Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chai Tea Sunday Giveaway

The lovely folks at ECW Press gave me a copy of Chia Tea Sunday to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Chai Tea Sunday

Do you recall Chai Tea Sunday? I reviewed it back in March You can read it here, and now you can have a copy of it for yourself! Contest is open 4/26-4/30

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rainbows End

Title: Rainbow's End
Publisher:  Barbour Publishing
Pub Date:   May 1st, 2012
Author: Valerie Comer, Annalisa Daughety, Nicole O'Dell, Cara C. Putnam 
Received From: Net Galley
Rainbow's End

Unexpected Treasure in the Missouri Ozarks
It’s always an interesting group of strangers who show up for the Rainbow’s End geocache hunt each summer, and the spectacular scenery along the bluffs of the Lake of the Ozarks is just one reason. . .
Lyssa, fired up for the ministry and anxious to talk about Jesus, is startled to find her former college professor among the group. Will he upset her mission?
City girl Madison is annoyed that her sister signed her up and then bailed—but now she’s been paired with a complete stranger! Worse, he’s one of those outdoorsy types.
Reagan has always played it safe, doing everything by the book. And then she meets her brother’s frat brother, a guy who’s got his life mapped out, too.
After winning her life-long battle to get fit, Hadley can’t wait to meet men who didn’t know her “before.” But Brad is that species of guy she has no experience with: a player.
God only knows if this adventure in the woods will lead to heartache. . .or love.

This wonderful book is broken into four stories

The first one Topaz Treasure details the life of Kirk, a professor and Lyssa a teacher and former student of Kirk's. They meet again a few years after Lyssa has graduated college and while Lyssa remembers Kirk, he has no recolection of her. Their past wasn't an easy one and now they must navigate to a future together. Kirk is seeking the lord and while Lyssa has him she isn't ready to speak up and share him. This is a really sweet love story, with an ending I love and a focus on a little thing called Geo-Caching that my family loves to do! I enjoyed seeing how this story fell into place!

The second tale Beneath the Surface Is the story of Madison and her summer in her sisters house. Once her sister leaves her without a Geo Caching partner, she partners up with Grant and what a duo they make. Madison needs some time to work past what she wants in life and Grant must learn to work past his stereo type for her, but in the end when the work both mental and figurative is done what will they have?

The third Tale Welcome Home Love involves the life of Hadley, a young woman who is on a new adventure in life, living as a healthy person. Recently having lost a large amount of weight, life is new for Hadley. Swept up by the player in town, Brad.  Hadley must learn what she really wants from life and love. The Character of Noah is in my eyes her destinty, but will she see it? There is a past to see there and figuring out where they want to go from there is a great path!

The final story Love's Prize is filled with some drama, scary parts and of course romance. Garrett and his sister Reagan have slipped away from the city for the summer due to a stalker following Reagan. Colton is Garrett's soon to be college roommate. The three spend the summer looking for caches and trying to make sure there is no danger for Reagan. In the end the mystery continues and love takes over. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fifty Shades Freed

Title: Fifty Shades Freed
Publisher:  Vintage
Pub Date:  April 17th,  2012
Author: E.L.James
Received From: Purchased

Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3)

When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.
Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.
Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality

If you thought  books one and two were good, welcome with open arms Fifty Shades Freed. We know all of our characters well, and this time around get to enjoy the book about a month in the future, but have no fear, flashbacks will fill you in on all the good details you have missed, and good they are. This book is the tale of settling into life for Christian and Ana. It has some drama, fear and love all rolled up into one story. I found that all of the characters stayed true to the ideals I saw in them in the beginning and that the author kept me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next piece. In this book Christian grows beyond his dark side and truly finds the man he can be, with a few hiccups along the way of course. The Epilogue is great but the Shades of Christian and Meet fifty shades sections after that just seem a bit out of place for me. While they didn't distract from the story I am not sure they added anything to it either!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Fifty Shades Darker

Title: Fifty Shades Darker
Publisher:  Vintage
Pub Date:  April 17th, 2012
Author: E.L.James
Received From: Purchased

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)
Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house. 
But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.
While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

Love is never easy or quite what you expect it to be. When we left off at the end of Fifty Shades of Grey Ana had begun to realize this and her relationship with Christian was on the rocks so to speak. The chance she takes on him allows her to begin in this book to know what Christians life was like and what in his past made him the way he is. I think the title of the book paved the way for me to know that yes in fact we are heading into the dark. Aside from the lives of Ana and Christian this time around we are introduced to a woman from Christians past, Leila. Unfortunately Leila isn't walking around with the best intentions towards Christian and Ana and we turn from a tale with love and romance and sizzling passion to a bit of a scare. There is also another force that we aren't quite aware of adding to the game. What a tangled web we weave describes all the pieces I found in this book. I continue to love Christian Grey and his relationship with Ana. 


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

Over the next few days I'll be publishing reviews for each of the three books in this series. Today I bring you the first book!

Title: Fifty Shades of Grey
Publisher:  Vintage
Pub Date:  April 3rd, 2012
Author: E.L.James
Received From: Purchased

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

I heard many things about this book before I dived in. While I admit I was a bit scared of the Erotic Romance tag on the back I figured it was worth a shot. I am really glad I gave it a chance. Yes there is some mature content, but nothing that rocked my mind or shocked me to the core. Instead I found the romance more dominant in the book! 
You quickly meet Anastasia Steele, Ana and are thrown into the excitement of life as a soon to be college graduate. What a great time in ones life of joining the real world, and little did Ana know she would be joining a bigger world than she had imagined! Ana is about to be courted in the most unconventional way by Mr. Christian Grey. A world beyond what she imagined is opened up to her and how she reacts to it is nothing short of making me proud! 
I found the character development to be amazing in this book. At times I loved Christian and I times I wanted to cower and fear him. The slow steady delving into his life was a great way to really build him as a character to love! But will Ana love him, and what will their relationship be? The only way to know is to read the story for yourself and lose yourself in a good book!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (6)

Greetings, this is one of the bright spots in my Fridays! 

I always love to check out new blogs!

This week's question is ...


Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?

A: Oh I would love to see Archer Cross from The Hex Hall Series battle it out with Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. Archer would win of course because he has some good in him!

So play along with me, be sure to follow the lovely hosts, (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) and the two awesome feature blogs! 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spell Bound

Title: Spell Bound
Publisher:  Hyperion
Pub Date:  March 13th, 2012
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Received From: Library

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium.  Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

I was pleased to find that Spell Bound picked up right where Demon Glass left off. I didn't want to miss even one moment in the life of Sophie Mercer. Spell Bound added some real and interesting elements to the story. It's always drawn on my mind that Sophie didn't know her fathers side of the family at all and now we find out she didn't know her mothers so well either, a very interesting twist here I think! I found I wanted to nickname Hex Hall, Hex Hell as we found out what was going on there in this stage of the story. 

 I was thrilled to see all of the characters together again. The hidden heat between Cal and Sophie intrigues me so and while many might say Archer is the guy for her I am on team Cal. Finishing out this book was a bit of devastation for me, I hate to see something I love so come to an end! 

If you haven't read this book yet, run for the nearest bookstore and dive in!


Monday, April 16, 2012


Title: Viral
Publisher:  Soho Press
Pub Date:  April 10th 2012
Author: James Lillifores
Received From: Net Galley

In remote pockets of the Third World, a deadly virus is quietly sweeping through impoverished farming villages and shanty towns with frightening speed and potency.

In West Africa, an undercover dissident journalist learns of an investment consortium planning to funnel billions of dollars into the continent. Before he can publicize details, he is savagely murdered.

And in Washington, a three-word message left in a safe deposit box may be the thread that connects these seemingly unrelated incidents--if, that is, two brothers can decipher it before time runs out.

Charles Mallory, a private intelligence contractor and former CIA operative, begins to discover are the traces of a secret war, with a bold objective--to create a new, technologically advanced, and lucrative society in an unlikely region of Africa; a model civilization able to solve the ages-old, seemingly insoluble problems that plague many Third World nations. With the help of his brother, Jon, can he break the story to the world before it is too late--before the "humane depopulation" takes place?

As the stakes and strategies of this secret war become more evident, the Mallory brothers find themselves in a complex game of wits with an enemy they can't see: a new sort of superpower led by a brilliant, elusive tactician who believes that ends justify means.

I was lost and confused for the better part of the beginning of this book, So many characters were introduced I felt in a bit of a tailspin, but as the book wore on I felt understanding for the reasoning of the early chaos. Each character that once confused me, played a role in the book that was necessary for the final outcome, and what an outcome it was, 

Who knew that life could be so confusing for one family. I came to know and understand the lives of Jon and Charles Mallory. Two brothers with different career paths, brought together to fight something beyond what they expected it to be. I am not a typical crime, mystery reader, but I really enjoyed the glimpse here into the town in Africa and what crime fighting can really be like. I kind of expected to know the answer to the mysteries throughout but imagine my shock when I was blown away by the ending! A fun mystery read this is for sure!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cinderella Smith

Title: Cinderella Smith
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Pub Date: 4/26/2011
Author: Stephanie Barden
Received From: Purchased

Cinderella Smith

Cinderella Smith has problems with a capital P. Her new teacher laughs at her name, she has to sit at the smart-boys table, and her old best friend is ignoring her. Now the new girl, Erin, has asked for her advice on wicked stepsisters. But Cinderella doesn't have any stepsisters, wicked or otherwise! And to make things worse, she's got to find her ruby red tap shoe before the fall dance recital!
How will Cinderella solve her capital P problems before it's too late?

C's Review

Cinderella Smith is about a little girl who's tap shoes are missing and she wants her ears pierced. Che got her name by always losing her shoes. She took a dance class, ballet and tap, like me!

She met a new friend named Erin, I made a friend named Erin this week too. Erin has a new mom and new sisters and she and Cinderella are trying to determine if they are wicked or not. Then we find out Erin and her two big sisters are all wicked because of their big feet.
My favorite part was when they got into the fancy dresses for the wedding. The funniest part was the loud boys sports table. Cinderella ended up a the smart boys table. 

Mom's Review

Cute, Cute, Cute This was one cute and sweet little fun adaption on a fairytale for young readers! We are anxiously awaiting the next Cinderella Smith title due out this Month!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On The Island

Last weekend in a typical bounce around on twitter I found a woman who was an author and lived in Des Moines like I do. Now Des Moines isn't a small town but I still have a small town mentality, so I was tickled to find someone local, who loves books on there! I immediately checked out her book on Amazon and voila it was on sale! I bought it, and started it right away!

Title: On the Island
Publisher:  Create Space
Pub Date: 3/14/2012
Author: Tracy Garvis-Graves
Received From: Purchased

Thumbnail for On the Island

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends. 

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man. 

On the Island is a full-length adult romance novel. It explores the human need for more than mere survival, the meaning of bonds formed in isolation, and the ways those bonds are bound to change.

Anna is a woman I could relate with immediately, She was at a crossroads in her life and felt like a change was in order so she took on a job tutoring a teenage boy in paradise, only paradise didn't quite turn out right. Life became strained for Anna and T.J. in a matter of days from their meeting. The challenge was survival not romantic at all. They met this challenge head on learning how to survive, co-exist, and care for one another in a non-romantic way. Years lapse on the island and Anna and T.J. are still on the island, still in a platonic relationship. Some might say there is no way to easily enter into more and I might often agree, expecting them to give into passion in a cliche way soon after being stranded. But this author wrote the story well and I never felt like anything was wrong, instead I was pulling for the relationship before it began. 
I don't want to give away to much here but I will say that reading this won't disappoint you


Monday, April 9, 2012

The Last Song

Title: The Last Song
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pub Date: April 10th 2012
Author: Eva Wiseman
Received From: NetGalley
The Last Song

Spain had been one of the world’s most tolerant societies for eight hundred years, but that way of life was wiped out by the Inquisition. Isabel’s family feels safe from the terrors, torture, and burnings. After all, her father is a respected physician in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Isabel was raised as a Catholic and doesn’t know that her family’s Jewish roots may be a death sentence. When her father is arrested by Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor, she makes a desperate plan to save his life – and her own.
Once again, master storyteller Eva Wiseman brings history to life in this riveting and tragic novel.

Courage is the theme of this book. I love stories of courage, sacrifice and love. In The Last Song Isabel is a young girl who has been living a lie in her life without even knowing it. I was intrigued by the way she chose to get to know the other side of her life that was hidden from her for many years. Her betrothed is a character you love to hate and I am so thankful for the way that their relationship is at the end of the book. 
The other theme I picked up on from this story is How friendships can grow and change. Isabel's parents will find changes in their friendships throughout the book that really make me think about how my friends or I would react in those same circumstance! In the end it was an interesting story and a good lesson on friendship and life, with a little history thrown in!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Demon Glass

Title: Demon Glass
Publisher: Hyperion
Pub Date: 3/22/2011
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Received From: Library

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch, which was why she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered she's a demon, and her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping her kind off the face of the earth. What’s worse, Sophie has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is why she decides to go to London for the Removal, a risky procedure that will either destroy her powers forever—or kill her. But once Sophie arrives, she makes a shocking discovery: someone is raising new demons in secret and planning to use their powers to destroy the world. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Acher to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Oh Sophie, how I love to be enveloped into your life like this. I picked up Demon Glass yesterday on my lunch hour and am already done with it! One of my favorite parts of this book is watching the relationships grow. Sophie and her father are really complete strangers in her mind as the story begins and they grow to care about and trust one another. We also seen change and growth in Sophie's relationships with her friend Jenna, the healer Cal and the new people brought into her life. 

There were some times in reading this that my mind paralleled to the Harry Potter's stories, but it didn't bother me so much it more made me really enjoying seeing life through Sophie's eyes. I consider this a top notch book and if your new to this series check out Hex Hall First!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Two Kisses for Maddy

Today's blog post is going to be a bit unconventional for me! 4 years ago I emailed a man I had never met and started sharing premature baby advice with him. Out of that first email that I so vividly remembering  if I should even send, developed some darn amazing things. Friendships that have been by my side through good and bad times and of course The Liz Logelin Foundation, but that had nothing to do with my initial email!

Today marks the paperback release of the New York Times Bestselling book, Two Kisses for Maddy.
the most special thing about this paperback release is that it contains a new chapter. It also has a new cover, new photos, and a reading group guide. I can't wait to get my copy!

So for today's review I bring you my thoughts on Two Kisses for Maddy and encourage you to jump on Twitter at 1:00est and join in a twitter party for the release, here's what Matt had to say on his blog about it:

to celebrate the launch, i’ll be participating in a live twitter chat starting at 1pm eastern time. grand central (my publisher) and i will be giving away a whole bunch of great stuff, including copies of my book, some of my favorite records, and other random things i think you may enjoy. all you have to do is participate! find me on twitter 
and tweet me with the hashtag, 
and you’ll be in the running for a whole bunch of great stuff. oh. and you’ll be able to ask me any questions you want about the book, the writing process or music recommendations.

Title: Two Kisses for Maddy-Paperback
Publisher: Grand Central
Pub Date: 4/3/2012
Author: Matt Logelin
Received From: Purchased

Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz's pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world on March 24, 2008. 

Just twenty-seven hours later, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and died instantly, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited. Though confronted with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt did not surrender to devastation; he chose to keep moving forward-- to make a life for Maddy. 

In this memoir, Matt shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends. In honoring Liz's legacy, heartache has become solace.

I knew Matt's story before I dived into his book, so I am not sure what I was really expecting to find by reading this book, but I'll tell you what I did find was hope. Hope in people and the world that we live in. The book tells the back story of the courtship, engagement, marriage and love of Matt and Liz all the way up to the birth of their daughter Maddy. Then comes the part I can barely read. that pages that break my heart over and over again. Don't get me wrong this book isn't all sad, in fact I laughed so hard at times the tears in my eyes were from that! 
Truly the story of Matt's life and the women he shares it with is a tale of over coming what life throws your way and moving forward from it. 

I won't tell you I've read this book 3 times in a year, instead I'll just say that if your looking to really feel emotion, break open this book and let the tears, smiles and laughter all flow. 


Monday, April 2, 2012

I Dream of an Elephant

Title: I Dream of an Elephant
Publisher: Abeville Press
Pub Date:3/22/2010
Author: Amy Rubiger
Received From: Netgalley

I Dream of an Elephant takes readers through a wondrous world where they will encounter elephants of many colorful shades that sing, dance, and play - each in its own way! These illustrations provide the hints needed for children to chime in and complete the missing word (the color) from each rhyming couplet. I Dream of an Elephant teaches children about colors with an interactive, fill-in-the-blank challenge that encourages participation.
I Dream of An Elephant
(C's Review) Oh this book is cute. I love the colors because they are really good, I hope we can get this book and I can read it to my little sister. She is learning about her colors shapes and letters. Pink is my favorite color. I think the Elephants are really funny and I wonder what they do dream about!

(Mom's Review)  Smart thinking points go out to the author of this cute kids book. I've read many a book about colors for young children. This one is filled with fun rhymes and the greatest mixture of color. I really love the way that this book can be used to not only teach each color but the shades of the colors as well! Also the added humor in the last color is a great addition!I would consider this a great book for any toddler age child learning colors. I am sure it'll be a part of my library soon!