Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The 'ol Switcheroo

I'm not gonna lie, when I read I pretend I'm the main character. I love it when the writing is so good I actually feel like I'm in the their place. Here are some characters I wish I could trade places with--at least for 24 hrs!

Why? Jane from Austenland gets to dress up! Hello!! She also gets to kiss Mr. Nobley and I'm still dreaming about him. 

Why? Anna from Anna and the French Kiss gets to live in Paris. Paris people! What more do you want?! OK then, she gets Ettiene too!

Why Tessa from Clockwork Angel? Let me think...Victorian dresses, hot boys, and a secret power! I'm so game!! 

Why? Ella from Ella Enchanted is the new Cinderella. This is a fairytale to rival the best! I wouldn't mind being her. She also gets the prince. Every girls dream!

Why? Alexandra from The Gable Faces East is probably the one person I'd trade lives with. Period. If I could live in this book forever, then I'd do it! 

Why? Oh come on! Don't tell me you haven't wanted to go to Hogwarts. I personally want to eat myself silly on all the goodies. Maybe take a ride or two on a broomstick and I wouldn't mind using Dumbledore's Pensive to weed out some of my thoughts before I leave. 

Why? Marian from Marian's Christmas Wish gets herself into so many crazy situations! She also falls in love with an English Lord. Yes please. I'll take one of those. This was a great Christmas story and I can't wait to read it again this season. 

Why? Pepper Spicer from Not My Type has probably the coolest name I've ever heard. I also love her job and Tanner keeps her on her toes. I think we all need somebody like that. This is such a me book!

Why? Belly from The Summer I Turned Pretty has friends with a beach house. Need I say more? 

Why? Jillian from The Widower's Wife lives in my favorite time period and place. I love this love story so much. I'd want to switch places with her for more than 24 hrs!

*I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.
*Click on the picture for my review!

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Newsstand:: Pirated Books, Typewriters and a Kindle Reading Marathon!

Here we dish on news, up and coming books, tidbits,  and important things bookies should know. Check out what you can glean from this week. 
{Bookish News}
{In Case You Missed It}

*Click on pictures for Goodreads Summary

{Coming Soon}

*Click on pictures for Goodreads Summary

Got any bookish news for us this week? Share in the comments below!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Discussion:: Self Published Books

I've always had strong views--against self publishing. I know I'm not alone. I thought that authors only self published their books because they couldn't get published traditionally. I thought their work wasn't edited, polished, or professional. I thought the books weren't published for a reason. And I'd never read one. Call me a hypocrite. It's OK. I was one.

Then something happened. I read What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn. I'm not going to lie, I was pleasantly surprised. I was not expecting the story to be so good. The book actually knocked me off my feet. I have actually read several self published books now. I bet you have as well, you just haven't noticed who the publisher was on that book you 1-clicked on Amazon. So, now I have different views on self publishing and I'm going to share them. 

Let's get started shall we:: 

01.  I'm really surprised by the originality in self published books. They are way ahead of the mark. If you find yourself in a reading rut, I'd seriously encourage you to pick up a self published title. Get yourself out of the norm. The story lines can be fresh and enjoyable. If you're looking for something different self published books are a good way to go.

02.  I still think self published titles are unedited and unpolished. Not all, I'm sure. But overall. Yes, it is true, these are my feelings. Even when they don't have a ton of grammatical errors, they aren't as polished as I'd like. You can tell they were written quickly. I think it is important to take the time to write well. Not just throw something together. Even if you can write 60,000 words in 2 months doesn't mean it is ready for publication then. Sending it out to more than just friends and family to "edit" would be my first call. Fresh eyes could really see inconsistencies and help with plot development. In my opinion. But it doesn't mean that the storyline still isn't good.

03.  They are shorter. That's a simple thought I know, but they are! This can be a good thing. Sometimes I like to sit and read a book in one sitting. I know that I can do that with a self published title. Quick and to the point.

04.  The covers are getting better and better. I bet I could put a few self published titles up here mixed with traditionally published covers and you'd be hard pressed to know the difference. Covers are really important and especially when browsing Amazon I look at covers way more than I read they synopsis.

05.  Author Jolene Perry shed some light on why she is self publishing some titles. She already has some traditionally published books and she has just self published a batch of books. I think spreading out your work in different areas is a good thing. There are benefits to it I think.

If you've never read anything self published, then try these--my personal recommendations. I personally feel these are some of the best self published titles out there. I would swear they were pubbed by the Big 6. I hope you like them! Open your eyes a bit and try something new. You might be impressed!

Do you have any thoughts on Self Published titles? Any favorites? 

Friday, 27 July 2012

Christy's Review:: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

Christy’s Review: On the Island
By: Tracey Garvis Graves

Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that's going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring a sixteen-year-old T.J..

T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year.

Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan's summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives' twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they're stranded on an uninhabited island.

At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Christy’s Review:
I am really torn about this book. On the one hand, I loved it. It was a very well thought out, well written story about a very difficult situation. What happened on the island was realistic in most aspects. (Maybe a smidge optimistic on the supplies available post-shipwreck.) It is a story about a teenage boy and a thirty-something woman who are stranded on an island when the small passenger plane they’re riding in crashes. (Spoiler alert: Stop reading now if you don’t want any hints about what happens in the long-run) The pace was great. I really liked coming back home with the two shipwreck-ees and seeing their transition into society and the way their relationship changed once they arrived home. Kudos to the author for not lingering on the island for longer than necessary. Bravo on tackling a touchy subject – that of the relationship between a thirty-something Woman and a late-teen male.

Now, what I didn’t like was that sometimes the storyline was very (completely) sexually-based. That said, do I think it was realistic? Yes. And I appreciate that the author wrote things in a way that fulfilled the letter of the laws of the land. But, coming from a strict, religious background, I don’t like the immorality of the situation in any way, shape or form. But the point is that we aren’t always dealt with situations that we’re comfortable with. Sure, there are seven ways to Sunday that we could all spend debating the morality of this book. Overall: well-done. Tough situation to tackle. Well written. Good read. On a personal note: I won’t be reading it again.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Review:: Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Clair

Don't You Wish by Roxanne St.Clair
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368

A special Thank you to Delacorte Press for sending this book to review.

When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she's Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she's the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school. 

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.

But on the insde, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she's offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn't as simple as you think.

Morgan's Review {age 14}:
I love this book it is called Don’t You Wish, it is so relatable.  I have read so many books where I feel close to the main character but, this book took it to a whole new level. I have read it twice and I am still not over it, I can’t wait to read it again. This book made me extremely thankful to be me. Great book, absolutely made it on the favorite list but, I have to say thats a really long list. So get out there and READ IT!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Teaser:: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

I'm a lover of the classics. I saw North and South several years ago and I was...ah-mazed. I mean Holy Hotness Mr. Thornton! Be still my heart. Ever since I have been obsessed with Elizabeth Gaskell. I've yet to read Cranford, but I did see the film. SO good! I mean, Judy Dench is in it. How can it not be good if she's in it?! It is actually very funny. Several laughable parts! I just downloaded this classic on my Kindle and I can't wait to get started.

“Out of the way! We are in the throes of an exceptional emergency! This is no occassion for sport- there is lace at stake!"


“Miss Jenkyns wore a cravat, and a little bonnet like a jockey-cap, and altogether had the appearance of a strong-minded woman; although she would have despised the modern idea of women being equal to men. Equal, indeed! She knew they were superior.” 

*I'm participating in Teaser Tuesday at Should Be Reading 

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Newsstand:: Drama, How to Read a Book in Bed and Oh Mr. Darcy!

Here we dish on news, up and coming books, tidbits,  and important things bookies should know. Check out what you can glean from this week.

{Book Blogger Drama}

There is so much drama going on in the book blogosphere lately, it is ridiculous. I usually try to just stay out of it but when it is contaminating my Twitter feed I know it's bad. Here is just some of what's going around.
{Bookish News}

{My NetGalley Picks}

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Assassin's Curse
By: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Review by: CHRISTY

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. And when Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn't really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together. To break the curse, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks-all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic, and the growing romantic tension between them.

Christy's Review:
If you don't like YA fiction/fantasy, don't buy this book. But if you do, why haven't you already bought this book? Go! Go now!Run to the bookstore or the Kindle store or Nook Book store and snatch up your copy!

This is the best YA FIction/Fantasy I've read in ages. I was hooked from page one. I couldn't put this gem down and I was just flummoxed when I finished it - because I couldn't imagine even trying to pick up and read another book after The Assassin's Curse – I'd just be let down. This book had it all! A great, spitfire heroine, budding romance, great character development and a vibrant fantasy world so full of life that I felt I was experiencing each new place along with the characters. The Assassin's Curse recalls all the spunky determination of Elizabeth Swan in The Pirates of the Caribbean mixed in with a bit of soulful fantasy reminiscent of the Narnia series, add to that the makings of a great romance, and a whole lot of fun.   

Beware, budding YA Fantasy writers, Cassandra Rose Clarke has set the bar high, very high.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

If You Liked Wings by Aprilynne Pike...

If you like Wings by Aprilynne Pike then you have good taste. Haha! Seriously. You're my home girl if you like this book.I still remember the first time I saw it on the shelf. I picked it up to just read a few pages and ended up reading half the book there in the shop. If you are looking for something similar, let me share with you the goods. I hope you'll enjoy them!

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful - too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

*Click on the pictures to read my review!
**I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Discussion:: Should Book Bloggers Get Paid For Their Reviews?

This morning author Michelle Gorman of Misfortune Cookie wrote about an experience she had with ChicLit Girls when she asked if they would review her book. They responded with a letter stating a good review would cost $95.00. This is where the drama begins. If you want to read the emails exchanged, I suggest you check out Michelle's blog

Let's weigh in on the subject at hand--should they be paid for their reviews? ChicLit Girls stated that Kirkus charges for their reviews. Which they do, $425-$575 per review. I find that steep, but not unreasonable. They are professionals. Once the book has been reviewed, the author has the right to do with it what they want--publish it on the site or not. The question is not if Kirukus should be charging but if book bloggers should charge for their reviews?

What say you?

We'd all love to be paid for doing what we love. I love to read and if somebody paid me to do it I would feel I hit the jackpot. I understand that these book bloggers are just trying to get paid for doing what they love, but I'm not sure I would categorize them as book bloggers any longer if they were receiving monetary compensation for reviews. Book bloggers work countless hours {for free} to promote books. We don't have the kind of monetary sponsors the rest of the blogging world does. We are lucky if we get free books. What I find shady is that they are stating that they will provide a good review for the price of $95.00. That doesn't sound like an honest review to me. Heck, I only accept books for review I think will knock my feet off! Don't we all do that? But, we're not guaranteeing a good review before we've read the book. They should also be clearly stating on each subsequent review {and their website} if they were paid for their opinion. All in the name of full disclosure. I'd like to know which books paid for a review, but I'd be hard pressed to find it honest. I don't know if I could trust it.

But why aren't we charging for our reviews? Wouldn't you like to be paid for your hard work? I'm not charging because I do not personally have the credentials to do it. I don't feel that book bloggers hold that kind of klout in the industry. Most authors and publisher's aren't even sure how to deal with book bloggers. They are trying to figure out how we fit into the marketing plan. I book blog because I love reading. I love talking about good books. I don't want to be the kind of person that only talks about books that I've been paid to talk about. A marketing tool to be used however author's and publisher's want. I don't feel I would be able to give unbiased opinions on books if I was being paid per review. I do find ethics come in to question when one guarantee's a good review, for a fee, without having read the book. Readers want honesty. I know I do. 

Do you think Book Bloggers should be paid for their reviews? Let's get a good discussion going. 

Blog Tour: Shackled by Angela Carling

Shackled by Angela Carling
Publisher: Acacia Publishing
Pages: 204

A special Thank you to Acacia Publishing for sending me this book to review.

After shy, quiet Lucy and her family move from their small hometown in Minnesota to Seattle, Washington, she is surprised when Ryan, the most popular boy at school asks her out. Soon, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance and her na├»ve and trusting nature allows her to fall head over heels in love with her too-good-to-be suitor. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself enraptured by the excitement of her new relationship, leaving her blinded to the warning signs of danger ahead. Can her fairy tale romance last, or will she find that her prince charming is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Let me first say that for some reason I kept thinking there would be a paranormal aspect to this book. Without that it would be an abuse story. Having been through an abusive childhood, if I'd know it, I wouldn't have read it at all. I don't like to think about it. I feel the summary should mention something about that. 

Lucy is likeable enough. But, I didn't feel that bond I usually get with a character. I wanted to know her more. The story is mainly told through her point of view except for a few chapters in Ryan's and Mason's. I didn't like this. If it is Lucy's abuse story then it should be told through her. We wouldn't have "seen" it coming in the same way and I felt it diminished her internal struggle. I really didn't feel her connection with Ryan either. Without that she'd never have been abused. It is all about the connection and what you let the person you love get away with. 

I didn't like Ryan. At all. I mean he's the abuser, but I felt his method's of abuse in the beginning not realistic at all. What I know of abuse and my experience, he didn't "fit the profile" in many ways. It felt like he'd turn into some paranormal being instead of turning into an abuser. It would have fit the story better! He didn't sit well with me. 

I really liked Mason and I wanted to have him more in the story. It called for it. Period. He should have also been more forthcoming on Ryan's true character. 

I'm not going to say I didn't like it, but it is a hard subject matter. I was eagerly reading in the beginning just trying to find out what this story was actually about. Having been through abuse this isn't my favorite thing to read about. It didn't feel realistic in parts.  If you're looking for something different and a bit deeper than give it a go! 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Mara Daughter of the Nile by Jarvis McGraw

Mara Daughter of the Nile
by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Review by: CHRISTY

Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom. In order to gain it, she finds herself playing the dangerous role of double spy for two arch enemies - each of whom supports a contender for the throne of Egypt.

Christy's Review:
I'm a sucker for historical novels set in ancient Greece and Rome. When a friend handed me this worn, clearly read and re-read book and told me "It's one of my favorites," I was excited to see what she was so excited about. Let's just say that I'll be taking that friend's recommendations on books very seriously from now on! Mara is a quick read with a love story that packs a good little punch. The main character, Mara, a smart, beautiful slave sold into spy craft in the palace is a real firecracker, and her counterpart and love interest, Sheftu, is her equal on every level. I loved the descriptions of life; in the palace, as a slave, in the streets of Egyptian cities under the rule of the Pharaohs. Lovely, fun read that will capture your attention and your heart.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

White Wedding by Milly Johnson

White Wedding by Milly Johnson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Pages: 464
Review by: Catriona

It's the day they've always dreamed about. But will it turn out to be a nightmare ...? Bel is in the midst of planning her perfect wedding when disaster strikes and everything she thought she knew is turned on its head. Can she hold it all together and, with the help of her friends, and a mysterious man she meets unexpectedly, turn disaster into triumph? Bel's friend, ice-cream parlour owner Violet, is engaged to Glyn, who is besotted by her although Violet fell out of love with him long ago. But however trapped she feels in the relationship, she can't quite say the words, 'I don't want to marry you anymore.' Then, just when she's about to give up and resign herself to married life, she finds love in the most surprising of places. Will duty rule her heart or will she allow herself to be swept off her feet? Max was planning a quick registry office do with her fiance Stuart until she sees a TV programme about traveller brides and becomes determined to have the most extravagantly glitzy wedding ever. But in all the excitement has she lost sight of what's really important? Does she want the wedding more than she wants the groom? And as all three friends find the dress of their dreams at the White Wedding bridal shop, its owner, the lovely Freya, guarantees that her gowns will bring them happiness - though maybe not quite in the way they expected ...

Catriona's Review:
I am a huge fan of this author and not just because she’s a fellow Yorkshire rose! Her novels are always full of joyful, real-life women, set in Yorkshire and leave you with that warm and fuzzy feeling, a bit like a roast dinner with good Yorkshire Puddings. I rushed out to buy her latest creation but have only now had the chance to read it, nevertheless I devoured it as quickly as I did her previous reads, mainly because it is just as wonderful as her previous novels.

The story centres around three women who meet whilst dress-shopping for their upcoming weddings. Each of the women receives their own ‘section’ of the book which covers their particular wedding although they do all appear all the way through the book. The setting as usual is rural Yorkshire and the characters travel to places such as Leeds and Haworth.

Each of the women has their own trials and tribulations to overcome during the course of the story and not all of these are related to weddings, and they do so in the usual Milly Johnson heart-warming way. They are strong women who know what they want and it is good to see women like this in a novel, if not unusual when it comes to this particular author. For those readers who are planning their own wedding and looking for something which will sympathise with their cause, this book has that too, covering dress shopping, small weddings, big weddings, receptions and honeymoon, so all readers will be able to find something to entertain them.

This was a lovely read and I enjoyed myself thoroughly from cover to cover. The book does tie up the stories of each of the main characters and finishes with a lovely Charlotte Bronte quote ‘there is no happiness like that of being loved by you fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.’ A great sentiment and very relevant to the storyline of this great novel.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Hilarious Book Titles and Covers

I often like to browse Amazon and will occasionally come across a title or cover that makes me shake my head. What were they thinking?! They are good for a laugh though! I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Probably the funniest is that my mother owns the book Still Stripping After 25 Years by Eleanor Burns.I can't stop laughing!

*I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish
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