November 30, 2011

The Christmas Gift by John McDonnell

Release Date: December 9, 2009
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 16
Series: n/a
Review Source: eBook from author

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
A heartwarming story about a doll named Constance and how she learns to love a little girl named Sarah in the Great Depression. It takes place in 1937-38, when a homeless girl named Sarah steals Constance from a wealthy woman's house in Philadelphia. Sarah and Constance have many adventures, and both of them learn the value of opening their hearts.

My Thoughts:
'The Christmas Gift' is (surprisingly, I know) a short story about Christmas and the power of love (cue Marty McFly guitar solo here). Okay, to be serious now: it’s a short story that focuses on the connection that little girls have with their dolls. I thought it was a pretty sweet Christmas story. It’s fairly predictable in plot and theme, but it has heart, and I could picture parents reading it to their little girls as a yearly Christmas tale.

There was a lot of power of imagination at work with Constance the doll being able to think and feel. Normally I would want some reason for this, but in a short story I can excuse it and have fun just appreciating the emotion behind the story. Overall, definitely a cute Christmas story.

The Cover:
I think something with a doll would have been more appropriate, but it's not bad. I like the old-timey font.


Find The Christmas Gift by John McDonnell on Goodreads, Smashwords, & Kindle.

November 29, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

There have been a lot of giveaways where I haven't yet announced the winner on the blog, because I hate wasting a post just to announce one winner. So, here they are! =)

A Friday Night Lights Companion:
  • Maddie

Sophie & Carter:

The Chick Friends Rules: Freshman Year:

Dawn's End eBook:

Sapphire Hunting eBooks:

The Earth Painter eBook:
  • Kim

Raven eBooks:

Congrats, winners! By now you've all been contacted and have received your prize.

November 28, 2011

Double Clutch by Liz Reinhardt

Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Self-Pubbed
Pages: 223 (epub edition)
Series: Brenna Blixen
Review Source: eBook from author for review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
What happens when you fall for the perfect one day?

Brenna Blixen spent her freshman year homeschooling in Denmark; now that she's back in the States, she's determined to make her sophomore year unforgettable. And by unforgettable, she imagined awesome classes, fun friendships, and maybe a little romance.

What she got was a whole lot of romance, and all at once.

The same day that dark, brooding Saxon Maclean charmed her with his killer good looks and whip-smart wit, Jake Kelly stole her breath away with his heart-wrenching smile and intelligent, thoughtful focus.

But Saxon is a proud player who makes it clear that he doesn't know why he can't get Brenna off of his mind and out of his system, and Jake's sweet and humble attitude hides a secret past life that might be darker and more complex than Brenna is willing to deal with.

Complicating the matter is the fact that Saxon and Jake were once best friends and are now arch-enemies...and the more Brenna finds out about their connection to each other, the more intrigued and worried she becomes.

Between keeping the peace with her lovingly over-protective parents, designing t-shirts for her high school's rising punk band, keeping up her grades in classes split between academic and technical high school, and running the track like a maniac, Brenna has enough to worry about with out juggling two guys who make her heart thud and drive her crazy all at once.

She has to make a choice, but how is she supposed to do that when giving her heart to one of them might mean breaking the other's?

My Thoughts:
‘Double Clutch’ was a contemporary that kept me reading and interested. Despite some of her poor decisions I actually really liked the main character, Brenna, and I was cheering for her. I enjoyed the fact that the characters in this novel were pretty layered. No one was perfect, and they all had different aspects to their personality. For example, the really good guy has a tough family life and a pretty sketchy past, and the manipulative bad boy is obviously a jerk, yet he has a spark of goodness in him, so you can never quite figure out his motivations.

Another great aspect about this one is that the parents that are involved. They’re overprotective to an extent, but mostly just caring, and Brenna’s stepdad is super awesome. I also appreciated how Brenna interacted with and reacted to her Mom. She loved her Mom and appreciated her, yet she drove her nuts at times as well. It just seemed very true to life, especially for a teenager.

This story is mostly a romance, and I thought that Brenna and ___ (leaving it spoiler free, folks, since it is about a love triangle, after all) got really physical really quickly. I mean, I think it was done pretty responsibly, with Brenna talking about only doing what she felt comfortable with, but I still thought their relationship as a whole moved pretty quickly. I wish there had been a bit more time of them getting to know one another before actually dating, because those scenes were really cute. I actually wish there could have been another side plot besides the romance. I really enjoyed the scenes with Brenna on the track team and Brenna talking about her art, so more of that would have been appreciated.

My one other complaint is that seemingly everyone was in love with Brenna. She was so special, so gorgeous, etc, etc. I get that she had some unique aspects about her, but I think that type of trope is a bit overdone. Your main character can be special and have worth without everyone falling all over her.

Honestly, though, I did have fun reading this one. My complaints about the book are minimal compared to my overall enjoyment. The fact that I stayed up late reading it straight in one sitting proves how addicting and fun the writing is, and how invested in the characters I was as well.

The Cover:
I generally REALLY like it, except it's awkward looking where the wall goes into her face. But the overall design? Very cool.


Find Double Clutch by Liz Reinhardt on Goodreads, Smashwords, Amazon, & B&N.

November 24, 2011

Indie Spotlight (2)

Indie Spotlight posts are an opportunity for me to feature indie press or self-published books that might not normally get much attention in the blogging world. I hope you'll find a title below that piques your interest.

Legend of a Ninja: Beneath the Shadows by Jarius Raphel
In the Iofrehn clan, relationships are forbidden. Seen as a weakness, love itself is a curse to the clear mind and focus of a true ninja. But when one ninja seeks permission to love, his struggle for survival will shake The Order of ninjas to its core.

Can you still trust your heart when the secrets beneath the shadows are revealed?
Find it on Kindle, Smashwords, & B&N.

Anomaly by K.C. King
22-year-old Bree Spencer hates prejudice of all kinds – especially the blatant elitism she is subjected to as a resident staffer at her aunt’s exclusive estate, Blackall Manor. So when Bree nearly winds up as road-kill on account of the wealthy Sebastian Templeton, she struggles to reconcile her inexplicable attraction to him. On the surface Sebastian epitomises all that Bree usually despises, yet her draw to him is irrefutable. Despite her reservations, Bree finds Sebastian intriguing; but his insistence to get to know her triggers a raft of niggling suspicions – heightened by a series of strange dreams and phenomena – until eventually, she learns the truth. 
Find it on Amazon & Smashwords.

Castigate My Sins by Elicia Clegg
In Elicia Clegg's newest novel five teenagers: Michael, Suzy, Christopher, Beth, and Leigh will have to answer that very question. Their souls will be thrown into a pit of malevolent despair where they will come face to face with their archetypal selves. their characters will be tested, they will be deceived, given half-truths, and face punishment for crimes they did not commit. Will any surrender to the ever growing lies, or will they escape the void of light and breathe life once again?
Find it on B&N and Smashwords.

Spirits of Glory by Emily Devenport
One morning the people of the North woke up and the people of the South were gone. That's the first thing every child learns on the colony world of Jigsaw. But for one girl, knowing about The Disappearance is not enough. Hawkeye wants to know why.

That's why she spent half her life researching The Disappearance. And that's also why eight Neighbors show up on her doorstep, demanding that she accompany them into the Forbidden Cities ruled by the Southern gods to speak with the Spirits of Glory.
Find it on Smashwords & Amazon.

Kevin's Point of View by Del Shannon
Kevin Tobin is a relatively ordinary 12-year-old dealing with the aftermath of his father's death in a mountain biking accident near their home in Boulder, Colorado. While he antagonizes his sister through his superhero antics on an average Wednesday morning, his ability to escape inside a character's head becomes critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father's death. 
Find it on Amazon & B&N.

November 23, 2011

My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond

Release Date: January 18, 2011
Publisher: Dream Books LLC
Pages: 164
Series: The Lakeland Knight
Review Source: eBook from author for review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle readily admits that he is a villain and sees no reason why it should stop him from being the protagonist of this book. After all, Prince Kellemar, an aspiring hero, has defeated him in a rather questionable way. Bent on revenge, Arkus attempts to capture a powerful evil spirit who would make him nearly invincible, but a last-minute mistake leaves him with a sparkling instead a goody-goody spirit that helps heroes, watches over little children, and messes up villains plans. Bound to Lord Arkus for five years of service and sworn to act in his best interests, the sparkling is not easy to get rid of, and of course his understanding of best interests is quite different from what Lord Arkus has in mind.

My Thoughts:
‘My Sparkling Misfortune’ is a super cute story that takes place in a fairy-tale like kingdom. It involves a fairy realm, the place where Sparklings (good fairies) and Gormacks (bad fairies) come from. Arkus is our main character and he thinks himself a villain, yet his actions and words prove that he’s quite heroic. Arkus basically spends his life running from a beast who has been tasked with killing him, and he ends up with a new identity in a kingdom where people think he is their hero.

Arkus provides a very humourous narration. He’s sort of self-deprecating and is almost teasing the reader as he keeps proclaiming what a villain he is. The relationship between the two main characters (Arkus and Tulip -- or Jarvi as Arkus re-names him) is very funny and filled with quips back and forth. As I said, this is a very cute and fun story, and my only real complaint is that it leaves off without real resolution. Some things are wrapped up, but it does leave you hanging for Book 2, as Arkus just decides to end the story at a certain point. Overall a very charming book; a quick read that I think most people would appreciate.

The Cover:
I don't think it really does the story justice; love the old-timey writing, though.


Find My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond on Goodreads, Smashwords, & Amazon (currently free for Kindle).

November 22, 2011

Giveaway from Nuayma Jeggels

Nuayma Jeggels is an author whose first novel is an epic fantasy with zombies. Sounds like a pretty awesome combination, right?! Here's a bit about 'Raven', the first book in 'The Violet Jewel' series:

A girl, a coma, a Plague, and an empty grave.

When Shardaie wakes up, she doesn’t know who she is, why she can’t understand emotions, why she has been unconscious for nearly nine of her thirteen years, or why the dead just won’t stay dead. The only clue to her past is a locket, but the Plague, which finally stretches its unnatural hand to her village, forces her to leave and to learn to protect herself. But everything has a cost: the protection against the undead reveals a secret that Shardaie and her classmates just don’t want to accept, and at the end, Shardaie realises that some secrets shouldn’t be revealed. Secrets have the power to destroy, and the power to change her view on humanity for ever.

Find 'Raven' on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, & Smashwords.

Today Nuayma wanted to share an outtake with you guys. It's about her main character, and it's not in the book, so it's a bit of an exclusive:

Shardaie was lying on her side on the floor, nose nearly pressed against the struggling lizard. Her violet eyes slowly blinked, watching as the creature waved its limbs and tried its best to get up and crawl away. Watching, but not understanding. She inhaled deeply, then released the breath as she muttered, “What are you feeling?”

The lizard’s eyes flitted this way and that way, and when Shardaie realised that the world had to look just too big for it, she rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling. What was it feeling? She spread out her legs and her arms, trying to see the room from the lizard’s perspective.

Window, too far away. She started to wave her arms. Floor, too wide. She started to wave her legs. Walls, nearly never-ending. Her stomach clenched, a sheen of sweat covered her brow. Shardaie blinked, and as she stopped moving, she thought, that didn’t help. She still didn’t understand what she was feeling.

Shardaie looked back at the lizard, but only found an empty space bathed in sunlight. She rolled onto her side, in the direction of her bedroom doorway, and watched as her guest scuttled away, its broken tail twitching occasionally. “Go,” she whispered, remembering the words a girl had once said to a different lizard, “be free.”

Then she pulled herself up, but when she straightened, she accidentally knocked her arm against the edge of the windowsill. Shardaie noticed the sudden prickling sensation in her flesh, and when she raised her arm, brow twitching as her eyes narrowed, she took note of the scratch and the thin line of blood that stood out vividly against her pale skin.

Wasn’t she supposed to be doing something? she thought as she tilted her head to the left and then to the right continuously, she was supposed to react, wasn’t she? Her arm lowered to her side. She looked up and licked her lips, thinking about the girl, who loved to speak to lizards, before turning to stare at the floor.

Shardaie began with her face: she started to arch her eyebrows and then opened and closed her mouth. Her calves twitched, so she started to shake her legs, but that turned into a hopping-on-the-spot. She tried her best to re-enact a scene she had witnessed a while ago, of a little child noticing a wound, but when she spun around, arms flapping in the air, she realised that she wasn’t alone.

Celio, her red-haired guardian, stood in the doorway, his hand on the doorknob. He cocked his head and then frowned at her. “What are you doing?”

Shardaie immediately stood still and smacked her lips. She looked at her arm, then raised it and replied, “I’m reacting.”

Celio looked at her arm, then glanced over his shoulder to address someone before turning back to her. “Give me a moment, child,” he turned around, but kept his gaze on her face, “keep your arm clean.”

Shardaie nodded at the suddenly empty doorway, turned around, marched up to her bed and sat down. She wriggled around for a moment, but sat still and stared ahead. Her eyes blinked. Her fingers twitched occasionally. A lock of her hair fell down to caress her nose. She looked at her arm and then raised it before sitting upright and staring at the doorway once more.

Stomp, stomp, stomp announced Celio’s presence, but Shardaie didn’t move and didn’t look away from the doorway. Celio walked into the room and sat down beside her, then took her raised arm and started to wipe a wet cloth over the scratch. Shardaie watched him work, watched how he bowed his head and slowly turned his wrist, but when he was done and he turned to her as though he was expecting something, she remained silent for a while before saying, “Thank you, sir.”

Celio nodded, looked away and studied his cloth. “Everything’s all right now.” He smiled at Shardaie, placed a hand on her shoulder and stood up. “It’s time for dinner. Come.”

Shardaie didn’t follow him, even when he made a beckoning motion with his hand, and when he had left the room, she looked back at her arm and thought. The prickling sensation was still there, but it was fainter. She looked at the doorway that both Celio and the lizard had used, then crawled across her bed and threw her blanket over her body and her head.

Her stomach clenched. Her bottom lip trembled. Shardaie closed her eyes, and as she felt her breath flutter across her upper lip, she started to wave her legs and her arms. Nothing. How was everything all right? Shardaie continued to wave her limbs. She still couldn’t understand what she was feeling …

Giveaway Time!

The details...
  • Three people will win an eBook of 'Raven'
  • Open to everyone
  • eBook available in PDF, MOBI, & EPUB
  • Nuayma will email the prize to the winners (their choice of format)
  • Ends November 30 at midnight EST

To enter please leave a commentfill out this form.

You can find Nuayma on Twitter, Facebook, & her blog.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Nuayma!

November 21, 2011

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Release Date: December 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 288
Series: n/a
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starting position... suddenly she's hoping he'll see her as more than just a teammate.

My Thoughts:
I swear the last time I had this stupid of a grin on my face throughout a whole book was 'Anna and the French Kiss'. I know! That is a massive compliment because of how much I adore ‘Anna’, but I really thought the tone of 'Catching Jordan' was quite similar. The other main comparison I can make easily is with ‘Friday Night Lights’, which just happens to be one of my favourite TV shows ever. How these two are similar is because even though this book is about football, it’s mainly about Jordan figuring out who she is and what she wants. Football is a big part of who she is, but it’s not really the book’s main focus.

So, Jordan. Jordan is one of the coolest main characters I’ve read about in a long while. She seriously cracked me up because she was a total tomboy and the way she said things sometimes was just so not like a typical girl. But then she also had all these thoughts about guys, and she was just so down to earth and relatable. Most importantly she had inner strength: she knew her worth and wouldn’t let people put her down or control her.

I don’t want to say too much about the romance, because it’s kind of twisty turny getting there, but let’s just say that it’s AWESOME. Epic, amazing, awesome. I loved Jordan’s relationship with her best friend, with her family, and with all her football teammates. All of the relationships were so complex, and they just felt real. I liked how there was the stereotypical bitchy cheerleader, but also awesome fun cheerleaders who Jordan gets to know and realizes what she’s been missing by only having guy friends.

If I had to name one issue I had with this book it would be the promiscuity of the football players, especially one guy in particular. Does it happen in real life? Yeah, probably. But it felt weird to me that everyone seemed okay with it, even the really cool girls who seemed to have a good handle on their self-worth. It just seemed to be swept under the rug too easily. But did that issue impede my overall enjoyment of the book? No, definitely not.

This is the first book in forever that I’ve been so giddy over. I’ve been looking forward to reading it for so long, so I had to read it as soon as I got my copy from Netgalley. From the synopsis I knew I would enjoy this book. I thought it might be cute and fun, and it was, but it was also much more than that. I didn’t expect to adore the characters as much as I did, and I didn’t expect so much self-examination from Jordan. ‘Catching Jordan’ is a book that will surprise you with its depth. If you are at all a fan of contemporaries or contemporary romance, you must add ‘Catching Jordan’ to the top of your list. I'm so glad I read it, and I've already ordered a copy for myself.

The Cover:
It's cute! I like how it shows the football and romance elements of the book.


Find Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (36)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is designed to put new books on people's radars, and encourage blogger interaction.

Here's what I received during the past 2 weeks:

For Review:


So many books for review over the past couple of weeks, but I'm so excited for all of them! Can't wait to see what everyone else has in their mailboxes this week. =)

**All book title links lead to Goodreads

November 19, 2011

2012 New Adult Challenge

I love me some YA (duh!), but I also love books with older YA characters -- those ones that qualify as "new adult" ... that age where the characters aren't quite part of general fiction, but don't belong in high school either. So I'm thrilled that Danya is hosting a New Adult reading challenge for 2012.

I think I'll aim for the "Moving Out" level, which is 6 books, but we'll see!

Here are some books I'm thinking about reading:

And here are some suggestions of AWESOME books that qualify for the challenge:

I've also made a Goodreads shelf for New Adult books I've read and for ones that are on my TBR list. You can find the shelf here.

Click here or on the banner to see more details and to sign up for the challenge.

Legend of Witchtrot Road by E.J. Stevens

Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Sacred Oaks Press
Pages: 180
Series: Spirit Guide
Review Source: eARC from author for review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Surviving agitated ghosts, irritated witches, angry werewolves, and the horrors of high school has never been so hard.

The night of Samhain may be behind them, but Yuki and her friends have only begun to face the challenges of their paranormal gifts. Tensions are rising--in the pack, at school, and within their tightly knit group of friends.

The tragic death of Wakefield High student Dylan Jacobs has emotions boiling over. The J-Team, Yuki's arch nemesis, have turned the entire football team against her. They claim that Yuki is a witch and blame her for the death of their fellow teammate. Will Yuki be able to solve the mystery of Dylan's death, and the legend of Witchtrot Road, before tempers flare and things turn violent?

Emma is the friend that Yuki turns to when things get tough, but she's been behaving strangely. Emma has been acting distant and seems to be coming down with a mysterious illness. What will Yuki and her friends do if their healer is truly sick?

Calvin has become Alpha and wants the best for his pack. He is a dedicated and compassionate leader willing to do anything for the good of his people, but will Cal be able to hold the pack together when a fiery, young werewolf comes seeking revenge?

Simon may still be a roguish playboy, but he is taking his role as Calvin's second in command deadly serious. Will Simon be able to focus on his pack duties when he is forced to face his dark, emotional past?

My Thoughts:
This was an enjoyable installment to the Spirit Guide series. Yuki, the main character, was super cute and funny as always. I also enjoy the side characters in these books, especially Emma and Cal, but even Simon was pretty great in this book.

I have a hard time writing a lot about these books without being spoiler-y because they’re not super long, but I always like reading them. The only thing I have a slight problem with is that the big issue of the novel usually seems to resolve itself quite easily. Not that the journey to get there is easy, but once they figure out what’s wrong or how to get the issue solved, it seems to get fixed “off-screen” so to speak.

Mostly, though, this is an interesting story that combines human problems with the supernatural. It was a fun and interesting read, and I think most paranormal fans would like these books, especially because Yuki’s narration is so light and fun, even when the group is going through some tough times.

The Cover:
Not my favourite of the series, but I love how it's relevant to the book.


Find Legend of Witchtrot Road by E.J. Stevens on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...