Friday, October 15, 2010

Awesome contest held at HP Mallory's blog (Become a character!)

So, the wonderful author HP Mallory emailed me yesterday asking if I would like to promote her new contest - a chance to be a featured character in her upcoming release "Toil and Trouble." Well HECK YEAH! I think this is an awesome idea, and you better bet I will be entering this as well! Want to know the details? Here we go..

Already, we know the character is:
~ Integral to the storyline
~ Mentioned in book one, "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble"
~ AND will play a part in ALL the future books in the Jolie Wilkins series!

Want to know what all the winner will receive?
- A written part in "Toil and Trouble" and all the rest of the future Jolie Wilkins series
- The ability to read "Toil and Trouble" before it's released to the public
- Added to the acknowledgements page of "Toil and Trouble"
- Intreviewed on the author's blog
- A signed (with dedication) paperback copy of "Toil and Trouble"
- A signed paperback copy of "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble" and "To Kill a Warlock" - the other two books by HP Mallory!

GO ENTER NOW! There are some ways to get bonus entries, so make sure you check them out. So go HERE to enter. Contest open until October 30!

Want to read the first book in the series so you know what your possible future character is getting up to? Buy the first book, "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble" at the author's Smashwords page here.

Have a great weekend!
~!~ MG

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review of "Sweethearts" by Sara Zarr

SweetheartsRecently, I read an awesome post on Forever Young Adult about their all time favorite YA couples. So what am I doing now? Working my way down the list... because those gals know what the heck they're talking about! This post will also be the first post I add my "Why?" section.. which will just tell you all why I decided to read the book I'm reviewing. Because.. well, because I can.

Disclaimer: This book is a "library loot" item. I did not purchase this book, nor was I given it or any monetary incentive for a good review. But I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means click my linky, and I get a prize (aka.. a penny).

Type: YA Fiction, Old sweethearts, Childhood trauma, Finding yourself, Finding people you thought you lost

Why this book?: Because the FYA-ers said it was awesome, and I'm working my way through their Best YA Couples of All Time list

About the book: When Jennifer Harris was nine years old, she had a best (and only) friend - Cameron Quick. They were the Outcasts, the poor kids everyone else in school made fun of, but it didn't matter because they had each other. And they shared something more - a traumatic experience they couldn't tell anyone about. Shortly after that horrible day, Cameron disappeared, leaving her all alone. The other kids told her he died, and from that day on, she knew Jennifer Harris had to die with him. Now Jennifer is 17, and she goes by Jenna Vaughn, a new girl in a new school. But it's her birthday, and there's a birthday card in the mailbox from someone she thought was dead - Cameron is back.

I immediately regretted starting this book before I had to go to work. I should have waited until I got home, because I couldn't stop thinking about it. It had me hooked from page one, and I couldn't stand not knowing what was going to happen. Part of that is because we only get bits and pieces of that traumatic day Jenna and Cameron shared when they were nine. We get a little bit more of it every couple chapters, and after every bit of that memory, I was practically shaking, worried what was going to happen next, and afraid for Jenna and Cameron. After rushing home and finishing it, I tried to explain to others my thoughts on this book, and all I could say was "It made me feel." I had to wait until now to try and review it, or talk about it.. just to give myself time to think it over.

I ached for Jenna, having lost her best friend so young. And then suddenly he's back, the same as he was, but she's not the person she used to be. After Cameron "died," she buried her old self and her memories as well, and completely changed who she was, but the old Jennifer is still there, and as the story progresses, you get to see more of who she really is, and how she's changing. And as Cameron comes back into her life, she starts to lose her Jenna Vaughn persona, and the life that goes with it. Jenna Vaughn had everything Jennifer Harris never did - except Cameron. And maybe he was the most important thing of all.

I loved the character interaction, the way these two had to grow up both apart and now that they're together. I absolutely loved this book, and I think that the author, Sara Zarr, cannot be complimented enough. I was a nervous wreck while reading this book, emotionally distraught the whole time.. and I know that's exactly how Jenna had to feel. It's been a while since I've felt such true worry or hurt while reading a book, and Zarr pulled it off perfectly.

As for the ending.. It's not the ending I expected, and maybe it's not the ending the reader wants, but it felt right. I was honestly worried as I neared the end that I wouldn't get an ending that would satisfy me, but Zarr came through. In a way, I thought it was an incredibly beautiful way to finish the story, though I'll always be a little bit upset at how everything and everyone turned out in the end.

So for a rating, I'm giving this book a FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). This book is going on my keeper shelf, I'm telling everyone I know that they simply MUST read it, and I know this will be a re-read over and over for me. As soon as I get over how it made me feel, anyways.

Have you read it? Share your thoughts in the comments. Want to read it? Get it from via the link on the left.

Until next time,
~!~ MG

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Whatcha Got Wednesday?

It's time for another edition of Whatcha Got Wednesday!

First up, from the library:
"Sweethearts" by Sara Zarr. That's the book on the left.. sorry for the glare, who knew my light was so bright?

"The Lost Hero" by Rick Riordan
"Betrayed" by PC and Kristin Cast (Slowly buying up the whole series)
"Kiss of Death" by Rachel Caine

And last but definitely not least, For Review:
"No Rest for the Wicca" by T.C. LoTempio

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of "Night's Darkest Embrace" by Jeaniene Frost (Anth)

Haunted by Your TouchThis story, "Night's Darkest Embrace," is the first story in an anthology by three awesome authors - Jeaniene Frost, Shayla Black, and Sharie Kohler. I plan to review each story while we wait for this awesome book to be released on October 26th!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from one of the authors via a contest on a blog she contributes to. And I'm an Amazon Affiliate which means if you purchase the book from one of my links I get an eensy percentage.

Type: Paranormal Romance, Anthology, Different Dimensions, Demons

About the book: Mara is a partial demon, which allows her to enter another dimension - Nocturna. She keeps returning in hopes of finding her cousin Gloria, or at the very least - kill the demon that kidnapped and killed her. At least that's part of the reason - Raphael is the other. Ever since he saved her that night years ago, she can't get him out of her mind. But despite being attracted to him, she knows he's not telling the truth, so it's up to Mara to figure it out for herself, and maybe find out of Rafe is one of the bad guys after all.

As for my thoughts, I can definitely see some parallels between Mara and Cat from Frost's Night Huntress series. Of course, I love love love that series, so it's not like that's a problem. Mara is driven and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goal, even better if she can enjoy herself along the way. I would have liked to known if she had any more special powers, being a "partial," but I can see how time and space constraints might lend to leaving that sort of thing out, especially when they're aren't necessarily important to the plot. And Rafe... well.. woo! I'm not giving anything away (because if I said anything about what/who he is, it would be some major spoilers).. I'll just say he made me very happy, and I want him. In fact, he can drop Mara whenever he wants, I'll take him. Rafe seems like the kind of guy I want watching my back.. and massaging it, and kissing it.. I mean, what?

As for the plot, I really enjoyed it. The story took place mostly in other dimensions, and the description of each one, however brief, left me interested. And it gave me enough to imagine what that place was like. I'd love to see more of this world and these characters, but at the same time, this story was enough for me. Usually I dislike short stories or novellas because I think they're too short, and therefore lack all the character development or world building that I thrive on, but this story left me feeling sated in those departments. I just want more because I want more of Rafe. -Wink-

I'm going to give "Night's Darkest Embrace" by Jeaniene Frost, story one in the Haunted By Your Touch antholoy, a FOUR out of FIVE (4/5). I liked the story, I loved the characters, and I'd definitely recommend it to others.

Stay tuned as I read and review the other stories in the antholoy, "Mated" by Shayla Black, and "Darkest Tempation" by Sharie Kohler! And make sure to pick up your copy of "Haunted By Your Touch" on October 26th.

Happy Reading! 
~!~ MG ~!~

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review of "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins (OMG awesome!)

The Hunger Games: Book 1 Everyone told me I just HAD to read these. But after the mess that was "Twilight" I prefer to shy away from too many of the big deal YA series. But.. I gave in. And the result ... OMG HUNGER GAMES!!!

Disclaimer: This book is borrowed from my, the reviewer's, local library. I did not receive this book nor any monetary incentive for a positive review. However I am an Amazon Affiliate, so purchase of this book or any item through my link will earn me a super duper small percentage.

Type: YA Fiction, Series, Dystopian, Futuristic, Survival, Fighting to the Death, Peeta v Gale, Teens doing amazing things, Dang Government - You Scary

From the book jacket: "  In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to starting making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.  "

I'm not sure this is going to be a review so much as a gush of everything I liked about the book, focusing on key points to keep it somewhat organized. That, and a call to everyone that has read it to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE comment and talk to me about it. I don't think I can go on without people to talk to about teh awesomeness. I got the first book from the library a short while ago, and after talking to a patron about it, she mentioned I better have the second book on hand or I wouldn't be able to stand it. So I took her advice and placed a hold on the second book. I was amazed when it came in so quickly. Unfortunately, I am number sixty something on the list for the third one, so I might just buy it.. even though I hear it is quite disappointing. We'll see.

Maybe it's because I've recently read a book where flashbacks were handled poorly, that one of the things that stuck out to me about "The Hunger Games" was how smooth and perfect the flashbacks were. I didn't feel the least bit awkward or pulled out of the story when Katniss described her life at home, or thought about going hunting with Gale. It was practically seamless. You know, so seamless that I noticed and had to call attention to it. Heh.

There's a reason I love Young Adult fiction featuring epic battles. There's something so heartbreaking and heartwrenching about a teenager, or a child, fighting for their lives. It's what made me fall in love with the Chronicles of Narnia series, and why the epic battle in the second movie is my favorite part. And "The Hunger Games" is just like that. We have Katniss, who thinks she isn't good enough to survive, who just volunteered to save her little sister, but has the drive and hopefully the skills to make it in the arena. This sort of challenge would be bad enough, but there are contestants that have been training their whole life for this, showing a distinct advantage.

I'd love to say more and go into more details, but I don't want to give anything away to anyone interested in getting started in this series. But if anyone wants to email/comment/etc to chat about the book, please do! I'll be reading the rest in the series as soon as I can get my hands on them. Well, I have book two, but I need to find book three, since I'm number sixty something on the list for it at work, eek.

It should come as no surprise that my final rating for "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins is a FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). What a wonderful book. I was glued to my seat almost the entire time, and I cannot WAIT to start reading the rest. I will probably post on here as I finish each book, so please feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Want to give "The Hunger Games" a shot? YOU SHOULD. Buy it now from! C'mon, it's in paperback and pretty darned cheap. You know you want to! I can't wait to go out and get a copy of my very own. And I will hug it, and squeeze it, and call it Squishy.

Until next time, happy reading!
~!~ Amanda/ Morning Glow