In My Mailbox (45)

Happy Halloween, everyone!!

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

for review:

"Secondhand Charm" by Julie Berry


I was soooo excited to receive this one for review from Bloomsbury. I LOVED The Amaranth Enchantment and I'm so happy to read the author's newest book!!

"Moonstruck Madness" by Laurie McBain

This is a re-issue of a classic romance from Sourcebooks. I usually don't read the older romances but this one really intrigued me from all the great reviews. Has anyone read it?


bought:
"Ruthless" by Anne Stuart


I've heard so much about this series, I have to try it out! I've never read anything by this author before.


What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

I have two Halloween contests ending tomorrow, so don't forget to enter!!
October Paranormal Romance Giveaway! Win 4 books!! Ends 11/1
"She Smells the Dead" by EJ Stevens! Ends 11/1

Book Blog Follow and Book Blogger Hop Oct 29

Happy Friday, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com and The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books!



My answer to this week's question: Little Women!




My answer: more space for more books :)

If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and say hi!! :)

Giveaway: "The Mischief of the Mistletoe" and Holiday Ornament!!

To celebrate today's release of Lauren Willig's new holiday book, I have a contest for a copy of "The Mischief of the Mistletoe" and a special holiday ornament!! Thanks to Dutton, I have two sets to giveaway, each of the two winners will receive one book and one ornament!!


Summary from Goodreads.com:

Arabella Dempsey’s dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls’ school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies…

Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh—often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation—has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, “Meet me at Farley Castle”, the unlikely
vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens’ modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate 12-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? And is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella and Turnip’s hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?

for more information, check out: http://laurenwillig.com/



GIVEAWAY RULES:
Dutton has provided 2 sets of one book and one ornament for readers of my blog!

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this post with your email address!

Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy.

Extra Entries:
  • +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
  • +1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Ends Friday Nov. 5
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

Waiting on Wednesday (41)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:

"May"
by Kathryn Lasky
Scholastic Press
Release Date: Mar 1, 2011

The following description is from goodreads.com:

Book 2 in Kathryn Lasky's shimmering quartet about mermaid sisters and supernatural love. May feels her life drying up. The sea calls to her, but her parents forbid her from swimming. She longs for books, but her mother finds her passion for learning strange. She yearns for independence, but a persistent suitor, Rudd, wants to tame her spirited ways. Yet after her fifteenth birthday, the urge to break free becomes overpowering and May makes a life-changing discovery. She does not belong on land where girls are meant to be obedient. She is a mermaid-a creature of the sea. For the first time, May learns what freedom feels like-the thrill of exploring both the vast ocean and the previously forbidden books. She even catches the eye of Hugh, an astronomy student who, unlike the townspeople, finds May anything but strange. But not everyone is pleased with May's transformation. Rudd decides that if can't have May, no one will. He knows how to destroy her happiness and goes to drastic measures to ensure that May loses everything: her freedom and the only boy she's ever loved.


This book is about a mermaid, need I say more?? Unfortunately, I haven't read the first book in the series, but I have time before this one comes out! I love the cover and the romance sounds fantastic! What are you waiting for this week???

Teaser Tuesday (12)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays
is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser Tuesday pick:


"I'm not worthy of this, not by a long shot, but that kind of thinking only stops the best of us, not the worst. So I play."


p 41-42 "Revolution" by Jennifer Donnelly (ARC)

In My Mailbox (44)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

contest wins:

"The Healer's Apprentice" by Melanie Dickerson

won from Stephanie and sent by the author! I've been waiting to read this one!

"The Search for Wondla" by Tony DiTerlizzi


won from Karen! This book looks so good, I love the illustrations!!

for review:

"The Peanuts Collection"


wow! this book is so awesome!! sent from Hachette

What did you get in your mailbox this week??

"Ruined" Review


"Ruined"
by Paula Morris

Publisher: Point
Release Date: Aug 1, 2009

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her aunt. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There's just one catch: Lisette is a ghost. A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle. As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend -- and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey -- she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?

My Review:

Ruined is a creepy, gothic ghost story, the perfect read for the Halloween season. The setting and the entire tone of the book are so eerie! The book is never too scary, but it gives the reader the perfect amount of chills and thrills.

I'm usually much more into characters than settings, but in this story, New Orleans seems like it's own character. I learned so much about the city's history as well as how the upper class live there today. Rebecca is very much involved with the "old families" in town and how their shady pasts come back to the haunt them, so their world is her world.

I loved the eerie atmosphere of the old cemetery where Lissette, the ghost, lives. The way it contrasts with the gilded mansions of the old families adds to the creepy factor. And of course, right on the same street as the cemetery and the mansion is Aunt Claudia's shabby shotgun house. The author weaves all three worlds together effortlessly.

The Mardi Gras season and parades were so much fun to read about. The costumes, decorations, and all the expense of the Mardi Gras celebration was pretty spectacular. The author really knows her stuff when it comes to New Orleans.

Rebecca was a great lead, strong but also known to make a few mistakes. I enjoyed her friendships with Lissette and her perky cousin, Aurelia.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5



Bottom Line:This is the perfect book to read on a dark and stormy October night!

Book Blog Follow and Book Blogger Hop Oct 22

Happy Friday, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com and The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books!



My answer to this week's question: I'm reading Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri!




My answer: Anywhere!

If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and say hi!! :)


Cover revealed: Sweet Valley Confidential!

Cover revealed for Sweet Valley Confidential!


I love it!! Definitely makes me want to pick up the book, and I love how the circle and logo on the front echoes the original books!!


The book is released March 29, 2011 but you can visit http://www.sweetvalleytenyearslater.com/ to tide you over until then!!

Winners Announced!! A Season of Seduction

Winners Announced!!

The 5 winners of the "A Season for Seduction" giveaway are:


Anaiz
WinterBabe98
ReneeG
Cecile
Melissa (couponchik)

Winners were chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to the winners!! I have emailed the winners for their mailing addresses. Winners have 3 days to respond :) A huge thank you goes out to Hachette for sponsoring the contest and to everyone who entered!! Congrats!!

Waiting on Wednesday (40)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:

"The False Princess"
by Eilis O'Neal
EgmontUSA
Release Date: Jan 25, 2011


The following description is from goodreads.com


Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia knows her role in life. But everything changes when she learns, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess–a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city, her best friend, Kiernan, and the only life she’s ever known.

While struggling with her new peasant life, Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins–long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control. Returning to the city to seek answers, she instead uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history forever.


I'm super excited about this one, I love YA historicals and the reviews for this one say there's a unique twist!! I can't wait!!

What are you waiting for this week??

Teaser Tuesday (11)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays
is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser Tuesday pick:


" 'You don't think she's pretty?' said a voice from deep within the darkness, and Rebecca jumped, so startled that she almost dropped her flashlight."


p 69 "Ruined" by Paula Morris

"Nightshade" Review


"Nightshade"
by Andrea Cremer

Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: Oct 19, 2010

Source: ARC sent by publisher


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

My Review:

Finally, a YA paranormal that lives up to the hype! "Nightshade" tells it's own story instead of rehashing the same old story and sends a positive message to young girls while doing so. I absolutely loved that this book dealt with real issues- thinking for yourself with a big dose of girl power. The author deftly weaves this into her addicting, exciting story.

Calla always accepted her fate as a guardian and let herself be told what to do. Until the day of her long awaited "union" (marriage) to the other pack Alpha, Ren, rapidly started approaching. Calla realized that maybe she wasn't ready to be married when she'd never been allowed to date any other guys, let alone that she was only 17! Then she meets mysterious Shay who turns her world upside down. Not just because of her feelings for him, but because of the ideas he shares with her. Shay helps Calla to see that all of the Guardians are completely controlled by the Keepers, regardless of being Alphas or not. Also, Calla starts to realize how men control the women in their world. Even though she and Ren are both Alphas, his authority takes precedence over hers because he's male.

Calla's society is completely closed minded and controlled by the powers that be. I see so many similarities between Calla's structured society and our own. This side of the story blew me away more than any of the paranormal action. Id' never seen so much social commentary in a YA paranormal book and I loved it. I hope this story can affect the audience and at least make readers think twice.

I absolutely loved Shay. I'm not even sure if it was in a romantic way or because I saw so much of myself in his values and how fired up he got over certain subjects.

Calla was a great lead, too. She was physically strong at the beginning but I loved her journey to becoming emotionally strong as well. This was a book where I can't even list all the things I liked about it, you will have to read it for yourself!


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5



Bottom Line: This book was a great paranormal story and the author built a strong, well-thought out paranormal world. But what impressed me the most about the book was the powerful message sent out to teens and especially young women.

"Aching for Always" Review


"Aching for Always"
by Gwyn Cready

Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: Sep 28, 2010

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

RITA Award–winning author Gwyn Cready continues the “sexy fun” (BookPage) of her charming time-travel adventures with a high-spirited tale of a modern-day mapmaker and the eighteenth-century English navy captain she can’t resist.Ambitious and feisty Josephine “Joss” O’Malley has spent years fighting to keep her mother’s map-making company alive. Just when she finds herself considering taking a risky next step with bad-boy entrepreneur Rogan Reynolds— whose generosity has helped keep the business afloat—Joss meets dark and mysterious Hugh Hawksmoor. Hugh’s deft touch and old-world seduction stir Joss’s desires like a storm at sea, and she has no clue that he has sailed three hundred years into the future to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of her father. Or that she holds the key to a map that will help him undo the destructive changes her father wrought in the past. When Hugh lures Joss into a treacherous journey through time, there’s not a twenty-first-century trick that can save her. But when she applies her own instincts to a course she thought was set, she discovers that the high seas hold some scandalous surprises.

My Review:

This story was more of an adventure story than romance in my opinion, with a lot of swashbuckling escapades going back and forth in time to solve the mystery. The romance kind of fell flat for me, so I'd say it's more for readers who want to read a great adventure story.

I really liked "The Beautiful Mapmaker" story that was the intro to most of the chapters. The little snippets of the romance that we got to see of Hugh's brother and Joss's mother were more of what I like to see in a romance-dreamy and more love than the physical aspect.

I liked how Hugh's story came together with Joss's and their pasts were interwoven, with Joss's mother and fairy tale tying the hero and heroine together.

The love story between Joss and Hugh didn't feel nearly as real or romantic as the love story from the past. Their relationship seemed all physical. Plus, there was the added obstacle of Joss's fiance. It didn't bother me that she had a fiance, because this was all part of the story, plus they had only been together a very short time. However, I didn't like to see their romantic scenes, I thought it took away from Joss and Hugh.

I liked how Hugh seemed almost innocent in his manner of speaking, but of course he wasn't at all. However, it seemed like he was more of a fantasy stereotype instead of a real person.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: I'd recommend this book to readers who like a big adventure in their romance stories.

In My Mailbox (43)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

bought:

"The Hollow" by Jessica Verday


for review:


"The Love Goddess' Cooking School" by Melissa Senate


What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

Review and Giveaway! "She Smells the Dead"

As part of the "She Smells the Dead" blog tour, I have my review and a giveaway of an autographed copy of the book!

"She Smells the Dead"
by E.J. Stevens

Publisher: Sacred Oaks Press
Release Date: Sep 9, 2010

Source: sent by author


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.

SHE SMELLS THE DEAD.

The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?


My Review:

The author has a great understanding of today's teen voice and manner of speaking and thinking. She definitely makes a point of describing Yuki's fun goth style. I think readers will like hearing about what Yuki is wearing, it feels really authentic and not stylized or condescending to the reader or the style.

I also loved Yuki's best girl friend, Emma, the animal rights activist. She was so fun to read about with her youthful exuberance towards the issues she fought for. Of course, there was some comedy with her all consuming activism, including fighting against "bee oppression."

Calvin and Yuki are a sweet, age-appropriate couple. However, I would have liked to have seen more build up to their relationship. One minute, they were friends, and the next they were a couple, no fireworks, no build up. Their love/like just didn't feel real to me. Maybe they should have just started the story as a couple and I would have found it more believable.

I couldn't help but make comparisons to "The Body Finder" while I was reading this book. Both heroines can smell the dead and both fall in love with their best friend. Unfortunately, I didn't think this one succeeded in either storyline like "The Body Finder" did.

I think this story could possibly translate better to a younger audience, but I felt the story needed more depth, especially in the romance aspect of the book.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5 (Emma the activist)

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 5/5 (WOW!! And I love that she really does dress this way)
Writing: 3/5



Bottom Line:I loved reading about Yuki's fashion choices, and the author has a great teen voice.


GIVEAWAY RULES:
EJ has given me an extra autographed copy of the book to send to one of the readers of my blog!

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address!

Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy.

Extra Entries:
  • +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
  • +1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Ends Monday Nov. 1
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

"Annexed" Review


"Annexed"
by Sharon Dogar

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Release Date: Oct 4, 2010

Source: sent by FSB


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Book Summary from goodreads.com:

Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?

In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?

Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.


My Review:

This book is possibly the most intense book I have read that wasn't required reading for school. I admire and appreciate the writing and the author's knowledge of the subject, but I can't say that this book was for me.

I would like to address two of the criticisms of the book that I've seen in the media. First, some feel that the author shouldn't have touched Anne's story. I don't agree with this at all. The book respectfully takes another angle on Anne's story and shows her in a different light. To me, this is the same as a producer would do with a movie version of her life. She's telling the story in a different way while being respectful to the true original story.

Secondly, some feel this story is too "sexed up." Any of the so called sex scenes are fantasies which is understandable coming from a teenage boys point of view. I admit, the fantasies gave me the heebie jeebies a little, since I'm not a teenage boy, but I certainly don't think the author should change anything. That's how she chose to tell the story and it fits with her point of view. In no way do I feel it's disrespectful to the Anne story, I just didn't personally like reading it.

This story is intense, the book chronicles not only Peter's time in the annex, but also his time at Auschwitz and the prologue is a scene in the sick bay as he's waiting to die. The author has a very poetic way of writing that makes the haunting events really get under the reader's skin.

Bottom Line: This story is not for the faint of heart and I recommend this one only to those who think they are up to it.

Book Blog Follow and Book Blogger Hop Oct 15

Happy Friday, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com and The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books!



My answer to this week's question: read StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce!




My answer: If it's not a review book, I quit the book before you can even blink: I don't have time to read books I don't like. However, if it's a review book, I feel too guilty so I stick it out...

If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and say hi!! :)


"Within My Heart" Review


"Within My Heart"
by Tamera Alexander

Publisher: Bethany House
Release Date: Sept 1, 2010

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Rachel Boyd lost her husband and has been struggling to manage the ranch he left behind along with their two young sons. When her friend and father figure, Ben, becomes gravely ill, she has to put all of her trust in Dr. Rand Brookston, the town physician. Since her father was a doctor too, Rand enlists her help in a difficult surgery to save Ben's life. Rachel is suspicious of Rand, thinking he's as untrustworthy as a doctor, and as disapproving of her, as her father was. Through this hard time, will Rachel be able to allow herself the luxury of Rand being her soft place to fall?

The author has a unique style of writing where she doesn't really tell the reader what happens at the end of a scene and you have to figure it out during the next scene. Sometimes this is effective in building suspense, but sometimes it's confusing.

I really liked Rand and I would have liked to have known more about him, but most of the focus was on Rachel's story. I found Rand's story so intriguing, with all he had to overcome. The prologue was so interesting to me because of the practice of attaching bells to the recently buried's hands, so they could be saved if they had been buried alive. I learned about this practice in St. Augustine, FL, while on a ghost tour, and it was so interesting to see that situation play out here.

This is inspirational fiction, but it doesn't have a preachy message. It's mostly about letting go of the past, letting go of guilt, and allowing ourselves to be happy in the present.

The secondary plot was very sad and difficult to read, and probably prevented me from enjoying the book more. However, it was very moving and I'm sure some readers will enjoy the tearjerker aspect of the book.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:This is a sweet historical western romance that's bound to cause a few tears, but with an uplifting message of hope.

Waiting on Wednesday (39)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:

"Lily of the Nile"
by Stephanie Dray
Berkley Trade
Release Date: Jan 4, 2011

The following description is from goodreads.com

With her parents dead, the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is left at the mercy of her Roman captors. Heir to one empire and prisoner of another, Princess Selene must save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers…

In the aftermath of Alexandria’s tragic fall, Princess Selene is taken from Egypt, the only home she’s ever known. Along with her two surviving brothers, she’s put on display as a war trophy in Rome. Selene’s captors mock her royalty and drag her through the streets in chain
s, but on the brink of death, the children are spared as a favor to the emperor’s sister, who takes them to live as hostages in the so-called lamentable embassy of royal orphans…

Trapped in a Roman court of intrigue that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, Selene can’t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her flesh. Nor can she stop the emperor from using her for his own political ends. Faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to honor her mother’s lost legacy. The magic of Egypt and Isis remain within her. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win or die?



I love reading about Cleopatra, and ever since I read "Cleopatra's Daughter" by Michelle Moran, I've wanted to know so much more about her daughter, Cleopatra Selene. I can't wait to find out more about her!

What are you waiting for this week??

Teaser Tuesday (10)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays
is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser Tuesday pick:


"Shay slammed the library book shut, giving it an abrupt shove. It sailed over the edge of the table, hitting the floor with a dull thud."


p 239 "Nightshade" by Andrea Cremer (ARC)

"Masquerade" Review


"Masquerade"
by Nancy Moser

Publisher: Bethany House
Release Date: Aug 1, 2010

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Lottie Gleason's parents arranged for her to marry a very rich American to save her from scandal in England. Even though she doesn't have any desire to wed a stranger, she and her maid, Dora, set off on the long journey to America. Instead of traveling as Lottie's maid Dora wears Lottie's dresses and pretends to be a lady. The charade works so well, Lottie comes up with a plan-have Dora marry the rich American heir in her place while Lottie finds her own adventures. Will the girls be able to pull of the masquerade?

This book was very refreshing in how different it was. The alternating viewpoints of Lottie and Dora/Charlotte made for a fast-paced story with lots of secondary characters.

My favorite part of the book was when the girls were on the ship to America. I couldn't help but think of Titanic without the iceberg. Seeing Dora blossom and understanding Lottie's jealousy was intriguing. I felt like the author was telling us that it's not the fancy clothes but the woman inside that counts.

Lottie was spoiled, but it was nice to see her growth throughout the book. Dora made some bad decisions, but both girls learned from their mistakes.

At times, the resolutions to their problems were a bit too perfect and well-timed, but it was all for the sake of the story and the message was positive. I enjoyed the bits of romance and at times really didn't know what would happen to the girls or where they would end up.


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: This was a unique story that looks at two very different social classes, set in a fascinating era of American history.

"Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method" Review


"Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method"
by Tracy Anderson

Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
Release Date: Sep 20, 2010

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Book Summary from goodreads.com:
Did you know muscles get bored, just like people do? And did you also know that there's a 9 out of 10 chance that you're working the wrong muscles when you exercise? With TRACY ANDERSON'S 30-DAY METHOD you don't have to worry--her unique workout will help you drop the weight and shrink your body in just 30 days.

Based on ten years of scientific research and experience getting not just herself, but A-list stars and everyday people, red carpet ready, Anderson has developed a unique 30-day diet and workout routine that reshapes the body and defies genetics to tone the muscles and drop the pounds. While most people incorrectly target their major muscle groups, like the bicep or hamstring, the focus should be on the smaller accessory muscles that can create a long, lean, balanced look--instead of bulked up look. Anderson's program is composed of a groundbreaking three-tiered approach, including a mat workout and cardio routine targeting the all-important accessory muscles, and an exclusive 30-day meal plan, complete with dozens of delicious recipes.

This comprehensive kick-start program is unlike any other workout on the market and it leaves no chance for anything but terrific, fast results!

My Review:

This review is of the book only, I'd love say that I tried the exercises and have already seen results after 30 days, but all I've done so far is read!

The premise of Anderson's plan is really interesting. Basically, she uses a three facet approach, strength training, cardio, and a healthy diet. I think the really unique part of the plan lies in the strength training. She targets the body's smaller, less noticed muscle groups to create a long, lean, strong body, not bulk.

The conditioning exercises are clearly pictured with detailed instructions. I feel really motivated to do the strength training, but I didn't get much out of the cardio or diet sections of the book.

I really liked the tone of Anderson's writing. She's very encouraging and motivational. It seems like she truly wants to help. Her focus is on what you can be, not on how lazy you are now like some exercise books can be. I like her focus on the positive.

The foreword by Gwyneth Paltrow is honest and encouraging. Since most of us know her, it feels good to hear someone familiar recommend Anderson's plan.

Bottom Line: I can't wait to try the exercises, even if I do cheat a bit and only do the strength training. I think this is a positive addition to a fitness lover's collection, even if you only take bits and pieces of her advice.

In My Mailbox (42)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

for review:

"Another Pan" by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

yay!! I am soooo excited to read this one! I can't wait!!

"Ruined" by Paula Morris

oooh, a ghost story just in time for Halloween!!

contest wins:

"Cinders" by Michelle Davidson Argyle

I won this one from the author, it looks amazing! I love twists on fairy tales!

"A Pearl in the Sand" by Tessa Afshar

won from Janet at Along the Way, and sent from the publisher. this book has such great reviews and I am blown away by this cover!

"Lessons from a Dead Girl" by Jo Knowles


"Living Dead Girl" by Elizabeth Scott

both won from Alicia at Look at My Books in her banned books contest!

What did you receive in your mailbox this week??


"Cleopatra Rules" Review


"Cleopatra Rules!"
by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
Release Date: Oct 1, 2010

Source: sent by author


My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Book Summary from BoydsMillsPress.com:

Good. Evil. Dangerous. Glamorous. Will the real Cleopatra please stand up? Almost everything we know about the last queen of Egypt came from her enemies—the Romans. Now it’s time to meet the “real” Cleopatra, a ruler more complex, brilliant, and powerful than we ever knew. Cleopatra didn’t just rock the boat when she became queen at seventeen. She rocked the world with brilliant alliances that kept her in power and in control. When Mark Antony tried to put Egypt under his thumb, she negotiated for—and won—more territory than any Egyptian ruler had snagged in generations. Cleopatra didn’t just play by the rules. She made them up as she went along. She bowed to no one, including Octavian—the future Caesar Augustus—who never missed an opportunity to pump out anti-Cleopatra propaganda. The queen of Egypt has fascinated the world for thousands of years. It’s time to find out why. So, on your knees, commoner! The world’s most brilliant and outrageous queen—Cleopatra VII, the last Pharaoh of Egypt—is about to make her entrance. Includes maps, endnotes, timeline, glossary, sources, and index.

My Review:

This was such a beautiful book! I was really impressed. The layout and photos of this non-fiction book for young readers were very nicely put together. The cover is absolutely stunning and the image is on the book too, not just the dust jacket.

I have always admired Cleopatra and I knew some of the facts, but Shecter opened my eyes about some things. I knew Cleopatra was misunderstood by most and her image of the sexy seductress wasn't all there was to her. But I always thought it was Hollywood who chopped up her image. But no, it was her own enemies in her own time who did all of that.

Also, I knew Cleopatra was very well read (one of the reasons I love her) but I did not know that Marc Antony once stole a very valuable scroll (book) for her as a wedding present! Here's a guy who knows what his lady likes!

The author's voice was so easy to read and really brought the history alive for today's younger reader. Her writing flowed and she compared things that happened to Cleopatra with events that were more family to today's reader. For instance, all of the bad 'press' Cleopatra had in her day was similar to Perez cutting down a celeb on his blog today.

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed reading Cleopatra's story again and the author really presents her in a fair and accurate light. I love the way the book is written for today's young readers. And I was glad to learn new information.

Winners Announced!! September Romance Classics Giveaway!

Winners Announced!!

The three winners of the September Romance Classics giveaway are:


Patsy
Rebecca
DK's Book Reviews

Winners were chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to the winners!! I have emailed the winners for their mailing addresses. Winners have 3 days to respond :) A huge thank you goes out to Hachette for sponsoring the contest and to everyone who entered!! Congrats!!

"Dark Road to Darjeeling" Review


"Dark Road to Darjeeling"
by Deanna Raybourn

Publisher: Mira
Release Date: Oct 1, 2010

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads.com:

With an exotic setting in the foothills of the Himalayas and the introduction of an arch-villain, Dark Road to Darjeeling promises to be the most exciting Lady Julia novel yet.

For Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane, the honeymoon has ended...but the adventure is just beginning.

After eight idyllic months in the Mediterranean, Lady Julia Grey and her detective husband are ready to put their investigative talents to work once more. At the urging of Julia’s eccentric family, they hurry to India to aid an old friend, the newly-widowed Jane Cavendish. Living on the Cavendish tea plantation with the remnants of her husband’s family, Jane is consumed with the impending birth of her child—and with discovering the truth about her husband’s death. Was he murdered for his estate? And if he was, could Jane and her unborn child be next?

Amid the lush foothills of the Himalayas, dark deeds are buried and malicious thoughts flourish. The Brisbanes uncover secrets and scandal, illicit affairs and twisted legacies. In this remote and exotic place, exploration is perilous and discovery, deadly. The danger is palpable and, if they are not careful, Julia and Nicholas will not live to celebrate their first anniversary.



My Review:

This book reminded me of one of my Nintendo DS games, Professor Layton and the Curious Village. There was a mystery to solve, and Julia continuously met new characters who would give her another small clue to the puzzle. Each time she met someone else, she would get that much closer to solving the mystery.

I would recommend this book to fans of mystery more so than historicals. For some reason, I thought this would be more of a romance, but it was definitely more mystery novel. Julia's husband, Brisbane, seemed a bit too stuffy for me. She even called him by his last name! But perhaps if I had read the other books in the series and knew how they met, etc, I would have liked his character.

Another comparison I kept thinking of while reading, was Lucy and Ricky from "I Love Lucy." It seemed like Julia was trying desperately to join in Brisbane's adventures, just like Lucy tried so hard to be in Ricky's show. Zany adventures ensue, only this time dangerous, and Brisbane always refuses to let her join him as a detective. The author gave reasons for him not wanting her to be a detective-he's had more training, he wants to keep her safe, but it sometimes came off as chauvinistic.

I know a lot of readers were hoping for some tea in this one because of the title, and-yes-there is a tea garden in Darjeeling! Yay!

Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 2/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:Even though I was disappointed that there wasn't more romance, this would be a great read for mystery fans, the historical aspect adds a lot of adventure!

Book Blog Follow and Book Blogger Hop Oct 8

Happy Friday, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com and The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books!






If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and say hi!! :)


Giveaway and Review: "A Season of Seduction"

As part of the "A Season of Seduction" blog tour, I have my review and a giveaway of 5 copies of the book, sponsored by Hachette!

"A Season of Seduction"
by Jennifer Haymore

Publisher: Forever
Release Date: Oct 1, 2010

Source: ARC sent by publisher


My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Becky is still scarred from her disastrous first marriage that ended four years ago. She definitely doesn't want to get married again, or give her heart to another man. So Becky chooses to have an affair with notorious rake, Jack Fulton, knowing he'll never want to settle down. Jack feels tremendous guilt, but his life literally depends on marrying an heiress. How far will he go to get Becky, the Duke's sister, to marry him?

This story was definitely out of the ordinary, and I like how Jennifer Haymore pushes boundaries and introduces new themes. There's one event that I've never seen done in historical romance, and I have read a lot of historical romance!! Unfortunately, even though I appreciate the author doing something different, this particular event really made the book lose its momentum for me.

It was hard to get past the fact that Jack set out to use Becky for her money. But the beginning scenes were pretty suspenseful because you knew Jack was plotting something, but weren't sure quite what.

I really liked that Jack was obvious and blatant about his affection for Becky and he didn't give up. It's too bad his motivation was a little blurred at the start.

I really liked Becky's character in the previous book, "A Touch of Scandal," and I was glad she remained true to herself here. Since I did already feel attached to these characters, I got a little irked with one scene with Sophie still with both of 'her men,' Garrett and Tristan. Meanwhile poor Kate is at home, still playing second fiddle to Sophie. But, hey, that just shows how invested I am in these characters!

The story isn't really very holiday-inspired, even though the events do take place close to Christmas. And I did like how Jack sometimes called Becky "the Winter Queen."


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: This was a great way to revisit characters from the rest of the series, and the leads have a lot of chemistry!

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GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette books has generously provided FIVE copies of this historical romance for readers of my blog!

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address!

Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy.

Extra Entries:
  • +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
  • +1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US and Canada only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by Hachette
  • Ends Monday Oct. 18
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

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