Monthly Archives: January 2012

Free Book Alert: Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens (Kindle)

Another hot free book for those of us with Kindles or Kindle readers on a mobile device.  Snatch this one up quickly!

Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

 

 

Description from Amazon:

I met someone who changed everything. Matthias. My autistic sister’s guardian angel. Honest. Inspiring. Funny. Hot. And immortal. That was the problem. What could I do? I did what any other girl would do-I fell in love with him. Zoe’s sister darts in front of cars. Her brother’s a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don’t see Zoe lost in her broken life. Zoe escapes the only way she knows how: partying. Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoe’s autistic sister. After Zoe is convinced he’s legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny. But Heaven on Earth can’t last forever.

 

This one has a 4.5 of 5 stars rating!

I’m a Hollow Reader!

I’m so excited to announce that I am now a member of Hollow Readers, and I will also be a tour host for Hollow Tours!

 

 

What does this mean, exactly?  My book reviews can now be seen on the Hollow Readers website, along with many other reviews from the rest of our fab team.  I will be able to review hot books sooner rather than later–and at Hollow Tours, we often hold giveaways for those books!  When I do a tour post, if there is a corresponding giveaway, I’ll be sure to link to it.  So, to put it simply, this is great news for you.  You get to hear about the best upcoming releases, and then get a chance to win them!

I’ll be making my first tour post in February, so keep an eye out.  Thanks for being loyal readers!

New Girl by Paige Harbison: Goodreads Review

I received this book in exchange for an honest review, thanks to NetGalley.

 

New GirlNew Girl by Paige Harbison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When the protagonist of this book (whose name does not become known until the last page) becomes the “New Girl” at Manderley Academy, her excitement soon turns to dread as she discovers that she has taken the spot once held by beautiful, enigmatic Becca Normandy, who disappeared mysteriously the previous year. The New Girl is constantly compared to Becca, no matter what she does.

Unfortunately when the New Girl happens to become close with the same two guys Becca was involved with, the whole school starts talking. As the school year progresses, the rumors get worse. It doesn’t help that the New Girl has to live in Becca’s old room with her old roommate Dana, who hates her with a passion. Finally, the school year comes to a close and the truth about Becca comes out. But will that makes things better or worse for the New Girl?

I had a few issues with this novel. It’s a modern retelling of Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, which I have never read. So luckily I did not have to compare it to the original.

I almost quit reading this right after the New Girl got to school. I have never met so many annoying and ignorant characters in a book. For a WHOLE YEAR, they all called the protagonist New Girl, and viciously accused her of trying to replace their precious Becca, even though the New Girl had no idea who she was when she came into the school. Why would all the girls be so stuck on the idea that just because someone new came to the school, that she was trying to “replace” their idol? It didn’t make logical sense to me.

I did like, however, the way the author simultaneously told the story through both the New Girl’s and Becca’s viewpoints. The stories flowed together seamlessly and helped you to get to know both girls in a better way.

Becca’s roommate, Dana, was really creepy and basically psycho in her obsession with Becca. She kept their room a shrine to Becca and immediately hated the New Girl for no reason. Dana’s freakouts were epic and so very far from making sense.

I actually hated Becca through the whole novel and I found it hard to understand why everyone at the school idolized her so much. To me, she was just a manipulative, insecure, kind of slutty bitch. I am sure she was some kind of sociopath, the way she treated people…even the ones who were supposed to be her closest friends.

Lastly, this book was full of sex, drug use, drinking, and cursing. Not that I’m a prude or anything, but it’s just a warning to those who are not into that kind of thing.

I think this book will most appeal to older teens. If you like Gossip Girl, this book is a lot like that.

View all my reviews

Free Book Alert: Rex Rising by Chrystalla Thoma (Kindle)

Another free book for those who have Kindles or Kindle readers on their mobile device:

Rex Rising

In a world where parasites create new human races, Elei leads a peaceful life — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side. Pursued for a secret he does not possess and with the fleet at his heels, he has but one thought: to stay alive. His pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, although that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he hardly knows. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret – a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known – or die trying.

 

4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon…sounds cool :)

The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson: Goodreads Review

This was another novel I got from Net Galley.

The Underside of JoyThe Underside of Joy by Seré Prince Halverson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ella is perfectly happy living her small town life with her seemingly perfect husband and 2 young stepkids. That is until her husband drowns. While she is in the midst of grieving for her husband, she realizes there were some things he was hiding from her. Very important things that she cannot afford to lose after she’s already lost him–the store they ran, which has been open over 60 years, and most importantly, the two kids…whose birth mother is suddenly back in the picture after three years.

The two children were abandoned by their mother after the birth of 3 year old Zach. Ella came into the picture shortly after that, and for the past 3 years she has been the only mother the two kids have known. After her husband Joe’s funeral, the kids’ birth mother, Paige, shows up and seeks custody of them.

Ella, with the help of her loving band of friends and family, has to buckle down and turn her life around while she struggles to keep her stepkids and the store. There are plenty of rough moments and breakdowns along the way, but it all ends in a way that seems to work for everyone.

I was intrigued when I read the plot synopsis of this book on NetGalley. But the major conflict of the story, Paige showing up to get custody of the kids, doesn’t happen until halfway through the story. The first half is just Ella dealing with the sudden loss of Joe and trying to help the 6 and 3 year old kids cope as well. The plot moved quite slowly until the appearance of Paige, then it seemed to move in double time.

I liked the other characters in the story, but I felt they were somewhat stereotyped. A big, loud Italian mother in law? A tough, macho Italian father in law who refuses to talk about anything dealing with emotions? The gay best friend who is an awesome cook and wine connoiseur? Blah. I know Paige was supposed to be the villain of the story, but at least her background was somewhat interesting.

I’m still not sure how I felt about Ella. I couldn’t decide if she had a harder time with the loss of the kids than that of her husband, or if she lost it because the kids were the only things keeping her grounded after his loss. She seemed a little too naive to me at times, especially for someone of her age who had already been through a divorce.

Overall, I could feel both Paige’s and Ella’s pain because I am a mother, and I would hate to be in either one of their situations. But, this story was a bit too Lifetime movie for me. The writing was very flowery and descriptive, and sometimes I skipped over whole long paragraphs because they were simply (over)detailing the scenes. The book was just mediocre to me…I saw what was coming. I finished the book, and mostly it left me with a sense that this story has been done before.

View all my reviews

WIN Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett! Young Adult Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Young Adult Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole.  I am so excited, because this is my first time participating in a giveaway hop!  I’m hoping it goes well so I can participate in many more :)

Cedar Fort Publishing has generously offered to give one of my readers an e-book copy of Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett!

I just LOVE this cover!

The book description from Goodreads:

Jen’s life of partying and sneaking out has grown stale. So on a whim, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a goody-two-shoes geek, into a “bad boy.” As she hangs out with Trevor, however, she finds it’s actually kinda fun being a geek. But when Trevor finds out about the bet, Jen must fight for the things she’s discovered matter most: friendship, family, and, above all, love.

Sounds awesome, right?  This book has 4.3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!  And you can win it!

The only mandatory entry required is that you leave me a comment on this post….recommend a book for me!

After you’ve done that, just fill out the form HERE and you are all set!

Since the prize is an e-book, this giveaway is open to international entries!

This giveaway runs until January 31.  I will email the winner on or around February 1.

Don’t forget, you MUST leave me a comment on this post to be entered :)

 THE FORM AGAIN

There are over 250 other great blogs giving away book prizes too…so hop on over to as many as you can.  You can find the rest of the list RIGHT HERE.

Good luck!

Waiting on Wednesday: Destined by Aprilynne Pike (Laurel Series, Book 4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book blogger event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers post which upcoming books they are not-so-patiently awaiting.

 

 

The book I’m waiting to read should come as no surprise to those who’ve been reading my reviews…

 

Yes, I cannot wait for the next book in the Laurel series!!  This book will be the fourth and final one, and I’m hoping it will leave me with a satisfying conclusion.

From Goodreads:

Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful—and deadly—of all, and she is working with Klea to conquer and destroy Avalon. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares for a fight she never thought she would have to face.

Filled with heart-pounding action, sweeping romance, and higher stakes at every turn, Destined is the series conclusion that readers have been clamoring for—with a twist that will leave them breathless.

This book has an expected publication date of May 1, 2012.

Free Book Alert: Moon Spell for Kindle

If you have a Kindle or even just a Kindle reader app like I do, pick up this free book before the price goes up again!

 

Moon Spell by Samantha Young

Summary from Amazon:

Enter a world of fierce wolves, stunning magic and romance…

It’s bad enough feeling different among the human crowd, but feeling different among wolves?

No one said returning to her pack would be easy, especially after ten years without them, but seventeen year old Caia Ribeiro is unprepared for the realities of the transition. Raised in a world where kids aren’t scared by bedtime tales of the bogeyman but by the real life threat of enemy supernaturals who might come creeping into their community to kill them in their sleep, Caia is used to the darkness; she’s used to the mystery and the intrigue of the ancient underworld war she’s bound to by chance of birth. What she’s having trouble with are pack members treating her with wary suspicion, the Elders tucking secrets behind their backs, and her young Alpha, Lucien, distracting her with a dangerous attraction from her decision to uncover the truth.

But as the saying goes ‘the truth will out’ and when it does, Caia will only have so long to prepare herself before the war comes pounding on their door threatening to destroy the safe, secret lives of the wolves… and the girl they protect.

4.6 stars overall on Amazon!

 

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Throughout the fall and holiday season, my husband has been super obsessed with Snickerdoodle cookies.  I was probably making him a batch a week, and he didn’t seem to be getting tired of them…but I was.  So I found this recipe on Pinterest, and decided to give his beloved snickerdoodles a new twist–in muffin form.

Ingredient Lineup

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners, or spray well with nonstick spray.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, milk, and sugar.

Gradually add the bowl of liquid ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.  The batter will be somewhat lumpy.

Fill each muffin cup a little more than halfway full.

Bake until the tops of the muffins are springy to the touch and light golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small bowl.  In another bowl, mix 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  While the muffins are still warm, dip the top of each in the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Cover the tops completely.

On another note, look at these beautifully awesome cupcake liners I found at Marshalls.  They are vibrant colors, and don’t turn pale when you bake the cupcakes in them!

A couple of notes about the recipe.  I followed it as written, but the amount of nutmeg called for was way, way too much for my taste.  If you love nutmeg, leave it as is.  But if you find it to be a bit overpowering, as I did, cut the amount of nutmeg to 1/4 teaspoon.

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen, found on Pinterest

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup oil (or melted butter)

3/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

For the Coating:

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.  In small bowl whisk together oil, sugar, egg and milk.  Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Bake until muffin tops are a pale golden and springy to the touch, 22 to 24 minutes.  While the muffins are baking, combine sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Place melted butter in a small bowl. Once baked, shake muffins out immediately and while hot, dip in melted butter, then roll in sugar and cinnamon.


Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch: Goodreads Review

This was the second book I read in celebration of NetGalley month. :)

 

Waiting to ForgetWaiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As this story begins, a 13 year old boy named TJ sits in the waiting room of a hospital anxiously waiting for any news about his little sister. His sister, Angela, has had a fall and was rushed to the ER. As TJ waits, he looks through an album about his life and remembers the important events that brought he and his sister to their new adoptive parents’ home.

TJ has always taken care of Angela, because sometimes it was hard for their mom to take care of them while she worked–or spent time with strange men. Their mother often leaves them alone overnight. There are good times and bad, but mostly bad. TJ’s mom is just not fit to take care of them, and all they want is to be loved.

I’m not really sure how I felt about this book. I am a mom, so the events that occurred in this story are heartbreaking and unimaginable to me. I could see how the children were each stuck in their roles. TJ was always the mature, stoic caretaker. Angela was the baby, and acted like it. Both children were severely affected by their mother’s emotional abuse. It was so sad to read about the way TJ adored the very few hugs and praises he ever got from his mother.

I was glad to see that the children eventually moved on to a better life, but overall I found this quite a depressing read. As I read and finished this book, it made me think of all the other children in the world who are probably going through similar predicaments, perhaps right under our noses. It has opened my eyes. I’m not quite sure if that’s what the author was trying to accomplish, but that’s the only thing I got out of this book.

View all my reviews

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