Free Ebooks for Kindle and Nook! Dec 30

Here are some free ebooks available for Kindle and Nook to keep you busy over the weekend! 

I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!! See you in 2012!

"Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side" by Beth Fantaskey
 


"Warriors #1: Into the Wild" by Erin Hunter

 

"To Love Anew" by Bonnie Leon
 


Happy New Year!

"Susanna's Choice" Review

"Susanna's Choice"
by Sarah Luck

Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: Dec 27, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  


Set in the tumultuous frontier days of the American West, this thrillingly authentic debut novel illuminates the passionate choices of one woman’s heart. A chance encounter . . .
Wealthy entrepreneur Rab Trudeau is seething mad. A Nevada newspaper is printing fraudulent stock prices that could force his silver mine to close. Posing as an investigator from San Francisco’s Great Western Detective Agency, which he happens to own, Rab travels to Nevada to uncover who’s behind the false claims. Soon after stepping off the train, he rescues a beautiful woman from an oncoming carriage—and in one blinding moment, both are consumed by the powerful strength and seduction of their embrace.
An uncertain destiny . . .
An aspiring writer for The Pioneer, Susanna agrees to interview the stranger whom everyone is talking about, and is shocked to discover he’s Rab Trudeau—the gentleman who saved her life. Promised in marriage to the wayward son of the couple who raised her after her parents died on a westward-bound wagon train, Susanna fights her overwhelming desire for Rab. But as the mine scandal heats up and turns violent, Susanna must make an impossible choice—one that could bind her to Rab forever or destroy any hope of their future happiness.
My Review:

This was definitely a different type of historical romance, but I'm not sure it was my style. The historical details were very authentic and well-researched, and I surely learned a few things I didn't know about the time period and setting. However, the romance wasn't special to me and some of the storytelling seemed elementary.

There really weren't a lot of scenes with the hero and heroine together which always disappoints me in historical romance. A lot of the plot centered around the stock in the silver mine. It was interesting to read about, but not really what I had in mind when I picked up a romance book.

The romance felt uncomfortable to me, especially some of the scenes. Their relationship felt awkward instead of romantic. This is a debut novel so perhaps this will improve in her upcoming books.



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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 2/5

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



Bottom Line: This will probably appeal to die hard western fans, but those looking for a great romance may be disappointed.

Review and Giveaway! "Artemis the Loyal" Goddess Girls #7

"Artemis the Loyal" (Goddess Girls #7)
 by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: Dec 6, 2011 
Source: sent by the authors

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary from goodreads.com:

It's time for the annual Olympic Games, and the four goddessgirls are not happy! It's boys only--and the girls at MOA are not pleased.
Led by Artemis, Athena, Persphone and Aphrodite, the ladies of Mount Olympus hatch a plan to get Zeus to open up the games to everyone. Will they succeed--or end up watching from the sidelines again?
These classic myths from the Greek pantheon are given a modern twist that contemporary tweens can relate to, from dealing with bullies like Medusa to a first crush on an unlikely boy. Goddess Girls follows four goddesses-in-training – Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis – as they navigate the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most priviledged gods and goddesses of the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills.


My Review:

This is yet another excellent addition to the Goddess Girls series. The entire gang of Goddess Girls is back in this story told from Artemis' point of view.

This installment really explores Artemis' relationship with her twin brother, Apollo. Artemis wants things to be like they always have been, but Apollo is starting to need his own space.  Artemis tries to understand that just because Apollo wants to see if he can succeed on his own and do things for himself instead of relying on Artemis, it doesn't mean that they have to grow apart.

I like that Artemis has a crush, but she also has a boy who is just a friend. It's nice to see boys and girls as friends but not in a romantic way. Of course, there's a cute romance too, with plenty of pitfalls.

The main conflict in the book is that girls aren't allowed to participate in the Olympics at school. It's great to Artemis fired up about equal rights for girls. Hopefully, it will encourage girls to speak up for themselves in their own lives.
 

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: Another fantastic installment of one of my favorite series. The Goddess Girls are such great role models for girls.




GIVEAWAY RULES:

Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams have generously provided a finished copy of "Artemis the Loyal" for one lucky reader 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
  • Books will be mailed out by the authors, In the Hammock is not responsible for lost or missing books, or the amount of time taken to ship the books
  • Must be 18 or over 
  • Ends Sun Jan 1
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!


"Kiss Crush Collide" Review

"Kiss Crush Collide"
by Christina Meredith

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: Dec 27, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  


Leah has the life most high school girls would kill for—popularity, glowing grades, a rich, athletic boyfriend. So why does she feel like she can’t breathe? And why can’t she stop thinking about the boy from the country club? The one who isn’t her boyfriend, the one that her mother would never, ever approve of, the one that her perfect older sisters would never, ever look at twice. The one who is always looking back at her. Irresistible attraction, smoldering glances, the bad boy and the good girl—Kiss Crush Collide has everything that a steamy forbidden romance should, and then some.

With graceful and honest writing and an electric love story, this is a book about growing into your own skin. For fans of Perfect Chemistry, Sarah Dessen, and John Green.

My Review:

This book was written in a style that I hadn't really seen before. It was written in first person, so that always adds a little bit of novelty to a book, but here it read a bit strangely. The prose was almost like puffs of dream, instead of complete thoughts. There was also a lot of observances of mundane, everyday things that were blown up into huge detail. It was actually an interesting and new approach, but I'm not sure it was for me.

The story was definitely more focused on the family drama, especially Leah's sisters, rather than her relationship with Porter/Duffy. It seemed like Duffy was more like just another way to prove herself as different from her sisters than a true love story. The cover is a bit misleading for this reason, it would be more accurate with three sisters on the cover.



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

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 3/5

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



Bottom Line: Overall, this is really quick read, so it's a good way to spend a rainy afternoon, but doesn't really deliver in the romance department.

"mental_floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory" Review

"mental_floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory"
by Cara Elliott

Publisher: Forever
Release Date: Nov 1, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  


For ten years, the knowledge seekers at mental_floss have been hunting and trapping the world’s rarest facts, locking them into captivating lists for the world to admire. Thanks to their tireless efforts, Mental Floss: The Book is packed with a decade’s worth of the smartest, quirkiest stories around, including:
Five Presidential Fashion Flubs
Seven Shameless Abuses of Diplomatic Immunity
Five Units of Measurement Weirder Than the Metric System
Four Toys That Have Gone to War for America
Seven Reasons Mister Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever
Five Things Your Body Can Do After You Die
Six of Baseball’s Strangest Trades
Four Foods People Actually Die For
Seven Things Walmart Has Banned
Four TV Shows That Changed the Course of History
Ten “Q” Words That Aren’t “Q-U” Words
Four Horrifying Parasites to Keep You Awake at Night
Eight Fake Archaeological Finds
Five Articles of Clothing That Caused Riots
Four Memorable Moments in Cross-Dressing History
Five Doomsdays We’ve Already Survived
And 124 Other Extraordinary Lists!

My Review:

I was very impressed with this book, there was a mix of pop culture tidbits as well as little known historical and scientific facts. You could definitely find some facts in here that would impress friends when you sprinkle them into everyday conversation.

There's a list for everyone here, from the Muppets, to sports, to US Presidents, there's a bit of everything. Who knew that some of the quotes that I always attributed to Mark Twain, weren't really his quotes at all? And no other book has ever referenced Steve McQueen as many times as this one.

It's not labeled as a kids book or anything, but I think the book is family friendly. I think the whole family would enjoy this book and learn a lot of useful and not so useful (but still fun) information. It's been a week or so since I finished reading the book, and I'm still quoting it all the time!


Bottom Line: This is a fun gift book or coffee table book that can be enjoyed by everyone.

In My Mailbox (96)


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:

"Fracture" by Megan Miranda
 
  I've already started this one and it's so good!

"The Revenant" by Sonia Gensler

I won this from the author at Small Review, and it came autographed and all wrapped up for Christmas!

"The Keeper" by Suzanne Woods Fisher


I'm really a fan of this author's Amish fiction!

"Susanna's Choice" by Sara Luck


A western historical romance from a debut author!

What did you receive in your mailbox this week???


"Cloudburst" Review

"Cloudburst"
by V.C. Andrews

Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: Oct 25, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  


The follow-up to Family Storms from New York Times bestselling author V.C. Andrews features high school senior Sasha Porter in search of her sister—but instead she learns secrets that could tear her family apart.

Sasha is a popular senior in high school, with excellent grades and no more secrets to hide. She finds herself more and more interested in one boy, Duane Banks, who stands out not because he flaunts his good looks and his achievements at the school like so many, but because he is shy and somewhat withdrawn.

When auditions for the new school play begin, she and Duane both get parts and with the rehearsals, Duane seems to be coming out of his shell, permitting himself to hope and succeed at something. Sasha and Duane become a couple, and their relationships continues to grow.

When the play opens, Sasha’s foster parents attend, but neither of Duane’s parents show up. Duane goes into a depression, and he begins to ignore not only his schoolwork, but also his appearance. She tries to warn his mother to be more concerned, but she resents Sasha’s inserting herself into their private lives and does nothing. Meanwhile, things take a bizarre turn at home for Sasha and then a sudden tragedy makes her wonder whether there’s anybody she can truly trust.

My Review:

When you're in the mood for some melodrama, there's no one better to turn to than VC Andrews. This book really delivers on the over the top family drama. While some of the story was a little predictable, especially the foster sister and foster father storylines, the rest was more dramatic than even what I thought would happen.

You'd think with a ghost writer writing under the VC Andrews name, that the storytelling would be subpar but this is just not the case. The writing is fast paced and really draws you in. I was turning the pages so fast with this book, and couldn't wait to see what happened next. The writing may be missing that special something that VC Andrews herself had, but it's still good writing.

Sure, a lot of the story is way over the top, and in some cases simplified too much. There were some awkward moments, but overall it was an engrossing story.


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

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 3/5

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



Bottom Line: I wouldn't go into this book expecting the next great literary masterpiece, but as far as entertaining, over the top melodrama goes, it hits the mark.

"Little Women and Me" Review

"Little Women and Me"
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: Nov 8, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by author

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  


Emily is sick and tired of being a middle sister. So when she gets an assignment to describe what she'd change about a classic novel, Emily pounces on Little Women. After all, if she can't change things in her own family, maybe she can bring a little justice to the March sisters. (Kill off Beth? Have cute Laurie wind up with Amy instead of Jo? What was Louisa May Alcott thinking?!) But when Emily gets mysteriously transported into the 1860s world of the book, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won't be easy. And after being immersed in a time and place so different from her own, it may be Emily-not the four March sisters-who undergoes the most surprising change of all. Lauren Baratz-Logsted's winning confection will appeal to fans of Little Women as well as anyone who enjoys a modern twist on an old favorite.

My Review:

The idea for this book seemed really cute to me, and the writing is fun and sweet. I think we'd all love to be plopped down in the middle of our favorite book. However, I seem to find with most variations on classics, that they seem to be repetitive of the original book. I know that goes with the territory, but still, I feel like I already know the story.

Ah, Laurie and Jo, there's a controversial couple if ever there was one. When I read the original story, at first I was disappointed when they didn't get together, but then as I kept reading, I also liked Laurie with Amy too.  I guess I thought that Jo turned him down so that was her loss. I also liked Amy in the original, so I was a little disappointed to see how she was portrayed in this version. Of course, I definitely don't blame Emily for having her own crush on Laurie, though!

There was a twist ending that I thought was really cool and inventive. I really didn't see it coming, that's for sure.

I think if you're really a fan of the original book, you will like this variation. You will especially like it if you are fans of the 'classics variation' genre in general! I also think a tween might be interested in reading this, since it's modern, and maybe that would inspire her to read the original version. I'd recommend the book to a young YA audience or older MG/tween.



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

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 3/5 (my boyfriend thought it was a little creepy)
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: This is a cute variation on a classic book, and you'll have to read it to see if you like the changes she made!

"Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks" Review

"Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks"
by K.D. McCrite

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: Dec 6, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  


Just when April Grace thought the drama was over . . .
After an automobile accident, Isabel St. James-resident drama coach and drama queen-needs help putting together the church play. Mama insists April Grace and Myra Sue will help. April's fall is now devoted to spending every afternoon with Isabel and Myra Sue-if anyone is as big of a drama queen as Isabel, it's Myra Sue. Plus, she's dumb. (Okay, not dumb, but "older sister dumb.") If that's not enough, Isabel is wreaking havoc in the community trying to get Rough Creek Road paved, the new boy at school will not leave her alone, and then Mama drops the biggest bombshell of all . . . April Grace is no longer going to be the baby of the family . . .
Girls will completely relate to April and love her sense of humor as she deals with siblings, boys, and the many changes that come with growing up.

My Review:

This book was an adorable middle grade story, with some deep topics. April Grace's mother had some really tough times with her pregnancy. While it was really good storytelling, it put April Grace through a lot of stress and heartache, and since she's so young it was hard to read about sometimes. She was so strong and never wanted to add to her parents' stress over the baby, so she internalized a lot of own pain. Of course, the story isn't all heartache, there are lots of more typical everyday issues explored in the book. It's a nice balance of tough issues and everyday middle school problems, instead of all fluff.

I love how strong April Grace is, she is a great role model, especially at that tough age when boys and clothes and makeup start to take over common sense. She stands up for herself and doesn't let the cliques at school run her life. Her family has some very accurate observations on why cliques are the way they are.

There's one thing in book that I absolutely love when it's done right, and I really can't stand when it's done wrong, and that is the southern accent. When done wrong, it comes across as fake, and it can ruin a book for me. In this book, April Grace's southern drawl is written to perfection and I loved it. It really added to the story for me, and I don't think April Grace would have been as endearing to me without it.

April Grace goes to Church and Sunday School, but I wouldn't say this book is overly religious. There's just the basic message of treating others the way you would want to be treated.


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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: N/A

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 5/5 (love it)
Writing: 5/5



Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed April Grace's story and I would love to read the other books in the series. Her authentic southern charm really won me over.

Waiting on Wednesday (97)

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:

"Legacy"
by Molly Cochran
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Release Date: Dec 20, 2011

The following description is from goodreads.com:

When her widowed father dumps 16-year-old Katy Jessevar in a boarding school in Whitfield, Massachusetts, she has no idea that fate has just opened the door to both her future and her past. Nearly everyone in Whitfield is a witch, as is Katy herself, although she has struggled all her life to hide her unusual talents. Stuck at a boarding school where her fellow studens seem to despise her, Katy soon discovers that Whitfield is the place where her mother commited suicide under mysterious circumstances when Katy was just a small child. With dark forces converging on Whitfield, it’s up to Katy to unravel her family’s many secrets to save the boy she loves and the town itself from destruction.
This one looks spooky, and I love the cover. There's not too long to wait either! It's out Dec 20th!

What are you waiting for this week???

"Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish" Review

"Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish"
by Grace Burrowes

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Oct 1, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  


All she wants is peace and anonymity...
Lady Sophie Windham has maneuvered a few days to herself at the ducal mansion in London before she must join her family for Christmas in Kent. Suddenly trapped by a London snowstorm, she finds herself with an abandoned baby and only the assistance of a kind, handsome stranger standing between her and complete disaster.
But Sophie's holiday is about to heat up...
With his estate in ruins, Vim Charpentier sees little to feel festive about this Christmas. His growing attraction for Sophie Windham is the only thing that warms his spirits-but when Sophie's brothers whisk her away, Vim's most painful holiday memories are reawakened.
It seems Sophie's been keeping secrets, and now it will take much more than a mistletoe kiss to make her deepest wishes come true...
My Review:

Grace Burrowes is an author who never fails for me. All of her books are excellent, and "Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish" is no exception. In fact, while Valentine's story is still my favorite, I think Burrowes' storytelling may be her best yet in this book. The story reads much more quickly than her other books, and it flows much better.

One thing that I always love in historical romances is when the hero and heroine are actually TOGETHER for most of the book. In this instance, Sophie and Vim meet in the first 2 or 3 pages, and they are not separated for more than a few pages for the rest of the book. They actually get to know each other instead of just falling in love at first sight.

The baby storyline wasn't my favorite thing about the book, but it does bring Sophie and Vim together, and create conflict, so it worked out.

I loved that Sophie's brothers were in the book quite a bit at the middle and end. I was sad not to see their wives, but as long as Val was back in the story, I definitely won't complain.


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Val :)
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 5/5 (I saw the finished cover in person and it's gorgeous!)
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: Another excellent romance by Grace Burrowes. I hope we continue to see all of the Windham siblings in future books.

In My Mailbox (95)


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:

"The Pleasure of Your Kiss" by Teresa Medeiros



Looks like a fantastic historical romance, my favorite!



What did you receive in your mailbox this week???


Winners Announced!! Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop!


Winners Announced!!

The winner of the Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop is






Linda!
 


The winner has won an ARC of "Hades" by Alexandra Adornetto!



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



 

Waiting on Wednesday (96)

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:

"Such Wicked Intent"
by Kenneth Oppel
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Aug 21, 2012

The following description is from goodreads.com:

When does obsession become madness? Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library. He vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again—just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother's betrothed.

If only these things were not so tempting.

When he and Elizabeth discover a portal into the spirit world, they cannot resist. Together with Victor's twin, Konrad, and their friend Henry, the four venture into a place of infinite possibilities where power and passion reign. But as they search for the knowledge to raise the dead, they unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return.
I have been wanting to read the first book in this series since it came out, and now there is a sequel with a fantastic cover and a great synopsis! Can't wait to read both books!

What are you waiting for this week???

Teaser Tuesday (54)

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:




" Ole Isabel says she's going to quit smoking, but your guess is as good as mine as to when that will be. "




p 8 "Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks" by K.D. McCrite

Free Ebook for Kindle and Nook! Dec 4

This ebook is available for free for a limited time for both Kindle and Nook! Just in time for Christmas!

"A Victorian Christmas" by Catherine Palmer


In My Mailbox (94)


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:

"Artemis the Loyal", Goddess Girls #7 by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams



Another installment of one of my favorite kids' series!

"Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks" by K.D. McCrite


I couldn't resist this cute cover!


"Mental Floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory" by Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur




What did you receive in your mailbox this week???


"Too Wicked to Wed" Review

"Too Wicked to Wed"
by Cara Elliott

Publisher: Forever
Release Date: Nov 1, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  


Outspoken and independent, Lady Alexa Bingham enjoys the heady freedom of making all her own decisions, even though the challenges of overseeing her family's country estate are daunting. But when a chance encounter with London's most notorious rake awakens a secret longing for adventure, she accepts her aunt's invitation for a Season in Town . . . only to find that breaking the rules of the ton has serious consequences.
The Earl of Killingworth uses his rakehell reputation to hide the fact that poverty has forced him to work for a living. As the owner of a gambling den and brothel, Connor has no time for glittering ballrooms or innocent young ladies. But after a reckless wager leaves him with a new business partner, he is forced to take a risky gamble . . . Will the cards fall in their favor? Alexa and Connor begin to play a dangerous game of intrigue and deception as they seek to outwit a cunning adversary who wants to put them permanently out of business. But if they are not careful, it is the flames of their own fiery attraction that may destroy them.

My Review:

I think this is the start of a great new historical romance series. I love the three "Lords of Midnight" that the author has introduced. All three characters are definitely different from your run of the mill historical romance rogue. Connor might have been a little grouchy for my tastes, but he meant well, I think, so he was okay. But I loved Gryff and Cameron, the other two Lords of Midnight. I think Cameron will be especially fun to read about in his own story.

I also really liked the heroine, Alexa. She had a lot of spunk, and not in an annoying over-the-top way. I would have loved to have seen her traipsing around town with her cousin even more. They made a great pair, but after their infamous card game, he kind of disappeared.

I liked all of the gambling references and I almost wanted to see some type of card-playing in the title or on the cover. It could have tied in well with the book.



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

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 4/5

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



Bottom Line: Overall, this is a great start to a new series and we get to meet a while cast of fun and exciting new characters.

Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop


Welcome to my stop on the "Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop"

hosted by

Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer

and Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy.


Here at In the Hammock Blog, I'm giving away an
ARC of "Hades" by Alexandra Adornetto!!


I'm passing my copy of the ARC on to one of my readers!

GIVEAWAY RULES:

The winner will receive an ARC of "Hades" by Alexandra Adornetto


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.
 
There are no extra entries for this one, I know you all are wanting to get to each giveaway quickly! All you have to do is be a GFC follower!

Rules:





  • US only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Must be 18 to enter
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by me 
  • Ends Dec 6 at midnight
  • Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!



    Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop!

    "Fortune's Son" Review

    "Fortune's Son"
    by Emery Lee


    Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    Release Date: Nov 1, 2011 
    Source: ARC sent by publisher

    My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  


    Love is the ultimate gamble…

    Seasoned gambler Philip Drake knows every trick and uses most of them. After years of infamy, he’s ready to accept the mantle of respectability with his earldom— until a devastating racing loss and the threat of debtors’ prison force Philip right back into his gaming ways…

    Susannah, Lady Messingham, is a woman with a past who refuses to belong to any man again. But Philip’s skill catches her eye and she persuades him to teach her how to win at the tables. Their new partnership turns into an exhilarating high-stakes game that entangles them in terrifying risk and unimaginable rewards…

    Immerse yourself in the risky side of Georgian England with a pair of lovers who aren’t afraid to risk it all on a toss of the dice..
    .

    My Review:

    This story was a nice change of pace from the typical historical romance. It definitely didn't follow the same formula as most romances. For that reason, it was a refreshing read.

    On the same note, I was a little frustrated that so much of the story revolved around the gambling instead of the romance. This was especially true at the beginning. I found myself a little bored of all the explanations of how to win at cards and other games. But once the romance finally kicked off, I was definitely drawn in and really wanted these two to find their way to each other.

    The older woman-younger man romance isn't one that we see a lot, but it's a storyline that I like a lot when I can find it. It really works here and it's well thought out and meaningful, not just a gimmick.

    I must admit that I didn't read the first book in this series, "The Highest Stakes", because it wasn't packaged as historical romance, but as historical fiction. After reading "Fortune's Son", I feel like the series is a nice mix of both genres, it's not too romance-y but at the same time, it's not as gritty and dark as most historical fiction. I also think that I was probably missing a little by not having read the first book, so I will probably go back and read it now.


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

    Setting: 4/5

    Romance: 4/5

    Uniqueness: 4/5
    Cover: 5/5 (gorgeous!)
    Writing: 4/5



    Bottom Line: I recommend this one to readers who want a little something different from their historical romance.

    Waiting on Wednesday (95)

    I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving with family and friends! I know I did! 

    Now it's time to get back to the books and catch up on blogging!


    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 Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary Queen of Scots"
    by Carolyn Meyer
    Harcourt Children's Books
    Release Date: June 19, 2012

    The following description is from goodreads.com:

    Mary is only six days old when she is crowned after the death of her father, five years old when she is sent to France to be raised alongside her future husband. Surrounded by friends and beloved by the royal family, Mary absorbs the culture, becoming more French than Scot. But when her frail young husband dies, Mary, now eighteen, is stripped of her title as Queen of France and set adrift in the harsh world, alone.

    Determined to reign over what is rightfully hers, as well as to claim the throne of England to which she believes she is entitled, Mary returns to Scotland. The fiery young queen must sometimes go to brutal lengths to establish her sovereignty. And she is just as willful when it comes to her love life. Hoping that a husband will help her secure the coveted English throne, Mary marries again, but the love and security she longs for elude her. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a murder scandal that could cost her the crown. And her attempts to bargain with her formidable "sister queen," Elizabeth I of England, could cost her her very life.
    I love historical YA and I've really liked the other books I've read by this author. Plus how fabulous is that cover?!

    What are you waiting for this week???

    "The Highlander's Heart" Review

    "The Highlander's Heart"
    by Amanda Forester

    Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    Release Date: Nov 1, 2011 
    Source: ARC sent by publisher

    My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  


    Fleeing into the wilderness to escape an abusive marriage, Lady Isabelle Tynsdale would sooner face down a wild boar than spend another night with her wretched husband. Battered by the elements, desperate to elude a band of attackers, and defending herself against, as fate would have it, a wild boar she is rescued by the handsome Laird David Campbell.
    Campbell knows holding Isabelle captive for ransom is his best chance to temper the storm threatening to destroy his clan. The ransom of an English countess should be more than enough to pay off his debts to England and save him from an unwanted marriage. But Isabelle didn't escape her husband just to become another man's captive and Laird Campbell is seriously misguided if he thinks she's going to go quietly.

    My Review:

    After reading the author's first book and finding it a really refreshing change from the norm, I was excited to read this book. I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first, but it was still a sweet, relaxing read.

    The story is very sweet, and nothing really objectionable happens. There are no cringe-worthy moments or traumas. Even the ever-present highlander kidnapping turns out to be a good thing for all involved. The leads were slightly bland for my liking but there were actually two supporting couples with romances of their own and they were a little more multi-faceted. I enjoyed watching the secondary romances play out.

    It did seem like problems and obstacles worked themselves out a little too perfectly and a little too quickly. On one page an obstacle would arise and it would be solved perfectly on the following page. Still it was a cute, sweet, and relaxing read.


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

    Setting: 4/5

    Romance: 3/5

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



    Bottom Line: If you're looking for a sweet, quick read about highlanders, this is the book for you.

    "The Iron Knight" Review and Excerpt

    "The Iron Knight"
    by Julie Kagawa

     
    Publisher: Harlequin Teen
    Release Date: Oct 25, 2011 
    Source: ARC sent by publicist

    My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

    Unless he can earn a soul.


    To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

    Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

    With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

    To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

    And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

    My Review:

    This book was so much different than what I thought it would be, and I mean that in a good way. This was my first book in the Iron Fey series (not that I advise reading book 4 first, haha) and I was very surprised at the depth of the characters and story, as well as the detail of the adventure and setting. This is not your typical fluffy YA paranormal romance. While I admit to feeling bewildered sometimes at the beginning since I hadn't read the other books, I felt like the author did a great job of recapping the events from the first books. So while, I never felt lost, I still think I could have gotten so much more out of the book if I had read the other books first.

    I can see how fans are so passionate about this series and have chosen teams, either Team Ash or Team Puck. This is a book that will stay with you, you'll still be thinking about it long after you read it.

    I liked the fairy tale references sprinkled though out the book. It was a lot of fun for a fairy tale fanatic like me.

    I think it's so interesting that one of the characters makes a reference to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, because I was reminded of the Indiana Jones movies the entire time I was reading this book. It's the same type of adventure with trial after trial that must be overcome, and it makes for a very exciting story.


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

    Setting: 5/5

    Romance: 4/5

    Uniqueness: 5/5
    Cover: 5/5 (Excelllent!)
    Writing: 5/5



    Bottom Line:I highly recommend this book, it's so much more than a typical paranormal teen romance.



    As part of "The Iron Knight" Blog Tour, I'm happy to announce that I have excerpt for readers of my blog!


    “Would you believe the cat owes him money?” Puck’s voice
    came from behind my shoulder, making me wince. The witch
    scowled at him.
    “I did not ask you, Robin Goodfellow,” she snapped, jabbing
    a clawlike finger at him. “And you had best watch your
    tongue, lest you find yourself neck-deep in a pot of boiling
    snake venom. Right now your friend’s civility is the only
    thing keeping me from skinning you alive, and you will be
    silent on my land or you will leave. My question was for the
    prince.”
    “I am a prince no longer,” I said softly, interrupting her
    rant. “My service to the Winter Queen is done, and Mab has
    cast me from her circle. I am dead to her.”


    Don't miss tomorrow's stop on the blog tour:

    "The Virtuoso" Review

    "The Virtuoso"
    by Grace Burrowes

     
    Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    Release Date: Nov 1, 2011 
    Source: ARC sent by publisher

    My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    The highly praised trilogy of Regency romances by award-winning author Grace Burrowes concludes with gifted pianist Valentine Windham, youngest son of the Duke of Moreland. Val retreats to the country after an injury robs him of his musical ability, only to learn from impoverished widow Ellen Markham that he can be loved even when his music falls silent.

    My Review:

    The lead in this story, Valentine Windham, was a supporting player in the author's previous books in the series. The quiet piano virtuoso was one of my favorite and most memorable characters from a book ever. That's some pretty high expectations to set on a character, and I'm glad to say that Val did not disappoint on his own story. Much gentler, kinder, and more artistic than the heroes we're used to seeing in historical romance, Val is my favorite type of hero. The type who is kind to everyone, and not afraid of his feelings. The only thing I could possibly say that I was almost disappointed in was that his injury prevented him from actually playing the piano.

    I'm not sure I really loved Ellen, but maybe that's because Val was so special and it seemed like Ellen's good traits really weren't described. It was more like she was "there" instead of being someone really outstanding. It was hard to see why exactly Val liked her so much. The story was skewed more towards Val's point of view anyway. It was really his story, which was fine with me, it really worked here.

    I liked all the musical terms scattered throughout the book. The reader could see that Val thought musically even if he wasn't actually playing.

    There is so much emotion in the book, you really get a deep sense of the characters' feelings. One thing about the author's books is that there is a lot to absorb so they do read rather slow. You can't start reading one of her books and expect to fly through it. There are many intricacies to each character that you need to absorb to really feel the book's emotions.


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

    Setting: 4/5

    Romance: 5/5

    Uniqueness: 5/5
    Cover: 5/5 (I think I need to buy the finished version because my ARC didn't have this fantastic cover!)
    Writing: 5/5



    Bottom Line: The Virtuoso did not disappoint and it's definitely going on my keeper shelf. I hope we're lucky enough to see more of Valentine in the Windham sisters' series.

    Winners Announced!!


    Winners Announced!!

    I've had two contests end this week on In the Hammock, and here are the winners!


    The winner of "The September Queen" by Gillian Bagwell is:



    Gwendolyn B
     


    The winner of the Romance at Random Giveaway Hop, winning an e-book of "Because of You" by Jessica Scott, is




    donnas

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

    Please note that the contests were sponsored by the publisher/publicist, and they are responsible for mailing out the prizes. In the Hammock Blog is not responsible for lost or undelivered books or for the amount of time it takes to deliver the books.

     

    "Shadow Horse" Review

    "Shadow Horse"
    by Alison Hart

    Publisher: Laurel Leaf
    Release Date: March 27, 2001 
    Source: sent by author

    My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    Horses + mystery + rescuing abused animals = a triple crown of perpetually popular preteen genres!

    Thirteen-year-old Jasmine is found guilty of assaulting Hugh Robicheaux, the owner of the horse farm where she works. But she's still determined to prove that Robicheaux killed Whirlwind, the mare she loved. Jas is sure that Shadow Horse, a scrawny brown gelding she rescues at a horse auction, is the key to the mystery—but just how is Shadow Horse connected to Whirlwind?

    Deftly written by a teacher and equestrian who has authored more than sixty books, this heartwarming and inspiring Edgar Award nominee will have special appeal for mystery fans as well as young horse lovers.

    My Review:

    This book was originally written in 1999 and it definitely reminded me of the simpler, sweeter YA that I used to read. Even the packaging of the story is like the slim, 250 page YA books of that time. There's nothing over the top in the book, and it's a nice, refreshing change of pace from today's dystopians, and tear-jerker contemporaries.

    The heroine, Jas, is 13, so it's probably suited to a young YA audience or the older middle grade reader.

    The mystery is nice and I sure didn't see where it was headed. I loved Jas' relationship with her grandfather. It's very loving and sincere. The romance with Chase is cute and age appropriate, it's really more about developing a strong friendship than a romantic relationship.

    Of course, the book is perfect for horse lovers. It would be a great read for a girl who has graduated from all the middle grade horse series and is ready for something older.


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

    Setting: 4/5

    Romance: 4/5

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



    Bottom Line: Overall, this is a great, wholesome read with lots of horses and nail biting mystery.

    Thanks to the author, Alison Hart, I will be having a giveaway for this book and the sequel, "Whirlwind" soon! Stay tuned for details!

    Waiting on Wednesday (94)

    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:

    "Sweet Evil"
    by Wendy Higgins
    Harper Teen
    Release Date: May 1, 2012

    The following description is from goodreads.com:

    What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being
    bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen
    angels in Sweet Evil.

    Anna, a tender-hearted southern girl, was born with the sixth
    sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of
    a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger,
    but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring
    Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her
    will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned
    you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

    A cross-country trip forces Anna and Kai to face the reality
    that hope and love are not options for their kind. When it's
    time for Anna to confront her demons, will she choose to embrace
    her halo or her horns?
    I can't help it, I'm drawn in by the cover and title!

    What are you waiting for this week???

    "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" Review

    "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"
    by Ransom Riggs

    Publisher: Quirk Publishing
    Release Date: June 7, 2011 
    Source: sent by publisher

    My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    A mysterious island.

    An abandoned orphanage.

    A strange collection of very curious photographs.

    It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

    A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

    My Review:

    I absolutely love the concept of this book. The author used eerie "found" vintage photos and developed a back story for each photo. The photos weren't the whole story, but there was an eerie and supernatural explanation for each strange photo.

    I loved the beginning of the book, when Jacob was re-telling the stories his grandfather had told him, and before the mystery had really unravelled.  I also liked the spookiness of when he first found the orphanage. But after Jacob actually meet the kids and how he was able to meet them, things grew a little confusing for me. I won't give any spoilers, but there was a lot going on and it was pretty out there. I had a lot of questions about how exactly everything worked.

    The presentation of the book itself is gorgeous. In a world of e-books and e-readers, this book really reminds you how beautiful books are and what a great experience that reading a real book can be.


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

    Setting: 4/5

    Romance: 3/5

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



    Bottom Line: The beautiful book and intriguing photos make this story a keeper.

    In My Mailbox (93)

    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.
     
    Only one book this week, but that's ok, I really need to catch up! Plus with Thanksgiving coming up, I'm going to be really crunched for time!
    for review:
     
    "Kiss Crush Collide" by Christina Meredith 
     


    This one was my waiting on wednesday pick awhile back so I'm super excited to read it! 

    What did you receive in your mailbox this week???


    Veteran's Day Giveaway Hop

    A Salute to Our Veterans – Veteran’s Day Blog Hop

    From Romance at Random: 
    In honor of Veteran’s Day & their awesome service for our country we’d like to celebrate with our very own Jessica Scottactive duty army captain, full time mom & author & her husband, first sergeant deployed with the army on his final tour; with promoting Jessica’s new book, BECAUSE OF YOU, the first in her Coming Home Series.
      

     Each participating blog found in this blog hop, will be giving away a FREE ebook of BECAUSE OF YOU. Be one of the first to read this powerful love story – comment below and any of the participating sites to be included in this random drawing – 25 winners total as each site will choose a winner — increase your chances to win by visiting all of these sites.


    "Because of You"
     by Jessica Scott

    Publisher: Loveswept
    Release Date: Nov 14, 2011 

    Summary from goodreads.com:

    From the war-torn streets of Baghdad to the bittersweet comforts of the home front, two wounded hearts navigate the battlefield of coming home from war in this explosive eBook original from newcomer Jessica Scott.

    Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again—until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.

    Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels—for the first time in a long time—like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty—it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected—her deepest desire.


    Visit Jessica online: http://www.jessicascott.net

    Follow Jessica on Twitter

    Romance fan? Take a look at Romance at Random! Whether you love historicals, contemporaries, or paranormals, Romance at Random has it all!


    Facebook

    This novel is already getting rave reviews! 
    I think this one is really emotional, a tear-jerker for sure! Check out the summary and leave a comment to enter!



    GIVEAWAY RULES:

    Romance at Random has generously provided an ebook copy of "Because of you" for one lucky reader of my blog!

    All you have to do is comment on this post with your email address! 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




    Rules:
    • Open Internationally
    • E-book copy of the book
    • Leave a comment with your email address
    • Ebook will be provided by the publisher, In the Hammock is not responsible for books not recieved, or the amount of time taken to deliver the book
    • Must be 18 or over 
    • Ends Sun Nov 13
    Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!


    Check out the other stops on the tour here: