Thursday, July 31, 2014

@CrossroadReview #ReadOn #57 Aug. 2nd 4pm est. @daniellempaige @AprilynnePike @kimberlyderting @AmyPlumOhLaLa with #Giveaway

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Review: Velveteen by Daniel Marks

I got an ARC of this book through the YA Book Exchange a while back, and had loaned it to a friend.  I got it back a few months ago, and just got around to reading it this past week.  It was a longer book, over 400 pages, so I took a bit longer reading it.  Plus, I had so many posts already planned, that it wasn't a big deal worrying about what I'd post on my blog.  I'm not sure how much I liked this book.  The rating I gave it on Goodreads was that "it was okay".  I think the story had a lot of potential, and there were some really good parts, but at the end, I was left a little still not sure how I felt about it.

The main character is named Velveteen Monroe.  And while you may think she was named after the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, she was actually named after the fabric in the older movie theaters.  Now there is something unusual about Velveteen, she is dead.  And she is now in Purgatory because she must have some things she needs to complete before she can pass on to Heaven.  She has a job of going out and helping to get souls to come back to Purgatory, ones that have possessed living people, which is against the rules.  She has a crew made of two children, Luisa and Logan, not really children, that's just how old they were when they died, and also a boy named Quentin.  When these dead people from Purgatory go out and possess the living, they cause horrible disasters to occur in Purgatory, called Shadowquakes.  On one such disaster, Velveteen must take her crew out to find the soul causing this, and rescue them, as well as any other souls they may have stolen.  On this trip they pick up a dead soul being stored in a crystal ball, who is a teen named Nick. Nick is described as basically a Abercrombie and Fitch model type of guy.  And while Velveteen is more of a goth girl, there seems to be an attraction between them.  Which Velveteen doesn't want at first.

You see Velveteen was murdered by a serial killer named Bonesaw.  And she has found a secret crack to slip back into the living world, where she has gone and haunted him.  Trying to save other girls from meeting her fate.  Her goal is to one day be able to either make him kill himself while she is possessing him, or at least get him caught and put away so he can't do this to any more girls.  And she's not supposed to do this.  It is said that things like this could be what is causing all the shadowquakes.  When they get Nick back, it seems he will be staying and working with Velveteen and her crew.  And this is hard, because he doesn't seem to want to fight this connection, and it is against the rules for them to have relationships when they work together.  Not only are those things issues, there is a group of rebel souls that want out of Purgatory, and they are taking advantage of these shadowquakes to move their agenda forward.

As you can see there is a lot going on.  I definitely rooted for Velveteen to go back ad take care of her serial killer.  But some of the other stuff was confusing.  They had to take their clothes from Purgatory off when they went through to the living world because they would get shredded on the trip there.  But at first I wasn't sure if they were naked when they got to the world or what. Not sure how much it was actually made clear as I read.  I liked the little back story behind the bad guy who was in charge of the rebels.  But I still wasn't quite clear on exactly what they wanted to do.  Yeah, they wanted out, but to possess people?  That is mostly made clear at the end, even if it is still a bit unclear to me why they do it the way they do it.  And I feel like there needs to be a sequel.  I can't quite tell if the book ended and all this would be no problem anymore because of what was done or not.  So let's say it had good parts, but maybe had too many details that I felt were just left open or hanging with no resolution.  I don't see anywhere on  Goodreads about a sequel, but I feel like a sequel might help me be more satisfied with this story.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Flawed (Perfection #2) by J.L. Spelbring

Once again thanks to both Spencer Hill Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read an e-galley of this book.  And it was good to read it almost right after I finished the first one, Perfection, which I reviewed HERE.  And I don't know if it was because I had just finished the first one and was getting to read right on, but I think this one was better than the first one.  I mean I liked it better, not that I didn't like the first one though.  So, here's the best summary I can give without too many spoilers for those who haven't read the first book.

Our main character is again Ellyssa.  She was able to save Rein with the help of his brother Woody.  Unfortunately when they get back to the cave in Missouri the rest of their Renegade family called home, they find they have been discovered.  There is a massacre in one of the rooms in the cavern.  The only thing that gives them hope is that there aren't as many bodies as there should be.  While they are trying to get their bearings and figure out where to go looking, one of their family shows up, Trista.  At first they're unsure whether to trust her or not as she is wearing a Gestapo uniform.  Ellyssa is unsure if she has betrayed them or is planning to.  But it turns out Trista was saved by the cop from the last story, Dyllon, the one the crazy Gestapo lady after Ellyssa had almost fallen for.  Rein is immediately ready to kill Dyllon when he sees him, remembering how Dyllon had stood by while Ellyssa's sister Aalexis had tortured him.  But Trista is able to convince them to give him a chance, along with help from Ellyssa who is able to read his mind and see whether he plans to betray them.  They are taken to the house of one of the supporters we met in the last book. They stay there while they try to figure out where the other survivors from their Renegade family have been taken. 

Ellyssa was sure that when they blew up The Center in their escape at the end of the first book, that all of her siblings were dead.  But she is wrong.  Aalexis and Xaver survived.  And the lat thing Dr. Hirch, der Vater as they call him, told Xaver, was to protect Aalexis at all costs.  With her being able to control things with her mind like she can, she is the most important of all the children the doctor created.  Aalexis wants to continue her father's work, but she also wants revenge on Ellyssa for killing him.  But she can't just kill her, because they need her DNA as part of the next set of children, the more perfect children with all of their abilities.  As Xaver and Aalexis mature, they begin to undergo some of the same issues with emotions that Ellyssa had experienced, something that they had always been told was weakness.  But Xaver convinces Aalexis that their father was imperfect, so he must be wrong about this.  He used the example of how far Ellyssa would go to save this imperfect boy she was in love with, Rein.

The survivors are in a concentration camp. Sent there on purpose, and Aalexis is going to use them as bait to try to get Ellyssa where she wants her, and to get her revenge.  There will be betrayal, and lots of hard traveling and planning to try to save their family.  And we will even see her friend Mathew, the Renegades' doctor in the first book, deal with Aalexis and other Nazi's at the concentration camp in his own bid to survive and save his family.  It all ends up at the camp, with a conclusion that doesn't quite end it.  It leaves us open and ready for the next book.

Since other characters from the first book that we got to read from their point of view are dead in this book, we get some new ones besides Ellyssa.  We get to go into the insane mind of Aalexis, and see how she reacts to all of this, and how she schemes to complete her father's plans.  And as I said, we also get into Mathew's mind as he tries to make it in the concentration camp. 

I feel like we got more background and details on the outside world, as well as some of the history between the World War II and the current time, since Hitler won the war.  December 7th is Ellyssa, Aalexis, and Xaver, as well as the other children who are no longer alive's birthday.  In honor of the day of the Pearl Harbor attack.  According to this alternate reality, that is when the war turned in Hitler's favor.  I found that interesting, and hope to hear even more about that in the next book.  Which I will be waiting on impatiently, as well as keeping my eye open for when an e-galley of it might be available.  The title of the first book, Perfection, fit well as we learned about the perfect children like Ellyssa and her siblings, and the doctor's goal to truly create a perfect race, even at destroying many of those who were currently close to the ideal, but not truly there.  And the title of this, Flawed, fit this as well.  Aalexis and her brother becoming "flawed" as they began to feel more and more emotions, which was totally not part of the goal their father had. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Authors I Own the Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is sponsored by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week's theme:

Who are the 10 authors that I own the most books from?

I will list these kind of in order, as I get to number 1, it will be the author I have the most from, whereas at number 10 will be ones that I have less.  I have some authors that have a whole shelf all to themselves, and I have double stacked in those cases as well, because otherwise, they might need almost a whole bookcase to themselves.  The bottom 5 are ones that I might be off by one or two books in how many I think I have.  I tried to remember how many I had by them and tried to look on the shelves, but it is always possible that they are loaned out to someone at the moment.  And there could be other authors that I just didn't think of off the top of my head that could belong in my bottom five of the top 10.  And if I have my picture with that author, I will share!  And for the top 3 or 4, I have pictures of their shelves.

10.   James Rollins - I believe I have about 10 of his books. 

9.  Robert McCammon - I think I have about 11 from what I could see on the shelf.

8.  Lemony Snicket - I have 14 of his books I think.  13 for sure in The Series of Unfortunate Events.  I have missed out on meeting him both times I've been at BEA.  

7.  Anne Rice - I have at least 15 of her books.

6.  Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins - I have to combine these two because I have 16 books that the two of them collaborated on in the Left Behind series and prequels.  I'm also excited they're going to do another movie based on the book, even as much as I do love Kirk Cameron, the first movies made were kind of cheesy, and definitely low budget.

5.  Because they are written by lots of different authors, I will put them below the top 4, even though I probably have more, which you can see in the picture below, but I am going to count all the Buffy the Vampire Slayer books as one of the top 10, as many of them were written by some of the same authors: Nancy Holder, Christopher Golden, and Mel Odom to name a few.  I met Nancy Holder at the RT Convention in 2013, but forgot to have my friend take my picture with her.  So I will share a picture below of me with two characters from the tv show, Xander and Glory.


4.  Stephen King - A whole shelf for him of course.  I've yet to meet him. Although I have argued on some political topics with his son Joe Hill on Twitter, before I stopped following him.

3.  Carolyn Keene is listed on the books as the author of the Nancy Drew series, even though we now know they were actually written by several ghost writers.  But I have over 20 Nancy Drew books. They don't have a shelf at the moment as I believe I have them boxed up.

2.  Dean Koontz - One of my very favorite authors.  What I wouldn't give for the chance to meet him some day!  The way he writes dogs in his books shows me that he and I have the same love and respect for dogs.  His are Golden Retrievers, while mine are Dachshunds.

1.  And my number one author is one that is again not all written by her, as she died quite a while ago.  But they take up probably a whole shelf, and because they are so small, there are more there than any of my other authors, and that is V.C. Andrews.

So, those are my authors that I own the most books by.  Do you have any books by these authors?  Would any of them be in your top 10?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Perfection by J.L. Spelbring

First thanks to Spencer Hill Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title.  It actually came out this July, at least in the US.  And I think the sequel, Flawed, which I also have an e-galley of, comes out in August.  So it is nice having them to read together.  Although I tend to read an e-book/galley then a physical book, so as to try to keep up on all my TBR piles, both real and virtual.  So I will be reading the sequel after the book I'm reading now.  Anyway, I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book.  It is dystopian for sure, but it is also an alternate history story, something I haven't read much of, but have always been intrigued.  This one is set in a world where Hitler won the war.

The main character is Ellyssa, and she was created by who she calls her father, Dr. Hirch.  He is planning to complete Hitler's dream of the perfect Aryan pure race.  And so he is creating children in his laboratory, at The Center.  Not only are they creating the perfect children, with special traits, they are also training those who are "almost" perfect to be the police force, basically a present day Gestapo.  The story begins with Ellyssa running away from the Center.  She's found something in the files that she isn't supposed to read that make her not want to be a part of all of the testing and plans.  It all began when she heard a young man saying "Kansas City" to her as he was being dragged down the hall.  But he wasn't saying this out loud, it was in her mind.  And he did this several times, until she knew that he was dead, killed as other Renegades were.  Renegades are the people that wouldn't be part of the Pure Race.  In this alternate time, people are blond, different shades, and only Ellyssa's white blond hair is really the "perfect" color.  Blue eyes are the norm, as well as the light color skin. 

Of course as soon as Ellyssa is found to be missing, they send out one of their Gestapo detectives, Ms. Petersen.  So now she is on the run.  She finally is able to get away and get on the train, she knows she must head to Kansas City.  That is where the boy told her.  But soon someone figures out she is on the train, and so now she must jump, even though the train is still going at normal speed.  She isn't really concerned, as her advanced physical traits should help her to make it off with as little injury as possible.  Unfortunately it isn't that easy, and she does become injured.  Not only that, she had to leave all her food and supplies on the train.  She trudges along, until finally she can go no more and sees a small ghost town.  I believe it is called Deepwater in the book.  When she stumbles into a store and thinks she will hide there from those chasing her, she runs into some renegades. And while her superior fighting skills help her at first, she is knocked out and taken back to their camp. 

This is where she meets Rein and his brother Woody.  The leader of this group of Renegades is named Jordan, and if he can accept her, then the rest of the group should too.  But as she grows to know them, and see just how wrong what her father was doing, she also knows that she is now putting them in danger, since she is being looked for.  And she doesn't know the lengths that her father will go to to get her back.  But knowing what the final plan is according to the files she found, she only knows she must protect these people, all people, and that will mean going back to the Center.

Definitely a good read.  I was very interested in how things were working.  I would like to know more about the actual society, maybe some more of the history of the time period between the end of the war and "today".  We did get some information later on in the story, which in a way, I kind of like now that I think about it after finishing the book.  When I started I felt like I needed to know more about what happened to make her run away.  But the way it was worked into the story was really pretty great.  As Ellyssa let down her guard and learned more about the world and people outside of her home, we also kind of learned more about her.  I will be interested to read the sequel and see what will happen after where we left off.  And, as I have lived in Missouri my whole life, I love that this story is set for the most part in so many Missouri places!  Places I've lived or been.  For instance, they talk about Warrensburg, and that's where I went to college!  So, I was hooked from that point on.  Plus, partly in Chicago, I am a big fan of the city Chicago.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves July 27th, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  Several things this week to share, not a bad week.

 Free Nook Books:

I feel like I've seen this one talked about, either on other blogs, or as an e-galley somewhere, but it sounded good, and was free, so I grabbed it!

Purchased e-book:

If you have followed me and read some of my posts about favorite books, you're sure to have seen me post about the Meg series by Steve Alten.  It is one of my favorite series.  I was looking on Goodreads to make sure of which one was first in the series, because for some reason I don't seem to own the first one.  And then I saw this prequel e-book.  It was only available on Amazon, so I ordered it for my Kindle app.

Purchased books:

Now, I will admit that the cover is what got me to pick up this book, I love cupcakes.  And while there was one time that I spent most of my book money on this "chick lit" type of book, I didn't ever grab it.  Until, I was in the bookstore I work at part time on Friday, celebrating our location's 10th anniversary, and of course I couldn't resist wandering through the books while I was there.  And I found this on the bargain table, so for the $4.98, plus my 30% employee discount, I couldn't pass it up.  

ARC from bookstore where I work:

This was one I'd really wanted to get at BEA, but just gave up on even trying to get through the Harlequin lines as they were always so long, and I would have had to pass so many other books I wanted up.  Imagine my surprise and excitement to see it laying on the table at the bookstore when I was there this past Friday, free for the employees to take and read. 


I won this from Ensconced in Lit during their blogoversary celebration!  It actually was mailed directly from the author, along with a couple bookmarks!  I've heard great things about this series, so was glad of the opportunity to get my hands on the first one.

Speaking of blogoversaries, mine is coming up the 2nd week of August, and I've been reaching out to authors for swag or other prizes such as books.  So keep up with my blog so you can be sure to enter for those prizes along with a gift card or prize from The Book Depository for my international followrs.  No e-galleys this week for me as you can see, which is probably okay as I have so many I need to read right now anyway!  So what did you add to your shelves, virtual or real, this week?

#ReadOn July 26 4pm Est. #Interview @amytalkington @diannesalerni & @maureenmcquerry #Giveaway via @CrossroadReview

 Event Link:

Dianne  Salerni Links/Bio/Cover/etc:




Eighth Day Buy Link Amazon:

Author Bio:

Dianne K. Salerni is an elementary school teacher living in Chester County, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters.

Dianne's first novel, We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks 2010), recounts the true story of Maggie Fox, a teenaged girl credited with the invention of the séance in 1848. A short film based on We Hear the Dead and titled The Spirit Game premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Her second novel, The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH 2013), is inspired by a real historical mystery in the mountains of Pennsylvania and was named a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Best YA Historical Novel for 2013 by BookPage.

The Eighth Day, the first book of a middle grade fantasy series about a secret day of the week, is due to be released by HarperCollins in April, 2014.

Dianne received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Delaware. She subsequently earned a Master's in Language Arts Education at the University of Pennsylvania before taking a job teaching in the Avon Grove School District. She has now been teaching fourth and fifth grade at Avon Grove for over 20 years.

About the book

In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense.
When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it's the zombie apocalypse. But when he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he learns that he's really in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people—like Jax and Riley—are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others, including Evangeline, the elusive teenage girl who's been hiding in the house next door, exist only on this special day.

And there's a reason Evangeline's hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.

Stay tuned for The Inquisitor's Mark, the spellbinding second novel in the Eighth Day series.

From the Back Cover:

When newly orphaned Jax Aubrey awakes to a world without people the day after his thirteenth birthday, he thinks it's the apocalypse. But then the next day is a regular old Thursday. Has Jax gone crazy? What's going on?
Riley Pendare, Jax's sort of clueless eighteen-year-old guardian, breaks the news: Jax just experienced the Eighth Day, an extra twenty-four-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people, like Jax and Riley, have the ability to live in all eight days. But others, like Evangeline, the teenage girl who's been hiding in the house next door for years, exist only on this special day.
At first it's awesome to have a secret day. But as Jax gets to know the very guarded Evangeline, he discovers that she is the sought-after key to an ancient spell rooted in Arthurian legend. And Riley—who forgets to pay bills and buy groceries!—is sworn to keep her safe from those who want to use her to eliminate the seven-day world and all who live there.
Jax tries to protect Evangeline, but with his new friend's life on the line, as well as the threat of human destruction, he is faced with an impossible choice: trigger a real apocalypse or sacrifice Evangeline.
With a whole extra day to figure things out, it couldn't be too hard . . . right?

Other books by this author buy links:

Maureen McQuerry/Links/Bio/Covers/etc.


Amazon Buy Link:

Maureen McQuerryAuthor Bio:
Maureen decided she wanted to be a writer when she was six. If that failed she wanted to be a detective. Poetry was her doorway into fiction writing.
Fiction includes: The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet 2012) A YASLA and Bank Street best book, and the Time Out of Time duet: Beyond the Door, May (Abrams 2014) and The Stone of Destiny. 

About the Book:
With his love of learning and the game of Scrabble, Timothy James feels like the only person who understands him is his older sister, Sarah, and he’s fairly certain nothing interesting will ever happen to him. But one night, while his parents and sister are away, the door opens, and mythical creatures appear in his own living room! Soon, a mystery of unparalleled proportions begins to unfold, revealing an age-old battle of Light against Dark, and Timothy must embark on a quest to prevent the Dark from controlling the future and changing the past. But he can’t complete the quest alone. Timothy has to team up with his sister and the school bully, Jessica, to face an ancient evil, and in the process, this unlikely trio discover they are each more than meets the eye.  Other Books by this author:   


Amy Talkington



Book Buy Link Amazon: 

Amy Talkington


Amy Talkington is an award-winning screenwriter and director living in Los Angeles. Before all that she wrote about music for magazines like Spin, Ray Gun, Interview, and Seventeen (mostly just as a way to get to hang out with rock stars). As a teenager in Dallas, Texas, Amy painted lots of angsty self-portraits, listened to The Velvet Underground and was difficult enough that her parents finally let her go to boarding school on the East Coast. Liv, Forever is her first novel.

Visit her website, @amytalkington on Twitter, and on Tumblr.

About the book:

When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.

You can see my review of Liv, Forever HERE.

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