Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Devil's Thief by Samantha Kane - Review, Interview and Giveaway!

Happy Wednesday!

Today I am happy to welcome The Devil's Thief and the author Samantha Kane on my blog. Me and Reading is participating on Samantha's blog tour which is organized by Romance at Random and by the author and my stop includes a review, an interview with Samantha and a giveaway.

Let's start with review!



Author: Samantha Kane
Title: The Devil's Thief
Series: The Saint's Devils book #1
Publisher: Random House
Imprint: Loveswept
Release date: 12th of November 2012
Genre: Adult: Historical, Romance, Regency
Pages: 297 pages in ebook version
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley

Summary:


The daughter of a reformed jewel thief, Julianna Harte knows a thing or two about stealth. When the foundling home she provides for finds itself in dire financial straits, Julianna is forced to do the unthinkable. In a bit of misguided Robin Hood derring-do, she slips through the window of a wealthy rake to search for a treasure she knows is there: an invaluable pearl. But when the towering and very naked occupant of the moonlit bedroom ambushes her with a bargain—a night in his bed in exchange for the pearl—Julianna doesn’t know if it’s masculine heat or sheer desperation that makes his terms so tempting.


Alasdair Sharpe had no intention of keeping his end of the bargain. Planning to offer his little cat burglar carte blanche instead, he promptly loses himself in the delights of unexpected pleasure. But when he awakes the next morning to find his family heirloom gone, fury quickly replaces sensual languor. Of course, Alasdair is more than willing to use seduction to reclaim his stolen pearl—and find the key to Julianna’s heart.

My review:

The Devil's Thief by Samantha Kane is the first book in her The Saint's Devils series. Each book in the series can be read as stand alones and The Devil Thief is the story of Alasdair and Julianna. The Devil's thief was a historical Regency romance, which was filled with suspense and twists in the story. It was well-written and very easy to read. The plot was entertaining and the characters lovably different!

Plot:

The story opens very suddenly and grabs you from the beginning! You find yourself in a dark bedroom where the female protagonist Julianna is trying to steal an invaluable pearl from a wealthy gentleman Alasdair Sharpe. Unfortunately when Julianna is about to get her hands in the pearl, Alasdair wakes up and finds unknown woman in his bedroom. They make a deal, which she has every intention to fulfill and he is sure, that he can cheat and never plans to keep his word. Next morning when Alasdair is waking up, there are no signs of neither the pearl nor Julianna and Alasdair is starting a search for an unknown woman together with his childhood friends.

When Alasdair's and Julianna's paths lead to each other again, Alasdair is furious when he finds out who Julianna really is. But there is an undeniable attraction between them and even though there is anger and frustration and not so gentlemen-like-behaviour from Alasdair's side, they can't keep their hands from each other.

The story was quick paced and filled with good old fashioned Sherlock Holmes type of suspense which I really enjoyed. I liked the setting of the story and the historical descriptions of the era.

Characters:

I truly liked Julianna, who despite being a daughter of a thief, carried herself like a lady. Well, of course, she had inherited a lot from her dad, but she needed the pearl not for her own welfare, but for the kids in orphanage. She was bold and had a lot of courage to deal with illegal institutions and salesmen. She had a sparkle in her eyes and a heart of gold and tad of naughtiness which I enjoyed.

Alasdair was very different, darker, slightly devious and sexy. I had difficulties with understanding him, thinking where does the anger come from and I did not like his actions towards Julianne. I did not like how he treated Julianna with lot of disrespect and disgust. I grew on him towards the end of the book, but my favorite male character was actually Alasdair's friend and a lead of the investigation - Hil. I can't wait to read more about him!

Generally:

I liked the historical settings Samantha Kane created. The author is very good at describing the era. If you like Regency romances, then The Devil's thief is definitely for you!

5 Flowers!
4 stars.

Thanks for Loveswept for providing me with the review copy!


Author Bio:


Reviewers have called Samantha Kane “an absolute marvel to read,” and “one of historical romance’s most erotic and sensuous authors.” Her books have been called “sinful,” “sensuous,” and “sizzling.” She won the Passionate Plume for best erotic historical romance in 2008, the Historical CAPA award from The Romance Studio in 2011, and has been nominated multiple times for Favorite Author at The Romance Studio. She was born in the Midwest, but now resides in North Carolina with her family.

Links:

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I am very glad, that Samantha also agreed for interview! So ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the author of The Devil's Thief, Samantha Kane!    



The interview is divided into several sections. First section is about the author, second section is about her book, writing it, about characters etc, third part is about her favorites.

Part I

MR: Please describe yourself with few sentences. Who are you?

SK: I’m a writer, a mom, a wife, a former teacher. I’m a sister, a daughter, a daughter-in-law. You can tell my family is the most important thing in my life. :)

MR: Who did you want to become when you were a kid? What did you dream about?

SK: I wanted to be a writer. True story. I’ve been writing since I was very young. I won a local writing contest in the 4th grade. I was editor of my high school newspaper, a contributor to my college newspaper, and started writing my first book when I was in my early twenties.

MR: What brought you to writing? When did the idea of writing your first book formed?

SK: My very dear aunt died when I was in transition, moving across country to go to graduate school. She was only 53 and her death was unexpected. It shook me and I knew it was now or never. So I began writing my first romance at the same time I started graduate school. I didn’t finish that book until after my first son was born about six years later.

MR: What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?

SK: I knit. I’m working on a stuffed toy for my son’s birthday next week. I just finished a scarf for my daughter and I’m knitting a sweater for myself. I read, of course, and I’m addicted to HGTV. Not that I’m a do-it-yourselfer around the house, lol.

MR: What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer for you?

SK: Deadlines. You can’t control when the ideas come to you or when one idea wants to take precedence. So having to put something on hold that is calling to you in order to complete a book by a deadline is stressful and the writing can be difficult.

MR: Who or what is your Muse?

SK: Music is often my muse. Most of my book ideas have been sparked by songs. I never know when a song will inspire me. I’ve plotted books to songs in the car, the grocery store, restaurants, you name it. But once it hits, every time I hear that song the book will fill my head. Songs become books for me. Some I’ve written, some I’ll never write.

Part II

Let’s talk about your books!

MR: Would you briefly give us an overview what The Devil’s Thief is about?

SK: The Devil's Thief is the first book in a new Regency historical romance series called The Saint's Devils. The Devils are a group of rakes that've been friends since their school days. Their unofficial leader is Sir Hilary St. John, a sort of brilliant, hedonistic Sherlock Holmes character who helps his friends solve mysteries surrounding their heroine in each book. The Devil's Thief is about Alasdair Sharp, a well to-do gentleman whose famous family heirloom The Stewart Pearl is stolen by Miss Julianna Harte, who needs the money from the pearl to save the foundling home she sponsors. When Alasdair catches Julianna stealing the pearl she lies about her identity and he thinks she's an experienced thief, a product of the underworld. So he offers her a bargain--one night in his bed for the pearl. He never means to keep the bargain, however. He plans to pay her off with something else in the morning and make her his mistress. But when morning comes Julianna has disappeared with his pearl and Alasdair has to enlist the aid of his friends to find her and his family heirloom.

MR: What went through your mind when your first book was published? How did you react?

SK: I was in shock. Even though I had months to prepare for it, to actually see it there online, my name on the cover, was so intimidating. But then, when I saw people were buying it, and the reviews started coming in and the fan mail, it was such an enormous high. There is nothing like it, knowing that you’re bringing others the same pleasure you get from reading a good book.

MR: How do you write? Do you sketch a plot first, create characters first and then starting to write?

SK: I draw up characters first, their main goal, the romantic conflict etc. Then I plot the book, in detail, scene by scene. I organize the outline like a script, Act I, Act II, Act III, the midpoint, the climax. Then I begin writing with Chapter One and I write the story from beginning to end. I can’t jump ahead and do a scene and then go back and write what leads up to it. Too much can change in the writing process.

MR: What do you think is the most important thing while writing?

SK: To actually write! A lot of people say they’re writing a book, but they don’t put their butt in a chair and fingers on the keyboard regularly. Writing is like any other job or chore, just talking about it isn’t going to get it done. Finding the time to write is hard, but it’s the most important thing.

MR: Where did you get the idea for The Devil’s Thief from? How was it born?

SK: I honestly can’t remember how the idea came to me. I can tell you that it was originally supposed to be a book in a completely different series co-written with another author, and it was going to be an erotic story. But as often happens, that idea was scrapped. Then I saw Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr., and the Sir Hilary St. John character was born, and from him came the series The Saint’s Devils. And I went back to that old idea of an innocent young woman stealing something valuable from a rake and it became The Devil’s Thief.

MR: How do you create characters?

SK: Most characters just knock on my door and there they are. I don’t have to sit down and create elaborate character profiles and sketch them out and write pages and pages before I have their voice. I think in terms of characters. My stories flow from the characters. Every book begins with a character, not a story. I always try to have my characters have one obvious strength and one obvious flaw. In The Devil’s Thief Alasdair’s strength is his loyalty to his friends, and his weakness is his inability to trust. Julianna’s strength is her conviction to do what’s right, no matter the cost, and her weakness is her stubbornness. Those character traits were essential to the story.

MR: Which character can you mostly relate to in The Devil’s Thief? Why?

SK: Wiley, the street-wise young thief who befriends Julianna. Because he’s funny and practical and says what he thinks. He’s also loyal and gallant and braver than he thinks he is. But out of all the characters I think he’s the most real. He’s my version of a Greek chorus, telling the reader what’s going on and how idiotic the others are being. lol

MR: I must ask you about new book to be published. What will it be about? Anything you can tell us already?


SK: Well, I have a new book coming out in my popular Brothers in Arms m/m/f erotic romance series called Love and War: The Beginning. It’s just a short story I wrote as a gift to my newsletter subscribers, and now I’m making it available to everyone else for just $.99. That will be released in November. After that look for a Brothers in Arms novella, Love Betrayed: Prologue. Next year the full-length novel Love Betrayed, the 10th Brothers in Arms book, will be released. For those who read the series, this will be Daniel’s book.

The second book in The Saint’s Devils series, Tempting a Devil, will come out on July 8, 2013. This is Roger Templeton’s book. He’s one of Alasdair’s best friends and a major secondary character in The Devil’s Thief. Roger will find his match in an old childhood nemesis, Lady Harriet Mercer, a widow with a secret; and a not so secret passion for Roger. But she’ll have to risk everything to tempt this Devil to finally fall in love.


Part III – Favorites

Who is your favorite author? I have many. JD Robb, JR Ward, Nalina Singh, Lee Child
What is your favorite book or series? The Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Psy-Changeling series
What is your favorite song? The changes on a daily basis! But I do love Miranda Lambert’s The House That Built Me. It inspired my book Cherry Pie.
What is your favorite season? Fall. I love the cooler weather here. I live in the South, so fall means jeans and a t-shirt and a light sweater.
What is your favorite food? It depends on how hungry I am. LOL Favorite comfort food would tuna noodle casserole.
What is your favorite car? The new Ford Mustang.
What is your favorite color? Lime green or red.
What is your favorite movie? Die Hard.
What is your favorite time of the day? Late morning.
What is your favorite weather? Cool, but not cold. Sunny and bright.

Thank you so much for the interview, Samantha! It is highly appreciated!



What can you win this time?

Last, but not least - giveaway of The Devil's Thief! Me and Reading is giving away one Netgalley preview copy of The Devil's Thief!

Giveaway details:

In order to participate, please leave a comment with telling us if you read historical romances and what do like about historical romances.
Don't forget to add your email!
The contest runs until November 7th.
Open internationally.

Thanks for coming by!
Happy reading!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Love Unscripted by Tina Reber - 5 stars!

Happy Monday!

Today I can share a review of a book, which I personally think is a must read! Love Unscripted is the first book in theLove series which consits of two books. I read Love Unscripted already during the summer and I just finished the sequel - Love Unrehearsed and I have to admit, it is the best adult contemporary romance series I have read this year. Enjoy the review and I hope you will get a chance to enjoy Tina Reber's books, because they are really incredibly good! Be aware, that the review is quite long :)



Author: Tina Reber

Title: Love Unscripted
Series: Love #1
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Imprint: Atria Books
Release date: 8th of September 2012
URL: http://tinareber.com/
Genre: Adult: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 576 pages
Source: Netgalley

Summary:


An A-List Movie Star…

Ryan Christensen just wanted to be an actor. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine a life where fans would chase him, paparazzi would stalk him, and Hollywood studios would want to own him. While filming in Seaport, Rhode Island, Ryan ducks into a neighborhood bar for a quick escape from legions of screaming fans…and finds much more than he expected.

A Small Town Girl…

Nursing a recent heartbreak, Taryn Mitchell believes men are best kept at a safe distance. But when Ryan Christensen unexpectedly bursts through the front door of her pub, she can’t help but be drawn in by his humor, charm, and undeniable good looks. At six foot two, with dirty blond hair, blue eyes, and an incredible body, Ryan has every girl in Seaport swooning. But Taryn isn’t every other girl.

A Relationship that Doesn’t Follow the Script…

Despite her better judgment, Taryn soon finds herself falling hard for Ryan. But is their bond strong enough to survive the tabloid headlines, the relentless paparazzi, and the jealous fans who seem determined to tear them apart?

My review:

Warning – since I really loved the book, there might be slight spoilers in my review!

I found Love Unscripted by Tina Reber in Netgalley and the blurb sounded interesting. I am so glad, that I stumbled upon Love Unscripted. It is one well-written and engrossing story. I absolutely loved it! Firstly, it is one of the best contemporary romances I have read lately; secondly, the characters were lovable and thirdly, it is just a great story! Tina Reber is an amazing story teller and her story grabs you from the very beginning and keeps your attention to the last page. When I finished the book, I just had to know how the story continued and by now I have also read the last and second book in the series – Love Unrehearsed. It rocked!

Plot:

Taryn is a pub owner on Rhode Island who lives an ordinary life: she goes to work every day, she meets her friends every day. The only thing she is missing in her life, is love. She has been mistreated by her ex-boyfriend and she has no trust in love. That is, until the day she meets an A-list Hollywood actor Ryan Christensen, whose movie set is in Seaport on Rhode Island. Ryan is running away from his screaming and staking fans and escapes to Taryn’s pub through the backdoor and scares the hell out of Taryn.

The pub is still closed and Taryn agrees to let Ryan hide from his fans in her pub. They start talking, playing pool and Taryn has no idea who he is or anything about his movies, she hasn’t seen a single one of them. Ryan likes that he can be himself while spending time with her and she does not take him as a movie star but just like another guy. Of course, the attraction and flirting are there from the very beginning.

When Taryn agrees to help him to find a place where his parents can stay while visiting Ryan on the movie set, things take slightly more serious turn.

Taryn is well aware that her own world is miles away from Ryan’s and his lifestyle and she really tries not to fall for him, but they become friends and they do fall in love. And this is where it gets complicated. Taryn has been hurt and it is extremely hard for her to start trusting Ryan. She truly likes him, but it is difficult to cope with the world of Hollywood, his fans and the threats that come with spending time with him.

If you combine the above love story with a lunatic fan, sick security guy, obnoxious actresses and supportive friends, then you get a story which is spelling, beautiful and real. I am well aware, that many women dream about the century’s love story with a movie star and I think Tina Reber did an excellent work with showing that the reality of that kind of dream is far from being perfect. There are many obstacles when these two very different worlds meet and collapse. I admired Tina’s background knowledge which kept me wonder if she had to do a lot of research, if it is pure fantasy or has she really been working on the movie sets. It gave a whole detailed picture of what a movie world really is about. I liked that. She pealed all the fancy things away and kept it real.

I loved the ending of the book. I felt for Taryn for what she went through and the last few chapters of the book were so emotional, that I literally laughed and cried of happiness. Love Unscripted is a book, which makes you believe in love and makes you happy and gives you faith that whatever life brings you, there is a love at the end of the tunnel. It was wonderful!

Characters:

Where should I even start? There are so many great characters in Love Unscripted and the pleasure of reading about them is equally divided between the main characters and the supportive ones.

Taryn is a woman who is leveled and down to earth. She has a successful business and the pub is the only thing besides her friends which keeps her going. Her friends are everything to her, because her parents both are dead. Her heart has been broken and she is not actively looking for new relationship, but when Ryan appears in her life that is changing. I really liked Taryn’s ability to adapt to new situations and challenges in her life. She is a woman who constantly learns and grows. There is one thing though which is difficult for her – to trust the man she deeply loves.

I cheered for her, I ached for her, I laughed together with her and I cried for her. She is such so strong and lovable character, that you can’t help but falling for her. She is kind and giving and very smart. She is simply adorable. Don’t get me wrong, she is not perfect and she does have serious problems she needs to deal with, but the way she tackles her problems, is beautiful. Whenever she is with Ryan in his world, she is quickly learning. If she does not know what to do or when she is insecure, she asks.

Ryan is a great guy! Being a movie star has not corrupted the ordinary man in him, he wants simple things in his life: a woman to trust, home to live in and kids and foremost – love. When he meets Taryn, he knows quite quickly, that Taryn is a woman worth spending time with. When their relationship grows from friendship to love, he is supportive and very protective towards Taryn. He takes all steps necessary to make sure, that all craziness surrounding him does not hurt Taryn. I loved the way he cared for her. Even though it sometimes seemed controlling, the story shows that his protectiveness was absolutely a necessity.

Their relationship is like music – it flows with crescendos and pianos. There are ups and downs, but they stick together, even after bad and very bad things happened (you’ll just have to read the book!).

There are so many other wonderful characters in the book: Taryn’s best friends Marie and Pete whom I both really liked, Ryan’s security manager and friend Mike, sleazy and annoying Kyle, bitchy actress Lauren, Ryan’s parents. Love Unscripted is filled with them and that makes the story interesting, fascinating and alive!

Generally:

Love Unscripted by Tina Reber is one of the best contemporary romances I have read! It has a lovable story, solid plot with lots of twists and turns and very adorable characters. It is a book which gives hope and makes you believe that love conquers everything. Loved it!

5 Flowers!

5 stars.

Buy links:

amazon
Simon and Schuster
Barnes and Noble

Happy reading!



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review of If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones - 5 stars!

Happy Thursday!



Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Title: If I Were You
Series: Inside Out Trilogy #1
Release date: 24th of August 2012/12th of March 2013
Published by: Lisa Renee Jones/ Simon and Schuster
Reading level: FICTION – Adult: Romance, Erotica, Mystery, Suspense
URL: www.lisareneejones.com
Pages/Size: 247 pages in E-book/384 pages in Paperback
Source: From the author for review

Buy Links:
amazon
Barnes and Noble 

Summary:


The steamy first installment in the Inside Out erotic romance trilogy by Lisa Renee Jones, in the bestselling tradition of Fifty Shades of Grey. When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she’s shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer—until the terrifying final entry. Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca’s life. Soon she’s working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca’s friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she’s going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she’s not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.



My review:

When I was contacted by the author’s assistant for reviewing If I Were You, I did not know anything about the author. I visited her webpage and decided that I would like to read If I Were You. It was a very good decision, because I really enjoyed the book!

If I Were You was well-written with very likable characters and engrossing start of very promising story. My interest was captured from the very first page and I was frustrated when the first book ended – I wanted more and I wanted it now! There was lot of romance and suspense and there genres were strongly intertwined.

If I Were You is often compared to Fifty Shades of Grey and I do not agree with that. If I Were You is much better plotted and there is an actual suspense and clear story lines in the novel. This was missing in the Fifty Shades of Grey. Lisa Renee Jones has done exceptionally good job with both plot and characters.

Plot:

Sara McMillan is a teacher whose neighbor accidentally leaves her someone’s diary. The diary is filled with erotic stories written by a woman called Rebecca. When Sara’s neighbor is suddenly travelling and leaving Sara the key to storage with Rebecca’s things, inclusive the diaries, Sarah is drawn to them. It seems to Sara that Rebecca has disappeared with or due unknown dangerous man and Sara is determined to solve the mystery.

Sara visits the art gallery where Rebecca worked and gets a job as Rebecca’s substitution. The faith brings her to an artist – Chris, who is not only famous and wealthy, but also very attractive. Sara can’t and won’t fight the attraction towards Chris and despite the weird comments from Sara’s boss Mark, she is willing to give a chance to Chris. When Chris finds out that Sara has Rebecca’s diaries, he warns Sara about the world Rebecca was living in.

I loved the explosive relationship between Sara and Chris. There is burning attraction, hidden feeling of danger and lot of unanswered questions. The first book in the series ends with a cliffhanger which makes you asking hundreds of questions. I can’t wait until the second installment is out.

Characters:

I liked Sara. She is woman who is hiding her past, but has a strong backbone and will. She is smart, has a passion to art and her new job at the art gallery. I also loved that she is not easily intimidated and takes a challenge when she sees one. Chris is definitely a challenge.

I adored Chris. He is a complex character. From one side he is very charming, lovable, confident, masculine, and protective towards Sara. He is your Alpha male character and he is not the only one in the book. Chris also has other side, which is not clearly revealed in the first book in the series. He has a darker past, which involves darker sexual interests, like BDSM. My guess is that we will know much more about Chris in the sequels. He is a mystery and darn lovable mystery!

I actually liked Mark. He is not exactly my type of guy, but he definitely is attractive, dominating, and smart and a gut feeling also says – dangerous. There is a lot of (excuse my language) cock-fighting between Mark and Chris and they probably share a past which is not very pleasant.

The relationship between Sara and Chris is definitely not without issues, but I liked the dynamics between them. Chris takes very good care of Sara, but when Sara keeps insisting that Chris will show her what was written in Rebecca’s diaries and reveal parts of Mark’s lifestyle, Sara is panicking. I can’t wait to read to see, what is going to happen next!

Generally:

I was spelled by If I Were You, it is dark, suspenseful and filled with hot romance! Loved it!

5 Flowers!

5 stars.

Thanks goes to Lisa and Tina for providing me with the review copy!

Happy reading!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review of Ember by Madison Daniel - 5 stars!

Happy Wednesday!

The book I am reviewing today, is very good. I read it while ago, but until today haven't managed to review it. Finally the day is here, so I can share my thoughts of Ember by Madison Daniel. Enjoy!


Author: Madison Daniel
Title: Ember
Series: Ember #1
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Release date: 22nd of February 2012
Genre: YA: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 388 pages
Source: Free on Kindle purchase

Summary:

Love never dies...but it can kill.


Ember is the story of Max Valentine, a teenager with secret abilities and many inner demons. His life revolves around music and his love for it. When his father dies he seeks answers with his last living relative, his fathers brother Frank. Frank lives on the island of Maui and eagerly takes Max in as his own. Max soon learns that healing his past will be more difficult than he could have ever believed. Two major complications will tempt and torment him as he tries to make sense of his abilities.

The first temptation comes in the form of a mysterious island girl. Asia Lyn Michaels is rich, spoiled, angry and beautiful. Her path crosses with Max on the beach one afternoon, forever changing both of their lives. Max saves her life and she discovers his secret. From that moment on they are connected, no matter how much they fight it.

The second temptation will test Max’s very soul. Samantha Ann Summers is sweet, artistic, smart and confident. She will help Max find his smile again and maybe even heal his past mistakes. She is possibly his soul mate and Max will fight that with every fiber of his being.

Max’s temper and indecision with the girls will send in motion events that will cost him dearly. He will test the limits of his powers and the new relationship with his protective uncle. He will gain a powerful love and lose another.

My review:

Ember by Madison Daniel is a book which awakens lot of emotions! You will feel frustrated, happy, angry, disappointed! There is one thing you will not experience when reading Ember and that is indifference! It grabs you from the very beginning and keeps you spelled until end.

Ember is well-written and one of the reasons I really enjoyed it, was the fact that it was written from the male protagonist's point of view and the there was a love triangle were one boy and two girls were involved. It is quite rare in the young adult literature, that girls are competing for a boy's attention. The same fact made me also frustrated, but i will write more about it later in my review. Just bear with me, it's all worth it.

Ember was well written and I loved the idea of characters being able to influence the elements - fire and water. When I have been asked what superpower I would love to have, I would definitely pick the power of controlling one of the four elements and my preference would actually be fire. That is exactly what the her of the story - Max - can do.

Plot:

The story starts with Max Valentine (love the name by the way!) arriving to Maui, where he is starting to live with his uncle Frank and begins in studying in the local high school. On Maui he meets two girls- Asia and Sam, who are as different as girls can be. Max is attracted to both of them and he loves very different aspects of them. Their entangled relationships are heavily affected by Sam's ex-boyfriend Devon and by Asia's girlfriend Lucy and as a result you have an awesome story mixed with lots of emotions. When you add Max's ability to create and control fire fire, its a novel you don't want to miss!

Besides Asia and Sam, there are other things happening which are important for the story. Max is musician and is invited to play in a band with his new friends. Music plays an important role in the story and in the book. Each chapter starts with a specific song title, which actually characterizes the chapter perfectly! What I did, was listening to the song mentioned and it fitted greatly with the story development and mood. It is an interesting addition to the book in my opinion.

I absolutely loved the ending of Ember! Madison surprised me with the cliffhanger which was awesome! I am very exited to find about Sam's new abilities and also where did Asia go. The ending scared me and not because it was exactly scary, but because it gave a promise for very intrigued sequel and I am anxious to find out if the sequel can live up to the expectations. My expectations are very, very high now!

Characters:

Characters were the absolute strongest part of the story. Plot was great, but the characters are the ones creating the story. I really enjoyed all the characters and you will easily come to love or hate them. there is no middle way in Ember. I am well aware, that not all reader might like that characters bring out worst of them (readers), but I truly loved the fact, that the characters' actions and thoughts were raising emotional reactions from my side. Characters are strong, distinct, easy to remember, alive, colorful.

Max Valentine is one heck of a protagonist. He is lovable and then you can very easily to raise your eyebrows while reading and find yourself thinking: Max, WHAT are you doing???? You want to hug him and slap him at the same time. He is a nice young man who is facing a turning point of his life and in the beginning it is not easy for him to decide. The light which path to choose is coming after some dramatic events and even then he chooses the right thing - not to make any rush decisions. Max is growing a lot during the story and I can't wait to meet him again!

Samantha/Sam was my favorite girl in Ember. She was lovely, she knew what she wanted and how she wanted it. She is a kind of girl, whom you can trust and rely on. She is your typical girl from the neighborhood who is beautiful inside out. I hated when Max caused her pain. I definitely know whom I would love to see Max ending up with, but unfortunately that is not up to me to decide and I have a suspicion, that author will not make things so easy for reader. I am looking very much forward to see what will happen with her new found abilities and how that will influence the story development.

I did not like Asia. I think, that it is intentional from the author's side to create a very distinct likes and dislikes when it comes both to Sam and Asia. I am sure, that there are readers who love Asia, I am just not one of them. I don't hate her either, I felt sorry for her and her life. She was left behind by her family. She had the looks, but nobody really loves her until max shows up. She is alone and scared,  but very aware of how to use her looks to her advantage. She is not a bad girl, she is just misunderstood.

I really enjoyed the other characters as well. I loved Frank and Max's friends Kai and Marcus, they would be awesome to hang out with! Devon was devious and stupid.

Characters in Ember simply rock!

Generally:

Ember by Madison Daniel is amazing young adult book which is a must read! Read it!

5 Flowers!

5 stars.

Buy links:
amazon
Barnes and Noble


About the author:

Music is LIFE and the written word is our SOUL.


Music and writing have been my true ambition since I was a child. I have used music in every form possible; writing it, performing it, healing with it, etc. I call it my "life's soundtrack." I have always written in some form; from comic books to screenplays to short stories and now the new series "Ember." I have found a true passion for my stories and characters and am eager to share them with the world.

See you on the next book tour...M.D.

Links:
Facebook page
Facebook Ember Serie's page
Blog
Twitter

Happy reading!



Review: Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Hi all!

Here is a review of an adult romance istead of the usual YA :)




Author: Bared to You
Title: Sylvia Day
Series: Crossfire #1
Release date: 3rd of April 2012
Published by: Penguin Group Inc
Imprint: The Berkley Publishing Group
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 360 in Paperback
Source: Borrowed from Inga who got it from BEA2012
 
Summary:
Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness…
He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds…and desires. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as i prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...
Review:

Ok, there were things I enjoyed and there were things I wasn’t really wild about.
For one, being compared to Fifty Shades of Grey, I personally, liked Bared to You a great deal more. The basic premise seems to match but I prefer, for example, Eva as a heroine. Not only was she more mature and independent but she know how to stand up for herself and didn’t let Gideon take over her life. I actually respected her. Gideon I didn’t really connect with as much but I assume it’s because we were never fully explained his demons, reasons and past. I’m anxiously anticipating for all the secrets to come to light though.
Overall, this book for its genre was a well-rounded, easy and hot read, but...
Instant lust, steamy scenes and passion - it’s all good and in the context of things it’s my personal slight quibble, but more times then not I felt that that was the only things between the couple and in general holding up this book. I know and understand that I’m not supposed to be looking for the purpose in life or some deep profound meaning but I wanted there to be more of that something-something that drives the storyline, makes the plot exciting and generally functions as a backbone. I’ve been told the second book is heaps better regarding plot and overall, so I will give it a go.
Characters:
First of all, I had a weak spot for Cary and I was worried about him dealing with his issues more than Gideon. He made some moronic decisions and sabotages his own happiness but I liked his confidence which just hid his vulnerability and brokenness. With both of my hands and feet crossed I’m rooting for him to get a grip and reach his HEA.
I’ll take on Eva and Gideon together:
The main problem I had with those two was that they were both too scarred and dysfunctional. Yes, they might understand and support each other better having shared a trauma, but I guess I would prefer a situation where one has a troubled soul and the other is there to heal. But, again, this is my personal preference. While Gideon’s past remains a mystery Eva’s alone was enough to give me shudders. That was too much and I predict there isn’t anything lighter coming from him. Nevertheless, both are young, successful, sexy, driven, hard workers, want to be together and are willing to change bit by bit for the other. I foresee a successful relationship just because they don’t spill their soul right away and both struggle to make this new connection work out. Shortly, I liked that nothing was simple and the road to acceptance and a healthy relationship is full of obstacles (I predict some pretty big bombs and battles ahead) many not only stemming from outside the couple but from themselves too. I’m really curious on how they develop together.
I adored Eva’s boss and his partner! They just seemed so right, fuzzy and cozy together. The couple I couldn’t, however, stomach were Eva’s mother and stepfather. She had a serious obsessive compulsive disorder regarding Eva and him always acting on it was bothersome meddling in their daughters life and choices. I understand the motives, but the end result went too far. Eva was heaps more mature and levelheaded than the two of them combined.
Overall:
A good addition to the genre, it does everything right and what’s left is just everyone’s own preference. I’m looking forward to the second book and based on hearsay I expect quite a lot of general improvements. But for the moment I recommend to all who prefer this genre and to the ones that would like to venture into this side of romance literature.


3 stars!

LIIS

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, October 23-31. 3 winners!


Booooo! It's here! Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is the hugest hop where I am participating yearly. There are more than 400!!! blogs participating. Yes, you read correctly, more than 400 blogs. Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is organized by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and by The Diary of A Bookworm and it runs from October 24th to 31st. Enjoy!



What can you win this time?

There will be 3 winners!

1st winner gets 20$ GC from amazon.
2nd winner gets a book from The Book Depository
3rd winner gets 5$ GC from amazon.

Giveaway details:

This giveaway runs October 24th to 31st.
It is open internationally.
You must fill in the RC form to participate.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy the hop and good luck!
Happy reading!





Sunday, October 21, 2012

Naughty and Nice Giveaway Hop by Random House!


Welcome to Naughty and Nice giveaway hop organized by Romance at Random! The prizes are given by Random House. There are around 70 blogs participating, so you can increase your chances to win.

The prizes are as follows and Random House will be responsible for the giveaway!


Prizes - R@R is giving away (must be 18 or older to participate):
· 15 Net Galley Preview copy winners of Naughty and Nice +
· 5 ABOUT LAST NIGHT paper giveaways (US only) +
· Grand Prize of $15 Gift Certificate to eRetailer of choice!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
Happy reading!





Deception Peak by Dianne Lynn Gardner - Blog Tour!

Happy Sunday!



I am participating today at Deception Peak Virtual Book Tour. This tour is organized by First Rule PR and by the author Dianne Lynn Gardner. My stop includes a character interview from the author together with beautiful images from the book, information about Deception Peak and about the author Dianne Lynn Gardner. You will also find tour information below and a tour giveaway. Enjoy!

Synopsis:


"The first book of a trilogy, Deception Peak is a young adult adventure fantasy about a teenager, Ian Wilson, who follows his father through a portal that magically appears on their computer screen. They travel into a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life. But when the two are separated, Ian is abducted by a tribe of dragon worshipers and is forced to find his courage. As he struggles for his freedom and embarks on a perilous search to find his father, Ian meets the true peacekeepers of the Realm. It's then that he learns there is a greater purpose for being there."   (This is the first novel of the Ian’s Realm Saga)




REVIEW BLURBS


“DECEPTION PEAK is well-named. Nothing is what it first seems in this lively tale of adventure…You won’t be able to put this book down as you struggle up Deception Peak along with Ian in the perilous quest to save his father from certain death. Will either of them survive the journey? And if they do, will they be stuck forever in the Realm?” ~ Peggy King Anderson SCBWI-WA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011

“I really enjoyed reading this book and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good adventure story! ”Author Virginia L. Jennings

“It's descriptive and action packed. ”

“Her descriptions flow through the ”Carol Caldwell

-----------------




Dianne has made a character interview with Ian, the hero in the Deception Peak for Me and Reading, so ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the author of Deception Peak, Dianne Lynn Gardner and to Ian!

Interviewing Ian
Questions from a 15 year old.

Ian! How great that you stopped in today. We’ve received a questionnaire in the mail from one of your fans, Ami. She’s 15 too and wanted to know more about you and the Realm. She’s got some really good questions. I hope you have time for some answers?

Yeah, sure, I guess.

Ami wants to know how much of the world you designed? Did your dad do most of it? Did you do a lot of it?

Well, that’s tough one, I mean if you compare it to how much of the world there really is in the Realm, by ratio, almost nothing. But if you compare it to what was on the computer screen before the portal burst open, hmmm I’d say about half. Dad did the initial mapping and let me fill in the graphics, you know-the artwork. Well, up until that last day. But he was the engineer of the high-tech stuff.

How did you get the ideas for your designs?

Dad and I are nature freaks and that’s what we based our world on. I’m totally backwards compared to a lot of kids these days. I think that’s why I don’t click with the kids at school. If you hadn’t noticed, we don’t have cell phones. Heck, Dad doesn’t even have a power mower. We like a quiet world. Hunting, fishing, walking in the woods…yeah, I know just because I like to do that country stuff that I shouldn’t have freaked out so much in the Realm. But the whole idea of being inside a computer…that was too way too much. Still, if we were going to design a world at all, that’s what it would look like. It’s just that we didn’t really design that world. It was there and we tapped into it. The fact that Dad loved the country so much is what lured us in.

What was your first thought upon entering the world?

I’ll let you in on a secret. I was scared out of my begiebees. But I couldn’t tell Dad. He’d think I was a sissy. So I followed him, but I made a mental note of every twist and turn in those woods. It’s not that I’m afraid of the forest, or anything like that. Heck, Dad and I are out in the country all the time. But stepping into a computer? *shakes head. That’s not natural. Really, there’s no way to explain how freaky it was. Neither one of us knew what we were going to find.

Through your adventures in the Realm, did the world turn out to be what you thought you had designed or was it different?

I didn’t design that world. No way. Dad and I were just going to make a game that we could play safely at home, like all you other normal people do. We just wanted the satisfaction of having made the game ourselves. Well, I’ll tell you. That was no game. It was surreal. Dangerous. Pretty horrendous, really.

What kind of foods did you eat in the Realm?

Mutton stew, flat bread and loaf bread. I have to admit; even the Menek food was good. Delicious, actually. It had a flavor to it, some kind of spice that you can smell when you step outside but I’m not sure what it was. I’m not too familiar with spices. Rosemary maybe. Of course, most of the time I was famished, so I think that had something to do with how good the food tasted. Especially after having to eat my own oatmeal so many nights on the trail. Still, the ladies know how to cook. Britta, she was good at it.

What was your experience like?

*Ian ponders for a while before he answers. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. It wasn’t good. I mean a lot of really horrific things happened to Dad and me. It wasn’t fun that’s for sure. And you know what happened in the caves? I don’t really want to recount that experience. Still those last words that Amleth said to me, about being one of them. *he sighs. Maybe it was worth the trauma that we went through. Nothing that meaningful has ever happened to me at home. I never felt that close to people, like they were family. So yeah, maybe there was a purpose to it all.

So, in answer to your question, the things that happened to Dad and I was like a really bad dream. And then you wake up and it’s over and you’re in your bed and you’re safe. And you remember that someone was kind of looking out for you through it all. That’s what it was like. Except…well, you’ll have to keep reading my journal.

----------
Thanks, Dianne, for the interview with Ian!

About the Author:



Dianne Lynne Gardner is both an author and illustrator. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers and she is an award winning artist.

Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, traveled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a teepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life.

Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor’s apprentice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she draws both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing seeking not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories’ characters, but a rich appreciation of nature.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Dianne’s Links

Author’s Blog
Facebook fan page
Amazon Author Page
Twitter




As an artist, Dianne is making available a wonderful prize of an 11X14 matte-finished print of her main character Ian, in its original color (in the print version of the book it is black and white). She’s adding a signed copy of Deception Peak, swag, and a couple runner-up prizes too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway







Deception Peak from Dianne Gardner on Vimeo.



Credits for video:

Trailer written by Dianne Gardener
Directed and edited by Nancy Frye
Ian......(kid's name)
Ian's dad....Robert Odekirk
Abbi.......Cheyenne
Horse wrangler: Gordon Frye
Body double: Eric Worth
Utility grip: Crystal Smithwick
All paintings and illustrations by Dianne Gardner
Music by Kevin McLeod and Ori Vidislavski





TOUR DATES – 10/15 - 10-24
10/15/2012 – I Smell Sheep – Guest Post
10/15/2012 – Cabin Goddess – Review
10/15/2012 – Ali Talks Live – Podcast
10/16/2012 – Spellbound By Books – Guest Post
10/17/2012 – Workaday Reads – Review
10/18/2012 – Ali’s Bookshelf – Review
10/19/2012 – Babs Book Bistro – Podcast
10/20/2012 – Bunny’s Review – Interview
10/20/2012 – The Book Connoisseur - Interview
10/20/2012 – The Independent Review – Review
10/20/2012 – Book and Movie Dimension – Guest Post
10/21/2012 – Babs Book Bistro – Review
10/21/2012 – Me and Reading – Guest Post
10/22/2012 – Stuck in Books – Guest Post
10/23/2012 – Splash of Our Worlds -Review
10/24/2012 – Evie Bookish – Guest Post

Thanks for coming by and enjoy the tour!

Happy reading!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. This is a fair an honest review and as part of a First Rule Publicity Tour I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - 5 Stars!

Hi all!

I was eager to read this book since the high praise Inga gave it to in her review a couple of months ago. And to be honest, this story deserves all said and a lot more.



Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Release date: 31th of July 2012
Imprint: Harlequin Teen
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, YA
Pages: 416 in Paperback
Source: Borrowed from Inga who got it from BEA2012

Summary:
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
Review:
I haven’t read many YA contemporary coming-of-age books without any supernatural elements but if this is how brilliant they could be, then I better reevaluate my most selected plot types/genres!

Now here is a book that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you demand an über happy ending to the characters that you’ve come to adore, respect and admire through their thorny road. Nothing less than utter bliss will ever do next to the hardships and struggles the main couple had to endure.
This book is just amazing. Plain and simple. You get yourself entangled in the lives of Echo and Noah and it’s an overwhelming experience to be there along the ride. Everything shines and flows: the characters, the emotions – all the joy and pain -, the progress towards everyone’s understanding of “normal”, the sweet and genuine romance, etc etc - and the reader occupies the front row seat to all that good that makes up this book. In addition, I liked underlying theme of hope, taking the solving of your problems into your own hands and promise of a better future in this book.

Characters:

This book included a number of great, sympathetic, colorful and realistic characters that all played their role perfectly and while at times slightly cliché, you ended up rooting for them 100% and everything else was trivial. Even the supposed “bad” characters were quite gray and you couldn’t fully dislike anybody to a high degree.
Echo: she’s confused, not wholly “herself” anymore, trying to cope but not finding the methods she is subjected to as helpful or successful. At the same time she hasn’t isolated herself, doesn’t wallow in self-pity or behave in the typical no-one-understands-me-so-stay-away. She wanted things to be as they were but feels that mentally and physically she is unable and not ready. All that didn’t mean she became a social reject or moody and pitiful. The negativity came more from outside with her schoolmates and even family being the ones that labeled, patronized or rejected her. The way she handled everything came across more mature than most around her who should know better and, honestly, despite all she was quite strong and levelheaded to find a way out of her issues, doubts and nightmares. Of course there was support, encouragement and acceptance but I credit her the most.
Noah - what isn’t there to like about him! Ok, the occasional pot smoking aside he was such a misunderstood and wounded but still standing and fighting dreamboat. His determination to have custody of his brothers and everything he was willing to sacrifice for that was more than admirable and despite what conditions he was living in with all the prejudices and mistakes made he remained a good loving decent guy. All this came across more powerful and vivid because the book included his point of view and that gave a lot into understanding his inner workings. Echo wasn’t given center stage in this book by a long shot; their involvement was quite at balance. His feelings for her were sincere and their relationship something both needed to stay sane and to just have this positive, new and exciting factor in their lives.
Ok, someone explain to me why troubled or even non-troubled teenagers see people who are there to help as obstacles, enemies and utterly untrustworthy? And in the case of Mrs Collins the resentment was totally uncalled for, I thought she rocked, was cool, quirky and slightly sneaky but always fighting for the best interest of the people in her charge.
Isaiah and Beth were such great characters because they were so broken but despite that they were such a great support for Noah and each other and if I didn’t know better were your regular rebelling teenagers. Beth’s story is next and as soon as I heard that, Dare You To was in my to-be-read list as soon as you could say...well nothing, I was that fast.
The persons I disliked the most, as much as I could dislike these wonderfully created characters, were Echo’s mother and stepmother. They came across too selfish and self-centered claiming to care about Echo, but their actions spoke the total opposite. Still, their behavior had explanations and reasons however messed up those ended up being. But let’s end the characters section with a positive note: Noah’s brothers were incredibly adorable!
Overall:
Well, what is there to actually say except but read this book and enjoy! Highly recommended!



5 stars!

LIIS

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