need to which is so true. Use your words! There was this one advice that Mrs. Greene gave her that was weird. She started talking about love and marriage. I was like what is this? The book towards the end went that way too. Why do you have to be thinking about marriage all of a sudden? Scarlett supposedly loves Frank but really you've spent one summer and you are contemplating marriage? That's weird. She did stand up for herself and her feelings if that makes any sense. It was nice to see her strong in that moment.

I really liked most of this story but I think it was the end that changed things for me some. There was things happening that I thought was unnecessary. The "what's happening?" feeling caught me a lot. I didn't like how it changed all of a sudden. I wanted more of the summer in the beginning. Hanging out in the hot sun selling some gooey peach pie (yum!). I know things need to change for Scarlett but it went a little too far. This is also a Christian fiction book which I expected because the publisher publishes Christian books. As long as there is just a sparse amount of religious things happening I'm good which was the case most of the story which I appreciated. But then that end. She unrealistically turned to God when she didn't even talk to God in the beginning. She was accepting him and whatnot. I didn't mind so much if the book had more religious moments but my problem was it felt unrealistic. I had mixed feelings with this one. I really liked most of the cast of characters and the story line was fantastic. Most of the story was well done for me but it was just the very end that gave me mixed feelings. Overall this being by a 17 year old I am really impressed. I could see Coker doing very well when she gets even more experience. 

About the Author

"Rachel Coker is a homeschool student who lives in Virginia with her parents and two sisters. She has a passion for great books and has been surrounded by them all her life. In fact, as a young child, Rachel helped her parents in a family-run Christian book business. Her gift of writing became apparent at the age of eleven, at which time her parents signed her up for a year of lessons with a professional writing coach. When she is not writing or playing the piano, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends." -About Me in Chasing Jupiter

Thanks to Zondervan for providing me with this book!

For more info about Rachel Coker and her books go to:

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #12

This book meme is hosted by Book Journey

So last week I was really stressed out with school. More so than I thought. I didn't even feel like doing anything over the weekend. Thank goodness that week's over! I scheduled my week this week so things wouldn't catch me off guard. After this week I will be more in the flow with everything so that's good. I will have three, count them three giveaways this week! Buahahaha! It's going to be awesome. That being said one of the giveaways will be in March. It's already March people! That's insane. 

I'm sure you can tell by now that I got a new template for my blog. Sigh... I know my blog is forever changing but I think it looks nice right now. Hopefully I will like this design for a long time. 

Past Week Reads

I absolutely loved The Secret Circle show. I've been watching this book on the shelf of my University since last semester when I finally decided to just buy it already. It's very different from the book but also good in it's own way so good in fact that I read it in one sitting.

Currently Reading

Currently Reading

This is what I was supposed to read last week but again school prevented me. I'm starting today and I'm going to try to read it all in one sitting so I can get a review for you all tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Look What I Got!

So you know I bought The Secret Circle. It has two books in one and is pretty lengthy. The Candymakers is something I won from Jennifer Bertman: From the Mixed-Up Files. I didn't expect it to be so long either. Reminds me a lot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It should be good. Side Note: Is saying "Look What I Got" sound like I'm bragging too much in a bad way?

Book Discoveries
"The year is 1867, and Richmond, Virginia, lies in ruins. By day fourteen-year-old Shadrach apprentices with a tailor and sneaks off for reading lessons from Rachel, a freed slave who runs a school for black children. By night he follows his older brother to the meetings of a brotherhood, newly formed to support Confederate widows and grieving families like his. As the true murderous mission of the brotherhood—now known as the Ku Klux Klan—emerges, Shad is trapped between his pledge to them and what he knows is right. In this unflinching view of the bitter animosity that stemmed from economic and social upheaval in the South during the period of Reconstruction, it’s clear that the Civil War has ended, but the conflict isn’t over."

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Beautiful Creatures: the movie

I've been kind of M.I.A. this week because of midterms and essays but I'm finally able to show you all what I thought of the Beautiful Creatures movie. I read the book a while ago but I do remember most of what happened. If anyone has watched the movie too I would love to here your opinion about it.

For those of you who don't know the story here is the summary of Beautiful Creatures from Goodreads:

"Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything." 

Ethan Wate is our main character who loves banned books and really wants to go anywhere but his home town of Gatlin. The character is portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich who is probably not the person you would expect to play the main role. When I saw him cast and saw a trailer with him I knew that the movie was trying to go for a different feel. I think it was trying to break away a little with him. He was the best part of the movie too. He was intelligent, funny, and was charming. He was the main character and the comic relief. He has this very thick southern accent and I knew when I heard him speaking at the beginning of the movie I was going to have to stop thinking of the Ethan from the movie. I had to try to stop thinking that I knew this story or read the book because like I said they went with a different feel by casting him. He kept me interested in the movie more than anything really and was undeniably loyal to Lena. He actually looked kind of adorable whenever he was reading and had to put his glasses on.

Alice Englert played Lena. Alice is also fairly unknown. Lena was all "woe is me" a lot of the time but not in annoying way you might think because she had this air of confidence some of the time as well as some sarcasm. Alice did a fairly good job from what I can remember Lena was like. She had a little bit of a heavy accent too. By heavy I mean her voice was low and just weighty? If that's even the right word. Ethan had more of a thick accent like you would think a thick accent is but of course you can understand him! Hopefully some of this makes sense. I loved when she showed off her powers. I wish there was even more especially at school. I think that the movie could have had more time at the school and with the townspeople. The townspeople were obviously very religiously but in a way where they were very ignorant. I would have liked to see more tension there. The romance between her and Ethan was sweet. She would push away while he was there for her always like the book. I haven't read the second book but I hope that she becomes even stronger. Now that she doesn't have the weight of her turning 16 and having to deal with those things... I want to see her have even more confidence. 

There's also the situation of the flashes from the past. I thought those could have been done much better. It just didn't feel right at all. I guess the last flashback but that's about it. It was a little too shaky for me. It had one badass moment like Lena had which made up for it a little.

It's kind of weird for me to say but the costumes were a little too much especially towards the end. I wanted to tell Lena that of course you think you are going to go to the dark side look at your clothes! Her cousin, Ridley, did the same thing with the over dramatic clothes. I really liked Ridley. I forgot how she played a role in the story. I wanted to see her more but I understand that she needed to be on the sideline. Emmy Rossum plays Ridley especially since she was in The Phantom of the Opera and The Day After Tomorrow. I think she did a great job especially in her part of the story.

I feel like Macon (Lena's Uncle) was just alright. There was this scene where we first meet him that I thought was kind of awkward and weird. I also forgot what was happening with him and another character. That was a nice surprise. I almost forgot the whole ending too. I feel like there was something missing at the end too. I don't know if it's just me or what but I feel like something else happens too.

There were two other people I wanted to see more of - Ethan's father and Amma. Ethan's father is practically nonexistent! I think he really is too. He must have not contributed that much to the story in the book for him not to be even seen or cast. Amma was played by Viola Davis from The Help and Won't Back Down. She's a fantastic actress. I thought she did well with her role but it was strange seeing her in that role. It didn't look right. I can't really say why. It didn't suit her well but nevertheless she's an amazing actress. Another thing I forgot about (I forgot a lot of things I know) was Sarafine. How could I forget Sarafine and the major role she played? She's the bad guy for those of you who don't know. I don't want to ruin anything so I thought I would just say Emma Thompson does such an amazing job. I was completely convinced of both sides of her personality. Maybe one time it was kind of weird and funny but all the other times she played her part well. 

In the end I thought this was a good movie. Not as much different from the book as you might imagine. There were parts a little over top and the flashbacks weren't done that well. Try not to think of the book too much when you watch the movie and you should be fine. I don't know whether to recommend it to you to watch at the movie theater or rent it when it comes out. I think I'm in the middle. I kind of want to watch it again so I don't have all these pretenses before I watch the movie again. I will wait for the move to come out on DVD for that though. If you are a die hard fan of the series then maybe wait. If you are neutral I think it's safe to say you will enjoy the movie more because you won't be analyzing it as much as the die hard fans. I would love to know what others think about the book and movie. Did you love it? Hate it? Or did you think it was alright?

Monday, February 18, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #11

The meme is hosted by Book Journey

Not that many reviews last week. Well it was exactly one so... But it was my "figuring things out" week. I now know how I want things done for the blog from now on. Exciting things happened last week including that baby cousin I talked about in another post. There's also something BIG that you might find interesting that I will write about later in this post. Oh and I saw Beautiful Creatures so expect a post/review of the movie this week!

Past Week Reads

The Cupcake Queen     A Song for Julia     The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1)

I had a pretty good week reading wise. Two of these books were Buddy Reads. I want to try to make that my thing. To read a fair amount and slowly savor the book. I want to try reading a certain number of pages each day. We will see. 

Past Week Reviews

I only reviewed A Song for Julia. I want to try to make a character profile of one of the characters but I need to figure how to do that first. I hope to review at least two books a week while having other bookish things written about from now on. When there is blog tours that I seemed to have gone crazy over in March it there will be more reviews. I don't know if this is a bad thing. I mean I know a blog that does one or two reviews while doing a bunch of other things and I like it so again we will see.

Currently Reading

Chasing Jupiter

Scarlett Blaine's life in 1960s Georgia isn't always easy, especially given her parents' financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli's hippie lifestyle. Then there's her brother, Cliff. While Scarlett loves him more than anything, there's no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be. Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer's son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett's view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she's lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother's dream. -Goodreads Summary

So I'm stopping everything and reading this book. This is the BIG deal I was talking about earlier. The publisher, Zondervan, asked me after reviewing one of their books if I would like to read and review anymore. This was one of the options and I just had to take the opportunity. The actual book was sent to me which has never happened before. I'm so grateful! I feel so special. I'm reading this book and hopefully I'll have a review up this week. Doesn't Chasing Jupiter sound amazing? It's by a 17 year old too!

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Tanja (Tanychy) @ 
who won an ebook copy of The Boys of Summer!!! 
Thanks to everyone who participated.

Look What I Got!

You already know I got Chasing Jupiter but this week I also received Prophecy Swag via the author and IceyBooks. There are two signed bookmarks, a magnet (so having my future refrigerator filled with book magnets), and a little figure. Loving being a blogger right about now.

Book Discoveries

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe"A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be."

Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
Ice Dogs
"Victoria Secord, a 14-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods, is entirely up to her. Author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure."

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
The Chaos of Stars
"Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all."

Tandem by Anna Jarzab
Tandem (Many-Worlds, #1)
"Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not."

What are you reading this week?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles

Title: A Song for Julia
Author: Charles Sheehan-Miles
Series: Thompson Sisters (Book #2)
Format- ebook
Publisher- Cincinnatus Press
Published- December 5th, 2012
Pages- 295
Source- AToMR Tours

Everyone should have something to rebel against.

Crank Wilson left his South Boston home at sixteen to start a punk band and burn out his rage at the world. Six years later, he’s still at odds with his father, a Boston cop, and doesn’t ever speak to his mother. The only relationship that really matters is with his younger brother, but watching out for Sean can be a full-time job. The one thing Crank wants in life is to be left the hell alone to write his music and drive his band to success.

Julia Thompson left a secret behind in Beijing that exploded into scandal in Washington, DC, threatening her father's career and dominating her family's life. Now, in her senior year at Harvard, she's haunted by a voice from her past and refuses to ever lose control of her emotions again, especially when it comes to a guy. 

When Julia and Crank meet at an anti-war protest in Washington in the fall of 2002, the connection between them is so powerful it threatens to tear everything apart.

Julia has everything under control. She makes sure she's always on top of her homework, she doesn't go out often, and she doesn't date anyone she knows will hurt her. She does all this because before her senior year in High School her once close friend stabbed her in the back and unleashed a secret turned scandal. Now her mother looks her up and down and makes comments of how she didn't raise someone like her. After going through a tough time in High School she takes control of her life even if it means she's not living it. Then she meets Crank, this charming, out of control singer in a band. There's just something about him that puts her instantly on guard. Will he be the one to break her out of the bubble she keeps herself in or will he be the one who finally breaks her?

When I first started reading this book I was pretty interested. After reading and loving A Little Wanting Song any book that had some sort of music theme behind it was a book I wanted to read. Unfortunately the first few pages did not make me happy to read this book. You had Crank on one side. This blond/white bleached hair guy who clearly acted like a "bad boy". He could be summarized by this quote: "I can get a girl to sleep with me anytime. But there's something different about you." That doesn't make me like you Crank. I'm sorry I'm not the "easy lay" that I'm sure you would prefer. On the other side there was Julia that obviously had some tension and secrets. She just ruined her image when she was thinking about Crank and his kiss. It made her whole body shudder or something like that. Let's just say I was deterred by what this book was showing me.

Gloriously it made a comeback and those first couple of chapters were a thing of the past. There were moments where I thought here it is. This is the moment I feel connected with this character. For Julia it was her relationship with her mother that swayed me towards her side. How she must feel worthless when she is around. Her mother would call her a slut for something she did way back then but her mother never asked what happened and more importantly how old she was. It's as bad as it sounds. Julia's life is pretty screwed up. She's living a life she doesn't want. She doesn't want to get into foreign service like her father. She hated moving around every three years. Music is her passion. I grew attached to Julia and her story. I'm sure many of us know what it feels like when someone, anyone thinks you are unable to do something or you are not good enough. Julia also won bonus points with me when she befriended Crank's younger brother but I will get to him later.

I think Crank's moment was when I saw him with his family. I think it was when we saw through Julia's eyes how she saw the tight nit family even if they had arguments a lot of the time mostly about Crank's brother, Sean, and the mother that left them. Something doesn't add up with that and I grew unnerved when I started thinking why she left and possibly who she left because of. His family other than that is one where Julia wishes she had. They fought, who didn't? At least they didn't have this controlling mother who criticized them every minute you got. You really see that towards the end and it's like sheesh. This woman is not a good person. Speaking of Julia's mother I never felt she was redeemed. I think the author did little to do that but that was a good choice because nothing could really be done in a short time to redeem her in my eyes.

I must talk about Sean now. He's autistic and spouts information all the time. I really don't know how to describe him but... is it okay to be in love with him? I seriously think I am. He just melts my heart and I want to hug him even if he won't let me. He grows attached to Julia instantly and there is this scene with her that's just heartbreaking. They bond over each other and their mom issues. His pain is so visible you wonder why his family doesn't realize what he's thinking and must be feeling all the time like he too is a burden. I hate seeing him in pain and want to crush everyone who hurts him. He stole the book for me and is the star in my eyes.

I'm so happy that this book turned around after a few chapters. If it didn't I would completely be disappointed but it did so I'm thrilled. There were a couple of adult moments if you catch my drift which I thought weren't necessary but this is an adult book so what can I expect? It had a great amount of balance with music, family life, and it was close with romance. When I was done with the book I was satisfied with how it all turned out. I also figured out that I had read Just Remember to Breathe by this author too! I can't believe it took me that long to figure it out... Both books are from the same series and it's about the sisters grown up and finding love. In the last book there wasn't really anything about the sisters so I didn't think anything of it. In this book they were there a little and I would like to see them more. The family bonds in this story propel it into such a great book and I think more time with the sisters in the next book would be a perfect addition. I'm really excited what the author has in store with the other sisters. What situations could he possibly put in their way? What kind of guy would they attract? Where will their story lead us? I think the rest of the series is going to be really great. I can't wait to read them.

For more info about Charles Sheehan-Miles and his books go to:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Love is in the Air

Late Valentine's post so don't be confused if my tenses are different! (I went a lot overboard with this post so be prepared!) Ah, it's Valentine's Day which means love is in the air! The cheesy cards, over-sized teddy bears, and the box of chocolates that won't last a day. I'm a sucker for anything romantic. I am admittedly a hopeless romantic and even if I know it's a Hallmark holiday it's a holiday I can't help but love. So in celebration I wanted to share some great books, movies, quotes, and music on this magical day of love (I know I'm so cheesy). There's actually another special event that happened today which is actually why this post is really late. My new cousin was born today. I got to hold her. She's teeny tiny without her blanket. Every time there is a new baby the adults, especially my mother, tries to figure out who the baby looks like. I really can't tell but you can tell just by looking at her with her pretty lips and eyelashes that she's a girl. She's so lucky. She's going to have one of the greatest birthdays with (I'm sure) lots of pink to her future birthday themes. I hope you all had a relaxed, fun filled day. Happy Valentine's Day!

Falling in Love with Books: Sweet Romances to Cherish

Shug by Jenny Han
Do you remember when you had crushes when you were a little kid? How you would try and avoid them or catch glimpses of them in class or in the hall? I remember acting foolish and embarrassing myself. Oh how innocent it all was. Shug starts to develop feeling for her best friend but he's oblivious of those feelings. A new crush is always tentative and exciting. You get butterflies and while Shug was discovering these new feelings she has had to deal with feeling inadequate compared to her sister. This is a sweet coming of age story with emotions of first love conflicting with family trouble. Sometimes I like to read about young love and not the ever complicated teenage love so this book is perfect for that. It brings about memories - good and bad with the overall feeling of crushing on a guy for the first time.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
You know if I'm going to be talking about romance books I have to mention Flipped! It's the ultimate sweet romance. Juli's love for Bryce is enduring. She falls in love when she's young and doesn't know much about guys. Chasing him around doesn't help her get an in with Bryce but she keeps on doing it when she realizes that Bryce isn't that great of a guy. When she starts realizing that he starts falling for her. Boys! They don't know what they've got until they lose it. Bryce turns about to be a great guy and shows more integrity at the end of the story. Juli teaches him how to be brave and how to be a better person. That's what love is all about? The other person makes you feel more alive and helps make you a better person because you lift each other up. You don't bring each other down. I wish more girls knew when a guy just isn't good enough for them and vice versa. Flipped shows how people should treat each other and what can happen when you meet your better half (I don't care what the ending was like I know what happens in the future).

How Not to be Popular 
How Not to Be PopularI must mention Jack and if you don't know who he is just know he's my ultimate fictional boyfriend. No one can compare to Jack. He's this complete goody two shoes that has such heart. I melt just thinking about him. Maggie doesn't want her heartbroken by meeting new friends and then moving like she always does so she sets up a plan to have no friends by basically dressing outrageously and hanging out with the nerdy kids. Her plan backfires of course. She learns to trust her feelings and fall in love with Jack. It's a really sweet romance like all of these other books here. It's a teen book but the love is just so obvious and genuine. There is no bad boy. You don't feel the slightest bit weary of their love for each other. It's perfect. Her feelings towards Jack might seem to her complicated but really it's not at all. It's simple and wonderful and Jack just makes me swoon.

Sleepless by Cyn Balog
The romance in this book is very unconventional. First of all the guy's been dead for years and years. Eron is a sandman and one of the people he watches over is Julia that he can't help but fall for. Eron is hilarious because he doesn't understand the cultural references of that day. He just stands there looking confused and when I imagine his face I just laugh out loud. His complete sincerity, loyalty, and gentlemanly behavior makes this books romance an unconventional but wonderfully thrilling read. I know I could have picked from a number of more popular books but I couldn't help pick Sleepless to showcase. I wanted to show you all sweet books that don't have too much drama with love that is pure, sweet, and sometimes innocent. Hopefully I was able to do that for all of you.

Falling in Love with Movies: My Top 12 Romance Movies

This is in no particular order. I was making a list of movies. I didn't plan on showcasing so many but here they are anyway:

Sweet Home Alabama: This has to be my most favorite romance movie of all time. I've watched it repeatedly sometimes back to back. There's just something about it. Maybe it's, its southern charm or Melanie coming to realize that her adventure is with Jake or the undeniable love that Melanie and Jake have for each other.

"What do you want to be married to me for, anyhow? 
So I can kiss you anytime I want."

The Notebook: Do I even have to say anything. Once in a lifetime love doesn't just come around that often. Allie and Noah's love endure all obstacles. They were made for each other. Who could not resist Ryan Gosling's charm anyhow?

"Why didn't you write me? Why? It wasn't over for me, I waited for you for seven years. But now it's too late. 
I wrote you 365 letters. I wrote you everyday for a year. 
You wrote me? 
Yes... it wasn't over, it still isn't over."

The Breakfast Club: This is such a great classic with everyone of them feeling like outsiders or different in their own way. I love who they all end up with (poor Brian doesn't end up with anybody). What I would give to have had them make a second movie!

Bender- "Remember how you said your parents use you to get back at each other?"  
Claire- [nods
Bender-" Wouldn't I be OUTSTANDING in that capacity?" 

Pretty Woman: Is it weird that I like this movie so much giving her... career? I just love the scene where Julia Roberts comes back to the shop that turned her down and gloats in their face. I really love the contrast between her and her guy. She's really loud and he's this observant guy who falls for a girl he wouldn't think he would ever fall for.

"I'm gonna treat you so nice, you're never gonna let me go."

Becoming Jane- I've never read a Austen book but I loved her story. The way she describes it Mr. Darcy was who she was in love with. I loved the passion and conflict in their love. I wanted them both to be happy and admit they were perfect together. The end was just splendid and I wonder if it really did happen

"You'll lose everything. Family, place. For what? A lifetime of drudgery on a pittance? A child every year and no means to lighten the load? How will you write, Jane?" 
"I do not know, but happiness is within my grasp and I cannot help myself." 
"There is no sense in this." 
"If you could have your Robert back, even like this, would you do it?"

Sleepless in Seattle: There is just something about Tom Hanks that you can't help but love. I find it that when he saw her without knowing who she was it was so unrealistic that he stopped and stared. It's a good thing that movies don't have to make sense. Love is love whether realistic or not. His love for his deceased wife was heartwarming. He has a thing with Meg Ryan. This is the second great love movie I see them in. They work perfectly and have such distinct voices.

"People who truly loved once are far more likely to love again. Sam, do you think there's someone out there you could love as much as your wife?" 
"Well, Dr. Marcia Fieldstone, that's hard to imagine." 
"What are you going to do?" 
"Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out... and, then after a while, I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while." 
"Tell me what was so special about your wife?" 
"Well, how long is your program? Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I'd ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic."

Moulin Rouge: This movie is so tragically beautiful. It's one great musical with music I can't help but think of from time to time like Roxanne. When I think of that song I think of the gritty way it's sung in the movie. I love the absolute certainty and mixed emotions the main characters feels. He discovers love and tragedy at the same moment.

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."

Dirty Dancing: Need I say ANYTHING!? Swayze is... He makes all the girl's swoon. I love how he doesn't realize that he's falling for this girl until it's too late to go back. I like how Frances "Baby" was discovering this new love and different side of herself no one could have foreseen. I really would like to think they remained together but I don't know. It looked like they were okay going their separate ways.

"I've never known anyone like you before. You think you can make the world better. Somebody's lost, you find them. Somebody's bleeding-"
"Yeah, I go get my daddy. That was really brave, like you said."
"That took a lot of guts to go to him! You are not scared of anything."
"Me? I'm scared of everything! I'm scared of what I saw. I'm scared of what I did, of who I am. And most of all, I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life.... the way I feel when I'm with you!"

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: The things this girl goes through to try to get this guy to dump her. It's so hilarious and so embarrassing. I was dying inside most of the time. When the shift happens in the movie the romance turns irresistible and sweet. She got to know him and see a side of him that she was refusing to see before.

"I understand you've been an inspiration to Ben in more ways than one. And I must say, you look rather inspired yourself. There isn't a diamond it the room that sparkles like a woman in love."
"Oh, no, no. I'm not in love."
"No? I guess I was mistaken."
"No, no. I mean... I've only known him for ten days... You can't... I can't be..."
"Ben is a very lucky man."
"Mr Warren, please don't tell him. Please don't tell him."

Stardust: An actual book to movie romance that I love! Tristan is so naive but he's in love so what do you expect? Unfortunately he's in love with the wrong girl until he meets the right girl - a star. He's the perfect gentlemen and he really grows into a man while he's on his adventure. The star he plans to bring back is initially angry with him trying to take her home to his girl but she starts caring for him and maybe gets even a little jealous. It's a great action, adventure, romance.

"You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say, Tristan is... I think I love you. Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine."

You've Got Mail: Again Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan just make the greatest couple in movies. It's kind of sad what happens though like the small business should just give up because they can't provide what the chain business can do. Anyways their denial (it's everywhere I know) lasts a very long time because these two people are stubborn. The ending scene is so romantic and lovely. The reveal of each other after so long and Meg's reaction.

"You know, sometimes I wonder..." 
"Well... if I hadn't been Fox Books and you hadn't been The Shop Around the Corner, and you and I had just, well, met..." 
"I know." 
"Yeah. I would have asked for your number, and I wouldn't have been able to wait twenty-four hours before calling you and saying, "Hey, how about... oh, how about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie... for as long as we both shall live?" 
"And you and I would have never been at war. And the only thing we'd fight about would be which video to rent on a Saturday night." 
"Well, who fights about that?" 
"Well, some people. Not us." 
"We would never." 
"If only." 
[pause] "I gotta go." 
"Well, let me ask you something. How can you forgive this guy for standing you up and not forgive me for this tiny little thing of... of putting you out of business?" 
[Kathleen starts to cry
"Oh, how I wish you would." 
"I really have to go." 
"Yeah, well... you don't want to be late." 

Wristcutters: A Love Story: This is my one unconventional movie that I love. A lot of people might think I'm weird right now but it it the truth. I love that I learned about Gogol Bordello (band) here. Zia is so dedicated in finding a girl he killed himself for when she ends up killing herself. They are both trapped in a sort of limbo for all of the people that committed suicide. It's actually a really great story if you are into weird stuff like this. He ends up falling for another girl and doesn't realize until it's too late. Or is it?

"Hi. You remember the other day when you were talking about missing things from life and, uh... and how you wanted to go back and I told you I didn't miss anything?" 
"Well... when I'm here... with you, I kind of miss myself the way I used to be." 
"What were you like? I was... I was happy at a time. Obviously before I came here, but..." 
"Something about being here with you reminds me of that. It's just, I don't know, it's just weird to me that you can feel that in a place like this. We're all... We're all dead." 
"You know what? Most of the people that I knew before I got here were either half dead or just completely dead already. You know, completely dead. And you're doing pretty good, Zia." 
"You think so?" 
"Yeah, definitely." 

Falling in Love with Music: Two Heartfelt Love Songs

A Thousand Years

"I have died everyday
waiting for you
Darlin' don't be afraid
I have loved you for a 
Thousand years
I'll love you for a 
Thousand More"

Total Eclipse of The Heart

"And I need you now tonightAnd I need you more than everAnd if you only hold me tightWe'll be holding on forever"

Happy Valentine's Day!