Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day and review of Divided by Elsie Chapman

                First and foremost Happy Memorial Day everyone.  I hope you all enjoy your day and thank those who have fought so hard for us to enjoy our lives and freedoms. 

                It was my great pleasure to receive another sequel to read and review thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children's.  It was provided to me for an honest opinion and as I enjoyed the first book I was eager to read book 2 which comes out tomorrow, May 27th. 
                Divided by Elsie Chapman is the sequel to the Dualed which I previously reviewed here.  A dystopian series about a world protected from the Surround, the only catch to live in the safety  you must prove yourself and be a killer.  Each person is born with an Alt, an alternate them which upon activation both Alts have 30 days to find one another and kill.  Only one can live if neither finishes both die.  Only the worthy can live and protect the city if the walls should ever fall.  A tough society.  Everyone who completes is considered worthy and accept for few acceptations, a killer.  Now from here there are spoilers for Book 1 so read on at your own risk.     
Dualed we left our main character West dealing with her completion and adjusting to what she did by becoming a striker, assassin for hire, to hone her skills and dull out the pain of losing the last of her family.  Some may not agree with her choice.  I personally look at it from an objective angle.  I'm not in that situation, thankfully, and enjoy the ride.  Besides if characters made decisions we wanted every single time there wouldn't be any story and wouldn’t be unique.  Now West is done with that life, only the nightmares and marks to remind her.  She has plans for her future with Chord, as a complete, making plans is more real and solid. 

                That is until a head honcho from the board, those who control everything, approaches West with an offer she can't refuse.  Become a striker again for 3 unworthies for a chance at something much more precious.  Is anything worth going back to that?  And is there really a choice?  What happens when she realizes she's been lied to and in order to secure her future she'll have to dig deeper to get to the bottom of things without endangering everyone she has left.

                Much like Dualed this book is not only about the action and violence as it may seem but more importantly it's about ones struggle of self worth.  West has been through so much and is just starting to get her feet on solid ground when the rug is ripped out from under her yet again.  Life is all about the choices we make and how we live our lives. 
It's not always this clear...

                As a character, West is different and I don't always agree with her train of thought sure but I can see her struggle with it and that back and forth with oneself.  Still I like her and root for her get through it.  See where she saw a choice given to her I didn't.  I saw a threat laid out like a choice which is how I looked at everything that happened and sometimes when she would go through her rationalizations though I might not agree I still enjoyed hearing her ideas.  Then you have the sturdy Chord who is her rock and you had to admit easy to love.  He struggles with the past like West and with everything she does now but he loves her and he wants to be there for her even when he struggles to accept some things. 

                In Divided we get a better understanding of the world itself.  Before it as about the Alts and the program to keep them all strong.  Now we see more into that and how it came about, which was really interesting and have much more dimension.  Seeing behind the curtain of the world and how it ticks and everyone works inside like bees of a hive.  I give Divided 4-4.5 Stars.  It had everything I expected in a sequel and I enjoyed it.  Share your thoughts and comments below, I want to know what you think about this series and/or premise. 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Not hard to see why I fell for Love's Paradox by Laura Kreitzer

                So now that I'm not sleeping 19 hours a day, yes I was sick.  I knew it was bad, I love me some sleep like the next person and when I don't sleep well for days it's not unheard of for me to sleep 12-14 hrs once and recharge but that much for multiple days and feeling icky nope.  Two shots in the behind and another day to let the other meds kick in and I was much more me again.  Yes with my days of you'd think I could get so much reading done but sadly when I say I slept it was too hard to hold my eyes open for a good book or even a movie/show.  Serious business that is. 
Goodreads / Amazon / B&N 

                Now I'm catching back up.  I want to say thank you again to all of you who participated in my very first giveaway.  A very good friend and someone who entered herself asked me recently who won as I didn’t make an announcement.  My apologies to anyone who was waiting for a big announcement, I simply put the winner in the little entry contraption and contacted them personally to get the details for the delivery.  So a bit late but yeah the winner was Donna!  Who received her book and cookies and is enjoying them!  This is a learning process and next time I promise to make it clearer for everyone so any and all feedback, thank you. 

*****Update/Announcement type information finished onto Book Love*****

                Now the main reason for my post today is not only to say yes I'm still alive but because I finished two great books and I'm ready to review the first of which, Love's Paradox by Laura Kreitzer.  I received this book NetGalley and Revolution Publishing Inc. for my thoughts and an honest review.  This was originally an ARC but with being sick and all I'm a bit behind but bright side is you don't have to wait Love's Paradox is available now.
                Love's Paradox is a New Adult book and as such has more adult material inside as the characters are just past teenagers.  Just a warning for those who don't want any steaming love scenes, stronger violence/action/themes or yes language.  To each their own, I find the New Adult section to be a good progression of all the things I love about YA and just progressing further. 

                With that said I adored this book.  I started it at lunch one day and then accidentally stayed up until 3am to finish it.  Yes accidentally because I only meant to read for an hour before bed but the next thing I knew it was over and it was well past bed time for my early morning ahead.  I couldn’t put it down and had no desire to check my clock, aka phone, I was so immersed.  The book doesn't cover a large span of time really things happen pretty quickly and as a result you think, 'well I have to know what happens next' at every chapter end. 

                The story is about Rae who is getting over her abusive ex-fiancé  who has turned stalker.  She decides to send a clear message one night signing a song about their past and he doesn't take it well.  When he tries to stop her a strong, sexy, and somewhat intimidating hero comes to the rescue in the biker bar.  His violent intervention, while deserved doesn't sit as well with Rae but yet as they talk they have a connection.  Even as she attempts to ignore her attraction to him she can't win and their bond will be tested.  Her ex-fiancé's twisted mind and violent proclivities are not to be easily dismissed. 

                The cover was catchy, the title intriguing, and the summary made me want to learn more about Raw.  As per usual I'm all about characters.  Rae is a strong female character I can get behind but she is also someone who has a lot of issues that come through the tough exterior.  I liked her and I wanted things to work out for her.  Hearing about her past I felt like she was a good friend of mine and I wanted to take care of her.  Then you have Parker.  He is a contradiction to so many things but I fell for him.  He was easy to make into a sexy bad boy with a heart of gold book boyfriend, but he was more than a cliché.  There were some things about him that seemed 'too good to be true' at first but as you dig into the character it really worked.   
                It's clear from their first lines that there is something between these characters which I adore.  There is nothing worse than being forced to see how characters should be together because it's intended.  Rae and Parkers connection with all its problems and differences feels natural.  The back and forth banter between them had me giggling like a school girl with her first crush.  At one point I dropped my kindle (thankfully only onto the couch and it was in a case) because I was laughing so hard at some points. 
                And of course you have to consider the vindictive ex, who is a trip and very authentic.  There are people like this out there everywhere and he was just the right balance.  Or the best friends.  As someone who has a few friends who I would do pretty much anything for and don't know how I would survive without them just being there to keep me sane sometimes I can love a book friendship almost more than a romance if it feels like friends I would have.   I could easily see myself hanging out with Cherry and Hunter without fail.

                There were pop culture references for readers to enjoy and something that I LOVED the title tie in.  I'm all about a pretty cover and catchy title but if you can make it tie into the story, especially at a critical moment, it really hits home.  Love's Paradox, did it in spades.  Also something I greatly appreciate is valid information.  I know not everyone has my previous job history and might not catch onto some simple legal flaws but to know someone was able to put correct terminology in there is refreshing.   
                I easily give Love's Paradox 5 shinning stars.  It will make your day or night fly by.  Pick it up and enjoy the beautifully complex characters and the fight to find ones happiness when your past keeps trying to get in the way.  Tell me in the comments below your thoughts on love and romance.  Any crazy stalker ex's?

                Coming up next I have also just finished Divided by Elsie Chapman which I plan to post on Monday for Memorial Day! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scala (Angelbound #2) by Christina Bauer

                As mentioned yesterday, this was my other sequel review that I was excited about and came out on the same day, Scala book 2 in the Angelbound series by Christina Bauer.   Thank you again to NetGalley and Ink Monster for letting me read it almost a week early to review.  Not as early to post, but bright side, it is on sale today so you can click right on over and order it ;) 
                Scala takes place a few months after the end of Angelbound, if you don't remember it check out the review here.  Myla is now not only bad ass quasis (half human/half demon) with a wicked dragon tail and years of combat training under her belt, she is now also the Great Scala.  That means she is the only one with the power to move souls out of Purgatory and into their final resting place of Heaven of Hell.  Sounds good right?  Well not so much when Lucifer's Orb is limiting her ability and making it so she can only send souls to Hell.  Yikes! 

                Unwilling to send innocent souls to rot in Hell she does the natural thing and goes on strike until the Orb is found and removed.  Problem is, with so many souls coming into Purgatory every month the storage buildings are filling up like pressure cookers.  Myla wants to stick to her beliefs and not risk the souls of those meant for Heaven but she is running out of time and risking all of Purgatory if the souls break free and overrun the living.  Not the easier job in the world for our 19 year old girl.

                Also keep in mind she is also dealing with politics and her old enemy, the witchy whiney brat, Lady Adair who is bound to make her life more difficult.  She wants what Myla has, what she feels was taken from her, the prestige, the power, and most of all Prince Lincoln.  But with Myla and Lincoln not only are they able to steam up some serious scenes but they are also able to work together and bring out the best of one another and fight back against all of their enemies seen and unseen.   But is that enough this time?

                I really love the covers with these series from Ink Monster, simple and beautiful.  Myla in her Scala robes which also can change to armor, very resourceful when you are part wrath demon and under constant attack.  All the things in the first book, the strong personality of our main character Myla are still there even as she struggles with uncertainty in her new position holding so much power and not wanting to make the wrong choice.  We also have more Lincoln but as much as she wants to spend all her time with the man, Prince, she loves he is busy being a prince and demon hunter and she has her own things to deal with so making things work takes some work too.

                This is a short novella type story and was a quick read.  I finished it in a few hours, sadly broken up as I kept getting interrupted.  I easily rate this book 5 stars and am excited to note that the next book Armageddon is set to come out October 14th so again, not a long wait at all which is beyond appealing.  Anyways as mentioned Scala comes out today so check it out and tell me what you think in the comments below.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Avoiding Alpha by Aileen Erin

                First I want to thank everyone who participated in my giveaway.  I have my very first winner and will be sending out her prize ASAP!  

                Avoiding Alpha by Aileen Erin is the 2nd book, or technically novella, in The Alpha Girls series.  I reviewed the first story in the series Becoming Alpha, heresome months back and I fell in love with it and couldn’t wait for this one to come out.  I have had it on my Amazon wish list ready to purchase on Tuesday May 13th when it comes out since it was posted on the site.  Then I was doing my daily check on NetGalley for new books to request and there it was!  I clicked request so fast.  Then later in the day while I was at work, on lunch when I was finally able to read my e-mails, I saw I had been approved for this book, 1 week early.  My lunch comrades maybe had some concerns about my mental health that day given my squeal of excitement, happy dance in my chair, and my high pitched and speedy explanation to which they were still clueless but just moved right along. 

                I admit though there was a larger reason for my excitement, not only had I been approved for Avoiding Alpha but the other book set to release the same day which I also was super excited for sent me a pre-approved to read notice.  Score 2 books I was dying to read a week early.  Then my biggest problem was figuring out which to read first, and that I had to wait until I got home as there was no wi-fi at work, and let's be honest I wouldn’t have been too focused on work if I had started during lunch.  So thank you to NetGalley and Ink Monster for letting me read and review this ARC.  Spoilers ahead for book 1, just in case that wasn't clear.

                We left Tessa at St. Ailbe's Academy where she has been through a lot but is adapting to her new life as a werewolf, if she is holding off on the whole going wolf part.  She is still learning and slowly adapting to things.  She went from being a girl who couldn’t touch things or people without seeing their life in her mind to being able to control that, having a powerful alpha mate, who sort of made her a were wolf, which broke a lot of rules.  Yep, just a normal day.  While Tessa and her sexy wolfy mate Dastien prepare for the Tribunal, yeah biting someone to make them a wolf is a big no no.  Made worse by the fact that she is part witch and the coven isn't very happy they took one of theirs, even if she had never met them.  That issue is set aside when Tessa's best friend Meredith starts to get sick, she had been cursed by the coven years ago but now her wolf is awake and its making her sick.  She doesn't have long.  Tessa is determined to find a way to help her best friend, even willing to deal with things she doesn't quite understand and make a deal with the devil. 

                This book had all the things that made me fall in love with the first book.  The connection between Tessa and Dastien is steamy, yowza.  I like all the different characters and the way the pack interacts, it's not based on age or experience but on power which is an interesting dynamic.  Being there as Tessa struggles with the possibility of losing her first real friend was heart breaking.  I read this book start to finish in a couple of hours.  It was shorter than the first book, and now that I type the review I see it listed as a novella on Goodreads, so that probably explains it.  Either way this is a great addition to the series and you won't be able to put it down.  I easily give this book 5 Stars!  Don't forget to check out both books, Avoiding Alpha comes out tomorrow Tuesday May 13th.  Also heads up book 3 Alpha Divided is already available for pre-order on Amazon and comes out October 14th, which as far as most books go that is a short wait period. 

                Now I mentioned above I had 2 books approved to be released the same day.  The other is Scala book 2 in the Angelbound series by Christina Bauer.  That review is coming up tomorrow to check back soon.  In the comments please share your thoughts.  What do you think about this series, or about werewolves in general?  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Seeress by Ednah Walters

                Okay so as you guys will remember, it was only last week that I reviewed Grimnirs Book 2.5 in the Runes series by Ednah Walters.  Now Seeress Book 3 was released April 28th.  I ordered it that same day and read it pretty quickly but the last few days have been pretty swamped. 

                Anyways I am excited to share my thoughts on Seeress.  Be warned though this review will contain spoilers from the previous 3 books so read on at your own risk. 

                In this book we go back to Raine, where in Grimnirs we got a switch to Cora's POV and I admit I was curious if that would continue or even a swap back and forth kind of deal.  No we stick with Raine which I don't mind at all, but I do hope to get more of Cora's POV in the future knowing how much I enjoyed it.  Where was I?  Oh yes I was back with Raine Cooper who is a complicated girl who is pretty much sure of a few things in life, that she loves Torin (then again who wouldn't), and she is a powerful seeress, even if she doesn't know what that means yet.  She is still training but with things spinning around a mile a minute to say her life is chaotic is an understatement.  Her mother is sequestered, her father is dying, her best friend Erick is in Hel, she's a seeress without visions, then when they come they are all messed up, who's a girl to talk to? 
                What do you do when your visions are so disturbing and they try to make you doubt the only things you are sure of in your crazy world?  She finally finds someone who is able to help clear things up but Torin forbids her from seeing them.  Can their love survive without answers or trust?

                Now as with the rest of the books we have the characters we've come to love.  Raine is still the girl we met in the first book but she has grown with the series thus far, I mean she kind of had to with everything she'd been through.  It feels like a natural development.  She is still confused and unsure of so many things, and I find that refreshing.  Having power and knowing how and when to use it are very different things.  Then there is her relationship with Torin.  If you remember I wrote how much I loved his dark tortured soul.  He is horribly flawed but still good.  He's a good guy but he's kind of an ass.  He does things, all be it for the right reasons, but he is a jerk about it.  He is overpowering, manipulative, and dominating, all of which could have turned me completely off from him as a character if it wasn't balanced with his sweet heart and his clear cut reasons why he thought it was the best solution.  This could have also turned me away from Raine, giving into someone who is going to demand you do as they say, not hot.  Raine calls him on his crap.  She fights back but she also knows when to pick her battles.  And I give her credit, she gets upset but she isn't as rash as I might be.  I'm just saying, someone tells me they won't allow me to do something, that just makes me want to do it all the more and probably will just to prove no one allows me to do anything.  Yeah, I'm working on my own issues of adjusting/compromising.

                We also get to see more into the world of the others.  The Valkyries have been around for a long time, some coming from different areas and different reigns.  We got a bit more depth and back story into some of the others which I liked.  Also we learn more about our the other types of magic can exist in this world with everything else.  I liked learning about the witches also, a whole other community.  I also enjoy that even as they are preparing and dealing with so much major stuff they still deal with the normal teenage things that help ground them, TV marathons, sleepovers, double dates, high school gossip and an after school job.  What can be more grounding than something simple.

                Overall I really liked the newest book in the series and can't wait for me, keeping fingers crossed for more from Cora's POV also.  There is so much brewing all waiting for Ragnarök and I can see many more juicy stories coming out of this before the end. 

Rating:  5 Artavo

                Keeping with my productivity, I have a few more ARC's that I'm excited about.  Two of which come out on the same day, and I only got them 6 days in advance, so the review won't be too advanced haha.  I have finished 1, Avoiding Alpha, by Aileen Erin sequel to Becoming Alpha which I previously reviewed here.  Also don't forget to scroll back, my authorinterview with Colette Ballard and giveaway is still up until Saturday so get your entries in. 

                Also as a side note, I was recently having problems with the comments, people commenting but they never show up.  I contacted tech support and they have advised it was the way the comment field was set up, I had the default used for display and only made adjustments to let everyone post without having to have an account because that can scare people away and I don't want that!  So if you were one of the people who tried to post and it didn't show up, I'm sorry I missed it and I think everything is back in order now! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Author Interview with Colette Ballard and Giveaway!!!

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
                Today is another exciting day for me as a reader.  I get to host an author interview for a book I loved, what can be better.  I mean aside from instantly becoming a billionaire who could quit my job and devote as much time as one wanted to reading, writing, baking, etc…so until then my next best thing.   I got to interview Colette Ballard who wrote Running on Empty and is getting ready to celebrate the release of the paperback version, May 6th (that's in 2 days people).  So enjoy and don't forget to pick up your copy.

How would you describe Running on Empty in your own words?
                When River kills her boyfriend in self-defense she must leave everything behind—including the boy she'd do anything to protect. 

Simple and intriguing, I love it.  Did you have a particular source of inspiration for this story?
                Just an insane love for my characters and a desire to write this story.

Amazon / B&N / BAM
Your book has been out for a while and the paperback version is getting ready to come out.  Has being published changed anything for you?
                Yes, it came out digitally at the end of November 2013.  Print comes out May 6th.
                I find it a challenge balancing social media type promo and all things dealing with ROE, while simultaneously carving out time and staying focused on writing the next book.

Running on Empty takes place in a small judgmental town, where its pretty much who you are or who you're close to.  I have lived in an area much like what is described, and ironically worked for law enforcement on the civilian level, and feel it was captured particularly well.  Did you grow up in a small town where people had an opinion about you before they even met you?
                I did grow up in a small town and it's true that news travels fast.  But I think that no matter where you live people often judge each other before they really know them—whether it's by the clothes you wear, the vehicle you drive, or the company you keep.  I think in a small town, people just know your name and face more often so the judgments are perhaps quicker.  That said, after moving a few times I moved back to the same small town I grew up in so obviously it works for me.  J

True, I can see that now and I didn’t get to far away myself, not yet.  For me the strongest thing in this story is friendship.  Two best girl friends who go on the run to save their friend.  Sure they weren't leaving the lap of luxury but there is a solidarity there.  Do you have any people you would go on the run for/with?  Or who you think would do the same for you?
                Now that I have kids, I think my answer would be different because I wouldn’t leave them to go on the run with a friend.  But pre-kids probably.  I am very fortunate enough to have a few amazing friends I know I could rely on in a crisis and who know they could rely on me.

Oh yes well kids would change things, but its good to know you have those kinds of friends.  And if you did go on the run, what charge would it be? 
                Ummm…I'm not really planning on breaking the lay anything soon.  But if anything changes, I'd probably keep that one to myself. ;)

Oh yes, I would plead the 5th too ;)  Speaking of the relationships in this story.  There was a good balance of healthy relationships and then the clearly not so healthy ones.  What are your thoughts on what makes people get in/stay in unhealthy and destructive relationships?  
                I'd say the bottom line is lack of self-esteem.  Often, I believe, the manipulator senses that and it's how they're able to get away with things.  Manipulators are smart enough to offer that person something they're not getting anywhere else—or at least the appearance of it anyway.
                In River's case, she didn't feel loved and she craved what she thought was Logan's attention and love.

I already mentioned that friendship is a major part of what wrapped this book in my heart but there were so many other things in it for me.  The battle to stand up for oneself even when the odds are against you, who doesn't love a good underdog story, or is power and money more powerful than truth and justice to name a few.  What do you want readers to take away from this beautifully written story?
                That there's home in every situation.
                That true friends will stick with you through the good and bad.
                That sometimes you have to learn to give yourself what no one else can—unconditional love.

I can see each of those things shining through in the story with so many more little things as well.  For me I love a good story, but it has to have characters I invest in, like River, to enjoy.  What came first for you?  Was it the idea of the story itself or with a character and the story flowed from there?
                Cliché as it sounds, this story started with a very vivid dream where three teenage girls were running away.  It was so intense I couldn't stop thinking about what would possibly cause young girls to make such a dramatic decision.  I came up with the answer fairly quickly and then began to build the story and characters around it simultaneously.

I can't say anything there my dreams are beyond crazy and sometimes I can't help but wake up and think, wow I have to write this down it would make an amazing story.  Dreams are the imaginations playground.  Speaking of characters…if Running on Empty was being made into a movie and you could cast anyone to play the characters who would you pick to play River, Billi Jo, Kat, and Justice?  And anyone else you want to share ;)
                River:  looks-wise, there's an actress in the Blake Shelton music video, She Wouldn't Be Gone, that I think looks her—especially her amazing Siberian Husky blue eyes. 

                Billi Jo:  I haven't seen a TV personality who reminds he of her yet, but she does look like the picture on the profile cards on my blog.

                 Kat:  Megan Fox reminds me of her—she has her figure and green cat eyes.

                Justice:  looks similar to the adorable actor on George Strait's video, The Seashores of Old Mexico.  Except Justice is a little taller and lankier.  He also reminds me of the actor on Smallville.

                Charlie:  Robert Duvall has always been in my head for him.  He's one of my favorite actors of all time!              

           River's fake dad, Jack:  Sam Elliot I a dead ringer from him (the way he looks and acts in the movie, Prancer.)

What type of books do you enjoy reading?  Favorite author, series, or genre?
                I love to read YA, but also contemporary adult fiction, romantic, suspense, even historical.
                My favorite author is S.E. Hinton.  She writes the most amazing characters and voices!  The Outsiders is my favorite book of all time.
                I also love Katie McGarry's books, John Green, Trish Doller, Simone Elkeles…many more.  I'm a character person and these authors do a fabulous job making their characters come alive!

I'll have to look them up, my TBR list just expanded.  Do you have any new books kicking around in your head waiting to be written and shared with the world?
                Always!  I'm excited to say that I'm writing Kat's story and am loving it.  She is such a tough, complex character, so it's lots of fun.

Glad to hear and I can't wait to read Kat's story.  I will have to keep updated on this so I can stay on top of it.  Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview and I am anxiously awaiting ordering my physical copy of Running on Empty Tuesday May 6th.

Great questions!  Thank you so much for having me on your blog today—I really appreciate it!  J

Now to all of my readers, would you like your very own copy of Running on Empty to read?  I am hosting my very first book giveaway!  In honor of the paperback release that is the format I plan to deliver to the winner,  and me being me some baked deliciousness.   How do you enter this giveaway, well that is simple, below is the nifty little do-dad from Rafflecopter.  There are more than one way to get entries so do as many as you can/want before the close date.  As the release of the paperback doesn't come out until Tuesday May 6th, and I want people to have plenty of time to check this out, I'm leaving it up and open until next Sunday (Mothers Day).  

a Rafflecopter giveaway