Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Infected by Sophie Littlefield

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  I've chosen a book this week that is by an author that I've enjoyed other books by, Sophie Littlefield.  She had a zombie series that I liked, Aftertime, and from the title of this book, I assumed it might be set in the same world, which now that I read the description below, I'm not sure that it is.  I did get to meet the author at BEA this year, unfortunately the book that I got at the time was not my type of book, but I passed it on to someone who I think would enjoy it.

The race-against-the-clock feel of TV’s popular show 24 meets the action-packed romance of the film Run Lola Run. This high-concept teen thriller sends readers on the race of their lives.

Carina’s senior year is spiraling downward. Fast. Both her mother and her uncle, the only two family members she’s ever known, are dead. Their deaths were accidents, unfortunate results of the highly confidential research they performed for a national security organization. Or so she’s been told.

She’s not buying it.

After finding a unique code hidden beneath the stone in a ring her mother left to her, Carina goes straight to the only family she has left: her boyfriend, Tanner.

The people Carina loved kept dangerous secrets. Secrets that make her question the life she’s been living up to now. Her life is on the line, but more importantly, so is Tanner’s. And if she fails? He dies.

Here I am with the author at BEA:
Sophie Littlefield and me

 While you're here, there's still time to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway by clicking on the button below:

And you can clear your shelves of those sequels you've been sitting on by signing up for my September is for Sequels Challenge, which will also have prizes for those who participate.  Just click on the button below to go sign up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cover Characteristics - August 26, 2014 - Bare Feet

Cover Characteristics is hosted at  Sugar and Snark.  Here are the guidelines for how it works if you want to join in:

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit).
You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

I always try to pick books I've already read,  plus, since it is Tuesday, instead of 5 covers, I'm going to do a top 10, in no particular order.

This week's characteristic:  Bare Feet











 While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

And I also have a sign up for a Blog Hop which closes today, and my September is for Sequels Challenge which closes September 15th, for you to sign up for with the buttons below.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Made for Two by Karen Lenfestey

This is an e-novella that I was alerted to for 99 cents on Amazon and it sounded pretty good.  It was about a teacher, who went back home after an issue she had at the inner city school in Chicago where she taught.  She tried to reconnect with her old love while she was there.  They had broken up when she moved to Chicago to teach, because he didn't want to leave.  He wanted to stay and run the family bakery.  Well, she had also been best friends with his sister.  And when Diane goes to the bakery to see Tim, his sister is very hateful and doesn't want her to even talk to him.  It seems that Tim has been in a pretty big almost depression since Diane left.  And he kind of hides out in the back of the bakery.  Diane also is home with her mother, who has been alone since her dad died.  And she finds out that her mom isn't really leaving the house much, even to the point of having her groceries delivered.  So Diane sets out to find the love that her mother lost before her dad, and reconnect them, even as she tries to get Tim back.  All while trying to get her teaching job in Chicago back, even if it might cause problems for her and Tim.

A quick read.  Not bad.  A pretty predictable story, other than one thing that had happened to Tim was not really what I'd expected exactly, but it definitely gave the story its little bit of uniqueness I guess.

While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

The September Sequels Giveaway Blog Hop is open for sign ups for one more day by clicking the left button below, and my September is for Sequels Challenge you still have until September 15th to get signed up for with the button on the right.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon #TackleTBR

This is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and I heard about it from her when she signed up for my 3rd Annual September is for Sequels Challenge.  And really, the two go together perfectly!  The sequels I plan to read will be partly from my TBR shelf, so during the dates of the challenge, September 8th - 20th, I will do my best to read the sequels that are from my TBR shelf as opposed to the ones I got from the library.  Here are the rules:

The Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon begins Monday, September 8th and ends Saturday, September 20th. You do not have to be a blogger to sign up. Just use your Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr instead (the place you're going to post updates on). You just need to be able to leave a link. For signing up, you should create a sign-up post and use that as your link (the URL field) you'll use in the linky below.

Please sign up by using the linky at the end of the this post. You MUST be signed up in the linky to enter any related giveaways and participate in the challenges. You are required to post a sign-up post (with or without goals, we will be posting goals too, but that isn't required as a separate post) and a wrap-up post (at the end of the read-a-thon) to be eligible for the giveaway. Everything else and how you participate is up to you.

You can sign up through September 17th.

You're welcome to participate as much or as little as you'd like. The read-a-thon is to encourage us all to read so that we can tackle those tbr piles, not to cause extra stress. ;) You will see requests for updates, but there are no requirements that you leave an update every day. Daily updates are great, though, to help us all stay motivated and cheer each other on. If you do want to post a daily update, here is a simple template (omit or add things as you like):

(Day of the week)
What I read today:
Today's finished books:
Total number of finished books:
Titles of finished books:

We will be using hashtag #TackleTBR on Twitter for updates and tweets. I'd love for you to include me in your tweets too @TresSherm. This is also a great way to find others participating and give some encouragement.

There will be a giveaway that I will host for all read-a-thon participants. I haven't completely decided on what all will be on there, but I'll know by the time this begins. A little mystery is always good, right? :) You should know that it will at least include a $15 Amazon gift card.

Here are the books I think I am going to read during that time:
  • Asunder by Jodi Meadows
  • The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
  • Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
These are all somewhat thick books, so with only 12 days for this challenge, picking four books is one every three days.  I  think that is probably fair.  

Now if this read-a-thon sounds like something you'd like to join into, you can click the picture at the top and it will take you back to the sign up page.  And if you want, you can click on my link above to go to my September is for Sequels Challenge and sign up for that too.  I'm also co-hosting a Giveaway Hop with I Am a Reader that signs up close this week, click on the button below to go sign up.

And there's one more week to enter the huge giveaway I have for my 5th Blogoversary earlier this month.  Click on the button below for that:

Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

I had seen this book all over other blogs this past year.  And how beautiful is that cover?  So I was very excited to see that the author was going to be at BEA this past summer.  I was lucky enough to get in line and meet her, as well as get an autographed ARC.  I do mean lucky, because really I loved this book.  It is a dystopian novel, and yes, there are many similarities to others already out there, but there are also some very unique bits in it.

The main character is Violet, or at least that is her name until the day of the Auction, when she will be 197 out of 200 girls, with 200 being the best.  And after she is bought, she will no longer have any name, she will just be a surrogate.  In Violet's case, she will be the Surrogate of the House of the Lake.  The House of the Lake is one of the four original founding families of The Jewel.  The Jewel is the center of an island, the wealthiest, most important people live here.  Surrounding them is the Bank, a ring around the Bank is the Smoke where all the factories are.  Around the Smoke is the Farm, well, you can guess that one, and the very outer ring is the Marsh, where Violet comes from.  Surrounding the Marsh is a giant wall that keeps the ocean from coming in and ruining everyone's life.  In this future world the people of the Jewel have become unable to have babies.  And so they search through the lower rings for girls who still are able to do this, as well as ones that have kind of psychic powers, called Auguries. These powers have to do with being able to change the color of things, the shape of things, the size of things.  As well as the final one, which has to do with creating life.  Violet has earned some of the highest scores on these powers.  That is one reason she has such a high number for the auction.  She has been at a type of school before being sent on to the auction.  So should mostly know what to expect.

But once she is purchased, she finds that the woman who she is now a surrogate for, the Duchess of the House of the Lake, does not seem like a very pleasant woman.  Why?  Well, one of the first things she does to Violet is slap her.  The Duchess reasons that if she does that to start with, then hopefully the surrogate will not want a repeat and so will be obedient and not have to deal with that again.  When Violet does things that please the Duchess, she is rewarded.  First with a cello, an instrument that Violet loves to play.  Later it is more freedom to even wander around the house, including the outside, but only with her lady's maid, a mute girl named Annabelle.  She finds Annabelle to become mostly a friend, although there are times Annabelle also is scared of attracting the wrath of the Duchess, and does things that are not so great.  She is unable to even talk to her former friends who are surrogates for other wealthy women, that is forbidden.  She soon learns there is lots of animosity between all the women, all of them are hoping to have a daughter that will be betrothed to the ruler, the Exetor's son, and become the highest link for their family.

Along the way she will learn how to use her powers to communicate secretly with one of her friends.  She will find her first love, in a boy who isn't a possibility, as she has to bear the Duchess's child.  But he does understand her, as he also comes from one of the outside rings, and has come to do what he now does only to save his youngest sister from dying from Black Lung.  She will find an ally in someone else, even though their motives may not be clear at first.  The ending was a total cliffhanger, and I really can't wait to find out what happens next.  As there is a surprise in who she hears the voice of at the end.

A really good story.  Yes, a lot of it is the same in a way as other dystopians, but there is so much that is unique in it that it worked.  Her one ally does remind me a bit of Cinna in The Hunger Games, although I liked Cinna, and I'm not quite sure how much I liked or trusted the one in The Jewel.  I highly recommend this to dystopian lovers like myself.  Great read.  I was able to read all 350-some pages in really about a day and a half, that includes working my high school library job, as well as my part time job at Barnes and Noble.  And on another note, here I am with the author at BEA this past summer:
Amy Ewing and I

While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

And I also have a sign up for a Blog Hop and my September is for Sequels Challenge for you to sign up for with the buttons below.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flashback Friday - August 22nd, 2014

Flashback Friday is hosted by Swoony Boy Podcasts and Fiction Fare, and it is a way to highlight the books that we read a while back, and may not have reviewed.  Here are the instructions:

Pick a book... any book that meets the following criteria: 

1.  Must have been published at least 2 years ago or
2.  Preferably is still in print or available to read

That's it!  Just grab the button and then after you post, link up!!!

Through Violet Eyes (Violet Eyes #1)
By:  Stephen Woodworth
Published:  August 31st, 2004

This is a book that I found while working part time at B. Dalton Bookstore.  And then I really enjoyed the series, although I feel like it ended before it was really finished.  There were four in the series, but I was left kind of hanging, and definitely I think there was more story to tell.  But overall it is a favorite series of mine, one that unfortunately I forget about when I'm suggesting books to others.  Below I've shared the cover and the synopsis from Goodreads.

In a world where the dead can testify against the living, someone is getting away with murder. Because to every generation are born a select few souls with violet-colored eyes, and the ability to channel the dead. Both rare and precious—and rigidly controlled by a society that craves their services—these Violets perform a number of different duties. The most fortunate increase the world's cultural heritage by channeling the still-creative spirits of famous dead artists and musicians. The least fortunate aid the police and the law courts, catching criminals by interviewing the deceased victims of violent crime.

But now the Violets themselves have become the target of a brutal serial murderer—a murderer who had learned how to mask his or her identity even from the victims. Can the FBI, aided by a Violet so scared of death that she is afraid to live, uncover the criminal in time? Or must more of her race be dispatched to the realm that has haunted them all since childhood? 

While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

And I also have a sign up for a Blog Hop and my September is for Sequels Challenge for you to sign up for with the buttons below.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

First thanks to Egmont USA Publishing and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this book.  I have to say though that this was the 2nd book in a row that just didn't really catch and grab me as I read it.  The idea behind it was intriguing, so I finished it because it wasn't horrible, it just wasn't as good as it probably could have been.  Lots of things that didn't really get explained too well, and honestly, kind of boring, making it take me longer than it should have to finish it.

There have been a lot of retellings lately, most of them have been really good.  I thought the idea of this "retelling" or kind of alternate story about Edgar Allan Poe and his famous poem/story about Annabel Lee would be very unique.  And it was more than a retelling of that really.  It also included another classic story, but I don't want to give the story away by saying what it is here.  I  kind of guessed it as I first started, but wasn't sure exactly what was going on till closer to the end.

As I said, the main character is Annabel Lee and when her mother dies she travels to Philadelphia to live with her father and grandfather, neither of which she's met before.  She comes from Siam, and so the "big city" is so much different for her.  She is interested in medicine, after her mother taught her all about healing remedies.  But her father is a stickler for what is "proper".  And so tells her, no forbids her, to continue her interest in it.  He hires a tutor to teach her all the ways she should behave as a wealthy lady, and also to teach her languages like French.  The tutor seems to have a bad relationship with her father though.  And actually, her father isn't very likeable, he's very rude and hateful it seems to his daughter.  Her grandfather, or "Grandpere" is a much more loving person for her to come live with.  She also forms a friendship with Maddie, who is a maid, and also becomes her personal maid for dressing and such.  Her father has an assistant named Allan Poe.  He meets her at the dock when she arrives on the ship.  There is something about him that she finds very interesting, and he seems to be attracted to her as well.  He is a very polite gentleman, although he won't tell her what her father does in his laboratory in the basement of their house.  Annabel Lee arrives in Philadelphia to the news of a murder.  It seems there is a murderer at loose in the city.  There are many sinister characters around the house as well.  A new guard hired to walk around the estate at night to keep it safe.  And at night Annabel Lee runs into another of her father's assistants.  He is Allan's "cousin", and he is named Edgar Poe. Of course the murders soon seem to have a connection to her father, and so of course her curious mind leads her to kind of question things, and occasionally try to figure things out.

I don't feel she was a normal sleuthing kind of character, but she did do a bit of it.  Overall as I said at the beginning, there just wasn't that connection that I felt with other books that kept me reading constantly and I had no problem putting it down to do other things.  I finished it as quick as I could tonight just so I could move on to my next book which I am very excited about.  So I guess I would say I'm just not that big of a fan of this.  And it ended very abruptly, definitely there will have to be a sequel I would think.  But I will  not be back for a second installment.

While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

And I also have a sign up for a Blog Hop and my September is for Sequels Challenge for you to sign up for with the buttons below.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.   The book I've chosen this week is one that I'm going to be waiting on quite awhile as it is not supposed to be published until March of 2015.  I had hoped to get an ARC in time for my Blogoversary giveaway, but the author unfortunately didn't get as many as she'd hoped.  I had planned to read it of course, before I sent it on to a winner.  Heather Brewer is one of my favorite authors, but not only is she a great author, she is a great inspiration to many people.  If you follow her on Facebook, you can see just how much she reaches out to her fans (minions).  She shares her struggles and I think that makes her easier for teens to relate to. 

When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.

Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.

Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.

It just sounds like such a great story once again by Heather Brewer.  What book are you eagerly awaiting this week?

While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

And I also have a sign up for a Blog Hop and my September is for Sequels Challenge for you to sign up for with the buttons below.