Hmmmm...A Little Too Similar?


Yesterday, while I was checking out everyone's Waiting on Wednesday posts, I came across a new to me book called "Poison" by Bridget Zinn. I thought, wow, that cover reminds me so much of the Snow White and the Huntsman poster. On closer inspection, the two aren't just similar, they're nearly exactly alike!! 



The ladies are wearing pretty much the exact same outfit, same color, same puff sleeves, same dark leggings, and same grey hem peeking out. They are in the same pose, only flipped. Snow White holds a knife where the Poison heroine holds a vial. The background is shadowy trees, and both even have mushrooms on the ground! This is more than a coincidence to me, what do you think?

I'd also like to say that this post has no ill feelings towards the author, we all know that authors have little to no say in what their covers look like. I'm not even sure which image came first, all I have noticed is that they are eerily similar.

Snow White poster found here: PerezHilton.com

"Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal" Review

"Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal"
by Grace Burrowes

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




Maggie Windham, oldest of the Windham sisters and a by-blow from His Grace’s pre-marital wild oats, finds herself in desperate needs of an investigator to help her retrieve a missing reticule. Benjamin Hazlit knows the Windham family secrets, and can be trusted to keep them to himself, so Maggie turns to Benjamin, though it means ignoring his too-broad shoulders, his too-knowing smile… and his too-skilled kisses.

As Benjamin starts the search for Maggie’s missing purse, he realizes two things: First, whatever was in that purse, its loss has Maggie not just rattled, but terrified. Second, Benjamin will go to any lengths to see Maggie’s peace of mind restored, even if it means he must keep himself in very close proximity to the shy, secretive lady who says she wants nothing to do with him.
My Review:

If you are a fan of historical romance and you haven't read any of Grace Burrowes' books yet, what are you waiting for? Her books are so romantic, so emotional, and full of a great big loving family of characters. Her fantastic characters are what makes me keep coming back for more with each new book. I love the style of series where a huge family is interconnected through many different books. Even though this is technically part of the "Duke's Daughters" series, all of the characters from all of her books are in this one. I was especially glad to see my favorite character back, Valentine Windham.

Admittedly, this particular installment wasn't my favorite of the author's books, but it was still a fantastic addition to the series. I loved revisiting the characters that I know and love. I felt like her style of writing had really picked up the pace in Valentine's book and Sophie's book, while I felt like this book had the slow, almost melancholy feel of her earlier books. Sometimes her writing feels a bit slow, but for some reason I like that about her books. I know when I start one that I will be reading it for a long time, it's not going to be over and forgotten in a flash.

Sometimes, I felt like Maggie felt slightly sorry for herself and sometimes Benjamin was a bit too alpha for me. They had great chemistry though, and it was fun to see her family trying not to meddle in pushing them together.

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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

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



Bottom Line: A lovely addition to one of my favorite historical romance series.



If you think this book sounds good, you might be interested in my reviews of the other books in this series!


    
"The Virtuoso" Review (my favorite of the author's books!)

Waiting on Wednesday (115)

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:

"Otherkin"

by Nina Berry
KTeen (Kensington)
Release Date: July 31, 2012

The following description is from goodreads.com:

I thought I knew myself. Then I met Caleb.

Dez is a good girl who does as she’s told and tries not to be noticed.
Then she rescues a boy from a cage, and he tells her secrets about herself.
Now inside her burns a darkness that will transform her.

Everything is about to change -- and neither Caleb, nor the Otherkin, nor those who hunt them are prepared for what Dez will unleash.

Wow! What a cover!! It's so gorgeous! The summary doesn't tell a lot, but I'm thinking shape shifters? Sounds very cool!

What are you waiting for this week???

"The Warrior Sheep Down Under" Review

"The Warrior Sheep Down Under"
by Christine and Christopher Russell

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: April 1, 2012

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




Tuftella-the fairest ewe maiden of them all-is in danger! Locked away in a tall, tall tower surrounded by a moat full of monsters, she waits to be rescued by a knight in shining fleece. Warrior Sheep to the rescue!

And so the Warrior Sheep head Down Under

Off on an all-new quest, the Warrior Sheep must sail to a faraway land on a boat called Destiny, with only a very crooked fairy godmother to guide them.
My Review:

Another great installment of the Warrior Sheep series! This series is so fun, I found myself laughing so many times throughout the book. The characters are just so lovable, especially little Wills! He is just too cute, he has the most interesting observations about the human world based on watching tv with his human.

The mystery comes together nicely and there were a good amount of surprises along the way. I love the way the sheep travel, they are pretty crafty! The pacing is great, it's very similar to a children's tv show, which makes sense because the authors work in television.

I'm still partial to "The Warrior Sheep Go West", but I think that's because I really enjoyed the Las Vegas setting. Possibly, it's also because it was my first foray into the Warrior Sheep world and I was so surprised at all the unexpected laughs.

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

Setting: 5/5

Romance: n/a

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



Bottom Line: I'd recommend this series to any of the young readers I know, it's laugh out loud funny with great, lovable characters.


If you think this book sounds interesting, you might want to read my reviews of other books in this series:

Giveaway and Review: "Lucky in Love"

"Lucky in Love"
by Jill Shalvis

Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: May 22, 2012

Source: sent by publisher


Summary from goodreads.com:
Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone...

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't -- including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all...anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.

My Review:

I have heard so many rave reviews of  this author's books that I finally had to see for myself what the buzz was about. However, this contemporary romance wasn't my style. I prefer (and was expecting here) a really sweet, "down home" type of tale when I do choose to read contemporary romance, which I admit is rare. The name of the game is sweet for me. Unfortunately, this book was one of those with curse words heavily sprinkled on every page, and a 'hip' voice that feels forced.

It really wasn't what I was expecting at all, but since it isn't my preferred genre, I'll leave it up to you to decide. Hopefully, the winner of the contest will enjoy this one more than I did.

Bottom Line:  Not the sweet hometown story I was expecting.





GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette books has generously provided a copy of this 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, it is the publisher's responsibility to mail out the prizes. Please allow up to 8 weeks for delivery.
  • Must be 18 or over 
  • Ends Fri June 8
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!  


Sunday Shout Out (5)



Recently, I introduced a new feature here at In the Hammock on Sundays. It's called "Sunday Shout Out" and it's a place where I can give a special shout out to those publishers and authors who have sent me books over the week, as well as those bloggers who have hosted contests that I've won! I'll also be giving shout outs to any other cool books, blogs or bookish news that I've spotted during the week.

Check out my first Sunday Shout Out post for even more info, here!

Contest Wins

"Illuminate" by Aimee Agresti
 

"Au Revoir Crazy European Chick" by Joe Schreiber


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


"The Fashion Coloring Book" by Carol + Lulu



All four books won from Book Nerds Across America.and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. What a fun prom-themed prize!

"Insurgent" by Veronica Roth


Won from Dani at Pen to Paper Blog. I love the UK version of the cover!

"Blue Asylum" by Kate Hepinstall


Won from Julie at My Book Retreat and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This one sounds so intriguing!

Books for Review
"Nom de Plume" by Carmela Ciuraru


 A look at pen names throughout history.

"The Queen: A Life in Brief" by Robert Lacey


A look at the Queen's life and times.

Gifts
"She Tempts the Duke" by Lorraine Heath


Thank you, Karen at For What It's Worth!


Book News


 Infographic used with permission from Kate Hart

If you haven't seen this yet, Kate Hart has put together some amazing infographics analyzing over 900 YA covers of 2011. Her analysis includes fun items like percentages of "pretty dress" covers, the color scheme of cover, and popular objects featured on the covers. 

She also includes the sad facts of the lack of diversity of race on YA covers. Surprising to me was that there is even less diversity in self- and indie-published YA fiction. Or actually, as Ms. Hart found in her research (admittedly she didn't use every self published YA book out there, but you can read the facts on her page) there was zero diversity in self-pubs.

Check it out for sure, anyone who is into YA books will enjoy seeing these graphics! They've been featured on Huffington Post and Jezebel, among other sites! I can't imagine how long it took her to put these together!


If you would like to do your own Sunday Shout out, please link back to this post, and leave your link in the comments section this weekend so I can check it out, and so that other readers can stop by too!!


Giveaway: "The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide"



You may have seen my review of "The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide", and now I am able to offer a giveaway of the book sponsored by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky!


If you missed my review, you can read it here!


GIVEAWAY RULES:

 
The publisher has generously provided a copy of "The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide" by Stacey Graham.

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
  • 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 publisher, it is the publisher's responsibility to mail out the prizes. Please allow up to 8 weeks for delivery.
  • Must be 18 or over 
  • Ends Fri June 8
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!  




"The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide" Review

"The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide"
by Stacey Graham

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




What was that noise? The cat? The wind?
Little brother stealing a peek at your diary?
Or is it a ghost?
The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide will help you identify the creepy crawlers from the spooky spirits, the howling winds from the haunting phantoms. And with this guide you can learn from real experts how to investigate and contact your very own ghosts!
Everything a girl needs for a night full of fun, including:
• Spooky urban legends to set the mood
• Must-have stuff for your ghost hunting kit
• Pointers for leading the best-ever ghost hunt
• Tips for writing your own ghost
• With fun quizzes, games, recipes, and more!
So gather your friends if they are brave enough, grab a flashlight, and go investigate!
My Review:

I'm a big fan of spooky ghost stories, and there are a lot of ghost stories and urban legends throughout this book. It's not all ghost stories though, there is a large portion of the book devoted to going out and doing your own ghost investigation. There are a lot of practical and fun tips for young girls (and not so young girls!).

The book itself is so cute, it's printed on shiny paper with cute designs on every page, when I was expecting plain black and white. The sections go really quickly and there are a lot of aspects, quizzes, ghosts stories, how-tos, all mixed in together.

I have to warn you though, that even though I enjoy ghost stories, some of these were pretty scary. I thought maybe a little too spooky for the middle grade age group. I didn't want to read this one at night, and I can see a lot of young readers having some sleepless nights after reading this.

I really liked the chapter about the ghost themed slumber party. Who else remembers "Light as a Feather and Stiff as a Board?" The author lists a few other new similar supernatural tricks and treats, like tipping the table and more.

Another great chapter that I really wasn't expecting was the chapter about writing your own ghost story. There are some awesome tips about how to write a good spine-tingler, as well as how to tell the story to others at your party. I'm ready for the campfire and s'mores now!


Bottom Line: A fun, if scary at times, sampler of ways to host your own ghost themed slumber party and ghost hunting expedition.



Bonus Materials:

 
Check out the Phantom Party Packet and Event Guide, available on Sourcebooks' educators' page. You can really tell a lot about the style of the book from this sampler! 

Free Ebooks for Kindle! May 23

Hi everyone! 

A couple of talked-about indie YA ebooks are available for free right now for Kindle only!

Hurry and grab them while they're free to see what the buzz is about!

"Entangled" by Nikki Jefford

Kindle
 
"Fateful" by Cheri Schmidt



Waiting on Wednesday (114)

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 Brides of Rollrock Island"

by Margo Lanagan
Random House Children's
Release Date: Sep 11, 2012

The following description is from goodreads.com:

On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives.

The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.

Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.

This sounds a little creepy in a good way! A little mermaid-ish too. Definitely a new and different idea!

What are you waiting for this week???

Book Blogger Confessions (2)


Hi everyone! I'm participating in a bi-weekly event hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth and Tiger at Tiger's All-Consuming Media. Book Blogger Confessions is all about discussing topics that are relevant to book bloggers in a respectful way.

You can check out the other posts and link up your own here!


This week's topic is: 

Memes. Love em' or hate em'? How many do you participate in? Which kinds do you like best? Do you feel like there are too many?

My response:

I think memes are really fun and they are a great way to interact with other bloggers. By linking up in a link list or at a certain post, you feel like you've been 'invited' to stop by someone's blog. It's a great way for everyone to feel included and welcome.

My favorite meme is probably Waiting on Wednesday at Breaking the Spine, because I have a never ending virtual list of books that I am waiting to be released. It's never tough for me to find one to feature. And I have found SO many great new books by reading other bloggers' WoW posts. That's probably why my list is so long haha.

I also really like Teaser Tuesday at Should be Reading, even though I don't always have time to participate in that one. By seeing other bloggers' teasers, I have been able to find a lot of books that I never would have picked up otherwise, because they have a fun teaser that appealed to me.

Mailbox posts and 'what are you reading' memes are other fun events to participate in, and usually promote a lot of interaction.

A new event that I've found that I really enjoyed is Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads. I don't review that many cookbooks, but when I do, I make sure to link up there, because it's a really fun community and there's a lot of interaction.

I've personally been really hit or miss with the Friday follow memes. These are the only events where I've had bad experiences. I've had snarky comments about how my responses aren't long enough, etc, which created an air of negativity for me. When I do participate, I go to TGIF at Greads because it seems to be a positive event so far!

I don't think there are too many memes, there's a variety because not everyone likes the same things. I think everyone has their favorites that they participate in, for whatever reason. Maybe they like the event itself, or maybe they like the blogger who hosts or those who participate.

 "What are your thoughts on memes and weekly blog events???"



"A Love Forbidden" Review

"A Love Forbidden"
by Kathleen Morgan

Publisher: Revell
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




Moved by the desire for adventure and a yearning to help the Ute Indians, twenty-year-old Shiloh Wainright impulsively accepts a teaching position at the White River Indian Agency in northwestern Colorado. The new job, however, isn't what she imagined it would be, and Shiloh soon finds herself caught in the cross fire between the Utes, their unyielding Indian Agent, and the unrealistic demands of the US government. Her unexpected encounter with Jesse Blackwater, an embittered half-breed Ute and childhood friend, only complicates matters as they battle their growing feelings for each other amidst the spiraling tensions threatening to explode into a catastrophic Indian uprising.
Set amongst the wilds of the Colorado Rockies in 1879, this is a tale of a forbidden love and a faith tested in the cauldron of intolerance and the harsh realities of life on the untamed frontier. Bestselling author Kathleen Morgan deftly explores themes of mercy, fidelity to one's beliefs despite what others think or do, and compassion for those different from oneself as she plumbs the depths of the human heart and the healing power of God's love.
My Review:

I was really drawn in by the summary of this one, I really like reading this type of story in this time period and setting. However, the story seemed a little slow for me. I really wanted to like it, but I kept finding myself trudging through lots of political facts when i wanted to read about the feelings of the characters. The book is based on real events, so I can see how the author got caught up in explaining all the facts of the situations. However, I would have preferred those events to have been the backdrop for the love story instead of the other way around.

Even though I didn't really think there was enough of it, I thought that the romance was extremely well done. I really felt the chemistry between Jesse and Shiloh. I loved that they had a history together, and I think that really strengthened their bond. Their scenes together were so believable and it was easy to be caught up in their love story. Unfortunately, the rest of the book moved rather slowly for my tastes.

Wow, was Jesse stubborn! There was one part of the book where another character advises Shiloh that if Jesse didn't fight for her then that tells her that he's not that interested. And honestly, there were only one or two times where I felt like he did stand up and fight for her, and all the other times he ran fast in the other direction. He asked Shiloh to give up a lot and never really showed her how much he wanted her. Interesting things to ponder in my opinion.

I liked seeing Shiloh show real emotion about her sister, Jordan, who had done some very bad things. A lot of times in inspirational fiction, the characters aren't shown to have such real feelings of resentment and anger. It was nice to see her have real feelings instead of glossed-over and goody-goody feelings. It was more real and meaningful when she was able to come to terms with her sister and their past.



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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

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



Bottom Line: I thought that I would enjoy this book more, since I really like reading about the setting and era. However, I did have fun seeing the sparks fly between the two leads.
 

Sunday Shout Out (4)



Recently, I introduced a new feature here at In the Hammock on Sundays. It's called "Sunday Shout Out" and it's a place where I can give a special shout out to those publishers and authors who have sent me books over the week, as well as those bloggers who have hosted contests that I've won! I'll also be giving shout outs to any other cool books, blogs or bookish news that I've spotted during the week.

Check out my first Sunday Shout Out post for even more info, here!

Contest Wins

"Wrecked" by Anna Davies


Won from The Violet Hour. I'm so excited to read this one!

Books for Review
"Sirenz Back in Fashion" by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman


This one is autographed by the authors and looks so fun!

Gotta Have It
Now for the book I just found this week, that I must have now!!!

"Shelter Cats" by Michael Kloth


My boyfriend showed me this story at Peta Pixel about an Arizona photographer, Michael Kloth, who visits local animal shelters to take high quality photos of the animals in the hopes of attracting more people to adopt. Kloth has combined many of the photos into a book, the proceeds benefit the ASPCA. Check out his site Shelter Cats for more info.

Shelter Cats is already available and Shelter Puppies is released May 22nd!

"Shelter Puppies" by Michael Kloth



If you would like to do your own Sunday Shout out, please link back to this post, and leave your link in the comments section this weekend so I can check it out, and so that other readers can stop by too!!


Free Ebook for Kindle and Nook! May 17

Hi everyone! 

This ebook is available for free right now for both Kindle and Nook!

She's a really great author if you haven't read any of her books yet.

Hurry and grab it while it's free!

"The Keeper" by Suzanne Woods Fisher




You can also check out my review of this book here!

"The Pursuit of Lucy Banning" Review

"The Pursuit of Lucy Banning"
by Olivia Newport

Publisher: Revell
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work--and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.
My Review:

I like the way the cover shows a beautiful girl in an exquisite dress in the midst of the dark dirty streets of Chicago. It really sums up the story in a lot of ways. Lucy is raised in a very upscale household and her parents hold her to a lot of the standards of their peers. But Lucy puts herself out there in the midst of the other side of life in Chicago, she volunteers at an orphanage, she goes to college, and she befriends a maid in her household.

The story is really about both Lucy and the maid, Charlotte. Lucy has always been helping the rest of the city, but when Charlotte arrives with a secret in tow, Lucy realizes that she needs to also help those right under her own roof. I think that really speaks to a lot of readers who are trying to 'save the world' but we really need to look right under our own noses and help people close to us. I would have liked to have known just a little more about Charlotte, especially her back story, but I really enjoyed reading about the lifestyle of those other than the upper class.

How sweet was Will!? I just loved how he was a man of actions not just words. He didn't have to tell Lucy what a great guy he was, he showed her. He didn't even tell her he was going to help out with the orphans or all he did for them, she saw him doing it. Once again, I would have loved to have known more about Will and his story leading up to meeting Lucy's brother, but I still enjoyed what I did know about him. It seemed like there was a lot of set-up about the supporting characters, but then we didn't ever really find out their biggest secrets.


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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 5/5 (even my boyfriend commented on how awesome this cover is)
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: A wonderful addition to anyone's inspirational fiction library. I was so drawn in by the diverse characters that I wanted to know even more about their stories.
 

Waiting on Wednesday (113)

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 Friday Society"

by Adrienne Kress
Dial
Release Date: Dec 6, 2012

The following description is from goodreads.com:

Be your own hero . . .

An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns--and the heroines who use them all. Set in Edwardian London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder--and the crimes they believe may be connected to it--without calling too much attention to themselves.

Told with Adrienne Kress's sharp wit and a great deal of irreverence, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike--well, relatively ladylike--heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

This looks so new and different! And what a cover!

What are you waiting for this week???

Winners Announced!!


Winner Announced!!

The winner of the Simon & Schuster YA Historical Prize Pack, including "Wentworth Hall", "Changeling", and "This Dark Endeavor" is:



Catie

The winner of  "The Immortal Rules" by Julie Kagawa is:


  
Doodle!
 


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!!



 

Sunday Shout Out (3)


Recently, I introduced a new feature here at In the Hammock on Sundays. It's called "Sunday Shout Out" and it's a place where I can give a special shout out to those publishers and authors who have sent me books over the week, as well as those bloggers who have hosted contests that I've won! I'll also be giving shout outs to any other cool books, blogs or bookish news that I've spotted during the week.

Check out my first Sunday Shout Out post for even more info, here!

Books for Review
"Transcendence" by CJ Omololu


This one was just my WOW pick a week or so ago, I'm so excited!

"Dead Reckoning" by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill


Zombies in YA! Yay!

"The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide" by Stacey Graham


This book looks so fun!

 "Tempest Unleashed" by Tracy Deebs


I loved the first book in this series, so I've been waiting to read this one!

"Sirenz" by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman


I've heard a lot about this one, I'm so excited to read it!
Contest Wins
"The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook" by Emily Ansara Baines


Won from Bingo at Bookin' with Bingo!

Gotta Have It
Now for the book I just found this week, that I must have now!!!

"The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" by Kathleen Flinn


 I first saw this book featured on another blog, Love Laughter and  Touch of Insanity, and she really convinced me that this is something I need to read. I'm trying to do more cooking and lots more healthy cooking, and it sounds like this book has many useful tips for the kitchen!

Book News

This past week was Children's Book Week! Did anyone participate in any fun events at your school or library? Or maybe you participated in another way!


Did you know this event has been going on since 1919?? That's fantastic! Here are some posters from Children's Book Weeks in the past:




These and more posters found at The Art of Children's Picture Books and Childscapes
Check out the main Children's Book Week site here.

If you would like to do your own Sunday Shout out, please link back to this post, and leave your link in the comments section this weekend so I can check it out, and so that other readers can stop by too!!


"The Lean" Review

"The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss "
by Kathy Freston

Publisher: Weinstein Publishing
Release Date: Mar 27, 2012

Source: sent by publisher and publicist

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  




If you’ve ever dieted, you’ve undoubtedly worked very hard to achieve results--only to experience the disappointment of having the pounds creep back on. But now wellness expert Kathy Freston lets readers in on her secret: losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult, and it can last. With this book she shares the powerful concept of The Lean--a radically effective approach to positive change--with a practical 30-day plan to transform your health and jump-start weight loss in the most gentle, easy, and automatic way possible.“Leaning in” is about setting an intention for what you want, weight- and health-wise, and then nudging yourself ever so gently in that direction, even if getting there seems impossible. It’s about choosing to eat foods that are delicious, filling, and supportive of your goals.
Each day of the scientifically based, vegan-friendly Lean plan, Kathy shows how to make and commit to small diet and lifestyle changes that, over time, yield unexpectedly significant results--something as simple as swapping in nondairy milk for cow’s milk, eating an apple a day, or having an afternoon power shake. These changes propel you almost effortlessly into a forward momentum of ever more healthy choices, and work together to bolster your progress. There are only two rules:
1. All you need is the willingness to take just one step.
2. As you add the healthier foods to your diet, eat the new foods first.
By gradually adding in these nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods, you’ll crowd out the problem foods, feel fuller for longer, and simply stop feeling cravings. On Kathy’s Lean plan, readers can experience sustained, healthy, and permanent weight loss of 1-3 pounds per week--plus increased energy, improved digestion, clearer skin, and renewed purpose. Complete with exercises, recipes, and powerful testimonials, The Lean offers not only a truly leaner frame, but also the little push we all need to get on the path to lasting change.
My Review:

I am really impressed with this book. The author has a lot of facts to back up her statements about healthy eating. I feel like the book was more about a healthy lifestyle rather than counting calories to lose weight, which was what I was looking for. I'm not sure I agree with everything she mentions, but the great part about books like this is that you don't have to apply everything to your own lifestyle. There is a fair amount of shock value about animal products, since she is a vegan, but I like that she takes a powerful stance, it gets your attention. I might not agree with everything, but she has encouraged me to do my own research and find out more about certain parts of the modern American diet.

The basis of the book is to add a new element (or eliminate an unhealthy one) to your lifestyle/diet each day. So the first day, you add one new element, then the second day, you still do the first task, and add another, until at the end you are doing all 30 tasks. Some are simple, but they still aren't easy. It's easy to say I will eat an apple every day, but it's another thing to actually get it done. She also has other great and practical suggestions like a hearty, but still healthy breakfast, drinking enough water, and getting exercise even if it's just walking on your lunch break. Then some of the other tasks, I feel are a little extreme, so I probably won't add them into my own version of the plan. I prefer vegetarian foods but I'm not ready to give up meat completely and especially not dairy and eggs. She does make a great argument for cutting back on all of the above though, which I think is great and I am going to try.


The final 1/4 of the book, after you've completed the 30 days of tasks, consists of recipes. They all sound really great. I can't wait to try the Creamy Pumpkin Pasta. Lots of her recipes sound so different and unique.

I'm not going to plan on implementing all of her 30 days worth of elements, but I do think I have found more than a few great tips to get me headed in the right direction towards healthier eating. There are still a lot of facts that I will be investigating further, so maybe somewhere along the line I will add more elements too. I think it would be hard for someone to strictly follow everything in the book unless you had already planned on becoming a vegan.


Bottom Line: Kathy Freston offers great advice on a healthier lifestyle. I highly recommend the book even if you don't complete the entire Lean challenge.


Kathy Freston is offering a 7 day Lean Challenge! You can participate for free. Find out more here

 
I'm linking up to Weekend Cooking over at Beth Fish Reads! 
 
 

Genevieve Graham: Guest Post and Blog Tour Giveaway


 Today, I'd like to welcome Genevieve Graham to In the Hammock for a guest post! 

Genevieve is the author of "Sound of the Heart", as well as her first novel, "Under the Same Sky". I'd like to thank her for taking the time out today to visit as part of her blog tour!

You can see my review of "Sound of the Heart" here!






Historical Fiction vs Historical Romance.
by Genevieve Graham

When I was growing up, I had no interest in history of any kind. Maybe I was just waiting for the right moment—or the right book—to strike me before I realized Historical Fiction was my favourite genre. Now I love to imagine myself faraway and long ago: castles and cloaks, heroes and ladies … hearing the clashing of swords and howling of dying men, hiding in darkened cottages that reek of pig, eating freshly killed meat, bathing once a month if I’m lucky …

Aye, as they say. There’s the rub.

The thing about historical fiction is that it’s based on fact, and the better the writing, the less appealing the time period can seem to be. I mean, back then folks didn’t change into a t-shirt when it was warm, didn’t programme their day around skyping relatives, didn’t check their daytimer to see if lunch would work that day. If they didn’t hunt they didn’t eat. If they didn’t defend their property they found themselves without a roof over their heads. If they didn’t have the stomach for killing, well, they’d fall first.

And yet ... it’s still romantic. Those were the days when men dueled to the death over a woman’s honour, when family was everything, when love was rare and precious, when people laboured over writing exactly the right handwritten note. And from that concept springs Historical Romance.

Technically, Historical Romance has what people call a HEA, or Happily Ever After. That, and it has to include romance. Fortunately for authors like me, those are the only rules, really. Lucky for me because my books don’t step carefully around distasteful subjects, avoiding ugly truths. I write about normal, everyday people who lived back then, the people who had never even felt the luxury of satin with their fingers, whose floors were dirt, who barely traveled farther than their traplines. Because now that I’ve learned so much about history and so many of its little details, I am loathe to hold back and miss out on so much of what made history real—and romantic.

I’m learning about the absence of any kind of rights for women. I’m learning that a child had to grow up awfully fast back then, and I’m learning about slavery—and not the kind of which you’re automatically thinking. Starting in the 17th century, did you know hundreds of thousands of white slaves were brought over to the colonies from Europe? I’m not referring to “indentured servants,” though that was no picnic either. I don’t know why that’s not more widely known fact, but I think it should be. So I include it.

Of course there’s also a point where you have to decide just how detailed you’re going to be. After all, it’s Fiction. Though actual 18th century Highlanders were more often five feet tall and clothed in hair, I’d rather fantasize that my hero is six feet tall, with clean locks flowing neatly by his muscled, hairless shoulders. Oh, and he bathes frequently. When prisoners were left for two days, alone and unfed because their captors doesn’t know what to do with them all (which did happen), how did they fare? Fortunately, my hero managed not only to survive, but to still have the strength to stand up for some of his weaker cellmates. And his heart is consumed with finding the woman he loves, not with the question of where he’s going to find his next meal. Yes, it’s fiction.

So what is Historical Romance? I think it’s different things to different people. For many, it is the cleaner, “safer” stories told of lives lived in salons, featuring privileged dukes and duchesses and the like. To me it’s knowing history was unkind and only the strong survived. From those survivors, only a few could find love. But that love meant everything to them. It became their purpose, their destiny, and they are determined to beat the odds so they can have their HEA.

How do you look at Historical Romance? Do you prefer to get down and dirty with the common man and the realism of the times, or are you more comfortable with “court” romances?



 Giveaway!!

Genevieve is generously giving away a great prize pack to one lucky winner during her blog tour!


(from Genevieve) Grand Prize on the book tour is  ...
A signed copy of Sound of the Heart PLUS a four cd set of relaxation cds created by my incredibly talented musical friends, Cori Ashley and Ed Franks. I'll give you a little insight into why I chose these cds as my prize - I'm NOT saying Sound of the Heart is about relaxing … considering the wild adventures Dougal's in for, I doubt he was too relaxed! But Dougal has a gift, similar to his brother's gift. He can relax his mind and hear the thoughts of other men, but he can also sink into his thoughts and hear the sounds and voices of his loved ones as if they were right there with him. These cds were created to help you escape the stress and craziness of your days. Grab a cup of tea or glass of wine (your preference!), light a candle, maybe slip in to a bubblebath, and listen to the sound of your heart.

 
GIVEAWAY RULES:

 Just fill out the Rafflecopter-easy peasy!! Contest is sponsored by Genevieve so she will contact you if you win, and mail out your prizes! Contest ends 5/31 and is open to US/CAN only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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