Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Hi all!

The usual YA again :)





Author: Holly Black
Title: White Cat
Series: Curse Workers  #1
Release date: 4th of May 2010
Published by: Simon & Schuster, Inc
Imprint: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 309 in Paperback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository

Summary:

Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen.

Review:

I liked this book, it was different from the YA I usually read, having a male protagonist and being quite original with its plot and characters. It was also darker than your average YA, more brutal in content both physically and emotionally. There wasn’t anything that hard to stomach but a couple of scenes, plot devices and descriptions had me cringing. BUT, that just added to the crooked atmosphere of the whole story.

I loved the overall theme that nothing was as it seemed and there were enough twists to keep things fresh – what was behind the facade of different characters, their motives, what is actually happening in the grand scheme of things, etc. While slightly confusing during unraveling everything made sense in the end I didn’t feel that there were significant questions left hanging without adequate answers.

Con nr 1: To me the romance element is a must in the majority of stories I read and in this it remained quite ambiguous, it WAS there but not it the format I usually prefer. I predict more development/focus/explanations for it in the coming books though.

Con nr 2: Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with most of the characters and several weren’t even likeable, everyone was in the circle of tolerable but still remained foreign and unpleasant. BUT, I adored Cassel and he basically makes up for what others lack, also the plot contributed to me overlooking other faults.

Nevertheless, I liked the idea and realization of the plot and, of course, the hero Cassel.

Characters:

Cassel was very flawed and somewhat broken in various ways. Confused, sneaky, somewhat reckless, stuck to bear his family’s burden and unable to free himself of all their complicated/shady/criminal affairs he involuntarily becomes and is part of. I really liked him as the protagonist and as an interesting character. He’s not black or white and him not knowing or not caring that he is neither is even better, he isn’t ashamed and doesn’t hide his not so “pure” of straight-laced actions or trail of thought. He is what he is and that makes him authentic and likable. Due to all this he has to go through many trials and nothing is completely safe but he has the determination and smarts to overcome anything. I look forward to his on goings in the other books of the trilogy and hope life is a little kinder to him there.

Lila was seemingly the main focus of the book, but we in reality learn a fraction of what she’s about or what’s going on in her head – the story doesn’t delve into her character much, even tough, she is the catalyst to many story lines. As much I did get to know her, she didn’t strike me as someone very likable, nevertheless, she was quite intriguing and maybe she will grow on me in the second book.

Cassel’s family – what a bunch of crooks – dangerous, odd and secretive. I appreciated the fact that they held the idea and connections of family in high esteem – family above all else -, but did they really? The two older brothers Phillip and Barron left me suspicious in the beginning and shocked at the end, the mother was meddlesome and came across as an unruly teenage girl, the grandfather was cool though – reasonable, grounded and nice with his fair share of mysteriousness of course. Poor Cassel, it tough being surrounded by such unstable and not always completely trustworthy people.

Overall:

An interesting series, with an interesting plot and story line. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like that much, but overall this is a solid book and the pros, luckily, are strong enough to leave the cons far behind.



4 stars!


LIIS



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

Hi all!

The usual dose of YA :)





Title: Easy
Release date: 6th of November 2012
Imprint: The Berkley Publishing Group
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, YA
Pages: 310 in Paperback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository

Summary:

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.


Review:

This was an immensely likable book which had many aspects working for it. Starting from the relatable, realistic and sympathetic characters to the delicate yet heads on way the topic of rape was handled. Especially in the sense that if you don’t stop the abuse, then your choice can affect someone else. This book provided a lot of thinking material, not that any of it was unknown and entirely new, instead it refreshed the already accumulated thoughts, views and understandings.

I liked how this was quite a mature story. Nothing overly racy or shocking but I didn’t feel that the author held back or sugarcoated many things. It was a story that could happen to anyone (yes, even meeting a hot and honorable cutie) which made the characters and situations relatable, in addition, made me root for these people more enthusiastically.

My only small complaint would be that at times I felt there wasn’t anything significant going on next to the harsh topics handled, despite this, the book was like a breeze, easy, fresh and enjoyable. I didn’t even notice when it was already finished, and that is an important thing, no one wants a book to drag.

Characters:

Jacqueline was fragile yet strong with several different parts of her life problematic and in a state of crisis. Her boyfriend whose needs and choices she put ahead of her own dumps her, parents that aren’t entirely very supporting, failing an important class and to top it off, being narrowly saved from an attempted rape. Yes, she has several reasons to be stressed out, yet still, she doesn’t freak out, isolate herself or act completely emo. She takes time to come to grips with everything but she doesn’t stop in her tracks entirely. Her life doesn’t fall apart and she doesn’t allow it to. She was smart, talented, caring, loveable and just sweet. She wasn’t a really outstanding characters (slightly dull to me), but she had her own appeal and doesn’t give any reasons to dislike her.

Lucas, the poor tortured superhero. Seriously, he was like the perfect heartthrob: very smart, drives a bike, tattoos, long sexy hair, piercings, understanding, protective, supportive (but let’s you make choices and do what’s necessary), juggling several different odd jobs, great at beating people up (to protect others of course), misunderstood rebel, absolutely devoted to the girl he likes, slightly creepy in his fixation with her, HOT and hunky, them muscles, etc. He was also admirable and strong based on how is chose to continue with his life and the decisions he made. An underdog yet a head over everyone else.

Kennedy – Yes, he was a complete douchebag, but I kind of liked him and couldn’t really hate him with a passion for what he did and how he acted. He was just your typical guy in a “new world” with new opportunities shoved in his face and being surrounded with such crooked mentality it’s no surprise he acted as he did. He wasn’t strong or didn’t want to be strong enough to hold true to what he already had. He made bad choices.

Erin – Everyone should have one friend like her. Carefree, snappy, happy, all out for her friends, loved how she acted girlfriends before men. Respect!

And the villain of the story? I can’t really go into it deeper since I might explode with all the disgust, hate and a wish to punch…hard.

Overall:

I understand and add to the praise of this book. It’s a sweet love story but the dark themes included in the book make it what it is. For me it was a pleasant change form the fantasy YA I usually read and despite the serious main topic of the story, it till remained a cute and fun, simple yet complicated read.



4 stars!

LIIS

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Hi all!

Another YA review, surprise surprise :)




Title: Shadow Hills
Series: Shadow Hills #1
Release date: 10th of May 2011
Published by: Egmont USA
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 388 in Paperback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository

Summary:
Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town . . . might cost her life.
Review:
Broadly speaking this is your typical YA: girl goes to new town-finds friends-meets hot guy with unexplainable abilities-encounters heaps of the supernatural-solves the mystery of the town-etc. It would be quite a text book example of this common plot line, if it weren’t for the twist in what type of supernatural element this story employs. It’s different and thus it’s exciting and fresh, I very much enjoyed this direction in the plot.
Another aspect that takes it apart from other such books is the strong emphasis on various characters and their relationships. I was over the moon that Phe made several friends, spent time with them, went to parties, not only swooned over this guy she didint’t even know that well forgetting the company and importance of friends. The lack of parental presence left me slightly iffy but then again it was quite convenient and even believable if we consider that the story revolves around a boarding school.
A complaint would be that in my mind the mystery/supernatural element wasn’t really realized to its full potential and much was left unexplained or to be explored.
Characters:
Phe was a fun, easygoing heroine, she felt like a really good friend to have around. Despite the death of her sister and her trying to solve the mystery of Shadow Hills, she wasn’t an angsty teenager and didn’t wallow in self-pity, self isolation and with the mindset that that no one understands her and she doesn’t even want anyone to understand her. Overall, she behaved like you typical teenager. She partied, hanged around friends, crushed (not stalked or was obsessed with) on a hot guy, actually drank alcohol (I know I know her being a minor and all, but, honestly, seeing all these YA characters not consume a drop of it comes across very unrealistic), etc. She was, in general, easy to like and identify with. In addition, she got into some hilarious situations.
Zach was the ultimate good guy, he was just so squeaky clean and pure and boy scout-y and perfect boyfriend material. Despite not being the most shining with his character, I found him very likable and interesting, warm fuzzy and loveable, not to mention gorgeous and gentlemanly. His feelings for Phe were boyish and adorable, plus I loved his protective side but at the same time not being smothering. Phe you lucky girl!
There were so many other characters that got their fare share of the spotlight:
Graham – now that is a friend I could never just stay friends with! Fun, cute and easy to hang around with.
Brody – your local friendly stoner dude.
Corinne – mega mean girl who you’re really unable to hate that much because there is logic and reasons to her behavior. The “evil” sister of the hero.
Adriana – couldn’t really care about her in the beginning but she grew on me. Pretty little spoiled rich girl who actually turned out to be a good friend for Phe and the others.
Trent – he was such a clichéd bad boy that it was somewhat funny at one point. Well, what YA is fully equipped without one of those?
Toy – cute nerdy girl… that’s basically it.
The “bad guy” in the story, however, didn’t really do it for me, there was a slight lack of reason, believability and logic there. But that’s just me.
Overall:
In a sense it was quite an original book in the midst of hundreds and hundreds of YA books, but on the other side it’s your typical YA. I enjoyed it and found it refreshing in several aspects, so if you’re looking for an oldie plot with a newer twist then this is your story.




4 stars!

LIIS




Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Hi all!

Here is a review of a new YA book :)





Series: Mara Dyer #2
Release date: 23rd of October 2012
Published by: Simon & Schuster, Inc
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 544 in Hardback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository

Summary:
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?
Review:
I loved the first book and was anxiously waiting for the second. All the anticipation paid off but the story didn’t quite follow the path I was expecting. Everything great was still present: Noah, mystery, Noah, likeable and intriguing characters, suspense, Noah, original plot, and ...  did I mention Noah? But the direction in the overall atmosphere this installment took was much more dark, scary and sinister than I had imagined. This is an eerie book and not the “this is slightly unsettling I might not go to the toilet at night“ but instead “Please don’t leave me home alone, or anywhere alone!” yes, I’m that much of a wuss, but in my defense the spookiness was masterfully created.
The plot delved deeper, the characters developed further, the story progressed heaps during this second volume. And with all the heavy content this was an incredibly easy and quick read. All the situations, emotions were described vividly but I didn’t have to strain myself while reading and all the intended just leaped up the pages. I’m not often affected so deeply by a book but this had me feeling all sorts of emotions with a snap, most prominently – goose bumps, and this is one awesome thing on how this book is written.
My only complaint would be that the book didn’t provide enough answers and too many questions were raised. I was slightly overwhelmed and there were so many pieces of the puzzle that didn’t fit and more kept appearing. Nevertheless, several mysteries were solved so I wasn’t left too frustrated. I also liked how the line between what was real and what not was created, I was even more confused and clueless than Mara and she alone is already an extremely unreliable narrator.
Characters:
If I had to describe Mara with one word, then it would be strong as steel. With all unexplainable, chilling, frustrating and psychotic going on around her with nobody believing her, and constantly even doubting herself, I was amazed how she could stay so sane and levelheaded. Yes, there were meltdown moments but she held her own in the presence of everyone who wouldn’t believe or help her. And that was basically all people except Noah. She was a skillful actress. I felt her confusion, helplessness, determination and fear with the connection to Noah being the only thing that kept her seemingly sane. Mara needs a break, a long one and I seriously hope she would be granted one soon.
Noah – is there anyone more dedicated to the person he loves than him? Willing to take on anything, however crazy, just to DO something for this one girl? Despite his devotion to Mara Noah still remained quite a mystery in this book. You could never really guess what he was thinking, what he knows or what he might be hiding. Thankfully, there was something that gave insight into what went on in his head but, nevertheless, Noah is a puzzle to me. He remained gorgeous, swoon worthy and crazy for Mara but I’m nowhere near in understanding, aside form his love for her, what makes him tick.
I adored Mara’s family, especially her brother Daniel. Talk about a supportive and loving family environment. Yes, they took some actions that weren’t in Mara’s favor but they truly wanted to help, but unfortunately, were powerless figuring out the right methods or what aid she even required.
I was glad that we got to meet Jamie again and the other children in the school Mara had to attend were mysterious, intriguing and I’m curious to know more about several of them.
Overall:
A great second installment to the series which leaves you wanting more – more explanations and answers that is. I have to get my hands on the third book, if not only for the great plot, writing and characters, then to finally have all the loose ends tied and to KNOW what is actually going on!?




4 stars!

LIIS

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop!


It's here!!! Welcome to Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop! This hop is organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and by Tristi Pinkston. This event runs from November 8th - 13th and there are more than 170 blogs participating. Lots of chances to win!

What am I thankful for? Books? Definitely! I love reading! But there are so many other things in my life that I appreciate. My family - my parents, my sister's family, my so; my work, my home, my health, small positive things in my life. I am thankful that I still have kept my faith in love.


What can you win this time?

One winner will pick a book and I will deliver this book to the winner.

Giveaway details:
Open internationally.
Runs from November 8th - 13th.
Fill in the RC form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading!



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: The Angel by Tiffany Reisz - 5 Stars!

Hi all!

This book really impressed me :)





Author: Tiffany Reisz
Title: The Angel
Series: The Original Sinners #2
Release date: 1st of September 2012
Published by: Harlequin (UK) Ltd
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 410 in Paperback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository

Summary:

She wanted him...

Nora Sutherlin is in hiding. On paper, she's following her master's orders - and her flesh is willing.

More deeply, more strongly than she'd wanted anyone

But her mind is wandering to a man from her past, whose hold on her heart is less bruising, but whose absence is no less painful. Instead of letting him make love to her, she'd let him go.

This is the story of a summer that proves that love hurts

Review:

Now this was scorching hot, kinky, naughty and delicious. Honestly, I usually prefer my romance quite straight laced, basically I’m not really wild for love triangles, heaps of sex (without love) or other shenanigans, but this book blew me out of the water because in theory it was everything I don’t usually prefer, but I absolutely loved this book.

An amazing erotic BDSM series that actually employs the theme to the fullest and comes across most realistic than many other books of the same genre popping up nowadays. There is no smalltime kinky stuff here, this is the real deal, so be prepared. Ok ok, there were quite a few scenes that had me disgusted, confused, shocked, not knowing how to react (mostly one specific scene though) but this made this read all the more authentic.

What I loved most about this book was that it actually possessed a plot, even tough there was room for endless sex and everything that can possibly go with it, nevertheless, there was a purpose to the story and with brilliant characters it didn’t read like a pointless porno, far from it. There are still heaps to figure out and focus on, so I better grab the third part of this great series!

Characters:

My number one part of this book? The relationship between Griffin and Michael. Seriously, that was one of the sweetest, sexiest, loveable, sqeelworthy, best hurt/comfort romances I’ve encountered in a long time. This being a male/male couple made it the more special. While for many the center stage was no doubt held by the ongoing struggle and saga of the Søren/Nora/Wesley relationship, but my focus was elsewhere. I loved that there was actual buildup to their friendship and trust before anything sexual. They learned to care and love each other as persons not just as sexual object/side in the dom/sub relationship. Both received from the relationship exactly what they craved and desperately required to function further: Griffin treated Michael like a delicate treasure that he no doubt was and needed to be handled as, and Michael enabled Griffin to feel important by, in his words, caring, spoiling and protecting his beloved. The age issue had me slightly iffy but since everything was free of choice then I got over it quickly.

Griffin was larger than life – his love for life, his passion, his humor/sarcasm, his ability to change his life and drag himself out of the gutter, his need to care for someone who he would give everything to was incredibly heartwarming. He was such a great characters, plus most everything that came out of his mouth had me laughing out loud or just fangirling like crazy. He deserved and was perfect for Michel as much as the latter was the same for him.

Michael – my heart bleeds for him. He is gentle, sweet, shy, withdrawn, confused, lost, incredibly talented – someone who you want to take into your arms and just hug, even though I guess he would actually prefer a spanking, from Griffin preferably. Still, he needed love and endless amount of it. He truly was like an angel who gained his wings in the end.

Nora? She rocked! She was witty, fun, absolutely unashamed or apologetic of who she was, what she did and how she chose to live her life. Here attitude, confidence and overall personality were awesome. I loved how she took care of Michael, like a big sister/teacher.

What had me confused and I wasn’t really wild about was the fact that I didn’t know who to root for with Nora: Søren or Wesley. And I actually didn’t find her the best with either of them, both had pros and cons. Honestly, I actually found her great with Griffin but he became hands off territory soon.

Søren – wow, now that is one intense, dark and tortured man. I had mixed feelings for him and didn’t make up my mind if I want him with Nora or not. Nevertheless, we find out so much of his past and boy what a hard to swallow past that was.

Kingsley was quite intriguing, I couldn’t really put my finger on him: a good guy, bad guy, only out for himself guy, etc? I’d love to see him tied down to someone new though.

Overall:

If you don’t mind some serious hardcore BDSM then this series is a must! Great plot, great characters, great read. I recommend fully!



5 stars!


LIIS


Secrets of the Red Box by Vickie Hall - Book Blast!


Happy Tuesday!


Welcome to Secrets of the Red Box Book Blast! This event is organized by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.


Secrets of the Red Box

Bonnie has secrets to keep - secrets with the potential to destroy lives, including her own. Running from her destructive and pain filled past, she recreates herself, believing she has escaped the damning evidence hidden in the red box. When her former life is revealed by a cruel twist of fate, Bonnie faces losing everything, including Glen, the only man she’s ever loved. But is Bonnie the woman he thinks she is? Set against the backdrop of the 1940s, Secrets of the Red Box is filled with intrigue and suspense - sure to keep you guessing to the very end!
Purchase Link:
Amazon 






Author Vickie Hall

Vickie is a native of Utah, but growing up, lived in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Nebraska. When she's not writing, she's composing music, or shopping with her sister. She loves animals of all kinds and camping with her family. Her favorite pastime is watching old movies on TCM, and unashamedly has a crush on Cary Grant.

Links:

Blog * Website 
Facebook * Goodreads




Praise for Secrets of the Red Box:

Amazing book! Wow, it caught me from the first paragraph. What detail, mystery and suspense. Loved the main character, Bonnie, so relatable. Vicki is an amazing writer. I wish she would write more books!!!
~Amazon Review

Secrets of the Red Box is a great read! Whether you're looking for a book with an intriguing and unusual plot, or a story of how life's choices effect the rest of your life, you will love this book!
~Amazon Review

Blog Tour:

Be sure to check out the blog tour for the chance to win an additional $25 Gift Card.

Secrets of the Red Box Blog Tour: November 5th to 20th 





Tour Schedule


Book Blast Giveaway Details



$50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 PayPal Cash from Author Vickie Hall
Ends 11/25/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it for the first person you follow and leave the others blank.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Happy reading!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hollywood Ever After by Sasha Summers - Review, Giveaway and Excerpt

Happy Monday!


Welcome to my stop at Hollywood Ever After Book Review Tour! This tour is organized by Goddess Fish Promotions and by the author Sasha Summers. My stop includes review, some information about the book and the author, an excerpt and a giveaway. Enjoy!




Author: Sasha Summers
Title: Hollywood Ever After
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Release date: 8th of May 2012
Pages: 388 pages
Genre: Adult: Romance, Contemporary
Source: From the tour organizer in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

She wasn’t meant for movie stars, Hollywood, or happy endings. And then she met him.


Happy Endings are for fairy tales. Or the movies. Not for real life. At least, not Claire’s life. Even though she’s starting over, she knows better than to want too much this time. But when she falls, literally, into the strong arms of Hollywood’s ‘it’ boy Josh Wiley, Claire’s in for some surprises. Her plans for rest and relaxation are forgotten as one incredible night with Josh becomes two… And her heart begins to want him as much as her body. Will two kids, one bastard ex-husband, and Josh’s juggernaut career mean the end of their affair? Or can Claire find her happy ending after all?

InkSpell Publishing Link
amazon paperback
Kindle



My review:

Hollywood Ever After by Sasha Summers is really everything the title refers to. It's romantic, sweet and genuinely a good book. It was the first book by Sasha Summers I have read and even though I did not know what to expect, the blurb was promising. I did not have to be disappointed.

Plot:

Claire is a divorced woman with two kids whose brother is sending her to relax without her kids. She is visiting a friend in Hollywood where she is invited to a party together with many A-list movie stars.

During the party she meets Josh, who is a lot younger than she, but there is a undeniable chemistry between the two of them. Claire is aware, that there won't be any future for them, especially thinking one of them being a Hollywood movie star and the other being a divorced woman with two kids. She decides to have fun for at least few days and the more time she spends with Josh, there more she is afraid of getting her heart broken... again.

I really loved the story. I liked the contemporary settings and the characters.

Characters:

Claire was a woman you quickly learn to like. Coming from an abusive relationship with her ex-husband, she denies being the victim. She is determined to change her life for  better and she definitely goes for it and this is what makes Claire strong and vulnerable. She is taking the chance to experience love again, despite her broken heart and history.

Josh was lovable and down to earth. I enjoyed his persistence of going after what he wants.

Generally:

The chemistry between Claire and Josh was very well described by the author and as a result you have a dynamic novel, which is romantic, easy to read and with a very solid plot. Loved it! It's a perfect romantic read during the dark autumn and winter evenings!

5 Flowers!
5 stars.


Thanks goes to the author and to Goddess fish Promotions for providing me with the review copy!  


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Sasha Summers is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, history, romance, and travel. She writes both lyrical romantic fantasy and contemporary romance. Her first play was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She's been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she's doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

Website/Blog
Twitter
Facebook Author Page
Goodreads
Pinterest
 
What can you win this time?  

Sasha will be awarding two $10.00 Amazon gift cards and One Romantic Movie Gift Basket (Movies that inspired Hollywood Ever After – Notting Hill, The Holiday, Love Actually, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (US/Canada only)) to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour.  

Don't forget to add the way to contact you while commenting! 

Excerpt:  

Two very large, strong hands caught me and I looked up into the most beautiful face I’d seen since this morning.

“Josh? Hi, Josh!” I squealed, bouncing in his arms as he smiled down at me. I kept bouncing, my racing heart thumping faster than the music as his hands slid around my back. “I didn’t know you were here.” I was smiling like an idiot.

“You’re a rather focused dancer.”

“I am! Never do it…dance, I mean. But it’s fun!” The song ended and I frowned.

He laughed. “Should I make them play the song again? I will if it will make that pathetic little frown disappear.”

Another song began. It was slower, but it still had a good beat. “No, I think this will work and I won’t sing–even better.”

“I liked your singing.” He was looking at me…the way he always looked at me.

I felt light-headed and dizzy as I stared up at him, wobbling on unsteady feet. I knew I was drunk, but now there was more than just alcohol heating me up from the inside.

His hands were firm, guiding me closer to him. I let one hand rest on his chest as we swayed together. Between the buzzing euphoria from my many drinks and the raging hunger burning in his eyes, my every nerve was tingling. I was more than a little pleased with life at the moment.

I quivered under his touch. His fingers splayed across my lower back, fitting us closer together. We danced with the music, our movements in sync with one another.

Under the flashing colored lights, my hand looked red and then green against the white of his shirt. I felt the heat of his skin, the solid strength of his muscles through the fabric of his shirt. His scent, his touch, his…presence stirred images of our night together, sharp in my otherwise foggy mind. My skin grew more sensitive and my senses flooded with him.

I was aching for him, all of him. Now. My breath grew short as I remembered how he felt buried deep inside me.

The rational side of my brain knew I was losing control, but there was too much alcohol in my system. I had no fear or inhibition. And I liked the fire raging inside of me.

My eyes slid to his mouth and I felt my tongue wet my lips.

His breath hitched and he closed his eyes. When he looked at me again, there was little doubt he knew exactly what I was feeling.

The song ended and I felt myself being guided from the floor.

“Taking her home?” Shannon had apparently returned to the table. She and Arthur regarded us with interest.

There were three other people at the table now. I didn’t know them. But I didn’t really care at the moment. I wanted to kiss the pulse wildly beating in Josh’s throat. I was vaguely aware that now might not be the right time for that. I glanced at his neck. It looked very kissable.

“Unless you have other plans?” Josh looked from Shannon to me.

I was looking at him as if I were about to eat him. It wasn’t intentional; that was really what I wanted to do at the moment…because he was so damn gorgeous…

He looked back at Shannon, his jaw muscle noticeably rigid.

“I recommend you get her home. And make her drink some water at some point, please,” Shannon added. “Here.” She handed Josh some keys and waved at me with a smile.

Then we were heading toward the door.

“Wait.” I stopped. We weren’t moving, but everything seemed to be moving around me. “You’re here with friends?”

His hands clasped my shoulders, steadying me. He smiled down at me. “Yes.”

“You shouldn’t leave them….I don’t want to mono…monopolize you.” My words trailed off as my eyes met his.

He wanted me. I could see it. His nostrils flared just a bit. His jaw clenched and unclenched. I smiled slowly. I liked that I could make him react this way.

I asked, “Don’t you want to stay?” Say no.

If he wanted to stay, I might be able to stop staring at him or thinking about how perfectly we fit together. It wasn’t completely out of the question, not yet. My eyes fell to his lips and my smile grew.

“No.” He leaned closer, whispering in my ear, “Claire, we have to leave now if you’re going to look at me like that.” His face reflected the hunger I felt.

My voice was husky as I whispered, “I’ll be good.” Not a chance.

He paused, his eyebrow rose in question. “You want to stay?”

“Nope.” My eyes fell to his mouth again.

Josh’s smile was pinched as he led me to the exit.

--------

Thanks for coming by! You can find the tour information HERE.

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NaNoWriMo - First Days of Writing and Excerpt.

Hi!

My co-blogger Liis encouraged me to share with you how my Nationa Novel Writing Month - NaNoWriMo - has been going.

Well, I started off with 1600+ words during the first day, which was a very good start and it was quite moivating for me. Then came two days and working weekend where I was not able to write as much as I wanted. Luckily I did not have very high expectaiton to myself, so I was not very disappointed when the word count did not show as much as I wanted.

Today was a good day for writing even though the time was very limited, so the word count is up 5701, which is still little below the needed 6668 words after 4 days. At the end of tomorrow, the word count should be 8335. When I decided to participate, I was aware, that I won't have lot of time available, but the good thing is, that I keep writing anyway and I will have two weeks of vacation coming.

Anyway, I have enjoyed it so far. A lot!

Wish me luck! :) Here is a little excerpt for your enjoyment.

Liis, this is for you!

Excerpt

Prologue


Today, year 201X

„ I think I understand what he found so fascinating about you“. His beautiful hazel colored eyes looked at me seductively sending shivers down in my spine. I was afraid of him and not for the reasons he thought.

Rashid al-Aziz was a powerful and dangerous man, but I was not frightened of him due to his power. It was his personality.

The first time I met him was almost ten years ago during one of my many visits to the country I hold dear – Egypt. Meeting him was brief then, he was the brother of the man that I had loved and we were introduced in Cairo during his wedding with his beloved fiancee Aisha.

Since I was an intruder, an unwanted European girl who had wrong religious beliefs and “had messed with his brother’s head” like he used to say, then he barely noticed me among the hundreds of wedding guests. He ignored me. When Khamis introduced us, his brother was polite enough, but you could see in his eyes that he was unpleased by his brother’s decision. Khamis was the oldest brother in the family and that was the only reason Rashid had accepted me to be in his wedding – as his brother’s lover. Not as a girlfriend, not even like a guest, but a lover. He accepted it only because his respect and love towards his brother and parents. Later I heard that I was allowed to be in the wedding due to Khamis’ saying that if his fiancee is not wanted at his brother’s wedding, then he will not attend his wedding at all and that would have been totally unacceptable for his parents and for the society. That would have been a scandal, a scandal his family went miles for to avoid. So most of the wedding guests thought that I am a family friend from Europe and that our parents have studied together in London during their years of university and I was their invited guest – that was an official story about me. Unofficially I was the girl who” had messed with Khamis’ head”.

“Found?” I said with a smirk on my lips. “I know that he still finds me captivating.”

“I have no doubts about that, but you know what consequences that might have for him.”

“Are you threatening me, Rashid?” I asked mildly.

“Of course not. But to avoid any complications, I will insist that you stay in my house under my surveillance.”

I sighed. “Can’t I just turn back to the hotel; they have secured it anyway because of the convention? I’ll be safe.”

I could see the fire in his eyes, when he blurted “No. Definitely not. I want you here! The last thing I need is you running around freely in Sharm. At least I can control your doings and goings here in the house and can protect you.”

“Protect me? I don’t need any protection!” I realized that I have raised my voice and it was filled with anger.

“Yes, you do!”

With these words, one of the most powerful men in today’s politics and military in Egypt, the military councilor of the president of Egypt, Rashid al-Aziz – my ex brother-in-law, left me alone in my large three-room suite in the palace. I was an unconventional political prisoner in one of the most luxurious palaces in Egypt – in the Presidential Summer Residence in Sharm el-Sheikh.

--------------    

It does not have a name or blurb yet. It will come soon. Part of the book takes place in different venues in Europe and part in Egypt. I am still not sure what genre either.  

Happy reading!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan - 5 Stars!

Hi all!

I finally got my hands on the latest Heroes of Olympus book, now it's another year to go till the next one comes out :(





Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Heroes of Olympus #3
Release date: 2nd of October 2012
Published by: Disney Book Group
Imprint: Hyperion Books
Reading level: FICTION – CHILDRENS: Contemporary, Fantasy
Pages: 608 in Hardback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository

Summary:
Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close— the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . . .

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophesy remains a mystery. . . . With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.
Review:
I basically worshipped the Percy Jackson books and the Heroes of Olympus series is no different. The only significant change being that now I have 7 awesome main characters to root for instead of 3 and loads more action, adventure, mystery, storylines and just plain excitement to boot.
There are countless aspects to enjoy and like in the third addition to the series. The good guys are humorous, kickass and intriguing, the bad guys are mean, nasty and quite colorful, the twist and turns keep you guessing, the plot thickens, the tasks get more difficult and decisive, the jokes are getting funnier (oh Leo you “hot stuff“), etc, and while of course the plot elements and plot lines fundamentally follows the same pattern as in the pervious books, its still a success and everything just works. There are always these standard diverse hindrances in the path of our heroes with facing the biggest bad in the end, but IT’S ALL SO GOOD!
I love how well thought out all the details are. Every quest and situation seems endlessly hopeless at the beginning but while in progress all details fall into place and everything has a solution. In addition, reading this series is like receiving a history lesson in Greek and Roman myths and legends, the way they are interwoven into the storyline is exciting and clever.
If I did have a small quibble with this book or even with the whole series in general then it would be that at times I feel that there is too much going on at once and the quantity of information is quite high. BUT...who cares! The books rock!
Characters:
This installment had four narrators: Percy, Annabeth, Piper and Leo. Other characters like Jason, Frank, Hazel, Nico, etc all had their fair share of the spotlight as well and I can’t wait to find out who the narrators for the next book are.
Percy was my hero in the original series but Leo is inching closer and closer to the awesomeness that is Seaweed Brain. Leo is just such a nerd with a smart mouth, a knack for not keeping his big mouth shut – which is one of the reason I love him of course - , a great sense of sarcastic humor and all around warm fuzzy and loyal guy, despite him at times carrying the role of the third wheel within the demigod team of seven. There were some interesting revelations regarding him. Plus, his antics always had me laughing out loud.
Percy was still everything I like about him. Brave, easygoing, friendly, funny, loyal – he’s a great hero. He’s really grown into his powers and it’s entertaining to see him put them to perfect use. Also, what I appreciated heaps was the fact that the conflict I thought coming in this book regarding him didn’t really manifest itself in the extent I feared. Otherwise, Percy is in a blissful relationship with Annabeth. I get all nostalgic when I imagine how they stared out and the journey behind them.
Annabeth was under huge pressure with her own personal quest in this book. She was focused on figuring out the Mark of Athena and next to this, worrying about Percy, the quest in general and just about everything she seemed to place on her shoulders. She is her usual smart, multitalented and efficient self and I really liked how the topic came up that the children of Athena don’t really have any skills except their intelligence, despite this, Annabeth is more than self sufficient and can hold her own even against powerful monsters and demigods.
Piper didn’t really strike me and when I start to think what part she played in this book, then it’s somehow difficult for me to remember or place her. Nevertheless, when reading, I found her appealing and cute – silent, sweet and subtle, the exact opposite of what one would expect from a daughter of Aphrodite. She is always present, supports, lets others shine, tries to give her best, has doubts, etc  – she is very sympathetic and I appreciated her for some reason more than Annabeth in this book even though the latter is for the most part like super girl.
Overall:
I love this series and if you haven’t tries it out yet, I strongly encourage you to, even if you are not the immediate target group. A beyond awesome series for all ages!



5 stars!

LIIS



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