Friday, January 31, 2014

Sylvia Day Signs SPELLBOUND

Tonight I attended a fantastic event at my favorite bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach! I had the pleasure of meeting Sylvia Day, author of the dark & sexy Crossfire series.

Sylvia Day Signs SPELLBOUND

We have a fabulous Friday evening planned for you! Bestselling author, Sylvia Day returns to Mysterious Galaxy with her latest novel of passion, Spellbound. Sylvia’s publisher is providing us with wine to set the mood and we have invited Naomi Howison of Xocia Chocolate to provide tastes of healthy chocolate for everyone who attends. International best-selling author Sylvia's Spellbound features "A Familiar Kind of Magic," "That Old Black Magic," and the never-before-published "Black Magic Woman." Sylvia will address reader questions not only about Spellbound, but also her Crossfire series, her Marked series (published as S.J. Day), writing erotic romance in different subgenres, including paranormal and historical, and much more! Join us for TGIF with Sylvia! This is a ticketed event and includes a signed copy of Spellbound, wine, and chocolate.

I have to admit, I'm not that familiar with her work. I've only read about half of the first book of her Crossfire series, Bared to You, because it was intense. Good - but very intense. Too intense for me at the time. But I had to go to this event because seemed like such an awesome deal for less than $20! 

I will, however, go back and finish Bared to You based on the fact that I liked Slyvia as a person. It's always fantastic to meet authors and discover that they have awesome personalities. Slyvia's funny, witty and sarcastic - all qualities near and dear to my heart! I loved her expression in this picture when she talked about how disinterested her 14-year old son is in reading her romance books. Especially after all his teachers and friend's mothers say they've read and love them. As you can see, he was not amused, lol.

During the Q&A, Slyvia shared some great reflections on her experiences being an author. One of the answers to a question really stuck with me. Anyone who's a familiar with her Crossfire series knows there's a little trauma in the personal backgrounds of her main characters. She was asked, "why do you think women as readers are attracted to such broken men (like Gideon)?" Everyone giggled a bit at this, but her answer was, "it's really hard to fall in love with perfection." I am paraphrasing here, but still what a great answer!

I also liked how she views of herself as "a narrator of her stories, not the writer." She said that her characters tell her their stories. She went on to share an interesting perspective on writer's block. She said that sometimes when she gets stuck, it's because she's trying to make something happen in the book instead of letting the characters speak for themselves. I really identify with this point of view. 

The goodies at the event were fantastic, too. While I'm not a wine connoisseur by any means, I took a couple of sips and it was pretty tasty. I didn't get to try the chocolate though... boo. We also were surprised with a gift, a Crossfire tee-shirt! 


Slyvia also stayed well after the event ended to talk to her fans, and took her time to speak to everyone while signing our books. She seemed just as honored to meet us as we were to meet her!

I had a wonderful evening and am excited to check out her Urban Fantasy series, Marked, and her historical novels! For anyone who's interested, this signing was taped and should be uploaded to her publisher's website soon!

Thank you, Mysterious Galaxy, for another fantastic event!

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Book Blogger Hop: January 31st - February 6th — Reading Order

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome everyone to another post of Book Blogger Hop (hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer). Each week there will be a new topic submit by a blogger and everyone can join in with their answers. You should join us! It's quite fun!

This Week's Topic/Question

When you receive new books in the mail, do the older ones get moved to the bottom of your list or do go strictly "by the book" and keep your list with older books first and then the new ones? (submitted by Elisabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

My Answer:

Good question! Mmmmmm. I'd say, it depends on two things: (1) how much am I enjoying the current book I'm reading, and (2) how much did I want to read the book I just received.

If I'm not enjoying a book I'm reading, I'm likely to immediately jump ship for the new book and revisit the other book when I'm done. However, if I'm enjoying my current read, I'll finish it and read the new arrival when I'm done. I might try read it faster if the new book is something I've been waiting for.

If it's something I've been waiting for, I will likely drop everything to read it. These are typically the books I read in one or two days. I'm just so excited by the time it arrives, I just have to finish it now now now! Especially if it's the final book in a series. I hate spoilers above all things.

I don't really think to hard about sticking to a reading queue though; my to-read pile is to long for that. The book that's screaming at me to be read next gets read next. The next book in a series that I love usually gets top priority, followed by any books for reading challenges.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday: Perfect Marriage between Book Type & Format?

I created Thoughtful Thursday, because bookish thoughts kept popping up in my mind while reading, and I wanted to explore these questions and get your opinions too!

Each week, I will post a new bookish thought that I will discuss. Everyone is welcome to join. You can do this in two different ways. (1) You can discuss your thoughts in the comment section of the Thoughtful Thursday post. OR (2) You can post your thoughts on your site. If you do option two, please link back to the Thoughtful Thursday post, use the Thoughtful Thursday graphic, and add your name/post to the Linky widget. If the Linky is closed, feel free to add to add the link in the comment section.

This Week's Topic/Question

Does the type of book (e.g., genre, demographic, page length) inspire you to read the book in a particular format (e.g., audio book, paperback, hardcover, e-book)?

My Answer:

What an interesting question. There are a lot of reasons why I might choose a particular format.

  • Audiobook: Yes! If a book in the classical genre (Austen, Shakespeare), is autobiographical, or a work of nonfiction, I would definitely prefer for the audiobook. Old English, while it sounds beautiful, is often lost in translation for me. Listening to the audiobook helps; the information is easier to digest when spoken. Also, I'm less of an academic when it comes to reading so autobiographies and nonfiction are a chore to get through and audiobooks help immensely. That said, the biggest factor in me choosing audiobooks is the narrator. I am a big fan of audiobooks and the reasoning for this is top-notch, fantastic narration. I've got a long list of favorites (Wil Wheaton, James Marsters, Emma Galvin, Ray Porter, Scarlet Chase, and Angela Dawe to name a few) that continues grow and expand. When I like a narrator, I tend to listen to their entire body of work which has been awesome, as it's exposed me to new authors as well as genres I've stayed away from like horror. One more thing to point out though, is that I refuse to listen to abridged versions ... I don't get the appeal. 

  • E-book: Convenience is the big factor here. I own a Nook Color, so I buy quite a few Nook Books. Also, I always have my iPhone with me, and I have three e-book apps on it - Apple's iBooks, Amazon's Kindle and a Nook app that connects me to my Nook library. With all these options, it's rare that I can't find the e-book format for the next book on my to-read list, so it's probaly the format I use the most often. Also, it saves on space since I don't have to lug around physical copies. Also, with my iPhone, I have an Audible app that connects me to my audiobook library, as well.

  • Hardcover: I'm very particular when it comes to hardback purchases due to the fact that this format is the most expensive. Before e-books and audiobooks got popular, i would just sigh and buy them if I book I was itching to get my hands on wasn't available in paperback when I wanted it. But nowadays, I only purchase hardbacks from my favorite authors.  

  • Paperback: There's nothing that really motivates me to grab a paperback. I'd say the only thing that would make me go out about by a paperback specifically is if I couldn't get it via audiobook or e-book. Usually, these are books I find at the library, buy second hand, get from a friend or from my perusals of bookstores. Nothing special.

After everything I've said, I guess my short answer is the type of book only matters the most when it comes to audiobooks.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases. Click the link to participate.

My Pick This Week: 

Book TitleIgnite Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Book Series: Shatter Me
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Release Date: February 4, 2014

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic />

It's almost here... I can't wait to see how this series ends. To say this series has been one big rollercoaster is kind of an understatement. It's gone up and down, and back and forth, and around and around. But I definitely have enjoyed the ride!

Mostly, it's because of Warner. Ah, Warner. He's definitely one of the best "boys you love to hate, or hate to love." Can't wait for his end game. And honestly... I've never 100% trusted Adam, so I'm curious to see what happens .

Who will she choose? Will she make the right choice? I haven't a clue either way on either question.So excited for what's in store!

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fangirl "Squee-worthy" News!!!

Not only am I a hardcore James Marsters fan back from his Buffy the Vampire Slayer days, but I'm a huge fan of Jim Butcher (author of The Dresden Files). For anyone who doesn't know, James is the narrator for this series. He's bloody brilliant, too! He completely embodies Harry in the expert way that only actors can pull off. 

So, as you can only imagine, I pretty much lost it when I saw this on my Facebook wall a few days ago...

Knowing that the audiobook release will more than likely coincide with the book release is fantastic news. I'm sooooooooo excited!

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Book Blogger Hop: January 24th - 30th — Finish TBR Stack?

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome everyone to another post of Book Blogger Hop (hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer). Each week there will be a new topic submit by a blogger and everyone can join in with their answers. You should join us! It's quite fun!

This Week's Topic/Question

Do you think you will ever read every book in your TBR stack? (submitted by Elisabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

My Answer:

This is a trick question, right? Who could possibly say yes? My TBR list seems to grow and grow and grow... and grow... with every breath I take. Whether I'm mesmerized by a stunning cover, intrigued by a book's premise, excited by the book trailer, have my interest piqued by an an awesome blog post or an enthused fan, or if I'm itching to get my fingers on a favorite series' and/or authors' next release, my list can't help but grow.

And actually, I'm okay with that. No matter what happens in life, I always know I've got a never ending supply of delicious book candy to nosh on ;)

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Book Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Book Series: Pushing the Limits, Book #3
Author: Katie McGarry
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Format: Audiobook (Audible)
Narrator: Vikas Adam & Alicia Harding
Length: 13 hrs and 24 min

Book Club(s): Never Too Old for Y.A. or N.A. Books
Reading Challenge(s): Birthstone Color Parade & Series Challenge

My Ranking:
The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

Beth is a fool. Everything about Isaiah made me melt: his dark confidence; the way he interacted with Rachel; the way he felt about Beth; and even simpler, to the depth that he felt thet. Oh my gosh, did my heart break for him each time he interacted with his mother. Isaiah is definitely my favorite male character of this series. I really felt for him. For me, he’s had it the roughest out of all of the male characters and I he really deserved a happy ending.

Rachel was interesting. I dug the fact that she was so hardcore about cars. It’s always refreshing to meet characters who have a real personality. I loved that she and Isaiah bonded over cars. I like girls who aren’t into girly things for the simple fact that it’s not what does it for them. On the same note - everything else about her was lacking depth. This isn’t something I’ve encountered much with McGarry. Usually there’s more to a character…

However, when I thought more about Rachel’s lack of depth, I realized that when you consider the role that Rachel has been born to play she doesn’t really need depth. She’s literally living filler. A girl to replace a dead girl, and nothing more. Which is actually absolutely horrifying when you look at it that way. All that was required of her was to be is a female that makes her mom happy. It’s all she’s expected to do and all she’s needed to be. She has minimal contact with her parents and her brothers. I remember there being a night where she’d be the only one in the home all evening - and it was expected of her. Her entire life all she was supposed to do was be and be perfect … poor thing.

Also, what bugged me was her complete misunderstanding of Isaiah's protective motives. Yes, I get that the last thing she'd want was someone telling her what to do. But considering how much was at stake, you'd think she'd realize that all he was doing was protecting her, but from actual danger unlike her brothers. I didn't like how she kept thinking everything he did was a reaction to her "weakness." He never treated her like that, and she jumped to conclusions a lot.

Moving on, I thought the premise of this one was really odd. It was like an emotional version of the Fast and Furious. Which frankly is as ridiculous of a plot as you can get. It didn’t really read that way, however, I enjoyed it. Not as much as Echo and Noah’s story, though. That was just perfection. But I did enjoy this one more than the last. I just don’t like Beth… never have and never will. I especially didn’t like her scenes in this book.

I really enjoyed how this story brought together a lot of the characters that have been floating around in the background. I really hope Logan gets a story, or Abby. They were great minor characters and I think they each deserve a shot at true happiness. Both are hiding behind crazy personalities and I think more is definitely there.

One thing I didn’t like was the unresolved issue of Rachel’s health. Why were her panic attacks so severe to the point of vomiting blood? Did she ever get help? Did her final speech (which was epic, by the way) cure her of her fears? Did they ever stop?

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. There’s no question as to will I be continuing this series - most definitely.

Vikas Adam was absolutely brilliant as Isaiah. I think he captured his quiet intensity perfectly as well as his anger and his sadness. I was on the verge of tears through most of the book, and definitely shed some during his first visit with his mom. I really like his narration style and I will absolutely be checking out more audiobooks featuring him. 

Alicia Harding did a great job as well as Rachel. Considering I didn't like the character much, I don't have loads to say about it. Had nothing to do with her narration, though. I'd be open to reading more from her. 

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Cover Characteristic – Ethnic Characters

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite cover’s with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL here or over at Sugar & Snark.

My Picks This Week:

5. Minion (Vampire Huntress Legend #1) by L.A. Banks
3. Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by Patricia Briggs
2. Scar (Pack Rulez #1) by Kassanna
1. Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

My Favorite Pick:

Book TitleThe Rivers of Zadaa
AuthorsDJ MacHale
Book Series: Pendragon, Book 6
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Time Travel
Release DateJuly 10, 2005

The battle continues. The struggle of good versus evil continues as Bobby Pendragon follows Saint Dane to the territory of Zadaa. Saint Dane's influence has fueled the fire of discontent between two warring tribes: the Rokador and the Batu. This is also the territory where the Traveler Loor lives as a member of the Batu. Together she and Bobby must work to thwart Saint Dane's efforts to destroy Zadaa.

But as Bobby pursues Saint Dane, he begins to notice changes in himself. He is no longer a flip kid looking for excitement. He is a young man beginning to see this quest as more than a series of adventures. He is also learning that as a Traveler, he has powers no normal human should have.

In this latest installment of Bobby Pendragon's battle to save humanity, discovery and danger go hand in hand as D. J. MacHale takes readers on an emotional thrill ride they won't soon forget..

It's not the most dynamic cover of the bunch, but I had to pick The Rivers of Zadaa as my favorite. The Pendragon series was one of the first YA series that really loved since ... (ahem, ahem Babysitters Club and Goosebumps - don't judge me). Interesting little tidbit is that the author, D.J. McHale, was also a co-creator of one of my favorite T.V. shows in my younger years, Are You Afraid of the Dark!

But, about the book. Loor is such a badass character and definitely my favorite Traveler besides Bobby himself. For me, this book also set the tone for the rest of the series and was a great read. Check out this series. It's a great one... Hobey-Ho!

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Book Blogger Hop: January 17th - 23rd — Blogging: Pays the Bills or 'Cuz You Love It?

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome everyone to another post of Book Blogger Hop (hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer). Each week there will be a new topic submit by a blogger and everyone can join in with their answers. You should join us! It's quite fun!

This Week's Topic/Question

Do you blog for a living or for fun? (submitted by Judy @ Musings and Ramblings)

My Answer:

For the fun of it. The love of reading is genetic. My mom passed down the bug to me, and I have been flying through the pages ever since. I didn't really share my love for reading with anyone until I joined Goodreads a few years back, and then two in-person book clubs last year. Starting a blog just seemed like the next thing to do, especially since I work on company's website. My blog's only been online for a few months, but so far I am loving it!

Cover Characteristic – Trees

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite cover’s with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL here or over at Sugar & Snark.

My Picks This Week:

My Favorite Pick:

Book TitlePineLight
AuthorsJillian Peery
Book Series: PineLight, Book #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Release DateJuly 4, 2011

I loved him—that was my torment. And I was losing him all over again.

Walls crumbled all around me. An undeniable force pulled at my core. I tried to fight it, I tried to deny it the power, but I was weak. I felt pain in my side, and I knew that this dark force was winning. My veins started to burn, and I screamed, but it didn’t stop.

Thrilling and seductive, PINELIGHT is a bittersweet love story submerged in a dark and beautiful world.

Why it's my favorite: There is such beauty in the simplicity of PineLight's cover.  Maybe it's because of the stark whiteness of the dress and the moon against the deep blues and greens of the forest scene. It's also in the way that she's suspended in air... It's absolutely magical and breathtaking.

I'm including the book trailer, because frankly it got me so amped up I'm reading it right now... even though it's messing up my reading challenge queue this month.  It's also got some gorgeous shots of trees, which goes along the theme, and a pretty cool song.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: The Candidates by Inara Scott

Book Series: Delcroix Academy, Book #1
Author: Inara Scott
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Magic Boarding School
Format: eBook

Book Club(s): Never Too Old for Y.A. or N.A. Books
Reading Challenge(s): Birthstone Color Parade & Series Challenge

My Ranking:

Dancia Lewis has a secret problem: whenever she sees someone threaten a person she cares about, it's a disaster.""Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does all she can to avoid getting close to anyone, hoping to suppress her powers and stay under the radar. But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy offer her a scholarship, she accepts. After all, it's a school for diplomats' kids and prodigies, not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. Or is it?

This captivating debut, the first in a series, puts a paranormal twist on private school.

This is an interesting book to review, because I really don’t know how I feel about it. After finishing this book, my prevailing thought was, “it was over before it began.” Because the actual plot didn’t get going until about 75% through. My biggest questions were the main ones: why were these kids chosen for the school. What is Delaquiox really? I rolled my eyes as I reached Chapter 14 and I still hadn't gotten any kind of an answer. But that's not to say I wasn't enjoying the read. I love the snarkiness of writing (or Dancia's personality) and the mysterious powers that Dancia possesses were intriguing.

My main issue with the story is was that the level of detail is lacking. I didn't get a good enough sense of the school - what the classrooms were like, what the atmosphere was like, and how Dancia fit in. For this to be more of a successful mystery, for me, detail is necessary and was missed.

What I liked most about the story, however, was Dancia. She was a good lead. A bit socially awkward, but hey at least it’ was for an actual reason. I did like that we got to see her change as she interacted with the other students. But even so, I felt a bit short changed. I didn’t feel like I had enough to connect with everyone else in the story. There was not enough altercation with her bitchy roommate, Christine; her friendships with Esther & Hennie were barely visited; and her crush, Cam, was just a blip. Everything felt to superficial in the “on the surface” sense. There was a lot about the boy who got under her skin, Jack, which I enjoyed. But, overall I felt like the writing was more “tell and less “show”.

Why I kept reading the book and what I was most intrigued by was the actual source of her powers. The fact that the reasoning leaned more toward being science-based and less paranormal has me very curious. But I have to say that I was really bummed about the lack of "magic" at the school. I get that the school is supposed to be a front for the gifted Level Three and Fours, but come one. No one really did anything “special” inside the school. There were plenty of people in opposition of Dancia who could have done something, but nothing happened. And what really irked me - and is a spoiler - is when Dancia got her hands one two very special somethings and she didn’t even share what she learned. I threw my hands up in the air like, come on, give us the goods. But alas, she did not.

 The last thing I’m going to comment on is her choice of boys - Cam or Jack. Why Cam ... why? Cam is just so ... obvious. A cute and charming people pleaser. That was all he brought to the table…. boring! Jack is the better choice. I like the edge of Jack. The trust, the emotion, and his the opening up to only her. It seems like their relationship could be more special that way. Maybe that's something Dancia will realize later on.

I still have a lot of questions, which is why I’m going to give it another go and continue with the series. I just hope this one has more meat. I need more!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases. Click the link to participate.

My Pick This Week: 

Book Title: The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare
AuthorM.G. Buehrlen
Book Series: Alex Wayfare, Book 1
Genres: YA, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Release Date: March 4, 2014

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

It's been at least five years since a series about time travel has piqued my interest, so I'm very excited. The over all premise sounds like it could make for a really great series.

Also, to be honest, someone could have given this book a better cover. It's extremely lackluster. Why woods? Nothing about the description says, "I'm walking through a starlit forest at night..." A combination of all of the settings in the description's leading paragraph could have made for something very cool.

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