Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Jacque's Review:

I selected Etiquette & Espionage for our read along this month after reading several great reviews a few months ago.  The description reminded me of the Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter with some high society etiquette mixed in.

Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is not your average finishing school.  Yes...they learn the art of proper dress, manners, and etiquette...but there is far more to the curriculum than meets the eye.  Not even Mademoiselle Geraldine is aware of the true mission of her school.

Sophronia Temminnick is a very inquisitive young lady, which causes her to get into quite a bit of trouble at home.  Her mother is delighted when Ms. Geraldine extends an offer to her daughter to attend her very exclusive academy. 

The majority of the book is a bit of a mystery as Sophronia and her friends try to locate a missing object that is desperately wanted by an outside group that is threatening the school.  There is a werewolf, a vampire, and an all boys school for geniuses which all could have provided the basis for a great story.  Unfortunately, this book fell short of my expectations.

The story is written in a very flowery 19th century tone, but at times it was a bit much.  The character names were ridiculous and some of the unusual vocabulary detracted more than it added to the story.  The characters and the story trudged along at a steady state, but it never engaged me to the point where it was difficult for me to set the book down.  In fact, with 30 pages left, I easily turned out the light to resume reading the following night.  By that point in a book, I would hope to be engaged enough to stay up an extra half an hour to finish.   

It isn't a bad story, but I don't think I will continue with this series.  I gave it 2 stars, which according to my definition means it was "okay".  I haven't read any of Gail Carriger's other books, but it appears that she has a similar sort of series for adults.  If you have read any of her Parasol Protectorate series, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Flo's Review:

Worldbuilding is an important part of any story, but especially of a fantastical kind of one. Think of Harry Potter, for example. A whole new world so detailed and amazing that Universal creates a whole theme park section so us muggles can stroll through Diagon Alley and drink butterbeer. But equally important to a story is plot development. You really do need both in order to have a strong story. (Along with strong characters.) I felt that Gail Carriger did a good job with worldbuilding. This school floats, which is pretty cool. All the contraptions can get a little confusing to read about when they are described, but are still pretty neat to imagine.

But I felt like the story did not really go anywhere. I made it to page 100 -- 1/3rd of the way through the book -- and felt like we were still just worldbuilding. Describing nifty contraptions and settings. For example, the chapter "The Real Meaning of Finishing," where Sophronia actually learns what happens at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality does not start until page 84. That is a long time to go, especially when the reader already knows from the description what kind of school this is going to be.

Like Jacque, I was reading it, but I never felt any motivation to keep reading. The last time I picked it up was about 4 days ago and I have not missed it.

I also felt like this book was over-quirky. I enjoy fun, quirky characters, comments, and scenes. They add splashes of color to the landscape of a story. But I think to be effective they need to be splashes, and not the entire story. Maybe one character or one side story. Etiquette & Espionage was quirky all the time. All the characters are quirky. All the scenes are quirky. It almost felt like over-kill to me.

I also what to hear if anyone has read the Parasol Protectorate series. I feel like if you like that series and are already a fan of this world, then maybe you might like the Finishing School series more?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Win an Advance Copy of Year of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins

Suzy spends her year in first grade waiting for her father, who is serving in Vietnam, and when the postcards stop coming she worries that he will never make it home. (from Goodreads)

Flo's Review
It's true! Suzanne Collins wrote a picture book about the year her father served in the Vietnam War when she was a child. It's a heart-wrenching read -- very well done in that way that it handles such a heavy topic for a young audience. The illustrations by James Proimos do a great job in matching the tone of the text. 

I was able to snag an advance copy of this book, which comes out September 10, 2013, to give away to one of you! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. The contest is international, and ends August 5. And as we Hunger Games fans say, "May the odds be ever in your favor."
a Rafflecopter giveaway

What's In Your 24? by Dara Simone Stovall

What's in Your 24? is a book for women who want to create a "new normal" in their lives. 24 is the guide to living happier, getting fit from the inside out, taking control of your destiny, and living life without excuses. 24 will empower you, make you laugh, teach you how to love yourself more, how to prioritize your thoughts, how to be more selfish with your time, and how to quiet the chatter around you. 24 intentionally consists of 60 pages and three chapters that will change your life forever. It contains 24 Time Efficiency Tips that Simone promises will help you maximize your day more effectively and help you exercise at least three times a day with little effort. 24 is a concise and radical lifestyle guide that shouldn't take you more than 60 minutes to read it, more than 60 seconds to make the decision to change your life, and no more than 24 hours to begin making that transformation. (from Goodreads)

Flo's Review
A press release about this book came my way and since I saw it was so short, I offered to do a review. So obviously the fact that it is such a short book was a big selling point for me. My life -- let along my TBR -- could not go for much more. This book is divided into three sections: Vision, Brain Surgery, and Application. The twelve chapters are actually hours to represent the twelve hours on a clock. I picked up the book and started to read it straight through -- but only made it through the Introduction and a little of the first section. There seemed to me to be a lot of personal narrative from the author. I can see why it was shared, but I came away with nothing solid except knowing the author's life story. 

So, I decided to just skim through the rest of the book and pick out the useful and relevant bits. Seeing as how this is a book about time management, I don't think the author would find a problem with this approach :)  Each of the sections began with a Bible verse, which I liked, though I am not sure was necessary for the book and didn't really mesh with it, as I never got the idea that I was reading a religious-based book at all.

The Time Efficiency Tips at the end are the pay dirt of this book, in my opinion. A lot of them are things you may be doing already, but when presented it makes you realize that they ARE, in fact, helping you be more time efficient. That's great! A few of these for me were the idea of having a pen and paper by your bed and having clothes in your wardrobe that match not your current weight but your goal weight. There were also a few new things that I'm looking forward to trying, like the idea of touching body parts to help you remember to pack everything you need for a trip and color-coding your planner by type of event. 

I see that this will be available as an e-book and I think that this is where it's best niche may be. I can easily see someone downloading it to her Kindle or Nook to read through while on a business trip, for example. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Sweet Escape by Bailey Ardisone

About the Book:

Sometimes the hardest war to fight is the one raging within yourself…

Life will never be the same for Nariella Woodlinn. Just when she thought she had it all figured out, her world comes crumbling down around her-yet again. With no idea who she is or even where she came from, how can she save herself?
She once thought her biggest problems were the ones brought on by the mysterious man she refused to fall in love with—Mycah. But she quickly discovers none of that compares to what she is about to encounter next.
This time, it isn’t because of who Mycah is.
This time, it’s because of who she is.
NaminĂ© risked everything to save her people. Her goal was to bring their only hope back to their Kingdom. As the war rages on around her, NaminĂ© gets thrown into the lion’s den—the false King’s chambers. Can she fool a King who can’t be deceived on his playing field? Forced to do his bidding, can she prevent the downfall of the only hope she worked so hard to bring home? Will she be able to escape with her life and mind intact?

With everyone’s world falling apart and deceit around every corner…can any of them truly Escape?

About the Author:

Bailey Ardisone was born and raised outside of Chicago, Illinois. She married the love of her life and spends her days submerged in books, movies, music, or art, and loves traveling. Fantasy books and movies have been a huge part of her life, and she is desperately obsessed with Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Her sister contributed some of the writing in Sweet Oblivion and Sweet Escape.

Sweet Escape is the second novel in the Sweet Series.

Stalk links:

My Review:

It has been declared that I am Bailey's #1 fan! It's the truth, I am her #1 fan! But, as her #1 fan I was a little scared about this book. We all know that book 2 of the series can be the "flop". But I held faith that Bailey would be able to pull out of the Book 2 slump.

This book was PERFECTION! Even though I was getting a little aggravated with it because Mycah and Nari were driving me insane! But, that was okay...that is why Bailey is such an amazing author. 

Now if you haven't book 1 I don't want to spoil it by saying things about book 2. So, I'm going to tread carefully.

What I liked: 

Twist and Turns! Each chapter pushed us further into the twists and turns of Mycah, Nari, Namine, and Rydan very complicated lives.

The emotions! I was aggravated by the characters at times. Then when pieces of the puzzles came together it was a little easier to understand what was happening. Of course, there was a lot of HAPPINESS when a certain scene finally happened!! *hehe*

What I didn't like:

Okay, I might be Bailey's #1 fan, but there was something that I didn't like. Yep, you guessed it! Another freaking cliffhanger. AND...AND she isn't done with book 3 yet! I mean come on .. does she really need to sleep??? That is valuable writing time!!! 

Blog Tour Schedule:

July 21
July 22

Excerpt Post -
July 23

July 24

July 25

July 26

July 27

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined. (from Goodreads)

Flo's Review
I feel like ever since this book came out last year, I've been hearing about it. I always thought it sounded interested, but it never quite made it up the TBR pile. Then I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of the sequel Crown of Midnight at BEA this year, so I decided to go for it.

What a perfect escape! This week has been quite stressful for me, and during the day I would look forward to coming home and escaping in the fantasy world that Sarah J. Maas created. I love that Celaena is beautiful AND fierce. I, of course, enjoyed reading about the progression of her relationships with Dorian and Chaol. I was so touched by the friendship she shares with Nehemia. Two amazing women who, at the end of the day, just need a good girlfriend. That rings true to a lot of my relationships with my friends.

I'm not sure how I felt about how the back and forth referring to Celaena as both "the assassin" and Celaena and Chaol as both "the Captain of the Guard" and Chaol. A few times here and there would have been enough, but it bordered on overdone, in my opinion.

On to Crown of Midnight!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 24 through 31 DAYS OF THE 31 DAYS OF AUTHORS

Well this is it ... the final week of 31 days of authors!!

The final week features: Shelly Crane, Lila Felix, Quinn Loftis, Toni Aleo, Nicole Williams and CJ Peterson

There will be ONLY ONE WINNER per author! That means there will be 5 winners =)

Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

RELEASE DAY and GIVEAWAY: Body and Blood (The Survivors #3) by Amanda Havard


The Body & Blood Soundtrack Sessions follow Amanda Havard as she talks about each song found on the soundtrack for the third book in THE SURVIVORS SERIES, Body & Blood, and performs exclusive acoustic versions of each song. Want more Survivors soundtrack music? Check out the rest of the B&B Sessions, the original songs written exclusively for the series, and the full soundtrack!


How many answers you seek are just a part of you, waiting to be found?

The game has changed.

Fresh from her first brush with mortality, a fragile Sadie Matthau is playing human with Cole Hardwick while the Survivors endure unimaginable tragedy. Wrought with the first deaths of their own kind, a tyrant who will torture them, and an opponent more terrifying than anyone could have foreseen, the Survivors are facing their end.

Told from three points of view, The Survivors: Body & Blood is a bloodcurdling, mind-bending, heart-stopping ride. As Sadie and the Winters uncover more enemies, more history, and more answers, they find themselves brought closer together and ripped further apart. And all the while, a haunting Alexander Raven lurks at the edge of Sadie s lifeline, at the darkening fringes of her mind.

As the Survivors descend into chaos, Sadie realizes a painful truth: the deepest of secrets leave the darkest of marks.

Caught between a terrifying fantasy and her own grim reality, Body & Blood is the story of Sadie s dance with her demons, future, past, and present.


Amanda Havard thinks in stories. She writes books and songs, tells stories to people over coffee or in elaborate iPad apps, in short films or subtle photographs. Stories are her life. THE SURVIVORS: BODY & BLOOD is her third novel, and is an amalgamation of all of her storytelling love combined. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, a place where creativity drips from the sap of the trees, radiates from the attitude of the population, and seeps from the concrete. The inventor of the Immersedition™ interactive book app, Havard is always looking for the next best story-- and the most innovative way to tell it.









Review of Book 1:

In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.

The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family’s sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.

On a muggy summer night in Tennessee, she witnesses a shocking scene that will change her life forever. It is the first in a sequence of events that will drag her from the human world she’s sought to belong to for over a century and send her back to her Puritanical family and into an uncertain future filled with cunning witches, mysterious nosferatu shape-shifters, dangerous eretica and vieczy vampires, millennia-old mythology, and the search for her own mortality. After all…

How do you kill a Survivor?

The Survivors will steal your heart and invade your mind. Fall into the pages of Sadie’s life, a world so frighteningly similar to your own, you’ll find yourself wanting to go to the Montana mountains to find the Survivors for yourself.

And it is only the beginning...

Okay, I will be the first to admit that I was a nervous about reading this book. I love paranormal books but the cover and description kind of scared me. Salem? The witch trials? Oh dear....

Well, I was wrong. This book is so good. Amanda Havard takes us on an amazing ride from the the end of the 1600's until modern time. 

It starts out how 26 children were exiled out of Salem. They were placed in the middle of the woods. Of the 26 only 14 lived. Sadie was one of them.  She survives everyday, then one day she just stops aging. 

Now, it's modern day and Sadie is her own person. She tries to entwine into the modern world, but she has missions and trying to connect with other Survivors.

Then there is Cole, okay I'm a Cole girl. I liked him and he was a great addition to the story!

I liked the history in the story and the twist that Amanda Havard put into it!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 21, 2013

BOOK REVIEWl Stay (Stay #1) by S. Mulholland

Goodreads description:

*****RATED R Due to Violence, Sexual Content, and EXTREME Profanity*****

Eighteen year old Alexandra has finally made it out of her abusive mother’s house alive. Now, going to St. Norbert College in the small town she grew up in; she wants to experience living her own life, free of abuse. But on the night she meets Jason Roberts; her fate has something different in mind. 

Alexandra and Jason have a strong connection but the closer she gets to him, the further he shuts her out. That doesn’t stop Alexandra’s heart from falling for him and she’s determined to let him know. The night she decides to tell him, he never shows up; leaving her to wonder about the mysteries that hold him. 

After months of mourning his loss, Jason returns to not only let her know that he can’t love her but to wish her well on her next relationship. Heartbroken for the second time by the man she loves, Alexandra decides to move on with what others told her to be “the perfect man”, Zac Millington, but as time goes by she realizes that things were never as they seemed…as he seemed. 

If you wake up one day and you’re living you’re worst nightmare, would you take the chance to change it or convince yourself that it’s what you’re really meant to be living?

Stay is a romantic depiction of how two people that are meant to be together are torn apart by the one thing they both have in common. As they both go through their own versions of abuse, will they be able to stay after finally finding each other again?



WOW! What a crazy and intense story.

What I liked:

I love Alexandra. Her struggles have made her the person she is today. She comes from a the worst homelife that you could imagine. But, she survives and heads to college.

It's there that she meets Jason. I love Jason as first but he has a secret. (One that I won't spoil). Alexandra falls further and further in love with him. They need up planning a date together and she is going to express her feelings, but he never shows. He stands her up and she doesn't see him for a very long time. 

As time goes she never stops thinking about him, but she moves on to Zack ... HATE HIM!! HATE HIM!!! GGGRRR!!

Through twists and turns she sees Jason and Zack (the jerk) and her are married.


What I didn't like:

I thought it was a little "too fast". I wish there were more "fillers" dates, more college, etc.  I normally like stories that push through. But I wish this one had more.

I enjoy it and will read more from the author.

You can purchase it:


Okay, so Rafflecopter, Blogger and I had a fight. (I secretly think they are stubborn men, just saying) BUT...

We are all fixed now and I want to 'catch up' on the missed days because I don't want ANYONE missed!

So first it was Misty Provencher

I love her and was blessed to meet her at UtopYA this year.

So, I'm giving away Hale Maree...NOW, wait!!! This book is more NA and that isn't your style (and you win) I will gift you another book of Misty's from her Cornerstone series (love love love it)

Enter here:

Now its time for Melissa Andrea.

She is fantastic!!! Both as a person and an author.

So if you win .. you can chose one of her ebook to win !!!

Now the third is Tabatha Vargo....

I have been a fan of Tabatha's since day 1!! I beta read her debut novel Wicked Fate and have been stalking (and possibly) annoying her ever since!

Her talent doesn't stop.  She keeps surprising me book after book.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

COVER REVEAL: Caught In A Jam by Lila Felix

Oh, that Lila Felix! She's at it again, creating another masterpiece, in the Love and Skate Series!

Book Blurb:

I’ve loved her since we were kids. But loving someone gets tough when they don’t love you back."
Nixon Black has made mistakes. He made one mistake that would change his life forever. Now he’s working and in school—and he's up to his eyeballs in responsibility--in the form of a three year old, red-headed genius. He gave up dating when Scout was born, but every night he retreats to another life in his mind, one he could’ve had with her.
Journey spent her formative years on the arm of any boy that didn’t expect anything out of her. She was hiding from the one person who did expect something in return—Nixon. Years after being cheated on and dumped for the last time, she takes a job at a daycare center where there’s a genius of a ginger haired girl whose last name is Black.
But the roles have been reversed and Journey is no longer Nixon’s first priority. Can he make room for the new Journey? And when he does, will he be able to forgive the old one?

Cover Reveal: 

Friday, July 19, 2013

DAY 19 OF 31 DAYS OF AUTHORS: Amy Bartol

I love to read and I love authors! I have been trying to figure out a way to give back to the authors that I love and that is why I came up with 31 Days of Authors. FOR THE WHOLE MONTH...YES the WHOLE MONTH...I will be giving away a prize for an author I love.

Here is the CATCH: you will be able to enter the allotted time. Each day there will be a Rafflecopter at the end of the post. ENTER ENTER ENTER!!!


Day 19

Amy Bartol

I can't say enough about this series .. OMG ..

there are just no words!!

Now you can will Reed...I mean book 1 of the 
Premonition Series

(If you win and have book 1 then I will gift another book in the series)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas. As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. (from Goodreads)

Flo's Review
Okay, here is the interesting thing about this book. For a good 85 to 90 percent of it, I wasn't that into it. This book is half political and half love story, and the political parts just did not intrigue me. (Though I did enjoy Fowler's depictions of Saigon and the rest of the country.) There is sort of a love triangle, but the difference here is that I didn't like either of the men! 

But then the ending happened. And I was mad. And I'm still mad! And I finished the book hours ago. So I applaud Graham Greene for that. I thought I didn't care, but apparently I do, since I'm still fuming!! Sadly, I can't tell you what I'm mad about because it will spoil the whole thing for you. But I can say that I am very very very disappointed in one of the characters and upset about the ending because of it. 

This book does bring up all kinds of questions about what is right. For a person. For a group of people. For a war. Greene is also a great writer -- I really enjoyed as I said before, his descriptions and also his analogies. I can see why this book has stood the test of time.  

COVER REVEAL: Sacrifice of Love (Grey Wolves Series Book 7) By Quinn Loftis

Sacrifice of Love (Grey Wolves Series Book 7)

by Quinn Loftis


As one evil falls, another rises in its place. The powerful witch, Desdemona, has finally been killed by an alliance of wolf, elf, and fae. But Reyaz, brother to Cypher the warlock king, has vowed retribution for a life that was taken from him. Now Cypher must decide not only how to protect his newfound mate and his people, but also how to destroy the only family he has left.
Meanwhile, Jen’s pregnancy progresses and the fateful due date draws ever nearer. The thought of losing Decebel’s child constantly threatens to overwhelm her. With each passing day, Decebel grows more distant, causing Jen to wonder what toll the impending loss of their child is taking on him. Unbeknownst to Jen, in an act of desperation to protect his unborn child and mate, Decebel strikes a deadly bargain with the Great Luna—his life in place of his child’s. There is only one way for that to happen; the bond between he and Jen must be broken.
As Jen as Decebel struggle through their darkness, another kind of darkness is infiltrating Fane’s heart. Doubts and questions linger as he tries to cope with the emotions brought on in the aftermath of Desdemona’s curse. He knows what happened wasn’t real, but still he can’t rid himself of the terrible images seared into his memory. Jacque is his light, the one who keeps the darkness at bay, yet he won’t let her inside to do just that.
Sally continues to learn what it means to be a gypsy healer and Costin struggles to protect her as she runs full speed ahead to help her wolves, heedless of her own safety. She sees her best friends struggling, each enduring their own trials. She’s desperate to help them, but can she keep them safe?
With all of these things hanging heavy over the heads of the Serbia and Romania packs, their attention is divided. The wolves do not even realize a threat has slowly infiltrated their midst. Will they recognize the threat in time to save the lives that precariously hang in the balance?
Against this backdrop of darkness, choices will be made, fears will confronted, and the ultimate sacrifice will be made. Will the wolves stand together to defeat the threats arrayed against them, both from within and without? Will love conquer all? Or will the beleaguered wolves finally succumb to their demons?

Available September 13, 2013

About Quinn Loftis

Quinn lives in beautiful NW Arkansas with her husband, son, Doberman and cat (who thinks she is a ninja in disguise). She is beyond thankful that she has been blessed to be able to write full time and hopes the readers know how much all of their support means to her. Some of her hobbies include reading, exercising, crochet, and spending time with family and friends. She gives all credit of her success to God because he gave her the creative spirit and vivid imagination it takes to write.



Sacrifice of Love Book Trailer

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DAY 16 AND 17 OF 31 DAYS OF AUTHORS: CA Kunz and Adam Kunz

I love to read and I love authors! I have been trying to figure out a way to give back to the authors that I love and that is why I came up with 31 Days of Authors. FOR THE WHOLE MONTH...YES the WHOLE MONTH...I will be giving away a prize for an author I love.

Here is the CATCH: you will be able to enter the allotted time. Each day there will be a Rafflecopter at the end of the post. ENTER ENTER ENTER!!!


Day 16

CA Kunz

These are the two greatest people ever!!!

This what you can win:


Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway