Monday, September 30, 2013

My Slightly Dull October TBR - But My Accent is so Cute

Well, it's October and the spookiness is upon us. I don't have many creepy books so I'm going ot have to find a few, so if you know of any, throw some suggestions my way. Hold your breath, it's another, though much shorter, VLOG!



Seriously, besides Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, I don't have much picked out for October. I need some ideas!

Be sure to run over to YouTube and subscribe to Better Read Than Dead. Making Videos is much easier when you have a lot to say.

September Wrap-Up - Kristin Goes A-Vlogging

All right, people, I've taken the plunge! I vlogged! Oh the horrors. And I made a huge error, but it's understandable and you'll see why and I blame Jennifer L. Armentrout and all her wonderfully strong heroines. Yes, I do know that Katy is in Origin, not Alex and I'm sorry for my slip-up! But here's how my September TBR list turned out!



By the way, I decided I look more tired with make-up on, than without it!

Hey, jump on over to my YouTube channel and subscribe to Better Read Than Dead there. I'm going to be doing more VLOGS as time goes on. For some things it's just easier.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stacking the Shelves - Sunday September 29th, 2013



Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews and all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!



Physical Books I Purchased:

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton (Clearance Deal)
Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston (Clearance Deal)
Chosen at Nightfall by C.C. Hunter
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Antigoddess by Kendare Blade



Ebooks for my Kindle:

Paid Full Price Because I Needed to Finish the Story
A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton
The Wicked Within by Kelly Keaton


Awesome Deals: Each of The Breathing Series books were $1.99 yesterday

Reason to Breathe - Rebecca Donovan
Barely Breathing - Rebecca Donavan
Out of Breath - Rebecca Donavan


Another good deal - $1.99 at Amazon
Angelfall by Susan Ee

WON!!!



Thanks to Kathy at Romantic Reading Escape for
Waking Sleeping Beauty by Laurie LeClair

So it's been a good week for me. How's your week been?

{Winners} Announcing the Winner of the Banned Book Week Hop & My Goddess Giveaway

And the winner is:


#181 Linda Bradshaw
Email has been sent. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

The winner of the Goddess Giveaway is:


#67 Brooke Watts DelVecchio
Email has been sent. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

{Cover Reveal} Grimnirs by Ednah Walters


Book Title: Grimnirs
Series: A Runes Novel
Author: Ednah Walters
Release Date: December 2nd 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
Presented by: Twisted Book Tours and More & As You Wish Tours
Banner Made by: Camelia Miron Skiba

 
BLURB

One lost love.
One lost best friend.
One hot soul reaper.

Straight out of the psyche ward, Cora just wants her life to be normal. She doesn’t want to see souls or the reapers collecting them. The love of her life, the guy she’s loved from a distance for years, has moved away without saying goodbye. So yes, she’s nursing a serious heartbreak. It’s no wonder love is the last thing on her mind when Echo storms into her life.

The chemistry between them is mind-blowing. The connection defies logic. It doesn’t help that Echo is the poster boy for everything she hates in a guy—hot, beautiful, and cocky. A general pain-in-the-butt. Being around him makes her feel more alive than she’s ever felt before. But more important, the souls leave her alone when he is around.

Echo is perfect for her. Echo might even be her soul-mate. There is only one problem. Echo is a freaking soul reaper. A Grimnir. The very beings she wants out of her life. Maybe normal is overrated because Cora wants it all. Answers. Love. A life. You see, once you fall for a Grimnir, your life will never be the same again.

AUTHOR BIO
EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Visit her at www.ednahwalters.com

Ednah also writes YA paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. IMMORTALS is book 2. She is presently working on book 3, GRIMNIRS (Release date TBA). Read more about this series and the world she's created here www.runestheseries.com

Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She's presently working on book six. You can visit her online at or www.ebwalters.com.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

{Book Review} Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Title: Darkness Becomes Her
Series: Gods & Monsters #1
Author: Kelly Keaton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 22, 2011



Blurb:

A curse beyond her darkest fears.

Ari can't help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can't be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long-dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something is getting too close. But it's impossible to protect herself when she doesn't know what she's running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: She must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush, rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won't stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.



Why I Picked Darkness Becomes Her:

When I saw the cover of The Wicked Within, I knew I had to read it, so I researched a bit and found it was Kelly Keaton's final book in the Gods & Monsters Trilogy. Just so happened a bookstore I frequent had Darkness Becomes Her marked down to almost nothing, so I snagged it and finished reading it a few hours later. It's a pretty short read, perfect for a rainy day.

While the original cover does give the book a gothic feel, I much prefer then new covers, but I also prefer hardcover books, so... 

A Brief Summary:

Ari, only 17, graduated high school early and set off on a mission to learn more about the mother who gave her up for adoption. Ari has always been an outcast with her silver hair and teal eyes, but the last set of foster parents teach her about love, security, and protection, so when she leaves, she's prepared. At least in the beginning. Who knows on which side fortune lies when Ari finds the place her mom lived and died, of suicide. An asylum. She's given her mother's things and finds a letter that tells Ari little else than RUN.

The next part of the story excited me so much. I love all the lore around New Orleans. I've never had a chance to visit, but it's definitely on my bucket list. Something leads Ari to New 2, or New Orleans thirteen years after two hurricanes tore it to shreds. Now it no longer belongs to the Unites States, but the Novem. Yeah, that's a whole other story you'll just have to read about.

Crank, a young girl who delivers mail, brings Ari to her home in New 2 where Ari begins to notice she's not the only one a bit different. A small child with fangs who rarely talks, another boy who moves quickly and perhaps can read minds, another with odd eyes. They refer to themselves as douo, because they are different.

And now the story really begins, but there are spoilers I refuse to tell.

My Opinion:

The only thing holding me back from giving the book a full-out five stars is I ran into a couple of editing errors within the first couple of pages. Nothing major, and probably had I been further into the book, I wouldn't have noticed. My second complaint, the romance moved like whoa fast. I don't usually mind insta-love, but I need to feel the two characters are at least drawn toward each other before they're making out in public. Otherwise, well  done, Ms. Keaton.

Kelly Keaton's writing drew me into the book, it's visual and compelling. He characters are complex, each with their own set of problems, but working together to make sure they're all taken care of. Her world-building is amazing. I could picture the dilapidated houses in the Garden District and the reconstructed businesses in the French Quarter. She mixed old voodoo lore with Greek Mythology, creating a gothic, creepy tale.

Would I Recommend This Book:

Absolutely. If you're in the mood for something a little darker with creative lore and mythology, jump on Darkness Becomes Her.


Banned Book Week: A Discussion about Divergent by Veronica Roth and Schools

Okay guys so since it is Banned Books Week, something we here are Better Read Than Dead find completely loathesome, we want to discuss some books that are banned or challenged or even some books that we feel might get challenged or banned in the future. For the first book of the week we chose Divergent because of the explosive message it has for young people of today. Some of you might not like the book but don't be discouraged into joining the discussion!




Why could it be banned or challenged in the future?

Kelly: Well in my opinion, I think firstly certain people will object to the whole 'rebel against authority' thing even though some of it may be wrong. Some people will only see it as a book that promotes rebellion in teenagers. Also the whole being separated from your parents when you are 16. Another reason...the violence and child soldiers, people probably will object to that because that is obviously something that will never happen <---notice sarcasm.

Kristin: After being bullied (okay, not exactly true) by my Starbooks girls to read Divergent, I immediately fell in love with Veronica's world, but what really pulled me in was how much it made me think of certain things in society today. Each faction fanatically believed something drastically different and they believed they were the only ones who were right. Sound familiar? Well, some might disagree, but it does to me. And when absolute beliefs are forced on people, they rebel, especially teenagers. If you aren't the parent of one, you might not understand this, but believe me, I have two. So yeah, people are going to complain because of the violence and teenagers rebelling against authority when in reality, it's the right thing to do. A lot of books are challenged because of violence, so I could completely see this happening in the future.

Why banning this book would be a serious disadvantage to everyone, especially young adults?

Kelly: This book has such an explosive message. It tells people to stand up for what they believe in and to not conform to what people expect them to be. It teaches people that it is okay to be different from your family, friends and the neighbourhood you grew up in. If you want to pursue a different path then you do that. You shouldn't fear what everybody would think of you. It also teaches you that if you think what people are doing is wrong, you should speak up in stead of just going along with it. If you aren't brave but want to be, Dauntless can help some people achieve that. They can definitely use Tris as a role model.

Kristin: So, Divergent contains so many messages to our young adults, I'm not sure I can list them all. I'm going to try to list them in the order of the book, if I can remember that far back. First, sixteen year old children are forced to make a life defining decision. And not one they can change without dyer consequences. I was horrified at the age of 18 thinking I had to go to college and choose a profession, one I could change any time I wanted to. And sometimes in making this choice, it meant never seeing your family again and going against everything you've ever known, but it taught you to think for yourself, and often outside the box. Next, know your morals and values. Know yourself. If you see or are asked to do something that is outrageously wrong, be strong enough to stand strong. And this one may sound terrible, but it's true, know your friends. Know who would lay down their life for you and stay loyal above all else. Tris's loyalty to Four saved him, many times over. Lastly, like Kelly mentioned, don't be afraid of change, or to change if that's what you want.

The only person you have control over is yourself, but the smallest change in you has a butterfly effect on the world around you - good or bad. Children should be taught to think outside the box, and quit being processed as squares, because people, they are our future, and we darn sure haven't done a good job with what we have, you better hope they're equipped with the skills to outshine and outlast.


Some Young Adult books should be considered for either high school or University curriculums, is this one of them?

Kelly: In my opinion I do believe that the whole Divergent series should be taught in schools, because honestly we need a bit of a sprucing up in our literature department. Why only teach books that are seen as classics. We need books that deal with the problems of today's age and children, because honestly, Middlemarch by George Eliot didn't relate to me at all when I read it for my assignment. Now I'm not saying every Young Adult book should be added but to be completely honest there are some literary master pieces out there right now, and teenagers would benefit learning the messages underlined in these books more than 'what to do when a man is more important than you are and you have to depend on him to care for you.'

Kristin: My mom and I have had this discussion on many occasions. As a high school English teacher, she tends to agree with me on my stance that there is updated literature that can teach the same morals the classics did, some might even teach better lessons. We're no longer stuck in an age where the man goes to work and the woman sits at home (excuse the cliche) barefoot and pregnant. Women are working beside men in every field. They're firefighters and doctors, serving on the front lines in the service and lawyers, mechanics and teachers. Girls no longer need to be taught to hope a man falls in love with their femininity, they need to learn that if a man can't fall in love with all of them, then he's just not worth it. And, how to cope tragedy and loss. People, Romeo and Juliet's coping mechanisms were seriously flawed and you think this is a lesson our children should learn? Um, no. With suicide being a prominent issue in schools today, why glorify it. Oh yeah... it's Shakespeare and it's a classic. Now, I'm not advocating taking every classic out of the classroom, but I am advocating updating the majority of the literature taught in schools. The world has changed in the last ten years, and the vast majority of what our children are being taught is from many decades, sometimes centuries, preceding that.

***Um, you'll notice one of us "rants" a little more than the other, please excuse the emotions.***

Monday, September 23, 2013

{A Kelly M Review} My Very Truthful and Spoilery Review of the City of Bones Movie

Movie: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Rated: 4/5

Viewed: Three times.










Okay so I am finally writing my review for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie. Let me tell you that for most of the movie I am actually really happy with what they produced. It was very well done. The special effects and the world creating really blew my mind. The acting really was superb in my opinion. I will give you guys my thoughts on most of the actors, so forgive me if it gets boring but as you all know, this is my favourite book series, so I like talking about everything pertaining it!

Let’s start with Clary. Lily literally embodied the character of Clary. She did such a spectacular job and really honed in on what Clary really is about, even to the last minuscule expression. I see people complaining about the hair colour and Lily’s eyebrows and I’m just here like, seriously? Get over it people, there is nothing wrong with her eyebrows. I LOVE that she embraces who and what she is and does not try to conform to what society expects her to look like. She is such a wonderful role model for younger girls and all of us should strive to accept ourselves like she has accepted herself. As for Clary’s hair colour, everybody has their own vision, personally, I liked this look better and it is what i normally imagined when reading, but that’s just me. Hair colour does not equate acting ability, remember that folks.

Jace Wayland. Can I just say, BY THE ANGEL (yes I am very geeky, but I think we all are). Jamie is Jace in every way possible. It was like he was born to play this role. The sarcasm, arrogance, everything just seemed so natural and the fact that he did all his stunts himself, that just screams Jace. So when I still see people saying that he is too ugly or he wasn’t Jace at all, it seriously leaves me dumbstruck. Yes Jamie isn’t your normal type of good looking but come on people, the dude is not ugly. He might not be your Jace but he is the one chosen to portray him. None of these actors are the characters I imagine in my head and they never will be, but as long as they do the essence of the characters justice, then I’m happy.

Simon. I loved Robbie’s portrayal of Simon, it really was done perfectly. His facial expressions when he was around Jace was simply golden, they cracked me up every single time. Oh and the scene where he tells Clary he loves her, almost brought me to tears, I was like, “AWWWWWWWW poor baby!!!!” He did the role of ‘confused mundane’ justice. I literally could not have asked for a better Simon. But am I the only one who would have been okay with the fact if Robbie just kept his accent and made Simon Irish, because sweet Lord does he have a yummy accent.

Alec. Okay so I am willing to admit that I was not on board with the whole Kevin Zegers as Alec thing. He just seemed too old and just didn’t scream Alec to me. Boy oh boy did I eat my words. I didn’t like Alec from the start and I still do not like him, I know shoot me, and Kevin just reinforced my dislike of the guy. He did Alec so perfectly, even though he didn’t say much. Now that to me is acting. If you can bring a character to life by only body language and facial expressions, then I shall bow down to your awesomeness. The one thing I did not like though was the fact that Alec didn’t try to hide himself from everyone because honestly he is so afraid of people noticing that he is gay, that he hides behind his clothes and his hair. He tries to make himself seem very ordinary. I did not get that.

Isabelle. We haven’t seen much of Jemima because she had been filming other movies during the promotion so I didn’t get a real feel for her but when she walked into Pandemonium I was entranced!  The confidence and the whole “using her beauty as a whip” really showed. She literally embodied bad ass femaleness. I was so wowed by her. PERFECTNESS PERSONIFIED!!!!

Magnus. Okay people might not like this but I was not wowed by Godfrey’s portrayal of Magnus. It lacked so much. He just seemed like a normal dude. There was no oomf, no pazazz, no flamboyance, no sass. There just was no Magnus. He wasn’t sarcastic at all. His acting was good but his understanding of Magnus as a whole just fell short. Magnus is one of my ultimate favourite characters of all time, so I was so disappointed. Oh and he should have kept his accent. It would’ve added to Magnus’s exotic ambience.

Valentine. THE HAIR, OH MY GOD THE HAIR!!!!!! Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a great actor and very very yummy looking but even though he seemed dangerous, it didn’t feel like Valentine to me. Firstly, Valentine’s hair colour is actually part of the plot of the movie because how are they going to do the Sebastian thing? I don’t get it, and what was up with the Jamican weave? Valentine is poised and stylish and calm and cool and collected. He isn’t like BOOM IN YOUR FACE crazy you know? His crazy is on the inside, not for the world to see. So I didn’t much care for his portrayal of Mr V.

Jocelyn and Luke I’ll do together since we didn’t really see that much of the. I thought they did the roles justice, although I didn’t feel a connection between them. Jocelyn was seriously fierce with the whole kitchen fighting scene, just wowza and I loved the part where Luke fights the demons in the in the institute. It showed his old shadowhunter abilities.

Hodge. He was done splendidly by Jared Harris. I really felt for him and the curse and he appeared as the Hodge I saw in my head. The way he observed Clary and the way he was with Valentine, he really showed that Hodge honestly is afraid of Valentine and that’s why he did what he did.

Pangborn and Blackwell. They were really funny but sometimes I felt they went a bit overboard you know? They didn’t seem menacing enough in my eyes.

Okay so now I will talk about what I didn’t like. Let me start with the soundtrack, though the actual score was Harry Potter quality in my opinion, the actual soundtrack was seriously horrible. It did not give the feel of this dark shadowhunter world. I’m sorry but I just do not imagine pop songs when I read the books. It has more of a rock, darker feel to it. They shouldn’t just create a soundtrack because it is mainstream and then more people will like it. It should capture the feel of the story and it just didn’t.

The script...yeah um Jessica Postigo really did a poor job with the script. None of the mythologies, except the existence of shadowhunters, were explained. She didn’t explain the Silent Brothers or the Downworlders, the Accords, the weapons, anything really. And honestly that would’ve maybe added like 20 minutes to the movies. It isn’t that much of a time issue to have a 2h30min movie. My biggest issue was the fact that Madame Dorethea didn’t turn into Abbadon, I mean honestly? That was such a major part of the book and it was awesome! That scene wasn’t nearly as dire as it was in the book and THEN SHE WALKED OUT INTO THE SUNLIGHT!!! WHAT THE HELL!! The other thing I didn't like, the institute was built around the portal...oh really? I thought Henry created the portal with Magnus. That was just so inaccurate. I didn’t appreciate that. And Clary has the cup in the end, not Valentine...um that is the plot of the whole first three books completely done away with. The last thing was the fact that Valentine almost killed Jace. Valentine is supposed to try and get Jace over to his side, not make it so that he hates him to the point of no return?

Please don't take my review as something bad or negative. I loved the movie, I really did. I just had a few issues, but those really were the only ones. The rest of the movie I really loved, and though, those issues are present it din't take away from me loving the movie.

Other than these few issues I really did love the movie and I am so grateful that it was made. Now,SS I just hope we get City of Ashes. If we do not, I will go into a serious state of depression.


Friday, September 20, 2013

{Giveaway Hop} Banned Book Week Hop

Ah, my favorite time of year. Why? Well, there's Fall and Halloween, rainy days made for reading books, and BANNED BOOK WEEK. Now, don't mistake this to mean I'm in favor of banning books. I'm not. And every year, this being my third to participate, Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer co-hosts a tour with another blogger, this year it's Mary at Bookhounds, not necessarily celebrating the week, but getting the word out about banned books, why certain books are banned, and what books have been banned in the previous year. Each blogger will post something different, but EVERY blogger will be hosting a giveaway relating to a banned or challenged book. That means me too!


Let me start by saying, all information I gathered can be found on the American Library Association's website. If you're interested in learning more about banned and/or challenged books, I highly suggest checking them out.

To begin, I am in no way support the banning of books. I do; however, agree that school libraries should keep in mind the age of their students when choosing which books they house. But, on the flip side, public libraries and book stores have no business banning any book from their shelves. Here's a very simple rule: If you don't want to read it, don't. But don't tell me I can't.

Now, I as a parent have an obligation to my two beautiful daughters (perhaps not the one who's moved out, but...) to know what they're reading. I have an obligation to keep an open communication link between each of us, and this I take very seriously. I make an effort to know their personalities, the things they can handle, and the things that might cause them trouble. And here's an example:

I have an 18 year old who was mature enough to read Ellen Hopkins in the 7th Grade, yet I now have a 7th grader who can't handle the content of Ms. Hopkins' books, yet prefers to read books such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. My 18 year old STILL could not read Mr. Green's magnificent novel without going into a full on depressive attack due to life events. 

So, while I don't agree with book banning, I vehemently encourage parental involvement when it comes to their children's reading. Plus, talking about reading is a great way to become involved with your child.

Now for trivia time. Here are just a few novels that were challenged and/or banned that I found shocking. Maybe one I found funny. These are only a few, for a more comprehensive list, go HERE.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - challenged due to student complaint of being pornographic.
No action taken.

The Perks of Being a Wildflower by Stephen Chbosky - challenged "because the book deals with drugs, 
alcohol, sex, homosexuality, and abuse." 

Looking for Alaska by John Green - Banned as required reading for Sumner County, Tenn. schools (2012) because of “inappropriate language.” The book won the 2006 Printz award for excellence in young adult literature.

AND, LAST BUT NOT LEAST

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James - Pulled, but later returned to the Brevard County, Fla. public libraries’ (2012) shelves “in response to public demand.” The racy romance trilogy is particularly popular among middle-aged women. Despite overwhelming demand and long wait lists for library copies, some other libraries across the country are refusing to acquire the book.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!
Your choice of ANY banned or challenged book up to $15 dollars. I provided a link to a comprehensive list above, but for any questions, feel free to ask.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

{Waiting on Wednesday} Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Blurb:

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

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 end.


Oh, the first two books are so poetic and entrancing, it's all I could do to pull away from them. Waiting until February 4, 2014 is killing me! So many feels!

Monday, September 16, 2013

{Teaser Tuesday} Hydraulic Level Five by Sarah Latchaw

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Hydraulic Level Five by Sarah Latchaw
My Review
A Post Stemming From Reading Hydraulic Level Five
Teaser 1:

I shrieked as the kayak began to jerk. I leaned back and clutched my paddle, squeezed my eyes shut. For a moment, when I felt the duckie dip and lift, I thought we'd done it--we'd surfed the wave. Then the kayak flipped up, followed by my feet.

Teaser 2:
"Don't yo have anything else you'd like to apologize for?"
"Do I"
"I think you do. The crickets."
There was a long pause, and then a chuckle. "Are you referring to the insect or that iconic be-bopping back-up band of the fifties?"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

{Book Review} Hydraulic Level Five by Sarah Latchaw

Title: Hydraulic Level Five
Series: Hydraulic Level Five #1
Author: Sarah Latchaw
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary

Blurb:

How does a woman get over her one great love? With whitewater rafting, bluegrass, and a touch of revenge…

Kaye is an extreme sports addict with a kind heart and an axe to grind with her childhood sweetheart and ex-husband, renowned writer Samuel Caulfield Cabral. While Samuel enjoys a celebrity life in New York, Kaye remains in their hometown of Lyons, Colorado, running her PR agency and chatting daily with Samuel's family, the beloved Cabrals—first-generation Mexican-Americans who have embraced Kaye as their own.

But when Samuel returns home for his sister's wedding with a new love interest, stunning editor Caroline Ortega, the gloves are stripped off. Kaye is determined to unearth the reasons behind the death of their marriage and why two people who lived to love each other were driven apart, all leading to startling revelations about Samuel, about life...and about herself.


Never, and I do mean NEVER, in my life have I been more certain about giving a book a solid 5 stars. Sarah Latchaw's writing is brilliant, fluid, and brings a punch I rarely feel when reading. 

If a stranger had ventured into my house on Friday night, they would've found me sobbing. Uncontrollably. In the living room. In the bathtub. In my bedroom. Things weren't so great that night for a multitude of reasons. I'd started reading Hydraulic Level Five a couple of days before, so to get my mind off of everything around me, I pulled out my Kindle and started reading. EXCEPT, the words all blurred together, and every word seemed to call my name and remind me of things in my life. Things in the past and the present. I had to put the book aside until I could appreciate the meaning behind the words. 

I finished Sarah's novel early Sunday morning, feeling lighter, reminiscing about friends and family, and oddly...smiling. The novel touched me so much, I immediately wrote a blog post about some things Hydraulic Level Five addresses. You can find that HERE.

So, Kaye and Samuel, high school sweethearts who married young only to have their marriage crumble for reasons incomprehensible to either of them - until now.

Kaye is determined to find out why Samuel fled their hometown, leaving her behind shattered and grieving. He left her with no explanation, only that he had to leave. This alone was enough to keep me reading, if only to get this one answer. But as the story evolved, so did the complexity of Kaye and Samuel's situation. More questions popped up, and like the perfect suspense story, the author weaved the answers into the story at an agonizing pace. 

Every single night, I had to force myself to shut my Kindle off and go to sleep. It killed me because I needed to know what happened. 

And that darn Caroline, I wanted to beat her. I just did not trust her from the start, still don't. Though there's something about Samuel's uncle/adopted dad that I don't trust either. Sarah, I need the second book. Soon, please.

To the people who don't know him, and some who do, it seems as if Samuel has everything. He's handsome, wealthy, dating celebrities, and his first books are being optioned for a movie adaptation. But he's not happy. If truth be told, it didn't appear that he's ever been happy. He's carried a secret no child, no adult, should ever have to hide and it's eaten at him his whole life. Even Kaye, his childhood best friend, first love, and eventually wife, has no clue how deep Samuel is scarred. To say I was shocked is putting things mildly.

I envied the support system that surrounded both Samuel and Kaye. Samuel's sister, Dani, and Kaye remained best friends. Dani not understanding what happened because no one told her anything. Not her mom and dad, and not Kaye after her tragic trip to New York to confront Samuel after he left her. Eight years have passed, and Dani's slowly finding out everything. Some of her animosity toward the couple for not fighting for their marriage is relieved, but a new animosity is added when she finds that people have been hiding secrets from her. And Molly, Kaye's friend and business partner, cracks me up. Always ready to support her friend when Kaye needs her.

Hector, Santiago, and Angel play an important but less obvious role in the story. Hector appears to have always had a bit of a crush on Kaye, but it's never moved beyond flirtations and friendship. That doesn't stop Samuel from being jealous over their closeness.

While this book is an emotional rollercoaster, I can't leave you believing there's no fun to be had, because these guys can prank with the best of them. Fake girlfriends, crickets, guinea pigs, people in drag... Oh my!

I'm going to be overtly honest here. This book touched me in ways no one can ever imagine. I've been part of a tumultuous marriage, haunted by tragedy and secrets no one wanted to share. Seeing parts of my life reflected on the screen of my reader moved me beyond anyone's understanding. That anyone could capture the helplessness, the hurt, the intangible pain so perfectly is unimaginable, but Ms. Latchaw did so in a completely realistic and beautiful way.

Someone asked me if I thought I should've read Hydraulic Level Five, because it touched me so deeply, not understanding my feelings were all good. I actually felt relief that maybe someone out there understands how it feels to be Kaye or Samuel. Everyone needs to feel like they're understood, even if it's only a fictional character. 

Hydraulic Level Five is a must read. It's Adult Contemporary, but completely clean. In fact, part of the humor was the made up curse words Kaye and friends came up with.

Ramblings of a Girl Well Past Bedtime

In the darkness of another restless night, my mind travels places I often wonder just how it found it's way that far off my thought process train. Tonight's isn't so weird, but I finished a book I might find the energy to review tonight, or perhaps this post will tire me out so much, I'll beat this bout of insomnia and crash for a few hours, or so I hope.


There are many things book-lovers discuss in groups or among one another. What types of books they enjoy the most. Do you prefer contemporary or paranormal? YA or Adult? Stuff like that. Maybe even, biker guys or pure rock and roll gods? Tattoos and scruff or suits and dimples? Everyone has something different they prefer in their "book boyfriend," it's fair to say. And a strong heroine, whose actions back her words. I think most readers would agree with this. While I dearly love Bella, no hating, I see her flaws. I'm more of a Tris girl myself, you know, Divergent. Or Alex from The Covenant Series by Jennifer L Armentrout. But, I also know that in order for a heroine to grow, she must start out with a few weaknesses. I just don't want her to be a total moron. And I do want her to mature, particularly in Young Adult. Teenagers need to know that while things aren't perfect, they can get better, which brings me to my next topics.


Understand that I'm 40 years old, a mother to two beautiful girls, and a son who is watching over us from Heaven. I'm a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and every other relation you can find. I'm a homemaker after being a nurse for several years. I'm an aspiring writer and avid reader. I love Reese's Cups, but not too often. I prefer cokes over coffee, and pizza is my comfort food. I've had my heart broken many times, both before and after I married my husband. I've cried over boys/men more times than I care to admit. I've had some of the best friends a girl could ask for and I've had friends who should have lived in the ocean as opposed to walking upright, because they were sharks. My childhood wasn't perfect. Looking back, there was probably more turmoil than I ever realized. Some things I can't really divulge, but to say if my mom and dad made it through all the things they did, and they did, they should both become saints at the pearly gate. 


So, I read reviews or see people say things like, "I absolutely will not read a book with a love triangle," or "there's NEVER a time cheating is okay, so I won't read a book that has any cheating in it," or "turn to drugs, that's not how you handle trauma, this book is crap." I'm not going to tell you these things are okay, because they aren't. Well, the love triangle thing is a preference, and if it's well written, go for it. I want the boy to earn the girl. No easy ways out.


As far as cheating goes, it's a huge no-no. But life happens, and sometimes it bitch slaps you and when you come up for air, there's just not any air to be had. Guys, teenagers in particular, sometimes you have to put aside all your preconceived notions about your perfect world, and realize life isn't all warm and fuzzy. I happen to know a couple who, after something so traumatizing it left the whole family in shock for 4 years, came back together, and worked through their problems when both partners had been unfaithful, though they no longer lived in the same house as the other. I know another couple whose been together for 43 years after a bout of addiction, and it's never been confirmed, but I'm rarely an idiot, and infidelity. So, when you're young, and idealistic, try to take a moment and think of all the things that could change your life in the blink of an eye and how you might handle it.


Traumatic experiences are something else all together. Call me what ever you want, but there is absolutely no worse pain than losing a child. Parents are always supposed to go first. Is there a right way and a wrong way to handle grief? I've pondered this question for a long time, and my answer is NO. You have to survive, especially with other children in the home, so you do whatever it takes to survive. Be it what it is. Certainly there are better ways to deal with it: go to a counselor, become more active in church, see a psychiatrist. Now see, that last one, seeing a psychiatrist, it's very important to find one who will not feed you a bunch of meds and send you on your way. A dandy of a disaster waiting to happen, and the beginning of a slide ride down into the ever sinking mud pit of doom.


So, my basic point is this: before you condemn all books that have a love triangle in them, be sure you've read past the first half of the book, because I know of two series where people have stopped reading them because they falsely assumed there was a love triangle. One being Stray by Rachel Vincent.

Before you throw a book to the side because a boyfriend cheated on his girlfriend, make sure you have all the facts. If he's just being a lech, then the book isn't a good fit for you, but perhaps there's more to it. You'd be surprised  at the reasons people seek out another person besides their spouse. And hear this, if you hear anything else: THERE'S ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO A STORY, AND 99% OF THE TIME BOTH PEOPLE ARE TO BLAME.


Handling trauma or grief in ways you see unfit. Well, this is where compassion comes in. Someone who's in the middle of a traumatic event isn't thinking. Being that person, it's not even their thoughts coursing through their head. It's one simple question: What can I do to survive the next five minutes? And then the next? Eventually, you hope they're surviving for hours, then days, then weeks, months, years, and so on. But there's always a chance of regression, and when that happens, they need their friends.


Reading should open your mind, not close it. You should be taking in the surroundings, experiencing them via someone else, then learning and taking the lessons with you into life so hopefully you can avoid some of the mistakes these fictional people make. But, feel certain the stories I mentioned above are both true and personal. Life experience is the best teacher. I know my eighteen year old still has some sordid misconception of how life works, even though she knows better. She's been to hell and back. Just keep in mind, that when you close your mind to certain things, you are closing your mind to learning about these things, and becoming a more understanding and compassionate person to a friend or acquaintance who may need you someday. Or, heaven forbid, you may find yourself in a similar situation.



SO...GO, READ, LEARN, LOVE

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Let's Talk About You, Let's Talk About Me

I'm not really in the mood to write a book review... at this exact moment ... though I will have at least one up later today, but I wanted to get some type of post up on the blog. Something fun and interactive. So, I thought I'd try something new, my lovely readers, I'll ask you a question, you answer in your comments, then ask me a question. It can be anything, book-related, coffee-related, boy-related, my pizza stealing dog related, or anything else you can think of ... within reason. I'm not giving you my address or phone number, that's just insane. I probably won't discuss any sort of political or religious views because that's dangerous, but hey, that still leaves us a lot of topics!


So, how many of you are settling in for fall? Cooler weather, hot chocolate, blankets, and books? Possibly football? What are your favorite and least favorite things about fall? OH, and what books are you looking forward to? Are you going to any book signings? If so, who? And lastly, tell me about some funny books you've read. I'm looking for funny! OH. MY. GOSH. I forgot... favorite mythical creature. I, personally, like unicorns shooting rainbows from they hind ends!!!

Now, answer one or more of these in the comments and ask me a question. Any question at all. Check back, I'll either answer your question with a reply to a comment, or maybe answer them all in this post! I look forward to hearing your answers!

Monday, September 9, 2013

{Teaser Tuesday} The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater & Wait for You by J. Lynn

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series: The Raven Boys #2
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Estimated Publication Date: September 17, 2013

Blurb:

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after.



Teaser:  When Ronan had been smaller and more forgiving of miracles, he'd considered the moment of death with rhapsodic delight. His mother had told him that when you looked into the eyes of God at the pearly gates, all the questions you every had were answered. Ronan had a lot of questions.  (ARC - Some changes may be made)


Title: Wait for You
Series: Wait for You #1
Author: J. Lynn (AKA Jennifer L Armentrout)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 25, 2013
GENRE: NEW ADULT

Blurb:

Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for...
Teaser 1: "Oh, I'm wooing." He opened up the fridge and grabbed a bottle of OJ. Pouring two glasses, he sat one in front of me. "It's just all about the stealth. You don't realize it yet."
Teaser 2:
He made it to the door in one piece. "Cam!"
"What?" He looked over his shoulder.
Throwing him a towel, I giggled. "You're about to answer the door with you junk hanging out."
"Good call." He wrapped the towel around his hips as he cast me a  wicked grin. "Although the masses would love to see my junk."
***This is a reread for me, but Cam is just so... Cam!!!***

Thursday, September 5, 2013

{Book Review & Giveaway} Goddess by Josephine Angelini

Title: Goddess
Series: Starcrossed #3
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 28, 2013


Blurb:

After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.

To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.

In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.


Inhales deeply and releases! Step one to overcoming LBS, AKA... Last Book Syndrome, has commenced, and boy did I pick the right book to begin the endings with. The Starcrossed Trilogy is everything Greek Mythology should be--passionate, twisted, tabooed, a perverse game board for the Olympus Twelve, and Goddess upped ratcheted up the action, the deceit, brought on some new players and pitted the Scions against the each other, forcing what could be an apocalyptic war.

In my humble opinion, Dreamless suffered from sophomore book syndrome, though all the information is useful and important to this trilogy. I think it just pulled my heart in so many directions it made me anxty, throughout the whole damn thing. 

Now Goddess, I continually made notes so I wouldn't forget all the things I wanted to talk about. And man there are just so many. The book starts right where Dreamless leaves off, Zach is dead and he's left his trusty ancient dagger with Matt? Immediately I needed to know what that meant. But apparently my immediately and Ms. Angelini's immediately are two different things. Then Matt's body begins to fill out and not just in a "eh, he's growing up" way. The Delos' start looking at him differently, wondering what's going on. They'll soon find out.

Helen, Ariadne, Jason, Lucas, and Orion are still recovering from the battle in which Helen, Orion and Lucas, not only sent Ares to Tartarus, but by becoming blood brothers, they combined the House of Thebes (founded by Apollo), the House of Rome (founded by Aphrodite), the House of Athens (founded by Poseidon), and the House of Atreus (founded by Zeus). This is the event in which the prophecy states that the Tyrant will be formed. A person who possesses powers from all four houses. This person is thought to be absolute power, and "absolute power corrupts absolutely." The Tyrant is to be killed.

Just a snippet of the prophecy:

The time has come. The children must overthrow the parents--or be devoured by them.
The Hero
The Lover
The Shield
The Tyrant--have taken the stage.
The Warrior waits in the wings, the last to join the battle.
The Tyrant shall rise up with power unlimited. On one choice will the fate of all be decided.

So, as you read through the prophecy, think about who you might place in those roles. Some, might be obvious, but others not so much.

One interesting twist that I absolutely loved is the Fates recast the characters from Helen of Troy until the actual outcome of the battle at Troy happens; therefore, there are a handful of Scions who look exactly like the gods who fought the battle. These Scions are meant to eventually replace the gods they resemble. It's such a cool angle and I feel sure my description is lacking, but I loved it anyway. 

Then we have the Oracle, Cassandra. She's found a way to keep the Fates from prophesying through her and she may also be falling in just a little bit of love. This made me happy, because I hated seeing Cassie suffer so much. Those Fates are a bitch sometimes.

Overall, I loved the trip Josephine took me on. I loved how she twisted the mythology but managed to keep the same overall theme throughout the story. Balance is a must and the Tyrant's power must be checked, and it will be. I fell in love with all the characters in book one, hated a few in book two, then fell right back in love with them in book three. Some lived, some died, some were tricked and trapped for eternity.

My emotions flew all over the map: I cried when Helen realized her true heart, I laughed for joy when Cassandra realized she actually had choices, I cried again when beloved heroes died, and rejoiced for those who lived. My heart truly ached at the connived deceit between friends and family. But in the end, Josephine left me with an ending I can handle, maybe even love just a little... or more than chocolate!!!

A Couple of My Favorite Quotes:

"The prophecy has been fulfilled. The Houses are one, Helen." Hades took her hands between both of his, cradling them in warmth. "You will raise Atlantis, or Avalon, or Helena--whatever you wish to call it--and once your world is made you can decide who may enter, who must stay or go, and how each inhabitant experiences your land. It really is all up to you." - Page 135
That's the thing about walls, Matt thought. The men on either side of them sometimes have nearly everything in common--except for the one detail that they are willing to kill each other over. - Page 220
~Kristin A


****MINOR SPOILER ALERT, BUT GIVEAWAY TIME****

We find out through Hades that Helen is not only a Descender, but a Worldbuilder. When she descends, she may create her own world. It may look however she wants it to look and she controls this world. She makes the rules as to who enters it's borders and if they may exit. Will they return to the real world as an Immortal, or simply as they were. Is her world a place for warriors who've fought a good battle, or friends she plans to spend eternity with, or maybe something else completely?

What I want to know is this: If you could create your own world, meant for the afterlife - good or bad, what would you create? What would it look like? What would your rules for entrance be? Would it be to extract revenge or reward a well-lived life. Be creative, imagine you were a Greek god and think how they think... if that's even possible. Jot down you answer in a blog post, put it in a Facebook post, tweet it, or simply put it in the comment section. I'll pick a winner on September, Friday the 13th... to reverse all that bad luck and stuff.


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bloglovin

We're going to take the plunge and join Bloglovin, so if anyone wants to follow us over there... here's the link!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday, September 1, 2013

We're Back & He're's My September TBR - Oh My!

So, yeah... we've been a bit sporadic this summer, but we're back, or at least I will be back full time, with the other girls joining me as they can. My summer flew by! Unfortunately I spent a large majority of it ill and we had some major life changes take place around my house, both good and bad, but now that school's back in session... I'm ready to get back to reading and writing!


I do have to tell you one very important thing I did over the summer! I jumped on the bandwagon and caught up on the first 7 seasons of SUPERNATURAL! 


And I think Yellow Fever may be my favorite episode ever! I've never laughed so hard in my life!!!

Hehe... Anyway, September's TBR list goes a little something like this. It's called... 

OVERCOMING LBS (LAST BOOK SYNDROME)
I am going to finish several series that are taunting me from my bookshelves.




~Goddess (Starcrossed Trilogy) by Josephine Angelini*
~If I Should Die by Amy Plum
~With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent
~Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick
~Black Heart by Holly Black
~Endlessly by Kiersten White
~Hidden by Sophie Jordan
~Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Maragaret Stohl
~Boundless by Cynthia Hand (This one will wait until the BookBFF girls get to it in their group read of this series.)

*Started

Also, I have... 



Courtesy of Scholastic Press via NetGalley to finish before September 17! I'm loving it so far!!!

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